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History, Historiography and Empricism

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By Sam - Posted on 24 December 2004

by Samuel Frost
My favorite subject in college and seminary was philosophy, not theology. One cannot be studied without the other, though. Philosophy was, correctly called, the Queen of sciences, whereas theology was king. The so called “problem” of a failure for Preterism to produce “evidence” for Jesus’ return in A.D. 70 is replete with ignorant assertions, logical invalidities and just plain bad philosophy.My favorite subject in college and seminary was philosophy, not theology. One cannot be studied without the other, though. Philosophy was, correctly called, the Queen of sciences, whereas theology was king. The so called “problem” of a failure for Preterism to produce “evidence” for Jesus’ return in A.D. 70 is replete with ignorant assertions, logical invalidities and just plain bad philosophy.Philosopher and theologian Gordon Haddon Clark dealt with these matters in over forty books. If you are not a Reformed reader, you have probably never heard of him, which is just a plain shame. Nonetheless, he wrote a book called Historiography: Secular or Religious. History deals with the so called “facts” whereas historiography directs the philosophy of history. No one historian can record all the facts of history (an impossibility) and he must, on all occasions, select certain facts to include and omit others. No man is omniscient.

Now, this is not a new problem. Did Caesar really cross the Rubicon? Did Oswald really shoot Kennedy? We have one source that tells us of Caesar’s venture, and a warehouse full of tens of millions of documents on Kennedy. Anyone care to read a ten million page book? I thought not. These little questions of history beg another question: how do you know absolutely? This is the question of epistemology.

Now, if history is based on “observing data,” and no one living today has observed Caesar, then how do we know he really crossed the Rubicon? Just because a lone history entry says he did? If you have had any dabbling at all within historical “documents” you will know that controversies exist just as sharp and as heated as those who try to interpret the Bible. Josephus clearly wrote from a pro-Roman standpoint (to save his own neck). Did this color his view of the facts, and if it did, will we ever know the facts of that period? Controversy is ablaze among Josephist studies.

But, all of this begs another question: does observation prove anything? That is, do we know by sensation (seeing, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting)? To claim that we do is called Empiricism. Empiricists believe that we can establish history and what history means by an appeal to data. But, this is as logically false as can be, and it can be easily shown to be false. Take, for example, the botanist that counts 99 white lilies of the valley. He infers that the next lily he will “see” (observe) will also be white (this is called inductive reasoning). Now, ask yourself, can he prove beyond all shadow of a doubt that the next lily he will see will in fact be white and not pink? No, he cannot. Empiricism can never give absolutes either in botany or history.

Historiography is the philosophy of history and what history means. Yet, here, we have several views: Hegelianism, Augustinianism, Toynbee, Spengler, Marx, and Darwin. They cannot all be right, for they all assuredly differed radically in their approaches to what history means and is. Does observing historical facts “tell” them what history is? If it did, then why did Marx differ from Augustine? Does reading the Epistles of Polycarp tell me absolutely what history means? Do the letters of Ignatius (there was 15, but they were found to be fake and now we have 8) tell me absolutely what every single church member living in 107 A.D. believed? Logically, never.

To argue, then, what “happened” or to assume in the argument that “if Jesus returned, then no one saw it” is begging the question (a logical fallacy). I can easily reason, as so many atheists do, that “if no one saw Jesus get out of the tomb, then it did not happen because there is no evidence.” Well, if the evidence needed to “prove” Jesus’ resurrection is based on the philosophy of Empiricism, then our atheist friend is exactly correct. But, I am not an Empiricist, and no Christian who accepts revelation should be one, either. Yet, it is exactly these same type of empirical arguments raised by our opponents that are just logically flawed!

Take this one, “we have no evidence that anyone wrote anything down recording Jesus’ second coming.” Based on what? Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius record “signs” during the Destruction, and the latter two authors were not even there! How did they know what happened? Did they have e-mail and telephones? But, note even more subtle is this question in that it ASSUMES an empirical philosophy. That is, if anything is to be proven in history, then it must have evidence to back it up. Okay. Who shot Kennedy? Did Shakespeare write Romeo and Juliet? Did Jesus really come out of the grave? How do you know? Just because some fanatical followers of his said he did? Apparitions happen today and people claim to be probed by UFO aliens. How do you know?

Secondly, this little question argues in silence, an informal logical fallacy. That is, it assumes that no one wrote down anything. But, how could you possibly prove that no one wrote down anything about the Second Coming? How could you possibly reason with absolute certainty that we have simply not found anything written? How can you be for certain? You can certainly make a case that Jesus’ Second Coming did not happen in A.D. 70, but that’s it. You can make a case, but I can make a case that O.J. Simpson did not kill his ex-wife. Who is right? Well, one has to decide what he will count and what he will not count, just as I stated in the beginning. And THIS decision to count some things and not others, to assume this philosophy and not that one, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HISTORICAL FACT AT ALL, but the question of HISTORIOGRAPHY. You have now moved from “observation” to “speculation,” and that’s okay, so long as you admit this is what you are doing. After all, the preterist account of “what happened” is speculative, too. I don’t know absolutely why some missed or didn’t write, but I cannot deduce, logically, that all missed it and no one wrote it down. I can speculate, just as you can speculate that it did not happen based on the writings we have, but speculation is not history.

In my book, Misplaced Hope, I thoroughly document the first two centuries of the “fathers” and my conclusion was still Preterism, even though I did not find any of them an admission that the Second Coming happened in A.D. 70, with the possibility of I Clement. By the time of the second century we have tens of thousands of Christians (so much so that by the time of 312, Rome fell to Christians). They were in catacombs, caves, small house groups, located from Spain to Egypt to Syria moving east to Asia and northwards. And these few men (apostolic fathers) are going to tell me what EVERYONE believed? That is an impossibility. We have no direct proof that any of the writings we have of this period ever knew or saw any of the apostles, and what statements linked them to the apostles, the Gnostics claimed all the more. Who, then, was linked since both affirm their links? Irenaeus claimed with apostolic authority, based on the elders that knew John, that Jesus lived until he was fifty years old! What makes this apostolic claim anymore correct than his supposed statement that Papias knew John, or that Polycarp was a disciple of John? No one can answer with absolute authority.

Listen to this one verse: Isaiah 66:18-19 "For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.” I can easily “make a case” that this refers to A.D. 70 and “the gathering” and “the glory” and folks seeing “my Glory.” But, notice what happens AFTERWARDS: “I will send them to those…WHO HAVE NOT SEEN MY FAME or SEEN MY GLORY.” Who are these people? You mean, some saw it (those with an eye to see) and some did not? Interesting.

Therefore, to conclude this article, within the rigors of my training in logic, philosophy and history, I am firmly convinced that Jesus returned in A.D. 70 and the statement “every eye shall see him” (taken from Zechariah) was true. I believe this is the case because I ASSUME, I PRESUPPOSE that the Bible “is the word of God, written.” I believe that “Thy word is truth” and that all other claims are false (and cannot be demonstrated without begging the question). Therefore, when I “look” at history, I look at its “evidence” through the eyes of the Bible and the framework of the Bible. If the framework of the Bible states that this and this happened, it happened. Did Samson destroy the Philistines? Do you have “proof?” Did the Red Sea really split apart? Do you have proof? Did Moses really “see” the backside of God? Do you have proof? Archeological evidence? How do you know? I have demonstrated by the principles of historiography and logic (and presuppositional methodology), based on the Word of God, that Preterism can “make a case.”

I cannot “prove” that Jesus returned in A.D. 70, but you cannot prove that he, in fact, didn’t. And, so, there we are. You have to make a decision. But, that decision is not informed by history and documents, but by another controlling presupposition. So, let’s stop all this useless and tiresome illogical appeal to empirical evidence and work on what the Bible states. Then we can, as I did in my book, talk about how, indeed, they missed some aspects in the second century (we have no first century documents, unless you date Barnabas and I Clement in or around 70, but the controversy over dating these letters cannot ever be solved, and so, they are useless for determining one way or the other the questions at hand). However, Dispensationalism must account for early preterist tendencies easily found there. Baptists have to account for Constantine and Calvinists must account for the fact that “from the evidence” the early fathers were Hellenistic free-willers. Protestants in general must account for the fact of infant baptism, and non-Charismatic types must account for second century glossolalia (tongues) and prophecy being spoken, as well as visions being given and written down (Shepherd of Hermas). In short, when it comes to history, I can turn the tide against Roman Catholics, Protestants, and the Roman Catholics turn it against the Greek Orthodox, and the Protestants turn it against both. The Baptist argue for a “blood trail,” the Episcopalians argued for their privilege, and the Catholics appeals to them against Luther (and Luther appealed to them against the Catholics). And, on what basis did all of these groups try to “prove” from history their own particular doctrinal view? They each claimed to “get it from the Bible.” Interesting. Bottom line: the Bible. Yet, the Preterist alone must come up with absolute non-biblical resources that prove that his doctrine is correct…..I have one word for this, folks: Hypocrisy.

Sam's picture

Parker,

The "church" created Scripture argument is simply tomfoolery. The canon of the OT was recognized long before the Catholic Church was ever made. The church merely RECOGNIZED the authentic from such works as Shepherd of Hermas (mid second century). They merely placed their STAMP on what, by the majority up until the fourth century RECEIVED. The Catholic Church had no role in "creating the canon," rather, the WHOLE CHURCH gaurded and received what could be legitimately established as Pauline, Petrine, Johanine, Hebrews, James, the Gospels and Jude. Listen, I admire your faith, but your RC presuppositions cloud the matters at hand. Secondly, in a point that makes you appear as ignorant, Luther did not "throw out of the canon" any such books as you list. Please, document your sources as you listed. He had issue with James, but ALL the books are there in the German Bible he translated from the Hebrew and Greek (he accepted all 66 books with mere reservation on James because of its lack of mentioning Christ). Third, and final, you still cannot, in spite of all your pretensions otherwise, "prove" what every church member on earth at that time in the second century believed. Your argument is thus: "We have written records from SOME churches" therefore "we know what EVERY member within those churches believed." Please tell me that I do not have to point out to you that SOME can never imply ALL, logically speaking.

Samuel Frost

Parker's picture

SAM:
The canon of the OT was recognized long before the Catholic Church was ever made. The church merely RECOGNIZED the authentic....

PARKER:
First, the Catholic church was "made" by the apostles--our unbroken succession of bishops at Rome proves that we alone date back to the apostles. (Our historic link of succession is shared, of course, with the Eastern Orthodox whose bishops we recognize as linked to apostles). Also note that the views of the ECFs on Eucharist, baptism, infant baptism, apostolic succession, intercessions of the saints (communion of saints) are those the Catholics continue to hold today (along with the Eastern Orthodox).

As for the canon of NT scripture, it had to be settled by ecumenical council of bishops and the Popes because there were many views among the early christians. *The apostles did not do the work of creating a canon.* All ecumenical councils were gatherings of the single college of ordained bishops from around the Roman Empire, and these councils were presided over by Popes.

SAM:
The Catholic Church had no role in "creating the canon," rather, the WHOLE CHURCH gaurded and received what could be legitimately established as Pauline, Petrine, Johanine, Hebrews, James, the Gospels and Jude.

PARKER:
The "whole church" at the time of the apostles (and for hundreds of years after) consisted of ONE single "denomination" led by a single college of bishops. That single college of bishops also showed a deference to the church at Rome on matters of ecclesiastical authority. I have plenty of ECF quotes to back my statements.

SAM:
Secondly, in a point that makes you appear as ignorant, Luther did not "throw out of the canon" any such books as you list.

PARKER:
Luther rejected the following books as uninspired, although he thought they were still of some use: Revelation, James, Jude, Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John. Luther's prefaces are pretty clear. Here are a couple samples:

Luther's Preface to Revelation, from 1522
"I miss more than one thing in this book, and this makes me hold it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic. . . . I think of it almost as I do of the Fourth Book of Esdras, and can nohow detect that the Holy Spirit produced it . . ."

Luther's Preface to James, from 1522
St. James' Epistle is really an epistle of straw...it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it.

Luther on Jude:
"Therefore, although I value this book, it is an epistle that need not be counted among the chief books which are supposed to lay the foundations of faith"

On Hebrews:
to be sure, we cannot put it on the same level with the apostolic epistles.

SAM:
Third, and final, you still cannot, in spite of all your pretensions otherwise, "prove" what every church member on earth at that time in the second century believed.

PARKER:
True. But we don't have to. The number of corroborating sources on this matter is so great and without contradiction that it represents a dire threat to the historicity of The AD 70 Parousia. If apostolic churches like Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, and Antioch didn't know the Parousia took place, it creates overwhelming doubt about the claim that Jesus returned to his people. A Parousia that wasn't recognizable to key biblical churches in real history is likely a fraud. And, actually, the burden of proof is on you to produce even a single source in your favor.

Sam's picture

Parker,

First, you said Luther "threw out" these books. He did not. He had issues with some of them, but none were "thrown out." That was the assertion I was dealing with.

Second, your RC presuppositions control your view of history. What is "clear" to you is not "clear" to Latourette, Singer, Noll, Packer, or others scholars that I could easily "quote" and ECF that I could "quote" as well to show that no "unanimous consent" existed in the second century. It is not that hard to do. But, this actually lends credence to what the point of this article has been all along: we see "history" the way our presuppositions demand that we see it. You see through RC glasses and it is a perfect RC history (historiography, rather) that you get. If history were that "clear" and "obvious" then all Protestant historians are mere idiots.

Third, you have admitted that you cannot tell me what "every church member" believed. Then, you say, "we don't have to." Amazing. Parker, in Patristics, we HAVE NO SOURCES from the period of A.D. 70 to 107, possibly 118 A.D. We have no writers who DIRECTLY KNEW the apostles or were ever APART OF THEIR CONGREGATIONS. If you claim Papias, he was a Premillennialist! Are you a Premillennialist? I thought not. You have not dealt with that little historical "fact" yet. With the possible exception of I Clement, we have no sources (I Clement could easily be dated BEFORE A.D. 70). Barnabas is roughly dated in the time of Hadrian (135 A.D.) and we do not know him. Ignatius is writing to the second generation of Christians in 110 (118 A.D., or 107 A.D.). Preterism was certainly passed down, but without the DIRECT inspiration of the Spirit through revelational gifts, SOME not ALL of the eschatological message was mutated into a literalistic expectation (one never taught by the apostles). It is very easy to speculate that this, indeed, went on. But, we have no direct CHRISTIAN witnesses of Jerusalem's destruction, no source from any CHRISTIAN that was there, and, in your own words, you cannot tell me what THEY in that TIME under the DIRECT APOSTLES, understood. Thank you for your admission.

Samuel Frost

Sam's picture

Parker,

First, you said Luther "threw out" these books. He did not. He had issues with some of them, but none were "thrown out." That was the assertion I was dealing with.

Second, your RC presuppositions control your view of history. What is "clear" to you is not "clear" to Latourette, Singer, Noll, Packer, or others scholars that I could easily "quote" and ECF that I could "quote" as well to show that no "unanimous consent" existed in the second century. It is not that hard to do. But, this actually lends credence to what the point of this article has been all along: we see "history" the way our presuppositions demand that we see it. You see through RC glasses and it is a perfect RC history (historiography, rather) that you get. If history were that "clear" and "obvious" then all Protestant historians are mere idiots.

Third, you have admitted that you cannot tell me what "every church member" believed. Then, you say, "we don't have to." Amazing. Parker, in Patristics, we HAVE NO SOURCES from the period of A.D. 70 to 107, possibly 118 A.D. We have no writers who DIRECTLY KNEW the apostles or were ever APART OF THEIR CONGREGATIONS. If you claim Papias, he was a Premillennialist! Are you a Premillennialist? I thought not. You have not dealt with that little historical "fact" yet. With the possible exception of I Clement, we have no sources (I Clement could easily be dated BEFORE A.D. 70). Barnabas is roughly dated in the time of Hadrian (135 A.D.) and we do not know him. Ignatius is writing to the second generation of Christians in 110 (118 A.D., or 107 A.D.). Preterism was certainly passed down, but without the DIRECT inspiration of the Spirit through revelational gifts, SOME not ALL of the eschatological message was mutated into a literalistic expectation (one never taught by the apostles). It is very easy to speculate that this, indeed, went on. But, we have no direct CHRISTIAN witnesses of Jerusalem's destruction, no source from any CHRISTIAN that was there, and, in your own words, you cannot tell me what THEY in that TIME under the DIRECT APOSTLES, understood. Thank you for your admission.

Samuel Frost

Sam's picture

Parker,

First, you said Luther "threw out" these books. He did not. He had issues with some of them, but none were "thrown out." That was the assertion I was dealing with.

Second, your RC presuppositions control your view of history. What is "clear" to you is not "clear" to Latourette, Singer, Noll, Packer, or others scholars that I could easily "quote" and ECF that I could "quote" as well to show that no "unanimous consent" existed in the second century. It is not that hard to do. But, this actually lends credence to what the point of this article has been all along: we see "history" the way our presuppositions demand that we see it. You see through RC glasses and it is a perfect RC history (historiography, rather) that you get. If history were that "clear" and "obvious" then all Protestant historians are mere idiots.

Third, you have admitted that you cannot tell me what "every church member" believed. Then, you say, "we don't have to." Amazing. Parker, in Patristics, we HAVE NO SOURCES from the period of A.D. 70 to 107, possibly 118 A.D. We have no writers who DIRECTLY KNEW the apostles or were ever APART OF THEIR CONGREGATIONS. If you claim Papias, he was a Premillennialist! Are you a Premillennialist? I thought not. You have not dealt with that little historical "fact" yet. With the possible exception of I Clement, we have no sources (I Clement could easily be dated BEFORE A.D. 70). Barnabas is roughly dated in the time of Hadrian (135 A.D.) and we do not know him. Ignatius is writing to the second generation of Christians in 110 (118 A.D., or 107 A.D.). Preterism was certainly passed down, but without the DIRECT inspiration of the Spirit through revelational gifts, SOME not ALL of the eschatological message was mutated into a literalistic expectation (one never taught by the apostles). It is very easy to speculate that this, indeed, went on. But, we have no direct CHRISTIAN witnesses of Jerusalem's destruction, no source from any CHRISTIAN that was there, and, in your own words, you cannot tell me what THEY in that TIME under the DIRECT APOSTLES, understood. Thank you for your admission.

Samuel Frost

Parker's picture

SAM:
First, you said Luther "threw out" these books. He did not.

PARKER:
He gave them uninspired status--like the protestants today think of the deuterocanonicals (so-called apocrypha).

SAM:
you have admitted that you cannot tell me what "every church member" believed. Then, you say, "we don't have to." Amazing.

PARKER:
It's absurd to insist I must know what every church member of the 1st century believed. It is sufficient to know that the apostles churches of record didn't know. It is sufficient to know that every written record on the matter is in uniform agreement. God's people were eagerly looking for their Lord to return as they were commanded, and countless of them died martyrs deaths looking for that blessed hope that was kept secret from them. Quite simply, the burden of proof is on you to show even ONE testimony that even ONE christian knew of the Lord's glorious return for his church. Timothy, Titus, Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, St. John, Linus, and more lived through AD 70, and yet somehow they failed to recognize or pass on the knowledge of the Lord's return. It's the greatest blunder of redemption history. We rightly conclude that preterists teach a secret rapture--one that was unknown to anyone in real history.

SAM:
Parker, in Patristics, we HAVE NO SOURCES from the period of A.D. 70 to 107, possibly 118 A.D. We have no writers who DIRECTLY KNEW the apostles or were ever APART OF THEIR CONGREGATIONS.

PARKER:
Clement Bishop of Rome. Ignatius Bishop of Antioch. Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna. These lived and served God's people between AD 75-110, whether their writing was in that window or not. And to suggest that some knew about the Parousia is just wishful thinking. You obviously understand that an unrecognizable, secret second coming is damning to preterism, and so you try to hold out the fraudulent idea that someone knew. Plainly, no one should ever believe in a second coming that was kept secret from God's people in real history. It's a scam.

SAM:
If you claim Papias, he was a Premillennialist! Are you a Premillennialist? I thought not. You have not dealt with that little historical "fact" yet.

PARKER:
It is irrelevant what millennial position was held by the first christians, for they ALL, without exception, were in the dark about the fact that their Lord returned to them and their churches. They had no experience or knowledge of it. Quite simply, if the Lord returned, the elect would have known and faithfully passed on the knowledge of the event.

SAM:
With the possible exception of I Clement, we have no sources (I Clement could easily be dated BEFORE A.D. 70). Barnabas is roughly dated in the time of Hadrian (135 A.D.) and we do not know him. Ignatius is writing to the second generation of Christians in 110 (118 A.D., or 107 A.D.).

PARKER:
Second generations know first generations personally. If anyone in the first generation knew of Christ's return (say, Timothy, Titus, or Clement), why did they keep it a secret from their followers and churches? The logical answer is that they didn't know, and that's why the second generation was deprived from any knowledge of the glorious return of their Lord.

SAM:
Preterism was certainly passed down...

PARKER:
That is a fraudulent claim. Preterism was NOT passed down. Full preterism emerges in the late 1900s. Close relatives exist in the late 1800s, but they are not full preterism.

And, finally, since God didn't care if any christians knew about the fulfillment of his glorious return for 19 centuries, who can conclude that anyone ever needs to know, today or in the future? Therefore, proponents of fulfilled eschatology are little more than a new historical society, and all discussion of a fulfilled second coming is mere hobby.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

PARKER:
It's absurd to insist I must know what every church member of the 1st century believed. It is sufficient to know that the apostles churches of record didn't know. It is sufficient to know that every written record on the matter is in uniform agreement. God's people were eagerly looking for their Lord to return as they were commanded, and countless of them died martyrs deaths looking for that blessed hope that was kept secret from them.

One, quick comment here concerning the martyrdom of Christians as "evidence" of the Parousia's non-occurrence in the First Century. I realize that Parker is using this as an argument in favor of the idea that none of the ECFs taught the fulfilled return of Christ (including all prophecy relevant thereto), but I see these martyrdoms as further evidence of the insidious influence of the false expectations of futurist ECFs who were NOT guided by God or the Holy Spirit in attempting to perpetuate the NT Church and some kind of bogus "apostolic authority". Many of the early Christians who died in the arenas of Rome ACTIVELY PURSUED martyrdom, viewing this as a "badge of honor", worthy of a "crown", above. They were the ancient equivalent of Muslim "suicide bombers" today (except their violence was turned against THEMSELVES, rather than others). Anyone with an ounce of understanding of the wisdom and grace of God would recognize the falsehood and illegitimacy of the expectations of the martyrs of that period who willingly and eagerly sought out death at the hands of others. It was a period of exceedingly warped, massive misunderstanding of Scripture and the fulfilled, fully established Kingdom of Heaven.

Anyone who thinks GOD wanted those people to die like that is - quite simply - self-deceived (and that goes double for Christian martyrs today who die as a result of efforts to establish institutional "churches" of any type or size). THOSE martyrs weren't the ones referred to in Revelation as receiving the great rewards for their deaths on behalf of the Kingdom. The PRE-AD 70 martyrs were the ones awaiting vindication by God, and THEY received the crowns attendant thereto.

JM

Parker's picture

MCPHERSON:
but I see these martyrdoms as further evidence of the insidious influence of the false expectations of futurist ECFs who were NOT guided by God or the Holy Spirit in attempting to perpetuate the NT Church and some kind of bogus "apostolic authority".

PARKER:
You're a sick man, McPherson. People don't make up lies that they will be put to death for. Plus, there is no historic evidence in support of your wild fantasies. Here's what happened, so far as history shows: the apostles created churches (Smyrna, Rome, Antioch, Corinth, etc) and gave their flocks and ordained bishops the hope and expectation of Christ's return to them. Those christians waited...and waited...and waited--many of them being killed off for believing the apostles teachings as they had been delivered to them. They regularly wrote to encourage each other to keep the faith even though it was taking so long. They kept looking. They kept hoping. They kept believing. This pattern continued for 20 centuries, and it did so because IT WAS NEVER INTERRUPTED BY THE LORD'S RETURN.

MCPHERSON:
Many of the early Christians who died in the arenas of Rome ACTIVELY PURSUED martyrdom, viewing this as a "badge of honor", worthy of a "crown", above.

PARKER:
Ugh. The idea of martyrdom being honorable in God's sight came from the apostles! Those brave Christians were merely being faithful to the doctrine they were taught by the apostles. And, according to secular sources, some of the weaker Christians did renounce Jesus instead of face the lions.

MCPHERSON:
It was a period of exceedingly warped, massive misunderstanding of Scripture and the fulfilled, fully established Kingdom of Heaven.

PARKER:
Rather, it was a period of people who faithfully did what the apostles told them to do (watch and wait and practice the faith delivered to them), but they were let down by the nonoccurrence of the Parousia. It never came (in any way recognizable to the elect), and they were left to the lions.

McPHERSON:
Anyone who thinks GOD wanted those people to die like that is - quite simply - self-deceived

PARKER:
It was Jesus who said: "Do not fear what you are about to suffer...Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev 2:10). Those people simply were doing what they were told. Certainly if St. John, Titus, Timothy, and others knew the Parousia had taken place, they would have not allowed their flocks to wallow in ignorance and then be fed to the lions.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

MCPHERSON:
but I see these martyrdoms as further evidence of the insidious influence of the false expectations of futurist ECFs who were NOT guided by God or the Holy Spirit in attempting to perpetuate the NT Church and some kind of bogus "apostolic authority".

PARKER:
You're a sick man, McPherson. People don't make up lies that they will be put to death for. Plus, there is no historic evidence in support of your wild fantasies. Here's what happened, so far as history shows: the apostles created churches (Smyrna, Rome, Antioch, Corinth, etc) and gave their flocks and ordained bishops the hope and expectation of Christ's return to them. Those christians waited...and waited...and waited--many of them being killed off for believing the apostles teachings as they had been delivered to them. They regularly wrote to encourage each other to keep the faith even though it was taking so long. They kept looking. They kept hoping. They kept believing. This pattern continued for 20 centuries, and it did so because IT WAS NEVER INTERRUPTED BY THE LORD'S RETURN.

No, Parker...you're right in stating that people "don't make up lies that they will be put to death for" - at least they usually don't hold to those lies to the point of death. But people can be DECEIVED into believing a lie, leading - ultimately - to their deaths. Jonestown is a prime, modern example of that very thing.

I have to tell you, Parker, that in the light of Hebrews 9:28 - even IF your interpretation of history is accurate (which I don't believe that it is) - God failed to keep His Word and promise where the Christians you refer to, above, were concerned. Again - I see glaring evidence of the results of a massive deception perpretrated upon these poor people by post-AD 70 "Christian" leaders who were actually spiritual "rejects", attempting to perpetuate something they had no legitimate claim to whatsoever.

MCPHERSON:
Many of the early Christians who died in the arenas of Rome ACTIVELY PURSUED martyrdom, viewing this as a "badge of honor", worthy of a "crown", above.

PARKER:
Ugh. The idea of martyrdom being honorable in God's sight came from the apostles! Those brave Christians were merely being faithful to the doctrine they were taught by the apostles. And, according to secular sources, some of the weaker Christians did renounce Jesus instead of face the lions.

UGH is right!! The "idea of martyrdom" ripped OUT of its original, true pre-AD 70 apostolic context and translated into the spiritual experience of POST-AD 70 Christians resulted in the loss of MANY innocent lives. They were brave, indeed, although committed to a FALSE ideal and hope. Perhaps the "weaker" Christians were - in some measure - also the more PERCEPTIVE ones, and sensed the truly erroneous nature of that to which they had committed themselves.

MCPHERSON:
It was a period of exceedingly warped, massive misunderstanding of Scripture and the fulfilled, fully established Kingdom of Heaven.

PARKER:
Rather, it was a period of people who faithfully did what the apostles told them to do (watch and wait and practice the faith delivered to them), but they were let down by the nonoccurrence of the Parousia. It never came (in any way recognizable to the elect), and they were left to the lions.

It is critical to understand that the apostles did NOT personally instruct ANY of these people to do what they did. These people were NOT "let down by the nonoccurrence of the Parousia". Rather, they were LED ASTRAY in their expectations and being blinded to the Truth, they fell afoul of the Roman government, becoming the innocent victims of a massive hoax perpetrated on them by the "church" leaders in denial, in the post-AD 70 "world".

And by the way - the "elect" no longer existed on this planet, beyond 70 AD. NONE of those "elected unto salvation" from within the Old Covenant "world" and spiritual economy remained alive in this material, physical realm. So the TRUE "elect" did NOT suffer any disappointment over a "nonoccurrence" of the Parousia.

McPHERSON:
Anyone who thinks GOD wanted those people to die like that is - quite simply - self-deceived

PARKER:
It was Jesus who said: "Do not fear what you are about to suffer...Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev 2:10). Those people simply were doing what they were told. Certainly if St. John, Titus, Timothy, and others knew the Parousia had taken place, they would have not allowed their flocks to wallow in ignorance and then be fed to the lions.

Jesus did NOT personally instruct THOSE Christians (who faced the lions in the Roman arena) to "be faithful unto death". THAT injunction was given to His immediate followers in the PRE-AD 70 "world". THEY received the "crown of life" due to THEIR perseverance under the Jewish persecution which ended in 70 AD, when the Jews and THEIR "world" were forever terminated. I don't believe that these post-AD 70 Christians (the martyrs in particular) personally knew John, Titus OR Timothy, and IF some of them DID - they failed to comprehend the TRUE import and significance of their teaching and became warped in their understanding and application of it. ANYONE who sat under the teachings of any of those apostles and pre-AD 70 Church leaders - and failed to apprehend the significance of 70 AD in terms of the true, pre-AD 70 Churc, - was incapable of experiencing the Resurrection and Marriage Supper of the Lamb (quite obviously) and thus brought further condemnation upon themselves by twisting the Truth, perverting it into some kind of charade and parody of the original, true Church.

You ARE correct in believing that those PRE-AD 70 Church leaders would never have allowed their "flocks to wallow in ignorance and then be fed to the lions", Parker. This is why it should be abundantly evident to you (and everyone else), that NONE of those pre-AD 70 Church leaders was involved in the attempt to perpetuate the Church BEYOND 70 AD, nor were those who taught the still-future Parousia accurately communicating the teachings of those men within their appropriate historical context.

THAT is what REALLY happened historically, Parker. The more I consider the evidence, the clearer it becomes to me.

One question for you.

Have you, personally, empirically verified the provenance of the ancient manuscripts, letters/documents attributed to Papias, Ignatius, Polycarp and other ECFs of that period? As an empiricist, I would imagine this would be rather important to you. Are you familiar with the means of scientifically analyzing manuscript materials and dating the papyri and inks used on them? Have you performed these procedures yourself, or analyzed the data of those who HAVE (where these ancient documents are concerned)?

How have you, personally, verified for yourself that these ancient documents are intrinsically trustworthy to the letter, and of unimpeachable origin? After all - you are putting them on the same level as inspired Scripture itself. Surely you have concrete, empirical evidence to support such faith.

Parker's picture

MCPHERSON:
But people can be DECEIVED into believing a lie, leading - ultimately - to their deaths.

PARKER:
First, there is no historic ground for your claim--it is pure fantasy. Next, the leaders of this great conspiracy were none other than Timothy, Titus, St. John and the others that lived at and beyond AD 70. Next, other conspiring bishops like St. Ignatius and Polycarp who helped create and perpetuate the conspiracy were MARTYRED. Such men were happy to die for their lie they invented! What a foolish and desperate man you are, McPherson. Shame.

MCPHERSON:
Again - I see glaring evidence of the results of a massive deception perpretrated upon these poor people by post-AD 70 "Christian" leaders

PARKER:
You see it because you NEED to see it, not because there is any historical support for your idiotic speculations. And, again, the post-AD 70 leaders were Titus, Timothy, Clement, St. John, and Linus--all associates of Paul who lived for decades beyond AD 70. The conspiring churches were the apostolic churches including the Romans, Philippians, Smyrneans, Corinthians, Antiochians.

MCPHERSON:
It is critical to understand that the apostles did NOT personally instruct ANY of these people to do what they did. These people were NOT "let down by the nonoccurrence of the Parousia".

PARKER:
The apostles appointed their leaders and created their churches which continued to exist long into the next century without interruption.

MCPHERSON:
Rather, they were LED ASTRAY in their expectations and being blinded to the Truth, they fell afoul of the Roman government, becoming the innocent victims of a massive hoax perpetrated on them by the "church" leaders in denial, in the post-AD 70 "world".

PARKER:
The massive hoax was not that the AD 71 christians continued doing what they had been taught in their apostolic churches from their apostolic bishops. The massive hoax was that the Parousia never came in any way the elect of the first century could recognize. The reasonable reading of history is that it never came at all.

MCPHERSON:
And by the way - the "elect" no longer existed on this planet, beyond 70 AD. NONE of those "elected unto salvation" from within the Old Covenant "world" and spiritual economy remained alive in this material, physical realm.

PARKER:
Now you're the one perpetrating a hoax, and one that doesn't even help your case. If the true elect were zapped into the heavenlies, why didn't anyone know? How could the Romans, Smyrneans, Philippians, Corinthians not recognized the disappearance of their families and friends in the Lord?

MCPHERSON:
I don't believe that these post-AD 70 Christians (the martyrs in particular) personally knew John, Titus OR Timothy, and IF some of them DID - they failed to comprehend the TRUE import and significance of their teaching and became warped in their understanding and application of it.

PARKER:
They did, according to the record of history. Furthermore, their churches were APOSTOLIC--i.e., founded by the apostles. For sure, AD 71 christians knew AD 70 Christians. No one disappeared. Nice try. Everything just kept on frozen in time as they all waited in hope for the return of their Lord. That's the true historic record, not some fantasy that exists only in your mind.

MCPHERSON:
You ARE correct in believing that those PRE-AD 70 Church leaders would never have allowed their "flocks to wallow in ignorance and then be fed to the lions", Parker. This is why it should be abundantly evident to you (and everyone else), that NONE of those pre-AD 70 Church leaders was involved.

PARKER:
See, you just keep rewriting history because you NEED real history to be changed or else your view is kaput. Tell you what, John, you just go on living in your fantasies that you create, and the rest of the sane people will just continue to laugh at your dementia. Hey, are you in the flat earth society too?

SuperSoulFighter's picture

PARKER:
First, there is no historic ground for your claim--it is pure fantasy. Next, the leaders of this great conspiracy were none other than Timothy, Titus, St. John and the others that lived at and beyond AD 70. Next, other conspiring bishops like St. Ignatius and Polycarp who helped create and perpetuate the conspiracy were MARTYRED. Such men were happy to die for their lie they invented! What a foolish and desperate man you are, McPherson. Shame.

Again, you are assigning superior authority to "historical documentation" over the Scriptures themselves, Parker. You act like you have "real history" on your side. Have you empirically verified the legitimacy of these ancient letters and documents yourself, Parker? If not, I don't see how YOUR faith in historical documents outshines MY faith in the Scriptures. The "leaders of the great conspiracy" were NOT Timothy, Titus, and St. John. That is one of the lies perpetuated by YOUR "ECFs", Parker. I don't acknowledge the authority OR veracity of post-AD 70 ECFs.

PARKER:
You see it because you NEED to see it, not because there is any historical support for your idiotic speculations. And, again, the post-AD 70 leaders were Titus, Timothy, Clement, St. John, and Linus--all associates of Paul who lived for decades beyond AD 70. The conspiring churches were the apostolic churches including the Romans, Philippians, Smyrneans, Corinthians, Antiochians.

The "historical support" YOU lay claim to, Parker, is spurious until effectively proven otherwise (which is really, ultimately, impossible as Sam pointed out in his article, above). There were no "true believers" OR apostles left in any of those "churches" you listed, above, after 70 AD. Any historical documents indicating that there WERE, are fallacious and of dubious origin. I am under no illusions concerning your ability to empirically prove otherwise, Parker.

PARKER:
The apostles appointed their leaders and created their churches which continued to exist long into the next century without interruption.

According to the "historical sources" YOU so loudly and vociferously advocate as essentially "inspired". Again - how can you empirically prove that these ancient documents have an iota of credibility in them?

PARKER:
The massive hoax was not that the AD 71 christians continued doing what they had been taught in their apostolic churches from their apostolic bishops. The massive hoax was that the Parousia never came in any way the elect of the first century could recognize. The reasonable reading of history is that it never came at all.

The UNreasonable reading of history is to accept it at face value, verbatim (which YOU are guilty of, Parker). The reasonable reading of the Scriptures is that it (the Parousia) DID occur, and that subsequent history's failure to mention that oustandingly significant fact is clear evidence of a massive cover-up and conspiracy. My argument stands, Parker, in the face of your failure to present clear, irrefutable, empirically-verifiable evidence to the contrary.

MCPHERSON:
And by the way - the "elect" no longer existed on this planet, beyond 70 AD. NONE of those "elected unto salvation" from within the Old Covenant "world" and spiritual economy remained alive in this material, physical realm.

PARKER:
Now you're the one perpetrating a hoax, and one that doesn't even help your case. If the true elect were zapped into the heavenlies, why didn't anyone know? How could the Romans, Smyrneans, Philippians, Corinthians not recognized the disappearance of their families and friends in the Lord?

You're STILL basing your arguments and position upon historical documents that could EASILY have been fabricated, wholesale. You are treating historical documentation as though it were SCRIPTURE, Parker. HOW DO YOU KNOW the Romans, Smyrneans, Philippians and Corinthians didn't recognize the disappearance of their families and friends in the Lord? HOW DO YOU KNOW FOR A FACT that this event did not occur, and was recorded by various individuals whose letters and documents were subsequently destroyed? I realize that this seems mind-bogglingly unachievable for ANY conspirators at any period in history - but one must keep in mind that the modern printing press is a very recent innovation. Their letters would NOT have been reproduced on a large scale, nor would they have been circulated widely. To find the originals and possibly one copy would have been sufficient. I think it would have been far easier in those days to bury facts and eliminate historical evidence, than it is today.

MCPHERSON:
I don't believe that these post-AD 70 Christians (the martyrs in particular) personally knew John, Titus OR Timothy, and IF some of them DID - they failed to comprehend the TRUE import and significance of their teaching and became warped in their understanding and application of it.

PARKER:
They did, according to the record of history. Furthermore, their churches were APOSTOLIC--i.e., founded by the apostles. For sure, AD 71 christians knew AD 70 Christians. No one disappeared. Nice try. Everything just kept on frozen in time as they all waited in hope for the return of their Lord. That's the true historic record, not some fantasy that exists only in your mind.

"According to the record of history" really, ultimately, means very little, Parker. I've already explained why, repeatedly. The fact that their "churches" were founded by the apostles, and that they knew pre-AD 70 saints personally, STILL doesn't qualify these people as trustworthy nor are their writings on par with Scripture in terms of their inerrancy and veracity.

No one disappeared? YOU haven't proven that, Parker. And you can't. The "true historic record"?? Don't make me laugh. No such thing exists on this planet (other than in the pages of Scripture).

MCPHERSON:
You ARE correct in believing that those PRE-AD 70 Church leaders would never have allowed their "flocks to wallow in ignorance and then be fed to the lions", Parker. This is why it should be abundantly evident to you (and everyone else), that NONE of those pre-AD 70 Church leaders was involved.

PARKER:
See, you just keep rewriting history because you NEED real history to be changed or else your view is kaput. Tell you what, John, you just go on living in your fantasies that you create, and the rest of the sane people will just continue to laugh at your dementia. Hey, are you in the flat earth society too?

I'm positive that I'm not the FIRST to "rewrite history" to fit a certain presuppositional framework, Parker. Your precious ECFs were evidently guilty of the very same thing, hundreds of years ago. I'm not "living in fantasies I create", Parker. I'm holding fast to the clear pronouncements and expectations of the pre-AD 70 saints and apostles. YOU are advocating that we declare those hopes and expectations, founded on the divinely inspired Scriptures, to be FALSE - based upon what? Dubious "historical record" to the contrary. I don't like your "evidence" against the Scriptures, Parker. It smells. And I think everyone else here (who values the Scriptures as as authored via the plenary verbal inspiration of God) can smell it too.

Parker's picture

MCPHERSON:
Again, you are assigning superior authority to "historical documentation" over the Scriptures themselves, Parker. You act like you have "real history" on your side.

PARKER:
Scriptures predict things that happen in real history. And, as for having history on my side, I do. History is the study of things of record. The things of record pertaining to the AD 71-150 christians show, unanimously, that those christians had no idea their Lord returned to them. If Jesus did return, someone among the first christians would have known in real history, just like you claim to know here and now in 2004.

MCPHERSON:
Have you empirically verified the legitimacy of these ancient letters and documents yourself, Parker? If not, I don't see how YOUR faith in historical documents outshines MY faith in the Scriptures.

PARKER:
Hello, McFly, you can't empirically test the legitimacy of any letter of the NT--THE ORIGINALS DON'T EXIST!!! You must trust the later handlers, copyists, and interpreters of those letters that concluded that the writings should be trusted. Why do I put up with your ignorance? I guess just because it's fun to win easy arguments.

MCPHERSON:
The "leaders of the great conspiracy" were NOT Timothy, Titus, and St. John. That is one of the lies perpetuated by YOUR "ECFs", Parker. I don't acknowledge the authority OR veracity of post-AD 70 ECFs.

PARKER:
That's because you deny the value and validity of true historic sources. You prefer to manufacture your own version of history (out of thin air, I might add) and perpetuate it as real. What utter folly and ignorance. I hope you place as little faith in Josephus as you do other witnesses of history. Or, perhaps you believe Josephus was inspired by the Holy Ghost and not subject to equal scrutiny?

MCPHERSON:
The "historical support" YOU lay claim to, Parker, is spurious until effectively proven otherwise (which is really, ultimately, impossible as Sam pointed out in his article, above).

PARKER:
If Sam's claim that history is utterly unreliable and obscured beyond hope by human bias, then I hope to never again see any reference to Josephus by any preterist--especially by him or you.

MCPHERSON:
The UNreasonable reading of history is to accept it at face value, verbatim (which YOU are guilty of, Parker).

PARKER:
The more sources that can be found to corroborate a testimony in history, the more dependable and certain that testimony becomes. It just so happens that ALL sources from first and second century history are in agreement on this point: the first christians had no idea the Lord came back to them. According to scripture's predictions, they would have known.

MCPHERSON:
My argument stands, Parker

PARKER:
Stands on what? You've done nothing but invent your own mythological conspiratorial history and declare it true. What absurdity. What folly.

MCPHERSON:
HOW DO YOU KNOW the Romans, Smyrneans, Philippians and Corinthians didn't recognize the disappearance of their families and friends in the Lord? HOW DO YOU KNOW FOR A FACT that this event did not occur, and was recorded by various individuals whose letters and documents were subsequently destroyed?

PARKER:
History is the study of things of record, not of things without record. By studying the things of record, we see the apostolic churches fully unaware that their Lord returned to them. I must also point out how utterly hypocritical it is of you to defend your position by citing hypothetical documents because (1) they do not exist so far as anyone knows and (2) you have just wasted all our time arguing that history shouldn't be trusted. As you said, " 'According to the record of history' really, ultimately, means very little, Parker."

MCPHERSON:
I'm holding fast to the clear pronouncements and expectations of the pre-AD 70 saints and apostles. YOU are advocating that we declare those hopes and expectations, founded on the divinely inspired Scriptures, to be FALSE - based upon what?

PARKER:
Based on the fact that it never took place in history so far as the apostolic churches of record knew. Someone would have known if the second coming took place for God's people, and it is grave indeed that all secular and christian sources that exist demonstrate clearly that no one knew.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

MCPHERSON:
Again, you are assigning superior authority to "historical documentation" over the Scriptures themselves, Parker. You act like you have "real history" on your side.

PARKER:
Scriptures predict things that happen in real history. And, as for having history on my side, I do. History is the study of things of record. The things of record pertaining to the AD 71-150 christians show, unanimously, that those christians had no idea their Lord returned to them. If Jesus did return, someone among the first christians would have known in real history, just like you claim to know here and now in 2004.

But MY "knowing" is based on reliance upon the SCRIPTURES as authoritative over all other historical data. It is an article of FAITH. Just as YOUR view of history and the reliability of a certain quantity of data is ALSO an article of faith. You "know" that "The things of record pertaining to the AD 71-150 christians show, unanimously, that those christians had no idea their Lord returned to them." HOW do you "know" that those "things of record" are legitimate documents generated by those very Christians and their predecessors? (Hint: by faith).

MCPHERSON:
Have you empirically verified the legitimacy of these ancient letters and documents yourself, Parker? If not, I don't see how YOUR faith in historical documents outshines MY faith in the Scriptures.

PARKER:
Hello, McFly, you can't empirically test the legitimacy of any letter of the NT--THE ORIGINALS DON'T EXIST!!! You must trust the later handlers, copyists, and interpreters of those letters that concluded that the writings should be trusted. Why do I put up with your ignorance? I guess just because it's fun to win easy arguments.

THAT'S MY POINT, Parker!! YOUR case is no stronger than MINE. I ADMIT that I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE that the Scriptures are perfectly inerrant and superior to all other historical documents in veracity and authority. YOU choose to believe that existent "historical documents" DISPROVE the Scriptures, where the Parousia of Christ is concerned. YOU choose to believe that historical data is superior to (and more accurate/reliable than) the Word of God.

MCPHERSON:
The "leaders of the great conspiracy" were NOT Timothy, Titus, and St. John. That is one of the lies perpetuated by YOUR "ECFs", Parker. I don't acknowledge the authority OR veracity of post-AD 70 ECFs.

PARKER:
That's because you deny the value and validity of true historic sources. You prefer to manufacture your own version of history (out of thin air, I might add) and perpetuate it as real. What utter folly and ignorance. I hope you place as little faith in Josephus as you do other witnesses of history. Or, perhaps you believe Josephus was inspired by the Holy Ghost and not subject to equal scrutiny?

OF COURSE Josephus' writings were NOT inerrant, Parker. We've NEVER made the claim that they were, nor have we ever treated them as such. They are NOT Holy Scripture, nor do they deserve to be viewed in the same light or handled with the same reverence. This does NOT mean that they have NO value whatsoever. There most likely IS SOME element of truth and reality in them, and it is INTERESTING that a considerable amount of his historical record corroborates Scriptural expectations concerning the First Century generation (70 AD) timing of the Parousia. Ultimately, our beliefs concerning the 70 AD Parousia of Christ are NOT founded on Josephus' records, but on the clear teachings of the Scriptures.

MCPHERSON:
The "historical support" YOU lay claim to, Parker, is spurious until effectively proven otherwise (which is really, ultimately, impossible as Sam pointed out in his article, above).

PARKER:
If Sam's claim that history is utterly unreliable and obscured beyond hope by human bias, then I hope to never again see any reference to Josephus by any preterist--especially by him or you.

You certainly won't see us placing his histories on par with Scripture, as a basis for faith. THAT much we can assure you of (and I have no doubt whatsoever that I am safe in making this statement on Sam's behalf).

MCPHERSON:
The UNreasonable reading of history is to accept it at face value, verbatim (which YOU are guilty of, Parker).

PARKER:
The more sources that can be found to corroborate a testimony in history, the more dependable and certain that testimony becomes. It just so happens that ALL sources from first and second century history are in agreement on this point: the first christians had no idea the Lord came back to them. According to scripture's predictions, they would have known.

So that's your "truth formula", Parker? "All available sources" seeming to indicate a similarity of perspective equates to established historical fact? That's logically shaky and - quite frankly - extremely naive. Furthermore, your identity as a Christian stands in jeopardy when you willfully juxtapose historical record with Scriptural Truth, and choose to side with the former.

MCPHERSON:
My argument stands, Parker

PARKER:
Stands on what? You've done nothing but invent your own mythological conspiratorial history and declare it true. What absurdity. What folly.

And what an irrefutable position, given the fact that NO historical data exists in contradiction to my stated position. My view is not established as FACT by any means, but it certainly bears serious consideration by those struggling with this issue.

MCPHERSON:
HOW DO YOU KNOW the Romans, Smyrneans, Philippians and Corinthians didn't recognize the disappearance of their families and friends in the Lord? HOW DO YOU KNOW FOR A FACT that this event did not occur, and was recorded by various individuals whose letters and documents were subsequently destroyed?

PARKER:
History is the study of things of record, not of things without record. By studying the things of record, we see the apostolic churches fully unaware that their Lord returned to them. I must also point out how utterly hypocritical it is of you to defend your position by citing hypothetical documents because (1) they do not exist so far as anyone knows and (2) you have just wasted all our time arguing that history shouldn't be trusted. As you said, " 'According to the record of history' really, ultimately, means very little, Parker.

There is NO "hypocrisy" in my statement at all, Parker. My POINT (and I made it rather effectively) is that historical data is FRAGILE. The SCRIPTURES, on the one hand, have Divine providence protecting and preserving them. HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS OF A MORE GENERAL NATURE, on the other hand, are susceptible to distortion, corruption and outright elimination.

MCPHERSON:
I'm holding fast to the clear pronouncements and expectations of the pre-AD 70 saints and apostles. YOU are advocating that we declare those hopes and expectations, founded on the divinely inspired Scriptures, to be FALSE - based upon what?

PARKER:
Based on the fact that it never took place in history so far as the apostolic churches of record knew. Someone would have known if the second coming took place for God's people, and it is grave indeed that all secular and christian sources that exist demonstrate clearly that no one knew.

Certainly, this absence of historical data supporting the Parousia of 70 AD is worthy of careful investigation, Parker. I don't deny that we need to conduct further study into the reasons for that absence of data. On the other hand, I see no legitimate reason for accepting YOUR skepticism and explanations out of hand, when my own position is equally plausible and supportable given the nature (and age) of the data in question.

Markos's picture

Parker,
I'd like to ask you point blank: What are you doing on the staff if you don't believe God? What's your point here? I'm real tired of your faith destroying rhetoric---TIRED! What can you claim to be, a Christian? How!? If you believe the promises of the Lord are there to be seen, but you believe their fulfillment failed to unfold, WHAT's the POINT!? You've dropped out of the Christian race, bud. If you don't have faith IN GOD and IN HIS WORD, what else matters?
Listen: from the very beginning, in the Garden, the issue was faith. In Abram's life, the issue was faith, on and on-so on and so forth. When I read some of the unfortunate things you bring yourself to say here, I can hear Jesus in the background saying "How long shall a bear with you, O YE OF LITTLE FAITH." You need to get yourself in front of your mirror (your BIBLE) and see what you look like and get your priorities straight. You cannot be justified in the eyes of God without faith. Everything you do, aside from faith, whatever you advocate, if it is against faith IN GOD, is detrimental. Don't fool yourself and think you are 'informing' us of a better way of seeing things, because that is absolutely not what you are doing. You're acting, not as an edifying agent for the betterment of Christians, but as a subversive, sowing seeds of doubt and cynicism. The very fact that you are not easy to be entreated tells me that this that comes from your heart is not of the wisdom which is from above. It is indeed 'devilish.' Don't do it Parker! Put the breaks on yourself, if you still can.

Markos
atavistchristian.com

Markos Mountjoy

Parker's picture

MARKOS:
What are you doing on the staff if you don't believe God? What's your point here?

PARKER:
I have wrestled with the historic problem of the Parousia, as should every Christian that believes the event should be recognizable to the elect in real history.

MARKOS:
You've dropped out of the Christian race, bud. If you don't have faith IN GOD and IN HIS WORD, what else matters?

PARKER:
I've not dropped out of anything. Yet I am willing to look at the historic problem presented by a Parousia unrecognizable to the elect.

MARKOS:
Listen: from the very beginning, in the Garden, the issue was faith.

PARKER:
But faith in what, so far as eschatology is concerned? The majority of Christians that have ever lived put their faith in a YET FUTURE Parousia. A handful of 21st century chrisians now put their faith in a fulfilled Parousia. Obviously, God doesn't care a lick what anyone living beyond AD 70 thinks about the Parousia (unless you believe all but a handful of 21st-century christians are damned).

MARKOS:
The very fact that you are not easy to be entreated tells me that this that comes from your heart is not of the wisdom which is from above. It is indeed 'devilish.'

PARKER:
Stick around full preterists long enough Markos, and you'll learn that there is no church (after AD 70), no commands, no indwelling Holy Spirit, and certainly nothing devilish. And preterists like Rod and McPherson, when their views are consistently applied, turn out to be Deists. They'll try to tell you that they have "The Kingdom," but, actually, the Kingdom was the reward and inheritance given to the first-century elect. It has nothing to do with Rod or McPherson (as is easily demonstrated by consistently applying their own hermeneutic standard).

SuperSoulFighter's picture

PARKER:
Stick around full preterists long enough Markos, and you'll learn that there is no church (after AD 70), no commands, no indwelling Holy Spirit, and certainly nothing devilish. And preterists like Rod and McPherson, when their views are consistently applied, turn out to be Deists. They'll try to tell you that they have "The Kingdom," but, actually, the Kingdom was the reward and inheritance given to the first-century elect. It has nothing to do with Rod or McPherson (as is easily demonstrated by consistently applying their own hermeneutic standard).

Now, now, Parker. Let's not jump to baseless conclusions, please. Nothing of that nature is quite so "easily demonstrated" as you would like to believe. We haven't explored that whole subject as fully as is necessary to make such authoritative pronouncements and draw such exaggerated conclusions. One step at a time, sir.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Very well put, Markos. This is Parker's great "Waterloo" - the stone of stumbling and "rock of offense" for him. He ultimately refuses to acknowledge the Scriptures as divinely inspired. He would rather have us believe in the "inspiration" of those involved in CANONIZING the Scriptures, and creating "church tradition".

Parker is in an extremely hazardous place, spiritually, and is most certainly NOT one of US. He has disqualified himself as an advocate for true Christianity in his failure to uphold the plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture vs. "church" tradition. The "church" is of greater value to him than the Truth. Parker is, among men, one of the more pitiable examples of self-deception. He has been thoroughly exposed to the Truth, as represented in the FP paradigm in keeping with the clear pronouncements of the Word of God (with which he agrees) - but he rejects BOTH, in the face of "historical documentation" to the contrary. This same "historical record" is empirically unverifiable, and yet he treats it as inerrant and "inspired", on the basis of faith alone (obviously). Parker's faith is in his "church" - NOT in the Word of God.

Parker's picture

MCPHERSON:
He ultimately refuses to acknowledge the Scriptures as divinely inspired. He would rather have us believe in the "inspiration" of those involved in CANONIZING the Scriptures, and creating "church tradition".

PARKER:
There are NO ORIGINAL NT DOCUMENTS, McPherson. The apostles did NOT engage in creating a canon. We all trust the canon of NT scripture because we trust that God divinely inspired the Catholics of the 300s and those churchmen before them to have faithfully handled, copied, and determined what books were authentic. Oh, but wait, you don't believe in inspiration beyond AD 70. Therefore, you have no INSPIRED canon of scripture and never will. What a fix you are in. Tisk, tisk.

MCPHERSON:
He has disqualified himself as an advocate for true Christianity in his failure to uphold the plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture vs. "church" tradition.

PARKER:
Please show from scripture where the apostles gave us the list of authentic books to form a New Testament bible. Thanks! (HINT: they didn't).

MCPHERSON:
he rejects BOTH, in the face of "historical documentation" to the contrary. This same "historical record" is empirically unverifiable

PARKER:
But McPherson, the apostles didn't create a list of NT books. It was later churchmen that gathered, handled, copied, and authenticated which books they thought were from apostles. If you don't trust that they were INSPIRED, then you cannot trust your New Testament bible any more than any other collection of historic writings.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I already posted the theological definition of "inspiration" for you elsewhere, Parker but in case you missed it...here it is AGAIN (one, last time).

"That extraordinary or supernatural divine influence vouchsafed to those who
WROTE the Holy Scriptures, rendering their writings infallible. "All scripture
is given by inspiration of God" (R.V., "Every scripture inspired of God"), 2
Tim. 3:16. This is true of all the "sacred writings," not in the sense of their
being works of genius or of supernatural insight, but as "theopneustic," i.e.,
"breathed into by God" in such a sense that the writers were supernaturally
guided to express exactly what God intended them to express as a revelation of
his mind and will. The testimony of the sacred writers themselves abundantly
demonstrates this truth; and if they are infallible as teachers of doctrine,
then the doctrine of plenary inspiration must be accepted. There are no errors
in the Bible as it came from God, none have been proved to exist. Difficulties
and phenomena we cannot explain are not errors. All these books of the Old and
New Testaments are inspired. We do not say that they contain, but that they
are, the Word of God. The gift of inspiration rendered the writers the organs
of God, for the infallible communication of his mind and will, in the very
manner and words in which it was originally given. As to the nature of
inspiration we have no information. This only we know, it rendered the writers
infallible. They were all equally inspired, and are all equally infallible. The
inspiration of the sacred writers did not change their characters. They retained
all their individual peculiarities as thinkers or writers." (Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897)

Please refrain from misusing the term "inspiration" with reference to the canonization of Scripture, Parker. Your abuse of the term does NOTHING but further undermine your position. Thank you.

Markos's picture

Well,
The part that makes me sore--and this is often the case in discussions with Roman Catholics, is that, what's left after you abandon the Word of God as the sure guide, is a bureacratic allegiance and pretty much nothing else. And the way they think they are "in" and everybody else is "out" makes it all the more a shear spectacle of irony.

~Markos
atavistchristian.com

Markos Mountjoy

Parker's picture

MARKOS:
The part that makes me sore--and this is often the case in discussions with Roman Catholics, is that, what's left after you abandon the Word of God as the sure guide, is a bureacratic allegiance and pretty much nothing else.

PARKER:
Whoa, Markos, whoa. My argument here IN NO WAY represents the Catholic view of eschatology. The Catholic Church teaches partial preterism. And, the Catholic Church teaches that the Word of God is inspired and sufficiently inerrant. And, I have believed those things by faith all my life. So, let's get that straight. But there can be no doubt that the doctrine of eschatology puts a strain on those beliefs, no matter which eschatological position one holds.

MARKOS:
And the way they think they are "in" and everybody else is "out" makes it all the more a shear spectacle of irony.

PARKER:
Catholics don't teach everyone else is out. Nor do they teach that all baptized Catholics are "in." So, please do some research before you make claims like this. I recommend www.catholic.com for people that need to brush up on what Catholics really believe and teach (and why).

Sam's picture

Martyrs did not die for the Parousia, they died for the testimony that Jesus, not Caesar, was Son of God, and the ONLY Son of God.

Sam

Parker's picture

SAM:
Martyrs did not die for the Parousia, they died for the testimony that Jesus, not Caesar, was Son of God, and the ONLY Son of God

PARKER:
Theology of martyrdom in the NT is linked to the end times persecutions. The first christians were simply following the pattern of the apostles' teaching on this. Had anyone like Timothy, St. John, or Titus known Jesus had already returned, they would not have let their disciples go to the lions--they would have saved them by preaching to them the fulfilled return of Jesus Christ. Problem is, no one knew of any fulfilled return of Jesus Christ, and so they continued to follow the apostles teaching. The lions' mouths were fully satisfied with the abandonment of God's people. Abandoned christians are extra tasty.

Sam's picture

Parker,

I will deal with only one comment you made: "It is irrelevant what millennial position was held by the first christians." This is concerning Papias. See, to YOU it is irrelevant. But, according to YOUR OWN THEORY, Papias was one of the "first Christians" and the HISTORICAL RECORDS SHOW that he was a DISCIPLE OF JOHN's ELDERS, and that THEY passed on to HIM what JESUS said. But YOU cosider this "irrelevant." I don't know whether to laugh here, or cry. So, let me get this straight, John's disciples taught Premillennialism, Jesus and Paul taught A-Millennialism (according to Augustine and Origen), but they all unanimously agreed as to eschatology? Please.

According to the historical record, Parker, using the SAME METHODOLOGY you use, a Premillennialist has you beat: Papias, Polycarp, Ireneaus, Hippolytus, Justin, Barnabas all represent Chilasm, and they are THE EARLIEST witnesses we have. So, when did you decide to become a Premillennialist?

Samuel Frost

Parker's picture

SAM:
I will deal with only one comment you made: "It is irrelevant what millennial position was held by the first christians." This is concerning Papias. See, to YOU it is irrelevant. But, according to YOUR OWN THEORY, Papias was one of the "first Christians" and the HISTORICAL RECORDS SHOW that he was a DISCIPLE OF JOHN's ELDERS, and that THEY passed on to HIM what JESUS said. But YOU cosider this "irrelevant."

PARKER:
Of course it's irrelevant. People that know the second coming happened don't any longer look for a future return. Papias, Ignatius, Clement, Polycarp and all that were their disciples after them had one thing in common: they didn't know of any past return of their Lord. If they had, they would have ceased to be futurists. Therefore, we know that they did not know of a fulfilled return.

SAM:
I don't know whether to laugh here, or cry.

PARKER:
Since the elect to whom the Parousia pertained had no idea it happened, we should all indeed cry.

SAM:
So, let me get this straight, John's disciples taught Premillennialism, Jesus and Paul taught A-Millennialism (according to Augustine and Origen), but they all unanimously agreed as to eschatology?

PARKER:
It is obvious that none of them had heard of any past return of Jesus. They all, the amils and the premils, continued to eagerly awaiting the Lord's soon return. They all agreed the Lord's return had not taken place. Remember, people that know the Lord returned cease to look for the Lord's return. Yet history shows us, with unanimous opinion, that all continued to look for the future coming.

SAM:
According to the historical record, Parker, using the SAME METHODOLOGY you use, a Premillennialist has you beat: Papias, Polycarp, Ireneaus, Hippolytus, Justin, Barnabas all represent Chilasm, and they are THE EARLIEST witnesses we have.

PARKER:
It doesn't matter what millennial position these futurists had. The point is that they were ALL FUTURISTS, a fact that proves that none of them knew the Lord returned. Had they known, they wouldn't have continued to look for the return and theorize what it would look like when it took place.

Sam's picture

Parker,

I only continue to respond to these posts because you are digging yourself in a hole. You had stated before that you cannot say what "all" believed, and that "we do not have to." Yet, here, you tell me what "all" believed! Secondly, you did NOT respond to Papias' having learned from John's elders. Did he, or didn't he learn Premillennialism from John's elders? If you answer "no," then you have the same problem we Preterists have. A Dispy will simply beat you here. So, millennial questions surrounding the REIGN OF CHRIST did not matter, but the nature of Christ's return did? What makes one issue more important than the other? How could they have failed to understand the REIGN OF GOD, but got the nature of the Second Coming correct (future, bodily, visible)? This is just arbitrary. What did John teach? Chiliasm? According to your methodology, we must accept what the overwhelming historical records states, and by that presupposition, I must become a Premillennialist. Please, no more dodges, I want to know WHY you think one subject of eschatology is more important than another, and by what standard you use to tell me that Papias was flat out wrong (and so the Tradition behind Papias' claim to know the elders of John).

Sam

Parker's picture

SAM:
You had stated before that you cannot say what "all" believed, and that "we do not have to." Yet, here, you tell me what "all" believed!

PARKER:
By "all," I mean "all christians of record." History is the study of things of record.

SAM:
Secondly, you did NOT respond to Papias' having learned from John's elders. Did he, or didn't he learn Premillennialism from John's elders? If you answer "no," then you have the same problem we Preterists have.

PARKER:
It's irrelevant. Either way, Papias didn't know and wasn't told Jesus had already returned. And since *all christians of record* didn't know Jesus had returned (100% corroboration), we have weighty historical proof that Jesus didn't return. The continued futurism of all christians of record is a great proof that (1) either Jesus didn't return, or (2) His return was secret and unrecognizable to his elect.

SAM:
What did John teach? Chiliasm? According to your methodology, we must accept what the overwhelming historical records states, and by that presupposition, I must become a Premillennialist.

PARKER:
For the topic at hand ("Did the first christians know Jesus returned?"), it is irrelevant if John taught Chiliasm or not. If Jesus returned, the elect would have known. Since all christians of record did not know Jesus returned, it is logical to conclude Jesus didn't return to christians of record.

SAM:
Please, no more dodges, I want to know WHY you think one subject of eschatology is more important than another, and by what standard you use to tell me that Papias was flat out wrong (and so the Tradition behind Papias' claim to know the elders of John).

PARKER:
Millennial belief is irrelevant to our discussion. The real return of Christ ends all debate between the premils and the amils. Since no christians of record even hint at the idea that Jesus returned, we logically conclude they never experienced His return (although they were all busy looking for the event to take place).

Walt's picture

Sam,

Great article! Your comments about historiography
serve to re-affirm to my mind once again the literal
AD70 rapture of all believers which I hold to. The last
two paragraphs, especially, of your article are priceless!

~~Walt Hibbard

Sam's picture

Walt,

I appreciate the encouragment. I do not, as you know, hold to any literal "rapture" in A.D. 70, nor do I find it necessary to hold to that position. I simply do not give historical "evidence" any supreme authority over the Scripture. Liberalism begins with the notion that evidence, not the Bible, is where one must start, and you see the state that Liberalism is in when it comes to their reading of the Bible.

Samuel Frost

Parker's picture

Hi Sam.

The historic record that exists (not the one that doesn't) shows that the apostles' churches and disciples did not know of any fulfilled return of Jesus for them. The written record is clear and unambiguous on this matter and is attested to by both christian and secular sources. That is the record of history, and it is damning to christian eschatology of all stripes. The only way to dismiss it is to dismiss all history as fraudulent and/or myth--a position hinted at in your article.

Rod tried to skirt the historical dilemma by denying that the elect were to know that the event took place (in this, he is contradicting scripture). You now appear to be skirting the issue by suggesting that history is fraudulent, untrustworthy, or without merit (in this, you are overstating the case). Neither of you are providing a credible explanation for how the apostles' disciples, bishops, and churches missed the glorious return of their Lord--a major event they were commanded to look for and recognize.

Now, the written history that exists (not the one that doesn't) presents some choices:

(1) If the elect didn't recognize the arrival of their blessed hope, then the NT prophecies that claimed they would recognize it were wrong.

(2) Since the apostles' mission was to gather and prepare a people for the event of the Parousia, the people's failure to recognize the event for which they were chosen by God means the mission failed and the apostles' labors were in vain.

(3) If they missed it, then the Holy Spirit failed to finish the job of leading them into all truth.

Remember, anticipation for--and recognition of--the Parousia was central to everything the apostles did with regard to the establishment of churches. Preparation for the Parousia was the raison d'etre of the apostles' labors from AD 30-70. According to scripture, the elect were all to be looking for the event so as to recognize it. And the Holy Spirit was there in a special way to ensure that things worked out.

The elect's failure to recognize the glorious event for which they eagerly looked, and for which they were called and assembled, means that the apostles' doctrine had clear errors and their primary mission was blundered.

Sam's picture

Parker,

It is evident that you are not aware of the postmodern criticism of history (historiography). This is not something I invented. I read.

For example, you keep asserting "the written record of history." I ask, point blank, do the handful of "fathers" writing in the early 100's speak for every single member of the body of Christ then on earth? The fact that you are unware of the problem of historiography is that you claimed that I "hint" that history is "myth" or "fraudulent." Notice your use of the word "all" in that sentence. I dismissed "all" history as fraudulent in my article? I seemed to have missed that. Can you point out where I did this in my article, please? Third, "the elect's failure to recognize the event" cannot, will not ever be possibly PROVEN by you because you ASSUME in your argument that "all" missed it. And this, you cannot possibly prove on the basis of empiricism. You are asserted a universal proposition for "all the elect" by a handful of records recording only the reflection of men far removed from A.D. 70. That is why your continued attack in this matter is faulty. It is empirical, and empiricism can NEVER tell me what happened. I suggest that you read Clark's book, then decide what VIEW of history you will take, Marx, Augustine, Hegel or Toynbee and Durant.

Samuel Frost

Parker's picture

SAM:
For example, you keep asserting "the written record of history." I ask, point blank, do the handful of "fathers" writing in the early 100's speak for every single member of the body of Christ then on earth?

PARKER:
Of course not, but they don't have to in order to be a reliable witness with broad representation. From the written records we can see that the biblical churches of Smyrna, Antioch, Philippi and Rome, with their ordained bishops, had not yet experienced the Parousia even decades beyond AD 70. This history is problematic, for the scripture teaches that they were to recognize the event.

SAM:
The fact that you are unware of the problem of historiography is...

PARKER:
I am not in any way unaware of the various limitations of history and of all testimony in general. However, this record concering the fact that key apostolic churches did not know about a fulfilled Parousia is unanimously corroborated--both from secular and christian sources. Therefore the record is weighty, and represents the greatest threat to the trustworthiness of eschatological predictions made by Christ and the apostles.

SAM:
I dismissed "all" history as fraudulent in my article? I seemed to have missed that. Can you point out where I did this in my article, please?

PARKER:
Your insinuation is, that, since history has limits, the history of the first century christians (and corroborating secular sources) can't be trusted (or shouldn't be trusted). Yet, I see no reason to doubt the unanimous agreement of the written sources of history concerning this topic. That is, I believe those records accurately represent the beliefs of those churches of the post-AD 70 time--namely, that they did not know that the Parousia they so eagerly awaited had already taken place. There is no historic document that discredits this portrait of those first apostolic followers of Jesus and their bishops (Linus, Clement, Ignatius).

SAM:
Third, "the elect's failure to recognize the event" cannot, will not ever be possibly PROVEN by you because you ASSUME in your argument that "all" missed it.

PARKER:
Philosophically, perhaps. But we have no reason to doubt the written record. The record shows that multiple, key apostolic churches and their ordained bishops missed the Parousia. And ALL written historic records that do exist on the subject support this. Not one historic writing disputes it.

SAM:
You are asserted a universal proposition for "all the elect" by a handful of records recording only the reflection of men far removed from A.D. 70.

PARKER:
The churches of Phillipi, Smyrna, Rome, and Antioch were not "far removed from AD 70," and we have a record of them from key bishops that lived through the supposed Parousia (Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement). We have further corroboration of those early churches and their bishops from one generation later, including some that knew Polycarp (Irenaeus, Justin, Eusebius). These men corroborate that the churches were unaware of any fulfilled Parousia. Addtionally, we have other writings of that early timeframe that corroborate a "missed" Parousia (Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, Didache). We then have secular sources that also corroborate a missed Parousia (Pliny to Trajan). The history is unanimous, and it presents a serous threat to the historicity of a fulfilled Parousia.

SAM:
That is why your continued attack in this matter is faulty. It is empirical, and empiricism can NEVER tell me what happened. I suggest that you read Clark's book, then decide what VIEW of history you will take, Marx, Augustine, Hegel or Toynbee and Durant.

PARKER:
I hate to remind you, but scripture itself is testimony that is part of the historic, written record. As part of the historic sources, it is not exempt from the same scrutiny you are suggesting The only difference between scripture and other written records of history is the presupposition of divine authorship by the believing who suspend disbelief on such matters and refuse to submit the Hebraic scriptures to the same test as other documents. The Catholic church has always testifed that the scriptures are sufficiently inerrant--it is an article of the Catholic faith. Yet, it is a matter of faith. And, unfortunately, the doctrine of eschatology places serious strain on this faith for all honest and unbiased observers.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Therefore the record is weighty, and represents the greatest threat to the trustworthiness of eschatological predictions made by Christ and the apostles.

The Catholic church has always testifed that the scriptures are sufficiently inerrant--it is an article of the Catholic faith. Yet, it is a matter of faith. And, unfortunately, the doctrine of eschatology places serious strain on this faith for all honest and unbiased observers.

Your perspective on the Scriptures is typically Catholic, Parker. You place equal weight and authority on the Scriptures AND "church tradition/ECF documentation and writings". Would you mind clarifying for us what your precise position is on the inerrancy, and plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture? Thank you.

JM

Sam's picture

Parker,

Your Catholicism is Aquinian, and, therefore, empirical at bottom. This is what drives our differences. Your last paragraph is most telling. But, before I deal with that, did Jesus live until he was fifty years old according to the elders that knew John? See, in a court room, when you can attack the witness and the credibility by showing the disarray of their testimony, one can begin to see a problem, and then seek for solutions to the problem (historical investigation leads to speculation, or cause and effect reasoning as to "what REALLY happened).

Second, none of the examples you mentioned confirm that they knew any of the apostles. What very little we know of Papias confirms nothing, unless, of course, his quote from II Baruch REALLY was from the mouth of Jesus, as Ireneaeus testifies it was! Jesus was a Premillennialist! Papias said he heard this from the elders of John, who heard Jesus say it! Papias, as far as we can tell, represents the earliest account of Christianity, yet, Chuck Hill (RTS, Orlando) can state that Premillennialism "represents a detour from NT eschatology." It appears that Pre- is based on Jewish eschatology. Now, why is it that scholars who are A-Millennial (Augustine) have no problems discounting what Premillennialists have been using as one of the main arguments FOR their view, that is, the "earliest, historical record" of the early church is Premillennial, and, therefore, Premillennilism is what Jesus and the Apostles and their elders taught. Do you buy that, Parker?

The Gnostics. Who are these guys, where did they come from, and why did they have a spiritual concept of the resurrection of the dead that did not include the "self-same" body? Careful, Parker. Gnostics PREDATE any "church" record we have, and Valentinius claims apostolic authority, having been taught by PAUL HIMSELF. Now, do you buy "the record" here, Parker? Crossan does. Borg does. Funk does. The Gospel of Thomas was written BEFORE any of the Gospels, and since it is "more historical" (so they argue, much like yourself) the Gospels should be criticized on the basis of Thomas. Do you buy this, Parker? If you based biblical criticism on mere historical record (empiricism), then you will end up much like Crossan: Jesus was never raised from the dead.

I could go on critiquing Ignatius. He wrote that the OT saints were all raised from the dead! (see Magnesians 9.2). He was an elder (bishop) in Antioch, but tradition has him being the third, and some say he was the second to Peter. Maybe, Parker, you can give us the REAL story. Did he even know Peter? Was Peter ever in Rome? When was Peter made bishop of Antioch? How old was Ignatius? Answer, please, from the "historical record." If Ignatius is writing in 110 A.D. that is forty years after the parousia. He does that the OT saints were raised from the dead, as quoted above. Good theology? I think so! But, I don't believe everything he says. Do you?

I can follow this line of reasoning for every "witness" you can produce (and did, in my book). Clement? Who is he? II Clement? No way can the things he attributes to Jesus be true (and no one thinks so either); Barnabas? The Didache? Robinson argued that it was written in the late fifties. I agree. And on and on we go.

Now, as to your last paragraph. Since you hold empirical investigation in such high esteem, it is noted here that, indeed, you hold it over the Bible. The Bible is "not exempt from the same scrutiny." Well, yes and no. Yes, I can critique the Bible, but no, I won't on an empirical basis because I AM NOT AN EMPIRICIST. I am a PRESUPPOSITIONALIST, and if I need to spell out what those two philosophies mean, then I am wasting my time here.

Your second line, "submit the Hebraic Scriptures to the same TEST as other documents." Well, now. The cat is out of the bag. The Bible does not TEST historical records, but, historical records test the Bible....Parker, you just gave away the whole shooting match. Welcome to Liberalism.

Now, brother, I have two MA degrees and am working on my Ph.D. in Semitic Languages. I have thoroughly poured over the Greek texts of the Apostolic Fathers and have read 100's of journals, books and such on early church history. Yet, I am not, in the least, under a "serious strain" as you appear to be. Your faith in this matter is strained because you actually believe that an "honest and unbiased observer" exists! No such thing, my dear friend. That means that unless we submit the Bible to empirical tests, then we are biased and dishonest! However, I am saying that you are biased and dishonest by demanding that EMPIRICISM is that test by which we must all accept! What makes your "test" any better than mine? In fact, Empiricism has been demolished so many times, it's hard to believe that anyone accepts it! Thus, since I am not one, my faith on these matters is quite sound. Jesus returned in A.D. 70, on the clouds of heaven, and the eyes of many saw him destroy the very city that sought to destroy him. He crushed them with the sword that came out of his mouth and trampled the wine presses. He transformed and brought to an end the old covenant people, raised them from the clutches of "the death" and "the sin" by releasing them from "the law" and "life in Adam" to "life in Christ." That is what happened. That is even what history records....

Samuel Frost

Parker's picture

SAM:
But, before I deal with that, did Jesus live until he was fifty years old according to the elders that knew John? See, in a court room, when you can attack the witness and the credibility by showing the disarray of their testimony...

PARKER:
There is no "disarray" with regard to this issue. The UNANIMOUS testimony of history from many sources, both Christian and secular, is that key apostolic churches (Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, Antioch, others) did not know of any fulfilled Parousia. There is *no question* that this is the written record of history that exists--like it or not. Those first-century christians and their immediate disciples after them did not know anything about Christ's return for them. Now, this presents a serious problem, for scripture says they would know.

SAM:
Second, none of the examples you mentioned confirm that they knew any of the apostles.

PARKER:
These churches I am discussing (Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, Antioch, Corinth) were apostolic! Their very existence was created by the apostles, and their bishops were ordained as leaders (Linus, Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement). Linus and Clement were likely co-workers to Paul (2 Tim 4:21; Phil 4:3), and they were, without question, bishops at Rome. Sadly, none among them knew that their Lord returned for them. Scripture claims these churches would have known if he did. This is a serious problem.

SAM:
What very little we know of Papias confirms nothing, unless, of course, his quote from II Baruch REALLY was from the mouth of Jesus, as Ireneaeus testifies it was! Jesus was a Premillennialist!

PARKER:
Whatever we may think about Papias, it is clear that he is one more witness in the unanimous historic testimony concerning an unknown AD 70 Parousia.

SAM:
Papias, as far as we can tell, represents the earliest account of Christianity, yet, Chuck Hill (RTS, Orlando) can state that Premillennialism "represents a detour from NT eschatology." It appears that Pre- is based on Jewish eschatology. Now, why is it that scholars who are A-Millennial (Augustine) have no problems discounting what Premillennialists have been using as one of the main arguments FOR their view, that is, the "earliest, historical record" of the early church is Premillennial, and, therefore, Premillennilism is what Jesus and the Apostles and their elders taught.

PARKER:
Note that all accounts agree that they were still eagerly looking for the return of their Lord, whether premil or amil. Nobody anywhere in the written record suggested fulfillment.

SAM:
The Gnostics. Who are these guys, where did they come from, and why did they have a spiritual concept of the resurrection of the dead that did not include the "self-same" body?

PARKER:
As you know, Sam, the apostles themselves were fighting the Gnostics before AD 70. The Gnostics were unorthodox in most matters and were never insiders of apostolic churches (such as Antioch, Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, Jerusalem, etc.).

Getting back to the point: the written history that exists testifies that key apostolic churches and their ordained bishops of the AD 65-130 era did not know the second coming took place. This view was never even questioned. This reality is problematic.

SAM:
Careful, Parker. Gnostics PREDATE any "church" record we have, and Valentinius claims apostolic authority, having been taught by PAUL HIMSELF. Now, do you buy "the record" here, Parker?

PARKER:
My argument is NOT that the earliest testimony equals most pristine, orthodox, etc. My argument is that we can trust the written record to accurately represent what people said, believed, and did -- i.e., we can trust from history that the Gnostics did really exist, and we can trust that what they said they actually believed. In like manner, we can trust that Ignatius, Clement, Polycarp, Linus, etc. really existed as bishops of apostolic churches (near AD 70), and that they and their audiences really believed Christ had not yet come.

SAM:
I could go on critiquing Ignatius. He wrote that the OT saints were all raised from the dead! (see Magnesians 9.2). He was an elder (bishop) in Antioch, but tradition has him being the third, and some say he was the second to Peter. Maybe, Parker, you can give us the REAL story. Did he even know Peter? Was Peter ever in Rome? When was Peter made bishop of Antioch? How old was Ignatius? Answer, please, from the "historical record." If Ignatius is writing in 110 A.D. that is forty years after the parousia. He does that the OT saints were raised from the dead, as quoted above.

PARKER:
Ignatius' reference to the rising from the dead of OT saints is from the common Catholic and protestant belief that Jesus led souls out of Hades at his ascension.

As to historic disparities...the fact that history often has disagreement between sources does not make history null and void. For example, while we know Amils and Premils are in disagreement about many truth claims, we do know that both parties existed, and we know that they believed what they said they believed. *We also know that both groups were in unanimous agreement that they were looking for their Lord to return.* Such things have historic certitude.

SAM:
Yes, I can critique the Bible, but no, I won't on an empirical basis because I AM NOT AN EMPIRICIST. I am a PRESUPPOSITIONALIST, and if I need to spell out what those two philosophies mean, then I am wasting my time here.

PARKER:
You do indeed presuppose de facto that certain historic writings of the Hebrews are inerrant and incapable of failed predictions (even though the canon of those writings was determined by Catholic tradition and not by scripture). Even so, I suspect that you are an empiricist with regard to all other historical claims/documents.

SAM:
Now, brother, I have two MA degrees and am working on my Ph.D. in Semitic Languages. I have thoroughly poured over the Greek texts of the Apostolic Fathers and have read 100's of journals, books and such on early church history. Yet, I am not, in the least, under a "serious strain" as you appear to be.

PARKER:
Scripture predicts the elect would know and recognize the Parousia. All relevant written sources show that the AD 70-150 christians did NOT know or recognize the Parousia. Therefore, serious strain exists. Only they that reject history as spurious can feel no strain. For such ones, history doesn't exist in any real way.

SAM:
In fact, Empiricism has been demolished so many times, it's hard to believe that anyone accepts it! Thus, since I am not one, my faith on these matters is quite sound. Jesus returned in A.D. 70, on the clouds of heaven, and the eyes of many saw him destroy the very city that sought to destroy him.

PARKER:
Sam, you presuppose the predictions must have come true, so nothing can ever sway you from that belief. Your view can be expressed as such: "I presuppose it, therefore it is so." Therefore, the final arbiter of absolute truth is your individual will to presuppose something to be true--i.e., your private interpretation and determination.

And, actually, you can't really be consistent as a presuppositionalist. For example, the tradition of Preterism exists because of the written histories from Josephus--not because of presuppositions about "this generation" in Matt 24. As we all know, there are only two types of eschatological expositors--they that have read Josephus and therefore place much in the past, and they that have not read Josephus and therefore place all in the future. Trust in Josephus is what produced the Preterist tradition. Without Josephus' historic, extrabiblical accounting, we would have no preterist expositors anywhere today.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

PARKER:
There is no "disarray" with regard to this issue. The UNANIMOUS testimony of history from many sources, both Christian and secular, is that key apostolic churches (Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, Antioch, others) did not know of any fulfilled Parousia. There is *no question* that this is the written record of history that exists--like it or not. Those first-century christians and their immediate disciples after them did not know anything about Christ's return for them. Now, this presents a serious problem, for scripture says they would know.

I'm rather surprised that secular "sources" would even make mention of any "parousia expectations", or a lack of awareness of its occurrence as an event, among the Christian community, Parker. Indeed, I'm distinctly skeptical of your claims in this area. Perhaps you can provide us with further verification of your statements above - particularly with regard to the stated position of secular historians of the period? Thank you.

PARKER:
These churches I am discussing (Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, Antioch, Corinth) were apostolic! Their very existence was created by the apostles, and their bishops were ordained as leaders (Linus, Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement). Linus and Clement were likely co-workers to Paul (2 Tim 4:21; Phil 4:3), and they were, without question, bishops at Rome. Sadly, none among them knew that their Lord returned for them. Scripture claims these churches would have known if he did. This is a serious problem.

You are presupposing that the ancient documentation at our disposal is accurate, both in terms of the validity of its authorship AND the supposedly inviolate state of its contents. I, personally, am dubious of both - particularly when they are demonstrably in conflict with the clear intent and inferences (not to mention outright pronouncements) of Scripture.

Again, this is the distinct difference between your position and ours, Parker. We are prepared to set the "historical record" (such as it is) aside, where it is found to be in conflict with Scripture. YOU are not. YOU believe that history VERIFIES the Scriptures, rather than vice versa. WE believe the opposite.

SAM:
The Gnostics. Who are these guys, where did they come from, and why did they have a spiritual concept of the resurrection of the dead that did not include the "self-same" body?

PARKER:
As you know, Sam, the apostles themselves were fighting the Gnostics before AD 70. The Gnostics were unorthodox in most matters and were never insiders of apostolic churches (such as Antioch, Rome, Smyrna, Philippi, Jerusalem, etc.).

Getting back to the point: the written history that exists testifies that key apostolic churches and their ordained bishops of the AD 65-130 era did not know the second coming took place. This view was never even questioned. This reality is problematic.

Getting back to the point. Paul was aware of the heavy influence of Gnostic thinking on the "world" of his day, and in reality - their views DO "hold water" in certain areas (notably the resurrection). Your writing them off as "unorthodox" and therefore unworthy of consideration is patently close-minded, arrogant and unintelligent, Parker. But the REAL "point" here is that those historical sources who conform to the formulated "orthodoxy" of your "church" are the only testimonies who count. Right, Parker? All dissenting voices are either buried or stilled by other means.

Parker's picture

MCPHERSON:
I'm rather surprised that secular "sources" would even make mention of any "parousia expectations", or a lack of awareness of its occurrence as an event, among the Christian community, Parker.

PARKER:
A few early letters and sources by Roman authorities and historians describe the practices of the christians whom they were persecuting. These early secular sources often mention the christians' practice of gathering regularly for the Lord's Supper, even accusing them of being cannibals for partaking of the body and blood of their Lord.

MCPHERSON:
Again, this is the distinct difference between your position and ours, Parker. We are prepared to set the "historical record" (such as it is) aside, where it is found to be in conflict with Scripture. YOU are not. YOU believe that history VERIFIES the Scriptures, rather than vice versa. WE believe the opposite.

PARKER:
It's not that simple. You may believe God himself created your leather-bound, red-letter bible that you hold in your hands, but it doesn't work that way. The canon of scripture was not determined by the apostles, but by churchmen of later centuries.

MCPHERSON:
Getting back to the point. Paul was aware of the heavy influence of Gnostic thinking on the "world" of his day, and in reality - their views DO "hold water" in certain areas (notably the resurrection). Your writing them off as "unorthodox" and therefore unworthy of consideration is patently close-minded, arrogant and unintelligent, Parker.

PARKER:
What I said is that Gnostics were unorthodox in most matters (e.g., rejecting the OT scriptures, believing in a war between the Spirit Jesus and the OT Yahweh, rejection of the incarnation, etc, etc).

SuperSoulFighter's picture

MCPHERSON:
I'm rather surprised that secular "sources" would even make mention of any "parousia expectations", or a lack of awareness of its occurrence as an event, among the Christian community, Parker.

PARKER:
A few early letters and sources by Roman authorities and historians describe the practices of the christians whom they were persecuting. These early secular sources often mention the christians' practice of gathering regularly for the Lord's Supper, even accusing them of being cannibals for partaking of the body and blood of their Lord.

We COULD interpret this to mean that they had no idea the Parousia had already occurred, yes. This practice could be interpreted other ways as well. But I maintain that, ultimately, such practices are indicative of the DECEPTIVE nature of the post-AD 70 "church" leadership.

MCPHERSON:
Again, this is the distinct difference between your position and ours, Parker. We are prepared to set the "historical record" (such as it is) aside, where it is found to be in conflict with Scripture. YOU are not. YOU believe that history VERIFIES the Scriptures, rather than vice versa. WE believe the opposite.

PARKER:
It's not that simple. You may believe God himself created your leather-bound, red-letter bible that you hold in your hands, but it doesn't work that way. The canon of scripture was not determined by the apostles, but by churchmen of later centuries.

It's highly revealing concerning the state of your heart and mind on these issues, Parker, that you view God's preservation of Scripture as utterly reliant upon the efforts of men. The canon's very existence was contingent upon the decision-making of fallible men, eh, Parker? Is that what you believe?

MY view is that God's Word would have been preserved and its canonization would have been achieved REGARDLESS. God would have used later scholars, or scribes from other backgrounds and traditions to bring this Book into being. God happened to choose men with societal status and education, because their scholarly abilities would ensure accuracy in their decisions and determinations. They weren't the ONLY people who qualified in this area, but they were the ones blessed by God in being chosen to perform this task. They were SERVANTS of the Truth in this regard, but special authority and status was NOT conferred upon them by this role that they were prompted to play in Kingdom history.

Parker's picture

MCPHERSON:
We COULD interpret this to mean that they had no idea the Parousia had already occurred, yes. This practice could be interpreted other ways as well. But I maintain that, ultimately, such practices are indicative of the DECEPTIVE nature of the post-AD 70 "church" leadership.

PARKER:
There you go again, asserting a mass cover-up conspiracy by people being fed to lions. McPherson, trying to pass off your wild fantasies as real history is fraudulent behavior and fully unethical. Your thesis is pure deception without any historical backing. Furthermore, the letters of the first christians depict people willing to die rather than to disobey the teachings of the Lord Jesus and the apostles--and their writings show that they faithfully preserved the teachings, BTW.

You are slandering some of the most honest, sincere christians that have ever existed, McPherson. People are not willing to die for lies they make up. Yet Bishop Polycarp was martyred, as were Justin and others. And, if St. John, Timothy, Titus knew anything about a fulfilled Parousia, why didn't they say anything while the AD 71 Smyrneans, Phillipians, Romans, Corinthians and others were engaging in the Great Rapture Cover Up??? You're a kook, and anyone that believes you is your dupe.

MCPHERSON:
It's highly revealing concerning the state of your heart and mind on these issues, Parker, that you view God's preservation of Scripture as utterly reliant upon the efforts of men.

PARKER:
It is highly revealing of your ignorance, McPherson, that you have no idea how the canon came to be determined. HINT: the apostles had nothing to do with it.

MCPHERSON:
MY view is that God's Word would have been preserved and its canonization would have been achieved REGARDLESS.

PARKER:
How? By Whom? Where? And, if God did this, it would mean the men involved were INSPIRED.

MCPHERSON:
God would have used later scholars, or scribes from other backgrounds and traditions to bring this Book into being.

PARKER:
There is a word for this process, McPherson: INSPIRATION.

MCPHERSON:
They weren't the ONLY people who qualified in this area, but they were the ones blessed by God in being chosen to perform this task. They were SERVANTS of the Truth in this regard...

PARKER:
You are describing the theological concept known as DIVINE INSPIRATION.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

MCPHERSON:
We COULD interpret this to mean that they had no idea the Parousia had already occurred, yes. This practice could be interpreted other ways as well. But I maintain that, ultimately, such practices are indicative of the DECEPTIVE nature of the post-AD 70 "church" leadership.

PARKER:
There you go again, asserting a mass cover-up conspiracy by people being fed to lions. McPherson, trying to pass off your wild fantasies as real history is fraudulent behavior and fully unethical. Your thesis is pure deception without any historical backing. Furthermore, the letters of the first christians depict people willing to die rather than to disobey the teachings of the Lord Jesus and the apostles--and their writings show that they faithfully preserved the teachings, BTW.

You are slandering some of the most honest, sincere christians that have ever existed, McPherson. People are not willing to die for lies they make up. Yet Bishop Polycarp was martyred, as were Justin and others. And, if St. John, Timothy, Titus knew anything about a fulfilled Parousia, why didn't they say anything while the AD 71 Smyrneans, Phillipians, Romans, Corinthians and others were engaging in the Great Rapture Cover Up??? You're a kook, and anyone that believes you is your dupe.

The "people being fed to the lions" were the VICIMS of the hoax, Parker. THEY weren't the perpetrators of it. It was the earliest, post-AD 70 ECFs who were directly responsible. Certainly, the people who were willing to die on the basis of falsely applied teachings the apostles delivered to PRE-AD 70 saints, were vicitimized by false teachings and the misapplication of Scriptural testimony and instruction.

I am not slandering ANY "honest, sincere Christians", Parker. You speak as though you kew some of these people personally (again, a further evidence of your overwhelming faith in "church tradition" and "historical data"). Any "church" leaders involved in perpetuating Parousia expectations BEYOND 70 AD were pepetrators of a massive hoax, and the martyrs who met their fate as a result of those false expectations were the REAL "dupes". Your belief in the validity of their expectations and the sincerity of the leadership who led them into those beliefs puts YOU in the same class, Parker.

John, Timothy and Titus were NOT still alive on this planet beyond 70 AD (regardless of the claims of your sacred ECFs). Some who personally heard them teach and preach MAY have been, but they would have been among those who willfully adopted the perverted mentality of utter denial, where the events of AD 70 and their true significance were concerned (out of which the POST-AD 70 so-called "church" was born).

MCPHERSON:
It's highly revealing concerning the state of your heart and mind on these issues, Parker, that you view God's preservation of Scripture as utterly reliant upon the efforts of men.

PARKER:
It is highly revealing of your ignorance, McPherson, that you have no idea how the canon came to be determined. HINT: the apostles had nothing to do with it.

It is highly indicative of YOUR arrogance, Parker, to ASSUME that I know nothing of how the canon was formally established, and the history involved with it. In actual fact, I DID study that very subject, many many years ago. I must caution you, however, in your firm belief that the apostles had "nothing to do with it". They actually DID have an awareness, even in THEIR day, of that which was Scripture and that which was not. Peter indicates this rather clearly in his statement in 2Peter 3:16, below.

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

It is evident that there was already a process in place to determine and differentiate between those which were truly INSPIRED by the Holy Spirit, in terms of Scriptural writings, in comparison with those which were simply the thoughts and ideas of men.

MCPHERSON:
MY view is that God's Word would have been preserved and its canonization would have been achieved REGARDLESS.

PARKER:
How? By Whom? Where? And, if God did this, it would mean the men involved were INSPIRED.

MCPHERSON:
God would have used later scholars, or scribes from other backgrounds and traditions to bring this Book into being.

PARKER:
There is a word for this process, McPherson: INSPIRATION.

NO, Parker. The men involved would NOT have been "inspired". Your use of this term in this way reveals your ignorance of its TRUE meaning.

Here is Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897) with a relatively adequate THEOLOGICAL definition of the term.

that extraordinary or supernatural divine influence vouchsafed to those who
wrote the Holy Scriptures, rendering their writings infallible. "All scripture
is given by inspiration of God" (R.V., "Every scripture inspired of God"), 2
Tim. 3:16. This is true of all the "sacred writings," not in the sense of their
being works of genius or of supernatural insight, but as "theopneustic," i.e.,
"breathed into by God" in such a sense that the writers were supernaturally
guided to express exactly what God intended them to express as a revelation of
his mind and will. The testimony of the sacred writers themselves abundantly
demonstrates this truth; and if they are infallible as teachers of doctrine,
then the doctrine of plenary inspiration must be accepted. There are no errors
in the Bible as it came from God, none have been proved to exist. Difficulties
and phenomena we cannot explain are not errors. All these books of the Old and
New Testaments are inspired. We do not say that they contain, but that they
are, the Word of God. The gift of inspiration rendered the writers the organs
of God, for the infallible communication of his mind and will, in the very
manner and words in which it was originally given. As to the nature of
inspiration we have no information. This only we know, it rendered the writers
infallible. They were all equally inspired, and are all equally infallible. The
inspiration of the sacred writers did not change their characters. They retained
all their individual peculiarities as thinkers or writers.

Note that the emphasis is on the composition of the actual TEXT of holy writ, Parker - NOT on its canonization. God did not "breathe into the minds and hearts" ANY explicit, specific words to communicate Truth, in the case of the ecclesiastical authorities involved in the canonization of Scripture. They didn't WRITE Scripture - they COLLATED it, and formally identified/established its parameters. "Inspiration" had NOTHING to do with this process. True, Biblical inspiration ENDED with the PRE-AD 70 apostles and writers of Scripture. THEY were the ones who were "led into all Truth" by the Holy Spirit, directly, and whose memories were supernaturally augmented and prompted by the Holy Spirit's direct intervention in their hearts and minds, as they recorded the events of Christ's life, ministry and subsequent death, resurrection/ascension.

MCPHERSON:
They weren't the ONLY people who qualified in this area, but they were the ones blessed by God in being chosen to perform this task. They were SERVANTS of the Truth in this regard...

PARKER:
You are describing the theological concept known as DIVINE INSPIRATION.

No I'm NOT, Parker. As you can see from the definition provided, above - TRUE "inspiration" was LIMITED to the actual composition of the TEXT of Scripture - NOT its canonization.

I'm glad I could be of service in clarifying this term and concept for you.

JM

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Excellent response, Sam...and excellent article, above! Good work! I am in agreement with you on these things. Historical documentation has its limitations, and we can't buttress our beliefs on the basis of documentation that may or may not exist.

I still wonder about the nature of the ancient manuscripts and documents burned in the library at Alexandria, Egypt. Over the centuries, certain odd fires and disasters brought about the elimination of thousands of manuscripts that would very likely have clarified many things for us in the area we are pursuing here.

Do I believe in a massive conspiracy and cover-up on the part of post-AD 70 ECFs? Among the earliest ones...very possibly. I am more and more inclined to view the latter 1st Century and 2nd Century writings from this group in this light.

Parker's picture

McPherson, you're amazing. You discount out of hand actual historic record concerning the AD70-AD150 christians, but then go on to dogmatically claim that your pure fantasies and imaginations are true history! That's rich. Hey everyone, believe McPherson's version of history because McPherson makes it up and then says it's true. That's not the way history works, friend.

Richard, evidence to back up your "massive conspiracy and cover-up" theory exists only in your dreams. Only a kook could ever dare to defend such goofy, unhistoric fantasy. You just make things up. Get your head in the game.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

McPherson, you're amazing. You discount out of hand actual historic record concerning the AD70-AD150 christians, but then go on to dogmatically claim that your pure fantasies and imaginations are true history! That's rich. Hey everyone, believe McPherson's version of history because McPherson makes it up and then says it's true. That's not the way history works, friend.

In actual fact, Parker, more often that not - THAT IS THE WAY HISTORY HAS BEEN PRESERVED. Those who are tasked with the responsibility of recording history too often take liberties with it, interpreting events subtly according to a personal bias. This is why we need an ultimate benchmark and "gold standard" of Truth and reality, which WE find in the Scriptures themselves. YOU, on the other hand, find "church" tradition and history to be of an equally valid and authoritative quality. And this is the essence of the difference between you and us.

You referring to me as a "kook" doesn't change the fact that YOU hold the Bible accountable to the traditions and historical records of mere men. WE, on the other hand, do the reverse.

My name is JOHN, by the way (Richard is the other McPherson on this site), and the whole "game" of "making things up" is certainly not limited to anyone here. I am speculating - yes - regarding certain possible scenarios that seem to fit the evidence as I see it. YOU, on the other hand, are speculating concerning the veracity of Scripture based upon YOUR view that historical record as we have it is inviolable, sacrosanct and of the utmost veracity. YOUR historiography is flawed, Parker - and I believe THAT is the point Sam was seeking to make, in his article above.

Parker's picture

MCPHERSON:
Those who are tasked with the responsibility of recording history too often take liberties with it, interpreting events subtly according to a personal bias.

PARKER:
We are discussing original sources, McPherson. You see, we have many written letters from early christians, and all have one thing in common with regard to eschatology: they show christians of apostolic churches eagerly looking and waiting for their Lord's return, even while under severe persecution. Now, no matter what else we might say about these early christians, we can fully trust that they believed what they said they believed! Therefore, we may say with all confidence that those apostolic churches and their bishops had no idea that the event they eagerly awaited happened for them.

MCPHERSON:
This is why we need an ultimate benchmark and "gold standard" of Truth and reality, which WE find in the Scriptures themselves.

PARKER:
Don't be ignorant, McPherson. The canon was determined by later churchmen, not by scripture itself! You may trust your 66 books of the bible only as much as you trust later catholic churchmen who determined a canon of what they considered to be reliable letters. They created the bible we have today, and you trust them with your life. Now, perhaps you will join Luther in removing 7 New Testament books from the canon (Revelation, Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, etc), or perhaps you will just trust the catholic church fathers and keep those books. Either way, you are forced to either trust yourself, trust Luther, or trust the Catholic church fathers as to whether or not your bible is reliable. You have no other option, for the apostles didn't determine a canon of their writings.

MCPHERSON:
You referring to me as a "kook" doesn't change the fact that YOU hold the Bible accountable to the traditions and historical records of mere men. WE, on the other hand, do the reverse.

PARKER:
You are a kook because you are making things up here (mostly things of an absurd conspiratorial nature) and trying to pass them off as real events of history. A big first-century cover up??? By people who were being fed to the lions as they waited in hope for the coming of Jesus??? Chrisians all over the empire somehow came together to plan The Great Rapture Cover Up? You're a kook.

MCPHERSON:
I am speculating - yes - regarding certain possible scenarios that seem to fit the evidence as I see it.

PARKER:
Your suggestion of a Great Rapture Cover Up by first-century christians is as impossible to imagine as it is unsupported by the historic record.

Now, since you seem to lack a basic understanding of history, the canon, etc. to think reasonably and methodically about this whole matter, I will likely restrict my discussion to others like Sam, Rod, etc. I just don't have the patience to educate and debate at the same time.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

MCPHERSON:
Those who are tasked with the responsibility of recording history too often take liberties with it, interpreting events subtly according to a personal bias.

PARKER:
We are discussing original sources, McPherson. You see, we have many written letters from early christians, and all have one thing in common with regard to eschatology: they show christians of apostolic churches eagerly looking and waiting for their Lord's return, even while under severe persecution. Now, no matter what else we might say about these early christians, we can fully trust that they believed what they said they believed! Therefore, we may say with all confidence that those apostolic churches and their bishops had no idea that the event they eagerly awaited happened for them.

What you have, Parker, are letters theoretically written by early Christians, who (IF these letters are legitimate in terms of their authorship and origins) were undoubtedly influenced and guided in their thinking by those "Christians" who were spiritually unprepared to participate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in 70 AD, and therefore chose to concoct the hoax and false expectations of the POST-AD 70 "apostolic church" which, in reality, had NO such "unbroken connection" to the PRE-AD 70 Church and her apostolic authorities.

MCPHERSON:
This is why we need an ultimate benchmark and "gold standard" of Truth and reality, which WE find in the Scriptures themselves.

PARKER:
Don't be ignorant, McPherson. The canon was determined by later churchmen, not by scripture itself! You may trust your 66 books of the bible only as much as you trust later catholic churchmen who determined a canon of what they considered to be reliable letters. They created the bible we have today, and you trust them with your life. Now, perhaps you will join Luther in removing 7 New Testament books from the canon (Revelation, Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, etc), or perhaps you will just trust the catholic church fathers and keep those books. Either way, you are forced to either trust yourself, trust Luther, or trust the Catholic church fathers as to whether or not your bible is reliable. You have no other option, for the apostles didn't determine a canon of their writings.

YOU assign authority over the preservation of Scripture to MEN, Parker, but I acknowledge the authority of GOD ALONE in this matter. What did Christ Jesus Himself say?

33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Luke 21:33)

It was GOD who chose to prompt certain key individuals to preserve His written Word. He could just as easily have chosen ANY scribes of the period, who knew how to transfer text from one document to the next. The ones He chose were not "inspired" in their treatment of His Word, but they WERE characterized by rigorous integrity in their copying and recording processes, and this is why God chose to use them, obviously.

It was GOD, ultimately, who ensured the preservation and canonization of His Word, but the individuals He used to accomplish this task were not granted some sort of divine authority over all others in His Kingdom as a result, by any means.

MCPHERSON:
You referring to me as a "kook" doesn't change the fact that YOU hold the Bible accountable to the traditions and historical records of mere men. WE, on the other hand, do the reverse.

PARKER:
You are a kook because you are making things up here (mostly things of an absurd conspiratorial nature) and trying to pass them off as real events of history. A big first-century cover up??? By people who were being fed to the lions as they waited in hope for the coming of Jesus??? Chrisians all over the empire somehow came together to plan The Great Rapture Cover Up? You're a kook.

I am taking the evidence as presented in these discussions (including that which you, yourself, have presented) and providing an alternate interpretation of it which is every bit as plausible as those YOU offer. You don't LIKE my ideas, but although you attempt to characterize them as "lunatic" and absurd, they are actually very much worthy of serious consideration.

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