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Apathy, Atheism, Cults and False Teaching

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Question #1: 

I have been a Christian for many years. I have enjoyed my intimate time with God. I served with passion and love for at least decades. My pastor left the state I lived in and I seem to wander looking for a church home, but never became stable. I constantly fight for the battle of my mind. When I shared with the leader of my last church, it appeared to have brushed it off (APPEARED). I have moved to a new state and know I need fellowship with other Christians. At this time I'm visiting churches to seek where I fit and of course to be led by the spirit of God. How does a Christian get restored in the body of Christ especially when most churches appears to be run like a business and no one really has time to go after the one sheep?

Response #1: 

Good to make your acquaintance.

We find ourselves in the final Church era, that of Laodicea (see the link), and lukewarmness is therefore the hallmark of our time. There are very few churches in the entire country of which I am aware which actually teach the Bible as their reason for being, and many of them do not do so accurately – which explains in part why this ministry, Ichthys.

You are certainly welcome here online any time (Ichthys is my church).

Here are a few links which deal with the issue you mentioned:

Maintaining a Sound Christian Offense in our Spiritual Warfare

Who Controls our Thoughts and Emotions?

The Battlefield Within: Fighting the inner spiritual Struggle.

Struggling with sinful thoughts

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Hi Dr.,

You are welcome Sir. Let me thank you for the opportunity to translate your written text into audio. Before this all came about I was asking the Lord for something to do within His Church...and here we are. I don’t mind the time and effort that goes into creating these audio files (I actually enjoy it). I’m just happy the Lord has given me this work to do and I thank Him for it and your ministry as well. I get a great deal out of reading and listening to the text during the conversion process as well as listening to the finished product when I’m driving around the City, it’s a win/win for me. If these audio files make it more convenient for a fellow believer to gain knowledge of the Word, even better. However, I must say, I find the majority of “Christians” that I come into contact with are not interested in what God has to say at all. From my experience most probably wouldn’t accept sound teaching if it was as easy as digitally downloading it to their brain straight from Heaven itself. But, that’s the way it is, and His Word tells us to expect this, so I am not discouraged at all. It’s going to be time for the Church to wake up soon, I trust God will have His prepared remnant strategically placed in just right places at just the right time.

I have been busy working both of my jobs and working on our house as well. We have been here for over 20 years and in the last year I’ve replaced the roof, the windows, the front porch, graded and reseeded the front yard and drain field, repaired/replaced foundation drain tile, and put up about 15 cord of rounds to be split for firewood. The thing is I’m not even half way thru my honey-doo list yet and I suspect it’s getting longer! Oh well, somebody’s gotta do it, and I’m somebody. My day job is ok, the powers that be are leaving me alone for now, and I’m thankful for that. My part-time job is ok too. I don’t mind the work and it helps to pay the bills. Business has been steady and we’re thankful for that.

We are both in pretty good health at the moment. My back and shoulders hurt from simply working too much and for that there seems to be no end! Such is life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m looking forward to my resurrected body my friend.

How are you Dr.?

Thanks for Ichthys and all you do. Keeping you in prayer.

Rev.22:20

Response #2: 

You are a busy man!

I hear what you are saying too about lack of interest. It's either there or it isn't, and there is really nothing any of us can do to insert it in those who don't care. Sort of like salvation in that regard too. It's all about free will, and this life sorts out those who are positive from those who are negative, as well as those who are red hot from those who are lukewarm. It's the perfect plan in every respect.

I'm looking forward to the next body too! And looking forward to cheering you on for all your good work, my friend! Greatly appreciated.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Hi Dr.,

So far I haven’t heard anything from either family member since our last discussion at Thanksgiving. I make it a point not to hound people. I give them whatever truth is pertinent at the time and the way to discover more on their own if they are interested, then wait to see if they come back and bring anything up in conversation. Sadly, almost none ever come back with a greater desire for the truth, and I fear that may be the case with my family as well. You said it yourself once that the desire for truth is “either is there or it isn’t” and I’ve found that in the majority of cases it is not. It’s perplexing because like your own situation where you thought all you had to do was make excellent teaching available to people and they would flock to it, the opposite is true; most choose to ignore it. However, being a perpetual student since choosing to follow Christ I’ve always had a desire to to get to the bottom of it all, even though I am far from that, it is my desire. So it leaves me scratching my head at times, but it does not leave me hopeless, where there is life there is hope. The Lords will be done!

Got you in prayer on your contract and your sabbatical. I imagine a paid year off from your day job could really be productive as well as restful you, I hope you get it.

Until next time, all the best!

Rev.22:20

Response #3: 

Thanks for the update, my friend!

As to your question/good wishes, I did get approved for the sabbatical, but it's only for a semester, not for a year, and requires an aggressive research proposal to land, and that has to followed through on. However, I decided not to take it because they refused to let me teach my upper level students via independent study while the sabbatical was going on and weren't going to hire anyone else to do it either, and there's no one else to pick up the slack after my dear Christian colleague got sacked. So I decided not to leave my students in the lurch. On the positive side, I have what is essentially an "all teaching" contract as a result now, so no need to do much research has resulted in more time for this ministry.

On family and other believers, your experience parallels mine and that of most serious believers I know. I've learned to be ever so grateful for positive believers like yourself!

It may seem lonely at times, being tight with the Lord and His truth when few others are truly interested, but there is no better place to be in this whole wide wicked world.

Your grateful friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Dr. Luginbill,

Your emails are very encouraging and helpful; thanks for everything!

PS: I had some church persons seem to acknowledge the lack of teaching in any deep way to me. And when they said people can't be expected to remember or identify passages in the Bible, I just didn't know what to say. Because I was thinking 'uh, yes you really should.' Even my non believing family member told me that if you are spending decades on a text you ought to have parts of it memorized. Else what are you doing in that class/service? I was talking to one Catholic friend (who is a sweet and hardworking lady), and she took the mindset that it isn't a big deal for believers not to know basic things about the Bible. And I was telling her that if I were an English teacher and you had been in my class for decades, but couldn't explain basic things about the text we were going over, you should get your money back from me. I don't like Shakespeare much but you would know the basic details of Macbeth over a single semester (more like 6-9 weeks). I wouldn't pick some random line "by the prickling of our thumbs, something wicked this way comes" and then spend all year expounding on some personal story of how "We have all had pricking thumbs at some point in our lives haven't we? We can understand how the witches are feeling right now. And something evil coming their way? Well here is another personal story that kinda sorta is related to that. Class dismissed." Because my test would be something like 'explain what is happening in this scene and how it is similar/different from an earlier related scene in the text. What can we deduce about the character of the witches?' Why would we have stronger standards for secular text than the Word of God? And I would fail students if they couldn't tell me basic things like that there are witches and Macbeth in this scene (I mean I would first fail myself as the teacher).

Response #4: 

As you can guess, I certainly agree with you! The lack of knowledge about the Bible and, even more critical, the lack of epignosis (knowledge believed) about the true doctrines of the Bible that obtains in Laodicea today is distressing. But it is the lukewarm lack of interest that is responsible. It's comical to hear the excuses people give for not being bothered to give attention to the truth – or at least it would be if it were not so tragic. Once the Tribulation begins, we are going to see many of the lukewarm "catch fire" out of necessity. It's our job to be ready to help them once they finally do wake up.

Your English teacher example is spot on and really exposes the true problem marvelously.

Keep fighting the good fight, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

I feel the push and desire to make my few decades or so count for something. Whether the tribulation date is around 2026, or half a century from now, or later, I think a lot of what you have written is very useful and true. (In sincerely hope that saying that doesn't cause offense). There's so much good content on your site (history, culture, historiography, patient going-back-and-forth arguments over all sorts of topics), and the emails you sent me are very perceptive and sound like they are from someone who has a whole bunch of perspectives going on at once. I have a list of 40 books you recommended that I hope to get to eventually (as I work through Greek). And I really can't wait to see the Lord one day with you and the rest of the Judeo-Christian family.

Response #5: 

I appreciate your good words and your enthusiasm for the truth in particular. That is the way to grow, to walk closer to the Lord, and to come into your own ministry in time. That is the way to win the three crowns of Christian reward. I look forward to cheering you on that great day, my friend!

Keep up the good fight for Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6: 

New blog post on atheism = mental dyslexia

http://godsphilosopher.blogspot.com/2017/12/mental-dyslexia.html

Response #6: 

It's good to see you continuing with your ministry, my friend. I am sure that there is a need for someone as conversant with these concepts as yourself who has both the intellectual "bones" and the faith in Christ necessary to refute complicated lies.

The only thing I would add to your theory is that in my reading of scripture everything is about choice. A person who is dyslexic in the physical sense has not made a choice to misinterpret words; hardness of heart, which functions the same way it is true, comes to those who deliberately blot God and the truth out of their hearts.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hi Bob,

Atheist and agnostics have posed this question to me, which I find emotionally very troubling. They say that a serial killer can kill many victims, and because the victims did not hear the gospel, they will burn in Hell, while the serial killer himself, because he hears the gospel, can go into Heaven. They then say that this is a clear injustice.

If you want to know my personal opinion, it’s that this kind of question is very similar to the Sadducee’s question of the man and the wife, and reflects that the person does not know or understand the power of God.

Sincerely,

Response #7:

Excellent!

That was exactly the parallel that occurred to me too. It's very easy for unbelievers to come up with "situations" they believe are impossible for God to untangle and with no scruples about the fact that these situations have never ever have happened or ever will (1Jn.3:15), and they even if they did God is much "bigger" than any problem their small minds can devise. But God is not mocked. I will add to that in exploding the fiction of the Sadducees in addition to explaining how they were wrong our Lord also pointed out to them that they were absolutely wrong in no uncertain terms:

"Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?"
Mark 12:24 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Hi Bob,

One of the more irritating atheists claims is that God is like Santa Claus: children need a wish fulfillment figure to give them things they want and a punishment figure to prevent bad behaviors. But we adults don’t need rewards or punishments to be good, so God is just Santa for adults. So they claim.

So is believing in God really the same as having an imaginary friend? Maybe, if believing in a fat man in a red suit who delivers presents in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer to every child in the world is exactly equivalent to believing in a God who created the universe from nothing, brought life from non-life, and grounds objective moral values and duties. If so, then yes, they’re exactly the same.

But if believing in God is so ridiculous and prima facie ridiculous that you don’t even need to give proof of his incoherence, do you know what’s even more ridiculous? Giving lectures against his existence. Having debates about it. Trolling blogs and internet chatrooms. Writing popular-level books promoting unbelief. Remember: according to the atheist God is so incoherent that his incoherence doesn’t even need to be proven, just pointed out by ridicule. Yet I don’t see anyone penning The Santa Delusion or The Tooth Fairy Is Not Great. In fact, it may be the atheist who is looking for emotional satisfaction and wish fulfillment: a universe where he is the master of his own fate and captain of his own ship. In that case, it is atheism that needs to be identified as the king fantasy belief among fantasy beliefs.

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”
(John 3:20)

Response #8: 

Some other important distinctions:

God exists, Santa does not.

No one will be called into judgment by Santa, but all will stand before the Lord – even atheists.

While Santa does not exist even if we pretend he does, God exists even if some fools want to pretend He doesn't.

Everyone – eventually even children – know that Santa does not exist (and some children know that early on or right way); everyone, eventually even children, knows in their heart of hearts that God does exist and that He is righteous (and some children know that early on or right way).  And even atheists at some point in the past came to know this truth in their heart of hearts . . . before they deliberately blotted it out of their hearts and hardened their hearts (and that was a choice).

Therefore this proverb is true of them:

Even when a fool walks along the way, he lacks wisdom, and he shows everyone that he is a fool.
Ecclesiastes 10:3 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Hi Bob,

I am also amazed by an argument commonly raised by atheists: "it is wrong to evangelize me, because I cannot choose what I believe, rather, I am forced to believe what the evidence says." If atheists really believed this, then why do atheists mock? The entire point of mocking is to make the object of ridicule a shame and thereby persuade onlookers not to believe the Christian. And mocking does this without introducing new evidence. Therefore atheists who believe in mocking believe that people choose what they believe, a contradiction to their earlier statement.

Sincerely,

Response #9: 

Very good point!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hi Bob,

New blog post refuting The "but I can't help what I believe!" argument.

http://godsphilosopher.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-but-i-cant-help-what-i-believe.html

Sincerely,

Response #10: 

You certainly have a lot on your plate! Hope the job and the classes are going well. I'm keeping you in my prayers for these.

Nice blog post too, by the way. This life is all about choice, and that is what faith is – so I sometimes call it "free will faith". We have the image of God and that gives us the ability to deem anything right or wrong, true of false – a godlike, god-given ability that really is amazing, and appalling too, when one considers the heights of arrogance to which people ascend using it the wrong way.

Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
Psalm 73:9 NIV

They send their minds ranging to the far ends of the universe, little considering that they are "creatures of a day", tiny little bubbles of flesh and blood gone in a moment.

The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.”
Isaiah 40:6-8 NKJV

But we have chosen to believe and accept the truth of the Word – which "stands forever" – and thus we shall stand forever too, with the Lord in the New Jerusalem.

All good work for the Lord is rewarded. Everything else is dust.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

This is also why God isn’t like the existence of Harry Potter: everyone knows that Harry Potter is ultimate false, and the existence of Harry Potter is inconsequential because we all got along pretty well before J. K. Rowling invented him. However, justice is absolutely not inconsequential, and it’s not at all obvious that we all “got along” before society “instilled” in us a sense of justice: even babies are more likely to cheer when they see someone who worked hard succeed in their task. This proves that justice is something that is very innate to the spirits of human beings. It is innate to the spirits of human beings because our spirits reflect the One who made them.

Response #11: 

Yes, everything in the world cries out that there is a God (Ps.19:1ff.; Rom.1:20-21), and that is written on everyone's heart as well (Eccl.3:11).

So we have it from scripture that all atheists are intellectually dishonest liars (however they may posture and pose).

Question #12: 

My only concern for atheists is that they become honest with themselves. I've outright told several atheists, "If you keep going down this path... you're gonna have a bad time."

Response #12: 

You're a good man.

It takes fortitude to work some "fields" for the Lord, the ones where the fruits seem to come seldom and grudgingly – but He has a purpose in working them all and reward comes in proportion to one's labor, effort that the Lord sees even if man does not.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Hello again Mr Luginbill.

So I have another question, one which I have been wanting to ask for many months but never did. Now before I ask anything I try to make sure it has not been asked on your site before so as to save time. It may have been asked although I have not seen it on your site yet, and I have been reading on your site for many months now. My question regards motives for getting saved. I first heard this from a person from a Bible study group that one of my family members used to attend. She then told me what he said. The guy said that if the only/or main reason you got saved was to escape hell then your not saved. He basically meant that even if you truly believed in Christ and put your faith in him that that would get negated because of what he considered wrong motives, aka fear of going to hell. What do you believe regarding this? Is it correct? I can't say I agree because to me faith is faith. "Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved". Almost everyone in that Bible study approached him afterwards and tried to tell him otherwise but he stood by what he said. It wasn't too long after that someone who I used to work with also stated this belief. He said the exact same thing. He also added something regarding sin but I'm not sure how he put it. Maybe something like "you need to admit to God that you are a dirty rotten sinner and that as an unbeliever you were 'dissing' God so to speak by living in sin and darkness." Now I know that we need to know that we are sinners in need of a savior. If a person doesn't know they are a sinner and that is what is keeping them from God how can they get saved? If they don't know what they need saving from then how can they get saved? But he makes it sound like you have to say certain things to get saved. I believe as you do in that a person is saved by putting their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ to save them from their sins. That faith is accepting His gracious offer of salvation. I looked this question up elsewhere and the answer given was very confusing/unclear and not straightforward. I stick only to your site now.

Response #13: 

You are growing in spiritual discernment – good for you! This sermon you report is part and parcel of the silliness that attempts to pass for "teaching" in our era of Laodicea. All of the verses in scripture which encourage us to come to the Lord are absolute – they don't put conditions on His mercy and grace. That is the whole point of His mercy and grace. Christ already died for all sins – for every sin every human being has ever committed or ever will. Adding to salvation, however one does it, runs the risk of making being saved a works-based effort, but we are saved strictly by God's grace, not by our own works (Eph.2:8-9). We have nothing to offer Him; He gives us everything merely through our willingness to accept it – that is what "by grace through faith" means.

And the Spirit and the bride say "Come!"
And let the one who hears say, "Come!"
And let the one who is thirsty come;
let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
Revelation 22:17

Nothing about conditions or motivations or any such thing here.

In fact, of course, the reality of death, sin and judgment – things any rational person ought to fear, it seems to me – are precisely the motives the Lord gives to us in His grace in order to get us to turn away from the world and seek Him as the only solution to sin and death.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:  

Very much appreciated. I can't tell you how much of a blessing your ministry has been. I know I keep saying it but I just cant get over it. Regarding certain truths I used to despair thinking I would never get the answers. But God was not going to let me starve, especially after I dedicated so much time and effort searching. He most certainly intends for us to find His truth by "searching the scriptures". He truly does reward those who diligently seek Him. Almost gave up thinking I had to wait to get to heaven to find the answers but then that's when He led me to your site. I felt so peaceful after that. I slept extremely well after having not been able to for months because my heart and mind were settled. Your hard work in ministry will be so richly rewarded when you enter the kingdom one day. I pray that your ministry will continue to go well! I praise the Lord for it!

In Christ

Response #14: 

Thanks so much for your encouraging comments (Ps.115:1)!

I'll endeavor to be worthy of my "press clippings".

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Thank you for the commentary. It cleared up the statement about the Man of Sin having no desire for women, or marriage.

In another commentary, the professor goes on to say that it refers to the Antichrist's placing women in the role of men, that is, "working outside of the home and working in the military." He says the woman's "place is in the home is being wives and mothers,

Response #15: 

Good to make your acquaintance.

It is amazing how widespread the abuse of scripture is. The Bible is a place we should go to be taught and instructing in the truth, not to find ammunition for our own esoteric opinions – that always leads to error.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Howdy Bob!

It's me, the one whose family are involved in the The Way. I wanted to touch base with you and say "Hello." Brother, It's been a long time, (I hope you haven't forgotten me....lol). I trust all is well with you. One of the best things about the passing of all this time is that we are so much closer to Jesus's return! May the Spirit of all grace and supplication open you up so wide to receive all the mercy and grace that He has for you! The grace of our God is so overwhelming and I pray that the both of us never get over being so grateful for that grace. May we cherish it all the more as we see that great day approaching! Bob, may the Lord continue to cause His face to shine upon you so good that you keep falling in love with Him over and over again. May the Lord also continue to anoint you in your ministry so that you will point and lead MANY into His saving loving arms as well as encouraging and exhorting fellow believers in the faith.

God bless you abundantly my brother.

Response #16: 

Good to hear from you. How are you? Seems to me that the last time we spoke you still had some health issues. Also, I thought I'd remembered that there was some movement in extricating at least part of your family. Sorry to hear that they are still "involved". I do keep you and them in prayer.

I'm not doing too badly. There has been a "war on Classics" at the university but I have survived with my scalp so far.

Beautiful fall weather here in Loo-a-vul.

Wishing you a good week ahead, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Hi Bob,

I appreciate very much you responding to me. I've learned and am learning to take one step and one day at a time. Years back, I thought getting older would be a breeze....what a delusion!
Ranging from neurogenic myopathy to diabetes to pancreatitis to a tumor in my neck to an infection on my foot. I didn't share this to get sympathy, but rather to declare that God's infinite grace has brought me safe thus far and His grace will lead me home! His grace is truly amazing! To God be all the glory and honor and praise! Bob, I can't thank you enough for standing with me in praying for my family. The battle is still raging, but I have no intentions of quitting on praying for them. Thanks again sticking it out with me!

I am very thankful that our Lord and Savior caused our "e-mail paths" to cross.

Your brother in Christ,

Response #17:

You have a wonderful witness and a wonderful spirit! A fine testimony for the Lord.

Yes, I teach the Greek and Latin language classes at U of L – pretty much on my own since the budget has melted down, but I'm hoping things will look up in time to come.

Thanks so much for your prayers, my friend! I'm keeping you and your family in mine as well as you know.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

Combating the "science is self-correcting" fallacy:

http://godsphilosopher.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-science-is-self-correcting-fallacy.html

Response #18: 

Very nice.

So in the opinion of atheistic science, the Bible is imperfect because it's perfect, but scientific theory is perfect because it's imperfect.

Hard to argue with that!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Thank for your response Bob,

By the way how are you doing? Are you still at the college. Are you teaching your favorite classes still?

I was also wondering if you know of anyone close to our area that you have connections (friends) with. It would be nice to affiliate with good Christian friends. We know a lot of people but there isn't really anyone we can fellowship with. They all are into there organized religions and try to pull us in but its not where we want to be. A lot of friends don't seem to understand and either shun us because we won't go their way or for some reason are uncomfortable being around us.

We aren't really the kind to talk much of our beliefs unless asked and then most of the time we don't say much. I'm not against anyone that feels like they want to go to church; it's just that I have never liked the idea for myself since I was a small child. I would always day dream of making bread and eating the dough every Sunday at church (3 hrs) when my parents took me. I really never listened to any of it. When I was forced or brainwashed to get baptized I kinda thought it was just going through the motions. None of it felt right in my heart. None of it made sense. But you just go with it because of your parents. I was the first out of very many  grandchildren to marry outside of the LDS church. My family was not happy to say the least but no one was to rule my life and my mom always tells everyone my first words when I was a baby ("I do it myself!").

I'm so thankful for what God has shown us and to not be a part of the cult. Even though I don't know or remember a lot of the Mormon doctrines I do know what a stranglehold that religion has on its people and its like they are being held captive and some don't even realize it. They actually truly think that they are doing exactly what Jesus wants and they will even tell you they are the only ones going to heaven and your getting left behind if you don't join. Its really sad. I can't wait for Jesus to come back. I'm looking forward to the Tribulation if I'm still here. I know its going to be hard but its going to be worth it. We have been reading your book on the Tribulation. It's been wonderful. I'm sure we will have questions as we get more into it but for now we are in sync.

Have wonderful day!!

Your friend in Jesus Christ

Response #19: 

And thank you for your powerful testimony. It's a great example of how a person who knows what is false and is unwilling to pretend it is otherwise and who also wants the truth will be led to the truth in the end. Good for you!

Happy to answer your questions any time, my friend.

Yes, I'll probably be at U of L until they take me out feet first. Semester started today. I'm still teaching my classes.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Is it a sin to be a member of the Free & Accepted Mason?

Please enlighten me.

Response #20: 

I know next to nothing about Masons from any first hand experience (I'm vaguely aware of different "rites" / sects and that there are great differences between them, I believe).

I have known good people who were conversant with this group and characterized it as something like the Kiwanis (of course, I know many good people who are Roman Catholic – whose salvation I doubt).

I will say that I have had correspondents write me very upset with this group and going on about its satanic connections. I'm sure I don't know about that from personal experience. So I'll give you a couple of links here that relate to some of the conversations I have posted on this subject:

Masons and the Bible

Worried about Masonry

Hope you are doing well, my friend!

Do feel free to write back to me about any of this.

Keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21: 

Good morning Bob. More hints on the cracks in the JW foundation at Bethel. I understand the Society is only publishing a few tracts now yearly.

The Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses is in serious trouble. Membership is declining because of many issues but one of the most serious is public news of child sexual abuse in Australia and the UK. Kingdom Halls, their equivalent of a local church, are being closed, sold and the congregations assigned to other Halls. The Society’s HQ in Brooklyn has been sold to of all people Jared Kushner and a new HQ is being built in rural NY. Donations are way down, the door to door work is lagging, the numbers of baptisms and membership are way down. Therefore, the Society has chosen to stop publication of their annual Yearbook where these statistics are published. Can we say coverup?

Response #21: 

It's welcome news, my friend, and an encouragement I am sure to those like yourself who have done battle with this particular brand of false teaching for so many years. However, I do fear that it is being replaced by other nonsense faster than it is being eroded – and of course during the soon to come Tribulation the "mother of all false teaching" will arise. So this is an encouragement (we know that God destroys all lies in the end), but we don't want to let our guard down either.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22: 

I understand the Society grossly over-valued their real estate holdings in Brooklyn. The buildings hadn't been upgraded with respect to heating, air conditioning, windows, insulation, etc. Their new headquarters in Wallkill, NY must be draining their coffers.

Response #22: 

Would that all false teaching systems were in the same boat!

Question #23: 

Good morning Bob. I'm currently reading Mystery of the Ages by Herbert W. Armstrong. I know his church foundered after his death, splintered into two or three sects. I'm only half-way through the book, have to reserve judgment.

To me, of all the televangelists, Sid Roth is the most egregious. Every week he hosts a new guest selling a book, or books, and dvds for a "donation" of $50 plus shipping and handling.

Everyone seems to return from Heaven with the same message – Sell books! Sell dvds! Sell cds! Sell! Sell! Sell!

Thanks to Sid Roth, I've discovered the secret of going to Heaven – drugs! Recently, a four year old boy named Colton Burpo had an emergency appendectomy and when he came out of the anesthetic, he claimed Jesus had given him a tour of Heaven! Sound familiar? Kevin Zadai had a dental procedure and Jesus gave him the tour while he was unconscious. Jim Woodford overdosed and got the tour. Who knew it was that simple?

In the 1930s, Ron Hubbard had dental surgery and when he came out of the anesthetic he claimed the secrets of the universe had been revealed to him. He then wrote Dianetics which has sold more than 20 million copies and spawned a "religion" worth billions!

When will the scales fall from Sid Roth's eyes? When will he heed Scripture? No one knows the end of days, only the Father knows. Equally important, Scripture states we are not meant to know!

Matthew 24:24King James Version (KJV)
24 For there shall arise false Christ's, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

The following is from the CARM website;

Are prophets still needed today? The office of prophet is one that is no longer necessary and has ceased within the Church because:

The foundation of the Church was laid long ago.

And

God’s revealed Word was completed with the close of the New Testament canon.

The Church’s foundation does not need to be laid again and there is no need for further revelation beyond what God has provided for us in His complete Word, the Bible. Today we are blessed to have Scripture as our complete and final authority in all things(2 Tim. 3:16-17). If someone now claims to have received a "special revelation", we must test it against Scripture. If it is contrary to the Word of God, then it must be rejected. If it is consistent with Scripture, then we have to ask why an “extra” word was necessary if its truth is already contained in the Bible. So while we always need men who are willing to proclaim boldly the Word of God as contained in Scripture (as pastors, teachers, and evangelists), there is no need for the office of “prophet” as it existed in the New Testament.

Respectfully

Response #23: 

Excellent comments!

I'll plan to post this the next time the "cult theme" comes up.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:  

Good morning Bob. I found four major flaws with the Jehovah's Witnesses - the poor character of their founder Pastor Russell, their history of false prophecies, their denial of the Trinity and the scholastic dishonesty of their New World Translation.

Mr. Armstrong shares three of these four flaws - false prophecies, denial of the Trinity and errors in translation.

In Chapter 3 of Mystery of the Ages, Mr. Armstrong wrote "Can human life on earth survive past this present generation?" This was written in 1985 so the answer is yes, we did survive. The reason I was drawn to this question is because it reminded me of the Jehovah's Witnesses assertion on the cover of the May 15, 1984 Watchtower that the 1914 generation will not pass away, which proved false.

Mr. Armstrong concludes Chapter 4 of Mystery of the Ages with "These are the very last days of Satan's evil world. God's utopian civilization will be started with the present generation." It hasn't started and the generation of 1985 has given way to another generation.

Mr. Armstrong states that "Melchisedec and Jesus Christ are one and the same Person." and the WTBTS believes the Archangel Michael is Jesus Christ.

Then I found Mr. Armstrong erred in his interpretation of Scripture. Emails below

Good afternoon Rabbi Schwartz. An encounter with a former schoolmate and co-worker who is now an Elder in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, aka Jehovah's Witnesses, lead me to read the Bible for the first time. Early on I understood there are controversies surrounding translation. I purchased a copy of The Tanahk because I felt it would have the greatest fidelity to the original Hebrew texts.

In his book Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong emphatically stated the word "heaven" found in Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 2:4 are incorrect, he insists the original Hebrew word "shamayim" is plural in Psalm 33:6 and Isaiah 42:5 in the Tanahk. What governs the distinction?

For clarification, Mr. Armstrong insists the word should be plural in Genesis indicating God created the earth and the universe simultaneously.

Respectfully

Response #24: 

Very nice!

Yes, Genesis 1:1 is speaking of original, ex nihilo creation, and "heavens" is plural, referring not only to the atmosphere but to the rest of the universe beyond the earth as well. This distinction is not a "big deal" as long as this fact is understood by reading the English translation. After all, even changing singular (e.g., KJV) to plural (e.g., NKJV) hasn't stopped the majority of supposedly Bible-believing evangelicals from denying that there is a gap between verse one and verse two – which has to be the case if verse one is original creation (which it very clearly is).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25: 

Thanks Bob, I wasn't sure why Mr. Armstrong was so emphatic that God created the earth and the universe simultaneously?

I've heard that the Masons invoke the name Melchisedec in their rituals, and Tubal-cain when in distress. Makes me wonder if Mr. Armstrong was involved with the Masons like Pastor Russell?

Response #25: 

I don't know enough about it to have an opinion.

The amount of tripe out there – and the sources of tripe – is seemingly endless (and with the internet more and more so day by day).  All a very clear indication of the Laodicean time of lukewarmness in which we live, and of the rapidly approaching advent of the beast and his unifying false religion.

(11) Christ Himself appointed some of us apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers (12) in order to prepare all of His holy people for their own ministry work, that the entire body of Christ might thus be built up, (13) until we all reach that unifying [goal] of belief in and full-knowledge of the Son of God, that each of us might be a perfect person, that is, that we might attain to that standard of maturity of the fullness of Christ; (14) that we may no longer be immature, swept off-course and carried headlong by every breeze of so-called teaching that emanates from the trickery of men in their readiness to do anything to cunningly work their deceit, (15) but rather that we may, by embracing the truth in love, grow up in all respects with Christ, who is the head of the Church, as our model. (16) In this way, the entire body of the Church, fit and joined together by Him through the sinews He powerfully supplies to each and every part, works out its own growth for the building up of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:11-16

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26: 

Bob, an acquaintance whose father was a theologian told me this;

If you worked in a bank, you could try and detect counterfeit money in one of two ways;

1) Learn every piece of phony money out there that was in circulation, or

2) Know the genuine money so well that anything that was different would have to be counterfeit.

Response #26: 

It's a great analogy!

The only thing I would say about it is that unlike currency, knowing everything about the Bible and its truth is a more difficult and long-term proposition on the one hand. Also, in the Church, we sometimes have to do not only with counterfeiters (cults and out-and-out false teachers), but also with those whose "currency" is of some worth on some issues and worthless on others:  lukewarm or baby believers resembling check writers whose balance sometimes doesn't cover the amount indicated.

Still, there is no substitute for knowing the truth. That is what sets us free from all lies.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27: 

Hi again Bob, just after a JW at my front door asked me this question a visitor arrived so they had to leave, I was glad they did because they asked this question..."So. ISA 9:6 : If "Mighty God makes Jesus almighty God, does " Eternal Father" make the Son the Father?

I often try to explain to JW's that Jesus had to become human because no other could take on the job/role of removing our sin, and so he lowered Himself in humility and became like us but without sin. I know you have a lot on this subject but have you ever been asked this question?

regards

Response #27:

The question you were asked says so much. It shows that these people are only willing to use scripture for their own means and have no interest in the Bible itself. After all, there are so many clear passages that teach Christ's divinity (see the link), anyone who was genuinely interested in finding out the truth would realize that if Isaiah 9:6 did seem to them to be contrary to those other passage, that it was an outlier and must admit of some other explanation – precisely your conclusion, the Christian conclusion – and the truth. Nice job in reinforcing this with solid doctrinal reasons for why the truth is as it is as well.

In fact, Isaiah 9:6 is the victim of much un-artful, one might even say faulty translation. The Hebrew actually says 'abhiy 'adh (אֲבִי עַד), a poetic phrase (this is poetry in Hebrew) which means "the One who is father/begetter of eternity". Christ created the universe in accord with the plan of God (Jn.1:1-3; Col.1:16), and He is the One who made eternity possible for you and me and us all through His death in our place. So this is a fitting time for our dear Lord Jesus. As the One entrusted with carrying out the plan of God, it is our Lord's role to win the victory of the cross (which He has done) and bring in / bring about all of the prophesied blessings of the kingdom to come. That is why the last book of the Bible is "the Revelation / Revealing of Jesus Christ", because when He returns as the King, the last phase of history will begin and so will eternity thereafter.

To put this in linguistic terms, most translations take the second noun in the construct phrase as an adjective; but it is a noun and the construct relationship here is to be understood as generating a predicate (as in my translation above). Hebrew construct phrases are very flexible (which is why prepositional phrases with "of" in both testaments are both ubiquitous and requiring of care in translation); add to that the poetic context and it is not surprising that so many have had trouble with this one. Okay, I know that was "dense"; what is means is "my translation given above and my interpretation is correct based on the Hebrew".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #28: 

Many thanks Bob, because I know a divorced woman who had no need for God because she was into drugs etc, but when she had nobody to comfort her she told me that the JW's helped her a lot and the man she says helped her is a JW, so because of his fatherly help and concern she will not listen to anyone else and actually goes around door to door now, but my main concern is for her two small children, and I think were they better off before she became one of them or are they better off now, she has the devil in both paths waiting for them.

I have been looking at your Christology pages last night and this morning and yes there are plenty scripture proofs, but then I came across in -I think Luke- where it says that those not in God will not hear His words and truth. What you said is correct they don't want to see the truth.

Also when Jesus told them He was coming on clouds and the high priest spat the dummy, He was actually telling them He was God, since the high priest would have known the ancient knowledge that the Cloud Rider was God. It pays to read all the bible doesn't it

many thanks again.

Response #28: 

You're very welcome.

This is a classic cult technique, namely, to reach out to those in emotional need . . . so as to make them dependent on the cult. Once that "relationship" is sealed, then the cult does all in its power to smash all prior relationships so the victim will in future have no place else to turn.

As for children, however, God looks after them. I have seen / known of numerous cases of children from good environments turning out bad and from bad environments turning out good. Everyone has free will, and the Lord will not allow any child who really wants to come to Him to be denied the truth and the opportunity. Sometimes, in fact, the negative cult environment causes the good-hearted child to react against it and come to Him sooner and surer. But it is still not amiss to pray for these children.

Yes – reading the Bible is not only good but essential for any Christian who wants to grow spiritually and to be kept spiritually safe (see the link: "Read your Bible!").  And here are some other links:

Cult Characteristics

Cults and Christianity X

Cults and Christianity IX

Cults and Christianity VIII

Cults and Christianity VII

Cults and Christianity VI

Cults and Christianity V

Cults and Christianity IV

Cults and Christianity III

Cults and Christianity II

Cults and Christianity I

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #29: 

Hi again Bob...when I was at a roman catholic school as a child and young adult, I never felt good about praying to Mary, I always felt better going to the Lord Himself. I liked to go into their churches when no one else was there, so when I would go to the local play ground and pass my church I would go in their and say my prayers. Now years later I know that he was guiding me for sure.

Now the enemy is emailing me and saying to me " On John 14:9 In what way does Jesus mean "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father"?

Did he mean he was the Father? Scripturally that is wrong. By the insisted upon Trinitarian definition of the Son not being the Father, it is wrong.

many thanks as always Bob, I have to say your extensive work on your site is much appreciated.

Response #29: 

If Jesus were the Father, why would Jesus pray to Himself:

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Matthew 26:39 NIV

Clearly, "you" and "me" above are not both the same as "I".

On the objection, the Trinity are three in person, but one in essence; therefore they are closer than any two or three human beings beyond what we can ever imagine. There is no difference of opinion between them and never a disagreement in all eternity past, present and future – but it would be hard for the two most like-minded human beings in history to get through a single day without even seeing at least something differently (so the difference is profound).

Therefore if you want to know what the Father is like, you already know if you pay attention to what Jesus is like.

Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?"
John 14:9 NKJV

Thanks for your wonderful testimony!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30: 

Thank you Bob, I also remembered that as a past catholic we use to call the Trinity God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit/Ghost.

But your reply was brilliant.

best wishes.

Response #30: 

Thanks!

Write any time, my friend.

In Jesus our dear Lord.

Bob L.

Question #31: 

Hi Bob,

I recently had a dream that contained a written message that said that everyone who teaches that Jesus was not divine, and other heresies, and that the miracles of the Old Testament are possible for believers today are all false teachers.

And false teachers will not go unpunished. God is going to give justice for us.

"They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever." (Jude 1:13)

Response #31: 

As I often remark, when our dreams comport with the truth, it's a sign that we are spending a good deal of time with the truth – and that is all to the good in every way!

After all, your conclusions are clearly correct, dream of no dream.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #32: 

Hi Bob,

I decided that today was a very unique opportunity that I couldn't afford to miss so I emailed this false teacher.

Response #32: 

My advice is what the Lord said, "Let the dead bury their own dead". The way I see your incipient ministry is along the lines of "save others by snatching them from the fire" (Jude 1:23), helping them escape from false teaching through effective refutation. False teachers themselves will never listen; one only endangers oneself by engaging with them.

So be aware of this, that in the last days there will be difficult times. For [in those times] there will be men (i.e., false teachers; cf. chap.2) concerned only for themselves, devoted to money, egotistic, arrogant, blasphemous, not concerned for their parents, ungrateful, irreverent, implacable, slanderers, uninhibited, savage, despising the good, betrayers, impetuous, megalomaniacal, devotees of pleasure rather than lovers of God, possessing an [outward] appearance of godliness, but [in reality] having rejected its [true] power. From such men turn away. Of this sort are those who [even in our own day] worm their way into households and take captive the [spiritually] weak who are loaded down with sins, leading them astray with various lusts, [victims who consequently,] though always learning, are never able to accept the truth. In the same way that [Pharaoh's court magicians] Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, for their minds have been corrupted and they have been found wanting concerning the faith. But they will not keep on striding forward forever. Their folly will become obvious to all, just as in the case of those two.
2nd Timothy 3:1-9

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #33: 

My email was written with a very heavy dose of irony. Irony is a very effective way of "burning" someone who is stubborn while robbing them of a way to make a witty retort in return.

What you write is true about false teachers. I never enjoy being "mean" when warning others, but fear is sometimes very important in getting a person to think twice about their final destination. It is no great solace to get all of your cravings and "itches" scratched on Earth but only to then lose everything in the next. Much wiser to wait for God to scratch those itches for you if you really want them.

Response #33: 

I understand and I agree with all of what you say – I just think it is a waste of time (and somewhat dangerous) to say it to him.

There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.
1st John 5:16b

Defending someone else from his false teaching is another matter, and it's good of you to persevere in this ministry of doing so.

Just looking out for your spiritual welfare.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #34:  

The "but you don't have proof that there AREN'T any more miraculous healings." I get this from charismatics a lot. Here’s what I tell them.

In frequentist statistics, there’s something called the “null hypothesis,” and it’s the “default” hypothesis that everything is normal. You can’t actually prove that everything is normal, but that’s the default presumption unless good evidence comes in that something unusual has happened. We use frequentist reasoning in the criminal justice system when we set a standard of “innocent until proven guilty.” It’s impossible to prove innocent, so innocence is presumed unless good evidence of guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Response #34: 

It's a good point. I'm happy to have people healed. I'm happy to have God do it miraculously. But to me the really critical thing is to avoid calling something which is NOT an actual instance of this (i.e., if the person wasn't really healed or wasn't really sick in the first place but merely engaging in a charade) a "miracle". That is a lie. Either God did something or He did not. I know He can do anything. Unfortunately, I also know that human beings are capable of telling the most outrageous lies and justifying them, even convincing themselves of the truth of them – even Christians in "a good cause". That is the thing to be avoided like the plague. So the place where I am most virulently opposed to such people is whenever they want to label skepticism – not of God and His power but of specific occurrences – a "lack of faith".

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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