Kenneth L Gentry

Narrated By: Aidan McGuire
Book: He Shall Have Dominion
Topics: ,


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Chapter Text

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11, KJV)

The gospel message of personal salvation is this: eternal life is by God’s grace through saving faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ. When a Christian shares this gospel message with anyone, he sends out God’s holy Word. This Word never returns to God empty. Sometimes it saves. Sometimes it damns.

What is the legal basis of this message of eternal life? It begins with history. Jesus Christ, who was both a perfect man and the incarnate son of God, came down from heaven into history, perfectly met God’s standards of righteousness, suffered injustice at the hands of unrighteous men, was crucified, dead, and buried. On the third day, He rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. Any objections so far? I hope not.

Then what about eternal life? It also begins in history. Those people who believe and publicly confess in this life that Jesus Christ’s representative legal work of redemption is their only legal claim to mercy before God, both now and in eternity, are saved, assuming that they continue in this profession of faith until their physical death. Once a person is saved by God’s judicial declaration of “not guilty” (i.e., justification), he remains saved, but the internal and external evidence of the legal fact of this salvation is the person’s continuing belief in the gospel message. Those who refuse to believe this message are lost. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). God’s grace and wrath both begin in history.

This means that Jesus’ work of redemption in history is two-fold: reconciliation and condemnation. Same work, two effects. Same gospel, two effects. This two-fold aspect of the gospel reflects the two-fold aspect of God’s judgment: blessing and cursing (Lev. 26; Deut. 28).[1] This means that whenever a Christian shares the message of God’s reconciliation through Jesus Christ, he is also sharing the message of God’s condemnation by Jesus Christ. There is no escape from God’s two-fold judgment.

The threat of condemnation is unavoidable. Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). If the recipient of the gospel message fails to respond in faith, he is worse off than before he heard the gospel. As in the parable of the two evil servants, the one who knew better will receive greater punishment. “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:47-48). As surely as there is a heaven and a hell, Christ’s gospel reconciles some and condemns others.

The Gospel’s Effects in History

When a person is legally reconciled to God, this changes the kind of person he is. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). This transformation is both

judicial and moral. It happens all at once. But its effects do not happen all at once. As in the case of a newborn baby, it takes time in order for the new person in Christ to mature spiritually. It takes time, as the Bible says, to work out the salvation that is ours in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). It is all sanctification – God’s sovereign act of setting us apart from the world morally – but there are three aspects of this sanctification, even though they constitute one process. Theologians speak of definitive sanctification – the complete moral perfection that we receive by grace at the moment when we are saved – and progressive sanctification: the working out in history of the moral perfection that is in principle ours already by grace. There is also final sanctification: the perfection that we receive by grace after the resurrection at the end of history. It is all sanctification. It is all by grace, ordained from the beginning, including our good works:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:8-10).

We can see this “definitive-progressive-final” process in operation in the first chapter of Genesis. God created the world in six days. At the end of each day, He pronounced His work good. “God saw that it was good” occurs repeatedly in the chapter. God’s daily work was good in the morning; it was good all day long; and it was good in the evening. At the end of six days, His work was complete. It, too, was good. More than good: very good (Gen. 1:31). Work completed is better than work just begun. If there were not sin in this world, everything we do would be like that: all good, but getting better all the time. Forever. This is what life will be like after the resurrection for all those saved by grace through faith. From the first things (creation) to the final things (judgment), and everything in between: it would all be good.

Of course, there is sin in this world. There is perpetual conflict in history between good and evil: God vs. Satan, angels vs. demons, covenant-keepers vs. covenant-breakers, eternal life vs. eternal death. The question that we need to get answered correctly is this: Is the principle of evil more powerful in history than the principle of good? Christians know that Satan is surely no match for God in terms of power. History is not some sort of cosmic arm-wrestling match between God and Satan. If it were, God would win ten rounds out often. But the primary issue in history is not power; the primary issue is ethics. This does not mean that history does not involve questions of power. It does mean that questions of power are subordinate to questions of ethics. Might does not, in and of itself, make right. Agreed?

But there is this nagging question: Is might in some way an outcome of right, or an aspect of right? Put another way, is might always actively opposed to right? Put yet another way, must right eventually produce might? Or does right eventually produce weakness? By eventually, I do not mean “overnight”; I mean over long periods of time. Put in language of modern economics, do the good get richer and the bad get poorer over time? Or is it the other way around? The Bible has an answer:

But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people. (Lev. 20:24)

And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it (Deut. 31:7)

His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. (Psa. 25:13)

For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. (Psa. 37:9)

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psa. 37:11)

For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. (Psa. 37:22)

Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. (Psa. 37:34)

And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. (Isa. 65:9)

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5).

This process of inheritance culminates in final judgment: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). The biblical principle is easy to state: righteousness is the foundation of inheritance. The point is, this process does not apply only to final judgment; it is definitive, progressive, and final. It is therefore historical.


Now we come to the topic of this book: eschatology. Eschatology is that part of systematic theology which deals with “final things.” As I hope to show in this Foreword, only very recently has Protestant, evangelical eschatology begun to deal with the first things about the last things. We have not had a developed, comprehensive, exegetically defended presentation of exactly how the Church of Jesus Christ is required by God to conduct itself ethically as it moves from the here and now to those “last things.” Nor have we had a detailed presentation of exactly what the Church should expect to happen along the way if it conducts itself according to God’s ethical requirements, or what will happen when it refuses to do so.

But that was then, and this is now. He Shall Have Dominion remedies the problem, and does this comprehensively, exegetically, and in a style that is easy to follow for the reader who pays attention. It fills the gap as no other book has so far.

Take a look at the book’s contents. There are a lot of Bible verses cited: thousands. There are a lot of footnotes to books and articles. It had to be this way. Dr. Gentry is arguing for an ancient and respected view of eschatology: postmillennialism. This places him at a disadvantage. There have not been many theologians in the twentieth century who have held this view of the comprehensive future success of the gospel. This was not the case a century ago, but it is the case today. Thus, he comes before an audience that is disinclined to believe him. He has to overcome this resistance. Like a conservative college student taking an exam from a liberal professor, he has to outperform the liberal students in the class in order to get the same grade.

He is also doing his best to overcome a lot of misinformation that has been taught in conservative seminary classrooms for many decades. He knows; he attended two of them: one dispensational, the other amillennial. Although Dr. Gentry has made the postmillennial position clear in previous books, and although the Institute for Christian Economics has sent out copies of these books free of charge to offending faculties, the same misinformation continues to be presented in the classroom to vulnerable, trusting students. (I much prefer the word lies to “misinformation,” since this gets across to the reader what is really going on in seminary classrooms, but I am trying to be a Christian gentleman, since Dr. Gentry is.[2])

By carefully documenting everything that he says about the Bible, Dr. Gentry does his best to gain the reader’s confidence in what he is saying. In documenting with footnotes what he says that other theologians have written, he is doing the same.

Any reader who thinks Dr. Gentry is exaggerating has been given proof of the truth of what he is saying. The critic can read the verbatim citation in the text, or check the original source, whether it is a Bible verse or a quotation from a book or an article. This will not persuade many contemporary critics of postmillennialism – the price of conversion is high – but it will silence those with any integrity. Dr. Gentry has followed my long-term strategy: stuff the critics’ mouths with footnotes.

He has expended considerable effort to accomplish the following goals: (1) to persuade the reader that his analysis is correct; (2) to provide supporting evidence for every statement; (3) to avoid exaggeration; (4) to present a positive case for what he believes; (5) to summarize accurately the arguments against his position; (6) to refute the major critics of postmillennialism; (7) to present the implications of his position; and (8) to state the implications of rival positions. This is why the book is long. I know of no book that presents the case for any view of eschatology that is equally painstaking. He covers every base.

Notice, too: his book has a positive aspect and a negative aspect. As with the gospel, this book has a two-fold goal: reconciliation and condemnation. There is no escape from these goals. When we share the gospel, we are bringing God’s covenant lawsuit, just as Jonah brought it before the people of Nineveh. This lawsuit offers blessings and cursings. Therefore, He Shall Have Dominion is designed to achieve the following results: (1) to give confidence and greater information to those who already believe its general position; (2) to persuade those who have not yet made up their minds; (3) to persuade those who are still open to new evidence; (4) to silence the critics.

An honest critic, if he goes into print against He Shall Have Dominion, should do the following: (1) show how Gentry has generally misinterpreted biblical eschatology, i.e., demonstrate a pattern of misinterpretation; (2) provide several examples of this pattern; (3) refer the reader to equally detailed and equally comprehensive studies. in eschatology that offer biblical solutions to the problems that Gentry raises; (4) show how Gentry either ignored this missing book or completely misrepresented it. While a short book review cannot match Gentry’s massive documentation, the reviewer had better be able to point the reader to a book or books of equal or greater exactness as He Shall Have Dominion. If he fails to do the third task – suggest an exegetically superior book – he is implicitly admitting that Gentry has offered the most exegetically impressive case that anyone has made so far. My belief is that no reviewer will publicly identify the definitive book on eschatology; this would involve too much commitment on his part. No reviewer today trusts any book on eschatology unless it is his own, but reviewers rarely have the chutzpah to say this in print. So, Gentry wins.

This leads me to a discussion of the state of eschatological writing in this, the final decade of the second millennium after the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, the perfect son of man. The year 2000 is fast approaching, yet the Church has not done its eschatological homework. To prove this statement, I need to go into a brief history of a long series of inconclusive debates over the earthly future of the Church. To explain why He Shall Have Dominion is so important, I need to show what has preceded it.

An Ancient Accusation

He Shall Have Dominion defends theonomic or covenantal postmillennialism. More than once, some critic of Christian Reconstruction in general and postmillennialism in particular has confronted me with this statement: “There has never been an exegetical case made for postmillennialism.” My answer always is the same: “What about Roderick Campbell’s?” The critic’s answer is always the same: “I’ve never heard of Roderick Campbell.”

Roderick Campbell, a Canadian layman and businessman, wrote Israel and the New Covenant in the early 1950’s. It was published in 1954 by Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company. These were the years before The Genesis Flood (1961) and Competent to Counsel (1970) provided P&R with a wider market and a lot more income. Campbell’s book did not receive a great deal of attention. Reformed (Calvinist) theological books written by businessmen rarely do – a lesson that I have personally learned, painfully and expensively.

Campbell’s book is a masterpiece: short chapters, tightly written, filled with Bible verses and clear exposition. It is a little over 350 pages long, so the average reader has no excuse for not finishing it. The book’s Preface was written by O. T. Allis, one of the greatest Old Testament scholars of all time, author of The Five Books of Moses (1943) and Prophecy and the Church (1945), a devastating exegetical critique of dispensationalism that has yet to be answered in equal or greater detail, almost half a century after its publication.[3] Contrary to a widely held opinion, Allis was a postmillennialist, not an amillennialist – a true heir of the theology of the old (pre-1929) Princeton Theological Seminary, including its eschatology. This is why he was so enthusiastic about Israel and the New Covenant. The book went out of print in the late 1960’s. It was reprinted jointly by P&R and Geneva Divinity School Press in 1981. It is again out of print. But this is not to say that it never was in print, which is why the critics are wrong when they assert that there has never been an exegetical case for postmillennialism.

They are wrong for many other reasons. There have been many presentations of various aspects of postmillennialism over the years. There is David Brown’s Christ’s Second Coming: Will It Be Premillennial?, published in 1842 and reprinted in 1990.[4] There is the postmillennial interpretation of Romans 11: the conversion of the Jews, which will launch a great era of God’s blessing on the Church. This interpretation has appeared repeatedly in Calvinist expositions, such as in the commentaries by Robert Haldane, Charles Hodge, and John Murray. There is the huge Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah by Princeton Seminary theologian J. A. Alexander, which is not well known because of its enormous bulk and detailed argumentation. There are the theological writings of Benjamin B. Warfield, another Princeton Seminary theologian, who carried on the Princeton eschatology until his death in 1921. There is Loraine Boettner’s book, The Millennium (1958), which presents a defense of the traditional Princeton eschatology, as well as a critique of amillennialism (brief) and premillennialism. There is]. Marcellus Kik’s An Eschatology of Victory (1971). There is R. J. Rushdoony’s Thy Kingdom Come (1970). Last, but hardly least, there is David Chilton: Paradise Restored (1985), The Days of Vengeance (1987), and The Great Tribulation (1987). (Some scholars would include Geerhardus Vos in this list.[5]) There also have been lesser-known defenders throughout the twentieth century. Gentry mentions some of them in Chapter 2.

One thing is sure: postmillennialism, contrary to Alva J. McClain’s 1956 assertion, has not disappeared.[6] What has disappeared are systematic, detailed defenses of dispensationalism written by theologians teaching at dispensational seminaries.[7]

An Incomplete Case for Every Previous Position

It is true that there has not been a recent, definitive, comprehensive, detailed exegetical presentation of the case for postmillennialism – a book about which large numbers of post-millennialists have said with confidence: “Yes, here is our book. Sink this, and you will have seriously damaged our position.” What needs to be pointed out is that the postmillennialists are in no worse shape in this regard than historic premillennialists, dispensational premillennialists, and amillennialists. The fact is, none of the four major Protestant eschatological positions has been defended exegetically by a large body of scholarly, comprehensive books. All eschatological positions in the twentieth century have rested on a comparative handful of books that at best sketch the broad exegetical case for their respective positions. None of these books has developed a comprehensive worldview based on its particular system. (I exempt here the Christian Reconstructionists, who have been self-conscious about the comprehensive nature of their system, which is why the Reconstructionists have made so many enemies in so many camps.)

I need to suggest something. What I am about to say should not be very controversial. It is this: biblical eschatology provides God’s people with a philosophy of history. Any objections? Any cries of “this is an outrageous exaggeration”? No? Fine. Let me add a corollary: any suggested eschatological system that does not offer a philosophy of history that is theologically consistent with the suggested system of interpretation is in an incomplete state. This has long been the situation facing every traditional view of eschatology: no public philosophy of history. Until now.

Three Key Questions

Let me ask you three questions. First, do you hope that your work on earth will leave a positive legacy to future generations, no matter how small the legacy is, even if no one in the future remembers who you were or what you did? Of course you do. Second, does God’s Word return to Him void? No. Third, as a covenant-keeper, can you legitimately expect that your good words and good deeds will have more impact in the future than your evil words and evil deeds? I am not speaking merely of building up treasures in heaven; I am speaking also of your legacy in history to earthly heirs. I am speaking of inheritance in the broadest sense. If you answer yes, I think you have the right attitude about yourself and your work in God’s kingdom. If you answer no, I think you are in need of professional Christian counseling. You are headed for a mental crisis. First, you have a problem with your lack of self-esteem (and covenant-keepers have a right to self-esteem as legally adopted sons of God: John 1:12). Second, you have a problem with your lack of confidence regarding God’s willingness to bless your work. You have neglected God’s promise: “Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Sam. 2:30).

The three questions I have asked here with respect to your legitimate expectations about the historical outcome of your personal efforts also need to be asked with respect to Christianity in general: the kingdom (civilization) of God. When we begin to seek Bible-based answers to these three questions regarding the kingdom of God in history, we have necessarily raised the issue of a biblical philosophy of history. Each of the major views of eschatology has a specific philosophy of history. This connection is not always discussed in public. In most cases, the implications of eschatology for a philosophy of history are implicit rather than explicit, since the defenders of the various positions tend not to discuss these implications. But there is no escape from those implications. There is no eschatological neutrality. This is one of the themes in He Shall Have Dominion.

Historic Premillennialism

Historic premillennialists are not dispensationalists. They do not believe in a coming secret “rapture” or the supposed seven-year absence of the Church from the earth after the return of Jesus to “rapture” the Church into heaven. They believe that Jesus will come back to the earth to rule for a thousand years before the final judgment. They believe that the Great Tribulation is still in the future: it will precede the return of Christ to set up His kingdom. They are therefore post-tribulationists.


There are not many historic premillennialists these days. Two centuries ago, there were far more people who held this position. In the late nineteenth century, the Baptist Calvinist Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a well-known historic premillennialist, although his language was often very optimistic with respect to the spread of the gospel, and he believed in the familiar postmillennial doctrine of the future conversion of the Jews. He did not have much use for millennial theories. “I am not now going into millennial theories, or into any speculation as to dates. I do not know anything about such things, and I am not sure that I am called to spend my time in such researches. I am rather called to minister the gospel than to open prophecy.”[8] In our day, the most famous American historic premillennialist has been the Calvinist Presbyterian author, Francis Schaeffer, although he rarely wrote about his Calvinism, his Presbyterianism, or his premillennialism. (It does present a problem for historic premillennialists when their most famous representatives prefer not to write about eschatology.)

Historic premillennialists can appeal to recent books by George Eldon Ladd. But I am aware of no book that discusses the premillennial view of the era of the Church prior to Christ’s return to earth to set up His kingdom, i.e., no book on the premillennial philosophy of history. The focus of all historic premillennial works is on the Second Coming: the great future discontinuity that supposedly will inaugurate the judicially visible phase of Christ’s kingdom in history, when Jesus will reign in person to rule on earth. Only then does the idea of Christian civilization become significant in historic premillennialism. Christendom is ignored until after the Second Coming.

Even with respect to this future era, there is never any detailed discussion of ethical cause and effect in history, i.e., a biblical philosophy of history. There is no detailed discussion of how Jesus Christ will rule on earth through His people. Will there still be politics? Will government be entirely bureaucratic? What laws will Jesus require governments to enforce? What penalties will be imposed? Will civil judges and juries still hand down sentences? How will appeals be conducted? Will the line of justice-seekers in front of Jesus’ headquarters be a thousand times longer than the line in front of Moses’ tent (Exo. 18:13)? We are not told – not by historic premillennialists or dispensational premillennialists.


The question facing historic premillennialism also faces dispensational premillennialism: What is the premillennial philosophy of history? What is the relationship between the faithful preaching of the gospel and the extension of Christ’s kingdom in history? What are the cultural effects of this extension of Christ’s kingdom in history, and why? This is another way of asking: What is the relationship between ethics and authority in history? Is there a predictable cause-and-effect relationship, long term, between personal righteousness and success, and personal unrighteousness and failure? What about corporate righteousness? What about corporate unrighteousness?

In the spring of 1956, Alva J. McClain, the president of Grace Theological Seminary, wrote an essay for Bibliotheca Sacra, the journal published by Dallas Theological Seminary. Both schools were (and are) dispensational. The essay was titled, “The Premillennial Philosophy of History.” It was only five and a half pages long. Most of it was devoted to criticizing other views. When he had finished with them, he had only half a page remaining to present the premillennial view. He did not say what it is. All he said was this: “The Premillennial philosophy of history makes sense. It lays a Biblical and rational basis for a truly optimistic view of human history.” But he never explained what he meant by “history.” Since dispensationalism teaches that the Church will not succeed in converting large numbers of people to Christ in the “Church Age,” and that it will suffer increasing persecution until the rapture, McClain must have been defining history as the post-rapture millennial dispensation. But this totally new era will begin only after the rapture and after the seven-year Great Tribulation, meaning after every trace of the gospel’s effects in history will be blotted out. So, what legitimate optimism does dispensationalism offer to a Christian regarding the long-term historic effects of his life’s work? McClain did not say, but the answer is obvious: none.

Dispensationalists can appeal to modern books on eschatology and the millennial kingdom written by McClain and John Walvoord, but the major presentation of their eschatological position is found in Things to Come (1958) by Dallas Seminary professor J. Dwight Pentecost. Unknown to most readers, he has significantly revised the book in a key area, and in doing so, he has abandoned the traditional dispensational case for the inevitable defeat of the Church in what the dispensationalists call the “Church Age.” In the original edition, he argued for the eventual triumph of unbelief in this, the “Church Age.” He wrote that Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32) points to the expansion of an evil tree in history, “a monstrosity…. The parable teaches that the enlarged sphere of profession has become inwardly corrupt. This is the characteristic of the age” (p. 147). In his exposition of the parable of the leaven, he argued: “This evidently refers to the work of a false religious system…. This figure is used in Scripture to portray that which is evil in character…” (p. 148). Summarizing, he wrote: “The mustard seed refers to the perversion of God’s purpose in this age, while the leaven refers to a corruption of the divine agency, the Word, through which this purpose is realized” (p. 148). Pentecost’s focus here was ethics: the progressive triumph of evil through time, during the “Church Age.” This could at least serve as the foundation of a dispensational philosophy of history: the defeat of the saints. His book did not provide a developed philosophy of history; it provided only a starting point.

Three decades later, he abandoned even this, but very few of his followers are aware of the fact. The 1987 reprint is not a reprint but a strategically revised edition. It is nowhere identified as such. Dr. Pentecost had the typesetter carefully superimpose a crucial revised section. The switch is almost undetectable, yet it is a devastating admission for dispensationalism. Here is his revised exposition of Christ’s kingdom during the “Church Age.” Mustard Seed: “This part of the parable stresses the great growth of the kingdom when once it is introduced. The kingdom will grow from an insignificant beginning to great proportions” (p. 147). There is not a word about its ethical corruption. Leaven: “When leaven is used in Scripture it frequently connotes evil…. Its use in the sacrifices that represent the perfection of the person of Christ (Lev. 2:1-3) shows that it is not always so used. Here the emphasis is not on leaven as though to emphasize its character, but rather that the leaven has been hidden in the meal, thus stressing the way leaven works when once introduced into the meal” (p. 148). In short, there is now no focus on ethics: not one word about any evil effects of either the mustard seed or the leaven. Today his focus is on the growth of the kingdom of Christ in history – the postmillennial focus: “The parable of the mustard and the leaven in meal, then, stress the growth of the new form of the kingdom” (p. 148).

If Christ’s kingdom is not being corrupted in our dispensation, then it is either ethically neutral (the kingdom of Christ as ethically neutral?!?) or positive. Pentecost’s theological problem is obvious: there can be no ethical neutrality. If the necessarily expanding kingdom of Christ is not being steadily undermined by theological and moral perversion, then it must be growing in righteousness. This interpretation is the postmillennial view of the kingdom of God: expansion over time. Matthew 13 is not discussing Satan’s kingdom; it is discussing Christ’s. Dr. Pentecost has very quietly overthrown the heart and soul of the traditional dispensational system’s account of the inevitable progress of evil in this, the “Church Age.”[9] Yet no one inside the dispensational camp has been willing to discuss in public the implications of this radical alteration by Pentecost, or explain exactly why it has not, if correct, overthrown the dispensational system. The dispensational system is in transition.[10]


Amillennialism is the most widely held interpretation of prophecy, primarily because Roman Catholics generally hold it, although they rarely discuss eschatology. Lutherans also hold it. Episcopalians, like Roman Catholics, have rarely emphasized eschatology, so amillennialism has won by default. European Calvinists (today, this means mainly Dutch Calvinists) have held it for the last two centuries. They have been the major expositors of the amillennial system in the twentieth century.

The amillennialist believes that the next major eschatological event will be the Second Advent of Jesus Christ at the final judgment. The unified series of events which is called the rapture by dispensationalists is identified by the amillennialist as immediately preceding the final judgment. Like the premillennialist and the postmillennialist, he believes in the coming of Christ in the clouds, to whom the living and dead in Christ will be raised. Like the postmillennialist but unlike the premillennialist, he does not believe that this unified event will take place a thousand years before the final judgment. It will take place on the day of final judgment. That is to say, he denies that there will be any eschatological discontinuity between today and just before the Second Advent (final judgment). There will be historical continuity for the gospel. Unlike the postmillennialist but like the premillennialist, he insists that this is a continuity of cultural decline and defeat for Christianity until Jesus comes again.

Amillennialist authors have written short books that mix personal eschatology (death, resurrection, and final judgment) with cosmic eschatology (New Testament prophecy, the Church, the Second Advent, final judgment, and the world beyond). What is conspicuously absent in all of them is a detailed amillennial exposition of the New Testament era from the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to the Second Advent. Anthony Hoekema’s The Bible and the Future (1979) attempts this, but not in any systematic or comprehensive exegetical fashion, and it is virtually alone in attempting even this much. This is not to say that amillennialists do not have a philosophy of history. They do, but it is rarely discussed and never developed in detail or used to develop a distinctly amillennial social theory.

Let me offer an example of the amillennial approach to questions of the outcome of the gospel in history. There is a book by an amillennialist titled, A New Heaven and a New Earth.[11] The title is taken from a biblical eschatological phrase. This phrase appears twice in the New Testament (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1) and twice in the Old Testament (Isa. 65:17; 66:22). The passage in Isaiah 65 prophesies of a coming era on earth and before the final judgment (since sinners will still be active) in which there will be great external blessings, including very long life spans. Here is the complete passage:

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. (Isa. 65:17-23, emphasis added)

A postmillennialist can interpret this passage literally: a coming era of extensive millennial blessings before Jesus returns in final judgment. So can a premillennialist: the era after Jesus returns to earth but before final judgment. But the amillennialist cannot admit the possibility of such an era of literal, culture-wide blessings in history. His eschatology denies any literal, culture-wide triumph of Christianity in history. Therefore, he has to “spiritualize” or allegorize this passage.

So, how did the author handle this passage? He didn’t. He simply ignored it. “It isn’t in my Bible,” he seems to be saying. In a 233-page book on the new heavens and the new earth, there is no discussion of Isaiah 65:17-23. The Scripture index refers the reader to pages 139 and 157. On page 139 there is a reference to Isaiah 65:17-25, but not one word of commentary. On page 157, there is neither a reference nor a comment. The book is filled with thousands of Bible references, but nowhere does the author comment on the one passage, more than any other passage in the Bible, that categorically refutes amillennialism. Yet this book is regarded by amillennial theologians as a scholarly presentation of their position. There are very few other books that present a detailed exegetical case for amillennialism.

Most amillennial discussions of ethical cause and effect in history are limited to the unpleasant conclusion that evil men will get ever-more powerful culturally, while the righteous will become progressively weaker culturally.[12] In other words, the progressive sanctification of God’s people will lead to their progressive enslavement and isolation from culture. This means that the amillennial view of history rests on a view of ethical cause and effect in which right makes weakness and unrighteousness makes might. This conclusion is so unpleasant – and so despairing – that amillennialists prefer not to discuss it, which leaves them without a publicly articulated philosophy of history. About the only exception to this view is Meredith G. Kline’s 1978 essay, in which he argued that God’s sanctions in history are ethically random from the human point of view.[13] But since we live in an era in which the Church is on the defensive, there can be no legitimate hope on Kline’s basis of a comprehensive victory. He has been quite willing to admit this.

Historic Postmillennialism

In many respects, earlier defenses of postmillennialism also failed to present a case for ethical cause and effect in history. The future era of blessing was seen as the result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which it surely will be, but not the product also of ethical transformation. God’s law and God’s covenantal sanctions – blessing and cursing – were rarely discussed. This was especially true of the postmillennialism preached by Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth century. Except in the writings of seventeenth-century Puritans prior to 1660, postmillennialism has long been stripped of any necessary connection between God’s Bible-revealed law and God’s corporate sanctions in history. This view of God’s predictable sanctions in history is an extension of the “no New Covenant back-up” argument regarding covenant lawsuits. This form of postmillennialism is inherently antinomian: denying the willingness of God to defend His covenant law through the imposition of historical sanctions. Consistent men ask: “If God will not apply sanctions, then how can Christians dare to apply them?” But if God’s judicial sanctions are not applied, then Satan’s judicial sanctions will be. There is no judicial neutrality in history.

By refusing to acknowledge either God’s revealed law or God’s predictable corporate sanctions in history, defenders of postmillennialism have generally abandoned a philosophy of history. They have proclaimed a pietistic postmillennialism rather than covenantal postmillennialism.[14] They have proclaimed Christianity’s victory in history, but without specifying the legal foundations of the kingdom (civilization) of God.

The Key Issue: Ethics With Historical Sanctions

Ethics cannot successfully be divorced from eschatology, but neither can the question of God’s sanctions in history. The unified question of ethics and corporate sanctions cannot be evaded. The eschatological issue is this: Do Christians have legitimate

hope for the positive historical effects of their efforts, both personal and corporate, in history? Do their sacrifices really make a difference in history? Of course they make a difference in eternity; this is not the question. Do Christians’ individual and corporate efforts make a positive difference in history?

If all that Christians can accomplish in history is to present God’s covenant lawsuits against individuals, allowing the Holy Spirit to pull a few people out of the eternal fire, then why should they go to college, except to serve as witnesses to college students? Why should they become lawyers, except to witness to lawyers? Is everything we do or build doomed to destruction, either in some future great tribulation or in the final rebellion of Satan’s forces at the end of time? Does everything we leave behind get swallowed up by Satan’s historically successful kingdom (civilization)? Should every dollar that Christians spend today on education above the twelfth grade be sent instead to missionaries? Are our struggling little Christian colleges nothing more than very expensive dating and marriage broker services? (I would have said “universities,” but evangelicals and fundamentalists do not have one: an accredited institution that grants earned Ph.D.s in the liberal arts and sciences.) Are Christians supposed to live in a cultural ghetto forever, either premillennial or amillennial, praying for the Second Advent as their only means of escape from historic impotence?[15]

The Missing Link: A Biblical Philosophy of History

What has been absent in every eschatological camp is a self-conscious presentation of an explicitly biblical philosophy of history. There has been no such presentation based on a comprehensive exegesis of the Bible – specifically, a philosophy of history derived from the biblical doctrine of the last things. In the field of systematic theology, eschatology is obviously the section in which such a discussion should be presented. Yet we find no such discussion. This is, to put it mildly, a bit peculiar. This glaring hole in “applied eschatology” is not something that seminary-based theologians have often discussed in public.

Furthermore, a biblical philosophy of history is a necessity for any eschatology that is designed for those still living in this world. The absence of a detailed presentation of a biblical philosophy of history does not keep Christians from having one. They inevitably adopt one. They just do not adopt one that has been systematically developed anywhere. For example, they have strong opinions about such matters as the legitimacy and wisdom of social action in the name of Christ. They have strong opinions on what the Church can expect in the future. And the more pessimistic these expectations, the more ready those who hold them are to imagine that the Church has very little time remaining. Facing (they believe) the threat of persecution in the future, and facing also (they believe) the inevitable (predestined) historical irrelevance of their efforts to turn back the satanic tide, Christians who hold to either premillennialism or amillennialism place their hope in a future, discontinuous, supernatural escape from the cares of this world, meaning an escape from personal and institutional responsibility in this world. I do not mean that they place their hope in death; I mean they place hope in “getting out of life alive”: the dispensational rapture or the amillennial Second Advent. “It’s just around the corner!”

The eschatological concern of evangelical, Protestant Christianity in the twentieth century has not been on ethics and Christians’ responsibility – ethical cause and effect in history – but rather on the transcending of Christians’ responsibility through a future divine intervention into history, either to set up Jesus’ One World State bureaucracy (premillennialism) or to remove sinners from history by ending history (amillennialism). The eschatological focus has been on our legitimate (because eschatologically inevitable) escape from corporate responsibility as Christians. The psychological motivation has been the quest for theological justification for the Christians’ escape from any obligation to work to extend the kingdom (civilization) of God in history: bystander Christianity. Eschatology has been employed to justify retroactively the fact that the Protestant Church since

1660[16] has not accomplished much in the way of presenting an explicitly biblical alternative to the competing worldviews of the many forms of covenant-breaking. There is a reason for this lack of an alternative: a missing link. This missing link is a theory of cause and effect in history.

Ethical Cause and Effect: Historical Sanctions

The missing eschatological link has been a theory of New Covenant history that is forthrightly based on ethical cause and effect. The Old Covenant saints had such an ethics-based theory of history, which is outlined in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28: blessings in history for those who obey God’s Bible-revealed law, and cursings in history for those who disobey God’s Bible-revealed law.[17] Today, the premillennialists and the amillennialists agree: such a system of ethical cause and effect no longer operates in New Covenant history. Thus, biblically speaking, ethical cause and effect either leads nowhere in particular (God’s random sanctions in history) or, more widely believed, it leads to the cultural defeat of Christianity in history until Jesus comes again in person to judge His enemies.

This is an odd view of history, theologically speaking. We know that God backed up His prophets in the Old Covenant era. When they brought a covenant lawsuit, God would prosecute it. But, we are assured, this is no longer the case in the New Covenant. The Church can no longer successfully invoke such divine power in history. Question: If Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God has left His Church even more powerless than the Church was in Mosaic Israel, then what have been the culturally significant effects (if any) of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God? Both the amillennialists and the premillennialists avoid answering this question at all costs, for they keep coming up with this highly embarrassing answer: almost no effects whatsoever. This is just too embarrassing to admit in public. They must be pushed, and pushed hard, to get them to admit it. (I do the pushing.)

The postmillennialist insists that Jesus’ ascension to the throne of God is the transcendent mark of His absolute sovereignty over history. The postmillennialist argues that Jesus will not leave this throne to return to earth until all His enemies are subdued (1 Cor. 15:24-28).[18] But supernatural postmillennialism has not been taken seriously in the twentieth century. Today, theonomic postmillennialism raises two very divisive issues: (1) personal and corporate responsibility; (2) legitimate avoidance thereof. To take this eschatology seriously raises questions regarding the Church’s responsibility for the transformation of culture. This raises even more questions regarding the level of personal responsibility in the lives of Christians. Christians today fear what the answers might be. So, they prefer to avoid considering the biblical case for theonomic postmillennialism.

The standard response to covenantal (theonomic) postmillennialism is to argue that the world cannot improve ethically until Jesus comes again to rule with a rod of iron. But why should this be the case? How strong is Satan’s rod in New Covenant history? I know of no premillennialist who argues that Satan must sit on an earthly throne in order for his kingdom to be manifested in history. They all understand that Satan’s kingdom is manifested representatively through his human disciples. Yet they all insist that for Christ’s kingdom to be “truly” manifested in history, Jesus Christ must return bodily from heaven to sit on an earthly throne, probably in Jerusalem. Question: Why does the Son of God need to be bodily present in order to enable His human servants to rule effectively in history, when the human servants of the devil, who was defeated definitively at Calvary, have no problem whatsoever in ruling over Christ’s representatives in history? To put it starkly, why has the sending of the Holy Spirit left Christianity culturally impotent in history?

The amillennialists and premillennialists refuse to respond to this question. One can hardly blame them. It is so much easier to sit quietly and pray silently that the postmillennialists who keep asking it will either go away soon or else Jesus will come again, thereby shutting the mouths of the postmillennialists. But neither event takes place: the postmillennialists keep asking the question, and Jesus remains on His heavenly throne.

The amillennialists and the premillennialists agree: Christians can leave nothing of significance behind that will survive the horrors of the satanic oppression that inevitably lies ahead. Only the institutional Church will survive, and a besieged and shrinking institution it will be until Jesus comes again.

Gentry says that they are wrong. Gentry says that the Bible says they are wrong.[19] It is now incumbent on premillennial and amillennial theologians to refute Gentry: point by point, verse by verse. Silence is no longer golden.

The Link Is No Longer Missing

Dr. Gentry has already defended exegetically the comprehensive implications and applications of Jesus’ Great Commission.[20] In doing so, he has offered the culturally retreatist and defeatist theology of pietism its most detailed exegetical challenge in the twentieth century. He has also documented in exhaustive detail the dating of the Book of Revelation: before A.D. 70.[21] This has removed the most significant criticism of the preterist (past tense, i.e., historically completed) interpretation of the Book of Revelation. The preterists argue that all the prophecies regarding the Great Tribulation were fulfilled with the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.[22] The preterist interpretation was easily criticized by those who argued that the Book of Revelation was written in A.D. 96. This counter-argument can no longer be easily sustained. Gentry demolished it in Before Jerusalem Fell. So far, there has been no detailed published refutation.

Now Gentry comes with an explicitly theonomic case for postmillennialism. No longer is the question of ethical cause and effect stripped out of postmillennialism. God’s Bible-revealed laws and their appropriate sanctions in history lie at the very heart of his discussion of postmillennialism. The reader needs to understand that this book is the first detailed, exegetical presentation of covenantal (theonomic) postmillennialism. It is not just that Gentry argues for the continuing authority of God’s law – what might be called barebones theonomy. It is not just that he argues for postmillennialism – what might be called barebones postmillennialism. What is significant about He Shall Have Dominion is that it links together these two positions by means of a covenantal doctrine of God’s predictable historical sanctions in history.[23] Gentry defends the continuation of God’s sanctions in history as a theologically necessary component of postmillennialism’s doctrine of the comprehensive triumph of the kingdom of God in history. Without this link, there can be no ethics-based Christian philosophy of history. Paraphrasing the philosopher Immanuel Kant, “Theonomy without post-millennialism is impotent; postmillennialism without theonomy is blind.” Theonomic postmillennialism is a unified system.

This is why He Shall Have Dominion is so important. From this point forward, this book will represent the position known as theonomic postmillennialism. All future expositions in the name of this position will have to build self-consciously on He Shall Have Dominion. As the old advertisement used to put it, “Accept no substitutes!”

Gentry got to the finish line first. To the victor belong the spoils. This will not win him cheers from the also-rans.

The Task of the Critics

Consider the wealth of documentation in this book. It will not be sufficient for a critic to conclude in some two-page review that “Gentry’s book just does not prove his case.” If anyone tries this stunt, the careful reader should ask: “Then what theologian has produced an equally comprehensive book that defends a rival position?” At this stage of history – approaching the year 2000 – to refute Gentry’s book will require a comprehensive positive case presenting a rival eschatology with equal or greater diligence. The critics should not expect to be able to refute something this comprehensive with anything less comprehensive and detailed. I must remind the critics of an old political slogan: “You can’t beat something with nothing.”

First, let me remind the reader of the disastrous attempts so far by a few theologians to refute both theonomy and postmillennialism. Westminster Seminary’s attack, Theonomy: A Reformed Critique (1990), called forth my book, Westminster’s Confession (1991), Bahnsen’s No Other Standard (1991), and the collection of essays, Theonomy: An Informed Response (1991). In it, Gentry refuted amillennialist Richard Gaffin’s feeble essay, point by point. Gentry had already refuted in great detail the embarrassingly weak criticisms of postmillennialism that were set forth by Rev. Thomas D. Ice in Ice’s section of the co-authored and ill-fated book, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse?[24] There was nothing left of substance in Ice’s critique after Gentry finished his polite, scholarly dissection.[25]

Second, and more important, premillennial and amillennial critics will not be able to appeal successfully to some well-developed body of theological opinion in order to buttress their rejection of Gentry’s thesis. There is no such body of published opinion. The footnotes are not there. Each respective school of eschatological opinion has been flying exegetically by the seat of its pants for over a century. (Dispensationalism appeared only around 1830.) There has been no integrated, exegetical presentation by any school of eschatological opinion that (1) offers a detailed, Bible-based defense of its position and (2) applies this eschatological viewpoint to the relationships among the Church, Christian culture, anti-Christian rivals, and the future effects of the gospel prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Such a book does not exist in any of the rival camps. In short, there is not a single eschatological treatise in any of the rival competing camps – let alone dozens of treatises – which answers Francis Schaeffer’s ethical question: “How Shall We Then Live?” (He did not answer it, either.)

This is why He Shall Have Dominion is unique. It brings together three themes: biblical ethics, God’s historical sanctions, and the future of Christianity. It provides what no previous book on eschatology has provided, namely, a theologically integrated system of eschatology: ethics, sanctions, and prophecy.


From this time forward, as surely as critics of postmillennialism will have to respond in detail to Chilton’s Days of Vengeance, so will they also have to respond to Gentry’s He Shall Have Dominion. In my Publisher’s Preface to Chilton’s book, I predicted that critics would not be able to handle Chilton theologically or stylistically. Since that time, I have yet to see a published exception to my prediction. That book’s one weakness – Chilton’s failure to defend in detail the pre-A.D. 70 authorship of the Book of Revelation – was solved by Gentry’s Before Jerusalem Fell. I now offer a similar prediction about this book. The critics will not be able to handle Gentry theologically. This book may not silence them, but it will reduce them to murmuring in private conversations. In public, they will have to play the familiar academic game of “Gentry? Who’s Gentry?”

A few theologians may take up my challenge, although I doubt it. If they are to look their students in the eye and tell them, “Chilton’s Paradise Restored, Chilton’s Days of Vengeance, Gentry’s Before Jerusalem Fell, and Gentry’s He Shall Have Dominion are without theological merit,” they must first prove their case in print, where Gentry can respond. Murmuring in private conversations is not an academic argument. Neither are authoritative proclamations by seminary professors to captive students behind closed doors. Neither is the tried and true refrain, “I shall not dignify such shoddy and amateurish scholarship with a reply.” Theonomy is now too well established for that response to work. Theonomists have too many books on the table.

Critics, it is time to reply. Silence in the face of this book and the others is no longer a wise strategy. The word is getting out. The brighter seminary students are figuring out what is going on. Representatives of the various schools of eschatological opinion had better start producing their own comprehensive books on these topics. It is too late for critics to expect to bottle up theonomic postmillennialism by ignoring it or murmuring about it in private. If the critics cannot answer these books in print, then the theonomists will win the debate by default.

I have in mind primarily amillennialist critics, and more to the point, Calvinists. Historic premillennialism barely exists today, and its public defenders are few. Meanwhile, dispensational premillennialism is in a never-ending transition. Its public defenders are mostly writers of paperback books on Bible prophecy. Few of them are trained theologians. They are more often accountants, lawyers, or cable television evangelists. Those few defenders of dispensationalism who are academic theologians are either at the end of their careers (e.g., Walvoord, Pentecost, Ryrie) and are no longer willing or able to interact with academic critics, or else they are younger seminary professors who are involved in an on-campus, semi-private, seemingly never-ending revision of the original dispensational system. They never present anything like an integrated, completed version of their “new, improved” dispensationalism. They never demonstrate how the traditional dispensational system can be revised without collapsing. They keep tinkering with the unraveling system. They never present a finished product.

Younger dispensational seminary professors are well aware that traditional Scofield-Chafer-Ryrie dispensationalism has become defenseless. They just want to keep their jobs. Arminian dispensationalist professors do not need to respond to Calvinistic Christian Reconstructionists in order to keep their jobs, so they keep silent. Thus, my challenge is directed primarily to Calvinistic amillennialists. Calvinist seminary professors have a problem: their brighter students read. We theonomists keep picking off these bright students, since we write, and not only write: we speak to the burning social issues of our day. Nobody expects dispensational professors to speak with authority to the issues of the day; their system declares the futility of doing so. Calvinist theologians are expected to.[26] But amillennialism offers no blueprints, no solutions, and no earthly hope. Theonomy does.

One thing is certain: the next time some critic says to me, “There has never been an exegetical case made for postmillennialism,” I shall not reply, “What about Roderick Campbell’s?” I shall instead try to sell him a copy of He Shall Have Dominion.

[1] Ray R. Sutton, That You May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant (2nd ed.; Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), ch. 4. Sutton is president of the Philadelphia Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church.

[2] Here is an example of this systematic, deliberate misinformation. Three students at Dallas Theological Seminary came to Tyler to videotape me and Ray Sutton in 1985. The very first question that the interviewer asked was this: “Why do you say that Israel is identical to the Church?” We replied (approximately): “We don’t. We believe that Israel will be brought to Christ prior to the millennium. This has been taught by Robert Haldane, Charles Hodge, and John Murray. It is the view of Scottish Presbyterianism. The Westminster Larger Catechism instructs us to pray for the Jews: Answer 191.” The interviewer was so stunned that he had his partner shut off the video camera. (I kept my audio cassette recorder running.) He then told us that they had all been taught in class that Christian Reconstructionists believe that Israel is identical to the Church. I had argued against this view in my 1981 book, Unconditional Surrender: God’s Program for Victory (Tyler, TX: Geneva, 1981), p. 199. They had never been told of the traditional Scottish postmillennial interpretation of Romans 11. This is unconscionable. It is also typical. It is this lack of both integrity and scholarship that is toppling dispensational seminaries one by one.

[3] Charles C. Ryrie’s short book, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), attempted a generation ago to refute Allis’ case for continuity in New Testament history – that is, no dispensational “secret” rapture in the midst of history, no premillennial Second Advent of Christ prior to the final judgment – by citing ultra-dispensationalism’s arguments for discontinuity in history. Then he used Allis-type arguments for prophetic continuity in order to refute uitradispensationalism’s arguments that the Church did not begin in Acts 2 or Acts 4, but later, after Paul was called to minister to the Gentiles. For a more detailed consideration of the issues raised by Ryrie, see my comments in Publisher’s Foreword, Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. xxiv-xxv.

[4] Edmonton, Alberta; Canada: Still Water Revival Books (1882 edition).

[5] Vos wrote in some passages as though he held to postmillennialism, most notably in his comments on Romans 11: the conversion of the Jews. He specifies that the conversion of the Jews must take place before the Second Advent, and that this conversion will inaugurate “seasons of refreshing.” Vos, “Eschatology of the New Testament,” International Standard Biblical Encyclopedia, 5 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1929] 1943), II, p. 983. He is usually regarded as amillennial.

[6] Alva J. McClain, “Premillennialism as a Philosophy of History,” Bibliotheca Sacra, CXIII (1956), p. 113.

[7] The last full-scale defense of the dispensational system was Charles Ryrie’s 200-page Dispensationalism Today (1965), which is still being sold without revisions in 1992. Ryrie was dismissed by Dallas Seminary a decade ago. The question is: What are the details of the “new, improved” dispensationalism? As Gentry’s monthly newsletter says, dispensationalism is in transition.

[8] Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews” (June 16, 1864), Sermon No. 582, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 10 (1864) p. 429.

[9] Gary DeMar spotted this shift in early 1992. He looked up Pentecost’s section. on leaven in the 1987 edition. He found that it was not what Gentry had quoted. He called Gentry, who looked it up in the 1958 edition. The two versions differed.

[10] Dr. Gentry writes a monthly newsletter, Dispensationalism in Transition, published by the Institute for Christian Economics: P. O. Box 8000, Tyler, TX 75711.

[11] Archibald Hughes, A New Heaven and a New Earth (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1958).

[12] This was Cornelius Van Til’s view, presented in his book, Common Grace (1947). It has been reprinted by Presbyterian & Reformed in a larger book, Common Grace and the Gospel (1972).

[13] Meredith G. Kline, “Comments on an Old-New Error,” Westminster Theological Journal, XLI (Fall 1978), p. 184.

[14] Ray R. Sutton, “Covenantal Postmillennialism,” Covenant Renewal (Feb. 1989); Sutton, “A Letter from Loraine; or a Covenantal View of the Millennium” Covenant Renewal (May 1989). Copies of these two newsletters are available on request from the Institute for Christian Economics, P. O. Box 8000, Tyler, TX 75711.

[15] See my essay, “Ghetto Eschatologies,” Biblical Economics Today, XIV (April/May 1992), published by the Institute for Christian Economics.

[16] he restoration of Charles II to the throne of England and the rejection of the Puritans’ holy commonwealth ideal.

[17] Gary North, Boundaries and Dominion: The Political Economy of Leviticus (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, forthcoming), ch. 32: “Ethical Cause, Economic Effects.”

[18] Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), pp. 280-282.

[19] Gentry is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which left the Presbyterian Church of the U.S. (Southern Presbyterians) in the early 1970’s when the PCUS became far more liberal theologically. Gentry is an heir of the postmillennial tradition of Southern Presbyterian theologians James Thornwell and Robert Dabney. Both of these theologians prior to 1861 had been members of the Presbyterian Church in the U.SA. (Northern Presbyterians), sometimes known as the Old School Presbyterians, whose chief theologians taught at Princeton Seminary: Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, J. A. Alexander, and B. B. Warfield. They were also postmillennial. On the postmillennialism of nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterianism, see James B. Jordan. “A Survey of Southern Presbyterian Millennial Views Before 1930, “Journal of Christian Reconstruction, III (Winter 1976-77).

[20] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Greatness of the Great Commission: The Christian Enterprise in a Fallen World (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990).

[21] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989).

[22] David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987); Chilton, The Great Tribulation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987).

[23] Chapters 6 and 10.

[24] H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988). House left Dallas Seminary the next year to join the faculty of an obscure Baptist college in Oregon. In 1992, he departed from that school because of a dispute. I think House should write another book, Dispensational Professorships: Blessing or Curse?

[25] Bahnsen and Gentry, House Divided, Part II.

[26] Gary DeMar, “Calvinism and Theonomy,” Part I of Theonomy: An Informed Response, edited by Gary North (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991).