Joel McDurmon in his American Vision article today writes about the unusual decision by Criswell College, an academic bastion of the Southern Baptist church, to invite well-known, fringe-heretical, hyper-preterist Don Preston to its campus in order to participate in a one-day conference on eschatology that it was holding today, representing the generic “preterist” position.
Joel wonders why they would choose someone like Mr. Preston, with such an extreme minority position that is outside the circle of Christian orthodoxy, to come and speak on behalf of a biblical viewpoint that is actually quite orthodox and historic and increasingly embraced by more and more students and laymen and churchmen, including those who attend Criswell College and belong to Southern Baptist churches.
He says this:
Southern Baptistdom is largely a dispenational and premillennial world. Criswell is a Southern Baptist haven. The reassertion of the preteristic view of Revelation and Matthew 24, among others, in this century, has led to the virtual collapse of dispensationalism in anything close to academic circles. It lives on in a couple of Bible colleges, but mainly persists only in popular fiction. Especially after the publication of Ken Gentry’s definitive work on the early dating of the book of Revelation (Before Jerusalem Fell), there has been an exodus from premillennial and dispensational thinking into the camps of preterism. Students are now asking Southern Baptist professors tough questions about eschatology. They are adopting preterism, and the SBC old guard doesn’t like it.
Joel smells a rat. Actually, he smells a gorilla. A large “900-lb. gorilla.”
The “full” preterism of Don Preston does not at all represent the “partial” preterism of a growing number of evangelical Christians who are abandoning premillennialism and dispensationalism’s untenable prophetic and hermeneutic positions in favor of something a little more cohesive and a lot less theologically schizophrenic.
So why invite an extremist like Preston?
Joel can think of only two reasons why they would do this: either the scholars at Criswell were bought off, or else they have an agenda. (He rules out incompetence–they’re scholars, after all, who should know better.)
I don’t know about you but I just love Christian conspiracy theories!
Read the entire article here.