How many of The Church fathers held A partial/Full Pretierist Viewpoint of Theology?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JesusFan, May 24, 2011.

  1. JesusFan

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    the early church fathers, many of them disciples of the Apostles, who learned under those who were...

    Know many in writings were pre Mil in their Eschatology...

    were there any prominent Church fathers first 2 centuries who wrote and expoused pretieristic viewpoints?
     
  2. Allan

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    Simply put. "No, there were none."
    For the first 2 centuries there was 'no' opposition to the view in written form that we have. Pre-Mill was considered the standing orthodox view of the church. By the 3rd century there are only (if I remember correctly) 4 recorded authors who held a different view and even they disagreed with each other. If I remember correctly, Origen was the first to depict the scriptures in an allegorical form on many subjects from future events to the point of even denying Jesus bodily resurrection. It wasn't till approximately midway through the 4th century we see a diametrical shift on prophetic views during the time when the Church and State became one, and the poster-boy for this 'new view' was Augustine.
     
    #2 Allan, May 24, 2011
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  3. asterisktom

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    As far as the very earliest of the ECF is concerned, the ones whose writings are placed from the the late 50s to AD 70, it is logically impossible for the category of Preterism to even exist. Take Clement, for instance. The Parousia he was looking forward to was still in the future from his standpoint.
     
  4. HankD

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    That begs the question Tom concerning those fathers whose life spanned the sack of Jerusalem and yet continued to write of the Second Coming, day of the Lord, day of God, Parousia, Appearing, etc, as the literal bodily return to judge the entire earth.

    And then also those younger who knew those fathers whose life had spanned the sack and had learned from these fathers writings, yet not one word to confirm preterism by attributing said sack to the second coming of Jesus Christ but to the contrary as a future event to resurrect the dead and judge the world.

    I do remember one who spoke of the destruction of the temple as God's vengeance but not as the fulfilment of the second Coming.

    In my research from the last protracted debate on preterism vs futurism, I found none contemporaneous with, following or beyond AD70 who spoke of the events of Jerusalem AD70 as the fulfilment of the Second coming.

    e.g. :
    Ignatius (AD50-107).
    Polycarp (AD70-155)
    Jusin Martyr (AD103-165).

    HankD
     
    #4 HankD, May 25, 2011
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  5. asterisktom

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    It doesn't beg the question, Hank, it answers it. It answers at least part of the OP, which is all that I intended for that response. Those who wrote before that great event would, necessarily, have fallen into a different category, the (what shall we call it?) "futurist-Preterist".

    Now about those who lived through that time and "continued to write" anything: I am not sure who you are referring to. The fact is there is a gap here of Christian writings from anyone. Sure, we have Josephus, but he was hardly a Christian and can't be trusted for spiritual observation.

    And hardly any more trustworthy are those who came soon after, like Ignatius. This the one who already was off on a number of doctrines (authoritarianism, relics, etc.). His tendencies led to the serious decline that became the Roman Catholic Church. So it is no surprise that he wasn't perceptive when it came to the Parousia. And yet, he wrote relatively very little on the subject.

    I don't know where you got this. It isn't true. There are a number of second and third generation writers who write from within what would now be called Preterism. Somewhere I have a list of these writers with their quotes. The only that comes to mind now is Melito of Sardis (from the first half or middle of the 2nd century):

    “‘Who will contend against me? Let him stand before me. It is I who delivered the condemned. It is I who gave life to the dead. It is I who raised up the buried. Who will argue with me? It is I,’ says Christ, ‘who destroyed death. It is I who triumphed over the enemy, and having trod down Hades, and bound the Strong Man, and have snatched mankind up to the heights of heaven.’”
    That was probably Chrysostom or Justin Martyr.
    I will have to go back into this topic. It certainly is a fascinating one, at least for this history teacher.
     
  6. thomas15

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    Tom,

    Wouldn't it be easier to prove that the ECFs lost some of their material, that material that would validate the preterist viewpoint by making the case that they all experienced a hard drive crash or windows malfunction?
     
  7. JesusFan

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    Still waiting to see the List from Tom which ECF wrote that the second coming has already happened, that there was no physical resurrection to look forward to...

    Must have been "great encouragement" to those in Arena facing certain death!
     
  8. thomas15

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    It is interesting to me JF that in the logic of the preterist, post AD 70 Christians needed a return of Christ to find comfort but the pre-AD 70 Christians, in their time of need had to rely purely on faith.
     
  9. HankD

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    OK for now Tom but if I find time before I go out of town this holiday weekend, I will quote some post AD70 ECF who knew nothing concerning the claims of preterism but looked to the future for the return of Jesus Christ.

    IMO, It's very weak to point out that some of these men were on shaky doctrinal ground in other areas.

    It is easy to trash the ECF's when they witness a different theology than our own and indeed I have done so myself.

    But we are talking about a universally accepted doctrine among all of Christendom, orthodox and heretic alike during the era of the church fathers viz - the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the visible and bodily return of Jesus Christ from heaven to the earth to resurrect the dead and judge the whole world as reflected in the church Creeds as well.

    Now I know that as Baptists we don't give much credence to ECF writings and/or church creeds.

    But historically they do prove one thing - preterism was unknown to them.
    Something an historian like yourself should take into consideration.

    HankD
     
    #9 HankD, May 25, 2011
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  10. asterisktom

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    I have no doubt that you can find them. That is not the issue.
    The issue is not one of character assassination of someone whose theology does not line up with mine, which is what I think you think this is, but of credibility. And those "other beliefs" were not just "shaky theology". They were - in the case of some of them - those very teachings of man's traditions that make God's Word of no effect. They are the teachings that Paul warned the Ephesians of in Acts 20 and Timothy in the Pastorals: celibacy, food restrictions, over-shepherding. For much of this to work - especially that last one - the eschatology would necessarily change too.
    Well, it is not a universally accepted doctrine. Yes, it has the sheer ponderous and (to some) intimidating weight of numbers, and the impetus of centuries of tradition; but that is not the same thing as saying that it is Biblical. And the Creeds are only the written witness of that same accretion of tradition. It is with those same Creeds that the 'Doctors" of the Church tried to keep Luther in his place.
    Consideration? I did more than that. As a historian and as a Christian I did take a long and hard into this. I finally came away convinced, but it was only after much study in the Scriptures.

    You know, at one time I was pretty unyielding toward Preterists, especially the Full Preterists. I would often kick them out of my email discussion groups because I really felt that they were heretical, deserving of no respect. That was a period of about 5 years, maybe from 1998 - 2003. But somewhere along the line, and certainly gradually, I developed a different attitude of just Bereanizing what I was being told with the Bible. Not what I thought was in the Bible, but what was actually there.

    It helped also that, as I was teaching through Hebrews in our Bible study, a friend kept inserting comments here and there and asking pesky questions like, "Where is any of that in the Bible?". Those questions and comments finally had their result.

    That is why I write on these topics here. Not because I just enjoy arguing. I really don't. I just know that for, say, every ten abrasive responses (not your's) there will always be a person here or there who will take the matter into closer consideration.
     
    #10 asterisktom, May 25, 2011
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  11. HankD

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    Tom, you and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to attitude toward other brethren. I hope never to "argue" with you but at most "debate".

    And I for one did take the challenge of full preterism into consideration.
    Obviously I was not convinced by the "proof text" scriptures and preterist interpretation of said texts.

    One of the elements which added to that conviction from scripture was the preponderance of the witness of the church fathers, especially of the apostolic and ante-nicene writers.

    And not only that but of the overwhelming preponderance of the entirety of Church History in relation to eschatology.

    Not so much even the writings and what they said, but the witness of these writers to the fact of the almost universally held belief of a visible and bodily return of Jesus Christ.

    Anyway, have a blessed holiday weekend Tom.

    HankD
     
  12. HankD

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    I am going to make an attempt at responding to the O/P

    from selected writings of church fathers, I am only going to address the “Full Preterist” position.

    Having said that then my answer would be - none that I know of - and I will give evidence and start with someone named Justin Martyr (AD100-165).

    Here is a man who lived within a human generation of the Apostles and the apostolic Church Fathers as well as being a voluminous and authoritative Christian Apologist.

    This man no doubt would have known of the preterists doctrine (assuming it is true). Namely that AD70 was the year of the Second Coming of Christ and the subsequent spiritual resurrection of the expectant believers (1 Thess 4).

    The only thing necessary right now to prove is that Justin Martyr believed and taught a bodily resurrection of believers since that would contradict the full preterist view of a spiritual resurrection. The rest falls in place.

    Justin Martyr in his treatise of the resurrection in his book of Apologetics takes several chapters expounding from the scriptures that human resurrection is a resurrection of the body in the same manner as Christ which is the essence of his apology.
    Then later he writes concerning the Second Coming:

    This is one proof among many that the early church fathers after AD70, contemporaneous with apostolic church fathers, believed in a literal and bodily resurrection of believers and a literal and bodily return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

    Did anyone notice that John of Japan and Justin Martyr make the same point concerning the First and Second Advents of Christ? The bodily promise of the First necessitates the bodily promise of the Second.

    This will probably be the only proof unless someone makes a challenge.

    Much study is a weariness to the flesh.

    HankD
     
    #12 HankD, May 25, 2011
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  13. Iconoclast

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    the premill they believed in,was not the same premill as now.

    after around 1033....a literal thousand tears after the cross, they began to scramble for an answer more than Harold Camping does:thumbs::laugh:
     
  14. Allan

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    Incorrect. I would suggest you study Church history more closely. Pre-Mill is just what it speaks to, the Coming of Christ BEFORE His Millennial reign.
    Common themes of the Premil view are as follows:
    1. The anti-christ (a person) would both arise and reign
    2. Christ's return physically to earth and the overthrow of the anti-christ.
    3. Christ establishing His physical Kingdom on the earth.
    4. He would reign from Jerusalem both over and with His saints of all ages.
    5. This specific reign would last a literal 1000 years.
    6. There were 2 distinct resurrections. That of the saints before the 1000 year reign and the general - those who would be raised up for Judgment.
    7. Pre-mils did distinquish between Israel (and God's future plans for it) and Church.

    The above is noted by various church historians from those who hold to Amil, Post-Mill, and also of course the Pre-Mil variety as show by me previously - here -
    And while yes, there are variations in aspects within the Pre-mil view (just as in the Covenant view) the core views remain the same.


    BTW- Camping is reformed in beliefs, a Calvinist if you will
     
    #14 Allan, May 25, 2011
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  15. asterisktom

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    I need to backtrack here a bit. I had mentioned Ignatius as being seriously wrong in eschatology, but it wasn't him that I was thinking of but a later writer. (Sorry, Ignatius!)

    Ignatius did, in fact, write a number of times from the Preterist perspective.

    Here are some excerpts from Ignatius along these lines:

    To the Ephesians, chapter 2
    2:2 May I have joy of you always, if so be I am
    worthy of it. It is therefore meet for you in every
    way to glorify Jesus Christ who glorified you; that
    being perfectly joined together in one submission,
    submitting yourselves to your bishop and presbytery,
    ye may be sanctified in all things.


    Admittedly, the above past tense ("glorified"), is not conclusive in itself, seeing that Paul did the same in Romans 8.

    To the Magnesians, chapter 9
    9:1 If then those who had walked in ancient
    practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer
    observing sabbaths but fashioning their lives after
    the Lord's day, on which our life also arose through
    Him and through His death which some men deny -- a
    mystery whereby we attained unto belief, and for this
    cause we endure patiently, that we may be found
    disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher --

    9:2 if this be so, how shall we be able to live
    apart from Him? seeing that even the prophets, being
    His disciples, were expecting Him as their teacher
    through the Spirit. And for this cause He whom they
    rightly awaited, when He came, raised them from the
    dead.


    This phrase "when He came" is from the Greek PARWN, which is a verb form of PAROUSIA. Ignatius is looking back at Christ's Parousia. The ones who had been raised (past tense) are the Old Testament prophets.

    His use of PARWN in a spiritual application is the same use that Paul employs in 1 Cor. 5:3:

    "For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit [PARWN DE TW PNEUMATI], have already judged (as though I were present[HWS PARWN]) him who has so done this deed."

    Back to Ignatius.

    Magnesians, CHAPTER 10
    10:2 Therefore put away the vile leaven which hath
    waxed stale and sour, and betake yourselves to the new
    leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be ye salted in Him,
    that none among you grow putrid, seeing that by your
    savour ye shall be proved.

    10:3 It is monstrous to talk of Jesus Christ and to
    practise Judaism. For Christianity did not believe in
    Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity, wherein every
    tongue
    believed and was gathered together unto
    God.
    (Italics are quoting Isa. 66:18)

    Smyrnaeans, chapter 1
    [Christ was] "truly born of a virgin and baptized by John
    that _all righteousness might be fulfilled_ by Him,

    1:2 truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under
    Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch (of which fruit
    are we -- that is, of His most blessed passion); that
    He might set up an ensign unto all the ages through
    His resurrection, for His saints and faithful people,
    whether among Jews or among Gentiles, in one body of
    His Church." (Italics are quoting Isaiah 5:26 and 9:22)


    This last verse shows that Ignatius saw that the ensign of Christ - the Cross - was to Jews and Gentiles of all ages. That is, there is no age in the future where there will be a return to the shadows of those deprecated OT sacrifices, such as is postulated by millennalists.
     
    #15 asterisktom, May 26, 2011
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  16. thomas15

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    Or to put it another way, Iconoclast is, intentional or not, confusing pre-mil with dispensationalism.
     
  17. asterisktom

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    I could have added some quotes in the future from Barnabas, but first I would like to dwell here on Ignatius's comments.

    I don't know where people get that the ECF were silent on the Parousia. Well, actually, I have an idea that many of them get it from people like Thomas Ice.
     
  18. HankD

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    Ignatius (AD35-110).

    Ignatius was one of those who was alive and well pre-AD70 and anything he wrote before that time would of course fill both the futurists and/or the preterist bill.

    Now as to the only passages where I see a preterist possibility:
    is explained by this passage:

    Matthew 27
    50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
    51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
    52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
    53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.​

    This of course long before AD70.

    Also of note in the word "bodies" in vs 52.

    Acts 1
    7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
    8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
    9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
    10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
    11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
    ...
    46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
    47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    The apostles were fully aware (or at least believed at the time of this question) that the kingdom would one day be restored to Israel:​

    Acts 1
    6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?​

    The answer was non-committal because they were subsequently commanded to preach the Gospel to the world in order to gather together one people into the church until the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled:

    Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

    Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.​

    HankD​
     
  19. Iconoclast

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    Yes....you are correct here Allan. Thanks for your correction.My thoughts here are to loose and fragmented. I was speaking after a thousand years had passed since the cross, and after origens allergorizing, I just went back and looked a bit in things to come by dwight pentecost.
    I do not have enough of a grasp on early church history.I get frustrated with it, because of the common period where the Roman Church became more corrupt....and I see everyone "quotes" from the church fathers. I do not have as much confidence in their scholarship.
     
  20. asterisktom

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    I don't know of anyone who says he wrote before AD 70. It was clearly years after.
    Please take another look at the quote I gave. The people whose bodies were raised were the prophets. This is the context. Were the ones raised in Matthew prophets?

    And also take note of the PAROUSIA-related word, that I mentioned.
     
    #20 asterisktom, May 26, 2011
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