Reflections on Hitchcock/Hanegraff Debate

Hitchcock: strong opening statement.
External case:

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


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.


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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