Beloved, do not be deceived, Postmillennial Partial Preterism is not Biblical Preterism. It is carnal futurism both in the timing and nature of fulfillment – plain and simple. The “first” heavens and earth have passed away, the new is here, the healing of the nations is taking place, and it won’t be realized in an “not yet” of 900 year old naked men (fig leaves were a “physical effect” of Adam’s sin – right?) running around taming vegetarian lions and watching their children playing with poisonous snakes!
(TLM editorial note: This was originally written as a post on the SGP web site as a follow-up to our RCM podcast 8/23/09 dealing with the issue of - Should Full Preterism be considered Reformed?).
A) He clearly understands that Christ appearing at the end of the age(s) involves both Jesus’ first and second comings and Sproul favors the view that this took place in AD 70.
Dr. Talbot claims friendship with Sam. Good, then he should accept our invitation to convince Sam (and us) from the authority of the Scriptures and sound exegesis that we are heretics. If he is unwilling to do so, then his claim that he is a “friend” is a joke let alone any kind of apologetical source in refuting Full Preterism.
My proposition is very simple:
* Reformed Eschatology FORMS Full Preterism and thus is the “Semper Reformanda” result:
1) Classic Amillennialism: The NT, (according to the analogy of Scripture) only teaches one Second Coming of Christ to take place at the end of the age and the therefore the imminent time texts cannot point to AD 70 and must be interpreted as Jesus “in a sense is ALWAYS NEAR.”
2) Postmillennial Partial Preterism: The NT time texts “demands” that Christ returned in AD 70 in which the end of the Old Covenant age, the passing of the old creation and arrival of the new (2 Peter 3/Revelation 21-22), and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 took place.
3) Both of the above propositions form ours and cannot be both true at the same time UNLESS Full Preterism is true.
4) Dr. Talbot whitewashes this – “Yes, we disagree on millennial chronology, but that has been true for 2000 years.”
5) Nice try. I for one welcome your “logic” and claim of friendship to Sam, and your alleged belief in the authority of the Scriptures to settle this dispute. Dr. Talbot, take your pick. In your appeal to “logic” which do you want to defend – the time texts mean that Jesus is “always near,” they “demand an AD 70 fulfillemnt,” or try and defend that it is alright (for 2,000 years) to believe that both are “true” AT THE SAME TIME. I welcome the debate.
Anyone that was actually convinced that our position is false because of anything Dr. Talbot said, in my mind, never belonged. I’m not trying to be mean. Seriously, Scripture should be our guide not how “Reformed” is defined per anyones opinion (Sam, Talbot, etc…). Sad to see. Sounds like some need to take some “R & R” (“Reformed and Always Reforming”) and get back to reading their Bibles (you know that “By the Scriptures Alone” thing).
In Christ (2 Cor. 1:20),
> > 1st Premise: “All Councils….may err.”
> > 2nd Premise: “He shall come again was
> > formed within the Council”
> > Conclusion: “Therefore, This Council may have erred.”
> > Perfect logical syllogism. What’s the problem? What
> > idiot cannot grasp this?
[Dr. Talbot responds:]
> The term ‘idiot’ is universal in its usage, therefore
> it must include me)
Hi Dr. Talbot, 🙂
Sam implied that all idiots can understand the syllogism. It doesn’t follow that everyone who can understand the syllogism is an idiot.
> I am satisfied that the work of the divines, in
> their doctrinal formulas, express the true
> teaching of the Scripture according to their
> exegetical and hermeneutical studies. I have
> examined those texts of Scripture on
> eschatology and believe that they were correct
> in their interpretations. What authority does
> Mr. Frost come forth with and demand that I
> change my views of Scripture? It is Mr. Frost
> that is out of conformity with the Confession,
> and therefore the Scriptures, and not the
> Confession out of accord with Mr. Frost’s
1. You personally are satisfied and believe that the eschatology of the WCF is scriptural.
2. Sam disagrees with the eschatology of the WCF.
3. Therefore Sam is merely expressing a personal belief, and he has no authority, and he is out of conformity with the Scriptures.
Problem: Your personal satisfaction and belief that Sam is wrong does not indicate, prove, or imply that Sam is wrong. It only proves that you are personally satisfied and believe that Sam is wrong.
> By the way, the use of the term “hyper-creedalist”
> or “hyper-confessionalist” is a false statement.
> The term ‘hyper’ means going ‘beyond’. If I say
> that someone is a ‘hyper’ Calvinist, it means that
> the individual has gone ‘beyond’ the Calvinist
> standard of teaching. How can a person or group of
> persons be called ‘hyper-creedalist’ or ‘hyper-
> confessionalist’ unless they have gone ‘beyond’ the
> standards of the creed or confession?
A hyper-Calvinist is one who goes beyond normal Calvinism (an extreme Calvinist).
A hyper-creedalist is one who goes beyond normal creedalism (an extreme creedalist), not one who goes beyond the creeds.
> 1st Premise: “Sam Frost is a full (hyper) preterist”
> 2nd Premise: “No Full (hyper) preterists are Reformed”
> Conclusion: “Therefore, Sam Frost is not Reformed”
That’s not an accurate portrayal of what Sam said. He said that one cannot be “thoroughly,” “the-whole-route” Reformed and a full preterist at the same time. That’s not the same thing as saying that full preterists cannot be Reformed. There are Reformed believers who disagree with Reformed theology in many and significant ways. They may believe in baptism by immersion. They may believe it’s possible to lose one’s salvation. They may err in more serious ways. That doesn’t mean those believers are no longer Reformed or that they are no longer part of the Reformed community. It only means they are not “thoroughly,” “the-whole-route” Reformed, or in full conformity with the WCF.
> 1st Premise: “House Divided is a full (hyper) preterist book”
> 2nd Premise: “No full (hyper) preterit book is Reformed”
> Conclusion: “Therefore, House Divided is not a Reformed book”
> There you have it! The book is not a Reformed response to
> Reformed Eschatology.
To put it accurately:
1st Premise: “House Divided is a full preterist book”
2nd Premise: “No full preterist book is “thoroughly,” “the-whole-route” Reformed because, obviously, full preterism itself disagrees with Reformed, futurist eschatology.”
Conclusion: “Therefore, House Divided is not a “thoroughly,” “the-whole-route” Reformed book,” BUT it MAY nevertheless be Reformed in many or most ways, and, more importantly, it MAY be in agreement with the core principles of Reformed theology, and with the logical conclusions thereof.” :^)
> Remember, the determination about the correctness
> of Confession’s formulation of the Scripture on
> eschatology is not yours to make. That
> determination is mine, along with those ministers
> who subscribe to it.
No one can judge the WCF by means of Scripture except you and other ministers who subscribe to it? I hope you were joking when you said that. 🙂
WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH
I have known Samuel Frost for over 10 years. We are friends and we do disagree on many theological issues. I am Reformed and he is not. I am covenantal and he is not. However, we are agreed on Apologetics. I was a student of Dr. Gordon Clark, and Samuel was trained in Axiomatic Presuppositionalism. He knows the system well. We are both young earth creationists and I greatly appreciate his defense against the mislabeled ‘covenant creation’ theory. However, when Samuel writes universal statements like this one posted at SGP, I cannot help but respond in kind. Knowing that he is my friend, that we are both looking forward to the ‘debate’ over Preterism, I know he would not mind me responding to his rant on the “Westminster Confession and errant doctrine.”
Samuel Frost, in trying to deal with the issue of the heretical charge for his Hyper-preterism quotes the Westminster Confession of Faith, stating: “The word “may” is subjunctive possibility. It is a logical introduction of possibility. Once that is allowed, the door is thrown open. Here is a statement that has been quoted in every Creed, Council or Synod: “He shall come again to judge the living and the dead.” According to the Westminster Confession, this statement “may” err.
Perfect logical deduction. This conclusion is unassailable.”
Here is the syllogism:
1st Premise: “All Councils….may err.”
2nd Premise: “He shall come again was formed within the Council”
Conclusion: “Therefore, This Council may have erred.”
Perfect logical syllogism. What’s the problem? What idiot cannot grasp this? (Dr. Talbot: The term ‘idiot’ is universal in its usage, therefore it must include me)
Samuel Frost goes on to state:
“They want to say to you, Preterist, that you are not a Christian. That you rail against Christianity. Yet, the above syllogism DENOUNCES this heathenistic charge. I may, and am allowed, to stand AS A CHRISTIAN and charge a Council with having error. Simple as that. MY CHRISTIANITY ALLOWS ME TO DO THIS. IT IS CHRISTIANITY THAT TELLS ME I CAN DO THIS. PRETERISTS DID NOT MAKE THIS RULE UP.”
Dr. Talbot responds:
First, not everything is so ‘simple’ as Mr. Frost would have you believe. We should remember that as a subjective verb, the term “may” is only considered as a hypothetical, not a confession or statement of error. The fact that the Divines did not change their chapter on eschatology, nor has their followers for the past 362 years, clearly mandates that the they are continuing to believe their exegetical and hermeneutical studies over-against those of Mr. Frost and the Hyper-preterist doctrine.
Further, it should be pointed out that Mr. Frost does not understand the difference between ‘submission’ to the confession, verses, ‘belief in the Bible.’ Let me point out for the record that the Reformers, Puritans, and Presbyterians, believe that the creeds and confessions are good for the establishment of the Church, but they are not the replacement to Scripture, only a doctrinal formula that was developed as a result of their exegetical and hermeneutical studies of the Scripture. The Reformed subscribe to our doctrinal statements in our confessions as the purist expression of the teaching of Scripture. We maintain that Bible alone is the Word of God, inerrant, infallible, and authoritative Word of God. Therefore, as true to the Scriptures as our doctrinal formulas are expressed, they are a ‘subordinate’ standard to the Bible, yet, ‘authoritative’ if they convey the same teaching as the Scripture. We argue that is true on a personal level of one person stating, “I believe that the Bible teaches….,” or a minister when preaching says “I believe that the Bible teaches….,”, or when a denomination writes their confession saying, “We believe the Bible teaches…,”. If that is not the case, then at every point, in any propositional form of communication, no one person, or group of persons may speak about what the Bible teaches. Such a position is sheer absurdity! Listen to the vows taken by those who assembled at Westminster to examine the scripture in order to formulate the correct and pure teaching of the Word of God for His Church: “I (name) do seriously promise and vow, in the presence of Almighty God, That in this Assembly, whereof I am a member, I will maintain nothing in point of doctrine, but what I believe to be most agreeable to the Word of God; nor in point of discipline, but what may make most for God’s glory, and the peace and good of this church” (WCF, Free Presbyterian Publications, pg. 13). It is also worthy to note the Foreword of the Free Presbyterian Publications, what John Walter Ross, the Convener of the Publications Committee wrote about the Confession. “In every age a Confession is necessary; how much more in an age of doubt such as ours. In the Westminster Confession of Faith we have the ‘entire doctrinal process of Protestantism making itself confessionally manifest.’ It give expression to divine truth in a manner which meets with surprising fitness the issues and questions of the present day. The charge that creeds usurp the place that belongs to Scripture cannot be brought against the Westminster Confession of Faith. The seal which the Westminster divines adopted took the form of an open book with the inscription The Word of God upon its pages. This badge fitly symbolized that unique place that Scripture was to be given by the formulators of the Confession. Indeed one of the first rules of the Assembly was: ‘What any man undertakes to prove as necessary, he shall make good ‘out of the Scripture.’ It is not surprising, therefore, when one turns to the Confession itself to find that it begins by asserting the authority of Holy Scripture as the supreme and final rule of faith and conduct. Having thus affirmed that the ‘source and foundation of all belief’ is the Bible it proceeds to present the fundamentals of our Christian religion.” I am satisfied that the work of the divines, in their doctrinal formulas, express the true teaching of the Scripture according to their exegetical and hermeneutical studies. I have examined those texts of Scripture on eschatology and believe that they were correct in their interpretations. What authority does Mr. Frost come forth with and demand that I change my views of Scripture? It is Mr. Frost that is out of conformity with the Confession, and therefore the Scriptures, and not the Confession out of accord with Mr. Frost’s beliefs. Further, why is he going to infer that I am an idiot?
Now as to the syllogism, it is logically consistent. Yet, we must not forget that logical consistency does not prove the truthfulness or falsity of the argument, only that it is argued consistently. Logic is, as Dr. Gordon Clark stated: “the negative test for truth.” If something does not contradict itself, it seems it is a valid argument, but may still be false. The Divines, along with 2000 years of exegetical and hermeneutical studies have continued to state and show Mr. Frost that he is wrong in his views! So, let’s look at another syllogism.
To quote Mr. Frost: “This conclusion is unassailable.”
Here is the syllogism:
1st Premise: “Sam Frost is a hyper-preterist”
2nd Premise: “all hyper-preterists are heretics”
Conclusion: “Therefore, Sam Frost is a heretic.”
What can I say? I know, let me quote my friend Mr. Frost: “Perfect logical syllogism. What’s the problem? What idiot cannot grasp this?”
Dr. Talbot continues:
“Now what is the difference between “may” as an hypothetical subjunctive verb, verses the ‘absolute certainty’ that Samuel Frost is a heretic or even worse a ‘damnable’ one at that? It is the confessions of Mr. Frost and Mr. Green, two hyper-preterists.”
David Green wrote: “Keith Mathison was correct on this point: If futurism is true, then preterism is definitely a damnable doctrine. (http://www.preteristcosmos.com/matresponse.html)
Samuel Frost also wrote: “Preterism, the word I choose to call this doctrine and movement, is a risky venture. Two millennia of Church tradition on the Second Coming of Christ is now seen as an error. This was not a minor theological dispute, either. The Second Coming of Christ was and is a major tenet of Christianity. Most Christians that have come across preterist material immediately scoff at its views. Some have undertaken to wipe it out completely if possible as a damanable heresy. …Preterism is an interpretive system that is locked on the vents of 66-70 A.D. It views this as the decisive eschatological event. The Second Coming, Resurrection of the Dead and Great Judgment are seen as having taken place in and around these years. This is a contradiction to Christian orthodoxy and its Creeds, Councils, and all the Reformed, Baptist, and Methodist Standards (and we wonder why preterists are called “heretics”!)” (Observations, pg. 7, from articles: Reign of Grace)
Dr. Talbot responds:
Here Mr. Frost acknowledges himself as rightfully being a ‘heretic’ in light of Reformed theology. We also read in: The Constitution of Christ Covenant Church, Organized by Samuel Frost, in Section 1:A 1:2, Frost and others where they wrote:
“We are fully aware of the opinion by many that preterism is regarded as a “damnable heresy.”
Dr. Talbot continues:
Again, Mr. Frost clearly understands the implications of his doctrine in light of both Reformed and Evangelical Christianity. Why would he acknowledge that he is rightfully being called a ‘heretic’ and a ‘damnable heretic’ (not my words, but Mr. Frost’s and Mr. Green’s), and then complain about being called a ‘heretic’ and a ‘damnable heretic’ at that? Let’s see if this is logical.
Here is the syllogism:
1st Premise: “By confessional standards Sam Frost is an unrepentant heretic”
2nd Premise: “By confessional standards an unrepentant heretic is damnable”
Conclusion: “By confessional standards Sam Frost is damnable”
Quoting Mr. Frost again: “This conclusion is unassailable. Perfect logical syllogism. What’s the problem? What idiot cannot grasp this?”
Dr. Talbot Continues:
Now this is a lesson about logic. Is Samuel Frost a heretic and damned? According to David Green and Samuel Frost, he most certainly is! I did not say it, Mr. Green and Mr. Frost said that and that is what supports the validity of the 1st premises. Their statements also included all full (hyper) preterists. I don’t understand Mr. Frost, having made such a confession, why you are frustrated with being called what you have already acknowledge you are by Reformed confessional standards.
What is more important though, is that Mr. Frost has admitted that NO FULL (hyper) PRETERIST can be Reformed in their theology. That statement alone is worth all his ranting about creeds and confessions. By the way, the use of the term “hyper-creedalist” or “hyper-confessionalist” is a false statement. The term ‘hyper’ means going ‘beyond’. If I say that someone is a ‘hyper’ Calvinist, it means that the individual has gone ‘beyond’ the Calvinist standard of teaching. How can a person or group of persons be called ‘hyper-creedalist’ or ‘hyper-confessionalist’ unless they have gone ‘beyond’ the standards of the creed or confession?
On Sovereign Grace Preterism Mr. Frost wrote:
“…you cannot be “thoroughly” Reformed if, in fact, you posit the fulfillment of I Corinthians 15 in A.D. 70!!! That is THE resurrection passage sine qua non! You cannot maintain a fulfilled eschatology, and then turn around and maintain a Reformed soteriology. It cannot be done since the Reformed soteriology is BASED on the looked-forward-to Second Coming of Christ (all futurist soteriology is based on this) … One thing I do know is Reformed theology, and I have tried to square them. But, from Calvin to Berkhof, from Clark to Reymond, it can’t be done. So, when you say, you are coming from a Reformed perspective and that it disagrees with FP, SURE IT DOES! … You can’t have our cake and eat it, too. That’s why I would become Roman Catholic and Premillennial (adopting Justin, Irenaeus and a host of others). (http://preterism.ning.com/forum/topics/typological)
Mr. Frost continues in another post:
“Since you are Reformed, you cannot adhere to a Full Preterist eschatology. There is not one example from Reformed commentaries, creeds, synods, authors, preachers, puritans, etc. that would show me 1 Corinthians 15 as fulfilled. If you are going to be Reformed go the whole route.” (http://preterism.ning.com/forum/topics/typological)
Dr. Talbot responds:
Let me see if I have this correct. If you were not a full (hyper) preterist currently, you will be a Premillennial Roman Catholic? Now is that not jumping out of the frying pan into the fire? Roman Catholics are already considered ‘damnable heretics.’ I guess you would be complaining about that designation also as a Romanist. However, this is a telling statement! Mr. Frost is “not” by his own implications a protestant evangelical since there is no theological difference currently between Roman and Mr. Frost. Once could say that maybe Mr. Frost is a closet Premillennial Romanist! Wait just a second! The other implication is that you can not be “Reformed” or “Evangelical” if you are a full (hyper) preterist. WOW and OUCH! I didn’t see this coming! What a confession! Some nice fellow tried to help Mr. Frost by stating that maybe he was not really ‘Reformed,’ but a ‘Calvinist.’ However, in light of Mr. Frost’s confession, that is no help at all. I seriously doubt that John Calvin would claim Mr. Frost as his follower, and every Calvinist I know would deny him standing as being Calvinistic. I would suggest, that at best Mr. Frost is an ‘inconsistent Arminian’ with a truncated ‘dispensational’ eschatology. However, in light of the statement above, I believe the term better suited would be ‘semi-pelagian.’ Nevertheless, let us just consider the former issue at this time. Let’s see if this is logical.
Here is the syllogism:
1st Premise: “Sam Frost is a full (hyper) preterist”
2nd Premise: “No Full (hyper) preterists are Reformed”
Conclusion: “Therefore, Sam Frost is not Reformed”
Let’s try it again:
1st Premise: “House Divided is a full (hyper) preterist book”
2nd Premise: “No full (hyper) preterit book is Reformed”
Conclusion: “Therefore, House Divided is not a Reformed book”
There you have it! The book is not a Reformed response to Reformed Eschatology. According to Mr. Green and Mr. Frost, it is a heretical book, by damnable people who are full (hyper) preterists and are not Reformed at all. So the Reformed community is not divided after all on ‘general’ eschatological issues. Yes, we disagree on millennial chronology, but that has been true for 2000 years.
What can I say? I guess I will have to quote Mr. Samuel Frost one more time: “This conclusion is unassailable. Perfect logic. What’s the problem? What idiot cannot grasp this?”
Dr. Talbot continues:
Perhaps Mr. Frost, those who wrote the book just don’t get it! Hey, wait just a second! You can’t call those men idiots who wrote this book with you! I think you owe them an apology. Folks, I apologize for my friend’s transgression. He was angry when he posted his original thoughts on this issue.
Apologetically speaking, I would say my “A” game is in play. Remember, the next time you decide to call ‘me’ an idiot, stop and think it over. I am your friend, but I will respond in kind when you make unfounded allegations that include me.
Key phrase for today’s lesson: “Subscription to the Confession is different than believing the Bible The Bible is the ‘supreme’ authority while the confession is a subordinate authority as long as it teaches the same as the Bible. It derives its authority from the Bible.”
Remember, the determination about the correctness of Confession’s formulation of the Scripture on eschatology is not yours to make. That determination is mine, along with those ministers who subscribe to it. Besides, I have read your doctrinal statement on eschatology and you are absolutely wrong. Repent and sin no more my friend.
P.S. I forgot to answer the whole point of your rant Samuel. You wrote: “I may, and am allowed, to stand AS A CHRISTIAN and charge a Council with having error. Simple as that. MY CHRISTIANITY ALLOWS ME TO DO THIS. IT IS CHRISTIANITY THAT TELLS ME I CAN DO THIS. PRETERISTS DID NOT MAKE THIS RULE UP.” Yes, Samuel, please feel free to make all the charges you want to make. You have my permission. You can tell anyone that I said so. LISTEN up all you Reformed and Evangelical Confessionalists! My friend Samuel Frost wants to make charges against the Westminster Confession of Faith and every other confession and creed written or held by our Reformed and Evangelical denominations. I have given him permission to write and complain all he wants. He has my permission to yell, scream, shake his fist, stomp his feet, and curse at us to his heart’s content on the internet.
Lastly, it is a rule that the Divines intended that you do from within the Church, and not from without. Anyone can stand outside of the building and throw rocks, it is another matter to work within and under the authority and accountability of other ministers.
I love you Sam! Now, you owe me lunch next time we meet. And remember, “Put on a happy face!” ☺
Welcome to Tree of Life Ministries Podcast Page.
5. Tree of Life Ministries Podcast – October 9, 2009
Posted on 12/14/2009 1:00AM
Michael Sullivan and Michael Loomis will be continuing with part 2 of our podcast that we started 2 weeks ago. Then we will discuss Don K. Prestons new commentary on 1 Thessalonians 4.
4. Tree of Life Ministries Podcast – September 25, 2009
Posted on 12/14/2009 1:00AM
Michael J. Sullivan and Michael J. Loomis discuss their backgrounds within the Calvary Chapel Movement.
3. Preterist Radio Podcast – Michael J. Sullivan, David Green and Michael J. Loomis – Live on AD70.NET
Posted on 12/02/2009 1:00AM
Michael J. Sullivan, David Green and Michael J. Loomis Begin a survey of the 100+ time statements found in the New Testament that relate to the timing of the resurrection, Christ’s Return and judgment. This and other live programming aired on AD70.NET can be downloaded at http://ad70.net/podcast or iTunes by entering Preterist Radio or AD70, in the search window.
2. House Divided: Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology – A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? – Audio
Posted on 08/09/2009 1:00AM
Posted on 02/24/2008 1:00AM
To begin with, let me point out that as a Full Preterist (“Hyper-Preterist”), I have offered more than a review of this book – being one of the co-authors in a Full Preterist book which is a direct response to WSTTB. This is a line by line, gracious, logical, and exegetical refutation of WSTTB. Our book can be ordered here on Amazon through Tree of Life Ministries House Divided: Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology – A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?
The authors of this book (WSTTB) combined (represent the Reformed community as a whole) do not refute “Hyper-Preterism,” but FORM a “House Divided” apologetic and ironically, actually form the “Hyper-Preterist” position. Let me explain from some of the evolving postions the authors of this book are taking (such as Mathison & Gentry) combined with some of its more traditional ones (such as Kistemaker):
1) The NT only teaches ONE Second Coming and the imminent time texts that are connected to this coming “demands” that it took place in AD 70.
a) A Tradtional Amillennialist such as Kim Riddlebarger notes that partial preterists (such as Gentry and Mathison) make the same mistake that the Dispensational secret rapture position does, because both end up teaching a version of three advents of Christ: “What is worse, if dispensationalists are correct about a secret rapture, then Jesus does not have two advents but three.” “This same difficulty must be faced by so-called “moderate” preterists, who tell us that the Parousia of our Lord already occurred in A.D. 70. “…If the Parousia actually occurred in A.D. 70 and if the second coming of Christ is still yet to come, how many coming of the Lord are there?” (Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism Understanding the End Times, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 130, 143, 260 n. 21). Traditional Amillennialists are also good at pointing out that the references to Jesus’ coming in the NT are inseparably tied to the general judgment and resurrection of the living and the dead when the principle of the analogy of Scripture is followed (which partial preterists are in absolute denial of, for to do so would to become a “hyper-preterist”). Simon Kistemaker who is an author in WSTTB would be a good example of an Amillennialist who denies the imminent time texts and yet can clearly see there connections to other passages that partial preterists aren’t willing to make (cf. WSTTB, 215ff.).
b) On the other hand, we are told by the Reformed partial preterists that the coming of Christ in the NT which is associated with the imminent time texts “demands” a preterist and AD 70 fulfillment/interpretation (Kenneth Gentry, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998, 43). 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.” (Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, 4th edition Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1999, 393). 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].” (R.C. Sproul, The Last Days according To Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 108-109). Sadly, this same view is so commonly articulated among Reformed and Evangelical believers 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. For example Anthony Hoekema, claims that in a “sense” the end is “always near,” (Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), 126). To the contrary, this is nonsense! In so doing, conservatives such as Hoekema are unwittingly handling the Scriptures like Bultmann.
2) Traditional Amillennialism teaches us that the “last days” end with Christ’s one and final Second Advent to end the church age. Yet, partial preterists such as John Owen, Gary DeMar, David Chilton, and James Jordan tell us that the term “the last days” describes the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (quotes and citations available in our book available on Amazon – Tree of Life Ministries).
3) Traditional Amillennialism teaches us that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 16:27, Matthew 24-25 is describing Christ’s final Second Advent to usher in the general resurrection and judgment. Yet, partial preterists such as Keith Mathison and Gary DeMar claim that the coming of Christ in these passages took place between AD 30-70 and are being applied today in the new covenant age [the NT’s “age about to come”] (Keith Mathison, FROM AGE TO AGE THE UNFORLDING OF BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY, Phillipsburg NJ: P&R Publishing, 380; Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, Powder Springs, GA: Fourth revised edition, 1999, 189-201). Interestingly enough, Mathison changed his position that Matthew 25:31 was the “actual” Second Coming, to now claiming that the orthodox world and “Full Preterists” merely assume that it is a description of the Second Coming. Mathison and his co-authors in WSTTB main objection to “hyper-preterism” is that one cannot find our exegesis supported in the early church fathers. Question, “Mr. Mathison, where in the early church was Matthew 25:31ff. not understood as the final Second Advent and judgment and resurrection of the living and the dead?” Apparently Mathison can come up with evolving “new” “hyper-preterist” “private interpretations,” but we can’t. What DeMar and Mathison are unwilling to submit to, is that Matthew 24-25 FORM the FOUNDATION to the rest of the NT’s understanding of eschatology in such passages as 1 Thess. 4-5; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Pet. 3; & Rev. 19-22. Gentry now concedes that Mathison and DeMar’s preterist interpretations of Matthew 24-25 being fulfilled in AD 70 is still not a problem and doesn’t lead to full or “hyper-preterism.” Unfortunately for these men, no one and their Grandmother are buying that pitch or simply stated – bluff!
4) The Traditional Amillennialist and even Mathison himself, understands the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 unto everlasting life or shame, to be a description of the last and final judgment and resurrection event (WSTTB, Mathison-161, Strimple-297). And yet Kenneth Gentry has now changed his position to a “Hyper-Preterist” one claiming this resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70 (Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMOINION THIRD EDITION: REVISED & EXPANDED, Draper, VA: 2009, 538. Gentry’s objection to Dispensationalism’s teaching on multiple resurrections has now become moot; in that Gentry himself teaches multiple comings, judgments, resurrections, end of the age(s), Great Commissions, etc… If you thought Dispensationalism was seeing double, read Gentry!
5) The Tradtional Amillennialist teaches that the “end of the age” is a description of the end of the church age or new covenant age – throughout the gospel of Matthew and the rest of the NT, describing Christ’s Second Advent and the judgment and resurrection of the living and the dead. However, a partial preterist combination of Gary DeMar, James Jordan, and Peter Leithart teach us that the “end of the [this] age” in Matthew 13:40-43 & or Matthew 24:3 is a description of the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (again, citations provided in our book available here at Amazon – Tree of Life Ministries).
6) The Traditional Futurist position in 2 Peter 3 is that this is a description of Christ’s final return to dissolve the “elements” of planet earth. However, Reformed partial preterists such as John Owen, John Lightfoot, Gary DeMar, Peter Leithart, James Jordan, etc…, understand this chapter to be describing the “elements” of the old covenant heavens and earth in AD 70. (Citations available from our book on Amazon – Tree of Life Ministries).
7) Most understand Romans 8 to be a description of the planet earth and yet John Lightfoot agrees with us that the “creation” here has nothing to do with the literal planet, but rather the hearts and minds of men (see my chapter in response to Mathison for the references). Reformed theologians combined take the “redemption” and “salvation” or “gathering” and “catching away” of Luke 21/Matthew 24 and Romans 8:18-23YLT; 13:11-12; 1 Thess. 4:15-17 as the same events and or were fulfilled in AD 70. Again the partial preterist postion that requires a first century fulfillment of the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 and the Amillennial position that uses the analogy of Scirpture principle to unite all of these texts, FORMS the full, true, or “Hyper-Prterist” position.
8) Many within the Reformed tradition such as Mathison and Gentry understand that the saving of “all Israel” in Romans 11 is future. And yet their Reformed partial preterist colleagues and friends such as Gary DeMar and James Jordan believe this passage was fulfilled by AD 70 and that there are no longer any legitimate covenantal Jews or Israel today. We agree.
9) These are concepts and citations that the authors of WSTTB hid from you and thus deceived the Reformed community.
10) The most ink in WSTTB was spilled over and dedicated to the argument of – “Hyper-Preterists can’t be correct because their view wasn’t taught by the early church fathers or the creeds which we all now contain interpretations of the Scriptures that are “infallibly certain” and thus cannot nor should be challenged!” They have come up with “private interpretations” of the Scriptures!” This of course is the regurgitation of the Roman Catholic apologetic used against Luther when he was accused of being prideful and coming up with his own private interpretations of justification. Where was the Reformed view of forensic justification ever taught prior to Luther among the early church fathers or in any creed?!? We thus answer their foolish argument according to its own folly. And it simply is not true that we have come up with our own private interpretations, we have combined the exegesis of the Reformers into a consistent and exegetical position that honors the analogy of Scripture. We honor the creeds when they state that they indeed historically have been in error (and can be now) and are thus subject to change under the authority of God’s Word. Therefore, our approach is both Reformed and Orthodox – “Semper Reformanda” (“Reformed and Always Reforming”) and “Sola Scriptura” (“by Scripture alone”). Unfortunately the authors of WSTTB have adopted a “Solo Creedo” or “Hyper-Tradtionalism” approach to eschatology and in their “debate” interaction with us.
11) In our book, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, Ramona, CA: Vision Publishing, 2009, we expose Mathison and his co-authors – demonstrating that indeed the emperor has no clothes on! I hereby challenge Keith Mathison to a formal debate at any Reformed seminary over our respected chapters in both of our books. A good Calvinst isn’t afraid to have someone read an Arminian book along side of his in order to form an educated decision over the debate. Often times Arminians are so scared of Calvinism that they purge their pulpits in their churches of men beginning to see the light, or the teaching staffs and libraries in Bible Colleges of anything Calvinist because they have seen the power of the exegesis and logic of the position. As Calvinst Full Preterists, we aren’t afraid of you studying both sides of the debate. We welcome continued and even oral debate – unfortunately the authors of WSTTB do not. Read both books prayerfully and make an exegetical and educated decision and not an emotional one. To my 5 point Calvinist colleagues and brothers in Christ, remember there was probably a time when you first heard of limited atonement and thought to yourself, “Are these people crazy, have they not even read John 3:16?” And once you actually took the time to study the position you embraced it as not only being logical but exegetical. I remember when I was at the Master’s College and when I converted from 4 point Calvinism (“confused Arminianism” according to Sproul) to 5 point Calvinism in the early 90’s, many IGNORANTLY called me a “Hyper-Calvinist.” I of course was not as I neither a “Hyper-Preterist.” They make up their own terms in order to scare people away from studying our position. Besides studying my way out of the compromised and illogical postion of 4 point “Calvinism,” I also converted from the traditional Amillennial view of one Second Coming and the compromised and inconsistent partial preterist view of R.C. Sproul’s (“confused futurism”) to the exegetical and Biblical preterist position. I am watching many students doing the same in spite of the dishonest approach from men such as the authors of WSTTB have taken.
In Christ (2 Cor. 1:20),
Michael J. Sullivan
PS – “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe. God help me. Here I stand, I can do no other.” MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546)
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.”