Here is my response to a friend who recently asked me about The Big ‘So What’ of a fulfilled gospel view, or preterism. So what if it’s true that everything was fulfilled? What difference does it make in your daily life? Well, here’s my answer to that today.
“Dear —- ,
I heard that you were interested in the “so what” of a Fulfilled Gospel view (preterism). This is a question that I’m always seeking answers for in the form of good examples since a list doesn’t seem to quite capture it all.
I could say for me seeing the Gospel as Fulfilled and being everso more Fulfilled through me, and all believers, in the world has brought so many good things in abundance into my life. I’ve felt more joy in God, more peace about the future, more passion for the Gospel and optimism in life. I feel truly FREE now. The Gospel actually seems like Good News that I want to share with people, for the first time out of passion, not guilt. I could say it changes my politics to care more about the environment, the poor and Palestinian rights. I could say it brought down my idolatry of tradition and replaced it with a newfound zeal for God, his presence and power inside of me and around me right now!
And these are common results among all folks I know who have this fulfilled paradigm shift. And it’s potently good stuff. I mean if i could buy a drug to make me feel the way growing in this view does, I would. The whole world would! Who wouldn’t want to feel truly free, happier, more loving, peace filled and optimistic? But that seems to sound vague to people if they’re in a place where they can’t relate. Or where the idea of changing their futurist paradigm only seems like a threat to their theological system. Or that it would be taking away their hope for rescue and escape from this life. Or that it might cause them to change their political identity and or lose certain friends, associations or even a job. I think you could listen to my explanation all day and try to relate, but understanding it comes from Living it.
This is a Question that must be LIVED to understand!! And life it does bring! Not just in the ever-after, but in the Here and Now.
There’s no quick Wiki answer for this one. All I can do is present a good case for why, based on Jesus teaching, and the whole Bible, i think Jesus completed the mission he set out to accomplish, within the lifetime of his disciples.
I think someone should try out living in this Question for a while – “What difference does a fulfilled view make in my daily life?”
Re read the Gospels from this view. Ask yourself what would it mean if Jesus’ words to return to his disciples, as plainly spoken over and over, were actually true and fulfilled? What did it mean for them? Did he do what he said he would do? Did those disciples die with a hope fulfilled, or with devastating disappointment? What does the answer to that mean for us?
Take this fulfilled view for a test drive. Kick the tires. Keep asking questions “Well what about this…how was that fulfilled? What about this verse?” When I did this, it seemed like all the hazy blurry contradictory or confusing parts of scripture opened up to me. Preterism had better answers than anyone else around.
Through a fulfilled lens, the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles were now plain and consistent and pushing towards one great consummation on their immediate horizon. Jesus’ words in the Gospels burned in my heart because I knew he was right afterall! What vindication! I knew how the story would “end” for those who heard Jesus, they didn’t have to doubt him. And neither do we. And the end in their midst was but a Great Beginning!
When I reread the three synoptic gospels in parallel one night they burned in me because they were so real and earthy and true to the people to whom Jesus spoke. He wasn’t pontificating overly spiritual things that were largely irrelevant to them, but he cared for their safety in light of their coming tribulation. He cared that they should understand the changing of the ages, the world, that would befall them. He cared that they would believe they could live in Gods restored presence, and in his Kingdom that was breaking in through and among them. He wanted them to love God for God and live that in this world, even amidst trying times. He didn’t want them to seek in God what reward they could get from him or an escape from the world. Jesus knew the secret to life was to be filled with his Spirit, wherever life took them, and wherever life take us.
So Jesus was pointing the way to those Kingdom realities of peace and joy, freedom and power. And an expanded definition of love. For them, and for us. I feel these now more than ever. I constantly see things that make me grateful I live with a fulfilled perspective.”
I’ll continue sharing those things that make me grateful here with you.
And this is what’s real today.