Friday, August 26, 2016

Is the Bible a Code Book?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Generally speaking, Christians believe the Bible is God's written Word to man. For centuries, people have been trying to gain esoteric knowledge by searching for patterns and codes for deeper meanings. Although the Bible can be understood by untrained people for salvation and instruction in righteousness, I'll allow that there are some tricky passages where we need the help of a skilled theologian.

A section of the 20th anniversary Dr. Who episode from 1983, "The Five Doctors", comes to mind. The Time Lords are wondering what's happening in a certain area, and one says, "We must know what is happening in there". Extreme sidewinder The Master asks, "Did it occur to you to go and look?" I reckon that's the way some professing Christians act: they want the knowledge of the Bible, but are not bothering with what it actually says. Go and look, what a novel concept!


Some people want to get knowledge from the Bible by looking for hidden codes or adding their own "special direct revelations" from God. That's a foolish waste of time, since the Bible has all we need for Christian living.

Seems to me that a lot of cults and false teachings have this in common. This is frequently seen in the "I have a personal, direct revelation from God" crowd. People get caught up in the emotional manipulation and frenzy that they'll actually believe this stuff instead of pulling back on the reigns and saying "Whoa", opening their Bibles, and verifying if this new "knowledge" comes from God. People also put their minds on hold during these "religious" experiences. If you study on it a mite, it seems rather egotistical (as well as insulting to God's character) that something would remain hidden for millennia, but the owlhoot that's speaking is The One© that gets God's special revelation today. Along with hundreds of other false teachers with their own special (and often conflicting) alleged revelations.

While this article was in the planning stage (I was thinking about doing it), someone posted a comment at The Question Evolution Project promoting the "Book of Enoch". When the commenter was taken to task for adding to God's Word, he received this reply:
Nonsense Curtis, you have no idea what your talking about. Read the books and then comment. After all the bible speaks of them many times and Christ himself would have read them in his education. Enoch was only left out of the western bible (which has lost books since the 4th century) due to the poor condition of Enoch 1. Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Church, use it. Revelation was chosen instead, being in better condition. This was debated for nearly 100 years before the bible was compiled. Enoch was no enemy of God, God delighted in Enoch, he showed total faith and dedication to God when the rest of the world had turned away. Enoch was shown the inner works of heaven, so he could tell his people. Do you even know who Enoch was? "When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." Genesis 5:21-24
This guy is using the evolutionist principle of Making Stuff Up™ as well as mixing in some truths from Scripture. Also, note the commenter's wounded pride and attack on the other person. The so-called Book of Enoch was assembled by piecework over several years, was never written by Enoch himself, and because a certain church uses it doesn't mean the rest of Christianity has to accept it. This bit about debate about it's inclusion, preferring Revelation and so on really takes the rag off the bush!

The Book of Enoch is a favorite of Gnostic heretics, and that gang likes their own esoteric knowledge — the Bible doesn't mean what it says, so they have to add their own ridiculous choices of "holy writings".

Gail Riplinger, author of the spurious New Age Bible Versions, has amazing credentials that enable her to refute Dr. James White and discuss textual criticism and ancient biblical manuscripts. Her degrees are in interior design, home economics, and art. She can tell you how the New International Version and the sinking of the Titanic are related, and God gave her a direct revelation of "acrostic algebra". No, I didn't chaw down some peyote buttons, Riplinger is really that way, see "King James Version Only Controversy" beginning at the 10 minute 20 second mark. What would be appreciated here is if she had knowledge, integrity, actually dealt with Scripture, and didn't hear "God" speaking to her.

These things remind me of the "backward masking" excitement. That was where people would play vinyl records backward and "hear" satanic messages in the lyrics. Even if such things did exist, the lyrics played in the proper direction would be enough reason to leave some musicians alone.

Counting the words and letters, playing around with verse numbers, various methods to crack the code — all wastes of time. For one thing, chapters verses were added a few hundred years ago, and were not a part of the original manuscripts. (Indeed, in Luke 4:17, Jesus did not say, "Turn with me to Isaiah chapter 42, verse 1...") Further, they don't cotton to using the ancient texts from which the Bible is translated. So to seek divine significance from chapter and verse numbers that were added by men is rather silly. And again, such allegations that God hid a code for thousands of years is insulting to his integrity.

To learn about creation, sin, repentance, redemption, living a life of godliness, being equipped — it's all there in the Bible. If someone offers you codes, "revelations" outside the Bible, mixes truth with false teachings, I recommend that you light a shuck out of there.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Being Certain in Today's World

Since way back yonder, people have been dreaming up various philosophies to follow. Sometimes they make their own, and other times, they dominate Western culture itself and get labeled. Premodernism began somewhere around 1650, but I doubt that people said, "Why yes, these are premodern times and I'm fully supportive of premodern philosophy". Modernism began to take hold, and lasted about 300 years.


The dominant philosophy of the age is "postmodernism". One of it's main points is that we cannot be certain of anything. The Christian faith gives us this certainty. Two lessons are linked that give excellent insights into what we're dealing with.
Assembled at SignGenerator.org
About 1950, the philosophy called postmodernism began to take hold, and it's mighty depressing. One of its key points is one certainty: nothing is certain. While postmodernism contributes to atheism, a consistent postmodernist has disdain for the faiths both atheism and Christianity.

To deepen the waters, not only are Christians certain of the existence of God, creation, the deity of Jesus Christ, his death, burial, and bodily resurrection, his return, the Final Judgement, and more, but we have faith. Now, some atheopaths malign and misrepresent the word faith by redefining it beyond what the Bible tells us. They add an element of uncertainty, or even flat-out lie, saying that faith is 'believing in something even though you know it's not true".

The Christian faith offers certainty as well as salvation. Here are two messages by Phil Johnson that get rather involved, but are well worth your time and can let you know the pervasive mindset that we're dealing with. They are free to listen online or download. The first one is an overview of postmodernism, "A Beginner's Guide to Postmodernism" (53 minutes). Second, and I really hope you'll listen to this one even if you pass on the other one, is the 72-minute, "A Certain Uncertainty"

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Understanding Genesis, Sin, and Death


Christians refer to something called original sin, but that expression is not in the Bible. (Some uninformed people believe that sex is the original sin, but even a cursory reading of the opening chapters of Genesis will erase that idea.) It goes back to Adam and Eve.


A proper understanding of "original sin" and the biblical understanding of death is extremely important to the gospel message, beginning in Genesis.
Made at TombstoneBuilder.com
Atheists and other anti-creationists point to Genesis 2:17 and say, "God said they'd die when they ate the forbidden fruit, and they didn't. Therefore, it's an allegory or just a fairy tale!" Instead of listening to sidewinders like that, people should dig a little deeper. The literal translation is, "dying you shall die". That is, spiritual death happened then, and physical death came later, as well as affecting all of creation (Romans 8:22, Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

Old Earth creationists, theistic evolutionists, and other compromisers reject the truth that tampering with Genesis affects the gospel message. A series of compromises must follow in their theology all the way through Revelation, and some have even redefined "sin" to fit their own Bible-denying theology.

Here are two articles that will give you some extremely important information regarding sin, death, and how it affects the whole of Scripture. First, "What Is the Scriptural Understanding of Death?" Next, I hope you'll also read "Original Sin: How Original Is It? Romans 5:12".

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pre-Adam Men and the Gap — Heretics Twisting Genesis 1

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

To borrow from Chris Rosebrough (who is linked below), I'm not asking people to read this or watch the video with open minds, but to have open Bibles. My opinion and yours are not worth a whole lot, nor are our traditions. Only God's Word matters (Isaiah 40:8, Mark 13:31).

Way back yonder, I was a follower of "Word of Faith" heretic Kenneth Copeland and some of his gang, but I didn't go whole hog on his teachings. Still, I accepted too much at the time. One of several things he said that I rejected out of hand was his affirmation of the "gap theory", where there are supposedly millions of years between the first two chapters of Genesis.


Some Word of Faith heretics twisted Genesis 1, Chris Rosebrough of "Fighting for the Faith" explains. Also, some links to dispel the eisegesis.

I disremember why he wanted to use this gap eisegesis, especially since there is nothing to support it in the rest of Scripture, and I don't think there's anything about it in church history, since an old Earth is a relatively new phenomenon in liberal Christian thinking. Mrs. Copeland preaches Word of Faith stuff too, and she has a frequent "teacher" on their show, Billye Brim. Brim was galloping along and jumping fences to promote the gap thing, and they also compound their eisegesis by promoting a pre-Adamite race of men! There is some material below that deals with these things.

Consider this: If there was a gap between the first two verses of the Bible, what do you do with Exodus 20:11, 31:17? For that matter, God called creation very good (Genesis 1:31), which would be nonsensical if there were long ages with death and destruction before Adam was created.

Pastor Rosebrough gave a segment of "Fighting for the Faith" to part of the Brym-Copeland presentation. I took the 25-minute section and made a video so you can here the part that is pertinent here. As much as I want to embed the video here for your convenience, I think doing that slows down sites. I'd be much obliged if you'd follow this link to the video. If you want to, click here for the full episode of "Fighting for the Faith", and for those who want to study it and see active Scripture twisting in action, here's the Copeland-Brym episode. I think they keep stringing it along over several shows, though.

When I was watching Copeland on television (1990s, I think), I don't recall him mentioning the pre-Adamite race of men. In fact, the first time I heard of this was from arch-compromiser Hugh Ross, who defies both science and Scripture. (I wonder if Ross is glad to have support from other Bible mulchers.) Something Ross and Word of Faith people have in common (in addition to eisegesis and twisting the Bible) is rejection of the authority of God's Word. If you study on it, they have that in common with atheists as well.

Here are a couple of links to get you started. You can also search the sites they take you to for more information. "From the beginning of the creation — does Genesis have a ‘gap’?" and "Does Hugh Ross Believe in Soulless Ancient Humans?"

This material is presented to help people think logically and biblically. Just because someone states his or her belief with authority does not mean that it's correct. Sure, some false teachings are more easily dismantled than others, and that's why there are ministries equipped to help straighten things out.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Man's Wisdom or God's Wisdom?

Mankind has exhibited pride and a desire to be in control since Eden (Gen. 3:6), and that pride was manipulated by the serpent's deceit, that they would "be like God" (Gen: 4-5). While being inquisitive and investigative is a gift of God, people have elevated their own wisdom to a lofty perch and have disdain for the wisdom of God, preferring scientism and evolutionism to truth. And yet, we seem like idiots to them.


Greek philosopher Epicurus, evolutionist and hedonist. Man has tried to elevate his wisdom ever since Eden. God's wisdom is foolishness to those who are perishing, but actually confounds worldly "wisdom".
Greek philosopher Epicurus, evolutionist and hedonist (public domain image, modified)

The "wise" philosophers of the ages have sought to answer the mysteries of life, and some have made religious out of esoteric knowledge. Whether the views are secular or form some kind of religion, they try to supplant the Word of God . God has given us true wisdom in his Word (Prov. 1:7, Prov. 2:6, Rom. 11:33, 1 Cor. 1:23), which is far above the false wisdom of the world (1 Cor. 1:20, Isaiah 55:8-9).
The Bible is a very binary book. It does not wallow in greys and pastels, but sets out the grand issues in bold black-and-white terms that demand of us a commitment, a response, leaving us no place for dithering. Jesus famously said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). There is no middle ground!

Paul told the Corinthians that his commission from Christ was “to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void” (1 Corinthians 1:17). This message would be seen as folly to those lost in their sin, but welcomed as the power of God by those whom He is saving (1 Corinthians 1:18–19). Thus the “wisdom of the world” (1 Corinthians 1:20) is at loggerheads with the saving, Christ-centered, cross-centered “wisdom of God” (v. 21).

Paul sets up two competing wisdoms between which there can be no compromise. But he did not invent this state of affairs. In fact, this dichotomy goes back to nearly the beginning of Scripture. The first collision occurs in Genesis 3.
I hope you'll read the rest by clicking on "Competing Wisdoms". Also, I'd be much obliged if you'd read my related article, "Wisdom and Reason".

 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Apostle Peter and the Age of the Earth

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

There are some professing Christians who will say that since the Bible does not give a direct date of creation, they can gallop the Eisegesis Trail and shove millions or billions of years into the Bible. It doesn't work that way. Not only are they showing their bent toward compromise, but their lack of biblical knowledge, and essentially calling Jesus, Paul, Peter, and others liars. There is a right way to interpret Genesis, and it's a good idea to believe what Jesus believed and taught. Many serious problems arise when people play fast 'n' loose with Scripture.

There are many strong reasons to believe that God says what he means about Genesis. Here is a closer look at what Peter had to say, and the implications of the truth of Genesis for the Christian.
The Penitent Apostle Peter by Anthony van Dyck, 1618
The Old Testament is extremely important for understanding the New Testament. We were told that scoffers would come, and there would be apostasy. Peter referred to Genesis several times, and made it clear that not only was there a judgement by global Flood at the time of Noah, he likened it to the coming Judgement by fire. Mockers will denigrate the importance of Jesus' return, preferring to believe in evolutionism, at their own eternal peril. Even some professing Christians do not really believe the Bible, preferring long ages, compromise, and so on instead of God's Word.
When it comes to the discussion over the days of creation and the age of the earth, many people mistakenly think that the issue only involves the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. However, it is important to remember that the teachings of the New Testament are also significant to this debate.

Second Peter 3:1–7, for example, says that in the last days scoffers will come scoffing at the belief that Christ will come again. They will base their ideas upon the assumption that the world has not changed, deliberately ignoring two major events in the history of world: God’s supernatural Creation of the world and God’s judgment of the world by the historical, global, catastrophic Flood in the days of Noah.

Peter’s understanding of these two events is key as it helps us see how the apostle read Genesis. This in turn informs our understanding of the issue of the earth’s age. It is important then to consider what these verses say.
To read the rest, click on "How the Apostle Peter Relates to the Age of the Earth Debate".

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Christian Witchcraft?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This article has two parts. I was going to present some musings that had built up in my mind, made some notes about this on Friday — and something very serious came to my attention on Saturday that fits right in. Kind of strange when those things happen. My concern is how Christians turn their prayers and worship into something resembling spells, forget that God is our loving Father, and act like the Bible is a kind of occult manual.

First, a personal problem. Although it's good to be specific in prayer and even pour out your heart to God, I'll allow that I get a mite over-specific. F'rinstance, I'll pray for my wife's safety for the work day. So, I'll pray for her safety to, from, and during work. I realized that I needed to rein up because I was insulting God at full gallop and didn't even realize it! God is infinitely wise, and knows what we mean. Indeed, he helps in our prayers (Romans 8:26-27). I'm thankful that he's patient.


Original image: Jesus Teaches People by the Sea by James Tissot
Have you read stories or seen movies about jinns (more commonly known in English as genies)? They are wish-granting mythological spirits. (Trivia: the word genius is based on a Latin word for a Roman household spirit.) Aladdin, magic lamp, three wishes, that sort of thing. Many stories have the jinn as a trickster — someone wishes for a million bucks, and the one making the wish is suddenly surrounded by a million male deer. I feel that many of us treat God in a similar way. Although he has given us faith and saved us (Ephesians 2:8-9) and provided what we need to live Christian lives (2 Peter 1:3), we seem to act like we must be ultra-specific and use the right formula or he'll ignore us, give us the wrong thing, or punish us in some way.


On a side note, there have been atheists who claim to have prayed for something but did not have their desires met. British atheist Lewis Wolpert said he quit praying because he asked God to help him find his cricket bat, which did not happen. People like that have no understanding of God or the Scriptures, and I wouldn't be surprised if some "prayed" and rubbed the Bible in order to make the prayer "take". Makes as much sense as rubbing the fat Buddha Maitreya's belly for luck.


There are Christians who seem compelled to use formulaic prayers as if our Father in Heaven will reject the prayers, and perhaps us, if we do them "wrong". I've been in churches that use modern Bible versions such as the Holman Christian Standard Version, the New International Version, the New American Standard Bible, the English Standard Version — and pray in ye olde English. Why? Do they think God doesn't savvy? Is it a kind of spell? To me, it smacks of witchcraft. It also seems pretentious.

Christians, we need to trust God, not try to impress him or use formulas like witches or other humanists. Another thing to consider is that some of these people are just playing church, and do not know God. Examine yourselves to see if you are indeed in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).


Two aspects in this article. First, we insult God by praying in a formula manner. Worse, occult formulas such as circle casting are infiltrating the church.
Assembled from components at Clker clipart
Here is the part I wasn't intending to write before, but I believe it was providentially shown to me. And it's very serious. Part of this material hit me rather hard, because I had foolishly dabbled in the occult years ago, thinking I could use magical forces for good. If you want to know about that part of my history, click on "The Spirit of the Thing".

We have a contradiction happening. In many parts of the world (especially those oppressed by atheism and Mohammedanism), Christianity is growing. In other areas, especially our comfortable Western cultures, rejection of the authority of God's Word (easily seen in compromise with theistic evolution and "deep time" science philosophies), and apostasy are increasing. New Age practices (essentially Eastern religious concepts), "Chrislam" and even witchcraft have been accepted in churches; people like "new" things, "new" revelations, "new" moves of the Spirit, but do not spend much time checking things out to see if they're biblical. It's all about me and what I want (Matthew 6:33), and not about giving glory to Jesus.

Want a "new" way to pray better and get what you want? Use an old occult technique of casting circles! You don't need God's Word, just listen to the adversary — like Eve did (Genesis 3:4-7). Yeah, that turned out well, didn't it? Before Mark Batterson said that our job is to draw circles in the sand, Belinda Carlisle sang some very occult lyrics in 1988's "Circle in the Sand". Nice song, and I have no idea if she knew what the lyrics really meant (she didn't write it), but it's witchcraft.

I'm asking you to please take a look at something, including a 15-minute video, and share it to your Christian friends: "3 is the Number: The Circle Maker and Wiccan magic". And pray. The Bible way.

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