One of the interesting phenomena I encountered early on in my reading of hyperpreterists was their penchant for offering uninformed opinion. Hyperpreterists, prefer to read their tradition, (hyperpreterism) into the text, (eisegesis) rather than allow the text to speak for itself, (exegesis). They employ pseudo-scholarship when in fact they don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about. A recent example of this behavior can be found here, http://deathisdefeated.ning.com/profiles/blogs/1st-cor-15-51-will-we-all-be-changed-or-won-t-we?xg_source=activity. This is an example of where a layman attempts to wade into the waters of textual criticism.
It appears Mr. Wilkinson realizes, as does his colleague Mr. Duncan McKenzie, it is better to “punt” what Scripture has to say on the resurrection of the self-same body than deal with the implications this truth has to the heretical paradigm he supports. Or perhaps we should rephrase, it appears now Mr. Wilkinson thought it was better to “punt” the issue until he stumbled across a variant reading of 1 Cor. 15:51. Evidently Mr. Wilkinson is of the opinion a variant reading opens the door for him to deny what Scripture explicitly teaches. Mr. Wilkinson denies included within God’s plan of redemption is the body of the believer.
The issue, it would appear, Mr. Wilkinson has, is a serious misunderstanding of the footnote of the NET translation. Evidently Mr. Wilkinson understands the explanation contained in the translators notes provided by the NET for the “the fourth reading” of 1 Cor. 15:51 which explains, “we will not all sleep, but we all will be changed” to mean “the traditional reading”. Rather, the footnote explains that reading “has the best credentials”. Apparently Mr. Wilkinson doesn’t understand the nomenclature, “best credentials” employed within the college of textual criticism. The “credentials” would include several factors not the least of which is the earliest date and most attested.
The simple fact is the reading all the English translations provide is, “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed”. These translations offer this reading not because, at Mr. Wilkinson suggests, this reading is the “tradition” but because it is the best attested by the ancient manuscripts. Philip W. Comfort in his book, “New Testament Text and Translation Commentary, Commentary on the variant readings of the ancient New Testament and how they relate to the major English translations” explains the phrase, “we all will not sleep, but we all will be changed” is found in the vast majority of ancient manuscripts. (pg. 524) And while there are variations of this reading, those variations are attributable to copyist errors and scribe’s attempting to correct what they believed was an inconsistency between the text and history.
Dr. Comfort, commenting on the phrase, “we all will not sleep, but we all will be changed”, points out, “…Most of these readings were known to Jerome, who, commented on the (Epist.119). The most satisfactory solution is to say that they TR [Textus Receptus] WH [Westcott & Hort] NU [Nestle Aland/UBS Greek N.T.] reading (followed by all the English versions) is the reading from which all the others [variants] diverged, whether accidently or intentionally. The first statement of the TR WH NU texts certainly accords with Paul’s presentation of the resurrection – that is, not all believers will have died by the time Christ returns (see 1 Thess 4:15-17). The second statement is affirmed in the very next verse: “we will be changed.” Dr. Comfort goes on to explain, “…since Paul himself died, some scribe(s) may have thought it necessary to make an adjustment to the text. “we all will sleep, but we all will not be changed”(variant 1). This could be interpreted to mean that all human beings will die but only Christians will be transformed.”(pg 525)
The fact of the matter, the phrase Mr. Wilkinson identifies as “tradition” is the best attested phrase which has the most credentials and has earned an “A” rating by those professionals whose profession it is is to evaluate the ancient manuscripts. These professionals are not debating the nature of the resurrection but are solely seeking to determine which text is actually the original. The reason the views of men like Mr. Wilkinson and his colleagues are ignored is because they delve into realms they haven’t a clue about and evidently without attempting to educate themselves on the subject offer wild speculations all in an effort to support their eisegesis. Indeed this fits the description Dr. Roger Olson employs of those who deny Scripture teaches the resurrection of the body. Dr. Olson explains they are, “unsophisticated and biblically semiliterate lay people.” (The Mosaic of Christian Belief, Roger E. Olson, IVP, pg 311)
What should not be lost on the reader is the historical record documenting the inspired text. I trust everyone realizes that for Mr. Wilkinson to have Scriptural support for his view some unknown scribe had to amend the inspired words of the Apostle Paul. Without a variant reading, likely as the result of some guy taking it upon himself to correct what he believed was a mistake authored by Paul, Mr. Wilkinson would not have Scriptural support for his view. Now don’t that beat all, the hyperpreterist position was created by someone overriding what the inspired text actually had to say on the matter. Hey, nothing ever seems to change, this is just another example of hyperpreterists changing the text to fit their pretext.
Therefore it shouldn’t be any wonder when we find men like Duncan McKenzie complain, “I am amazed how much my work has been ignored. ; They say you don’t sell the steak you sell the sizzle. Maybe I need to push the sizzle a bit more…”
The simple fact the opinions of Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. McKenzie have no “sizzle” is because they are not based on sound scholarship. The issue isn’t that their message has not been marketed correctly. No the issue is that their message is based on fundamentally flawed thinking and an inability to honestly deal with what Scripture has to say on the subject.