Category Archives: Uncategorized

HYPERPRETERISM AND MELLO IN ACTS

PBible stack 2MW 2023-009 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Hyperpreterism is a new theological paradigm that stands against universal historic Christian orthodoxy. It holds that the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment occurred in AD 70 with the destruction of the Jewish temple. Consequently, it also holds that earth history will never end (resulting in God’s tolerating a rebellious universe for ever and ever and ever). One method hyperpreterism uses to seek to topple the 2000 year old eschatology of Scripture is to focus on the Greek word mello.

In two previous articles (PMW 2022-014 and 015) I focused on Acts 24:15, which speaks of the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. The word mello appears in this text and is interpreted by hyperpreterists to mean: “there is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.”

In those articles I noted that a study of mello showed that it has several meanings, and does not simply mean “about to,” per the hyperpreterist approach. In fact, Greek scholar Daniel B. Wallace has written an important Greek grammar titled, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (1996). On p. 536 of this work he speaks of “the ambiguity of the lexical nuance of mello (which usually means either ‘I am about to’ [immediacy] or ‘I will inevitably’ [certainty]).” An ambiguous term is not sufficient to overthrow the historic Christian faith. Continue reading

SLIPPERY ESCHATOLOGICAL LABELS

PMW 2023-003 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Confused bible

Be aware, if you try to discover if an evangelical has adopted Full Preterism (aka Hyperpreterism), you have to be careful and precise when you ask him his views. You cannot simply ask him about a certain label to discover where he stands. This is so for two reasons:

(1) Full Preterism (Hyperpreterism), like most theological systems and movements, has many variations. You cannot simply ask someone, “Are you a Full Preterist?” That person might want to avoid association with a few (or even many) of its implications, so they could simply say they are not “Full Preterist” since they don’t adopt the whole system. This is much like the logical problem of the Fallacy of the Complex Question. You can’t answer “yes” or “no” to the question: “Have you stopped beating your wife?”
Continue reading

THE FIRST MAN IS FROM THE EARTH

PMW 2023-002 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Ascension

1 Cor 15:47: “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.”

In this verses Paul is comparing Adam and Christ, showing that Adam is a type of Christ. Despite the surface appearance and seeming plausibility, this is not speaking of each person’s source. That is, he is not arguing that Adam came into this world (or into history) from the ground (though that is certainly true), whereas Christ came down from heaven (though this also is true). This interpretation fits neither the context nor the flow of Paul’s argument. Note the following as I build the case.

First, Paul says that “the first man is from the earth, earthy.” This reflects Genesis 2:7, which is translated: “the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground.” The Greek of Paul’s statement reads: ho protos anthropos ek ges choikos. The Greek choikos means “made of earth, made of dust, earthy.” As noted, Paul is echoing the Genesis verse, which in the Septuagint reads: choun apo tes ges. Thus, choikos reflects the LXX choun apo tes ges. If this were all there was to the comparison, one might think Paul is speaking of the separate sources of these two figures. Continue reading

THE WORD BECAME FLESH

By Ardel B. Caneday

NativityAs the darkness of winter deepens, we are amid the season we Christians call Advent. Advent is the celebration of the dawning of the True Light in the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, conceived by a young virgin whose birth pangs brought into this dark and hostile world God’s Son who would become the Savior of the world. Yet do we give adequate consideration to the wonder and daily significance of Advent?

Celebrations of Advent feature Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels because both include narratives concerning the holy conception and birth of our Lord to the Virgin Mary. Also, both Matthew and Luke provide genealogical records that respectively reach back to Abraham, the God-appointed father of all believers, and to Adam, our disobedient ancestor whose sin brought the curse of death and darkness to us all. Continue reading

NEARNESS IN REVELATION 1:1

PMW 2022-091 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Stack of Bibles

Despite the historic difficulty of Revelation, the key to understanding it is in its front door. That is, they key interpretive clue that we need to even begin to properly understand it is its opening verse: Revelation 1:1. When the original recipients of Revelation first heard it read to them (Rev. 1:3), they heard it without having any knowledge of Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth, or Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind, or David Jeremiah’s, The World of the End. They heard John’s words first. And that is the way it should be.

In this and the next article I will simply be listing the Bible translations of Revelation 1:1, then 1:3 to show that all versions of these verses clearly speak of the nearness of its fulfillment. Then following these two articles, I will present three articles answering the leading objections to the nearness of the Revelation events. When I speak at conferences on Revelation, I always challenge the attendees to look up these verses in any reputable version and note the clear near-term implications. Continue reading

GALATIANS 1:4 & THE PRESENT AGE

PMW 2022-090 by Thomas R. SchreinerGod casts Satan down

As I am researching the Two-Age structure of redemptive history in the New Testament, I am finding a lot of helpful insights in various technical commentaries. A key passage in the Two-Age model is Galatians 1:4, which states regarding Christ:

“He gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age [hopos exeletai hemas ek tou aionos tou enestotos ponerou], according to the will of our God and Father,”

I will be dealing much with this passage in the book I am currently researching: Olivet and the Two Ages. In my research I have found quite helpful Thomas R. Schreiner’s commentary on Galatians in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (pp. 77–78). On Galatians 1:4 Schreiner well captures the significance of the passage and Paul’s instruction. There Schreiner comments: Continue reading

THE BIBLE AND CHRISTIAN ETHICS

PMW 2022-082 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The starting point for developing a truly Christian ethical system must be the study of Scripture itself. The evangelical, born-again Christian confidently holds that God’s holy will is the perfect standard of righteousness. And he further trusts that God’s will is infallibly, authoritatively, and unchangeably revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Consequently, the Bible — and the Bible alone — must be the starting point and supreme standard for defining truly Christian ethical behavior.

In the venerable Westminster Confession of Faith (hereinafter WCF) we find a beautiful declaration of the pre-eminency of Scripture as the standard for faith and life:

“It pleased the Lord, at sundry times and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of Gods revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.” (WCF 1:1)

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God’s Law Made Easy
By Ken Gentry

This book focuses specifically on the question of the relevance of the Old Testament Law today. Christians need to return to a whole-Bible ethic rather than a piece-meal it-seems-to-me morality. God’s Law Made Easy is a good place to start.

For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com

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Two Principles

The Scripture is God’s revealed and permanent will for man (Deut. 12:32; Isa. 8:20; Rom. 3:1-4). Because of this, evangelical Christian thought insists upon two important ethical principles:

(1) The ubiquity of ethics. That is, in that man is a moral creature created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; 9:6), everything a man does has moral implications (Psa. 139:1-12; Prov. 15:3; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 5:10).

(2) The sufficiency of Scripture. That is, although God did not reveal detailed responses to each and every possible act of man, nevertheless, Scriptures provide express precepts and/or general principles that adequately govern every contingency (Deut. 8:3b; Psa. 119:105; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Again we would do well to note the emphatic and pointed declaration of the Westminster Confession of Faith in this regard: “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to he added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men” (WCF 1:6). Thus, we may confidently and boldly assert that “the supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be determined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture” (WCF 1:10).

These doctrinal affirmations themselves flow from the express teaching of Scripture itself: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). To the apostles — who were divinely commissioned and supernaturally gifted bearers of the revelation of God — the Lord Jesus Christ promises: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). God’s Word is unequivocal truth (Psa. 119:160; John 17:17; Rom. 3:4), just as Jesus Christ is the personification of God’s Word (John 1:1; 1 John 1:1; Rev. 19:13) and truth (John 1:17; 14:6). Therefore, God obliges to bring “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). That is, we must submit every area of life to Christ and his will as revealed in Scripture (Rom. 12:2).

Our Current Need

In the intellectual and spiritual climate of our times, numerous examples of deviating from the norm of Scripture exist. For example, perhaps the foundational heresy of Mormonism is its belief in an open canon which allows for continued “revelation” from God (The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and so on). For example, 2 Nephi 29:3-10 in The Book of Mormon reads:

“Many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. But thus saith the Lord God: . . . Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible . . . .Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? . . . Because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.”

Similarly, the ever-present danger in Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement lies in their frequent claims to continuing direct access to the mind of God. This allegedly comes through supernatural and miraculous revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as prophetic utterances, divine visions, and heavenly tongues. For instance, J. Rodman Williams writes:

“In prophecy God speaks. It is as simple, and profound, and starling as that! What happens in the fellowship is that the word may suddenly be spoken by anyone present, and so variously, a ‘Thus says the Lord’ breaks forth in the fellowship. . . . Many of us also had convinced ourselves that prophecy ended with the New Testament (despite all the New Testament evidence to the contrary), until suddenly through the dynamic thrust of the Holy Spirit prophecy comes alive again. Now we wonder how we could have misread the New Testament for so long!”

Finally, the clear error of neo-orthodoxy is its denial of propositional truth. This theological paradigm prefers existential subjectivism over objective revelation. That is, dynamic revelation, confrontational crises, and so forth prevail over propositional truth. By way of example, Karl Barth holds that “the Bible is God’s Word so far as God lets it be his Word.”

The Holy Spirit’s Guidance

These widely divergent camps suffer from a common malady: subjectivism in determining the will of God. Unfortunately, even conservative fundamentalism often borders on this error in its ethical reliance upon “the leading of the Holy Spirit” divorced from the Word of God, sign-seeking, special guidance by direct feelings and impressions of the Holy Spirit, and the like. We are greatly tempted to resort to “sanctified feelings” or “holy common sense” for resolving complex ethical issues, especially in our day of instant-this and freeze-dried-that.


Perspectives on Pentecost
By Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.

A careful examination of the New Testament teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. Makes a case for the cessation of tongues at the close of the apostolic era. Gaffin is professor emeritus of biblical and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.

For more educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com


The following helpful paragraphs appear in Murray’s article “The Guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

“The basic premise upon which we must proceed is that the Word of God in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments is the only infallible rule of practice, as it is also the only infallible rule of faith. Complementary to this basic premise is another, namely, that the Word of God is a perfect and sufficient rule of practice. The corollary of this is that we may not look for, depend upon, or demand new revelations of the Spirit. . . .

“[However], we may still fall into the error of thinking that while the Holy Spirit does not provide us with special revelations in the form of words or visions or dreams, yet he may and does provide us with some direct feeling or impression or conviction which we may regard as the Holy Spirit’s intimation to us of what his mind and will is in a particular situation. The present writer maintains that this view of the Holy Spirit’s guidance amounts, in effect, to the same thing as to believe that the Holy Spirit gives special revelation. And the reason for this conclusion is that we are, in such an event, conceiving of the Holy Spirit as giving us some special and direct communication, be it in the form of feeling, impression, or conviction, a communication or intimation or direction that is not mediated to us through those means which God has ordained for our direction and guidance. In the final analysis this construction or conception of the Holy Spirit’s guidance is in the same category as that which holds to direct and special revelation, and that for the reason that it makes little difference whether the intimation is in the form of impression or feeling or conviction or in the form of a verbal communication, if we believe that the experience which we have is a direct and special intimation to us of what the will of God is. . . . We are abstracting the operation of the Spirit, in respect of guidance, from the various factors which may properly he regarded as the means through which we are to be guided.”s

What the world so needs today — second only to regeneration itself — is a coherent, biblically derived ethical system by which to judge all thought and behavior. Autonomous ethics are internally contradictory (because they are not true) and inherently evil (because they deny God). A truly Christian ethic arises from the self-authenticating Word of the Living God (John 17:17) — not the traditions of men, whether “secular” or “religious” (cf. Matt. 15:3, 6; Mark 7:13). The abiding strength of a truly vital Christianity derives from its sole reliance upon all-sufficient Scripture for all matters concerning faith and practice. The inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God is and must always be the regulating principle of Christian thought and conduct. Theologian R. B. Kuiper well states this precept: “All Christian teachings, whether doctrinal or ethical, are drawn from the Bible. According to Christianity the acid test of truth and goodness is Scripturalness.”