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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Response to Gary DeMar's "Of 'Morons' and 'Idiots'" Article

I was informed today that Gary DeMar had mentioned me in one of his articles.

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" and "oikoumene".

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.


For kosmos:

Matthew 4:8 cannot be restricted to Rome because the devil gave Jesus a vision of "all the kingdoms of the world".

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.

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References

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.

2 comments:

  1. In his April 28, 2021 podcast, "Is Full Preterism Heresy?" He said this: "I am not goint to label people heretics because I got a lot of friends who are full preterists (at about the 16:40 mark)."

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    Replies
    1. That seems to confirm everything a lot of us have been seeing be pointed out to us. All the full preterists around him are saying he's with them... he's not condemning any of it... Seems pretty obvious what he's all about now. Sad.

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Response to Gary DeMar On His Hypocrisy/Let's Discuss The Sergius-Preston Debate

  It looks like we have gotten a Part 3 to Gary DeMar's hit pieces on me after all in the form of cheap shots aimed at me via a Facebook...