You are hereA Response to Virgil

A Response to Virgil

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By Sam - Posted on 02 January 2007

by Samuel Frost
Virgil Vaduva has recently written an article on Planet Preterist entitled, Where Are You?. After reading what I considered to be startling, I decided to let Virgil know that I would be writing a writing a response. Perhaps some things are misunderstood, and I have often told Virgil that sometimes his words come across as unguarded, almost written for the sole sake of getting a response. That is, when analyzed logically (something we "westerners" do), some of these statements crumble under the light.Virgil Vaduva has recently written an article on Planet Preterist entitled, Where Are You?. After reading what I considered to be startling, I decided to let Virgil know that I would be writing a writing a response. Perhaps some things are misunderstood, and I have often told Virgil that sometimes his words come across as unguarded, almost written for the sole sake of getting a response. That is, when analyzed logically (something we "westerners" do), some of these statements crumble under the light.First off, Virgil is again caught in the "west" versus "east" mentality, which is not so much postmodernity as it is modernity. Postmodernity is far more global rather than polar when it comes to understanding mankind. The Scriptures would agree that God made man in his image, and that no man has sank so low as to have no vestiges of this image whatsoever. There is no "eastern" mind and "western" mind as if both of these minds were completely separate, and hence, unrelated things. The east uses money, and money requires mathematics, logic and consistency. If not, then maybe the Buddhist has come up with a new currency wherein you give a man 20 yen and you get back 40 in change!

What some want you to mean is that the West is largely evil and the East is largely more spiritual and in touch. The West are logic junkies, the East are spiritual junkies, tapping into unknown hidden powers of the mind and god, powers that need to be tapped into by the Western Christian – but in order to do this, systematic, rational, logical explanations about (g)od need to be chucked. That's what's at bottom in all of this. It is a dislike for the West in general.

This dislike for the West comes from the ivory towers that have a dislike for Chrisitianity. The two terms, West and Christianity, are virtuously synonymous. Christianity laid the groundwork for a linear view of history (Augustine) and emphasized a logical foundation (Aquinas – borrowing from Aristotle). From this a biblical social order was imagined and Christian theory in economics, politics, etc. was born (Luther, Calvin). The West has never lost these building blocks. By, the way, anyone doubting this picture of things need only consult a history book. The world laments the success of the West – it's domination. Why has it been successful? Well, one need only look at its foundations: the universe is ordered and created; God has given each man an ability to think logically, therefore, speak to him logically, and communication on a global level can happen (missions); history is progressive and is moving towards a great redemptive event culminating in a never ending government of Jesus Christ (eschatology). God never changes and is the One Great Constant that we can bank on.

Now, Virgil comes along and says that the God of the Bible is a "god of inconsistencies." But, before one freaks out on what he may have meant, I had a good mind to analyze his statements further. Virgil wrote, "in fact almost everything we know about God from the Bible is inconsistent with what people thought to be the norm." There are two things here: God from the Bible and what people thought. If one understands that "what people thought" about how a god should behave would be at complete odds with the God of the Bible, then, yes, God acted completely inconsistent with a faulty expectation of the people. The people's expectation was faulty because, as the Bible explains, man has fallen in Adam – cut off from the light and wander in darkness. I do not expect people in darkness to have even the foggiest, correct conception of God. No, God must reveal Himself to these people and correct their bad theology.

If that is what Virgil meant to say, then fine. We can explain the use of the word inconsistency. But, methinks Virgil does not really mean this entirely. Read on, "Ironically, consistency, while being certainly rooted in the noble intention of questing for Truth does appear to be leading the world of Christendom on a path to irrelevance. Almost completely disconnected from the complex and multi-faceted eastern thinking of the Hebrew world, Christians are slowly turning their faith into a set of philosophical principles that can be intellectually provable, with God becoming “a source of philosophical rational principles.”" This is a veiled statement that can easily be interpreted as a direct assault on the West and on logical theology. Note that there is a bit of history here: Christians are (presently) slowly turning their faith….Ahem. Virgil, that happened back with Augustine in the 5th century. Luther, Calvin, and Wesley never rejected a logical approach to understanding Scripture. The Preterist approach to Scripture has been called, rightly so, Consistent Preterism. Preterism is built upon logic and deduction from the statements of Scripture. Preterism champions logic over its "partial" preterist brethren precisely because they can. It is DeMar, Gentry and Mathison that come up with bizarre theories of "double-fulfillment", "partial fulfillment", "already/not yet" fulfillment, and the like. Gentry wrote, for example, that we are already in the new heavens and new earth, but only in a sense, since we are not yet there, too. You read correctly. Now, you can take your heroin injection and try reading that one again.

Let me say this, if consistency is now a bad thing that leads Christians to consistently exegete the pages of the Bible, and then build the results of the labor of doing this into, say, a theological movement that answers tons of questions about history previously left unanswered, then count me in. If consistency is a bad thing, then I don't want to be right. Why is it that the Bible being a source of rational principles bad? Why is that frowned upon? Now, of course, my dear brother Virgil may come back and say, "I didn't really mean those things." That's the way postmodernists get out of things: an appeal to semantics – "it depends on what "is" is." George Will wrote, "Novelist Walker Percy defined a "deconstructionist" as an academic who claims that the meaning of all communication is radically indeterminate but who leaves a message on his wife's answering machine requesting pepperoni pizza for dinner." Say what you mean and mean what you say or don't say anything at all. If not, you're just confusing the rest of us.

See, if the liberal attack on the West can be won, then the God of logic and consistency can be done away with. The Liberal no more has to confront logical consistency. He cannot disprove the existence of God, even the great atheist Bertrand Russell admitted that. But, he can attack the God of the Bible. This God is inconsistent, illogical, and therefore, easily refutable. And, some Christians want to take this and say, "yes, He is inconsistent! That's exactly it." Well, no. You are still not out of the hot water. If we say inconsistent in the way I spelled out above, then yes. But, once we understand that – i.e., once we understand that our picture of God is inconsistent with how God really is – then we can get on with the task of teasing out of Scripture a correct picture of God as He has revealed Himself in the word. "I am not a man. I change not." "He is the same today, yesterday, and forever." "I know the beginning from the end." "I create evil and I create peace." These are just four statements that shatter any other conception of God as we thought. I mean, our view of God is that He is a loving, hippie like flower child, hugging trees and pleading with souls to just give Him a chance. What an inconsistent picture! God creates evil? He knows all things? He never changes? Inconsistent indeed.

Virgil wrote, "The beautiful and relational teachings of Jesus have been rationalized into theological arguments that are provable via intellectual exercises – and this is ironically done a lot even by the most fervent critics of empiricism. Thus Christianity has become all about belief rather than faith. This difference may be slight but it is crucial when we set to project our faith before the world." This is another example of confusion in the academic sense. "Beautiful" and "relational" teachings (doctrines – check the Greek) are value judgments about something Jesus did. This would require a rational appreciation of Jesus' teachings in order to pass such a judgment on them. I am not sure who Virgil has in mind here, but why is it a bad thing to take Jesus' beautiful words and demonstrate them intellectually? The "intellect" is, after all, the mind. The intellect is how we communicate. You cannot communicate "beauty" without the aid of the intellect, for it is precisely the intellect that appreciates beauty. But, this standard anti-West, anti-theology, anti-logic attack never questions it's own presuppositions, and does not think (read, "feel") that it needs to do so. Simply offering an analysis is seen as a Western thing and therefore ipso facto wrong and not to be encouraged. I am sure Virgil will respond in some way to all of this, or maybe not. Maybe I have not "read" him correctly, which is always possible. But, when you look at something that acts like a duck, you call it is duck. Yes, empiricism being what it is, you can never really know for sure that you have a duck on your hands. It could be an ant acting like a duck.

Now, coupled with the last quote from Virgil and this next one, it is going to become apparent that what Virgil is driving at is an attack against Reason – you know, being reasonable like a good Westerner. "In his book Out of the Question into the Mystery, Leonard Sweet outlines the differences between belief and faith. He writes “The Reformation paradigm, which tempts us to replace relationships with reason, is captured in the word belief. It is concerned with right thinking and adherence to a particular way of articulating biblical teaching. It involves systematizing and assenting—and excluding those who don’t fully subscribe to the current fashion in creedal statement. Belief is inert. It is intellectual, defensible, and typically irrelevant.” Wow. There goes the "Preterist" in "Planet Preterist"! This statement is as loaded as they come. Let's look at it, shall we, with eeevvviiill logic!

First, the ole Reformation and its eeeevvviilll-ness comes to the front. We are forced, notice, between reason and relationship. It never occurs to these dichotomists that you can have both! No, they want to divide! I have a relationship with my wife because we reason together rather well. Simple. Here's another evil thing: systematizing. Ooooh. Can't do that. Oh, wait. Am I making sense here? Can you understand this sentence? Does it have a subject – object structure? Have no cat undid water love can't Lennon in hair his? If God can speak a sentence (revelation) or two, and that can be written down into a book, then these two sentences can be strung together (systematized), then you have Westernism. If that's evil, I want to be real evil.

What this is an attempt to separate "head" from "heart." Van Tillians do this, too. Kierkegaard, Rousseau, and Tillich all tried to do this. The Bible never makes this distinction. The "head" is the "heart". It is "the heart that thinks" in the Bible. Brains don't think, minds do.

Now, before leaving this quote, I do want to point something out. It moves from a rather ridiculous critique of the so called "Reformation paradigm" to tossing people out on their ear who do not subscribe to a particular creed. Everyone does this, unless, of course, you want to legalize immigration. If not, back to Mexico! But, that's besides the point. I will be speaking at the upcoming conference in April in Ohio and plan on offering another solution to the tossing people out on their ear one. My point will be this: rather than saying that we need to reject systematizing and theology; logic and consistency; intellect and responsibility, we need to systematize in a logical, biblical way a much more comprehensive grace. The past theologies should be criticized on the basis of their attempt to systematize God, rather, they should be criticized they have not systemically understood the fullness of salvation realized in Christ and the parousia, which, in turn, leads to a much more ecumenical theology. If you want to understand what that means, you must come to the show.

All this talk in Virgil's article pitting "faith" versus "belief" is mere semantics. Faith, belief, trust, assent are all the same things. You cannot "assent" to something unless you "trust" and have "faith" in the "belief" that it is "trustworthy." Take a chair, for example. I "believe" that this chair is "trustworthy" to hold me and I have "faith" and "assent" to the proposition "this chair will hold me" so that I will now sit in this chair. When one begins to analyze what people are trying to say, it gets kind of silly. What they really want to say is that "intellect" is too hard, but feeling is much easier. I don't need to understand the Bible, I just need to feel that I trust in Jesus. Everything else is just mental masturbation.

Virgil continues, though: "You see, in the ancient world, faith was not the subscription to a set of convictions; rather faith was subscribing to a person, and embracing a relationship to that person. It is not the message from Christ that makes us Christians, rather our relationship with Christ and where we are in relation to Him." Wow. I would like to see the "Ancient World Lexicon" that he gets this information. I study lexicons for Ph.D. work and I have yet to encounter one. Let's have some fun here. Faith is not a subscription to a set (sentences) of convictions. Rather, faith is subscribing to a person. Okay. Let's apply this nonsense to reality. Faith is not believing in a set of convictions (laws), but rather belief in a person (Mr. Law). But, there is no person that exists named Mr. Law. So much for that. Is having a set of convictions (laws, principles) in which there is no embodiment of these convictions (person) around mean that these convictions and my faith in them wrong, or somehow bad? What is Virgil saying here?

But, let's go further. Virgil states that having a set of statements about a person is not the same as having faith in the person. This is an old, old attempt raised by the 1920's liberals. Answer this one question: how can I know the person if it is not important to know anything about the person? How do I know that it is a person? What is a person? Be careful, you have to define "person" here, and that means you have to write down a conviction about what a person "is". Again, we should jettison this madness in talking like this and accept the fact that "person", "relationship," "faith", "propositions" all go hand in hand. Only the liberal wants them separated so as to create a world in which he cannot be convicted of anything – a world in which the Bible cannot speak to anything, and when it does so in a systematic way, call it "irrelevant". Virgil, brother, is Christian theory irrelevant to today's world? The stuff you are reading will respond to a resounding, "yes!" It's whole point is to dismantle Christianity in the world, make it powerless in politics (red states), crush it's systematic authority and hurl it to the trash heap of "irrelevant." The only thing Christianity is good for is a feel-good buzz from the cosmic Jesus – but when you start demanding loyalty to this kingdom of His Lord and of His Christ, you are merely acting in way of the "Reformed paradigm", outdated, irrelevant and no longer to raise its head ever again. We are being told that we cannot cast down every argument that exalts itself against the kingdom of Christ. We are, instead, being told to shut up and keep your tree-hugging Jesus to yourself. Let the scientists tell us how the world works. Let the politicians tell us how to govern the world. Let the economists tell us how to spend the world's money. Let the anthropologists and the sociologists tell us how to raise our children and about culture – anything but the Christians! See, you can't systematize a "personal" relationship. It's personal. It's not public. Message: stay personal….get the hell out of the public arena.

Finally, Virgil wants to challenge us, and that is certainly good. It is my judgment, having known Virgil, that he is indeed searching for something new. I don't believe we have to reject logic in order to do this. I don't believe we have to reject consistency. The world is inconsistent, Virgil, not the Christian God. God wants to line the world up to His thinking. We do not have to reject theology. Virgil wrote, "It is God the Person who makes our faith worth dying for, not the theological abstract “God the head of the Trinity.” It is God the all-knowing Person who created Adam and Eve, and longingly asked them Where are you?" Simple questions: How do you know that God is a Person? What is a Person? The Bible never applies the word "person" to God. Person is a Latin term from persona, and was used in the Chalcedonian Creed. How do you know God created Adam and Eve? Are these myths? No science tells you this, only the Bible. Why should I trust the Bible? Do I need the Bible to know that God is a person who made Adam and Eve? Did God ask Adam and Eve, "where are you"? If so, does that not imply that God spoke and Adam understood? Does this not further assume that God can speak and does desire us to understand what he meant when he spoke? Finally, this whole conversation between Adam and God was written down in a Bible. Does this Bible accurately convey information about this person you call, God? Can we understand this Bible so as to write down interpretative sentences about it (theology)? I think the reader gets the point. It's good to get mad…even frustrated. Perhaps the actions of certain Reformed individuals have caused the frustration to set in so much that one gets a bend towards anything Reformed…to the point where they start making no sense. Maybe that's the case here. That's my impression, anyhow.

Samuel Frost

SuperSoulFighter's picture

The real conflict I see at work here isn't so much "East vs. West" or "spiritual vs. rational". Rather, there are two, competing approaches to spirituality on display here, and they really don't need to be in conflict with each other. Virgil is proposing placing greater emphasis on the mystical, intangible elements of a personal relationship with God without sacrificing objective truth...and Sam is placing greater emphasis on interaction with factual, tangible data and knowledge...without sacrificing the more intangible elements of relationship with the divine. I don't see tremendous differences between the two at the most fundamental level, but obviously conflict can arise when our terminologies and jargon fail to express our thoughts and feelings accurately.

Thanks for the entertaining article, Sam! The volatility in your material doesn't put me off, because I can see that's just how you express yourself as a natural part of your personality. In fact, I enjoyed a chuckle or two over your exaggerated potrayal of Virgil's supposed denigration of your ideas and position. Pretty funny, as long as it's taken in a light-hearted, rather tongue-in-cheek way.


Windpressor's picture


** "faith" versus "belief" **

Secondhand Lions -- IMDb
"A coming-of-age story [corny, tear-jerking yarn (g1)] about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas."

Hub (Robert Duvall) to young Walter:

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in." [Emphasis added]
(Part of a lecture on what it means to be a real man)

See also: Secondhand Lions - Wikipedia


G-Juan Wind

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Hi Wind! I found your comments, above, intriguing...and yet disturbing also. This quote in particular concerned me: "Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."

In actual fact, it DOES matter whether something is true or not. Nothing that is NOT true is "worth believing in" - no matter how much a person "feels" that they "need" to believe it.

If the Bible truly represents the ultimate, supernaturally accurate expression of reality at the most fundamental level - then we need to treat it and value it as such. Futurists don't handle Scriptural truth with integrity or godly wisdom and understanding. We need to set the standard in that area ourselves.


KingNeb's picture

Are you sure that post was supposed to be directed to me?

Wind here says we need to believe in things that "may or may not be true". An example he provides is: "People are basically good." So i then asked him if that was true or not? He says "yes".

If the statement "People are basically good" is "true" then why is Wind here using that as an example of something that "may or may not be true"?

Either you know or you don't know - how's that for logic? ::rollseyes::

Windpressor's picture



Let's back up a little.

The movie character quote struck me as interesting and somewhat of a match up with the above main article's reference to the juxtaposition of ""faith" versus "belief"". It did not represent much of my own position. I was not really focusing on particulars other than a nod to Hub's (Duvall's character) curious admonition that believing in something noble was better than not believing regardless of verifiable truth.
That being an example of: "belief", "subjectivity", "relativism", etc.
The juxtaposed concepts are of course: "faith", "objectivity", "absolutism", etc.
All those terms, others and nuances thereof, are the stuff of philosophy which have filled shelves and conversations for ages. I have read a lot but am not well encumbered by training in formal logic. I can follow most discussions up to a point but am not burdened by a surfeit of academics. Along with subjects chosen or disregarded, much of what I studied in my youth has passed from recollection to however the mind discards and assimilates.
If I knew then what I know now ....

On a Separate Note --
Anyway, I expect that you caught on to my attempt at humor in the structuring of questions. Being the contrarian discerner of incongruities in thought and habit, I might attempt to answer the common court witness' oath as a three part question. Sorry but I think "... the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. ..." is just too heavily nuanced into three parts to just pass on a singular answer due to the go along habit of conventional thinking.
I could be wrong. Maybe legal reasoning is valid over apparent sophistry. Just an example of how I examine and question notions and common thought.

The Specifics --
Maybe I need to devise a way of designating a quote as mere presentation if it does not indicate resemblance to any of my own positions. I am not sure why you have focused on the movie script's axiomatic dialogue that "people are basically good". As I previously pointed out in general but here in some particular examples, the question is dependent on defining terms.

Example #1 -- Humans are "basically" composed of a few ounces of mineral compounds and several pints of water. Humans are people. Dust (minerals) and water are part of the creation God called "good". Therefore, the statement, "people are basically good" is true.

Example #2 -- Human nature is debated in theology as to whether it is corrupted by inherent depravity or later influence. The statement will be considered either true or false depending on one's viewpoint.

Example #3 -- Whatever human capacity for good, no amount of goodness or good efforts expended can suffice to alleviate people's basic deprivation and distance from the divine. In that sense, the statement is false.

Example #4 -- If "good" is defined as "having value" then the concept that people are worthy of regard, sacrifice, redemption by grace, etc., then yes the statement is true.

I hope this helps clarify more than confuses. Again, the movie quote was simply that and not really intended to show anything I have fully embraced. Notice that here I have delineated 3 different levels of discussion. If you look back at the previous reply you should see where I likewise proceeded to other facets.



G-Juan Wind

KingNeb's picture other words, you have no idea what he meant, yet you "nod" it.

And if you don't know what he meant, how then do you know his statement about people was "noble"? What makes an idea "noble"?

Windpressor's picture


" other words, you have no idea what he meant,"

How prescient you are! First you read from what I haven't written and now you can read minds. With a little more practice you can put a sign out front that reads something like:
"Psychic Readings $15 -- Credit Cards Accepted"

Oops. Maybe I got caught with my semantics down.
Let's check it out.

Words can have multiple definitions and mean something different to different people. OK. I concede that the predominant definitions for "nod" are usually to indicate "approval" or "agreement". However, the more neutral "confirmation" and "acknowledgment" are also usage possibilities. As you should know, dictionaries are an after the fact documentation of meanings. They are an imperfect record of possible usage. Context and usage is determinative. I thought my usage in such context was sufficient to show that by a "nod", I was merely "noticing" or "neutrally acknowledging" the dialogue content. Acknowledgement is not endorsement.

Is there some reason for not distinguishing another's idea submitted for examination from the absence of clear indication as to my own viewpoint? Do I need to preface every possible quote sentence with "alledgedly" or "according to" or "as stated", etc.?
So what if I have "no idea". Posting can be useful for not only asserting opinions and disseminating knowledge but also for submitting topics for examination and discussion.

The valuation of " believing in something noble" is merely an observation contextual to the movie. The quote can be lifted out of the plot and viewed at generic face value or it can be critiqued relevant to character angst and back-story.

As to a general philosophy about things "that may or may not be true", one could just as easily rephrase: "That people generally are either unwitting dupes or insolent jerks; that traditional family values and following Superman's motto of 'Truth, Justice and The American Way' always triumphs; that dying with your boots on means everything; that politics and religion mean nothing; that ... well whatever." Even if looked at as Hub delivering a rant showing his attempt to process the tragedy and successes of his earlier life, that still posits the issue of how the reality of the human capacity for multi-various "believing" in any number of abstract values relates to the concept of an independent, concrete, objective, truth of an established "faith". That was my intended point of departure for any possible discussion before getting distracted on to a tangent. Is there any discussion to add to the "faith" versus "belief" conundrum? If not, then consider my entry of a movie quote as merely noting a manifestation of one cultural view.

This topic looks as though it is winding down. Even if not otherwise occupied, it takes me awhile to put thought to text. It looks like others here can make their keyboard smoke and churn out text faster than I can scroll.

Oh well.


G-Juan Wind

KingNeb's picture

"My wife has almost learned not to ask me a multi-choice or an either/or question."

Sounds like your wife is an intelligent lady...forget i asked.

SuperSoulFighter's picture

That's one of the funnier comments I've seen here, KingNeb! Thanks for the chuckle!

Windpressor's picture


Hello, SSF

Like I said, the guy is prescient. He ought to hang his
shingle and start taking readings.

We are into our 4th decade of relationship with all the
history of baggage, back-n-forth and banter that is meet
for a marriage well grounded in the proper mix of contrary
and compatible. I submit such a simple sentence as
summary for a small slice of sentient semblance of
sagaciously sardonic spoof ... and right away he has us
pegged. Lifted right from the text like he was reading a
palm. The guy is good at that. Talk about believing in
"things that may or not be true ... "
You should get him to give you a reading.


BTW -- in response to your other comment at:

"I'm a little concerned... " --

I hope you read all the comments in this section and can
discern that the movie quote is not an endorsement but
material presented for discussion. The movie is an
enjoyable watch. It happened to be on where we were at
over the holidays. We didn't get to see the alternative
ending and extras that are on the DVD.
Get it for review as cheap as possible; preferably for not
much, if any, over the cost of time spent watching. The
back-story context for the quote might be useful.

Again, I too can not fully endorse the idea of just believing
something. However, I must concede that an honest look
at the human condition leads to a conclusion that history
shows that mankind has consistently proceeded with all
manor of misbelief through the rise and fall of human

Proverbs 19:21
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand."

If you think that more could be developed from the
quote or the juxtaposition of "faith" and "belief",
we should take it up in the forum section.
I will not make any more reply under this article.



G-Juan Wind

KingNeb's picture

"That people are basically good;"


Is that a true or false statement?

Windpressor's picture


Yes it is. :)

My wife has almost learned not to ask me a multi-choice or an either/or question.

"Do you want to go to Wendy's, McDonald's or eat at home?"
Answer: "Yes"

I have also probably posted double questions here. To be fair and less "inconsistent", I would have to give the idea more thought. The statement is loaded with much that has been debated and subjected to semantics and definitional frame-working.

I do know that it is a fundamental premise of Scientology. They also have some kind of operative pragmatic methodology in approaching life circumstances similar to Hub's approach.
The exact turn of phrase eludes my recollection at the moment.

Human nature, goodness, circumstances, evil ...
Our conditions are such a difficult mix that I wonder if we are asking the right questions.



G-Juan Wind

KingNeb's picture

so, you're saying "yes" but then you're saying, "well, let me think about it more...perhaps that is not the right question."

Wind, if the statement is true, then why is it being used as something that "may or may not be true"?

Which is it?

JL's picture


You aren't very good at logic are you?

(A or not A) is always true in two-state logic. (I won't trouble you with multi-state or fuzzy logic. Just be mindful that it's mostly true there also.)




JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

demario's picture

I resent the statement by SF that I "come up with bizarre theories of 'double-fulfillment', 'partial fulfillment', 'already/not yet' fulfillment, and the like." I do no such thing. It's one thing to defend a position; it's another thing to offer convincing arguments for the defense of a position. I have found in my study (using logic) that they are not all convincing based on my understanding of Scripture. There's a great deal about particular Bible passages that I do not understand. It may be that I'm not as smart as some of you. Please be reminded that I am only a physical education major. This does not require me to force passages I don't understand into a theological paradigm for the sake of defending the paradigm at all costs. This is what dispensationalists have done (also in the name of logic), and, I am sad to say, this is what some full or "consistent" preterists often attempt to do.

G. DeMar

vinster's picture

At least Gary was respectful and honorable in giving me a full explaination as to why he couldn't attend an upcoming conference to debate Don Preston.

Not like that coward from "The Bible Answer Man" show, who, after I filled out a 20 question form, never even gave me any explaination at all, even after I asked him for 2008 as well.
I asked for a full explaination and their response was, "We must respectfully decline at this time." I had also asked him in 2006 as well.

Here's the kicker - one of the questions was, "Will you provide an Honorarium?" (which is understandable). I answered that I would try to provide as much as I could, do to the fact that I was the sole funder of the conference and debate and was not getting any help from a church or organization (own savings).
When I asked them if this was the reason for his refusal, there was no response.

The funny thing is, about two weeks later, (never having bought or donated anything to his ministry), I get a recorded message from the ministry asking me to help a year-end shortage:
My wife and I just stood there shaking our heads.


KingNeb's picture

down Vinnie, down....

haha...hey, do what i do...write a rap about him. ( :

Duck's picture


I too would like to know your position regarding full preterists. Are full preterists heretics that partial preterists should avoid when discussing eschatology? I was a part of a house church in Atlanta for 12 years during which time I introduced preterism to the members of my church. We openly searched the Scriptures together and preterism began to grow. This all came to a sudden end when my co-elder whose “house church” ministry became threatened by the stigma of heresy associated with full preterism. After speaking to you my co-elder took a radical position that full preterism should not be spoken of publicly or privately any more. This inevitably divided the church and severed many relationships. Now, I’m not accusing you of anything but I think you can see why I am curious as to your position towards full preterists.

I consider you a brilliant Bible Scholar. I subscribe to your magazine and appreciate all that you are doing for the Kingdom of God. I also believe you are well aware of the many inconsistencies of partial preterism much like dispensationalism. God has given you great respect in the eyes of many. I pray that if you believe full preterists to be your brothers you will defend us against all false and harmful accusations.


MichaelB's picture

Gary - if we are in the New Heavens and New Earth then the heaven and earth that "fled away" in Revelation 20 at the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT is fulfilled. I do think that your partial ideas are bizarre too. Look at Daniel 12:1-3. It is quoted in Matt 24:21. Had to happen before the generation passed away. Also it says AT THAT TIME the resurrection would occur. The time of tribulation.

Sam's picture


although I admire and respect everything you have done for the past 20 years, I must find your statements here alarming. I mentioned you specifically in hopes that you would bite...and you did. To suggest to me that you have not studied I Corinthians 15 for 20 years now seems to betray something of a politician at this point: make everyone happy. Fact of the matter is, I don't buy it. Your position is a creedal paradigm. You, more than anyone else, knows about paradigms....yours is creedal: the Second Coming and Resurrection of the Dead is future. What Scriptures do you have for this position? I Corinthians 15? I Thess. 4? Romans 8.19-ff? Acts 1.7? That's it? No OT witness? We have been BEGGING for your FRIENDS and current SPEAKERS at YOUR CONFERENCES to SPEAK TO US, and they REFUSE...why? YOU TELL ME! Gentry's answer? "I don't debate heretics". Is that yours?


Virgil's picture

Sam, Gary has participated as a speaker at our conferences before, and I never heard him call anyone a heretic, so why would you ask him such a thing?

mazuur's picture


I have been listening to you for a while now (I also subscribe to your podcast) and I am sorry to say that, while you may resent Sam's statement, it is true. I do not say that to be mean or wanting to attack you, but just to be honest with you.

You state "'s another thing to offer convincing arguments for the defense of a position."

In the dispensationalist's mind he is doing that very thing too, yet you charge him that he is not while claiming that you do. I find that ironic, because is that not basically what Sam is charging you with? Are you intending to insult the dispensationalist's when you state such as thing? I would suspect you do not. I also suspect Sam is not. If you don't expect the dispersationalist's to feel resentment towards you, why would you feel resentment toward Sam's statement?

I am sure the dispensationalists feel the same way towards you when you state that they "force passages...into a theological paradigm for the sake of defending the paradigm at all costs".

Again, I find it humorous that you can see their (Dispensationalists) complete failure at dealing with the Scriptures, yet you can't see the complete failure of Partial Preterist is dealing with the Scriptures in the full Preterist's eyes.

I do not know the motivation behind your blindness (intentional or unintentional) and don't really care. I have my guesses that range from 1) genuine and honest blindness to 2) having a large high dollar Ministry that shares a nice cozy relationship with many big names (example: Hank Hanegraaff and everyone linked to him) that would probably run into serious support problems (among other things i.e. being labeled a "heretic") if you were to ever actually espouse the idea that Christ's second coming and the Resurrection were past tense and fulfilled (claimed full Preterism).

Don't kid yourself concerning your intelligence, as you are a very intelligent person. You write well and speak well. I enjoy your Podcast very much and hope you keep them up, because if anything you are breaking into the "dispensationalist world" we live in where most don't even know other views exist. Any exposure to Preterism is good in my eyes. I just pray that someday yours are opened the rest of the way, as I am sure God will use you even more mightily.


P.S. I hope my post was not insulting in anyway, as it was not intended to be. I was just merely trying to be honest and straightforward concerning your Partial Preterism and its relationship to dispensationalism.


Sam's picture

thanks Rich...


Virgil's picture

Gary, I do not believe you come up with "bizarre theories" - I do believe that they probably look bizarre to Sam and other people. This is why I am advocating a more open dialog and conversation between all of us. Understanding each other is the first step towards reconciliation, and certainly I believe you've gone above and beyond trying to understand full preterism. As far as I am concerned, any scholar who says "there are Bible passages I do not understand" has my respect.

- virgil

Ed's picture

Well Sam, I don't really want to get too involved in a discussion on this topic, but I would like to point out a couple of problems with your argument.

First let me say that I am not speaking in relation to Virgil's article, which I have not had time to read. These are my thoughts concerning what you have written.

1) You seem to imply that everything can be systematized out of scripture. Well, let's look at economics for a moment. Here is where I will be called a "statist"(happened before). Many "Christian economists" of the Reformed ilk argue that "biblical economics" is libertarian. Well, what of Joseph in Egypt? 20% taxation? Confiscating private land for Pharoah? Selling back grain to the original owner? Is this libertarianism? Hardly. And God was blessing Joseph this entire time.

2) Let's talk theology for a moment. You seem to also imply that if we don't see things your way, then we are not thinking theologically. Au contraire. I believe wholeheartedly in thinking logically, and "reason(ing) together." What I have a problem with in systematic theology is the "proof texting" of so the theologians espousing that particular systematic theology.

IOW, we can invent just about any doctrine that you want - all we have to do is piece several verses together, and voila we have a doctrine. E.g., God has wings (Ps 63:7; Mt. 23:37), a finger (Ex 8:19; Ex 31:18; Dt 9:10), a nose (Ex 15:8; 2Sam 22:16; Ps 18:15).

I could go on, but I think that you get my point. Theology needs to spring from a proper reading of scripture. That proper reading necessitates an "eastern," i.e., Hebraic understanding. Western rationalism has given birth to a wooden literalism that makes for an interesting understanding of scripture.

I stand with you on the Western Civilization thing. I have argued it for some time now, even for some time losing friends over it (I think it is quite obvious that there are some on this site and others who have a disdain for Western civilization). I agree that one cannot "thrown the baby out with the bathwater." However, let's be open enough to find out what this bathwater is, so we can dump it and get some fresh stuff. That will be better for "the baby" (i.e., the truths of Christendom), and for all of civilization, both western and eastern.



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Virgil's picture


I can't respond to most of your message, mostly because it's a mis-representation (or a misunderstanding) of almost everything I wrote, so I can't respond to a straw man attempt to defend something I've never said or even implied. I homeschool, am a libertarian, do not believe that God is "inconsistent" in the sense you are explaining in the article, nor do I believe we need the government to dictate our lives - in fact I am sure you already know this; I even responded to your question regarding "inconsistency" you asked a few days ago and I explained to you exactly what I meant. :) Did you miss my answer?

I will only take issue with one point you made, which is the development of supposed quality doctrine and life through the vein of determinism in Christianity, starting with Augustine, and going to Luther and Calvin. And it always bothers me when Reformed people take credit for the development of democracy or democratic thinking.
Luther saw the democratic masses of peasants seeking their freedom in Germany as nothing more than "beasts" who needed to be destroyed, killed and burned, and Calvin apparently saw no connection between the scripture he was studying so hard and the social freedom of the individual. In fact I remember reading Luther, and he was even implying that peasants were created by God for the sole purpose to work away for the benefit of the rich - I will try to find a reference for this.

It seems to me that it was not until people like Thomas Paine left Calvinism behind and embraced Unitarianism, when he helped pen one of the most anti-Calvinist documents created in America, the Declaration of Independence which declared that "all people are created equal." People like Adam Smith were the liberals of the day promoting unheard-of principles of freedom and equality, leading to small government and power of the people at the local level. Religious liberalism has helped Christianity escape the death grip of the European intolerance under which one would most certainly die for dissenting from the doctrine of the majority, and brought Christianity into the world of free-thinking and independent thinking that allows for the kind of round-table interacting we get to have here for example.

Not everything about Liberalism is bad Sam, just as not everything about Conservatism is good. The Boogie Man picture you are drawing will not scare me, and I think most people can and will see past it. There is beauty to be found both inside and outside of systematic theology, both in the west and in the east, Christian and Jewish exegesis.

- virgil

MichaelB's picture

Virgil wrote:
anti-Calvinist documents created in America, the Declaration of Independence which declared that "all people are created equal."

Virgil, where on earth do you get this idea that Calvinists don't think that men are created equal? All men are created equal in the Calvinist view (fallen). God then gives mercy and justice to whom He pleases, after.

Ed's picture

What if God wanted to give mercy to all? Why does that make the Calvinist so darn mad?



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Virgil's picture

Why does that make the Calvinist so darn mad?

I don't know..ask them :)

MichaelB's picture

Found this on the internet. Thought it was interesting.

America's heritage is Christian, but not only Christian: America's founding and heritage is Calvinistic. People of Reformed and Calvinistic persuasion largely colonized America. America did not invent a new order of the ages in 1776. It continued a process of refining a Biblical and Reformational theory of government that acknowledged the sovereignty of God and resisted the sovereignty of kings. Jean Calvin of Geneva, not Jean Rousseau of Geneva, created the mindset that governed this country. More than the Greeks and Romans, more than the Enlightenment thinkers, more than the explorers and colonizers, Calvin established America. And Calvin was not alone. Such theologians, writers, and pastors as William Farel (Calvin's co-pastor in Geneva), Peter Viret of Geneva, Theodore Beza (Calvin's successor), John Ponet of Strasbourg, the anonymous author of Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos in France, and Johannes Althusius (the author of Politica) all weighed in on the theological implications of governmental tyranny, persecution of the Christian faith, and the limits of obedience to ungodly rulers.

If these continental Reformers did not say enough, from the British Isles came another regiment of political and theological thinkers. John Knox, Andrew Melville, and other Scots put their theology in action during the turbulent reigns of such tyrants as Queen Mary Stuart and her worthless son James. Scotsmen George Buchanan and Samuel Rutherford penned great treatises on government to teach rulers how to rule and to admonish and remove them when they misruled. As this Calvinist political philosophy was being debated and thought out among the Puritans in England, some opted to pack the ideas for their trek across the Atlantic to the New World.

William Bradford, John Winthrop, John Cotton and others set the norms for Biblical and covenantal civil government in Colonial America. By the time of the American War for Independence, the war for the hearts and minds of the people, the true revolution, had been completed by scores of pastors who had faithfully preached election sermons for generations. The language of the colonial charters, the resolutions preceding the Declaration of Independence, the ongoing sermons and theological pamphlets all testify to the Reformed heritage in this country's founding and the extent to which Calvinism sparked our independence. Presbyterian and Congregationalist pastors and laymen filled the ranks of both officers and soldiers in the Continental armies. The War for Independence was truly a Presbyterian Rebellion.

Ed's picture

Oh, and btw, before the Reformation; who exactly was it that "built" Europe?

And one last bubble to burst: you mention Congregationalists.

Let's look at a few of them, shall we:

Jefferson - universalist
Franklin - universalist
Benjamin Rush - universalist

I'm sure that the list is longer, but that suffices to sufficiently upset the apple cart.



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MichaelB's picture

Jefferson - huh - funny he should be a Christian hero of yours Ed - nice bible. Is that your position on the word of God too? Want me to go through the rest? By the way are you a unitarian too? So why would you promote it?

from a unitarian website:

Over time the traditional Unitarian emphasis on the exercise of human reason caused Unitarians to cease to regard the Bible as the ultimate authority in matters of faith

Ed's picture

OK, Mike - you can stop the ad hominem attacks now.

No, I am not a unitarian - but nice try.

Re: Jefferson. Is he not one of your heroes too? Didn't he write the Declaration of Independence? Theologically, no he is not a hero of mine. My arguments come from scripture.

Mike, if you have to resort to this kind of attack, perhaps you need to reconsider your dogma. It's common knowledge that when one has no argument, one resorts to ad hominem. Is that what happened here?




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MichaelB's picture

How does Thomas Jefferson being a unitarian and a bible shredder ruin my argument. I simply stated (or quotedc) an article that showed undeniably that the dec of inde had calvinistic ideas in it. Just because one writer was not a part of it does not change that Ed. An adhom? I simply stated Jeffersons beliefs and asked if you agreed with them? You are the one that changed the subject. Virgil stated the dec of inde flew in the face of calviism. I have simply shown the opppsite a) in the calvinist view all men are created equal b) There were calvinistic people involved in writing it and influences everywhere surrounding it. That was the point. It was you that went off in a tangent.

Ed's picture

For the record, re-read your own post:

Jefferson - huh - funny he should be a Christian hero of yours Ed - nice bible. Is that your position on the word of God too? Want me to go through the rest? By the way are you a unitarian too? So why would you promote it?

Note the sentence in bold type - a clear attempt to associate me with a unitarian.

Now, for the record, the DofI was written by Tom Jefferson with influence from John Locke (Life, Liberty and...Property in Locke's economy, which Jefferson associated with Happiness). No Calvinists were in sight.

In addition, I pointed out that there were universalists involved with the Constitution - Franklin, Rush to name just two. Freemasons were a large part of it as well (and the first 5 Presidents were freemasons, if memory serves me).

Yes, of course the Presbyterians had an influence, but most of them felt that the Constitution was an idolatrous document due to its failure to cite "Jesus Christ is Lord" in its beginning sentences (cf: Gary North's "Political Polytheism").



Papa is especially fond of us

MichaelB's picture

You are right Ed I did say that. Sorry for saying it that way about Jefferson. I assumed he was one of your champions. MB.

Ed's picture

Politically, he is. Theologically, he wasn't.



Papa is especially fond of us

MichaelB's picture

agree =)

Ed's picture

Ever heard of California? Louisiana? New Mexico? Arizona? Michigan?

Founded by Roman Catholic missionaries.





Papa is especially fond of us

MichaelB's picture

It doesn't make the Calvinist "mad". The bible states that He doesn't give mercy to everyone so the Calvinist believes it, and the Calvinist would like those that profess to be believers to acknowledge the truth the bible teaches.

Romans 11 is often sited for mercy on all, but that is a ridiculous argument. Romans 11 is in regards to those who come back to him through faith, and are grafted back into the tree. That is the "all". The "all" in the tree.

Romans 11
30For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

If He wanted to have mercy on all, then why were men punished at all, if their sins were paid for? It can not be chastisement as "sons" (Heb 12) because a) bible says not all are sons (see 1 John) and b) bible says chastisement as sons were so they were not CONDEMNED with the world (see Corinthians).

Mercy is the crossing from death to life. Not all did that. Only those with faith.

Romans 9
22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—

Titus 3
5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Jude 1
20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

John 5
24"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

Matthew 25
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Ed's picture

The Romans 11 passage is the very one that disproves what you are saying. You see, your references to condemnation/judgment/etc. are references to AD70, and God's wrath being poured out upon them to the uttermost.

However, we see in Romans 11 that some were rejected by God so that He might have mercy on ALL. In addition, we see that those whom God rejected (your so-called reprobates), when they are instead accepted by God (after they undergo the necessary judgment of their "sin," i.e., their failure to fully comply with the Law), then would be experienced "life from the dead."

Thus, ALL ISRAEL WOULD (WERE) SAVED - as God promised the Fathers.

I have explained this very plausible explanation for the judgment passages you Calvinists always cite (remember, I was a Calvinist for over 20 years), and yet you reject the explanation. Why? Because it makes you mad that God might not fry a bunch of people endlessly. How sick is that?

Well, enough already...I'll not re-hash the old arguments. They are always the same.




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MichaelB's picture

Ed writes:

Ed all one has to do is look at the context of Romans 11 found in Romans 9 & 10 to find the "Israel" God is talking about, and to find the "saved" that he is talking about.

Romans 9
6It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 8In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

Romans 10
11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Ed's picture

Think this out logically Mike -

IF Paul said that some were hardened so that ALL would receive mercy, how does your logic follow. Let's read it again, your way:

Some were hardened so that the some would be saved.

Then, let's take a look at my next point:

When those that were rejected were accepted, then that would be "life from the dead" i.e., the resurrection. Now let's read it your way.

When none of those whom God rejected were accepted, then would be "life from the dead."

Doesn't make sense does it?

Oh well.



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davo's picture

Ed I hate it when you use logic ;).

This is the folly of POST Parousia Calvinistic reasoning:

[1] How does an individual "reject" the gospel if Christ allegedly did not die for that individual? What is the supposed "good news" that this person apparently rejects? The Calvinist has "good news" for none but the elect ONLY. One can hardly reject what has not genuinely been offered. Thus if there is no gospel genuinely offered to the "non-elect," how then can the so called "non-elect" be said to "reject" such a gospel?

[2] If as the Bible states "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" [1Tim 1:15], and yet it is further said that Christ came "to save the elect" ONLY, then clearly only those elect can rightly be determined as "sinners" – thus all else who are constituted as "non-elect" are logically NOT sinners; so Paul's "for all have sinned…" [Rom 3:23] must mean ALL the elect "without exception" rather than ALL men "without distinction". This fraught logic is the consequent result of a theological position that eschews the biblical text while at the same time ignoring historical context, thus leaving us with an unworkable and contradictory pretext – which is exactly what you are doing Mike; ignoring the one thing that good preterists pride themselves on doing, i.e., acknowledging and holding to "historical context" – the very thing that Ed has shown you what Romans 11 is all about.


Ed's picture

that's correct. The Protestant Reformed Church has argued this very thing for years contra the rest of the Reformed Church.

The PRC has argued that Calvinism demands that there is no offer of the gospel to the non-elect, as you correctly state. And yet, the rest of the Reformed world argues with the PRC that the non-elect are offered the gospel - but logic would dictate otherwise.

In fact, this is one of the reasons that the CRC and other Reformed Churches (like the RCA) have moved away from Calvinism. They now recognize God's sovereignty in "salvation" without drawing the necessary conclusions about strict 5 point Calvinism. Some in the CRC and RCA have embraced aspects of universal reconciliation, if not the whole basket. Grace abounds.



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MichaelB's picture

Ed who are the elect in your view? What were they elected to in your view? And were they elected before the foundation of the world?

Universalists have the same "free offer" of the gospel as just say that the elect was for a different reason. But NOT ALL were elect.

Ed's picture

The "elect" were the same in the NT that they were in the Old. Israel - but not all Israel was Israel in that regard.

The elect was always those whom God "brought out" from any nation about to be destroyed. The elect were those brought out of Egypt and who made it through the desert. The elect were Noah and his family. The elect was Lot and his daughters. The elect were those believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God foreknew (and chose), to "come out from among" those who were to perish in the Destruction of Jerusalem.

Once the elect served its purpose of fulfilling God's promise to the Fathers, then the WHOLE WORLD would then benefit from that redemption. Why? Because "in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself" and they were "kings and priests" to God. Priests to whom? The rest of the world.

Jesus fulfilled the Law. There is no longer a Law that condemns anyone to destruction, because Jesus met all the requirements of it. The elect too, through faith, kept its requirements, and now, we are in the New Heavens and New Earth, where righteousness dwells.

You would know what Davo and I believe about this stuff if you would read what we write instead of trying to associate us with folks like Jefferson.



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MichaelB's picture

Ed writes
"in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself"

The were "in Christ" only if they believed.

Ephesians 1
13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

People had to be "implored" to be reconciled.

2 Corinthians 5
20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

There is no condemnation for those "in Christ"

Romans 8
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Not all men were "in Christ" since men were condemned.

John 3
18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

The reconciliation of the world "in Christ" were Jew and Gentile that formed "one body" the church.

Romans 12
5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Reconciliation meant not counting mens sins against them.

2 Cor 5
19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation

Yet there were men whom God still held sins against. Therefore they were not "in Christ".

John 8
24I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

Paige's picture

Hey Ed,

You bring up an extremely valid point that I've been pondering over for a while lately. The NT believers were indeed likened to Priests. Priests were always a small group called to minister on behalf of the whole, correct? It seems the way most are seeing this is a priesthood of believers ministering on behalf of only the priesthood. I don't think that fits the typology and purpose of Priests. Wouldn't that be akin to Christ ministering strictly for Himself? Just thought I'd run this by you to get your thoughts on it.


MichaelB's picture

That doesnt answer the question Ed. If the elect were the called out ones to the priesthood then the gospel offer was really no offer at all. The offer was to call out those that were elect even in your view. Since the other had no need for it and were not called.

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