Doctrinal differences concerning
the Biblical interpretation of world history
Eschatology, or the study of end times, ranges from those who believe that Matthew 24 was largely fulfilled in 70 AD (Preterists) to those who believe Matthew 24 has yet to be fulfilled (Futurists). Among those who look to a future fulfillment are scholars who debate the interpretation of the 1000 year reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation 20. These fall into camps of Premillinnialist, Postmillennialist and Amillinnialists. The change over time essay, "A History of Eschatology" (link coming soon but for now see, http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/full.asp?ID=653) presents the basic differences of these viewpoints along with a discussion of the rapture of the church and the Great Tribulation.
The editor of hyperhistory.net strongly affirms the Statement of Faith (http://www.pottersschool.org/tps2004/faithstatement.htm) as published by The Potter's School which offers this course. As for less important matters of doctrine, the editor gently leans toward a pretribulation rapture, followed by the seven years of God’s wrath and then a return to earth for a millennial reign of Christ. As a Christian Zionist the editor sees validity in premillinnial dispensationalism. In the area of soteriology, the editor also leans toward nearly five points of Calvinism.
How does this influence the material on hyperhistory.net?
Hopefully extremely little. Take Calvinism as an example. A student submitted an essay that said, “as fellow sinners and descents of the same patriarch, when we condemn Muslims we condemn ourselves.” The point being that total depravity is universal and only by God’s mercy in showing irresistible grace, are elected Christians any different from non-elected Muslims. The original essay was published after extensive revision by the editor to soften the strong Calvinistic stance. The resulting, “A Biblical Approach to Islam” is less dogmatic than what the original author and even the editor actually believe. In other words, the editor tries to publish material which is acceptable to a broad range of Christian evangelicals.
However, acceptability is not the standard of truth. Although 99% of the essays published would not be offensive to any Christian group, there are a few essays that reflect the editor’s doctrinal bias. The editor specifically states he offers history in “Biblical perspective” rather than “Christian Perspective” because there are so called Christians that, as a group, include extra-biblical sources as part of their doctrine. Roman Catholics, Mormons, and Jehovah Witnesses, may use the “search hyperhistory.net” to find (and avoid) those offending essays which may mention of their organization.
Instruction for student's growth
Since some of the first six weeks of the course treats Israel as a pivotal nation to understand the rise and fall of other nations (such as the Babylonians), then students are introduced to the different understandings of Israel’s importance in the interpretation of historical events such as 70 AD and 1948. Knowing that there is a variety of opinion on covenants made with historical or national Israel and the promises inherited by spiritual Israel (the Church) will help students identify inevitable bias in their peers and teachers when discusing the Middle East. Without promoting any certain eschatology, students taking a course entitled “World History in Biblical Perspective” should expect to be offered the opportunity to learn the distinctive basics of the preterist, dispensational, and various interpretations of the millennial reign and rapture. However, due to the vast scope of world history, only a cursorily introduction is offered for the student to explore on their own beginning with the scriptures noted in the why for week six.
Just as in the interpretation of history students are encouraged to use primary source documents, students are also encouraged to know doctrinal truth by searching the scriptures. As an example, “these [Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Instruction for the instructor's growth
The editor appreciates those who send an email to correct, reprove, and instruct through scripture (1 Tim. 3:16) in the spirit of “as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Although the editor currently leans toward “premillinial dispensationalism”, it may only appear correct to him until cross examined (Proverbs 18:17) by an amillinnialist. There are weakness with each eschatological position. By-the-way, quoting church fathers to bolster one's eschatology really makes little sense in consideration of Paul's comment to his elders at Ephasis, "...of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:29-30). Let only scripture interpret scripture.
His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways than our ways (Isaiah