Biblical Reasons Why We Should
And Practical Suggestions on How We Can
Create Heaven on Earth
Probably the only people who believe that "full preterism" is a heresy are "partial preterists." Those who aren't partial preterists (e.g., dispensational premillennialists) don't distinguish themselves from "full preterists," but only from "preterists." Most "partial preterists" I know are "Christian Reconstructionists," and nearly everyone who identifies himself as a "Reconstructionist" is a partial preterist.
So I'm assuming that you're a Reconstructionist.
I was once a Reconstructionist. I'll let you decide if I still am.
The belief that Matthew 24 predicted the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and not the end of the world two or three thousand years in the future is Eschatology 101 for Reconstructionists. I became a Reconstructionist around 1977. I remember when those of us in Southern California were introduced to the writings of J. Marcellus Kik by R. J. Rushdoony. Kik showed us that
were all fulfilled in the years prior to AD70, and we were ready for debate with all the Calvary Chapel folks around us who were waiting for the rapture.
From there, one New Testament prophecy after another was taken from the jigsaw of Hal Lindsey and added to the picture of what happened in AD70.
Wow! That didn't leave much for the future.
At one point Chilton believed in a future Second Coming of Christ even though he admitted there were no verses (left) that spoke of a future (for us) coming. (He believed in a future Second Coming anyway because "Holy Mother the Church has taught the doctrine for 2,000 years.")
Then Chilton took the plunge and became a full preterist.
But Chilton was a unique person. Most people will not as easily become preterists. This book is designed to help partial preterists become full preterists by answering the most difficult objection -- the final objection -- the last hold-out -- against full preterism.
Partial preterists strenuously and ultimately object to full-preterism on the grounds that full preterism logically means "we are now in heaven." If there are no unfulfilled prophecies, there's nothing left in our future but heaven. In fact, if preterism is true, we must be in heaven now! How ridiculous!
But many partial preterists are willing to admit that John Owen and other Reformed scholars are right, and that we are now in "The New Heavens and the New Earth," but they get hysterical over "full" preterism. Now really, what is the difference between living in "The New Heavens and the New Earth" now and living in "heaven" now?
This can't be heaven we're in now, so full preterism can't be true.
This is a serious objection, and it involves not only our view of heaven and prophecy, but our entire conception of Man's purpose on earth.
Many noteworthy Reconstructionists have gone on the war-path against full or consistent preterism. One Reformed Church has officially set forth its view that a sola scriptura, sola fide, six-day creationist, Trinitarian Calvinist who believes in full preterism is damned and going to hell. Gary North and Andrew Sandlin have spoken in no uncertain terms against the "heresy" of full preterism, even to suggest that no debate or discussion of the issues should be engaged in with full preterists; those who adhere to it have denied Christianity itself.
This chart may explain the conflict:
Differences Between Preterists
|A.D. 70||At end of history||A.D. 70||At end of history|
|Coming of Christ||yes||no||yes||yes|
|Resurrection, "Rapture"||yes||no||no way||yes|
|Day of the Lord||yes||no||yes||yes|
|Judgment||yes||no||What?! No Last Judgment?|
Futurists believe that at least some distinctive prophetic events are yet to occur. Consistent Preterists believe that Jesus fulfilled all New Testament prophecies by "coming" in AD70 in a great and terrible "Day of the Lord," in which the Jews were judged and the dead resurrected. Preterists believe that most Christians are mistaken in believing that New Testament passages predict the future physical destruction of the planet, and the future physical coming of Christ.
But if the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment (it's always capitalized) have already taken place, some ask, "What's left?" "No future resurrection?" "Are we already in heaven?"
It seems to me that this is where all arguments about preterism end up. We can talk about the meaning of "this generation" or 101 "any moment" verses, or even the meaning of "The New Heavens and the New Earth." But even if the non-preterist could be convinced that there are no verses that speak of a future Second Coming, Resurrection, or Last Judgment, nearly everyone is unprepared to admit that we are now in heaven.
I must confess that even if I am intellectually able to say, "Yes, the passages traditionally used to support the idea of a future resurrection and last judgment must have referred to some events in the first century, or else the authors were mistaken in their time references," and even if I conclude with David Chilton that there are no scripture passages that teach a future Second Coming, Resurrection and Judgment, I am emotionally unable to deny that there will be a future Second Coming, Resurrection and Judgment. I have lived all of my life believing in these future events.
But as a Reconstructionist I have come to believe that these events -- if still future -- will not take place until after the complete Christianization of the nations (postmillennialism). Chilton, Ken Gentry,* Gary DeMar, and other Reconstructionist teachers all seem to agree that these events will not occur for thousands of years.
So why does it matter whether I believe them or not? If they occur, great. If they don't, oh well. I'll be dead if they occur or dead if they don't, that I know for sure.
And I trust God. God is Love and God has imputed the death and righteousness of Christ to my account. The sting of death is gone. Whatever happens to me after I die will be more than fair, more than merciful, and more glorious than anything I can imagine.
In fact, I would like to suggest that even if these events will occur in the future, it is unBiblical to think about them or allow them to affect my life. Perhaps that's an overstatement. To be sure, whenever those future events have affected the lives of Christians, it has been negatively. Oops, another overstatement: it is undoubtedly true that belief in a future "Last Judgment" has kept many people from sinning, and denial of "the Last Judgment" has encouraged others to declare their autonomy and increase their sin. But they should have obeyed Jesus because He is Lord right now, not merely because He will punish them after death. Even if certain individuals have been kept from individual sins because of the threat of future judgment, futurism has been bad socially and culturally. On balance, I contend, belief in a future Second Coming has been detrimental to the cause of Christ and His dominion now, in this life.
It would undoubtedly take a PhD dissertation to prove that last sentence. And some PhD's could easily conclude that it is belief in an imminent Second Coming that has been socially detrimental, at least more so than the belief in a distantly future Second Coming. So let me instead draw a fine point and argue from the Bible that anyone who believes in a future Second Coming is an antichrist.
Then I'll argue from history that retreat is costly, and "heavenly-mindedness" is of no earthly good.
Those two links branch out into the rest of this book. Or you can begin with this overview. I hope the book is life-changing for you.
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* Gentry does not believe we are yet in "the New Heavens and New Earth," but he believes that thousands of years of human history remain before us.