Thursday, November 18, 2010

Be careful, Little Ears, what you hear, what you hear…

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
(Hebrews 5:11-14, NIV)

Dear Ladies, I understand that I am very likely preaching to the choir with today’s post, but I’ve got a bee in my bonnet, and I just have to let it out.

I am continually appalled by the lack of discernment among our brothers and sisters in Christ these days. It troubles me greatly, and although I can speak with you frankly here, I am at quite a loss as to how to effectively communicate with one particular coworker and dear Christian brother about the undue influence he is allowing a non-believer to have – a very famous, influential FOXNews personality.

As you are aware, I am a Christian, and my faith influences everything about me: the way I think, to the decisions I make, to the way I interact with other people. The same goes for all of us, and the more deeply convicted we are in our belief system, the more it influences our every action.

We are admonished in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’
“‘Therefore come out from them and be separate,’
says the Lord.
‘Touch no unclean thing,
And I will receive you.’
‘I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.’”

This means that, as Christians, although we are to reach out to a lost any dying world with the Good News of Christ, we should avoid close friendships and associations with non-believers, and we should also be wary of allowing non-believers to influence how we think.

“By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am ‘timid’ when face to face with you, but ‘bold’ when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:1-5, NIV)

With all this being said, I will get to the heart of the matter. My friend has become a rather fanatical follower of Glenn Beck. And although Mr. Beck has done some wonderful things in encouraging people to learn accurate American History, he is a Mormon. He has told his viewers that his faith is a great influence on what he says and does. On his programs he has also introduced some revisionist history from the Mormons, and he has been subtly injecting Mormon theology into many of his programs.

The problem with this is that the Mormon church uses words and phrases that are very familiar to us as Christians; however, to the Mormon, these same words and phrases have slightly different meanings. Upon study, the differences are usually fairly apparent to one who is well studied in the Word, but can be quite misleading to those who do not have a firm foundation in it.

If you are not familiar with the teachings of the Mormon church, I encourage you to take the time to educate yourself. The “god’ of the Mormon church is not the same God we serve; their Jesus – who in their theology is a literal brother to Lucifer and in fact to all of humanity – is not our Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. Their most holy book, the Book of Mormon, was delivered by an “angel” to their prophet, Joseph Smith, and is known as “ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST” on their own publications, and they view the Holy Scriptures as flawed because of “errors in translation.”

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
(Galatians 1:6-9, NIV)

As a case in point, please consider Beck’s program from Tuesday, November 16, 2010:

My friend was quite smitten with the program and printed out the transcript for me to read and discuss with him. Before the discussion could get very far, I reminded him simply that he should be careful of Beck’s teachings regarding the Bible, and he became offended. It was not my intention to offend him, and I let it go and did not press the issue. So I feel led to discuss the specifics of my problems with the teaching from this episode here:
  1. I know I’m not a Jewish rabbi, and like Glenn Beck I don’t know how to read ancient Hebrew either; however, I do know how to use a Strong’s concordance. So can you. If you look up the word translated as “mortar” in Genesis 11:3, you will see that it is never translated as “matter” or “material,” nor is there any indication that the word could be used in such a manner. Similarly, the word translated as “brick” simply means a “brick.”
  2. There is no indication that Nimrod influenced the creation of the Tower of Babel. He may have founded Babylon, but the text says that the people “said one to another, ‘come, let’s…’” – not that they were “socially engineered” into building the tower.
  3. Although the Bible does say that Nimrod was a “mighty hunter” in Genesis 10:9, the word usage here (see Strong’s again) means literally a hunter of game animals. He is also referenced as a “mighty warrior” in Genesis 10:8 and in 1 Chronicles 1:10, but in this case if he is being referenced as a ‘hunter of men’, it is as a conqueror, not as a diplomat.
  4. The people who lived at the time of the building of the Tower of Babel did not speak different languages which they gave up for a common language as they came together in the plain in Shinar. Genesis 11:1 says that they had “one language,” which would make sense as they were all descendants of the three sons of Noah. In addition, the Bible tells us back in Genesis 10:25 that the earth was divided in the time of Peleg. Adding up the time frames given to us in Genesis 11:10-17, we see that Peleg was born just 111 years after the flood. It would not make sense that totally different languages would have developed in that short time. God dealt with the sinfulness of mankind in this situation by scrambling the language of sinful men.
  5. It is not reasonable to think that these people were acting out of what they viewed as ‘doing the right thing.’ God had told Noah and his sons when they left the ark to “be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it” (Genesis 9:7). They were acting in rebellion to God by not parting company with each other to break into the clans God had assigned to the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth, “so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth,” (Genesis 11:4b), and in pride in regard to their intended accomplishments.
  6. Lastly, Rabbi Lapin says that God didn’t punish the people because the name used for God in Genesis 11 is the name for the “Merciful God,” not the name for the “Judgment God.” Again, going back to the Strong’s reference, God is only referred to by his proper name, YHWH, in every instance (see Genesis 11:5-9). The punishment was found in the act of the separation of the people essentially by force due to the removal of their common language.
What I don’t know or understand is why a Jewish rabbi would portray the story of the Tower of Babel in this way…what motive is there? Why such a stretch? Is it simply a way for Glenn Beck to somehow make his message appear ‘biblical’?

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears wan to hear. They will turn aside to myths.”
(2 Timothy 4:3-4, NIV)

Ladies, we have to be ever vigilant, ever pouring over the Word, ever praying for a spirit of discernment. How many people – brothers and sisters in Christ perhaps – out there were deceived by this message? I left my friend a short note outlining a couple of the points I mentioned above, and I pray it will be received in the spirit in which it was offered... that being one of praying that my friend will not be led astray.

“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.”
(Matthew 24:24-25, NIV)

 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
(Matthew 10:16, NIV)

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father’s house,
Cindy <><

2 comments:

  1. I have read a number of Christian books and it didn't take long before I felt something was wrong- they weren't following the word of God, they make the Bible more complicated than it is, I questioned their faith. Sadly it sucks people in and they become followers, however they are at the same time moving away from the word of God.

    I have only just read the story of the Tower of Babel (I am currently reading Gen.) and my reading of it was nothing like what was described in the
    manuscript. I didn't think it was so complicated with so many hidden messages.

    We all need to be very careful even with some other Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jo,
    I agree with you about the hidden messages. I spoke with my friend last evening, and he said that he thought that they made an interested analogy. However, although the Bible does contain uses of allegory and analogy, I don't think that one can say that everything in the Bible can be taken as allegory or analogy. Sometimes it simply means what it says. There are many cases when the original Hebrew or Greek words used can imply analogical meanings, but that does not seem to be the case in this situation.
    The danger in people implying that the Bible is better understood in terms of allegory or analogy is that then the Word of God can easily be twisted into whatever message they are trying to convey. The person who is not well grounded in the Word, either being new to the faith or only a marginal Christian, can easily be led astray by this manipulation.

    ReplyDelete

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