I was re-reading Beyond Creation Science by Tim Martin and Jeff Vaughn again, after Vaughn posted that his view is much like mine in certain regards. So, I went back and read the chapter. I called Jeff Vaughn and we had a good chat (he had called earlier in the week). Ironically, this may be an area where Covenant Creationists and I get along. Wouldn’t that be something?
The “buzz” going around on the other Preterist websites is that they, too, see “ongoing fulfillment.” If this is the case, then Full Preterism needs to drop the moniker that “we believe ALL prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70.” They weren’t. The prophecies concerning the “age to come” are being fulfilled today.
Now, first and foremost, since I talked with Vaughn, I have to apologize to him and other Covenant Creationists for maligning their view that they believed that “all” prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70. Clearly, they don’t. I have met (and heard) others teach this (one in particular at Virgil Vaduva’s conference), even to the point that there is no more “church”, no more “sin”, no more “law”, no more “judgment”, etc. This person even encouraged homosexuality and her friend’s adultery. On what basis? All prophecy was fulfilled. The age to come is spiritual only. The Bible says absolutely nothing about life on earth (or living on earth) in terms of fulfilling anything.
Now, as for the Pret Cosmos crowd, they, too, as witnessed by Green (and now Sullivan) that they have always believed in the “impact” - and Green plainly says that we are “fulfilling” prophecy today in terms of the age to come. Great. The only thing is, they assert as a mere “possibility” that God may or may not convert the world. It’s up for grabs. And, they are very insistent, dogmatic one may say, that history continues for infinity (even though it, too, “may” end some day – which begs the question: does the Bible teach infinite history or not? If it does, then there is no “may” about it).
Now, Vaughn has stated that he, for the most part, agrees with my assertion concerning an “end” to history. It’s an unknown end, of course, but one that is a very real possibility and probability. That’s all fine and good (and begs the same question above). But, let us, now, go through chapter 21 of BCS – Let me say that when I read it this time around, saying the things I am saying now, I rejoiced. I had to call Vaughn as a result to congratulate him on a wonderful chapter (actually, Martin wrote it – as Vaughn told me). So, congrats to him, too.
“Though we have focused on the past, preterism is really more about the future” (419). There is a caveat, though, in that they make no “absolute conclusions” about the future. One wonders, then, how certain the future is. See, this is my contention: if the Bible talks about the future and gives us definite features then these will most certainly take place as surely as any prophecy takes place. There is no maybe about God’s word. In my view, I a not building a case on what may or may not happen, but on what’s God’s word say is/will happen. See the difference?
Right of the bat, Martin writes that the Bible “speaks of God’s love for all that he has made” (420). Well, we don’t know what God has made because Martin in another place is adamant that from beginning to end, the Bible nowhere speaks of planet earth. This is a major concern. But, he does go on and makes a great point about the NT being a continuation of the OT (421). There we are in complete agreement.
Martin affirms that “sin perverts the creation order” (to what extent? – 422). Adam was “made in God’s likeness” (over and against Norm Voss who wrote the Forward and denies that mankind was made in God’s image). This view has major problems with it as well (and even Green and Sullivan see that).
There is a quote from Athanasius (On the Incarnation 1.1) where, ironically enough, that great father begins with “the creation of the world” (423). Athanasius argued for creation ex nihilo (1.3) and has the more traditional view of Genesis 1-3 in mind. Adam and Eve were the first parents, and mankind has “wasted away” as a result of their sin (1.6). He sees passages like Isaiah 2 being fulfilled in his time (3.51,52) and applies that Prophet in much the same manner as I have done (and do). Not sure how much of this aspect of Athanasius Martin agrees with, but I am right in line with the dear Father.
Now, Martin makes great points about marriage and children, and speaks of the loss of “influence” (425) of Christianity because – you guessed it – young earth creationism! However, “Creation shows how God made the physical world so that things naturally reproduce themselves “after their kind”" (425). Yet, “Covenant Creation insists on one beginning and one end in the Bible… they have nothing to do with planet Earth and the physical universe. Different topic entirely. Not what the Bible was given for in the first place” (source). I am not sure how any person squares those two comments from the same author. Paradox, anyone?
Martin firmly believes that “God’s kingdom has been established on planet Earth” (426). I didn’t think the Bible addressed planet Earth, but apparently it does. Now, this fact does not mean “that the effects of God’s kingdom do not manifest themselves in visible ways” (426). I use the same language and Green and Sullivan had a cow when I did so. I believe strongly in what Martin has written here. The effects of the what God has fulfilled manifest themselves visibly on planet earth. These effects and manifestations are prophesied in the Bible concerning the Age to Come.
Martin continues to demonstrate a point I made on The Sam Frost Show with Mike Loomis (427) concerning the growth of the kingdom. Loomis brought it up and I agreed with him and went with it. Uncanny likeness here in Martin and what I said on the Show. Uncanny.
Isaiah 9.6 is quoted and Martin correctly relates it to our time post A.D. 70. He then asks, “Is there historical evidence for the truth of Isaiah’s prophecy? Absolutely. From the time the kingdom of God entered history, it has expanded” (428). Did I write this, or Martin? Martin wrote it. I know I read this chapter before, but reading it where I am at now in my views is simply eye-opening. Let’s analyze this piece: Isaiah has given a prophecy. That prophecy is being fulfilled post A.D. 70. Therefore, “all prophecy” was not FULLfilled in or by A.D. 70. That is the absolute, necessary logical conclusion. But, Martin says this “increase Christ’s government will never end” (ital. his – 428). But, this gets back to the assertion made by Vaughn that this may end. Apparently Isaiah said it will never end, and Martin affirms this. Which is it? Maybe it will end? Maybe it won’t end? Maybe Isaiah never meant what some Full Preterists think this verse means? I opt for the latter.
Martin then goes on the attack again concerning young earth creationism, but there are some fine points in these pages. The real shocker comes on page 435. “The Christian goal for missions must be nothing less than the complete conversion and evangelization of our planet through the gospel of Jesus Christ! (ital. his). Wow. Simply, wow! Amen, Mr. Martin. “Preterism provides a theological framework and time perspective necessary for the accomplishment of an amazing goal – the conversion of our entire planet Earth to Christ by the power of the Christian gospel” (435). Gary DeMar could not have written this better. This is postmillennialism 101.
But, when I use words like “end” or “goal” I get hammered by Sullivan and Green. Let me be clear here: The goal you have just read from the pen of Tim Martin is EXACTLY my goal. But, and let this sink in deep, if this goal is so amazing, so damn-near-hard-to-imagine, but yet will be realized (manifested), then wouldn’t you think the Bible would say something about it? What, this Great Goal of the effects of Christ’s Cross and Parousia are not mentioned in the Prophets? Huh? I am so glad I re-read this chapter. Please, again, accept my apology Tim, Jeff (and Tami) for speaking falsely of Covenant Creationism and having no goal…….no future…..you certainly do!
Martin even speaks of the “radical conversion of Islam”. I just want to praise the Lord here. Martin gets it. But, then we go back to attacking young earth creationism and the “huge credibility” problem it gives to the world! (436). Huh? I don’t see how a dude walking on water or a Sea splitting offers any more “credbility” to the unbelieving world than, say, a woman made from a rib or a talking serpent. See, the “world” has a credibility problem all on their own: it’s called unbelief. Faith is a gift from God, not a talking point in eloquence and fine tuned arguments with scientific precision and sophistication. That’s not the Gospel.
Postmillennialist Loraine Boettner is quoted (which means Martin must have read the book from which he quotes, The Millennium, Presbyterian and Reformed). But, there is a credibility problem even here, and I suppose Martin is correct in saying that Christianity’s message of the sky is falling for 2,000 years does leave a bad taste. Boettner didn’t say this, though. He was a postmillennialist. The Great Tribulation is past. All Postmillennialists are Partial Preterists. They are the closest thing to Full Preterism (and my Full Preterism is a marriage of the two).
Martin ends this chapter with all too true words: “Progress is hard work and tends to be messy” (442). Yep. Publically messy. But, it’s all part of the show.
So, again, read this post – read that chapter. Martin’s goal is my goal. I suppose the difference is that I believe that this goal is prophesied. Once it is accomplished perhaps then God will end history. I don’t know when He will, just that he has revealed in the Bible that he will (Eccl 3.11; Is 41.4, et al). Other than these points, Martin and I are two peas in a pod. Of course, Martin will probably claim that the only way you can get to this goal is to accept his covenant creationism. Nah. I’ll stick with the embarassment of believing in a young earth.
I am having a wonderful day today……