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My Full Preterist Response to the Michael Brown v. James White Debates – Part 1 Matthew 23:37-39 Sovereignty of God & Eschatology Issues

Introduction

I am excited to announce that Dr. Michael Brown has agreed to debate me over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.  I have sent them the following:

Resolved – The Bible teaches that the miraculous gift of speaking in tongues, (and the other miraculous gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12) ceased at the Second Coming of Christ ending the last days of the Old Covenant Age of Israel in AD 70. 

We are still working through some of the details (date and venue).  Because of this, I have been spending some time lately listening to Dr. Brown’s various debates on YouTube to better understand his views and where he is coming from in his doctrinal journey so as to better minister the Word of God to him and prepare.  In doing so, I wanted to share some thoughts with you on various issues and Scriptures addressed in these debates.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive critique of every debate and every Scripture appealed to etc…  Nor are these articles designed to pressure Michael Brown into responding to these articles.  I realize he is very busy and I am thankful for his willingness to debate me over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.  Perhaps over time and in the future he can address some of these other texts and issues as time permits.

The Brown v. White debate over God’s sovereignty can be viewed on YouTube here

Matthew 23:37-39 Brown v. James White – Arminianism and Second Coming Issues

Arminianism portrays and interprets Matthew 23:37 as it being Jesus’ will to save the vast majority within Jerusalem, but because of their free will and rejection, He simply could not pull it off.  Some within Dispensationalism also claim that Jesus wanted to save the majority in Israel and establish His kingdom on earth at His first coming, but again due to unbelief, He couldn’t and had to resort to “plan b” (the cross).  But somehow we are to be assured that man’s “free will” and rejection of Christ will not be a problem for God’s will when He comes a second time, when the vast majority within Jerusalem allegedly will cry out with their free will at that time in repentance, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

The context

Matthew 23:37-39 is a part of the entire teaching and context beginning in v. 1.  Jesus is pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (vss. 1-12).  Then Jesus begins pronouncing 7 judgmental “woes” upon them in vss. 13-39.  It is important to note Jesus’ emotional disposition is that of righteous anger at the Pharisees, and not Him weeping over the fact that He simply cannot accomplish His will to save the majority among Jerusalem.

Israel’s sin of blood guilt (whereby she killed the righteous among them throughout her history) was “filling up” from the time of Cain’s killing of righteous Abel, to those NT prophets and teachers Jesus would send to them – of which they too would persecute and kill (from AD 30 – AD 66 – vss. 32-34, cf. Matt. 10:17-23).  In vss. 35-36, 38 Jesus makes it abundantly clear that the time of judgment for all their bloodshed would fall upon them/their “this generation” – when their “house”/temple would be left desolate in AD 70.  This particular “this generation” was prophesied by Moses in Deuteronomy to experience her “end” (Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:20-40).  At this time the righteous remnant among Israel (the “Israel within Israel” trusting in Messiah) along with the believing Gentiles would “rejoice” for God judging OC Israel’s sin of blood guilt and bringing her to this end (Deut. 32:43).

Matthew 23:37 

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

First, this verse leading into vss. 38-39 is apart of Jesus’ 7th and last judgment “woe” began in v. 29.  Again, Jesus’ disposition is that of righteous anger not Him weeping because His will is being thwarted because the majority within Jerusalem would not believe in Him.

Secondly, in the context of this chapter, “Jerusalem” should be identified as the “Pharisees” who sought not to let others enter the kingdom v. 14.  And the “children” would include some of those that they sought to lay heavy burdens upon v. 4.

Thirdly, “gathering” here is the Messianic new exodus gathering predicted by the prophets (ex. Isa. 11:10-12).  Some Jews during Jesus’ day saw this new exodus being another 40 years generation or transitionary period between the OC “this age” of the law and prophets, and the NC or Messianic “age to come” based upon Psalm 90:15 and other texts.  This is the inspired time frame of Jesus and the rest of the NT writers.  There is an “already and not yet” aspect to this gathering which falls within Jesus’ “this generation” prophecy.

The “already” aspect of it can be said to have begun with the preaching of the gospel by Jesus in the gospels (and Pentecost and beyond) by which He was gathering the first fruits into His kingdom.  According to Paul and Peter, this is God gathering Jew and Gentile into one spiritual New Man or Temple.

The “not yet” aspect of this Messianic gathering and the blowing of the trumpet at His Second Coming to close the end of the OC age in AD 70 would be the full harvest when He gathered all of His elect within that generation and caused them to inherit the kingdom.  Both the “already” and “not yet” aspects to this Messianic judgment and gathering are said to take place within Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” or at the end of His Old Covenant “this age” (Matt. 13:29-43; 23:36; 24:30-34).

In respect to the “already” – this gathering involved Jesus gathering “the children” to hear His preaching.  The leadership or Pharisees / “Jerusalem” sought to hinder this process or “would not” allow it (that is to the best of their abilities).  John 9-10 is probably a good commentary here on this concept.  The blind man is healed but his family is scared because the Pharisees had begun persecuting anyone who believed in Jesus – by kicking them out of the synagoue 9:22. Jesus goes on to depict the Pharisees here as the truly “blind” ones and then in chapter 10 as “thieves” “robbers” and “hired hands” while He is the faithful Shepherd gathering His sheep (such a the blind man healed in chapter 9) into safety and green pastures.  He also goes on to affirm that none of His sheep the Father gives Him (by name in election) would fail to come to Him in faith and would not perish (cf. chapter 10).  This refutes the Arminian and Brown’s twisting of Matthew 23:37.

God sovereignly foreordained and used the persecutions of the Pharisees to kill His Son and persecute the early church.  Why?  Because this was His prophetic and ordained will and method of establishing His kingdom – not a means by which it got postponed or God’s will get’s frustrated in saving all He ordains to come to Him.

Before leaving this subject of Jewish persecution and a coming judgment, Paul addresses this problem as well in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 where the Jews were persecuting Christians and seeking to hinder the preaching of the gospel.  He also expected the eschatological “not yet” first century “wrath” and “trouble” to come upon those first century Jews (in their lifetimes) – this being consistent with the teachings of John the Baptist and Jesus elsewhere (cf. Matt. 3:7-12GNT; Lk. 21:20-32; 2 Thess. 1:5-7).

Matthew 23:38-39

“Look, your house is left to you desolate.  For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

First, Jesus’ phrase “For I tell you” or “verily, verily I say unto you,” is always a linking phrase of emphasis to drive home the point of His teaching that has just gone before.  So the “coming” of v. 39 begins with connecting what follows with the judgment in AD 70 – ie. when “your house/temple is left to you desolate” v. 38.  Therefore, this is not some 2,000 and counting years “coming” of Christ that is designed to save the vast majority of Israel in our future.

Secondly, the exegete needs to examine the context of that OT text Jesus is quoting from and see what event He has identified with it elsewhere in His teachings.  Jesus is quoting and applying Psalm 118:26 here in Matthew 23:39 to Him coming in judgment upon Jerusalem and her  temple in AD 70.  This is consistent with how Jesus has used Psalm 118 elsewhere.  In Matthew 21:42-45 Jesus references Psalm 118:22 to prove He is the Cornerstone by which the Pharisees would stumble over – and thus be judged.  This was the time when the kingdom would be taken from them and given to another nation bearing its fruits.  Consistent with Jesus, Peter uses Psalm 118 to refer to a coming salvation and judgment that was “ready” and “at hand” in his day (1 Peter 1:5-12—2:4-10–4:5-7).

Therefore, the burden of proof is upon the futurist such as Brown to demonstrate that Jesus is using Psalm 118 in a completely different way – ie. referring to a 2,000+ years distant future context – ie. for Jerusalem’s mass salvation, and not her imminent judgment in AD 70.  Brown despises what he calls “replacement theology,” and yet when all the law and prophets were fulfilled by AD 70 (Lk. 21:20-22), the OC kingdom was “taken” and “given” to the Jew/Gentile Church in its spiritual/transformed/matured form.  When the OC kingdom is “taken” from Israel after the flesh is when the OC “vanished” and the Jew/Gentile Church inherited the spiritual and heavenly New Jersalem/City (Heb. 8:13; 13:14YLT).

Thirdly, Psalm 118:26 was commonly known as “The Song of Ascent.” The Song of Ascent was supposed to be a song of joy and salvation that the Jews would sing on the walls of Jerusalem welcoming the pilgrims for her feast days.  But God made Christ a Cornerstone or Rock by which Israel “stumbled” producing a “strange work” (Isa. 28:21 – ie. God would come to judge them – and not their enemies).  Instead of being met and welcoming pilgrims for the feasts, they were met with and forced to welcome – God coming in judgment through the Roman armies (as God had “come” in the OT – through the Assyrians, Babylonians, etc…).[1]    That the Jews would not “discern what their end would be” was predicted in yet another song – the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:29).

Again, Jesus’ disposition is that of righteous anger and thus He is using irony in appealing to a song that was typically used of salvation and peace, to be a song sung welcoming her enemies for her judgment!  The Jews were bottled up in Jerusalem in AD 66 – AD 70 deceiving themselves into thinking that God was going to save them from the Romans and usher in the kingdom in fulfillment of OT prophecies (the very mentality that Jesus warned about concerning the coming false prophets in Matt. 24).

James White’s Eschatology in Matthew 23:39—Matthew 24

James White is a Calvinist as I am.  Therefore, he correctly identifies “Jerusalem” as the Pharisees and the “children” to be the common Jew, and defends that God’s purpose in our text is not thwarted by man’s “free will.”  However, here is where I take issue with him when it comes to Matthew 23 moving into Matthew 24 when eschatology is in view.

First, Matthew 23-25 forms and involves three very familiar Hebraic prophetic structures: inclusio, chiam and recapitulation which revolve around Jesus’ coming in judgment upon OC Jerusalem in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation”:
A. Prediction of persecution coming and vindication [judgment of living and dead] at Christ’s coming in “this generation” (Mt. 23:29-36, 39).
       B. Prediction of Temple’s destruction being at Second Coming. The
       time or sign will be during the Feasts – when Song of Ascent is sung
       (Mt. 23:38-39).
       B. Disciples understanding the prediction of the Temple’s destruction
       will be at Second Coming. Time and signs more thoroughly covered
       (Mt. 24:1-3; 4-15, 30-31).
A. Prediction of persecution coming and vindication [judgment of the living and the dead] at Christ’s coming in “this generation” (Mt. 24:9-10, 30-34). This SAME coming and judgment is then recapitulated again in Matthew 24:36–25:46.
Reformed theologian John Murray correctly pointed out the OD is laid out in a common and prophetic recapitulation format:
“The [OD – Matthew 24], as to structure, is recapitulatory…” “It is not, therefore, continuously progressive. We are repeatedly brought to the advent and informed of its various features, concomitants, and consequences (vss. 14, 29-31, 37-41; 25:31-46).” (John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2: Systematic Theology, [Banner of Truth Pub., 1977] 398).
Inclusio – Is when the author begins and ends a discourse with a very important, specific, phrase, subject matter, or trigger (Mt. 23 “verily I say unto you this generation” –> Mt. 24 “verily I say unto you this generation”). The phrase “very I say unto you” is always used for emphasis and connects what has gone before.
Chiasm – A chiasm is a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and/or emphasis. “An example of chiastic structure would be two ideas, A and B, together with variants A’ and B’, being presented as A,B,B’,A’. Alternative names[citation needed] include ring structure, because the opening and closing ‘A’ can be viewed as completing a circle, palistrophe, or symmetric structure. It may be regarded as chiasmus scaled up from clauses to larger units of text.”
Recapitulation – An act or instance of summarizing and restating the main points of something: “his recapitulation of the argument.” Often times prophecy is written in this circular or recapitulatory manner – the same judgment is described differently (bowls, seals, trumpets & the same coming of Christ differently [as Ancient of Days, on a horse,] etc…) with the good or bad characters described differently, the battle scene depicted differently etc… (as in the book of Revelation).
The climatic question that was begging in the minds of the disciples is that they wanted to know more specifically when and what signs Jesus might give concerning his coming to vindicate the persecutions coming and the blood of the martyrs, destroy the city and temple within their generation. Jesus had already given a subtle sign of Him coming during one of the feasts when they would be singing the Son of Ascent on the walls (Mt. 23:38-39/Ps. 118). And they already understood He would come in judgment to close their OC age (cf. Mt. 13:39-51). They were not “confused” to associate His coming with the destruction of the temple and the end of their OC age. They knew it would take place in their lifetimes (cf. Mt. 10:17-23; Mt. 16:27-28) and generation (Mt. 23:36-39), they just wanted more clarity when Jesus brings up the Temple and it’s destruction again in Matthew 24 and Jesus gave it to them. The climatic and concluding answer given by Jesus to the disciples as to when all of these things would take place was “this generation” (Mt. 24:34). This closes the inclusio of His “this generation” which was begun in Matthew 23.
Matthew 23-25 involves ONE Second Coming event to close the OC age in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.” The discourse has NOTHING to do with a literal bodily coming of Jesus to close world history. The recapitulation structure of the OD dismantles the division theories of futurists and even that of Postmillennial Partial Preterists. Selah. The coming of Christ in Matthew 23:38-39–24:27-31 is the Second Coming. The “gathering” (Mt. 24:30-31) is the rising of the dead (of all the dead) that takes place at the end of the age already discussed in Matthew 13:36-43/Daniel 12:1-4 and is not a post AD 70 Great Commission “gathering.” It is the end result of the harvest G.C. that ends at the end of the OC age Matthew 24:14/Cols. 1:5-6, 23. And the coming judgment in Matthew 25:30-46 is not a progressive one post AD 70 during a post AD 70 G.C., but rather the coming judgment in AD 70 that closes the OC age at which time the dead and Satan (Rms. 16:20) would be judged. There have been clever eisegetical inventions by Partial Preterists to keep them “creedal” while not making a division, but even these fall short of the structure and time frame Jesus gives in the discourse.

White’s Admission on Matthew 23

Secondly, in White’s sermons on Matthew 24, he tries to give the context by beginning in Matthew 23:38-39 and applies this “coming” of Christ to be His coming in judgment in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 when her “house” was made “desolate” in that AD 70 “this generation.”  Great!

Thirdly, then he goes on to make several exegetical errors in Matthew 24 whereby the disciples and Jesus accurately connect the desolation of the SAME house/temple in AD 70, with the SAME pre-AD 70 persecution, with the SAME contemporary “coming,” to all be fulfilled within the SAME AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” as found in Matthew 23:29-39!  And yet White ignores all this unity and heads into Matthew 24 only providing us with the London Baptist 1689 futurist assumptions and traditions with assertions that the disciples were “confused” – offering no sound exegetical work.

Fourthly, White’s interpretation of Christ coming in the AD 70 judgment found in Matthew 23:36-39 begs the question as to why this is not the same coming of Christ found in Matthew 24?  White’s position also begs the question as to if Christ was going to come in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” judgment, why wouldn’t the NT’s testimony of a “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand,” “shortly,” “in a very little while,” (written as that very generation was ending) be that very AD 70 “this generation” coming judgment that he gives Matthew 23:36-39?!?  I why not address that a  host of Reformed commentators have taken NT imminence to follow Jesus’ teaching here in Matthew 23-24?!?  No wonder White “dreads” teaching on Matthew 24 and will not debate the passage with me or other Full Preterists.  Selah.

I have done a full critique of White’s series on Matthew 24 and his failure to address Matthew 16:27-28; Matthew 24:27-34; and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 in his debate with Shabir Ally.  I refer the reader to that 4 part series.[2]

And lastly, here are a series of problems for White and Brown when it comes to Jesus’ teaching on an imminent “this generation” coming of Christ and wrath upon the Jews in Matthew 23-24 and how Paul follows His Master’s teaching expecting Christ to return in the same time frame to render wrath upon those Jewish persecutors and instigators (cf. Acts 17).

Matthew 23-24 & 1 Thessalonians 1:10—2:14-16 Parallels

Matthew 23-24 1  Thessalonians 1:10—2:14-16—2 Thess. 1:5-10
1).  Prediction of coming persecution & suffering 1).  Present persecution & suffering
2).  The Jews killed the prophets 2).  The Jews killed Jesus & the prophets
3).  Jesus pronounces “woes” upon the Jews 3).  Paul says the Jews are not pleasing to God
4).  Sought to hinder the “gathering” and salvation of the “children” 4).  Sought to hinder the preaching of the gospel so that others might be saved.
5). They were “filling up the measure of their sin” 5)  Paul says the Jews were “filling up the measure of their sins”
6).  Christ was going to come from heaven to deliver Christians and render wrath and judgment upon that first century Jewish audience and upon their Temple. 6).  Christ was going to come from heaven to deliver Christians and render wrath and judgment upon that first century Jewish audience.
7).  This coming of Christ and wrath would take place within their “this generation.” 7).  The Thessalonians “eagerly expected” Christ to come in their lifetimes and render “wrath” upon those that were persecuting them.

Most of the Jewish persecutors and instigators of the Thessalonians would no doubt have traveled to Jerusalem for the feasts leading up to AD 67.  And no doubt many Thessalonians that were Christian Jews attended the feasts and fellowshipped with the Church at Jerusalem during this same time period.  The Christians fled the city and the coming “wrath” when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies (per Jesus’ instructions).  The persecuting Jews listened to the false prophets seeking refuge within the city only to experience God unleash His wrath upon them (experiencing the “woes”/curses of Matt. 23-24).  For their time of “filling up the measure of sin” (the sin of blood guilt) against God, His Church and the first century prophets He had sent to them (that they had killed) – had come to the uttermost.

The Thessalonian Gentile Christians who did not travel to Jerusalem were obviously safe and delivered from this wrath.  The Thessalonian Jewish Christians that may not have traveled to Jerusalem (and fled to Pella), would be providentially protected from Rome’s wrath.  Rome did persecute Jews throughout the Roman Empire that sympathized with their Jewish brothers in their rebellion against Roman in Jerusalem.  Although slandered at times, the Christian Jews throughout the Roman Empire were known for being a peaceful people obeying a King who’s kingdom was “not of this world” and was not advanced by the sword.  Jews that persecuted the Christian Thessalonians that didn’t travel to Jerusalem for the feasts would be hunted down by Rome.  We know that at least 50 thousand died in one day in Egypt.

Michael Brown

 Sovereignty of God issues – Can God’s “at hand” Kingdom Plans Get “Postponed”?

Dr. Brown has tried to use Matthew 23:37 to disprove Calvinism in his debate with James White.  As we will see later, God is sovereign and wills the persecution and even death of His own Son and the prophets at the hands of His enemies and Satan himself.

White successfully argued that God’s exhaustive foreknowledge requires foreordination of all things and that if Brown conceded that God knows all things exhaustively (as he did), this will lead him back to Calvinism or into consistent Arminianism – ie. Open Theism.  Brown didn’t seem to understand this, which led me to a few possibilities.  Either Brown wasn’t a very knowledgeable Calvinist many years ago, he was playing dumb, or he really didn’t see the connections.  Either way, let me quote a former Calvinist (like Brown) that does understand the force of this argument and that has logically went over into Open Theism.  Clark Pinnock writes,

“Finally, I had to rethink the divine omniscience and reluctantly ask whether we ought to think of it as an exhaustive foreknowledge of everything that will ever happen, as even most Arminians do.  I found I could not shake off the intuition that such a total omniscience would necessarily mean that everything we will ever choose in the future will have been already spelled out in the divine knowledge register, and consequently the belief that we have truly significant choices to make would seem to be mistaken.  I knew the Calvinist argument that exhaustive foreknowledge was tantamount to predestination because it implies the fixity of all things from “eternity past,” and I could not shake off its logical force.”[3]

Thus Pinnock consistently and yet heretically concludes,

“Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God.”[4]

And connecting this to eschatology Pinnock writes,

“Peter gives us a nice illustration of this when he explains the delay of Christ’s return as being due to God’s desire to see more sinners saved—God actually postponing the near return of Christ for their sakes (2 Peter 3:9).”[5]

Of course this begs the question – If God doesn’t know the future completely (in order to keep man’s will truly “free”) and His genuinely “at hand” predictions can be frustrated by the will/rejection of man, then how can we ever be assured that the promise of Jesus’ Second Coming will ever be fulfilled (per Arminian and Open Theism)?!?  And for the Arminian Dispensationalist – if God had to resort to “plan b” and “postpone” the kingdom because the majority of Jews did not believe in their Messiah, how can anyone guarantee that men’s “free will” in the future will not once again frustrate His kingdom plans.  Oddly, a “Reformed” theologian actually tried using this very “argument” (Arminian/Open Theist/Dispensationalist) against Full Preterism and it was published by a respected Reformed Publisher, P&R.  Just another example at how desperate futurists (even Reformed ones) are to throw anything and everything at Full Preterism – hoping that something will stick.

The Surety of Messiah’s Kingdom Plans – First and Second Comings

Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree:The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Ps.2, cf. Act 2- 4).

 “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.”(Ps. 89:34-35)

“Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,'” (Isa. 46:10) 

“He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” And “Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isa. 42:4,9)

“And in the days of these kings (The Roman Empire) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Dan. 2:44)

And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Dan. 4:34-35

“because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead’” (Acts 17:31).  

“While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly”. (Rom. 5:6)

“But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4)  

as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephs.1:10-11)

In Brown’s debate with Sam Waldron over the charismata, Waldron asked Brown if the prophets could ever be in error?  Brown responded, “that is debatable.”  In Brown’s book Authentic Fire, pp. 385-386 he offers an appendix by Sam Storm in which the position is taken that NT prophets such as Agagus (cf. Acts 21) may make mistakes or not hear clearly from the Holy Spirit – in the same way modern Charismatics have.  This of course is a deplorable treatment of the passage but a necessary inference to make since Charismatics such as Mike Bickle are admitting that 4 out of 5 or 80% of their prophecies do not come to pass or are them simply talking to themselves.

Since we are going down this horrific road, why wouldn’t Brown and other Charismatics think it is equally “debatable” if statements such as Peter’s “the end of all things is at hand” was inspired/infallible or its “debatable”?  Maybe Peter was mistaken and didn’t hear from the Holy Spirit correctly either?  I remember at The Master’s College our professor asked a Mormon apologist to come to one of our classes to be challenged.  The first question many in the class challenged him with was that Joseph Smith was a “false prophet” and the Mormon religion a false religion because Smith (and other “elders” and “prophets” of the LDS) taught that Jesus would return in their lifetimes and in their generation.  The Mormon smiled and said, “If I accept that as true, then you too need to proclaim Jesus and the NT prophets to be false, because they taught His return to be in some of their lifetimes and in their generation.”  You could have heard a pin drop!  They quickly moved on to other subjects – lol.  I had just become a Full Preterist and had dinner with him that night at his house and demonstrated from the Scriptures that both he and my class were in error and that Christ and the NT writers were in fact accurate in placing the Second Coming to take place in their lifetimes and in their generation to bring an end to the OC age in AD 70.  My Mormon friend/opponent confessed he had never heard this nor hand an argument against my view – praise God.  He enjoyed videoing his responses to my class, but I can assure you, he was thankful our conversation was not available to the public.

2 Peter 3:9

In the Brown v. White debate Brown appealed to 2 Peter 3:9 claiming that man’s alleged free will can frustrate even God’s will to save the human race.  Brown acknowledge that Peter is using bulimia – the strongest word in the Greek language to communicate the determinative will.  However, this passage is very clear that God was not willing (Greek Bulimia) that His elect (in context, the “beloved” Jewish and gentile) “any” and “all” should perish. Peter’s theology is consistent–God would not delay or be slow nor was His decretive will to save and judge sinners in an “at hand” “ready” “be saved from this crooked and perverse generation” time frame–to be “postponed” (1 Peter 1:5; 4:5-7; Acts 2:20-40)!  Everything was going as planned and decreed by God!  The fact that God is outside of time (v. 8) guarantees that the promises He makes to man within time (using language man can understand – “at hand,” “soon,” “quickly,” “shortly,” “about to be,” – as these were literally understood in the OT), will take place as and when He says they will!

Peter goes on to say that God’s long-suffering was “salvation.” None of God’s elect that He had sovereignly foreordained unto eternal life and given the gift of faith “perished” or were “appointed to wrath” in the fall of Jerusalem during AD 66 – AD 70 nor would they be thrown into the lake of fire at death.  This is in stark contrast to Brown’s view which even startled one of the moderators in his debate with White over the atonement when he conceded that one can be “born again,” become “un-born again” and this process can go on hundreds or thousands of times within the life of the “believer”?!?  Brown conceded this was a “problem” for his view, but it is not a small one – it is the difference between teaching a salvation by grace and one of works.  I have to seriously wonder if White was still thinking this was an “in house debate” after this was acknowledged?  I too try and error on the side of being gracious, but that statement startled everyone.

Conclusion

Like many Arminians, I don’t think Brown has completely thought through the implications of teaching that God’s will (prophetic purpose and plans) get’s thwarted by man’s alleged “free will.”

God’s purpose has always been to save a remnant among Israel and not save the vast majority of Jews.  Therefore, it is this false presupposition being read into the text (and others Romans 11) along with not following sound hermeneutics which leads Brown astray in his “already and not yet” Arminian soteriology and Futurist eschatology here in Matthew 23:37-39.

In part 2 we will look at the Brown v. Gary DeMar debate and Brown v. Preston debate examining Ezekiel 36; Luke 21:24 and Romans 11.  Once again we will see Brown reading his “Jewish” “Zionist” Premillennial Futurist presuppositions into these passages.  We will also examine DeMar’s poor showing and his inability to address Brown’s appeals to a literal land – trying instead to substitute it with a literal earth Postmillennial promise.  Stay tuned.

[1]  Don K. Preston, Matthew 23:39 Song of Ascent, http://fullpreterism.com/matthew-2339-the-song-of-ascent/

[2] Part 1 – Debate Challenge and Response to:  James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – Matt. 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1 http://fullpreterism.com/james-whites-embarrassing-failure-to-address-matthew-1627-28-matthew-24-and-1-thessalonians-416-17-in-his-debate-with-shabir-ally-and-my-public-challenge-to-debate-shabir-ally-james-whit/

Part 2 – Debate Challenge and Response to: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – “Time/Hour of the End” = “End of the Age” Resurrection (Dan. 12=Matt. 13=Luke 20:27-40=Matt. 24:30-31, 36=John 4-5) All Fulfilled In AD 70 http://fullpreterism.com/debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-sam-shamoun-and-anthony-rogers-part-2-the-end-of-the-age-matthew-13-matthew-24/

Part 3a. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun – All The Signs, Abomination That Causes Desolation, Tribulation, Times Of The Gentiles – “In Fulfillment Of All That Has Been Written” (Matt. 24:1-25/Luke 21:20-24) http://fullpreterism.com/part-3-a-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-matthew-241-25/

Part 3b. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, And Anthony Rogers – The Coming Of The Son Of Man (Matt. 24:27—-25:31) Fulfilled By Ad 70 http://fullpreterism.com/part-3b-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-sam-shamoun-and-anthony-rogers-the-coming-of-the-son-of-man-matt-2427-2531-fulfilled-by-ad-70/

Part 3c. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun, Shabir Ally: Matthew 24-25 “This Generation” And Division Theories Refutedhttp://fullpreterism.com/part-3c-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-shabir-ally-matthew-24-25-this-generation-and-division-theories-refuted/

Part 4 – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun And Shabir Ally (1 Thess. 4:16-17 & Acts 1:9-11) http://fullpreterism.com/part-4-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-and-shabir-alley-1-thess-416-17-and-acts-19-11/

[3] Clark H. Pinnock, A Case for Arminianism THE GRACE OF GOD THE WILL OF MAN, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan Publication, 1989), 25.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., 20.

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