Friday, January 1, 2010

Tyler Durdens of Theology: Project Mayhem

In the cult-following movie called Fight Club, its main character ends up being a guy with a split personality where his more sensible side makes rational, “normal” decisions & his anarchist side makes irrational, abnormal decisions to the point of advocating blowing up buildings in a scheme he calls “Project Mayhem”.
Although Hyperpreterists often try to equate themselves with being modern day Martin Luthers & Reformers, they are probably better equated as a sort of “Tyler Durdens” (the chaotic side of the character in the Fight Club), after all at its root, hyperpreterism is anti-establishment, anti-institutional, anti-traditional — everything Tyler Durden was about.

Ironically enough, Virgil Vaduva, liberal blogger & the guy who guided the hyperpreterist movement through the 1990s & put people like hyperpreterists Don Preston & Sam Frost on the map says that Fight Club is “perhaps one of the best movies ever made” (source).
Having finally watched the movie, I can see why Vaduva likes it so much.  It embodies his own warped sense of reality.  Vaduva is the epitome of Tyler Durden yet in the theological sense.  Vaduva even rails on & on about the “destructive effect extreme consumerism has on our society” (source).  Of course Christians ought not be controlled by possessions, but Vaduva as you must understand is a Romanian immigrant who has come to America & is attempting to redefine freedom & liberty through his lens of his days back in Romania throwing rocks at the police. That is NOT freedom & liberty — that is chaos & anarchy.  He brings this same mentality to his theology.  He desires to overthrow everything that has come before & redefine it.  His disdain for “traditional” ANYTHING is obvious.
I used to think this was just a Vaduva thing but more & more I am seeing that this is the mentality of the hyperpreterist movement as a whole.  For example, Sam Frost (a protege of Vaduva) once wrote:
Even the Elders in that time [pre-AD70] had authority to ‘teach the oracles of God.’ But, I do not believe, because I am a [hyper] preterist, that such ‘inspired’ authority exists today. I do not believe that God has set up yet another ‘nation’ in the new covenant that commands uniformity and punishment if uniformity is not met. — Sam Frost from an article called “Observations” speaking of the role of pre & post AD70 Christian “elders/pastors”
As you can see, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  If there is no way to establish uniformity within Christianity then no wonder hyperpreterists are ok with anything & everything being advocated.  No wonder they can have constant diametrically opposing views existing within their movement.  No wonder they are ok with a “private interpretation” approach where everyone just cracks open an English Bible & then decides for themselves what they think it means without any input from 2000 years of Christianity.  They hate history.  They hate traditionalism — well, unless they are allowed to redefine it.  Further, from Frost’s words we see why there is no desire or effort on the part of so-called hyperpreterist leaders to even reel in some of the kookier views being advocated in the movement.  There is no “punishment if uniformity is not met”.  This means go ahead & bring out the craziest junk you can think of, in the hyperpreterist movement you will be accepted.  It is all subjective any way.  While I was a hyperpreterist, I used to get so frustrated that there seemed to be no self-regulation within the movement.  The so-called leaders were virtually silent on all the junk but now I understand why — Frost explained it.  They have no desire to be uniform & even if they did, they have no mechanism to bring about that unity.  Hyperpreterism is essentially theological anarchy.  It is like a Romanian street-thug throwing rocks at the big, bad establishment.  It is like a socialist coming to America who is fascinated with his freedom to bear arms & pushing that fascination against everything else.
It is like Project Mayhem of the Fight Club movie wherein the goal is to “reset debt to zero” by blowing up the structures/buildings of the establishment.  Wiping out the former responsibilities of the people who incurred those debts.  It is like an Obama bail-out plan.  It is like a conspiracy theory that claims 2000 years of Christianity has been a big fraud & hyperpreterists are here to correct it.
Yes, now I get it.  I see hyperpreterism for what it really is.  Do you?  Will they?

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