There was a recent debate at the pretrib 2017 Midwest Prophecy Conference, Calvary Chapel, Lafayette, IN: “Is the return of the Lord imminent?” between Dr. David Lehman and Dr. Tommy Ice. Both debate participants are pretrib; the former, however, denies imminence and attempted to argue that you can deny imminence and affirm pretribulationism.
This is not a review of the debate, but my over all impression was that on Tommy’s argumentation, there was nothing unexpected, same stuff that he typically presents. As far as David Lehman’s argumentation, it was simply not good, even misrepresenting Tommy Ice and pretribulationism of the basic meaning of imminence. He was unprepared for the debate. Honestly, it was just a strange debate to watch.
I do however want to highlight a question that an audience member (Adam) asked Tommy Ice after the debate. You can hear him at 1:49:05 in the video below. Since Ice believes that apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 refers to the rapture, the audience member asked a brilliant question about its implications for taking this position and its logical consistency with the revelation of the Antichrist. Tommy Ice seemed stump for a moment, and then he gave a convoluted answer that did not actually address the logic of the audience member’s question.
By the way, I will be addressing Ice’s error when he claims that prōtos only refers to the apostasia and not the revelation of the man of lawlessness. The short simple answer is that in the Greek kai (and) is connecting both the apostasia and the revelation of the man of lawlessness together in relation to prōtos. They both will occur before the day of the Lord. Moreover, if Paul disconnected the two events he would had used the common epeita, tote (then), or some other marker when prōtos is used, rather than leave the statement about the revelation of the man of lawlessness hanging in midair without any connection to the day of the Lord! Pretribs who think that apostasia refers to the rapture avoid this grammatical and contextual point.
(In my own public debate with Thomas Ice during the cross-examination I challenged Ice to produce a single document in the Hellenistic Greek era where the noun apostasia ever means a physical departure. He finally admitted that he could not. I also have done four episodes on The Biblical Prophecy Program (Episodes 84–87) addressing the exegetical arguments that apostasia does not ever mean a “physical departure.”)