Full preterists believe that all prophecies in the Bible have already been fulfilled, including those related to the final resurrection, the Second Coming of Christ, and the Final Judgment.

I have met some Protestant preterists who believe that their beliefs are in accord with the ecumenical creeds, despite language in the creeds that seems to imply that the Second Coming and other eschatological events are yet to come.

Do any Roman Catholic or Protestant councils or creeds specifically state that full preterist beliefs are heretical?


2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if this is helpful or not, but there is no evidence of condemnation from the Catholic Church in a council of Preterism. Lists like this one or this one, and books dedicated to the subject, like this one, this one, and this classic make no mention of it. The Catholic Encyclopedia makes no mention of this doctrine either.

My understanding however is that the Catholic Church does not stand with preterism. The creeds clearly state that we are still waiting for the Second Coming. So many texts (e.g. here), including in the Catechism, takes this same tone. From the later (which is official doctrine, i.e. infallible), point 1040 reads:

The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God's love is stronger than death.

Surrounding points have the same tone, i.e. an event to come.

So, even if the Catholic Church has not officially declared preterism as a heresy, some of its tenets are clearly heretic (from the Catholic point of view).


I'm not aware of any denominations that have written statements denouncing Preterism as heretical.

Tim Lahaye, Thomas Ice, and many of the other "big shots" have made individual statements in the past concerned and trying to attach those who believe in the time statements and prophecies related to the first century as heretics.

Apologists and theologians like N.T. Wright, R.C. Sproul and Hank Hanegraaff have somewhat defended the hermeneutics of Preterist interpretation as being within reason. Sproul and Hanegraaf have at times identified as being Partial Preterists.

Claiming to be "Orthodox" does not automatically identify one as believing the creeds and councils as being above error; it merely identifies one as relating to the first century statements about Yeshua's "soon" return which pre-dates the councils.

(I could be wrong on the source of this quote) I believe Martin Luther said:

Where the Father's depart from Scripture, I depart from the Fathers.

Being this was Martin's quote, the Father of the Reformation certainly performed an act more egregious than the believer who doesn't agree with every tenet of the Catechisms and Creeds.

If Luther did not say this, then his actions certainly did hold the Church of 1400 years in contempt as he was a lone voice questioning the authority and decisions of the establishment. No less insulting as the Protestant Church is towards the Preterist.

  • Welcome TJ! Thanks for your answer. It's worth noting, however, that this is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum, and that means that answers should focus on the question itself. So your discussion of Martin Luther and Protestantism insulting Preterism sidetracks from the real issue, which is whether any church councils have denounced full preterism. Hope this makes sense, and that you'll take the tour and check out some of the other questions and answers we have here! Jan 23, 2017 at 16:17
  • I have edited your answer to change its "wall of text" format into hopefully organized bites. Please, if you would, add quotes and sources from the apologists that you find to be preterist, or partial preterist, in nature. (Sproul, et al) and those trying to apply the heretic label to others (Lehaye, Ice, et al). Links are good, but if you have their works in paper form, a quote with a source citation is fine as well. That will support your answer better. As Matt Gutting advised me when I first answered here: "include sources in your answers." Welcome! Jan 23, 2017 at 17:34
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    Since reading this, just tonight I came across this website that I think answers your question: The American Presbyterian Church does call Preterism a Heresy. Here is the link: americanpresbyterianchurch.org/?p=3079
    – TJ Smith
    Feb 9, 2017 at 2:27
  • You should make this comment an important part of your answer.
    – Steve
    May 12, 2017 at 3:51

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