PMW 2018-102 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This is the third and concluding article in a three-part series highlighting a few samples of Hyper-preterist confusion regarding my writings. Their stumblings here illustrate how they can stumble elsewhere. And how they can confuse their followers so easily: they themselves are confused! Their poor followers are making the mistake that Jesus warned about: “If a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matt. 15:14). You should read the first two articles before reading this one.
So now, what about:
Gentry’s Exegetical Weakness?
Shortly after the Hyper-preterist comments erroneously suggesting that I created a division in Matthew 24, the writer says: “Gentry’s form of Partial Preterism in the OD is exegetically weak and hermeneutically inconsistent.” In fact, he declares that it is “Eschatological Schizophrenia” and in speaking of me, he criticizes “his [Gentry’s] artificial division theory of Matthew 24-25.” He adds that Keith Mathison “no longer finds any exegetical warrant to Gentry’s eisegesis.”
The Beast of Revelation
by Ken Gentry
A popularly written antidote to dispensational sensationalism and newspaper exegesis. Convincing biblical and historical evidence showing that the Beast was the Roman Emperor Nero Caesar, the first civil persecutor of the Church. The second half of the book shows Revelation’s date of writing, proving its composition as prior to the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. A thought-provoking treatment of a fascinating and confusing topic.
For more study materials, go to: KennethGentry.com
But as already noted in my previous article, my presentation of the transition at v. 36 is not my view. It is not “Gentry’s form” of preterism. I have picked it up from other, very competent scholars. Nor is it “eisegesis.” Nor is it my “artificial division theory.” It not only comes from others, but is rooted in sound exegetical principles, whether you accept its conclusion or not.
The scholars in my last article are notable exegetes who do not engage in “exegetically weak,” “hermeneutically inconsistent” “eisegesis” that result in “Eschatological Schizophrenia.” Consider them and their reputations:
The Jamieson, Fausset, Brown commentary was written by: Robert A. Jamieson, a nineteenth-century Professor of Theology in Aberdeen, Scotland; A. R. Fausset, an academic coach at Trinity College, Dublin; and David Brown, a tutor in philosophy and theology at Oxford. These are not local-yokels arising out of nowhere and pounding the table because they could not pound the facts.
Charles Spurgeon was a nineteenth century, internationally-famed, scholarly, and influential minister in England. He presents his view of Olivet and the transition verse in Commentary on Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom (Banner of Truth).
R. T. France (died 2017) was an internationally-prominent commentator and Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales. He has written numerous important commentaries and special studies on the Synoptic Gospels, especially Matthew. Among his numerous works as a Matthean scholar are: Jesus and the Old Testament: His Application of Old Testament Passages to Himself and His Mission (Inter-Varsity Press); The Gospel According to Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale New Testament Commentary) (Inter-Varsity Press); Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher (Paternoster); The Gospel of Matthew (New International Commentary on the New Testament) (Eerdmans); and many other books, including commentaries on Luke and on Mark.
J. Marcellus Kik (1903-1965) was a prominent Canadian minister (born in the Netherlands) who was one of the founding editors of Christianity Today at its beginning, then research editor for years afterwards. He wrote Matthew Twenty-Four: An Exposition (Presbyterian and Reformed); The Eschatology of Victory (Presbyterian and Reformed); and several other works.
An Eschatology of Victory
by J. Marcellus Kik
This book presents a strong, succinct case for both optimistic postmillennialism and for orthodox preterism. An early proponent in the late Twentieth-century revival of postmillennialism. One of the better non-technical studies of Matt. 24. It even includes a strong argument for a division between AD 70 and the Second Advent beginning at Matt. 24:36.
For more Christian educational materials: http://www.KennethGentry.com
Jeffrey A. Gibbs is Professor of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. (Not Professor of Eisegetical Theology.) He has written several influential works on Matthew, including Jerusalem and Parousia: Jesus’ Eschatological Discourse in Matthew’s Gospel (Concordia Publishing House, 2000); Matthew 1:1—11:1, Concordia Commentary (CPH, 2006); Matthew 11:2—20:32, Concordia Commentary (CPH, 2010); and Matthew 21:1-28:20, Concordia Commentary (CPH, 2018).
David E. Garland is Professor of Christian Scriptures at George W. Truett Theological Seminary. He is a noted New Testament scholar, having authored, co-authored, and edited 24 books. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including a Silver Medallion from the CBA, the Gold Medallion Award from the ECPA, Award of Merit from Christianity Today. He has written: Reading Matthew: a literary and theological commentary on the first gospel (Crossroad); Mark : from biblical text– to contemporary life. NIV Application Commentary (Zondervan); Mark. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Zondervan); Luke (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (Zondervan); and A Theology of Mark’s Gospel: Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. Biblical Theology of the New Testament (Zondervan), to name a few relevant titles.
Alistair I. Wilson is Principal of Demisani Theological Institute in South Africa. He has written: When Will These Things Happen?: A Study of Jesus as Judge in Matthew 21—25 (Paternoster Biblical Monographs); God of Covenant: Biblical, Theological and Contemporary Perspectives (Inter-varsity Press); “Philemon” in Ephesians-Philemon. ESVEC (Crossway Books); and other notable works.
Several of these men wrote on the subject of the transition verse long before I did. And all of them are noteworthy scholars with excellent reputations. This, of course, does not prove they were right. But it does show serious reputations holding the view that I adopt.
But now the ridiculous becomes the absurd:
Gentry’s Three Comings Heresy?
The confused Hyper-preterist writer states: “Another ‘argument’ for Kenneth Gentry in his attempts to try and divide the discourse and promote his three comings of Christ heresy.” “For Gentry this is evidence to support his two comings theory separated by thousands of years,” i.e., AD 70 and the Second Advent.
Nourishment from the Word
(by Ken Gentry)
Reformed studies covering baptism, creation, creeds, tongues, God’s law, apologetics, and Revelation
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
This is absolutely incredible! I present a view held by numerous noted evangelical scholars (see my last article) that argues Jesus came in judgment against Jerusalem in AD 70 and that he will come in the Final Judgment against all nations at the end of history. And this is “heresy”? I am being charged with heresy by someone who holds heretical views? Is this small movement the determiner of orthodoxy and heresy? Only one other time do I remember something so bizarre. I spoke at a conference on Mormonism, and a Mormon called me a heretic!
What is worse, here the writer betrays his difficulty in distinguishing between a metaphorical judgment-coming (against Jerusalem in AD 70) and the physical Second Coming (in judgment against all nations at the end of history). The judgment on Jerusalem did not literally involve Jesus physically “coming” at all, such as he did in his First (incarnational) Coming (e.g., John 16:28) and as he will do again in his Second Coming to end history (e.g., Acts 1:9-11). Jesus no more came physically in AD 70 than God came literally riding on a cloud into Egypt in the Old Testament (Isa. 19:1). The “coming” against Jerusalem (like God’s coming against Egypt) is a metaphor of divine judgment, whereas the “coming” of Christ at the end of history is a literal coming, truly a Second Coming.
Thus, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown distinguish this properly by speaking of the Second Advent as the “Second Personal Coming of Christ” (emph. added). Big difference! Kik agrees, titling a chapter in his book: “No Personal Coming During the Siege” (emph. added). In fact, all reputable commentators who engage this debate recognize the difference between a metaphorical/spiritual coming in AD 70 and a bodily/public coming in his Second Advent. They recognize this fact even if they don’t hold to the preterist interpretation.
As the noted seventeenth-century biblical scholar John Gill states in his commentary on Matthew writes (at Matt. 24:34): “Not any thing that is said before, is related to the second coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and end of the world; but that all belong to the coming of the son of man, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to end the Jewish state” (emphasis added). Note that he speaks of “the second coming of Christ” while holding to the judgment-coming of Christ against Jerusalem. He does not speak of three comings of Christ. This odd nomenclature is a peculiar error of Hyper-preterism.
Nor does Kik find it necessary to imagine “three comings” of Christ while speaking of the “judgment-coming” of Christ in AD 70. He speaks of both AD 70 as a “coming” as well as a future “Second Coming” (An Eschatology of Victory, pp. 36-37, 67-70). He states of Matt. 24:27: “This verse stands in contrast to the previous verses, for it speaks of Christ’s second coming rather than his invisible coming in in judgment upon Jerusalem” (p. 124). When he speaks of Christ’s distant, final coming at the Final Judgment, he calls it his second coming. He knows nothing of the concept of a “third coming.” In fact, all of the scholars cited in my last article, who hold to the preterist view of Matt. 24:30 as a judgment “coming” also hold only a “Second Coming” in the future. Second. Not Third.
Kik even argues: “Had the disciples been told that all the signs previously given were of a personal visible coming, then the declaration ‘Lo, here is Christ, or there,’ would would not always signify a false Christ. Christ is speaking in this passage of an invisible, impersonal coming — a coming in judgment upon Jerusalem” (p. 123; emph. added).
John Wenham (Christ and the Bible, 3d. ed.) speaks of the “Second Coming” (p. 71), even though he calls the AD 70 judgment “the Son of Man coming” (p. 76).
So then, I humbly confess that the arguments I present in my books have been gleaned from others (as my footnotes there point out). Consequently, I will re-cast my critic’s arguments by substituting the appropriate name in the proper place. My critic is saying: Dr. R. T. France, world-renowned Matthean scholar and internationally-famed theologian, is “schizophrenic” in imposing an “artificial division theory” on Matthew 24-25. And he therefore presents an argument that is “exegetically weak and hermeneutically inconsistent” as he engages in “eisegesis.” Furthermore, he must charge him with the notorious “three comings of Christ heresy.” Remarkably, this argument has been made by someone without any academic credentials!
In concluding this series, I would note that Hyper-preterists not only have difficulty interpreting Scripture. They also stumble when trying to read and understand the writings of orthodox Christians. In my case, they try to cordon me off from my mentors (Spurgeon, Kik, France, Gibbs, Wilson, etc.) so that I will appear as a lone voice crying in the wilderness — as if I am making it up as I go. But I stand unashamedly within Christian orthodoxy, even while holding to a preterist hermeneutic.
JESUS, MATTHEW, AND OLIVET
I am currently researching a commentary on Matthew 21–25, the literary context of the Olivet Discourse from Matthew’s perspective. My research will demonstrate that Matthew’s presentation demands that the Olivet Discourse refer to AD 70 (Matt. 24:3–35) as an event that anticipates the Final Judgment at the Second Advent (Matt. 24:36–25:46). This will explode the myth that Jesus was a Jewish sage focusing only on Israel. The commentary will be about 250 pages in length.
If you would like to support me in my research, I invite you to consider giving a tax-deductible contribution to my research and writing ministry: GoodBirth Ministries. Your help is much appreciated!
Tagged: Hyper-preterist confusion