Friday, January 25, 2002

What follows are ten principles that along with the plan of salvation make up the foundation of the Christian church. Currently there is no organized church that subscribes to the ten. This is all the more startling when you see what these ten principles are. They are:

1. The Christian gospel is rational and can be shown to be rational.

2. The Old and New Testaments are the primary and universal authority in matters of church doctrine. Scripture is regulatory. Within these regulations there is nothing which applies to one group, which does not also apply to all of the same group. Neither is there anything temporary in scripture (I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow).

3. Yahweh will not allow His scriptures to be corrupted to the point where diligent searching cannot discern the truth.

4. Yahweh will not lie

5. Free will is inherent in all humans.

6. Everything in the Old Testament (except the "wisdom books") foreshadows and parallels the New Testament. Everything in the New Testament is a perfection of everything in the Old Testament.

7. Because Christ is my high priest and mediator with Yahweh, no man has the need, right, duty, obligation or authority to step between me and Christ.

8. Salvation is by grace through Jesus Christ. Grace is neither a gift nor a reward it is a covenant promise. We enter that covenant when we express faith in Jesus Christ. We sign that covenant through baptism and Jesus puts his signature on our soul when we receive the Holy Spirit.

9. Man can dissolve the covenant promise of salvation through grace by specific repugnant behavior, or deliberate disavowal of the covenant ("not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven.")

10. A Christian is known by his deeds.

Now if you really think that your church or any Christian church accepts and follows these principles you need to read on because they don't - I guarantee it. What you are about to read is commonsense Christianity.

Before we can begin discussing any of the principles we need to share a few thoughts on how to gain a full understanding of the written word. When we communicate face to face we receive a lot more than just the words themselves. We get facial expressions, hand movements, body language and voice inflections. With the written word we lose all of that and are left with only the words. Just having the words makes understanding more difficult and the possibility of misunderstanding greater.
Take this sentence; I did not say she stole the money. This simple, straightforward sentence can mean many different things depending on where the emphasis is put. Try putting the emphasis on the bold faced words and you'll see the vastly different meanings that come out. I did not say she stole the money (I never made that statement). I did not say she stole the money (she took the money but she had permission). I did not say she stole the money (The money was taken but not by her).
It is the same with the scriptural word. We lose all the communication clues and worse yet we can not call up the authors and ask clarifying questions. To add even greater difficulty to the problem, ancient Hebrew was written without punctuation marks or spaces, and some Hebrew characters can be used as a letter or a number! There are several methods we use to work through these problems. They include; textual analysis, rules of context, the "two witnesses", and of course the gift and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Textual analysis is a formal study of the written word by those who have studied ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew or Aramaic, and who very carefully pour over the text one word at a time. Various scholars will discuss between themselves, sometimes for years, various points within a particular translation of the Bible. God bless them for their perseverance and dedication, but their skills are beyond me and maybe you too. But Yahweh did not intend the scripture for scholars only, He left ways open for you and me.
Rules of context are used by scholars too. It is a skill which is NOT beyond you and I. Very simply it means this; does a sentence, verse, paragraph or chapter have continuity? Does it express the same idea from beginning to end? Take this example: "I own a bus, my bird is blue. The bus is broken and will not run." There's obviously something wrong here. While it is possible that I own a bus and I also have a blue bird these two thoughts joined together in a single sentence do not form a smooth context. Breaking the first statement into two sentences would look better, but why is a statement about a blue bird sandwiched between two statements about a bus? Something is still wrong. From looking at the original text and with some knowledge of ancient language, history, traditions, etc, a scholar in the future might determine that the sentence should actually read "I own a Bluebird school bus. The bus is broken and will not run." The proof of this type of analysis will be; does the sentence now make sense in and of itself? Does it now fit within the context of the paragraph? Now does the paragraph fit within the context of the complete thought or chapter, and on and on. WE can do this if we'll but take the time to think things through. So often we are content to be spoon fed information, this is not Yahweh's plan for you.
Next we can use the "two witnesses". This is the most overlooked aspect to determine biblical proof. Let me give you some scriptural reference here. "A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (Deuteronomy 19:16). "But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (Matthew 18:15-17 emphasis added). "Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses" (1 Timothy 5:18-20). "Anyone who rejected the Law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses" (Hebrews 10:27-29). From these scriptural quotes we can see what is possibly the easiest means of determining the truth of a particular doctrine. That is; if there are two separate witnesses to the principle, then the principle must be true. This makes perfect sense. In the case of this law I have given you four witnesses, in order; Moses, Matthew, Paul, and the author of Hebrews. In all the rest of this paper I will give you at least two witnesses and in some cases many more. If I do not then what I say can not be true.
Last in order but first in importance is of course the gift and guidance of the Holy Spirit, that still small voice that says "listen, look, learn and understand". As I have no way of determining the gifts of the Spirit amongst my readers I will rely mostly on the "two witnesses" and contextual rules, but I testify to you that I could not have started this work, much less finished it without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I hope that you have the gifts of discernment and understanding, and I hope that you will allow them to operate freely as you study what follows. My fervent prayer for you is that you will not fall into the greatest spiritual trap..."But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth" (2 Timothy 3:1-7 emphasis added).

1. The Christian gospel is rational and can be shown to be rational.

In the beginning, when there was nothing but Yahweh and void, Yahweh was omnipotent. He could do ANYTHING He wanted to do. But as He made decisions about what He would do these decisions precluded Him from doing other things. For instance Yahweh could choose to create the world, or He could choose not to create the world. Once He decided to create the world the option of not creating the world was no longer available. At this same time He made a decision to act rationally or irrationally, but once he chooses one the other is unavailable to a perfect God. Yahweh is omnipotent only in the sense that what He can do does not encompass an obvious paradox.
As Christians we believe that Yahweh created the universe. As twenty-first century humans we know that the universe is rational. We may not be able to explain the rationality of it all yet, but it is decidedly rational. Every science speaks to the rationality of the world. Therefore we know that Yahweh is capable of rational thought even if scripture had not told us so. As Christians we believe that the Bible is the word of Yahweh set down by human hands. As Yahweh is rational we can assume that He applied that rationality to the scripture because to do otherwise would be irrational.
We know that Yahweh can be provoked to anger and that His anger can be cooled by reason, here are two examples. "The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: 'Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the judge of all the earth do right?'
The Lord said, 'If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.'
Then Abraham spoke up again: 'Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?'
'If I find forty-five there,' He said, 'I will not destroy it.'
Once again he spoke to Him, 'What if only forty are found there?'
He said, 'For the sake of forty, I will not do it.'
Then he said, 'May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?'
He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there.'
Abraham said, 'Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?'
He said, 'For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.'
Then he said, 'May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?'
He answered, 'For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.'
When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, He left, and Abraham returned home"
(Genesis 18:22-33).
And the second is: "The Lord said to Moses, 'How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.'
Moses said to the Lord, 'Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, O Lord, are with these people and that you, O Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say 'The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land He promised them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert'.
'Now may the Lord's strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 'The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.' In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.'
The Lord replied, 'I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of these men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times-- not one one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendents will inherit it'"
(Numbers 14:11-16).
Being swayed by logical arguments is a sign of rationality. Swaying others by logic is another. Here's an example of that: "Come now, let us reason together.' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken" (Isaiah 1:18-20 emphasis added). Is there anything irrational here?
If we agree that Yahweh is rational then it follows that Yahweh is not the author of confusion. He is omniscient. He is perfection. How could He possibly author confusion? He is all loving. It is not His desire that you be lost mentally or spiritually. If there is something in your doctrine which can not stand the light of rational examination it is NOT of Yahweh. There are such doctrines in many churches. I will not list them now, some will become evident as you read on.

Now someone is thinking, "we don't need to indulge in any foolish debates that lead to divisions", so let's stop for a second and think about divisions. Paul said this, "flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will" (2 Timothy 22-26). He also said "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that have nothing to do with him" (Titus 3:9-10).
Now Paul himself was involved in a couple of doctrinal disputes, one with Peter the apostle over the question of circumcision. So I think there are issues that can and should be discussed in calm, rational ways within the body of the church. I am not perfect, I do not have a monopoly on the truth, and if you're honest, you have to admit that you don't either. If we had all ducked our head in the sand and said let's not talk about doctrine because we might create division there would have been no Martin Luther or John Calvin and we'd all be Roman Catholic. According to the earliest Roman Catholic doctrines we would also live on a flat earth, which is the center of the universe, and the sun revolves around us. I say let's talk about doctrine so that we may approach perfection more closely and know that our faith is grounded in rational doctrine supported by scripture. To stop all discussion of doctrine before it begins admits to only two possible opinions. The first, "we have all the truth, the leader of my congregation is infallible, and Yahweh will not be sending any divine guidance or correction to us because we are perfect already". The consequence of this attitude is that we now have another pope. "He also told them this parable: 'Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?'" (Luke 6:38-40). And " people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of God, I also will ignore your children" (Hosea 4:6). The second opinion is "I have no faith in the accuracy of my doctrines, but my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts". My response is, "Jesus said 'For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.' Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, 'What? Are we blind too?' Jesus said 'If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains'" (John 9:39-41).
In medieval times there was a lively debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and can God cut a whole object into three halves. Now those are foolish arguments. This is the type of argument to be avoided, but serious questions and objections to doctrine must be responded to in a serious manner.
So come now, let us reason together, not in a spirit of divisiveness but in a spirit of approaching perfection. Then at the end of this paper if you find all my ideas false, baseless and without merit your faith in your own doctrines will be strengthened and your faith will be the better for it.

2. The Old and New Testaments are the primary and universal authority in matters of church doctrine. Scripture is regulatory. There is nothing that applies to one of a group, which does not also apply to all of that same group. Neither is there anything temporary in scripture (I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow).

Every religious organization has a text which describes and regulates the practices of that religion. It is a matter of no great surprise that for Christians this text is the Bible. For anyone to understand the creator described by the Christians it was necessary that Yahweh reveal himself to mankind. While it is possible that mankind could have developed the concept of a god independent of direct revelation it is inconceivable that so many different contributors could have conceived and described a god like Yahweh with such consistency, unity, clarity and precision across millenniums of time without the direct intervention of God Himself. The fact that Moses describes the same God as King David, and David the same God as Isaiah, and Isaiah the same God (and Christ) as Matthew and Matthew the same as John the Revelator is no mere accident. Within this consistency we can see only two possibilities. The first is that ALL the contributors to the Bible were involved in a conspiracy, which eluded detection for some 4,000 years, or second, that the contributors were divinely inspired to reveal Yahweh to humanity.
Biblically we see the proof even more clearly from this viewpoint; prophecy can not be fully understood until the prophecy is fulfilled. When Isaiah and the other prophets pointed to the coming of the Christ they could not have had a clear picture of what they were in fact prophesying unless Yahweh explained it to them. If Yahweh explained it to them they did not clearly explain it to their contemporaries. For example; when Moses wrote "although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). How was this understood by the Jews at the time? According to their understanding only sons of Aaron could become priests. Did this then mean that other tribes would die out and only sons of Aaron would remain? It is impossible for us to know what they may have thought of this verse at the time it was written. What we can be fairly certain of is that not even Moses understood the full meaning as actualized through the ministry of the Christ as the verse foretells. This is not the case of some very vague and general statement being applied to some future event in a very general way such as astrologers and psychics do now days to fool the ignorant and the unwary. This is in fact what appears to be a very general statement (which is really quite specific), which was fulfilled completely and exactly as written. Is it possible that Moses was in conspiracy with Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, et al across a divide of hundreds of years? Yahweh gave the words to Moses, Moses transcribed them in his books as inspired to do so. We understand the prophecy fully only because it was fulfilled with the ministry of the Christ and we have the benefit of hindsight.
When Moses wrote the book of Genesis he wrote "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image...'" (Genesis 1:26). In Psalm 110 David writes "The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand...'" (Psalm 110:1). They both appear to be talking about multiple gods. This would conflict with the Jewish belief at the time, yet it is in perfect harmony with the revealed truth of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Unity in this detail, which occurs in thousands of places throughout the Bible is humanly impossible, but for Yahweh all things are possible.
We have been told that the Jews expected a warrior king messiah, a human, so how did the Jews interpret this prophecy of Isaiah? "...He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgement he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendents? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge of my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors."
(Isaiah 53)
We can not know what contemporary Jews thought of these verses from Isaiah. We can imagine all sorts of interpretations but there is only one truth, only one correct understanding. Here again we do not have some very general statements applied generally to some future event. We believe that we have a clear understanding of these verses because we have seen the fulfillment of the prophecy to the last and fullest letter. We see a unity and a consistency of thought again across hundreds of years. How is this possible through the hand of man? It is not possible, except through the hand of Yahweh.
Religions other than Christianity have manuals which describe the nature of their god(s) and the requirements of their codes. It is likewise in Christianity. Once Yahweh revealed Himself to mankind he pronounced blessings and curses. Curses are for lawbreakers and those who lack faith. This would not be unexpected in any legitimate belief system. Mankind was created by Yahweh to serve a purpose, it would therefore be incumbent upon any god to provide some guidance toward fulfilling that purpose. If you are trying to become a good football player there are things you must do (practice, etc), and there are things you must not do (smoke, drink, etc). So it is with Yahweh's purpose for us, and so it would be for any intelligent creative force. These laws exist, for where there is no law there is no sin. If there is no sin, Christ died for nothing and the entire Bible would be a lie. But this is the problem in Christianity... there is too much information. Consider the Dead Sea Scrolls and similar scrolls found in Egypt and elsewhere with no biblical counterpart, titles like the Gospel according to Thomas. Consider also the extra biblical texts used by various sects such as the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the books of the Maccabees. Add to these the books mentioned in scripture for which no text currently exists such as the Book of the Wars of the Lord, etc. After compiling all of this add the various "interpretations" of the Bible where literal translation is cast aside for one contrived purpose or another. These documents conflict amongst themselves and often times within themselves. What do we count as doctrine and what do we discard?
I believe Yahweh gave us one set of instructions...the Holy Bible. He protected that set of instructions which is verified by the existence of and comparison to the Dead Sea Scrolls. I find it inconceivable that at some later date Yahweh would decide "Oops forgot to tell you this bit here", and therefore caused to be "discovered, or revealed" some new text, or a substantial "reinterpretation" of an existing one. Would such activity give you confidence in a perfect god? Would such activity lend credibility to a fair god? Certainly not. Therefore, the answer to the question, is all this stuff outside the original Holy Bible relevant to Christian doctrine, the answer must be, certainly not. Having said that, I must also acknowledge that all truth is Yahweh's truth, and where these extra-biblical documents are edifying they are of value. It has been my experience however, that there is so much dross mixed with the gold that their value is called into serious question. Some serve only as a good example of a bad example.
Next item in the second principle; that scripture is regulatory. Yahweh provided two sets of basic regulations; the Ten Commandments, and the Mosaic Laws. The Ten Commandments are for all people, everywhere, for all time. They are so basic that any person, Christian or otherwise, reflecting on a god and the nature of the world could arrive at all of them (except the fourth) independent of divine revelation. These Ten Commandments were expanded and expounded upon and further clarified for Moses throughout the pages of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The Mosaic law is for Jews and concerns itself with ceremonial garments, sacrificial procedures, the construction and ordering of the tabernacle, and other matters related to religious practices of the Jews.
These laws share two common traits. First, that all the laws that apply to a group of people applies to all the people in that group, there are no exceptions. If it applies to Levites, it applies to all Levites. If it applies to Jews, it applies to all Jews. If it applies to people in general, it applies to all people "You are to have the same law for the alien and the native born" (Leviticus 24:22). There are no exceptions that I am aware of and would consider myself chastised and corrected if anyone can show me any different.
The second trait that they share is that these laws were meant to last for all time. There are no temporary laws. None of the laws have expiration dates. We believe that Yahweh is omniscient, and therefore believe that he gave us the laws we need to move towards our purpose. He gave us neither more nor less laws than are required and He gave us laws that would be as valid at the beginning of time as they would be at the end of time. He gave us a perfect set. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17-19 emphasis added).
"The law of the Lord is perfect" (Psalm 19:7). There are two things that can be said of this scriptural quote. First, it is either true or it is not true. If it is not true then the Bible is unreliable and there is no point in going any further. If it is true then we come upon the second thing which can be said about the law of the Lord. If it is perfect it can not change in any direction. If it strives towards perfection then it was not perfect to start with and again the Bible would be a lie. It can not move away or it is no longer perfect and again the Bible would be a lie. To be perfect is to be unchanging. If the statement is true, and I believe it is, then the Law can not change. Therefore the Law of Yahweh can not change.
You cannot have it both ways. Either Yahweh's laws are perfect, fixed and unchanging and the Ten Commandments apply to you as they were originally set down, or Christianity and our concept of Yahweh are lies.
I believe that I have demonstrated my point to the satisfaction of reasonable persons. Those of you who continue to doubt are encouraged to read, study and pray for additional guidance to help you see the truth of these things.
I must point out several consequences of this belief, which may not be immediately apparent to some. It goes like this..."but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do" (Deuteronomy 15:13). That's the fourth commandment. It requires you to keep the seventh day (Saturday) holy. Actually this would be from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday. "Wait!" you cry. "We no longer keep Saturday as our day of worship and rest we moved it to Sunday to honor the day Christ rose from the tomb."
By what right did you move it? Why did you change that which is perfect? "Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you" (Deuteronomy 4:2). Which of Yahweh's laws are temporary? Which of Yahweh's Ten Commandments apply to some and not to all? Where is the scriptural reference for changing Saturday to Sunday? If you want to worship on Sunday, fine. I also encourage you to worship on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday too, but you MUST keep the Sabbath day holy. "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless" (2 Samuel 22:31).
"But wait!" you cry. "We keep A Sabbath day, because it is after all only metaphorical, a symbolic gesture." The fourth commandment uses the definite article THE, not the indefinite article a. If the fourth commandment is metaphorical then the other nine are metaphorical and symbolic too. Can you imagine a world with ten metaphorical commandments?
Still not convinced? Here's a little history for you. Christ was murdered on Friday (buried before sundown in keeping with the commandment) and rose on Sunday. There are two reasons for this. First to fulfill prophecy "Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days" (John 2:19). Second, to keep the Sabbath holy "So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:28). Now if He who is Lord of the Sabbath, keeps the Sabbath, why wouldn't you follow his example? "We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6).
Still not convinced? Here's some more history for you. The Emperor Constantine was a sun worshipper. He is considered to be the first "Christian" Emperor of Rome although he was not baptized until he was literally on his deathbed. He's the one who changed the day of worship and rest to SUNday looooong before he was "converted" (actually it was the bishops appointed by him, but let's not mince words here, they knew who they worked for).
The second consequence concerns tithing. The tithe (actually there were three distinct types) is part of the Mosaic Laws. The Mosaic Laws do not apply to Christians. Tithing was brought into Christianity not as a law but as the charitable spirit. The charitable spirit applies to our labor and our time as well as our wealth and in this regard it is a tougher standard to meet. We are encouraged to give to the less fortunate as their need requires and as our ability allows. This may in fact be greater than 10%. Those Christian sects which teach that we tithe a specific percentage to the church as an obligation misunderstand the law of tithing in general and Christianity specifically. This teaching would place Christians back under the Mosaic Law which Christ died to free us from. "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7 emphasis added).
I can not stress enough that as Christians we are not subject to any part of the Mosaic Law. If we are subject to any part, we are subject to it all, and Christ died for nothing.
"Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, 'The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the Law of Moses.'
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: 'Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for He purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we, nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are"
(Acts 15:5-11).
"We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified" (Galatians 2:15-16).
Matthew 23:23 appears to support a requirement for tithing, but look again at the audience. Jesus was addressing the Pharisees who were under the law and did have a requirement to tithe. Christians are held to the higher standard of being charitable.

3. God will not allow his scriptures to be corrupted to the point where diligent searching cannot discern the truth (You will be able to see the whole treasure map).

Let's imagine that I own this big office and you come to work for me. On your first day on the job I give you a list of instructions; do this, don't do that, these are your priorities, that sort of thing. Now I leave town so you can't ask me any questions. When I leave I know something you don't. I know my secretary is a really bad typist and she has made a mess of the instructions. She put "don't" where it should say "do", she's got the priorities wrong and she even left out two of them. Some of the sentences are absolute gobble-de-gook. When I come back in a week and look at the job you've done I call you in and fire you. "But," you cry, "I followed your instructions." "Well that's where you screwed up," I say "the instructions are wrong and it's not my fault you didn't realize that, so out you go."
Now let's imagine that the omniscient, omnipotent, perfect and loving Yahweh that we know would cause to be published words divinely inspired by Him, giving us ignorant mortals instructions on how to grow closer to Him and obtain salvation. Do you really believe that He would allow that book to be scrambled to the point where it would be impossible to determine with any certainty what His intent and desires were for us? If the instruction manual is scrambled what god would hold us accountable for any of it? If the Bible is scrambled in any meaningful way we are innocent by virtue of ignorance and Christ died for nothing. If the Bible is scrambled in any meaningful way Satan is the supreme force in the universe or Yahweh is a fool.
Now I am not so foolish as to attempt to maintain that there are no errors in the Bible. I am well aware of what was called the "naughty bible" which declared "Thou shalt commit adultery." Mistakes happen. Because of the Dead Sea Scrolls we now know for a certainty what we long suspected, that is, that the Vulgate version of the Bible is corrupted but the Septuagint is reliable.
I am aware that some people will argue about whether a word should be "chosen", "foreordained", or "predestined" and I understand that these three words, although similar can change the whole meaning of a passage. I don't dispute that there is a bit of this going on within the current version of the Bible.
I reject completely the idea that anything of importance has been left out. That is why I mentioned before that the Book of the Wars of the Lord (a text mentioned within the Old Testament of which no copy currently exists) are not doctrinally significant or Yahweh would have protected them.
Exactly what I mean is that the truth was in the scriptures as divinely inspired by Yahweh when they were first written. The truth is still there. Sometimes we have to do a bit of investigating, a little testing of the two witnesses, check the context, and depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit - but the truth is there. Always has been, always will be. Significant tampering with the scripture would make Yahweh look like a liar. I can't believe that He would allow that to happen. It just stretches credibility too far.
If you or your sect believes that scripture is seriously corrupted you believe in an irrational or unfair god. Even if you believe that these scriptures have been repaired by some leader in your church, you believe in an unfair god because there must have been a period of time when they were corrupted and some humans who lived and died during that period, died with a corrupt set of instructions and will be judged the same as those who had benefit of the "purified" edition. Further, if you believe that they were corrupted once and corrected, you could never be sure that they were not corrupted a second time after the "repair". You could not be certain that they were completely "repaired" to begin with. You could never be certain of Yahweh's word. Your logic and your doctrine stands on it's head. Don't you realize that when you spread this doctrine it is the same as calling God a fool? Don't you realize that when you spread this doctrine you destroy faith in the written word? What are you thinking?
In Qumran we find the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were preserved by an ancient sect called the Essenes. These scrolls date from just before to just after the life of Christ. Amongst them are all the books of the Old Testament (except the book of Esther). The Book of Isaiah is particularly well preserved and almost 100% intact. I am no master of ancient languages, but those who are tell me that the versions from 2000 years ago are virtually indistinguishable from our current (Septuagint) versions.
Here now are your two scriptural references. There are others. You might find them if you look. This is what Yahweh wants from you. Actively search His word and His works. The time for being passively spoon-fed doctrine is over.
"'Who are you?' they asked. 'Just what I have been claiming all along,' Jesus replied. 'I have much to say in judgement of you. But He who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world.' They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father" (John 8:25-26). Would Yahweh be reliable if He let His word be altered beyond recognition? We have the word of His Son that Yahweh is reliable. Will you persist in arguing?
"Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But we have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth." (1 John 2:18-21 emphasis added). I highlighted parts because I believe that he is talking about people in Christian sects who teach corrupted doctrines. I can not help but think that John wrote these words precisely for these times. He may have thought he was writing to a contemporary audience, but Yahweh knew that His message wasn't due to get delivered to the intended recipients for 2000 years. "Dear children, this is the last hour..."
We are reliably taught by the example of Christ (Matthew Chapter 4) to tell Satan "It is written..." This would not be reliable advice if what was written was not also reliable.

4. God will not lie.

If we look at these two possibilities; God can lie, or, God can not lie, we automatically take refuge in the second because the first is unthinkable. If God can lie then His word in scripture is unreliable in its entirety and we can not hope for anything good to come of it. We can not know what parts are true and what parts are false and to follow any course of action can bring a favorable result only by happenstance. Yahweh MUST be reliable and to be reliable He MUST be unchanging and unchangeable.
As we mentioned earlier, when it was just Yahweh and the void he was omnipotent. He could do ANYTHING. But at that time He made the decision to tell the truth. This decision precludes His ability to lie from that time on.
Here are your scriptural references:
"God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and then not fulfill?" (Numbers 23:19). You might be interested to know that these words were spoken by a pagan, but a pagan with enough sense to know, after he had come in contact with God, what God could not do.
"Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-- a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time" (Titus 1:1-2).
If I count correctly, Christ used the phrase "I tell you the truth..." 60 times on 45 different occasions. Believe Him.

5. Free Will is inherent in all humans.

The philosopher Rene Descartes said "I think, therefore I am." I would like to amend that to "I think, therefore I choose. I choose, therefore I have freewill." I believe that I am something more than a man standing in a fog bank, who sees fog all around him but believes it is clear where he stands. We can be conscious not only of what we do, but of how we do it; not only the act, but the mode of the act. Observation shows to us that we are subjects of different kinds of thought processes. Sometimes the line of conscious activity follows the direction of a spontaneous impulse; at other times we intervene and exert personal will. Consciousness testifies that we freely and actively strengthen one set of motivations, resist the stronger inclination, and actively choose the other. In fact we are sure that we exert free will because at other times we are the subject of conscious activities that are not free, and we know the difference. That is, when there is fog at hand I know that I am within the fog or not within the fog intellectually.
If we have not free will why give us rules? We would be helpless automatons following a predetermined course to a predetermined end. From a human perspective existence becomes pointless. I suppose that were I the master controller of some universe I could create a moral code, a list of rules and a group of automatons and force them to act one way or the other. But when they acted against the codes I could hardly call this wrong (sin), because while they acted against my codes in one sense, they were acting as I had directed them to in the other. It therefore follows that without free will there can be no moral code. We know that there is sin. We feel it's effects most strongly when we are sinned against. When someone steals your property you are conscious of the wrongness of it.
Sin proves the existence of a moral code. The moral code proves the existence of free will. To believe otherwise, you might as well be an atheist.
"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love" (Galatians 5:13). This verse clearly points to a freedom to indulge sin or not to indulge sin. If we are free to indulge sin or not we must be free in other matters as well.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing" (Matthew 23:37).
Now the consequence of this principle is that the doctrine of predestination to salvation and/or the doctrine of predestination to destruction, are false teachings. Only Christ was predestined. Human predestination can not be logically reconciled to a rational God (principle 1). Predestination can not be reconciled to scripture without claiming that scripture is false or corrupt (principle 2). Predestination can not be reconciled to a God that does not lie (principle 4). Predestination can not be reconciled.
I can not refute every single instance of misinterpretation of the scriptures that are used to support this erroneous teaching within a limited paper, but I will choose one and try to show the type of mistake that the purveyors of this doctrine make in order to support the insupportable.
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappodocia, Asia, Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance" (1 Peter 1:1-2). The words "elect", "chosen", and "foreknowledge" in the above quote seem to point to the fact that some are predestined for salvation. Now let's see if it really fits.
Here's what we know for a fact; before Peter was a Christian he was a Jew. He writes, as we all do, from the culture and experience that we were raised in, within the gift and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
With that cultural background in mind, look at the words "elect" and "chosen". These are terms that the Jews commonly used to describe themselves, as Yahweh's chosen people. Look also at the phrase "sprinkling by His blood". Under what Jewish sacrifices were people sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice? Only three; the sealing of the covenant to obey the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:7-9), the ordination of priests (Leviticus 8:29-31), and the purifying of infectious skin diseases (Leviticus 17:7). At this point we don't know which of these sacrifices Peter had in mind when he wrote the words "sprinkling by His blood", but we can be certain that he was thinking of one of them.
There is an extremely weak case that could be made, that he was referring to all those assembled as priests, and the sprinkling refers to the ordination sprinkling. This would be based on the fact that he talks about a royal priesthood in chapter 2. But that's a whole chapter away and there is much in between that doesn't fit within that context. Scrap that interpretation.
There is a somewhat stronger case to be made for the idea that the sprinkling was a metaphor for the cleansing of the skin and the removal of sin through Christ until we understand the meaning of the words "chosen according to the foreknowledge". This is where the whole argument hangs. I believe that because Yahweh is all knowing He therefore has foreknowledge of all things. Because He knows who will accept salvation and who will not does not mean that He has influenced that decision. Because I know my relatives or friends well I can often predict what they will do under certain circumstances. This does not mean that they act according to my will or plan, it's just an indication of my knowledge of their personality. In accepting salvation we have become part of the "chosen" people, even though we may not have been physically born to it. Therefore we are part of the "chosen" people which confirms the foreknowledge of Yahweh.
The strongest case of all is that he is writing to a predominantly Jewish crowd. You know that Christianity was originally thought of as a Jewish sect and was called "The Way". These Jews would have understood immediately that Peter's reference to sprinkling with blood referred to the sealing of the Ten Commandments covenant and obedience to the will of God. We understand then that the new covenant would be sealed by the blood of Jesus rather than some dead animal. In context then we understand that in accepting salvation we become part of the chosen people of Yahweh. Our participation in the chosen people and the promises that such membership entails is a covenant sealed in blood, between us and our Creator. That this covenant also carries a responsibility for obedience to Christ as the old covenant carried a responsibility to the obey the Ten Commandments. That all these actions confirm the foreknowledge of Yahweh.
The rest of the predestination crowd's proofs run along similar misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Perhaps some day I'll go back into the subject in detail but for brevity's sake this must suffice for now unless you investigate it on your own, which is Yahweh's wish for you.

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