Preston Takes the Bait

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

In my article, ‘Another Full Preterist Fallacy Faulted’, written here on my blog, Don Preston, leading teacher of Full Preterism, responds, and, as I predicted plays the “shell game”.  First off, let it be known that Preston has no kind words to say concerning my leaving the heresy known as Full Preterism.  “In reality, the problem was that Frost could not bring himself to jettison church history and the creeds. He chose the works of men over the Word of God.”  This is simply false, and thoroughly documented since my departure years ago, and also in my book, Why I Left Full Preterism.  It’s a blatant, false accusation.

Be that as it is, and it is, Preston boldly issues his own downfall: “Frost well knows that it is impossible to refute Covenant Eschatology without negating the force of Jesus’ emphatic words.”  Catch that.  If the words of Jesus in question (Matthew 5.17-18) do not support Preston’s claims, covenant eschatology (i.e., Full Preterism) is negated.  This passage of Scripture is a lynch pin.  If Preston’s claims about it are false, then his Covenant Eschatology is also false.  It all stands on what Preston believes are Jesus’ claims here.

Now, let us begin.  The first thing to note is our agreement.  In a previously written entry on Facebook I more or less, though far more brief than my article, stated the same conclusions.  To that Preston responded.  Here are Preston’s own words:

“Frost says: “Jesus said the Law and the Prophets, which, as can easily be shown, can mean the entire Hebrew Bible, with all of its promises, prophecies, psalms, laws, proverbs, histories and the like.

“Response: Thank you, Mr. Frost! This is precisely accurate, but, that means that until “the entire Hebrew Bible with all of its promises, prophecies, psalms, laws, proverbs, histories and the like” was fulfilled, not one jot or one tittle of the entire Hebrew Bible could pass. That is, after all, what the Lord said: “Not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law until it is ALL fulfilled.”

So, let it be known to all that the phrase, “The Law and the Prophets” stands for “the entire Hebrew Bible.”  “Bible” (Greek, biblios, simple means a “written book”).  Further, again from Preston’s own words:

“Frost says: “If we take Jesus’ second mention of “the Law” to mean an ellipsis (a shortening) of the antecedent “Law or the Prophets”, then what he is saying is simply repeated: not one stroke will not come to pass from the Law and Prophets until heaven and earth disappear.

“Response: Thank you again, Mr. Frost! Jesus said “not one stroke will not come to pass from the Law and Prophets until heaven and earth disappear.” Jesus was saying– the words are emphatic– “not one jot or one tittle of the law shall pass until it is all fulfilled.”

So, again, Preston agrees with me that even the phrase, “the Law” stands for, elliptically, the entire Hebrew Bible.  Please keep this in mind, and please keep in mind that so far, Preston and Frost are in total agreement.   The “Law and the Prophets” and “the Law” both stand for the entire Hebrew Bible from Genesis to Malachi.  I am not misquoting Preston, not twisting his words, not making him say something he isn’t.  In fact, he thanks me!

Now, watch this.  In his most recent attack on the historic faith, ‘The Passing of the Law of Moses and Sam Frost’s Increasing Desperation #1,’ Preston, right out of the gate, moves the shell on the unsuspecting observer: “Not one jot or one tittle of the Law of Moses could pass until it was all fulfilled, brought to pass, fully accomplished,” he says.  Did you catch that shift?  Jesus did not say, “the law of Moses”.  He said, “the law” and “the law and the prophets” – which we already seen above that Preston equates with the entire Hebrew Bible!  Now, I am not at all saying the laws of Moses are not included, since they are in the Hebrew Bible, and the entire Hebrew Bible can also be called for short, ‘the law.’  It’s like Christians saying, “the word of God” when meaning “the Bible”.  But, God did not utter every word in the Bible (although he inspired them).  Daniel’s words, David’s words, and Nebuchadnezzar’s words are in the Bible, the word of God.  Likewise, the “laws of Moses” make up roughly four books (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  There are 613 to be exact.  Was Jesus just speaking of these commandments and these commandments only?  Hardly.  And Preston, as seen clearly above, agrees.

Preston then issues the challenge: “The Law of Moses contained prophecies of the resurrection, the judgment, the end of the age and the coming of Christ.  Therefore, until the resurrection, the judgment, the end of the age and the coming of Christ took place, not one jot or one tittle of the Law of Moses could pass.”  One can only shake their head at the shell game going on here.  The entire eschatological catalogue are contained in the 613 commandments (the laws of Moses)!  What happened the Prophets?  As in, “the law and the prophets”, and “the entire Hebrew Bible”?  Preston follows with blind allegiance to the idea that the entire Hebrew Bible, every jot and tittle, is the old covenant.  This is about as false as saying my mother makes horrible ham and beans!

Again, Preston smuggles in his premise: “You cannot have the passing of the law of Moses without the fulfillment of the resurrection, the judgment, the end of the age and the coming of Christ.”  This is, of course, based upon his already proven to be erroneous claims.  In fact, what he is saying is the direct opposite of what Jesus said, as we will show.  His second false premise is based on the first: “If the resurrection, the judgment, the end of the age and the coming of Christ have not taken place, every jot and every tittle of the Law of Moses remains valid and binding.”  This, again, is patently false based on what we both agreed upon above.  He smuggles in this word “valid” (i.e., in full force to be obeyed).  Jesus did not say, “the law of Moses remains in full force until they are fulfilled.”  He said, “the law shall not disappear (pass away).”  Apparently, Preston takes “disappear” to mean “in full force until”, which is simply false.  The word “disappear” means “disappear” – gone, vanished, out of here.  And, if Preston is correct, none of the jots and tittles of the entire Hebrew Bible have any force since, in his fanciful argument, all was “accomplished” in 70 A.D.!

Now, I must comment that Preston also misunderstands my own argument when he wrote, “In other words, every single stroke of the pen of the Law and the prophets would remain valid until every thing in the Law and the prophets would be accomplished” (surmising my argument).  But, I did not say that.  “Remain valid” is not in my article, anywhere.  Preston is under the spell that unless every prophecy is fulfilled, then every prophecy is remains valid.  But, again, this is patently absurd, for as even he admits: “I agree with Frost when he observes that Jesus’ words, of necessity, mean that what had to be fulfilled, in the future from when Jesus spoke, were the prophecies and elements of the Law that had not yet been fulfilled when he spoke. After all, when Jesus spoke these words, some prophecies of the Law had already been fulfilled, i.e. his Virgin birth among others.”  Well, hallelujah!  If SOME have been fulfilled, but not ALL, then ALL will NOT DISAPPEAR until ALL are fulfilled.  Strict, pure, syllogistic logic.  Therefore, if the “covenant” made with Moses (just one covenant out of many) is set aside because it was fulfilled, and since the one covenant made with Moses is not EVERY jot and tittle of the entire Hebrew Bible, then it follows on hard logic that the fulfillment of the laws of Moses is NOT the accomplishment of EVERY jot and tittle that comprises the Law and the Prophets (the entire Hebrew Bible).  Preston confuses the promises (made before the covenant of Moses, and after the covenant of Moses) with the setting aside of the covenant of Moses.  The author of Hebrews goes out of his way to show that this is not the case at all.

Allow me to continue this point of either the shell game, confusion, or both on Preston’s part: “He said, “The least stroke of the pen of the Law and Prophets remains until all things concerning them are ‘accomplished.’” (p. 2 of 13). In other words, every single stroke of the pen of the Law and the prophets would remain valid until every thing in the Law and the prophets would be accomplished.”  See that?  I wrote, “remains” and he added “remain valid.”  That’s con artistry.  Another example: “Frost well realizes that if he follows the logic of his own words, and the words of the text of Matthew 5, that Torah remains valid today– every single jot and tittle.”  This is what Preston wants the reader to think, but the only way Preston can reach this false conclusion is by smuggling in his own definitions and words into my argument!

He then quotes scholars, none of which would agree to his radical conclusions, and cherry picks a few quotes (as I used to do) to support his claims.  I guess we are lead to believe that none of the Hebrews knew what “heaven and earth” meant!  Abraham was asked to look at the heavens, the stars and number them, and walk the earth, and wherever his foot stepped on earth, was his.  I guess this is all symbolic of the temple!  I digress.  But, quoting scholars is a moot point with Full Preterists such as Preston, for whoever he quotes, whether France, Gumerlock, Wright, Beale, or Hays makes no difference.  For me, as for them, we have worshipped at the feet of false doctrine instead of Preston’s Covenant Eschatology.  And, it makes me chuckle a bit when Preston accuses me of “inventing” and “creating” a “novel view.”  Ahem.  Max King, anyone?  If Preston could simply state his own battle with his own words and stop pretending that the “scholars” are all behind him (which they are not).   What does he need the “scholars” for anyway?  Doesn’t he have his Bible?

Let’s back up here.  Preston, in the beginning of this article, clearly in his own words, thanked me for saying that the Law and the Prophets made up the entire canon of the Hebrew Bible.  The, he turns right around and equates all jots and tittles with the “laws of Moses” only.  Then, since the laws of Moses are no longer in full force today (or after the cross and resurrection of Christ in view of the millions of mislead scholars), then all the promises are fulfilled, too.  Folks, this is the old shell game.  It’s sophistry.  Jesus was not saying at all what Preston is forcing him to say.  This is another reason why Theonomy (i.e., Greg Bahnsen) never caught hold.  It’s not what Jesus was saying.  Very simply, Jesus said that HE came to accomplish EVERY SINGLE jot and tittle of the entire Hebrew Bible that, up to his own day, had not yet been accomplished.  That heaven and earth will not pass away, that not ONE jot and tittle of the sacred text will DISAPPEAR, until he accomplished all.  NO prophecy has “disappeared”.  They are all there for all to read.  No law of Moses has disappeared.  They are all there for all to read, every jot and tittle of the text (for that’s what a jot and tittle are – swipes of a pen on paper).  However, just as some prophecies have been fulfilled (as even Preston admits), does not mean that they remain VALID, or in force.  How could they?  They are fulfilled!  Have they disappeared?  No.  Are they still valid and in force?  No, they are fulfilled.  Therefore, a prophecy can REMAIN fulfilled, yet not in force precisely because it is fulfilled.  It will REMAIN (not disappear) until ALL of them are fulfilled, and then ALL of them will disappear together.

Hopefully, Preston will continue to respond, and I will continue to offer up the proper defense which as stood the test of time over and against his novel, made up, and invented “covenant eschatology.”

Author: Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

Samuel M. Frost has gained the recognition of his family, peers, colleagues, church members, and local community as a teacher and leader.  Samuel was raised in the Foursquare Gospel tradition and continued in the rising Charismatic Movement of the early 1980’s.  While serving in local congregations he was admitted to Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, Florida where he lived on campus for four years earning his Bachelor’s of Theology degree.  It was there under the tutelage of Dr. Dow Robinson (Summer Institutes of Linguistics), and Dr. Frank Longino (Dallas Theological Seminary) that he was motivated to pursue a career in Theology.  Dr. Robinson wrote two books on Linguistics, Workbook on Phonological Analysis (SIL, 1970) and Manuel for Bilingual Dictionaries: Textbook (SIL, 1969).  It was under these teachers’ guidance that Frost entered into his Master’s studies, being granted a scholarship for Greek I and II at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, accredited, in Cleveland, Tennessee (adjunct of Lee University).  Frost completed his study under Dr. French Arrington, who used the text of J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners. Frost studied Hebrew for two years under Dr. Mark Futato (author, Beginning Biblical Hebrew, Eisenbrauns, 2003) and Dr. Bruce K. Waltke (author, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Eisenbrauns, 1990) at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida. With combined credits from PTS and RTS, Samuel completed his Master of Arts in Christian Studies and Master of Arts in Religion from Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida under the direct tutelage of Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, co-author of the well reviewed work, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Whitefield Media, 2005) with Dr. Gary Crampton (and Foreword by the late, Dr. D. James Kennedy).  Dr. Talbot also oversaw Samuel’s Dissertation, From the First Adam to the Second and Last Adam (2012) earning him the Magister Theologiae (Th.M.) degree.  He also helped put together A Student’s Hebrew Primer for WTS and graded exams in Hebrew. Samuel’s studies lead him into an issue in the field of Eschatology where his scholarship and unique approach in Hermeneutics garnered him recognition.  Because of the controversial nature of some of his conclusions, scholars were sharp in their disagreement with him.  Frost’s initial work, Misplaced Hope: The Origins of First and Second Century Eschatology (2002, Second Edition, 2006 Bi-Millennial Publishing), sold over four thousand units.  While arguing for the Reformation understanding of sola Scriptura as defined by the Westminster Confession of Faith, Frost’s book launched a heavily footnoted argument for a total reassessment of the doctrine known as the Second Coming of Christ.  The conclusion was that the events of the war of the Jewish nation against their Roman overlords in 66-70 C.E. formed the New Testament authors’ eschatological outlook, and went no further than their own first century generation; a view otherwise known as “full” or "hyper" Preterism.  Internationally recognized Evangelical author and speaker Steve Wohlberg remarked, ‘On the “preterist” side today…we have such influential leaders as Gary DeMar, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., David Chilton, R.C. Sproul, Max King, James Stuart Russell, Samuel M. Frost, and John Noe.  To these scholars…the beast is not on the horizon, he’s dead” (Italics, his)” (End Time Delusions, Destiny Image Publishers, 2004, page 133).  It should be noted that only Noe, King and Frost supported the “full” Preterist position. Thomas Ice and co-author of the best selling Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye, quote Frost’s work, Misplaced Hope, as well in their book, The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming under Attack (Harvest House Publishers, 2003, page 40).  Dr. Jay E. Adams, who single handedly launched “a revolution” in Christian Counseling with his work, Competent to Counsel: An Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling, (1970, Zondervan), also wrote an analysis of Frost’s work in Preterism: Orthodox or Unorthodox? (Ministry Monographs for Modern Times, INS Publishing, 2004).  Dr. Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, wrote of Misplaced Hope that Frost, “attacks the problem of the early church in a much more thoroughgoing way than I have seen” (When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper Preterism, Ed. Keith Mathison, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2003, ‘Eschatology in the Wake of Jerusalem’s Fall’ p. 110-ff.).  There were several other works as well that took the scholarship of Frost seriously, like Ergun Caner in The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective, Eds., Steve W. Lemke and David L. Allen (B&H Publishing, 2011). Because of the controversial nature of Frost’s conclusions on these matters, it was difficult to find a denomination within the Church-at-Large to work in terms of pastoral ministry.  That situation changed when Samuel was called by a Bible study group in Saint Petersburg, Florida to found a congregation.  Christ Covenant Church was established in 2002 operating under the principles outlined by Presbyterian historian James Bannerman’s work, The Church of Christ: A Treatise on the Nature, Powers, Ordinances, Discipline, and Government of the Christian Church (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974, original, 1869).  By-Laws and a Constitution were drawn up in the strictest manner for what was considered an “Independent” establishment of a Presbyterian Church, granted that a “call” was received and recognized by Presiding Elders duly ordained from existing and recognized denominations.  Two Elders, one ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Mike Delores), and another ordained in the Presbyterian Church of America (Dr. Kelly N. Birks, now deceased) tested and reviewed the call, ordaining Samuel on October 20th, 2002, the Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity.  Proper forms were submitted to Tallahassee, Florida with the stamp of a Notary Public Witness.  Christ Covenant Church (CCC) functioned as a local church for five years with a congregation as large as 30 members.  Frost was gaining recognition after Misplaced Hope had been published in January of that year, and conferences were hosted that included debates with another prominent "full" Preterist educator, Don K. Preston.  CCC hosted best-selling authors, Thomas Ice, and Mark Hitchcock from Dallas Theological Seminary; and Dr. James B. Jordan (Westminster Theological Seminary), well-known author/pastor in Reformed theological circles.  Frost was invited for the next several years to speak at over 25 conferences nation-wide, was featured in articles and an appearance on local news in Tampa for one of CCC’s conferences.  The Evangelical Theological Society also invited Samuel to speak at the Philadelphia conference (Frost is currently a Member of ETS as well as Society of Biblical Literature). During this time Samuel had submitted one more book, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead (TruthVoice, 2008; repr. JaDon Publishing, 2010); and co-wrote, House Divided: A Reformed Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Vision International, 2010).  Frost also wrote several Forewords for up and coming authors who were influenced by his teaching materials, as well as cited many times in books, lectures and academic papers.  However, because of certain aspects of Hermeneutics and Frost’s undaunted commitment to scholarship (with always a strong emphasis on the personal nature of devotional living to Christ), several challenges to the "hyper" Preterist view he espoused finally gave way, largely due to the unwavering commitment to Samuel by the Dean of Whitefield Theological Seminary, Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, who continually challenged him.  In what shocked the "hyper" Preterist world, Samuel announced after the Summer of 2010 that he was in serious error, and departed the movement as a whole, along with Jason Bradfield, Assistant Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida .  Christ Covenant Church had dissolved after 2007 while Samuel continued as a public speaker and writer, largely due to reasons that would unravel Frost’s commitment to "hyper" Preterism as a whole. The documentation of Frost’s departure was published by American Vision’s Founder, Gary DeMar, with a Foreword by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry.  Why I Left Full Preterism (AV Publishing, 2012) quickly sold out its first run.  The book was later republished under the arm of Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry and is sold today (GoodBirth Ministries Publishing, 2019).  Dr. Keith Mathison, Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida, endorsed the book as well.  Samuel has gone on to write, Daniel: Unplugged (Kindle/Amazon, 2019); The Parousia of the Son of Man (Lulu Publishing, 2019); God: As Bill Wilson Understood Him, A Theological Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous (Lulu Publishing, 2017).  He is also active as a certified Chaplain with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana, and enrolled with ICAADA (Indiana Counselor’s Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse) working directly under Dr. Dennis Greene, Founder of Christian Counseling and Addictions Services, Inc.  Frost’s passion is in the education of the local church on various issues and occasionally works Pastor Alan McCraine with the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, Indiana where he periodically is called upon to give the sermon.  He also is working with Redemption Life Bible Church with Pastor Tyler Jackson in New Castle, Indiana.  Samuel, with his wife, Kimberly, helped to establish Heaven’s Bread Basket food pantry that donates food items to local families in need once a month – a ministry of the Session of First Presbyterian Church. Samuel has four children, one step-son, ages sixteen to twenty-eight and has worked part time at Ace Hardware in New Castle, Indiana for over five years.  He has a solid reputation in the community, and has performed marriages and funerals.  He also sits on the Board of the Historical Preservation Committee in New Castle.

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