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David S. Clark - The Message From Patmos: A Postmillennial Commentary on the Book of Revelation (1921) "This early twentieth-century Postmillennial commentary on the Book of Revelation, written by the father of theologian Gordon Clark, offers an easy-to-read alternative to the popular Pre-millennial/Dispensational views of the best-selling Scofield Reference Bible and a multitude of other dissertations on end-time prophecy that litter the shelves of Christian bookstores. "


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Andrew Sandlin's Review of Sproul's  "The Last Days According to Jesus"

By Andrew Sandlin

Sandlin Responds to Hibbard

Excerpted from my "Books and Things 7," to be published this summer in the CHALCEDON REPORT. Feel free to forward or cross-post.

     I am ambivalent about R. C. Sproul's The Last Days According to Jesus: When Did Jesus Say He Would Return? (Baker Books, 1998). On the one hand, he seems clearly to adopt postmillennialism, but this book is not mainly about postmillennialism; rather, it is a defense of "partial preterism," conceding a little too much ground to "consistent preterism" (or rather, the Hymenaen heresy). 

    As one reads the book he begins to suspect that the alteration in Sproul's eschatological viewpoint was less exegetically and theologically than apologetically driven.  He is deeply concerned that the critics of Jesus Christ not get an upper hand.   In the context of eschatology, the p1rime charge of critics which troubles him most is that Jesus is a false prophet in that Jesus claimed that his Second Coming was near, or virtually imminent, while clearly the physical Second Advent which the Bible predicts was not.  Sproul's response is to adopt a partial preterism, in which many of the New Testament prophecies referring to the Second Advent are assigned to his "coming" in judgment and the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70.   This eschatological interpretation does have some historical precedent, and it has grown quite popular in recent years as a ringing alternative to the dispensationalist obsession with the "Last Days." Sproul adopted this position because it accounts, to his way of thinking, for those texts which describe the Second Advent as "near" or "at hand."   He relies heavily on the "consistent [heretical] preterist" J. Stuart Russell, and the thoroughly orthodox partial-preterist Reconstructionist, Kenneth Gentry, who has firmly and vocally repudiated the Hymenaen heresy.

    The most recent reprinting of Russell's book contains a glowing, though slightly qualified, introduction by Sproul.  He argues that, "the preterist is a sentinel standing against frivolous and superficial attempts to downplay or explain away the force of these [eschatological time] references" (p. 203). (Perhaps Sproul believes that all of the orthodox, non-preterist interpretations of these passages throughout the history of the church are "frivolous and superficial.")

     Like most preterists, Sproul is convinced that A. D. 70 constitutes the "end of an age." This is supposed to be the end of the old covenant era, God's dealings with the Jews. I fully dissent from this interpretation, as I explained briefly in my August, 1998 *Chalcedon Report* editorial.  Robert S. Rayburn is much closer to the truth in his dissertation "The Old and New Covenants in the New Testament": the old covenant and the new covenant refer not to historical epochs at all, but to the experiences of individuals-equivalent to the "old man" and the "new man." The old covenant was no more concluded in A. D. 70 than the new covenant was instituted in A.D. 33. Both the old covenant and the new covenant pervade both the Old and New Testament eras-and today's world. Clearly, at this point, Sproul is a partial preterist, seeing the old covenant as historical, though he does disagree significantly with "consistent [heretical] preterists," leaving room for the future Second Advent and attending events. Therefore, Sproul defends historical, orthodox Christianity, but he leaves open the door for a change of mind:

"Personally, I cringe at the idea of going against such a unified and strong testimony to the historic faith, even though I grant the possibility that they [the historic creeds] are wrong at points. All who are inclined to differ with the creeds should observe a warning light and show great caution. Of course this warning light pales in comparison to the authority of Scripture itself .... To be completely candid, I must confess that I am still unsettled on some crucial matters." (pp. 157-158)

By the historic creeds he seems not to be referring specifically to the Reformation confessions, but to the early ecumenical Christian creeds, which all Christians affirm. What, then, one may inquire, could Sproul find *potentially* in them to disagree with? The deity of Christ? His bodily resurrection? The Trinity? I am certain that Sproul would not for one minute say that one could deviate from historic Christianity at any of these points and still be considered a Christian. One presumes, therefore, that he is referring to Christianity's teaching of the future, physical, Second Advent of Christ, the resurrection of the just and the unjust, and the final judgment. But if he is willing to at least consider jettisoning these aspects of Christianity, why not the others as well?  To say that the others are clearly taught in the Bible begs the question. All sorts of heretics claim to believe the Bible while repudiating the Trinity-this, in fact, was precisely the position of the ancient Arians. Though Sproul does not at this point deny creedal Christianity, or come close to it, he leaves the reader with the distinct impression that he may be willing to do so if he were convinced that the Bible taught this. However, to alter one's views of a future physical Second Coming, resurrection of the just and the unjust, and the final judgment, is to restructure Christianity itself. We cannot alter these doctrines without altering Christianity, any more than we can alter the orthodox Trinity, or the two natures of Christ, without altering Christianity.

Protestants correctly hold that the Bible that is our sole authority is never uninterpreted. Nor is the Faith itself to be neglected (Jude 3). As Philip Schaff observes, flowing out of the Bible itself is a godly, holy tradition which as the Christian Faith has been handed down for 2,000 years. In Charles Hodge's language, no one can reject any fundamental tenet of this Faith and be considered a Christian. Our principal calling is not to answer every cavil of skeptics, or to provide an absolute answer to dispensationalists and other eschatologically misled evangelicals. Our first calling is to defend the Holy Scriptures and the Faith. To a certain extent, Sproul's recent book does this, but it leaves too many questions unanswered and, in this reviewer's opinion, makes far too many concessions to heterodoxy-all, ironically, with the noble intention of fully answering skeptics of the Bible.

Andrew Sandlin
Executive Director

What do YOU think ?

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28 Oct 2001


What kind of statement is this:

"Though Sproul does not at this point deny creedal Christianity, or come close to it, he leaves the reader with the distinct impression that he may be willing to do so if he were convinced that the Bible taught this"

I would most certainly hope that any Christian would do so if convinced by scripture! Sola Scriptura is to hold God's Word above man's interpretations, innovations, superstitions and creeds.

May we all abandon these creeds if by God's grace His Holy Word teaches us to differ.

Brian Valentine

11 Jan 2002


Sandlin is correct in his warning of Sproul's statement. While affirming Sola Scriptura, we must also understand that some Arminians claim it, too, and yet they come to erroneous soteriology. It is the "faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude3c) which is indeed summed up in the historical, ecumenical creeds. This is what the apostles and their disciples handed down to us...the truth as it is expressed in the ecumenical creeds. Sola Scriptura has no real meaning in the real world apart from what these creeds express. Otherwise, we are left with a thousand sola scripturas, all contradicting themselves.

Brant Kennedy

15 Apr 2002


I believe that R.C.Sproul's book "The Last Days According to Jesus" does an outstanding job in clarifying the partial preterist viewpoint. I don't believe that his book was trying to answer every question regarding the preterist or partial debate but to provide some new insight into the debate. For a long time American Evangelicilism has been under the sway of dispensationalism and furturist speculation. It is refreshing that partial preterism is making a comeback. Perhaps R.C. Sproul will write a sequal to his book that will answer some of the pointer questions of preterism and partial preterism.

24 Mar 2003


I my self havent read any of Rc spoul books. I have been reading some of Doc.Owen lately. I have come out of Chuck Smith(Calvary Chapel) churchs.I find that those hanging on postmillenmialis is hanging on no better than Perupture.There eschatologically thinking is very dangerous.It is getting many so called believer thinking that we the church would not go through hard trails.We are forgetting that Christ Him self said He will return a second time.Not three or more. Act1 11.

03 Feb 2004


I see a person so filled with pride and yet is so insecure that he covers up his insecurity with his born given intellect to challenge other intellects of his peer, instead of loving his brothers. He has put his name out there to share the Lord's glory. He is one step from destroying himself. He needs repentance more than any man I have ever met.

30 Mar 2004


Sandlin lives in fear of preterism. He knows Scripture supports preterism, so he flees to a hyper-creedalism ---- at the expense of Scripture as the final arbiter of faith and practice.

08 Aug 2004


Thank God for Dispensational truth which is the only approach that makes total sense

26 Oct 2004


Sandlin is a sad, and miserable idiot. He was once great, but is now a loser. Pray for him.

21 Feb 2005


I now understand why dispensational leaders fear preterism . The large amounts of money that will be lost to dispensational ministries when preterism becomes mainstream is vast, unfathomable. How will these churches and mega-churches survive? Should they survive? REFORM TO PRETERISM NOW. This is my prayer ....this is my dream. jwr

21 Feb 2005


the amount of money that these dispensational churches stand to lose is what is implied

Date: 22 Feb 2006
Time: 12:12:00


I for one am so confused by all this. I am so grateful that eschaetology is not something that is held as orthodoxed and I believe that we should be careful to pass it off as if it were.

Date: 14 Jun 2006
Time: 20:12:29


You need to read Jack Roger's book "Presbyterian Creeds." Unless your not a Presbyterian. On page 24 he points out that the Book of Order considers only certain beliefs as essential: Trinity, Incarnation, Justification, Scripture, Sovereignty, Election, Covenant, Stewardship, Sin, and Obedience. Also Phillip Schaff said that the Creeds were only an approximation to scripture and there is the possibility of the creeds being improved upon by the progressive knowledge of the Church!


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