In our last two articles of Preterist logic, we have discussed the basic and fundamental difference between two methods of interpretation– between a priori and a posteriori reasoning. We have been brought to the conclusion that Full Preterism relies essentially on a priori logic. That is, it requires the formation of generalities, which often themselves are inconclusive. These rash and ill-formed generalities are then passed backwards over the field of inductive evidence, and made to modify truths which can only be gathered through a posteriori logic. In the present article, I intend to show that such a reverted process is antagonistic to the principles of evangelical faith.
We draw the reader’s attention to the fact that, never do Christ or His apostles allow personal belief to establish the truths of theology. Nowhere is it affirmed that “Because ye believe, these things are so.” The tenor of Christian theology is: “These are the facts, receive them by faith.” Yet what is faith? Paul writes that: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11: 1). And whence does faith arise? From nothingness? –or from comprehension of facts?
Remember, facts constitute evidence. The formation of generalities must be preceded by a careful gathering of facts. Faith always works forwards, a posteriori. Disciples are given the truths of Christian doctrine, and enjoined to accept them by faith. Faith then serves us as evidence of the truthfulness of these facts. In most cases, the facts lie outside the senses, and cannot be verified. Thus, faith is necessary.
Now, Full Preterism, relying as it does on a priori logic, works contrary to this process. The Preterist begins by forming “anticipations,” or rash and premature judgments. The method by which he does so is sometimes inductive. Yet his mind hurries ahead of the evidence, seeking rest in generalities which are false or uncertain. In order to ‘prove’ these generalities, he must then drag them backwards over the inductive evidence, forcing facts to agree with his generalities. Thus, his ‘faith’ (if such it can be called) is allowed to control the evidence.
The real problem with such a method is that it is un-Biblical. Nowhere in Scripture is private judgment ever allowed to determine the truths of our faith. The interpreter’s business is to receive the truth, by working forward, gathering facts and comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Cor. 2: 13). In this way he rises from particular truths to general truths. When he arrives at generalities, he may use them to test any incoming evidence. However, if the evidence itself contradicts his conclusions, he must be willing to discard them, and start afresh.
This is really the only way to proceed with our Biblical studies. And most sensible people would agree with me. Notwithstanding, the Full Preterist fails to follow any such method. He uses generalities to amend the facts. Basing his entire system on the theory that “all things were fulfilled in A.D. 70,” he works backwards, using deductive reasoning to figure out what is true and what isn’t– what “applies” and what doesn’t. He doesn’t receive the truth. He determines the truth. And thus his faith is not evangelical, because it is not built on pre-existing facts. It is based on “prior” assumptions. This ‘faith’ is like a mirage hovering in the air, which vanishes as the thirsty traveler draws nigh. It is an illusion, and needs to be dealt with as such.
The common statement of Full Preterists, that “timing must determine nature” is an admission that F.P. requires an a priori method of logic. But, if I am to proceed a priori I can ‘prove’ anything. Let me offer an example. Most people believe that the sky is blue. Few have questioned the fact. Suppose, however, a rationalist ventures to say that, because some people are color-blind, the notion blue is actually subjective. After making this generality, he brings it backwards and infers that there is no such thing as color.
Now, everyone knows that the sophist is missing an important piece of evidence: namely, that color-blindness is a visual defect. This throws his entire theory out of orbit. But because of the perversity of his will, the rationalist will typically reject this fact by making a clever distinction, and thus clouding the issue, saves himself from being discredited. Apply this analogy to what the Full Preterists have done with doctrines such the resurrection and judgment, and you’ll see why F.P. offers a completely false and unacceptable alternative to orthodox theology.
I am hoping, at this juncture, that more people will wake up and realize the errors of the Full Preterist system. It is really its own logical method that proves its undoing. For faith, in order to grow, must have a solid foundation. It must proceed a posteriori. While Preterists may claim to believe the same doctrines, only differing on issues of timing, they are fooling nobody but themselves, because, after all, they have professed that “timing determines nature.”
But if the nature of a doctrine be altered, you have changed its authorized meaning. Since other doctrines depend upon the true meaning of the one you’ve changed, by doing this you also end up modifying them as well. By the time you’ve finished, your system results in a monster like “Universalism.” It all began by substituting false generalities for the Word of God.