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Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults
by James Sire

In debating and discussions with non-Christians such as Mormons or atheist, I have found many areas of twisting of the Scriptures. In the book “Scripture Twisting,” James Sire has a chapter devoted to each of the methods, and I have seen them ALL used from time to time.

1. INACCURATE QUOTATION: A biblical text is referred to but is either not quoted in the way the text appears in any standard translation or is wrongly attributed. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says, “Christ said, ‘Be still and know that I am God.'” Whereas this text is found ONLY in Psalms.

2. TWISTED TRANSLATION: The biblical text is retranslated, not in accordance with sound Greek scholarship, to fit a preconceived teaching of a cult. Example: the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate John 1:1 as “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the word was a god.”

3. BIBLICAL HOOK: A text of Scripture is quoted primarily as a device to grasp the attention of readers or listeners and then followed by a teaching which is so nonbiblical that it would appear far more dubious to most people had it not been preceded by a reference to Scripture. Example: Mormon missionaries quote James 1:5 which promises God’s wisdom to those who ask him and, then, follow this by explaining that when Joseph Smith did this he was given a revelation from which he concluded that God the Father has a body.

4. IGNORING THE IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: A text of Scripture is quoted but removed from the surrounding verses which form the immediate framework for its meaning. Example: Alan Watts quotes the first half of John 5:39 (“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life”), claiming that Jesus was challenging His listeners’ over emphasis of the Old Testament, but the remainder of the immediate context reads, “and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (verses 39-40), which shows that Jesus was upholding the value of the Old Testament as a testimony to Himself.

5. COLLAPSING CONTEXTS: Two or more verses which have little or nothing to do with each other are put together as if one were a commentary of the other(s). Example: The Mormons associate Jeremiah 1:5 with John 1:2,14 and thus imply that both verses talk about the premortal existence of all human beings; Jeremiah 1:5, however, speaks of God’s foreknowledge of Jeremiah (Not his premortal existence) and JOhn 1:2 refers to the pre-existence of God the Son and not to human beings in general.

6. OVERSPECIFICATION: A more detailed or specific conclusion than is legitimate is drawn from a biblical text. Example: The Mormon missionary manual quotes the parable of the virgins from Matthew 25:1-13 to document the concept that “mortality is a probationary period during which we prepare to meet God.” But the parable of the virgins could, and most probably does, mean something far less specific, for example, that human beings should be prepared at any time to meet God or to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

7. WORD PLAY: A word or phrase from a biblical translation is examined and interpreted as if the revelation had been given in that language. Example: mary Bake Eddy says the name Adam consist of two syllables, A DAM, which means an obstruction, in which case, Adam signifies “the obstacle which the serpent, sin, would impose between man and his Creator.”

8. THE FIGURATIVE FALLACY: Either (1) mistaking literal language for figurative language or (2)mistaking figurative language for literal language. Example of (1): Mary Baker Eddy interprets EVENING as “mistiness of mortal thought; weariness of mortal mind; obscured views; peace and rest.” Example of (2): The Mormon theologian james Talmage interprets the prophesy that “thou shalt be brought down and speak out of the ground” to mean that God’s Word would come to people from the Book of Mormon which was taken out of the ground at the hill of Cumorah.

9. SPECULATIVE READINGS OF PREDICTIVE PROPHESY: A predictive prophesy is too readily explained by the occurance of specific events, despite the fact that equally committed biblical scholars consider the interpretation highly dubious. Example: The stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph in Ezekiel 37:15- 23 are interpreted by the Mormons to mean the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

10. SAYING BUT NOT CITING: A writer says that the Bible says such and such but does not cite the specific text (which often indicates that there may be no such text at all). Example: A common phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible.

11. SELECTIVE CITING: To substantiate a given argument, only a limited number of text is quoted: the total teaching of Scripture on that subject would lead to a conclusion different from that of the writer. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses critique the traditional Christian notion of the Trinity without considering the full text which scholars use to substantiate the concept.

12. INADEQUATE EVIDENCE: A hasty generalization is drawn from too little evidence. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that blood transfusion is nonbiblical, but the biblical data that they cite fails either to speak directly to the issue or to adequately substantiate their teaching.

13. CONFUSED DEFINITION: A biblical term is misunderstood in such a way that an essential biblical doctrine is distorted or rejected. Example: one of Edgar Cayce’s followers confuses the eastern doctrine of reincarnation with the biblical doctrine of being born again.

14. IGNORING ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS: A specific interpretation given to a biblical text or set of text which could well be, and often have been, interpreted in quite a different fashion, but these alternatives are not considered. Example: Erich von Daniken asks why in Genesis 1:26 God speaks in the plural (“us”), suggesting that this is an oblique reference to God’s being one of many astronauts and failing to consider alternative explanations that either God was speaking as “Heaven’s king accompanied by His heavenly host” or that the plural prefigures the doctrine of the Trinity expressed more explicitly in the New Testament.

15. THE OBVIOUS FALLACY: Words like OBVIOUSLY, UNDOUBTEDLY, CERTAINLY, ALL REASONABLE PEOPLE HOLD THAT and so forth are substituted for logical reasons. Example: Erich von daniken says, “Undoubtedly the Ark [of the Covenent] was electrically charged!”

16. VIRTUE BY ASSOCIATION: Either (1) a cult writer a ssociates his or her teaching with those of figures accepted as authoritative by traditional Christians; (2) cult writings are likened to the Bible; or (3) cult literature imitates the form of the Bible writing such that it sounds like the Bible. Example of (1): Rick Chapman list 21 gurus, including Jesus Christ, St. Francis and St. Theresa, that “you can’t go wrong with.” Example of (2): Juan Mascaro in his introduction to the Upanishads cites the New Testament, the Gospels, Ecclesiastes and the Psalms, from which he quotes passages supposedly paralleling the Upanishads. Example of (3): The Mormon DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS interweaves phrases from the Gospel of John and maintains a superficial similarity to the Gospel such that it seems to be like the Bible.

17. ESOTERIC INTERPRETATION: Under the assumption that the Bible contains hidden, esoteric, meaning which is open only to those who are initiated into its secrets, the interpreter declares the significance of biblical passages without giving much, if any, explanation for his or her interpretation. Example: Mary Baker Eddy gives the meaning of the first phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven,” as “Our Father-Mother God, all harmonious.”

18. SUPPLEMENTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: New revelation from post biblical prophets either replaces or is added to the Bible as authority. Example: The Mormons supplement the Bible with the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

19. REJECTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: Either the Bible as a whole or texts from the Bible are examined and rejected because they do not square with other authorities – such as reason or revelation = do not appear to agree with them. Example:Archie Matson holds that the Bible contains contradictions and that Jesus himself rejected the authority of the Old Testament when he contrasted His own views with it on the Sermon on the Mount.

20. WORLD-VIEW CONFUSION: Scriptural statements, stories, commands or symbols which have a particular meaning or set of meanings when taken within the intellectual and broadly cultural framework of the Bible itself are lifted out of that context, placed within the frame of reference of another system and thus given a meaning that markedly differs from their intended meaning. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi interprets “Be still, and know that I am God” as meaning that each person should meditate and come to the realization that he is essentially Godhood itself.

NOTE:
This material comes from the appendix of James Sire’s Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults, and summarizes his indepth treatment of each of these points. This book should be part of every Christian’s library.

http://www.ovrlnd.com/Apologetics/scripturetwisting.html

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12 Comments

  1. The Trinity:

    A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration? The Nicene Creed’s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: “There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one.” Scribes later added “the Father, the Word and the Spirit,” and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. . Scholars agree that Early Christians believed in an embodied God; it was neo-Platonist influences that later turned Him into a disembodied Spirit. Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry on the Trinity says “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.” The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.

    Theosis

    Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was also part of Early Christian belief. St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox) wrote, regarding theosis, “The Son of God became man, that we might become God.” Irenaeus wrote in the late 2nd Century: “we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods” Justin Martyr in mid 2nd Century said: “all men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods,’ and of having power to become sons of the Highest” Clement of Alexandria explained “Saints . . pure in heart . . are destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.” The Gospel of Thomas (which pre-dates the 4 Gospels, but was considered non-canonical by the Nicene Council) quotes the Savior: “He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him,” (Gospel of Thomas 50, 28-30, Nag Hammadi Library in English, J.M.Robinson, 1st ed 1977; 3rd ed. 1988) The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) agrees with Early Christian church leaders regarding theosis.

    • shidosha777
    • Posted November 9, 2008 at 8:58 pm
    • Permalink

    Hey, great blog you’ve got here! Good job! You are SO right in these things. These religions twist and contort and really, it is beyond me how SO MANY can be manipulated to believe them.
    And is why now I understand the scriptures that teach us that some of God’s people shall perish due to their lack of knowledge. Well, if people would wake up and simply RESEARCH the truth instead of always taking everyone’s word that their religion is THE TRUE religion…then we’d have a whole lot more religious people coming out than there are now. I’ve done a piece myself on these cults and just how backwards they really do TWIST the bible and word of God to mislead the gullable and naive or lacking. Too often than not, people TRUST in men over God. Trust in MAN over the word when MAN is or can be corrupt to the core. And God is never corrupt.
    Again, GREAT INFO to help others!
    Storm!

  2. =============================================

    Here is my response to Mormons are Christian’s comments above. I had to make a whole post on the subject. Click here to see how He lied intentionally.

    https://how2becomeachristian.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/mormon-exaltat…damon-whitsellmormon-exaltation-eternal-progression-theosis-apotheosis-and-intentional-mormon-deciet-by-damon-whitsell/

    =============================================

    • Poet
    • Posted November 11, 2008 at 1:47 am
    • Permalink

    “Be still, and know that I am God” is key to understanding the Bible and life in general, for man IS made in the image of God. You sound as if you have never really heard the words of Jesus.

    from Douay-Rheims Bible
    Luke 18-19 (also Mark 10:17-19 and Matthew 19:16-18)

    18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying: Good master, what shall I do to possess everlasting life?
    19 And Jesus said to him: Why dost thou call me good? None is good but God alone.
    ————–
    Psalm 81
    5 They have not known nor understood: they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth shall be moved.
    6 I have said: You are gods and all of you the sons of the most High.
    ————–
    John 10
    33 The Jews answered him: For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy: and because that thou. being a, man, makest thyself God.
    34 Jesus answered them: Is it not written in your law: I said, you are gods?

  3. ==============================

    Be still and Know that GOD IS GOD,,, and you are NOT. That is the key to the bible.

    POET, how many times are you going to post this drivel about men are Gods and NOT listen to my response from the bible?

    You cannot see your problem. You post a verse showing that only God is good, and surely only God is good. But then you turn around and ascribe godhood to sinful men of whom the bible says there is none good, NO,,,, NOT ONE.

    WHO did Jesus say was gods? Joh 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came

    POET has God imparted his word to you,,, for you to give it to His people and to over see them? In other words has he told you to write a bible. Has he made you a judge of his people?

    WHAT DID JESUS MEAN WHEN HE CALLED THESE MEN GOD?

    It is this simple, THEY ARE NOT GODS BECAUSE THEY DIED.

    Psa 82:1 A Psalm of Asaph. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

    Ye are gods;H430

    H430 el-o-heem’
    Plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: – angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

    God also refers to angels as “elohiem”, it does not mean they are Gods or even gods.

    The men that God called gods where the Prophets “to whom the word of God came” and
    they made life and death Judgment concerning Gods people. For this reason, The
    magistration of His kingdom, He called these men Elohiem,,,,,, not God or god.

    They where his magistrates.
    =======================================

    • Poet
    • Posted November 14, 2008 at 3:03 pm
    • Permalink

    Bible 101.
    When Jesus uses the pronoun “I” in the statement, “Be still, and know that I am God”
    he is using it in the largest sense of the word, ie. the “I” of everyone, the Christ in all of us. He’s not talking about his own ego, Jesus.

    Curb your anger and think. That’s why God gave you a brain.

  4. ==========================
    the “I” of everyone

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Hush little baby don’t you squall
    Momma’s gonna buy you a crystal ball.

    And if you still can’t see beyond
    Momma’s gonna buy you a magic wand.

    And if that wand don’t change your fate
    Momma’s gonna teach you to levitate.

    And if the astral makes you sick,
    Momma’s gonna buy you an incense stick.

    And if that patchouli smells too rank
    She’ll buy you a sensory deprivation tank.

    And if that tank don’t float your bones
    Momma’s gonna buy you some precious stones.

    And if those gems don’t ease your heart
    Momma’s gonna buy you a natal chart.

    And if your planets go berserk
    Momma’s gonna buy you some bodywork.

    And if your aura still needs kneading
    Momma’s gonna buy you a past life reading.

    And if your destiny stays hid
    Momma’s gonna buy you a pyramid.

    And if your chakras still feel stressed
    Momma’s gonna take you on a vision quest.

    And if power animals don’t come to charm ya
    Sorry, kid, it’s just your karma.

    • Poet
    • Posted November 15, 2008 at 7:56 am
    • Permalink

    Damon, I am sorry that all you can do is LOL. Sounds like you have never experienced anything beyond the concrete.

    Someday you will.

    Good luck and good night.

  5. O man is from the word Adam. Adam was made from the dust of the ground. We too are like Adam a pile of dust.
    Why shouldn’t we walk humbly with our God? Why are men, made from mud, so proud and vain?
    God has showed you, O man. Since the time of Adam, God has shown man His truth. Apostles and prophets have been
    slaughtered for delivering God’s precious truth. Man has had
    ample opportunity and has failed utterly. Now Christ is about
    to intervene and bring us His glorious justice.

    The time will come that either you know God by the Holy Bible that He has written, and coming to know Christ Jesus. It’s up to you how you choose to walk. Personally I like to know where I am walking rather being led by the Blind.

  6. Oh better yet I ask you…………..

    Then spake the LORD unto Job out of the storm, and said:
    Gird up thy loins like a man, and tell me the things that I will ask thee.

    Wilt thou disannul my judgment? Or wilt thou condemnme, that thou thyself mayest be made righteous?
    Is thine arm then like the arm of God? Maketh thy voice such a sound as his doth?
    Then armthyselfwith thine own power, up, deck thee in thy jolly array,
    pour out thy indignation of thy wrath: see that thou cast down all the proud,look well, that thou makest all such as be
    stubburn, to obey: tread all the ungodly under thy feet,cast them down into the mire, and
    cover their faces with darkness:
    Then will I confess also, that thy own right hand hath saved thee.
    Behold Behemothg (whom I made with thee) which eateth hay as an ox:
    lo, how strong he is in his loins, and what power he hath in the navel of his body.
    He spreadeth out his tail like a Cedar tree, all his veins are stiff.
    His shins are like pipes of brass, his rig bones are like staves of iron.
    First when God made him, he ordaineth
    the wilderness for him,
    that the mountains should give him grass, where all the beasts of
    the field take their pastime.
    He lieth among the reeds in the Mosses,the fens hide him
    with their shadow, and thewillows of the brook cover him round about.
    Lo, without any labour might he drink out of the whole flood,
    and sup of Jordan without any trail.Who
    dare lay a hand on him openly, and undertake
    to catch him? Or, who dare put a hook thorow
    his nose, and lay a snare for him?
    Darest thou draw out Leviathan with an angle? or
    bind his tongue with a snare?
    Canst thou put a ring in the nose of him? or bore his
    chaftes thorow with a nawl?
    Will he make many fair words with thee (thinkest thou) or
    flatter thee?
    Will he make a covenant with thee? Or art thou able for to compel him to
    do thee continual service? Wilt thou take
    thy pastime with him as with a bird? Or give
    him unto thy maidens, that thy companions
    may hew him in pieces, to be parted among
    the merchant men? Canst thou fill the net
    with his skin, or the fish panner with his head?
    Darest thou lay hand upon him? It is better
    for thee to consider what harm might happen
    thee there thorow, and not to touch him.
    For when thou thinkest to have hold upon him, he
    shall beguile thee: Every man also that seeth
    him shall go back.
    And why? there dare
    none be so bold as to raise him up. Who is able
    to stand before me?
    TheLord Has Spoken.

  7. SUMMARIES OF 1400 JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES MEDICAL COURT CASES

    The following website summarizes over 900 court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah’s Witness Parents, including over 400 cases where the JW Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their dying children:

    DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES

    http://jwdivorces.bravehost.com

    The following website summarizes over 500 Jehovah’s Witnesses Employment related lawsuits, etc, including DOZENS of court cases in which JW Employees refused blood transfusions, and/or other cases involving Worker’s Comp, medical, health, and disability issues:

    EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH’S WITNESS EMPLOYEES

    http://jwemployees.bravehost.com

  8. =========================================

    TY James, sorry your comment was in the spam box. Also I took your info and links and will use them on my next post about JW’s

    Your free to post this anywhere on this blog you desire.

    TY again

    ========================================


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