Tuesday, January 22, 2013
No Creed But... Hyper-Preterism: The 9.5 Theses
Over the last year or so, I've had an odd fascination with the grassroots movement of Hyper-Preterism. I never really gave the movement much thought, but after an old acquaintance of mine got into it, to the point where he was booted out of his church (he was the senior pastor), I became curious as to what would drive someone to such an extreme. I can't really say I understand him or the Hyper-Preterists any better now than I did a year ago.
Ken Gentry's has a chapter in the first full-length meaningful response to the Hyper-Preterists, "When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism." Gentry's chapter deals specifically with the movements aversion to creeds and confessions. I've witnessed this first hand: Hyper-Preterists saying that creeds and confessions are the words of man, and that one must go to the Bible alone. The reason is, the creeds and confessions are unanimous in the future coming of Christ. You the careful reader probably see an irony of ironies: such a sentiment ("no creed but the Bible alone) is itself a sort of creed or confession. It's simply inescapable. However far a Hyper-Preterist may disavow any association to the concepts of creeds and confessions, every time they start commenting on it, they themselves are putting out simple creedal confessions. Many of the Hyper-Preterists are a group of folks who shoot themselves in the foot. Their adversity to doctrinal statements leaves them all simply out there. There have been some exceptions. I recall hearing about a few functioning Hyper-Preterist churches. At the time I looked into it, I think I remember there being a church being somewhere in Florida.
I just found another exception: an old Hyper-Preterist document called "The 9.5 Theses for the Next Generation." They consider themselves the new Luther's to reform Christianity (even quoting Luther's "Here I Stand" speech). I found this document being cited on this blog. I don't approve of everything this person posts (nor do I care to venture in to the in-house personal Preterist squabbles). However, the same point is made about how inconsistent the Hyper-Preterists are when it comes to creeds and confessions.
This is another one of those odd little Luther tidbits for me. I've found all sorts of groups appealing to Luther. This is a sad, yet interesting irony about Reformation history- many want to claim Luther, or something about Luther. For a man so despised by so many groups, it’s ironic how those with a particular viewpoint think if they appeal to Luther, somehow or another the large majority of Protestant Christendom will take them seriously. Over the years I've found Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, (yes, and even Roman Catholics!) appealing to Luther. Now, I can add the Hyper-Preterists.