For those who listened to the podcast, you are aware that Scot McKnight recently posted a five day series on Preterism during the week of March 9th-13th. Scot tries to label his view partial preterism, but if you read the entire series, Scot is a full preterist, or what many term a hyper-preterist. Scot believes that the focal point of all prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD. As I mentioned in the podcast, his views that he published toward the beginning of March on Jesus Creed are not new. It’s practically taken word for word from a thesis available on the web that was published back in 2002. Read his five day series here, or go back and read the original thesis here.
Scot’s thesis was the springboard that I used in my series on Preterism. It was those very views that I picked apart and demonstrated how they are truly faulty. Searching for previous articles on my blog can be very frustrating, even for me and I know when I wrote them. If an article is not on my main page, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom and click on view more entries. I believe the latest 25 entries are kept on my main page. When you go to previous entries, it gives you the previous 25. If you want to search before that, you have to use the column on the left side that comes up on the previous entries page. The past blog posts are sorted by month and year. So if you don’t know when I wrote the post you are looking for, it’s like looking for common sense in government.
The first posts that I wrote on Preterism were in June of 2007. Click here for that page. But those posts were simply the foundation for the ensuing posts which seem to be more memorable to most of my readers, especially those over at The Preterist Site. Those articles can be reached by clicking on the following links.
Back to Scot’s views. At the top of Scot McKnight’s blog (Jesus Creed), he has the statement “Scot McKnight on Jesus and orthodox faith in the 21st century”. While I respect Scot very much, I believe concerning this area, he has crossed the line of orthodoxy. Let me quote him and let you, the reader, decide if his views should be considered orthodox or not. At the end of the original paper, Scot had this to say:
Some scholars, most notably R.C. Sproul, think that we must make a distinction between Jesus’ prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction and the “eternal things”, such as the resurrection, the rapture, and the final judgment. Thus, what happened for Jesus was that we see “a” coming, a day of the Lord, a judgment, and an end of the Jewish age. Sproul, however, cannot anchor such distinctions – between Jesus’ predictions of A.D. 70 and his prediction of “end-time” events – in the texts of Jesus. He posits such a distinction. I am less convinced that this distinction can be drawn in Jesus’ words, though I would be happy to be proven wrong. An examination of the lines that follow the texts we examined tonight in Matthew 24-25 will show that there are no temporal disconnections between Jerusalem’s disaster and the so-called “eternal things.”
So you see that Scot makes 70 AD the focal point of not only many of Jesus’ prophecies, but the eternal things that He spoke of as well. That is the point where I feel Scot crosses the line into full preterism and unorthodoxy. Yet Scot still concedes that not everything is fulfilled which really puzzles me. How can someone believe that Matthew 25:31-46 has been fulfilled? Or is Scot saying that this is not part of the eternal things? That would make even less sense. The section above remains unchanged in his recently published series so he obviously still believes this doctrine of full preterism, but this following quote from the original has been changed. Here is what Scot originally said:
Frankly, I am not sure Jesus will return to earth; I’d like him to, and I’d stand in line for hours to meet him and see it all take place. I don’t want to sound either irreverent or even disrespectful here, but I think a ‘physical return’ to earth would create chaos – every Christian alive would want meet Jesus and, if the millennium is to last 1000 years, then Jesus would be little more than a hand-shaker for the entire time. I don’t want to say much more of a cynical nature, not because it scares me, but because it behooves us to think more realistically about God’s future. I believe in his ‘return’ but I think it will be much better than we can imagine.
So if Jesus comes literally or physically, He would be little more than a hand-shaker instead of the judge of the earth. Now read how Scot has edited the recent version:
What I am convinced of is this: Jesus sees a future during which time God will be exalted, he will be enthroned as Son of Man, and justice will be established according to God’s will. I believe this will happen on earth and it will constitute the new heavens and the new earth. Frankly — and I have modified my own views of this recently — I am not sure Jesus will return to earth as many describe that return; I’d like him to, and I’d stand in line for hours to meet him and see it all take place. I don’t want to sound either irreverent or even disrespectful here, but I think a ‘physical return’ to earth would create chaos – every Christian alive would want to meet Jesus and, if the millennium is to last 1000 years … well this gets a little out of hand even to imagine. I believe it behooves us to think more realistically about God’s future.
My question is, what constitutes thinking realistically about God’s future plans for planet earth? When I think realistically, I think of God’s Word and the prophecies yet to be fulfilled. That’s reality. And notice this addition to the entire series which was not in the original:
This Jewish prophet Jesus, however, is also the Messiah of the Endtime who was destined to come to lead Israel into the ‘fortunes of Israel’. Those fortunes have not yet been completely fulfilled.
This quote surprised me in light of how the rest of the paper remained virtually unchanged. I would encourage you to read these statements in context so Scot cannot claim he is being quoted out of context. I want to make a statement about the orthodoxy of the Preterist position. When someone asserts that the new heavens and new earth have already come, that has crossed the line of orthodoxy, II Peter 3:13. When someone claims that the resurrection is past, that has crossed the line of orthodoxy, I Timothy 1:20, II Timothy 2:17-18. When someone claims that the return of Jesus has already come, that has crossed the line of orthodoxy, Mark 13:21. Scot walks a fine line here by saying that the eternal things cannot be separated from the other things which were fulfilled in 70 AD, but he still maintains the new heavens, new earth, God’s plan for Israel, and the return of Jesus are all future. It seems like these things should be considered the eternal things, so by not enumerating what the eternal things are, ambiguity is working to Scot’s advantage. The minute Scot comes up with a position on exactly what the eternal things are, that’s when Futurists or Preterists will nail him for being inconsistent on one side or the other. Hopefully Scot will continue to modify his views to bring himself back into an orthodox position.
Remember, I do not disagree that 70 AD was a prophetic focal point, I disagree that is was the only prophetic focal point. To force events such as the gathering of the elect, the coming of the Messiah, and the terror of all nations is to do a great injustice to your prophetic stance. Jesus the Messiah did not come in 70 AD. The elect were not gathered from heaven and earth into the presence of God. The Gentile nations as a whole did not mourn. Scot’s assertions that these things happened simply have no basis.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman