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PMW 2023-036 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The physical resurrection of the dead is under attack in modern Christianity. Again. However, this time it is not just the liberals. Rather, some evangelical Christians themselves are denying the physical nature of the resurrection body. They often begin their denial by citing 1 Corinthians 15:44, which speaks of the resurrection body thus: “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual [pneumatikos] body. If there is a natural [pseuchikos] body, there is also a spiritual body [pneumatikos].” By misunderstanding this passage, the remainder of the Bible, and the power of God, opponents of the future, physical resurrection are, like Hymenaeus and Alexander: their faith is suffering shipwreck (1 Tim. 1:19–20; 2 Tim. 2:16–18).

This denial of the physical resurrection based on this famous passage is remarkable in that 1 Corinthians 15:44 has been in the NT for 2000 years. And during that time the universal, historic, orthodox Christian faith has held to a future physical resurrection. It even creedalized this great truth, which is “of first importance” regarding the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1–3). For instance, toward the end of the Apostles’ Creed we declare with the universal, historic, corporate Christian church that we believe “in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” In the original language versions of the Creed, the resurrection of the “body” is more exactly declared to be the resurrection of the “flesh.” For in Latin the word carnis was used and in Greek sarx.

But there is abundant evidence in Scripture that the resurrection will be future, physical, and corporate. That is, it is not occurring now (for it is future). Nor is it a spiritual transaction (for it is physical). Nor does it transpire at the moment of each believer’s death, as they occur one-by-one (for it is corporate).

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PMW 2023-035 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Toward the end of the Apostles’ Creed we declare with the universal, historic, corporate Christian church that we believe “in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” According to Philip Schaff (The Creeds of Christendom, 1:22), in the original language versions of the Creed, the resurrection of the “body” is more exactly declared to be the resurrection of the “flesh.” For in Latin the word carnis was used and in Greek sarkos.

We know that the resurrection is a physical resurrection of the dead body for: (1) all forerunner resurrections (though temporal only) were physical resurrections of the flesh (e.g., John 11:43–44). (2) Old Testament prophecies speak of the resurrection of the flesh (Job 19:25–27; Isa. 26:19–20). (3) Jesus’ own resurrection was a physical of the flesh (σάρκα καὶ ὀστέα; Luke 24:39). (4) Thomas was rebuked by Jesus for not believing he was physically resurrected (John 20:24–29). And (5) Jesus’ resurrection was the “first-fruits” of the eschatological resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20), showing that just as the first-fruits of a wheat crop is wheat, so the first-fruits of the resurrection is like Jesus’: of the flesh.

Furthermore, Scripture speaks of the general resurrection as occurring at one time (John 5:27–29). It occurs at the end of history on “the last day” (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54). When Martha spoke of her belief that her brother Lazarus’ resurrection would be on “the last day” (John 11:24), Jesus did not correct her in any way.

This declaration of belief was an important counter to unbelief from without and Gnostic intrusions within the Christian faith. We see denials of the resurrection of the flesh, not just in modern liberalism, but in antiquity. The Sadducees denied it (Matt. 22:23; Acts 4:1–2; 23:6–8). Jesus even rebuked them for denying the idea of resurrection, noting that they “did not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). This is invariably the reason liberals today deny the resurrection, for they care nothing for the Scriptures as God’s word nor do they even recognize the power of God.

The Athenians scoffed at Paul because of it (Acts 17:18, 32). There we read: “Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, ‘What would this idle babbler wish to say?’ Others, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18). A little further into the context we see how vehemently these unbelievers derided Paul: “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, ‘We shall hear you again concerning this’” (Acts 17:32).

Hymenaeus and Philetus claimed that it has already occurred in Paul’s day. Thus, we read Paul’s exhortation to Timothy: “avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:16–18). Apparently they believed that it was a spiritual resurrection that was undetectable and therefore irrefutable.

There was a disruptive faction in Corinth that also doubted the physical resurrection of the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15:12–17 Paul warned that this destroyed salvation, if true:

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PMW 2023-034 by Louis Berkhof

Louis Berkhof was a famed Reformed theologian who wrote an important Systematic Theology. In this theology he explained and defended the historic Christian understanding of the physical resurrection of the dead. In this he was in lockstep with virtually universal Reformed theology, as well as with the ecumenical creeds defining Christianity to the world.

Below is his comments on the resurrection, taken from his Systematic Theology, pp. 720ff.

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PMW 2023-032 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.crucify him

In response to a previous article I wrote on the Olivet Discourse, a reader challenged my interpretation of the division in the Discourse. He believes the Lord does not move to consider his second coming and final judgment until Matt. 25:31. He challenged me largely because he felt that the view I present (a division in the Discourse at Matt. 24:34–36) does not actually deal with the disciples’ question in Matt. 24:3. They expected the destruction of the temple would signal “the end of the age,” which my reader assumes is the end of the old covenant era, and therefore of the temple era in AD 70.

The Two-age Structure of Redemptive History

I am currently researching a book on the two-age structure of redemptive history. My view is that which is taught by most Reformed (e.g., B. B. Warfield, Geerhardus Vos, Richard Gaffin, Greg Bahnsen) and many orthodox evangelical (e.g., George E. Ladd, Grant Osborne, R. T. France, D. A. Caron) scholars. There is clear and compelling evidence that the two-age structure of redemptive history is not speaking of the old covenant versus the new covenant. Continue reading


PMW 2023-027 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In this article I will offer a brief review of an important and helpful book on the eschatology of Jesus, Jesus and the Future. To paraphrase a well-known biblical proverb, we might say that “the writing of many books on prophecy is endless.” And too many of current prophecy books are downright useless, so that we must confess “that such is wearisome, for the eye is not satisfied with seeing charts and graphs, nor is the ear filled with hearing Antichrist and Rapture predictions.” But this is one of the rare prophecy books that is well worth reading.

Review of Jesus and the Future: Understanding What He Taught about the End Times, by Andreas J. Köstenberger, Alexander E. Stewart and Apollo Makara (Wooster, Ohio: Weaver, 2017). Paperback, 196 pp.

Köstenberger, Stewart, and Makara have written a helpful summary of Jesus’ eschatological teaching that is aimed at evangelical laymen in our confused times. They have designed this small work to “cut through the maze of end-time teaching” that has so befuddled contemporary evangelical thought (p. 17). Continue reading


PMW 2023-019 by Keith A. MathisonAscension 2

This is an abbreviated summary of Matthison’s full article, which may be found in full (with footnotes) at:


In recent years a challenge to traditional orthodox eschatology has arisen in the form of a doctrine that may be termed “hyper-preterism.” According to proponents of this doctrine, the Christian church has been mistaken in its expectation of a future Second Advent. According to proponents of this doctrine, all New Testament prophecy was fulfilled in the first century. This means that, according to hyper-preterism, the Second Advent, the general resurrection, and the final judgment, among other things, are past events. The emergence of this doctrine has generated a vigorous ongoing debate that shows no sign of slowing.1 Continue reading


Praying manWith a heavy heart this private letter to Gary DeMar has been approved for public posting by its signatories: Andrew Sandlin, Ken Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeffery Ventrella, Phillip Kayser, John Frame, Ardel Caneday, Jeff Durbin, James White, Brian Mattson, Keith Sherlin, Jason Bradfield, Sam Frost, and Uriesou Brito

Please be in prayer for Gary, that he would return to orthodoxy on these important redemptive-eschatological issues. Here is the letter we sent twice to Gary in private:

Gary DeMar:

We are your brothers in the Lord, long-time friends, supporters, co-laborers in his Word, and co-promoters and defenders of the Christian worldview. We have contacted you privately twice in the last few months regarding our concerns, with the following:

We are writing to you once again with an earnest plea regarding your doctrinal transitioning that we are witnessing. Gary, we seriously and deeply hope that you will receive this as from deeply-burdened hearts and that you will respond to us as to those who love you in the Lord and have appreciated your public ministry. Continue reading