Reflections on the Hitchcock-Hanegraff Debate on Revelation

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Hitchcock: strong opening statement.

  1. External case:

    1. all early witnesses attest to a mid-90s date.

    2. The letters to the seven churches show no Pauline influence, yet Paul founded several of them in the mid to late 50s. If Revelation were written in 65 AD, then we have several churches already in apostasy in under ten years. Further, Laodicea experienced an earthquake in the 60s, yet they are noted as being “rich” outwardly. How is that possible if the city is in ruins?
  2. Internal case:

    1. Revelation is “book-ended” by terms like “soon” and “near.” If the preterist case holds, then ALL events within that inclusio must have happened.
Hanegraff: begins by reading Revelation 1. Vocally inflects on words like “soon,” though Hitchcock had already refuted that line of argument. Hanegraff doesn’t actually spend much dealing with the dating of Revelation. He focuses his attention on Revelation’s being a covenantal document and that the internal evidence alone points to an early date. The argument seems to be thus:

  1. It is a covenantal document.

  2. It mentions the temple, which means the temple hasn’t fallen yet.

  3. In a moment rich with irony, Hankadox attacks Hitchcock’s usage of Irenaeus, saying “only Scripture is our authority.”
Hitchcock’s rebuttal:

  1. External sources are legitimate. That is how NT studies work.

  2. Hankadox misused a quote by Norm Geisler.

  3. Hankadox still hasn’t dealt with the inclusio problem.

Hankadox’s Rebuttal:

  1. Irenaeus is ambiguous and all of his statements have to be interpreted, so he is a tainted witness.

  2. The fathers believed in stuff like perpetual virginity and baptismal regeneration (oh the irony). Hank then I had a Cory Booker “I am Spartacus” moment and said, “I will never believe in that!”

  3. Hank maintains that he quoted Geisler correctly, though Geisler had written an article specifically saying Hank misquoted him.
Question and Answer

This was interesting, though there was nothing new. Hank had Irenaeus was faulty because he believed that the “demons” had sex with women, and if Irenaeus is right, then that calls the resurrection into question, since it implies that spirits can materialize out of nowhere.

Hitchcock calmly asks him what that has to do with the dating of Revelation, which is the point of the debate.

The rest deals with particulars on the novelties of dispensationalism, of which I have no interest either way.

Evaluation

Hitchcock clearly won. It wasn’t even close. Hank relied on his standard talking points and memorized verses. He rarely dealt with the substance of the issue.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Hitchcock: strong opening statement.

  1. External case:
    1. all early witnesses attest to a mid-90s date.

    2. The letters to the seven churches show no Pauline influence, yet Paul founded several of them in the mid to late 50s. If Revelation were written in 65 AD, then we have several churches already in apostasy in under ten years. Further, Laodicea experienced an earthquake in the 60s, yet they are noted as being “rich” outwardly. How is that possible if the city is in ruins?
  2. Internal case:
    1. Revelation is “book-ended” by terms like “soon” and “near.” If the preterist case holds, then ALL events within that inclusio must have happened.
Hanegraff: begins by reading Revelation 1. Vocally inflects on words like “soon,” though Hitchcock had already refuted that line of argument. Hanegraff doesn’t actually spend much dealing with the dating of Revelation. He focuses his attention on Revelation’s being a covenantal document and that the internal evidence alone points to an early date. The argument seems to be thus:

  1. It is a covenantal document.

  2. It mentions the temple, which means the temple hasn’t fallen yet.

  3. In a moment rich with irony, Hankadox attacks Hitchcock’s usage of Irenaeus, saying “only Scripture is our authority.”
Hitchcock’s rebuttal:

  1. External sources are legitimate. That is how NT studies work.

  2. Hankadox misused a quote by Norm Geisler.

  3. Hankadox still hasn’t dealt with the inclusio problem.

Hankadox’s Rebuttal:

  1. Irenaeus is ambiguous and all of his statements have to be interpreted, so he is a tainted witness.

  2. The fathers believed in stuff like perpetual virginity and baptismal regeneration (oh the irony). Hank then I had a Cory Booker “I am Spartacus” moment and said, “I will never believe in that!”

  3. Hank maintains that he quoted Geisler correctly, though Geisler had written an article specifically saying Hank misquoted him.
Question and Answer

This was interesting, though there was nothing new. Hank had Irenaeus was faulty because he believed that the “demons” had sex with women, and if Irenaeus is right, then that calls the resurrection into question, since it implies that spirits can materialize out of nowhere.

Hitchcock calmly asks him what that has to do with the dating of Revelation, which is the point of the debate.

The rest deals with particulars on the novelties of dispensationalism, of which I have no interest either way.

Evaluation

Hitchcock clearly won. It wasn’t even close. Hank relied on his standard talking points and memorized verses. He rarely dealt with the substance of the issue.
The main reason Hhank had to press for the early dating would be that he is now a partial preterist, and so the late dating accepted by many Evangelicals would not work well with his new understanding of Revelation.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The main reason Hhank had to press for the early dating would be that he is now a partial preterist, and so the late dating accepted by many Evangelicals would not work well with his new understanding of Revelation.
That came up during the debate and Hank kept saying he wasn't a partial pret. Didn't really change his argument or the arguments against him, though.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
One day you will have to review Sproul's attempt:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0026IUOP0/

;)
I read that book in 2003. It was good as a popular intro. I don't remember too much about it, save the following:

*Sproul overly relied on Russell, which I found troubling.
*For better or worse, he tied partial preterism with postmillennial leanings.
*Good chart of who's who in eschatology.
*Didn't deal (as far as I know) of the inclusio problem in Revelation.
*While he argued for Nero as the Antichrist, he didn't go into detail as to why we have to start the Caesar counting with Julius, rather than Octavius or Caligula.

I liked it, though, even if I now disagree with it.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
That came up during the debate and Hank kept saying he wasn't a partial pret. Didn't really change his argument or the arguments against him, though.
Hank has stated that most, if not all, of the Second Coming prophecies were fulfilled in the AD 70 event, so why would he not be at least a partial preterist now?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Hank has stated that most, if not all, of the Second Coming prophecies were fulfilled in the AD 70 event, so why would he not be at least a partial preterist now?
Who knows what he is now, or if he even knows? When he converted to EO, he was still saying on his radio show that he believed in sola fide and all. And EO guys clobbered him on it.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Who knows what he is now, or if he even knows? When he converted to EO, he was still saying on his radio show that he believed in sola fide and all. And EO guys clobbered him on it.
The EO views scriptures and tradition the same way as the Church of Rome does, correct?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Neither holds to the scriptures alone though.
No, and I think we have specifically addressed this claim about a dozen times. No one believes in Scripture Only. What we as protestants believe is that Scripture is the ultimate source of authority. It is very important to point that out to RCC/EO
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
No, and I think we have specifically addressed this claim about a dozen times. No one believes in Scripture Only. What we as protestants believe is that Scripture is the ultimate source of authority. It is very important to point that out to RCC/EO
Scriptures are the only inspired source of authority.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Scriptures are the only inspired source of authority.
Why, yes they are. I was hoping for something more than a declarative of what we all understand.

So why not elaborate upon that statement, considering that there are other sources of authority we Protestants point to as subordinate to Scripture's authority, which is our norming norm?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Jacob, the term 'inclusio' being unfamiliar to me, I googled it and came up empty. So I did a forum search and this thread appears to define the term. Is this the 'inclusio problem' you were referring to ? If not please explain, they've not yet published The Book Of Revelation For Dummies :)

https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/is-this-a-valid-chiasm.78133/#post-990411
An inclusio is a passage of Scripture (or a whole book) that is book-ended by a certain term. For example, in Revelation 1 it says these events will "soon" take place, time is "near." At the very end of the book (22:7) Jesus says "I am coming soon."

The term "soon" structures the book (or is one of the structures of it)
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
An inclusio is a passage of Scripture (or a whole book) that is book-ended by a certain term. For example, in Revelation 1 it says these events will "soon" take place, time is "near." At the very end of the book (22:7) Jesus says "I am coming soon."

The term "soon" structures the book (or is one of the structures of it)
Is the meaning of that term in Revelation meaning that Jesus was coming soon at the time of the Book, or that when the events described in the Book start happeing, then His coming will be soon?
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
This is an issue that would have differing answers, as it all depends upon if one is a Reformed or a Baptist. A Reformed Baptist would indeed have as other sources to consider and consult with being the various Creeds and Confessions of the Faith, while a non confessing Baptist would tend to really hold with the scriptures alone.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
Mark Hitchcock has a law degree as well as a Ph.D. from DTS, which means that he's probably well schooled in the Walvoord/Ryrie brand of dispensationalism. What does Hanegraaf have, a B.A. maybe? (According to some of his critics, he has no formal theological training or credentials, and one claims that his assistants have largely been responsible for the publications that have been issued under his name.)

Basically, Mr. Hanegraaf is an amateur who has his name on some novels that try to compete with the "Left Behind" series, and Dr. Hitchcock is a professional, albeit one who writes for a popular rather than an academic audience.

That's not to say that some people who entirely lack credentials (Pink, Lloyd-Jones, Spurgeon) or who have credentials that some allege are inferior (James White) can't be competent. Occasionally, they are much more competent than many people who do have credentials.

Whatever side you come down on in this debate (or if you agree fully with neither one) it's not surprising that Hitchcock would come off better in a debate. The old Tyler recons or Sproul or Mathison would be (or would have been) more worthy opponents. Now, if Hanegraaf managed to say whatever Gentry or whoever would have said, maybe it wouldn't have made as big of a difference as I imagine. But somehow I doubt that.
 
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