“Wife Beating Questions”
In conversations with friends as well as in the Denham – Neubauer debate, the opponents to the truth of covenant eschatology complained that questions such as “Are your eschatological hopes based off of Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel” are “wife beating questions.” Is this true?
The term “wife beating question” is a reference to the classic questions that leave no truly correct option for the one who is being questioned. Here are some examples:
1. Have you stopped beating your wife?
2. Do your parents know that you do drugs?
These types of questions assume something that isn’t true about the one who is being questioned. The first question assumes that the individual had a habit of beating his wife. The second question assumes that the individual consumes illegal drugs. So, a yes or no answer is impossible to the individual who is innocent of those things because it will appear as if they are guilty. Another example of this type of question is, “Do you still drive a Honda Civic?” That question, as the others above, is based off of common knowledge of the individual’s choice in vehicle.
Now, to someone who is a preterist, the question “Are your eschatological hopes based off of Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel” is a “wife beating question” because it assumes that we have some eschatological event that we are still hoping for, so to answer yes or no would be to admit that we are not actually true preterists.
To a futurist, however, this question is legitimate. There is a difference between “wife beating questions” and questions that are devastating to your eschatology!