Well, it's that time again . . . time for a McCraney update. . . .
His case is fascinating to me to watch in real time, having been there from what I would consider his public "falling away" moment and tracking the development thereof. It is a case study of what happens when one is not actually submitted to the Lordship of God in all things--when God is not the Lord of one's reasoning, directing it, but instead one's reasoning tries to approach God and His Word from the bottom up, so-to-speak; derived from a humanistic, man-centered advance . . . rather than looking at God as is, as revealed and taking cues from There.
Shawn is now presenting his eschatological views and has managed to find yet another classic heresy to surf around in . . . as if it were something new, unheard of and he is revealing a novel twist on scripture-- "mind-blowing" he promises--apparently again ignorant that Full Preterism has already long been dealt with by The Church (the true, spiritual body of believers) and found wanting.
In essence, Shawn is now suggesting that all the prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled, including that the tribulation, the resurrection of the dead, the 2nd Coming, etc., have already happened in the time of Christ.
Just as his attacks on the doctrine of the Trinity comport with various anti-Christ cults' positions like the Jehovah's Witnesses (his arguments are nearly identical to those of the JW's and "Oneness Pentecostals" . . . and just as his attacks on the doctrine of Election and Predestination (so-called "Calvinism" or "Reformed Theology", which we claim is simply "Biblical") parallel those made by ie., Joseph Smith, JW's, "Holiness/Oneness/Perfectionist", Molinists (Jesuit derived) . . . and just how his attacks on the Reformed understanding of God is practically identical to the accusations and vitriolic calumnies atheists and New Agers shout at the "Christian God" (that he is a moral monster, ie., "what kind of a God would send people to an eternal punishment for simply not worshiping Him!") . . . and just how his arguments for the elevating of man's "free will" above God's mirror the same Jesuit-designed arguments contracted by the Catholic church in response to the Reformation clarion call of the "5 Solas": faith alone, scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, for God's glory alone (where the Catholic Council of Trent contested the Reformation reiterating that there are some things you must do or be to get/maintain salvation) . . . Shawn has once again found himself in the camp of alien religion and philosophy shooting arrows back into the Gospel citadel.
Though Preterism was considered and believed by some going at least back to Eusebius of Caesarea (263-339) . . . it was the Jesuits again attempting to come to the rescue of Rome in the face of the Reformation, who began a systematic design of the theory and sought to promote it to blunt the Reformed accusations that the Church of Rome was the Antichrist church written of in the New Testament. . . .
So, if it's not with the atheists, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the anti-Trinitarian Oneness Pentecostals, Joseph Smith, New Agers, anarchists . . . then you can find Shawn holding hands with the Jesuits and Catholics in his assaults on Biblical, orthodox Christianity. . . .
Which I find disturbing and a constant red flag. . . . It is becoming evermore clear that he will side with almost anyone or any philosophy EXCEPT traditional, Protestant, Reformed Christianity.
While I wouldn't of course say that the Reformed view of all things Biblical and of God is perfect or complete, so far, from all that I've studied and experienced, it is the most accurate and complete and representative of the Truth. Above all--and I admit it's bold to say--I would suggest that resistance to it belies resistance to the Lordship and absolute Sovereignty of God over one's life. When I see someone refusing it so insistently and consistently, I see someone still holding out on full submission; someone still holding on to the idol of self and of man as center of all. . . .
By the way, although it is not an area I have spent a ton of time looking at, all in all I consider myself a "partial Preterist", meaning that I believe some of the things prophesied about "end times" and in the Book of Revelation HAVE already happened . . . and that . . . some have yet to happen. This makes the most sense of some of the statements made by Jesus and the expectation of the apostles of an imminent "coming of the Kingdom" combined with prophecies of certain events that obviously have yet to be.
Another thing I continue to find both astounding and somewhat amusing in the ongoing "case of Shawn McCraney" is his continuous declaration that what he is teaching is somehow NOT doctrine or a system or religion. . . . He regularly attacks orthodox, "evangelical" Christianity as being the "teachings of men" . . . "constructs of men" . . . "tradition" . . . as if HE, while offering his alternative ideas and interpretations is NOT a man . . . NOT offering "doctrine" . . . not espousing a new "religion" (we indeed have here "McCraneyism".) And he is certainly not alone in this tendency; one which fascinates me by its overt hypocrisy and lack of self examination. . . .
These are they who claim to be against "creeds of men" . . . against "the teachings of men" . . . of eschewing "churchianity", "church structure", "religion" . . . while asserting that they only teach "what the Bible says" . . . "just what Jesus actually taught" etc.
Do such not realize that the moment they say, for example "doctrine is not important" that they have just issued a DOCTRINE?! When they say "theology gets away from the plain truth of the Bible" they themselves have just stepped into promoting a certain kind of theology? To say that "theology is not important" is to make a theological statement AND SELF REFUTING!
What actually is happening is that . . . the unsubmitted, the unsurrendered (and I dare suggest still unbeliever). . . does not like certain ramifications or outright statements found in scripture as it conflicts with their own personal notions of how God "ought" to be, ie., if He is a God of "love"--if He, ie., "loves everyone the same" . . . and that person then runs to any and all philosophies and likewise contending views . . . to get around recognizing GOD AS HE IS, asserting God as they WISH Him to be. . . . It still boils down to the same basic rebellion that showed itself in the Garden, though dressed up in all "sincerity" and various Christian language. . . .
One of the profound realizations, however, that I have found in this experience and observation of Shawn's flailing trajectory . . . (and I am grateful for the whole thing, having learned a lot and strengthened my own faith and understanding throughout) . . . is to witness how powerful the truth of the Word IS!, despite we fallen, flawed men and women who seek to learn and extol It/Him.
Although we didn't know it at the time (though clues were starting to appear) early on in our attending of Shawn's Bible "class" . . . in retrospect, and from what he has said since, we now know that he was exegeting and teaching Biblical passages and ideas that he really didn't believe or at least deeply questioned. Nevertheless, the Word is so powerful and resounding in truth in of Itself, that we were greatly benefited and learned a lot of sound Biblical truth! The Spirit was present, undoubtedly as well (though it seemed to tangibly diminish over time, the further he got away from the truth of scripture and began inserting his various pet theories and interpretations.) Ironically, though quite the Arminian (while he denies it, pretending to be beyond and above such "labels") it was from Shawn's explanation of grace that I became firmly convinced of the so-called "Calvinist" view of God's sovereignty and man's lack of ability to do ANYTHING to warrant salvation and being born again!
Shawn is a gifted expositor and the time he put into his sermons, when he was teaching fairly straight orthodoxy, was edifying, enlightening and interesting/entertaining all at once.
Which makes his departure that more alarming, disappointing and potentially disastrous. . . .
Further, we still highly value his daughter Mallory's music, which I think is genius and spiritually gifted, as she puts the Word of scripture to song. . . .
One thing that has become quite evident in watching Shawn's various pastoral adventures . . . is that he is (and he admits it, almost proudly) astonishingly ignorant of much of historic Christian debate, thought, writings, analysis, exegesis etc. where these topics that he is presenting as something novel . . . have long ago been well hashed out, from all sides, by intellects and talents beyond most that are available in these distracted, modern times. . . . He reminds me of those excited times of being a sophomore in high school, sitting around at some party with the more intellectual types, talking and arguing into the night about this or that religious or philosophical idea, as if we had just discovered it. . . . just at the beginning of our youthful seeking paths.
Which is fine . . . if that's where he's at; except that he is put out there as a pastor--as a teacher of the Word, given certain authority and responsibility for those who come under his sway, whether he wants to acknowledge or accept that or not. THIS is the concern--and it is a loving concern, I know, from those of us who have known him and care for his soul and the souls of those he is influencing, and, whether he admits it or not, leading astray!
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