Musings for Gary DeMar

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.D.

In recent series of exchanges with Gary DeMar, President of American Vision, the outfit that publishes my EBook, Why I Left Full Preterism,[1]it is becoming increasingly “clear” that he is moving (present participle) from orthodox Christianity into the realm we call, Full Preterism.  You can pick your jaw up, now.

Several prominent scholars, pastors, and fellow friends of Gary have grown greatly concerned over this.  And, it’s not because of any novel theological venture, but from what he types and says, it is akin to a wholesale overturning of what was once considered to be settled matters.

Recently, for example, concerning the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son of God, who is Jesus of Nazareth, the human being, body and soul,[2] Gary relates that this doctrine is not that important: “Like a number of topics, this is another one that does not need much attention. There are more important topics to land in” (FB post).  The original post concerned the fact that Bill Evans, a Full Preterist who says he is not one, flatly denies that Jesus of Nazareth is in heaven, body and soul. “What I question, and what I have not seen in scripture, is the necessity of Christ retaining a physical body now that the atonement effected at His crucifixion and resurrection is fully accomplished,” Bill wrote.

More than this, Evans began to get into a dialogue with Julienne Chambers, another Full Preterist who says she is not one.  Chambers, many of you may know, and I have been in an in-depth conversation for about eight years, with countless hours spent.  Although she maintains the status of Full Preterist, she became convinced of the “continuing incarnate body of Jesus, the man” in heaven.  Her and Bill Evans argued it out, and Chambers was a convincing soul.  Score one for Chambers, and her common sense.

Now, my enemies know who I am.  They know of my past involvement in Full Preterism, the conferences (over 20 of them, all invited by, all paid for across the good, old USA).  One of them, Mike Sullivan, refuses to debate me one on one.  Sullivan also flatly denies the continuing incarnation of Messiah Jesus, the Lamb of God, root of David, Lion of the Tribe of Judah in heaven.

Now, another Full Preterist, who does claim that he actually is one, Michael Miano (who I debated, twice), stated this to Gary’s response: “it’s fairly important. The nonsense spouted by Sam Frost, among host of other “evangelicals” that you have endorsed and promoted, have ostracized others based on this concept. We don’t necessary (sic) need “Uncle Gary” to step in and tell us what is important and what’s not, rather, we’ve hoped and prayed for your intellectual honesty and how that might bear upon others.”  Yes.  For him it is “fairly important”.  Gary, you see, has endorsed a number of Evangelicals that strongly condemn Full Preterism (using the term, as I do, Hyper Preterism).  I know many of these Evangelicals.  And they are watching…and worried. 

For Miano, Jesus is not a human being in heaven with a body.  How can Gary DeMar promote Ken Gentry, or Andrew Sandlin, or George Grant, who clearly condemn Full Preterism?  Can Gary be “friends” with such a crowd?  Miano is correct in that my book, published by American Vision, does condemn it.  Explicitly.  And, Gary DeMar endorsement is on the back of the book.  Miano does not like it that Uncle Gary is in “leagues” with me.  Hurts his feelings.  Yes, we have ostracized others because of our united belief, which has stood since day one of the Church militant, that Jesus is a man, in heaven, body and soul.  We didn’t invent it.

Shockingly, DeMar wrote back, “…There are thousands of passages I haven’t exegeted. And by the way, Eschatology isn’t the only subject I work on as my books, articles, and podcasts show. Until they do comparable work, ignore them.”  This was spoken of concerning another irritant to DeMar, Matt Doyle.  It appears that unless you have had the resources to crank out as much material as Gary, then you are to be “ignored.”  First, this is sheer arrogance.  Second, I can write off every Full Preterist except for Don Preston and Max King, because none of them have produced any material of “comparable work.”  None.

I had to jump in.  I wrote, “whether Jesus is a human being is not important? Wow.”  I was not prepared for the follow up from Uncle Gary: “Of course it’s important, but neither you nor anyone else really knows what’s taking place in the Godhead at this time. The incarnation is not an understandable undertaken (sic). That’s why it trips up so many theologically. The Triune nature of God is not an easy concept to grasp. So stop pretending you understand all of it. You don’t.”  Since no one knows, not even Gary, as to whether or not Jesus is a human being in heaven, body and soul, then no answer can be given until Gary has not “exegeted” the passages relatable to the historic, Christian view, held by Roman Catholic scholars, Reformed scholars, Protestant scholars and Eastern Orthodox scholars.  I guess these folks have no “comparable” work.  When Gary rises to the status of an N.T. Wright, or a Scott Hahn; a John Dunn, or a Charles Hodge – men who have done much “comparable work.”[3]

Gary’s latest dodge of simple questions, only to answer back in Mike Sullivan like responses, gives us a tale-tale picture of what he is doing: clouding the issues (an informal fallacy).  That is, no one has a real position yet until Gary has “exegeted” the passages for himself.  I can say this for the Trinity.  The Atonement.  Postmillennialism.  Biblical Inerrancy, Creationism (denied by virtually all Full Preterists).  In short, when a person comes to believe in Christ, and enters into Christianity, he is entering into a very shaky, unsettled world of thought.  Every doctrine is now suspect.

This was how I thought when I moved into the Full Preterist camp.  I flirted with the idea that everything I had been previously taught was false.  Why?  Because the entire Church, from all four quarters, were mistaken in their doctrine of the Second Coming, the End, the Resurrection of the Dead, the Continuing Incarnation of Jesus, the New Heavens and the New Earth, the Trinity, Election.  I even flirted for a time with Universalism.  I wrote in my first book, Misplaced Hope (2002, Bi Millennial Publishing; Max King’s outfit), that “maybe the Gnostics got it right” on the matter of what resurrection meant.  If they were sorely mistaken on these matters, why not other matters as well?  The world of Full Preterism, and its offshoots (which are increasing) have done just these things, and you can’t blame them, can you? 

Now, how can you build a worldview on that?  You can’t.  You end up saying, “Here’s why Christian Theology is wrong, and I, who have exegeted the texts on these matters, am right.”  Now, before DeMar and others point out the obvious fact that Christian Theology is a dizzying array of contradictory positions and sects, I am not speaking of all matters; I am speaking of matters that in spite of this array of theological divisions, we have a remarkable (miraculous) unity of agreementIt is wise, then, to find our unityfirst, then note any differences later.  Gary is taking the opposite approach.  Nothing is off limits anymore because the very fabric of unity on Resurrection of the Dead (bodily); the Second Coming of Christ (bodily, for he remains in his body); the End of History as we know it (the last day); the New Heavens and New Earth – all can be found in Roman Catholic Catechisms, Lutheran Handbooks on Theology, Reformed Dogmatics text books, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Protestant.  All these disagreeing parties on a variety of important issues, agree on these matters.  For Gary, this carries no real weight.   That’s the Full Preterist/Church of Christ/Barton Stone point of view: No Creeds, but Christ (whoever he is, or in what form, as human or not). 

Now, let me end with this.  I do not fault anyone with exploring certain texts, and highlighting where the majority of exegetes may have gotten things wrong.  That is quite possible, and certainly in history has been done, even in the Reformed camps.  A view cherished today, may have only had a 200 year history, started by some scholar who, in great opposition, ended up winning the majority over well after he or she was dead.  Got to start somewhere.  Certainly, Roman Catholic apologists and converts from the Reformed camps never tire of telling Protestants what a mess they have made of doctrine.  But, as a Theologian, this brings me back to my point on these matters mentioned above: yet we all agree on what Full Preterist Ed Stevens called, “the big three.”  The Big Three.  Resurrection,  End of time, Second Coming.  Fundamental.  Foundational.  Worldview creating.  Remove these, and you have nothing worth “saving the world” for except for an infinite, endless amount of time to speculate.  Christians understand that point.  Full Preterism is heresy.


[1] Initially, I was approached by Dr. Kenneth Talbot to write that book, who brought it to the attention of American Vision.  In a debate with Full Preterist, Don Preston, Joel McDurmon (who I helped prep a little), printed 100 copies, which were given out for free, to the best of my recollection.  It then was sold as an EBook on American Vision’s web page.  Eventually, I sought out Dr. Kenneth Gentry, who graciously wrote the Foreword, if he would like to have it.  His publication arm now prints the book on his web page, https://www.kennethgentry.com/why-i-left-full-preterism-by-samuel-m-frost/

[2] The Theologians of Chalcedon (451 AD), an Ecumenical Creed, defined Jesus, the man in heaven, as a “rational soul and body.”  The “hypostatic union” of the Incarnation, is of the “rational soul and body” of the human being, Jesus, and the Logos, the Son of God, uncreated; One Person, Two Natures, human and divine.

[3] See the marvelous work, Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation by Gerrit Dawson (T&T Clark, 2004).

Author: Samuel M. Frost, Th.D.

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 (The Ministry of Reconciliation, Baker Books, 1980), 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, designed and graded exams for their Hebrew Languages course. 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).  Adams wrote of Misplaced Hope as a "useful, scholarly work" (p.6 - though he disagreed with the overall thesis).  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, now 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 ran through its first run.  The book was later republished under the arm of Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry and is sold today (GoodBirth Ministries Publishing, 2019; though still available in Kindle form from American Vision).  Dr. Gentry also gave mention to Frost in his book, Have We Missed the Second Coming: A Critique of Hyper Preterism (Victorious Hope Publishing, 2016), noting him as "one of the most prominent" teachers within Full Preterism (135).  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 (McGahan Publishing House, 2021); 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), and worked directly under Dr. Dennis Greene, Founder of Christian Counseling and Addictions Services, Inc., for a year.  Frost’s passion is in the education of the local church on various issues and occasionally works with Pastor Alan McCraine with the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, Indiana, and Bethel Presbyterian Church, Knightstown, Indiana, where he periodically is called upon to give the sermon. 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, Lewisville, Indiana. Samuel also works part time at Ace Hardware in New Castle, Indiana for several years.  He has a solid, family reputation in the community, and has performed local marriages and funerals.  He also sits on the Board of the Historical Preservation Committee in New Castle. Recently, he has completed his two year quest for a Th.D from Christian Life School of Theology Global, Georgia.

7 thoughts on “Musings for Gary DeMar”

  1. Spot on.

    The height of DeMar’s arrogance is not only alarming but divisive and unfortunate. This is the attitude though of men in history who either started cults or made a name for themselves within these cults. His insistence on his private interpretation method itself is antichristian.

    Thank you for this timely article brother.

    Like

    1. The only thing positive about Gary accepting FP is that it would end the suspense, draw the battle lines, & knock Don Preston off his throne. Can you imagine someone with actual theological credentials being the de facto leader of FP; instead of someone with an honorary DD from a paper mill in California? Sure it would legitimize the movement. But then the real dogs like William Lane Craig & others would come out to play, and the FP’s would get demolished in real time..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hymenaeus and Philetus are back. As for me, I’m shouting the biblically irrefutable full preterist position from the housetops.
    Only a complete Eschatology equates to a complete Soteriology.

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  3. Gary is what I call “gray area Preterism.” It’s the kind which leaves definitions ambiguous enough to allow this to happen. Is Demar really going to “come out” as FP, though? If he actually does this, it will—as someone recently said—open the floodgates.

    Sam, what someone needs to do at this point is put up some fences when it comes to doctrines that relate to the “one faith” of the “one body,” so that they can’t be historicized. Systematic Preterism is really an over-historicizing of NT texts through failure to correctly apply the “constitutionality” principle. Nobody does this with Torah. They shouldn’t do it to the NT.

    I understand that there are passages that relate to local circumstances that need to be understood in a historic context. But doctrines such as the resurrection and second coming are “constitutional,” and relate to the “one body” of Christ. Historicizing these doctrines does irreparable damage to the faith. Theologians need to create barriers, so that this “gray area Preterism” doesn’t become a Wild Wild West for ppl like Demar who arms traffic with enemy while pretending to be on the orthodox side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There needs to be stressed, as some have, that “interpretation” works “within” the body of Christ, the people of God, in time and space. That is, as history unfolds to us, to our senses that have been made open by the Spirit’s implantation of the word, we can understand that however the ‘original audience’ took some of these matters, wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution did not “end” in 70 AD. To argue, as Full Prets do, that these issues are not ever promised to “end,” which allows them to argue along “spiritual” or “covenantal” lines that the “end” did come in 70 AD, ignores the continuing reality and struggle of the Church as they come to the realization that that “generation” passed away, and another came, and another. Therefore, however one takes “this generation” as that generation contemporaneous with Jesus’ day, what Jesus was telling them still applies to the subsequent generations to follow. In other words, “the end is not yet” is what he told them. Their “generation” will “pass away” or end, but The End is not yet. I think that is the import of what Jesus was saying, in that they were thinking they were the “terminal generation” that would see the glorious “making of all things right” in the world, and he is telling them, “no, your generation will pass away like the others.” He then goes on to say that “heavens and earth” will “pass away,” too, which is what they were asking: “when will the heavens and earth pass away?” That is, “the end” they had in mind. In effect, then, by prefacing that they would see “famines, earthquakes, wars, hear rumors of wars, hatred, persecution” and the like, they will not see “the end” of the heavens and the earth. Their generation will pass away like the rest, and another one will come until “heavens and earth” pass away. Right after he says this, he says, “but of THAT day (the passing of heaven and earth, a demonstrative pronoun, anaphoric) no man knows…” – which means, “the end is not yet.” The “End” and what precedes the End are two different things/events/activities. What comes BEFORE the end are famines, earthquakes, persecution, etc. They saw that, and we see it as well. Therefore, as long as “all these things” continue, generations will come and go until the End of “all these things.” If the End is not the “end of the all these things,” then it is not an End at all. The Jewish War (66-70 AD) was just that: a war among many wars, and other wars that have happened well after their generation passed away. The End, therefore, is not yet. When the End comes, there will be no more wars.

      Liked by 1 person

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