Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Proof Texting One's Way to Truth

I'm sure we all recall many a sermon and sermonette on just HOW the Bible is to be studied and understood.

Isaiah 28: 

9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, and there a little:
11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people

As a result, sermons tended and still do tend towards marathon races through the Bible, hopping from  one similar scripture to another, weaving a tale of continuity leading to foregone conclusions.  It's how and why one can say you can prove anything you want with this method of Bible study and sermon presentation. 

 I often ended up with long lists of scriptures for notes, with no commentary on how or why they were all connected.  In fact, they mostly weren't really connected or if they were I had lost the why they were long ago.  It made throwing old "sermon notes" easy.  They made no sense twenty minutes after the sermon and I have to say I never went back a second time to read my notes.  In hindsight I took notes because I was supposed to.  I also marked Bible's margins up with correlating scriptures to go to to explain, clarify or prove the previous one was on the right path to truth.  It was more difficult for me to create "inspired margins" with my tiny marking pen during sermons because, growing up Presbyterian, marking a Bible was a bound for Hell offense.  It took me a few weeks but then soon had one of the best inspired margined up Bibles on campus.  

Full Circle in the Portland Library
I have figured out, however, how to study Mystery of the Ages

Let's take a look at what Isaiah 28 really means and it has NOTHING to do with how to study the Bible and the next time it comes up, you'll be armed for a nice rebuttal.

New International Version

Woe to the Leaders of Ephraim and Judah
1Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley—
to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!
2See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong.
Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind,
like a driving rain and a flooding downpour,
he will throw it forcefully to the ground.
3That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards,
will be trampled underfoot.
4That fading flower, his glorious beauty,
set on the head of a fertile valley,
will be like figs ripe before harvest—
as soon as people see them and take them in hand,
they swallow them.

Translation:  YHVH is really angry with the Tribe of Ephraim

5In that day the Lord Almighty
will be a glorious crown,
a beautiful wreath
for the remnant of his people.
6He will be a spirit of justice
to the one who sits in judgment,
a source of strength
to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

Translation:  But not forever and it will all work out someday

7And these also stagger from wine
and reel from beer:
Priests and prophets stagger from beer
and are befuddled with wine;
they reel from beer,
they stagger when seeing visions,
they stumble when rendering decisions.
8All the tables are covered with vomit
and there is not a spot without filth.

Translation:  Your Priests are a bunch of beer guzzling, wine chugging dolts who can't think, see drunken visions, muck up decisions and puke all over the place too often.

9“Who is it he is trying to teach?
To whom is he explaining his message?
To children weaned from their milk,
to those just taken from the breast?

Translation:  Who are these guys trying to kid. Who do they think they are teaching...mere babies and children?

10For it is:
Do this, do that,
a rule for this, a rule for thata ;
a little here, a little there.”

Translation: For these drunks say, do this, do that, follow this rule, follow that rule, a little bit of this, a little bit of that...blah blah blah blah blah....

11Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
God will speak to this people,
12to whom he said,
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.
13So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
Do this, do that,
a rule for this, a rule for that;
a little here, a little there—

Translation:  Fine, that's the way you want it? It could have been nice and you could have rest, but if this is the way you want it. You want to talk strange and babble at the people?  Then I'll send some folks your way that will talk strange and babble to you.  I can play "blah blah blah blah blah" with you just as you play it with the people.

so that as they go they will fall backward;"

Translation:  So you'll fall flat on your asses and it will hurt as you are caught and taken away.

No magic formula on how to study the Bible here!  So next time you hear "for it is line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little" quoted  as the way to find the hidden mysteries and doctrines of the Bible, realize the minister is quoting beer sodden, wine loopy, table puking priests who can't make their own words make sense to the people and thus God will repay them unkindly in kind with his own version of "So you want blah blah blah blah blah...?  Well here it comes in the form of an equally strange speaking foreign  people  that are going to sweep you away.

Now...let's all take our hymnals and rise....


ashley froud said...

Thank you Byker Bob, Ashley. In case you did not see my other post.

Byker Bob said...

You are welcome, Ashley. Always a pleasure to help!


Anonymous said...

The map of reality that the church gave members was highly distorted. It's purpose was create a paradise for church thugs. Instead if teaching members to conform to the bible, members were effectively told through bible twisting, to conform to the expectations of thugs and bullies. Hence allow yourself to be dominated (via church government) and allow yourself to be exploited by the 'give way.' it was always the foxes preaching to the chickens.

ashley froud said...
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Anonymous said...

When I go to church on Sundays, now, there is the standard TEXT, as per the pattern taught most anyone going into the ministry. Sometimes he refers to other Bible passages -- sometimes to a number of them -- but we don't necessarily have to turn to all of them. Thank you, Pastor. Mostly, he draws a few points from the chosen TEXT, and gives us an "application point" or two -- something to act on.

This fits well into a life you intend to live, and that you expect will go on for some years. There will be many good lessons, many good sermons on many clear, useful Biblical passages.

Who was it decided that, each "Sabbath service" we needed to have a Strong's Concordance Sermon? Every possible verse covered. Overwhelm us with so much, that purported to be the whole truth, as presented, and we'd be too tired to think otherwise. No questions, no analyzing, no doubting -- this was "everything in the world you could possibly wanna know" about the week's topic. Just take it home and feel blessed.

And, I guess, it had to be so much at once because there would never be another chance to cover that week's topic. After all, it was ONLY A FEW YEARS UNTIL . . . .

Thank you, God -- again -- for getting me out of that hell masquerading as a church.

P.S. I remember the day I threw out a FOOT-THICK pile of WCG sermon notes. I took the trouble to drive to a Recycling Center. Those notes finally were used for something good.

Steve D said...

Of course, context was never very important to the preachers. They have a view, then then hunt for a passage that might support it. It didn't matter if a passage was written to the Israelites, it was used to support their idea that it applied to the Church, also. They use the Bible like a drunk uses a lamp post; for support rather than for illumination.

Anonymous said...

New International Version?

You're Kidding

KJV as tough as it is to read, is far more close to the original text.

DennisCDiehl said...

Context, context, context KJV or not. Other translations reflect better the actual intent not the jerked out of context misapplication. On this case the KJV is responsible for the COG mzking it mean what it never meant

Anonymous said...

'tis a rare occurrence indeed, but I find that Dennis and I are in agreement here....that does not mean, however, that the whole bible is to be used, and that it interprets itself.
building doctrine around a single verse is of no value.

Anonymous said...

The topic of Isaiah 28:9-11 came up after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong in 1986 and the total apostasy of the Tkaches in 1995. HWA had used these verses to explain how to study the Bible. Others now claimed that these verses were just talking about the babbling of drunks, and those who hated HWA immediately believed that theory and quickly exclaimed that HWA had been “wrong yet again.”

Notice that the major Bible translations like the KJV from four hundred years ago and the more modern NIV translate these verses the way they do. The NIV does have a footnote that says, “(possibly meaningless sounds; perhaps a mimicking of the prophet's words)".

HWA had taught that, “The full explanation or truth of any one subject is seldom made complete and clear in any one passage. Other portions, factors, or phases of the subject are usually contained in one or several other passages in other parts of the Bible either in the Old or New Testament. A true and full understanding of this subject is profitable only when these perhaps several other passages, scattered throughout the Bible, are put together.” HWA wrote, “I learned that the Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle--thousands of pieces that need putting together--and the pieces will fit together in only one way.” (See Mystery of the Ages by HWA, page xi).

I still remember that someone who had been thinking about the matter turned to me in his swivel chair as I entered his office one day and said the following:

“Even if Herbert Armstrong was wrong--and I am not saying that he was--and these verses are just talking about the babbling of drunks, rather than 'here a little, and there a little,' nevertheless, that is how the Bible is written. It is written 'here a little, and there a little.'”

Homer said...

ashley froud . . . .

Made reference to words trans-LITERATED vs. words trans-LATED and said . . . . “I found a lot of this type of thing. Lots! Try it your self, Get the Strong's out and give it a try . . . .”

This is one of the things which opened my understanding when I began to search and study the meanings of words as they were written in the Hebrew and Greek – according to Strong’s. Here is a list of some I found which were trans-LITERATED. There are many more. I’ll leave the trans-LATED meaning of the words to those who really want to know.

adam, angel (NT, used in the OT because of the Septuagint), apostle, calvary (Latin), christ, deacon, epistle, galilee, golgotha, heresy, halleujah, mazzaroth, messiah, parable (NT, used in the OT because of the Septuagint), rabbi, satan

Even the word “Bible” is trans-LITERATED. I purposely used the word “book” for a while and eventually was criticized for not using the word “Bible.”

There are some who might say, “That is majoring in the minors.” If the major things are based on misunderstanding even the minor things, the major things will not be truly understood.

Traditional teaching by the “pharisees” plays a very important role in what we understand. It seems to me it was frowned upon in the book.

Anonymous said...

I was taught to "take notes" on sermons from a very young age. But by my late teens, although I still brought a notebook and pen, I realized there was no benefit to doing so, and would spend that time drawing, or writing other things. Later I realized why it was that no one ever taught how to derive benefit from "taking notes," because no one else had any idea how to derive benefit from it either!

Miller Jones said...

Great post, Dennis. Proof-texting is a formula for NEVER arriving at the TRUTH! Nevertheless, it is a fun tool to employ sometimes in refuting some of the more foolish and dangerous notions that HWA and his minions came up with.

Anonymous said...

Ashley, there many verses dealing with end time prophecy. Ezekiel 5.1-5 for instance, which cannot be dismissed with your trans-literated thingy. Oppression by our leaders is not the exclusive form of punishment from God. Many times in the OT, God used invading armies to punish nations. Answered prayer confirms that military defeat and enslavement for America is imminent.
Herbert Balaam Armstrong was right about basic prophecy.

Byker Bob said...

Context is the real key to understanding. Proof-texting is kind of a mystic approach, not unlike the special "Bible code" some claim to have and understand. When you lock into this line of thinking, it automatically causes you to single-source all of your incoming information to the individual or organization that claim to have the key to put the puzzle together correctly. It also opens you to exploitation and abuse by that source.

We know HWA didn't go to high school, but somewhere along the line, he must have been exposed to Geometry, with all of its theorems, postulates and proofs. He assigned the status of postulate and theorem to various Bible verses, lifting them from context to put together Geometry-like proofs. The test was 1975. That's when it all fell apart.

You can correctly state that the Tkach's apostacized from Armstrongism, but it would be incorrect to state that they apostacized from God. The two are by no means equal and the same.


Gerald Bronkar said...

Hi Dennis!
Unfortunately, this is how most of us developed and proved our "belief system". "Don't believe me, believe the Bible" was the cry put forth by HWA. What a con-artist!
When I was still working on the Pasadena campus in 1973, I realized him to be a false prophet (we were not in Petra), and left. Actually, I was fired, then I left. I count it as one of the great blessings of my lifetime! It wasn't easy at the time, but it was the beginning of my personal freedom.
I continued to believe there was something to the Bible and Christianity until I retired and started reading books about the Bible, and its construction. It is a book that supports genocide, slavery and subjugation of women. That is an obvious fact. It is not useful for our civilization. Those who wrote and assembled it had selfish motives, not in the best interest of humanity.
Isn't it obvious?
I bought into it to some degree for most of my life, so I have great sympathy for those who live and die, not knowing. On the other hand, they may have hope in their delusion, but the wasted lifetime is sad.

ashley froud said...
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Anonymous said...

Ashley, besides yourself, what particular splinter or sliver do you attend or promote?

RSK said...

Hey, when you're out of prooftexts, "answered prayer", transliterated as "the sound of marbles in an empty head".... that solves everything!

Anonymous said...

RSK. You got an actual sound in response to prayer? lol

Floyd 1944 said...

Anon 11:11 Ezekiel 5:1-5 Is this end time prophecy? This is directed to Jerusalem. Is this literal, symbolic, a metaphor? A person is supposed to cut some hair off his head and beard then divide it into 3 parts. Then in the city of Jerusalem, burn a part scatter a part then bind up a part in his robe. Is Jerusalem the church. Are the ones doing the abominations the leaders like RCM Pack Flurry etc. You said the defeat and enslavement of America is imminent? Care to show a scripture that identifies America. You also said Herbert Armstrong understood basic prophecy. I have been around for 50 years and in my time he never got one right. i.e. Hitler would lead a revised Germany. Franz Josephus Strauss would be the strong man of Europe. Famine, disease, will animals roaming the streets by late 1960's. In the gun lap only a short time left. Surely Christ will return before this decade is over That was for the 60's 70's and 80''s. Gerald Waterhouse. Christ will not let Herbert W A die before He returns. Now you say the enslavement of America is imminent. Who do you suck up to RCM Dave or Gerald

Floyd 1944 said...

I enjoy the comments from Connie, Martha and Ashley. Keep up the posts

Anonymous said...

@Ashley: so, tell me. Were your ancestors "swarms of refugees" to this country a few generations ago? Didn't their arrival and success to this country being great change and development to the rest of civilization (tongue-in-cheek when I say "rest of civilization" because the natives fared worse)?

Why then do you cry and complain when a new breed of immigrants (swarms of refugees as you call them) want to come over? Perhaps their arrival and success will bring great advancements to future generations.

RSK said...

Where 11:11 is concerned, aye, the sound effect is obvious. :)

Anonymous said...

The art of receiving divine guidance by opening the Bible at random, sticking in a finger, and reading the verse so discovered. The Holy Book speaks for GAUWD!!!

ashley froud said...
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ashley froud said...
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Anonymous said...

4.05PM. I only suck up to my bible and God. As I said, the holy spirit has confirmed to me that Americans will be herded like cattle into slavery. Should I believe you or God? Yes, Herb played games with the truth, which is why I call him Herbie Balaam Armstrong.

ashley froud said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi Ashley,
I am not the anon 5:04 person.
May I ask what websites or persons are, where you find useful information?
Thank you.

ashley froud said...
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Byker Bob said...

Without taking sides, I will state that it would be good for everyone to inform themselves as to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which quietly went into effect here in the USA in June 1968. Cultural impact did not begin to come into play to any great extent until the early 1980s. There is an excellent and comprehensive Wikipedia article on this topic. Especially read the last section of the article under the heading "Long-term impact". Prior to this act, immigration was largely limited to citizens of Western Europe, and Canada largely to preserve existing demographics and traditional national culture.

This explains the differences between the current and past waves of immigrants. Most of the children of immigrants in the past have been anxious to become Americanized, and do so.


Anonymous said...

"...I will refer you to the Swedes, Germans, French, English, Netherlands, Who all will tell you of Rape, child rape, no go areas, enforcement of shariah law, and honor killings, and riots, burnings, etc..."

Yes, a full circle from Calais to Cologne in the news of the world(which is BTW just the tip of the iceberg). We Americans tend to like our heads in the sand. We prefer hollywood gossip and entertainment tonight over real, uncomfortable news. From mild passive-agressive games to the worst like
Taharrush Gamea!
If you don't want to sign in to youtube, bypass it.


Anonymous said...

Who is claiming the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 "quietly went into effect"?
Groups who lean toward a White Supremacist ideology?

The "quietly went into effect" wording indicates a belief that it was practically a part of a behind-the-scenes conspiracy!

In Congress, the Hart–Celler Act was passed by wide margins by both the House and Senate, and had bipartisan support (slightly higher Republican support, although Democrats also voted for it overwhelmingly).

Then, with much fanfare, President Johnson signed the bill into law at the base of the Statue of Liberty. (Hardly a hush-hush secretive conspiracy event!)

Anonymous said...

@Ashley, if you refer to documented American history, you will notice that when our ancestors came over, they did the same things to the natives. They took away their lands, their hunting rights, their fishing rights, they brought strange diseases to them. Ever heard of the Trail of Tears? Ever visited General Custer's Last Stand monument or read the story? How the natives were promised peace and then attacked?

I am not saying that it is ok to do these things. What I am saying is that this is not the first time it is happening in history, but as human as we are, it is ok when WE (or our forefathers) did it but it is not ok when others do it. I have issues with people who refuse to admit that history happened.

Have you ever been abroad and seen how Americans who have emigrated to other countries treat other people (including the locals)? I travel a lot both for business and pleasure (at least 5-8 international trips a year) and I am often embarrassed to say "I am American." The ongoing Lochte scandal is just a drop in the bucket. Kick in a door, be forced to pay for it and then you go tell the world that you were robbed at gunpoint? Yep, that is the same crap some of our people go and do in other countries all the time but when some foreigner does something here, we all bay for blood.

RSK said...

And not just the so called "founders", 10:29. Later on, the country would be rocked repeatedly by violence and riots either by or against later waves of European immigrants. Its not some virgin birth story from Philadelphia, 1776 and a godly existence up to 1940, or 1960, or 1990, or whenever the doleful-speaking morality pimps want to pin the "advent of evil".

ashley froud said...
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ashley froud said...
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Byker Bob said...

I'm sure that anyone who does Google the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 will learn how the law of unintended (?) consequences has kicked in, and transformed the national culture and heritage of the USA. The effects have exceeded all forecasts, as article after article demonstrates.

However, no need to despair. What makes us much different from Europe, is that our Latinos are the majority immigrants here, as opposed to Middle Easterners across the pond. It seems obvious that Mexicans are going to save our butts, and to keep us from going down the path that Europe seems to be on. And, that's fine with me, because I've
always loved Mexican people and their culture. I also prefer Catholicism to Islam.


Anonymous said...

BB said: "It seems obvious that Mexicans are going to save our butts, and to keep us from going down the path that Europe seems to be on."

More like they are going to kick our butts!
In California, some Mexicans have been burning the American flag at Cinco De Mayo gatherings.
And there's more!


Byker Bob said...

Why they burned the American flag! Oh no! How much greater a sign of the end times so we need to convince us all to return to Armstrongism? LOL!

Actually, this is neither unique, nor is it terribly original. White American hippies burned the American flag in much greater numbers back in the 1960s. The comments at the time were to the effect that while this was had repugnant effect on most peoples senses, it also was a demonstration of how thoroughly our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression are protected.

Hispanic people have demonstrated throughout the past willingness and abilities to take part in democracy, to work within the system, to run for office, become part of management in major companies, and to embed themselves in the power structure.

Jihadists work to bring the systems in which they find themselves down, through terrorist acts and violence. To seize power through this violence. They cannot be reasoned with or moderated in their approach because they are driven not by a desire for rights, equality, and social justice, but by a religious extremism whose goal is to bring down all who are at philosophical odds with them, to replace all of that with their own philosophy, beliefs, and domination.

One of the lessons learned from the Black Panther movement of the '60s was that as a society, we must use surgical precision against toxic power groups, recognizing them as criminal extremists, and elliminating them over a period of time. It would be a serious mistake to assume that an entire race was monolithic in its thoughts, and subscribed to group thought promulgated by highly visible, violent extremists who positioned themselves as leaders, spokesmen or advocates. "Soul on Ice" describes how this was accomplished by the FBI, police organizations, and other arms of our government.

Every ethnic group has its own organized toxic power group, that often terrorizes or preys on its own members. Mafia, Yakuza, triads, IRA, are just a few that our government has waged war upon. They've got to be diffused and suppressed for the greater good. And, eventually, they all are, until the next batch of baddies comes along. There is nothing new under the sun. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Anonymous said...

Terrorists will exploit any weakness they can find. They did it with planes. And I'm sure that they will try to do it with immigration from the south as well. We probably already have sleeper cells still dormant in this country. So, mexican sleeper cells are not the be all, end all of their terrorizing ways.

Devil's Advocate.