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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Answering King Neb "A full preterist"

This is where it came from. "from this forum" and it was mostly adressed to other protestants, mostly calvinistic protestants that hold to what is called "Amill", and maybe "postmill". I responded because he mentioned an ancient heresy, as well as some church fathers, and nonfathers.

This is what he had to say:


The Embarrassment of Premillennialism

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Premillennialism (PM), or Chiliasm (chilia is the Greek number for
1,000), is an embarrasment for Partial Preterists (PP), Postmillennialists (PoM)
and Amillennialists (AM). This short paper will highlight the reasons why it is
an embarrassment and why scholars who are not PM must downplay its place in
"historic Christianity." But, the way they downplay it actually undermines the
very argument they use against Biblical Preterism (BP).

First, the claim
that "historic Christianity" has always been united in eschatology is false.
Charles Hill, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary (and who co-authored a
book with Keith Mathison, When Shall These Things Be?), has tried to show that
PM was not the "only" millennialism around in the second century (Regnum
Caelorum: Patterns of Millennial Thought in Early Christianity, Eerdmans, 2001)
and does so convincingly. However, it is evident that the earliest writings we
have, and the dominant church fathers early on were Chiliasts. Hill lists 2
Baruch and 4th Ezra, two early Jewish documents, as chiliastic. I noted before
that Papias (70 to mid 2nd century A.D.) drew from 2nd Baruch (Hill notes this
as well). Further Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Commodianus,
Victorinus, Lactantius were all "definitely chiliasts" to quote Hill, who is an
AM.

The differences are noted. Some believed in an intermediate state
for the dead. Some believed that the translated went to Paradise immediately.
Others denied a subterranean middle state while others affirmed one. Big issues.

Now, the argument we often hear is that of "historic Christianity" and
that BP overturns it on the matter of eschatology. That is, if BP is true, then
God failed to guide the church. But, when one notes the confusion early on in
eschatology one can equally wonder why God failed to guide the church on the
question of the Millennium, or why God failed when the Pope and Medieval
theology arose until Luther recovered the doctrine of God's righteousness (he
simply read the Bible himself to discover this doctrine! Go figure). But, seeing
that this argument is as useless as a dead cat, it does point out interesting
problems.

Ireneaus, as we all know by now (those of you that have read
my blogs), claims that Papias got chiliasm from the mouth of Jesus, who taught
John, and John taught his elders who taught Papias who was an associate of
Polycarp who taught Irenaeus. All of this, of course, is questioned by the AM,
PoM and PP. But, this is the very source of the argument of "historic Christian
faith"!

This is the argument: the Historic Christian Faith has always
been united from the time of the Apostles onward according to the once and for
all time Tradition handed down from them to the leaders of the Second Century.
But, the very claim of that Tradition from Tertullian, Justin and Irenaeus is
that the "elders of John" taught PM! Papias is as early as we get to the time of
the Apostles! How in the world, then, can PP, AM, PoM justify their claims?

It is here that what they really mean by the Historic Christian Faith is
that regardless of what millennial view one hold to, they all believe in a
future Second Coming of Christ. The details don't matter. But, this undermines
the very argument that God guided the church. For, in the end, what it says is
that God guided the church to acknowledge a vague Second Coming, but provided
the same Church with no details! In other words, we have unity in the Second
Coming as future, but we all can tolerate each other on the fact that AM, PM, PP
and PoM contradict each other in the details (not to mention Dispen
-sationalism, Post-trib, Pre-trib, and Mid-trib, just to add a few more
meaningless "details" that God forgot to tell us about).

This is an
example of "unity in spite of the truth"! More dangerous is that this unity
minimizes biblical eschatology and the details as unimportant. In fact,
"pan-millennialism" runs in most churches probably because most Christians it
seems prefer not to talk about eschatology at all. And, when you start
mentioning details like 70 Weeks, Seven Headed Beast, Antichrist, 666, and
hundreds of other passages (the Bible is 1/3 eschatology) then we either argue
or simply leave the conversation since "nobody really knows." Hey, at least we
all agree that He is coming back, and that's enough, right?

So much for
God's word. Each word in the Bible is ordained and inspired by God to be there.
666 is God's holy and inspired word. "Seven heads" is inspired. "1,000 years" is
inspired. God put it there, in fact, He inspired hundreds of minute details and
points on eschatology – so many that very, very early on debates as to how all
these details worked out occurred. Hence, PM, AM and much later on PoM and PP.
What we as BP are asked to believe is that the Church, as a whole, got it wrong
on the details of the Second Coming, and that we can tolerate that, but they did
not get it wrong on ONE DETAIL: the he "shall come again" sometime in the
future! Now do you get the picture? These views must minimize the details of
God's word as unimportant, not important enough to divide over, but maximize a
sentence, not in the Bible, but in a man-made Creed: "he shall come again". The
Creed is an interpretation of eschatology and this single interpretation has
become the standard as to whether or not one is a "Christian." Shame on us
Protestants!

Imagine having a puzzle in front of you and it is not put
together. In fact, it's 8 puzzles all mixed up together. You have in front of
you ONE puzzle box with a picture. So, you know what ONE puzzle is to look like,
but have NO IDEA what the other 7 look like. That's the situation we have here.
God, so they say, has given us 8 puzzles (AM, PoM, PP, PM, Pre-Trib Disp.,
Post-Trib, Mid Trib….oh, I forgot Idealism and Historicism) and mixed them all
together, but gave us ONE PICTURE to work all of them out.

Let's use
another example. If a person tells you eight false propositions and one right
proposition is he to be trusted? Yet, this is what they say God has given to us.
Since all of these eschatologies cannot be right, in fact, none of them may be
right logically speaking, only one of them may be true. Logically speaking, they
cannot all be true. Since, then, we have more views than the one that is right,
I am to tolerate more falsehoods than I am to have the one truthful view! Unity
in spite of the Truth. And, get this, the BP is not welcome to the conversation
because he disagrees with the alleged one truthful proposition out all this
mess! Folks, dear readers, as you can see, this argument is completely shot.

Now, there is more. The BP must account for all these views as well, and
he must do so on account the framework of BP. In fact, BP is the only view that
can account for all these views for they all suffer from one fatal defect. They
are all attempting to apply unfulfilled prophecy to an Age of Fulfillment! Of
course none of them will work! God's Word was not intended to make them work!

Secondly, since the PoM, AM, and PP must discount the earliest view of
PM, then they, too, must admit that very early on something got wrong. Only the
PM view will work here (and some defectors from BP have rightly seen this
advocating that PM is the only biblical view).

In the view of BP,
prophecy CEASED. There was no "guiding" by the Spirit in the sense of inerrant
interpretation (of course, the Roman Catholic would disagree here). The Church
was made Perfect by the Spirit in terms of salvation, but this was not a promise
that in the ages to come she would have all her doctrinal ducks in a row from
day one. God was going to teach his church the ethic of love – which is the
hardest ethic to follow and the design was, according to Romans 14, to have
several views which conflict with each other. In this way we would be stretched
to preach a message of tolerance. We would still have to love one another in
spite of differing views – in short, the perfect church in Christ had to grow up
learning one thing: love one another and in this way would demonstrate
fulfillment of the Law (Romans 12-13).

The BP, on the basis of its
framework, can account for why error crept into the doctrinal formulations of
the church very early on. We are told to tolerate each other on several views of
eschatology, are we not? On what basis? For the creedolytryst, that basis is not
the Bible, but the Creeds. "He shall come again" is a statement of the Creed
that supposedly is the one detail the Church got right out of all the details
she got wrong. We have already exposed that error. The basis for tolerance is
the ethic of love as defined by Paul who was looking forward to the end of the
age and the Age to Come which would be characterized by loving one another.
There is no Prophet to whom we can ask, "which millennial view is correct?" We
are to figure it out together, working under One God, One Lord, One Faith in One
Body.

Because we have a different solution to the puzzles on the table,
we are told that we are not included in that One Faith. Take our solution
elsewhere. You can't play with us. But, because God has made the rules, not men,
we are invited by God Himself to sit at the table and begin to put the pieces
together that makes sense of all the other puzzles. Sure, the other kids won't
like us at first because we seem to be putting together these pieces at a rapid
pace. A picture is emerging that makes sense of it all – that explains the
reason why all these puzzles are here in the first place. A puzzle that unites
all these puzzles into one picture of what Christ has accomplished for us on the
CROSS. A puzzle that will show us what we all have been saying since day one of
the Church:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?

At the
cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart
rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am
happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in
its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish
stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might
the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the
mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my
blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in
thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can
ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do."




My responce:

King Neb, only the christians from Ashia Minor were mostly PM. Ashia minor is where Saint John mostly lived and died, and so the Apostolic Tradition that came from his region mostly held on to "Chilism". Justin Martyre and some others who were from that region but moved to Rome later in life spread that teaching to other parts of Christiandom.


The book of Revelations wasn't embraced by everyone. It was by those who knew John and lived in Ashia minor, but it wasn't embraced by alot of christians outside of Ashia minor. And this is the heart of the issue. The difference between the views is in the details. The belief that you hold to was not held in ancient christiandom, it wasn't defended in ancient christiandom, nor was anyone arguing about the issue. But they were arguing about this. Why? Because the view existed.......where as yours didn't. What you believe, and in the way that you believe it, came extremely late in time.

And out of mostly Calvinistic churches at that. Yes, I know that some Cambellites believe it, but they too came from Prespyterianism, and yes, I know that some Baptists hold to it, but everyone knows that they (that brand of baptists) too came from calvinistic separatist groups in the Church of England.

Your view is not embraced by Eastern Orthodoxy, nor is it embraced by Rome......not to mention most protestants. So why should that view have a place at the table? It should have no place at the table than does End Time views of JW's, SDA'a, and Mormons. They too are all late views and they never had a place in christian historic thought.


Eventually PM was seen as heretical in the 6th century. However, Eastern Orthodoxy won't kick anyone out the church for holding to the views. But those same people who do hold to it, must keep those views to themself, and they must not teach them to the faithful.


For the most part. The onlything that was discarded was a literal understanding of a 1,000 year reign, and a literal understanding of eating all kinds of huge fruit, and foods here on earth.

All of that has been Allegorized. But almost everything else is still held literaly by most Amills in eastern christianity.


PM was always givin a hard time by christians living outside of modern day Turkey and Syria.

And as a former PM myself, I know that it's not hard to switch to an Eastern form of Amill. Most of what I believe is still the same.


The christian east doesn't hide what happened to PM, but PM was never embraced by all regions of historic christianity.

So is it historic? Yes, but it was only limited to a certain region of christianity. But all that doesn't matter when a universal church council took a stand on the issue. What is sealed in stone is sealed in stone.

And this is why I ultimately changed my mind on the issue......for What the Church says goes..........and that's that.


so at least PM has an actual history in historic christianity....people actually argued over it. At least Amill has a history in ancient christianity, but what we don't have is full-preterism. Unlike PM, full-preterism doesn't have a scene in ancient christianity. We know about historic PM, we know about historic Amill, but full-preterism is not christian historic and it never will be. It is new on the scene, and it always will be.


Quoting King NEb:
"The differences are noted. Some
believed in an intermediate state for the dead. Some believed that the
translated went to Paradise immediately. Others denied a subterranean middle
state while others affirmed one. Big issues."


You will have to change "some" to most. Most believed in an intermediate state for the dead. And in regards to "translation", that is in regards to "the martyres" (those who died for the faith). For those that didn't die for the faith, it was believed that the soul went to Hades(the intermediate state of the dead). This developed when christianity was no longer under constant persecution. So in later times they included "Saints" as being the ones who are "translated" as well.....and not just those who were martyred.

This is still believed today in Eastern Orthodoxy. Just as it can be seen in some of the christian writtings of the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

It's not as divergent as you think. It is only made so by higher critical scholars and maybe other critical scholars who focus on the idea of "the development of doctrine" theory. Yes, it is true that some things did develop, but it is also true that everything didn't develop. So some scholars are just declaring stuff, and begging the question mostly. I like J. Pelikan, but I often find that he does much of the same.


Quote:
"It is here that what they really mean by the
Historic Christian Faith is that regardless of what millennial view one hold to,
they all believe in a future Second Coming of Christ. The details don't matter.
But, this undermines the very argument that God guided the church. For, in the
end, what it says is that God guided the church to acknowledge a vague Second
Coming, but provided the same Church with no details! In other words, we have
unity in the Second Coming as future, but we all can tolerate each other on the
fact that AM, PM, PP and PoM contradict each other in the details (not to
mention Dispen -sationalism, Post-trib, Pre-trib, and Mid-trib, just to add a
few more meaningless "details" that God forgot to tell us about).

This
is an example of "unity in spite of the truth"! More dangerous is that this
unity minimizes biblical eschatology and the details as unimportant. In fact,
"pan-millennialism" runs in most churches probably because most Christians it
seems prefer not to talk about eschatology at all."




Unity doesn't have to mean 100% conformity. And in alot of cases it usually doesn't. we can look at the issue with the Jew and Gentile fued. The council of Acts made it possible to have a Unity in diversity. And this slight diversity in eschatology also confirms the historic witness that the Apocolypse of John wasn't known until around 90 something A.D. When he was freed from the ISLAND of Patmos. You mentioned Irenaeus, but did you know that Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp? Who himself was a disciple of Saint John?

You mentioned Papias, did you know that Saint Papias was friends with Saint John? It is said that he didn't like to read alot of books, instead, he wanted the information straight from the Apostles or Apostolic men. You also mentioned Justin, but like I said before. HE was from the same region, and he later moved west, and spread that form of eschatology to other parts of the christian world. the same is true with Saint Irenaeus.

Before the 6th century, this issue was debatable, but once the Church put it's foot down and decided on the issue then case closed. We see this in regards to the Jewish/gentile fued, and it's the same with this fued. Different views can co-exist until the Church puts its foot down. And when it does, it usually shows the parameters. So yes, there can still be unity in diversity. I don't see a problem with it. The Church had a diverse canon for many centuries, and yet they were all united. And when the Church keeps arguing about something, it will eventually form a regional council or universal council to solve the issue. Just as our first anciestors have done in the book of Acts.

God guides the Church. So if you see a problem, it might be in the area of your doctrinal proposition. It is your doctrine and the way you understand the way God works. That is what must change. Not what happened in history. For God had His hands in it the whole time.





King Neb is an extremely intelligent fellow, and I must admit. At times I find it hard to respond to him. Sometimes, I just have to put my hands up and leave him be. He is too witty.







JNORM888

2 comments:

Jnorm888 said...

I modified this post. I was wrong about premill being condemned in the 6th century. It was condemned in the 4th. Any future revision of my position will be done in future posts.


Jnorm888

Jnorm888 said...

"Now I know that the Quartodeciman controversy is a different topic than pre-mill so everything isn't going to be the same. There will be some differences, because they each have there own contexts. But that is where my diverse tradition theory of different regions comes from. However, when pressed on the issue. I saw that the argument for it, in regards to pre-mill wasn't as strong. Plus in regards to the Quartodeciman controversy. It was a difference in custom. And the New Testament allowed for a difference in certain customs. So yes, I may of been wrong to borrow that idea, and bring it into the pre-mill situation. I saw that primative christian eschatology wasn't a monolith. It is my theory, and yes, it has some weaknesses, but it also has some strengths. In the future, I will modify/revise my argument."





JNORM888

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