Friday, January 1, 2010

What About the Full / Hyper Preterist That Is Honestly Seeking

As I left the cult of hyperpreterism I wondered about the people who were not really part of the typical arrogant & egotistical group of the “movement”. Can we rescue these people? Can we have a civil discussion with them? While still confronting the typical arrogant & egostical hyperpreterist I sought out the reasonable kind.  I went to various message boards where hyperpreterists are known to frequent (you can find them lurking on almost any prophecy/eschatology forum where often they are given free rein because moderators don’t know what the hyperpreterists actually believe).


I was looking for someone with which I could honestly discuss the premises of hyperpreterism.  But I never find such a person.  I thought perhaps Larry Siegle would be reasonable, but it quickly became apparent by even his own words that he was too invested.  He had done too much with the core members of the movement (such as Don Preston) that he admitted it would be difficult for him to give up his reputation as a “seasoned [hyper]preterist teacher”.  I still pray for him.

Once a hyperpreterist reaches a level where he or she thinks they are some sort of “teacher” or “leader”, it seems almost impossible to turn them back.  Evenso, what is impossible with man is possible with God.

So, I looked more at the follower type of hyperpreterists.  Perhaps among them there is a reasonable person?  There have been some that have come onto this very blog acting like they are reasonable.  One for example is a fellow named David Lee.  This guy quickly showed through contrasting statements on a hyperpreterist site, that he too is not really interested in interaction.  He thinks of himself as some kind of “minister” & almost brags about how much he as read the Bible.  He too is victim to the typical arrogance & ego associated with hyperpreterism.  Another fellow sent emails to one of the admins of this website.  The hyperpreterist’s name is Chris Winn.  He tried to present himself as someone not yet sold on “full preterism” but all it takes is a quick look at his blog page on that same hyperpreterist site & you could see he was lying.

It is a bit discouraging since it is like a spell or trance comes over a person once they embrace hyperpreterism.  They claim that they will listen if you bring a “Scriptural argument” yet any Scripture you put before them, they twist & contort or will ask some hyperpreterist leader who will twist & contort it for them.

Besides, if a person isn’t going to consider 2000 years of Christian interpretation of Scripture, how arrogant would I be to think I could present something that would change this person’s mind?

The sad thing is, the more & more they identify with hyperpreterism, the less & less they identify with historic Christianity.  This was a big factor in my own departure from hyperpreterism — I realized I was becoming something OTHER than a Christian.  Many other hyperpreterists have realized this as well — unforuntately, some of those have gone on to become functional atheists.

I am sure, that just like me many people now caught up in the cult of hyperpreterism were first intriqued by hyperpreterism’s APPARENT high regard for Scripture.  Before long though, the person is redefining terms & ignoring history, even to the point of ignoring the history of the term “preterism”.  Preterism in the traditional & historic sense was the kind which is now often called “partial-preterism”.  The so-called “full preterism” is a fairly recent kind & is actually a HYPER version in that is goes beyond the original intent & scope of the original version.  If they can’t even be honest with terminology, they most certainly will not be honest in a discussion of Scripture.

What is interesting & ironic is that recently on a popular hyperpreterist website, a guy named Michael Bennett posted 6 erroneous teachings on the Trinity (Modalism, Arianism, Docetism, Ebionitism, Macedonianism, & Adoptionism).  Now, Bennett agrees with the HISTORIC CHURCH that these views are all errors — odd since Bennett’s tudor, Samuel Frost identifies the hyperpreterist argument with the approach of Arianism, though Frost’s understanding about how the concept of the Trinity came about is warped. (source).  But anyhow, the irony is that another hyperpreterist responded to Bennett’s posting.

“Michael, do you believe that, if someone out of ignorance, does not agree with the definition applied to the Godhead, that he/or she is not a Christian?…what do you think about a man that follows Jesus like this but is ignorant when it comes the Trinity?” — David Lee

See the catch-22 here folks?  A hyperpreterist who is ready to chuck all of historic Christian interpretation & instead put forth a novel eschatology can’t very well reject anyone elses “journey”.  Hyperpreterism FORCES a person, if they are consistent to become theologically liberal.

A hyperpreterist CANNOT be honest with his “seeking”.  If he is, he will end up being a universalist. I mean, if they are consistent they have to see that to say the judgment happened in or around AD70, would mean that no one is judged any longer.  If “the sin & the death has been defeated”  in a manner how hyperpreterists claim, then how can they claim anyone is any longer held to account?  They simply aren’t being consistent.

The other conclusion a hyperpreterist comes to if they are truly honest is that if hyperpreterism is true then the Christianity that has existed for 2000 years has been one big fat lie.  It has been so messed up that the whole thing should be scrapped & people should start over.  Unfortunately for those who want to be “honest” this has an undermining effect.  Again, if God was either unable or unwilling to sustain among His Church for 2000 years a basic & correct eschatological understanding, then nothing else we assume to be Christian can be off limits to question & revisionism.  Some hyperpreterists are just fine with that.  They like to say, “Sola Scriptura” but disconnect themselves from the structure of Jesus’ hand-picked apostles, the foundation of the Church.

For those hyperpreterists that see this big mess, some give up on Christianity altogether & become functional atheists.

So, there really is no way to be an “honest” hyperpreterist.  This means trying to have an “honest” discussion with a hyperpreterist is also impossible.  If you would have tried to have a discussion with me while I was in the midst of hyperpreterism, I probably would have come off the same way these guys do.  Wise in my own eyes, perfectly comfortable to redefine terms, redefine history, redefine Scripture.

Look, for you hyperpreterists out there that are trying to be “honest” — take a step back for a moment & see what is really going on.  You are following around a bunch of arrogant “leaders” & you yourselves are justifying your rejection of 2000 years of Christian interpretation based on some distorted concept of “Sola Scriptura” which Martin Luther & the rest of the Reformers would have denounced you for.

I’m not asking you to quit hyperpreterism & come follow me — I’m not the one presenting any new ISM (this is the main reason I have spent more time simply being critical of hyperpreterism instead of trying to put forth my “own” teachings.  I want people to identify with the teachings of historical Christianity, not with Roderick Edwards’ teachings).  I am also NOT asking you to re-embrace dispensationalism or any other form of doom & gloom theology.  Christianity by nature has been a triumphant view — why else does the Bible call Christians (even PRE-AD70 Christians), “more than conquerors in Christ”? (Rom 8:37)  Nor am I asking you to join me in the effort to counter the hyperpreterist movement.  If you simply want to leave it quietly, by all means do so.  This cause is not for everyone.  I know a few people who have left hyperpreterism & are quietly working behind the scenes to counter it.  I applaud their efforts.  Besides, seeing how rabid many hyperpreterists are, I don’t blame people for not wanting to openly confront them.

I appeal to honest people who may have just entered into hyperpreterism. You can see that somehow you got into this movement & now you want out.  I & others are constantly praying for you & will help you PRIVATELY all we can. 

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