Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hyperpret Bryan Lewis Explains Why "Realized Preterism" Won't Work

As readers may be aware, there has been a long time contention that Dr. Kenneth Talbot of Whitefield Theological Seminary has been attempting to insert his own "Reformed" brand of "Preterism" into the movement.  With a movement that already has so many  labels for different kinds of "preterism" -- "Partial-Preterism, Orthodox Preterism, Full Preterism, Hyper-Preterism" -- Talbot's new brand seemed likely to be a welcomed addition to the smorgasbord.  Talbot called his brand,  "Realized Preterism".  Although, official and public details about what his brand of preterism entailed has yet to be released, some Full/Hyper-Preterists received it as merely a stepping stone to eventual Full/Hyper-Preterism.

Mike Bennet, a Hyper-Preterist social-site admin and friend of Sam Frost once said about Realized Preterism:

"Here is what I see happening as a general path to FULL PRETERISM.
Arminian => Dispy => Reformed => Ammilenial => Partial Preterist => Preterist Idealist => Realized Preterist (soon to complete the path) => Full Preterist"  -- source

Further, in his interaction with one of Talbot's defenders, Bennett replied:

"Sharon - if Reformed means "I hold to the confessions completely" then I certainly am not Reformed. I have NO PROBLEM with that. I do believe in the 5 Solas and 5 points and God is Sovereign in salvation. To me that is Reformed - but I feel the same about Calvinism - I use it to describe me but I don't hold every detail that Calvin ever uttered - I prefer Soveriegn Grace Preterist anyway..

But it is the guys who are PARTIALS and Realized etc. that are trying to say they hold to the CONFESSIONS (using those confessions as their definition for Reformed) while at the same time their theology DOES NOT match up with those confessions really ANY MORE than Full Preterism.

Face it Sharon - Realized Preterism is "new" (the traditional charge against Full Preterists) and teaches something TOTALLY different than the CONFESSIONS."
 It is here that I'd like to reference an article by hyper-preterist Bryan Lewis.  Lewis is perhaps best known for the two quotes featured on PreteristArchive:

Bryan Lewis (2010) "I am among those Preterists who realize that (HyP) Preterism is absolutely not Orthodox Christianity. It is my opinion, there is no fellowship between the two now, nor has their ever been historically." (Am I a Christian?)

Unlike many of my brothers and sisters, I think we must stop trying to fit Preterism into the neat box of Orthodox Christianity, especially into the world of Creeds and Confessions. I do not see how true full preterism (Fulfilled Salvation / no future judgment of all men, No Future Coming, etc...) could ever peacefully co-exist with Orthodox Christianity. (Quoted in Heterodox Confessions of Hyperpreterists)
-- PreteristArchive source:
  In his most recent offering, Lewis comments on Sam Frost's apparent departure from the movement.  Lewis states:

"I have been watching from a distance Sam’s Frost decision to leave Full-Preterism. Therefore, I have decided to come out of my self-imposed exile to give my thoughts."  -- source: The Antithetical Nature of Reformed Theology & Full-Preterism

Lewis marks the difference between Frost and himself, in that Frost has seemed to embrace a type of "Reformationized" Preterism (i.e. Talbot's "Realized Preterism"), and Lewis makes the case that Reformed Theology and Full-Preterism are "antithetical".  Although Frost has also said Reformed Theology and Full Preterism are incompatible, Frost still goes forward in trying to synthesize a kind of Reformed Preterism -- even to the point of saying he is a "Chilton type Preterist", referring to David Chilton who embraced Full Preterism but died before he could develop it. (ref1, ref2).  The problem is, Frost doesn't seem to understand what Lewis is trying to say, and what Frost himself said -- You CAN'T join Reformed Theology (Christianity in general) with Full/Hyperpreterism.

Lewis says in his article:

"...the real issue with FPism and God’s sovereignty in my mind, was God’s work throughout the history of Christianity. This was the big one for me! As a Reformed Christian, I believed there was a direct succession of truth passed down through the centuries. I was taught to believe that the Holy Spirit was active in guiding God’s people throughout the history of the church. However, I quickly came to see that “FPism and HR tradition are incompatible,” because FPism is a clear denial of the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the history of the church – thus a denial of God’s sovereignty. I quickly appealed to Sola Scriptura! However, I had been taught as Berkof had said, the “No creed but the Bible” mentality is “a virtual denial of the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the past history of the church.” (Louis Berkof, Systematic Theology, 32). Therefore, from the Reformed perspective it became inconsistent for me to say God was sovereign in church history, but yet, at the same time say, most of traditional christianity had misunderstood Bible prophecy for its first 2000 years. As a FPist, I understood us to be saying, historic Christianity had failed to comprehend the correct time and nature of the fulfillment of Biblical Eschatology. This was the opposite of “God’s sovereign hand in Christian history view” that I had once believed."
 Ah-ha, this has been my EXACT point leading up to my departure from hyperpreterism in the year 2004 and finally in 2007.  Yet I have been ridiculed for this very point from no less than Dr. Talbot himself -- yet it is no wonder since Talbot is attempting to fashion his own synthesized brand of Preterism, which is an implied if not overt concession that the Full/Hyper-Preterist premise of a failure of God's sovereign hand in Christian history.  As a matter of fact, Frost as we know is a pupil of Talbot so it is no surprise to see the faulty leading into fault.  Further, Frost has recently claimed his position is...

"...very close to DeMar’s.  As those who know me, and have heard me say a million times, I cut my teeth on DeMar, Chilton, Jordan, North, Sutton and Gentry (the Tyler, Texas Gang) back when Dominion Press and ICE were just starting.  Now that I have moved slightly back to this position from a more or less appreciation of Full Preterism" (source: - March 8, 2011)
So, as the reader can see, Frost HASN'T really left Full/Hyper-preterism but rather as Lewis realizes, Frost is trying to embrace a "Reformationalized" form. (i.e. Realized Preterism).  But what must be pointed out here is that DeMar shares the overarching premise that Lewis noted is the premise of Hyper-preterism.  In a FaceBook comment Gary DeMar posted on March 8, 2011, DeMar says:

"... I'm willing to listen to what others say on an issue, especially on eschatology since it's been a garbled mess for centuries. It's conceivable that so-called eschatological heretics are seeing something I'm not seeing. They're willing to take the risk. Many are not." -- source

See the Full/Hyper-preterist premise in DeMar's words?  He believes as Lewis pointed out about the hyperpreterist premise that  there had to be a  failure in God's sovereign hand.  That as DeMar claims, "eschatology...has been a garbled mess".  But has it been???

Whether we look at pre-Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholicism, Greek/East Orthodox, Syrian, Protestant/Reformed, Anabaptist, Modern Evangelical, Calvinistic, or Armininanistic Christianity -- ALL of these expressions of historic Christianity have been united on the 4 main, basic eschatological points that Full/Hyperpreterism calls us to deny.  It is no wonder that some people think DeMar and Talbot's brand of Preterism is a "path to Full/Hyperpreterism".  It is NOT because these men may share the same proof-texts of Full/Hyperpreterists (as Frost tried to accuse Dr. David Engelsma -- ref: but rather it is because men like DeMar and Talbot are sharing the same FAULTY premise as Full/Hyperpreterism.  Both have either implied or overt premises that Christianity has not had a well-defined eschatology.  Thus, Talbot's desire to introduce yet ANOTHER brand of eschatology.  Why doesn't he just teach the historic Christian eschatology and be done with it?  Why does he feel the need to imply that historic Christianity failed and needs Talbot and men like him to come up with a new eschatology?

Lewis concludes his assessment of Frost (and his mentors, Talbot and Demar) by saying:

"From the outside looking in, me being away from the movement for 2 1/2 years, it seems you are still attempting to overcome this hurdle of FPism and HRT (historic Reformed Theology) – not necessarily by trying to make FPism Reformed, but by developing yet another FPist interpretation that synthesizes the views. Good Luck."
So, as you can see my assessment is in line with one of Frost's fellows.  My assessment, is not merely a "bitter guy trying to attack Sam Frost" -- as people may try to claim.  Lewis' assessment is so well received even among the "anti-prets" that the Dee Dee Warren and PaulT posted it on PreteristBlog. -- ref.  Even more interesting is the reference PaulT makes to the article:

"... another hyperpreterist who’s recent comments I have found very honest..." -- source

The reason this is interesting is the same PaulT has hounded me on CARM for claiming certain comments by hyperpreterist can ever be "honest".

The concluding point is, Lewis is saying the exact same things I've been saying for about 8 years now.  It was fine until Talbot, who ironically spent 10 years saying nothing publicly about the Full/Hyper-preterism that festered under his nose with Sam Frost, came in and thought he would save the day.  Since that time, Talbot has retreated back to his ivory-tower; to his self-created seminary and self-created denomination where he has no "overseers" (i.e. "accountability") but merely "peers" whom are obligated to him in some manner or another.

The drama within the movement (and within the "anti-prets") is truly on par with the most contorted soap-opera.

I just wanted to clarify that this article intends no animosity toward Sam Frost or others that are attempting to leave the heresy of hyperpreterism -- HOWEVER this article has EVERY intention to point out that men like DeMar and Talbot, for all the good things they do and teach, they have been woefully lacking in dealing with hyperpreterism and often validate, perpetuate, and propagate it with their faulty approaches.

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