PMW 2023-005 by Jason L. Bradfield
Gentry note: Jason once adopted Hyper-preterism as his theological commitment. He has since left the movement to become part of mainstream Reformed evangelical thought. This is an excellent article by a former insider.
For starters, let’s define some terms. By “hyper-preterism,” I include any belief system that argues for the past fulfillment of all prophecy, which necessarily includes the general resurrection of the dead. Whether a system is labeled “full-preterism,” “pantelism,” or “covenant eschatology,” it makes no difference to this refutation. I can not care less what any of these systems positively state regarding the general resurrection. At one time, I counted at least six different views among them. They can hash out their heretical opinions amongst themselves. But what they all have in common is that an “all-is-fulfilled eschatology” must of necessity deny a general, self-same, bodily resurrection.
The purpose of this post is to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that this same denial existed among a few at the church in Corinth, and in I Corinthians 15, esp. verses 12-18, Paul destroys their false belief. Paul affirms belief in the bodily resurrection, and since this has not occurred, it remains a prophecy yet to be fulfilled.
Some of my readers may be unfamiliar with this chapter, so let me set this up. The letter of 1 Corinthians is a corrective epistle by the Apostle Paul, designed to correct numerous problems in their church, including but not limited to misuse of the Lord’s Supper, cliques, abuse of spiritual gifts, and sexual immorality. When we reach chapter 15, Paul addresses a false belief held by some that the “dead are not raised.” We know this to be the case because of verse 12b, where Paul asks, “how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Hyper-preterists agree that some in Corinth denied the “resurrection of the dead,” but the nature of the resurrection is questioned.
Why Not Full-Preterism? by Steve Gregg
This work exposes some of the key flaws in Hyperpreterism by someone who has formally debated them. Much insightful material for those who might be tempted to forsake historic Christian orthodoxy.
For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com
THE CORINTHIAN ERROR
I will now prove to you that what this small group in Corinth was denying was a self-same, bodily resurrection.
First, I want to draw your attention to how Paul starts his defense:
Verse 1. Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me….11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Notice a couple of things from this:
1. Note the essential elements of the Gospel that Paul highlights to begin his defense. The Gospel consisted of Christ’s physical death for our sins, the burial of that same body, and the physical resurrection of that same body. Everything highlighted here by Paul involves the physical body of Christ.
2. Note that Paul informs the Corinthians that hundreds, if not thousands, witnessed a bodily resurrected Christ. And just in case you doubt the nature of Jesus’ resurrected body, Lk 24 reminds you:
…they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
Paul does not want you, the reader, to miss the undeniable fact that Jesus physically died, was buried, and bodily resurrected from the grave; and hundreds of people could attest to that fact.
3. Note that Paul reminds them that this Gospel, which includes the essential doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Christ, is the Gospel with “you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached….”
Here is an important observation: these resurrection deniers did not deny the bodily resurrection of Christ! What they refused, for various reasons, was that the rest of the dead would be resurrected. Because they believed in the bodily resurrection of Christ, Paul is now able to capitalize on that shared belief and demonstrate that if they deny resurrection for the rest of the dead, they must of necessity reject that which they accepted – the bodily resurrection of Christ.
PAUL’S INSISTENCE OF THE RESURRECTION
Paul hammers this home a couple of times:
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
He argues again in v 16:
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
And herein lies the undeniable proof that the resurrection that this “some” in Corinth were denying was of a self-same, bodily nature.
First, note that Paul’s primary argument against these deniers was to establish a LOGICAL, thus NECESSARILY IMPLIED, relationship between the “resurrection of the dead” with the “resurrection of Christ.” It is the LOGICAL relationship between these two beliefs which constitutes the force of Paul’s argument. If we were to convert Paul’s words to the language of logical forms, Paul is essentially arguing in verses 13 and 16 that “if it is true that ‘No A is B,’ then it cannot be true that ‘Some A is B.’”
Now, I could spend a great deal of time getting into a technical explanation of logic, propositional forms, immediate inferences, and syllogisms. But I don’t want to lose some readers. The basic idea is straightforward here. Anyone can grasp this. Let’s put it in plain English:
If a person is claiming that no one can rise from the dead, he is claiming that the resurrection of the dead is UNIVERSALLY impossible. No one can do it. There are no exceptions. And if that is true, then obviously it cannot be true at the same time that a PARTICULAR person can raise from the dead; because now you are making the exception and contradicting yourself. Either no one can do it, or some can. It cannot be both. And the flip side to it is this; if it is true that Jesus rose from the dead, which these deniers accepted, it is false to say that “no one” can rise from the dead. Simple, right?
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
Secondly, having demonstrated the logical relationship between the two propositions, let us now consider an essential component of logical connections. For Paul’s logical argument to work, his terms have to mean the same thing throughout! Because if a word or phrase means different things in an argument, then the propositions are talking about two different things, and thus the relationship is broken. In logic, this is the fallacy known as equivocation. If “resurrection of the dead” for the general populace does not mean the same thing that “resurrection of the dead” means regarding Jesus, then Paul’s logical argument loses support!
Imagine this: Suppose you argue that, “No man can jump 100ft in the air solely on his own muscle power.” And then a challenger comes along and says, “Hogwash! My brother jumped 150ft in the air!”
“Prove it,” you say. So the guy drives home, picks up his brother, and returns to you.
“Alright, let’s see you jump.”
The guy then slips on some futuristic rocket boots by NASA, jumps about a foot high, triggering the thrusters, and launches 150ft into the air.
Did he prove it? OF COURSE NOT. Why? Because jumping with rocket boots is NOT the same thing as jumping “solely on your own muscle power.”
Those are two different things. You didn’t argue that no one could do it with NASA rocket boots. You argued that no one could do it “solely on their own power.”
Again, simple, right?
PAUL’S LOGICAL ARGUMENT
Paul’s LOGICAL argument is that if we are going to claim that no one, universally, can rise from the dead, then it is impossible for Jesus, a particular example within that universal, to have risen from the dead.
The force of Paul’s argument rests in these two points: (1) he establishes a logical relationship between the “resurrection of Christ” with the “resurrection” of other dead people and (2) whatever is meant by “resurrection” must mean the same thing throughout the argument for the argument to work. And since the self-same, bodily resurrection of Christ is clearly in view, then the self-same, bodily “resurrection of the dead,” is what is in contention for the rest of the dead.
We can paraphrase Paul in this manner to bring out fully his meaning:
If dead bodies can not resurrect, then it logically follows that Christ’s dead body did not resurrect.
And folks, if that is true, then, as Paul goes on to explain, all those who witnessed and spoke of the resurrected Christ were liars. You might as well chunk your Bible. But the bodily resurrection of the dead is not impossible. And Exhibit A is Jesus Christ himself, who not only bodily resurrected, but was seen by hundreds, if not thousands, and was the “firstfruit of those fallen asleep.” (v. 20)
There is no other way to understand Paul’s words here….
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Jason L Brafield is the president of Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida.
In John 11 Lazarus is resurrected. Where is his body today? Where is Jesus’ body today?
just typo: since…He has XsenseX left the
There is nothing irrefutable about this. 😀🤣NOBODY IS DENYING A RESURRECTION nowadays, PERIOD! You are just using the same tactics that liberal politicians use to claim that all white conservatives are racists, and substituting the word “heretic!”. It’s kind of like a two year old calling his rival a potty word. LAME!!! 😀👎First of all, if the death of Christ paid the price for our physical death, then why do we continue to die after the price is paid? The difference between us compared to Christ is that we deserve to die and we begin rotting away immediately, but not so with Christ! His bodily resurrection represents the resurrection of believers who are figuratively called “his body!” It simply represents that believer’s ARE resurrected from a fallen state and your own version of the first resurrection is also spiritual one, so how can it be heresy??? The blessing in resurrection IS NOT PHYSICAL LIFE, but rather is BEING RESTORED TO THE FAVOR AND BLESSING OF GOD WHICH IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF LIFE! The problem is that you try to go against the natural reading of the second resurrection which clearly imply’s that it is ONLY for unbelievers much like the first is ONLY FOR BELIEVERS! Very convenient that you utilize the evidence for who is included in the first resurrection and then dance around and add to what the text says about the second. Your religiosity has corrupted your integrity toward the text! You’re upset because we won’t recognize your self appointed authority, and no other reason! The thing about the “church fathers” is that NONE OF THEM WERE COMMISSIONED BY GOD as an authority, and therefore they DO NOT HAVE AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH ORTHODOXY! It’s nice that you guys want to help God out as if SCRIPTURE AND REAL APOSTLES, as well as the HOLY SPIRIT weren’t enough, but I assure you that He does not need it! Not to mention that your “GOLDEN AGE” is behind us, clearly! 😬😳😀
The argument that Jesus bodily resurrection demands the same type of resurrection isn’t valid. Paul’s point is to establish the fact of resurrection against persons like the Sadducees, not to equate the character and qualities of the resurrections.
Earlier in 1 cor and from John 6, Paul is using the word body to refer to the indwelling and embodiment of Christ teaching in the members of him. Chists bodily resurrection does not demand our future bodily resurrection, but a continuation and prominence or victory of his doctrines and truths.
Irenaus also believed that Paul was declaring a future bodily resurrection from 1 cor 15 , and declared that anyone not affirming this doctrine was anathma, though not using those words.
Hence the beginning of the false understanding and cult of Irenaus.
Paul’s argument involving the first-fruits shows that he is arguing for the same type of resurrection, since first-fruits are like the harvest to come. The whole point of 1 Corinthians 15 is to connect Christ’s resurrection to ours. The Irenaeus cult is historic Christianity. Your view stands outside of Christian orthodoxy.
The resurrection is the resurrection of the body of Scripture. Those outside of Christian orthodoxy can create other resurrection concepts, but we must be controlled by God’s revelation in Scripture. To your first question we might ask: Why do we continue sinning though we are sanctified in Christ. God deals with the WHOLE person, body and soul. And the completion of our redemption, body and soul, has not come yet. It will be at the return of Christ and the general resurrection. Then our bodies will have been fully and finally redeemed (Rom. 8:23).
Lazarus’ resurrection was not the eschatological resurrection. His was more of a revivification that brought him back to life. He eventually died, went to heaven, and waits for the resurrection at the end of history. Jesus’ body is in heaven, for he ascended there with it (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9-11; Col. 3:1) and dwells there in it (Col. 2:9). The incarnation was not a temporary experience, though his humiliation was. He is now in his body, fully glorified in heaven.
Good news! God picks up his own when they stumble, like Christ picked up Peter who allowed Satan to influence him. Thanks for the encouraging study/testimony.
I appreciate your allowing other writers post on your site. This was encouraging to learn that God retrieves his wandering sheep. This insider’s analysis from one who escaped hyperpreterism is very insightful.
Well written and very helpful. I am glad Mr. Bradfield came around and is helping others out of full preterism. Good work, Jason!
“Lazarus’ resurrection was not…” Isn’t that an assumption? “end of history” Could you clarify please? Thanks.
Great stuff. I think Bradfield hit a home run against FP. Of course, the Full Prets will deny that Paul is drawing any logical correlation between the resurrection of Christ and that of believers. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Thankfully, God is delivering many from this heresy. The ones that stay FP will be fodder for the furnace, eventually..
Jesus’ resurrection is the first-fruits of the general resurrection at the end of history (1 Cor. 15:20, 23). Not Lazarus’. Historical resurrections necessarily led to death once again.