Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Life After Full Preterism

While I was a full preterist I would argue that people who leave that perspective really have no place to go. I mean, if per full preterism it is the full revelation of God's Word; then what happens if you leave that revelation? Do you go back to something "partially revealed/fulfilled"?  Do you conclude that since Christianity apparently got eschatology wrong for 2000 years, if full preterism is wrong; then Christianity itself is a sham and you become an atheist? I just couldn't see what life after full preterism looked like.

Some full preterists argue that to be consistent, a person MUST either be a full preterist or a Roman Catholic.  This is almost the original Roman Catholic position in reverse where the a person would be considered a "heretic" unless they were Roman Catholic.  Martin Luther challenged this idea when his professor Andreas Karlstadt proposed it. Luther asked how the entire Greek/Eastern Orthodox Church could be considered heretics considering they were even older than the Roman Catholic Church.  Karlstadt had no answer and the rest is history even with Karlstadt becoming more radical than Luther.

So, what happens to people when they "leave full preterism"?  Do they become more liberal? Do they become atheists? Roman Catholics? "Partial-Preterists"?  The next stop after full preterism is varied, but many people once they have spent time passionately believing and espousing full preterism and then leave it are never really the same.  How could they be, after all they were so certain they finally found the truth. How could they return to the "lie" or at least a half-truth of "futurism"?


Perhaps the biggest question for former full preterists is what do they do with the time texts? It seems so clear that the Bible is teaching about a soon/at hand coming of Jesus so do we just forget about all that?
No, but the problem is that we have applied the false full preterist premise/narrative to the time texts.  There is no denying the imminent tone of the time texts, however the question should be what does the Bible mean when it talks about Jesus' "coming".  If you're keen, you will pick up on how many full preterists (and Left-Behinders) will use the words "coming" and "return" interchangeably.  Therein is the problem.  Jesus WAS about to/at hand/soon/shortly/within the disciples' generation "come" -- but that is NOT a return to earth.

Compare Dan 7:13-15 to Matt 26:64 and you will see what I'm talking about. Jesus was "coming" into glory and vindication as the Messiah.  He was "about to come in/on/with" the clouds TO the Father/Ancient of Days/God.  And this is exactly how the bulk of Christianity has understood the time texts...until the Dispensationalists came along and until the full or hyperpreterist over-reaction to Left Behind Dispensationalism.


While I've known and seen some former full preterists become functional atheists, even if they still claim to be "Christian" or I have seen them latch on to another "ism" such as Sam Frost and Jason Bradfield latching onto Talbotism; there really is no need to be tossed to and fro.  Full Preterism was not the last stop in theology, as a matter of fact it was a serious and erroneous detour that was leading people into the ghetto of religion where the players make up their own rules (such as rules of interpretation), and where you are likely to be violently accosted by its adherents if you don't behave the way they expect you should.

Just get back to historic Christianity -- the Christianity BEFORE all the Dispensationalism Left Behindism with all its rapturous people floating through the air and its constant  embarassing date setting. Get back to historic Christianity BEFORE all of Partial-Preterist incestuous good-ole boy clubs with their propping up of each other's inconsistent theology that actually leads people to hyperpreterism. Get back to historic Christianity BEFORE the radical individualism and over (ie hyper) reactionism of hyperpreterism where every person seems to have a "private interpretation" that is outside the scope of anything that has ever been considered Christianity.

I urge you reader, to take a minimal approach where your personal "creed" is the very minimum of all Christian creeds -- and creed simply means belief, or a statement of belief. Ask yourself what you believe on the minimal questions within Christianity? Questions such as:

  1. The infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible as represented by the overall translations.
  2. The nature and effect of the Fall on humanity
  3. Human Freewill vs God's Sovereignty
  4. Jesus' nature (fully man and fully God)
  5. The concept of the Trinity
  6. The Kingdom's present state/effect

Get these things pinned down and see how your personal creed compares to the bulk of historic Christianity before latching on to other things. So many people are ready to "run on ahead" 2 John 1:9 before they even know what they're talking about.  If your personal creed/beliefs are out of sync with historic Christianity, then you probably aren't "Christian" -- and no, I'm not talking about whether you are saved or not -- that's between you and God.  If your beliefs are radically different than the bulk of Christianity, then you are no more "Christian" than a person born and living in America claiming to be an American while they are espousing open Communism.  Communism is NOT an American belief anymore than hyperpreterism is a Christian belief.

So, there is life after full preterism if you don't latch onto some other ism or fall into atheism.  Be a Christian!


vic said...

Hi Roderick,

Christ is TRULY God and TRULY Man. Historic church confessions do not call Him fully God and fully man for reasons consistent with Athanasius and the early creeds.



Westminster Confession
Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator

II. ... Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.

Belgic Confession
Article 19: The Two Natures of Christ
These are the reasons why we confess him to be true God and true man -- true God in order to conquer death by his power, and true man that he might die for us in the weakness of his flesh.

Heidelberg Catechism

Question 15. What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?

Answer: For one who is very man, and perfectly righteous; and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God.

Augsburg Confession

Article III: Of the Son of God.

Also they teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that there are two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably enjoined in one Person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.

Roderick_E said...

Thanks Vic, while it is an important distinction to help keep people from "blending" Christ and God to the point of having no distinction between the Son and the Father; there is an equal error in dividing the connection between Son and Father so much that some people see Jesus as merely imbued with God-like power.

In fact, this is the error of the Antiochenes -- so much separating the natures of Christ that they end up making Him a divinely imbued human or a humanly imbued god.

Further, as I mention Sam Frost and Jason Bradfield in this article and their mentor; Kenneth Talbot who himself teaches an unclear version of Nestorianism, saying, and I quote;

"Jesus of Nazareth is NEVER a part of the Trinity. He is the body that was prepared by God to receive the Son through the incarnation of the virgin birth. Those two exist in that hypostatic union, in which they're never blended. The trinity is one thing. The Godhead of the Trinity is spirit, does not have body and parts like man. The man Christ Jesus is a man." -- see:

So, again Vic; while I appreciate the carefulness of distinguishing the natures of Christ by using the words very or truly over the word fully; it is the word fully that captures that paradox that God manifested Himself in human form to take upon the sins of the world; being tempted in every way as we, yet maintaining His divine Godhood. Heb 4:15

I urge people to read and consider your comments since they are indeed wise. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Rod,
What exactly does fully God and fully man mean? Was Jesus a man before the incarnation? Somehow I doubt the historic confessions confirm that. And if not, then you have a God who can change His nature. So much for the doctrine of immutability... However the Creator of man must have something of that nature residing within, else how could He create that of which He knows nothing? The Trinity doctrine is not the end all creed you suppose either - which is my point. And if there is room for further definition in that creed, then NO creed has the final answer. Not that you can't hang with what you do believe, only that you might want to give the same credence to those who don't feel the need to keep within your box.

Scripture does not require your creedal box - The Lord our God is one Lord - and that was the confession of Jesus himself. It is more than enough for any of us who understand that Jesus is Lord.