The following article also appears at: http://preteristmuseum.blogspot.com/2008/04/meeting-of-minds-preteristfuturist.html
Suppose we were all called to a board meeting to decide the future of Christianity. Some of us are Preterists, some Futurists, and the rest are undecided. You and I both know that this latter group will determine the outcome of the whole affair. Now, this board meeting will be in session for a whole month. During this time, each member called to participate will be allowed to speak at length on why the church should embrace either Preterism or Futurism. After the speakers quit, and on the last day of the meeting, the board will vote on which doctrines will prevail in the Christian world.
Whichever party loses will no longer be permitted to teach its views, and will have to dispose of all its books and learning-materials. If the person be a minister, he won’t be allowed to preach in churches until he signs a statement affirming that he adopts the views of the winning party. Any person who preaches a contrary doctrine will be subjected to heavy fines, and incur the permanent loss of his ministerial license. Does all this sound nightmarish? Nevertheless, something similar may happen one day. But the future is in the hands of God.
Now, let us think about this board meeting for a moment. Which party would you belong to? I know right away that I’d join the Futurist faction. Why? Well, because I believe that “The church” has always been since the Lord committed His doctrines to His apostles. Moreover, I believe that the church has always taught the same faith, and that if there is something like “another faith” then there is clearly more than one church. But the Scriptures never speak of two or three or many “churches.” Paul says, “There is one faith” and “one body.” So, then, that means that the correct system of Christian doctrine will be found throughout all ages of history. Hence there can be no such thing as a “new discovery.”
This obviously means that the same message which applied to the saints of Paul’s time also applies to Christians of our own day. And this gives us a pretty sure indication of what Christianity is all about. It makes things simple for us, so we don’t have to split hairs over such questions as, “Should we still keep the Lord’s commands?” – or, “Is there really going to be a future Tribulation, or is the world going to keep on getting sweeter and sweeter as the years roll by?” When such question arise, I and my Futurist board-members will promptly refer to Scripture, and remind folks that “In the last days perilous times will come.” That will settle the issue.
But, if others still aren’t persuaded, I can refer to the documents of the historic church, and show that throughout all ages of Christianity, the consistent view has been that the world awaits a future Antichrist and future Tribulation. Before coming to the meeting, I’ll have my 38-volume set of the Church Fathers shipped down special class, so that I can prove to the undecided members that historical continuity is not a theory, but a fact. If others still don’t believe, that’s their business. But I intend to show people the truth in any event.
Now my opponents of the Preterist faction will try to prevent me from making this historical disclosure. Their position is that “the truth” is a sort of evolutionary package. Don’t get it? Well, the theory is that the historic church had some idea of what they they were teaching, but only Joe Blow from Idaho could bring it to perfection. You know, it’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces have been coming together for 2,000 years. Now we almost have the whole picture. Just a few more days, and Billy and his pals will tell us what the truth is all about.
Dear fellow board-members: I ask you to realize the issues that are at stake. Is the same Gospel preached to our fathers and forefathers sufficient for us?– or must we break down and accept a cessationist theology?
Let the Preterists put their cards on the table, for it’s evident that they’re not being honest with us. Can they really give the Christian world answers on important questions of doctrine? They claim knowledge, while concealing their ignorance. Well, let them give us some detailed answers. Let them tell us what doctrines apply to us today. And moreover, since they’re so good at figuring things out, let them prove everything out of the Scriptures alone.
Only, let each Preterist board member be isolated from all the rest.
Now I hear a cry of “that’s not fair!” Well, if not, let me suggest also isolating each Futurist board member. Every member of the meeting must write his answers on a card, which will later be collected by the chairman. Questions will include, “What is the correct doctrine of the resurrection?” — “Does baptism still apply today?” — “Will all men be saved?” — “Is the moral law still in effect?” Of course, this is just a sampling of the many questions which will be asked. But the same questions will have to be answered by all of us–Preterists and Futurists. Then, once the cards have been collected, we’ll see which group is more consistent in its answers.
But the Preterists cry again, “That method isn’t necessary!” Well, why not? What’s wrong with answering a few harmless questions? After all, just visit Billy’s website and he’ll tell you everything you want to know, furnishing copious proofs to back up his claims. I’m simply asking that the same thing be done once and for all.
Of course, my Futurist colleagues all know why the Preterists want to avoid such a situation. You see, if their inconsistencies are brought to light, the undecided board-members won’t accept their views. On the other hand, everyone knows that our views will be consistent all the way through. This could make or break the whole meeting. And so the Prets must think quickly before the move is adopted.
But of course it will all amount to nothing. By this time folks already see that Preterism is weak and futile. They can’t win, because they don’t even have any solidarity, let alone consistency in belief and doctrine. And this is the same group that quietly suggests to us that we ought to leave the old Christianity behind and embrace their new-age “Gospel?”
The last day of the meeting, after the members cast their votes, the chairman tells us the verdict. “Dear board-members,” he announces; “I hereby give the decision of this board concerning the ongoing debate between Preterism and Futurism. But first, I want to thank you all for coming down. Without your patience and determination, Christians would continue forever in strife and division. But the contest is nearing a close. Without any further ado, let me reveal what has been decided.”
There is a strained hush in the room. All await the final decision. The creaking of Billy’s chair breaks the silence. Mr. Chairmain gives an “ahem!” and shuffles his papers. Then, slowly, he announces, “Ladies and gentlemen, I now give you the verdict. The decision of this board rests in favor of the Futurists!” With that he brings down the gavel, and calls the meeting to an end. And that resolves the issue FOR-EVER!
Now, I know that this is all a fantasy. I know that such a scenario isn’t likely to occur anytime soon. I also am quite aware that some may not like how the story ended. Nevertheless, I think we all know the moral of the story. Preterism will never take over Christianity. Not even at an Orwellian board-meeting. So you’d better throw in that towel before you get walloped.