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Confronting False Groups and False Teaching IV

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Question #1: 

Hi Bob and family,

Hoping you and yours are all well – your health and strength is improving and that if needed, God’s intervention will keep you employed and above all – safe.

I have been writing a short essay on the Holy Spirit and I am hoping – when you have time, to have a critical look at it first. If there is anything I’ve said is wrong, please tell me as it’s something I don’t feel qualified to write about. Please don’t hold back on it, I won’t be offended in any way – more glad to be guided in your help and whatever you suggest I will happily change as it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while as so many are in ignorance of it.

We are enjoying life as best we can before it falls apart – worldly that is. So many now just rushing to a place they know not awaits.

Will make this do for now dear Bob, and again as always, with brotherly love,

Response #1:  

Good to hear from you, my friend. Thanks for your prayers and good wishes. I'm feeling some better, and things have gone down a peaceful road at present. So I'm very grateful for that! I keep you and your family in my prayers daily.

On the Spirit piece, first, as a teacher, what you teach is between you and the Lord. On the specifics, since you ask me, we've discussed some of this before. Even if I had experienced what you've experienced, I think I'd be circumspect about stating these things quite the way you've put them. It would be easy for someone reading this, especially an immature believer, to get the impression that the opposite of being lukewarm and immature is to have similar experiences; and that in fact without them there is something wrong with them or their approach.

I'm very familiar with the charismatics, and I can tell you that they are all over this kind of thing, even if your message is definitely differentiated from theirs by certifying that all believers have the Spirit. They say not . . . or they say that a believer has to do this or that to get the whole effect. They call this, wrongly, the baptism of the Spirit (which in fact happens at the point of faith in Christ for all who believe); but if we suggest the same sort of experiences and call it "the filling of the Spirit", then it seems to me that this is equally problematic. You can read what I've written about "filling" at the following link:  "Fellowship and the Filling of the Spirit".  Here is the gist of it:

What is the filling of the Spirit?

It is the believer being effectively influenced by the Holy Spirit who indwells him/her.

How do we believers fulfill the command to be filled with the Spirit?

In two ways:

1) By growing spiritually so as to be more useful to the Spirit day by day (this is covered under "The Teaching Ministry of the Spirit" below).

2) By being available to the Spirit moment by moment through submitting ourselves to His will (this is covered immediately below).

I firmly believe the above.

Please understand. I'm not trying to refute your experiences (far from it) nor say that they are not true and valuable. But I do know that those who pursue the truth the right way do get to the point of experiencing the Spirit in the ways you mention; whereas those who pursue the experiences rather than dedicating themselves to pursing the truth always end up in a bad place, spiritually speaking. That is the charismatic experience writ large (and the phenomenon is widespread both with the church visible and also pseudo-Christian groups).

It's because of the dangers of misunderstanding these things that I would be very careful about how they are expressed. I don't find that anywhere in scripture where we are to ask for filling (see the link above for the meaning of Ephesians 5:18). As I say, that happens as a matter of course for those who both grow spiritually and apply the truth in their walk with Jesus Christ.

I think you have a lot to offer, and a personal testimony about the Spirit's work in your life is not out of place. But I'm always leery of anything that goes from experience to teaching rather that using experience to confirm scripture. As to 1st John 2:27, what the Spirit teaches us is spelled out in the context: He teaches us to "abide in Him", that is, to stay faithful to Jesus Christ. We can extrapolate from that that the Spirit reminds us of all principles of truth, but He doesn't teach them to us in the first place; that comes from scripture, fellow Christians, and teachers most especially.

I appreciate your willingness to accept criticism given in love and in behalf of the truth.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

Hello prof,

Thank you very much for such links. Don't mind if I'm silent for a while. There is so much to learn from link to links.

However, there is need for clarifications at some points. Regarding baptism and rapture, I used to teach the doctrines in the Church, though with much doubt. Thanks be to God for better understanding now. Regarding tongues, can you throw light on praying in tongues, and praying in the spirit?

If possible, I would love to get explanation of Romans 8:26; Jude 20; Ephesians 6:18.

What about laying on of hands? In your experience, do you lay hands on people?

Falling down when hand is laid on people and speaking or praying in unknown tongue used to be taken as evidence of being filled with holy spirit in many Pentecostal settings starting. Has this changed? I know you have talked about this in pieces, I need clear straight explanation.

Again, Mark 16:15-20 which you said is not in the Bible (In Greek) is hard to teach. How is it possible to explain to believers that a part of scriptures is there in error? Is there any other scripture that can explain that fact in English versions?

How do we know those that believe?

I want to know and be able to help others.

Thanks!

Yours in the Lord's Vineyard!

Response #2: 

Good to hear from you.

You cover a great deal of ground here, so apologies in advance for being concise (do feel free to write back about any of this).

Praying in tongues: the legitimate gift of tongues has not been given since the first century; the intonations charistmatic groups often manifest is not biblical tongues; so it does no good in prayer. Praying in the Spirit means praying under the influence of and with the help of the Holy Spirit – meaning not in a state of unconfessed sin.

Romans 8:26: We should pray no matter what, because the Spirit intercedes in support of our prayers.

Jude 1:20: See above

Ephesians 6:18: See above and . . . from BB 5: Pneumatology:

(3) He is the One who empowers us in the process of praying, when we pray in fellowship with the Lord, all our sins being forgiven through confession:

In all your prayers and petitions [be] praying in the Spirit on each occasion, keeping at this with all persistence and petition on behalf of the saints (i.e., believers "sanctified" or made holy by the Spirit).
Ephesians 6:18

This is all discussed at the link: Specific empowerments of the Spirit

Laying on of hands: this was an apostolic means of mediating the gift of the Holy Spirit during the brief period where there were believers who were already believers before the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. In other words, it hasn't been legitimate since the first century (and someone not an apostle doing this would have no actual effect anyway, and the last apostle died nearly two thousand years ago).

Falling down: this was not even biblical in the first century. It is a modern day theatrical trick.

Unknown tongue: again, there are no "tongues" today; people do intone gibberish – I have seen that; but the gift was of actual languages always, and it is no longer being given (see the link which will lead to many others:  "The Gift of Tongues: Part 3").

Mark 16 longer ending: Scripture is NOT in error; this is NOT scripture. Here is a link on this:  "Mark"

How do we know those that believe?:

"You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
Matthew 7:16-20 NKJV

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Hello Prof Bob,

Thank you for your usual response. I am still studying the materials from link to link. On the issue of extended verses in Mark 16, I was wondering if there is English version that with correct verses there.

While thinking about some doctrines in today's church that are erroneous in nature - like baptism, tongues, rapture etc. I began to think if the Lords supper (Communion) is meant to be practiced literally. I believe you must have done great job in this area too.

Response #3:  

Thanks for your good words.

On English versions, none I know of are courageous enough to do that; there are many out there who would not buy a Bible which did not have this erroneous passage, and Bible presses are concerned about sales. Here is what I find in the 1984 NIV after a solid line break in the text:

'[The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20.]" – but then they print the text anyway!

On communion, it is a very important issue – and important not to get wrong (cf. 1Cor.11:27-34). Here are some Ichthys links to where this is discussed:

Communion Questions

The Communion Ceremony outside of the Local Church

The Meaning of the Communion Ceremony: To Remember Christ

Communion and the Blood of Christ

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I already knew when I read those paragraphs in the book that I have quoted, that this person, as we say, "way out in left field", egregious as you say Dr. Luginbill. All this teaching about "water baptism", correct me if I am wrong, was brought about by the Roman Catholic Church, and all the protestant's followed suit.

Water baptism, according to this author, nullifies the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and absolutely add nothing to our salvation. I have done a thorough study of this so-called doctrine, and know from you Dr. Luginbill, but mostly from Scripture, that water baptism which is done now, denies that the Messiah has come already.

It just makes me sick to see and read how many, many people are being deceived simply because they don't study the Word of God thoroughly. There is much that I do not know and have yet to learn, but one thing I do know is, that water baptism provides nothing at all for the believer. In the group that I did have in Bible Study, I taught the real truth about water baptism and against all the false so-called teachings ? of this heresy.

Having been in the ranks of Roman Catholic's and Pentecostal folks, many years, for the later, I see now how people are so easily deceived, because the vast majority, as I said, and have personally witnessed myself in classes I taught, know very little about the Word of God.

Here is another example of a heresy that is being propagated in the Church of God, a Pentecostal movement, as well as in Charismatic non-denominational "churches", as that is what they are called, a "church". I had a conversation with a Church of God pastor on the subject of tithing.

This is what I said to him: "Why is the preaching of "Tithing" done in all these "churches" when it is not biblical, for these reasons, Tithing was under the law for the Jews, and Jesus became a curse for us, so Christians are not cursed when they don't tithe. His response was: "Well, if we don't preach tithing, then people will not give".

I discussed this subject much more in detail with him and another "minister", but they still went about preaching what they always did, so sad, they will indeed have to answer for it one day, as we all will when we stand before Jesus our Lord and Savior.

I could relate much more about other subjects, but you probably know about these two, and many more.

My wife and I stopped going to a "church" about two years ago. We do our own Bible Study here on Sunday.

The word "church" is another item which irritates me to no end, and you know what I mean.
I don't believe God intended it to be the way it is today in the "assembly of called out believers."

Continued blessings to you both, and may our Lord and Savior bless your ministries abundantly for His glory.

Your friend,

Response #4: 

Great stuff, my friend!

The fellow who said, "Well, if we don't preach tithing, then people will not give", was at least honest! But it still takes my breath away. So what? Let them "not give"; and if the sort of drivel that passes for teaching normally in Laodicea is what a congregation is given, they really have no business supporting a "pastor" to "not teach" them.

On "church", you are right on the money there. I'll have a good deal to say about that in the next installment of Bible Basics, 6B: Ecclesiology. I'm a long way from being done, but I have high hopes for the coming summer. [now posted at the link]

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Hi Bob,

Thank you for your invite to question what you have on your site.

I read your article on water baptism which lead to baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was greatly blessed to see that you do not react as many do when someone takes up their offer to question them on what they post world wide before unbelievers and believers and God himself.

I will not quote scripture for I understand you have a very good knowledge of scripture and your interpretation you have given for them.

I am only asking why scripture needs a interpretation for what the Holy Spirit has written?

I ask that because you said the Holy Spirit will show us what he has written, yet he already has written! If we do not understand it as is written, then does that not prove if we privately interpret it then there will be division?

Take water baptism, you seen from what was written, that is does not save or does God require it as a commandment for eternal life for scripture clearly has that written. Water is an outward sign you do for him, not what he wants you to do for him.

Yet the discussion you had on baptism of the Holy Spirit took several scriptures and more interpretation was given why such things are not for today yet there is no written words to prove tongues or any gift is not for today. The person writing to you has no proof that you must speak in tongues or have any gifts to prove to God or anyone that they are Baptised in the Holy Spirit.

I agree the gifts are only given by the Holy Spirit to who he “wills as he pleases. So why the argument to prove they do not exist as they did for the early church just because the Bible is now after over 1500 years before it even resembled what is today or the fact that many could not even read or write as we do today to understand it?

There were no records of denominations until after the bible was written and published and today Google puts the Christian Faith at 33000 denominations today with all having private interpretation of what they say scripture says! Many believe there are no new revelations today then what the Bible has written, yet there was no prophecy of any New Testament that would be written for today’s church after the Apostles?

Would you like to discuss the role of the Holy Spirit and his gifts that produce the positive message of the Gospel that was even before the Bible was known to man?

In the Love of God that is in the Lord Jesus Christ, your brother. (1 Cor. 12: 3)

Response #5:  

I am always happy to answer those who have questions about the Bible and its correct interpretation; that's the purpose of this ministry.

However, with all due respect, you seem to be someone with "answers" and not questions. I have to tell you, that I have investigated all of these matters with great diligence many years ago and have only had the conclusions reinforced solidly over the years.

The Bible is the only proper standard of faith and practice for actual Christians. Other groups use other things (RC's, Mormons, etc.), but they are either not actually Christian or are involved in cult or cult-like groups which are heading them farther away from Christ when we are supposed to be growing closer to Him. That growth can only be accomplished through the Spirit and the truth – and the only truth available in this world today is in the Bible. Do people interpret the Bible differently? Sure. But the Bible is the truth and it is up to Christians to find out what it means and what it says. The Bible says what it says and means what it means.

Ideally, the Church should be zeroing in on that truth so that eventually all fellowships in truly seeking the truth would have differences fall away as we each got closer to the center; in practice, most groups and most Christians nowadays are instead spinning away ever farther away from that central core of truth more and more every day. That is because of the era we are living in, the last days of the Church Age, the era of Laodicea on the cusp of the Tribulation.

This will get worse and worse the closer we get to the end – and we are already very close. To be safe, what is needed is to learn the truth, not just about eschatology but about everything the Bible has to say. That can only be done the "old fashioned hard way", namely, reading the Bible diligently and accessing good Bible teaching. The latter is admittedly hard to find these days, and even when found, most Christians today have a level of personal arrogance which does not allow them to humbly submit to a good teaching ministry. A healthy measure of circumspection is indeed necessary when looking for and then giving one's spiritual allegiance to such a ministry, but they are out there (the Lord always provides for those who genuinely do seek), and once the "right one" is found, such allegiance should be given: because the Spirit only makes use of actual truth which is resident in the believer's heart, and only what is genuinely believed can lodge therein. So a believer needs the truth and needs to believe it in order to begin to live by it. But nowadays the truth is not so easy to find and when found most are unwilling to accept it (in addition to Ichthys, I always also recommend Bible Academy)

The gift of tongues was the gift of being able to speak an actual human language having never studied it or been exposed to it before. That is clear enough from Acts chapter two. What passes for "tongues" today has nothing to do with God (see the link which will lead to others:  "The Gift of Tongues part 3").

The gift of prophecy likewise is no longer being given by the Spirit, and has not been since the first century. People who claim to be prophets today are merely encouraging other Christians through their lies to pay attention to them instead of to the truth of scripture.

Water-baptism was a Jewish ritual anticipating the coming of the Messiah; He has already come. The fact that it was perpetuated in the book of Acts for a few years after the resurrection does not change the fact that now, many centuries after the fact, with no one still alive who knew of John's baptism (the only legitimate water-baptism) and was therefore rightly desirous of participating in it, it is no longer a legitimate thing to do. Matthew 28:19 is speaking of Spirit baptism; i.e., water cannot place anyone "INTO" (Gr. eis) the Trinity; this is not a verbal formula (a common misunderstanding; see the link which will lead to more:  "Baptism: Water and Spirit VIII").

I do understand the desire on the part of so many Christians for "having fun", and I do understand that prophecy, tongues, healing, and all manner of other things would be great "fun" – except that these "childish things" have now been replaced by the greatest gift next to the Gift of Christ and the gift of the Spirit: the gift of the complete canon of scripture, the very "mind of Christ" (1Cor.2:16). Pretending to speak in tongues, pretending to heal, pretending to work miracles, pretending to be receiving dreams and revelation and conversations from God are horrible things in so many ways. They lead people astray and contribute to spiritual decline instead of spiritual edification. They are not true, and they detract from and lead away from the truth. No wonder the devil supports this kind of thing so enthusiastically.

The tone of your email is not one of a seeker or one of a member of an organization which practices such things, but rather it is the tone of someone who is subtly evangelizing for them, a "teacher" of these abominations.

Therefore I beg you in the Name of Jesus Christ to put away all such nonsense and seek His mercy and forgiveness for anything you have done in leading others astray! This is the safe thing for any true Christian to do. Difficult times are coming. During the soon-to-come Tribulation Satan will be enlisting all such groups who don't care about the truth into his one world religion. And the signs and wonders his people perform will be genuine – only genuinely satanic being of the devil and not of God (Rev.13:13-14; 19:20).

In Jesus Christ, the Word of God incarnate.

Bob Luginbill

Question #6: 

Hi my brother Robert,

I thank you dearly for your reply and your concerns for my Christian walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you “will” I would like to clear up some misconceptions you seem to have of my intensions and my motive to speak with you. First you have an invitation openly before God and the world that anyone may question your, that is my complete and honest impression up to now, anyway.

There would be no sense or reason for me to go on your site with the motives you have accused me of and especially to do that before God himself as if I believe he would not care how I present his name or his word. I Love him with all my heart and being and fear him as we all should.

I am sorry I misinterpreted your invitation for you seem as you said to me, have all the truth but it seems you do not want to share it!

If I am in error, I do not want to be in error and yes I am seeking the truth, should I go else where as you seem to not want any of my questions that may some how make God’s word false from what you have settle in your mind as is the only truth there is.

I would ask one question if you “will reply”/

Did the first church have a different Holy Spirit with all the gifts then we have today as if we do not need them for the Bible can cast out devils and heal? Jesus cast out devils more than any other miracle he did.

I love you my brother and all I wanted was to fellowship in truth before our God. And Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 12: 3 is the way to know who has the Holy Sprit but we can still be in error especially when we think everyone else is, but we are not!

He in Canada who stands before God who knows my heart is true to him even if you do not believe it.

Response #6: 

Apologies if I misread you.

I'm pretty sure you are not sacrificing goats and sheep, correct? But the Holy Spirit is the same now as He was back in the days when the temple was still standing in Jerusalem, correct?

God does things differently at different times. When there was no Israel, He spoke to individual prophets, head of households. After Abraham believed, He spoke exclusively to the Jews. After the Law, He ordained a specific priesthood.

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.
Hebrews 1:1-2 NKJV

After the incarnation, cross and resurrection – and after the day of Pentecost – God has been communicating with us differently than in the past. We don't know of any "gift of tongues" before that pouring out of the Spirit. And beyond all argument, the early days of the apostolic period were times of all manner of miracles and signs. In Ephesus, even handkerchiefs or aprons which had touched Paul were capable of healing the sick (Acts 19:12). The Lord was giving his apostle to the gentiles support – not so much miracles for the miracles, but to support his authority so people would believe him (cf. Jn.10:38). And of course there was no New Testament yet. And there were very few workers to enter the vineyard, but the gospel was exploding throughout the world of that time. Today there is a complete Bible, and there are also many gifted Christians around the world (we all have gifts, after all), so that there SHOULD be no lack of teaching available. The Spirit filled in the gap where the gap needed to be filled in – but beyond all argument it's better to have the Bible than to be able to work miracles.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1st Corinthians 13:8-11 NKJV

Yes, the Spirit is the same – but the way in which He is gifting and empowering believers is different from the unique apostolic time. There are no more apostles – only twelve names on the gates of New Jerusalem. And there is no more prophecy being given. All we need is in the Bible.

Really, it's all very simple. Either the Spirit is empowering prophecy or He is not. Either He is empowering actual tongues or He is not. To me, it is clear both from the Bible (which is more than enough from me) and also from observation and experience that He is not. To say that He is when He is not is a great affront – and a very dangerous place to be spiritually.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:  

Thank for the apology but I was not offended but sad you would speak as if you knew what is in my heart when you do not even know me. I ask question not because I think I know everything and am right. Take Peter he too thought he knew it all and had everything right as the first Apostles of Christ yet Paul the murder had to before the whole church rebuke him of hypocrisy, really and he was with Jesus Christ personally and with no Bible that is presumed will keep you faithful?

Why would God give the first church better gifts when the church as you agree is in terrible condition today. Do we not need them today with 33000 denominations in the divided body of Christ today?

Does the Bible replace them?
Just because some do not see them, where did God ever have written they are not until he comes again?

I do not believe that all are using the gifts as they should or do I believe they prove the baptism of the Holy Sprit, but in no way can I see God took them back for today’s church when he repents of nothing, no Bob. Just because I or anyone can not see them especially if you believe they do not exist, then how can we declare God took them back?

Think about this, over 1500 years no Bible, hardly anyone could read until the 1900, really and no gifts and no nothing from God that the first church had and no written proof anywhere in the Bible either so how can we say God took them back?

Why did the Holy Sprit write “there are” in the Bible that took over 1500 years to remotely resemble today if he took them back?

You’re correct I do not belong to any group; I claim I am born again and Jesus is my Lord 1 Cor. 12:3 by the Holy Spirit and I believe what God has written in his word as 100% infallible truth that needs no private interpretation from any one.

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

“THERE ARE” how clear must the Holy Spirit write this before we can accept it?

He also said there will be false but if it is believe there isn’t any then how can there be false? God does not write confusion, private interpretations of scripture cause all confusion.

From your link you sent "The Gift of Tongues part 3":

In one of your teachings or email, I noticed that you stated that the "Gift of tongues" is no longer valid for today? I think that is what you said.

Bob’s reply:

So I offer you two alternatives on this if you want to discuss: 1) read what I have posted at Ichthys about this topic and I'll be happy to address the details; or 2) produce evidence of the actual functioning of the gift. If you can do the latter, you'll be the first I've ever seen or heard of in a lifetime of considering this issue.

How Bob can anyone show you the gift of various kinds of tongues when you already believe anyone who speaks in tongues are false? How can anyone give a detailed description of something when they do not have the gift? Even Jesus said that those who believe would do things beyond what he has written.

Okay Bob you gave your challenge on your site and you said no one took it.

I have asked many who speak against the Holy Spirits gifts are not for today and I asked them to show only by scripture where the Holy Spirit changed his mind and wrote “THERE ARE NO GIFTS “.

WILL YOU REPLY AS I HAVE WITH “THERE ARE” AND GIVE SCRIPTURE ONLY?

We can seek his truth and God guarantees we will find it, but division is only caused by strife among the brethren.

In the Love of God that is in the Lord Jesus Christ, your brother.

Response #7:  

1) "I think I know everything and am right": You couldn't be more wrong.

2) "Peter he too thought he knew it all": No one is perfect – but you think you know more than Peter? Wow. He will have his name inscribed on a gate of New Jerusalem – you will not.

3) "and with no Bible that is presumed will keep you faithful": Faithfulness comes from the heart, but it can only be complete and mature with acceptance of and obedience to the truth; the truth is found in the Bible, no place else. But you want to put something else over the Bible? There is no hope for people who do this.

4) "Why would God give the first church better gifts when the church as you agree is in terrible condition today": Here we see the whole problem with your mindset. As our Lord asked the misguided audience, "Which is easier? , to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, ‘Arise and walk'?" (Matt.9:5). Just because people are impressed by miracles does not make them as important or as great as acts of faith and the truth. But what is REALLY sad is to prefer pretend-miracles to the truth. There is nothing sadder. Our Lord said, "and greater works than these he will do" (Jn.14:12). Greater than our Lord's miracles?! Greater in the sense that true faith in the actual truth is far superior in God's eyes even than miraculous deeds and being impressed by them. But less than both, far less, are sham deeds which masquerade as miracles.

5) "Does the Bible replace them?" If by "them" you mean tongues, prophecies, and the gift of knowledge, that is precisely what 1st Corinthians 13:8ff. teaches. These were "childish things", that is, things appropriate to the infancy of the Church age when no completed Bible was available. But when "the perfect", the completed Bible is available, there was no longer any need for these stop-gap gifts (see the link).. In fact, had they continued, they would have contributed to a lack of interest in and respect for the Bible, the one place of truth. We see that clearly in your case – and you are not even relying on true miraculous gifts but on false pretend ones!

6) "Just because some do not see them, where did God ever have written they are not until he comes again?":

But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
1st Corinthians 13:8 NKJV

7) "I do not believe that all are using the gifts as they should": All receive gifts today (1Cor.12:7), just not the gifts you want them to have. Ignoring the gifts you actually have been given and instead pretending to use gifts that you have not been given is the very definition of "not using gifts as they should".

8) "in no way can I see God took them back for today’s church when he repents of nothing": He hasn't taken back the gift of tongues from you because He never gave it to you in the first place.

9) "hardly anyone could read until the 1900": YOU need to read a history book. Christians have been reading the Bible since the beginning of the Church age, and the Bible has been read in churches since the beginning as well (1Tim.4:13). But YOU CAN read . . . and yet you don't appreciate the gift of scripture and instead want to prefer your experiences and call them "from God" when they are not.

10) "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit" (1Cor.12:4): There are indeed (see the link: "Spiritual Gifts"). And so many different gifts and combinations and variations of them that no two believers are gifted in precisely the same way. All the gifts still operative today are "permanent gifts"; but, naturally, the ones which were temporary and meant to fill in the gap before the canon of scripture was completed, the "temporary gifts" which have now ceased (according to 1Cor.13:8ff.) are PRECISELY the ones which people not interested in the truth of scripture want to pretend to be using.

11) "God does not write confusion, private interpretations of scripture cause all confusion." Exactly. And you and those who likewise teach these non-biblical, untrue and demonstrably false things are doing just that.

12) "How Bob can anyone show you the gift of various kinds of tongues when you already believe anyone who speaks in tongues are false?": In matters of faith, we believe. I believe the Bible. But you claim to have superior information to that in the Bible. For THAT I would want proof. Christians tend to be good people and thus easily fooled by clever liars. That is why our Lord told us to be wise as serpents even as we are innocent as doves. It is a fair point to make that there hasn't been a case of genuine speaking in tongues since the first century. So why would God change the way He's been doing things for 2,000 years almost for you? Maybe He has. He can do anything. But since the Bible is against this, we would want something more than your say so:

"I have been told by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’ " The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” (But he was lying to him.)
1st Kings 13:17-18 NIV

13) "I have asked many who speak against the Holy Spirits gifts are not for today and I asked them to show only by scripture where the Holy Spirit changed his mind and wrote “THERE ARE NO GIFTS “.": There are MANY wondrous gifts! And if you are a believer you have at least one. But the Spirit is the One who distributes them as HE pleases (1Cor.12:4). YOU do not get to decide; HE decides. For you to claim that those who follow scripture and who accept the Spirit's will instead of imposing their own will as you are doing are somehow blaspheming the Spirit turns this whole issue on its head.

14) I've never offered any "challenge". I teach the Bible. I answer legitimate questions. I thought the first time you wrote me that you were merely evangelizing for your false position, but you wrote me back and claimed I had wronged you as you were legitimately seeking the truth. So I told you what the truth was. Now you've written me back with this email responded to above in detail so there can be no further misunderstanding. You have a position, a false one, based on your experience and what you want to be true. I have a biblical position wherein I respect what the Lord has told me. You choose which is better.

Absent repentance on your part, this conversation is concluded.

In Jesus Christ who is the very Word of God,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

Greetings to you on a cold day in Colorado.

According to Deuteronomy 18:10 we are not supposed to practice divination. When I was a youngster living on a farm I saw a neighbor using a forked stick and was told that when the fork would point down there would be water there and it would be an appropriate place to dig a well.

The divination method of casting lots was used by the remaining eleven disciples of Jesus in Acts 1:23-26 to select a replacement for Judas Iscariot. Therefore, divination was arguably an accepted practice in the early church. However, divination became viewed as a pagan practice by Christian emperors during ancient Rome.

My question is what is the difference? Casting lots is like rolling dice however I know God can determine the results. If a farmer can find well water under ground accurately by divination what is the problem?

Blessings,

Response #8: 

Good to hear from you, my friend! It's been chilly in this neck of the woods too.

While "dowsing" is not mentioned in the Bible, it is in my opinion related to this sort of thing (i.e., some sort of "-mancy" as in necromancy). Where is this "help" coming from? If not some supernatural force which is clearly unrelated to God, then where? Dowsing has no physical basis, but I suppose a demon could move the stick to the right place. God doesn't work that way, however.

There were of course legitimate divinely given means for Israel to determine things, namely, the urim and thumim on the ephod of the high priest. But that went with the Law. We have the Holy Spirit. He is the only Guide we need.

As to the example you give, Acts chapter one, this was an error on the part of the apostles, and notice that lottery is never ever again repeated in the New Testament . . . after the Holy Spirit is given in the next chapter. Paul is the twelfth apostle; his name will be on one of the gates of New Jerusalem, not this Matthias who is never heard from again hereafter. Here are a couple of links on this:

Matthias not an apostle

Matthias

Acts 1

So I would definitely urge all serious Christians to stay away from all such things. I don't have a problem – nor do I believe the Bible does – with games using dice such as Monopoly (as long as they are not taken seriously and no actual money is involved, they may not be harmful even if a waste of our precious time), but trying to discern what to do through such means is only giving the devil a chance to influence the process. God doesn't operate that way. He uses the Spirit working in our hearts through the truth we have learned and are learning and believing to guide our path.

Also please check out the newest posting (linked to part above):  BB 6B:  Ecclesiology

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Bob,

First, I have been very disturbed by the rise in anti-Semitism in America and in other parts of the world where this hasn’t been a problem in my lifetime. There are regular reports I see in the news about attacks or attempted attacks on Synagogues in Europe, as well as the more well-known Synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh, San Diego, and New Zealand all within the last year. What bothers me the most is the rise of Jew-hatred among professing Christians. Dr. Michael Brown, whom I’ve told you about before, is on the front lines of trying to bring Jews to a saving faith in Jesus, and said that he has experienced more anti-Semitism from professing Christians in the last year than in his previous 64 years on earth combined. I assume this is only going to get worse once the Tribulation commences.

[personal experience omitted by request]

Response #9:  

Good grief!!!

Basic fruit test:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
Matthew 7:15-20 NIV

There are basically two types of churches and church groups out there in present day Laodicea: 1) pointless churches/groups which are merely there to perpetuate their own existence; these don't much care what they teach (they don't much teach anything at all), and use tradition or emotion or music or guilt or spectacle or legalism or any manner of device or gimmick to keep the members and the money flowing in; 2) absolutely DANGEROUS groups. The latter are generally not Christian but cultic with few Christians therein (although I have seen some where I would rate the percentage of Christians therein as about the same as other pointless groups, maybe 50/50 depending).

From what you've written here, the BEST I could possibly say about this church you report is that it's maybe a #1 with strong #2 tendencies - - and could easily slip all the way with not much of a push (if it's not basically there already).

Anti-semitism of ANY degree or stripe is a sure tell that this is the wrong place and that one should get out immediately. Nothing good can possibly come from or to a place that harbors or is friendly in any way to such anti-God attitudes and teachings.

So getting out was necessary. Good for you! As to how you got out, it seems that unless you had confronted the people there that they never would have exposed their true colors entirely and then the deception might have lingered longer. Besides, this is a question of application, and also what is done is done. You are safely out, and that is the main thing. I try never to second guess applications like this, especially when they've had a satisfactory result and there is no changing them back in any case.

I do want to applaud your solid hold on the truth and the depth of conviction you have for it. I think you can probably see that one reason for all this – and one positive thing that has come out of it – is a demonstration of your spiritual maturity and the Lord's blessing and vindication of your stand with the truth.

I do feel for you in that as you've written before, you're rather isolated in your current situation, and under a good deal of pressure on top of that. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a good place to go to learn about the Bible where there were other genuine, dedicated believers there for that purpose? But this is Laodicea, and such a thing is very, very rare. I do think that participating in the forum would be helpful for you. Our friend has also now set up one for believers who are not pastors, practicing or perspective. I'm sure he'd be happy to add you.

I'm praying for the right sorts of social interaction and for peace on the job front. I updated your prayer request on the Ichthys list – do let me know if you'd like it modified or expanded in any way.

Keeping you in my prayers every day, my friend!

You fought a good fight, my friend! Keep on fighting.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hello Bob,

I hope you are well. I am very grateful that you passed my email onto your friend. It is nice to have more people to fellowship with as it gets lonely.

I remember that in a previous email, you wrote that fellowshipping within the church visible will not be beneficial in these lukewarm and apostate times and that most preachers will not say anything of substance and may even be wolves.

I have already had bad experiences of this even since leaving Catholicism. It seems freemasonry is rife in Protestantism and Evangelical movements alike and I have done enough research to know that freemasonry truly is of the enemy and no good can come from secrecy and deathly oaths.

We really are living in an age of deception, with the body of Christ being attacked at all angles. I wonder why people who lie and say they are Christians but are not, are not afraid of leading many astray. Are they not frightened of the millstone?

I have found out that this Hebrew Roots movement and Sacred Name movement both originate from mystical Rabbinical teachings from books such as the Zohar. So again this is subversion from within. Many times people say Jesus name is really connected to Zeus and I know this obviously to be nonsense but many, many people are falling for it. People are starting to use bizarre variants of the Tetragrammaton and it has become a cult whereby they claim that Jesus will only hear you if you say His correct name and they all have a different one. I have to say that this sacred name stuff and the going back under the law has tripped me up more times than I care to admit.

Because I get lonely, I fellowship with others online but the deception levels are really abhorrent. I know that I have talked about all this before but I want to bring to your attention how widespread this thing now is! Many of these law keepers have been thrown by apostate Christianity, the 501c3 businesses, the mega churches and the prosperity preachers and the paganism of Rome. They are sheep in desperate need of the shepherd again. All this does (and I'm grateful, dearly grateful for this) is make me realise how weak we are and how vulnerable. It humbles me and shows me that we desperately all need Jesus Christ, maybe more now than ever before as there is so much falsehood and it's literally everywhere.

I hear that the Charismatic churches are teaching "Christian Hedonism" and welcoming in occultic practises such as grave soaking and walking the labyrinth (a Loyola teaching).
I've seen people in videos being slain and drunk in the spirit and rolling around on the floor.

I have to say that all of it, all of it has made me sick to my stomach. I have been horrified at what has infiltrated Christianity and I have sat at the sidelines and I have wept over all of it more than once.

At the same time it has really made me realise just how precious Jesus is! He really is the pearl of great price! All of this, all of it is to make me do one thing, to turn me away from Jesus Christ. No matter what the deception is; false doctrine, distraction, division, legalism, apostasy, a different Gospel, new age heresies..many different deceptions but only one purpose, to separate me from Jesus Christ.

There's power in His beautiful and glorious name and all of this has only made my love and devotion to Him all that much stronger!

So it's true that God can turn any situation into good and even the naysayers and deceivers point me towards the cross and running into the loving and living arms of my blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ.

In His and only His holy name,

Response #10: 

It's my pleasure, my friend – and so good to hear from you!

Thanks for this very informative and encouraging email – encouraging, because of your growing perspicacity in the truth so as to be able to discern and avoid deception. Just remember, however, that even though there is much legalism and many false believers in the Messianic movement (which covers a great many groups of widely divergent views), that it is the Jewish root into which we the wild olive branch gentiles have been grafted, and there have always been those of the seed of Abraham who truly believe.

Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Romans 11:5 NKJV

I'm doing well, thanks. How are you doing? I've been keeping you in my prayers daily, my friend. Hoping you're finding a way forward and to keep your footing in so moving.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11: 

Hello Bob,

Just a quick question. Have been doing some deep research on the US mission that I've been doing some volunteering for. They are called "Gospel for Asia" and have recently courted controversy over some misappropriated funds (to the tune of some tens of millions).

If that wasn't enough to shake me, I have found out something about them that I have been lied to about. The mission they set up in Asia was called a Believers church and non-denominational. I was happy about this and their reliance on spreading the Gospel.

I have NOW discovered that the denomination is actually Episcopal and they actually carry out liturgical masses in their churches with what is very similar to the Catholic communion. The men out there that I thought were just pastors are actually ordained bishops(!) wearing silk cassocks and rosary beads!! Apparently the self proclaimed leader of the mission is now referred to as HIs Eminence the bishop! He is taking the mission in the direction of the "Ancient Future" and I haven't a clue what that means?

Please can you elucidate what Ancient Future means? I'm not even sure what episcopal means!

I am really shocked that they didn't tell me all this when I was working for them. I have also heard reports that they are quite bullying and operate under a cult like leadership!

After coming out of the Catholic Church and generally bad experiences in my life with abusive employers and relationships, I promised myself that I wouldn't put up with liars any more or deceit. At deceit I would draw a line and walk away!

Now I discover this!

We truly are in the End Times aren't we!

In our Loving Saviour.

Response #11:  

For some reason, I found this email in a junk mail folder. Not only that, but the folder is not accessible from my computer app, only from my IPad (weird).

Anyway, I also have no idea what "ancient future" might mean . . . except to say that there's nothing like that in the Bible.

It does sound as if you are "well out" of this particular organization. I'm sorry you were misled by the terminology they used – but that is why they use it, namely, to appeal to people who are more likely to give them money. It tends to be all about the money.

Hope things are going well for you, my friend – and, again, apologies for just getting to this now (do feel free to write me back about this).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12: 

Dear Dr. Robert,

You have been helpful in my spiritual awareness needs. Thank you and may God bless you for that. My question this time there are too many pastors calling themselves "Prophets", one says he is a "Prophet of God". They mostly come from 'Prosperity' background. Isn't this false implication an offence before God's eyes? Appreciate your views.

Blessings

Response #12: 

Here is what I read in scripture:

The Spirit explicitly says that in the end times certain men will rebel (lit., "apostatize") from the faith, giving their allegiance [instead] to deceitful spirits and demonic doctrines.
1st Timothy 4:1

(1) So be aware of this, that in the last days there will be difficult times. (2) 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, (3) irreverent, implacable, slanderers, uninhibited, savage, despising the good, (4) betrayers, impetuous, megalomaniacal, devotees of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (5) possessing an [outward] appearance of godliness, but [in reality] having rejected its [true] power. From such men turn away.
2nd Timothy 3:1-5

There have been no true prophets in the Church since the end of the apostolic era (which ended in the late first century). Anyone who claims to be one is a liar. The just now posted BB 6B Ecclesiology will give you some good insight on why this is the case.

While the prevalence of such things nowadays does not indicate that the Tribulation per se has begun, it certainly is something believers should take to heart as an indication that things can't go on like this too much longer.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Thx for your reply. Is it correct to say Prophets are only God appointed?

Blessings

Response #13:  

That's absolutely the case. Consider:

No single verse of prophetically inspired scripture has ever come into being as a result of personal reflection. For true prophecy has never occurred by human will, but only when holy men of God have spoken under the direction and agency of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Peter 1:20b-21

No reason not to think that the same is not the case for all prophecy which the Spirit did not direct to be written down as scripture. Generally speaking, the instructions given to the prophets seem to have been pretty specific (cf. 1Ki.13:1-34).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14: 

Hello Dr. L

I hope you are well...

I'm writing because I need someone to help with an issue that I feel alone with in my community, so I thought of you since you wouldn't be familiar with any of the players involved with my concern.

As you may recall I'm a life long Lutheran..., but one that over the last ~40 yrs. has been fighting many of the issues that seemed to me to be non-Biblical in the ELCA Lutheranism. By the way I quit attending about a year and a half ago due to just not being able to really worship with my mind being elsewhere.

My congregation finally left the El CA in 2010, but I believe the existing pastors and especially the younger ones tend to be quite liberal politically and theological. And therein lies the crux of the issue. Especially the new Lead Pastor has referenced certain theologians over the past year or so that I believe to be out and out universalists or something bordering on universalism.

My understanding of when one should leave a church is when you know Heresy exists (not sure if this is too stringent or not?)

The theologians that this pastor has referenced as being ones that He believes are credible are Jurgen Moltman, Rob Bell, and Baxter Kruger. I am unable to know how or if he is using then directly in his teachings but certainly the expression of never ending unconditional love is preached.

My dilemma is that I don't know how to deal with the problem... As I said I don't attend any longer, but am still officially a member.. I don't know if I should say anything to anyone else (most folks there wouldn't understand the accusation of heresy easily as they are kept in the dark about such matters ...)

I've done a bit of digging on line into these names so I think I understand to a minimal degree that they are in the "Hoped For Universal salvation camp"... But I'm still not sure enough to start encouraging others to consider the issues.

Would appreciate any thoughts you have...

Thank you so much for listening

Response #14: 

If you can find ANY church out there in Laodicea which is not "heretical", it would be like finding a diamond in the rough. "Heresy" is a loaded word. We are talking here, I believe, about embracing teachings which are seriously in opposition to what the Bible actually teaches. As I say, that is the creedal position of most denominations as far as I am concerned. Members of such organizations such as yourself are most upset on this front nowadays not because they come to the realization through studying the scriptures (or accessing a true teaching ministry) that some traditional position is totally wrong (e.g., Lutheranism's amillennialism), but rather because their group changes course on some principle or other because of societal pressure for the most part. But to me, that is just an indication of a flawed approach in the first place. Most who have come to this ministry over the years have eventually gotten to the point of severing ties with previous groups . . . not because that's anything I ever suggest or recommend (we are all here to make our own decisions, after all), but because of a conflict in the conscience between what they come to believe is right as opposed to what the groups is teaching or doing.

I will also say that I never recommend trying to fight this out or "change from within", because in my experience that never works and also never result in anything good. Quite the opposite:

"No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
Matthew 9:16-17 NKJV

Salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ is the basis of everything Christian. The gospel is meant to be responded to with a "yes!"; a "no!" is a rejection of who Christ is and what He has done. It seems futile to have to explain to people that saying "no!" does not result in eternal life but the opposite. That is clearly what the Bible teaches, however, in no uncertain terms so that there is no need for extensive "theologizing" on this point. Those who don't accept that basic truth have essential rejected the authority of scripture entirely, putting in its place what they wish to be true instead:

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:18 NKJV

Here are some links:

Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment II

Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment I

Against Universalism I: Free Will and the Image of God.

Against Universalism II: Only Believers are Saved.

Against Universalism III: Unbelievers in the Plan of God.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Hello Dr. L.

Thanks you so much for you response and teaching of the truth for this issue and others.

I've read enough of your teaching for the period we are in "Laodicea" to understand what you are saying... However, it does raise some probably simple questions of how I and those "Christians" who know less than I should live in this time...

Some questions and understandings I have are these:

1. Our Salvation is based on God given faith and not our perfect knowledge of dogma, so I suppose there are many of us who if we die believing will have eternal life, even if we have been living in this world and churches of deceit with little knowledge of many truths...??

2. Yet I understand that we should always be seeking more knowledge of the truth, and, I believe, scripture also implies that we are then responsible for acting on the knowledge we have. Along this line of thought, it seems to me that most Christians I know choose not to search for truth probably mainly because they see no need to know especially since the "Leaders" teach them that "all is well"...

3. Personally, I feel because I know even a little amount of truth, that I feel responsible for speaking at least the little I do know to those who feel safe in ignorance and the deceit being propagated by the leaders.... I've shied away from speaking too much because I've been afraid of being someone who is sinning by being a disruption with the ranks of believers even though they, in my opinion, are not seeking to know and are therefore deceived.

4. If my friends belong to a non-jewel church and we/they start to understand that its teachings aren't always true... should we then leave and if we do what if there isn't a jewel like church that's in a reasonable distance to attend? Should we just watch TV or form our our worship group (like a house church)?

Perhaps this is all the "Laodicea" era dilemma...

Thanks for all the reading I will wade through it.

as ever,

Response #15:  

You're most welcome, my friend.

As to your questions:

1) Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, that He is God and the Son of God, truly deity and perfectly human since the incarnation, and that He died for our sins, paying the full price for them all, and that we are saved purely by grace through putting our faith in Him, is saved.

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved!"
Acts 16:31

People who merely admire Christ, acknowledge that He did live, think they have to help God by working for salvation, or have in any way added to or subtracted from the gospel are not saved. So, for example, every correspondent and friend I've ever had who was a refugee from the RC church has always affirmed that a) they were not saved (not born again / born from above) while in that church, and b) that in their view it is impossible to be saved while in that church.

Protestant denominations have their problems when it comes to all manner of incorrect doctrines, but in my observation and experience tend at least to have the gospel right. However, a) there is no accounting for individual churches and pastors who may "have it wrong" or "teach it wrong" in spite of their overall hierarchy's position; or b) individual members: there are always hangers-on in any church who are there for other reason and are not, in fact, saved. It's not a matter of information. It's a matter of faith, saying yes to the Gift of Jesus Christ on the Father's terms (which leads to salvation) . . . or not (which leads to the opposite).

2) We can blame the leaders (supply problem); but we all have an individual relationship with Jesus Christ, and we are responsible for doing what He wants us to do regardless of whether or not others are doing it; that desire for the truth is in our Laodicean age by far a minority position (demand problem).

3) This is indeed a dilemma. You are right that to cause an uproar is counter to the "good order" we are commanded, not to mention basic obedience to the authority in the church. Most Christians I have met over the years have had a very hard time with the "one foot in / one foot out" position. Sooner or later, most choose either in or out for the very reasons you are broaching.

4) It's an individual decision. This ministry is on the internet rather than between four walls for precisely these reasons – and tries to serve these needs you mention. I doubt you'll find something better on TV or other media; as you put it, a "jewel church" is very rare. I make a posting every Saturday night (on the email page), and try to role out major postings to add to the rather large amount of material already at the site on a semi-regular basis (most of these productions take a very long time to complete). So Ichthys is, as I often say, "my church" – and you are certainly welcome here any time (I also highly recommend Bible Academy).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16: 

Hi--Just a quick question...isn't it true that in the old Testament, when Elohim--which is plural--is used of the true God, it takes a singular verb ending? But when used of false gods/idols, it takes the grammatically correct plural ending? I think you told me once that there are no exceptions to this, except one time, when "El" is used of God.

Also, a Mormon claims that hints of God's triunity were taken out of the OT by Josiah's priests. Have you ever heard of this? I know they refound the Law, buried in rubble in the temple, when they went to clean it up and repair it, and instituted some reforms, if I remember right. But is there any evidence that the priests tampered with God's word, and removed portions of it?

Thanks.

Response #16: 

On #1, I don't think you heard this from me. In Genesis 1:26, God, 'elohiym, says "Let us make man", and the verb is plural. Now in the set up verb, "And God said", the "said" is singular. One would have to check every instance of 'elohiym with verb to say that there are no other exceptions. I can verify that a singular is what I do expect. Where false gods are in view, context is always sufficient to make that clear. I don't know of any cases where there is any reasonable doubt about whether we are talking of "gods" or God. I am sure that cultist may want to "make hay" out of this sort of thing, but I would be wary of formulating grammatical rules as apologetic tools. As I say, I've never had a problem with this when reading my Hebrew Bible (which I have done daily for some thirty plus years), so I am not motivated to spend the considerable time it would take to run down all the thousands of occurrences.

On #2, this is nothing but speculation. The Trinity, as seen in the example in the paragraph above, is visible in the first chapter of Bible (see also in particular Is.48:16: "And now my Lord [who is] LORD has sent Me (i.e., the Messiah), and His Spirit."). In Genesis 1:26, the "us" has to be the godhead. It can't be (as some Jewish commentators have opined), the Lord and the angels, because the angels clearly have nothing whatsoever to do with creating anything – and certainly not with creating Man (as the next chapter makes clear). This speculation also assumes that the Old Testament is a "scissors and paste" job. Pace the JEPD theory, there is no evidence for this whatsoever, not even from Qumran (and that's the only real value of those finds, namely, to affirm that the Masoretic text is solid, since even these inferior texts only marginally disagree with it: no cut and paste).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:  

Hmmmm...

I could have sworn you once told me that.

Oh, well. Does it take a plural ending when "us" is used, but singular in the other uses? Like when God also said "let us go down and confuse their language." Plural ending there? I just wonder if there is a pattern.

Thanks!

Response #17:  

Good remembrance! Yes, both Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 11:7 "Let us" constructions have the 1st plural.

I wouldn't swear I didn't, but it doesn't sound like me. I'm pretty careful about making "never" or "always" statements about language unless I'm very, very sure (since these rarely are true, given that languages are always full of exceptions).

In Jesus,

Question #18: 

Hi--I did find an old email from you, from about 7 or 8 years ago where you wrote this:

"As to /Elohiym/, you are also correct that when the word is referring to God the verb is usually singular but that when it refers to "gods" is it usually plural (e.g., Is.37:12). One exception is Genesis chapter one verse twenty-six: "And God (/Elohiym/) said, /Let us make/ (pl.) man in /our/ image, after /our/ likeness". This constitutes a unique emphasis on the whole Trinity's participation in our original creation."

Of course, you wrote "usually." NOT always. My bad. But I was wondering if there was a pattern. As in these two "let us" situations. But I want to make sure--in the "And God said" the "said" is in the singular, but in "let us make man..." the "make" is plural? I just want to make sure. Also, that is an English idiom...how would the "let us make man" be translated literally from Hebrew into English?

Thanks again for your patience with me! God bless!

Response #18: 

Right – a BIG difference. Because once we say "always", then we have a principle from which we can draw conclusions. So yes, there is a pattern. And that's evidence. But I don't think we need to rely on that to demonstrate that passage 'A' is speaking of God and passage 'B' of "gods".

In terms of pattern, in chapter eleven it's "the Lord" who speaks and acts, not "God" (so it's not a parallel in that sense). But "us" in Hebrew is the first person plural prefix; it's different from the first person singular suffix. So both cases have God (described as "the Lord" in the second one) describing Himself as "us" (not "me").

In terms of "literal translation", English doesn't have a way to express the cohortative other than the "let us" construction. I suppose to bring out the fact that in Hebrew it's not the objective case we might say something like "We will go down" (where "shall" is normal English in the traditional grammar but "will" is emphatic). However, this would be a bit farther away from the actual meaning than the regular "let us" way of doing it – and less clear too since I can tell you as a language teacher that no one understands the will/shall dichotomy any more.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19: 

Dear Professor

Greetings and appreciation of your great efforts in our Lord. I pray for you, your family, and your Ministry.

Subsequent to our fellowship meeting last night , I looked up your references for Christ being the Rock. In your EM answer “Christ the Rock Which Moses Struck ..” is the clear statement in 1 Corinthians 10:4 ... and the Rock was Christ”.

I learned last night that a believer that I invited to our fellowship and has been attending with us, has a younger brother who is the top Freemason in town - has gone as high as one can go in that place. He has tried to get his older brother to join with Freemasonry to no avail, but keeps working on him (and has told him things that he should not reveal to the “uninitiated”) - especially now that the older brother has recently been employed in a nearby company where the younger brother (the Freemason), is the one in charge of his older brother.

I explained that many mormons, including its first leaders were also Freemasons and that the mormon temple rites are similar to the Freemason rites including handshakes, tokens, signs, and penalties (however, for deception purposes, being temporarily obscured and watered down in modern mormonry, awaiting the unleashing of their full fury and gory in the last days, as preached by Brigham Young, the 2nd mormon prophet). Compare the fury of the beast!

He explained that such a top Freemason (as his younger brother is) has the power to make people “disappear”, even today, if they are deemed to be a “threat” (Christians? Quite possibly, he said). No trace of this person would ever be found. (Similar disappearances occurred in old mormon times - however bodies of people attempting to escape mormonism would often be found - victims of the “Indians”). Dissuades would be “apostates” and “informants” from telling the truth. Freemasonry temple rites are still done by wielding a real sword and placing it against the initiate, so as to threaten life, and the initiate is not allowed to show fear. A sobering thought.

Yet it seems the people at our gathering have faith in following Christ and in sharing despite the consequences of some believers' apostasy and turning informants in the Tribulation to come. I was encouraged by their faith.

He explained Freemasons believe in a supreme being - but NOT in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That leaves only Satan to fill their idolised position, as Satan craves for that title.

The time, as scripture says, is “even at the doors” - and so are the enemies of Christ, even at our doors.

Thanks be to our Father, who has sent His Son, who has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us always, and especially in our great time of need so soon to come.

I am thankful for your illumination of the scriptures of and in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Your student

Response #19:  

Thanks for this, my friend. Chilling.

From time to time I get questions about Masons or people writing about them. I only know what I've read and heard. There seem to be different "flavors" and different levels of commitment. But I never encourage it, of course. Like Mormonism and Roman Catholicism, being involved at all is a compromise with the truth, and no one can be saved – let alone grow – absent the truth. Subtle compromise is no doubt going to be the grease on the path that leads to accepting the beast's religion, however one enters.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Dear Professor,

Thank you for your reply.

Just an update. I asked __ if was he a Mason. Yes. Did not try to dissuade me of the mason practice of the “disappearances of “threats” (there are plenty of masons in town).

If I don’t write to you for awhile it may not be that I do not wish to, rather that I am unable to. I hope it does not come to that - and especially not soon.

Even in the now watered down mormon version of the temple endowment, it is clear that the penalty for revealing the tokens, signs and penalties is death. (Severe consequences).

What evils masquerade as the truth!

I am just expressing my understanding of the truth, for the hope of salvation for all. From scripture we know that soon this will be enough to condemn us before the false god of this world. And has been enough to condemn believers that came before us in them refusing to deny their faith in Jesus, the truth.

I am not expecting anything evil toward myself, while realising I have been mistaken in some of my previous expectations.

[personal issues omitted]

I keep you in my prayers.

In the hope of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Only One Mighty to Save.

Your student

Response #20: 

Thanks for the update.

I'm sorry to hear about your relative's situation.

There is a limit to what we can do for those we love if they push things beyond a certain limit. I have seen this many times. I will be remembering this in prayer, along with your health.

Thanks again for your insights into the truth. They minister to me.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21: 

Dear Professor

Thank you for your kind response. I hope you are enjoying the yard work.

In reading your EM Response #4 under the heading “No Rapture”; it is apparent how ALL scripture is interrelated and important.

I like you citing the French quote , we have “an embarrassment of riches”. Also you saying the Reformers had very little of the modern resources we have - but what is our excuse?

My discussion with __ of the imperative to believe and act in accordance with the scriptures and not trust doctrines of men and demons led me to thinking how could someone be a Freemason AND also be a true believer in Christ? I am told and have gained the impression from my readings, that Freemasons must proclaim a belief in a Supreme being - any being. Apparently, this does not include a belief in the Trinity of God.

To my simple understanding, any acknowledgment of a supreme being that does not recognise our need for the Savior, (and there is only ONE, our Lord Jesus Christ); is at best Idolatry; though more likely the worship of Satan, who is the being who covets what rightly and truly belongs to our God.

How is it possible to belong to a fraternity which permits the worship of any god and be a Christian?

I am in a small town where Freemasons have significant clout and numbers. I was somewhat encouraged by __’s conversation in him now conceding the need to trust scripture, though this has lead to my thoughts above. It seems completely incompatible to belong in the two camps. Our God does not share his glory with other “gods”.

I am just writing to share my thoughts with you. I am planning to broach the subject with him using the simple wording above.

The mormon church also has very similar rituals, although now greatly modified to appease ordinary church folk. The founder of the mormon church was a Freemason and also many of his followers. He said the mormon temple rituals were the pure ones from God. Apparently the Freemason version is a little off the mark. (Protestant version?)

I realise that you may only have heard from others about these groups, but from my scant scenario above, is it a reasonable conclusion (worship of any god, does not equal worship of the ONE TRUE God)?

I suppose a person who claims to be a Christian and a Freemason may say they believe in Christ, even though their “blood” brothers in their fraternity don’t - it does not appear feasible to me to be linked in “blood brotherhood” with non believers. Throw in all the secret handshakes, signs and penalties that ordinary Christians are forbidden to partake of, except by accepting the any god worship formula and I can not reconcile the two. I think Paul may have had something to say about dubious associations.

Any insights from scripture would be appreciated before I consider sharing my thoughts.
Sometimes the reaction we get from those in the fraternity may be surprising, in many different ways, sometimes their reaction may differ from their action.

(As an aside, partly, “the Book of Mormon” musical extravaganza is to hit Perth until September). More noise and hype.

Take your time with any response.

I pray for your health, your family, job, and Ministry.

Your student

Response #21:  

Thanks for your good words.

Yes indeed:

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.
2nd Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV

Also:

Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops;
Those who worship and swear oaths by the LORD,
But who also swear by Milcom
Zephaniah 1:5 NKJV

On the point at issue, I can't see how anyone who believed what the RC church teaches could possibly be saved – and, indeed, every refugee from that religion I've ever spoken with on the matter has said it's impossible to be "in it" and be saved. I'm agnostic on that point, simply because I know for a fact that members of all manner of organizations, Christians churches as well, often do not subscribe to the official teachings of the group or the church. If that is true of churches where the association one would think would be of great importance, how much more is it not true of some group that for some who join may be of only passing importance. Mind you, I don't agree with joining anything, church or group or whatever, if a person can't sign off on what they teach and do. But, people being people, I imagine this sort of compromise is common enough. It would be passing strange, however, for a person who belonged to this group and freely engaged in the weird and disturbing practices you report, was anything like spiritually mature. Also, there are different sorts of rites and "flavors" of Freemasonry, I believe (I'm no expert by any means). The possibility of this being, for some, merely a social group, seems real enough. But whenever I've heard of the rites however described, I've always wondered how a Christian who prized his relationship with Jesus could put up with such nonsense.

So for me, this is the issue, namely, not what group XYZ may espouse, but what person ABC believes and how he/she is living his/her life. Because if a Christian gets serious about the truth and begins to grow, this will occasion all manner of changes – the right way, from the inside out. On the other hand, if Christian ABC gives up XYZ out of being convinced it's not right for a Christian to do / be involved in, while that may seem to be a positive development, if the motivation is wrong and, more to the point, does not lead to spiritual growth, there's not much to celebrate there.

So if it were me, I'd be more interested in leading a Mormon to Christ than to getting a Mormon to leave the Mormons; I'd be more interested in getting a Mason to start growing spiritually than to give up Freemasonry. Because a believer who really is a believers and wants to seek the Lord is not going to stay in groups like that long. And a believer who wants to grow and please the Lord is not going to continue with any cockamamie rituals or compromised/compromising organization once he/she gets to the place of starting to see things from God's point of view.

So while I agree completely with all your conclusions, I would modulate the tactics (if it were me). But of course you need to listen to the Spirit and let Him guide you in each individual case.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22: 

Dear Professor

I hope all is well with you and your family.

Just a quick note to say I received my first email together with our friends yesterday.

I did ask if they fellowshipped with other Christians as I sometimes wonder how other ichthys readers live (in regard to fellowship).

My church is your online ministry and I use it as a basis for my fellowshipping with other believers.

As you know the Mormons love to quote Malachi 3:8-10. AND then add their own “scripture” of “.... he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming”. Doctrine and Covenants 64:23. I like to continue to the following verses in Malachi, especially verse 12. “Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.” I take this to mean that at that time, had the nation Israel done this, other nations would definitely have noticed the land of Israel to be a land of delight.

I wonder why those that like to collect “tithes” nowadays don’t go for the more recent New Testament example of selling ALL they have and laying it at the apostles feet. Mind you the Mormons have an “answer” to this, saying it because we are not ready yet for the higher law of consecration but will live it in eternity. Meanwhile pay your fire insurance! (I know, their “answer” does NOT meet the Biblical test).

Used mainly for political and social explanations, of which I know you are not keen on, but the expression is “does it meet the pub test”. My take on that would be that the Mormon explanation (and others like it) does not meet the pub test. Even a person with a pint or two under his belt can discern the gaping holes that do not hold an ounce of truth, let alone a pint.

However, “... a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” Romans 10:2

From my take on scripture, indicates trying to establish our own righteousness through the law, which is indeed impossible. Mind you, said from someone (me) who followed false teachings zealously for decades. Now it seems so obviously incorrect that any bloke in a pub who had read the Bible would see through the holes.

The benefit of a good Bible teaching site such as ichthys clarifies Bible teaching so it seems that all should be able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Your student

Response #22: 

Great to hear from you, my friend. And I'm delighted to hear that you have finally connected. I'm sure you can share insights and experiences that others who've not been where you've been might not be able to appreciate as much.

Nice job on this refutation! Never heard "pub test" before, but that's a good one (here in the states the rough equivalent is "sniff test").

Keeping you and your family in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23: 

Dear Professor

Thank you for your prayer.

I will also pray for you and your situation to improve.

I do appreciate very much your ministry.

___ has asked me for a USB to take back to the Philippines with her. They do not have internet. I will be putting as much of your site onto it with some of the special topics including the excellent work of Bartek on Mary. (Philippines is much Catholic orientated, as well as a sizeable Islamic following). The Expanded Subject Index will also be very helpful to them in finding topics and issues quicker. I may include several USB’s to enable her to share your site more easily with internet deprived seekers of the Word of God in the Philippines. I am hoping and praying that our Lord may find some “use” and “ways” of spreading the Word of Truth amongst them.

Today, ___ said he was off to bank the tithes for his church. I noted with him our point of difference on this subject, he quoted Malachi, (the Mormons love that scripture with a passion - our 10% gross worked out to about 15% net of disposable income, and THEN; there is building fund, missionary fund, temple building fund, ward budget, fast offerings, AND special appeals to boot - add to this the constant travelling fair distances to untold meetings, camps, ad infinitum). My decent government salary of that time was barely enough for us to live a “civilised life”.

The mormon temple ordinance puts you under oath to give all that you have to the “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, even your own lives, if necessary, for the building up of the “Kingdom of God upon the earth, and for the establishment of Zion”. This Zion is told to be established and establishing, upon the American continent.

Also strictly instructed not to give ANY sympathy for ANY person or group that is “hostile” to the church (i.e. them that do not agree with their ideologies).

This question is asked of members desiring to go to the temple. (without the temple ordinances you can NOT reach the highest degree of glory in eternity, i.e. be where God is and progress to become a God yourself). People will pay top dollar to buy into that tripe. On the “positive” side, NO ONE is going to Hell except the “really wicked”. So even if you do not make it to the top, all other places are fantastically better than our present life. (Apologies , I too, was lead astray for decades by this cult). Praise the Lord for my deliverance!

Once the proverbial wool has been pulled over the eyes, the sheep can not see the actual truth plainly recorded in the Bible - even though mormons use the KJV themselves. Joseph Smiths “inspired version” of the Bible, it turns out was not inspired enough for the mormon church to use it themselves- however, loving to quote from it to members to ensure they UNDERSTAND that, “We believe in the Bible as far as it is translated CORRECTLY”.

Regarding “Statements of Faith”, (I always look for them on websites of Bible teachers). There is a religion that sets out beautifully their “Summary of Statement of Faith. It is a lovely blue setting as well, and so is quite impressive. There could be no doubt of their allegiance to the truth.

Firstly:

1. “We believe in God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost.”

I do not find a similar PLAIN “Statement of Faith” on your website.

[Let me briefly explain the PLAIN Statement of Faith quoted above. (As it applies to the church mentioned above).

1a. God was once a man as we are, and has progressed to become a God. We, likewise, can become Gods, following the church’s formula.

1b. Jesus is our spirit brother, same as Satan.

1c. The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, who does not have a physical body (as the Father and Son now do), but will receive one in the future.]

Next; as a sample of their website summary:

8. “That the Bible and the Book of Mormon are both divinely revealed scripture.”

[The two statements above, are the churches summary of their 13 Articles of Faith given to Joseph Smith. The full version of the Articles of Faith, is not much longer than the summary, BUT, I can not easily find the church sanctioned version any longer on their website! There is a HUGE difference in clarity and MEANING between the Summary and the few words longer version, the actual, “Articles of Faith”]

I have not thrown out my personal “scriptures” from the Mormon Church, so I can accurately quote “Article of Faith” , number 8.

8a. “We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”

[Note: 8a. “We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly, (HUGE INFINITE QUALIFICATION), we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. (ABSOLUTE. NO QUALIFICATION)]

We would obviously also need to ignore the hundreds of changes that have been made to the Book of Mormon since the first printing, as it has been “tweaked” to now give the “proper” meaning, and also to delete the repetitive mantra of “ and it came to pass”.

I have not found any “Statement of Faith” on your website.

Indeed, from the very brief examples I have given above, it is plainly apparent that a MULTITUDE of interpretations CAN be had by “simple” “statements of faith”.
They can be entirely deceptive. Think of the serpent in the garden of Eden.

Marketing is markedly different to the teaching the Truth of the Word of God.

IF you can use any of this, please do.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

Your student and friend,

Response #23:  

This is all very helpful, and with your permission I'll post it the next time I do something on cults (I've got quite a lot backlogged on the JWs and also now Mormons, thanks in no small part to your efforts).

I appreciate what you say about "plain statements of faith". Here's the problem. The Word of God is the truth. Any "statement of faith" is an attempt to present some (not all) of what the Bible says in summary form. However, 1) the fact that it has to be partial means that those concocting the statement are putting themselves in the position of expressing what's really important, and certainly more important than what they've chosen to leave out (whereas in truth it's all critically important), and 2) a non-inspired statement is an interpretation which can easily be either flat out wrong or so general as to lend itself to incorrect conclusions even if not outright incorrect itself. That's why I've never believed in such things. Teach the Bible. If what you teach is correct, it will be helpful. If people don't understand, respond to their questions until they do. I don't see any other way to do it. A statement of faith or creed really is a declaration of "this far an no farther" in regard to the group that authors it, thereby producing a sclerotic effect in regard to learning and teaching the truth, and institutionalizing errors and misapprehensions for all future generations of that group.

Given what I've seen of Mormon teaching and Mormon apologetics, I find this supposed allegiance to the Bible, even in the severely qualified state you underline so well, to be most amusing. For in fact, they only ever seem to use the Bible as support on the one hand, and have no problem being as liberal as the most liberal exegetes when they are not happy with the plain meaning. In practice, in my experience, they do not in fact attribute any actual authority to the Bible, because their own teachings trump anything in it which might disagree. In this regard they greatly resemble the Roman Catholic church. Not the only similarity, obviously, but interesting that the one group restricts marriage for the clergy (in theory) while the other expands it (in fact).

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24: 

Dear Professor

Thanks for your wonderful Ministry. I certainly gain encouragement from your insightful spiritual perspective.

I would be pleased to meet you anywhere, even in the middle of nowhere. If that doesn’t happen I would love an invite to your place in the New Jerusalem, should our Lord bless me to also be there.

I suspect in the interim if we are around in the dark days ahead, that rather than kicked out of Babylon, you and anyone associated with your ministry, including myself will be on the “hot property short list”. Still as you say our Lord is the one that knows, not us, and He provides for us, whatever our lot is. Before coming upon your Ministry I shifted out of the city believing that amongst the huge disruptions in the city there may be more opportunity to survive out here. However a huge amount of my energy has been expended fighting various battles since arriving here. Now I am surrounded by Freemasons, JWs, Mormons, Atheists etc.

Some of my thought has been that if enough of the key players of these groups become convinced of the truth then it won’t be so bad for me. A bit of wishful thinking really. As you know there is Freemasonry and all flavours of Christian believers here. Yesterday, my Pharisee friend, phoned to say the JWs have been visiting him lately. I sent him some scriptures from your CT 6, Daniel 12:11-12, Isaiah 11:11-12; 27:12-13. Hosea11:10-11; to show that this regathering of Israel is fulfilled AFTER the Tribulation and AFTER the Second Advent. Waiting for his response. He based a lot of his doctrine on the WWCG and sites like The Star of David. I like your explanations from the scriptures- makes perfect sense to me.

I do get somewhat frustrated that there is not more enthusiasm from other Christians to research your site. I am even asking them to check to check if I am being deluded but seems there is not the desire to help me even here. Me: I was deluded for decades by mormonism, can you please read ichthys to see if I am on the right track now. (Your Bible Basics completely knocks mormonism out of the ring!). Him: I will get around to it. To be fair, there is a fair bit of agreement on many things. I am pleasantly surprised that he now asserts that we must follow and believe scripture and not trends. Just a few pet doctrines some people find uncomfortable re-looking at. Hence I have been asking them to look at your Subject Index to research a topic, and to look at your charts for their response. How hard is it for them to just read a bit of it?

I do periodically pepper on a bit and I can see some movement in some.

Enough peppering for now. I do have some questions that I would like to ask you, regarding the abomination that makes desolate, for a future email. Meanwhile I will check if you have already addressed this in your writings and I might have missed it first time around.

One more rattle. Last night I watched “Christians Like Us” on SBS. I know, a bit trashy, but I like to see what reasoning different Christians put up for their beliefs. About 10 different people living in one house for a week in Sydney. Included was an attractive young mormon woman who on the final day got an apology and acceptance of her faith from the woman pastor of a church. She was visibly relieved that the mormon faith was now accepted as Christian! Last days? Definitely!

Thank you for your most enlightening Ministry. I pray for you daily.

Your student

Response #24: 

Yes, the "how to do it", that is, keep separate from the world, is the tricky part. Less exposure would be good. But we do live in the world, and the world is awash with evil. What most of us who have pursued spiritual growth have found is that we are going the opposite direction from the world and thus seem to ourselves to be more alien from it and it from us with every passing day. Your point is a good one because while it is true that we are growing away from it, more and more these days it is growing away from us.

The religion of the beast will be eclectic and inclusive (the "666 ways", all of which only lead to hell); only the strait and narrow way of Jesus Christ will be rejected him and his.

Always enlightened by your emails, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25: 

Dear Professor,

Yes you can post it.

From experience it takes a HUGE effort (and even more grace) seeking for truth to dim the “doctrine of devils” that such cults are so successfully marketing. The recall lingers for years even after a person realises they are false teachings. Marketing!

The Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a powerful marketing machine. Just like people’s favourite commercial brands, it ensures that you believe there is NOWHERE ELSE to go (for eternal life with exaltation in the highest degree of glory- it is ONLY available through them).

Keeping with your observation of similarities with the Catholic Church - I heard it preached by the mormon church, that there ARE ONLY TWO churches that CAN claim authenticity of AUTHORITY. The Catholic Church through Peter OR The Mormon Church through Joseph Smith (by claims that John the Baptist, Peter, James and John had restored the priesthood. (By personal visitation to JS)

Of course there were other claims of Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ in person (various differing accounts ending with the version promoted today). To see the inconsistencies of these accounts, and extensive documented evidence regarding the Mormon Church and their claims, visit utlm.org (Utah Lighthouse Ministry).

As an example, on utlm home page is a quote:

“Come on! Ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet... When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409)
——- Joseph Smith: founder, prophet, seer, and revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The marketing machine of the mormon religion does not promote this on THEIR Home page for obvious reasons! However, it is recorded in their history books. [Perhaps they prefer the milk, or milking, prior - or instead of, the meat! ].

From the the pile of fodder the world spends on marketing, it obviously pays dividends.

As part of marketing, the memorable tune and jingle, lasts way beyond any conscious thinking of the merits of the product. Emotional high is what is experienced. Enter the rousing hymns of the Mormon Church and members are “edified” in their false beliefs.
Keep members busy-give them a job (“calling” from God), right after baptism, to keep them “active” in the church. The mantra of the Fast and Testimony Meeting of “the ONLY true and LIVING church on the face of the earth”, is repeated by countless members, EVERY first Sunday of the month. (These are meetings open to the general public). Colloquially, some of us used to refer to it as “Starve and Tell”; or my pet saying “Fast and Test Your Moanings” (due to some members recounting their woes of the past month - and more).

After discovering the true documented evidence of the mormon church, only a completely brainwashed person could still have any belief in that religion. Again, clever marketing, “friend shipping”, and emotional reinforcement keep many “invested” in this false religion.
Once a member believes there is NO WHERE else to go....

This is strongly reinforced by the false concept they have of “the Church”; thinking it MUST be a formally organised institution with buildings and offices along the lines of “Christ’s Church”.
The Mormon Church claims the SAME organisation as was in Jesus’ original Church - Prophets Seers, Revelators, Apostles, Priest’s etc. The unchangeable gospel. (they probably would not want to highlight the JS claim made above in History of the Church).

A result of having been a member over a fair length of time, is seeing the changes that the Mormon church has made, including, to the temple ordinances. Ordinances that Joseph Smith claimed were by revelation.

I noticed that the penalties for divulging the oaths, tokens and signs of “the priesthood” have been changed from participants physically demonstrating on themselves, by use of their hand, various gruesome ways of taking their own life, to a generic warning, without mentioning any of the above brutal executions. (Not introduced at conference for the common consent of the Church, but told afterwards to temple presidents to implement). Another is that wives no longer have to pledge to obey their husbands. Of course, I was relieved that there was also the change in 1978 allowing black descent men to hold the priesthood, from which they had been barred, as we had been told, as part of the curse on Cain. The Christian Priest, (representing ALL other religions, ALL false), is no longer depicted in the temple ceremony - should allow for smoother relations with other faiths - by changing from the divinely revealed revelations!

Mormon authorities accused the Catholic Church of removing plain and precious truths from the Bible (without any real evidence, it seems, to those claims).

The Mormon Church leaders now change previous “revelation” given to Joseph Smith, of the “unchangeable gospel”. It may appear to some, that their god is finally getting it, getting with it, and “changing with the times”. Nothing quite like appeasing your subjects to garner and keep support.

In my experience in the mormon church, they do not engage in Q & A ( in contrast to yourself), on gospel issues. Why should they? When the “prophet” has spoken, God has spoken. Apparently this applies to the unchangeable gospel, being changeable when it becomes unsaleable in the current age, in its current form.

Events that were painful, and resulted in my leaving the mormon church, I eventually found were instead a great blessing. The realisation that the ONLY “true” church was NOT true, left a great void and struggle for many years. Minus the hordes of Mormons I used to associate with, I found more justice outside than I did inside. At some point I started reading my Bible again, praying and searched many different websites, books (many on the Mormons - to completely DETOX, I needed to read all I could - even after I realised it was a fake religion). There are many books I downloaded on Google Play - they even have some very good, old books, for free.

Professor, your explanation of what is “the Church”, would be a “revelation” in itself to Mormons wanting to escape the clutches of the adversary [BB 6B: Ecclesiology]. Bible reading and your Bible Basics 1 reveals who God is. (And NOT the infinity of gods taught in Mormonism).

There are not a lot of Christians that I completely see things the same as, even now, but I do persevere, using your Bible Teachings as my measure.

Apparently, the son of Billy Graham is in Perth this Saturday night for a one night event. The Baptist pastor had to tell __ that there was no room on the bus for him - everyone seems keen to go to the city for this event. I have been a bit curious- though I never really watched much of his father, the popular evangelist.

I suppose I could just look up a YouTube event. And present my homework assignment this Saturday to my Filipino Bible teacher. (Saves a long trip).

Thank you for your continuing generosity in our Lord.

In Jesus Holy Name.

Your student

Response #25:  

Thanks for this! I'm sure it will be helpful for all ex-LDS folks, and also for anyone who is being bombarded by the salesmanship. One thing that any successful cult has going for it is the siren song of fellowship combined with safety in numbers and organization. It's appealing to most people to be part of a movement, especially something large and well-organized, and most especially if it is sure of itself and its rightness and righteousness. That is heady stuff for most human beings. Explains the success of the Nazis and Communists, e.g. How much more so if it comes directly from God! But anyone who is genuinely looking for the truth will find anything less ultimately unsatisfying even so, and the Lord will use that to free said person . . . as He free you, my friend!

I'm keeping the rest of your family in my prayers in this regard as well.

Having gone to Talbot seminary, the seminary associated with Biola university, spawned of the church that invented "fundamentalism", I've seen far too much hoopla and marketing employed in the Name of Christ to be anything but nauseated by it now. If "famous person" gives the gospel, that's about all we can hope for. The rest of it is all about emotion and experience. Might as well go to a football game (whatever that word means to whomever). Christians, genuine believers, are already saved and do not need to have the gospel presented to them. Nor are they genuinely helped by being bombarded by guilt trips about giving or witnessing or joining or whatever. What believers need is the truth presented in enough depth to grow, to hear it and accept it, to act on it, and to help others do likewise. Everything else is mere noise, at best.

I appreciate you in the Lord, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26: 

Thank you Bob for your wonderful reply. It really helped me.

I loved your comment about how we will be the first to embrace them if their change of heart is truly real and legitimate. I was just thinking about my family last week and that same thought came through my head. In my mind I was thinking if they ever changed I would surely feel it and know it's legitimate as I have experienced the worst from them and have been exposed to every lie imaginable. One thing I have learned is it seems as evil can't hide itself forever; it always exposes itself sooner or later, sometimes in its own arrogance and pride.

My feeling is I just need to pray for my family. How horrible it has to be to feel such unhappiness, hate, and what a dark place to be living in. I don't understand why they choose to stay in that place and don't try to find Jesus Christ. ___'s son is the one on a Mormon mission in Mexico. He sends emails out every few weeks. I'm on his email list. I wanted to cry when I read his last email. How he is being taught the lie and now teaching the lie. Sometimes I want to email him right back to help him but I know if I do I'll probably get disconnected from the email list as I believe they monitor his emails to make sure know one is interrupting his mission call. (a wonderful cult tactic).

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I pray for him every day; it makes my heart break. I just wish he would just read the Bible and put aside the Book of Mormon. The missionaries carry both around but never open the Bible; they just use it as an alibi to promote the Book of Mormon. I have a feeling when he gets back he will be knocking on my door all pumped up to convert us back in. He will be surprised to know that we will be jumping with joy to show him about the Bible.

Have a wonderful day Bob, thank you for your time.

Response #26: 

You have great spiritual courage, my friend, and it is inspirational to me.

His comment, about remembering "the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for each and every one of us" does make me wonder if there isn't a struggle going on inside of him. I know from my personal research as well as from correspondence with other ex-Mormons (such as my friend in Australia) that doctrinally the church has a low regard for our Lord and doesn't really understand His sacrifice at all. But when I read this, I'm reminded that people in organizations often don't accept the party-line. I'll say a prayer for him. If his heart is willing, the Lord will find a path for him to get out. Sometimes it takes being confronted forcibly with the things you know are wrong to force such a decision.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:  

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Response #27:  

Yes, the Mormons are certainly not unique in substituting "feeling" for truth. The truth is very emotional, but in a controlled and rational way (cf. 1Cor.14:32). As I often say, true, biblical Christianity is "going with what you know (of the truth by faith)" rather than "reeling with what you feel (which often has nothing to do with either truth or faith)". Emotional excess has always been appealing. This is how crowds get worked up, whether for the Nazis or the Communists or a lynching mob or a Charismatic church service or whatever. But just because everyone is crying or hooting or hollering does not make what they are supporting or advocating right or true – in fact it's usually just the opposite. So your spiritual instincts were right back then as a young person and they're right today as well. Because guilt is another one of those emotions that the devil and his pawns use to great effect to get good believers to do things they otherwise would never even consider. But the deeper into the truth we grow, the more self-assured we are about why we think as we do; and the less apt we are to be led by others to second-guess ourselves about our good applications of the truth.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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