Wednesday, October 2, 2013

WARNING: An Important Message to Elders, Pastors, and Churches

Most people don’t set out to fall into heresy or to join cults.  There is typically, but perhaps only in retrospect a clear line of degradation into heresy or a cult.
Hyperpreterism has several launching points of which I’d like warn elders and pastors.  First, — I AM A FORMER 15-YEAR LONG HYPERPRETERIST — how did it happen? There are 3 factors:
1. 40 years of exposure to “Left-Behindism”.
2. Distorted understanding of the concept of “Sola Scirptura”
3. Gateway “Partial-Preterism” into the heresy of Hyperpreterism


Not just Dispensationalism, but “Left-Behindism”. Years of hearing men like Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsey, and Tim LaHaye go on and on about “endtimes” and never even hinting that the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24/Mk 13/Lk 21) is mainly about the AD70 destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (as most of the historic commentaries do attest –ref). When a person begins to see that 40 years of eschatology was based on lies and gross, purposely misinterpreted texts, it isn’t difficult to then fall for the overarching premise of hyperpreterism — which is that for 2000 years, Christianity in general has supposedly failed to understand correct eschatology.
Although the hallmark of the Reformation, the concept of Sola Scriptura was used by the “radicals” during the Reformation as well. These radicals, or as Luther called them, “enthusiasts”, also would say, “Sola Scriptura” — the Bible alone, but what they meant is really, “The Bible disconnected from Christianity — private interpretation, “SOLO Scriptura”. (ref) If a person is not careful wielding the Bible, they can do so unto their own destruction — 2 Pet 3:15-17, becoming wise in our own eyes. (Proverbs 26:12) Elders and pastors, please be careful how you present “Sola Scriptura”.
It seems to be an en vogue position to claim you are a “partial” or “orthodox” preterist. Be it R.C. Sproul Sr., Kenneth Gentry, or Gary DeMar. But it is really just a place-holder for many future hyperpreterists. Perhaps we might think, “Well, that’s that person’s problem, not the problem of guys like Sproul, Gentry, and DeMar”. I would agree except for a few things;  Many hyperpreterists will tell you that these three men were pivotal in them becoming a hyperpreterist. Think about it for a moment. What if lots of people were becoming Mormons and crediting these men? Even if the men are adamant that they are NOT teaching heretical forms, are they not at least responsible to clearly distinguish themselves from the heretical form??? I grant that Sproul and certainly Gentry who has even written books against hyperpreterism have made this distinction, but men like DeMar have been known to speak at hyperpreterist conferences, with no condemnation against that heresy. He frequents their websites as a member, has them on his radio show without making the distinction to his audience (not even calling them “full preterists”, but simply preterists), he has even point-blank been asked on Gene Cook’s radio show by a hyperpreterist if he thinks hyperpreterism is heresy and DeMar clearly answered “No” (ref#1-mp3, ref#2-mp3). I would encourage elders and pastors to NOT encourage ANY KIND of “preterism” within their congregation. The words “preterism” and “futurism” are arbitrary words, since ALL historic Christians believe at least some N.T. prophecies are past and some are yet future. We don’t need a new word to contrast ourselves with “Left-Behindism”. Making arbitrary labels like “partial-preterist” only acts as a gateway “drug” into “full” or hyperpreterism, after all, who wants to be a “partial” anything? Let’s simply get back to historic, essential Christian eschatology as the historic commentaries did show BEFORE the rise of “Left-Behindism”.
Eschatology and Soteriology are inseparably bound — Jesus’ main message is “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand” which is completely soteriological AND eschatological. We should not, cannot forsake one over the other. This is the reason the hyperpreterist’s soteriology is affected the moment he begins to depart from ESSENTIAL Christian eschatology. 2000 years of UNITED Christian interpretation didn’t interpret “kingdom at hand” to mean Jesus has already come back, or that the resurrection would be over in AD70, or that the judgment was merely the judgment on the Jews. Let us Christians, especially elders and pastors be careful what we bring into our spiritual lives. Heresy begets heresy. Thank you for letting me address this issue.

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