Friday, January 1, 2010

Is Hyper / Full Preterism Really That Dangerous?

Recently on a supposed Christian discussion forum where hyperpreterists are allowed to present themselves as Christians — a person asked these series of questions:
  1. How does one’s idea of Preterism affect their life?
  2. Why should Christians stay away from Preterism?
  3. Will it affect their salvation? Are they not doing the works commanded by God by holding to this idea?
What follows is my answer to those important questions.

We cannot & should not start such a question as the one you asked by assuming that hyperpreterism is neutral & merely just another “Christian” perspective. Even hyperpreterists will tell you that what they are proposing is a radical PARADIGM SHIFT. What paradigm is shifting? It is 2000 years worth of Christian interpretation that they want us to believe is wrong. That is a substantial change to what is considered to be Christianity. We should not approach this lightly or rashly as often hyperpreterism wants us to do.
A Christian approaching hyperpreterism MUST realize they aren’t approaching some minor discussion on eschatology — hyperpreterism’s prespective changes everything. Even the Creation account (for reference, ask Gary DeMar about the radio interview he did with hyperpreterist Tim Martin wherein Martin lays out a hyperpreterized creation account where he claims Genesis ISN’T about the material creation of the universe, planet, & mankind but is merely a “covenantal creation” about Israel). So, a Christian should approach hyperpreterism like they would approach Mormonism/JWs. Hyperpreterism is a vastly different thing than Christianity although just like Mormonism/JWs, hyperpreterism utilizes some of the same catch-phrases as Christianity, thus it may sound like a form of Christianity on the surface.
When a belief alters how 2000 years of Christianity has interpreted the Bible, it will indeed have massive effect. A couple of anecdotal examples I can give right off the bat are how a consistently applied hyperpreterist soteriology (salvation model) typically will cause a person to embrace a universalistic conclusion (all are saved/not condemend). For instance, if the resurrection & judgment are past, what happens to people now? How can they be judged any longer? There is a growing faction of hyperpreterist universalists.
The next thing hyperpreterism does if carried out consistently is undermines a person’s trust of God as a Sovereign God at the helm — I mean, if God was either unwilling or unable to sustain within His Church for 2000 years a basic & correct understanding of eschatology, can we trust Him on anything? From this many hyperpreterists become disillusioned & become functional atheists. I know of at least 2 high-profile ex-hyperpreterists who became atheists. One is a guy named Jared Coleman. This guy was an administrator on the most active hyperpreterist website. Another guy, named H.L. James was a guy who would spend 12+ hours a day on Paltalk (a live audio chat forum) teaching hyperpreterism. This guy was considered perhaps the best expositor of the hyperpreterist view, constantly appealing to “logic” — his “logic” has caused him to become an atheist.
The general effect of hyperpreterism is an antinomian (lawlessness) outlook on life. After all, one of the center pieces of hyperpreterism is the Law is “done away with” — especially in how hyperpreterists see the destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple in AD70. What happens is hyperpreterists don’t just do away with the Law, but with all constraints of command. Jesus STILL had commands. We are not to merely live by our “conscience”.
Hyperpreterists, like you see even here on this thread like to play the martyr — “Woe is me, people are being mean to me & saying I’m not a Christian or that I’m going to hell”. That is not the real issue.
Having been a hyperpreterist myself for 15 years and YET at the time still considering myself a Christian (I became a Christian 10 years BEFORE adopting hyperpreterism), obviously if we say a person is not a Christian when they hold to hyperpreterism, then it does quite a number on the salvific model — especially if a person advocates “once saved always saved”. So, can a person be a hyperpreterist AND a Christian? — YES, BUT that doesn’t mean that hyperpreterism is Christian any more than if a true Christian adopts Mormonism or even Atheism for a time. It just means that person has slid into error or heresy. As for whether they are going to hell, that is up for God to decide (p.s. — most hyperpreterists don’t even think anyone goes to hell anymore anyhow, many hyperpreterists are functional anihilationists or unviersalists if they are consistent). It is up for God to decide if the person was EVER a Christian in the first place. I have NEVER said a hyperpreterist is going to hell.
But adopting hyperpreterism is as dangerous as a Christian adopting & practicing Mormonism & still trying to claim they are within the realm of Christianity.
To claim or assume a person who adopts hyperpreterism is “doing the works commanded by God” is on the same level as assuming that about a Mormon. Sure, they can be very religious, very “loving”, very devout — but is it defined as Christian? Is it really the same Christianity that Jesus taught to His hand-picked apostles, that those hand-picked apostles taught to the Church & that 2000 years of Christians have believed?
Hyperpreterism wants us to believe there has been a 2000 year conspiracy or that 2000 years of Christians were too stupid to understand what hyperpreterists now claim. This is too much. I left hyperpreterism after realizing that I was increasing becoming something OTHER than Christian. I was disconnecting myself from historic Christianity…not like the Reformers whom are wrongly used by hyperpreterism to claim hyperpreterism is akin to the Reformation. The Reformers used Scripture AND all of the history of Christianity to back up their claims. They were NOT trying to create something completely foreign to all of Christianity that went before — they weren’t trying to have a paradigm shift. The Reformers immediately wrote numerous confessions that showed they remained squarely within the historic Christian Church, while only rejecting Papalism.
You will no doubt now see all the hyperpreterists come to your thread & do their best to do damage control. Like Arius’ they will claim they are only building their case on “scripture” yet they will not tell you that you must redefine Scripture to get to their belief. And just like Arius’ they will try to say they differ only in a minor way. No sir, hyperpreterism & its paradigm shift are nothing to mess around with.
Anyhow, it was a good question.
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. — Prv 26:12

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