Addressing False Assumptions (Addressing Preterism, Part 2)

At this particular juncture, I want to address several false assumptions which, in my experience, preterists at times make. First, simply because the vast majority of the NT Scriptures were written prior to A.D. 70 (even assuming an early date for the Apocalypse – which this author does not), neither automatically implies nor necessarily demands that prophecies within said texts pertain to A.D. 70. This cannot be assumed outright; it must be proven contextually with respect to each particular New Testament prophetic text. Second, it has been my experience that preterists assert that non-preterists do not take biblical prophecy at face value or that they are not intellectually-honest students of the biblical text. Such assertions betray a certain self-righteousness that is repugnant to the Spirit of God (1 Pet. 5:5; Phil. 2:3-4). And, this among Calvinists (as most preterists are Reformed in terms of their soteriology) who profess that their salvation, not to mention their illumination, is sola gratia (Latin: by grace alone) from start to finish! “My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (Jas. 3:10). Preterists, not to mention all believers, should refrain from making such self-exalting declarations. Third, I have observed certain preterists accuse futurists (though I do not consider myself one) of what is derisively referred to as ‘newspaper exegesis’. Granted, the futurist ‘school’ of prophecy has certainly had its excesses (e.g., the date setting of Harold Camping and Hal Lindsey). However, there is no place for such condescending terminology as ‘newspaper exegesis’ in the Body of Christ. Furthermore, I sincerely question whether the dramatic rise of preterism among Reformed evangelicals is not in part due to the perceived excesses of eschatological futurism.

As the reader will no doubt recognize, the arguments which form the substance of this work do not chiefly center upon the book of Revelation. Why? The predominant genre of the book of Revelation is apocalyptic, a highly-disputed genre which is notoriously difficult to interpret. Because the book of Revelation belongs to the apocalyptic genre, it is significantly more obscure than any of the passages upon which this work principally focuses. If the ‘clearer’ passages of Scripture do not support preterism, the preterist interpretation of more ‘obscure’ eschatological passages, such as the entire book of Revelation, must be called into question. Analogia fidei (Latin: the analogy of faith), also known as the analogy of Scripture, is a foundational principal of biblical hermeneutics, and it teaches that the clearer passages of Scripture must interpret the less clear passages, not the other way around. If the ‘clearer’ eschatological texts do not teach preterism, I would assert that the book of Revelation does not teach preterism either.

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