PRETERISM IS ANTI-SEMITIC

PMT 2014-070 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Anti semitismPreterism is anti-Semitic. Pure and simple. To the core, through-and- through. It denounces Jews and Israel. And it must do so to maintain its distinctive theology. It involves a persecutional mindset.

At least that is what prophecy populists maintain, and what a number of scholars argue. But why do they make this charge?

Preteristm teaches that several New Testament prophecies apply to the AD 70 destruction of the temple. Is preterism’s focus on the Jewish judgment in AD 70 anti-Semtic? This is a serious moral charge. How does the preterist postmillennialist answer it? Are we guilty of such a sin?

Before I can respond to the charge I must first consider the historical backdrop to it, then the actual moral charge deemed to be within the system.

The backdrop

Two issues merge today in prompting the anti-Semitism charge against preterism.

The first is the horrific Nazi holocaust that ruthlessly slaughtered so many Jews. This enormous evil has rightly impacted our psyche regarding both the suffering of the Jews and the sinfulness of man. Its impact is widely felt in biblical and theological studies, just as it is in historical, sociological, political, psychological, and other fields of academic endeavor.

The second is political correctness, with all of its absurdities and hyper-sensitivity. We are all familiar with this liberal mindset and its heightened sensitivity to any sort of perceived slight to any people group — except for Christians, especially evangelical Christians, and most especially white evangelical Christians. Combined with an extreme relativism, the very facts of history are either totally suppressed or radically reinterpreted in order to promote the new values inherent in this perspective.


The Revelation of Jesus Christ
(booklet by Ken Gentry)
Brief argument for pre-A.D. 70 date;
shows Revelation is God’s covenant divorce decree against Israel.
Overview of main movements of Revelation.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


In this sort of environment any promotion or defense of Christianity, especially regarding its truth claims and its history-altering impact, is fair game for intellectual derision and academic assault. The modern mind stands aghast that we believe Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life.” The notion of Jesus as the only Savior is an anathema that is condemned with all the vitriol that can be mustered — which is quite a bit.

The preterist “sin”

Furthermore, the preterist approach to NT prophecy makes the matter supposedly worse by (allegedly) adding the additional baggage of overt 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, technically 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 redemptive-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 their Messiah, the Son of the living God, 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!”


Spiritual Function of God’s Law (3 CDs)
Three sermons on the spiritual implications of God’s Law.
Underscores the continuing significance of God’s Law in the world today.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


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.

Have you heard this anti-Semitism charge? Perhaps you could post a note regarding your experience with it.

I will continue this in my next post.

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12 thoughts on “PRETERISM IS ANTI-SEMITIC

  1. Andrew K June 11, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I have heard this charge in numerous discussions. Sometimes it isn’t phrased as harshly as “anti-Semitism” – often its the charge of “replacement theology” with the anti-Semitism implied. I try to explain that those who believe are the true Jews, but it often falls on deaf ears despite this being so overtly stated in Scripture (Rom 2:27-29). I’m usually met with stiff disagreement on this (as if I had written it) by dispensationalists. I find the dispensationalist’s position on this to be most accurately summarized by the following statement: “A person is ONLY a Jew if he is one outwardly.”

  2. David Burrows June 11, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I was kicked out of an FB group just last night for defending Hank Hannegraff and R.C. Sproul from that very charge. “Preterism is anti-semitic!”. I told the admin for the group that they were simply name-calling instead of refuting the Preterist position with Scripture. I also told them that you can’t get any more “replacement theology” than Dispensationlism’s belief that Israel will replace the Church. I also shared that if I wanted to name-call too, I would note that they were “anti-Palistinian”. Then, I suddenly was unable to share anything else. Lol. Very frustrating to be silenced that way.

    This isn’t my first encounter either. I think Preterism is seen an unorthodox by the general public (meaning, non-scholars). It is seen as dangerous and even ridiculous. It doesn’t help, as you know, that we get lumped in with hyper-preterists. Now, we’re just plain crazy!

    It seems to me that Israel has been given the status almost of an idol by Dispensationalism (similar to Mary in Catholicism). If you say anything negative about Israel, you’re “anti-semitic”. I remember hearing this charge about “The Passion of the Christ” movie. It was “anti-semitic” because it portrayed the Jews as the reason for Christ’s death. Uhhh…well, so does Scripture. They were judged for that. It’s over.

    Personally, I think it’s a fear tactic. Nobody wants to be seen as a racist jerk, so “if we call them a racist, that should keep them quiet”. The people in the FB group last night didn’t bring any evidence from Hank’s book about him being “anti-semitic”. They just said he clearly was. Those who read the post chimed in with “hey, I’ve heard that too.” No evidence. No quotes from his book. No videos of him throwing rocks at Israeli guards. Just, “he’s a preterist, therefore, anti-semitic”. It’s a horrible, cheap, childish, pathetic, and extremely powerful debating tool.

  3. Richard S. Anderson June 11, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    It’s just as bad in Jewish ministry. Dr. Michael L. Brown, a nationally-known Jewish-Christian apologist and a fine writer on the popular level who’s been a wonderful resource person for Q and A regarding dialogue with the Jews and CHAIM Ministry …. sadly regards the preterist position as a threat to sound doctrine and worse.

  4. David Burrows June 11, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Eschatalogically speaking, people are protecting Israel so that God can judge them….again. Blows my mind.

  5. Eric Clayton June 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    It seems to me that Israel has been given the status almost of an idol by Dispensationalism (similar to Mary in Catholicism).//

  6. Elle July 26, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    When I started this article I was astounded and mad. “I am a preterist, and I do not feel this way! I am neither anti Semitic nor a heretic!”

    In regard to semiticism, if anything I am grateful to the Jews for being the people God chose to set apart. Then, I pity the Jews for rejecting their Messiah, even as part of me is grateful that they did, in that had they accepted Him, it may mot have been offered to us. Though since Abraham is father of those who believe by faith and Jesus says God does not desire anyone to perish, I like to believe we would been included anyway.

    In regard to heresy, how can I be a heretic if I accept Jesus’s words, and believe that he was telling the truth about what and when things were going to happen?

    Then as I read on, I realized the author is pointing out just how ridiculous it is–that preterists are anti-Semitic and heretic?

    If anyone sees this, please reply as to whether I’m interpreting this article correctly?

  7. Kenneth Gentry July 26, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for interacting. I am glad my dramatic style caught your attention. The key to seeing my point in writing this is to note the second paragraph, which opens: “At least that is what prophecy populists maintain, and what a number of scholars argue.” I spend this article and the next two on the topic showing the absurdity of the moral charge that preterism is anti-Semitic.

  8. Hans April 14, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    So, that the Jews have their own state, flag etc since 1948 is not the will of God? The very fact that the Jews are still alive after numerous empires tried to destroy them is for me a sign that God cares about them. I think.

    I understand that preterists think that 70 AD was the fullfillment of Revelation etc. because some things happened. But if Jesus was’nt born in Bethlehem, Jesus would be a liar.

  9. Kenneth Gentry April 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    As a postmillennialist I believe Israel will eventually be saved and brought into the church. But I believe this will be done on the same basis as us Gentiles: by God’s grace through faith in his Son. God may be through with Israel as a geo-political entity, but I don’t believe he is through with her as an ethnic people to be saved by his grace.

    See: Israel and Romans 11

  10. lifetreegroup August 11, 2016 at 8:41 am

    I too have witnessed this. Peter, a Jew, speaking to other Jews, says: “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:23, 36

    We must simply not fear man, and side with the Truth.

    Also, I believe the pejorative “replacement theology” is not accurate. In Gentiles were grafted IN to the existing “chosen” of God. The unbelieving Jews were broken OFF (removed). Do not go along with this red herring. There was and is still only One TRUE natural Olive Tree, One Church (called out ones), one flock, one Bride, one chosen people of God, which, by the way, began in the NT as JEWS. The Church has always been God’s chosen people. Replacement theology could only be true if someone believed that the wild olive tree was not replacing the natural olive tree, and Paul in Romans 11 makes it plain that this is NOT the case. The OT natural olive tree is STILL God’s people in the NT – just not a geopolitical focus.

  11. cudownie January 10, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Im a postmill and partial preterist but I am yet to meet a single messianic teacher who would be a amill/postmill or preterist. It seems so obvious in the BIble that there’s only one covenant, one church consisting of believing jews and believing gentiles and still, can’t find a single messianic jew agreeing. Isn’t that strange?

  12. Kenneth Gentry January 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I don’t travel in those circles, so I am not sure of the implications of your analysis. If anyone reading this knows some messianic Christians who hold to postmillennialism or preterism, let us know!

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