FAULTY DOCTRINE (Hippity Hoppity)

Originally posted April of 2013, UPDATED with the NET Bible and commentary at the end.

Here is a quick 101 on the history of the Word Faith via GOT QUESTIONS:

The Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon, who studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Mind science (where “name it and claim it” originated) was combined with Pentecostalism, resulting in a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism. Kenneth Hagin, in turn, studied under E. W. Kenyon and made the Word of Faith movement what it is today. Although individual teachings range from completely heretical to completely ridiculous, what follows is the basic theology most Word of Faith teachers align themselves with.

At the heart of the Word of Faith movement is the belief in the “force of faith.” It is believed words can be used to manipulate the faith-force, and thus actually create what they believe Scripture promises (health and wealth). Laws supposedly governing the faith-force are said to operate independently of God’s sovereign will and that God Himself is subject to these laws. This is nothing short of idolatry, turning our faith—and by extension ourselves—into god.

From here, its theology just strays further and further from Scripture: it claims that God created human beings in His literal, physical image as little gods. Before the fall, humans had the potential to call things into existence by using the faith-force. After the fall, humans took on Satan’s nature and lost the ability to call things into existence. In order to correct this situation, Jesus Christ gave up His divinity and became a man, died spiritually, took Satan’s nature upon Himself, went to hell, was born again, and rose from the dead with God’s nature. After this, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to replicate the Incarnation in believers so they could become little gods as God had originally intended.

Following the natural progression of these teachings, as little gods we again have the ability to manipulate the faith-force and become prosperous in all areas of life. Illness, sin, and failure are the result of a lack of faith, and are remedied by confession—claiming God’s promises for oneself into existence. Simply put, the Word of Faith movement exalts man to god-status and reduces God to man-status. Needless to say, this is a false representation of what Christianity is all about. Obviously, Word of Faith teaching does not take into account what is found in Scripture. Personal revelation, not Scripture, is highly relied upon in order to come up with such absurd beliefs, which is just one more proof of its heretical nature.

[….]

The Word of Faith movement is deceiving countless people, causing them to grasp after a way of life and faith that is not biblical. At its core is the same lie Satan has been telling since the Garden: “You shall be as God” (Genesis 3:5). Sadly, those who buy into the Word of Faith movement are still listening to him. Our hope is in the Lord, not in our own words, not even in our own faith (Psalm 33:20-22). Our faith comes from God in the first place (Ephesians 2:8Hebrews 12:2) and is not something we create for ourselves. So, be wary of the Word of Faith movement and any church that aligns itself with Word of Faith teachings.

Here is an example of one verse striped of context via the Word Faith movement:

Geisler & Rhodes opine:

JOSHUA 1:8—Is this verse a key to financial prosperity, as Word-Faith teachers suggest?

MISINTERPRETATION: Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have suc­cess” (NASB). Word-Faith teachers say this verse is a key to financial pros­perity.

CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION: Word-Faith teach­ers are reading a meaning into this verse that is not there. The context of this verse is military, not financial. In fact, finances are nowhere in sight in this entire chapter of Joshua.

In the conquest of the Promised Land, God promised Joshua that his military efforts would prosper if he maintained his commitment to meditate upon and obey God’s Word. The prospering also no doubt includes the full outworking of the land promises that were given uncon­ditionally by God in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3). Later, just before his death, Joshua urged the people to continue living in sub­mission to the Scriptures (Josh. 23:6).

What a healthy view of this Joshua verse is this:

… Sometimes we misunderstand what it means, ‘to succeed’ or ‘to prosper’ which has given rise to a prosperity teaching which places the emphasis on temporal, worldly prosperity rather than eternal spiritual wealth. God may choose to bestow worldly wealth on His children or He may permit the alternative, but the goods and chattel of this world are passing away, and like Paul we need to be content in all things.

What is important, is to know the Word of God, to trust the Word of God, and to apply the Word of God in every circumstance of life, knowing that to do so will lead to success in the Christian life; for all things work together for good to those that love the Lord and trust His Word.

We should read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Word of the Lord. We should study God’s Book of instruction, particularly those passages that relate specifically to the Church, and we should continually feed on His Word in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

We should meditate on His Word, memorize His Word, trust His Word, and love His Word, and we should be sure to obey His Word and apply His Word in our daily lives, for in so doing we will certainly prosper and succeed in all we do, to His praise and glory….

Or s the NET BIBLE rewords a bit:

1:8 This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful.

1:9 I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do.”


Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005), Jos 1:7–9.

A decent extended commentary can be found here to help separate the wheat from the Chaff, as competing theologies fight over interpreting verses:

1:6–9. The second half of God’s speech also begins with two imperatives (“Be strong and courageous”), though these two are effectively synonyms. These imperatives follow logically from the promise of verse 5—if no one could resist Joshua, then there was no basis for fear. Instead, as leader he was to distribute the land that God had sworn to give to their ancestors (adapting phrasing found five times in Deuteronomy). The land is thus simultaneously God’s gift and something to be claimed and allotted. Verse 7 provides a more specific focus for Joshua: He was to be strong and very courageous in carefully observing all the instruction (תּוֹרָה) that God had given through Moses. This was not simply a set of facts to be known but rather a life that was to be lived—and living this life would take effort. Drawing on the common metaphor of life as a journey, the idea is that Joshua should stay on the path that this instruction provides rather than take alternative routes, for this is the means by which he would succeed. This success is related to the task that God had given Joshua, so walking faithfully in the Mosaic instruction was the means by which Joshua could lead the people into the land that God had promised.

Joshua was to meditate (הָגָה) on this instruction. The verb, with a similar promise of success, also occurs in Ps 1:2 and means something like “growl” or “mutter.” This verbal element is more apparent in Ps 2:1, where it is translated “plot.” It is difficult to match this word to a single English verb since “meditate” is often thought of as a silent activity. That the instruction was to be in Joshua’s “mouth” is an idiom that goes naturally with the verb. Thus, he would continue reflecting on its meaning, with such reflection being verbal. This relates to the fact that reading in the ancient world meant reading aloud. In the same way, reflection on it was verbal. But what matters in particular is that Joshua’s life was to be shaped by faithfulness to God’s instruction. At this stage in the book we might think of this as unproblematic, but as the ensuing chapters unfold it becomes clear that Joshua would need to wrestle with the intent of the instruction in order to determine how it was to be applied in a range of circumstances. This would require seeing the instruction as guidance for situations that would be faced rather than as a comprehensive set of rules that could simply be applied. Joshua would need a deep knowledge of God’s instruction, which meant both knowing its content and reflecting on how it could be applied. Therefore, it could not depart from his mouth, because only by continued recitation/meditation could he both know it and understand how to apply it. Psalm 1 then broadens out this possibility for all believers.

God’s speech then concludes with a reminder of the command to be strong and courageous so that Joshua would understand there is no place for fear because Yahweh would go with him. Joshua could succeed and lead his people to success when he understood that his role as a leader was to journey with God, know God’s instruction, and shape his life by it. Success here does not mean something financial but to receive the things that God is giving. We might perhaps think of “success” as flourishing in the life God has prepared—which is the way it is developed in Psalm 1. Here, that flourishing would be military, as Israel received the land God gave.


David G. Firth, JOSHUA, ed. T. Desmond Alexander, Thomas R. Schreiner, and Andreas J. Köstenberger, Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2021), 72–74.

This from CROSS WISE (2011) explaining a bit about the above:

In light of another Calvary Chapel pastor making an appearance on TBN’s Praise-the-Lord program, I thought it apropos to share a tape in my collection of how a Bible believer should behave when invited onto TBN or any of the other errant “Christian” networks. What sort of message is communicated when a solid Bible teacher shares the platform with heretics and does not bring reproof? Certainly it gives the impression that the guest endorses the teaching of the hosts and /or founder of the Christian network.

Some argue that if they can’t go on TBN due to its corruption, then they couldn’t show up on ABC, NBC or CBS either. They don’t understand the distinction between being salt and light to the unsaved world and practicing biblical separation from so-called Christians who are spreading false teaching against Jesus Christ. To the unsaved, we can use their media to spread the Gospel, but to the errant brother we are to bring correction and divide if they do not stop their false teaching. For a proof-text consider 1 Corinthians 5:11:

But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called a brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or ban idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. (NASB)

When Calvary Chapel Albuquerque’s pastor Skip Heitzig went on TBN last week acting like he and his host Phil Munsey were old friends, it was a shame to the spirit of that passage. Phil Munsey and his brother Steve Munsey are two of the most infamous extortioners in the field of Christian television. Munsey has used new age ideas of paradigm shifts and panentheism to spread his unbiblical dominionist views.

In contrast to the compromisers, the late Walter Martin tried to bring correction the last time he made an appearance on TBN. This video tape has never circulated and has not been available anywhere until now that I have posted it to YouTube.

Back in 1985 my younger sister was Martin’s secretary. She and my older sister and I all regularly attended his weekly Bible study. I used to share my research with him and also with my friend author Dave Hunt. Walter and Dave disagreed on many things regarding their styles of apologetics and discernment. Whenever there was a difference of opinion between the two of them, I usually agreed with Dave.

I had had some discussion with Dr. Martin over Dave’s book, The Seduction of Christianity. Walter had been critical about it on the radio having never read it but based his criticisms upon what his personal editor had told him.

One day my older sister was watching Praise-the-Lord when Hal Lindsey was a guest. He was her pastor at that time. Back then Hal used to challenge the teaching of other TBN regulars and Paul Crouch put up with it. However, that got old with the Crouches and when Hal wouldn’t stop criticizing the Kingdom Now doctrine, he was put on the shelf until he learned to kow-tow to them. When my sister heard Hal bring up Walter’s name in the show, Paul and Jan agreed that he was a brilliant man and Hal said you should have him on some time. They both responded – oh sure we will.

So she informed our little sister who told Walter and Walter told her to call TBN and arrange it which she did. However, the Crouches wouldn’t host him so they got prophecy teacher Doug Clark to do so. My younger sister called me on the day of the taping saying that Walter wanted me to go through Dave Hunt’s book, The Seduction of Christianity and highlight things he would be in agreement with. I was happy to do so for him. He used that information to challenge TBN’s blackballing of Dave Hunt and other whistle-blowers.

I stayed home to work the VCR I didn’t know how to program, while my two sisters attended, one in the green room and one in the audience we had stacked with many friends. Walter gave it to them with both barrels. Not only was the program not replayed at its regular slot, but the tapes were not available when people followed up to request one. Back in those days any Praise-the-Lord program could be bought on audio cassette for a small fee. And both Walter Martin and Doug Clark were never invited back. We had heard years later from Doug Clark that during the interview he kept receiving notes from the stage manager telling him to “shut that guy up” and other nasty notes….

An Impromptu Study In Protestant Understanding of “Tradition”

As a related aside, the following two posts of mine marry well to the topic below:

Reading a book on hyper-preterism recently has been a great read. I am a pretty classic “pre-mil” guy, but recently I was watching a vlogcast and the guy started getting into his beliefs that were hyper-preterist. I had studied a bit of preterism in my theological studies… but this guy was saying some crazy, unorthodox, shite. So I got this book to learn more about this foreign viewpoint.

A small sentence from said book got my apologetic blood circulating:

  • Below I will highlight a few danger signals that suggest the we may be witnessing the sprouting of a new unorthodox sect that could eventually blossom into a full-fledged cult. (p. 13)

However, as I am reading through this book, I purchased a used book to follow the footnote a bit more thoroughly.

Wow.

So, I will first give the section in the original book, then the very extended excerpt from the book I got via footnote #175:

“Creeds Are Constantly Revised”

Hyper-preterists attempt to protect themselves from creedal con­demnation by arguing that the creeds are continually being revised. Stevens frequently argues that creeds “are constantly being made obso­lete by an ever better understanding” (CPO). He muses: “If the creeds of the early church were perfect and needed no revision, why were they revised and updated in succeeding councils?” (WICW). And “if the earlier creeds, confessions and catechisms were such infallible bas­tions of orthodoxy, why did the Reformers in various European coun­tries compose new ones or make changes to them?” (RGA). He quotes a statement made by the Reformed historian and social critic Gary North regarding the “progress of Christian creeds,” concluding that “That the creeds have been steadily improved” (RGA). Stevens asks of var­ious theological movements, “Why are even more doctrines constantly being developed today (such as the Reconstructionist movement, etc.)? Doesn’t this tell us something?” (WICW). Noe asks: “After all, if the creeds had it all right, what was the Reformation about?” (BET, 216).

We may quickly dispose of the question “What was the Refor­mation all about?” by referring the reader to the previous objections regarding the Reformation principle and the (alleged) contradictions in creedalism. In addition, I would point out that Davis reminds us that “it is important to realize that the sola scriptura principle did not imply for the Reformers a rejection of all church tradition. They affirmed the value and validity of the ecumenical creeds of the early church, and in fact believed that the weight of patristic authority supported the Reformed cause.”175 In fact, in section 4 of his “Prefatory Address to King Francis” in his Institutes, Calvin writes of his papal opponents: “It is a calumny to represent us as opposed to the Fathers (I mean the ancient writers of a purer age), as if the Fathers were supporters of their impiety. Were the contest to be decided by such authority (to speak in the most moderate terms), the better part of the victory would be ours.”

However, the hyper-preterist argument is not just confused; its entire premise is mistaken. The creeds were not revised because of a change in the understanding of biblical doctrine; rather, they were expanded to include additional details that responded to new heresies. The later creeds left the system of truth unchanged, but the volume of truth declared was expanded. Ursinus writes: “Why were other creedsformed and received in the church after the Apostles’ creed? To this we would reply, that these are not properly other creeds differing in substance from the Apostles’ creed, but are merely a repetition and clearer enunciation of its meaning, in which some words are added, by way of explanation, on account of heretics, who took advantage of its brevity, and corrupted it.”176

Thus, it is absurd to allege that creeds are “constantly being made obsolete” (CPO). The newer material did not render the previous the­ology “obsolete,” but rather filled in more details. This is why, for instance, John Calvin could structure much of his discussion in the Institutes around the Apostles’ Creed. He agreed with it even at this much later stage of theological development. In the introduction to the McNeill edition of the Institutes, we read: “The body of the trea­tise of 1536 consists of six chapters. Four are on topics familiar in the history of Christian instruction and then recently employed in Luther’s Catechisms: the Law, the [Apostles’] Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.”177


  1. John Jefferson Davis, Foundations of Evangelical Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 226.
  2. Ursinus, Commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism, 117-18.
  3. Calvin: Institutes, ed. McNeill, 1:xxxv-xxxvi.

Keith A. Mathison, ed., When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response To Hyper-Preterism (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004), 55-56.

After finding and reading the portion from Dr. Davis’ book, I loved the surrounding topic so much that I ended up reading the entire chapter (seven) where the quote was pulled from:

Tradition As Theological Authority

It was a great reading on Protestant tradition compared to the Catholic view.

So, here is footnote #175 expanded quite a bit. I will also expand a bit more footnote #176 as well. Both quotes from the source will be emphasized in the larger excerpts

  • PRO-TIP: I will put links in the footnote numbers, if you click it it will “jump” you to either the first-half of the notes, or the second half. Hit the back arrow in your browser to return to your place in the text.

John Jefferson Davis,
Foundations of Evangelical Theology
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 226-243.


Tradition in Protestantism

Sola scriptura and the Reformation

The principle of sola scriptura, a hallmark of the Protestant Re­formers, emerged in Luther’s debate with Johann Eck at Leipzig in 1519. Luther argued that scripture and scripture alone was to be the standard by which councils, creeds, and all ecclesiastical traditions were to be measured. In the seventeenth century the principle was epitomized in the well-known statement of the Eng­lishman William Chillingworth: “The Bible, I say, the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants.”5

Luther was not the first to voice this “Protestant” principle. John Wyclif, one of the forerunners of the Reformation in England, stated, “Even though there were a hundred popes and though every men­dicant monk were a cardinal, they would be entitled to confidence only in so far as they accorded with the Bible.” As J. Loserth has noted, “In this early period it was Wyclif who recognized and formulated the formal principle of the Reformation—the unique authority of the Bible for the belief and life of the Christian.”6

The authorities of the late medieval church did not appreciate the reforming spirit of John Wyclif and his criticisms of the papal system. After his death the Council of Constance (1414-18) de­clared Wyclif to be a stiff-necked heretic, ordered his books to be burned and his body exhumed. This last decree was carried out some twelve years later under the authority of Pope Martin V. Wyclif’s body was dug up, burned, and the ashes thrown into the Swift River flowing through Lutterworth, England.

It is important to realize that the sola scriptura principle did not imply for the Reformers a rejection of all church tradition. They affirmed the value and validity of the ecumenical creeds of the early church, and in fact believed that the weight of patristic authority supported the Reformation cause. As Calvin stated the point, “If the contest were to be determined by patristic authority, the tide of victory—to put it very modestly—would turn to our side.” The Reformers were convinced that it was the papacy, and not they, who in fact had departed from the early Christian tradition. Later historical scholarship has confirmed this judgment.7

Sola scriptura meant the primacy of scripture as a theological norm over all tradition rather than the total rejection of tradition. Creeds, confessions, and councils were to be received insofar as they were consistent with scripture. The sola scriptura principle also presupposed the essential clarity of scripture. The central saving message of the Bible was plain enough to be understood by all and needed no priestly hierarchy to explain it. The Holy Spirit, and not the Roman hierarchy, was the true illuminator of scriptural truth. This Reformation principle of the perspicuity of scripture was later articulated in classic fashion in the Westmin­ster Confession of Faith’s chapter on scripture: “All things in Scrip­ture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and ob­served, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them” (I.vii).

This Reformation emphasis on the perspicuity of scripture has unfortunately been lost in some streams of later Protestantism. Luther complained about the “Babylonian captivity of the church;” with the rise of the historical-critical method there is some reason to be concerned about a “Babylonian captivity of the Bible” at the hands of the biblical critics. Many lay people in the churches have been alienated from the simple biblical message by the imposing developments of critical scholarship.8 By stressing the diversity or even “contradictions” of scripture, critical scholarship has ob­scured the essential clarity of the Bible’s saving message.

In a dialogue at Harvard Divinity School on liberal and evan­gelical theology, Gordon Kaufman stated his belief in the Bible’s obscurity. “There are many biblical positions on almost any topic you wish to take up,” he said. “The Bible is a pluralist library of books, of theological ideas, of values, of points of view. What the biblical position is is unclear. … Even if we could find the biblical position, how to interpret this as bearing on our situation is unclear.”9

It indeed seems ironic that the brand of Protestant liberalism represented by Kaufman has essentially reverted to the position of the late medieval Roman Catholic Church on the question of scripture. The message of the Bible is not plain; it must be me­diated to the people through either an ecclesiastical or scholarly elite. The result in both cases—Catholicism and Protestant mod­ernism—is a loss of spiritual vitality in the churches and the usur­pation of scripture’s divine authority by various human authorities.10

American Protestantism

American Protestantism has not been noted for its appreciation of church tradition. Thomas Jefferson once remarked, “As to tra­dition, if we are Protestants, we reject all tradition, and rely on the scripture alone, for that is the essence and common principle of all the Protestant churches.”11 Such comments need to be under­stood in the light of Jefferson’s own Unitarian and otherwise het­erodox views, but they are illustrative of a significant element in the American religious temperament. The streams of Protestantism influenced by deism and rationalism tended to appeal directly to the moral teachings of Jesus; later developments in church history—especially the great orthodox creeds—were an “obfusca­tion” of the simple religion of the Sermon on the Mount. As the English Unitarian Joseph Priestly saw it, church history was little more than a “sordid history of corruptions.”

Historian Kenneth S. LaTourette has noted the marked tendency of nineteenth-century American Protestants “to ignore the devel­opments which had taken place in Christianity in the Old World after the first century.”12 This low view of tradition is understand­able in part in view of the frontier conditions of early American experience. For those who came to America, and who later extended its boundaries in the West, the nation represented a new beginning, even a “new Eden.” Why encumber the new religious venture with the strife and controversy of the European past?

This ahistorical mentality was also reinforced by the revivalism of the nineteenth century. If the spiritual experience of the New Testament church could be reduplicated through the agency of revival preaching, what more could the believer need? Why bother with the ancient creeds? This anti-creedal mentality found expres­sion in the work of frontier revivalist Barton Stone (1772-1844). Stone was ordained as a Presbyterian, but later rejected Calvinism and in 1804 established the Christian Church (“Disciples of Christ”) through his preaching in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The Disciples of Christ were associated with the slogan, “No creed but the Bible.” Eighteen hundred years of church history were of little or no value; Stone had rediscovered the true “New Testament church.”

There is undeniable value in reaffirming the theology and prac­tice of the New Testament as an essential element of church re­form. However, the problem in rejecting all church history and tradition is that the reflections of less gifted minds tend to be substituted for the wisdom of the spiritual and theological giants of the past. Evangelicals can affirm the primacy of scripture with­out implying that the Holy Spirit has taught nothing to the church over nineteen hundred years. A slogan such as “No creed but the Bible” does not really eliminate all church tradition; it merely sub­stitutes new traditions—those of the denominational leader and his followers—for older ones.13 Anti-creedal and anti-traditional attitudes can lead, theologically and ecclesiastically, to counter­productive efforts that merely “reinvent the wheel.”

Recent developments

There are signs that American evangelicalism is seeking a greater appreciation of the traditions and liturgies of the early church. In Common Roots: A Call to Evangelical Maturity, Robert E. Webber of Wheaton College argues that “a return to the historic church, to the great fathers of the first five centuries, is a return to evangelical foundations.”14 Evangelicalism is certainly rooted in the Refor­mation of the sixteenth century and the great revival movements of the nineteenth century, but Webber is urging his fellow evan­gelicals to rediscover their roots in the faith and life of the ancient church. He argues that evangelical understandings of the nature of the church, of worship, of spirituality, of mission, and of theo­logy can all be strengthened through a new study and appreci­ation of the patristic heritage.

In May of 1977 a group of some forty-five evangelical leaders met to draft a statement which came to be known as the “Chicago Call.” The results of this conference, together with explanatory essays, was published in 1978 in a volume titled The Orthodox Evangelicals, edited by Robert E. Webber and Donald Bloesch, which affirmed: “We believe that today evangelicals are hindered from achieving full maturity by a reduction of the historic faith.There isa pressing need to reflect upon the substance of the biblical and historic faith and to recover the fullness of their heri­tage.”15 The drafters of the statement sought to recall their fellow evangelicals to a greater sense of “historic roots and continuity,” “biblical fidelity,” “creedal identity,” “holistic salvation,” “sacramen­tal integrity,” “spirituality,” “church authority,” and “church unity.”

The new interest in the theological and liturgical heritage of the early church is not limited to evangelicals. Thomas C. Oden, a professor of theology at Drew University, has chronicled his own personal pilgrimage from theological liberalism back to “classical Christianity” in Agenda for Theology. Liberal theology’s fascination with and subservience to the “modern mind” has reached the end of its tether, Oden concludes. It has become intellectually barren and spiritually and pastorally unsatisfying. Consequently, it is time for liberal Protestantism in America to rediscover the resources of classical Christianity–“the ancient ecumenical consensus of Christianity’s first millennium, particularly as expressed in scrip­ture and in the Seven Ecumenical Councils affirmed by Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox traditions.” Oden’s aim is to “help free persons from feeling intimidated by modernity, which . . . is rap­idly losing its moral power, and to grasp the emerging vision of a postmodern Christian orthodoxy.”16

The new appreciation for the patristic heritage among evangel­icals (and those newly sympathetic to evangelicalism) is an encouraging sign in the life of American Protestantism. While the early church can hardly be considered a model of either theolog­ical or spiritual perfection, nevertheless the new interest in patristics offers evangelicals some much needed historical depth and perspective. The early fathers faced a challenge much like our own—preserving and extending the Christian faith in a declining social order permeated by a decadent humanism. As evangelicals attempt to “recontextualize” the faith to meet changing social con­ditions, and to reconstruct a new social order on biblical foun­dations, there is much to be learned from the fathers of the early church.

In a somewhat different context the work of Brevard Childs in Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, also represents a renewed appreciation for the positive role of tradition in American Protestantism. Childs argues that Old Testament scholarship must take more seriously the canonical shape of the biblical text as it has actually been mediated through the life of the religious com­munities which have preserved it. The dominant tendency of older critical scholarship was to virtually bypass the canonical text as a literary whole in its own right in a search for the (hypothetical) sources and documents behind the text. On the contrary, Childs argues, where the actual text of the Old Testament is concerned, “One begins with the tradition and then seeks critically to under­stand it.”17 This emphasis has the value of recognizing the tradi­tional role that the text played in the life of Israel as a religious community; the Old Testament becomes more than merely a text studied in the abstraction of a modern academic setting. The shape of the canonical text, reflecting actual religious traditions, also provides helpful clues for understanding the thematic unity of scripture as over against the fragmenting approaches of nine­teenth-century scholarship.

Beyond the confines of biblical and theological scholarship there are signs of renewed interest in the role of tradition in the knowing process among twentieth-century philosophers. The German phi­losopher Hans-Georg Gadamer has recently issued sharp criti­cisms of the Enlightenment’s rejection of tradition in a quest for secular, self-grounded certitude. This quest, Gadamer believes, has not been successful. In ‘Ruth and Method, widely read by biblical and theological scholars for its insights in the area of hermeneu­tics, Gadamer argues that tradition is in fact the “horizon” within which we do our thinking. The process of human understanding involves placing oneself “within a process of tradition in which past and present are constantly fused.”18 Tradition is the embod­iment of the linguistic and intellectual heritage of a culture; one can no more think without the influence of tradition than one can think without language.

Michael Polanyi has written that “all mental life by which we surpass the animals is evoked in us as we assimilate the articulate framework of our culture.”19 Or again, “Human thought grows only within language and since language can exist only in a society, all thought is rooted in society.”20 Polanyi is arguing that the precon­ditions of all human knowledge are found in the linguistic heritage of a culture, a heritage which is traditional in nature.

A similar point was made by Ludwig Wittgenstein in the Phil­osophical Investigations, when he stated that the linguistic prac­tices of a community become conditions through which we see the world.21 These observations by Gadamer, Polanyi, and Witt­genstein, based on new insights in the philosophy of language, help to correct the Enlightenment’s rejection of tradition and to restore to its rightful place the role of the intellectual labors of the past in the knowledge and discoveries of the present.

Tradition in Roman Catholicism

Early positions

Tradition plays a more prominent and authoritative role in Ro­man Catholic theology than in evangelical Protestantism. At the Second Vatican Council it was stated that “it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the church draws her certainty about every­thing which has been revealed. … Both sacred tradition and sa­cred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence,” (Documents of Vatican H, p. 117).

This position, however, represents a long process of development in Roman Catholicism away from an earlier one in which scripture was granted clear primacy over all church tradition. Prior to the fourteenth century the church fathers and medieval theologians generally held that the Bible was the unique and sole source of divine revelation. Aquinas, for example, could state that “arguments from scripture are used properly and carry necessity in matters of faith; arguments from other doctors of the church are proper, but carry only probability; for our faith is based on the revelation given to the apostles and prophets who wrote the ca­nonical books of the scriptures and not on revelation that could have been made to other doctors” (Summa Theologica 1.1,8).

In late medieval theology, however, the theologians begin to speak of church tradition as that which authorizes scripture. Duns Scotus, for example, claimed that the “books of the holy canon are not to be believed except insofar as one must first believe the church which approves and authorizes those books and their con-tent.”22 This latter formulation represents a clear denial of what came to be known during the Reformation as the principle of the self-attesting authority and essential clarity of scripture.

Rent and later developments

In response to the challenge of the Reformers’ sofa scriptura principle the Roman Catholic position on tradition as it had de­veloped in the medieval church was officially formulated at the Council of Trent in 1546. “Following, then, the example of the orthodox Fathers,” the council declared, “it receives and venerates with the same piety and reverence all the books of both the Old and New Testaments—for God is the author of both—together with all traditions concerning faith and morals, for they came from the mouth of Christ or are inspired by the Holy Spirit and have been preserved in continuous succession in the Catholic Church” (Denz. 1501).

The position of Trent was reiterated by the First Vatican Council in 1870, called to bolster Catholicism against the challenge of mod­ernism. On the matter of revelation and tradition, this council declared that “this supernatural revelation, according to the uni­versal belief of the church, declared by the Sacred Synod of Trent, is contained in the written books and unwritten traditions which have come down to us” (Denz. 3006). Again, the reference to the “universal belief of the church” is an assertion that can hardly be sustained by careful historical examination of the patristic sources.

The Second Vatican Council (1963-65) attempted to soften the distinction between scripture and tradition as it had been devel­oped at Trent and at Vatican I. According to this most recent coun­cil, “Sacred tradition and sacred scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God. … Both . .. flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end” (Documents of Vatican II, p. 117).

Vatican II was faced with an intramural Catholic debate be­tween two opposing views of scripture and tradition, prompted by revisionist interpretations of the meaning of the Council of Trent.23 The “two-source” view held that Trent had really under­stood scripture and tradition as separate and independent sources of revelation; the “one-source” view held that scripture alone, as interpreted by the church’s tradition, was the sole source of rev­elation, and that this view had been the real intention of Trent. As Wells has pointed out, the revisionist “one-source” interpretation of Trent lacks credibility in that it is in fact quite new. For three centuries after Trent, Roman Catholics understood that council to support a two-source view. This seemed especially clear during the nineteenth century.24 Vatican II did not resolve the debate but left the precise relationship between scripture and tradition some­what open. It did, however, wish to claim both as forms of divine revelation.

Some recent Roman Catholic scholars—e.g., Karl Rahner (The Vatican Council) and Hans Kling (Justification) —have spoken of the Bible as the “primary” and “unique” source of revelation. While such expressions may signify a greater appreciation of the Refor­mational sola scriptura principle, their critical views of scripture and appeals to “church consciousness” as a source of theological authority prevent any simple identification of their views with those of the Reformers.

Characteristic Roman Catholic traditions

Three Roman Catholic traditions in particular are held to be divinely revealed doctrines essential for salvation and represent special obstacles for Protestant-Catholic relations: the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary; the dogma of papal infallibility; and the dogma of the bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. All three dogmas lack credible biblical and his­torical support.

The way for the proclamation of the dogma of the immaculate conception in 1854 by Pius IX had been prepared years earlier. In an encyclical letter to the Roman Catholic bishops of February 2, 1849, Pius IX had expressed his own zealous veneration of Mary: “You know full well, venerable brethren, that the whole ground of our confidence is placed in the most holy Virgin, since God has vested in her the plenitude of all good, so that henceforth, if there be in us any hope, if there be any grace, if there be any salvation, we must receive it solely from her, according to the will of him who would have us possess all through Mary.”25

Pius IX officially proclaimed the dogma on December 8, 1854, at St. Peter’s in Rome, with over two hundred cardinals, bishops, and other ecclesiastical dignitaries present, declaring it to be a divinely revealed dogma, to be firmly believed by all the faithful on penalty of excommunication, “that the most blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a special grace and privilege of Almighty God, in virtue of the merits of Christ, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin.” Schaff describes the response of those present at the papal proclamation: “The shouts of the assembled multitude, the cannons of St. Angelo, the chimes of all the bells, the illumination of St. Peter’s dome, the splendor of gorgeous feasts, responded to the decree. Rome was intoxicated with . . . enthusiasm, and the whole Roman Catholic world thrilled with joy over the crowning glory of the immaculate queen of heaven, who would now be more gracious and powerful in her intercession than ever, and shower the richest blessings upon the Pope and his church.”26

For biblical support of the dogma Roman Catholic apologists cite Gen. 3:15; Song of Sol. 4:7; 12; and Luke 1:28, but none of these texts will bear the weight that is placed upon them. The citation of Gen. 3:15 from the Vulgate (“she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt assail her heel”) is based on a mistranslation of the Hebrew, which makes the reference masculine, not feminine. In the Catholic misinterpretation, which refers the “she” to Mary, it is argued that the enmity between Mary and Satan is an eternal one, which would not be the case if she had ever been subject to original sin. Poetic descriptions of the fair and spotless bride (Song of Sol. 4:7) and references to the “garden enclosed, and fountain sealed” are fancifully applied to Mary. The Vulgate of Luke 1:28, “Hail [Mary], full of grace,” is said to imply her immaculate conception. Schaff’s comment on this type of biblical interpretation is apt: “frivolous allegorical trifling with the Word of God.”27 The dogma is explicitly contradicted by texts such as Rom. 5:12, 18; 1 Cor. 15:22; and Eph. 2:3, which include all in original sin except Christ.

The dogma’s rootage in ancient tradition is equally weak. Au­gustine, who surprisingly believed that Mary was free from actual sin, did not believe that she was conceived without original sin. The heretic Pelagius was apparently the first to espouse the doc­trine. It was opposed by Bernard of Clairvaux, Anselm of Can­terbury, Bonaventure, Aquinas,28 the popes Leo I, Gregory I Innocent III, Gelasius I, Innocent V, and Clement VI.

At the beginning of the fourteenth century the dogma was ad­vocated by Duns Scotus, the “subtle doctor.” During the medieval period the belief became common in the church that though Mary was conceived in sin, she was sanctified in the womb like John the Baptist, and thus prepared to be a pure receptacle for the Son of God. Others, however, held the view that Mary was fully sanc­tified only when she conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit, not at the time of her own conception.

After the fourteenth century the question of Mary’s relation to original sin became a point of controversy between Thomists and Scotists, and between Dominicans and Franciscans, the various parties charging one another with heresy. Schaff notes that four members of the Dominican order, “who were discovered in a pious fraud against the Franciscan doctrine, were burned [at the stake] by order of a papal court in Rome on the eve of the Reformation. The Swedish prophetess, St. Birgitte, was assured in a vision by the Mother of God that she was conceived without sin; while St. Catherine of Siena prophesied for the Dominicans that Mary was sanctified in the third hour after her conception.”29

Needless to say, such accounts do not bolster confidence in the credibility of the dogma of the immaculate conception. A candid examination of the exegetical and historical data reveals the in­adequacy of their claims.

The doctrine of papal infallibility, also proclaimed by Pius IX, was officially defined on July 18, 1870, at the climax of the First Vatican Council, meeting at the Vatican in Rome. The dogma as­serted that the Roman pontiff, when speaking from his chair (X cathedra) on faith and morals, is infallible, and that such defini­tions are irreformable and not in consequence of the consent of the church. The pope on his own authority claimed the authority to define new and binding articles of faith, apart from either scrip­ture or general council.

The arrangements for the Vatican Council had been carefully orchestrated by Pius IX to secure a vote in favor of infallibility. The pope had selected the committee members responsible for pre­paring the draft reports in such a way as to secure the pre­ponderance of infallibilist sentiment. A revised order of business issued February 22, 1870, changed the traditional procedure re­quiring absolute or at least moral unanimity in definitions of faith and substituted for it a new rule requiring a mere numerical ma­jority. The ancient rule of catholic tradition (quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditum est) was abandoned in order to secure a positive vote for infallibility despite the objections of a powerful minority. The pope also sought to control public opinion in Rome. Nothing was allowed to be printed in Rome during the council which opposed infallibility, while the proponents of the proposed dogma were given the full freedom to publish whatever they wished.

When Bishop Strossmayer, one of the most outspoken members of the opposition, during one of the debates criticized the prin­ciple of deciding matters of faith by mere majority votes, he was loudly interrupted by shouts from all sides of “Shame! Shame! Down with the heretic!” Other bishops leaped from their seats, rushed to the speaker’s platform, and shook their fists in Strossmayer’s face. The bishop was forced by the uproar to leave the platform.30

In a preliminary vote on infallibility eighty-eight bishops voted in the negative, including many distinguished for their learning and scholarship. Later, fifty-six of these and sixty others left Rome before the final vote was taken, rather than oppose Pius IX. As a result, when the final vote was taken on July 18, 1870, the new dogma of infallibility received an overwhelming vote of 533-2.

The procedural chicanery resorted to at the First Vatican Coun­cil reflects the intrinsic weakness of the arguments in favor of papal infallibility. The dogma is supported by the evidence of nei­ther scripture nor tradition. The evidence of church tradition and history is decidedly embarrassing to the dogma. The four great ecumenical creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, Chalcedonian, Athanasian) and the ecumenical councils of the first eight centuries have no references whatever to papal infallibility. In terms of the canon of true catholicity, “that which always, everywhere, and by all has been believed,” this lack of evidence alone is a decisive strike against the doctrine.

One of the most damaging pieces of historical evidence, how­ever, involves the famous case of Pope Honorius I (625 — 638), who was later officially condemned for teaching heresy by an ecumen­ical council. As Schaff has pointed out,31 Honorius, in two letters to his heretical colleague Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople, taught ex cathedra the Monothelite heresy, which was condemned by the sixth ecumenical council in 680.32 This council was rec­ognized as valid by both the Western (Latin) and Eastern (Greek) branches of the church. The council condemned and excommun­icated Honorius as a heretic, and the seventh (787) and eighth (869) ecumenical councils repeated the anathemas of the sixth.

Subsequent popes down to the eleventh century, in a solemn oath upon their accession to the office, endorsed the canons of the sixth ecumenical council and pronounced an anathema on the authors of the Monothelite heresy together with Pope Honorius, who had aided and abetted the doctrine. The Roman Cath­olic popes themselves for more than three hundred years publicly recognized the facts that an ecumenical council may condemn a pope for heresy and that Pope Honorius was actually and right­fully so condemned.

Schaff remarks that the case of Honorius is “as clear and strong as any fact in church history.”33 Attempts by infallibilists to claim that the records of the councils or the letters of Honorius are forgeries are simply desperate expedients, without historical cred­ibility, to avoid the weight of the damaging evidence. The decisive fact remains, states Schaff, “that both Councils and Popes for sev­eral hundred years believed in the fallibility of the Pope, in flat contradiction to the Vatican Council.”34

The doctrine of papal infallibility is also discredited by the fact that forged documents were used during the Middle Ages to ad­vance the interests and power of the papacy. The Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, supposedly compiled by Isidore of Seville (d. 636), are now recognized to contain forged materials. The decretals contain letters of ante-Nicene popes, all forgeries; canons of councils, mostly genuine; letters from later popes, thirty-five of which are forgeries. The decretals were intended to help free the bishops from the authority of the secular powers and to exalt the papacy. These documents, unknown before 852, contain obvious historical anachronisms, such as the use of the Vulgate in the decretals of the earliest popes. The obviousness of these historical errors has led even Roman Catholic scholars to acknowledge their spurious nature.

The so-called “Donation of Constantine” was also used to ad­vance the claims of the papacy. This document, which was fabri­cated during the eighth or ninth century, probably in the Frankish empire, had a wide influence during the Middle Ages. According to this forgery, the Emperor Constantine supposedly conferred on Pope Sylvester I (314 — 335) primacy over the churches of Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, and dominion over all Italy, including Rome. The Donation made the pope supreme judge of all clergy. The document was apparently first used to support papal claims in 1054 by Leo IX, and was thereafter consistently used by his successors. The Renaissance scholars Nicholas of Cusa and Lorenzo Valla demonstrated its falsity during the fifteenth century.

The biblical texts cited in support of papal infallibility are as unimpressive as the evidence of church history and tradition. Most commonly cited are Matt. 16:18 (“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”); Luke 22:32 (“I have prayed for thee, that thy faith may not fail”—paraph. of luv); John 21:15 —17 (“Feed my lambs…. Feed my sheep”). Of these, Matt. 16:18 is the most important.

With respect to Matt. 16:18, Protestants have seen the “rock” as Peter’s confession and ultimately as Christ himself. Peter acknowl­edges Christ as the “rock” or “stone”: “Come to him, that living stone” (1 Peter 2:4); cf. Eph. 2:20, the household of God “built upon the foundation of the prophets and the apostles [Peter not unique], Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.”

In Matt. 16:19 Christ says to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Note, however, that the “power of the keys” is given to all the apostles, not just Peter, according to John 20:22-23: “He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” And according to Matt. 18:17-18 the power of excommunication is exercised by the church as a whole, not by a single individual.

While Peter was certainly eminent as a leader in the early church, Matt. 16:18 and the related texts teach neither Peter’s infallibility nor Christ’s intention to establish a succession of infallible teach­ers. Significantly, when the comments of the church fathers on Matt. 16:18 are examined, it is striking that not one finds papal infallibility in the passage. Sixteen take the reference to the “rock” to mean Christ; forty-four, including Chrysostom, Ambrose, Hilary, Jerome, and Augustine, understand the “rock” to refer to Peter’s faith or confession. The “unanimous consent of the fathers”—a hermeneutical norm for Roman Catholicism in matters of inter­pretation—is on this point simply nonexistent.

It is claimed that the popes, as the successors of Peter, are the true successors of the apostles. The “apostolic successors” of today, however, lack the essential qualifications of a true apostle, as specified in the New Testament. One must have been a witness to the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 9:1, “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?”; cf. Acts 1:21-22). A true apostle pos­sesses the power of performing miracles (2 Cor. 12:12; Rom. 15:18-19). The popes lack both qualifications.

The final Roman Catholic doctrinal tradition to be considered here is the dogma of the assumption of Mary into heaven. Pope Pius XII, on November 1, 1950, solemnly described what was be­lieved to be the crowning event of the Virgin’s life. In the papal proclamation Munificentissimus Deus the pope defined it to be an article of the Roman faith that the “immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” The language here teaches the perpetual virginity of Mary as well.

Belief in the assumption of Mary is reflected in apocryphal tra­ditions dating from about 400. The legend of the assumption was accepted as true by Pseudo-Dionysius and by Gregory the Great. Gregory relates the account thus: The apostles were assembled in the house of Mary to watch at her deathbed; Jesus appeared with the angels, received her soul, and gave it to the archangel Michael. On the following day the apostles were about to carry the body to the grave; Jesus again appeared and took Mary’s body up in a cloud into heaven, there to be reunited with her soul. John of Damascus relates the legend in yet a more elaborate form: Not only the angels but the patriarchs were present with the apostles at the deathbed; even Adam and Eve were there, blessing Mary for removing the curse which through them came upon the world.

As Hanson has observed, if the dogma involves belief in a his­torical fact, “it is a fact wholly unknown to the writers of the second and third centuries.”35 In other words, the dogma’s his­torical claims to be apostolic are nonexistent.

About the year 600 the emperor Maurice ordered the feast of the assumption to be celebrated in the Eastern church, fixing the date as August 15. About the same time Gregory the Great fixed the same date for the Latin church, where previously it had been celebrated on January 18.

At the First Vatican Council over two hundred bishops expressed a desire for a papal decree making the assumption an article of Roman faith. This desire was finally granted eighty years later by the pronouncement of Piux XII.

As to the possible biblical basis for this dogma, one Catholic scholar has admitted that there “is no explicit reference to the Assumption in the Bible.”36 Attempts have been made to relate the assumption to the doctrine of the resurrection, where sin and the sting of death are overcome in the victory of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:53-57). Mary, being free from sin, presumably “anticipated” the final resurrection victory of all believers in her assumption into heaven. Referring to Luke 1:28, “Hail [Mary], full of grace,” Pius IX suggested that the fullness of grace bestowed upon the Virgin was only finally achieved by her assumption. Perhaps Rev. 12:1, the description of the great sign in the heavens, a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and head crowned with twelve stars, has some reference to Mary as well as to the church. Mary as the “New Eve” in some sense shared in the re­demptive mission of Christ. “Christian intuition, guided by the Holy Spirit,” writes Langlinais, “gradually came to see that Mary’s share in Christ’s victory over sin began with her conception in a state free from all sin (the state in which Eve was created), and ended with her miraculous Assumption (an immunity from death and corruption which Eve enjoyed until the Fall).”37

Such references to the biblical data can have no claim to be recognized as serious historical-grammatical exegesis. “Christian intuition”—in this case, the vagaries of grass-roots piety—has led away from the teachings of the New Testament, obscured the su­premacy and uniqueness of the redemptive work of Christ, con­fused legend with historical fact, and placed the most serious obstacles in the path of Roman Catholic—Protestant relations. Evangelicals can learn much from a tradition of the patristic church, but can in no way compromise, in matters of doctrinal authority, the sola scriptura principle of the Protestant Reforma­tion. The Bible, and the Bible alone, must remain the final written authority for Christian faith and practice.

FOOTNOTES

  1. F.F. Bruce, Tradition Old and New, p. 168.
  2. Loserth, “Wyclif, John,” p. 463.
  3. E.g., it is interesting to note that the church father most frequently cited by Calvin in the Institutes is Augustine, the great exponent of divine grace and predestination.
  4. Recall the comments made in relation to James Smart’s The Strange Silence of the Bible in the Church in Chapter 6.
  5. Priscilla Whitehead and Tom McAlpine, “Evangelical/Liberal Theology—a False Dichotomy?” p. 10.
  6. In the Harvard dialogue (1981) Kaufman prefaced his remarks by saying, “I am just speaking for myself.” This is indeed the Achilles’ heel of Protestant modernism: it speaks not by the authority of the Bible or tradition; it speaks merely “for itself.”
  7. Sidney E. Mead, “Protestantism in America,” p. 293.
  8. Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, vol. IV, p.428.
  9. Ably pointed out by F. F. Bruce in Tradition Old and New.
  10. Robert E. Webber, Common Roots, p.22.
  11. Robert E. Webber and Donald Bloesch, eds., The Orthodox Evangelicals, 11.
  12. Thomas C. Oden, Agenda for Theology, xii.
  13. Brevard Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 101.
  14. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Puth and Method, 258.
  15. Michael Polanyi, The Study of Man, 31.
  16. Ibid., p.60.
  17. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 116.
  18. Donald G. Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, I, p. 57.
  19. See G. C. Berkouwer, The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism, 89 —111; A. N. S. Lane, “Scripture, Tradition and Church: An Historical Survey”
  20. David F. Wells, “Tradition,” p. 59.
  21. Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, I, pp.108-9.
  22. Ibid., p.110.
  23. Ibid., p.115.
  24. Aquinas, however, did believe that Mary, like John the Baptist, was sanctified in the womb after the infusion of the soul.
  25. Schaff, Creeds, 1:124.
  26. Ibid., p.145, n.2.
  27. Ibid., pp. 178-80.
  28. The Monothelites held that Christ had only one will, the divine. The orthodox position is that Christ had two wills, a human and a divine—will being an attribute of the nature rather than of the person. The Logos, the second person of the Trinity, pos­sessed a divine will; Christ, possessing a fully human nature, also possessed a human will. The Monothelite heresy thus denied the full and true humanity of the Savior. If in the incarnation the Logos did not assume a full human nature, then the comprehen­siveness of the redemption of human nature has been compromised.
  29. Schaff, Creeds, 1:179.
  30. Ibid., 1:180.
  31. Hanson, Tradition, 238.
  32. W. Langlinais, “Assumption of Mary,” p. 972.
  33. Ibid., pp. 972-73.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berkouwer, G. C. The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism, tr. L. Smedes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965.

Bloesch, Donald G. Essentials of Evangelical Theology, Vol. I. San Francisco: Har­per, 1978.

Bruce, F. F. Tradition Old and New. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970.

Childs, Brevard. Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. ‘Muth and Method. London: Sheed and Ward, 1975.

Gallup, George, Jr., and Poling, David. The Search for America’s Faith. Nashville: Abingdon, 1980.

Hanson, R. P. C. Tradition in the Early Church. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962. Kiing, Hans. Justification. New York: Nelson, 1964.

Lane, A. N. S. “Scripture, Tradition and Church: An Historical Survey,” Vox Evan-gelica 9 (1975):37-55.

Langlinais, J. W. “Assumption of Mary,” New Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967.

Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of the Expansion of Christianity, vol. IV. New York: Harper, 1941.

Leith, John H., ed. Creeds of the Churches. Richmond: John Knox, 1973.

Loserth, J. “Wyclif, John,” The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1912.

Mead, Sidney E. “Protestantism in America,” Church History 23 (1954):291-320.

Oden, Thomas C. Agenda for Theology. San Francisco: Harper, 1979.

Polanyi, Michael. The Study of Man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959.

Rushdoony, R. J. Infallibility: An Inescapable Concept. Vallecito, Calif.: Ross House, 1978.

Schaff, Philip. The Creeds of Christendom, Vol. I. New York: Harper, 1877. Thiselton, Anthony C. The TWo Horizons. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980.

Webber, Robert E. Common Roots: A Call to Evangelical Maturity. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978.

Webber, Robert E., and Bloesch, Donald, eds. The Orthodox Evangelicals. Nash­ville: Thomas Nelson, 1978.

Wegenast, K. “παραδίδωμι,” New International Dictionary of New Testament Theo­logy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978. III, 772-75. (I added the PDF of this entire note for the Greek minded researcher)

Wells, David E “Tradition: A Meeting Place for Catholic and Evangelical Theol­ogy?” Christian Scholar’s Review 5 :(1975):50-61 .

Whitehead, Priscilla, and McAlpine, Tom. “EvangelicaVLiberal Theology—a False Dichotomy?” TSF Bulletin, Mar/Apr., 1982, pp. 8-11.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. New York: Macmillan, 1958.

Zockler, 0. “Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ,” The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1910.

Okay, here is the Zacharias Ursinus quote from footnote #176


Zacharias Ursinus and G. W. Williard,
The Commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism
(Cincinnati, OH: Elm Street Printing Company, 1888), 117–118.


exposition

The term symbol or creed (symbolum) signifies in general a sign or mark by which one person or thing is distinguished from another, as a military symbol is a sign which distinguishes allies from enemies. The German has it: ein Feldzeichen, oder Losung. Or, it (symbola) signifies a collation or bringing together, as to a feast—zufammen schiessen. In the sense of the church, it signifies a brief and summary form of christian faith, which distinguishes the church and her members from all the various sects. There are those who suppose that this summary of our christian faith, as just recited, is called a symbol, or creed, because it was collated or formed by the Apostles, each one furnishing a certain portion of it. This, however, cannot be proven. It is more probable that it was so called because these articles constitute a certain form or rule with which the faith of all orthodox christians should agree and conform. It is called apostolic, because it contains the substance of the doctrine of the Apostles, which the catechumens were required to believe and profess; or because the Apostles delivered this sum of christian doctrine to their disciples, and the church afterwards received it from them. It is called Catholic, because it is the one faith of all christians.

We must here inquire, Why were other creeds, as the Nicene, the Athanasian, the Ephesian, and Chalcedonian, formed and received in the church after the Apostles’ creed? To this we would reply, that these are not properly other creeds differing in substance from the Apostles’ creed, but are merely a repetition and clearer enunciation of its meaning, in which some words are added, by way of explanation, on account of heretics, who took advantage of its brevity, and corrupted it. There is, therefore, no change as it respects the matter or substance of the Apostles’ creed in those of a later date, but merely a difference in the form in which the doctrines are expressed.

There are other weighty reasons which may have led and compelled the Bishops and teachers of the ancient church to form and construct these brief formulas of confession, especially when churches were multiplying, and heresies were springing up in different places. Among these reasons we may mention the following: 1. That all the young, as well as those of riper years, might be able to remember the chief points of christian doctrine, as thus briefly summed up and expressed. 2. That all might constantly have before their eyes the confession and comfort of their faith, knowing what the doctrine was on account of which they were called to suffer persecution. It was in this way that God formerly had the substance of the law and promises expressed and comprehended in a brief form, so that all might have a certain rule of life and ground of comfort continually in view. 3. That the faithful might have a certain badge or mark by which they might then and in all future ages be distinguished from unbelievers and heretics, who cunningly corrupt the writings of the Prophets and Apostles. This was also a reason on account of which those confessions were called creeds or symbols. 4. That there might be extant some perpetual rule, short, simple, and easily understood by all, according to which every doctrine and interpretation of Scripture might be tried, that they might be embraced and believed when agreeing therewith, and rejected when differing from it.

But although other confessions were formed, the Apostles’ creed greatly surpasses all others in importance and authority, and that for the following reasons: 1. Because almost the whole of it is expressed in the very language of the Scriptures. 2. Because it is of the greatest antiquity, and was first delivered to the church by apostolic men, either by the Apostles themselves, or by their disciples and hearers, and has been regularly transmitted down to the present time. 3. Because it is the basis and type of all the other creeds which have been formed by the consent of the whole church, and approved of by general synods, for the purpose of preventing and refuting the perversions and corruptions of heretics, by explaining more fully the meaning of the Apostles’ creed.

The truth of the other creeds, however, does not consist in the authority or in the decrees of men, or of councils, but in their perpetual agreement with the holy Scriptures, and with the teachings of the whole church from the time of the Apostles, retaining and holding fast to the doctrine which they delivered, and at the same time giving testimony to posterity that they have received this doctrine from the Apostles and those that heard them, which agreement is obvious to all those who will but give the subject a careful consideration. The power to give new laws concerning the worship of God, or to give new articles of faith binding the conscience, belongs to no assembly of men or of angels, but to God alone. We are not to believe God on account of the testimony of the church, but the church upon the testimony of God.

Was Jesus Black? (A Debate)

This was originally posted in May of 2010

– updated dead links and media (Jan 2024) –

I have, for some reason unknown to me, many run-ins with Black Hebrew Israelites. God, either through my personality or bringing these people to my cyber doorstep, allows prolonged conversation with these very earnest people. This is one guy I like, he is witty, funny, and an entrepreneur, but he is lost, lost, lost. I will not post our entire conversation, but I will shorten it to some of the important exchanges to allow others to add some responses to their apologetic repertoire.

  • This was a link to the actual conversation, but the gentleman became violent in language and I had to delete it and unfriend him.

This conversation may seem choppy, again, I am shortening it, but there are some nuggets of thinking one can apply to their responses on these theologically racial encounters.

This gentleman, however, has a messiah complex — and may be thinking of himself as a biblical character? For example, here is the “About the Author” from Amazon:

My name is Enoch Mubarak. I was chosen to write this book. I don’t know why I was chosen to bring “you” this truth. I bring you this truth not to seek reward for self, but to literally save “your” life and the lives of “your” children. “If the watchman sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.” Ezekiel 33:6

So keep this in mind as you pick up our conversation, or any comments he may leave.

By-the-by, the gentleman I discussed this topic with lives in Chicago, which has a large cult movement along these lines (click the Chicago skyline to read a excellent historical article on the movement).

Also, one should note that while I cannot pigeon-hole Enoch into a particular category (he has a mix of beliefs: Nation of Islam, Black Hebrew Israelite, Black Nationalist Liberation Theology, New Age, etc), the response near the end of this post to the verses typically used by black liberation theologians [Nation of Islam adherents, and black Hebrew Israelites, and the like] try to show Jesus was black, is key.

Jumping in:

ME:
… But Enoch… lets break away from your Pulitzer prize winning writing skills. Do you believe what Christ taught about the law?

ENOCH:
speaking about what I believe in regards to Christ let me begin with I believe Christ when he says that you must be hot or cold and if you are warm I will spew thee out. …. You must atone by deleting what you wrote in haste or know for certain that what you wrote is what you know beyond “maybe.”

Just so you are up to date, Enoch wrote a book that he bragged was rated “5-Stars” on Amazon (it was based on one review). Having encountered Enoch in past conversations and after reading his first chapter of the book, I gave him a one-star, to which I must atone for.


ME:
Well, when you want to talk about WHO Jesus is, WHAT His mission was, and His requirements that we must attain in order to enter into his presence, I am here for you. THIS is more important than who you are right now or how I view you (or your book). God sees the real Enoch. In some way I do not yet understand now, He digs you a lot and wants you to accept his mercy, but maybe you haven’t hashed out your positions with a guy like me? Maybe you do not realize that the letter keeping of Islam and other religions pale in comparison to Christianity. The question is this: in this law keeping (whether the five pillars in Islam – or – the search for Nirvana by rejecting the world in the here-and-now in Buddhism, whatever it is) are you driven towards personal righteousness/attainment and you will be judged on that by a just God, or into the arms of a God who has interwoven a love story (in contradistinction to every world religion, major and minor) who is more than ready to show mercy in your acceptance of His perfect Son. If we need to start at the bare bones (looking at the inspirational aspect of the Bible and who it was written by and how God doesn’t use automatons, then that is where we should start. But Jesus is calling you “Enoch,” and he knows YOU and WHO you are, and loved you before you knew Him.

ENOCH:
Without evidence other than my name you conclude that I am Islam and once you concluded that I am islam you have structured your entire conversation around that premise.

ME:
No, I use Islam as an example because many you surround yourself with accept it (as your reviewer for your book does). And in the black nationalist movement many do as well, which I suppose is a big draw for your business? Granted, you may be a Christian in the “Rev. Wright” strain (black liberation theology), but there too is a world not based in the amount of mercy offered to man and is a works based understanding and a “James Cone” understanding of God. I am prepared as well to dig into that
BUT, I would rather concentrate on WHO Jesus is, and why it matters. I will compare and contrast His mercy with every other man-made system of thought.

And by-the-way, your name would denote a more New Age vision of life to me that includes UFOs and the like. in fact the “Book of Enoch” is typically accepted more by New Age apprentices rather than other belief structures. So your name, to be clear, has a ring of the Nation of Islam with a New Age flavor. But much of the view of “god” by Elijah Muhammad and others combine the two. AGAIN, however, we could talk about that/your name, my name all daylets deal with the meat of the issue (Mark 8:29).

Okay. You referenced the Mark of Cain, this verse is really misused by the black nationalist community (and the white nationalist [and historical Mormons]). The reason I want to deal with WHO Jesus is IS because many people say they believe in Jesus:

✔ Mormons say he is the first born from a sexual union between a god and one of his goddesses, and that Lucifer and he are literal brotherslike all of us are;
✔ Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is the first created angel, Michael the Archangel, and that when he came to earth he was known as Jesus, and when he went back to heaven he became Michael again;
✔ Black liberation theology took a page from Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey (Garveyism), and the Marxist Trinity (race, class, gender) was thrust into the modern movement by James Cone saying Jesus was a black man who didn’t only come to save people individually, but to lift the poor up — thus becoming a revolutionary figure. Taking it further still was Albert Cleage who effectively called into question (as most liberal theologies do) Paul’s inclusion in the New Testament;
✔ New Age (Helen Schucman, Heidi Rose Robbins, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Richard Bach Quotes, and the like) persons believe Jesus reached the next level of evolution and will herald the coming destruction of those not ready for this next stage of spiritual evolution;
✔ Christadelphianism believes Jesus was a created man with a sin nature;
✔ Theosophy believes that “god” is a principle to be believed and that Jesus is a great teacher, like Buddha and others;
✔ Masons believe Jesus is a Aeon here to (very much like Gnostics) point to a spiritual (not material) “cosmic consciousness, soul regeneration, philosophic initiation, spiritual illumination, Brahmic Splendor” etc;
On-and-onad infinitum.

So when you write of “Jesus,” Enoch, I will again ask who you say HE IS (Mark 8:29)? Take note I summarized many beliefs about him in a sentence or two aboveno mystery, or ethereal language involved. See if you can give me a plain answer to this simple question.

ENOCH:
Tsk, tsk, naughty, naughty. Before we delve into what you desire you must first atone for your sin: You must atone by deleting the book review that you wrote in vindictive haste and with malice or
….. know for certain that what you wrote is what you know to be certain and beyond “maybe.”

ME:
After reading 41-pages of it my critique stands
no 5-stars for you my friend.

ENOCH:
Had you been a black person that left one star then my concern would be heightened but considering the source 5 stars was never my expectation.


Enoch mentioned that my sarcasm (which I had to point out, my sarcasm that is) was vindictive, malicious, antagonistic and mean spirited. Which it wasn’t, but Enoch takes things VERY literal, as you will see he does in a bit with Scripture.


ME:
and there you gothe liberal trinity of race, class, and gender….The question isn’t what the white man speaks with, but what does Jesus say about eternality and the extent of the law YOU must keep in order to attain it. I, and other ethnicities are fallen creatures who can be vindictive, malicious, antagonistic and mean spirited. But WHO do you say Jesus is?

The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission.

Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strongminded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshiped, even with multitudinous idols. All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character.

All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances. Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.

Robert Hume, The World’s Living Religions, pp. 285-286.

ENOCH (posted a video):
While you were in school getting your degree in theology did they tell, show or teach you this
…. “‘The True Face Of Jesus Christ’ found in hillbilly home.”

ME (I posted a video as well):
Did I learn about a 150-year old replica when studying a faith that is about 2,000 years old and rooted in a faith connected to the first man and women created? No. I did learn about the earliest known Christian symbol and its historical value (See my post on the earliest CHRISTIAN symbol). We also learned about the SHROUD OF TURIN, and I have recently gotten a book for reference on the matter after hearing an interview with the author [Thomas de Wesselow, The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection] on Michael Medved Show.

  • a topic — by the way — a Jew shouldn’t be interested inbut in fact, Medved is fascinated by this Resurrection evidence. Jesus wasn’t white Enoch (or black), he was a Mediterranean Jew, much like you see in Jerusalem today.

While I disagree with the above author’s conclusion of Mr. de Wesselow arguing that the Shroud was the source of the Apostles believing Jesus was Resurrected, he does rightly place the Shroud, to Jesus, in his (His) tomb, at that time.

In other words Enoch Mubarak, the “image” of Jesus is well known. Another guest Medved had on a couple of years back was the author of this book, “The Truth About the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery.” I do highly recommend this book

ENOCH (quotes me): ‎
“Jesus wasn’t white Enoch, he was a Mediterranean Jew” […] “In other words Enoch Mubarak, the “image” of Jesus is well known.” — Sean Giordano

Don’t he, haw and drag your tongue just say it…. Jesus is a black man.

ME:
Jesus was not a black man Enoch Mubarak. You are inserting something demonstrably false into your “faith.”

ENOCH:
The following describes black all day-everyday
…… not white nor Mediterranean Jew.

His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. | Revelation 1:14

Daniel 7:9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.

Daniel 10:6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

Revelation 2:18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

MEANWHILE… WHO IS JESUS?

Revelation 19:12 He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.

ME:
Using you logic then, God has wings, feathers, is a rock, a fireball, blew His nose to drown the Egyptians in the sea, and carried the entire Hebrew nation in His giant hand. You are literally interpreting what is meant to be Hebraic poetry and imagery.

(God has a giant nose, or giant hand) EXODUS 15:8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. DEUTERONOMY 9:26 I prayed therefore unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (cf. Dt 5:15, 7:8)

(God is a chicken or bird) PSALM 57:1 Be merciful unto me, O God, . . . in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, . . . (cf. Ps 17:8, 36:7, 61:4, 63:7Isaiah 8:8, | Matthew 23:37 | Luke 13:34) PSALM 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust….

(God is an inanimate thing, a rock) PSALM 78:35 And they remembered that God was their rock, . . . (cf. Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 37 | 1 Samuel 2:2 | 2 Samuel 22:32 | Psalm 18:2, 31, 46, 42:9)

(God is fire) DEUTERONOMY 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, . . . (cf. Dt 9:3)

Quoting the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson:

Now to the more interesting observations. How will blacks react to “The Passion”? My answer to this will sound absolutely insane to some – particularly to white readers, who know that all too many blacks are crazy but don’t know quite how crazy – but bear with me, because a sizable sector of the American black population will react in the way I am predicting. One main complaint amongst some blacks will be that this movie does not represent black people because in their minds, Jesus was black.

Don’t believe me? Then take it from Malik Z. Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party. Shabazz believes “The Passion” is “harmful and racist” because of “one very basic inaccuracy which has been long-promoted in order to bolster white supremacy.” That basic inaccuracy, according to Shabazz? “Jesus was not a European white man. Jesus Christ was a black man.” Shabazz even complains about the lack of black actors in the film. His motto seems to be: “History be damned – where are the black actors, and where’s Jesus’ afro!”

This is hardly a scarce notion amongst black Americans. Believe me. I live in the black community. Many believe this! Some of my own relatives even believe this! Therefore, many blacks believe that Christianity is the white man’s religion and that Islam is the true religion of black folks!

REVELATION & DANIEL

Again, using your logic, as the VISION continues, Jesus is a Lion that looks like a lamb.

REVELATION 1:14-16

First, Jesus had snow white hair. Second, his eyes were like flame of fire. Third, his feet were like fine brass. (How did you extend that description to the rest of his body?) Fourth, his voice was like the sound of many waters. (So was it intelligible? How so if this description is literal?) Fifth, his right hand was large enough to contain seven stars. Sixth, he had a sword out of his mouth. And, seventh, his countenance was like the sun. (That final one does not sound much like the description of his feet.)

(THY WORD IS TRUTH)

[….]

The terms come from John’s VISION of Christ, recorded in Revelation 1. That picture itself builds on a whole set of Old Testament imagery, esp. on the vision of the “Ancient of Days” (that is, God) and ‘one like a son of man’ in Daniel 7.

The specific phrases your description is based on are “his HEAD and HEAR were WHITE like wool” (not “woolly” – it’s about the COLOR, not the texture) and “FEET like bronze GLOWING IN A FURNACE”.

The picture doesn’t prove anything racial. All the more so if you look at the WHOLE description. The high priestly type garb described might work, but just TRY to draw a picture that incorporates ALL the parts, and IF you’re able to draw it, it will NOT look, sound, etc. at all like a normal human being! (his tongue is a SWORD, his eyes blaze like fire, his face shines LIKE THE SUN, his voice is like thundering waters). That’s because it not MEANT to — it is a VISION telling you something about his characteristics, glory, power, etc.

(This was from YAHOO ANSWERS, which is not gone)

What a myopic view of your savior/creator Enoch Mubarak. Such a limiting view of Scripture and a heavy burden to carry in order to reach your own atonement. Your best works do not reach even the minimum Jesus calls us to, a law so steep we are pushed into his arms. He is waiting for you my friend… with open arms. I suggest you read one of my papers: Defined: Inerrancy (Exegesis & Hermeneutics As Well)

I also have two posts on this topic as well:


Enoch never answered the Biblical critique of his taking out of context verses that HE (and the Black Hebrew Israelites) interpret to mean Jesus is a black man. In fact, when I point out the above, I never hear a response?

I hope you enjoyed this choppy conversation, that last part is a great response to theologically racist interpretation of Scripture.

UPDATE!

Continuing the conversation at another post of Enoch’s about the supposed racism of the Tea Party, which I thoroughly refute, the conversation switches to a more important subject — Salvation. One reader — after my refutation of the narrative that the Tea Party is racist — asks the following: I thought they weren’t racist. This started off a new strain:

ME:
David Duke certainly is. He is a scumbag with an ego and prideful heart that will contribute to Matthew 24:7 that talks about the end of days: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” “kingdoms” are the nation states, the Greek word for nation, however, is “ethnos,” where we get our word “ethnic” from. Jesus is really saying that the one of the signs of the times will include a “racial pride” or “war” that fuels this culmination of “Armageddon.”

Which is why the Bible is the best answer to this racial division. A great (and short – under 200-pages) book by Pastor and Dr. A. Charles Ware (see his FACEBOOK PAGE) with Ken Ham is One Race, One Blood” — Unfortunately Enoch Mubarak is in this same law keeping that color is important when faith is what unites us, not genes turned on or off that produce melatonin. And his [Enoch’s] confusion of racial lines and racism onto whole swaths of people [Tea Partiers] that never deserved or earned the title of it [racist/racism] like David Duke has earned such a title of a scumbag racist, is just plain wrong. It is a parroting of the mass media and what Enoch thinks he has escaped is only in fact helping to spread. Which is why Mason Weaver’s book is so fitting: It’s OK to Leave the Plantation: The New Underground Railroad (I have the full video documentary HERE)

I know Jesus is Enoch’s good Shepherd Enoch just needs to listen to His Masters voice [Jesus’] and realize that if he wants to live by the law he will be judged by it. There is a merciful and graceful path outlined for Enoch, this means however, taking himself off of superman shirts and replacing it with Jesus. Or as one poet of the Gospel (or G.O.S.P.E.L.) says better than I.

MAYBE ENOCH WILL LISTEN TO HIM BECAUSE HE HAS A “MANE” OF HAIR?

For the reader’s information, Enoch rejected [earlier in the conversation] a video presentation by “MachoSauce” because he has a shaved head… according to Enoch, black men must have hair:

  • “Black man you must stop shaving your head bald. Your hair is your strength and your glory. The perception of strength is hair. Grow your hair. Stop going along just to get along. Stop letting the world, global community and your black woman continue to disrespect you by treating you like a BALD HEAD.”

To which I responded:

  • ‎”Shave or not to shave” ~ You will be judged on the law Enoch, in heaven, if you so choose… Jesus is calling you to mercy and forgiveness, otherwise his impossible law he has set up will doom you to being on the left hand of God. Hear a Muslim student ask about the law:”

(I WILL HAVE MORE ON THE “LAW” IN THE APPENDIX)

Back to the conversation :


ENOCH:
Enoch has risen and….. “If the watchman sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths Ezekiel 33:6

ME:
Enoch, the BIBLE is all about Jesus not “action.” The Old Testament (or literally, “The Old Covenant”) screams Jesus. In fact, that verse you quote often is found fulfilled in whom it refers to IN Matthew 24:

MATTHEW 24:40-51 (THE MESSAGE BIBLE)

39-44″The Son of Man’s Arrival will be like that: Two men will be working in the field—one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.

45-47″Who here qualifies for the job of overseeing the kitchen? A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day. Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. It won’t be long before the Master will put this person in charge of the whole operation.

48-51″But if that person only looks out for himself, and the minute the Master is away does what he pleases—abusing the help and throwing drunken parties for his friends—the Master is going to show up when he least expects it and make hash of him. He’ll end up in the dump with the hypocrites, out in the cold shivering, teeth chattering.”

(See also ESV)

The Watchman are watching for Jesus Enoch (Sermon Central). Do not insert your own meaning into the Bible (eisegesis) , the Bible speaks for itself (exegesis). Again, there is a “New Covenant” (the New Testament, and it is Good News my friend. You quote many ideas and thoughts that place you under the school master….

  • “You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.” (Romans 2:20)
  • “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian” [or school master] (Galatians 3:24-25)

Are you watchingnot for “David Dukes” or other fictitious racist narratives you gin up via the news-media, but are you watching for your Master Enoch?

ENOCH:
We are conversing at this moment because I saw you coming, sounded the alarm and stopped you at the gate of Black America’s enclave.

ME:
Enoch Mubarak, if God can judge (and be the author of the death of 38-million [plus] black people in recent generations and not the fallen nature of man), then surely He can call you to repentance from that heavy yoke you carry (Matthew 11:30) through a very unlikely source, yeah? (*Speaking here of a shaved headed white boy*) Even donkey’s speak on God’s whim Enochthe question is, does Balaam listen? God is calling you to peace Enoch (Galatians 3:27), the “hounds of heaven” are on your heals.

See my post: The Theme This Week? Courage & Hounds of Heaven | #GodIsGood

Text: Romans 1:19-21

“I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from him….”

So begins Francis Thompson’s famous, but difficult, poem entitled “The Hound of Heaven.” The author sets the poem in the context of a life spent running from God. The poem pictures God like an old bloodhound sniffing our scent, always in the distance, occasionally letting out a howl to remind us that he is on our trail.

As the lengthy poem goes on, Thompson says he fled “across the margins of the world,” but the refrain always comes back:

“Still with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following feet, and a Voice above their beat…”

God is always there, always pursuing, always engaged in self-disclosure. And that is the essence of the second doctrine covered in our “Christian Believer” study – the self-revealing God. God is in the business of revealing the Divine Self to us. We would know nothing about God if God did not choose to reveal it.

ENOCH:
Aside from videos, books and parables do you possess any original thought or ideas?

ME:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” I pass on what I know Enoch Mubarak, as all have from the time of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3).

CONCLUSION

God is truly calling Enoch, and for some reason He has placed on my heart a temporary drive to share with him the Good News! I pray Enoch listens. He can use your prayers.

As an aside for the following commentator… he is a universalist, so separate the wheat frm the chaff please if you expand your use of his commentaries.


An Example of “Law Keeping”


THE OPPOSITION INTENSIFIES

Luke 5:16–17

Jesus withdrew into the desert places and he continued in prayer. On a certain day he was teaching and, sitting listening, there were Pharisees and experts in the law who had come from every village in Galilee and from Judaea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was there to enable him to heal.

There are only two verses here; but as we read them we must pause, for this indeed is a milestone. The scribes and the Pharisees had arrived on the scene. The opposition which would never be satisfied until it had killed Jesus had emerged into the open.

If we are to understand what happened to Jesus we must understand something about the law, and the relationship of the scribes and the Pharisees to it. When the Jews returned from Babylon about 440 BC they knew well that, humanly speaking, their hopes of national greatness were gone. They therefore deliberately decided that they would find their greatness in being a people of the law. They would bend all their energies to knowing and keeping God’s law.

The basis of the law was the Ten Commandments. These commandments are principles for life. They are not rules and regulations; they do not legislate for each event and for every circumstance. For a certain section of the Jews that was not enough. They desired not great principles but a rule to cover every conceivable situation. From the Ten Commandments they proceeded to develop and elaborate these rules.

Let us take an example. The commandment says, ‘Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy’; and then goes on to lay it down that on the Sabbath no work must be done (Exodus 20:8–11). But the Jews asked, ‘What is work?’ and went on to define it under thirty-nine different headings which they called ‘Fathers of Work’. Even that was not enough. Each of these headings was greatly subdivided. Thousands of rules and regulations began to emerge. These were called the oral law, and they began to be set even above the Ten Commandments.

Again, let us take an actual example. One of the works forbidden on the Sabbath was carrying a burden. Jeremiah 17:21–4 says, ‘For the sake of your lives, take care that you do not bear a burden on the sabbath day.’ But, the legalists insisted, a burden must be defined. So definition was given. A burden is ‘food equal in weight to a dried fig, enough wine for mixing in a goblet, milk enough for one swallow, oil enough to anoint a small member, water enough to moisten an eye-salve, paper enough to write a custom-house notice upon, ink enough to write two letters of the alphabet, reed enough to make a pen’ … and so on endlessly. So for a tailor to leave a pin or needle in his robe on the Sabbath was to break the law and to sin; to pick up a stone big enough to fling at a bird on the Sabbath was to sin. Goodness became identified with these endless rules and regulations.

Let us take another example. To heal on the Sabbath was to work. It was laid down that only if life was in actual danger could healing be done; and then steps could be taken only to keep the sufferer from getting worse, not to improve their condition. A plain bandage could be put on a wound, but not any ointment; plain wadding could be put into a sore ear, but not medicated. It is easy to see that there could be no limit to this.

The scribes were the experts in the law who knew all these rules and regulations, and who deduced them from the law. The name Pharisee means ‘the separated one’; and the Pharisees were those who had separated themselves from ordinary people and ordinary life in order to keep these rules and regulations.

Note two things. First, for the scribes and Pharisees these rules were a matter of life and death; to break one of them was deadly sin. Second, only people desperately in earnest would ever have tried to keep them, for they must have made life supremely uncomfortable. It was only the best people who would even make the attempt.

Jesus had no use for rules and regulations like that. For him, the cry of human need superseded all such things. But to the scribes and Pharisees he was a law-breaker, a bad man who broke the law and taught others to do the same. That is why they set themselves against him and in the end brought about his death. The tragedy of the life of Jesus was that those who were most in earnest about their religion drove him to the cross. It was the irony of things that the best people of the day in the end were responsible for his crucifixion.

From this time on there was to be no rest for him. Always he was to be under the scrutiny of hostile and critical eyes. The opposition had crystallized and there was but one end.

Jesus knew this and before he met the opposition he withdrew to pray. The love in the eyes of God compensated him for the hostility in people’s eyes. God’s approval nerved him to meet human criticism. He drew strength for the battle of life from the peace of God—and it is enough for his disciples that they should be as their Lord.


William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 71–73.

 

Curiously Mistranslating Kurios in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians (J-DUBs)

— not uploaded in numerical order but a “CONTENTS/LINKS” will be added to all these posts when done –

(The video that follows this one can be viewed here.) In this [my] upload of a larger series on Jehovah’s Witnesses and their obfuscating our Lord’s Divinity, we see the Greek word for Lord, Kurios (GK κύριος), in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians strategically mistranslated for dogmatic reasons. (These two videos below are connected)

(I forgot to add sub titles to this RUMBLE upload. I added them for my YouTube file) In this part — I got side-tracked in my normal OCD sense and did an in-depth dive into this segment of the presentation.

Here are some of the graphics used in the video, as well as some extra material:

Downloads

This is a PDF of chapter 3 (The Divine Name) of Robert Countess’ book,

  • “The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: A Critical Analysis of The New World Translation of The Christian Greek Scriptures,” pages 19-40.

A must read! (The entire book can be read here at ARCHIVES.)

Return of the Kurios:

  • The Divine Name Will Endure Forever (links to more resources in this PDF | text below as well)
  • 1st and 2nd Thessalonians Strong’s Concordance KURIOS/LORD vs. JEHOVAH (PDF)
  • An excerpt[s] of the Forward to the 1969 and the 1985 editions of The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures {KIT} (PDF | text below as well)
  • Terms You Should Know: Exegesis vs. Eisegesis (VIDEO used from KINGDOM NETWORKS’s YouTube Channel)
  • This wasn’t in the video, but is a hand-out from a and adult Sunday school class I taught at church filling in for the regular teacher/pastor: “Five Finger Life Punch” [the title was adapted from the band “Five Finger Death Punch”]
  • Likewise, I did not display this, but this PDF is every full verse in the CSB version of the Bible, the NWT version, as well as the “Greek-English New Testament: Nestle-Aland 28th Edition and English Standard Version” (NA28) (text is below as well)

Day of the LORD

  • 2nd Thessalonians 1:9 – Commentaries and Dictionaries | PDF 
  • (1969) Kingdom Interlinear of 2nd Thessalonians 1:7-9 | JPG
  • J. Vernon McGee’s sermon titled, “Darkness and Light, The Day of the Lord” | YOUTUBE  (transcript)
  • NIV/Hebrew Interlinear of ISAIAH CHAPTER 2 — via John R. Kohlenberger, III, The interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1987) | PDF

Text of some of the quotes:

One translation that boldly restores God’s name with good authority is the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. This version, currently available in 11 modern languages, including English, has restored God’s name every time that a portion of the Hebrew Scriptures containing it is quoted in the Greek Scriptures. Altogether, the name appears with a sound basis 237 times in that translation of the Greek Scriptures. 

The Divine Name Will Endure Forever (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Track Society, 1984), 27.

How is a modern translator to know or determine when to render the Greek words κύριος and θεῖος into the divine name in his version? By determining where the inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures. Then he must refer back to the original to locate whether the divine name appears there. This way he can determine the identity to give to ky’ri•os and the•os’ and he can then clothe them with personality.

Realizing that this is the time and place for it, we have followed this course in rendering our version of the Christian Greek Scriptures. To avoid overstepping the bounds of a translator into the field of exegesis, we have tried to be most cautious about rendering the divine name, always carefully considering the Hebrew Scriptures. We have looked for some agreement with us by the Hebrew versions we consulted to confirm our own rendering. Thus, out of the 237 times that we have rendered the divine name in the body of our version, there are only two instances where we have no support or agreement from any of the Hebrew versions. But in these two instances, namely, Ephesians 6:8 and Colossians 3:13, we feel strongly supported by the context and by related texts in rendering the divine name. The notes in our lower margin show the support we have for our renderings from the Hebrew versions and other authorities.

The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Track Society, 1969), 18-19.

How may modern translators determine when to render the Greek words Ky’ri•os and The•os’ as the divine name? By determining where the inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures. Then they must refer back to the Hebrew text to locate whether the divine name appears there. In this way they can determine the identity to be given to Ky’ri•os and The•os’, and make appropriate use of the personal name.

To avoid overstepping the bounds of a translator into the field of exegesis, we have tried to be most cautious about rendering the divine name, always carefully considering the Hebrew Scriptures as a background. We have looked for some agreement with us by the Hebrew versions we consulted to confirm our rendering. Thus, out of the 237 times that we have restored Jehovah’s name in the body of our translation, there is only one instance wherein we have no support or agreement from any of the Hebrew versions. But in this one instance, namely, at 1 Corinthians 7:17, the context and related texts strongly support restoring the divine name

The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Track Society, 1985), 11-12.

[As an aside, I noticed in the 1985 version that the Greek was removed from this section of the Forward. I wonder if the Watchtower did so to impede -just a little- the curious Jehovah’s Witness from tracking down its use. Just me “spit balling.”]

Here is an in-depth comparison for the reader to use for their edification:

  • CSB stands for — Christian Standard Bible
  • NWT stands for — New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
  • NA28 stands for — Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 28th Edition, with Critical Apparatus (NA28)

1 THESS 1:1

(CSB) Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy: To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace.

(NWT) Paul, Sil·vaʹnus, and Timothy, to the congregation of the Thes·sa·loʹni·ans in union with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: May you have undeserved kindness and peace.

(NA28) Παῦλος καὶ Σιλουανὸς καὶ Τιμόθεος τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέων ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ καὶ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη.

1 THESS 1:3

(CSB) We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

(NWT) for we continually remember your faithful work, your loving labor, and your endurance because of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.

(NA28) μνημονεύοντες ὑμῶν τοῦ ἔργου τῆς πίστεως καὶ τοῦ κόπου τῆς ἀγάπης καὶ τῆς ὑπομονῆς τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν,

1 THESS 1:6

(CSB) and you yourselves became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit.

(NWT) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, seeing that you accepted the word under much tribulation with joy of holy spirit,

(NA28) Καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε καὶ τοῦ κυρίου, δεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ μετὰ χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίου,

1 THESS 1:8

(CSB) For the word of the Lord rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place that your faith in God has gone out. Therefore, we don’t need to say anything,

(NWT) The fact is, not only has the word of Jehovah sounded out from you in Mac·e·doʹni·a and A·chaʹia but your faith in God has spread abroad in every place, so that we do not need to say anything.

(NA28) ἀφʼ ὑμῶν γὰρ ἐξήχηται ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου οὐ μόνον ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ καὶ [ἐν τῇ] Ἀχαΐᾳ, ἀλλʼ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν ἡ πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἐξελήλυθεν, ὥστε μὴ χρείαν ἔχειν ἡμᾶς λαλεῖν τι.

1 THESS 2:15

(CSB) who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us. They displease God and are hostile to everyone,

(NWT) who even killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us. Furthermore, they are not pleasing God, but are against the interests of all men,

(NA28) τῶν καὶ τὸν κύριον ἀποκτεινάντων Ἰησοῦν καὶ τοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξάντων καὶ θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων,

1 THESS 2:19

(CSB) For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?

(NWT) For what is our hope or joy or crown of exultation before our Lord Jesus at his presence? Is it not in fact you?

(NA28) τίς γὰρ ἡμῶν ἐλπὶς ἢ χαρὰ ἢ στέφανος καυχήσεως — ἢ οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμεῖς — ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῇ αὐτοῦ παρουσίᾳ;

1 THESS 3:8

(CSB) For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

(NWT) Because we are revitalized if you are standing firm in the Lord.

(NA28) ὅτι νῦν ζῶμεν ἐὰν ὑμεῖς στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ.

1 THESS 3:11

(CSB) Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you.

(NWT) Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus make a way for us to come to you.

(NA28) Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶν καὶ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς κατευθύναι τὴν ὁδὸν ἡμῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς·

1 THESS 3:12

(CSB) And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you.

(NWT) Moreover, may the Lord cause you to increase, yes, to abound in love for one another and for all, just as we do for you,

(NA28) ὑμᾶς δὲ ὁ κύριος πλεονάσαι καὶ περισσεύσαι τῇ ἀγάπῃ εἰς ἀλλήλους καὶ εἰς πάντας καθάπερ καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς,

1 THESS 3:13

(CSB) May he make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Amen.

(NWT) so that he may make your hearts firm, blameless in holiness before our God+ and Father at the presence of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.

(NA28) εἰς τὸ στηρίξαι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας ἀμέμπτους ἐν ἁγιωσύνῃ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων αὐτοῦ[, ἀμήν].

1 THESS 4:1

(CSB) Additionally then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God—as you are doing—do this even more.

(NWT) Finally, brothers, just as you received instruction from us on how you should walk in order to please God, just as you are in fact walking, we request you and appeal to you by the Lord Jesus to keep doing it more fully.

(NA28) Λοιπὸν οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἐρωτῶμεν ὑμᾶς καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα καθὼς παρελάβετε παρʼ ἡμῶν τὸ πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καὶ ἀρέσκειν θεῷ, καθὼς καὶ περιπατεῖτε, ἵνα περισσεύητε μᾶλλον.

1 THESS 4:2

(CSB) For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For you know the instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

(NA28) οἴδατε γὰρ τίνας παραγγελίας ἐδώκαμεν ὑμῖν διὰ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ.

1 THESS 4:6

(CSB) This means one must not transgress against and take advantage of a brother or sister in this manner, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you.

(NWT) No one should go beyond proper limits and take advantage of his brother in this matter, because Jehovah exacts punishment for all these things, just as we told you previously and also strongly warned you.

(NA28) τὸ μὴ ὑπερβαίνειν καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν ἐν τῷ πράγματι τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, διότι ἔκδικος κύριος περὶ πάντων τούτων, καθὼς καὶ προείπαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ διεμαρτυράμεθα.

1 THESS 4:15

(CSB) For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

(NWT) For this is what we tell you by Jehovah’s word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death;

(NA28) Τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν λέγομεν ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι εἰς τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ κυρίου οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας·

1 THESS 4:16

(CSB) For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

(NWT) because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.

(NA28) ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ, καταβήσεται ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον,

1 THESS 4:17

(CSB) Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

(NWT) Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord.

(NA28) ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα· καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα.

1 THESS 5:2

(CSB) For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.

(NWT) For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night.

(NA28) αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀκριβῶς οἴδατε ὅτι ἡμέρα κυρίου ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτὶ οὕτως ἔρχεται.

1 THESS 5:9

(CSB) For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

(NWT) because God assigned us, not to wrath, but to the acquiring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(NA28) ὅτι οὐκ ἔθετο ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς εἰς ὀργὴν ἀλλʼ εἰς περιποίησιν σωτηρίας διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

1 THESS 5:12

(CSB) Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you,

(NWT) Now we request you, brothers, to show respect for those who are working hard among you and presiding over you in the Lord and admonishing you;

(NA28) Ἐρωτῶμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, εἰδέναι τοὺς κοπιῶντας ἐν ὑμῖν καὶ προϊσταμένους ὑμῶν ἐν κυρίῳ καὶ νουθετοῦντας ὑμᾶς

1 THESS 5:23

(CSB) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(NWT) May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. And may the spirit and soul and body of you brothers, sound in every respect, be preserved blameless at the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(NA28) Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης ἁγιάσαι ὑμᾶς ὁλοτελεῖς, καὶ ὁλόκληρον ὑμῶν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα ἀμέμπτως ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τηρηθείη.

1 THESS 5:27

(CSB) I charge you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the brothers and sisters.

(NWT) I am putting you under the solemn obligation by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

(NA28) Ἐνορκίζω ὑμᾶς τὸν κύριον ἀναγνωσθῆναι τὴν ἐπιστολὴν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς.

1 THESS 5:28

(CSB) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

(NWT) The undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μεθʼ ὑμῶν.

2 THESS 1:1

(CSB) Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy: To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(NWT) Paul, Sil·vaʹnus, and Timothy, to the congregation of the Thes·sa·loʹni·ans in union with God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

(NA28) Παῦλος καὶ Σιλουανὸς καὶ Τιμόθεος τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέων ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ,

2 THESS 1:2

(CSB) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(NWT) May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(NA28) χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς [ἡμῶν] καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

2 THESS 1:7

(CSB) and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels,

(NWT) But you who suffer tribulation will be given relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels

καὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς θλιβομένοις ἄνεσιν μεθʼ ἡμῶν, ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ μετʼ ἀγγέλων δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ

2 THESS 1:8

(CSB) when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

(NWT) in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.

(NA28) ἐν πυρὶ φλογός, διδόντος ἐκδίκησιν τοῖς μὴ εἰδόσιν θεὸν καὶ τοῖς μὴ ὑπακούουσιν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ,

2 THESS 1:9

(CSB) They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious strength

(NWT) These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength,

(NA28) οἵτινες δίκην τίσουσιν ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ κυρίου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ,

2 THESS 1:12

(CSB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(NWT) This is so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in union with him, according to the undeserved kindness of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

ὅπως ἐνδοξασθῇ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν, καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐν αὐτῷ, κατὰ τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

2 THESS 2:1

(CSB) Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him: We ask you, brothers and sisters,

(NWT) However, brothers, concerning the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you

(NA28) Ἐρωτῶμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡμῶν ἐπισυναγωγῆς ἐπʼ αὐτὸν

2 THESS 2:2

(CSB) not to be easily upset or troubled, either by a prophecy or by a message or by a letter supposedly from us, alleging that the day of the Lord has come.

(NWT) not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here.

(NA28) εἰς τὸ μὴ ταχέως σαλευθῆναι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς μηδὲ θροεῖσθαι, μήτε διὰ πνεύματος μήτε διὰ λόγου μήτε διʼ ἐπιστολῆς ὡς διʼ ἡμῶν, ὡς ὅτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου·

ADDITIONAL NOTE:

In 2 Thes. 2,2 the KJV has “the day of Christ” following the 1550 “Textus receptus”, which has η ημερα του χριστου. More modern translations have “the day of the lord”, following the oldest and best Greek manuscripts, which have η ημερα του κυριου, as do the ancient translations, e.g. the Vulgate with dies Domini.

[….]

ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ Χριστοῦ – the day of (the) Christ – is found in the majority of Greek manuscripts as well as in one version of the Codex Claromontanus (c. 550).

ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου – the day of the Lord – appears in the major 4th and 5th century Codices: Sinaiticus (4th c.), Alexandrinus (5th c.), Vaticanus (4th c.), Ephraemi (5th c.).

(via BIBLICAL HERMENEUTICS)

2 THESS 2:8

(CSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will bring him to nothing at the appearance of his coming.

(NWT) Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence.

καὶ τότε ἀποκαλυφθήσεται ὁ ἄνομος, ὃν ὁ κύριος [Ἰησοῦς] ἀνελεῖ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ καὶ καταργήσει τῇ ἐπιφανείᾳ τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ,

2 THESS 2:13

(CSB) But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

(NWT) However, we are obligated always to thank God for you, brothers loved by Jehovah, because from the beginning God selected you for salvation by sanctifying you with his spirit and by your faith in the truth.

(NA28) Ἡμεῖς δὲ ὀφείλομεν εὐχαριστεῖν τῷ θεῷ πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ κυρίου, ὅτι εἵλατο ὑμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἀπαρχὴν εἰς σωτηρίαν ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας,

2 THESS 2:14

(CSB) He called you to this through our gospel, so that you might obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(NWT) He called you to this through the good news we declare, so that you may acquire the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(NA28) εἰς ὃ [καὶ] ἐκάλεσεν ὑμᾶς διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἡμῶν εἰς περιποίησιν δόξης τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

2 THESS 2:16

(CSB) May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace,

(NWT) Moreover, may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave everlasting comfort and good hope by means of undeserved kindness,

(NA28) Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς καὶ [ὁ] θεὸς ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν ὁ ἀγαπήσας ἡμᾶς καὶ δοὺς παράκλησιν αἰωνίαν καὶ ἐλπίδα ἀγαθὴν ἐν χάριτι,

2 THESS 3:1

(CSB) In addition, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you,

(NWT) Finally, brothers, carry on prayer for us, that the word of Jehovah may keep spreading rapidly and being glorified, just as it is with you,

Τὸ λοιπὸν προσεύχεσθε, ἀδελφοί, περὶ ἡμῶν, ἵνα ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου τρέχῃ καὶ δοξάζηται καθὼς καὶ πρὸς ὑμᾶς,

2 THESS 3:3

(CSB) But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

(NWT) But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the wicked one.

(NA28) Πιστὸς δέ ἐστιν ὁ κύριος, ὃς στηρίξει ὑμᾶς καὶ φυλάξει ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

2 THESS 3:4

(CSB) We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.

(NWT) Moreover, we have confidence in the Lord regarding you, that you are carrying out and will go on carrying out our instructions.

(NA28) πεποίθαμεν δὲ ἐν κυρίῳ ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς, ὅτι ἃ παραγγέλλομεν [καὶ] ποιεῖτε καὶ ποιήσετε.

2 THESS 3:5

(CSB) May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

(NWT) May the Lord continue to guide your hearts successfully to the love of God and to the endurance for the Christ.

Ὁ δὲ κύριος κατευθύναι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας εἰς τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ εἰς τὴν ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

2 THESS 3:6

(CSB) Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother or sister who is idle and does not live according to the tradition received from us.

(NWT) Now we are giving you instructions, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw from every brother who is walking disorderly and not according to the tradition that you received from us.

(NA28) Παραγγέλλομεν δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου [ἡμῶν] Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ στέλλεσθαι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀδελφοῦ ἀτάκτως περιπατοῦντος καὶ μὴ κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ἣν παρελάβοσαν παρʼ ἡμῶν.

2 THESS 3:12

(CSB) Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and provide for themselves.

(NWT) To such people we give the order and exhortation in the Lord Jesus Christ that they should work quietly and eat food they themselves earn

(NA28) τοῖς δὲ τοιούτοις παραγγέλλομεν καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, ἵνα μετὰ ἡσυχίας ἐργαζόμενοι τὸν ἑαυτῶν ἄρτον ἐσθίωσιν.

2 THESS 3:16

(CSB) May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

(NWT) Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace constantly in every way. May the Lord be with all of you.

(NA28) Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ κύριος τῆς εἰρήνης δῴη ὑμῖν τὴν εἰρήνην διὰ παντὸς ἐν παντὶ τρόπῳ. ὁ κύριος μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν.

2 THESS 3:18

(CSB) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

(NWT) The undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν.


God’s Name In Hebrews 1:10 | Jehovah or Lord

(THE TWO VIDEOS THAT PRECEDE THIS ONE CAN BE WATCHED HERE.)

In this [my] upload of a larger series — not uploaded in numerical order but a “CONTENTS/LINKS” will be added to all these posts when done — below are the graphics used in the video in PDF form as well as JPG files to be downloaded if so desired.

This video is a great example of how J-DUBS (Jehovah’s Witnesses) selectively translate the Greek word κύριος (Kuri-os, meaning Lord) in Hebrews 1:10 when the verse itself is a quote from Psalm 102:24-27 which clearly designates YHWH (“Jehovah”). This clearly disproves their statement in the forward of their “Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures,” in which they state:

  • How is a modern translator to know or determine when to render the Greek words κύριος and θεῖος into the divine name in his version? By determining where the inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures. (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Track Society, 1969), 18.

HERE ARE THE DOWNLOADABLES:

This is a PDF of chapter 3 (The Divine Name) of Robert Countess’ book,

  • “The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament: A Critical Analysis of The New World Translation of The Christian Greek Scriptures,” pages 19-40.

A must read! (The entire book can be read here at ARCHIVES.)

  • Hebrews 1:10 (Lord) Compared To Psalm 102:24-25 (YHWH) (PDF | JPG)
  • (1985) Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (K.I.T.) excerpt from pages 11-12 of the Forward (PDF | JPG)
  • (1969) Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (K.I.T.) excerpt from pages 18-19 of the Forward (PDF|JPG)
  • Hebrews 1:10 (1969) Kingdom Interlinear (JPG)

These are the array of programs I use at times to make a video (some more often than others):

  • AUDIO: AVS Audio Editor | Natural Reader (A.I. voice) | Microsoft 365 (making transcripts from audio/video)
  • GRAPHICS/PICTURES:  ArcSoft Photo Studio (old but still good) | ACDSee Photo Studio | Pixlr E Photo Editor | Movavi Picverse
  • VIDEO: VEGAS Pro (latest version) | CheckSub. (subtitles) | Movavi Video Editor | Doodly

J-Dubs Move a Comma (Luke 23:43)

The following is a section from David Reed’s

Paradise

Since its release in 1982 the Watchtower Society’s book You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth has been the primary study text for prospective new converts. During its first fifteen months in print nearly 15 million copies were produced in 55 languages according to The Watchtower of January 1, 1984, page 28. As the book’s title indicates, it introduces readers to the hope that draws millions of people to become Jehovah’s Witnesses—the hope of everlasting life in a beautiful earthly paradise.

Such a promise is certainly attractive, especially for men and women who have not come to enjoy a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Not knowing anyone in heaven, why would they want to end up going there? In fact, coming face-to-face with God on his home turf can be a frightening thought for many. A subtropical paradise in an earth forever rid of poverty, sickness, and death proves more appealing to human nature. But is it truly biblical to proclaim this as the Christian hope?

The Greek word translated paradise appears three times in the New Testament—at Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, and Revelation 2:7—but Jehovah’s Witnesses largely ignore the two later verses and instead hang their hope on Jesus’ words to the dying criminal nailed up next to him, as these words appear in the JW New World Translation: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) This constitutes Christ’s promise that the man would be resurrected more than two thousand years later to life on an earth transformed to a beautiful garden park, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe.

Unfortunately, however, the meaning of the verse in the New World Translation is affected by the anonymous translators’ choice to punctuate Luke 23:43 differently from the way it appears in most other Bibles. Placing the comma after the word “today” instead of before it, the NWT gives Jesus’ words a unique twist. It has Jesus speaking “today” to the man about being with him in paradise some time in the future, whereas the customary rendering with the comma before the word “today” indicates that they arrive in paradise that very day. Since ancient Greek manuscripts do not feature any punctuation to break the sentence into two parts, the comma’s location in English depends on the translator’s understanding of what is meant.

Interestingly, the Watchtower Society’s Comprehensive Concordance of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (pictured to the right – click to enlarge) lists dozens of passages where Jesus uses the expression “Truly I say to you” or “Truly I tell you.” (The same Greek word is rendered both “say” and “tell.”) Comparing these verses reveals that the Society’s translators punctuated them consistently—except Luke 23:43. Why did they punctuate that one verse differently? Perhaps because to do otherwise would disprove the Watchtower Society’s teaching that the dead go nowhere—that those who die cease to exist. Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that it would be impossible for the dying man to go to Paradise that day, because he went into nonexistence pending a future resurrection.

Logically, though, there would be no need for Jesus to use the word “today” to point out when he was speaking. Whenever we open our mouth to speak, we are speaking “today,” and the fact is so obvious that we need not mention it unless making a contrast with something spoken on a different day. Here the context reveals nothing of that sort that would call for Jesus to verbalize the obvious fact that he was speaking “today.” Rather, the only time factor under discussion was the matter of when Jesus would be in Paradise. The man dying next to him begged, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42 NIV) Yes, Jesus would remember him. When? Today!

Moreover, it would be reasonable to assume that the Paradise Jesus spoke of as his destination after death would be the same Paradise that Revelation speaks of Christian overcomers going to: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7 KJV) According to the Watchtower Society’s own publications, this verse speaks of a heavenly paradise, not an earthly one:

“Hence, the reference here must be to the heavenly gardenlike realm inherited by these conquerors. There, ‘in the paradise of God,’ yes, in the very presence of Jehovah himself, these overcomers who have been granted immortality will continue to live eternally, as symbolized here by their eating of the tree of life.”

—Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! (page 37)

The Apostle Paul likewise speaks of paradise as heavenly rather than earthly. At 2 Corinthians 12:2–4 he speaks of being “caught up into paradise” which he also calls “the third heaven.”

Clearly, the earthly “paradise” Jehovah’s Witnesses are promised by their organization and the heavenly “paradise” the Bible promises for Christians are not one and the same.

David A. Reed, Answering Jehovah’s Witnesses: Subject by Subject, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1997).

Apologetics To The Jehovah’s Witness – Properly Rendering Luke 23:43 & John 10:18

Here are the 1969 Kingdom Interlinear grabs from all the “Trulies” boxed off in the graphic above:

LUKE 4:24 (no comma needed)

LUKE 12:37 (normal placement)

LUKE 18:29 (normal placement)

LUKE 21:32 (normal placement)

LUKE 23:43 (abnormal placement)

See more at these links:

The verse comparison below has 4 from the Jehovah’s Witness website, in burgundy:

  • And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (ESV)
  • And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.” (New World Translation)
  • And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (KJV)
  • And he said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” (American Standard Version)
  • and he said to him “I tell you verily, today you shall be with me in Paradise.” (The Bible in Living English)
  • And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (NASB)
  • Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.” (Good News Translation)
  • He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (New American Bible)
  • Then Iesus said vnto him, Verely I say vnto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in Paradise. (Geneva Bible of 1587)
  • “I tell you in solemn truth,” replied Jesus, “that this very day you shall be with me in Paradise.” (Weymouth New Testament)

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Polytheists? Mistranslation of John 1:1

A “PART TWO” to this post is this one:

(Originally posted in 2015 after a conversation with a J-Dub at Starbucks, video file updated)

In Bobby Conway’s post over at ONE MINUTE APOLOGIST, he notes the following:

How can we reply to a Jehovah’s Witness? It’s not necessary to translate Greek nouns lacking an article as indefinite. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t consistent here. Rather, they use the indefinite article when it’s convenient to fit their theology. If they were consistent in their New World Translation, they’d have to utilize a before God in several other spots, even within John 1. For example, what do John 1:6, 1:12, 1:13, and 1:18 have in common? They’re all missing a definite article in the Greek before the word God. If Jehovah’s Witnesses were to translate these verses using the indefinite article, here’s how they would read:

  • “There came a man who was sent from a God” (John 1:6).
  • “He gave the right to become Children of a God” (John 1:12).
  • “Who were born…of a God” (John 1:13).
  • “No one has ever seen a God” (John 1:18).

As you can see, this would be a theological game changer. Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t facing the facts. And the fact is, Jesus is divine. He’s God in the flesh. Here’s a clear example of where cultic apologetics are won or lost in the Greek. The original languages don’t reveal a Jesus who is a god; rather, they reveal a Jesus who is God. It’s not the article (necessarily) that determines the translation of the word. It’s the context. Once Jesus becomes anything less than fully God and fully man, we’ve become a cult. Next time you talk to a Jehovah’s Witness, remember, words matter, especially when talking about the Word.

[I add some more examples:]

  • Matt 5:9 | Happy are the peacemakers, since they will be called sons of A God.
  • Matt 6:24 | No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for A God and for Riches.
  • Luke 1:35 | In answer the angel said to her: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. And for that reason the one who is born will be called holy, A God’s Son.
  • Luke 2:40 | And the young child continued growing and getting strong, being filled with wisdom, and A God’s favor continued upon him.
  • John 1:6 | There came a man who was sent as a representative of A God; his name was John
  • John 1:12, 13 | However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become A God’s children. And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from A God. This one came to him in the night+ and said to him: “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, for no one can perform these signs that you perform unless A God is with him.”
  • John 3:21 | But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that his works may be made manifest as having been done in harmony with A God.”
  • John 9:16 | Some of the Pharisees then began to say: “This is not a man from A God, for he does not observe the Sabbath.” Others said: “How can a man who is a sinner perform signs of that sort?” So there was a division among them.
  • John 9:33 | “If this man were not from A God, he could do nothing at all.”
  • Rom 1:7 | to all those who are in Rome as A God’s beloved ones, called to be holy ones:
  • Rom 1:17-18 | For in it A God’s righteousness is being revealed by faith and for faith, just as it is written: “But the righteous one will live by reason of faith.” For A God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who are suppressing the truth in an unrighteous way,
  • 1 Cor 1:30 | But it is due to him that you are in union with Christ Jesus, who has become to us wisdom from A God, also righteousness and sanctification and release by ransom,
  • Phil 2:11 | and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of A God the Father
  • Phil 2:13 | For A God is the one who for the sake of his good pleasure energizes you, giving you both the desire and the power to act.
  • Titus 1:1 | Paul, a slave of A God and an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the faith of God’s chosen ones and the accurate knowledge of the truth that is according to godly devotion.

I realized — after posting on an encounter with a Jehovah’s Witness at Starbucks — that I do not have a lot posted on Jehovah’s Witnesses. I do on Mormonism, but not J-Dubs. (During the Iraq War Democrats called President George W. Bush, “Dubya.” I liked this shortening of his name for conversation ease. I transferred this ease over to Jehovah’s Witnesses as “J-Dub.”). So I will post some information via discussions I have had (on-line) over the years. The one I will clean up and post here deals with a quick presentation I give when a J-Dub is in front of a doughnut or coffee shop. All you have to do is memorize John 17:3, John 1:1… and where to go to enforce your point if conversation continues… but still have to get to work.

…The best way to dial in a cult is to see who they say Jesus is.  In Orthodox Christian theology, Christ is eternal.  Jesus is best reflected by this statement: He always was, He always is, and He always will be…  Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!

But in LDS (Mormon) theology, Jesus was born in heaven via sexual relations between Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother; Lucifer is Jesus’ brother, born also via sexual relations between Heavenly Father and one of his many wives.  So, in fact he is not eternal.  Heavenly Father, e.g., God, was once a man as well.  Prior to Heavenly Father being a man, he was born in a heaven to parents as well (he was born via sexual relations in a heaven and a earth).  Therefore, in LDS theology, even Heavenly Father isn’t eternal.  Nor is he unchanging – physically or spiritually – because he was once a man who had to follow a path to becoming his own God.  Also, if Heavenly Father was born to parents, who were themselves born to parents, etc., etc..  Who were the first parents?  How did they get here?

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the first creative act by God – Jehovah – was to create Michael the Archangel.  It was Michael who came to earth as Jesus, and after went back to heaven as Michael.  Both Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus’ death on the cross was for their sins.  His death was merely for Adam’s original sin, therefore, the Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness must earn their own salvation by doing good works to attain entrance into heaven.  Christianity teaches that nothing man can do can please God.  He is infinitely good, we are not.  This is why Jesus’ sacrifice is so important to Christians: he lived the life we never could.

Okay, let me give you a quick refutation to share with the Jehovah’s Witness when they are at your door.  Jehovah’s Witnesses are very adamant that they are monotheists, that is, they believe in one God.  We do also, but we understand this one God as a trinity… do not get into the Trinity with them, this is the one subject they study the most.  It takes a trained professional like me to refute their attacks on this doctrine. 

You can ask them to turn to one of their favorite verses in their own bible (New World Translation), which is John 17:3:

  • This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you [Greek: that they may know you], the only true God,  and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ (NWT).

At this point you can ask them if Jehovah is the only true God.  Make the point that any other God would be a false God, ask them: so people who believe in a God other than Jehovah believe in a false God?

At this point, when you get them to agree with you that there is only one true God, ask them to turn to John 1:1, which reads:

  • In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God (NWT).

This is the clincher.  Ask them if Jesus is a false God or a true God.  Our Bible doesn’t put the athat I underlined; the Greek literally calls Jesus God Almighty.  They may want to change the subject, or the like.  Just keep pressing the issue – politely – that according to their own Bible they are polytheists (a person who believes in multiple gods), and are not monotheists…

Here is a conversion by an evangelist at a Jehovah’s Witness convention where the idea of John 1:1 and 17:3 are fleshed out:

Remember, J-Dubs consider themselves rabidly monotheistic, but as one scholar says below, “…It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists.” Here is another conversation where the J-Dubs “multiple gods” view is applied to creation (from the 5:12 mark). And of course a CLASSIC presentation by the late/great Walter Martin.

The verses that one should be familiar with are used in the conversation on John 8:58-59. Both verses are worth memorizing defenses of, but the area I want to focus on are the Old Testament verses used in this discussion:

Gordon, Jesus clearly states He is God in John 8:58-59. It doesn’t need any explaining to a first century Jew. But to a 21st century honky (western-Caucasian man / a white boy / cracker), it does need explaining. And as you can see, the first century Jews tried to stone Jesus for claiming such (John 8:59 and John 10:31-33). The first century Jew could not stone a man for claiming to be “in one mind,” or in “the same step” as God. They could only stone him for the blasphemy of claiming to be God, not a god.

John 8:58 needs no explaining if you are familiar with the Bible. But if you are not, and do not understand Exodus 3:14, then you would have to have an explanation. But since you apparently understand Exodus 3:14, then you understand Jesus clear claim to be God. So you have corrected yourself.

In fact, this is what the ENTIRE trial of Jesus was about?! He was on trial for claiming to be God, and this claim eventually led to His crucifixion (Zechariah 12:10).

The talk of who God is should be consolidated as to create more room on the board for the other members.

  • “See now that I, I am He, and there is no God besides Me” (Deuteronomy 32:39 NASB)
  • “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after me” (Isaiah 43:10 NASB)
  • “Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none” (Isaiah 44:8 NASB)
  • “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:5 NASB)

So it seems quite clear that when Jesus is called God, or even “a God” in John 1:1 (which John 17:3 says there is only One true God) – and is worshipped like God (which Matthew 4:10 reserves only for the One true God) – one must scratch his head in perplexity.

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses polytheists? They claim not to be, they claim to be monotheists. Mormons are polytheists, or more precisely – henotheists, they admit such (another example of why they are considered outside the “pale of orthodoxy”). The dilemma is (referencing John 17:3) that Jehovah Witnesses have two gods, and this cannot be reconciled with Deuteronomy 32:39 that “there is no God besides me;” or, John 17:3 which states “that they might know thee the only true God;” as well as God almighty calling Jesus God almighty in Hebrews 1:8-10. Alternatively Jesus clear statement to his deity (Godship) in John 8:58 and Matthew 22:41-46 (Jesus Himself making the comparison to Psalm 110:1).

When I talk to JW’s or LDS I drive the point home that Jesus would be a false god if he weren’t “God.” But this is something they can’t accept either… so the Bible must be wrong? But contrary to what Gordon says, Jesus clearly defined himself as – not a God – but thee God of the Shema.

And from Let Us Reason’s site, we find a list of leading and well-respected Greek language scholars ~ some even being quoted at one time as supporting the J-Dubs version in their own publications. I will embolden their names:

WHAT DO GREEK SCHOLARS THINK ABOUT JEHOVAH’S WITNESS TRANSLATION OF JOHN 1:1?

  • Dr. J. J. Griesback: “So numerous and clear are the arguments and testimonies of Scriptures in favor of the true Deity of Christ, that I can hardly imagine how, upon the admission of the Divine authority of Scripture, and with regard to fair rules of interpretation, this doctrine can by any man be called in doubt. Especially the passage John 1:1 is so clear and so superior to all exception, that by no daring efforts of either commentators or critics can it be snatched out of the hands of the defenders of the truth.”
  • Dr. Eugene A. Nida (Head of the Translation Department of the American Bible Society Translators of the GOOD NEWS BIBLE): “With regard to John 1:1 there is, of course, a complication simply because the NEW WORLD TRANSLATION was apparently done by persons who did not take seriously the syntax of the Greek”. (Bill and Joan Cetnar Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses “who love the truth” p..55
  • Dr. William Barclay (University of Glasgow, Scotland): “The deliberate distortion of truth by this sect is seen in their New Testament translations. John 1:1 translated:’. . . the Word was a god’.a translation which is grammatically impossible. It is abundantly clear that a sect which can translate the New Testament like that is intellectually dishonest. THE EXPOSITORY TIMES Nov, 1985NWT - Interlinear - a god

  • Dr. B. F. Westcott (Whose Greek text [pictured on the left of the graphic which is to the right] is used in JW KINGDOM INTERLINEAR [the NWT text is to the right of Westcott’s Greek text …click to enlarge]): “The predicate (God) stands emphatically first, as in 4:24. It is necessarily without the article… No idea of inferiority of nature is suggested by the form of expression, which simply affirms the true Deity of the Word… in the third clause `the Word’ is declared to be `God’ and so included in the unity of the Godhead.”

The Gospel According to St. John (Eerdmans,1953- reprint) p. 3, (The Bible Collector, July-December, 1971, p. 12.).

“Numerous scholars with true credentials in the Biblical languages have condemned the Watchtower’s New World Translation as a fatal distortion of God’s written Word. For example, see The Bible Collector (July-December, 1971) issue which devotes three articles evaluating the Watchtower scripture.” ~ UK Apologetics

  • Dr. Anthony Hoekema, commented: Their New World Translation of the Bible is by no means an objective rendering of the sacred text into Modern English, but is a biased translation in which many of the peculiar teachings of the Watchtower Society are smuggled into the text of the Bible itself (The Four Major Cults, pp. 238, 239].
  • Dr. Ernest C. Colwell (University of Chicago): “A definite predicate nominative has the article when it follows the verb; it does not have the article when it precedes the verb; . . .this statement cannot be regarded as strange in the prologue of the gospel which reaches its climax in the confession of Thomas. `My Lord and my God.’ ” John 20:28
  • Dr. F. F. Bruce (University of Manchester, England): “Much is made by Arian amateur grammarians of the omission of the definite article with `God’ in the phrase `And the Word was God’. Such an omission is common with nouns in a predicate construction. `a god’ would be totally indefensible.”
  • Dr. Paul L. Kaufman (Portland OR.): “The Jehovah’s Witness people evidence an abysmal ignorance of the basic tenets of Greek grammar in their mistranslation of John 1:1.”
  • Dr. Charles L. Feinberg (La Mirada CA.): “I can assure you that the rendering which the Jehovah’s Witnesses give John 1:1 is not held by any reputable Greek scholar.”
  • Dr. Robert Countess, who wrote a doctoral dissertation on the Greek text of the New World Translation, concluded that the The Christ of the New World Translation “has been sharply unsuccessful in keeping doctrinal considerations from influencing the actual translation …. It must be viewed as a radically biased piece of work. At some points it is actually dishonest. At others it is neither modern nor scholarly “78 No wonder British scholar H.H. Rowley asserted, “From beginning to end this volume is a shining example of how the Bible should not be translated.”79 Indeed, Rowley said, this translation is “an insult to the Word of God.”
  • Dr. Harry A. Sturz: (Dr. Sturz is Chairman of the Language Department and Professor of Greek at Biola College) “Therefore, the NWT rendering: “the Word was a god” is not a “literal” but an ungrammatical and tendential translation. A literal translation in English can be nothing other than: “the word was God.” THE BIBLE COLLECTOR July – December, 1971 p. 12
  • Dr. J. Johnson of California State University, Long Beach. When asked to comment on the Greek, said, “No justification whatsoever for translating theos en ho logos as ‘the Word was a god’. There is no syntactical parallel to Acts 23:6 where there is a statement in indirect discourse. Jn.1:1 is direct.. I am neither a Christian nor a Trinitarian.

DO ANY REPUTABLE GREEK SCHOLARS AGREE WITH THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION OF JOHN 1:1?

  • A. T. Robertson: “So in John 1:1 theos en ho logos the meaning has to be the Logos was God, -not God was the Logos.” A New short Grammar of the Greek Testament, AT. Robertson and W. Hersey Davis (Baker Book House, p. 279.
  • E. M. Sidebottom:”…the tendency to write ‘the Word was divine’ for theos en ho Iogos springs from a reticence to attribute the full Christian position to john. The Christ of the Fourth Gospel (S.P.C.K., 1961), p. 461.
  • C. K. Barrett: “The absence of the article indicates that the Word is God, but is not the only being of whom this is true; if ho theos had been written it would have implied that no divine being existed outside the second person of the Trinity.” The Gospel According to St. John (S.P.C.K., 1955), p. 76.
  • C. H. Dodd: “On this analogy, the meaning of _theos en ho logos will be that the ousia of ho logos, that which it truly is, is rightly denominated theos… That is the ousia of ho theos (the personal God of Abraham,) the Father goes without saying. In fact, the Nicene homoousios to patri is a perfect paraphrase.” “New Testament Translation Problems the bible Translator, 28, 1 (Jan. 1977), P. 104.
  • Randolph 0. Yeager: “Only sophomores in Greek grammar are going to translate ..and the Word was a God.’ The article with logos, shows that to logos is thesubject of the verb en and the fact that theos is without the article designates it as the predicate nominative. The emphatic position of theos demands that we translate ‘…and the Word was God.’ John is not saying as Jehovah’s Witnesses are fond of teaching that Jesus was only one of many Gods. He is saying precisely the opposite.” The Renaissance New Testament, Vol. 4 (Renaissance Press, 1980), P. 4.
  • Henry Alford: “Theos must then be taken as implying God, in substance and essence,–not ho theos, ‘the Father,’ in person. It noes not = theios; nor is it to be rendered a God–but, as in sarx engeneto, sarx expresses that state into which the Divine Word entered by a-definite act, so in theos en, theos expresses that essence which was His en arche:–that He was very God . So that this first verse must be connected thus: the Logos was from eternity,–was with God (the Father),–and was Himself God.” (Alford’s Greek Testament: An Exegetical and Critical Commentary, Vol. I, Part II Guardian ‘press 1976 ; originally published 1871). p. 681.
  • Donald Guthrie: “The absence of the article with Theos has misled some into t inking teat the correct understanding of the statement would be that ‘the word was a God’ (or divine), but this is grammatically indefensible since Theos is a predicate.” New Testament Theology (InterVarsity Press, 1981), p. 327.
  • Bruce M. Metzger, Professor of New Testament Language and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary said: “Far more pernicious in this same verse is the rendering, . . . `and the Word was a god,’ with the following footnotes: ” `A god,’ In contrast with `the God’ “. It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists. In view of the additional light which is available during this age of Grace, such a representation is even more reprehensible than were the heathenish, polytheistic errors into which ancient Israel was so prone to fall. As a matter of solid fact, however, such a rendering is a frightful mistranslation.” “The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ,” Theology Today (April 1953), p. 75.
  • James Moffatt: “‘The Word was God . . .And the Word became flesh,’ simply means he Word was divine . . . . And the Word became human.’ The Nicene faith, in the Chalcedon definition, was intended to conserve both of these truths against theories that failed to present Jesus as truly God and truly man ….” Jesus Christ the Same (Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1945), p. 61.
  • E. C. Colwell: “…predicate nouns preceding the verb cannot be regarded as indefinite -or qualitative simply because they lack the article; it could be regarded as indefinite or qualitative only if this is demanded by the context,and in the case of John l:l this is not so.” A Definite Rule for the Use of the Article in the Greek New Testament,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 52 (1933), p. 20.
  • Philip B. Harner: “Perhaps the clause could be translated, ‘the Word had the same nature as God.’ This would be one way of representing John’s thought, which is, as I understand it,”that ho logos, no less than ho theos, had the nature of theos.””(Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns Mark 15:39 and John 1:1,” journal of Biblical Literature, 92, 1 (March 1973), p. 87.
  • Philip Harner states in the Journal of Biblical Literature, 92, 1 (March 1973) on Jn.1:1 “In vs. 1c the Johannine hymn is bordering on the usage of ‘God’ for the Son, but by omitting the article it avoids any suggestion of personal identification of the Word with the Father. And for Gentile readers the line also avoids any suggestion that the Word was a second God in any Hellenistic sense.” (pg. 86. Harner notes the source of this quote: Brown, John I-XII, 24)
  • Julius R. Mantey: “Since Colwell’s and Harner’s article in JBL, especially that of Harner, it is neither scholarly nor reasonable to translate John 1:1 ‘The Word was a god.’ Word-order has made obsolete and incorrect such a rendering …. In view of the preceding facts, especially because you have been quoting me out of context, I herewith request you not to quote the Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament again, which you have been doing for 24 years.” Letter from Mantey to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. “A Grossly Misleading Translation …. John 1:1, which reads ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,’ is shockingly mistranslated, ‘Originally the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god,’ in a New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, published under the auspices o Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Statement JR Mantey, published in various sources.

COMMENTARY:

1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This One was in the beginning with God. Even the first readers of John’s Gospel must have noted the resemblance between the first phrase ἐν ἀρχῇ, “in the beginning,” and that with which Moses begins Genesis. This parallel with Moses was, no doubt, intentional on John’s part. The phrase points to the instant when time first began and the first creative act of God occurred. But instead of coming down from that first instant into the course of time, John faces in the opposite direction and gazes back into the eternity before time was. We may compare John 17:5; 8:58, and possibly Rev. 3:14, but scarcely ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς in Prov. 8:23, for in this passage “from the beginning” refers to Wisdom, a personification, of which v. 25 reports: “I was brought forth,” something that is altogether excluded as regards the divine person of the Logos.

In the Greek many phrases lack the article, which is not considered necessary, R. 791; so John writes ἐν ἀρχῇ. But in John’s first sentence the emphasis is on this phrase “in the beginning” and not on the subject “the Word.” This means that John is not answering the question, “Who was in the beginning?” to which the answer would naturally be, “God”; but the question, “Since when was the Logos?” the answer to which is, “Since all eternity.” This is why John has the verb ἦν, “was,” the durative imperfect, which reaches back indefinitely beyond the instant of the beginning. What R. 833 says about a number of doubtful imperfects, some of which, though they are imperfect in form are yet used as aorists in sense, can hardly be applied in this case. We, of course, must say that the idea of eternity excludes all notions of tense, present, past, and future; for eternity is not time, even vast time, in any sense but the absolute opposite of time—timelessness. Thus, strictly speaking, there is nothing prior to “the beginning,” and no duration or durative tense in eternity. In other words, human language has no forms of expression that fit the conditions of the eternal world. Our minds are chained to the concepts of time. Of necessity, then, when anything in eternity is presented to us, it must be by such imperfect means as our minds and our language afford. That is why the durative idea in the imperfect tense ἦν is superior to the punctiliar aoristic idea: In the beginning the Logos “was,” ein ruhendes und waehrendes Sein (Zahn)—“was” in eternal existence. All else had a beginning, “became,” ἐγένετο, was created; not the Logos. This—may we call it—timeless ἦν in John’s first sentence utterly refutes the doctrine of Arius, which he summed up in the formula: ἦν ὅτε οὑκ ἦν, “there was (a time) when he (the Son) was not.” The eternity of the Logos is co-equal with that of the Father.

Without a modifier, none being necessary for John’s readers and hearers, he writes ὁ λόγος, “the Word.” This is “the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father,” v. 18. “The Logos” is a title for Christ that is peculiar to John and is used by him alone. In general this title resembles many others, some of them being used also by Christ himself, such as Light, Life, Way, Truth, etc. To imagine that the Logos-title involves a peculiar, profound, and speculative Logos-doctrine on the part of John is to start on that road which in ancient times led to Gnosticism and in modern times to strange views of the doctrine concerning Christ. We must shake off, first of all, the old idea that the title “Logos” is in a class apart from the other titles which the Scriptures bestow upon Christ, which are of a special profundity, and that we must attempt to penetrate into these mysterious depths. This already will release us from the hypothesis that John borrowed this title from extraneous sources, either with it to grace his own doctrine concerning Christ or to correct the misuse of this title among the churches of his day. Not one particle of evidence exists to the effect that in John’s day the Logos-title was used for Christ in the Christian churches in any false way whatever. And not one particle of evidence exists to the effect that John employed this title in order to make corrections in its use in the church. The heretical perversions of the title appear after the publication of John’s Gospel.

Philo’s and the Jewish-Alexandrian doctrine of a logos near the time of Christ has nothing to do with the Logos of John. Philo’s logos is in no sense a person but the impersonal reason or “idea” of God, a sort of link between the transcendent God and the world, like a mental model which an artist forms in his thought and then proceeds to work out in some kind of material. This logos, formed in God’s mind, is wholly subordinate to him, and though it is personified at times when speaking of it, it is never a person as is the Son of God and could not possibly become flesh and be born a man. Whether John knew of this philosophy it is impossible for us to say; he himself betrays no such knowledge.

As far as legitimate evidence goes, it is John who originated this title for Christ and who made it current and well understood in the church of his day. The observation is also correct that what this title expressed in one weighty word was known in the church from the very start. John’s Logos is he that is called “Faithful and True” in Rev. 19:11; see v. 13: “and his name is called The Word of God.” He is identical with the “Amen, the faithful and true witness,” in Rev. 3:14; and the absolute “Yea,” without a single contradictory “nay” in the promises of God in 2 Cor. 1:19, 20, to whom the church answers with “Amen.” This Logos is the revealed “mystery” of God, of which Paul writes Col. 1:27; 2:2; 1 Tim. 3:16; which he designates explicitly as “Christ.” These designations go back to the Savior’s own words in Matt. 11:27; 16:17. Here already we may define the Logos-title: the Logos is the final and absolute revelation of God, embodied in God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. Christ is the Logos because in him all the purposes, plans, and promises of God are brought to a final focus and an absolute realization.

But the thesis cannot be maintained that the Logos-title with its origin and meaning is restricted to the New Testament alone, in particular to the Son incarnate, and belongs to him only as he became flesh. When John writes that the Logos became flesh, he evidently means that he was the Logos long before he became flesh. How long before we have already seen—before the beginning of time, in all eternity. The denial of the Son’s activity as the Logos during the Old Testament era must, therefore, be denied. When John calls the Son the Logos in eternity, it is in vain to urge that v. 17 knows only about Moses for the Old Testament and Christ as the Logos only for the New. Creation takes place through the Logos, v. 3; and this eternal Logos is the life and light of men, v. 4, without the least restriction as to time (New as opposed to Old Testament time). The argument that this Logos or Word “is spoken” and does not itself “speak” is specious. This would require that the Son should be called ὁ λεγόμενος instead of ὁ λόγος. The Logos is, indeed, spoken, but he also speaks. As being sent, given, brought to us we may stress the passive idea; as coming, as revealing himself, as filling us with light and life, the active idea is just as true and just as strong.

This opens up the wealth of the Old Testament references to the Logos. “And God said, Let there be light,” Gen. 1:4. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” Gen. 1:26. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” Heb. 11:3. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made.… For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast,” Ps. 33:6 and 9. “He sent his word,” Ps. 107:20; 147:15. These are not mere sounds that Jehovah uttered as when a man utters a command, and we hear the sound of his words. In these words and commands the Son stands revealed in his omnipotent and creative power, even as John says in v. 3: “All things were made by him.” This active, omnipotent revelation “in the beginning” reveals him as the Logos from all eternity, one with the Father and the Spirit and yet another, namely the Son.

He is the Angel of the Lord, who meets us throughout the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi, even “the Angel of the Presence,” Isa. 63:9. He is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he was before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell,” Col. 1:15–19. This is the revelation of the Logos in grace. The idea that by the Logos is meant only the gospel, or the gospel whose content is Christ, falls short of the truth. “Logos” is a personal name, the name of him “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” Micah 5:2. And so we define once more, in the words of Besser, “The Word is the living God as he reveals himself, Isa. 8:22; Heb. 1:1, 2.” Using a weak human analogy, we may say: as the spoken word of a man is the reflection of his inmost soul, so the Son is “the brightness of his (the Father’s) glory, and the express image of his person,” Heb. 1:3. Only of Jesus as the Logos is the word true, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” John 16:9; and that other word, “I and my Father are one,” John 10:30.

And the Word was with God, πρὸς τὸν θεόν. Here we note the first Hebrew trait in John’s Greek, a simple coordination with καί, “and,” followed in a moment by a second. The three coordinate statements in v. 1 stand side by side, and each of the three repeats the mighty subject, “the Word.” Three times, too, John writes the identical verb ἦν, its sense being as constant as that of the subject: the Logos “was” in all eternity, “was” in an unchanging, timeless existence. In the first statement the phrase “in the beginning” is placed forward for emphasis; in the second statement the phrase “with God” is placed at the end for emphasis.

In the Greek Θεός may or may not have the article, for the word is much like a proper noun, and in the Greek this may be articulated, a usage which the English does not have. Cases in which the presence or the absence of the article bears a significance we shall note as we proceed. The preposition πρός, as distinct from ἐν, παρά, and σύν, is of the greatest importance. R. 623 attempts to render its literal force by translating: “face to face with God.” He adds 625 that πρός is employed “for living relationship, intimate converse,” which well describes its use in this case. The idea is that of presence and communion with a strong note of reciprocity. The Logos, then, is not an attribute inhering in God, or a power emanating from him, but a person in the presence of God and turned in loving, inseparable communion toward God, and God turned equally toward him. He was another and yet not other than God. This preposition πρός sheds light on Gen. 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

Now comes the third statement: And the Word was God. In English we place the predicate last, while in the Greek it is placed first in order to receive the fullest emphasis. Here Θεός must omit the article thus making sure that we read it as the predicate and not as the subject, R. 791. “ ‘The Word was with God.’ This sounds, speaking according to our reason, as though the Word was something different from God. So he turns about, closes the circle, and says, ‘And God was the Word.’ ” Luther. God is the Word, God himself, fully, completely, without diminution, in very essence. What the first statement necessarily involves when it declares that already in the beginning the Word was; what the second statement clearly involves when it declares the eternal reciprocal relation between the Word and God—that is declared with simple directness in the third statement when the Word is pronounced God with no modifier making a subtraction or limitation. And now all is clear; we now see how this Word who is God “was in the beginning,” and how this Word who is God was in eternal reciprocal relation with God. This clarity is made perfect when the three ἦν are seen to be eternal, shutting out absolutely a past that in any way is limited. The Logos is one of the three divine persons of the eternal Godhead.

2) And now the three foregoing sentences are joined into one: This One was in the beginning with God. Just as we read “the Word,” “the Word,” “the Word,” three times, like the peals of a heavenly bell, like a golden chord on an organ not of earth sounding again and again, so the three rays of heavenly light in the three separate sentences fuse into one—a sun of such brightness that human eyes cannot take in all its effulgence. “It is as if John, i.e., the Spirit of God who reveals all this to him, meant to bar from the beginning all the attempts at denial which in the course of dogmatical and historical development would arise; as though he meant to say: I solemnly repeat, The eternal Godhead of Christ is the foundation of the church, of faith, of true Christology!” G. Mayer.

The Greek has the handy demonstrative οὗτος with which it sums up emphatically all that has just been said concerning a subject. In English we must use a very emphatic “he” or some equivalent like “this One,” “the Person,” or “the same” (our versions), although these equivalents are not as smooth and as idiomatic as οὗτος is in the Greek. Verse 2 does not intend to add a new feature regarding the Logos; it intends, by repeating the two phrases from the first two sentences, once more with the significant ἦν, to unite into a single unified thought all that the three preceding sentences have placed before us in coordination. So John writes “this One,” re-emphasizing the third sentence, that the Word was God; then “was in the beginning,” re-emphasizing the first sentence, that the Word was in the beginning; finally “with God,” re-emphasizing the second sentence, that the Word was in reciprocal relation with God. Here one of the great characteristics of all inspired writing should not escape us; realities that transcend all human understanding are uttered in words of utmost simplicity yet with flawless perfection. The human mind cannot suggest an improvement either in the terms used or in the combination of the terms that is made. Since John’s first words recall Genesis 1, we point to Moses, the author of that first chapter, as another incomparable example of inspired writing—the same simplicity for expressing transcendent thought, the same perfection in every term and every grammatical combination of terms. Let us study Inspiration from this angle, i.e., from what it has actually produced throughout the Bible. Such study will both increase our faith in Inspiration and give us a better conception of the Spirit’s suggestio rerum et verborum.

3) The first four sentences belong together, being connected, as they are, by two καί and the resumptive οὗτος. They present to us the person of the Logos, eternal and very God. Without a connective v. 3 proceeds with the first work of the Logos, the creation of all things. All things were made through him; and without him was not made a single thing that is made. The negative second half of this statement re-enforces and emphasizes the positive first half. While John advances from the person to the work, this work substantiates what is said about the person; for the Logos who created all things must most certainly be God in essence and in being.

“All things,” πάντα without the article, an immense word in this connection, all things in the absolute sense, the universe with all that it contains. This is more than τὰ πάντα with the article, which would mean all the things that exist at present, while πάντα covers all things present, past, and future. While the preposition διά denotes the medium, Rom. 11:36 and Heb. 2:10 show that the agent himself may be viewed as the medium; hence “through him,” i.e., the Logos, must not be read as though the Logos was a mere tool or instrument. The act of creation, like all the opera ad extra, is ascribed to the three persons of the God-head and thus to the Son as well as to the Father; compare the plural pronouns in Gen. 1:26.

The verb ἐγένετο, both in meaning and in tense, is masterly. The translation of our versions is an accommodation, for the verb means “came into existence,” i.e., “became” in this sense. The existence of all things is due to the Logos, not, indeed, apart from the other persons of the Godhead but in conjunction with them, as is indicated throughout the creative speaking in Gen. 1. “All things came into being” since the beginning, the Logos through whom they were called into being existed before the beginning, from eternity. The verb “became” is written from the point of view of the things that entered existence, while in Genesis the verb “created” is written from the viewpoint of God, the Creator. John repeats ἐγένετο in the negative part of his statement and adds the perfect tense γέγονεν in the attached relative clause. These repetitions emphasize the native meaning of this verb. As creatures of the Logos “all things became.”

The punctiliar tense, a historical aorist, is in marked contrast to the durative imperfect of the four preceding ἦν. This aorist goes back to the creative acts of Gen. 1. These acts are fundamental; for all creatures that came into existence in the later course of time have their origin in the creative acts of that wonderful week recorded in Genesis. We may thus pass down through the centuries, even to the last day of time, and always it will be true: ὁ κόσμος διʼ αὑτοῦ ἐγένετο, “the world was made through him,” v. 10, where this significant verb is repeated for the fourth time.

John’s positive statement is absolute. This the negative counterpart makes certain: and without him was not a single thing made that is made. Whereas the plural πάντα covers the complete multitude or mass, the strong singular οὐδὲ ἕν points to every individual in that mass and omits none. “Not one thing” is negative; hence also the phrase with the verb is negative, “became without him” or apart from him and his creative power. Apart from the Logos is nihil negativum et privativum. Yet in both the positive and the negative statements concerning the existence of all things and of every single thing the implication stands out that the Logos himself is an absolute exception. He never “became” or “came into existence.” No medium (διά) is in any sense connected with his being. The Son is from all eternity “the uncreated Word.”

The relative clause ὃ γέγονεν is without question to be construed with ἕν and cannot be drawn into the next sentence. We need not present all the details involved in this statement since the question must be considered closed. The margin of the R. V., which still offers the other reading, is incorrect and confusing. No man has ever been able to understand the sense of the statement, “That which hath been made was life in him.” Linguistically the perfect tense with its present force, γέγονεν, clashes quite violently with the following imperfect tense ἦν, so violently that the ancient texts were altered, changing οὑδὲ ἕν into οὑδέν, and ζωὴ ἧν into ζωή ἐστιν. But even these textual alterations fail to give satisfaction apart from the grave question of accepting them as the true reading of the text. So we read, “And without him not a single thing that exists came into existence.” The perfect tense γέγονεν, of course, has a present implication and may be translated, “that exists” or “that is made.” But the perfect tense has this force only as including the present result of a past act. The perfect always reaches from the past into the present. The single thing of which John speaks came into existence in the past and only thus is in existence now. What John thus says is that every single thing that now exists traces its existence back to the past moment when it first entered existence. Thus the aorist ἐγένετο is true regarding all things in the universe now or at any time. Every one of them derives its existence from the Logos. Since γέγονεν as a perfect tense includes past origin, we should not press its present force so as to separate the past creative acts of the Logos from the present existence of the creature world.

C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961), 27–38.

Jehovah’s Witness “Issues” ~ A Couple Topics

(Originally posted in 2015, updated with a few quotes for clarity) This is posted here in the hopes that Edwin, a Jehovah’s Witness I bumped into at Starbucks, will look at the following information that I promised I would reference for him. It backs up a bit more what cannot be explained fully in general conversation.

(Click To Enlarge)

In case you cannot read the writing on the picture, it says:

  • 4 of the 5 on N.W.T. committee know no Hebrew or Greek
  • [Fred Franz] lied about being a Rhodes Scholar. Only 2-years of college.
  • [G.D. Gangas] Short order cook from Ohio who confessed 0 knowledge of Hebrew & Greek.

A Few Words From One Amazing Man Raymond Franz

Pictured above (click to enlarge) is the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ (J-Dubs) of 1975. The circled names are the people of the New World Translation Committee, which, more information is below. The New World Translation is the Bible “version” that the J-Dubs use.

Who Were The Translators?

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has failed both the public and its own followers at this most crucial point, as they refuse to give the names and credentials of the translators of The New World Translation. The Watchtower’s Bible subject index handbook, Reasoning from the Scripture, states: “When presenting as a gift the publishing rights to their translation, the New World Bible Translation Committee requested that its members remain anonymous. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania has honored their request” (pg. 277).

The reason cited is because the “translators were not seeking prominence for themselves.” However, the fact is that the men who comprised this committee had no adequate schooling or background to function as skilled critical Bible translators.

The translation committee was headed by (then vice -president of the Jehovah’s Witnesses), Frederick W.Franz. Other members included Nathan H. Knorr (then president of the Jehovah’s Witnesses), Albert D. Schroeder, Ceorge D. Gangas and Milton Henschel.

The information as to the identity of the translation committee was made known by former Jehovah’s Witness William Cetnar. (See further, We Left lehovah’s Witnesses, A Non-Profit Organization; Edmond C. Gruss.) Cetnar was able to supply this information as he worked at the International Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses during the time the translation was being prepared.

In addition, former member of the Watchtower’s Governing Body, Raymond V. Franz, in his book, Crisis of Conscience, lists the translators’ names as Franz, Knorr, Schroeder and Cangas. His list omits Henschel. Franz further acknowledges his uncle Frederick Franz as the “principal translator of the Society’s New World Translation” (Crisis, pg. 50).

Yet, Frederick Franz’s translation ability is open to serious question.

During a court trial held in Scotland in 1954 (during the same period that the New World Translation was being made) Franz was asked if he had made himself familiar with Hebrew. His reply was “Yes.” He also acknowledged under oath that he could read and follow the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, German and French. The following day, during the same court trial, his linguistic abilities were put to the test.

He was asked to translate Genesis 2:4 into Hebrew. He failed the test as he was unable to do so. In fact he did not even try, but rather stated “No, I wouldn’t attempt to do that.”

(See, Court of Session, Scotland – Douglas Walsh vs. The Right Honourable James Latham Clyde – November 1954.)

MORE BELOW!

When I open up my ESV Study Bible, I see the contributing editors, their education and titles/names — as well as everyone involved in the study notes — their education and titles/names, as well as (and most importantly), the Translators. This is not the case as you can see from the front page of the New World Translation, to the right (click to enlarge). And when we did find out who these translators were, none knew Greek or Hebrew at all!

If someone find’s an issue with the ESV translation (or any other Bible translation) they can contact people and discuss it. Not so with the NWT.

The main problem is that the Watchtower gives ALL truth that is to be believed by the Jehovah’s Witness. I will show an example, and I quote the founder, Charles Taze Russell:

If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible, topically arranged with Bible proof texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes THE BIBLE IN AN ARRANGED FORM. That is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself….

Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years – if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. on the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.

>> Charles Taze Russell, The Watch Tower (September 15, 1910), page 298. (See more here)

Even if you’ve read the Scripture Studies for ten years, and you lay them aside and read the Bible for two years alone, you enter into darkness?!

THAT was a revealing quote.

It shows how brainwashed Jehovah’s Witnesses are to the fact that the ruling council and president of the Watchtower Society dispense nothing but truth and reality while the rest of humanity who points out the misquotes and misrepresentations are shunned as devils (almost literally).

You might say however, “yeah… but that was alll the way back in 1910.” I agree, let’s update that idea a bit. The Watchtower (August 15, 1981) condemns those who:

  • say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home…. Through such “Bible reading,” they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago

In a court case where the the third president of the Watchtower Organization, Nathan Knorr (president from 1942-1977, who, at the age 16 left the Reformed Church to be baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness), gave testimony about “what” the watchtower Magazine really was:

Q. But yon don’t make any such statement, that you are subject to correction, in your Watch Tower papaers, do you?
A. Not that. I recall.

Q: In fact it is set forth directly as God’s word, isn’t it?
A: Yes, as His word.

Q: Without any qualification whatsoever?
A: That is right.

Olin Moyle v. WTBTS [1943], section#4421 (WIKI – the full text is here, but the text gets a bit jumbled) | Duane Magnani, The Watchtower Files: Dialogue With a Jehovah’s Witness (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1985), 17. (<< That is one of the best books on J-Dubs in my opinion. It is out of print but used copies are cheap.) (More here)

One ex-Jehovah’s Witness said he was clearly told that to gain eternal life, certain things were necessary. One was to “study the Bible diligently, and only through Watchtower publications” (Edmond C. Gruss, We Left Jehovah’s Witnesses: Personal Testimonies [Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 1974], 41).

I will go out on a limb here and say, “if the devil were to create a religious group that undermines the true message in the Bible, would the devil require someone to read the Bible by itself… or would the devil want to add something to it that would interpret everything within?”

Who are the real followers of whom?

Liars?

Nor were the leaders/translators honest men. In this first example, Charles T. Russell sued J. J. Ross for “defamatory libel” on March 1913. Ross in his booklet, Some Facts About The Self-Styled Pastor C. T. Russell wrote, “Russell does not know the dead languages.” Unfortunately for Russell, he proved himself wrong in the court room:

  • Attorney Staunton: “Do you know the Greek alphabet?”
  • Russell: “Oh, yes.”
  • Attorney Staunton: “Can you tell me the correct letters if you see them?”
  • Russell: “Some of them, I might make a mistake on some of them.”
  • Attorney Staunton: “Would you tell me the names of those on top of the, page, page 447 I have got here?” (Wescott & Hort Greek NT)
  • Russell: “Well, I don’t know that I would be able to.”
  • Attorney Staunton: “You can’t tell what those letters are, look at them and see if you know?
  • Russell: “My way . . .” (he was interrupted at this point and not allowed to explain) Attorney Staunton: “Are you familiar with the Greek language?
  • Russell: “NO”.

(Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses, p. 6)

This next example comes from the Scottish Court and is the dialogue between Frederick Franz and the court attorney:

From the Pursuer’s Proof of the cross-examination held on Wednesday, November 24, 1954, p. 7, paragraphs A-B. Examining Fred W. Franx, vice-president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and sent as representative of the Society and the Translation Comm.

  • Attorney: Have you also made yourself familiar with Hebrew?
  • Franz: Yes.
  • Attorney: So that you have a substantion linguistic apparatus at your command?
  • Franz: Yes, for use in my biblical work.
  • Attorney: I think you are able to read and follow the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and French?
  • Franz Yes.

later in the same examination

  • Attorney: You, yourself, read and speak Hebrew, do you?
  • Franz: I do not speak Hebrew.
  • Attorney: You do not?
  • Franz: No.
  • Attorney: Can you, yourself, translate that into Hebrew?
  • Franz: Which?
  • Attorney: That fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis?
  • Franz: You mean here?
  • Attorney: Yes.
  • Franz: No.

We asked a Hebrew teacher at Biola College/Talbot Theological Seminary if the fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis was a particularly difficult verse to translate. After all, the pursuer’s question would hardly have been fair if it were the hardest verse in the Old Testament to translate. The professor said that he would never pass a first-year Hebrew student who could not translate that verse.

(Equip.org)

See my actual letter I wrote and compiled for a co-worker who was a Jehovah’s Witness.

My letter to Ron, a co-worker & J-Dub

NWT “Translators” vs. ESV as an example:

When I open up my ESV Study Bible, I see the contributing editors, their education and titles/names — as well as everyone involved in the study notes — their education and titles/names, as well as (and most importantly), the Translators. This is not the case as you can see from the front page of the New World Translation, to the right (click to enlarge). And when we did find out who these translators were, none knew Greek or Hebrew at all!

Oversight Committee

The positions and degrees shown below reflect those held during the translation process and may have changed since.

Dr. Clinton E. Arnold
Professor of New Testament and Chair of New Testament Department, Biola University
BA, Biola College
MDiv, Talbot Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Clifford John Collins, ESV Old Testament Chair
Professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
SB, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SM, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MDiv, Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary
PhD, University of Liverpool

Dr. Lane T. Dennis, ESV Publishing Chair
President and Publisher, Crossway
BS, Northern Illinois University
MDiv, McCormick Theological Seminary
PhD, Northwestern University

Dr. Wayne A. Grudem
Research Professor, Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary
BA, Harvard University
MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. Paul R. House, ESV Old Testament Associate Chair
Associate Dean and Professor of Divinity, Old Testament Studies, Beeson Divinity School
BA, Southwest Baptist University
MA, University of Missouri-Columbia
MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Dr. R. Kent Hughes
Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church in Wheaton
BA, Whittier College
MDiv, Talbot Theological Seminary
DMin, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
ThM, Fuller Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Aberdeen

Dr. J. I. Packer, ESV General Editor
Board of Governors Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada
BA, Oxford University
MA, Oxford University
DPhil, Oxford University

Dr. Leland Ryken, ESV Literary Chair
Professor of English, Wheaton College
BA, Central College
PhD, University of Oregon

Dr. Vern Sheridan Poythress, ESV New Testament Chair
Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Westminster Theological Seminary; Editor, Westminster Theological Journal
BS, California Institute of Technology
PhD, Harvard University
MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary
ThM, Westminster Theological Seminary
MLitt, Cambridge University
DTh, University of Stellenbosch

Dr. Frank Thielman
Professor of Divinity, New Testament, Beeson Divinity School
BA, Wheaton College
BA, Cambridge University
MA, Cambridge University
PhD, Duke University

Dr. Gordon Wenham, Old Testament Associate Chair
Old Testament Tutor at Trinity College, Bristol; Emeritus Professor of Old Testament, University of Gloucestershire
BA, Cambridge University
MA, Cambridge University
PhD, Kingâ™s College, London University

Dr. P. J. Williams
Warden of Tyndale House, Cambridge
MA, Cambridge University
MPhil, Cambridge University
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. Bruce Winter
Principal, Queensland Theological College, Queensland, Australia
BA, University of Queensland
MTheo, SEA Graduate School
PhD, Macquarie University

Previous Translation Oversight Committee Members

Emeritus Members: Dr. Robert H. Mounce; Dr. William D. Mounce
Previous Adjunct Members: Rev. David Jones; Rev. E. Marvin Padgett

Review Scholars

The positions and degrees shown below reflect those held during the translation process and may have changed since.

Dr. T. D. Alexander
Director of the Christian Training Centre, Union Theological College, Belfast
BA, The Queen’s University of Belfast
PhD, The Queen’s University of Belfast

Dr. Clinton E. Arnold
Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Talbot School of Theology
BA, Biola University
MDiv, Talbot Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Aberdeen

Dr. David W. Baker
Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Ashland Theological Seminary
BA, Temple University
MCS, Regent College
MPhil, University of London
PhD, University of London

Dr. William D. Barrick
Professor of Old Testament, The Master’s Seminary
BA, Denver Baptist Bible College
MDiv, San Francisco Theological Seminary
ThM, San Francisco Theological Seminary
ThD, Grace Theological Seminary

Dr. Hans F. Bayer
Associate Professor of New Testament, Covenant Seminary
MA, Ashland Theological Seminary
MDiv, Ashland Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Gregory Beale
Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
BA, Southern Methodist University
MA, Southern Methodist University
ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. Ronald Bergey
Professeur d’Hébreu et d’Ancient Testament, Faculté libre de Théologie réformée, Aix-en-Provence, France
BS, Philadelphia College of Bible
MA, Jerusalem University
PhD, Dropsie University

Dr. Daniel I. Block
John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
BEd, University of Saskatchewan
BA, University of Saskatchewan
MA, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
PhD, University of Liverpool

Dr. Craig L. Blomberg
Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
BA, Augustana College
MA, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
PhD, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Darrell L. Bock
Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
BA, University of Texas at Austin
ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Irvin A. Busenitz
Vice President for Academic Administration, Professor of Bible Exposition and Old Testament, The Master’s Seminary
BA, Grace College of the Bible
MDiv, Talbot Theological Seminary
ThM, Talbot Theological Seminary
ThD, Grace Theological Seminary

Mr. Edward H. Chandler
Ph.D. (cand.), Catholic University of America
MDiv, Covenant Seminary

Dr. Daniel L. Gard
Dean of Graduate Studies, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN
BA, Carthage College
MDiv, Concordia Theological Seminary
MA, University of Notre Dame
PhD, University of Notre Dame

Dr. Robert P. Gordon
Regius Professor of Hebrew, Cambridge University
MA, Cambridge University
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. Gene L. Green
Associate Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
B.A., Wheaton College
MA, Wheaton College Graduate School
PhD, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Michael Grisanti
Associate Professor of Old Testament, The Master’s Seminary
BA, Pillsbury Baptist Bible College
MDiv, Central Baptist Theological Seminary
ThM, Central Baptist Theological Seminary
PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary

Dr. George H. Guthrie
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, Union University
BA, Union University
MDiv, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
ThM, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Dr. Scott J. Hafemann
Professor, Hawthorne Chair of New Testament Greek and Exegesis, Wheaton College
BA, Bethel College
MA, Fuller Theological Seminary
D.Theol, University of Tübingen

Dr. Charles D. Harvey
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Taylor University
BA, Taylor University
MDiv, Reformed Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Richard S. Hess
Professor of Old Testament, Denver Seminary
BA, Wheaton College
MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
ThM, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
PhD, Hebrew Union College

Dr. Harold W. Hoehner
Senior Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
BA, Barrington College
ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary
ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. David M. Howard
Jr. Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
BS, Geneva College
MA, Wheaton College
PhD, University of Michigan

Dr. Gordon P. Hugenberger
Senior Pastor, Park Street Church, Boston, MA
BA, Harvard University
MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
PhD, College of St. Paul and St. Mary

Dr. Philip Johnston
Professor of Old Testament, Wycliff Hall, UK
BA, University of Cambridge
BD, Queen’s University, Belfast
MTh, Queen’s University, Belfast
PhD, University of Cambridge

Dr. Reggie McReynolds Kidd
Associate Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL
BA, College of William and Mary
MAR, Westminster Theological Seminary
MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary
PhD, Duke University

Dr. Nobuyoshi Kiuchi
Professor of Old Testament, Tokyo Christian University
BA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
PhD, The Council for National Academic Awards

Dr. Andreas J. Köstenberger
Associate Professor of New Testament, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Mag. et Dr. rer. soc. oec., Vienna University of Economics
MDiv, Columbia Biblical Seminary
PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Dr. V. Philips Long
Professor of Old Testament, Regent College
BA, Wheaton College
MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. Ernest Lucas
Professor of Old Testament, Bristol Baptist College
MA, Regent’s Park College
PhD, University of Liverpool

Dr. Dennis R. Magary
Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
BA, Fort Wayne Bible College
MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
MA, University of Wisconsin-Madison
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Walter A. Maier, III
Professor of Old Testament, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN
BA, Concordia College
MDiv, Concordia Theological Seminary
MA, Harvard University
PhD, Harvard University

Dr. J. Gordon McConville
Professor of Old Testament, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education
BA, Cambridge University
MA, University of Edinburgh
Ph.D., The Queen’s University of Belfast

Dr. Christopher Mitchell
Theological Editor, Concordia Publishing House
BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison
MA, University of Wisconsin-Madison
MDiv, Concordia Seminary
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Leon Morris
Former Principal of Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia
BSc, Sydney University
ThL, Australian College of Theology
BD, London University
MTh, [university not on file]
ThD, Cambridge University

Dr. Russell Nelson
Professor of Religious Studies, Division Chair, Concordia University College of Alberta
BA, Concordia Senior College
MDiv, Concordia Seminary in Exile, St. Louis
PhD, Harvard University

Dr. Raymond Ortlund, Jr.
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, GA
BA, Wheaton College
ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary
MA, University of California-Berkeley
PhD, University of Aberdeen

Dr. Douglas A. Oss
Pastor, Capital Christian Center, Salt Lake City, UT
BA, Western Washington University
MDiv, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. John N. Oswalt
Research Professor of Old Testament, Wesley Biblical Seminary
BA, Taylor University
BD, Asbury Theological Seminary
ThM, Asbury Theological Seminary
MA, Brandeis University
PhD, Brandeis University

Dr. Iain Provan
Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies, Regent College
BA, London Bible College
MA, Glasgow University
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. Paul R. Raabe
Professor of Exegetical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO
BS, Concordia Teachers College
MDiv, Concordia Theological Seminary
MA, Washington University
PhD, University of Michigan

Dr. Thomas Renz
Professor of Old Testament, Oak Hill Theological College-London, UK
MDiv (equivalent), Freie Theologische Akademie, Giessen, Germany
PhD, Bristol University
Mr. Max Rogland
Ph.D. (cand.) Leiden University
BA, B.Mus., University of Washington
MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary

Dr. Allen Ross
Former Professor of Old Testament, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry
ThD, Dallas Seminary
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner
Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
BS, Western Oregon University
MDiv, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary
ThM, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary
PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary

Dr. Moises Silva
BA, Bob Jones University
BD, Westminster Theological Seminary
ThM, Westminster Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Manchester

Dr. Frank S. Thielman
Associate Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School
BA, Wheaton College
BA, Cambridge University
MA, Cambridge University
PhD, Duke University

Dr. Willem A. VanGemeren
Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies, Director of the PhD in Theological Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Diploma, Moody Bible Institute
BA, University of Illinois, Chicago
BD, Westminster Theological Seminary
MA, University of Wisconsin
PhD, University of Wisconsin

Dr. James W. Voelz
Professor of Exegetical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
AA, Concordia College
BA, Concordia Senior College
MDiv, Concordia Theological Seminary
PhD, Cambridge University

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace
Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
BA, Biola University
ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary
PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary

Dr. Dean O. Wenthe
President, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN
BA, Concordia Senior College
MA, University of Notre Dame
MDiv, Concordia Seminary
ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary
PhD, University of Notre Dame

Dr. Walter W. Wessel
Former Professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary–West
BA, UCLA
MA, UCLA
PhD, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Robert W. Yarbrough
Associate Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
BA, Southwest Baptist College
MA, Wheaton College Graduate School
PhD, University of Aberdeen

The Flat Earth (CMI)

Originally posted August 2017

Here is a good introduction to the idea…

(Almost a third of millennials doubt the round earth. In fact, there are more flat-earthers alive, today, than at any point in world history.)

Best takeaway line from the video below:

  • this new flat earthism clearly has a northern hemisphere bias

Heh, I would say that the this bias is perpetrated by imperialist white supremacist Christian cisgender capitalist heteropatriarchal males. Now… chant with me: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom – It is our duty to win – …We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

THE BIBLE DOESN’T TEACH THIS: Is the ’erets (earth) flat? — Equivocal language in the geography of Genesis 1 and the Old Testament: a response to Paul H. Seely;

ISAIAH IN PARTICULAR DENIES IT: Isaiah 40:22 and the shape of the earth;

THE CHURCH NEVER TAUGHT THIS: The flat earth myth;

IT IS SCIENTIFICALLY ABSURD ON NUMEROUS GROUNDS: A flat earth, and other nonsense — Debunking ideas that would not exist were it not for the Internet;

THE LEADING FLAT-EARTHER IS AN EVOLUTIONIST:

  • “The Flat Earth Society is an active organization currently led by a Virginian man named Daniel Shenton. Though Shenton believes in evolution and global warming, he and his hundreds, if not thousands, of followers worldwide also believe that the Earth is a disc that you can fall off of.”

(SOURCE: Arguments we think creationists should NOT use)


Extra Media


Jay-Z Sports a Racist Emblem from the CULT “The Five Percenters”

(Originally posted in April of 2014. Updated media and some links)

This post should be combined with my other work: “Racist Cults Behind Much of the Police Brutality & Rioting

Except for the fact that Beyonce is in a black nationalist [racist] cult that thinks UFO’s are going to come to earth with black god’s aboard to kill all the devils on earth [white people]. And just so we are clear, what Jay-Z is wearing below would be no different than a white celebrity wearing a KKK symbol (to the right)

Keep in mind that some of the below may have left the cult, but I doubt to a mainstream “orthodox” Christian faith that is healthy and well balanced.

If you click the picture, you will notice an old rap album cover by Eric B. and Rakim… Rakim is wearing a jacket with the symbol of the cult.

Some believe he is a Christian nowbut no, he is still involved in thinking he is a god as a self-admitted 5-percenter (right), and white men are evil. And don’t think for a second this doesn’t cut close to the White House!

(Also, see my conversation with a cultist about Jesus, HERE.) Here is a partial list of artists affiliated currently or at one time intimately with the 5%’ers:

Rakim – member of the influential duo Eric B. & Rakim; Big Daddy Kane; Lakim Shabazz; Nas; Wu-Tang ClanGhostface Killah and Raekwon have deep ties to the 5%’ers, as do the following:

On-and-on, you get the point. See my video on the Five-Percenters. Here is the extended portion of the sample Wu-Tang Clan put into one of their songs:

Gateway Pundit brought this story to my attention, but a site I found but haven’t utilized — until now — is a site called, Black Apologetics (now defunct unfortunately). They have some good info on their page about (now linked to Apologetic Index) The Five Percent: Here is the small blurb via Gateway:

  • Rapper Jay-Z raised eyebrows this week after sporting a medallion symbolizing the Five Percent Nation. The Five Percent Nation – an off-shoot of the Nation of Islam – believes that white people are ‘wicked and inferior’ to black men.

And here the first two points via Black Apologetics [now defunct unfortunately… I was glad to at least grab this from them] are reproduced to familiarize oneself a little with the craziness of the cult:

1.) What are the Nation of Gods and Earths (Five Percent?)

The Five Percent began as an offshoot of the NOI (Nation of Islam) back in 1964 by Clarence 13X who was a minister in Mosque no. 7 under the tutelege of Malcolm X. The movement was started because Clarence 13X rejected the notion that Wallace Fard was God Incarnate (see NOI). He began teaching that the black man himself was god. Five Percenters also depart from NOI in their teaching of the Supreme Alphabet and Supreme Mathematics, an arcane system devised by Clarence 13X wherein each letter or numeral denotes a concept with an accompanying parable. “A” stands for Allah, “B” is Be or Born, “C” is See and so on. This process is known as “dropping science”.

2.) Why do they call themselves members of the Nation of Gods and Earths or Five Percenters?

Clarence 13X taught that eighty-five percent of the population is made up of ignorant, unlearned and uncivilized people who need to be led (mostly churchgoers). This eighty-five percent are believed to have no “knowledge of self”. Ten percent of the population have some knowledge of self [i.e. the real truth], however, they use this knowledge to wield control over the eighty-five percent vs. “liberating” them [most baptist preachers, including Rev. Jesse Jackson are believed to be in this category]. Lastly, he considered the remaining five percent to be those who thought/believed like himself and his followers. The “poor, righteous teachers”, the ones who do possess knowledge of themselves, their origins, and the way the world system really is — and additionally, the way in which the new world order will come about. Their job/mission is to educate the eighty-five percent to what this hidden or veiled knowledge really is. [In the last few years, they have preferred to be called the Nation of Gods and Earths. The men are referred to as “gods” and the women are referred to as “earths”] – I have been informed recently by a member that Allah “The Father” , Clarence 13X, said that after 1967 they would no longer be known as the 5% Nation of Islam, but as Allah’s Nation of Gods and Earths.

(I think this may be the same author – read more HERE)

More on the founder of the 5%’ers, Clarence Smith, later, Clarence 13X, and still later, Allah the Father. The DAILY BEAST has a good article on this… I also mix in this article: “10 Things To Know About Clarence 13X, Founder Of The Five Percenters“:

The Five Percenters believe there is a divine order of the world. “According to the Five Percenters it all started like this: 6,600 years ago, a ‘bigheaded scientist’ named Yakub wickedly created the white race through selective breeding on the Greek island of Patmos, which is now a lovely place to vacation. Unleashing this plague upon humanity, Yakub initiated the decline and eventual enslavement of the Original Man. Up until this point, everything is in agreement with the instructions of Fard Mohammed, the sketchily known teacher of Elijah Mohammed, the founder and prophet of the Nation of Islam,” THE DAILY BEAST reported.

[…]

The Five Percenters, or the Nation of Gods and Earths, believes that Black people are the original people of Earth, so they are the fathers (“Gods”) and mothers (“Earths”) of civilization.

[…]

The Nation of Gods and Earths differs with the Nation Of Islam on several counts. Polygamy is acceptable, especially because it is only the men who are Gods. Women are Earths, which is a lesser form of deity. 

 

If the above [and below] videos do not cause concern, Apologetic Index: has some more “basic teachings” of the philosophy of the 5%

  1. That black people are the original people of the planet earth.
  2. That black people are the fathers and mothers of civilization.
  3. That the science of Supreme Mathematics is the key to understanding man’s relationship to the universe.
  4. Islam is a natural way of life, not a religion.
  5. That education should be fashioned to enable us to be self sufficient as a people.
  6. That each one should teach one according to their knowledge.
  7. That the blackman is god and his proper name is ALLAH. Arm, Leg, Leg, Arm, Head.
  8. That our children are our link to the future and they must be nurtured, respected, loved, protected and educated.
  9. That the unified black family is the vital building block of the nation.

Source:  NPR (MORE: God-Body-Tour-Notes-PDF)

Another good [bite-size] summary of 5-percent’s history comes way of MoonBattery:

  • The group was founded in 1964 in Harlem by Clarence Smith, who later changed his name to Allah, a former student of Malcolm X who disagreed with the Nation of Islam over the nature of God.
  • “The rationale is that the black man is God and created the universe, and is physically stronger and intellectually stronger and more righteous naturally,” says Michael Muhammad Knight, an author of two books on the radical group.
  • “Whiteness is weak and wicked and inferior — basically just an errant child who needs to be corrected.”
  • Smith rejected the notion of a supernatural deity and instead believed that all black men had God in them and that black women were “earths” who took on a complementary yet subordinate role to their gods. …
  • Five Percenters don’t consider themselves Muslim, but their name comes from the Nation of Islam’s belief that 5 percent of humanity are “poor righteous teachers” who exist to enlighten the masses about the truth of existence.

See also NEW YORK POST.

Below, we see a “school” in “Mecca.” I suppose that ~Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., in New York~ is now considered Mecca? This is the whole “lowering-versus-raising-the-bar-thingy” — I suppose. But that is what some black scholars speak to better than myself (like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell):


Busta Rhymes sugar coats his CULT affiliation:


Ex-Members of 3hO Talk of Heartache and Betrayal Years Later

UPDATED WITH VICE’S EPISODE:

  • This is about how Kundalini Yoga and Yogi Bhajan are now seen accurately as a cult that harmed people in many ways, and they are still doing damage, though many of the victims don’t realize it when it’s happening.

(BTW, some of the photos used in Vice’s documentary are my wife’s)

(This was originally posted in 2010, brought here in 2012, updated 5-1-2015)

(Not ALL of the info below is 3HO specific)

I have written on the issue of evil and reincarnation/karma, here: Reincarnation vs. Laws of Logic

(Keep in mind the above critique is by a Sikh, not a Christian)

Shame on 3HO for NOT acknowledging innocent kundalini yoga students raped & abused by Yogi Bhajan! (Go to this forum to talk to and see ex-members talk about this abuse. If you’re having a problem signing into the website be sure to click on as a guest using the red button in the far bottom right of the screen.)

Yogi Bujan

Stories of Yogi Bhajan’s improprieties and crooked financial dealing (theft from members) can be found at the RegisterGuard.com (like this one). As well as found at Religion News Blog, (like: 3hO, and Yogi Bhajan as topics in their archive).

I have personally heard stories about Yogi Bhajan because of close family members that use to be involved in this breakaway form of Sikhism.

Having an extensive collection of comparative religious texts that deal in some-form-or-fashion with Sikhism mainly and 3Ho to a lesser extent, my understanding of this “sect” is unfortunately deepened via the personal stories of anguish below, merely confirming that which is already known.

Articles like these (See: BRITNEY SPEARS) are rare due to the small nature of this “sect” and people assuming it is part of the world religion of Sikhism.

….Bhajan taught, among other things, that he could see auras and see into the future. But perhaps his most outrageous claim was that he was the official religious and administrative leader of all Sikhs in the Western world. I am told that most legitimate Sikhs avoid any association with Bhajan’s group, and that Yogi Bhajanism is by no means representative of the five-century-old Sikh tradition whose homeland is in the Indian Punjab.

(source)

Further below I merely produce parts of the articles from REGISTERGUARD, in the hopes that it adds to an understanding of this movement (maybe a previous innocent naiveté, a, postmodern “who are you to judge” attitude) and how many lives it affected.

One should note that with extreme political ideologies as well as religious ones,

the family unit is broken up, either to bolster the State (communism, fascism, socialism), or a way for one man or a small group to control many (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Jim Jones, etc).

Remember, for instance, in the novel Animal Farm when the offspring of Jessie and Bluebell (two characters in the story — dogs) were taken away from them by Napoleon at birth and reared by Napoleon to be his security force. These dogs are trained to be vicious, going so far as to rip many of the animals to shreds including the four young pigs, a sheep and various hens. Similarly, as the sign over Auschwitz entrance to the medical facilities reads:

“I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality…. We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence — imperious, relentless and cruel.” ~ Adolf Hitler, A sign of his quote hangs on the wall at Auschwitz; Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, p. 23.

(Read More)

It is — the breakup up the family unit — a means for a person to control another. Isolation, separation and alienation leads to the group becoming a substitute family. Members are often encouraged to drop worldly (non-members) friends, may be told to change jobs, quit school, give up sports, hobbies, and the like (source).

Yogi Bhaja 2

Here is some great insight to this dilemma of people stuck in a cult (applicable to political extremes as well):

Milieu Control – the control of the environment including information, associations, time, and energy work to exclude any opportunity for opposition while also promoting the ‘party line’.

Mystical Manipulation – this is the ‘higher calling’ for the follower to be a part of a utopian goal which requires his full devotion. The followers see the leaders as having achieved this higher calling hence they are worthy to be followed.

Demand For Purity – the utopian goal can only be achieved by purity of devotion. Any failure to succeed means impurity exists somewhere and will be searched out by those in control.

Cult of Confession – Failure to succeed means confessions must be made. Any weakness or failure, real or perceived, are to be confessed for the sake of the group. Even confessions where no wrong was actually done can spur the group to more purity.

Sacred Science – The ideology, doctrine and mission of the group are so sacred that they must not be doubted or questioned. To do so is one of the worst offenses possible. However, without the option of questioning, a lie cannot be uncovered.

Loading the Language – Certain words and phrases are so loaded with meaning that stark choices are implied leading to the end of critical thinking.

Doctrine Over Person – What you see, hear or think is irrelevant in the face of the groups doctrine. You must submerge your opinions in the group’s worldview.

Dispensing of Existence – Only those who are committed to the group are valued. Those who oppose or betray the group can be dismissed, defamed, disfellowshipped, or killed.

(WATCHMAN EXPOSITOR)

May I also add that in these types of “religions,” there is no love story entwined in it. The video to the right is a “parable” of sorts on Christ sacrifice for us… it is the Cosmic Love Story that IS the Good News. I have a longer post explaining core Christianity a bit better (how we view our relationship to God), to wit:

In our busy schedules choose a single verse from each section and on Monday study that single verse about our sinful nature. Use an online resource such as Blue Letter Bible to read a commentary on it or Bible Gateway to read a version you haven’t read of the verse. (Or one of your home resources… whatever the case may be.) On Tuesday take a verse on forgiveness (mine, or one that has hit a cord with you over the years). Etc.

By Friday, T.G.I.F. takes on a new meaning. The following week, do the same, but with a different verse. Habits.

(WALK WITH ME)

…Continuing…

A slow, painful awakening led Premka Kaur Khalsa, a top secretary in Yogi Bhajan’s Sikh organization for almost 20 years, to leave the religious group in 1984, she said.

Premka Khalsa, 66, said she could no longer participate because of the inconsistencies she said she had witnessed between the yogi’s behavior and his teachings — the deception and abuse of power.

In 1986, she sued Yogi Bhajan and his Sikh organizations, settling out of court. In court papers, she alleged that the married yogi had sexually and physically assaulted her, that he was sexually involved with other secretaries and that, as the head of his administration, she worked long hours for little or no pay.

The organization’s religious leaders vehemently deny those allegations. Its business leaders did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Kamalla Rose Kaur, 55, another former member of Yogi Bhajan’s 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) who wrote for a grass-roots newsletter in the community, said a light switched on for her when she was researching and writing about religious groups and thought, “Hey, we’re acting a lot like a cult.”

Former member Guru Bir Singh Khalsa, 60, who had been appointed a “lifetime minister” by Yogi Bhajan, said he received a wake-up call in the early 1990s, when Sue Stryker, then an investigator with the Monterey County District Attorney’s office, laid out evidence linking members of his spiritual community to criminal activity. Stryker, now retired, said a member of Yogi Bhajan’s Sikh community pleaded guilty and served time in prison for a telemarketing scam that bilked seniors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These and other ex-members of Yogi Bhajan’s organization say they aren’t surprised by events unfolding now, six years after his death. Legal disputes threaten to splinter the community. Allegations of the yogi’s past wrongdoing are resurfacing. And the future of the Sikh organization’s businesses are in question.

The outcome will ripple far beyond the religious group, whose companies have become intertwined with the local economy and business community.

In Multnomah County Circuit Court, the group’s religious leaders are suing the group’s business leaders over control of the community’s multimillion dollar businesses, including Golden Temple natural foods in Eugene and Akal Security in New Mexico.

“Organizations/cults that have charismatic leaders and their followings, once their charismatic leader dies, this is generally the kind of thing that occurs,” Premka Khalsa said.

“It’s the meltdown of a cult,” said Kamalla Kaur, who spent nearly 20 years in 3HO, and now runs an Internet forum for ex-members. “They actually kept it together longer than we expected.”

Steven Hassan, a Massachusetts-based author, counselor and former leader of the Moon cult in the 1970s, said he has counseled about two dozen former 3HO members, including leaders, over the years.

“The group, from my point of view, was always about power and money,” he said. “(Yogi) Bhajan is the consummate … cult leader. By not specifying someone to take over, there often are these kinds of political battles and meltdowns — people basically being greedy like Yogi Bhajan was and wanting more of a slice for themselves.”

[….]

Watching the business leaders back away from the group’s religious practices, some former members said, reminds them of what they experienced when they decided to leave the group.

“You go through stages of discovery of how you gave away your power and were deceived,” Premka Khalsa said.

“Once the person who is defining your reality — the charismatic leader — once he’s not there continuing to enforce the beliefs, then your eyes start to open,” she said. “You see things in a different way, and it can be disillusioning.”

Premka Khalsa said that’s especially true for the yogi’s secretaries, such as herself, who sacrificed much of their lives to serve him.

“I met him at 25,” she said. “I was 41 by the time I left, so my life of family, child bearing and (being) productive in the world, that whole piece was gone. Nothing was put into Social Security, and I walked out with the clothes on my back.”

The women in his inner circle “were denied having a personal relationship with any other men,” she added. “Some of us wanted to get married and have children, but we got sidetracked into agreeing to forego that with the intention of serving something bigger than us. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.”

[….]

In her 1986 lawsuit, Premka Khalsa alleged that Yogi Bhajan repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her from November 1968 to November 1984.

McGrory, the religious leaders’ attorney, said his clients deny all the allegations in Premka Khalsa’s lawsuit, which “were never verified or substantiated.”

In court papers, she alleged that the yogi was sexually involved with various female followers, and that he ordered her to coordinate his sexual liaisons, including orgies, with other secretaries, which she refused to do.

The head of Yogi Bhajan’s administration, and an editor and writer for his publications, Premka Khalsa said she worked on average 10 hours a day, five days a week. She alleged that she was paid $375 a month — only in her last three years with the group.

“It was another part of how he kept us bound,” she said. “We didn’t have independent resources. He had a fleet of cars — one of which was mine to drive. And he had properties to live on, but they weren’t mine. You had few independent resources, so it made it hard to live out on (your) own. He did that with lots of people.”

Premka Khalsa alleged in her lawsuit that Yogi Bhajan called her “his spiritual wife, destined to serve mankind by serving him in a conjugal capacity.” He said if she did so, he “would care for her for all of her natural life,” she alleged.

When Yogi Bhajan died in 2004, his wife Bibiji Inderjit was to inherit half of their community property, and he designated that his half go to Staff Endowment, a trust to support 15 female administrative assistants.

[….]

She said she was with the group from 1975 to 1985. In her 1986 lawsuit, she alleged that starting in 1978, Yogi Bhajan repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her.

The lawsuit alleged that the yogi was sexually involved with Guru Amrit Khalsa, as well as various other members of his administrative staff.

Guru Amrit Khalsa’s sister also alleged that Yogi Bhajan did not compensate her for skin and hair care products and snack foods she had developed and turned over to him in 1983 and 1984, after he had promised her an ownership stake or other payment

[….]

“Sikh means seeker of truth and therefore I was just a seeker of truth,” he said. “The reason I wanted to put those documents on the Internet was to just turn the light on in the closet.”

“Yogi Bhajan had a dark side, and I think a lot of people don’t want to see it because of what that means about him,” Guru Bir Khalsa said. “I know, for myself, I wasn’t ready and didn’t want to see it. It’s kind of tough when you think you’ve invested as much as you have into something.”

(THE REGISTER-GUARD)

yogi_bhajan_jemez_springs_1971

Bottom line with comparing healthy religion to a cultic idea of financial commitment:

Religious leaders regard their followers as being individuals who need protection and assistance, while cult leaders tend to regard people as a resource to be exploited. It seems to be the standard practice that cult victims will end up with no money. But people who become religious are often encouraged to adopt practices that can increase their income (e.g., by avoiding alcohol and drug use). Most people who regularly attend church and who are in a good financial position are expected to donate 10% of their income – which still allows them to have a good standard of living.

(source)

I want to leave the reader with this thought by Robert Hume. In his book, The World’s Living Religions, he comments that there are three features of Christian faith that “cannot be paralleled anywhere among the religions of the world” [I can add here, the cults either]. These include the character of God as a loving Heavenly Father, the character of the founder of Christianity as the Son of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Further, he says:

The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission. Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strong-minded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshiped, even with multitudinous idols.

All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances.

Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.

Robert Hume, The World’s Living Religions (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959), 285-286.


a small portion of a documentary about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (an Oregon cult):


(For those readers interested, I debated a Sikh — not a 3Ho member — and we spoke about truth… since he was a seeker of it. Portions of this debate are reproduced here: FIRST DEBATE; SECOND DEBATE) <— this is a very old blog I had from a LONG TIME ago. Sorry for the neglected format).

Is Alien Life Even A Possibility?

WHY THE REVAMPING AND ADDITIONS TO THIS OLD POST ?


INTRODUCTION


A young co-worker and another coworking compatriot asked if I thought there was life elsewhere in the universe. Being me, I just cannot say no, so I explained the idea in conversational form (while getting stuff ready for my run) the following: “Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence for the Beginning of the Universe.”

  • Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915;
  • Around the same time evidence of an expanding universe was being presented to the American Astronomical Society by Vesto Slipher;
  • In the 1920s using Einstein’s theory, a Russian mathematician (Alexander Friedman) and the Belgium astronomer (George Lemaitre)  predicted the universe was expanding;
  • In 1929, Hubble discovered evidence confirming earlier work on the Red-Light shift showing that galaxies are moving away from us;
  • In the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted a particular temperature to the universe if the Big Bang happened;
  • In 1965, two scientists (Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson) discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero.

After explaining quickly the ideas therein, and noting that the Greeks, Sumerians, Hindus, Buddhists, Janists, etc-etc, in fact, all the world religions and various worldviews — save theism — posit some sort of eternal nature.

BREAK: DEFINING A WORLDVIEW
For those that have never heard of something they express (often illogically and in parts)

  • A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our well being. — James W. Sire, Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2004), 122.
  • The German word is Weltanschauung, meaning a ‘world and life view,’ or ‘a paradigm.’ It is a framework through which or by which one makes sense of the data of life. A worldview makes a world of difference in one’s view of God, origins, evil, human nature, values, and destiny” — Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics [Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999], 785-786.
  • A worldview consists of a series of assumptions/presuppositions that a person holds about reality. A worldview, consciously or subconsciously, affects the way a person evaluates every aspect of reality. Every person adheres to some sort of worldview, although one person may not be as consciously aware of it as another person. These presuppositions affect the thinking of every person in the world. It logically follows that the way a person thinks affects what a person does. — Biblical Archaeology 
  • People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize.  By “presuppositions” we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic worldview, the grid through which he sees the world.  Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists.  People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world.  Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions. “As a man thinketh, so he is,” is really profound.  An individual is not just the product of the forces around him.  He has a mind, an inner world.  Then, having thought, a person can bring forth actions into the external world and thus influence it.  People are apt to look at the outer theater of action, forgetting the actor who “lives in the mind” and who therefore is the true actor in the external world.  The inner thought world determines the outward action.  Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measles.  But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what worldview is true.  When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, “not many men are in the room” — that is, although worldviews have many variations, there are not many basic worldviews or presuppositions. — Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1976), 19-20.

(See more here: “Worldviews 101 ~ What is a Worldview?“)

END

The only religious text that posits creation ex nihilo [creation from nothing] confirming the latest discoveries of science from Einstein’s theory of relativity to now is the Hebraic Bible [specifically, Genesis — the Bible]. as part of this discussion I noted quickly the just over 10,000 religions in the world fall into just 7-categories/worldviews at most — and stressed again that only theism predicting modern scientific discovery

QUOTE BREAK FOR MY READERS

  • “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

— Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, 1992), 107 | [Additional bio info] Dr. Jastrow ( 1925–2008) became the founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and served as its director until his retirement from NASA in 1981. Concurrently he was a professor of Geophysics at Columbia University. Jastrow became the first chairman of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Committee, which established the scientific goals for the exploration of the moon during the Apollo lunar landings. In 1981 Jastrow left NASA to join the faculty of Dartmouth College as professor of Earth Sciences. He left Dartmouth in 1992 to take up duties as director and chairman of the Mount Wilson Institute, managing the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. Dr. Jastrow was an agnostic, not a Christian.

END

and along with philosophy, history, and science [noted in the convo], I do not believe in alien life. In fact, I am informed of other lifeforms, angels. 

The young lady involved in the conversation after I noted “I could have just said ‘no’ to the question” thanked me for the thorough response. Which was very kind of her. I then noted that I wish many other people in my sub-group, Christians, could also respond in similar fashion… the quote I always have in mind about this I texted to the young man while in bumper-to-bumper traffic on my way to deliver product:

TEXT

After reading many books on extraterrestrial encounters, ghosts, spirit mediums, and demons, I do believe there is interdimensional life. There is more evidence for that, and less blind faith that is required to say “life is possible somewhere” in the material universe. BTW, one of my favorite quotes (talking about faith vs informed faith):

  • “I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them the duty to try to understand the creed of their religion. Not to do so is to verge on superstition.”

Morimer J. Adler, [chapter titled] “A Philosopher’s Religious Faith,” in, Kelly James Clark, ed., Philosophers Who Believe: The Spiritual Journeys of 11 Leading Thinkers (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 207. | [Additional bio info] Dr. Adler (1902-2001) was Chairman and Cofounder with Max Weismann of the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas and Editor in Chief of its journal Philosophy is Everybody’s Business, co-founder and director of the Institute for Philosophical Research, Chairman of the Board of Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, Editor in Chief of the Great Books of the Western World and The Syntopicon: An Index to the Great Ideas, Editor of The Great Ideas Today (all published by Encyclopedia Britannica), Co-Founder and Honorary Trustee of The Aspen Institute, past Instructor at Columbia University, Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago (1930-52).

In other words, my worldview supported by evidence, negates such beliefs.

All this being said, I sometimes feel like the guy explaining stuff in this funny meme:

At the end of this post I will include the entire “Privileged Planet” documentary… it will expand the thinking of just how improbable another planet exists that can support life. As well as other media.


UFO POST REVAMPED


(Originally posted July of 2018)

Excellent two part video series by God and Science:

– the author of these videos id Richard Deem

2nd Video Will Follow In A Bit….

DRAKE’S EQUATION

Here are three articles about an OXFORD study using Drake’s Equation:

Drake’s work can be expressed thus: N = R ∗ fp ∗ ne∗ fl ∗ fi ∗ fc ∗ L

  • R* = How frequently are suns born whose light could conceivably sustain intelligent life?
  • fp = What fraction of those stars have planets?
  • ne = How many of those planets, per solar system, have environments suitable for life?
  • fl = What fraction of those planets actually host life?
  • fi = What fraction of those life-bearing planets have intelligent life?
  • fc = What fraction of those intelligent civilizations broadcast detectable signals into space?
  • L = How long do those civilizations broadcast detectable signals into space?

GREG GUTFELD CHIMES IN

3 ARTICLES

Here is the first article via Michael Guillen at FOX NEWS:

According to a team of researchers at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, it’s because we’ve been using the wrong factors in the Drake Equation. We – including usually hard-nosed scientists – want so badly for there to be LGM, we’ve been grossly overestimating the values of Drake’s factors, resulting in a flagrant overestimation of the number of civilizations that should exist out there.

When the Oxford folks assign realistic numerical values to the seven factors – based on an honest evaluation of the uncertainties in our very best chemical, biological, physical, and astronomical knowledge – Frank’s famous equation predicts a much, much, much smaller number than 1,000 – 100,000,000 intelligent civilizations per galaxy. The median number plummets to something as low as 0.00000000000000000000000000000000008 (that’s an eight preceded by thirty-four zeroes).

In plain English, explain the authors in a paper submitted to the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, “we find a substantial probability that we are alone in our galaxy, and perhaps even in our observable universe.” If any LGM do exist out there somewhere, the researchers conclude, it is somewhere over the rainbow, so to speak – “quite possibly beyond the cosmological horizon and forever unreachable.”

So, next time you look up at the night sky and say to yourself, “There has to be someone out there!” think again. Even though it sounds like a possibility more fantastic than the Tooth Fairy, science itself is presently telling us we are very likely it – the only intelligent creatures inhabiting this immense and incredible universe.

The other is from COSMOS:

….Sandberg, Drexler and Ord use a different approach in their modelling, incorporating current scientific uncertainties that produce values for different parts of the equation ranging over tens and hundreds of orders of magnitude. Some of these concern critical questions regarding the emergence of life from non-living material – a process known as abiogenesis – and the subsequent likelihoods of early RNA-like life evolving into more adaptive DNA-like life.

Then there is the essential matter of that primitive DNA-like life undergoing the sort of evolutionary symbiotic development that occurred on Earth, when a relationship between two different types of simple organisms resulted in the complex “eukaryotic” cells that constitute every species on the planet more complicated than bacteria.

The results are depressing enough to send a thousand science-fiction writers into catatonic shock. The Fermi Paradox, they find, dissolves.

“When we take account of realistic uncertainty, replacing point estimates by probability distributions that reflect current scientific understanding, we find no reason to be highly confident that the galaxy (or observable universe) contains other civilizations,” they conclude.

“When we update this prior in light of the Fermi observation, we find a substantial probability that we are alone in our galaxy, and perhaps even in our observable universe.

“‘Where are they?’ — probably extremely far away, and quite possibly beyond the cosmological horizon and forever unreachable.”

And the NEW YORK POST wrote on the OXFORD study as well:

…..Researchers at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute came to the conclusion that humans are alone in the universe while examining the so-called “Fermi Paradox” — which ponders why scientists believe in extraterrestrials despite having zero proof.

“We find a substantial probability of there being no other intelligent life in our observable universe, and thus that there should be little surprise when we fail to detect any signs of it,” researchers say in the report, published in the online journal Arxiv.org earlier this month.

There’s likely no intelligent life outside of Earth — so there’s no need to waste time theorizing about humanity’s relationship with aliens, notes the paper, dubbed “Dissolving the Fermi Paradox.”

The paradox, named after physicist Enrico Fermi, questions how there could be “a high probability” of extraterrestrial life when there’s no solid proof.

“Where is everyone?” Fermi asked in the 1950s while pondering the possibility of interstellar travel.

Past scientific theories have said alien civilizations may be living in our galaxy based on seven factors — including the position of star formations and how long creatures are able to survive.

But Oxford researchers Anders Sandberg, Eric Drexler and Toby Ord say the simplest solution is likely the truth: There’s no one else out there……


So What Of Alien Abductions?


So, after years of reading books and studying eyewitness encounters and watching TV specials on spirit mediums, alien abductions, past lives, the occult, new age, automatic writing, altered states of consciousness, and hauntings (and more)… the messages and encounters in all these different mediums have a common thread. And since my worldview is informed by the Judeo-Christian God and Scripture… I can come to only one conclusion…. which follows:

Here is that promised 2nd video:

(This post is tied to a similar discussion of Ghost)

Please keep in mind this documentary was made in the 80’s. It has spooky music and is very much dated… the “disclaimer” below it applies as well. All that said, there are some great points made that are still relevant, and most importantly, true.

Take note I do not endorse everything noted in this documentary or the articles, but the similarity between alien encounters, spiritism (like mediums), ghosts, the occult, and the like, is the important issue here ~ NOT “government conspiracies” or the like.

While this documentary is dated, the DVD for purchase (I did edit it a bit), and HERE.

Two decent articles on the issue of UFOs and the Christian worldview, are as follows:

And the best books on the subject are by William Alnor!

Another great book, and a quick read, is Ron Rhodes book,

A note from my Facebook about this and my other post:

I posted two older documentaries (they are from the 80’s, so expect the pat narrator and eerie music) and some links of my own thoughts on the matter.

These two posts give a theistic-Christian interpretation to UFOs, ghosts, spirit mediums, and the like. You can break the world’s 10,000 religious beliefs down to a handful of worldviews and each worldview has a distinct interpretation of the evidence. So if you are a Christian, you cannot believe a ghost is a departed love one or a soul lost and wandering the earth (Hebrews 9:27[note]).

So what is the explanation for these apparent metaphysical encounters?

Well, you will have to see and watch for yourself:

➤ Is Alien Life A Possibility? (This post)
Spiritism and Ghosts ~ The Christian View


[Note] Mind you, it seems clear that before their real conversion to the idea of who Jesus was (God Almighty), the Disciple also believed in ghosts (https://carm.org/did-the-disciples-of-Jesus-believe-in-ghosts).

So I am not saying the person who does believe in these things are retarded or dumb. All I am saying is in the Christian worldview these interpretations do not fit the evidence. I would challenge the believer to mature in their understanding of what their view says and how believing in ghosts being departed people, ETs that posses people, etc,…

…are borrowing from other worldviews and cutting-n-tapping it into the worldview of Christianity.

Do You Believe in Ghosts? The Christian View of the Paranormal

Related Bibliography

Christian

  • Testing the Spirits, by Elizebeth L. Hillstrom
  • The Culting of America, by Ron Rhodes (especially chapter 12)
  • Alien Obsession: What Lies Behind Abductions, Sightings, and the Attraction to the Paranormal, by Ron Rhodes
  • Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religioons and the Occult, by Mather and Nichols
  • Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World & the Church, by Dave Hunt
  • Biblical Demonology: A Study of Spiritual Forces at Work Today, by Merrill F. Unger
  • Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, by Ankerberg and Weldon
  • The Facts on the New Age Movement, Ankerberg and Weldon
  • Occult ABC, by Kurt Koch
  • Christian Counseling & Occultism, by Kurt Koch
  • Occult Bondage and Deliverance, by Kurt Koch
  • Demonology, Past & Present, by Kurt Koch
  • Handbook of Today’s Religions, by McDowell and Stewart
  • The Occult Shock and Psychic Forces, Wilson and Weldon
  • Cults: And the Occult, by Edmond Gruss
  • The Ouija Board: A Doorway to the Occult, by Edmund Gruss
  • Ouija: The Most Dangerous Game, by Stoker Hunt
  • The Beautiful Side of Evil, by Johanna Michaelsen
  • The Occult Roots of Nazism, by Nicholas Goodrick
  • Witchcraft: Exploring the World of Wicca, by Craig Hawkins
  • UFO’s and the Alien Agenda: Uncovering the Mystery Behind UFO’s and the Paranormal, by Bob Larson
  • Encounters with UFO’s, by Weldon and Levitt
  • UFOs in the New Age: Extraterrestrial Messages & the Truth of Scripture, by William Alnor
  • UFO Cults & the New Millennium, by William Alnor
  • Alien Encounters: The Secret Behind the UFO Phenomenon, by Missler and Eastman
  • The New Age Cult, by Walter Martin
  • Beware! Deception & Delusion in the Church, by Bill Rudge

Non Christian

  • Communion: A True Story: Encounters with the Unknown, by Whitley Strieber
  • The Unexplained, by Allen Spraggett
  • Mediums, Mystics and the Occult, by Milbourne Christopher
  • Ghosts Among Us: True Stories of Spirit Encounters, by Leslie Rule
  • Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism, by Thomas B. Allen
  • Thirty Years Among the Dead: Historic Studies in Spiritualism; A Psychiatrist’s Investigation of Spirit Mediums and Psychic Possession in his Patients, by Carl August Wickland
  • Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 1, by Neale Donald Walsch
  • A Course in Miracles, by Helen Schucman
  • The Urantia Book: Revealing the Mysteries of God, the Universe, World History, Jesus, and Ourselves, “Multiple” authors

PRIVILEGED PLANET


Video Description

For centuries scientists and philosophers have marveled at an eerie coincidence. Mathematics, a creation of human reason, can predict the nature of the universe, a fact physicist Eugene Wigner referred to as the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the physical sciences.” In the last three decades astronomers and cosmologists have noticed another, seemingly unrelated, mystery. Contrary to all expectations, the laws of physics seem precisely “fine-tuned” for the existence of complex life.

Could these two wonders actually be isolated pieces of a wider pattern? Both are prerequisites for science, yet what about the process of scientific discovery itself? What are its necessary conditions? Why is it even possible? Read any book on the history of science, and you’ll learn about magnificent tales of human ingenuity, persistence, and dumb luck. But that’s only part of the story, and not even the most important part. Our location is much more critical to science than it is to real estate. For some reason our Earthly location is extraordinarily well suited to allow us to peer into the heavens and discover its secrets.

Elsewhere, you might learn that Earth and its local environment provide a delicate, and probably exceedingly rare, cradle for complex life. But there’s another, even more startling, fact, described in The Privileged Planet: those same rare conditions that produce a habitable planet-that allow for the existence of complex observers like ourselves-also provide the best overall place for observing. What does this mean? At the least, it turns our view of the universe inside out. The universe is not “pointless” (Steven Weinberg), Earth merely “a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark,” (Carl Sagan) and human existence “just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents” (Steven Weinberg). On the contrary, the evidence we can uncover from our Earthly home points to a universe that is designed for life, and designed for discovery.


PRIVILEGED LIFE


This is an old podcast of Dr. Norman Geisler discussing ex-atheist Antony Flew’s book that detailed his leaving atheism. Here is a “Flewism”

  • “My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.” After chewing on his scientific worldview for more than five decades, Flew concluded, “A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.” Previously, in his central work, The Presumption of Atheism (1976), Flew argued that the “onus of proof [of God] must lie upon the theist.” However, at the age of 81, Flew shocked the world when he renounced his atheism because “the argument for Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.” (See my DNA post: RNA/DNA = Information | Or, What “IS” Information)

Flew’s God was: immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient, whole [one, or indivisible, perfectly good and necessary exists].

I call Dr. Flew the long-time “Pope of atheism.” He was the “go-to” guy… until his move to deism in 2004. He was a British philosopher belonging to the analytic and evidentialist schools of thought, he is notable for his works on the philosophy of religion. Flew was a strong advocate of atheism, arguing that one should presuppose atheism until evidence of a God surfaces. He has also criticised the idea of life after death, the free will defense to the problem of evil, and the meaningfulness of the concept of God. However, in 2004 he stated an allegiance to deism, and later wrote the book There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, with contributions from Roy Abraham Varghese. Dr. Flew’s God sounded a lot like the theistic God apologist Dr. William Lane Craig describes:

What properties must such a cause of the universe possess? By the very nature of the case, the cause of space and time must transcend space and time and therefore exist timelessly and nonspatially (at least without the universe). This transcendent cause must therefore be changeless and immaterial, since anything that is timeless must also be unchanging, and anything that is changeless must be nonphysical and immaterial (since material things are constantly changing at the molecular and atomic levels). Such an entity must be beginningless and uncaused, at least in the sense of lacking any prior causal conditions, since there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. Ockham’s razor—the principle which states that we should not multiply causes beyond necessity—will shave away any other causes, since only one cause is required to explain the effect. This entity must be unimaginably powerful, if not omnipotent, since it created the universe without any material cause.

Finally, and most remarkably, such a transcendent first cause is plausibly personal. Two reasons can be given for this conclusion. First, the personhood of the first cause of the universe is implied by its timelessness and immateriality. The only entities which can possess such properties are either minds or abstract objects, like numbers. But abstract objects don’t stand in causal relations. The number 7, for example, can’t cause anything. Therefore, the transcendent cause of the origin of the universe must be an unembodied mind.

Second, this same conclusion is implied by the origin of an effect with a beginning from a beginningless cause. We’ve concluded that the beginning of the universe was the effect of a first cause. By the nature of the case, that cause cannot have either a beginning of its existence or any prior cause. It just exists changelessly without beginning, and a finite time ago it brought the universe into existence. Now this is exceedingly odd. The cause is in some sense eternal and yet the effect which it produced is not eternal but began to exist a finite time ago. How can this be? If the necessary and sufficient conditions for the effect are eternal, then why isn’t the effect also eternal? How can the cause exist without the effect?

There seems to be only one way out of this dilemma, and that is to say that the cause of the universe’s beginning is a personal agent who freely chooses to create a universe in time. Philosophers call this type of causation “agent causation,” and because the agent is free, he can initiate new effects by freely bringing about conditions which were not previously present. Thus, a finite time ago a Creator endowed with free will could have freely brought the world into being at that moment. In this way, the Creator could exist changelessly and eternally but freely create the world in time. By exercising his causal power, he brings it about that a world with a beginning comes to exist? So the cause is eternal, but the effect is not. In this way, then, it is possible for the temporal universe to have come to exist from an eternal cause: through the free will of a personal Creator.

We may therefore conclude that a personal Creator of the universe exists, who is uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and unimaginably powerful.


William Lane Craig and Chad Meister, God Is Great, God Is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable and Responsible (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2009), 16-17.

Here is another video explaining the impossibility of life even in the time allotted by evolution (video description to follow):

This is a combining of two videos into one to strengthen the points made in them… as well as to preserve them for future use.

  • FIRST VIDEO [split in two]: “Stephen Meyer Critiques Richard Dawkins’s ‘Mount Improbable’ Illustration” (YouTube)
  • SECOND VIDEO [tucked between the above]: “Origin: Probability of a Single Protein Forming by Chance” (YouTube)

Other posts related to this on my site:

  • Not Enough Evolutionary Time For Simple Life (RPT)
  • RNA/DNA < Information | Or, What “IS” Information (RPT)
  • The Two Books of Faith – Nature and Revelatory (50+ Evidences) (RPT)

ETC – ETC