Types of Preterists Reviewed

Discussion in 'Revelation & Eschatology' started by RoderickE, Dec 30, 2009.

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  1. RoderickE

    RoderickE Puritan Board Freshman

    It is difficult to categorize something that is in constant flux, but since many people wonder how many types (factions and sub-factions) of preterists there are and how each developed, I will attempt to categorize the types of preterists -- with source documentation of course. I hope to offer resources that you will not find any place else, either among the hyperpreterists or those fighting against hyperpreterism. I'd especially warn against the wikipedia entry on Preterism, as it was mainly authored by hyperpreterists and slants definitively in the hyperpreterist direction. I will attempt to give links to NON-hyperpreterists sites for the non-hyperpreterist references, but of course expect to be linked to hyperpreterist sites for hyperpreterist references. I will sometimes utilize wikipedia reference specifically because those references are open source and can be publicly challenged.

    I. Historic Christianity (always advocated some N.T. prophecies fulfilled - ref).
    ___1. Roman Catholicism (via Luis De Alcazar)
    ___2. Reformed/Protestant (always advocated much of Mt 24/Mk 13/Lk 21 fulfilled in AD70 & "Death" defeated -- ref#1, ref#2, ref#3)
    _____A. Reconstructionists/Theonomists/"Partial Preterists" (1990s, Chilton, Sproul, Gentry, DeMar) Originally called themselves "Preterists" -- ref#1, ref#2, [video=youtube;jll6Bw3pzoM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jll6Bw3pzoM[/video], David Chilton on Preterism vs Greg Bahnsen - Oklahoma City Conference 1997@@AMEPARAM@@/docinfo/9226545?access_key=key-7e18zgaacn02xvzqpol@@AMEPARAM@@9226545@@AMEPARAM@@key-7e18zgaacn02xvzqpol-Chilton adopts "full" or hyperpreterism 1997. DeMar blurs the line between "partial-preterism" and hyperpreterism)
    ___3. Evangelicals (non-Reformed) (J.S. Russell, Hampden-Cook and others, mostly writing in the late 1800s, many of these authors had little impact at the time but are making inroads in the 21st century) Some of these authors went into universalism. - ref#1, ref#2, ref#3
    ___4. Modern "Partial-Orthodox-Historic Preterists" (this group has mainly grown from the work of Gentry, Sproul, DeMar and others, yet more are hearing just the premises and then launching into "preterism" without further reference to those men)

    II. Heretical/Hyper/Full-Preterism (called "heretical" because it has not been demonstrated that anyone in ancient Christian history taught or believed it. "Heresy" in the basic sense, means to depart from accepted teaching. The label is NOT meant to be derogatory or "ad hom", it is etymologically accurate to label hyperpreterism a "heresy". As a matter of fact, of all the beliefs that have claimed to be "Christian" and yet have been labeled as "heresy", hyperpreterism most fits the definition since, whether we look at pre-Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholicism, Greek/Eastern Orthodox, Reformed/Protestant, Anabaptist, or Modern Evangelical ALL of these expressions of historic Christianity have held the exact unified eschatological basics in opposition to hyperpreterism. Called "hyper" again not as a derogatory label but grammatically "hyper" means to go beyond the original intent and scope. Heretical Preterism goes beyond any "preteristic" manifestations in historic Christianity -- ref)
    ___1. 19th Century Evangelical - Some authors from the Historic Christianity category #3 actually fell into muted forms of hyper-preterism. For example, J.S. Russell, author of "The Parousia" advocated many hyperpreterist beliefs EXCEPT that he still advocated a future millennium. These authors never gained wide acceptance in their life times and no real movement developed. -- ref#1
    ___2. "Church of Christ -- coC"/Transmillennialism (Max King, 1970s -- Although other authors in the 20th century had expressed forms of hyperpreterism, King was really the "founder" of modern hyperpreterism, as even his son Tim King relates on the back of the biographical book about Max King, Give Me This Mountain - "Now for the first time the founding story of fulfilled Bible prophecy is told. From its roots seventy years ago in West Virginia to its breakthroughs in biblical renewal today—all across the world." Although King originated in the coC denomination, it should not be understood that all of coC are hyperpreterists or apt to be hyperpreterists. As matter of fact, the coC was rocked by King's "70AD Doctrine" and opposed it vigorously -- ref#1, ref#2, ref#3. However, the coC is woefully unable to counter the hyperpreterist movement because of the coC founding principles -- which as the coC came out of the "Restoration Movement", the coC has as it's founding principle that the true Gospel and true Church ceased and thus had to "restored" -- ref. This plays squarely into the over-arching premise of hyperpreterism which claims either God was unable or unwilling to maintain the most basic eschatological understanding among the Church for 2000 years, or that 2000 years of united Christian eschatological interpretation has been in gross error. Once a person believes that kind of failure took place, it is easy to supplant historic Christianity with any kind of heresy. Thus, it should not be overlooked, that the first and still most vocal hyperpreterist leaders come from the coC denomination; Max King, Tim King, Don Preston, Terry Hall, Virgil Vaduva, Jack Scott, Wm Bell, Larry Siegle, Kurt Simmons, Ed Stevens and more. Lastly, Transmillennialism is a term trademarked by Tim King and Kevin Beck in an attempt to distance this group from the rising non-Kingite hyperpreterists. An early term utilized was "Covenant Eschatology" and is still often used by the coC hyperpreterists such as Don Preston.
    _____A. Modern Hyper-Preterist Movement 1990s (Although there were a smattering of online hyperpreterist groups, perhaps the start was with the website, PreteristArchive ran by Todd Dennis. To follow came Planet Preterist ran by Romanian immigrant and son-in-law to Terry Hall; Virgil Vaduva. Many of the early sites "borrowed" material from Dennis' massive collection. It should be noted that Dennis is NO LONGER a hyperpreterist and does work against the movement. Planet Preterist was the premiere launching point for most would-be hyperpreterist leaders. Vaduva gave them a forum and organized conferences. At one point, Vaduva even attempted to trademark the term "preterism" and threatened to sue people who were critical of the movement; claiming the criticism was "creating business losses" ref#1, ref#2. Planet Preterist eventually waned as Vaduva tried to move it more into a post-modernist/Emergent/Universalistic direction. This is where I will relate the various hyperpreterist factions.
    _________1. coC/Covenant Eschatology -- This group might be considered the "old guard" hyperpreterists. This would include men such as Don Preston, Wm Bell, Jack Scott, Virgil Vaduva and others. They mainly spend their time on speaking circuits at various hyperpreterist conferences or authoring books often over the same introductory hyperpreterist subjects.
    _________2. Preterist Universalists -- Originally a rising group in the early years of 2000's but have dramatically waned. ref#1, ref#2
    _________3. "Sovereign Grace Preterists" -- Originally a term coined by hyperpreterist teacher Ward Fenely, ref. This term was "borrowed" by other hyperpreterists that considered themselves, "Reformed". This "Reformed" group is more or less led by hyperpreterist teacher, Sam Frost, pupil of orthodox Reformed seminary president Dr. Kenneth Talbot of Whitefield Theological Seminary, ref. This faction also encompasses Ed Stevens' group, while Stevens was originally a coC hyperpreterist, he likes to call himself "Reformed" though it appears to be more a "RINO" form -- "Reformed in name only". Stevens maintains a private group and is relegated to the fringe of the movement ever since he attempted to teach a 1st-century rapture theory to explain why hyperpreterism hasn't been advocated in historic Christianity -- ref#1, ref#2. Frost continues to try to portray hyperpreterism as an acceptable, "scholarly" alternative, but for the most part besides a few who, such as Gary DeMar validate him, Frost's "quasi-conservative" form of hyperpreterism is making no inroads and is often considered "inconsistent" by other hyperpreterists.
    ________4. Covenant Creationists CC -- This faction is perhaps the most "consistent" in applying the full force of hyperpreterist premises and conclusions to their beliefs. People within this group include, Tim Martin, Jeff Vaughn, Tami Jelinek, Ward Fenely, John Scargy, Norm Voss and others. Their main point is that the metaphorical methodology applied to eschatology that has allowed people to come to hyperpreterism should also be applied to the rest of the Bible, beginning specifically with the "creation" account. The CC hyperpreterists claim that the Genesis account isn't really about God creating the physical or cosmological universe but is "apocalyptically" about the creation of a "covenantal" world. And instead of seeing Adam as the first created human being, CC's see Adam as the first "covenantal man", the first to enter into a contract with God. This faction and the faction led by Frost are often at odds. ref#1, ref#2

    This concludes the presentation on the types of Preterism. Anyone is allowed to copy and utilize this presentation without alteration -- please. Thanks Roderick Edwards, 15-year long FORMER hyperpreterist.
  2. CNJ

    CNJ Puritan Board Senior

    What specifically made you renounce your fifteen years as a hyperpreterist? How did you step away from it?
  3. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

  4. Southern Twang

    Southern Twang Puritan Board Freshman

    In a conversation I had with DeMar, he said he was waiting for the full preterists to exegete certain difficult passages before he pronounced his judgment. Basically he's waiting for the evidence and I think we all should be slow to pull the trigger unless we have carefully examined the other side's arguments.
  5. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Full preterism has been a heresy for 2000 years, with every major creed, including those of Rome and the EOs declaring it heresy of the first order. There is no reason to "wait for the exegesis" on this. It simply shows DeMar's inability to defend the faith.
  6. RoderickE

    RoderickE Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello Carol, please allow me to answer that within a few days when I can sit and write something that does your question due justice :)
  7. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks, Roderick. I have to admit I was stunned when I first saw the HP movement gaining traction several years ago. As some of you know, I grew up in the Church of Christ. I saw it grow, spread, and then be dealt with years ago and, frankly, thought it done. I knew people who were placed under church discipline for embracing such teaching and in their unrepentance be removed from fellowship never to return. Imagine my shock when I saw the same names connected with the more recent growth in other areas. One side note: it was this period within the church of Christ that caused a great many congregation and ministers to look seriously at and reject some of the key tenets of 'restorationism'. That is a good thing.
  8. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks Roderick.

    Bahnsen was an orthodox partial preterist, and termed himself "preterist". I have his tapes on the Book of Revelation, which I found very enlightening when I listenened to them some years ago.

    He believed Revelation 6-12 (?) dealt largely with the destruction of Jerusalem, while Revelation 13-18 (?) dealt largely with the end of the Roman Empire.

    I don't know if Rushdoony and Sandlin were/are more of the historicist view, but that may be the case.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  9. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    In other words, I'm not satisfied with all of Church history, doctrine and branches of the Church confessing that full preterism is not only wrong, but wrong on a critical point of the faith. I wonder how DeMar would take it if someone said, "You know, I'm just not so sure on this Trinity thing. I really think we should hold off criticizing the Jehovah's Witnesses until we have heard (for how long?) their Biblical arguments. After all, they have a pretty good point about the Greek of John 1. Just look at their translation!"

    Or how about "Well, we really should give the Roman Catholics the benefit of the doubt. After all, some of them have really neat robes and hats. We need to not be so dogmatic about justification. We need to listen to their Biblical arguments."

    To give ear to a gross heresy - FAR worse than Dispensationalism, because of Dispensationalism is just plain stupid. Stupid and dangerous. Christians should completely ignore and boycott everything DeMar has to say until he categorically rejects the heresy of full preterism.
  10. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    I have to agree.

    In this article, DeMar actually writes in defense of full preterists and negatively towards partials:
    Real exegetical work?
  11. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, I agree with DeMar on this. The only problem is that Hyper Preterists are not doing honest analysis of the Bible. Not even close.
  12. RoderickE

    RoderickE Puritan Board Freshman

    The Road to Heresy And Back

    Hello Carol and readers, this a question that is often posed. People sometimes expect a magic verse to be given that pulled the person back out of a heresy or cult. It doesn't work that way. For example, Arminians have loads of proof-texts that they line up against monergists that allows the Arminian to remain en steeped in synergism. But when it boils down to it, the debate between Arminianism and "Calvinism" is about God's sovereignty and who actually initiates salvation and how fallen mankind actually is.

    The same thing can be said about hyperpreterism versus Christianity. Of course hyperpreterists have their proof-texts as Christians have their proof-texts. One thing ALL heresies MUST do is to isolate and divide off people from the continuity of the community of the saints. ALL heresies, be it "Restorationism's" premise that the true Church and true Gospel ceased or hyperpreterism's premise that God was unable or unwilling to maintain the most basic understanding of correct eschatology throughout history -- ALL heresies MUST get the potential adherent to begin to reject the continuity of Christianity. (Romans 16:17-18)

    So, the answer is I began to be honest with my position as a hyperpreterist. I began to admit that if I continued to follow hyperpreterism, I rightfully and honesty could NOT continue to call myself a Christian, any more than a person who denies the basic principles of liberty with responsibility, self-sufficiency, and free-market/capitalism can't really claim to be an American, even if they have a short form birth certificate issued from Hawaii.

    Although I agree that Scripture is our ultimate authority and guide, there is something at the core of being Christian -- Christ came to be the Cornerstone and the apostles were handpicked to be the foundation of THE CHURCH. (Eph 2:19-20) Jesus didn't come preaching that radical individualists should privately interpret Scripture how they see fit and claim it is "Sola Scriptura", rather Jesus intended the community of saints to be a Body fitted together in unity and given Her "traditions" through the preaching of the apostles (2 Thes 2:15) I would love to be able to go on a speaking tour to churches everywhere preaching this message. So many of us, especially us Reformed folk who sometimes confuse SOLO Scriptura with Sola Scriptura fall into an almost "just me and my Bible" mentality which is just foot steps away from the road to heresy.

    I guess it comes down to this, in the Arminian vs Calvinist argument, I always end with this statement: "If what the Arminian says is false, he is in danger of not glorifying God enough. If what the Calvinist says is false, he is in danger of glorifying God too much. Which kind of error would you like to make?" In the hyperpreterist issue, if what the hyperpreterist says is false, they have completely departed from anything that resembles any kind of historic Christianity. If what the historic Christian claims is false, they have unwittingly proved that Christianity as a whole is in doubt, since ALL of historic Christianity has opposed the hyperpreterist interpretation for 2000 years. What position do you want to hold?

    Of course there are exegetical reasons to reject hyperpreterism and those can be unpacked as we go, for starters the often used line by hyperpreterists that Jesus constantly claimed that the "kingdom was near/at hand/shortly to come" is and has been answered by Christian theologians throughout the centuries -- Read Luke 17:20-21 for a hint. Yes indeed the kingdom was about to come. Yes indeed Jesus was ABOUT to come in the clouds....but before the throne of God (see The Glorious Cloud Coming of Christ)

    I hope this has answered your question Carol.
    In Christ and His Church against which the gates of hades have never and will never prevail!
  13. RoderickE

    RoderickE Puritan Board Freshman

    DeMar And Hyperpreterism

    Well, I wanted to wait to see how much further this would go. Although this article ISN'T really about Gary DeMar's position on hyperpreterism, it seems to have generated quite a concern over his position. Let me say a few things first. DeMar has done many positive things in the promotion of the Reformed view and solid biblically based politics, education, and social worldviews. He has been a relentless apologist against dispensationalism. I do not want to detract those good things. HOWEVER, DeMar is considered within the hyperpreterist movement as perhaps the one man who has done more to create more hyperpreterists than anyone. This is what the hyperpreterists say about him. DeMar's articles and videos are proudly posted on hyperpreterist many hyperpreterist websites (ref#1, ref#2, ref#3, ref#4) Now, if what DeMar says would be counter to hyperpreterism, do you think they would so willingly post his material on their sites? Perhaps, as DeMar has tried to tell me when I asked a person may think DeMar is not responsible if people conclude wrongly from the things he writes. But look at it this way, imagine you had theological material that was generating people to become Mormons. Say that these new Mormons kept crediting your material as the reason they became Mormons and they would even post that material on their websites. Now, even if you didn't intend that to be the result, don't you think it is at least your responsibility and obligation to address this issue and even attempt to counter it? DeMar doesn't.

    NEXT, someone posted an article by DeMar about a question whether he is a "secret friend of hyperpreterists" (ref) First, be advised that PB DOES have hyperpreterists here, who against PB policy have joined PB. If you see someone defending overly hyperpreterism, they are most likely a hyperpreterist. But as to the DeMar article. I agree that Demar IS NOT A SECRET FRIEND OF HYPERPRETERISTS -- He is a very open supporter. He has even spoke at several hyperpreterist conferences and is registered on many of their websites. But unlike how DeMar tries to compare his open friendship with dispensationalists, you NEVER see Demar validating dispensationalism. As a matter of fact, one time, DeMar was asked POINT BLANK by a hyperpreterist if DeMar thought hyperpreterism is heresy. DeMar plainly answer NO (audio ref). What's worse is that one time DeMar had a hyperpreterist on his radio show for a hour+ interview and not once did DeMar even distinguish to his listeners that the man is a hyperpreterist (not even a reference to him being a "full preterist") -- (ref, full show large download) The hyperpreterist on this show is Tim Martin, he advocates what hyperpreterists know as "Covenant Creationism", which is a hyperpreterizing of the Genesis account. It claims that the Genesis account ISN'T about God creating the cosmological universe but merely a "covenantal world" and that Adam was not the first created human but merely the first man into which God entered a covenant (ref) DeMar's actions on this show sealed it with me, he is helping to promote hyperpreterism and isn't telling his readers/listeners.

    I have tried several times to ask DeMar plainly if anything is considered heresy but he refuses to answer and will ban you or claim you are trying to bully him, rather it sound like as the older folks would say "he is gettin' too big for his britches". He feels like he need not answer to anyone about anything. After all, he is the great apologist, Gary DeMar -- who are we???

    Why can men like Ken Gentry, Keith Mathison, and James White clearly call hyperpreterism a heresy but DeMar not only won't call it that, but spends time promoting it, not even upfront but incipiently?

    White once had someone call into his radio show trying to figure out what White thought of hyperpreterism. White didn't beat around the bush:

    White calls the hyperpreterist conclusion an UNWARRANTED LEAP & UNNATURAL.

    The caller then reveals that a “preterist” is attending the same congregation as he. It quickly becomes apparent that the “preterist” is actually a hyperpreterist & White says “IT IS NOT JUST ERROR, IT IS HERESY”.

    White then refers the caller to Keith Mathison’s book “When Shall These Things Be: A Reformed Response to Hyper-preterism”.

    White even says he’d “prefer to call it HYPERPRETERISM” (obviously in contrast to how some hyperpreterist call themselves simply “preterists” or “full preterists” or the newest faction in an attempt to make itself look legitimate calling itself, “biblical preterists”).

    The most amazing thing White says here is this:
    White concludes by saying how often times a person who seems intellectual & well read in the Scriptures can actually become “puffed up” & start to claim to see things in Scripture that no one has ever seen before (perfect representation of what happens to people who adopt hyperpreterism). This is exactly what I mean when I say hyperpreterists suffer from Proverbs 26:12.



    Folks, DeMar is no friend of the orthodox when it comes to hyperpreterism, but rather DeMar is selling the historic Christian farm. He is like the politician who will not call Islam what it is but instead falsely says it is a "religion of peace" just so as not to upset anyone and then portrays people who exposed Islam (or in this case hyperpreterism), as "bitter bigots". Beware of DeMar when it comes to anything relating to "preterism" -- You never know whether he means "preterism" or "hyperpreterism" as he doesn't make a distinction.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
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