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Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar arrested
AP ^ | 06/08/2012 | KATE BRUMBACK

Posted on 06/08/2012 1:07:09 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd

ATLANTA (AP) — Megachurch pastor and televangelist Creflo Dollar was arrested early Friday after authorities say he slightly hurt his 15-year-old daughter in a fight at his metro Atlanta home.

Fayette County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call of domestic violence at the home in unincorporated Fayette County around 1 a.m., Investigator Brent Rowan said. The 50-year-old pastor and his daughter were arguing over whether she could go to a party when Dollar "got physical" with her, leaving her with "superficial injuries," Rowan said.

Dollar faces misdemeanor charges of simple battery and cruelty to children. He bonded out of Fayette County jail Friday morning. Dollar's lawyer Nikki Bonner said he's gathering information on the case and had no comment.

(Excerpt) Read more at google.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: creflodollar; domesticviolence; megachurch; pastor
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To: Revolting cat!

Money goeth!


51 posted on 06/08/2012 2:53:56 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie (The First Bystander must be removed!)
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To: Faith
I don't know about his evangelical credentials, but he sure seems bent on living the high life.
52 posted on 06/08/2012 2:58:03 PM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: CaribCarter
Targeted by the left? The lefties set-up the fight with his daughter a 1:00 in the morning? Seriously?
53 posted on 06/08/2012 3:00:59 PM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: UCANSEE2
http://www.cultwatch.com/HowPastorsGetRich.html
54 posted on 06/08/2012 3:15:22 PM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: dfwgator

LOL


55 posted on 06/08/2012 3:15:22 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Faith

You are deceived. He may stumble onto some truth now and again, but the man is a false profit! For the sake of your soul and the souls of your family, run from this man.

Have you seen his money dance?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYxeTjrckl0


56 posted on 06/08/2012 3:22:07 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: Faith

Back in the early 90’s, before he was widely known, I heard him speak- small room at a Holiday Inn. He was very charismatic, but very much “prosperity” gospel. I got his number the second time he returned to town. I was working on my pilot’s license. He flew in and it was quite the flashy show with his private jet, limo, security, etc. A wise friend pointed out that people that were really famous that flew in did so incognito and didn’t take a big limo. I had a Godly light bulb moment.


57 posted on 06/08/2012 3:50:14 PM PDT by pops88 (Standing with Breitbart for truth.)
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To: .45 Long Colt

ugh. I had not seen that before. I don’t get how anyone can watch that and say that he is a Christian. ugh


58 posted on 06/08/2012 3:57:17 PM PDT by lupie
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To: Faith
"Have you ever listened to his television sermons? He explains the Word of God better than most pastors"

Well, I've only heard a bit of one, years ago. I was flipping channels and happened on his show. He was telling his congregation that it's OK to tell God you need a new car, and furthermore, it's OK to tell Him you don't want some piece of junk, you want a Cadillac!

That was all I needed to hear.

59 posted on 06/08/2012 4:54:50 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Time for a write-in campaign...Darryl Dixon for President)
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To: starlifter

Would you conclude that all ‘pastors’ who are wealthy, are ‘evil’?


60 posted on 06/08/2012 5:12:46 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: lupie; Faith
It's an abject abomination. I fear most who sit in American pews don't either don't want or don't even know the pure gospel of grace. Many treat God like a lucky rabbit$ foot they rub to fulfill their American dream. 1 Timothy 3 King James Version (KJV) 3 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?
61 posted on 06/08/2012 5:12:52 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: klb99

Thank you for that reply. Thought I was the only one. We went through this with our 14 year old daughter, to the point that social services was called on us due to a busted lip. She’s 22 now, praise God, with a family of her own. I have no idea of the kind of lives the Dollars live, but I have nothing but sympathy for them in this instance. But by the grace of God go I.


62 posted on 06/08/2012 5:34:14 PM PDT by dubyagee ("I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.")
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To: FreeAtlanta

Envy much?


63 posted on 06/08/2012 5:35:49 PM PDT by dubyagee ("I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.")
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To: Blue Highway

Wonder how many Hank has led to Christ, compared with how many Joyce has...geez, the pettiness! Especially among Christians. In all likelihood, Christ isn’t keeping score. Atheists point to the pettiness among Christians as proof positive of their position...and with good reason! It looks hideous to those looking from the outside, in.


64 posted on 06/08/2012 5:43:16 PM PDT by dubyagee ("I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.")
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To: Responsibility2nd
Hey Creflo: You believe you can "have what you say"—so start wishing for an acquittal.
65 posted on 06/08/2012 5:45:55 PM PDT by RansomOttawa (tm)
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To: dubyagee

“Wonder how many Hank has led to Christ, compared with how many Joyce has.”

I wonder how many false converts Joyce hase made.


66 posted on 06/08/2012 5:51:24 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you really want to annoy someone, point out something obvious that they are trying hard to ignore)
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To: UCANSEE2
I would conclude that they bear scrutiny and I would donate not one penny to them unless they routinely release audited accounts.
67 posted on 06/08/2012 5:56:24 PM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: Emmett McCarthy

A conviction most certainly will cost Dollar his 2A Rights.
Here is some info concerning federal law.

A “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” means an offense that:

is a misdemeanor under Federal or State law;
has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon; and
was committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.

However, a person is not considered to have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence unless:

the person was represented by counsel in the case, or knowingly and intelligently waived the right of counsel in the case; and
in the case of a prosecution for which a person was entitled to a jury trial in the jurisdiction in which the case was tried, either —
the case was tried by a jury, or
the person knowingly and intelligently waived the right to have the case tried by a jury, by guilty plea or otherwise.

In addition, a conviction would not be disabling if it has been expunged or set aside, or is an offense for which the person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored (if the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held provides for the loss of civil rights upon conviction for such an offense) unless the pardon, expunction, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms, and the person is not otherwise prohibited by the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held from receiving or possessing firearms.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33), 27 CFR 478.11]


68 posted on 06/08/2012 6:03:21 PM PDT by Brent Calvert 03969-030
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To: AppyPappy

False converts to what? Are they false because they send money to Joyce Meyer Ministries? Are they false because they watch a sermon on TV? She’s certainly emphasized the Word of God and Christ anytime I’ve ever watched her? What exactly makes someone ‘false’ if they’re worshiping Christ and following God’s word.

Christ followers are humans, and while Christ was and is infallible, humans are not. There is not now, never has been and never will be, a perfect Christ follower, ie. Christian. I would personally be careful in condemning His children who may be doing His work, whether or not we approve of their methods...His ways are higher than ours.


69 posted on 06/08/2012 6:46:03 PM PDT by dubyagee ("I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.")
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To: starlifter

Yeah, seriously. First of all, I think a father has he right to restrain a 15-year-old girl from going out partying at 1:00 in the morning. And secondly, I think the charges as to strangling and brutalizing are very likely being far overblown.

Yep, I see a set-up. Seriously.


70 posted on 06/08/2012 6:50:49 PM PDT by CaribCarter
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To: dubyagee

Yeah but which Jesus? The Jesus that went to the Cross or the Santa Jesus that lives solely to give them a Cadillac?


71 posted on 06/08/2012 6:52:49 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you really want to annoy someone, point out something obvious that they are trying hard to ignore)
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To: dubyagee
Are you kidding me? If you listen and know the Word of God, anything these charlatans speak is twisting the words of God. The Bible warns of those that tampoer with God's word, they are those that are evil and are not serving God but Satan.

I would implore you to read this about scripture twisters:

What We Should Know About Scripture Twisters

From Peter’s warnings in his epistles and what we are told elsewhere in Scripture, we can summarize what we should know about Scripture twisters:

(1) We should expect Scripture twisters to arise within the church. We can expect to arise from within the church those who will twist the meaning of Scriptures as they interpret, apply, and teach the Bible. Peter warns us concerning false teachers in chapter 2, verse 1. Paul warns of the same danger in Acts 20:30. False teachers will arise from among the saints, twisting the truths of God’s Word and thus leading some astray.

(2) We should also know the most likely areas for error to be introduced. Peter informs us that Scripture twisters deny a coming day of judgment (3:1-4), even though their judgment is sure (2:1, 3, 9, 12, 17). It would seem from 2 Peter 2:1 that Scripture twisters twist the Scriptures concerning the person and the work of Jesus Christ in that they “deny the Master who bought them.” In addition, Scripture twisters undermine the Biblical teaching on holy living (2 Peter 2:2; contrast 3:11, 14).

(3) Those who twist Scripture will twist any or all of the Bible, but they will often base their teachings on an obscure or problematic text. Peter acknowledges that some of Paul’s writings are “difficult to understand” (verse 16). These seem to be the starting point for the truth twisters. They begin with a problematic passage, developing their unorthodox doctrines, and then turn to the clear, emphatic texts, denying what they dogmatically teach.

False teachers do not stop with Paul’s writings but distort the Scriptures as a whole. Problem passages written by Paul are only the tip of the iceberg. These perverters of Scripture do not stop here; they are not content unless they have twisted “the rest of the Scriptures” as well. Since the Scriptures agree, then one who sets aside the teaching of one author must, to be consistent, set aside other texts as well.

(4) Those who twist Scripture are described by Peter as “untaught and unstable.” The term “untaught” is rendered “ignorant” by the translators of the King James Version. The two terms “untaught” and “unstable” are introduced by a common article. This seems to indicate these two terms are to be viewed as interrelated. Like “love and marriage,” these terms go together “like a horse and carriage.” In other words, those who are “untaught” are “unstable,” and those who are “unstable” are also “untaught.”

In the Book of Ephesians, Paul emphasizes the other side of Peter’s words. Paul indicates the one who is stable is the one well-taught in the Scriptures. Both James and Peter make closely related statements:

11 And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all [aspects] into Him, who is the head, [even] Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. 17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, (Ephesians 4:11-17).

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 [being] a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8).

8 For if these [qualities] are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these [qualities] is blind [or] short-sighted, having forgotten [his] purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (2 Peter 1:8-11).

(5) Scripture twisters have ulterior motives which are far from pure. The teachings of the Scripture twisters is self-serving and often rooted in greed and the desire for monetary gain (Titus 1:11; Jude 11, 16; contrast Acts 20:33; 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 3:3; 6:3-5). For some, their twisted teaching is rooted in the ambition to have a personal following (Acts 20:30). Then there are those who twist Scripture to indulge their fleshly lusts (Titus 1:10-16; 2 Peter 2:10-22; Jude 18). Their approach to Scripture is not at all like that of David:

17 Deal bountifully with Thy servant, That I may live and keep Thy word. 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law (Psalms 119:17-18).

Instead, they are “following after their own lusts” (2:3). They exploit their victims out of greed (2:3) and not out of a genuine love and concern (see 2 Peter 1:12-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-12).

(6) The appeal of Scripture twisters is in providing a pretext for self-indulgence and sin for their followers, as well as themselves. They entice those who are immature and vulnerable (2 Peter 2:14, 18; see 2 Timothy 3:6-7). While teachers of biblical truth call for the saints to “abstain from fleshly lusts” (Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:16, 24; 1 Peter 2:11), Scripture twisters assure men Christians can indulge the flesh (Jude 4) with no consequences.

(7) Those who twist Scripture may include both teachers (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Timothy 3:8, 13) and their pupils (verse 16; 2 Timothy 3:6-7; 2 Peter 2:14). While the context of chapters 2 and 3 is false teachers, Peter’s words in verse 16 should not be restricted only to false teachers but to any who are “untaught” and “unstable,” who wish to justify their ungodly conduct.

(8) Those who twist Scripture do so to their own destruction (verse 16; see also John 5:39; Acts 5:20; Romans 2:7-8; Philippians 2:16; contrast 1 Timothy 4:16). It is little wonder that Scripture twisters deny the second coming of our Lord and the judgment to come. After all, His coming is a day of judgment for them. But Peter’s teaching is clear. Those who distort the truth of God’s Word do so to their own destruction (3:16; see also 2:1, 3, 9-13, 20-22; 3:7).

Sharpening our Sensitivity to Scripture Twisters

Peter’s words are written so Christians will be on their guard, alert to those who twist the Scriptures. He expects the saints not only can, but should, be able to discern those who pervert God’s Word. Peter is not speaking only to church leaders or Bible teachers here; he is speaking to all the saints. Every Christian should be able to recognize those about whom Peter warns us. Peter indicates how Christians can be prepared to spot false teachers and turn from them:

17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:17-18).

The first thing necessary is for us to realize we have been forewarned that Scripture twisters are going to arise. They will arise not only from without but from within. Peter warns of the false teachers “among you” (2:1, see also 2:3, 13). Paul warns the Ephesian elders that some of them will depart from the truth, twisting the Scriptures:

28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build [you] up and to give [you] the inheritance among all those who are sanctified (Acts 20:28-32).

We must therefore be like the Bereans, always putting the teaching of others (even those whom we respect) to the test. Does the teaching we receive square with the truths of God’s Word (see Acts 17:11)? Bible teaching must never be a substitute for our own personal study of the Word of God; it is an enhancement to our own study. Good teaching should only encourage and facilitate the personal study of God’s Word, never discourage it.

Second, the best preventative for false teaching by others is to actively pursue godliness and personal spiritual growth:

17b Be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17b-18).

These words sound very much like the words Peter began his teaching with in chapter 1:

5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in [your] moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in [your] knowledge, self-control, and in [your] self-control, perseverance, and in [your] perseverance, godliness; 7 and in [your] godliness, brotherly kindness, and in [your] brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these [qualities] are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these [qualities] is blind [or] short-sighted, having forgotten [his] purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble (2 Peter 1:5-10).

Those who do not know God personally through faith in Jesus Christ are not able to comprehend the truths of God’s Word:

43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? [It is] because you cannot hear My word. 44 “You are of [your] father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature;] for he is a liar, and the father of lies. 45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me” (John 8:43-45; see also 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:14).

Those who know God, and who desire to do His will, will be enabled to understand divine truth:

16 Jesus therefore answered them, and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or [whether] I speak from Myself. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (John 7:16-18).

Those whose walk with the Lord is stagnant are most vulnerable to false teaching. The teaching of God’s Word should cause the slothful saint to be uneasy. The twisting of Scripture is what the wayward saint will feel comfortable hearing. Spiritual health is the best preventative for the disease of Scripture twisting.

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession (Hebrews 4:12-14).

Very closely related to what we are learning here is the personal pursuit of holiness, for pursuing holiness greatly contributes to our ability to discern and avoid Scripture twisters. It is precisely when we are “following our own lusts” that we will seek to distort the truth of the Word of God (2:3) to fit out desires. Those who are dominated by their lusts are the false teachers (2:10-22). Those who pursue holiness will discern those who lead unholy lives who encourage others to follow them. And so it is that Peter urges his readers to pursue godliness in the same text he warns us of Scripture twisters:

14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless (2 Peter 3:14).

Levels of Error

Not all errors are alike. Some errors are more dangerous and even more culpable than others. Some errors stem from ignorance. We simply do not know the Scriptures well enough. It may be that we speculate where we should simply acknowledge our ignorance (see Deuteronomy 29:29) and study the Word to determine the truth. Some errors are errors of personal opinion or belief. For example, Christians may differ over the interpretation of a particular passage, especially a problematic passage. Everyone cannot be right. Perhaps no one is right. So long as we identify our interpretation as our opinion, I do not think we are in trouble. But when we teach our opinion as absolute truth, we are venturing into dangerous waters.

We need to distinguish between our convictions, which we should not impose on others, and the teaching of God’s principles and commands which all are to accept and practice. Paul is very careful to indicate to his readers those matters which are his personal conviction and those which are not. We see this in 1 Corinthians 7. His conviction and practice is that he can better serve the Lord unmarried than married (1 Corinthians 7:8-9, 25-28). He does not, however, like some false teachers, condemn marriage altogether (see 1 Timothy 4:3). He simply points out that marriage can be a distraction and challenges us to consider the single life as an option. We should learn to recognize the difference between our own personal convictions (which we are told to keep to ourselves [Romans 14:22] and those truths which all Christians must embrace to be orthodox. The virgin birth of our Lord, for example, should not be considered a personal conviction but a doctrinal fundamental of the faith. Those doctrinal truths which are an essential part of the gospel are crucial to the gospel. When these truths are twisted, incalculable damage can be done, not only to ourselves but to others.

I believe we should distinguish between those errors we sincerely hold as personal opinion or conviction and those we teach and advocate to others as God’s truth. Once we take on the role of teacher, we assume responsibility not only for ourselves, but for others, which is an awesome thing. No wonder James admonishes us that not many should become teachers (James 4:1). Those things we teach others as the command of Christ become matters of great importance, and if we err on this level, we err seriously, to our own shipwreck and that of any who follow us in our error. We should also beware of teaching in such a way us to set aside or undermine what God has given to His people as a clear command. We are told by our Lord to teach believers all that He has commanded us (Matthew 28:18-20), so let us see that the commands of Christ are the curriculum of discipleship. To fail to teach these, or to teach them in error, is very serious business.

Ways We Twist Scripture

It is very clear in Peter’s epistles (and also Paul’s) that the Scriptures are of primary importance to the Christian. Nothing is more dangerous than twisting the truth of God’s Word. I would like to suggest some ways Peter’s words relate to us and how the Scriptures are being perverted in our time, even within evangelicalism.

(1) We err greatly in our interpretation and application of God’s Word when we subordinate the revelation of God’s truth to our own reason. When God’s command is clear, it does not matter nearly so much that we understand why the command is given as that we obey it. Too many Christians refuse to believe or obey Scripture until it makes sense to them. Some think Christians should understand the “full depth of injury” that others have brought upon them before they forgive them. I understand the Bible teaches us to forgive to whatever degree we perceive someone has offended us at that moment and grant further forgiveness if and when it is required.

Adam and Eve did not understand why God forbade them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They did not need to know this. In fact, eating of the tree is what would give them this knowledge. All they needed to know was that God had given this command and then to obey it. More faith is required to obey God when we don’t understand why than to obey when the reasons are glaring us in the face. All too often I hear Christians refusing to believe or obey God’s Word at a point where they fail to grasp the reasons for it. I would remind you that many of the distinctions between “clean” and “unclean” in the Old Testament seem to have no reason, except that God declared them to be such. The question is whether we will accept God’s distinction between good and evil, clean and unclean, truth and error. In the armed forces, boot camp is intended to teach recruits to obey their leaders, without question, and without the need to first know why. It is not we who have been called to pass judgment on the Word of God, but the Word of God which is to judge and to guide us.

(2) We are on very dangerous ground when we seek to “integrate” God’s truth, as revealed in Scripture, with “man’s truth,” as currently understood and taught from outside the Scriptures. “All truth is God’s truth,” we are told. That statement has a dangerous tendency, as currently applied. It tends to put all “truth” on the same level. It suggests that what is currently believed to be “true” through science, for example, is just as surely true as the truths of the Bible. It suggests that such scientific truth is just as certainly true as biblical truth. It suggests that secular “truth,” as currently understood, is just as important and as necessary to apply as God’s truth.

I do not believe this to be true. Only God’s truth—the truth God has revealed in His Word—is true truth, that which we can be assured is truth. Scientific truths continue to change. Biblical truth never changes. How sad to see Christians rushing back to the Scriptures to reinterpret them because modern science has apparently exposed some new truth which challenges God’s truth as taught in his Word. How sad to hear Christians who are alleged experts in some secular field proclaim these “truths” on the same level as the truth of God’s Word. Now the Bible is often not the primary text, the primary source of truth, but a secondary source. The Bible is used to illustrate or proof text what the secular sciences have identified as truth.

The Bible is the only revelation of truth which is inspired, inerrant, and infallible. The Bible reveals every truth essential for life and godliness. It is not God’s truth (as revealed in Scripture), plus other “truth,” which we need to live godly lives; it is God’s truth alone. Any truth not found in God’s truth is subordinate to God’s truth, and it is secondary to God’s truth, if indeed it is true at all. No wonder Christians are reading so many books beside (and often in place of) the Bible. They think they will find truth which is more necessary and important there. They are wrong. If any book is of great value to the Christian, it will be one which turns our attention and allegiance back to the Book.

(3) We twist the Scriptures when we “strain gnats and swallow camels.” This error was practiced by the scribes and Pharisees. They made much of the little details of the Scriptures, but they missed the main point. They put much emphasis on the specific commands of the Law but failed to grasp the major principles like justice and mercy, matters about which the prophets spoke. And so it was that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus interpreted the Law in such a way as to get to the heart of the Law. The Law not only prohibits murder, it requires us to deal with hatred by granting or seeking forgiveness. The Law not only prohibits immorality, it teaches us to deal with impure thoughts as sin. This is the reason David loved the Law of God and meditated upon it (see Psalm 119). The Law teaches us the principles of life and reveals to us the character and the heart of God. When we spiritualize the Scriptures, causing them to teach what they do not, we are beginning to twist the Scriptures.

(4) We twist the Scriptures when we take them farther than they were intended to be interpreted or applied. The Judaizers of Paul’s day took the command to be circumcised and imposed it upon the Gentiles, insisting they must do so to be saved (cf. Acts 15:1-2). When we teach our own ideas and doctrines (which are not in Scripture) as though they were Scriptural truth, we go too far, twisting Scripture. Paul warned us about this very thing, for it was the cause of division and destruction in Corinth:

6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other (1 Corinthians 4:6).

Sometimes we twist the Scriptures by over-spiritualizing the text, interpreting its message to be something far beyond what the text itself teaches or requires. Whether in the interpretation or in the application of God’s Word, we must not go beyond what is written.

(5) We twist the Scriptures when we accommodate our own culture in the interpretation and application of God’s Word. In its most blatant form, we find the Scriptures to be in error or invalid when our cultural values differ from what they teach. And so it is that some have set aside Paul’s teaching on the role women are to play in the church. Now, we ordain women as pastors and as overseers. We look down upon Paul for being a chauvinist. And in matters which are sensitive, we either play down or remain silent if the Scriptures collide with culture. And so the sin of homosexuality is no longer called sin and condemned as such. To do so would require that we exercise discipline on those who practice what God condemns. In order to have large, “successful,” happy churches, we do not hold to the same standards of marriage and divorce our Lord did. To do so would be to alienate and offend some and reduce church roles and budgets.

(6) We twist the Scriptures when we isolate the teaching of one part of the Bible from the teaching of the rest of the Bible. We will distort the message of the Bible when we fail to harmonize a particular Scripture with other Scripture. The cults selectively use the Scriptures. Paul tells the Ephesian elders that he taught the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20, 27), and not just selected portions or truths. For example, some will distort the biblical teaching on prayer by making this promise their theme:

19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).

The fact that this promise is contained in a context dealing with church discipline is ignored. And the fact that other criteria and requirements also apply to prayer is also nicely avoided, texts such as this one:

3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend [it] on your pleasures (James 4:3).

A husband and wife may agree they would like to own a mansion in Hawaii, but just because they agree in prayer does not obligate God to give them one. If we would pray as we ought, then we will pray in accordance with all the Bible teaches on prayer, not just on the basis of one isolated text, true though it is.

Quite frankly, this is the way most Christians read and study their Bibles, in tiny segments, often in random sequence. Most daily devotional books are written in this manner. But this fails to incline us to read a whole book at a time and attempt to ingest large doses of Scripture. Let us seek to read God’s Word more often, in greater portions, and in sequence.

(7) We twist the Scriptures when we fail to hold seemingly contradictory truths in tension. We like to have our truth in neat little packages, all nicely labeled and easy to keep separated. And so we, like the Pharisees of old, want truth to be one way or the other, but not both:

16 And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. 17 Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:16-17).

They wanted Jesus to tell them they should pay their taxes or they should not. They were trying to press Jesus into saying men should either obey Caesar or obey God. Either way, they could get Jesus in trouble. Jesus told them they should submit to God and to Caesar. They couldn’t have it all one way.

Truths must be held in tension. God is sovereign. Nothing happens that is not a part of His sovereign decree. Yet we have been commanded to do certain things. We are humanly responsible for our decisions and actions. These two truths, the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, are both true and must be held in tension. Those who would seek to hold one truth and deny the other will distort the Scriptures.

Some of the teachings of Scripture which appeared contradictory were also held in tension by the saints of old and now can be seen in a clearer light. The truth of the deity of Christ was taught in the Old Testament, and now in the New, as is also the truth of His humanity. These truths appeared contradictory, but in the incarnation we see they were not. Even now we do not fully understand this union of humanity and deity, but we believe it, by faith. Still there are those who cling to one and reject the other.

The Old Testament prophets spoke of the suffering of Christ, and they also foretold of His glorious reign. The prophets themselves agonized as to how they might harmonize these two truths in tension (1 Peter 1:10-12), but they held to both. Now, in the light of the two comings of Christ, we understand there is no contradiction. Let us not reject one biblical truth (often the one we like the least) in a futile effort to remove the tension it creates with another truth.

(8) We twist the Scriptures by privately interpreting them (2 Peter 1:20-21). Over the years I have observed many of these “independent” Bible students. In truth, they are arrogant and unteachable. The irony is they often are eager to teach others, and they often can be found attempting to straighten out the church. Peter teaches us that the Scriptures were not only inspired by the Holy Spirit, they are to be interpreted by the illumination of the Spirit. Why is it that the church at Antioch (and, in my opinion, most healthy churches) have more than one gifted teacher?

The truth of God is for the people of God. If my understanding of a passage fails to fall within the mainline of conservative, evangelical teaching over the history of the church, then my view is suspect:

36 Was it from you that the word of God [first] went forth? Or has it come to you only? (1 Corinthians 14:36).

Those who have suffered and died for their faith and for the purity of biblical doctrine should not be ignored. Other gifted teachers should not be ignored. There is no place for individual autonomy in the Christian life. Those who think they can interpret the Scriptures on their own, disregarding all others, are highly suspect in their interpretation and clearly wrong in their attitude.

Often, such people will (ab)use this verse as a pretext for their independence:

26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him (1 John 2:26-27).

Notice first of all that the context here is false teachers. These teachers are those, like many cultists today, who come to your door and try to confuse you about what you believe. They represent themselves as “experts” (who think they know the “original Greek” or whatever). They offer to teach a Bible study in your home. They are those who raise doubts about your ability to read the Word of God and understand its message. Let no teacher keep you from a personal study of the Word. And do not give an ear to any false teacher. A true teacher of the Word is one who stimulates you to study the Word of God and to find out if what he teaches is indeed from God. Such teachers do not use clever or manipulative techniques but rely upon the Spirit of God to convince you of what is true—from the Scriptures:

11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, [to see] whether these things were so (Acts 17:11 emphasis mine).

4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

True teachers of the Word of God do not create a reliance on themselves but a reliance on the Word of God:

32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build [you] up and to give [you] the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).

(9) We twist the Scriptures by the misappropriation of truth. Grace is now distorted to sanctify sin. Grace is our excuse for sin, rather than an escape from sin. Sovereignty is an excuse for inactivity and passivity, etc. The Scriptures are twisted to excuse sin rather than expose and eradicate it.

(10) We twist the Scriptures when we selectively deny biblical teachings or commands. Sometimes this is a bold, outright denial of the truth of God’s Word. Satan did this in relation to God’s warning that if Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit they would die (see Genesis 3:4). The false teachers of Peter’s day did this in relation to the second coming of Christ (2 Peter 3:3-4). We do it by setting certain Scriptures aside, not by denying their truth, but by denying their application to us. Some try to set aside the teaching of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount by dispensationalizing it, telling us this is truth for the kingdom and thus not directly applicable to us. Some set aside Paul’s teachings (not to mention Peter’s) on the conduct of women by telling us these teachings were for a different time and a different culture. In His Great Commission, Jesus instructed the church to make disciples by “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). How many of our Lord’s commandments, as recorded in the Gospels, are taken seriously today, by evangelical, conservative Christians? By you?

Many of the teachings and commands of the Bible are set aside by default—we simply are ignorant of them because we have not read or studied God’s Word. Ignorance is not bliss, and we will be held accountable for knowing and doing what God has commanded in His Word.

Conclusion

Peter knows he is soon to die. Knowing this, he is intent on calling his readers to continually remember and apply the truths of God’s Word (2 Peter 1:13-15). In this Peter is in agreement with the other apostles, like Paul (see Acts 20:17-35; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; 6:1-5, 20-21; 2 Timothy 3:1–4:8). No wonder Peter wishes his readers to know he endorses Paul’s writings as the inspired Word of God! How much nearer we are to the day of our Lord’s return. And how many are those who seek to twist the Scriptures to their destruction and, if possible, ours. Let us be men and women of the Word.

Let us be on guard against error and be reminded that false teachers will not only arise from without but from within the church. It is the task of leaders to protect the flock from error, but it is also true that error may come from within the leaders (see Matthew 23; Acts 20:28-32). When we look only to our leaders to discern the truth and tell us what is biblical, what is right and wrong, when our leaders go astray, we are in trouble because we blindly follow them. This is what has and is taking place in many denominations. We are individually responsible to discern error and to respond to it biblically.

As the last days approach, let us fix our hope on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us seek to live holy lives, so that we practice and proclaim the excellencies of God before a godless world. May we be men and women of the Word, encouraged in our study of the Bible by faithful teachers and turning from those who are false. May we not be guilty of twisting the Scriptures in our own study, but, like David, turning to the Word of God to know God and to live lives which are pleasing in His sight.

78 I am speaking with regard to the meaning of Scripture in areas of major Bible doctrines and truths and not with regard to the problematic areas where the Scriptures are either silent or unclear (see Deuteronomy 29:29).

‹ Peter and Paul (2 Peter 3:14-16) From Peter’s warnings in his epistles and what we are told elsewhere in Scripture, we can summarize what we should know about Scripture twisters: (1) We should expect Scripture twisters to arise within the church. We can expect to arise from within the church those who will twist the meaning of Scriptures as they interpret, apply, and teach the Bible. Peter warns us concerning false teachers in chapter 2, verse 1. Paul warns of the same danger in Acts 20:30. False teachers will arise from among the saints, twisting the truths of God’s Word and thus leading some astray. (2) We should also know the most likely areas for error to be introduced. Peter informs us that Scripture twisters deny a coming day of judgment (3:1-4), even though their judgment is sure (2:1, 3, 9, 12, 17). It would seem from 2 Peter 2:1 that Scripture twisters twist the Scriptures concerning the person and the work of Jesus Christ in that they “deny the Master who bought them.” In addition, Scripture twisters undermine the Biblical teaching on holy living (2 Peter 2:2; contrast 3:11, 14). (3) Those who twist Scripture will twist any or all of the Bible, but they will often base their teachings on an obscure or problematic text. Peter acknowledges that some of Paul’s writings are “difficult to understand” (verse 16). These seem to be the starting point for the truth twisters. They begin with a problematic passage, developing their unorthodox doctrines, and then turn to the clear, emphatic texts, denying what they dogmatically teach. False teachers do not stop with Paul’s writings but distort the Scriptures as a whole. Problem passages written by Paul are only the tip of the iceberg. These perverters of Scripture do not stop here; they are not content unless they have twisted “the rest of the Scriptures” as well. Since the Scriptures agree, then one who sets aside the teaching of one author must, to be consistent, set aside other texts as well. (4) Those who twist Scripture are described by Peter as “untaught and unstable.” The term “untaught” is rendered “ignorant” by the translators of the King James Version. The two terms “untaught” and “unstable” are introduced by a common article. This seems to indicate these two terms are to be viewed as interrelated. Like “love and marriage,” these terms go together “like a horse and carriage.” In other words, those who are “untaught” are “unstable,” and those who are “unstable” are also “untaught.” In the Book of Ephesians, Paul emphasizes the other side of Peter’s words. Paul indicates the one who is stable is the one well-taught in the Scriptures. Both James and Peter make closely related statements: 11 And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all [aspects] into Him, who is the head, [even] Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. 17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, (Ephesians 4:11-17). 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 [being] a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8). 8 For if these [qualities] are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these [qualities] is blind [or] short-sighted, having forgotten [his] purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (2 Peter 1:8-11). (5) Scripture twisters have ulterior motives which are far from pure. The teachings of the Scripture twisters is self-serving and often rooted in greed and the desire for monetary gain (Titus 1:11; Jude 11, 16; contrast Acts 20:33; 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 3:3; 6:3-5). For some, their twisted teaching is rooted in the ambition to have a personal following (Acts 20:30). Then there are those who twist Scripture to indulge their fleshly lusts (Titus 1:10-16; 2 Peter 2:10-22; Jude 18). Their approach to Scripture is not at all like that of David: 17 Deal bountifully with Thy servant, That I may live and keep Thy word. 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law (Psalms 119:17-18). Instead, they are “following after their own lusts” (2:3). They exploit their victims out of greed (2:3) and not out of a genuine love and concern (see 2 Peter 1:12-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-12). (6) The appeal of Scripture twisters is in providing a pretext for self-indulgence and sin for their followers, as well as themselves. They entice those who are immature and vulnerable (2 Peter 2:14, 18; see 2 Timothy 3:6-7). While teachers of biblical truth call for the saints to “abstain from fleshly lusts” (Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:16, 24; 1 Peter 2:11), Scripture twisters assure men Christians can indulge the flesh (Jude 4) with no consequences. (7) Those who twist Scripture may include both teachers (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Timothy 3:8, 13) and their pupils (verse 16; 2 Timothy 3:6-7; 2 Peter 2:14). While the context of chapters 2 and 3 is false teachers, Peter’s words in verse 16 should not be restricted only to false teachers but to any who are “untaught” and “unstable,” who wish to justify their ungodly conduct. (8) Those who twist Scripture do so to their own destruction (verse 16; see also John 5:39; Acts 5:20; Romans 2:7-8; Philippians 2:16; contrast 1 Timothy 4:16). It is little wonder that Scripture twisters deny the second coming of our Lord and the judgment to come. After all, His coming is a day of judgment for them. But Peter’s teaching is clear. Those who distort the truth of God’s Word do so to their own destruction (3:16; see also 2:1, 3, 9-13, 20-22; 3:7). Sharpening our Sensitivity to Scripture Twisters Peter’s words are written so Christians will be on their guard, alert to those who twist the Scriptures. He expects the saints not only can, but should, be able to discern those who pervert God’s Word. Peter is not speaking only to church leaders or Bible teachers here; he is speaking to all the saints. Every Christian should be able to recognize those about whom Peter warns us. Peter indicates how Christians can be prepared to spot false teachers and turn from them: 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:17-18). The first thing necessary is for us to realize we have been forewarned that Scripture twisters are going to arise. They will arise not only from without but from within. Peter warns of the false teachers “among you” (2:1, see also 2:3, 13). Paul warns the Ephesian elders that some of them will depart from the truth, twisting the Scriptures: 28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build [you] up and to give [you] the inheritance among all those who are sanctified (Acts 20:28-32). We must therefore be like the Bereans, always putting the teaching of others (even those whom we respect) to the test. Does the teaching we receive square with the truths of God’s Word (see Acts 17:11)? Bible teaching must never be a substitute for our own personal study of the Word of God; it is an enhancement to our own study. Good teaching should only encourage and facilitate the personal study of God’s Word, never discourage it. Second, the best preventative for false teaching by others is to actively pursue godliness and personal spiritual growth: 17b Be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17b-18). These words sound very much like the words Peter began his teaching with in chapter 1: 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in [your] moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in [your] knowledge, self-control, and in [your] self-control, perseverance, and in [your] perseverance, godliness; 7 and in [your] godliness, brotherly kindness, and in [your] brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these [qualities] are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these [qualities] is blind [or] short-sighted, having forgotten [his] purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble (2 Peter 1:5-10). Those who do not know God personally through faith in Jesus Christ are not able to comprehend the truths of God’s Word: 43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? [It is] because you cannot hear My word. 44 “You are of [your] father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature;] for he is a liar, and the father of lies. 45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me” (John 8:43-45; see also 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:14). Those who know God, and who desire to do His will, will be enabled to understand divine truth: 16 Jesus therefore answered them, and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or [whether] I speak from Myself. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (John 7:16-18). Those whose walk with the Lord is stagnant are most vulnerable to false teaching. The teaching of God’s Word should cause the slothful saint to be uneasy. The twisting of Scripture is what the wayward saint will feel comfortable hearing. Spiritual health is the best preventative for the disease of Scripture twisting. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession (Hebrews 4:12-14). Very closely related to what we are learning here is the personal pursuit of holiness, for pursuing holiness greatly contributes to our ability to discern and avoid Scripture twisters. It is precisely when we are “following our own lusts” that we will seek to distort the truth of the Word of God (2:3) to fit out desires. Those who are dominated by their lusts are the false teachers (2:10-22). Those who pursue holiness will discern those who lead unholy lives who encourage others to follow them. And so it is that Peter urges his readers to pursue godliness in the same text he warns us of Scripture twisters: 14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless (2 Peter 3:14). Levels of Error Not all errors are alike. Some errors are more dangerous and even more culpable than others. Some errors stem from ignorance. We simply do not know the Scriptures well enough. It may be that we speculate where we should simply acknowledge our ignorance (see Deuteronomy 29:29) and study the Word to determine the truth. Some errors are errors of personal opinion or belief. For example, Christians may differ over the interpretation of a particular passage, especially a problematic passage. Everyone cannot be right. Perhaps no one is right. So long as we identify our interpretation as our opinion, I do not think we are in trouble. But when we teach our opinion as absolute truth, we are venturing into dangerous waters. We need to distinguish between our convictions, which we should not impose on others, and the teaching of God’s principles and commands which all are to accept and practice. Paul is very careful to indicate to his readers those matters which are his personal conviction and those which are not. We see this in 1 Corinthians 7. His conviction and practice is that he can better serve the Lord unmarried than married (1 Corinthians 7:8-9, 25-28). He does not, however, like some false teachers, condemn marriage altogether (see 1 Timothy 4:3). He simply points out that marriage can be a distraction and challenges us to consider the single life as an option. We should learn to recognize the difference between our own personal convictions (which we are told to keep to ourselves [Romans 14:22] and those truths which all Christians must embrace to be orthodox. The virgin birth of our Lord, for example, should not be considered a personal conviction but a doctrinal fundamental of the faith. Those doctrinal truths which are an essential part of the gospel are crucial to the gospel. When these truths are twisted, incalculable damage can be done, not only to ourselves but to others. I believe we should distinguish between those errors we sincerely hold as personal opinion or conviction and those we teach and advocate to others as God’s truth. Once we take on the role of teacher, we assume responsibility not only for ourselves, but for others, which is an awesome thing. No wonder James admonishes us that not many should become teachers (James 4:1). Those things we teach others as the command of Christ become matters of great importance, and if we err on this level, we err seriously, to our own shipwreck and that of any who follow us in our error. We should also beware of teaching in such a way us to set aside or undermine what God has given to His people as a clear command. We are told by our Lord to teach believers all that He has commanded us (Matthew 28:18-20), so let us see that the commands of Christ are the curriculum of discipleship. To fail to teach these, or to teach them in error, is very serious business. Ways We Twist Scripture It is very clear in Peter’s epistles (and also Paul’s) that the Scriptures are of primary importance to the Christian. Nothing is more dangerous than twisting the truth of God’s Word. I would like to suggest some ways Peter’s words relate to us and how the Scriptures are being perverted in our time, even within evangelicalism. (1) We err greatly in our interpretation and application of God’s Word when we subordinate the revelation of God’s truth to our own reason. When God’s command is clear, it does not matter nearly so much that we understand why the command is given as that we obey it. Too many Christians refuse to believe or obey Scripture until it makes sense to them. Some think Christians should understand the “full depth of injury” that others have brought upon them before they forgive them. I understand the Bible teaches us to forgive to whatever degree we perceive someone has offended us at that moment and grant further forgiveness if and when it is required. Adam and Eve did not understand why God forbade them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They did not need to know this. In fact, eating of the tree is what would give them this knowledge. All they needed to know was that God had given this command and then to obey it. More faith is required to obey God when we don’t understand why than to obey when the reasons are glaring us in the face. All too often I hear Christians refusing to believe or obey God’s Word at a point where they fail to grasp the reasons for it. I would remind you that many of the distinctions between “clean” and “unclean” in the Old Testament seem to have no reason, except that God declared them to be such. The question is whether we will accept God’s distinction between good and evil, clean and unclean, truth and error. In the armed forces, boot camp is intended to teach recruits to obey their leaders, without question, and without the need to first know why. It is not we who have been called to pass judgment on the Word of God, but the Word of God which is to judge and to guide us. (2) We are on very dangerous ground when we seek to “integrate” God’s truth, as revealed in Scripture, with “man’s truth,” as currently understood and taught from outside the Scriptures. “All truth is God’s truth,” we are told. That statement has a dangerous tendency, as currently applied. It tends to put all “truth” on the same level. It suggests that what is currently believed to be “true” through science, for example, is just as surely true as the truths of the Bible. It suggests that such scientific truth is just as certainly true as biblical truth. It suggests that secular “truth,” as currently understood, is just as important and as necessary to apply as God’s truth. I do not believe this to be true. Only God’s truth—the truth God has revealed in His Word—is true truth, that which we can be assured is truth. Scientific truths continue to change. Biblical truth never changes. How sad to see Christians rushing back to the Scriptures to reinterpret them because modern science has apparently exposed some new truth which challenges God’s truth as taught in his Word. How sad to hear Christians who are alleged experts in some secular field proclaim these “truths” on the same level as the truth of God’s Word. Now the Bible is often not the primary text, the primary source of truth, but a secondary source. The Bible is used to illustrate or proof text what the secular sciences have identified as truth. The Bible is the only revelation of truth which is inspired, inerrant, and infallible. The Bible reveals every truth essential for life and godliness. It is not God’s truth (as revealed in Scripture), plus other “truth,” which we need to live godly lives; it is God’s truth alone. Any truth not found in God’s truth is subordinate to God’s truth, and it is secondary to God’s truth, if indeed it is true at all. No wonder Christians are reading so many books beside (and often in place of) the Bible. They think they will find truth which is more necessary and important there. They are wrong. If any book is of great value to the Christian, it will be one which turns our attention and allegiance back to the Book. (3) We twist the Scriptures when we “strain gnats and swallow camels.” This error was practiced by the scribes and Pharisees. They made much of the little details of the Scriptures, but they missed the main point. They put much emphasis on the specific commands of the Law but failed to grasp the major principles like justice and mercy, matters about which the prophets spoke. And so it was that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus interpreted the Law in such a way as to get to the heart of the Law. The Law not only prohibits murder, it requires us to deal with hatred by granting or seeking forgiveness. The Law not only prohibits immorality, it teaches us to deal with impure thoughts as sin. This is the reason David loved the Law of God and meditated upon it (see Psalm 119). The Law teaches us the principles of life and reveals to us the character and the heart of God. When we spiritualize the Scriptures, causing them to teach what they do not, we are beginning to twist the Scriptures. (4) We twist the Scriptures when we take them farther than they were intended to be interpreted or applied. The Judaizers of Paul’s day took the command to be circumcised and imposed it upon the Gentiles, insisting they must do so to be saved (cf. Acts 15:1-2). When we teach our own ideas and doctrines (which are not in Scripture) as though they were Scriptural truth, we go too far, twisting Scripture. Paul warned us about this very thing, for it was the cause of division and destruction in Corinth: 6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other (1 Corinthians 4:6). Sometimes we twist the Scriptures by over-spiritualizing the text, interpreting its message to be something far beyond what the text itself teaches or requires. Whether in the interpretation or in the application of God’s Word, we must not go beyond what is written. (5) We twist the Scriptures when we accommodate our own culture in the interpretation and application of God’s Word. In its most blatant form, we find the Scriptures to be in error or invalid when our cultural values differ from what they teach. And so it is that some have set aside Paul’s teaching on the role women are to play in the church. Now, we ordain women as pastors and as overseers. We look down upon Paul for being a chauvinist. And in matters which are sensitive, we either play down or remain silent if the Scriptures collide with culture. And so the sin of homosexuality is no longer called sin and condemned as such. To do so would require that we exercise discipline on those who practice what God condemns. In order to have large, “successful,” happy churches, we do not hold to the same standards of marriage and divorce our Lord did. To do so would be to alienate and offend some and reduce church roles and budgets. (6) We twist the Scriptures when we isolate the teaching of one part of the Bible from the teaching of the rest of the Bible. We will distort the message of the Bible when we fail to harmonize a particular Scripture with other Scripture. The cults selectively use the Scriptures. Paul tells the Ephesian elders that he taught the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20, 27), and not just selected portions or truths. For example, some will distort the biblical teaching on prayer by making this promise their theme: 19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). The fact that this promise is contained in a context dealing with church discipline is ignored. And the fact that other criteria and requirements also apply to prayer is also nicely avoided, texts such as this one: 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend [it] on your pleasures (James 4:3). A husband and wife may agree they would like to own a mansion in Hawaii, but just because they agree in prayer does not obligate God to give them one. If we would pray as we ought, then we will pray in accordance with all the Bible teaches on prayer, not just on the basis of one isolated text, true though it is. Quite frankly, this is the way most Christians read and study their Bibles, in tiny segments, often in random sequence. Most daily devotional books are written in this manner. But this fails to incline us to read a whole book at a time and attempt to ingest large doses of Scripture. Let us seek to read God’s Word more often, in greater portions, and in sequence. (7) We twist the Scriptures when we fail to hold seemingly contradictory truths in tension. We like to have our truth in neat little packages, all nicely labeled and easy to keep separated. And so we, like the Pharisees of old, want truth to be one way or the other, but not both: 16 And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. 17 Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:16-17). They wanted Jesus to tell them they should pay their taxes or they should not. They were trying to press Jesus into saying men should either obey Caesar or obey God. Either way, they could get Jesus in trouble. Jesus told them they should submit to God and to Caesar. They couldn’t have it all one way. Truths must be held in tension. God is sovereign. Nothing happens that is not a part of His sovereign decree. Yet we have been commanded to do certain things. We are humanly responsible for our decisions and actions. These two truths, the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, are both true and must be held in tension. Those who would seek to hold one truth and deny the other will distort the Scriptures. Some of the teachings of Scripture which appeared contradictory were also held in tension by the saints of old and now can be seen in a clearer light. The truth of the deity of Christ was taught in the Old Testament, and now in the New, as is also the truth of His humanity. These truths appeared contradictory, but in the incarnation we see they were not. Even now we do not fully understand this union of humanity and deity, but we believe it, by faith. Still there are those who cling to one and reject the other. The Old Testament prophets spoke of the suffering of Christ, and they also foretold of His glorious reign. The prophets themselves agonized as to how they might harmonize these two truths in tension (1 Peter 1:10-12), but they held to both. Now, in the light of the two comings of Christ, we understand there is no contradiction. Let us not reject one biblical truth (often the one we like the least) in a futile effort to remove the tension it creates with another truth. (8) We twist the Scriptures by privately interpreting them (2 Peter 1:20-21). Over the years I have observed many of these “independent” Bible students. In truth, they are arrogant and unteachable. The irony is they often are eager to teach others, and they often can be found attempting to straighten out the church. Peter teaches us that the Scriptures were not only inspired by the Holy Spirit, they are to be interpreted by the illumination of the Spirit. Why is it that the church at Antioch (and, in my opinion, most healthy churches) have more than one gifted teacher? The truth of God is for the people of God. If my understanding of a passage fails to fall within the mainline of conservative, evangelical teaching over the history of the church, then my view is suspect: 36 Was it from you that the word of God [first] went forth? Or has it come to you only? (1 Corinthians 14:36). Those who have suffered and died for their faith and for the purity of biblical doctrine should not be ignored. Other gifted teachers should not be ignored. There is no place for individual autonomy in the Christian life. Those who think they can interpret the Scriptures on their own, disregarding all others, are highly suspect in their interpretation and clearly wrong in their attitude. Often, such people will (ab)use this verse as a pretext for their independence: 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him (1 John 2:26-27). Notice first of all that the context here is false teachers. These teachers are those, like many cultists today, who come to your door and try to confuse you about what you believe. They represent themselves as “experts” (who think they know the “original Greek” or whatever). They offer to teach a Bible study in your home. They are those who raise doubts about your ability to read the Word of God and understand its message. Let no teacher keep you from a personal study of the Word. And do not give an ear to any false teacher. A true teacher of the Word is one who stimulates you to study the Word of God and to find out if what he teaches is indeed from God. Such teachers do not use clever or manipulative techniques but rely upon the Spirit of God to convince you of what is true—from the Scriptures: 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, [to see] whether these things were so (Acts 17:11 emphasis mine). 4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). True teachers of the Word of God do not create a reliance on themselves but a reliance on the Word of God: 32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build [you] up and to give [you] the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). (9) We twist the Scriptures by the misappropriation of truth. Grace is now distorted to sanctify sin. Grace is our excuse for sin, rather than an escape from sin. Sovereignty is an excuse for inactivity and passivity, etc. The Scriptures are twisted to excuse sin rather than expose and eradicate it. (10) We twist the Scriptures when we selectively deny biblical teachings or commands. Sometimes this is a bold, outright denial of the truth of God’s Word. Satan did this in relation to God’s warning that if Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit they would die (see Genesis 3:4). The false teachers of Peter’s day did this in relation to the second coming of Christ (2 Peter 3:3-4). We do it by setting certain Scriptures aside, not by denying their truth, but by denying their application to us. Some try to set aside the teaching of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount by dispensationalizing it, telling us this is truth for the kingdom and thus not directly applicable to us. Some set aside Paul’s teachings (not to mention Peter’s) on the conduct of women by telling us these teachings were for a different time and a different culture. In His Great Commission, Jesus instructed the church to make disciples by “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). How many of our Lord’s commandments, as recorded in the Gospels, are taken seriously today, by evangelical, conservative Christians? By you? Many of the teachings and commands of the Bible are set aside by default—we simply are ignorant of them because we have not read or studied God’s Word. Ignorance is not bliss, and we will be held accountable for knowing and doing what God has commanded in His Word. Conclusion Peter knows he is soon to die. Knowing this, he is intent on calling his readers to continually remember and apply the truths of God’s Word (2 Peter 1:13-15). In this Peter is in agreement with the other apostles, like Paul (see Acts 20:17-35; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; 6:1-5, 20-21; 2 Timothy 3:1–4:8). No wonder Peter wishes his readers to know he endorses Paul’s writings as the inspired Word of God! How much nearer we are to the day of our Lord’s return. And how many are those who seek to twist the Scriptures to their destruction and, if possible, ours. Let us be men and women of the Word. Let us be on guard against error and be reminded that false teachers will not only arise from without but from within the church. It is the task of leaders to protect the flock from error, but it is also true that error may come from within the leaders (see Matthew 23; Acts 20:28-32). When we look only to our leaders to discern the truth and tell us what is biblical, what is right and wrong, when our leaders go astray, we are in trouble because we blindly follow them. This is what has and is taking place in many denominations. We are individually responsible to discern error and to respond to it biblically. As the last days approach, let us fix our hope on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us seek to live holy lives, so that we practice and proclaim the excellencies of God before a godless world. May we be men and women of the Word, encouraged in our study of the Bible by faithful teachers and turning from those who are false. May we not be guilty of twisting the Scriptures in our own study, but, like David, turning to the Word of God to know God and to live lives which are pleasing in His sight. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 78 I am speaking with regard to the meaning of Scripture in areas of major Bible doctrines and truths and not with regard to the problematic areas where the Scriptures are either silent or unclear (see Deuteronomy 29:29). ‹ Peter and Paul (2 Peter 3:14-16)

72 posted on 06/08/2012 6:56:46 PM PDT by Blue Highway
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To: .45 Long Colt
Many treat God like a lucky rabbit$ foot they rub to fulfill their American dream.

So true, it's hucksters like Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar that preys on people's weaknesses to further their adgrnda which is not biblical but evil. People should be concerned as they are NOT following the gospel but a poor counterfeit religion NOT of GOD.

73 posted on 06/08/2012 6:59:57 PM PDT by Blue Highway
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To: Blue Highway

I call replies like yours spam. I wish you well. God bless.


74 posted on 06/08/2012 7:09:15 PM PDT by dubyagee ("I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.")
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To: AppyPappy

Obviously, we have a difference of opinion, and ain’t it great we can...

I’ve never heard Joyce pray to Cadillac Jesus, but I certainly will not begrudge her, or anyone else their right to drive a cadillac or live in a 30,000 sq ft mansion. I do not believe that God cares about our comfort as much as he does our obedience, but I DO believe He is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him. And praise God, I believe He rewards here on earth, as well in heaven. Joyce ain’t twistin’ any arms, people sending her money are doing it in their own free will, and IF they’re doing it in obedience to God, He will reward them. God bless.


75 posted on 06/08/2012 7:15:16 PM PDT by dubyagee ("I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.")
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To: dubyagee

I call you deceived AND lazy if you choose not to read it. You question me and then I supply scripture to counter your flawed thinking and then you give a cop out “Ohhhh I’m too lazy to read a few paragraphs. To sum up the article I posted, The charlatan hucksters you seem to gravitate towards (Joyce Meyers, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen etc.) prey on those that are not solid in their walk with the Lord and make it appetising to these “lazy christians” by telling them what they want to hear ie. give $$$$$ and talking points on how to become successful. God’s purpose is not for man’s monetary success, God’s purpose is for us to seek his Kingdom FIRST.


76 posted on 06/08/2012 7:20:01 PM PDT by Blue Highway
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To: dubyagee

you are hopelessly a name it and claim it disciple. I hope you can get out of this cult like practice. What I want to know is what will it take to show you the sign of this evil? Had I had someone come to me with this message it would have been a sign from God that I was being fed garbage, and as a new Christian the word/faith church I was going to WAS a cult, masquerading as a Pentecostal church. I spent 3 years there naively thinking I was doing God’s will, unbeknownst to me I was being misled by the enemy in that place. I see the same thing with you and I hope my words are what you need to truly ask God if what you think you know is really His truth. It almost seems to me you have replaced God with these tv evangelists like Joyce Meyers.


77 posted on 06/08/2012 7:24:45 PM PDT by Blue Highway
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To: Blue Highway

You know NOTHING about me, least of all which ministers I gravitate towards. I suggest you read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 before you call ANYONE else a huckster, lazy or flawed (btw, believe it or not, we’re ALL flawed.) Take care.


78 posted on 06/08/2012 7:28:27 PM PDT by dubyagee ("I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.")
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To: CaribCarter
Every time I have watched this man preach, he has been pretty darn solid —

As solid as Jello in a hurricane. Or a sand castle at high tide. Or as his name implies, solid as fiat currency.

79 posted on 06/08/2012 7:29:41 PM PDT by Ezekiel (The Obama-nation began with the Inauguration of Desolation.)
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To: dubyagee
I don't give much thought to him other than think he is a conman. I do feel bad for the suckers who give him their income... or in many cases our tax dollars as many are on government aid.

This shyster along with many others, should not be getting tax exempt status. JMHO

80 posted on 06/08/2012 7:52:44 PM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
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To: RansomOttawa
He will likely get it. It is Atlanta and he didn't kill the girl. There was a lady where I once worked who wouldn't hear bad of the man no matter how much her friends tried to talk sense to her. He will walk. After all, that black pastor who had all the teenage boys here in atlanta is free and still has his church. look the other way...

EDDIE LONG

oops, I just found this video where the Eddie Long parking lot is a ghost town. I don't know how it is now.reprecrussions for bad behavior! I don't know how it is now.

81 posted on 06/08/2012 8:09:15 PM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Liberty and Justice for ALL)
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To: dfwgator

The poor girl needs a change from the Dollar.


82 posted on 06/08/2012 8:11:42 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Blue Highway
‹ Peter and Paul (2 Peter 3:14-16) From Peter’s warnings in his epistles and what we are told elsewhere in Scripture, we can summarize what we should know about Scripture twisters: (1) We should expect Scripture twisters to arise within the church. We can expect to arise from within the church those who will twist the meaning of Scriptures as they interpret, apply, and teach the Bible. Peter warns us concerning false teachers in chapter 2, verse 1. Paul warns of the same danger in Acts 20:30. False teachers will arise from among the saints, twisting the truths of God’s Word and thus leading some astray. (2) We should also know the most likely areas for error to be introduced. Peter informs us that Scripture twisters deny a coming day of judgment (3:1-4), even though their judgment is sure (2:1, 3, 9, 12, 17). It would seem from 2 Peter 2:1 that Scripture twisters twist the Scriptures concerning the person and the work of Jesus Christ in that they “deny the Master who bought them.” In addition, Scripture twisters undermine the Biblical teaching on holy living (2 Peter 2:2; contrast 3:11, 14). (3) Those who twist Scripture will twist any or all of the Bible, but they will often base their teachings on an obscure or problematic text. Peter acknowledges that some of Paul’s writings are “difficult to understand” (verse 16). These seem to be the starting point for the truth twisters. They begin with a problematic passage, developing their unorthodox doctrines, and then turn to the clear, emphatic texts, denying what they dogmatically teach. False teachers do not stop with Paul’s writings but distort the Scriptures as a whole. Problem passages written by Paul are only the tip of the iceberg. These perverters of Scripture do not stop here; they are not content unless they have twisted “the rest of the Scriptures” as well. Since the Scriptures agree, then one who sets aside the teaching of one author must, to be consistent, set aside other texts as well. (4) Those who twist Scripture are described by Peter as “untaught and unstable.” The term “untaught” is rendered “ignorant” by the translators of the King James Version. The two terms “untaught” and “unstable” are introduced by a common article. This seems to indicate these two terms are to be viewed as interrelated. Like “love and marriage,” these terms go together “like a horse and carriage.” In other words, those who are “untaught” are “unstable,” and those who are “unstable” are also “untaught.” In the Book of Ephesians, Paul emphasizes the other side of Peter’s words. Paul indicates the one who is stable is the one well-taught in the Scriptures. Both James and Peter make closely related statements: 11 And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all [aspects] into Him, who is the head, [even] Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. 17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, (Ephesians 4:11-17). 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 [being] a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8). 8 For if these [qualities] are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these [qualities] is blind [or] short-sighted, having forgotten [his] purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (2 Peter 1:8-11). (5) Scripture twisters have ulterior motives which are far from pure. The teachings of the Scripture twisters is self-serving and often rooted in greed and the desire for monetary gain (Titus 1:11; Jude 11, 16; contrast Acts 20:33; 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 3:3; 6:3-5). For some, their twisted teaching is rooted in the ambition to have a personal following (Acts 20:30). Then there are those who twist Scripture to indulge their fleshly lusts (Titus 1:10-16; 2 Peter 2:10-22; Jude 18). Their approach to Scripture is not at all like that of David: 17 Deal bountifully with Thy servant, That I may live and keep Thy word. 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law (Psalms 119:17-18). Instead, they are “following after their own lusts” (2:3). They exploit their victims out of greed (2:3) and not out of a genuine love and concern (see 2 Peter 1:12-15; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-12). (6) The appeal of Scripture twisters is in providing a pretext for self-indulgence and sin for their followers, as well as themselves. They entice those who are immature and vulnerable (2 Peter 2:14, 18; see 2 Timothy 3:6-7). While teachers of biblical truth call for the saints to “abstain from fleshly lusts” (Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:16, 24; 1 Peter 2:11), Scripture twisters assure men Christians can indulge the flesh (Jude 4) with no consequences. (7) Those who twist Scripture may include both teachers (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Timothy 3:8, 13) and their pupils (verse 16; 2 Timothy 3:6-7; 2 Peter 2:14). While the context of chapters 2 and 3 is false teachers, Peter’s words in verse 16 should not be restricted only to false teachers but to any who are “untaught” and “unstable,” who wish to justify their ungodly conduct. (8) Those who twist Scripture do so to their own destruction (verse 16; see also John 5:39; Acts 5:20; Romans 2:7-8; Philippians 2:16; contrast 1 Timothy 4:16). It is little wonder that Scripture twisters deny the second coming of our Lord and the judgment to come. After all, His coming is a day of judgment for them. But Peter’s teaching is clear. Those who distort the truth of God’s Word do so to their own destruction (3:16; see also 2:1, 3, 9-13, 20-22; 3:7). Sharpening our Sensitivity to Scripture Twisters Peter’s words are written so Christians will be on their guard, alert to those who twist the Scriptures. He expects the saints not only can, but should, be able to discern those who pervert God’s Word. Peter is not speaking only to church leaders or Bible teachers here; he is speaking to all the saints. Every Christian should be able to recognize those about whom Peter warns us. Peter indicates how Christians can be prepared to spot false teachers and turn from them: 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:17-18). The first thing necessary is for us to realize we have been forewarned that Scripture twisters are going to arise. They will arise not only from without but from within. Peter warns of the false teachers “among you” (2:1, see also 2:3, 13). Paul warns the Ephesian elders that some of them will depart from the truth, twisting the Scriptures: 28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build [you] up and to give [you] the inheritance among all those who are sanctified (Acts 20:28-32). We must therefore be like the Bereans, always putting the teaching of others (even those whom we respect) to the test. Does the teaching we receive square with the truths of God’s Word (see Acts 17:11)? Bible teaching must never be a substitute for our own personal study of the Word of God; it is an enhancement to our own study. Good teaching should only encourage and facilitate the personal study of God’s Word, never discourage it. Second, the best preventative for false teaching by others is to actively pursue godliness and personal spiritual growth: 17b Be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17b-18). These words sound very much like the words Peter began his teaching with in chapter 1: 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in [your] moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in [your] knowledge, self-control, and in [your] self-control, perseverance, and in [your] perseverance, godliness; 7 and in [your] godliness, brotherly kindness, and in [your] brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these [qualities] are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these [qualities] is blind [or] short-sighted, having forgotten [his] purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble (2 Peter 1:5-10). Those who do not know God personally through faith in Jesus Christ are not able to comprehend the truths of God’s Word: 43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? [It is] because you cannot hear My word. 44 “You are of [your] father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature;] for he is a liar, and the father of lies. 45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me” (John 8:43-45; see also 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:14). Those who know God, and who desire to do His will, will be enabled to understand divine truth: 16 Jesus therefore answered them, and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or [whether] I speak from Myself. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (John 7:16-18). Those whose walk with the Lord is stagnant are most vulnerable to false teaching. The teaching of God’s Word should cause the slothful saint to be uneasy. The twisting of Scripture is what the wayward saint will feel comfortable hearing. Spiritual health is the best preventative for the disease of Scripture twisting. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession (Hebrews 4:12-14). Very closely related to what we are learning here is the personal pursuit of holiness, for pursuing holiness greatly contributes to our ability to discern and avoid Scripture twisters. It is precisely when we are “following our own lusts” that we will seek to distort the truth of the Word of God (2:3) to fit out desires. Those who are dominated by their lusts are the false teachers (2:10-22). Those who pursue holiness will discern those who lead unholy lives who encourage others to follow them. And so it is that Peter urges his readers to pursue godliness in the same text he warns us of Scripture twisters: 14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless (2 Peter 3:14). Levels of Error Not all errors are alike. Some errors are more dangerous and even more culpable than others. Some errors stem from ignorance. We simply do not know the Scriptures well enough. It may be that we speculate where we should simply acknowledge our ignorance (see Deuteronomy 29:29) and study the Word to determine the truth. Some errors are errors of personal opinion or belief. For example, Christians may differ over the interpretation of a particular passage, especially a problematic passage. Everyone cannot be right. Perhaps no one is right. So long as we identify our interpretation as our opinion, I do not think we are in trouble. But when we teach our opinion as absolute truth, we are venturing into dangerous waters. We need to distinguish between our convictions, which we should not impose on others, and the teaching of God’s principles and commands which all are to accept and practice. Paul is very careful to indicate to his readers those matters which are his personal conviction and those which are not. We see this in 1 Corinthians 7. His conviction and practice is that he can better serve the Lord unmarried than married (1 Corinthians 7:8-9, 25-28). He does not, however, like some false teachers, condemn marriage altogether (see 1 Timothy 4:3). He simply points out that marriage can be a distraction and challenges us to consider the single life as an option. We should learn to recognize the difference between our own personal convictions (which we are told to keep to ourselves [Romans 14:22] and those truths which all Christians must embrace to be orthodox. The virgin birth of our Lord, for example, should not be considered a personal conviction but a doctrinal fundamental of the faith. Those doctrinal truths which are an essential part of the gospel are crucial to the gospel. When these truths are twisted, incalculable damage can be done, not only to ourselves but to others. I believe we should distinguish between those errors we sincerely hold as personal opinion or conviction and those we teach and advocate to others as God’s truth. Once we take on the role of teacher, we assume responsibility not only for ourselves, but for others, which is an awesome thing. No wonder James admonishes us that not many should become teachers (James 4:1). Those things we teach others as the command of Christ become matters of great importance, and if we err on this level, we err seriously, to our own shipwreck and that of any who follow us in our error. We should also beware of teaching in such a way us to set aside or undermine what God has given to His people as a clear command. We are told by our Lord to teach believers all that He has commanded us (Matthew 28:18-20), so let us see that the commands of Christ are the curriculum of discipleship. To fail to teach these, or to teach them in error, is very serious business. Ways We Twist Scripture It is very clear in Peter’s epistles (and also Paul’s) that the Scriptures are of primary importance to the Christian. Nothing is more dangerous than twisting the truth of God’s Word. I would like to suggest some ways Peter’s words relate to us and how the Scriptures are being perverted in our time, even within evangelicalism. (1) We err greatly in our interpretation and application of God’s Word when we subordinate the revelation of God’s truth to our own reason. When God’s command is clear, it does not matter nearly so much that we understand why the command is given as that we obey it. Too many Christians refuse to believe or obey Scripture until it makes sense to them. Some think Christians should understand the “full depth of injury” that others have brought upon them before they forgive them. I understand the Bible teaches us to forgive to whatever degree we perceive someone has offended us at that moment and grant further forgiveness if and when it is required. Adam and Eve did not understand why God forbade them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They did not need to know this. In fact, eating of the tree is what would give them this knowledge. All they needed to know was that God had given this command and then to obey it. More faith is required to obey God when we don’t understand why than to obey when the reasons are glaring us in the face. All too often I hear Christians refusing to believe or obey God’s Word at a point where they fail to grasp the reasons for it. I would remind you that many of the distinctions between “clean” and “unclean” in the Old Testament seem to have no reason, except that God declared them to be such. The question is whether we will accept God’s distinction between good and evil, clean and unclean, truth and error. In the armed forces, boot camp is intended to teach recruits to obey their leaders, without question, and without the need to first know why. It is not we who have been called to pass judgment on the Word of God, but the Word of God which is to judge and to guide us. (2) We are on very dangerous ground when we seek to “integrate” God’s truth, as revealed in Scripture, with “man’s truth,” as currently understood and taught from outside the Scriptures. “All truth is God’s truth,” we are told. That statement has a dangerous tendency, as currently applied. It tends to put all “truth” on the same level. It suggests that what is currently believed to be “true” through science, for example, is just as surely true as the truths of the Bible. It suggests that such scientific truth is just as certainly true as biblical truth. It suggests that secular “truth,” as currently understood, is just as important and as necessary to apply as God’s truth. I do not believe this to be true. Only God’s truth—the truth God has revealed in His Word—is true truth, that which we can be assured is truth. Scientific truths continue to change. Biblical truth never changes. How sad to see Christians rushing back to the Scriptures to reinterpret them because modern science has apparently exposed some new truth which challenges God’s truth as taught in his Word. How sad to hear Christians who are alleged experts in some secular field proclaim these “truths” on the same level as the truth of God’s Word. Now the Bible is often not the primary text, the primary source of truth, but a secondary source. The Bible is used to illustrate or proof text what the secular sciences have identified as truth. The Bible is the only revelation of truth which is inspired, inerrant, and infallible. The Bible reveals every truth essential for life and godliness. It is not God’s truth (as revealed in Scripture), plus other “truth,” which we need to live godly lives; it is God’s truth alone. Any truth not found in God’s truth is subordinate to God’s truth, and it is secondary to God’s truth, if indeed it is true at all. No wonder Christians are reading so many books beside (and often in place of) the Bible. They think they will find truth which is more necessary and important there. They are wrong. If any book is of great value to the Christian, it will be one which turns our attention and allegiance back to the Book. (3) We twist the Scriptures when we “strain gnats and swallow camels.” This error was practiced by the scribes and Pharisees. They made much of the little details of the Scriptures, but they missed the main point. They put much emphasis on the specific commands of the Law but failed to grasp the major principles like justice and mercy, matters about which the prophets spoke. And so it was that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus interpreted the Law in such a way as to get to the heart of the Law. The Law not only prohibits murder, it requires us to deal with hatred by granting or seeking forgiveness. The Law not only prohibits immorality, it teaches us to deal with impure thoughts as sin. This is the reason David loved the Law of God and meditated upon it (see Psalm 119). The Law teaches us the principles of life and reveals to us the character and the heart of God. When we spiritualize the Scriptures, causing them to teach what they do not, we are beginning to twist the Scriptures. (4) We twist the Scriptures when we take them farther than they were intended to be interpreted or applied. The Judaizers of Paul’s day took the command to be circumcised and imposed it upon the Gentiles, insisting they must do so to be saved (cf. Acts 15:1-2). When we teach our own ideas and doctrines (which are not in Scripture) as though they were Scriptural truth, we go too far, twisting Scripture. Paul warned us about this very thing, for it was the cause of division and destruction in Corinth: 6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other (1 Corinthians 4:6). Sometimes we twist the Scriptures by over-spiritualizing the text, interpreting its message to be something far beyond what the text itself teaches or requires. Whether in the interpretation or in the application of God’s Word, we must not go beyond what is written. (5) We twist the Scriptures when we accommodate our own culture in the interpretation and application of God’s Word. In its most blatant form, we find the Scriptures to be in error or invalid when our cultural values differ from what they teach. And so it is that some have set aside Paul’s teaching on the role women are to play in the church. Now, we ordain women as pastors and as overseers. We look down upon Paul for being a chauvinist. And in matters which are sensitive, we either play down or remain silent if the Scriptures collide with culture. And so the sin of homosexuality is no longer called sin and condemned as such. To do so would require that we exercise discipline on those who practice what God condemns. In order to have large, “successful,” happy churches, we do not hold to the same standards of marriage and divorce our Lord did. To do so would be to alienate and offend some and reduce church roles and budgets. (6) We twist the Scriptures when we isolate the teaching of one part of the Bible from the teaching of the rest of the Bible. We will distort the message of the Bible when we fail to harmonize a particular Scripture with other Scripture. The cults selectively use the Scriptures. Paul tells the Ephesian elders that he taught the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20, 27), and not just selected portions or truths. For example, some will distort the biblical teaching on prayer by making this promise their theme: 19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19). The fact that this promise is contained in a context dealing with church discipline is ignored. And the fact that other criteria and requirements also apply to prayer is also nicely avoided, texts such as this one: 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend [it] on your pleasures (James 4:3). A husband and wife may agree they would like to own a mansion in Hawaii, but just because they agree in prayer does not obligate God to give them one. If we would pray as we ought, then we will pray in accordance with all the Bible teaches on prayer, not just on the basis of one isolated text, true though it is. Quite frankly, this is the way most Christians read and study their Bibles, in tiny segments, often in random sequence. Most daily devotional books are written in this manner. But this fails to incline us to read a whole book at a time and attempt to ingest large doses of Scripture. Let us seek to read God’s Word more often, in greater portions, and in sequence. (7) We twist the Scriptures when we fail to hold seemingly contradictory truths in tension. We like to have our truth in neat little packages, all nicely labeled and easy to keep separated. And so we, like the Pharisees of old, want truth to be one way or the other, but not both: 16 And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. 17 Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:16-17). They wanted Jesus to tell them they should pay their taxes or they should not. They were trying to press Jesus into saying men should either obey Caesar or obey God. Either way, they could get Jesus in trouble. Jesus told them they should submit to God and to Caesar. They couldn’t have it all one way. Truths must be held in tension. God is sovereign. Nothing happens that is not a part of His sovereign decree. Yet we have been commanded to do certain things. We are humanly responsible for our decisions and actions. These two truths, the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, are both true and must be held in tension. Those who would seek to hold one truth and deny the other will distort the Scriptures. Some of the teachings of Scripture which appeared contradictory were also held in tension by the saints of old and now can be seen in a clearer light. The truth of the deity of Christ was taught in the Old Testament, and now in the New, as is also the truth of His humanity. These truths appeared contradictory, but in the incarnation we see they were not. Even now we do not fully understand this union of humanity and deity, but we believe it, by faith. Still there are those who cling to one and reject the other. The Old Testament prophets spoke of the suffering of Christ, and they also foretold of His glorious reign. The prophets themselves agonized as to how they might harmonize these two truths in tension (1 Peter 1:10-12), but they held to both. Now, in the light of the two comings of Christ, we understand there is no contradiction. Let us not reject one biblical truth (often the one we like the least) in a futile effort to remove the tension it creates with another truth. (8) We twist the Scriptures by privately interpreting them (2 Peter 1:20-21). Over the years I have observed many of these “independent” Bible students. In truth, they are arrogant and unteachable. The irony is they often are eager to teach others, and they often can be found attempting to straighten out the church. Peter teaches us that the Scriptures were not only inspired by the Holy Spirit, they are to be interpreted by the illumination of the Spirit. Why is it that the church at Antioch (and, in my opinion, most healthy churches) have more than one gifted teacher? The truth of God is for the people of God. If my understanding of a passage fails to fall within the mainline of conservative, evangelical teaching over the history of the church, then my view is suspect: 36 Was it from you that the word of God [first] went forth? Or has it come to you only? (1 Corinthians 14:36). Those who have suffered and died for their faith and for the purity of biblical doctrine should not be ignored. Other gifted teachers should not be ignored. There is no place for individual autonomy in the Christian life. Those who think they can interpret the Scriptures on their own, disregarding all others, are highly suspect in their interpretation and clearly wrong in their attitude. Often, such people will (ab)use this verse as a pretext for their independence: 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him (1 John 2:26-27). Notice first of all that the context here is false teachers. These teachers are those, like many cultists today, who come to your door and try to confuse you about what you believe. They represent themselves as “experts” (who think they know the “original Greek” or whatever). They offer to teach a Bible study in your home. They are those who raise doubts about your ability to read the Word of God and understand its message. Let no teacher keep you from a personal study of the Word. And do not give an ear to any false teacher. A true teacher of the Word is one who stimulates you to study the Word of God and to find out if what he teaches is indeed from God. Such teachers do not use clever or manipulative techniques but rely upon the Spirit of God to convince you of what is true—from the Scriptures: 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, [to see] whether these things were so (Acts 17:11 emphasis mine). 4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). True teachers of the Word of God do not create a reliance on themselves but a reliance on the Word of God: 32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build [you] up and to give [you] the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). (9) We twist the Scriptures by the misappropriation of truth. Grace is now distorted to sanctify sin. Grace is our excuse for sin, rather than an escape from sin. Sovereignty is an excuse for inactivity and passivity, etc. The Scriptures are twisted to excuse sin rather than expose and eradicate it. (10) We twist the Scriptures when we selectively deny biblical teachings or commands. Sometimes this is a bold, outright denial of the truth of God’s Word. Satan did this in relation to God’s warning that if Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit they would die (see Genesis 3:4). The false teachers of Peter’s day did this in relation to the second coming of Christ (2 Peter 3:3-4). We do it by setting certain Scriptures aside, not by denying their truth, but by denying their application to us. Some try to set aside the teaching of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount by dispensationalizing it, telling us this is truth for the kingdom and thus not directly applicable to us. Some set aside Paul’s teachings (not to mention Peter’s) on the conduct of women by telling us these teachings were for a different time and a different culture. In His Great Commission, Jesus instructed the church to make disciples by “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). How many of our Lord’s commandments, as recorded in the Gospels, are taken seriously today, by evangelical, conservative Christians? By you? Many of the teachings and commands of the Bible are set aside by default—we simply are ignorant of them because we have not read or studied God’s Word. Ignorance is not bliss, and we will be held accountable for knowing and doing what God has commanded in His Word. Conclusion Peter knows he is soon to die. Knowing this, he is intent on calling his readers to continually remember and apply the truths of God’s Word (2 Peter 1:13-15). In this Peter is in agreement with the other apostles, like Paul (see Acts 20:17-35; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; 6:1-5, 20-21; 2 Timothy 3:1–4:8). No wonder Peter wishes his readers to know he endorses Paul’s writings as the inspired Word of God! How much nearer we are to the day of our Lord’s return. And how many are those who seek to twist the Scriptures to their destruction and, if possible, ours. Let us be men and women of the Word. Let us be on guard against error and be reminded that false teachers will not only arise from without but from within the church. It is the task of leaders to protect the flock from error, but it is also true that error may come from within the leaders (see Matthew 23; Acts 20:28-32). When we look only to our leaders to discern the truth and tell us what is biblical, what is right and wrong, when our leaders go astray, we are in trouble because we blindly follow them. This is what has and is taking place in many denominations. We are individually responsible to discern error and to respond to it biblically. As the last days approach, let us fix our hope on the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us seek to live holy lives, so that we practice and proclaim the excellencies of God before a godless world. May we be men and women of the Word, encouraged in our study of the Bible by faithful teachers and turning from those who are false. May we not be guilty of twisting the Scriptures in our own study, but, like David, turning to the Word of God to know God and to live lives which are pleasing in His sight.

Good one, who'd disagree?!

83 posted on 06/08/2012 8:14:05 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Revolting cat!

If that’s not the longest unparagraphed block of text in FR history, it’s certainly Top 10. Do you Preview? Type “< p >” (without the spaces) to begin a new paragraph.


84 posted on 06/08/2012 8:27:28 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

I do preview. And I quote. Complaints and accolades to Blue Highway.


85 posted on 06/08/2012 8:33:04 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: Hebrews 11:6
I see now. My apology--should have realized it.

You're not that Revolting after all!

86 posted on 06/08/2012 8:40:17 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God IS, and (2) God IS GOOD?)
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To: Hebrews 11:6

No harm done, cheers.


87 posted on 06/08/2012 8:41:47 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: The_Media_never_lie; a fool in paradise
Tomorrow's headlines today:

Dollar, 50, Pays the Price!


88 posted on 06/08/2012 8:44:57 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: dubyagee

I can see how you misinterpret scripture as 1 Cor. 13 says nothing relating to calling out evil. Doing everything in love has nothing to do with steering away from evil things or unstable people. If anything it takes someone like me that is trying to help someone being misled by a cult to realize they are being lied to, and that act right there is out of love as if I had no love I would care less if a fellow Christian was being taken advantage of or lied to.


89 posted on 06/09/2012 6:21:23 AM PDT by Blue Highway
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To: Blue Highway
Gosh...excellent cut and paste skills.
90 posted on 06/09/2012 7:07:58 AM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: starlifter

Actually the first half is punctuated the second half was the pre formatted text I forgot to delete when I posted. Sorry bout that people.


91 posted on 06/09/2012 8:15:49 AM PDT by Blue Highway
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To: .45 Long Colt; Faith

The profit is obviously very real, it is the prophet part that appears to be false.


92 posted on 06/09/2012 8:40:51 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Red_Devil 232; .45 Long Colt; AlmaKing; Above My Pay Grade; ForAmerica; MrB; Wuli; faucetman; ...

On a related note: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2886281/posts


93 posted on 06/09/2012 3:07:52 PM PDT by JustSayNoToNannies (A free society's default policy: it's none of government's business.)
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To: JustSayNoToNannies
What's the Reader's Digest version?
94 posted on 06/09/2012 3:26:43 PM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: starlifter
What's the Reader's Digest version?

"Jesus saves."

95 posted on 06/09/2012 3:30:49 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: starlifter

#73.


96 posted on 06/09/2012 3:32:01 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: starlifter

Last 4 paragraphs:

Obviously there is nothing wrong with producing real goods and selling them at a fair price; it is admirable to labor diligently to care for one’s family and neighbors; to build a business that gives honest employment to those who need it is a worthy accomplishment. That, however, hardly consecrates everything that happens on the floor of the stock exchange as something continuous with Christian principles.

After all, when Christ talked about private wealth, he certainly seemed to associate it with spiritual impoverishment. In addition to his advice to the young ruler, there was his clear injunction to store up treasure not on earth but only in heaven, his rather pointed remarks on the impossibility of dual service to both God and Mammon, his parable about the rich man and Lazarus (which was not, I think we can grant, merely a warning against dissipation), and so on. As for imitating the personal industry of the rich, Christ enjoined his followers instead to take no thought for the morrow but to contemplate, emulously, those notoriously indolent lilies of the field. The New Testament as a whole, truth to tell, is fairly clear that the accumulation of great private wealth, even when honestly acquired, is spiritually perilous and, as a rule, morally unjust.

So, make what one will of the Occupy protestors—their stated aims are certainly amorphous enough to allow one to love or despise or ignore them as one chooses, and they are far too various a group to characterize uniformly, in any event—but I cannot really see how their actions constitute an assault on “Christian values.” Setting economic arguments aside for a moment, surely any Christian should acknowledge that at the heart of Christ’s teaching there was a prophetic critique of the pursuit and preservation of material wealth, and that it is hardly fitting then for Christians (even American Christians) to view these protests with simple self-confident disdain.

There is, I should add, no room for sanctimony in such observations. Certainly I cannot claim to have lived the life of the heroic renunciant, and no one can deny the force of the disciples’ question, “Who then can be saved?” But it is wise to recall that the Christ of the gospels has always been—and will always remain—far more disturbing, uncanny, and scandalously contrary a figure than we usually like to admit. Or, as an old monk of Mount Athos once said to me, summing up what he believed he had learned from more than forty years of meditation on the gospels, “He is not what we would make him.”


97 posted on 06/09/2012 3:37:09 PM PDT by JustSayNoToNannies (A free society's default policy: it's none of government's business.)
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To: Revolting cat!
But Moses invests.
98 posted on 06/10/2012 6:13:40 AM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: Revolting cat!; starlifter
But Toews scores on the rebound.
99 posted on 06/11/2012 8:34:33 AM PDT by JustSayNoToNannies (A free society's default policy: it's none of government's business.)
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