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© 2004, Dusty Peterson,  Bayith Ministries www.bayith.org  email: bayith@blueyonder.co.uk  You are very welcome to make copies of this article for personal research or for free distribution by print or email, but please respect our conditions that the content remains intact (including this copyright statement); that no misleading impression is given that we are necessarily associated with or endorse the distributor; and that proper reference is made to the title and author.  Website owners are encouraged to link to this page, but you must not incorporate this article into your own website without our prior written consent.  Thank you and bless you.

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Beware False Balances
(Talk 1 of 3)

by Dusty Peterson

(This is the transcript of a talk Dusty recently gave at a fellowship in England)

 

INTRODUCTION

Good morning.  My sermon today has the rather un-snappy title of ‘Beware False Balances’ and I intend to allow some time at the end for any questions, but here’s a quick question for you - to get the blood pumping:  Who can tell me roughly how many denominations are officially thought to now exist within professing Christianity?  Any estimates?  50?  100?

Well, in 1986 a volume was published called The Christian Sourcebook which reported that 21 thousand denominations existed, with 270 new ones expected to emerge each year.  But that was inaccurate.  Many more than 270 per year have since formed.  Just eleven years later, in 1997, there were reportedly seven thousand additional denominations, and a U.S. Census Bureau study in 2001 found that there were indeed over 30,000 in existence.[1]  Yes, 30 thousand separate denominations, most (if not all) apparently developing different beliefs on Christianity but still referring to themselves as Christian.  Do mull that over for a moment, for it is a truly astonishing thought.  
 

Why So Many?  

Thoughtful people will ask how this extraordinary state of affairs could have been reached – especially given that no other religion sees anything like that degree of fracturing as far as I’m aware.  (Every religion will see some fragmentation, simply because fallen humans are often not terribly good at getting on with each other.  And certain religions are inevitably divided doctrinally because they claim that there is no such thing as objective truth.  But I’ve never heard of a faith which does believe in objective truth that comes close to the splintering seen within Christianity.)

Now, one obvious possible explanation is that the Bible is true – and therefore that the Devil, about whom the Christian Bible teaches, is rather more interested in dividing and undermining Christians than in expending his efforts on pagans (because the latter are already serving him).  Of course, we Christians believe that this is a correct conclusion, but it can only be part of the explanation for this colossal amount of division… 

Another factor is that, since the Reformation, folks in many countries have had increasingly easy access to the Bible and have reached a huge number of distinct interpretations of the scriptures.  But if one stops to think about it, this fact alone doesn’t tell us why it should be possible to reach up to 30,000 contradictory doctrinal outlooks from the same book.

Even if we make the (utterly ridiculous!) assumption that no doctrinal differences are present within any of these 30 thousand denominations, and if we also assume that that no new denominations have formed since 2001 and that there are actually 30 denominations per doctrinal outlook (i.e. like-minded sets of denominations are only divided from each other because they are unaware of each other’s existence or because of personality clashes or gross sinfulness), it still means there are over one thousand contradictory views of God and His Kingdom within professing Christianity – and most, if not all, of these world-views are derived from the same source.  How does this come to be??…  
 

Answer: Ambiguous Verses  

The fact is that there exist a very large number of ambiguous portions within holy scripture.  Now, these ambiguous sections usually just comprise individual verses (or even just parts of verses), but each can be interpreted as pointing readers in different directions to the rest of God’s Word.  (As I will explain later, this is anything but a criticism!)  If we were to pause for a moment I’m sure we would all be able to think of examples of such verses.  I’ll just mention a couple at this stage:  

(1)  Firstly, although there are many passages in Scripture which plainly call the Lord God “Almighty” or “omnipotent”, and although this is obviously the thrust of the Bible when seen as a whole, according to Genesis He “rested” on the seventh day.  Of course this simply means that He ended the work He had been doing (as a way of showing us that we are to work for six days and to take a day off per week).  It is not saying that He spent the seventh day recovering from that work.  But if a denomination would prefer to believe that God is not Almighty then there is a little bit of ammunition like this available to them. 

 

(2)  Next, holy writ is clear that God is all-knowing, or ‘omniscient’.  But there are also a tiny handful of verses which, on the surface, imply otherwise – such as Hosea 8:4 where God talks about the time when Israel “set up kings ... and I knew it not”.  This verse could easily be exploited to argue that there are things of which God is not aware.  (In fact the word “knew” in the phrase “knew it not” here does not mean “was unaware of” but “was not involved in” – as the rest of the verse confirms.) 

 

(3)  While we are looking at some of God’s attributes, let’s finish this small set of examples by citing His omnipresence.  Scripture makes plain that, although God is totally holy and has therefore had to separate Himself from this fallen world, nevertheless His presence is, in a sense, everywhere (e.g. see Psalm 139).  But if a denomination is not willing to believe this, then one or two passages once again exist which do superficially oppose this doctrine:

 

For instance, Scripture speaks about the Lord’s presence ‘going with Moses’ during Israel ’s travels in the Wilderness, implying that God wasn’t present elsewhere during this time – and thus that He is not omnipresent.  (This despite the fact that the word translated “presence” in this context simply means ‘face’ – i.e. such passages are merely teaching that God was watching over Moses in a special way on the journey to the Promised Land.)   

 

Applies To All Doctrines  

Most of us will undoubtedly have come across many other examples of this feature of the Bible.  Indeed, from my own reading of the scriptures over the years, I have yet to notice a correct doctrine which cannot superficially be undermined using bits of the Bible.  (For any who doubt this I’ll give a few more illustrations in a moment, but the way in which professing Christians around the world seem to disagree on virtually every aspect of the faith surely backs up my position.)  It has often been said that it is possible to prove anything from the Bible.  In the past I’ve claimed this myself.  But in fact that’s not correct.  For example, you cannot, as far as I know, show that King Hezekiah was a ten-foot-tall circus contortionist who also went by the name ‘The Great Bendini’.  But it does seem to be true that you can ‘DISprove’ anything from the Bible – i.e. it appears that you can oppose any true doctrine via passages from holy scripture itself… 

(It turns out that there are some very good reasons why we should actually expect this to be the case.  I’ll come on to those later.  For now though, let’s just say that this feature of the Bible patently ought to encourage us, prayerfully, to respect and study the whole of God’s Word, rather than limiting ourselves to pet books or favourite passages.) 

Below are some promised further instances to help bolster my general assertion.  However, you need to be aware that I am constrained from offering many of the examples I would like to.  This is because I want this talk to be as widely circulated as sensibly possible but I know of numerous sincere believers who have fallen for one or more of the cases I might otherwise have given here (and who would probably thus walk away from the rest of my material if I did include such).  

 Is anyone uncomfortable with the fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person?  Well, He appears to be called an “it” on occasion in the Bible.  (See Part Five of the book identified in this footnote:[2] for a very simple resolution to this seeming difficulty.)

 

Is anyone opposed to the teaching that the Messiah is the only true way to God?  Do they need to find some scriptures they can exploit to gainsay this truth?  No problem!  (What I mean is, no problem in the sense that some ambiguous verses, and various OT passages, enable people to do just this.)

 

 Does anyone not want to believe that we are saved by grace alone (despite the rest of the gospel making little sense otherwise)?  Let’s see, we’ve got the “sheep and goats” passage in Matthew, along with two verses in James, that we can take out of context to question this teaching.  (Please don’t misunderstand me.  All ‘problem passages’ need to be honestly explained rather than merely swept under the carpet, and it is unwise to teach on a given doctrine until one can resolve the ‘difficult’ passages on it.) 

 

◄ Are we none-too-prepared to believe that Christ was infallible?  Well, the Lord chose Judas Iscariot as a disciple didn’t He?  This fact must undermine His standing in the eyes of some who don’t know Scripture and don’t realize that the Lord had to choose Judas in order to fulfil prophecy.  

We could readily go on and on with examples of this feature of the Bible.  (And it’s important to note that this feature applies to our practices as well, not just to our doctrines.  It applies to the ways in which a Fellowship is run, for example.)  It seems the old saying ‘The exception that proves the rule’ is not such an odd expression after all.

(As an aside, if you find you are unhappy with any doctrinal statements I give in this sermon, can I urge you to make sure that you haven’t inadvertently fallen for the ambiguous minority over the unambiguous majority?  If, after checking this, you find that it is I who am in the wrong, then please do let me know.)

Allow me to summarise this section.  If you or I would prefer to reject any true doctrine, then a small, but noticeable, amount of the evidence within God’s Word appears, on the surface, to deny that particular teaching and thus enables us to “believe a lie” (2 Thess. 2:10).
    

True Of Bible Itself  

Now, just as with every doctrine, if any of us want to have a false view of the Bible itself then holy writ again allows us to think we are justified in doing so.  In other words, despite all the irrefutably miraculous features of God’s Word, from its staggering quantity of precisely-fulfilled prophecies and its completely unrivalled – and totally accurate – histories, to its unmatched beauty and its awesome power to transform lives, if anyone would like to disrespect or even reject the Bible, then God seems to have arranged for a modest, but non-negligible, proportion of the evidence to superficially support that wrong attitude:   

Does anyone not want to believe that the Scriptures are complete (despite the fact that it would be a deeply unimpressive God who was not able to protect His own Word and make it available)?  Alongside all the evidence for the completeness of holy writ, you can indeed find a small amount of evidence which can be made to support the opposite stance. 

 

Do you know people who are not prepared to believe in Sola Scriptura – i.e. that the Bible is sufficient for all matters of faith and practice (despite God warning us not to add anything to the Bible, and since we have no way of being certain what is true unless we have an objective basis)?  Again, no hassle: A quantity of ambiguous evidence is available to defend such a notion. 

 

Ever come across a group uncomfortable with the idea that the Bible is infallible (despite it being God-breathed and despite Christ Jesus Himself saying “Scripture cannot be broken”)?  We’ve already seen that verses exist which appear to negate others.  It is precisely when people do not interpret such verses properly that they feel the Bible contradicts itself and thus that it is fallible:

 

The Lord has arranged, for instance, for the gospels to appear to have an amount of disharmony.  Now, I’ve studied a fair few cases and I have yet to locate a single occasion where a genuine disharmony can be shown.  (Differences between accounts are either due to the same event being expressed from different, but complementary, angles, or because the accounts refer to separate, but similar, events.  As I say, none of the differences I have yet seen are irreconcilable.[3]  

As a bit of a digression, I know a young chap who is the unsaved son of a friend of mine.  Now, this young man has a truly brilliant intellect.  He gained a double-first at Oxford without trying – if memory serves.  You know the type.  And, as well as having a very quick mind, he also has a very inquisitive mind, and so he started investigating the Bible as a potential source of truth.  But he simultaneously came across a book which listed various supposed contradictions and errors in the Bible, and he rightly felt that if the Bible has genuine errors in it then it can’t be the true (i.e. infallible) Word of God… 

  So he started investigating each of these problems, and, after checking the original Hebrew / Greek, or determining the full context of the relevant passage, or looking into the culture in the Middle East at the time the passage was written, or making whatever other checks were appropriate, he continually found that these so-called errors vanished completely.  The problem was that he then came across another list of supposed scriptural mistakes and discrepancies.  He finally got a bit fed up with having to investigate each of these claims, and, feeling there couldn’t be smoke without fire, he tragically decided to give up on God’s Word… 

This is a vivid example of where mental capacity is no substitute for wisdom.  This young chap simply refused to see the pattern in front of his nose.  For, there were all these supposed problems in the Bible, most of which were not hard to spot, and which all disappeared when properly studied.  What’s more, there were far too many of them, and most were far too conspicuous (especially given the intricate construction of the Bible) to have been included by accident, yet my friend’s son could not see the likelihood that they were thus present deliberately.  If this is true, as I contend it is, then no matter how many of these ‘problems’ a person is able to reconcile, it follows that God has ensured the presence of enough further instances such that anyone who wants to have reasons to disbelieve the Bible’s divine nature will find some.   

(Obviously I’ve written my talks on the basis that the Bible is the truth.  If anyone doesn’t agree with this view I would simply ask that they be prepared to see the Bible as a candidate for being the truth and to consider the content of all three of my sermons before drawing any firm conclusions and before deciding whether or not the worldview I am positing is internally consistent.)  
 

Does God Deceive?  

I appreciate that what I’ve been saying today may lead you to believe I think God deceives people.  Actually that’s not what I’ve been claiming.  What I’ve said is that God enables people to deceive themselves, which is not the same thing.  I also need to clarify that God hates all lies and cannot Himself lie (for this would go against His nature).  But an outright lie is not the same as, say, using ambiguous wording which people can take in the wrong way if they so choose.  Let’s have a proper look at what the scriptures say regarding this whole matter of misleading without lying:

Let’s start out with God’s handling of His enemies.  On more than one occasion, God’s tactics for Israel ’s army meant deceiving the enemy.  In Joshua 8 He instructed the Israelites to split into two groups so that one group would pretend to flee, deceiving the enemy and thus drawing those forces out of the enemy city – so that the other half of Israel’s army could slip in behind and destroy that city.

Furthermore, the Lord sometimes sent a deceiving spirit into the mouths of the ‘prophets’ (e.g. in order to destroy King Ahab in 1 Kings 22).  And God warned Israel , in Ezekiel 14, that if a “prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet…”. 

Now, some will say these were only deceptions against the Lord’s enemies, but they were still deceptions from God.  Besides, let us consider what constitutes an enemy of the Lord.  Does it always mean people implacably opposed to God’s ways?  We need to remember that the Lord allowed a man of God to be deceived via the old prophet in 1 Kings 13 only a very short while after the former had faithfully been doing the Lord’s work and had healed someone in God’s Name.  And Jeremiah once said, regarding God’s backslidden People: “Lord GOD! surely Thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem , saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul” ( 4:10 ). 

But it goes beyond this, and I’d urge folks to hear me out.  I realise what I am about to say is seldom taught, but if you’ll bear with me I’ll supply solid biblical proof.  Specifically, and only for the good of His Kingdom, God could even be said to fool His faithful servants at times.  For instance, Jeremiah cried out “O LORD, Thou hast deceived me” (Jer. 20:7), and God employed deception in order to reveal to Solomon’s court the true mother of the disputed baby in 1 Kings 3:23-28 (i.e. by having Solomon deceptively order the child to be cut in two).  Let’s also recall that God misled His own people in order to bring Jacob and his family to Egypt for their safety (e.g. in Genesis 42:7-9, where Joseph knowingly accused his brothers of being spies).

There’s another, particularly apt, example I want to mention at this stage.  God deceived Abraham to test him regarding his son (Genesis 22).  God never intended for Abraham to kill Isaac, but He certainly gave Abraham that impression!  This was to test Abraham’s devotion to God, and it’s an important clue as to why the Lord would deceive people – or why He would enable people to deceive themselves.  (We’ll come back to this point shortly.) 

Now, some of us may know of a verse or two in the Bible indicating that God is opposed to all deception.  But once again we are talking about a tiny fraction of the relevant verses, so we need to make sure we interpret them in the light of the rest of the Bible rather than the other way around.  As I say, God is totally opposed to all lying, but a person can be misled without being lied to, and it is the latter we are looking at in these talks.  The fact is that there are numerous places in the Bible where the Lord unambiguously utilizes the method I have been discussing.  (Please see the footnotes of this transcript for numerous further examples and for more explanation of this particular issue if it is troubling you.[4]  I would also recommend anyone who may be upset by the material in my talk to look up all the various Bible references I have cited before dismissing my claim.)

In other words, please don’t think I am misrepresenting the Lord.  He can, and does, allow us to mislead ourselves if we prefer that to loving (i.e. seeking and obeying) the truth regardless of the cost.   

But WHY?  

A sensible question at this stage is: Why on earth would God do this?!  I will look at that issue more fully in just a few minutes, but, at the very least, this pattern we have identified should encourage us all to be really open to correction (and should encourage all teachers to be extremely open to correction and to be prepared to learn from the doctrines held by denominations other than their own).  It should also lead Christians to develop a good working knowledge of the whole Bible, and to take care that they do so in a seriously respectful way.

Now, some would use this surprising feature of the Bible as an argument for ignoring the Bible.  For example, certain folks say “We can effectively forget the Bible, for Jesus said He is the truth – so all we really need is Him”.  But this is yet another example of the very thing I am looking at – i.e. taking just a portion of one verse and interpreting all other verses in the light of it.  If we don’t genuinely need the Bible, what are the epistles (which, let us remember, were all written to believers) doing there?  If we do not truly need the Word then the highly unambiguous words of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (which formed part of our second reading this morning), become a nonsense.  As you will recall, that passage says:  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  So, at least until you or I are “perfect”, we still need to be reading our Bibles!

Incidentally, the explanation for Christ calling Himself “the Truth” is straightforward.  I want to return to this matter in my second talk, but for now let me note that our Lord Himself stated, in John 17, that God’s Word [Greek: Logos] is truth.  Now, the Lord Jesus is God’s Word in human form – and can therefore rightly call Himself the truth, but the Bible is God’s Word in written form – and is therefore also the truth.  When He was here on Earth, Jesus Himself repeatedly encouraged us to know the scriptures.  He did so: in Luke 11:28 , in Luke 6:3, in Luke 20:44 and in many other places (most of which are listed in the first part of a book I’ve co-authored – see footnote[5] for details). 
  

What Amount Is Ambiguous?  

I’m not, at this stage, going to say a great deal regarding the amount of the relevant evidence which will appear misleading on a given doctrine.  I plan to look at that properly another time.  But what I will say is that the misleading proportion always seems to be enough to convince those folks who do not put the truth first.  If someone prefers to side with the minority, ambiguous, part and ignore the great bulk of the evidence which unambiguously points in the correct direction, then God seems to have made sure that this ambiguous part is adequate to fool such a person.

(I should clarify this.  In my experience, the exact proportion of ‘misleading’ evidence varies between topics.  In other words some doctrines have a smaller quantity of data ‘pointing’ in the wrong direction than do others.  But they always, I find, include evidence which is significantly more compelling, so the overall effect seems unchanged.  This leads to an interesting situation.  Let’s imagine a particular doctrine is supported explicitly, or at least reasonably directly, by the vast majority of the Bible, and that its negation is only supportable by a tiny set of passages.  In order to achieve the necessary ‘effect’ discussed, some of these few passages will seem remarkably compelling at face value.)  
 

CONCLUSION  

This principle we have been exploring (i.e. that the truth can be obtained by being fully open to it and by respecting all the evidence, but that a non-negligible proportion of this evidence will superficially point away from the truth) seems to be a fundamental spiritual principle.  If this is so, it applies to everything in this life – not just to the Bible and its contents…

For example, it applies to questions regarding Creation and the age of the Earth.  It also applies to the question of Bible versions and the manuscripts which underlie them.  It applies to the issue of whether a given person’s ministry is of God or not.  It applies to every aspect of the truth.  I plan to take a closer look at this point in my next talk where, God-willing, I will also uncover the extremely important ramifications of this principle.  For now though, I do need to return to this matter of why God would ever mislead people (or why He would allow people to mislead themselves).  I believe there are two prime reasons: 

Firstly, I think God allows it because any temptation to focus on a subset of His Word should disappear when we realise that we need to read and reverence the whole of the Bible if we are to determine the truth about a given doctrine.

The second reason I believe God sometimes ‘misleads’ people is related to the above, but is even more profound.  I think God allows those people who are not properly devoted to the truth to be deceived because God aligns Himself so completely with the truth that He takes it as a major personal affront when we don’t love the truth – and, as such, He’s hardly going to bless such an attitude.  I plan to develop this crucial point in my second talk, but another perspective for the time being is to see these ambiguities as being akin to battlements around a castle.  On the one hand they discourage (or stop) the half-hearted person because they will require care and effort to overcome, but, on the other hand, they will encourage the valiant-hearted person because they tell him that the treasures within are even more precious and priceless than might previously have been supposed.[6]  Matthew 13:10-15 is very instructive here.[7]  

 This idea (i.e. that we really must love the truth) is reinforced by the first Bible reading we had this morning, from Proverbs 2.  I’ll just remind us of verses 3 to 5 before I close.  Listen out for how thoroughly committed we need to be to the truth:   

3  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

4  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

5  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.   

As God makes plain here, this involves heartfelt desire.  It requires us to seek the truth with the same degree of application and determination with which we would search for hid treasures.  (It also involves obeying the truths that we have already found.)  Are we not now beginning to see why so many different denominations – with so many different worldviews developed from the same book – have appeared? 

If any folks don’t agree that this is a very major reason for the existence of such immense divergence of doctrines within professing Christianity then they need to locate a better explanation and they need to explain away the ambiguous Bible verses we have discussed (as well as all the other ambiguous verses they know of).

(If anyone is experiencing serious doubts about the contents of the current talk, they can obtain a sneak preview of the second one by visiting the ‘Honey’ section of our website (bayith.org).  I am confident in the Lord that this will deal with all such doubts.  If this proves not to be the case then please do contact me via that website.)

If any folks are tempted to reject my argument on the basis that it doesn’t fit with their existing doctrinal framework, I would humbly suggest that they are in danger of doing exactly what this talk warns about – i.e. putting something before truth.  I urge them to consider what I have to say in the second talk before dismissing what we have covered thus far.

Any of us who still thinks he is immune from the problem I have identified this morning is, in my view, dangerously naive.  I would argue that he is being even more naive than the newly-wed man today who, in a society which now sees more than half of all marriages end in divorce, lets himself imagine that he will never suffer with any marital problems himself.  (I recommend we all pause for a moment to consider the unspeakable foolishness of such an expectation.)

I feel I should end this talk by simply encouraging each one of us – myself included – to reconsider all our doctrines and to make absolutely certain that none of them is founded on the sand of the ambiguous minority of verses, nor on the sand of a subset of verses taken out of context, but on the solid rock of the majority evidence God has supplied which is pointing us in the right direction. 

Thank you for your time.  

 

 

[1] Much of the data for this paragraph was obtained from http://killdevilhill.com/biblechat/messages2, although I cannot endorse the rest of the article nor the site on which it appears.

[2] The book in question is Alpha – the Unofficial Guide: Church (a preliminary version of which has just been released by St Matthew Publishing).  Please see the ‘Rubies’ section of bayith.org for availability.

[3] (Note that identifying a seeming error is not the same as spotting a cast-iron error that is utterly logically irreconcilable no matter what assumptions are made.)  A good example of ‘disharmony’ in the gospels revolves around the respective records of the Lord’s burial and resurrection.  My argument is that there are too many such ultimately-resolvable ‘discrepancies’, many of which are too conspicuous, for them all to be there by accident.  This is the case with the Easter ‘discrepancies’.  More exist than ought to have been the case if the accounts were written by serious people; they are often more conspicuous than ought to have been the case if they were written by serious people; and all are able to be reconciled by the single book ‘The Easter Enigma’ (with the arguable exception of one).  Is there not a bit of a pattern here?  My theory would predict that the Easter passages would have a substantial number of seeming inconsistencies.  It would further predict that these ‘discrepancies’ would vary in ‘conspicuousness’ and also vary in difficulty of resolution.  I would expect there to be one or two which were very hard indeed to resolve such that anyone who refused to recognise this consistent pattern in the Bible would have something to cling to which allowed them to side-step the Bible and its challenging message.  

[4] There are one or two verses which may be worrying some of us.  For instance, Proverbs 24:28 says “Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips”.  We may think this verse proves that God opposes all deception and that He would therefore never use it Himself.  But the first half of the verse refers to people witnessing to a thing “without cause” – i.e. lying.  (It’s a similar story with Psalm 101:7.)  God is not saying here that all deception is wrong – rather that deception by lying (plus deception for evil motives) is wrong.  Thus we see God blessing, rather than chastising, the Hebrew midwives for deceiving Pharaoh; and we see God blessing, rather than cursing, Rahab for deceiving the men who were looking for the Jewish spies; and we see God blessing, rather than condemning, Abraham for deceiving his servants into thinking he hadn’t been told to sacrifice Isaac.  There are a surprising number of other such instances (so much so that I plan to turn them into a talk in their own right), but for now here are some confirmatory Bible references: Judg. 3:15-26; Jer. 38:14-27, esp. vv 14-15,24-27; Luke 24:28; and 1 Sam. 20:5-6.  Please note: there is a lot more evidence I could bring to bear here, beyond all the places in holy scripture where God hides things from His people, or where He blinds or confounds people such that they cannot see the truth.  God can and does use deception when it is necessary for the sake of His Kingdom.

[5] Specifically, Alpha – the Unofficial Guide: World (available from CWM).

[6] Once believers recognise this arrangement God has put in place, it should encourage the wise among us to take the Bible even more seriously than we did before.

[7] These battlements are the tools by which God separates the ‘wheat from the chaff’ in terms of commitment to Him.  These battlements are principally inserted as a stumbling block to reveal (to us) those souls who don’t genuinely love the truth, just as the Lord’s parables were designed to.  Consider what God says in Isaiah 6:8-10: “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”

 

 

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Beware False Balances Part 2