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Beware of Snake-Oil Salesmen

A relatively new kid has come to town and is turning out to be a bully, but a bully of a different sort, who uses the power of the printed word. You have probably seen the type, they come in with their new flashy toys and win a following through intimidation, class status, and salesmanship. I’m talking about Rival Nations, they have moved into the neighborhood with their flashy website and expressive and polished articles. They are very well written in easy to understand, but poisonous language, with plenty of graphics for those who demand visual content. The only problem is they are wrong theologically; they are snake-oil salesmen. They are peddling a theory that is false and dangerous called preterism. Preterism (deriving from the Latin preter, meaning “past”) is an approach to biblical eschatology that understands all prophecies as fulfilled in the first century AD. On the other side of the same coin is “partial preterism,” as the term indicates, understands most biblical prophecy as already fulfilled (the Olivet discourse, Antichrist, the tribulation, the millennium, etc.).

Snake-oil salesmen were known more for their ability to sell you something than to present the truth. The packaging is the most important element of sales. You can have the very best product or it can be snake-oil but if the package isn’t appealing then what’s inside doesn’t matter because no sale is made, thus a pretty web page is important. Snake-oil salesmen hide behind half-truths and innuendos, they imply, insinuate, and divulge only enough to make a sale, and no more, but the package looks great.

Rival Nations has never laid out their theology or even remotely suggested what they believe, they only present a word picture to get their readers to acquiesce to a chain of thought and to read more articles. If you don’t read between the lines you may consume their poison.

If Rival Nations is selling Preterism then why not display their wares in the open so that it can be examined in the light of truth. They do not mention preterism or discuss its value. If Preterism is correct then why do we see end-time prophecy still being methodically fulfilled according to Biblical prophecy, before our very eyes? If Preterism is correct then why hide who these authors are or from where they originate and their associates? The information given by Rival Nations is slanted, untruthful, and badly biased to denigrate opposing beliefs and to present their belief in a muted light. Is this how the truth is to be presented, from the shadows? If they have something of value then present it in full daylight! Anything less than full truthfulness is of this world and just more snake-oil. Why not come into the open?

Preterism is unpopular for a reason and has been proven false many times, it was not accepted by the ante-Nicene Christians and only became current in the last century. Problems with this position include that it does not take the pattern of the New Testament into account, it over-emphasizes some statements in the Gospels to the exclusion of others, and that it does not line up with the timeline of the New Testament documents, our experience of the world, or the theology of the early church. Simply put, “Rival Nations” is snake-oil.

BEWARE!

2 replies on “Beware of Snake-Oil Salesmen”

I had never heard of this group, although their name is somewhat of a red flag. I went to their web site and found an article titled “The World is Getting Better”. I know that I don’t need to read any more…

The site is somewhat new maybe a year old. It started posting on an Anabaptist site I am part of so I responded to them and took a lot of heat, not from the author, but from others who frequent the site. I was not aware that there are quite a few who profess to be preterist, mostly partial, but they are both false. The post that you read was their last post and the one that I specifically took issue with. It is so blatantly false how can anyone get pulled into it? Oh well, these are strange times we live in.

Be safe,

Steve

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