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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.”[1]

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[2]. 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.[3] 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”[4]. 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[5] 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…[6]

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[7]. 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’”[8].

I see he rejects Calvinism[9] 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[10]. 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[11]. 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”[12]. 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”[13]. 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[14]. 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”[15] 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[16]. 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[17]. 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”[18]. 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…[19]” 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”[20]. 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[21]. 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”[22]. 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[23]. He has problems with time-texts he finds problematic in the Bible[24]. 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[25]. He thinks the New Covenant was ushered in 70 AD not by the Cross[26]. 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[27]. 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.



[1] Roderick Edwards. About Preterism. 2019. Loc. 182, 193.

[2] Townley. Sermon in the Universalist Church of Charlestown, Mass. Sept. 26, 1852.

[3] Firmin Abauzit. A Discourse Historical & Critical on the Revelations Ascribed to St. John’s. London. 1730.

[4] Robert Townley. The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. London. 1845. Preface.

[5] Ibid. Preface. Iv, v.

[6] Ibid. Preface. Vi.

[7] Ibid. 2.

[8] Ibid. 2.

[9] Ibid. 3.

[10] Ibid. 3-4.

[11] Ibid. 4.

[12] Ibid. 4.

[13] Ibid. 5.

[14] Ibid. 6.

[15] Ibid. 14.

[16] Ibid. 15. 158.

[17] Ibid. 17. 158. 160-161.

[18] Ibid. 16. 18.

[19] Ibid. 25. 164-165.

[20] Ibid. 34.

[21] Ibid. 67.

[22] Ibid. 98-100. 104.

[23] Ibid. 110.

[24] Ibid. 132-133.

[25] Ibid. 142.

[26] Ibid. 144.

[27] Ibid. 144. 150-151.

Monday, August 29, 2022

A Review of Steve Gregg's Why Not Full-Preterism?

 A Review of Steve Gregg’s Why Not Full-Preterism? A Partial Preterist Response to a Novel Theological Innovation

by Lazarus Conley

About a month ago I was told a new book would be coming out in response to full preterism by Steve Gregg, a national talk show host of The Narrow Path, an author of several books and lectures often around the world about the Bible, theology, discipleship, etc. Just hearing that alone got me excited! I love seeing more and more people coming out against the heresy of full preterism, reacting to it, and refuting the vile heresy. In my days as a Protestant I actually have to credit Steve Gregg because when I was a full preterist and was deeply into studying eschatology I read and thoroughly enjoyed his book on Revelation called Revelation: Four Views. I still highly recommend this book to people of any denomination of faith actually because Mr. Gregg goes through four different views of Revelation and does a commentary on Revelation through each of those four viewpoints. He was also instrumental in me learning about late-date preterism and idealist commentaries as well. I was already planning to buy this book but I was even more delighted and eager to buy it when I learned Sam Frost was doing the forward (he wrote the forward for my book as well) and that I also was being footnoted in this book! I admittedly was totally nerding out knowing that Steve Gregg who I highly respect was going to have me in his book! I’m thankful to God that my book is in some small way getting noticed and is doing its small part to combat and annihilate the heresy of full preterism and I pray will lead people out of it for the sake of their souls. I decided pretty quickly that once it came out I would read it and write up a review so here is the result.

Preface: 

I enjoy how this book begins! Gregg immediately points out that Max King’s full preterist positions are weak and novel and that even the likes of heretics like John Nelson Darby (founder of dispensationalism) and Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism) are closer to historic Christianity in terms of eschatology which is true[1]. He points out how until King not a single Christian teacher taught this novel belief that Christ returned in 70 and all prophecy fulfilled. Gregg points out his motives. He shares how Don K Preston and critics spread rumors after his debate with Don in 2013 (which I have watched). I was not shocked at all by his claims because personally, Preston has routinely lied and spread falsities about myself and others whether it is directly or indirectly through his fan base and followers (I often call them flying monkeys). Frost and I’ve personally been subjected to this for at least a decade (Frost more). I found it funny Gregg mentioned becoming a flat earth believer would ruin his credibility because I know from having experienced it, that many full preterists are also flat earth believers.

Chapter 1: Why Not Full-Preterism?

Gregg details the full preterist terms and their positions fairly and accurately here. No misrepresentations at all. Any full preterists claiming a misrepresentation is lying here. Gregg is kind when he claims many full preterist are intelligent. I disagree with him on that. Gregg tells us the brief history of full preterism and it is accurate. I completely agree with Gregg in his criticism of the Churches of Christ. While “full preterism is not the official position of the Churches of Christ… it is significant that its founder, along with its current defenders (Edward Stevens and Don K Preston) are all CoC preachers. This movement has always had the distinctive of downplaying the authority of creeds and post-apostolic Christianity. It is, perhaps, this predisposition that allowed preachers from this movement to be the first to reject the beliefs of every Christian theologian prior to their time – namely the doctrine of the future return of Christ[2]. It is absolutely true that full preterist are virtually ALL anti-creedal, anti-confessional, and anti-historical so they do fit in with the CoC well. It is hard to argue against that and hard not to see why they are so commonly found there mostly. Full Preterists and Church of Christ do mostly agree on these points. Gregg nails it when he shows that it cannot be credibly said that all bible prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD. He gives a list that I will summarize here but “there was no ‘appearing in glory’ of Christ in the Church (Tit 2:13; Rom 8:18), the Church didn’t see Jesus “face to face” or come to “know even as we are known” (1 Cor. 13.12), the Church didn’t become “like Him” (1 John 3:2), the Christians…did not have their bodies glorified (Phil 3:21), the Church did not mature (Eph. 4:13), and his list goes on.[3]

Chapter 2: General Introduction to Full-Preterism

Gregg here points out how great the burden of proof is for the full preterist. He rightfully points out that they have to prove all is fulfilled and this involves every passage about the 2nd Coming, resurrection of the dead, Final Judgment, and must also show us that Satan and the demons no longer exist and that the present age (post-70AD) is one about which the Scriptures say nothing. He asks and points out how many Full Preterists struggle to find any meaning in life for themselves and others as believers and asks if we should abandon the Eucharist and if we need to bother evangelizing now, all legitimate questions that need to be answered by full preterists[4]. He points out how divided and divisive full preterist often are and how incredible the level of division is since it has literally only been around since 1970. All in all, Gregg gives a very strong introduction here and there is no lie or misrepresentation given. Everything he has said here is accurate about full preterism.

Chapter 3: The Parousia of Christ

Gregg notes in p. 29 that there is “an uncanny similarity between Full Preterism and Dispensationalism”. This is because they are both eschatologies made in the early 19th CE and because most full preterist were dispensationalists at one point in their lives. He makes it clear full preterism is a cult and uses all the same claims that cults so often do. I greatly enjoyed how he points out that in every instance of the Greek word “parousia” (presence in English) it cannot possibly be about 70 AD. He makes a good case for how the full preterist, if they would argue in good faith, would have to admit to a failed hermeneutic. Instead, they apply the language to the same event and in every instance and they are found fallacious for doing so.

John 5, Acts 1:11, 1 Thess. 4, and various other verses simply do not make much sense the way full preterist try to make the Final Day of the Lord a spiritual event. These events listed and prophesied tell us real material events will happen… Gregg points out the Final Day must be for ALL, not some. “Absolutely no tangible or visible evidence can be presented, indicating that, in 70 AD, Jesus Himself descended from heaven, the dead were raised, and the living raptured, that mortal Christians became immortal, that New Heavens and New Earth were brought into being, or that there was a final judgment resulting in every person receiving exactly what their works warranted. The full preterist has to take each of these features and reinterpret them as invisible realities that didn’t really bring about much observed or sensed change in the lives of the Christians, nor in the broader circumstances of the world”[5]. He points out that Jehovah Witnesses also say Jesus came in 1944 and Seventh Day Adventists (SDA’s) also did this too in 1844 and how eerily similar that full preterist are to this with their claims[6]. I would also add how quite a few full preterists are former Jehovah Witnesses like Daniel Pike and Holger Neubeaur for example and that Don K Preston was constantly around Jehovah Witnesses in Oklahoma… William Bell as well. I loved this quote from Gregg: “It is puzzling why anyone would choose to embrace a system so fraught with so many difficulties, when a more exegetically-responsible Partial Preterism exists as an alternative”[7].

Chapter 4: Those All-Important Time-Texts

Here Gregg begins to discuss the time-texts and brings up that “since there is absolutely no historical or biblical record, nor any tradition of the early church, of any of these things occurring, we must conclude that, if they did happen, they seem to have very little impact on the people of God. Apparently no one noticed. Why are we asked to believe that any of this occurred in AD 70? It appears to be for one reason only – namely, what full preterists refer to as time-texts”[8]. He gives the 101 Time Texts from David Green and then next examines them in his next chapter.

Chapter 5: Time-Indicators Examined

I love this chapter. I love how he brings up Isaiah 13 which says “near” and yet is prophesied 200 years before the event it speaks on. 200 years off but spoken of as “at hand” seems like it should be imminent but it clearly was not. No one who heard the prophecy lived to see it fulfilled in Isaiah’s time period. It is pretty clear that we cannot interpret some texts like the full preterist wants. Gregg points out Haggai 2:6 does this too. Points out the writer of Hebrews quotes it as well and that “this little while” referenced is a literal 500+ year gap! Gregg continues on to make his point and does it well showing that the way full preterists interpret words is absolutely faulty. One thing I will note is that I did disagree with Gregg’s take on Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 and Luke 9:27. However, it seems to me that it is an acceptable partial preterist position.

I loved how he pointed out in p. 73 that Caiaphas could not have seen AD 70 since he dies in 46 AD. He points out that he did not even see the beginning of the Jewish War of 70 AD. Full preterist fail here at audience relevance (which they constantly yap on and on about) and the importance of it. Gregg points out in pp. 76-77 that John 21:22 does not help them at all either and I think that was and is a brilliant observation. I’d only add that John is also recorded to have died in the reign of Emperor Trajan in 100 AD. He had literally 30 years apparently to tell people… anyone for that matter… that Jesus had returned in 70 AD but clearly it was unimportant to him as the last disciple of Christ to live to teach anyone this and he didn’t teach any Early Church Fathers anything full preterist teach after 70 AD either…

Gregg points out in pp. 82-83 that Revelation 20’s 1000 years cannot be a 40 year period (30-70 AD) like the full preterist want. Gregg correctly notes how every Christian and Jew in history have known the number 1000 to mean a long time and that the full preterist fights it because “it would destroy the full preterist system and its prior-to-investigation conclusions about biblical eschatology”[9].

Chapter 6: Audience Relevancy

Gregg touches on audience relevance here, something full preterist harp people on 24/7. As Frost and I, and no Gregg have also noted, the Greek word “mello” sometimes does indicate an event that is CERTAIN or DESTINED to happen[10]. Full preterist have no case. In the end, Gregg shows us many instances where the New Testament writers did not think the 2nd Coming and subsequent events would happen in their lifetime. They just knew it is certain and destined to happen. He discusses next 2 Thessalonians and refutes Don K Preston point by point and I loved it because, while I use more or less the same arguments to refute him that Gregg does, I love and relish seeing people refute and rip Preston’s stupid arguments to bits. Gregg’s 3rd point against Preston was amazing and around p. 114, he refutes Preston even more so assassinating all of Preston’s lame, weak, pathetic, and heretical arguments.

Chapter 7: The Resurrection According to Scripture and History

Great chapter! He points out Max King’s inconsistencies about Paul[11]. He points out how all the full preterists “want Paul’s teachings to differ radically from those of the Jews, regardless of his strong statements affirming he held a view compatible with theirs”[12]. Problem is the traditional Jewish belief is the same as the historic Christian one - that is Bodily Resurrection. He is correct that Ed Stevens thinks he is the elect but Ed can’t prove why or how he is since he says it happened in 70 AD. I am glad he brought up what traditional Judaism believes on it because the full preterist often preaches that they are teaching the “original truth” or as Don Preston claims: “the Hebraic mindset of the 1st CE”. It always turns out, when put under scrutiny, they have and are nothing remotely close to teaching any of that. I loved when Gregg brought up all the quotes from the Early Church! He shows how EVERY CHURCH FATHER believed the 2nd Coming and Resurrection of the dead event were FUTURE! Gregg asks full preterists “to explain how every Christian of the ancient church understood the matter differently from J Stuart Russell, Max King, Don Preston, Ed Stevens, etc. al…[13]” We’ll wait I’m sure forever. I’ve asked Preston, Stevens, and more to explain these questions and more and have been waiting since 2019 and believe I will never get a satisfactory answer honestly from any of these people aside from ridiculously constructed conspiracy theories that fall on every point they make when put under scrutiny.

I love how Gregg points out in p. 139 how full preterists aren’t the only ones who hold to wrong views like believing heaven is the ultimate eternal destiny of Christians. Too many people erroneously believe they die and then go to heaven and that is it – oftentimes, they think this is the resurrection of the dead too. Heaven is not our permanent home.

Chapter 8: The Resurrection and Rapture According to Full Preterism

Here Gregg explains how full preterist see the resurrection of the dead and the rapture. They believe it all happened in 70 AD. Gregg explains very well the IBV and CBV views and does it respectfully. He covers Ed Stevens (IBV) and Don/King’s (CBV) differences over “sin-death” too[14]. He disproves Preston so easily over the death of Adam not being just spiritual death. The sin-death view is easily dismantled by Gregg. All idiots like Preston, Neubauer, and Baisden do is try to reinvent everything and then desperately attempt to try and force it all to be about 70 AD – and ultimately they fail to do it.

Around p. 159, Gregg turns to Stevens on his IBV rapture idea that every saint was raptured in 70 AD so all those left behind were unaware any of this “rapture” happened. Stevens, at best, gives us a conspiracy theory. Gregg brings up a lot of the same questions I have had for Stevens and I hope he gets some answers honestly because I certainly haven’t since Stevens seems to have actually ran away like a coward from me when I’ve tried to have discourse with him over it.

I personally love Gregg’s take on St. Polycarp, St. Papias, and St. Ignatius who were both born before 70 AD. Both disciples of Apostle John as well, this seems super silly to me personally to accept that these men were all clueless and apostates and liars (which Stevens would ultimately have to claim to be even remotely plausible). St. John himself seems to be clueless as well since he died in 100 AD without being raptured in 70 AD. I have to ask… was he an apostate? Laughable! Gregg refutes IBV and CBV easily. “All pegs cannot legitimately be made to fit a system with only round holes”[15].

Chapter 9: Key Disputed Passages on the Resurrection

Here Mr. Gregg “will look at the points of controversy in three important witnesses: Jesus’ words about the Resurrection, Paul’s Thessalonian correspondence, and 1 Cor. 15”[16]. He does all of this. Referring back to Chapter 7, he shows how the Jews of 2nd Temple Period all but the Sadducees believed in a biological resurrection of the dead. Jesus and Paul, and all the other Apostles taught it as did their disciples, and so on. He uses the clear words of Christ in John 6, 11; Matt 17, 20; Mk 12; Lk 16; Paul’s many letters and speeches like Acts 24; 1 Cor. 15; 1 Thess. 4; and so on. I disagree with Gregg about calling these verses rapture verses. All rapture verses dispensationalists use I would argue is about the resurrection of the dead and are verses about that or the 2nd Coming.

He makes a great point that while you could say 70 AD is a judgment for the wicked in Jerusalem, this definitively can never be a judgment for “all nations” like Jesus says will happen on the Last Day in Matthew 25:31-32. I’d also add not every Jew who rejected Jesus as Messiah was in Jerusalem in 70 AD. So really only some Jews were judged and not many Romans were killed in comparison…

On the Thessalonian Correspondence, Gregg brings up 1 Thess. 4:15-18. “Full preterists think Paul’s pronouns – especially, ‘we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord’ suggest he expected fulfillment in his own lifetime. If he did, then he was mistaken, since neither the end of the world, nor AD 70, occurred in Paul’s lifetime”[17]. Preston makes this argument all the time and Gregg easily refutes that heretical con-man. He shows “Covenant Eschatology” is a made up farce that someone like Preston pulled out of their ass.

Gregg shows what a lunacy it is to accept Preston’s beliefs that “the Resurrection refers to a new degree of privilege for the people of God, who corporately shed their Old Covenant status in favor of the New…”[18] It should not surprise the reader of Gregg’s to see him refute Preston so easily since Preston is a terrible exegete and a lying con-man.

Gregg brings up Preston’s feeble attempts to swindle people to his con with 2 Thess. 1:6-9 where he tries to convince people “that Paul is using Old Testament language to speak to the end of the Old Covenant… [and]… is describing Christ’s ‘coming’ in AD 70, not at the end of the world, and the ones being judged are the Jewish persecutors of the Thessalonian Christians”[19]. He points out that Preston’s premises about Isaiah 2 are very questionable and points out that Isaiah 2 is not and cannot be about 70 AD, and points out that in Luke 23.30, Jesus does not cite Isaiah 2, which Preston claims and continues to this day to claim and lie about, despite the many people who have pointed out to him that he is wrong. Preston willfully continues to do this and lie and deceive anyone he can. Gregg nails Preston on his errors and I can’t help but to love it.

On Gregg’s 3rd point he brings up 1 Cor. 15 to conclude this chapter. There is no legitimate way to read Paul’s letter here and conclude the nonsensical views that are espoused by King or Preston. Ed Stevens as well says the 1st CE saints exchanged their physical bodies for different bodies… it is also nonsensical as Paul says that the resurrection will be biological. I like how he points out that 1 Cor. 15 cannot be fulfilled because every enemy of Christ has not been defeated. Gregg also points out how Preston’s heretic theology makes the Cross irrelevant. Preston the Old Covenant end in 70 AD when it ends at the Cross[20]. Loved this quote: “Paul was not awaiting AD 70 to free him from the demands of the Torah. He was already ‘not under Torah’ (1 Cor. 9:20-21).[21]

Chapter 10: No Marriage in the Resurrection

I thought this chapter was fun. Gregg reminds us that “in order to disprove the special claims of full preterism it only takes one verse that will not fit the AD 70 paradigm”[22]. He brings up now the topic of marriage. Jesus does say that those who take part in the Resurrection will no longer be married to a spouse and I like how he points out that J.S. Russell came to this conclusion as well. Gregg asked Preston in 2013 about Luke 20:35 and the idea that “the textual emphasis and the focus is on the Old Covenant Levirate Marriage mandate, not marriage as a universal concept” is so laughable to me and should be to everyone that hears it. Gregg rightfully was perplexed and confused at such an absurd and retarded position on Scripture at that debate. Five years later, he read Preston’s book on marriage like I did and found it completely disappointing. I completely agree that Preston’s book Marriage and Giving in Marriage… in the New Creation?? “meanders quite a bit, making and returning frequently to various points of dubious relevance to the announced subject… [It] seemed to have been written mostly with the intention of making… [Joel McDurmon]… look silly” which he failed as usual to do[23]. Gregg represents the book fairly and points out how absurd it is and in error. Preston cannot con his way out of the implications of full preterism. The fool can’t even answer them.

Preston does nothing but a misdirection the entire time. A criticism I have of Gregg’s is that he is far too kind to Preston. I won’t be. Trying to craft Luke 20:35 to be about 70 AD and the destruction of Jerusalem is in fact something only a desperate con-man or mental patient would concoct or construct. Charles Meek is another full preterist that Gregg points out who tries and fails to answer the marriage question. As Gregg says: “No one who honors and studies Scripture attentively is likely to mistake any of these for objective attempts to explain the meaning of Christ’s words”[24].

I copied this here because I think what Gregg writes here is so profound. “Apparently, when trying to promote an interpretation of a passage, and when one’s partisan exegesis makes no sense, one can fool some people simply by saying, ‘This is all covenantal stuff’. A discerning skeptic will naturally respond, ‘In the total absence of any evidence within the text itself, why am I expected to accept this bizarre and unsupported interpretation – because you say so?’ The answer is, although full-preterists disparage creeds in general, they nonetheless have their own creed containing one non-negotiable tenet: ‘Everything has to be made to fit, no matter how unnaturally, or disingenuously, into an AD 70 fulfillment’. Many of the advocates of Full-Preterism are clearly smart people who show, in other instances, the capability of connecting logical points and stringing together a valid scriptural argument. If they were merely dull, we might grant them more grace when they advance a critically flawed exegetical case. Given their intelligence, however, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that in discussing this particular passage the full-preterist is secretly thinking, ‘in the interest of promoting what I believe, on other grounds, to be true it is excusable for me to construct a totally invalid exegesis for this one troublesome text. If I speak fast and string together a lot of passages and concepts of no actual relevance to the text under consideration, I just may get safely past this embarrassing spot in the road without getting caught. Then we can move forward to another text for which we have more reasonable-sounding arguments’. Those who actually revere the Word of God will naturally respond, ‘Not so fast. Whatever other strong-sounding arguments may await our consideration on other texts, we cannot simply pretend that your views have legitimately addressed this key verse – one of the most determinative passages in the whole debate’. I do not like suspecting any of my Christian friends of being deliberately disingenuous. Therefore, I hope I am wrong about their thought processes. If their thoughts are other than I have imagined, they have been at pains to conceal that fact. We have a duty to hold Christ in greater reverence than would allow us to take sacred words He has spoken and twist them beyond recognition into something ostensibly more harmonious with our pet theological theories. The latter is the practice of cults and their leaders. While there is much in the exegesis of full-preterists on other passages that can command a measure of respect, it is a case like this one that shakes our faith in their objectivity and the reverence which a Christian ought to have for Christ’s teaching”[25]. Some full preterists will say he is slandering them if they read this but it just isn’t accurate because as a former full preterist, I can say without a doubt that this is EXACTLY what these people do. They lie, deceive, and are a cult. Dissent, challenging them, and asking questions can and DOES get a full preterist expelled from their little cult very often!

Now as far as marriage, as a former Full preterist, I may have tried to answer Gregg in this manner if he had asked me this question: [NOTE TO THE READER THAT WHAT I SAY HERE IS HERESY AND I REJECT IT]. I would have perhaps tried to say that marriage is not ushered in at AD 70 (this is presuming I use Preston’s CBV that has the O.C. ending in 70 and ushering the NC after 70) and is no more. Since sin-death is also no more (spiritual death-sin) I would argue that there is no need for marriage as there is no sin anymore. To marry today, one full preterist could hypothetically argue that it would be to go back to the Old Covenant (and some cults like Oneida actually did this). Obviously there are problems galore with all this but this was some of my thoughts anyways. There’s no need for marriages in a full preterist mindset it seems like, just as there is potentially no need for the Eucharist and other things.

Gregg shows so clearly that when read without a full preterist agenda, Scripture doesn’t support Covenant Eschatology (CBV) and also shows us that full preterist, who say they care so much about audience relevance suddenly stop doing so with verses like Luke 20:35 and ultimately bastardize the Scripture all for their 70 AD agenda.

Chapter 11: New Heavens and New Earth

Talking about the New Heavens and New Earth, Gregg states: “I cannot find any reason to agree with the arguments leading to such a conclusion, even after reading a 300-page book by Don Preston defending his thesis[26]”. I wholeheartedly concur with his conclusions. Reading any book by Don Preston will prove there is no reason to agree with him in his conclusions. In this chapter, Gregg begins talking about misconceptions that people make about heaven and does a good job about it. We will see a New Heaven and a New Earth - the two will be united in a sinless, perfect, and dynamic state of reality with Christ and fellow saints. The full preterist however claims “that in biblical times the expression ‘heaven and earth’ was commonly understood by the Jews to be a reference to the Old Covenant, or perhaps, the Temple System”[27] and points out how utterly absurd this ideology is. I would add that I have also asked full preterists many a times if the Old Covenant and Torah ceased when Babylon destroyed the 1st Temple and have had absurd and have seen this been mostly unanswered by them (no answer has ever been satisfactory). I loved p. 244 when Gregg pointed out in his critique of Don Preston’s Elements book that “it is common in Preston’s book to find him saying ‘we’ve already shown such-and-such a thing’, when he should more correctly have said, ‘We’ve already ASSERTED such-and-such’. In his book he demonstrates no such meaning of stocheia – he only affirms it”. This is not a misrepresentation at all and is extremely accurate and anyone in scholarly circles reading Preston would conclude the exact same thing.

Chapter 12: New Heavens and New Earth (continued)

Gregg continues from Chapter 11. I don’t know that I agree with Gregg’s Partial Preterist take on 1 and 2 Peter entirely BUT nothing he says here is heretical either as best as I can tell. We just come at eschatology from different frameworks (Gregg is an early date partial preterist and I am a late date partial preterist-idealist). Full preterist want to make Isaiah 60-66 and the New Heavens and New Earth all “spiritual” and metaphorical language and put “covenant” on anything else they have a tough time explaining in Scripture. I agree with Gregg that full preterist trying to connect Paul in Romans 8 to Isaiah 65-66 is completely and totally absurd[28]. The “creation” or “creature” is NOT the Old Covenant as Preston falsely asserts.

I would also point out that when Preston makes claims like “most commentators agree” that he is usually lying and deceiving his audience intentionally. I have in fact fact-checked him multiple times and found Preston to cherry-pick, quote-mine scholars out of context, and outright lie and misrepresent the scholars and people he quotes and often claims or tries to make it appear like all these people agree with his claims and assertions. Pardon my French, but I call that nothing more than intentionally dishonest.

Gregg points out that 2 Peter cannot all be about 70 AD and John’s Revelation 20 and 21 also cannot be made to make sense under the full preterist assertions. Revelation 21 cannot be explained by full preterists and make sense. Gregg points out that “to describe the Church after AD 7- as having attained to a ‘perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph. 4:13) would be to display either an ignorance or a denial of the facts of the Church’s history”[29]. Gregg concludes the chapter by asking many good questions I’d also like the answers to from full preterists that I presume will never get answered.

Chapter 13: Intro to the Olivet Discourse

Gregg here goes through the Olivet Discourse and covers it through a partial preterist lens. I would just argue that some of Matthew 24-25 is about 70 AD but some of it is also about the Final Day, none of which was in 70 AD.

Chapter 14: Commentary on the Olivet Discourse

Gregg here goes through the Olivet Discourse “verse-by-verse survey and point-by-point analysis of the three parallel accounts in the Synoptic Gospels”[30]. I agree with Gregg that Jesus “For several days had been predicting and alluding to the impending doom of Jerusalem… His remarks are concerned only with the fate of the temple and its stones to which his disciples had just brought His attention”[31]. “Full preterists and many partial preterists, believe ‘your coming and the end of the age represent a single event, which is synonymous with ‘these things’ in the parallels”[32]. What Jesus said of AD 70 came true obviously! This wasn’t the 2nd Coming though. What he says will happen at the Final Judgment will also come true in the future. Throughout the chapter, Gregg points out the full preterist cannot possibly be correct in their interpretation, not even of Matthew 24-25. I found almost nothing I disagree with Gregg on because it is all “orthodox”. I might would critique that idea he put in that Jesus doesn’t even know when He will come back but I will overlook it.

Chapter 15: Gathering Up The Fragments

Here Gregg covers other arguments that he has gotten from full preterists. If you’ve ever had these said to you, you should read Gregg’s chapter here. It’s helpful! On that 3rd argument he gave though, I would add that I have never had Preston or any full preterist for that matter ever coherently explain how Christ could resurrect the just and the unjust in 70 AD and also end sin-death (spiritual death). These two make absolutely no sense since simultaneously you’d have to say sin is gone, but yet, there is someone UNJUST being resurrected. How do the unjust get resurrected and changed? They change in “covenant status” whatever the heck that is? How?

On Gregg dealing with the 9th argument, I’d add that the full preterist like Max King and Don Preston both say spiritual death is sin and IF Jesus died spiritually, they are saying Jesus sinned. King denies Christ is God Incarnate and says He is just a man so I could see his framework hypothetically working out (though Christ we should say declares He is God Incarnate so King is obviously in error) whereas Don Preston’s framework can’t work period because he accepts Jesus is God… so how can God Incarnate sin? He’s God…

I agree as well with Gregg that the 15th Argument of Preston’s made zero sense but honestly when has Preston ever made sense or been a coherent arguer?

On the 16th Argument, I also find Preston and his fellow full preterist cohorts’ arguments ridiculous especially since Preston consistently has declared Sam Frost and myself to be evil people and enemies of truth. Clearly, Christ has not actually put us under his feet (presuming devil’s advocate here that we are in fact the actual enemy LOL – I’d argue however that Christ hasn’t put all enemies under His feet since Preston clearly still hasn’t managed to shut the heck up yet). Preston’s arguments are idiotic.

Epilogue:

Gregg concludes: “Full preterism doesn’t allow for a final resolution between God and sin. No restoration. God endures evil for all eternity. Full preterism is heresy. It is the opposite of what historical Christianity, following the biblical teaching, has always affirmed”[33]… “Like many erroneous theological systems, full preterism begins by setting up a restrictive paradigm into which every passage of Scripture must be forced, however unnaturally. Yet, its advocates seem to require no exegetical justification for the adoption of the paradigm itself… The ploy of the innovator is to justify his limited range of possibilities by claiming the Bible itself imposes that limit”[34]… “The rabbis expected a physical resurrection at the end of the current phase of world history, to be followed by a renewed physical planet. Full preterists deny such a hope and claim Paul didn’t teach it. It seems they need to ‘choose a lane’. Did Paul preach the fulfillment of the Jewish hope or didn’t he?[35]

“Full-Preterists insist that all of the New Testament predictions must have had a first century fulfillment because Paul said that they were ‘about to’ (mello) occur, and that his phrase ‘we who are alive and remain’ refers only to those of his own generation. We have shown…that these claims are unwarranted. The words ‘must have’… make up the core of the full preterist argument. It cannot be shown that anything like the things the Bible predicts at the 2nd Coming of Christ really occurred in AD 70. This remains true even if we were to reinterpret the Resurrection as referring to a metaphorical or collective one and the New Heavens and the new Earth to speak only of a covenantal transition. It also cannot be shown that all the nations were gathered before the judgment throne of God and that every man received the just reward of all he had done, whether good or bad. In fact, no such thing occurred by any plausible definition. To the full preterist, these things simply ‘must have’ happened. Why? Simply because they have decided that their artificial policy of forcing everything into AD 70 must be accepted, though nothing in scripture demands the adoption of such a framework. I must agree with former full preterist, Todd Dennis, in his assessment… of the system ‘based entirely upon deductive reasoning’. Deductive reasoning is a good policy, but requires beginning with a valid premise. When one removes the artificial restriction created by fill preterism which insists that all prophecy must be fulfilled no later than AD 70, there remains little of substance to its unique arguments. They certainly are not exegetically warranted. Much less do the meet the enormous burden of proof required to overthrow the unanimous exegetical conclusions of every branch of the Christian faith over the past 2000 years. We have said that this burden demands superior exegesis, and we have shown that, in that department, the system completely fails to deliver”[36].

Agreed. As a former full preterist, I can say full preterism is a bunch of bad-faith actors, con-artists after book sales like Preston, and if they are genuine about this belief, they’re mostly misled, illiterate, gullible, or just plain ignorant and dull.

To conclude this review, I recommend Steve Gregg’s book to people to read if they are on the fence or dealing with a full preterist arguing with them about eschatology. If I ever re-write my book I plan on using many of Gregg’s arguments actually because he makes great ones. I fully endorse this book and intend on sharing it with anyone who asks for resources on how to deal with full preterism. He does not lie or misrepresent their positions. He is even kind to them and fair in his assessments and fair in his refutations against their disgusting heresies. I pray anyone that is in this demonic doctrine that bastardizes Christianity leaves it. I pray anyone listening to the likes of Max King, Don Preston, or Edward Stevens wakes up and realizes these men do nothing but bastardize the Christian faith with their doctrines. Thank you for reading.

 



[1] Gregg, Steve. (2022). Why Not Full-Preterism? Xulon Press. Xiv.

[2] Ibid. 4.

[3] Ibid. 5-6.

[4] Ibid. 18.

[5] Ibid. 49.

[6] Ibid. 50.

[7] Ibid. 50.

[8] Ibid. 51.

[9] Ibid. 82-83.

[10] Ibid. 93.

[11] Ibid. 130.

[12] Ibid. 132.

[13] Ibid. 136.

[14] Ibid. 152.

[15] Ibid. 167.

[16] Ibid. 169.

[17] Ibid. 179.

[18] Ibid. 183.

[19] Ibid. 186.

[20] Ibid. 194.

[21] Ibid. 195.

[22] Ibid. 198.

[23] Ibid. 202.

[24] Ibid. 207-208.

[25] Ibid. 209-210.

[26] Ibid. 226.

[27] Ibid. 236.

[28] Ibid. 261.

[29] Ibid. 273.

[30] Ibid. 291.

[31] Ibid. 293.

[32] Ibid. 295.

[33] Ibid. 365.

[34] Ibid. 367.

[35] Ibid. 367.

[36] Ibid. 368.

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