The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Missler misfires at preterism


According to Chuck Missler, the Olivet Discourse in the Gospels is a problem. It’s not that he rejects it altogether, but it’s still a problem that he thinks needs to be resolved.

A major part of the reason that he thinks it’s a problem is here:

1) Jesus said in the Olivet discourse that the events he was describing would take place within “this generation.” No problem so far.

2) Chuck Missler doesn’t believe that the events that Jesus was speaking about did take place within that generation. There’s the problem.

If Chuck simply took 1) seriously, there would be no problem. He only thinks there’s a problem to resolve because of 2). Missler is a futurist, that is, he thinks that the events described in Matthew 24 are all in the future. Preterism is the view that the events that Jesus spoke about took place within that generation, that is, within the first century. They were in the future when Jesus predicted them, but then they happened, and they are now in the past. Preterists take the biblical references to timing quite literally. But look how Missler characterises the difference between futurists and preterists (“dispensationalism” is a type of futurism):

For many students of eschatology – the study of last things – the so-called Olivet Discourse has proven to be a troublesome passage; a hermeneutical battleground between the dispensationalists and the preterists, etc. The preterists insist that this passage – and the Book of Revelation – has been already fulfilled, and much of it is dismissed by them as simply allegorical. Yet even those who embrace a dispensational view have difficulty reconciling many of the Olivet Discourse passages.

Dismissed? What? The tactic is pretty weak: If someone takes a passage very seriously, but does not reach the same conclusion that you reach, simply allege that they dismiss the passage altogether.

The claim is pretty ironic, given that it is the preterists who are merely asking that we take Jesus’ claim about “this generation” seriously, while it is the futurists (like Missler) who are – for want a gentler term – dismissing such texts and labeling them as “problems” that we need to resolve so they will go away.

Dr Missler, here’s a great way to resolve the problem: Believe what Jesus said! Don’t be scared of the p word. Come on in Chuck, the water is lovely.


Misplaced fury over "unethical" critique of Global Warming


Episode 001: The BerettaCast Launches


  1. Kru Aaron Juice Veverka

    The term “Generation” is “Geneae” and means “race” as well. If you would like a better translation it is,
    “Most certainly I tell you, this race will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.”

    It can also be interpreted,
    “Most certainly I tell you, the lineage of these men will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.”
    This is not hard to see once you start digging into the original languages.

    Those are different interpretations, however it is more then likely that He meant literally, until this generation, what generation? The one He is speaking of.
    He is speaking of a future generation if you read it in context.

  2. “The term “Generation” is “Geneae” and means “race” as well. If you would like a better translation it is,
    “Most certainly I tell you, this race will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.””

    Why is that better?

    If you look up every instance of the phrase houtos genea in the Gospels, you will see that it does not mean race, but refers to a generation of people. Try it, you will see what I mean.

  3. Chris

    I have read this thread with some interest as I myself hold to a futurist position and find it somewhat confusing Glenn when you state there’s only one way to read genea…here’s a link which I hope will clarify why generation meaning only a fixed time period is exegetically incorrect. I hope you don’t see this as “drive by” linking-its just easier to post a link rather than typing thousands of words here…


  4. Chris, I don’t maintain that “there’s only one way to read genea.”

    What I have said, however, is that if you look up every other instance of houtos genea in the Gospels, in fact it does refer to a generation of people alive at the time. Anyone with a Bible and a concordance can check this.

    Chris, if you can find a couple of specific examples in the Gospels where houtos genea means something else, then I’d be happy to discuss them with you. I’m sure it wouldn’t require thousands of verses just to identify some examples.

    PS: Having read the article at CIC that you linked to, it’s pretty poor. But again, if you can provide a couple of examples of houtos genea in the Gospels where the people referred to are not those who were alive at the time, then you’re welcome to provide them as a starting point to a discussion.

  5. Mark

    I’m confused does this mean that because houtos genea has been used in a certain manner in the scripture that there can be no other possible alternative meaning, considering the gospels were written by different people i.e. Mark did not write Luke and Matthew did not write Mark.

  6. “I’m confused does this mean that because houtos genea has been used in a certain manner in the scripture”

    The point is much stronger than this Mark – it is that the phrase is only ever used in the straight forward way. And if you’re worried about the possibility of different authors using the phrase in different ways, we can just stick to Matthew if that makes it simpler. Matthew used the phrase a number of times, and he always uses it to literally mean this generation. And then he uses it in Matthew 24 to say that this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén