Here in Moscow, we live in a hotbed of postmillenialist Christians. The reformed congregations here (Christ Church and Trinity Presbyterian) both have prolific author/pastors who promote this particular flavour of future thinking. (That would be Doug Wilson and Peter Leithart).
Having grown up Baptist, I was spoon fed the exact opposite (premillenial dispensationalism) for many years. This included things like “The Late Great Planet Earth“, Left Behind, and the ilk.
It turns out there are lots of positions in the middle between these two as well. The primary ones being historic premillenialism (like pre-mil but without all the complicated prophecy charts and theories), and amillenialism (like post-mil but more vague).
Anyway, Josh S (a Lutheran) at the Boar’s Head Tavern had a spot on comment the other day about all this:
I wonder if any differences between dispensationalists and postmillennialists is more cultural than specifically theological. The latter tend to be more educated, more historically aware, and more interested in premodern art and literature, and thus have more positive attitudes toward top-down political structures and the syntheses of church and state we find in the Byzantine and Holy Roman empires, which tend then to be a subtext under the “kingdom” speak. Dispensationalists tend to be right-leaning Americans with the attendant strong suspicion of exaggerated political power, especially the state imposing its will on religion, and a tendency to speak of the Bill of Rights in the same way that they speak of Scripture.
IMO, they’re both a little loony. On one hand, you have the people who want to create the imperishable and ideal Christian society where Jesus reigns supreme. On the other, you have the people who are predicting Jesus will come back some time in the next two weeks based on some sign or another. Both projects have parallel, uninterrupted, 2000-year old histories of failure.
This observation reinforces my theory that the theology of a particular group of Christians is more determined by their own subculture than it is actual systematic arguments. So along these lines you have Leithart writing an essay titled For Constantine (which is still quite brilliant in many ways) and on the other hand back-woods preachers shunning all forms of environmental conservation and foreign-conflict resolution because “it’s all going to hell any day now” when Jesus comes back. Fascinating.