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WHEN A “REFORMED” HYPER-CREEDALIST CALLS ME A “HERETIC” I ASK HIM OR HER THE FOLLOWING EXEGETICAL AND REFORMED QUESTIONS…

(The research contained in this article is documented in my chapter and in our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?)

I have been a full preterist and a 5 point Calvinist for over 25 years and it never ceases to amaze me when some of my Reformed or Sovereign Grace brethren call me a “heretic” for holding to my eschatological position.  It is argued that since full preterism cannot be found in the creeds, church fathers, and or the Reformed tradition my position must not even have a hearing.  As I argue in this article, full preterism can be found in the Reformed tradition of the church and is the organic development (“Reformed and always reforming”)  of the classic amillennial position and the partial preterist position.  As I will demonstrate either these positions form a “contradiction” as (“Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther) within Reformed eschatology or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming”) — there is no middle ground here.  In fact as one can see below the full preterist actually embraces MORE of Reformed eschatology or covenant theology than the isolated partial preterist postmillennialist or the isolated classic amillennialists because he combines the two together into one non-contradictory system.   

When a “Reformed” Hyper-Creedalist calls me a “heretic” I ask him or her the following Reformed questions…

Matthew 24-25

Is it…:

a. …my Reformed view that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 is the Second Coming event which brings about the judgment and resurrection of the dead that makes me a heretic? (classic amillennial view).

b. …my Reformed view that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 took place spiritually in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” (ie. in AD 70) which makes me a heretic? (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the one Second Coming, de-creation, resurrection and judgment of the dead in Matthew 24-25 is one eschatological event which does not have multiple fulfillments which causes me to be a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that the prophetic events in Matthew 24-25 cannot be double fulfilled or have multiple fulfillments beyond AD 70 which makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Is it…:

*  …my Reformed view that Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 develops the eschatology for the rest of the NT which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view & partial preterist view).

*  …my Reformed view that John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view & partial preterist view).  To which we now turn to and address…

Matthew 24-25 / Revelation

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ in the book of Revelation is the Second Coming event that brings about the judgment and resurrection of the dead which makes me a heretic? (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ in the book of Revelation took place in an “at hand,” “shortly,” “quickly,” “about to,” time frame which brought about the judgment of the dead spiritually in AD 70 that makes me a heretic? (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the judgment and resurrection depicted in Revelation 20 has already been recapitulated in the previous chapters which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that Revelation chapters 1-19, 21-22 were fulfilled in AD 70 that makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Is it…:

*  …my Reformed view that the imminent coming of Christ in the book of Revelation ends the millennium of Revelation 20 which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view & partial preterist view).

*  …my Reformed view that a thousand years does not have to mean a long period of time which makes me a heretic?  (a amillennial view).

*  …my Reformed view that Daniel was raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom according to Daniel 12:2, 13 and Revelation 20 to inherit the kingdom and eternal life which makes me a “heretic?” (partial preterist view).

*  …my Reformed view that the “first heavens and first earth” was the old covenant world and the “new heaven and a new earth” correspond to the new covenant world which came down from heaven to earth in an AD 70 “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to” time frame that makes me a heretic?  Is it my Reformed view that this passing of “heaven and earth” is equivalent to the passing of the Temple and or old covenant age in Matthew 24:3, 35 which makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist view).

*  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ, judgment and resurrection of the dead and de-creation/new creation in the book of Revelation cannot have double or multiple fulfillments which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

*  …my Reformed view that AD 70 fulfillments in the book of Revelation cannot have double or multiple fulfillments beyond AD 70 which makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist view).

Matthew 24-25 / Pauline Eschatology

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the Second Coming of Christ and resurrection in Matthew 24:30-31 (cf. Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3) which takes place at the end of the age (and has no multiple fulfillments) – and is the same coming of Christ/trumpet blown and resurrection as is described in Pauline eschatology (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17/1 Corinthians 15) which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 and the resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually and corporately at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 which makes me a heretic? (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ, salvation, glory to be revealed, restoration of creation, and redemption of the body in Romans 8:18-23; 11:26-27; 13:11-12; is the same eschatological event as described by Jesus in Matthew 24-25 or Luke 21 which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ, salvation, glory, liberation of creation, adoption of the son’s of God, and redemption of the body were “about to be revealed” in AD 70 (Romans 8:18-23 YLT; 11:26-27; 13:11-12) which makes me a heretic?  Perhaps my view that the “creation” and “decay” in Romans 8 has nothing to do with the planet earth but rather with the hearts and souls of men which makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Matthew 24-25 / Acts

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25  and Acts 1:11 is Christ’s Second Coming whereby He judges the quick and the dead which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that the analogy of Scripture teaches us that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 and Acts 1:11 was fulfilled in AD 70 (partial preterist view).  Maybe my agreement with Young’s Literal Translation of an AD 70 “about to be” time frame for the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Acts 17:31 YLT and Acts 24:15 YLT is what makes me a heretic?

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Matthew 24-25 / Peter’s Eschatology

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ in Peter’s Epistles is the same coming of Christ as is depicted in Matthew 24-25 which makes me a heretic?  Or perhaps my Reformed view that the “elements” and de-creation and arrival of the new creation in 2 Peter 3 and Matthew 24:29, 35 (arrival of new implied) are the same events (that cannot have multiple fulfillments) which makes me a heretic?

b.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 and 2 Peter 3 along with the passing of the old covenant world/age and the arrival of the new covenant world/age was fulfilled in AD 70 which makes me a “heretic?” (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that “the judgment” of the living and dead in 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 is the same judgment which takes place at the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24—25:31-46 (that cannot have multiple fulfillments) which makes me a heretic? (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that Christ came and judged the living and dead in an AD 70 “at hand” and “this generation” time frame according to 1 Peter 4:5-7 and Matthew 24:34, 25:31ff. which makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Matthew 24-25 / Hebrews 

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ or His “Second Appearing” at the end of the age in Hebrews 9:26-28—10:25-37 is the same Second Coming and end of the age event described by Jesus in Matthew 24-25 (that cannot have multiple fulfillments) which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that the coming of Christ in Hebrews 9:26-28—10:25-37 and Matthew 24-25 took place in AD 70 at the end of the old covenant age which makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the “better resurrection” of (Hebrews 11:35-39-40) takes place when the “in a very little while” “Second Appearing” of Christ ends the age (Hebrews 9:26-28—10:25-37) (that cannot have multiple fulfillments) which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view & partial preterist view).

b.  …my Reformed view that the “in a very little while” “Second Appearing” of Christ ended the old covenant age in AD 70 (thus fulfilling the “better resurrection”) that makes me a heretic?  (partial preterism).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Last Days

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view that the NT’s use of the “last/latter days” is a period of time from Christ’s first to Second Coming to end the age and to judge and raise the dead which makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view that the NT’s use of the “last/latter days” is a period of time from Christ’s first to Second Coming to end the old covenant age (ie. roughly from AD 30 – AD 70) and to judge and raise the dead in AD 70 which makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Judgment and Resurrection of the Dead

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view which teaches there is only ONE general judgment and resurrection of the dead — both of the righteous and unrighteous (Daniel 12:1-4, 13; Matthew 13:39-43; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20) which takes place at the end of the age and cannot have double or multiple fulfillments that causes one to call me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view).

b.  …my Reformed view which teaches that there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead – both of the righteous and unrighteous (Daniel 12:1-4, 13; Matthew 13:39-43; Revelation 20) which took place at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70.  This judgment and resurrection was:

1. Corporate & covenantal – new covenant Israel being raised from the carcass or grave of old covenant Israel in AD 70.

2.  Progressive – a spiritual process that corresponded to the preaching of the gospel from roughly AD 30 – AD 70.

3.  Involved the souls – of people being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom to inherit the kingdom and eternal life in AD 70.

Is believing that this Reformed AD 30 – AD 70 view of the judgment and resurrection of the dead that makes me a heretic? (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” (1-3) above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

Is it…:

a.  …my Reformed view whereby Jesus taught that the general judgment and resurrection would take place when “this age” gave way to the “age to come” (Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3; Luke 20:34-35) that makes me a heretic?  (classic amillennial view)

b.  …my Reformed view that Jesus’ “this age” is the old covenant age which gave way to the “age to come” – being the new covenant age in (Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3; Luke 20:34-35) arriving in AD 70  – that makes me a heretic?  (partial preterist view).

Either “a” and “b” above form a contradiction (as “Popes and councils have contradicted each other” in the past – Martin Luther), or they form full preterism (“Reformed and always reforming“).  Which is it?

If “a” and “b” are true, then “c” (full preterism) is true.  If not why not?

I could go on and on with this and use plenty of other Scriptures, but I think this has been sufficient to prove my point.

Conclusion:

It shouldn’t surprise us that often times the Reformed classic amillennial camp condemns the postmillennial partial preterist camp as “heretics” and or uses other harsh statements — and vice versa.  Is it possible that full preterists can also agree with each of these camps when they criticize each other?

Is it…

a.  …my Reformed view and agreement with the classic amillennialists that the partial preterist view is in error and offers a “skewed interpretation” on eschatology because the NT only teaches ONE “THE parousia” or Second Coming of Christ, attended by ONE judgment and resurrection of the dead, and ONE arrival of the New Creation at the end of ONE “end of the age” which makes me a heretic?

b.  …my Reformed view and agreement with the partial preterist that the classic amillennial view comes very close to denying the inspiration and integrity of the Scriptures when they disregard the plain and straightforward AD 70 imminence which saturates the NT that makes me a heretic?  Perhaps it is my agreement with partial preterists that many amillennialists are treating the NT time texts in a similar way than some liberals have (“in a sense the Second Coming is ‘always near'”) which makes me a heretic?

  • I do not believe any “Reformed” Christian has the exegetical or historical right to call me a heretic for believing and affirming these Reformed views on eschatology which actually form full preterism – not condemning it!
  • My Reformed view is that the reformed creeds can be in error and are subject to change in light of Scripture as they themselves affirm.  I just demonstrated and proved in what areas they need to be changed.
  • My Reformed views on “Sola Scriptura” or “Reformed and always reforming” are Biblical and historical.
  • My Reformed and Biblical challenge to Reformed eschatology as a whole (classic amillennialism and partial preterism) to “always be ready” to “defend” and or sit down and discuss these issues should be honored.  I am requesting a hearing at any Reformed Bible College or Seminary that has the courage and humility to do it.

Objection “If full preterism is true, then why can’t we find this teaching anywhere in the early church fathers?  Did the Holy Spirit fail the Church for 2,000 years before full preterism came along?”

Answer – Since the important doctrine of forensic justification was not found anywhere in the early church fathers prior to Luther, does this mean the Holy Spirit failed the Church for 1,500 years?  Was John Eck and the Roman Catholic Church justified to condemn Luther and his teachings based upon this kind of thinking that the “Reformed” Hyper-Creedalists are now using against their own brethren?!?

One Reformed writer addressing one of the Reformation’s battle cries, “Reformed and always reforming” correctly states,

“In hermeneutical and exegetical practice “Reformed” folk today have regressed to the security, comfort, complacency, naïveté, false humility, ignorance and laze of the Dark Ages—blindly following their own confessions and catechisms, now ironically immune to further biblical reform, searching the Scriptures only to contrive new ways to defend the doctrines spoon-fed them by the “great Reformers.” To them it is unimaginable that their sixteenth-century heroes could have been substantially wrong on anything (save, perhaps, on blatant snafus such as the pope being Antichrist). To be sure, if today’s Reformed scholars and churchgoers (who take pride in tradition-acquiescence rather than in the hard work of reading Scripture themselves in any serious, self-critical way) had lived in Luther’s and Calvin’s day, there may be little doubt they would ironically have been on the side of Rome—condemning the Reformers for their innovative departures from the “tried and true traditions of the church.”  (M. Allan Eby, Requiem for a Reformation, http://secundum-verbum-dei.blogspot.com/2012/10/requiem-for-reforma…).  Special thanks to David Green and Michael Bennett for posting Eby’s comments on their lists.

Reformers are indeed condemning themselves.  Full preterism is not new as this article demonstrates at every point!  The Reformed Church (through the classic amillennial and partial preterist views) has been teaching the premises and doctrine of full preterism this entire time.  Just because full preterists are uniting and putting the two together (systematically or in a non-contradictory form “Reformed and always reforming”) does not warrant excommunication of its members – rather these men and women ought to be honored for their desire to follow God’s Word at any cost and be peace makers and bridge builders among the Reformed brethren.  Selah.

“In the minds of those who coined it, the phrase semper reformanda emblematized the conviction that the church must continually reexamine itself in light of Scripture in order to maintain (and where necessary, recover) its purity of belief and practice. The Reformers themselves, of course, were mindful of the fact that they, like popes and councils, could err. Indeed they (like popes and councils) often contradicted one another at points and openly welcomed correction, so long as it came plainly reasoned from Scripture. They recognized that their newfound biblical re-readings were an ongoing work in-progress, and that further progress toward truth could only come via close and repeated inductive examination of Scripture. They called their followers to be “Bereans” with them (Acts 17:11). This humble approach was beautifully captured on April 18, 1521 at the Diet of Worms, where Luther’s corpus—indeed his very life—was on the line.

Luther:  “When Christ stood before Annas, he said, ‘Produce witnesses.’ If our Lord, who could not err, made this demand, why may not a worm like me ask to be convicted of error from the prophets and the Gospels? If I am shown my error, I will be the first to throw my books into the fire. . . .”

Johann Eck:  “Martin, . . . . Your plea to be heard from Scripture is the one always made by heretics. You do nothing but renew the errors of Wyclif and Hus. How will the Jews, how will the Turks, exult to hear Christians discussing whether they have been wrong all these years! Martin, how can you assume that you are the only one to understand the sense of Scripture? Would you put your judgment above that of so many famous men and claim that you know more than they all? You have no right to call into question the most holy orthodox faith, instituted by Christ the perfect lawgiver, proclaimed throughout the world by the apostles, sealed by the red blood of the martyrs, confirmed by the sacred councils, defined by the Church in which all our fathers believed until death and gave to us as an inheritance, and which now we are forbidden by the pope and the emperor to discuss lest there be no end of debate. I ask you, Martin—answer candidly and without horns—do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors which they contain?”

Luther:  “Since then Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me! Amen.”” (Ibid., Eby).

“…I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason…” that full preterism is true and have therefore sought to peacefully “bridge the gap” between the classic amillennial view and the partial preterist view which without full preterism “…have contradicted each other…”  as have “…the authority of popes and councils…” in the past.  As we wrote in our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology —  “And lastly, we are grateful to the Partial Preterist and Amillennial theologians of the historic Reformed church, on whose shoulders we stand, and through whom God has led us, and so many others, to the biblical view of Full Preterism.”

I rest my case.  Selah.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAFnbkEwqjI

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