Monday, November 25, 2013

Redirectionalism: An Alternative to Full Preterism?


Every so often, a former Full Preterist will contact me to discuss where they landed after they left the movement. This is always difficult because I want to be mindful and tactful. After all, they left the heresy of "hyperpreterism". But the problem is, is that they don't always end up in a better place. Just look what happened to the Talbotites with their lives in ashes. A fellow by the name of Donald Perry wrote me a few weeks ago to discuss a book he wrote called Redirectionalism Volume 1-2. Perry warned me that his writing style is difficult to follow, but he graciously sent me his book anyway. When I received the book, I was eager to get right to it. But Perry wasn't kidding about the difficult structure. Unlike most books, where the context builds on the pretext, which builds on the table of contents; Perry's book has no discernible table of contents. It isn't until page 27 where I could follow some amount of structure in his Question/Answer format. Apparently, these are questions he has been asked throughout the years. But even here, there is no sequential order.


 But let me leave off critiquing the structure; after all, Perry warned me. I sifted through the first few pages to see if I could find a summary of what is meant by Redirectionalism. From what I could gather, Perry is trying to say that even if some or all of the prophecies in the New Testament were originally for the audience of that time, we Christians in this time and times since AD70 should redirect or apply much of that to ourselves. Perry says as much on pages 27-28;

"We are not the firstfruits, but man has not changed and neither has God, therefore the same warnings now apply to us that applied to them in Revelation 1:3"
 In phone conversations, Perry inferred that his Redirectionalism is a form Idealism. On page 28 he states the question; "How do you define Idealism?" and then begins his answer like this:

"I would not define it in the way Christianity has defined it thus far."

This is a problem. It is like a person being asked to define a 3 pointer in basketball and them starting off by saying they would not define it in the way the NBA has defined it thus far.

While Perry is a likable fellow, and again I want to be careful not to offend people leaving the heresy of hyperpreterism; we can see that Perry is still plagued by the kind of thinking that allowed him to get hooked by hyperpreterism in the first place. It is this almost rabid, and dare I say dangerously arrogant need or desire to claim we can define things differently than they are normally defined. Or specifically to hyperpreterism; to interpret things radically different than "Christianity has interpreted it thus far".  Who do we think we are?

I'm all for a person NOT being a mere sheeple follower of some loud-mouth preacher/pastor who may know less about the Bible and Christian history than the average person, BUT I'm not for some lone-ranger ignoring all of Christianity and claiming they know better than that. And before anyone quotes it; Martin Luther's exchange with Johann Eck was NOT about Luther going against all the Church.  Luther was going only against Papalism, not against all of Christianity. So, when I say we should not go against all of Christianity, I mean all of it.  I mean that we MUST believe that Jesus and the apostles were effectively able to convey the basics of what they wanted Christians to know and believe. And that Christians before, during and after AD70 did know and believe those basics.

Hyperpreterism MUST dismantle this notion that Jesus, the apostles and the Holy Spirit have guided Christianity in the basics. Hyperpreterism must claim that something went wrong; that people were dumb or corrupt or even as hyperpreterist Ed Stevens says; raptured in the first century, leaving only the weak and unknowing Christians behind.  In this way, hyperpreterists try to give an answer for why NO ONE before Max King really taught anything like hyperpreterism.

Back to Perry's book.


Much of Perry's Question/Answer pages, while far more readable than other parts, still are very unorganized. Further, many of the answers are thin on content and seem more as sheer opinion. However if a reader wades through, you will pick up pieces such as the following on page 31:

Question: "Is it necessary to clearly understand Preterism in order to rightly understand Idealism?"
Answer: "It is impossible to fully understand why we are right about Redirectionalism, and its Futurist arguments, unless one is able to understand the weight of Consistent Preterist arguments."

This is important as it shows that Perry's Redirectionalism is in fact built on Full Preterism. As he says, it is impossible to fully understand his views unless one is able to understand [Full Preterism]. Maybe he means that to understand how he reached this point, one must understand what he went through -- Full Preterism.


I fear what has happened to Perry is what often happens to many former Full Preterists; they latch on to or build some other ism. We see this with Kenneth Talbot's Realized Preterism which he proffered to give Sam Frost and other Talbotites something to shift to as they supposedly left the movement.

It seems that these former Full Preterists also hold on to false premises as well; such as saying there is a thing called "Futurist/Futurism".  In reality there is no such thing as Futurism versus Preterism -- all Christians believe some N.T. prophecies are yet future, and some are past.  It is only the hyperpreterists whom place themselves outside of Christianity by saying ALL is past. By claiming there is a dichotomy of Futurists versus Preterists, the Preterists attempt to position Christianity as a mere subset and as if Preterism has always been an equal part of Christianity. This is not so.  Preterism; in the sense that people like Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry and Talbot put it forth, is just a new and novel as hyperpreterism -- in fact maybe even newer since at least hyperpreterism started about 1970 with Max King. The current version of "partial-preterism" came into being about the 1990s as more of a synthesis or compromise with hyperpreterism.

Indeed, forms of preterism or at least preteristic thought existed before 1970 and 1990, but we're talking about the current movement. The "preterism" of the 1600-1800s never was much a movement.


Perry clearly states in several places that his Redirectionalism is offered in opposition to Preterism. However, on page 33, Perry references books by "partial-preterists" and Full Preterists as "similar works" as Redirectionalism and even tells us "they are very helpful in seeing the need for and in some cases explaining the doctrine."

On page 49, Perry makes it clear that he continues to hold the Full Preterist idea that the physical world will remain.  He says:

"If we carefully read the Bible, we find that these verses about the Last Days are foremost speaking of the destruction of the old covenant world, foremost in that generation of Jesus Christ."
So, like Realized Preterism or the views of Full Preterist John Noe or Kelly Birks whom both claim they aren't actually Full Preterists, we see that Perry too has not really moved away from Full Preterism. He has kept much of the guts of the belief and simply renamed, and redirected it.


I'm sorry that I could not be more kind to Perry's Redirectionalism, but I found it too much like Full Preterism to make much of a difference. It seemed like on page 62 Perry advocated for a future Resurrection of the believers, but even J.S. Russell advocated something like this.

Redirectionalism seems more like a private conversation between Perry and himself; trying to work his way out of Full Preterism. He certainly re-inserts the idea of "already-not-yet" into his views.  On page 384, the last page, he even states:

"Is He [Jesus] coming? Again Christ reminds us He comes quickly. Let us never suppose that Christ is not coming. Will we be ready to meet Him? These are the last verses for us to remember."

So, while Perry clearly has Jesus coming again, so does Noe, who has Jesus coming multiple times in multiple ways, but with no real culmination to the plan of God.

My suggestion would be that no one tarry too long on any replacement ism for Full Preterism. Instead, move to be part of historical Christianity as believed and taught by the bulk of Christians throughout history. There is no need to come up with a new idea. Christ has not failed us. The apostles have not failed us. The Holy Spirit has not failed us. They all conveyed exactly what they wanted us to believe before, during and after AD70. We do not need another Max King to tell us Christianity got it wrong any more than we need a Joseph Smith Jr. to claim it. We don't need a Don Preston to pretentiously claim he is just following Jesus when in reality he is ignoring that Christianity was DESIGNED to be a collective -- not a lone-ranger, private interpreter's musing.

It is time to undo the damage that was done first by the Dispensationalists (whom are what Preterists really mean by "Futurists") and also undo the damage being done both by the so-called Partial-Preterists like DeMar, Gentry, and Talbot and the Full or Hyperpreterists like Preston, Stevens, and Noe.

Perry has told me that he has revised this book several times, even deleting several chapters at a time.  This should tell him something. That as I said, this book is merely his working himself out of Full Preterism. The problem is, there are so few places where solid eschatology is being taught, where do people go? Instead, it seems people are left to create personal "isms" to try to answer the questions they have. Dispensationalism has so twisted what Christianity originally taught and believed about eschatology, and then come the preterists of all kinds who make it sound like that the Church never had a unified eschatology; we cannot blame men like Perry who wants to settle these issues in their own minds.  Oh, Lord God, I pray that You help us navigate these issues and get back to what Jesus, the apostles and the Holy Spirit conveyed in the pages of the Bible; minus both the Dispensationalist and Preterist spin.  In Your Name, So be it!


Anonymous said...


Very Good review.

"Reductionalism" is just another theory much like "Left Behind" by Dispensationalist's LaHaye and Jenkins as well as the equally if not more deceiving HyperPreterISM by Max King, Preston and cohorts.

This doctrines results from not acknowledging the sovereignty of God in guiding Historic Christianity.

It's forcing their preconcieve notion about the verses of the scriptures to conform to their belief and will do so at all cost even if the word is crystal clear.

They allegorize the literal and Literalize the allegorical.

"Psalm 104:5" - Is symbolic from a human perspective that the "FOUNDATIONS" of the Earth seems to last forever, but not in Gods perspective as of Psalm 102:25-26 and II Peter 3:10 which clearly says the Earth will be destroyed and be made new. Yet Hyper Preterist believe that the earth will not end just because of the faulty and wrong understanding and in order to force those verses to match a NON future culmination but just 70AD "All things Fulfilled."

Yet when a symbolic context appeared that will comply to their agenda, they don't hesitate to literalize the symbolic meaning.

Revelations 11:8 "the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. "

They say it's Jerusalem because It's the Place where Jesus is crucified, yet the verse is very clear that The Great City is a SYMBOLIC City, not a literal city where the Lord was crucified as they imply as Jerusalem.

We are so glad. There is still a blogger like you who can clearly see through the filter of both Dispensationlism and HyperPreterism, which both are made up from the desire to be unique from historic Christianity.

GodBless. Christianity Triumphs!

Roderick_E said...

Shortly after I posted this review and directed Donald Perry to it, I received several emails from Mr. Perry in a row; all hostile.

In the emails he accused me of saying his conclusions were the same as Full Preterism. Well, it is clear even from the title of my article, even using the words "alternative to" that I did NOT say or even imply his conclusions were the same as FPism. As a matter of fact, I cited him as saying a person must understand FPism to understand his view -- thus my claim is his view is BUILT ON FPism.

The problem is, Perry is angry because my review wasn't favorable. Further, he tries to say I haven't read his book, when I most certainly did. He is also upset because I have a policy based on Mt 5:37 where a person's word is the same in both public and private. Elsewhere, Perry has said, and I quote: "What I say privately is not the same thing that I say publically" That is quite an admission. So, now I even feel more compelled to share what Perry has said to me on the phone.

For instance, Perry complains on his blog that I misrepresent him when I noted he said he deleted entire chapters of his book. He claims it was only because the chapters duplicated other chapters. However, on the phone he said he has also restored chapters previously deleted. So, was he just deleting duplication or not?

I'm sorry Perry has become so hostile. My wife wants me to get a P.O. Box from now on.

Lastly, Perry on his blog tries to take me to task, saying I am confused about the differences between Full Preterism and Hyperpreterism. He says that Ed Stevens and John Noe aren't Hyperpreterists. Obviously Perry doesn't realize that I was using the term FPism and Hyperpreterism interchangeably. Of course Stevens and Noe are Hyperpreterists. All the books against hyperpreterism mention these men specifically. Perry seems to be so caught up on developing his own "ism" that he doesn't really know what is going on.

Again, I'm sorry he became so offended, but my review was honest and forthright. If he wanted a pat-review, perhaps he should have sent it to the people he said he had in the past, who simply told him; "they liked it". Not much of a review in that.

Roderick_E said...

Follow up

Anonymous said...

Hello, I've stumbled upon your blog after having come in contact with DJP on a Christian forum. I know this is a couple months after the fact, but I hope you still read these comments.

I have, in the past two years, believed in Preterism. I began to study it and am completely fixated on Matthew 24 and Luke 21 as a sort of web I am caught in. I see what others are saying about Preterism and how it is so far from Orthodox Christianity, but I keep coming back to the context of Matthew and Luke.. Herod's temple. I feel trapped in this view and cannot see the narrow channel by which I must escape. Is there something I am just completely missing concerning the fulfilling of "all things written" during the "days of vengeance" when the armies would compass the city and level all within it? If so, I would surely like to find it.

I was originally asking DJP what verses he sees that indicate a future coming in light of the context at hand and how he is able to separate them from that which is past. I asked this because he seemed to indicate that he was looking for a future coming of Christ.

He explained to me that there is no real justification for Partial Preterism, that once you say things are in the past you fall head-long into Hyper-Preterism. I didn't quite grasp his answer, so I began to google. I came across something he wrote about Redirectionalism. He implied that a Preterist negates the need for Jesus and the apostles, the Bible itself and all the wisdom in it.. since if all is past we are outside of that world to which the Scriptures actually meant something. That struck a chord for me, because the nagging feeling I've had since coming to this eschatological view is "what's left for me?" I mean, what can I take for me, really, in the word of God.. what applies? I feel a sense of hopelessness even though I tell myself my hope is in Heaven. Anyhow, he continues writing that if Preterism were true, we are in our own (totally separate) dispensation. And that renders the whole Bible pretty much useless.

All this said, my main question for you is, where can I find out more about what the church has believed about the end times? I mean, true, orthodox beliefs. I guess I'm desperate, I feel trapped in something that I don't want to believe but cannot find a way out when it comes to my understanding of how the Scriptures fit together. I suppose I have watched one too many Preston videos.

I know God's grace is greater than all my error, but I think that how we view these things is very important. I have kids and I cannot even talk to them about this subject for fear of bringing them into the web. End-times talk is off the table around here. Yet I talk to many people on forums and though I think I originally start the conversation because I hope that they will prove me wrong in some instance, the more I share my interpretation of the word, the more I become convinced of it. It's a vicious cycle.

I need serious help. Please pray for me, that the Lord would grant me forgiveness for anyone I've lead into error, and insight into His word so that I might find that "passage out" that I seek.

I hope I've made some sense in all this, it is late in the evening. Thank you for your time.


Roderick_E said...

@JG - I am humbled and extremely honored that you have come here to try to get of this "vicious cycle trap" of Full Preterist reasoning. I am a bit fearful of the awesomeness of the task. I can sense in your words the complexity of the issue. Indeed, I've been there before and obviously was part of the vicious cycle for a long time, which caused massive destruction in my life and in others around me.

I am hopeful that you are not as far along and therefore we can "undo" the damage that has been done to you and the ones you love.

Because of the dire situation and extreme importance of your request, I do not want to merely shoot off a short answer. Please allow me a few days to compile and author a more structured reply that I pray to our Lord will help "cure" you of the mess that FPism often makes of people's lives. But before I end this comment, I want you to know that FPism SEEMS "logical" and "biblical" so it is not that you have been duped easily. Let's work to get you out of this vicious cycle. Agreed?

Roderick_E said...

P.S. No offense to Donald Perry, but his writing simply confuses people more, especially since he is trying to provide a personalized (a new) alternative to FPism. Why not just provide people with solid, historical/orthodox Christianity -- the "ancient faith". :-)

Roderick_E said...

@ JG here is my answer to your post, in case you didn't see it.