Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Don't Know You or 'Your Heart' But...

Every so often, some hyperpreterist will respond to something I wrote here or elsewhere but the problem is that person ASSUMES a lot about me and then goes from there.  Such a case happened with a fellow named Brett McNeill, associated with Don Preston's congregation.  He was upset with my reporting of Don's resignation speech.  Brett left some comments but they were so laced with falsehoods I urged him to rewrite them and then I'd post the comments.  He asked me to clarify where he was using falsehoods.  This is where the "Roderick, I don't know you or your heart but..." mentality comes in.  Brett spends a lot of time trying to claim to know me and my heart and instead he ignores the stated FACTS of Don's speech.

I replied to Brett, carefully and paragraph by paragraph displaying the falsehoods within his comments.  What follows is that exchange.  My comments from hereon are in blue.  Some exchange is referring to emails Brett has sent me.  Article and audio of Don Preston that sparked this exchange:

Hello Brett,

First let it be clear that if I WASN'T concerned for you and your family, I wouldn't bother with further interaction with you. My experience with hyperpreterists is that they are often (as Oscar showed) duplicitous and underhanded. However, a few do not behave that way. By the grace of God, I extend an olive branch. 

So, let's start with your assumption about me and creeds. Please cite where I speak heavily or fondly of any specific creed. Perhaps you are developing a caricature of me based on some latent martyr complex since no where in my communication with you or Ardmore have I cited or quoted one creedal statement. Scripture yes, creeds no. 

God isn't only concerned about your eternal standing before Him (salvation), but as Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" -- John 14:15. Unfortunately so many modern "Christians" seem to think "love" equals some wishy-washy, philanthropic, almost hippie-like socialism. Love is keeping Jesus' commandments -- not just the sermon on the Mount, but all of it; even 1 Cor 5, even 1 Cor 6. Just today, Larry Siegle told me 1 Cor 6 doesn't apply to me and implied Oscar should seek legal action. For all their talk about being "attacked", why have I never threatened any of these folks or questioned their mental state, called them "bitter" or even threatened them with violence as has been done towards me by hyperprets. These are your like-minded "friends", driven by their "faith". 

Lastly, there is a difference between wayward "sheep" and "smooth-talking" wolves/"super-apostles". See Romans 16:18, 2 Cor 11:5, 2 Cor 12:11. (are you looking up these verses?) How we Christians treat wayward sheep as compared to deceitful "shepherds" are two different approaches. Every hyperpreterist "teacher" believes him/herself to be theologically superior to the billions of Christians who have come before and who apparently didn't understand basic eschatology until along comes Max King in the 1970s. Just look how even you have berated so many other Christians as if they are stupid or "chained" and "leashed" as if you are soooo wise compared to them. Can you see this? You wanted to step back. Can you assess your own actions? 

All hyperpreterist "teachers" are wolves and self-proclaimed "super-apostles" that should be vigorously opposed for the LOVE of those who might or have fallen prey to their false matter how "decent and well-intended" such a person may APPEAR to be. Just see how they behave when challenged? They want to chuck Scripture and run to the world to solve their issues, where the world specifically has no business. Again, these are YOUR "friends". 
Now on to your comments posted to unpret. My comments in blue.

PART I: Perhaps a blip of truth thrown into the heresay testimony given here may be helpful. My name is Brett McNeill. To establish some credibility with the readers, I was an officer of the Board of Directors of the church where Don Preston was the full-time minister. I apologize that my response will be in parts due to length.
There is no "hearsay" to it. We have the full context audio of Don Preston saying WHY he was resigning. You can add more to what he said, but you cannot spin it. If you want to say he did a poor job at communication you can approach it that way, but don't try to tell us we didn't hear what we so plainly heard. We get enough of that from politicians ;-)

The most difficult arguments to address are those that take morsels of truth and try to create a self-serving buffet of falsehood. I hope I can purge some of the bitterness and rot from The Unpreterist's offering.

Again, you are claiming that what we heard isn't the truth. Did I doctor the audio? No. Further, there is no "bitterness" or "rot" -- simply reporting. Purge your personal attacks and assumptions please.

Failure to grow locally was a troubling concern for our church family and tore at Don Preston's heart. However, we all knew that Don's greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God was to be free to study, write, and lecture. We also realized that it was not possible for Don to budget his time fairly to local ministry and worldwide scholarship. The Board offered firstly to Don the opportunity to continue as the full-time pulpit minister with newly-defined obligations of preaching, teaching, evangelism, visitation, and a focus on growth in attendance.

This is NOT what Don said in his speech. He didn't say anything like this. He said specifically that the congregation started out with "great hopes and dreams, BUT..." The explanation comes after the "but". He didn't say, "but I need more time to study, write, and lecture". He mentions that no where. He does imply he planned to use the financial support of the congregation to launch in the direction, BUT with the "failure to grow" that wasn't going to be "possible". He doesn't mention anything about this coming from the BOD. You are contradicting his audio. Who am I to believe?

We informed Don that we preferred that he fill this office. After much prayer and sadness, Don declined stating that he honestly could not give us the full effort that this new job required and that his writing and lecturing schedule required. Don honorably asked to step down as full-time minister of our local congregation in an attempt to realize what we all felt was his higher calling.

Again, this is NOT what Don said in his audio. He was stepping down because the failure to grow wasn't making it "possible" to fund his plans, so he apparently was going to need to give up ministering to the congregation because it was consuming too much time and not generating enough income.

To suggest that Don Preston had lost his focus on evangelism for the good news of the Bible is not true, preposterous, and insulting. Don was not "more upset" about the loss of financial support as Unpreterist libels.

Don's focus HAS primarily been on "preterism"; writing books about it, lecturing and debating about it. My assessment is fair and accurate. Don most certainly seems "more upset" about the failure to grow which in turn would not make it "possible" to fund his propagation of hyperpreterism. Listen to the audio AGAIN. There is no libel.

I ask the reader here to please ask themselves, "Why does a man devote himself to a cause?" My answer is that he finds the thing that he will sell everything else to attain. That is what Don did. He sacrificed the security of a full-time job with a regular salary for an unguaranteed attempt to spread the Gospel message. He traded a paycheck for month's of hope and faith in God's provision through independent contributions to his new ministry.

Men and women devote themselves to all sorts of causes for all sorts of reasons including SELF-SERVING reasons. Please don't be so naive. From my understanding Don comes from a long line of coc ministers. This is what defines his family; like the family business. Since you are speculating why people devote themselves to causes, perhaps Don "devoted" himself to the thing he knew best from watching his family do it. Sometimes it's scary to go out and learn a new trade. As for Don's "sacrifice"; considering his 2008 publicly released tax records show $92K income, he wasn't too "sacrificed" :-)

Don chose this humbling path that he knew some would view as his failure to be a good minister. He chose this road knowing that he would receive no financial support from our congregation's budget. Has your conviction to your Christian calling ever cost you all your financial stability? Don's did.

Well that is one way to spin it, but from Don's own words, he was leaving so he COULD pursue and fund himself with the freed up time that the failing/non-growing congregation couldn't provide. He is simply being a good business man. If investors dry up in one place, look for other sources.

Unpreterist apparently catalogs himself with the group he calls "Real Christians" and puts Don Preston, and perhaps even me, in the "Other" group. Are we the goats or tares prepared for removal or the furnace in Unpreterist's future Day of Judgment?

Really? That entire paragraph sounds like a "woes is me" whine fit for a segment on Oprah. I have NEVER claimed to know the salvific state of ANYONE. That is God place. HOWEVER, we are STILL supposed to called evil evil and good good (Is 5:20 -- are you still looking these up?) and hyperpreterism certainly ISN'T "good". A "real Christian", as the article to which you are referring says, is a person who has a commonality with the heritage, ideology, and history of historic Christianity, just as a real American; whether they are or aren't a natural-born citizen have some commonality with the heritage, ideology, and history of America. Hyperpreterism, whatever it is, is something OTHER-THAN-CHRISTIAN just as much as Mormonism and JWs are NOT Christian, even if they quote the Bible and seem like "decent, well-intentioned"...even "loving" people.

I am a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ by His grace alone. I am not a Prestonite. Don, himself, may find it surprising that I am the first to his defense due to the fact that I was one of the leaders who challenged him to choose which role he to which he would dedicate himself. Some might suggest I pushed him out, because this move led to the eventual hire of his replacement as full-time minister.



PART II: Was "hyperpreterism" to blame for our declining attendance as Unpreterist boasts? Was our congregation the only part of the family of God that was seeing declining attendance among younger families? Or, was our traditional a cappella worship style to blame for the shrink? (The next blogger with a political ax to grind against non-instrumental worship will vilify us for that choice.) The answer to all of these is, "No." Nationwide, church growth experts have been hired to consult with congregations who are seeking to be relevant to a busy, media-savvy generation. Our attendance problem was not unique, nor was it due to our belief in a fulfilled Bible.

How do you know what the REAL cause for the failure to grow and "abandonment" was...even if people told you why, who says they are telling you the truth. ULTIMATELY, Preston's congregation WAS the premier hyperpreterist "church". He WAS the premier hyperpreterist teacher/speaker and despite all the hyperpreterists who claim the movement is "growing", that claim didn't pan out among Preston's congregation. He couldn't get the congregation to matter what you think the cause was.

Here is a just a suggestion, taste the fruits of the Spirit from the Holy Bible and then taste both the fruit from Unpreterist and from Don Preston. Which one of the two men has more of the sweetness of Jesus Christ in their tone and content? Which one, if either, has a bitterness that overwhelms any good, but misguided, intention? My taste buds suggest to me that Unpreterist has a mission that is not as noble as he believes.

Really? You keep veering into blatant personal attack and asking others to join you. Again, read Is 5:20-21 and Rom 16:18, "sweetness" or "smoothness" doesn't define truthfulness. I have merely reported what Don said and the REALITY that for whatever reason, the premier hyperpreterist congregation failed to grow and Don resigned. Who is being "bitter" and ignoble? When you hear a news story that simply reports a traffic fatality do you look at the reporter and claim they are bitter and ignoble for reporting it???

His battle tactics are nothing like those Jesus used to confront those religious types who would not heed the truth.

Are you sure of that? I hope you do not have the typical postmodernist view of Jesus as almost effeminate and hippie-like. Here are just a few "battle tactics" Jesus used to confront the religious types who would not heed the truth. Get ready to look up these verses (still no creed citations eh?)
  • Called them "brood of vipers" Mt 3:7, Mt 12:34, Mt 23:33 
  • Called them hypocrites Mt 6:2-5, Mt 22:18, Mt 23:27, Mt 24:51 
  • Compared them to whitewashed tombs with dead bones and everything unclean Mt 23:27 
  • Called them children of the Devil John 8:44
Wow, Jesus' "battle tactics" weren't too "sweet" since I have never called Preston, you or anyone a child of the Devil. Want to rethink your accusation?

The Pharisees felt compelled to root out "heresy" as they saw it without reference to the fulfillment that stared them in the face. They hurled personal insult and slander in their quest as well. Jesus referred them back to the fulfillment of Scripture. They refused to honestly read the Scriptures because they did not fit their chosen paradigm. And yet, they were left weeping and gnashing outside the gate. When did Jesus launch a campaign of scandal and personal insult to promote or protect the True Way?

So wait, we saw how Jesus treated the Pharisees, yet here you are implying I'm like a Pharisee and out of the other side of your mouth you are claiming I'm "bitter" and attacking??? There are plenty of verses that speak about contending for the faith and exposing false teaching/teachers (Jude 1:3, Eph 5:11). Since hyperpreterism is a heresy (a division away from Christianity), I can understand why you can't bring yourself to call ANYTHING heresy. Could you see a Mormon having a "ministry" exposing the falsehoods of the JWs? They can't do it, and nor can hyperpreterists tolerate that heresy SHOULD be exposed. There is no "campaign of scandal and personal insult", merely Don's own words and hyperpreterism's (including yours) effort to spin those words to "protect" the movement. So, unless you are saying everyone who follows passages like Jude 1:3 and Eph 5:11 are "Pharisees", you might want to rethink your perspective.

I do not know The Unpreterist or his heart...,

Huh??? What is this??? After claiming I'm "bitter", claiming I'm lying, claiming I'm like a Pharisee. claiming I think you are going to hell, claiming I am chained and leashed to the creeds -- NOW you want to say you "don't know" my heart???? What in the world? Maybe had you started with this focus, you wouldn't have ASSUMED so much and written so much falsehood. Repent of it? I doubt you will since you were so adamant I publish your comments.

but I do pray for his blessing in God's plan. Above all, I pray that all glory be to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that His Truth and Love rule over all.

And I pray that you will be freed from the cult of hyperpreterism and all the "teachers" teaching it. I pray that you will join with the Christians who have been holding fast to the traditions passed down to us by the apostles. (2 Thes 2:15) instead of following after some "wise in their own eyes" heresy Proverbs 26:12 (still no creed quotes, imagine that). I pray that Christ's LOVE rules, which as Scripture says, if you love Jesus, you'll OBEY His commandments, not make up some revision religion that departs from ANYTHING that was EVER considered Christianity.

The Truth? "Don Preston Honorably Resigns Because He Can Not In Good Conscience Promise To Devote Himself Fully To Two Professions." It is true that Don resigned, but Unpreterist seeks to destroy an honest man's character because he seemingly cannot reasonably discuss and differ on doctrinal issues by reference to the Scripture.

Here you are again, CONTRADICTING the FACTS. Don's OWN WORDS tell us why he resigned. He didn't say anything like you are trying to spin it. And here you are again, mere lines after telling the readers you don't "know my heart" telling people what you claim is in my heart. Who is telling "the truth"? Again, do you blame reporters when they report a train wreck? Hyperpreterism is a theological train wreck and Don Preston has been at the controls. It is important news when the conductor tells us why the train is wrecking (failure to grow, abandonment, not possible to fund plans). There is no attempt to "destroy" Don the man. He may be a very loving husband and father, but he is a leader of a dangerous heresy. I oppose those who advocate hyperpreterism. I don't go around and claim people need a "counselor" like your "friend" Oscar Miles. I don't threaten people with law suits, especially in light of 1 Cor 6; which Larry Siegle claims doesn't apply to me.
Larry is another "leader" within your movement who I believe was vying for Preston's old job. Very relevant.

Hyperpreterism, as it is labeled here will stand or fall as it is held up to the light of inerrant Scripture and not because of petty, political, personal grudges against individuals. Don Preston's website will ask you to go to Scripture to discover truth while tomorrow this blog will post another article that is nothing more than a personal attack on someone. Read the postings here and the please compare the content of [Don's website] for yourself. Who is attacking Christians personally and who is sending you to Scripture? You decide.

Yet, again you don't even "breath on" (as Don says in his debates) the issue. Is hyperpreterism a heresy??? If it is, should heresy be opposed? JWs have volumes and volumes of books on interpreting the Scriptures. We can spend loads of time letting them take us up and down their false premises and conclusions or we can ask:

  •  Who was Charles Taze Russell? 
  • What was he claiming about himself and Christianity? 
  • Why do the JWs claim they are Christians although they depart from everything that has EVER been considered Christianity? 
  • Why is JWism considered heresy by most if not all of Christianity?
I want to see you engage in THAT kind of reasoning Brett, but about hyperpreterism, instead of one moment admitting you don't know me and yet accusing me of all sorts of things. You have to remember, I was a hyperpreterist for nearly 15 years. I've observed what guys like Preston, Siegle, Frost, and these others have said and done over the years. I don't ASSUME things about people and then say I don't know them. I presented the FULL audio of Don's speech. I broke it down into its parts. You came along and told us what we heard is not what we heard. You accused me of many things and yet admitted you don't know me. Why should I think you are any different then these "leaders" of hyperpreterism who can say what they say even on record and people like you continue to defend them??? If that isn't the earmarks of cultism, I don't know what is.

There, you had your say. More than what hyperprets allow on their sites. 
In Christ and His Church, 

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