Monday, November 5, 2012

Reply to Michael Miano's Church Error article

I had the pleasure and honor of being a guest on Michael Miano's podcast. Now, some people may scratch their head at me using the words pleasure and honor since Miano is a known promoter of Full Preterism; something I have clearly opposed. However, over the years of seeing the deplorable and often dishonorable tactics of the so-called "Partial-Preterists" such as Gary DeMar, Ken Talbot and now Sam Frost, I am now at the point where I love to interact with anyone who is at least honest. We can disagree and think each other is wrong, but if honesty isn't the starting point, then all the rest doesn't really matter. After the podcast, Miano wrote an answer to a question I continue to ask all Full Preterists:

QUESTION: In light of the indisputable fact that 2000 years of historical Christianity, across all denominational lines has been united on the 4 main eschatological points, and if Full Preterism is true; then why did historical Christianity get it so wrong?

I will quote and then interact with Miano, as I go along.

Yesterday I had the privilege of having Roderick Edwards, the UnPreterist, join me on my talk show, Miano Gone Wild. The week prior I had went through his blog about “How to Get Out of Hyperpreterism” and I wanted to question some of the things he spoke of, namely this “historic Christian eschatology” that he mentioned. Our conversation on Miano Gone Wild was humble and polite (which goes against a lot of what I have heard about Roderick) and we discussed everything from his story in-and-out of Full Preterism, the logical fallacies of “partial preterism” as held by men like Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, and Sam Frost, and finally what Roderick terms “historical Christian eschatology”. This is where we came into a bit of a dispute. You can listen to the podcast by visiting this link:
I appreciate that Miano points out how the bad press goes against what he saw first hand in our discussion. Also, I like what Miano said during the podcast; that often a person makes the most noise about the very thing they are weakest on, such as a bully or thug that may talk big but is really wimpy. I believe that is a large part of this bad press. It is a "shut Roderick up by shouting him down" approach. Again, I simply seek honest people with which to dialogue; not folks whose standard reply is "LOL" or some disrespectful and weak response that amounts to nothing but ridicule or social conformance.

Near the end of the show we discussed how Full Preterism needs to better explain WHY the Church has gone wrong in eschatological matters. Roderick holds that the historic Church has always held to 4 major tenets of eschatology (despite the multitude of differences in how these tenets are expressed and explained): -Jesus is yet to return in the future. -The collective resurrection of the believers is yet future. -The Judgment of the wicked and righteous is yet future. -There will be an end of sin and culmination of God's plan.
Miano did a fine and honest job at explaining the proposition. Any "multitude of differences" among the historical Christian community on the interpretation of eschatology, STILL leads to them all affirming these 4 major tenets. In reality, historical Christianity is probably more united here than on any other doctrine, including the nature of the Eucharist, baptism's mode, method and meaning among other often key doctrines. Whether we look at pre-Roman Catholic, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Protestant/Reformed, Anabaptist, Modern Evangelical, Dispensationalists, Calvinists, Arminians or Emergents -- all of these expressions of Christianity are united on these 4 points. This is so, the day before and the day after AD70. There is no sustained or systematic support in historical Christian interpretation where some major group or even minor group within the realm of orthodoxy has ever espoused anything like Full Preterism. While this in itself does not make Full Preterism wrong, it does make it something different than historical Christianity. Thus, the question is why is Full Preterism so different. Was there a conspiracy, or a general ignorance for 2000 years? Did God "allow" His eschatological plan to be so poorly related by Jesus' hand-picked apostles that no one until Max King in the 1970s really caught on? This seems to be pivotal.

So, what we have come to is 3 possible conclusions: 1.) The above mentioned 4 points are the position of the “historical Church” and they are correct, therefore meaning that Full Preterists are confusing the Scriptures. 2.) Understanding “eschatology” has been completely compromised and has nothing to do with us today, and was a cultural thing that occurred in AD 70. Thus having no effect on us. 3.) Full Preterism (in this case ‘Covenant Eschatology’) is the correct understanding of the Scriptures and thus the Church has gone wrong in understanding these truths from the Scriptures. I hold to conclusion 3, and that is what I will further illustrate throughout this blog.  

Again, I thank Miano for being so accurate in relating our discussion. It is refreshing to see an honest and civil dialogue minus all the chest thumping.

There are a couple ways that many have endeavored to explain how the Church has been confused over “eschatology”. There is the rapture view- which holds to the view that the first century saints were raptured and therefore in their absence confusion has crept in. There is the “conspiracy theory” view that the truth is being kept hidden from the masses. And there is what has been labeled the “organic development” theory which speaks about how the Church has always had “preterist tendencies” but they have grown over time, as understanding and information increases. I expressed on the show that I would agree with aspects of the “conspiracy theory” view and “organic development”. As Jerry Bowers said at the end of the show on a Facebook post, “EVERY single Full Preterist alive would agree that the majority of Christians throughout time have been wrong on Eschatology… that is the simplest of logical conclusions of Fulfilled Eschatology versus the Futurist view”. To this Roderick Edwards responded, “If that is so, then THAT is where the discussion should begin. Not in pissing matching over this or that verse”. I concur!
Finally!! However, on the podcast I shared with Miano, the 3 typical Full Preterist explanations for why/how the Church at large supposedly missed the "truth" of Full Preterism all these years -- I also vigorously disagree with the "organic development" theory. The organic development theory is often the main theory proposed by the Partial-Preterists. For example DeMar once said:

"... I'm willing to listen to what others say on an issue, especially on eschatology since it's been a garbled mess for centuries. It's conceivable that so-called eschatological heretics are seeing something I'm not seeing. They're willing to take the risk. Many are not." --
Well, then the effort is over. If eschatology has really been a garbled mess for centuries, then indeed the Full Preterist should be allowed equal access to the theological table. Partial-Preterists, like DeMar, Kenneth Gentry and others are hypocritical for telling the Full Preterists that they can only go so far and no further. As a matter of fact, DeMar's colleague; Joel McDurmon tried to make this artificial delineation when he said:

"...people need to know that preterism is indeed the way to go, but no full, hyper preterism. They need to know there’s a difference between the two views: that one is vital and necessary, and the other is doctrinally dangerous. Confusing the two is dangerous. For a scholarly organization to foist them upon unsuspecting people and students would be irresponsible and reprehensible." (source:
The only difference is that the Partial-Preterist, while telling people there has supposedly NOT been any unity on eschatology among historical Christianity and instead "garbled mess"; these same Partial-Preterists are trying to tell others how far they can or can't go to clean up this supposed mess. Ironic, since supposedly the same "scholarly organizations" (ie the Church in general) are the very people who have been teaching this supposed "garbled mess" for 2000 years. Again, I seek HONEST people, not theological thugs that attempt to control others from the top down. Back to Miano's comments.

So…what has happened? As we read through the Scriptures we clearly see an imminent “coming of the Lord” being spoken about (Matthew 24, Luke 21, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, etc..), a decent study of the Old Testament would prove this to be ‘judgment language’. As we endeavor to look into the “nearness”, in “that generation”, “to some standing there” we must know the history of the events that occurred in the 1st century- we know the Roman-Jewish War occurred in the late 60’s into 70 AD in direct fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecies. Sadly, so many are not taught this. The average “Christian” has no idea what occurred in AD 70, and those that do are caught up in protecting a “historical view” that they twist and bend the Scriptures to work with a futurist paradigm.
While it is true that the Scriptures clearly present an imminent "coming of the Lord"; the question is, was that "coming" indicative of a "return back to earth"; as even some Partial-Preterists claim "Jesus came in judgment in AD70" or are many of these imminent "coming" passages about Jesus coming before the Father in vindication and glory as we see in verses like Dan 7:13 and Mt 26:64. And while it is true that many modern Christians, who have been heavily influenced by Dispensationalism's wild and unhistorical Christian interpretations and thus have no idea what occurred in AD70; the theologians before the advent of Dispensationalism wrote extensively about the importance of the AD70 events YET, none of these concluded Full Preterism. Why? Were they "protecting a historical view"? Were they "twisting and bending the Scriptures"? It seems Miano certainly would hold strongly to a conspiracy theory even if it was not that organized.

As we begin our study of what occurred in the Church post-AD 70, we learn of the Church fleeing to Pella, as recorded by Church Historian Eusebius (which would explain why none of the Christians chronicled the events of AD 70- THEY WEREN’T THERE!). At this point it would be vital to point out as writer Kurt Simmons does:
“The confusion that obtained during the lives of Christ and the apostles was compounded after their deaths. The almost universal martyrdom of disciples under Nero and the Jews left with church with few capable of correctly expounding the eschatology of the kingdom and coming of Christ. The picture that emerges in the centuries following the apostolic age is one of great confusion: There is a great diversity of opinion concerning the nature of the eschaton among the patristic writers; their writings betray a fundamental lack of comprehension; they are as men groping in darkness after something they cannot see. Indeed, men are not even certain which books are to be received as canonical and which are not.”
We clearly read through the gospel accounts and in the book of Acts the confusion of the followers of Jesus of what exactly was going on. We know that Simon Peter did not want Christ to do the will of God which in turn led to him being called “satan” (Matthew 16:23), we know the Apostles appeared pretty darn confused when Christ ascended (Acts 1:6-11), and even throughout the New Testament there are various confusions within the Church. So now imagine continued persecution under the Romans (a great read on this is The Early Christians in Their Own Words by Eberhardt Arnold) and the Diocletian persecution by which time I believe it would be safe to say that a large majority of the “heavy hitters” in Christianity were killed under. So where are the men of understanding?
So, now the explanation is that among the chaos of the events immediately following AD70, no Christians of any notice chronicled how these events supposedly were direct fulfillment of Jesus COMING AGAIN; the resurrection of the believers, the judgment of the wicked and righteous, and the end of sin and culmination of God's eschatological plan. This is a bit difficult to take but certainly keeps in step with DeMar's own "garbled mess" scenario. But even worse, the apostles are supposedly not astute enough to know what is going on. There is implication that Peter's human failings carried over to a failing of his inspiration; that perhaps on matters of "thus saith the Lord", that the Holy Spirit didn't really lead the apostles into "all truth". We now would have reason to doubt that the Bible itself contains God's intended teaching -- after all the Bible was penned by mere men who it appears could fail in matters of inspiration.

One is hard-pressed to find a lot of focus on eschatology in the first couple centuries, save a variety of different quotes here and there. But…we must admit that the 4 tenets that Roderick mentioned do seem to be a “uniting factor” throughout the centuries. These “uniting factors” do not come without a host of differences and views though, a lot oddly “preterist”. One can read a lot of these quotes by visiting
What may seem like "preterist" quotes in history are really the typical historical Christian interpretation before the advent of Dispensationalism. Of course it will appear odd at first reading. It will appear perhaps to even support Full Preterism until the reader realizes that the overall theology of the men who penned these statements was still united on the 4 eschatological points. Miano, like many Full Preterists needs to put a crack in the wall. He needs there to be "a host of differences and views" although he has already admitted that when it comes to eschatology, the 4 points seem to be a uniting factor. But I submit, not only "seem to be" but have been the uniting factor.

As author David Green has been noted as saying,
“If preterism is true, it is NOT accurate to say that believers who were alive in AD 70 “missed” and did not “notice” the consummation of redemptive history. The truth is that the church saw the consummation of redemptive history and embraced it, but exegetically mis-categorized it. The early church failed to recognize that many prophetic passages were fulfilled, but that does not mean that the church “missed” the fulfillment of those passages. It only means that the church failed to connect all the prophecies to the Christological fulfillment that the church truly and knowingly saw and embraced”.
I have continued to find it quite interesting when reading through various Church Father statements, writings, and doctrines and find a variety of differences in everything from the fulfillment of the “Great Commission”, who Satan was/is, to the resurrection of the dead. Yet again to note a statement by David Green, “They truly saw these things by faith, even if they exegetically failed to connect all the right Scripture texts to the realities they embraced. The failure of the church fathers to connect all the right verses to what they saw and embraced is a long way from them “missing” and “not noticing” what they saw and embraced”.
All of this still amounts to saying, "They didn't get it". The Full Preterist can keep trying to open a crack in the wall, as if there has "a variety of differences", even though the conclusions are still 100% united. The Full Preterist can continue to say things like the Church only "exgetically mis-categorized" the AD70 events, but that doesn't change that is just fancy talk for "They didn't get it". It is in essence saying that 2000 years of united historical Christian interpretation is flawed and not until Max King comes along in the 1970s does anyone really start to really understand God's true eschatological plan. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be hostile, but that is flagrantly arrogant. It is saying that we somehow are smarter than not only the 2000 years of Christians that came before us, but men like Max King are better conveyors of God's plan than even the apostles. After all, it is not too difficult to explain what Full Preterism teaches. The apostles could have done it. If they did, why/when did everything go so wrong so fast?

Another writer noted, “Some among us today would have us to receive their opinions as "Gospel Truth" after they carefully select and then rely upon the quotations of a few, celebrated Christian writers from antiquity, as if such statements represent the voice of the Church as a whole. But do such famous individuals of antiquity really speak for the entire Church or just for themselves? Who among is authorized to say?”. As I have done my studies it has not been too difficult to see the fallibility of many professed Church leaders. It seems many have built up a myth of some organized “historic Church”. A great blog article dedicated to exposing the fallacy in that view is here:
Why are we vacillating between admitting that historical Christianity was INDEED -- right or wrong -- united on the interpretation concluding the 4 points and then vacillating back to trying to impugn "celebrated Christian writers from antiquity" as if they were only expressing their isolated personal opinions on these matters. Either it is true that historical Christianity as a whole has interpreted eschatology in unity or it is not. It seems to undermine God's ability to sustain truth and the basic understanding of truth if we say no one until Max King really got it. I mean, what a let down if over 6000 years of O.T. events were leading up to Jesus' physical first coming, where He came to reveal (think: "you have heard it said but I say...") and fulfill; hand-picks apostles to be the foundation of the Church and yet when Jesus goes to the Father, all of this falls apart and no one really gets it for over 2000 years. Not too impressive.

Many times people will ask, “Well if the Church has been wrong doesn’t that mean that God allowed the Church to be deceived, or that the Spirit left the Church?”. I will now endeavor to show how that is faulty logic. Even during the earthly life of Jesus Christ we see His disciples continually misunderstanding His teachings (Matthew 15:15-16; Matthew 16:23; John 13:7, 19; John 6:60-71; Matthew 8:26; Mark 8:14-18, etc…)- THIS WAS THE CHURCH IN THAT TIME! As Jesus ascends we yet again see misunderstanding concerning the nature of the kingdom of God (Acts 1:6)- which was the highlight of Jesus’ teachings. In the New Testament writings we see sharp disagreements occurring within the Church pertaining to legalism and the Gentiles. So…in these early times of the Church there were misunderstandings and disagreements – Do we suppose that the Spirit of God “left the Church”? Of course not, rather see these men work through this disagreements as time goes on. Is it therefore that far off to understand that the Church would get even more confused about things, more disagreements, after the events of AD 70, especially since the Church was growing with more and more people, more and more paradigms, etc..?
A couple of problems here. What is the purpose of apostolic inspiration? What is John 16:12-14 about? What does it mean to be "guided into all truth"? Much of the references Miano cites are before the Pentecostal inspiration of the apostles. The possible post-Pentecostal disagreement between Paul and Peter was not over a "thus saith the Lord" matter. Peter was only sending the wrong message behaviorally. Peter wasn't saying the "Gentiles" weren't part of God's plan, but the company he kept was sending the wrong message. I'm certainly not saying the Spirit of God ever left the Church. As a matter of fact, I'm attempting to make the case that contrary to DeMar's theory of a "garbled mess", that instead God has INDEED sustained the basic understanding of His plan and we see that in the united interpretation of the 4 points. If we take the theory that the further we get along, the more confused the Church is, then how does that help Full Preterism? I mean, even there we could be like the hypocritical Partial-Preterist who agrees with the Full Preterist premise of mass confusion but turn around and tell the Full Preterist that only the Partial-Preterist is qualified to fix the supposed "mess". Again, I seek honest people.

On my show Roderick had said that these weren’t major issues of doctrine. This must cause us to question!! Was the kingdom of God a central teaching of Jesus’? We see plenty of misunderstanding in the early church and throughout history on this topic. Was breaking down the dividing wall of legalism that separated the Jews and Gentiles a central teaching of Jesus’? We see plenty of confusion in the early church in those regards all the way up to today. Do we view the expression of the Church, as the loving and welcoming “pillar and foundation of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15)”? Well, then if one studies the history of what Constantine established, how the Crusades took place, how the monastics fled the institutional church, and so forth; it is not that hard to see that there were some serious issues within the Church. Do we suppose that the Spirit of God left the Church at these times? The Protestant Reformation was based on Martin Luther proving that “the just shall live by faith (Hebrews 10:38)”, and this was in contradiction to the works-based/ system-based “salvation” being offered by the Catholic Church. Would this not be a serious doctrinal matter that was wrong in the Church?
Again, we are back to claiming that there has been mass confusion, however there has never been mass confusion on the 4 points of eschatological unity. Let's stick with the topic.

[Miano quoting Alan Patrick Boyd] “It is this writer’s conviction that historical precedent cannot be employed to disprove a system of belief, but only Biblical precedent. There is much error in the Fathers studied in other areas of theology (e.g., soteriology – incipient baptismal regeneration, a weak view of justification; ecclesiology – incipient sacerdotalism), so it should be no occasion for surprise that there is much eschatological error there.” - Alan Patrick Boyd
Again, this is exactly the point. While there has indeed been major disagreement in soteriology, ecclessiology and other areas of theology; eschatology remains the most consistently unified interpretation among historical Christianity. Pointing out disunity in other areas doesn't make the unity in eschatology suspect. If anything thing, it further solidifies it as accurate or at least as THE historical Christian interpretation.

SO WHY DOES GOD ALLOW THIS? As the Scriptures point out, “God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33)”, therefore we must conclude that man is the source of confusion. I personally do not hold to the view that God is behind the scenes directing everything. Granted God is in charge, but as a brother-in-Christ one pointed out to me- in the beginning God put nature into effect before He created man. There are natural events that go on in the world that are simply “acts of nature”. God gets the glory when His people seek Him but I am hard-pressed to see God as the orchestrator of everything. Although, I do believe the will of God can be/ and is expressed through all things. So…God has “allowed” men to lead the Church in error. How does He get glory out of this? His glory comes from those who desire to worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24) by seeking Him (Jeremiah 29:13), searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), studying to show themselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15), and “proving all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21)”. God is not glorified by man seeking to deify tradition over the Scriptures, especially over the direct teachings of Jesus Christ. “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and MANY enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and ONLY A FEW FIND IT (Matthew 7:13-14)”.
No one is saying God is in the business of controlling every thought of individuals, however as someone who has been a Training Supervisor over a team of 4 trainers who were tasked with training classes of 16+ people a week; had my trainers told me the entire class failed to apprehend even the basic premise of what the trainers were teaching, I would have fired those trainers as poor conveyors of the material. We are essentially being told, among many words and intellectual wrist-twisting that God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the hand-picked apostles were poor "trainers"; that their entire "class" failed to understand their basic teachings. And now along comes the Partial-Preterist and the Full Preterist; both telling us this. Yet the Partial-Preterist arbitrarily tells the Full Preterist that he goes too far. Rather, let us follow the "traditions" not of mere men, but of Christ's hand-pick men; 2 Thes 2:15. If the Christianity that has been unitedly taught since the day before and the day after AD70 is incorrect; then who are we to claim we are smarter than all else? It may be more likely that no Christianity is true. Now, that really does call someone to enter through a very, very narrow gate -- since it not only breaks with historical Christianity, it breaks with all of Christianity and says the entire thing is bogus. A frightening proposition indeed but more likely than believing God failed to convey His basic eschatological plan.

Conclusion Since it has been pointed out that the Church can and has been in error, on many topics and some topics being vital to the message of Christ, it is not farfetched to show that Full Preterism could very well be a revival of the true eschatological position expressed throughout the Scriptures.
Yet, a revival means it was once in operation. There is no indication that Christians had EVER held in mass, anything like Full Preterism. If the Full Preterist is going to claim a revival, he must show it was clearly the original position. There is no evidence of this. Rather, Christians have concluded that the true eschatological position expressed throughout Scriptures line up with the 4 points they have held in unity for over 2000 years.

Also, the fact that eschatology has only been recognized as a formal area of study in the 20th century and only recently has Full Preterism been given the floor to present its case- Full Preterism could very well be the reforming aspect of the eschatological differences in the Church. As I have endeavored to show the “historical Christianity eschatology” is a myth and the only honest way to discern this issue is to find answers in the Scriptures.
Well, it is patently untrue that eschatology has only been recognized as a formal area of study in the 20th century. So, are we to believe that not until 1901 did anyone really address theological matters? Even the often Full Preterist referenced book by J.S. Russell was published in the 1800s. Christian concerns for eschatology go back all the way to the beginning of the Church. You cannot say on one hand that there has been "organic development" toward Full Preterism and then say there hasn't really been any formal area of study of eschatology until 1901. This is akin to a person in the 3rd world claiming missions to the moon are a new thing only once his own nation starts to enter space exploration. Although I agree that Full Preterism is getting and needs to be given more attention -- right or wrong -- especially as Partial-Preterism begins to slink its way into the mainstream. The idea that Miano has shown "historical Christian eschatology is a myth" is counter to all of his various admission in his article that indeed historical Christianity has held the 4 unified points. Full Preterists are not the first to supposedly use the "only honest way to discern this issue" via the Scriptures. After all, the united historical Christian eschatological position wasn't contrived out of nothing. The position was arrived at, via discerning the Scriptures -- often by disconnected groups of Christians that came to the same position. This is significant.

Also, we can conclude that: •If futurism is an error, that doesn’t mean the Spirit “has been a failure in revealing the MEANING/INTERPRETATION of the inspired Word.” •If futurism is an error, that doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit failed to sustain “the BASIC understanding of Scripture” among the saints throughout time. •If futurism is an error, that doesn’t mean Jesus and the apostles were “ineffective conveyors/teachers of Scripture.”
What is this introduction of the word "futurism"? What is "futurism"? Rather, there is what historical Christianity has believed and taught in unity on eschatology for 2000 years and then there is whatever else other people might be teaching, which is NOT the historical Christian view. The idea of "futurism", especially as introduced here at the very end of the article as undefined is misleading. If preterism as many Full Preterists often claim is the "fulfillment in the past" then it must mean that "futurism" is then "fulfillment in the future". The problem is, there is no Christian that believes all N.T. prophecy is yet future. And I suspect, there are hardly any Full Preterists that would claim all N.T. prophecy was fulfilled in the past but that at least some prophecy continues to be fulfilled daily? Thus, the term "futurism" is meaningless. There is at best 3 classes of eschatological believers within Christianity:
  1. Historical Christian eschatology.
  2. Partial-Preterist
  3. Full Preterist
With people being varying degrees consistent or inconsistent with their position. Futurism makes no sense as a label. It merely belittles the bulk of Christians as if they are on equal footing with the Partial-Preterist and the Full-Preterist whom both espouse something radically different than that "doctrines which [we Christians] have learned". (Rom 16:17-18) Both the Partial-Preterists and the Full Preterists are eschatological "heretics"; that is even if we were a bunch of Mormons talking about Mormonism. The "heretics" of Mormonism would be the splinter groups that come along and pretend they are equal representatives of the "historical" Mormons. These splinter groups, no matter how much they claim without any evidence to be "reviving" the original Mormonism are still "heretics" within Mormonism. To say if historical Christianity is in error doesn't mean this or that about God's desire and ability, is simply word-play. It most certainly means that something went wrong. There was most certainly an expectation of Jesus' apostles to "get it" and to convey it to the Church and that the Church would sustain its basic understanding. Full Preterism, and even Partial-Preterism wants us to believe something went wrong the day after AD70 and wasn't fixed until along comes Max King in the 1970s.

The “organic development” view does hold weight in this matter and it shows that the Church has and can GROW to an understanding of things over time. Considering the fact that today as I type this, October 29, 2012, we are in the “Information Age”. We can access information anywhere, anytime and this makes learning things a bit different than other eras.
Then why can't an atheist claim that the whole thing is bogus? That there has been an era of mythology until now? Why can a Full Preterist limit how far a person can go with this premise that God has the Church developing different doctrines over time -- especially in light of the fact the Full Preterism would be radical departure from unified Christian eschatology that went before? Could it be more likely that the atheist is correct to conclude the entire "garbled mess" should be tossed in light of his "Information Age" mind?

I would dare to point out that the “conspiracy theory” view also holds substance since I personally have seen the deceit, dishonesty, and false teachings used to cover-up the truth of Full Preterism. For further emphasis, allow me to quote a writer on how and where things have gone wrong:
“…the sum and substance of apostolic eschatology was preserved and passed down through the church, without interruption, in all generations down to the present day. What was “missed” was the identification of the events of AD 70 with various prophecy-texts. That error does not constitute a “radical nosedive” or a plunging into an “abyss” or a loss of the sum and substance of either eschatology or the gospel. And remember, for most of the past 2000 years, the same theologians who missed a preterist interpretation of certain passages in the Bible, also taught that the sun revolved around the earth because of a misinterpretation of passages in the Bible. As well as numerous other errors that took reformations to correct. Like that slavery and segregation are wrong, or that laypeople have the right to read the Bible. If the people creating tradition’s futuristic expectations refused to believe the correct orientation of our world in the face of plain scientific evidence, what makes you think these guys were infallible regarding their exegesis about ‘end of the world’?”.
Here we are again, belittling the FACT that there has been unity in eschatology and instead trying to pit the disunity against that unity as if it disqualifies the unity. We can't keep doing this. Facts are Facts. There has been complete unity on these 4 eschatological points. Dishonest men will always arise but are Full Preterists now trying to imply the united Christian position on eschatology is only so because dishonest men have suppressed the supposed truth? God is a weakling indeed if this is so. By the Full Preterist premise, the new covenant seems to be no better, no more effective, no more revelatory, no more sustaining than the old under the type and shadow and behind the veil of Moses. Will there need to be a "third covenant" to replace the new covenant since it by the Full Preterist explanation it appears no better than the old?  
So…if someone is ignorant or ignores the implications of Full Preterism is this a “salvation issue”? Well, as the writer above points out- the sum and substance has always been there. Church historian Augustine illustrates this well concerning false teachings and/or understandings:
"Whoever takes another meaning out of Scripture than the writer intended, goes astray, but not through any falsehood in Scripture. Nevertheless, as I was going to say, if his mistaken interpretation tends to build up love, which is the end of the commandment, he goes astray in much the same way as a man who by mistake quits the high road, but yet reaches through the fields the same place to which the road leads. He is to be corrected, however, and to be shown how much better it is not to quit the straight road, lest, if he get into a habit of going astray, he may sometimes take cross roads, or even go in the wrong direction altogether."
Exactly. This is the reason I keep pushing for honest discussion, with Partial-Preterists and Full Preterists alike; especially since they are both using the same premises to arrive at different conclusions. They both have "quit the high road" of the united historical Christian interpretation of eschatology. But the Partial-Preterist seems to be less honest about it. The Partial-Preterist wants people to think he is still "orthodox" as if he is still traveling the straight road when in reality the Partial-Preterist road has even more turns than the more consistent Full Preterist road. I for one have NEVER dared to question the salvation of anyone. I have never said any Full Preterist is "going to hell". [Someone find a quote by me before you accuse me of this] That is not my place. We can speak about whether someone is interpreting the Scriptures in a way vacuous to historical Christian interpretation, but we cannot assume to know God's plan with an individual's ultimate salvation.  

Could the eschatological misunderstanding that is so prevalent and divisive in our day be a major player in the decline of Christian thought? I think so. Therefore, I don’t think it’s a salvation issue, but rather could become one. What do you do when the information is presented that challenges your view? We can decide to search out the matter and be like the “noble Bereans” of Acts chapter 17 and “search the Scriptures” or we can retreat to our traditions and pay no mind to the Truth. At that point, individually, yes, that could very well be a “salvation issue”. Did the Jews have a covenant with God prior to Christ- yes, but what happened when they ignored the later revelation? Romans chapter 10 illustrates this well. The times are a-changin’! I have personally proposed that “demolishing strongholds” that keep people captive to tradition or simply ignorant of Truth will be done by critical thinking. Let us continue to seek God in Spirit and Truth. In Christ, Michael Miano
First, what "eschatological misunderstanding" is prevalent today? Again, even today across all the disparate expressions of Christianity; there is STILL unity for the 4 eschatological points. Typically, in the Church when doctrinal crisis arose, the effect was a solidifying of the doctrine already believed. The concept of Trinity for example, despite what Partial-Preterist Sam Frost says, didn't come about through Arius' heresy. There has been no "organic development" in the Church as far as introduction to completely new doctrines. Rather, Jesus came during His earthly ministry; taught His hand-picked apostles for 3 years, then sent them the Holy spirit to guide them in inspiration to be the foundation of the Church; to pass down the "traditions" of Christianity and to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) -- not keep finding unseen doctrines hundreds and even thousands of years later that contradict everything Christianity has believed and taught. What does the Full Preterist say to the 2000 years of "noble Bereans" that have already searched out the Scriptures and in unison concluded that correct eschatological interpretation is that which is the same as has been for 2000 years? Why must there always be "change"? Why not a "holdfast" to the true things? Are Full Preterists saying there is a "latter revelation" beyond what 2000 years of Christians before and after AD70 concluded spoke of the 4 eschatological points? This doesn't sound like "organic development"; it sounds like something radically different than Christianity. Something other than Christianity. Times may change, but God's Word doesn't change. When His people approach it, interpret it, understand it; are we to believe it changes to something radically different than how it was understood before? I want to thank Michael Miano for his invitation and gracious interaction. I am not personally hostile to him or even to most Full Preterists, as I find them more "honest" than many Partial-Preterists; especially those who follow Talbot. While I can understand why they might conclude, at least in a historical vacuum that Scriptures teach something different than how 2000 years of Christianity has interpreted it; it doesn't change the fact that right or wrong historical Christianity and Full Preterism (and Partial-Preterism) are not the same thing.

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