Refuting a “Refutation”- #1- A Response to Sam Frost's "Refutation" of His Full Preterist book.
In 2010, JaDon Management Inc. my publishing company, reprinted the book by Sam Frost, entitled Essays on the Resurrection. By 2010 Frost had abandoned his full preterist convictions concerning the resurrection that he had so ably set forth in that book and had given all rights of the book to me. I felt when he wrote the book that it was an excellent analysis of 1 Corinthians 15, and still feel that way for the most part. Now, I do intend, if time permits, to make some additions and revisions to the book that will expand it and improve it even more. I have no time frame for that, but it is “on the docket.”
So, it has been 11 years since we republished Essays. In those ensuing years Frost has been asked numerous times how and why he abandoned Covenant Eschatology, and exactly why does he now consider what he wrote to be in error. Yet years passed with nothing offered… until, according to the dating of an article that he posted on his blog, Vigilate Et Orate, dated 6-13-2017. So, it apparently took him seven years to explain why he now rejects what he wrote.
According to the opening sentence, “Due to an overwhelming flood of requests that I refute my own previously held position (known as, Full Preterism) I will now go ahead and grant the requests.” The title of the article is “Sam Frost Versus Sam Preston!”
Frost says at the outset of his article: “I don’t have to go through every page. I can just take one section and refute it, thus toppling the main plank the rest is built on. After watching the well over 100 videos on You Tube of Preston “explaining” a chapter that takes roughly ten minutes to read in the Bible (I Corinthians 15), I figure that this should be relatively simple.”
Of course, it is a bit ironic that he makes a snide remark about me doing over 100 videos on 1 Corinthians 15, while conveniently ignoring the fact that his book was itself larger than 1 Corinthians 15, not to mention a couple of other books he has written since that are much larger than any of the texts that he cites.
In principle, Frost’s claim can be a logically valid. If the foundation of a doctrine is falsified there is no reason to answer every other argument that is built on that false premise. (This is one of the reasons why I do not personally deal with what I consider some “peripheral issues” as much as some people would like for me to do). Unfortunately for Frost, his comment is only the beginning of a series of self contradictory and self defeating comments.
Now, in line with Frost’s own logic, however, I have no need to address every sentence in his article. What I will do is address some of the foundationally critical and fatal logical fallacies and bad arguments that Frost has given us as the reasons why he has rejected his own book.
Sam Frost versus Sam Preston!
“Let us jump to the section in that chapter dealing with the resurrection body, 15.35-49… Let’s begin. After my translation of the Greek, I wrote, “Note that so far, Paul has not mentioned ‘soma’ (Gr- ‘body’) until this point. It is strange that if this is the major concern of Paul’s his lack of use is puzzling for the traditional view.”
FROST’S RESPONSE: Not really. I am using a negative fallacy (if it isn’t there, then it isn’t there argument). For example, “I am going to take out the trash.” Someone may respond, “you must be carrying it out piece by piece, because you did not mention a trash can.” A trash can is assumed. Fact of the matter is, Paul has been talking about resurrection bodies all through out because that’s what resurrection is. It is only here that he gets to the point (as all commentators recognize). The questions here tells me the subject matter: How are dead bodies raised? What kind are they?”
My Response: To anyone that has followed Frost on FaceBook, and my exchanges with him, this has got to be an absolutely stunning “argument.” Frost is saying that in his book, he noticed the absence of the word “body” (soma) in verses 1-35 and concluded that the body was not a “major concern of Paul’s”. Frost says he was guilty of the logical fallacy known as the “negative fallacy.” Simply stated, this mean that just because something is not specifically mentioned in a given text, does not mean “if it is not there it is not there” as Frost explains. Thus, his new position is that even though the word “body” is not in verses 1-35, the idea and doctrine is present. He says, “Fact of the matter is, Paul has been talking about resurrection bodies all through out because that’s what resurrection is.”
Well, guess what? I believe that Frost was in fact guilty of that logical fallacy, because “the body” is discussed in the previous verses.
The reader needs to be aware of the logical fallacy of petitio principii that Frost commits in claiming that resurrection is the raising of bodies– and his assumption that the bodies must be physical bodies. He is taking it for granted that this is the case– when it isn’t. Thus, he is guilty of a logical fallacy in his attempt to rebut his book.
Notice that Paul says, “how say some among you, that there is no resurrection of the dead ones?” That “YOU” is a collective plural referring to the church, the body of Christ. Paul was not addressing single individuals, but some within the body of Christ.
In verse 18, Paul discusses “those who have fallen asleep in Christ.” This is doubtless a collective referent to the collective “body” of Christians that had died.
“The body” of “the dead ones” is discussed in v. 20f, where Paul discusses “those who had fallen asleep.” That is a collective term to referring to the“body” of those who had died prior to Jesus.
Likewise, Paul refers to the “body” of those in Adam– “as in Adam all men die” (v. 22).
He discusses those in Christ– “in Christ shall all be made alive” (v. 22). That is a collective group / body.
He speaks of ,“those who are Christ’s at his coming” assuredly a reference to the entire body of those in Christ at that time.
One thing is certain: in none of these references to the collective body of either those who died before Christ died, or to the collective body of the Christians who had died before Paul wrote, is the focus on the individual human body. Every reference to “the body” even though the word “body” is not found before verse 36, the concept of the body is found there, and undoubtedly refers to collective, corporate “bodies.”
Very clearly, Frost has not helped himself here. He has in fact impaled himself since he now rejects the concept of a corporate “body” resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Yet, as noted, every reference to “the body” (again, even though the word “soma” is not specifically found there) is to a collective, corporate body. Not only that, but by rejecting his own claim that Paul did not speak of the body / bodies in v. 1-35, Frost is tacitly admitting that Paul DID speak of the body / bodies prior to v. 36! Was Frost right to claim that “body” is not found in v. 1-35, or was / is he now right to admit that the body is found there? His current admission that body is present in the earlier verses does not actually help his attempt to refute his book.
But there is more here.
In his (so-called) rebuttal, Frost rightly rejects the negative fallacy, i.e. the claim / idea that if a given word, term or phrase is not found in a given text that the idea, the doctrine is not there. It surely appears that Frost has conveniently forgotten that since abandoning Covenant Eschatology, and, since “discovering” the error of appealing to a negative fallacy, he is and has been guilty of incorporating that fallacy– repeatedly! Let me illustrate.
In one FaceBook discussion / debate after another, when entrapped by the arguments from preterists about given texts, such as John 5:28f; Acts 1; Acts 17:30f; 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Thessalonians, etc., etc., Frost has repeatedly appealed to the fact that none of these texts specifically mention AD 70, or Jerusalem, or the Temple, or the Roman army, etc.! That‘s right, he utilizes a negative fallacy- claiming “if it ain’t there, it ain’t there!”
In January of 2017 Frost argued on “Full Preterism: A Thing of the Past,” that because the words, terms, etc. corporate body, or similar terms are not found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-35 then that chapter cannot be discussing such a thing. In other words, in the same time frame when he was condemning the negative fallacy that he used in his book, he utilized that very fallacy to reject preterism! Ah, consistency! Thou art a jewel so fair!
On 3-8-18 in trying (but failing) to counter the preterist arguments concerning Job he made the following comment / argument (if you can call it an argument):
“Job is no where mentioning any covenant with Moses, Israel, a temple in Jerusalem or any of those things. His suffering was REAL, not “covenantal” and not “spiritual.” It was his FAITH that held him together – and he was rewarded (“consider the patience of Job”).”
Wait! What just happened here? Frost – once again– writing after his rejection of the “negative fallacy” in his blog post, employed the negative fallacy to answer preterism!
Again, in August of 2018 Frost appealed to that same logical fallacy / hermeneutic again. I responded with the following– which of course, he totally ignored:
“Let’s apply your hermeneutic from above, i.e since given words, terms or phrases are missing from the text, that means that the doctrines are not true. Ok? So, here we go:
The term “end of time” is never found in the Bible.
The term “judgment of eternity” is not in the Bible.
The term “last day of time” is not in the Bible.
The term “physical resurrection” is not in the Bible.
Shall I continue, Sam?
The utter inconsistency of your “hermeneutic” if such it can be called, is glaring and revealing.”
Frost abandoned the discussion at this point, refusing to type a word of response. Little wonder! This was just another glaring example of Frost talking out of both sides of his mouth, but anyone can see the massive inconsistency.
In July, 2019, (again on Full Preterism: A Thing of the Past) Frost tried to convince Julienne Chambers that Jesus was not claiming that Daniel 9 & 12 would be fulfilled in the first century. His argument was a form of the negative fallacy, arguing that because Daniel and Jesus used some different words from each other, that this somehow proves a disparity and disjunction between the two texts:
“Jesus is using Daniel in a way unexpected by his audience (the readers of Matthew’s audience). Second, even the wording of Daniel 12 and Mat. 24 are (sic) – different.” So, per Frost, different words demand different subjects. And clearly, missing words means different subjects or absence of subject. Just another example of Frost employing a negative fallacy, claiming that he had refuted a preterist argument.
Similarly, in October of 2019 Frost attempted to respond to William Bell’s claim that Jesus was echoing Daniel in Matthew 24 in regard to the Great Tribulation:
“Now, did Jesus “apply” Daniel 12 to Matthew 24? Well, he certainly “alludes” to Daniel. But, even a quick look at the two texts shows a remarkable dissimilarity.
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time.”
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.”
Frankly, that anyone would attempt to delineate between Daniel and Jesus’ citation of him based on the “differences” between the two texts is amazing, and totally untenable. Frost’s imagined differences are clearly not substantive or meaningful in any way, shape, form or fashion.
To demand that a Biblical writer– or any writer– must use the precise and identical wording in any and all of their discussions of a given subject is surely one of the most disingenuous claims imaginable! This utterly destroys journalistic liberty and license, not to mention creativity! It truly is an argumentum ad absurdum, as well as being an argumentum ad desperatum!
Let me briefly illustrate:
Acts 1 uses a totally different set of words and phrases from that found in 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 5, 1 Thessalonians 4, 2 Thessalonians 1 & 2, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 17-19! Totally different! And to magnify the issue, there are some major words, terms, phrases and motifs, that are totally absent- from 1 Corinthians 15, that are found in say, Matthew 24:29-31, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation! Where are the words “trumpet,”, “shout,” “gathering,” “resurrection,” “time of the end” in Acts 1? They are not there! Thus, based on Frost’s “argument” in October of 2019, that must mean that each of these texts is speaking of some different eschatological event from the other, at radically different times! After all, according to Frost, different words demand different subjects and missing words demands absence of doctrine; “if it ain’t there, it ain’t there”!
Then, just last year, 4-29-2020, Frost tried to convince everyone of his new, novel, unprecedented interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 1 and Paul’s promise to the Thessalonians that the saints would receive relief from their then on-going persecution, “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven.” (He denies that Paul promised the Thessalonians that they would be given relief from their then on-going persecution “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven.”). When challenged on it, Frost retorted:
“I can't for the life of me seem to locate any Scripture that says Jesus came down to the Thessalonians and delivered them from their troubles.... Now, I do read, "Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring, This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering" - note that they were "suffering" for the kingdom. All christians suffer for the kingdom. " since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you" Now, here, is a simple explanation of what God does: he repays (this is a constant theme in the Hebrew Bible). "and to you who are troubled -- rest with us in the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with messengers of his power in fiery flames" here Paul is saying for them to find "rest" or "comfort" in the revelation of the Lord from heaven with the angels of his power (who attend him in heaven) in fiery flames (this expression is found in Daniel 7.9-10, where the Ancient of Days in heaven with fiery flames and the angels around him) "who is the giver of vengeance" (descriptive of God who avenges) "those not knowing God." Nothing here at all is mentioned about 70 AD, the Jews, Romans or any fall of the Temple....(all from 2 Th 1).”
If ever there was an example of a negative fallacy, it is right here! Evidently, Frost did not remember his (supposed) rejection of such logically fallacious argumentation that he penned in 2017. He seemed to think that because the words “70 AD, the Jews, Romans or any fall of the Temple” are not found in 2 Thessalonians 1 that this proves that Paul could not have had that event in mind.
And finally, in what one can only describe as (another) amazing bit of self contradiction, in the very 2017 article in which he eschews his use of a negative fallacy, Mr. Frost engages in a negative fallacy! Commenting on the issue of whether 1 Corinthians is about the raising of singular human corpses or the corporate body of Old Covenant Israel being transformed into the body of Christ, Frost offers this:
But, Paul is clearly, nowhere, mentioning that “body” here is the corporate concept of The Body of Christ, the Church! He’s talking about human bodies, fish bodies and animal bodies of flesh. He later defines this as the natural body, the flesh and blood body.
Do you catch the power of this? On one page Frost rightly condemns the use of a negative fallacy, but later in that very same article he employs that negative fallacy! He argues that because Paul no where mentions, “the corporate body,” that this must mean he is speaking of human corpses! The incredible inconsistency- and illogic – here should be apparent to anyone. Frost on the one hand condemns the use of a negative fallacy, while on the other hand totally depends on a negative fallacy to reject preterism!
Now, I could chronicle many other occasions when Mr. Frost tried to counter preterism by taking note of the use of different words used in various texts, and by appealing to missing words, terms or phrases in given texts as in his comments on 2 Thessalonians 1. But these examples– including his own words from the very article in which he castigates the use of a negative fallacy- are more than sufficient to exhibit Frost’s total inconsistency and the disingenuous nature of his rejection of his own writings because he says he used a negative fallacy.
What I have done is to document how, from the time of the writing of his blog article in which the very first “reason” he gave for rejecting his Essays book was his use of a negative fallacy, up to the present moment, Frost has utilized the very logical fallacy that he claims to reject! And again, he employed a negative fallacy in the very article in which he condemned the use of a negative fallacy.
Remember, Frost claims that a key element / reason for his rejection of Covenant Eschatology was that he employed a negative fallacy. He told us he did not have to address the entirety of his book to refute it. All he had to do was to address key issues, i.e. the negative fallacy argument that he had employed. But then he proceeds to use a negative fallacy in his article– thus falsifying his own blog post!
As I have shown, the reality is that 1 Corinthians 15:1-35 does speak of the body (and bodies), even though the word “body” is not explicitly used. I have shown that those bodies were collective, corporate “bodies” i.e. Old Covenant Israel, Christians who had died and the living body of the church. Not once does Paul speak of the individual body of a human being. He speaks strictly in collective, corporate terms.
Mr. Frost is confronted with a genuine conundrum.
In light of the fact that Paul does discuss the body / bodies in 1 Corinthians 15, although not using the actual words, does Frost now recant his claim that Paul did not discuss the body / bodies? You will note that Frost does in fact tacitly recant this, since he now (2017) says that since Paul discusses the resurrection in those verses he was implicitly speaking of “the body.” Thus, he admits that his claim that he used a negative fallacy is false, by his own words! If / since he admits that Paul does in fact discuss the body / bodies in v. 1-35, will he then now also admit that Paul was focused on corporate bodies not individual biological human bodies? In truth, his admission that Paul did speak of bodies, and the fact that those bodies that he speaks of were corporate, nullifies the rest of his claims.
On this issue of whether there is a legitimate doctrine of corporate resurrection, it is amazing to see Frost’s flip-flopping. On 3-15-2021, Frost wrote: “Don’s rather bizarre view (a corporate body resurrection) is condemned for a variety of factors.”
I noted in response: //Now, you know as well as I that many scholars, Holland, Levenson, even Davies and others, take note that the original prophecies of the resurrection (i.e. Isaiah / Hosea 13 / Ezekiel 37) were about the collective restoration of the nation of Israel. So, your constant denial that anyone has seen the concept of corporate resurrection is ludicrous and unscholarly.//
The fact is that some (many) of the finest scholars in the world recognize and admit that the original Hebraic concept of resurrection was NOT of individuals out of the dirt, but of the corporate resurrection of Israel, her restoration to the presence of God. See my book, Paul on Trial: Paul, the Pharisees and Resurrection in which I document this extensively.
Frost did not hit a keystroke in response. NADA, ZERO, ZIP.
Furthermore, while Frost likes to claim that the concept of corporate resurrection was “invented” by King, Bell, Preston et.al, (but see my comment immediately above), in his 2017 Blog post seeking to negate Covenant Eschatology, here is what he said about the idea of corporate resurrection (explaining how and why he came to initially accept preterism):
Now, since there was much truth in the idea of the “corporate body” concept (neither King, nor Preston invented that one), then that was not so hard a pill to swallow. And, since there certainly was a “transitioning” of sorts from covenant to covenant (old to new) that created a huge issue for the church (Acts 15), then that was not an issue as such, either. They didn’t invent that.
Thus, in the very article in which he condemns the idea of a corporate resurrection, calling it “bizarre”, he admits that the Bible does contain the idea of corporate identity and resurrection! He admits that King, Bell and Preston did not, after all, invent the doctrine: “They didn’t invent that”! And again, please take note of the scholarship that I cite just above that supports this fact.
These are but a few of many, many examples of Frost versus Frost.
If Frost genuinely rejects the use of a negative fallacy, that means that in each of the discussions that I chronicled above, (and as stated, there are many other examples) in which Frost employed the negative fallacy – his arguments against preterism are falsified. I should take note of the fact that several other anti-preterists on that FaceBook page, Full Preterism: A Thing of the Past, constantly employ the negative fallacy argument. And not once has Frost ever corrected or challenged their use of that fallacy.
So, the truth is that Frost’s initial claim about Paul not discussing the body / bodies was false. With that much of Frost’s book I disagree. Paul assuredly did discuss the body / bodies.
And again, finally, since Frost has continued– to the present time– to employ the negative fallacy in his attempts to refute Covenant Eschatology, it proves that he is not really concerned about the validity of his arguments at all. Either that, or it powerfully illustrates his massive inconsistencies in his argumentation. Frost cannot- logically- reject his Essays book based on his (false) claim that he employed a negative fallacy and then turn around and repeatedly employ a genuine negative fallacy when arguing against preterism! That is the very epitome of inconsistency.
Either way, Frost’s opening salvo in giving his reasons for rejecting what he wrote in his book Essays on the Resurrection, is clear evidence that his change was not based on solid exegesis or sound logic. And believe it or not, the rest of his Blog post is – if possible- even worse than this opening blunder. Stay tuned!
So, in keeping with Frost’s comment that he does not have to address everything in his book, but only the foundational comments, I have examined what he clearly believes to be the foundational error of which he was guilty. I have demonstrated the fallacy of his claim. I have proven that he still, very often, engages in the very logical fallacy that he rejects in his Blog article. I have shown that in the very article in which he condemns the use of a logical fallacy he employed a logical fallacy! Frost has effectively refuted his own “refutation” of his Essays book, in his opening salvo!
In the meantime, let me suggest that you order your own copy of Frost’s book from this website. Read it carefully and you will find that in the main, it is very solid, very sound, cogent and convincing. And that is a sharp, dramatic difference between that book and his “reasons” for now rejecting it.