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

Joel McDurmon on Matthew 5:17-18 # 2 What Does "Fulfill" Mean?

Joel McDurmon on Matthew 5:17-18- #2
What Does “Fulfill” Mean?
Don K. Preston D. Div.
www.eschatology.org
In my debate with Joel McDurmon, of American Vision, which was held in Ardmore, Ok. July 19-21, 2012, I repeatedly appealed to Jesus’ emphatic words in Matthew 5:17-18. The Lord said that not one jot or one tittle of Torah– the Law of Moses– would pass until it was all fulfilled.
McDurmon and all postmillennialists and Dominionists find themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Matthew 5:17-18 serves as one of, if not the key, foundational supports for their Dominion Theology. And yet, as David Chilton noted in 1997, in Oklahoma City, at a prophecy conference that I helped organize, Matthew 5 actually destroys Dominion Theology! It does not support it! (DVDs and MP3s of that conference are available from me here).
Notice how critical it is for the Dominionist to have the Law of Moses still in effect. Gary North, McDurmon’s father in law, wrote concerning Deuteronomy 8: “This passage in Deuteronomy presents the biblical basis of progress in history.” He then added, “Any attempt to renounce this passage as no longer judicially binding in the New Covenant era is inescapably a denial of any biblical basis for God honoring cultural progress in history.” (Gary North, Millennialism and Social Theory, Tyler, Tx., Institute For Christian Economics, 1990)52f).
So, per Gary North, one of the key financial supporters of the entire Dominionist Movement, says Deuteronomy 8 remains “judicially binding in the New Covenant era.”
Do you see what has happened here? North, and all Dominionists who agree with him, imposes the Law of Moses onto the New Covenant. They put new cloth onto old skins, contra Jesus’ emphatic declaration that this is impermissible and wrong, in Mark 2.
Furthermore, as was evidenced by McDurmon in our debate, Dominionists have not a shred of justification for arguing against the imposition of the Sabbath as well as all of the feast days, and sacrifices of the Law of Moses.
Joel argued that the seventh day Sabbath has been done away, as well as the sacrifices and feast days. I repeatedly challenged him to show how those things, which were fundamentally a part of the Law of Moses, could be removed, while the rest of the Law and the prophets remain valid? He never answered this.  Be sure to read my article on the Sabbath issue and how critical it is.
Joel’s key attempt at dealing with Matthew 5 was his claim that in his person, Jesus fulfilled all things at the cross. He is the fulfillment of all things, Joel claimed. This is, in truth, nothing but sophistry.
I responded that the cross is without any doubt, the foundation and power leading to the fulfillment of all things, but, that the linguistics of Matthew 5:18 forbid Joel’s application. I noted that in Matthew 5:18 the word for fulfilled “until it is all fulfilled” is genetai. As Nolland, in the New International Greek Testament Commentary says of genetai: “The clause remains difficult, but it seems most likely to be concerned to guarantee a permanence to the Law until such time as every item on the Law’s agenda has been achieved. Until all that it lays out as God’s will for humankind has been accomplished.” (page 220)– “until it has all happened.”  (John Nolland, New International Greek Testament Commentary, Matthew, (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Paternoster, 2005) 221). This is the consensus of scholarship on genetai.
I noted in the debate that Bahnsen concurs that genetai demands the meaning of fully accomplish. More importantly, the NT use of genetai does not mean to “give the full meaning of” as some are spuriously now claiming. And, genetai does not mean fulfilled in some mystical, potential sense. It means to bring to reality, to fully accomplish. But not if Joel is right! If McDurmon is correct, the resurrection of the dead does not need to take place or actually occur because Jesus is the resurrection!
Note a few of the NT usages that I offered in the debate– but they were ignored:
Matthew 24:34-  “This generation shall be no means pass until all of these things are fulfilled (genetai). Now, Joel does not believe that Jesus fully accomplished all of  the events of Matthew 24 at the cross. He is on record that all of the things foretold in Matthew 24– all of which were post-Cross events– took place, came to pass, occurred, were fully accomplished, not at the Cross, but in the events leading up to and consummating in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
1 Corinthians 15:54– “Then shall be brought to pass (genetai) the saying” i.e. the resurrection. I noted that if Joel was correct, then the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled– fully accomplished, at the cross.
2 Timothy 2:18– Hymenaeus argued that “the resurrection is past” (genetai). This is where it got particularly difficult for Joel.
I argued that if Joel was correct, that all things were “fulfilled” (genetai’ed) at the cross, then Paul could not condemn Hymenaeus because he was simply saying what Joel was saying! Joel says all things, including the resurrection were “fulfilled” (genetai) at the cross. Hymenaeus said the resurrection was already past (genetai). Joel never said one word about this argument, for it is clearly an utter refutation of his argument.
Do you catch the power of this?
Joel could not– and cannot– deny that genetai means fully accomplish, bring to reality, in Matthew 5, and argue that Jesus fulfilled all things at the cross, without thereby implying that Hymenaeus was right after all! For all Joel knows, Hymenaeus was arguing precisely what Joel argued in our debate! But of course, if Hymenaeus was arguing what Joel did, then Paul rejected that position as dangerous.
Revelation 1:1 – “Things which must shortly come to pass.”
Revelation 1:19 – “Things which shall come to be hereafter.”
Revelation 12:10 – “Now is come salvation.
Revelation 22:6– things which must shortly be done.”
Now, in none of the passages does Joel agree that they came to pass, were fully accomplished at the cross. That is a nonsensical, un-Biblical position. The predicted events had not yet taken place. They had not been “genetai’ed.” Yet, due to his presuppositional theology, Joel had to deny the proper definition of genetai in Matthew 5, while affirming it in all other texts. This is clearly untenable.
So, Jesus’ emphatic and undeniable words in Matthew 5:17-18 were and are fatal to McDurmon’s Dominionism. Jesus said not one iota of the Law of Moses would pass away until it was all fully accomplished. The Law of Moses foretold the eschatological consummation. Therefore, until the eschatological consummation, not one single iota of Torah– inclusive of the New Moons, Feast Days and Sabbaths– would pass. For Joel to affirm a futurist eschatology therefore, demands the re-imposition of the entire sacrificial cultus of the Mosaic Law. This is inescapably, irrefutably true.
Be sure to read my book The End of the Law: From Torah to Telos for more on Matthew 5:17-18, and get a DVD or MP3 or the McDurmon -V- Preston Debate.
In our next article we will examine how McDurmon argued that some of the Law passed while some remains, and, how supposedly “the ministration of the law” passed, but that the Law remains valid.

Joel McDurmon, Dominionism and the Sabbath

Joel McDurmon, Dominionism and the Sabbath
Don K. Preston D. Div. 
In my formal debate with Joel McDurmon of American Vision (July 19-21, 2012), in my first affirmative presentation, I took note of the critical, but mostly overlooked, importance of the Sabbath to the study of eschatology.
I proved that the Sabbath was a distinctively covenantal sign between God and Israel, a sign both of creation and of deliverance from Egyptian bondage and death. (Exodus 31; Deuteronomy 5). (DVDs and MP3s of the debate will be available from this website very shortly).
Not only was the Sabbath a covenantal sign between YHVH and Israel, it was a prophetic foreshadowing of the end of the millennium (final) salvation and resurrection.
My argument then was that Jesus said not one jot or one tittle would pass from Torah, the Law of Moses, until it was all completely accomplished, brought to reality (Matthew 5:17-18). (See my new book, From Torah To Telos, The Passing of the Law of Moses, for an extensive exegesis of Matthew 5:17-18). This means that until what the Sabbath foreshadowed came into reality, i.e. until the end of the millennium resurrection was fulfilled, not one jot or one tittle of the Law of Moses would pass away.
McDurmon initially ignored this argument, so I repeated it and pressed it. He then admitted that he believes that  the Sabbath, with its ceremonial ordinances, i.e the sacrifices and observance of the seventh day, have passed away. However, of course, per Joel, the end of the millennium resurrection has not come to reality.
The reader simply must catch the power of the Sabbath issue. (In my planned series of books on the passing of the Law of Moses, I have plans to produce one volume strictly to this incredibly important issue).
Joel, and virtually all Dominionists (postmillennialists), hold to the similar view on the Sabbath. In fact, I documented in a chart how Bahnsen, Gentry, DeMar all agree that the Sabbath foreshadowed the end of the millennium resurrection. Likewise, they all affirm that the seventh day Sabbath has been annulled, along with all of its ceremonial, cultic ministrations. Yet, they all say that what the Sabbath foreshadowed– the consummation of God’s eschatological scheme– has not been fulfilled! Do you see the problem? It is huge. It is insurmountable. It is fatal to the Dominionist paradigm.
I once again took note of Jesus’ words that not one iota of Torah would pass until it was ALL– not some, not even most– but until it was ALL fulfilled, came to reality. Joel’s response was nothing less than desperate and revealing.
Joel responded by noting that the word “all” does not always mean “all.” He appealed to Joshua 21:43-45 where it says that all of God’s land promises to Israel had been fulfilled, and claiming that the Messianic promises had not yet been fulfilled. All in Joshua is limited, therefore, he implied, all in Matthew 5 must be limited, and thus proclaiming that he had nullified my argument on Matthew 5.
Of course, no one denies that context can limit the meaning of “all.” However, I produced a chart with the following quote from Greg Bahnsen (One of McDurmon’s mentors):
“A verse like Matthew 5:18, with its unparticularized panta (translated as “all” DKP) is prey for such treatment… Nothing in the context or vocabulary of Matthew 5:18 warrants the induction of speculative meaning; a phrase as colorless and abstract as panta should not be particularized, personalized, and steered into this theological preconception. …. Page 83— “In Matthew 5:18 the commencement of the law’s passing away is made dependent upon panta genetai. Panta, when used without an article or preposition indicates “all things, everything.” It is to be taken in this absolutely general sense unless the context dictates some antecedent whole of which panta constitutes the complete parts.” (Theonomy, 83, my emp). (McDurmon totally ignored the chart and the quote).
The next night, I took note of Joel’s disturbing hermeneutic. By appealing to Joshua to redefine Matthew 5 Joel was guilty of an illegitimate transfer of context. Joshua was not talking about what Matthew 5 was talking about. To impose one context on another context, when the subject matter is totally different in the two texts, is clearly wrong.
I likewise took note that Joel’s hermeneutic would destroy the meaning of all in all (pun intended) contexts! In other words, if Joshua 21 defines “all” as a limited “all” in Matthew 5, then why doesn’t the “all” in Joshua limit the definition of “all” in “all” (comprehensively speaking) texts? This is so patently untenable as to be unthinkable, and, of course, Joel would never accept it. However, he could never justify why the “all” in Joshua demanded a limited “all” in Matthew. He never gave a word of justification other than seeking to imply that Joshua limited Matthew. This kind of specious, arbitrary hermeneutic is very, very revealing.
Very clearly, there is no contextual qualifier in Matthew 5 that limits, in any way whatsoever, the definition of “all.”  Thus, per Bahnsen’s excellent analysis, all in Matthew 5 must mean, well, ALL!
(In another article, we will share Joel’s disingenuous attempt to negate the force of Jesus’ use of genetai, translated as “fulfilled” in Matthew 5:18).
Here then, was, and is, my argument:
Jesus said that not one jot or one tittle would pass from the Law of Moses until it was all fully accomplished.
The Sabbath– an integral part of the Law of Moses– foreshadowed the end of the millennium resurrection.
Therefore  until the end of the millennium resurrection is fulfilled, comes into reality, not one single iota of the Law of Moses– and specifically the observance of the ceremonial, cultic, sacrificial seventh day Sabbath– can or will pass away!
Joel’s futurist eschatology (in fact, all futurist eschatologies) demands the continuance of the seventh day Sabbath!
I asked the audience (and of course, Joel) at least twice, to consider what Joel was saying. By taking the position that he does, Joel turns Jesus’ teaching 180% out. Jesus said, “not one jot or one tittle  will pass from the law until it is all fulfilled.” Joel, and all futurists, say that what Jesus really meant was: “Some jots and tittles of the Law, for instance the seventh day Sabbath, will pass from the law without being fulfilled at all!”
I posed the following question to Joel and the audience: Would anyone ever get Joel’s interpretation of Matthew 5:17-18 from Jesus’ words? Would they ever get from, “Not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law until it is all fulfilled” that it actually means: “Some jots and tittles of the Law will pass without being fulfilled”? Joel never offered a single word in response to this question.
I want the reader to let that soak in.
Some years ago, (1997) David Chilton gave a speech in Oklahoma City, presenting his reasons for becoming a full preterist. He took note that Dominionists commonly appeal– as Bahnsen, Gary North and even Joel McDurmon– to Matthew 5:17-18 to prove the eternal validity of the Law of Moses.  But, as Chilton noted, the very verse that they appeal to for their doctrine is in fact a total refutation of their doctrine!
Chilton demonstrated exegetically and logically, that Matthew 5:17-18 emphatically says that not one iota of Torah– which includes the sacrificial system– would pass until it was all fulfilled. Yet, all Dominionists say that lots and lots of jots and tittles of the Law of Moses have passed away, without being fulfilled! Those jots and tittles of the, “New Moons, feast days and Sabbaths” were“purged”, removed and annulled, without ever being fulfilled! (The lectureship containing Chilton’s speech is available from me. Contact me through this site).
In reality, in one very real sense, nothing else that Joel McDurmon said in the debate really matters.  It is impossible, logically, to affirm the passing of the seventh day Sabbath without thereby demanding the fulfillment of the end of the millennium resurrection– the fulfillment of “final salvation”– the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant promises Joel says that the seventh day Sabbath has passed, but, that what the Sabbath foreshadowed has not come to reality. The shadow has not become reality. The shadow simply passed away. There can be no reconciliation between Dominionist theology and Jesus’ words.
There could not be a clearer rejection of the words of Jesus than the futurist eschatology of postmillennial Dominionism.