By Dr Kenneth L. Gentry Jr
Dispensationalism charges preterism with anti-Semitism. This is because preterists believe that two series of events from the first century are foundational to NT prophecy and the future development of human history. The first set of events involve the birth, life, work, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. The second includes the destruction of Jerusalem, the collapse of the Jewish temple, and the permanent cessation of the sacrificial system. (I should note, however, that as Richard Gaffin and others notes, the AD 70 judgment is really an extension of Christ’s first coming. Thus, these are not two series of events, but one elongated one.)
In the preterist system these two event-series dramatically demonstrate the wrath of God against Israel, combining to:
• legally effect the ending of the old covenant which was God’s revelation for governing Israel
• permanently disestablish Israel from its central role in redemp-tive-history
• establish forever the new covenant and its final reorganization of the people of God in the church of Jesus Christ
This is anathema! Such a theology should be denounced in the public square, not given a hearing! How can we even think that God judged Israel in the first century merely for rejecting the Messiah, killing him, and persecuting his followers? And especially in affirming this world-conquering religious construct, preteristic postmillennialism! The secularists complain: “Aren’t all religions equal?” “Isn’t truth relative?” “Wasn’t Jesus just a first century itinerant preacher and mystic?” “Away with this man, we have no king but Self!”
So then, preterism exalts Christ as the only Savior, affirms Christianity as the only approach to God, promotes the Bible as the unique, infallible, inerrant, authoritative revelation of God. And — God forbid! — we see the judgment of first century Israel as the will of God and the fulfillment of biblical prophecy in clearing the way for the ascendency of Christianity. This, according to the modern mindset, is anti-Semitism in all of its ugliness and simplicity.