Saturday, March 31, 2018

What the Days of Unleavened Bread Don't Tell You

Today, members of the Churches of God are meeting to celebrate the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Tomorrow, members of my church will be gathering to celebrate Easter.

We've been through this before, so why not get the preliminaries out of the way quickly?

The Armstrongist COGs tell you that Easter is named for the goddess Ishtar and originated in worship of the ancient Babylonian god Tammuz. The History Channel and a variety of other sources will tell you that, too. The problem is, most of those claims go back to a handful of sources from the 1800s that later archaeological discoveries, artifacts and cultural studies have since refuted. Unfortunately, those who continue to put forth these claims – such as cults trying to draw people away from traditional Christianity and anti-religion members of the media – have little incentive to check their homework.

The COGs point to New Testament discussions about false gospels and destructive heresies and insert things like Easter. If they read the scriptures in context, they'd see that the main two heretical movements were the Gnostics and the Judaizers. They are pretty good at finding the gnosticism, but have a poor track record at spotting the Judaizers. Probably because it's largely what they preach, minus a sacrifice here and a foreskin there.

I think it's safe to say that things haven't changed much since I left the COGs. I recently read the March-April edition of the United Church of God's “Beyond Today” magazine and, predictably, saw these regurgitated claims and more in Darris McNeely's article, “What Easter Doesn't Tell You.”

Here are the downright absurd things McNeely claims Easter fails to teach:

1. “Only God coming in the flesh could open the door of salvation for the human creation.”
2. “What's missing is understanding the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ, the Son of God!”
3. “Jesus Christ tasted death for every man so that God might give eternal life to those who call on His name.”
4. “You are missing out on the wonderful meaning of Passover and the death and reconciliation of Jesus Christ. Jesus suffered, died and was resurrected once for all time so that men might have the opportunity to enter into eternal life. Easter obscures the truth about that.”

If you have (as I had been) raised in the COGs and never been to an Easter service, you might actually believe these claims. I didn't know what to expect at my first Easter service. The main thing I remember was that I cried through the whole service. Not because I felt awkward and guilty, like my first Christmas Eve. It was because of the joy that Easter inspired in my heart, and because of the sadness I felt for the rest of my family, eating matzos and focusing on futile task of putting out their own sin. Anyway, the Easter service – and most weekly church services, actually – revolve around those four points.

In turn, I'd like to share some important spiritual points that the Days of Unleavened Bread don't tell you:

1. Jesus was resurrected.

I know that you guys realize this, but I also want you to realize that the Days of Unleavened Bread in no way address this point. Jesus' resurrection was kind of a big deal. It was, technically speaking, probably the most important event in human history. Not because – as the COGs say – Jesus showed others the way to salvation – leading a righteous life, following Hebraic customs, then hoping you are “good enough” to be resurrected into the God family later. No, it was a big deal because it proved that Jesus was who He said He was, and that the claims and promises He made were true – promises of forgiveness of sins, of salvation, of a New Covenant and faith in HIM as the way to salvation. If they weren't true, and if Jesus had been a madman or false Messiah, then that tomb would have remained occupied.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people to be most pitied.
- 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

But God doesn't TELL us to observe the resurrection, you say. True. Must we formally celebrate Jesus' resurrection to be a Christian? Of course not. But the resurrection is, as I said, a big deal. It's the reason why we can have hope – the hope for which we are always to be ready to give an answer. It's supposed to be a topic near and dear to our hearts, an active part of our faith. I found it encouraging that McNeely's article made mention of the resurrection several times. It was, however, ironic that he insisted Easter misses the truth about the resurrection when his own church does nothing to mark the resurrection. Claim the mainstream Christian world has the timeline wrong, claim it wasn't an observation, ignore the symbolism of the wave sheaf offering, whatever. But stop foolishly insisting that a holiday specifically established to commemorate Christ's resurrection misses the truth about His resurrection oh, don't forget that according to Israel's track record, it's perfectly fine to create holidays to commemorate miracles. It's difficult to claim to be a Christian organization, yet ignore the very historical event that established Christianity, as people younger and cooler than me would say, “a legit thing.” The Days of Unleavened Bread obscure that, and it's exactly why I believe that its observation keeps us focused on the physical, to our spiritual detriment.

2. Physical acts don't factor into your salvation.

Try as the modern COGs might, it's hard to get around the fact that the Days of Unleavened Bread focus on the physical. For days, weeks, and sometimes months, you focus on getting physical leaven out of your home. You pause to celebrate the Passover, and then the Night to be Much Observed – a lavish celebration not observed by Jesus' disciplines and AT LEAST as extra-biblical as Easter – then continue avoid leavening for the next seven days. Do you do it because you WANT to, because it's time to clean out the house, or because you want to try a low-carb diet? NO!!! You do it because you believe that not doing can keep you out of God's Kingdom. Yes, it was commanded – for Israel – and we have record of a few New Testament congregations like Corinth keeping it. It's likely that Christians like Peter and Paul observed it, although they certainly knew that doing so neither secured nor disqualified them. I get the distinct feeling that's not the impression members of UCG, COGWA, LCG or PCG get.

In contrast, Easter, and especially Good Friday, remind us that the filthy rags of our own efforts mean nothing when it comes to salvation. We are saved FOR good works, not BY good works. And even that's iffy, in the case of those who die shortly after conversion. Consider the thief on the cross – he had no opportunity to do anything for the Kingdom. He couldn't feed the needy. He couldn't care for orphans and widows. He couldn't be baptized. He couldn't even move. Yet Jesus told the thief that he had done all he needed to do. You can argue that the thief isn't in heaven, you can argue that he's “asleep” in the ground awaiting resurrection, but you can't argue that Jesus told him he'd done enough by expressing his faith. The message of the Days of Unleavened Bread gives the polar opposite of that message, which leads me to my next point.

3. You will never be good enough – and that isn't the point, anyway.

You must put leavening out of your house, your minister tells you, because it symbolizes sin. In fact, those that don't put out leaven are sinning. But don't go overboard, because it's not possible and your focus should be primarily spiritual anyway. Also, laugh it off when you find a sandwich crust wedged in the bowels of your recliner next week, because God knows how hard you tried and will give you a pass. That one wasn't really sin because, you didn't know it was there. Or you forgot. Or whatever.

Huh? NOW who doesn't understand the gravity of sin?

I personally believe this ritual was intended to teach us one thing – the ingrained, pervasive depth of our sin. This isn't, as Paul wrote, an excuse to live for the flesh, but instead to teach us to recognize our total dependence upon God – for our justification, for our sanctification and our salvation. Once we grasp that, we don't rehearse it year after year. We do something about it. We move out of the shadows and step into the light of Christ. we place our faith in Jesus for salvation instead of our own efforts. It's not 80/20. It's not 90/10. It's not even 99.9/0.01. When we realize we are fully dependent upon Him, we can move past our self-righteousness, drop our checklist and fully appreciate what He's done for us. We are justified, or made right with God, by faith in His promise, and Christ's righteousness is credited to us, as it was to Abraham. Our hearts are changed, and we begin the lifelong process of transformation - with God as the potter and us as the clay.

4. Examination isn't a once-a-year thing.

Now, if you listen to your minister, you might believe that those who leave the COGs live immoral, amoral existences. Some may, but that's not a given. Most who exit to some other form of Christianity did so because they studied their Bibles and found the COG explanations lacking. They still believe in obedience, they just believe in obedience to a different covenant, and for different reasons.

One thing that has struck me in my recent study is the idea of self-examination. The COGs apply scriptures regarding self-examination mainly to the Passover season. He who eats the bread and drinks the wine without self-examination drinks judgment to himself. The messages traditionally start about 6 weeks out, with catchy titles like, "Five Steps for Better Self-Examination," some discussing topics found in the Beautitudes, but many discussing faithful tithing practices (I'm looking at you, LCG) and making better use of the Sabbath day.

It's not a traditional Passover passage, but when I think of self-examination, I think of James:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perserveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
- James 2:22-25

While it's not true of all, the annual Days of Unleavened Bread ritual tends to turn us into that man James criticizes - one who looks into the mirror at his natural face - be it for an afternoon, a day, a week or a month - then forgets what he looks like the rest of the year. I literally had a COG member get in touch with me almost two years after she tore me down for my beliefs and kicked me out of her house. It was - you guessed it - right before Passover. Was she not "cleansed" by the previous Passover? Had she thought about her behavior at all during the previous 20 months? I'll never know, but by then, the damage was done. The relationship was strained, and we haven't talked since. This is why I, personally, believe the frequent Lord's Supper model is what the Bible intended. It encourages us to root out sin, mend relationships and consider our behavior frequently, not waiting a whole year to make changes and amends.

And while we're on the subject of James, let's look at the topics the book of James, and heck, 1 Corinthians 5, the COG-celebrated New Testament DUB passage, are concerned with regarding Christian behavior:

  • Quarreling
  • Following men/factions
  • Jealous and strife
  • Tolerating sexual immorality
  • Idolatry
  • Homosexuality
  • Doubting/faithlessness
  • Entertaining sinful desires
  • Filthy ideas and speech
  • Controlling your speech
  • Visiting widows and orphans
  • Showing partiality to the rich
  • Mercy
  • Helping brethren in need

I find two things striking about this list: 1 - very few of these concepts overlap with "the law," and 2 - none of these can be effectively changed in a period of days, weeks or months. even months. James is not talking about annual examination, he's talking about a day-by-day, committed, year-long (really, life-long) commitment. Anything less, and you're the man who's forgotten after looking into the mirror for a short time.


It's no secret that I believe keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread create serious problems for Christians. I believe the practice of mixing the wineskins can spiritually blind us with the veil Paul discusses in 2 Corinthians 3:13-15. Keeping it can puff us up with pride - the achieving the opposite of what the COGs each is intended. Remember, I did not leave "the church" as a rebellious teen after I moved out of my parent's house. I was not dragged to church with a well-meaning grandparent, nor I did not join half-heartedly when I got married. I was as committed as you. I had annual traditions with my family, Pinterest-worthy (ok, Pinterest-fail-worthy) unleavened treats and dutifully started my children on the same path; teaching them to dutifully clean out their toybox at age three. But I came to see that the DUB created more spiritual questions, confusion and emptiness that could only be answered in Jesus. I can fully relate with Paul when he wrote that "whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:7-8a).

Go ahead and eat your matzo if you must. In fact, eat an extra one with peanut butter for me. Those were my favorite. Anyway, keeping the DUB didn't disqualify the brethren in Corinth; so it stands to reason that it won't disqualify you either, done with proper faith in Christ. But take a moment - not on Sunday, if that's too much for you - to read the accounts of Jesus' resurrection, to read how it's regarded in the New Testament, and to contemplate what it means for you.

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The History Channel Flubs Easter

I came across something today that burns me up. I am livid! And I'm only going to share it here today because it needs to be pointed out for the garbage it is.

I do not personally care for alien conspiracy theories, so I don't watch the History Channel very often. Apparently they have one-minute video shorts online. Somebody brought one to my attention called "Easter in 60." Well, I watched it, and I haven't been so shocked and aghast in quite a long time. People look at me funny when I tell them that the History Channel is wrong or that certain things in certain encyclopedias are wrong. Well, don't give me that look, I'm telling you how it is.

Anyone who reads this blog will already know every one of the claims of this video. I will relate them to you here:
Nimrod married his mother Semiramis, as enemy killed him and chopped him up, all parts were found except his genitals, Nimrod became Baal, Semiramis became Ishtar, she descended from the moon in a giant egg called "Ishtar's Egg," their son Tammuz was killed by a wild boar, Ishtar ordered no meat to be eaten for 40 days called Lent, and rabbits were celebrated as Temmuz loved rabbits.
The irresponsibility of this! The infantile claims! The utter lack of responsible research! The complete disregard for accuracy! How insulting that this would be associated with the word "history!"


I was unable to find a single thing in that video that was correct. Not one thing! Let's subject this to the patented AsBereansDid fact-checker, shall we?

  • Nimrod married his mother Semiramis - FALSE! 
There no record whatsoever for Nimrod in any historical record known to man, besides the Bible. That doesn't make the Bible wrong, it just makes Nimrod difficult to locate. Nimrod has the feel of being a title rather than a proper name. For example, it could be a joining of the ancient Semitic word 'Nin' which means King, and the city Marad, which was an important city in Kish. Nin Marad, King of Marad, would be a title, not a name. There is no hard evidence for this. I am just giving an example of what a title might look like. Or, Nimrod might be a birth name forgotten to history of an otherwise famous person who went by a different name. for example, no one knows the birth name of Hammurabi. Or, the name might be the Hebrew equivalent of a foreign name. For example, Pharaoh Shihanq is changed to Shishak, and Nabû-kudurri-uṣur is changed to Nebuchadnezzar. Or, the name might be purposefully wrong. The Hebrews would slightly alter names on purpose to change the meaning of a name. For example, Antiochus Epiphanes (God's Beloved) was called Epimenes (The Mad) as a slight. The Hebrew scribes would also leave the consonants alone but change vowels in names to the vowels in negative words to express animosity for the name. This should come as no surprise to anyone, but the real identity of this person is sadly unknown. If we can't even find the real name then there is no way on earth we know so much exacting detail about him. Neither Nimrod's mother nor his wife were ever mentioned in the Bible. Yet we can be confident that it was not Semiramis. How? Because there are some possible candidates for a Semiramis in history, except they lived after the time of David and Solomon. This makes them all more than 1,000 years too late. Hard to be born by a woman who lived over 1,000 years after you died.

  • An enemy killed him and chopped him up - INCONCLUSIVE.
Again, there is simply no clear record of Nimrod outside of the Bible. The Bible doesn't say how he died. History might say how he died, but we don't know who in history he is. Therefore we cannot know. Herman Hoeh, historian to the Worldwide Church of God, a man about whom Herbert W Armstrong once wrote, "It is my personal opinion that he is today the most accurately informed historian in the world" (Plain Truth magazine, Aug. 1956, p.4), even disagrees with this. Herman Hoeh said Nimrod was killed in Italy by Shem. Yes, that Shem, Noah's son. Now, don't take our mention of Hoeh as some endorsement of his work. We think most of what 'the most accurately informed man in the world' wrote was just as useless as the video we now review. I just bring it up to point out that the official teaching of the Worldwide Church of God contradicts itself.

  • All parts were found except his genitals - FALSE!
Since we can't know how he died, we can't know if he was chopped up. But this one point here, the losing of his genitals, is a dead giveaway for something else entirely. Nimrod was entirely Babylonian, but this story isn't! The author of this video is so historically uneducated that they confused the legitimate myth of the Egyptian God Osiris with Nimrod of Mesopotamia. They are trying to take Egyptian images and apply them to Babylon. The reason Osiris was chopped up is because Osiris pictured the Nile river, which split up at its Delta. Nothing in the Bible or history shows Nimrod had anything to do with Egypt. Granted, this is something the Worldwide Church of God did all the time. They got it from the Seventh Day Adventists who got it from Alexander Hislop. Yes, there's the man. Alexander Hislop - the most notorious purveyor of rubbish we know. We have plenty of articles on Hislop, dear reader, and we recommend you to them. I will forego my usual rant about the lack of source material in these claims, since it's a video and all. But if it were a written work, and if it was one of the few with sources cited, I guarantee you the source material would trace straight back to this man Alexander Hislop.

  • Nimrod became Baal the sun god - FALSE!
Baal wasn't the sun god in Babylon, Shamash was. Baal is a generic name, that means something roughly the same as "lord." Baal wasn't even specifically a Babylonian god. Baal was a Canaanite god. Canaan was not in Mesopotamia. Canaan was roughly the same area as Israel, but Nimrod's territory was far to the east and a bit north. And there were many Baals.

  • Semiramis became Ishtar - FALSE!
Ishtar (also called Inana) predates Semiramis by thousands of years! Inana is one of the oldest goddesses there are. It is quite possible Inana predates the time of Nimrod. But Semiramis came much, much later. There is no way possible that Semiramis became Ishtar.

  • She descended from the moon in a giant egg called "Ishtar's Egg" - FALSE!
Oh my! Where do I begin with this one? Ishtar was associated with the planet Venus, not the moon. In some myths she is the daughter of the moon goddess, but she is not the moon goddess. She did not descend to the earth in an egg. Neither eggs nor rabbits were part of her symbolism. Ishtar was a goddess of sexual attraction, but not of fertility. Ishtar had no direct affiliation with fertility or reproduction. It would make little sense that eggs would be associated with her. Ishtar’s main symbols were an eight-pointed star (probably representing the planet Venus), a pair of lions, a rosette or flower pattern, doves, and snakes.

  • Their son Tammuz was killed by a wild boar - FALSE!
In the Babylonian myth of Tammuz/Damuzid, he was dragged to the underworld by demons from the netherworld to take the place of Ishtar so she could go free, not killed by a boar. This was the focus of an annual festival. There is no ambiguity here. The author confuses the Babylonian Tammuz with the Greek Adonis. It was Adonis who was killed by a boar, not Tammuz. But Adonis is from Greece, not Mesopotamia, and came far too late to have anything to do with anything. The earliest reference to Adonis is in the 600s BC. Tammuz was not the son of Ishtar at all. Only very rarely was Ishtar given a son. In some later myths, Ishtar was Tammuz's sister. Most of the time, Ishtar married Tammuz. Nor either was he a hunter as the video claimed. Tammuz was a shepherd and a gardener. Tammuz is associated with the crop cycle, and thus he had the usual myths about an annual descent into the netherworld and eventual release again.

  • Ishtar ordered no meat to be eaten for 40 days called Lent - FALSE!
Not only is this false because it is completely made up whole cloth, but Lent is a Latin word. The Babylonians wouldn't know what a Lent is. Let's be clear here, this claim is 100% made up for the purposes of smearing Lent. However, Lent comes from the Jewish tradition of the Fast of the Firstborn, and it took three centuries to become a 40-day thing. At first there were a variety of lengths of the fast. One part of the Quartodeciman Controversy was a debate about how to keep the fast. Point being, the beginning and ending of Lent was not set for quite a number of years. It did eventually become 40 days. However, to claim that it originated from a pagan 40-day fast is sheer and utter nonsense. As for the no meat thing, that's a ridiculous claim. And another thing, the Lenten fast was not just about having no meat. This is obvious since there can be no eggs eaten either - and hence the colored eggs which they just got done smearing two points ago. This video seems to be unable to keep its own false accusations straight.

  • Rabbits were celebrated as Tammuz loved rabbits - FALSE!
Rabbits were not a symbol associated with Tammuz. This claim is infuriatingly false. It has all the sophistication of a drive-by shooting. You can practically hear the author trying to figure out what to say about rabbits. No, the Easter Bunny is a German/French invention not a Babylonian one. The first known mention comes from Georg Franck von Frankenau in his writing “De Ovis Paschalibus” [“On Easter Eggs”] in 1682, some 4,000 years after the video's claim!! He said:
“In Alsace and the neighboring regions those eggs are called hare-eggs because of the myth that is told to make the simple-minded and children believe that the Easter Hare was laying and hiding them in the grass of the gardens, so the children search them even more eagerly, for the delectation of the smiling adults.”
Alsace is in France, but at the time was controlled by the Germans. Don't you think it's odd that the Easter Bunny supposedly comes from ancient Mesopotamia but the first known mention is 4,000 years later in northern Europe? And I just want to point out that if the Easter Bunny comes from Tammuz, then it can't come from Ishtar or Eostre/Ostara. Just sayin.

And that will about do it.


Strangely, I don't feel much better having gotten this all off my chest. I think the reason is because I know beyond any doubt that these lies will outlive me and for all the research and the writing we at ABD have done, I will never have made a dent in the zeal of the people who will stop at nothing to bash Easter. All the while telling us how very much they love truth and history.

Shame SHAME on the History Channel for allowing this garbage to be put out on their outlets. I notice several people jumping on them about it already. They deserve all of the negativity they will get over this. Stick to what you do best - stories on Bigfoot.

Even so, I pray that the truth is clear to you, dear reader, even if the lies are legion. And I pray now that you are armed with the truth you can go out and spread it confidently and effectively.

I would like to leave you with a link to help you find other material on this subject. Because we have so much material, I have started using the Easter FAQ article as my place holder for links. Please do read it, share it, and come back again to us soon.

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11

Saturday, March 17, 2018

My Opinion Is God's Truth

I recently had the pleasure of having a friend of mine tell me and everyone else how wrong we are and how right they are. I just want to pause and reflect on something that came up in the ongoing conversation.

It all started when Stephen Hawking, an atheist, died, and I mentioned a quick RIP and then in brief passing said that now Mr. Hawking knows the answer to the great question. I certainly wasn't intending to enter into a theological dissertation, nor was I intending to advocate one particular view of the afterlife over the other. I just wanted to make a brief statement that I personally believe God is. Very general. Moving on.

Alas. Not to be.

A friend of mine (let's call him friend #1) appeared and started off by telling me that I and most everyone else was wrong on a particular view of the afterlife. The claim was that the Bible didn't support such and such a position. A second friend (let's call him friend #2) proof-texted a verse which clearly contradicted friend #1, and in all honesty did serious damage to friend #1's claim. If the Bible didn't support such and such a thing, then there would be no support, yet there it was. Friend #1, now ego-bruised, resorted to rhetorical statements like "I'm not going down to your level" and "I stand approved before God" and unto us didst provide quotations as II TIM. 2: 15 from the King James Version, forsooth.

So, in summary, friend #1 comes in to enlighten us all with their superiority and clearly itching for a hot debate, but when one was swiftly provided, friend #1 took on the mantle of the victim here. Guy with a knife started a gun fight, and then cried about how unfairly he was treated. Lovely little narcissistic victim mentality display there. I just have to relate that here because so help me if I had a nickel for every time I've witnessed in my life someone who pulled this same stunt I would not ever want for nickels again in all my days.

But it's not rushing in unprepared that I am on about. It's the attitude of "my opinion is God's truth."

Does God have a truth? Let's all agree, at least for the sake of argument, that a being who IS truth does indeed have a truth on any number of subjects.

But is it true that our personal interpretation is what determines God's truth? No. Not at all.

Yet I run into people all the time who have the attitude of "you aren't disagreeing with me, you're disagreeing with God."

Here's a quote from friend #1:
"If you aren't in agreement with the scriptures, that's your right. I have not put forth anything that contradicts God's word. If you disagree, take it up with him, I didn't write the book. As the scripture says, I do not have to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that many of you have experienced this. It creeps up among any number of very strong opinions. I experience this all the time. But I want you to notice something - he can't or won't make his case, so now he is the guardian of the deposit of faith on earth, and any disagreement with him is a frontal assault on the Lord Almighty Himself.

What is this? It's posturing. It's a bluff. It's a retreat. It's rhetoric.
But worse than that, it's self righteous.

I see this kind of feint all the time. 
All. The. Time. 
When people have a very strong attachment to a pet idea but don't really know what to do about other people who disagree, I think they just don't know what else to do but bluff.
Perhaps they are victims of confirmation bias. Perhaps they honestly thought the force of their personality was all they really needed. Perhaps they legitimately don't know there are any good reasons to disagree with them. Perhaps they just don't know when to stop.

I once talked to a guy who was passionate about a point. After a short discussion, he doubled down and claimed that nothing should be praised but God only. I disagreed, and explained why, referencing Philippians 4: 8. His response was that his opinion is God's righteousness. You see, I disagree with that, too. I think his position is his own righteousness.
He thought his opinion is God's truth. The guy had passion, but so did the Pharisees.

And that's just what I'm on about. There's no humility in this. There's no love. Please excuse me for this quote, but I feel I must -

(I COR. 13: 8-12) 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Sometimes we really think we know something but we are mistaken. Sometimes the innocent are condemned. Sometimes the diagnosis is incorrect. Sometimes the best intentions pave the road to hell. Sometimes there is a thing that seems right to a man, the ends of which are death (PRO. 14: 12). Guess what - we are flawed. Me too. We "see in a mirror, dimly" so to speak. Do you want to know what is an affront on the throne of God? The affront is for any of us to puff ourselves up with pride as if we have no flaws. I have witnessed so very many people saying something like, "You're not arguing with me, you're arguing with the Bible."

Another quote from friend #1:
"If you have a problem with what the word declares us to be, don't get upset with me, I didn't write the book. You took this to the level it got to by disagreeing with God's word, not me. It's okay to disagree with everything I posted, you have that right. ... I am approved, ... take it up with him if you don't agree."
People, just because we sincerely believe a thing doesn't make it true. There is indeed a right way to interpret the word, and there are many wrong ways. There are people who deeply hold to each position. How do we tell the difference? Do we tell the difference by a contest of who can make the most boastful fiat declarations of their approval before God? Definitely no. By quoting II Timothy about how rightly we divide? Certainly not. Then why be a person like what we see in this quote? Has this person stated their case, and given a reason for their interpretation, and considered other positions and other evidence? No. They never defended their position at all. Friend #1 rushed right in, made a baseless assertion, met resistance, and finally all but declared himself God's own personal spokesperson. Is that reasonable? Is that wise?

No human being besides Jesus alone has the right to claim My opinion is God's truth (because Jesus is God). God resists the proud, but gives mercy to the humble. Nothing is ever so hard and inflexible as pride. You know what happens to things this hard? They shatter! When a person so filled with themselves finds out they aren't the be all and end all, do you know what happens? They break to pieces. So we need to all be humble, and loving. Even to those we deeply disagree with.

(MAT. 5: 43-47) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

I get it. I do. We all have something we believe in deeply and we want others to believe it too. None of us believe something we know is a lie. There's a good reason someone coined the phrase, "Genuine, but genuinely wrong." But I urge you, whomever you are, never to resort to the prideful and self-defeating attitude of "my opinion is God's truth" that we see on display above. If there is anything we here at AsBereansDid have learned it's that we, each and every one of us, really do need to ask, "What if I am the one who's wrong here?"

If you're not wrong, then you're not wrong. Behave with grace. The truth can take care of itself. Have a strong opinion; nothing wrong about that. Temper it with love. But! if you are wrong, how could you know it and correct yourself if you think the Lord God decides the truth based on what you believe at any given time?

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11