Thursday, January 17, 2013

Do Full Preterists Have Creeds?

Since, theologically speaking a "creed" is merely a stated belief or interpretation on some religious claim; Full Preterists do in FACT "creedalize" every time they write a book or even publish an article or podcast, or mp3 about what they believe.  But perhaps the most specific Full Preterist creed comes in the form of a document released in 2001. The document was penned by several Full Preterists but namely John Noe. It is called The 9.5 Theses for the Next Reformation -- playing on the 95 points that Martin Luther posed to the Roman Catholic Church in 1517.

The 9.5 Theses in effect the most unified position of Full Preterism to date because it is signed by many of the main leaders of the movement.

John Noe, Don Preston, Ed Stevens, David Curtis and William Bell just to mention a few.

If ever, there was a document that could be pointed to that we could say represents the Full Preterist "creed", this document is it.

The problem is, many of the newer Full Preterists have no idea this document exists. Some of the new Full Preterists may even like to ignore or not deal with this document. They will want to rehash what "they" believe rather than answer for their predecessors proclamations. To do so ignores there is historical continuity (an issue among Full Preterism as it is anyhow). Why should we have to clear the slate every time some new person comes along and begins to espouse Full Preterism? Why not look at what Full Preterists before them had to say; especially those as unified as apparently the signatories of this document had to be.  Why should we wait for a new Full Preterist to address these issues when men and women who'd been Full Preterists longer had already addressed these issues.

So, yes. Full Preterists DO have creeds. This specific creed says some revealing things with which all Full Preterists must interact.  For example, point #1 says:

"Everything Jesus said would happen, happened exactly as and when He said it would—within the lifetime of his contemporaries."

What does "everything" constitute? Why is any Full Preterist applying anything to anyone beyond the year AD70? If "everything" happened within the life time of Jesus' contemporaries, then what is left to happen?

Some Full Preterists have answered that the "effects" of the "start" of the new covenant are now affecting people. Really? How is this any different than what the so-called "futurists" claim in their "already-not-yet" scheme. It seems like such an answer by the Full Preterists simply adopts the "futurist" concept and re-applies it to them.

Using the Full Preterist premise of "all is fulfilled", and that the covenant was being applied to the "covenantal people", wouldn't it be more consistent to say that everything was leading up to an AD70 culmination and that as often appears; humans outside the covenantal people/elect/sons of Abraham are now left to their own devices?  I mean, if Christianity as it has been believed, taught and practiced for the last 2000 years is bogus; as point #7 of the Full Preterist creed implies, then maybe it is because "Christianity" only applied to those who WERE "coming into Christ" until the Culmination in AD70.  Now, those souls live eternally with Christ, the earthly kingdom; the earthly Jerusalem now translated into the heavenly -- the planet earth is left to fend for itself because the rest of us were never part of the covenantal plan.  Frightening, isn't it?

Yes, it is so frightening that even Full Preterists MUST try to push back. Don Preston has even called this possible Full Preterist interpretation; "racist".  Well, didn't God pick a peculiar people to be "His people" per many verses in the Bible (ref).  Of course, even the Bible says genetics wasn't an automatic "in" to the covenant Elect; but it was certainly the first criteria. 1 Pet 2:9 even uses the words "chosen generation" as if to limit to the last generation before the culmination.  If the immediate audience, or the "contemporaries" of Jesus as the Full Preterist creed calls them were the chosen generation; then by what logic does a Full Preterist use "gimmicks" or "gymnastics" (as point #7 claims) to elasticize this application beyond that generation?

How is it honest for a Full Preterist to tell Christians they can't have Jesus ALREADY victorious, and ALREADY King, and ALREADY having conquered sin and death -- AND having future application, YET the Full Preterist himself then turns around and basically does the same thing against verses like 1 Pet 2:9?

If the Full Preterist is going to cite the Christian's adherence to the historical Christian creeds in our attempt to understand how Christians before us interpreted the Bible; we should also be able to hold the new Full Preterists to the creeds of their Full Preterist predecessors.

Can newer Full Preterists distance themselves from these Full Preterist creeds? Sure, but they must first explain how they are able. They must either develop something else or explain why they are not the same as these Full Preterists who came before them and did more work on proclaiming their beliefs.

If it is right (and I believe it is) to hold men like Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry to their inconsistencies and hold them to the inconsistencies of their fellow "Partial-Preterists", then too it is right to hold newer Full Preterists to the inconsistencies or poorly articulated "creeds" of their forebearers.

I'm done with all this back and forth between the "Partial-Preterists" and "Full Preterists" -- it is time for BOTH groups to get consistent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Roderick for interesting news about what is going on in preterism. You mention generation (Greek genos G1085) in 1 Peter 2:9. I would have thought that this is used differently in the NT from the generation (Greek genea G1074) found in the typical FP texts e.g. Matthew 24:34.