Today marks the second anniversary of Berean Bible Church. And Rich and I thought it would be beneficial to share with you all exactly how this church came into being.
Rich and I, along with two other men were pastoring a local church in Virginia Beach. Another man and I were on staff as full-time pastors while Rich and one other man, who had full time jobs, shepherded with us.
Things were going very well at this church; we were growing and the finances were great. After many years of struggling, the church was really doing well. Then something happened that changed everything. In the early weeks of January, 1997 I received a phone call from an old friend that I had not seen or heard from for about ten years. Vince Mercer called me and as we talked he said, "Larry, tells me that you're a preterist." I responded, "Yes, I am." Then he asked me, "Do you take it all the way?" I asked him what he meant, and he said, "Do you believe that all prophecy has been fulfilled?" I said, "NO, of course not! What are you talking about?" So, he briefly shared with me the preterist view which taught that the Lord Jesus Christ had returned in AD 70 establishing the New Heaven and New Earth and bringing the resurrection and judgment. I thought he was mad! As I got off the phone with him I thought, "He must be nuts."
Up until that time I was a partial preterist, but I didn't know it because I didn't know that there was such a thing as a "full preterist." I had spent many years working on my eschatology and I felt that I had it all worked out. I had held to a preterist amill theology for about eight years. I believed that "most" of the book of Revelation had been fulfilled (up to chapter 20). I believed that the tribulation had happened in AD 70, and that the destruction of the Jewish temple was "a" coming of the Lord. I still looked for a future return of Christ to bring in the New Heavens and New Earth.
Although I was comfortable with my eschatology, I was still somewhat troubled with the end of the book of Revelation. I believed that Jesus had returned in judgment in AD 70; I saw this as "a" coming, not "the" coming. I believed this because of the TIME statements that said he would return "soon, quickly, shortly."
Revelation 1:1-3 (NKJV) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants; THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY TAKE PLACE. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for THE TIME IS NEAR.
The book of Revelation was written to seven churches in Asia Minor:
Revelation 1:4 (NKJV) John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
These were seven real church that existed in Asia Minor in the first century. To the church in Thyatira Jesus said:
Revelation 2:25 (NKJV) "But hold fast what you have TILL I COME.
Jesus told the believers in the church of Thyatira, in the first century, to "hold fast what you have till I come." If language means anything, that means that he would come in their lifetime.
Most commentators of Revelation violate the basic hermeneutical principle of audience relevance which seeks to discover what the original readers understood a passage to mean. The concern of the interpreter is to understand the grammar of a passage in light of the historical circumstances and context of the original audience.
In Revelation 1:1, John specifically states that the prophecies of Revelation would begin to take place in a very SHORT TIME. He emphasized this truth in a variety of ways through language. He carefully varies the manner of his expressions as if to avoid any potential confusion on the matter. The Greek word translated "shortly" in Revelation 1:1 is tachos. According to Arndt and Gingich Lexicon, tachos is used in the LXX and certain non-canonical writings to mean: "speed, quickness, swiftness, haste." John uses the same word in Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 22:6,7,12,20. John also uses the Greek word engus which is translated: "at hand" in Revelation 1:3 & 22:10. This term speaks of temporal nearness, and John uses it to bracket the book. The third Greek word is mello; it is translated: "about to" in Revelation 1:19 & 3:10. The phrase in 1:19, "the things which shall be hereafter" is literally: "the things which are about to occur," and in 3:10, "which shall come upon all the world" is literally: "is about to come upon the whole world." If we apply the principle of audience relevance, what would the original readers have thought when they read this? John strategically places these words at the introduction and conclusion of the book. John was telling the seven churches to expect these things at any moment.
So, based upon these time statement and many others, I believed that Jesus had come "in a sense" in AD 70. The thing that troubled me was that the book of Revelation ended with the same time statements that it began with.
Revelation 22:6-7 (NKJV) Then he said to me, "These words are faithful and true." And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants THE THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY TAKE PLACE. 7 "Behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Revelation 22:10 (NKJV) And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for THE TIME IS AT HAND.
Revelation 22:12 (NKJV) "And behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
Revelation 22:20 (NKJV) He who testifies to these things says, "SURELY I AM COMING QUICKLY." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Five times in the last 16 verses he tells the seven churches in Asia Minor that he is going to come very soon. This troubled me but I had no solution because I didn't know of anyone who thought the second coming had already occurred. I had never heard of the idea, that is until the beginning part of January.
The very same week that Vince called me and told me about the full preterist view I received an e-mail from a man that I did not know questioning me on my teaching on Revelation. The church had a web sight up with the messages on it that I had taught on Revelation. He asked me if I could defend my "partial preterism" against "full preterism?" I wrote back and told him that I had never even heard of "full preterism" until a few days earlier. I told him that I would study the subject and get back to him.
A couple of weeks previous to this, Rich and I were talking and I said that I had come to the place were I felt I had my theology pretty much worked out. My theological grid was intact. Then a few weeks later, two men contact me "out of the blue" confronting me with "full preterism." Something inside of me knew that what these men were telling me was true, but I did not want to believe it. I knew it would be a very costly theological move.
Vince had come by my house when I wasn't home and dropped off two books for me to read. Had Cathy known what those books would lead to, she would have burned them. The books sat on my desk for about two weeks. I was afraid to read them. I was afraid it was true. I finally decided that the truth was something I wanted to know, whatever it was and whatever it cost me. I began to read the books, and as I did I was convinced that it was true. The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ had happened in AD 70. I rejoiced to learn the truth of Christ's second coming, but it also scared me. I knew that this would be a costly paradigm shift.
After a couple of weeks of study and meditation, I reluctantly brought it up to Rich. He looked at me as if I had lost my mind. But after several weeks of thinking about it and studying it, Rich was seeing the same things I was.
A few weeks later, we were having dinner at my sister's house and my Mother said to me, "I read these verses today-- what do you think they mean?" The verses she was referring to were:
Matthew 16:27-28 (NKJV) "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
I read the verses in amazement, my Mother had never asked me to explain a passage to her before. I looked at her and said, "I think they mean exactly what they say. I think that Jesus came back in the first century just like he told these disciples that he would."
I was teaching through the book of 1 Corinthians at the time and was in chapter 14. I couldn't teach chapter 15 which was all about the resurrection because I no longer knew what I believed. I announced to the church that we would take a break from Corinthians while I tried to work out some problems I was having with chapter 15.
In an elders meeting on February 11, 1997, I asked if I could have a month's sabbatical to study through a doctrinal issue that I was struggling with. The elders wanted to know what the issues were. So, I told them I was examining the preterist view of eschatology and found it to be more in line with Scripture than any other eschatological system. After a brief discussion, I told them that I would order Russell's book, "The Parousia" so we could all study it together.
The books came in and I gave each elder one. After having several weeks to read the book, the eldership was divided on the issue. Rich and I saw the preterist view to be correct and the others did not. We really never discussed or debated the preterist view among us. The other elders said that preterism was a departure from the church's doctrinal statement. In a very short time, it looked as if we had come to an impasse. I tried to get them to show me from the Bible where I was wrong, but they didn't want to debate the scriptures. As elders, we had always debated the issues that came up, but this time there was no debating.
Rich suggested that as elders, we modify the doctrinal statement to allow for both views of eschatology. They flatly refused with no debate. A legal team from the American Family Association agreed to come in and arbitrate to see if we could work it out, but there was no common ground. They said they did not see the preterist view as heresy, but they did not think we could work together. They wanted us to stop studying the possibility of preterism, but we couldn't agree to that.
The elders imposed a gag rule and we were not to talk to anyone about preterism. We could not debate it with the elders or talk about it with anyone. They offered two options: Renounce our new understanding and refuse to study preterism or leave our eldership and membership of that church.
At that point, we had the option of going public with our beliefs. After all, 50% of the elder board now believed that preterism was probably true . We were torn also by the fact that the flock deserved to hear the truth. However, we felt this would be a harmful fight. Many of the weaker believers might be stumbled with such open debate amongst the elders.
After much discussion and prayer among ourselves, Rich and I decided that the best thing we could do was resign. If we stayed, it would only turn into strife and division. So, rather than cause division, we decided to leave.
As elders, we chose the date of April 20 to turn in our resignations. In the weeks prior to that all the elders worked out the details of us leaving and starting another church. We agreed to support and affirm each other's ministry. We agreed to help each other financially, if necessary. We divided up sound equipment and communion supplies, chairs, and music stands. We worked out all the details in a very amiable way.
They agreed to let us use the church building on Sunday evenings for two months to start a new church. I certainly did not like the idea of starting over at 43, but I was very happy about the conditions of the separation. At the final elder meeting before we resigned, we all held hands and prayed and cried together.
On April 20 at the 11:00 service, all the elders came up front and we told the people that because of theological differences, Rich and I felt it was best to resign. The other elders did not want us to even tell the people what the theological issues were. We just told them it had to do with the nature and timing of the second coming of Christ. Rich and I read our resignations and we closed the service.
That's when it hit the fan! The two men who had agreed to support and encourage us had now turned against us. We were now called heretics. There were several special meetings called in which the people were told NOT TO SPEAK TO US. They were told that we were heretics and were to be avoided. Nobody really knew what we believed because we were not allowed to tell them. The deacons called everyone in the church and told them to avoid us. They told people that we didn't even believe that the Bible was applicable anymore.
A deacon told a woman that she should not speak to me because, "I was so persuasive that I could convince him to stand barefoot in the snow." If I'm so persuasive and convincing, why did I have to resign? We walked away from that church as quietly and peacefully as possible. We sent a letter to our former flock to tell them about the service times for Berean Bible Church. The only people that we talked to were the ones that called us to hear our side of the story.
Dora called me the next week and said that she was told by the elders not to talk to me. She said to me, "You have been my pastor too long for me not to hear what you have to say about this." I told her what I had seen in the Scripture about the second coming of Christ. She said, "Oh, it makes sense now, that clears up some of the questions I had with the teaching of Christ is second coming." She said, "What I had studied all these years began to fall together like a puzzle in my mind with just the few scriptures you shared, and I was so EXCITED." Then she said, "That's it? What is wrong with that? It makes perfect sense in my mind from what I have studied to this point. And it makes me sad that someone out there would actually try to keep me from hearing truth, and I know of others who are yielding to that instruction."
The families who weren't afraid to talk to us were forced to do a lot of studying to see if what Rich and I had seen was true. I thank God for those of you who were willing to search the scriptures and see if these things were so.
The negative feedback that we received surprised us. I was told by a man that God killed David Chilton for believing this doctrine so I had better watch out. I received hate mail from folks who really didn't understand what we believed, but were told we had left the faith.
I think I can honestly say that for Cathy and I it was the worst week of our lives. I was trying to be true to what I thought the Scripture taught, and was being persecuted for it.
Let me just say here that we didn't resign over eschatology, we resigned over the reformation principle of "Sola Scriptura!" The Scripture alone. It doesn't matter what men's doctrinal statements say, or what Church tradition says, what needs to be the guiding principle of our lives is: What does the Scripture say? The Bible alone is inspired and if what it says goes against what man says, we must stick with the Scriptures, no matter what it cost us.
We were accused of being proud because we saw something in Scripture that no one else had seen. Plenty of men had seen it, but the traditions of men are not easily changed.
They mounted a very effective fear campaign against us. They explained that Satan had overcome Rich and I, causing us to believe and teach error. Furthermore, the doctrine was so pernicious that anyone else could also be easily tricked by Satan. They had people convinced that if they even listened to us, they would be sucked into the abyss.
One lady set out to prove me wrong, and as she studied using the Bible and the works of Josephus, she came to see that the Lord had in fact returned in AD 70. The elders of the other church talked to her and tried to dissuade her. They told her to stop reading preterist materials. When she told them she had seen the truth of preterism in the Scriptures, they forbade her from reading the Bible! They told this lady that she was not to read her Bible, and they said that WE were dangerous? We were encouraging people to study their Bibles and they were literally afraid of the Scriptures.
Listen to what John Calvin said, he said this about the doctrine of predestination but it would apply to preterism. "The Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit in which, as nothing is omitted that is both necessary and useful to know, so nothing is taught but what is expedient to know. Therefore we must guard against depriving believers of anything disclosed about predestination in Scripture, lest we seem either wickedly to defraud them of the blessing of their God or to accuse and scoff at the Holy Spirit for having published what it is in any way profitable to suppress." Calvin goes on to say, "but for those who are so cautious or fearful that they desire to bury predestination in order not to disturb weak souls -- with what color will they cloak their arrogance when they accuse God indirectly of stupid thoughtlessness, as if he had not foreseen the peril that they feel they have wisely met? Whoever, then, heaps odium upon the doctrine of predestination openly reproaches God, as if he had unadvisedly let slip something hurtful to the church."
Since preterism is taught in the Bible, how can we be afraid of it? We believe that the Bible is the Word of the Living God. Our doctrinal statement reads: "All the scripture is verbally inspired as originally written and therefore is infallible and inerrant. (II Timothy 3:16, 17; II Peter 1:21; Matthew 5:18; I Corinthians 2:13) The Bible is the very Word of God. We cannot accept the misleading statement: "The Bible contains the Word of God".
If we believe the Bible is God's word, why can't we believe what it says? Why do we hold the traditions of the church over the Word of God? The Lord clearly told his disciples and us WHEN he would return:
Matthew 16:27-28 (NKJV) "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
Verse 27 clearly speaks of the second coming, He comes with the angels to reward every man. Look at the next verse. "I say to YOU, there are some standing HERE who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." Who are the "YOU" of this verse? Verse 24 tells us that Jesus is speaking to his disciples. So, Jesus is saying to his disciples who were standing there that some of them would still be alive when He returned in the second coming.
Now some say he is talking about the transfiguration of Matthew 17:2, but that is only six days later and none of them had died in that six day period. Did he come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and reward each according to his works at the transfiguration? Of course not! How about Pentecost? No, that was only two months later and they were all still alive except Judas.
What are the possible explanations to this verse? I see only three: 1. There are still some of the disciples alive today. 2. Jesus was confused or lying. 3. Jesus actually did what he said and came in the lifetime of his disciples. This is really our only sensible choice This seems like the simple and clear answer that holds to the inspiration of Scripture. Jesus did what he said he would do. Jesus also said:
Matthew 24:34 (NKJV) "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
Jesus, here, very plainly and very clearly, tells His disciples that ALL of the things He had mentioned would come to pass in THEIR GENERATION. If you study the context, you will see that this includes the gospel being preached in all the world, the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation, and the Second Coming of Christ. This is so clear that it greatly troubles those who hold to a futuristic eschatology. In his essay “The World’s Last Night” C.S. Lewis talking about Matthew 24:34, quotes an objector as saying:
“The apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, 'This generation shall not pass till all these things be done.' And He was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else."
Then Lewis says, “This is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement ‘But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grow side by side.” (Essay"The World's Last Night"(1960), found in The Essential C.S. Lewis, p. 385)
So Lewis says that what Jesus said about “this generation” is embarrassing, and calls it an “error”. Was Jesus wrong? I can't accept that, can you? Fortunately, Christ did keep His promise to come within the first-century generation. Christ's Second Coming occurred spiritually -- the way He intended it -- at the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem. This highly verified historical event signified that sin finally had been atoned forever and that all Christians, from generation to generation, could live eternally -- on earth and in heaven -- without separation from God.
Because of his physical view of the nature of the Second coming, Lewis felt that it hadn't happened yet, and therefore Jesus had been wrong. That would be, in fact, much more than embarrassing, it would be devastating to the credibility of Jesus. If Jesus was wrong, as Lewis says he was, what else might he have been wrong about? Will those who believe in Him truly have everlasting life? Jesus wasn't wrong, Lewis was the one who was wrong. We can count on the truthfulness of what Jesus tells us. Aren't you glad of that?
Most commentators see a generation as referring to about a forty year time span. More important then that, what does the Bible say about the time of a generation? Let's look and see.
Matthew 1:17 (NKJV) So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
In this genealogical table, we have data to estimate the length of a generation. It tells us that from the captivity in Babylon until Christ, are fourteen generations. Now the date of the captivity, in the reign of Zedekiah, is said to be 586 BC. From 586 BC until the birth of Christ would be about 586 years which, divided by fourteen, makes the average length of a generation about 41 years.
Some have tried to twist the etymology of the word "generation" in Matthew 24:34 to make it mean "race,"and try to make Jesus say that all these things would happen before the "race" of Jews had passed away. By doing this, they think they can expand the time of the second coming by thousands of years. There is no biblical or linguistic justification for such a position. Generation does NOT mean race!
The following quote by David Chilton is very informative:
Some have sought to get around the force of this text by saying that the word generation here really means race, and that Jesus was simply saying that the Jewish race would not die out until all these things took place. Is that true? I challenge you: Get out your concordance and look up every New Testament occurrence of the word generation (in Greek, genea) and see if it ever means 'race' in any other context. Here are all the references for the Gospels: Matthew 1:17; 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36; 24:34; Mark 8:12, 38; 9:19; 13:30; Luke 1:48, 50; 7:31; 9:41; 11:29, 30, 31, 32, 50, 51;18:8; 17:25; 21:32. Not one of these references is speaking of the entire Jewish race over thousands of years; all use the word in its normal sense of the sum total of those living at the same time. It always refers to contemporaries. In fact, those who say it means 'race' tend to acknowledge this fact, but explain that the word suddenly changes its meaning when Jesus uses it in Matthew 24!
What Jesus meant by all those things happening in that generation, including the parousia of Christ, was that they would all happen while some of those folks to whom He preached, were still alive, just as he said they would be, in Matthew 16:27-28.
The church teaches that Jesus' coming is yet future, but I don't think that is what the Bible teaches. Our responsibility is to study the Bible and learn what it says, not to blindly follow church tradition.
I believe that Paul's exhortation to Timothy applies to us as well:
2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Anyone who misrepresents, misinterprets, or detracts from God's Word has cause to be ashamed. This verse tells us how to avoid being ashamed, and how to be approved. The KJV says to "study." The NKJV says, "be diligent," the Greek word is spoudazo . It is a word used of a workman meaning to endeavor or exert oneself. It is a call for maximum effort. We are to apply maximum effort to "present yourself approved to God." The word "present," is the Greek word paristemi, it means: "to stand beside." You want to be able to stand alongside God as approved. Approved is the Greek word dokimos. It means: "one who has been put to the test and measures up, thus winning the approval of the one testing him, who is God." His goal is not to please men, but God.
The word "worker" is the Greek word ergates. It means: "a laborer, toiler." It pictures a hard worker making every effort to stand approved before God. Now how is it that we are to show ourselves approved to God? It is by "rightly dividing the word of truth." This is the heart of it all. The work of God's laborer, the thing that he makes every effort in order to stand approved before God, is in his handling correctly the Word of God .
This was the one desire of Rich and me, to stand before God approved, rightly dividing the word of truth. We saw that what was taught in the Scriptures went against what was being taught in the church. Martin Luther is reported to have said at the Diet of Worms, "I ask for Scriptures and Eck offers me the Fathers. I ask for the Sun, and he shows me his lanterns. I ask, 'where is your Scriptural proof?' And he adduces Ambrose and Cyril. With all due respect to the father, I prefer the authority of the Scriptures."
This is why Berean Bible Church was started, we prefer the authority of the Scriptures. If Jesus lied to us about the time of his return, then he is a liar and not the Lord and we are all dead in our sins. Our cry needs to be the same as that of the reformers, "Sola Scriptura!" The Scriptures alone.
So, BBC was born, we started with nine families, two singles and two widows. All people who were willing to be ridiculed and persecuted in order to hold to God's Word over tradition. Words can never express how much I appreciate your willingness to search the Scriptures and hold to the truth, no matter what it costs.
I think that the persecution we have received has made us a close group. God uses the suffering in our lives to educate us for better service and better living. Prosperity has a way of making us feel self-satisfied and independent, while problems often make us more aware of our need for the Lord. Here is a great passage for us to cling to:
Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The persecuted are blessed, not cursed. Jesus says we are to rejoice when we suffer! There is a connection in the New Testament between suffering and joy. That may seem like a contradiction, but that is what the Scriptures teach. When we are persecuted, we are to rejoice.
We have been persecuted, slandered, shunned, and attacked for our beliefs. What should our response be? Let me remind you that we are not just preterists, we are reformed preterists. Knowing that whatever happens in time, is but the outworking of what God has planned from eternity. Look with me at Genesis 45 and I'll show you what our attitude should be.
This is the story of Joseph. He was sold by his brothers into slavery, they hated him. He became the slave of an Egyptian captain of Pharaoh's guard. This Egyptian's wife tried to seduce Joseph and when Joseph refused her advancements, she was infuriated and accused him of trying to rape her. Joseph was then put in prison. While in prison, he interpreted some dreams of Pharaoh and was brought out of prison and promoted to the number two man in all of Egypt. Notice carefully what Joseph says to his brothers who hated him and sold him into slavery:
Genesis 45:4-8 (NKJV) And Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come near to me." So they came near. Then he said: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 "But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
His brothers hated him and sold him into slavery, but Joseph said, "God sent me here." Joseph understood the sovereignty of God.
6 "For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 "And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 "So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
God was sovereignly working through Joseph's brother's sin to put him in a place where he could save their lives. Three times Joseph says, "God sent me here."
Genesis 50:20 (NKJV) "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
God was sovereignly using their sin to bring about his plan. The same is true in our situation. All we have gone through, God has meant it for our good. And I think that much good has come from it. You already are aware of many of the positive things that are happening at Berean Bible Church. We have more than doubled in size since we started. People are getting saved, as we preach the gospel. We modified our services to allow deeper expositional teaching in one service and more practical exhortation in another. Those of us here have been encouraged and strengthened as we have studied God's Word together.
However, what you may not know is that through our tape ministry and web sight, we have literally reached around the world with the truth of preterism. Let me share with you some of the e-mail I have received recently:
A pastor writes:
"I have immensely enjoyed your WEB site. Thank you for providing the teaching. I am the pastor of two churches, one of which runs over 1,000 people. In our four year history, we have been classified as typical "pentecostal/charismatic."
I am searching the Scriptures at the present time on the subject of eschatology, and am finding that much of what I was "taught" as a child and as a seminary student is not supported in Scripture. I have enjoyed reading your teachings on the Preterist view of eschatology. Thanks again from a brother on the same path."
Another pastor writes:
"Dear David, I am a Anglican Vicar in England who is slowly coming to believe in the full preterist position. I have found your web site very helpful."
Another man writes:
"Hi David! my name is Johan and I live in Sweden. I was reading the message preached by you on December 7, 1997. It was about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, 70 A.D. It was very interesting! I´ve begun to study this a lot and I want to know more about this, about the end time, about the millennium (Rev 20:1-6).In the end of the message I read you was saying that: "we´ll begin to look at Jesus' answer next week." Is it possible to get a copy of "next week's message"? I hope so."
A man writes from Las Vegas, Nevada:
"I just wanted to write a few lines to introduce myself and tell you how encouraging your tapes have been to me, my family, my friend and his family.
Last month, I decided to find some teaching tapes, when I decided that I wanted to hear your intro to the Preterist view tape. I had skimmed over some of your articles and thought "why not?". Well, I got the Matthew 24 series and we have decided to listen to those on Sundays, and I am not sure it will stop after that. It is simply a joy to hear another 'live' voice espouse something that we are convinced is truth!!
So, anyway, I simply wanted to say, 'thanks' for being out there. We are beginning to feel close to you guys, even though we are thousands of miles away."
A young lady writes:
Mr. Curtis, Due to our Preterist beliefs (among other things), we have not been able to find a church to attend, because we do not agree with the main doctrinal points that are held, and so, we "homechurch" with another Preterist family. We have been doing this for several years now, although we have only become Preterists within the last 2 years or so.
The reason I am writing is because the family that we meet with recently ordered some tapes of your messages from the B.B.C., and we have listened to some of them the last couple of Sundays for our "church service." I cannot tell you how refreshing it has been to hear the Bible taught from the Preterist viewpoint...it has really been quite a blessing and an encouragement to me. So I just wanted to let you know how wonderful it has been for me, and for the others in our group, to hear them. We are all quite excited to FINALLY have some preaching from the Preterist perspective. I am now in the process of trying to convince everyone that we need to move to Virginia so we can go to the B.B.C. :-)"
A lady from the Florida Keys writes:
We are planning to start a Reformed Preterist Fellowship the 2nd Sunday in May. It will be out of our home (my parents and I...I'm only 21, BTW). We plan on using David Curtis' Sermons (if that is alright with you, Pastor Curtis - they are excellent). We are going to start by asking family and friends. It will be a good opportunity to start telling this "Good News" to people."
It has been two years now since BBC began, and much has happened. It was a painful beginning but well worth it. I am excited about the future of this ministry. We need to all work together to uphold the truths of God's living Word. I think that we are in the beginning stages of a prophecy reformation. Let's boldly proclaim the truths of our Lord's Presence!
As you consider sharing preterism with others, keep in mind the words of Calvin: "The Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit in which, as nothing is omitted that is both necessary and useful to know, so nothing is taught but what is expedient to know."