Smashing Brian Simmons' Attempt to Smash Full Preterism

Smash full preterism now! That is the title of a podcast series by Brian Simmons[1]. According to the description, the podcast is “for listeners looking for a Scriptural answer to full preterism.” Why are they looking for a Scriptural answer? Because they don’t have one. Why not? Because there isn’t one. But Simmons makes an attempt to find a Scriptural answer to give to people who are trying to find one.
Think about it: Why are people looking for a Biblical answer to full preterism? Because full preterism is convincing. And since people have been taught that they need professionals to help them understand the meaning of the Scriptures, in spite of the fact that the truth is clear and obvious, they look to the professionals for help because the Bible can’t possibly be that clear. So instead of believing what they themselves have seen with their own eyes, they look for the more difficult meaning that fits what they have believed all along. Enter Simmons.
He starts by refuting partial preterism, and might I add, does a superb job. He demonstrates from Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 that the resurrection happens in conjunction with the parousia. Therefore, if Continue reading “Smashing Brian Simmons' Attempt to Smash Full Preterism”

Preterism and Reformed Theology

My Response to Dr. Kenneth Talbot’s Interview on Covenant Radio

At the beginning of the interview William Hill asked Dr. Talbot:
“How would you respond to the objection that says, okay, we are appealing to the historical analysis of this particular doctrine that has been explained for us for the last 2,000 years, and by doing so we are denying sola Scriptura. What would be your response to that particular argument?”
MY RESPONSE:
The question was invalid. I don’t know of any preterist who would say that “appealing to” an “historical analysis” is tantamount to “denying sola Scriptura.” So far as I know, no preterist of Reformed background has any problem with “appealing to” historical interpretations of the church.
The problem is Continue reading “Preterism and Reformed Theology”

Kenneth Gentry: Eck Redivivus

On September 16, 2009, Kenneth Gentry and Kenneth Talbot were interviewed by William Hill on Covenant Radio. This is my response to Gentry’s part in the interview.
In the beginning, Mr. Hill asked Gentry to give “a basic definition” of “hyper-preterism.”
Gentry began his response by saying that the definition of “hyper-preterism” is a difficult question to answer, and that the question becomes more difficult day by day. This is because “the hyper-preterism movement,” said Gentry, is made up of divided, warring factions. It’s a fragmented and continually fragmenting movement that is continuing to “mutate.” It’s like “mercury” in that it “beads up in different directions.”
But then, oddly enough, Gentry immediately gave a basic definition of “hyper-preterism.” He said that “basically” hyper-preterism can be defined as the belief that all biblical prophecy (specifically, the Second Coming, the Resurrection, and the Final Judgment) was fulfilled by AD 70 and that history and sin on Earth will continue forever. Gentry added that this “basic,” “systematized” belief is “held across the board in all phases” of “the hyper-preterist movement.”
To sum up: Gentry was asked Continue reading “Kenneth Gentry: Eck Redivivus”

Importance of the Holy Spirit in Acts and the NT

The Significance of The Outpouring of The New Testament

Don K. Preston
“This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…”
Acts 2:15f
John the Immerser came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near”, and then immediately promised that the coming one “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:2-11). Much of the time, in commentaries the focus of discussion is on John’s declaration of the imminence of the kingdom. Our dispensational friends admit that John and Jesus did indeed offer the Davidic kingdom to Israel, but due to Israel’s unbelief that kingdom offer was withdrawn until sometime in the distant, from them, future. However, what is too often ignored is that the offer of the kingdom was given in conjunction with the promise of the Holy Spirit. This promise is ever bit as eschatological as the promise of the kingdom. Furthermore, John’s promise that the Spirit would be poured out by Messiah was fulfilled! This has incredible eschatological implications for then, and for now. We want to establish several key points.
☛There was in Israel of the first century the acknowledgment that the gift of prophecy, the presence of the Holy Spirit, had ceased in Israel.
It is a well documented fact that the Jews believed that the prophetic office had ceased to exist with the prophet Malachi. Sommer effectively shows that while some scholars have denied this, the evidence is conclusively against them. The prophetic office was believed to have ceased in Israel. D. S. Russell says the Jews believed that the spirit of prophecy had ceased during the inter-testamental period. Ladd, likewise adds that Israel had a sense that the Spirit had departed after Malachi. There were no prophets from that time. Even Aune, who claims that there was a belief that the Spirit was somehow present at times for interpretation of the scriptures, nonetheless admits that the Rabbis believed that, “when the last prophets died,–(Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)–the holy spirit ceased in Israel”
So, the evidence is that Continue reading “Importance of the Holy Spirit in Acts and the NT”

House Divided…part 3

House Divided part 1 & part 2
My Response #3 to Jon: Found here.
Jon wrote: As Wright point outs there are two basic meanings for resurrection in the Second Temple period. “In each case the referent is concrete: restoratin of Israel (’resurrection’ as metaphorical, denoting socio-political events and investing them with the significance that this will be an act of new creation, of covenant restoration); of human bodies (’resurrection’ as literal, denoting actual re-embodiment). Nothing in the entire Jewish context warrants the suggestion that…that the Jewish literature of the period ’speaks both of a resurrection of the body and a resurrection of the spirit without the body’.” End of discussion.
My response: You’re assuming that the saints who were in Hades did not take part with the living in the “restoration of Israel,” the “act of new creation, of covenant restoration.” There is no basis for that assumption. Beginning at Pentecost, the living –both Pagans and saints– were saved (or “spiritually resurrected”) through faith in the recently shed, age-changing blood of Christ (Acts 10:1-2; 11:14; Eph. 2:6; Rev. 20:4, 6). Did not the dead old covenant saints have the same need as the living old covenant saints? Did they not also have to hear and believe the newly manifested Gospel (“the voice of the Son of God“) and be saved (Jn. 5:25, 28; 1 Peter 4:6)? Did not the saints in Hades have the same need as the living old covenant saints: to be baptized into the universal Body of Christ through faith in His shed blood? Did the dead old covenant saints not participate with the living old covenant saints in regeneration/rebirth? Yes, they did (Isa. 26:19; Matt. 19:28; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Rev. 1:5). Therefore, the dead were resurrected in the same non-biological way (“new creation”) that the living were resurrected. “Behold, I make all thingsnew” (Rev. 21:5).
Jon wrote: Paul claimed to be a Pharisee. To not really be a Pharisee, yet claim to be and then use the language in the way he did is duplicitous.
My response: Paul was not really a Pharisee? I’m not sure where that came from.
I’m sorry you’re not continuing our “back and forth.” But we can leave it at this:
1. My position is “unexegetical.”
2. I make words mean anything I want.
3. I’m comparable to New Agers and Barack Obama.
4. I deny the divinity of Christ.
And I might add, I kill babies in their cribs and I push old ladies down stairwells.
Thank you, Jon.
David Green

Responding to the Critics: The Little Horn of Daniel 7

The “Little Horn” of Daniel’s Sea-Beast: A Review

Don K. Preston
In the June, 1993 issue of the Christian Courier, Wayne Jackson, an out-spoken critic of Covenant Eschatology, expounds on the little horn of Daniel 7. Our purpose here is not to set forth a positive exegesis of Daniel 7 as much as it is to show the fallacy of Jackson’s article because his interpretation is representative of the view held in the Reformation and Restoration movements.
In his article Jackson examines two views: that of “religious modernism” identifying the little horn as Antiochus Epiphanes; and the premillennial posit that the little horn is a now imminent “AntiChrist.” Upon what basis does he reject these views?
The Antiochan posit is rejected because Antiochus “was dead a hundred years before the fourth beast (the Roman empire) came into power–out of which Daniel’s little horn arose.” The premillennial view is rejected by Jackson because “the little horn of Daniel’s vision arose from the remnants of the Roman empire, which have lain in the dust of antiquity for more than 1000 years. The commencement of the little horn’s power is thus ancient, not modern.” (emp. his)
In other words, Jackson rejects these two views because one happened before the Roman empire came to being and the other comes after the empire perished. This is good logic if the fourth beast is in truth, as we also accept, the Roman empire. Jackson’s argument against these other interpretations may Continue reading “Responding to the Critics: The Little Horn of Daniel 7”

House Divided: Imminent Redemption in Luke 21:27-28 / Romans 8:18-23 and The Analogy of Scripture

The Abandonment of the Analogy of Scripture

The Westminster Confession of Faith states that “the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”[1] J. I. Packer understands this to mean “that we must give ourselves in Bible study to following out the unities, cross-references and topical links which Scripture provides.”[2] There is nothing controversial within the Reformed community about the above principles. Reformed believers all strive to be faithful to the principle of “the analogy of Scripture.”  This being the case, why then are there so many differing opinions within the Reformed community when it comes to the question of how to form a sound eschatology? There are perhaps as many differing interpretations of eschatological texts as there are denominations. Clearly, there is a need to bridge the gap and bring healing to this eschatological division within Reformed and Protestant churches.

What is the cause of the division?  It is widely assumed that the cause is the enigmatic nature of the texts in question. While I agree that there are difficult eschatological texts, I submit in this article that the problem lies not in the vagueness of Scripture but rather in our unwitting betrayal of the principle of the analogy of Scripture.

Reformed eschatology has a strong Preterist tradition, which argues that the New Testament’s eschatological statements of imminence must be taken literally because there are no contextual indicators leading us to interpret them in any other way. As Gary DeMar states, “any student of the Bible who does not interpret these time texts to mean anything other than close at hand is in jeopardy of denying the integrity of the Bible.”[3] To put a finer point on it,  R. C. Sproul suggests that any eschatology which denies a literal interpretation of the New Testament’s time texts has adopted a liberal or neo-orthodox view of God and time:  “When F. F. Bruce speaks of faith making the time be ‘at hand,’ this sounds all too much like Rudolf Bultmann’s famous theology of timelessness, which removes the object of faith from the realm of real history and consigns it to a super temporal realm of the always present hic et nunc [here and now].”[4] Sadly, this same view is so commonly articulated among Reformed and Evangelical believers[5] that few seem to recognize its liberal and mystical implications or its exegetical lack of support. In the interest of preserving eschatological futurism, many have compromised the principle of scriptural analogy by sweeping away the plain and obvious meaning of the imminence texts. In so doing, conservatives are unwittingly handling the Scriptures like Bultmann.

In an effort to mitigate this liberalism, some have become partially Preterist, suggesting two returns of Christ, one in AD70 and another yet-future final coming and resurrection. The obvious problem with this view is that “Paul looked for one climactic future event, the return of Jesus Christ, the blessed hope.”[6] The Partial Preterist side of our  “house divided” understands that in the AD 70 return of Christ (accomplished in His generation) God “gathered” and “redeemed” His church. Jesus was straightforward and clear that “all these things” were going to take place in His generation. Thus, Partial Preterists swim bravely against a strong tide of “newspaper exegesis.”

On the other hand,  Evangelical and Reformed theologians who reject Partial Preterism are nevertheless faithful to the principle of the analogy of Scripture when they link the imminent “gathering” in Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27 to Paul’s “gathering” and “catching away” (“rapture”/resurrection) in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1. When they tie the imminent “redemption” in Luke 21:28 to the “redemption of the Body” and of “the creation” in Romans 8:18-23, they rightly reject the exegetical breaking asunder of Scriptures that are thematically one.

The remainder of this article offers a brief examination of these texts as well as a response to the “house divided” approach of Keith Mathison and his co-authors in their critique of “Hyper-Preterism” titled When Shall These Things Be? (hereafter WSTTB?).[7] Mathison and his co-authors are a microcosm of the Church. Though they enjoy unity in the belief of a yet-future “second coming” and resurrection of the dead, their eschatological house is divided. Some believe the eschatology of the Bible is mostly fulfilled. Others believe it is mostly or wholly unfulfilled. Their disagreements with each other are not rooted in the difficulty of the texts, but rather in the rejection of the sure foundation of sound scriptural analogy. In setting aside the plain sense of thematically congruent Scriptures, they have constructed their eschatological house on exegetical sand, and it therefore “cannot stand.”

Restoring the Analogy of Scripture

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:27-28). Appealing to the principle of the analogy of Scripture, John Murray and other Reformed theologians understood Paul, in Romans 8, to be building upon the “redemption” that Jesus discussed in the Olivet discourse:  “Now in Luke 21:28 . . . [t]his word ‘redemption’ (apolutrosin), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rom 8:23; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:14; 4:30). Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.”[8] We cannot brush off Murray’s comments lightly when he connects these texts to the resurrection and redemption of Romans 8, but is it exegetically sound to say that the redemption of Romans 8:18-23 occurred in Jesus’ generation?

According to most Reformed eschatological paradigms, Romans 8 is teaching a biological resurrection and molecular transformation of our corpses and of the entire universe during the return of Christ at “the end of time.”  However, when we consider the Preterist side of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology with regard to the restoration of creation in the various related texts (Matt 5:17-18; 24:29, 35; Eph 1:10; 2 Pet 3; 1 John 2:17-18 and Rev 21:1), we soon discover that, in context, these passages are referring to the temple’s destruction or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles.[9] The civil and religious rulers of the Old Covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70.[10]

In context, the time was “at hand” for the “elements” to be burned and for the world of righteousness to take its place (1 Pet 1:4-12; 4:5, 7, 17; 2 Pet 3). Peter was describing a change of covenantal worlds. As John Owen and John Lightfoot taught, Peter was not referring to a future return of Christ for the purpose of destroying the planet.[11] He was describing a transformation that was to be accomplished at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70. Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan also understand the passing of the “world” and the first heavens and earth (1 John 2:17-18; Rev 21:1) as referring to Christ’s return to end the Old Covenant system in AD 70. It is also understood within Reformed and Evangelical theology that the “times of fulfillment” to reconcile things in “heaven and on the earth” (Eph 1:10) is referring not to the planet earth and angels, but to the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ. This was the “mystery” of the gospel in which the “whole family” of God, in heaven and on earth, would participate. When we combine the exegesis from some of the best Reformed and Evangelical theologians, we quickly see that none of the New Testament de-creation passages are dealing with planet earth, but are references to the Old Covenant or its people.[12]

Lightfoot associated the “earnest expectation of the creature” and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and not with planet Earth—not even poetically.[13] He referenced the “vanity” and “decay” of the creation (Rom 8:20) to the groaning from the “corruption” of sin found in the hearts and minds of mankind (2 Pet 1:4; 2 Cor 11:3; 15:33).[14] Lightfoot is on solid ground here; not only is there lexical evidence to interpret “vanity,” “corruption,” and “decay” as  ethical and moral putrefaction in the heart and mind of man, but contextually the passage has nothing to do with hydrogen or oxygen molecules, or with squirrels longing for a better day when they won’t get hit by cars.

John Lightfoot not only interpreted the “creation” of Romans 8 to be the creation of men and NOT the physical planet, but he understood the “redemption of the body” to not be a resurrection of physical bodies, but rather, the “mystical body” of the Church. In his sermon on “Many Mansions” he wrote:

Lightfoot in his sermon on “Many Mansions” interpreted the “redemption of the body” not as the physical body, but the “mystical body” – the Jew/Gentile Church:

“And of the same body, is his meaning in that obscure and much-mistaken place (Rom. viii.23; “And not only they,” i.e. ‘the whole creation,’ or πασα κτισις, ‘every creature,’ which means no other thing, thatn ‘the Gentile or heathen world;’ “not only they groan to come into the evangelical liberty of the children of God,–but we, also, of the Jewish nation, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption,–to wit, the adoption of our body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our mystical body.” (cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/vol06.pdf… pp. 322-323).

Still, one might object that the “redemption” associated with the coming of Christ in Luke 21:27-28 has a clear time text (“this generation”) associated with it (v. 32), but the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 does not; therefore, one might conclude the two passages are not necessarily parallel. Those who argue this way suggest that the redemption in Luke 21 might simply refer to relief from persecution and nothing more. The premise of their objection, however, is false. There is an imminence text associated with the redemption of the body in Romans 8.  Verse 18 reads, “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us” (YLT; cf. NSRV, AV, & WEY: “soon to be manifested”). It is important to note that the Greek word corresponding to the phrase “about to be” is mello. Reformed Partial Preterists such as R. C. Sproul and Kenneth Gentry understand the word mello in the book of Revelation to refer to Christ’s return in AD 70. Sproul also writes that it is not unreasonable to apply the imminence indicators found in Romans 13:11-12 (“. . . for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness. . . .”) to earlier chapters in Romans that do not have explicit time texts.[15]

If mello is a time indicator that needs to be honored, and if we can apply the time texts in Romans 13:11-12 to earlier chapters, then we cannot ignore this approach in Romans 8. Moreover, claims that the teaching of “the” judgment and resurrection of the living and the dead were not given with imminence indicators tied to them directly are simply not true. Acts 24:15, 25 reads, “Having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, that there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous. . . . But when he dealt with the subjects of justice, self-control, and the judgment which is soon to come, Felix became alarmed . . .” (cf. Acts 17:31, YLT/WEY; WUESTNT; emphases added).[16]

Of course the plot thickens when Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar admit that Romans 8:18YLT should be translated as “about to be” fulfilled by AD 70!  Gary also understands “all Israel” being saved in Romans 11 as referring to AD 70.  Thus, the “salvation” and “redemption” of Israel or the Jew/Gentile Church was accomplished imminently in AD 70 and has nothing to do with an end of time event with physical bodies coming out of the ground or the physical planet being changed!

In WSTTB? (p. 200), Mathison expresses willingness to concede that the imminence in Romans 13:11-12 was fulfilled in AD 70.

. . . it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand . . . .

Yet The Reformation Study Bible, of which Mathison is an editor, harmonizes Romans 13:11 with Romans 8:23, correctly teaching that “salvation” in that verse is not merely deliverance from persecution (as Mathison theorizes in WSTTB):  “salvation. Here in the sense of future, final redemption (8:23).”[17] The connection between these two passages is made even stronger when we allow the Greek word mello in Romans 8 to be translated the way it is predominately used in the New Testament.

In regard to the phrase “the sufferings of this present time,”—and as much as I can relate to R. C. Sproul, Jr., losing his hair and gaining some weight around his midsection (WSTTB? p. ix)—his appeal to the “sufferings” and “the redemption of the body” in our text have nothing to do with those kinds of issues. The context of the “groaning” of these first-century Christians can be found in the previous chapter. The sufferings Paul had in mind here were eschatological—the birth pains that were to precede Christ’s return in AD 70 (Matt 24:8; Rom 8:22). They had to do with man groaning under the inescapable tyranny of sin brought about by being condemned in Adam under the Law of God. For Paul, this produced a “death” but it was not a physical death—for how is it that a dead man writes a complex legal treatise such as Romans? Death in these chapters (Rom 5-6) had nothing to do with the idea of the fleshly corpse of man dying biologically as a result of Adam’s sin.[18] “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with spiritual death and groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom 7:2, 7, 15). The sufferings in Romans 8, then, referred to the eschatological persecutions that preceded Christ’s return (Dan 7:21-22; Matt 24:9, 27-31; 10:17-23) and not to present day Christians suffering the traumas of birth defects, aging, cancer, etc.

Conclusion

The “salvation” and “redemption” associated with Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 entailed much more than a physical flight to the wilderness of Pella, as some commentators have proposed. Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 was a redemptive and soteriological event that occurred “in” and “within” the minds, consciences and hearts of the Church, when God consumed by fire the Adamic world of Satan, Sin, Death and Condemnation, consummately purging His church of sin through the Cross of Christ (Rom. 8:18-23; 11:26-27; 13:11-12; Heb. 8-10). The “redemption” of Luke 21:28 is the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8:18-23. Both the imminence of the time texts and the spiritual nature of their fulfillment require this interpretation.

Olivet Discourse & Luke 17 Romans 8
Suffering to come (Matt 24:9) Present sufferings (vv. 17-18)
Christ comes in glory (Matt 24:30) Were “about to” receive & share in Christ’s glory (vv. 17-18)
Kingdom will be realized “within” at Christ’s return (Luke 17:21-37; 21:27-32) Glory will be “in” them (v. 18)
Redemption & salvation—resurrection (Luke 21:27-28; Matt 24:13, 30-31) Redemption & salvation—resurrection (vv. 23-24; cf. 11:15-27; 13:11-12)
Birth pains of the tribulation (Matt 24:8) Pains of childbirth (v. 22)
This would all happen in their “this generation” (Matt 24:34) This was “about to” take place (v. 18)

[1]Westminster Confession, I. ix.
[2] J. I. Packer, “The Interpretation of Scripture” in  ‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God (Inter-Varsity Press, 1958), pp. 101-114.  http://www.bible-researcher.com/packer1.html
[3] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, 4th edition (Atlanta: American Vision, 1999), p. 393; emphasis added.
[4] R.C. Sproul, The Last Days according To Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), pp. 108-109; emphasis added.
[5] For example, see Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 126.
[6] Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2003), p.130; emphasis added.
[7] Keith A. Mathison, Kenneth L. Gentry, Charles E. Hill, Richard L. Pratt Jr., Simon J. Kistemaker, Douglas Wilson, and Robert B. Strimple, When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004). David Green, Edward Hassertt, Sam Frost and I have  co-authored a response to this book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? that is available on my “store” link.
[8] John Murray, Collected Writings of John Murray 2:  Systematic Theology (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Publications, 1977) , p.389. Unfortunately Murray was inconsistent when it came to Jesus’ teaching that all things in His discourse would be fulfilled in His generation. Had Murray faithfully followed the analogy of Scripture in this regard, he would have seen two things:  (1) Christ’s coming on the clouds and the de-creation language in the discourse was metamorphic language describing the fall of religious and civil powers, as John Owen and other reformed theologians have understood; and (2) the coming of Christ, the passing away of “heaven and earth,” the redemption, the resurrection of the dead and the judgment were all “about to be” fulfilled in Jesus’ generation (Rom 8:18-23; Acts 17:31, 24:15 YLT WEY).
[9] John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 3 vols. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Publications, [1852] 1967), Vol. 1, pp. 170-174. H. T. Fletcher-Louis in Eschatology in Bible & Theology:Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, K. E. Brower and Mark W. Elliot, eds. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), pp. 145-169.
[10] Fletcher, ibid., pp. 145-169; DeMar, ibid., pp. 141-154.
[11] John Owen, The Works of John Owen (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Publications, 1972), Vol. 9, pp. 134-135; John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), Vol. 3, p. 452.
[12] John Owen, ibid., Volume 9, pp. 134-135; John Lightfoot, ibid., Vol.3, p. 452; John Brown, Discourses, Vol. 1, pp. 170-174; John Locke, A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul, Volume 2 (Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 617-618; R. C. Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus; Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), pp. 363-365; Kenneth Gentry in Four Views on the Book Of Revelation, C. Marvin Pate, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1998), p. 89 (cf. 43 for 1 Jn. 2:17); Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, pp. 68-74, 141-154, 191-192; James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, 1998), pp. 269-279; H. T. Fletcher-Louis in :Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, K. E. Brower and Mark W. Elliot, eds. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), pp. 145-169; Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID:  Canon Press, 2004); Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P & R Publishing, 1999), pp. 114, 157-158; N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), pp. 345-346; N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), p. 645, n. 42; Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), pp. 84-86.
[13] “. . . this vanity is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind.  The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles:  the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.” John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4, p. 157;  emphasis added.
[14] Lightfoot, ibid., pp. 158-159.
[15] Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus, pp. 99, 138-140.
[16] Gentry argues that “when used with the aorist infinitive—as in Revelation 1:19—the word’s predominant usage and preferred meaning is: ‘be on the point of, be about to.’ The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in Rev.3:10. The basic meaning in both Thayer and Abbott-Smith is: ‘to be about to.”  (Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation [Tyler, TX: Institute for Biblical Economics, 1989], pp. 141-142; emphasis added.)  Gentry is correct. The problem, however, is that when the word mello refers to the resurrection and judgment of the living and dead in Acts 24:15 and 24:25, it is used with the present infinitive. So Gentry boldly ignores the word in those texts.
[17] The Reformation Study Bible, R. C. Sproul, General Editor, and Keith Mathison, Associate Editor (Lake Mary, FL:  Ligonier Ministries, 2005), pp.  1, 636.
[18] Tom Holland, Contours in Pauline Theology (Fearn, Scotland, UK:  Christian Focus Publications, 2004),  pp.85-110.  Holland is a Reformed theologian who sees Paul’s “body” of flesh, sin, and death not referring to our physical flesh but to the corporate body of Adam as contrasted to the corporate Body of Christ—the Church. He counters Gundry’s individual views of soma in Paul’s writings. He also argues for “consistency” in Paul’s use of corporate terms. I recommend this book to any serious student of Reformed theology.

If Futurism Is True, Are Preterists Anathema?

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some (2 Timothy 2:16-18).

In the above scripture, Paul said the following about those who say “the resurrection is past”:

1. Their words are to be shunned.
2. Their words increase to more ungodliness.
3. Their words are “profane and vain babblings.”
4. Their words eat like a “canker” (gangrene).
5. They have erred (missed the mark) concerning the truth.
6. They “overthrow the faith of some.”
If preterists today are wrong when they say “the resurrection” of 2 Timothy 2:16-18 is past, are preterists under the condemnation of Hymenaeus and Philetus?
Absolutely.
A: IF “the resurrection” of 2 Timothy 2:18 is not past, and
B: IF preterists say that it is past,
C: THEN preterists are to be shunned. Our words advance ungodliness. Our words are profane and vain babblings. Our words eat like gangrene. We have missed the mark concerning the truth. We are faith-overthrowers.
IF A and B are true, then it irresistibly follows that C is true, according to 2 Timothy 2:16-18.
There are only two ways a futurist can avoid viewing preterists as “Hymenaeans”:
1. A futurist can hold that it is possible that “the resurrection” in 2 Timothy 2:18 does not refer to the yet-future resurrection of the dead, but that it refers to a resurrection-event that occurred in AD 70. (Keith Mathison allows for this possibility. Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan both teach that there was a resurrection in AD 70.)
2. The futurist can hold that it is theoretically possible that futurism could be wrong. This admission would allow the futurist to (at least tentatively) embrace preterists as brothers in Christ.
Short of these two options, there is no way for a futurist to avoid condemning preterists and remain obedient to Scripture (2 Timothy 2:16-18) as it is interpreted within the futurist framework.
This, however, is not the end of the story. Under the futurist assumption, we preterists are teaching a false gospel only because of 2 Timothy 2:16-18. If those three verses did not exist, futurists would have no compelling, biblical basis (under the futurist assumption) for saying that preterists are teaching a damnable heresy. Under the futurist assumption, preterism is an error of course; but there is no systematic, theological basis for anathematizing preterists. There is only 2 Timothy 2:16-18 suspended in midair in an exegetical vacuum.
This clues us in to the fact that the preterist-anathematizing, futurist approach to 2 Timothy 2:16-18 is not on solid biblical ground. The anathema is based on one proof text. We cannot authoritatively base a doctrine on one proof text. How much less can we base an anathema against professing Christians on one proof text?
Futurists must ignore this exegetical and ethical problem and simply smuggle the assumption of futurism into 2 Timothy 2:16-18 in order to maintain their anathema based on those three verses. Their anathematizing use of 2 Timothy 2:16-18 is based on the fallacy of “question begging” and on their a priori (extra-biblical) assumption of our doctrinal guilt. In essence, those verses condemn us only because futurists assume (based on their framework) that those verses condemns us. Without that extra-biblical assumption, the anathema cannot be long maintained.
So yes, within the futurist framework there is a theologically baseless justification for anathematizing preterists, based solely on 2 Timothy 2:16-18 as it is interpreted under the futurist assumption. It is only within the context of proof-texting, logical fallacy, and assumption of guilt that futurists are “justified” in anathematizing preterists.
David Green

Cross-Examining the Critics of Preterism

edwardhasssertt
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 Continue reading “Cross-Examining the Critics of Preterism”

Can God Tell Time?

Don K Prestoon
Don K Preston
Almost two thousand years ago John the Baptizer said “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew 3:2. Jesus, Son of God, echoed those words “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew 4:17. The Prince of Peace sent his disciples out to preach the same message, Luke 10. Jesus clearly said the kingdom, and other events as we shall see below, were at hand.
A common response to these Biblical statements of the imminence of the kingdom in the first century is this: “Well, yes, the Bible said the kingdom was coming soon, but remember, ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.’ God doesn’t see time as man does; He is above time.”
Is there anything wrong with these statements? Well, if God cannot tell time there isn’t! But if God can read a calendar, and if God truly meant to communicate with man there is something drastically wrong! Essentially, what these statements say is that while God said the kingdom was “at hand,” God cannot tell time, therefore the “at hand” time statements mean nothing at all! Continue reading “Can God Tell Time?”