Monday, August 31, 2015

Interviewed By a Preterist

On August 23rd 2015 I was interviewed by preterist, Corey Shultz. The written interview is as follows:

Corey Shultz
Roderick Edwards, Thank you for interviewing with me today. To start, how long have you been a Christian, and how long have you been studying the bible?
Roderick Edwards
While like most Christians I was somewhat raised "Christian", neither of my parents were Christians. At age 16, in 1984 I was struggling with life questions, as many teens do. I contemplated suicide. I figured it was important to figure out if God is "real". Oddly enough, I found a brand new Bible in a cabinet in my dad's basement, apparently left there by previous occupants. I began to read it like any other book; from the beginning.

The Bible can't be read like any other book. It seemed like a lot of bloody animal sacrificing and evil people, so I skipped ahead to the N.T. There I read about the serpent raised on the pole, that anyone looking upon it was healed (Numbers 21:8-9) compared to Jesus lifted up on a pole and anyone who looks upon Him is healed.
Anyhow, I repented of not just individual sins, but my sinful nature. Jesus is the bloody sacrifice; the innocent thing dying for the guilty. I became a Christian that day and have been a follower ever since.
Corey Shultz
At what age did you come to Preterism, and how long did you hold to the Preterist hermeneutic?
Roderick Edwards
Like most American Christians, I was greatly exposed to the Dispensational mindset, with its Rapture and End-times fervor. While never actually identifying as a Dispensationalist, I certainly had some of that within me. By the early 1990s, I was Reformed; attending the Reformed Presbyterian congregation in my area. I began to read more Reformed commentaries. John Owen's "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ" is perhaps the book that most pushed me toward investigating alternate end-times views. I mean, in Dispensationalism, we are taught final Death hasn't been dealt with yet.
Anyhow, not being grounded enough and using the Internet, I came across folks like Ed Stevens and John Noe. I began to participate in the premiere Preterist website of the 1990s; Planet Preterist and was very active. I participated in online audio chat forums such as PalTalk. I was a "Full Preterist" for about 15 years. Until about 2007.
Corey Shultz
Was there a specific brand of Preterism you believed in such as Covenant Eschatology, Universalism, or Israel Only?
Roderick Edwards
During the 1990s, the kind of Full Preterism most people follow today was just coming into being; that is from the 1970s to the 1990s most people who were preterists were some sort of Max King/Church of Christ/Covenant Eschatology advocates. The shift happened when there was a meeting in Dora Florida between partial preterists; R.C. Sproul Sr, Kenneth Gentry and full preterist Max King. Ed Stevens was also there and jockeyed for attention. There was a falling out between Max King and Stevens and Stevens, although a Church of Christ fellow- split with Max King and Stevens began promoting John Noe's books.
Anyhow, I was never a Covenant Eschatology advocate. I was more of the so-called Reformed Full Preterists or perhaps Evangelical Full Preterists.
Corey Shultz
In 2007 you left the Preterist movement, in detail what occurred in order for that to happen?
Roderick Edwards
Well, unlike it is sometimes portrayed from both full preterists and "anti-preterists"; it was not a "sudden change". Even during my early years as a preterist, I was often at odds with establishment/leaders within the preterist movement. I wondered out loud why preterism didn't affect things like pastors and Communion, and Baptism since up to this time; it seemed like Don K. Preston, Sam Frost and some of the others were happy to shift the leadership to themselves. To me, it was amazing that we were saying all of Christianity, and especially the leadership was wrong yet we as preterists were ready to keep following "leaders" -- Preterism screams individual discovery.
After about 5 years leading up to 2007, I began more and more to realize a few things:
1) Preterism is built on false premises -- We would often claim Jesus CAME BACK/RETURNED in AD70. However the Bible only says He was about to/soon/at hand/shortly/within that generation -- COME. He most certainly did, as Dan 7:13-15 and Mt 26:64 indicate, He was about to Come BEFORE the Father and COME in the clouds. Not just at His ascension but in power, glory, and vindication as the Messiah He claimed to be. As I read more historical Christian commentaries, I found out Christianity ALWAYS believed and taught this. Dispensationalism has kind of hidden that fact from us.
2) To be a preterist, one cannot really call themselves Christian. I don't mean this in a way I am questioning a person's salvation. That is not my place and I have NEVER commented on the salvific state of any preterist. However, it is like a person who was born in America, cannot claim to really be American in principle if that person advocates Communism. So, whatever preterism is, it is no more historically Christian than say J.W. or Mormons. Again, I am not trying to be rude. I appreciate some who have recently admitted to this without apology.
Corey Shultz
Do you currently believe the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment happened already or does it lie in our future?
Roderick Edwards
There are 4 things all historic Christians hold, no matter whatever differences or denomination --
1) Jesus is yet to return/come back.
2) The collective resurrection is yet to be.
3) The collective Judgment of the wicked and righteous is yet to be.
4) The end of sin/culmination of God's plan is yet to be.
So yes, as an historic or so-called orthodox Christian, I believe those things. What form they take can be argued.
Corey Shultz
Your studies leading up to your departure from the Preterist movement, was there any individuals, Preterist or someone who holds to un-fulfillment that influenced you and helped you to come to your current position?
Roderick Edwards
Unfortunately I can't really point to anyone specifically. The books "against" preterism are weak. Most people would point to "When Shall These Things Be" by Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry and a few other authors. That book is written by partial-preterists, who if they were consistent, would follow their logic straight into full preterism. However, I would recommend another Mathison book, "The Shape of Sola Scriptura", because it helps the learner understand that it is not just "me and my Bible". Jesus came to form a collective called the Church. To pretend we can disconnect ourselves completely from that historic collective, again is not really being Christianity. --The Shape of Sola Scriptura
Corey Shultz
You reject the "false premise" of Preterism, what do you feel is the logical end to the view for a person who holds to the Preterist hermeneutic?
Roderick Edwards
Preterism's main premise(s) have always been:
1) Audience relevancy
2) Time-texts (restricted to pre AD70)
3) All is fulfilled
and to some degree that the Elect were either the Jews entering into the New Covenant, the people pre AD70 entering the N.C. or Jesus Himself.
So, if a person is logical, consistent with those premises, they would see that the end times was about to come upon the audience it was intended for -- the pre AD70 people. That there are no more Elect today. That their salvation was NEAR. That there is no more judgment. That there is no more need for under shepherds since the Chief Shepherd has appeared -- 1 Peter 5:4
Corey Shultz
The following text references the spirit, soul and body. Can you explain what these 3 mean to you?
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Roderick Edwards
The Bible speaks of 3 elements to humans;
1) Body
2) Soul
3) Spirit
While all creatures have a body and soul, soul being simply the physical life essence of a creature (ie, the reason Jews are instructed to drain blood from animals before eating), only humans have the potentiality of having a spirit.
The spirit is the image of God within humans. Animals have souls; character, personality -- unique qualities, but only humans can have the image of God.
Corey Shultz
I will conclude this interview with these final questions. What happens to you today if you died, and in the future, what will be raised from the dead? Also, what happens to an unbeliever today if they die?
Roderick Edwards
Interestingly enough, the Bible talks a lot about after physical life; be it potential hell/punishment/annihilation or potential reward/heaven/paradise. However, it is never very clear as to what actually happens. I know we have ideas of being in eternal bliss if we are destined for heaven. What is eternal life/life everlasting?
As Christians, we have been taught, in unison that whatever happens to our bodies and soul, our spirits go to be with the Lord forever at physical death. I'd suspect that our soul is somewhat intact as well, since that contains our personalities??? I know some people insist we must include that our bodies are raised physically, and perhaps God does do that. There are certainly several passages that seem to indicate that, and historically Christianity contains that within many of its creeds (btw, a creed is simply a statement of belief, so the moment even a preterist says what he/she believes, it becomes their "creed")
As for what happens to unbelievers upon physical death; the Bible indicates either a continued punishment or a ceasing of the soul. I am still in flux whether non-Elect people ever have a spirit, as the Bible seems to indicate that the spirit becomes alive only at the moment of belief.
Corey Shultz
Roderick Edwards thank you for taking the time to interview with me today.
Roderick Edwards
Thanks for the opportunity to address these questions in a civil manner. Thanks for the time you put into getting these interviews out to people.


JBsptfn said...

Pretty good write-up about 70 AD and Matthew 24 from UK Apologetics:

Jerusalem, A.D. 70: The Worst Desolation Ever?

At the end, they make a good point about how the 19th century Dispensational movements marginalized the church, and the article also states that 70 A.D. was the time when God showed that the NT Church was clearly here, and that the Jewish ways and laws were done.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately I can't really point to anyone specifically. The books "against" preterism are weak. Most people would point to "When Shall These Things Be" by Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry and a few other authors. That book is written by partial-preterists, who if they were consistent, would follow their logic straight into full preterism."

Brilliant observation. Even Don Preston admitted that Kenneth Gentry and Gary DeMar are practical Full Preterist based on their writings, they just hide it in a seemingly Orthodox agenda A.K.A - Postmillenialism. Reading Gentry's work would convince you that Full Preterism is quite True if you follow strict logic.

In that case can I add something to the interviewers question?. Just one, and this is Gentry's main weapon which is Revelations 1:1 - The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.

The thing that bothers me is Gentry seems to go back to this passage again and again when asked hard questions about Revelations that did not seem to happen in 70 AD. When asked about when did Nero/Antichrist the beast had a mortal head wound and live again to the amazement of the Nations, When did he call fire from heaven. He will say that it refers to Rome because Revelations says it must happen Shortly, He seems to have to two beast interchangeably: Rome and Nero - Just to fit the Shortly prediction. isn't that deceiving. The Bible clearly says 666 is a number of a man not a whole nation. It was quite confusing really when he says Revelation is past yet he teaches that the Millennium in Revelations 20 is still future and says Christ will still return??? Isn't that inconsistent since He himself says Rev 22:7, 12, 20 claimed it's done after Christ Came QUICKLY???

Yes, Jesus CAME before the Father to reign and Not to COME BACK on Earth spiritually.

What happened in 70 AD is "scattering" Rather than "Gathering" of the elect which Is still in the future.

Could you make a small commentary about Revelations 1:1-3 "Shortly" Please :) Thanks!

Roderick_E said...

Hey there will do a commentary on Rev 1:1-3 before January 2016 is over, Lord willing. Thanks for the request.