Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Perplexing Perspective

An article written by Dan Doriani at The Gospel Coalition website presents a partial-preterist interpretation of Matthew 24. This is nothing novel; the partial-preterist conviction has been around for a good while, and there are certainly quite a few orthodox believers who hold it. The fact that Professor Doriani has expressed this persuasion is not the complaint of this post.

This protest is that the article is presented as the explanation of a passage described as "perplexing", part of a series described a one which "analyzes perplexing passages of the Bible", of which the subject article is billed as "the first installment in a new series..." Now, in Professor Doriani's mind it may be the explanation, and he is entitled to hold that opinion. If he wants to write partial-preterist articles until the rapture, that's his prerogative. But neither the article nor the series introduction contain any disclaimer from the website editors stipulating that professor Doriani's eschatological position is just one of a number of orthodox views.

After all, if the purpose is to coalesce in support of the gospel, it would seem third-tier issues could be allowed some interpretive latitude. One might expect that an organization which calls itself The Gospel Coalition--as opposed to, say, "The Partial-Preterist Eschatological Viewpoint Coalition"--would recognize that there are a variety of acceptable eschatological opinions among evangelicals, but would put its focus on uniting for the gospel. If one of their members wants to write about their opinion from the selection on the prophetic interpretation grid, perhaps the piece could include some clarifying comments, like:

Here is a difficult passage of Scripture. Well, it's actually not that difficult if you take the passage in its futuristic plain meaning sense. But there are some folks who think most of the events in this prophecy have already happened, which makes the passage difficult for them since the words in Matthew 24:16-31 do not describe accomplished phenomena. Most evangelicals do not agree with this esteemed chap's handling of this so-called "perplexing" passage; nevertheless, his minority viewpoint does have its followers, and as many of these eschatological points concern matters of nonessential doctrine, we present herewith his case for the readers' appraisal.

One might expect some sort of clarification, assuming The Gospel Coalition agrees that Partial Preterism is a) nonessential, and b) widely disputed.

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