I came across this today, good stuff
I know I am not supposed to be blogging, but I had to post something, and give a big thank you to a person today who did a most honourable thing and was very gracious to me. I don’t need to mention names, I hope they read this and know that was a great gift to me.
Not so long ago, I took an extended break from theology as it was getting a bit tiring. I am now taking another one, not from theology, but from any blogging or piecemeal updating of this site. I am looking at my list of hundreds of things I want to add as well as a substantial update to my commentary and realize that unless I make a committment to just get it done in one fell swoop, I will not get it done. Also my job at this time of year, due to all the time that is being taken off is quite hectic to get things done in a short period of time, and I have a week’s vacation to prepare for coming up quite rapidly.
So, I have a personal goal of getting the updates I am so dreadfully behind on done by somewhere around the beginning of 2007. So unless I change my mind (something I am quite apt to do), I will get my updates done before being distracted by writing another blog, another article…
EDIT TO ADD: And right after posting this something came up!!! LOL. I enjoy listening to podcasts from Christian hosts of all stripes, and one of the shows I listen to regularly is James White’s “The Dividing Line.” However, it was difficult as his show was only in Real Audio, so believe it or not, I would play it into Audacity to convert it to mp3 and then listen to it on my mp3 player. But now the show is available by itunes subscription in mp3 format! Alpha and Omega Ministries, The Dividing Line
You simply must check out this material from Johnny EC located here:
Some of the best information comes from the TheologyWeb eschatology forum section. This one was posted by ChosenOne66 here responding to posted jwarreend (who appears in the blockquoted portions attributed to him):
jwarrend: I’m not sure whether this post was directed at Mickey or myself, but if it was to me, I probably could have saved you some time by stipulating to the proper interpretation of the time texts as being in accordance what preterists allege. The reason I do this is because I don’t think the time texts along form a persuasive case for preterism. In fact, for me, the use of them as the lynchpin in an argument for preterism sends up a red flag. The argument is effectively saying “Here’s when I think these things had to have happened by, therefore, I will rationalize whatever did happen during the allowed time as being what was predicted to happen.” Now, I understand that you don’t really think that way, and that you do think that what did happen in 70 AD fits the description, but nevertheless, when you base your whole argument on the time texts, it [i]seems[/i] that you are saying what I have said.
What I am saying is that IF Christ said that “all these things [which he had previously been talking about] shall come to pass in this generation,” then we have the obligation to agree with the words of Christ, regardless of how “incredible” they may seem. We do this for everything else, such as bodily resurrection. The time texts tell us give us a limiting factor on when a prophetic event will take place. For instance, if Peter writes that “the end of all things is at hand�? (1 Pet. 4:7), we have to admit that he’s speaking to a first-century audience and meant what he wrote. This gives us two options 1) the end of all things really did occur in the first century, or 2) Peter was wrong. Option #2 is clearly unacceptable. To then go to the first century and other scriptures to figure out what Peter meant is not rationalization, it is limiting ourselves to what the text actually says.
So what do we say Peter means by the “end of all things?” The first thing to note is that historical research has shown us that no Jew of the first centuy or before EVER believed in an end of the space-time universe. None. To them, God was not going to destroy the universe, He was going to restore and renew the world. The early, first century Christians did not believe in the end of the space-time universe, but in the restoration and renewal of the world. Read N.T. Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective, ch. 3. Note what he says:
Within the mainline Jewish writings of this period, covering a wide range of styles, genres, political persuasions and theological perspectives, there is virtually no evidence that Jews were expecting the end of the space-time universe. There is abundant evidence that they, like Jeremiah and others before them, knew a good metaphor when they saw one, and used cosmic imagery to bring out the jull theological significance of catacysmic socio-political events. … What, then, did they believe was going to happen? They believed that the present world order would come to an end - the world order in which pagans held power, and Jews, the covenant people of the creator god, did not. … Jews simply did not believe that the space-time universe was shortly to disappear.
N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p. 333.
The early Christians and Apostles took this Jewish idea, and applied it to Christ:
It is basic to early Christianity that the Jewish hope has already been fulfilled. ‘All the god-given promises find their “yes” in Christ,’ says Paul. A good deal of New Testament scholarship has been obsessed with a purely imaginary hypothesis, that first-century Jews expected something called ‘the parousia’ which would involve the end of the space-time world and the arrival of a (super?)human figure travelling on a cloud - and that Christians took over this hope lock, stock, and barrel, applying it to Jesus, who may or may not have had something to say on the matter.
NTPG, p. 459
In the second place, the Last Days refer to the last days of the Old Covenant. The early church came into being in the First Days of the Last Days, it was on the eve of the New Covenant. Paul writes to the early church in Galatia that “God, after he spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He made the heir of all things, through whom He also made the world,�? (Heb. 1:1-2).
Note Paul’s words. In “these last days�? God now speaks to us “in His Son�? and no longer through prophets, dreams, visions, and shadows. Paul speaks in present tense to people of the first century. In the New Eternal Covenant, God “has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear,�? (Heb. 8:13). The old ways were already in Paul’s day “becoming obsolete�? and “growing old�? and about “to disappear.�?
Peter wrote to the early Christians and said, “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you,�? (1 Pet. 1:20). Jesus tells His disciples that “you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes,�? (Matt. 10:23). Later He tells His first century listeners that “there are some of those standing here who shall not taste death [literally shall not die] until they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom,�? (Matt. 16:28). During His trial, Jesus tells the Chief Priest that “you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven,�? (Matt. 26:64).
Paul writes to the Corinthians that “the form of the world is passing away,�? (1 Cor. 7:31). Note in all these verses the present tense. Later Paul writes that the Old Testament was written “for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come,�? (1 Cor. 10:11). Paul even says that Christ’s death on the cross was the consummation of the ages. “But now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself,�? (Heb. 9:26). James tells the early church to be patient because “the coming of the lord is at hand,�? (James 5:8) and that the “Judge is at the door,�? (James 5:9). Both of these mean “about to happen.�? John repeatedly reminded the early Christians that the time was near (Rev. 1:1; 1:3; 3:10, 11; 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 20).
jwarrend - One other comment about the audience, since you bring it up. Preterism alleges that the temple destruction in 70 AD was, among other things, a sign to the Jewish world that Jesus is glorified in heaven. The problem I have with that is that Jesus is talking here to the Disciples, and they were to witness a much more immediate sign of Jesus’ glorification. They would witness the Resurrected Christ Himself! So, the temple destruction would not have satiated a need for any additional confirmation; there’s no evidence that any of them ever questioned “was that guy REALLY the Messiah?” after the Ascension.
Wright explains it better than I:
Jesus had set his face, prophetically, against Jerusalem. He had staked his prophetic reputation upon the claim that the Temple would be destroyed. … In light of this, those who claimed to be his followers were bound to see the continuing existence of Herod’s Temple, and the city which housed it, as a paradox. Jesus would not be vindicated as a true prophet until it was destroyed by enemy action. … But it was not only Jesus who would be vindicated when the Temple fell. The Temple represented the heart of the system from which flowed one source at least of the persecution suffered by the early church. Its destruction would be their salvation. Mark 13 said as much. . . . most people within the earliest Christian groups seem to have believed that their movement was somehow bound up with Jerussalem’s coming destruction. When Paul, or an early imitator, speaks of a coming day of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:2), the passage cannot be referring to the end of the space-time universe. It envisages the possibility that the Thessalonians might hear of the great event by letter.
NTPG, pp. 459-460
jwarrend - Anyway, it appears that there isn’t a text that decisively teaches the idea that there would be multiple events (or even a continuously unfolding process?) that the writers have in mind when they refer to Jesus’ “coming”, so it seems that what I said must have been accurate — that in the preterist view, we simply take each instance of this phrase and judge what it is referring to based on the passage itself. This comes back to my question of why, given the overt similarities between Matthew 24 and 1 Thess we should see them as separate. But I think you’ve described adequately why you read each passage as you do, so it seems that the answer is, in some sense, that it’s just a coincidence, or perhaps a commonality of language. I’d be interested in your response to Sproul’s comment, though.
It is quite clear from the NT writings, particularly that of Paul, that new creation broke into the world through the cross/resurrection/ascension and would continue to pour forth into the world, overlaping with old creation until the Last Day.
As far as Paul was concerned, the most important eschatological event, through which the living God had unveiled (or, if you like, ‘apocalypsed’) his plan to save the whole cosmos, [I]had occured when Jesus rose from the dead[/I]. He wasn’t just living in the last days. He was living in the first days – of a whole new world order. As with the cross, the resurrection permeates Paul’s thinking and writing; and it isn’t by any means just the future resurrection, to which of course Paul looks forward. It is the resurrection of Jesus, to which he looks back.
N.T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, p. 50
Why should we see them as separate? I already said that any passage which speaks of the resurrection of the dead should be considered to be speaking about the Last Day and any passage in which the resurrection of the dead does not appear should not.
The problem is that both events are being described with prophetic language, which is always similar. The biggest mistake a person can make in eschatological analysis is the failure to understand that similar language can (and often does) refer to completely separate events. Take a look at the following passages:
But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun would be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken, and then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another, (Matt. 24:29).
This same “collapsing-universe�? language is used to speak of God’s coming in judgment against them. Consider the following. Isaiah speaks of the fall of Babylon by the Medes in 539 B.C.:
Behold, the Day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation, and He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth with their light; the sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will not shed its light, (Isa. 13:9-10).
Later Isaiah spoke of Edom’s fall in as a de-creation, or a reversing of creation:
And all the host of heaven will wear away, and the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; all their hosts will also wither away as the leaf withers from the vine, or as one withers from the fig tree, (Isa. 34:4).
Amos spoke of the doom of Samaria in 722 B.C. similarly:
“And it will come about in that day,” says the Lord GOD, “that I shall make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight,” (Amos 8:9).
God spoke of destroying Egypt through Ezekiel in the same way:
“And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens, and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you and will set darkness on your land,’ declares the Lord GOD, (Ezek. 32:7-8).
It is not exactly a large jump, then, to see two judgments in the NT, with the distinction being the resurrection of the dead.
jwarrend - One other wacky question. What possibility do you think there is that Matt 24 and Luke 21 are actually separate speeches given at two different times? They obviously have similar themes, similar language, and were triggered by the same occurence — the comments about the temple stones. Hmm.
Every commentator I know of, whether preterist or futurist, amil, premil, or postmil, going back to the church fathers, believe Luke 21 and Matt. 24 are parallel passages.
Written to a particular ostrich-like futurist at TheologyWeb:
An observation about the Alford quote, which I have not verified or compared with the Alford material I have.
“Then, beyond question, he himself expected to be alive, together with the majority of those to whom he was writing, at the Lord’s coming.
If Paul expected himself to be alive, he was wrong. “Shall not” does not mean “might not” or “perhaps not.” The two options for those holding to any future eschatological event, as even the hyperpreterists understand, are that either Paul was wrong or that he is referring to two classes and naturally putting himself and the readers in the living class as they were alive, but saying “we” does not require such rigidity to be those actual people, simply that class. When we say of America “We will prevail!” it does not mean all of us, us personally, or even all of us alive. America might prevail two hundred years from now. It is still “us” (Americans) rather than “them” (New Zealanders named theonomy).
Now I am preparing as for a Gallager show, I have got my sheet of plastic ready for the gobby, gooey, futurist explosion that is primed to happen.
Well I don’t know why the Jay Adams’ portions came out like The Chipmunks, but they are “listenable.” Must have been some error on my end in recording. This clip is my take on the terminology issue when I was on the Narrow Mind.
Another part of Jay Adams’ appearance on Unchained Radio that I wish to speak of was his take on the terminology wars. He and I have come to champion the same conclusion (i.e. hyperpreterists need to clearly labeled in an accurate manner that does not cloak them with the indice of credibility within Christianity as an “acceptable” view) but he takes a slightly different method.
First listen to his comments here (again sorry for the chipmunk effect, I have to figure out how to fix that)
Jay prefers orthodox preterist and unorthodox preterist to partial preterist and hyperpreterist. He articulated this in response to Pastor Gene’s comment that perhaps preterist and hyperpreterist (my position) were the correct terminology. Jay replied that using “hyper” and “partial” makes the hyperpreterists seem just like other preterists… To me that conclusion does not follow at all. “Hyper” is a perjorative term, at least in that context.
However, it seems that Jay, in the fast-pace of a radio interview in which it is so easy to miss the nuances of a point as I did in my interview in a few places, seems to have missed that Pastor Gene was advocating partial preterist at all. If the choices were partial preterist /hyperpreterist versus orthodox preterist/unorthodox preterist, I would side with the latter as well. But in any event, I agree with Jay on the overall principle, and I would have no problem with using his terminology either. He GETS IT!!!! Yeah Jay!!!
So readers remember, hyperpreterists are not preterists, they are not fluffy “full” preterists. They hold to a hyper-fied unorthodox perversion of the historic faith. Make sure the terminology reflects that. That is in fact what historical accuracy requires.
I am just now getting to listen to Jay Adams when he appeared on Gene Cook’s radio program. A wonderful show all in all and highly recommended, but IMHO he really put his foot in it when it came to characterizing postmillennialism in toto.
(sorry for the chipmunk effect, audacity is importing the clip funny, but it is good enough to get the point)
This really bothered me…
Let me explain why (and this is a bit of a tangent and not directly related to the Adams interview - just to give some insight into me)
Several years at my former Church, our Pastor was awesome. Most of what he said was spot-on. He dealt with heresies and cults and differing teachings within Christianity regularly in with the sermons, things which I really enjoyed and wanted to be educated on. He would often say things that would cause the congregation to laugh at the silliness of the other beliefs under consideration.
Then one day he decided to talk about preterism (not a whole sermon but a small portion.) And he completely created a strawman …. at which everyone laughed at on cue. I burned with indignation, and it really was a lesson in respect even in disagreement for me not to get up and walk out of the service.
However (this was several years ago) as I learned more about what other people believe by actually interacting with and debating both cultists and those with aberrant Christian theology, I had a revelation. Ready?
People who disagree with what I believe are usually not stupid.
I think many evangelicals need to get this through their heads. Take your average evangelical who has been exposed to shallow proof-texting, who act as if all they have to do is show a Jehovah’s Witness John 1:1 and they would repent instantly in tears, and pair them with a barely functional JW, and they will get torn up. Our evangelical arguments are sometimes shallow and sometimes downright inaccurate. So if we hear an argument that seems like only an idiot would believe, a great deal of the time it is wrong. Most people have good reasons for believing as they do. The reasons may be mistaken or just flat-out wrong, but the devil usually doesn’t deceive people by showing up in a red velvet jumpsuit and a pitchfork, he beguiles them with just enough truth to make some sense.
Again, all of this was just given as background for why I get upset at inaccuracy, I am not claiming that it is directly analogous to what was said on this show at all. Just a personal reflection…
Back to the Jay Adams comment… it was an outdated partial misrepresentation (absolutely not an intentional one, of that I am positive) of a position that he does not identify with, i.e. postmillennialism. The fact is that nearly NO modern postmillennialist believes in a future literal millennium. In all fairness to Jay, he was in the clip, in context, talking about an argument he made in his book The Time is at Hand, which was written in the 1950s, and perhaps then, that was the predominant postmill position, I really don’t know. Some (maybe even most) of the older postmillennialists did, but today, I can’t think of one who does. However, admittedly, there are some postmillennialists who enivion some sort of future “golden age” that they have characterized as the Millennium, but not all postmillennialists do this so it is not fair to:
1. Make a blanket claim that postmillennialism teaches a future literal thousand years.
2. Or even that postmillennialism says that the millennium (a nonliteral “thousand years) is entirely future.
Postmillennialism is much more diverse than that. And certainly it is patently unfair to mock postmillennialism by painting them with a hermeneutical guilt by association to claim that they have a premillennial hermeneutic. Really, we as preterists CANNOT do that. Why? Well we seem to have some things in common with Jehovah’s Witness in that we don’t see Jesus’ “coming” in Matthew 24 as a bodily descent to Earth. We seem to have some things in common with premillennial types from the perspective of a liberal who thinks we over-literalize the feeding of the five thousand. It can go on and on, this sort of back-handed criticism just will not do, especially since if we are going to allow this, we live in a potentially glass house.
Just because premillennialists take some things wrongly “literally” doesn’t demonize taking anything literally. Some things are literal! (and postmillennialists don’t as a whole believe in a literal thousand years anyways, but even if they did, whether that is right or not requires us to look at the passage.)
It also seems to me that part of the issue is dominionism and theonomy, the former being completely inherent and necessary to postmillennialism, and the latter being “optional.” A friend mine has written a terrific article here:
MANY modern postmillennialists differ very little from some amillennialist, thus Gene’s radical disassociation from postmillennialism as a whole baffles me. He would have the same problem with a significant portion of amillennialism - the defining factor IMHO is the necessity of dominionism and optimism. As the article above states, neither pessimism nor optimism (with relation to earthly progress) are inherent to amillenNialism. One can be very optimistic and hold to dominionism without conflict to an amillennial view, thus, such folks are indistinguishable in many ways, perhaps in all ways, from many postmillennialists. So why do I consider myself a postmillennialist instead of an optimistic dominionist amill? Because dominionism and optimism are absolutely critical to my view, and postmillennialism requires them, thus I think postmillennialism is more consistent to what I see the Bible teaching.
In fact, and I have not yet listened to that show (that is next on my list), Pastor Gene had Greg Strawbridge on after the Jay Adams show, and Strawbridge believes in the present reality of the Millennium, just as amills do. The question for Strawbridge, as it is for me, is dominionism.
There is not this absolute radical departure Pastor Gene between many amills and many postmills. They are intersecting circles.
This fact has led some, including myself, to believe that perhaps neo-postmillennialist is a more accurate label. So the majority of the people against whom Jay’s comment [i]might[/i] be valid are long dead, but if the listeners did not know that, as they were not informed, they could walk right into the same embarassing trap that my former Pastor may have unwittingly set up the congregation for - false information that makes one’s opponent look silly.
So some Amillennialist may say: You Ms. Postmillennialist, you are so silly. You have the same literalistic hermeneutic as a dispensationalist because you believe in a future literal millennium on earth. To which I could say, Why in the world do you think that? I don’t believe that.
I have some more comments on the show, but one primary subject per blog is a good rule, so I will do another blog on some compliments that I have on some comments made. Again this one more critical comments is not at ALL intended to be taken as an overal criticism as the show was wonderful, and as most know, I think Gene Cook’s show, even though I disagree with him on some of his key issues, such as Reformed theology, is simply one of the best out there.
This Jay Adams interview is not uploaded to the PreteristSite for several reasons. First, mp3s take up an awful lot of room, and I don’t have unlimited space. Second, Pastor Gene’s show is worthy of support, so don’t be a cheapskate, go to http://www.unchainedradio.com and buy the thing.
As you can see, I have updated my blog heavily. I have some cool new plug-ins, but I think I have wandered out of my plug-in haze and am now ready to do some other things. Upload a local gravatar for use on my site if you do not have a global one. The main gravatar site is down right now so you can’t get a global one until they re-open.
Second, check out meebo.com, a very cool web-based chat aggregator.
Lastly, as you know, I have been playing with video editing programs for weeks now. For my birthday, I was able to buy a camcorder (ordered it last week), and decided on one that is not a technologically hip but is backwards compatible with the old 8mm Sony cassettes since I have been the archiver of a great deal of material of various projects I have been involved in, including a ton of “before-Christ” stuff, and have tons of old tapes and also VCR tapes that I am going to transfer to digital and edit nicely. I have been working towards this end for about six months now, but now the order has been placed. Hopefully the camcorder works and transfers like it should.
In order to learn even more video editing skills, I am going to make another Xena video. I will post a link when it is done. This one will be using Evanescence’s “Haunted” and be based on the love-hate relationship between Xena and Ares.
That’s all for now. Tommorrow I will likely have a theological blog up that I have been working on for last week. I am just enjoying my time off as it were.