BOOKS: BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) / EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD50-1000) / FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008)
AD70 Dispensationalism: According to
that view, AD70 was the end of 'this age' and the start of the 'age to come'.
Those who lived before AD70 could only 'see in part' and such, lacking
the resurrection and redemptive blessings which supposedly came only
Herod's Temple in Jerusalem
fell. Accordingly, AD70 was not only the end of Old
Testament Judaism, but it was also the end of the revelation of
Christianity as seen in the New Testament.
AD70 Dispensationalism: According to that view, AD70 was the end of 'this age' and the start of the 'age to come'. Those who lived before AD70 could only 'see in part' and such, lacking the resurrection and redemptive blessings which supposedly came only when Herod's Temple in Jerusalem fell. Accordingly, AD70 was not only the end of Old Testament Judaism, but it was also the end of the revelation of Christianity as seen in the New Testament.
material is being archived for balanced representation of all preterist views,
but is classified under the theological term hyper (as in beyond
the acceptable range of tolerable doctrines) at this website. The
classification of all full preterism as Hyper Preterism (HyP) is built
upon well over a decade of intense research at PreteristArchive.com, and
the convictions of
the website curator (a
former full preterist pastor). The HyP
theology of final resurrection and consummation in the fall of Jerusalem, with its dispensational line in AD70
(end of old age, start of new age), has never been known among authors
through nearly 20 centuries of Christianity leading up
to 1845, when the earliest known full preterist book was written.
Even though there may be many secondary points of agreement between
Historical/Modern Preterism and Hyper Preterism, their premises are undeniably and
THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "HYPER PRETERIST"
"Full preterist" material is being archived for balanced representation of all preterist views, but is classified under the theological term hyper (as in beyond the acceptable range of tolerable doctrines) at this website. The classification of all full preterism as Hyper Preterism (HyP) is built upon well over a decade of intense research at PreteristArchive.com, and the convictions of the website curator (a former full preterist pastor). The HyP theology of final resurrection and consummation in the fall of Jerusalem, with its dispensational line in AD70 (end of old age, start of new age), has never been known among authors through nearly 20 centuries of Christianity leading up to 1845, when the earliest known full preterist book was written. Even though there may be many secondary points of agreement between Historical/Modern Preterism and Hyper Preterism, their premises are undeniably and fundamentally different.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "HYPER PRETERIST"
SOME DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES OF SYSTEMATIZED HYPER PRETERISM
It is important to keep in mind that many ideas and doctrines full preterism appeals to - such as the complete end of the Old Covenant world in AD70 - are by no means distinctive to that view. Many non HyPs believe this as well, so one need not embrace the Hyper Preterist system in order to endorse this view. Following are exceptional doctrines which, so far as I've seen, are only taught by adherents of Hyper Preterism.:
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY STANDARD FULL PRETERISM
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY VARIOUS FORMS
The Arbitrary Principle of Hyper-Creedalism
By David A. Green
(Gentry's characterizations of weak arguments as being the strongest preterist arguments and his avoidance of strong preterist arguments, do not bode well for his credibility in this discussion.)
The areas of doctrine in which Gentry and I do disagree have already been discussed in my article
Preterism and the
Ecumenical Creeds. (1999) Even though Gentry read that article and quoted it five times in his chapter, he did not address any of its arguments. Therefore in this response to Gentry I will briefly reiterate and elaborate upon the main arguments from
Preterism and the Ecumenical Creeds in the hopes that Gentry will respond.
...To establish the significance of the debate: We are defending the historic, corporate, public, universal, systematic Christian faith. (pg. 2)
In reality however, the book begins with the Creeds for this reason:
To get our bearings as orthodox Christians, we need to make a creedal analysis of the problem. Only after obtaining such a theological orientation may we move on to consider exegetical and theological issues. (page 60)
Gentry says that only after we take the "first step" of presupposing that creedal futurism is "infallibly certain"(2) (pg. 44) may we then move on to "consider" (full) preterism in the light of Scripture. (pg. 2) And when he says that we may "consider" preterism, he does
not mean that we become free to "consider" the possibility that preterism might be scriptural. He means that we are permitted only to "consider" preterism within the creedal understanding that preterism is unscriptural.
All conservative, Protestant creedalists agree with these four points. And unless I am mistaken, most (full) preterists of Reformed background also agree with them.
This method of reasoning is cautious, careful, and anything but "extremist" or "hyper," as Gentry characterizes it. (pg. 10) How do Gentry and the other creedalists confute this Scripture-based logic, which opens the door to the possibility of preterism? Quite simply, in the same way as all others who attempt to escape from reason: They arbitrarily invent a new rule. And the crucial Rule of Creedalism is this:
Hyper-creedalists have pulled this rule out of thin air.(3) Though it is based on nothing whatsoever (other than an inordinate veneration of the Creeds and/or fear of preterism), it is the rule through which the hyper-creedalists justify themselves in closing their ears to even the bare possibility that preterism might be true. It is the crucial principle upon which they rationalize their unequivocal, creed-based condemnation of preterists.
Mathison says again on page 244:
As Mathison confirms, premillennialism is creedally heterodox. The Ecumenical Creeds teach that Christ will come again to raise the dead and judge all men; while contrary to the Creeds, premillennialism teaches that Christ will come again to establish an earthly, millennial reign.
1. I and many other Reformed preterists confess the necessity of the Creeds but take exception to the futurism of the Creeds. As I wrote in an exchange of articles with Gary North in 2001:
2. It is noteworthy that Gentry is so bold as to confess that he believes that
creedal futurism is "infallibly certain." Keith Mathison in his 300+ page book,
The Shape of Sola Scriptura, (2001) carefully avoided using the word “infallible” in describing creedal statements.
3. In Preterism and the Ecumenical Creeds, I asked this question:
Gentry quoted that question in his chapter but did not offer an answer. (pg. 33)
He also did not offer an answer.
What do YOU think ?
Very good article. Accurately represents the position of Reformed Preterists with the Creeds.
Well done. Hyper-creedalists, Gentry being our foremost example, don't just fear preterism--they are terrified by it.
Hi my name is jerry from gilbert az. Mm a partial preterist doing my homework...one of my concerns is the way most partial preterist's and others are aproaching the issue of full preterism. If full preterism is a "false gospel" it needs to be refuted with scripture and prove exigeticly that the ressurection is a physical one still in the distant future along with Christ's second coming (or third). So, when Gentry says "To get our bearings as orthodox Christians, we need to make a creedal analysis of the problem. Only after obtaining such a theological orientation may we move on to consider exegetical and theological issues.", he makes a complete hypocrite out of himself claiming to be orthodox and reformed yet treating the creeds as if they are partially God-breathed. Whatever happend to sola scriptura!?? For someone to abanden the Words of Our Lord and His apostles (2 pet 1:21) in exchange for the words and interpretations of men, have NO right to Consider themselves reformed. My conviction is that christian need to have the same view as the bereans in Acts 17:11 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Excellent! This is the issue in a nutshell. Green has done an superb job of exposing the errors of hyper-creedalists like Gentry, Mathison, et.al.
did you guys even understand Gentry's articel? it would appear not.
Previous comment: "did you guys even understand Gentry's articel? it would appear not." Question: What part of Gentry's article do you think we have misunderstood?
Gentry apprears to be saying that we need to interpret the scriptures through the lens of the creeds. Seems to be simalar to the "the two divine deposits" of the Roman Catholic Church. To the comment that we dont understand Gentry's point, it doesnt help anyone by not showing how we dont understand his point. Please enlighten us or forever hold your peace.. Jerry Roberts
"creedal futurism is "infallibly certain". Are you kidding me? Somebody pinch me to see if I'm awake. My, the things one will say to cling to their traditions. Give me a break! Wake up PP and take a stand for the truth. Now is the time for REFORMATION. DJ
Amen DJ!!! You couldnt have said it better brother!!!!!
David Green has done an excellent job in this article on hyper-creedalism. I just got the book by Mathison and so I will be doing my own response soon after finishing a response to Wayne Brindle's article "Was Jesus a Preterist?" at the 2003 ETS conference.
I guess what really frustrates us reformed preterists and no doubt frustrated Mr. Green is that we get no answers to straitforward questions and I quote Dave, "And in a public e-mail exchange in 1999, I asked Keith Mathison: The creedalists presuppose that the Creeds absolutely cannot contain a serious, non-damnable error. Is that not one of the creedalists' presuppositions? He also did not offer an answer." I know for a fact that in private corespondence Gentry wanrns others to stay away from full preterists because they are "usually very intelligent" and "know the Scriptures." But in a one sided argument he portrays us as idiots and heretics.
This is why Ken Gentry has AVOIDED a PUBLIC debate with a full preterist! His heretical position of hyper-creedalism would be displayed before all to see and his arbitrary preterist hermeneutic fully dashed. When will Gentry and DeMar stop picking on dispenstationalists such as Tommy Ice and start publicly debating with us??? Let me state it clearly - Gentry is a coward, a man pleaser and a man fearer. God will sorely chasten him as he has with others who sought to use the creeds to condemn full preterists. And on that note here is a public challenge going out to Gentry. Ken, I hereby challenge you as I did with Chilton.
If it comes down to the "authority" of the creeds and you condemn me as lost, then I challenge you to an inprecatory prayer stand off (for lack of better terminology). This is how the big boys play. Put in print an inprecatory prayer condemning me offer it to God and see what happens. If you truly believe full preterists are lost then give such a prayer! I will offer a prayer in response to your "tradition authority" prayer backed with Scripture and let's see whose God answers by fire. This is a public challenge to Gary North in this regard as well. Let's settle this Chilton discussion once and for all! In Christ alone, Mike Sullivan
PS - Mathison & Gentry's book title reads, "When Shall These Things Be?" Jesus already answered that, "Verily I say unto you this generation will by no means pass away until all these things are fulfilled." Ken, Daniel asked a similar question and he was told that "these things" or "wonders" would happen in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 "when the power of the holy people is shattered". What "things" Ken??? Yes, the resurrection was among them wasn't it (Dan.12)?!? I haven't even read this book yet but took note of some of the authors. I laughed when I saw the authors and chucked to Ed, "Sounds like a house divided". Sounds like a title you and Bahnsen once used-coming back at you!
Mike Sullivan: "I know for a fact that in private correspondence Gentry warns others to stay away from full preterists because they are 'usually very intelligent' and 'know the Scriptures.'" ---That's funny!! In Gentry's chapter, he portrays full preterists as naive and uneducated amateures who couldn't exegete their way out of a paper sack! <lol> ....Let me know what you think of Gentry's chapter Mike. YB, Dave (Green)
My Testimony and Interaction With David Chilton and Thoughts on Ken Gentry and Gary North.
By: Mike Sullivan On one of my summer breaks from school I read a small article critiquing dispensationalism. The pastor was a moderate preterist Reformed Baptist and in the article he stated that “this generation” meant what it always means throughout the NT (the contemporary generation of Jesus and the 12) and that all of the signs were fulfilled prior to AD 70. Again, the lights went on and this stuff was hermeneutically sound. I had to get a hold of this guy and find out where he was getting this material. I was soon introduced to the authors of David Chilton, Gary DeMar, Greg Bahnsen & Ken Gentry. I devoured everything I could get my hands on.
Chilton was first and I loved Paradise Restored. Everything Chilton seemed to be saying was pretty right on target except he left me hanging on the Olivet Discourse and some serious questions emerged. Why didn’t he go further in Mt. 24? If Chilton took 1Thess. 5 as AD 70 then he would have to take the entire Olivet Discourse as A.D. 70 and in fact he stated that the entire Olivet Discourse was about God’s judgment on Israel and if that is the case what about Revelation? Why in Days of Vengeance does Chilton start quoting creeds and abandon his own hermeneutic? These questions kept popping up left and right. My roommate at college lived in Sacramento at the time and asked me if I wanted to spend spring break with him. I agreed especially since Chilton lived near there in Placerville I believe it was. I set up a time to meet with him and we talked. I asked him specifically about 1Thess. 5 and the Olivet Discourse and why he stopped his exegesis of it at Mt.24:34.
I stated that “the entire Olivet Discourse had to be dealing with A.D. 70. Why didn’t you keep going through 24 and into 25” I asked? He saw where I was going and began to grin (we will come back to the grin). “Mike it sounds like you need to read a book “The Parousia” by Stuart Russell.” I got the book and then returned to school. As I read his exegesis of the Olivet Discourse the lights went on. “Yes, this guy is saying what I have been thinking!!! No division of the Olivet Discourse!” I of course was disappointed that the guy was dead and lived before my time. The obvious question was, “Who out there believes this way too?” I was not to excited to hear about some Church of Christ preterists. But there were others out there that believed the same way that I did. The Lord had reserved 7,000 that had not bowed the knee to the “prophecy experts” and the almighty creeds! I had to give a persuasive speech in my oral communication class at Master’s so I picked the topic of the tribulation. I figured this should be pretty safe. I used much of Chilton’s and DeMar’s work to prove to the class that it was a past event. I of course did prove my case and no one could answer my arguments but then the questions came. “So then are you saying that the second coming has already taken place?”
Well, if I were speaking to a bunch of postmillennial “preterists” I probably could have gotten out of there unscathed but I wasn’t. They didn’t really buy my panicked grin and “well some people do and some people believe it was just ‘a’ coming in AD 70. See the only advantage that a dispensationalist has in their indoctrination is that at least he or she knows how to connect the parousia in the Olivet Discourse to the one in 1Thess. 4. So I then began to be confronted with the very questions I had had myself and gave to Chilton. I unfortunately compromised the truth and if I recall made some statements misleading them that I held “a” position in Mt. 24. I would later repent of my man fearing and man pleasing. Although I got an A on the speech I didn’t cut the grade with my Lord. I eventually got tired of paying several thousands of dollars for a theological education that presented a Christ who fails in the cross and parousia. Why should I pay my instructors salaries when they aren’t teaching the truth? Shoot after all of the discussions and questions I gave I figured they should have been paying me. After dropping out of the Master’s College broke and somewhat bitter at the false doctrine that was being taught there to the students I ended up moving to Sacramento where I attended a Reformed Baptist Church.
It didn’t take long to see that these folks had a cultish understanding of Elder rule and had basically canonized the London Babtist 1689 Confession of Faith. I remember sitting in on one meeting where they where going to change the section where the Roman Catholic Church wasn’t the antichrist or Babylon. I thought to myself and did put in writing “there’s a lot more that needs to be changed.” Of course none of my Scriptures were ever addressed and I was looked upon as a rebel because I didn’t believe that their teaching was accurate. Apparently my job was to ONLY “SBUMIT” and had nothing to do with being a Berean. I again found myself getting a bit angry again even with this “reformed” group. I thought to myself, “Doesn’t being ‘reformed’ mean “the Scriptures alone”? Well I knew my days there were numbered so I began wondering where to go. I had also been reading more partial “preterist” books by Gentry, Bahnsen, DeMar, and Jordan and was getting even further frustrated at men who claimed to be “reformed” but clearly had an eschatological agenda that was not found in Scripture. I tried to organize a public debate with Greg Bahnsen (partial ‘preterist’) and Don Preston (Biblical preterist) but it didn’t go through. Something about money! I remembered my converstation with David Chilton.
I thought to myself, “this guy knows the truth but he’s not teaching it. Perhaps the Lord will open a door with him. I had felt the Lord wanting me to rebuke and confront David on that grin or smile he gave me instead of answering my questions for quite some time but didn’t do it. I felt the time had come. I wrote David a letter specifically dealing with his grin and pressed his conscience on why he wasn’t teaching the truth. I pointed out that the area I had questions on were the exact areas he would stop his exegesis and start quoting creeds in his books. I pressed him on how serious a thing it is to be a teacher of God’s people and to know the truth but not teach it. Not only this but to replace the truth with the traditions of men. I cited that this was the unbelieving attitude of the Jews during Jesus day, “You make null and void the commandments of God due to your traditions.” I cited passages in Deut. And passages in the NT where God clearly disciplines those He loves and sometimes that discipline results in death. He responded. Chilton pointed out that he no longer needed the Holy Spirit because he now had me (he had a great sense of humor). But amidst his very good use of sarcasm he avoided the Scriptures and told me that I was basically going to hell for being a preterist. And something to the effect that all my position would ever amount to would be a small footnote in one of his books whereas his position of “mother church” would roll and crush over it, or something to that effect. I wrote back and said that he was the one that taught me that imprecatory prayers were still valid in the NC so I told him that I would use them as a self-defense technique against his statements.
I specifically prayed that if David was not a Christian that he take his life but if he was a Christian that God would put him on his death bed and cause him to repent of the things he said to me and accept the Biblical position. From there I spent a brief time at Ward Fenley’s church - Sovereign Grace Bible Assembly in Sacramento and introduced the preterist view to him. At the time he was a 5 pnt. Calvinist but a dispensationalist. It was nice to at least be in a church that held to the doctrines of grace but at the same time didn’t feel that old hymns and the organ were the only inspired tools for worship. He had his own radio program called “Redemption Acomplished” or something like that where he went after Arminians quite a bit. I had already been burned out on trying to convince pastors why what they believed was wrong and getting labled “divisive” and all of that not to mention I considered Ward a friend so I told Ward I wouldn’t be there long and had planned on moving to PA with Ed Stevens. I remember taking a walk with Ward before I was going to move and he encouraged me to stay and that he wouldn’t label me “divisive”. He encouraged me to not study eschatology so much but to stick to the cross and redemption. I asked Ward to finish this sentence, “Look up for your…” and he answered, “…redemption draws nigh.” I encouraged him that I was studying redemption and salvation and that it couldn’t be separated from the cross. I think that stuck with him.
After about 6 months in PA I knew the Lord was getting me ready for another move. Then out of the blue Ward called me and stated that I should come and move back to Sacramento because he had become a preterist. He said that he had been preaching out of Hosea or Haggai and something clicked for him. So I knew God was answering my prayers and I moved back. Not to long from this time I heard from Ed that David Chilton had had a massive heart attack and was in serious condition. Providentially David was staying in the hospital two blocks from my house. I asked Ward and some in our church to go and visit him and we went and sang worship songs alongside his bed. David remembered me and our correspondence. I didn’t say anything about it because I knew God had answered my prayers and I just wanted David to know he was loved by a small church who were dedicated to the sovereignty of God and to His Kingdom - Preterists. That was all he needed to know at that point. And as he had pointed out the Holy Spirit would do His job :) After David had recovered we went out to lunch with him and he apologized to me for calling me a heretic and that he was now a preterist. You know I often wonder why God doesn’t answer a lot of my prayers but when it came to David Chilton for whatever reasons He had answered them exactly as I had requested. I had hoped that God would go on to use David more but his ministry was brief but impressionable.
He at one time struck the rock of Christ and His Word with the staff of the traditions of men so he went up on the mountain and was able to see the heavenly land of preterism from a distance and then the Lord took him. I would have enjoyed fighting along side him (especially against Gary North, Gentry, and Jordan) but God loved David so much that He wanted to show him more of these realities. David had fought the good fight of faith and had ended on a positive note. 25 – 100 years from now David will be remembered as the one who had the courage to stand up against the creeds and shout “the Scriptures alone.” It will be the postmillennial “preterist” view that will be in the footnotes J. They will go down in church history as the compromisers that they really are. God decided no more fighting for David here. No doubt Dr. Bahnsen knows better on the new heavens and new earth in (Mt. 5:17-18 & 2Pet. 3) now and he and Mr. Chilton glory in it. So much has happened since those days. It would appear to me that Gary North, Gentry, and Jordan have adopted the same Roman Catholic understanding of church tradition that Chilton once used against the preterist view. In reading some of North’s forwards in Chilton’s books and in Bahnsen’s and in talking to these men about them Gary is a serious control freak. However I would agree with this statement: “What should be an inspiration to any dedicated Christian layman is the knowledge that another layman with a bachelor’s degree in history and only one year of seminary wrote two of the most important works in eschatology in the history of the church – perhaps the most important. It makes a person wonder: Why didn’t some distinguished seminary professor write them? I believe the answer is simple: if distinguished theology professors write at all, they write mainly to impress other distinguished professors, and this is the kiss of death.” (Paradise Restored, p.340).
Well now of course Gary got his pants all in a wod because David wouldn’t write anymore to impress HIM but wanted to write so as to please Christ and have a good conscience toward Him! Gentry seems to be that man pleasing puppet now. It appears to be all about the money and the creeds for these men if they even deserved to be called such! Gary North: "I have spent about a million dollars to publish books against apocalypticism" & (Chilton was) "the hottest 'theological property' in the West" - "He has now become self-damaged goods delivered on the doorstep of Max King." - Was Chilton damned to hell due to the doctrine or dollars? "David Chilton is indeed a heretic who has denied the Church's historic creeds and confessions on the question of the Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment."
Please note how the coward Gary North handled Chilton’s position by trying to avoid it and manipulate others with strong arm (which are sickly and weak) techniques: Gary North: (On How to Treat a Preterist) "I would suggest that we not encourage (David Chilton’s) heresy by interacting with him on this matter on this or any other forum. It is now a matter of Church discipline, assuming that he is under any." (North on Chilton) "We can and should pray for the restoration of his mind, but to debate with him publicly will almost certainly drive him deeper into this heresy. He will feel compelled to defend himself in public. Let him go in peace. It is not our God-given task to confront him at this point. That is for his local church to do." "I recommend the immediate public recantation and personal repentance of Russell's theology (Preterism). Barring this, I recommend the heretic's excommunication by his church's judicial body. The elders should allow the accused member to identify the heresy for which he is then excommunicated." "Church officers who learn of any member's commitment to the doctrine of "full preterism" have an obligation to help this member clarify his or her thinking, and either become fully consistent with the full-preterist position or else fully abandon it. The member should be brought before the church's session or other disciplinary body and asked the following six questions in writing:" "the member must also be asked to sign an affirmation of Chapter XXXIII of the Westminster Confession of Faith and answer 90 of the Larger Catechism. This signed statement constitutes a formal rejection of the "full preterist" position. The member must be told in advance that this signed statement can be shown to others at the discretion of the session. If the member refuses to sign such a statement under these conditions, the elders should continue the disciplinary process." "There are only three lawful ways out of a local congregation: by death, by letter of transfer, and by excommunication.
Presbyterian laymen who have been brought before the church's session because they are suspected of holding heretical preterism, and who persist in their commitment to heretical preterism by refusing to sign a statement that is consistent with the Westminster standards, must be removed from membership in the local congregation by excommunication." Well now let’s go to Gary North’s hired puppet to see why preterists are damned to hell. Gentry states of the creeds, “Rather, orthodox Christians believe that doctrines contained in the creeds are the doctrines of Scripture, and therefore the doctrines are deemed infallibly certain because they derive from God.” (Ken Gentry, When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response To Hyper-Preterism, p. 44 bold MJS) He quotes Ed Stevens and makes some comments, “Which would you rather throw out the window, the New Testament writings, or the creeds?” (cited in BET, 216). Elsewhere he reasserts this false dilemma: “We must decide which is the right course of action: sacrifice the inspiration of Jesus and the NT writers in order to maintain the integrity of the uninspired creeds and Church fathers, or preserve the inspiration of Jesus and the NT and impeach the fallible interpretations and applications of the historic church” (WH, 5-6). These rallying cries are superficially compelling to those who are unschooled in logic and theology. But the more accurate antithesis would really be: Which would you rather throw out the window, the novel theological position of Ed Stevens or the convictions of the universal Christian church of all ages? (ibid. p.42 emphasis MJS) “The interpreters or exegetes who agree with the historic, orthodox interpretations of the past and who find themselves in the mainstream of Christian thought should not be suspect.” (ibid. p.60, emphasis MJS) “Who would have known where the followers of Joseph Smith would end up when he first began to decry the creeds of the church and the denominations of his day? Who knows at this stage where hyper-preterism will end up?” Third, hyper-preterism’s danger is intensified by its ability to draw out followers through the perennial cry of the cults: “No creed but the Bible.” It also feigns “scholarship” and claims “consistency” as a lure to theologically immature Christians.” (ibid. p.61, emphasis MJS). Basically Gentry assumes what he needs to prove in his assertion that the creeds contain doctrines that are “infallibly certain” on eschatology.
We could summarize Gentry’s other “arguments” – “ha, ha, because we have more on our side and our view has been around longer, no one deserves the right to question us and thus it is our position that will stay and the hyper-preterist view needs to go.” Of course his approach is supposed to be “logical” and “scholarly” – yeah whatever, maybe in your own mind Ken and those around you that blow “scholarly” smoke up your butt like Gary North. “Pride comes before a fall” and yours is coming real soon! Ken uses other really persuasive “logical”, “scholarly” “arguments” likening our position that the creeds are wrong (to assume a future coming past A.D. 70) to JW’s and Mormon’s who likewise challenged the creeds. But shoot according to Gentry’s “logic” why shouldn’t we all be Roman Catholics since they have been around longer and have more members? The same “logic” and “scholarship” arguments I here from Gentry are the exact same ones I hear as to why I need to be a Roman Catholic and the reformation was a heretical movement that went against “the convictions of the universal Christian church of all ages!” Shoot why not go back to my former Arminian and charismatic churches too since Calvinism was wrong in their mind because Calvinists were a minority view today in “mainstream Christianity” and those reformed churches just were “quenching the Spirit.” I remember the days of my 4 pnt. “Calvinism”. Anyone who believed in limited atonement was considered a “hyper-Calvinist”! “Consistency” was so wrong! I of course didn’t know what in the world I was talking about and neither did any of those other 4.5er’s but likewise Gentry tries the same tactics with Biblical preterists. He attempts to scare others away from reading our arguments because we are “hyper” preterists! Gentry has lowered himself to that of a caged monkey throwing poop at Biblical preterists or anyone wanting to read us.
Now I hate to be so honest but the facts are the facts. Gary North is obviously a control freak from the admissions of his own authors! He didn’t like Chilton becoming a Biblical preterist because it exposed his and Gentry’s arbitrary preterist hermeneutics that dispenstationalists and all other eschatological schools have demonstrated to be inconsistent to say the least. Do doubt North didn’t want to get in a public debate with Chilton because he knew he would blow him out of the water even with a serious health issue. North was so busy blowing smoke up Chilton’s butt in "Days of Vengeance" that he didn’t even have the “scholarly” sense to see that David’s view of the new heavens and new earth demolished the very foundation of theonomy (Mt. 5:17-18) that he has been paying millions of dollars to promote! The partial “preterists” know the more exposure they give us the more we show their hermeneutics a “house divided!” That is why R.C. Jr. probably didn’t want Dad or Gentry to put a whole lot of their “preterism” in their book to “refute” us. Thus it was most likely why Gentry got the crumbs of pedaling the Roman Catholic Church tradition “arguments” as well! James Jordan is going to have a real hard time defending his partial creedal view with Don Preston in that debate. I have been waiting over 10 years to watch the “dismay” of their position in a public setting! I am going to love watching Jordan take 2Pet. 3 as AD 70 and “defend” “a final future stage” of it when he doesn’t have any Scripture to support this "final stage"! Jordan is a philosopher not an exegete.
Whoa! Does David really mean to say that? It seems we are shooting ourselves in the foot, or at least shooting our own! David writes: "Most of Gentry's arguments and criticisms against preterists do not apply to me or to many other preterists. This is because, throughout a significant portion of Gentry's chapter, his method of argumentation is as follows: 1. Refute weak arguments and extreme statements that have been made by preterists. And in some instances, refute weak straw-man arguments that Reformed preterists have not made. 2. Characterize the weak arguments and extreme statements and straw-men as definitive of preterism." And yet Gentry very clearly stated: "Space limitations prohibit any complete survey of the great body of the Hyper-Preterists’ published writings (most of which are Internet postings), as well as any thorough analysis of even a few particular studies. To reduce the project to manageable proportions, I will focus primarily (though not exclusively) on the creedal comments found in studies by Edward E. Stevens. I do this for several reasons: Stevens: (1) is recognized as a leader of one of the larger factions in this movement, (2) is the founder of the International Preterist Association, (3) hosts one of the most significant Hyper-Preterism websites (www.preterist.org), (4) has written voluminously on the topic, (5) has specifically responded at length to my objection to the anti-creedal nature of his theology, and (6) even claims to have 'embraced Reformed covenant theology.'" What David is saying then is that Ed Stevens has "weak arguments" and "extreme statements." Let's withdraw this and start over. I like Ed and his writings.
Mike Sullivan: Where did you hear Gentry state that we are 'usually very intelligent' and 'know the Scriptures'? I have read all of his books and have listened to scores of his tapes. I am a consistent preterist and he is not, but I have only heard a consistent warning from him about our views. He has continually pointed out what he considers theological and exegetical blunders in our views. I would love to have this documentation. Please post it.
PREVIOUS COMMENT: "What David is saying then is that Ed Stevens has 'weak arguments' and 'extreme statements.' Let's withdraw this and start over. I like Ed and his writings." .........MY RESPONSE: You are sharp, whoever you are! Gentry responded to certain arguments that Ed Stevens made over seven years ago. I think that Ed has since fine-tuned his arguments. Also, when I said that Gentry avoided weighty arguments made by preterists, I include Ed Stevens in that group. Gentry avoided weighty arguments that ED STEVENS (and other preterists) made. Gentry is extremely selective about which preterist arguments he dares to tackle. --Dave Green :)
Regarding previous response by Dave Green: Good insight. We really ought to quit posting out-of- date theological reflections and historical argumentations. We are changing over time (I say "maturing," I am sure Gentry would say "drifting"). These older articles give our opponents false information --maybe even inadvertently in that most of them are not dated. I am glad Ed is changing in his views. We need also to be cautious about denouncing partial preterists as "futurists." Because we are helping promote J. S. Russell's "The Parousia," which also accepts some future fulfillment of prophecy. I have seen some posts elsewhere that turn our arguments on us. However, I guess we are a theological school in development and people just have to expect changes over time. After all, don't we ourselves argue that we are now making changes to historic Christian doctrine as we correct-out some of the futurist orientation of the creeds.
Regarding David's article: Let's be careful, guys! These things can come back to haunt us! If we claim that Gentry is misinterpreting our views, we must be careful not to misinterpret HIS! That will not help us at all. Let me cite David's article then explain how I think GENTRY meant it, or at least the way it seemed to me when I originally read it. I think David has stumbled somewhat, at least methodologically.
David writes: "Gentry's chapter begins with a brief defense of why 'When Shall These Things Be?' begins with a discussion of the Ecumenical Creeds. Gentry claims that the book begins with the Creeds for this reason: 'To establish the significance of the debate: We are defending the historic, corporate, public, universal, systematic Christian faith.' (pg. 2) In reality however, the book begins with the Creeds for this reason: Ken Gentry and his editor/co-author Keith Mathison believe that 'the first step' in an analysis of (full) preterism is to presuppose the truth of creedal futurism. 'Only after' that first step is taken, they say, may we begin to consider (full) preterism. Or in other words: They believe that we must first, based on the Creeds, reject preterism before we can consider preterism." Here is where I urge us to re-think our strategy: Gentry says one thing, but David RE-INTERPRETS Gentry to mean something quite different.
This will NOT work! David, please re-write this or we will be doing the same things the semi-preterists are doing! That is: Gentry says by the very historical nature of the case Christians must approach the Bible from a particular perspective. Nobody can approach it neutrally. In his view, we must approach it as Christians who are a part of the on-going church of Jesus Christ. We should not approach the Bible as Muslims, or atheists, or Mormons. We must approach it as CHRISTIANS. But rather than confronting Gentry ON HIS OWN STATEMENTS, David writes: "In reality however" and "Or in other words." That is, David is arguing that 'Gentry says one thing, but I believe he means something else.' Is this really fair? Isn't this the kind of thing we say that our opponents do to us: declare things that we do not believe, based on things we actually say, but which are wrongly interpreted? Although we do not like what Gentry is doing, let's take him at his word and deal with him there, rather than setting up a re-interpretive strawman: Gentry is actually stating that he believes the Christian exists in history as a part of the on-going Church and that in order to save time and to gain our orientation, we should approach the Bible as historical Christians, for if we didn't, we would always be having to re-defend the basic Christian claims (existence of God, inspiration of Scripture, and so forth) and would never get to first base.
He is most certainly NOT saying: "We must reject preterism before we can consider preterism." We must remember Gentry's chapter is only one chapter in a book that he knew would contain other chapters. Those other chapters deal with additional issues. He is simply saying: All Christian interpreters approach the Bible with a pre-commitment to Christianity (rather than Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or whatever). And a part of that history of faith (I would say, a part of our contemporary baggage) is that the historic church has declared certain foundational truths. Let Gentry state what he means, and then let us deal with him on what he actually says. No sleight of hand stuff, please! That's what I don't like about mainline Christianity. Why would I want to adopt their interpretive method?
PREVIOUS COMMENT: [Gentry] is most certainly NOT saying: "We must reject preterism before we can consider preterism." ........MY RESPONSE: He most certainly IS saying that. He is saying that we must first, _based on the Creeds_, reject (full) preterism before we consider and analyze preterism. Ask him yourself. Here is his e-mail address: KennethGentry@cs.com Please let us know his answer. Dave Green :)
Well, Gentry finally responded to my inquiry! Here is what he said (all that follows is a direct quotation of his e-mail to me):
Thanks for your inquiry regarding my position as expressed in my chapter in Keith Mathison's "When Shall These Things Be?" I generaly make it a practice to avoid direct interaction with hyper-preterists for several reasons:
(1) According to a friend of mine, they have posted on one website prayer for my death. Why should I give them a portion of my life? Is that any way to conduct theological debate (outside of Islam, that is)?
(2) They tend to be rude, argumentative, and simplistic in interacting with others.
(3) They have difficulty understanding historic orthodox positions, such as their misconstruing what I am saying in my chapter in Mathison's book.
(4) They seem to have only one mission in life: to argue hyper-preterism. I have to make a living! So, when you give your friend my few paragraphs of response, please ask him not to publish a 200 page book and expect me to drop everything and hop on the matter. However, I do occasionally make an exception to cordially expressed inquiries (when I have time!).
So I will answer your question as to whether my position in Mathison's book entails the impossible and absurd position that "We must reject preterism before we can consider preterism."
In response, please note:
(1) It is simply a naive and grandiose overstatement to say that I argue that Christians "MUST" reject hyper-preterism "BEFORE" they can consider it. After all, how would you know whether it SHOULD BE rejected if you do not first consider it? Your friend's argument simply does not make sense! Whoever your friend is, he is simply not thinking clearly if he surmises that I (and the other men in Mathison's book) hold such an obscurantist position.
(2) What is worse, your friend has grossly misread my chapter in Mathison's book. And I would even suspect he has NOT read it at all (this problem is a constant frustration among many who have interacted with hyper-preterists: HPs too often fail to carefully analyze arguments). I do NOT argue as your friend thinks I do, as anyone reading my chapter should understand. Ironically, I have written hundreds of pages in numerous books arguing the exegetico-theological case for my eschatological views. I have only engaged the historico-creedal argument in a few places (Mathison's book being the most voluminous and obvious case). In addition, I was asked to provide ONE chapter in a multi-chapter book which was to offer other arguments.
(3) Your friend should note that my chapter is replete with documentation from NUMEROUS Christian scholars regarding the role of creedal orthodoxy in framing the faith of the church. I cannot understand why your friend presents my position as if it is unique to me. In fact, some criticisms of my chapter have noted that I engage in documentary over-kill by proving what everyone knows: Christianity has a long established a creedally-framed orthodoxy. I feel that I am caught between a rock and a hard head by such complaints.
(4) The careful reader should note that in my "Introduction" on the second page of my presentation I forthrightly contradict your friend's assertion. There I state: "We open with the creedal argument, not as the FINAL word in the debate, but as the FIRST word - - - not as our ONLY concern, but as a CRUCIAL concern." (Italics in the original have been replaced by caps).
Please note that I am simply setting the context of the debate: historic, Christian orthodoxy v. Nouveau unorthodoxy. I am OPENING the argument; I am not CONCLUDING it or CLOSING IT DOWN. Orthodox Christians simply want unorthodox men to know where they are coming from. In fact, I did not even write the chapter for hyper-preterists, but for young Christians who may be subjected to the tempting lure of hyper-preterism: "Come, join with us: We are starting a New Reformation! Get in on the ground floor of a new church!" Sounds exciting. But the young Christian needs to realize what he is leaving behind if he succumbs.
(5) Actually what I was saying was: The universal, historic, corporate Christian church has a biblically-based, exegetically-derived, systematically-organized, clearly-enunciated, publicly-stated, creedally-secured, theology that affirms (for instance) a future, bodily resurrection and a future, visible Second Coming of Christ. Whether or not any individual wants to adopt the faith of our fathers is his own decision to make. What I argue in my chapter is: When a person adopts an historically unorthodox position he MUST understand that he is placing himself outside of the faith of the historic Christian church. Hyper-preterists should simply declare: "We know what the historic Christian faith affirms, but we simply do not believe it and we do not care whether we are outside of orthodoxy."
My chapter notes that by slipping loose from the anchor of historic orthodoxy, hyper-preterists are adrift on the tides of wholesale theological change. I note by way of introduction that many great doctrines of the faith are gradually being eroded by the relentless tides of hyper-preterist experimentation.
We all know that hyper-preterism is a NEW movement. I am simply calling upon Christians to recognize that it is new and potentially dangerous. In my "Conclusion" I state: "A critique of any new theological construct or religious movement must consider it on the basis of the historic creeds of orthodox Christianity as an important FIRST step." My chapter should not be interpreted to be the ONLY step in theological reflection; I expressly affirm the opposite position. I argue there that we must "get our bearings" and note our "theological orientation" as we move into a consideration of a new theology.
To the person who posted the last comment: Can you please contact me via e-mail? I would like to post these exchanges between you and Gentry and me on my web site. Here is my web site address
My e-mail address is near the bottom of the page. Thank you, Dave
Dave: Feel free to post my postings on your site. For the cause! Go get him! I am leaving town for three weeks with my trucking job. I am on my way out of town as we speak. Gotta hurry. Thanks. Steve.
It seems illogical to state on the one hand that the end to which all scripture looks has indeed occurred at A.D.70 and on the other to insist that a 'Church' now bereft of those Jews to whom the word of God was principally addressed, is actually able to formulate any creed with accuracy. Rather nearly every confession is based upon politics and power plays and has nothing whatsoever to do with the spirit of equality which Jesus insisted upon. Preterists would do well to acknowledge the ineveitable direction which the application of reason to Scriptural exegesis must lead. Firstly the Trinity itself is destroyed and the Unitarian view upheld. Secondly the worship of Christ is understood for what it is, pure idolatry. 'then shall come the end when he sahll deliver up the kingdom that God may be all in all'. (Is not the image of the serpent in the wilderness a deliberate warning agaist worshipping that which merely represents God's power?) The list could be multiplied but the essential thing to bear in mind when considering any creed is they are the product of authority and not reason, therefore the rejection of them entirely is necessary towards any discovery of Scripural truth. I would guide any thoughtful person towards Frank Daniel's Religous Concepts Page and advise a thorough reading of John Bland's papers; particularly 'Men who would be kings' and 'There is One God'. These offer superb insights, especially the former on the tendency in people to avoid responsibility.
As one strongly committed to the preterist view I applaud the August 7 writer. Gentry tries to show that we are breaking creedal tradition. Well, so be it! It needs to be broken! The whole idea of the Trinity is purely rationalistic. We are forging ahead with a New Reformation that needs to toss out the creeds and all the rationalistic doctrines that come with them. John Noe is correct: We need to call others to follow us and leave behind such "evangelicals" as Gentry, Mathison and others. Why do we waste our time with them? Who cares what they, or the creeds declare?
Steve, do you have the original e-mail you sent to Ken Gentry? Can you send it to me? Dave firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve, I've posted a response to Gentry's e-mail to yo
Dear Dave, Mr. Gentry, and others, I think what we are seeing here is that in order to get into the Matthison book perhaps Gentry needed to adopt the "hyper-preterists" are going to hell approach (Sproul JR's attitude lately I hear), but when matters of conscience are considered in a more private setting Gentry can't go that far - we are "potential" heretics.
I am so burned out on Gentry and DeMar claiming they "don't have time" to debate and interact with Biblical Preterists! At least James Jordan had the COURAGE to debate Don Preston, but what of North and Gentry? They have declined to debate Preston. Why? Well get the Jordan / Preston debate and YOU WILL SEE FOR YOURSELF WHY NORTH AND GENTRY WON'T DEBATE DON OR THE BIBLICAL PRETERIST VIEW.
They are only left with typology arguments founded upon philosophy derived from the Creeds. Exegetical argumentation is non-existent! For example they argue that the new heavens and earth in 2Pet. 3 and the day of the Lord there is AD 70, but then have NO text to support an end of time coming to establish the new heavens and earth that their Creeds support. Time and time again we and even dispensationalists have pointed out their arbitrary hermeneutic. And when PRESSED WITH EXEGETICAL & LOGICAL ARGUMENTATION, THAT EXPOSES THAT ARBITRARY HERMENEUTIC, THEIR COMPROMISE AND MAN PLEASING IS DISPLAYED BEFORE THE CONGREGATION!
They don't want any part of that. I guess it's okay for Sproul Jr and North to condemn Biblical Preterists to hell and ban them from Christian fellowship and persecute and threaten other Christians in their churches who do fellowship with us, but I'm some kind of "quack" because I will pray in SELF DEFENSE against those who persecute God's people because of "Mother Church" and due to their "empty eschatological traditions"? Sounds to me like there are some similarities in the way North and Sproul Jr. attack Biblical Preterists and the way the religeous order of Jesus' and the Apostles day attacked them. So I don't have a problem when I am attacked the way the N.T. disciples were attacked to PRAY the way the N.T. disciples prayed in response to those attacks. If someone who HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO THE TRUTH & LIGHT OF THE BIBLICAL PRETERIST POSITION claims I am going to hell for believing what I do about Christ's clear words about His return due to the traditions of men, then I am going to pray three things: 1) Lord save this person if he doesn't know you, 2) Cause this person to repent and put them on their death bed if neccessary to see the seriousness of persecuting your people, or 3) take their lives if they will not repent and bring "relief" to your people. I really don't see anything wrong in praying this way. The degrees of severity in prayer depend on the light and exposure to the truth that the one persecuting has been exposed to. For instance, I pretty much brush off anything someone says to me if they are saying it out of ignorance. But I don't brush it off when they say those things after being rebuked with Scripture over years and understand the issues.
Men like Gentry and possibly North can't play the "ignorance" card with God in slandering and persecuting Biblical Preterists. The more time goes by the fuller God's cup get's with this kind of persecution founded in the traditions of men and not founded in Scripture. In the case with David Chilton I knew he would either go Roman Catholic (authority of uninspired traditions) or "Scriptures alone" Biblical Preterist. He was tormented being in between (read his Rev. commentary and his citing Creeds when put in an exegetically inconsistent position). So when he condemned me to hell for being a BP (WHEN I KNEW HE KNEW THE TRUTH) I thought I knew how to pray in response. So Gentry this is the CONTEXT to the Biblical Preterist who is allegedly praying that God kills you. Get a real excuse - Stawman dude! In The City of The Living God, Mike Sullivan
Date: 13 Apr 2009
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