Sunday, January 3, 2010

Recovery Room — Installment #2: Vital Vaccinations

Not every Christian is at risk of contracting the disease of hyperpreterism but rather it requires special circumstances before a person is ready to accept hyperpreterism. Just as with certain diseases, like STDs not everyone is at risk. Certain actions or steps will make a person a prime candidate for becoming a hyperpreterist. In this installment of the series of articles called, “The Recovery Room” I shall discuss those pre-conditions & how a Christian can be vaccinated against not only contracting hyperpreterism but a host of other infectious & faith destroying heresies. The first steps for new hyperpreterists will require some specific circumstances. Below I list 4 things a potential hyperpreterist must meet before he can cross over into that movement.

 

FIRST STEPS FOR NEW HYPERPRETERISTS

#1. A convoluted concept of “Sola Scriptura
#2. A disregard or ignorance of 2000+ years of historic Christianity
#3. An anti-authoritarian attitude
#4. A unity over truth perspective
Point #1 is perhaps the most crucial point that when compromised leaves a Christian open to catching all sorts of viral necrosis. Sola Scriptura, although translated in the English as “Bible Alone” might be better understood as “Bible First”. Not even the Reformers, the originators of the concept intended Sola Scriptura to exclude the witness of Christian history. Unfortunately, many Christians now use the words “Sola Scriptura” to mean that they can just read the Bible in a personal vacuum – a sort of “private interpretation” model where each Christian gets to decide what the Bible means (2 Pet 1:19-21). This is not “Bible Alone” but rather “Personal Interpretation Alone” where a person’s “opinion” of the text dictates what it means to them. This private interpretation model is the first step, not only of becoming a hyperpreterist but to embracing any wrong theology; be it Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses or the latest modern cult.
Point #2 when coupled with the first, allows a person to dismiss any possible refutation of the errors they are about to embrace. If you ever have a conversation with someone who has met the first & second steps you will find it a frustrating & fruitless endeavor. Sure, they will ask you to have a “biblical” discussion with them but since all of the texts become re-interpreted you cannot say to them, “But historic Christianity has interpreted it this way…”. If you try that argument, they will first claim you aren’t being “exegetical” (direct explanation/interpretation of the text). Secondly, they will try to pretend they have the high ground because they are only quoting the Bible. They seem to neglect that your exegetical argument comes backed with 2000+ years & their explanation/interpretation is disconnected from everything that was ever considered historically Christian. Do not let them weasel out of this fact. Make them reveal their real sentiments, which are that they believe that not only has the Church been in error for 2000+ years over an important aspect of Jesus’ ministry (eschatology), but that somehow God & the Holy Spirit have failed to guide the Church & it has fallen into complete apostasy, only to be restored by these hyperpreterists. (Maybe a point #5 should be added — a person must have a huge ego to accept & promote hyperpreterism).
Point #3 may seem like an odd point coming from me, since I have had a reputation of being less than friendly to much of the ecclesiastical structures presently in place within general Christianity. But I’m not talking about simply “obey those who have authority over you”, rather about authorities in respective fields. How many times have you seen Christians with only a scant knowledge of Hebrew & Greek act as if they can go toe-to-toe with an “authority” of biblical languages. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not advocating for sheer intellectualism nor am I saying we just relinquish to the supposed authorities – since they can either be unintentionally or intentionally wrong (due to biases or agendas). What I am trying to say is that along with the first two steps for potential new hyperpreterists, this anti-authoritarian attitude is prominent.
Point #4 is typically manifested via catch phrases that include words such as “open-mindedness”, “tolerant”, “generous”, “gracious”, “charitable”, “loving”, & others. These words by themselves seem like basic, good Christian precepts by which we all should be guided but how they are used by hyperpreterists is an attempt to deteriorate a Christian’s immunity to the hyperpreterist disease. Perhaps first, the Christian will feel guilty & then let the hyperpreterist have an equal opening into their spiritual life. Just like any cult that comes knocking on your door, this sets the stage for the hyperpreterists to weasel his way past your biblical defenses. If you are not well prepared to interact with hyperpreterists or any cults, then you make a big mistake in letting them into your physical or spiritual house.
Hyperpreterism, like any cult seeks out weak or disenfranchised Christians to join their movement. After a Christian consciously or unconsciously submits to the 4 steps, they will be held within the group by a type of loyalty or unity to the group. You will hear phrases like “We preterists…” or “As preterists…” or “We’re all in this together”. This type of speech begins to bind the person to the group. Eventually the need for keeping the unity of the movement takes precedent over Christian truth to the point that it is almost impossible for the person to leave hyperpreterism. This sake of unity will even ignore the worse morality of adherents. There is not only no need to exhort & admonish one another in the fear of God, but there is an opposite trend in that hyperpreterists will often encourage each other to doubt all traditional positions & to instead “explore” the most aberrant beliefs. Hyperpreterism is nothing to mess around with any more than AIDS, narcotics, or playing in traffic.
In the next installment, we shall begin to look at specific teachings of hyperpreterism such as; the time-texts, the apparent imminent return of Christ, & the Resurrection.

GOTO PART

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