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Saturday, February 25, 2023
The Death of Max King
Monday, January 9, 2023
Response to Gary DeMar On His Hypocrisy/Let's Discuss The Sergius-Preston Debate
Gary appears to be very insecure with regards to the arguments and discourse that's gone on. It is an unfortunate fact that he REFUSES to write so much as a single sentence that condemns Full Preterism as a dangerous heresy. Instead, when pointed out how he has made some rather faulty assumptions that he holds in common with full preterists and how that leads to dangerous error, instead of giving any answer substantially, he blocks everyone who asks questions and calls him out on this ridiculous and bizarre behavior.
This has all been a distraction from DeMar. Instead of listening to some of the challenges and requests from many people to denounce full preterism and uphold the resurrection of the dead, etc. he has instead picked me out for calling him a "moron" over something that happened between him and my friend Frost. He's not answered any of the challenges given to him by multiple people. Nope. Instead he focuses on me calling him a "moron". Not whether or not Full Preterism is a dangerous heresy but "Lance was mean to me and called me a moron".
I absolutely did fake Sergius Bale's credentials saying he was a Greek Orthodox man who lived in Austrailia teaching history as a professor at a university. I fail to see how this is any different than Don Preston faking all of his credentials to the public. I also had EVERY intention of exposing who I was AFTER the debate ended because I wanted to expose Don Preston for the charlatan he is.
Thursday, January 5, 2023
Response to Gary DeMar's "More Comments About 'Morons' and 'Idiots' " Article
It appears Gary DeMar has written a response to my previous article where I responded to his first article about me.
As I always do when someone writes about me or responds to an article, I always try to put the source so people can get full context. Here is Gary's original article.
Here is my first response to that article: https://www.hoperesurrected.com/2022/12/response-to-gary-demars-of-morons-and.html
And here is the post we will be responding to where Gary gives a response: https://americanvision.org/posts/more-comments-about-morons-and-idiots/
I did not expect a second article to come out but I noticed immediately upon reading it that Gary DeMar completely dismisses that I made a public apology to him for calling him a moron.
He basically just dismisses the entire first part of the article and doesn't acknowledge any bit of it. This makes it clear Gary is engaging in bad faith since in his previous article he completely ignored the context behind why I said what I said in the first place.
I don't need to discuss what I challenged him to do with Frost and his audience because if he does not do any of that and just dismisses what was said it simply speaks more to his integrity as a teacher of the Bible, and the type of character he is unwilling to acknowledge that he played any part in wrongdoing. If he doesn't acknowledge that full preterism is a heresy and uphold the resurrection of the dead and continues blocking everyone who questions him on it and is simply asking him questions or to clarify or to uphold the tradition of the Apostolic Faith, then that is on him for not doing so and ultimately he will be held accountable as we all will in the Final Judgment (John 6).
DeMar claims: "Lance Conley claimed I believe that the word kosmos in passages like Matthew 4:8, 14; 13:35; 16:26 refer solely to the Roman Empire. This is absurd. Lance Conley's work cannot be trusted. I have never said kosmos only refers to the Roman Empire. Not once in ten books dealing with Bible prophecy and countless articles have I ever made such a claim. If he did not read what I have written on the subject before he made his absurd claim, then he is not to be trusted".
I have read many of, but not all his works. This is basically an ad hominem. I'd also say that it does not really matter how many books Gary DeMar has written and what I have read of him. He appears to many people, not just me, to be changing his views on eschatology. This is why it is so very important for Gary to clarify what he teaches now so he is not being taken out of context, misunderstood, etc. He claims in both his articles that kosmos is not limited only to the Roman Empire but when one goes back and sees the conversations he was having lately with other individuals, many people had come to similar conclusions I had. Many people, myself included, have seen what's been said the last month or so and have presumed him to have changed his positions he once held.
I am totally willing to say it is possible I and many others have misread him and mistakenly presumed something. I will engage in good faith, be charitable towards Gary, and say it is even possible Gary DeMar did not intentionally mean his words to come across that way with regards to kosmos.
I would still argue that kosmos being about Rome is found nowhere in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, nor Revelation. DeMar says he has pointed out that kosmos "sometimes refers to events that are limited to the inhabited earth and/or the political boundaries of the Roman Empire". I can only find 1 Peter 3:3 where it uses it for something ornamental, like an ornament of heaven but the rest of 1 Peter uses kosmos about the whole world unknown and known. The Revelation only makes sense with it being about solely the Roman Empire if we have a preterist bend to it. If we go beyond the scope the preterist desires to delimit the word, then it naturally, like the rest of Scripture goes beyond the Roman Empire. I am glad to see however that DeMar decided to clarify his position is still like his books because people, not just myself, are unsure of what he believes now since he continually seems to be changing his positions on things.
Now as far as oikoumene goes, I stand by what I said earlier that it is very obviously not about the Roman empire in Hebrews 1:6 and 2:5. The author of Hebrews as I said before would not make sense if we took Gary DeMar's interpretation of it. Jesus is not the firstborn of the inhabited world nor is He the firstborn of Rome (1:6). He also did not subject to angels the inhabited world or Roman Empire to come... this makes zero sense. Sam Frost and myself noted DeMar does zero exegesis of Hebrews 1:6 or Hebrews 2:5. Instead he just quote mines people. He quotes a lot of scholars he says agree with him.
I didn't know who this Robert Cruickshank was that Gary quoted but when I went to do a little google search and Facebook searches I found that this person that Gary apparently is in full agreeent with on most things is a full preterist. If I am incorrect that he isn't a full preterist I will correct this error but it seems very obvious from what I could see of his posts and an Amazon book that he wrote the foreward to a full preterist named Dan Harden's book where Harden says quite literally the resurrection of the dead has already been fulfilled in 70 AD. This is further confirmed when we see Don Preston has Robert writing guest articles on his blog sites. It should be alarming that Gary DeMar even thought about and decided to quote a full preterist to show agreement with them. I think I am safe to say that to the public looking at this it all seems suspicious and should make Gary's following demand he clarify his position about full preterism being a heresy or not. I don't see it the way Gary and Robert do on these verses in Hebrews and certainly some scholars agree with my take as well. This is certainly not just something Sam Frost or I came up with.
Apparently a Calvinist minister John Murray agrees with Gary and says kosmos in Romans 1:8 is simply hyperbole. I can see how someone would think in that manner but I still respectfully disagree that it is only the known world here in context. I think Paul is thanking God through Jesus Christ for all the Roman believers because their message and faithfulness and gospel of allegiance to Jesus Christ IS being proclaimed by the apostles and angelic beings throughout the whole world, both known and unknown. I come to these conclusions based on my studies of the Early Church and 2nd Temple Judaism literature I have been studying for years. Gary is free to disagree but I don't think Paul has just the Roman provinces in mind here and I can find scholars who also agree with me just as Gary can find some that agree with him.
Paul is likely not in the Roman capital yet when he writes this letter and is somewhere outside it. He has heard great things about them and considers this a great feat considering where they are is the center of paganism. He has the whole Church around the world, wherever Christ is being preached known and unknown, in context, because in vv. 6-7 earlier, Paul tells the Roman Church that they are those who are called to be holy ones and loved by God. Humans in Christ are called to be part of God's family and take part in His governing counsel over the Kingdom of God. He calls them "brother and sister" (Romans 1:13) showing us that he considers them all family. In Roman culture if you call someone this term you are obliged to be responsible for them as family. So with this in mind and the entire Church hearing of this community of believers that are now part of their growing family doing great things, as far as I can tell, this clearly CAN be argued for being NOT Rome solely but being in a broader context, including those places not inhabited by Rome, such as India for example, where St. Thomas went to evangelize to Parthian King Gondophares (clearly one of many kingdoms that are outside of Rome).
He next quotes Henry Alford saying that "The Gospel had been preached through the whole Roman world, and every nation had received its testimony, before the destruction of Jerusalem (quotes Col 1.6, 23; 2 Tim 4.17). This was neccesary not only as regarded the Gentiles, but to give God's people the Jews, who were scattered among the nations, the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the preaching of Christ" and Norman Geisler's commentary on Colossians where he says that Paul's usage of "to every creature under heaven" "is obviously a figure of speech indicating the universality of the gospel and its proclamation, not that every person on the globe heard Paul preach. In Acts 2:5 this phrase describes countries without including, for example, anyone from N. or S. America (cf. Also Gen 41.57; 1 Kings 10.24; Rom 1:8)".
It's great and all that Gary can mine quote scholars who agree with him but as far as Alford goes, the NT at least from my understanding after Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension marks the end of the Exile and the start of the Restoration which does not end until the 2nd Coming. In Whole Counsel of God podcast, DeYoung (PhD) rightly points out that this isn't just a figure of speech going on and that when Paul says that the Gospel was "preached to every creature under heaven" this does not in 2nd Temple Judaism era only apply to humanity but applies universally. This also includes angels and demons in context. This applies to non-humans, animals, and the universe itself. This may sound odd and far too mystical to us with our modern sensibilities but this is exactly what is taught in 2nd Temple Literature, 2nd Temple scholars would confirm this is found as well. This is also taught by scholar Michael Heiser, Archbishop Dmitri Royster, and more who are just as talented, I'd argue more so, as teachers of the bible and bible scholars as Gary's Reformation commentators are.
Gary commits bad faith here and an ad hominem here when he claims: These are such common concepts that only someone who has an agenda would try to distort what I and others have written".
I have no agenda except Christ, certainly not one against Gary DeMar. I have called him to follow after Christ and Truth and to be the best teacher of the Bible he can be, which means clarifying what he believes to the public about full preterism being a heresy or not, as one who teaches the Bible rightfully should. DeMar has not done so and has refused to do so unfortunately.
I'll say this again as I said in the first article I responded to. I shouldn't have called Gary DeMar a moron. I let myself become angry and said a hurtful stupid thing about DeMar after I watched him attack my mentor and friend Sam Frost with Don Preston and called him out for it, then posted that he was a moron. I was wrong and I apologize yet again to Gary DeMar for calling him a moron.
Nowhere has it been my agenda or intention to distort what Gary and others have written. If I have misread Gary DeMar, misunderstood DeMar, or misinterpreted DeMar's intentions with regards to his usage of kosmos, then I am certainly not alone in this matter and simply put, for a lot of people, myself included, we have watched what he posts on Facebook and are now suspicious and unsure of what he now believes. I have read a lot of his books and used to use him as a reference when I was a full preterist, knowing him to be a strong early-date partial preterist.
Just like I changed when I left full preterism, I know Gary DeMar can change because people change their minds all the time. Sometimes they end up going against everything they have written before as well which is why, I can't stress this enough, that as a teacher of the Bible, Gary should publicly clarify and renounce full preterism as a heresy if he does not believe it to be true. It is as simple as that. I also would tell him to uphold the resurrection of the dead as a future biological event as I would any teacher of the Bible. I pray Gary DeMar will uphold the Nicene Creed when it says "And He will come again with glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom shall have no end" and when it says "I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come". That's my only agenda here is that I, as a Christian, call Gary DeMar to follow Christ and uphold the faith of the apostles and the Council of Nicea. Likewise, Gary should call me to do the same.
As far as kosmos and oikoumene are concerned, I think I have made my case clear and I think it is great that Gary has clarified now that kosmos is not solely about Rome. That's great! He and I obviously will have to agree to disagree on the NT usage of oikoumene because I don't see it the way he desires it to be. There is no need to rehash that argument as one can go to my first article and see what I wrote.
It also should and was noted before that Gary DeMar did zero exegesis on Heb 1:6 or 2:5. All he does is quote commentaries that agree with him. Second, if Gary were presumed correct about his take on Colossians and also says the "end" came in 70 AD then there is no other conclusion one can make except full preterism. If one takes that position we have to conclude the resurrection of the dead, restoration of all things, etc. happened on or by May 9, 70 AD. Anyone with common sense will see that none of this took place in 70 AD. They'll also see quite clearly that the Early Church clearly doesn't accept that to be true and all hold the 2nd Coming and resurrection of the dead to be future.
As he did in the first article, I expect he will simply dismiss and ignore everything that has been said in this article as well. He may just continue being upset that I called him a moron but we'll see! Stay tuned to see if there's a Part 3 from Gary DeMar.
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Response to Gary DeMar's "Of 'Morons' and 'Idiots'" Article
Here is the link to read: Gary DeMar's Article
I think it merits a
response because it does not give the whole context. In this response article,
I am going to talk about what was said and about the usage of "kosmos"
I found this whole article odd, since earlier, DeMar had taken the time to block me and on social media who have been vocal against him for being unwilling to take a clear stand against Full Preterism. Many of us believe his unwillingness in this regard is best explained by him being a secret Full Preterist. It appears the only reason he won’t admit to this is because it could damage his brand, his reputation and his book sales.
I hope I am wrong about this inference, and I kindly ask DeMar TO PUBLICLY RENOUNCE FULL PRETERISM and PROVE ME WRONG. I will literally rejoice about being wrong in this matter.
As for the social media block and his article about me, it is humorous he would write an entire article about me and Sam Frost and I, yet block us so we can't respond. Don Preston treated me in the same way when he could not refute my arguments and resorted to all sorts of excuses too. So, since you and Preston are friends, and you are using the same tactic, it seems like a dishonest presentation of my views since they are taken out of context. This is a fallacy of linguistic emphasis. It involves the manipulation of language to emphasize facts, propositions, etc., in favor of a position to de-emphasize unfavorable propositions. To quote Knachel, “Another way to obscure or alter the meaning of what someone actually said is to quote them selectively. Remarks taken out of their proper context might convey a different meaning than they did within that context” (2017: 55). Unfortunately, this is how the article is presented with my comments.
I agree Facebook is one of the worst places to find the best information, especially when it comes to information about the Bible in general. It has been the unfortunate medium of choice where full preterists congregate. Without the internet and Facebook, many full preterists like Don Preston would barely have an audience. DeMar himself would lose a significantly large chunk of influence without Facebook or the internet.
DeMar tells his audience that he believes "it is necessary to warn you to stay away from Lance Conley's posts and comments" as "they are not reliable or charitable". As I said before, silencing the opposition seems to be the game, because he says similar things about Frost.
DeMar shares a post in which I call him a moron but does not share the context. This is misleading, because his citation is taken out of the context, which he needed to support the false claim that my posts and comments are not reliable or charitable. In context, I posted these comments in William Vincent’s group “Full Preterism – A Thing of the Past”. There are always two sides to an argument, so I will explain the context of my remarks. Before I explain the context, however, I personally want to apologize to Gary for calling him a moron. I said it in anger in the context explained below.
The context: Before I made that post, DeMar personally attacked Frost. He and his colleague Preston attacked Frost together. Preston is a heretical Full Preterist, but DeMar refuses to acknowledge his heresy. The refusal to denounce this heresy is suggestive, because DeMar works with full preterists, e.g., on his podcasts. Christian leaders have a responsibility to publicly denounce heresies, and a clear declaration of DeMar’s judgement on Full Preterism would clarify his stance on the doctrine. In the interest of professionalism and transparency, DeMar should uphold his duty to make his position clear for his readers. His reluctance to disclose his position and his vague explanations on the topic raise questions for many concerned Christians. I PRAY and HOPE he proves me wrong by publicly denouncing Full Preterism as heresy. His audience, followers, and supports deserve to know the truth about his stance on eschatology.
Returning to the question of context, Preston and DeMar both attacked Frost in a vile and uncharitable manner. I doubt Preston’s sincerity as a researcher, find him to be a con artist who lies about his credentials and his opposition and engages in bad faith entirely. I cannot recommend his heretical material to anyone.
I do however expect better and more of Gary DeMar’s work. He knows Frost and I have been close friends for years and he should expect if he and Preston are going to be rude and ridicule Sam Frost publicly that I will defend my friend. So, yes, my comments were said in anger, and I should not have made them. However, DeMar should also interact respectfully with others that he disagrees with.
Furthermore, DeMar also couldn’t seem to resist attacking Frost in his article: "The above claim about the use of 'world' is beyond simplistic and dead wrong. It looks like he copied the poor scholarship from someone else who passes himself off as an authority on all things Greek and theological [sic]". If this is not a reference to Frost, then I’d like to know who it is referring to. Presumably, it looks like it is an attack on Frost. In any case, my claims are not based on “poor” scholarship and it is also misleading to claim that Frost tries to pass himself off as an authority on all things Greek and theologicalk. Frost is a decent and kind guy who does not exhibit anything close to that kind of behavior. This attack is an example of how DeMar disrespects people with whom he disagrees. This is a prime example of an ad hominem attack and a fallacy of distraction, because it does not address any of the linguistic evidence supporting the claims he makes. In other words, Gary DeMar expresses the same behaviors that I reacted in anger to here by making ad hominem attacks all to try and discredit his opposition and make them appear to be stupid and vile.
So, while I do agree I should not have called DeMar a moron or an idiot, and I DO
apologize, DeMar comes off as completely hypocritical when he and Preston have
treated Frost disrespectfully and vilely. Again, I apologize to DeMar but also
wish to CHALLENGE him to do the same and publicly apologize to Frost just as I
am also publicly apologizing.
This concludes the first part of my discussion. For the second part, I wish to address the Greek usage of “the world”.
DeMar presents a discussion on the meaning of the Greek word, “the world”. No,
it does not always mean purely "the Greco-Roman world" or the known
world. He is simply wrong and overlooking plenty of verses where kosmos and
oikoumene mean the whole world and universe and not merely the occupied
territories of the Greco-Roman Empire. DeMar coincidentally cites a lexicon
that ends up supporting my claims in his article: “c. the whole inhabited earth, the world", "d. the
inhabitants of the earth, men", and "2. the universe, the world".
DeMar even admits in the article that "Caesar was not the emperor of the whole wide world that would have included China! Caesar’s 'decrees' were only fitting for the Roman Empire".
Hence, his own lexicon justifies my translation in context of kosmos and oikoumene being for the entire world in context and not just the controlled Greco-Roman Empire. As the Gospels and Revelation demonstrate, the true Caesar is Jesus of Nazareth, the God-Man, the 2nd Power of Heaven, The Messiah and true ruler of this entire world and universe. A propos, if even one use of kosmos and oikomene applies to the “whole world” and nor merely the Greco-Roman Empire, then my comments are justified.
Matthew 4:8 cannot be restricted
to Rome because the devil gave Jesus a vision of "all the kingdoms of the
Matthew 5:14 is oddly delimited if Jesus is only “the light of the Roman empire" and not the world.
Matthew 13:35 also rings odd if Jesus only says “I will utter things hidden since the foundation of Rome…"
Similarly, Matthew 16:26 reads strange if Jesus is referring to solely Rome. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole Roman Empire and forfeits his soul?..."
These examples, to which I could have done more, demonstrate directly that DeMar’s translation does not fit all contexts.
For oikoumene now:
According to DeMar, Matthew 24:14 states, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole Roman world as a testimony to all the nations and then the end will come"... That would exclude a whole lot of non-Romans. This translation of DeMar’s misses the tenor of this chapter.
DeMar’s translation also faces problems vis-à-vis the 12 tribes and the idea of Exile and Restoration. DeMar’s delimited reading goes against the global scope of both themes in 2nd Temple Jewish literature. These sources are contemporaneous with the time of Jesus, the apostles, and the entire NT. They demonstrate how people from the time interpreted the OT themes, and their aspirations were not restricted to freedom from imperialism but from evil in the world. With charity, however, even if we assume DeMar’s translation for Matthew 24:14 or Luke 21:26 were correct, he would still run into problems with parts of Scripture like Luke 4:5 where it says "And he led Him up and showed Him ALL the KINGDOMS of the WORLD in a moment of time"... This vision is not of the Greco-Roman Empire alone. Rome did not own all the kingdoms of the world and Rome is ONE Kingdom among many at the time. It would be strange to try and make “all the kingdoms” (plural) be demarcating Roman territory from all others. No, more naturally, the reader is expected to be envisioning a wider and more global perspective.
One could argue that Acts 17:6 is hyperbole from those who assault St. Jason. However, even in that context, it is clear that the entire known and unknown world and not just Rome’s occupation are in mind.
Acts 17:31 clearly fixes the appointed day of God’s global judgment, not solely
Roman occupied territories.
Acts 24:5 recalls the Exile, claiming that Paul was found to be a real pest who stirred up dissention among “ALL JEWS throughout THE WORLD". The scope cannot be anything other than global despite what preterists argue vis. THE EXILE and RESTORATION in its 2nd Temple context.
Hebrews 1:6 says Jesus is the "firstborn into the oikoumene". Surely, this does not say that Jesus is the firstborn of the Greco-Roman Empire. DeMar’s translation does not work here in context at all.
Hebrews 2:5 runs into a similar problem. "For He did not subject to angels the Roman world to come, concerning which we're speaking", makes no sense if we use DeMar’s translation.
To close the textual discussion, Revelation’s use of oikoumene also creates problems for DeMar’s Greco-Roman Empire translation.
Revelation 3:10 is a possible place for DeMar’s translation. Perhaps we could argue that "those who dwell on the earth/world" could be about Roman occupied territories as he suggests. Even so, interpreters disagree. Some argue that the context suggests a universal scope for all people from around the globe.
Revelation 12:9 makes no sense restricted solely to Rome. Satan is the one who deceives the WHOLE (Gk. holen) WORLD... not just those in one region.
The same is true finally for Revelation 16:4 when it says the spirits of demons, performing signs will go out to the kings (Gk. basileis) of the whole (Gk. holes) world (oikoumenes).
In conclusion, yes, I should not have posted comments about DeMar in anger. I have explained my motivations to my readers, and apologize for my comments. That being said, on the topic of translation, I have clearly made my case here and shown that "kosmos" and "oikoumenes" may refer to more than the Roman territory. Even DeMar’s cited sources admit and state as much.
DeMar does acknowledge some global references however too. By example, even if he restricts oikoumenes in Matt. 24:14 to the Greco-Roman Empire, he interprets the trumpet blast and gathering of the leect from the four winds in Matthew 24:31 as hyperbole for gathering those beyond the oikoumene. Hence, in context, the narrative culminates with language for “the entire world”. DeMar’s reasoning shows that no language can be used to literally refer to the entire world, since he either restricts it to Rome or interprets it hyperbolically. Pace DeMar’s hermeneutical bias, the NT writers could use language normally to say things like “the whole world” and actually mean it. How else could you say it?!? (Allison “Jesus & the Victory of Apocalyptic” Jesus & the Restoration of Israel 1999: 131). The 2nd Coming affects more than Rome or Jews in Jerusalem. It affects the entire globe, nay, the entire universe.
I would be remiss if I did not challenge DeMar to clearly state his position on the acceptance or not of Full Preterism by him. Is it heretical or not? I challenge him also to uphold the resurrection of the dead as well since he appears reluctant to admit the resurrection of the dead involves an ACTUAL raising of physical corpses from their literal graves to eternal life empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is Paul’s doctrine of resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. There is no good reason to reject orthodox Church doctrine, a doctrine held for the last 2000+ years and counting. DeMar seems to want to use one meaning for all uses with the words kosmos and oikoumenes, but there clearly are too many problems in translating it as such. Even DeMar’s own article acknowledges the problems, because the cited Lexicons include global translations as well. There is no reason to translate the Greek in this manner to satisfy a preterist pre-commitment to fit prophetic expectation into a 70 AD framework. We do not have to redefine words or language to fit our own predilections. Our agenda should be Christ and truth over what we want or do not want it to be. We are lying to ourselves if we let our own wishful thinking and desires run wild. DeMar should and does know better. I end this article with the hope that we can all overcome our supermassive egos and agendas and follow after Christ and His Truth beyond all else. I'll pick Christ over preterism any day.
Allison, D.C. (1999) “Jesus & the Victory of Apocalyptic” Jesus & the Restoration of Israel. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.
DeMar, G. (2022) “Of “Morons” and “Idiots”. The American Vision. Retrieved from url: https://americanvision.org/posts/of-morons-and-idiots/?fbclid=IwAR3tITjWxUb81uYZyLfOb92VRMoKyuk_akpcIlrUF1nJwlIs9iRvbXAiV4Y
Knachel, M. (2017) Fundamental Methods of Logic University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
A Review of Robert Townley's The 2nd Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ
By: LAZARUS CONLEY
As you all are aware, I often in my spare time am studying or reading books that have to do with or are related to eschatology. I jokingly tell people that I am the true president of Preterist Research Institute since no actual study or scholarship gets done by Don K Preston and it is basically true. I do at times go out of my way to study and read about full preterists and learn the actual history and not the revisionist garbage that many in their cult often try to do where they attempt to do things like erase Sam Frost from having been in their ranks or myself as well in that vein. With that, I have had a book on my shelf for a couple months that I was able to find by Robert Townley, a preacher in 1845 who was a full preterist. I may not be a full preterist anymore but I do find the history of it pretty interesting. Roderick Edwards has done a pretty decent job documenting the history of full preterism as best he could and I highly recommend people go get his book which covers that topic if it interests you. As Roderick Edwards rightfully notes: “The history of preterism is a difficult thing to nail down since we really can’t point to an individual person that is [solely] responsible for this perspective. To be sure, many claim they are ‘founders’ of views, including forms of Preterism, but the reality is often a different story... What makes our effort even more difficult is the historical revisionism that I know first-hand has happened… It might serve the reader best to go somewhat in reverse when explaining the history of Preterism or more specifically the movement called Preterism since Preterism is less a developed theological position and more of a laymen-led shift.”
For a brief timeline of full preterism, it seems almost definitively, until shown otherwise, that the first documentation of full preterism was penned by Robert Townley in his “The 2nd Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ: A Past Event”. Robert Townley lived from 1816-1894. He is the first documented full preterist as far as anyone knows and was also a Universalist about a year later after he wrote his work, but ultimately ended up recanting both. He wrote his full preterist book in 1845. In his 1852 sermon in the Universalist Church of Charlestown, Massachusetts, on a Sunday morning on September 26th, he said, “We, on the contrary, fulfill everything by that magic phrase, ‘the destruction of Jerusalem’. But can we really and seriously refer these passages which I have quoted from Paul to the destruction of Jerusalem? Can we truly say that the rejection of the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles, let that mean what it may, exhausted all their meaning – the meaning which was the thought in Paul’s mind when he wrote them? I must confess that I cannot”. Here we have the first documented full preterist to have also seemingly been the first documented full preterist to have recanted his position in the future.
Some argue Firmin Abauzit (1679-1767), author of Essai sur I’Apocalypse, in 1730 was one and the first but this is false because in his work he sought to discredit Revelation entirely as a part of the New Testament and ultimately ended up recanting his position after Dr. Leonard Twells, a man he respected, replied to him. “[Upon] reading Dr. Twells’ reply, Abauzit was so well satisfied, and honorably wrote (though in vain) to stop the reprinting of his work in Holland. Of mentionable notice we do have James Stuart Russell (1816-1895), a man who was almost a full preterist. He wrote The Parousia: A Critical Inquiry into the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s 2nd Coming in 1878. He does believe that there are things yet to be fulfilled in some sense though so he can’t be counted as the first full preterist. Ernest Hampden-Cook, writer of The Christ Has Come (1891) shared similar concepts to Russell but also does similar where he doesn’t believe all prophecy fulfilled. John Humphrey Noyes (1811-1886), author of The Greatest Secret in the World and The Berean was essentially a full preterist as well as sharing similar views to Russell and Cook. He was the founder of the Putney commune in 1836, (was formalized in 1844) and also after a brush with the law for adultery founded the Oneida Community founded in 1848 which lasted until 1881 and had a membership of 300 people with various branch communities. Now disbanded, only the buildings and their silverware company live on. The Oneida Community was known for being a perfectionist sex cult under Noyes and practiced things such as what Noyes referred to as Male Continence and Complex Marriage. The children in the commune were raised non-traditionally by the community; not raised by their biological and individual family members. The children upon reaching adolescence at the age of 14 were made to have sex with the older men and women in the commune. It is safe to say Noyes was a seriously disturbing cult leader.
For more information on this topic, if it interests you, you may find some key starter information on Wikipedia and Preterist Archive website with a quick Google search. That said, the men listed under notables are not traditionally to be seen as full preterists. Townley, unless shown otherwise, is likely the first documented full preterist. This leaves full preterism to be started in 1845, recanted in 1852 after 7 years, and then various sects of people in the United States primarily that continued diving into this vein of thought that Christ came back in 70AD.
With that, let us begin the review of Robert Townley’s book here. He writes in 1845 in his preface that he has decided, along with his congregation he serves under, to quit communing with the Church of England. This “work” was, he states “delivered in a course of lectures to the congregations which lately assembled at St. Matthew’s, in this town”. He contends “most strenuously that there is not a shadow of a shade of error in the conclusion at which I have arrived” and his preface shows us that he was convinced he was right and that he knows what he is saying is anti-creedal and he knows that people will call him a heretic for this but he doesn’t care because he claims that he says he rejects everything but Scripture as a Protestant. He also makes a declaration that there will not be a single person in or outside the Church of England that will be capable of refuting him when he states that “the Bible promises no future coming of Christ, and, consequently, no resurrection of the body, nor any end of the world, neither a day of judgment…”
Upon reading his preface, I am personally struck by how cock-sure this guy is of himself. He writes this when he is 29… Now I am not saying that a 29 year old cannot be right about stuff or teach the bible (I’m 30 writing this – LOL) but I will say that when I read this guy I read someone who is overconfident and arrogant and the more I did read this book the worse his arrogance got and the more I found him to be quite confident for an ignorant person.
During this read, he declares how he hates apostolic succession and claims that his church congregation has concluded that they must secede from the Church of England because they have concluded under him that the 2nd Coming is past by searching the Scripture. He claims “we were persuaded that the New Testament teaches the above as past events, and being so persuaded, there was no alternative but that of acting as we have acted, in seceding from the Establishment, or laying ourselves open to the charge of ‘dishonesty and duplicity’”.
I see he rejects Calvinism and I can get behind him on that one. He gives something I commonly hear from full preterists claiming that he didn’t come to his view by reading any publications or hearing from others but rather this all came from him reading the Scriptures. I think he likely is protesting too much here. Throughout his book here, he quotes publications and scholars like a Dr. David Thom, who is the minister who ordained him actually as a minister of his sect. I don’t know and we probably can’t know where he actually got his position from but I suspect he did not just get this position from reading scripture in a vacuum (I jest as this is impossible for all of us; none of us in fact read scripture this way).
I found it interesting that he thinks that “the end of the world” in scripture means the end of the Jewish economy. I wonder if I would read Unitarian works if I would find this being talked about by more people. This same thing is often discussed and used as an interpretation by full preterists like Max King, Don Preston, and more so I would be interested to find out if there are more theological trains of thoughts like this that could be traced in this time period.
“I’m not insensible to the fact that the great doctrine of the past 2nd Coming of Christ, is a complete revolution in religion – it scatters to the four winds of heaven, doctrines which have been imbibed from earliest infancy”. I am struck by this statement. He apparently thought that full preterism would bring about a revolution. If you have read Max King or Don Preston this is all too familiar to hear and read. Where did this end up? With Townley recanting this position he once strongly believed in. His defense he claims will be “drawn from the Bible and the Bible alone”. I see full preterist do this all the time as well and I like to call this view solo scriptura (not to be confused with sola scriptura) where they only read the bible and claim they only get their ideas from the bible alone by itself… an idea that is easily refutable.
He sees Matthew 24 as every single full preterist does. I found this odd though. He claims that some will object to him and say that we still experience tribulation as Christians today so therefore not all can be fulfilled. He argues oddly that the Bible’s New Testament term for tribulation is actually what he calls “Apostolic Tribulation” so basically this boils down to him redefining what tribulation is and claiming it is “biblical”. This is common full preterist practice to take a term in the bible and redefine it to fit and cram everything into 70 AD when it doesn’t work or causes issues with the Bible and its natural frameworks when interpreting it.
He shows his biases pretty quickly when he states that the “Society of Friends” (Quakers) are wise as they reject the Sacraments like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper which he references in NOTE B. I am actually surprised that he didn’t reject his being a priest/minister since Quakers reject being ministers but I guess Townley didn’t want to be out of a job so he just overlooked that part of their belief.
He very clearly believes that to believe in a physical resurrection of the dead is a stupid belief. His NOTE C has him quoting The Biblical Inquirer where he denies 1 Cor. 15 is a biological resurrection and I’ll be honest… he makes very little sense when he tries to defend his position and he is extremely easy to refute. I actually would argue Max King does a better job at defending his position than Townley attempts to do and that is not saying much since King also is easy to refute. Townley declares that the resurrection of the dead must be a past event and I noted when reading it that he misinterprets Paul’s mention of “flesh and blood” in 1 Cor. 15 and interprets it like a Gnostic who hates material matter would.
So much of Townley’s arguments are that words and terms like “sin, Satan, death, and hell” are all terms that people use but then claims that all these terms the people use are wrong and then tells us that his, and his definition alone, is the correct way to define these terms and declares his definitions alone are the true and “biblical” ones. He even goes as far as to claim that “religious systems have fixed their own meanings to these terms, which is a meaning independent of the Bible”. When I read this from him I found it awfully convenient that everyone got everything wrong, even the ability to read and define terms in the bible until Townley graced us with the “truth” that only he managed to find out.
In NOTE G we find Townley deny Satan is a supernatural being and a fallen angel and says that “angels” also are actually just people… He states that he has “no difficulty in considering Satan, in this temptation (of Christ), to signify Christ’s own countrymen, the Jews, or, in one word, human nature, just as I look upon Satan, in Job, to be no less or more than Job’s three miserable comforters, and his own self-righteous principle…” Remember that Robert Townley is a Unitarian so he does not believe Jesus is God Incarnate. Many Unitarian “Christians” are also Christadelphians and those people deny Satan is an independent being nor a fallen angel. I think that he may be one of these as this became super popular at his time period he lived in, also in his area in London when the Restoration Movement was heating up. I do however have to say it seems completely bizarre to me to read this stuff because I find it completely absurd to believe that Satan is Christ’s human nature… I’ve heard full preterist like Michael Miano however say this exact same stupid drivel as well as people like Don Preston try to claim that Satan is Old Covenant Judaism among other stupid things. Instead of believing what 2nd Temple Judaism actually believed and taking the Hebraic mindset that the NT writers would have taken, they take these retarded modernist interpretations instead.
I found consistently that Robert Townley mocks the Judgment Day and calls it often “imaginary”. He mocks it a lot which I find concerning since Scripture makes it abundantly clear that there is a Final Day and a Judgment Day for all people one day when Christ returns. I personally find Townley is simply narcissistic, full of himself, and a delusional fool. I realize he lives in 1800s and probably does not and did not have all the vast amounts of resources we do now but I’ve also read people in the 1800’s who were educated enough to know the things he says are ignorant. I find the majority of the time that he just doesn’t seem to be aware of what Judaism taught or even what the Early Church taught, and I suspect even if he does know it he intentionally rejects them as they are probably too Judaic or Papist for his Protestant liking (I have kept having to remember this man is a Unitarian and rejects the Trinity and even common Protestant beliefs at the time). I find that he often divorces the New Testament writers from Judaism. We all know that the New Testament is a product of 2nd Temple Judaism and written by Jews and Gentiles who accept Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, is God Incarnate. Meanwhile Townley rejects all of this and reads the New Testament like a lot of postmodernists do today divorced from all of that and trying to make Scripture mean whatever you want it to mean. In the end, he is what he says he is… a dude with a bible who reads it all alone without any context taken into account. It’s just he and his bible and his private interpretation and that is that. He cannot be wrong because he is the sole arbiter of “truth”.
On the Resurrection of the dead, I said earlier he denies it is biological and says Jesus rose bodily but that no one else will rise this way. He speaks highly of Mr. Bush, a Professor of Hebrew in the NYC University and says that his stuff is valuable… I think this has to be George Bush, who in 1844 wrote on the resurrection opposing the doctrine of the literal resurrection of the body. Around 1845, Bush ended up embracing Swedenborgianism, a strange sect of “Christians” that deny the Trinity and other doctrines. Either way, Townley likes him and says that Jesus did not rise in the same body he died in. He is very confused it seems as well when he tries to defend this position. In the end, if we put Robert Townley under scrutiny and believe what he says and compare it to Jesus and Paul’s words then we have to conclude Jesus and Paul are liars. I think Townley is the one in error here.
Townley also makes a case for Revelation 20 being a past event and just as all full preterists attempt to do, he fails to make a coherent or strong position for himself and it just isn’t credible saying “we don’t find Scripture to teach the 1000 years to be yet future”. His hatred for the resurrection of the dead is ridiculous. He goes so far as to reject and protest the Burial Service of the Church of England because it speaks of a biological resurrection in the future. He has problems with time-texts he finds problematic in the Bible. This is all too familiar with full preterists but if they would actually research and think more and do more critical research and read the scriptures they would find the time text issues full preterists always have aren’t actually issues and can very easily be dealt with and make sense.
Of note, to finish this off, Townley tries to claim that in the Revelation where it says “all will see his face” in Rev 22 that this refers to the Jews. He thinks the New Covenant was ushered in 70 AD not by the Cross. King does this too and it makes me strongly wonder now, as I have not studied Unitarians too strongly, if this is actually more of a common Unitarian theological thought than I know. King clearly wasn’t the first to come up with this heretical idea. Most bizarrely I found Townley says that Christ is no longer mediating as High Priest after 70 AD and says there is no need for sacraments like Baptism nor the Eucharist and also tells the reader that prayer as well is no longer necessary. He actually goes on to say that since the gifts ceased in 70 AD that there is no need to pray to God. He even goes out of his way to mock those that pray and mocks every church that still prays to God.
I conclude with this. Pardon my language but this moron actually argues that prayer to God is meaningless. He argues that there is no need for sacraments. No one needs to evangelize. No one needs to baptize. No one needs to take the Eucharist. No one needs to bother apparently. What point is there to this “faith” of his? All he has done is reduce the faith to an ideology that has nothing to it. It is just the idea of Christ coming in 70 AD and that is literally it. Why would this cause a revolution? All this would cause is people to reject it because it is nothing but a meaningless and depraved idea. This god of his is just an idea and a stupid idea. This guy needlessly rejected the Church of England to further bastardize the Christian faith for his private and lacking interpretations and was left with nothing but a worthless ideology. I am glad he ultimately rejected this years later. We can read Robert Townley and see where this stupidity led him. Now King has just repeated the same mistake and left his faith entirely for New Age garbage beliefs. His protégés Preston, Bell, etc. all do the same and are with nothing left but a retarded ideology that only a delusional and demon-possessed person would even bother continue to believe in. I end this review with a prayer that all who are in this heresy would leave it behind. It is just an idea. It is not God. It is easily refuted and has been countless times refuted. May these heretics see the light and come to the True God.
 Roderick Edwards. About Preterism. 2019. Loc. 182, 193.
 Townley. Sermon in the Universalist Church of Charlestown, Mass. Sept. 26, 1852.
 Firmin Abauzit. A Discourse Historical & Critical on the Revelations Ascribed to St. John’s. London. 1730.
 Robert Townley. The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. London. 1845. Preface.
 Ibid. Preface. Iv, v.
 Ibid. Preface. Vi.
 Ibid. 2.
 Ibid. 2.
 Ibid. 3.
 Ibid. 3-4.
 Ibid. 4.
 Ibid. 4.
 Ibid. 5.
 Ibid. 6.
 Ibid. 14.
 Ibid. 15. 158.
 Ibid. 17. 158. 160-161.
 Ibid. 16. 18.
 Ibid. 25. 164-165.
 Ibid. 34.
 Ibid. 67.
 Ibid. 98-100. 104.
 Ibid. 110.
 Ibid. 132-133.
 Ibid. 142.
 Ibid. 144.
 Ibid. 144. 150-151.
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