Travis Finley: Response to Brock D. Hollet’s book, “Debunking Preterism,” Part One (2018)

The reason the dispensational futurist is wrong is because his concept of the kingdom is wrong; the reason the “already-not-yet” interpreter is wrong is because his concept of the resurrection is wrong.

Response to Brock D. Hollet’s book, “Debunking Preterism,” Part One

By Travis Finley



  • 2017: Travis Finley, Olivetan is the New Hermeneutic – The preferred designation for a person who believes that the judgement of this new creation and resurrection of men since 70 AD is still future but that everything else in the New Testament has passed must be Olivetian.

This essay is a response to the book by Dr. B. D. Hollett, Debunking Preterism. Let’s begin straightway with the subtitle, How Over-Realized Eschatology Misses the “Not Yet” of Bible Prophecy. Terms are a vital aspect to understanding a person’s argument and within the first two chapters two key terms are not defined when used.

What does “over-realised” and “not yet” mean? It is not best to hope one’s audience is privy to all facets of the discussion. In a discussion like this it is vitally important that both sides are operating upon a set of core beliefs which influence how the information is understood and evaluated. I will be using the term futurist hitherto broadly as everyone who is not preterist.

The term preterist will refer exclusively to those who believe the New Testament accounts for the historical and theological events of the first century were fulfilled in the judgement upon Jerusalem as anticipated by the entire corpus of the Old Testament.

For futurists, the term over-realized eschatology is used because of the construct for remaining future events. Those events are yet to be, not yet realized and the term refers to any who claim any realization are attempting to bring into existence that which is “not yet.” You see already how the two terms from the first paragraph are bed-fellows. An example of this over-realization is the “new heavens and earth” paradigm.

This particular use of the terms is found exclusively in Revelation 21 while it is alluded to in other passages such as 2 Peter 3. Futurists interpret this phrase, new heavens and earth, as a literal event in time when the current physical world of “heaven and earth” will be transformed from its former state to a renewed environment.

Futurists will label the preterist view that the heavens and earth are present now as “over-realized” for one of two reasons. First, one futurist might believe there is no fulfillment whatsoever until the end of time and so the term is all encompassing. Second, another futurist will allow for a partial fulfillment initiated but not yet consummated. The latter company also utilizes the term “already-not-yet” as the counter point to using “over-realized” eschatology in this debate.

Futurists who refer to the “already-not-yet” will admit that something, some aspect, of the future infiltrated history with the ministry and work of Jesus 2000 years ago. NT Wright is a wonderful specimen of such a one. He is wonderful precisely because he achieves so much with his treatment of New Testament paradigms in his many tomes. In many ways and in various media Wright has said something like this, “What was supposed to happen at the end breaks into and presents itself in the middle of history.” In other words, “the end” means the end of all historical events when “eternity” is ushered in. It is difficult to be so critical of such a renown Christian scholar as Wright, but one must. This author’s critique of Wright will stand as his critique of all such scholars such as G. K. Beale, Richard Pratt and even Peter Leithart (I say even because I’m a big fan of PJL).

The critique is this. The only reason to assert that something was initiated in the first century but not brought to fruition is best understood this way: there was an expectation of an event which ought to have happened but didn’t.

For instance, the futurists known as dispensationalists deny the Kingdom of God arrived at all precisely because what was thought to be the nature of the kingdom wasn’t the case. If the kingdom had arrived, they muse, then X would have been the case. But since no-X, no kingdom. On the other side of the spectrum, men like Wright and Leithart will say this. If the resurrection happened in the first century then X would be the case. Since no-X, no resurrection. Both of these are addressed with the same adroit dexterity as Mickey Mouse when he played Jack in Disney’s Jack and the Beanstalk who proclaimed the he “killed [2] with one swoop!!”

The reason the dispensational futurist is wrong is because his concept of the kingdom is wrong; the reason the “already-not-yet” interpreter is wrong is because his concept of the resurrection is wrong.

This is where the discussion must pitch camp and have it out. All of the other tertiary issues like “time texts,” “prophetic perspective,” and the Olivet Discourse do not stand or fall on their own merits. They are all subject to another greater master which takes into account the meta narrative. It is the meta narrative which gives meaning to all of the parts of the whole. The whole is greater than its parts and if a part is divorced from the whole and is interpreted in isolation, it is by that very act falsified no matter how cogent the machinations.

Ideally, in this writer’s opinion, Hollett’s first chapter would have been where he identified his position defining all the pertinent terms and ideas. What he did instead was predispose the reader to loaded terms like “supposed fulfillment,” “reinterpret the tradition[…],” and others. Again, preferably, Hollock should simply present the hermeneutic without informing the reader of his bias. Let the reader act as jurist and draw conclusions for himself.

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