Middleism...
Stephen Whitsett BA
Giving an orthodox apologetic answer for Preterism / Dispensationalism
Orthodox
The Great Divide: Preterism vs. Orthodox

Abstract:
Preterism believes that all Biblical prophecy was fulfilled in or by 70 AD. The Orthodox position is that all Revelation related Eschatological events are all future. Each side staunchly believes and defends their position and of course each believes their position is the correct one. Yet common sense dictates both cannot be right. The premise and foundations used to arrive at their respective positions and the processes used to form their defenses determine the outcome. Presuppositions and assumption play a major factor in the formation of the theology and the world of scholarship and peer review expose the weaknesses of any position. This paper explores the reasons for the fundamental differences between Preterism and the orthodox position.

There are basically three different areas in which the divide begins. The first is the basic understanding of rules of interpretation, specifically how we begin the approach of interpretation. It is in this area that presuppositions play a key role. Modern Christianity comes with two thousand years of history and the well-known Orthodox position that the return of Christ, Resurrection, “Rapture”, Millennial reign, and the Great Whit Throne Judgment are all future. These positions are well documented, not only in the creeds, but also in the writing of Clement, Irenaeus, and Eusebius. These doctrines were formed by men of great intelligence and integrity and many lost their lives willingly for the cross of Christ.
Preterism originated with the Jesuit Alcazar toward the end of the sixteenth century in answer to futurist leanings that posited the Roman Catholic Church as the “beast”. The goal was to prove that RCC could not be the beast of Revelation and its system by arguing the fulfillment of all these prophecies were fulfilled by Rome before its conversion to Christianity in 300. It’s an interesting fact that the very system the preterist upholds was invented by a Roman catholic priest whose system of interpretation is based on the “allegorical” methods. These ideas were picked up over the years by a sporadic few and then embraced and expanded upon by Charles Russel late in the 19th Century, yet he still looked forward to a future final judgment.
 Max King is credited with fueling the present fire and has spread among certain churches and circles but remains very small in the larger picture of Christendom. Its major contribution comes from FACEBOOK pages which seek to spread its message. The major message and argument comes from Mathew 24 in which Jesus says, “All these things will come upon this generation”, and so the argument made is every prophetic utterance of the Olivet discourse was fulfilled in that generation.
 Dispensationalism originated in the Plymouth Brethren movement which began in the United Kingdom in the early 1800’s. The system supported the current understanding of futuristic Eschatology but added its liberal variances. In both systems they support the idea that Christ promised a second coming in Mathew 24:31 “they will see the son of man coming on clouds”. Dispensationalist believing that Christ had not returned yet so argued the Olivet is for a future generation fulfillment and with it the rebuilding of the temple so that the prophecy of destruction in verse 2 “one stone would not be left upon another” could be fulfilled. Preterism holds to “This generation” is when all things are to be fulfilled. They examine history and see Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD by the Roman army, not one stone was left upon another. This fulfills the prophecy of Jesus.
"A weakness of a lot of biblical eschatology is the tendency to ignore the time element of a prophecy simply because the historical events of that predicted time do not match our concept of what was to take place. It is more likely, however, that our concept is wrong, rather than the timing of the prophecy." -- Max R. King.


If the destruction is fulfilled in this generation, then all prophecies contained therein are also fulfilled but now we have one other problem. The early church taught a physical and bodily return and resurrection of the dead. These teaching are well founded and the capstones of ECF Eschatology.
"A weakness of a lot of biblical eschatology is the tendency to ignore the time element of a prophecy simply because the historical events of that predicted time do not match our concept of what was to take place. It is more likely, however, that our concept is wrong, rather than the timing of the prophecy." -- Max R. King.

But the eye witness’s testimony and evidence of the ECF’s who lived during this time know that there was no visible manifestation of Christ or a physical resurrection of the dead. Therefore, the preterist to declare it was all fulfilled has to declare it was all fulfilled “spiritually” and not physically.
Any method of interpretation is dangerous if it perverts the true meaning of scripture, and of course the ultimate test as to whether the true meaning of scripture has been ascertained, will be in the field of harmony and consistency. Any principle of interpretation that fails to advance harmony of thought and purpose in every related field of study must be considered as false. God’s eternal purpose is so constituted and unfolded in the scriptures, that the only right method of interpretation can be advanced entirely free of contradiction, inconsistency, or disharmony. The right method will not only meet the demands of the immediate scripture or context, but also of every related scripture or context." -- Max R. King

Bible prophecy can be understood, but Futurist views have fallen far short for many reasons: their extreme physical/literalizing approach, their seeming inability to distinguish between figurative and literal language, and their failure to properly take into account the historical-grammatical-cultural context of the prophecies (specifically what they meant to their original audience). Even the most difficult prophetic passage comes alive when approached properly. It is time to look at some alternatives, and the Preterist view is a great place to start... Ed Stevens preterist.org

These last 75 years have been spent by preterist building a system to prove all these events were fulfilled spiritually and an interpretation system created to support their arguments. That foundation is that the Bible is to be understood not in the literal understanding, but that the words in the bible are to be understood as metaphors and other types of figurative language. Sam Frost a leading proponent and writer for the Preterist’s movement who has now recanted these views stated,
The "plain reading" (which they like to use a lot when it comes to the word "near" and such) must become code. Once the code is assumed, then it is read into these passages. For the Hyper Preterist this is all based on his first assumption: the so called "time texts". Once the "timing" of the resurrection is assumed, then these passages must fall in line and therefore, you get what you get to make them fit the paradigm. That was my basic over riding premise in my book, published by Don K. Preston, "Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead." The Hyper Preterist, much like the Dispensationalist, has an "all or nothing" approach to Bible prophecy. It all happens at the same time, or none of it does. The Dispensationalists, of course, have it "all" at the end of the world, and the HP has it all at the end of 70 A.D. Both camps are guilty of not having any concern with the here and now of prophecy.

 So the code is worked out and then applied to the text as if the was the intent of the original authors. While scriptures do use metaphors and most are explained or obvious, the preterist applies the metaphors over any language that insist on a literal understanding that refutes their paradigm. The dispensationalist on the other hand makes their system work for them in interpretation but does not vary in the basic literal understanding of future expectations and the literal nature of the events.
 In the process of forming the preterist paradigm two things occur, they decide which passages to take literal and which the code is to be applied to. Modern scholarship and the peer review process is dismissed and assumptions made become standard doctrinal beliefs despite the lack of biblical evidence. For example, preterist who address Mathew 27:52 Resurrection assume these people raised, later died. This position is a failing to reconcile they were to be the first fruits that Paul spoke of in I Cor 15 in reality there is no scripters that clarifies what happen to these people so if either side argues they know; both are in error but the theological implication of such a position of them dying again is rejected. What seems even sillier and a serious lack of logic, preterist claim the resurrection is of the souls being released from hades in 70 AD, yet the problem becomes apparent in order for the saints to be raised in 70 AD their souls had to be released from hades in order for them to come to life. The other major theological implication is Paul teaches “they were bought with a price” if the ransom was paid, then the payment demands release of the prisoners in 33 AD, not forty years later. This basic theology becomes a major stumbling block for preterist.
Secondly they dismiss every Early Church Father because they all hold to the creed, a bodily resurrection and a future return. Their words and testimonies are impugned and discounted. While some attempt to disprove the texts by changing the dates of authorship to pre 70 AD that task proves impossible as the testimony is to extant.
 So the question must be asked; Did the early church fall into apostasy and deny the gospel with in one generation after the Apostles departure? They would argue and have us believe men such as Polycarp, Ignatius, and Clement who were themselves disciples of the Apostles so soon left the gospel, men who lived through 70 AD did not even know it happened. Preterist would have us believe the church has been wrong about these things for over two thousand years. Yet these same men argued against heresies, developed the doctrine of the trinity and formed our cannon of scriptures.
 Another major fail is claiming to have exegesis on their side but in reality exegesis is the attempt to arrive at an understanding based on the meaning of the words used, the preterist system is the assumption the words used are code words, so like a figure of speech the literal words have no meaning related to the actual intent of the author point. A person cannot exegete “it’s raining cats and dogs” because the literal words have nothing to do with the common understanding, hence the studying for years to learn the code and the million different views. They argue “Nekron” or “corpse” actually means “dead ones” which is used in a limited way but the overriding meaning is the dead body that lies in the grave but then “grave” becomes a code word for Hades as if they were afraid to actually use the right word.
 And so the rhetoric escalates:
"I know many good - hearted and wise Believers (those I would call my brothers and sisters) that hold to the futurist perspective of Bible prophecy, and while I completely disagree with their foundational understanding of what Jesus' teachings were pointing to and get a bit dismayed when they seemingly offer false narratives or understandings in regards to Scripture, I do not deny that they are indeed saved by the grace of God, and love them as my brethren in Christ."

I agree. And yet there's an endless richness to seeing the completed work of Jesus. In fact, I believe we only live half the life in the kingdom when we fail to see and grasp the whole of His completed work. Keep preaching, keep sharing, in patience and example. Perhaps they will come to the knowledge of fulfilled eschatology.
I just laugh to myself and wonder how they can deny it
I don't laugh. It really makes me sad. I see the whole modern day institutional church practicing a false religion whose only resemblance to the religion I see in scripture is the use of the term "love" and worshipping a man named Jesus while ignoring the majority of what he taught, except for the teachings on "love". Even non-Christians and atheists can unite over love, that doesn't prove anything.
Sorry, I can't just sit around and say, kumbuya and pretend everything is fine- when I and my congregation are ostracized constantly from simple things like outreach because we hold to "heresy". Yeah, that gets me to examine the Scriptures and realize, "Well no, my view isn't heresy, so what does that say about the other side?".
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of most of them. We are labeled heretics, apostates, and wolves in sheep clothing, thus validating their false narrative.
 And instead of “love” futurist get “ridicule”.
Wondering how one can volunteer to be stupid. Yet he challenges others "prove me wrong!". I can debate a person who is confused in a few points. It is hard to debate someone whose thoughts are totally MUDDLED. MUDDLEISM is an apt name.
“Christians now realize that both comings of Jesus Christ took place in the same generation. They can see this truth in the Scriptures. The modern preterist movement is of God. Not since the days of Martin Luther have we seen such a turning back of spiritual darkness. It is a time of awakening… Preterism has an enormous job in pushing back the darkness of entrenched futurism; it’s an uphill struggle, but it will succeed because it is of God… We’re dealing with two types of people when we consider the adherents to these diabolical doctrines: 1. Real Christians who are babes, immature, or generally not Christ-centered in their understanding of the Bible. 2. Wolves (unconverted religionists) in sheep’s clothing who desire to eat up the true sheep and scatter the rest of the flock. (Acts 20:29-30)”. Ed Stevens Preterist.org
 The rhetoric goes both ways in some circles as no one side is innocent but at the heart of the charge several doctrines are compromised the most notable is the doctrine of the Incarnation in which Preterism assert Christ is no longer a man or has a “body” of flesh. Secondly to assign to Christ deeds not done Paul’s says causes “the shipwreck of people’s faith”.

Conclusion:
 Error begets more error as no standard of truth is upheld as Orthodox. Forms of modalism, anhilationism, and universalism run rampant among preterist and because of the applied meanings used for interpretation of scriptures the views multiply by the year as each view doesn’t hold to a definitive standard of truth but independent views are upheld and encouraged as accepted standardize forms of scholarship are rejected and ridiculed. “Seminary is for the sheep who can’t learn on their own or go to be indoctrinated”. And so they pretend to be knowledgeable and seek to correct the one with the Greek and Hebrew doctorate degree.
 The answer for reconciliation is found in two ways. The first when the preterist becomes honest in dealing with scriptures and with themselves in admitting their weaknesses are real. The second way is by intervention of the Holy Spirit who brings revelation and clarity.
….. get used to being discouraged, because the scholars and the faithful of the Church will continue to look for their Savior's Appearance to gather all his people "at the last day" and to restore a Sin fallen creation in the redemption of "all things" in heaven and on earth, above and below, far a wide, as much as can be named, above all things, all creation, May His Name be Praised Forever! Maranatha!
Orthodox
Redemption of Creation
Preterist Mill Problem
Logical Fallacy
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