You are hereRaising the Bar

Raising the Bar

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By SuperSoulFighter - Posted on 28 November 2007

by John McPherson
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (1Cor. 13:11,12)11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. (1Cor. 13:11,12)Paul’s beloved and well-known words describe and emphasize the very essence of the difference between his day and ours – between the spiritual economy within which Paul and the other New Testament saints were immersed versus the spiritual realities and relationship with God that we now enjoy. Christian futurism (i.e. Churchianity) has for centuries and generations drawn NO distinction between the New Testament saints/Church, and ourselves. Each and every generation of Christian futurists throughout post-70 AD “church” history has assumed an immediate, personal relevance and application to the majority of the New Testament injunctions pertaining to the First Century saints. This gross misunderstanding persists to the present day within Churchianity’s various denominations and sects.

During the period of history chronicled by the New Testament writers, there was an element of mystery at work within their spiritual and social milieu. The Kingdom existed in its conceptual form only, unseen. The conception of its founding generation (the foundation, Jesus Himself being the cornerstone of that foundation) occurred at Pentecost via the outpouring of the Spirit on those original followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. Throughout this period, there was a certain amount of confusion concerning the details of the Kingdom’s ultimate emergence and its true nature. This is why the Holy Spirit prompted the scribes of Scripture to record and identify the timing of its full manifestation and the ultimate, eternal form it would take.


Unfortunately, Christian futurism/Churchianity established its very existence on a misinterpretation and misapplication of New Testament teachings specifying the establishment and maintenance of a structure intended to be very temporal and short-lived, in this realm. The misappropriation of Scriptural injunctions intended exclusively for First Century saints has generated imbalanced thinking and behavior for generations of Christian futurists and all adherents of Churchianity. This outcome, though inevitable, has consistently proven tragic for a high percentage of those involved with this false cult. Marital collapses, immorality, abuse, suicides and general paranoia are commonplace within futurist Churchianity. Futurism thrives on fearmongering, and maintaining an element of dependence and instability among its adherents, in order to perpetuate their fanatical, ritualistic devotion.
What does all this have to do with true Christianity, and the Kingdom of heaven? The answer, sadly, is – nothing. All of the distortions of Scriptural teaching and the false doctrines disseminated throughout futurist Churchianity do nothing to bring glory to the true God of Israel and the eternal Kingdom established through and upon His Son, Christ Jesus. Modern Christians, as devotees of institutionalized Christianity, are to be pitied as deluded followers of a false gospel and “god”. They know not who they serve, nor do the majority of them have the knowledge and understanding of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob they have been falsely led to believe they do. Thus, these sad people fall back on legalistic observance of ritual and behavioral constraints, hoping that some glimmer of spiritual reality will manifest itself as a result of their devotion and fanatical commitment to the misrepresented, distorted “truth” they have been taught. The situation is a stomach-turner to say the least. And the continuing impact of futurism is powerful here in the West, both within Churchianity and outside of its hierarchical authority. Churchianity’s influence continues to powerful affect Western society due to its potential for powerfully influencing and controlling the masses still committed to it.
How can we respond appropriately to the societal situation we find ourselves in, as Preterists who understand the Word of God and the Kingdom as it was originally intended to be understood? Very simply, we can demonstrate BALANCE. We can live lives characterized by balanced, generous, caring relationships. We can manifest the true Love of God accompanied by the joy and peace that passes all understanding which are supposed to be evident in the citizenry of the Kingdom.
We, as Preterists, must “raise the bar” to where it was supposed to be all along. We have the opportunity to be people who are admired for our healthful lifestyles, avoiding obsessive extremism of all kinds, and living lives of contentment and peace. We will undoubtedly be accused of being “self-satisfied” and “selfish” – but those accusations will come largely from the dissatisfied, disenfranchised and envious futurists who are inwardly deeply disillusioned and aware of the shortcomings of their dubious (often hypocritical) faith. The false “imperatives” guiding and motivating the futurists in their quest for planetary domination as a religious system will ultimately fail and prove empty, as the Truth persists in making itself evident throughout human history and the lives of those who truly understand and live it.
Futurism is fundamentally anti-human. To believe and live it is to embark on a course of self-destructive behavior and thinking. We have the ability and opportunity to manifest the restoration of true humanity within an accurately, wisely balanced understanding of Christianity.
The contrast, as propounded by futurists, is clear in these statements from a book I am currently critiquing for a family friend,

“At the risk of being simplistic, I suggest we must choose between Jesus and common sense. What is common sense except the wisdom of this world? What reason is there to suppose that this world knows how we should act? It has after all made quite a mess of itself. Besides, Jesus was obviously lacking in common sense and He was always doing things which He of course shouldn’t have done…If all that is required is common sense, then why do we need Jesus? We could get everything Jesus taught out of common sources like Time magazine. I suggest that Jesus came to tell us things that are not obvious and that He offered a world view that is quite contrary to the world view of our culture…He called us to a whole new life – a life so radically different that we can only dimly imagine its rough outline. To move into this exciting, upside-down world that Jesus brought requires continued openness to basic change, as the Spirit and the Word lead us. But if we measure everything by common sense, we are trapped in the old creation…Jesus’ life was extreme. It was impractical and foolish. For example, He had nowhere to lay His head. He gave away everything except the clothes He wore. For another, He so challenged the accepted wisdom (the common sense) of His day that the rulers killed Him. You don’t kill someone for saying, “Be kind to the kind, and be generous.” And finally if Jesus did literally mean what He said, what more could He have done to tell us that? How could He have lived more extremely, less moderately than He did? What could He have said that we couldn’t have found some way around? All this is not to say that I know what Jesus meant. It’s not at all clear to me…but I do know that Jesus means our lives are to be changed in drastic ways. It’s a direction not a conclusion…” (John F. Alexander, The Other Side, in the Introduction to “The Upside-Down Kingdom” by Donald B. Kraybill).
If the quote above doesn’t give you a few chills, but resonates, instead, with a sense of continuing purpose within you – perhaps you aren’t as far removed from futurist Churchianity’s influence and hold as you may think. The misguided thinking, false assumptions and misappropriation of Scriptural teaching so evident in the extremist statements, above, lie at the very heart of extremist, fundy futurist evangelicalism and Churchianity. “What Would Jesus Do?” really has no relevance or bearing upon our lives as Christians today, particularly since He had a very unique and particular mission and ministry as the Messiah of Israel. To attempt to imitate His lifestyle and behavior as He lived it within the spiritual milieu of First Century Israel and Mosaic Judaism is ludicrous in OUR cultural and historical context. But the fundy futurists insist that this is the only way to truly demonstrate our love for, and commitment to, Him. The true evidence of spiritual rebirth, in their parlance and belief, is radical, imbecilic, unbalanced behavior and a foolish lifestyle. The obvious, inevitable tragic outcome is a truly ungodly manifestation of everything the Kingdom was never intended to be.
1 My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.

9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.
10 When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you” (Prov. 2:1-11, NKJV)


The adherents of futurist Churchianity disdain discretion, understanding and wisdom while we, as those who treasure and value the Truth, have the ability to manifest both to the benefit of all with whom we come in contact. We have the ability to "raise the bar" of Christian faith and conduct back to where it was intended to be.


John McPherson

chrisliv's picture

Yeah, John,

The sentiment of your article is spot-on, regarding Futurism.

Logically, I see how Tom is curious about the "How." Although, as most here will know, to me, the "how" is a no-brainer of Separation for the State.

I'm curious, if you, or anyone else here, since it has a similar title to the one you're critiquing, if you've heard of a book I'm currently reading, "The Kingdom That Turned The World Upside Down" by David W. Bercot, published in 2003? The author is a lawyer, who is slightly statist, predictably, but it is pretty good, nonetheless, for a mainstream author.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

plymouthrock's picture

Lawyers are predictablt statist?

plymouthrock!

JL's picture

Hey Rock,

Haven't you heard? It's that 95% that make the rest of you look bad. :)>

In Chris' mind, a lawyer is an officer of the court. The court represents the state. Therefore, lawyers are statists by definition.

I met a hungry fellow at Der Weinerschnitzel about a year ago. I bought him a 2 chili-cheese burgers and a small drink, the same thing I was eating. First time I've seen such a person who appeared grateful. He said his name was Christian Livingstone.

I let him talk for a while. He sounded a lot like our Chris except he talked about Jesus returning soon to judge all the statists. As I left, I drove out of the parking lot and saw 4 squad cars come up together. It's pretty clear someone inside Der W. thought Chris was pretty scary.

No doubt this added to Chris' evidence against the statists.

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

chrisliv's picture

Hey, JL,

That's a funny story. Did that really happen?

I've only heard of one other person with my same first and last name. I think he is an older man near the East Coast somewhere. Although, "Livingstone" is still fairly common in Anglo-European areas of North America and the British Isles. I believe the so-called Mayor of London is named Neil Livingstone.

Of course, I don't worry about Identity Theft, because I have no Social Security number. But I am a little curious if some delusional person has come across some of my writings and has taken my name as some sort of an alter-ego.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

JL's picture

Chris,

Yes it really happened. You may remember a cryptic response I made a while back about buying you a hamburger? It was the evening before that. I also told Middleknowledge about it a couple days later.

This was in Southern California. This fellow said he was from Riverside, 40-some miles east. He didn't look anything like your picture, but then I don't know that you do either. I'd guess this fellow was middle-late 40's.

He sounded like your dispy twin.

Blessings,

JL

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

chrisliv's picture

Wow,

That is interesting. I have a dipsy twin.

There goes my reputation.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

MiddleKnowledge's picture

You gotta watch out for those...

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Yah...dispy Doppelgangers :)! Keep an eye on em!

MiddleKnowledge's picture

That's what I had in mind,

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

JL's picture

Chris,

I've read Bercot. He's made an impact.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Thanks, Chris!

The whole question concerning the role the "state" should play in our lives is an intriguing one for sure! I haven't heard of that particular book, but I'll try to track it down. Sounds interesting!

John

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

I'm almost half way through the book, and, so far, the author said he gave up doing actual trial law due to his conscience in light of the New Testament.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

tom-g's picture

John,

"The adherents of futurist Churchianity disdain discretion, understanding and wisdom while we, as those who treasure and value the Truth, have the ability to manifest both to the benefit of all with whom we come in contact. We have the ability to "raise the bar" of Christian faith and conduct back to where it was intended to be."

"HOW"

Tom

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Hi, Tom! Thanks for taking a peek at the article!

Just curious...was that a one-word question/response, or some kind of acronym for something? Any clarification would be appreciated.

Thanks!

JM

tom-g's picture

JM,

My response of "HOW" was intended as an all inclusive question to the paragraph in your posting that I quoted.

Here it is again: "The adherents of futurist Churchianity disdain discretion, understanding and wisdom while we, as those who treasure and value the Truth, have the ability to manifest both to the benefit of all with whom we come in contact. We have the ability to "raise the bar" of Christian faith and conduct back to where it was intended to be."

1) "The adherents of futurist Churchianity disdain discretion, understanding and wisdom" - In what way, that every preterist will not attack you in the same manner? - Discretion? Understanding? Wisdom? Who has these?

2) "we, as those who treasure and value the Truth, have the ability to manifest both to the benefit of all with whom we come in contact." - This is such a self serving platitude it is devoid of meaning. These are the same charges leveled at preterists. And leveled by preterists against preterists. Who is it that will demonstrate to futurists "The manifestation of the Truth?"

3) "We have the ability to "raise the bar" of Christian faith and conduct back to where it was intended to be." - What is this bar of faith and conduct and Who is the "WE" that has it and where was it intended to be?

Who is it that will dispense this " Christian Truth"? Will it be those futurists that have changed the term "Dispensational" to "Covenantal and continue on their merry way? Or those futurists that teach "already but not yet?" Or universalists in all their various forms that disavow each other? Or will it be those who teach that all scripture is allegorical because the plain literal understanding would be offensive to their natural scientific understanding which is the "Real" truth?

With all of this said, when the "Who" and the "What" has been determined, my original all inclusive question still remains - "HOW".

Tom

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Thanks for the clarification, Tom! That "HOW" didn't quite communicate your intended meaning - certainly not to the extent your further elaboration has. So. Let's have a look at your concerns as expressed here.

My response of "HOW" was intended as an all inclusive question to the paragraph in your posting that I quoted.

Good thing you backed up and included the "Who" and "What" (as noted further on in your comments)! :) My initial response to your "HOW" reply (if, indeed, it was a simple, loaded question) was that you needed to go and reread the article. I'm going to break it down to its fundamental points for you, summarizing the intent.

1. The New Testament saints lived during a period of spiritual "mystery". They lived during a time when they needed a "spiritual incubator" (the Church), in order to safeguard their spiritual well-being corporately and individually. They needed a "spiritual babysitter" (the Holy Spirit). We, on the other hand, do not live in that same period of history or spiritual context. We do not have the same needs.

2. The institutionalized, false "church" of the post-70 AD era has illegitimately ascribed spiritual instruction (intended solely for the New Testament saints and their one, true Church) to post-70 AD Christians resulting in massive amounts of confusion, aberrant ungodly, unbalanced behavior and, ultimately, despair.

3. There is a psychological seed of discontent and guilt sown in futurist hearts and minds at a very subconscious level. The spiritual leaders of futurist Churchianity don't always necessarily do this intentionally, but because this element exists to such an overwhelming degree within their own hearts and minds - they can't help but communicate it to their congregations or "flocks". As stated in my article: "Futurism thrives on fear-mongering, and maintaining an element of dependence and instability among its adherents, in order to perpetuate their fanatical, ritualistic devotion." Whether the "church leaders" deliberately attempt to motivate their adherents and members to greater heights of devotion to their "church" and its "ministries" via this negative means or not, there is always that element at work among futurists. The popular Canadian television program 100 Huntley Street just finished a fundraiser series entitled "Redeeming the Time" featuring none other than the bestselling futurist author Joel Rosenberg and his prognostications concerning the potential fulfillment of Bible prophecy in Israel's current events. While they attempted to make it clear that they weren't trying to "set dates" or generate fear in anyone, the reality is that this ongoing threat of global apocalypse has a very negative effect on the psychological makeup of the average Christian futurist. It's spiritually unhealthy and devitalizing - not to mention utterly false.

4. Lest this article be viewed as strictly reactionary in nature, consider these observations and their implication: What does all this have to do with true Christianity, and the Kingdom of heaven? The answer, sadly, is – nothing. All of the distortions of Scriptural teaching and the false doctrines disseminated throughout futurist Churchianity do nothing to bring glory to the true God of Israel and the eternal Kingdom established through and upon His Son, Christ Jesus. Modern Christians, as devotees of institutionalized Christianity, are to be pitied as deluded followers of a false gospel and “god”. They know not who they serve, nor do the majority of them have the knowledge and understanding of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob they have been falsely led to believe they do. Thus, these sad people fall back on legalistic observance of ritual and behavioral constraints, hoping that some glimmer of spiritual reality will manifest itself as a result of their devotion and fanatical commitment to the misrepresented, distorted “truth” they have been taught. The situation is a stomach-turner to say the least...

So. Let us consider the contrast between the "way of Truth" and the "way of falsehood" (i.e. futurism). One of the key characteristics identifying false creeds and dogma is that they involve/prescribe ritualism and behavioral constraints as a means of establishing and manifesting one's faith. One classic example is the mandated continued observance of the "sacraments" (baptism and the Lord's Supper or "communion"). Personal involvement in evangelism and "outreach ministries" are likewise dictated as essential to the outworking of one's faith.

The key differentiating quality setting Truth-livers and -lovers apart from those committed to the lies of futurism is the freedom and liberty we enjoy. The Truth truly has "set us free". We are free to disagree with one another, free to live lives in harmony with each other and our fellow men. We are free, most importantly, from the false, legalistic rigidity and "accountability" to human leadership and peer pressure so characteristic of futurist institutions. We are free to serve God alone, unlike the futurists who are committed to the false "church" and its dictates.

But let us move on to consider the core truth in this article, as it pertains to those who have made the transition into Kingdom awareness and celebratory living.

5. "How can we respond appropriately to the societal situation we find ourselves in, as Preterists who understand the Word of God and the Kingdom as it was originally intended to be understood? Very simply, we can demonstrate BALANCE. We can live lives characterized by balanced, generous, caring relationships. We can manifest the true Love of God accompanied by the joy and peace that passes all understanding which are supposed to be evident in the citizenry of the Kingdom."

It's about priorities, Tom. There is an old Sunday School jingle that goes something like this: "Jesus and Others and You. What a wonder way to spell "JOY". Jesus and Others and You. In the life of each girl and each boy...". What this meant, in reality, was Jesus (as represented in the false "church/body/bride of Christ") should receive a person's primary commitment and be one's first priority in life. "Others" were those outside of Christ who desperately needed our evangelistic efforts, since they were merrily and unwittingly on their way to hell and eternal fiery damnation. They should be everyone's second priority. "You" (and your family) were always to come last, since if you maintained a committed focus on the first two priorities, God would supernaturally take care of the rest. Your energies and efforts could be wholeheartedly poured out into "Jesus" and "Others" leaving slim pickings for your own family and needs - all with God's blessing. The Scriptures, on the other hand, indicate otherwise.

Christ Himself was balanced in his relationships with people, as is evident in the statement, "52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men". One cannot grow in favor with both God and men when one lives an unbalanced lifestyle of extremism and nonsensical foolishness (as outlined in the quote from John Alexander). In fact, extremists are best represented by the likes of John the Baptist (and the other prophets) who didn't really grow in favor with those around them and, in fact (in John's case), ended up prompting a ruler to relieve him of his head. Jesus, of course, likewise ended up falling out of favor with the unjust, cruel and godless rulers of His day also. But we must keep in mind that they lived in a highly unique period of history as well. The underlying principle of maintaining balance in all things is evident, however, even in the middle of the chaotic final years of the Old Covenant "world" of the New Testament. During that same period, Timothy wrote these words, "8But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." This was in the context of care for widows - the most helpless and dependent members of the society of that day. But it can equally apply (in the general terms stated by Timothy) to all dependents of one's family. "Providing for" or "meeting the needs" of one's family is very very important - much more so than taught by the false "church" of futurism. One should provide for them not only physically but emotionally, socially and psychologically.

The Book of Proverbs is loaded with instruction from father to son in the context of family learning, development and ministry to one another: " 1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father,
And give attention to know understanding;
2 For I give you good doctrine:
Do not forsake my law.
3 When I was my father’s son,
Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 He also taught me, and said to me:

“ Let your heart retain my words;
Keep my commands, and live.
5 Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”
10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings,
And the years of your life will be many.
11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life." (Prov. 4:1-13)

1) "The adherents of futurist Churchianity disdain discretion, understanding and wisdom" - In what way, that every preterist will not attack you in the same manner? - Discretion? Understanding? Wisdom? Who has these?

Those who have adopted a spiritually healthy, truthful perspective on the Scriptures and understand their Kingdom citizenry from a truly Biblical perspective have the opportunity to develop a whole, balanced lifestyle characterized by discretion, understanding and wisdom. Unlike futurists, we enjoy a "face to face" understanding of God and His Kingdom, rather than a "seeing through a glass darkly" perspective. The spiritual maturation process can be more fully and completely accomplished in us as a result.

2) "we, as those who treasure and value the Truth, have the ability to manifest both to the benefit of all with whom we come in contact." - This is such a self serving platitude it is devoid of meaning. These are the same charges leveled at preterists. And leveled by preterists against preterists. Who is it that will demonstrate to futurists "The manifestation of the Truth?"

This statement may, indeed, seem self-congratulatory on the surface. But in reality, it was intended to communicate an open acknowledgment of the wonder and glory accomplished in and through those who have embraced a truthful perspective on God's Word and Kingdom. I've seen this outworking in my own life unaccompanied by any sort of arrogant, "know-it-all" attitude. When one fully embraces an accurate, contextual understanding of God's Word and Kingdom (separating oneself from futurist, Creedal Churchianity completely), the natural outcome is a healthier, more balanced Christian lifestyle. The freedom and joy that SHOULD be evident in those who claim to love and embrace the Truth actually DOES become manifest.

3) "We have the ability to "raise the bar" of Christian faith and conduct back to where it was intended to be." - What is this bar of faith and conduct and Who is the "WE" that has it and where was it intended to be?

I've answered this question outright, above, and in the original article itself. The "bar" or "standard" of faith and conduct is established by God Himself in the basic principles governed by His Nature developed within us. His mercy, grace, compassion, justice and wisdom (to mention just a few character qualities) will be naturally evident in the life of a citizen of His Kingdom, upon whom futurism has no hold or influence.

Who is it that will dispense this " Christian Truth"?

Every one of us who has embraced Kingdom truth and citizenship (as originally intended by God) have that opportunity when approached by seekers and those who are curious concerning what "sets us apart" and the source of our internal resources.

Will it be those futurists that have changed the term "Dispensational" to "Covenantal and continue on their merry way? Or those futurists that teach "already but not yet?"

Obviously these groups don't qualify as being those who have fully embraced a Biblical understanding of current Kingdom citizenship and a truthful perspective on God's Word. Futurism of any type is anti-Truth and contrary to God's original intent.

Or universalists in all their various forms that disavow each other? Or will it be those who teach that all scripture is allegorical because the plain literal understanding would be offensive to their natural scientific understanding which is the "Real" truth?

There may be a certain amount of disagreement and disparity doctrinally on some issues within the Kingdom, but that is part of our freedom. We permit each other the liberty to discover and seek out a fuller understanding of Kingdom life and understanding within the broad parameters of realized eschatology and the fullness of a balanced lifestyle of grace and Truth.

My advice is to develop greater tolerance for opposing views within the Kingdom, Tom. Be patient and gracious and try to remain objective in examining conflicting viewpoints. And most importantly - don't become so consumed with dissecting the Truth that you miss the opportunity to live it with your family and friends. Remain balanced in all things.

I hope that helps. And I really hope that I don't come across as someone who "has all the answers" either. I'm still learning and growing, just like you.

John

tom-g's picture

John,

Thank you for your detailed response to my all inclusive question.

Your answer repeatedly contains the word "TRUTH". I have no problem with that word and I understand it in the meaning of the "Law of Identity": "If a thing is said to be true it is always true A(bc)>A(bc).

My point #2 asked about manifesting the truth to those who do not know it. If truth is absolute and not relative or situational or what anyone thinks to be truth is truth, then how can we be tolerant of those who disagree with us? If we have the truth then every conflicting viewpoint is false and we should have no tolerance for falsity.

There can not be conflicting viewpoints about the truth of the Kingdom. One must be the truth and the other false or else both may be false, but they can not both be true. Therefore any who disagree with our truthful presentation of the kingdom must acknowledge they are in error and must accept what we say is the truth.

But John, that does not seem to be what you are saying:
"There may be a certain amount of disagreement and disparity doctrinally on some issues within the Kingdom, but that is part of our freedom. We permit each other the liberty to discover and seek out a fuller understanding of Kingdom life and understanding within the broad parameters of realized eschatology and the fullness of a balanced lifestyle of grace and Truth."

And again you say:
"My advice is to develop greater tolerance for opposing views within the Kingdom, Tom. Be patient and gracious and try to remain objective in examining conflicting viewpoints. And most importantly - don't become so consumed with dissecting the Truth that you miss the opportunity to live it with your family and friends. Remain balanced in all things."

If we are not to be consumed with dissecting the truth then how are we to know we have the truth and it has set us free and we are living the truth with our family and friends?

Futurists say they are currently members of the body of Christ, while some preterists identify it as the new covenant and others view it as the kingdom. Are we to be tolerant of all of these conflicting view points and not be overly concerned about dissecting the truth and just accept that there will be a certain amount of doctrinal contradictions that must be tolerated?

How is it possible for doctrine to be absolute truth and yet also be relative or situational truth, without violating the Laws of Identity, Contradiction and the Excluded Middle?

Truth is established in two ways:
1) As self evident truth in which case it does not have to be demonstrated. Or for those who do not accept your conclusions as self evident:
2) As the necessary and certain conclusion that follows from a deductively reasoned argument based upon true premises as its cause.

I did not see that in your posting and therefore the reason for my all inclusive question: "HOW".

Tom

SuperSoulFighter's picture

I like the way you present your position, Tom. You take a well-reasoned and logical approach and I respect your insistence in expressing the need for a clearly defined, dogmatic, formal definition of the Truth (i.e. a "creed") as represented and established in our paradigm. But before I address this issue, I would like to respond directly to a few of your comments.

Your answer repeatedly contains the word "TRUTH". I have no problem with that word and I understand it in the meaning of the "Law of Identity": "If a thing is said to be true it is always true A(bc)>A(bc).

My point #2 asked about manifesting the truth to those who do not know it. If truth is absolute and not relative or situational or what anyone thinks to be truth is truth, then how can we be tolerant of those who disagree with us? If we have the truth then every conflicting viewpoint is false and we should have no tolerance for falsity.

While I agree with your latter two statements in principle, Tom - I must add the proviso that although Truth is, indeed, absolute, it is NOT "one-dimensional". It is, in fact, multi-dimensional - many-faceted, with multiple layers of inference and significance.

We may confidently, without any shadow of doubt, make assertions in specific areas of Biblical and spiritual reality provided one's personal hermeneutical and rational framework and constructs have not been violated. If a member is presenting ideas that seem to conflict with his own stated perspective and interpretive paradigm, that apparent discrepancy should be identified and challenged. Do we, as Preterists, have one, specific, over-riding hermeneutic governing our approach to the Word of God? I think this question underlies your questions and objections, above. The answer, of course, is that we all subscribe to the belief that "The Scriptures interpret themselves." In other words, context is all-important and determinative in arriving at a conclusive position in a specific area of doctrine. But how "conclusive" should these points of arrival be? Should they not be held in an open hand as we continue to grow in our understanding and knowledge? Our fundamental ideas are continually being refined as we interact here. This is a spiritual "laboratory" or "think tank" of sorts. One view which appears to be in direct conflict with another's view may not be so far removed as it might appear to be at first glance. This is the liberty which we must permit here. The liberty to carefully examine the ideas others hold as being an accurate representation of the teaching of Scripture concerning our present spiritual economy and relationship with God.

No one, single person is the ultimate "arbiter of truth" here or anywhere, Tom (if that's what you're looking for). And, in fact, I'm somewhat curious as to what, exactly, you ARE looking for here and in Preterism itself.

If we are not to be consumed with dissecting the truth then how are we to know we have the truth and it has set us free and we are living the truth with our family and friends?

Many Christians would immediately point out that the Holy Spirit's internal approval or disapproval of any and all propositions is your personal safeguard against error. Of course, you and I would agree that in any "community", or gathering of believers, no absolute uniformity of belief and agreement on every point of doctrine can be achieved by relying on this highly subjective means of discerning between truth and falsehood.

Personally, I believe internalizing the Scriptures is as important as carefully studying and meditating upon them. By this I mean memorizing the Word verbatim - whole chapters where possible. As part of this process, meditation upon them will prompt the possible discovery of depths of fresh understanding and meaning in whichever texts are under your scrutiny. At this point, the careful student of the Word will pursue these fresh possibilities via various study tools as applied to the original languages in accordance with careful cross-referencing and contextual analysis.

None of this, however, should be conducted to such an obsessive degree that one's personal life becomes unbalanced and one's loved ones are neglected. A balanced approach in all things is vital to remaining spiritually healthy on one's quest. And it IS a quest, Tom. Not one of us has "arrived" at ALL Truth. I believe very strongly in the veracity of certain specific items of belief which I have presented here at Planet Preterist, as I have tested their validity Biblically and through interaction with the membership here. Again, this "think tank" we participate in and enjoy here is a forum of inquiry and discussion - even debate at times - in order to further verify the basis for any conclusions we have drawn, should others have concerns and objections with what seems to be a solid Biblical basis that may have been overlooked by the one presenting a thesis for consideration.

Futurists say they are currently members of the body of Christ, while some preterists identify it as the new covenant and others view it as the kingdom. Are we to be tolerant of all of these conflicting view points and not be overly concerned about dissecting the truth and just accept that there will be a certain amount of doctrinal contradictions that must be tolerated?

It's one thing to dissect the Truth for oneself thereby determining (for oneself) what the very essence of the factual reality is, in any given point of inquiry or disagreement. But to mandate uniformity of view and belief on the basis of one's personal deductions is outside the parameters of anyone's authority. That is solely God's prerogative, and He chooses, evidently, to maintain an element of diversity among us in this area, with varying levels and degrees of understanding and progress in spiritual maturation.

How is it possible for doctrine to be absolute truth and yet also be relative or situational truth, without violating the Laws of Identity, Contradiction and the Excluded Middle?

It is possible for doctrine to represent core elements of Absolute Truth without encompassing the whole with all its vast array of minutiae. In essence, it is possible for one person to miss the forest for the trees (the word study specialist who forgets to consider the context), while another forgets the importance of the individual trees in his overwhelming appreciation for the forest. Another may become consumed with studying the leaves and miss the significance of the trees and forest. What I'm saying here, Tom, is that neither you nor I are omniscient and God has not chosen to confer upon us ALL knowledge - as yet.

At Planet Preterist we do our best to keep each other sharp and retain an element of pursuit and excitement as we unearth the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. I hope you're not anticipating some sort of Preterist Creed to be drafted at some point for all members to sign by way of formally identifying themselves as Full Preterists. We are, first and foremost, Christians. Historically astute Christians. Christians who have re-engaged the Word of God from a rigorously historical and contextual perspective, permitting it to speak for itself according to its original intent. Does any one of us have that original intent absolutely identified in every detail, including the inferences and deeper levels of meaning? I don't believe so. And I'm okay with that. I hope you are too, Tom. We are all human and finite. But we are most certainly closer to a comprehensive understanding of the Truth than, say, the Futurists - and I can make that confident assertion on the basis of the consistency of our interpretive system and its logical, rational and Biblical basis. Thus, the "Laws of Identity, Contradiction and the Excluded Middle" are reconciled with the principles of Human Individuality, Fallibility and Perceptivity. In other words, before we hasten to establish Truth in a prescriptive, dictatorial manner on behalf of all others - we must remember that we are expressing the establishment of Truth as it has currently been manifested within one's own heart and mind. Is this subjectivity in an existentialist sense all over again? Not if you're seeking to synthesize insights and perspectives within the broader framework of belief on an ongoing basis.

I hope this doesn't sound as though I'm dodging your questions or being deliberately vague, Tom. The complexity of our interactions and the nature of the outcomes (and its relationship to Ultimate Truth) is evident and yet not an overwhelming obstacle to one's own advancement when one chooses to participate wholeheartedly and openly in the process itself.

What is your ultimate goal, personally, in your involvement with us and the Preterist process, Tom? I do appreciate your input and challenges, and enjoy these discussions. Thanks for continuing to participate in the ongoing dialogue here!

JM

tom-g's picture

John,

Thank you for your excellent response and the explanation of how most persons are engaged in the fallacy of equivocation in their arguments.

We of course, recognize that fallacy of ambiguity as being most detrimental to the gaining of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.

While it is true that many words are not one dimensional, that is the same word may be used to express more than one concept, but not at the same time in one sentence. It is one specific concept of the many that a single word may contain that is the subject or predicate of a sentence. Most persons fail to continue to use these multi faceted and multi layered words in their same exact single dimensional, single layered meaning in their sentences, that causes them to become bogged down in equivocation and prevents them from knowing the absolute, or single dimensional, single layered, single faceted truth contained in the scriptures.

We, of course, ought not to be engaged in that fallacy and ought to be constantly on guard and examining our selves to make certain we are not practicing that for which we condemn others.

Is our Lord Christ Jesus a multi dimensional, multi faceted, multi layered Lord? Definitely! Is He not at one and the same time: the Christ; the lamb of God; the only begotten son of God; the word made flesh; the way; the truth; the life; the son of man; the son of David; the son of Abraham; our savior? Yes! Are every one of these not absolutely true? Yes!

It is as we examine each individual facet as a singular dimension and single layer according to the knowledge that is revealed in the word of God about that single dimension, that we are able to know absolute truth about that single dimension and we then can know the truth that will set us free.

What is multi dimensional about some of those persons standing with Jesus not tasting of death until they saw the Lord's parousia? What is multi dimensional truth about tasting of death or not tasting of death? That is the stuff of futurists and post modernists not preterists. We are not to tolerate such error for even one second.

So, yes, I agree that individual words, because of the limit of our vocsbulary, may be used to express more than one concept, but not at the same time and in the same way in a single sentence. Always they are used to express a singule of the many, or a univocal concept unless they are being used fallaciously or sophistically.

I realize this response has become quite long and involved so I'll close for now.

Tom

chrisliv's picture

Gee, John,

I didn't realize that you were promoting the view that the Holy Spirit was any a temporary "babysitter" that has disappeared, post 70 AD.

In my reading of the Bible, The Gospel and the New Testament was just a way of indicating the long-awaited Blessing of Abraham, which was the Atonement and the Holy Spirit dwelling within the Body of Christ, and not some temporary measure for the 1st Century only.

See Galatians 3:14:

"That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

You know that you are actually suggesting that this verse applies The Blessing of Abraham (which is the Gospel itself) to a very narrow audience within the 1st Century.

I just don't don't accept that. Of course, I don't think you're a bad person for holding that view.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

SuperSoulFighter's picture

Actually, Chris...my comment was meant to indicate that the Holy Spirit's role at that time was as more of a "baby sitter" for the fledgling Christians in their newfound faith. I wasn't saying that He is no longer involved in anyone's life today in any way. Far from it. Rather, his New Testament Church role was concluded at the conclusion of their "world". If you reread what I said I think you'll see that that was what I meant.

Thanks for prompting me for further clarification though!

JM

chrisliv's picture

No,

You restated pretty much the same thing I initially heard, as you wrote: "Rather, his (the Holy Spirit) New Testament Church role was concluded at the conclusion of their "world".

What do you mean, "their" world. The verse was to Galatian Gentiles. Their "world" continued uninterupted, quite apart from the Mosiac era.

We read nothing about the Holy Spirit having a "role" that was to expire after Jerusalem was destroyed.

Like Galatians 3:14 implies, the Holy Spirit, in His 1st Century role, was about 1/2 of the Gospel as an ongoing fulfillment of the long awaited Blessing of Abraham:

"That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

There's no indication that Galatians 3:14 had a shelf-life that was to expire in approximately 20 years from the time of its writing.

I'm really amazed how the Preterists from various cessational-type denominations (like CoC) seem to carry that stuff and try to pass it off as a part of Preterism.

Or like Jeremiah prophesied of the New Covenant and the Holy Spirit:

"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

You see, it even implies that, for endless generations, the so-called "closing of the canon of Scripture" is not even required, because of the ongoing role of the Holy Spirit.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

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