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Thursday, January 5, 2023

Response to Gary DeMar's "More Comments About 'Morons' and 'Idiots' " Article

It appears Gary DeMar has written a response to my previous article where I responded to his first article about me. 

As I always do when someone writes about me or responds to an article, I always try to put the source so people can get full context. Here is Gary's original article. 

Here is my first response to that article:  

And here is the post we will be responding to where Gary gives a response: 

I did not expect a second article to come out but I noticed immediately upon reading it that Gary DeMar completely dismisses that I made a public apology to him for calling him a moron. 

He basically just dismisses the entire first part of the article and doesn't acknowledge any bit of it. This makes it clear Gary is engaging in bad faith since in his previous article he completely ignored the context behind why I said what I said in the first place. 

I don't need to discuss what I challenged him to do with Frost and his audience because if he does not do any of that and just dismisses what was said it simply speaks more to his integrity as a teacher of the Bible, and the type of character he is unwilling to acknowledge that he played any part in wrongdoing. If he doesn't acknowledge that full preterism is a heresy and uphold the resurrection of the dead and continues blocking everyone who questions him on it and is simply asking him questions or to clarify or to uphold the tradition of the Apostolic Faith, then that is on him for not doing so and ultimately he will be held accountable as we all will in the Final Judgment (John 6).

DeMar claims: "Lance Conley claimed I believe that the word kosmos in passages like Matthew 4:8, 14; 13:35; 16:26 refer solely to the Roman Empire. This is absurd. Lance Conley's work cannot be trusted. I have never said kosmos only refers to the Roman Empire. Not once in ten books dealing with Bible prophecy and countless articles have I ever made such a claim. If he did not read what I have written on the subject before he made his absurd claim, then he is not to be trusted". 

I have read many of, but not all his works. This is basically an ad hominem. I'd also say that it does not really matter how many books Gary DeMar has written and what I have read of him. He appears to many people, not just me, to be changing his views on eschatology. This is why it is so very important for Gary to clarify what he teaches now so he is not being taken out of context, misunderstood, etc. He claims in both his articles that kosmos is not limited only to the Roman Empire but when one goes back and sees the conversations he was having lately with other individuals, many people had come to similar conclusions I had. Many people, myself included, have seen what's been said the last month or so and have presumed him to have changed his positions he once held.

I am totally willing to say it is possible I and many others have misread him and mistakenly presumed something. I will engage in good faith, be charitable towards Gary, and say it is even possible Gary DeMar did not intentionally mean his words to come across that way with regards to kosmos. 

I would still argue that kosmos being about Rome is found nowhere in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, nor Revelation. DeMar says he has pointed out that kosmos "sometimes refers to events that are limited to the inhabited earth and/or the political boundaries of the Roman Empire". I can only find 1 Peter 3:3 where it uses it for something ornamental, like an ornament of heaven but the rest of 1 Peter uses kosmos about the whole world unknown and known. The Revelation only makes sense with it being about solely the Roman Empire if we have a preterist bend to it. If we go beyond the scope the preterist desires to delimit the word, then it naturally, like the rest of Scripture goes beyond the Roman Empire. I am glad to see however that DeMar decided to clarify his position is still like his books because people, not just myself, are unsure of what he believes now since he continually seems to be changing his positions on things. 

Now as far as oikoumene goes, I stand by what I said earlier that it is very obviously not about the Roman empire in Hebrews 1:6 and 2:5. The author of Hebrews as I said before would not make sense if we took Gary DeMar's interpretation of it. Jesus is not the firstborn of the inhabited world nor is He the firstborn of Rome (1:6). He also did not subject to angels the inhabited world or Roman Empire to come... this makes zero sense. Sam Frost and myself noted DeMar does zero exegesis of Hebrews 1:6 or Hebrews 2:5. Instead he just quote mines people. He quotes a lot of scholars he says agree with him. 

I didn't know who this Robert Cruickshank was that Gary quoted but when I went to do a little google search and Facebook searches I found that this person that Gary apparently is in full agreeent with on most things is a full preterist. If I am incorrect that he isn't a full preterist I will correct this error but it seems very obvious from what I could see of his posts and an Amazon book that he wrote the foreward to a full preterist named Dan Harden's book where Harden says quite literally the resurrection of the dead has already been fulfilled in 70 AD. This is further confirmed when we see Don Preston has Robert writing guest articles on his blog sites. It should be alarming that Gary DeMar even thought about and decided to quote a full preterist to show agreement with them. I think I am safe to say that to the public looking at this it all seems suspicious and should make Gary's following demand he clarify his position about full preterism being a heresy or not. I don't see it the way Gary and Robert do on these verses in Hebrews and certainly some scholars agree with my take as well. This is certainly not just something Sam Frost or I came up with. 

Apparently a Calvinist minister John Murray agrees with Gary and says kosmos in Romans 1:8 is simply hyperbole. I can see how someone would think in that manner but I still respectfully disagree that it is only the known world here in context. I think Paul is thanking God through Jesus Christ for all the Roman believers because their message and faithfulness and gospel of allegiance to Jesus Christ IS being proclaimed by the apostles and angelic beings throughout the whole world, both known and unknown. I come to these conclusions based on my studies of the Early Church and 2nd Temple Judaism literature I have been studying for years. Gary is free to disagree but I don't think Paul has just the Roman provinces in mind here and I can find scholars who also agree with me just as Gary can find some that agree with him.

Paul is likely not in the Roman capital yet when he writes this letter and is somewhere outside it. He has heard great things about them and considers this a great feat considering where they are is the center of paganism. He has the whole Church around the world, wherever Christ is being preached known and unknown, in context, because in vv. 6-7 earlier, Paul tells the Roman Church that they are those who are called to be holy ones and loved by God. Humans in Christ are called to be part of God's family and take part in His governing counsel over the Kingdom of God. He calls them "brother and sister" (Romans 1:13) showing us that he considers them all family. In Roman culture if you call someone this term you are obliged to be responsible for them as family. So with this in mind and the entire Church hearing of this community of believers that are now part of their growing family doing great things, as far as I can tell, this clearly CAN be argued for being NOT Rome solely but being in a broader context, including those places not inhabited by Rome, such as India for example, where St. Thomas went to evangelize to Parthian King Gondophares (clearly one of many kingdoms that are outside of Rome).

He next quotes Henry Alford saying that "The Gospel had been preached through the whole Roman world, and every nation had received its testimony, before the destruction of Jerusalem (quotes Col 1.6, 23; 2 Tim 4.17). This was neccesary not only as regarded the Gentiles, but to give God's people the Jews, who were scattered among the nations, the opportunity of receiving or rejecting the preaching of Christ" and Norman Geisler's commentary on Colossians where he says that Paul's usage of "to every creature under heaven" "is obviously a figure of speech indicating the universality of the gospel and its proclamation, not that every person on the globe heard Paul preach. In Acts 2:5 this phrase describes countries without including, for example, anyone from N. or S. America (cf. Also Gen 41.57; 1 Kings 10.24; Rom 1:8)".

It's great and all that Gary can mine quote scholars who agree with him but as far as Alford goes, the NT at least from my understanding after Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension marks the end of the Exile and the start of the Restoration which does not end until the 2nd Coming. In Whole Counsel of God podcast, DeYoung (PhD) rightly points out that this isn't just a figure of speech going on and that when Paul says that the Gospel was "preached to every creature under heaven" this does not in 2nd Temple Judaism era only apply to humanity but applies universally. This also includes angels and demons in context. This applies to non-humans, animals, and the universe itself. This may sound odd and far too mystical to us with our modern sensibilities but this is exactly what is taught in 2nd Temple Literature, 2nd Temple scholars would confirm this is found as well. This is also taught by scholar Michael Heiser, Archbishop Dmitri Royster, and more who are just as talented, I'd argue more so, as teachers of the bible and bible scholars as Gary's Reformation commentators are.

Gary commits bad faith here and an ad hominem here when he claims: These are such common concepts that only someone who has an agenda would try to distort what I and others have written". 

I have no agenda except Christ, certainly not one against Gary DeMar. I have called him to follow after Christ and Truth and to be the best teacher of the Bible he can be, which means clarifying what he believes to the public about full preterism being a heresy or not, as one who teaches the Bible rightfully should. DeMar has not done so and has refused to do so unfortunately. 

I'll say this again as I said in the first article I responded to. I shouldn't have called Gary DeMar a moron. I let myself become angry and said a hurtful stupid thing about DeMar after I watched him attack my mentor and friend Sam Frost with Don Preston and called him out for it, then posted that he was a moron. I was wrong and I apologize yet again to Gary DeMar for calling him a moron. 

Nowhere has it been my agenda or intention to distort what Gary and others have written. If I have misread Gary DeMar, misunderstood DeMar, or misinterpreted DeMar's intentions with regards to his usage of kosmos, then I am certainly not alone in this matter and simply put, for a lot of people, myself included, we have watched what he posts on Facebook and are now suspicious and unsure of what he now believes. I have read a lot of his books and used to use him as a reference when I was a full preterist, knowing him to be a strong early-date partial preterist. 

Just like I changed when I left full preterism, I know Gary DeMar can change because people change their minds all the time. Sometimes they end up going against everything they have written before as well which is why, I can't stress this enough, that as a teacher of the Bible, Gary should publicly clarify and renounce full preterism as a heresy if he does not believe it to be true. It is as simple as that. I also would tell him to uphold the resurrection of the dead as a future biological event as I would any teacher of the Bible. I pray Gary DeMar will uphold the Nicene Creed when it says "And He will come again with glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom shall have no end" and when it says "I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come". That's my only agenda here is that I, as a Christian, call Gary DeMar to follow Christ and uphold the faith of the apostles and the Council of Nicea. Likewise, Gary should call me to do the same. 

As far as kosmos and oikoumene are concerned, I think I have made my case clear and I think it is great that Gary has clarified now that kosmos is not solely about Rome. That's great! He and I obviously will have to agree to disagree on the NT usage of oikoumene because I don't see it the way he desires it to be. There is no need to rehash that argument as one can go to my first article and see what I wrote.

It also should and was noted before that Gary DeMar did zero exegesis on Heb 1:6 or 2:5. All he does is quote commentaries that agree with him. Second, if Gary were presumed correct about his take on Colossians and also says the "end" came in 70 AD then there is no other conclusion one can make except full preterism. If one takes that position we have to conclude the resurrection of the dead, restoration of all things, etc. happened on or by May 9, 70 AD. Anyone with common sense will see that none of this took place in 70 AD. They'll also see quite clearly that the Early Church clearly doesn't accept that to be true and all hold the 2nd Coming and resurrection of the dead to be future. 

As he did in the first article, I expect he will simply dismiss and ignore everything that has been said in this article as well. He may just continue being upset that I called him a moron but we'll see! Stay tuned to see if there's a Part 3 from Gary DeMar. 

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