Dear Daniel Rogers,
Thank you for sharing your journey of faith through your blogs, Paradigm Change. It takes courage to bear your soul as it makes you vulnerable to attacks from “ignorant” men who sit in judgment of others as if it is their God given gift.
Now I did not feel compelled in some way to respond to your posts or in some way do I want to “discredit” your journey, so I thought I would share with you a different experience or world view with a specific theme in mind.
What was commonly expressed in your Blog as well as in Dallas Burdette’s, piece, Pilgrimage of Faith, is the common idea of traditions you were raised in that you now see as “unbiblical.” The issues of communion, musical instruments and so forth that are inherent in the Churches of Christ. This “spirit” is what I would address.
Dallas quoted from Leroy Garrett, “What kind of a Book is the Bible?
People tire of our equating our understanding of the word of God with the word of God itself. This is to say that we must distinguish between revelation and interpretation. Revelation is what God has given us in scripture. Interpretation is what we conclude the scriptures to mean. One is divine, the other human.
John Watson in his Restoration 2.0, Gospel of Truth, show repeatedly states that He is “just teaching what the word of God says” but in reality, he is teaching what he believes the Bible teaches. He has been corrected on this point many times but it falls on deaf ears because a “preterist” is not telling him the truth. As the quote applies to any man who stands in front of congregation is merely giving an interpretation.
You and Dallas shared a common theme of having a certain amount of arrogance in which you first claimed to “have the truth.” Growing up in a different tradition I offer you a different perspective.
For the first 10 years of my life, I did not grow up Christian or in a Christian home. My father and family were led to the Lord by my Uncle who Pastored a small independent country church in Indiana.
Now that Dad was saved, he felt the “calling” to Pastor and teach. He got in touch with a ministry in California in 1972 who encouraged him to sell all that he had and come out and join him and he would disciple him. My father sold everything, and we left our little town of Kankakee, IL and headed west. Coming to Omaha he made a stop to visit my mother’s uncle who they were friends with for a long time. He was now also saved and wanting to start a church himself. Long story short my Dad ended up calling back that Pastor and tell him we were not coming. That man was Jimmy Jones of the People Temple in which over 900 people committed suicide in Guyana, Africa in 1979.
To make a long story short we became involved with the “shepherding Movement” from out of Ft Lauderdale, FL. During the ’70’s. Over the next three years we lived in a church community of legalism, control, spiritual abuse, and manipulation until Dec 29, 1978, we escaped with nothing but the clothes on our backs in the wee hours of the morning. We, my family of seven, walked ten miles into town and waited for friends to pick us from a farm outside of Odessa, MO and took us back to Omaha, NE from where it all started.
We started our lives all over again and from those experiences my family bore scars that have produced bad fruit even to this day.
I went on to Bible college in 1981 through the Pentecostal Foursquare church that my family continued to attend in Omaha, NE. for the next forty years. I worked for the first three years on my BA degree and was unable to finish my fourth year due to finances. Eventually I completed it in 1997, then I was ordained in 1998. I worked as Youth Pastor and assistant pastor in Four different churches until 2003.
I am a voracious reader and considered above average intelligence. In the 5th grade I was tested out on a college level of reading and aptitude. I am now 60 and in humility I argue I have read more and experienced more of life than you have so far just because of age differences.
In my Foursquare tradition we are a “interdenominational church” meaning we learn from the beginning there is only “one body of Christ”, one church. In our tradition every church including even the RCC there are many born again believers who are a part of the “body of Christ’ despite their denomination affiliations. We were taught to respect all tradition even if we disagreed with their theology. We never accepted the lie we are the only true church. So a lot of “truth” you have now come to accept in opposition to the Churches of Christ was foundational learning for our tradition. We would and still do fellowship with any denomination but because we are “Pentecostal” we are told were going to hell and fakes on a daily basis. We grew up with opposition and outright prejudice and still do from Baptist and even churches of Christ.
In Bible college I learned systematic theology which included eschatology, soteriology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, anthropology, hamartiology and more. In the process of learning these doctrine of the “incarnation, trinity,” and many others the basis was founded in “the art and science of hermeneutics” which we learned in our first year. Dallas Burdett admitted to not learning these principles until years later in his life.
Incorporated into our learning is the study of ‘cults” and how they are formed and what principles allows for good people to be led astray into Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other cults such as Jimmy Jones, “The People’s Temple.” Learning the theology of the church that was developed over the last two thousand years provides the foundation for all of what we understand and used as a comparison of claims of truth by any group of people. By learning what the ECF taught we were able to weed through errors and understand how people come into error, and we accepted that there were essential to the gospel message that divides the cults from the truth such as the “divinity of Christ.”
There is real christianity and there is a fake christianity that exist side by side in this world.
Churches of Christ, Seventh Day Adventism, Quakers, Mennonite, and other such similar denominations, we recognized as Christian but buying into “false” practices and majoring on the minors, meaning there is a difference between essential doctrines need to be understood for a person to be saved and non-essential doctrines. We understood as you have now come to understand there are some major cracks in the Churches of Christ doctrines.
Some churches believe Jesus was just a good man and not God incarnate which is considered unbiblical and heretical as the ECF all argued against such deceptions or non-biblical teachings. To deny God came in the flesh as Jesus, places a person outside of Christianity and into cult status. The form of baptism in which a church practices does not. Yet as stated by you and Dallas “one cupper” for example excluded people as being saved, in your tradition which again is a secondary issue and as you stated correctly one does not need perfect theology in these secondary issues to be saved. (this is something we are taught from the beginning in our Foursquare tradition) In the primary issues of the gospel, they must.
You cannot deny Christ came in the flesh or you have fallen into the error of the Gnostics. Scriptures warn us about false teaching such as the Nicolaitans and others who ventured into error. Hymenaeus and Philetus example teaches us the danger of claiming something to be true but is not. Paul warned that is the cause for the “shipwreck” of people’s faith. The history of the anti-Nicene church writings is one of arguing apologetics against the false teachers. And as each new heresy arose within the ranks of the church the church has correctly identified these teaching and reasonably and logically explained why a teaching of a “cult” is wrong such as Arianism or Pelagianism is deemed wrong through the use of scriptures in applying logic, coherence, and consistency.
Meaning this: when a person such as Arius began to teach a doctrine the rest of the church then examined and reasoned through what Arius taught. In their examination they recognized the error of the position and as each church leader agreed to what is the failure, they rejected the teaching. Arianism maintained that the Son of God was created by the Father and was therefore neither coeternal with the Father, nor consubstantial. And this was rejected by a consensus even though some maintained it and those ideas still exist in churches today and those people will defend their position to the death if need be but no matter what or how many times it can be explained to them why they are wrong they refuse to accept it. . This is what we call deception. Understanding how these cults were born and comparing their theology with the theology of the church we are trained to look for the inconsistencies, failure in logic, and the lack of coherence among the scriptures.
People who are Mormonism, Jehovah’s witness and so forth are under a deception just as those who were under Jimmy Jones and David Koresh People living under these delusions cannot see or accept the logical argumentation from scriptures that show why they are wrong. IT often involves a process in which they view scriptures and how they interpret it. Just as Churches of Christ were shaped by two men, Stone and Campbell, they did something no else had done and reasoned in ways that were not considered “logical” like their doctrine of musical instruments, and then yes they taught it to their adherent and the deception grew and made it a “salvation” issue. Mormonism began when a man claimed an angel came to him and told him the churches were all wrong. One man began the “Jesus only” movement, Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, they all have the one and same thing in common.
When I was told about Full Preterism 8 years ago I rejected it out of hand. When someone told me the second coming happened in 70 AD I arrogantly said they were fools. Then I began to hear their arguments and realized that their arguments are wrapped in half truths. I made the choice then to go back to school and get the tools I needed to study better. Learning Greek and Hebrew for example church history and so much more than before. So for my PhD I chose Amridge, a church of Christ university that goes against some of the basic ideas that were first presented by Stone and Campbell. Over the last seven years I have read every book put out by Full Preterism Preston, Bell, Bondar, and yours. I know the arguments as well as any other full preterist. Over the years now I have engaged Preston, Bell, and many others with the failures in their logic, inconsistencies, and coherence.
Like all cults that have come before three things have become apparent. 1) The modern-day movement of “ Realized Eschatology” was started by two people, With Max kings last book he now styles it “Transmillenialism” and has accepted the heresy of Universalism. (there is no reason to preach the gospel if all men are saved in the end) 2) The movement has again created a us-them division. Division is not born from out of Christ but are demonically inspired. Stone Campbell planted that seed when they divided from the churches, they belonged to in order to fix the church and bring unity in a new paradigm. Dividing in order to create unity is a deception.
Now FP divides and itself continues to divide because of the principles of rejecting anything that stinks of “futurism.” The movement has fragmented into CBV and IBV, and then IO. Then at the same time FP condemn denominational churches because of their divisions and yet they do it themselves. These division continue to grow as people like Preston “come to the truth of CBV” and people decide they don’t like it. Now Preston can debate Ed Stevens all day long about the two views do you think its going to bring unity in the end?
When the goal of scriptures is to bring us into unity. So why then do divisions continue to exist and propagate?
1) Arrogance and pride in that they have the truth and anyone who disagrees with them is automatically wrong no matter what. 2) The disciples of FULL Preterism are clones of their teachers with no independent thinking. Because of their ignorance (lack of education) they cannot reasonably work through scriptures and identify inconsistency and failed logic within their positions. 3) They still reject any one outside of their “denomination” is worthy of debate as I have been told. They, like all cults, begin with the idea we have a truth the rest of the church has rejected and continues to be in error.
Now I am not about to go through a litany of what I would consider FP false teachings, but I would respectfully offer up a proposition for a discussion not a debate.
IF FP claim to be open to the idea they might be wrong then all they need to do is sit down with someone or several people and allow them to reason through their positions and demonstrates where foundational principles fail that lead to a wrong paradigm such as those that exist in Mormonism, JW’s, and so forth. This is to state that FP also has things RIGHT, Im not saying they are all wrong as I argue consistently the Olivet was completely fulfilled in AD 70. And I totally respect the time statements found in the gospels. As I make the same charges against “futurism” where the people do the same of which they accuse others:
1) Arrogance and pride in that they have the truth and anyone who disagrees with them is automatically wrong no matter what. 2) The disciples of dispensationalism are clones of their teachers with no independent thinking. Because of their ignorance (lack of education) they cannot reasonably work through scriptures and identify inconsistency and failed logic within their positions. 3) They reject any one outside of their “denomination” The begin with the idea we have a truth the rest of the church has rejected and continues to be in error.
So here is what I propose:
I want to invite you, Daniel Rogers and or two other people, to choose a day, at your church or any other place of your choosing, in which I and Sam would come down where we sit down and discuss FULL Preterism doctrine from the beginning. A respectful round table discussion, of thought and reason. To examine the second coming from scriptures, resurrection of the dead, and so forth.
There is no one person, a former FP who is more educated than Sam Frost. Then I have dedicated the last seven years to understanding FP paradigm and how they reason through scriptures to arrive at their conclusions and have a better seminary education than any Full Preterist leader.
We both are willing to sit down and actually have a discussion instead of a debate. To come together and reason through the second coming, resurrection of the dead, and so forth.
The Ball is now in your court.