How to Fight Lies, Academically

From the Preface of He Shall Have Dominion, by Gary North

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Take a look at the book’s contents. There are a lot of Bible verses cited: thousands. There are a lot of footnotes to books and articles. It had to be this way. Dr. Gentry is arguing for an ancient and respected view of eschatology: postmillennialism. This places him at a disadvantage. There have not been many theologians in the twentieth century who have held this view of the comprehensive future success of the gospel. This was not the case a century ago, but it is the case today. Thus, he comes before an audience that is disinclined to believe him. He has to overcome this resistance. Like a conservative college student taking an exam from a liberal professor, he has to outperform the liberal students in the class in order to get the same grade.

He is also doing his best to overcome a lot of misinformation that has been taught in conservative seminary classrooms for many decades. He knows; he attended two of them: one dispensational, the other amillennial. Although Dr. Gentry has made the postmillennial position clear in previous books, and although the Institute for Christian Economics has sent out copies of these books free of charge to offending faculties, the same misinformation continues to be presented in the class- room to vulnerable, trusting students. (I much prefer the word lies to “misinformation,” since this gets across to the reader what is really going on in seminary classrooms, but I am trying to be a Christian gentleman, since Dr. Gentry is.[1])

By carefully documenting everything that he says about the Bible, Dr. Gentry does his best to gain the reader’s confidence in what he is saying. In documenting with footnotes what he says that other theologians have written, he is doing the same.

Any reader who thinks Dr. Gentry is exaggerating has been given proof of the truth of what he is saying. The critic can read the verbatim citation in the text, or check the original source, whether it is a Bible verse or a quotation from a book or an article. This will not persuade many contemporary critics of postmillennialism – the price of conversion is high – but it will silence those with any integrity. Dr. Gentry has followed my long-term strategy: stuff the critics’ mouths with footnotes.

He has expended considerable effort to accomplish the following goals: (1) to persuade the reader that his analysis is correct; (2) to provide supporting evidence for every statement; (3) to avoid exaggeration; (4) to present a positive case for what he believes; (5) to summarize accurately the arguments against his position; (6) to refute the major critics of postmillennialism; (7) to present the implications of his position; and (8) to state the implications of rival positions. This is why the book is long. I know of no book that presents the case for any view of eschatology that is equally painstaking. He covers every base.

Notice, too: his book has a positive aspect and a negative aspect. As with the gospel, this book has a two-fold goal: reconciliation and condemnation. There is no escape from these goals. When we share the gospel, we are bringing God’s covenant lawsuit, just as Jonah brought it before the people of Nineveh. This lawsuit offers blessings and cursings. Therefore, He Shall Have Dominion is designed to achieve the following results: (1) to give confidence and greater information to those who already believe its general position; (2) to persuade those who have not yet made up their minds; (3) to persuade those who are still open to new evidence; (4) to silence the critics.


[1] Here is an example of this systematic, deliberate misinformation. Three students at Dallas Theological Seminary came to Tyler to videotape me and Ray Sutton in 1985. The very first question that the interviewer asked was this: “Why do you say that Israel is identical to the Church?” We replied (approximately): “We don’t. We believe that Israel will be brought to Christ prior to the millennium. This has been taught by Robert Haldane, Charles Hodge, and John Murray. It is the view of Scottish Presbyterianism. The Westminster Larger Catechism instructs us to pray for the Jews: Answer 191.” The interviewer was so stunned that he had his partner shut off the video camera. (I kept my audio cassette recorder running.) He then told us that they had all been taught in class that Christian Reconstructionists believe that Israel is identical to the Church. I had argued against this view in my 1981 book, Unconditional Surrender: God’s Program for Victory (Tyler, TX: Geneva, 1981), p. 199. They had never been told of the traditional Scottish postmillennial interpretation of Romans 11. This is unconscionable. It is also typical. It is this lack of both integrity and scholarship that is toppling dispensational seminaries one by one.

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It’s rather shocking, to see the standards of first-rate secular institutions collapse as badly as fourth-rate Christian seminaries and colleges.

But I suspect that it was inevitable.

After all, modern secular movements have no interest in marshaling evidence and conducting extensive research: it’s much faster and easier to use the mob, social media, and the mainstream media to just silence dissent and drive out heretics, via mob action, political maneuvers or judicial action.

That’s because – just like the seminaries – these secular concerns don’t have the evidence on their side.

And, like any good Darwinian (discreetly in the seminaries, openly elsewhere), they are primarily concerned with power, not objective reality.

…and finally…

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