Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Fruit of Silence

There are countless women out there that genuinely believe that what religion teaches about women is “of God.” They have been taught that:

  • Their value is “less than” a man’s in God’s eyes.
  • They are to keep silence in the church; that GOD does not want to hear them in “his house.”
  • They are to be in submission to their husbands, or other men.
  • They cannot teach men or, have authority over them.
  • They are to endure abuse and abusive marriages.
  • They have no rights or autonomy, but are a product and reflection of the religious beliefs of the sects they are a part of, or a reflection of their husbands.
  • They should not be educated or hold jobs.

Sadly, there are countless women the world over that have been brainwashed into believing they are worthless because of these religious teachings.  Their value as women, have been stripped from them. The abuses that women endure even today defy conscience and morality. Sexual abuse and mutilation are rampant and affect all ages of women even down to the smallest little girls. Sex trafficking and prostitution are rampant. Physical abuse and emotional abuses are widespread.  All of these things are a result of religion propagating a mindset in men the world over that leads to all of these abuses. But the truth is that GOD did not say or teach any of these things listed above about women! Consistently, on this blog, I have been exposing the corruptions in translation and teaching by the translators of the early centuries. I have cited the evidence from re-known scholars of today and the early centuries; as well as historians. The evidence is clear and, it is damning to religion and those that use it as a weapon to control, dominate and abuse women.

As usual, I will cite one of several Hebrew and Greek Scholars of the early centuries on this subject – Katherine Bushnell. She has taken great pains to expose the lies of the religious elite and the errors in their teachings and translation of scripture.


That we might make no mistake as to God’s own approval upon women of old who broke the silence of public assemblies, we have it expressly told us that Miriam, Deborah, Huldah and Anna were all “prophetesses,”—for they are so called where their names are mentioned. It behooves us to ask, What is it to prophesy, in the Biblical use of the word? Scholars will agree that the primal thought of the word is that of one who is acting as a spokesman for another. The idea of prediction is not necessarily implied. But as a true prophet in the Bible is one who speaks for God, and as God does not live nor necessarily speak, within the limits of time, by which mortals are bound (but, to Him, yesterday, today and tomorrow are all present), therefore it follows that what He causes mortals to say for Him often relates to a future as yet not experienced by them; hence we use this verb in a secondary sense, “to foretell.” But let us keep in mind its proper meaning, – to speak for God.

It is certain that women were not, as theology has claimed, subordinated to men from the day Eve sinned. History proves that that subordination was gradually brought about by men themselves, and was not accomplished for hundreds of years. It is as certain that not one syllable can be found in the Old Testament ordering women to “keep silence” in the Jewish public assemblies; and it would be astounding, since women were NOT silenced under the Old Covenant, if it were true that they were silenced for the sin of Eve under the New, and strike at the very heart of the teaching of which is, “There is therefore NOW no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

The congregation of Israel, a religious body called by God out of bondage and into the wilderness, was certainly a “church.” Indeed, Stephen spoke of it as “the church in the wilderness,” Acts 7:38. The very first note of praise raised by God in that “church,” was responded to by Miriam and her women, with timbrel and dance—“Miriam the Prophetess” (Ex. 15:20). And why should she have been called by the inspired Word “the prophetess,” if God had never, and did never use her voice to declare His will to Israel? God gives no empty (lying) titles. And this woman prophetess, was one of three great leaders of whom God said: “I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. . . and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron and Miriam” (Micah 6:4).

And women were not silent in the Tabernacle, after the children of Israel became a settled people in the Promised Land. Where else did Hannah sing that wonderful psalm of praise she composed for the dedication of Samuel to the Lord’s service at the Tabernacle? All the context here goes to show she “prayed” it (1Sam. 2:1) in public (compare 1:28 and 2:11); and it became public property, preserved to us to the present day, and its comforting words re-echoed in a dozen Psalms, composed in later days, like this, for the service of the Temple.

And women were not silent in the Temple: We have high authority for believing that two Psalms, at least, were meant for women’s voices alone (Psalm 8 and 45). Hannah must have been gifted in music. Her Song proved this; and her son Samuel, as can be gleaned from many incidental statements in the Bible (and as has been so well brought out in a book by Dean Payne-Smith. “Prophecy a Preparation for Christ”), taught his young prophets, whom he had in training, to praise the Lord in song.

This writer says: “One of that choir [of the prophet Samuel] was Heman, the son of Joel, Samuel’s first-born (1 Chron. 6:33, 1 Sam 8:2), who there acquired that mastery of music which made him one of the three singers selected by David. . . to arrange and preside over the Temple service (1 Chron. 25). Blessed with a numerous family, who all seem to have inherited Samuel’s musical ability, he trained them all for song in the house of Jehovah, with cymbals, psalteries and harps (1 Chron. 25:6), and it is remarkable that no less than fourteen of the twenty-four courses of singers were Samuel’s own descendants, and that as long as the first Temple stood they were the chief performers of that Psalmody which he had instituted.”

“God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the Lord.” This certainly proves that women did not “keep silence” in the Temple. We know this also from the mention of the “woman-singers” in Ezra 2:65, and Neh. 7:67. The same thing is made clear by the description of a religious procession, Psalm 68:25. If, as Dean Payne-Smith says, “Psalmody commenced with that hymn of triumph sung by Miriam and the women on the shores of the Red Sea, with timbrel and dance,” surely psalmody was introduced into the Temple service by the Song of Hanna, taken up by Samuel and his female as well as male descendants, through Heman, and extended through the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, by both women and men. There is no just reason for supposing that women ever ceased to have their part in prophecy with song, up to the days of Anna, the aged prophetess, who never left the Temple, but preached there, to the worshippers, that Messiah had come (Luke 2:36,38).

It was not until after woman had brought the Redeemer into the word,–not until after she had given her testimony to the most important facts in the Christian’s faith, and convinced the early disciples of their truth; not until long after Paul’s days, when “grievous wolves” had entered the flock, as Paul said they would do (Acts 20:29); and wrested Paul’s language, as Peter said they did (2 Pet. 3:15-16), that the teaching arose that Paul had silenced women, veiled them, and subordinated them to men. We have shown that his language is capable of more consistent interpretation.

–Katherine Bushnell, God’s Word to Women, pgs 340-342.


Consistently, I have given voice to the corruptions regarding women. Once again, I give voice to the corruption that women have been silenced. They have not. What is taught by religions the world over regarding women is either abusive or, leads to abusive mindsets, attitudes and actions. Women have borne the brunt of some of the most heinous crimes against humanity as a result of religious teachings aimed at subjugating and controlling women. Their value has been stripped from them so much so that many men regard them as nothing more than property to be used and discarded. In countries where they are allowed to be part of the work force, they are underpaid for the same jobs that men do; and in many instances, they are bullied and sexually discriminated against by other men.  Their dignity and autonomy has been stripped from them as well. They are being forced into servitude to wicked and abusive men as a result; with no protections afforded them from such abuse.  The culture that has mutated from these mindsets is a rape culture. Women are not protected by laws, instead victims of rape are being held up as the “guilty party” instead of holding men accountable for their crimes against women.

Women need to educate themselves outside of mens teachings of what THEY say “God said” and really study what God actually says. In doing so, we will find that much of what we believed is rooted in the “opinions and doctrines of men” and is only aimed at sexual dominance and control. It has taken centuries for the religious mindsets to proliferate and create the culture we live in today. Today, not only are women being raped, children and infants are being raped!  But it’s not too late for that to be changed. It just takes the courage of victims everywhere to step up to the plate and speak out about the abuses they have endured. The problems are all rooted in “silence.” Silence breeds corruption, violence and abuse and, those that bear the putrid fruit of the violence – suffering, psychological disorders, physical pain and suffering, death—are women and children. Laws need to change drastically to hold MEN accountable for their own actions, instead of punishing victims. These changes in law have to start with voices being heard – victims voices from every corner of the world.

A New Perspective on the Genesis – Part 2

The following is the continuation from the excerpt of part one from The Ages Before Moses. Part one of this lecture covered the Genesis in its form, scope and substance. Part two will now cover the harmonies of Bible and Science, Man and, a lesson in Grace.


The Ages Before Moses

John Monro Gibson, 1879

The Harmonies of Bible and Science

 We have said that almost everybody knows about the difficulties, but how few are there comparatively that know about the wonderful harmonies? So much is said and written about the difficulties, that many have the idea that the narrative is full of difficulties—nothing but difficulties—nothing that agrees with science as we know it now; whereas, when we look at it, we find the correspondencies most wonderful all the way through. Let us look at a few of them. And first, the absence of dates. The fact is very noteworthy that there is such abundance of space left for long periods, not till quite recently demanded by science. And this does not depend on any theory of day-periods; for those who still hold to the literal days; find all the room required before the first day is mentioned. Not six thousand years ago, but “in the beginning.” How grand and how true in its vagueness.

Another negative characteristic worth noticing here is the absence of details where none are needed. For example, there is almost nothing said in detail about the heavens. What is said about the heavens in addition to the bare fact of creation, is only in reference to the earth, as, for example, when the sun and moon are treated of, not as separate worlds, but only in their relation to this earth as giving light to it and affording measurements of time. There is no attempt to drag in the spectroscope!

 Note: This is strikingly indicated in the Hebrew text, by the accent punctuation: “In the beginning-created-God-the heavens and earth. And the earth—it was without form and void;” which is, read in full: “And the earth” (for it is only the earth that this narrative has to do with),–etc. Bearing this in mind, it is evident that when heaven is spoken of again as in the eighth verse, it is not the universe at large, but the visible heaven, as the definition indeed most accurately points out: “God called the firmament (expanse) Heaven.”

A certain infidel lately seemed to think he had made a point against the Bible by remarking that the author of it had compressed the astronomy of the universe into five words. Just think of the ignorance this betrays. It proceeds on the assumption that the author of this apocalypse intended to teach the world the astronomy of the universe; and then, of course, it would have been a very foolish thing for him to discuss the whole subject in five words. Whereas, in this very reticence we have a note of truth. If this work had been the work of some mere cosmogonist, some theorist as to the origin of the universe, he would have been sure to have given us a great deal of information about the stars. But a prophet of the Lord has nothing to do with astronomy as such. All that he has to do with the stars is to make it clear that the most distant orbs of light are included in the domain of the Great Supreme, and this he can do as well in five words as in five thousand; and so, wisely avoiding all detail, he simply says, “He made the stars also.”  There was danger that men might suppose some power resident in these distant stars distinct from the power that ruled the earth. He would have them to understand that the same God that rules over this little earth, rules to the uttermost bounds of the great universe. And this great truth he lays on immovable foundations by the sublimely simple words, “He made the stars also.”

But passing from that which is merely negative, see how many positive harmonies there are. First, there is the fact of a beginning. The old infidel objection used to be that “all things have continued as they were from the beginning of the creation.” Nobody pretends to take that position now that science points so clearly to beginnings of everything. You can trace back man to his beginning in the geological cycles. You can trace back mammals to their beginning; birds, fishes, insects to their beginnings; vegetation to its beginning; rocks to their beginning. The general fact of a genesis is immovably established by science.

 Secondly, “The heavens and the earth.” Note the order. Though almost nothing is said about the heavens, yet what is said is not at all in conflict with what we now know about them. We know now that the earth is not the centre of the universe. Look forward to Genesis 4:2, and you will find the transition to the reverse order—quite appropriate there, as we shall see in the next lecture; but here, where the genesis of all things, the origin of the universe, is the subject, it is not the earth and the heavens, but “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

 Thirdly, there is the original chaos. “The earth was without form and void.” Turn to the early pages of any good modern scientific book, that attempts to set forth the genesis of the earth from a scientific standpoint, and you will find just this condition described. Observe, too, in passing, how carefully the statement is limited to the earth. The universe was not chaotic then.

Fourthly, the work of creation is not a simultaneous, but an extended one. If the author had been guessing or theorizing, he would have been much more likely to hit on the idea of simultaneous, than successive creation. But the idea of successive creation is now proved by science to be true.

Fifthly, there is a progressive development, and yet not a continuous progression without any drawbacks. There are evenings and mornings: just what science tells us of the ages of the past. Here it is worth while perhaps to notice the careful use of the word “created.” An objection has been made to the want of continuity in the so-called orthodox doctrine of creation, the orthodox doctrine being supposed to be that of fresh creation at every point. But the Bible is not responsible for many “fresh creations.” The word “created: is only used three times in the record. First, as applied to the original creation of the universe, possibly in the most embryonic state. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Next, in connection with the introduction of life (v.2), and last, in reference to the creation of man (v.27). In no other place is anything said about direct creation. It is rather making, appointing, ordering, saying “Let there be,” “Let the waters bring forth,” etc. Now, is it not a significant fact that these three points where, and where alone, the idea of absolute creation is introduced, are just the three points at which the great apostles of continuity find it impossible to make their connections? You will not find any one that is able to show any other origin for the spirit of man than the Creator Himself. You cannot find any one that is able to show any other origin of animal life than the Creator Himself. There have been very strenuous efforts made a great many times to show that the living may originate from the not-living; but all these efforts have failed. And the origin of matter is just as mysterious as the origin of life. No other origin can be even conceived of the primal matter of the universe than fiat of the Great Creator. Thus we find the word “creation” used just at the times when modern science tells us it is most appropriate.

Sixthly, the progression is from the lower to the higher. An inventor would have been much more likely to guess that man was created first, and afterward the other creatures subordinate to him. But the record begins at the bottom of the scale and goes up, step by step, to the top: again, just what geology tells us. All these are great general correspondencies; but we might,

Seventhly, go into details and find harmonies even there, all the way through. Take the fact of light appearing on the first day. The Hebrew word for “light” is wide enough to cover the associated phenomena of heat and electricity, and are not these the primal forces of the universe? Again, it used to be a standard difficulty with skeptics that light was said to exist before the sun was visible from the earth. Science here has come to the rescue, and who doubts it now? It is very interesting to see a distinguished geologist like Dana using this very fact that light is said to have existed before the sun shone upon the earth as a proof of the divine origin of this document, on the ground that no one would have guessed what must have seemed so unlikely then. So much for the progress TOWARD the Bible which science has made since the day when a skeptical writer said of the Mosaic narrative, “It would still be correct enough in great principles were it not for one individual oversight and one unlucky blunder!”—the oversight being the solid firmament (whose oversight?), and the blunder, light apart from the sun (whose blunder?).

I have spoken already about the words “created” and “made,” in relation to the discriminating use of them. This word raqia, too, how admirable it is to express the tenuity of our atmosphere, especially as contrasted with the clumsy words used by the enlightened Greeks (stereoma), the noble Romans (firmamentum), and even by learned Englishmen of the nineteenth century (firmament)! And not to dwell on mere words as we well might, look at the general order of creation: vegetation before animal life, birds and fishes before mammals, and all the lower animals before man. Is not that just the order you find in geology? More particularly, while man is last he is not created on a separate day. He comes in on the sixth day along with the higher animals, yet not in the beginning, but toward the close of the period. Again, just what geology tells us.

These are only some of the many wonderful harmonies between this old revelation and modern science. I would like to see the doctrine of changes applied to this problem, to determine what probability there would be of a mere guesser or inventor hitting upon so many things that correspond with what modern science reveals. I don’t believe there would be one chance in a million! Is it not far harder for a sensible man to believe that this wonderful apocalypse is the fruit of ignorance and guesswork, than that it is the product of inspiration? It is simply absurd to imagine that an ignorant man could have guessed so happily. Nay, more. Let any of the scientific men of today set themselves down to write out a history of creation in a space no larger than what occupied by the first chapter of Genesis and I do not believe they could improve on it at all. And if they did succeed in producing anything that would pass for the present, in all probability in ten years it would be out of date. Our apocalypse of creation is not only better than could be expected of an uninspired man in the days of the world’s ignorance, but it is better than Tyndall, or Huxley, or Haeckel could do yet. If they think not, let them take a single sheet of paper and try!


Regarding Man

Finally, what do we learn about Man? Here we have man in his heavenly relations. When we come to the narrative of the Fall we shall meet him in his earthly relations. But here he is introduced in his relations to God. “God created man in His own image. In the image of God created He him.”

Here, in the first place, we see man’s true place in nature. He is not altogether separated from the animals below him. As we have already seen, he was created on the same day with the highest group of animals. But while his lower earthly relations are not ignored, it is by his heavenly relations, his relations to God, that his place in nature is assigned him. “God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. (Gen. 1:27)” It is important for us to take firm hold of this truth in these days. When man’s place in nature is discussed nowadays, an anatomy seems to be the first and the last resort. It has even been suggested by a very eminent anthropologist (Haeckel) that the investigation would be more satisfactorily made upon subjects “packed into large vessels filled with spirits of wine!”  The corpus, the corpse, is the final appeal. No account is taken of man’s spiritual powers; no notice taken at all of his higher nature, by which he is related to God. Tell me which is the more important part of a man, his bodily organism, by which he is related to the beasts below him, or his spiritual nature, by which he is related to God above him? Is not the Bible, when it gives man his place in nature as created in the image of his Maker, far more rational than these materialists, who only give us his place in relation to the lower animals?

Let us look for a moment at this truth, of man made in the image of God, as a foundation truth in theological as well as anthropological science. In the first place, it is the only basis of Revelation. If it had not been true that man was made in the image of God, a revelation from God would have been an uttered impossibility. Just think of it for a moment. We are told in the Bible that “God is Love.” Would that convey any idea to our minds if there were no such thing as love in our hearts? Or when we are told that God is just, could we have any conception of the meaning if we did not know from our own natures what justice is? Or take the great and blessed truth of the Fatherhood of God; what possible notion of it could we have, if fatherhood were unknown among men? So you will find, when you think of it, that it would have been impossible to have any idea of God at all, unless we had been made in His image. The truth that man was made in the image of God is the only rational basis of revelation.

Further, we have here a rational basis for the Incarnation. What more natural, when God would reveal Himself in some way that would appeal to our senses, when He would come near to us and let us know Him as a Friend—what more natural than to take the form of a man, seeing man was made in the image of God? The doctrine of the New Testament is that the man Christ Jesus was “the Image of the Invisible God.” The doctrine of the Old Testament is that man was made in the image of the Invisible God. You see the harmony between the two: man in the image of God, and Jesus Christ “the Image of God.” Thus we find here a rational basis for the Incarnation.

We find, still further, a rational basis for the doctrine of Regeneration by the Holy Spirit. We are told there in Genesis, that “God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul,” and in another passage that “the inspiration of the Almighty gave him understanding.” Is it not, then, reasonable to suppose that the inspiration of the Almighty will be necessary to restore to him his understanding, to restore to him his true life, when he has lost it through sin? Do we not find again a beautiful correspondence between the Old Testament doctrine of man’s regeneration, as both requiring the inspiration of the Almighty, the inbreathing of the Spirit of God? So that in this old doctrine concerning man and his place in nature, as made in the image of God, we find the only rational basis for a revelation of God, for a revelation of God in Christ, for a revelation of God in Christ by the Holy Spirit: a trinity of truth in unity.

And still further in this old doctrine of man made in the image of God, we have the foundation laid for those glorious hopes that are set before us in the New Testament. When we look at man’s lower nature and his relation to the animals, it seems hard for us to believe the glorious things spoken in the Bible about the prospect that is before us of dwelling in God’s holy heavens and reigning with Christ upon His throne. What the Bible has to say about our future destiny as sons of God, seems too good to be true. And indeed so long as we dwell upon our earthly relations and have in view only our lower nature and our material bodies we cannot rise to these conceptions. But when we think of ourselves as being made in the image of God, it does not seem any longer unreasonable or extravagant that we should share the glory of God. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Let us only rise to our true dignity as sons of God, and then we shall be prepared to realize our lofty destiny as heirs of the glory of God!

We have finished what we had to say on the substance of this revelation. We have had important truth concerning God, concerning Nature, and concerning Man. Can we learn any lessons of Grace before we close? It is true that sin is not yet in the world. So grace is not needed, and accordingly has no place directly in this apocalypse. But cannot we learn some lessons of grace indirectly? May it not be that God’s work in nature is a picture of His work in grace? Look and see.


A Lesson in Grace

The first thing in the transformation of chaos to cosmos is Light. God said, “let light be, and light was.” That was the first thing needed to prepare the way for the coming order. And it is the first thing needed to illumine the chaos of the sinner’s heart. God must say, “let light be,” before the sinner can be brought “from darkness unto light and from the power of Satan unto God.” The next thing, after the production of light and the primal forces of the universe, is Order, advancing steadily from stage to stage. So God deals with the soul that comes to Him. He first gives light, gives it in a moment as by a word, and after the sudden change, follows a gradual transformation. Just as the Spirit of the Lord moved on the old chaos, and gradually it was reduced to order, so the Spirit of the Lord moves on the dark and troubled waters of the heart and restores it stage by stage to order; and at each stage He says, “It is good, it is good.” The Lord rejoices in His work.

We get still another view of God’s working when we reach the animate creation. The earth had not only been “without form,” but “void,” and now that Light has come, and Order has followed, it only remains that the void be filled with life. Light, Order, Life: these are the three remedies for chaos, with its darkness, confusion, and death. And we, too, want something to fill the void, and so God in Christ comes to us, and by His Spirit gives us life: a life which, following the order of the creation record, is gradually becoming higher and higher, nobler and nobler, until it reaches up to God Himself. Then, when all is finished, God says, “Behold, it is very good.” So shall it be at the last, when God has finished His work; when everything within has been reduced to order, when life has reached its culmination, when we have become at last like Him, who is “the Life.” Then the Lord will look upon His finished work in grace, and say: “Behold, it is very good.” What follows? “The rest that remaineth for the people of God.” Not the rest of inactivity. God has not been inactive during his seventh day. It was only rest from the work of reducing things to order. He no longer needed to reduce things to order. It was only the administration of that which was already brought to order that was henceforth necessary. So after God has come into our souls, and everything has been reduced to order, and we have been brought to that perfect day, we shall enjoy the rest of heaven, the rest of unwearied, active service, and onward, unobstructed progress that remaineth for the people of God. “There shall be no night there,” no confusion there, no death there. Light, Order, Life, all very good, for evermore! – pgs 55-76, Ages Before Moses.

A New Perspective on the Genesis

Every now and again, I come across an historical text that I find quite interesting. The following is an excerpt from The Ages Before Moses. The author wrote this somewhere between 1838 and 1879. The work itself was published in 1879 as a series of lectures, but the writings contained in it span many decades for this author. What stood out for me in this lecture was his perception of the seven days of creation and what he brings out regarding the harmonies of the Bible and Science. It is a most interesting perception for us to think upon and consider as we continue to weigh out evidences presented to us. Throughout this excerpt, many different things will strike a chord in the mind of the reader – an idea, a thought, a concept – all worth some serious contemplation on our part. Much of what this author has to say, one will notice, stands at odds with what many fundamentalist Christians teach in today’s churches. I put this here today, to allow readers to gain a new perspective and consider what this author has to say. There are many “truths” that this author brings to light in his many different works, some of which, I quote in my book, Religion’s Cell. Sometimes, it’s just refreshing to see some truths put in such a way that it brings the Bible and Science together in harmony. This author does just this. Because of the length of this lecture, I will put it out in two parts; both of which, will be worth reading just for the new concepts and ideas covered on this topic of Genesis and all that it involves. This first section will cover the Genesis in its form, scope and substance. Part two, to come, will cover the harmonies of Bible and Science, Man and, a lesson in Grace.


The Genesis

John Monro Gibson, D.D., The Ages Before Moses, 1879

–deeds and lives that lie Foreshortened in the tract of time.”

genesisOf this kind of foreshortening the book of Genesis is a remarkable example. The lives of the men that lived before Abraham, long as they were, pass so rapidly before the eye that it is difficult to realize that in the course of a few short chapters, many long centuries have been traversed. And the deeds of the Great Creator before the time of Adam, are recorded in such rapid succession, and with such sublimity of condensation, that it is only after the imagination has been thoroughly accustomed to the deep perspective, that we are able even to feebly realize that in the course of a few short verses whole ages of time have been compassed.

These earliest ages of the world’s history will come before us in proceeding to consider the Genesis proper, as we may call that portion of the larger Genesis contained in the first chapter and the first three verses of the second chapter, which ought by all means to have been included in the former.

In looking at this Genesis record we shall consider first the form of it, then the scope of it, and finally its substance.


It’s Form

 Here it is very important to notice that it is not historical in form. The book of Genesis as a whole is historical, and from this we are apt to suppose that every part of it is so. Now it is quite manifest that this portion of it is not historical. The histories of the Bible, as far as their human authorship is concerned, were produced just like other histories. They are the reports of eye-witness, or of those who obtained their information from eye-witnesses, or from persons competent to testify to the facts. The book of Genesis as a whole is historical, and from this we can suppose that every part of it is as well. But, who were the eye-witnesses to the first chapter of Genesis?  Obviously, there were none. Therefore it must have been an apocalypse. God must have revealed it to some of the prophets, in early times. (See Luke 1:70). We are not told how He revealed it, but it looks as if it may well have been in the usual way, namely, by visions. (See Num. 12:6). It would seem as though a series of pictures of creation had passed before the mind of the ancient seer. And, as in other parts of Scripture where God made known His will by visions, so here there are voices falling on the ear, as well as scenes presented to the eye. “God said: Let there be Light.” “God called the Light, Day,” etc.

And here it is most interesting to compare the apocalypse at the beginning with that at the end of the Bible. How natural it was, how necessary, that we should have an apocalypse at the beginning to tell us of that part of the earth’s history which transpired before man existed. And how necessary, too, that we should have an apocalypse to tell us what it was important for us to know about the undiscovered future.

The unknown past—the unknown future—both of these needed an apocalypse, and so we have it. And how numerous and striking the correspondencies between the two. For example, we have the seven days of creation at the beginning; and at the end we have the seven churches and the seven seals and the seven vials and the seven trumpets and the seven voices. Then again, when you compare the first few chapters of Genesis with the closing chapters of the Bible, you see the same great ideas reappearing. In the first apocalypse we have the heavens and the earth. In Genesis we have the Paridise of Eden; in Revelation the paradise of God. In Genesis we are told of the rivers of Eden, and the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Life “in the midst of the garden;” in Revelation we are told of the River of the water of Life, and the Tree of Life upon its banks, and “in the midst of the Paradise of God.” At the beginning of the Bible we have the institution of marriage; and at the end we have “the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Many other comparisons might be made between the two, showing the connection between the first and the last book of that wonderful Bible which opens with an apocalypse of the dateless past, and closes with an apocalypse of the dateless future. So much for the form of this book.


The Scope

Next let’s look at the scope of it:

First of all, it is dateless. There is no date at the beginning of it. It simply says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” There is no date at the end of it. This is not often noticed. We are told, “The evening and the morning were the first day,” the second day, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth day, but we are not told that the evening and the morning were the seventh day. There is no date, then, at the end, any more than at the beginning of it. We shall see the importance of this a little later.

Next, it is measureless. There is nothing in it to measure the scope of it. It has been said that it is measured by the narrow boundary of six or seven days. There seems abundant reason to conclude that there was no such intention of limiting the scope of this chapter. In the first place, notice that three days are spoken of before any measures of time are given. So the first day and the second day and the third day were without measure. Again, in Gen. 2:4, the same word “day” is used to cover the entire time of the creation work. Then there is evidence to show that the Jews, and in particular the sacred writers, did not understand the day of creation in the limited sense of either twenty-four or twelve hours. Take the ninetieth Psalm for example. Observe that this Psalm starts from the idea of creation; and it is worth while to notice that the title of the Psalm ascribes it to Moses, so that we may have here the views of the author of the Pentateuch himself. Well, what does he say? “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from age to age Thou are God.” These words translated “everlasting” in our version refer to enormous periods. And observe there is no reference to the future, as many suppose. It is all to the past, to the past of creation, as its majestic history sweeps on “from Olam to Olam,” from age to age. And again in the fourth verse: “A thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.” Or take the parallel passage in the New Testament, 2 Peter 3:8: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” And observe that here, too, the mind of the writer has been carried back to the book of Genesis, for only a few sentences before he has been speaking of “the beginning of the creation” (v.4).

As a good exercise on this subject, let me recommend you take some of the numerous references to creation in the Scriptures and see if you can find a single one that conveys the idea that the work of creation transpired in a short space of time. If the sacred writers had really entertained the idea that so great a work was done in so short a time, would not some notice have been taken of so wonderful an act?  Whereas, if any reference to time is made at all, it is the thought of ages rather than of days that is impressed on the mind. In this connection it may be well to refer to the ideas about creation which are found outside of the Jewish people; and here the remarkable fact meets us that, while the heathen traditions of the creation have so much resemblance to the Mosaic Revelation, as to indicated identity of origin, the idea of long periods is quite familiar. Take the following sentence from the Brahminical records as a specimen: “One thousand divine ages are a day of Brahma, the creator.” These are very ancient authorities you will see, for the extension of time expressed in the word day; and by no means liable to the suspicion of their being driven to it in order to escape geological difficulties! And in the same way sufficient evidence has been adduced to show that Josephus and many of the old Jewish rabbis, and some of the early Christian fathers too—Irenaeus in the second century, Origen in the third, and Augustine in the fourth—did not regard the Bible as committed to literal days in the creation narrative.

Further, what if the days instead of representing the periods of creation represented the time of the vision? May it not have been a seven-day vision, and this only a brief account of it? And if it took so long a time for the vision to pass before the seer’s mind, what a conception of age-long periods would it give him. If a scene passing before your mind should occupy only fifteen minutes in passing, it would appear a long time. If it took an hour, it would seem very long; and if it took an evening and a morning, it would seem almost interminable. I do not urge this very strongly, but it seems to me not by any means unreasonable.

Note: While we hold very strongly to the interpretation of the days above given, we have nothing but respect for the views of those who interpret the days literally and bring in the periods of geology between the first and second verses. It is of course impossible for both to be right; and yet either may be a tenable hypothesis. And it is very important to remember that while different hypothesis necessarily discredit each other, they by no means discredit the sacred text. No one pretends that there was any intention of teaching geology. All that is wanted is room for the discoveries of science: and the greater the number of so-called “reconciliation” hypothesis, provided only they be tenable, the more evidence have we of the wisdom displayed in presenting the truth so as to be final spiritually, and yet so singularly OPEN for future physical investigation.

Let us now revert to the fact already notice, that the seventh day is left open. It is not said of the seventh day as of the others, “the evening and the morning were the seventh day.” Why not? Because all the rest of the Bible is included in the seventh day. This is evidently the thought in the Saviour’s mind, when in defending Himself for healing a man on the Sabbath, He says: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work’ (John v. 17). It is as if He said: “My Father’s Sabbath has been in process all these years since He rested from His creation work as Sustainer and Redeemer: and so may I; My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” And the very same idea is full wrought out in the intricate, but interesting passage in the fourth chapter of Hebrews.

We are living, then, in the seventh day. In what part of it? Remember the order. It is “the evening and the morning.” The Hebrew order—through darkness to light—is the divine order, which ends in the darkness of midnight. Is it the evening still? Or did the morning break when the Sun of Righteousness appeared upon the horizon eighteen centuries ago? If so, we are only in the early dawn as yet. There is a great deal of darkness about us. But the Day of the Lord is coming, a day which shall know no ending, for “there shall be no night there.” The path of the exalted Saviour through the ages, however obscure it now may be to sight, will be shown at last to have been like that of the true disciple in his day and generation, “as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the Perfect Day.” So much for the magnificent scope of the Bible “Genesis. We come now to the substance of the revelation. Here we have three great subjects: God, Nature, and Man.


The Substance

First, what do we learn from God? His existence is simply postulated: “In the beginning God”—How much grander, stronger, and better than any argumentation would have been. The existence of God really needs no argument. It comes to us in the shape of an intuition. It is inborn in us, and those who are atheists, are atheists in spite of themselves, I was going to say. They have struggled away from their natural convictions. Atheism is not natural. And downright atheism is a very rare thing indeed. We have also the unity of God as against the polytheism of the heathen world; and the spirituality and personality of God as against all pantheistic notions of Deity. Then, finally, His supremacy as “God over all.” If we could realize the extent of the evil arising out of the superstitions of the ancient world, we should see how important it was to set forth the conception of God’s supremacy over all in the beginning. Take the superstitious notions about the weather as an illustration. What a comfort to all to whom this Revelation came, to be assured, long before there was or could be any science of meteorology, that all these changes, that seemed so capricious, were under the control of One intelligent and beneficent Power. Or, again, think of the tendency to worship the heavenly bodies. What a complete antidote to this tendency was the announcement of the fact that all these came into existence by the fiat of the Almighty, and were consequently under His absolute control. The supremacy of God is a very important part of the apocalypse of Genesis.

Have we anything about the Trinity? Attention is often called to the plural form of the name of God, used with a singular verb, the idea being that the plural form gives the conception of trinity and the singular verb that of unity. I do not think we should lay much stress upon this, however, because the plural in the Hebrew language is often used as signifying the excellence, the greatness, the majesty of the subject in reference to which it is used. So the plural may be used here to signify the greatness of God. But the apostle John has called our attention to the presence in this narrative of Him whom we call the Second Person of the Trinity. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). God SAID: “Let there be Light.” And we can see for ourselves “the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters.” We have then God, the Word, and the Spirit, all brought before us in the work of creation. As we review the truth about God contained in this apocalypse, we should feel constrained to bow the knee in lowly adoration. What a well-spring of worship is there in these opening sentences of the Bible, and how the solemnizing and elevating effect of them appears in all the subsequent literature of the Hebrews. Hence comes that lofty appreciation of nature which is found nowhere else in the ancient world, and is so conspicuous and so inspiring throughout the pages of the Bible. Read the one hundred and fourth Psalm for example, the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, and the closing chapters of the book of Job, and you will hear the majestic echoes of that voice of majesty that speaks so grandly in the Genesis. “Hallelujah!” “Hallelujah!” is the never-dying refrain of the Creation Epic: “Praise ye the Lord.”

Next, what do we learn about Nature? Here, unhappily, the attention of Bible students has been almost exclusively directed to certain difficulties. These difficulties all arise, as it seems to me, from three sources, and the Bible is not to blame for any of them. First source: treating the passage as if it were history, whereas it is apocalypse. Second source: taking it as intended to teach science, especially astronomical and geological science. Third source of difficulty: the mistakes of translators. For example, the unfortunate word firmament continually comes to the front as one of the “mistakes of Moses.” Strange that a Latin word should be a mistake of Moses! Did Moses know Latin? Did he ever write the letters f,I,r,m, etc.? Not only is the word “firmament” not in the Hebrew Bible, but it does not represent the Hebrew word at all. The word firmament means something strong, solid. The Hebrew word, for which it is an unfortunate translation, signifies something that is very thin, extended, spread out; just the best word that could be chosen to signify the atmosphere.

Note: The mistake is really a mistake of science. It was the false astronomy of Alexandria that led the Septuagint translators to translate raqia, expanse, into arepewya, firmament. Then there is the word “whales,” that Professor Huxley made so merry over a year ago. But the Hebrew does not say whales. The Hebrew word refers to great sea monsters, and is just the very best word the Hebrew language affords to describe such animals as the plesiosaurus and ichthyosaurus and other creatures that abounded in the time probably referred to there.

Let us only guard against these three sources of error, and we shall not find many difficulties. If we would only avoid the mistakes of Moses’ critics, we would not show our ignorance by talking about the mistakes of Moses.

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Is the Bible the Foundation for Christianity?

Is the Bible the Foundation for Christianity?translations

The day and age in which we live is a critical one. With the advances in science and technology, with better scholarship and, the most biblical manuscripts available in history, it is nothing short of astounding what many believe today regarding the Bible, faith, religion, religious practice, religious dogmas, etc. The critical faculty of today’s scholars, as well as scholars of old, has tremendous value. It is not to be despised since they are doing the long and tedious research in the area of textual criticism to expose errors and demolish the false teachings of many. There are many scholars out there that have brought to light the errors in translation of biblical text in order to find a closer tenet of truth to what the original authors of the scriptures wrote. Scholars do not bring these errors to light to destroy truth, but to help in bringing out the truth! We must realize this. Every article on my blog is not designed to tear down and discredit the truths that the Bible contains, they are to educate and inform people of the tares that have entered in through translation that have caused a race of people great harm throughout history – women.  Once we know what the tares are, they can be weeded out of our thought processes and the beginning of change to undo this great harm can begin.

The day and age in which we live is one of the best in history. It has surpassed every other era in the areas of technology, invention, discovery and modern conveniences to help us live easier and better lives.  This said, the area of textual criticism regarding the Bible brings to those that endeavor to educate the populous regarding the errors, changes and additions, much anger.  As a result of this critical and destructive response by those that espouse an affiliation as “children of God and His Christ,” division and strife abound and, hatred spews toward those that bring these biblical criticisms to light. What one must realize is that none of these expositions are new! Scholars have known for centuries about them, but the populous has not.  As a result, it has led to the Bible being the foundation and cornerstone of Christian belief and practice for many.

The Bible is a large book and an old book. But the trouble is that the majority of Christians will not allow themselves to read the facts that scholars put out regarding translation. This could be due to a fear that what they read may raise questions and doubts in their minds regarding truth, inerrancy and infallibility that they have been taught lies in their particular translation of the Bible.  Or, it simply could be due to the control of information by their respective religious institution. Fear of studying outside the “approved” literature of the church could be another factor. Because of these fears, the weapons that Christians use against those that expose errors in translation are ridicule, shaming, humiliation and character assassination as mentioned on this blog, toward the authors.

When we think about this, it almost seems as if TRUTH has no chance of ever coming to the surface. For when truth is exposed, we find that man’s true nature is brought to light and it does not reflect Christ at all.  We find all manner of abuses, pride and deception, underneath the mantle of righteousness that is worn and projected by many who claim the name of Christ. It’s a tough realization that a very large number of people are not interested in having the light of “truth” shown to them when it involves the Bible. Remember, what I said earlier. We expose the error, not to destroy the truth, but to help in bringing people closer to the real truth! There are many alarmists in religion that do their best to stop others from being educated so that they can make spiritual decisions for themselves and their families on their own — outside of religious leaders and institutions — based on the evidence. These alarmists underestimate the power and persistency of man’s spiritual nature: his conscience and spiritual longings. This hunger for truth is a hunger of spirit which, for many, cannot be satisfied until the “tares” are identified and removed from their spiritual foundations.  And as long as the Bible is the only hopeful source of supply for these spiritual longings and hungers, it is imperative that we do our due diligence to make sure that we feed it truth and not error. Error will always lead to inequality, oppression and control.

The reality is that there is a more excellent way than what some religions teach us. We already understand that the Bible allows us to see God’s provision for our spiritual wants; makes it evident that nowhere else can we find “the words of eternal life.” And once we make this discovery, exposition of error will affect one’s spiritual walk or journey very little because the foundation of one’s faith is solid.

There will always be those that criticize the findings of scholars. We know that. There will always be questions raised. However, don’t let these questions and the zeal they invoke, cause us to set a bar to our actions that lead us to extend unkindness, hatred and slander against another person. Instead of focusing on the errors exposed, try and focus on what truths can be found in the Bible! Once you make that your focus, there will not be much of anything that will upset you. There is only one major truth that needs a person’s sole focus in order to keep at peace, one’s conscience – that truth is Jesus Christ.

I am one of those people that believe that there is nothing in the Bible, when it is properly understood, which contradicts astronomy, geology, or any of the sciences; but, it is far less important to try and convince someone of this than to show them what there is in the Bible that can give them eternal life. While questions of authority and authenticity are of great importance, and our obligation should be to acknowledge the truths that scholars bring to light in translation, we must realize that the Bible IS its own best witness despite the errors found. Once our eyes are opened to what the Bible contains – bread for the soul, medicine for depression, sadness, loss and loneliness, comfort in time of sorrow, strength in time of great and pressing need, and most important of all, hope in death—these will be the evidences we need as proof of its divine nature. Granted there are dark and uncertain places in scripture: just don’t dwell on them. Take and use what is helpful and leave the rest alone until such a time as your spirit is ready to understand them. Time and experience make for great teachers in helping us to understand later what we could not understand at first.

One thing that I have come to realize is that there are countless multitudes that are intellectually wide awake but spiritually dead. The Bible tells us plainly that, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). This explains why some are transformed completely when their spiritual eyes are opened to God’s truths. There lies in the heart of man a natural hunger for God; a hunger to KNOW Him, to be accepted of Him and, to please Him.

But what about those who say there is no God? Well, we cannot say anything to them unless we have the scholarship enough to be able to prove in detail that every part of the Bible IS from God.  Even Peter, when Jesus said things too hard to digest, decided that he would not let the sayings choke his faith and continued on saying, “To whom shall we go?” and “…we believe, and are sure, that Thou are that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:69). Peter did not feel it absolutely necessary that his understanding be opened so long as he could fall back on Christ Himself. Herein lies an important lesson for the times in which we live. There is a very prevalent notion within Christendom that the Bible is the only foundation upon which Christianity rests; that the inspiration of the Scriptures is the main truth and, that a particular translation is inerrant and infallible. But let me make a point here. The Bible NEVER claims to be the FOUNDATION of Christianity. Those that have the Bible as their foundation, or a part of their foundation, have been handed a “wooden nickel.” The scriptures tell us that “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” “Ye are built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” The Lord Himself says: “I AM the truth.” When the Word of God is spoken of by way of emphasis, it is not the written word that is meant, but the incarnate Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (See also 1 John 1: 1,2). Not the Bible, but Christ Himself, is the ultimate foundation on which the entire system of Christianity rests.

By remembering this, it will keep us clear of the disputations of men and the vitriol dished out toward those that disagree or expose the errors and abuses that lurk underneath religion’s mantle.  Think about this: WHY do you believe in Christ? Because you find it in the Bible. Why do you believe what you find in the Bible? Because the Bible is inspired. How do you know that it is inspired? Because the Bible says so. This is not sound reasoning. No intelligent Christian should ever take such a position. An inspired Bible is a broad foundation on which to build a mighty structure, but men still want to know, and we do not blame them for wanting to know, on what foundation the inspired Bible rests.

As said earlier, the Bible is its own best witness. It does bear the ability to enter into the human heart in a way that no other work in the history of the world can. It truly satisfies the soul of every human in a way that no other work can. Of course scholars have brought to light the many thousands of errors in translation – the “tares” as I call them. But, is it necessary to know what all the errors are before deciding on what foundation to rest our souls upon? No. If Christ Himself is our foundation, then our foundation is immovable, despite what is brought to light. We are not resting in the Bible, we are resting in Christ, our hope of glory.

And so, we ask another question: on what authority do you believe the Bible to be the Word of God? On authority of Christ. But how do you know about Christ so as to credit Him, and acknowledge His authority? Do we need to fall back upon inspiration for this knowledge? Not at all. We know about Him in the same way as we know about Julius Caesar, only with far greater certainty. The annals of history record the life of Christ and have shown us who he is apart from any theory of inspiration. If Jesus speaks in the name of God, then we have reason to believe what He says about God, what He says about Himself, what He says about the Holy Spirit, what He says about Scripture, what he says about our duty, what He says about our destiny.

With Christ Himself as the foundation of our faith, we have a position that is sure and much less susceptible to attack and dismantling. There have been throughout history, many objections raised regarding various passages of scripture. But what if we cannot answer these objections? It doesn’t mean they are unanswerable. Because surely all objections have been heralded over and over again throughout history and answered! It just requires far more extensive knowledge than the average Christian has. Most Christians have been spoon-fed their beliefs and many have their foundations resting on what they have been taught the Bible says. Therefore, when an objection is raised regarding contradictions and errors, it is very difficult to have an answer! How many of us have felt as if our very foundations were about to crumble because we could not answer a simple objection to a Bible story or because we could not reconcile the flood with the observations of science? Why is this? Because of the mistaken notion that the BIBLE is the innermost citadel of our faith. The Bible is not the citadel of our faith. It is the open country; and a very extended country it is. It requires an encyclopedic scholar to cover the whole ground in his mind, and to be armed at every point. What is the citadel? It is Christ Himself. And the best way for Christians to respond when they are pressed with difficult objections and questions about the Bible that they do not know the answers to is to simply respond with: “It is not Noah I believe in, or Joshua, or whatever or whomever else, but Christ.” Those are only side issues. Really, what can anyone say about Christ? Do they have anything negative to say about Him? Do they feel competent enough to criticize Him? Are they wise enough, and good enough, and great enough to sit in judgment of Him?

It is really amazing to see how well the Bible has stood the unnatural strain which has been put upon it. There are countless Christians all over the world that have dealt very unreasonably with it. They have treated it as if it claimed to have been struck off from stereotype plates in heaven and dropped down to earth—a purely divine production! Whereas the human authorship of its different parts is not only not concealed, but is spoken of just in the same way as if there were no doctrine of inspiration. Yet there are those that have claimed for it the same kind of ideal perfection that you should expect to find, if it were not human in its origin at all. Scholars have already brought to light the mistranslations, the errors and the changes in translation of texts. To blindly believe in inerrancy and infallibility, defies intellect and sound reasoning. Yet, the Bible has withstood all and is still the number one book people turn to when their souls are hurting and they are in need of comfort and strength, direction and truth. They do this not because the Bible may be their foundation of faith, but because they know that it contains the words of truth, comfort and strength they are searching for. It contains a record of the TRUTH—which is Christ. Though not inerrant, it still speaks to man’s heart and heals wounds. This said, it is not our foundation. Our foundation alone is Christ. “The Rock of Ages” whose challenge still rings out strong and clear across the centuries, “Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” And again, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life;”—and again, “Ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”

It also may be worth noting that it greatly elevates our conception of revelation to make Christ and not the Bible the ultimate foundation. We are familiar with the objection that has been made to a revelation in a book. And if it were indeed true, that it was in nothing better than a book, that God had revealed Himself, then there might be some reason why thinking people should say: “Give us the glorious revelation of nature.  Don’t ask us to turn from its magnificent pages to paper and ink!” But, this is not the case. The revelation that God has given us is not a book, but something immeasurably nobler and grander. It is a revelation in a LIFE. “The Word was made”—what? Paper and ink? Not at all. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Here indeed is a revelation worthy of God. “Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”  Most fitting is that during Jesus’ darkest hour, the rocks rend, the graves opened, and darkness overspread the sky. Greater than great nature is nature’s Lord. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him: and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Can you conceive of any revelation greater than that which God has given us in Him who is the true and eternal Word of God?

As for the Bible, it is but the record of the revelation—a priceless record—one which we can never overvalue and which we cannot too diligently study; but it is only a record: a record of His coming as the central theme, with the long course of preparation in the days of the Old Covenant, and the results in the development of the New. “Search the Scriptures, for they are they which testify of me.” John in Patmos gives the right order: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying: I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; and, What thou seest, write in a book.” So is it throughout the entire Scriptures. If in a certain sense we are “built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets,” let it never be forgotten that “Jesus Christ Himself is the chief corner-stone.” The Apostles and Prophets had no Bibles. They only had Christ, their HOPE and STRENGTH. They did not have disputations like we have today regarding inerrancy and infallibility!

In closing, let me say this regarding the terms of salvation as announced in the Bible. They also agree totally with what has been said here about our foundation of faith—it is Christ. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that, “we should believe everything that is in the Bible and we will be saved.” It is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Don’t trouble yourselves about errors and the like that the Bible contains. Trouble yourself with making SURE your foundation; that it is in CHRIST and not the BIBLE. After you have believed in Christ and taken Him as your Savior, it will not be difficult for you to find out that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine and for reproof, and for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.” And when the errors are brought to light that man has made in translation, your faith and foundation will not be shaken and, you can truly understand and utilize this Book for everyday living setting right in your mind the errors you once believed.

Let’s Ask a Scholar

QandAOne of the areas of religion that garners the most controversy with fundamentalist church leaders and lay people in the fundamentalist sect I came out of is, “original” text and “inerrancy” of the Bible. Throughout Christianity there are various sects that teach that we have a certain translation of the Bible that is inerrant and contains no mistakes; that it is inspired completely and in its very words — “verbal, plenary inspiration. (Bart Erhman)”

Some of these religious sects have Bible colleges where they not only teach this, but they also require all students and faculty that attend or teach at their colleges, to ascribe to this belief! My son went to two fundamentalist colleges that taught this view.  My daughter also went to a fundamentalist college that taught this view. The churches I raised my children in, taught this view.  I was taught this view!

To embark on this topic of discussion was, and IS, explosive within the fundamentalist Christianity I was involved in for over 18 years.  Many of these fundamentalists will get angry and hurl insults at anyone that dares to say that the Bible is not inerrant or is not infallible.  Sadly, this is because they believe what they are told within their respective religious institutions and churches; it is not because of higher secular education and scholarship. Anyone that dares to expose the errors, lies and corruptions in their teachings or Bible translation will come under attack and be the recipient of a nasty, but swift, character assassination. I have witnessed this tactic many times in the fundamentalist sect I came out of. I have even been on the receiving end of it. This is a sad testimony to the kind of “Christianity” that I was a part of for most of my life. It is quite embarrassing that a good number of the fundamentalist Christians, resort to name-calling, insults and character assassination instead of weighing out the evidence and being respectful, gracious and kind, to those they disagree with. It makes me wonder if there are any fundamentalist Christians out there that can “agree to disagree” without hurling the insults and bashing the authors! Why do many fundamentalists feel the NEED to do their best to discredit and malign those they disagree with by twisting scripture to suit their point of view? I have witnessed so much viciousness from people that call themselves “Christian” that it makes it hard to even be associated with that name! This type of behavior should not be happening amongst those that claim His name. One can disagree with someone without attacking their credibility and character! To do so, would be the CHRISTIAN thing to do and, many Christians fall short of their Christianity when it comes to opposing beliefs. They would rather leave their opponents character and credibility lying in the dust. (Please feel free to read my article Handling Opposing Beliefs.)

All this said, there are countless multitudes of people that believe that there are “original” manuscripts of the New Testament out there, when in fact, all we have “are copies of these writings, made years later–in most cases, many years later. Moreover, none of these copies is completely accurate, since the scribes who produced them inadvertently and/or intentionally changed them in places. All scribes did this. So rather than actually having the inspired words of the autographs (i.e., the originals) of the Bible, what we have are the error-ridden copies of the autographs (Bart Erhman, Misquoting Jesus, pgs 4-5.).”

Because I cover this topic in some of my articles on this blog and, I quote Bart Erhman in them, what I would like to do today is present some questions that were asked of him and answered in his book, Misquoting Jesus. Believe it or not, but question  number five is the number one question I get asked and, I always answer by telling the person what Erhman recommends and I quote his answer as it’s given below.  Before we get started, however, it is important that you know about the scholar that will be answering the questions!


Who is Bart D. Erhman?misquoting jesus

(From Bart Erhman’s website)

Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.

A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Professor Ehrman received both his Masters of Divinity and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where his 1985 doctoral dissertation was awarded magna cum laude. Since then he has published extensively in the fields of New Testament and Early Christianity, having written or edited twenty-four books, numerous scholarly articles, and dozens of book reviews.

Among his most recent books are a Greek-English edition of the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press), an assessment of the newly discovered Gospel of Judas (Oxford University Press), and four New York Times Bestsellers: Jesus Interrupted (an account of scholarly views of the New Testament), God’s Problem (an assessment of the biblical views of suffering), Misquoting Jesus (an overview of the changes found in the surviving copies of the New Testament and of the scribes who produced them) and Forged (discusses why some books in the New Testament are deliberate forgeries). His books have been translated into twenty-seven languages.

Among his fields of scholarly expertise are the historical Jesus, the early Christian apocrypha, the apostolic fathers, and the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.

Professor Ehrman has served as President of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical literature, chair of the New Testament textual criticism section of the Society, book review editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, and editor of the monograph series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers (Scholars Press). He currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs in the field.

Professor Ehrman lectures extensively throughout the country. Winner of numerous university awards and grants, he is the recipient of the 2009 J. W. Pope “Spirit of Inquiry” Teaching Award, the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching.

Professor Ehrman has two children, a daughter, Kelly, and a son, Derek. He is married to Sarah Beckwith (Ph.D., King’s College London), Marcello Lotti Professor of English at Duke University. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.


For a list of books published by Bart Erhman, click here: Books Published by Bart D. Erhman.  I highly recommend all of his books to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge and education in an area that very few endeavor to embark upon.

Because Erhman’s works have had a life-changing affect on my life,  I felt that it would be very important for him to answer some questions that you may have or, that I may have.  After reading Misquoting Jesus, I was so appreciative that Erhman took the time to put some questions and answers at the end of his book. Some of these questions below are from his book, while the last two questions are ones that I have that he answers in the back of his book.  I sincerely hope that these few questions can open a door of understanding for readers and allow them to think beyond what mainstream religion has taught them. If you wish to read more of his questions, or his book, please feel free to purchase a copy of it. It will be a life-changing book for any reader. At the end of the Q & A, I have a video of Erhman that would be worth watching for anyone interested in hearing how the Bible was changed.


Questions for the Scholar

 1. Why do so many people—including some ultraconservative scholars with full access to the manuscript record—insist that the Bible is without error? And why is the inerrancy of Scripture the supposed foundation upon which all other Christian beliefs stand or fall?

Actually the view that the Bible is inerrant is a completely modern idea—it is not the traditional “Christian” view since time immemorial. Many Christians especially in my part of the world, the American South, don’t realize this, but simply assume that belief in the Bible has always been the central tenet of the Christian faith. But that’s not true. In fact, the views of inerrancy held by evangelical and fundamentalist Christians today were developed less than a century ago, in a set of conflicts in Christian circles in the United States.

I tell my students that there are two approaches that one can take toward the question of whether the Bible is inerrant. One approach—the approach I took as a late teenager—is simply to presuppose that it is inerrant. If you take this approach, then anything that looks like an error in Scripture is obviously not an error (since the Bible cannot have any errors). I no longer find this approach satisfying. This presupposition about Scripture as without error is a modern invention of fundamentalist theologians; it is not the traditional Christian view of the Bible. And if we simply want to presuppose a belief (about God, Christ, the Bible), rather than rationally thinking about it—what good is it to have a mind to think with? Some people object to this, saying, ”How can you question God?” My response is that I’m not at all questioning God; I’m questioning your opinion about God.

The other approach to the question of inerrancy is to remain neutral on the question of whether the Bible (or any other book) has any mistakes, and simply read it for yourself to see. If there are errors in it, then it is not inerrant!

Once you open yourself up to the possibility that there can be inconsistencies, contradictions, geographical mistakes, historical misstatements, scientific errors, and so on in the Bible, you will certainly find them. They are in there, all over the place.

In short, I think it is best to approach Christianity (any kind of Christianity: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, mainstream Protestant, evangelical, or any other kind), or any faith, with an open mind—making sure to use the mind! Those who believe in God surely think God gave us a mind to think with. And so no one should check their brains at the door when they enter through the portals of their religion.

2.  You once viewed the Bible as encapsulating the very words of God. Then, during your time at Princeton, you came to regard the Bible as “a human book from beginning to end.” Why does it have to be one or the other?

Actually, I don’t think that it does have to be one or the other. In fact, most Christian thinkers whom I know think that the Bible is both: a book containing the Word of God and a book shaped by human hands.

When I started out as a believer in high school, though, I thought (and was taught) that the Bible was unsullied by human hands, that it was completely divine, down to its very words. This was the view taught at Moody Bible Institute, where I went to college; we called it the “verbal plenary inspiration” of Scripture. Inspiration was verbal (down to the very words) and plenary (complete from beginning to end).

Now I realize that most Christians throughout history—in fact the vast majority of Christians—have never thought any such thing about the Bible. And most Christian thinkers today do not think so. The Bible is understood in many, many ways (by many, many different Christians); but for most Christians it in some sense contains or conveys the Word of God, even though this word comes through the human words of the text, written by human authors.

That was more or less the view I adopted when I stopped being an evangelical Christian, and began associating with more mainline Christian denominations (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian), during my graduate student days and later.

I eventually came to think, however, that I could no longer subscribe even to this broader understanding of the inspiration of Scripture. In large part this was because of my studies: I came to see that the Bible was a book written by human authors, and if it was “inspired,” it was in the way that other sacred books (the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Christian apocrypha) and other great literature (Shakespeare, Milton, John Donne) were inspired. Many of the books of the New Testament (for example, Mark, John, and Galatians) are works of religious genius, and sometimes we just have to stand back in reverential awe at their beauty and power. But in  my opinion, they are human books nonetheless. They are filled with human biases, perspectives, opinions, and ideas, and often one book stands completely at odds with the views of another book (as I have tried to show in some of my other writings). That’s why it is a problem answering the question, “What does the Bible say about X?” Often the Bible will say many different things about “X.” And about “Y” and “Z” as well!

3. All study Bibles, across the full range of translations, include notes that identify verses with questionable historical accuracy. Why do you think that most people are unaware of these New Testament problems that you reveal in the book?

This is a great question, and it’s one that I’ve often wondered about. My guess is that there is a simple answer: most people don’t read the footnotes!

The facts that I explain about the New Testament in Misquoting Jesus are not at all “news” to biblical scholars. They are what scholars have known, and said, for many, many years. These are the facts: we have thousands of copies of the New Testament in its original Greek language, written over a period of centuries; these copies all differ from one another in ways great and small; most of these differences are significant—some of them slightly significant for understanding an author’s nuances, others of enormous significance affecting the interpretation of an entire passage, or even a book.

Why is it that this came as “news” to many readers of Misquoting Jesus? In large part because scholars (and Christian pastors and teachers) have been reluctant or unable to communicate the message to a broad audience. But this is information that readers of the New Testament have the right to know! It should not simply be tucked away in footnotes, but should be loudly proclaimed in Christian education classes, by Christian leaders and educators, in books about the Bible, and in editions of the Bible. It should be proclaimed from the rooftops and taught on the ground. This is information that is crucial for our understanding of the Bible, the most important book—whether looked at religiously or culturally—in the history of our form of civilization.

4. Do the same kinds of textual mistakes show up in the Old Testament as well? What about the Koran?

The Hebrew Bible is filled with lots of textual problems—as we have come to realize, for example, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, where copies of the Hebrew Bible a thousand years older than our previously earliest copy turned up. Even though Jewish scribes were incredibly meticulous and exacting in the Middle Ages, in earlier centuries (for example around the time when Christianity arose, and earlier) scribes made numerous changes in their texts. You can see this simply by looking at a good modern translation of the Hebrew Bible, such as the New Revised Standard Version, where in the footnotes to books like 1 and 2 Samuel there are numerous passages where translators are not sure what the original text was. And this is not counting those intriguing passages, such as a number in the book of Job, for example, where translators are not even sure what some words mean because they are so rare!

One difference with the Hebrew Bible is that there are far, far fewer original manuscripts than for the New Testament. The standard editions of the Hebrew Bible, in Hebrew, depend on the readings of one manuscript that was produced around the year 1000 CE. With the New Testament, the standard editions are based on thousands of manuscripts that date all the way back to the second century. It appears that when Jewish scribes of the Middle Ages copied their texts, they destroyed the manuscript they were copying. Christians didn’t do that, so there are many more manuscripts for the New Testament: and the more manuscripts there are the more errors you will find.

After I wrote Misquoting Jesus, I started getting a lot of e-mails from all sorts of people. One common kind of e-mail was from people who wanted me to know that even though the New Testament had textual problems, the books that they revered were absolutely perfect, with no mistakes and no textual errors. Most commonly these emails came from people who wanted me to convert to follow either the Book of Mormon or (on the other side of the religious spectrum!) the Koran.

My own view is that every piece of religious literature is produced by human hands, and that human hands are never perfect. Anyone who claims that a religious book is perfect is making a statement of faith, not a statement of fact. People believe that their own sacred texts are perfect, but very few of these people (including the kindhearted ones who have sent me e-mails) have actually engaged in the kind of detailed textual study of their texts that I, and others like me, have engaged in with respect to the New Testament. If they did so—what would they find? My hunch is that they would find that all the works of religious genius are produced by human hands, and they all have the imprints of those hands still upon them.

5. Is there an English translation that comes closest to preserving the “original” text instead of the text as changed by scribes over the years?

Looking back, I see that I certainly should have expected the question. The reason I didn’t is because I know full well–as does every other scholar in the field–that all modern translators are thoroughly aware of the textual problems posed by our manuscripts, so that all modern translations attempt to get back to the original text (this isn’t “news” to the translators!)

Still, it is an important question, and so I can here indicate the answer I have almost always given: my own preference, in terms of a modern English Bible translation, is the New Revised Standard Version, which I especially like in a study Bible format, such as the Harper Collins Study Bible. I think this is a highly judicious translation, done by some of the world’s best biblical scholars, who come from a range of religious and theological persuasions, so that it is not biased toward one theological point of view over another.

6. Is the information that you cover in your book, “new?”

One of the striking things about Misquoting Jesus is that it contains information that scholars have known for a long, long time. Centuries even. But most non-scholars have never heard of it. And that was the reason I wrote the book in the first place, to explain such information to the nonscholar . . . to average, normal, ordinary readers of the Bible who do not have access to the ancient languages (Greek, Latin, Coptic, Syriac, etc.) in which it was copied, but are nonetheless interested in knowing–and are entitled to know–where the New Testament came from and how it was copied over the centuries, down to the present day.

7. Do the textual differences really make that much of a difference?

. . . If you change what the words say, then you change what the passage means. Most textual variants have no bearing at all on what a passage means. But there are other textual variants that are crucial to the meaning of a passage. And the theology of entire books of the New Testament are sometimes affected by the meaning of individual passages.

From my point of view, the stakes are rather high: Does Luke’s Gospel teach a doctrine of atonement (that Christ’s death atones for sins)? Does John’s Gospel teach that Christ is the “unique God” himself? Is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity ever explicitly stated in the New Testament? These and other key theological issues are at stake, depending on which textual variants you think are original and which you think are creations of early scribes who were modifying the text.

Where I differ from some critics is on the other differences, the ones that do matter. Some of these are in fact highly significant. Some of them affect how a verse is to be interpreted; others affect the meaning of an entire passage of the New Testament, or even an entire book of the New Testament. That strikes me as something that is important to know.

Varieties of Ancient Christianity

loaves and fishes picI wanted to share a little of information I learned from reading Lost Christianites by Bart D. Erhman. Most people do not realize how diverse the belief systems of the early Christians were. So, here is a list of some of them to help us understand what was believed. Christian theological beliefs vary just as widely today as they did then; thus, the reason for all the different denominations within each religious sect. There were many different theological beliefs that were embraced by the early Christians.  The second and third centuries show us that there were Christians that:

  • Believed in one God
  • Believed in two Gods
  • Believed in thirty gods
  • Believed in over 300 gods
  • Believed that God had created the world
  • Believed that this world had been created by a subordinate, ignorant divinity  (because of all the evil and misery it contained)
  • Believed that this world was a cosmic mistake created by a malevolent divinity as a place of imprisonment to trap humans and subject them to pain and suffering.
  • Believed that the Jewish Scripture (Old Testament) was inspired by the one true God.
  • Believed the Jewish Scripture (Old Testament) was inspired by the God of the Jews who was not the one true God.
  • Believed the Jewish Scripture (Old Testament) was inspired by an evil deity.
  • Believed the Jewish Scripture (Old Testament) was not inspired.
  • Believed that Jesus was both divine and human, God and man.
  • Believed that Jesus was completely divine and not human at all.
  • Believed that Jesus was a full flesh-and-blood human, adopted by God to be his son but not himself divine.
  • Believed that Jesus was two things: a full flesh-and-blood human, Jesus, and a fully divine being, Christ, who had temporarily inhabited Jesus’ body during his ministry and left him prior to his death, inspiring his teachings and miracles but avoiding the suffering in its aftermath.
  • Believed that Jesus’ death brought about the salvation of the world.
  • Believed that Jesus’ death had nothing to do with the salvation of the world.
  • Believed that Jesus never died.

How could some of these views be considered Christian? How could Christians hold such views? Didn’t they consult their New Testament to find out if what they believed was true or not?

Answer:  There was no New Testament. The manuscripts had not been gathered into widely recognized and authoritative canon of Scripture yet.

What are We to Believe?

believeOn this blog, I have taken early church history and systematically gone through and pointed out what other scholars and historians have already pointed out. Nothing that I have pointed out is of my own, but merely an acknowledgment of what has already been delivered by those who have gone on before or, are currently experts in their fields of Biblical Literacy and scholarship today. I have quoted what other scholars have pointed out as mistranslations and misinterpretations of the Bible regarding women, regarding worship, regarding practice, dogmas, etc. I have quoted early church history to show where all the different corruptions came into being, thus changing the system of worship into what it has become. But, there are some who are sure to reason within themselves: “What am I to believe, then? And WHOM am I to believe?”  — as though it were ever intended that our faith should rest in uninspired human beings — which the translators were! I would hope that the majority of those that would read the many articles on this site would consider this thought by Katherine Bushnell in 1923: Maybe we should never rest until we have seen to it that a sufficiently large number of women are trained in the original languages so that women’s voices can be heard as to what the precise meanings of such passages in the Bible are as relating to women. In doing so, this will allow women’s temporal and spiritual interests to receive their due consideration. Better, far better, that we should doubt every translator of the Bible than to doubt the inspiration of St. Paul’s utterances about women; and the justice of God towards women; or, above all, to doubt that “Christ hath redeemed us” (women) “from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13).

Sadly, Bushnell said this back in the early 1900s. She was ONE of just a handful of women scholars of her day. Today, there are many more female scholars out there. The majority of scholars agree on the mistranslations. They know what they are. They realize that many wrong translations and scribal notes, inserted as scripture into the text, point women into positions of servitude. They know this. What I have learned from all of them is that this inequality of the sexes, propagated by these changes in translation, have led to the abuse of the ones being subordinated. . . and that’s frustrating!

We must realize that what Bushnell said back then when she quoted Dean Payne-Smith’s words, still applies today. “Men never do understand anything unless already in their minds they have some kindred ideas.” She went on to say, “it is not worth our while to complain that men have not always seen truths that had no special application to their needs, either in interpreting or in translating the Bible; we merely wish to point out wherein there is need of changes. Supposing WOMEN ONLY had translated the Bible, from age to age, is there likelihood that men would have rested content with the outcome?  Therefore, our brothers have no good reason to complain if, while conceding that men have done the best they could alone, we assert that they did not do THE BEST THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE. The work would have been of a much higher order had they first helped women to learn the sacred languages, (instead of putting obstacles in their way), and then, have given them a place by their side on translation committees. . . And the true value of woman’s powers will never be known so long as her self-respect is destroyed by teaching her that she rests under God’s curse and is bound to remain in perpetual subordination to her husband, even when he happens to be a fool or a scamp; and this is what the Church unconsciously teaches in its sweeping assertions as to woman’s “subordination” to her husband, — never pausing to define (even if this were true), WHAT SORT OF A HUSBAND is entitled to act as her superior and ruler.

Bushnell brings out some pretty good points here. What IF men had not suppressed women and their educations and, allowed for them to help in scripture translations? Every time I read Bart Erhman’s works, Rabbi Telushkin’s works, Thayer, Bushnell and others, it is hard not to get frustrated with what has been done to women through translation. What is even more frustrating is that men ignore the fact that incorrect translation of scripture is the reason for the inequality in the world today and, the abuses that have risen as a result.  She also points out that these corruptions force women into subordination to wicked husbands – which leads to their abuse.  These scholars and others that have been quoted on this site, have all been shouting the errors that theologians have, to a large degree, ignored. I simply have taken the time to put their words here and just expound my thoughts on them. Remember that I am NOT the MESSENGER, THEY ARE. I am just giving their words a voice by quoting them here.

So what are we to do? We know that the majority cannot learn to read the Hebrew and Greek. It would be preposterous to even suggest that.  But, here’s a thought that Bushnell gives: “If we find even in the Bible anything which confuses our sense of right and wrong, that seems to us less exalted and pure than the character of God should be: if after the most patient thought and prayerful pondering it still retains that aspect, THEN WE MUST NOT BOW DOWN TO IT AS GOD’S REVELATION TO US, since it does not meet the need of the earlier and more sacred revelation He has given us in our spirit and conscience which testify of Him. We must remember that no translation can rise much above the character of the translator, — who must be chosen, not simply because of his reputation for unprejudiced honesty, but for learning too. He cannot properly render what has not as yet entered in the least into his own consciousness as the truth; and the Holy Spirit invariably refuses to seal to us as TRUTH that which is ERROR. Rather, He will warn us against accepting the error, even though it appears on the page of our Bible translation.”

What she is saying is that the Spirit of God in us will not bare witness to a corruption. I understand this so very well.  My worst inner turmoil throughout my life as a Christian was because of the truths that God showed me in scripture that contradicted what was taught at church. I would like to add my own suggestion here, as well. Here it is: If you read something in scripture that leans itself toward inequality – remember, inequality always leads to abuses – then ignore it. It’s a corruption.

However, I realize that as long as errors still exist in translation, women will never be given their equality, honor and dignity back. They will never be given their VALUE back as human beings. Since we cannot undo what’s been done, then let’s follow Bushnell’s suggestion and let the Holy Spirit lead us into truth and not the opinions and interpretations of men.

The Worship of Relics and Dead Men’s Bones

relic worshipDuring the early centuries, there were many corruptions to Christianity that took place. I have systematically tried to touch on as many of them on this blog as I can in order to show that these corruptions still exist today.  Some of the corruptions, as we have seen, have had a huge impact on societies and cultures around the world. One of the corruptions that many do not realize is a corruption, is the worship of relics. These relics, during the early centuries were usually the dead bones, body parts or blood of the martyrs as you will see from this excerpt from Early Church History to the Death of Constantine. However, as shown in this example of the legend of Constantine’s mother, we clearly see that it was not limited to such. Sadly, during this time period, the state of Christianity had declined substantially. The mix of paganism into Christian worship was to blame for a large part, however, not all.  Another root cause for some of the corruptions, as mentioned repeatedly on this blog, was control, power, prestige and money.  This said, let’s look at what history tells us about the worship of relics and when this practice came into being. At the end of this excerpt, I will try to bring this practice around to today so we can see the true nature of it. Here it is.

Early Church History to the Death of Constantine

Edward Backhouse, 1906, pgs 249 – 251

THE WORSHIP OF RELICS. We have seen how the brethren who in the year 258 flocked to witness Cyprian’s triumph over death, spread handkerchiefs on the ground before him to catch his blood; and in how foolish a way Lucilla, half a century later, manifested her veneration for the memory of the martyrs. There were, it is probable, many Lucillas during this period, but it does not appear that the adoration of relics came into general use before the middle of the fourth century.

One relic, however, had already begun to command universal veneration previous to the death of Constantine. This was the wood of the supposed true cross. The following is the account handed down and believed for many centuries, of the finding of the cross. In the year 326, the Empress Helena, Constantine’s mother, then nearly eighty years of age, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to offer up prayer and to visit the sacred places. When Hadrian destroyed Jerusalem and built Aelia Capitolina on its site, tradition states that in order to obliterate every trace of the Holy Sepulchre, he raised the ground around it and erected there temples to Jupiter and Venus. The Empress (so we are told), guided by a heavenly dream, discovered the spot which had been so carefully concealed. She caused the temples to be destroyed, and on the ground being cleared, the sepulchre was discovered with three crosses lying near it, and apart from them the superscription set up by Pilate! Being doubtful which of the crosses was the Lord’s, the Empress, with the Bishop Macarius, subjected them to a miraculous test. A lady of Jerusalem was lying at the point of death. The bishop suggested that all three crosses should be applied to the dying woman. The first two produced no effect, but at the touch of the third she rose up before them perfectly healed. The identity of the true cross being thus determined, a portion of it was encased in silver and committed to Macarius to be kept at Jerusalem; the remainder, together with the nails, was sent to Constantine, who enclosed it in his own statue, which stood in the forum of the city on a column of porphyry, and fixed some of the nails in his helmet. He had the rest wrought into a head piece and bit for his horse, and used them in his wars; in which the next age saw the fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy: “There shall be on the bridles of the horses holiness unto the Lord!”  So miserably had men perverted the religion of Christ; so completely had the words of the angels to the women at the sepulchre been forgotten, “Why seek ye the living among the dead ?”

Note: The details of this legend, variously related, rest on the authority of works written from fifty to a hundred years after the event. One of the authors to whom we owe them, Socrates Scholasticus, candidly confesses, either in reference to the piece of the cross or to the whole legend, “This indeed I have by report and have written it down.” The silence of contemporary writers is very noteworthy. In the Itinerary of the anonymous pilgrim from Bordeaux to Jerusalem, referred to the year 333, we have a description of the city, with the mention of many of the traditional sites both of the Old and New Testament. Amongst these are the Mount of Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre, with the beautiful church recently erected over it by Constantine; yet there is no allusion to the cross, nor is the name of Helena once mentioned. Eusebius again whose Life of Constantine was written probably in 338, records the visit of the Empress to Jerusalem, but does not connect her name in any way with the place of Crucifixion or with the Holy Sepulchre; he only speaks of the place as “the spot which was discovered.” Constantine himself, in his epistle to Macarius, although he seems to speak of the discovery of the sepulchre as miraculous, says nothing regarding the manner of its discovery, and nothing respecting the cross. Lastly Cyril, whose catechetical lectures were delivered some twenty years later on the very spot, has nothing to say regarding the Empress.

It was not, however, only a credulous old lady and her superstitious son, or an ignorant bishop, who fell into such a snare; the whole Christian world seems to have been ready to follow them. Cyril of Jerusalem, writing not more than twenty years after the supposed discovery, says that by that time the wood of the cross had been diffused nearly throughout the whole world. The fact is that men’s minds had long been preparing for a return to idolatry in some form. The Church had become like the trees in some wide valley of the western world at the end of a scorching season; the legend of the discovery was the spark by which the forest was set on a blaze. By A.D. 386 the interposition of the law was requisite to check the traffic in sacred remains. “Let no one remove a buried body; let no one carry away or sell a martyr.” It was the monks, as Augustine tells us, who were the foremost in “retailing the limbs of martyrs, if martyrs they are.” (Backhouse)


What we can see from this tidbit of history is that merchandising of ” men’s souls” had already begun to take place. In the Revelation, it mentions this merchandising:

Rev 18:13:  And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

Today, this merchandising and worship of relics still takes place. As a matter of fact, my mother and father purchased a dead bone of one of our ancestors, St. Francis of Assisi, from the Church of Rome many years ago when I was just a teenager being raised in the Catholic Church. This dead bone was so holy that it was required to be encased in a gold chalice. This relic and chalice cost my parents a lot of money to secure.  I was told, as a young child, that if ever any sickness came upon any of our family members, this bone could be placed in the body and it would heal the sickness. I was also told that every year on the feast day of St. Francis, the bone would bleed and my mother would have to clean the relic.  I don’t know what ever happened to that relic. I don’t even know if my parent’s ever used it, or if it bled like I was told. My thoughts, as a child, were these:

  • How could they possibly know that this bone belonged to a relative of ours from centuries ago?
  • How could the Church of Rome possibly PROVE that it belonged to our dead relative who was martyred so long ago?
  • How could my parents PROVE that it was a bone from a relative?
  • Was there some type of DNA testing that proved this bone was a relative of ours?
  • Do they just save a bunch of bones from dead people for centuries waiting on someone to purchase them?
  • Where are they getting these dead body pieces to sell?

Needless to say, worshiping of relics of all kinds takes place the world over. Another memory I have as a young adult was this: I remember watching an evangelist on TV. He was selling pieces of cloth that he had prayed over that were supposed to have some miraculous power. Anyone that donated a certain amount of money to his ministry would get one of these “holy” cloths (relic). What I remember so vividly during that time was that I was searching for God. This TV evangelist used eloquent words to play off the emotions of his listeners to get them to donate to his ministry in order to get one of these holy cloths. I was so broke at the time, but, I found a way to come up with the money to donate and get that cloth! As ignorant as I was about religion and God, I wanted to have God with me. That holy cloth represented God to me. I don’t know what ever happened to that cloth, but the memory is a constant reminder of how a very poor person can be hoodwinked into giving up their money. It happens all the time in religion.

On a visit to Jerusalem, I saw that many of the holy sites were fenced off and learned that the reason for it was to keep people from picking pieces off of them because they believed that there was some miraculous power to them. The olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemene and the tomb of Jesus are just two of the sites that had to be protected from this.

Relics are a great revenue stream. I understand this. The truth of the matter is, however, that many people do not understand that it is only a revenue stream!  Churches the world over sell relics of all kinds, but, I only know of one that merchandises the “souls of men” through the selling of body parts. Think about it. To this day, I don’t know how they got away, legally, with sending my parents a bone from a dead person encased in a gold chalice. I have to also mention this: How do we even know that it was a bone? It could have been a piece of petrified wood and my parents would never have known. But the point is this: The Church said it was a bone and, not just any bone, it was a bone from our distant relative who was a Saint!  Isn’t it amazing that we will believe everything the church tells us without putting forth our own effort to research to find out if what we are being told is true? Isn’t it also amazing that, if we just use a little common sense, it could save us a lot of money! Whether or not this bone had miraculous powers, I will never know. But, as a child and then an adult, the same questions persist in my mind.

One more thought before I finish. If you look at the picture above, you will notice that this excerpt from a piece of Catholic literature tells us that for centuries people have traveled to that particular shrine to worship the relics in it. Worshiping relics takes away from worshiping God. It is idolatry. Idolatry has been going on from the earliest of ages. God hates idolatry. Just something else to think about.


Suffering Souls in Purgatory

Suffering Souls in Purgatory

Amongst the Christians of the second and third centuries there was a widespread belief that the soul when it leaves the body enters upon an intermediate state, to be exchanged at the resurrection for one of eternal duration, either of happiness or misery. Many believed also that for the righteous this inter mediate state would come to an end a thousand years before the general resurrection. This was the doctrine of the Millennium. It was supposed also that the souls of the righteous while in their separate abode, anxiously look forward to the time of their release, and it was for this release as well as for their refreshment during the term of imprisonment, that their surviving friends were accustomed to offer prayer.

An illustration of this belief is to be found in the narrative of Perpetua’s martyrdom. When she was in prison, as related in an earlier chapter, she prayed for her little brother, whom she saw tormented with thirst in a gloomy place: and in answer to her prayer the gloom gave way to light, and her brother, refreshed with abundance of water, ran off to play joyously after the manner of children. “By this,” she says, “I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment.”

Origen’s inquisitive mind often busied itself with speculations concerning the nature and destiny of the soul, and he came to the conclusion that no human being at the time of death is so entirely free from sin as to be fit for heaven, He held that every disembodied soul, even of the best of men, must undergo purification by fire, but he supposed that this was to take place, not immediately after death, but at the time of the final resurrection.

Thus did the doctrine of purgatory begin to spring up, an evil weed, which, nurtured by the Church of Rome, has done so much to keep men’s souls in darkness. It is a doctrine which may be safely said to have no foundation in Holy Scripture, nor is any allusion made to it by the writers of the sub- apostolic age. It is probable that the general belief at this period regarding the pardon and purification of the dead was of a much milder form than it took in the narrative of Perpetua’s vision, and very far removed from the purgatory of later times. It thus appears in the Apostolical Constitutions : “Let us pray for every brother who is at rest in Christ, that God the lover of mankind, who has received his soul, may forgive him every sin, voluntary and involuntary.” — Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, 1906, Pg 247.

Purgatory is an invention of the Church of Rome. In case one has ever wondered how it came into being, here we have the historical account. Why does one think this was invented? History tells us the answer to this question. But, what have you been told?

Character Assassination – Part 3

CAThroughout this three part series, we have discovered that there are many tactics that can be used to silence and discredit those that expose abuse and lies, or, question the dogmas, doctrines and rules of the church. History is fraught with the use of these tactics against God’s people who would not bow to the authority of the Church of Rome or its leaders. The religious crowd has become very proficient in Character Assassination because they have had centuries of practice to really get good at it.

Throughout history and today, Character Assassination is the tool of Evil men and women. It is not a tool of God. Those that use it to spread hate and slander against others, are not God’s people. During Tyndale’s era, it always led to death. Today, in many countries, it still leads to death. This tactic, we must realize, is a tool of Evil and always lends itself to such. But let’s look at the final tactics of Character Assassination as it pertained to William Tyndale.

The Martyrdom of William Tyndale (1536)william tyndale

       The New Foxes Book of Martyrs,

                    Pages 129 – 133

When Tyndale had translated the Book of Deuteronomy, he wanted to print it in Hamburg, Germany, and so started by ship in that direction. But his ship was wrecked on the coast of Holland, and he lost all his books, writings and copies, money and time, and had to start over again. He continued to Hamburg on another ship, and with the help of a Master Coverdale, re-translated all five books of Moses — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy — from Easter until December of 1529, in the house of a pious widow, Mistress Margaret Van Emmerson. After finishing, he returned to Antwerp.

At the end of his English New Testament, Tyndale inserted a letter asking any who read the translation to inform him if they found the least error in it, or if there was any of the translation that they thought was wrong and should be corrected. But the papist clergy, not wanting the book to succeed, cried out against it and said there were a thousand heresies in it, and that it was not to be corrected, but totally done away with.

Tactic # 10: LIE, LIE, LIE – while continuing to perpetrate tactics #7, #8 and #9!

Some of the clergy said it wasn’t possible to translate the Scriptures into English. Some said it wasn’t lawful for the lay people to have a New Testament in their common language. Some said it would make all the lay people heretics. And to persuade secular rulers like Sir Thomas More to be on their side, which he already was since he was an unswerving Roman Catholic, they said it would make the people rebel against the king.

These English clergymen, who should have been guides of light to the people, would not translate the Bible themselves or allow anyone else to translate it. All they wanted was to keep the people in darkness and manipulate their consciences with foolish superstitions and false doctrines. In that way they could satisfy their personal ambitions and greedy covetousness, and exalt their own honor above that of any king or emperor — even above Christ Himself.


Ok, it’s time for me to interject some thoughts here. WOW! I have been shouting this truth for over a year now in my books, Religion’s Cell: Doctrines of the Church that Lead to Bondage and Abuse and, The Truth About Tithing. I have also been shouting this truth on this blog at every opportunity in my articles! NOW, we see the root causes once again, that are the reason for all of this garbage the clergy have been dishing out to Tyndale; and they are the same root causes that exist today! They are the reason for the Character Assassination of those that speak out against the lies of the religious system and the abuses they hide. The root causes are: GREED, POWER and PRESTIGE. If you have not read the Balaam Phenomenon that I have on my blog, I would suggest doing so as it covers this topic in today’s terms. Now that we know what drives the church “system” and its leaders, let’s continue the story.


The bishops and other church officials never rested until the king agreed with them.

Tactic #11: Get the secular authorities involved! Believe it or not, but religious leaders have connections within government. When they need to use them, they do. Lawsuits are one of the many favorite tactics religious leaders use against those that speak out or expose abuse. Religious leaders also use the legal system to separate and destroy family units.

And so in 1537, a proclamation was hastily written and published under secular authority prohibiting Tyndale’s New Testament translation anywhere in England. Not satisfied with that, however, the clergy proceeded to make plans to entangle Tyndale in their nets and take his life from him.

Tactic 12: Kill the “heretic.” Unfortunately, I know personally, religious abuse survivors that have had numerous death threats because they exposed lies and abuses within their respective churches. Yes, it still takes place even today. These death threats came from “Christians.” 

They did it this way.

Tactic 13: KNOW your heretic well. This helps in entrapping them.

From examining the records of London, it is obvious that the bishops and Sir Thomas More had in their custody several who had been with Tyndale in Antwerp, and they carefully questioned them to find out all they could about Tyndale, what belonged to him, in whose house he stayed, where the house was, what he looked like, how he dressed when he went out, where he usually went, and where he met with others. When they had learned all these things, they set about to work their ungodly deed.

Tactic 14: Find someone who will pretend to be the “heretics” friend and then betray him, or, bribe and existing friend to betray him. In Tyndale’s case, they did both.

In Antwerp, William Tyndale had lived about a year in the house of Thomas Pointz, an Englishman who kept a boarding house for English merchants. A Henry Philips, whose father was a merchant and did business in Antwerp, came to the city seemingly on business for his father. He had a servant with him and seemed to be a trustworthy gentleman. Tyndale often ate dinner in a place frequented by merchants, and there he met Philips, who somehow quickly gained Tyndale’s confidence and friendship. So much so, that Tyndale had him over to Pointz’s house to visit and once or twice to dinner. He even obtained temporary lodgings for Philips at the house, and so trusted him that he showed him his books and other secret things in his study.

Thomas Pointz, however, had no such confidence in Philips and asked Tyndale how he became acquainted with him. Tyndale replied that he was an honest man, well educated, and quite in agreement with his plans. Seeing that Philips had such favor with Tyndale, Pointz said no more, thinking that they probably became acquainted through some mutual friend.

After some time in the city, Philips asked Pointz to show him around the commercial area where he might make some purchases. During their walk they talked about various things, including affairs of the king of England, but nothing was said that made Pointz suspect anything. After awhile, however, Pointz began to understand that Philips was trying to determine whether for money he would help him in a plan he had. Pointz knew that Philips had plenty of money, for several times Philips had asked him for help in obtaining certain things, always of the best, and Philips always said, “I have enough money.” The plan and money were eventually discussed, and Pointz agreed to what Philips wanted him to do.

The next day Philips went to Brussels, about twenty-four miles from Antwerp, and brought back with him the procurator-general, who was the emperor’s attorney, and several officers of the law. About three days later Pointz went to Barrois, eighteen miles from Antwerp, where he said he had business that would keep him away from his house for four to six weeks.

A few days after Pointz left, Henry Philips came to Pointz’s house about midmorning and asked his wife if Master Tyndale was there. When told that he was, he left and positioned the officers he brought from Brussels in the street and around the front door. About noon he came back and went to Tyndale’s rooms and asked him to lend him forty shillings, “for,” he said, “I lost my wallet this morning on the trip from Mechelen.” So Master Tyndale gave him forty shillings, which was easy to get from him if he had it, for he was a trusting man and inexperienced in the deceptive ways of the world. Then Philip said, “Master Tyndale, you shall by my dinner guest here today.”

Tyndale replied, “No, I’m going out today to dinner, and you are welcome to come with me and be my guest.”

So when it was dinner time, they left Tyndale’s rooms to go out. At the front of Pointz’s house was a narrow entryway that only one could go through at a time. Tyndale courteously offered to let Philips go first, but Philips made a show of it and insisted that Tyndale go first. Master Tyndale was a short man, and Philips was quie a bit taller. When they got to the door where Philips had positioned the officers in such a way that they could see who came out, he pointed downward toward Tyndale from behind him to let the officers know that he was the one they should arrest. After they put Tyndale into prison, the officers told Thomas Pointz that they felt sorry for Tyndale when they saw how simple and trusting he was.

After Tyndale’s arrest, the procurator-general and some officers went to Tyndale’s rooms and took away everything that belonged to him, including all his writings and books. They then took Tyndale to the castle of Vilvorde, eighteen miles from Antwerp.

In prison, Tyndale was offered the services of a procurator to represent him, and an advocator to speak for him, both of which he refused, saying he would speak for himself. During his imprisonment, Tyndale preached so much and well to his jailers and those who came to know him, that they reported that if Tyndale wasn’t a good Christian man they had no way of knowing who was.

Tactic 15: Use the legal system against the “heretic” to finish the job. Believe it or not, many abusive men and women have used the legal system to intimidate and destroy people’s lives. If you can destroy someone legally, you can utterly destroy them.

Although Tyndale answered the questions of his inquisitors truthfully and with good use of reason, no reason was enough to save him from their hate and determination to destroy him and his work. Although he did not deserve to die, he was condemned by reason of a decree made by holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, when the emperor and the Roman Catholics rejected the Protestant position that was presented to the assembly.

On October 6, 1536, in the town of Vilvorde in the Netherlands, William Tyndale, God’s first translator of the New Testament into English, was brought to a place of execution, tied to a stake, strangled by the hangman to the point of death, and then burned in fire for doing God’s work. As he met the Lord, Tyndale cried with a loud voice, “Lord! Open the king of England’s eyes!”

So powerful was Tyndale’s doctrine and the godliness of his life, that during the year and a half of his imprisonment, it is said that he converted the jailer and his daughter and several others of his household.

Concerning his translation of the New Testament, because his enemies found so many faults in disagreeable ways and claimed it was full of heresy, William Tyndale wrote from prison to his friend, John Frith, “I call God to record against the day we shall appear before the Lord Jesus, that I never altered one syllable of God’s Word against my conscience, nor would I do so this day if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches might be given to me.”


Now, let me wrap up this story by bringing this subject of Character Assassination around to today. Injustice is always a tragedy. When those that try to expose corruption, abuse, lies and deception step forward, it automatically brings with it the possibility of Character Assassination. But, don’t let it stop you from coming forward because, if enough do, it can totally change the playing field for the better. There really is power in numbers!  If you see someone slandering another person and their work, think about William Tyndale and this tactic. If you see a blog that attacks others by name, and tries to discredit their works, think about William Tyndale.  REAL Christians should NOT do these things. They should have the genuine LOVE, GRACE and CHARACTER to reason, agree to disagree, and move on. There is a way to disagree with someone in love and, history also tells us how it is done. Read, Handling Opposing Beliefs, that I wrote back on July 12th. It will tell you how it’s done.

Anyone that cannot disagree with others while still being respectful and gracious toward them, has a problem. They are not concerned with treating those they oppose with respect, honor and dignity.

Any person whose main goal is to attack and discredit through any of the mentioned tactics of Character Assassination, those with opposing views or beliefs, those that expose lies in doctrine or dogma, or, those that expose  abuses, should be ignored. Don’t help them spread their hate toward others by sharing their articles expressly aimed at hurting, humiliating, discrediting and destroying someone else.

Also, did you know that you CAN disagree with someone while not naming them? Those who use names with the express intent to hurt the individual and publicly humiliate them are practicing Character Assassination. Let’s do our best not to participate in Character Assassination by spreading gossip and slander or, spreading hateful blogs and blog articles whose sole purpose is to publicly humiliate and destroy an individual’s credibility. Otherwise, this makes us complicit in this evil called, Character Assassination, and, speaks volumes of the type of character we are projecting to others.

It takes a conscious effort to “see” the effects of our actions toward others. Many participate without even realizing that they are! It’s time to be more aware of this tactic in our lives. It’s time to tell ourselves that we will not participate in it any more. It’s time to treat people with love, respect, honor and dignity while still being able to disagree.