Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Skeptic Admits Using Preterism to Attack Christianity

On CARM (a Christian message board), I responded to a "skeptic" that not only had some very sincere questions but he admitted to using preterism to attack Christianity.  That response is as follows:

Quote Originally Posted byDecypher View Post
So preterists will sometimes say that they are "giving an answer" to the skeptic. Are they? In a way, obviously they give an "answer" of a sort. That is, they are putting forward a scenario under which Jesus' prophecy would have been fulfilled.
Thanks Decy for bringing this out. You have touched on the heart of the problem. For "Preterists" (hyper and partials) to make a claim that 2,000 years of historic Christian interpretation on endtimes/eschatology has supposedly been in gross error, is indeed an "answer" of sorts. But it is an undermining answer from both the hyper and the partial. I mean, suppose I was making the case for adhering to American principles of free-market capitalism but I claimed that all the historic "fore-fathers" of America didn't adhere or advocate free-market capitalism but instead socialism or communism. How would that affect my case?

Preterists do the same thing. They claim to appeal to the Bible but then claim that the God of the Bible has for whatever reason, been unable or unwilling to maintain the most basic correct understanding of His eschatological plan among His people. What then makes a Preterist (of any sort), think the Bible has been maintained? Further, why would a skeptic trust a God that can't either convey or maintain His most basic plans???

Quote Originally Posted by Decypher View Post
The partial preterist is giving a certain kind of answer to the skeptic. The full preterist is giving a certain kind of answer to the skeptic. And of course, even the futurist will be giving a certain kind of answer to the skeptic.

But are they good answers? Well even with Christians, it depends who you ask...

The full preterists and also partial preterists will condemn the futurists for, "not taking the time-texts seriously".

The full preterist and futurist will condemn the partial preterist for being "inconsistent" and "arbitrary" in their use of scripture.

And the partial preterist and the futurist often don't like the full preterist explanation at all!! In fact, they may even condemn the full preterist for heresy.
Agreed!!! Hyperpreterists tend to try to claim they are simply reading the Bible for what it says, but they don't seem to realize that what they have tried to label as "Futurists" or "Futurism" is actually and simply Christianity. So, in reality, Hyperpreterism is contrary to Christianity in general. The labels of "Futurists" and "Futurism" simply distorts this reality. It is not"Preterists VS Futurists" but rather, "Other-Than-Christian VS Christians".

It isn't about who does or doesn't read the Bible. I know many Preterists probably read their Bible more than present day Christians; HOWEVER it is about HOW the Bible is interpreted. What Preterists want to claim is that 2,000 years of UNITED Christian interpretation on basic eschatology has been in gross error. If this is the case, no wonder people are skeptics. No wonder many Preterists often become functional or outright atheists. When they come to realize their belief undermines the very foundations of Christianity, what is left for them?

Quote Originally Posted by Decypher View Post
Now I admit that something could be considered "heretical" and yet still be true. But if your "apologetics answer" is getting you condemned for heresy by your co-religionists, then it isn't the most promising start is it?

And that is just what the Christians think...
Exactly, again, whether it is "heresy" or not, Hyperpreterism ISN'T Christian, at least not what has been considered Christianity since the days of Jesus and very day after the year AD70.

Quote Originally Posted by Decypher View Post
The preterist will sometimes say, "Even the unbeliever can recognize the time-texts". I do a similar thing when I'm arguing against Christianity. I say something along the lines of, "Even some of the Christians can recognize the time-texts"!

So I have, so to speak, used the preterists on my side as I attack Christianity.
Again, another good point. First off the so-called "time-texts" are not in dispute. Of course Jesus was about to/soon/shortly/at hand COME...but come where/how??? Dan 7:13 gives us the clue when it says one like the Son of Man was "coming in the clouds...before the Ancient of Days". Jesus was about to/soon/shortly/at hand COME before the Father in glory and vindication. Jesus even told the High Priest in Mt 26:64 this was the case.

It then is no surprise someone could and would use Preterism to attack Christianity -- Preterism ISN'T CHRISTIAN, no matter how much of the Bible it quotes. Using something that isn't Christian against Christianity is expected.

Quote Originally Posted by Decypher View Post
There is so much internal conflict within Christianity on this issue, that I wouldn't get too prideful or arrogant about your suggested "answers to the skeptic".
The "internal conflict" is only imagined or fostered by Preterists themselves. For example, whether we look at pre-Roman Catholic, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Syrian, Protestant/Reformed, Anabaptist, or Modern Evangelical -- ALL of these expressions of historic Christianity have been UNITED on the basics of Christian eschatology. Thus, Preterism is a heresy, not simply because we Christians don't like it, but because Preterism ISN'T Christian.

I hope this sincere answer was worthy of your sincere question.

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