The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


APPENDIX C - Basic Errors of Whitbyan Postmillennialism

The bold premise of Whitby’s revolutionary postmillennial theory discussed in chapter 29—that of the final victory of righteousness over sin through the gradual conversion of the world—was based on the philosophy that man, without any divine interposition, is inherently capable of infinite progress and increasing perfection in this present world. In time this appealing concept so captivated a large section of the Protestant church that we here analyze its fallacies and list its fundamental errors: PFF2 805.4


Whitbyan-ism boldly denies the explicit assertion of the Apocalypse that there are two resurrections. (Revelation 20:5, 6.) Nevertheless, it actually proceeds upon a spiritualized modification of the two. The fact of two resurrections, one for the righteous and one for the wicked, is borne out by various other declarations of Scripture—such as a resurrection unto “life” (the “better resurrection”) for the saints, and a vastly different resurrection for the wicked, unto “damnation.” (John 5:28, 29.) The righteous, according to the Apocalypse, are raised at the beginning of the thousand years, the rest at its close. PFF2 805.5


Whitbyanism holdsto the literality of the thousand-year period, or millennium, but arbitrarilyand inconsistently spiritualizes the resurrection which introduces it and istherefore an integral part of it—declaring the resurrection to be that ofsouls dead in sin raised to spiritual life. But that violates consistent and harmonious interpretation—recognizing the over-all period as literal, but making an integral part only figurative. That creates conflict and confusion, andleads to false conclusions. The allegorization of literal prophecy is awresting of Scripture. PFF2 806.1


Whitbyanismasserts the conversion of all humanity, Jew and Gentile, Christian andpagan, in direct contravention of the uniform testimony of Scripture thattwo classes will await Christ’s coming at the end of the age—the righteousand wicked, wheat and tares, sheep and goats, saints and sinners—with thesaints, dead and living, gathered unto Christ at His second advent, and theliving wicked destroyed by the brightness of His coming. The theory of theuniversal triumph of righteousness is contrary to the uniform testimony ofScripture and to all human experience. PFF2 806.2


The elimination of the first resurrection of the just at the second coming of Christ(1 Thessalonians 4:16), introduces the millennium without an antecedent secondadvent. But the uniform testimony of Scripture and the general expectationof the early church were for a catastrophic end of the age and divine intervention through the second advent, which will be attended by the literalresurrection of the righteous, the destruction of the wicked, and the bindingof Satan. PFF2 806.3


Whitbyanism distorts thesecond coming of Christ by shifting it to the close of the thousand years,instead of marking its beginning, and by denying its express characteristic—that Christ will come personally, visibly, literally, in power and glory,to reign triumphantly with His saints, first throughout the thousand yearswhen Satan is bound, and then after the final destruction of the impenitentwicked at its close, to be with His saints forever. PFF2 806.4


Whitbyanism builds itsthesis around the conversion of the Jews, as part of a first spiritual resurrection, contrary to the express declaration of the Scripture that onlyspiritual Israel is to realize the promises, and to possess the New Jerusalemand the land of the New Earth forever. God rejected literal Israel when itrejected His only-begotten Son. So He turned to the Gentiles to constituteHis peculiar people. PFF2 806.5

Whitby’s postmillennial theory of universal righteousness and peace is acknowledged to be but a hypothesis (a supposition, conjecture, assumption, opinion). It is a speculation that has not been borne out by subsequent historical developments. It is a theory without foundation in the Bible, in conflict with the teachings of the apostolic church, and contradictory to the faith of seventeen centuries. It denies all Reformation creeds—that Christ will come in judgment to a world in which both righteous and wicked will still be living. PFF2 806.6

It contravenes the test of time in the two centuries that have ensued—as witness the first and second world wars, which breakdowns of civilization have shaken the theory of progressive world conversion to its very foundation. By 1914 the majority of intellectuals had subscribed to the idea that the world was gradually progressing upward, as a result either of the force of evolution or of the mysterious workings of God’s Spirit. But that concept crashed with World War I. And the final blow, for those who still hoped through, was delivered by World War II and the horrors of the atomic age. PFF2 807.1

The fundamental difference is between the concept of man getting worse, and God having to step in and end the world and create a new earth, and that of man getting better and better, and finally building his own new earth, and thus achieving perfection. The developments of today overthrow the second idea. PFF2 807.2