Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whitefield Theological Seminary Continues To Validate Heresy

In October 2008 I wrote to Whitefield Theological Seminary (WTS) and to its president and founder, Kenneth Talbot concerning its relationship with then hyperpreterist leader Samuel M. Frost. Frost had long boasted that he in part arrived at his heretical position via the tools provided him by WTS and Frost had made a point of claiming he was accepted by Talbot as a Christian brother. This is confirmed by Talbot constantly calling Frost and other hyperpreterists, "brother" and validated by the FACT that Talbot was purportedly utilizing Frost to help develop the student Hebrew program for WTS. All of this while Frost was still hot and heavy into the heresy.

My inquiry to WTS and Talbot's surprisingly rather unChristian response (see full details), caused me to distance myself from the so-called "anti-hyperpreterist" community (and the feeling was mutual, as the anti-hyperprets saw in Talbot, a new champion despite his validation of heresy).

My contention then and now is unwavering; that a Christian or a Christian institution should NEVER appear to be validating known heresy. It doesn't matter if the institution is not the Church proper, it still wears the label of "Christian" and when a known heretic can use that institution's credibility to proffer him or herself as accepted within Christianity -- perhaps even as Christian -- then that Christian institution has done a great disservice to the Faith.

Well, the issue has come to the forefront again as another hyperpreterist has declared his association with WTS. Larry Siegle, long self-professed "seasoned teacher" within the hyperpreterist movement announced his application and seeming acceptance to WTS (see here). Now, it is interesting what Siegle says about OTHER seminaries which he investigated attending:
"I have spent the past few months just doing research of the various schools that offer a variety of programs and approaches to how theology must be understood in relationship to the Cross and the events that took place with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Several institutions associated with Churches of Christ took a look at my educational portfolio and declined admission without comment. Others were willing to allow me to enter into their program of study, but with the requirement that I would sign a formal statement of compliance with their Doctrinal Statement. My response was always, "I affirm the propositions as set forth in the doctrinal statement of this institution to the extent that its views are in harmony with what I understand, in good conscience, to be written in the Scriptures." For some of the institutions such an affirmation was insufficient and consideration for admission was either declined, or entrance would be granted on "academic probation" depending upon the degree to which they consider Full Preterismi to be heresy and therefore to be opposed. Some would allow me to "audit" their courses, or even take them for credit, but with the intention of not granting a degree after having met all of the requirements, fearing their reputation would somehow suffer in having my name associated with them."
Yet it appears from what Siegle is saying, that WTS neither declined his admission nor required him to sign a compliance with the basic tenets of the Christian Faith. It seems the other seminaries better understand that the action of letting a known heretic gain a degree from their seminary, validates the heresy and suffers their reputation as a Christian institution.
Long time anti-hyperpreterist, Dee Dee Warren said of the matter:
"I don’t believe orthodox institutions should knowingly allow those who deny an essential of the faith into their midst...Dr. Talbot knows I do not agree at all with orthodox schools allowing blatantly heretical students, but that is not the area of responsibility that God has given me. I am just noting my total disagreement for the public record, and will speak with Dr. Talbot in more detail if he wants to know more." -- Dee Dee Warren on WTS allowing known heretics to attend.
Interesting, since this is a VERY cause of the initial rift between Dee Dee Warren and I. WTS and Talbot's specific apparent validation of known heresy, despite his words to the contrary. Actions speak louder than words.


How did Siegle's fellow hyperpreterists react to his news?
A few, such as Kelly Birks who also has an association with WTS and Wanda Short who was a moderator along with Talbot on a hyperpreterist forum, where Talbot used a fake name ("superpreterist") -- these few and some others who have been befriended by Talbot congratulated Siegle. However, those not so entangled by a relationship with Talbot or WTS were more critical.
"So –WTS is educating an apostate heretic and one whose position is viewed as attacking and undermining the holy catholic faith once delivered unto the saints.
The good news in all of this is that it seriously weakens their attack and creates a clear contradiction to their stated position. No matter what Larry does or does not do, this is a HUGE victory for full preterism." -- hyperpret Dorothy Anderson in response to WTS allowing a known heretic to gain a degree from WTS.
As you can see, even Anderson understands that Talbot's words contradict his actions. WTS essentially AGAIN is lending to the idea that hyperpreterism is acceptable and allowable to thrive within Christian circles.
Another hyperpreterist, often considered the MOST CONSISTENT advocate of the view, "RiversOfEden" had this to say:
"It seems hypocritical for an Orthodox person (e.g. Talbott) to encourage a notorious heretic (e.g. Seigle) to gain an academic certification that the heretic will use to promote views that are antithetical to the Orthodox purpose of the school.
Gaining an academic certification (e.g. M.Div.) is not simply accomplished by completing the coursework. The academic institution is also validating that the candidate is working toward the same theological purpose as the particular school, as well as other orthodox institutions that have a common understanding of what that ministry certification represents.
Full Preterism is not compatible with historic Christian Orthodoxy by any stretch of the imagination. If the purpose of Whitfield seminary is to prepare Christian ministers to make Orthodox disciples, then it is foolish to accept Siegle’s money and encourage him to misrepresent the doctrinal position of the school." -- hyperpret ROE's position on WTS accepting a known heretic into the seminary.
Remember what Siegle said in his original announcement:
"Moreover, there was every assurance given to me that no pressure, academic or otherwise would be applied to those areas of disagreement regarding eschatology and what I understand the Scriptures to teach." -- hyperpret Larry Siegle stating that WTS/Talbot assured him that Siegle will not be pressured to reconsider his heretical position while attending WTS
Hyperpreterist Dave Green, understanding that there is contradiction between the words and actions of WTS/Talbot replied:
"Therefore, what you just said is:
"Whitefield Theological Seminary has given me every assurance
that it will not confront me on my public and unrelenting denial of the gospel (in their view), but will instead publicly join hands with me and take my money."
Larry, how is that different from saying, "Hey Mr. Gospel Denier, If you join my school and pay me, I promise I'll stop pressuring you about your anti-gospel"? -- hyperpret Green on the contradiction of WTS allowing a known heretic to attend WTS.
Yet Talbot's long time protege, Sam Frost attempts to defend WTS/Talbot's decision.
"I don’t see the problem with a Jew, a FP, or an Atheist studying at WTS. I mean, it’s not like WTS is hiring Larry for ministry! he is a student, pure and simple. A most welcomed one at that." -- ex-hyperpret leader Frost defending WTS/Talbot's decision to allow a known heretic attend WTS.
Wait a second!!! Despite the fact that yes, some "Christian" seminaries will let anyone in without qualification ($$$?), do you see what Frost just said??? "it’s not like WTS is hiring Larry for ministry!". So, what of the issue when Frost WAS a hyperpreterist and WAS being utilized by WTS/Talbot in a "ministry" position? It is "ministry" to develop a student Hebrew program for a "Christian" seminary isn't it? Amazing how this hypocrisy is coming round-about.
Needless to say, WTS and Talbot are furthering the perception that WTS/Talbot (and his fellow "anti-hyperprets") only oppose the heresy in word but not in actions. This has been my issue with the "anti-hyperprets" for sometime now; from Phil Naessens who does a podcast with hyperpret Mike Loomis and allows himself to be depicted as Loomis' Christian brother, to now Talbot allowing a known hyperpreterist to attend WTS without "pressuring" Siegle to reconsider his heretical position.
Ultimately, maybe Siegle will repent of hyperpreterism but WTS appears to need to compromise to do it; much like a person who might claim they want to evangelize to drunkards so they go into a bar and drink alongside the drunks to do it. Jesus never sinned or validated sin to reach sinners.

1 comment:

Roderick_E said...

Follow up comments by hyperpret Dorothy Anderson:
I view this as a strong indication that Whitefield is full preterist friendly in spite of Dr. Talbot’s stated position. We can spread the word. This is great news….for us AND for Larry. -- source