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The A.D. 70 Doctrine
(Number 1)
Tommy Thornhill
(Etna, Arkansas, USA)
(via "Etna Enlightner," reprinted by permission of author)

This is the first of several articles I plan to write on "The A.D. 70 Doctrine." I sincerely believe it to be another in a long line of perverted gospels that has plagued the Lord's church since I began preaching in May 1953. As a young preacher I never dreamed that disgruntled and false brethren could dream up so many false doctrines. Since that time I have come to realize the truth of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:18-19: "...I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you." When error is mixed with truth, truth is much like the ocean. The ocean is never still, it is continually in motion moving along with its waves. As the waves roll onto the shoreline, the water recedes back into the ocean. But it leaves the trash behind. In the same way, truth is continually exposed to the false that opposes it. But when the battle is over, truth has cleansed itself and remains triumphant while falsehoods and error are left lying in the dust.

At this date my contribution against "the A.D. 70 Doctrine" may not amount to very much in opposing this hideous doctrine that is destroying the hope of so many looking for a better life in the hereafter. But I want to do my part in my stand for the truth. I sometimes see myself much like a woman during the Revolutionary War. When she heard the cry that the British were coming she grabbed a poker leaning next to the fireplace and ran out with it and took a stand in the middle of the bridge leading into town. Someone asked her what she expected to do with the poker against an army, She replied, "Not much, but at least they will know which side I am on."

The A.D. 70 Doctrine - Introduction

During my years of preaching I have seen the rise and spread of many false doctrines among the people of God. Those who have taught and promoted these unscriptural concepts, for the most part, have been preachers who seek to free the Lord's church from the "moss-bound" Bible bound shackles of the past in order of the church of Christ to become a more viable part of the religious community today. They are not willing to "endure sound doctrine" but "according to their own desires ... turn away from the truth and ...are turned aside to fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). They are able to make big inroads into the Lord's church because they find a ready-made audience for their erroneous teachings, unlearned and unstable brethren, who are dissatisfied with the New Testament pattern for the Lord's people and are always wanting something new and novel.

But, thankfully, no false doctrine has ever been allowed to continue unopposed for very long because faithful brethren who recognize their responsibility to "hold fast to the pattern of sound words" (2 Timothy 1:13). Over and over they rise up to rebuke sin, refuse error, and defend "the faith once for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). They teach brethren to "note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17-18).

So it is with "The 70 AD Doctrine." It is one of the most strange and bizarre I have encountered. It bewilders me how anyone professing to know the Bible could come up with such ideas. For over 40 years it has disturbed and divided God's people. In some places brethren who have promoted it, and some who have embraced it, have left for greener pastures among liberal churches or denominationalism. In other places churches have been split. Because this teaching has affected, and is affecting, brethren in various places it is necessary to examine it very carefully and fairly to see if it is true or false. We are taught to "prove all things..." (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22), and be able to "...discern between good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). If it is true we must embrace and defend it (Jude 3). If it is false we must expose and reject it (1 Timothy 1:18-20; Titus 1:13-14). We are "to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them" (Ephesians 5:11). In some following articles and sermons I plan to show why I believe this "70 AD Doctrine" is false. I do not claim originality in these lessons. I am using resource material gleaned from other brethren who have studied and written on the subject before me. I just ask those who hear and read my words to examine what is said or written using the light of God's word. For it is the most important source for all truth and that is what counts in the long run (John 17:17; John 8:31-32; Proverbs 23:23).

The historical background of this movement can be traced back to the 17th century teaching of a Spanish Jesuit Friar, Luis de Alcazar (1554-1613). The more modern seeds were sown by James Stuart Russell (1816-1895) a Congregational minister, in his work entitled "The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming" (1878). From these seeds, "The 70 AD Doctrine" grew. Among brethren it was first preached by Max R. King in a lectureship at the Brookwood Way church of Christ, Mansfield, OH in the summer of 1970, and then in April 1971 King and his father-in-law, CD. Beagle, introduced it in a preacher's meeting, at Cuyahoga Falls, OH. King popularized this movement and in publishing his first book, The Spirit of Prophecy (1971), he set forth the false concepts of "the 70 AD Doctrine." This book has since been revised and updated with a 2nd edition published in 2002. Since the inception of "The A.D. 70 Doctrine" by Beagle and King, their followers have established the Northeast Ohio Bible College (1977) and a journal entitled "Studies in the Bible" (1978). King added a 2nd book to his "70 AD Doctrine" in 1987 called The Cross and the Parousia of Christ. In more recent years, Max's son, Tim King seems to have assumed the leadership mantle of this cult and has drifted into a closer association with various denominational misfits, all holding the common bond of "realized eschatology." It is my understanding that this movement has now founded "Presence Ministries International" with Tim King serving as President. They have even placed a trademark on their teaching. Their website ( explains that "...our intent is for this worldview to be studied and written about widely, but not to be redefined or misused by sectarian upstarts, seeking to forward their own interests." God's word needs no such trademark to protect it. It is the truth (Psalm 119:89-90; Romans 3:3-4).

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