My Response to Sam Frost’s Analysis of our Debate- #3
In May 2020, I had a formal three day debate with Sam Frost, former preterist. That debate is archived here.
Frost’s third point in his review and analysis is here:
Frost– Day 2, which is linked here, I open with a blistering attack on the ideas Don presents in his view, and how he must radically define his terms in total opposition to how the Church has defined him. That Full Preterism is a “framework” that is constructed and placed upon the entire Bible, every verse, so that every verse is to be interpreted in this framework. There is no toleration for any other framework at all. Unlike Tradition Theology and Eschatology, toleration can be utilized precisely because of what I have pointed out in the beginning of this article: we all arrive at the same place with the same view. The Hyper Preterist, however, does not. At all. Their framework allows for no error, no wiggle room, no fudging at all: 70 AD was The End, period. This becomes very clear in Day 2.
As with his first two “points” Frost actually makes no point at all here. To suggest that his second day opening “argument” was a “blistering attack” is a self serving attempt to justify his utter failure- a failure noted by many. Please read his analysis again. Does he refer to even one Scriptural argument that he made? No. Does he refer to any logical argument, based on a single text? NO! Does he call attention to a single argument that I ignored? NO!
Now, Frost says that Preterism imposes a framework on the scriptures and does not allow for any divergence. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the reader needs to know, however is this:
Frost has a framework that he most assuredly imposes on the Biblical text that is an absolute straight jacket! Here is what I mean.
There are well over 200 time indicators of the imminence of the coming of the Lord, the judgment, the resurrection in the NT. But, Frost imposes his futurist framework on those texts and refuses to allow “soon,” “shortly,” “at hand,” “without delay”, etc. etc. etc. to have any temporal significance whatsoever!
The irony and self contradictory nature of this framework, as I pointed out in the debate, is that in non-eschatological texts, Frost is happy to admit that those words do in fact communicate imminence. However, as I stated, Frost knows that if he admits – even ONCE – that even one– EVEN ONE – NT passage communicates the objective imminence of the Lord’s coming, then his entire framework is destroyed! His futurism is false! Thus, Frost’s framework is imposed on well over 200 texts! He claims that “shortly,” “quickly” and corollaries, when used of non-prophetic passages, means just that, near, at hand, soon, shortly, i.e. imminent. However, if those same words, in the same tenses are used in prophetic, eschatological texts, then there is no way that they communicate time in any sense! To say that this is disingenuous is a huge understatement, and no true scholar would agree with this. As a matter of fact, at the close of my portion, I quoted from Kurt Alland, reknowned historian and Greek scholar (a far, far better Greek scholar than Frost), who had this to say on Revelation 22
In the original text, the Greek word used is TACHU, and this does not mean “soon,” in the sense of “sometime,” but rather “now,” immediately.” Therefore, we must understand Rev 22:12 in this way: “I am coming now, bringing my recompense.” The concluding word of Rev 22:20 is: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘surely I am coming soon.'” Here we again find the word, TACHU, so this means: I am coming quickly, immediately. This is followed by the prayer: “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus!” . . . The Apocalypse expresses the fervent waiting for the end within the circles in which the writer lived – not an expectation that will happen at some unknown point X in time (just to repeat this), but one in the immediate present. (Kurt Aland, A History of Christianity: From the Beginnings to the Threshold of the Reformation, trans. James L Schaaf (Philadelphia, PA; Fortress, 1985, 1:88).
So, we have a world class Greek scholar that categorically rejects Frost’s disingenuous manipulation and distortion of the time words, but, Frost says Alland is wrong. BTW, I could cite countless Greek scholars of similar reputation as Alland who disagree with Frost on the definition of the words of imminence. Yet, Frost claims that it is the preterist who “redefines” Biblical words!
What was Sam’s real argument? It was: “Preston stands against 2000 years of church history!” I noted in response that Sam Frost’s interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 1 and 2 stands at diametric odds with 2000 years of church history. If Frost is right, the church has been wrong on these two critical, foundational eschatological texts, for 2000 years! He ignored this glaring contradiction. He tries to discount this reality by saying that within “orthodoxy” “minor differences” are perfectly allowable. Well, folks, the Thessalonian texts are not “minor” texts in the history of eschatological interpretation!
One of Frost’s key ad hominem arguments (Which in truth is no argument at all. Ad hominem arguments have no validity, no logical power. They appeal strictly to “emotions.”) – was, “You can go into any Christian church and when you are there, you know what “body” means. You know what ‘death’ means. You know what ‘grave’ means!”
In response, I noted that Frost claims that there is only one kind of death in the Bible, and that is physical death. He rejects the idea of “spiritual death.” With that claim in mind, I called on the audience to consider John 8:51 where Jesus said that if a person believes in him and keeps his commandments “he shall never die.” Do you catch that?
Thus, if it is true, as Frost claims, that there is only one kind of death in the Bible, and that is physical death, then it must be true that those in Christ should never experience physical death! Yet, I am fully confident- and stated so- that there has been a 100% morality rate since Jesus made that promise, and that every human has or will die physically! Frost said not a word in response.
Keep in mind that the second night of our debate was supposed to be Sam Frost affirming that there will be a physical resurrection of the dead at some point in the future. Please catch the irony of this. Everyone knows (a bit of a pun here) that 1 Corinthians 15 is the key text – out of all texts – that discusses the resurrection. One would think that if Frost was so confident in his framework, that he would have gone directly to that great chapter to refute preterism, right? Well, amazingly, Frost totally ignored and avoided any and all discussion of 1 Corinthians 15 until I brought it up! He did not make one single argument on 1 Corinthians 15 (according to my notes, unless I missed something). This is literally amazing and revealing – it is incredible! In a debate on the resurrection, Frost totally avoided the foundational resurrection text!
I had asked Frost if the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the same resurrection as in Hosea 13, and he said “Yes.” (Written questions prior to the debate). Based on that, I made the following argument:
The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the same resurrection promised in Hosea 13.
The resurrection of Hosea 13 is the “death” of Hosea 13:1-2.
But, the death of Hosea 13:1-2 as NOT physical death. (After all, the prophet said that when Israel sinned, “He died, yet he sinned more and more.” Thus, Hosea has “dead men sinning” which is impossible if he was discussing physical death)!
Therefore, the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is not a resurrection from physical death.
Frost tried to dodge this argument, which is based squarely on the emphatic words of the text by saying, “See, I told you that Preston imposes his framework on passages!” (Just how does this answer the text?) When I kept pressing the point – from the text– Frost finally changed the wording of the text to say “When Israel sinned, some in Israel died physically.” Thus, as I pointed out, Frost has to change the actual words of the text to sustain his own framework. He has to impose his framework onto the text, altering what the text says!
I also noted, in-depth, that the resurrection of Hosea and 1 Corinthians 15, is the resurrection of Isaiah 25-27. I will not repeat my entire in-depth argument, but here it is in short form: (Be sure to listen to the debate on the “Iron Sharpens Iron Radio” show).
The resurrection of Isaiah 25-27 would be when “Leviathan”- the great serpent, the devil, was destroyed (27:1-2). That in turn would be “in the day” when the martyrs of God would be vindicated (26:20f). I noted that Jesus emphatically placed the vindication of the martyrs at the judgment of Jerusalem in the first century (Matthew 23:29ff).
I also noted that Paul stated that the time for the crushing of Satan was near in Romans 16:20: “The God of peace shall crush Satan under your feet shortly.” Of course, Frost scoffed at my appeal to Romans 16, because after all, it is a time statement, and he rejects all time statements of the imminence of the Lord’s coming!
I pointed out that Isaiah 27:9f is emphatic in positing the time and frame work for the destruction of Satan, the avenging of the martyrs, and the resurrection:
Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand. Yet the fortified city will be desolate, The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness; There the calf will feed, and there it will lie down And consume its branches. When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off; The women come and set them on fire. For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, And He who formed them will show them no favor.
Please notice that all of the eschatological tenets under consideration would be fulfilled, “When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust…”) Do you see that “WHEN”? Frost saw it, and was sad.
I made the following argument no less than three times in the debate, yet Frost offered NOT ONE WORD OF EXEGETICAL OR CONTEXTUAL RESPONSE! NOT ONE!
The resurrection – the salvation of Israel – is posited as the time:
1. When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust. That is the text.
2. Yet the fortified city will be desolate, The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness. That is the text.
3. For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, And He who formed them will show them no favor. That is the text.
As to point #3 I noted that this is a direct echo of the Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32, which was a prophecy of Israel’s last days. It has NOTHING to do with Frost’s imaginary “end of time” or the end of the current age. That concept has to be imposed onto the text.
Thus, I pointed out – again- no less than three times – that we have here the emphatic and explicit prophecy of the time of the destruction of Satan, the time of the resurrection– AS THE TIME OF THE JUDGMENT AND DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AND THE TEMPLE.
Frost’s response? Silence! TOTAL SILENCE! Literally not a word of textual, logical, contextual response! To say that this is revealing is a huge understatement. Here is the prophetic context that Paul draws from in 1 Corinthians 15:55-56, stating that the resurrection would fulfill Isaiah, but, when confronted with the actual text and context of Isaiah, Frost did not offer one word of rebuttal, not a syllable out of his mouth in any attempt to refute these facts.
And thus, the argument is:
The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection of Isaiah 25-27.
But, the resurrection of Isaiah 25-27, would be at the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem and the people Israel.
Therefore, the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 was to be (was) at the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem and the people Israel.
Now, if you want to compare Frost’s so-called “blistering attack” against this textual, exegetically based logical argument, I invite you to do so! In fact, ask yourself the following:
In a formal debate, ostensibly dedicated to the determination of what the Bible says about the Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection, why is it that Sam Frost, the self proclaimed “final answer” to the full preterist paradigm, choose not to make a single textual argument?
Why did Sam Frost ignore 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, 2 Corinthians 5, etc. and refuse to develop even one exegetical argument?
Why did Sam Frost choose instead to make his so-called “blistering attack” based – NOT ON ANY SCRIPTURAL ARGUMENT – but on an appeal to church history and the ad hominem “every one knows what death is”?
And, in a formal debate supposedly dedicated to determining WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS about these subjects, how could Frost’s arguments be, in any way at all, considered “blistering” when they contained virtually no scripture references, no exegesis, not even any kind of logical argumentation?
That is supposed to constitute a “blistering attack”?
I ask the reader: What should carry more weight with us, what is more authoritative, church history, ad hominem appeals, or the emphatic declarations of Scripture? As for me and my house, we will stick with the Scriptures! (I should also take note that in ensuing reviews of our debate, at least one of which is done by a futurist, the reviewer criticized Frost for not making any attempt at exegesis, and said that Preston won the debate “hands down” without any doubt)!
So much for Frost’s point #3 and his “blistering attack.” We will examine Frost’s fourth point in the next installment and then, I will document the arguments that I made during the debate, which Frost completely ignored.