Dangerous or Just Wrong?
By Todd Dennis
The primary focus of this blog is opposing inferior doctrines of Hyper Preterism which incorrectly choose AD70 as their focal point. It is the working assumption that, and the purpose of this post to explain why, the most effective way to accomplish this task is by advocating superior doctrines which focus on Jesus Christ.
Others have made the mistake of opposing the historical focus of Hyper Preterism by advocating their historical focus of Futurism — but this is ineffective. Even though the opposition to the false doctrine of Hyper Preterism may have been effective, that advantage is lost in not successfully completing the circuit by advocating sound doctrine.
False doctrine may end up appearing sound as a result of this ineffective attempt at refutation, and the victory for false doctrine on this technicality often leaves its followers mistakenly believing that the doctrine they advocate is sound!
In debate over theological doctrines, opposition and advocacy are often mingled and confused like this, usually resulting in stalemates. If the clash is in the form of a public debate, then the “home crowd” assumes success by the inability of other false doctrine to refute theirs.
This brings up the need to carefully distinguish between the two ingredients that are needed for a truly effective overthrow of false doctrine:
A) Effective opposition to false doctrine, and
The effective refutation of any system or doctrine of theology requires the successful combination of these two elements: Opposition first and Advocacy second.
Opposition focuses its attention strictly upon the “putting down” of one idea:
2 Cor. 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
Advocacy, on the other hand, focuses its attention on offering an alternative to that idea or system that has been opposed:
Luke 12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
Shared Opposition Does NOT Equal Shared Advocacy
At PreteristArchive.com, I have ceaselessly cataloged and archived writings which are critical of full preterism for over a decade (13 years in 2008). During that time, I have seen a lot of very poor scholarship used in an attempt to “refute full preterism.” Sadly, it was this deficient scholarship which prolonged my captivity by the strong hold of those imaginations. Had not the weakness of the attempted refutations been so consistent, I may have broken free years earlier. His timing is perfect in all things indeed ; however, the defecit of sound doctrine remains — which continues to prolong the confinement of my friends (but fewer all the time, I rejoice to report).
Thousands of pages have been wasted in opposition to full preterism due to the advocacy of doctrines which are just as mistaken (pot, meet kettle). Futurist offerings have been, for the most part, very weak. In this, I am in agreement with Hyper Preterists! However, one thousand shared oppositions on the first part don’t equal one shared advocacy on the second part.
The same holds true for others who may likewise oppose Hyper Preterism. Just because there is common opposition doesn’t mean that there is a single point of common advocacy. Many are critical of the fact that I even interact with others critical of Hyper Preterism who choose to use low brow tactics. It is presented as though we are all peas in a pod ; however, I must insist upon my independence from them, for the same reason that I ask Dispensationalists to allow me independence from Hyper Preterism, even though we share a common opposition.
This blog’s opposition to the historical focus of Futurism does not equal advocacy of the historical focus of Preterism. Conversely (listen up!), this blog’s opposition to the historical focus of Preterism does not equal advocacy of the historical focus of Futurism !
As it stands, there are many areas of opposition to Futurism which I share with Hyper Preterism. Just like a Hyper Preterist, it makes me groan to hear a Futurist oppose the Preterist view of Revelation 1:1 (“things which must shortly come to pass”) by declaring “these things haven’t happened yet in the 1,900 years since the Apocalypse was written, but when they do, they will happen quickly.” However, that does not mean that I agree with the Preterist interpretation of Revelation 1:1 as a time text! Opposition does not equal advocacy.
What I hope to offer at HYPERpreteristarchive.com is a successful and effective completion of the circuit of opposition and advocacy. (Amateur theology is only my hobby, though, so please be patient during the amateur baseball season.)
Part of the method that will be used in both opposition and advocacy will be quoting from authors which are respected by Preterists. This will include a lot of John Gill, N.T. Wright, John Lightfoot. What is best about these fellows is that they share many points of advocacy, while still pointing away from the hyper preterist message. On the same level, though taking it a bit farther, I will be quoting from Bible translations, such as the Weymouth, which are considered more “pret-friendly” than others, and are therefore more highly respected by those I am opposing.
Finally, I will eventually be quoting from Hyper Preterists themselves — and not always in a positive light — regarding areas of mutual opposition as well as mutual advocacy, but also to demonstrate the proper representation of their views. You won’t find me misrepresenting the quotes or comments of those embracing HyP — and if you think I am, please notify me! I hope that full preterists can see how forthright and credible doing all of this actually is.
Anyway can quote from Darby to provide a Dispensationalist point, but quoting from Daniel Whitby to accomplish the same goal has much greater credibility among Dispensationalists! Therefore, you may see me quoting from Simmons or Fenley or Noe or even Stevens.
Building upon previous successful opposition to Hyper Preterism on the first part (though sometimes written by people with whom I do not doctrinally agree), this blog intends to offer…
A) Sound arguments opposing, in the first part, the chronological Hyper Preterist narrative which is focused on events long past
B) Sound arguments advocating, in the second part, an ultimately achronological Idealist narrative which is focused on the illimitable person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ
…thereby accomplishing the goal of presenting materials for effective refutation of “Total Fulfillment in AD70” doctrines (and a fair amount of “Partial Fulfillment in AD70” doctrines, too!).
Specifically, HYPERpreteristarchive.com will be focusing on the extreme end of that range, which is represented by the “Total Fulfillment Model” (TFM).
This view teaches that bible prophecy was totally fulfilled by AD70, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem, bringing the Mosaic religious era to a close. This extreme preterism is being categorized as “hyper” — as in beyond the biblically acceptable — due to its fundamental divergence from the Christian storyline of the cross of Christ’s sole basis and effectiveness for redemption. Sadly, Hyper Preterism (HyP) teaches that when Jesus said “it is finished”, there remained still another 40 years before the redemptive work was complete. Another fundamental difference is the teaching that the Christianity displayed in the New Testament was only representative of the pre AD70 era. (teaching instead that the world entered a new age/dispensation when the temple fell in the year 70 of the first century).
Although this HyP finds systematizing among every last “Full Preterist” system, traces of Hyper theology can be found among other systems which do not strictly belong to that classification. Put another way, all Full Preterism is Hyper Preterism, but not all Hyper Preterism is Full Preterism. Full Preterism would be considered “systematic Hyper Preterism”, as it is consistently hyper preterist in its theology.
In short, a few hallmarks of Hyper Preterism are those systems which teach:
– A global, historical “Consummation of the Ages” in AD70.
It is important to keep in mind that many ideas and doctrines HyP appeals to (such as the complete end of the Old Covenant world in AD70) are by no means distinctive to that view and would not – in themselves – qualify as Hyper Preterism. Many non HyPs believe this as well, so one need not embrace the Hyper Preterist system in order to endorse this view. Following are exceptional doctrines which, so far as I’ve seen, are only taught by adherents of Hyper Preterism.:
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY STANDARD FULL PRETERISM
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY VARIOUS FORMS
There are many other points which will be addressed, but that list gives an idea of what will be this blog’s focus when it comes to Hyper Preterism. In addition, I will be offering explanations and interpretations which are presented as alternatives to both the typical Dispensationalist view, as well as the Hyper Preterist views.
Having been a proponent of HyP for over a decade (as principal founder of the online Full Preterist Movement in 1996), I am in a unique position to judge the demerits of the various systems contained therein. This experience can be reviewed on a number of websites dedicated to this subject. It becomes an important issue, considering that I once held to Full Preterism, but have left that model, believing it to be unbiblical and extremely dangerous.
In fact, I now believe the HyP to be Hymenaeanism — which was a charge I’d defended against countless times while still a proponent of that view. It is certainly Hyper Preterism, in the sense that it represents a Preterist view which has distinctly left both the teachings of the Bible and the Christianity contained therein. This is a bold statement, yet I intend to fully back it up, for the benefit of first time students, and seasoned full preterists. In fact, I now believe Full Preterism to be an exceedingly devilish tool.
Obviously, this is not going to be an unbiased look at Hyper Preterism, so please don’t expect me to use harmless rhetoric when I feel so strongly that it is not just wrong, but toxic theology. I believe I’ve earned the right to a hard-hitting look at the doctrines I promoted for over a decade.
It is hoped that HyPs don’t take these hits personally. If one’s life is wrapped up in HP then that will be tough, but perhaps that can be a way to recognize the personal toll the belief has already taken. The shift from opinion to dogma is subtle but powerful. I certainly hold no malice against those who embrace either HyP or Dispensationalism.
There are other blogs which approach Hyper Preterism from other, more personal, angles, but this one will attempt to be overly even and respectful — with the primary focus on doctrines, not people. Naturally, there will be charges of misrepresentation or other fallacies coming from Hyper Preterists.. but this is to be expected and cannot be avoided. Let the third party witness decide for themselves — with all evidence laid out — whether the HyP is Hymenaean or not.
For a general, though comprehensive, look at the broad rance of Preterist theology, visit the mothersite: http://www.preteristarchive.com
What do YOU think ?
Submit Your Comments For Posting Here
Comment Box Disabled For Security
Date: 05 Feb 2011
Having been a full preterist for a number of years, I think my eschatology can be boiled down to Matthew 16:27-28 wherein Jesus tells His first century disciples that He is coming back (second coming) in the Father’s glory with the angels, to reward (resurrection must precede reward) every man (the Judgment)within the lifetime of the disciples who were standing in front of Him.These 2 verses have not been refuted satisfactorily to me, up to this point. When it can be shown that, in the correct context, they do not mean what they appear to mean, I will take a second look at eschatology. In Christ, Bob
[Thanks for the comment Bob. I think you may be in store for some renewed studies, because Matthew 16:27-28 is not about AD70. Important in the study as well is John 4:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. cf. 4:23; 5:25.]
Email PreteristArchive.com’s Sole Developer and Curator, Todd Dennis (todd @ preteristarchive.com) Opened in 1996