Public Debate between a Historicistic Post-Millennialist (J. Parnell McCarter, developer of The Puritansí Home School Curriculum) and a Full Preterist (Don Preston, minister/author)

On August 18 and August 25, 2002 a public debate was aired on nationwide Genesis Communication Radio Network radio stations and its internet site (   This public debate featured Don Preston, representing the (full) preterist position, and J. Parnell McCarter, representing the historicistic post-millennial position. J. Parnell McCarter was invited to participate in this public debate by John Anderson, who mediated this debate on his "Voice of Reason" broadcast.   In the past Don Preston has debated dispensational futurist Thomas Ice.  You may listen to these debates on the internet at

To read J. Parnell McCarter's on-line critiques of full as well as partial preterism, you are encouraged to visit the website:

J. Parnell McCarter readily concedes that there are other historicistic post-millennialists who could more ably defend it against preterism.  But he is reminded of the words in I Peter 3:15 ("[be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear"), and he feels thereby duty-bound to defend his hope which is so eloquently expressed in the Westminster Larger Catechism:

"in the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel-officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate: that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted:  that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends."

This Biblical doctrine of hope is under attack by full preterists (who deny Christís future second coming) and by pre-millennial and other pessimistic futurists (who deny our hope to establish Christian societies and governments before Christís second coming).  The Puritansí Home School Curriculum is designed so that our children too might defend this hope against unwarranted, un-Biblical attacks.  And it is our prayer at The Puritansí Network that God may use even this occasion to spread the message of hope found in the historic reformed faith.

One  question that often arises is how to distinguish historicism from partial preterism.  The answer lies in their different hermeneutic and not in the issue of whether some New Testament prophecies pertain to the Apostolic era.  Historicists and partial preterists are agreed that some New Testament prophecies pertain to the Apostolic era. Since historicism recognizes that the escatological prophecies found in the New Testament cover the whole sweep of time between the First Advent and the future Second Advent, it should not be surprising that an historicist would recognize some of the prophecies as referring to events in the Apostolic era.     However, historicists reject the preteristic hermeneutic common to both full and partial preterism.   Dr. Kenneth Gentry has supplied us with a straight-forward working definition of this preteristic (whether full or partial) hermeneutic in the July 1997 issue of Chalcedon Report,  in an article entitled "A Brief Theological Analysis of Hyper-Preterism" :  "I hold that passages specifically delimiting the time-frame by temporal indicators (such as "this generation," "shortly," "at hand," "near," and similar wording) are to be applied to A. D. 70."  While historicists would grant the general rule concerning time indicators, historicists reject its **universal** application as simplistically ignoring some important data with respect to the Second Advent and the nature of Biblical prophecy.   This will hopefully come out in the public debate as well as in an upcoming booklet by J. Parnell McCarter addressing full preterism from a historicistic post-millenial perspective. It has already been addressed to some extent in his critiques of partial preterism.

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