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Posted June 8, 2017

Truths We Believe About God, Part 4

A Biblical & Theological Rejection of Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About God

Part 1: Truths We Believe About God

Part 2: Doing the Universalist Twist

Part 3: OUR Way or THE Way?

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn


“My people know not the judgment of the Lord. How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? ...the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men... have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them? ...from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.”
—Emphasis added, Jeremiah 8:7-11 

A Review of the Book’s Chapters (continued)
Chapters 15-19

Chapter 15
“Hell is separation from God.”

Young: “Anyone who speaks of separation from God assumes that a person can exist while separated—as if our life is not contingent upon the presence of God, who is Life.... I propose the possibility that hell is not separation from Jesus....” (Emphasis added, LWBAG, 136-137) 

Jesus Christ: “And then will I [Jesus] profess unto them [professing Christians who prophesied and worked miracles in Jesus’ name], I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Emphasis added, Matthew 7:23) [Reader, do you think Jesus’ judgment “depart from me” means separate from Me? Ed.] 

Jesus Christ: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:41, 45-46) [The immediate interpretation involves how Gentiles treat the Jews, Jesus’ brethren. But this interpretation does not mean Jesus’ words do not possess wider social applications, ed.] 

Jesus Christ: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:22-23) [In difference to those who want to reduce Jesus’ insight about the afterlife to be metaphorical, His story does introduce readers to the reality of the afterlife as He understood it, ed.] 

The Apostle Paul: “[Those] that know not God . . . shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” (Emphasis added, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9) 

Comments: To many, the sense of the word hell is confusing. I shall try to unpack the meanings of the word hell in the Bible. Translating three different Greek words (gehenna, 12 times; hades, 10 times; and tartaros, 1 time) the English word “hell” occurs twenty-three times in the New Testament. Exclusively Jesus uses the first Greek word hell-gehenna to picture after-death judgment to be like ancient Jerusalem’s city dump, as a place of defilement for castaways “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48); as a sphere of darkness (“outer darkness,” Matthew 22:13; 25:30); and as a state of depression in which human souls experience emotional extremes of sorrow and anger (“weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Luke 13:28).

The second Greek word, hell-hades (the equivalent to the Old Testament hell-sheol, which can refer to the ground-grave) describes the after-life reality temporally inhabited by the living dead who exist in separation from God and Paradise (Luke 16:23).

The third Greek word used by Peter, hell-tartaros or “chains of darkness,” describes the place where disobedient angels are currently confined as they await their future and final judgment (Compare 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; and Revelation 20:10). In the span of history, all of the above spheres of judgment, hell-gehenna-hades-tartaros, are temporary, and as such, might be compared to the confinement of convicted criminals in a city jail until they are transported to serve out their life sentences in a state or federal prison.

Read the entire post: www.herescope.net




Posted May 24, 2017

OUR Way or THE Way?
Truths We Believe About God, Part 3


A Biblical & Theological Rejection* of Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About God

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

“Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise Me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.”
—Emphasis added, Jeremiah 23:16-17

A Review of the Book’s Chapters 

The Book’s Foreword, Introduction and Chapters 1-14
We turn now to review each chapter of Lies We Believe About God. The reviews will include a summary of Young’s belief, citation(s) of Scripture which contradict or confirm the author’s beliefs, and my personal comments for purpose of clarification. Based upon what you read, you can decide who is telling the truth. Note: I do not necessarily disagree with all the points Young makes in his arguments about what God would not say, but my agreements are sparse. We begin with the Foreword written by Wm. Paul Young’s friend, Dr. C. Baxter Kruger.


Kruger: “Who is Jesus, really? What does His existence mean? There are many answers.” (LWBAG, 7) 

The Apostle Peter: (Addressing Jesus from a perspective of many answers) “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Emphasis added, Matthew 16:16) 

Comments: Kruger answers the “who is Jesus question” in his Foreword. He explains that speaking the name of Jesus is confessing that there is no separation between the Trinity and humans, only relationship. “Jesus is Himself the relationship;” says Kruger, “He is the union between the Triune God and the human race.” (LWBAG, 11) To Kruger, Jesus’ identity involves being the great unifier of the Tri-Personal God with all humanity which union brings the Jesus-Trinity’s new covenant kingdom to earth. To Kruger the kingdom is totally now and involves no future millennial and messianic reign of Christ on earth (Isaiah 9:6-7; Revelation 20:4, 6;).

Observation: If the kingdom is already present (this is called realized eschatology), then the Jesus-Trinity’s kingdom is a mess!

Kruger states that Young’s teachings stand “in the mainstream of historic Christian confession....” (LWBAG, 12) A consultation with one dictionary of theology informs that apokatastasis (another word for universalism or restitution of creation to its original pristine condition; see Acts 3:21, “Jesus Christ... Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [apokatastasis] of all things”) was taught by Clement of Alexandria (c. 150- c. 215), Origen (c. 185-c. 254) who was influenced by Clement and Gnostics and declared a heretic by the early church, Gregory of Nyssa (c. 330-c. 394), John Scotus Erigena (c. 810-c. 877), Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), Karl Rahner (1904-1984) and some others. The Council at Constantinople (AD 543) declared the universal salvation-restoration of humanity, as held by those early church fathers, to be heretical.[23] One scholar informs that, “Jerome, Augustine, and most evangelicals, while insisting on an eschatological restoration by Christ [Acts 3:21], deny the corollary assertion of the ultimate salvation of all men.”[24]

Though in Kruger’s opinion Young stands in Christendom’s “mainstream,” his universalism belongs to a heretical minority, not the orthodox majority. Universalism-apokatastasis might be compared to an upstream tributary that flows into Indiana’s Wabash river which connects to the Ohio and then to the Mississippi. As the waters of the Mississippi totally engulf the waters from the Wabash’s tributary, so the teaching of mainstream Christianity overwhelms belief in universal salvation.

Further, just because the waters of universalism flow within the “mainstream” does not suggest they’re fit to drink!

Read the entire post: www.herescope.net




Posted May 15, 2017

Truths We Believe About God, Part 2


Wm. Paul Young's website [emphasis in original]


A Biblical & Theological Refutation of Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About God

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn


Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation [“a matter of one’s own interpretation,” NASB]. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

—The Apostle Peter, 2 Peter 1:20-21 


William Paul Young’s method of argument in his book Lies we believe about God involves juxtaposing a proof text from the Bible where it says we are God’s children against the lie he claims to expose—i.e., not everyone is a child of God.

In short, and as we shall see, the author forces Scripture to testify against Scripture. Does the whole of the biblical testimony view all persons to be God’s “children” and therefore reconciled to Him? This is the question Young raises and attempts to prove by employing biblical quotations he distorts to say what he wants them to say. Instead of letting the Bible speak for itself, he picks and chooses verses he claims say what he wants them to say. This is called “proof-texting.” Near the end of the book he demonstrates this method in A Catena, “God’s Drama of Redemption,” where indiscriminately, he strings together thirty-four Bible passages. (LWBAG, 241-248)


The Book’s Audience
Note the book’s title, Lies we believe about God. Though he may previously have believed “truths” he now calls “lies,” as the book’s contents indicate, Young no longer believes the lies he claims to expose. The use of the personal pronoun “we” in the title is therefore disingenuous, but designed to get readers to identify with his faith-struggle and reject what he believes are lies about God (Twenty-eight of them!). In other words, he might not be as “one” with all his readers as the use of “we” in the title implies, unless they too believe the lies.

The book’s title might have been like, “Lies you believe about God,” or “Lies I used to believe about God.” But that would have sounded too preachy and judgmental in an evangelical culture addicted to feeling good about everything and believing nothing. No author or publisher wants to alienate potential buyers and readers. Better that he, his editor and publisher adopt a strategy of first connecting with a reading audience, and then seducing them to reject truths the author calls lies, which the pronoun “we” attempts to do. Even though they might not understand the Christian faith as he does, with the title the author wants to lure readers into a “conversation” he hopes will change what they believe.

Read the entire post: www.herescope.net




Posted May 10, 2017

Part 1


The movie was released in the same time as Young's latest book


By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

A Biblical & Theological Refutation of Wm. Paul Young’s book, Lies We Believe About God

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

—The Apostle Peter, 2 Peter 2:1, KJV 

As promoted by the best-selling religious allegory The Shack, a non-Christian worldview is playing around with the mind and soul of evangelicalism even to questioning of salvation’s meaning. With the release of the movie by the same name, The Shack’s verbal images are now being visualized. Contemporaneously, and capitalizing upon the publicity generated by the movie, yet another book by Wm. Paul Young has hit the market, Lies We Believe About God.[1] 


What Young covertly taught by allegory and metaphor in The Shack he now overtly teaches in Lies—teachings among others, regarding God, humanity, love, and salvation. Reportedly, Young admitted that, “The Shack is theology.” And then added, “But it is a theology wrapped in a story.”[2]

Now in Lies We Believe About God, the shrouded “story” plays a more minor role as Wm. Paul Young openly states his theology. Young continues to exert a compelling presence among mainstream evangelicals through his interviews, books and release of the movie, The Shack. Leaders Pat Robertson and James Robison have praised the movie.[3] Featuring the book’s author, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has recently aired a weekly program Restoring The Shack.[4]

Why Be a Christian? 
But despite their popularity, Young’s teachings contradict what Scripture teaches about God, humanity, love and salvation (his contention being that all people are reconciled to God, are friends with God; i.e., universalism), and this conflict needs to be addressed. His revisionist thinking about “Christian beliefs” does not derive from seeing the faith through the lens of Holy Scripture, though he might pretend it to be otherwise, but rather through a prism of his life experiences and emotions. His devastating life experiences while growing up in New Guinea as an MK (Missionary Kid) may explain his journey as to why he has come to believe what he believes. But while the negative emotions aroused by his experiences, and similarly those of others, may explain why Young feels the way he does about some of the evangelical culture’s expressions of belief, they do not excuse his departure from biblical Christianity; that is, if biblical Christianity is to remain the true way of understanding and approaching God.

The purpose of this writing is not to deal with all the issues Young raises in Lies We Believe About God. While he raises a few legitimate concerns which I might share, most of them are illegitimate. What I find irreconcilable with the authority of Scripture is the template he forces on the Christian faith and how wedded to his life experiences, he tries to fit the Bible and its teachings into the psychological and philosophical way he views the world.

Read the entire post: www.herescope.net

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