The Pessimillennial “Joy to the World”

Here

https://albertmohler.com/2017/12/08/far-curse-found/

Dr. Albert Mohler wrote a piece on eschatology surrounding the Christmas Carol, “Joy to the World.” Albert Moehler’s claim in the piece linked above is that “Joy to the World” doesn’t refer to the glorious Incarnation / Resurrection / Ascension of our Lord, but only to the anticipated Second Coming.

A Musician friend of mine (Benjamin Bourlier) was so discouraged by Dr. Mohler’s gloomy piece he wrote a new version to “Joy to the World” that aptly corresponded with Dr. Mohler’s theology as found in the piece linked above.

Sung to the tune of “Joy to the World”

Dedicated to Dr. Albert Mohler and all premillennialists and amillennialist everywhere.

Joy to the world!
But wait, not yet.
The Savior’s yet to come!
Well, sure, He came that once,
And died upon the cross…
But that was just to say,
His Kingdom’s not in this world,
His Kingdom does not pertain To this world.

Ruinous decay
And violence spread,
Pagan hegemony.
Christians elsewhere are raped
And tortured for their faith.
What matters that to me?
What matters that to me?
For I am so very spiritual, you see.

“Love” means indifference
To this life,
Detachment from all things.
How does this differ from
Buddhism, you might say?
La la not listening.
La la not listening.
Can’t hear you, too spiritual, Not listening.

Lord Buddha come,
Enlighten us!
Free us from suffering!
Extinguish thought and pain
In mindless entropy.
O parinirvana, O parinirvana,
Shantih, nirvana Awaiteth we!

Here is an article, contra Dr. Mohler’s article, that seeks to be as optimistic as  “Joy to the World,” is itself.

Christmas Advent 2010 #1 — Joy To The World

Twin Spin From A. A. Hodge & B. L. McAtee

“Millenarian missionaries have a style of their own. Their theory affects their word in the way of making them seek exclusively, or chiefly, to conversion of individual souls. The true and efficient missionary method is, to aim directly, indeed, at soul winning, but at the same time to plant Christian institutions in heathen lands, which will, in time, develop according to the genius of the nationalities. English missionaries can never hope to convert the world directly by units.”

A. A. Hodge
19th Century American Reformed Theologian
Missionary to India

1.) Note that Hodge is faulting here, by way of implication, R2K “theology.” R2K would discipline Hodge for daring to plant “Christian Institutions,” since Institutions by definition can not be Christian per R2K.

2.) One can’t help but wonder, following A. A. Hodge’s logic whether or not all missionary efforts geared to exclusively or chiefly the converting of individual souls is, by definition, “millenarian.” A. A. Hodge’s Postmillennialism did not allow him to either accept premillennial or amillennial efforts at Missions to be considered normative.

These two observations above set the table for seeing that R2K is really nothing but a stalking horse attempting to institutionalize amillennial thinking as being equated to the Reformed position. R2K is seeking to broom postmillennialism off the Reformed ecclesiastical scene. A. A. Hodge would have had nothing to do with R2K.

3.) Hodge’s desire to plant Christian Institutions as combined with his criticism of a Missionary effort that focuses on individuals only indicates that Hodge understood that the task of the Christian church is to disciple the Nations. Modern theology, whether R2K or Reformed, in general, has become Baptistified. It is Baptist thinking that accounts for thinking only of building the church by means of individuals while missing the covenant implications of Biblical Christianity. The paedo Reformed Church you’re attending is most likely just a wet baby Baptist church. The Reformed Chruch, as R2K indicates has forgotten how to think covenantally.

4.) Hodge’s quote indicates that he understood the whole idea of the one and the many. Hodge understands the importance of the many by rightly noting that individual souls must be evangelized. However, Hodge also understands the importance of the One by insisting that the Nation as a whole must be converted and discipled via the planting of Christian Institutions among nations.

5.) Note Hodge says that the method of Missions that seeks to only evangelize individuals is doomed to failure. As most missions agencies apply just this very method it calls into question supporting those mission agencies. Is the Lord Christ honored by a missionary effort that eschews His command to convert and disciple whole Nations?

6.) Pay attention to Hodge’s respect for nations. Obviously, Hodge has no vision for a multicultural global Christian world that is absent of the distinct genius of distinct nations. This whole idea that God desires a Christian New World Order where nations are eclipsed is utter nonsense.

7.) Hodge understood that non-postmillennial eschatology does missions in a way that does not expect to convert the world. That this is true for premillennialist is seen in the fact that they do not believe that the Kingdom of Christ will come until Christ returns. Therefore nations will not be converted and so Christian Institutions are nonsense. That this is true for amillennialists (especially R2k which is merely consistent amillennialism) is seen in the fact that they believe the Kingdom of Christ is spiritual and exactly equivalent to the Church.  As such Nations, Institutions, Cultures, Families, Education, Law, etc. cannot be converted and so cannot be Christian. Hodge would have found such thinking execrable.

9.) Hodge understood that while Christian Institutions can’t convert, what Christian Institutions can do is, by God’s grace and providence, provide a contextual background against which their individual Christianity and confession can make sense.  For example, when individual converts have a law order that applies Christianity to the social order a contextual background is provided wherein their Christianity is supported. For example, when individual converts have an Education order that educates in the context of presupposing the God of the Bible then a contextual background is provided wherein their Christianity more easily makes sense.

10.) When Hodge says, “A style of their own,” he is indicating that Millenarian “thinking” creates a different kind of Christian. “A style of their own” can only arise out of a “thinking of their own,” and a “thinking of their own,” indicates a different kind of Christian. Anybody familiar with the premill vs. postmill or the amill vs. postmill debate realizes that the people holding these respective positions lean into life quite differently. Indeed, I would say that this observation is so true that differences on eschatologies make for different kinds of Christians as much as differences on soteriologies. Just as Arminians and Calvinists are different in their character and personality because of what they believe so the same is true with people who hold varying eschatologies. They are indeed each a people of their own.

8.) So we learn from this one quote, per Hodge,

a.) That premillennial missions is not Biblical
b.) That R2K “theology” is not Biblical
c.) That disrespect for nations as nations is not Biblical
d.) That Institutions can be Christian just as they can be Heathen
e.) That nations as nations are to be discipled
f.) Converting the world is our goal
g.) That the One and the Many must always be kept before us
h.) That the Western Reformed world has largely suffered Baptistification
i.) That differing eschatology makes for different kinds of Christians and so different versions of Christianity.

“The proposal of a non-religious basis (for education) is something novel not found anywhere in the experience of the past. To carry the theory out the language itself will have to be revolutionized and the dictionary itself expurgated; for its terminology, as well as that of the law of England is full of religion. And is it not a significant fact that in our great American Encyclopaedia there is no article on the word ‘God?’ If you ask how far I would advocate religious training, I reply, that the best practical system I have known was the old Scottish parochial system, though it is to be feared that, instead of getting back to that, things, as with the New England schools, are going in the opposite direction. Christianity should be recognized publicly by this country. Christ should be recognized in the law of our land as the Supreme Ruler of our nation. I am a member of a society striving for this end; the principle is right, whatever our success may be. We should insist that if the State has a right to educate she must not educate in infidel history and philosophy, but, in assuming the educator’s function, must obey the Scripture injunction regarding that function — to train the young in the ‘nurture and admonition of the Lord.'”  

A. A. Hodge (1823 – 1886)
19th Century American Reformed Theologian
Missionary to India

1.) There are whiffs of presuppositionalism in this quote by Hodge. Note how he implicitly refuses the idea of neutrality.

2.) R2K boys are advocating for something that, per Hodge, did not exist before the mid 19th century. Do you want novelty? Become R2K.

3.) Can you imagine what a storm of protest would be raised in a R2K Presbytery would be raised if a candidate for ordination up and said, “Christ should be recognized in the law of our land as the Supreme Ruler of our nation.” I shudder to contemplate it.

4.) The implication behind the insistence that “Christ should be recognized in the law of our land as the Supreme Ruler of our nation,” is that all nations are theocratic. Some God or god concept is going to be the Supreme Ruler of each nation whether lawfully recognized in a de Jure sense or recognized in a de facto sense. The whole notion, per R2K, that a nation can be a-religious and a-theocratic is nonsense, and only gains traction because of Anabaptist Roger William’s success in Rhode Island so many years ago.

Eschatological Musings

“The whole content of Paul’s preaching can be summarized as the proclamation and explication of the eschatological time of salvation inaugurated with Christ’s advent, death, and resurrection.”

Herman Ridderbos
Paul: An Outline of His Theology — pg, 44

For Christians, the Redemptive sequence of events initiated by the birth of Christ marks the future eschatological age as invading the present non-eschatological age. As such, for every Christian since the 1st advent the present crackles with the meaning that the future invests it with. For every Christian died with Christ, is now resurrected with Christ, is now seated with Christ in the heavenlies and is reigning now with Christ. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit who is the anticipation of the end as occupying the present. Every Christian has been translated from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God’s dear son. Every Christian is tasting of the powers of the age to come in their existential present. We are living in the eschatological latter days in our current existence because with Christ’s work the latter days have arrived.

Christians are like Tolkien’s elves who occupy two worlds at the same time. As being citizens in the age to come we are God’s agents of change as inveighing against this present evil age wherever we find it. We are those whom God uses to turn the wilderness of this present wicked age into the garden of the Lord so that it blooms with age to come ferocity.

All of this makes us a future-oriented people but it is a future orientation which is rooted and grounded in the past because the future orientation is dependent upon how the Christ event brought the future into the then present.

It is true that we are moving towards the future eschatological age but this is only true because in the Christ event the future eschatological age located and locates itself in the present.

All of this is why St. Paul could say, “We are more than conquerors.”

Random Thoughts Surrounding Advent

During this Advent season we celebrate that the King has come and that the Victory has been won. During this season there is no gloom and doom because Advent shrieks that the Lord of Host has sent His Captain to gain the certain victory. The age of the “not yet” which was front loaded in the Old Covenant is now past and the semi-eschatological age to come is now front loaded in the consciousness and disposition of God’s people. Advent pronounces that the Warrior King has come and in remembering Advent we remember we are a Warrior king class ourselves pursing the allegiance of every nation for the crown rights of the Lord Christ.

Advent reminds us that the Governments are now upon the shoulders of He who is the Prince of Peace. In belonging to Christ there is no negotiation in us with those whom Christ defeated in His Cross work. In leading captivity captive He has already defeated all His enemies so that we need not yield one inch to them.

Our victory is inevitable because the Victory has already been won.

If you can’t postmillennial during Advent then there is something wrong with your Christianity.

Be of good cheer … Christ has overcome the World.

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During this advent season we must be mindful that the two Advents of our Lord Christ, past and future, are really one advent when viewed as coming as Inauguration of the King and Kingdom and coming as Consummation of the reign of King and Kingdom. Celebration of the Advent season reminds us of our “now, not yet” theology. The King and Kingdom has come. The King and Kingdom is coming.

Advent reminds us of the logical consistency of postmilliennialism. The King who has come bringing the Kingdom, will not come again until the purpose and intent of His inaugural coming flowers in the visible expansion of His already present Kingdom. The first advent, for the Postmillennialists, is a physical coming with a physical global impact that is capped by the second Advent of our Lord Christ. The Postmillennialist finds the consummative in the Inaugurative, yet not so much so as to blur the 2nd advent.

Amillennial Advent celebrations disconnect 1st advent from 2nd advent by positing that the first advent was a physical coming with only a spiritual impact. For the Amil, the “not yetness” of the Kingdom swallows whole the “nowness” of the Kingdom by turning the “nowness” of the Kingdom into an abstracted spirituality. The amil is all Inaugurative with no consummative for the here and now except in spiritual (gnostic?) terms.

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During this Advent season we are reminded that the blood Mary spilled in birthing the Messiah, was promissory of the blood the Messiah would spill in birthing the re-creation.

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1899 Vision of New World Order

How long has the vision for a New World Order been around?

Consider this quotation from a book by Rev. Charles Ferguson written in 1899,

“The ecclesiology of a democratic Catholicism is the ultimate form of social organization. The Church is to stand as the ecumenical democracy, the international republic of humanity in the day when the superstition of State sovereignty shall become incredible and the huge, meaningless political aggregates shall lose their strength. The strength of the wrangling empires is in their mutual jealousy and fear — a relic of the feudal tradition and the old ethnic isolation. Already the profounder antagonisms are not those that separate nations, but those that separate classes. Men are drawn together in these days not by the blood- bond, but by unanimity in ideals; as the new social order is born not of the flesh but of the spirit. The hulks of empire may rot by the sea for a time, but the life and motion will go out of them with the rise of the tide of catholic democracy…

The genetic kind of faith which is the very breath of the modern spirit, which is the spring of science and of humanizing enterprise, which believes, in spite of doubt, that this unintelligible world is at bottom reasonable, confronting the antagonisms of classes and nations with a fixed assurance that there is a justice that is best for all, making the strong the willing slaves of the weak, and convincing the people of the equality of souls ” the faith that is preparing the triumph of democracy, creating a new and inspiring literature and clearing the way for a commerce that shall claim the markets for the man ” this faith is not bred in sectarian churches.
 
And no reform of the sects will avail to produce such faith, no revival of their spirits, no purification, disinfection or purgation. The quickening of the desire to improve their spiritual condition would but intensify the evil. It is necessary to unchurch the sectarian churches before they can serve the common cause of souls. Their existence is a contradiction, and their safety is to turn against themselves.
 
The modern democratic order is the true continuator of the historic Church. And the success of that order is the success of the Great Adventure.”