I have been working on a book on Preterism for some time now. I'd like to share the introduction with my readers. There is more to the book, but this is just a taste of it so far.
Roderick Edwards spent 15 years within the Full or Hyper-Preterist movement. His writings while all online were very profuse and varied on topics many Preterist writers never thought to consider; such as the validity of pastors if indeed the Chief Shepherd came in AD70.
Edwards always held a strained relationship with many of the “leaders” within the movement because of his propensity to push the theory of Hyper-preterism to its logical conclusions.
In about 2007, Edwards officially renounced Hyper-preterism and began trying to undo some of the damage he has done. This has made him an enemy not only of the Hyper-preterists, but also of many of the so-called “Partial-Preterists” whom he points to as having aided in the advancement of Hyper-preterism.
This book will give the reader a clear, and honestly critical view not only of Hyper-preterism but of Preterism in general and how it is affecting and will affect Christianity in general.
“Roderick Edwards is the most vicious critic of Full Preterism to date” – Samuel Frost; ex-Hyper-Preterist circuit speaker.
Humans have always had a fatalistic fascination with the idea of the end of the world; be it through the Bible, the Mayan Calendar or writings such as Nostradamus’ Quantrains. But what if the end is already past? What if the Bible’s depiction of an end-time apocalypse actually was meant to apply only to the first-century destruction of the Jewish “world” and not to the planet earth? This is what the theory of Preterism advocates. Preterism is a little known eighteenth-century theological view that was revived and expanded in the 1970s.
With the publishing of the book, The Spirit of Prophecy by Max King in 1970 Preterism was reintroduced under the name Covenant Eschatology. Since that time, and especially during the 1990s the view has been adopted in various forms and as various labels by many of the more popular Bible teachers such as; R.C. Sproul Sr. Hank Hanegraaff, David Chilton, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, Andrew Perriman and others.
TYPES OF PRETERISM
While all types of Preterism share some basic concepts such as a sort of first-century coming or return of Christ, it is extremely important to distinguish the differences.
- Classic/Historical/Traditional Preterism
- Full/Consistent/Fulfilled Preterism
DEFINING THE TERMS
As with any categorically specific discussion, be it football, politics, or theology the participant should have a basic knowledge of the terms utilized. It is probably more important in the case of Preterism because:
1. Preterism is a relatively newly developing area of theology.
2. The opposing parties within and outside of Preterism will use the same term in different ways.
3. There may be a little intentional redefinition and revisionism going on.I will present these terms in ideological relevance to each other. If you need to see them alphabetic order, please utilize the index.
- Olivet Discourse
- Time-Texts/Time Indicators
- Parousia [puh-roo-zee-uh, -see-uh, pahr-oo-see-uh]
- Immortal Body at Death (IBD)
- Immortal Body Now (IBN)
- Corporate Body View (CBV)
- Great Commission
- Abomination of Desolation
- Herodian Temple/Jewish Temple/Second Temple
- Temple Mount
- New Heavens and Earth (NHE)
- New Jerusalem (NJ)
- Covenant Eschatology/Fulfilled Eschatology/Fulfilled View/Pantelism
HISTORY OF PRETERISM
The history of preterism is a difficult thing to nail down since we really can’t point to an individual person that is responsible for this point of view. To be sure, there are many who claim they are “founders” of views, including forms of Preterism, but reality is often a different story.
So, our course will be to try to determine the first use of the word in a theologically systematic sense. This doesn’t tell us who founded the view but merely who may have began to uniquely define it.
What makes our effort even more difficult is the historical revisionism that I know first-hand has happened. For example, the online open-source encyclopedia; Wikipedia.org entry on Preterism is untrustworthy since one of the main contributors actually threatened to sue Wikipedia unless it let him define the term. This is the same fellow who also attempted to trademark the words preterist and preterism. (&) Sifting through that kind of bias is no easy task.
The Roman Catholic Connection
Of all the possible origins, the most historically credible is the theory that Preterism and Futurism were a two-pronged approach to disrupt the Protestant accusation that Rome and Pope specifically were the antichrist. The Preterist interpretation would place so much in the past that if embraced, the prophecies could not be applied to Rome. The Futurist interpretation would place so much in the future that Rome could at least postpone being equated to prophecies.
It is thought that Roman Catholic Preterist interpretation originated with Spanish Jesuit, Luis De Alcazar (1554-1613) in his nearly 900 page book; Investigation of the Hidden Sense of the Apocalypse. The “futurist” concept is thought to have been introduced by Francisco Ribera (1537-1591), a Jesuit doctor of theology via his book;In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij. (see: http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/antichrist.htm )
Whether it is accepted that preterism was engineered by the Roman Catholic Church, one thing that can be seen is that the modern concept of preterism isn’t really found within Christianity before the 15-16th century and more fully in the mid to late 1800s.