Gary DeMar shows the failure of John Murray's "Historical Idealism"
(Contrasted with Modern Idealism - the native hermeneutic of PreteristArchive.com. MI is to Historical Idealism as HP is to HyP.)
Relations and the Book of Revelation By
(Futurist: 1979-1996; Full Preterist: 1996-2006; Idealist: 2006-Eis tous aionios ton aionion)
Preterist-Idealism: The Wintery Flight (1876) "All who believed in Jesus Christ remembered what He had said, and left their homes hurriedly, and fled to a little town called Pella, on the other side of the river Jordan. Not one Christian perished in the siege of Jerusalem. The Jews who had refused to believe in Jesus, trusted to their strong walls, and their weapons, and stayed in the city.. Now, my children, I have not told you these things only as a chapter of history. I want you to learn some very important lessons from these words. For us there is an escape, a flight, to be undertaken, and for us there is a place of refuge like Pella. "
It is more than a little amusing
to see how dramatically my public reputation shifted
once it became clear that I had really left full
preterism and intended to oppose it. For years I kept my mouth shut in the face of many
libels and slanders - but in this one corner of my
website I'd like to set the record straight.
Clearly, it makes the natives a bit restless when a former chief (PreteristArchive.com started the online full preterist movement back in 1996, in case the reader doesn't know. This fact helps set context.) starts hanging around with a new tribe. But the smear pieces written by those who assumed that I was acting in bad faith are so over the top that they, in all reality, proved my point.
Watch as things turn from sweet to sour, judging
for yourself the merits of the arguments offered. I'm on
good terms with everyone referenced below, and the following is
submitted for historical purposes only. In two years, it will
have been a decade since my Eureka moment. My
intention is to write about the 20 years of PreteristArchive.com in
more detail at that time.
PRIOR TO PUBLICLY LEAVING FULL PRETERISM:
1)CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE - An Interview with Todd Dennis | Interview Conducted By Virgil Vaduva in 2006
[Note: Though I officially left Full Preterism at the 2006 NCMI Conference (Within a few weeks of this publication), all comments accurately reflect my current beliefs... aside from an identification within the confines of "Fulfilled Eschatology" - unless we restrict that world to the Old Covenant economy.]
Todd Dennis is a soft-spoken man; in fact when I spoke with him he seemed to be much more willing to listen rather than say much in return, and his overall gracious attitude and kindness is readily shown throughout every corner of his well-known website, The Preterist Archive. Todd was kind enough to take precious time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions, and I am very much thankful for his generosity throughout this interview.
Virgil Vaduva: Your website is one of the first sites I ran across when I started to study Preterism. Can you tell us a little about what prompted you to start Preterist Archive and how it all came about?
Todd Dennis: While pastoring a Dispensationalist church in the mid 1990s, the Spirit was leading me into greater understanding of the history and context of the New Testament period. What was unexpected, though, was that the closer my perspective became to that of the New Testament period and the expectations of the people in that era, the more alienated I became from the beliefs and expectations of Christians in my own era.
As the differences between what I had been taught by men and what was being revealed from Above became more pronounced, I sincerely wondered if I was the only one in the world who was being shown such things. Immediately upon coming online at the start of 1995, my goal was to find anyone else on the Internet who was being shown the same first century fulfillment of eschatology. Failing to find anyone else, it seemed important to make a website which could serve as a beacon to reach out to the theologically-minded world, and also to support like-minded refugees from Futurism that might be found online.
It was about a month or two after starting the website that a brother emailed me to share that the view I was presenting was historically called "Preterism". Armed with that term, my search for materials intensified and began to yield large quantities of writings during, and even prior to, the Christian era which associated the fall of Jerusalem with the fulfillment of eschatology. As a result of these finds, it seemed natural to strategically organize the website into a posture for the propagation of the Preterist view, and also as a means of comforting and organizing into a united and viable theological front the large number of persecuted Preterists who were contacting me.
Virgil: How is Preterist Archive doing now and what new projects are you working on?
Todd: Though the project is now over ten years old, these same two goals have generally been maintained. However, over time many other goals have been added - especially the organization of preteristic literature into clearly defined categories. This year has been quite busy in this regard. Most notably, the website has ceased being a mouthpiece for the "Full Preterist" movement it helped sculpt, and no longer places that view up on a pedestal. Having seen the goal of Preterism's acceptance to the theological round table fulfilled, and with the advent of many other websites which present and defend a "Full Preterist" view, there is no longer the urgency to present that particular view as there was in 1995. Instead, PreteristArchive.com is now offering a more broad "Encyclopedic" approach, serving as a clearinghouse for the study of all aspects of fulfilled eschatology.
Virgil: What do you think about the demographics of Preterism? What one characteristic is important and common to your audience on Preterist Archive?
Todd: I'm not that interested in, nor involved with, the nuts and bolts of the "ism" aspect of the preterist approach. However, it is impossible to ignore the trends that present themselves from many angles, such as through the reception of emails.
What seems to be the distinctive angle of the archive is that the overwhelming majority of readers are of Futurist persuasion. Though preteristic minded people often visit and contribute materials to the site, the average visitor is only "pret-curious", in both positive and negative ways. This is particularly satisfying to me personally (and explains the increasing shift toward a completely balanced approach), as a great number of the people who come to the website in an antagonistic mindset, seeking anything to discredit the view in any way possible, leave their quest forever effected for the better. There are a large number of such people now in leadership roles of the "Modern Preterist Movement".
One focus of the website that tends to cater to the common ground between Futurists and Preterists is appreciation for proof of the historicity of Christianity and its approaches to eschatology. Seeing as how every modern system is the result of development throughout the Christian era, all can enjoy archeological or papyrological revelations which point to the beliefs and practices of the ancient era of the faith. When this approach is tied to the historical events surrounding the Roman-Jewish war, the pursuit takes on a powerful dimension that unites history and theology.
Virgil: As one who runs a major Preterist website, do you see Preterism as an "Internet-only aberration" as it has been often labeled by detractors?
Todd: That is an easy charge to make, considering the high visibility of the Internet; I feel certain, though, that the number of people out there who are being led by the Spirit in isolation far outnumber those currently online. These people are sadly isolated, and in most cases are completely unaware of terms such as "Preterism". In due time, and as the world increasingly gets wired, I'm sure they will be able to likewise find comfort and fellowship online.
Besides, the literary world, independent of the Internet, has become highly involved with preteristic thought. And even more significant seems to be the converging of all disciplines of scientific and theological inquiry, and the recognition of the role the events of AD70 have had in the formation of the modern world.
Virgil: As you well know, there are many differences between Full Preterists and other eschatological positions that are Preteristic in nature. Do you think these differences are reconcilable, and if so how?
Todd: These different views are all reconcilable in Christ. I believe that the Grand Truth is not Preterist or Futurist.. but that it is spiritual in nature represented by the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, as we will share a focus on things above, we will find our earthly differences diminishing. Though some may feel more comfortable looking below and pointing out the weaknesses of others, I believe we are called to seek the healing of the Body of Christ by looking above and pointing at our King and His power and glory.
Virgil: You recently made an interesting proposition regarding the semantics of Preterism, namely renaming Full Preterism as Modern Preterism. When I think of the word "Modern" I think in philosophical terms associated with 20th century thought, as opposed to "Postmodernism" for example. How do you use these terms and why do beneficial to refer to Full Preterism in terms of "Modern Preterism?
Todd: This move was strictly for the organizational purposes of the website. Though some have tried to take these terms and use them in theological conversation, that was not the intention behind the shift in terminology. The main goal of the reclassification of terms was to form a more clear spirit of inquiry at the site -- one which doesn't enter into the tug of war over the typical terminology. Utilizing terms such as "full" or "consistent" or "hyper" in association with "Full Preterism" (or, even worse, the tendency to use the term "Preterism" to organize "Full Preterist" thought) really misses the mark. People feel passionately about this topic on all sides, so I wanted to find organizational terminology that was above all else fair.
"Historical Preterism" is used to organize to all developed forms of "Partial Preterism" throughout the centuries, whereas "Modern Preterism" is used to organize those strictly "Full Preterist" views developed popularly in the 20th Century.
following year, Full Preterism was
re-classified as "Hyper Preterism".
The term "Hyper Preterism" is not
used in its pejorative sense. It is an actual, doctrinally
descriptive term for that form of preterism
which goes too far in fulfillment. Nearly every
full preterist believes that fulfillment can be
taken too far in a "hyper" sense, although most
choose not to define it. What I have done is
take the time to clearly classify where I believe that line to be
-- just as I have with the term "Anti-Semitism".
All definitions are appreciated; buzzwords aren't.]
Todd Dennis (email@example.com)
And then, upon leaving Full Preterism (but not leaving my charitable attempt to reach people for the truth which goes beyond systems), the headline was:
For more comments, see Todd Dennis, Curator of Preterist Archive
What do YOU think ?
"Every student of the Epistle to the Hebrews must feel that it deals in a peculiar degree with the thoughts and trials of our own time. The situation of Jewish converts on the eve of the destruction of Jerusalem was necessarily marked by the sorest distress." (B.F. Westcott)
The Epistle to the Hebrews was written by the eternal
Spirit for the whole Church of God in all ages. It shows us on what
footing we are to stand before God as sinners; and in what way we
are to draw near as worshippers. (Horatio
There are various types of "Hybrid Preterism".. the term doesn't mean to imply that the hybrid view of this website (which is very idealistic in its focus on spiritual realities now) is the ONLY hybrid view. I know of many Hybrid Preterists who are following down similar paths of discovery.
Email PreteristArchive.com's Sole Developer and Curator, Todd Dennis
(todd @ preteristarchive.com)
Opened in 1996