Cross-Examining the Critics of Preterism

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Edward Hassertt

A Response To Kenneth Gentry

When addressing the scholars of the Reformed community, care must be taken to get our facts, logic, and scripture correct. Unfortunately, those scholars do not take the same careful approach in dealing with Preterist Theology or the people involved. These scholars play loose with the facts, use logical fallacies, special pleading, and personal attacks. What is even more disturbing is their pointed criticism of the “difference” in theology shown by preterists when even those organized to argue against it (e.g., the contributing authors in Mathison’s book) cannot agree on the interpretation or application of the key eschatological texts of Holy Scripture. Despite the overwhelming fact that they cannot agree on the most simple aspect of their own eschatology, these glass-house dwellers try to dispel their own disunity by casting stones at those trying to be biblically consistent with their theology and hermeneutic. If internal confusion and hasty attack were sound argumentative techniques, the responses to preterism would be daunting. As it is, however, they represent nothing more than a loud, shrill, persistent (but not ultimately significant nor convincing) critique of preterist theology.

As an introduction to the type of criticism being leveled against biblical preterism I will first deal specifically with the introduction to the Keith A. Mathison edited book, “When Shall These Things Be”, penned by R.C. Sproul, Jr. I will follow with a thorough cross-examination of the testimony offered in the chapter authored by Kenneth Gentry. In the end the evidence will show a consistent misrepresentation of the preterist position and its adherents. It will also demonstrate that the criticism is unfounded being precariously founded on ill-formed arguments and attempts to impugn preterist through constant repetition of guilt by association claims. The attack on preterists for using improper hermeneutic and argumentative tactics fails due to lack of evidence with regard to either charge. Without showing any preterist who uses the techniques they condemn, there mere assertion proves nothing. With regard to the argumentative techniques they criticize it is quite telling that Dr. Gentry often uses the same tactics he previously condemned. This inconsistency in the facts and the form of their arguments should be enough to give any reasonable reader pause. In my case it invokes a need for a deeper investigations into what they are attempting to prove. But such a deeper look, only reveals a dependence on history unsupportable from scripture, with little else to back it but the traditions of men. When we cross-examine the testimony of these men against preterism we form more than a reasonable doubt that their claims are true, we find their evidence insufficient to even form a prima facie case against preterists and preterist theology.

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