I hesitate to even write this brief article, but as the only responder to my lengthy piece "Replacing ‘Replacement Theology‘" so far, this guy deserves mention—if for nothing else than that he is prompt in responding. I am very interested in furthering this discussion, which is why I wrote to begin with, and a guy with a blog subtly titled "Anti-Preterist’s Blog" is all I can get, I’ll have to at least look at it for now.
To begin with Let me caution the reader: don’t expect to find much earnest interaction from this blog. Being one of the original ones I quoted, the one warned about the "dangerous and subversive" doctrine of "Replacement," the one who also called out the "fascistic tendencies of many Preterists, who secretly espouse a form of Dominion Theology" who "join hands with unbelievers in an attempt to halt God’s purposes," you can bet that I and my ilk are in for a real dragging through the coals before you even read it.
First of all, my critic titles his post "Joel McDurmon’s Sleight-of-Hand Trick," which is provocative enough (which I don’t mind), but it is unclear to me where he says exactly what my sleight-of-hand trick consists of. If I were hiding something, he should say so. He doesn’t say what he thinks I’m concealing.
My critic accuses me as "generally unwilling to get into theological definitions." Aside from the fact that I state very clearly what I understand by "Replacement Theology"—"that the Church has so replaced Israel that modern Jews are cast aside by God as unwanted, unwelcome, and unsalvable"—and I explain in no uncertain terms why I think this appellative is faulty. The main reason is that it applies to no one to whom it has heretofore been placed upon. I find it quite ironic that while criticizing me for lack of definitions my critic also gets upset that I quote the Westminster Larger Catechism. He calls this a "second-rate stunt." But the WLC, being part of the Westminster Standards is by nature a defining document, so why is he so cranky? The WLC is a definition of what its adherents believe the Scripture teaches. Besides, I did not quote the WLC in order to prove "replacement theology is true," but rather to prove that Reformed theologians do not believe in this hob-goblin called "Replacement theology." It appears that what my critic really means is that I am unwilling to get into theological definitions that he likes. I’m sorry.
Perhaps my critic will take issue with my definition in some way. I would find this hard to believe since he has given essentially the same definition. According to him, Replacement Theology "is the view that in A.D. 70, at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies, God’s covenant nation of Israel was superseded by the Christian church. According to Preterists, Israel is no longer part of the divine plan." If this is presented as what most preterists and/or Reformed theologians believe, it is patently false. We do not believe in the casting off of "Israel" (which my critic himself never clearly defines, but by which he most likely refers to the small modern State of Israel and the physical Jewish people in it), rather, we believe that Israel is now something larger and more glorious than it ever was or could have been before. "Israel" now includes all races and the "land" is no longer limited by the Euphrates and the Mediterranean—it includes the uttermost parts of the earth. Again: not replacement but expansion.
My critic condemns me for not citing Scripture, saying that I obviously do not "feel the Scriptures are necessary." I’m glad he has access to my feelings. He surely, then, must have also anticipated what it would feel like for me to slandered and misrepresented. Of course, his post has a few Scripture references (no exegesis), but only in three out of twelve paragraphs. Does this mean we should ignore the other nine? Did he "feel the Scriptures are unnecessary" for the other nine he wrote? Would he have been impressed and accepted my position if I had included a hundred citations? Of course not. He would then have accused me of improperly citing Scripture. It should be clear that the old "no Scripture citations" argument is a cheap rhetorical trick which only carries weight among the hard-headed and the already-decided.
Besides, my critic shows a little trickiness with his own use of Scripture. As an argument against the phantom Replacement Theology, he claims that though national Israel currently resides in unbelief, "their healing will come at Christ’s second advent, when all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26-27; cf. Isaiah 59: 20-21)." Second advent? Please point out for me, in either of these passages quoted, exactly where it refers to a second advent. This is not faithful Scripture citation; it is an imposition of dispensational theology onto the Scriptures. So "Scripture citation" is not always as great as some people make it out to be. It can, in fact, be used subversively.
Nevertheless, my critic moves from my simply not citing Scripture to the claim that I am therefore "Lacking sound Biblical proof." This is a logical fallacy pure and simple: "Doesn’t show any," simply will not translate to "Doesn’t have any." This would be akin to believing that since the pitcher has delivered a curve-ball, therefore he doesn’t have a 100mph fast-ball coming next. My critic takes the same swing anyway-and strikes out.
My critic thinks I have "misrepresented" my position as well as Gary DeMar’s, because I quoted the WLC as proof that we do not believe in Replacement. He argues that the WLC also implies that the fullness of the gentiles has yet to come in, whereas Gary believes this was fulfilled in AD 70. This, we are informed, Joel McDurmon "forgets" and "neglects" to tell you! (exclamation point his). Be assured that the WLC’s view of the "fullness of the gentiles" is not necessary in order to accept the WLC’s position that physical Jews—Paul’s "kinsmen according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:3)—are not cast off by God and that "Israel" is not limited to a remnant of Abraham’s DNA. If the WLC was maintaining such a perpetual partition between physical Israel and the Church, it would simply be the nomenclature under which both were able to be saved by the same method and the same Savior, not that "Israel" was being specially preserved in the Fertile Crescent until the Church is raptured and some future time-clock of prophetic events unleashes Israel’s destruction (misnamed by dispys as "restoration").
The confounding of the "fullness of the Gentiles" with "the 2000-year Church age before the Jews are restored" is not found in Scripture. When Paul says that "a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in" (Rom. 11:25), he does not refer to a far future gathering after a Church age 2000 years down the line. (And it is neither clear nor necessary that this is what the WLC intends.) If, as my critic agrees, Romans was written around AD 58, it makes perfect sense to accept the "fullness of the Gentiles" as the end of the "seventy-week" captivity of the Jews by Gentiles which, as Daniel prophesies, began under Babylon and ended with Rome sacking the temple in AD 70 (still future to Paul and his audience). Luke confirms this as he put "the times of the Gentiles" within the context of the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24), which we know happened in AD 70. Perhaps this is too clear, too logical, makes too much sense, is not sensational enough, and is not dramatic enough to supply a twelve-volume novel series for my dispensational critic to believe. If believing this means, as my critic charges, that I "parrot the Preterist party-line," well then, give me a cracker. It’s a sweet tune.
Furthermore, my critic exaggerates his case by mentioning "Gary DeMar’s erroneous and heretical teaching that Jesus Christ’s second advent occurred in A.D. 70." As far as I know, and after checking with Gary, he never uses the phrase "the second advent" to refer to the judgment coming of Christ in AD 70, nor would he. He has never confounded the final coming of Christ (as expressed in the Scriptures and creeds) with the preterist argument of Christ’s "coming" in AD 70. My critic is imposing another false claim upon us and should take the responsibility to apologize.
Nevertheless, I have so far only presented for you the tame parts of my critic’s post. He has filled his list with such ad hominem against me personally (by name), American Vision, preterists in general, and Gary DeMar that I wonder if he even considers us brothers in Christ. Actually, I don’t wonder. Labels like "heretical" and "anti-Christian" clearly consign us to eternal flame if we don’t repent soon. My theology is "rotten to the core." I rely on a "grim repertory of rationalistic and heterodox materials" and have fueled "the Anti-Christian cult known as ‘Hyper-Preterism.‘" Our teachings have "nothing to do with the Reformation, but are opposed to evangelical Christianity." Gary and I are in fact launching "the fiery darts that Satan has used at various times to vex the church." With Gary DeMar’s résumé for the position of Man-of-Sin already submitted, it appears that my future is doomed as I "ride DeMar’s coat-tails."
My entire three-part article on "Replacement" was designed to ask for one thing: to be represented accurately. It appears that my critic has so far refused us this charity (which in reality is a duty). I don’t know what the hopes of furthering the conversation are if this continues. My critic suggests that I contact him personally (this he writes from blog site with no contact info anywhere, and he offers none in the post). He asks that I debate him publically on the issue, but suggests that I might find this "too close for comfort." Well, name the time and place, and maybe we can go from there. In fact, since he has no qualms about naming me in public, perhaps he would like to start by naming himself.
 The post, for those interested, is found at http://antipreterist.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/joel-mcdurmons-sleight-of-hand-trick/, accessed December 4, 2008.