I had a “preterist” commenter visit my last post. I want to clarify, this issue is a “non-issue” for me because I think it plays fast-and-loose with both theological and exegetical categories; in other words, it is moot! I wrote a short post on this issue, about three years ago, which I am here reposting. There are other issues that are problematic for preterism, of any stripe, but I think even the cursory highlight I give it in the following paragraphs present insurmountable problems; so that it never gets off the ground in the first place. I’m really not interested in debating preterists on this thread, like I said, it is a non-starter for me. If anybody is interested for further reading on this issue, see G. K. Beale’s commentary on Revelation, or even Riddlebarger (where the quotes come from below)—his is less technical, but still very sound (in this regard). Here’s that old post:
****This is a quick survey of Preterism (latin=praeter, meaning beyond or past), and its inherent hermeneutical/theological problem. There are two camps within this particular belief system, either full preterist or partial preterist.
A “full preterist” believes, in relationship to the second coming of Christ that in fact it has already happened. They believe that Christ already came, when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. They see this judgment, as the fulfillment of the resurrection prophesied by Jesus. Note Kim Riddlebarger’s analysis here:
. . . full preterists teach that the resurrection—which, they say, is not bodily but spiritual—has already occurred. To teach, as full preterists do, that Christ has already returned and that the resurrection occurred in A.D. 70 at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem is heresy, according to the apostle Paul.” (see Kim Riddlebarger, A Case For Amillennialism: Understanding The End Times, 239)
As noted above, the full preterist position is heretical because it undercuts the blatant scriptural teaching that the general resurrection will be bodily not spiritual (cf. II Tim. 2:17-18). But there is a variant teaching, that does not cross the threshold of heresy, it is an adaptation of “full preterism” known as “partial preterism.”
Partial preterism, contrarily, does not believe that the “resurrection” or second coming happened at 70 A.D.; although they do believe that Christ did “judge” Jerusalem at the 70 A.D. date. They believe that this judgment signified the end of the “Jewish Age”, and concurrently inaugurated the “age to come.” Note Riddlebarger:
Partial preterists, however, do not believe that the second coming and the resurrection occurred in A.D. 70, although they do believe Jesus did come back in judgment on Israel (a parousia), to bring about the end of the Jewish age (this age) and to usher in the age to come. According to many partial preterists, this view resolves the tension found throughout the New Testament between those texts which teach that Jesus and his apostles expected our Lord to return within the lifetimes of the apostles then living and again at the end of time when Jesus will return to judge the world, raise the dead, and make all things new.” (see Kim Riddlebarger, A Case For Amillennialism: Understanding The End Times, 239-40)
The interpretive problem this poses is one of positing a position that presupposes two returns of Christ (one local and one universal). The scriptures nowhere teach a local/universal two time return of Christ—only one return (cf. Acts 1:10-11; Heb. 9:27-28). The preterist position (full or partial) is an untenable position to forward, at least in its relationship to the clearer teaching of scripture (analogia fidei).****