Sam Frost Misses the Point

Wow, it seems like your work is never done, and the number of people who have “advice” for you on this level or that level are never ending. I am absolutely tired of the political games that have gone on these last few days. I hate the fact that people in the church feel the need to do this rather than to pursue truth. On a slightly related topic, I did not see this, but Samuel Frost has written a full length response to me, and, more specifically, my paper Logic and Hyperpreterism, and the rhetoric is simply unbelievable. Not only that, he completely misses my point, and takes a few opportunities to take some cheap shots at some of my friends. This is incredibly childish, but it is how the article begins:

Dr. Talbot recently offered his support of Adam’s work against “hyperpreterism” and a link is provided to the Preterist Blog (which I no longer read, nor will never read again since it has sunk so low in credibility with me). Needless to say, we welcome such academic criticism from Adam in that he is a M.A. candidate for Semitic studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, which is well received within the scholarly world. My advice to Adam: if you want your site to be considered more credible, lose the link to Preterist Blog.

Wow, if the Preteristblog has absolutely no credibility, then why in the world did Sam Frost’s teacher Dr. Kenneth Talbot write for the Preterist Blog? Worse than that, if the Preterist Blog is such horrid scholarship, then why in heavens name did Dr. Kenneth Talbot offer Dee Dee Warren a full ride to Whitefield Theological Seminary? Again, I don’t understand the need to attack the friends of others when you are responding to someone.

Now, one argument that I have used against hyperpreterists has simply gone unanswered by Frost. He quotes what I wrote, and then gives his commentary:

Adam plays right into this consideration when he sums up particular exegesis: “Now, all of this requires understanding the logic of the text, and not necessarily the chronology of the text. Another example of this is in Isaiah 7:14 where the fulfillment is clearly intended to be for Isaiah’s day. Again, we must ask the hyperpreterist, “Was Isaiah 7:14 already fulfilled at the time of Daniel?” In terms of the fulfillment in the immediate context, yes.” Clearly, he is arguing for “progressive unfolding” of the revelation. It is fulfilled, it’s not fulfilled. It’s somewhat fulfilled, it’s somewhat not fulfilled. It’s a bit of a mess when one considers the chronoLOGY (logic of time) over and against the LOGic of the text. This sounds academic, but is it an answer? It is a complete and entire refutation of Preterism?

Of course, no one is trying to refute “preterism,” but, rather, hyperpreterism. When Sam Frost speaks of “Preterism,” from now on, unless the context suggests otherwise, read it as “hyperpreterism.” Of course, go through this text, and you will not find one single answer to this question that I posed with regards to Isaiah 7:14. That is rather funny when one considers:

It’s ironic for us, particularly the studies of Mike Grace and myself, who have been heavily criticized for utilizing linguistics and discourse analysis methodology! I use Discourse Analysis (Brown, Gillian and Yule, George, Cambridge Textbooks of Linguistics – Cambridge University Press, 1983) for my exegesis. We seek to find, first, what Yule and Brown call Frame-Theory reading. Charniak describes it as, “a process of fitting what one is told into the framework established by what one already knows” (DA, 239). In other words, we start with a presuppositional framework of Eschatology that ends with “this generation shall not pass until all these things are fulfilled.” It’s limited to A.D. 70. Can exegesis “fit” into the “slots” of the framework? Certainly.

Of course, Sam again misses the point. The whole point of dealing with discourse analysis is to show that a text like Isaiah 7:14 can have temporal indicators, but be in a logical context of building expectations that are then shattered. That is vital to what my professor, Dr. VanGemeren is arguing. The reason why I said that textlinguistics is so damaging to hyperpreterism is because of this very reason. One can see the way an author builds his argument, but not just on the level of Isaiah 7:14, but the whole way through several chapters of the book.

Sam Frost, and other hyperpreterists, have a view of language that is simply not flexable. Notice, according to them, time indicators and specific predictions are the only meanings that prophecy can have. They think that you can define meaning by just simply writing a sentence or a paragraph, not recognizing that meaning within language is almost, as one of my colleagues puts it, a tapestry. That is, there are many facits to meaning itself. Even phonetics can play a role in meaning, with things like onomatopoea. However, you also have grammar contributing aspects of the meaning of the text; you also have syntax contributing aspects of the meaning of the text; you also have semantics proper contributing meaning to the text, and, yes, one of my interests recently has been pragmatics, which can also contribute to the meaning of the text. Textlinguistics brings all of these things together to look at the text in much larger chunks, and thus, we are able to understand, for example, the waw haaippuk, over and against the waw disjunctive, and Dr. Averbeck has used it to understand the very difficult passage of Exodus 19. What is important here is that we are able to see how Isaiah is developing his argument on a much larger scale than just what is found in Isaiah 7:12-15.

Now, you would think that would all have to be answered. It makes a pretty clear cut case that prophecy can have a progressive understanding to it, and that this cannot be ruled out of Daniel 12:2. However, this just simply goes untouched by Sam Frost, and, instead, you have the following:

Another aspect of discourse analysis is one our opponents wished did not exist: time. In seminary, we call this a more fancier term: deictic context (DA, 50). Here we focus on the “spatiotemporality” of the original audience/author setting. This is the “local interpretation” of a given text. We do not read it supposing the Creeds or Tradition as correct. We read it (the Bible) as before the Creeds anCouncils were ever written (which the Bible was situated before the creeds and councils).d

VanGemeren does not do this. He assumes the Tradition (his Frame), and thus, reads the text as situated within the unfolding of Church History. When this is assumed, then one must, indeed, they are forced to elaborate on a hermeneutical maneuver that allows for fulfillment on one hand, and non-fulfillment on the other (like, the visible, bodily, return of Jesus, or the concept of the reunification of the casket-corpse with the soul). Since these things did not happen according to an empirico-theological understanding, then one must go beyond the text in order to make sense of non-fulfillment. It’s a grand meta-explanation for non-fulfillment. It’s the Deus ex machina of Traditional eschatology.

Again, we have shown clear justification for this outside of our frame, and we have done so by using the prophecies of the Old Testament, and we have shown why it is justified by using the very methodology Frost has said we do not use. By not addressing this argument, he has never touched what I wrote.

Not only that, anyone who has ever read hyperpreterist literature knows that hyperpreterists have their frame too. They will take some of the most amazing interpretations of scripture, all to shoehorn everything into 70AD. Hence, what is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.

Not only that, but go and read the article to which I was responding. Notice, Sam’s argument is that we are being *inconsistent* in Daniel 12:2. He will mention that in a second, but the issue of whether or not we hold to our beliefs is not the issue. He was arguing that our beliefs about Daniel 12:2 are *inconsistent.* Hence, what he is saying here is totally irrelevant. If we just simply state what I have stated, the whole thing becomes consistent. Now, Sam will ask, “how do you know it is true?” However, such questions are irrelevant. We were only talking about the *consistency* of our position.

Now, I think that one can argue that there is a very clear logical link between suffering and resurrection in the Bible, at almost every turn of the page. Every believer who will be with Christ for eternity will experience suffering. In fact, I even said as much in my post:

Yes, it is true that there is a link between Daniel 12:2 is, indeed, linked to verse 1 and verses 3-4. However, again, what is that relationship? Is it temporal, or is it logical? As anyone can see, the motif of suffering leading to glorification is something that is all over the text of scripture. What Daniel 12:2 is saying is that those who persevere in the great tribulations spoken of in this chapter can expect to participate in the resurrection of the dead. There is an intimate link that is, not temporal, but logical.

However, all of this has nothing to do with what he was arguing in his paper. He was arguing for inconsistency, not that there is something that has been left unjustified.

Also, one could now turn the tables on Frost, and ask him how he knows the link here is temporal. He never addresses that, but, again, assumes that he is the only one who is reading the text “objectively.”

So, for the argument, Adam quotes me as saying that Jay Adams was inconsistent to rip Da 12.2 from it’s context and claim non-fulfillment, but, has 12.1,3,4 as fulfilled in A.D. 70. His reasoning: Da is not “chronological” but “logical” based on a discourse analysis which, if Frost ever considered, would promote a progressive unfolding of God’s eschatological revelation in each generation up to where it really stops: the Second Coming (it’s got to stop somewhere! Somewhere in time, God’s progressing word has to stop progressing!). Because, possibly, if examples of God’s giving of a prophecy in the OT is shown to be not fulfilled, then we can, so it is argued, do this for all prophecy. By finding a few examples of non-fulfillment (if this can be done), or a few passages that offers a problem as to “when” it was fulfilled, or a few cloudy passages that should have been fulfilled in the time of the prophet, but weren’t, then we can take this scheme to all NT prophecies and make them cloudy, ambiguous, slightly unclear, and constantly progressing in such a way that, if I were to ask today what is God “fulfilling” right now, I would get a thousand different answers. But, that’s okay. As long as we know He is progressively fulfilling something that will lead up the Great Climax one day, we can continue to confidently strike down hyper-preterism as the joke that it is. As a Preterist, I would wish that such arguments like these continue to be offered. Time is not on their side. Will this be offered in the year 3000? 4,000? Or will some Christians, like the Preterists, start thinking, “you know what……I don’t think we are going anywhere. I think God has answered all the promises to Israel, saved the remnant of His People, and from that remnant, grew a new and mighty nation that would expand throughout the Genesis creation forever.” Just a thought.

To answer this, we simply need to note that no one believes that we should say that *all* New Testament prophecies are unfulfilled. I don’t know of anyone who agrees with that. Even premillenialists will have to admit that Jesus’ prophecy of the temple being destroyed has already happened. So, what is the point of this? Not only that, but we were dealing with Daniel 12:2. Why run off to the New Testament, when that was not the point of the article he wrote in the first place?

Not only that, who would care if it is another 3000 years? What is the point here? There have been many who have said that hyperpreterism is an overreaction to dispensationalism. Well, here it is in full color. Because all of the nonsense that the Jack Van Impe’s of the world throw out there has not come true, therefore no future prophecy at all will come true. What did Sam Frost just say about hasty generalizations? It is interesting that nowhere does Sam Frost ever answer the question. He never deals with how the time texts in Isaiah 7:14 relate to when Isaiah 7:14 happens. He says that he wishes these arguments would continue to be offered. However, he misunderstands my own critique, and mocks the approach of myself and my professor, all for what? A view that has an incredibly simplistic view of language, one that no linguist would ever accept.

These types of arguments are simply unbelievable. Why does Sam think that God has to return in our lifetime? Why does God have to return on our timetable? It sounds like we are making demands of God here. I sure do hope that is not what Sam Frost wants to do.


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