A House on Fire
When did this conflagration start? It began in 2006, when Todd Dennis, curator of PreteristArchive.com, announced his rejection of the Hyper-Preterist position.
Within just two years, I have witnessed a spectacle truly amazing. A theology which was formerly one of the great wonders of the internet world has caught fire, and is now burning to cinders. I am speaking of Hyper-Preterism, of course – the belief that the second advent, resurrection, and final judgment occurred in A.D. 70. All those who have access to the facts will bear me witness, that wherever one looks, the doctrines espoused by Hyper-Preterists are going “up in smoke.”
When did this conflagration start? It began in 2006, when Todd Dennis, curator of PreteristArchive.com, announced his rejection of the Hyper-Preterist position. Almost immediately the solidarity of the movement showed signs of weakening. A furious wave of attack was launched against Todd and others who began defecting from the Hyper-Preterist scene.
Previous to this time, Hyper-Preterism was a flourishing movement. It is no overstatement to say that the growth of Hyper-Preterism among former evangelicals indirectly triggered the publication of such epoch-marking books as “The End Times Controversy” (edited by Tim Lahayeand Thomas Ice).
Shortly after Todd left Hyper-Preterism, a blog named Preterist Heresy came along, the purpose of which was to archive quotes fromHyper-Preterist leaders, and showcase the hypocrisy and inconsistency within the movement. Despite its downplay by many, this blog made a major dent in the Hyper-Preterist community, severely compromising its leaders and causing them to be more careful about statements made on public forums.
In 2008, Preterist Blog, another major site, was launched by Dee Dee Warren and Roderick Edwards. This site has been prominent in pointing out the errors of Hyper-Preterist theology, as well as the behavioral trends evinced by leaders of the “conservative” faction. The efforts of Dee Dee and Roderick may be directly responsible for the recent “locking down” of one of the most vocal trumpets of the Hyper-Preterist movement.
To show how far the Hyper-Preterist movement has deteriorated since 2006, one only need see how far the conservative voices have compromised their doctrinal standards, or lapsed into silence. As the more liberal adherents speak up, the conservatives are driven into their private corners, where their voices are hardly even heard.
Kurt Simmons, one of the conservative proponents of Hyper-Preterism, learned this the hard way. In 2007 his “Eschatology Conference” seemed like it would become the next great beacon of the Hyper-Preterist community. In 2008 the same conference was seen overrun by liberals and “Covenant Creation” folks. In 2009… well, there WAS no 2009, for Simmons never repeated the experiment!
Over the past couple years, the conservatives have found themselves up against an increasing wall of liberalism. Unless these conservatives change their party-lines, or develop horns and hooves, they risk falling into extinction — a necessary corollary of the evolutionary principle.
Really, who ever hears of people like Ed Stevens and Walt Hibbard anymore? The fact is, they who were on the bottom floor of the penthouse have already been consumed in the flames of progressive Preterism. Their tale is a venerable one (to them), but one whose final chapter was written long ago. With this in mind, who would dare say that Hyper-Preterism (at least as it was known for so many years) has any kind of future?
Regardless of the grim statistics, however, a new legion of Hyper-Preterist heroes has come along in recent months in an attempt to rejuvenate the lifeblood of the moribund community.
Bryan Lewis, a rabid proponent of Hyper-Pret theology, recently started a “church” (with Hermie Watford and “Dennis from TN“) saying that the “time is ripe for Christianity to embrace the truths of covenant eschatology.” Last time we checked he was doing radio programs.
Kelly Nelson Birks, an old speaker who wangs his academic credentials around to make the H.P. heresy seem more respectable, has been on the radio promoting Hyper-Preterism as well. He is also responsible for organizing the recent ”Omaha Preterist Conference,” at which a disturbed individual stood up and publicly cursed the movement.
Dave Green, leader of the quasi-conservative Hyper-Calvinist faction, now poses as ringleader of a group which purports to have a written “answer” to Keith Mathison’s book, “When Shall These Things Be?“
But Larry Siegle, a once popular speaker at Hyper-Preterist conferences, has grown increasingly reticent, and was recently reported to have been studying the “End Times Controversy,” edited by Tim Lahaye and Thomas Ice. This encouraging move may be a surface indication that Hyper-Preterist theology is being recognized as potentially erroneous.
However one chooses to look at the facts, the prevailing trends speak clearly. No matter where one looks, the conflagration is rising higher, and there is no end in sight. Hyper-Preterism is being consumed “in toto.” As the battle for theological supremacy among its members becomes more and more conspicuous, we can only hope that those seeking refuge on the rooftop will realize that their hopes are futile, and jump to the safety offered them below.