Lifting Up Their Faces…Surgically

April 16, 2015 Posted by Donna Vermillion

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Lifting Up Their Faces…Surgically

by Donna Vermillion

This article was originally published February 24th, 2012.
It is revised and republished as of April 16th, 2015.

 

An introductory note from Rich: The following article by my wife, Donna, is an outstanding confrontation of an issue that seems to be discussed too rarely these days. Namely, she addresses the difference between INNER beauty and OUTWARD beauty.

The Scriptures say it this way, in regards to women (and this also certainly applies to men): “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NKJV). What Donna points out here is that there are too many ungodly — but popular — televangelists these days running around trying to improve their OUTSIDE appearance via cosmetic surgery, while their souls are “full of greed and wickedness” (Luke 11:39, NKJV). Just as Jesus is more concerned about our INSIDE purity, so should these people be primarily focused on dealing with their own hearts ABOVE AND BEYOND their appearance. After all, one’s appearance will not help them one bit on the day of judgment, when the Lord will speak to “many” those terrifying words, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work lawlessness” (see Matthew 7:21-23). Yet, these people are ignoring the critical issues of their hearts while they focus on their external looks instead.

So Donna’s article here is about the NEED for these people to deal with the corruption found within their own hearts, the nature of which is known to others by their manifest “fruits” (see Matthew 7:15-20).

However, this article is NOT a denial of a person’s right to get a facelift if they want to—and Donna clearly states that fact. Moreover, she even suggests that it is a good idea for some people. 😉

Therefore, please do not get distracted with the outward issue miss the main point of her article.

And now on to Donna’s bold, but loving, article…


Woman marked for a face lift

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

(1 Peter 3:3-4, NKJV)

 

Is it just me or do Gloria Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Lindsay Roberts, and so on, look very different than they did many years ago? As a woman, I do notice these things. I am not talking about them looking older, but, rather, more…distorted.

When I first saw the “new” Gloria Copeland on the BVOV daily broadcast several years ago, I did think she looked very pretty, but I wondered about it. At the time, I was so duped by wolves that I actually did not know if she had really had plastic surgery or if her “faith” was just so strong that the years of confessing her youth being “renewed like the eagle’s” had finally manifested! I even remember saying that to someone.

Joyce Meyer? Well, I certainly agreed with her decision to “get a lift.” (The first time, anyway… I have no idea how many she has had to date, but her mouth is looking really abnormal to me now. Sometimes people need to know when to stop!)

How about Paula White? She was very pretty to begin with and, unlike Gloria and Joyce, was nowhere near the standard “face-lift age.”  If you scan through her photographs on her website, you will see that she doesn’t even look like the same person anymore. In an effort to get the “perfect” outer beauty, some might say she has actually ruined her appearance. So why in the world would she feel the need to do such a thing?

It is sad, really. In most cases, if not all, this “face lift fancy” among the female preachers (and even some male ones) seems to stem from O.C.V.—Obsessive Compulsive Vanity (yes, I made that up). Rather than just simply wanting to look nice, they display an obvious Hollywood-like obsession with being good-looking and sexy. Meanwhile, they come woefully short in true godly character. Thus, they are doing the opposite of my opening Scripture in 1 Peter. In that passage, Peter states that a Christian woman’s inner beauty of godliness should supersede any outward “adorning” to try to be more attractive.

Of course, I see no problem with a woman doing some things (in moderation) to improve her appearance, such as getting a laser peel or wrinkle-smoothing cream. Nevertheless, when she (or he, in some cases) takes so many trips to the plastic surgeon that she qualifies for a “made from recycled materials” stamp on her face, that is going too far—especially for a woman who claims to be a Christian.

In Paula White’s and Lindsay Roberts’ cases, I see a lot of pain and insecurity that they are seeking to relieve only through superficial means. I also see no evidence that they are genuinely born again. These two seem to be very disturbed women and clear examples of what Proverbs says that a woman should NOT be:

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.

(Proverbs 11:22, NKJV)

I do not believe everything that I see in the news, and you should not either. But several years ago when Paula was pictured in very promiscuous looking circumstances with Benny Hinn in Rome, Italy, exiting and entering a hotel and holding hands with him, it seemed pretty obvious what type of “business trip” they were on. (Click here for the Christian Post article concerning Strang Communications lawsuit against Benny Hinn in 2011, demanding he pay the publishing company back the majority of the $300,000 book advance that they had paid to him, due to his breaking of the “morality clause” of the publishing contract, i.e., for being in an inappropriate and seemingly romantic one with Paula White. See also this related article on the Florida-based news website, theledger.com.) Therefore, with so much evidence in the public domain for us to see, it is reasonable to conclude that ungodly behavior was being exhibited by both of them on that trip.

Similarly, Lindsay Roberts was caught in Tulsa, Oklahoma, doing “questionable activities,” which were so bad I do not even want to mention them. (Download this court documentbut ONLY if you can stomach the details).

There is certainly “no fear of God before their eyes” for these people to be acting this way (Romans 3:18). Yet, instead of dealing with their sin and heart issues, these women are more concerned about how they look externally. For some reason, such women seem to think that multiple cosmetic surgical procedures can overshadow their seemingly “pig-like” character.

For those people who are discerning—i.e. who read their Bibles, pray and judge accordingly—the lack of discretion of such ungodly women (who claim to be God’s representatives) should still be obvious. Their wicked “fruit” is evident, regardless of how far they “lift” their faces surgically.

What these women seem to not realize is that they are trying to achieve inner beauty by changing their outer appearance. According to the Bible (and good sense), that is impossible. An outward change may make a person feel good for a while, but the real problems are still there in their hearts. At the risk of sounding cliché, we need to get back to Proverbs chapter thirty-one’s description of a virtuous woman. This is what it says:

Who can find a virtuous wife [KJV, “woman”]? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

(Proverbs 31:10-12, NKJV)

I can guarantee you that a godly man would not want to marry the types of women that we are discussing in this article. Why? Because they have enough sense to know that their “hearts” would not be able to “safely trust” in such women if they were to become their wives. Verse thirty then says:

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

(Proverbs 31:30, NKJV)

As I said, there seems to be no fear of God in these woman’s lives. The Holy Spirit, through Peter, described where a woman’s beauty should come from, as it states in my opening Scripture. Please also notice that some of the other scriptures which I have quoted say that the inner beauty of a godly woman is very valuable (e.g., “…far above rubies…,” and “…very precious”). From an economic standpoint, what makes something valuable? The fact that it is rare is what makes it so precious, since common things are not typically worth much.

So the sum of the matter is this: “Narrow-way” women (Matt. 7:13-23) seem to be a minority in church circles today across America. Notice, I am not referring to the unsaved people outside the church—I’m talking about “church women,” particularly the ones who are in the pulpits and on television.

For any minister to lower himself to “dog” status by returning to his own “vomit” of sin (see Proverbs 26:11 and 2 Peter 2) is despicable, of course. We all know that sin is wrong for every person, regardless of their gender.

However, there is just something in every human being that says, “A woman just should not do that.” Even if all the men surrounding her have fallen, there is a standard of godliness that, for some reason, we all know that a woman should follow. When she does not walk with an exemplary moral standard, it is like “a gold ring in a pig’s snout” to behold. Nobody — not even an ungodly man — respects a whore.

So there seems to be an “unspoken” rule: If anyone in the family should take a stand for holiness and fidelity in the home, it should certainly be the “lady” of the house. (And I thank God that, in our house, my husband does, too.)

Just to clarify, let me say again that I am not against all face lifts categorically.

The point that I am expressing in this article is that — instead of ONLY outward face-lifting — there is an urgent need among the spiritually “piggish” women professing to be Christians, for them to lift up their faces to God in genuine repentance:

A Face Lift Nightmare

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

(Ephesians 5:5-6, NKJV, emphasis added)

There must be a stirring up of the fear of God in the hearts of women. There must be an emphasis on the eternal consequence of sinful behavior. There are some things in which even many unsaved people are too ashamed to participate (1 Corinthians 5:1). So it is particularly wrong when professing “Christians” do them like “pigs wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:18-22).

After all, one day everyone will die… face lift or not. Whether God’s judgment is welcomed or ignored really doesn’t matter—it is coming anyway. Moreover, judgment will begin in the Lord’s house:

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

(1 Peter 4:17-18, NKJV, emphasis added)

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all [even Christians] appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

(2 Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV, emphasis and bracketed note added)

This is true for EVERYBODY… even women preachers.

—Donna Vermillion

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True Doctrines ≠ Contradictions

March 28, 2015 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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T-does-not-equal-~T

True Doctrines ≠ Contradictions

 

How can we easily recognize true biblical doctrines? What is a simple way for us to see the errors that are always found within false teaching, so that we can more quickly reject them? The most powerful method is so fundamental and uncomplicated that many people overlook it.

Simply stated, pure Christian doctrine does not contain any contradictions. (Note: The “≠” symbol that I am using in this article means “does not equal.”) Whenever a given doctrine is contradictory, we can know that the doctrine in question is not accurately representing the mind of God on those subjects. Therefore, the easiest way to discern true biblical teaching from the traditions of men and doctrines of demons, is to check the teaching in question for contradictions.

I will now break this simple truth down for you in this article of mine, and thereby empower you to more easily discern truth from error.

God Does Not Self-Contradict

Professing Christians need to consider carefully the implications of the fact that God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2; etc.), and that He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). These characteristics of God mean that He is completely incapable of contradicting Himself.

After all, what is a lie? It is a contradiction against the truth. If we let “T” represent truth, then anything else is necessarily ~T (pronounced, “not-T”). Anything that is “not the truth” must necessarily be something other than the truth, for this is self-evident. Thus, the act of lying occurs whenever the liar asserts that a particular falsity (~T) is the truth (T). Stated symbolically, the liar is saying:

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~T = T

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Again, this is a contradiction. A lie cannot possibly be the same thing as the truth. The two are mutually exclusive of one another, which stated symbolically looks like this:

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~T ≠ T   and   T ≠ ~T

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So what is self-denial? In order for God to deny Himself, He would have to deny the truth about His Own Identity. So this means that He would have to lie, which He is unable to do. (Note: This characteristic of the Creator in no way contradicts the fact of His omnipotence. It does not take “power” in order to speak falsities, for that is the very language of devils. See John 8:44, and consider also my article, Of God, Rocks, and Infinity.) Consequently, it would be a contradiction for God to deny Himself also.

Therefore, one of the inherent characteristics of God is that He cannot self-contradict. Some key implications for this absolute truth are as follows:

(1) God and His Word are the same (see John 1) because His non-contradictory Word is an expression of His Own omniscient mind. Therefore, God’s Word (i.e., the contents of the Bible) never contradicts itself. That is one reason why Jesus said that God’s Word is “Truth” itself (John 17:17).

(2) Any doctrines pushed upon Christians that are not based upon God’s Word, must be examined in the light of God’s Word to see if the teachings in question contradict what God said about the same subjects. Please note that this is exactly what Paul told the Thessalonians to do:

Test all things; hold fast what is good.

(1 Thessalonians 5:21, NKJV)

(3) Any allegedly “Christian” doctrine that contradicts God’s Word is — by logical necessity — untrue (i.e., false). Thus, unbiblical doctrines are nothing more than lies. Their authors claim to represent the mind of God on certain matters, but instead they are contradicting Him. (Compare Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7; Colossians 2:22; and 1 Timothy 4:1, with 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5.)

With the above points in mind, we can easily understand that any doctrine that contains either internal contradictions (i.e., the proponent is contradicting themselves while explaining what they believe) or external contradictions (i.e., the person has not taken into account passages of Scripture that seem to refute their thesis), must be considered FALSE.

Stated another way: Since God cannot self-contradict, then any doctrine that alleges to represent His views on a given subject must not contain contradictions. Therefore, if any contradictions are found to be present therein, then the doctrine must be rejected as false.

Balancing Points

The points that I just made above are irrefutable. Stated another way, they are expressions of absolute truth. (Feel free to test them out and see that is the case.) Nevertheless, they have to be understood within the context of the sorts of things that we run into throughout our daily lives. So there are four balancing points that I need to make in order to put the above truths into their proper perspective:

  • It is sometimes the case that apparent contradictions are a matter of sloppy scholarship, which is typically resolvable through corrective study and sound instruction (e.g., see Ephesians 4:11-16). Paraphrasing what one Christian lawyer friend of mine remarked to me, “Going to law school ruined me with respect to my ability to read Christian books. In my legal studies, I learned how to dissect arguments and analyze things from all angles. However, most Christian books are so poorly argued that I cannot stand to read even the ones with which I wholeheartedly agree.” Stated another way, someone might be correct with respect to the doctrine that they assert as being true (e.g., the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, etc.), but then explain it so poorly that they contradict themselves and/or the Scripture and end up bringing reproach to a genuine Christian doctrine. So the mere fact that a doctrine is poorly argued is not proof that it is wrong. The person in question may simply be lacking in reasoning skills and/or somewhat ignorant.
  • It is also sometimes the case that apparent contradictions are really paradoxes. These are truths that seem contradictory on the surface until further examination reveals that this is not the case at all. Paradoxes are not contradictions, even though they seem that way initially. Generally, these are revealed to be non-contradictory due to differences of definitions of the terms being used or in the context of the statements. In ancient times, “the words of the wise and their riddles” (Proverbs 1:6) often contained paradoxes, intended to force the other person to think hard in order to solve the mental puzzle. Compare the two verses of Proverbs 26:4-5 for an an excellent example in the Bible of a paradox.
  • Because the two cases above exist, I have twice stated within the previous section that whenever contradictions seem to be present, then the doctrine in question must be rejected as false (i.e., considered to be false unless it is proven otherwise). However, this does not mean that the doctrine itself is fully false. Some people state true doctrine, but do so in a manner that is so poorly reasoned that it appears as if they are contradicting themselves. In other cases, the person is stating a paradox (although this is typically explained whenever a good teacher does so). Therefore, the rational choice is to reject ANY doctrine that seems contradictory (internally and/or externally) until any apparent contradictions can be resolved.
  • Nevertheless, it is often the case that the apparent contradictions are mutually exclusive (i.e., the ~T = T sorts of claims). Whenever this is the case, then any attempt to resolve the contradictions is futile. The doctrine is simply untrue, and thus, a lie. Reject it, run from it, and don’t look back!

Now, with these balancing points having been made, I can now explain how to use this information in your daily life. My focus here is with respect to discerning biblical doctrines as opposed to falsities. However, these same principles can be applied in other contexts at home, school, and work. If you will approach life with the simple understanding that contradictions cannot be true, then you will find that you are much less susceptible to deception in every sphere of your life, to include your understanding of the Bible.

Application

Regardless of who the teacher might be, all doctrines should be tested for truthfulness. This fact is particularly important when the instructor in question is your favorite minister (of times past or present). It is too easy to be lulled into accepting anything they say without critical reflection, and that would be a mistake because NOBODY is omniscient (i.e., we are all subject to error, because none of is is all-knowing). Yes, this principle applies to any and all people exposed to the teaching of Rev. Rich and Donna Vermillion too, whether in writing, live ministry, or on some form of media (e.g., Rich’s FREE audio MP3 series, The Fundamentals of the Real Gospel).

The easiest way to test the veracity (truthfulness) of a given doctrine is to check it for contractions like the Bereans were attempting to do when they heard Paul speak:

Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

(Acts 17:10-12, NKJV)

If none can be found after testing what was said (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and the doctrine is found to be squarely founded upon God’s Word, then it should be trusted (believed). :)

On the other hand, if apparent contradictions are present, it should be rejected until these are resolved. In other words, “sit it on the shelf” until there is a good reason to either throw it away or accept it.

However, if the contradictions are fundamental (i.e., the ~T = T types), then it should be permanently rejected. There is no sense wasting your time entertaining utter nonsense.

It is that simple, folks. If a teacher is contradicting themselves or the Bible, those points should be rejected. If they do this in a heretical way (i.e., they are in error with respect to major points of doctrine), or they do this continuously (i.e., they are sloppy in both their thinking and resulting teaching), then the individual should be avoided entirely.

Therefore, if you can grasp the concept of the Law of Non-Contradiction (a fundamental law of thought, which I have just explained briefly), then you can avoid false doctrines and teachers by applying this principle of analysis consistently. In fact, let me note also that it is particularly important to do this whenever people are teaching you what you really want to hear:

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber….

For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

(2 Peter 2:1-3, 18-22, NKJV)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

(2 Timothy 3:16-4:4, NKJV)

Whenever the “ear tickling preachers” are on the scene trying to sell their doctrines, you had better be a person who loves truth more than “fables.” If you are such a person, then you will be able to check out the doctrine using the method that I have just explained within this article. To further develop your skills for applying this principle, however, let me also recommend to you my complimentary article, Four Characteristics of Sound Doctrine. The principles you will read about in that article will perfectly match what I have written here (i.e., there are no contradictions  😉 ), but it will elaborate on related points even further. You may want to consider studying my Critical Thinking Exercise 1: Did Jesus Keep The Law? too, because it contains additional teaching on logic and fallacies.

I also recommend that you take the “maturity tests” found in my article, Are You a Mature Christian? (Take the Tests and Find Out!). It will help you verify your maturity level once you feel that you have your analytical skills sharpened.

Additional Notes

It is very probably that some of those reading this article are not Bible-believing Christians. So before I close, let me add a few points to two classes of people: Non-Christians, and those who profess to be Christians but who deny the Bible’s exclusive authority as the source of our doctrines:

To Non-Christians: I wrote this ponder point with Christians in mind. Therefore, I have not addressed the “circular reasoning argument” as to whether the Bible is actually the Word of God. I will note here only that this can be easily done with multiple transcendental arguments that demonstrate the warranted nature of such belief. However, I did not have time or space for doing that here. I am simply acknowledging (for your sake) that I am aware of the “circular reasoning” complaint, and noting that it does not apply to this Ponder Point because it was not my intent herein to prove that the Bible is God’s Word to Christians who already accept that idea as Truth.

To Non-Bible Believing Professing Christians: If you claim to be a Christian, but yet believe that you can base your theology on things other than the Bible, then you are self-contradicted. The term “Christian” is defined both historically and biblically as a follower of Christ. Jesus Christ explicitly stated that only those who live by God’s Word are His disciples:

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

(John 8:31-32, NKJV)

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”

(Luke 6:46, NKJV)

(In addition to these two quotes, please also compare also Matthew 7:13-23; John 15:1-8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter chapter 1, etc.).

So to summarize my point: When one claims to be a Christian, they are claiming to be a follower of Christ. However, Christ defined His “followers” (i.e., Christians, disciples, etc.) as being those who live their lives according to His Word. Therefore, for a person to claim to be a Christian while denouncing (or ignoring) His Word (the Bible) with respect to their lives, behavior, and doctrine, is to live one’s life in a perpetual self-contradiction. By logical necessity, such person is self-refuted — and lying to themselves and others. (Please review John 8:44 and 1 John chapter 3 in this light.)

To both parties above: Let me please also recommend my personal testimony and Gospel-presentation article, The Supreme Value of Righteousness. It is my hope that you will discover therein some things that will help you. :)

Closing Remarks

I do hope that this article has opened up your thinking with respect to how to discern the quality of the teaching that you hear. By simply looking for contradictions (if any are present), you can discern which points are valid, and which should be rejected.

Likewise, those of us who are TEACHING OTHERS (i.e., ministers and lay teachers) need to ensure that we have solid doctrine, and are using rational arguments within our instruction. This should have been an obvious “elephant in the room” point throughout this article, but I wanted to make it explicit. Only those people who are truly truly studying and laboring to ensure that they have correct doctrine (i.e., using logical exegesis to examine Scripture), have any business teaching anything to anybody:

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also…. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

(2 Timothy 2:1-2, 15-16, NKJV)

For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

(Titus 1:7-11, NKJV)

Of course, NOBODY is perfect in their understanding or how they express themselves. (After all, that would make a person omniscient, and only God Himself has that attribute.) Therefore, let me close by advising you to be gracious toward others in how you apply the principles that I have explained herein. Since we all can make mistakes, it is best to treat the contradictions of others with grace, whenever that is possible:

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

(Matthew 7:12, NKJV)

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

(James 3:13-17, NKJV)

If we wish people to be gracious with us whenever we make a mistake, we need to do the same with them too. :-)

Of course, there are times wherein the errors are not small, and the stakes are high. As noted within my two articles “Judging”: Hypocritical vs. Biblical and Casting Boomerang Stones, there are times wherein we need to get into people’s faces with the truth. Nevertheless, most people are not trying to be heretics or to deceive us. So as our daily habit, we can discern the veracity (truthfulness) of people’s statements and points without being harsh in our responses. Yes, we can and should be blunt (as I often am at times), because otherwise we may be misunderstood.

Nevertheless, whenever possible, we should all try to be tactful in most situations as best as we can while still being truthful ourselves. (And yes, I do admit that sometimes I fall short in this regard, so I am preaching to myself here too. 😉 )

We have more articles are on the horizon, as well as some new books. So consider joining our email list using the box near the top of the right column of this page (you can unsubscribe at any time). You can also find our new ministry page on Facebook at Facebook.com/revrichvermillion.

Now let me close with my favorite benediction of the Bible:

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

– Rich Vermillion

Merry Christmas from the Vermillions!

December 16, 2014 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Merry Christmas from the Vermillions!

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Christmas reflects the CrossIn the year of 2014, we have been very light on new content for this website. This has mainly been due to our very busy schedules and other projects, which have been quite time consuming.

Nevertheless, we did not want to miss the opportunity to wish our website readers a very Merry Christmas, and to remind everyone that the season is about Jesus Christ, the Messiah!  😀 

A Savior was born! And it is this fact that we celebrate at this time of year, although family festivities and gift-giving are certainly a wonderful parts of this season.

So let’s all keep Christmas Christ-centered, even as we enjoy the fellowship of our family and friends.

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The Real Christmas Story

Let me note for the benefit of our readers that Jesus was not born on December 25th. More than likely, He was born sometime in the month of September when the shepherds would still be in the fields at night with their flocks. (It was too cold to do that in December.)

However, Dr. Carl Baugh has published an article containing some research performed by a cosmologist on this issue that is very interesting. (I will give you the link to that in just a moment.) Therein, he makes a good case that the wise men (which the Bible never numbers, so it was likely more than three people) may have arrived at Joseph’s house on December 25th the following year after Jesus’ birth:

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way….

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

(Matthew 2:1-12, 16, NKJV, emphasis added)

Please notice from the above passage that Jesus was a “young child” and not a baby, by the time the wise men showed up. Herod had determined that Jesus was between one to two years of age, and thus, he had all the children under two killed in an effort to extinguish the life of the Messiah. Please also notice that it was a “house” at which they arrived, for by that time Joseph had obviously been able to secure better arrangements for his wife and her new virgin-born son.

(By the way, Joseph and Mary had children together after this the natural way that husbands and wives do. Compare Matthew 1:25; 13:55-56; and Mark 6:3. So Mary was not a virgin for very long after she gave birth to the Messiah, for this was not the only child that she had, and the others were fathered by Joseph.)

Click here for the link that will take you to Dr. Carl Baugh’s article that I mentioned above. Therein, you will see some fascinating facts about the timing of the Bethlehem Star. You will also discover toward the end that Jesus was NOT born in a barn or stable, as people mistakenly think due to nativity scenes and other traditional imagery. No, Jesus was born exactly where it was prophesied in the Scriptures that He would be born: The “tower of the flock” outside of Bethlehem, where all of the sacrificial lambs used in the Temple in Jerusalem were born. Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), was born where the Levites inspected lambs for Temple sacrifice. So the Christmas story is even more wonderful than what is commonly portrayed in even the most sincere manger scenes.

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Is Christmas Really Christian?

Let me note in closing that I know that there are people who take the view that Christmas is actually a pagan holiday. I have heard the arguments thereof, and have researched the matter sufficiently in the Bible. In so doing, we have determined that their case is very weak. The passages to which they refer with respect to Christmas trees are actually describing the making of idols out of wood and covering them with gold or silver, not the decoration of a tree in the manner which many do at Christmas time.

In our home, therefore, we see and teach the following biblical symbolism in the Christmas tree:

  • The tree itself represents the “tree” (cross) upon which Jesus would die for our sins (Galatians 3:13).
  • We use an “evergreen” tree to represent everlasting life, which Jesus alone can provide humanity (John 3:16; 14:6).
  • The lights on the tree represent the fact that Jesus Christ is the light that God the Father sent into the world (John 1:9 & 3:19), but also that through Him, we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). We are to shine in the darkness with the light of God’s Word! (Psalm 119:105 & 130; Isaiah 8:20)
  • The star on top (if that is the topper that is chosen) represents the Bethlehem Star that guided wise men to where the young child was staying.
  • The angel on top (if that is the topper that is chosen) represents Gabriel, announcing the birth ahead of time to Mary, and then later to the shepherds in the field after the child was born (Luke chapters 1-2).
  • The ornaments on the tree represent the adornments of salvation, the fruit of the spirit, solid character, and faith, which all Christians should  demonstrate within their lives (Isaiah 61:10; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Peter 3:3-4, etc).
  • The gifts under the tree represent first of all the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, and the Salvation He brings (John 3:16). However, they also represent the Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), the ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11-16), and the many gifts of God’s grace that He bestows upon us throughout our lives, as we live and walk with Him (Romans 8:32; 2 Peter 1:2-4).
  • & Etc. :-)

In short, there is NOTHING inherently idolatrous about a Christmas tree (although we have banned the song “Oh Christmas Tree” from our house since people are actually singing to the thing). While others may have a different viewpoint, this is the approach that we have taken in our own home based upon our research of the subject through the years.

That said, one cannot do anything that violates their personal faith without sinning (Romans 14:23). So if you have a different view and cannot celebrate Christmas in the same manner that we do, please do not try. However, please follow my example here by not condemning others for not holding the same views that you do. If you cannot celebrate Christmas in faith because you consider it a pagan holiday, then please do not do so. We do not consider it to be pagan at all, however, so we can celebrate it in faith. To each, his or her own, as even Paul explained:

Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

(Romans 14:22-23, NKJV)

So to avoid contention, I will not approve comments that are critical of this post, since our intention is to wish everyone cheer and God’s blessing at this time of year. Thank you for understanding.

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The Key to a Merry Christmas is JESUS!

If you do not have family or are alienated from them, then cozy up to the Lord just the two of you, and spend time in prayer and His Word. You will find He is very much interested in spending time with His children when they express genuine faith in Him:

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

(John 14:23, NKJV)

And frankly, there is NO BETTER COMPANY that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! 😀

So we wish you all the best this time of year, regardless of what your individual circumstances might be. Put your faith in Jesus, and focus on Him this time of year, and you will have a blessed holiday season. Of course, the key to doing this is to KNOW Jesus Christ personally. So let me please share three points on this subject with you before closing:

  1. If you do not know Jesus, then please take the time to read my testimony article The Supreme Value of Righteousness.
  2. You can also download my FREE audio teaching entitled The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel.
  3. You can also find many answers to many questions at NeedHim.org.

Obviously, a person needs to know the Savior in order to truly understand and enjoy Christmas, for it was for our salvation that He came. So please seek Him right away if you are not already in close fellowship with God through His Son, Jesus. :-)

Now, once again, from the Vermillion household, Donna and I would like to wish all of our readers a VERY Merry Christmas season! 😀

Please stay safe during any traveling you may be doing, and please keep your eyes on Jesus to celebrate Him this time of year.

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

Rich & Donna Vermillion

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Critical Thinking Exercise 1: Did Jesus Keep the Law?

June 16, 2014 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Critical Thinking Exercise #1: Did Jesus Keep the Law?

 

One of the very key things that I am called to do as a minister is to encourage people to develop sound critical thinking skills. When I taught as a professor at a Bible school, I always attempted to inspire reflection and analysis among my students by encouraging them to think about the content of the course. Most theological schools merely “indoctrinate” their students, and critical thinking is too often highly discouraged. However, it has always been my goal to “educate” people instead. The latter can only be achieved if people are given the tools to think correctly (logically), and entrusted with the ability to use their God-given brains as they try to reach sound conclusions.

Yes, people will make mistakes, but that is also how we learn. Moreover, if a professor/teacher is secure in his or her own ability to discern and explain truth, then they should be willing to let people make the effort and then give sound critique to get them on-track if they miss the mark. We should teach students how to think first, and provide them a framework of understanding core doctrines of the faith at the same time.  Then we need to allow them to put those same doctrines to “the test” by analysis.

General Theory of Discernment-Small

This chart illustrates a correct reasoning process wherein true premises combine with logical analysis, in order to focus upon a true conclusion. This can then be put into action or expressed with correct words in the form of rational arguments. Click on the image to enlarge the chart.

Within my FREE audio series, The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel, I called this the “lab” (short for “laboratory”) part of the education process. Using a chemistry or physics class as a metaphor, I liken the Bible instruction portion of the education process to the textbook reading and lectures. However, the concepts don’t become “real” to a person unless they can then see the dynamics involved with their own eyes. Hence, there is a “lab” class in which they get to “test” the theories they learned in the main classroom. There is something about actually working with the experiments that makes abstract concepts come alive to the mind, as we understand how they apply in the real world. Likewise, if a given doctrine is truly correct (i.e., both biblical and logical) then the “lab” of good analysis will verify that fact. However, if the doctrine is false, then when it is “put to the test” it will fall apart as the inconsistencies and contradictions are exposed.

With these points in mind, I would like to do something different with this article than I have within my previous ones…

Normally, I take a subject that I have on my heart and write an article. I lay out my case as logically and methodically as I can from the Scriptures, and attempt to provide analogies to make the teaching more comprehensible (much like Jesus used “parables” to do the same).

Once I post the article, however, it is not uncommon that someone will come along and challenge me on a point or two. When they do, I typically respond to them and dissect their arguments (like a good professor should) in order to demonstrate where their reasoning is in error (if, in fact, it is in error). Some appreciate this, and others do not. Of course, the Bible told us that is the way it would be:

Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

(Proverbs 9:8, NKJV)

For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life…

(Proverbs 6:23, NKJV)

So not everybody appreciates the correction, but nonetheless, it is the way people are supposed to grow intellectually and learn. Another way that people learn is to “do” something concrete with the instruction that they have already been given, as I noted above with my “lab” analogy. So what I would like to do is to combine these two concepts, and that brings me to my idea.

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My Experiment

I would like to do my OWN experiment here. Instead of answering a particular comment directly myself, what I would like to do is allow my readers to examine the comment and to dissect it to see if they can pick out the errors. Then I would like my readers to post their own comments underneath this article with their analysis, and I will affirm those points that are correct and coach them where they fell short, in order to sharpen their discernment and reasoning skills.

So to use another analogy, picture a classroom setting. One of the “students” (in this case, a reader of this website) has just stood up and presented a thesis that challenges something that I as the “professor”(in this case, the author of the article in question) have presented to the “class” (i.e., all my other readers). So turning to my class, I am asking, “Okay, he has presented his case. Is he correct? Is he wrong? In what way or ways is he wrong? Critique his thesis using sound reasoning, and be sure to justify your own answers accordingly.”

If this little experiment of mine works well, then I may do this more often from here on out. As I write articles, and people come to challenge me on points, I may take some particularly ideal comment and set it apart in an article like this for group analysis. (Not all comments are as well suited for this as the one I will present below, so I will only be able to do this as I have comments that are useful for the purpose.)

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Supporting Analysis Is Provided

Of course, I will not leave my readers without some helpful instruction. What I will do is post the comment in question below, and then give you a few hints at what problems are in there that I have already identified. Then you can choose the category (or categories) that you want to study and analyze, and select the points underneath which you wish to address. Then write your comment at the bottom of this page in order to break down the problem AND to give the correct answer from the Scriptures. You can choose as many or as few points to discuss as you like and as your schedule permits.

What I will do on my end is to leave all the comments in the moderation queue for a few days (maybe a week or more) so that I can let them build up. I want to give you all a chance to respond to the parts  that you want to address without someone taking your topic first and/or influencing your answer. When I am ready to pop them out of the queue, I will respond to each post (very kindly) and affirm the good arguments/points, while providing a proper critique of the parts that are not quite correct. Hopefully, we can work together to help this person understand why his comment is in error.

(Of course, the person who posted the comment could themselves re-examine their original statements in the light of my “hints” about the problems therewith, and post their own corrections.)

The entire exercise should hopefully prove to be a great way for my readers to learn more about biblical exegesis and logical analysis. It is my hope that this will encourage a greater quality of critical and biblical thinking, while enabling me to take on more of a “coaching” role whenever the time comes to address another sincere (but erroneous) comment in the future. Again, my goal is to “educate” people. Part of that entails encouraging critical thinking and logical analysis. Thus, I hope that this “lab” time will help you all to attain greater skill in these areas.

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The Rules

Of course, I have to put a few control mechanisms in place in order to ensure the discussion stays objective and polite. I want to encourage academic-style discussion to the greatest degree possible. I do NOT want to merely encourage people to post unsubstantiated opinions on my page, or to abuse the person who has just inadvertently “volunteered” for this exercise by posing a public comment on one of my articles. So to be clear: I don’t want your “opinions.” I want your thoughtful analysis and resulting conclusions. (Yes, there is a difference.)

So here are the basic rules:

  • No baseless name-calling. In logic, this is called the “ad hominem” fallacy. This is a Latin term that literally means, “at the man.” Whenever a person lacks good reasoning skills or have nothing by which to substantiate their thesis, they often resort to verbal abuse as a defense method. This is nothing less than a school-yard bully type of tactic in debates. Unless the statements/labels being used are relevant AND substantiated with fact (e.g., calling a proven heretic a “heretic” is perfectly legitimate), then we are dealing with an “ad hominem” fallacy. Such comments will either be edited (i.e., if they contain other useful commentary) or deleted entirely (if they do not).
  • State facts, not opinions. In order to “make your case,” you need to address specifics with the person’s comment, or expound upon a Bible passage, or identify a relevant point of logic or something else of substance. While statements like, “I don’t like that” or “I think it should not be that way” may be honest expressions of your opinion, they are also not logical “arguments” in the true sense of the word. Stick with the facts, and make your case. Please keep emotions and mere opinion out of it as much as possible.
  • Be respectful. While you may not agree with the commentator (or me), be respectful in how you address the other person’s view and argument. You may not respect their particular view (i.e., in the sense of agreeing with it), but you can still be respectful toward the person. Again, hostile or disrespectful comments will be either edited or deleted.

So with these basic rules in mind, let me now present to you the comment that we will all study together and analyze. I will thereafter provide some helpful “hints” as to what problems I have already identified therein (in several categories). It is then up to you to take it from there and make your case about any point that you wish to address (including any points that I do not identify explicitly because I have not stated all of them that I see, nor do I necessarily see all of the problems that are within the comment; I am certainly not omniscient).

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The Comment

The following comment was posted by a very sincere person by the name of Loddie Resnick. This brother was NOT hostile, so we must give him due respect as we reply to his comment. However, he is quite incorrect on a number of points, so I think it will be a good exercise for my readers to reach out in an effort to help this person see where his reasoning is not as scriptural as it could (and should) be.

This comment was posted underneath my recent article Casting “Boomerang Stones.” (Since his comment addressed a secondary point of that article, it would take that page way off topic if I replied to him there; thus, this is another reason why I have relocated his comment here so that we can discuss it without detracting from that other article.)

So before replying to what he wrote, you will certainly need to first read that article. This is necessary in order to understand the subject of what Loddie is discussing. In the mean time, here is what he wrote:

Rich,

You state “One of the things that qualified Jesus Christ to be our Savior is the fact that He NEVER sinned! He was the sinless “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Thus, in order to KEEP the law (which Jesus had to do in order to be “sinless,” and He Himself said He came to “fulfill” it in every way), then Jesus would have had to AGREE with the Law—but only if it was being properly applied.” Nowhere in the 4 Gospels does Jesus ever claim that he came to “keep” the Law of Moses. The using of Matthew 5:17-18 to justify your belief that Jesus was testifying to his keeping the law “perfectly” in order to be sinless is just plain bogus. Jesus himself contradicts your understanding of what he meant by fulfilling the law.

Read the account of the two men on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. Verse 27 states, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Then later in the chapter Jesus appears to his disciples back in Jerusalem and verse 44 states “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’” The Law of Moses, in types and shadows, and the Prophets and psalms all pointed to Christ as the coming Messiah who would save mankind from their sins. Jesus was asserting, thus promising, he was going to fulfill all those things declared of him in the law and prophets. For you to twist Christ words in Matthew 5 to mean that he came to “keep” all the Law of Moses perfectly contradicts Jesus himself and calls into question your whole hypothesis about the boomerang words. You cannot start out contradicting Christ and somehow believe you will end up with the truth.

One enjoinder of Christ often repeated was to “follow me.” If Christ was in fact keeping the Law of Moses then we are obligated to “keep” that Law also or we would not be following him or way he lived his life in the Gospels. Do you really believe true born again Christian are obligated to “keep” the Law of Moses in order to follow Christ and live as he did? Seems to me one would have to believe that if they truly believed Christ was “keeping” the Law of Moses. Otherwise they would not be truly following Christ.

Gal 5:18 “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Is not someone under the law obligated to “keep” the law? Yet keeping the law would be counter to walking in the Spirit. If Jesus was “keeping” the law was he then not being led of the Spirit? Of course Jesus was led of the Spirit thus he was not under the law and therefore, not “keeping” the law. He manifested the life of his Heavenly Father that dwelt within and thus was never under law or “keeping” the Law of Moses. This is exactly how we live our lives by following the example of Christ in being led by the spirit and not under law. The Apostle Paul puts that whole argument to rest.

“But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:8-11) Just how does a true born again Christian use the law lawfully (correctly, properly)? They use it correctly in revealing Christ to sinners and their need of him for salvation. They misuse it when they attempt to “keep” it or try to impose it on others as a necessary part of salvation. Paul is emphatic that the law was not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and ungodly. Why would Christ, our righteousness, have to submit to and “keep” the Law of Moses since it was not made for a righteous person? Makes no sense that Christ had to “keep” the law “in order to be “sinless,” (your words, Rich) if he was already sinless and righteous before his Heavenly Father.

Rich, you contend Jesus would have insisted upon Law of Moses being obeyed by supporting the stoning the two caught in adultery, had the man been brought to Christ along with the woman. Your argument is based on the belief that Christ had to “keep” Law of Moses perfectly. Nowhere in the Law of Moses does it allow for the mitigation of stoning adulterers even if they are contrite and repentant of their sin because the Law of Moses was the ministration of death (2 Corinth 3:7) not life. If what you contend was true then the words of Christ from Luke 9:56 “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” would be disingenuous at best to the ordinary Jew in those times but more so the words of a hypocrite and deceiver.

Rich, you really need to go back and rethink what you have written here and ask the Lord for clarification and correction.

Your brother in Christ

This is a well-written comment, indeed. Most of the ones that challenge me are not this well stated, well formatted, or grammatically correct.

However, there are a number of biblical and logical errors within this sincere brother’s comment. Let me point out a few of them here, and then let me challenge my own readers to explain WHY these are problems and what the correct biblical exegesis is that will get him on track.

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Points to Note

The problems that I have already identified with what he wrote above fall into three categories: His use of fallacies, self-contradictions, and statements of error. Let me explain (in general) what I see herein:

Use of Fallacies:

The first thing to note is that there are at least four fallacies that he has used within this comment. “Fallacy” is a word that is defined simply as error in reasoning. More specifically, these are “informal fallacies” that he used because they do not pertain to the formal structure of his argument, but rather to his ability to “form” and then “target” his argument at all. These are:

(Click the image to enlarge the view.)

The “puzzle piece” in this chart illustrates how illogical (irrational) thinking can incorrectly “process” even true premises and still reach a false conclusion. This then results in wrong actions and incorrect (illogical) arguments. Click on the image to enlarge the chart.

  • The “Straw Man” Fallacy: Whether due to misreading my arguments to which he addressed within his commentary, or due to an unclear explanation on my part, or due to his own faulty thinking, etc., the position that he thinks that he is attacking is not real. It is a figment of his imagination. In short, what he thinks that I was arguing, is not what I was arguing. So like fighting a “straw man” rather than a real one, his entire thesis is pointed toward an illusion instead of what I really said. (Note: You can study about the “straw man” fallacy by clicking here.)
  • The Fallacy of Bifurcation: This fallacy occurs when a person wrongly thinks things are “either this or that.” In other words, they think that the answer is one of two “mutually exclusive” choices (and, of course, they think theirs is the “correct” choice) when, in reality, there may be three or more choices. It is like a person who thinks everything is either “black or white” when in the world around us, there are colors like red, green, blue, yellow, orange, and even “banana cream.” (Many years ago I worked in the paint department of a major home improvement retailer, and some of the names of paint colors made me hungry! LOL!) In particular, Loddie thinks that what I said, and what he proposes, are mutually exclusive positions. However, what I really said (i.e., not his “straw man” argument) is perfectly congruent with the passage he mentioned from Luke chapter 24. (Those of you who have listened to my FREE audio teaching series, The Fundamentals of the REAL Gospel, know that I spent considerable time teaching from Luke chapter 24 within that series.) Yes, there are times when bifurcation is not fallacious because there really are only two mutually exclusive choices. However, Loddie falsely thinks that his answer excludes my earlier points, when they do not. (Note: You can study about the fallacy of “bifurcation” by clicking here.)
  • The Fallacy of Hasty Generalization (aka “Hasty Conclusion”): This fallacy occurs simply because too few samples are taken before “jumping to a conclusion.” In the field of statistics, an example would be conducting a survey of five people and then concluding from these few responses that “everyone in this town thinks this way” about that topic. The sampling has to be significant enough in order to be credible. In the world of theology, however, this fallacy takes on a slightly different character. Basically, this fallacy occurs whenever a person studies too few Scriptures before reaching a conclusion about a given doctrine. Loddie is sincere, but he is also ignoring many Bible verses in order to make his point. I run into this particular fallacy frequently when people propose doctrines in error. In Loddie’s particular case, he is taking an OVERLY narrow view of a much broader subject than he realizes. (Sorry, there is no quick link to a Christian website that I can provide for this one at the moment, but I might write an article about this fallacy later myself.)
  • The Fallacy of Begging the Question: In this instance, the fallacy in question involves assuming a conclusion that has NOT yet been proved. In other words, it is a case of a person thinking that they are right, and then insisting that they are right, without actually proving that they are right. This is why this fallacy is also called “circular reasoning.” Now, reasoning in circles is not necessarily fallacious. We all do this all the time. For example, you might be talking with co-workers about something that you all already know (e.g., some technical issue). Unless the underlying assumptions are challenged by someone, then those assumptions speed the conversation along because it would be a waste of time trying to “prove” something concerning which everyone is already in agreement. However, the moment you are presenting an argument to someone who does NOT agree with that assumed position (or if they challenge you to prove it), then you have to validate that assumption. Otherwise, a person commits this fallacy as they continue to assume that their assumptions are “true” without proving that the are so. Likewise, Loddie has assumptions about the truthfulness of his position that are unproven, partly because he is fighting a “straw man” and partly because of his bifurcation. In fact, because of the contradictions within his argument (which I will note next), his entire thesis is entirely unprovable. (Note: You can study Begging the Question by clicking here but also by clicking here for a second article on the subject.)

Now, there may be other identifiable fallacies within his comment. Nevertheless, I will leave this list off here for the sake of time. If you notice other fallacies that he used, however, feel free to elaborate upon them within your analysis as you post your comments below.

Self-Contradictions:

One critical point of logic is that no genuine TRUTH can ever self-contradict. For example, something cannot be “this” and “not-this” at the same time. So a car cannot be “in the garage” and “not in the garage” at the same time. Now someone might protest, “Well, the car could be half-way in the garage, and be both.” No, that is NOT “not in the garage” but “half-way in the garage.” There is a difference. Someone else might say, “Well, something could be black AND white at the same time.” Yes, that is true; but that is not a contradiction. If someone says “it is black and it is NOT black,” then they have self-contradicted. Being black AND white is different (i.e., there is no contradiction there). Stating that something is “black and not-black” at the same time is a contradiction.

There are at least two contradictions that I see within what Loddie wrote above:

  • The contradiction that comes from the combination of his “straw man” argument and bifurcation, in that he quotes my stated point and then PROVES my point with what he writes thereafter. That is like saying, “You are wrong and you are not wrong” at the same time. Whenever you say that someone is wrong, but then prove that they are right, that is a contradiction. (Note: I will revisit this particular contradiction again further below.)
  • The second contradiction is one that I already explained within the article itself, Casting “Boomerang Stones.” In anticipation of challenges, I had already explained in that article (irrefutably) that to argue against my stated position on that point puts a person into an automatic self-contradiction. If he had thought carefully about what I had written regarding this, then he would have perhaps realized that he was self-contradicting himself by trying to argue against my stated position.

In short, one cannot base their case upon contradictions AND still be telling the truth. The two parts cancel each other out, so that the “argument” is self-nullified. So the fact that Loddie self-contradicted himself twice proves that those particular points are invalid. Since those points are integral to his thesis, then his entire thesis collapses by self-nullification.

(Unfortunately, his entire thesis also qualifies as outright heresy because it indirectly attributes sin to Jesus Christ, but I doubt that he realizes that fact. So please be gentle with him as you reply.)

Statements of Error:

Loddie also made at least one factually incorrect statement. (He may have made more, but I will let you search for those if they are there. Again, I am trying to encourage critical thinking, so I want to see what you all come up with here.)

When Loddie wrote above, “Nowhere in the 4 Gospels does Jesus ever claim that he came to ‘keep’ the Law of Moses,” he was making both a straw man argument AND an incorrect statement. Moreover, he seemed to forget that the Bible is more than the four Gospels alone. So let me challenge my readers:

(Please click on the image to enlarge the chart.)

This third chart demonstrates that even when a person has logical (rational) thinking processes, the presence of deception among the premises upon which their conclusion is based will interfere with rationality and lead to a false conclusion. Once again, this results in wrong actions and incorrect (illogical) arguments. Click on the image to enlarge the chart.

  • Can any of you find passages in the four Gospels in which Jesus explicitly or implicitly stated that He was sinless, and thus, keeping the law perfectly?
  • Can you find quotes about this fact from anywhere in the rest of the New Testament?
  • Are there any such passages found about Jesus Christ (i.e., prophetic descriptions of Him) in the Old Testament?

Of course, I can give quotes from all three areas of the Bible, but I want to see what you all come up with first.

Again, all of this points back to the Fallacy of Hasty Generalization that I explained above. It also demonstrates that one should not make “absolute” statements about the Bible unless they have truly studied the Bible.

(Again, the very fact that Loddie tried to argue that Jesus was NOT sinless–which is the implied meaning of his argument–is a contradiction, as I already explained within the article Casting “Boomerang Stones” itself.)

One Correct Point to Note:

I do not want to leave my readers with the impression that Loddie’s entire comment lacked merit. I should note, in all fairness, that Loddie DID make a correct statement when he wrote:

The Law of Moses, in types and shadows, and the Prophets and psalms all pointed to Christ as the coming Messiah who would save mankind from their sins. Jesus was asserting, thus promising, he was going to fulfill all those things declared of him in the law and prophets.

In fact, with that one statement Loddie proved my entire thesis (i.e., the very thesis that he was challenging). Again, this is one of the self-contradictions that I mentioned above. Can any of you explain why this statement of his PROVED my entire thesis, contrary to what he intended?

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Start Thinking

Now that I have pointed out three categories of error that are found within his comment above, along with a few specifics under each category, it is time to see how good the critical thinking skills of my readers are. Here are a few pointers:

  • Please do NOT try to tackle too many categories or issues in one comment. Otherwise, your comment will be too long and it will be hard for me to reply to you. Instead, try to keep to one or two issues within each comment.
  • Please do NOT try to tackle too much in one sitting. You may need to ponder these things a bit. Moreover, your schedule may only provide you enough time to touch on one or two things, but you can then come back later to address other points.
  • Please READ Casting “Boomerang Stones” first, because you need to understand his comment within the context of that article. You will ALSO need to understand my own points (to which he addressed his comment) within their own context. So read that article first so that you do not commit the “hasty conclusion” fallacy yourself:

A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart…. He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.

(Proverbs 18:2 & 13, NKJV)

  • Please also remember that we are trying to help Loddie understand why his entire thesis is incorrect. This is to be a respectful discussion.
  • Please FOCUS on explaining what the Bible really says about Jesus keeping the Law (i.e., the subject at hand) and try to avoid running off into unrelated topics or tangents.
  • Please do NOT think that you need to “defend” me or my article. This is NOT about me. It is about learning to discern and explain biblical Truth while helping a brother to see that Truth. (Besides that, I am quite able to defend my own theses whenever the need arises.)

So with these points in mind, let me again invite my readers to take the time to do some reading and analysis, and to post your comments below. I will again keep the moderation queue from posting publicly until I have collected a few and have the time to respond to each one. Also, again, I will endeavor to tactful in replying to a sincere effort to respond to Loddie’s comment above (or to me). So please just keep in mind the rules above and don’t be nervous about writing your comment.

Once I start releasing the comments from the moderation queue, we can also begin to dialog further. I hope to get a good discussion going through this exercise. So please feel free to mark the “notify me of follow-up comments via email” option whenever you post your submission (you can always cancel those updates later if you wish). That notification system will enable you to monitor the discussion as it proceeds. (By the way, I will likely release all future comments in batches too, simply because of my schedule. So don’t be nervous about any delay in having your comment approved because sometimes I get busy.)

If this experiment of mine works out, and my readers seem to enjoy learning by this method, I may do it again in the future from time to time. So if you like this idea, then please be sure to participate! Please be sure to also “like” and “tweet” this article so that others know about it and can participate.

Now, get to reading, and get to thinking! 😀

Always in Jesus,

Rich

 

 

Casting “Boomerang Stones”

June 4, 2014 Posted by Rich Vermillion

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Casting “Boomerang Stones”

 
 
Boomerang-Stone

Have you ever tried to confront another person with their genuine sin, only to have them retort, “Well, he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone”? I have, many times. In fact, I just had a woman write me over the weekend who “hurled” this very misquote of Scripture at me…only to have it “boomerang” right back at her through her own words. (Hence, the graphic to the left.)

If you genuinely care enough about people to tell people the truth, then I am quite sure that you have encountered this same “comeback” too. You may be truly concerned about their welfare and how that sin is affecting their lives, or even concerned about their salvation. Alternately, you might be warning a person about a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” (see Matthew 7:15-16) with plenty of evidence to back up your claims about the danger such false ministers pose to their soul (and wallet).

Yet, no matter how much you truly care or what your motives might be, or how much evidence you present to them, the person you are confronting for their sin (or in the case of heretic false ministers, the followers that you may be warning) often reply with that self-refuting “stone” comeback. The woman who’s self-contradicting message triggered this post was upset with me because we expose numerous DOCUMENTED wolves in sheep’s clothing on our KennethCopelandBlog.com website. So she would rather ignore the evidence that she can see with her eyes—which willful ignorance is to her own detriment—while she lauds her “idols” with undeserved compliments. (Frankly, I could not help but wonder if she had an alter in her house where she burns incense to photos of Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, & etc., given the pagan adoration that she expressed about them.)

Of course, whenever a person retorts with that weak “stone” comeback, their tone is not usually nice. Typically, they are mocking or angry as they try to convince you how “unloving” you are for bringing up such righteous criticisms. So it is easy to discern that they do not care about your welfare at all as they hypocritically try to “correct” the one who is lovingly trying to correct them (or who is exposing the danger of their favorite wolf-preacher). Their sole desire and objective is to try and shut you up so that you will leave them (or their favorite false preacher) alone.

You probably know what I am talking about here already, but what are you to do? How do you respond to their misuse (and misquote) of a famous Bible passage like that?

Well, I am about to show you how to deal with that anemic “comeback.” I will do so by demonstrating—both biblically and logically —that it is the people who reply in such a manner who have actually “cast stones” at themselves. In fact, I will explain why these verbal “Boomerang Stones” hit them in the head the moment they left their own mouths.

Please study this page thoroughly so that you are ready to handle this situation whenever you encounter it in person. You might want to bookmark this article for future reference too, just in case you need to share it with people online from time to time. It is important for this particular teaching to spread wide and far in order to end the “carnage” that is caused by people who habitually “stone” themselves with the “Boomerang Stones” of their own hypocrisy…in an effort to ignore or hide their own sin (or the sin of their favorite wolf-preachers), to the detriment of their own souls.

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Start with the Full Quote, Then Move to Supporting Scriptures

The first thing to do in order to understand how to address this feeble, “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone!” statement is to review the actual story in the Bible from which it was inappropriately stolen. So I will begin with the Bible’s account of the “Woman Caught in Adultery.” I suggest that you do the same whenever you run into this situation yourself (or just send them this article if you are online). So let’s take a look at the passage now:

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.

(John 8:2-11, NKJV, emphasis mine, words of Christ in red)

Please take notice of the words that I have put in bold emphasis above. Those passages will provide the focus for each of the next five subsections.

 1. Jesus DID Confront Sin

The first thing that should jump out at you is the closing commandment from Jesus Christ for her to “SIN NO MORE.” Jesus did NOT ignore her sin (as the people misquoting verse 7 want you to do). Nor did He brush it aside by saying something like, “Don’t worry about it. Everybody else sins too.” No, Jesus Christ directly CONFRONTED her sin at the close of His conversation with her by adding the command “SIN NO MORE.”

Thus, the hypocrisy of people replying with what Jesus said in verse 7 about throwing stones should be clear. When you are confronting them about obvious sin (or the sins of their favorite wolf-preacher), you are actually doing what Jesus did. You are probably trying to tell them to “sin no more” or to stay away from false teachers that would lead people into sin and apostasy. Is that not what Jesus was doing with this woman?

Moreover, did you notice that Jesus ALSO confronted the sins of her accusers? Yes, the idea that somehow this story is intended to deter someone from addressing one’s sin is rather absurd, since Jesus opposed EVERYBODY’S sin in this story!

So if you are trying to get a person to repent and they “throw” the “stone comeback” at you, then you could quickly reply with a short-version response along these lines: “Yes, Jesus said that. However, Jesus also said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and SIN NO MORE!’ I am not condemning you for your sin, but telling you in the light of the Bible that your own sin has condemned you before God already!” (Please note John 3:14-21.) “Moreover, Jesus has already commanded you in the very story that you have referenced to stop it! Thus, you have just confirmed even more strongly that you need to repent.”

Be clear about this biblical fact: Confrontation of sin is NOT the same thing as condemnation of the person. (So please do not confuse the two, regardless of whether you are on the “sending” or “receiving” end of the correction.) There is a difference. Jesus clearly confronted the woman’s sin BUT openly said that He did NOT condemn her when He did so. In fact, confrontation about sin is a demonstration of pure biblical love, and thus, a commandment in and of itself:

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

(Revelation 3:19, NKJV, words of Christ in red)

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

(James 5:19-20, NKJV)

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

(Luke 17:3, NKJV, words of Christ in red)

Jesus REBUKES the people that He loves. Moreover, compare the first and last quote above. Jesus also commands us to do the same thing!

Thus, for a person to omit (or ignore) the fact that Jesus DID confront/rebuke the woman for her sin by addressing it at the close of His conversation with her, while using Jesus’ earlier statement in an effort to get you to stop confronting/rebuking them (or their favorite wolf-preacher), is utter hypocrisy. This is especially true in the light of the fact that Jesus also confronted the sins of her accusers very plainly.

(Note: Please also review my article “Judging”: Hypocritical vs. Biblical for further points that will balance this teaching more fully. Jesus did also command us to avoid being hypocrites whenever we correct others. So please review that article also. I do not want you to think that I am encouraging people to go around “correcting” everyone they know while they ignore those same issues in their own lives.)

2. “Stones” vs. “Words”

There is also a second point of difference here between confronting a person with their obvious sin (or exposing a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” with factual evidence of their true nature) with the events of story at hand: Namely, the men in this story were planning to actually KILL the woman, not just rebuke her so that she might get her life straight.

In other words, while it is true that people have used the “casting stones” statement as a metaphor for insults and criticism for as long as anyone can remember, it is equally true that this demonstrates BAD logic (i.e., error in reasoning). This story is not about “insults” or “criticism,” but about killing people by a misapplication of God’s Word. There is an informal fallacy known in the field of logic as “false analogy.” That is what people are using ( often unintentionally) whenever they attempt to improperly connect the REAL stones of the story and their false interpretation with regard to “word stones.”

I will explain how we properly use analogies first, so that the fallacy becomes more clear.

We think using analogies all of the time. (Click here to read the definition of analogy if you are not familiar with this term.) We learn about things by comparing them with the things with which we are already familiar, and drawing conclusions due to the similarities. The Bible demonstrates this principle frequently. For example, here is one use of analogy for comparing two things, so that something about the second thing can be understood more clearly:

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

(Isaiah 55:10-11, NKJV)

The Lord God made great use of analogies throughout the Bible, such as in the example above (and the parables of the New Testament). Here we see the Word of God compared to rain, and we are to learn a lesson about God’s Word from the behavior of the earth’s water cycle (i.e., the rain comes down, waters earth, returns to the atmosphere by evaporation, and the cycle begins again). Instruction by analogy is quite biblical, and we even think in analogies (but I will refrain from explaining this concept more fully for the sake of time).

The fallacy of “false analogy” occurs whenever a person tries to compare two things that are NOT similar, in hope of drawing a false inference from the bad comparison. Typically, people do this in order to support a preferred belief or agenda. The two things being compared are NOT similar (except perhaps in superficial ways), and thus, the analogy is NOT valid, NOR are the proposed inferences true.

In this specific case, people who use the “throwing stones” analogy in order to apply it to criticisms. This is a violation of many passages of Scripture that tell us TO CRITICIZE people for their actual sin (three examples of which I have already provided above). Other valid types include the public rebuke of wolves and ministers in error (e.g., 1 Timothy 5:19-21; Galatians 2:11-21; Titus 1:10-16; Matthew chapter 23; etc.), confrontation of people who are leading people astray into false doctrines (e.g., Acts chapters 5 and 8; Acts 13:6-12; Revelation 2:12-29; Jude; 2 Peter chapters 2-3; etc.). In fact, Paul said quite clearly that we are to expose error openly:

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),  finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Walk in Wisdom

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

(Ephesians 5:1-17, NKJV, emphasis mine)

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

(2 Thessalonians 3:13-15, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Jesus said to rebuke them—even publicly! Moreover, both Jesus and James said that is true agape-love for the people being rebuked (as we saw in the passages further above). Now Paul weighs in on the subject by making the very same point!

In short: If you do NOT confront sin in others when it is necessary, or expose wolves when they are evident, then you do NOT love people with true biblical love (despite any false claims that you may make otherwise).

Thus, the threat of a LITERAL EXECUTION of this woman by REAL STONES does NOT compare with imagined “stones” of criticism or TRUE accusation. It is a false analogy to assert that people should never criticize/confront others simply because Jesus spared this woman from being stoned to death with REAL stones. That is quite absurd and unscriptural. Jesus was NOT trying to convince His audience to stop CRITICIZING the woman, but rather He was trying to keep them from KILLING her! Yes, there is a big difference between what really happened on that occasion and what people try to make it out to be.

Stated another way: NOBODY is trying to LITERALLY “stone” a person (i.e., KILL them) when they point out their sin, or when they expose a wolf-preacher for being what they truly are (i.e., with evidence of what they are doing or teaching). Thus, for the sinner (or wolf-follower) to claim otherwise is tantamount to them to “hurling” a false accusation in response.

So once again, we see the utter hypocrisy of a person saying “He that is without sin let him cast the first stone!” Nobody is throwing REAL rocks here, nor is anyone trying to physically hurt anyone. Thus, this story does NOT apply to the things to which people falsely try to apply it.

3. What Did Moses Say?

Now let me move on to point out something that is perhaps not evident to many readers when they consider the full text of this story. I have already posted this portion of the text above, but I will restate it here for the sake of convenience:

Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.

What “law” are they claiming to apply to this situation? They said “Moses…commanded,” but what did he actually command? Oh, this is where the rubber meets the road, my friend! Reading the law in question is critical in order to understand why Jesus reacted to the mob in the way that He did. We find the passage in question in the Book of Leviticus:

The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

(Leviticus 20:10, NKJV, emphasis mine)

Please notice that the passage from John 8 states clearly that they caught the woman “in the very act” of committing adultery. “In the very act” COULD NOT have been done by herself! She had to have been WITH an adulterer for her to have been committing “the very act” of an adulteress!

So, um… where was the GUY????

Why did the Pharisees leave the man out of this? In fact, how did they know where she was in order to “catch” her “in the very act” to begin with? Was this a set up between one of their own guys in order to entrap this married woman in adultery? Regardless of how they set her up, WHY did they leave the GUILTY MAN out of this, in VIOLATION of the Law of Moses?

The general motive of the crowd is given when the passage says, “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him.” This had NOTHING to do with their wanting to fulfill the Law of Moses. They set this woman up (as they obviously knew where to find her in order to catch her “in the very act”) so that they could use her as a pawn in their scheme, while leaving their “good buddy” out of the picture so that he did not get killed too.

So what did Jesus do in response to their hypocrisy? He began to write on the ground with His finger…

4. When the Finger of God Writes

Jesus Christ was no ordinary man. He was “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16; compare also John 1:1-5 & 14; Hebrews 1:8-9; Isaiah 9:6-7; etc., etc., etc.). Thus, God Himself—the Lawgiver Who actually provided the Law to Moses—was the One to Whom the mob was making these accusations about the woman. They were accusing her to the One Who gave the commandment that is found in Leviticus 20:10! (So He knew what Moses REALLY said!)

Thereafter, Jesus bent down and began to write something with His finger. There are only TWO times in the Bible in which it is recorded that God wrote something with His finger. The second occasion was this passage in John 8. So let’s now compare the first time God wrote with His finger with this second time, and see if we can infer from the two events what Jesus was doing when He wrote on the ground:

And God spoke all these words, saying:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

(Exodus 20:1-17, NKJV)

And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

(Exodus 31:18, NKJV)

Remember! Do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day that you departed from the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. Also in Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry enough with you to have destroyed you. When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. Then the Lord delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.

(Deuteronomy 9:7-11, NKJV)

The above passages describe the first time that God wrote with His finger in writing the Ten Commandments upon the two tablets of stone. Now, please look again at what Jesus did:

Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.

(John 8:3-11, NKJV, emphasis mine, words of Christ in red)

Let me be clear that the passage in John 8 does not explicitly tell us what Jesus wrote upon the ground with His finger. However, in the light of the passages from the Old Testament, and in the context of the event recorded by John, we can conclude the following points very clearly:

  1. The only thing that God wrote with His finger in the Old Testament was the Ten Commandments, which is the essence of the entire law. (Compare Romans 7:7-12 where the tenth commandment is equated with “the Law.”)
  2. As I stated above already, Jesus was “God manifest in the flesh,” and thus, it was God Himself writing on the ground with His finger in John 8.
  3. The context of the event in John 8 was that they claimed to want to stone the woman according to the “Law of Moses,” although they were themselves violating that same law by unjustly excluding the MAN with whom she had committed adultery.
  4. When Jesus stood up to reply, He said to them “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 1 John chapter 3 defines “sin” as “lawlessness,” for the very definition of sin is to break God’s commandments (compare also Romans 7:7-12 again, along with Leviticus chapter 4, etc.).

Thus, in the light of the points above, it is very reasonable to infer inductively from these facts that—in all probability—Jesus was writing some portion of the Law of Moses (perhaps Leviticus 20:10 itself, and/or part of the Ten Commandments) on the ground for everyone to see.

Regardless of what He wrote on the ground, however, Jesus Christ stood up and confronted THEIR SIN too!  And Jesus’ confrontation of THEIR SIN was based mainly upon these facts:

  • They were NOT righteously applying the Law of Moses, as they falsely claimed.
  • Thus, they were LYING to Him about the woman and their true motives, as they tried to entrap Him.

Consequently, everyone standing there with a rock in their hand knew full well that they were sinning in what they were doing. THAT is the MAIN reason why they were “convicted by their own consciences”: They misapplied justice and told outright lies. Therefore, their “conviction” was primarily for the sins at hand, and not because of other sin that they likely had in their lives.

Stated another way: The implication being pushed whenever a sinner cites this passage that we are “all sinners” and therefore a person should NOT confront the sinner (which again is not supported by this passage from John 8 because they were going to kill her, not merely confront her). However, story itself indicates that the accusers were convicted mainly by the CURRENT sin that they were committing right then and there in front of Jesus! THAT is why they threw down their stones and walked away. They knew that Jesus had turned their false accusations back against them, by pointing out their own violation of this VERY SAME passage of the Law of Moses!

In short, their own words were “Boomerang Stones,” just like it is whenever a sinner (or wolf-follower) quotes this story in an effort to silence those who are genuinely concerned about their behavior.

Yet, this raises another question: What would have happened if the crowd had brought BOTH people—the adulteress AND the adulterer with whom she sinned—to Jesus to inquire about carrying out Leviticus 20:10 properly?

5. Jesus Kept the Law

One rather shocking fact about Jesus Christ that people too often seem to miss is that He KEPT the Law of Moses perfectly. Of course, that makes complete sense to anyone who realizes that Jesus Christ GAVE the Law to Moses, because Jesus Christ is God. Certainly, He would keep His Own Law because it expressed His Own attitude toward sin (and revealed why we all need the Savior). Nevertheless, the New Testament also makes this point explicit because it is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity:

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

(Matthew 5:17-18, NKJV, emphasis mine, words of Christ in red)

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

(2 Corinthians 5:20-21, NKJV)

One of the things that qualified Jesus Christ to be our Savior is the fact that He NEVER sinned! He was the sinless “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Thus, in order to KEEP the law (which Jesus had to do in order to be “sinless,” and He Himself said He came to “fulfill” it in every way), then Jesus would have had to AGREE with the Law—but only if it was being properly applied.

Therefore, if the accusers had brought BOTH the man and woman to Him in a genuine application of Leviticus 20:10, then Jesus Christ would have had to agree with them that this was the penalty pronounced by the Law, and both of them would have died that day.

Do you doubt this? Then please note this description of Jesus Christ, and then His subsequent statements against sin:

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood [compare this description with that found of this same scene in Isaiah 63:3], and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

(Revelation 19:11-21, NKJV, emphasis and added note mine)

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

(Revelation 21:6-8, NKJV, emphasis mine, words of Christ in red)

And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”

(Revelation 2:18-23, NKJV, emphasis mine, words of Christ in red)

The Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible is NOT kind to willful sin, my friend. Yes, people will DIE when He returns to the earth to take control of the nations in Person. Hence, Psalm 2 clearly warns:

Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

(Psalm 2:10-12, NKJV, emphasis mine)

In short, if you have a mental picture of Jesus always being kind and meek, then the Jesus your “Jesus” is nothing more than a figment of your imagination. (And a figment of your imagination can NEVER save you…so you had better learn Who the REAL Jesus of the Bible is.) Yes, Jesus was gentle with the contrite and penitent people with whom He came into contact. Yes, Jesus is still merciful to the penitent sinner today! However, Jesus was also quite stern and angry with sin at times too!

  • The REAL Jesus Christ made a whip of cords and turned over tables in the Temple (John 2:15).
  • The REAL Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Scribes with vehement warnings of eternal damnation (Matthew chapter 23).
  • The REAL Jesus Christ even today judges people, as the example is Revelation 2:18-23 reveals clearly above.
  • And the REAL Jesus Christ will return one day to kill the armies of the Anti-Christ, throw him and his false prophet into the Lake of Fire…along with everyone who rejects His grace (see Revelation chapter 20 in addition to the quote above).

Thus, the REAL Jesus Christ would have watched as the woman AND her lover were stoned to death, if the Law of Moses had been CORRECTLY applied.

It was the hypocrisy of the law-breaking accusers that enabled the Lord Jesus Christ to spare her in His mercy that day. The Bible does NOT say a thing about her having repented of what she had done. No, Jesus had to command her to NEVER do that sin again! Thus, it was not faith on her part that delivered her that day, but simply the failure of her accusers to apply the Law of Moses correctly. In other words, she was delivered on a “technicality” and not because she was either penitent or innocent.

This fact is clear by the Scriptures I have provided here (and many more that could be provided). It is also clear in the fact that Jesus commanded her to “SIN NO MORE!” He did not give her a “pass” on what she had done. She was guilty as charged, and she knew it.

Now, some people will want to argue against this despite all of the Scriptures that support this truth. Thus, let me point out that any argument that Jesus somehow would NOT have applied the Law of Moses (i.e., if the man-adulterer had been brought along with the woman too), necessarily implies the following:

  • Such an argument that Jesus would not have carried out the sentence (if the man was present too), implies that Jesus would NOT have kept the Law of Moses.
  • If Jesus ever failed to keep the Law of Moses, then He would be a sinner under that Law (i.e., to state that Jesus would have EVER failed to keep the Law is to imply that He was sinful, and willing to break the Law).
  • If Jesus was a sinner, then He could NOT be the Savior.
  • If Jesus is not the Savior, then we are all still dead in our sins and are hopelessly damned (see John 3:18).

Jesus came to “fulfill” the law, not to break it. So to even imply that He would have made an exception in this case had the law been faithfully applied, is to imply that He did not come to fulfill the Will of God His Father after all.

Thus, to deny that Jesus would have carried out the Law of Moses—IF it had been CORRECTLY applied to BOTH the man and woman—is to also deny the validity of Christianity itself.

Yes, it is quite evident that the Bible confirms that Jesus Christ would have seen to it that the penalty of Leviticus 20:10 would have been carried out for BOTH people “caught in the very act” of adultery, but only IF the accusers had not been hypocrites by violating that law themselves.

(Thus, it was a good thing for her that Jesus saw through their hypocrisy! Yikes! 😯 )

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Summary Conclusion:

So what do we have here? I have covered a whole lot of material to this point, so let me bring out the key points very clearly in the light of the foregoing teaching. Here are the key facts that we have covered:

  • Whenever a person tries to use “He who is without sin cast the first stone” in reply to confrontation of sin (or the exposure of a wolf in sheep’s clothing), they are self-refuted by their reference to this story. This story CONFIRMS the need to expose sin; it does NOT deny it. This is because two different groups of people are directly confronted for their iniquity within this story:
    • The crowd of accusers who misused Leviticus 20:10 by not bringing the man forth for punishment too.
    • The woman, for her sin, when Jesus told her “Sin no more!”
  • Additionally, the idea that the REAL stones in the story are analogous with mere “words” of criticism is absurd. That is a false analogy. There is nothing similar about using real stones to kill a real person due to a misapplication of God’s Law, and a sinner (including false wolfish preachers) being confronted by concerned Christians.
  • Jesus Christ paid the full penalty for sin, and is the TRUE Savior because He was sinless Himself. However, He is also the Judge Who will NOT excuse the sins of people who refuse to repent and accept His saving self-sacrifice. So Christians can and will be judged on earth for their habitual sin (e.g., Acts 5:1-11; Revelation 2:18-23) and non-believers (including false converts who think that they are Christians but who are NOT) will find themselves spending eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation chapter 20; 21:6-8; etc.).

Thus, if Leviticus 20:10 had been correctly applied, the woman AND her lover would have died that day…and unless one repents, they will likewise perish today:

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

(Luke 13:2-5, NKJV, words of Christ in red)

Now, here is the “boomerang” irony:

  1. Those who “hurl” the “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone” reply at those who confront them (or who expose their favorite wolf-preacher) are themselves casting the same alleged verbal “stones” at their critics that they claim are being thrown at them! (Of course, this makes them self-contradicted hypocrites.)
  2. The very story to which they are referring when making such a reply CONFIRMS the need to confront that person with their sin so that they will “sin no more!” Thus, they have just confirmed the need to rebuke them for their sin even as they attempt to use this story to shield themselves from such scrutiny. (And once again, this fact makes them self-contradicted hypocrites.)

Thus, if anyone has hurled a verbal “stone,” it is the person who makes the very statement, “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone!” The statement that they have made has “boomeranged” right back at them the very moment that it left their mouth.

Most victims of their own “Boomerang Stone” are likely unaware of what they have just done to themselves, so you have to point this out to them in order for them to get the point. So feel free to share this teaching and this link with others, so that the “carnage” of “self-stoning” can perhaps cease. 😉

In closing, let me suggest that you all read my related article “Judging”: Hypocritical vs. Biblical too. It compliments this article very well, and brings out other points that help to balance this into a full teaching on the subject. Thus, these two articles work well together in order to help people understand how to biblically correct someone in love, versus trying to avoid such correction by using hypocrisy.

Additionally, please read The Supreme Value of Righteousness in order to learn what the Bible really says about KNOWING that you are truly saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I have discussed His role as Savior in brief within this article here, but The Supreme Value of Righteousness does so in far greater detail (plus it contains some of my own salvation testimony). So please read that right away too.

Again, please share this article with others. You can also “Recommend” it via the Facebook button, or “tweet” it via Twitter. Let’s help people understand that we really do love them when we confront them (or expose wolves), and thus, it is in their best interest to stop hitting themselves with “Boomerang Stones” in reply.

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

(Ephesians 6:23-24, NKJV)

Always in Jesus,

-Rich Vermillion

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