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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another Hank Review

I know I have some dear readers who stop by here who adhere to preterism. I believe as an hermeneutical system preterism is utterly untenable, and even within the pale of what is considered orthodox, partial-preterism of the Gary Demar/Gene Cook /Dee Dee Warren garden variety, weedy errors can grow up. Listen, for example, to this interview from Demar's March 29th radio program where a preterism framework is used to re-write Genesis in support of an old earth and progressive creationism, and make the claim the young earth view is dispensational and should be abandoned. Their Beyond Creation Science website can be viewed here.

My problems with preterism aside (I do plan to address eschatology in a series of posts sometimes in the future - but feel free to leave snarky comments now if you must), Hank Hanegraaff is by far one of the most well-known popularizers of the system. However, the arguments he makes defending preterism and attacking dispensationalism, usually defined narrowly around the personalities of John Hagee and Tim LaHaye, are embarrassingly irresponsible and out right absurd. What Dave Hunt has become as a shrill advocate of anti-Calvinism, Hank is becoming in regards to preterism.

So I have been collecting Apocalypse Code reviews as a much needed remedy. (The first one can be read here). Dr. Michael Vlach of Master's Seminary has written out a helpful review of Hank's work,

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21 Comments:

Blogger Dee Dee said...

Hi Fred - I totally agree with that outrageous show by Gary DeMar and completely distance myself from that thinly disguised heresy. If you don't listen to the preterist podcast (on iTunes), I will soon be speaking about that show which Gary should be ashamed of hosting. Thank you for exposing this to the light. I support you despite our other theological differences.

5:45 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Dee Dee said...

I realize I forgot to leave you the podcast link

http://www.preteristpodcast.com

Blessings!

5:46 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Dee Dee,
You never cease to amaze me with your internet prowess. I don't believe I had that posted for no more than an hour and bam! you leave a post.

I will be watching your podcast page. I am thankful someone from your camp is speaking out against these guys. Demar sort of alarmed me when he hosted one of the authors and didn't challenge him at all about his position.

Fred

6:39 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Dee Dee said...

Hi Fred.... I am online, no lie, about 16 hours a day doing one thing or another. Not only theology stuff, I am one of those wild-eyed Apple fangirls, so I write for World of Apple and I have a satirical Apple fan blog as well. And theologyweb. Sleep gets in the way.

Yes, that show left me aghast. Not a peep out of Gary of even "reader beware." That was completely wrong on his part.

6:48 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Hayden said...

fred,

Thanks for the heads up and the review by Dr Vlack. I wish he was at TMS when I was there. Sounds like a gracious man. (Not that the sem professors I had were ungracious)

6:59 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Dee Dee said...

Fred, I read that article by Dr. Vlack and think that there are good and not so good points in it. Maybe I will address that review one day in my podcast. In order to fairly do so, I would have to re-read Hank's book which I don't know when I will have time to do. I think one thing that is misunderstood, and perhaps because Hank needed to be more explicit, he was never claiming (at least I don't think so) that dispensationalists are necessarily racists.... I think he was trying (maybe poorly) to point out that many American Christians are hardened to even consider that some of the claims of the Palestinian everyday folks might have some merit. The stories he related were something I never heard of before, and when I asked fellow Christians about them, they were not even open to hear them. In their eyes, Israel is always right where the Palestinians are concerned. I think really that is all he was trying to say, but I could be wrong.

I think I may have some other reviews you can collect at my site, check

http://www.preteristsite.com/bookreviews.html

if memory serves me correctly, I have two links to reviews there and I will now include this one by Dr. Vlack.

4:39 AM, May 01, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

16 Hours on the computer a day? Please don't become one of those cat people, if you know what I mean.

Any how, while you are looking at Michael's review, you can check out Don Green's general critique of preterism as well. Pay close attention to his comments on the phrase "this generation." I think both preterists and many futurists misunderstand that the phrase is an descriptive term describing evil people, not a specific chronological generation. If you can get Neil Nelson's paper on the subject Don references in his study (if you don't have it already because you are pretty good about that kind of stuff), I would recommend hunting it down.

As for Hank's claims of racism, I have heard him flat out say that dispensationalism is an inherently racist system, even using those exact words. That is an utterly stupid claim, and I say that as a person who is not dispensational in the classic sense of the word and has withering criticisms of the Hagee dispensational Zionism. It is obviously one thing to be critical of a particular position, but to misrepresent it with such slanderous terms is irresponsible and makes Hank look foolish.

Moreover, for him to define dispensationalism ONLY along the lines of Tim Lahaye and John Hagee also detracts from his critique. Dr. Robert Thomas has written a two volume, 1,400 page commentary on Revelation from a dispensational perspective, not to mention an unpublished, 3 volume exegetical digest on the book, and for Hank to think no one has really interacted with his new found preteristic position is willful ignorance. Demar suffers from this sort of myopia at times as well.

Now, to give Hank the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he does mean to be critical of Red state evangelicals of the Hagee stripe who think the state of Israel can do no wrong, but if that is the case, I wish, wish, wish, he would clarify his comments, but he never does.

By the way, when you do a podcast on that Beyond Creation Science book, shoot me an email at the address listed under my profile page.

Thanks Dee Dee

6:05 AM, May 01, 2008  
Blogger Dee Dee said...

>>16 Hours on the computer a day? Please don't become one of those cat people, if you know what I mean.>>>

Too late! Actually, it's not that bad - my job requires me to be in front of a computer all day. But at work it is Windows, which is basically torture to me until I come home to my beloved Macs.

>>Any how, while you are looking at Michael's review, you can check out Don Green's general critique of preterism as well. Pay close attention to his comments on the phrase "this generation." I think both preterists and many futurists misunderstand that the phrase is an descriptive term describing evil people, not a specific chronological generation.>>

Yeah I am very aware of that position and have studied it pretty thoroughly. I will be doing a show on just that topic at some point.

>>If you can get Neil Nelson's paper on the subject Don references in his study (if you don't have it already because you are pretty good about that kind of stuff), I would recommend hunting it down.>>

I might have it - my memory for names is notouriously bad, and my organization of papers that I have is even worse... ack!

>>As for Hank's claims of racism, I have heard him flat out say that dispensationalism is an inherently racist system, even using those exact words.>>

I don't recall ever hearing that, but I haven't listened to Hank in years because if I heard the phrase "lilliputian world of enormous complexity" or "the one who spoke and the limitless universes leapt into being" one more time I was going to jam forks in my ears.

>>That is an utterly stupid claim, and I say that as a person who is not dispensational in the classic sense of the word and has withering criticisms of the Hagee dispensational Zionism. It is obviously one thing to be critical of a particular position, but to misrepresent it with such slanderous terms is irresponsible and makes Hank look foolish.>>

As I haven't heard Hank enough to really have a credible opinion I can only speak in the most general terms and my own anecdotal experience on the tremendous hardness of heart I have seen among American Christians for the woes of Palestinian Christians. We are so used to thinking of nonJewish Middle-Easterners as the enemy and forget that there are many of the brethren there. It hurts my heart when some Christians will defend Israel at any cost (which nation right now despises Christ) and not see the plight of the Palestinian believers. I don't know if that is all that Hank is trying to say - but that is all I am trying to say. :)

>>
Moreover, for him to define dispensationalism ONLY along the lines of Tim Lahaye and John Hagee also detracts from his critique.>>>

Yes I see your point but ask you to look at it this way - most Christians do not study as they should. The most they know about eschatology comes from the Left Behind books. Hank's is a popular level critique, not a scholarly one (at least in my opinion). Gary DeMar has done the same thing in his book End Times Fiction, but he is pretty upfront in the intro that it is meant to be a basic popular level critique. I will have to re-read Hank's book, I would love to dialog about it.

Remember though, I can't tell you how many times I have been called an anti-Semite by dispensationalists. It is a typical charge - along with the perjorative term "replacement theology" - so Hank may be reacting against that.


>>
Dr. Robert Thomas has written a two volume, 1,400 page commentary on Revelation from a dispensational perspective, not to mention an unpublished, 3 volume exegetical digest on the book, and for Hank to think no one has really interacted with his new found preteristic position is willful ignorance.>>>

Does he think that? Where does he say that? Again remember, I don't listen to Hank much at all.

>>
Demar suffers from this sort of myopia at times as well.>>>


I have all kinds of problems with DeMar and have critiqued his exegesis myself.

>>
Now, to give Hank the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he does mean to be critical of Red state evangelicals of the Hagee stripe who think the state of Israel can do no wrong, but if that is the case, I wish, wish, wish, he would clarify his comments, but he never does.>>

I am pretty eager to re-read the book now. I kinda brushed aside all the personality stuff because I wanted to see how he exegeted certain verses.

>>
By the way, when you do a podcast on that Beyond Creation Science book, shoot me an email at the address listed under my profile page.>>

I am recording tonight a podcast with Roderick, but it isn't on that book per se, but a big chunk will be on Gary DeMar's irresponsibility in hosting such garbage without any warning or disclaimer and his consistent buddying up with heretics.

And you are right, someone from my camp needs to say something. Gary already dislikes me (or maybe I should just now, Gary already finds me really annoying), so I guess I'm it for now.

6:45 AM, May 01, 2008  
Blogger lee n. field said...

"As for Hank's claims of racism, I have heard him flat out say that dispensationalism is an inherently racist system, even using those exact words. That is an utterly stupid claim"

Will you also repudiate the "utterly stupid" but extremely common claim by dispensationalists that amilleniallism is antisemitic?

4:53 AM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Tim said...

"Yes I see your point but ask you to look at it this way - most Christians do not study as they should."

Hi Fred and Dee Dee,

I was curious if either of you have actually read Beyond Creation Science for yourselves?

Blessings,

Tim Martin
co-author, Beyond Creation Science
www.beyondcreationscience.com

8:20 AM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey there sis,
Sorry to have bailed on you for a few days. Work and taking my kids on a pre-school field trip to the aquarium got in the way.

Any how, while you are looking at Michael's review, you can check out Don Green's general critique of preterism as well. Pay close attention to his comments on the phrase "this generation." I think both preterists and many futurists misunderstand that the phrase is an descriptive term describing evil people, not a specific chronological generation.

Yeah I am very aware of that position and have studied it pretty thoroughly. I will be doing a show on just that topic at some point.


(Fred) I will say this about Nelson's paper: I can confess that the little phrase "this generation" was a troubling one for me and provided me with preteristic sympathies when I was thinking about jumping off the edge into a new eschatological system. I thought it was the preterist's strongest point, and of course Bart Ehrman was so hung up on Christ's words and couldn't reconcile it with his baptist fundamentalism roots he had to use it as one of the excuses for turning apostate. However, what Nelson does is show how the phrase, exegetically in Matthew, and some in Mark and Luke, is a descriptive phrase rather than one speaking to a chronological generation. For example, Jesus speaks to the disciples in Matthew 17 as being a "faithless and perverse generation" when they could not cast out the demon. This speaks to unbelief and faithlessness as a characteristic. The phrase "this generation" is used in this sense throughout the gospel.

That is an utterly stupid claim, and I say that as a person who is not dispensational in the classic sense of the word and has withering criticisms of the Hagee dispensational Zionism. It is obviously one thing to be critical of a particular position, but to misrepresent it with such slanderous terms is irresponsible and makes Hank look foolish.

As I haven't heard Hank enough to really have a credible opinion I can only speak in the most general terms and my own anecdotal experience on the tremendous hardness of heart I have seen among American Christians for the woes of Palestinian Christians. We are so used to thinking of nonJewish Middle-Easterners as the enemy and forget that there are many of the brethren there. It hurts my heart when some Christians will defend Israel at any cost (which nation right now despises Christ) and not see the plight of the Palestinian believers. I don't know if that is all that Hank is trying to say - but that is all I am trying to say.


(Fred) I am no apologist for the state of Israel, however, as a secular state that is consistently being attacked by a religious ideology that desires its destruction, I have no problem with them taking the necessary means to secure their people. I support Israel along those lines, not along the lines of the current state being a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Additionally, the fact that a whole gaggle of leftist crackpots support the PLO and other Islamic Palestinian militant groups with a blindness to the wicked thuggery they use to enslave their citizens, keeping them rounded up in concentration camps and brainwashing their children to be suicidal maniacs, only makes me want to support Israel the more. Certainly Israel needs to be held accountable to any wrong doings they may deal out in the process of defending themselves, but I to support Israel over and against a religious enemy that wishes their destruction is not being racist as Hank opines. He needs to make that clarification.

Remember though, I can't tell you how many times I have been called an anti-Semite by dispensationalists. It is a typical charge - along with the perjorative term "replacement theology" - so Hank may be reacting against that.

(Fred) Two thougths here: First, "Replacement Theology" is a doctrinally historical term to describe your position. Even "Replacement Theologians" use it. Maybe you would prefer "supersuccessionism?" You shouldn't be embarrassed of it at all. If you believe the NT church "fulfills" or "appropriates," or what ever word you wish to describe it, all the OT land promises that were given to Israel in a spiritual sense, that is basically saying the church replaces Israel. It doesn't mean you’re an antisemetic Jew hater either.

But, moving along to the more important point, and this can count as answering Lee's comment as well: It is shameful that modern day dispensationalists hurl such pejoratives toward thoses who detract from their eschatological position. But, and this is an historically verifiable BUT that cannot be denied, the hermenuetical system that gave birth to the ideas of supersuccessionism was utilized by Christians, particularly the Roman Catholic church, and the early Reformers like Luther, to justify a rejection and full on persecution of the Jews. Lorraine Boettner, who has written one of the best books explaining the Doctrines of Grace, wrote another book defending his postmillennialism and his comments he makes against the Jews are deplorable. Some would say they would read better in the original German. We can go into this historical factor later, but I want to make it clear that I do my best to distinguish between the history of what supersuccessionism is and was, and its adherents in our day and age. Certainly I would not use such a slur against you, or any other amillennialists I know. However, Hank is manufacturing his charge of racism against evangelical dispensationalists. I would argue they are foolish to support the State of Israel with unquestioned loyalty, but the hermenuetical system does not have the same history of antisemitism as they other.


Dr. Robert Thomas has written a two volume, 1,400 page commentary on Revelation from a dispensational perspective, not to mention an unpublished, 3 volume exegetical digest on the book, and for Hank to think no one has really interacted with his new found preteristic position is willful ignorance.

Does he think that? Where does he say that? Again remember, I don't listen to Hank much at all.


(Fred) He has not so much implied it than said it, but what I mean to say is that he doesn't interact with critiques of his position. He is dealing with novels and popular level stuff like you said, and those things won't do you good in keeping you honest with the text. If you are going to "exegete" certain passages, it is helpful to interact with serious exegetes, not a novelist attempting to sell books.

I look forward to hearing your podcast.

Fred

12:52 PM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey Tim,

You write,

I was curious if either of you have actually read Beyond Creation Science for yourselves?

I have not and I may get around to doing it at some later date, but I have other things on my burner at the moment.

Needless to say, however, I thought your basic summation of your position on Demar's show said plenty for me to make the comments I did without having to read the book. Certainly it was the same for Dee Dee as well, but I will let her speak for herself.

Once I heard you equate the creation of the sun, moon, and stars as described in chapter 1 of Genesis as being in like figuration as the images in Joseph's dreams, I knew automatically this was a desperate attempt to read ones eschatological system onto the text, rather than allowing the text to inform our conclusions regarding eschatology.

Believe me, my curiosity is peaked to see how you will re-interpret the flood narratives and what is so patently obvious global language, as in the entire earth, not just one region of the earth, in Genesis 6 and 7 that it does make me want to get the book. But I have heard it all from similar individuals in the long age/local flood camp that I can probably wait a bit.

Fred

1:02 PM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Tim said...

"Once I heard you equate the creation of the sun, moon, and stars as described in chapter 1 of Genesis as being in like figuration as the images in Joseph's dreams, I knew automatically this was a desperate attempt to read ones eschatological system onto the text, rather than allowing the text to inform our conclusions regarding eschatology."

Fred,

I actually think it is the other way around.

Jacob didn't have the New Testament, yet he understood exactly what the details of Joseph's dreams meant. How did he know that?

It is precisely the proper understanding of the language of Genesis 37 (rooted in the earlier chapters of Genesis) that provides the foundation for the preterist view of eschatology.

It would be easy to show my error here. Where do you see eschatology in Genesis 37? How did Jacob automatically understand the details of Joseph's dreams?


Blessings,

Tim Martin
co-author, Beyond Creation Science
www.beyondcreationscience.com

P.S. BTW, just like Joseph, Jesus alludes to God's people as both wheat and heavenly bodies in Matthew 13:37-43. Much more about all of this in the book, of course.

2:28 PM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Dee Dee said...

Hey Fred, just wanted to acknowledge your post - life got hectic here, but I hope to be back. I am in agreement with what you said to Tim. My concern is hyperpreterism writ large, and his peculiar spin to justify it, I understand the contours of and have been in discussions and reading with material and people familiar with it.

Frankly IMHO, Tim likes to post around to splatter his link as a signature as an advertising campaign. One's google account links to one's website so it is unncessary, and I just play in the hyperpreterist sandbox.

But I will be back God willing to interact some more, but wanted to just let Tim know that I do not wish to debate him on his pecularities, and my purpose here is to dialog with you.

The podcast has some postproduction nightmares I am going through right now because of some settings I messed up.

2:41 PM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Dee Dee said...

Correction

"just DON'T want to play in the hyperpreterist sandbox"

2:47 PM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Tim,
The lights and stars of Genesis 1:14 are the physical sun and moon that we see in the sky today, along with the stars at night. Genesis 1:14 ff. is not hyperbolic language meant to convey some spiritual meaning about God's redeemed people. Jacob knew the meaning of Joseph's dream, because the images are rather easy to interpret.

Clarify for me if you think I am missing your point. What exactly did you have in mind on Demar's program when you attempted to equate God's creation of the sun, moon and stars of Genesis 1:14 with Joseph's dream? The reason why I am mystified by your take on these passages is because they are so utterly unrelated as to content and meaning. Which means I can only conclude you are reading a foreign meaning onto the text of the historic creation narrative of Genesis 1.

Fred

3:42 PM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Tim said...

Fair enough.

I can understand why you would view the content of Genesis 37 as completely unrelated to the earlier chapters of Genesis.

I'm not sure I would say that Joseph's dreams "are rather easy to interpret." Sheaves of wheat standing and bowing seems a bit odd. The sun, moon, and 11 stars bowing to Joseph seems even more bizarre on its face. It's hard for me to even visualize that. But if you say this was easy for Jacob to interpret apart from anything else from earlier in Genesis, I'll just have to take your word on it.

I'll leave off with a couple of passages:

"He also says, 'In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed...'"
(Heb. 1:10-12a)

Do you believe that the writer of Hebrews, through Psalm 102:25-27, is referencing the "heavens and earth" of Genesis 1:1 which were made "in the beginning"?

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea." (Rev. 21:1)

Do you believe that John's reference to the "first heaven and the first earth" is a reference to Genesis 1:1?

Just curious on your take.

Blessings,

Tim Martin
co-author, Beyond Creation Science
www.beyondcreationscience.com

4:07 PM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Roderick_E said...

You do realize these guys are hyperpreterists & are pushing this as a way to get OECs into hyperpreterism...they even say so in the book.

Hyperpreterism for those who don't know, advocates 3 things:

1. Jesus came back once & for all around or at the year AD70.
2. The resurrection of the believers happened in or around AD70.
3. The judgment of the wicked & righteous happened in or around AD70.

Please read my chapter-by-chapter review of Martin's 2nd edition of BCS:

http://www.preteristblog.com/?p=939

8:39 PM, December 02, 2008  
Blogger Dee Dee Warren said...

Yeah and they go around whoring their book at every blog they can. You don't see me signing every post with something I want to peddle. These guys don't comment in good faith, it is free advertising as far as they are concerned. They were quickly shown the door by the sole of my left foot at each of my sites.

8:43 PM, December 02, 2008  
Blogger Dee Dee Warren said...

And seriously Fred, I am going to pout until you make me number one (inside joke to most of you, Fred knows what I mean).

Maybe if I say you're ugly and your mother dresses you funny? No.

I will try harder ~ Boxer

8:45 PM, December 02, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Rod,

I will have to check out your review, and in fact look forward to reading it. I am currently away doing family stuff with the in-laws and I don't have the freedom of the internet to download a PDF document, print it off and read it with a cup of coffee.

I did see BCS at Archives in Pasadena last week when I spent a day there and I looked through it for about 10 minutes. I read their entire appendix providing a response to objections against a local flood and all I can say is I was underwhelmed. It is apparent the authors are not even familiar with the problems for a local flood view in Genesis 7-8 and it is laughable they even attempt to answer objections to it. Even more laughable is them digging up the 7th Day Adventist works on biblical creationism as if SDA automatically makes YEC invalid. That would be like me appealing to Arian writer Daniel Whitby, the father of modern Postmillennialism, and draw the conclusion that Tim and his pals deny the deity of Christ.

DEE, If you keep hounded me about your rank of obnoxious with every response, it may get you at least up to #2. I still think Hank deserves #1, but I am willing to be persuaded. =-)

8:54 AM, December 04, 2008  

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