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
11 Replies to “Is Don K. Preston Afraid to Debate Preterism?”
If you watched the Lectureship, including the Open Forums, you would know that a debate proposition has been made and is already signed by Howard Daniel Denham. All you have or anyone else has to do is sign it. As of today, no one has signed it. It’s waiting there for you.
Doug, with all due respect, did you read my article carefully? Did you not read of my resistance to Howard Denham’s ungodly, un-Christian behavior and my unwillingness to engage in a public debate with anyone that refuses to conduct themselves honorably, courteously, respectfully? The fact is that Howard Denham refuses to act in a Christian manner, and therefore, should not be considered by any Church to their representative in formal debate! He does nothing but dishonor the very concept of Christian controversy!
I have had more debates on Covenant Eschatology than anyone else, to my knowledge, debates with great academic minds, of all sorts. This proves beyond doubt– the the objective observer, that I am not, in any way “afraid” to debate. The issue is Christian decorum!
When Howard and I were still corresponding, he submitted a proposition that was so vague, so non-specific, so non-precise as to be laughable. I have not seen or heard the proposition that he set forth at Bellview, but, I suspect it was the same one. I can tell you that if it was the same one, any instructor in formal debate would laugh that proposition out of class! Now, William Bell and I will be watching the presentations, and will be responding to them– including Howard’s– on on our every Tuesday night radio program Two Guys and A Bible. Every Tuesday, 6 PM central time. You can listen at http://www.fulfilledradio.com. When we get to Howard’s presentation, I will be sharing the problems with his proposition– if it is the same one that he submitted to me.
Every man on the lectureship, based upon your false, doctrine, teaches you are a false teacher. Therefore, because that is the case, you will not debate any of them, especially Howard Denham, because your feelings are hurt? The sentiment among these men concerning you a false teacher will not change. So I suppose because of this you will flee from debate? Interesting.
Doug, with all due respect, that is one of the most illogical comments anyone could make. Because those men say I am a false teacher, I am afraid to debate them? Really? Did you look at the list of men I have debated? Everyone of them believes I am a false teacher, yet, I debated them.
My refusal to debate Howard Denham has nothing to do with my feelings being hurt. Again, very weak response. My refusal springs from the fact that he cannot (or refuses to) conduct himself as a Christian. He brings shame on the very name of Christ through his deplorable conduct. And anyone that supports his ungodly ways is equally responsible.
I am always willing to engage in honorable, respectful debate, with men of high character, as my record shows beyond dispute. So, your claim that I am fleeing from a debate is false to the core as any objective person can see. Did you not see my invitation at the end of the article? Or did you choose to simply ignore it. My invitation was and is, that if the Bellview church has someone that will pledge themselves to conduct themselves as a Christian gentleman, then let them contact me, and we will begin immediately to negotiate for a debate. But you see, their refusal, and Howard’s refusal to pledge to conduct themselves honorably, with Christian decorum should show you – and anyone else – who is truly fleeing from a debate. Ask yourself, Doug, why would anyone refuse to pledge and promise to conduct themselves with courtesy, respect and Christian decorum?
Instead of being willing to pledge themselves to this, they respond by simply calling me names and question my integrity– exposing the fact that they have no interest in honest, open dialogue. They would rather lob insults than to actually discuss the issues honorably.
As I suggested in the article, I suggest that you go watch my debate with Michael Brown to see how Christian controversy should be done.
Again, Don, you are angry because all of these brethren call you a false teacher, for that is what you are. You are a denominationalist (Family of God) who despises the church of Christ. You are uncomfortable with that because the previous “puff” debaters, whom you have debated, may disagree with you, but they do not consider you an enemy of God as WE all do! The brethren who were at Bellview DO see you as an enemy of Christ for you are a false teacher! The very fact that you can say “Christian” and “Dr. Brown” in the same breath is rather telling. So, you have an entirely different mindset entering such a debate than that of the “puff” debates you have had previously. This debate is about truth and about exposing error. It is about exposing you as a false teacher in public. I can understand why that scares you. I can understand why you afraid of Howard Denham, for that is what he would do … and you do not like that.
Doug, bless your heart. I am not “angry” and none of my posts suggest this. Now, I certainly am “offended” by the utter ungodliness of Denham and others who cannot– who refuse to engage in civil discussion.
Doug, it is laughable to me, really, that you call all of the debates that I have had “puff debates!” Honestly? I have debated world class scholars with the very highest of academic achievement, and you say that they were “puff” debates. Wow!
I am sure that Dr. Thomas Thrasher would appreciate that. I am sure that Mac Deaver would appreciate it. I am sure that John Welch would appreciate that. I am sure that several other c of C ministers I have debated would really appreciate you calling them “puff” opponents! So, I guess per your “logic” there is no one in the c of C that can offer me a serious challenge except the guys from Bellview, who cannot even carry on a civil, courteous conversation? Is that what you are saying?
Tell me, Doug, which of those men have the academic credentials of Dr. Michael Brown? He is literally a world recognized scholar, but, you call him a “puff!” Oh, did you watch any of our debate to see how debate should be conducted? I am thinking you did not bother.
You are right about one thing. A debate is (supposed) to be about truth. It is not supposed to be about character assassination that Denham does constantly!
You see, Doug, my operative principle is taken from scripture, found in 2 Timothy 2:24. I suggest that you read it. Let me urge you to contact the folks at Bellview and challenge them to set forth a champion that is willing to conduct himself as well as Dr. Brown did. The fact that they adamantly refuse to agree to those terms should tell you – and anyone else – that there is something horrible wrong in their spirit. They truly do not have the spirit of Christ in them.
As to whether or not Denham is capable of exposing me as a false teacher, let me urge you to read my response to one of his syllogisms. Read it carefully, examining the scriptures and what they actually say – not what Denham imposes on them and distorts. He abuses scripture and perverts sound logic. Very sad stuff!
Doug, bless your heart, your logic is as bad as Howard Denham’s. Because the men I have debated disagree with you, then they are “puffs!” Astounding. What you are saying is that no one but the speakers at Bellview know the truth, and no one but them know how to answer me! Tell you what, please listen to the radio show that William Bell and I did last week. The show is called Two Guys and A Bible, and we will be responding to each of the presentations / speakers at Bellview. Last week, we examined Larry Pogue’s speech, exposing how false it was. You can listen to the archive of the show at http://www.fulfilledradio.com
It is convenient how you ignore the majority of the men I have debated– many of whom, even members of the c of C– who have academic degrees that few, if any, of the Bellview speakers have. Tell you what, brother Post, if my logic is so bad, read my article exposing the abuse of logic and scripture that Denham exhibits in his syllogism, and offer your own exegetical refutation of my article. For convenience, here is a link to it: http://donkpreston.com/responding-to-the-critics-a-response-to-howard-denhams-syllogism/.
I will eagerly await your “refutation”– but neither you, nor Howard Denham has a scriptural or logical answer to it. and unfortunately, I doubt seriously if you will even listen to the radio program, or read the article. Your mind is closed to everything except your own narrow, Pharisaic view. You have not demonstrated any kind of the Berean spirit, just judgmentalism based– not on any kind of exegesis of scripture, but on blind allegiance to Bellview. Very, very sad.
Your so called “oral debates” are nothing more than 1-day discussion with milk and cookies, dealing with broad, nebulous propositions that are more philosophical fireside chats than debates. You run from 4-night debate having a very specific proposition because your feet would be held to the proverbial fire. Yes, you have engaged in “puff debates” with men who are “puff debaters.” The men you have engaged demonstrate their “puffiness” by their lack of exegetical skill and logic. Since you claim to be “logical” and deem Denham as inferior, then you should have no problem debating him, but again, you will run from Denham, run from debate, and hide behind your facade of wisdom. One thing you are logical about is that you know if you were to debate Denham in a 4 night debate, you would be exposed. So you run!
Brother Post, your posts just keeping getting more and more desperate and illogical.
First of all, you totally ignored my challenge for you to show where my article against Denham is misguided. I invite you to engage in some actual exegesis– if you know what that actually means. Did you even read the article? I suspect not.
Second, I invited you to listen to Two Guys and A Bible, where William Bell and I thoroughly dismantled brother Pogue’s lesson on Daniel 7. Have you done that? Will you do that?
Third, you claim that Denham has posted “a very specific proposition.” Well, I have not yet seen it, but, if it is the one he sent to me, there is absolutely nothing “specific” about it. It would be laughed out of a debate class due to its ambiguity and lack of specificity. It is actually quite laughable, as I told him.
Fourth, your easy dismissal of the radio debates is laughable beyond words. Strange that in all of the posts in response to our first debate, not one person ever said anything even remotely resembling that! Just more of your illogical “non -sense” and desperation.
Fifth, I have had far, far more debates more than Denham, with men of very high academic and moral character, and none of them ever exhibited the vicious, un-Christian attitude, and the caustic language that Denham constantly exhibits. I have told you before that I am guided by 2 Timothy 2:24– to which you offered not a word of comment. And that is because you know that Denham, and many (if not most) of the men on the Bellview lectureship refuse to conduct themselves honorably in conformity to that text. Their attitude and actions are deplorable and un-Christian. That and that alone is why I have refused to debate Denham. I have stated that repeatedly and will continue to say it. I have also stated, repeatedly, that if there is an honorable, respectful and truly representative man from Bellview that will commit himself to conducting himself as honorably as Dr. Michael Brown does, that I will be more than happy to begin immediate negotiations for a formal debate. The fact that not one of those men is willing to pledge and promise to do that speaks volumes– and it says nothing good about any of them!
Brother Post, bless your heart, like I said, you just keep getting more and more desperate, which is typical of those who cannot answer the actual issues.
1. The issue is not my views of fellowship, but, my beliefs on eschatology! You perhaps need to consider that if your views of eschatology are wrong, then your view of fellowship is wrong as well.
2. I have asked you repeatedly now to listen to the Two Guys and A Bible as well as my response to Denham. I have asked if you are willing to do that. But of course, you refuse to even think about it.
3. You claim that I am being as harsh as Denham. You cannot show that to be true. I do not, and will not, engage in the same caustic, hateful, un-Christian attitudes and verbiage that he exhibits.
4. I have repeatedly asked why it is that not one of the Bellview speakers– perhaps including yourself– will pledge to conduct themselves with the same decorum, the same respect, the same dignity as Dr. Brown– but, neither you or any of the other speakers will even address that challenge! Really sad!
5. As I noted, William and I will be examining each of the presentations of the speakers– and that includes your’s on Revelation. I will be sure to let you know when we will do that, so that you can be sure to tune in. Just a hint, I really appreciate the fact that you affirm that when God said something was near, that he meant it, and that there is no “sub-context” or “sub-text” and that he was not referring to things a 1000 years away! Wow! Thanks so much!! Great stuff!
6. I am not the slightest concerned that Denham would “hand me my lunch.” If his list of syllogisms are all he has to offer, I thank God that I do not espouse his error. And I still urge you to read my response to his first syllogism and offer a response.
7. You seem to think that attitude means nothing. Is that your view? Seriously? Please answer. And please, go ahead and read 2 Timothy 2:24 before you answer.
8. BTW, you do know that when you take the early dating of Revelation and any application to AD 70 that you are at odds with Denham, and most of the brotherhood, don’t you? Maybe the two of you should debate that issue, and determine which one of you is a heretic? That would be really fun to watch!
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