Preterism is gaining ground. But, I am concerned that when some people see that the majority viewpoints on eschatology in the church are incorrect, they assume they have a license to dismiss other doctrines of classical Christianity.
We should make a distinction between “partial preterism,” “full preterism,” and “hyper-preterism.” I am a strong proponent of full preterism. I believe that partial preterism does not take fulfillment far enough while hyper-preterism takes it too far. I see hyper-preterism as a dangerous aberration of biblical truth. Correctly understood, full preterism does not harm classical Christianity, but rather enhances and completes it.
None of us is without error. But some of the stuff that is being taught by this group of hyper-preterists is egregious. It is damaging the preterist movement. Holding some of these views puts one under the archway that leads right out of Christianity. This is a warning that we must be careful to discern truth from error, and find the right balance in our understanding of the Bible.
Many hyper-preterists are very vocal about their newly found “truths.” Below is a list of quotes from some of them. Note that I have not given their names. I reserve the right to change my mind, and give them the same opportunity without trying to bash anyone. Indeed, some may have moved away from these views as eschatology is shifting in all camps. But as a general statement, these views and offshoots of them are commonly expressed in online preterist discussions:
“I believe biblical Christianity ended on Earth when Jesus Christ returned at the destruction of Jerusalem around 70 A.D.” (JM)
“5 Reasons Why Preterists SHOULD NOT Believe they are saved and going to heaven when they die: (1) Jesus did not die for anyone who lives after the second coming in 70AD. (2) No one after 70AD was given to Jesus or elected. (3) Eternal life was a reward of the second coming for those whom Jesus died and chosen out of the world at the judgment. (4) We will never be resurrected. (5) We will never be gathered into the kingdom.” (CS)
“Traditional Christian soteriology and the full preterism that seeks to perpetuate it is little more than a gun powder-less jihadism.” (JS)
“One of the purposes of the parousia was to leave a legacy that tells us there is no basis for judgment anywhere and anytime anymore. Correction of wrong behavior, yes. But divine hatred, rejection, condemnation—no.” (JS)
“Thus, people who say that the Parousia is in the past, cannot make any biblical (exegetical) argument for ‘immortality’ beyond that point.” (CC)
“Atonement is not forgiveness. . . . Judgment is not ongoing. . . . If we are still praying ‘Lord forgive me of my many sins’ we are missing the point. . . . If you were not under the first covenant you didn’t need the second covenant.” (LS)
“Jesus did not die for my sins, he died to resolve the problem of ‘the sin’ and ‘the death’ that came as a consequence. . . . We are not ‘lost’ nor do we need to be ‘saved’ we simply need to enter into covenant with God.” When asked whether Christ died for Paul’s sins or for his own persoanl sins, LS answered: “Yes, in the case of Paul because he was in covenant with God. No in the case of me because the problem of sin and death has been resolved.” When asked further whether he has ever sinned, LS responded: “Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Are we under ‘the law today? . . . By what I understand the Scriptures to teach, sin was never the issue in my case. It simply does not apply as an appropriate term.” (LS)
“The Law of Moses, as part of the Old Covenant, was for Israel. That Law was the Law of Sin and Death. That Law never applied to us, so those sins never applied to us, and that death never applied to us. So we, believers today, do not need to be ‘saved’ from the Law of Sin and Death because it never applied to us in the first place. If that salvation does not apply to us, neither do we need to be justified, for that had to do with the Law of Moses as well.” (JF)
“As for Scripture, how the universe, planet, life, and mankind came into existence, they are not issues the Bible is concerned with. God is able to be a deist god when he likes. . . .” (JV)
“Myth: Salvation is about going to heaven when you die. It’s a myth, a lie. . . . Salvation is about allowing the resurrection life of Jesus to flood into our lives so that God’s heavenly realm is brought into this world, and it looks toward the day when God’s Kingdom will finally be established here on earth.” (DS)
“I primarily see heaven and ‘in Christ’ and wherever and whatever he is. . . . Now who would argue that the saints were physically raised from the dead in 30 AD? The only resurrection which had begun or which they had experienced was that of salvation in Christ. Thus, that was the only one being completed or finished. . . . We don’t have to have a new inheritance when we shed our physical body. We simply get the opportunity to see and experience more of what we already have.” (WB)
“I strongly suggest that the beginning concepts of a ‘God’ were man’s hopeful (and perhaps even noble) explanations for the operational mysteries of the universe.” (KD)
“In my view, we can’t even begin to understand MOST of the teachings of Jesus until we realize that Deifying him was probably the worst disservice to humanity that has ever taken place by “scholars” and theologians, both ancient and modern. . . .” (KD)
These quotes reveal that these people think that God quit being God in AD 70. There is more than a little animosity showing against Christianity in these statements. Where are the anchors to the hyper-preterists’ faith? Seriously, I don’t see why these folks even bother to be involved in the discussion.