Is Partial-Preterism a Problem?

Discussion in 'Revelation & Eschatology' started by RoderickE, Feb 13, 2010.

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  1. RoderickE

    RoderickE Puritan Board Freshman

    I know that what I'm about to say here may be difficult to take, but please bear with me. I AM a former 15-year long hyperpreterist, out of that movement now for 3 years. All glory to God!

    I also know it has become vogue for some people, even prominent teachers such as Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, and Hank Hanegraaff to call themselves "preterists", or "partial-preterists" as it relates to their eschatological views.

    My question is, does partial-preterism cause a problem? After all, is it something new? Is it a new view on eschatology? Does it lead people to the heretical form of preterism called hyperpreterism?

    Yes, all forms of "preterism" (as an "ism") trend toward hyperpreterism whether those people advocating those other forms of "preterism" see it or not. When I recently received an email from Kenneth Gentry advertising his books on Revelation and the "preterist view", I replied with this:

    I left the 'Cause' against hyperpreterism because so many of the people in the 'Cause' were too entwined with hyperpreterism itself. A seminary professor who recently joined the 'Cause' and was quickly revered as the new leader of the 'Cause' (the 'Cause' never needed a "leader" before), is actually a 10+ year mentor to leading hyperpret Sam Frost and even had Frost edit "A Student's Hebrew Primer for XXXX Theological Seminary" while Frost was a full-blown hyperpreterist. Look, if that is how it is going to be, I want nothing to do with the so-called "Partial Preterists" or the "Orthodox Preterists". C.H. Spurgeon once said, "Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it." And folks, that is so true.

    There is more damage being done to the Christian Faith by so-called "Partial Preterists" who will not deal with the fact they are breeding hyperpreterists then by the hyperpreterists themselves. I should know, I WAS a hyperpreterist for 15 years and let me tell you, we all understood that Gary DeMar was our main apologist, bringing more people into hyperpreterism then Sam Frost, Don Preston, and Max King combined. If we Christians aren't going to get serious and stand up to guys like DeMar and tell him to start being responsible, then why in the world should anyone even attempt to call hyperpreterism a heresy when so-called "orthodox" Christians are lending to the credence of hyperpreterism?

    P.S. (added after Pastor Greco's great observation) I asked, if what "partial-preterism" is advocating is new -- the answer is no. It has been the historic Christian view toward eschatology throughout the Church. But after 30-40 years of "Left-Behindism" what "partial-preterism" espouses sounds so foreign to our minds, it seems like a new "ism". I think it would be better if all the teachers espousing so-called partial-preterism would stop calling it "preterism" altogether and simply point out it is actually the historic Christian view. After all, who wants to be a "partial" anything? Human nature will cause a person to look into "full preterism", thus why I say "partial preterism" leads to full or hyperpreterism.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    I think it would be possible to say the same thing about almost any legitimate doctrine. For example:

    • Does covenant theology breed Federal Vision?
    • Does proper complementarianism, taken askew and out of balance, make a place for an imbalanced male authority?
    • Does a right emphasis on the humanity of Christ, taken beyond where it should, lead to Nestorianism?
    • Does the Biblical doctrine of the sacraments possibly lead to sacramentalism?
    In each of these cases it is the swaying from the Biblical truth that is the problem. Do paraphrase Bunyan: "there are always two ditches of error, one on either side of the road of truth."
  3. RoderickE

    RoderickE Puritan Board Freshman

    Possible or probable

    I agree whole-heartily except that often in the case of "partial-preterists", they don't make enough distinction and disclaimers between hyperpreterism. Also, I asked, if what "partial-preterism" is advocating is new -- the answer is no. It has been the historic Christian view toward eschatology throughout the Church. But after 30-40 years of "Left-Behindism" what "partial-preterism" espouses sounds so foreign to our minds, it seems like a new "ism". I think it would be better if all the teachers espousing so-called partial-preterism would stop calling it "preterism" altogether and simply point out it is actually the historic Christian view. After all, who wants to be a "partial" anything? Human nature will cause a person to look into "full preterism", thus why I say "partial preterism" leads to full or hyperpreterism.

    Thanks for your comment Pastor Greco. We need more strong men of God like yourself. Oh Lord let it be so.
  4. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I think some orthodox preterists (and probably all Reformed commentaries on Matthew 24 are preterist to a little extent) get carried away with preterism and see it in places where it's not and take things too far.

    E.g. Bahnsen described himself as preterist and believed that Babylon was Rome (i.e. the capital city of the Roman Empire). Gentry goes one better and sees Babylon as Jerusalem. Gentry appears to squeeze Rev 6-19 into the first century.

    There could be/can be a slide in preterism from less to more radical to heterodox. That's why a book like "When shall These Things Be?" is good in pointing out how there are certain texts which cannot be given a preterist treatment. Only someone who was puffed-up by some kind of intoxication with preterism would give these texts a preterist treatment. Maybe the relief at being free of the errors of dispensationalism and seeing the meaning of Scripture on eschatology more clearly does puff some people up, so they go further and further in the opposite direction to futurism, partly to see how far they can take preterism, partly out of despite for their previous futurists views and then fall off the orthodox cliff into heterodoxy?

    Apparently David Chilton slid into heterodox preterism from orthodox.

    I agree with your points about the need for orthodox preterists to make as much of a distinction between themselves and the wolves as possible. Hopefully now that preterism has been taken to these extremes, it will lead to a more sober reassessment of its good insights and extremes, leading to a more moderate approach by even the orthodox.

    Both extreme but orthodox futurism and extreme but orthodox preterism are almost certainly not finding the biblical balance (?)
  5. rstora01

    rstora01 Puritan Board Freshman

    Many of today's preterists are former dispensationists and I liken their position to a clock swing to the other extreme. They believe the Bible interpretation of Matt 24, Revelation apply only to the events of 70AD and the destruction of Jerusalem. For example: Dispensationalists distort the Old Testament (OT) view of Israel and the Church stating, the OT mainly applies only to (exclusive interpretation) a Jewish Israel not the Church. Preterists distort the New Testament prophetical events by applying most if not all events to the destruction of Jewish Jerusalem in 70 AD (exclusive interpretation). I could not agree more with Richard Tallach, there needs to be a "biblical balance".

    All Scripture is profitable for God’s Church throughout all ages. Is it correct to exclusively apply significant portions of the Bible to a specific group or time period? In that case every verse in the Bible that occurred in the past would be restricted from application by the modern Church and that would disqualify most if not all of the Bible from any relevance for today according to that logic.

    Anyone that fails to see the sovereign hand of God at work in the affairs of mankind today is making an error. How can one know that God is at work in the world today apart from His Word?
  6. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    "Often?" What evidence do you have to support that notion?

    Haven't we seen this axe being ground by you before, Roderick?
  7. RoderickE

    RoderickE Puritan Board Freshman

    Yet another example

    Thanks for your input Tom. Please allow me to provide this evidence, besides the link I gave in the original posting where DeMar hosted an entire radio show with a known hyperpret but not once did DeMar even mention that the guest was espousing hyperpreterism. If I may, let us start with your own works:

    The Late Great Planet Earth: Revisited
    While your own article against "Left-Behindism" did a fine job at exposing that, not once did you make it clear that people should not jump into hyperpreterism. Even in 1989 when you wrote that article, since hyperpret Max King had been advocating hyperpreterism since the 1970s.

    Next, we could cite a discussion here on PB where a person was confused by the different types of "preterism" and Tom, your own followed-up comments that you were confused what the fellow was even asking. Why is it so "confusing" if people are making clear distinctions? They are not, and that is the problem. Even more, I don't think they should be creating a new "ism" called "partial-preterism" anyhow. Why not just appeal to historic Christian interpretation on eschatology? (see these commentaries on Mt 24 (ref), which show most of historic Christianity ALREADY understood the significance of the AD70 without going hyper. We don't need the false dichotomies of "preterists vs futurists" -- there is no such thing)

    Or we could listen to DeMar as he clearly tells hyperpret Sam Frost that he DOESN'T think "full preterism" is heretical (listen to audio).

    Or we could listen as James Jordan was asked by a group of hyperpreterists if he thinks it is heretical. (listen to audio)

    Notice in both of those audios, it was hyperpret Sam Frost spending 3 minutes buttering up ("flattering speech") both DeMar and Jordan, so that they feel obligated to say something nice back..

    And you want to say there is enough distinction between so-called partial and hyperpreterism???

    Granted, men like Gentry, Keith Mathison, James White, and others are VERY CLEAR that ANY form of hyperpreterism is indeed heresy, men like DeMar are not so clear and downright lend to more hyperprets. Tom, were you ever a hyperpret? Do you know how many hyperprets praise DeMar for bringing more people into the movement than anyone else?

    I think what is happening here, why you ALWAYS seem to comment on my anti-hyperpret posts and claim I'm "grinding axes" is because you get a little upset when people question your heroes like DeMar. I really wish you'd join me in questioning DeMar -- maybe he'd listen to you.

    Thanks again for your comments. I meant no hostility towards you but it is frustrating when people want to ignore what is going on right before their very eyes.
  8. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    The defect in your analysis is that you have a limited scope. Take my article you mentioned, for example. The article was obviously focused on dispensationalism. It had nothing to do with preterism (or hyperpreterism) per se. It is faulty reasoning to use it to support your theory. Additionally, if that were the only thing I had written or spoken of publically on the matter, then you might have a point (although I seriously doubt it). But it is not, and other things I've written and spoken have given no comfort to hyperpreterists. E.g., Some Questions and Answers on Eschatology. See especially the item titled “What will happen when Christ returns?“

    DeMar, Gentry, et al have all done precisely the same thing. They have given no comfort to hyperpreterists.

    With all due respect, you have a hobby horse and are trying to use it to smear good and faithful churchmen. And that is not just my opinion.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2010
  9. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    This seems unlikely to end well. If it is admitted that partial-preterism is not wrong, then it would seem that discussion of the inconvenience of the term (as long as care is exercised to make sure that it does not become a mere striving about words) could be carried on without criticism of those who use the term.
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