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Preterist Debate

Reply to Preterist Debate

Ken Palmer adds more keystrokes to fan the flame of the Preterist debate. First, his effort confirms several points I addressed in the Full Preterism in the “News” Again, post. Let me start by noting that his blog is named, “Preterist Debate”, not Partial-Preterist Debate, not Dominionism Debate, but Preterist Debate. Why name a blog after something that is so insignificant that it doesn’t merit attention?

He then adds that “some” statements made by Preston were considered heretical by orthodox Criswell. Wasn’t it McDurmon’s point that to have a Full Preterist speak at Criswell was “unorthodox”? Isn’t that Palmer’s point? Would Palmer be orthodox to allow Preston to speak at his conference? Would American Vision be orthodox to do so?

How much Full Preterism can be tolerated in a speech for it to yet be considered orthodox? I mean, they listened to Preston’s entire speech before they asked him questions about his stand on Jesus’ post resurrection body. Had Frost and McDurmon not planted the seed in their minds through the letters, phone calls, emails and audience implants, they may never have thought to ask the question.

It is apparent when listening to the recording that it was a question which came out of left field as nothing was said about it in Preston’s speech. It was a planted question by those whose feelings were hurt that he made it to the “big stage” in the first place!

If that was so insignificant why all the letters and fuss and why are we even having these conversations? And, after all that, Criswell posted the entire unedited speech on their website for all “orthodox”,and unorthodox site visitors including young impressionable students (who can think for themselves by the way) to hear it. How orthodox is that? Based on 1 Cor. 11:18-19, it may be more orthodox than some think.

By the way, Paul and the Holy Spirit could have easily removed the controversy about the resurrection from 1 Cor. 15, and just wrote the truth without a hint that anyone ever held a different opinion. Apparently, not even God is opposed to recording a different view in his word knowing that some might be persuaded by it. If partial-preterism can’t stomach that, are they orthodox? Preterism invites the “winds of opposition”. Kites fly higher against the wind.

Partial Preterists Accept Debate Challenge

Why did it take so long for partial preterism to come to the platform of Preterist debate in the first place? Why did they only come after a large sum of money was paid? Why do some prominent partial preterists yet refuse to debate. Isn’t Demar on record saying he would not debate Preston? Why has Gentry refused? Neither of these men made money an issue.

Palmer writes an entire post, not a comment here like everyone else, but an entire blog post to object to the comment I made about partial-preterists’ motivation and effort to refute full preterism in cyberspace. That is precisely what he attempted and by so doing confirmed the point. He published in cyberspace!

It appears that it is the partial-preterists who are so pre-occupied with trying to prove they are orthodox. I mean, they are the ones who keep using the term “orthodoxy” as though it were the “ark of the covenant” or something.

Jesus Considered Unorthodox by Majority

Consider this, Jesus was “unorthodox” according to the Scribes and Pharisees of his day. His sermon on the mount is plenty proof of that. “You have heard it said, by them of old time (orthodoxy in their own mind)…but I say to you (unorthodoxy in the Jews mind). It was Jesus’ non-conformity to the “orthodox” majority of his day that got him killed. By the time of his crucifixion, he was the “last man standing” for even his disciples all forsook him and fled.

“Orthodoxy” was certainly in the majority. McDurmon agrees and writes on this very point in his book. See page 61 in the chapter, You Shall Be Left Few Luke 13:10-13:35, “Jesus and Jerusalem. McDurmon argues for a small orthodoxy in his book speaking of Christ as the sole faithful Israelite and later the remnant.

“Always, during judgment it was only a remnant that was saved.” Does that mean that the majority of what grows in the field are tares? Again he writes, “So it was a firmly established principal from Moses and into the prophets that in times of explicit covenantal judgment, only a few were saved.” (Ibid, p. 60).  We’re not writing this to discount partial preterists as brethren, but only to show how their “orthodoxy” is “unorthodox” in citing these “numerical statistics.”

The Jews were yet protesting against “unorthodoxy” in the ministry of Paul. “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, [unorthodox] so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.” (Acts 24:14).  Doesn’t Paul confirm that a person could be considered “unorthodox” by the “majority” and yet be “orthodox” according to all things written in the Law and in the Prophets?

Partial Preterists Orthodoxy and  Resurrection

In the next verse how “orthodox” are Partial Preterists on Paul’s quote from Daniel 12:2 in Acts 24:15? Who among the partial preterists have the orthodox position on that text? Let’s suppose we take Kenneth Gentry for example:

Daniel 12:2 is A.D. 70, Gentry
Acts 24:15 is Future, Gentry
But according to Paul, Acts 24:15 is Daniel 12:2!

So how can Dan. 12:2 be both AD70 and Future? Easy if you’re an orthodox partial-preterist who like McDurmon took the position in the debate with Preston that there are many fulfillments of the same eschatological text, particularly 1 Cor. 15 and Rev 20, both of which he argued were fulfilled in 70 AD. By the way, both of these texts are also the same time referent as Daniel 12. Yet McDurmon also said they have a yet future fulfillment!

That’s why Don charged him with arguing the double-fulfillment hermeneutic of the Dispensationalist, which partial preterists condemn when debating the former. These doctrinal somersaults are not new to us. Amillennialists adopted the same premillennial dispensational hermeneutic in our earlier debates with them. If that is orthodoxy, doesn’t someone have some explaining to do?

Joel’s Summarization

Palmer claims I summarize Full Preterism to make it appear that its bark is bigger than its bite. First he misunderstood my point. Those comments are reflective of how partial preterism is focused on Full Preterism. Secondly, I merely quoted Joel’s words. He made that summary, not I. Palmer confirms it by writing a blog post in an further attempt to squelch the Full Preterist movement. He failed. It would have been better to have remained silent. Why was he compelled to speak against something as insignificant as Full Preterism?

Doesn’t even the wise Gamaliel say if a work is unorthodox, leave it alone, (Acts 5:37-38). If it be of man it will come to nothing? If Palmer believed in his Google Trends chart, he should better spend his time teaching “Partial Preterist Orthodoxy” to leave “unorthodoxy” alone and let it die of its own accord. I mean that’s the “Google Trend” isn’t it? Try that and see how it works. McDurmon says that enough people are leaving partial preterism that such an approach is not effective. Who’s authority with he accept, his Google chart or McDurmon’s?

Palmer’s Unorthodox Orthodoxy

Palmer has himself departed from his own orthodoxy of Partial Preterism on Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7. He claims that Pentecost was the complete demonstration of Christ on the throne in heaven. It’s a good start but a poor finish. Heavy on the already, but weak on the not yet. Let’s hear from the ranks of the Partial Preterist writers:

Demar Comments on Matthew 24:30

Gary Demar wrote in Last Days Madness on the “The Sign in Heaven” commenting on Matthew 24:30. He says “The sign is that he Son of Man is enthroned in heaven, (Heb. 9:4) Jesus told His disciples that they would see a sign that proved He was in heaven, sitting at His Father’s right hand (Acts 2:30-36). When the temple was destroyed, the localized place of worship went with it….All Israel would know it when the temple and holy city came under judgment, a judgment that would take place in their generation. It would take forty years for the rest of Israel to figure it out” p. 165

Demar says the disciples received the sign on Pentecost through the sending of the Holy Spirit. The tribes (all Israel) saw the sign later in Jesus’ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem. Why did Palmer not follow Partial-Preterist orthodoxy and admit the point? Demar does!

Demar also comments on Matthew 24:30, Zech. 12:10 and Rev. 1:7, saying they all refer to the AD 70 return of Christ. He adds, “and with the destruction of Jerusalem, “the house of Israel” came to know ‘for certain that God…made Him both Lord and Christ…” See also Demar’s “End Times Fiction” pp. 106-107

Gentry on Matthew 24:30 and the Sign

In his debate with Thomas Ice, Gentry offered the following: “The idea of Matthew 24:30 parallels in sentiment Acts 2:19: ‘I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath; blood and fire and vapor of smoke.’ Blood, fire, and smoke mark the total collapse of Jerusalem and Israel, serving as the sign of the Son of Man is at God’s right hand–the same one whom Israel crucifies.” (Acts 2:23). The Great Tribulation  Debate, p. 59. Should Palmer write Gentry and inform him that Christ was already on the throne? So, who is orthodox, here, Palmer for denying it Jerusalem’s fall was a sign or Gentry for affirming it as does Demar?

Thomas Ice On Matthew 24:30

It is interesting that Thomas Ice charged that both Gary Demar and Kenneth Gentry were inconsistent on Matthew 24:30, Zech. 12:10, Acts 1:11 and Rev. 1:7. They dichtomize on the time and nature of the texts, holding some to be figurative and past, and the other literal and future. Ice is more consistent in seeing all the texts related to the same event but makes them all literal and future. Ice knows once he surrenders Matthew 24 to an AD 70 posit, his dispensationalism bites the dust.

David Chilton’s Pre-Full Preterist Commentary

David Chilton, wrote the following on Matthew 24:30, while holding a  partial preterist view quoting Marcellus Kik. ‘The judgment upon Jerusalem was the sign of the fact that he Son of man was reigning in heaven. There has been misunderstanding due to the reading of this verse, as some have thought it to be ‘a sign in heaven.’ But this is not what the verse says; it says the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. The phrase ‘in heaven’ defines the locality of the Son of Man and not of the sign. A sign was not to appear in the heavens, but the destruction of Jerusalem was to indicate the rule of the Son of Man in heaven.” Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory quoted in David Chilton’s The Days of Vengeance, p. 287.

 Palmer’s Google Trends Chart

Finally, let’s take a look at Palmer’s chart which he offered as proof of the dwindling numbers of Preferism. First, there are several terms included in the search. These are more likely from people who are trying to understand what preterism is and are not necessarily reflective of those who understand or espouse it. Why would preterists need to search the term on Google except for research?

Secondly, note that Palmer did not include the companion chart which has the actual search numbers. They show that full preterism gets 50% of the searches when compared with partial preterism, a 40/80 ratio. What company would not be concerned about a competitor with 50% of the potential “market share” as indicated in these search terms?

Thirdly, since the chart shows an overall decline of searches for preterism, how can Palmer exclude his “orthodox” partial preterism? If admittedly, partial preterism has the larger numbers, they would be losing the greater number even if percentages of decline are equal for both groups.

Fourthly, Frost left full preterism in 2010? According to the chart, the trend has been rather stable since that time. No huge reduction as that which occurred between 2004 and 2010 while Frost was a full preterist. Thus, there is no proof that his departure has caused a mass exodus.

The trend may be showing that more people who were inquiring now know what Preterism is and therefore the number of searches are more balanced and gradual. What would be helpful is to know how many existing preterists search the term on Google so that we have some truly scientific data to compare just for trivia sake.

Now, let’s introduce one more chart, from an actual search performed on Google. The number of searches for full preterism are actually greater than 50% for those of partial preterism.

Palmer could not therefore, make a case even from his picture. In his example, the picture told a greater story than that he sought to portray.

About William Bell

5 comments

  1. William, for such a puny, cultish movement of cyborg hyper-heretics, there’s certainly a whole lot of clamor. By virtue of the partial pret’s aggressive but rather confusing rhetoric, they may successfully scare away a few non-thinking automatons, but I believe their obsession with full preterism will merely bolster the cause they loathe.

    • As I said before, it’s an unenviable position. If they do nothing, Full Preterism advances. If they oppose it, Full Preterism advances more. The early opponents of Preterism were “wise” enough to say, let’s “leave it alone” in an attempt to deflect attention to it. It worked temporarily, but the long range result was that it backfired and traveled around the globe allowing the teaching to take root.

      Full Preterism now lives on every continent. That is the reason why others feel such a strong need to oppose it today, because of the refusal to do so earlier. Their predecessors have already used the option that doesn’t work. Now, they advertise Full Preterism every time they oppose it. Call it free publicity.

      Even when your competitor is talking about you, they are giving you free press. With the arguments and “logic” they are using, Full Preterism has nothing to fear. Watch it grow faster.

  2. I can personally attest to the rise of Full Preterism. In my local area alone the “futurist” churches will admit that this has become a major thing. It’s funny though to note the hypocrisy:
    In 2009 when I had become familiar with the Full Preterist view, I was told by the “pastor” I was about to intern with that I was “losing my voice with people”. He tried to make it seem that since I had been “hell bent” on figuring out what the Scriptures teach, people had begun to tune me out.
    Oddly enough, about 4 months ago I ran into this same “pastor” who has contacted all the ‘major churches’ in our area to warn them of me and “my heresy”, told his congregation to stay away from me, and all sorts of craziness…but he said this- “you have caused major disruption, division, and confusion in our church and in churches in the area, you are a wolf (a bit paraphrased)”.

    So…did I lose my voice or are people listening? It seems the ‘futurist’ statistic game is very much they same as their Bible interpretation, eh?

  3. William,

    I have a book to send you that should interest you. Can you send a mailing address to me?

  4. that [Antichrist] shall venture to do unuafwll deeds on the earth against us the Christians . Irenaeus (140-202) wrote that the ten kings (Rev. 17) shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight. It’s not true that Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) revived futurism because it was never lost during the Middle Ages or prior to that period of time. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) stated: There remains only one thing that the demon of noonday [Antichrist] should appear. Roger Bacon (1214-1274) spoke of future perils [for the Church] in the times of Antichrist . John Wycliffe (1320-1384) referred to the hour of temptation, which is coming upon all the world, Rev. iii. Martin Luther (1483-1546): [The book of Revelation] is intended as a revelation of things that are to happen in the future . (Google or Yahoo Famous Rapture Watchers to see quotes from many Christian leaders throughout the Church Age which prove that they expected a future Antichrist and a future great tribulation.) Preterists use Matt. 24:34 ( This generation will not pass . ) to try to prove a 70 AD fulfillment of Antichrist. Since many of them see these (Matt. 25:46) fulfilled in the future in Rev. 20, why can’t they apply futurism as easily to Matt. 24:34? After all, the word this is the singular form of these ! Church history is fascinating, right?

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