Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Acts 1:11 and Hyper-Preterism

For those of you who follow a liturgical calender, you're probably aware that May 9 is Ascension Day.  So, why not spoil such a blessed commemoration and post something on hyper-preterism?

This morning while surfing around the Internet I came upon something quite distressing: there actually is a hyper-preterist church within driving distance from my house. I don't know how large of a congregation it is, but they actually do have a nice (and historic) church building. My guess is the congregation is small. I know most everyone who first hears about the movement thinks that it's so wacky, no one should even bother taking it seriously. On the other hand, it would not surprise me if the movement gained momentum if a few charismatic leaders with excellent communication skills arise within the movement.  Time will tell.

In regard to the ascension of Christ, Acts 1:9-11 states,
9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
If you're thinking what I'm thinking, you're wondering how a hyper-preterist get's around this one.  Recall, for an advocate of hyper-preterism, Jesus came back in A.D. 70, and as far as I understand their theology, he came back in a spiritual sense in judgment against the nation of Israel. Acts 1:11 though seems to really say that the literal Jesus will literally return in the same way he ascended.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'll link over to Keith Mathison's pdf article on this very issue. One striking feature of Mathison's article is he points out that in order to understand hyper-preterism as a whole on Acts 1:9-11, one must see that as a whole the movement is quite confusing in regard to interpreting Acts 1:9-11. Mathison did the time-consuming job of documenting quite a number of differing hyper-preterist interpretations of this passage. I came across yet another one today that appears to be arguing Acts 1:9-11 is in regard to Jesus coming back and rapturing the church before coming back in judgment in A.D. 70.  If you want to see how far some will go to avoid the obvious of Acts 1:9-11, take a look at Mathison's paper.


Rhology said...

Are Hyper-Prets typically credobap or pædobap?


Rhology said...

Or do they baptise at all?

James Swan said...

Rho, it depends on which one you read. Some say the Lord's Supper and baptism are no longer needed, others still practice the sacraments.

Certainly the more difficult of the 2 sacraments is the Lord's Supper:

1 Cor 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.