You are hereKenneth Gentry’s Deep Desperation

Kenneth Gentry’s Deep Desperation

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By dkpret - Posted on 26 July 2006

by Don Preston
I have read and appreciated the writings of Kenneth Gentry for many years. His work, Before Jerusalem Fell, helped me immensely in my understanding of the dating of Revelation. That work provided a wealth of information, both historical and Biblical, to substantiate the truth that Revelation is about the consummation of God’s dealings with Old Covenant Israel. Likewise, I have found his interaction with the dispensational paradigm to be insightful, powerful and very often devastating. I might also add that Gentry’s writings have led countless Bible students to become full preterists, notwithstanding his protestations.I have read and appreciated the writings of Kenneth Gentry for many years. His work, Before Jerusalem Fell, helped me immensely in my understanding of the dating of Revelation. That work provided a wealth of information, both historical and Biblical, to substantiate the truth that Revelation is about the consummation of God’s dealings with Old Covenant Israel. Likewise, I have found his interaction with the dispensational paradigm to be insightful, powerful and very often devastating. I might also add that Gentry’s writings have led countless Bible students to become full preterists, notwithstanding his protestations.When it comes to Gentry’s writings in regard to Covenant Eschatology, i.e. preterism, however, it is a totally different story. The normally calm and reflective Gentry gives way to an almost frenetic paranoia that demonstrates a loss of logic and reason. I have literally stood in amazement that someone with Gentry’s normal perspicuity could put on paper some of his “arguments” against preterism, and expect thoughtful, logical, well read people to accept his “arguments” and reject preterism. I could make a long list of such incredibly bad argumentation from Gentry, but I want to focus on a single example from an article he wrote sometime ago.

It is an article I had read, but, frankly, had not noticed one particular issue that Gentry raised. Just recently a friend called me up, and we were discussing several issues. He asked if I had heard of Gentry’s argument that if the parousia was in A.D. 70, that this meant we have no canon of scripture today. I said I had never heard of Gentry making this argument and frankly, could not imagine him making such an illogical argument! I was wrong. My friend gave me the website of Gentry’s 1997 article, and here is Gentry’s quote:

“Third, the hyper-preterist system leaves the New Covenant Christian (in our post-A. D. 70 era) without a canon. If all prophecy was fulfilled prior to A. D. 70 and if the entire New Testament spoke to issues in the pre-A. D. 70 time frame, we do not have any directly relevant passages for us. The entire New Testament must be transposed before we can use it.”1

Frankly, I could not believe what I was reading, and that I had missed this when I read the article initially.

For brevity, I am only going to make a very few observations about Gentry’s comments here.

First, make no mistake, Gentry believes that Christ came in A.D. 70. Anyone even remotely familiar with his writings knows this to be true.2

Second, make no mistake, Gentry believes the canon was completed, i.e. all revealed, by the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.3

So, according to Kenneth Gentry, the canon of scripture was completed by the time of the coming of the Lord at the end of the Old Covenant Age in A. D. 70, and we have that canon as a direct result of the A.D. parousia! How then can he say that if Christ came in A.D. 70 that we have no canon, since he believes because Christ came in A.D. 70 we have the canon? Preterists agree with Gentry on this point! Now if the canon of scripture was completed by A.D. 70, at Christ’s parousia, how in the name of reason can Gentry claim that if that same canon is fulfilled, that we no longer have a canon?4 Would not the fulfillment of the prophecies of the canon confirm the veracity of the canon, instead of nullifying and destroying it? Gentry’s own logic demands that the consummation of the revelatory process would provide for the possession of the canon, not the elimination of the canon!

Just exactly where does Gentry get the idea that the canon would cease to exist when it was fulfilled?5 What is the proof for his claim? Please note, he offers not one scripture, not one exegetical argument, not one logical proposal to support his claim. He simply asserts that if the scriptures are fulfilled, the scriptures cease to function. This is particularly troublesome in regard to Gentry’s view of the Olivet Discourse.

Gentry believes that Matthew 24:36 is the dividing line of the Olivet Discourse, that everything following this verse is referent to a yet future, end of time event. This poses severe problems with what to do with verse 35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away.” Does this verse refer to the passing of literal terra firma, or, does it refer to the “heaven and earth” of the Old Covenant temple and world?6 Now, if verse 35 refers to the passing of the Old Covenant “heaven and earth” of the temple, then this contrasts the Old Covenant world with the New Covenant world of Jesus.

If the verse contrasts literal terra firma with Christ’s world, however, there is a very great problem for Gentry and virtually all other futurist paradigms. Jesus was emphatically telling his disciples that his word will never pass away. That could not be clearer.. However, what is the word of Christ? Is it not the gospel of Jesus Christ? Would anyone deny that? Follow closely.

The word of Christ will never pass away (Matthew 24.35). The word of Christ is the current gospel, the Covenant of Grace preached by the church among men for salvation. Therefore, the gospel of Jesus Christ–the current Covenant of Grace preached among men for salvation- will never pass away! This one text alone destroys Gentry’s claims. Contra Gentry’s illogical claim that if all scripture is fulfilled, then the canon ceases to exist, this passage affirms that the canon will never pass away!7

Perhaps it would be good to take a look at this term “directly relevant to us,” for a moment. Now, for the Biblical prophecies to be “directly relevant to us today” then, to define these words accurately, of necessity, we today would have to be the original audience to whom the prophecies were addressed and applied. Yet, patently, we today are not the original audience to whom any of the books of the Bible were addressed! Furthermore, when not seeking to negate Covenant Eschatology, Gentry argues logically and compellingly, that in order to properly understand and interpret scriptures, we must consider the “audience relevance” of the Biblical texts.

For instance, commenting on the book of Revelation, and the proper hermeneutic for understanding the Apocalypse, Gentry offers the following: “This is where so many faddish interpretations of Revelation go wrong. They forget the original audience relevance factor, and consequently, overlook the history of the era.”8 He says, “We should, however, be suspicious of interpretations that are blatantly narcissistic; this way of understanding the book maintains that the entire course of human history now culminates in us. Revelation is not, as Thompson warns, ‘a floating spectre’; rather, we must understand him as a figure securely rooted in the first century.” (Beast, 9). He also offers: “The matter of audience relevance in Revelation 17 should be of paramount concern for the serious interpreter.” (Beast, 13).

So, on the one hand, Gentry warns against being “blatantly narcissistic” in our interpretation of scripture, and affirms that we must honor the original audience relevance of the Biblical writers. On the other hand, he claims that if the prophecies of the Bible were fulfilled in the lives and experience of the original audiences, that the Bible has no “direct relevance for us today.” He tells us that unless at least some Bible prophecies are to be fulfilled in our future, the Bible has no direct relevance for us today. Isn’t this being “blatantly narcissistic”?

Was a single prophecy of the Bible specifically, directly given to us today? Where is the epistle, “To the church of the Lord Jesus Christ in America” to be found in the canon? Where is the prophecy of America, of South Carolina, of Oklahoma, of South America to be found in the scriptures?

Gentry well knows there are no Biblical prophecies, none, are “directly relevant to us today” when one takes those words in their correct definitions. The Bible was not written to us today, but, of course, this does not mean we today do not learn and profit from the Bible! It does not mean that the Bible is not relevant for us today. However, the Bible is relevant for us today, because the promises of the Bible were fulfilled at the time, and in the manner, and in the places the Bible predicted. In other words, the Bible is currently relevant because of past fulfillment in the lives and world of the original audiences, not because it is to be fulfilled in the 21st century or beyond.

Consider the words of Jesus: “If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me, but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:37-38). Notice, Jesus indicated that his relevance to that audience, and, I suggest, the same is true today, would lie in the reality of fulfilled works! Personal relevance did not lie in unfulfilled promises, but in past reality, i.e. in fulfilled works!

Thus, Gentry’s language is misleading. He does not believe for one moment that a single word of the Bible is “directly relevant to us today” for the simple fact the Bible was not written to us today. However, Gentry, and true preterists, would affirm in the strongest terms possible, that the Bible is very, very relevant today, because of the fulfillment of its words that demonstrates its veracity. Gentry’s argument is simply an emotional smokescreen.

Logically, what Gentry is arguing is this: Scripture is not “directly relevant” unless it is future. There are no prophecies of the future, per the preterists. Therefore, no scriptures are directly relevant. Likewise, logically, what his argument means is that any prophecy that is fulfilled cannot have any direct relevance for us today. If a prophecy has been fulfilled, it is no longer relevant. It takes only a moment of thought to see the totally illogical, and desperate nature of this argument.

The Virgin birth of Christ is a fulfilled prophecy. Does that prophecy have any direct relevance to us today? Well, if by “direct relevance” it is meant that it is to be fulfilled in our day, then clearly, the answer is no, it has no “direct relevance today,” since it is fulfilled. But, does the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 mean the canon of Isaiah is no longer relevant? Does not the fulfilled prophecy have relevance because that divine birth proves Jesus is “Immanuel, God with us.” Is this relevant to us today, or not?

The Old Testament predicted the establishment of the church, the body of Christ, and Gentry affirms this. He even applies Isaiah 65 and the promise of the New Heavens and Earth, to the present church age. So, the prophecy of Isaiah 65 has been fulfilled. The New Creation of Isaiah 65 came into existence with the passing of the Old World of Israel in A.D. 70, and is described in Revelation 21:1f, per Gentry: “The heavenly Jerusalem is the bride of Christ that came down from God to replace the earthly Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2-5) in the first century (Rev. 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10). With the shaking and destruction of old Jerusalem in A. D. 70, the heavenly (re-created) Jerusalem replaced her” (Dominion, 363, his emphasis).

Now, according to Gentry, when a prophecy/scripture is fulfilled, it no longer has direct relevance for us today. Does this mean that the fulfillment of the New Creation prophecies in A.D. 70 have no relevance or meaning to us today?

Both the Old Testament and the New predicted the passion of Christ, and his resurrection from the dead. And, praise God, not one word of those prophecies has failed to be fulfilled. Furthermore, Gentry is a “full preterist” when it comes to the prophecies of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection! All has been fulfilled! Perhaps good brother Gentry would now tell us whether Jesus’ passion/resurrection has any “direct relevance for us today”? Or must we transpose the story of Jesus to make it relevant to us? Does Gentry believe that those prophecies can only have relevance for us if they are unfulfilled, or does Jesus’ passion and resurrection have added relevance for us today because they are fulfilled?

Gentry might rejoin that what he meant by “directly relevant to us today,”is that if there is no unfulfilled prophecy then we have nothing to look forward to in our future. However, this also fails, miserably, because it is as the direct result of fulfilled prophecy that the child of God has the promise of being with the Lord in heaven when they pass from this life (cf. Revelation 14:13, a passage Gentry would apply to the A.D. 70 parousia!!). Does Gentry not know the difference between the on-going results of fulfilled prophecy, and the unrealized nature of unfulfilled prophecy? Does he not know that Biblical eschatology would initiate and bring blessings to the state of perfection, instead of remaining simply anticipation?

Other examples of this kind of argumentation could be offered, but this is sufficient to show that Gentry’s “logic” is fundamentally, fatally flawed. His attempts to negate true preterism fail because of this egregiously fallacious argumentation.

As I stated at the outset, I could offer many examples of Gentry’s flawed logic when he attempts to refute Covenant Eschatology. You would think that as much time and thought that Gentry has expended in the refutation of dispensationalism, he would realize that he is, in some cases, now making dispensational arguments. I have called attention to more of Gentry’s flawed arguments and inconsistencies in my books, The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat, and Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory.9

Not only have I exposed Gentry’s logical and scriptural fallacies in print, I have offered, repeatedly, to meet him in open, formal debate. I have emailed him with an invitation, but he has not had the courtesy to even respond. Others have emailed him with the same challenge, and again, he does not even have the courtesy to give a response. This article will serve as another invitation to Mr. Gentry to meet me in formal public debate to discuss eschatology. I trust the readers of this article to make sure it lands on Gentry’s computer.

Gentry has labeled those like myself as heretics. You would certainly think then, that someone leveling such a serious charge would have the courtesy, courage, and character to defend their charge in honorable discussions and allow those so charged to defend themselves. So far, Gentry has not shown that kind of character.

In summary then, we have seen that Gentry’s argument is badly flawed.

Not one word of the Bible is “directly relevant to us today” when a person defines those words accurately. Not one word of the Bible was specifically addressed to the 21st century, therefore the Bible is not directly relevant to us today. Such is the conclusion of Gentry’s “argument,” but this is false to the core. Because the Bible is not addressed to 21st century America does not make the Bible irrelevant for America, and Gentry knows and teaches this.

However, the Bible is relevant for us today, not because of unfulfilled prophecy, but because of fulfilled prophecy, because of the manifestation of the faithfulness of God. We have the canon today, the canon that will never pass away, not because it stands unfulfilled, but precisely because it does stand fulfilled, verified and confirmed.

1 http://www.reformed.org/eschaton/gentry_preterism.html

2 See Gentry’s He Shall Have Dominion, (Institute for Christian Economics, Tyler, Texas, Dominion Press, 1992)160f; 273f; 348f

3 Commenting on “that which is perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13, Gentry argued that it referred to “the providential completion of the New Testament canon as that which rendered prophecy (and other revelatory gifts, e.g. tongues and special knowledge) inoperative.” Kenneth Gentry, The Charismatic Gift of Prophecy: A Reformed Response to Wayne Gruden, (Memphis, Footstool Publications, 1989)53+. He even stated in the same work, that the proper understanding of Daniel 9:24 and the promise of the sealing of vision and prophecy, actually involved the revelatory process being completed by the end of the seventy weeks. (p. 54, n.4)

4 See my Seal Up Vision and Prophecy for a demonstration that to seal up vision and prophecy not only involved the revelatory process, but the confirmation through fulfillment. Thus, Daniel foretold that all prophecy would be given, and fulfilled, by the end of the Seventy Weeks. Gentry believes the Seventy Weeks are fulfilled, thus, of necessity, all prophecy was fulfilled by the end of the Seventy Weeks. This is exactly what Jesus taught in Luke 21:22. My book is available from my website, www.eschatology.org

5 Whereas the Torah would pass–as God’s binding covenant-- upon its fulfillment (Matthew 5:17-18), the New Covenant is emphatically said to never pass away (Matthew 24:35). Although the Torah has passed as God’s binding covenant, it still stands today as a witness and guide to Messiah, and an integral part of God’s word.

6 See my The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat, for a demonstration that the Jews viewed the Temple as “heaven and earth.” This historical fact is important for an understanding of Matthew 24:35. The book is available from my website.

7 It is interesting that in scouring Gentry’s books and articles, I have not found a single reference to Matthew 24:35. Not one! I surely may have simply missed it, but, given the embarrassing contradictory nature of the verse with regard to Gentry’s paradigm, his seemingly total silence in regard to the verse may not be accidental.

8 Kenneth Gentry, The Beast of Revelation, (Revised) (Powder Springs, Georgia, American Vision, 2002)91

9 These books are available from my website www.eschatology.org, or from Amazon.com.

ThomasS's picture

The real problem is that historically, there is no proof for a NT canon pre 70 CE. Thus, the same people who gave us the NT canon also gave us the belief in a still future second coming of Christ. I am not sure this is the point Gentry is trying to make, but it is a problem not addressed by Preston et al.

Th. S.

KingNeb's picture

Thomas,

What you brought up is not what Gentry is saying here, though I’m sure he would use your argument as well, because Mathison tried this.

Notice, Gentry qualifies what he means:

"Third, the hyper-preterist system leaves the New Covenant Christian (in our post-A. D. 70 era) without a canon....we do not have any directly relevant passages for us. The entire New Testament must be transposed before we can use it.”

Gentry is implying that fulfillment makes Scripture irrelevant and that’s just sheer nonsense.

One example will suffice: The death of Christ

Fulfilled? Yes.

Irrelevant to the 21st century? You wouldn’t be a Christian if you made such a claim.

Fulfillment of prophecy does NOT make Scripture irrelevant, for if it did, then Christ’s death/burial/resurrection mean NOTHING today and I don’t know of any Christian that would make such a claim.

John the Baptist looked forward to Christ’s death. We look backwards. I’m not in John the Baptist’s shoes, but that certainly does not make the death of Christ irrelevant.

Now, concerning what you’re bringing up about the Canon, you seem to be implying that a canon can only exist by the authority of the Church and that my friend is a return to Rome.

Listen to the words of Reformed writer, President of Westminster, Robert Godfrey. This is in response to the Catholics who have actually made the EXACT same argument Gentry and Mathison are using against Preterists!:

Let us look at the church further by raising a related issue: the canon of Scripture. Romanists will try to make much of the issue of the canon. They will tell you that the Bible alone cannot be our authority because the Bible does not tell us what books are in the Bible. They will argue that the church must tell us what books are in the Bible. When they say the church tells us, they mean popes and councils must tell us. This implies that we did not have a Bible until Pope Damasus offered a list of the canon in 382, or, perhaps, until 1546 when the Council of Trent became the first “ecumenical”council to define the canon. But of course the people of God had the Bible before 1546 and before 382.

In the first place, the church always had Scripture. The apostolic preaching and writing of the first century repeatedly verified its teaching by quoting from the Old Testament. The quotations from, and allusions to, the Old Testament abound in the New Testament. The New Testament does not reject the Old, but fulfills it (Romans 1:2; Luke 16:29; Ephesians 2:19, 20). The church always had a canonical foundation in the Old Testament.

In the second place, we can see that the apostles sensed that the new covenant inaugurated by our Lord Jesus would have a new or augmented canon. Canon and covenant are interrelated and interdependent in the Bible (see Meredith G. Kline, The Structure of Biblical Authority). Peter testifies to this emerging canon when he includes the letters of Paul as part of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16).

In the third place, we must see that the canon of Scripture is, in a real sense, established by the Scripture itself, because the canonical books are self-authenticating. As God’s revelation, they are recognized by the people of God as God’s own Word. As Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me. They . . . will listen to My voice” (John 10:14-16). In the deepest sense we cannot judge the Word, but the Word judges us. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The self-authenticating character of the canon is demonstrated by the remarkable unanimity reached by the people of God on the canon.

In the fourth place, we must see that historically the canon was formed not by popes and councils; these actions simply recognized the emerging consensus of the people of God as they recognized the authentic Scriptures. Indeed, whatever criteria were used by popes and councils to recognize the canon (authorship, style, content, witness of the Spirit, etc.), these same criteria were available to the people of God as a whole.

http://www.the-highway.com/Sola_Scriptura_Godfrey.html

----

You see Thomas, the view that Gentry and Mathison promote concerning Sola Scriptura is not the consensus among the Reformed. Mathison’s view is nothing short of the same ol’ catholic argument. He simply swaps a two-legged pope for a paper one.

thereignofchrist.com

Virgil's picture

Thomas,

I do not believe the argument is over the inerrancy of the canon as much as it is over the inerrancy of the books of the canon.

I couldn't care less about "the canon" as long as it has been researched and shown that historically speaking the books of the canon are what they claim to be. Now if that is the argument raised then we can discuss it in detail, but I believe that trying to use that as a gateway to destroy Preterism is the wrong way to go about it since it creates a two-way argument. In like manner, I could claim that inspiration still continues today thus all the writings of Joseph Smith, Ellen White, Moon, and whoever else feels like being a "prophet" cannot be proven right or wrong.

ThomasS's picture

Virgil,

Facts demonstrate that there was no NT canon before 70 CE. Thus, the NT canon was given to us from the same folks that supposedly were so totally mistaken about the second coming of Christ... That is but one of the problems with 'full preterism'.

Th. S.

KingNeb's picture

Thomas,

What facts? You mean an argument from silence?

Also, your same 'tradition' has also given us chialism and amillennialism. So which is it?

Lastly, are you reformed? if so, i encourage to read Robert Reymond's Systematic and the 'Attributes of Holy Scripture' section. In the end he concludes, (in agreement with Godfrey, FF Bruce..these men are not preterists by the way) that ultimately the canon is the Lord's doing and it was 'forced' on the Church. It was a work of the 'Spirit alone'. (p.68) I pretty much adopt that argument and tagged on to it that ad70 closed the canon, which no futurist can account for.

thereignofchrist.com

ThomasS's picture

Duncan,

Fact is that you do not have any evidence for a NT canon before 70 CE. (By the way, there is no way to get a NT canon based on "sola scriptura" either.) There is some evidence for partial preterism within the early Church. But there is no trace of "full preterism" at all. According to full preterist Ed. Stevens, there were no faithful Christians left after 70 CE. (they were taken to Heaven); only unfaithful Christians remained. Now, it is from these "unfaithful", e.g. partial preterist, Christians we have the NT canon.

I am not saying that this excludes full preterism. But I think one should acknowledge the problem.

Th. S.

KingNeb's picture

Thomas,

I don't adhere to Steven's rapture view and you're actually making the same mistake he is - an argument from silence.

God's Word validates itself.

Jesus promised His apostles that when He left He would send them the Spirit to disclose all things. (John 14) Even the New Catholic Enc. states that a canon was "implicitly" present and later councils made what was "implicit" "explicit".

So again, your question isn't a legit one to start with. It's actually an attack on God's Word and the work of the Spirit. Basically, what your question amounts to is this - you're claiming that NO CHRISTIAN could recognize God's voice until the 3rd/4th centuries.

thereignofchrist.com

Windpressor's picture

****************

Huh????????

"God's Word validates itself."

Where is that in scripture?

Even the WORD incarnate did not presume to "authenticate" Himself; He responded with regards to the charge that testimony is validated by Two witnesses. See John 8:

**The Validity of Jesus' Testimony

12When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
13The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid."

14Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. 18I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me."**(NIV)

The discourse in John 10 also appeals to a secondary witness:
v25 "...The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, ..."(NIV)
"... the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me."(NASB)
"... they bear witness of me."(KJV) + others

Again, I submit that scripture is a witness of many things among which are instances relating to, and quotes of, the WoG. I have done study and word search and can not find where scripture claims of itself to be the WoG. If I am missing something here, please provide a quote by chapter and verse. What other witnesses substantiate the claims that scripture = WoG?

The best claim of scripture that I can recollect at the moment is that it is a work product, a creation, a collaboration between inspiration and men deemed worthy.
See 2 Timothy 3:16 & 2 Peter 1:19-21.

I have trouble with the Sola Scriptura doctrine and also with Catholic claims. While I have not studied in depth, I think I get the main thrust from previous general instruction. I am currently reading some of the links found at the Wikipedia entry for better understanding of the debate.
Perhaps I will disabuse my self of the bit of cynicism by which I liken the matter as though I were to make the claim that I journeyed back in Mr. Peabody's WayBack Machine and I now have in my formerly nicotine stained fingers the original instructions for which a certain director and board also claim derivative collation. Which, thereof, has fortunately prevented catastrophic deviations and delay in morning solar displays due to said instructions and collations providing the means for rightly tuned *****-a-doodle-doos. :)

It is the weight of witness we must consider. We have the witness of creation; the witness of history, the witness of the church/es, the witness of Scripture. the witness of what we see, hear, feel and think or know.

Back to above article --

A debate between Gentry and DKP would be very interesting. Someone else noted the difficulty in the fact that there is no obvious confirmation for the parousia. Wrapping a mind around that can be quite desperation inducing. Is there any desperation in Preston's strident insistence for debate and complaints for want thereof? If many have difficulty in fully embracing preterism yet can not accept futurism, does that mean we are short a witness or short of sight?

G1

.........................

G-Juan Wind

KingNeb's picture

G1,

Notice what you're doing. You're qouting SCRIPTURE to try to disprove my point that SCRIPTURE validates itself!!! hahaha.

This is akin to the materialistic atheists who can't account for the immaterial laws of logic, yet will use logic to try to argue against the Christian theist. The atheists have to borrow the Christian's worldview in order to make a case.

You're assuming the TRUTH of John 10 in using it as an argument against me.

How do you know that what is said in John 10 is even true?!?

try again...but you can't use scripture. You're not allowed to. You need to first account for its truthfulness before you can start arguing against me.

thereignofchrist.com

Windpressor's picture

*********

Dodge, declare and assert against arguments I have not made.
What a concept.

"I think, therefore I am."
"I assert therefore it must be true."
"No argument can stand."

Wow!

Are you advocating for Sola Scriptura or your own Ex Cathedra?

G1

..............

G-Juan Wind

mazuur's picture

uh? I think what he said went right past you.

Rich

-Rich

Windpressor's picture

***********

Could be. I can't claim to be the brightest bulb for checking edges in the knife drawer. Either I am missing some discursive vocabulary or their are serious differences in semantics such that we have a disconnect.

I am not sure how to resolve what appears to have devolved into a cognitive non sequitor. I have often been half-past the middle of a domestic discussion only to realize that all of us have not been having the same conversation. That is just with a wife going on 4 decades espousal familiarity and topics much less heady than the nature of scripture. Some of us here have also been known to carry on a conversation with absence and that not always other-roomly or outside.

Sorry if my tone may come across as provocative or cynical. My primary reach, however, is for inquiry and better comprehension. I have been and continue to hear that scripture and WoG are equated. In looking honestly at the text, it does not appear that scripture makes that claim of itself. I have pointed this out and inquired as to what substantiates the idea. No one yet has presented a good case on how or when scripture became the WoG.

It is thus perplexing to see such inquiry receive off-point, testy and defensive opposition. Making observations about scripture and apparent discrepancies is merely precursory to understanding how scripture relates to the Word of God. If I can't finish grappling with that concept how can I even begin to consider proving or "disproving" or "arguing against" or anything like the doctrine of Sola Scripture.

G1

..............................

G-Juan Wind

mazuur's picture

Ha ha ha. I know exactly what you mean. Of course you may have understood him correctly, and it was me who didn't.

"I have been and continue to hear that scripture and WoG are equated. In looking honestly at the text, it does not appear that scripture makes that claim of itself. I have pointed this out and inquired as to what substantiates the idea. No one yet has presented a good case on how or when scripture became the WoG.

I'm not going to get into this discussion, although it seems pretty clear to me. I do not have the energy to engage. I probably shouldn't have made the comment to you. I was just reading and your reply threw me for a loop, and my knee jerk reaction was..uh?

Sorry about that. Continue on with KingNeb.

Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

KingNeb,

You wrote:

"God's Word validates itself".

Of course, you are just being dogmatic about this. I guess that's all you can do, as long as the doctrine of "sola scriptura" logically is inconsistent.

A few questions for you to consider:

But how do YOU know what is the word of God and what is not.

Why do all scholars (Protestant and Catholics alike) search history for confirmation of the Biblical canon.

Why was even a great Protestant like Luther unsure as to the Biblical canon...

Why do different NT canons exist? (Not all Christians accept the Catholic-Orthodox-Protestant NT canon!)

Regards

Th. S.

KingNeb's picture

Thomas,

this question has been answered long ago. notice, there is absolutely nothing whatsoever illogical about it. You simply either believe it or you don't, but you can't show me anything illogical about this answer:

WLC 1:4 WLC 4 How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the word of God? A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty(1) and purity(2); by the consent of all the parts(3), and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God(4); by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation.(5) But the Spirit of God, bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.(6)

thereignofchrist.com

KingNeb's picture

WCF 1:5 WCF 1.5 We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture,(1) and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole, (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the word in our hearts.(

thereignofchrist.com

ThomasS's picture

I see that you are referring to the WCF, not the Bible.

I also have noticed that you are unable to provide me with a reference to any Biblical list of NT (or OT) books.

So much for "sola scriptura"... ;)

Th. S.

KingNeb's picture

1 John 2:20-21 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it,

John 16:13-14 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

1 Corinthians 2:9-16 9 But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"- 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

Isaiah 59:21 21 "And as for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring," says the LORD, "from this time forth and forevermore."

Revelation 22:18-19 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Secondly, i'm not going to answer your question because as i have already said, your question presupposes that in order for a person to recognize God's Word, a group of people had to come together and create a list for me. i simply do not accept that premise, therefore your question has no merit to it.

And exposing your false premise is extremely easy. Again, how did Christians in the first century recognize God's Word? How did anyone recognize God's Word up until the time of an official list?

Your belief makes the statement in Rev 22.18,19 ridiculous. It robs it of any signifigance to the first century church.

I guess what John should have said was:

18 After an official list has been created and the Church has officially declared this book 'the Word of God', THEN I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

You simply cannot account for statements like Rev. 22.18 with your premise.

thereignofchrist.com

ThomasS's picture

KingNeb,

..."this book" in Rev 22:18 has to do with the Book of Revelation, not the whole Christian Bible.

Regards

Th. S.

StephenGreer's picture

It seems to me that you're shooting yourself in the foot. If no one can know what is in the canon for certain, then what makes you think you can trust the Church? What validates the Church's opinion above and beyond what anyone else says? Why should I believe the Church other than it says I should? That's just circular logic. So perhaps "sola scriptura" is (the way you're presenting it) logically inconsistent, but I don't see how your position is that much better off.

StephenGreer's picture

I don't think that's quite what Thomas is claiming. I think he's claiming:
1) No word of a NT canon before 70 AD
2) The canon of inspired scripture was put together by people who do not recognize that 70 AD was the end of the age
3) Therefore, we are getting our evidence from people who don't agree with us, and therefore our evidence is untrustworthy.
I think that's about what Thomas is trying to argue, and I just have to respond.

Why must there be a table of contents in Scripture for there to be Sola Scriptura? If I'm correct there is no Table of Contents in the OT, i.e. there is no part that says, "Well these books are okay, but these aren't". Not a big problem until you look at the fact that Jesus used the books that the Pharisees and Sudducees used, except that they were wrong about there assumptions of what scripture meant. Look at when they question him about resurrection. Or when they criticized him for letting his disciples eat on the sabbath. "But wouldn't they have to be inspired to recognize which books were really inspired scripture?" I suppose so, but it's rather obvious that they weren't right about everything, so could not the same have been true of the early church? Could they *gasp* have been mistaken about one thing and right about another?

KingNeb's picture

StephenGreer,

From the surface, it may not seem so, but i have had this exact same conversation with a local 'reformed' group here in tampa. Their complaint was identical. "Give me a list, give me a list" And what it eventually boiled down to was that Preterism is wrong because of the Creeds. In fact, this person was even willing to admit that both futurism and preterism could be logically deduced from the Bible, therefore, a 'third party' is necessary to judge which "logically coherent" system is the correct one - his answer, "The Creeds". Both he and the catholics i have argued with PRESUPPOSE the truth of the Creeds! The Creeds are actually the framework in which Scripture must fit!

I reject that wholeheartedly. I don't accept the premise that both futurism and preterism can be logically deduced from the Bible. If that is true, then the Bible is contradicting itself and we might as well trash it. The Creeds are simply wrong with their futurism, plain and simple. The Creeds have not logically deduced their futurism from the Bible, plain and simple. And to just claim that they aren't is begging the question.

in other words, i believe there are some presuppositions lying underneath the surface of Thomas' question. mainly, the Scripture is insufficient in and of itself...It's not sufficient to answer the Preterist debate...it's not sufficient to authenticate itself.

I may be wrong, but i have had at least three conversations start out with the exact, identical question and every one lead to that.

thereignofchrist.com

Parker's picture

KingNeb:
I don't accept the premise that both futurism and preterism can be logically deduced from the Bible. If that is true, then the Bible is contradicting itself and we might as well trash it.

Parker:
Scripture is something that has to be interpreted, KingNeb. (And that doesn't mean it must be "trashed".)

Ask 10 protestants what scripture says about the necessity of baptism, and you may get 20 answers, all based on a "Sola Scriptura" approach.

So, who is the authorized interpreter of scripture: individuals, or the Church? The answer is the Church. After all, almost no one has been literate until modern times. (If you can't read, you can't read the Bible.) And even today there is a vast number of people groups who can't read. So, Sola Scriptura just doesn't make sense at any level.

StephenGreer's picture

Well, the Church also endorsed a lot of stuff that was without Scriptural basis. Let's see, there was the Inquisition, the Crusades, buying years out of purgatory (which isn't mentioned anywhere in the Bible, so they kind of pull it out of II Maccabees; how, I have no clue), the pope being the high priest for everyone (even though Hebrews specifically says that Jesus is our high priest), the arguing and disagreement among the early Church fathers; the list goes on. I think is was individuals who pointed out that these things were mistaken interpretations (although the Catholic Church still adheres to purgatory and the pope, but what can you do?), so the Church being the ipso facto final authority on Scriptural interpretation doesn't make sense at any level.

P.S. I apologize if I come off as rude or abrasive, but I'm 20 so I'm a "know-it-all". :)

Parker's picture

Nobody "buys" years out of purgatory.

Next, 2 Maccabees was a book in the apostles' bibles, the Septuagint. So, that's why its has remained there for Catholics. (Even the original printing of the 1611 KJV included it--it was soon later removed).

The pope isn't the "high priest for everybody." He's a head bishop of Christ's Church. He holds St. Peter's post.

And finally, getting back to Sola Scriptura, it's not scriptural. It's a non-scriptural tradition of the Reformation era. Scriptura, yes. SOLA Scriptura, no.

: )

ThomasS's picture

I don't think anybody would deny that the Church has made mistakes. Nothing new about that -- even St. Peter denied the Lord three times. However, that does not make the doctrine of "sola scriptura" more true or, for that matter, more biblical...

Th. S.

davo's picture

Parker: So, who is the authorized interpreter of scripture: individuals, or the Church?

G'day Parker, not that I'm totally running with the "Sola Scriptura" rationale variously being presented here, but your statement seems somewhat carte blanche -- what say you of the "individual" Philip, rightly dividing the Scriture to the Ethiopian etc?

Individuals or the Church, surely one consists within the other.

davo

Parker's picture

Davo:
G'day Parker, not that I'm totally running with the "Sola Scriptura" rationale variously being presented here, but your statement seems somewhat carte blanche -- what say you of the "individual" Philip, rightly dividing the Scriture to the Ethiopian etc?

Parker:
Hi Davo. No one said individuals can't read scripture and use it to support the apostles' doctrine (given they can read at all). But the final interpretation of scripture is the domain of the Church headed up by bishops and teachers, not any individual (2 Peter 1:20). These leaders of Christ's Church are the ones to whom the apostles' gospel was entrusted for its communication and preservation.

And, obviously, since most people in history haven't been able to read (even up to modern times), most people certainly haven't been entrusted with reading and interpreting Holy Scripture--but a select few have. Sola Scriptura is a tradition that emerged from the age of modern mass literacy and the printing press. Catholics agree with "Scriptura," but its the "Sola" part that doesn't make any sense. Scripture must be interpreted by people--and not by an "every-man-for-himself" method.

ThomasS's picture

This message was for KingNeb (not for Duncan). Sorry.

Th. S.

Parker's picture

KingNeb:
In the end he concludes...that ultimately the canon is the Lord's doing and it was 'forced' on the Church. It was a work of the 'Spirit alone'. (p.68)

Parker:
Please cite your scripture that displays where the Spirit forced a canon on the Church.

If you can't, you are trusting in a source outside of scripture and not following Sola Scriptura.

Duncan's picture

This isn't a problem for full preterism (although there are some). One could use the same logic against the reformation. The canon was given to the reformers by the Catholic church. The reformers were going against the Catholic Church, against the very ones who gave them the cannon. Therefore the reformation should never have happened and we should all still be under the thumb of Rome. That's faulty logic. God can even use an ass to get things accomplished (cf. Num. 22:22-36); that doesn't, however, mean the ass is right all the time.

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan,

You are correct in seeing problems with the very idea behind the "reformation" :) (Most reformers have accepted various beliefs based on tradition rather than their [in]famous principle of "sola scriptura".)

I find it highly problematic that there is no trace of "full preterism" until the 18. or 19. century CE. Are we supposed to accept the traditional teaching of the church re: the trinity, the NT canon etc., but not re: the second coming of Christ.

I am not saying that the church has gotten everything right all the time, but there is no trace of "full preterism" in the early church. I think this silence speaks volumes! At least one should acknowledge it as a problem.

Regards

Th. S.

Duncan2's picture

Thomas,

I do agree that one should look at any teaching that appears later in Christendom very carefully. On the other hand the church father's teachings were pretty wacky in many areas.

Duncan

Virgil's picture

Thomas, and my answer is "so what?" Are you questioning the validity of the canon or the wisdom of those accepting it? Around 300 Eusebius wrote about "accepted writings" and "disputed writings" showing common sense when rejecting the Gospel of Peter and of Thomas.

Unlike others I don't blindly trust the canon because a bunch of uninspired guys put it together. I trust it because the books (each one of them) are historically shown to be what they claim to be and belong to the respective authors. Again, we can argue about the authenticity of each book as long as you want if that's your goal, but that's an empty argument that stems out of the same desperation that Don Preston is talking about. Rather than dealing with Scripture, we are now arguing over the authenticity of the canon - is that a non sequitur or what?

ThomasS's picture

Virgil,

I really do not believe that you are able to fix any NT canon based on "sola scriptura". Most Christians accept the received NT canon. One of the arguments for identifying "Babylon the great" with Jerusalem is the supposed link between it and the so-called "Q-Apocalypse". But how do you know that the Synoptics are canonical? How do you know that the Book of Revelation is the word of God?

This is no problem for me: I accept the tradition of the church (Matt 16:18). So I have a received canon. Where do you get your canon?

Th. S.

Virgil's picture

Thomas, I am not reformed, so you don't need to appeal to "Sola Scriptura" with me; the concept has become as empty as any other reformation concept and it means absolutely nothing to me. I also accept the tradition of the Church...I was Eastern Orthodox for most of my life. So how can you tell me I have a problem with the canon when I know I don't?

And why do you continue to dance around this? This canon that you claim to accept based on the tradition of the Church clearly teaches a first-century Parousia of Christ. By rejecting what the canon teaches, you are the one rejecting the very essence of the canon.

I will say it again since you apparently missed it the first time: the "canon" is not "inspired" and it has absolutely nothing to do with God moving people by his spirit. If you have any questions about any books of the canon, then we can talk about that all day long, however that is hardly the issue at hand here since that is apparently not what you are saying. In fact, what exactly are you saying?

Oh, and since you asked, I get my canon from the Christian Family Bookstores; sometimes Amazon.com.

Parker's picture

Virgil:
Unlike others I don't blindly trust the canon because a bunch of uninspired guys put it together. I trust it because the books (each one of them) are historically shown to be what they claim to be and belong to the respective authors.

Parker:
When you say you "trust [the canon] because the books are historically shown to be what they claim to be and belong to the respective authors" you are precisely trusting a bunch of uninspired guys (that is, if you don't believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the ECFs who made this determination).

To put it another way: if you don't believe that the ECFs were inspired in their determination of the canon of scripture, then you are unable to believe with infallible certainty that even a single letter in your Bible came from an apostle. That's a terrible predicament. At that point, for all you know, The Shepherd of Hermas, The Acts of Paul, The Gospel of Judas, and The Gospel of Thomas are as inspired as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Virgil's picture

Thanks for telling me who I trust and why Parker :) I always appreciate your insight.

Parker's picture

Hi Virgil.

I'm not "telling you" anything. I'm responding to what you said. You said:

"I don't blindly trust the canon because a bunch of uninspired guys put it together. I trust it because the books (each one of them) are historically shown to be what they claim to be and belong to the respective authors."

What you've said there, essentially, is that you trust uninspired historians to authenticate your canon for you (by which I would assume you mean uninspired ECFs, for there are no other people that did the verification work on the books). And since such historians/ECFs were uninspired in your view, you have no infallible canon of scripture. That being the case, how can you be sure that even one single book in your bible was penned by a real apostle? I don't see how you could know that infallibly.

Not trying to be difficult here, but this strikes at the heart of Sola Scriptura as a valid tradition.

JL's picture

Thomas,

What facts? We've got quotes in Scripture endorsing other books. We've got early extra-biblical quotes from John endorsing other books. We've got archeological evidence that certain books were widely distributed before the AD 70 events.

That sounds like a canon to me.

JL

PS. what's the CE bit?

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

ThomasS's picture

JL,

Do you have a reference to a part of the NT with a list of NT books?

Th. S.

Islamaphobe's picture

Thank you for a very informative comment. It is one that I printed out for future use.

ThomasS's picture

Nice hearing from you, Mr. Evans!

Any news on the Book of Daniel?

Regards

Th. S.

Islamaphobe's picture

Thomas, I always managed to get bogged down so that I never meet a schedule. I am working on a revision of my book on the four kingdoms. Based on the work I'm doing there, I shall be writing a piece for this site within a month (I promise) on dealing with the problem of the age of sixty-two in 5:31 (6:1). I have not forgotten about doing something on the Moses Stuart-Thomas Sachariassen interpretation of the four kingdoms and have been assiduously reading Stuart's book to that end. Maybe I'll actually write a piece on it before the year is over! Thanks for the inquiry,

John S. Evans

ThomasS's picture

It sure would be nice if the revised parts of your book could be made available for those of us who already have the first edition. (Perhaps you could make a summary of the new arguments?)

Thanks!

Th. S.

Islamaphobe's picture

The revisions will be extensive. Some will be, or have already been, posted here.

ThomasS's picture

I believe you are in error. As the so-called inspired Sacred Scriptures do not contain any "table of content", it's just not possible from Scripture alone ("sola scriptura") to say which text is Biblical and which is not.

(This is probably why there are different Biblical canons.)

Regards

Th. S.

KingNeb's picture

Thomas,

well just telling me i'm in error doesn't mean anything. How so?

So you're telling me that Paul could not have known whether or not Isaiah was 'inspired' text because nobody provided him with a Table of Contents?!

thereignofchrist.com

ThomasS's picture

KingNeb,

I am telling you that YOU cannot know the Biblical canon only from the Bible. As you probably know, there are severalt NT canons. The Protestant/Catholic NT canon is not based on any inspired "Table of Contents".

Regards

Th. S.

KingNeb's picture

ah, i see you've avoided my question. Again Thomas, how did Paul know what was in and what wasn't? How did Peter know? There was NOT 'several' canons in their day.

thereignofchrist.com

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