I understand that Pantelism is a form of Preteristic Universalism. But what is it exactly? I have tried to study this website: pantelism.com/ But I still can’t make heads or tails of it.
I don’t know enough about it to comment on it; but it sounds like they’d be big fans of NT Wright. (NTW has a very similar notion of eschaton fulfillment. [edited to add:] or he did back when he wrote JVG, and I haven’t heard that he’s changed it since then.)
I’m not sure myself except this Mike williams cat (who was part of Rod Parsleys ministry) baled on Rod for it : )
I’ve lisetned to him and it sounds just like full blown universalism to me. Perhaps there are some unique differences however.
I think their main thing is their ultra-preteristic eschatology. They think the resurrection-to-come is only a figurative event that happened already back in 70CE with the destruction of the Temple and the overthrow of Temple-based Judaism (thus signalling the end of Mosaic, Law-based Judaism.) Most preterists still do think there’s going to be a resurrection to come and that Christ will return for that.
Kind of peculiar that they’d diss the notion of a literal resurrection to come, yet accept that Christ was resurrected literally. I know that St. Paul was pretty strong about his universalistic hopes, and the hope for the resurrection to come, being keyed on the resurrection of Christ. Actually, I wonder what the pantelists make of 1 Cor 15 at all?–who exactly is it that St. Paul is supposed to be fulminating against, but those who (despite accepting or at least not dissenting from Christ’s resurrection) deny that there will be a resurrection for us like Christ’s?
I’ve just checked the site further; they really go far in metaphorically interpreting references to the resurrection-to-come as being… um… well, something. Something not literal, like Christ’s resurrection (which they do profess to be literal but also unique unlike other previous resuscitations from the dead–and unlike what we can hope for, apparently…?)
Gosh, I feel so spiritually inferior and gross for hoping for a literal resurrection of the dead. But it’s nice to know that I’ll be superior to Christ who had to go through such an ordeal as bodily resurrection in order to prove that he was the Christ and fulfill a prophecy apparently meant for all Israel but really only meant for himself. I guess he’ll be happy to shed that body asap, huh, once he no longer needs it… or maybe he’ll be the only one with a body, unlike us spiritually enlightened souls…
(It’s like these people have never heard of multiple levels and times of prophecy fulfillment…)
The irony of it–and this is of relevance to universalism–is that they’re actually quite emphatic about there not being a ‘heaven’ but only an eschatologically realized natural earth; and are critical about theologians who teach about a destruction of the natural kosmos and a merely ‘spiritual’ life in ‘heaven’. (All the destruction-of-the-kosmos language is taken to be purely figurative. As if there would be no resurrection for the kosmos, too.) But by (apparently???) denying a literal return of Christ and a bodily resurrection of the good (and evil!) to come, they drive exactly the wedge between eschatological heaven and earth that they’re anxious to avoid: those of us who die before the final fulfillment of God’s kingdom on earth will have no full inheritance of God’s redeemed creation. Sure, we may exist in interaction with the creation as ‘spirits’, but the people who live at that time will have the same spirituality and also corporeal interaction with God’s redeemed creation. We would need a restored body for that!
Even these people agree (I think) that the resurrection of Christ was an affirmation by God of (among other things) His dedication to the redemption of His natural creation; which they’re rightly and responsibly anxious for us to be sharing in. But where is the fulfillment of this if our natural bodies are not eventually transformed (and restored, where necessary), to be like Christ’s?
I suspect much-or-all of this stems from a desire to make the prophesied attack on, and destruction of, Jerusalem by Rome, synch up more neatly as fulfilling pretty much everything predicted about Christ’s “arrival” in the NT. If that’s the case, then of course boatloads of things have to be reinterpreted to be only figurative.
(I also must say that they have a strong anti-Judaism streak; and since the 1st c. Jewish mainstream could go pretty far in their expectations of a physically resurrected life, well, there it is… condemnation by association. )
As an orthodox metaphysician, I wonder what their stance is on the trinity, etc.? The portions I read didn’t seem to have much to say about that.
Preterists have some great points, particularly about Jesus’ clearly stated timeline. Most evangelicals are looking for the literal sky to open and Jesus to appear on a literal horses’ back in the very near future. What happens 25 years, 50 years or 100 years from now when no such event occurs?
When I question the literalists they say "You’re one of the scoffers prophesied about by Peter: “where is the promise of His coming?”
The Kingdom is here - now, that’s all I know for sure.
Preterists (as a broad group) do have some great points; but they also have some glaring weaknesses (and the ultra-preterists on that site have some even more glaring ones). The general weaknesses of preterism wouldn’t be weaknesses, though, if multiple times and levels of fulfillment were allowed for. As in the Isaianic prophecy of God-With-Us being born of a virgin, to give the most famous examples.
(On the other hand, sometimes an attempt at fitting prophecy to history after-the-fact just outright fails. The guys on that site insist, for example, that the destruction of Jerusalem was the lake of fire judgment at the end of RevJohn 20. This is despite the rest of that chapter absolutely not fitting a prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction by God; not counting the lead-in from chapter 19. I can tell you they didn’t get their interpretation there from exegesis; they read it bluntly into the material, as a necessary factor of their theology, and without much concern with contextual fitting.)
Not my problem, since (unlike some evangelicals) I’ve never been looking for this to occur very soon, even though I recognize that it could occur very soon and even though I expect it to occur someday. As to it being a literal horse, etc–for all I know it might be! Or it might not. I’m pretty flexible.
[size=200]***SCOFFER!!! SCOFFFFFFFFFFERRRRRRRR!!! SCOFFFFFF–***[/size]–ough, cough, coughcoughcoughycoughhack
Just kidding. I know perfectly well that preterists have many valid concerns that are important to take into the account.
If it comes to that, the Kingdom was here when Christ was doing His ministry (just like He said). In fact, the kingdom of God is not something that has to be established at all per se! (Saved from rebellion, yes. Established, no.)
But, if a very literal (if limited) catastrophe had to be enacted for the kingdom to be fulfilled (though it hardly looks like His kingdom is fulfilled and completed yet even after the Romans whomped Palestine and Jerusalem–despite Biblical language indicating the complete fulfillment follows contemporaneously with the wreckage of the world and the final wrath of God), then in principle a very literal (if more widescale) catastrophe might have to be enacted for the kingdom to be finally fulfilled. My eschatology is deep enough to accept multiple levels and times and kinds of fulfillment.
Yeah, like that!
Could you explain what you mean about Jesus’ clearly stated timeline?
And so I know where you’re coming from, may I ask if you’re a full Preterist or partial Preterist or something else?
By the way, my theology incorporates many ideas from partial Preterists.: )
I don’t have time to get into a full blown bible study but basically Jesus was speaking to His contemporaries. I believe “This generation” and “You” meant just that. In most evangelical communities we are trained to move all that forward and apply it to ourselves now since (we are told) all these things have obviously not happened yet. If they did not happen to those standing among Jesus then it kind of makes the whole message a moot point since Jesus was mistaken about all that.
I know there are many ways to spin this and ‘make it work’ to fit modern end time eschatology (dual fulfillment ect) but honestly - if you look at all the theories and failed predictions over the last 150 years it becomes a joke.
Since I believe the Bible is full of mystery symbols which few people understand at all then I am probably not the best person to listen to on this since I am not a Bible literalist, but still - my years of study may help some who are to re-think where we are in history.
For starters: The rapture - “Till the flood came and took THEM ALL AWAY”. This speaks of the ‘wicked’ being taken out - not the church.
I wouldn’t have thought of that as a rapture indicator. But the famous “one will be taken, one will be left”, which is more often adduced as a rapture prediction, certainly seems to be referring to people being killed off (‘where the vultures/eagles gather’). Thus not what people are typically expecting it to mean nowadays among evangelicals.
Byron, I’m not sure what you mean by “I am not a Bible literalist”. I don’t want to go far off the topic of Pantelism and Preterism. May I ask you some loaded questions in “Bibliology”?: ) But feel no obligation to reply to those questions.: )