Nordic Preacher

Northern Reflections on Preaching, Theology and the Christian Life.

Author: Miska wilhelmsson (Page 1 of 4)


Partial-Preterism Weakness in Defending Second Coming (Thoughts on List by Steve Gregg)

A further example of partial-preterism weakness as it comes to defending the future Second Coming of Christ: See this list (picture below) of 18 things that cannot have happened in 70AD, presented by partial-preterist Steve Gregg at the beginning of his book against full-preterism.

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Partial-Preterist Shortage of Second Coming Promises

Relating to the shortage of Second Coming specific Bible verses amongst partial-preterists: I think it’s very revealing to read the ‘A Statement on Unorthodox Eschatology’ (a good statement btw, I’m glad they did it) which was signed by major partial-preterist leaders (Gentry, Durbin, Wilson, Sandlin, Kayser, etc.) and also some non-preterists, to make a strong statement against the unbiblical and unorthodox nature of full-preterism. I agree with the statement, but I think it’s still woefully weak in biblical support for the Second Coming. What do I mean? Well, first of all, when writing a statement against full-preterism, you would obviously include the most thorough list of biblical proof you have, right? Certainly it would be strange to do anything less.

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The Poison of Preterism, and Bavinck to the Contrary

Partial-preterism is poisonous, because it greatly weakens the biblical witness to the glorious second coming of Christ. How so? By assigning MANY second coming passages to 70AD, and thereby twisting their glorious promise.

Let me give one example: See here an excellent quote (picture below) from the well respected Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck. Notice how when speaking here about the glorious promised return of Christ to earth, he appeals to two passages as main evidence: Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7. Excellent primary passages indeed! However, this is something a partial-preterist could NOT do, since these verses (and many more) have in their view already been fulfilled in 70AD. They do still believe in an actual future return also (hence partial, not full), but they have a lot less Bible passages that speak about it.

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A Partial-Preterist Understanding of Revelation 1:7 and 22:20 (#4 Thoughts on Gentry)

What does a partial-preterist view of Revelation 1:7 and 22:20 look like? (verses, which present the main theme of the book as the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ)

“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)

“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

For anyone insterested to see a clear example of how leading partial-preterists deal with Revelation 22:20. Here’s an example from Kenneth Gentry’s new Revelation commentary (see attached image below). Notice how Gentry says NOTHING about Revelation 22:20 being mainly (or even partially) about the second coming! Rather, Gentry states “Jesus is here [Revelation 22:20] referring to his judgment-coming in AD 70.

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Preterism Undermines the Blessed Reading, Hearing, and Keeping of The Revelation of Jesus Christ (#3 Thoughts on Gentry)

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝐽𝑒𝑠𝑢𝑠 𝐶ℎ𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡, 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝐺𝑜𝑑 𝑔𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑖𝑚 𝑡𝑜 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑜 𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑠𝑜𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑒. 𝐻𝑒 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑖𝑡 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑏𝑦 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑙 𝑡𝑜 𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝐽𝑜ℎ𝑛, 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑏𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝐺𝑜𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝐽𝑒𝑠𝑢𝑠 𝐶ℎ𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡, 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑓𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑤. 𝐵𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑢𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑑𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑝ℎ𝑒𝑐𝑦, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑒𝑎𝑟, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑘𝑒𝑒𝑝 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑤𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑛 𝑖𝑛 𝑖𝑡, 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑛𝑒𝑎𝑟.” (𝑅𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 1:1-3, 𝐸𝑆𝑉)

The most essential component of a preterist interpretation regarding the book of Revelation is that “soon”, “the time is near” and other ‘nearness indicators’ force us to believe that Revelation deals (mostly or almost exclusively) with events in 70AD and the destruction of Jerusalem.

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Preterism, Church History, and Kenneth Gentry’s New Revelation Commentary (#2 Thoughts on Gentry)

One of the key beliefs that preterism holds (both partial and full) regarding the book of Revelation, is that Revelation 1:7 speaks specifically about the events of 70AD. Gentry writes “In its contextual setting, 1:7 points to the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple in AD 70. John presents Jesus coming in judgment against the tribes of Israel who mourned for the loss of their ‘holy city’”(𝐾𝑒𝑛𝑛𝑒𝑡ℎ 𝐺𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦, 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐷𝑖𝑣𝑜𝑟𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝐼𝑠𝑟𝑎𝑒𝑙: 𝐴 𝑅𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒𝐻𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝐼𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑅𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑉𝑜𝑙 1, 𝑝. 298).

I want to point out a few issues relating to Gentry’s commentary, and how this novel preterist understanding of Revelation 1:7 connects to church history.

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Lame Preterist Fulfillment and God’s Judgment (Thoughts on Gentry #1)

I’m currently reading this brand new (and highly anticipated ‘landmark’ preterist commentary on Revelation) by Kenneth Gentry, it’s a massive work indeed and will undoubtedly become the gold standard amongst preterist commentaries. I obviously strongly disagree with preterism (in both of its forms: partial-preterism as represented by Gentry, and also full-preterism which is full heresy and no longer Christian), but in light of my sermon series on Revelation, I want to know the best arguments presented by the opposing side.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few examples from Gentry’s new commentary, which I believe are interesting examples of how preterist interpretation looks like in practice in some of the details of Revelation. First example is

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Eschatology, Preterism, and the Early Church Father Ireneaus

I love reading Irenaeus on eschatology, specifically from his classic book ‘Against Heresies’ book 5, from chapter 25 to the end of the book.

It is common knowledge that Irenaeus (and essentially all early church fathers we know about) were premillennial in their eschatology. However, there’s one thing that I think isn’t emphasised as much as it should, relating to the debate around preterism. Notice first that Irenaeus is specifically writing against views held by others (heretics), and therefore would make sure his arguments cannot be easily refuted. At times he specifically mentions views held by other Christians (such as about 616 number of the beast) and why they are wrong. How does this relate to Preterism? Well, notice how Irenaeus doesn’t even entertain any kind of thought that someone within Christian circles would even claim or believe in any kind of preterism in relation to John’s Apocalypse, Matthew 24, or other prophecies in the NT (relating to 2nd coming, antichrist, tribulation, kingdom). The way Irenaeus writes against heresies around 180 A.D. gives the strong impression that the idea of preterism regarding NT prophecies simply didn’t exist in any form in any Christian circles (apart from full-preterist heresy that is already mentioned in 2 Tim 2). Certainly not a hint of preterism seems to be present in Smyrna (one of the original recipient churches of the book of Revelation!), where Irenaeus (born in Smyrna 130 A.D.) has had contact with Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of the Apostle John himself.

Some examples from Irenaus ‘Against Heresies’ book 5:

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Creational Living – Homesteading Pastor

Flipped Media produces this high quality short documentary about our family and our homesteading journey here in Sastamala, Finland.


Commendations and Critical Concerns for ‘Jesus and the Eyewitnesses’ (Book Review)

Book: Richard Bauckham. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Grand Rapids, MI, Eerdmans, 2006, 538 pp.

Reviewed by Miska Wilhelmsson

Richard Bauckham is a well-respected name within the circles of modern New Testament scholarship, and with the views presented in this book, also somewhat controversial. In Jesus and the Eyewitnesses Bauckham seeks to argue for one central point, which goes in almost direct opposition to most current scholarly views on the nature of the gospels, namely that they gospels should be considered as reliable eyewitness testimony. Due to this breath of fresh air in regard to the trustworthiness of the gospel accounts, many Bible believing Evangelicals have understandably been somewhat glad about the release of this scholarly work by Bauckham. However, even though the central theme that Bauckham argues for, the nature of the gospels as eyewitness testimony, the way he argues for many of his conclusions should rightly cause Bible believing Christian to be on guard and avoid being too quick to endorse and recommend this work, as if it presented a strong defense of a traditional Christian understand of the gospels.

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