'The only good 'ism' is a prism'
Have you ever heard this saying before? If you have; have you ever really thought about what it means? From a theological point of view, it should remind us that 'isms' are usually based on men's actions, or ideas ( 'baptism' may be the single exception ). As long as human beings exist, though, 'isms' will persist! That's just the way of it! Men ( and women ) naturally think that they are right, that they have the truth, and that any who disagrees with them on what that truth is ( including the logical implications of that truth ) does not have the truth. That's where 'isms' come in; they become dividing factors ( factions, even ) that serve to make a schism ( there's that 'ism' ) in the Body of Christ!
It is true that there are two 'isms' present in the title of this article, but they are present simply to show why there is such dissonance, or lack of harmony, especially when it comes to eschatology, within the Body of Christ, which Body we are, as manifold Scriptures clearly proclaim. Speaking of eschatology, or the study of end things; it is either fulfilled, or it is not! You can't have it both ways! There are others out there who are better equipped than I, who have taken great pains to show that ALL of the Scriptural promises related to eschatology MUST needs have taken place in the first century with the return of Jesus ( God ) in judgment on His Covenant people.There will be no proof-texting in this article, but I do adjure you to carefully, and within the covenant context, READ all the relevant texts, and remember Jesus' own words in Matthew 24:34; 'Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place'!
I have recently viewed a video by one such brother, which chronicles this dissonance, in which he shows that the main difference ( three, actually ) between the two camps named above is that true, or full preterists ( he calls them 'hyper-preterists' ) believe that the final Return of Jesus, the Resurrection and the Judgment are in the past, having been fulfilled in the event that transpired between the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and His final 'coming in the clouds' judgment of His Covenant people, while the partial--futurist ( he call them 'historic preterists' ) belie that there is a final Return, Resurrection, and Judgment in our Future. They DO believe, hence the 'partial' moniker, that there was *a* return, *a* resurrection ( of sorts, not quite sure how all that works out ), and *a* judgment, but that these were not the final word, so to speak; the fat lady has yet to sing!
Without going into great detail or discussion here, and without making this article too long and tedious; let's take a quick look at each of these events, beginning with the main event, and working our way down, which leads back, naturally, to the Main Event!
Jesus told His followers, in John 14:23; 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him'. Through the witness of the Holy Spirit, which His Father sent as a Comforter to the first-century church ( 'the church in short-pants', anther brother has called it ), and His subsequent Return; Jesus kept this promise! I anyone denies that He did, then that one is indeed without hope! While none will disagree that the Godhead now make their home with us through the Holy Spirit, you might hear arguments about a promised future bodily return.
Since Jesus promised that both He and His Father would come and make their home ( dwelling ) within the Body of believers, you would think it follows that Jesus now dwells with us; so where is this 'return'? Will He leave us at some point in our future, and then 'return' ( again? ) to.................???????????
'I will never leave you nor forsake you'!
A bit of proof-texting, or an eschatological statement? Either way, as the writer to the Hebrews ( 13:5 ) made this quote most likely from the Septuagint; it is a very clear statement that God would never forsake His people! This may seem to be a simple, even childishly weak argument, but it may serve to show the ignorance of the whole idea of this future 'return'. Again; since God now dwells with His people, having made His dwelling ( home ) with them once more, what need is there for a 'return'?
There is no doubt, for Scripture plainly relates it, that there was a major resurrection 3 days after the death and burial of Jesus. This was ostensibly a bodily resurrection ( Jesus' was ) and even during the ministry of Jesus, we read about several bodily resurrections. There were some recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures as well, but all pointed forward to THE Resurrection, which was, and is, Christ!
The same brethren which were mentioned earlier, seem to have a problem wrapping their heads around the idea of corporate resurrection, or the idea ( fact, really ) that it was NEVER about individual bodies, though individual bodies must necessarily be involved; it was all about a corporate resurrection of the Body of Israel, God's chosen people, His 'firstborn'! A careful ( as opposed to 'care-less' ) reading of Ezekiel 37 is probably the clearest example of this corporate ( though again; individual bodies were involved ) resurrection!
As a covenant document, Scripture stands as testimony of the faithfulness of God to His people, individual people, yes, but as a Body, the resurrected Body of Christ!
As we have seen in previous articles, judgment, as opposed to being a bad thing, or having a bad connotation, is a good thing! Judgment can be made for good or for evil, as God made known throughout the prophetic Scriptures, by bringing the curse upon one group of people, and heaping blessings upon another ( see the corporateness there? ). we are called to judge whether a thing or idea is good or evil, right or wrong. Sometimes we make wrong judgments, based upon our own feelings, and call good evil and evil good!
The Judgment that God ( Jesus ) meted out in His Return in the clouds ( AD70 ) was an adverse judgment on His typical Old Covenant people, yes, but more than that, and weaving back through the tapestry of Resurrection and ending ( beginning ) in the beautiful and continuous symphony that was His Return; He dwells once more in the midst of His people, and unlike the typical Tabernacle in the wilderness, this a permanent dwelling place, never to be destroyed, and without the separating veil!
The Conclusion of the Matter
You may have already come to your own conclusion, or accepted blindly the conclusions of others; you may have even stopped reading before this, because you figure I'm just 'off my rocker', and 'way out in left field', maybe 'too far gone', but these sorts of conclusions would only further strengthen the notion that 'the only good 'ism' is a prism'! If you are so sure that you are right, and thus everyone who disagrees with you is wrong, that you are willing to separate over it, and to foster schism within the Body because of it, then maybe you should have stopped reading a while back; you're part of the problem!
By emphasizing, as I have done, that those who foster such schism within the Body are part of the problem, and by pointing the finger at THEM, I inadvertently point even more fingers at myself! No MAN, I don't care how innocent he thinks he is, or how righteous and truthful; no mere human being, for we are weak by nature, can truthfully say that he does not, to some extent, fell, or have felt this way about his brethren; I know I cannot!
In conclusion then, as the wise man once said, 'Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all': as the great Anti-type to which he pointed said, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is [ the ] first and great commandment. And [ the ] second [ is ] like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets'. Love is the main thing, and if we do not have enough love not to separate the Body of Christ over our 'isms', then I believe it is questionable whether we have the love of God in Christ!
Fearfully, Charles Haddon Shank