New Exmember web site!

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Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2005 11:44 pm
New Exmember web site!
NEW EX-FAMILY WEB SITE:

MAKE STRAIGHT PATHS.com

Hello!

A new web site by ex Family members has just been posted. Please check it out at http://www.makestraightpaths.com.
This site specifically addresses many Family doctrines completely from a Biblical standpoint. Each page examines a specific Family doctrine together with the Bible verses used by the Family to justify their particular viewpoint, and asks what the Bible really says on each particular subject.
There are currently 31 studies posted on a variety of topics including the word, the keys, hearing from spirit helpers and sex and the law of love.

This site does not as yet contain any personal stories from ex-members for the reason that the authors wish to provide a non-threatening, non-personal medium where current members may read more accurate biblical interpretations without being distracted by their (preconceived) notions of ‘disaffected ex-members’ or so-called ‘apostates’. At the same time the Bible studies do not pull any punches and hit hard at a range of misinterpretations, doctrines built on Scriptures taken out of context, and some doctrines that are utterly false.

It is our prayer that the site will prove valuable to former members who are continuing their spiritual healing, or who are seeking to find genuine Christianity. The Family’s false doctrines and twisted interpretations cannot be ignored, they endure in ex-members’ minds and lives like a virus and should be expunged with the truth of the Bible.

There are a large number of further studies planned for this site, which will be posted on an ongoing basis.

If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you notice any bugs (there are bound to be some) you can contact us from within the site
 
evanman
 
Reply Sun 18 Dec, 2005 02:12 pm
There is always a place for apologetics/polemics sites.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Sun 18 Dec, 2005 03:15 pm
Chris! Great job - what a joy to see a site like this. I've been waiting for a site where it was biblically motivated. Thank God it's finally happened. After awhile, F. members who happen upon the current sites must think everyone who leaves, leaves their faith at the door too, and that is simply not true. There are just as many who don't and continue on in the faith. It's good to show them where in the bible they are making their errors or rather, where Berg led them astray using the bible. So glad to see this. Thanks. I tried several times to get something like that going, but couldn't get the right people to work with. Good for you.
 
Day 1
 
Reply Sun 18 Dec, 2005 07:30 pm
Hi Chris,
Your website idea and goals are commendable. They address a real need from an open perspective, without personal condemnation and seem to offer sound Biblical direction, backed with unadulterated, contextual Scripture references which clearly refute TF's many heresies.

The concluding statement on your homepage is a humbling reminder ..."you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." Thank you.
 
Joe formerly Judah Lion
 
Reply Sun 18 Dec, 2005 08:42 pm
Straight Paths.
Chris,


Have been looking over your "Make Straight Paths" site and would like to thank you guys for the work you're doing on it. As you point out, the Bible must be the ultimate test for truth; if it doesn't match up, then don't swallow it. What happened to those of us who joined the COG of our own volition, even those who had already believed and had knowledge of the Scriptures, is that we failed to judge the Family doctrines in the light of the Word. We got too sucked into the "group-think" and abdicated our own God-given abilities to think for ourselves. I had to finally arrive at the place where I could admit that I failed in that respect, i.e. no one else did it for me. After that, it was my sole responsibilty to seek and accept God's forgiveness for my error and move on from there. Anyway, that's the Cliff's notes on my view of it.

Without further pontificating, thanks again for what you're doing on the website. Will be in touch.




Joe
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Mon 19 Dec, 2005 12:17 am
Re: Straight Paths.
Joe (formerly Judah Lion wrote:
As you point out, the Bible must be the ultimate test for truth; if it doesn't match up, then don't swallow it.

But what if the Bible itself doesn't match up (i.e. the Gospel of Matthew)? Do we revert to beliefs each party is comfortable with?

(I'm not intentionally picking a fight here Smile )
 
Joe formerly Judah Lion
 
Reply Mon 19 Dec, 2005 12:51 am
Straight Paths
Walker,

What specifically are you referring to about the Bible not matching up; something contradictory in the book of Matthew?


Joe
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Mon 19 Dec, 2005 11:55 am
Re: Straight Paths
Joe (formerly Judah Lion wrote:
Walker,

What specifically are you referring to about the Bible not matching up; something contradictory in the book of Matthew?


Joe


Yup.

For one, Herod's massacre of baby boys is an event that is mentioned only in the Book of Matthew. There is not a single mention of this tragic event in any other history book--not even from Josephus, who documented every other one of Herod's evils in detail.

Here's a bit more about that: http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/herod.html

Then there are the numerous Old Testament prophecies that Jesus was supposed to have fulfilled. According to facts laid out here it seems the author of the Gospel of Matthew was a little too eager to prove the divinity of Jesus.

In addition to that, of course, there are numerous inconsistencies in the books of Genesis, Daniel, etc.

Actually, if you're interested in finding out if your faith is made of gold or of paper, the entire site makes for a very interesting read, as it is well structured and referenced.

I'm not about to turn into a "witnessing agnostic", so I'll leave it at that. But my personal take on studying the Bible is the same as studying the Family: You have to familiarize yourself with both sides in order to form a more accurate picture of it.
 
Anonymous
 
Reply Tue 20 Dec, 2005 08:40 am
On the meaning of Immanuel
Much depends on how a person thinks the canon of scripture came into existence, but there's plenty of scientific evidence to support the view that a particular book--Genesis, for example--appears to have had two major authors & sources of oral tradition, with a third author/source of editorial redaction bringing them together at a later date. This explains the inconsistencies in a rational manner.

If you happen to believe that the "inspiration" of scripture means a human being went into a trance and wrote the words exactly as the Spirit of God dictated them, then the rational explanation for scriptural inconsistency becomes problematic. However, if you believe (as I do) that scripture was written, edited, re-written, and translated by human beings situated in specific cultural contexts during various historical epochs...and that the human aspect of scripture is as important to understand as the divine inspiration--then the inconsistencies are understandable.

But what of "inspiration"--? How is what I'm writing here less inspired and worthy of inclusion in the canon of sacred scripture than, say, the 13th chapter of Judges?

People reflect on their experiences and ask, "Where is God in all this?" Written & oral traditions of that conversation among people of faith are passed from generation to generation. Over a very long period of time, the stories and conversations became codified into a sacred history and collection of inspired writings. In other words, sacred writ stood the test of time and much scholarly debate. Finally, in the 3rd and 4th centuries BCE, the community of faith decided that the collection of writings we call The Bible is a trustworthy, authentic account of God-Among-Us in human experience.

But holy scripture is only trustworthy and authentic insofar as the subjective experience of human religious and spiritual thought are concerned. And, just as scripture was written and compiled in the context of a faith community over a long period of time, it should also be read and interpreted in that same context. The sacred canon was never intended to be a scientifically (objectively) verifiable account of history, sociology, or the origin of life. The argument that the content of scripture is objective fact is a matter of recent historical concern, mainly held by sectarian fundamentalists, many of whom lack a strong tradition of reading scripture over the course of many, many generations in a community of faithful people.

Faith of our fathers is exactly that--the 6,000-year-old faith (not the science or sociology) of our ancestors regarding the revealed truth of God-Among-Us.
 
evanman
 
Reply Tue 20 Dec, 2005 09:52 am
It was Berg's undermining of the Bible's teaching that led so many into such abominable practices.

"Inconsistancies", "Contradictions", these are also the cry of those who are intent upon denying and rejecting the truth contained in the passages of the Bible.

Quote:
but there's plenty of scientific evidence to support the view that a particular book--Genesis, for example--appears to have had two major authors & sources of oral tradition, with a third author/source of editorial redaction bringing them together at a later date. This explains the inconsistencies in a rational manner.

I would like to see this "scientific" evidence. As far as I am aware there are many scholars who affirm such things, but how does one prove such things "scientifically"? How do the "experts" conduct the necessary scientific experiments in laboratory conditions to prove such a thing?

As for what constitutes "Inspiration" well there are a number of criteria that are required.

One interesting article:
http://www.secondadvent.net/newcanon.html

http://www.forerunner.com/orthodoxy/X0003_2._Authority_of_Scri.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon
 
Day 1
 
Reply Tue 20 Dec, 2005 09:58 am
Wow. You guys, (Walker and Black Elk) have been doing your homework. Kudos for your provocative questions and comments, for the well thought out approach, reasoning and research in your remarks; a compelling and satisfying read.
 
Anonymous
 
Reply Tue 20 Dec, 2005 10:29 am
Not all science is conducted in a laboratory. through the replication of experiments. Social science occurs in vivo through statistical modeling that predicts the likelihood of something being a chance event. Other scientific methodology, such as that used by linguistic archeology, involve the production powerful logic models that explain anomalies in a text. Evidence for the different oral traditions in Genesis are based on rigorous linguistic analyses and comparative studies of other literary sources from the same region and historic era.

It wasn't my intention to lay out all the principles that guide human assessment of divine inspiration. I was mainly interested in providing a rational explanation for scriptural inconsistencies that does not deny or refute the claim that scripture is divinely inspired.

When I left COG/TFI, the first thing I did was take Bible classes from a very old, mainstream Christian church. I realize that exers who are charismatic fundamentalists tend think that Berg's approach was basically right, but the man went wrong. I personally feel that Berg's whole approach to Biblical interpretation, divine inspiration and prophesy was dead wrong, from his early rebellion against the church to his subsequent rejection of the consensus of Christian faith and tradition. I sing the hymn "Faith of our Fathers" with a great deal of conviction, largely because the "old bottle" faith of my ancestors guided my walk with the Lord onto a path of sanity when Berg's "new wine" was diabolically determined to destroy it.
 
Day 1
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 08:30 am
Walker wrote: "You have to familiarize yourself with both sides in order to form a more accurate picture of it."

This is a truly honest approach that's not limited to only the realm of one's faith. Failing to examine "conflicting" information and ideas stifles learning, and provides for a skewed view and an incomplete understanding of the matter. Scrutiny is not a bad thing. We sell ourselves short assuming that we have attained the whole truth tied up in a nice little package where it is safe from onslaught, and that any supposed challenge to that position is a diabolic threat before it is even considered. That is disingenuous, a no-brainer in every sense. TF illustrates well this characteristic of exclusion and ignorance, but are not unlike many other belief systems who try to pass off an unqualified self righteousness as faith.

Far from science being in conflict with religion, the noted scholar Joseph Campbell argued..."that it is not science that has diminished human beings or divorced us from divinity. On the contrary, the new discoveries of science "rejoin us to the ancients" by enabling us to recognize in this whole universe "a reflection magnified of our own most inward nature; so that we are indeed its ears, its eyes, its thinking, and its speech--or in theological terms, God's ears, God's eyes, God's thinking, and God's Word."
 
Anonymous
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 11:07 am
Quote:
Then there are the numerous Old Testament prophecies that Jesus was supposed to have fulfilled. According to facts laid out here it seems the author of the Gospel of Matthew was a little too eager to prove the divinity of Jesus.


Actually, what the writer of Matthew's gospel was "a little too eager to prove" is the claim that Jesus was the Jewish messiah. Whether or not the Jews expected their messiah to be divine is another matter altogether. The idea of a divine human savior has its origins in Greek and Egyptian religious thought.

Back to Matthew's gospel: The original audience for this book were Jewish converts to Christianity. The gospel writer wanted to show his faith community that Jesus was the new Moses who had founded a new covenant with the people of God. To depict Jesus as the new Moses, the gospel writer retold the story of the slaughter of male children under Pharoah during Moses' time as occurring at the time of Jesus' birth, with the event subsequently leading to the holy family's flight into Egyptian exile. Within the culture and era in which he was writing, retelling the slaughter of innocents story in relation to Jesus' birth was a perfectly acceptible literary device.

The purpose of this element in Matthew's infancy narrative was to answer the theological question, "Who is Jesus for this faith community?" The idea that the writer intended to give his audience a factual, historic account of Jesus' birth is a modern expectation that has been super-imposed on an ancient literary form, with no appreciation for the literary conventions of a gospel. It's kind of like someone reading an advertisement for laundry detergent 2,000 years from now as though the advertiser intended the text to be an objective description of a product, going so far to interpret claims like "Whiter than snow" and "Bright as the sun" as literal statements of fact.

I get particularly worked up on this subject because I truly love scripture, both as a human artifact (the way some people love Shakespearian theater) and as the inspired word of God that speaks to my soul. I love scripture so much that I've spent the better part of my adult life studying it and allowing myself to be challenged to reflect more deeply about what it is I think I know versus what is widely known by people who are much more learned than I am in ancient Biblical languages, cultures, and history. I get very tired of seeing scripture used as though it were a supernatural oracle, with no respect whatsoever for its literary forms, historic and cultural contexts, or the humanity of the people who wrote, edited, translated, and preserved it. To me, that approach to scripture turns the sacred texts into an idol that's little more than an image of the reader's ignorance and fear. I also get very tired of sceptics and nonbelievers citing textual inconsistencies and historic contradictions as though that proves something meaningful about a lack of divine inspiration.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 04:19 pm
BE wrote:
I also get very tired of sceptics and nonbelievers citing textual inconsistencies and historic contradictions as though that proves something meaningful about a lack of divine inspiration.

I tend to think that the inaccuracies disprove the concept of scriptural infallibility rather than that of divine inspiration. In my mind, those are two separate issues.

As I see it, the Bible contains many moral principles that remain sound regardless of the authors' divine inspiration or lack thereof.

Where the convolution begins, is when one questions if the other holy books containing, in part, sound moral principals are also divinely inspired, and, if so, by what Divinity. Where and how does one draw the line between "divinely inspired scripture" and "glorified personal opinion?"

When I think of the concept of divine inspiration of the scriptures, I imagine humans 2,000 years from now (to borrow from your example) discovering copies of prophecy-filled GNs and declaring them divinely inspired.

Perhaps believers cherish the concept of scriptural divinity only because its denial renders the texts as unattractively commonplace. Perhaps they fail to take into account the beauty that the human spirit (read: character) is capable of expressing without apparent divine influence of any sort.

This, of course, might be followed by the question, "Is it possible to believe in the Bible--or parts of it--without believing in a Divinity?"

I tend towards 'yes'.
 
evanman
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 05:38 pm
http://www.christianadvice.net/the_bible_accuracy.htm

http://snow_treasures.tripod.com/id9.html

http://www.pb.org/npbdocs/bibaccur.html

http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2212

Quote:
Origin of the Bible - The Truth About Translations
To many, the origin of the Bible can be summed-up as follows: "A mere translation of a translation of an interpretation of an oral tradition" - and therefore, a book with no credibility or connection to the original texts.
read whole article:
http://www.allabouttruth.org/origin-of-the-bible.htm

Quote:
Is the Bible True? - "…By inspiration of God"
So, is the Bible true? If the Bible is indeed what it claims to be, the implications for us are considerable. The Bible candidly claims to be "given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Of course, the Bible is not the only book to claim divine inspiration, but it is unique in that it offers substantial evidence to back its claims. It even goes so far as to challenge its readers to put it to the test, exhorting us to "Test all things" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

For whole article see;
http://www.allabouttruth.org/is-the-bible-true-c.htm
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 06:25 pm
evanman wrote:


When the article says, "... the Bible is not the only book to claim divine inspiration, but it is unique in that it offers substantial evidence to back its claims" it ignores the fact that much of the evidence it offers is highly questionable.

For instance, in the section titled "Is the Bible True? - The Test of Prophecy", it offers several examples of allegedly fulfilled prophecy. In order to accept this as evidence, one must accept as substantive the phenomenon of prophecy. Since prophecy itself is ambiguous (i.e. If it was a common thing 2000 years ago, why is it uncommon now? What if the "prophecies" were just a literary model for describing current events?), logically speaking, it provides an unstable foundation for further extrapolations.

Furthermore, it would present no boundaries to accepting the fulfilled prophecies (as we shall call them for now) of Jule Vernes, Edgar Casey or even The Family as divinely inspired.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 06:51 pm
At http://www.allabouttruth.org/origin-of-the-bible.htm it states:

Quote:
"Homer's "Iliad", the most renowned book of ancient Greece, has 643 copies of manuscript support. In those copies, there are 764 disputed lines of text, as compared to 40 lines in all the New Testament manuscripts


At http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/manufall.html#result1, an excerpt from Aland's The Text of the New Testament places the number of disputed verses at 2,948 (or 37.1% of the entire NT). I should think those verses comprise more than just 40 lines.
 
Jack 2
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 07:56 pm
Quote:
I also get very tired of sceptics and nonbelievers citing textual inconsistencies and historic contradictions as though that proves something meaningful about a lack of divine inspiration.

That's a sad cop out. Even followers of The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter care about textual inconsistencies and historic contradictions in their books regardless of their clear devine inspiration.

Quote:
At allabouttruth.org/origin-of-the-bible.htm it states:

WalkerJ, while our definition of truth is "a fact that has been verified," Christians have chosen to (mis)use the word to mean "something we've embraced as being true because we like the idea of it in this particular context." Now, pluralize truth to bring back memories.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Wed 21 Dec, 2005 09:49 pm
Jack wrote:
WalkerJ, while our definition of truth is "a fact that has been verified," Christians have chosen to (mis)use the word to mean "something we've embraced as being true because we like the idea of it in this particular context."

I know several non-religious people who (mis)use the term "truth" in that way as well. Smile
 
 

 
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