SHOULD KENNETH GENTRY, GARY DEMAR, AND KEITH MATHISON'S PROGRESSIVE PARTIAL PRETERISM BE JUDGED BY THE SAME MEASURE THAT THEY HAVE JUDGED PROGRESSIVE DISPENSATIONALISTS? A “FITTING” RESPONSE IS REQUESTED


In 1989 Greg Bahnsen, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar and Gary North produced House Divided the Break-up of Dispensational Theology which sought to answer their dispensational critics when it came to theonomy and their eschatology – postmillennial partial preterism.   Gary DeMar suggested the title of the book and its apologetic strategy was to “reformulate” Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 12:25 into this,
“…Any theological position divided against itself is laid waste; and dispensationalism divided against itself shall not stand.”[1]
Gentry points out the division between more progressive dispensationalists such as Feinberg who would see the kingdom as present within the church age in an “already not yet” “spiritual” sense, verses old school dispensationalists such as Ice who believes:  1.  Jesus did not set up His kingdom with His first coming, 2.  The present age is not the kingdom age, 3.  The kingdom will only come at Christ’s Second Coming, are no small problems.  It is correctly pointed out that  since a distinction between the Church and Israel is foundational to the dispensational system promises made to Israel cannot be applied or fulfilled in the Church age.  If it is agreed that they do, then the system falls apart or crumbles from within.
In Appendix A THEOLOGICAL SCHIZOPHRENIA Gary DeMar quotes MacArthur – in which he admitted a hardline doctrinal distinction between say the church and Israel and or the church and the kingdom “has wreaked havoc on dispensatinalist theology…”  and correctly responded,
“Drawing a “hard line” between Israel and the church is fundamental to dispensationalism.  Once these “hard lines” go, the entire system is in jeopardy of collapsing.”[2]
DeMar also thought it would be “fitting” to demonstrate how the authors that endorsed House and Ice’s book actually at some points contradicted it and even their own writings at times:
“There is a great amount of theological schizophrenia from Charles W. Colson, Norman L. Geisler, John McArthur Jr., and Hal Lindsey.  Since these men endorse Dominion Theology, I thought it would be fitting to evaluate their views in the light of the book they are endorsing.  Some of these men seem to even disagree with what they themselves have written, while others disagree with House and Ice and traditional dispensationalism, the supporting theological position used to evaluate Christian Reconstruction.  The disagreements are not minor as we will see.  Moreover, House and Ice seem to have abandoned the essential distinctives of their system, doctrines that make dispensationalism different from historic premillennialism.”[3]
Shortly after Ice’s book came out Hal Lindsey also began attacking the views of theonomic postmillennial partial preterism.  In Appendix B Gary accused Hal Lindsey of “fraudulent” “scholarship” when he didn’t give credit to others for research etc…  He also accused Lindsey of making “Greek Errors” and “Faulty Arguments.”  He accuses Lindsey of giving a
“…mean-spirited analysis of Reconstructionism.  He is even less successful than House and Ice in his assault.  In all honesty it seems that the dispensational critiques of Reconstructionist theology are degenerating to ever new lows.  They have gone from bad (House and Ice) to worse (Hunt) to worst (Lindsey).”[4]
From beginning to end the attitude is that Reconstructionist theology and partial preterist postmillennial eschatology is gaining influence in dispensational circles.  Dispensationalism cannot give a consistent and exegetical defense of its system or refute postmillennial preterism and  therefore, Reconstructionists have won the debate while their opponents “Divided House” crumbles at their feet.  If dispensationalists cannot answer the postmillennial partial preterist responses, then in essence dispensationalism has lost the debate.

In 2003 dispensationalists produce a multi-authored book, THE END TIMES CONTROVERSY THE SECOND COMING UNDER ATTACK edited by Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice.  Apparently Ice and McArthur didn’t get the “House Divided” message that Gentry and DeMar were sending them because they both contributed chapters in this book.  In this book we learn that the over 100 time texts in the NT allegedly mean that whenever Christ decides to return – it will take place very quickly at that point (ETC, 102ff.) – not that the actual eschatological events themselves would take place “soon,” “shortly,” “at hand,” or in an “about to,” time frame.  Ice admits that Jesus’ use of “generation” everywhere else means his contemporaries except in one place (Matthew 24:34) – how convenient.  And in another work McArthur claims that preterists have to resort to using a hyper “wooden literalism” when interpreting Jesus’ words “this generation.”  Amazingly the hyper-literalists who won’t interpret words in their natural way or how they are used throughout the Bible are charging us with using a “wooden literalism” hermeneutic?!?   You just can’t make this stuff up folks!
Another amazing claim is that preterists believe what they do because they have known no better and therefore haven’t been exposed to dispensationalism or the “other side of the argument” (ETC, 7).  This of course is just another false statement to go along with the false exegesis in the book.  I have been both a partial preterist (for 1 year) and a full preterist (for 25 years) and like me, most of these people have come out of dispensationalism having already heard that “side of the story.”
This work acknowledged that both partial and full preterism are growing eschatological movements that need to be answered.  The premise of ETC seemed to be to echo what full preterism has been saying for years now – in that covenant theology/eschatology as a whole throughout church history has offered an interpretive system (coupled with the rise of the progressive partial preterist hermeneutic) – that has formed and continues to pave the way for full preterism to rise and thrive on an exegetical level.

A year later in 2004, Reformed theology as a whole (amillennialists and postmillennial partial preterists) decided to perhaps challenge these dispensational claims that their views do not lead to full preterism and that they could in fact give a “shoulder to shoulder” united refutation of  full preterism.  As we will see shortly that was a failed attempt and myth.  And if dispensationalism as an eschatological movement is a “House Divided,” then these seven conflicted Reformed authors were even more of a “House Divided…”:

In 2009 (and then a second and expanded edition in 2014) Calvinists and full preterists David Green, Edward Hassertt and I responded to this “Reformed response.”  In my chapter, I demonstrated that either classic amillennialism and partial preterism  lead us to a contradiction, or it forms full preterism.  The days of Reformed students having to choose between:  1)  trying to honor 90% of the imminent time texts (partial preterism) in the NT and or 2)  choose between the analogy of scripture (classic amillennialism) in that the NT only teaches one Second Coming/The parousia attended by one judgment and resurrection of the living and dead — has come to an end.  A third Reformed view has emerged (“Reformed and always reforming”) which honors all of the NT time texts while at the same time honoring the analogy of Scripture.
Mathison’s chapter was utterly confusing and didn’t even really defend his own partial preterism.  In one book he “knows” what “this generation” (Matthew 24:34) means, but when trying to refute full preterism and pacify his amillennialists, he simply could only tell the reader that there were several (wrong) options to choose from.  And as far as their “unity” (without embracing full preterism), that too needed to be challenged:
“This problem is alive and well today, as Mathison’s multi-authored book demonstrates.  Mathison uses wild understatement when he says of the authors of WSTTB:  “ . . . [T]he contributors to this volume do not completely agree in their interpretation of every eschatological text” (155).  The fact is that all seven of the contributors to Mathison’s volume do not agree at all on any (or at least virtually any) eschatological doctrine except the doctrine “that the second coming of Jesus Christ, the general resurrection, and the Last Judgment are yet to come” (155). Mathison can call that “shoulder-to-shoulder” agreement, but it is not impressive.  Agreement on only a few points out of a myriad merely indicates that those few points are wrong.
It is more than difficult to understand how the authors of WSTTB can portray their historical positions as unified when between their two systems (partial preterism and amillennialism) two contradictory propositions emerge:
“1)     “Partial Preterism – Imminence and fulfillment are accepted.  Christ appeared a second time at the end of the old covenant age.  There was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal judgment and resurrection of the living and dead which was attended by a passing of the old creation and arrival of the new in AD 70 (Dan. 12:1-4; Matt. 5:17-18; 13:39-43, 24-25; Acts 1:11; Rom. 8:18; 13:11-12; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28;[5] 10:37; 1 Peter 4:5-7; 2 Peter 3; Rev. 1-22).
2)     Classic Amillennialism – The New Testament teaches only one future coming of Christ, general judgment, and resurrection of the living and dead attended by the restoration of creation at the end of the age.
How can these things be indeed? The only way both of these propositions can be true at the same time is if full preterism is true.
Amillennialism is correct that there is only one future coming of Christ in the New Testament.  And partial preterism is correct that the future coming of Christ in the New Testament was fulfilled in AD 70. Thus “orthodoxy” teaches us that the one Second Coming of 1 Thessalonians 4-5 is the same coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25, and that it was fulfilled in AD 70. But since futurism errs on the nature of the resurrection, assuming it is biological and at the end of time, futurists are forced into an either/or dillema, when the truth is both/and.
I think one can see the problem that the authors of WSTTB are sweeping under the rug when they speak of their “shoulder-to-shoulder” unity.  The choice is simple. Either one continues propagating the myth that these two propositions within the futurist paradigm do not lead to a contradiction, or one accepts the organic development of full preterism which unites them.”[6]
Since partial preterist exegesis and admissions on very important eschatological texts would point the reader in the direction of full preterism, Kenneth Gentry and Doug Wilson were assigned to regurgitate Roman Catholic creedal and church history type arguments in their chapters.  And the only other partial preterist in the book  – Keith Mathison tried to address the imminent time texts in the NT but didn’t want to come to any definite conclusions:
“In Keith Mathison’s chapter we learn that understanding the eschatological imminence that saturates the pages of the New Testament is a “difficult problem” (178, 204).  We learn that it is so difficult in fact, that there are perhaps an average of five to eight “possible” interpretations for any given imminence text.
After noting that Jesus “suggest[ed]” in Matthew 16:27-28 that the coming of the Son of Man would take place “within the lifetime of His hearers” (176), and after noting that Matthew 10:23; 16:27-28; 24-25 “seems to portray the coming of the Son of Man as something that would occur soon after the words were spoken” (178), Mathison concludes that there is nothing in the New Testament “that even remotely suggests hyper-preterism.”  He further concludes that preterism contradicts the most basic teachings of Jesus and the apostles (205, 213).
Earlier however, in his Editor’s Introduction, Mathison warned that preterists “have presented a significant challenge to orthodox Christian doctrine, and it cannot be ignored” (xviii).  So then, Jesus predicted that His coming would take place within the lifetime of His hearers, but yet nothing in the New Testament even remotely suggests preterism, but yet preterism is a significant challenge to orthodox Christian doctrine. You figure it out.”[7]
As I document in chapter four of House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? — there are many more doctrinal agreements between progressive partial preterists and full preterists than they want to share with the public in this debate:

Full Preterists

Partial Preterists

A.D. 70

At the end of history

A.D.   70

At the end of history

NT use of “last days” from old   covenant to new AD 30 –   AD 70 only – not end of Christian age

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

“This age” = old covenant age “age to   come” = new   covenant age transformed in AD 70

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

United Matt. 24-25 one parousia in AD   70

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

Resurrection and judgment of living  and dead between AD 30 – AD 70

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Glorification in Rom. 8:18-23YLT  “about to be revealed”

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

2 Peter 3 fulfilled

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

“All Israel” in Rom. 11:26 saved

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

Acts 1:11

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

Hebrews 9:26-28 Second Appearing of Christ at end of the age

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 “rapture”

Yes

No

Yes

Yes & No

Perhaps the most significant change is that DeMar and American Vision authors and associates have oddly enough stolen the full preterist view of the judgment and resurrection of the living and dead and are now accepting that this was a progressive, corporate, covenantal, process between AD 30 – AD 70 resulting in the souls of the righteous being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit the kingdom and eternal life (see HD, 89-95, 178).

Progressive Dispensationalism & Progressive Partial Preterism

Mathison (like DeMar and Gentry) does not like how progressive dispensationalists have operated in that they have not been exactly honest with the implications of their system:
“The church suffers far too much damage when people do not identify what they really believe.  For the sake of accuracy, honesty, and understanding, “progressive dispensationalists” should no longer claim to be dispensational.  Traditional dispensationalists would likely concur.  Do most dispensational laymen realize that the “dispensationalism” now taught in their seminaries is not the dispensationalism they know?  As much as I prefer to see Reformed theology taught in these seminaries, if someone is going to teach nondispensationalism in a dispensational seminary, students and donors should at least be aware of the fact.  It is not enough to redefine the essential doctrines out of a system and call the resulting opposite teaching “progressive.”[8]
And,
“Even its own proponents disagree on what that position is because it is in a constant state of flux.  To arrive at a consistent position they either must return to traditional dispensationalism, become historical premillennialists, or become Reformed.  My hope and prayer is that they continue their journey toward Reformed theology.”[9]
We too are calling for more “honesty” when it comes to progressive partial preterists and it is my hope and prayer that they continue their journey toward full preterism.
“Progressive” On:  The Coming of the Son of Man
I would consider Mathison to some degree a progressive partial preterist in that he no longer divides Matthew 24-25 up into two different comings of Christ (one in AD 70 Matthew 24:1-34 and the Second Coming at the end of history in Matthew 24:35—chapter 25).  He now believes that the coming of the Son of Man in both chapters refers to AD 70 (as does DeMar).  What reformed creed or major church father taught this?
“Progressive” On:  The Last/Latter Days
As I document in my chapter of HD, Gary DeMar and even Joel McDurmon at American Vision take the NT’s use of the “last or latter days” to be a reference from Christ’s first coming to His parousia in AD 70 to end the old covenant age, and is not a term descriptive of Christ’s Second Coming to end world history.
“Progressive On:  “This age” (old covenant age) and “Age to come” (new covenant age)
Progressive partial preterists such as American Vision’s Joel McDurmon are not exactly creedal when they interpret the parable of the wheat and tares to be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant “this age” (cf. Matthew 13:39-43).  Even American Vision’s Gary North (Joel’s father-in-law) has written,
“Anyone who equates the fulfillment of [the parable of the wheat and tares] with A.D. 70 has broken with the historic faith of the church.” (see HD, 91, n. 27 & 28).
DeMar publishes McDurmon and has a co-author (Peter Leithart) who has also gone into print taking a preterist view of the parable of the wheat and tares claiming it was fulfilled in AD 70 and is not descriptive of the end of history.  The Reformed and creedal understanding of the NT’s use of “this age” is the current Christian age and the “age to come” is the eternal state ushered in at Christ’s Second Coming.
“Progressive” On:  The Judgment and Resurrection of the Living and Dead
Kenneth Gentry should now be considered a “progressive partial preterist” in this area along with James Jordan whom both claim there was a progressive, covenantal, corporate judgment and resurrection of dead between AD 30 – AD 70 in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 which resulted in souls being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit the kingdom and eternal life.  Where in the Reformed creeds and confessions of the church has this been taught?  How many times must Daniel be raised from the dead?
In Joel McDurmon’s debate with Don Preston, on virtually every main NT resurrection text Preston boxed him into, Joel conceded that there may be an AD 70 resurrection fulfillment but we await a literal and fuller fulfillment at the end of history.  What reformed creed or confession (or mainstream theologian for that matter) is teaching double or multiple fulfillments of such passages as Matthew 13:39-43; John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15; Revelation 20?
If it is true that men like MacArthur have crossed “hard lines” between the church and Israel which cause their systems to fall apart and logically leads more to covenant theology, then it is also true that Partial preterists that used to hold these “hard lines” with a division in Matthew 24, a creedal understanding of “this age” and the “age to come,” and that the bible only teaches one resurrection and judgment of the dead – have crossed “hard lines” which likewise have caused their system to fall apart and which logically and exegetically leads to full preterism.
Where are these men getting these views?!?  This leads me to my next point.

“Fraudulent” and “Sloppy Scholarship”

Now remember DeMar charged Hal Lindsey of “Fraud” when he pretended to do his own research when in fact he was using others.  If the above “progressive” doctrines being taught by partial preterists cannot be found in the Reformed creeds and confessions of the church and are not considered to be within the “historic church” (North), then where might Mathison, Gentry, DeMar, McDurmon, Leithart etc… be getting them from if not from the full preterist movement?!?  Gentry realizes that a part of the move for progressive dispensationalists moving further away from old school dispensationalism, is the outside pressure they have gotten from Reformed theology.  And yet Gentry pretends he and Jordan came up with an AD 30 – AD 70 judgment and resurrection of the living and dead doctrine all by themselves – amazing arrogance, sloppy scholarship, and very “fraudulent” in my opinion.

“State of Flux”

Remember Mathison charged progressive dispensationalists as being in an identity crises of sorts – not really dispensational but not Reformed either.  How is he and these other progressive partial preterists any less in a “state of flux” when it comes to surrendering all of these key eschatological texts and doctrines to full preterism???
Ken Talbot is on the board of American Vision and has been secretly working on what he has called “Realized Preterism.”  Apparently it is so top secret that it has never been realized yet.  Perhaps some of it came from one of his confused disciples Sam Frost.  Sam for a while under Talbot didn’t know if the NT was teaching two or one parousias of Christ.  He even suggested at one point, that the parousia in 1 Corinthians 15 could have been fulfilled in AD 70, but that it awaits a fuller/manifestation of fulfillment at the end of history (perhaps similar to what progressive partial preterist Mike Bull has been teaching on this as well).  He also took mello in Acts 24:15 YLT and Romans 8:18 YLT as “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 as well – apparently trying this double or multiple fulfillment/manifestation concept on Romans 8:18 but then backing out of it in Acts 24:15.
Obviously these men are in no place to try and take the speck out of progressive  dispensationalist’s eyes and call for “consistency” when in fact they are no more in a “state of flux” and confusion than they are!  They are in no place to be giving exhortations on “honesty” either.

Gary DeMar & “Fitting Questions” From Full Preterists

Gary DeMar has been critical of WSTTB? and didn’t think the Reformed authors did a very good job of refuting full preterism.  Of course we agree.  Perhaps Gary can explain to us how he might think American Vision’s Joel McDurmon hid any better when he has conceded to us that there “could” have been an AD 70 judgment and resurrection of the dead in major NT texts (John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15; Revleation 20)?
Or perhaps Gary thinks his publication of Sam Frost’s little pamphlet did any better?  Remember I quoted Gary earlier in this article stating that it was only “fitting” of those authors that endorsed Dominion Blessing or Curse? to respond to his questions.  I made reference to him in our book and since he published and endorsed Sam’s pamphlet and we have refuted that pamphlet in the second edition of HD in an appendix section – it is only “fitting” that DeMar respond.
My Questions:
HD pages 89-94:
1. Does Gary DeMar agree with the writings and implications of Gentry, Jordan, and McDurmon that the resurrection and judgment of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled between AD 30 – AD 70 to close the old covenant age in Matthew 13:39-43?
a. Does he continue to “cherry-pick” the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as a future fulfillment while giving the other “all these things” an AD 70 fulfillment (Dan. 12:7)?  Or would he continue to “cherry-pick” it as Gentry does giving it a double type fulfillment while not giving the Tribulation and other events multiple fulfillments?  Was Daniel raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades in AD 70?  If so, how many times does the NT teach that Daniel must be raised to inherit the kingdom and eternal life?
HD page 114:
2. If the coming of the Son of man in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70, then how many NT eschatological weddings are there?  Has DeMar adopted two eschatological weddings at this point to match his two comings, two Great Commissions, two de-creations/new creations, and two judgments and resurrections of the living and dead — doctrines?  If one thought dispensationalism’s hermeneutic is seeing double in the NT, the progressive partial preterists have definitely out done them at this point.
HD 120-121, 128:
3. Gary if the “glory was about to be revealed” in Romans 8:18 YLT was fulfilled in AD 70, then contextually doesn’t that also mean the liberation of creation and the redemption of the body was as well (vss. 18-23)? Wouldn’t that be in agreement with your views of Romans 13:11-12 and that the resurrection and salvation for “all Israel” in Romans 11 was fulfilled in AD 70?  Do you agree with John Lightfoot’s view that the “creation” “groaning” and it’s “decay” is not addressing the planet earth but people only?
HD 112-116:
4. Gary do you agree with Gentry that Paul’s source for eschatology in 1 and 2 Thessalonians is Matthew 24-25?  If so, why stop all of the parallels between 1 and 2 Thessalonians when it comes to 1 Thess. 4:15-17=Matt. 24:30-31? If there was a coming of Christ and resurrection for the dead in AD 70 (per AV), then why can’t this passage be that coming and resurrection?
HD, 128-133:
5. Gary since you have a problem with a full preterist view of the millennium, please engage in my 7 points summary which proves our view is exegetical, historical, and reformed.  Prove the eschatological judgment and resurrection as depicted in Revelation 20 would not “shortly” be fulfilled or that they have not been recapitulated earlier (the amillennial and full preterist views) in chapters you say were fulfilled in AD 70.
6.  You have stated that you do not desire to share a platform with those that “don’t come across very well.”  Yet you have published and have shared a platform with Sam Frost and Jason Bradfield whom have literally cursed us “f____ you,” called us “filth,” “goats,” “heretics,” “nut jobs,” “morons,” etc…  You have claimed in the past that Hal Lindsey has given you a “mean-spirited” response.  Do you think these are “mean-spirited?”  We do, but we are patient and have not stopped responding to these individuals with Scripture – “always being ready” and “answering fools according to their folly lest they be wise in their own eyes.”  You seem to never be ready to respond to full preterism — 25+ years and counting?
7.  What areas of Dave’s chapter on the resurrection and or his exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 would you agree with and or disagree with and why?
Appendix:
Is there ANY argument that you agree with when it comes to the content of Sam Frost’s booklet that you published?  Did he persuade you that you have fallen prey to a “full preterist scheme” by taking the NT’s use of “the last/latter days” to be from AD 30 – AD 70?  Would Van Til agree with Sam’s Gordon Clark type “logical” “infinity” argument and consider it biblical or reformed?
Then there is the issue that Gary gives lip service to being open to hearing and responding to full preterism.  Gary wrote or said the following:
“The big debate among preterists is how far does preterism go? Is all prophecy fulfilled? Full preterists say yes. Partial preterists say no. In between there is a lot of work yet to be done on specific passages. The tendency of full preterists is to fit everything into an A.D. 70 matrix. They do this with 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18, 1 Corinthians 15, and Revelation 20. A similar approach is followed with a number of Old Testament prophecies (e.g., Ezek 38–39 and Zech 12). I am willing to listen to their arguments since preterism in its present form is only now coming to its own as we shake off the dust of dispensationalism that has so distorted our interpretation of prophecy. I am willing to cut those full preterists some slack who are attempting to do real exegetical work. Many partial preterists are not willing to do this. To my mind, this approach is counterproductive. Honest analysis of the Bible is required. I want to be challenged by the best arguments possible, whether they come from full preterists or dispensationalists. I refuse to adopt a position because I’ve been told to do so. To quote Posey from The Dirty Dozen, “I don’t like being pushed.””
So instead of Gary “listening”/reading our “real exegetical work” on say 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 or 1 Corinthians 15 in HD, Gary instead hastily publishes a little anti-full preterist booklet of which most of the “arguments” (I’m guessing) he would disagree with.  Makes perfect sense to me – huh???
David Green has also asked DeMar these questions on Facebook (Gary has joined the pretcosmos FB group) and he has yet to respond to them.
David Green’s Questions: 
[Since Talbot is on American Vision’s board] Do you agree with Ken Talbot’s doctrine that unbelievers should be executed if they don’t repent after three chances? [Who would constitute “heretics” to be executed – Sabbath breakers such as McDurmon?  Baptists who wouldn’t baptize their children?] Also, do you agree with Ken Talbot’s Nestorianism and Adoptionism?
And do you also agree with Ken Talbot’s view (which is taught in American Vision’s booklet “Why I Left Full Preterism”), that the Earth cannot abide forever in time because God is unable to fully know an ever-increasing kingdom?
And do you agree with the view that is taught in American Vision’s booklet, “Why I Left Full Preterism,” that “the Last Days” are actually “the afterward aeons”?
And do you agree with Dr. Talbot’s Docetism (which is taught in American Visions’ booklet, “Why I Left Full Preterism”), i.e., the doctrine that physical death (both that of the believer and of Jesus) is in “appearance” only (an illusion)?
And do you agree with Dr. Talbot’s doctrine (which is taught in American Visions’ booklet, “Why I Left Full Preterism”), that Abraham will be resurrected to inherit physical real estate, and even the stars, in fulfillment of “the land promise” given to Abraham?
And do you agree with the False Witness statement in American Vision’s booklet, “Why I Left Full Preterism,” that the doctrine of the past Second Coming and Judgment was invented in the 1970’s by Max King? (page 1)
From American Vision’s booklet, “Why I Left Full Preterism”:
[Begin quote] “Idealism, futurism, preterism, historicism, and dispensationalism. . . . all agree on four points:
1. Christ will return bodily . . .
2. at the end of time and history . . .
3. and raise our bodies . . .
4. and bring full judgment to all
. . . Christian history is unified on these essential matters.” [End quote] My response:
This is proof that the author of “Why I Left Full Preterism” wrote it while watching “Dancing With The Stars,” and that American Vision rushed it to print before proofing it, and that Ken Gentry endorsed it after doing little more than skimming over it, and that Keith Mathison probably read nothing more than the Table of Contents before endorsing it.
Christian history is *NOT* “unified” on the four points listed above.
* Premillennialists/Dispensationalists do NOT “agree” that Christ’s Second Coming will be “at the end of time and history.”
* Premillennialists/Dispensationalists do NOT “agree” that Christ’s Second Coming will be to resurrect “all” men who will ever live.
* Premillennialists/Dispensationalists do NOT “agree” that Christ’s Second Coming will be to bring full judgment to “all” men.
Premillenialists/Dispensationalists say that Christ’s Second Coming will be for the purpose of setting up an earthly, millennial reign of Jesus in the flesh –a full thousand years BEFORE the Final Resurrection and Final Judgment and “end of time.”
Keith Mathison, who –incredibly– endorsed “Why I Left Full Preterism,” actually made these very observations himself, in his book, “Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope” (pages 32-33)! 🙂
I don’t know what is more tragic: Sam Frost’s error-riddled and sin-riddled booklet (a.k.a., “Why I Sold My Soul”), or the partial preterists who made the titanic mistake of endorsing it.
And Gary, do you agree with this False Witness statement that is found in American Vision’s booklet, “Why I Sold My Soul” (page 3)? ” . . . [M]any . . . followers [of full preterism] are taught how to infiltrate the church.”
And do you see any problem with this glaring, self-defeating contradiction in American Vision’s booklet, “Why I Sold My Soul”?
Pages 19-20:
“[Full preterism] attempts to align itself as much as possible with [futurists], even claiming that it actually says, basically, the same thing as them.”
Page 42:
“[Full preterists] have the Old Testament saints transferred from Hades to Heaven [which is what full preterists call the Resurrection of the Dead]. That’s not really an issue, since a good deal of early church fathers held to that as well.”
do you agree with the False Witness statement in American Vision’s “Why I Sold My Soul,” that full preterists don’t believe in any concept of gradual fulfillment?
And do you agree with the statement in American Vision’s “Why I Sold My Soul,” that Adam and Eve hid because they were afraid that God was going to physically kill them (pg. 57), even though the Bible explicitly says they hid because they were naked? Thank you, Gary.
I have asked Keith Mathison if he agreed with R.C. Sproul’s comments that we quoted in HD about infinity or the booklet he hastily endorsed and he too was not available for comment.  Why is it any less “fitting” that you and Mathison not respond to a book you endorse, and yet you feel justified in requesting answers from your critics?

Conclusion:

  • Progressive dispensationalists and progressive partial preterists need to be more “honest” and “consistent” in where their views and exegesis are heading.  To quote DeMar, “Once these “hard lines” go (ex. no division in Matthew 24-25 and now teaching that the judgment and resurrection of the living and dead took place at end of old covenant age in AD 70 [Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:1-4, 13/Revelation 20]), the entire system is in jeopardy of collapsing.” They will continue to send their readers to full preterism no matter how they try and re-package their views “Realized Preterism” etc….
  • Progressive partial preterists need to give credit to full preterism for developing the AD 30 – AD 70 corporate, covenantal, progressive, judgment and resurrection of the living and dead view and stop pretending that they came up with it on their own and or pretend that the change is not a result of outward pressure from full preterism.
  • According to the reasoning of Gary North and that of DeMar, the authors of WSTTB? should respond to our response and it is only now “fitting” that DeMar, Gentry, and Mathison respond to our refutation of a hastily written and read booklet that they have endorsed and published through American Vision.  If no response can be given, then we have won the debate – right Gary North?

According to DeMar’s reasoning when it comes to his critics, I would have to conclude that the “House Divided” critics of full preterism at this point, “have gone from bad (LaHaye, Ice, MacArthur) to worse (WSTTB? Mathison, Gentry, Strimple, etc…) to worst (American Vision – McDurmon & Frost).”  Well, maybe the truth is that they all contain the “worst” possible unbiblical and illogical “arguments” against full preterism imaginable.  But all Gary DeMar says he will do thus far is sit on the sidelines and “watch.”  You can’t make this stuff up folks – sad but true.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAFnbkEwqjI



[1] Greg Bahnsen, Kenneth Gentry, HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UP OF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY, (Tyler, TX:  1989), 350
[2] Ibid., 366.
[3] Ibid. 349.
[4] Ibid., 379.
[5] This should have been footnoted on page 139 of my chapter in reference to Hebrews 9:26-28 but it got deleted for some reason in the editing process.  The admission here is from Milton Terry, “The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.” Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.
[6] David Green, Edward Hassertt, Michael Sullivan, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Ramona, CA:  Vision Publishing 2014, Second Edition), 139-140
[7] Ibid., House Divided, 5-6.
[8]   Keith A. Mathison, DISPENSATIONALISM RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE PEOPLE OF GOD?  (Phillipsburg, NJ:  1995), 136-137
[9] Ibid., 137

A FULL PRETERIST RESPONSE TO GARY DEMAR'S ARTICLE "ANTI-POSTMILLENNIALIST MAKES WEAK CASE" – ARE POSTMILLENNIALISTS WINNING THE DEBATE ON ESCHATOLOGY WHEN THEY STEAL OUR AD 30 – AD 70 JUDGMENT AND RESURRECTION OF THE LIVING AND DEAD VIEW?!?

I have been a full preterist now for well over 20 years and have been following Gary DeMar and American Vision’s (AV) writings the entire time.  And there is nothing more upsetting to me than to watch DeMar and AV make these kind of claims:

  • DeMar and his postmillennial partial preterist colleagues are allegedly winning the debate on eschatology.
  • Full preterism is “heretical” but won’t accept that according to the bible and reformed theology their theonomic postmillennialism should be considered “heretical” and a “Jewish dream.”
  • No one (including amillennialists or full preterists) apparently do any exegetical work except what Gary or AV is producing on bible prophecy (and or their postmillennial partial preterist affiliates), paralleling Matthew 24-25 with other NT eschatological texts.
  • Gary continues to deny that his teachings and that of AV are leading people to full preterism.

In this article I want to challenge these claims while also interacting with DeMar’s recent response to amillennialist David Engelsma, Anti-Postmillennialist Makes Weak Case.[1] Unfortunately I’m not sure either Engelsma nor DeMar are prepared to accept that full preterism is the organic development of both of their views or is the “x factor” so to speak which bridges the gap between their conflict, but I can at least throw it out there for them and the public to weigh in on.  But since full preterism bridges the gap between Engelsma’s amillennialism and Gary’s postmillennial partial preterism, full preterism is the view which is winning the debate over eschatology and will continue to do so.  Now let’s counter Gary’s claims and provide the evidence that we are winning the historical and exegetical debate.
Is Gary DeMar and American Vision “winning the prophecy debate”?!?  Do their views lead to full preterism?
Gary writes,
“Over the weekend I spoke at a conference on postmillennialism in Torrance, California, on the topic, “Evidence that Postmillennialists are Winning the Prophecy Debate.”[2]
Let’s review a little bit on full preterism being present in this debate.  In 1998 partial preterist R.C. Sproul produced the following chart trying to make a definite distinction between partial and full preterism:[3]

Full Preterists

Partial Preterists

A.D. 70

At the end of history

A.D. 70

At the end of history

Coming   (parousia) of Christ

Yes

No

Yes

yes

Resurrection   and rapture

Yes

No

No

yes

Day   of the Lord

Yes

No

Yes

yes

Judgment

Yes

No

Yes

yes

The problem with Sproul’s chart is that it demonstrates a lack of knowledge on what some partial preterists have taught (past and present) and is very outdated not showing all of the ground that men like Gary DeMar have given to full preterism.  As I document in chapter four of House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? — is that there are many more doctrinal agreements between progressive partial preterists and full preterists than they want to share with the public in this debate:

Full Preterists

Partial Preterists

A.D. 70

At the end of history

A.D.   70

At the end of history

NT use of “last days” from old   covenant to new AD 30 – AD 70 only – not end of Christian age

Yes

No

yes[4]

yes & no

“This age” = old covenant age “age to   come” = new covenant age transformed in AD 70

Yes

No

yes[5]

yes & no

United Matt. 24-25 one parousia in AD   70

Yes

No

yes[6]

yes & no

Resurrection and judgment of living   and dead between AD 30 – AD 70

Yes

No

yes[7]

yes

Glorification in Rom. 8:18-23 YLT   “about to be revealed”

Yes

No

yes[8]

yes & no

2 Peter 3 fulfilled

Yes

No

yes[9]

yes & no

“All Israel” in Rom. 11:26 saved

Yes

No

yes[10]

yes & no

Acts 1:11

Yes

No

yes[11]

yes & no

Hebrews 9:26-28 Second Appearing of   Christ at end of the age

Yes

No

yes[12]

yes & no

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 “rapture”

Yes

No

yes[13]

yes & no

Perhaps the most significant change is that DeMar and American Vision authors and associates have oddly enough stolen the full preterist view of the judgment and resurrection of the living and dead and are now accepting that this was a progressive, corporate, covenantal, process between AD 30 – AD 70 resulting in the souls of the righteous being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit the kingdom and eternal life.[14]
Now I have charged that Gary and AV have “stolen” full preterist views without giving credit where credit is due.  So let me continue applying the measure in which Gary has judged others eschatology and writings with that of his and AV.  In HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UP OF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY pages 367-370, DeMar makes Hal Lindsey look stupid and charges him as being “fraudulent” with his “sloppy scholarship” charging that he stole what he wrote from others and didn’t do his own research (pp.367-370).

Well since Gary North (AV) has written this:  “Anyone who equates the fulfillment of [the parable of the wheat and tares] with A.D. 70 has broken with the historic faith of the church”  and  DeMar publishes McDurmon and has a co-author (Peter Leithart) who has also gone into print taking a preterist view of this passage ——-WHERE DID THEY COME UP WITH IT, IF IT CANNOT BE FOUND WITHIN “…THE HISTORIC FAITH OF THE CHURCH?!?”  Did they not get it from full preterism and were they afraid to cite their references and or research because it would once again demonstrate how DeMar and AV writings lead their readers to full preterism (something they continue to blindly deny)?

DeMar also publishes James Jordan’s commentary on Daniel.  Will Gary please provide one early church father, creed, or confession which takes the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4, 13/Revelation 20 as fulfilled in AD 70 – in any way?  Where can the view which states Daniel’s soul was raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 be found within church history — if not within full preterism??? 

*  Now isn’t it amazing how I have been after Gary DeMar for over 20 years (as others have) on Daniel 12:2-3/Matthew 13:39-43 asking questions which he  couldn’t and wouldn’t answer —– and yet now our views are showing up in books HE PUBLISHES.  Wow the pure arrogance.  And he wants to charge others as being “fraudulent,” and not citing where they get their research and views from?!?
So I think any objective reader can see how DeMar (and partial preterism in general) is not only losing the debate with full preterists, they are in fact needing to steal some of our views to try and work out the consistent implications of what the NT teaches on imminence.  Giving so much ground and crucial eschatological texts to us doesn’t sound like they are “winning” to me – does it to you?
The other issue here is that it is impossible for either of these futuristic views of Englesma (amillennialism) or DeMar (postmillennial partial preterism) to claim they are winning the battle over bible prophecy when in fact they actually form full preterism!  As I wrote in the second edition of HD:
1)     “Partial Preterism – Imminence and fulfillment are accepted.  Christ appeared a second time at the end of the old covenant age.  There was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal judgment and resurrection of the living and dead which was attended by a passing of the old creation and arrival of the new in AD 70 (Dan. 12:1-4; Matt. 5:17-18; 13:39-43, 24-25; Acts 1:11; Rom. 8:18; 13:11-12; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37; 1 Peter 4:5-7; 2 Peter 3; Rev. 1-22).
2)     Classic Amillennialism – The New Testament teaches only one future coming of Christ, general judgment, and resurrection of the living and dead attended by the restoration of creation at the end of the age.
How can these things be indeed? The only way both of these propositions can be true at the same time is if full preterism is true.
Amillennialism is correct that there is only one future coming of Christ in the New Testament.  And partial preterism is correct that the future coming of Christ in the New Testament was fulfilled in AD 70. Thus “orthodoxy” teaches us that the one Second Coming of 1 Thessalonians 4-5 is the same coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25, and that it was fulfilled in AD 70. But since futurism errs on the nature of the resurrection, assuming it is biological and at the end of time, futurists are forced into an either/or dillema, when the truth is both/and.”
I think one can see the problem that the authors of WSTTB are sweeping under the rug when they speak of their “shoulder-to-shoulder” unity.  The choice is simple. Either one continues propagating the myth that these two propositions within the futurist paradigm do not lead to a contradiction, or one accepts the organic development of full preterism which unites them.”[15]
We will examine more of these “contradictions” between Englesma’s amillennialism and DeMar’s postmillennial partial preterism below. 
DeMar Complains about Romanist arguments being used against him: 
DeMar goes on,
“Englesma spends more time on the creeds and confessions than he does on Scripture. Instead of offering a detailed counter exegesis to a preterist interpretation of Matthew 24, he assumes, like dispensationalists, that it is a prophetic description of end-time events: “This interpretation of Matthew 24 is basic to the postmillennial denial of apostasy, Antichrist, and great tribulation for the church in the future,” he writes. “For in the light of this explanation of Matthew 24, the postmillennialist goes through the entire New Testament rigorously applying all prediction of such things to the destruction of Jerusalem.” When a prophetic passage is about a soon coming judgment, then yes, the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem is in view, and Prof. Engelsma doesn’t give any exegetical evidence to the contrary.
While I am impressed with creeds and confessions of the church, they are not equal to Scripture. The Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 31 says as much:
III. All synods or councils, since the apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.”[16]
And again,
“Prof. Engelsma is fond of quoting confessional statements while giving little regard to biblical exegesis in his article “Jewish Dreams” that appeared in the January 15, 1995 issue of The Standard Bearer. Have we become Romanists?[17]
Here is what the best and brightest of DeMar’s postmillennial partial preterism and Engelsma’s amillennialism brought against us in WSTTB and so let’s analyze what consumed the bulk of its content:

Recap of When Shall These Things Be?

For those who are familiar with how our critics usually respond to “hyper-preterism,” it should come as no surprise that a full 42% of the Mathison book was an appeal to the authority of the creeds, the authority of the church fathers, and the authority of historic, Mother Church (Gentry, Hill, and Wilson respectively).
The historicity of futurism is indeed an important and legitimate issue to discuss, but the prominence and place this issue is given by anti-preterists reveals the exegetical weakness of futurism.  When it comes to refuting preterism, futurists usually find it convenient to rid themselves of the nemesis of exegesis (cf. WSTTB, 118).  When they do employ exegesis, it is tendentious and often padded with rhetoric.  Doug Wilson is altogether mistaken when he says in his chapter that preterism is effectively refuted “simply on exegetical grounds” by one or more of his co-authors (258).
About 19% of WSTTB (less than half the space given to creedal issues) was dedicated to a broad, quasi-exegetical defense of the Resurrection of the Flesh (Strimple).
About 16% was dedicated to establishing the following two concepts:

  1. Ascertaining the true interpretation of the time texts of the New Testament has been a difficult and perplexing problem for centuries and the true interpretation remains an open question for debate.  There are many possible interpretations of the various time texts. (Mathison)
  2. A study of the time texts absolutely, positively, and finally disproves hyper-preterism once and for all. (Mathison)

About 11% of WSTTB was dedicated to the late date of the book of Revelation and to an idealist, soon-means-two-thousand-years-or-more interpretation (Kistemaker).
About 9% was dedicated to the unfortunate proposition that God Himself predicted, on three separate occasions, thousands of years ago, that the promised eschatological blessings would take place soon; but God’s predictions failed, and the eschatological blessings remain indefinitely delayed until further notice (Pratt).”[18]
Because partial preterist admissions are so devastating in any debate with full preterists, Kenneth Gentry (one of the guest speakers DeMar mentions in this article) was put in charge of regurgitating Roman Catholic “arguments” against us in WSTTB!  And AV associates and colleagues of DeMar such as Gentry and North are very active in trying to get full preterists put under church disciple for being in violation of the creeds etc… So it’s a little difficult for me to find a tear to cry for DeMar here.
But I do think one has a legitimate right to look at my chart above and the research I documented in HD, and ask how can all of these partial preterist doctrinal admissions and NT texts be fulfilled in AD 70 and yet at the same time these same texts and eschatological doctrines are applied in the reformed confessions and creeds as having a future fulfillment at the end of history or end of the Christian age?  It’s time for Gentry and DeMar’s Romanism to be legitimately applied to their partial preterist system – perhaps the measure of judgment they have been giving us should now be applied to them?  And why not?  These men can’t even get this right in their own house – Gary North (a contributor and speaker for AV) must condemn his own son-in-law Joel McDurmon for taking the parable of the wheat and tares as fulfilled in AD 70:
“Anyone who equates the fulfillment of [the parable of the wheat and tares] with A.D. 70 has broken with the historic faith of the church.”[19]
DeMar wrote,
“When a prophetic passage is about a soon coming judgment, then yes, the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem is in view…”
But what DeMar is hiding here is that the imminence in the NT, the “end of [the old covenant] age,” and or the “destruction of Jerusalem” in AD 70, is connected to the judgment and resurrection of the dead in such passages as Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24-25; Acts 17:31 YLT; Acts 24:15 YLT; Romans 8:18-23 YLT; Revelation 11, 7, 14, 20.  The fall of Jerusalem is not the only thing that is said to take place “shortly” — Satan’s final destruction is also stated to take place “shortly” (Romans 16:20/Genesis 3:15).  Interestingly enough, most of these passages that Gary says were fulfilled in AD 70 he also says cannot have multiple fulfillments – unless it deals with Satan or the judgment and resurrection of the living and dead apparently (ie. anything that violates the creeds of course).
Again, there is some irony on this issue of imminence and multiple fulfillments because in most places Gary won’t allow for it (such as in Matthew 24 and most of Revelation) and yet he sends Joel McDurmon from American Vision to debate Don Preston and all Joel did was have to admit that such judgment and resurrection passages such as John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15; Revelation 20 “could” have been fulfilled in AD 70 but they point to a greater fulfillment at the end of time.  And yet Gary claims he and AV are winning the battle on eschatology and their views don’t lead to it?!?  If you are buying that I have a bridge to sell you.  Amazing.  If you are growing tired of the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of DeMar and American Vision when it comes to them trying to accept the imminence in the NT while at the same time pacify their creedal supporters and creedal critics – then you are not alone!
DeMar complains about his Postmillennial Theonomic “Jewish dreams” being exposed
For the record it is true that the early church creeds and confessions were primarily amillennial and did renounce premillennialism and thus similar hyper-literal postmillennial manifestations/fulfillments of the kingdom on earth to be “heretical” and on par with “Jewish dreams.”  That’s just a historical fact.  I would like Mr. DeMar to comment on if he thinks these Theonomic Postmillennial progressive type “Paradise Restored” “dreams” will come true in the future before Christ’s (third) coming takes place:

  • Will lion’s biology and anatomy change and eat straw instead of meat before the “final” eschatological manifestation/fulfillment to end world history?
  • Will the gospel manifest itself in scientific advances in genetics and cause men to live to be 900 years old again like they did in the early chapters of Genesis (AV Sam Frost)?
  • As all the nations of the world allegedly get Christianized, will unbelievers (and “heretics” not conforming to theonomic postmillennial covenant standards) be given three opportunities to repent before being stoned or shot – per the teachings of North or Talbot (also AV affiliates and supporters)?  If North and Talbot’s Postmillennial “Jewish dream” were manifest today, would AV North and Talbot give AV Joel McDurmon three opportunities to repent (because he does not believe the OT Sabbath is applicable today) before stoning and shooting this “heretic” being in violation of the covenant?