Thursday, 28 January 2016
In my previous post, I dealt with the whereabouts of God. All churches teach about him being in heaven. But even a church which seems to preach the Bible can be a trap. So how can you tell if one is or isn't toxic?
Through many testimonies I've heard from naive church attendees, I learned that they had their trust abused. Some were even physically violated. Crooked pastors sought to manipulate congregants into doing what their wicked hearts desired rather than doing what was the best for them.
In my case, I was lured in by the promise of "advanced spiritual knowledge" and being in an elite congregation. Not only was I taught blasphemous doctrines and outright lies but elders condemned me for lacking faith to be healed, lusting for good eyesight, having hidden sins, or having ancestral sins blocking my vision. I now know that all those supposed reasons are unadulterated garbage.
So how can believers avoid control freak pastors who teach lies and who lambaste lambs? Realize that joining a church shouldn't mean you give up all rights. If elders start leaning on you to do or not do something, and it's not a sin as described in the scriptures, leave immediately or sooner. Don't make my mistake of staying and taking unwarranted abuse.
Also, make sure that the pastors take the context, history, and customs into account when they teach from Scripture. Read the passages for your self rather than just accepting what they say about them. Learn about the cultures and politics of the times mentioned in the Bible as well. Issues like head coverings, as just one example, have been so badly misunderstood that totally unnecessary arguments and bad feelings resulted.
If you like what you're reading here, please subscribe to this blog. Much of the wisdom I'm writing here is also in my How I Was Razed book. I've gleaned it from excellent Bible scholars who know how to study Scripture. Also, feel free to contact me with your questions and regarding my books.
In my next post, I'll show how Christianity is all in the mind.
Tuesday, 26 January 2016
I've heard that a Soviet cosmonaut once quipped that he couldn't see God when he was in orbit. Whatever people think, the Bible has the right answers to our questions.
We know that God lives in heaven but that he is also omnipresent. But how can he be in heaven and also everywhere at once?
Hank Hanegraaff has a plausible and logical explanation. He believes that heaven and our universe are superimposed on each other. Both are separated by a dimensional division. When Christ returns, this separation will be abolished and heaven will become part of the new creation.
The Bible also mentions three places called heaven or the heavens. Our atmosphere is described as one heaven, particularly when Christ said he'd be riding the clouds of heaven at his second coming.
Space is the second heaven. Scripture often speaks of the stars of heaven or the heavens pouring forth praise.
God's throne is also said to be in another heaven, apart from this sin-cursed universe.
The only way to reconcile him being omnipresent and also in one place is to realize that it's a metaphor. God condescends to our finite understanding by describing spiritual realities in ways we can relate to, hence the throne analogy.
The Apostle Paul said that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Wherever we are, we who trust in God and have surrendered our lives to him enter his presence at death. Logically, spirits have zero mass so the idea of heaven being somewhere is a category mistake.
I'm eternally grateful to the Lord for leading me out of toxic, soul-destroying doctrines and into his How I Was Razed book describes the glorious journey on which he led me. Contact me for details on how to purchase this remarkable memoir.
Friday, 22 January 2016
Because I wrote previously about how the Bible was carefully copied in my previous post, I also need to explain about the unreliability of certain versions. It would be wonderful if all Bibles were safe and edifying for believers but it isn't always the case.
"Didn't people decide which Bible books were to be included in it?" I sometimes hear people ask. Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code book have shed doubts on the integrity of the scriptures but he's wrong. When the apostles were penning holy scripture, there was no central ecclesiastical authority. Consequently, copies were copied and passed along all over Europe and neighbouring areas. Only in the fourth century A.D. did bishops meet and that was to counter heresies cropping up a century earlier.
Furthermore, the bishops made sure that the books of the Bible didn't contradict each other as the Gnostic gospels did. Since so many good copies circulated from church to church, the fake ones were easily spotted and rejected. Consequently, what we have today is what the apostles wrote.
As for bad or deliberately twisted Bible translations, two notable versions must be avoided. The New World Standard is a doctored version used by the Jehovah's Witnesses. Passages regarding the Trinity were edited so that Christ became a created being rather than eternally part of the Godhead.
The second bastardized Bible is the so-called Inspired Bible. It was written by Joseph Smith. He plagiarized the King James Version and added his own erroneous explanations of what the verses meant.
So which ones are good translations? The English Standard Version is a word-for-word translation. It's great for accuracy. On the other hand, the New International Version is more an idea-for-idea version. Since idioms and words don't translate perfectly into another language, the "idea" version is better for getting those concepts across. Even so, both styles of translation are valid.
Paraphrased Bibles, like Eugene Peterson's The Message, aren't as accurate since they aren't a direct translation. Even so, they are better than the Mormon or Jehovah's Witness Bibles.
I'm grateful to proper biblical scholars, some of whom I've mentioned in my How I Was Razed memoir. God led me to their radio programs so I could be disabused of the lies I learned in a cult.
In my next book, I hope to touch on many questions which I've raised here. One of those questions is why there are so many denominations. I'll tackle that in my next blog post.
Tuesday, 19 January 2016
As I wrote previously, miracles are God's way of validating his message. They happened in three waves in the times of Moses, Elijah, and Christ. Some miracles occur today but they aren't for showing off a preacher's holiness as the false teachers claim.
But is the Bible just fictional? An atheist wrote on one of my post that trusting Scripture is like basing society on Harry Potter books. Nothing could be further from the truth and I'll show you why.
The translators of the Bible took their job seriously. They made VERY sure to copy the most accurate meanings and idioms into their translations. Comparing texts with each other allowed the original written document to emerge from the scripture fragments discovered by archeologists. Any mistakes became obvious and were therefore rejected.
I can't remember how many Old Testament documents currently exist but I've heard that five thousand fragments of The New Testament books have been unearthed by archeologists. Comparing these artifacts shows us that the majority of the words on them were present in all the fragments.
Furthermore, the Dead Sea scrolls show us that the books, Especially Isaiah, remained almost unchanged through the millennia. The Bible we hold in our hands has had scribal additions but none have contradicted the message of Scripture.
Since this is the case, I know that claims of the Bible being riddled with errors are patently false. I wrote in my How I Was Razed memoir how the house church minister tried to make us believe that
In the next post, I'll be writing about purported versions of the Bible and why they are dangerous to inexperienced believers.Watch this space.
Thursday, 14 January 2016
This used to be my number one question. I've written about it in my previous post but I'll now elaborate on why we don't see miracles today.
A miracle is an event which has no natural explanation. The Bible contains accounts of many such inexplicable occurrences which could only be explained by God's intervention. But why isn't the Lord intervening today?
Preachers claim to be faith healers, yet folks such as myself are turned away from healing crusades. I also prayed ernestly for my eyes to be healed but nothing ever happened. In fact, I suffered a hemorrhage in my left eye which caused me to reject God. Because many people told me I had a lack of faith, hidden sin, lust for sight, and ancestral sins blocking my healing, I assumed God was stingy and uncaring.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I'd been misled by charismatic leaders to believe that I had to have faith the size of a mustard seed in order to get a miracle from God. As I pointed out in my previous post, those who did see real miracles still refused to believe. That was their lack of faith, not some sort of spiritual energy strong enough to trigger God's power.
"What about all those reports of miracles by Christians?" some ask. I don't doubt that the Lord does miraculous deeds on occasion. What I do question is assertions of miracles by well-paid preachers. From what I know of the Bible, miracles are God's way of validating his message. Furthermore, he sovereignly decides if or when they should happen.
How I Was Razed is my testimony regarding my spiritual journey to the proper relationship with the heavenly Father. Please click that link and discover how wonderful being providentially led out of error is.
"But how can we believe the Bible?" some might ask. I'll deal with that question in the next post.
Tuesday, 12 January 2016
As I hinted at in my previous post, it seems to us that performing miracles would be a good way to gain followers. In actuality, we read in John chapter six how that notion resulted in shallow followers. They, like squirrels in the park, just wanted the free food. The Israelites also desired a king who would kick the hated Romans out of Israel.
So, why did Jesus perform miracles? Reading through the Bible, we can see clusters of miraculous deeds with long periods of time between them. Excluding creation, we see the first batch of miracles with the arrival of Moses and the law. Joshua carried on doing miracles but they soon ceased.
The second batch of miracles happened through Elijah and Elisha. Then no wonders were wrought through people for hundreds of years.
The third period of miracles were done by Jesus and his disciples. The apostles also performed wonders but they soon ceased as the original people died off.
Why are these batches of miracles linked to Moses', Elijah's, and Christ's ministries? They validated what they said. Even the Pharisees, through Nicodemus, knew that Jesus couldn't do wonderful works unless God was with him.
I once thought that if I was healed of my poor vision, it would convince people that God is real. The Bible refutes that through the accounts of the Israelites, as just one example. In Exodus, we see miracle after miracle. But with all that visible proof, the people still murmured and distrusted Moses and God.
When Elijah had the sacrifice-lighting contest with the priests of Baal, people believed but for a short while. Even most of the witnesses of Christ's miracles turned away unconvinced.
I don't doubt that God can and does work miracles today. What I reject is that faith healers perform real miracles at their over-hyped meetings. If they did work wonders, people's limbs, internal organs, and sense organs would be regenerated. What they really do is akin to parlor tricks.
I wrote about my foolish attempts to be healed in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check out this glorious testimony of God's gentle and providential guidance.
So, why don't we see miracles done today? I'll deal with that question next time.