Harold Eberle and Jonathan Welton or Pride and Poor Martin Luther…Two Book Reviews

Father-Son Theology review (from amazon.com)

If you have been waiting for a systematic theology tome (maybe tomb), which is based upon open theism, preterism, theistic evolution and humanism then this is for you. If you want to learn that people aren’t that bad and we may have come from apes then here is your foundational manual. The author tries so hard to prove how outside of the box his magnum opus is, that he forgets to actually focus on the Scriptures themselves. I wanted to return the book out of anger but am now using it to teach others what to avoid. One endorser of the book compared the author to Martin Luther and John Calvin. Parts of the charismatic church (and I am a charismatic) are in deep trouble. This is not a systematic theology. It’s a guidebook for false teachers. Endorsers of this book and those who further it’s influence are worshipping the mind of man over the revelation of God. Here is a quote from page 17, so you understand where the author is coming from.


“Instead of identifying my use of the Bible with either inerrancy or infallibility, I will use terminology that has recently become popular among Bible teachers who hold to the validity of Scriptures. I take the Bible seriously.”      

Beware.

Raptureless review (from amazon.com)

Here is a quote from the book Raptureless……

“The destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the priesthood is a major part of understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. To not understand the significance of the AD 70 destruction is to miss a major component of the redemption story. The destruction of Jerusalem is akin to the virgin birth, the cross, and the resurrection. I know that is a huge statement, but I believe it is absolutely true. Even though many Christians have not been taught about this event, it is still an essential component.”

Another statement that shows the root (pride) of the book is when the author compares Darby and Dispensationialism to Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, Joseph Smith and Mormonism, Charles Taze Russell and Jehovah Witnesses, and Swedenborg and Unitarianism. Very, very, sad.

The events of 70AD were an amazing fulfillment of a prophecy of our Lord. Amazingly accurate. It had nothing to do with the New Covenant or the Gospel. To say that it did borders on heresy. Just like Nebuchadnezzar destroying Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC during the time of bondage, Rome destroyed the Temple. God has always dealt with Israel based upon their connection to His centralized presence (whether it’s a tent of meeting or a temple). There was no need for a Temple anymore (yay) and His spirit had been poured out on all flesh. So what had happened before (at the hands of Babylon) happened again at the hands of Rome. That’s it. What does that have to do with the Gospel ? Nothing. My salvation is complete in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Period. If the Temple in Jerusalem STILL existed and sacrifices were STILL being offered, my salvation would STILL be complete. If anyone hints of adding anything to the Gospel (even if they do it ignorantly) it borders on heresy. Herod’s Temple did not contain the Ark of the Covenant, the Urim and Thummim, the holy fire, or the holy oil. Judgment fell on the Temple during the Babylonian captivity. The Matthew 24 prophecy about the destruction of the temple was an amazing  sign to Israel at that time, and proof of our Lord’s Office for future believers.

If you noticed, the common complaint against the book seems to be connected to the authors pride. If you go to his website, you will see that he refers to himself as an “iconoclast” and states that his teachings are as important to the modern Church as Martin Luthers were to the Church of the 16th Century.

One tool that preterists use is what I call “forcing the half truth”. When someone has the office of a teacher, claims to be a prophet, or writes a book and they are Christian – I don’t want them to “force the half truth”. It is lying. It is deceptive. This book is full of such lies and deceptions. Some people do it by ignorance. Some do it on purpose to sell books or found a ministry. Let me give you a few examples having to do with the book Raptureless.

The events of 70 AD are historical fact. The fulfillment of our Lords words are historically verified. Just because someone (whether a historian or preacher) states that Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled does not mean that they are a preterist. They may still believe in a millennial reign on earth of our Lord, or a coming Antichrist, or an apostasy. What Mr. Welton does is quote partially to prove his “optimistic or victorious” view.


Eusebius was a historian. Quoting him on the fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecy proves nothing.
Josephus was a historian. Quoting him on the fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecy proves nothing.


John Chrysostom. He quotes him about the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy but he’s not a preterist. Here is a quote from him which shows he didn’t share the “optimistic or victorious” viewpoint. He believed in an apostasy and an antichrist etc.., This is from his commentary on 2 Thessalonians.

Ver. 3, 4. “Let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, he that opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sits in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God.”

Here he discourses concerning the Antichrist, and reveals great mysteries. What is “the falling away?” He calls him Apostasy, as being about to destroy many, and make them fall away. So that if it were possible, He says, the very Elect should be offended. From Matthew 24:24 And he calls him “the man of sin.” For he shall do numberless mischiefs, and shall cause others to do them. But he calls him “the son of perdition,” because he is also to be destroyed. But who is he? Is it then Satan? By no means; but some man, that admits his fully working in him. For he is a man. “And exalts himself against all that is called God or is worshipped.” For he will not introduce idolatry, but will be a kind of opponent to God; he will abolish all the gods, and will order men to worship him instead of God, and he will be seated in the temple of God, not that in Jerusalem only, but also in every Church. “Setting himself forth,” he says; he does not say, saying it, but endeavoring to show it. For he will perform great works, and will show wonderful signs.


Welton says John Wesley believed in the “optimistic or victorious” eschatology. Wesley, in his notes on Matthew 24, speaks of the amazing fulfillment of our Lord’s words. Then he tells of what is still future. Wesley was not a preterist. Here is what he said about Matthew 24:29-

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days – Here our Lord begins to speak of his last coming. But he speaks not so much in the language of man as of God, with whom a thousand years are as one day, one moment. Many of the primitive Christians not observing this, thought he would come immediately, in the common sense of the word: a mistake which St. Paul labours to remove, in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.”

Charles Spurgeon ? Again not a preterist.  Here is what he actually thought concerning preterism in a book review of one of the important preterist works. Capitalization is mine.

“The second coming of Christ according to this volume had its fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem and the establishment of the gospel dispensation. That the parables and predictions of our Lord had a more direct and exclusive reference to that period than is generally supposed, we readily admit; but we were NOT PREPARED for the assignment of all references to a second coming in the New Testament, and even in the Apocalypse itself, to SO EARLY a fulfilment. All that could be said has been said in support of this theory, and much more than ought to have been said. In this the REASONING FAILS. In order to concentrate the whole prophecies of the Book of Revelation upon the period of the destruction of Jerusalem it was needful to assume this book to have been written prior to that event, although the earliest ecclesiastical historians agree that John was banished to the isle of Patmos, where the book was written, by Domitian, who reigned after Titus, by whom Jerusalem was destroyed. Apart from this consideration, the compression of all the Apocalyptic visions and prophecies into so narrow a space REQUIRES more INGENUITY and STRENGTH than that of MEN and ANGELS COMBINED. Too much stress is laid upon such phrases as ‘The time is at hand,’ ‘Behold I come quickly,’ whereas many prophecies of Scripture are delivered as present or past, as ‘unto us a child IS born,’ &c., and ‘Surely he HATH borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.’ Amidst the many comings of Christ spoken of in the New Testament that which is spoken of as a second, must, we think, be personal, and thus similar to the first; and such too must be the meaning of ‘his appearing.’ Though the author’s theory is carried too far, it has so much of truth in it, and throws so much new light upon obscure portions of the Scriptures, and is accompanied with so much critical research and close reasoning, that it can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all.”

Half truths pushed as truth. I will stop because it gets embarrassing.

In the book, Mr. Welton states that the “optimistic or victorious” viewpoint has been the view of the Church since it’s beginning. He says that the belief in an antichrist, an apostasy, and the 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ are modern inventions. I challenge you and anyone else to see if that is true.
Check out—–
Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho
Polycarp on the antichrist
Didache 16
Epistle of Barnabas 4:1-5
The Ascension of Isaiah
Iranaeus of Lyons
Cyprian
Valentinus
Nepos
Papias
Methodius
Hyppolytus
Lactantius and on and on.

None of them believed in an “optimistic or victorious” viewpoint. They all believed that the events of 70 AD happened. Some of them lived at that time. But they also all believed in a coming antichrist or an end times apostasy or the earthly 1,000 year reign of Christ.

The “optimistic or victorious” eschatological viewpoint sounds great. In fact it sounds so great that it couldn’t be wrong. Plus, Christian teachers or writers should be trusted right ? Many don’t investigate.

90% of people who defend books like Raptureless are just parroting.

All victory and optimism is found in the Cross. That’s what we glory in !!

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