Sunday, December 12, 2010

Scripture and Full/Hyperpreterism

Over the years of being a Full/Hyperpreterist and then interacting with the movement from the outside, I have noticed the appeal to "Scripture alone" or "just the Bible". Such an appeal is certainly a noble and correct appeal. But as has been pointed out on this blog several times (especially by Brian Simmons), it isn't really about who does and doesn't appeal to Scripture but rather it is a matter of how Scripture is interpreted. It is a matter of how we approach the Scriptures.

Full/Hyperpreterism has an approach that claims that for 2000 years, Christianity has basically been in gross error on the most basic interpretation of eschatology. They MUST then consider what this "premise" means to how they approach not only interpretation of the Bible, but the Bible itself.

On another forum where many Full/Hyperpreterist reside, I am in a discussion with them over WHAT is the Bible and WHY? Why 66 books and no more and no less. One of them answered this way:
"Normally, it is sufficient to simply agree that the 66 book canon is Scripture unless we are dealing with Catholics or Greek Orthodox." --source
The problem is, Full/Hyperpreterism isn't "normal". It isn't what historic Christianity has advocated and believed for 2000 years concerning eschatology. We cannot therefore "simply agree" that what we think is the Bible is in fact the Bible. I mean, since the overarching premise of Full/Hyperpreterism is that 2000 years of historic Christianity has been in gross error, it would be wrong to assume that the text we call the Bible is unaffected by the supposed "gross error".

This speaks directly to the question about God's ability to sustain. Are we to really believe God made this plan to reveal His plan via elaborate history of shadow and type, culminating in revelation and fulfillment just so that His new (and "better") covenant people would be as woefully mistaken as were the Jews who were operating behind the veil of Moses? (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). Sure, it's fine if a person wants to believe God so failed, to sustain the most basic doctrines within His community of saints but then a person must be brave and honest enough to say that what they are now believing is something different than what has been considered Christianity. If a person wants to make up a new religion with a Christian sheen, so be it, but be brave enough and honest enough to admit it isn't really what Christianity has EVER been.


A phrase employed, not only by Full/Hyperpreterists but by any group attempting to circumvent historic Christianity is the phrase "Sola Scriptura". The Reformers, to whom this phrase is attributed did NOT mean it to conclude each person's private interpretation alone, as it is often today. The Reformers advocated an "ancient faith", yet based on the Bible but sustained by God. A Faith that can be discerned at least in minimal form by what has been believed and advocated by historic Christianity. Instead, some have taken this phrase and turned it into a license to interpret the Bible however they please, damned be 2000 years of united historic Christian interpretation.

Why is it we can suppose all sorts of clever numeric games of counting chapters and verses and numbers of books in the Bible as if God was inserting some secret code but we don't stop to consider the same God also sustained the most basic doctrines contained in that Bible? The Bible we have today is not some construct by Roman Catholics that sat in some council and decided which books would and wouldn't be part of the canon; but the Bible as we have it today came via the divine sustaining of God. There is nothing "normal" about how we have the Bible today. The preservation of just the right books is nothing short of miraculous yet the Full/Hyperpreterists want us to conclude that God failed to sustain the most minimal and basic beliefs of His plan for history, humanity, and the universe?

Full/Hyperpreterists CAN'T appeal to the Bible without conceding that God is the Sustainer! And if God sustains, we cannot conclude that we have been groping about for 2000 years until Max King or some other person came along and figured out the secret "wheel" of the Bible or of doctrine. If this is really what a person believes, then they are outside the community of saints that has been considered Christianity for 2000 years. I'm sorry if some people find this offensive but it was this brave/honest reality that snapped me out of the heresy of Hyperpreterism. Can I unlock every mystery of God? Can I solve every seeming paradox and contradiction in the Bible? Can I create some clever wheel of explanation? No, I cannot but I can adhere to the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3) I can take my place along with the rest of the billions of Christians that have believed and advocated the same interpretation of the Bible for 2000 years. But then I will have to forgo being seen as some "special" person that has figured out that most everyone else has been wrong. I will have to give up claiming to be some innovative "Luther-like" revolutionary. Perhaps this is why it is often difficult for someone who has bought into Full/Hyperpreterism to renounce it. If they do, not only will they have to swallow their pride and admit they have been arrogantly wrong, but they will have to admit they are really nothing special. That they are only a member of the larger Body. We so desperately want to feel like we are something different, someone with a unique purpose. I am content knowing that for whatever reason, God saved me before the foundation of the world and desires me to continue along with the multitude of Elect, to witness and to make a defense for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints; the same faith that 2000 years of fellow Christians have been believing and advocating.

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