Thursday, December 15, 2011

Full-Preterism on Acts 1:9-11

Acts 1:9-11
9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
An old friend of mine has recently embraced full-preterism. This has provoked me to look at this issue, which I have been doing, off and on for the last few months. I recently came across this article by Keith Mathison: Acts 1:9–11 and the Hyper-Preterism Debate. What's interesting to me about this article is not Mathison's historical or exegetical explanation of this passage. Rather, his overview of full-preterist interpretations of this text are facinating. It's amazing the extent that some will go to read into a passage (very reminiscent of Mr. Camping).

5 comments:

Viisaus said...

I understand that heretical full-preterism denies the literal physical resurrection of the saints at the end of times. Only the souls of believers will fly to the kingdom of heaven, so to speak.

What would they make of the clear teaching that the resurrected Christ was "the first-born from the dead" (Colossians 1:18)? If the saints are not to be materially resurrected, then what was the exact status of risen Christ then?

Thus logic would seem to lead full-preterists into Gnostic-Docetistic denial of Christ's genuine PHYSICAL resurrection.

James Swan said...

I understand that heretical full-preterism denies the literal physical resurrection of the saints at the end of times.

Correct. They appear to have some unity on this. The reason, as far as I can follow their arguments, is that many full-preterists don't believe there will be "the end of times". According to what I've read, many of them believe this world is now already The new heaven and new earth. this world will go on just like it is now... forever.

Only the souls of believers will fly to the kingdom of heaven, so to speak.

Many of them are annihilationists. From what I've read, many of them hold that when believers die, they go to some ethereal heaven to be with God. There is no material body.

What would they make of the clear teaching that the resurrected Christ was "the first-born from the dead" (Colossians 1:18)? If the saints are not to be materially resurrected, then what was the exact status of risen Christ then?

That depends on which full-preterist you ask. I highly recommend Robert Strimple's chapter "Hyper-Preterism on the Resurrection of the Body" found in Mathison's When Shall These Things Be? Many of them argue for the spiritual resurrection of Christ. Others hold that the physical resurrection of Jesus was an exception, while all believers in Christ are only raised spiritually.

Thus logic would seem to lead full-preterists into Gnostic-Docetistic denial of Christ's genuine PHYSICAL resurrection.

That's bingo. You got it!

James Swan said...

By the way, I assume I don't have any full-preterist readers, but if by chance I do, and I have mis-represented the full-preterist position, I will make the necessary changes.

The thing though I've seen is that the full-preterist position lacks unity. Perhaps this has something to do with their usual disdain for creeds and confessions.

steelikat said...

Would someone who believed almost everything heretical full-preterists believed yet accepted an ultimate return of Christ and literal resurrection (perhaps thinking it to be in a relatively distant future and divorcing it from most but not all of the alleged resurrection prophecies) still be called a "full preterist?"

James Swan said...

Would someone who believed almost everything heretical full-preterists believed yet accepted an ultimate return of Christ and literal resurrection (perhaps thinking it to be in a relatively distant future and divorcing it from most but not all of the alleged resurrection prophecies) still be called a "full preterist?"

By definition, as far as I understand this, a person who believed in "an ultimate return of Christ and literal resurrection" would not be by definition a full-preterist. The term "preterist" itself refers to past action. A full-preterist believes in completed past action. That is, all prophecy was fulfilled in the past.

Perhaps you have in mind the partial-preterist position, advocated by such men like R.C. Sproul. He believe that much of the prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled, but the church still awaits the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead.