Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JOTGES 16:2 (Autumn 03) p. 89
“A Review of R. C. Sproul’s The Last Days According to Jesus: An Analysis of Moderate Preterism, Part I,” Mike Stallard, The Conservative Theological Journal (March 2002): 55-71.
In recent years, an old theology known as preterism has had a revival. It is a theology teaching that virtually all prophecy has already been fulfilled, primarily in the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem. It is particularly popular among covenant theologians, especially covenant postmillennialists, although some covenant amillennialists have also adopted this view. A recent convert to this view is R. C. Sproul who produced it in his work The Last Days According to Jesus. A full preterist is someone who believes that all prophecies including the prophecies of the resurrection and the Second Coming have been fulfilled in the year A.D. 70 although they obviously have to spiritualize and allegorize these events. Thus, the Second Coming is a coming in judgment against Jerusalem. Moderate preterists believe that all prophecies have been fulfilled in the year A.D. 70 with the exception of the Second Coming and the resurrection. Sproul would fit into this category.
Mike Stallard, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Baptist Bible Seminary at Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, has written an excellent critique of Sproul’s book, the first part of which was published in The Conservative Theological Journal of March 2002. This review is of Part I only since at the time of this review, Part II had not yet been published.
After clearly defining the terms and showing where Sproul fits, Stallard does an excellent job of pointing out some rather unique inconsistencies. For example, dispensationalists are heavily criticized by covenant theologians for holding to a two-phase Second Coming, the rapture and the Second Coming itself. Stallard notes that in essence those who are moderate preterists end up believing the same thing. On the one hand, they believe that the Second Coming occurred in one form, in judgment when Jerusalem was destroyed in the year A.D. 70, and yet they still hold to another Second Coming, a more literal one, in the
JOTGES 16:2 (Autumn 03) p. 90
future. They, too, have a two-phase coming of Christ. Furthermore, the dispensational one is not separated by the great length of time that the preterist must assign to his (about 2, 000 years now between the two phases). At least with the dispensational ones, both the rapture and the Second Coming can be taken literally rather than allegorizing one and taking the other one literally.
Stallard also points out that what motivates Sproul’s preterism is his concern to respond to liberals: “In short, Sproul’s prete...
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