In 1935, author Sinclair Lewis penned the dystopian novel It Can’t Happen Here, a polemic warning about the rise of a future fascist president of the United States. It is a work largely of great pessimism, with one notable exception. That exception occurs in the description of the membership list of the narrative’s fictional resistance band, the New Underground (N.U.):
The Fort Beulah cell of the N.U., as it was composed in mid-March, a couple of weeks after Doremus had founded it, consisted of himself, his daughters, Buck, Dan, Lorinda, Julian Falck, Dr. Olmsted, John Pollikop, Father Perefixe (and he argued with the agnostic Dan, the atheist Pollikop, more than he ever had with Buck), Mrs. Henry Veeder, whose farmer husband was in Trianon Concentration Camp, Harry Kindermann, the dispossessed Jew, Mungo Kitterick, that most un-Jewish and un-Socialistic lawyer, Pete Vutong and Daniel Babcock, farmers, and some dozen others. The Reverend Mr. Falck, Emma Jessup, and Mrs. Candy, were more or less unconscious tools of the N.U. But whoever they were, of whatever faith or station, Doremus found in all of them the religious passion he had missed in the churches; and if altars, if windows of many-colored glass, had never been peculiarly holy objects to him, he understood them now as he gloated over such sacred trash as scarred type and a creaking hand press.1
Lewis, being a rather surly nihilist, did not look at Marxism as any kind of anti-fascist alternative. Instead, he pinned his paper-thin hopes on a vague organization of pragmatic humanism that eschewed latent hostilities within its ranks in order to overcome a common foe.
Throw in a somewhat more pious attitude, and this also serves as a good descriptor for the sad state of Christian postmillennial purpose today. Lewis’s trite band of modernists could easily accommodate Joel McDurmon and his reparations crusade, as well as Marcus Pittman and his zeal to evangelize Mars.2
If a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, how much more so is a modicum of hope? Particularly when that hope is tainted with impetuousness born of errant utopianism? Such a mindset, however, is the norm for Christians who subscribe to postmillennial eschatology without a solid scriptural basis. In attempting to laud the church’s progression towards dominion, they wind up cheerleading the forces of progressivism instead – an entirely different beast, and one not well-suited to a petting zoo.
A clear dichotomy manifests itself between a theological understanding of postmillennialism and a secular understanding. The theological understanding is outlined in Greg Bahnsen’s article ‘The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism’. Bahnsen here presents a seven-point definition of the term, with points one through three being especially relevant for our purposes:
Postmillennialism, as the name implies, holds that (1) Christ will return subsequent to the millennium, which (2) represents a period which will see growth and maturation of righteousness, peace, and prosperity for Christ’s kingdom on earth (visibly represented by the church) through the gradual conversion of the world to the gospel, as well as a period for the glory and vindication of the saints in heaven. (3) The return of Christ will synchronize with the general resurrection and general judgment at the end of the church age.
All of which lead to the foreordained conclusion of point number seven:
Finally then, (7) over the long range the world will experience a period of extraordinary righteousness and prosperity as the church triumphs in the preaching of the gospel and discipling the nations through the supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit; however, the release of Satan at the very end of the age will bring apostasy from these blessed conditions.
It would perhaps not be quite correct to refer to the postmil position as one of optimism, but it most certainly is one that encompasses and culminates Christian purpose, befitting those who ‘labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you’, as per John 6:27. To be in active service doing one’s part in preparing the ground for the flourishing of the true Church is to be an encouragement towards concrete accomplishment, done in the surety of the Word, Who was with God and was God from the beginning. In comparison, premillennial eschatology ultimately encourages sitting around awaiting the razzle-dazzle of a Russian invasion of ersatz Israel, a top-secret ‘gathering of the saints’ in the stratosphere that, incidentally, every non-Christian in the world is also familiar with, and other such scintillating anti-prophecies. It should come as no surprise that postmillennialism became the doctrine of the early Reformation, with its multi-front wars against the militant forces of Rome, Mecca, vagabond Jewry, et al.
Thus the theological aims of postmils. But what of the means utilized to achieve these aims? This is where things begin to get murky, and where secular interpretations of the doctrine begin to make their obnoxious presence felt. For what good, the purveyors of busybodiness squawk, are such strivings if we don’t stop and ‘fix’ every little societal ill along the path? Such a viewpoint is presented in stark detail in Daniel Walker Howe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. Howe begins his revisionism with a seemingly acceptable postmillennial definition of his own, albeit one that tends to put man ahead of God:
One view of the millennium sees it as the climax and goal of human progress, with human effort contributing to the realization of God’s providential design. This is called postmillennialism, because the Second Coming of Christ occurs at the end of the millennium. . . .
Where postmillennialists regard the millennium as part of history, premillennialists do not. While premillennialists (looking to divine intervention for deliverance) often feel alienated from their surrounding society and culture, American postmillennials have typically celebrated theirs.3
Okay, it ain’t Hodge or Dabney, and it rather oversimplifies postmil reactions to their surrounding culture, but it’s something to build on. Alas, from this foundation Howe quickly begins to erect a Tower of Babel:
Postmillennialism . . . flourished, for material improvements, political democratization, and moral reform all provided encouraging signs that history was moving in the right direction, as did the spread of Christianity to the four corners of the globe. Americans seemed a “chosen people” not only because they enjoyed a covenanted relationship with the God of Israel but also because they were destined to prepare the way for the return of His Messiah and Son.4
It would seem that modern historians of whatever political bent are thoroughly incapable of letting go of Marxist precepts of dialectic materialism, with the sad result that they cannot differentiate between the Gospel being carried forth to all nations with the creature comforts that come with fleshly betterment and coerced egalitarianism. Howe then goes on to cite a particularly lunatic result of this Reformed Enlightenment, which paves the way for all future wrong-headed efforts to further the Kingdom:
John Quincy Adams invoked postmillennial aspirations in support of his political program. “Progressive improvement in the condition of man is apparently the purpose of a superintending Providence,” he declared. Adams saw himself as working for the establishment of the messianic age foretold by the second Isaiah (“the sublimest of prophets”). His First Message to Congress called a system of internal improvements “a sacred duty” imposed by God to elevate America in the scale of civilization. He recommended U.S conversion to the metric system of weights and measures on the ground that it implemented “the trembling hope of the Christian” for the unity of humanity, the binding of Satan in chains, and the promised thousand years of peace.5
In a less decorous and Britannic age, Adams doubtless would have also been calling on Americans to adopt Esperanto as the national language and to attend nudist colonies so that their stifled souls could soar with the seagulls. He also would have been elated to see Canada’s adoption of the metric system in 1977, ushering in that dominion’s golden age of theonomic regeneration. That’s a joke, son.
Adams’s heretical hermeneutics certainly were in keeping with the national mood of the zeitgeist, though. With increasing prosperity allowing more and more concerned merchant-class philosophers up north to make royal nuisances of themselves, the variegated causes of moral improvement became a major fad. These churchian custodians were initially satisfied to dedicate their hollow lives to fussbuckety anti-tobacco and temperance campaigns, but once they cut their teeth on such, they moved on to far more malicious spheres, notably abolitionism and universal suffrage, at first for men (of all races) and then for women. The genie had been let out of the bottle, and every public-spirited sort with a rectum and an opinion was lining up to get a wish or ten in.
Thus we come to the twentieth century, where advances in transportation and communication technology, combined with an increasingly nihilist tendency in all walks of intellectual and theological life, for the first time made the notion of a single united world federation more than just a passing fancy to be found in cheap dime store sci-fi novels penned by anarchist emigres from Austria-Hungary.
Originally, postmillennial Social Gospelism writ large found its manifestation in Christian support for simple straightforward international Bolshevism – in no small part because early 20th century theologian Walter Rauschenbusch, heavily influenced by Marxist theory, was at the height of his influence. Still fueled by the insane rage that perpetuated abolitionist atrocities to property and soul alike, ‘Christian’ communists found a very suitable outlet for their sociopathic passions in the supposed workers’ struggle against entrenched wealth and privilege, and beheld the transformation of Russia into the Soviet Union as the penultimate event heralding Christ’s return. (Aiding their delusion was the fact that one of their favourite authors, the superlatively naive Russian Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy, would have been delighted with the initial stages of the Russian Revolution.) Disillusionment with this model began to set in during the 1930s, however, as the crimes of Lenin morphed into the even greater crimes of Stalin, and churchians perceived that this particular omelette perhaps required more broken eggs than was to their taste. Hence, despite the fact that numerous left-wing pastors and their stupid congregations were gulled into obeisance on guided showy Soviet tours of ‘model’ farms and factories during the Depression era, the majority of misguided postmils went looking for greener Beulah lands.
Fortunately, a rival world order model presented itself around the same time – the ‘reasonable’ and ‘civilized’ geopolitical reconfiguration techniques, embodied in action if not actually generated by that great Presbyterian Woodrow Wilson. Don’t ever kid yourself: regardless of their political bent, the majority of Presbyterians harbour at least a cultural fondness for the Great Phrasemaker, very similar to how blue-collar conservative Catholics did and still do for the patrician John F. Kennedy. Wilson’s Fourteen Points, with their succinct bullet-point wording and regenerative character, very deliberately played into the five-point structure of Calvinism that appeals to the Presbyterian love of order, as well.
As can be deduced from Wilson’s autocratic demeanour, his favoured model of administration was a liberal cabal of autocratic sages rationally redrawing the map of the world and moving chess pieces hither, thither, and yon in order to maintain the new hegemony. In other words, it was the same old heavy hand of tyranny, only this time with a manicure. As can also be deduced, the enthusiasm for such a top-down structure from the Church was largely from the pulpit. Precious few congregants were sending in five-dollar donations to the United Nations Secretariat or pasting bumper stickers on the back of their Hudsons expressing support for NATO. Their shepherds, though, were fresh out of idealistic seminaries flush with cash and corrupting doctrine in New England, the Upper Midwest, and the Pacific Coast, and they went right to work inculcating their flock with the heady existentialism of Niebuhr, Barth, and Tillich. ‘Twas a slow, grueling process, but by the 1960s it had begun to bear definite fruit, as grassroots Christians began mindlessly clamouring for civil rights advances for their black brethren NOW and ecumenical overtures towards more progressive denominations NOW and universal access to the Pill NOW and various other NOWs designed to bamboozle them into thinking they had the ability, let alone the wisdom, to ‘cure’ societal ills all on their own, with the ‘Man Upstairs’ cheering them on from the sidelines. Wasn’t this a much nicer way to minister unto the world than offering apologetics on behalf of Papa Joe Stalin’s Holodomor and White Sea Canal construction project? It played much better at Rotary Club banquets, too.
By the 1980s, this model too began to die off, as the Asherah of socialism began to lose its allure in the wake of that decade’s false market-bubble prosperity. Keynes was dead, and Hayek was in. Time to make some money and be all philosophical about it! Thus was born another odious form of one-worldism, eagerly embraced by Calvinist hipsters dressed as lumberjacks today: radical anarcho-libertarianism. Only deluded old fools believe Christian regeneration of the world can occur via top-down statism and militarism, these groovy cats proclaim. Far better to erase all ethereal borders and national identities so that we can trade in perfect equilibrium with Singapore and the Maldives, they say. It’s a win-win, too: instead of trading off our gold and silver reserves for cheap ‘I AM A CALVINIST’ t-shirts, now we can trade off our gold and silver reserves for far, far more cheap ‘I AM A CALVINIST’ t-shirts, because economies of scale unhindered by needless tariffs and stuff. And we’ll all be employed in the import-export business and become zillionaires like Aristotle Onassis. If this isn’t the epitome of Reconstructionism, I don’t know what is.
It becomes very apparent that each iteration of the New World Order was adopted by guileless postmils under differing grievous sins:
For Marxist postmils, it was the sin of wrath.
For liberal autocracy postimils, it was the sin of vanity.
For anarcho-libertarian postmils, it was and is the sin of covetousness.
Undergirding all of these, of course, is one goal above all others: to eliminate the spectral scourge of……RACISM! Being of a thoroughly gnostic mindset, in that they perceive all distinctions to be wickedness, it stands to reason among these postmils that the Kingdom cannot come to fruition until all of humanity morphs into one great big gray weal without any of those irritating distinguishing characteristics that detract from focusing on Christ. A.K. Chesterton, in his book The New Unhappy Lords, inadvertently summed up their mandate perfectly: “It is the false concept of inevitability (meaning minority rule) which has led to the abdication of the White man throughout the world.” Subsuming oneself to what they presume to be God’s will regarding pluralism, they expect the rest of the Church to applaud them for their martyrdom.
In short, worldly postmils believe they are striding towards the traditional Christian attainment of Isaiah 2:3-4:
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
However, unbeknownst to their slumbering eyes, they have adopted the condition put forth by God as a shame and disgrace in verse 6:
Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
Oriental enchantments pertaining to worldview are bad enough. The phrase ‘please themselves’ can be translated ‘to join hand in hand’ with strangers – and when that joining is conjugal, children are the natural outcome of such a union. So much for the lofty ‘amalgamation’ claims of the dissolute! Lest there be any further doubt as to God’s wrath against their model, earlier in Is. 1:25 He makes clear the sentence awaiting His enemies – in this case, wayward (and cosmopolitan) Israel:
And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin
‘Tin’ in the Hebrew is bedil, and it specifically refers to an alloy – a joining of two separate substances into a ‘new’ creation. The synthesis of Christianity and globalism certainly counts as a like chimera and as such will be consumed in the fiery furnace. No tears will be shed for its demise from my quarter.
God doesn’t have just one means of destroying a reprobate nation. The mingling of native bloodlines with alien ones, whether achieved through centralized micromanagement or grassroots purblindness and indifference – both part and parcel of a wider Judaic policy of white extermination – can be just as effective as smiting the entire populace with a plague. Here’s the good news, though: the lessons learned about the resulting horrors by His elect will stick in their collective minds for generations to come, and they won’t get fooled again. This is pure postmillennialism. Don’t settle for second best.
- Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here, Signet Classics 1970 reprint, pg. 230. ↩
- A February 22nd Pittman post on Facebook: ‘Looking forward to planting the flag of Jesus Christ on those new #explanets Nasa discovered. #InterstellarDominion. ↩
- Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. Oxford University Press, pg. 285. ↩
- Ibid., pg. 286. ↩
- The Political Culture of the American Whigs, pg. 59, qtd. in Howe, What Hath God Wrought, pg. 287. ↩