Sunday, August 9, 2009

Twisting Scripture

It's not only cults that take verses from the Bible and twist them, or take them out of context, to try to prove their false doctrine, but some Christians do this as well---especially many televangelists and some popular Christian book authors.

Some televangelists, and even Pastors, are fond of doing "word studies." Now, Lexicons (i.e., a Greek Lexicon) are great for Bible study when used properly (note: the 'lexicon' of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions). But to the uneducated, they can quickly make some word or passage in the Bible say nearly anything you want, if you don’t use the proper procedures. Often, a televangelist or preacher will have a point to make, so, using a Lexicon, they look at every possible or conceivable angle, until they find something close, and then they twist it around to make their point. Using a Lexicon like that is very dangerous and completely irresponsible. Context is the key. Taking verses out of context, and comparing them to other verses out of context, is not only how cults and some Christians find their so-called 'proof texts' for their false doctrines, but it's also the method some non-Christians, seeking to discredit the Bible, use to try to show that the Bible contradicts itself. In addition, people will sometimes quote a Bible verse out of context in order to justify their argument. In such a case, when the verse is checked in context, you will find it does not support their claim. Such "reading into the text" (i.e., trying to make the text mean something it was never meant to mean) is called eisegesis. Cults are masters at eisegesis, but it’s also a danger for Christians. Christians who support the Gap Theory, for example, are reading into the text things that the text never says.

While a particular passage may have many applications, it has only one meaning - the one the author (through inspiration of the Holy Spirit) intended. Hermeneutics is the science that teaches the principles and methods of interpreting the Word of God. Proper hermeneutics provide tools to help ensure that we are basing our interpretations on the truth as God has revealed it, while avoiding error to the greatest degree possible.

The Error of Taking Verses Out of Context


The Error of Selective Citing of Bible Verses

34 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Jeff,

I talked a bit about using word meaning to come to conclusions that may not be so in my recent Posts. I hope I don't become guilty of doing these things myself. It is also always my fear I will take something out of contex or apply the same meaning. i constantly pray for wisdom and that I say what is in the will of God.

I do think that many passages have more than one meaning. I find Scripture remarkable in it's depth. Many of the prophsies have double meaning, some for an immediate future, some for a distant future; some about Isreal and yet also about the Messiah; etc. Perhaps that is what you mean by applications.

Now, although I believe some passages can have multiple meanings, those meanings must be in agreement with each other, that is, they can not contradict each other or contradict the full contex of Scripture as a whole.

You find many of the lessons and parables of Christ that have multiple meanings. They can have meanings pertinant to life events of his time, yet also have meaning to the spiritual and to the relationships of God and man.

But again, all must be in contex to the full cloth, not patches that can be taken off and used to creat a full view of the balnket truth.

Larry E.

Jeff said...

Larry,

Thanks for your comment.

Obviously a parable or an allegory (such as Spenser's "Fairie Queen" or John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress") is a story with two meanings---a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning. But even with a parable or allegory, the author is trying to get a specific meaning across.

And you might say that biblical prophecies can have an “immediate application” or “partial fulfillment,” and then a more “remote fulfillment.” For example, David declared: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9). During the last supper, Christ quoted from this passage as follows: “He that eateth my bread lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18), applying it to the treachery of Judas and declaring that such fulfilled the statement in David’s psalm. Of course, Jesus omitted “whom I trusted” from the original source since Jesus knew from the beginning who would betray Him (John 6:64). So Psalm 41:9 had an immediate application to one of David’s enemies, but the remote and complete “fulfillment” came in Judas’ betrayal of the Son of God.

So a prophecy may have multiple applications.

Also, the Old Testament contains numerous examples of a device called a “type,” or a "pictorial prophecy.” For example, Melchizedek, who was both king of Salem and a priest of God, prophetically symbolized the Son of God who rules as our King and serves as our high priest (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:5-10; 6:20; 7:1-17). Jonah’s three-day confinement in the belly of the great fish was a pictorial prediction of Christ’s three-day entombment (Matthew 12:40), and His resurrection from the dead. Typology is an important form of prophecy.

But my point was not whether a prophecy or parable can have more than one application, but rather, when one is interpreting Scripture, don't take one verse and make a doctrine out of that single verse. And don't start with an idea and try to find verses out of context that, on the surface, seem to back up your idea. Never read just a single Bible verse. Read the paragraph and even the chapter or chapters that surround it. Take it in context. The context frames the verse and gives it specific meaning. The numbers in front of the verses give the illusion the verses stand alone in their meaning, but they don't. Those numbers were not in the original. Even chapter breaks sometimes separate relevant material that should be grouped together. Words have different meanings in different contexts.

So again, my main point was to consider the entire context surrounding the verse, because the failure to understand the author's original intention has led to many false doctrines.

Greg said...

Hi, Jeff. You make some good points. We touched on this issue in a recent Bible study meeting. In that case, the point of even applying scripture to situations for which it was not intended was also frowned upon. I like the idea of different applications of the Word, because it is the Living Word. So even though there was no internet, movies, or cloning back then does not mean that the Bible has nothing to say about moral issues of our day.

One negative comment I have about the first video is that the speaker puts preachers on way too high a pedestal. He says that they're the messengers of God, preaching essentially in His voice. I think that many people view preachers and other people in authority that way. But Jesus said that we are NOT to have a hierarchy of authority, that we are all brothers and sisters. I think the REAL problem is that too few churchgoers actually dilligently study the Word of God. They allow themselves to be spoonfed by their pastors and are much more easily influenced by misleading or wrong doctrine. I think this is how groups like the LDS and Jehovah's Witnesses grow so quickly.

I LOVED the excerpt by Spurgeon, in the second video. He hit the nail right on the head and clear through to the other side of the wood!

satire and theology said...

'It's not only cults that take verses from the Bible and twist them, or take them out of context, to try to prove their false doctrine, but some Christians do this as well---especially many televangelists and some popular Christian book authors.'

Some people do this for their own benefit.

2 Peter 3:16 (New American Standard Bible)

16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of (A)these things, (B)in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and (C)unstable distort, as they do also (D)the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

satire and theology said...

'Some televangelists, and even Pastors, are fond of doing "word studies." Now, Lexicons (i.e., a Greek Lexicon) are great for Bible study when used properly (note: the 'lexicon' of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions). But to the uneducated, they can quickly make some word or passage in the Bible say nearly anything you want, if you don’t use the proper procedures. Often, a televangelist or preacher will have a point to make, so, using a Lexicon, they look at every possible or conceivable angle, until they find something close, and then they twist it around to make their point.'

Good point.

thekingpin68 said...

'Cults are masters at eisegesis, but it’s also a danger for Christians.'

Good point.

'Christians who support the Gap Theory, for example, are reading into the text things that the text never says'

The gap theory is a very speculative theory, but the age of the earth is unknown via Genesis which is an accurate religious history and not a science text. Great humility should be taken by young and old earth Christians. Certain old and young earth creationists can be guilty of reading into Scripture. For example, I have run into scientists or those influenced by science that want to make the Scripture work with present evolutionary theory. I have also come across believers who are far too dogmatic on a young earth stance without a proper education on Genesis and the use of language within the text that is not necessarily always plain literal but can be figurative literal and poetry.

However, there are far worse examples of reading concepts into Scripture since the age of the earth and universe and related issues is a secondary issue where friendly discussion should be encouraged. The far worse examples would be reading a works righteousness into Scripture and altering the nature of God and salvation.

Jeff said...

Greg,

You make some good points.

Thanks!

We touched on this issue in a recent Bible study meeting. In that case, the point of even applying scripture to situations for which it was not intended was also frowned upon.

Cool.

One negative comment I have about the first video is that the speaker puts preachers on way too high a pedestal. He says that they're the messengers of God, preaching essentially in His voice.

Pastors are to preach God's Word. They are to guide – direct, model, equip, and keep the flock. And they are to guard from false teachers and false teaching.

In addition, the Bible does give specific responsibilities to Pastors/Shepherds/Elders/Overseers. For example:

"holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." (Titus 1:9)

"The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching." (1 Timothy 5:17)

"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you." (Hebrews 13:17)

"shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness." (1 Peter 5:2)

I think the REAL problem is that too few churchgoers actually dilligently study the Word of God. They allow themselves to be spoonfed by their pastors and are much more easily influenced by misleading or wrong doctrine. I think this is how groups like the LDS and Jehovah's Witnesses grow so quickly.

Agreed. Few today are like the Bereans in Scripture, who examined Paul’s claims to see if they were true. "They searched the scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11), to prove for themselves the truth of his arguments. They did not just cling blindly to their traditions. They tested the truth of Paul’s message by comparing it against Scripture.

Unfortunately, tonight at church, my Pastor shocked me regarding John 19:30 ("When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost"). Focusing on the phrase "bowed his head," he said that bowing your head means worshiping; therefore this meant that Jesus, after doing the will of the Father during His entire time on earth, finally, at the cross, was able to worship the Father. I thought of the term 'eisegesis' and recognized that he was reading into the text things that were never meant.

I think is a very serious issue. To say that Jesus worshiped the Father is to imply that Jesus was created, because only creatures (men and angels) worship God. And for God to worship Himself makes no sense. To make it worse, he said that, when he discovered this idea, he got goose bumps and began shouting and praising God. He kept going on and on about his discovery that Jesus worshiped the Father. And even worse, the service will be broadcast throughout this city and surrounding cities, as well as one or two other states, via TV. Saying that Jesus worshiped the Father is tantamount to saying what the Jehovah's Witnesses believe---namely, that Jesus is a created being; that he is a lesser god than God the Father. I need to do some serious praying about whether I should continue attending this church, and whether or not I should attempt to address this issue with my Pastor. He is the type that does not seem to like to discuss things, but only to preach in front of a congregation. And he has made 2 or 3 false statements before, but they were minor. This one, however, I do not consider minor.

I LOVED the excerpt by Spurgeon, in the second video. He hit the nail right on the head and clear through to the other side of the wood!

LOL, yes he did!

Jeff said...

Satire and Theology,

Some people do this for their own benefit.

2 Peter 3:16 (New American Standard Bible)

16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of (A)these things, (B)in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and (C)unstable distort, as they do also (D)the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.


Good point. Thanks, Russ.

Jeff said...

thekingpin68,

Certain old and young earth creationists can be guilty of reading into Scripture. For example, I have run into scientists or those influenced by science that want to make the Scripture work with present evolutionary theory. I have also come across believers who are far too dogmatic on a young earth stance without a proper education on Genesis and the use of language within the text that is not necessarily always plain literal but can be figurative literal and poetry.

Well, I believe the universe was created in a literal 6 days, and the more I study Scripture, including other passages outside of Genesis, and even extra-biblical accounts, the more confidence I have that this is true. But you and I have discussed this before. We may not see exactly eye-to-eye on this, but we do not differ a great deal, I don't think. I suspect the main area where we differ is that I am more dogmatic about it than you are.

However, there are far worse examples of reading concepts into Scripture since the age of the earth and universe and related issues is a secondary issue where friendly discussion should be encouraged. The far worse examples would be reading a works righteousness into Scripture and altering the nature of God and salvation.

Agreed.

Jeff said...

BTW, I believe that the Gap Theory, along with Theistic Evolution/Long-Day Creation, expresses a desire to provide for the lengthy time periods, or “ages,” required for evolutionary concepts and to harmonize these ages with the Biblical record of creation. I believe that this is allowing secular theory to dictate the meaning of many important verses and passages of Scripture.

For anyone reading this who may not be aware of the "Gap Theory," or "ruin-reconstruction theory" as it is sometimes called, it claims that there were millions (billions?) of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, encompassing the so-called “geologic ages.” Proponents of the Gap Theory also claim that a cataclysmic judgment occurred upon the earth during this period as the result of the fall of Lucifer (Satan) and that the rest of the verses in Genesis chapter 1 describe a re-creation or reforming of the earth from a chaotic state and not an initial creative act on the part of God.

I've read that the Gap Theory can be traced back to the early 19th century when the new discipline of geology was breaking upon the scientific scene. Theologians were in no intellectual position to argue, from a scientific basis, the claims of the geologists that the processes responsible for the formation of the surface features of the earth were occurring at almost imperceptibly slow rates as they had always done in the past (the principle of uniformity). Rather than accept the accusation that the biblical record was no longer valid in the light of “scientific” claims, they chose to accommodate the scriptural interpretation to these new geological theories. A place had to be found for the vast ages of the past, well beyond the accounts of the first man and his environment as recorded in the Bible, and the most accommodating place was between the two aforementioned verses of Genesis. I call this a compromise---allowing current Science theory to dictate how Scripture is to be interpreted. And, BTW, it should be noted that scientific theories are constantly changing.

It should also be noted that the Gap Theory was not developed in an effort to solve apparent problems with the text. It was not difficulties with the fall of Satan or the condition of the earth during the six days that spawned the theory. It was, and is, an effort to solve the problem of time. The time of the earth’s formation, according to current scientific theory (which is determined in part by carbon-14 dating/radiocarbon dating, an imprecise dating method in many cases, due to faulty assumptions and other limitations), is extremely long and drawn-out, while the Biblical record describes a relatively recent, rapid formation. There were, and still are, those who are quite unwilling to make a decisive choice between these two accounts, and thus the Gap Theory.

Greg said...

I hope there were many others in the congregation who realized that the idea of Jesus worshipping the Father is a false teaching. He did pray on several occasions, but I think it was mostly as an example to us.

I would pray about it a lot. If your pastor sees himself as an example to the flock, instead of lord over it (1 Peter 5:3), then he will take the correction well. Maybe approach one of the elders first (or whoever you might think might have some weight with him).

I have a little experience with this sort of thing, and I'm afraid the pastor's reaction compounded to the reasons that pushed us to eventually leave. He did apologize years later, but the damage was done.

Jeff said...

Greg,

I hope there were many others in the congregation who realized that the idea of Jesus worshipping the Father is a false teaching.

There were a number of "Amens" and "Praise the Lord" in the congregation while the Pastor was saying that Jesus worshiped the Father, which shocked me as well, and I fear there may not be much discernment among the members.

He did pray on several occasions, but I think it was mostly as an example to us.

Yes, while on Earth, Jesus was voluntarily subservient to the Father. And, as you said, this was to serve as an example to us. Also, the Son glorifies the Father as the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son. The 3 Persons of the Trinity are different in role, but they are co-equal in nature.

In a very limited fashion, this might be compared to God's ideal for a husband and wife: though a husband and wife are equal in nature, they are to serve different roles. Though the husband is not greater than the wife, the man, biblically, is to serve as the spiritual head. This does not mean that the wife worships the husband. Rather, the wife is to be a helpmeet to him. Ideally, their differences should serve as two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that fit together to make a complete whole. There are a great number of differences between men and women besides the obvious physical differences [including skeletal differences, areas of the brain used most often, ways of thinking, etc.], and these are intentionally designed by God so that a husband and wife can truly assist one another and both have important roles as partners in a marriage; the husband has certain God-given abilities, and the wife has certain God-given abilities---despite what our society, and its resulted affects from the feminist movement over the years, would have you believe.

But to say that Jesus worships the Father is basically to agree with the Jehovah's Witnesses: that Jesus is a lesser God than Jehovah, and that Jesus is a created being.

I would pray about it a lot.

Yes, I think I definitely need to do that.

If your pastor sees himself as an example to the flock, instead of lord over it (1 Peter 5:3), then he will take the correction well.

Well, another thing that my Pastor said, a few weeks ago, which I disagreed with (though I consider this very minor compared to saying that Jesus worshiped the Father) is that he, the Pastor, is the boss, and we are his employees, and we must obey him. If anything, I would consider the congregation the employer and the Pastor as the employee, since the congregation is the one who pays his salary. But in any case, though I have only been attending that church a few months, it seems that the Pastor is not open for discussing things much. There are no Bible studies at that church led by members of the congregation. There is no open discussion of doctrine or passages. Even Sunday School is taught by the Pastor, with no open discussion.

Maybe approach one of the elders first (or whoever you might think might have some weight with him).

That might be a good idea.

I have a little experience with this sort of thing, and I'm afraid the pastor's reaction compounded to the reasons that pushed us to eventually leave. He did apologize years later, but the damage was done.

Yes, I've left two churches so far, both ending badly, which had to do with their personally and directly trying to force me to comply with and submit to teachings which I saw as false doctrines or misinterpreting Scripture. In both cases, the churches split within a year or so after I left.

I've made friends at this church, so I would hate to leave, and it is not easy to find a new church. But I am not going to support a church if it continues to teach false doctrine.

Thanks very much for your helpful advice, Greg. Much appreciated.

satire and theology said...

'Well, I believe the universe was created in a literal 6 days, and the more I study Scripture, including other passages outside of Genesis, and even extra-biblical accounts, the more confidence I have that this is true. But you and I have discussed this before. We may not see exactly eye-to-eye on this, but we do not differ a great deal, I don't think. I suspect the main area where we differ is that I am more dogmatic about it than you are.'

My hesitancy on this point is that most in Biblical scholarship seemingly overwhelmingly do not support it, and as well many Christians in the scientific community in large part do not support it, even Christian scientists like Hugh Ross that are not Darwinian evolutionists. However, Jeff I am open to it and also the idea that the universe was made to look old. I went to a young earth meeting once and receive literature/emails at times.

I can respect the fact that at least you have not simply in ignorance with a strictly fundamentalistic perspective read the Bible plain literally from an American English Bible view (minus context, background studies, commentaries, Hebrew studies) and come up with the conclusions. This is a major blunder of many. You have read scientists, even as a minority, that hold to young earth theory.

I still advise you to stay open-minded it light of the writings of the likely godly Christian Old Testament scholars and others who state that there is figurative literal language in Genesis and claim that we must be cautious concerning the age of the universe and the earth and related issues. I reason that even if there is a young/younger than commonly held universe/earth there is most likely some figurative literal language is Genesis. That is my main point with this issue and not the age of the universe/earth.

We cannot simply write-off all scholarship that is not strongly plain literal on this as deceived corrupted sell outs or whatever in a negative fashion and I respect the fact that you acknowledge that in my studies I have come across conservative and likely godly scholars who believe the gospel and are cautious concerning the age issue.

For me, I acknowledge where scholarship is at and reason I need to keep learning.

Greg said...

Well, another thing that my Pastor said, a few weeks ago, which I disagreed with (though I consider this very minor compared to saying that Jesus worshiped the Father) is that he, the Pastor, is the boss, and we are his employees, and we must obey him.

Yeah, I would have left right there. It's no small thing for a pastor to place himself between the flock and the Savior. I'm surprised he was forward enough to actually say it.

...it seems that the Pastor is not open for discussing things much. There are no Bible studies at that church led by members of the congregation. There is no open discussion of doctrine or passages. Even Sunday School is taught by the Pastor, with no open discussion.

It sounds almost like what our old church was like. We did have some good discussions, but the pastor and his wife (my in-laws, actually) were so set in their beliefs that they were not into entertaining any opposing views and sometimes brought the hammer down on attendees who disagreed with them.

Honestly, I think it's a HUGE job trying to manage a congregation; that's why we need to let Jesus be the one to do it. :)

I am not going to support a church if it continues to teach false doctrine.

That was the main reason we left. We realized that we were going to a church that we did not feel comfortable supporting or even inviting anyone else to.

I'm not saying you should leave. I can't make that decision for you, because God may have something different planned.

I really need to do a post on my experience and thoughts regarding what "church" should be.

Praying for you.... :)

Greg said...

All right. I've avoided the old vs new earth debate, but I thought I'd make a SHORT comment about the topic.

I can totally see both sides, and while I lean toward old earth, I don't really think the debate affects the Gospel or our salvation. But what's interesting is that my wife recently received a few issues of Answers Magazine, which presents a lot of articles in support of a young earth and 6 literal days of creation. I was surprised at some of the arguments they make, which I think are due to too much reading between the lines of Scripture. My wife and I have had several heated discussions about it, but she interprets my criticism of the METHODOLOGY that the magazine employs as a bad attitude toward ANY arguments supporting a young earth.

One thing we discussed during our family worship yesterday is the idea that God only revealed the spiritual and moral laws of our existence (which cannot be discovered through empirical means) and let us (for the most part) figure out the physical laws. But, as George Washington Carver testified, God does reveal certain physical things, if we ask Him. I'll have to do a post on him soon.

Did I say this was going to be short????

Jeff said...

satire and theology,

You have read scientists, even as a minority, that hold to young earth theory.

Yes. I have debated Darwinian Evolutionists (most of whom were Atheists) online many times in the past. I used to receive "Impact: Vital articles on Science/Creation" from the Institute for Creation Research on a regular basis. I own "The Fingerprint of God" by Hugh Ross; Darwinism Under The Microscope" by James P. Gills, M.D. and Tom Woodward, Ph.D.; "The Collapse of Evolution" by Scott M. Huse; "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael J. Behe; "The Facts on Creation Vs. Evolution" by John Ankerberg and John Weldon; "Evolution: The Fossils Say NO!" by Duane T. Gish, Ph.D.; and also "Genesis" by Howard F. Vos. And, though I am not as fond as I used to be of debating the issue, I continue to study on this subject.

Thanks, Russ.

Jeff said...

Greg,

Yeah, I would have left right there. It's no small thing for a pastor to place himself between the flock and the Savior. I'm surprised he was forward enough to actually say it.

Hmmm, you may have a good point there, Greg. Thank you for that.

Honestly, I think it's a HUGE job trying to manage a congregation; that's why we need to let Jesus be the one to do it. :)

Amen!


That was the main reason we left. We realized that we were going to a church that we did not feel comfortable supporting or even inviting anyone else to.


Yes, that's an important point as well. If I led someone to Christ, for example, I would not want to be attending a church that I would feel very uncomfortable inviting them to.

I'm not saying you should leave. I can't make that decision for you, because God may have something different planned.

Very wise point.

I really need to do a post on my experience and thoughts regarding what "church" should be.

Sounds like a good idea.

Praying for you.... :)

Thank you very much, Greg! Much appreciated!

Jeff said...

Greg,

but she interprets my criticism of the METHODOLOGY that the magazine employs as a bad attitude toward ANY arguments supporting a young earth.

I agree that the methodology is important.

But, as George Washington Carver testified, God does reveal certain physical things, if we ask Him.

Romans states that there is evidence for God's existence in creation, which leaves Atheists and Agnostics with no excuse.

and let us (for the most part) figure out the physical laws.

Though this may not be what you're referring to, this does remind me that God did give the Israelites commands regarding health issues in Leviticus, for example, such as the law of Quarantine, which man did not discover until the 1800's; the dangers of mold and mildew, which have only been discovered in my lifetime; disease and sicknesses and health issues caused by eating certain things, such as rabbits carrying tularemia, pork being higher in fat than beef and the danger of causing trichinosis [before there was refrigeration and modern food preparation techniques], pigs being host to various parasites, eels containing more parasites than fish with scales, shellfish causing food poisoning, allergies, and enteritis, vermin and predatory birds being likely disease carriers, etc.

So, those kosher laws were like an ancient version of our Food and Drug Administration, protecting public health by preventing the consumption of unhealthy foods (though the purpose was also to maintain spiritual purity, as well). In other words, though God did not explain about microscopic germs, bacteria, etc. to the Israelites, He did tell them how to prevent problems from them.

Did I say this was going to be short????

Yes, indeed you did. :)

Anonymous said...

Actually, their is an IMMENSE amount of data, evidence, and proof within the canon and without that supports The Gap Theory. I would say that it is no longer a theory but fact. I suggest research before wild assumptions.

Jeff said...

OK, I just e-mailed my Pastor through the church website. Here is what I said:

I'm not sure whether e-mailing like this is the proper method of communication I should be using, regarding the issue I want to address. But if I try to rely on face-to-face communication, I fear I may not get a clear opportunity to address this, or else, even if I do, I might not be able to explain myself very well, since my written communication is far better than my verbal communication.

First, I loudly applaud and very strongly agree with your stance on Obama and our current government. Especially when a number of Christians voted for Obama, I find it very refreshing to see that not everyone is being deceived about this.

Second, regarding Sunday night's message on The Eight Major Events of the Cross, the things that were said about the Jewish High Priest murdering our perfect High Priest were excellent points, as was the idea of our great High Priest actually becoming the final sacrifice for us. Excellent. What was said about hyssop was also excellent, and I appreciated that.

However, I have a HUGE and very serious problem with what was said about Jesus bowing His head in John 19:30.

Before I mention that specific point, however, let me just say a few things about the verse. I have heard that the original word used in the phrase "It is finished" is a commercial word that means a transaction is completed. Jesus died as a victor and completed what He came to do. His sufferings were now finished, both those of his soul, and those of his body. And the fact that it says He gave up his spirit (or "the ghost") may suggest an act of will. Jesus willingly gave up His life on the cross---no man took it from Him. OK, so far, so good. Now let's look at the other gospels. Luke 23:46 says, "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." Mark 15:37 says, "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost." Matthew 27:50 says, "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost." All of these are basically pointing out the simple fact that Jesus then died.

Note that none of the other references mention Jesus bowing His head.

I firmly believe that claiming "bowed his head" means that Jesus worshiped the Father is committing eisegesis, or reading something into the text that was never meant. "Bowed his head" simply means that He died.

The 3 Persons of the Trinity are different in role, just as a husband and wife are different in role. The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son, and the Son glorifies the Father. But "glorifies" does not mean worship. Jesus was voluntarily submissive to the Father while He was on earth, in part to be an example to us. But being submissive does not mean worship. Similarly, the wife is to be submissive to the husband, as the husband is to be the spiritual head, as Christ is head of the Church. That doesn't mean the wife worships the husband. And neither does that mean the wife is any less in nature than the husband is, and neither does Jesus' voluntary submission to the Father while on earth mean that Jesus is any less in nature than the Father is. The 3 Persons of the Trinity are co-equal in nature.

Creatures, including men and angels, worship their Creator, Who is God. And the idea of God worshiping Himself would make no sense.

When someone worships whatever they believe to be a deity (whether a false god like Baal, or the one true God), they worship someone or something that they believe is greater, higher and more powerful than them. To say that Jesus worshiped the Father is to agree with the Jehovah's Witnesses that Jesus is a created being who is a lesser god than Jehovah God. This is false doctrine. This remains a huge problem for me, because I cannot support false doctrine.

Jeff said...

Anonymous,

I would say that it is no longer a theory but fact.

There are no facts regarding the Gap Theory. It is pure speculation.

I suggest research before wild assumptions.

IMO, the Gap Theory is a wild assumption.

Jeff said...

Where is the factual proof for 2 cataclysmic worldwide floods? The Gap Theory claims that there was a Satanic Flood before the Flood involving Noah.

Where is the factual proof that the world was created, destroyed, and then created again? This is what the Gap Theory claims.

All of this is pure speculation.

Jeff said...

From CARM:

"The gap theory postulates that between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2 there was an entirely different creation which, some claim, was wiped out by a "Satan's Flood," and after which the earth was re-formed and the six days of Genesis creation commenced. The gap is said to have involved great eons of time. This gap theory was formed in response to the uniformitarian idea of long ages first applied by geologists in the nineteenth century. The gap theory is contradicted by the Bible itself on a number of counts.

1. Genesis 1:2 gives us a list of three qualities: the earth was formless and empty; darkness covered it; and the Holy Spirit was hovering, or vibrating (same word in the Hebrew) over the waters. No Hebrew historical narrative starts with a list of qualities. The explanation ALWAYS follows the general statement of where the history starts or is headed. Thus, Genesis 1:2 would be rightly seen as an explanation of the earliest moments following the creation of the time/space/mass continuum in Genesis 1:1.

2. 2 Pet. 3:5 states clearly that the earth was formed out of water and by water. No reference is made to land preceding that, which is what the gap theory proposes.

3. Ezekiel 28:12-17 is generally considered a "double" passage, containing a parenthetic pertaining to Satan as well as an address to the king of Tyre. In it, the being referred to was in Eden as a blameless guardian cherub. If you cross reference this passage to the passage that is clearly regarding Satan in Isaiah 14:12-15, you will see a parallel structure which really cannot be denied. There are a series of "I will's" in Isaiah, answered by the corresponding actions of the Lord in return in Ezekiel. This being the case, Satan, or Lucifer as he was originally, could not have been in rebellion before Eden was formed and therefore there was no "Satan's Flood' which could have destroyed a world he had corrupted in some sort of gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

4. In the Fourth Commandment, Exodus 20:11, it is clearly stated that the heavens, the earth, the seas, and all that is in them were created in six days.

So the gap theory does not hold where the rest of the Bible is concerned. Geologically and archaeologically this would not be valid, either, for the world destroyed in the "Satan's Flood" would NOT be the fossilized world the gap theorists often postulate. The fossil strata we know would have been utterly destroyed by NOAH's flood had they been from an earlier time.

by Helen Fryman"

Jeff said...

From ApologeticsPress.Org:

1. The Gap Theory is false because of the mental gymnastics necessary to force its strained argumentation to agree with the actual biblical text.

Bernard Ramm, a progressive creationist, has admitted as much:

It gives one of the grandest passages in the Bible a most peculiar interpretation. From the earliest Bible interpretation this passage has been interpreted by Jews, Catholics, and Protestants as the original creation of the universe. In six majestic days the universe and all of life is brought into being. But according to Rimmer’s view the great first chapter of Genesis, save for the first verse, is not about original creation at all, but about reconstruction. The primary origin of the universe is stated in but one verse. This is not the most telling blow against the theory but it certainly indicates that something has been lost to make the six days of creation anti-climactic. So entrenched has this theory become in hyper-orthodox circles that they feel as if the foundations are removed if this theory is criticized, whereas the majority of commentators feel that the entire theory has a peculiarity to it in that it makes the great creation chapter the second time round! (1954, p. 138, emp. in orig.).

Jeff said...

(cont.)

2. The Gap Theory is false because it is based on an incorrect distinction between God’s creating (bara) and making (asah).

According to the standard rendition of the Gap Theory, the word bara must refer to “creating” (i.e., an “original” creation), while asah can refer only to “making” (i.e., not an original creation, but something either “made over” or made from preexisting materials). A survey of these two words in the Old Testament, however, clearly indicates that they are used interchangeably. Morris has observed:

The Hebrew words for “create” (bara) and for “make” (asah) are very often used quite interchangeably in Scripture, at least when God is the one referred to as creating or making. Therefore, the fact that bara is used only three times in Genesis 1 (vv. 1, 21, and 27) certainly does not imply that the other creative acts, in which “made” or some similar expression is used, were really only acts of restoration. For example, in Genesis 1:21, God “created” the fishes and birds; in 1:25, He “made” the animals and creeping things. In verse 26, God speaks of “making” man in His own image. The next verse states that God “created” man in His own image. No scientific or exegetical ground exists for distinction between the two processes, except perhaps a matter of grammatical emphasis... (1966, p. 32).

The insistence by Gap theorists, and those sympathetic with them, that the word bara always must mean “to create something from nothing,” simply is incorrect. In his commentary, The Pentateuch, Old Testament scholar C.F. Keil concluded that when bara appears in its basic form, as it does in Genesis 1,

...it always means to create, and is only applied to a divine creation, the production of that which had no existence before. It is never joined with an accusative of the material, although it does not exclude a pre-existent material unconditionally, but is used for the creation of man (ver. 27, ch. v. 1,2), and of everything new that God creates, whether in the kingdom of nature (Num. xvi.30) or of that of grace (Ex. xxxiv.10; Ps. li.10, etc.) (1980, 1:47, first emp. in orig.; last emp. added).

There are numerous examples where bara and asah are used interchangeably. In Psalm 148:1-5, the writer spoke of the “creation” (bara) of the angels. Yet when Nehemiah addressed the creation of angels (9:6), he employed the word asah to describe it. In Genesis 1:1, the text speaks of God “creating” (bara) the Earth. But when Nehemiah spoke of that same event (9:6), he employed the word asah. When Moses wrote of man’s “creation,” he used bara (Genesis 1:27). But one verse before that (1:26), he spoke of the “making” (asah) of man. Moses also employed the two words in the same verse when he said: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created [bara], in the day that Jehovah made [asah] earth and heaven” (Genesis 2:4).

Gap theorists teach that the Earth was created (bara) from nothing in Genesis 1:1. However, Moses stated in Genesis 2:4 that the Earth was made (asah). Gap theorists are on record as advocating the view that asah can refer only to that which is made from something already in existence. Do they believe that when Moses spoke of the Earth being “made,” it was formed from something already in existence?

Jeff said...

(cont.)

One verse with which proponents of the Gap Theory have never dealt adequately is Nehemiah 9:6.

Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou hast made [asah] heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are thereon, the seas, and all that is in them, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

The following quotation from Fields explains why this verse is so extremely critical in a refutation of the Gap Theory.

While the passages in Genesis cited by one of the lexicons...mention only the making of the firmament, sun, moon, stars, and animals, it must be carefully marked by the reader that in Nehemiah 9:6 the objects of God’s making (asa) include the heavens, the host of heavens, and the earth, and everything contained in and on it, and the seas and everything they contain, as well as the hosts of heaven (probably angels).

Now this is a very singular circumstance, for those who argue for the distinctive usage of asa throughout Scripture must, in order to maintain any semblance of consistency, never admit that the same creative acts can be referred to by both the verb bara and the verb asa. Thus, since Genesis 1:1 says that God created (bara) the heavens and the earth, and Exodus 20:11 and Nehemiah 9:6 contend that he made (asa) them, there must be two distinct events in view here....

So that, while asa is quite happily applied to the firmament, sun, moon, stars, and the beasts, its further application to everything else contained in the universe, and, indeed, the universe itself (which the language in both Exodus 20:11 and Nehemiah 9:6 is intended to convey) creates a monstrosity of interpretation which should serve as a reminder to those who try to fit Hebrew words into English molds, that to strait-jacket these words is to destroy the possibility of coherent interpretation completely! (1976, pp. 61-62, emp. in orig.).

Jeff said...

(cont.)

3. The Gap Theory is false because, in the context of Genesis 1:2, there is no justification for translating the verb “was” (hayetha) as “became.”

Gap theorists insist that the Earth became “waste and void” after Satan’s rebellion. Yet usage of the verb hayah argues against the translation, “The earth became waste and void” (Genesis 1:2). Ramm has noted:

The effort to make was mean became is just as abortive. The Hebrews did not have a word for became but the verb to be did service for to be and become. The form of the verb was in Genesis 1:2 is the Qal, perfect, third person singular, feminine. A Hebrew concordance will give all the occurrences of that form of the verb. A check in the concordance with reference to the usage of this form of the verb in Genesis reveals that in almost every case the meaning of the verb is simply was. Granted in a case or two was means became but if in the preponderance of instances the word is translated was, any effort to make one instance mean became, especially if that instance is highly debatable, is very insecure exegesis (1954, p. 139, emp. in orig.).

The verb hayetha of Genesis 1:2 is translated “was” in all the standard translations because that is its meaning. Surely it is significant that none of the Old Testament linguists felt compelled to translate hayetha to suggest that the Earth became waste and void, as gap theorists propose.

4. We reject the Gap Theory because tohu wabohudoes not mean only “something once in a state of repair, but now ruined.”

Gap theorists believe that God’s “initial” creation was perfect, but became “waste and void” as a result of Satan’s rebellion. Whitcomb has responded:

“Without form and void” translate the Hebrew expression tohu wabohu, which literally means “empty and formless.” In other words, the Earth was not chaotic, not under a curse of judgment. It was simply empty of living things and without the features that it later possessed, such as oceans and continents, hills and valleys—features that would be essential for man’s well-being. In other words, it was not an appropriate home for man.... [W]hen God created the Earth, this was only the first state of a series of stages leading to its completion (1973, 2:69-70).

Jeff said...

(cont.)

5. The Gap Theory is erroneous because there is no evidence for the claim that Satan’s rebellion was on the Earth, or responsible for any great “cataclysm.”

The idea of a cataclysm that destroyed the initial perfect Earth is not supported by an appeal to Scripture, as Morris has explained.

There is, in fact, not a word in Scripture to connect Satan with the earth prior to his rebellion. On the other hand, when he sinned, he was expelled from heaven to the earth.... There is, therefore, no scriptural reason to connect Satan’s fall in heaven with a cataclysm on earth.... That Satan was not on earth, at least not as a wicked rebel against God, prior to Adam’s creation, is quite definite from Genesis 1:31. “And God saw everything that He had made, and...it was very good.” ...Therefore, Satan’s sin must have occurred after man’s creation (1974, pp. 233-234, emp. in orig.).

6. We reject the Gap Theory because its proof-text (Isaiah 45:18) is premised on a removal of the verse from its proper context.

Isaiah 45:18 reads:

For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain [the phrase “in vain” is tohu, the same as “without form” in Genesis 1:2—BT], He formed it to be inhabited.

Gap theorists suggest since Isaiah stated that God did not create the Earth tohu, and since the Earth of Genesis 1:2 was tohu, therefore the latter could not have been the Earth as it was created in Genesis 1:1. The implication is that the Earth became tohu as a result of the cataclysm precipitated by Satan’s rebellion.

The immediate context, however, has to do with Israel and God’s promises to His people. Isaiah reminded his listeners that just as God had a purpose in creating the Earth, so He had a purpose for Israel. Isaiah spoke of God’s immense power and special purpose in creation, noting that God created the Earth “to be inhabited”—something accomplished when the Lord created people in His image. In Isaiah 45, the prophet’s message is that God, through His power, likewise will accomplish His purpose for His chosen people, Israel. Morris has remarked:

There is no conflict between Isaiah 45:18 and the statement of an initial formless aspect to the created earth in Genesis 1:2. The former can properly be understood as follows: “God created it not (to be forever) without form; He formed it to be inhabited.” As described in Genesis 1, He proceeded to bring beauty and structure to the formless elements and then inhabitants to the waiting lands. It should be remembered that Isaiah 45:18 was written many hundreds of years after Genesis 1:2 and that its context deals with Israel, not a pre-Adamic cataclysm (1974, p. 241).

Jeff said...

(cont.)

7. The Gap Theory is false because it implies death of humankind on the Earth prior to Adam.

Pember believed that the fossils (which he felt the Gap Theory explained) revealed death, disease, and ferocity—all tokens of sin. He suggested:

Since, then, the fossil remains are those of creatures anterior to Adam, and yet show evident token of disease, death, and mutual destruction, they must have belonged to another world, and have a sin-stained history of their own (1876, p. 35, emp. added).

The idea that the death of humankind occurred prior to Adam’s sin contradicts New Testament teaching which indicates that the death of humankind entered this world as a result of Adam’s sin (1 Corinthians 15:21; Romans 8:20-22; Romans 5:12). Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:45 that Adam was “the first man.” Yet long before Adam—if the Gap Theory is correct—there existed a pre-Adamic race of men with (to quote Pember) “a sin-stained history of their own.” The Gap Theory and Paul cannot both be correct.

CONCLUSION

In 1948, M. Henkel, a graduate student at the Winona Lake School of Theology, wrote a master’s thesis on “Fundamental Christianity and Evolution.” During the course of his research, he polled 20 leading Hebrew scholars in the United States, and asked each of them if there were any exegetical evidence that would allow for a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. They unanimously replied—No! (Henkel, 1950, p. 49, n. 30). We are unable to see that anything in this regard has changed in over four-and-a-half decades.”

Jeff said...

From Reasons To Believe

Closing the Gap: A Scientist’s Response to the Gap Theory

"A Question of Exegesis

The argument that Genesis 1:2 can be translated “the earth became formless and void” overlooks a critical distinction in the use of the verb hayâ in the Hebrew text. In the beginning of verse 2, hayâ appears without the Hebrew preposition le.11 Only the combination of hayâ + le would be translated “became,” rather than “was.” An example of this combination is found in Genesis 2:7, appropriately translated, “man became a living being.”

To claim that the Hebrew verb bara (“create”) used in Genesis 1:1 refers to a brand new creation whereas the verbs asah and hayâ used in Genesis 1:3-27 (the verses describing the six creation days) refer only to reconstruction, not creation, loses sight of the fact that bara appears in both Genesis 1:21 and 1:27. The claim also is inconsistent with the lexical definitions for asah and hayâ which in no way demand, or even imply, reconstruction.

To defend their translation of Genesis 1:2 as “the earth became formless and void,” gap proponents claim that the phrase tohû wabohû carries a negative or pejorative connotation wherever it appears in the Bible. On this basis, they substitute “deformed” for “formless” and “uninhabitable” for “empty.” Justification for such substitutions is difficult to sustain.

In Hebrew tohû and bohû obviously are meant to be alliterative synonyms, each complementing the meaning of the other. Thus, both words convey the idea of formlessness and emptiness. The second term, bohû, occurs only three times in the Old Testament: Genesis 1:2, Isaiah 34:11, and Jeremiah 4:23. In each instance, it refers to something’s being empty, whether not yet filled or unfillable.

The crux of gap theorists’ argument rests on the first term, tohû. They assert that Genesis 1:2 must be translated as “the earth became formless and empty” (sometime after its creation) because Isaiah 45:18 says, “[God] did not create the earth tohû.” Unless God built a new creation on the wreckage of the ruined one, these verses, they argue, represent a contradiction. However, the second part of Isaiah 45:18 gives clarification, removing the contradiction. It says that God “formed [the earth] to be inhabited,” implying that the tohû of the earth was merely a starting place, not God’s ultimate intent. He had a plan, worked out in advance (see Proverbs 8:22-31, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Timothy 1:9), to transform and prepare the earth for human habitation. As theologian Ronald Youngblood points out, “The word tohû in Genesis 1:2, likewise, refers not to the result of a supposed catastrophe (for which there is no clear biblical evidence) but to the formlessness of the earth before God’s creative hand began the majestic acts described in the following verses.”

"Gap theorists grant more credit to the demons than Scripture allows. The Bible teaches that neither Satan nor any other created being has the power to destroy apart from God’s sovereignty, nor the power to create as God does.

Likewise, the gap theory concedes too much to nontheistic speculation. It communicates that no biblical constraints can limit or test anyone’s claims about life’s origin, including the claims of naturalistic evolutionism. According to the gap view, scientists are free to attribute virtually all natural history, except for the last several thousand years, to godless, undirected processes."

Greg said...

I read most of you stuff about Gap Theory. Amazing how much some can read into a couple scriptures. Eisegesis to the nth degree!

Have you heard back from the pastor yet? I wonder if he'll preach on it next Sunday....

Jeff said...

Greg,

Amazing how much some can read into a couple scriptures. Eisegesis to the nth degree!

Agreed!

Have you heard back from the pastor yet?

No, and I suspect I may not.

I wonder if he'll preach on it next Sunday....

Don't know, but I am seriously considering looking for a new church.

I met with a Pastor of Youth Ministry from a different church this morning, and we talked for an hour about evangelism, because I am trying to hook up with a person or group to do evangelistic work, but it seemed that nothing really came of the meeting. So I am still seeking what God would have me do regarding this and where He would have me be.

Anonymous said...

Twisting scripture isn't anything new, the first evidence for defaming Gods word began in the garden when the serpent tripped eve up causing her to become confused and saying things God didn't say. From that moment it hasn't let up in fact its getting worse as each day goes by. The Rapture theory was planted in the minds of those that found it intriguing, what started as a harmless joke has been and will be a tool used by Satan to cause dissension devision confusion to the point its made enemies of brothers and sisters, its nothing more than a smokescreen. I could go on but my fingers tire.

In His Service,
Lee

Jeff said...

Twisting scripture isn't anything new, the first evidence for defaming Gods word began in the garden when the serpent tripped eve up causing her to become confused and saying things God didn't say.

Very good! I started reading the KJV Bible on my own at home when I was still in Elementary School, and when I read that Satan/the serpent told Eve that God lied, I first thought to myself, "Wow, God lied?! Why did He do that??" I was young and unsaved, and even I was fooled by that.

The Rapture theory was planted in the minds of those that found it intriguing, what started as a harmless joke has been and will be a tool used by Satan to cause dissension devision confusion to the point its made enemies of brothers and sisters, its nothing more than a smokescreen.

I can't say that I agree that the idea of the Rapture is a hoax, but I think that we won't know for sure until it happens. I used to be very strongly Pre-Trib, but now, though I still think there will be a Rapture, I'm not so sure whether it will be Mid-Trib or Post-Trib or, as I had believed for a long time, maybe Pre-Trib after all. But I still do think there will be a Rapture. However, the idea that the Second Coming of Christ is not the same as the Rapture, and that Jesus never said there will be a Second Coming and then a Third Coming, is also an important point to consider. So, for things like that, especially concerning future events and specific details regarding prophecy fulfillment, I don't think we can be dogmatic.

Thanks, Lee, for your comment!