Friday, January 1, 2010

How Did 2000 Years of Christians Miss it?

One question that always stumps hyperpreterists, even though they have tried to come up with answers is the question of how did 2000 years worth of Christians miss Jesus’ supposed 1st century return?  How did they miss the resurrection of the believers?  How did they miss the judgment of the wicked & righteous? — after all, no Christian immediately after the AD70 destruction of Jerusalem or the Temple claimed the things hyperpreterists claim today.  Here are 4 ways hyperpreterists typically try to answer this question:

#1 They will cite the Reformation as an example where Christianity was radically altered in form. Yet, if you look at the history of the Reformation, you see that the Reformers did NOT part from historic Christianity but rather used it in conjuction with Scriptures to prove THEY were holding to the historic Christian belief & the Papists had departed. As a matter of fact, the Reformers immediately penned various documents & confessions that lined up with historic Christian beliefs. Hyperpreterism can not make this claim, it is UNLIKE ANYTHING in the history of Christiainty. Hyperpreterism’s attempt to associate itself with the Reformation is like homosexuals who often try to associate themselves with the liberty/civil rights cause of black people. It is illegitimate to try to piggy-back on legitimate issues.
#2 Hyperpreterists will sometimes claim some sort of giant conspiracy took place, such as a first century rapture wherein all supposed “first-rank Christians” were removed from the planet, leaving behind only “second rank Christians” to develop the Church. From this, we are supposed to conclude that the “second-rank Christians” had terribly missed the truth. Not only does this do horrid things to soteriology (were second-rank Christians only partially justified/sanctified???) it STILL undermines God’s sovereignty & plays right into the hands of cultists who claim “new revelation” all of the time. If we believe hyperpreterism, we might want to reconsider Mormonism or perhaps even Islam which both claim to correct Christianity.
#3 Progressive development or “seed form” is another way hyperpreterists claim people have missed their beliefs all these years. Hyperpreterists will scour historical theological writings for anything that remotely sounds like hyperpreterism & claim it as a “seed form” of their belief. They will claim, not until about 1990s has hyperpreterism reached a wide-spread development. Again, an illegitimate & dishonest approach.
#4 Along with any of the 3 above reasons hyperpreterists give, is this one — They will claim that the Church has never had a council on eschatology & therefore they will present eschatology as the last unsettled issue within the Church. This claim misunderstands a few things. a) That councils were NOT called to impose some NEW doctrine upon the rest of the Church but rather councils were typically called when some NEW heresy sprung up against what was already accepted among the Church. The Church would seek to clarify & solidify the already accepted belief. This is then, actually more PROOF that the Church has long been unified on exactly the very 3 things hyperpreterism denies in its 3 premises. b) That historic Christianity has had an unified eschatology for nearly 2000 years. Despite the variations, ALL of historic Christianity has held to exactly the 3 things hyperpreterism denies, thus no council has been needed since no heresy ever rose up opposing those things. It may reach a point, that the heresy of hyperpreterism causes the Church to get together to denounce hyperpreterism. (It should start with individual Christians, such as yourself, opposing hyperpreterism where ever it springs up)
Hyperpreterists are desperate to make themselves appear legitimate.  They are desperate to make themselves appear to be just another kind of Christian.  The truth is, while a person believes in & advocates hyperpreterism, they are as backslidden as if they had fallen into Mormonism or JWs or even Islam.  Only God knows if ultimately the person was NEVER a Christian in the first place, but one thing is for certain — while a person is embracing hyperpreterism, we should NOT be treating them as if they are Christians anymore than we’d extend that fellowship to a Mormon or a JW.  I am NOT saying we need to be rude or mean to hyperpreterists, but that we should certainly spend any interaction with them, telling them they need to repent of their heresy.

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