OPEN LETTER & CHALLENGE TO DEBATE THE ELDERS (JEFF DURBIN, LUKE PIERSON & JAMES WHITE) OF APOLOGIA CHURCH – OVER THEIR PUBLIC COMMENTS OF FULL PRETERISM

Dear Pastors Jeff Durbin, Luke Pierson & James White or To Whom it May Concern at the APOLOGIA Church,

I recently listened to your podcast on “hyper-preterism” (see link at end of article) and as a Sovereign Grace Full Preterist apologist, author and debater — I would like to TRULY “engage” with you over your public statements of my position. I co-authored, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” and interacted with Keith A. Mathison and Simon Kistemaker and their attempts to refute Full Preterism in their co-authored book, “When Shall These Things Be?…” I have a background in being a Reformed Baptist, so I am very familiar with your views. I have challenged James White to debate but of course he “won’t debate eschatology.” The sad thing is when “Reformed” “Apologists” make these kind of statements (along with “dreading” teaching Matthew 24) when the facts are one cannot separate soteriology from eschatology or failing to realize that the call to “defend” our “hope” is an eschatological passage itself (1 Pet. 3:15/Cols. 1:27/Jn. 14:2; 23/Rev. 21:16/1 Cor. 15:28). I recently debated Charismatic Dr. Michael Brown (White’s friend) over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 because Sam Waldron and White did such a horrible job of dealing with their foundational text with exegetical “integrity.”

 

It was also a blessing, to be invited on UFC Champ Pat Miletich’s show to discuss the eschatology of Islam, Zionism and Evangelical Zionism.

In short, I am qualified to debate this subject and want to discuss this issue publicly with you.

Please respond to my gracious challenge so we can go over the propositions and format of the discussion/debate.

Thank you for your time.

In Christ,

Michael Sullivan

My Brief Response to Jeff Durbin’s Podcast:

1). “It is important for (Reformed) Christians to have a CONSISTENT eschatology” and to have “Christian INTEGRITY” by admitting there are over 100 imminent time texts in the NT which were fulfilled in AD 70.

This of course was one of the main issues we dealt with in “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” – and that is, exposing this myth that they have a “consistent eschatology.” Just put James White, Sam Waldron, Keith Mathison and Kenneth Gentry on the show with Jeff and I would expose that myth rather quickly. Let’s run through just SOME examples. Since Jeff admitted all of Luke 21 and Matthew 21-24 was fulfilled in AD 70 along with the rest of the NT’s 100 plus time texts, lets address some of these issues.

Luke 21 / Matthew 21-25

Jeff (a Partial Preterist – PP) admits the coming of Christ and redemption of Luke 21 was fulfilled in AD 70. Yet classic Amillennialists such as Waldron and White would admit this is the Second Coming (SC) event and the “redemption” is the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8:18-23. While there, will Jeff please explain the “time text” of mello and admit like Gary DeMar that this glorification was “about to be” and was fulfilled in AD 70 (Rms. 8:18 YLT)? Or maybe elaborate on Reformed theologian John Lightfoot admitting the creation groaning and subject to decay here is addressing sin in the creation of man and not the physical planet? Was Lightfoot a “gnostic”?  Obviously, this is not a minor inconsistency – lol.

 

And obviously there are all of the parallels (the analogy of faith or analogy of Scripture hermeneutic) between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 which most Reformed theologians and commentators would say is the ONE SC event — of which Jeff must deny.

 

So Jeff is maintaining the coming of Christ and the “redemption” of Luke 21 was fulfilled in AD 70, yet others like Waldron and White would claim this is the ONE SC and resurrection event. Jeff would maintain that the coming and “gathering” of Christ in Matthew 24:27-31 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and yet Waldron and White would claim this is the ONE SC and resurrection event.  If you call that being exegetically “consistent” “integrity” – I have other descriptive adjectives.

Jeff mentions the seriousness of believing in a physical judgment and resurrection of the dead at the end of world history. But of course Jeff isn’t telling you that his Reformed PP brethren have admitted that the resurrection and “end” of Daniel 12:1-3 was spiritually fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70. Why not discuss the lack of “consistency” and what PPism really teaches Jeff – since you are claiming to “care” so much about us and have all this exegetical “integrity” – seriously?!? Let’s discuss the Reformed PP implications of taking the “end of the age” and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-3=Matthew 13:39-43=Matthew 24:3-31 as fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.

The Olivet Discourse forms Pauline and NT eschatology and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 IS the resurrection of the NT.  No wonder you didn’t want to discuss “consistency” and this admission of PPism.

Jeff, since you take the “ALL these things” (Mt. 24:3-34 or Lk. 21:5-32) as referring to AD 70, wouldn’t the “ALL these things” of Daniel 12:7 be referring to the resurrection event being fulfilled within the 3.5 years along with the Tribulation and Desolation or “when the power of the holy people [was] completely shattered” in AD 70? If not why not?

 

James White on the Olivet Discourse

Jeff, your co-Elder James White tells us the truth is in the “middle” of Hyper-Preterism and Dispensationalism when interpreting Matthew 24. What exactly is in the “middle”? Clearly he is referring to Reformed Partial Preterism (your view) and that of his and Waldron’s classic Amillennial view. BUT the “middle” of these two views IS the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist view:

Major Premise: The coming of Christ in the OD is the ONE SC event to be fulfilled at the end of the age (Reformed Amillennialism)

Minor Premise: BUT the coming of Christ in the OD was fulfilled at the end of the OC age spiritually in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” in AD 70 (Partial Preterism)

Conclusion / “CONSISTENCY”: THEREFORE, The ONE SC event predicted by Christ in the OD was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism). This is what we call, “Reformed and always reforming” and exegetical and historical “consistency.”

Jeff’s PPism is obviously NOT “consistent” and lacks “integrity” when put alongside Waldron and White’s classic creedal and Amillennial view. The “end of the age” or “end” judgment and resurrection of the dead of Daniel 12 IS the “end” and resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43/24:31; John 5-6; 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20:5-15. After all Jeff, Paul said this resurrection was “about to be” fulfilled in his day (Acts 24:15 YLT). So much for having “integrity” or “consistency” in dealing with those 100 plus time texts. Jeff, why not have a podcast explaining to us HOW within your PPism the judgment and resurrection of the dead was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (1 Pet. 4:5-7; Rev. 11:8ff.; Dan. 12:2-3 [and it’s NT references]) – and invite Waldron and White on?!? If you truly “care” and want to show us how “consistent” and “orthodox” (creedal) you are, let’s get with it brother. Let’s have White and Waldron on the show to discuss the timing of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 in light of your PPism and those 100 plus NT time texts.

Since you have admitted the 100 plus time texts refer to AD 70, by all means explain how Paul referencing Genesis 3:15 and how “Satan” was “crushed” “shortly” in AD 70, but this wasn’t the “shortly” end of the millennium judgment of Satan in Revelation 20. Again, if you truly “care” you will have “an answer to ANYONE who asks” you about these matters (1 Pet. 3:15). If you aren’t willing to discuss and debate these issues, please stop pretending you “care” are “consistent” creedal “orthodox” etc… My guess is you won’t be an actual “apologist” and address these issues. But hey, I hope you will prove me wrong.

Psalm 110 / Hebrews 10 / 1 Corinthians 15

Your co-host Pastor Luke Pierson, mentioned a discussion he had with a FP who claimed these texts don’t mention a Second Coming following Christ putting his enemies under His feet?!? Hebrews 10:13-37 is VERY clear that the “enemies” were “about to be” burned with fire when Christ was going to come in a “very little while” and would “not delay” in AD 70.  These first century “enemies” were in the process of being placed under Christ’s feet just as the “last enemy” “the death” was “bEING destroyed” (1 Cor. 15 WUESTNT).  Has physical death been in the process of “being destroyed” for 2,000 plus years?  Who’s really denying the efficacy of the atonement?  Not me!

Harmonizing Luke 21 and Matthew 24-25

Jeff, you claimed Luke 21 is the coming of Christ in AD 70 but apparently Matthew 24-25 includes the SC? Wow, so when Luke is discussing Jesus’ teaching on this matter he totally forgets to tell his Gentile audience about the end of world history and about Jesus’ actual SC – because they are Gentiles? That is your “apologetic” against FPism and Bible skeptics?  Sad my friend. The truth of course is that Luke and Mark were written to of a more Gentile audience (agree there), but since the phrase “end of the age” is more Jewish and Christ spoke to the Jews in parables, Matthew is going to add that to his account along with more parables. Nothing here to support TWO comings – good try though. Matthew 24-25 is written with recapitulation (as is the book of Revelation) and is dealing with ONE Second Coming event just as Mark and Luke are. This is called exegetical “integrity” while your view has none:

 

 

The wedding of Matthew 22; 24-25 / Revelation 19-21 / Isaiah 25:6-9

Jeff, you claim the wedding feast of Matthew 22; 24-25 and Revelation 19-21 was fulfilled in AD 70, BUT the Reformed classic Amillennialist will correctly point out to you that this is WHEN “the last enemy” “the death” is “swallowed up” (Isa. 25:6-9/1 Cor. 15). Again, we harmonize these two competing “Reformed” views and make them TRULY “consistent” and “orthodox” (straight) with “integrity” while your view does not.

Luke 21:22 – the fulfillment of all that has been written (in the OT)

And in your discussion of Luke 21, where was any discussion of this passage? If Jesus came to fulfill “all” that was written in the OT concerning His Second Coming within His contemporary “this generation,” then obviously that would include the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Isaiah 25:6-9.

End of world history and the PP missing de-creation text

Jesus nor the NT writers ever predicted the end of the planet earth as is simply assumed by so many here in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and elsewhere in the NT. When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70. (John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86. C. Jonathin Seraiah, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2002).

These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when Full Preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology, anti-preterists unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views. The Full Preterist combines the two competing “orthodox” views on the coming of the Lord and de-creation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 to form a consistently exegetical and historical position:

CLASSIC AMILLENNIAL VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 is the ONE second coming event as is the de-creation spoken of here.

PARTIAL PRETERIST VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man happened spiritually and the end of age, de-creation of verses 3, 29 and 35 are descriptive of the passing of the old covenant creation/age and the establishing the new by AD 70.

 

SOVEREIGN GRACE FULL PRETERIST VIEW (Synthesis/”CONSISTENCY”of above views – “Reformed and always reforming”): The coming of the Son of Man is the ONE second coming event (as is the de-creation spoken of in verses 3, 29, 35) whereby Christ came spiritually to end the old covenant creation/age in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 and establish the new.

Then there is the exegetical fact that what you place as the “end” of world history, the OT and NT instructs us is the “end” of the OC age and per the Futurist hyper-literal hermeneutic there is birth, sin, evangelism and death taking place post Second Coming / arrival of the New Creation (Isa. 65-66/Rev. 22:17).

Revelation

And what about the book of Revelation? You claim the imminent coming of Christ through the prophecy is referring to AD 70, while Waldron White and other classic Amillennialists would affirm this is the ONE SC end of the millennium coming of Christ. Doesn’t that FORM Full Preterism – hardly refuting it. Come on now now:

Your PP view that someone Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled imminently in AD 70, but the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead of chapter 20 wasn’t, has no exegetical support.

Of course the TRUTH is that PPism leads to FPism and when we combine the various Futurist positions they definitely form FPism:

Obviously the “consistency” and “integrity” belongs to my view and not yours. But good try though.

2). Logical fallacies, scare tactics and misrepresentations

Your logical fallacies and scare tactics were legion my friend. Your inability to defend what you said in the program and logical fallacies are what make me “angry” — let’s get the facts straight.

a). False claims that Full Preterists don’t see the Gentile inclusion in the OT and NT

Of course I have been a Sovereign Grace Full Preterist for over 30 years and have NEVER denied this. Not only have I not denied it, but establishing Jew and Gentile in ONE body/man is the essence of Full Preterism or Gospel Eschatology. Myself and other Full Preterists destroy the small amount of real “Hyper-Preterists” out there that do deny this. Let’s get the facts straight.

b). The assertion that we deny the physical resurrection of Christ, His deity or atonement.

This was SO desperate and sad. Again, over 30 years in the movement and I have NEVER believed the things you are tying to claim we believe! But it is YOU who deny the High Priestly atonement and redemption of Christ that was “about to be” fulfilled when He appeared a “second time” out of the Temple – at the end of the OC age in a “very little while” to take away our sin (Lk. 21:27/Heb. 9:26-28–10:37; Rms. 11:26-27/13:11-12).

c).  Is Partial Preterism or Full Preterism more effective at refuting Bible skeptics and upholding the deity of Christ?

Some Jews did believe (all the way up until around AD 100) that Daniel 7:13 was not only Messianic, but He would somehow be divine (based on His description and that only God came upon the clouds).  The OG LXX states that the one like the Son of Man would “come upon the clouds AS (not up to) the Ancient of Days.”  This is exactly how Jesus is described in Revelation 1:7-18 – the Ancient of Days and the Alpha and Omega.  Jeff, you are confused it is OUR view that more effetely refutes Bible critics (liberals, Islam & Zionists) regarding an imminent Second Coming (not “a” coming) that either refutes or upholds the claims of Jesus’ deity.  Good try though.

d). Come home

Your appeals to “come hone” to mother church has been echoed by the Roman Catholic Church. Be consistent in your appeals to church tradition, counting noses and this manipulative nonsense.

e). You claim Full Preterists are “angry”

Jeff, how LONG has it been since your boy Keith A. Mathison said he would respond to my chapter response to him in our book, HD but hasn’t?!? You men claim you “care” and will “respond” to these issues but NEVER do. You “caring,” your alleged “integrity” and “consistency” are ALL scams. I think you may be mistaken over my “anger” it is being jealous and zealous for the Name and integrity of Christ as the “Faithful and True Witness” and not tolerating your false piety (you “care”) and false appeals to “consistency” etc…

f). Godliness

Another cheap shot below the belt. Again, I’ve been a SGFP for 30 years and my life has been nothing but blessed and my faith strengthened. So much so that I don’t have to stoop to these low levels you have had too. And you wonder why Full Preterists are “angry” – lol. The truth is we are “jealous / zealous” for His Name and He accomplished “ALL” (atonement as High Priest, judgment and resurrection of the dead, arrival of the New Creation) that He said He would “WHEN” (“this generation” “about to be” “will not be delayed”) He said He would.

g). The charge of “gnosticism”

I find it interesting that when Paul is addressing the error of a pre-AD 70 coming of the Lord and resurrection view, that he NEVER refers to the view as overly spiritual and thus gnostic. If it was the physical view you hold to, his powerful apologetic would have simply been something like this, “How can you believe the SC and resurrection has “already” occurred? We are still here aren’t we? The grave yards are still full aren’t they? The “end” of world history hasn’t taken place now has it? Again, power argument from silence that speaks VOLUMES.

To charge Jesus and the NT authors and the New Covenant anti-types of fulfillment as “gnostic” is a serious one.

  • Your Partial Preterism is about as “consistent” and has about as much “integrity” as a four point “Calvinist.” And just as four point “Calvinism” isn’t really Calvinism and only serves as a stepping stone which leads to real Calvinism, so too, your compromised Partial Preterism is not real, exegetical or true Preterism – of which only continues to lead your students to us and the truth. Selah.
  • I find it interesting that the “House Divided” of “When Shall These Things Be?…” approach has now made its way into your very own local church with you being a PP and James White being a classic Amillennialist (along with his mentor Sam Waldron). Let me know when you and White want to actually “engage” and do the work of an Apologist by debating us and stop pretending you as Elders are “consistent.” Until then, God’s people will see your approach for it was/is.
  • If you are not willing to actually do the work of an apologist and debate us, please do not claim you are “engaging” our view.

For those that want to watch this sad attempt at refuting Full Preterism here is a link to Jeff’s podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDFWNE6ut7o

We have no problem pointing our readers to the heretical Futurist teachings on the Second Coming, but they are constantly CENSORING us and not debating us.  That should tell you everything 🙂

Still in progress…

Source: FullPreterism.com

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