John Owen—A Caveat, part 11

by | Oct 11, 2018 | Eschatology

So far, I have covered six points in my case against John Owen’s preterist view of 2 Peter 3.  Let me add another argument in this post.  Here is my seventh objection to Owen’s exegesis.

The Conclusive Case against Owen’s Interpretation Continued

Owen assumes that the false teachers of 2 Peter are a reference to the Jews who clung to the Old Testament institutions and the legalism that had grown up around them.  Here is Owen once more: “He speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffers and those scoffed at were concerned, and that as Jews; —some of them believing, others opposing the faith.  Now, there was no particular concernment of that generation in that sin, nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judgment in general; but there was a peculiar relief for the one and a peculiar dread of the other at hand, in the destruction of the Jewish nation; and, besides, an ample testimony, both to the one and the other, of the power and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ; —which was the thing in question between them.” (Works, 9:134)

This account of the false teachers with whom Peter was contending is out of sync with the whole presentation of them in 2 Peter.  These men were not legalistic defenders of the Old Judaism.  Peter makes clear that they had been and perhaps still were professing Christians (2 Peter 2:1-2, 20-22) who distorted the teaching of the Apostle Paul (2 Peter 3:16) and (far from being legalists) were antinomians in their views and practice (2 Peter 2:12-18).

To sum up:  the false teachers of 2 Peter 2 and 3 were not Jews opposing Christ, but antinomians who had professed Christ and followed Paul, but who had distorted Christian truth to their own destruction.  Cf. Matthew 24:48 for the background of Peter’s thought which predicts every feature of these false teachers.

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