BOOKS: BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) / EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD50-1000) / FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008)
David S. Clark -The Message From Patmos: A Postmillennial Commentary on the Book of Revelation (1921) "This early twentieth-century Postmillennial commentary on the Book of Revelation, written by the father of theologian Gordon Clark, offers an easy-to-read alternative to the popular Pre-millennial/Dispensational views of the best-selling Scofield Reference Bible and a multitude of other dissertations on end-time prophecy that litter the shelves of Christian bookstores. "
An Open Letter to Ligonier Ministries
By Andrew Sandlin
February 10, 1999
Especially disturbing was the newsletter's comment: " The [Ligonier] conference and seminar combined will produce thousands of new Partial Preterists, many of whom will eventually go all the way into the [full] Preterist view, and start new study groups and preterist churches.
Some of them will attend our [Hymenaen] seminar as well. The impact is going to be far-reaching. This is the BIGGEST opportunity for the advancement of the Preterist cause yet" (emphasis in original). Even discounting the propagandistic tone of this statement, it reflects a conscious attempt to proselytize believers to the cause of a demonstrably heretical viewpoint. The Hymenaens contend that there is an irresistible logic to their exegetico-theological paradigm, according to which the assignment of *any* passages expressing Christ's coming or appearance to A. D. 70 presses to the conclusion that *all* of them must be so interpreted.
While I may dispute this notion (partial preterist orthodox eschatologists like Kenneth Gentry certainly do), it does have some appeal to the sincere but unwary and untrained believers, and it is these who concern me. Hymenaenism seems to have gained a recent hearing chiefly by means of the reprint of Russell's heretical *The Parousia* and the promotion by Great Christian Books (founded by Walt Hibbard - TDD) of various smaller works taking the Hymenaen line. A clear primitivist impulse is detectable in this heresy, and a number of its adherents, I hear, were schooled in the "creedless" Church of Christ denomination. This, I believe, accounts for their aversion to either any grasp of or commitment to historical theological continuity; their pronounced naiveté in charging that we orthodox eschatologists do not operate in the sola scriptura spirit of the Reformers (few could be other than willingly ignorant of the Reformers' unquestioned dedication to the cardinal outline of inherited medieval orthodoxy); and their obliviousness to anything other than an historically unconditioned reading of the text--i.e., reinventing orthodoxy on the anvil of one's own speculation in every generation. How cogently this approach has been refuted by such great Protestants as Philip Schaff, Charles Hodge, and James Orr! Moreover, the Hymenaens seem blissfully unaware that the same exegetico-theological paradigm that can on the grounds of a misguided and historically uninformed appeal to sola scriptura jettison orthodox eschatology can on identical grounds jettison orthodox Trinitarianism and Christology. The Hymenaen accusation that we orthodox Protestants are incrementally making our way to Rome by maintaining fidelity to the historic Christian view is less slanderous than it is silly--revealing a tragic ignorance of what the basic Reformation approach to Scripture, orthodoxy, and history really is.
Not only are the Hymenaens poor exegetes--they are poor historians.
We glory in texts like
Acts 1:11, Phil. 3:20-21, Col. 3:4-5, theconcluding section of each chapter of 1 Thes., Heb. 9:28, Jas. 5:7-9, 2 Pet. 3:10-13, 1 Jn. 3:2-3, and others that refer to Christ's future physical Second Advent, though I don't have space for exegesis here. We could appeal to the exegesis by orthodox eschatologists over nearly 2000 years of church history, and set it over against the recent heretical speculations of the Hymenaens.
We urge Ligonier to join us by a public denunciation of Hymenaenism at your conference next week. We at Chalcedon, in fact, have been discussing the possibility of a West Coast conference later this year exploring the theme of Biblical authority, historic Christianity, confessionalism, and heresy; and we would, of course, address this heresy at some point at the conference.
Chalcedon is unabashedly postmillennial. Thus, we--like all other orthodox institutions--affirm the future bodily resurrection of the just and unjust, the final judgment, and the Second Advent of Christ. One need not adopt Hymenaenism in order to be a consistent anti-dispensationalist and postmillennialist--and, indeed, can be neither if he is a Hymenaen.
May God grant success in your conference as you articulate Biblical eschatology and defend the Faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
A Letter on Preterism
P. Andrew Sandlin
Thank you so much for your contact with our executive administrator, Susan Burns, and your article, while I've scanned.
I'm not a preterist (partial or total). Neither was Rushdoony. My view on "The Last Days" is summarized at: http://www.chalcedon.edu/report/2001dec/sandlin1.shtml
I have discussed the issue with ____ . He assures me that he is not a full preterist. He and I spoke at the ____ Conference last August. I sat in the front row when he said quite clearly that 1 Thes. 4 refers to a future Second Advent (future to us today).
I do not hold that the end of the Old Covenant coincided with the destruction of Jerusalem. I believe that the Old and New Covenants refer to existential situations, not epochs or eras — the New Covenant (or at least its contents) existed in the OT, and the Old Covenant persists (sadly) yet today.
I agree with you that there seems to be a hermeneutical ambiguity among some partial preterists as to which passages refer to A. D. 70 and which refer to the future Second Advent. Is there a slippery slope from partial to total preterism? I don't know that there must be (Gentry is a partialist but adamant against "total"). I only know that it has been a slippery slope for some.
Yours in the Lamb,
P. Andrew Sandlin
Andrew Sandlin is executive vice president of the Chalcedon Foundation, which since 1965 has been dedicated to applying historic, biblical Christianity in today's world. He is the author of "The Full Gospel: A Biblical Vocabulary of Salvation," "Christianity: Bulwark of Liberty," "Totalism: God's Sovereign Claims in All of Life," and several other works. He holds degrees in English, English literature, history and political science. He is married and has five children and lives in rural northern California.
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