Pessimism, Optimism

From Gary North’s forward to David Chilton’s The Days of Vengeance

“Footnotes deleted”


The vast majority of Christians have believed that things will get progressively worse in almost every area of life until Jesus returns with His angels. Premillennialists believe that He will establish an earthly visible kingdom, with Christ in charge and bodily present. Amillennialists do not believe in any earthly visible kingdom prior to the final judgment. They believe that only the church and Christian schools and families will visibly represent the kingdom on earth, and the world will fall increasingly under the domination of Satan.Both eschatologies teach the earthly defeat of Christ’s church prior to His physical return in power.

One problem with such an outlook is that when the predictable defeats in life come, Christians have a theological incentive to shrug their shoulders, and say to themselves, “That’s life. That’s the way God prophesied it would be. Things are getting worse.” They read the dreary headlines of the daily newspaper, and they think to themselves, “Jesus’ Second Coming is just around the corner.” The inner strength that people need to rebound from life’s normal external defeats is sapped by a theology that preaches inevitable earthly defeat for the church of Jesus Christ. People think to themselves: “If even God’s holy church cannot triumph, then how can I expect to triumph?” Christians therefore become the psychological captives of newspaper-selling pessimistic headlines.

A.K.A. the insipid, powerless, but safe “whine, bleat, fail” school of Christian activism.

  • Not a soup kitchen for the poor.
  • Not a prison visiting program.
  • No regular visits to town meetings.
  • No training in launching or maintaining a small business.
  • No training in resolving disputes.
  • And especially, no training in the application of Biblical law, in our lives.

They begin with a false assumption: the inevitable defeat in history of Christ’s church by Satan’s earthly forces, despite the fact that Satan was mortally wounded at Calvary. Satan is not “alive and well on Planet Earth.” He is alive, but he is not well. To argue otherwise is to argue for the historical impotence and cultural irrelevance of Christ’s work on Calvary.

I have always felt that the most effective Satanists don’t wear silk robes with mystical symbols, or run around yelling “Hail Satan!”

I bet that they don’t even vote Democrat!

Today, the Christian Reconstruction movement has recruited some of the best and brightest young writers in the United States. Simultaneously, a major shift in eschatological perspective is sweeping through the charismatic movement. This combination of rigorous, disciplined, lively, dominion-oriented scholarship and the enthusiasm and sheer numbers of victory-oriented charismatics has created a major challenge to the familiar, tradition-bound, aging, and, most of all, present-oriented conservative Protestantism. It constitutes what could become the most important theological shift in American history, not simply in this century, but in the history of the nation. I expect this transformation to be visible by the year 2000 – a year of considerable eschatological speculation.

If I am correct, and this shift takes place, The Days of Vengeance will be studied by historians as a primary source document for the next two or three centuries.

Not to the extent that God expected, I believe.

As we drive out the racism and the patriarchalism and the clergy-guilds and the temple-attitude to church, we’ll be making space for the Holy Spirit to work, and to act – powerfully!

Producing New Leaders: Key to Survival

Because pessimillennialism could not offer students long-term hope in their earthly futures, both versions have defaulted culturally. This withdrawal from cultural commitment culminated during the fateful years, 1965-71. When the world went through a psychological, cultural, and intellectual revolution, where were the concrete and specific Christian answers to the pressing problems of that turbulent era? Nothing of substance came from traditional seminaries. It was as if their faculty members believed that the world would never advance beyond the dominant issues of 1952. (And even back in 1952, seminary professors were mostly whispering.) The leaders of traditional Christianity lost their opportunity to capture the best minds of a generation. They were perceived as being muddled and confused. There was a reason for this. They were muddled and confused.

In other news: Abject failures are Abject failures.

In the 1970’s, only two groups within the Christian community came before the Christian public and announced: “We have the biblical answers.” They were at opposite ends of the political spectrum: the liberation theologians on the Left and the Christian Reconstructionists on the Right. The battle between these groups has intensified since then. Chilton’s book, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt-Manipulators (1981), is the most important single document in this theological confrontation. But from the confused middle, there have been no clear-cut Biblical answers to either of these two positions.

As of 2020, the Social Gospel people have left the field.

The mainstream churches, who dutifully follow wherever the secularists lead, are aging out good and fast.

The evangelical churches, who dutifully follow wherever the Republicans lead, are slowly but surely aging out as well.

The future does not ride with either group of cultural failures.

The future of pessimillennialism is being eroded. As the world’s social crises intensify, and as it becomes apparent that traditional conservative Protestantism still has no effective, specific, workable answers to the crises of our day, a drastic and presently unanticipated shift of Christian opinion probably will take place – an event analogous to the collapse of a dam. There will be a revolution in the way millions of conservative Christians think. Then there will be a revolution in what they do.

That’s what we are waiting for.

I don’t know where will lightning strike first: possibly in Africa, possibly in Asia, just maybe in Latin America.

But it’s coming.

The liberation theologians will not win this battle for the minds of Christians.

That era is dead and gone.

There will be a religious backlash against the Left on a scale not seen in the West since the Bolshevik Revolution, and perhaps not since the French Revolution.

No more welfare treats for the obedient dogs of the Establishment – Christian and otherwise?

Then the Right Sort can expect feral, glittering teeth.

Plenty of them.

From every direction.

At that point, only one group will possess in ready reserve a body of intellectual resources adequate for stemming the tide of humanism: the Christian Reconstructionists, meaning those who preach dominion, and even more specifically, those who preach dominion by covenant. With this intellectual foundation, given the existence of catastrophic cultural, economic, and political conditions, they will take over leadership of conservative Protestantism. The existing Protestant leaders suspect this, and they do not like its implications. Nevertheless, they are unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to counter this development. Specifically, they are not producing the intellectual resources to counter what the Christian Reconstructionists are producing.

Instead, they murmur. This tactic will fail.

Murmuring and whining certainly didn’t work for the Christian Right!

In time, people will demand just, reasonable and predictable laws. Not this arbitrary (and thus totalitarian) fashion-driven elitist nonsense we are currently being ruled by.

Christians must work today, to be prepared for the time to come.

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