The UnPreterist: The Hyperpreterist Movement — 2009 & Beyond

With the change of the new year, I thought it would be fun to re-cap & project the year for hyperpreterism based on its short historical patterns.

First, let’s re-cap from the 1970s to present.


  • 1970s Church of Christ “minister” Max King begins to promote hyperpreterism.
  • 1980s-90s Tim King tries to take the reins from his dad but fails to get the movement going. (moved operation from Ohio to Colorado)
  • 1980s Walt Hibbard & Ed Stevens get “The Parousia” back in print.
  • 1980s-90s Ed Stevens disgruntled at not being considered Max’s heir apparent.
  • 1980s-90s Terry Hall is left in Ohio to carry on the movement there.
  • 1990s Todd Dennis begins building the largest Internet archive for preteristic materials. Hyperpreterist websites that have come & gone use the Archive to jumpstart their own sites.
  • 1990s Romanian Immigrant Virgil Vadvua marries into the movement by marrying daughter of Terry Hall. Vaduva launches hyperpreterist community site.
  • 1990s Vaduva begins gathering more attention than Tim King or Ed Stevens – becomes the heir-apparent.
  • 1990s-early 2000s The King faction trademarks a new term “Transmillennialism”™ & splits with the hyperpreterist movement.
  • 1990s-early 2000s Vaduva hosts hyperpreterist conferences where people like Don Preston & the token “Calvinist” Sam Frost find an outlet.
  • 1990s-early 2000s Historic Preterist/Anti-Hyperpreterist, Dee Dee Warren begins to give the only real-time challenge to the movement.
  • 1990s-early 2000s Vaduva begins to shift to Emergent/Postmodern/Universalistic concepts & in the process alienates some.
  • 1990s-early 2000s Based on concepts by J.S. Russell, Hampden-Cook & others, Ed Stevens proposes a first-century rapture theory. This theory further splits the movement.
  • 1990s-early 2000s Gary DeMar speaks favorably at hyperpreterist conferences & allows his articles to be posted on hyperpreterist sites as if in support.
  • 2003 Vaduva attempts but fails to trademark the word “preterism” (see link). Threatens to sue several people as if he owns the trademark.
  • 2003-2004 Vaduva & several others force a distorted presentation of Preterism on the opensource encyclopedia – Wikipedia.
  • 2000-2004 Universalism dominates the tone of the movement as Tim King & Vaduva begin promoting universalistic concepts. The stalwarts are virtually silent as the movement shifts to the liberal side.
  • 2004-2008 Many begin to distance themselves from Vaduva’s rabid liberalism & his distorted notions of “freedom” which seem more like his early days in Romania as a street-thug throwing rocks.
  • 2005-2006 Todd Dennis & others begin to openly leave the movement.
  • 2006-2008 Tim Martin, joined later by Jeff Vaughn begin to promote a theory called “Covenant Creationism” where the Genesis/Flood accounts are “apocalypticized” & stripped of cosmological (physical) reality. Adam is called not the first created human but merely the first “covenantal man”. A localized Flood is advocated. This further splits the movement.
  • 2007-2009 Jason Bradfield, the technical brains behind the prop-up so-called “scholar” Sam Frost creates a new community website. Mike Bennett also is considered an administrator. The site specifically is started as a place that is for “well tested theology” – obviously in contrast to the Vaduva era of anything goes.
  • 2008-2009 Frost, propped up by Bradfield’s technical skills becomes for all intents & purposes, the “leader” of the small holdout faction of “pseudo-conservative” hyperpreterists. The Frost/Bradfield site tightly regulates membership & disallows any guest comments.

2009 and BEYOND

Following that re-cap you can see that the hyperpreterist movement has been on an ever fracturing decline – sure new people are coming into the movement, as the Frost/Bradfield site was bragging about 180 members as of Jan 2009 (not even the size of a mid-level congregation) though only about 15 are ever very active which has been typical of all of these hyperpreterist community sites. But the quality of the new people are more & more follower types that must hang on Frost’s every word & look to him to give them guidance.

As 2009 progresses look for the Frost/Bradfield faction to exert its new-found influence yet don’t count Vaduva out just yet – though Vaduva was showing his desperation in Jan 2009 when he went on a tirade against Todd Dennis’ criticism of the movement, he still has an ego that will demand attention.

There is also the “Covenant Creationism” faction of hyperpreterism that I thought would take more advantage of Vaduva’s typical “king-maker” abilities but it appears Martin/Vaughn realize that if they look too comfy with Vaduva, they will tinge their chances of presenting their theories as “conservative”. They are mainly trying to present their Covenant Creationism to Christian OEC (old earth creationists) & trying to slip in the hyperpreterism under the radar.

Other players such as Ed Stevens, Ward Fenley, & Kurt Simmons have more or less been relegated to the fringe. (I pray for these guys to come out of the movement in 2009)

Frost/Bradfield will try to get more “big guns” to sign on or at least, as has been the tactic of Frost try to get them to validate hyperpreterism as merely another eschatological option along side the unified position of 2000 years of Christianity – unfortunately, some fall for it (see link).

Look for 2009 to be the year when there are dramatic shifts in the movement as it flails about, attempting to stay alive. Look for more vocal & bold critics, from former-hyperpreterists & the large numbers of non-formers that are beginning to take on not just the bad & anti-Christian theology of hyperpreterism, but also exposing (Eph 5:11) the bad character within the movement.

The hyperpreterist movement, if not on a numerical decline is certainly on a qualitative decline. Anything that was within it that once drew to it, “scholarly” men & women is now more or less gone & most new-crop hyperpreterists are disenfranchised disdainers of historic Christianity, who spend more time whining about “Woe the Creeds! Woe the Creeds!” as if people are objecting to the movement by using the creeds alone. Frost has effectively become the leader of the pseudo-conservative faction of the cult, so like Vaduva, don’t see either of these guys repenting of hyperpreterism any time soon – they have too much invested. Let the soap opera begin!!!

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