Category Archives: Interpretation


preterism surprisePMW 2021-078 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Preterism is getting traction in the modern evangelical world. Dispensationalism, though still a behemoth, is on its last legs. All proposed rapture dates have failed; all identifications of the Antichrist have been exhausted. What is there to do? Evangelicalism is now living in a gap period: between dispensationalism’s heyday and its total demise. This is one gap theory I love.

But why is preterism gaining a footing? In this introductory article, I will summarily list the leading indicators, as they apply to the book of Revelation. Then in the next articles I will flesh them out. Continue reading


PMW 2021-015 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I frequently receive a question regarding the difference between preterism and postmillennialism. Some folks are confused as to whether they contradict each other or whether they are speaking of the same thing. Let me briefly distinguish the two theological concepts.


The word “preterist” is the transliteration of a Latin word that means “passed by.” The orthodox preterist sees certain passages as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70, though many evangelicals understand these to be speaking of the second coming of Christ at the end of history. Continue reading


PMW 2021-005 by Ardel B. Caneday

“The Importance of Recognizing Figures of Speech in Scripture”

I had intended to post an article that would flow out from the one last week. However, my rather lengthy response to a friend’s question addresses an issue from which I believe others will benefit. The query raised was generated out of the inquisitor’s hearing my four lectures a few weeks ago at the Common Slaves Fall Conference where my theme was “Let Us Run the Race with Perseverance and Assurance.”

I think that I understand your concern. As I read your correspondence, the following statement leaps out to me: “In any case, I feel funny about it because it seems I’ve been trained to view the cross as the only thing in life or death worth really focusing on, or as the old line goes, beat a path to the cross since everything flows that direction.” I think that the issue that nags at you is the same one that I observed many years ago while listening to a sermon by a preacher whose fame was on the rise. I distinctly remember that while I sat and listened to that sermon I was frustrated with what struck me as needless obscuring of what should have been clear to anyone who occupies the pulpit and which the preacher should have made clear with relative ease if he had given sufficient attention to how the Apostle Paul expresses his thoughts. Some preachers, however, seem to have an uncanny knack for rendering biblical texts unduly complex and complicated.

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The preacher was preaching on Galatians 6:14—“May it never be that I would boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” What troubled the preacher is the exclusivity of the cross as the only thing in which the Apostle Paul would boast, yet elsewhere the Apostle seems to be boasting in other things. He was troubled by other texts where Paul uses the same word for “boast” or “exult” to speak of boasting or exulting in other things. He cited the following passages as sources of his disquiet.

We exult in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).
We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that they produce patience and approvedness and hope (Romans 5:3).
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

Thus, the preacher wondered, “So, if the Apostle can boast and exult in all these things, what does he mean when he claims that his exclusive boast is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ? Does Paul engage in double-talk? Is he contradicting himself by saying that he is exulting only in one thing but also exulting in other things?”

As I reflect on that sermon, it took many needless minutes for the preacher to reach some resolution of the tension, and yet, his resolution was neither sufficient nor satisfying as he presented it. Yes, he eventually did make the point that all our boasting or exulting should be exultation in the cross of Christ by affirming that exulting in the hope of God’s glory, exulting in tribulations, exulting in weaknesses, etc. should be an exulting in the cross. Why was it not sufficient or satisfying? The answer troubled me immensely as I listened to the sermon and it still troubles me because I heard him preach the same sermon on another occasion. That subsequent sermon showed that the preacher still did not understand the point that I am about to make. While I sat there in the pew listening intently to the sermon, I thought, “How is it that a highly educated preacher does not seem to grasp the literary nature of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians? How is it that a seminary educated preacher fails to apprehend the figure of speech that the Apostle Paul is using in Galatians 6:14? How simply and how clearly the preacher could have answered his own puzzlement and question and resolved the tension if he had simply assisted the pew people to understand that Paul is using a figure of speech in the passage, that Paul uses synecdoche when he mentions the cross of Jesus Christ just as he does elsewhere. How simple and clear it would be if only he would show the people that Paul uses ‘the cross’ as a principal aspect of the gospel by way of synecdoche for the gospel.”

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Galatians 6:14 is not the only place where Paul uses “the cross” as an aspect of the gospel by way of synecdoche for the whole gospel (synecdoche—a part used to represent the whole). Even more vividly Paul synecdoche in 1 Corinthians 1:17-18—“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Here, it is obvious that Paul substitutes “the gospel” with “the cross of Christ,” by way of synecdoche, when he mentions the cross again, he expands it to “the message of the cross.”

Without any doubt, the preacher eventually got it right in his sermon concerning why our boast must be in the cross of Christ. The reason is that everything, whether good or bad (for in God’s purposes all things work together for our good for all who are in Christ Jesus) was secured by the cross of Christ Jesus. Without his crucifixion, every one of us would receive nothing but divine punishment. Without the cross, ours would be only condemnation. Consequently, everything that we enjoy in Christ is due to the cross. Apart from the cross, there is no blessing at all.

Therefore, I am arguing that the conflict you are experiencing, as expressed in the statement I cite above, is no real conflict at all. Your own comment captures this well when you query, “Maybe it’s best thought of as a mental shift from cruci-centricity to a more fully-orbed Christocentricity?” My response to your query is this: To be cruci-centric is to be Christo-centric. Why? Because any proper featuring of the cross is not essentially a crucifix, the cross with Christ Jesus still on it. Rather, any proper featuring of the cross necessarily entails synecdoche, as the Apostle Paul conceives of the gospel, by featuring a principal aspect of Christ’s work, namely his sacrificial death on the cross, for the whole of Christ’s work. It is to feature an aspect of the gospel as a representative of the whole gospel. Any proper mention of the cross of Christ necessarily points to God’s Last Day verdict brought forward into the midst of history by Christ Jesus who brought forward both the verdict of God’s judgment and the vindicating life of resurrection from the Last Day. Thus, when Christ Jesus was crucified, he endured the wrath of God’s Last Day judgment on behalf of everyone who is in him. Likewise, when he was raised from the dead, his resurrection assured that all who are in him will most certainly rise from the dead unto eternal life on the Last Day, the Day Resurrection.

Thus, our prospective gaze upon Christ Jesus that we might lay hold of (Philippians 3:12-14) does not in the slightest diminish our cruci-centric affirmation. Rather . . . .
To finish reading the article, go to Ardel B. Caneday’s blogsite


PMW 2020-097 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Much of this article repeats an earlier article which I think might be helpful once again. I am bringing it up-to-date due to some recent observations I have gathered in the eschatological debate.

As previously noted, I often have people ask me if I am a “preterist.” This is generally asked by someone who does not know what “preterism” means. They are usually fearful of the term because they do not understand what all is involved in the preterist idea. In fact, at a theological exam when entering a new presbytery, I was challenged as being an agent of the Hyper-preterist movement because of my orthodox preterist views. Fortunately, I was able to demonstrate that I am fully orthodox. But this experience showed me the danger of accidental false associations.

This will surprise some of my readers, but I would like to state categorically and unequivocally: I am NOT a preterist. To believe that I am a preterist is quite mistaken. Continue reading


RepeatPMW-2020-074 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my last article I introduced my rebuttal to the notion that Rev 20:1–3 (the binding of Satan) recapitulates Rev 12:7ff (Satan’s casting out of heaven). Recapitulation is a common feature within Revelation. But it does not appear everywhere that some think it does.

In this article I am continuing my response to G. K. Beale who argues for recapitulation on Rev 20:1–3. Continue reading


Circle arrowPMW-2020-073 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Revelation is a powerful, intriguing, and confusing book. Some of the confusion arises from its internal structure. John often engages in recapitulation, that is, rehearsing earlier visions in later portions of his work. However, he does not always recapitulate his material.

One significant area of concern for proper interpretation involves the question as to whether Rev. 20:1–3 recapitulates Rev. 12:7ff regarding Satan’s judgment. Continue reading


PMW 2020-067 by R. C. Sproul (Ligonier Ministries)

In the twentieth century, the German biblical scholar Rudolf Bultmann gave a massive critique of the Scriptures, arguing that the Bible is filled with mythological references that must be removed if it is to have any significant application to our day. Bultmann’s major concern was with the New Testament narratives, particularly those that included records of miracles, which he deemed impossible. Other scholars, however, have claimed that there are mythological elements in the Old Testament as well. Exhibit A for this argument is usually a narrative that some believe parallels the ancient Greek and Roman myths about gods and goddesses occasionally mating with human beings. Continue reading