Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say I’m a Partial Preterist? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Yesterday, after writing a review of Ehrman’s “Jesus — Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium”, I got a number of requests on Facebook. To be precise, four friends asked me about my view and were asking me “So are you a Full Preterist?” or “Why don’t you call yourself a Partial Preterist?”
I had planned to write about why I hold the eschatological view that I hold today, but I wish instead to write first about why I call myself what I call myself.
I suspect most of my readers are likely futurists. I have nothing against futurists. I’m married to one. I just think futurism is wrong. It is still well within Christian orthodoxy. Futurism basically thinks that much of prophecy is yet to be fulfilled seeing great significance in Israel coming back as a nation and looking for a third temple, a reign of antichrist, a great tribulation, etc.
Preterism on the other hand refers to past fulfillment. We believe the majority of prophecy has been fulfilled in the coming of Christ and is being fulfilled right now. Just last night I was discussing this with someone who started telling me “Assuming Revelation is linear” to which I said “I don’t assume that.” I happen to see Revelation as cyclical, the same story is told over and over and in grander tones each time.
I was asked “Do you believe in a great tribulation?” I responded that I did and when asked when I thought it might be, pointed back to the destruction of Jerusalem. Now of course, we who are Preterists can interpret passages differently. My view of Revelation might not be held by all. Yet what we have in common is we see much has happened, particularly in 70 A.D. The Olivet Discourse with the saying of “This generation” was an accurate prophecy.
Note at this point I am just explaining the view. I am not defending it. What we all look forward to still is the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked and to the bodily return of Jesus. That does not make us partial futurists. That makes us Christians. The creeds tell us that we look forward to the return of Christ and the resurrection.
There are people out there that call themselves Full Preterist, True Preterists, or just Preterists. I prefer to call them “Neo-Hymenaeans.” These people think there is no future resurrection, we’re in our new bodies now, and there is no future return of Jesus physically. My friend DeeDee Warren at the Preteristsite.com has the best material in dealing with this group that is a full heresy.
That’s not just my opinion. Look at the quote she has from Neo-Hymenaean David Green on her site. (Note that for Green, Preterists like myself are considered futurists since we believe some things are future.) Green’s quote is as follows:
“Keith Mathison was correct on this point: If futurism is true, then [full] preterism is definitely (not “possibly,” as I said) a damnable doctrine.”
I happen to agree with him. This view is heretical.
So why not call myself a Partial Preterist?
Because if Preterism is used to describe a heresy, why would I want to call myself a partial heretic? You might as well consider being a partial modalist or a partial Arian. I am not partially a heretic in any way. I am entirely orthodox.
Thus, I prefer to call myself simply an orthodox Preterist. I hold a view that is within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy believing all the essentials of the faith. I refuse to let the name of the view that I hold in eschatology be tarnished by people I consider heretics. The name “Preterist” means something to me and I will not let someone else control the words.
I hope that is enough to explain to people why I call myself what I do. Now why do I hold the view I do? That is another question and one that we will discuss another time, maybe even tomorrow.