Responding to the Critics

A Look at– And Refutation of– Kurt Simmons Rejection of Covenant Eschatology

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Kurt Simmons’ Eschatology:
Unjustified Changes

In the April, 2011 Sword and Plow email journal sent out by my friend Kurt Simmons, he says he has abandoned his views of the “redemption of the purchased possession” discussed in Ephesians 1:12-13. The reason I am addressing this unfortunate alteration in theology by my friend is because his change is not only unjustified and an abandonment of the truth, but, because his change has such profound implications for the proper understanding of eschatology.

Some of the issues that are raised in Kurt’s article are covered in the written debate that he and I had in 2010 on the passing of the Law of Moses. That debate is now available in book form entitled: The End of Torah: At The Cross or AD 70? It is available from this website. I highly recommend that you get a copy of that exchange and read it carefully. It will be helpful in dispelling Kurt’s new claims, and bring deeper understanding of the importance of the issues involved. It will also reveal that Kurt changed his positions several times, during the debate, and now, he has changed even more since that debate.

I will give the entirety of Kurt’s article, to avoid any charge of misrepresentation. In our written debate, I would often take note of things Kurt said. He would respond claiming that he had never said anything resembling what I said. However, I would then produce the exact quotes, proving that he did in fact say what I claimed. So, so by producing his entire article below, and then my response to it, you will be able to see that I am not misrepresenting anything that has been said.

At the appropriate places below, I will interject my “Response,” with bold. At the resumption of Kurt’s comments, I will put “KS” to avoid any confusion.

KS–
Mea Culpa: How I Was Wrong on Eph. 1:13-14 and the “Redemption of the Purchased Possession.”
To make mistakes is unavoidable. However, while it is not in our power to never err, it is
in our power to quickly admit our mistakes and move on.
I try to have the humility and forthrightness to admit when I have been wrong. My take on Eph. 1:13-14 is one of those cases where I have to admit to having been wrong. The view I formerly took on this passage was that the “redemption of the purchased possession” spoke to the church’s redemption from the bondage of sin.

Response: It is indeed a noble thing to be willing to change, to admit that we are wrong. I have done this many times, and will continue to be willing to change, but, I demand strong evidence. I fail to see evidentiary justification for Kurt’s radical changes.

KS: My thinking was that the church is the “purchased possession.”
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

By this (mistaken) view, the church was the purchased possession and was waiting of redemption.

Response: I want the reader to take note that Kurt does not offer one single verse to prove that the church was not the purchased possession. Not one! In fact, he gave a verse (Acts 20:28) that affirms the very thing that he is now denying! Isn’t there something radically, fundamentally wrong, when you cite a verse that proves the very thing that you are denying?
Note also 1 Corinthians 6:19-20– “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

What does Paul say was purchased? The church, the body of Christ. Notice Ephesians 5:23-26:
“For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,  that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.”

Again, what did Christ purchase with his blood? What did he give himself for? Paul is clear, emphatic and unequivocal: It was the church.

But what does Kurt offer to negate this indisputable truth and “prove” his new position? He argues presuppositionally that since the church was already redeemed, that they could not be looking for redemption, claiming that there are “dozens and dozens and dozens of verses” that prove this. He made this same claim in our debate, but refused to answer my response to his bold and brash claims.  
Notice just a couple of points here:
In our debate and in his writings, Kurt affirms repeatedly that the dead saints could not enter the Most Holy Place until the time of the resurrection which he admits was in AD 70.
Yet, Kurt claims that the events of AD 70 were “soteriologically irrelevant.”
Now, Biblically, the only thing that could prevent man from entering the MHP was sin, which, incidentally, Torah could never provide forgiveness for, and thus, as long as Torah remained valid, there was not entrance into the MHP (Hebrews 9:6-10).
So, let me put it succinctly:

The dead saints could not enter the MHP until AD 70.
But, it was the removal of sin that would allow entrance into the MHP (Hebrews 9).
Therefore, the dead saints did not receive full justification (forgiveness) until AD 70.

One of the questions that I repeatedly asked Kurt in our debate (which he never answered, not one time) was: If the dead saints were truly forgiven, redeemed and justified, why did they have to wait until the occurrence of a soteriologically irrelevant event in order to enter the MHP?

I mean, after all, if there was no connection between justification, the end of Torah, the resurrection and entrance into the MHP, why in the name of reason was entrance into the MHP dependent on the “soteriologically irrelevant” destruction of Jerusalem? In essence, Kurt’s doctrine says that there is no connection between forgiveness and resurrection, between salvation and resurrection. And nothing could be more false or un-Biblical. According to Isaiah 25:8-9 the resurrection was, in the eyes of YHVH, the time of Israel’s salvation. Simmons is patently wrong to deny any relationship between eschatology and salvation.

The bottom line here is that it is Biblically indisputable that the church was in fact the “purchased possession.” Kurt now denies this, but offers nothing but his unproven presuppositional claims.

KS – “And what could redemption be but remission of sins? However, I now see that I was totally wrong. First, the idea that the church was waiting for redemption and justification – that these were somehow held in abeyance until AD 70 – simply has no Biblical support. Dozens and dozens and dozens of verses affirm that redemption and justification were complete and possessed by the church from and after the cross. Not one verse can be produced showing that justification came in AD 70, or that the church remained under the debt of sin after the cross. Since redemption from sin was already an accomplished fact, redemption in Eph. 1:13, 14 cannot speak to sin.”

Response: I will try to be brief here.
1.) Note again that Kurt simply makes the claim, with no evidence. He claims that the church is not the purchased possession. Yet, the verses cited above are prima facie falsification of his claim.
2.) Kurt says there is no connection between redemption and forgiveness. Really? Read Ephesians 1:7– “In whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sin.” Paul’s “even” is what is known as epexegetical, meaning that red
emption is the forgiveness of sin. So, once again, for Kurt to claim that there is no connection between redemption and forgiveness is false as false can be. It is a blatant denial of the inspired text.

Here is the choice:

Paul– In whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of our sin.
Kurt Simmons– Redemption has nothing to do with forgiveness.
Who do you suppose is right?

This will suffice on this for now. Clearly, there is no justification for radically redefining “redemption” or “the purchased possession.” This is especially true– and let me drive this point home, when Kurt did not offer one single verse in support of his radical re-definitions! He simply argued presuppositionally, and what is even worse, he now openly denies what the NT repeatedly affirms, and that is that the body of Christ was in fact the purchased possession.

There is something fundamentally and radically wrong when a person has to openly deny the emphatic statements of scripture, redefine texts without so much as an attempt at exegesis, and then claim that you have falsified all other views.

We will have more in part two.