Archive for July, 2008
[EDITORS NOTE: The following information first appeared on The Preterist Blog (www.preteristblog.com), on February 20, 2008, written by Dee Dee Warren. Quotations from this article are reprinted with the gracious permission of Dee Dee Warren. Readers are encouraged to examine the issue under consideration for themselves.LDS].
The title of this blog posting was, My Friend Roderick Edwards on Hyperpreterism and presented the challenge to her readers to consider the characteristics of preterism, a “cultic movement.” Warren writes:
It has been a tactic of cults to prey upon either weak or poorly equipped Christians. They seek out those who either have had bad experiences within some form of traditional Christianity or they seek out those who have little knowledge of the Bible. In this way they can convince the unsuspecting to join their cult or movement.
While I do not believe it was the intention of Dee Dee Warren to do so, is it possible that she was placing Edwards in the category of ”weak or poorly equipped Christians” on whom the big bad preterist wolves come to huff to and puff and to blow their futurist house down? Given the evidence, in what sense has Edwards shown himself to be one who “had bad experiences within some form of traditional Christianty”? Was Edwards among those who have “little knowledge of the Bible”? Not exactly a glowing endorsement!
My previous article ignited a firestorm of negative comments from a variety of sources, many of whom, have been friends and associates of Roderick Edwards for many years and who had become all too familiar with his extreme views long before he “left” the greener pastures of full preterism in order to pursue the role of Preterist Avenger–”defender of half-truth, injustice and the EX-Hyperpreterist way.” It was certainly not my intention to create strife or animosity between those who profess to be followers of the Lord Jesus. However, the credibility of Roderick is called into question if he identified himself as one of the “unsuspecting” victims of Hyperpreterism (so-called). How could someone with his level of self-professed greatness have been so wrong about what the Bible teaches concerning the fulfillment of Bible prophecy? Moreover, since Dee Dee Warren likens HP to a “cultic movement” this reduces Roderick (and a whole host of others) into an army of mindless drones all marching down the pathway to eternal destruction. Of course this would also include the likes of godly men such as David Chilton who professed full preterism shortly before the time of his unfortunate passing, whom I met only once during a series of lectures during which time we stood together on the same platform in presenting the truth to those gathered in Oklahoma City, OK in 1996.  Given his level of scholarship, who could believe he would not have known better than to have fallen captive to such a false view of fulfillement?
What constitutes the “cultic” characteristics of preterism are never stated in the article written by Warren, nor does she present any convincing evidence in support of her contention. The substance of her presentation rests upon the following foundation:
- Preterism appeals only to those who are “weak or poorly equipped Christians.”
- Preterism appeals only to those who are “open-minded” to indoctrination.
- Preterism appeals only to those who are convinced the church has been wrong theologically–in this case for 2,000 years.
In my years of experience, those who have embraced preterism have a deep sense of love and devotion to the Lord and for the integrity of His word. Most of those with whom I have corresponded or discussed these issues with are quite intelligent and understand the basic principles for sound, biblical interpretation (hermeneutics). How does this prove preterism is a “cultic movement”? Those who have embraced preterism typically have an open “spirit” and a willingness to hear the voice of the Lord as revealed in His word. It is true that preterists have a willingness to change their thinking when the realization comes that their approach to the text has been inconsistent and therefore must be abandoned. How does this prove preterism is a “cultic movement’? Those who insist that the church may have not seen the totality of the message of fulfillment is not different than Luther and others preaching about grace and faith–that which had become obscured by layers of false doctrine and church tradition. How does this prove preterism is a “cultic movement”?
Could not each of the above characteristics also be said of those who live within the spirit of Reformation–the calling of the church “back to the Bible” and to the message as it was preached by Jesus and the apostles? According to Warren, the distinction between the Reformers of old and these “johnny-come-lately” backyard, shadetree mechanic Bible students is that the Reformers were RIGHT and Preterists are WRONG. Warren asserts it, but never sets about the prove it!
Roderick and Dee Dee may have joined together in this effort to “stamp out” HP, but such an effort is doomed to failure. Why so? Because those who have pure and honest hearts and who have a deep love for the Lord and devotion to His word will continue to study and as long as study continues so also will preterism. There is no place left for futurists to hide. There is no corner of the Internet where their feeble lines of argumentation cannot be answered. There is no place where the spirit of Truth will not find them and uncover the nonsense they continue to peddle.
A hundred years from now the discussion of this and many other blogs, websites and whatever the “next” step in technology is, will be HISTORY. However, HISTORY and the passing of time are the futurists worst enemies! With each passing day the reality of broken promises and failed predictions becomes more vivid than ever. Larry Siegle, Dee Dee Warren and Roderick Edwards will be long gone, but NOT the message. Preterism will continue to grow and eventually fill the hearts and minds of believers everywhere. One day historians will wonder how it could be that ANYONE ever accepted the fantastic doctrines upon which the house of futurism was built. I will not be around to say, “I told you so” THEN, so I am going to avoid the rush and tell you NOW.
No “cultic movement” here. None whatsoever.
 Tapes of this series of lectures are still available from the Preterist Research Institute (www.eschatology.org), sponsored at the time by the Ardmore Church of Christ and Don K. Preston who was serving as minister of the congregation at the time.
Roderick Edwards recently posted an article on The Preterist Blog (www.preteristblog.com), a site maintained by Dee Dee Warren, titled: “The Promiscuous Premise of Hyperpreterism.” This article is certainly not among the “best” ever written by Roderick during his now tiresome “rant” against both the preterist viewpoint and of the movement itself. If only Roderick and other “defectors” would produce something of substance that answers the logic and principles of hermeneutics employed by those who teach the biblical view of eschatology (full preterism). At least Dee Dee Warren in her articles makes the “partial” preterist view sound plausable, although in reality it is simply another form of failed futurism all dressed up but with no eschatological place to go.
Roderick Edwards begins his article by launching an attack on those who are willing to learn what the word of God teaches:
You have heard people call for Christians to be more “open-minded”. Well, who wants to be considered “closed-minded” or “narrow-minded” so, often when a Christian is accused of being so, they will quickly try to show how they too are “accepting”. But does the Bible actually call us to be “open-minded”…when it comes to beliefs & ideology?
We could spend considerable time just examingthe English grammatical syntax of the above quotation, but why bother? Is there something inherently “evil” in approaching the Scriptures with a sense of genuine humility with a view toward being ”open” to its message? Long ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote: “…But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isa. 66:1, 2). Believers ought always to “stand in awe” of God’s word (Psa. 119:161), and to heed the example of those about whom Luke records to have been, “…more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 emphasis added). Two elements were present in the actions of those believers mentioned in Acts 17:11: (1) They received the word of God with “great eagerness”–and expression from the Greek word, prothumia, which carries the idea of, “having zeal, spirit, eagerness or inclination toward” (Thayer) something, and (2) They examined the Scriptures, investigated the evidence in order to determine and to distinguish truth from error. The apostle Paul admonished the Thessalonians to, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good” (II Thess. 5:21). YES, Roderick, the Bible does actually call us to be “open-minded” when it comes to beliefs and ideology, if the above criterion is met by the person who wants to understand the word of God. No preterist has ever suggested that people follow him blindly without examining the evidence for himself. In logic, the Law of Rationality states, “One should draw only such conclusions as are warranted by the evidence.” It is not possible to examine the evidence as presented within the Scriptures without first having the willingness to set aside all theological prejudices and to look into the text objectively.
It is at this point in his article that Roderick Edwards inserts the notion that those who embrace preterism are somehow theologically “promiscuous” which he defines as, “..characterized by or involving indiscriminate mingling or association…consisting of parts, elements, or individuals of different kinds brought together without order…casual; irregular; haphazard.” Thus, the proclamation of Roderick Edwards is that preterists are “loose” and somehow “immoral” in our approach to eschatology–since the primary meaning of the word promiscuous has reference to sexual infidelity. We are “loose” with our handling of the Scriptures and our conclusions are “immoral” and unorthodox at the very least. Roderick continues:
This is really what many people mean when they appeal for a Christian to be more “open-minded”. They want the Christian to indiscriminately “accept” some idea or belief or premise. They must try to push for this acceptance, otherwise their own views will be considered outside the norm for what is historically considered Christian. For example, with the entire homosexuality debate — homosexuals must first try to get people to accept the premise that homosexuality is natural or even that people are “born that way”. If you will not accept this premise they will call you what? “close-minded”, “narrow-minded”, “bigoted”, “hate-filled”. Sometimes they will even say you have some personal motivation for “hating” & not accepting homosexuality as legitimate. In this same way, we have recently been seeing hyperpreterists try to play this card. They claim we won’t “accept” hyperpreterists simply because we “hate” them.
Preterists have always called attention to the fact that we believe futurism is an inconsistent system of theological nonsense, not merely for the purpose of bringing our view into the “mainstream” but because it is biblicallysound. Truth is the standard upon which genuine believers stand (John 8:31, 32; 17:17). For Roderick to introduce the debate over homosexuality into the discussion simply illustrates his antagonistic intentions. Those who take a stand on the biblical issue of morality are not being “narrow-minded, bigoted or hate-filled” they are simply affirming that which is stated explicitly in the Scriptures (I Cor. 6:9-11; Rev. 21:8). Likewise, those who take a stand in support of prophetic fulfillment are simply affirming that which was predicted by Jesus and His apostles (James 5:7-9; I Pet. 4:7 et al). It is not a question of whether or not the “defectors” such as Roderick Edwards“hate” preterists or not, but do they love the truth (II Thess. 2:10; II Tim. 3:7)? Roderick continues:
This is just more attempts to claim the reason we won’t accept the hyperpreterist premise is because it comes from hyperpreterists. It is a circular argument that we do NOT make. We do not accept the hyperpreterist premise because it is a false premise based on a faulty foundation. The foundation of hyperpreterism, as I’ve illustrated other times is this:
Hyperpreterism MUST claim that the Sovereign God failed to preserve & guide His people, His Church — especially in the area of eschatology (endtimes).
Roderick Edwards finally reaches the meat of his one and only argument: Preterism is an attack on the Sovereignty of God in His ability to preserve and guide the church in the area of eschatology. He obviously does not understand the nature of truth, nor does He understand the Sovereignty of God properly. Truth is the product of Divine Revelation. Jesus taught that the end-time ministry of the Holy Spirit would be to “guide” His apostles “into all the truth” (John 16:13). The Bible teaches “faith” and “the faith” as separate and distinct from each other. “Faith” is taking God at His word and acting upon it. “The faith” is the revealed body of truth–the gospel, the New Covenant. The Lord Jesus Christ is the embodiment of “the faith” and our acceptance of Him brings salvation (John 1:1-3, 14; 3:16; Acts 4:12; Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 10:9, 10). The preaching of the apostles during the transition period consisted of the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Jude wrote concerning “the faith which was once for all time delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Every constituent element of “the faith” (including eschatology) was preserved and protected in the word of God. The truth was always present from the first century onward and some throughout the history of the church embraced the principles of preterism. The “faulty foundation” lies with Roderick and not with preterism.
If the charge that Roderick Edwards makes against preterism is valid then he must also argue that God failed to preserveand guide His people in every area where the Catholic Church embraced apostasy prior to the time of the Reformation. Was God unable to preservethe truth about His own, Triune nature, or was the inclusion of Mary as the “Mother of God” into the Godhead acceptable? Was God unable to preservethe truth about Hell, or was the invention of Purgatory just something overlooked by the apostles? Was God unable to preserve the truth about Christ sitting upon His throne, or did He “fail” by not allowing the nomination of a Pope to rule “in His stead”? The same could be said of works-based salvation or the doctrine of Transubstantiation. The list of false teachings embraced down through the history of the ages is too numerous to mention. The logic (?) of Roderick is not valid, otherwise, the Sovereignty of God is called into question for more than just eschatological differences of opinion! The reality is that the purity of truth has existed in “seed” form in every place the word of God has gone previously and goes now. The preservation of truth is bound up, not in the traditions of men (Confessions, Creeds, or Cathecisms), but in the living and abiding word of God (I Pet. 1:22-25; Heb. 4:12). Roderick continues:
Hyperpreterists often try to get a Christian to accept them, to join with them as “brothers”. It is analogically the same as a prostitute standing on the roadside beckoning, enticing & batting her eyes as if to say, “Look, I’m nice, I’m dressed up, I just want to ‘love’ you”. To lie down with such is to defile yourself & your testimony. Don’t give into the appeal of “but we’re just trying to have a conversation”. What is worse than a prostitute that sells herself for money is a whore that beckons all to come & lay with her. This is what hyperpreterists do…ideologically.
First, Roderick compares preterist teaching with homosexuality and now he moves on into prostitution. Amazing! What preterists have done and continue to do is to challenge the status quo theologically. Acceptance of futurism on the basis of, “because I said so…” is just not good enough for those who are devoted to the pursuit of truth. This is the reason why Roderick Edwards was involved with preterism in the past, and this is why he cannot just “walk away” free and clear. Truth becomes an obsession of the heart. The need to press in and know the very heart of God is that which compells believers to search in their quest to find the answers to what the Bible really teaches.
In late December, early January 2008, I took the “Roderick Challenge” and decided to step away from 20 years of preterist teaching and to look at eschatology objectively. My blog was silent for months while I searched for the answers most futurists consider beyond the ability of preterismto address. I prayed, studied, and read commentaries by hundreds of “orthodox” and respected sources. I looked at the plan of redemption from Genesis to Revelation to discover what separates a person from God and how salvation is accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ. I looked at resurrection from both the collective and individual perspectives, the nature of Heaven and Hell, the condition of a person when they die–every possible angle. I read all of the postings on the Dee Dee Warren websites, the “Anti-preterist” blogs, the “Advanced Eschatology” pages, the “Preterist-Idealist” perspective. I visited premillennial, post-millennial, amillennial, and even PAN-millennial (people who believe that somehow everything will just PAN-OUT), and still the evidence in support of preterism is beyond refutation. I looked at all of the Max King theology related to the covenantal viewpoint, the Ed Stevens “Rapture” theory and individual body at death teaching. I literally took time off from work to go on this journey to “prove all things.” I did this out of respect for Roderick Edwards and others who are now convinced that they made a terrible mistake in accepting preterism in the first place. I took the journey alone, without discussing the questions with close friends and associates such as Don Preston, Jack Scott, William Bell and others.
My deepest conviction is that sooner or later Roderick Edwards and a host of others who have walked away from preterism for a variety of reasons will–in the depths of their innermost being–know that where they once stood is, in fact, the truth. The verses are too plain and the message too powerful for honest students of the word to conclude otherwise. I have many friends who are futurists and who are convinced that the coming of the Lord is “just around the corner” and that soon we will be “snatched away” in an instant of time to “meet the Lord in the air.” My conviction is that this is one “corner” that will never be turned because Jesus kept His word and fulfilled His promises. The coming of the Lord, the resurrection of the dead and the eschatological Judgment occurred with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and will occur at no other time again–ever!
My earnest prayer for Roderick Edwards and others is that he will have the courage to admit that he made a mistake in leaving and that all of us will once again welcome him back home where he belongs.