Thanks to a commenter on this site pointing out the existence of the Preterist Archive website, I have read a fantastic review of self-styled “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff’s eschatology book, The Apocalypse Code, in which he attempts to defend a generally preterist view of Bible prophecy. The review is by Norman Geisler, whose apologetics work, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, I have been enjoying immensely (in the spare moments I have to read for pleasure these days!).
For those who don’t know, a preterist is “a person who maintains that the prophecies in the Apocalypse [i.e., the book of Revelation] have already been fulfilled” (from Dictionary.com) — meaning for practical purposes, that virtually all Biblical prophecy (e.g., Matthew 24) has already been fulfilled (or at least the vast majority of it), and that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, as opposed to events yet to come, was the great climactic event pictured in “end time” prophecies. This is an oversimplification, perhaps, but the interested reader can peruse the Wikipedia article on “preterism” if he wishes for more details on the shades and details.
I know… It’s a pretty dry discussion for most of you out there, and I don’t blame you for thinking so. Most of my readers are fully convinced that Bible prophecy related to future events, and if you haven’t had to wrestle with preterist thinking, then the issue might be irrelevant. Also, I certainly don’t agree with Mr. Geisler on everything he says, and he and Mr. Hanegraaff would probably happily team up to denounce many of the Biblical doctrines I teach. Still, his demolition of Hank Hanegraaff’s preterist pretensions was fairly thorough, and I will admit to the pleasure I felt at walking around the smoldering ruins a bit.
(FWIW, I also read popular preterist Gary DeMar’s rebuttal of Mr. Geisler’s critique, available on the same website. The last sentence of Mr. DeMar’s essay was such an overreach that I literally laughed out loud.)
So, for those who would like to see a nice critique of Hank Hanegraaff’s pretentious pro-preterism piece (and preterism in general) check it out. On the other hand, for those for whom such spats are merely academic curiosities, feel free to check something else out. 🙂
[And for those who think that disagreeing with ol’ Hank means that I endorse writers and speakers such as Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe, or John Hagee — or, for that matter, concepts such as a “secret rapture” — think again! Stroll around the Tomorrow’s World website and check out our articles and free literature, and discover the surprising but simple truths about Bible prophecy and what lies ahead. Things fit a lot better when you have the whole picture.]
[EDIT, 1/25/2008: Many thanks to “almar” who brought a bad link in the post to my attention. (If you didn’t click on it before I changed it, you won’t believe where it lead…) I will try to test my links more thoroughly next time! The bad link has been corrected, and my apologies to any who were accidentally misdirected.]