We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Dangerous Teachings of Finis Jennings Dake

Over the years I have continued to see every “Christian” book store sell the “Dake Annotated Reference Bible” (often referred to as the “Dake Study Bible”).  This study Bible is the origin of much of the heresy taught in the Word of Faith cult.  The origin of the commentaries in this KJV Bible is Finis Jennings Dake, who was not only a heretic, but was charged with immoral acts with a 16-year-old girl!

I have in my files various articles which comment on the teachings of the Dake Bible.  To give you an idea of just how bad are the commentaries by Dake, I have transcribed the various articles for your perusal.

The apologetics ministry, Personal Freedom Outreach, has a quarterly journal in which they had an article in their volume 12/number 4 (Oct-Dec 1992) issue about Dake and his “study” Bible.  The article was titled, THE PENTECOSTAL STUDY BIBLE: WHY HASN'T ANYONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF THE DAKE BIBLE?, by G. Richard Fisher.  The following are excerpts from this article:

Spiritual dangers can lurk anywhere. Even between the covers of a commentary Bible…. Apparently few people know that this study Bible's notes contain teachings that are strange, cultic and heretical. …

Dake does not believe God is omnipresent because He has a body that localizes Him. God is present in our thoughts and we are present in His but that is all there is. Dake did not believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because he said the Spirit has a body like the Father and Son. Dake believed the Holy Spirit is "in" us only in the sense of unity of purpose.

While orthodox Christians must reject these teachings, Dake said they would do so at their own peril. On page 96 of God's Plan for Man, he warned: "Any religion that teaches contrary to these and all other fundamental doctrines of Scripture is of the devil and is for the purpose of causing the soul to be damned in eternal Hell."…

Many of Dake's doctrinal errors appear to be rooted in his misunderstanding of anthropomorphism. Although Dake wrote in his preface of "symbolic, figurative, or typical language," he did not always recognize where these things apply. This is especially true of the doctrine of God. Anthropomorphism (Baker's Dictionary of Theology, pp. 45-46) is the use of human terms to explain God in a way that people will understand. God accommodated our understanding by speaking of Himself in human terms and at times as having human, animal or material characteristics. But it's a far cry between using such terms to describe God and saying God has a body or human form….

Jesus said God is Spirit (John 4:24). God is not a man (Number 13:19) but has given self-disclosure in terms that we can comprehend. But Dake wrote of God (New Testament, pg. 97, note r). "He has a personal spirit body; shape; form; image and likeness of a man; He has bodily parts such as back parts; heart, hands and fingers, mouth, lips, tongue, feet, eyes, hair, head, face, arms and loins. He has a bodily presence and goes from place to place in a body like other persons."  So it sounds like God is just like us. Dake, in making God into our image and likeness probably did not realize that he called God's omnipresence into question by these statements. He then affirmed: "He wears clothes, eats, rests, dwells in a city located on a material planet called heaven."…

In an attempt to deal with his destruction of God's omnipresence, Dake coined a new word, "omni body." On page 15, note n, he wrote: "God as well as men and angels is limited to one place as far as the body is concerned. The doctrine of the omnipresence of God can be proved but not His "omni body." In His body He goes from place to place like other persons."  Dake said God is unlimited yet limited, localized yet omnipresent. He tried to squeeze the Scripture into his logic rather than base his logic on God's word…

In many of his commentary notes, Dake taught salvation by works. With John 10 (New Testament, pg. 107, note f) he wrote about "Three things men must do and continue in to receive eternal life." In his comments on Luke 8:15, he wrote "Seven conditions of eternal salvation." and in Luke 9:23 he wrote "Seven things one must do to be saved." On page 100 of his New Testament (note d) he wrote "23 conditions of eternal life." On John 15:9 he wrote that there are 359 commandments that must be obeyed. On page 313 of his New Testament, he listed 1,050 commands that if obeyed will bring "rich rewards here and forever. If disobeyed they will bring condemnation and eternal punishment."…

One of Dake's directives could be deadly. In his comments on Matthew 4:2, he wrote: "Hunger always leaves after a few days of fast and returns after a long fast of about 40 days or when all toxic poisons have been expelled from the body. The breath at this time becomes as sweet as a baby's. Any normal healthy person can fast this long without any harm. Starvation only begins after hunger returns in such cases. One must use water in long fasts and break the fast gradually."

Dake missed another rule of interpretation, which asks how words were used and understood by the people addressed. Jews in Christ's time usually fasted one day a week. The Pharisee's claim to fame in Luke 18:12 was that he "fasted twice in the week." As well the Jewish fast was never total but only the cutting down of quantities of food.

Dake's suggestion of a 40-day fast would be a disaster if anyone tried to take him seriously. Yes, Jesus did it, but Jesus was Jesus!  Except in rare cases, the fasts recorded in the Bible were one-day affairs. Only five fast days a year were commanded in the Old Testament (Leviticus 23 and Zechariah 8).  There were occasional spontaneous one-time fasts for differing reasons. The Pharisees piled on more fast days than required by God through their traditions.

Colossians teaches that no man can require or command a Christian to fast. But to even suggest we could do it for 40 days, with benefit no less, is foolish and dangerous…

Dake also taught racism and segregation. He pushed Israel's religious separation to an extreme and denigrated the concept of current and eternal oneness in Christ and the Church. On page 159 of his New Testament, he listed "30 reasons for segregation." Here are some excerpts:

"1. God wills all races to be as He made them. Any violation of God's original purpose manifests insubordination to Him.

 2. God made everything to reproduce after his own kind. Kind means type and color or He would have kept them all alike to begin with. ... 

4. Miscegenation means the mixture of races, especially the black and white races, or those of outstanding type or color. The Bible even goes further than opposing this. It is against different branches of the same stock intermarrying such as Jews marrying other descendants of Abraham. ...

18. God commanded Israel to be segregated.

19. Jews recognized as a separate people in all ages because of God's choice and command. Equal rights in the Gospel gives no right to break this command.

20. Segregation between Jews and all nations to remain in all eternity.

21. All nations will remain segregated from one another in their own parts of heaven forever. ...

23. Even in heaven certain groups will not be allowed to worship together."

Dake's Bible could be called the "vacuum cleaner Bible." It's a collection of controversial interpretations. He wrote that Jonah literally died inside the whale… On page 1, note b., he wrote of a dispensation of angels and angels ruling various planets. This is novel but not based on Scripture. Page 3, note x, mentions children being born throughout eternity. Christ in Matthew 22:30 taught that there is no marriage in the resurrection state. On Mark 12:35, Dake wrote "Resurrected saints ... have no need of the marriage relationship to produce their own kind." He wrote that Cain was the "mayor" of the first city (pg. 4, note o) and that disease germs are closely allied with demons (pg. 633). Dake originated the idea of Adam flying to planets, something Benny Hinn has picked up on.

But while some of Dake's errors are speculative and silly, others are serious and deadly to either body or spirit. His notes are a patchwork that can deceive and mislead.

This citation is from The Berean Call, February 1994, in the article More on Being a Berean, by Dave Hunt:

It is amazing how influential one false teacher can be.  For example, much of the aberrant theology of [Kenneth] Hagin, [Kenneth] Copeland, [Benny] Hinn, et al. can be traced to one man, Finis Dake.  His Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible presents, among other errors, the idea that God the Father has a physical body similar to man’s; that he eats, wears clothes and lives on a planet called Heaven; that Adam and Eve flew back and forth to the moon; that Christians will continue to have children throughout eternity; and even that there will be segregation between races in heaven.  Who could believe such antibiblical  nonsense?  Multitudes.  And they accept it from the notes in a “reference” Bible which sold 30,000 copies in 1992!  

This citation is from Areopagus Journal July 2002, Vol. 2/No. 3, which is a publication of the Apologetics Resource Center.  The article this is taken from is “How the Cults MisInterpret the Bible”, by Thomas A. Howe.

A very good example of the impact of one’s presuppositions on interpretations is the interpretation of various passages by Finis Jennings Dake, the author of the Dake Annotated Reference Bible.  In his comments on John 4:24, Dake makes the following assertion about the nature of God:

God is a Spirit Being, not the sun, moon, stars; nor an image of wood, stone, or metal; and not beast or man.   He is not the air, wind, universal mind, love or some impersonal quality.  He is a person with a personal spirit body , a personal soul, and a personal spirit, like that of the angels, and like that of man except His body is of spirit substance instead of flesh and bones (Job 13:8; Heb. 13).

According to Dake, God is a material being who is located in a place far from us, namely, Heaven, which is “a real planet like earth.”  According to Dake, the planet Heaven is the “capital of the universe, for God has His capital city, the New Jerusalem, His capitol building, the Heavenly Temple or Tabernacle, and His throne in the Temple of Heaven.”  When God appears to people on earth, like Abraham, then God must move from planet Heaven to the planet Earth in order to be present to Abraham.  Now, such movement necessarily involves a relation of before and after; before the move and after the move.  But, a relation of before and after is at least one condition of a temporal relation.  Although temporality may be more than a relation of before and after, it is certainly not less than this.   It follows that God, according to Dake, is a temporally as well as a materially located being.  God is not only located in a place.  He is located in time.

Dake believes that God has literal eyes and literal arms, hands, a mouth, and all the other features that human beings have. 

The following is from “The Berean Call This Week” - September 29, 2003  (e-mail news)

In the Dake Study Bible, the commentator (Finis Dake) teachings on the nature of God eerily paralleled those of Mormonism. Consider how many scriptures must be wrested in attempting to prove this teaching.

"He is a person with a personal spirit body, a personal soul, and a personal spirit, like that of angels, and like that of man except His body is of spirit substance instead of flesh and bones (Job 13:8; Hebrews 1:3). He has a personal spirit body (Daniel 7:9-14; Daniel 10:5-19); shape (John 5:37); form (Phil. 2:5-7); image and likeness of a man (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 9:6; Ezekiel 1:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:7; James 3:9). He has physical parts such as, back parts (Exodus 33:23), heart (Genesis 6:6; Genesis 8:21), hands and fingers (Psalm 8:3-6; Hebrews 1:10; Rev. 5:1-7), mouth (Numbers 12:8), lips and tongue (Isaiah 30:27), feet (Ezekiel 1:27; Exodus 24:10), eyes (Psalm 11:4; Psalm 18:24; Psalm 33:18), ears (Psalm 18:6), hair, head, face, arms (Daniel 7:9-14; Daniel 10:5-19; Rev. 5:1-7; Rev. 22:4-6), loins (Ezekiel 1:26-28; Ezekiel 8:1-4), and other physical parts. He has bodily presence (Genesis 3:8; Genesis 18:1-22) and goes from place to place in a body like all other persons (Genesis 3:8; Genesis 11:5; Genesis 
18:1-5,22,33; Genesis 19:24; Genesis 32:24-32; Genesis 35:13; Zech. 14:5; Daniel 7:9-14; Titus 2:13). He has a voice (Psalm 29; Rev. 10:3-4); breath (Genesis 2:7); and countenance (Psalm 11:7). He wears clothes (Daniel 7:9-14; Daniel 10:5-19); eats (Genesis 18:1-8; Exodus 24:11); rests (Genesis 2:1-4; Hebrews 4:4); dwells in a mansion and in a city located on a material planet called Heaven (John 14:1-3; Hebrews 11:10-16; Hebrews 13:14; Rev. 21); sits on a throne (Isaiah 6; Daniel 7:9-14; Rev. 4:1-5; Rev. 22:3-6); walks (Genesis 3:8; Genesis 18:1-8,22,33); rides (Psalm 18:10; Psalm 68:17; Psalm 104:3; Ezekiel 1); and engages in other activities."

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, published by Dake Bible Sales, Inc, Lawrenceville, Georgia, New Testament, pp. 96-97.)

Dake was apparently unable to discern that the Lord uses figurative language in order to convey truths about Himself in an understandable way. Using Dake reasoning throughout the Scriptures, one could also state that the Lord has a sharp, two-edged sword in His mouth (Revelation 1:16); is a door--presumably with hinges (John 10:9); and most interesting of all, has feathers and wings (Psalm 91:4).

Anyone who has ever seen a hen gather her chicks under her wings can understand the protective care and protection the Lord gives to us, hence the language used in Psalm 91.

The Christian Research Journal, Vol. 27/No. 5 (2004) had a feature article by Jeff Spencer and Steve Bright, titled Dake’s Dangerous Doctrine.  It repeats a lot of what is already noted above.  The following are citations from Dake’s Bible as noted in this article:

“God has a spirit body with bodily parts like man.”
“If man was made in the image and likeness of God bodily, then God must have a body, and an outward form and shape.”

Excerpt from the article:

The historic Christian view of the Trinity - that God is one being constituted by three persons - is “foolish and unscriptural, to say the least”, says Dake.  He states, it is a fallacy “that there is only one person or one being called God.”  Dake says that the Trinity is three separate and distinct persons in one God; however he defines person as “a rational being with bodily presence, soul passions, and spirit faculties.”  In his view, person and being mean the same thing.  He concludes, therefore, that the Trinity is three separate and distinct beings, each with a body, soul, and spirit: “What we mean by Divine Trinity is that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead, each one having His own personal spirit body, personal soul, and personal spirit in the sense that each human being, angel, or any other being has his own body, soul and spirit.”

This characterization of the Trinity as three separate beings is different that the historic Christian view that the Trinity is three separate persons who are united in one essence or substance - in other words, one being….

Dake’s misunderstanding of God’s nature also results in a problematic view of Jesus’ nature.  He teaches, for example, that Jesus became the Son of God at His incarnation (a view held by Jehovah’s Witnesses known as adoptionism) and that Jesus became the Messiah at His baptism (see, however, Luke 2:11 and Matt. 2:4).  These views have been rejected by the majority of he church throughout history.  His most troubling views, however, relate to Jesus’ incarnation and resurrection.

Dake argues, as noted above, that before the Incarnation, the Son (Jesus) had a spirit body as did the Father and the Spirit; however, he says that when Jesus came to earth, He exchanged His spirit body for a human body: “He laid aside His God body to take a human body, His immortality in body to become mortal.”  Jesus’ resurrection, in Dake’s view, was a return to a spiritual body, the same kind of body that believers will receive at their resurrection.  …

Dake recognizes the strong biblical support that Jesus’ resurrected body was (and is) physical flesh and bone.  He vigorously argues, however…that Jesus’ body was “materialized, spiritual substance.”  A “materialized, spiritualized substance,” however, is a contradiction in terms; moreover, the phrase “spirit body,” as defined by Dake, is the same as saying “immaterial material,” which also is a contradiction in terms.  A thing is either material or immaterial - there is no middle ground. …

According to Dake, justification, the initial act of God by which He declares a believing sinner righteous, is maintained by obeying certain conditions and by not sinning:  “every act of obedience is an act of faith and works combined to maintain justification before God.”  He states elsewhere that a believer who sins can lose his salvation and again be condemned: “A man forgiven of past sins must quit sin.  If he commits the same sins again after conversion he will be charged with them again.  They must be properly confessed and forgiven again or he will pay the death penalty for the new crimes.”  …

Dake’s view of essential Christian doctrines sometimes has more in common with the theology of the cults than with historic Christian theology.  His works, while containing many biblical truths, include numerous other unbiblical and outlandish teachings, such as:  God lives in a mansion on a material planet called Heaven and is invisible to us only because He is so far away that we cannot see Him, humans are miniatures of God in attributes and power, Adam replaced Lucifer as ruler of the earth, disease germs are related to demons, God wants the races to remain separate as they were originally and will be in eternity.  It is unfortunate that Dake’s faulty works find such a welcome place in Christian churches and bookstores.

One last citation is from Hank Hannegraaff’s book, “Christianity in Crisis,” in which Hank states the following on p.298 (paperback edition with study guide)

Perhaps the worst collection of false teachings is found in the popular Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.  “God . . . goes from place to place in a body like all other persons,” says Dake, and He is just “an ordinary sized being.”  “He wears clothes . . . eats . . . rests . . .  dwells in a mansion and in a city located on a material planet called Heaven.”

On the very first page of the New Testament, Dake writes that Jesus “became the Christ or the ‘Anointed One’ 30 years after He was born of Mary.”  Even a biblically illiterate person who has watched the “Charlie Brown Christmas Special” (1965) or has sung Christmas carols should be familiar with Luke 2:11, which says, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (KJV, emphasis added).


Dake’s annotated Bible is rife with this sort of heresy and aberrational teaching, and is therefore dangerous to use.   Finis Dake was a bonafide false teacher.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Did They Really Say That?!?

One disease is no more real than another.  All disease is the result of education, and disease can carry its ill-effects no farther than mortal mind maps out the way.

Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.176

So, if we don't think we have a disease, we will never get it?  If we remain uneducated, we will never have a disease?  So all those people who thought they had influenza in the 1918-1919 pandemic were just imagining they had it, and if they just stopped believing they had it, the flu would go away?

There are people who actually believe this nonsense.  These people put their faith in a false christ and a false god while following the teachings of a false teacher whose teachings have no basis in reality.

How sad it is that the followers of Christian Science - which is neither Christian nor science - will die in their sins all the while thinking that dying is just a false belief.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


O Divine Redeemer, 

Great was thy goodness 
in undertaking my redemption,
in consenting to be made sin for me, 
in conquering all my foes;

Great was thy strength 
in enduring the extremities of divine wrath, 
in taking away the load of my iniquities;

Great was thy love
in manifesting thyself alive,
in showing thy sacred wounds,
that every fear might vanish, 
and every doubt be removed;

Great was thy mercy
in ascending to heaven
in being crowned and enthroned
there to intercede for me,
there to succor me in temptation,
there to open the eternal book,
there to receive me finally to thyself;

Great was thy wisdom
in devising this means of salvation;

Bathe my soul in rich consolations
of thy resurrection life;

Great was thy grace
in commanding me to come hand in hand
with thee to the Father, 
to be knit to him eternally,
to discover in him my rest,
to find in him my peace,
to behold his glory,
to honor him who is alone worthy;
in giving me the Spirit as teacher, guide, power,
that I may live repenting of my sin, 
conquer Satan,
find victory in life.

When thou art absent all sorrows are here,
When thou art present all blessings are mine.

From The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions, p.98-99

Friday, December 26, 2014

Look Closely

The manger and the Cross.  What a great piece of artwork!!!

The Church Walking With the World

The Church and the World walked far apart
On the changing shores of time,
The World was singing a giddy song,
And the Church a hymn sublime.
“Come, give me your hand,” said the merry World,
“And walk with me this way!”
But the good Church hid her snowy hands
And solemnly answered “Nay,
I will not give you my hand at all,
And I will not walk with you;
Your way is the way that leads to death;
Your words are all untrue.”

“Nay, walk with me but a little space,”
Said the World with a kindly air;
“The road I walk is a pleasant road, 
And the sun shines always there;
Your path is thorny and rough and rude,
But mine is broad and plain;
My way is paved with flowers and dews,
And yours with tears and pain;
The sky to me is always blue,
No want, no toil I know;
The sky above you is always dark,
Your lot is a lot of woe;
There’s room enough for you and me
To travel side by side.”

Half shyly, the Church approached the World
And gave him her hand of snow;
And the old World grasped it and walked along,
Saying, in accents low,
“Your dress is too simple to please my taste;
I will give you pearls to wear,
Rich velvets and silks for your graceful form,
And diamonds to deck your hair.”
The Church looked down at her plain white robes, 
And then at the dazzling World,
And blushed as she saw his handsome lip
With a smile contemptuous curled.
“I will change my dress for a costlier one,”
Said the Church, with a smile of grace;
Then her pure white garments drifted away,
And the World gave, in their place,
Beautiful satins and shining silks,
Roses and gems and costly pearls;
While over her forehead her bright hair fell
Crisped in a thousand curls.

“Your house is to plain,” said the proud old World,
“I’ll build you one like mine;
With walls of marble and towers of gold, 
And furniture ever so fine.”
So he built her a costly and beautiful house;
Most splendid it was to behold;
Her sons and her beautiful daughters dwelt there
Gleaming in purple and gold;
Rich fairs and shows in the halls were held,
And the World and his children were there.
Laughter and music and feasts were heard
In the place that was meant for prayer.
There were cushioned seats for the rich and the gay,
To sit in their pomp and pride;
 But the poor who were clad in shabby array, 
Sat meekly down outside.

“You give too much to the poor,” said the World.
“Far more than you ought to do;
If they are in need of shelter and food,
Why need it trouble you?
Go, take your money and buy rich robes,
Buy horses and carriages fine;
Buy pearls and jewels and dainty food,
Buy the rarest and costliest wine;
My children, they dote on all these things,
And if you their love would win
You must do as they do, and walk in the ways
That they are walking in.”
So the poor were turned from her door in scorn,
And she heard not the orphan’s cry;
But she drew her beautiful robes aside, 
As the widows went weeping by.

Then the sons of the World and the sons of the Church
Walked closely hand and heart, 
And only the Master, who knoweth all,
 Could tell the two apart.
Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,
“I am rich and my goods increase;
I have need of nothing, or aught to do,
But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”
The sly World heard, and he laughed in his sleeve,
And mockingly said, aside —
“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;
And her shame is her boast and her pride.”

The angel drew near to the mercy seat,
And whispered in sighs her name;
Then the loud anthems of rapture were hushed,
And heads were covered with shame;
And a voice was heard at last by the Church
From Him who sat on the throne,
“I know thy works, and how thou hast said,
‘I am rich,’ and hast not known
That thou art naked, poor and blind, 
And wretched before my face;
Therefore from my presence cast I thee out,
And blot thy name from its place.”

Matilda C. .Edwards
From "The Best Loved Poems of the American People"

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Over the years I have seen many claims as to why Christians shouldn't celebrate Christmas, because, it is said, it originated from a pagan celebration.  Of course, even if that was the case, it really doesn't matter because ALL days belong to the Lord, and we can chose any day we want to celebrate the birth of Christ.  HOW we celebrate the day can be discussed because of the crass commercialism and greed that has become associated with it, but WHETHER we celebrate the day is an issue of Christian liberty.

Answers in Genesis gives us their view of the origin of Christmas.

Have a blessed day, whether or not you choose to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Don't Despise the Reality of the Spirit

"It is precisely the world's mockery that will again and again be a sign that the Church is on the right road: It is a surer sign than the world's applause.  Where the Church retreats into invisibility, it despises the reality of the Spirit."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, cited by Paula Ervin in "Women Exploited: The Other Victims of Abortion," p.28

Monday, December 22, 2014

“New Age Bible Versions” - Chapter 18

Chapter 18: “Judgement or Interment?”  Riplinger opens the chapter by citing 1 John 4:8 (“God is love.”), Hebrews 12:29 (“God is a consuming fire.”) and Romans 11:22 (“Behold the goodness and severity of God.”)  Her premise is that the two mentioned attributes of God require judgment for our  sins, and therefore there is indeed a place of “everlasting fire.”  This place is known as hell, and was not created for man, but that was enlarged to accommodate those who reject God.  She uses as her “proof text” Isaiah 5:14.  However, Isaiah is only talking about the grave (as translated by the NIV).  And that is the crux of this chapter: “Hell’s presentation in the bible [sic] can hardly be extinguished, but recent versions have diluted it by submerging the reader in a welter of words, substituting ‘death’, ‘grave’, ‘sheol’, ‘hades’, and ‘the depths’ for the word ‘hell.’  Using five additional ambiguous words fractures the impact.  The fracture flies in the face of clarity, obscuring God’s warning.  Descending progressively downward from ‘death,’ to the ‘grave,’ then to ‘sheol’ or ‘hades,’ then ‘the depths,’ and finally to ‘hell,’ the NIV offers a station, waiting to prove the afterlife theory of every philosophy and cult afloat.”

Aside from the hyperbolic rhetoric, Riplinger believes every reference to “hell” in the KJV is a reference to the place of eternal damnation, yet this idea has no basis in reality.  What is interesting about this first section is that she just chastises the NIV when the NAS is also guilty!

1.  On pages 292 and 293, Riplinger has two chart showing the replacement of KJV’s “hell” in numerous Old Testament verses.   On p.292 “death” is the new word (6 passages), while on p. 293 (“The NIV has again erected a shaky fire escape on the foundation of their faulty theology.”)  there are 20 “grave” changes and one “depths” change.  Every one of these passages uses the Hebrew word “Sheol,” which Strong’s says means, “grave; by extension, realm of death, deepest depths.”  These passages have nothing to do with the place of eternal torment and the new versions have translated the word correctly!

2.  The chart on p.293 also includes four passages from the New Testament, two being changed to “grave” and two to “depths.”  These passages use the Greek word “hades,” which means, “the grave, the place of the dead,’the underworld.’”  Again, there is nothing in these passages to suggest anything in relation to the place of eternal torment, and the new version Bibles accurately translate the text.

3.  P.294: Hell or Hades and Sheol.”  Riplinger then uses the logic fallacy of pointing out that the new versions translate these passages in the same way as do the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  But if something is true, it doesn’t matter if a cult also teaches it — truth is true no matter who speaks it! 

a.  NT translations of “hell” to “hades” — 10 passages.  All of these passages use the same Greek word “hades,” which means they are translated correctly.  In these passages the word CANNOT mean the place of eternal punishment.  In fact, in the last passage, Rev. 20:14, death and hades are both thrown into “the lake of fire,” which is understood to be the place of eternal torment.  If Hades equals Hell, then there is a problem here!

b.  In the NAS Bible, “Sheol” replaces “hell” in the Old Testament 67 times.  It doesn’t matter that this is proper, what matters to Riplinger is that the Jehovah’s Witness Bible does the same thing. 

New version Bibles do NOT make hell into series of steps to the afterlife as claimed.  They all have explicit teachings about hell as a place of eternal torment for unbelievers.  The fact that they corrected many of the KJV passages to reflect the actual context of the passages being the grave, does not make them “New Age.”  Neither Sheol nor Hades are Hell — both words refer simply to the grave, the land of the dead.  They have nothing to do with Hell as a place of eternal torment.  When the New Testament refers to the place of eternal punishment, it uses the word “Gehenna.”  

4.  After some convoluted arguments and logic fallacies, we come to the end of the chapter on p.298.  Here Riplinger prefixes a chart with this statement:  “The NASB has entirely omitted ‘everlasting punishment’ from the New Testament.  The NIV has also dropped all references to “everlasting punishment’ for man.”  She continues with a claim about the ideology of NIV editors.  

Now, here’s the complaint:  KJV uses “everlasting” while new versions use “eternal.”  Riplinger says there is a difference between these two terms, and that somehow when “eternal” is used instead of “everlasting” in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 it means the people are “left to rot in their graves.”   But the two words are synonymous!!!!  Current culture doesn’t use the word “everlasting,” so the more culturally-familiar term “eternal” is used, but they mean the very same thing!  How can something be “everlasting” without being “eternal,” or how can something “eternal” without being “everlasting”?  This charge is just ludicrous!

5.  We now see that Riplinger’s complaints in this chapter are totally without warrant.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Spiritual Seductions In America

Most North American believers are wonderfully and prayerfully sympathetic to the plight of fellow Christians who are undergoing terrible persecutions for their faith in foreign lands, yet too few have a real concern for fellow believers here in the West who are being spiritually seduced and whose biblical faith is being critically undermined.  The tendency is to write off most false preachers as religious kooks and to think no more about their captive audience.  All true believers, whether or not they have been led into false teaching, make up the body of Christ.  When one part of the body is seduced and suffers, it affect the entire body (1 Corinthians 12:25-27).

Not only is such a cavalier attitude wrong biblically, but it is extremely shortsighted and therefore blinds a person to the seductions and ultimate deceptions that are involved.

T.A. McMahon, "They Claim to Speak for God, Part One," The Berean Call, March 2013.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Did They Really Say That?!?

“I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion.  It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.  This will be hard, you say, and I agree.  But frankly, it’s not all that easy to be a follower of Jesus in many ‘Christian’ contexts either. …

“Ultimately, I believe ‘they’ and ‘we’ can all experience this transformation [by God’s Spirit] best by becoming humble followers of Jesus, whom I believe . . . to be the Son of God, the Lord of all, and the Savior of the world.

“In this light, although I don’t hope all Buddhists will become (cultural) Christians, I do hope all who feel so called will become Buddhist followers of Jesus; I believe they should be given that opportunity and invitation.  I don’t hope all Jews and Hindus will become members of the Christian religion.  But I do hope all who feel so called will become Jewish or Hindu followers of Jesus.

“Ultimately I hope that Jesus will save Buddhism, Islam, and every other religion, including the Christian religion, which often seems to need saving about as much as any other religion does.”

Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy, p.260, 264.  Cited by Albert Dager in, “The Emergent Church: A New Path to Ancient Religion,” Media Spotlight, Vol.28/no.4

Can someone please explain to me how one can remain in a pagan religious “context” while following Jesus?  If one is “following” Jesus, that means they have accepted him as their Lord and Savior, have placed their faith in who He is, the work of the cross and the resurrection.  His disciples MUST adhere to the Christian “religion” — that is what it means to be a disciple of Christ; i.e., a Christian.  A Buddhist cannot remain a Buddhist if he truly follows Jesus - he will become a Christian.  Same with the Jew and the Hindu.  

Jesus will never “save” any religion, rather he saves people from their sins.

What McLaren teaches is nothing less than abject heresy.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Shallow Christianity

During the last three decades, many have experienced Christianity in church settings that major in entertainment rather than in teaching the Scriptures and disciplining those who attend.  Thus, they are the products of years of church-growth marketing schemes that have attempted to fill pews with the "unchurched" and keep them coming back by using consumer-oriented tactics.  It's a "keep the customer happy," seeker-friendly approach that has critically diluted biblical content as churches compete with the world in order to interest their youth.  The game rooms of some mega-churches could put to shame their cities' most popular arcades.  The marketing mentality of "do whatever it takes to attract and keep the kids coming back to church" reflects a "bait and switch" scheme, and in most situations the "bait" (games, music that mimics the world, and entertainment) overwhelms the intended "switch" (learning the Bible).  That endeavor has both trivialized and marginalized the instruction of the Word of God for those who have been subjected to that worldly approach.  The outcome has resulted in a shallow Christianity for millions of young professing Christians.

T.A. McMahon, " Generation Adrift, Part One," The Berean Call, March 2012.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Are You A Man of God?

I know quite a few Christian men who wouldn't think twice about picking up a baseball bat to protect their families from a dangerous intruder who had broken into their homes.  Sadly, not too many of them are willing to pick up the Sword of the Spirit to protect their wives and children.

Gentlemen, how about becoming the spiritual leaders of your households, if you have been remiss in that responsibility?  There is nothing you can do for your wives and children that will bless them more than your becoming true men of God.  Family prayer and the study of God's Word with one another are essential.  With God's help, make these your discipline this year and the years ahead until Jesus comes!

T.A. McMahon, "TBC Notes," The Berean Call, January 2011.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

There Is No "Build-A-God"

Not too long ago, if your child wanted a stuffed animal, you went to some local retail outlet and bought one off the shelf.  While there may have been a large number of possibilities, still the options were limited to the stuffed animals in stock.  Enter the “Build-A-Bear Workshop” franchise which began in 1997 and now has over 400 locations worldwide and online.  At Build-A-Bear children can create their own stuffed animals.  They can be as creative as they like, for Build-A-Bear allows children to be sovereign over their own creations, leaving the toy store with a unique critter unlike anyone else’s.  The only question is, what does the child want in a stuffed bear?  But what may be desirable in a fuzzy friend is not desirable when it comes to God and the Christian Faith.

Neither the Lord nor the faith is left to our desires.  While there is much diversity within the body of Christ, there is only one Lord and one faith (Ephesians 4:5).  We are not free to “build a God” or “build a faith.”  The one true God and the one true faith have been handed down to us in the Word.  We must reject the temptation to be our own creator and humbly accept that which the Lord has revealed to us.  Pragmatism, the god of “what works,” is a creation of our own imagination and ingenuity.  We must rest in the true God of the Word.

Gary E. Gilley, “It Works For Me…, Pragmatism and the twenty-First Century Church,” PFO’s “The Quarterly Journal,” Jan-Mar 2015, p.9

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christadelphian Church

I had heard about Christadelphians in the past, but never knew anything about them except I was told they are a cult that formed in the 1800s.  Then earlier this year Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry had an article about what Christadelphians believe and I linked to that.

Sevearl months ago a friend gave me a few boxes of books which came from a pastor’s library after he passed away.  This pastor was part of a liberal church, which is why I got to see what was worth keeping and what needed to be destroyed.  Very few of the books were worth saving.

One book caught my eye because of the title:  Bible Basics: A Study Manual.  There was no author on the front cover (I later discovered it on the spine - Duncan Heaster) so I opened to investigate and discovered it was published by the Christadelphians.  Well, that got my interest up so I put it on my “to read” shelf, where it sat until a couple weeks ago when I picked it to be my next “bedroom book” (what I read when I’m not ready to sleep).  I just finished it, and I have to agree with the CARM post about just how heretical they are.

If you missed my earlier posting with a link to the CARM article, then you missed that the teachings of the Christadelphians have a lot of similarities with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The book was one of the worst examples of twisting Scripture that I have ever read!  So, let me give you a rundown on teachings from this book which prove this group to be a cult.

1.  They are unitarians and claim the “trinity” is a man-made false teaching.  Jesus is not God, and the Holy Spirit is just the force/power God uses to do things.

2.  Satan does not exist, and is another man-made idea originating in pagan beliefs.

3.  Hell does not exist.  

4.  The unsaved are annihilated; there is no immortality for the unbeliever.  In fact, all those who did not hear the gospel, or children too young to understand it (and I guess adults who are retarded) are also annihilated.

5.  Baptism is “a vital prerequisite for salvation.”  Faith is only the start, but isn’t any good without baptism. Even then, salvation isn’t guaranteed, because one may leave his faith and lose his salvation; which is why no one can know if they are truly saved, because they have no idea what they will do in the future.

6.  Angels have the same powers as God, share the same nature as God, and God used them to create the world.

7.  When we die, we are unconscious in the grave until the resurrection.

8.  Jesus did not exist before he was born.  He wasn’t really tempted by Satan, rather it was all in his mind; he imagined it because of his state of mind from being hungry.  However, Jesus was tempted the same way as man is tempted — by his own evil desire (the book references James 1:14).  The “devil” he saw in his mind was just his own evil desires, and he had all the human sinful tendencies, being in need of salvation from death.  And, as the JWs say, Christ was crucified on a pole — which proves the use of the cross is erroneous.

9.  “True Christians” should never celebrate Christmas because Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, and it is a pagan celebration.

10.  Since there is no satan/devil, God allows the evil or He actively brings it about for his own purposes.  Therefore, we should never resist evil because we may then be resisting God — which is why we are to never be a member of the police force or the military.

11.  Involvement in politics is also wrong, because we cannot improve the world - it is supposed to degenerate.  Since God establishes governments, our voting may be against one God has chosen, which would mean we are rebelling against God!

12.  Referring to 1 Cor. 11:1-16, they completely read into the text to come up with the idea that a woman must have her head covered whenever a man is teaching from God’s Word, and this means she should always wear a “hat or headscarf” to all church meetings.

13.  When it comes to the Lord’s Table, it must be weekly, and if one is unable to meet with the body of believers, then they are to have the communion alone.  

14.  Marriage must have a ceremony in order to be biblical; no ceremony, no real marriage.

15.  We are only animals by nature, but God chose us for a special relationship.

And, of course, only the Christadelphians have the true teachings about God, Jesus, and the Gospel.

I think most of my readers could easily find the correct Bible passages to refute most of these teachings.  It always amazes me how people can be so easily deceived by such mental gymnastics with Scripture rather than actually reading for themselves what it says.

Christadelphians preach another Christ and another Gospel, as defined by Paul (2 Cor. 11:4), and he said such people should be eternally condemned (Gal. 1:6-9).