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Friday, December 6, 2019

Responding To Don Preston's "Refutation" of Hope Resurrected #1

Before reading this article, if you have not, please watch this video I have linked above so that you can get the full context yourself. I do not wish to be accused of lying or misrepresenting Don K Preston here as he does me multiple times in this "Review & Refutation of Lance Conley's Book: Hope Resurrected #1". I assume he will make more videos against my book. If you've watched it, let's begin. 

First, he claims my "sole presupposition" is that "full preterism is wrong because it is a violation of Church history". While it is true that full preterism has no backing period by Church history, it is not accurate to claim this and I do not claim this to be solely why full preterism is wrong. It is wrong because it violates Scripture when interpreted correctly, it violates the historical data we have on the period of time and exchanges real historical data for pseudo-historical claims such as that Jews do not exist anymore, which is false as we have evidence of Jews post-70 reforming the Great Sanhedrin in 80AD for example, but I digress. 

Preston for about 5 minutes roughly essentially just rambles on about how [and I paraphrase to shorten it for you] Lance Conley is an asshole. He makes plenty of sweeping generalizations and ad hominems are presented galore for 5 minutes. It's an attempt to poison the well. Lance is an asshole so therefore he can't be presenting a decent argument against full preterism is essentially his entire argument for the first 5 minutes. 

He claims that I've been "caught red-handed in multiple falsehoods" which is a bogus claim. In fact, Preston may be actually psychologically projecting here as he has been exposed as a blatant liar, deciever, and pseudo-scholar himself. Since he brings that up though, Preston has been caught on multiple occasion to lie, misrepresent, and distort the words of those who oppose him and has done this countless times to people like myself, Sam Frost (who he brings up in this video a few times), Jason Bradfield, Scott Russell, etc. (the list is large of people he has slandered, lied about, and misrepresented). Whether I am an asshole (and I'll even admit and agree I can be an asshole) is irrelevant to the book that I've written being true or false. Especially in the case of Mr. Frost, he still has some videos up to this day years later that are blatant distortions of the real truth. 

Is it better to be someone who intentionally lies, distorts, and decieves people with a smile on their face with pseudoscholarship or is it better to be an asshole? I choose the latter. 

He claims I have put myself on a pedestal as "the defender of orthodoxy". I do not recall doing any such thing except in a sarcastic manner with Preston and his cohorts. That said, I am a defender of orthodoxy in some sense because I do defend what is true. I have also never claimed to be "the epitome of orthodox Christianity". As a matter of fact, I have said on multiple occasions that I am in no way a perfect Christian or a perfect follower of Christ. This is a blatant lie and misrepresentation of me from Preston, as is per usual from the likes of him. 

Preston says we do not have to be obscene or vile in this video but I have to ask if that applies to lying and misrepresenting others too or not if your name is Don K Preston?

He takes my book out of context quoting page 13 when clearly in page 12 I share why I left full preterism. Since he misrepresented and took me out of context and lied, I will share the full context: 

From at least 2010-2014, I was in the heresy of full preterism. I was in this heretical movement until I was challenged into a brief debate with a man who goes by the name “Rivers of Eden” online. The discourse lead me to some outrageous and absolutely outlandish conclusions when trying to be consistent with my beliefs, systemizing a more thorough full preterist theology, and also trying to stay true to the Word of God to the best of my ability. I could see it no other way than that Matthew 24 had to be fulfilled; otherwise, the Bible was false or wrong and atheists were correct. I believe many full preterists have tunnel vision like I had back then. I could genuinely see no other possibility of interpretation and I, at the time, was too prideful to think that quite possibly, it could just be I was misinterpreting these passages. For a time, as many friends and colleagues well know, I began to struggle with a massive faith crisis over these issues, unable to reason myself out of these many conundrums that kept coming up. History did not prove at all the 2nd Coming happened in AD70 like full preterism claimed, St. Paul clearly was saying that the resurrection would be physical like Christ’s was when He was raised from the grave was. I found myself falling into an atheistic mindset much like that of Bertrand Russell, beginning to believe Christianity might legitimately be a sham. That was unfortunately where full preterism left me and led me into: atheism and a lack of faith. Ultimately, were it not for the many hours Sam Frost, who’d recently left full preterism, invested into me with many late night conversations to help me overcome the faith crisis from full preterism (all this I should note despite the fact that he was dealing with many of his own personal issues as well), I would probably be a hopeless agnostic of some sort without a faith and without hope. My hope was resurrected and restored over a long process of about a year when a friend said I needed to be studying the Church, her history, read up on the saints, and see what they claimed. When I did, the doors were opened for me and slowly, but surely, I began to see there were ways I had not thought of to interpret Matthew 24 differently from a preterist. I had not honestly thought to myself that maybe the interpretations I thought to be true could be false but over this long process of study I came to the conclusion that indeed I had gone and formed the wrong opinion of how the Scriptures should be interpreted. These men of God that came before me were able to confidently say Christ was coming in the future. Clearly, the apostles’ disciples and their flock were able to do so as well. Clearly I was the one wrong. Not the consistent 2000+ years-worth of patristic thought on this matter of eschatology, that being that Christ’s 2nd Coming is future and the resurrection of the dead is future. I highly recommend reading a book that Sam Frost has written on the topic of full preterism called Why I Left Full Preterism. I have always found it to be very well thought out, inexpensive, and a great read for those invested in these topics. I find it to be more or less true that most full preterists have a lot in common with the Mormons who make up history to fit their “Scriptures” from Joseph Smith or the cultish Jehovah’s Witnesses who over-spiritualize certain Scriptures, take them out of context to make their own positions sound more logical but in light of Scripture as it really is, they are proved false and deceptive. As Frost notes in his book, pre, a, and postmillennialists of the orthodox Christian faith (by orthodox I mean generally speaking here of Christendom) and even most unorthodox accept these four things: Christ will return bodily, at the end of time, and history, raise our bodies, and bring full judgment to all. All these things are undermined by full preterism. Coming out of this heresy made me realize on a deeper level that Christians in general need to read Scripture absolutely, but also study their faith’s historical roots, and read patristics more. There is such a vast wealth of information in studying all this that I cannot stress it enough. It also cemented for me the importance of tradition and carrying on to the best of our ability the Christian faith that our brothers and sisters before us lived out and bled and died for to protect. We must carry on as they did and do the same for our future brothers and sisters and children of the faith. It is not optional. It is a requirement we must take and not take lightly. Our very souls depend on it. 

It is clear why I left full preterism. I did read the Scriptures and come to the conclusion that full preterism was true for a time. Then the more I studied the Scripture and took Full Preterism to its logical conclusions and stopped butchering 1 Cor 15 and Genesis and etc. other scriptures, I fell into a faith crisis, and almost became a hopeless agnostic were it not for Frost and others like my friend to suggest to me read the patristics and study history on a deeper level than I had previously done before. I did this after full preterism caused the faith crisis. Had I not read them I would not be a Christian today as I would have come to the conclusion that Scripture is wrong and our Christian faith is nothing more than a sham. However, that is not what happened. I read them and they helped restore my faith and along the way I found there are no proofs for full preterism, there are no full preterists until Robert Townsley, who recanted, and Max King in the 1970s to today. I also found the patristics do take into account and interpret Matthew 24. Preston misrepresents me and lies, saying that I must think Scripture was wrong because I read Church Fathers. This is false. I found my full preterist interpretation of Scripture to be wrong, not the Scripture itself. The Scriptures are infallible and true and Preston is found to be misrepresenting me. 

One should note he calls the Patristics "uninspired men" but then catch the power of this (pun intended)... we're just supposed to just accept his word for it that Don K Preston, a fellow uninspired man by all accounts, has the truth and has correctly interpreted Scripture in a way that no one else in all of history until Townsley and King before him were able to do so. By that logic, Mohammad and Joseph Smith must have been right too (just an fyi Preston. This is sarcasm). 

Preston makes a stupid assumption that I just took the ECFs word for it which is a garbage and asinine claim. I tested them and found them worthy. Preston misrepresents me again. 

He takes Frost out of context with my book in page 17 and furthermore, it is MY assertion that full preterism cannot be truly systematized. Frost's opinion or a statement he made in the past when he was a full preterist mind you (he is not a full preterist today) is irrelevant with that statement I made and I am also positive that Frost does not believe this today. This is a misrepresentation and ultimately a lie about Frost and myself. If he took me in actual context as well Preston would understand that when I say there are no true seminary-trained full preterist that I mean that even when these people do have ThD's or PhD's in something they essentially toss their degrees in the trash. Essentially it is like a PhD in earth science throwing his degree away to be a flat earther. 

He makes a nonsensical rant about Eastern Orthodoxy and some "original church"? I don't guess he has ever read a history book in his life. Only two churches can truly claim they are the original church. Orthodoxy in the East or Rome. I'll let people debate which one makes the best case. I choose Orthodoxy based on my studying of the history. He also lies about Eastern Orthodoxy in this video. We have always counted Rome as in schism with us and to be teaching heretical positions. We engage in open dialogue and ecumenical relations when able but we have always maintained what I've written here. 

He has no argument when he misrepresents me about 2 Thess. 2:15. I hold to Prima Scriptura and Secunda Tradit. Scripture comes first, and then is further verified by the Tradition that has been passed down to us. Simple as that. We hold fast to the traditions we have been taught, whether by word (tradition) or the Epistles (NT Scripture) of the Apostles. 
"Brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions (tas paradoseis) which you have been taught, whether by word or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15).
He then lies about Justin Martyr claiming Justin teaches that there are Christians who reject the resurrection of the dead to be physical. He also lies and claims Justin teaches that we should all be chaste and celibate to be "true spiritual Christians" and not marry. This is again another lie. Justin was just fine with both celibacy and people getting married. This is easily proven by just reading Justin Martyr's On The Resurrection in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3: 

Justin Martyr: On the Resurrection. Ch. 2 – Objections to the resurrection of the flesh

Chapter 3: If the members rise, must they discharge the same functions as now?
They say, then, if the body shall rise entire, and in possession of all its members, it necessarily follows that the functions of the members shall also be in existence; that the womb shall become pregnant, and the male also discharge his function of generation, and the rest of the members in like manner. Now let this argument stand or fall by this one assertion. For this being proved false, their whole objection will be removed. Now it is indeed evident that the members which discharge functions discharge those functions which in the present life we see but it does not follow that they necessarily discharge the same functions from the beginning. And that this may be more clearly seen, let us consider it thus. The function of the womb is to become pregnant; and of the member of the male to impregnate. But as, though these members are destined to discharge such functions, it is not therefore necessary that they from the beginning discharge them (since we see many women who do not become pregnant, as those that are barren, even though they have wombs), so pregnancy is not the immediate and necessary consequence of having a womb; but those even who are not barren abstain from sexual intercourse, some being virgins from the first, and others from a certain time. And we see men also keeping themselves virgins, some from the first, and some from a certain time; so that by their means, marriage, made lawless through lust, is destroyed. And we find that some even of the lower animals, though possessed of wombs, do not bear, such as the mule; and the male mules do not beget their kind. So that both in the case of men and the irrational animals we can see sexual intercourse abolished; and this, too, before the future world. And our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, for no other reason than that He might destroy the begetting by lawless desire, and might show to the ruler that the formation of man was possible to God without human intervention. And when He had been born, and had submitted to the other conditions of the flesh — I mean food, drink, and clothing — this one condition only of discharging the sexual function He did not submit to; for, regarding the desires of the flesh, He accepted some as necessary, while others, which were unnecessary, He did not submit to. For if the flesh were deprived of food, drink, and clothing, it would be destroyed; but being deprived of lawless desire, it suffers no harm. And at the same time He foretold that, in the future world, sexual intercourse should be done away with; as He says, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage; but the children of the world to come neither marry nor are given in marriage, but shall be like the angels in heaven. Luke 20:34-35 Let not, then, those that are unbelieving marvel, if in the world to come He do away with those acts of our fleshly members which even in this present life are abolished.
They who maintain the wrong opinion say that there is no resurrection of the flesh; giving as their reason that it is impossible that what is corrupted and dissolved should be restored to the same as it had been. And besides the impossibility, they say that the salvation of the flesh is disadvantageous; and they abuse the flesh, adducing its infirmities, and declare that it only is the cause of our sins, so that if the flesh, say they, rise again, our infirmities also rise with it. And such sophistical reasons as the following they elaborate: If the flesh rise again, it must rise either entire and possessed of all its parts, or imperfect. But its rising imperfect argues a want of power on God's part, if some parts could be saved, and others not; but if all the parts are saved, then the body will manifestly have all its members. But is it not absurd to say that these members will exist after the resurrection from the dead, since the Saviour said, They neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but shall be as the angels in heaven? Mark 12:25 And the angels, say they, have neither flesh, nor do they eat, nor have sexual intercourse; therefore there shall be no resurrection of the flesh. By these and such like arguments, they attempt to distract men from the faith. And there are some who maintain that even Jesus Himself appeared only as spiritual, and not in flesh, but presented merely the appearance of flesh: these persons seek to rob the flesh of the promise. First, then, let us solve those things which seem to them to be insoluble; then we will introduce in an orderly manner the demonstration concerning the flesh, proving that it partakes of salvation.

With eschatology, it is pretty clear that the Early Church had both chiliast and amillennialist in it and that both were seen as acceptable. Justin doesn't condemn either. Furthermore, it was only forms of chiliasm that were later condemned because of false teachers teaching distorted forms of chiliasm, not all of chiliasm was condemned by the Early Church. This is common knowledge to those who study history.

Lastly, Preston lies about Frost, Jeff Cunningham, and I saying that we "never gave an answer about physical death being an enemy of God". I have repeatedly said all death is an enemy of God. 1 Cor. 15:26 is clear on that being the case that "the last enemy to be destroyed is death". Simple as that.

St. Ignatius went to his martyrdom with his victory assured over death and its power thanks to Christ. Death can be a blessing even if it is called an enemy of God as it keeps us from sinning any longer and stops us from continuing in evil. St. Ignatius went into the den of lions assured His Savior has ultimate victory over death and in the truth of His future 2nd Coming and future resurrection of the dead when 1 Cor 15:26 will be fulfilled and death will be no more.

With that, Preston is soundly refuted and has been shown to be a person who needs to repent of his heresies and stop with his lying and misrepresentations of people. Fail. 

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