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Category: Dr Denis says

Dr's Denis and Marti O'Callaghan

by Dr. Denis and Marti O' Callaghan



I had originally made a chart whose main purpose was to convey where eschatological (simplistically defined as concerning the summation of Biblical Prophecy) schemas (frameworks) overlap. The problem with this chart is that it doesn't convey the disparity between the different POV regarding Future (or Past), just where they have overlapping features. So here’s the chart for reference sake. So here's a link to the chart that has absolutely nothing to do with the defining of the terms below.

Now the immediate problem (if you click the link) is that the chart makes you think that Historicism means Preterism or Dispensationalism means Futurism and vice versa…but that’s not the case. Preterism during specific points of time can be very Historicist (but Historicists almost always take issue with the Preterist view of the events in the Olivet Discourse, the book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation) likewise Dispensationalists are Futurists but many Futurists will take issue with Dispensationalism’s take on the events occurring in the now (or in the past) and question many dispensational interpretations.

The thing we have to realize is that the reason there’s so much overlap is because they rely on the same passages and same history. They all base their eschatological interpretations on the Olivet Discourse, the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation and from there are influenced by John’s Gospel or Galatians 3 or Romans 11 and further confirmed (or denied) by what happened in history.

Historicism says the events happening now in the history of the church (in regards to apostasy, false teaching and anyone taking the place of honor in the center of worship) are the events spoken of in those key passages. For example Luther would say "The Pope IS the anti-Christ" and have no qualms about it while relying on the same text. This sort of thing happened throughout the history of the Church but usually there was some qualifier that left enough camps able to say “Okay, these events might not be referring to The Actual Events in Scripture”. Usually, but not always.

Preterism is not Historicism except in this context: that it looks back and says the events spoken of in Daniel and Revelation (depending on which Preterist camp) happened in history of the church but in a specific time frame: 70 A.D. Preterismis broken into three schools: Classic, Modern and Full (or how Modern’s pejoratively describe it “Hyper”).

Classic Preterism sees the events in 70 A.D. as A Time of Trouble but not The Time of Trouble. They're Futurist in that respect (I’ll explain what Futurism is in a second). They would say that there’s things that will actually Come To Be (a future fulfillment of prophecy) whereas the events that have happened are a type of the events that will Come To Be. So 70 A.D is a type for something that will happen in the Future.

Modern Preterists see most of prophecy being actually fulfilled in 70A.D. but some major events (return of Christ, resurrection of the dead, summation of all things in Christ) occurring later in the Future--so they're also partial Futurists.

Full (or Hyper Preterists) see complete fulfillment of all eschatological events occurring at the destruction of the Jewish Temple at 70 A.D.

Futurists are the group concerned with the eschatological events occurring in the future. They’re broken up into a couple of schools as well: Total and Partial.

Total Futurists see all the Biblical prophecies finding their only fulfillment in the future. Some Total Futurists would have a problem saying that the destruction of the Jewish Temple puts them in a Partial Futurist camp so they see that as a fulfillment of a specific prophecy (the early verses of the Olivet Discourse) yet the totality of the Biblical Prophecies find their fulfillment later.

Partial Futurists are split in two ways. Some Partial Futurists see much of Biblical Prophecy being fulfilled at the destructions of Jerusalem (the Temple in 70 AD and later Jerusalem in 135 A.D. with the first recorded actual self-proclaimed Messiah). Other Partial Futurists see the events in 70A.D (and 135 A.D. and Hitler’s Germany) as types of a later actual fulfillment of prophetic events.

Premillenialists believe that there will be an actual Millennium (a time where Christ reigns on Earth) which begins with Christ’s return before said Millenium. The prophetic events will happen (they would say) culminating eventually with an actual millennium even if some of the events have already transpired. As such you can actually have Preterist Premillenialists!

Amillenialists believe that there is no actual millennium but that the events occurring throughout the history of the Church in the Now are those events during which Christ is reigning and conquering. Christ’s actual return (to Earth) sums up all things but it can happen whenever. Some Amillenialists hold to an actual future time of tribulation though many see Times of Trouble continuing until the end (sounding very Historicist in this respect). Amillenialists are opposed to full Preterist eschatology but many might adhere to a partial preterism (be it in actual events or in typological occurrence). Amillenialists are never Premillenialists.

Post Millenialists are a group that looks at the events occurring now in the Church History culminating with the millennium as the Church continues to conquer the World and finally heralding in the return of Christ. Post-Millenialists are sometimes Historicists and sometimes Preterist in their interpretation but always Futurist in their expectation of the conquered world and the returning Christ.

Both Amillenialists and Post-Millenialists can safely be described as Idealists in that the events in Revelation and Daniel are pictorial or symbolic representations of things that occur throughout Church History. Where Post-Millenialists become more solid in their Futurism is in regards to the affect of the ministry of the Church throughout space and time.

Dispensationalists are Premillenialists who have a specific purpose in looking at prophetic events. The prophetic events listed are in regards to a specific people (Israel). As such the events must occur just as they occurred when it came to Christ.

But you'll find enough diversity in Dispensationalism (Classic Dispensationalism vs. progressive Dispensationalism) that would see some prophetic events already finding some fulfillment if not actually then typologically. For example, some Progressive Dispensationalists would say events in 70 A.D. (and 135 A.D) were typological fulfillments (like historical preterists) and Christ is actually reigning on a throne now (like Amillenial interpretation) but not reigning on earth yet.

Lastly Chiliasm was the belief held by many of the early church fathers and can also be described as Millenialism.We are currently living in the Age before the Last Age. Sometimes you would see them believing in the 7 Consecutive Ages of This World consisting of a solid thousand years each. Chiliasm is a form of Premillenialism which expects This Age (just as every Age) to culminate in Apostasy and Tribulation. Chiliasts not only expected a future return of Christ, they expected to die in a Tribulation in the name of Christ. Chiliasm found its roots in Jewish thought (and likely persecution) just as much as it did the interpretation of key passages (including Genesis 1 if you believe it).

Hope this helps.

UPDATE: After some discussions down below I'm adding a chart which I think shows how the interpretive schemas start crossing over with the view of the course of events in space and time. Also adding some links to further reading if wanted. Eschatology and the Book of Revelation (pdf); The Meaning of this Generation in Matthew; The Return of Christ; Harry gave me this but I haven't gotten a chance to read through it (60 pages);

Gentleness can you understand?

Do you really understand?


Gentle Readers,

The last time that I wrote about how to engage in theological conversation or controversy, especially on the Internet. In this post I want to take this one step further in talking about our attitude. I have had the sad experience of one of our Brothers and sister who determined that I was attacking them and personally and women in general I tried to explain myself and even suggested that they might want to read my 4 part blog ""Women in the ministry" in which I took an unpopular position of showing from history haw women have been demeaned and slighted by those in power in the "church", Now does that sound like I was hateful toward women? (You can read the 4 part blog on Dr Denis says or one of my other blogs -in fact it my be posted here) In any case this brother, felt I insulted his wife to the point that I recused myself from ever writing for them again. I could have argued with them but if one will not hear after the 2nd warning then leave them alone. In my opinion, one cannot underestimate the importance of having the right attitude. Chuck Swindoll says that life is about one-percent what happens to you and ninety-nine percent how we respond.

I often talk about the importance of having an irenic approach to doing theology. It would seem that this term, "irenic" is suffering because of its overuse and misidentification with those who would choose to abuse it. To be irenic means that we are peaceful in our approach to issues. This does not involve compromise, but a willingness to engage issues fairly.

Here are some of the characteristics to being irenic in theological conversation and controversy:

You accurately represent all theological positions, even when you strongly oppose them.
Your tone of engagement comes from a humble respectful attitude.
Your primary goal is not to win an argument, but to contribute to understanding.
Your defense of your position recognizes that strengths of the opposing side.
You are gentle.
Here are two important Scripture references concerning how we are to engage in theological discussion irenically:

2 Timothy 2:24 "The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

Notice the key phrases:

"not be quarrelsome"
"kind to all"
"patient when wronged"
"with gentleness correcting"
This describes the irenic method of theological engagement.

1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."

Notice a few things about this passage:

The context has to do with a believer "suffering for righteousness"
We are to give an answer (apologetic) to those who ask
This is to be done with gentleness
This is to be done with respect
Many of us only hear the first part of the verse "give an defense," and upon this we justify our apologetic polemic ready to destroy, slander, or misrepresent any who disagree with what we believe to be the truth. We fail to recognize that this defense, in this context, is to be given to people "who ask." This is requested information based upon a life of integrity in the midst of our suffering. As well, this defense is to be done irenically---with gentleness and respect.

I can hear the "what abouts" coming. And in the spirit of this post let me tell you how stupid you are for questioning my . . . ahem . . . Ok, let's deal with them.

There seems to be examples in the Scripture where the prophets, apostles, and even Christ did not engage irenically. In other words, they often seemed to engage people with a fierce resolve, respecting the truth more than the person with whom there is conflict. I admit this is true. I also admit that there are times when such polemics are important. But we need to look at the context in which this type of polemic is brought about.

1. Should we defending the faith like Christ cleansed the temple?

We often think we should speak with the authority of Christ. In defense of our attitude we will appeal to Christ's attitude toward the pharisees or his cleansing the temple. But to refer to the example of Christ in these instances can be problematic seeing as how Christ's actions are not always intended to set examples for us. I know this sounds off, but think about it. He worked great miracles in order to demonstrate his unique authority, he engaged people with a divine introspection knowing their thoughts, motives, and intentions, and he was the ultimate divine judge who has every right to judge all people. As well, this was not the modus operandi of Christ. Do you ever notice that he was only polemic in such a way to the self-righteous who arrogantly believed they had all the answers and were a step above all the rest?

2. Defending the faith like Paul encountered the Galatians.

Many times we will appeal to Paul's example. His polemics, especially to the Galatians, are used to defend our own less than gracious encounters. But this has problems as well.

First, Paul was an apostle who carried the authority of an apostle. Being such, he had both divine authority and the divine ability to speak to a situation with infallible guidance. This is something that most of us we cannot claim. Can we?

Second, Paul primarily only spoke in such a way to those who were under his authority. He was their leader and had the right and obligation as their leader to engage them in a candid way. He was their pastor. Pastor's can and sometimes should speak in such a manner to their flock.

Third, like Christ, Paul did not always engage people in such a way. In fact, as noted above, the encouraged his people to be gracious, humble, and respectful in all their dealing with those with whom there is disagreement. In 1 Thess 2:7 he describes his own ministry as one of gentleness, comparing it to a mother caring for her children.

Sadly, it often seems as if there are people out there who not only think they are an apostle, but also think that they are talking to their own congregation. Some even seem to enjoy polemical engagement in an unhealthy manner. In fact, I think that a lot of ministries would not know what to do if they did not have someone to fight.

Sadly, many times this attitude is found more in my own conservative Calvinistic circles than in any other. For this I am sorry and ashamed. Sometimes Calvinists make the worst Calvinists. But, of course, it can be found in any group. Baptists have a knack for it. Even emergers can display the most angered, discounting, and arrogant spirit that I have ever seen.

Why do we sometimes act this way?

I am not sure.

Maybe its because we are so confident in the particulars of our faith that we feel we have the right to shout the loudest. We have the greatest message. We feel our polemic will force the truth into the mind of those who oppose.

Or . . .

Maybe we think that we have to set an example of the truth to those who are listening from the outside. Like in a debate, we don't really think we are going to convert our opponent, but we hope to solidify our position among those who are listening.

Or . . .

Maybe it is because we are so insecure in our position that we think the louder we are the more true our words are. As I tell students, if you are not confident about what you are saying, you can first speak deeper, second speak louder. And if both of these don't work, speak with a British accent!! In truth, I have found that the most fundamentally uninformed folk believers are often the most polemically militant because they, deep down, don't really know why they believe what they believe. Their only recourse is not a gentle engagement, but a raised voice.

What part of gentleness and respect don't we understand. Ironically, the original title of this blog was going to be "What Part of Gentleness and Respect Don't You Understand." I had to change it in order to keep with the spirit of the post.

I am certainly not perfect with this issue. Believe me. This, as with the last post, is self-therapy. Awww . . . aren't I humble? Let us all try to be more gentle, humble, and respectful when defending the faith. In earnestly contending for the faith, let us be irenic.

For those of you who will respond to this by posting with a sawed off shot loaded with your favorite Scripture, take you proof-texting and shove them . . . Ahem . . . Please deal with the Scriptures in such a way that takes into account their context. So gentle reader, lets us all remember that not everyone is as knowledgeble as you are, nor interested in studying Scripture for what they mean. Let's be gentle out there.


Need a Hug?

 "Tis Himself" J. R. O'Callaghan

ear Gentle Reader,  

When we decided to move we never thought that it would bring back so many memories  like that of my Grandson who lives an ocean away a wee lad when I saw him last. see his picture above. and the fact that time goes by so fast. We need to -

Capture the Moment

The baby is teething, the children are fighting, and my husband just called and said to eat dinner without him. Okay, one of these days youíll shout, "Why donít you grow up and act your age?"

. . . and they will.

Or, "You guys get outside and find yourself something to do and donít slam the door."

. . . and they wonít.

Youíll straighten up their bedrooms all neat and tidy with bumper stickers discarded, bed-spread tucked and smoothed, toys all displayed on the shelves, hangers in the closets, animals caged, and youíll say out loud, "Now I want you to stay this way!"

. . . and they will.

Then youíll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasnít been picked to death, a cake with no finger traces through the frosting, and youíll say, "Now thereís a meal for company."

. . . but youíll eat it alone.

And youíll say, "I want complete privacy on the phone! No dancing around, no pantomimes, no demolition crews! Silence! Do you hear me?"

. . . and youíll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti, no more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent, no more dandelion bouquets, no more iron-on patches, no more wet-knotted shoe strings, no more tight boots, or rubber bands on pony tails.

Now, imagine your lipstick with a point. No baby sitter on New Yearís Eve. Washing clothes only once a week. No PTA meetings, no car pools, no blaring radios, having your own roll of tape, no more Christmas presents made out of toothpicks and paste, no more wet-oatmeal kisses, no tooth fairy, no giggles in the dark, no knees to Band-aid.

Only a memory of a voice crying, "Why donít you grow up?"

And in the silence will come the echo, "I did."

 Take time this weekend to hug your kids (if they'll let you) and remember that we only have just a wee time to spend with them.

Love your kids  and spend time with them and you'll never say and the end of your life "I wish I spent more time at work"!



Heroes and Saints


What is a hero Gentle Reader?

A hero one might say this way  " There are thousands willing to do great things for one willing to do a small thing"
 It's not the big things that count in your life but the small mundane work-a-day activities (that you never give a thought too that makes you a hero and by the same token a Saint) . We are all called to be great Saints  and we don't want to miss the opportunity.   Take for example Joe, Ruth and Doug Brodt. Just ordinary people who thought nothing of taking a couple days to help us move. A big deal perhaps not to them but to us Marti and me it was big deal! Should we nominate them for Sainthood (I think God will take care of that, don't you gentle reader?)
How about Danny (our beloved maintenance man who came back repeated times to fix out leaking sink, with a kind word and a smile each time. Only to point out that the bucket we had placed under the sink was leaking. with a straight face.
And then then there are the police and firemen who risked their lives to help those trapped in the holocaust that was the Twin Towers massacre. Yes, gentle reader heroes all, some out of love, others because it was their job, still others because they had no choice.
 Like the Irish who gave up their home during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-47 where over an estimated One Million were caused to die and two million others to emigrate to America, Britain, Canada, and Australia
 Heroes all, Not because they wanted to to be a hero but were in a place to help others, that is what makes a hero! helping those who could not help themselves.
That what makes America the most loved and hated country on earth. The country that gives its people that chance to be a hero each day. 
 The words of  the President of Ireland Mary Robinson  stated  still applies today to America... "To feel again that it is the [Irish] American strength to celebrate the people in our past, not for power, not for victory, but for the dignity of human survival."
God Bless the USA.  
 Remember Gentle reader, God has called us all to be great Saints, don't miss the opportunity !
Remember to turn off the lights!



You missed out on the dinner, but you always in time for coffee!


Gentle Reader,

Important information

New Blog Hours 12:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or by guess or by golly!


Today  I went to our old house to collect a few last things. You  might have found me gone but I stopped by only to see that someone left me a note and an empty coffee pot( that will be enough of that)!  Don't forget to turn on the lights and put the cat out or is that turn on the cat and put the lights out.

Gentle reader, I am so tired that I can only muster up enough energy to say this: "people are either born hosts or born guests" If you leave a note you’re a guest, if you don't you must be family!

We are all family so   Remember September

We will always Remember September 11, 2001

When smoke & flames blocked out the sun
So many of God's children died on that dreadful day

People stood silent as the bodies were carried away

Others became Hero's, for saving only a few
But Americans still searched for those they once knew

Americans came together, and so many grew wise

As the World Trade Center collapsed
Right before their bewildered & saddened eyes
We learned we never know what lies ahead.

I love you all Remember that too!


May God bless you with

a clear dawning,

a cool morning,

a warm noonday,

a golden sunset,

a gentle twilight,

a starlit night,

and if clouds should cross your sky, may God give the faith to look for the silver lining.

Amen and amen


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