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T-Bone

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About T-Bone

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  1. I appreciate your honesty and believe it or not I can relate to all you’ve said. If I’m one of the people you’ve directed these questions - “I'd just like to ask you two above me if after getting out of the way and that mindset if your faith withered? If it did to what point does it remain?” then I’ll shoot for transparency in what I’m going to say. Initially when I left TWI (after 12 years of involvement), I felt like I was damaged goods – not even sure I had faith. It’s been a long journey since 1986 but I now tend to think my genuine Christian faith has not withered (if by faith you mean remaining loyal to God, having my hope set on Jesus Christ, sensing some connection to God…stuff like that; .....btw, I was a Christian long before getting involved in TWI); reflecting on my time in TWI I now see that I had misplaced faith – as I said to you on that other thread (the link in my previous post) so much of wierwille’s stuff was just feel-good Pablum and false hopes. That misplaced faith has indeed withered away. By nature I am a technical person and have always believed that given enough time I can figure out how most things work. I think it was Charles Kettering the famed inventor who said a problem well-stated is half-solved. That’s a pretty cool concept – but even before that, one must realize that there is a problem. All was “wonderful” in way-world for most of my 12 year stint – “wonderful” in terms of thinking I was living a spiritual life, on the right track for learning all there is to know about the Bible and that if I kept at it I would reap all the benefits promised by wierwille. It wasn’t until the turmoil, confusion, frustration and power struggles that set in after wierwille’s death that I became aware of a problem. A question kept coming to the forefront of my mind: If this ministry had more of the rightly divided Bible than any other group then how could all this be happening? Like I said earlier, a problem well-stated is half-solved. That question ignited the critical thinking process – and a seemingly endless flood of questions flowed from that first one – which gave me direction on what to pursue. What does it mean to rightly divide the word of truth? Trying to understand what was happening in our group or comparing other groups led me down many avenues like studying church government – what does the New Testament say about that? Similar to you with your questions about Schoenheit’s credentials and accuracy – I started double-checking wierwille’s Greek and even his credentials (both very shabby in a lot of areas). I would go to the library, buy commentaries, systematic theologies, biblical language references, etc. at stores and estate sales (did I mention I like to read? ). I don’t mean to shoot down any pursuits you have but maybe I can suggest something. I’ve found that sometimes re-stating a problem can often reveal more options on how to resolve it. How about re-stating something you said “Perhaps I never will find the absolute truth” – into something a little more down to earth. When analyzing someone’s teaching maybe you could ask is that true to the Greek text? Nowadays with so much free stuff online it’s easy to find out if so-called teachers are pulling any shenanigans on biblical languages. Another question might be - is that true to the natural sense of the Scriptures? To be honest – there’s a lot of passages that don’t make much sense to me – like in the book of Revelation. But I still enjoy reading it – there is still a lot that can be gleaned from it. But in my opinion STF’s REV translation of John 1 does not stay true to the natural sense of the context – and for that matter it does not stay true to the Greek text either. As a final note, I would like to express the tenuous nature of my faith. This goes along the lines of Waysider’s recent honest and brilliant post above - I believe TWI followers have a false confidence that is based on distorted doctrine from a shyster. I could be wrong on a lot of things but I’m not in this for winning any theological or philosophical debates. Acknowledging our weaknesses, shortcomings, ignorance, and failures keeps it real. We’re all bozos on the same bus. Stay true to your moral compass and have fun exploring the Christian faith! Feel free to private message me – or anyone else who offers – about recommending some study helps while on the journey of faith. Love and peace T-Bone
  2. Rocky recommended some good reading material – and I wanted to add something regarding your question “Do you think john is still living the delusional "the way" mindset?” Referring back to the doctrinal thread STF’s REV that I recommended in my previous post, I would answer your question with a big YES! victor paul wierwille/TWI twisted the Bible to match their theology. If you have any biblical Greek reference tools to consult - you will find a distortion of scripture by STF in just the first chapter of John of their REV translation. It is one thing to formulate a systematic theology based on the plain statements of Bible texts but it is quite another thing – dishonest really – to translate a Bible text according to one’s theology even if it goes counter to the definitions, syntax, etc. of the biblical language of the text. Perhaps it is a carryover of the TWI mindset why some folks are so enthralled with STF’s material. It has to do with learned helplessness. TWI had a knack for convincing folks they could not make sense of the Bible and life all on their own – but instead desperately needed TWI’s help. That’s why I suggested you get into doing your own “research” on another thread: Is it ok to recommend wierwille's books? Maybe something that goes along with learned helplessness is how a cult’s viewpoint becomes the most dominant thing in one’s life. I used to have this idea (in my former TWI mindset) that life revolved around my knowledge of the Bible (or more specifically, how life revolved around TWI’s interpretation of the Bible). What about turning that around? Why not you (including wife and kids – if you are married and have kids) be at the center of your “world” and the Bible and other interests revolve around that? I’m into music and art. I also get into big reading projects. A few years ago I read quite a few books on JFK’s assassination. Now I’m into reading stuff on World War One. I’ve got that book Rocky mentioned on my Kindle and listed on my long reading list spreadsheet – the best way for me to manage the little bookworm inside me. Life is big and it's not just about books – so don’t let anyone put your mind in a stifling little box. Bottom line is you are free to chart your own course in life. I wish you the best and may you be wise in what tools to use to navigate your journey. love and peace T-Bone
  3. You might find some things of interest in the doctrinal forum; here is a recent thread on STF’s REV (and feel to start other topics in doctrinal yourself) STF's REV in doctrinal forum There’s quite a variety of input here at Grease Spot – hearing other viewpoints is always helpful and may lead you down other avenues to study. Though I think you’ll find the most satisfaction and peace of mind on a particular subject by how much you work it out.
  4. Lots of good stuff to think about, WordWolf – thanks ! I wanted to add some relevant points from one of my favorite books on systematic theology. In Volume 2 of Norman Geisler’s Systematic Theology, chapter 8 on God’s Omniscience, Geisler talks about the theological basis for God’s omniscience – that it can be derived from a number of his other attributes: his infinity, his causality, his necessity, his knowledge of reality, his eternality, and his absolute perfection. (Page 181) If God is infinite – that means without limits; and God’s knowledge is identical to his nature; God’s knowledge is appropriate to his being. So God must have infinite knowledge. His knowledge must even include all future events. If it did not God would be limited in his knowledge. (Page 181) Geisler goes on to say that God’s knowledge of reality includes both the actual and the possible. The impossible is not real. God’s knowledge extends to all that is real – if it did not, then God would not be all-knowing. If God knows the possible as well as the actual, then God must know the future – even if any number of scenarios are possible. If something was impossible to happen – then it would never happen. Thus God must know all that will be actualized in the future, including any and all future acts committed by free moral beings. (Page 182) Geisler notes as one of the objections to God’s omniscience that some have is due to a failure to recognize the legitimate use of anthropomorphisms regarding God’s knowledge. Often cited is the interaction between God and Abraham in Genesis 18:20-33. One does get the impression from the text that God did not have adequate information as to whether there were a sufficient number of righteous men to spare Sodom. Geisler suggests that some may fail to grasp that God may sound indefinite to us because he desires to speak in terms that solicit a response rather than to receive an answer to something; Geisler states the infinite God often uses language here and elsewhere of sequential thought and indecision for the purpose of communication, not because of a lack in his knowledge, but due to the lack in our ability to know. (Pages 194, 195)
  5. You have some good points there. If I may, I’d like to add a few comments. I don’t mean to derail this thread – and I know this is not the doctrinal forum – but as is often the case in About the Way forum – there are many issues to sort out involving our personal experiences and TWI’s convoluted doctrine and practice. There are many paradoxes in the Bible and salvation is certainly one of them. Scripture does indicate that salvation is forever – yet – there are also passages that stress we are to persevere (or remain faithful) until the end. It is my opinion that some folks in TWI (at least while I was in it) focused more on the salvation-is-forever thing. And concerning some folks this may even have been to the detriment of a properly functioning conscience. To be honest, I don’t really get into looking ahead to the judgement seat, eternal justice, etc. probably for no other reason than I’m more concerned about what I’m supposed to do right now. I don’t mean to come down on anyone’s hopes or theology – I just believe TWI had a way of getting followers to think more about the rewards and glory of heaven rather than responsibilities in the here and now. Like one leader encouraging me to spend what little money we had at a restaurant (of course it was our treat for him and his wife) while at an out-of-town TWI event – because Christ could come back at any time don’t you know. For some reason this week I kept coming upon verses in the Old and New Testament that address false prophets, corrupt leaders, and developing discernment in such cases. In that regard, Grease Spot is a valuable resource for me. One of my favorite study Bibles is The Life Application Study Bible, NLT. In some ways rummaging through my personal experiences and mental baggage alongside Grease Spot forums is sort of like a life application study bible process. I hope to see more people of note coming forward to spill the beans on TWI’s dark underbelly. Maybe not a “comforting” thought but in my humble opinion any exposing of its all-encompassing deceitfulness does wonders for untangling a wide assortment of TWI entanglements (emotional, intellectual, social, etc.). There is a certain amount of satisfaction that comes with discovering the cause of a problem. You realize that you are not the cause of the problem. You figure out that absorbing TWI’s doctrine and practice was the chewy caramel center (the cause) of the problem.
  6. yes i remember living under that constant threat....i remember it like it was yesterday.... the lights would go out... the shriek of a woman's voice "somebody just grabbed me!" then the voice of vp's motor coach driver "musta been that darn Illuminati again"
  7. == == == == WordWolf, after reading your post a few times (and trying to understand their position) I did a little checking on STF’s website and found this issue addressed in an article A Valid Question – About God’s Foreknowledge : I marked in bold red the first portion of the above statement that I have a problem with. And to be honest – the problem just may be with my overall theological viewpoint – which has changed dramatically since I left TWI. This sort of ties in with the mentioning of the book The Trivialization of God earlier on this thread. I could be way off base here, but it seems (like vpw) cg and js appear to be quite challenged by certain theological paradoxes. The latter part of the quote that I also marked in bold red – further reflects their lack of humility as shown in their preface to the REV as quoted in an earlier post: == == == == I’ve stated earlier that I thought it was honest they said upfront their theology would influence their translation. The more I think about it though – is that really intellectually or academically honest? I mean, translating a text is partly the work of an interpreter – but given it’s a text that was written in an ancient time period, in different cultures, different locations, and in several different languages – should not the interpreter/translator strive to find out what the words and phrases originally meant in that entire context (original cultures, original languages, etc.)? And to that I also ask where are their credentials and peer reviews - that would indicate they are qualified to translate the text? You know, i get it about wanting to make your own translation - as a student of the Bible I sometimes do that myself in working a passage. But maybe my approach is a little more stringent. I tend to think more like a scientist would than a theologian by asking what is written in the text. What is the raw data? From there we can get into theology but even then we should be aware of the difference from a simple statement of fact (for ex. the text here reads thus and so with variant readings of this and that from these other texts) to varying degrees of our mental process (for ex. this passage appears to address the same topic as that passage, this passage may infer this or that, sheer speculation - as in this passage may be talking about another dimension). I don't know how consistent a job I do here of expressing matters as sheer speculation, my opinion or whatever - but I think it is irresponsible of TWI and spinoffs for "teachers" to come off as know-it-alls, spiritually tapped in, or having the correct understanding of the meaning of the text. And I think humility should always be the flexible frame of our thoughts. I think scientists for the most part may be a bunch of very humble folks. Science is always revising what we know of the physical world, with more and more accurate testing equipment always improving on the scientific method - observation and experimentation. My personal theology focuses more on the raw biblical data - and I tend to let that inform my theology; granted there's a lot of fuzzy areas - but I'm ok with that. Getting back to God’s foreknowledge – I think to some degree we all make adjustments in our thinking in order to make sense of certain passages. The Scriptures were written by human authors yet they are supposed to be the very words of God. There’s the matter of trying to resolve passages showing Jesus’ humanity with verses that convey his deity. Another one is the sovereignty of God versus man’s freedom of will. I am sorry to cop out on you all but I do not – I cannot - offer any words of wisdom on any of this. I choose to accept both sides of the biblical data as true. I’m not saying the issues can’t be resolved but given the situation as I see it (trying to wrap my mind around God) it is definitely a fun pursuit but will never be accomplished. Like the story of Augustine and the Seashell: he saw a boy scooping up the shore’s water in a seashell and carrying it to a small hole in the sand – Augustine asked the boy what he was doing and he replied he was bringing the entire sea into the hole. Augustine and the Seashell == == == == Maybe it’s just me and my idea of God – but it seems like a rather odd and demeaning concept when js in his article on God’s foreknowledge suggests dialing down God’s omniscience… sovereignty…whatever – so that God doesn’t come across as disingenuous in his dialogs with others. Maybe God does not tell all he knows or explains contingencies – but there are passages where he does. “ 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” Jeremiah 18: 5-10 NIV == == == == And if a futurist’s interpretation of the book of Revelation is valid (which is how I interpret it) then God has already painted himself into a corner. Guess we’ll have to wait and see how things pan out – to see whether or not he is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, etc.
  8. A lot of great stuff there HG30 & Don't Worry !!! that Frank tune made me think of his Love and Marriage - my dad was a big music lover and had quite an assortment of LPs - he had a bunch of Sinatra and Dean Martin - i would listen to music all weekend with my dad - this is one of my favs
  9. short answer: maybe for whatever reason or reasons - they realized it wasn't a good fit for them. expanded literal not-so-short answer: after a long and continual effort to be honest and kind within a deceitful and exploitative organization - realizing one cannot put a round peg in a square hole - cuz it just don't fit - so they left.
  10. sometimes people feel closer to God after going through a traumatic experience....like the psalmist said - though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me Psalm 23:4.... I can relate to your dilemma - after being in TWI for 12 years and then leaving - I do appreciate the fact that the Power for Abundant Living class (The Bible Tells Me So was one of the books from that class) got me into reading the Bible. Well, I still enjoy reading the Bible but now enjoy the freedom of thought and choice as a Christian free from the intellectual and emotional stranglehold of a cult...with a more discerning eye I have come to realize so much of wierwille's stuff was just feel-good pablum and something to give folks false hopes.... There's a lot of good Bible study helps out there - stuff by real legitimate scholars - that you may want to check out. I have a modest library of Bible versions, reference tools, commentaries, and theological studies on shelves, computer and devices....Perhaps you already have some of this stuff too. It may be a lot more work on your part - to ferret out the meaning and application of a passage - but it will be more rewarding too! Rewarding in terms of growth, developing critical thinking skills etc...I believe there are no shortcuts to anything of real value. Rocky said it looks like you may have figured out a lot of stuff yourself as far as where wierwille is at judging by your own experience...perhaps revisiting Matthew 7 of Jesus' call to discernment - by their fruit you shall know them - it would be worth your time...it's a tough pill to swallow but it is necessary to admit when we figure out we've been deceived. We were drawn to an attractive tree that seemed to hold so much promise. But then...eating the fruit of that tree - digesting the insidious doctrine and practice - we come to find out that tree is not so good...not good at all...don't feel ashamed - Jesus' message of discernment in Matthew 7 is to everyone ....even Christians can be deceived though they are looking for spiritual nourishment.
  11. love that, Waysider !!!!! another revealing book would be great...it may inspire some other leadership to speak out
  12. here's a little teaser for tonight's teaching: While it may be important to remember "to whom it is addressed" It’s just as important to know a tutu is not a dress
  13. The scripture twisting and double-talk in PFAL sold a lot of folks on the supposed "mathematical exactness and scientific precision" of the Bible; vp was an inept plagiarist as well – though he stole Bullinger’s work on interpreting the Bible – vp offered a different conclusion - that the Bible interprets itself (that interpretation becomes the word – but really it’s nothing more than vp’s interpretation); compare that to EW Bullinger’s How to Enjoy the Bible page 188 - after examining II Peter 1:20 no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation – Bullinger said it refers to the origin and source of scripture and not to its meaning or interpretation. vp’s promoting an inerrant Bible and that there’s only one correct interpretation of it leaves a PFAL student little option but to pay heed to what vp has to say about it all. Years after leaving TWI I read Introduction to Biblical Interpretation by William Klein, Craig Blomberg and Robert Hubbard Jr. On page 72 they talk of how Christians often ask an important question for which there is no simple solution – which goes along the lines of asking why didn’t God in his providence insure that an inspired original would be perfectly preserved – indeed he left the transmission and proclamation of Scriptures to fallible and potentially rebellious human beings; I like the answer offered by the authors, and it goes along the lines of perhaps God did not want us to idolize a book but rather to worship the author of the book - God! Their limited view of God is kind of weird. When it comes to a reference of time and God I always think of God as the one who inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15); The NET Bible offers an interesting note on that verse – in Hebrew it’s “one who dwells forever” and is sometimes translated “the one who lives forever”. However, the immediately preceding and following descriptions (“high and exalted” and “holy”) emphasize his sovereign rule. More than likely it refers to God’s eternal kingship....in other words - God is all over this thing called time - he's in it...outside of it...permeates it...he's not having to wing it when a crisis pops up. He's always in charge. Being sovereign and not bound by time he knows the end before the beginning and can orchestrate it all as he sees fit. Speaking of Einstein’s general theory of relativity I read something interesting that gets into multidimensional universes in Beyond Einstein: The Cosmic Quest for the Theory of the Universe by Michio Kaku ( I think it’s not a bad thing to reevaluate one’s theology periodically – maybe take a cue from science how scientists are periodically revising what is known of the world around us - anyway ...) ( Some highlights from pages 11 and 12 ) Michio says in the late 1920’s Einstein’s general theory of relativity provided the best explanation of how our universe began. According to Einstein’s theory, the universe was born approximately 10 to 20 billion years ago in a gigantic explosion called the Big Bang. However, Michio goes on to say there were many gaps in Einstein’s theory. Why did the universe explode? What happened before the Big Bang? Theologians as well as scientists for years have realized the incompleteness of the Big Bang theory, because it fails to explain the origin and nature of the Big Bang itself. Incredibly, the superstring theory predicts what happened before the Big Bang. According to superstrings, the universe originally existed in 10 dimensions, not the 4 dimensions (3 space and 1 time) of today…However, Michio states because the universe was unstable in 10 dimensions, it “cracked” into 2 pieces, with a small, 4-dimensional universe peeling off from the rest of the universe…If this theory is true Michio says then it means that our universe actually has a “sister universe” that coexists with our universe. According to Michio, the superstring theory explains the Big Bang as a by-product of a much more violent transition – the cracking of the 10-dimensional universe into two pieces. Maybe theology is somewhat like the work of theoretical physicists. We look at the given data – the text – scripture – and try to piece together some ideas of an invisible world. Where is heaven? What is heaven? What is a spiritual being? If there was a 10-dimensional universe and it split into 2 – is that now the natural world and supernatural world? Don’t know. It's a lot of theory This stuff is fascinating and fun to think about though. I read The Trivialization of God: The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Deity by Donald McCullough awhile back. Flipping through my copy I picked out a couple of highlighted notes that relate to this thread. On pages 16 & 17, McCullough speaks of how the scientific revolution tended to shove aside the mysterious…flattening transcendence into measurable data. He goes on to say in place of God, we now have control and explanation…I might add with PFAL we got an extra delusional dose – we were taught the law of believing would give us actual control over reality. Yes ! a manageable reality The book covers a lot of ground but another page struck me as something I could relate to while in TWI. On page 141 McCullough talks about understanding holiness as ethical behavior trivializes it into moralism. When we lose sight of the religious or spiritual dimension – the sense of being separate unto God – we flatten the transcendent into a horizontal code of regulated behavior – turns the Christian life into something safe and manageable – insulated from God; the rod of legalism deflects the lightning shock of the holy God. Trivialization of God = == == hey all, please excuse the wild formatting mess going on here - - geez copying and pasting has never been so difficult - tried to straighten it out the best that i could
  14. great points !!!!!!! i agree - the "distinctive" doctrinal stuff - even Jesus Christ is Not God book were a way of showing TWI was different from the rest...unique...no-one-else-knows-what-we-know-and-we-know-it-all kind of a thing...because we know him who knows it all...vp. and getting more involved and taking on more responsibility got you further entangled in so many aspects - emotionally, intellectually, socially...I and my cult are one - - yikes !!!!!