Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Before You Get Deeper Into Full Preterism

So, you have come into contact with Full Preterism.  Maybe at first you thought to yourself or even openly declared that it is a nutty, heretical belief. But then you began interacting more and more with Full Preterists and well....secretly you started thinking, "Wow, it makes sense and is logical".  You began to ask "what if questions".  You began to openly interact with Full Preterists, even sounding like you support it.  You asked your pastor or some theologically-minded friends what they think about it but they either didn't even understand what it is or gave lame responses.

Now here you are.  You think you might be...a closet Full Preterist.  Or maybe you aren't so quiet about it.  You are about ready to go all in and take the plunge.  You are ready to get deeper into Full Preterism.  However, you wonder if there is anything out there that can keep you from getting in too deep.



Hello, my name is Roderick Edwards. I was a Full Preterist for about 15 years until about 2007.  All the things I listed above is how I got into it.  I wasn't trying to be a rebel or thinking too highly of my Bible reading skills.  For sure, there are some people -- whether its religion, politics or whatever who seem to think they are...well...God's gift to whatever it is they think of themselves to be the "expert".  For those kind of people,  there is little hope; for they are truly wise in their own eyes. (Proverbs 12:15)

WHY FULL PRETERISM SEEMS TO MAKE SENSE
First, the reason Full Preterism seems to make so much sense is that we often are comparing it to our latent Dispensationalistic interpretations.  Even if you aren't a Dispensationalist -- Modern American Christianity is framed in Dispensationalism.  But if you take some time to look at historical Christian commentaries say before the 1800s, you will find that most of historical Christianity ALREADY understood that the events at AD70 had acute theological significance.

Once you realize that Full Preterism has co-opted (stolen) what historical Christianity believes anyway, yet Full Preterism turned it into something else you will begin to find your way back to shore.

For example, here are a few historical Christian commentaries on the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24/Mk 13/Lk 21) -- the key "proof-texts" for Full Preterists.

ADAM CLARKE 1831
"This chapter contains a prediction of the utter destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, and the subversion of the whole political constitution of the Jews; and is one of the most valuable portions of the new covenant Scriptures, with respect to the evidence which it furnishes of the truth of Christianity." -- source

JOHN CALVIN 1550s
"Hence, too, we ought to learn that no particular time is here fixed, as if the last day were to follow in immediate succession those events which were just now foretold; for the believers long ago experienced the fulfillment of those predictions which we have now examined, and yet Christ did not immediately appear. But Christ had no other design than to restrain the apostles, who were disposed to fly with excessive eagerness to the possession of the heavenly glory, and to show them the necessity of patience;" -- source

MARTIN LUTHER 1530s
"All this pertains still to the Jewish nation. For if this should come upon us at the end of the world, then would we, according to the text, have to be in the land of Judea, because he really points to that country. It is also true, when he says that no greater calamity has been or can be upon the earth than was at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; as we see in history, how unmercifully they were slaughtered and even killed one another, cast themselves into the fire, and permitted themselves to kill one another. Yea, the famine was so great that they ate the strings of cross-bows and even their own children. It was so shameful and abominable that like pity and distress shall never be heard again." -- source

The point is, neither Full Preterists or Partial Preterists were the first to understand many of the Olivet Discourse passages pertained to the events around AD70.

GOD IS IN CONTROL
The first thing you must do to keep yourself from falling into ANY heresy -- Full Preterism, Mormonism or any such thing is to realize and acknowledge that God is in control.  This means realizing that His Will is going according to plan. Full Preterism MUST get its adherents to believe one of 2 things:

1. The Church hasn't properly understood God's basic eschatological plan for over 2000 years.
2. The Church has suppressed God's basic eschatological plan for over 2000 years.

Either way, this undermines God.  I've actually had some preterists (both Full and Partials) tell me that; "So, the Jews didn't understand God for all that time so why is it such a leap that the Christians didn't".

Here's the difference -- the Old Covenant was SHADOW and TYPE.  The New Covenant is Revelation and fulfillment. The New Covenant isn't like the old -- behind the veil of Moses.  If the situation is no different than it was in the Old Covenant then we have bigger problems.

Think about it.  Jesus hand-picked apostles to found the Church -- a collective, not just a bunch of individuals coming to private interpretations.  See Eph 2:20. 2 Thessalonians 2:15. 2 Thessalonians 3:6.  What Full Preterists want us to believe is that shortly after the last apostle died, the Church either forgot or corrupted their message...for 2000 years. Yet Full Preterists want us to believe their version of "god" is in control.

GET OUT OF THE DEEP
Psalms 69:14-15 speaks of deliverance from the deep, from the mire.  If a person is going to avoid getting sucked into the sloshing mud pit of falsehood, they must rely upon the Lord. The "logic" of man can only go so far; after all many of the deepest sayings in the Bible at first appear to be "contradictions" -- How can the first be last and last be first? How can people never die even when they do die?

A Full Preterist of notoriety named Sam Frost was trained at the same seminary that trained Ken Gentry.  Both Frost and Gentry claimed to be using "logic", "reason" and "exegesis" to come to their conclusions.  Both claimed to be employing the methods they were taught at the seminary.  But something happened -- Frost eventually LEFT FULL PRETERISM.  How can that be? What about all his "logic", "reason" and "exegesis"???  The point is, you MUST start with trusting the Lord.  His plan is NOT failing.  Full Preterism is NOT the genie it claims to be, no matter how much "sense" it seems to make at first.

If I could recommend one book to a person grappling with Full Preterism or any heresy, it would be:
The Shape of Sola Scriptura
Why not a book against Full Preterism??  Because a person MUST understand that Scripture is not a football to be tossed around by people like the radical individualistic Full Preterists.  They often fancy themselves as new Reformers, as little Martin Luthers taking on the big, bad "mother church".  They like to call people "creedalists" and "Roman Catholics" whenever a person cites that historical Christianity all agreed on the most basic tenets of the Christian Faith.  It is the Full Preterist, like the Mormons, the JWs, and even the Muslims who have come along and tried to tell the world that "God didn't say..." and then they go on to tell you what they claim God has said about something.

Dear reader, you MUST be ready to trust the Lord Jesus Christ -- not in some feel good way only.  Not in some intellectual way only -- but in a way that says; "God is in control".  To be a Christian -- in the context of community means you must believe what Christians have always believed.  Again, otherwise it is like an American claiming they are in the community of Americans but yet they believe in communism.  It is not possible.  So, I urge you to read that book from cover to cover.  I urge you to pray much.  I urge you to get back into your Bible.  I urge you to get back into the Church -- the community of Christians.  Then the Lord will certainly put foundation under the place you're standing (under-standing).  Psalms 69:2 into 2 Tim 2:19.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your passion and the time you are taking to help people out of this heresy. It is not easy, but keep on fighting and telling people that Preterism is wrong, because there are not many who can come against it with authority as you can. Like any doctrinal error, it can temporarily sound smooth and good and it can stump the traditional Christian, but with your help, we can put into words why this has to be called out as biblical heresy. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Been studing for 3 years....but starting to see the slick hair used car salesmen in some of the leaders of the movement......thanks for the post....will buy the book...

Anonymous said...

A blog post explaining how full preterism is an attack on the faith in accordance with I Corinthians 15 and II Timothy 2:18 might be helpful.

Roderick_E said...

Hi there, in 2016 I will go back through comments like this one and write articles based on the requests. Thanks much