Friday, June 21, 2019

Has Church of God International Answered Bible Critics?




Has CGI Answered Bible Critics?

In the current issue of The International News(Vol. 40, No. 2), the Church of God International has presented an article that purports to answer Bible critics -- Answering Bible Critics   Lloyd Cary opens the article by expressing his hope that none of his readers believes that the Bible is full of contradictions (and most of them probably don’t). He then proceeds to acknowledge that some “uninformed Christians and sincere doubters question the authority of the Bible.”
According to Cary, there are a few characteristics that apply to most of these questioners: 1) They don’t actually read the Bible, 2) They’re prejudiced against the Bible and predisposed to find error within it, 3) They are inclined to dismiss the Bible when it conflicts with their views/opinions/lifestyle and 4) They don’t know God (if they did, they’d love HIS book).
Based on my own personal experiences within the Worldwide Church of God and then the Church of God International, I would have to say that Mr. Cary is wrong on all four counts! I have questioned some of the material in the Scriptures for many years now (going all the way back to my time in CGI); and I have also read, studied and continued to read and study the Bible extensively (and I know of many other questioners who have done likewise). And, neither I nor most of the rest of my fellow questioners began our journey with any prejudices against Scripture or predispositions to find error within it. Indeed, most of us were the same degree of Fundamentalist/Literalist that Mr. Cary appears to be at present!
Now, it is true that I began to question Scripture when I realized that some of the passages therein contradicted my own life experiences and training. Even so, my initial inclination was to dismiss my own experiences and training and attempt to prove that the Bible was correct. Moreover, even after I concluded that the Bible does contain errors and contradictions, I DID NOT (AND HAVE NOT) dismissed the Bible as irrelevant. Indeed, I continue to hold that book in high regard and still believe that it has the breath of Divine inspiration and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and instructing us in the ways of righteousness (and, once again, I am not alone in this conclusion).
Finally, as for the question of knowing God, if we are appealing to what is revealed in Scripture, I am very familiar with the same information that Mr. Cary has in his possession. As I think that it would be arrogant and unsupported by Scripture to do so, I will not say that I “know” God. If the Bible is to be believed, then we must admit that it is beyond the ability of our human minds to fully comprehend the extent of God’s greatness, personality and love – even with the addition of the Holy Spirit. And, just for the record, I do love the Bible.
Some of us, however, are willing to acknowledge that the Bible is the product of a joint venture between human and Divine, and that the human portion of that equation is quite capable of prejudice, error and contradiction – even with God’s help and direction! Many of us understand that the Bible was never intended by God to be a history or science textbook, and that God never intended for mankind to be forever trapped within the limitations of a Bronze Age understanding of themselves, the world they inhabit or the God they worship! For many of us, the Bible is a SPIRITUAL guide that serves to enrich and strengthen our faith and lead us toward salvation through Jesus Christ.
Mr. Cary, however, remains clearly in the inerrancy camp, and he leaves his readers with a number of suggestions for handling someone who confronts them with Bible errors and/or contradictions. Unfortunately, most of these suggestions are an exercise in circular reasoning. If you have decided beforehand that the Bible does not contain contradictions or errors, it is highly unlikely that you will find any of them in the book you are studying! And, if you ask your CGI minister for assistance with an apparent contradiction/error, it is highly unlikely that he will be inclined to confirm your suspicion that something is not quite right! And, if you’ve followed all of his suggestions and still have questions about an apparent contradiction/error, Cary asks his readers to trust that “God’s” Word is correct (even if you cannot figure it out).
Nice failsafe – the circular reasoning gets you right back to where you started: There is no contradiction/error, because it is impossible for one to exist! By the way, did I mention that I own a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d very much like to sell you?

submitted by Lonnie Hendricks

22 comments:

Tonto said...

The Bible has human fingerprints. Thus it will have human frailty and fails.

The 10 Commandments were written by the finger of God, and thus fall into a different category of revelation.

Boiling life down, the 10 Commandments are timeless and true throughout cultures , history and peoples. Jesus provides the propitiation and redemption for our failure to live up the timeless law.

It is all pretty simple in the end, and the rest ends up being a lot of human debate.

Anonymous said...

Tonto wrote:

the 10 Commandments are timeless and true throughout cultures , history and peoples

What, then, do you say about "thou shalt have no other gods before me"? If this is timeless and true throughout cultures, there's no way for the worshippers of Chemosh (and other gods acknowledged in the Bible) to coexist with the worshippers of YHVH. And what about not taking the name of YHVH in vain? Even the worshippers within one culture can't agree on what that name is, so it's hardly a timeless and universal law. And what about keeping the Sabbath holy? Looks like the Mayans, whose calendar doesn't have seven-day weeks, aren't able to participate in that timeless truth. Even the commandment "thou shalt not steal" isn't universal to cultures, such as some aboriginal tribes in Southeast Asia, that have no concept of private property. There's even huge disagreement about what constitutes a "graven image" with the Orthodox at one extreme and Muslims at the other. Hardly timeless and universal.

Anonymous said...

The 10 commandments were written by the finger of God?

Show us the tablets so we can see God's handwriting.

Originally, the OT was a bunch of myths that those in the know never did believe in. It was in a sense a joke played on illiterate and ignorant Jews. The real Jewish religion was kept secret from the common folk. Today the OT is a joke played on Christians. Ordinary Jews have moved on to the Talmud.

Anonymous said...

God is not the author of confusion but whoever wrote the bible surely was.

Anonymous said...

8.55 AM
Don't steal, lie or murder is universal in all cultures. Historically, property rights have typically been murky and limited. In some American Indian tribes, only personal effects were considered private property. But I have never heard of any culture or tribe that has no property rights.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Cary is wrong on all 4 counts. Not only was I not biased against the bible, I was so biased toward the bible that asking the right questions was extremely difficult, and it made the process take much longer than otherwise would have been the case. But I suppose that's the whole point, isn't it? The longer it takes, the longer you'll be donating your dollars?

When I did begin asking the right questions, what I found at every turn was that what I had been told by people like Cary, by the ministers, and by my parents turned out to be nothing but lie after lie after lie. And then there was a whole lot more information that had been completely withheld from me.

The ancient world was awash with books claiming to be supernaturally inspired, claiming to have been inscribed by people other than who actually wrote them, and/or having been written anonymously. No one knows the identity of any of the original authors who actually wrote even so much as one single book in any of the christian canons or apocrypha. And no one knows how many times those books were subsequently tampered with, having material added and deleted, or who those redactors were.

It's orthodox tradition that Genesis was edited together by Moses from pre-existing documents and the rest of the pentateuch is essentially Moses' memoirs—a firsthand historical account. But whenever we look for historical evidence of any of that, we come up empty handed. According the bible, human DNA should show an origin and a severe bottleneck in the last 6-10 thousand years. It doesn't show either of those things, instead, it inconveniently explains why humans have 23 chromosomes while chimpanzees have 24. Geology should find evidence of at least a regional flood that happened approximately 4,400 years ago, but it doesn't.

The bible says god condemned the entire generation of Israelites above 20 years old who exited Egypt to die over 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Archaeologists who believed the bible was a historical record fully expected to find upward of a half million desert graves and numerous dump sites of human waste indicating the presences of large encampments. However, even at known locations, such as Kadesh-barnea, where the Israelites were supposed to spent 38 out their 40 years yields not one indication of Bronze-Age habitation. Not a grave, not a goat turd, and not a pot sherd. And that goes for virtually ever other plot point of the stories recounted in the pentateuch as well as Joshua.

Of course, I could go on and on, but I have already digressed. And the new testament is no less problematic than the Hebrew scriptures. Like most other ancient literature, it is myth, not history.

So for now, let's quickly cut to the chase. How could Jesus have been the second Adam if the first one was just a fiction? How could the prevailing conditions in which "the Son of Man" comes be comparable to the days of Noah, if there never was a flood? You see the problem?

If the bible was supernaturally inspired by a god, it was inspired by a god who did not have accurate knowledge of human origins. Which means that if a god inspired the bible, he cannot also have been responsible for human origins, which is what the bible claims. Which means that if a god is responsible for the bible, he's an imposter, claiming to be someone he isn't.

Now who wants to worship this god? Most prefer to stick their heads in the sand, as if that rescues the situation, and makes all of this somehow go away. If you refuse to acknowledge it, then that keeps it from being true, right?

RSK said...

It does open up a question of the quality of God's handwriting, doesn't it? Does He have neat handwriting like your grandmother, or "doctors' handwriting"? And what language did He write in anyway? Moses would likely have known some form of Egyptian script, but would he have learned Hebrew? Did a literate Israelite have to tell Moses what the tablets said and kindly advise him he was holding them upside down?

Ronco said...

Proverbs 26:4-5

4
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you yourself will be just like him.
5
Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

Damned if you do, and damned if you don't- nothing new here.

Anonymous said...

I’m a Christian and believe the Bible is the Word of the Most High God. Having said that I believe there are some passages in the Bible that need further explanation to clear up any on the surface inconsistencies. One such passage for me is John 19:14 and the reference to the “sixth hour” as being the time Pilate presents Christ to the people, when all the other gospel writers state from the 6th to 9th hour (or midday to 3 p.m.) Christ was already crucified and darkness covered the land (Mt 27:45; Mk 15:33; Lk 23:44). It’s never really been sufficiently explained to me. Further, I believe all gospel writers even John use Hebrew or Bible time not Roman time so when they refer to a specific “hour” they’re referring to a time during the daylight from dawn to dusk (e.g. John 1:39 10th hour is 4 p.m.; Matthew 20:6 11th hour is 5 p.m.) while when they refer to a “watch” it’s to a time in the night (e.g. Matthew 14:25 4th watch is from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.). So if John was referring to a daylight hour it couldn’t have been midday as it contradicts the other gospel writers. So I can only speculate it was a manuscript error or John meant something else. Either way it doesn’t diminish my faith in His Word or my faith in His eternal existence.

Anonymous said...

nice try Lonnie, but articles such as that are not written to the world, for the world can never understand.

those being called by God, however, will be able to make sense of it, and will understand, and respond.

and, the day will come when all will hear and understand...

Gordon Feil said...

Lonnie, you are right that God cannot be understood by us. Various scriptures describe him and his name as Wonderful. It means deserving of wonder. We don't know. We wonder.

Anonymous said...

Christ went out of His way to honor the bible by fulfilling the prophesies about Him. Today, God is strongly intervening in world events to ensue that all the ancient prophesies are being faithfully fulfilled.

The vast majority of the bible is easy to understand, and those who use the few hard to understand verses as a club to discredit the bible, are being intellectually dishonest. One finds these same games in today's politics.

Anonymous said...

Annon 12:17
Which ancient prophecies are being fulfilled? Are they the same ones that have been predicted over and over. Are they the same ones Herbert was wrong about countless times?

Anonymous said...

Ssshhh! Don't wake him up, 6:48! He's probably one of those who believes that our dna doesn't match the Jews' because the Jews of today are Khazars masquerading as Jews.

nck said...

10:33

Is your confident comment based on dna research on 1000bc bones from the Levant or is it based on dna comparisons of modern populations?

Personally I am open to the option that the Khazars were a "converted" people not unlike another people that considers itself "chosen" for a "manifest destiny" and uniquely circumcizing many of their male population as a "custom" which they brag about that their female counterparts like most on christian blogs, while everyone knows that size or growth is not an indication of gods favor.

Nck

Anonymous said...

6.48 PM
Herbs timing and details were obviously off, but the prophecies such as the coming ten nation United States of Europe are correct. As John keeps saying, time will tell. And I don't believe it's far off, probably within 20 years.

10.33PM
It's a near law that unless one is conversant with a topic, one can easily be misled or deceived. So all this DNA talk is meaningless to this audience.

What are you people going to do once the 10 nation United States of Europe suddenly appears? Will you say that it's a fluke or that it will shortly go away or what? Will there be a article on Banned entitled "What a coincidence." Will Dennis Diehl write "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. Don't worry folks, it will be gone next week." Or will he write "So I was wrong, Hey, no one's perfect."

Anonymous said...

The ten nations of Europe that HWA and Herman Hoeh "identified" actually appeared decades ago, first as part of the European Common Market which the post-WW-II USA had sponsored. Nothing happened. They fizzled out and are on the decline. Islamic extremists have instead become the international boogeyman that HWA had always taught the Roman Catholic Church would become. Recent talk has concerned itself with which one of the European countries would become the first to adopt Sharia law. This is due to the fact that European countries have demonstrated their humanitarianism by welcoming refugees from the Middle East, and in so doing, have opened the door to the loss or transformation of their own cultures. You really have to mentally twist things to maintain a belief that the HWA prophecies are being fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

Re DNA I don't know if those of European ancestry (predominantly paternal haplogroup R1b) are of Israelite origin, but I do wonder how epigenetics might play a part in changing people's genetics over centuries and millennia so much so that this is a possible reason for the DNA differences between "Jewish" DNA and European DNA. Just wondering outloud.

Anonymous said...

12:58 PM said: "Herbs timing and details were obviously off, but the prophecies such as the coming ten nation United States of Europe are correct. As John keeps saying, time will tell. And I don't believe it's far off, probably within 20 years."

TBH if HWA's timing and details were wrong then I'd like to know what exactly you consider he got right?

Personally, Idk if there's going to be 10 nations that will make up the final Beast empire. I'm more of the view that it's going to be 10 men that we have to look out for who will ally with the presiding Beast leader (11th) who'll ally with the false prophet (Catholic Pope?--12th person). The number of nations in the Beast empire is moot IMO. The UK might even disintegrate to what it was in the Middle Ages with England out of the final Beast empire, but Scotland and Eire in.

Anonymous said...

10.16 PM
I would have thought that the ten toes in Denial is kinda specific about there being ten nations. Scotland and Eire weren't part of the Roman empire.

jim said...

The United States of Europe have been spoken of for centuries. Even Victor Hugo in the mid 1800s latched on to it.

Anonymous said...

8:27 AM said: "I would have thought that the ten toes in Denial is kinda specific about there being ten nations. Scotland and Eire weren't part of the Roman empire."

"And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken" (Daniel 2:42).

"The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings" (Daniel 7:24).

"The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:12-13).

IMO all of this means the 10 horns are 10 leaders who will originate from Europe (location of the 4th beast/4th kingdom of Daniel 2 and 7 or Roman Empire) to whom will be given by the Beast leader jurisdiction over specific territory (as per Revelation 17). It doesn't say they'll be given 10 currently existing nations to govern. So IMO the entire Beast empire will be absolutely presided over by the Beast leader who under him will be 10 deputy leaders--it doesn't necessarily mean the entire territory will be just limited to 10 European nations. The reason for this is because the original Roman Empire extended from Britain and Spain in the west to Egypt, Israel and Babylon in the east (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Empire#/media/File:Roman_Empire_Trajan_117AD.png). Later the territory of various resurrections were different too like the Holy Roman Empire (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Roman_Empire#/media/File:Holy_Roman_Empire_at_its_territorial_apex_(per_consensus).svg) and the most recent incarnation ie the 3rd Reich (see https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Europe_under_Nazi_domination.png). So to say it's going to be 10 nations when the Scriptures doesn't say that at all is a false assumption especially when Bible prophecy refers to the number of leaders governing this Beast empire not the area and jurisdiction of the empire.

Right you are re Scotland and Eire. But, it wouldn't surprise me at least if both due to their Catholic and/or anti-Anglo leanings might choose in future to remain or re-join the EU or its final make up when the Beast leader and his 10 henchman rise to rescue Europe to fulfill its "manifest destiny."

Jiim said: "The United States of Europe have been spoken of for centuries. Even Victor Hugo in the mid 1800s latched on to it."

Correct Jim (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_of_Europe). This is probably why HWA predominantly referred to the future Beast empire as the "United States of Europe" since the term was used so much in the media during his early life. I recall watching a YT video about it too by the Painful Truth (see https://hwarmstrong.com/blog/tag/united-states-of-europe-prophesied-since-1934-herbert-w-armstrongs-stolen-idea/ AND https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AORrIlQGATM).