Is Don K. Preston Afraid To Debate Covenant Eschatology?
On June 12-16, 2015, the Bellview church of Christ in Saufley, Florida sponsored a lectureship with the theme “Refuting Realized Eschatology.”
The Bellview church of Christ in Florida is a very conservative church of Christ. They pride themselves on being defenders of the faith, the faithful of the faithful! And on the flip side of that, if you don’t agree with their views, you are automatically doomed!
It has been reported to me that during the lectures, which were live streamed, some of the speakers mentioned my name, chiding me, and claiming that I am unwilling to debate them. To say that this is less than honest– when all the facts are considered– is an understatement! What follows is a short exchange from one person who watched the lectureship and who reported what was being said about me. I will give my response in regard to the claims that I am afraid to debate Covenant Eschatology. I will let these facts speak for themselves, and we will see if there is an honorable, representative and courteous “champion” among them. Below is the exchange.
A quick note here, before I give the email exchange. William Bell and I, on our regular Tuesday evening radio program, Two Guys and a Bible, discussed the Bellview Lectureship, and in particular, one of the speeches, by Dub McClish. That program aired 6-16-15, and is archived at www.fulfilledradio.com. In the upcoming weeks, due to the very positive feedback we have received about that show, William and I will be critiquing each of the lessons that were presented at the Bellview Lectureship. Our program airs each Tuesday evening at 6 PM central times, and each show is archived.
With these preliminaries, here now is the email exchange concerning the claims that I am afraid to debate Realized Eschatology. I am withholding the name of the individual who emailed me, for privacy concerns.
On 6/15/2015 3:46 PM, “J” wrote:
I get the impression that these folks don’t like you
From: Don K. Preston
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 4:22 AM
Subject: Re: Bellview Lectures
Really!!?? Imagine that!!!
I guess I am gonna have to buy the CD, or is it archived online?
J then responded:
On 6/16/2015 9:14 AM, J wrote:
It will be archived online.
They keep taunting you for not agreeing to a debate.
I then responded with this:
That is down right funny – and hypocritical to say the least. I have had more debates than the huge majority of the men on that seminar. I am, however, selective in who I debate. I refuse – as much as possible – to debate dishonorable men (Such as Howard Denham, who, to my knowledge has never even had a formal public debate)!
I challenged Dub McClish to debate me– He refused.
I challenged Gary Coley of the Denton Lectures to sponsor a debate there, during one of the Denton Lectures. He refused.
I challenged Gary Workman- he refused.
I challenged Alan Highers – he refused.
I challenged Wayne Jackson – repeatedly– he refused.
I challenged many other c of C “champions” to debate me– they refused.
I have debated several c of C ministers: Bill Lockwood (three times), Mac Deaver, John Welch, Thomas Thrasher (twice). None of those debates went well for those guys. None of this counts the numerous written debates I have had with several c of C ministers. (Note: These are not all of the c of C ministers I have engaged)
I have debated several high level evangelicals, including Thomas Ice (four times), J. Randall Price, Mark Hitchcock, Steve Gregg, James Jordan, Harold Eberle, Joel McDurmon, Michael Brown, and numerous others.
And these guys think I am afraid to debate them!
The reality is that because I will not let these guys dictate every jot and tittle of terms for a debate, they claim I am scared. Howard Denham demanded (he did not request and would not negotiate) but he demanded, that I submit unconditionally to his list of conditions and terms. When I tried to get him to negotiate, and when I requested repeatedly that he engage in courteous, respectful dialogue and negotiations, all he did was call me names. To say that this is less than honorable is an understatement, but it is the tactic that many of them employ. (Added note: It is unheard of for one disputant to dictate all the terms for a debate, venue, topics, propositions, etc.. Yet, this is precisely what Denham demanded. To say that this would not be equitable, is clearly an understatement. When I offered alternative suggestions, he claimed that I was trying to control the debate and he would not allow that! Unmitigated hypocrisy).
The reason that I refuse to debate some of them is because I believe in fairness, and common courtesy. They want and demand total control, and they demand that any debate to be in front of a preterist crowd. They refuse to have a debate on their turf, with mutually agreed to terms. They manifest their own fear of debating me when they refuse to enter honorable negotiations and mutually agreed to terms. By refusing to do so, knowing that I will not submit to their unconditional demands and terms, they can then brag that Preston will not debate them.
This is a total distortion of the truth. It is unmitigated desperation on their part. I think anyone knowing of their claims should ask themselves why it is that these brethren will not conduct themselves with the same Christian decorum, mutual respect and courtesy that the non- c of C opponents have almost invariably exhibited? Why is it that they think they must call names, use harsh rhetoric, question my integrity and standing before God?
I have not had a single non church of Christ debate opponent treat me with the disrespect, discourteousness, and name calling that these men exhibit in their attacks on me and other preterists. This is nothing less than shameful – not to mention sinful! (Added note: If you want to see how proper Christian controversy should be conducted, see my debate with Dr. Michael Brown, a Historic Premillennialist. The debate was carried on YouTube, and has had over 22,000 views. In addition, I will be debating Dr. Brown again July 8, on YouTube. Dr. Brown is a highly accomplished academic, and accomplished debater. Thus, the suggestion that I am afraid to debate the issues is patently absurd).
If these men from Bellview truly want an honorable, respectful, Christian debate, then let them set forth a man that is willing to engage in such discussions without all the caustic verbiage, judgmentalism, name calling and dictatorial attitude. (Let them pledge to conduct themselves like Dr. Brown for instance- dkp). Let us negotiate based on mutual respect for each other, as believers in the Lord. But, their refusal to do so is more than a little revealing.
If they are not willing to abide by the principle of 2 Timothy 2:24, then I have no interest in even talking to them.
Don K. Preston