PMW 2019-083 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my previous article I began a brief response to Dr. Wayne Briddle of Liberty University regarding his critique of preterism. I recommend reading that article before reading this one. In this article I will briefly respond to various issues in a running, seriatim fashion.
I do not know of any contemporary proponent of Hyper-Preterism who teaches that history may, in fact, come to an end. In fact, it seems to be a distinctive of this heterodox movement that it holds that the earth has been established “forever.” John Noe’s book drives this point home repeatedly. And as far as I can tell, this is commonly asserted in that movement.
Evangelical Preterism v. Hyper-Preterism
On page two of his paper (in the first paragraph) he (correctly) notes that most partial preterists regard full preterism as heretical. This is certainly true, and important. In fact, Keith A. Mathison has edited a book demonstrating this, When Shall These Things Be?.
Have We Missed the Second Coming:
A Critique of the Hyper-preterist Error
by Ken Gentry
This book offers a brief introduction, summary, and critique of Hyper-preterism. Don’t let your church and Christian friends be blindfolded to this new error. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com
To fill out his materials in this regard I will cut-and-paste a brief note I provide in my The Beast of Revelation, which points interested in persons to various critiques of Hyper-Preterism:
A view currently gaining a cult-like popularity teaches that the total complex of end time events transpired in the first-century: the Second Advent, the resurrection, the rapture of the saints, and the great judgment. This view is not supported by any creed or any council of the Church in history. A “Foreword” to a book by John Noe from this movement inadvertently highlights the (all too typical) problem:: “John is not a professional theologian. He has had no formal seminary training, but that may be an advantage.” Then again, lacking training in biblical languages, exegetical principles, and formal theology may not be helpful at all. The origins of this modern movement arise out of and are fueled by many either presently or previously within the Church of Christ sect (e.g., Max King, Tim King, and Ed Stevens). Some “hyper-preterists” have even become Unitarians (see: Edward E. Stevens, “Wanda Shirk & PIE,” Kingdom Counsel [April 1994-Sept. 1996]: 3-17).
Others have begun to apply the biblical references to hell to the events of A.D. 70, thereby denying the doctrine of eternal punishment (see: Samuel G. Dawson, Jesus’ Teaching on Hell: A Place or an Event? (Puyallup, Wash.: Gospel Themes, 1997). The theological foundations of the movement appear to be continually mutating, which is expected when the position has no creedal moorings and is adrift on the sea of untrained theologians. For helpful rebuttals see: Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology (3d. ed.: Chesnee, SC: Victorious Hope, 1997), App. C: “A Brief Theological Critique of Hyper-Preterism.” Jonathan Seraiah, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future (Moscow, Ida.: Canon, 1999). R. C. Sproul, “. . . in Like Manner,” Tabletalk 24:12 (December 2000): 4-7. Vern Crisler, “The Eschatological A Priori of the New Testament: A Critique of Hyper-Preterism,” Journal of Christian Reconstruction 15 (Winter, 1998): 225-56. Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1999), App. C.
My reader may be interested to read my article on 1 Corinthians 15, titled: “Christ’s Resurrection and Ours.” In that article I counter the Hyper-Preterist misunderstanding of Paul’s reference to the “spiritual body.” I strongly assert the physical resurrection of the believer at the end of history is demanded by the physical resurrection of Christ in the first century. I provide a running exposition of key points in Paul’s argument.
Gospel Texts Used by Preterists
In Dr. Briddle’s first sentence under this heading (on p. 3), he should restructure hist statement. He states: “I wish to deal primarily with the issue of whether Jesus’ eschatological teaching conforms to the claims of partial preterism.” I believe this should be inverted to say: “I wish to deal primarily with the issue of whether the claims of partial preterism conform to Jesus’ eschatological teaching.” Jesus’ teaching is obviously prior to our teaching, and is certainly absolutely true. So I believe that his task should be to see if our teaching conforms to his. He certainly doesn’t have to answer to us.
House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology
By Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This book demonstrates that dispensational theology has been shattered by its own defenders. They are no longer willing to defend the original system, and their drastic modifications have left it a broken shell.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
I would also urge him to consider restructuring his second sentence in that paragraph. He had:
“Three texts in the Gospel of Matthew are most frequently used by preterist proponents in order to show that when Jesus talked about coming back to judge the world and inaugurate his promised kingdom, he always had in mind the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in A.D. 70….”
I (we) do not believe this. For instance, I hold that the Kingdom Parables look to the distant Second Coming of Christ to end history with the judgment and the resurrection of the dead. I also believe that Matthew 25 has Christ dividing and judging the nations at his Second Coming. There are other texts I would urge in this regard, as well.
Consequently, I would recommend that you divide your statement into two sentences and rephrase it as follows:
“Three texts in the Gospel of Matthew are most frequently used by preterist proponents. These are used as evidence to show that in some places where Jesus talked about coming in a ‘cloud-judgment’ and to inaugurate his promised kingdom in power, he had in mind the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in A.D. 70….”
In the next article I will consider some of his observations under the sub-heading on page 3.
To be continued.