Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Are Full/Hyperpreterists Damned?

This article was prompted by a thoughtful email I received from a former full preterist whom is concerned that people often call full/hyperpreterism a "damnable heresy". The claim implies that a full/hyperpreterist person is destined for hell. A further question is whether a person who is a full/hyperpreterist will go to hell if they die while still a full/hyperpreterist. But before we get to the answer, we should figure out what is meant by "damned". Does it mean "going to hell"?

The word damned is found 3 times in the KJV; all in the New Testament. (ref) However, the Greek origin is κρίνω/κατακρίνω which is used over 130 times in the New Testament and translated as condemned/sue/judge/determine/ordained/sentence/conclude/question/esteem/decree/avenge (ref). The point is, "damned" doesn't mean destined for hell. Generically, it just means "considered wrong".  But wouldn't this be redundant to call something a "damnable heresy" since heresy also generically means "considered wrong"?  The Bible often utilizes redundancy for impact (pleonasm).  For example using the word "abominable" when referring to sin.  Isn't sin sin?


When I left full preterism, many full preterists asked me...or rather attempted to taunt me with the question of whether I was saved before I became a full preterist, lost salvation and then regained it when I left full preterism. They thought they caught me in an inconsistency since I am Reformed and advocate "perseverance of the saints" (known to some people as "once saved always saved").  The problem with their taunt, is what is often wrong with many conclusions made by full preterism; the premise was wrong. I have NEVER said any full preterist is going to hell.  I cannot know that.  That is between them and God.  So, while it is correct to call something that curses/condemns a person's spiritual life a "damnable" thing, it doesn't mean they are destined for hell. It means the belief is "considered wrong".  It means that as long as they are advocating it, they are also teaching others to believe a "damnable" thing.  Imagine if the person being taught is unsaved and all they learn is this "damnable heresy".


Something that I have repeatedly said, even in retrospect about myself is that full preterists aren't the communal sense. An analogy is how a person born in America is by law an American citizen, however if they advocate communism are they really an "American" in the communal sense? Is it American to advocate such an unAmerican idea? Is it "Christian" to advocate something that has never been believed or taught by the vast majority of Christians from all denominations? No.  In this way, full preterists are NOT Christians.  This doesn't have anything to do with their salvation.  Again, that is between them and God.  There are people who say Roman Catholics aren't Christians.  The official position of the Roman Catholic Church WAS that Protestants were not Christians.  Some people would claim specific denominations aren't Christians.

Am I being relativistic here? Not at all.  Full Preterism should be opposed whenever it is advocated. It should not be placated as an "eschatological alternative" or mere "exploration". It IS damnable in the sense that it is destructive to the lives of the person adhering to it and those being influenced and affected by it.

Even Jesus said people could be "in danger of the judgment/council/hell fire" over various actions (Mt 5:21-22 KJV) but He didn't say they were damned without chance of repentance.  Even in Mark 3:28-29 KJV, people were only in danger of eternal damnation.  The distinction of eternal damnation from simply damnation is either another pleonasm or it is showing that damnation by itself does NOT mean automatically hell-bound.

My issue is with people like Gary DeMar and Kenneth Talbot who legitimize full/hyperpreterism by either not calling it heresy at all or allowing full/hyperpreterism to flourish or partner with them; as Talbot did when he let a full/hyperpreterist help develop student materials for his seminary or enrolling known full/hyperpreterists into the seminary's "minister" program with the result of conveying a "minister's degree" upon the person.  This hypocrisy sends mixed signals.

Let us warn people who advocate full/hyperpreterism, that they are in danger of destroying their testimony. They are in danger of destroying the spiritual growth of others. They are in danger of leading people into a belief that is unChristian and causes them to disconnect from the collective called the universal Church. It is a damnable heresy.

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