Idealist Classifications

INTRODUCTION

The initial goal of this website project is to provide clear and concise distinctions between the various forms of idealist thought.  The aim is to get the reader up to speed as quickly as possible so that original thoughts can replace regurgitated facts.  It is believed that every single person has idealist yearnings, and the history of mankind dating back to the time of cave paintings attests to man’s desire to know himself and the world around him.

Consequently, listed below is the classification scheme native to PreteristIdealism.com.   Though it is intended to distinguish between the forms of idealism found on this website it can also serve as a handy guide for approaching the works found elsewhere.

There are two main classes of thought distinguished at this website: Philosophical Idealism and Theological Idealism.   Philosophical Idealism is an extremely broad class that contains all considerations of material, mind, and perception.  Theological Idealism is a much more limited view of how idealists of every class of Philosophical Idealism approach the Bible and, in particular, the scope of prophetic fulfillment found therein.

Please note that the term Modern Idealism is used instead of Preterist Idealism, which is just one form of that class.   One could use the same method to create Futurist Idealism and Historicist Idealism, etc.  Having come from the preterist environment and seeing it as a superior method of materialism, it has been my goal to advance that view beyond its inherent confines.   Others are encouraged to take the Modern Idealist superstructure and focus their attention on similarly advancing the other systems of historical primacy.


CLASSIFICATIONS AT A GLANCE

  • Philosophical Idealism – A) Primarily concerned with Epistemology (“Theory of Knowledge”). B) Reality is mentally constructed and is shaped by perception. C) Originated among Hindus, Buddhists, and Greeks.  Revived in the 18th century by Immanuel Kant.  Class distinctions found within are not immediately relevant.

  • Theological Idealism – Primarily concerned with theology (“Theory of God”).

    • Historical Idealism – A) Prophetic fulfillment is found in both immaterial manifestations and a material consummation. Secondary applications made to immaterial substance.  B) The end of the Jewish State is a type of present and future material manifestations, with a material “parousia of Christ at the end of the world”.  Millennium is the material epoch of the church age. C) Loosely based upon the works of Philosophical Idealists.  Popularized in the 19th century.

    • Modern Idealism – A) Prophetic fulfillment is found only in immaterial consummation, which is revealed by material manifestations.  B) The end of the Jewish State is a material manifestation of immaterial consummation. Immaterial parousia is manifested materially.  Immaterial millennium is manifested materially. C) Native to Preterist Idealism.  Developed in 2005.

    • Incidental Idealism – A) Prophetic fulfillment is found only in material consummation, with applications made to immaterial manifestations.  B) The end of the Jewish State is a material manifestation of a future material consummation at the end of the world.  C) Found in every theological system developed since the second century.


EXPANSION ON THE CLASSIFICATIONS



EXPANSION ON PHILOSOPHICAL IDEALISM

Philosophical Idealist views will not be categorized under the main subject headings, even though they may share many of the basic ideas.  These views are sometimes pantheist, deist or otherwise non-Christian and are fundamentally different points of view.  The consideration of these views is intended to be kept distant from the Historical and Modern forms of “Theological Idealism” which, following the person and work of Jesus Christ,  are the focal point of this website.   Scholars have a tendency to consider Theological Idealism a relic of the past, as though the skeptical arguments of philosophers is more advanced than the religious pursuits of Christians; however, this website is committed to the belief that a reversal is in order… as the natural considerations of the mind are but “the echo of the True Voice” — the everlasting Trinity.

EXPANSION ON THEOLOGICAL IDEALISM

IdealistArchive.com’s primary goal is to present a balanced view of the forms of Theological Idealism known throughout the Christian era.   These views are segregated according to their dependence on history and matter as being the consummation of the Bible’s prophetic intent.

The two main sub-classes are called “Historical Idealism” and “Modern Idealism”.  Historical Idealism approaches the historical accounts of the material life of Jesus as representing the fullness of Old Testament prophecies.  Having the historical stage as the absolute finality of prophetic consummation in any of these areas of God’s revelation to man — including in the symbol of the Cross — results in a view in which consummation is material in nature, and which is both present and yet to be received in the future at “the last day and the end of the world”.   Modern Idealism approaches the historical events of the first century as material manifestations of an immaterial consummation originating in the eternal realm before creation .   This view ultimately differs from all chronologists by seeing the “consummation of the ages” as receivable solely in relationship with Jesus Christ ALONE — not able to be fixed at any particular point in history, past or future.

CONSUMMATION>MANIFESTATION
EXPLAINED USING SUBSTANCE>SHADOW MOTIF

HISTORICAL SHADOWS AND HISTORICAL SUBSTANCE:

Historical Idealism is the view of prophecy which teaches that the types and models in the Bible point to Jesus Christ and His Body throughout all ages… but also that they are ultimately fulfilled in “the last day at the end of the world.”   The point of distinction being that the substance of prophecy is being seen as largely fulfilled in the natural realm through the progress of history.  

HISTORICAL SHADOWS OF EVERLASTING SUBSTANCE

Modern Idealism differs from this method, in that it sees all bible prophecy as pointing to everlasting immaterial realities in Jesus Christ.   Not focusing “horizontally” on a single day in the past or future when all of the prophetic models of judgment and blessing are revealed, but rather focusing “vertically” to the eternal realm.. which is fully revealed in the “age to come” — as in “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment.”  

HISTORICITY OF ALL SHADOW AND SUBSTANCE

Incidental Idealism is not, strictly speaking, idealism at all.  This term is being used to refer refer to the writings of preterists, historicists and futurists which just happen to be idealist in nature.   Oftentimes, these “idealist patches” are used to cover obvious holes in the system. This is common among chronologists when discussing the “true nature” of Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, or other figures and types in the Bible that cannot be easily limited to a single historical consummation.   Understanding this sub-class is of utmost importance in the comprehension of what defines consistent idealism.


ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON THEOLOGICAL IDEALISM


HISTORICAL IDEALISM
HISTORICITY OF SHADOWS AND SOME SUBSTANCE

Typically, Christian idealism sees the historical events of the passion of Jesus Christ and the “end of the world” as having primary significance in Bible prophecy.   The distinction between this method and MI is explained by  Brevard Childs, using Eusebius’ method as an example:

“When Eusebius spoke of a spiritual sense (kata dianoian), he did not envision this sense as a timeless, independent layer of meaning, but rather as an extension of the text “to uncover the inner, religious and supernatural dimensions of historical events” (Hollerich, p. 87). 

The spiritual interpretations of a prophetic text reveal the meaning of a historical event in the overall design of God’s salvific plan..   Eusebius is initially concerned to demonstrate the material fulfillment of prophecy using facts available for all to see.  This focus remains overriding in all of his apologetic treatises, especially when directed against the Jews.  Any spiritual meaninng assigned to the events are secondary considerations.   Thus, the defeat of the Babylonians by Cyrus is established as a historical fact, but its spiritual fulfillment lies in, for instance, “the defeat of idolatry and victory over the devil’s power.” (The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture, p. 78)   Historical Idealism has a tendency to use historical fulfillments — such as the judgment of Jerusalem in Israel’s last days (AD66-70) —  as types of the greater judgment that is coming at “the end of the world.”   Due to its focus on history as the realm of ultimate fulfillment, it is differentiated from Modern Idealism.

MODERN IDEALISM
HISTORICITY OF ALL SHADOWS, ETERNALITY OF ALL SUBSTANCE

It is truly a pleasure to be able to lay out a new method at this website with what is being called “Modern Idealism.”   Though shades and forms of this view have been expressed since the Garden of Eden, never (to my knowledge) have all of the pieces been collected into one consistent method of interpretation.   Due to the fact that there are few “Modern Idealists” aside from those former full preterists who hold to it today, the view will have to be displayed historically in the many relevant bits and pieces that can be found throughout history.   Accordingly, most presentations of Modern Idealism will include representative comments from those who hold differing views on other areas of doctrine.  This method is consistent with the other “archive projects,” such as at PreteristArchive.com.  For over a decade, in order to present the new form of “Modern Preterism,” bits of preterist conclusions have been taken from the writings of futurists throughout church history.

For me personally, the structural framework behind the Modern Idealist view is more important for non-idealists to investigate.   Though most Historical and Incidental Idealists forsake the method and focus on secondary manifestations, the focal point of the MI approach will be the opposite.   As this site is committed to conservatism and lawful usage of the Word (lest we get carried away with the extreme abuses of allegorization and application as has been so shamefully common in the history of Christianity), a demonstration of the laws by which the Lord Jesus Christ reveals himself in history and in prophetic revelation will be given specific presentation.

Using a number of different methods, I’ll be laying out hermeneutical laws of interpretation which support the Modern Idealist view.    Believing that the immaterial is primary in all levels of revelation, the approaches to secondary manifestations of the everlasting council of the Trinity will be designed to progress from the broader to the narrower applications of that fundamental perspective of immaterial primacy.

Once all of this is understood, then the lesson can be applied personally using the same rules.

 PRIMACY OF IMMATERIAL CONSUMMATION

-|- The History of the World
(Objective and Subjective)
That Which is Material is the Outward/Visible Show of that Which is Immaterial (Inward & Invisible)
| The Pathway of Revelation
(Subjective to Objective)
Immaterial Consummation from Eternity (Pattern) Precedes Material Manifestations in History (Copies)
| The Bible’s External View
(Objective Revelation)
Material Israel is the Outward Show in History of Jesus’ Immaterial Kingdom (From Everlasting to Everlasting)
| The Bible’s Internal View
(Subjective Revelation)
The Immaterial Kingdom is represented biblically as “Zion,” “New Jerusalem,” etc., and Only exists materially “in the midst” of Believers
-|- The History of the Individual
(Objective to Subjective)
Both Cities of Jerusalem are a Picture of the Heart: Old as the Natural Man, New as the Spiritual Man

 PRIMACY OF MATERIAL CONSUMMATION