Recently I expressed my conclusion that GW Bush holds to a postmillennial hope, whether he is familiar with the term or not. The term "postmillennial" refers to the belief that the return of Christ will be preceeded by an extended time of peace, justice, and prosperity. Those holding this view are optimistic regarding the future, believing that history--over the long term--is being moved toward this bright future. American evangelicals who were so busy founding and operating various reforming societies in the first half of the nineteenth century (reforming prisons and asylums, spreading education and literacy, promoting Sunday-observance and Bible reading, fighting drunkeness and later all use of alcohol, agitating against slavery, etc) were motivated by this belief. The connection to politics, therefore, should be evident. Postmillennialism has affinities, and historic ties, with American Exceptionalism including Manifest Destiny.

Joab commented on this earlier post with a question regarding the support for this doctrine--in other words, how can a sane Christian believe this? I will now try to respond today or tomorrow as the first part of a 4 part series on Christian millennial views, with suggestions on their relation to policial action and cultural engagement. I will try to present each view fairly and strongly. Personal note: I am not a firm adherent of any of these views. I have described myself as a panmillennialist, believing that it will all pan out in the end. I do lean toward amillennialism or postmillennialism, depending mostly on my optimism/pessimism level regarding the human prospect.

For those of you interested in learning more, a good place to start is The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views on Intervarsity Press. Each position is defended by a scholar holding that position who then engages each of the other writers.