For those of you that like to glom up free books online, here are some D.A. Carson titles. I am still old-school, I can’t get into digital versions as much as the traditional book. I print out pdf books and put them in notebooks! But free is the best price. Yes the link is to a post linking to the free titles at TheologyWeb. While you are grabbing the link for the books, browse around TWeb. We would love to have you as part of the community.
It is common thought in modern jurisprudence that the Constitution is a “living document.” What is dangerous about this philosophy is that it is the skin of the truth stuffed with a lie. I will explain by stating some analogies I find in the profession of law with Biblical exegesis (I am a Paralegal by profession).
When reading case law or statutory law there are things that are quite plain and require little interpretation. Unfortunately that is rare. Lawyers will fight over the placement of commas. Sometimes there isn’t a case or statute directly on point so one has to draw out the implications of a similar item to meet the case at hand. There are many times in rightly dividing the statutory law that one has to go back to the legislative session notes to determine the intent of the framers of the law in question. If there are two possible ways to read a particular law, it is quite obtuse to select the interpretation that goes against the obvious intent (if found) in the session transcripts. Of course there are exceptions in some areas (insurance contract ambiguities are construed against the drafter etc).
Now let’s take this basic principle to the Constitution. We really wouldn’t be so hideously daft that we would interpret it in such a way that makes a monstrous joke out of the original intent. Or would we……
Filed Under (Author, Dee Dee Warren) by dee dee on 11-08-2012
Tagged Under : TheologyWeb
At TheologyWeb there is a very genial pagan, who goes by the name of TechnoMage. He is so irenic, reasonable, and genial that he is often granted permission to post in areas that are restricted to Christians as he can engage in those discussions without misrepresenting Christianity. For a short while, he professed belief in Christ, but recanted when he found he couldn’t honestly defend its tenets. He is a friend.
He started a cordial thread in the paganism section entitled,
Justin’s purpose is to argue against skeptical assertions that this is a false prophecy of Jesus. His conclusory statement is:
Thus, we can see that it’s not really a broken prophecy of Jesus–he never said these phrases. The Olivet Discourse of Mark, and GoMatt’s extension of it, is an attempt to reassure the Christian community that, even though the Church in Jerusalem was destroyed, God is still in control, and Jesus is returning soon. It was the beginning of the movement within Christianity that lessened their expectation of the rerurn of Christi, and “soon” became “sometime in the future,” with Pseudo-Paul writing 2 Thessalonians to soothe the uneasiness caused by the delay of the Parousia.
The Olivet Discourse cannot be considered a broken prophecy of Jesus–Jesus never said these words. But it is an excellent insight into the thinking of the second- and third-generation Christian community, valuable for the light it shines on the development of Christian doctrine.
Here are his reasonable, and stated up front presuppositions for the conversation:
* The historicity of Jesus. For the purpose of this thread, the historical existence of Jesus is assumed.
* The appropriateness of my posting on this topic. If you feel that I, as a non-Christian, am automatically excluded from posting on this topic, please make your objections in your own thread.
* Assertions of interpolations. If you can document a specific rescension from extant manuscripts, well and good–if not, please make your case in your own thread.
* Assertions of later conspiracy. If you feel that this text was deliberately altered after the first century, please make your argument in your own thread.
I don’t as a general rule engage non-Christians. I don’t believe that is my calling or gifting. There was one specific portion of his post that I felt was directed at my knowledge, and I am engaging him on one specific point, but he has many points that are very much worth discussion.
I invite you to join me in this thread. Ignore the posts of Sylvius in that thread, which is easy to do if you just place him on your ignore list then the posts won’t appear. He is an unorthodox poster who is only posting because he was forum-stalking me, trying to force me to talk with him despite me telling him I am not interested. Justin told him to get lost, so that looniness won’t continue.
I really would like to see you there.
As you know, I am one of the owners of the TheologyWeb debate forum. I don’t get much time to actually join in many discussions, the time I spend there is more on giving input on administrative issues. But there was a thread in which some were discussing the nature of death with regard to the Fall in a non-Young Earth Creationist interpretation. The thread was an open thread meaning all were welcome to participate being atheist, general theist, b’hai, Christian, heretic, etc. I noted that some in the thread were very breezily dismissing the importance of the badness of physical death, so I felt compelled to step in with this:
Not that this may matter to some participants, but just to throw a splash of cold water here— any view that would claim that physical death is not the enemy referred to in 1 Corinthians is outright heretical.
I don’t expect the nonChristians to care so much about orthodoxy (or those who have already accepted other heresy— not saying anyone has, I only skimmed the thread but saw some question about denying the deity of Christ, don’t know if anyone does, but if they do, I doubt this additional heresy would bother them).
Yes, spiritual death is an enemy, but the “last enemy” is without a doubt physical death in Christian orthodoxy. The only reason I am butting in with a drive-by post is that this is a pet topic of mine dealign with it frequently with hyperpreterists who have deny that physical death is an enemy since they deny the physical resurrection, and sorry folks, denying that physical death is an enemy leads to having to be consistent to deny the necessity of a physical resurrection of all, and once you do that, well, you ain’t in Christianity any longer.
A Catholic member then asked me specifically what portion of 1 Corinthians I was referring to, and I posted this:
The entirety of 1 Corinthians 15, it is a unified whole so I would not just pick a verse or two as it is an extended argument of Paul speaking to the final consummation of all things. This subject (not the particular subject of the thread but of the subject of the general resurrection) has been the focus of my study for well over a decade, and it was a peculiar obsession of the early Church, which as a Catholic, I am sure you are well aware. Well before Christological heresy became a huge problem, spiritualizing of death and of the resurrection was, and it has been, and universally has been, declared that denial of the physicality of this is a potentially damnable heresy that places one squarely outside the Christian faith. I am using the word Christological heresy narrowly here as I believe and so does the Athanasian Creed declare, the denial of the last-enemy-ness of physical death to be a Christology heresy that place one outside the Faith.
Here is one representative mere sample of the type of rhetoric that the early Christians engaged in on this topic. (Justin Martyr, Dialog with Trypho)
“I am not so miserable a fellow, Trypho, as to say one thing and think another. I admitted to you formerly, that I and many others are of this opinion, and (believe) that such will take place, as you assuredly are aware; but, on the other hand, I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise. Moreover, I pointed out to you that some who are called Christians, but are godless, impious heretics, teach doctrines that are in every way blasphemous, atheistical, and foolish. But that you may know that I do not say this before you alone, I shall draw up a statement, so far as I can, of all the arguments which have passed between us; in which I shall record myself as admitting the very same things which I admit to you. For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines (delivered) by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this (truth), and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians, even as one, if he would rightly consider it, would not admit that the Sadducees, or similar sects of Genistae, Meristae, Galilaeans, Hellenists, Pharisees, Baptists, are Jews (do not hear me impatiently when I tell you what I think), but are (only) called Jews and children of Abraham, worshipping God with the lips, as God Himself declared, but the heart was far from Him. But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, (as) the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.”
Yes Justin confirms things I don’t, such as a literal millennial reign, but he doesn’t condemn that as heresy, and in other writings admit that there are true Christians who disagree. But the Bible and the early Church, and the Nicene Church, and the medieval Church, and what’s left of the modern speaks with one voice on the physicality of the resurrection.
As N.T. Wright put it
You may be allowed to eat meat offered to idols, but you cannot deny the future bodily resurrection and claim that denial as an allowable Christian option.
I used to be much more interested in YEC than I am now. But when investigating into this area, I get very worried when I see people blithely (not talking about the nonChristians in this thread because they have their own worldview which I am not now presently critiquing, I am doing an in-house post) de-emphasizing the wrongness and enemy-ness of physical death in order to get a nonYEC reading of Genesis. I am not saying you have to do that to be a nonYEC. I am saying some nonYEC DO do that, and they gut the faith when they do so. That is why this issue is important, not because of the age of earth per se, etc etc etc, whether God used evolution, blah, blah, blah, but because this is where the Gospel story starts, and some don’t think twice about tinkering with it here and not seeing how it decimates it when it comes to the New Testament.
I ended with noting
And I realize I am sending the thread into somewhat of a sidetrack, but I wanted to answer Catholicity’s question. I will not sidetrack the thread further as such discussion more properly belongs in a theology section I suppose rather than Natural Science, I just felt it prudent to throw a cautionary note of exhortation to the brethren.
Here is the thread if you are interested
Note to hyperpreterists, if you think this is a perfect opportunity to jump and evangelize your heresy, nope. You certainly can promote hyperpreterism in the unorthodox theology section though if you wish. We have many heretical members. I am just noting that hijacking the Natural Science thread won’t be happening, and my posts were at the forbearance of the thread starter.
TheologyWeb poster Jezz authored this in response to a Jewish participant who was defending against the bold claims of Christianity that the Church is the Israel of God (the good-intentioned but grievousy wrong theology of dispensationalism notwithstanding). The Jewish participant stated that he was “keeping his own turf. ”
I can understand you feeling that way - you would not be being true to what you believe if you did not feel that way. But I must respectfully disagree. I do not think that the turf is yours to keep - rather, you are trying to usurp ancestory that is not rightfully yours to usurp. I feel this way because I am being true to what I believe.
Deuteronomy 9:10 (NRSV)] - And the LORD gave me the two stone tablets written with the finger of God; on them were all the words that the Lord had spoken to you at the mountain out of the fire on the day of the assembly.
The last word there, which I have emboldened, is translated in the LXX “ekklhsia” (ekklesia) - which is the same word used in the NT for “Church” (because “ekklesia” actually means “assembly”). Thus, we see that the Church is not a NT phenomena cooked up by Christians. It is a very Jewish idea - and the assembly of God in the OT was the true Israel.
In the beginning of the first century, the Church (while more-or-less unified) was not monolithic. There were two main factions in the Church - the Sadducees, who denied resurrection, and the Pharisees, who believed in the resurrection (there were also the Zealots and the Essenes, but they weren’t as important for the current story).
Then at around 30 AD we had the first great schism in the Church of God. The schism was primarly from within the party of the Pharisees. Some of the Pharisees came to believe that a certain man, Jesus of Nazareth, was the promised Messiah. Others refused to accept this claim. For forty years, this schism afflicted God’s Church. During this time those who denied that Jesus was the Messiah persecuted those who believed that He was.
Then came the Day of the LORD. Just as it had done in OT times, it came in the form of a foreign army. The army in this case was the Roman army - led by Vespasian and Titus. They destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple - a judgment on the leaders of Israel (ie, the Sanhedrin).
Out of the rubble of Jerusalem two groups of Jews survived - both from the Pharisaical tradition. One of these groups was led by Jochanan ben Zakai, who studied under the great rabbi Gamaliel. With its temple destroyed, this group had to reinterpret the Torah in a way that meant they could worship without the temple. And thus, Rabbinic Judaism was born.
And of course, the other group was led by a bunch of Jews with the title of “apostle” - notably, one Saul of Tarsus, who (like Jochanan ben Zakai) studied under Gamaliel. Unlike the rabbinic sect, this sect did not have the problem of how to handle worship without a temple - they had a temple - the body of Christ, ie the Church of God itself. And this group became known as Messianic Judaism - or, as it is more usually known from its Greek name - Christians. The Christians began to actively proselytise to the Gentiles and accept them into the Church of God.
So you see, the question of “who is the real Church” [ed. note: I think Jezz meant "real Israel"] is not as straightforward as it might at first seem. Both Rabbinic Judaism and Messianic Judaism have their roots in Judaism of the first century (specifically, Pharisaical Judaism). Both have principle founders who studied under the same great rabbi. Thus at first glance, there is no reason to suppose one has a greater claim to “the true Israel” than the other.
But dig a little deeper. On whom did God’s judgment fall in 70 AD? Was it the Messianic Jews? Or was it those Jews who rejected Jesus as the Messiah? It was, of course, the latter. God’s judgment fell on the Temple and the Sanhedrin who were responsible for it. And in judging those who crucified Jesus, God thereby vindicated Jesus and His followers. Thus, His followers were the true assembly of God - the true Israel. Those who rejected Him cut themselves off from Israel. But any time they want back in, they are more than welcome.
Originally posted April 6, 2005
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by dee dee on 24-07-2006
Tagged Under : Antichrist, Antichrist-666, Antichrist-Nero, Apocrypha-Ascension of Isaiah, Bible-Revelation, Bible-Revelation 13-20, Church History-Alcazar, Church History-Clement of Alexandria, Church History-ECFs Generally, Church History-Irenaeus, Hermeneutics-Allegory, Hermeneutics-Idealism, Rome-Empire, Rome-Nero, TheologyWeb
Originally posted by Solly on TheologyWeb
Shouldn’t the context of this discussion be first of all the clash of Luther with the Roman Catholic church?
To wit, Luther, a distinguished teacher of theology and leader of men, could not see how the Roman teaching on indulgences at the time squared with scripture, and that in fact it was a distortion of the gospel. He called for a debate, as was customary at the time, in the manner of the time: his 95 theses are nothing more than a call for debate. The RC refused. The RC dug in their heels. Whether they were in heresy or not, the RC was certainly corrupt in important areas, being compromised with politics. Luther, a teacher of scripture, knew of only one standard above all to which to turn; scripture. It’s all very well going on about the Fathers this and the Fathers that, but Origen and Tertullian were heretics, the EO advise caution over Augustine, and never sainted him to my knowledge. that one man could decide doctrine became the sticking point, because even the councils weren’t working properly. THIS is the context of the idea of sola scripture, to which the Anglicans replied with their famous quadrilateral.
Protestants have gone too far, fueled by modernism, that each man can understand scripture alone. Theologians like Barth and von Balthasar are adamant about the ecclesial origin of doctrine and theology, but always semper reformanda. The RC not only would not reform in practice or theology, it retreated into Tridentine Catholcism, in opposition to the pluralism that existed before Luther and Calvin. Likewise the Protestants retreated into their own scholasticism. the protestants became almost as bad as the RC, entering politics too, as in Calvin. Result; the 30 year war, and the Enlightenment, and the secularisation of the West.
Let’s stop fighting the battles of 500 years ago. Read Barth, read Zizioulas, read Balthasar; don’t posture.
As for the EO. Zizioulas is leading debate on the filioque, and gets hate websites set up about him. You guys can be just as bad; village priests are persecuting evangelicals in the Balkans and Greece, and Russia.
The question this raises is who decides who is the Church. The RC’s rely on the apostolic succession. So for them the Prots are in schism. The EO consider the RC in schism, but the RC’s excommunicated the EO at the same time as the EO did it to the RC. Calvin etc considered themsleves in the mainstream, albeit with a heavy Augustinian slant. Calvin oft quoted the Fathers. They were reforming the church, not leaving it. The Anglicans thought the same too. they saw the erros and the bad practice, and sought to clean things up. As it happens, the result of the Refomration was the Counter reformation, in which the RC DID clean things up, and now we have JP II and Benedict XVI. Not possible without Luther I would submit. Pastors, not Dictators.
A great TheologyWeb post! (by ForHimAlone)
I am a believing Jew by the grace of Christ. Israel as a national people have never been the “head of the nations” and were, in fact, among the smallest of peoples nationally speaking. And yet, for the partial preterist crowd, or, to those who believe that the “faithful remnant” is comprised of Jews who came to believe in the Messiah or those who were justified by their faith in the OT promises concerning Messiah, the Jewish nation is no longer viewed nationally by Jehovah. They were viewed nationally when Israel was God’s typical national people, I say, they were a type - “the church in the wilderness” as St. Stephen said - of the universal household of faith, comprised of Jews and Gentiles in one mystical body of Christ.
In the OT, we see intimations of this union of peoples, nations and languages by the inclusion of certain Gentiles into the Covenant and Commonwealth of Israel, as Rahab and Ruth for instances. These were people who joined themselves to Israel’s Covenant and Covenant God. Jews who rejected God’s truth in the NT era concerning God giving of His Son, being the fulfillment of what God had promised and then produced in the NT, were rejected as spiritual thorns and briars; as fig tress without fruit. Such were the unbelieving Pharisees and common people who turned and walked with Him no more. They could not “eat his flesh and drink his blood.”
National Israel, because of Christ’s coming and fulfilling every jot and tittle of the Covenant’s precepts and requirements, as well as its prophecies, can now no longer have a future socio-political rule over the national kingdoms in the world to come. To conclude this is to obviscate and subvert the kingdom of Christ as it exists now and shall then in the ages of the ages after the Consummation. The Triune Jehovah’s goal was expressly to make “of twain, one new man, so making peace, as St. Paul said in the third of Ephesians.
Now there is “Neither Jew nor Greek, Barbarian or Scythian.” Ethnicity no longer counts as a means by which men may enter the covenant. We are all one through faith in the precious blood and resurrection of Christ Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile. We have been all made to drink into One Spirit.
Having said this, some of my dispy friends may be a little crunchy about now, as they fondly hope God will restore unto Israel a socio-political kingdom where they get to rule over everyone. But how could God do this when He hath promised the kingdom to His sons and daughters? But, those among the Israelites who are “Israel after the flesh” rejected their King - even the Prince of the Covenant in whom they said they delighted - and in so doing shall they now have clemency from Christ and inherit everlasting consolation? Nay, I tell you, unless they repent, they shall likewise perish. As Christ said, if they were Abraham’s children, they would have loved Jesus.
Today the Jewish nation’s only hope is the same as it was in the days when God told Abraham of Ur that “in thy seed shall ALL the NATIONS of the earth be blessed.” The promise, as St. Paul said, was that Abraham’s SEED would be the “HEIR OF THE WORLD.” Jews no longer can point to their national origin and say they are thereby the people of God. Or else the cross of Christ, and faith therein, made void.
Jews who reject the Savior make all manner of pretense to deny what their own OT and masters said concerning the coming and Person of their Messiah. They would not have their Savior die on Calvary. But Owen asks, “who told them so?” Anyone who has taken the time to read, just for one example, Volume One of John Owen’s masterpiece of exposition on the Hebrew’s letter will see that Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Rambam (Maimonides) and a host of the Jewish doctors all ascribed the texts Christians cite as Messianic to the Messiah Jesus. They are yet deceived who walk with the veil of the OT over them in denial of Christ, who is come in the flesh. This is, as John said, the ’spirit of antichrist.’
Those among national Israel who do believe Jesus was and is their rightful, true, and only Messiah, make up what is typified in Isaac. Therefore are they called the “children of promise.” They are, as Paul said, persecuted by the children of the flesh - ie. national Jews and Gentiles who reject Christ as Lord - as Paul says in the fourth of the Galatian letter.
Jews who believe make up the “remnant according to the election of grace” and shall have their blessed portion with those of the OT. There is, to my mind, one “household of faith” and “one people of God” because there is only One God and One Lord Jesus Christ and we are all brethren, making up Christ’s one, mystical -yet truly physical - body.
The goal of history is the final judgment and the vindication of all God promised by the mouth of His apostles and prophets since the world began. Christ is at the apex of history and to the cross men are beckoned to look, that they too might be saved, as Moses bid those smitten of serpents to look upon the brazen serpent in the wilderness.
Those who are born of God, rather than born after the flesh, make up that faithful remnant. Earthly Jews who reject Christ have no atonement. Those who sin under the Law shall be judged by the Law and those who have sinned without the Law shall perish without law. God hath concluded them all under sin.
The partial preterist is therefore an individual who sees a continuity between what God promised the patriarchs in the OT fulfilled by his Christ and apostles in the NT. The Covenant came to its logical conclusion, for it was not the blood of bulls and goats that should take away sin. The bringing in of a new hope did, by the which we (collective we - Jews and Gentiles) draw nigh to God. Jews can’t hog God for themselves anymore. Halleluia!
Filed Under (Author, Dee Dee Warren) by dee dee on 28-05-2006
Tagged Under : Authors-Alexander Rodriquez-Hyperpreterist, Authors-Dave Green-Hyperpreterist, Authors-David Chilton, Authors-Mike Blume-Oneness, Authors-Milton Terry, Authors-Roderick Edwards-While Hyperpreterist, Essential Christian Doctrine-Unity, Heresy-If Hyperpreterism is True, Hyperpreterism-Desparate to be part of the Church, Hyperpreterism-Different Gospel, Hyperpreterism-Disfellowship, Hyperpreterism-Hurt Puppy Routine, Hyperpreterism-If “Futurism” is True, Oneness Pentecostalism, TheologyWeb
My tagline of “100% percent heresy-free” is, one, meant to be taken in humour. But on the serious side it means no promotion of heretical eschatology (what is it about hyperpreterism that makes them more hyperliteralists and decontextual than the most goofy dispensationalist???) - that is what it is free of. That also is what my statement that I will not link to any heretical sites means. Any time that there is any question about any author I place a disclaimer. I did this with David Chilton and I did it with Milton Terry as I always have. Also in doing my more thorough articles, in order to properly credit authors, I have linked as reference points to David Green’s site.
The latest attempt at molehill construction and straw-grasping is that I link to Mike Blume’s eschatological articles with the insinuation being that I don’t think a denial of the Trinity (Mike is Oneness) is heretical. I absolutely think it is, thus the disclaimer. I also link here to articles written by atheists, and post those disclaimers.
The denial of the Trinity is a greivous heresy. We don’t allow Oneness adherents to post in Christian-only areas on TheologyWeb. Roderick should also note that I have an article by David Green on my site, a hyperpreterist, with the appropriate disclaimer.
This particular screed has to be one of the silliest I have ever heard. But there you have it. Oneness is heretical. You will never find a pro-Oneness article on this site. Hyperpreterism is heretical, you will never find a pro-hyperpreterism article on this site. However, if those authors write other material that can edify the orthodox I will use it. I happen to think that is a way to treat the ideas and intellects of others with dignity and recognizing that I do not have to, as a knee-jerk reaction, dismiss everything any person who disagrees with me on orthodoxy has to say. I take that as a matter of personal integrity, and when it comes to personal integrity, I gladly suffer wrong and derision. One thing I have learned in life is that when there is no argument to be made, an opponent will pick on the slogan. On TheologyWeb, when a member is being shown the door, he inevitably says….. “Ha! I thought you guys debated theology seriously!!!” In my professional life I work in insurance defense, and I cannot tell you how many times I hear something to the effect of “THAT’S not being a good neighbour!” (as an example only)
For those of you intested in the Trinity and my work on the Trinity, I have written an article that has helped to pull some Arians out of the pit. It is located here:
Christology from A to Z
here is one on Oneness in particular (since Oneness is actually Sabbellian and not Arian)
Oneness Pentacostals and the Trinity
My friends know the great lengths I have gone through to keep Oneness out of the realm of “just another acceptable Christian belief.”
As far as granting hyperpreterism the indice of credibility as a “Christian” debate topic….. shun profane and idle babblings. I know my goal and calling. My ministry is to and for the orthodox no matter which hyperpreterist that does not please. Others have more than answered every hurl that has been thrown. While I am flattered that I am the most popular girl at the dance, my True Love commands my obedience. Before my own Master I stand or fall.
Now to the personal part. Thank you Roderick and Michael for your denouncing of evil behaviour. I would defend both of you, and you may call in that promise, if anyone ever did anything like that to you. Actually a double-thank you to Michael. That expression of sorrow for the harassment that was directed at me was probably the nicest thing you have ever said (and I don’t mean nice in a honey sugarplum way, I mean nice in a recognizing when an evil thing is done even when it is to someone with whom you disgree).
And Roderick, I understood the flower. I laughed. But I also asked and let you know that the issue of the past bad behaviour of certain persons is over and resolved mutually. I certainly cannot stop anyone from bringing it up, but the parties did voluntarily cease and did the right thing.
And yet more…
It is simply amazing to me hyperpreterists still do not grasp, or perhaps simply refuse to grasp, the point that I am making. For instance on Roderick’s site (The Kingdom Come), a poster going by the handle of Alexander Rodriguez stated that I simply defend my right to call Hyperpreterism a heresy if and only if my view is true. He then goes on to state that such a claim is basically trivial and doesn’t deserve defending since it is patently obvious. That is not the point. I don’t mind repeating this point over and over and over because this in fact is the one point that hyperpreterists do not want to the orthodox Christian world to wake up to.
Hyperpreterists do not believe that they should be shunned or excommunicated or denied fellowship. This is by far and large a fact. Why do they feel that way? It is because they feel that their view is one that is acceptable within the wide variety of Christian thought and that Christians who disagree with them should still be able to extend the right hand of fellowship to them as Christian. That is exactly the point I am examining. Not every single view I think is right do I think I have a right to call those who disagree as promoting heresy. The question to be asked is whether or not Hyperpreterism should be tolerated in our churches as just another Christian eschatological view. That is the question that I seek to ask and have answered.
My question is not whether or not we can call hyperpreterism a heresy if orthodox preterism is correct, my question is if orthodox preterism is right what are the possible options for viewing hyperpreterism? A good analogy for that is in such a debate as infant baptism versus believers’ baptism. I hold to believers’ baptism. Now, once holding that view and encountering other people who claim to be Christians that hold to infant baptism, I have to decide whether this is something for which Christian tolerance should be practiced. What that means is that we can both co-exist within Christian fellowships and in intimate fellowship with each other even though we disagree because it is not the sort of disagreement that undermines or changes the very heart of our faith. This is not so with hyperpreterism. Hyperpreterism denies essentials of the Christian faith and boils down to an entirely different Gospel.
Therefore, my argument isn’t something circular as whether I can call hyperpreterism heresy because I believe hyperpreterism is heresy, my point is that coming from all of the facts that the Orthodox hold in common, then what is the logical conclusion as to the status of hyperpreterism. This is in fact the issue. It is the only issue. At one time I thought Roderick understood this issue, but in later writings I see that he does not. David Green most certainly does understand it. David Green has stated that if my view on eschatology, not on whether or not hyperpreterism is heretical, is true then hyperpreterism is heretical. The argument may be somewhat nuanced, but is really not that difficult. One can not at all meaningfully attempt to interact with that point if they can not even demonstrate that they understand it.
Filed Under (Author, Dee Dee Warren) by dee dee on 11-05-2006
We have a new member at TheologyWeb that goes by the handle of Zhangligun. He has had some very insightful posts on McLaren and has given me permission to reproduce them here. The original thread is here.
I just bumped into the interview above today and never heard of McLaren before.
That said, having read the interview, I see why a lot of people are concerned about him. In this interview he makes vague assertions, accusations and smears about the church in general — without ever offering any examples — and then complains about the church being “judgmental” and “hypocritical”. In particular, his very vague assertions that the traditional church presents Jesus in a completely wrong way are very hit-and-run. For example:
Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that’s distorted and false.
Okay, Mr. McLaren, in what way? He gives an answer that’s not an answer at all but more vague, unsubstantiated assertions that just beg more questions:
The name “Jesus” and the word “Christianity” are associated with something judgmental, hostile, hypocritical, angry, negative, defensive, anti-homosexual, etc. Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that’s distorted and false.
The fact that they are “associated” with these things in the minds of unbelievers doesn’t automatically make it true. And in what way is what “many of our churches” upholding “distorted and false”? And who are these “many churches”? I’d hoped he would answer these questions that he begs but he doesn’t; instead it appears he prefers to stay vague so he can engage in the very same judgmental smearing he complains about without any blowback.
Also, what does he mean by “anti-homosexual”? Is he trying to say that God has no problem with homosexuality? Or that we should love the sinner and hate the sin? There is a huge difference and it’s not possible that he doesn’t know he should clarify such a point, but apparently he wants to stay coy and vague. Why?
He also speaks the language of politics (”the Religious Right has polluted the air”) particularly leftist revolutionary politics, with all the leftist “-ism” bogeymen. Nothing at all is mentioned about liberal churches or the Religious Left, thereby implying that the Religious Left does not have the same human problems stemming from sinful human nature as the “Religious Right”. This is pure political language: in political campaigns (left and right) you paint your opposition as totally evil and yourself as the white hats riding to the rescue. Spiritual “campaigning” uses the 12-step-like language where you use your own failures and sins as examples of what not to do and what God can redeem you from. I know it’s just one interview, but this seems to be a foreign tongue to McLaren.
And maybe worst of all, he is very fluent in modern psychotherapy in being all about feelings and about how things seem, rather than how they are:
For all the flaws of Brown’s book, I think what he’s doing is suggesting that the dominant religious institutions have created their own caricature of Jesus. And I think people have a sense that that’s true.
Again this assertion that “dominant religious institutions” have got Jesus all wrong — without ever bothering to explain what he means by that. And what if that “sense” people have is wrong? Does that just not matter? And:
We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown’s book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church.
Maybe because, as someone else suggested earlier, it’s because it “tickles men’s ears”? And again, which church or churches or denominations? And:
Ultimately, The Da Vinci Code is telling us important things about the image of Jesus that is being portrayed by the dominant Christian voices. [Readers] don’t find that satisfactory, genuine, or authentic, so they’re looking for something that seems more real and authentic.
In other words, never mind what actually IS real and authentic, only what SEEMS so? Shouldn’t we be concerned about what Jesus Himself wanted us to know about Him and how He should be portrayed instead of how things “seem”, or are “sensed”, or whether they are “attractive” or “intriguing”?
The important thing about Brown to McLaren is that…
Brown’s book is about exposing hypocrisy and cover-up in organized religion, and it is exposing organized religion’s grasping for power.
The problem is that since there are many genuine historical instances of the church behaving very badly, why did Brown find it necessary to make a bunch of things up? (That’s one magic Vatican that can burn books and rewrite the Gospels before it even existed.)
Finally, his repeated use of terms like “organized Christian religion”, “organized religion”, and “dominant religious institutions” makes me wonder if he prefers “disorganized religion” where everyone interprets Jesus any they like and make up their own “caricatures” of him — the very thing he complains about. Unless he really is preaching if-it’s-true-for-you-it’s-okay relativism…
Here’s something I sent my pastor on an article written by McLaren:
The part about “will” being too strong a word in the Lord’s Prayer for McLaren that I mentioned last night was not found in the interview you linked. I found it in another article by him here which was linked in the interview:
And here, as they say, is the “money quote”:
I frequently try to put the prayer of the kingdom (what we often call “The Lord’s Prayer”?) into my own words so that I don’t just recite it on autopilot. But I often struggle with how to paraphrase the clause “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”? Since the language of “will”? can take us down a trail of control, domination, and coercion, and since I don’t believe those ideas are in Jesus’ mind, I have looked for other words.
The Greek word that lies beneath our English word “will” can also be translated “wish.” But to say, “May your wish come true” sounds fairy tale-ish and creates other problems. But I have found the idea of “the dream of God for creation” does the job nicely. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven” could thus be rendered, “May all your dreams for your creation come true.” This language suggests a more personal, less mechanistic relationship between God and our world. It would resonate, for example, with a mother who has great dreams for her child, or an artist who has great dreams for a novel or symphony he is creating.
McLaren’s language creates an image of God as a pallid, what-a-lovely-idea dreamer who passively sits around hoping and wishing his dreams will come true, as if he’s waiting for someone else stronger than him to come along and make it happen.
But Jesus said “will” and I think Revelation, if nothing else, makes it clear that he meant “will”. God is going to get His way whether any of us likes it or not. A sword comes out of his mouth and violently imposes his will at Armageddon. It is not a literal sword, it is his Word, but nonetheless, God did not choose the image of a sword by accident. He wanted John to see that image with all its violent, bellicose and frightening connotations. But it’s not a 100% metaphor either — Armageddon will not exactly be non-violent. (Perhaps today, machine gun or air strike would be a better contemporary image for conveying the frightening intensity of God’s “hopes and dreams” at Armageddon.)
God is the most gentle, merciful, patient, and compassionate being there is by an infinite margin. But when the time comes for His wrath to be unleashed, the time for hoping and wishing and dreaming will be long gone. It will be time to get it done and it will not be pretty. But McLaren seems to want to sweep that side of God under the rug. And here’s another example of that:
When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God, his language was charged with urgent political, religious, and cultural electricity. But if we speak of the kingdom of God today, the original electricity is largely gone, and in its place we often find a kind of tired familiarity that inspires not hope and excitement, but anxiety or boredom.
(God forbid we should ever be bored or anxious or confused about Him — if so, it’s sign that we should abandon all our beliefs and make something else up that’s more exciting and fun.)
Why is kingdom language not as dynamic today? First, in our world, kingdoms have given way to republics, democracies, and democratic republics. Where kings exist, they are by and large anachronisms, playing a limited ceremonial role in relation to parliaments and prime ministers, evoking nothing of the power and authority they did in Jesus’ day.
In addition, for many today, kingdom language evokes patriarchy, chauvinism, imperialism, domination, and a regime without freedom—the opposite of the liberating, barrier-breaking, domination-shattering, reconciling movement the kingdom of God was intended to be! If Jesus were here today, I’m quite certain he wouldn’t use the language of kingdom at all, which leaves us wondering how he would articulate his message.
If that is true, then Jesus made a huge mistake by having “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” appear on his robe and thigh in Revelation 19:16 — as if he didn’t know that the world would someday largely abandon monarchy as the model of governing or that some people would be “offended” by the idea of a “Kingdom”, as if he didn’t intend for people in such a world to read his message to John 1,900 years later, and as if he really meant the church should be and that Heaven will be a democracy in which God is just another citizen with no more rights or powers than anyone else.
The world may have given way to republics, democracies, etc., but it did so precisely because of our sinful nature — the world has come to understand there is no single human being wise and fit enough to have absolute rule over millions for even 5 minutes. “Checks and balances” are necessary precisely because of our sinful nature and for no other reason. BUT…Jesus is wise and fit enough to rule over the universe (and anything else out there he might have created) throughout eternity and thus needs no checks and balances. A king without sin is by definition fit to rule over everyone and everything.
So would Jesus really present himself or the Father as a mere congressman, senator or president who can be booted out of office if his 3-year ministry were today instead of 2,000 years ago? Is the church really supposed to be a democracy that can over-ride Jesus’ veto if we get enough votes? Will heaven have elections to decide who heaven’s leader is every two or four years?
In other words, is Jesus really not King of Kings and Lord of Lords after all?
Yes, it is important to tailor the presentation of the Gospel in ways that are sensitive to the cultures, situations and circumstances of both individuals and groups that we come in contact with, and we certainly want to emphasize his merciful and compassionate side. But there are consequences to watering down the words Jesus chose, and McLaren just doesn’t seem to be very concerned with that nearly as much as he is with what seems to be more of a focus-group driven marketing campaign designed to avoid offending at ALL costs than genuine sensitivity without compromise.
God really does have a mighty “will” and a great “kingdom” and there is just no other way to describe it without watering down who God really is. And his kingdom will come to this earth by his royal, very undemocratic decree whether postmodernists are offended by such un-egalitarian language or not.