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Letter 1


The following letter was gratefully received, for it exemplifies the attitudes revealed by many religionists who wish to deliver an angry diatribe without risking a reply - by posting without a return address!:

"I was appalled to receive the attached rubbish through my door recently. I think you are in desperate need of help yourself - have you considered counselling for your paranoia?

Occult checklist
There are many examples of "ESP" and "Dream Interpretation" in the bible, often described as "warnings/messages from God". The wise men/kings from the East found Christ by following a star.

False Religions and Cults
Quakers and Roman Catholics! Get real. You would not have the message of Christ today had it not been for the work of the Roman Catholic church - the question is one of interpretation and understanding - you are undoubtedly a pagan offshoot by RC definition. Or are you conceited enough to claim a monopoly on the understanding of the Truth?!

I offer you the following:

1. JUDGMENT
Anyone can find a quote in the Bible to back up what they are saying, however outlandish it might sound - or do you subscribe to the view that it really is a disgraceful thing for a woman to speak in church (I Corinthians 14v35)?  Please re-read Romans 14 and, while you are at it: James 3.

2. SPREADING THE WORD
Those who are over-eager to spread the word always resemble a thirsty man seeking to vicariously quench his thirst in others: and more interested in the water itself than sparing a thought for the container in which it is found. I caution you to think of the souls you are trying to reach, not the souls you hope to convert.

Watch the log in you [
sic] own eye, my friends, before you dare to pluck the splinter from ours....................…"

TCE response:

First the inevitable personal attack!  But can the writer prove their claims - and how good is this writer's knowledge of Scripture, history, and deception?

  • Where do we find occultic ESP and 'Dream Interpretation' described in this way in the Bible?  The gifts of the Holy Spirit, whether in an Old or New Testament context, e.g. Joseph's dreams (Genesis 37, 40-41) or the apostle Paul being instructed where to preach the gospel (Acts 16v6-10) are not to be confused with the counterfeit 'gifts' from occult involvement. That the 'magi' found Christ by following a unique God-appointed star and heeded His instructions so that the Christ-child was protected from Herod (Matthew 2) does not prove for a moment that astrology or any other occultic divination method has God's approval.  See occult section.  The specific title given in the Greek text is "magoy" or magi, which means "wisemen," or more specifically, "astrologers." In the Matthew description we have an unknown number of astrologers from the east (the region of Mesopotamia, where ancient Babylon and Assyria were located - modern Iraq).  Babylon was noted for magi or astrologers.  They arrived in Jerusalem asking the question, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?"  The magi knew that the Messiah had been born, leaving us wondering, again, how did the Wise Men know anything about the birth of a Jewish king? Did they gain this knowledge through astrology? And even knowing about the birth of a Jewish king, why would Babylonian astrologers - who did not worship other Jewish kings - want to come and worship him?  To answer these questions, we must break the passage down and begin looking at it point-by-point keeping in mind the basic rule of interpretation, according to Dr. David L. Cooper:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. Therefore, we should take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise. We should take the Bible exactly as it says unless there is some indication in the text and in the context that tells us we cannot take it literally.

  • Let us first focus our attention on the issue of the star - which was certainly no ordinary star. It is referred to as "his" star, the "King of the Jews" star, in a way that cannot apply to other stars. This star appeared and disappeared and moves from east to west and from north to south - and then hovered over one single house in Bethlehem, pointing out the exact location of the Messiah. It is very evident that this cannot be a literal star, as we know that any such star hovering over a single house would, in fact, cause massive destruction!  Obviously, this star was something different, but what?  The Greek word for "star" simply means "radiance" or "brilliance" and this star coming in the form of a light is the appearance of the Shechinah Glory - the visible manifestation of God's presence. Whenever God became visible in the Old Testament, such a manifestation was referred to as the Shechinah Glory which manifested most often in the form of a light, fire, cloud or some combination of these three things. So this 'star' appeared in Babylon as a light, a brilliance, a radiance that may look from a distance like a star but has actions and characteristics that no star possesses. What these Wise Men actually saw was the Shechinah Glory, and they deduced that it was a signal that the King of the Jews had finally been born.

  • But how did the Wise Men know about this?  The only passage in the Old Testament dating the Messiah's coming is found in the famous 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 which was written not in Israel, but in Babylon, much of it in Aramaic, the language of the Babylonian empire.  We know that Daniel was always associated with Babylonian astrologers (Daniel 1v19-20; 2v12-13, 47; 4v7-9; 5v11-12). Nebuchadnezzar, like our anonymous writer not realizing that the source of Daniel's ability was not the stars of the heavens but the God of Heaven, made Daniel the head of all the astrologers of Babylon. As Daniel eventually also saved the lives of these astrologers, by interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream, there is also the possibility that he lead some of them to turn away from the worship of the stars to begin worshipping the God of Israel - as we attempt to do today by informing sincere, but ignorant, people of the errors of following cults and the occultic.  So it would appear that at least a small line of Babylonian astrologers, spanning some generations, worshipped, or at least had some reverence for, the true God and, knowing Daniel's prophecy, looked forward to the coming of the King of the Jews. So we can conclude from the Book of Daniel that Babylonian astrologers somehow knew the time Messiah was to be born. But, since Daniel says nothing about a star that would herald Messiah's birth, how did the Wise Men know?

  • Again, Scripture has the answer if we go back in the Old Testament to the prophecies of Balaam who was a 'professional prophet' or 'soothsayer', ready to hire himself to the highest bidder (Numbers 22).  Balaam was hired by the king of Moab to curse the Jews and attempted to do so four times, but each time God took control of his mouth so that he ended up blessing the Jews instead.  No doubt our writer is unaware of the nature of these men who skirted the now corrupt and divided chosen nation which became Israel and Judah because of their idolatry.  In the course of the blessings God spoke through this hireling Balaam, He set forth four key Messianic prophecies, one of which is found in Numbers 24v17:

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, And shall smite through the corners of Moab, And break down all the sons of tumult.

  • Much to his own regret, Balaam was forced by God to prophesy of the coming of the Jewish Messiah, which he related to a "star." But this is not a literal star, because we read: "And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel."  Therefore the star and the sceptre in the text are one and the same which is clear because the prophecy is in the form of Hebrew poetry, which is not based on rhythm or rhyme but on parallelism. Furthermore the term "sceptre" is a symbol of royalty or kingship, so this star which would rise out of Jacob is going to be a king.

  • We know more about the astrologer Balaam.  Significantly, he came from Pethor, a city on the banks of the Euphrates River in Babylonia (Numbers 22v5; Deuteronomy 23v4). We also know that Balaam counselled the Moabites to corrupt the Israelites in 'the sin of Peor' (Numbers 25) so that they played the harlot - and as a result he was killed with the Midianites 'just as the Lord commanded Moses' (ref. Numbers 31v7, 16; 2 Peter 2v15; Jude 1v11; Revelation 2v14). With the Book of Daniel and the prophecy of Balaam, we have a double Babylonian connection. Hence, the revelation of a star in relation to the Messiah's birth came via a Babylonian astrologer who, no doubt, passed the information down to his colleagues and, centuries later, Daniel was able to expound to the Babylonian astrologers the time that "the star of Jacob" would come.  So how did the Wise Men know? Not by gazing at the stars through the pseudoscience-occult practice of astrology, but by revelation from God as contained in the Scriptures through the prophecies of Balaam and Daniel. So the story of the Wise Men gives no validity to astrology whatsoever.

  • Has the writer ever been to a Quaker meeting - where almost anything that might resemble 'inner light/spiritual leading' goes?  Or has he read their literature which can be interpreted in any number of ways because of their beliefs in 'the inner light'?  We do not warn against them because they:

  1. do not have a specific creed or statements of faith (although some groups have some faith statement);
  2. believe in true religion as a personal encounter with God, rather than ritual and ceremony;
  3. believe in individual worth before God;
  4. believe in the virtues of moral purity, integrity, honesty, simplicity and humility;
  5. believe in Christian love and goodness; concern for the suffering and unfortunate;

  • There are some admirable qualities here which are also present in other orthodox, and unorthodox, Christian groups.  The problem lies in the Quakers belief in continuing revelation through the Holy Spirit and the fact that they largely reject the Bible as the only source of belief and conduct, relying upon their 'Inner Light' to resolve what they perceive as the Bible's many contradictions. They also make use of 'scientific' and 'philosophical findings' from other sources so we find individual Quakers hold diverse views concerning many fundamental truths to the Christian belief.  In other words they have no absolutes and will therefore find themselves at home with many liberal and heretical groups such as Roman Catholics and many in denominations such as the Baptist Union.  As a group, they became well respected for their industriousness and high moral character and the persecution they suffered in the past at the hands of such as the Puritans is a blot on the name of those who called themselves Christian.  But none of this alters the fact that they are a group which should be avoided by any claiming to base their faith on the Bible.

  • How can the Holy Spirit lead us into 'all truth' (John 16v13) when a group has no accepted absolutes as revealed in the Bible - the Word of God?  Our writer reveals the problem, first with this 'defence' of Roman Catholicism which is historically and theologically inaccurate, as shown in our respective section.  Defining anything or anyone from a Roman Catholic perspective brings insurmountable problems and the Truth we proclaim is available to anyone yielding to Christ and His Word, 'for the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart' (Hebrews 4v12).

  • Anyone may think they can find a quote to support their beliefs, no matter what they are, but only a balanced theological base will avoid contradiction - and this the Rome church does not have.  The reference to 1 Corinthians 14v35 is meant to be a problem to us - yet the very obvious reading of the preceding verses in this passage talk of order and avoiding confusion and finishes with the clear instruction to 'let all things be done decently and in an orderly fashion' - v40.  That verse 35 speaks of women who did not understand the procedures and were therefore talking out of turn is made clear by Paul's instruction to learn from their husbands at home - and thus avoid unnecessary disruptions in meetings.  It is clear that both men and women were given the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12-14) and there would obviously be times when women would speak in tongues and had the gift of prophesy (e.g. Acts 21v9) which could be expressed in an orderly fashion as described in these chapters. It is equally clear from Scripture that women are not authorized to teach, preach, nor usurp and exercise authority over the men in the church. This is what the Old Testament also teaches (Genesis 3v16).  So, if they have a problem to be resolved or a question to be answered, let them ask their husbands at home (1 Timothy 2v11-12). Obviously, if they were married to a pagan, or a believer who was less mature than they were, then the elders should be approached outside of the meetings to arrange for suitable teaching for both!  But it is clear that disorderly meetings are to be avoided!  Thus our writer will find no support for his argument in these or other Scripture passages.

  • Our writer also claims that we should not judge others by quoting Romans 14 and James 3 (perhaps he meant 4?) - or that we should be careful what we say?  Unfortunately, New Testament passages dealing with judging are often misunderstood by people who fail to recognize that we are to judge!  Jesus clearly said that you can know what kind of person is coming to you - even with signs and wonders - by their fruit (Matthew 7v15-23).  So you can make a judgement of them and their teachings.  But then people get confused because earlier, in the same chapter, He says: Do not judge lest you be judged (Matthew 7v1).  But He clarifies it by stating: Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement (John 7v24).  This is not a contradiction, but clarification of how we judge.  We are warned about the dangers of hypocritically judging - and the section 'Savage Wolves', Case History I and II, dealing with such lack of righteous judgement in the orthodox church in Britain shows that we are not adverse in pointing out the errors of 'orthodox' lukewarm denominations.  Scripture clearly points out the dangers of wrong judging and the church would do well to pay attention to the following exposition [based on a clear summary of the subject by Jacob Prasch ]:

Therefore you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgement, for in that you would judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things (Romans 2
v1).

Therefore do not go on passing judgement before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things that are hidden in darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God (1 Corinthians 4
v5).

But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God (Romans 14
v10).

For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present (1 Corinthians 5
v3).

What kind of judgment was the apostle Paul talking about?  In the 1 Corinthian 5 passage Paul is simply saying
the Word of God makes it clear that what this man was doing (by living with his father's wife) was immoral.  It was not Paul judging, but the Word of God - God Himself judging!  This is the only way we can be certain that we "judge with righteous judgement" - when the judgment is declared in God's Word.  We do not make judgments of another person's eternal destiny, but we can judge what their actions say about them and their doctrines because the Bible makes these things clear. The Greek word for "judge" is krino and the prefix "ana" gives us the word 'anakrino' - "to discern," so that we read: But he who is spiritual judges [anakrino] all things, yet he himself is judged [anakrino] by no man (1 Corinthians 2v15).  We are commanded by God, in His Word, to anakrino - to judge, or discern. It is not something that we can decide to ignore, or turn a blind eye to, if we wish and there are enough examples in Scripture that show the consequences of failing to judge when God commands it.  Paul also makes it clear that, if you do not discern, you lack wisdom, and those who practice wisdom cannot themselves be judged by any man!  We read: I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide [diakrino] between his brethren? (1 Corinthians 6v5).  The prefix "dia" in diakrino means to "render a decision" regarding whether something is right or wrong, or whether their behaviour is morally right or wrong, Scriptural or un-Scriptural? Is it of God, of the flesh, or of the devil? Again, the Holy Spirit instructed Paul to command us to make a decision (diakrino) - we are commanded to diakrino.  To fail to judge is unacceptable as Paul made clear in 1 Corinthians 5v11-12:

I wrote to you not to associate with any so called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler -- not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging [
krino] outsiders? Do you not judge [krino] those who are within the church?

We judge those who are within the church, who are guilty of immorality and we are clearly instructed not to even associate with the person. People are confused by Chapter 6, forgetting that it is not talking about criminal law, but about civil law.  We are not simply allowed to
diakrino, we are commanded to diakrino; but it has more to do than just with people.  This is not our judgement - we cannot krino anybody, but the things that God has said He will krino we have to anakrino.  We have to discern when things are of God or of man?  We are not the judges - the Word of God judges, but we have to diakrino, that is, render a decision on whether it is morally right or wrong, by Biblical standards. We do not just have the right, but the responsibility to render a decision, for the command from God in heaven is to anakrino.   So it is not our judgment, but what God says about these people.  Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14v15; 15v10).  If you fail to diakrino, you are failing to keep His commandments.  Failure to diakrino will allow all kinds of teachings to be brought into the church from people giving "words" from their own flesh or from Satan by allowing 'doctrines of demons' (1 Timothy 4v1-3) through a fallible 'Holy Father Pope' or the 'inner light' of Quakerism (as happened with John Wimber).  People must be brought to account.

The judging that we are not called to do comes from the Greek word -
krisis.  Scripture informs us:

For not even the father judges anyone, but He has given all judgement [
krisis] to the Son (John 5v22). 

The ultimate determination of who goes to heaven or hell belongs to the Lord alone. We are not to
krisis for this judging is God's alone.  As we read:

But you have come… to the general assembly and church of the first born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge [
krites] of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect (Hebrews 12v23).

God is the Judge of all.  We are called to judge morals, behaviour and doctrine, but God is the ultimate Judge of us all.  If we are going to stand up and confront other people inside and outside the church about these things we also need to ensure that we are not guilty of the same kind of behaviour because that is another kind of judging we are forbidden to do.  When the Greek prefix
hupo is added to krites, we have the word from which we derive the English equivalent: "hypocrites."  This is what Jesus meant when he said:

Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite [
hupokrites], first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye (Matthew 7v1-5).

We do not
krites as God judges, nor are we to be hupo-krites, but:

'
the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge [kritikos] the thoughts and intentions of the heart' (Hebrews 4v12).

Clearly we are called to
kritikos, to discern between the soulish and the spiritual, and the Word of God enables us to separate the bone from the marrow, the spiritual from the purely soulish.  So the Bible makes clear that we never judge from our own opinions - but always seek to understand what the Word of God (found solely in the Bible) says about every matter of behaviour and doctrine.  We are commanded to anakrino and seek to discern whether something is of God, or is it of the flesh, or of the devil?  We are commanded to diakrino - to render a decision as to whether something is morally right or wrong.  We do not krisis - the Lord alone judges who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, hence we read in 1 Corinthians 5v13:

'But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.'

We are sometimes appointed to
krites - but we are to remember that the Lord is the Judge of all, and we are to judge righteously.  We are to carefully avoid being guilty of hupo-krites - before we take a speck out of our brother's eye, we make sure we do not have the same speck in our own eye.  We must always kritikos by relying on the Word of God to discern between the things of the soul and the things of the spirit.

  • The final pointless homily by our anonymous writer cuts no ice, but merely proves the writer seeks to demonstrate a superior knowledge of the Truth and thereby contradicts his earlier accusation: 'are you conceited enough to claim a monopoly on the understanding of the Truth?!' - by claiming only a 'splinter' for himself.

No doubt the writer is unaware of the persecution of the original Quakers (e.g. 'The Seekers') who genuinely sought the truth through the Bible and prayer alone - and were persecuted, imprisoned and burnt at the stake by the Roman Catholic church!  If only Quakers today were imitating their 'founders'!

When a man bows before an idol of ivory, begging for salvation, and you tell him it cannot answer - is this hate?

When someone's little girl...must tell her thoughts, her emotions and temptations to an unmarried priest in the confession box, and you tell her she need only confess to Jesus - is this hate?

When a poor grieving widow pays from her meagre substance for Masses for her dead husband, desperately hoping to end his pain in purgatory, and you tell her there is no purgatory - is this hate?

When one billion souls, for whom Christ died, trust a well-fed pontiff dressed in gold and fine linen to give them the keys to Heaven, and you tell them they need no one but Jesus - is this hate?

When Jesus, God's gift of love to all mankind, pointed his finger at the Pharisees and called them so many snakes - was this hate?

When the Apostle Paul stood on Mars Hill and dared tell the philosophers of pagan mystery religion that they were too superstitious - was this hate?

NO!

To free a man from Satan's chains, you must first tell him he is a prisoner. You must convince him that he is lost and without hope... .There are those who call [evangelical] literature "hate literature." But they do not know the true meaning of hate.

True hatred hides the gospel in beautiful words that upset no one, and therefore bring no conviction of sin. True hatred stands in selfish silence as hell's population grows.

Battle Cry, May-June 1993

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