Why I Call Myself A Preterist

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.

In Christ,
Nick Peters


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20 Responses to “Why I Call Myself A Preterist”

  1. Fred Wolfe Says:

    But you can’t just make up terms and expect people to know what you mean. The term “partial preterist” is a widely used term for exactly the view you seem to hold (I hold as well).

  2. apologianick Says:

    I didn’t make up a term. The term existed before I used it. Why should I allow an opponent to take the name I use?

  3. Fred Wolfe Says:

    They are taking a stance that you take to the extreme. Call them Hyper Preterists. It’s a more accurate term. A preterist favors the past. They do it too much. You do it partly.

    Plus, then you don’t have to go around referring people to your blog every time people wonder why you refer to yourself as an Orthodox Preterist. It sounds like a character from Dungeons and Dragons.

  4. apologianick Says:

    If something was good and it was held extreme, would that not usually be something to encourage? If I extremely believe in the Sermon on the Mount, would that not be good? Why should I tarnish my view by saying that if you hold it to an extreme position, you become a heretic?

  5. Fred Wolfe Says:

    That’s a false dichotomy. I am arguing that only parts of the scriptures may be interpreted in the full preterist view. Preterism in this sense is not heresy. When parts of scripture that must be interpreted in a futurist sense are viewed through a preterist lense, then it is heresy. I am a full preterist for parts of the scriptures. Hyper-Preterists are preterists for all of the scriptures. Therefore, a the term “Partial Preterist” is most accurate.

  6. apologianick Says:

    Then that again leaves me partially a heretic. Believing some things that Christians have always held are future to be future does not make me partially futurist. It makes me Christian. Believing in the future resurrection of the dead is orthodox since it tells us what kind of resurrection we will have. Why not call the heresy what it would have been called in the Bible after the person who taught it?

  7. Fred Wolfe Says:

    You are a Dungeons and Dragons character. That is all. I dub thee, “Orthodox Preterist Elf Warrior”.

  8. Randy Says:

    Referring to a Full Preterist as a ‘Neo-Hymenaean’ seems to miss the point. Hymenaeus and Philetus said the resurrection was past, but they did so prior to 70 AD while the Old Covenant was relevant, and the temple was still standing. The Full Preterist’s argument is not affected by that at all. The Full Preterists agree with Paul and the futurists that H & P were in error.

  9. DCorpus Says:

    I am also a partial preterist. I use to believe in the pre-millenial view and even use to teach it. About 8 or 9 years ago, I started hearing about the preterist view. After weighing all the scriptures out I changed my view.

  10. apologianick Says:

    Randy. That’s why it’s called Neo-Hymenaean. It’s a new version of what was taught then. Granted there is a time difference, but I see no reason to think the resurrection has taken place.

    DCorpus. So did I. I used to be pre-trib, pre-mill all the way. Leaving behind the rapture was the start for me and when I got informed on the Preterist view, I found it filled in all the missing pieces.

  11. J.W. Wartick Says:

    I am not a preterist, but I think that many of the arguments are extremely powerful. I appreciate your generosity in discussing the topic.

    I admit I am often perplexed by how extreme people’s positions are on these topics. There is so much condemnation of those who hold other views… and it confuses me. It’s not as though the case for any particular view, so far as I can tell, is so superbly obvious that it is the only plausible view. Yet there is very little humility when people discuss end-times prophecies. It surprises me. But again, I thank you for your own generous post.

    Why do you think people are often so virulent when talking about this?

  12. apologianick Says:

    I suspect Left Behind and other such works have made dispensationalism the default position such as if you take anything that is contrary, you’re going against the Christian faith. Also, Preterism does not take a literal approach to the Bible in many places and if you don’t take the text literally, well you’re just spiritualizing the text away.

    I’ve seen too many times where my position has been considered heretical when it has not even been understood. It is seen as if it is ipso facto nonsense.

  13. Duncan Vann Says:


    Thanks for your blog entry, which clarifies that you still have a significant future expectation.

    I’ve checked your position against a well-recognised source with a widely accepted academic reputation*; and it seems quite clear you are a partial preterist.

    My dad used to call himself a Calvinist. Then he moved house. After a while he realised that in his new town, everybody thought Calvinists were rather dubious about evangelism (i.e. hyper Calvinists in my book. Dad’s kind of Calvinist is keener on evangelism than most.) Eventually he gave up and started calling himself Reformed instead.

    * Wikpedia 🙂


  14. rodericke Says:

    The term “Preterist”, whether historically only referring to those who believe only some of the N.T. is fulfilled, that term with no prefix is confusing. It would be like a person telling you they are gay when all they really meant is that they are a happy person. Besides all that, so-called “Partial-Preterism” such as espoused by Gary DeMar, Dee Dee Warren, Ken Gentry and Ken Talbot is so convoluted and contradictory that it leads right into Full Preterism. You cannot say “Jesus came in judgment in AD70” and yet advocated for yet another 3rd coming in the future. The partial-prets have so compromised that they are no longer the “best” refutation against Full Preterism — after all, Dee Dee Warren’s mentor; Ken Talbot has said his “realized preterism” is “akin” to what David Chilton was teaching — Chilton was a known Full Preterist.

  15. Randy Says:

    I am a Full Preterist and I’m still attempting to master the technique of stating what I believe without bringing my emotions into the discussion. It becomes very difficult when met with emotional outbursts rather than simply being confronted with scriptural arguments.

    I agree that the Dispensationalists are convinced that they hold the ‘default’ position based on the numbers. They seem to involve their emotions most in discussions. Maybe it’s because they have the most to lose if proven wrong.

    Also, there are those who think they are the guardians of truth. They formulate their idea of what the historical church represents then declare one outside their parameters to be guilty of heresy. That type of approach fails if we are to be continually testing doctrine with Scripture, and always reforming the church.

  16. Sense and Goodness Without God: Part 11 | Deeper Waters Says:

    […] My position as I have said is a Preterist of the orthodox variety which I have defended here and my reasons for Preterism itself can be found here. […]

  17. End Times Hopscotch | Deeper Waters Says:

    […] myself as a Preterist might wonder what I’m talking about. For that, I recommend that you go here and here. I’m sure the makers of this video will count me as one deceived. Oh well if they […]

  18. jjvors Says:

    Interesting discussion of preterism. Since I believe some NT prophecy has been fulfilled, I guess that makes me a “partial-preterist”. Where do you classify Historicism? I definitely feel some of Revelation has been fulfilled in history.

    That said, I read Revelation as somewhat linear and the pivot point between history and future is the 5th seal, the Great Tribulation in Revelation 6 which hasn’t happened yet. Thus, I’m mostly a futurist–but a post trib one, who feels the rapture happens at Jesus 2nd coming, as described in Revelation 11.

  19. apologianick Says:

    I really see Preterism much more. The seven churches perhaps could be used with some historicism, but not all and which church anyway? The church in America is lukewarm, but what about the churches in China and Indonesia?

    Revelation is somewhat linear, but it’s also cyclical. The story is told several times and repeated. Revelation 12 is the Christmas story for instance. It’s talking about the birth of Christ.

    The pivotal point for me is Matthew 24. Jesus said “This generation” and I believe He meant it and was right.

  20. Apostles Creed: From There He Will Come | Deeper Waters Says:

    […] hold to an eschatology that is preterist. That means that I believe a lot of fulfillment of prophecy is in the past. In fact, if […]

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