Spiritual Malpractice

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Medical malpractice occurs whenever a doctor fails to provide a patient with proper medical care.  This could involve, among other things, failing to give the proper information and treatment to a patient causing physical or psychological harm or even death.  Spiritual malpractice occurs whenever a person in a spiritual leadership position gives false or misleading information in the guidance of a human soul that leads to the destruction of that soul in eternity.  With that in mind, we can confidently affirm that all false teachers are guilty of spiritual malpractice.  False doctrine cannot save.  Only the truth saves.  “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim 3:15).  “Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4).  “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
There are many warnings in the Scriptures of false teachers and false doctrine.  Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15).  Paul warned the elders at Ephesus, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).  While Timothy was at Ephesus, Paul warned him in the following words, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising, Perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (I Tim. 6:3-6).  Paul actually did what he told Timothy to do, namely, withdrew from those who spoke against God, “Holding faith, and a good conscience: which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered to Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (I Tim. 1:19-20).  Peter also predicted, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves  swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (II Pet. 2:1-2).
The Warren Christian Apologetics Center is guilty of publishing and promoting false doctrine in the book by Nobie Stone, Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space (both the 2014 and the 2017-revised edition).  This book affirms, Theistic Evolution, mitigated skepticism (a form of agnosticism) and promotes false science (the inflation theory (now falsified) used in support of the Big Bang theory).  The book violates the law of rationality by affirming self-contradictory statements such as: “…because it is rarely, if ever, possible to hold any truth with absolute certainty” (p. 18).  This statement affirms an absolute.  If Stone believes it absolutely then he contradicts himself. It amounts to saying, “I know absolutely that you cannot know anything absolutely.”   The statement is irrational.  The false teaching in this book qualifies it as another act of spiritual malpractice.  A full review of the book by Nobie Stone is posted as a PDF under the book reviews page on this blog.

A Response to Matthew Sokoloski’s Review

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I have uploaded a response to Matthew Sokoloski’s review of Nobie Stone’s book, Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space.  Sokoloski teaches in the Humanities department of Faulkner University.  He wrote a book review of Nobie Stone’s book for Sufficient Evidence, a journal published by the Warren Christian Apologetics Center.  The review appeared in the Fall, 2017 issue.  Sokoloski’s review exposes one of the major weaknesses of Nobie Stone’s book (also published by the Warren Christian Apologetics Center) which is its skepticism (agnosticism).  However, Sokoloski fails to point out some of the other errors contained in the book.  You will find my response to Sokoloski’s review under my Book Reviews page on this blog.  Please take the time to read it.  Then, for more background information, please read my book reviews of both the first edition and revised edition of Nobie Stone’s book.  The publishing of Stone’s book utterly destroys the integrity of the Warren Christian Apologetics Center and brings shame and reproach on the name of Thomas B. Warren.

Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space (Revised)

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In January, 2017, the Warren Christian Apologetics Center published a revised edition of Nobie Stone’s work, Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space.  A review of the first edition of this work was published on this blog under Book Reviews in 2014 when the first edition was published.  Now, a thorough review of the new revised edition has been published on this blog under Book Reviews.  Simply click on Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space Revised and you will have access to the ten page review.
Nobie Stone is a theistic evolutionist and a mitigated skeptic who misinterprets Genesis 1 in an attempt to harmonize it with evolutionary chronology.  He makes many mistakes in logic, science and theology.  Many of these same mistakes were made in the first edition.  Now, they are repeated in the revised edition and many more errors are added.  Please take the time to read this review and, then, distribute it to others who may be interested in examining the faulty apologetics the book affirms.

The Gap Theory Refuted

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An excellent article appeared recently in Apologetics Press titled, “Is Gap Theory Linguistically Viable?” (December, 2015, vol. 35, no. 12). It was written by Justin Rogers who holds a Ph.D. in Hebraic, Judaic, and Cognate Studies from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.  Rogers clearly shows that the Gap Theory violates clear biblical teaching. This is remarkable in light of the fact that Nobie Stone allows for the Gap Theory in his book, Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space, p. 67.  Stone states, “The point here is that there is a grammatical break between the first sentence and the second, which begins with the word now.  It is such an obvious break that it has been suggested that the first sentence is not a sentence at all, but a title for the following material; although this has its own problems.  We simply ask the question, “What right do we have to impose any constraint on this clear break?” Is it continuous? Is there a gap? We truly do not know.”  Dr. Rogers is much more definite than Dr. Stone.
What is the Gap Theory?
The Gap Theory is an effort to harmonize Genesis 1:1-2 with the evolutionary concept of an Earth that is billions of years old.  The theory holds that there is a gap between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2 that would allow for billions of years of time to pass.  Proponents of the Gap Theory insist that “science” requires an Earth that is billions of years old.  Consequently, the Scriptures must be made to “fit” science.  Gap theorists then twist the Scriptures to make them fit their theory.  Obviously, to many Christians, this is backwards.  Scripture should take precedence over scientific theory (scientism is not a fact, but a philosophy).  Evolution is not a fact, but a theory based upon presuppositions that include a materialistic interpretation of origins.
What Are The Linguistic Arguments?
Rogers states the specific linguistic arguments that Gap theorists allege.  First, Gap theorists begin by affirming that the Hebrew term bara in Genesis 1 means “create” (from nothing) and asah  means “restore” (at a later time) (p. 135). Rogers comments, “By interpreting the Hebrew in this fashion, Gap theorists believe they can accommodate an Earth billions of years old without compromising the essential integrity of the Genesis account.  The bara state of Creation occurs first (Genesis 1:1), and, after centuries or even billions of years, the asah stage of Creation occurs (the “six days,” Genesis 1:2ff) (p. 135).  Rogers shows that this sharp distinction between these two Hebrew words does not hold up under further examination.  He affirms, “…these terms (along with eleven others-DS) are used interchangeably of God’s creative activity” (p. 136).  For instance, the term bara is used of the creation of man (Gen. 5:1 and 6:7) which, if Gap theorists were correct, only asah should have been used.  While these terms are often found in parallel constructions of God’s creative activity, they are not always synonymous terms (p. 136).
Second, Gap theorists make three arguments on the grammar of Gen. 1:2.  “They claim: (1) the Hebrew waw implies a gap in the narrative; (2) the verb form “was” (hay tah) signals a new beginning; and (3) the nouns tohu va-vohu imply a re-creation from a degraded, earlier Creation (pp. 137, 140).  Rogers answers each of these arguments.  First, when the waw is attached to a noun it is disjunctive and signals a shift in the narrative.  The disjunctive waw can simply provide background information to the story being related (e.g. Genesis 13:13), or explain what is happening simultaneous with the narrative, but elsewhere in location (e.g. Genesis 37:36, translated well as “meanwhile” in the ESV).  In these cases, the waw sets up a parenthetical remark which functions to explain the preceding information (p. 140).  Rogers addresses the second grammatical feature, the hay tah or “was.”  Gap theorists mistranslate this term insisting it means “became” or “had become.” Rogers acknowledges that this can be a possible meaning, but that the context determines the actual meaning.  In this context, the word “was” refers to the time when God began his work of creation.  It serves as a copula (a word that joins parts of one thought to another).  “Was does not mean that the earth remained in this shapeless state for a long time; nor does it mean that it became such after being something else earlier” (Reyburn and Fry, 1997, p. 30) (p. 140).  “This point is recognized by virtually every decent translation of the Hebrew text since the Septuagint (cf. the Latin Vulgate and the mountain of English translations)” (p. 140).
Rogers addresses the final grammatical consideration, the  Hebrew phrase, tohu va-vohu (“without form and void”-KJV).  Gap theorists affirm that these terms imply a depreciation of the original Creation. Rogers replies, “While the Gap theorists are correct to understand tohu va-vohu to mean a state of creation God did not regard as ideal, nothing in the Hebrew words themselves implies a depreciation of Creation. Rather, the expression conveys the amorphous nature of the Earth before God provided His creative structure to it” (p. 141).
Rogers concludes, “There is nothing in the Hebrew text of Genesis 1 to demand a gap of time” (p. 141).

The Danger of Theistic Evolution

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What is Theistic Evolution?  Theistic evolution is a system of thought that attempts to compromise the teaching of the Bible that God is the creator of all things with the materialistic worldview of organic evolution.  There are many variations of thought among theistic evolutionists. Consequently, there is little agreement among them regarding the actual events involved in the origin of the universe and the development of life.  When faced with the questions of when these things happened and how they happened the answers are often contradictory and full of speculation.
The Danger of Theistic Evolution.
John Otis in his book, Theistic Evolution, remarks, “One of the greatest dangers that the visible church faces today is the growing threat of theistic evolution.  Theistic Evolution is a “Pandora’s Theological Box” (Otis, Theistic Evolution, p. 287).  Why would Otis make a statement like this? Consider the following answers to this question.
First, Theistic Evolution is false because it adopts a faulty hermeneutic.  The infallible rule of interpretation is Scripture itself.  We often say, “Let Scripture interpret Scripture.”  A rule of hermeneutics is: “The words of the scripture text should be understood literally, unless there is some compelling reason to interpret figuratively.”  In regards to Genesis 1, we are faced with the decision to interpret literally and so historically or figuratively and metaphorically.  Dr. Don DeYoung has written a book titled, Thousands…Not Billions, that addresses the question of the age of the earth.  This book is a thorough review of the dating methods commonly used to date the age of the rocks and consequently of the earth.  The book reviews and summarizes the work of a team of seven scientists and one theologian all with earned doctorate degrees that make up a group called RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth). Dr. Steven Boyd is the Biblical Hebrew scholar that did an analysis of Genesis 1 to determine if it belonged to narrative literature or poetical literature.  The analysis involved the use of finite verbs.  The distribution of finite verbs in Hebrew narrative writing differs from that used in poetry.  Dr. Boyd made the following conclusions regarding Genesis 1:  (1)  Genesis 1:1-2:3 is determined to be narrative with a probability of one (an extraordinary level of confidence); (2) It is not statistically defensible to interpret Gen. 1:1-2:3 as poetry or metaphor; (3) since Gen. 1:1-2:3 is clearly narrative, it should be read as other Hebrew narratives are intended to be read.  That is, the creation account describes actual events which carry an unmistakable theological message; (4) when Gen. 1:1-2:3 is read as narrative, there is only one tenable view: God created everything during six literal days (p. 168-169). Most theistic evolutionists believe that Genesis 1 is figurative language and that the days of creation are not 24 hour periods of time (solar days), but may be interpreted as encompassing vast eons of time (billions of years).  Consequently, theistic evolutionists must violate the basic rule of hermeneutics stated above in order to reach the conclusions that they affirm.  In addition to this argument, there are other passages that are clearly historical that support a historical understanding of Genesis 1.  Let Scripture interpret Scripture!  Consider Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Another argument that must be considered is the Lord Jesus Christ’s own remarks regarding the beginning and placing the creation of the first man and woman at the beginning of time which cannot be harmonized with the evolutionary scheme regarding the age of the earth and the beginning of human life on the earth.  Jesus said, “…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.”  Jesus is referencing Gen. 2:24.  He places the creation of man at the beginning of time.  The veracity of the Lord is at stake and consequently His deity with regard to the age of the earth and the creation account given in Genesis 1.
Second, Theistic Evolution assaults the dignity and uniqueness of man.  Gen. 1:27.  Evolutionists teach that man evolved from lower life forms.  The Bible teaches that man was created by God “in his image” (Gen. 1:27).  Both cannot be true!  Paul declares, “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds” (I Cor. 15:39).  Man is not an animal.  Man possesses a soul that will never die.  Man is the crowning jewel of God’s creation.  The dignity and uniqueness of man has a connection to the humanity of Jesus Christ (Psa. 8:4-6; Heb. 2:6-11).  Evolutionary thought is an assault on the dignity of man and the dignity of the Lord who was made in likeness of men.
Third, Theistic Evolution undermines the Bible’s credibility.  Bible chronology cannot allow for billions of years for the age of the universe (14 billion years) and the age of the earth (4-5 billion years).  Bible chronology allows for an earth that is about 6,000 years old.  The genealogical records given in Matt. 1 and Luke 3 may be compared with the genealogical accounts given in the Old Testament.  These genealogies are important because they relate to the identification of the Messiah (Jesus Christ).  If they are not historically accurate, then a significant proof for the Messiahship of Jesus is lost.  Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam.  Jesus places the first male and female at the time of the beginning of all things (Matt. 19:4).  Some Theistic Evolutionists deny that Adam was a real person.  Some deny that Adam could have been 930 years old or that Methuselah could have been 969 years old.  They do this in order to compromise with evolutionary models of the age of the earth.  Scientism is used to interpret the Bible rather than the Bible being used to interpret the facts of science.  Scientism is a materialistic worldview that uses organic evolution to interpret origins and the age of the earth.  This view is false because it contradicts the Bible.
Theistic Evolution must be rejected because it introduces a “Pandora’s Theological Box.”  To deny the historical narrative of Genesis 1 is to deny the veracity of the Bible and the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Review of Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space

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I have recently posted a review of the book titled, Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space by Nobie Stone.  This book is published by the Warren Christian Apologetics Center, Vienna, WV under the direction of Charles Pugh III.  Pugh states regarding the work of Nobie Stone, “This promises to be a fascinating journey through the cosmos and the associated scientific and religious thought” (p. xi). The reader must judge for himself/herself whether or not this is true.  I found the book to be challenging to my faith because of the many logical, philosophical, scientific and theological errors it contains.
Nobie Stone is a theistic evolutionist.  He allows for the Gap Theory and affirms a modified form of the Day-Age Theory.  Guy N. Woods in Questions and Answers, vol. 1, p. 17 remarks concerning the Day-Age Theory: “The day-age theory is a consequence of the evolutionary theory.  But for that speculative view such a hypothesis would never have been advanced.  The theory itself is patently opposed to other affirmations of the sacred writings; why, then, should we concede that there is merit to its imaginations in this area? Conservative Geologists (E.G., George McReady Price), have long since shown, in the most convincing fashion, that the “onion-skin” hypothesis and the geologic time-time (sic) based thereon are fanciful and false; we ought not, therefore, to give credence to its suppositions in an area where it is obviously in conflict with inspiration.  It is not possible to force the Mosaic account of creation into conformity with the evolutionary hypothesis. Life, according to that theory began in the water; life, according to the Holy Spirit, began on the land! Which shall we believe?”  Woods makes it abundantly clear that the theory of evolution is not compatible with Scripture.  The contrast is between the fallible words of men and the infallible word of the living God.
Charles Pugh III indicates in the Publishers Afterward that the Warren Christian Apologetics Center is not a “cookie cutter” of the apologetics of Thomas Warren for whom the center is named.  This means that the apologetics of the center is not the “same as” the apologetics of Thomas Warren. What is the difference?  Pugh remarks, “The Center’s work includes the availability of venues whereby respected scholars from various disciplines, in some fashion supportive of the Christian worldview, are engaged for presentations that make contributions of varying degrees to the overall field of apologetics for Christian evidences.”  Pugh will present views in the field of Christian apologetics that are not necessarily true according to the Scriptures, but “in some fashion” support the Christian worldview.  I do not believe that Thomas Warren would have done this.  Thomas Warren wrote a book titled, On Church Cooperation and Orphan Homes.  In this work, Warren states that a Christian cannot support error.  Whenever an entity, religious or otherwise, supports error, then that entity is disqualified from receiving funds from New Testament churches or New Testament Christians.  Warren states, “Oh,” someone says, “but you said that a church might help someone who is not a member of the church.” Yes, I certainly did say that.  And I say it again.  But I never did say that a church could give to anyone or to any thing if such giving would enhance the spread of error” (p. 195).  The Warren Center under the direction of Charles Pugh III has published error without refutation and disseminated it worldwide via Amazon.com.  The Christian worldview is stated in the Scriptures.  Any doctrine that contradicts the Scriptures is not the Christian worldview.  Theistic evolution contradicts the Scriptures. Theistic evolution is not the Christian worldview.  Pugh includes a disclaimer about material that is published by the Warren Center on p. 158.  You can read it in my review.  This disclaimer is necessary for Nobie Stone’s work because of the many logical, scientific, philosophical, and theological fallacies it contains. The obvious contradiction between the stated mission of the Warren Center to uphold and defend the Christian worldview and the means (publishing materials that teach error without any refutation and disseminating such throughout the world) should be apparent to any rational person.  Every faithful gospel preacher is under a solemn apostolic charge (II Tim. 4:1-3) to oppose this type of  material and contradictory effort.

Was Jesus Married?

apologetics, Bible, faith No Comments

A recent internet article titled, “Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jesus” affirmed the notion that Jesus was married.  The article referenced an ancient papyrus scrap found in 2014 that referred to the wife of Jesus.  We will examine the evidence for this papyrus fragment
An article published in Biblical Archeology Review (BAR-May/June, 2015) by Harold Shank examined the evidence for the papyrus fragment that stated that Jesus had a wife.  Here are some of the findings and facts:
1. Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School (she currently holds the oldest endowed academic chair in the United States) drafted a lengthy manuscript on the little papyrus fragment, the size of a business card with eight incomplete lines on one side and six illegible lines on the reverse.  This fragment is referred to as”The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” and was given to King anonymously.  It is the only text from antiquity in which it is stated that Jesus has a wife.
2.  King was careful to say that the fragment supplied no reliable historical evidence that Jesus was married, but that some Christians depicted him as married.  King believed the fragment was dated in the fourth century, but was of a composition earlier in the second century.  However, the fragment, dated by Carbon-14 methods, was found to be an eighth century document.
3.  Since the fragment was received by King from an anonymous donor, there is no provenance (historical background) for it.
4.  At first, King submitted her analysis of the fragment to the Harvard Theological Review for publication.  It was accepted and scheduled for publication in January, 2013.  But, it was not published then.  Information about the fragment was also posted online where other Coptic (a form of late Egyptian) scholars could evaluate it.
5.  Leo Dupuydt, Copitc scholar at Brown University, examined it and declared it to be a forgery.  He said, “It stinks.”
6.  Francis Watson at the University of Durham also declared the fragment a forgery.  Other scholars seemed to think it was authentic.
7.  The Harvard Theological Review decided not to publish King’s analysis of the fragment.
8.  After more tests and other scholars weighing in on the controversy, HTR decided to go ahead and publish King’s findings in April, 2014.
9.  The Smithsonian Institution in Washington made a television program about “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” before January, 2013, but after HTR decided not to publish the findings from King, they decided not to air the program.  When HTR published King’s analysis of the fragment, the Smithsonian aired the television program.
10.  Within days of the publication of the new evidence and analysis in HTR, a bombshell dropped on the scholarly world.
11.  The anonymous donor of the fragment had given King another slightly larger fragment from the Gnostic Gospel of John.  It was also in Coptic as the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife fragment.
12.  Another scholar, Christian Askeland, an American Coptic scholar associated with Indiana Weslyan University, and who had recently completed a Ph. D. on the Gnostic Gospel of John knew of another Gospel of John fragment in Coptic called Codex Qau.  He compared it to the fragment of the Coptic Gospel of John that had been given to King.
13.  Askeland found that the text of the small fragment of CGJ replicated every other line from a leaf of the Codex Qau (discovered in 1923 and known to be authentic).  CGJ was a forgery of Codex Qau.
14.  The “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” fragment was written in the same hand and with the same writing instrument as the Coptic Gospel of John (CGJ) which was given anonymously to King.  The conclusion:  if one is a forgery, so is the other.
15.  The overall conclusion:  the fragment, “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is probably a forgery and since it is the only text from antiquity that states that Jesus’ had a wife, that notion is completely false.
16.  Karen King acknowledges that this evidence is weighty.
Many have attempted to prove that the Scriptures are unreliable.  None of the Gospels indicate that Jesus was married.  Here are a few facts about the reliability of the Scriptures.
1.  Fact:  archaeology has yielded more than 25,000 finds that either directly or indirectly relate to Scripture.
2.  Fact:  The historical existence of some 30 individuals named in the New Testament has been proven.  Jesus is one of those historical individuals.
3.  Fact:  The historical evidence of nearly 60 individuals from the Old Testament has been proven.  BAR lists 52 of these individuals.
4.  Fact:  Only a fraction of possible biblical sights have been excavated in the Holy Land.  There is much more information to be discovered.  (God-Breathed, Josh McDowell, pp. 158-159).

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