PMW 2020-099 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my last blog article I began a four-part response to Don Preston’s book Were the Disciples Confused? In this (and my first article) I am pointing out his attitudinal problem that turns off so many of his potential readers. You will need to read the preceding article (PMW 2020-098) before engaging this one. For in this one, I am concluding my concerns regarding Preston’s attitude.
My two major points in the preceding article were that Preston has “A new theology complete with arrogance.” Then my second one dealt with his “False charges based on erroneous understanding.” I am now ready to finish this line of thought with my concern that Preston has engaged in:
A careless misreading of my argument
On p. 40 (¶2) Preston writes: “Gentry claims that Jesus had not mentioned his coming or the end of the age prior to Matthew 24:2.” This is a serious (though not at all surprising) misreading of my argument for two reasons:
First, I was dealing with the surprised question of the disciples at Matthew 24:3. I point out that there is nothing in the immediate context that could be seen as prompting the question as presented. Certainly there is much before this verse that speaks of the judgment of Israel and even Jerusalem. But this is not the issue; the issue involves the destruction of the temple, which Jesus had just prophesied (Matt. 24:2) and about which the disciples ask (v. 3). (I will have more to say about this error on Preston’s part in my next installment.)
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Second, my point is actually that Jesus does not mention either the parousia or the “end of the age” in the immediately preceding context so as to spark their questions as uniquely framed. But these are the very issues raised in their questions (Matt. 24:3).
Nowhere previously in the Gospels do we read of Jesus using the word parousia in his teaching. And it is only much earlier (not in the near context of the Olivet Discourse) that he uses the phrase “end of the age” (Matt. 13:39, 40, 49). Obviously Preston disagrees with me (and “most commentators”, as well as the historic, corporate, public, universal, systematic Christian faith) regarding the proper understanding of the parousia and “the end of the age” as these concepts appear in Matthew. But that is an issue for another time.  Here, though, I am only correcting his misreading of my blog article as presented.
Interestingly, though he confuses my point most of the time, Preston does seem to know what I was actually arguing. For on p. 41 (¶2) he writes: “while Gentry tries to make a point in Matthew 23 stating that Jesus did not mention either his coming or the end of the age in that temple discourse….”
There are more such concerns, but I must get to work on Preston’s position, instead of focusing solely on his attitude. Oops! Time is out. I will continue this in my next blog.
- In this article, I will not be dealing with the unique terminology of parousia and “end of the age” found only in Matthew — and very rarely at that. I will deal with this issue in my new edition of The Olivet Discourse Made Easy. If interested, the reader may look up Jeffrey A. Gibbs, Matthew 21:1–28:20 (Concordia Commentary) (St. Louis: Concordia, 2018), 1250. R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew (NICNT) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 531, 535, 889-896.
Tagged: confused disciples, Don Preston, hyper-preterism, Matthew 24:3
When you say Jesus doesn’t talk about the “parousia” and only much earlier about “the end of the age,” that is why I disagree with you when you say from 24:36 He is talking about them. I see it only from 25:31ff. After giving generalities as to when to flee from the surrounding of Jerusalem by the Romans (fig tree parable) Jesus told them not to be concerned about the exact day or hour, lest they become trapped. He then gave a series of parables as examples for them so they would understand (something they had a hard time doing). To allocate 45 additional verses to the parousia is unnecessary.