What About The Creeds And Church History?

What About the Creeds and Church History?

by Don K. Preston

In the ongoing controversy about Covenant Eschatology, one of the main arguments being proposed by the opponents of true preterism is that of church history and the church creeds. The church simply could not have been wrong for so long on such a critical issue . No church creed espouses true preterism. Thus, preterism is false. This argument seems to carry a good bit of weight with those of the Reformed school especially, and, as we shall see, this is a strange irony to be sure.

I intend in this brief article to simply set forth a few “bullet points” as food for thought in regard to the issue of the creeds. For a fuller, excellent discussion from the Reformed perspective, see House Divided: A Reformed Response to When Shall These Things Be, available from this website.

The Reformation and The Creeds

To say the very least, those who appeal to the historical creeds as proof that true preterism is false are involved in an irony of major proportions. In fact, they are making the precise argument that the Roman Catholic church offered against Martin Luther! Read the words of the Roman Emperor Charles V: “For it is certain that a single brother is in error if he stands against the opinion of the whole of Christendom, as otherwise Christendom would have erred for a thousand years or more.” (Cited in Beyond Creation Science, Timothy Martin and Jeffrey Vaughn, www.truthinliving.org).

Likewise, Yohann Eck, arguing against Luther said to him: “Your plea to be heard from Scripture is the one always made by heretics! How can you of so many famous men and claim that you know more than they all? You have no right to call into question the mostassume that you are the only one to understand the sense of Scripture? Would you put your judgment above that holy orthodox faith, instituted by Christ the perfect lawgiver, proclaimed throughout the world by the apostles, sealed by the red blood of the martyrs, confirmed by the sacred councils, defined by the Church in which all our fathers believed until death and gave to us as an inheritance, and which now we are forbidden by [Mother Church] and [her Creeds] to debate lest there be no end of debate.”(Found at http://en.believethesign.com/index.php?title=Martin_Luther).

That sounds amazingly close to, “If preterism is true we have been wrong all these years! This doctrine violates the creeds!” It sounds like, “The creeds set the boundaries of orthodoxy.” It sounds like, “Preterism is false because it is not in the creeds.”

The question is therefore, if the enemies of true preterism are going to appeal to the creeds and church history to invalidate Covenant Eschatology, why was the argument of Emperor Charles and Yohann Eck, and the pope not valid? Let me frame their argument like this: Continue reading “What About The Creeds And Church History?”