Monday, December 26, 2016

More on Preterism

Eschatos Ministries have a couple of interesting articles up addressing preterism. Alan Kurschner rightly notes that preterism doesn't allow for the fulfillment of Matt 24:5. He also takes Gary DeMar to task for his 'fake news-fake exegesis" article. Worth a read!

I have DeMar's "End Time Fiction." Reading him is frustrating. One issue is his tone and the other his willingness to stretch an isolated text into fitting his assumptions without addressing whole chapters. I provide some links which address preterism HERE.

I've often come across Seventh-day Adventists, Preterists and Amils on pretrib-dispensational prophecy forums. It usually goes like this: they'll make some passing remark against a particular teaching (usually the rapture). When you respond, they simply move to another issue.

Sometimes they'll have a long list of grievances which they've copied from some "mother website." Who has the time to respond to fifty preterist proof texts? I met a posttribulationist and a Hebrew Roots promoter who used this same tactic.

My strategy is to find out what they believe in and get them to justify it. One academic-type preterist recently trolled a group of which I'm a member. When I worked out what he was I asked him who noticed Christ's coming in 70 AD, because no one recorded it at the time. One typical response is that it was a "spiritual" (or secret) coming. So texts such as Matt 24:30 and Mark 13:26 have to be spiritualized. It's difficult to debate someone who resorts to spiritualization in order to defend a theology.

But in this person's case he responded that he supposed it was the Jews who were slaughtered. That's pretty convenient because they wouldn't be able to report it. I pointed out that Matt 23:39 could not have occurred in 70 AD, but didn't receive a response. Soon after, the thread was taken down.


Anonymous said...

I have saved Alan's article on Matthew 24 going against Preterism; is Alan K a dispensationalist? I see his writings pop up in other places in other circles...

Alf Cengia said...

Thanks for dropping by.

Alan has referred to himself as a Progressive Dispensationalist. I suspect this relates to the fact that he's also a Pre-Wrath Rapture advocate.

Most classic dispensationalists would say that the church cannot be in the 70th week because "it's a different dispensation." Therefore non-pretribbers, with an otherwise dispensational view, often adopt PD. Posttribulationist Tim Warner is one example. Bock has looked at Warner's materials and doesn't agree with all of his conclusions about PD.

Personally I loved Robert L Saucy's book on PD. He declined to comment re the rapture, but - apart from his already not yet stance on the Davidic Covenant - he's about as dispensational as anyone can be.

I prefer Paul Henebury's term "Biblical Covenantalism." The biblical covenants are what we should focus on. How the rapture relates to these is incidental to me.

BTW, I believe Alan is currently the leading pre-wrath teacher. Though I have my issues with it, his book "Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord" is much better than Rosenthal's or Van Kampen's books on the system.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. To be honest with you I'm very weak with my knowledge of the Pre-wrath view or the mid and post trib views as well.

Alf Cengia said...

The posttrib view hasn't been well-presented in modern times. The only two posttrib books I own are Robert Gundry's. And they largely take the form of anti-pretrib polemics rather justification of its position. In Maranatha Our Lord come, Renald Showers notes that there are several posttrib systems.

Posttribber Samuel Tregelles can be read online. Lots of straw man arguments against Darby's system and little justification for his own. Tregelles is popular with prewrathers. It's had to pin posttribulationists down because there isn't a lot of detailed exposition from that camp. It's mainly polemical.

The mid-trib view is still somewhat popular at a ground level. But aside from the first edition of Three Views on the Rapture, it's hard to find much on it.

I've often heard that prewrath is simple. It isn't. As mentioned above, the best book on it is Alan's "Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord." However, I felt it should have been a little more exhaustive. There have been strong criticisms which he should have addressed there.

The other main ones are Van Kampen's "The Sign" and his "The Rapture Question Answered." Then Marv Rosenthal's "The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church." Notably, Rosenthal and Van Kampen differed in some points.

In a nutshell, the system divides the 70th week into 3 segments. The first half is called beginning of birth pangs (or sorrows). Antichrist's great tribulation begins with the Abomination of Desolation (midweek) and then is cut short before the end of that week at some unknown point. This is usually depicted as roughly 3/4 through the 70th week in their charts. Following that comes the Day of the Lord's wrath which extends beyond the 70th week.

It took me a long time to get my head around this system. My experience is that converts who've only read one book on this view don't understand it well. It's no wonder it often gets misrepresented.

Anonymous said...