Friday, January 1, 2010

The So-called “Ministries” of Hyperpreterism

After a recent interaction with hyperpreterist Ward Fenley (a guy who’s influence in the “movement” has waned over the last few years so he does all he can to get noticed), I was reminded of the predatory practices of hyperpreterism.  So, I have decided to do an article about the typical behavior of so-called hyperpreterist “ministries”.

One of the first things you will notice about hyperpreterist “ministries” is that they aren’t really ministries at all, at least not in the traditional sense.  A traditional ministry typically has grown either as an extension of a church or group with a long history.  Hyperpreterist “ministries” are usually just one guy who decides to start a “ministry” & proclaims himself “president” of his newly found “ministry”.

They may surround themselves with one or two fans which they call “ministry partners”.  They try to give the “ministry” a more legitimate & broad reaching name & to do so they typically will slap the word “international” somewhere in the name of the “ministry” (such as “International Pre-terrorist Association” or “New Cultics Ministries International” — I’m joking about the names, though they do use the word “international”).
The “ministry” will then focus on building an exclusive following (I call it corralling), so much so that they will typically start a “community” website where all the new adherents can hang out.  This is the reason today there are so many competing little factions — the egos of the so-called “ministers” of hyperpreterism doesn’t allow them to combine their groups — thank God!
At first, the hyperpreterist “ministry” is presented as a place for people to come “learn” & “share”… learn more about & share in the heresy they all embrace.  But sometimes the “ministry” attempts to use the followers as a funding base.  We saw this with Don Preston’s “church” but when it failed to fund his “goal” of spreading hyperpreterism, he abandoned the group (source).  Hyperpreterist “churches” often fail for the various reasons as well but usually because of their inability to have any sort of cohesive, systematic theology or practice (source).
Hyperpreterist “ministries” & “ministers” typically spend a lot of time trying to validate themselves as if they are legitimate Christian groups.  They normally try to do this by trying to associate with legitimate ministries & ministers.  They may try to get on Christian radio or podcasts.  Unfortunately, the hosts of those radio shows or podcasts are often unaware of what the hyperpreterists are actually advocating or they may have an inside “secret hyperpreterist” that is sympathetic.  Another way the hyperpreterists try to validate themselves is by scouring history & pointing to the slightest triumphant Christian message as being a “seed form” of hyperpreterism.  Yet these guys want to lecture us on logic???  It is NOT LOGICAL to pick out these historic references & claim they are undeveloped forms of their heresy since a complete view of the various theologians that have espoused triumphant Christian views, shows they would consider hyperpreterism as heretical as it is currently considered.  Hyperpreterists are just desperate to belong.  They should have the guts to do what the Mormons did & the JWs did & just realize that what they are advocating is NOTHING LIKE ANYTHING IN THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY.  If the hyperpreterists would accept their place in reality, they would be able to go on to do the things they have hinted at wanting to do.  Such things as adding more books to the Bible (I know they like Barnabas pseudepigraph alot).  Maybe they could even figure out some way to work Josephus’ writings into a hyperpreterist “bible”.  A validating attempt used specifically by hyperpreterists like Sam Frost is to reference time spent with legitimate organizations, such as Frost’s time in Whitefield Seminary.  Frost tries to claim: “It’s funny. Keith Mathison did his work at the same seminary I did (and still do) (Whitefield Theological Seminary). I personally know the Dean there…” (Frost comparing himself to a legitimate theologian & trying to legitimize himself by his typical & constant name-dropping).
Maybe some new hyperpreterists reading this article will recognize these behaviors among some hyperpreterist “ministry” & will wake up & realize these “ministers” are really just out for themselves.  For calling themselves “president” & acting like they have all the answers even though they are in as uncharted waters as any hyperpreterist.  After chucking 2000 years worth of Christian interpretation, it’s open for ANYONE to advocate anything so what gives these “presidents” all the say???  I mean, if you are a hyperpreterists, why are you listening to some guy when you can read for yourself & come to your own conclusions.  Maybe you want to advocate a first-century rapture, or a “covenantal” understanding of Genesis — why should you be restricted from doing so?  What gives these “ministries” the authority to stifle your hyperpreterist liberty to “journey” wherever you want to in your new found paradigm?  These hyperpreterist leaders are using their “followers”.
If you are a non-hyperpreterist & reading this, please understand how predatory hyperpreterism is.  Understand that it seeks out new adherents so much so that hyperpreterist “minister” Terry Hall (father-in-law to the most influential hyperpreterist — Virgil Vaduva) once said at a conference that hyperpreterists should not waste time trying to convert established Christians but instead should go after nominal Christians or even non-Christians who have less resistance to what hyperpreterism advocates. (Yes Virgil, Terry DID SAY THIS & YOU KNOW IT).  This is yet another predatory practice of hyperpreterism.  Don’t give this stuff an entrance into your life, your congregation or any thing you may be a part of (be it a radio show or a podcast).

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