Filed Under (Author, Dee Dee Warren) by dee dee on 19-06-2005
For a while now I have taken note of an admirable admission from David Green as follows:
“Keith Mathison was correct on this point: If futurism is true, then [full] preterism is definitely (not “possibly,” as I said) a damnable doctrine.”
It has been implied that I have misused that quote or misrepresented David Green in my use in some manner. I absolutely have not. The larger context is a discussion/debate between preterist Keith Mathison, and hyperpreterist David Green.
All that my use purports to represent is that David Green conceded that if Keith Mathison was correct in his eschatology, then David Green holds to damnable doctrine.
Read my use. Okay. Now read the original statement. Did I misuse it? Absolutely not. David Green conceded a point that other hyperpreterists avoid like someone giving away a syringeful of malaria. Now I am not the only one to notice this. David Green for some reason thought that sending me this link would somehow show that I misunderstood him. Strange. But much to my interest, I was not the only one who noticed Green’s glaring, and refreshingly honest, admission. This is from the link David sent me:
ANONYMOUS: I want everyone to know that you were forced to concede a MAJOR point to Keith Mathison. In your article Preterism and the Ecumenical Creeds, you originally said:
“If futurism is true, then [full] preterism is possibly a damnable doctrine.” Emphasis added [by original writer not DDW].
Keith Mathison caught you red-handed on that watered-down statement and you had to back pedal frantically and admit a humiliating and crushing defeat for all of preterdom! You were deeply humiliated into recanting, my friend. I quote for all the world to see:
“Keith Mathison was correct on this point: If futurism is true, then preterism is definitely (not ‘possibly,’ as I said) a damnable doctrine.”
Here is the web page for everyone to see your shame and nakedness:
Mathison ground you into oblivion! He brought you to the dust! He forced you to admit what no other preterist has the guts to admit: That this is NOT merely an “in-house” issue but one of two separate houses! By your own words, preterism and futurism are two radically separate faiths. By your own words, one is the truth and the other is “a damnable doctrine.”
And guess what? Preterists are at variance with the message that the Church has preached throughout history. And since the historic message that the Church has preached throughout history ABSOLUTELY CANNOT be the damnable doctrine, guess where that irresistibly puts preterism? OUTSIDE the true faith, and in the garbage heap of damnable doctrines! By your own words, preterists are damned. Case closed! Thank you for thoroughly obliterating preterism for us, Dave! With enemies like you, who needs friends! LOL!!!!!
Preach it brother! (if anyone knows who this person was, please send them my way, I would love to speak with them)
David responded with (and I will interject my comments):
MY RESPONSE: Thank you for your thoughts. I’m glad that you’ve gotten so much enjoyment from my exchange with Keith Mathison. With your indulgence, I would like to clarify two points.
I think that you and Keith Mathison and I all agree that according to II Tim. 2:17,18, IF futurism is true and the Resurrection has not yet happened since the time that Paul wrote II Tim. 2:17,18, then preterism is indeed — in the words of II Tim. 2:17,18 — “ungodliness,” “gangrene,” a deviation from the Truth, and a Faith-overthrowing doctrine. If the Resurrection of II Tim. 2:17,18 has still not yet happened, then preterists are certainly heretics.
Thank you David! That is ALL I was saying, and it is accurate to what you said.
I think most or all preterists not only have the “guts” to admit this, but do admit it. This is not a new revelation among preterists.
David, you may hope so, but reality doesn’t bear you out. You and John McPherson are the only two that I have ever had candidly admit this conclusion without a song and a dance.
More importantly though, you have missed or ignored the other half of the argument, which is the key point:
Okay it is here that I think David thinks I have misrepresented him because I did not mention the other half of the argument. First David would be incorrect as my original blog on this back at the old preteristlist did in fact mention the second half of the argument, but he would also be incorrect for the second point is totally irrelevant to the point I was making. Here is a summary of David’s second argument:
If futurism is true [and David would classify that as every other view], then hyperpreterism is indeed a damnable doctrine; however, the converse is not true. If hyperpreterism is true, then futurism is a serious error, but it is not a damnable doctrine.
So what? What does that have to do with my point or even the point of the anononymous correspondent? Nothing.
However, I will say that David is wrong. If hyperpreterism is true, all other views are indeed damnable doctrines. This is one reason why the hyperpreterist camp NEVER wants me to apostasize to their dark side - I would be brutally blunt and honest about all of the ramifications and expose the dishonest facade of the clamouring for acceptance as “just another acceptable eschatological view.” That is not true. David has admitted it. One thing though is shown by David’s concession (besides that David is honest) is that it exposes the rank hypocrisy of those hyperpreterists who claim to follow the Bible alone as their standard for doctrine for criticizing those who believe that the resurrection of 2 Timothy 2:17-18 is NOT past and thus obey the Bible in condemning such a view. And in praising those “futurists” who extend the hand of Christian fellowship to them when in so doing they are disobeying the Apostle Paul.
If preterism is true, then historic, traditional futurism is not a damnable doctrine. If preterism is true, then the historic, futurist Church still preaches the true Gospel. The error of the futurist Church is not that it has rejected the Gospel. Its error is that it has failed to connect all the right Bible verses to the Gospel that she truly, authoritatively and effectively preaches. As a result of its exegetical displacement, the Church has appended an extra-biblical scheme of future events onto her true Gospel-message. This is not a fatal mistake.
David is wrong, and has a myopic understanding of the Gospel. Paul considered one’s view of the resurrection as part and parcel of the Gospel. To deny the alleged full redemption in AD70 is to deny the work of Christ and to deny that he has in fact conquered the last enemy. Eschatology is NOT merely an “end-times” view, it is the story of redemption, and is at its core Christological, which is why a totally Christological Creed, the Athanasian Creed saw fit to make the future bodily resurrection a point of salvational belief. It is a fundamentalist (in the bad sense) mind that cannot see the connection and anachronistically demands that there must be one verse that says exactly that as if the Bible writers were obligated to spoon-feed what should be obvious in the connections that are made.
From the preterist perspective, traditional futurism is a significant error to be sure. It has ultimate implications which, by the grace of God, the Church soundly rejects, but futurism is by no means a damnable error.
Any view that logically leads to damnable error is damnable error. Now people may be inconsistent and not follow the implications but that does not change the nature of the doctrine itself. Paul spoke about how a denial of the resurrection led to a denial of the resurrection of Christ, yet his audience surely affirmed the resurrection of Christ. To no matter, Paul showed them the outcome of their belief. And he would never tolerate that error in the body even if the adherents were ignorant or inconsistent about the outcome.
If futurism is true, then we are two separate houses and two separate faiths — but not because of any theological necessity, but only because of II Tim. 2:17,18 in a vacuum. This is the exegetical weakness of the case of those who anathematize all preterists.
Now David tries to backpedal as he once tried with Mathison. There is no vacuum - there is raw fact, and it is not only 2 Timothy 2:17-18 that is relied upon but also Paul’s condemnation of the denial of the resurrection in 1 Cor 15. Don’t try to foist upon anyone that hyperpreterists do not deny the resurrection unless you are willing to be consistent and state that Mormons do not deny the Trinity.
Thus Keith Mathison’s position:
“I would obviously disagree with Mr. Green’s assertion that the only way the debate will ever be resolved is through Scriptural exegesis and reasoning.”
This is misleading - David himself spoke of an extra-Biblical witness that cannot be comprised:
“The ancient ecumenical creeds have been deemed by all members of the universal Church — western, eastern, even Roman — throughout history as containing the fundimental rudiments of the true Gospel of salvation…. it means that the creedalists are correct when they say that we may not refute the elemental traditions of the Gospel which are contained in the creeds…We are not free to refute or nullify any of the cardinal elements of the Christian faith.”
Keith Mathison noted:
Now the problem is that throughout the remainder of this section, Mr. Green gives the impression that the whole discussion concerns nothing more than obscure eschatological issues - that nothing of an essential nature is at stake. Obviously he has to do this, or else preterism fails the test he himself set forth at the beginning of the article. But, there is an essential element of the Gospel at stake in the discussion - the doctrine of our resurrection. Paul in I Corinthians 15 tells us that the doctrine of the resurrection, Christ’s and ours, is absolutely fundamental to the gospel. Elsewhere Hymenaeus and Philetus are condemned for their errors concerning the doctrine of our resurrection. The resurrection is not a secondary negotiable doctrine. According to the witness of the New Testament, and according to the witness of the Church in the following centuries, the doctrine of our resurrection is a cardinal element of the Gospel. The Church fought with the Gnostic heretics for years, and a central element of their heresy was a denial of a future flesh and bone resurrection of believers.
In summary, my point is this. I would agree with Mr. Green that we cannot reject the teaching of the creeds on issues which are at the heart of the gospel. But the doctrine of our resurrection is a fundamental Gospel teaching. And most importantly for this response, full-preterism demands a denial of the Church’s historic doctrine of our resurrection. If this is the case, then full-preterism fails the test which Mr. Green outlines in the first section of his article.
So to use Mr. Green’s own test, either every branch the historic Church has been preaching a false gospel for over 1900 years (since errors regarding our resurrection are not minor errors), or full-preterism is preaching a false gospel. Since I agree with Mr. Green that it is impossible to say the Church has always and everywhere been preaching a false gospel, I am forced to conclude that preterism is preaching a false gospel. The point is that this is not merely a debate over secondary issues regarding the timing of eschatological events. The changes that full-preterists propose to make to the eschatological sections of the creeds have profound effects upon the soteriological parts of the creeds. Their changes drastically alter the doctrine of our resurrection, and the doctrine of our resurrection is a cardinal non-negotiable element of the Gospel.
And here is Mathison’s comment in context:
I would obviously disagree with Mr. Green’s assertion that the only way the debate will ever be resolved is through Scriptural exegesis and reasoning. This would be the case if we shared the same creedal presuppositions, the same framework of orthodoxy. There is a fundamental difference of opinion about what the debate is about. The full-preterists are convinced that the debate is a debate among Christians over important but secondary doctrines. I am convinced that preterism necessarily demands a change in a doctrine which is essential to the Gospel. This means that we “creedalists” view this debate as a debate between Christians and heretics. That is why we have been forced to approach it in the same way the early Christians combated early heresies. The Scriptures simply do not belong to heretics, and any use of the Scriptures by heretics is a misuse of Scripture.
Mr. Green seems closer to understanding the problems involved in the debate than most other full-preterists I have read. I really hope that other full-preterists read this article because if they think through the implications of it, they will realize that they have to make a choice between full-preterism and Christianity.
Amen! Even so come Lord Jesus.