Home > doctrines, eschatology, rapture > Popular Christian Slang Terminology: Pan-Trib and Pan-Mill

Popular Christian Slang Terminology: Pan-Trib and Pan-Mill


A popular slang term among Christians of recent years is “pan-” plus something, as in “I don’t understand all this, and don’t need to understand it, but it’ll all pan out.”  Two of these “pan-” terms refer to views on eschatology:  pan-trib and pan-mill.  I first heard the term “pan-millennial” from Christians in Reformed circles, whose only consideration of eschatology had been the presentations of equally confused (regarding the subject) Reformed preachers.  Like so many others, they remain content in that area of “pious agnosticism,” and now they even have a label to attach to their belief — a name that means they don’t know what they believe.

I first heard the term “pan-trib” used with a very specific meaning:  someone who is undecided concerning the timing of the rapture.  This came from an audio sermon a year or so back; the preacher and that church affirm futurist premillennialism.  The preacher explained the different rapture views (pre-, mid- and post) and the different strengths and weaknesses, from scripture, of each view, before finally admitting that he was “pan-trib” in that he could not decide from scripture the precise timing of the rapture.

Since then, however, I have heard the term “pan-trib” used by laypeople, to apparently mean the same thing as “pan-mill.”  (Actually, I have not personally known anyone to use that term, but have seen it mentioned by others at online blogs and message boards.)  Evidently these are individuals who are not even aware of the different millennial views, but have heard terms such as “rapture” and “tribulation” and so express their pious agnosticism in the simpler wording “pan-trib.”  A brief googling of the two terms on the Internet shows more references to the term “pan-millennial,” though a few message-board type sites list references to “pan-trib.”

Though both terms (as broadly defined) are excuses for a lazy approach to scripture, I would hold to the distinction in terminology and agree with the “pan-trib” definition used by the premillennial pastor uncertain of the rapture timing.  As with everything, of course, when someone throws out a term such as this, we need to clarify and ask them what they mean by that particular term.

As I have mentioned many times before, it really does matter what you believe, and God gave us all 66 books of the Bible to tell us these things.  The very book name, Revelation, suggests this is something God has revealed to us, and yet strangely too many Christians turn it into the great Concealment instead.

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