Guess Who

No Googling, you know the drill…

Americans are not a people accustomed to suffering. We are used to winning, to succeeding, to getting ahead. We want to be “seen at the top.” We plan careers and make career moves. We think positively. … Ancient Israel in her prosperity had people who thought the same way. They had misread Solomon’s book, Proverbs, and had come away believing that they could understand any problem, conquer any adversary, and resolve any difficulty if they only thought the right thoughts and did the right things.

Solomon knew better, however. Maybe he once thought that way also, but God had shown him that there was another dimension of life. So, Solomon wrote another book, Ecclesiastes. Somehow, it never became the bestseller that Proverbs had been. It got included in Hebrew One Year Bibles, but never as a daily reading.

In Ecclesiastes Solomon said that life is not a series of problems to be solved by the mere application of technique. Rather, he said, life is often a series of unexplained horrors that have to be suffered through on sheer faith. We often don’t know what is going on or why. We often see the wicked prosper and the righteous persecuted, and it does not make sense. We do what is right, and we get crucified for it. …

In Proverbs, Solomon had said that life makes sense: You can figure it out. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon said that life does not make sense, and you can’t figure it out. Both are true. But like the Israelites and Pharisees of old, Americans really don’t want to hear Ecclesiastes. …

As an orthodox, Bible-believing Christian who has been a postmillennialist for nearly twenty years, I think about this when I look at the postmillennial resurgence in America today. Is it going to be a true, Biblical postmillennialism? Will it have room for Ecclesiastes? Will it have room for cross-bearing? Will it see that for us God really is incomprehensible, though not inapprehensible? Will it be clay in the Master’s hand?

Or will the modern postmillennialism be Americanized? Will it be a positive thinking, victory-oriented, get rich, meet you at the top, yuppie postmillennialism?

[Update: This quote is from James Jordan’s article “An Antidote to Yuppie Postmillenialism,” in Biblical Horizons #6 (1989). That’s over 20 years ago, and even back then he said he’d already been a postmilleniallist for nearly 20 years!]

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This entry was posted in Christian life, Culture, Eschatology, Friday fun, Quotes, Reformed piety, Spirituality of the Church, Theology of the Cross/glory, Who Said That. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Guess Who

  1. John Harutunian says:

    A great post. Tim Keller?

  2. RubeRad says:

    Glad you like it. No, but that makes me curious; does Keller label himself a postmillenialist?

  3. John Harutunian says:

    I don’t know. Having both heard him in person and read his books, I’d guess that he would shy away from a categorical commitment to any one view regarding the end times. But he does stand in the Reformed tradition.

  4. John Yeazel says:

    That is a great quote and full of irony considering it is coming from a post-millenialist. How about David Chilton- to reconstructionist who died at a very young age.

  5. John Yeazel says:

    I meant the not to reconstructionist.

  6. Paul Manata says:

    I want to say Leithart, because of the references to Solomon (his book Solomon Among the Postmoderns is very good), but it doesn’t read like someone educated at Cambridge. Not D. Wilson, not witty or polemical enough. But it’s probably someone involved in Auburn Avenue theology.

  7. RubeRad says:

    Not Chilton. But Paul is very very close. Probably close enough to wrap this one up, unless anybody else has any last guesses…

  8. Paul Manata says:

    Yeah, Todd, that’d be another guess I’d want to make. In any case, given that you can count on one hand the number of postmillennialists who would warrant a “guess who?”, it’s simply a brief process of elimination.

  9. RubeRad says:

    All right then, credit to Todd and Paul for helping each other guess the right answer! I will edit the post above with a link…

  10. todd says:

    “it’s simply a brief process of elimination.”

    Yes, but my answer was “Dynamite!”

  11. RubeRad says:

    OK then (a) that’s spelled Dyn-O-mite, and (b) I’m happy to rescind your partial credit!

  12. Paul Manata says:

    I think Todd should get at least 75% credit.

  13. Pingback: Solomon and Canon « The Confessional Outhouse

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