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The Death of Preterism?
by Roderick Edwards
In a recent article on PlanetPreterist.com, a well-known associate of Presence Ministries International (PMI) ™ basically pronounced the end of preterism as it’s currently known.In a recent article on PlanetPreterist.com, a well-known associate of Presence Ministries International (PMI) ™ basically pronounced the end of preterism as it’s currently known.“With apologies to planetpreterist.com, "Preterism," IMO, is history. It has been weighed and found wanting. It never got out of New Hampshire in the presidential race. It failed with Sproul to lead the church into a new day, because it could only lead from the past. It failed with the Evangelical Theological Society to influence academic scholars. It authors failed to break into mainstream Christian publishing, because of their caustic tone. Preterism is history. It must die. Either it finds a way to cocoon itself and be transformed into a butterfly, or it will die crawling on the ground, just like it did a hundred years ago.” – Jay Gary, PMI associate (full text of comment)
Now, I do advocate and want to maintain a continued alliance with PMI and the group called “Preterists”, but I must take issue with the notion that Preterism is dying or dead. On the contrary, the concept of Christ’s victorious return and eternal presence is picking up steam in this generation as never before. And it must be noted that even the opponents of Preterism realize this. For it is not books against PMI that are written but books against Preterism.
It is the spread of Preterism that they fear.
The growth and dissemination of Preterism seems comparable to the growth and dissemination of what may be termed as “evangelical” theology of the 16th century. Certainly there was the so-called “High” church in Protestantism that was comprised of the Lutherans, the Calvinists and the Anglicans but it would seem the most effective and enduring element that rose out of the Reformation would be those deemed the “Low” church. It was the “sectarians”, the “enthusiasts” that have had the most impact on the world. This is not to say the “High” church is wrong or without benefit but only a warning that we ought not repeat the errors that occurred in the 16th century. We ought not separate so far from High and Low forms of the fulfilled eschatology that we can no longer interact.
Both Preterists and those in the PMI camp can benefit from each other by moving in the same circles and continued dialogue.
So, far from reading the eulogy of preterism we ought to be shouting (even if that shout is merely done by living it out) the victory of Christ as an eternal new birth announcement to the world. I for one have no problem working within the title and label of Preterism. It very well could be that the label “Christians” as found in Acts 11:26 was originally meant to be an insult, as if this group formerly called The Way was merely a cult following a false prophet. And the label “Protestant” was certainly meant as a negative term – for who would wish to be labeled as a “protester against the Church”? I will wear the badge of Preterism as an honor.
But, if in the future a time comes when this term is no longer used, then so be it. I hope future generations will see the contributions made by this group just as other groups ought not be despised. Even if we do not agree fully with groups such as the Puritans, the Lollards, the Calvinists and others these groups have explored areas that I am indebted to them for. They were pioneers in areas I no longer have to venture into blindly.
May God richly bless us all as we explore new areas and leave our lives for those who come after us.