Monday, July 16, 2012

Are Hyperpreterists "Conservative"?

After an exchange with hyperpreterist writer, John Noe I was reminded of a descriptor Noe uses in his biography. On most of Noe's books and materials he is described as follows:

"John Noe (pronounced "No-ee") is president of the Prophecy Reformation Institute, a conservative, evangelical scholar, and a member of the Evangelical Theological Society." -- source
Besides the humor of these men, such as Noe and Don Preston starting one-man "institutes" and such and declaring themselves the "president", notice that Noe claims he is a "conservative".  Well, he might be politically conservative or some other sort of conservative, but he is not a theological conservative. Hyperpreterism by its very definition is radicalism; a departure from "conserving", sustaining and maintaining the status quo.

I have broached this issue with Noe, hoping it was merely an oversight on his part and not an intentional misrepresentation. But Noe, in spite of the FACT he is proposing views that radically depart from historical Christianity, continued to claim he is a theological conservative.  So, now it is an obligation to point out that Noe is indeed misrepresenting himself to Christians.

Perhaps some defender will ask, "Who are you Roderick to say who is and isn't conservative?" Good question and people should ask it. But it is not whether I or anyone else does or doesn't consider Noe a conservative -- he just theologically isn't one by the very definition of the word.  As I kept telling Noe in our exchange, it is not a matter of "my take" or opinion against other people. Words mean things.  You cannot redefine conservative to include blatant radicalism.  Yes, perhaps after a radical idea overtakes the status quo and replaces it for a sustained amount of time, then that radical idea can be considered the "conserved" or maintained norm; hence "conservative". But until then, it is etymologically incorrect to call hyperpreterists "conservative" when it comes to theology.

Now, understand that I am not saying radicalism is by itself a negative thing. Indeed, radicalism gave us the American Revolution, the Protestant Reformation, among many other eventual positive changes that in most circles can now be called the "conservative" view point.  But hyperpreterism is still a fringe idea and Noe even promotes ideas that are so radical that even his fellow hyperpreterists reject them.  My point is, neither Noe nor any hyperpreterist is being honest if they present themselves as a "conservative evangelical". Noe needs to rework his biography to either delete this reference altogether or replace it with a word like "innovator", "radical" or even more accurately; "heretical". --- Hyperpreterism: Caveat emptor

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