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).

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