What does it mean to be an Orthodox Preterist? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Over the weekend, I had a friend call me about speaking at a conference and said, “You’re a Full Preterist. Right?” I immediately insisted that under no circumstances was that not my position. Absolutely not. Then I was asked if I was a Partial Preterist. I replied that no, I am an Orthodox Preterist. What does that mean? It means I believe Jesus will bodily return someday and there will be a bodily resurrection of the righteous and the wicked.
I was told that this is often talked about in literature as if it is Partial Preterism. I recognize that and I know many scholars even use the term, but I fully insist that it not be used. Words have a meaning and when it comes to eschatology, my wording and meaning is precise.
I consider what is known as Full Preterism to be a heresy. After all, we are to be raised as Jesus was raised and if we are just raised spiritually, then Jesus was raised spiritually. The common reply to this is that Jesus is the exception, but this is a cop-out. To say that Jesus will return in the future has always been a part of historical Christianity.
I prefer to give the title of Neohymenaeanism to the movement known as Full Preterism based on the heretic mentioned in 2 Timothy. Why would I not accept the term of Full Preterism then? Because if I think Full Preterism is a heresy, and I do, then if I am just a Partial Preterist, then does that mean that I am a partial heretic?
After all, would you want to be a Partial Arian? Would you want to be a Partial Modalist? Would you want to be a Partial Adoptionist? Of course not. Why would anyone accept a viewpoint that makes theirs a partial heresy?
I realize my friends who are dispensationalists disagree with me. That is fine. I would hope that they would realize that everything I believe about eschatology, while they might think it wrong, it does not deny any orthodox tenets of Christianity. I still hold to the physical and bodily return of Jesus in the future and that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked. In the same way, I disagree with them thoroughly, but I am very hesitant to call any position a heresy. That really has to be earned. Believing in the future return of Jesus and the bodily resurrection doesn’t make me a futurist in any way. It’s just a sign that I’m a Christian.
So when you ask me my position, I am an Orthodox Preterist. I am not a partial heretic. I could be wrong on my Preterism, which I highly highly doubt, but I do not hold to any heretical belief with it.