Thomas F. Torrance
The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church
(On the birth of the "multiple advent" theory)
"It is important to recall that the apostolic witness to Christ did not speak of his advent (parousia), and more than of his kingdom (basileia), in the plural, for strictly speaking there is only one saving
parousia of the Son which reaches from his coming in great humility to his coming again with great glory - "whose kingdom shall have no end." [Epiphanius, Anc., 110f; fidei, 17 and MPG, 42.885] The term parousia was used in the New Testament to speak of all three: the coming, arrival, and presence of Christ... His presence is an advent and his advent is a presence. "The hour comes and now is," as Jesus once said. [John 4:23] It is instructive to find that the plural word, "advents" or
parousiai, was not found in Christian literature for more than a century after the ascension of Christ, when it was used to distinguish between his first coming and his second coming. In one revealing statement, however, Justin Martyr spoke of what takes place
in the midst of Christ's parousia. In other words, here and now in the on-going life of the Church we live in the midst of the advent-presence of Christ, already partake of the great regeneration (paliggenesia) of the future, and share in its blessings with one another." (Thomas F. Torrance,
The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church. Edinboro: 1988. pp. 299,300. See also Justin Martyr,
Dial., 14,32,40,49,51,etc.; Hippolytus,
DeChr.. et ant., 44; In Dan., 4:18,23,39,etc.)
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