Naming False Teachers: Is There A Problem?

This article by Brannon Howse is very relevant in this age of political correctness in the evangelical church when dealing with false teachings and teachers.  It also touches on the personal side of the battle and how those who do not waver on biblical truth are treated by compromising pastors and churches.

Is It Negative and Unbiblical to Name False Teachers?
By Brannon Howse

www.worldviewweekend.com

After our Worldview Weekend Rally in Rockford, Illinois on Sunday night November 21, 2010, we were informed that the church we had been renting for the past few years does not want us to return. What is really sad is this is the church in which my wife grew up and has included five generations of her family dating back to her great grandparents on both sides of her family. One set of great grandparents were two of the original 13 founders of this church.

At the conclusion of our November 21, 2010, Rockford Worldview Weekend we were told that three months before the rally the church staff had voted for Worldview Weekend not to return in 2011 because our 2009 rally was thought by some of the church staff to be too negative and that it was inappropriate to name the name of false teachers.

I asked what their senior pastor thought about that evening’s Worldview Weekend Rally but was informed that the senior pastor had chosen not to attend the conference.

Please understand that I am not going to name the church because those that attended the conference and live in the area know the church of which I speak. I am not writing this article because of some kind of personal offense but to highlight how Biblical truth has become an offense to most of America’s churches.

Many such churches would claim to love truth but what they really love is a man-centered Christianity that helps them obtain success in their marriage, finances, family, and a positive attitude that produces health and a successful personal life without the pain of dying to self, picking up the Cross of Christ and being persecuted for proclaiming Truth.

II Timothy 4:3 tells us that many Christians will only want to hear what makes them feel good and appeals to their flesh; “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”

The 2009 speakers that joined me for the Worldview Weekend Rally in Rockford, Illinois included me, Dr. Erwin Lutzer and Dr. David Reagan.

In my 2009 presentation I spoke on the topic of my book Grave Influence and I did name such Emergent Church, false teachers as Pastor Brian McLaren who has said the cross and hell is false advertising for God. I named Pastor Bill Hybels that signed the Yale document that states that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Hybels has also had Brian McLaren at his church. I also mentioned Pastor Rick Warren who sits on the advisory board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation that seeks to bring the religions of the world together. I also named Pastor Rob Bell who has proclaimed an abundance of heresy and who has also spoken as Bill Hybel’s church. I spoke on why pagan spirituality was doubling in America every eighteen months and how many New Age practices had come into the churches of America such as “Christian” yoga and contemplative prayer. I explained how Christian could proclaim the Gospel to a postmodern culture that has become more interested in spirituality than theology. I also warned last year, as I did this year, that many churches are being compromised from within by church staff that do not adhere to the Biblical mandates and purposes of a New Testament church and are an inch deep and a mile wide in their doctrinal and theological understanding and commitment. I warned that the remnant should understand that our greatest opposition would not come from the government but from those that have the title “reverend” or “pastor” in front of their name. Click here to hear a few minutes of the presentation I presented at this church in 2009.

In 2009, Dr. Lutzer spoke on seven lessons America should learn from Nazi Germany and Dr. Reagan spoke on 50 signs we are living in the last days. All three of us used a lot of scripture to equip those in attendance to understand the times and know what God would have them to respond.

Worldview Weekend is thankful for the churches that will allow us to rent their buildings but the increasing trend is that we are being forced to rent more and more hotel ballrooms because so few churches have leaders, staff, and pastors that have clear discernment, real courage under fire, and an unwavering commitment to Biblical truth in an age of non-judgmentalism, tolerance, and Christian happy talk.

No one ever said being a watchman on the wall that warns of impending danger was going to be a popular job but if popularity is what we seek then we are not seeking to be faithful to the One we serve and thus we have failed in our calling.

Warning the church of emerging dangerous, unbiblical trends, false teachers, a false gospel, and unbiblical theology and doctrine has now become negative in the eyes of many of today’s hirelings. Jesus Himself told us that we would see those that claim to be shepherds/pastors that really have little concern for the sheep. In John 10:11-13 we read:

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

Listen to this audio of Pastor John MacArthur as he explains how Jesus named the names of false teachers and how this is the job of all Biblically minded Christians and true shepherds. In this audio clip Pastor MacArthur calls out Rick Warren by name for teaching a false gospel.

Worldview Weekend will not be deterred in speaking truth no matter how unpopular it becomes with individuals or members of a church staff.

Needless to say, I was concerned how my wife would respond to this criticism since she was raised in this church. Her response revealed to me, once again, how blessed I am that God gave Melissa to me as a helpmate. Melissa’s response was “why are you surprised, you knew this church was becoming increasingly liberal over the past few years. I was shocked they let Worldview Weekend return for the 2010 rally.”


Melissa encouraged me to shake the dust from my shoes and go out and find a hotel ballroom. She also encouraged me to continue to bring the Worldview Weekend to Rockford because of all the people, including life-long friends, that come up to her at the resource table to express their thankfulness that Worldview Weekend returns to Rockford, IL each year.

In fact, that night, while standing behind our resource table, a medical doctor, that is a member of this church, handed my wife a letter he had written to his children after last year’s Worldview Weekend in Rockford. In his letter he wrote in part:

…I attended a Worldview Weekend Rally at [name of church removed] on Sunday evening, November 22nd, and found it to be very helpful, informative, stimulating and timely.”

This father went on to recommend that his children read some of the books written by the speakers.

At this point in time, all three books impress me as being coherent, credible, plausible, relevant, responsible, strategic and timely. I believe that they qualify as priority reading for serous Christian believers and church leaders who need and want to be alert to the crucial times in which we and our families are living.”

This letter reveals a common response and a common problem that I have seen all across America-lay leaders that are more Biblically grounded, discerning, and committed to Biblical truth than some of their own church staff.

The Worldview Weekend in Rockford was held at another location a few years ago and has consistently had a large attendance regardless of where it is held. Thus, if you live in or near Rockford please know we will return and have already secured a hotel ballroom for the November 2011 Worldview Weekend Rally in Rockford, IL.

Let me answer the question of our article. Is it negative and unbiblical to name false teachers?  The Bible is filled with examples of Jesus and others naming false teachers by name. For example, the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy names numerous people by name.

2 Timothy 1:15: Phygellus and Hermogenes
2 Timothy 2:17: Mymenaeus and Philetus
2 Timothy 3:8: Jannes and Jambress
2 Timothy 4:10: Demas
2 Timothy 4:14: Alexander the coppersmith

In III John 9, John named Diotrephes.

Jesus called out the false teachers in Matthew 23 and Luke 11.

I truly believe that one reason why God allows false teachers is to provide believers with a test of whether they will be faithful in their Biblical mandate to expose false teachers and thus protect the sheep from the spiritual poison of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Ephesians 5:11 makes it clear we are to expose false teachers; “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”

If a shepherd/pastor will not point out the wolves that are among the sheep then this should be a clear warning to the flock that the shepherd/pastor does not have their best interest in mind. Such a hireling is not called of God but is simply involved in an occupation for personal gain as revealed in I Timothy 6:5.

In addition, such non-shepherds are revealing that they are more interested in their reputation and being seen by the larger community as tolerant and non-judgmental as defined by the unsaved world.

False teachers also give the sheep the opportunity to test the commitment of their shepherds/pastors. If the pastors/shepherds on your church staff fail this Biblical test then it is time for the leaders of the church to replace such hirelings with real shepherds. If this Biblical action is not taken, then it is time for you to find a new flock that has a shepherd that will alert the sheep to the spirituality immature and even wolves in sheep’s clothing that are on his own church staff.

Show me a shepherd/pastor that will not name false teachers and I will show you a false teacher.

Pastor Jim Bublitz gives further insight into the positive results that come when we name false teachers by name:

From those words it is clear that God allows teachers of error for the same reason as He does persecutors of His people: to test their love, to try their fidelity, to show that their loyalty to him is such that they will not give ear unto His enemies. Error has always been more popular than the Truth, for it lets down the bars and fosters fleshly indulgence, but for that very reason it is obnoxious to the godly.

The one who by grace can say “I have chosen the way of Truth” will be able to add “I have stuck unto Thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:30, 31), none being able to move him therefrom.

For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Committed Christians must publically name false teachers because it is impossible to privately correct public false teaching.

This fall I received an e-mail from a young lady that is a junior in high school near Atlanta, Georgia. In her e-mail she stated that because she had attended two Worldview Weekend Rallies in Atlanta and heard me expose the false teaching of emergent Pastor Rob Bell, she had been equipped to reject his false teaching when a Bible study group at her Christian school decided to read one of his books. She informed me that she immediately recognized the name of Rob Bell and remembered what I had spoken. This young lady had the courage and conviction to politely hand the book back to the group and to warn them of Bell’s false teaching.

This young ladies testimony has come to my mind many times this fall and has been a real source of encouragement to me to continue to speak truth no matter how negative or offensive it may be to the non-discerning.

If I had not named the name of Rob Bell, how would this student had known to reject his book and false doctrine? If I had not named the name of Rob Bell would this student now be spiritually deceived? If I had not named Rob Bell by name would she have been able to warn her peers to this spiritual poison?

The late Pastor Vance Havner wrote, “We live what we believe; the rest is religious talk.” Living what we believe includes our willingness to name the name of false teachers and to endure the criticism and persecution that will surely follow. To do any less would be treason to our calling, to our mandate, to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When we expose false teaching and false teachers we are proclaiming and defending the authority, accuracy, and application of God’s Word; the very thing that false teachers seek to undermine.

Living what we believe requires speaking Biblical truth and Biblical warnings no matter how negative or offensive it may be to the spiritually immature, non-discerning or wolves that crept in among the sheep.

Jude 3:1-4 commands all believers to contend for the faith that is under attack from false teachers.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Truth is never negative to those who seek to serve The Truth.

Distributed by www.worldviewweekend.com

Advertisements

78 responses to “Naming False Teachers: Is There A Problem?

  1. Great article Manny. It all comes down to numbers and money. Pastors are under the gun to produce higher attendances each year and higher income totals. So anything that might lesson the dollars or shrink the crowds is shunned from the top levels of denominations down. On my former district if you did not show increases in income and attendance totals in the past three years you wouldn’t be considered for another church on the district. I’m glad to be a part of the truth telling remnant.

  2. I once was teaching a class on cults at a church and I said that my next talk was going to be on the false teachings of the Word-Faith movement. I noted in passing that this would include false teachers such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, etc. The pastor of the church told me after the class that night not to name names. He said that was not Christ-like nor was it loving. I pointed out Matthew 23 as well but he said that we are under grace and need to show mercy.

    That was 15 years ago! It is much worse now!

  3. Question: The Seeking Disciple

    Was that in a Nazarene church or another? Very sad in any case.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  4. When I was trying to gain a better understanding on the Church of the Nazarene’s official position on the inerrancy of Scripture a fellow Nazarene Pastor and I sent some emails to the Board of General Superintendents asking them to clarify this position.

    We have emails from General Superintendents stating that the Bible does have errors and that the CoTN does not hold to the full inerrancy of the Bible.

    I am not sure if I should publish those emails and release the names or not. However, I believe that most of the members of the CoTN have no idea how liberal many at the top are.

  5. Maybe we should have a so called Tea Party revolt within our denomination and vote out the GSs that would even hold onto that form of heresy.

  6. Pastor Bjerke,

    The standard teaching throughout all Christianity in our modern apostate era is that no translation is perfect or inerrant. Supposedly, only the “originals” were inerrant and nobody has ever laid eyes on them. Educated people hold to that position with honor and only wish to stay anonymous to the little old ladies that know better and keep the tithe coming in.

    Name me one professing Nazarene who can show me a perfect inerrant bible and I will tell you
    1. Where they are wrong.
    2. Why they shouldn’t be a Nazarene.

    The #1 Nazarene theologian promoting biblical heresy is H. Ray Dunning.

    Pastor Steve Sumner

  7. Pastor Bjerke,

    Did these GSs name the “errors”?

    I, for one, think you should share the names and emails. If the authors of the emails are ashamed of their views, they shouldn’t have them. If they are not ashamed, they won’t mind your sharing them.

  8. Pastor Steve Sumner,

    I am slightly confused by your response, if I am reading too much in to it I apologize. It would appear from your post that you do not believe in an inerrant Bible
    “Name me one professing Nazarene who can show me a perfect inerrant bible and I will tell you
    1. Where they are wrong.
    2. Why they shouldn’t be a Nazarene.”

    However, from your website it would appear that you do believe in an inerrant Bible.

    I am not trying to be confrontational, just wondering.

    Grace and Peace

  9. Pastor Bjerke,

    I do believe in and defend a perfect and inerrant Bible. However, that is exactly what got me in trouble with the Nazarene Church. They emphatically do not believe anything of the kind and are happy to demonstrate (professor or pastor) why we do not have an inerrant bible.

    The GS’s response to you is nothing out of the ordinary and you should publish the truth with great boldness of a watchman. (in my humble opinion.)

    Sorry for the confusing way in which I write I have a bad habit of baiting my responses for the gain Sayers that read this blog.

    Sincerely

  10. Pastor Bjerke,

    I agree with Steve and Sondra in that you should reveal the names of the GS’s who have voiced their opposition to the inerrancy of the Scriptures.

  11. In a letter sent to me by the Generals- signed by two of them, on behalf of all, on Oct. 12, the following was stated:

    “We have made it clear that we stand firmly for a clear and unambiguous view that the scriptures, all 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, are inspired of God. They are our “Rule of Faith and Practice.” We cannot pick and choose what to keep and to abandon. … However, we do not require our people to believe in a “dictation” theory of inspiration. Some of our people may hold to such a view, but it is not required.”

    I’m a bit fuzzy on exactly what the last part means, I have asked for clarification.

    I am still wondering whether I should release the full letter, which did not exactly answer many of my questions.

    Manny

  12. Manny,

    It appears that we have very similar responses from the GSs. Their view of the “dictation theory” is that God specifically told the authors what to write exactly word for word, and removing the personality of the authors from being seen in their writings. They support the “Dynamic Theory” AS DESCRIBED BY H.ORTON WILEY (sorry for the caps just wanted to add emphasis). H. Orton Wiley while the benchmark for Wesleyan/Nazarene Theology and Scholarly writings, he is neo-othodox and was heavily influenced by Karl Barth. That being said Wiley’s position on “Dynamic Theory” supports the theory that since God used man, and man is able (to) err, then the Bible, which is written by God and man, is inspired without error, but transmitted (by man) with error. This however only applies to things not related to salvation which is intellectually inconsistent.

    Grace and Peace

  13. The Seminary website makes it very clear that you don’t have to believe in the Bible to teach or win awards.

    I would not post the letters because the leaders need to be honest about who they are and what they believe.

    Liberal theologians have to lie about who they are so they can continue to be paid by Bible believing laypeople who tithe and send their children to Bible believing schools. Why would anyone want to learn from a Biblical scholar that doesn’t believe the Bible? They have painted themselves into a corner and are obsolete.

  14. Can you explain in your last post (regarding the quote) where you disagree with the Generals statement? I interpret dictation as it is defined: “write this word, write that word, cross that t, dot that i”. While I am certain there were times this happened as in the ‘thus saith the Lord’ prophetic quotes of God, I have always understood inspiration to mean through the work of the Holy Spirit – Divine Providence. Where the things that were written were divinely inspired to be written through men as the Holy Spirit works so masterfully.

    In my first take at the Generals’ quote (which seems to be a direct quote from the manual itself) it does not seem to conflict with acknowledging the perfect Word of God. No? Interestingly enough, following the quote from the manual itself (right below it in the manual) it indirectly takes a stand on original sin originating with Adam and Eve. Would that not deduct a firm belief in Creation from the CotN?

    To me, it seems we need to hold our leaders accountable to the very writings of the history of our denominational faith as proof that it firmly believes in the whole of God’s Word as our own denominational history proves. Granted, I have found blurred lines of revision in the manual over the past 20 years that raises question and should DEFINITELY be looked into for precise definitions of terms, etc. (and re-revise where necessary)

    Anyway, just curious what you disagreed with and why.

  15. Betty, if that question is for me:
    It’s not that I disagree with the Generals- yet. My understanding of inspiration is the same as yours. I don’t believe the whole of scripture was done via a “dictation method”, which I agree with the Generals there. My uncertainty as to what they really believe about the word of God is still unanswered- so I am waiting for some more clarification to the question, “do you believe the entire Bible is inspired by God AND is inerrant in all it teaches, including history and science and geography?”
    It kind of reflects my disappointment that the answers they wrote to me, were not clear enough, based on the specificity of my original questions. Perhaps I might at least publish my original letter, if not their response.

  16. Hi Manny:

    I may be able to help you with the last part of your post.

    The dictation theory of inspiration says that each and every word of scripture is the word that God intended to be there. Those inspired writers simply took dictation , writing down exactly what God said to write.

    Nazarene’s believe in the “Plenary” inspiration of scripture, that is to say that it was “God breathed”. The writers were inspired by God to write, however they were inspired to convey thought and not words. The writer’s used their own words, within the confines that God’s message comes to us without error. Perhaps there may be errors in some small details, but his message to us is without error.

    I think that I have said to you once before that my take is that the promises and instructions from God and yeah and amen, while the errors in the bible are so what and who cares.

  17. I’m not sure how anyone can say that the naming of names is not a Christian thing to do. One of the tactics of the defamer or the gossiper is to withhold names so that they have deniability. My first thought when someone is speaking ill and will not name names is that they are probably not being truthful. How can one defend themselves if they are not named.

    Naming names is honest, one must be careful but it is honest

  18. Thanks Jim,
    The only question regarding “errors” for the Generals that I would love to hear answered from each of them- is to clarify whether they agree with Tom Oord that Adam and Eve were probably not real, or that the creation account was fable, or the historical account such as Jonah, or the worldwide flood, etc., were only “stories.”

  19. Here is a quote from GS Paul Cunningham. He was asked “What is the official position of the Church of the Nazarene on Inerrancy?”

    He responded:

    “Our view on the inerrancy of Scripture does not apply to geography, science, mathematics, or historical statements. The Bible’s soteriological message does not embrace the scope of these other areas of human knowledge.”

  20. Hi Manny,
    A Nazarene Pastor said to me one day as I had questioned the inerrency of Scripture, ” What does Scripture do for us? It convicts us, it leads us to confession it tells us of our Savior, who redeems us if we repent, it leads us to santification. It tells us of His Holiness. It instructs us in discipleship. Can you tell me anything else it needs to do?” My response “None that I can think of.” That was his response to all those who didn’t believe in the inerrency of Scripture. The Gospel of Christ speaks for itself.
    In Christ,
    Beth Lockwood

  21. I suppose I might want to have asked a followup, something like: “so then, if a professor at a Nazarene college teaches that Adam and Eve may not have been, or were not real, but were just a fable to illustrate biblical teaching, that it would be within the bounds of “Nazarene orthodoxy?”

  22. To All,

    Psa 12:6
    The words (not message) of the LORD are pure words: (not message) as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

    Psa 12:7
    Thou shalt keep them, (not us) O LORD, thou shalt preserve them (the words, not us) from this generation for ever. (the generation described in the chapter.)

    What would anyone think if I made my own version of the bible and changed the word (them) to “us”?
    Therefore changing the message of preservation from words to people.

    Would that be right?

    Anyone?

  23. Not “flaming,” but truly wanting feedback, here…

    What do Biblical Inerrantists do with with inconsistencies within Scripture, or with things that seem to be contradictory- or at least two conflicting accounts of the same story?

    If you would like me to be specific with an example or two, I’d be glad to reply back.

  24. Speaking as a trained-and-ordained Nazarene pastor who many of you would probably consider “compromising” (for example, I like many of the pastors Brannon calls heretics above)…

    I have no problem with someone naming names, especially when it is backed up by actual research and evidence, not just hearsay (gossip) or quotes pulled out of context. I wonder, perhaps, if the church Brannon was dis-invited from wasn’t so much uncomfortable with his naming names as they were disagreeing with which names he was naming. I know that’s true for me. Many of the people who have been named as heretics by Brannon or by Manny are people who I believe are not heretical at all but are in fact faithful proclaimers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    So for me, the debate or disagreement is there, not over whether it’s appropriate to name names. I just thought I’d toss that into the mix.

  25. Beth, great post.

    Manny, yes that is what the Nazarene leaders need to put on their websites. How do they reconcile leaders in their Faith organization who don’t have faith.

    You can’t dictate faith. You believe or your don’t. Why would you put someone in leadership who does not have faith in God in the simple things? How can they expect God to bless this?

    Romans 4:3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    Romans 4:18-25
    18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

  26. Jim Chabot, I’m not sure if you meant me about not naming names. The letters seem to be person discussions not public statements, that is the basis for not publishing the letters.

    If matters can not be resolved then we are instructed to bring them before the Elders of the church. What Manny has done with this website is the most Biblical action that I have seen on these issues because it can not be resolved by discussion.

  27. Which of those pastors that Brannon mentioned that you like, Rich? I certainly hope its not McLaren or Bell especially, or even Rick Warren, because there is no doubt that they are false teachers. And I am sure Brannon has documented very thoroughly, as have many others who have exposed these false teachers and compromisers.

  28. Wes,

    Thank you for your post, you bring up very good questions. First, I would like to present the idea that these “inconsistencies” should actually be called “difficult passages” the issue at hand is a person’s presuppositions on the inerrancy of the Bible. Those who have a presupposition that the Bible is without error will either use another passage of the Bible to resolve the difficult passage or by faith believe that in time the Bible’s statement will be proven to be correct

    For example–
    In Romans 16:23 Paul, writing a letter to the Romans while he was in Corinth, mentions the city treasurer, Erastus. Critics said there was no historical evidence that Erastus ever lived. However, excavations of Corinth in 1929 found this inscription on a pavement: “Erastus, curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense

    Those that have a presupposition that the Bible does have errors or inconsistencies will interpret those “difficult passages” with the understanding that “the Bible is not a History book” and simply write the passage off as a non-soteriological error.

    Secondly, a story told from two different view points is not a contradiction and should not be viewed as such. Just because one writer emphasizes one point and another writer a different point should not cause us to say either is wrong or that together they are inconsistent.

    Grace and Peace,

  29. “Brannon Howse said, At the conclusion of our November 21, 2010, Rockford Worldview Weekend we were told that three months before the rally the church staff had voted for Worldview Weekend not to return in 2011 because our 2009 rally was thought by some of the church staff to be too negative and that it was inappropriate to name the name of false teachers.”

    Rich, the article is about negativity in naming false teachers not who is a false teacher.

  30. I love this quote by John Wesley: ‎”In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church.”

    If the church determines that parts of scripture are in error, it is at that point judging scripture, not the other way around.

  31. Pam:

    No I didn’t have you or anyone here in mind about not naming names. I was merely drawing on experience. My post was in support of those who do name names.

  32. Manny:

    I hear you on the Genesis questions. I must admit that If I were to start questioning the historic validity of the Genesis account, I would in turn need to question all of scripture. If Jesus and Paul got it wrong and didn’t really know, then who am I to say that any of this is true.

  33. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. Here’s an example that I see, that I don’t see as a detriment to the faith… unless you base your faith on a completely inerrant Bible.

    When did Jesus cleanse the temple? Was it at the very beginning of his ministry, as John tells us? Or is it at the end of his ministry, as Matthew and Mark recount the story?

    My point isn’t to poke holes or provoke- I’m just wondering how inconsistencies like this are viewed by someone who holds your views.

  34. With my specific example, Pastor Bjerke’s points don’t seem to apply. This isn’t a case of “emphasizing” one point over another, or an issue of semantics… but a complete reordering of the story.

    In the link you provided, the author takes the position that there must have been two temple cleansings- even though no gospel even alludes to it happening twice. For a man who’s mantra for false teachers is “Show me where that is in the Bible!”… it seems to require some mental gymnastics to come to that conclusion.

    Isn’t a more likely scenario that the different writers simply placed the account in different places in the Jesus story in order to make differing points about the occurrence? That they weren’t nearly as concerned about the chronological accuracy of the story as much as the truth they were conveying with the story?

  35. Wes,
    My understanding from reading his article is that he believes that to be the case – but not necessarily so. He says “likely”. “Rather, the different details recorded by John likely are due to the fact that we are dealing with two different temple cleansings.”
    I don’t do mantras, by the way. You asked for an explanation, I gave someone’s view of it, and it did not seem too much gymnastics to arrive to that possible conclusion. You just gave your own likely scenario- in your opinion as well.

    In any case, I still believe in an inerrant Bible. There are many “discrepancies” which have been resolved over time, and others that have plausible explanations- but which we may not know for sure. Does that lead you to conclude the Bible has errors for sure?

    I wonder what is your stand on the Genesis creation account? Is there a discrepancy or error there, that should lead us to believe it was only a fairy tale?
    Not being troublesome, just wondering whether about where you stand on what looks to me to be a historical factual account of how God created us. For me, I believe the literal account.

  36. Would that be the literal account in Genesis 1 or the literal account in Genesis 2? From both of these creation accounts, I get the sense that the important part is that God created… despite difference in the two accounts.

    I’m not going to get too deep in a “debate” here, because I’m fairly certain you will give the same talking points…as will I.

    My point is that I also believe that every part of the Scriptures portray truth… even the parts that seem to be contradictory or discrepancies….which there are many.

  37. Also, I know this has gotten a bit off of the post topic- and I appreciate you taking the time to dialogue with me.

  38. I refer to the literal account that says Adam was created from the dust of the ground by God, and Eve was created from a rib of Adam. There are many folks, including those of the emergent church persuasion, who do not believe it. For instance, professors like Tom Oord at Northwest Nazarene, or Karl Giberson of Eastern Nazarene College, do not believe that Adam and Eve were even real. Tom Oord did not agree with me when I told him that Romans 5:12 clearly explains to us how sin and death came into the world, through Adam. As someone mentioned earlier- what John Wesley said-

    “In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church.”
    – John Wesley –

    Apparently, there are those who decided to judge the scripture for themselves, to fit into their own ideas, even refuting the very testimony of Jesus Christ who attested to the existence of Adam and other historical people.

  39. I think this is a very interesting and important conversation you all are having. One example that sticks out to me in all of this is in regards to the resurrection, and I would be very curious to know how everyone handles it in the light of biblical inerrancy.

    This issue I’m stuck on is this: every one of the Gospels gives us a different number of people who were at the tomb on Easter Sunday.

    Matthew says there were 2 people there. (Matt 28:1) Mark says there were 3 people there. (Mark 16:1) Luke says there 4 or more there. (Luke 24:10) John says there was only 1 person there. (John 20:1)

    Now, mathematically speaking they can’t all be right. Matthew, Mark, and John don’t say there were “at least” these people there, they say these were the only people there. This doesn’t seem to me to be a matter of emphasis for each writer. If relevant archeological evidence is ever uncovered about this event, then three of the Gospel will be proven wrong. And clearly there weren’t multiple Easter Sundays for them to be referring to, nor are they saying these people came at different times because each writer makes the claim they the people listed were the first people at the tomb.

    For me personally, I don’t have a huge issue with it because I think the Gospel writers are each making the same point: that there were witnesses to an empty tomb. As I’m sure the rest of you do, I celebrate this fact.

    But in light of the conversation on inerrancy, I’ve always found this numbers issue difficult to reconcile.

    So, what does everyone else do with this issue?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  40. Wes said, “My point is that I also believe that every part of the Scriptures portray truth… even the parts that seem to be contradictory or discrepancies….which there are many.”

    I don’t see these as contradictory or discrepancy issues. Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness so believe or don’t believe. End of issue.

  41. This is exactly what I’m talking about, though- which is the true literal account? Genesis 1, where it clearly states that animals were created before man? Or in Genesis 2, where the animals were created and brought before Adam because God saw that Adam needed a helper?

    I believe with all my heart that both of these stories can communicate the truth of God… but I just can’t see any way that they can both be inerrant.

  42. Wes,

    Thank you again for your post, I understand how confusing some of these “difficult passages” can be. I would like to suggest that my points actually might apply to your question about the cleansing of the temple – specifically my point about our “Initial Presupposition” about the inerrancy of the Bible.

    Those, like me, that hold to the full inerrancy of the Bible read the Gospel account of the temple cleansing and wonder the same as you. Was this at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry or was it at the end. I would like to present the idea that the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus never claim to be ordinal (meaning they list every thing from year 0 of Jesus’ life to year 33.5 of His life). Therefore, we can easily say, while still being intellectually consistent, that it was ONE event that happened at point X in Jesus’ ministry and the Gospel writers mention it at different points in his account.

    For example, if my wife asks me what I did today and I list a few things but do not list them in order of when they happened, or do not list everything that occurred was I inconsistent? Was I wrong? I would say “No” to both because I was not claiming to give an exhaustive list or even a list of things that happened in order.

    Another way to read this account is like Pastor Manny suggested that it was actually 2 different times. The Gospel writers are not required to each mention everything that Jesus did to be “consistent” or to be “accurate.” I believe that you could still be intellectually consistent and say it was two separate events that are completely recorded in the Gospel accounts.

    Again Wes, it comes down to your presupposition on the inerrancy of God’s Word. if you believe that God’s Word does have errors or even could have errors then when these difficult passages present themselves you will be more likely to write them off as “just another error” instead of digging in to God’s Word for the solution.

    Wes, if you would like to ask me additional questions about this or other topics please feel free to email me. pastorbjerke@gmail.com

    Grace and Peace.

  43. Hey Zack,
    I don’t know if I’ll personally spend a lot of time on this, it is fascinating in many ways- since the subject strays from the original topic- but here also is a commentary from a source I use a lot, that explains it pretty reasonably:

    “For example, the Gospel of Matthew names “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” as women who visited the tomb early on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1). Mark cites Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome as the callers (Mark 16:1). Luke mentions Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and “the other women” (Luke 24:10). Yet John mentions Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb early on Sunday (John 20:1). (Dan Barker cites these different names as discrepancies and contradictions on page 182 of his book.) Do these different lists contradict one another? No, not in any way. They are supplementary, adding names to make the list more complete. But they are not contradictory. If John had said “only Mary Magdalene visited the tomb,” or if Matthew stated, “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the only women to visit the tomb,” then there would be a contradiction. As it stands, no contradiction occurs. To further illustrate this point, suppose that you have 10 one-dollar bills in your pocket. Someone comes up to you and asks, “Do you have a dollar bill in your pocket?” Naturally, you respond in the affirmative. Suppose another person asks, “Do you have five dollars in your pocket?,” and again you say yes. Finally, another person asks, “Do you have ten dollars in your pocket?” and you say yes for the third time. Did you tell the truth every time? Yes. Were any of your answers contradictory? No. Were all three statements about the contents of your pockets different? Yes—supplementation not contradiction. ”

    The complete reference: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/555

    Bottom line for me… I never worry about seeming contradictions- I would lose my mind. Yet, as each is investigated by those who have more time than I do, we can see that there are never any obvious contradictions in the end. Bottom line– I trust God’s word completely.

    And, that includes the Genesis account- to answer Wes’s question about the seeming contradictions there. I believe it is just two ways of how the creation account was told for two different purposes.

  44. Wes,

    This is not an error or an inconsistency. I would take whatever source that you found such vain babblings and put it in file #13.

    Every inconsistency that you might find is simply a reading deficiency on someone’s part.
    Most people do not know the answers to such simple things much less the questions. You completely missed the true inconsistency. I will give it to you to use at another time (because I am a nice guy.) After Jesus enters on the foal Matt has the cleansing before the fig tree and Mark has the cleansing after the fig tree.
    That is what you should have found if you’re looking for so-called inconsistencies.

    The answer to your so-called problem is this:

    John 2 is the beginning of Christ ministry. You missed the story in John 2 where the wine served at the beginning is not the same as that served at the end.

    Jesus deals with the temple 3 times.

    First round-
    John 2 Jesus says “MY FATHERS HOUSE” and the scripture is psalms 69 it deals with Jesus Christ’s zeal at the beginning of His ministry and was strong even using a “scourge of small cords.”

    Second round-
    Matt 21, Mar 11, Luk 19 Jesus says “MY HOUSE” and the scripture is Isa 56:7, Jer 7:11. This is with less zeal.

    Third round-
    Matt 23:38 Jesus says “YOUR HOUSE” and the scripture is Lam 1:4 The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. This is with no zeal!
    The paradox is that Jesus actually saved the best for last transferring the temple of Gods dwelling from a temple of stone to a temple of flesh. It cost the Jews a 2000 year misplacement of the Kingdom of heaven.
    Just when the devil saw Jesus water down his zeal he thought he was going to win. Then Jesus turned the water into wine. And I get eternal life and become the temple made without hands.

    Praise the Lord!

    Pastor Steve Sumner

  45. PastorBjerke said, “The Gospel writers are not required to each mention everything that Jesus did to be “consistent” or to be “accurate.” I believe that you could still be intellectually consistent and say it was two separate events that are completely recorded in the Gospel accounts.”

    The Gospels are not diaries of each man. They are the Good News to tell people about Christ. If they were all the same exact story then it takes away from their credibility. How this could possibly make them false or erroneous is hard for me to understand. Jesus and his disciples did not have Xerox machines or electronic files. Their teachings and letters were spread by word of mouth or parchment via hand delivery.

  46. Zach, can you name me the three people in Mark?

    Zach, how many times did Mary M. go to the sepulchre?

    Zach, how many run-ins did Mary M. have with Jesus?

    Mar 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

    Zach if you are reading this you can find the answer.

  47. Why is it that I asked a simpleton question and no answer, but others can ask ridiculous questions (even accusing the scriptures of bad math) when they themselves cannot read, and people are all over it; not giving bible answers, I might add, but only giving what they think, or stating that it doesn’t matter, or pawning the answer to someone else?
    I wouldn’t name names here until some of you figure out what is going on.

    Steve Sumner

  48. Thank you all for the feedback.

    Steve – The names that Mark provides are Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Salome

    Mary M. saw where Jesus was laid, but according to Mark only actually went there once.

    I suppose you mean how many run-ins did Mary M. have with the risen Jesus. If we’re staying in Mark, then the answer is only 1.

    To be honest, I’m not sure what any of your questions have to do with reconciling the number discrepancy. I’m assuming that you mention Mark 15:40 because it lists the same women he records being at the empty tomb, but this still doesn’t address the discrepancy with other Gospels. So, I’m a little confused as to where you’re going.

    PastorBjerke – your response seems to have disappeared, but i did have a chance to read it. thank you for responding. I absolutely agree with you that the Gospel writers are not required to record everything Jesus did. John mentions in John 20:30 that Jesus did many other things that weren’t recorded.

    However, I worry that this line of reasoning, particularly with this issue opens the door to a very dangerous path. If the writers of the gospels are not required to record things exactly as they happened, or they are allowed to leave things out whenever they choose, then how can we have complete trust in what they say? If the truth and trustworthiness of the Bible rests on its perfect accuracy perfect accuracy, or inerrancy, then how can we say that they chose to leave things out giving us incomplete, and therefore not completely accurate accounts of what happened. This would, by extension, seem to open the trustworthiness of the entire Bible into question.

    Now, I know we can say that the gospels together give us the complete picture, but if individually they can’t be held as a reliable and completely accurate account of what really happened, then how can we know that they actually do give us this complete and accurate picture and didn’t together leave out other information?

    Just. something I think we both probably want to avoid. What do you think?

  49. This is about as far as it can go- since this site is not designed for long debates. Check my About page.
    We are fighting a battle against those who would pervert the word of God (I’m not implying at this point that any of you are doing that).

    I wonder if anyone who has been writing here- could answer affirmatively- that they agree with Tom Oord or Karl Giberson. That would answer a lot of questions.

  50. Does anyone who has commented here believe that Adam and Eve were probably, or were not, real? Or that we came from something that crawled out of the ocean and evolved at some point into a man?

  51. Thanks for the gracious responses, all… And I’m quite sorry that Pam thought I was playing games. I can assure you that I have been sincere in my questions

  52. It appears a few people are like what Peter speaks of in 2 Peter 2:17a “These are wells without water…” Water wells are very similar in appearance, yet some are empty, devoid of water (the Holy Spirit). So the question remains, how’s the “Water” in your well?

    The Holy Spirit is absent in the lives of these heretics. By deceiving the masses they have blasphemed God because they aren’t listening to His Holy Spirit. By not listening to His Holy Spirit and by falsifying His word they’ve condemned themselves.

    God bless you all,

    Brad

  53. Zack,

    Thank you again for your post. I am not sure why you feel my responses have disappeared since i have posted several times.

    At any rate i would just like to address your last statement,

    “Now, I know we can say that the gospels together give us the complete picture, but if individually they can’t be held as a reliable and completely accurate account of what really happened, then how can we know that they actually do give us this complete and accurate picture and didn’t together leave out other information?”

    it would seem that you have successfully refuted a straw-man position that no one on this site was trying to affirm. I never mentioned that the individual Gospel writers’ account was not reliable or completely accurate. I believe that I said the exact opposite. I think you might need to clarify how you define “complete picture”, “reliable”, “completely accurate” and “other information”. While these words appear common and simple i have found that many people have redefined simple and clear words such as inerrancy, and have given them a new definition. so your clarification on these words would be great!

    However, I want to respect Brother Manny so please continue this discussion if you want through my email account (pastorbjerke@gmail.com)

    Grace and Peace

  54. Zach,

    Mark 16:1 mentions two Mary’s not three.

    Marry went to the Sepulchre at least twice.

    She had a lone encounter with the Lord after the others left the second time because instead of going to Galilee as instructed Peter and another disciple ran to the sepulcher, and Marry went also.

    Mark is specifically identifying two women who bought spices; therefore if Joanna and the other women did not by spices Mark had no reason to mention them.

    In John where you think there is only one person at the sepulchre you miss Mary refer to “we know not” in verse 2. No, she was not alone. Mary does not refer to herself alone until she gets back to the Sepulchre and is talking to Jesus alone. 20:13 “I know not.”

    That’s enough, there is not a contradiction, the text is pure and perfect.

    Thanks again Manny

  55. Zach and Wes co-author or tag team a Christian Conservative parody or satire website.

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-parody-and-satire.htm

    After I saw some of the American Jesus posts and tweets then I didn’t think their questions were sincere.

    This is where they take the website name from:

    You tube of “American Jesus” by band “Bad Religion” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Oe_Rxt9wB0

    Lyrics to “American Jesus”
    http://www.answers.com/topic/american-jesus

  56. Yes, I had seen that site, it make a little sense now. I had hoped they would have let us know about it. Did not know they co-authored it.
    I understand the reluctance to answer my questions about Adam and Eve and whether they agree with Oord or Giberson.

  57. Manny, with your blog’s help I’ve come up the Emergent talk learning curve. It’s not pretty but you need to understand it. I’m not angry that they do their parody. They can do what ever they like.

    What annoys me about the Emergents in general is that they want to poke fun of Christianity then be considered a “Christian Leader”. As Dr Mohler says, you don’t get a theology pass from me.

    To Emergents lurking on this page, pick one belief or non-belief and go with it. If your theology comes from Pop Culture then thats what it is but mine comes from the Bible.

  58. And in the interest of full disclosure, as I do here, it would have been good if you had let us know, Wes, that are are a product of Trevecca and working on your Master’s there. That gives a little more perspective on where you are coming from. And I believe Zack is also from Trevecca.

    Here is Zack’s perspective on the social gospel and how it is apparently the true gospel:

    http://theamericanjesus.net/2010/10/20/beware-the-false-conversion/

    Look, stand up for what you believe and shout it out to everyone, uncompromisingly! Like I do, and many others do here.

  59. Yes, Pam, I see what you are saying. I posted my comment just before seeing this, but it kind of says the same thing. I have no problem in dealing with people who believe one way or another. What makes me upset about some people is when they withhold things that shows where they are coming from- or fail to answer certain simple questions with a definitive yes or no.

  60. Wes and Zack,

    Since I’m in the Nashville area, maybe I can stop by Trevecca and we can have a small Bible study together. I can teach you apparently what Trevecca has stopped teaching since my younger days.

    Brad

  61. This will be my final comment.

    All I can say, once again- is that there were no games on my part.. and I assume on the part of Zack.

    Yes, we run a Christian humor site- but I’m not sure what that had to do with the conversation we were having. The questions that we asked were not for our website in any way- you will not see your names on there, or us poking fun of you. It was because I truly wanted to know how someone with strict inerrant convictions dealt with certain passages. I was able to get some answers… not that I necessarily saw it your way, but I understood what you were saying.

    Im a little surprised that some of you acted like we were keeping the site a secret- my commenting username had been linking to it the entire time.

    And yes, I am a proud Trevecca product. Apologies for not submitting a full bio before I started commenting. I see now that you could have pigeon-holed me much more quickly had you only known that.

    Also, I’m not sure what caused some of you to classify us as “emergent.” I don’t think anything I’ve said, or anything on the website would suggest that. Fact is, we often poke fun of the “emergent” movement as well as the more fundamentalist branches of Christianity.

    Before my first post, the thought crossed my mind that trying to get into a discussion here would probably end badly… and with the snap judgments I’m not seeing, I realize how correct I am. Sometimes, you can assume too much about a person with only a few facts.

    Having said that, I truly believe that you all have the best intentions- so do I. I hope that the Lord blesses each of you, and that you all have wonderful Christmases with your family.

    I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my sincere questions. I guess when you’re a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail.

  62. I was unaware that I needed to submit a bio before I commented, so my apologies for not doing that.

    I am definitely not trying to “hide” anything. I am very proud of our blog (which has nothing to do with the Bad Religion song, a song I’ve never even heard). The idea behind the blog is to turn on a mirror on the American church and ask “is this really who we want or are supposed to be”, and we try to have fun doing that. We would love for you all to check it out.

    I have an article floating around the Youth Worker Journal website if you would like to get more insight into what I believe. It’s entitled “A Simple Way to Change Your World.”

    I am also very proud of my Trevecca background. I grew up on campus, my family has been there for generations, I have 2 degrees in theology from there and for the sake of full disclosure I am related to Dan Boone. The school has and continues to produce great men and women of God who are doing great things for the kingdom of God.

    I think that’s about all the information you can gather about me from the internet, so I hope that helps.

    Clearly, we’re not all on the same page theologically, but I asked my questions with sincerity because I am genuinely interested in how you all deal with that particular issue. So, for that I thank you all for taking the time to respond.

    I won’t take up anymore of your time as I’m sure Manny would prefer everyone to focus on other things, but I did wan’t to answer your question, Manny, concerning Adam and Eve. For what it’s worth, yes I do believe in a historical Adam and Eve.

    Thank you all once again for your feedback.

    Grace and peace

  63. I forgot one thing: thank you to those that answered my questions without getting defensive, making assumptions, or digging up info on me to use in some way. A couple of you were helpful to me

  64. Wes, Zack
    I’ll let you have the last word, as far as disagreeing any further about inerrancy or other things like we have discussed.

    The only comment I’ll say here is, I don’t mind being pigeon-holed as far as my beliefs. The emergents I deal with do it all the time- and I have no problem with that. I want people to know what I essentially believe right up front- and I know that I will be “pigeon-holed” into a category when I do.

  65. (“I am definitely not trying to “hide” anything. I am very proud of our blog (which has nothing to do with the Bad Religion song, a song I’ve never even heard”).

    Zack I’m sorry about the link to Bad Religion if you have never heard of it or the song.

    I thought the questions about Genesis and the Bible were insincere because it looked like you were making fun of Ken Ham and the Creation Museum. If you don’t want to be associated with this why did you post the link?

    Your defense of your Uncle and school is admirable.

    If you want Bible believing people to take you seriously then don’t post make fun of them and then wonder why they are suspicious.

  66. Sorry,
    i must have missed the question.

    Here is an answer from gotquestions.org:

    Answer: Matthew 27:5-8 says, “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.” Acts 1:18-19 says, “With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.”

    Which is correct? Did Judas hang himself or did he fall? Did Judas buy the field or did the priests buy the field?

    Judas hung himself in the potters field (Matthew 27:5) and then after his body decayed and bloated, evidently the rope broke and he burst into pieces on the land of the potters field (Acts 1:18-19). This passage presumes Judas’ hanging, as a man falling down in a field does not result in his body bursting open. Only decomposition and a fall from a height could cause a body to burst open. When Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver down, the priests took the money and used it to buy the potter’s field (Matthew 27:7), not knowing that Judas was going to hang himself there. Judas may not have purchased the field himself, but it was the money Judas received for betraying Jesus that purchased the field.

Comments are closed.