Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How Many Well-meaning People Become Heretics

As these battles rage between Christians and those, OTHER-THAN-CHRISTIAN folks, I know to an observer it must seem at times that hyperpreterists are being portrayed as three-armed freaks or something. While heresy is very, very damaging to the spiritual lives of those who hold to a heresy and to those who may fall for parts of it; many well-meaning people have become heretics. It usually is built on a premise that the person simply wants to be "true to the Bible". And that is indeed a noble endeavor. But where the eventual heretic goes wrong is thinking that the Bible just plopped to earth one day. The Bible is God's Word, to His Elect -- The Church.

When a person takes a good thing, for example freedom we have in America and then knowingly or unknowingly begins to twist it beyond its original intent and scope (where the word "hyper" comes from), then what was good becomes dangerous and destroying. For example a freedom loving person could begin to advocate anarchy. What is the difference between freedom and anarchy?

This is what many well-meaning hyperpreterists have done. They have taken the right notion of Sola Scriptura and twisted it into SOLO Scriptura where it is more about their private interpretation of Scripture than about Scripture itself. Imagine a person who privately interprets "freedom" to mean a person can do whatever they want. What is wrong with that interpretation?

Lately, as hyperpreterists come face to face with the conclusions and results of their private interpretations; more of them are recoiling. They are realizing they went wrong somewhere. But a few have either too much invested (books, conferences, "ministries") or have made the "movement" their life. It is almost impossible for these folks to recant hyperpreterism, even if they did see its error. They're stuck. Imagine a 4 generation Mormon for example, who was raised Mormon, married Mormon and whose entire life is built on Mormonism. How could that person ever decouple themselves from that cult? This is happening to hyperpreterists as most of their "friends" are fellow hyperpreterists. (Think Wanda Short for example).

Many hyperpreterists admit that before hyperpreterism they were lack-luster "Christians" but now that they are hooked into hyperpreterism, they claim to constantly study the Bible. This should be a good thing right? Yes, IF the person wasn't operating from a wrong view of the Bible. Just like a person who operates as an anarchist based on a wrong view of "freedom".

So, what can be done for these folks? Talking to them nicely hasn't seemed to work. Talking to them sternly doesn't seem to work either, as they often become more entrenched. Prayer is the first step. Constantly pray for them (I do). Then oppose them, disfellowship them from the Christian community -- not out of "hate" but from love. Handing them over to their own destruction so that God will have mercy and hopefully pick up the pieces of their broken faith.

Treating them like fellow Christians with just another variation of eschatology only does them more damage, as much as it would to openly accept and tolerate a drug addict to do drugs in your home. They need to be CONSTANTLY reminded that they cannot be part of Christianity and hold to hyperpreterism. If they want to be "full preterists", they must quit claiming they are Christians. Even Sam Frost, a recently renounced hyperpreterists said:

"Full Preterism and Christianity are incompatible." --source

Just like Mormonism, JWs and all the other cults which started as "Christian" groups, hyperpreterism will find its place among the cults, perhaps even going door-to-door to see if they can trick someone into their cult.

Finally, I know it is "hurtful" for hyperpreterists to hear themselves and their beliefs spoken of this way. It makes them angry and they want to lash out. This is the same thing a drug addict does when you try to point out he is an addict. Denial: "No, I'm not -- you're just a judgmental prude!!" will often be the response. Isn't this how hyperpreterists respond? Calling us "hateful", "judgmental", "know-it-alls" and such? It is lashing out. They don't want to give up the addiction because they see nothing wrong with it. To them it is just as valid if not more "real" than your reality. This is what hyperpreterists do when they rename Christianity as "futurism" and then want us to compare "preterism vs futurism". There is no such thing as "futurism". The reality is a comparison between something OTHER-THAN-CHRISTIAN (hyperpreterism) and Christianity. The battle was won before it started.

Pray for hyperpreterists and help them whenever you can to get out of this mess.

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