Why Hyperpreterists Can’t Use the Bible

Discussion in 'Revelation & Eschatology' started by RoderickE, Feb 26, 2009.

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  1. RoderickE

    RoderickE Puritan Board Freshman

    In interactions with hyperpreterists, one of the first claims they make is that they are just reading the Bible for what it says. First, we must ask then why 2000 years worth of Christians who have read that same Bible, some people even in the original languages & some people who had ONLY the Bible as reading material — why didn’t these people conclude anything like what Hyperpreterists claim they see in the Bible?

    But even BEFORE we get to that question we must ask another question of the hyperpreterists:


    I mean, why 66 books & no more or no less? Who decided this? Why does the hyperpreterist just accept it? You’d think that since hyperpreterism MUST claim 2000 years of Christian interpretation has been wrong that the hyperpreterist would first take a look at the Bible those 2000 years of Christians have been reading. Maybe those supposedly dumb Christians messed up there too eh?

    If a hyperpreterist is REALLY going to be “consistent” & honest, he would start by questioning the validity of the canon. If God, Jesus, the hand-picked apostles, & the Holy Spirit were supposedly unable to make sure even a small minority of Christians understood the supposed truth of the hyperpreterist interpretations, then why rely that we have the correct Bible?

    So, next time a hyperpreterist claims he has “Sola Scriptura” on his side, ask him why…why does he believe the book we call the Bible is actually God’s intended revelation? I mean, if 2000 years of Christianity was supposedly too dumb to get the major, major DIFFERENT interpretation that hyperpreterists say is right there on the pages of the Bible, then how can we trust the thing we call the Bible was accurately transmitted, passed down & carried on. It is quite a pinch that the hyperpreterists have themselves in. While they want to refuse that Jesus was actually successful in making sure people understood what He meant & while the hyperpreterists want to deny that the hand-picked apostles could effectively teach those early Christians, making sure they too understood, & while the hyperpreterists want to claim the Holy Spirit hasn’t really guided the Church in the basic & united doctrines of Christianity — somehow hyperpreterists want to claim the construct of the Bible was untouched by all this dismal failings of God’s plan.

    So, again What is the Bible? See — hyperpreterism saws off the very limb they claim to be sitting on when they want to paint historic Christianity as a giant mess of contradiction & competing beliefs. Yet, the truth is whether we are talking about pre-Roman Catholic, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Reformed/Protestant, Anabaptist, or Modern Evangelical — ALL of historic Christianity has been UNITED on exactly the 3 points hyperpreterism denies;

    1. Jesus’ yet future to us return
    2. The yet future to us bodily resurrection of the believers
    3. The yet future to us judgment of the wicked & righteous

    To conclude; hyperpreterism has both the Bible AND Christian history against them. The very table of contents in any Bible speaks against the premise of hyperpreterism since hyperpreterism MUST start by claiming there has been a 2000 year conspiracy.

    THIS is why I don’t discuss the Bible with hyperpreterists — they have no business using a book that according to hyperpreterism’s own premise may very well be nothing but a collection of man-made traditions, heavily edited & redacted. The hyperpreterist is in the same position as an atheist that wants to talk about morality without God — both are without a foundation. The atheist can’t claim anything is right or wrong without an unchanging standard & the hyperpreterist can’t appeal to the Bible since according to them, it may be as flawed as the Christian history that produced it.


    Well, after receiving several private communications from hyperpreterists trying to take me to task about this article I thought I should add some follow up comments.

    I will make my appendix by addressing the more sincere communications I received. One hyperpreterist fellow wrote & said:

    Ah, so my point is proven before he even gets past his first paragraph. Let me explain.

    1. He says “The Bible has not always been what we know it to be today”
    2. He says “The Church has made errors in what they included and do not include in the canon”
    3. He says “I am always open to the fact that we have verses in the bible that are not inspired and possibly books”

    There you have it. Why should I have a discussion with hyperpreterists ONLY using the Bible we have today if (1) They don’t believe it is the same Bible Christians have accepted throughout Christian history. (2) They believe the present Bible may have errors. (3) They allow for the possibility that the Bible is incomplete or contains uninspired verses.

    These are the people who want to chant “Sola Scriptura”????

    The fellow goes on to cite examples of where extra-biblical books were sometimes referenced as “scripture” by “church fathers” & then in relation to that citation the fellow says:

    Did I say the Church is who decided what the Bible would contain???? See, herein lies the issue with hyperpreterists — they are REACTIONARY. As a matter of fact, it is no coincidence that modern hyperpreterism sprang up in the 1970s at about the same time as “Left-Behindism” — they are two-sides of the same coin. My contention is that God guides. Jesus Christ came to guide. The hand-picked apostles were guiding. The Holy Spirit guides. All of this happens EFFECTIVELY & SUCCESSFULLY. Again, what has been my argument about hyperpreterism??? That it MUST have as its over-arching premise, a 2000 year failure…& hyperpreterists prove their reliance on this premise every time they try to escape it. I NEVER said the Church decided what the Bible would contain — I said, Christian history produced it — that encompasses ALL of the guidance — from God, from Jesus Christ our Lord, from the hand-picked apostles, from the Holy Spirit — we honor them ALL by not doubting their ability to effectively relate & make sure we understood the basic intentions & plan of God.

    Next, the fellow tries to claim that the textual criticisms over the underlying texts — such as the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_receptus"]Textus Receptus[/ame] over the Alexandrian text. — are indications that there has been major mistakes in the transmission & reception of the Bible.

    This is YET ANOTHER tactic I have seen within hyperpreterism — I call it the scorched earth policy. They think that undermining the overall validity of Christianity somehow is helpful to them. No wonder, for many hyperpreterists, the next stop is functional atheism. They unwittingly undermine their own faith, even in hyperpreterism so as to undermine faith in God’s ability to guide the community of saints.

    Here is the issue. Every Christian MUST have a starting point. Here is mine & most of historic Christianity’s starting point:


    Hyperpreterists CAN’T start there and STILL claim historic Christianity has majorly, majorly messed up on the fundamental plan of God. They have to be as consistent as this hyperpreterist fellow who wrote me. They MUST claim that we may not actually have the correct or complete Word of God. Thus, since the hyperpreterists CAN’T honestly say the Bible we have today is the Bible God guided us to have, they therefore have no business quoting from the Bible.

    Hyperpreterists can quote theologians all day long in an attempt to pit the Bible against the Church (more of hyperpreterism’s scorched earth policy), but it ISN’T about the Bible vs the Church (the quotes you will find are often of Reformed theologians making a distinction between the Bible & Papalist Religion) — The real distinction is about whether a person believes God is guiding, guiding not just an institution but the entire community of saints throughout history. Again, whether you look at pre-Roman Catholic, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Protestant/Reformed, Anabaptist, or Modern Evangelical — ALL of these expressions of the community of the saints have UNITEDLY AGREED on EXACTLY the 3 things hyperpreterism DENIES.

    Hyperpreterism, though it may appear appealing to those who felt outcast by their traditional churches, or appealing to those who have done independent Bible studies (I call it Bible study without context, for an example of this — see link) — hyperpreterism is NOT HISTORICALLY CHRISTIAN. It CANNOT use the Bible to defend itself since as we see from the words of the hyperpreterist fellow above, they don’t even think the Bible is really authoritative. If not the Bible & not the totality of historic Christian interpretation — who IS the final authority for a hyperpreterist???? YEP, you guessed it — THEMSELVES & their own private interpretation.
  2. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    Nice argument for some. But some do hold to the Bible and are still pretorist. They say the apostles didn't understand it all. They didn't have to, didn't teach every Christian everything. We have all the texts they didn't to see at once that weren't prophesied or given to the church till later or even after some of them died. So how could they know all we know. Latter days more light etc. And many believers couldn't read, never heard it all, esp non-jews, so why say they had to know it all. Hey most christians today don't even know what pretorism is or semi pretorism and if they believe it or not. So why would the early church.

    As for history, you have a pretty short history of any church seeing all let alone approving of all the NT texts before cannon. So how can you say historic church regardless of cannon. Most of us believe cannon because it was canonized, by those who were or shortly after became catholic heretics.

    Hey and this is the crux of the issue. Most think its all about believe in Jesus. That's worthless without this issue because which Jesus do they believe in. For me there always was only one point of faith. Is this the miraculously or at least providentially preserved word for God for most of the church, or is it not. I say most because not all Christians have ever been able to read a whole Bible. Not sure its essential to salvation to have and no preacher preaches it all.

    but the point is either what it says is absolute truth or I am off with your atheist friend doing what I want and think. Why not?
    Is it all reliably the word of God to me or not? The essence of our faith. I must believe in the God and Jesus of the Bible to be saved yes? But how much of that Jesus were early believers taught? Did they uinderstand the trinity, deity of Christ clearly.
    So then why do I have to believe it is all inspired if I only have to believe the parts I hear or read anyway? And since we all don't agree on interpretation how do I know what it really says and means if I do believe it? After all some say it teaches I can be carnal and saved, or

    And many reformed are not TR men but hold to the critical text which basically says the same thing. And were they to find and old text in a trash can today they would change the 1000 year old text in a heartbeat because they think older is better most of the time.
    I miss the exclusive psalmody and acapella of the RPCNA I attended. Just not the practical and doctrinal direction some went.
    Awaiting your wise responses
    In his Service,
  3. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I have used this same argument with HPs. I also point out that they seem to view Josephesus' work as tantamount to Scripture. I asked if he thought it should be canonized and he said he would have to think about it.
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