Monday, June 26, 2023

Lies Believed by Fundamentalists

I have noticed many things that are taught by Christians (or those who claim to be Christians) that are, at best, not supported by Scripture.  And at worse, contrary to what the Bible says.  Today, we're going to focus on things that the fundamentalists (of which I once was, and still am to some degree) get wrong.  I am hoping to list every single lie that is believed by fundamentalists, and which is specific to fundamentalist doctrine.  But to end on a positive note, I also hope to list every single true thing that is believed by fundamentalists, and which is specific to fundamentalist doctrine.  And these will be very brief summaries as each one could be a blog post in and of itself.  Also, since I will not edit a blog post after it has been published, if I miss anything here, there probably will eventually be a part 2.

The Lie The Truth
The Bible is [literally] the word of God/written word of God. The Bible contains the written word of God, but it not literally the word of God.
The Bible claims to be the word of God. The Bible makes no such claims.
The Bible claims to be inerrant.
You can either trust the whole Bible or none of it. There is no reason to treat the Bible as an "all or nothing" book.
The Bible has no contradictions. There are some contradictions, but very few in number.
"Scripture" in the Bible refers to the whole Bible. "Scripture" in the Bible refers to a subset of "Old Testament" writings (namely the Law and the Prophets), except for 2 Peter 3:16, where it also refers to Paul's epistles.
The Bible should be taken literally. [not all fundamentalists teach this] Not everything in the Bible is meant to be taken literally.
It's in the Bible, therefore it's the word of God. Circular reasoning.  Besides, not every book in the Bible claims to be the word of God, nor are given such attribution by other books in the Bible.  Being the "word of God" was never a requirement for inclusion in the Bible.
It doesn't belong in the Bible because it's not the word of God.
"Scripture" and "the written word of God" are the same thing. Not all Scripture is the "written word of God", nor is all "scripture" [literally "writings"] in the Bible directly attributed to God.
Every word in the Bible was dictated by God. There are many places where this is true, such as where God is telling Moses or another prophet what to tell the people. But there are many places where this is not only false, but would be useless to us if  it were true.
Rejecting one book in the Bible will lead to rejecting the whole Bible. This is only true for those who bought the lie that the Bible is an "all or nothing" book.  Otherwise, there wouldn't be people who believe that Paul is a deceiver while simultaneously believing Jesus is the Messiah and the other apostles were legit.
All books in the Bible have equal authority. There is a hierarchy of authority in the Bible starting with Torah at the top, followed by the Prophets, then everything else.
Not believing all of the above is compromising God's word with man's words. All of the above claims are man's words.
It is now morally necessary to wear clothes because of sin. God never gave any such mandate or moral obligation.
The laws against incest were given out of necessity. The laws against incest were put in place to (1) set God's people apart from the nations [Leviticus 18:1-5], and (2) keep all sexual relationships within the bounds of what God intended.
Sins are only forgivable through a blood sacrifice. There are many instances in the Bible where God forgave people without a sin offering being presented, notably with David's adultery and murder, and the many times that Jesus forgave people just because of their faith. And there is a sin offering that is just flour [Leviticus 5:11].

That should be all of them.  Now to end on a positive note, here are all (hopefully) of the fundamentalist claims that are correct, or close enough.

Claim More Accurate Version (if any)
The Bible should be taken as plainly written. For the most part, the Bible should be taken as plainly-written.  [Hebrew idioms in both OT and NT need to be taken into account.]
Everything God says is true.
Genesis is the foundation of the Gospel Message of Jesus the Messiah. Genesis, along with the rest of Torah, is the foundation of the Gospel Message of Jesus the Messiah.
Compromising Genesis compromises the Gospel.
The Bible has a 100% prophesy-fulfillment rate.
Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sinners death to pay for our sins, and rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sinners death, and rose from the dead after three days and three nights.
Jesus is the son of God and is God.
Jesus is the Messiah.
Jesus is God in the flesh.
If you do not believe Moses, you will not believe Jesus. If you do not believe Moses (which includes obeying him), then you will not believe Jesus.
It is because of the Fall that we wear clothes. It is because of the fall that we began to wear clothes.
God created everything in 6 days and rested on the seventh.
Death, disease, and suffering are the result of the Fall, and were non-existent before then.
The Flood of Noah literally covered the Earth in water.
There is no such thing as "pre-history".
Man and dinosaurs were created together and lived together.
Living things reproduce after their kind.
All people and nations came from Adam through Noah.
God created all things "very good".
Sin corrupted God's very good creation.
Death is the result of sin.

Don't forget: If you think I missed anything (I probably have) or got something wrong (I probably have), constructive criticism is always welcome on this blog.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

How to Test Claims that Something is a Sin

When trying to determine whether something that is claimed to be a sin actually is a sin, you only need to ask these three questions:

  1. Does Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy) have a direct command against it?
  2. Does Torah list items that are permitted (or required) in a category that the item in question is in but is not on the list?
  3. Is there a penalty associated with it, but without a direct or indirect command against it?

It really is that simple, as Torah alone defines what is right and wrong.  Whatever is contrary to Torah is sin and whatever is not contrary to Torah is not sin.  The Prophets do not define sin.  Jesus does not define sin.  The Apostles do not define sin.  Only the Law of Yahweh defines sin.  And for those who would say that Yeshua does define sin because he is God, let me remind you that if he is to live a sinless life as a human being, he must abide by the same Law that everyone else is expected to abide by.  If he were to teach what is contrary to Torah, then he would have sinned and his death on the cross would be useless for our salvation.  Therefore Yeshua does not define sin.

Also, I originally listed just the first two questions, and would have considered things that meet the criteria of the third question as things that God hates but does not forbid.  But while writing this post, I changed my mind, hence the third question.

Jesus said to live on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).  And you're not living on it if you are adding to it or subtracting from it.  For the Law says in multiple places, such as Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 to not add to or subtract from God's commandments.  This means that once written, the Law of God is read only.  Nobody after that can in any way change the Law, not even Jesus after he rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven.  The Apostle Paul said multiple times that Torah defines sin, such as Romans 3:20 and 7:7.  The Law itself defines sin in multiple places as transgressing the Law.

For any given thing that is claimed to be sinful, answering "yes" to one of the above questions proves the thing in question to be sinful.  If the answer to both questions is "no", then the thing in question is not sinful even if it is detrimental or believed to be detrimental.

The first question should be self-explanatory.  If God's Law has a direct command against something, then that something in question is a sin.  Theft, adultery, lying, murder, and slander are all sinful because the Law has a direct command against each of these.  The same for eating animals like pigs [Leviticus 11:7-8].  And if you think of twisting 1 Timothy 4:1 to claim that I'm teaching "doctrines of demons" (as some have done), then you would be calling God a demon, for God himself gave that command.

The second question is a bit more complex than the first.  There are some places in God's Law that list of a number of things in a category that are either allowed or required.  In these instances, whatever is in that same category that does not make the list is forbidden.  A good example of this is the list of holy days in Leviticus 23 that we are to use to honor God.  So even if it could be proven that Christmas and Easter did originate within Christianity, it wouldn't change the fact that those days are not on the list of holy days for honoring God, and are therefore sinful to partake in.  We may see those days as serving God, but that's not how God sees them.

There are some things that do not have a direct command against them (answer to question 1 is "no") or an indirect command against them (answer to question 2 is also "no").  This is where the third and final question comes in:  If God's Law also does not list a penalty for doing something (answer to question 3 is "no"), then the item in question is not a sin.  But if there is a penalty listed for doing something, then the item in question is a sin.  Otherwise, there would not be a penalty.

A good example of something that has a penalty listed, but no direct or indirect command against it is extramarital sex.  In Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29, if an unmarried couple are caught having sexual relationships, then the man is required to pay the bride price to the woman's father, the two are required to marry (unless the father forbids it), and they are never allowed to divorce.  The bride price, can be multiple years worth of wages.  And if a woman had this type of sexual relationship, then presented herself as a virgin to another man and her deception was discovered, then the woman could die (Deuteronomy 22:20-21).

In any case where the answer to all three of these questions is "no", then the thing in question is permissible.  In fact, since Torah is described as "the Law of Liberty" in James 1:25, then we should approach things in a "freedom by default" manner.  That is, unless we can prove it goes against God's Law, we should allow it.  Some examples of things that are not against God's Law include dancing, games and sports, and gender-neutral bathrooms, lockers, etc.

There are some things that Yahweh technically allows, but also hates.  These things are often identified by whether God's Law has a provision for them, but also a lot of restrictions.  One example is divorce, where as I explained in a previous post, is intended to be done only in cases of unfaithfulness in marriage.  We also know that Yahweh hates divorce because of Malachi 2:16, where Yahweh explicitly states as much when speaking through one of his prophets.

To summarize:  If you cannot prove that something is contrary to God's Law either by (1) a direct command, (2) by not making a list of items allowed or required that are in the same category as the item in question, or (3) by not having any penalty for doing something, then regardless of how sinful you believe it to be or how much you object to it, that thing is not, I repeat, not, a sin.

I'll leave you with this exercise:  Exodus 20:26 says, "Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it."  So what is the sin here?  Is it to build steps up to an altar, to approach the altar naked, or both?  Don't forget to prove your answer.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Is it Ever Acceptable to Break God's Law?

For those who have read a significant number of my blog posts, you might think that I will answer a definite "no".  But there is one problem with that:  The purpose of Yahweh giving his Law in the first place.  That purpose is to promote life.

Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you. [Deuteronomy 4:1; NKJV]

You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess. [Deuteronomy 5:33; NKJV]

Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. [Deuteronomy 8:1; NKJV]

You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God is giving you. [Deuteronomy 16:20; NKJV]

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. [Deuteronomy 30:6; NKJV]

in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. [Deuteronomy 30:16; NKJV]

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; [Deuteronomy 30:19; NKJV]

If the purpose of the Law is to promote life, which it is, then it should stand to reason that if a situation comes up where obedience would put a life in danger, then the preservation of life would take precedence over God's Law and we would not be guilty of sin.  And that the exception to this rule would be if a person or animal committed a capital offense.  So, are there any instances in the Bible where people broke the Law to preserve life and not guilty of sin?  As a matter of fact, there are.

In 1 Samuel 21:1-9, David and the men who were with him ate from the holy bread in the House of God, which is against God's Law, but were not guilty of sin.  If we take a look at the chapter before, we find that David and his men were fleeing from King Saul, though they had done nothing wrong.  They ate the consecrated bread because that was the only thing available.  In Matthew 12:1-8, when the Pharisees asserted that it is against the law to glean the fields on the Sabbath (human law, by the way), Jesus responded by pointing out what David did, and said that he was innocent.  He also made mention of the fact that the priests on Sabbath duty actually break the Sabbath, but are also innocent.  Later on, Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, saying that God's Law allows us to do good on the Sabbath, citing the fact that a person would help their animal out of a ditch on the Sabbath.  That by the way, is something else the Pharisees forbade (for the people, not for themselves).

In another instance, in 1 Samuel 25:2-35, Nabal's wife Abigail rebelled against her husband after he refused David's request, and went to David and his men with gifts and an apology, saving the lives of every male in Nabal's house.  For David intended to destroy him and his house by morning.  The Law of Yahweh makes it very clear that a woman is under the authority of her husband.  But had Abigail not broken God's Law by rebelling against her husband, every male in the house would have died by the hand of David.  By the way, Nabal had a heart attack when he heard what David had intended to do.  And he died ten days later, but was the only one in the house to die.

So not only is it acceptable for the preservation of life to take priority over God's Law, but it is also acceptable for a person's well-being to take priority over God's Law.  This does not mean that a person deserving of the death penalty should be spared such a penalty (which would pervert justice), or that it's okay to set aside the commandments of Yahweh because it is convenient to do so.  It does mean that we should not abstain from doing good in instances where it would break one of God's commandments, because a person's life and well-being take priority.  But when a person's (or animal's) life or well-being is not in danger, then we must not by any means set aside God's commandments.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

What Did Jesus Mean by "But I Say..."? [UPDATED]

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This article was originally published on December 27, 2021 but contains a serious error that I am correcting here.  You can still read the original in its entirety through this link.  Other than this one correction, this post is completely unmodified from the original.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Theistic Evolutionists vs Deuteronomy 13

I have used the phrase "Deuteronomy 13 Test" 9 times in previous posts so far, and have made at least one reference to 22 times in one way or another.  It is the number one most important test for detecting false teachers.  If you fail this test, then nothing else matters!  Why?  The premise of the Deuteronomy 13 Test is quite simple:  Obedience to Torah (aka: God's Law, aka: the Law of Moses) is the definition of loving and serving God and listening to his voice, while the rejection of his Law is the definition of idolatry (aka: following other gods).  Here, read Deuteronomy 13 for yourself!

Did you also catch that Deuteronomy 13 is as much God testing his people as it is his people testing the teachers/prophets?  If not, go read it again!  As those who love God and keep his commandments (the one who does not keep his commandments by definition does not love God), we are tested with false teachers and false prophets to see if we love God with all of our hearts.  If we listen to the false teacher or prophet, then we have failed the test.  And here are the most commonly-known ways for a false teacher or prophet to fail this test.

  1. Openly lead people to serve other gods.
  2. Teach people to reject keeping God's Law.

There are a couple of other ways that people are led to follow other gods that actually fall under the category of failing the Deuteronomy 13 test.  (Remember, Deuteronomy 18 is about when a prophet gets things wrong while speaking in the name of Yahweh, or prophecies in the name of another god.  For the Deuteronomy 13 Test, the prophet does not have to speak in the name of another god.)  One of which is to speak in the name of another god while simultaneously saying that it's Yahweh, but by a different name.  Either by butchering God's name, or by using the actual name of a false god as if it's one of God's names.  New-Agers are good at failing it that way, but that's a topic for another post.

The other way to fail the Deuteronomy 13 Test that's overlooked is to discredit God's Law by discrediting Genesis.  How does this fail the Deuteronomy 13 Test?  By causing people to not trust Genesis, you also cause them to not trust the rest of Torah (and also the rest of the Bible)?  And this is exactly what theistic evolutionists do.  And most probably know exactly what they are doing (in terms of getting people to not trust the Bible as a whole).  Remember:  Satan's goal is to keep people away from God and keep them from receiving the promise of eternal life (and to wipe-out humanity, which he cannot do directly, so he has fools in high places knowingly try to do that for him).  Part of keeping people away from God is to keep them from following God's Law.  The other part is by keeping people away from Jesus, which theistic evolution does quite nicely.  Keeping people from receiving God's promise of eternal life is accomplished by keeping people from having a Biblical faith in Jesus, which includes believing that Jesus, and the one who sent him are trustworthy, and which lease to obedience to the one whom they believe in.

Would it surprise you if I said that the "New Testament" is worthless if Genesis is not the historical account it claims to be or is not in any way an accurate historical account?  Well, the "New Testament" is indeed worthless if Genesis is not the historical account that it claims to be.  In fact, the "New Testament" is worthless unless Genesis is (a) the historical account it claims to be, and (b) is an accurate account of the beginnings of Creation.

Guess what:  The "New Testament" is also worthless if the rest of Torah is not to be trusted.  Most conservative denominations teach distrust of God's Law through the typical "Jesus fulfilled the law so we don't have to" type of claims, but theistic evolutionists do this by deceiving people into not trusting Genesis.  If we cannot trust Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy as containing the eternal commands of God, then all of the moral teachings in the "New Testament" completely collapse, for these teachings come directly from the Law of God.  And the Law of God (which includes Genesis) is completely dependent on Genesis being the truthful account of the origins of Creation.  By the way, Torah alone is the sole authority on right and wrong.  Every instruction in the Bible that comes after Torah ultimately either (a) comes from God's Law or (b) provides the correct interpretation of Torah.

To close, here's how you can identify the theistic evolutionists who know exactly what they are doing:  Anyone who says "we should reinterpret Scripture to fit the science", then goes about doing exactly that knows exactly what they are doing.  But do not assume that those who do not say that are ignorant of the issue at hand.  More than likely, they too know what they are doing.

Lies Believed by Fundamentalists

I have noticed many things that are taught by Christians (or those who claim to be Christians) that are, at best, not supported by Scripture...