Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hyperpreterism's Impact on the Function of the Holy Spirit

Whether you believe hyperpreterism is heretical or not, it is important to examine how the hyperpreterist paradigm impacts doctrines beyond just eschatology. When I was in the movement back in the 1990s a common mantra voiced by hyperpreterists was that they were proposing a "paradigm shift". But as opponents of hyperpreterism continuously pointed out that even hyperpreterist's were unwittingly admitting their doctrine -- as a radical paradigm shift -- is indeed a radical departure from historic Christianity. Hyperpreterists didn't want their views framed this way and have since toned down using the term "paradigm shift" in reference to their views.

Adopting hyperpreterism is not like adding a theological accessory to your Christianity. Hyperpreterism ISN'T just about your "endtimes" or eschatological views. Hyperpreterism impacts EVERY aspect of your belief. I'd like to take a look at how hyperpreterism impacts the function or role of the Holy Spirit.

First, let us keep in mind that hyperpreterism advocates as its keystone, that Jesus has returned...that He returned in AD70 once and for all. Keeping that in mind, let us turn to a few verses that speak of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 12:32
Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Mark 3:29
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."

Luke 12:10
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
If Jesus has come and the Judgment has happened, how does this warning apply? If the "age to come" has come does this still apply?

Next, we look at a few other verses:
Mark 13:11
Whenever you [the apostles] are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Luke 11:13
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Luke 12:12
for the Holy Spirit will teach you [the apostles] at that time what you should say."
The context of these verses seem to apply specifically to the apostles so we might conclude that at least one function of the Holy Spirit was to "inspire" the apostles to speak divinely, relating the Gospel.
John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my [Jesus] name, will teach you all things and will remind you [the apostles] of everything I have said to you.

John 20:22
And with that he [Jesus] breathed on them [the apostles] and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:2
until the day he [Jesus] was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

Acts 1:8
But you [the apostles] will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Again, we see Jesus indicating a very specific function of the Holy Spirit; to "teach" and to "remind" about the things Jesus had said and done. But this time it seems to move to an apostles-specific function to a more general role.
Acts 9:31
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

Acts 16:6
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.

Acts 19:2
and [Paul] asked them [general disciples], "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."

Acts 20:23
I [Paul] only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.

Acts 20:28
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
In these verses we see the Holy Spirit functioning in daily lives of the apostles and in the Church.
Ephesians 1:13
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 4:30
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
If the "day of redemption" is past, then yet another function of the Holy Spirit would no longer be operative.
2 Timothy 1:14
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Titus 3:5
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
Now, I am not advocating a Charismatic type of notion or function of the Holy Spirit for today. Clearly, the Holy Spirit had a specific, revelatory function among the early Church. However, Hyperpreterism all but neutralizes the function of the Holy Spirit. In Hyperpreterism there is no reason for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would have merely been the stand-in for Christ until He returned and since Hyperpreterism claims Jesus has returned, then what need would there be for the Holy Spirit?

As a matter of fact, Hyperpreterism's APPARENT devotion to Scripture is actually a slap in the face to the function and role of the Holy Spirit. Hyperpreterist's often make it out that all is needed is for them to apply some "logical" system to unlock Scripture; as if they were literary Gnostics finding the long hidden code to eschatology. Hyperpreterism ignores the continuous guidance of the Church throughout history by the Holy Spirit. They will claim that is simply a "Roman Catholic argument". Indeed there is no real reason for Hyperpreterists to acknowledge any active function or role of the Holy Spirit beyond the AD70 date.

Thus, Hyperpreterism's impact on the function and role of the Holy Spirit is clearly negating and negative. So, next time a hyperpreterist tries to tell you hyperpreterism is simply a "new reformation" or a more "consistent" adherence to Scripture, ask them what function and role the Holy Spirit plays in their shifty paradigm.

No comments: