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Preston/Bugg Debate 2007
Is prophecy for today? Or have all of the prophecies in the Bible been fulfilled already? Will God keep His promises to Israel? Or has He transferred all of those promises to the Church?
On May 1st-4th, I debated Don Preston (Eschatology.org) on Biblical eschatology in Memphis, TN. Don is a full preterist (which some would label "extreme preterism") who believes that all Biblical prophecy was fulfilled in or before 70 AD. I am of course a Messianic premillennialst who believes that we are rapidly moving into the End Times.
Don proved to be as cordial and as much a gentleman in person as he was via email and the phone, and I was very honored to have the opportunity to engage him. He was also a strong opponent, and I believe my own technique and style will benefit greatly from the lessons learned in this contest. It may also result in a few new articles being written for this website on the topic.
The two topics of this debate, both of which were covered for two nights, were:
On the first resolution, I was admittedly not at my best--I've never liked playing defense, and there's at least one argument that didn't occur to me until after the fact that I should have raised. However, I believe that I held my own in that contest, establishing from the prophecies of the Tanakh that one could neither take a prophetic promise given to a particular audience nor a pronouncement that judgment was "at hand" as proof that it must happen within a particular generation.
I was much stronger on the second resolution, separating the Kingdom of God (a technical term known to the rabbis which refers to the rule of God) from the promise of the Davidic Kingdom, establishing that "all Israel" in Romans 11:26 could only refer to the Jewish people, and demonstrating from the Feastdays that while Israel's promises may be put on hold because of her disobedience, one can only claim that they have been annulled or transferred to another body by claiming that Moses was a better intercessor than the Messiah (and that study will be posted to this website in the near future).
My thanks to all those who worked hard to make this debate possible. In particular, I'd like to thank William Bell, Bill Fangio, and Stephanie Good. I'd also like to thank Don's sister for the wonderful sticky buns she shared with us the last night, my friend and ministry partner Stephen Fisher for travelling with me, and all of those who came to see the debate, especially those who had questions for us afterwards.
The DVDs will be available as soon as we finish editing (and special thanks to Roy Hill of Roy's Video Service for covering the debate). I still have to pull my slides, currently organized by subject, into the order in which I used them for the debate so that they can be shown directly on the video, which I will be doing as soon as I receive the audio rip so that I can remember exactly what order I used them in. (My fault; I should have kept better track of what I used when.) When the DVDs are available, we plan to offer them both through this website and the congregational bookstore.
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