Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Christianity Before and After AD70

Hyperpreterists have a major difficulty explaining why for 2000 years, Christianity through all its various expressions has been UNITED on the basics of eschatology.  There have been a variety of attempts by hyperpreterists to downplay that perhaps the MOST SETTLED doctrine of Christianity is basic eschatology.  Some examples of hyperpreterists tactics on this matter are:

  1. A 2000-year long coverup or conspiracy.
  2. 1st-century rapture that took away people who would have held to hyperpreterism.
  3. Trace-citations of theologians who sound like they might be hyperpreteristic.
  4. Post Ad70 Christians too stupid to realize what happened.

No matter which of these explanations hyperpreterists try to use, any of them result in an ineffective and an incompotent God who was either unable or unwilling to maintain the most basic understanding of His eschatological plan among His New Covenant people.  Some hyperpreterists are also okay with that outcome.

I often challenge hyperpreterists to clearly tell me which of these explanations they personally use.  Most of the time they refuse to answer, perhaps because they see that it is a no-win situation for them.  However, they also don't provide any different explanations.

Recently, a hyperpreterist whom while I was still a hyperpreterist I had befriended, asked me to give evidence for the proposition that Christians the day after AD70 and the day before AD70 believed the same things on eschatology.  At first, I felt like this was a type of question someone would pose such as "prove America was founded on Christian principles".  It is the type of question that the questioner really doesn't care what you say, he will believe the opposite.  However, let me indulge the questioner.

First, it is acknowledged that biblical writers wrote of an imminent "coming" of Christ, BUT this is not neccessary a "return" of Christ to earth as hyperpreterists often try to claim.  For example, a comparison of Mt 26:64 with Dan 7:13-14 shows Christ "coming in power, in/on the clouds" -- not back to earth but to the glory of the Father/Ancient of Days.  Now, what I must prove is that the day after AD70, Christian theologians were for the most part advocating this same thing.  I don't want to hear a hyperpreterist claim I should only quote the Bible, since my point is simply to show that Christians the day AFTER AD70 were still believing the same thing pre-AD70 Christians believed.  It then will be up to a hyperpreterist to tell us which of the 4 responses he or she will give to explain this FACT.

DIDACHE - 50AD-120AD -- source

10:11 May grace come and may this world pass away.
10:12 Hosanna to the God of David.
10:13 If any man is holy, let him come;
10:14 if any man is not, let him repent. Maran Atha. Amen.
16:1 {Be watchful} for your life;
16:2 {let your lamps not be quenched and your loins not ungirded, but be ye ready;
16:3 for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh.}
16:4 And ye shall gather yourselves together frequently, seeking what is fitting for your souls;
16:5 for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you, if ye be not perfected at the last season.
16:6 For in the last days {the false prophets} and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate.
16:7 For as lawlessness increaseth, {they shall hate one another and shall persecute and betray.
16:8 And then} the world-deceiver {shall appear} as a son of God;
16:9 {and shall work signs and wonders,} and the earth shall be delivered into his hands;
16:10 and he shall do unholy things, which have never been since the world began.
16:11 Then all created mankind shall come to the fire of testing, and many shall be offended and perish;
16:12 {but they that endure} in their faith {shall be saved} by the Curse Himself.
16:13 {And then shall the signs} of the truth {appear;}
16:14 first a sign of a rift in the heaven, then a sign of a voice of a trumpet, and thirdly a resurrection of the dead;
16:15 yet not of all, but as it was said:
16:16 {The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.
16:17 Then shall} the world {see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.} 

The Didache is spoken of as being a very early church directional document and as the reader can see, there is clear evidence of a belief in a future coming of the Lord on par with the kind of belief Christians hold today.


1:2  For being counted worthy to bear a most godly
name, in these bonds, which I carry about, I sing the
praise of the churches; and I pray that there may be
in them union of the flesh and of the spirit which are
Jesus Christ's, our never-failing life -- an union of
faith and of love which is preferred before all
things, and -- what is more than all -- an union with
Jesus and with the Father; in whom if we endure
patiently all the despite of the prince of this world
and escape therefrom, we shall attain unto God.


9:2  who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His
Father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will
so raise us also who believe on Him -- His Father, I
say, will raise us -- in Christ Jesus, apart from whom
we have not true life.
These are but two writings purportedly by Ignatius of Antioch and both imply futuricity comparable to modern Christian belief.

Such favour as you grant to these, grant also to us, who not less but more firmly than they believe in God; since we expect to receive again our own bodies, though they be dead and cast into the earth, for we maintain that with God nothing is impossible...Since, then, we prove that all things which have already happened had been predicted by the prophets before they came to pass, we must necessarily believe also that those things which are in like manner predicted, but are yet to come to pass, shall certainly happen. For as the things which have already taken place came to pass when foretold, and even though unknown, so shall the things that remain, even though they be unknown and disbelieved, yet come to pass. For the prophets have proclaimed two advents of His: the one, that which is already past, when He came as a dishonoured and suffering Man; but the second, when, according to prophecy, He shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by His angelic host, when also He shall raise the bodies of all men who have lived, and shall clothe those of the worthy with immortality, and shall send those of the wicked, endued with eternal sensibility, into everlasting fire with the wicked devils. And that these things also have been foretold as yet to be, we will prove.
I could go on and on citing various early Christian theologians and documentation that shows early Christianity post AD70 ALSO believed what we Christians today believe about basic eschatology.

Hyperpreterists, who may desire to cite quotes that sound like they support a complete 1st-century fulfillment, should be cautioned that ANY quote they cite by any theologian, can be shown that the SAME theologian elsewhere completely agrees with the historic Christian view of eschatology.  Thus, taking one citation and trying to force it to imply the theologian agrees with the hyperpreterist interpretation is false.  The only thing left for a hyperpreterist is to adopt one of the 4 explanation above, which as I stated, ALL undermine the sovereignty of God.  The moment a hyperpreterist says the "truth" was somehow suppressed, is the moment they make God out to be ineffective.  Then at any moment; the next Muhammad, the next Joseph Smith jr., the next Charles Taze Russell, the next Max King can come along and claim to have done what God, Jesus, the apostles and the Holy Spirit supposedly couldn't do; explain basic eschatology for preservation.

Hyperpreterism MUST be built on the dismantling of historic Christianity.  Hyperpreterism cannot exist where historic Christianity is taught.  Instead, hyperpreterists MUST get the initiate to believe historic Christianity is a horrible failure.  Hyperpreterism MUST claim 2000 years worth of believed and practiced Christianity has been a fraud at least as it concerns basic eschatology.  If you can accept that, then you will have parted from Christianity and gone on to something OTHER-THAN-CHRISTIANITY.  Whatever hyperpreterism is, it is something OTHER-THAN-CHRISTIANITY.

Christians before AD70 and Christians after AD70 believed, taught and practiced the same things about basic eschatology as we Christians today.  Hyperpreterism fails at every moment to explain why and how this is.


jmac said...

It is simple... Christianity before and after 70AD was affected by a strong delusion and people believed what was false. 2Th 2:11-12 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, (12) in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Roderick_E said...

See, there it is in action -- hyperpreterists MUST claim that 2000 years of Christians have been duped. A rather ineffective "god" the hyperpret premise has made.

Ken Galloway said...

Roderick...none of those support a physical bodily resiurrection. Didache was definitly written before 70 AD, and the other two, don't support the claim you have made. Do you have any more?

Prets have lots.

Roderick_E said...

Hi Ken, before we get too far, do you want to revise your statement? You said: "Didache was definitly written before 70 AD". Really? How do you know this Ken? The same way Obama knows that even if we started drilling in America we'd supposedly not find enough oil to make an impact? Rather, the dating of Didache, which wasn't even published in its present form until 1883 has a disputed dating from 50AD-3rd century. -- source

As for the other citations, they DO PROVE that after AD70, Christians believed the same basic eschatological tenets we Christians still believe - particularly see Justin Martyr.

Lastly Ken, how many times must you be corrected to add some sort of prefix to the word "preterist" when referring to yourselves. If you don't like the etymologically accurate "hyper-preterist" (which is what you are, not just ROE), then select some other label that is at least more honest than simply "preterist".