Thursday, January 17, 2008

Skinning the Cat: Concluding Comments

The phrase "there is more than one way to skin a cat" most likely originates from a pre-colonial practice of passing off a cat pelt (skin) as some other valuable fur. It is fitting then that I conclude my series on Full Preterism by tying it into another popular expression adopted by the "leader" of FP. "the cat's out of the bag". This expression also has its roots in deception being most likely the practice of convincing some unwary buyer he is purchasing a piglet in a bag but once the bag is opened, "the cat is out of the bag" & the lie is exposed for what it is. (source)

As I conclude my series on FP & leave this blog as a testimony against FP, I would like to touch on the five following topics:

  1. Premil to Preterism in just one easy step
  2. The Hyperbolic Blindspot
  3. Deduction or Scripture
  4. Club & Cult
  5. A Better Ism


As part of my backtracking to see where I (& others) went wrong in getting so en steeped in FP, I noticed another factor besides everything I have outlined so far (which included FP penchant for chanting "No Creed but Christ" & then immediately setting about to create "preterist creeds"). FP typically have come from a primary background as premillennial dispenationalists or some variation of the sort. I am sure there are also some from other mild forms of amillennialism, postmillennialism & other eschatological frameworks but for the most part, many FP were premil dispensationalists. The significance of this is that premil dispensationalism is probably the easiest eschatological framework to refute as well as the one with the most glaring contradictions. Thus, when a person moves from that faulty eschatology into FP, it must seem like a move from darkness to light. Granted, it is typically NOT in "just one easy step", but over an excruciating period of time where the person loses all of his or her former premil dispensational relationships due to FP. This compounds the issue & causes the new FP to form a "rejection syndrome" of sorts where he spends much time ridiculing his former group/eschatology as "close-minded", "literalists", "fundamentalists", "legalists" & every other perjoritive you can think of. All the while & ironically advocating "relationships" -- but these FP "relationships" are typically built on the fact that they are outcasts & must stick together at all cost.

The "one easy step" usually comes into play in that the new FP makes no other stops along the way -- typically he went from the night of premil dispensationalism right into the "enlightenment" of FP (with some sitting on the "partial-preterist fence" for a short time). This is also the reason that accepting FP is often equated with a "paradigm shift" because it is not a progressive, logical transition but often a radical, sudden shift without careful consideration or viewing other options.


If you have ever interacted with a Christian that insists Jesus died not just for "His sheep" as the Bible says in John 10:11 but instead for the WHOLE WORLD, you will notice they typically argue from one-word or one-phrase arguments such as WHOLE WORLD or saying "all means all". The languages of the Bible just as in our own language often employs what is called "hyperbole". This hyperbolic language is evident in how we say things like, "the whole world is watching" or "everyone & his brother was there". Examples of biblical use of hyperbolic language are:

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. -- Lk 2:1

Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” -- Mt 17:11-12

Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. -- Lk 18:31

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. -- Acts 4:32

We must ask, did Caesar Augustus tax/register "all the world"??? Did Elijah (who Jesus reveals as John the Baptist in Mt 17:12-13) "restore all things"??? Did "all things" accomplish concerning the Son of Man as Jesus went up to Jerusalem??? Did those early Christians share "all things"...including their wives???

Of course sometimes "all" does mean "all" & "whole/entire" does mean "whole/entire" but more & more I believe FP suffers from the same hyperbolic blindspot as the Arminianistic Christian that argues for unlimited atonement by citing "all" & "whole world" phrases in the Bible. It is no wonder that both consistently Arminianistic & consistently FP people often become some form of Universalist where they advocate "all men" are "saved/not condemened". Both theological perspectives, if taken to their logical conclusions, end with unlimited atonement where God must pardon all or be a big mean monster in the sky.

Watch how FP latch on to what they will say is a "time-text" which sometimes is nothing more than them blindly reading a hyperbolic phrase.


As I am making my break from FP, I have been accused even by former friends that I am not providing them with a "Scriptural refutation" of FP. The irony in this accusation is that FP, as much as they claim "Sola Scriptural" (& falsely so as we have pointed out that Sola Scriptura as the Reformers uttered it NEVER meant Scripture without the interpretation of the historic Christian faith)...THERE IS NOT ONE VERSE OF SCRIPTURE THAT SAYS JESUS CAME BACK IN AD70. Of course the FP will try to get around this by saying, "Well, of course not since all the books of the Bible were written pre-AD70" (which I agree by the way that the canon was completed before AD70) -- but this doesn't change the fact that THERE IS NOT ONE VERSE OF SCRIPTURE THAT SAYS JESUS CAME BACK IN AD70 -- so how in the world do FP get the nerve to ask me to refute with Scripture, something not even in Scripture? By that very nature it is self-refuting or at least silent about the AD70 return of Christ. My point is, FP cannot make a "Scriptural" argument for Jesus' return in AD70 so why in the world do they demand a Scriptural refutation of FP? All evidence for an AD70 return of Christ is by DEDUCTION, not by Scripture. This is another reason they often appeal to outside sources such as Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian. I'm not even saying any of this deduction is wrong, just that DEDUCTION IS NOT SCRIPTURAL PROOF.

Why do FP get so upset with me for wanting to go no further than Scripture? Who then is really being "solely Scriptural"?


Another aspect that has been revealing itself more & more, especially as I try to disengage from FP, is that it is a "club" which no one is supposed to ever the mafia catch-phrase that "no one ever leaves the family", it would seem FP is not something you are allowed to leave. But worse than that is that there are people who are part of the "club" who are not allowed to define it. This becomes evident in that when some FP challenge some of the more popular tenets of FP (such as "covenant creationism", "no more law", "no more need to be 'born-again'") these challengers are quickly reprimanded & the challenger is told that they aren't really FP unless they embrace these views. I imagine what it may have been like for an early Mormon or Jehovah's Witness who may have questioned some of those tenets. I am sure they were quickly told to get with the program or they are out of the club. The same happens within the club or cult of FP. Watch for it to happen as FP morphs more & more into a speculative chaos of humanistic, syncretistic, socialism by the guidance of the unofficial "leader" of FP.

Remember what the unofficial leader of FP said: "We are the new proud and confident face of Preterism, so learn to live with us; it is not a demand, it is simply a fact." (Virgil Vaduva)

I point out that "fact" yet folks pretend I've been on some personal vendetta all these years but what would it have looked like for someone within the "club" to have constantly opposed Joseph Smith Jr. or Charles Taze Russell at the very beginning of those cults??? I'm done opposing from within where it was constantly ignored or spun as "personal hatred". Let that cult run its course & yet I'll still call "evil evil & good good" within or without.


The last topic I want to address is how many FP keep demanding I provide an alternative view to FP. They claim I don't have an eschatological belief or that I "don't know what I believe" unless & until I do. I can only see a few reasons why they are so eager for me to put forth an alternative. Mainly, so that they have something to latch onto, something they can compare their "ism" against. They want me to propose a better "ism". This is my major criticism of another group that broke off from FP -- this group labels its breakaway as "Preterist-Idealism". To me, it was too hastily offered as "a better ism" to Full Preterism. Believe me, there have been many times I wish I could just embrace Preterist-Idealism so that I could have a quick replacement. And though I appreciate the good folks within Preterist-Idealism that AT LEAST see that the tree & fruit of FP is corrupt, I cannot go where the Preterist-Idealists are going, despite all the claims that my working with them is a "strange alliance". I want to take more time to UNPRETERIZE myself. If someday I'm led to something like Preterist-Idealism, then so be it but I have a life time to resolve that. I mean, do FP actually think 2000 years of Christians were condemned for not having their eschatology packaged as pretty as FP think they have packaged theirs? This arrogant stance is another trademark of most FP.

I refuse to give voice to another "ism" or join some other hastily constructed "ism". Rather, let all the former-FP (the current ones) & the ones that are no doubt on the horizon, gather around the only "club" & "cult...ture" that really matters -- the culture of Christ. Let's leave the "isms" alone for a while & instead start looking at how the historic Christian Church interpreted the Bible, how it lived out the precepts, how it changed the world. Let us leave off trying to trademark theology or demanding people listen to us because we are the "new proud & confident face" of some new "ism". Instead let us be humbled by our faith in the Christ of the Bible. Let us leave the skinning of cats & the letting of cats out of bags to those who desire that practice. Let God be true & every man a liar (in comparison) -- Rom 3:4

The End (hyperbolic or not?)

Roderick Edwards -- former Full Preterist.

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