Friday, January 1, 2010

Why Hyperpreterism is NOT the New Reformation

As a hyperpreterist I would often equate the hyperpreterist movement to the Reformation.  I mean, look hyperpreterism is challenging the status quo & the Reformers challenged the status quo too — see, perfect comparison eh?
The problem is that the Reformation was not as simple as “Roman Catholic Bad, Protestant good”.  There were other factors in play.  Factors either overlooked or unknown to hyperpreterists who attempt to equate themselves to the Reformation.  During the Reformation there was a 3rd group called the “radical reformers“.  The radical reformers didn’t just want to reform the Church — but they wanted to scrap everything that went before & start over.  They even called Martin Luther, “Dr. Easy-Chair” because they didn’t think he went far enough.

While many of the present quasi-conservative “Calvinistic” hyperpreterists were rubbing elbows with the Arministic “church of Christ” hyperpreterists, when I was a hyperpreterist I would often quote Luther’s famous response to the challenge that he was a heretic.  That challenge came from Roman Catholic lawyer, Johann Eck. During the Diet of Worms, Eck wanted Luther to recant & retract his writings.
The next day Luther appeared and said that he would not retract anything he had said in his writings. He stated that if he were to be shown error from the Scriptures, he would be the first to throw his books into the fire. To this Eck responded:
Your plea to be heard from Scripture is the one always made by heretics. You do nothing but renew the errors of Wyclif and Hus. [10]
Luther answered:
Since then Your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen. [11]
See, this is the part hyperpreterists miss — Eck had equated Luther with John Wyclif & John Hus & there was a point where even Luther denounced Hus as a “heretic” (mainly because Luther had not actually read what Hus had said). But later, Luther embraced Hus.
I was wrong. I retract the statement that certain articles of John Hus are evangelical. I say now. “Not some but all the articles of John Hus were condemned by Antichrist and his apostles in the synagogue of Satan.” And to your face, most holy Vicar of God, I say freely that all the condemned articles of John Hus are evangelical and Christian, and yours are downright impious and diabolical. [5]
So, the context of the Luther quote is that Eck was trying to tie Luther to Wyclif & Hus & at first Luther didn’t accept it.  Later he fully embraced it since he no longer viewed Wyclif & Hus as true heretics.  It was NOT Eck’s comment about heretics always appealing to Scripture that is the issue, but it was whether Wyclif & Hus were really heretics.  Of course heretics appeal to Scripture — as did Arius & even modern heresies like the Mormons & JWs.
Hyperpreterists miss the context of the discourse & what it was Eck & Luther were disputing.
Ironically enough, the accusation against hyperpreterism is that it is closer aligned with the Arian heresy & lately a hyperpreterist teacher named Sam Frost acknowledged that alignment when he said:
“Now my question is when did we do this for the second coming of Christ? When have we had these councils & Arius that came up & said ‘Hey, ‘, because afterall we became Trinitarians because there was a guy named Arius who stood up & said, `Hey I think Jesus was the first created being. I don’t think he was an eternal being.’  Then you had a lot of people begin saying, ‘Now wait a minute here.’ & they began to go back to the Scriptures & they began to fight for hundreds of years & they finally came out with what you know we have at know Nicean Chalcedon.  But somebody rose their hand up & said, ‘Hey can I challenge this?’ & that’s all..that’s what I’m doing I’m asking, ‘Can I challenge this? Can I question -he shall come again and judge the living & the dead- Can we…can I question that? ‘ (you gotta hear him actually say it — source)
So, if the hyperpreterists see historic Christians as Eck-types then will the hyperpreterists accept & embrace Arius?  Will they accept their patrons as Luther accepted his?  I would have less issue with hyperpreterists if they were honest enough to admit they are better equated to the radical reformers who wanted to scrap it all, & with the “heretics” such as Arius & not with men such as Wyclif, Hus, & Luther.
Hyperpreterism ISN’T a New Reformation — it is an old heresy with a new name.

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