In Larry Siegle recent posting correctly points out the failure of the Millerites and the failures of the SDA which is produced by not following sound hermeneutics and the historical lesson is learned that when people abandon the Historical-grammatical approach heresy and false teaching run amok.
There is a second lesson to be learned from the Millerites that Preterists -raised in the Churches of Christ tradition – have not learned. Which can also be learned from the “Jesus Only” cult.
During the Azusa Street revival, a layman was reading his bible and read in Acts that the disciples baptized in the “name of Jesus” only (Acts 2:38), suddenly he got a revelation that a person must be baptized in “Jesus Name Only”. He failed to realize Luke was speaking to the authority of Christ in making disciples and was not intended to be a statement that was how the disciples baptized. In his zeal to spread this “truth” he gathered followers so that to this day the “Jesus Only” doctrine demands a person is not even saved unless they are baptized in Jesus name only and you can only be saved in their church. Even after being told by many his interpretation is unsound and incorrect.
Error leads always to more error.
The Churches of Christ demand independence from the rest of the Body of Christ as having a more “Berean” method of study and organization. They encourage independent study and the expense of losing sound doctrine. “Jesus Only” types doctrines run rampant among the so called independent and non-denominational churches of Christ.
Cults demand their independence from other “denominations” because they are correct and alone have the truth. They ignore true Biblical scholarship and demand their interpretations are correct despite the attempts of many to bring such correction. They fail to realize that God has given to the churches teachers and learned men from which we can learn. While some preterists will quote such scholars, usually to point out why they are wrong, they never stop and consider in the multitudes we find wisdom. True truth is not held by the few but by the many. The majority believe the world is round as the evidence proves yet a small group insists it is flat. The preterist will argue the masses are not always right and then point to the multitudes who believe in a false doctrine not realizing that group they point out is still the minority.
The person who chooses to ignore wisdom and truth loses credibility. Don Preston and Ed Stevens have been seeking to find legitimacy and credibility among the Christian world as a whole, it will never come. Just as Mormonism, JW’s, Millerism, and Jesus Only is recognized as “Cults” and false doctrine so the Christian world recognizes preterism as no different, they are still the minority.
To protect the church from such heresies the body of Christ has followed the example of the ECF who gathered together to discuss these “Revelations” people called truth. These ECF argued and codified the Doctrine of the Trinity, The Incarnation, and even the 66 books of our cannon of scriptures through debate and discussion. They defined what it means to be Christian, centered in the work of Christ. Each and every heretical group that has come along defies one of these principles found in the Nicea creed.
There are several fallacies Larry Siegle points out in his recent post that must be addressed and corrected. As most preterist argue against the minority view as if they represent the church at large. The Majority of the Christian church is not Dispensational. So, let me address several of these presuppositions.
Rather than attempting to impose a wood-literal hermeneutic on the Scriptures, the emphasis was to understand the text in relationship to how those to whom it was first given would have understood the meaning. L. Siegle
True scholarship rejects a wooden-literal hermeneutic characterization, instead it is called a grammatical-historical Hermeneutic which means we identify the genre a scripture is written in first, then identify the different forms of the grammatical methods used, the different forms of speech that are employed. No one believes cats and dogs actually fall out of the sky in a heavy rain. So when a preterist says “wood literal” he is mischaracterizing the truth of what is true hermeneutics. In the title “Historical” it is understood the audience relevance is primary in understanding the intent of the author. This is done by understanding the meaning of words as used in their historical context as well as understanding forms of speech employed by the writers in any time period. Thayer’s Lexicon is a resource that includes how Biblical words were used in a secular world.
It also understands that how the original audience heard the words does not mean they had the correct intent of what was being said.
The “audience relevance” factor became a guiding principle for understanding the relationship between the Old and New Covenants and the fact that those PLAIN passages about the “expectation of nearness” were honored. LS
Max King and others are reading scriptures, come across the words “this generation” therefore all these things are to be fulfilled in that generation. Therefore soon, at hand, and about to are time indicators that point to “this generation”. The poor scholarship of these laymen then leads to more error. “About to” which in Greek is “mello” they demand means “about to” in every verse yet in Thayer’s its demonstrated it also can mean “what is sure to happen” so in verses the preterist traditionally see a time statement, “about to” and yet Thayer’s tells you the proper meaning is “sure to happen” the preterist without formal Greek or Hebrew training will demand Thayer’s is wrong. Despite the fact the Christian world recognizes the great scholarship used to develop the Greek Lexicon. Larry says to “honor the expectation of nearness”, yet for 2000 years scholarship recognizes the Apostles, including Paul wrote with expectation. Paul expected the second coming to happen in his generation, when he wrote I Thess 4 “we who are alive” BUT Paul was not alive in AD 70, he was not a part of the “we” – audience relevance. Expectation does not demand to be prophetic.
Larry also implies that for 2000 years scholarship has not honored the time statements. When in fact the ECF all affirmed the destruction of Jerusalem was fulfilled according to the prophecies of Jesus found in the Olivet, and yet believed in a future second coming. WHY? This demands that how preterist understand time statement is not consistent with sound Greek scholarship, but they follow their blind leaders in these types of errors. ‘Audience Relevance” as guiding principle has been proven false based on the interpretation that it has led to among preterists teachings.
“Covenant Eschatology although not accepted by the vast majority of the churches of Christendom has continued to progress over the decades” LS
Which means uneducated people continue to fall for the deception because of the packaging in the same way Mormonism and other such type cults continue to exist. People should then come to understand why this is NOT a more reasonable approach to what the Bible actually teaches. Larry insist that the preterist method is more reasonable.
How reasonable is it to believe the whole church got it wrong, and missed the second coming for 2000 years until 1971.