Gary North is an Austrian postmillennialist. I’m an Austrian premillenialist. That’s where our similarities end. Gary North has written over 50 books, is a sought-after conference speaker, and has made a nice sum of money over his life. I’m nothing but a lowly blogger, real estate appraiser and part-time cupbearer and reader at church.
As fellow Austrians, we agree that the current course of the U.S. economy is unsustainable. The phony, credit-driven, inflationary economy that hit high gear in the late 1960’s is winding down. There was a period of illusory prosperity during the ‘90s, but the wheels came off in 2007 with the collapse of the real estate bubble. QE2 has managed only to inflate the prices of gas, food, clothing, gold and silver (have you paid attention to my silver ticker in the lower right-hand column?). House prices are down and out. Case Schiller predicts another 20% drop-off before real estate hits bottom. The national debt has reached staggering proportions, with the central bank so despised by John Randolph, John Taylor and their tertium quid cohorts playing a leading role. Gradual default on entitlements and/or higher inflation is very likely.
Gary North is a consummate optimist. As a postmillennialist he expects an eventual collapse of the federal leviathan, brought on by the inalterable laws of economics which will set off a chain reaction of similar sovereign crises across the globe. The modern nation-state model will be discarded as freedom-hungry people look for alternatives that support civil society. The Church will emerge from obscurity and usher in another Golden Age, better than Byzantium. It will last for a thousand years, and then Christ will return.
I, too, am a consummate optimist. As a premillenialist I expect the eventual collapse of the federal leviathan, brought on by the inalterable laws of economics. In its place (or, perhaps evolving out of it) I expect a new order to emerge that is completely inimical to anything remotely related to Christ and His kingdom. It will deal with the debt and monetary crises by instituting an entirely new economy with an accounting system not based on any known, historic currency. You can peek at it between Revelation chapters 13 and 19. I am not a preterist. Christ will come again, bring down this approaching godless system, and establish His personal reign on the earth for a thousand years.
My opinion on this subject isn’t popular with probably 95% of my Anglican contemporaries; but some of the old-timers including Greek textual scholar Dean Henry Alford and Bishop J.C. Ryle agreed with the premillenial view. That “His Kingdom will have no end” isn’t at issue. That it involves a literal millennial stage before attaining its final state we can debate.
The premillennial view is helpful in allowing us to properly understand God’s purpose for creation (Romans 8:18-22). As part of the recent W.H. Griffith Thomas (who was Anglican, by the way) lecture series at Dallas Theological Seminary, Craig Blaising talked about the coming transformation of the earth in the eschaton. Of particular interest are his remarks on 2 Peter 3:10 and 12. Working from the best Greek manuscripts, he points out that the earth will not be destroyed but rather radically purged and refined by the approaching glory of Christ. “You will be either ruined by [the glory],” he said, “or received by it.”
Michael Vlach is tackling the issue by looking at the history of Christian thought on the eschaton. His latest blog post concerns the intrusion of Platonist philosophy on the church and its role in diminishing the original millennial expectation held by early fathers such as Justin Martyr and Ireneaus.
We have infinite glory to look forward to. In my view the current distresses afflicting the greatest economic and military empire in history are merely setting the stage.