Progressive Justification and Full (Hyper) Preterism: Revisiting a “House Divided”
Progressive Justification and Full (Hyper) Preterism
Revisting a “House Divided”
By Sharon Nichols, January 29, 2011
On page 46 of House Divided, David Green wrote:
“Augustine was the first of the post-apostolic fathers to give a serious treatment of the doctrine of justification. But Augustine’s view of justification was not the Reformed view. Beginning in about AD396, Augustine taught that justification was an all-encompassing and progressive change both in a man’s status and in his nature. For Augustine, justification encompassed the entire Christian life, from initial justification at the time of baptism to the perfection of justification in the end of the world. Augustine taught that justification was the gradual restoration of every aspect of man to God’s original created order.”
“Augustine, in essence, conflated “regeneration” and “sanctification” into a processive and nature-changing concept of “justification.” What we today would call “regeneration, progressive sanctification, and consummated sanctification,” Augustine simply called “justification.” 9
Footnote 9. The current controversy in Reformed churches over “the new perspective on Paul” represents a return to the Augustinian, medieval, Catholic view that justification is progressive. Reformed futurists are having difficulty decisively answering the “progressive justification” argument of the “new perspectives.” [This is absolutely not true and he shows his ignorance of the controversy and the responses by the anti-new perspective respondants. -sn] This is because (full) preterism is the only answer. If the Parousia did not take place when the temple fell in AD70, as Scripture teaches, then the “new perspective” is correct when it says that justification has not yet been consummated. [He surely does not know his theology at all, nor does he understand Reformed theology which is telling. - sn]. If the Parousia has not yet happened, then the eschatological process of justification is still ongoing: … The Reformed doctrine of non-progressive and full “justification by faith alone” at the point of conversion is true only if the eschatological process of “corporate justification” has already been consummated. It was consummated in AD70. In formulating “sola fide,” the Reformers were unknowingly conforming their soteriology to their preterist presuppositions. Full preterism and the Reformed doctrine of justification cannot long exist without each other. [He says this but does not prove it by demonstration, thus we are to take Dave Green at his word? It only demonstrates wishful thinking! - sn]
“It is noteworthy that “justification” has been called the doctrinal center of the church’s system of theology. So essential to the gospel is the doctrine of justification that without it, there could be no church. 16 Yet Hill’s and Gentry’s (and our) Reformed view of justification was never taught or even conceived of anywhere in the post-apostolic church until the sixteenth century. “
Do you see what Green is doing? He affirms (by implication) that if the parousia did not take place in AD70 then justification would of necessity need to be progressive. He implies that the Reformed view on justification only works if one asserts the consummational fulfillment at AD70. If not, one must embrace the position of the Roman Catholic Church on progressive justification!
The Reformed believer rejects this ridiculous assertion. The Reformed doctrine on the work of our Lord’s redemption as fully consummated in Christ death, burial, and resurrection, which is the Gospel all within the context of AD30, not AD70. Green includes himself in the same Reformed group as Hill and Gentry, yet the elephant in the room is the timing of the parousia and tying it as a part of Redemption.
In order to have a truly comparative discussion with the full (hyper) preterist and the Reformed view of justification by faith alone, we must first have a proper understanding of what the Reformers taught about justification and sanctification in light of biblical text and Church Fathers as Dr. Talbot has already demonstrated from their own writings what they maintained concerning the doctrine of justification by faith. Green has “failed to launch” his demonstration by quoting the Fathers in support of his alleged assertions. Second, Green’s understanding of Reformed soteriology seriously lacks clarity and demonstrates an inability to engage in intellectual debate.
Green boldly asserts, “Full preterism and the Reformed doctrine of justification cannot long exist without each other.” In reality, Reformed theology cannot exist as historically defined if synthesized with Full Preterism. Dave you have already said that you were tweaking the doctrinal formula’s to make them work. In reality, you would have to completely reformulate the Reformed doctrine of salvation to make it work with your Full Preterism. But then, it would no longer the historic Reformed doctrine as taught by the Reformation. Your failure to understand demonstrates your inability to rationally understand the implication of your own statements!
Let Green’s words sink in: “If the Parousia has not yet happened, then the eschatological process of justification is still ongoing.” First, Green has introduced a new phrase “eschatological process of justification” and that should be defined since is it not a phrase that appears prior in his argument. Progressive justification is one thing, but eschatological process of justification means something else. Second, the Reformers did prove that you can have full consummation of the redemption of Christ without mandating it to be full consummated at the point of regeneration of the individual. This is where Green has to “tweak” (we call it pervert the historic doctrine). And just because Green makes such a fallacious statement does not mean it is correct. After all, who is Dave Green? Oh yes, Dorothy says that he will be proven to be one of the real scholars in the future over against those academically trained. Wishful thinking? I would say unrealistic dream!
So readers, do NOT let Green, or other supposedly Reformed full (hyper) preterist fool you into thinking they are truly Reformed in their views. They are neither Reformed nor scholarly. They are not orthodox, therefore they must be heterodox.
Note: I had some dialogue on this subject with Dave at SGP back in January 2010 (if I recall the dating correctly) but I can no longer find it. There is another related blog at PretBlog though, which you can find here: