Twinky Posted January 27, 2022 Share Posted January 27, 2022 The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice. I'm pretty sure that no matter what version, when written, what history: all will point to honouring God, the creator and sustainer of the universe; to Jesus Christ his son, who is the way, the truth and the life; and to the life we are supposed to lead - one of respect (awe) for God and respect towards our fellow human beings (if not to mention the whole planet and all there is in it. Jesus's summation of "Love God and love your fellow man" isn't likely to have changed much since it was first said 2000 years ago, and here translated a mere 500 years ago:  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. ...  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. or as NIV, much more recent, puts it this way: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” But even then, some got nitpicky - even with Jesus ("Oh, I don't understand the words - who's my neighbour? Let's do some research!") And this, as a way of living life (from, for a change, the Berean study Bible - many other versions available). In some versions the words are slightly different due to inexact translations expressing the thoughts behind the words, but the thoughts themselves are unchanged. Gal 5:19-22. 19The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; 20idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage; rivalries, divisions, factions, 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. No. No variant reading of the above affects any material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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Hello Mike. I've kinda missed you round here. Could always rely on you to make a point that would stir up Cafe denizens. Was wondering what had happened to you. You went away to study PFAL more de
Am I the only one who thinks Bullinger's Figures of Speech sound a WHOLE LOT like Harry Potter spells? Condescensio! Hypocatastasis! Asyndeton! Polysyndeton! Expecto-Runaroundem!
So the idea is that if specific things come together than things happen. And these things that contribute to the outcome, and the outcome itself, are, or can be known. Some kind of scientific or philo
During my 12 years of involvement with TWI, I was exposed to a lot of training and techniques to facilitate new students being successful in PFAL. By successful I mean that at the last session – session 12 – upon command from wierwille all the new students stood up and supposedly spoke in tongues. All grads were supposed to follow along as well, so we also had to “stand and deliver”.
In a previous post ( here ) – I mentioned the fourfold insidious recipe of PFAL:
1. his signature intuition - refers to what wierwille felt was true regardless of what a passage might really mean; though incompetent with the biblical languages and having a penchant for plagiarism and logical fallacies he was able to cobble together something he was proud of; Signature intuition is wierwille's unique sixth sense of nonsense to divine Scripture, so it always suited his lifestyle - and the devil be damned! It seemed to me wierwille was usually flying by the seat of his pants – using his own initiative and “perceptions” and during live teachings he frequently strayed from the very interpretative keys he taught in PFAL. I think he lacked the discipline, wisdom, experience and honesty of a seasoned researcher and so relied more on intuition to pull off his act. He would often play his trump card “Father revealed it to me”.
A cult-leader’s signature intuition is central to enabling the other 3 characteristics listed below to work together. For want of a better analogy, signature intuition functions somewhat like a manual transmission for the cult-leader – who alone can decide on a whim to “change gears” and adopt a different approach to a situation or task. If the cult-leader doesn’t feel a literal interpretation of Scripture is appropriate, he might spiritualize, allegorize, philosophize or in some way bend Scripture to suit his needs.
2. dogmatic Fundamentalism is a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible. According to Alister McGrath (an Anglican priest, Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, theologian, intellectual historian, scientist, Christian apologist, and public intellectual) fundamentalism began in the late 19th and early 20th century within American Protestant circles - to defend the "fundamentals of belief" against the corrosive effects of liberalism within the very ranks of Protestantism. its outset has remained a counter-culture movement, using central doctrinal affirmations as a means of defining cultural boundaries. Certain major doctrines like the absolute literal authority of Scripture and the second coming of Christ - his premillennial return, became barriers to alienate secular culture and give fundamentalists a sense of identity and purpose. A siege mentality - a defensive or paranoid attitude based on the belief that others are hostile toward one, became characteristic of the movement.
Fundamentalism can be distinguished from evangelicalism by three general ideas. 1. Biblically, fundamentalism is totally hostile to the notion of biblical criticism in any form and is committed to a literal interpretation of Scripture (as I touched on wierwille’s hostility in a previous post). Evangelicalism however accepts the principle of sensible and trustworthy biblical criticism and recognizes the diversity of literary forms within Scripture. 2. Theologically, fundamentalism is narrowly committed to a set of doctrines – some of which evangelicalism regards as peripheral or even utterly irrelevant such as dispensationalism. 3. Sociologically, fundamentalism is a reactionary counter-cultural movement – whereas Evangelicalism is a cultural movement focused on relevance and has a loose basis for self-definition. The element of irrationalism often associated with fundamentalism is lacking in evangelicalism which has produced significant writings in areas of the philosophy of religion and apologetics.
3. Spiritualism - pontificating demonology / spiritualism i.e., the “mechanics” of EXACTLY HOW stuff works in the spiritual realm...spiritualism is a worldview based on the belief that there is more to life than what meets the senses, more to the universe than just purposeless mechanics, more to consciousness than electrical impulses in the brain, and more to our existence than the body and its needs. Spiritualism may involve the belief in a higher form of intelligence or Consciousness running the universe and it seems to satisfy the deeper human thirst for meaning, peace, mystery, and truth…there’s probably some similarity with mysticism – but I think there are key differences between mysticism and spiritualism…Spiritualism can be practiced even by people who are not completely believers, while mysticism always has to do with some divinity or higher being…something beyond the senses. Mysticism seeks union with the higher self…wanting to transcend beyond physical limits…whereas spiritualism seeks a way of bringing non-physical entities…energy…whatever into the real world…maybe trying to connect the spiritual world to the physical world…this is probably convenient for all those practical-minded Gnostics...one of those six-of-one-half-a-dozen-of-the-other-situations I guess...
As best as I understood wierwille’s view of spirit, the spiritual realm, spiritual beings, etc. is that stuff is the greater reality of life – it all is beyond or above the range of “normal” or merely physical human experience. By comparison – according to wierwille - the spiritual realm is superior to the physical realm. wierwille speculated on how the spiritual realm works – but talked about it like it was absolutely true. anything you wanted to know about – like what God can or cannot do – just ask him; he promoted himself as an expert on the relationship between spirit and matter; whatever he said goes even if there's no way to verify it; and whatever he said was regurgitated, parroted and sometimes confounded even more as it is passed down through the ranks of TWI – thus wierwille's nonsense spiritualism is perpetuated.
Demonology is the NON-SCIENTIFIC study of demons or beliefs about demons, and the hierarchy of demons. “NON-SCIENTIFIC” is the operative word! But as far as TWI-believers were concerned - we all thought wierwille was in his element whenever he taught on this stuff.
One of the most bizarre and unsettling topics was his teaching on the unforgiveable sin - being born again of the wrong seed. For someone like wierwille who boasted of the great accuracy and integrity of the Bible and his in-depth analysis of it as well as his supposedly great experience in discerning of spirits and in casting out devil spirits – he offered very little details on exactly how one would commit the unforgiveable sin and get born again of the wrong seed.
I have refuted wierwille’s wrong-seed teaching from a biblical theology point of view elsewhere on Grease Spot – so I won’t bog down this post with even more details right now – but I just wanted to say - in my humble opinion this is one of the most questionable and treacherous doctrines of wierwille. A doctrine that is so fraught with psychological stress that the session on the unforgivable sin was pulled from the PFAL class proper, and was only available for viewing sometime later – after a new student “successfully” completed the PFAL class (i.e. they supposedly spoke in tongues) and has been reviewing all the class material and attending Twig Fellowships for a while...
...We can only speculate why wierwille yanked it from the class proper – my guess is that there were some unintended consequences...maybe he was aware of some folks having issues with thinking they might have committed the unforgivable sin... I remember reading on Grease Spot someone shared of a person they knew who was convinced they committed the unforgivable sin – so they committed suicide... ...how awful !!!! such tragedy and destruction wrought by wierwille's twisted doctrines!
The amazing slight-of-thought - or skillful deception – on wierwille’s part is the incremental process of getting new students to trust him after what they hear and see him do with the Bible. That’s phase 1 - he leads everyone to think he’s done all this research and scholarly analysis and even claimed God spoke to him audibly and said he would teach wierwille (I quoted that from “The Way Living in Love” book in a previous post)…
…and then phase 2 – here it is – his pièce de resistance – he gets new students to take a leap of faith… A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence. It is an act commonly associated with religious belief as many religions consider faith to be an essential element. But I use the term “leap of faith” here in a more general…secular way…meaning simply to believe in something or someone based on faith rather than evidence…
as a former-sucker to wierwille’s con game, I remember how adamant I was – convinced that wierwille was a master at “working The Word” with evidence like his plagiarized teaching of the four crucified with Jesus (myself and other Grease Spotters have examined all the errors in that topic – so not necessary to bog down o details here – fyi use the search feature on Grease Spot – it works real good!)… somehow wierwille “earned” our trust with his slick handling of the written Word – so we follow along with whatever he says about spiritual stuff…
...I don’t know about you – but after I left TWI this has been another great study project – in my opinion wierwille butchers up the Greek syntax in I Corinthians 12, 13, and 14 , he ignores Paul distinguishing between the genuine speaking in tongues (plural) and the gibberish counterfeit of pagan ecstatic speech, speaking in a tongue (singular)…for as much as wierwille encouraged followers to speak in tongues while at the same time discouraging prayer in our understanding – I now tend to think it was just another mind-numbing tactic to suppress critical thinking – besides depriving Christians of the wonderful life-changing, character-shaping, communing-with-God aspects of prayer in our understanding. Reflecting back on the “PERCEIVED NEEDS” of taking PFAL, TIP class, Advanced Class, conducting excellor’s sessions / practice sessions…whatever in order to fill a sense of accomplishment – was just an incredible waste of time and effort…how come we don't find training sessions in the Bible?
And ya know the great principle is a really nonsensical definition anyway. I mean – wierwille comes up with these Gnostic-conundrums-of-spirit-versus-matter-and-never-the-twain-shall-meet like God is spirit and can only speak to what he is – which is spirit. Never mind the stories like of God talking to Adam and Eve in the Garden, Balaam’s talking donkey, exalted Jesus Christ knocking Saul/Paul off his high horse…wierwille said God’s who is spirit teaches his creation in you – which is now your spirit – and your spirit teaches your mind…which I used to think made sense since it goes along with other stuff he said like you’ve got Christ behind every cell of your being…but think about it – I thought he taught that spirit and matter don’t “mix” – but now they do? If matter is so evil what's spirit doing hanging out around it?
So if I’m an unbeliever – and God is everywhere – he’s spirit right – then he’s passing through me and I’m passing through him all the time – so what? Now let’s add a little spirit thingy to my body…then it becomes me and mini-me-spirit passing through God and God passing through me and mini-me-spirit all the time – so what?...shrugs and sighs..the three of us just never talk anymore.
In the Blue Book wierwille has one chapter title as a question “Are You Limiting God?” …for which NOW I can honestly answer back “No – but I think you did.”
Sometime between late '86 and early '87 I got honest with myself and realized I faked it in session 12...and had been spinning my wheels for some 12 years...it's kind of frightening how long one can bebop around in the nebulous wasteland of a cultic-mindset. ...I hit the snooze button for 12 years - in more ways than one.
so I don’t bother doing it – switched to just prayer in my understanding – seems a lot more satisfying...inspiring...fulfilling in so many ways.
oh yeah - lest you forget - Remember wierwille’s Sunday Night Teaching Tape titled “Carnal Versus Spiritual” - he makes some fascinating goofball statements without any pertinent Scripture references to support his claims. Here are some of his wildly exciting far-fetched claims which would surely tickle the fancy and “satisfy” any hard-core die-hard The-Force-of-Star-Wars-fans:
1. Psychologists talk about the subconscious…they’ve never been there…it’s actually the mind of the spirit.
2. All learning comes by way of the five senses…When you’re born again you now have another avenue of learning…In Galatians 1, Paul said he did not receive the gospel from any man, nor was he taught it – he received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ…
3. It’s Christ behind every cell of your being…even behind your brain cells.
4. All the great discoveries and inventions come by way of the spirit – revelation.
5. It’s not because you have such a high IQ – it’s because God has such a high IQ.
6. Countries without Christ do not invent.
Apparently wierwille had a very low opinion of a human being’s cognitive skills…If I had to guess why he felt that way – I’d say it’s probably because he was lazy and incompetent – I mean, why else would he plagiarize so much? To be honest, I have a very low opinion of wierwille’s cognitive skills...Also, I’d like to point out with # 2 and # 4, wierwille equates the revelation of the gospel – a metaphysical truth, with discoveries and inventions – scientific truth.
I'm embarrassed to say I used to believe all his malarkey. I mean - it sounded good...especially to anyone who admired the GREAT DOCTOR WIERWILLE...it gave gullible schmoes like me some hope - something I could aspire to...yeah...I oughta go in the way corps so I can learn how to be just like him.
Yup…I was a big PFAL-wierwille-fan…fortunately when the $hit hit this fan in 1986 – I saw all that vying for power and confusion as a sign – actually the first huge red flag I was in deep doo-doo…aka a crappy cult. It would soon be time to wave goodbye - ....no wait save that for the end...oh, alright - I think there's more of those little emoji spirits anyway.
4. Gnosticism – the secret knowledge - “the keys” to the interpretation of “The Word” and experiencing the same “knowledge and power of the first century church in our day and time and hour.” Really? Well…sounds good anyway…got into this some in a previous post…but that doesn’t stop me from rambling some more about it…
In thinking about Gnosticism’s paradigm of disconnecting the material world from the spiritual world, it makes me wonder if that was a factor in wierwille rationalizing his licentious behavior. I recall the many times I’ve heard him teach on the renewed mind and the Christian lifestyle and he often seemed to imply that the spiritual and physical realms had little to do with each other – and he would emphasize we should focus on the spiritual by saying things like “our old man nature is totally corrupt and unsalvageable – but our spiritual nature that we received when we got born again is perfect and needs no improvement”....I guess he forgot all those passages about how we're to walk as children of the light - like Ephesians 5 where Paul says Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit... Paul is urging Christians to look very carefully at how they live and behave.
And much to the chagrin of Gnostic-wannabees who like to play fast and loose there’s Paul’s admonition to avoid sexual immorality in I Corinthians 6:12-20 ESV :
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined[d] to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
so much for the Gnosticism-spiritualism-spirit-versus-matter-dichotomy-and-never-the-twain-shall-meet-nonsense . I Corinthians 6 teaches us there should be a beautiful harmony of the two.
Nowadays with a mind that is not Kool-Aid drenched, reexamining those kinds of statements he had made – it's obvious to me now that wierwille was unmoored from any of the simple moral demands of the Bible. The compartmentalization involved in the TWI-mindset is mind-boggling…ya know - there's probably more to wierwille's awesome sauce than these four characteristics I've been talking about...it has taken me years to ferret through the nonsense I had absorbed - and I was usually frustrated because I was trying to pin the problem on one thing...but the more I kept thinking about the cognitive dissonance that cults promote in followers - the more I started to realize there were a number of hodge-podge issues with wierwille's ideology...
(drifts off for a while zzzzzZZZZZZZzzzzz .... ) wha ...ahem ahem ...oh where was I ...now the 4 fifteens are ...no wait (looks at cue cards) ...
oh yeah ...again I say the compartmentalization involved in the TWI-mindset is mind-boggling - literally…think of the points on spiritualism I mentioned in #3 versus the strict demarcation of spirit and matter in #4 Gnosticism here…probably too complicated or awkward for my pea-brain to navigate with…guess a good cult-follower should go with the “automatic transmission intuition”(let the cult-leader change gears for you - since he’s the only one capable of handling the manual transmission, i.e., his signature intuition ). But don’t fret – this modern means of transportation comes with lots of user manuals – PFAL books, collaterals, keys to walking by the spirit, PFAL and Advanced Class syllabuses, Advanced Class nametag, periodic tours of wierwille’s Advanced-Class-science-defying junk table inside the Ecto-Containment System Storage Facility and Protection Grid located somewhere in the basement of the Rome City campus - - right next to the sauerkraut dungeon. It is a large, laser-confinement grid that holds and restrains all the vapors and entities that have escaped from the sore butts of perpetually sitting students - can you blame them . Come out you foul and methane spirit!
What may be of relative importance to further unraveling the convoluted mess of wierwille's ideology is to understand wierwille's the spirit good / matter evil maxim correlates to his body, soul, and spirit teaching – the trichotomy view of a Christian . wierwille defined soul as breath-life - which is an organic function of the body (matter) which is considered evil. I also recall something – I think it was Craig who referred to natural men and women (who do not have spirit) by the derogatory term “empties floating by”. Basically, this trichotomy view of a Christian goes against the biblical view that men and women are created in God’s image. The Bible does not state that they lost it in the Fall. We all assumed that from wierwille's wooden interpretation of Genesis 3...An interesting study is a look into the Hebrew definition of “death” – not that I will go into great detail here – but you’ll find basically it means “separation” rather than annihilation or total obliteration – i.e., cease to exist. That human beings still retain the image of God – though it may be tarnished is suggested in such passages Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9 which all refer to a time after the Fall in Genesis 3.
That’s all for now, folks!Edited by T-Bone
editing intuitively !
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Two great posts, Twinky !!!!
After my posts of analyzing PFAL – I wanted to get back to these…I’ll pick back up on more PFAL analysis later... Anyway, you said:
“But later, in PFAL, he says: "The Word of God is true whether or not you see it come to pass" or some such. Was that in context of prophets of old looking centuries into the future for the coming of the Saviour, the Promised Seed, the Lamb of God? We know that many of those OT prophets thought they were forsaken by God, at times. They despaired of their own lives. They must have thought God was backing off from his promises.”
After reading your post – I kept mulling your points over and over again in my mind – and a part of PFAL that has wierwille reading from Romans 8 :
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I think Hebrews 11 is another great chapter that goes along with Romans 8 in giving a very moving account of the faithfulness of Old Testament believers – they all attest to the value of living by faith regardless of circumstances…but anyway
I quoted Romans 8 from NKJV (you can change the version to your preference if you click on the link I gave and use the pulldown to the right of Romans 8) , and I started from verse 18 to give more of the context – which talks about persecution and hardships in this life – as it leads up to the climatic section where Paul says “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US.” (capitalized emphasis is my idea ). The word “through” is really cool – it’s used here as a function word to indicate means, agency, or intermediacy. It is by the action or intervention of Jesus Christ loving us that we have the overwhelming victory – among other things Jesus Christ’s office or function is Lord – he rules our lives.
Reading on to the rest of the chapter, Paul reiterates the lordship of Jesus Christ:
verse 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I found some interesting comments on verses 38 and 39 in NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture : the “principalities and powers” likely refers to spiritual rulers believed to be “guardian angels” of those hostile toward God’s people ( see that in Daniel 10 with references to the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece) and in verse 39 “nor height nor depth” – some scholars compare height and depth to astrological terms, many cultures believed that arbitrary Fate ruled the nations through the stars. Paul believed that Christ rather than Fate ruled believers’ lives, but he may have simply included the terms as a merism to specify everything from heaven to Hades.
Twinky said “We know that many of those OT prophets thought they were forsaken by God, at times. They despaired of their own lives. They must have thought God was backing off from his promises.” I think that’s a fair assumption to make. But in retrospect it seems to me wierwille put a law-of-believing-spin on Romans 8 - perhaps intentionally making light of Old Testament believers and their experiences/hardships to seem of little importance or value – because he zeros in on the idea that WE instead are more than conquerors and don’t have to put up with and endure all that distress, deprivation, misfortune – furthermore he doesn’t emphasize the point that we are more than conquerors “THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US” – which is not surprising since that subtle omission is in tune with his Gnostic-dictum ‘The Word’ or rather ONE”S KNOWLEDGE of ‘The Word’ takes the place of the absent Christ. And all the Gnostics said “amen and amen”.
PFAL promoted the law of believing big time – and that is something I have criticized many times on Grease Spot, because…I know there is NO SUCH THING AS A FORCE…INFLUENTIAL POWER…CONTROLLING AGENCY THAT WORKS FOR SAINT AND SINNER ALIKE… however…
That’s right I said “however” …however, what wierwille did was distort, mischaracterize and hype the power of one’s belief system. Our beliefs help us make sense of the world. From what I’ve read online, some experts think our beliefs are somewhat like a software program always running in the background as we take in information and examine its source – checking for compatibility or conflicts with our existing beliefs. Our beliefs help form and/or modify a mental model for understanding the world, our self and others.
Bertrand Russell once said, “believing is the most mental thing we do”. It has also been said that our thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions, respond not to the world as it actually is (for we never know reality directly) but to the world as we believe it to be. Our beliefs tell us who we think we are, mark our place in the world and are essentially an ongoing personal narrative that anchors us to various places, situations, and events across our lifetimes…Our brains have no direct contact with the outside world. Our only information about what is going on outside of our bodies comes to us from our five senses.
Perception in psychology is defined as the analysis of sensory information within the brain. Through perception we obtain a description of our surroundings and what they mean. Because of that, we can’t always assume that our perceptions are reality – if anything they just might be our own interpretation of reality. That’s why it’s important to respect the perceptions of others – they might be more accurate than ours. It takes real courage to admit we’re wrong and let go of certain perceptions. Sometimes it’s advantageous to seek out validation from experts or at least from other credible people who are outside of our circle of friends or religious group…In trying to make sense of it all – since I left TWI – trying to make sense of life in general, I often had to ask myself the question “Am I open to modifying my perception if the evidence is strong and logic demands it?”
I think about one of the first really big catastrophes to happen in my life after I took PFAL in 1974. The year was 1979. Another believer was helping me tune up my Yamaha 250 Street Scrambler (bought it for $200 from a guy who lived in a trailer and had a bunch of pet snakes – at my urging we conducted the business transaction outside ). This motorcycle was a real piece of work – it had a VW muffler for a baffle and the oil pump was shot – I had to premix oil at the gas station whenever I fueled up – I always carried a small bottle of 2 cycle oil in a saddle bag…anyway – the believer knew what he was doing, and we got this puppy running smooth.
I hop on the “Yammer-Hammer” get as far as 1 block and an old geezer ran a stop sign (I had the right of way, anyway – no stop sign for me) – he almost plows into me but since I was going slow and saw this whole crisis developing I laid the bike down to avoid T-Boning - his car. In the process I laid the bike down on my left lower leg and sustained a spiral break of the lower leg and some road rash on my shoulder, hip and leg.
A full leg cast didn’t work that good so then they went with a Hoffman Device – external fixation hardware with steel screws drilled in above and below the break of the Tibia and the big honker adjustable bar on the outside to hold Tibia and Fibula in place. It gave me that exoskeleton look – and was always a conversation piece at Twig. BUT – this really messed with my view of reality – or rather put some cracks in my PFAL-colored glasses. I mean – bad mojo was leaking through the lenses. What happened to my hedge of believing? I had no fear of getting in an accident. How could this happen? Why did this happen? I was running a Twig. Faithfully abundantly sharing and sponsoring people in the corps, occasionally volunteering my labor to go help the ministry develop its newly acquired property of Camp Gunnison.
I never was big on TWI’s law of believing after that incident. A few years later we had moved to Texas and there was another thought-provoking incident. One rainy morning I was on my way into work while listening to a Sunday Night Teaching tape in a portable cassette player. I’m at almost a dead stop at the on-ramp to the freeway when – WHAM – another car plows into the back of my work truck. No big deal – no one was hurt – we swapped insurance info – both vehicles drivable – we both move on – end of story…or so I thought…
...at the next Twig meeting – afterwards I happened to share about the little fender bender that happened to me on the way to work. Yikes – the Twig coordinator – a lady just out of the way corps – laces into me about where my head was at. I said something like I thought it was in a pretty good place since I was listening to a Sunday Night Teaching tape at the time…I mean – this got weird – in front of the rest of the Twig…because it started out after Twig proper in a casual conversation – and escalated to me being on trial for failing to believe big enough to maintain my deflector shield – which would have made that car bounce off my unharmed truck.
Ever since then this has been one of the biggest chinks in my PFAL-armor …one of the weakest points in dealing with the practical matters of life. PFAL gave me a false sense of security…and incites a false sense of bravado…alcohol can incite a false sense of bravado that gets people in trouble. For some people, it's hard to tell whether they are drunk or being stupid. Folks who are really drunk with PFAL-Kool-Aid do stupid things too…which reminds me of going LEAD.
In the way corps I had to go LEAD twice. wierwille stressed the importance of trusting God in every situation and how hitchhiking was no different – and then he said something like “you could get hit by a car while walking across the street right out here” – so basically minimizing any risks in hitchhiking. (It wasn’t until years later, I read on Grease Spot about some of the horror stories of rape, assault and other horrible experiences of way corps hitchhiking to or from L.E.A.D. …And what’s more – imagine how powerful the way corps psychological conditioning must be for the victims of assault…robbery…sexual molestation…rape to refuse to file a police report because they are expected to get to or from the L.E.A.D. locale in a timely manner rather than face the wrath of leadership. )
You know you’re in a harmful and controlling cult when leadership is viewed as a law unto themselves…cult-leaders certainly behave that way, acting as totally independent of the laws of the land…Something is out of whack when cult-leaders demand more respect and fear than the police and the legal system...and if all that’s not screwed up enough, wierwille had a callous way of dealing with anyone’s misfortune – it didn’t matter what happened or how it happened, he would always blame it on the person's lack of believing – in other words, it was the victim’s fault)...I don't know what the L.E.A.D. program was supposed to accomplish - but it does make me wonder what kind of person wierwille was to put the lives and well-being of his most devoted followers at great risk!...oh well, he’s “The Teacher” of PFAL-fame…maybe he knows something I don’t.
I did mention earlier about wierwille distorting, mischaracterizing and making extravagant and unrealistic claims about the power beliefs have.
I do think there is something to what we believe – not as a power that enables you to manipulate reality – but as a way to access and even “program” our deepest and most inconspicuous desires. I read a personal empowerment book titled Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life by Gary John Bishop .
Here’s a few meaty and stimulating excerpts from pages 58 to 69…now as you read this, do a reality check like I did when I read this stuff. The author is NOT saying whatever you believe you can achieve, or you that can do the impossible. My take of the book is that Bishop is saying whatever you believe deep down inside then that sets your course – and you will follow (even almost unconsciously) that course and do whatever is necessary to navigate that course.
Now if your course, goals, objectives, destination are unrealistic – then you have doomed yourself to frustration and spinning your wheels…you’re wasting your time and efforts…If I had to correct PFAL on the subject of believing – that’s how I’d recommend the correction – set your beliefs on realistic goals – and let that shape your strategy and the execution of your “plan”…
...I think this “regular old belief system” our brains all come with, works for saint and sinner alike – it has ever since humans have been around…when I say works for saint and sinner alike – I mean consider the genuine accomplishments of anyone you admire – celebrity, scientist, author, musician, athlete, professional, family, friend, etc. – and if you think about it they’ve probably developed a life of good habits to help them reach realistic goals…the inverse of “works for saint and sinner alike” is when it doesn’t work out because the appropriate habits were not maintained or unrealistic goals were set…we give witness to the validity – OR - the lack of fact or truth, in our beliefs through our everyday actions…
…anyway as promised - here’s the excerpts from pages 58 to 69 of Unfu*k Yourself – I’ll leave it up to you to get what you want out of it:
“…our thoughts are so powerful that they are constantly pushing you toward your goals, even when you don’t realize what those goals actually are! Your brain is wired to win…You’re always winning because your brain is wired to. The trouble comes when what you really want – on a subconscious level – and what you say you want are different, sometimes radically so…In his research, Dr. Bruce Lipton, the famous stem cell and DNA scientist, found that 95 percent of what we do in our day-to-day life is controlled by our subconscious. …That means that out of all the things you say or do, only a tiny fraction of them are with a true sense of volition…
…The path you follow through in life is the one dictated by your deepest, most inconspicuous thoughts. Your brain is constantly pushing you along that path, whether it’s the one you would constantly choose to take or not…
…While it’s important to identify what you’re at work on and whether you are being productive instead of busy, sometimes it really is a question of getting yourself into another domain. How does one do that? Firstly, you have to uncover and realize the ways in which you limited yourself…Those conclusions are the limit of your potential…
…we hold a certain belief about ourselves or life that we prove right time and time again through our everyday actions. Those beliefs uncannily turn out to be deadly accurate in our reality. Sinning your wheels? What ae you out to prove there?...
…Take some time for introspection. If need be, write down the patterns you are seeing. Put the pieces of the jigsaw together…
…The Stoic philosopher Seneca once said, “It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” Right now your mind is unconquerable when it comes to proving that you’re not worthy of love, that you’re lazy, or that you’ll always be out of shape or never have any money.
But if we change our thinking a little, we can use our mind’s unconquerable nature to act on all the positive goals and dreams we hold for ourselves. We are wired to win – we just have to point ourselves in the right direction so we can win at something we consciously choose.
…you still need a game plan…
…subconscious thoughts are deeply ingrained in your psyche, so it can take a lot of thinking, imagination, and commitment to transform these invisible yet powerful thoughts into ones that better align with your stated goals.
= = = = = =
End of excerpts
Considering the ideas from Bishop's book I think offers a good explanation for the failure and frustration that many grads have experienced trying to adhere to the PFAL-lifestyle. From some of my own experiences that I have briefly detailed above – it has become clear the lack of success and disappointments came from setting unrealistic goals and maintaining habits that waste time and effort but achieve nothing.
Circling back to the ideas at the beginning of my post which elaborated on Twinky’s appreciation for the reality of the Christian life as indicated in the Bible. It isn’t a bed of roses…I segued into life is what you make it – whether you’re a sinner or a saint – meaning it is up to you to make of your life what you want. If you set your sights on pipe dreams - unattainable or fanciful hopes or plans from PFAL…well…good luck with that…let me know how that’s working out for you…and please be honest if you’d care to share here on Grease Spot…I tend to believe someone’s story if it’s evident they were successful in achieving it the NORMAL WAY – through hard work, honesty, and good habits and good work ethic. I tend to doubt someone’s story if they go on and on how they believed for God’s abundance, confessed it till they were blue in the face and now they’re a gazillionaire.
That’s all for now, folks
We are more than editors for him who loves to post
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Good post, T-Bone.
It's late, and I'm taking my cold off to bed shortly, but a few things occurred to me from what you said.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4 (in fact, the whole of this psalm is a great read, esp :3-7)
Question: what are the desires of your heart? Your real desires? Health, wealth, family, home security (a roof over your head)?
Is this where the desires of your heart are? "Set your affections on things above..."
1Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col 3:1-4) (the rest of this chapter is pretty good, too!)
Seriously, people. Do we live as though we are "seated in the heavenlies"? Do we enjoy our life, our "hidden life"? Do we set our hearts on things above, and look, wait expectantly, for the return of the lord? Do we earnestly seek after the magnification of God, the creator of the universe, and his son Jesus Christ?
Do we really endeavour, with all our heart, mind, strength and soul, to bring about the kingdom of heaven on earth, by living in a risen-with-Christ manner? By bringing about what we can of: "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (You know, that "forbidden" prayer)?
Do we do God's will?
Do we tell our friends, neighbours, colleagues, about the richness (not the cash) that is available by believing God and His many promises? Or are we --- afraid to offend?
I think we will find the true riches when we live like this, a bit more from Colossians:
Put to death, therefore, the components of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed [prosperity doctrine!!!], which is idolatry . 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience.b 7When you lived among them, you also used to walk in these ways. 8But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
9Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices, 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. ...
12Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Bear with one another and forgive any complaint you may have against someone else. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful.
16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
If we can manage to live like this (and with other desirable traits discussed in the Bible, but no time to go into here), we'll be excellent friends, parents, children, employees --- if we're excellent employees, then riches (a good pay packet) will come our way.
Yeah, I know. I'm still doing my feeble best to do these things. I fail miserably sometimes, often; but sometimes I get it right. Anyway, I'd rather follow after a heart of compassion, being kind and gentle (patience is another thing!), and being forgiving etc than follow any fake "believing" as commanded by the strange gods of PFAL, orange books, and prosperity doctrines. Ps 81:8-9.
Now for a hot shower, a warm bed - and perhaps a nip of whisky. For medicinal purposes, you understand.
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T-Bone, 2 posts up.....
"Twinky said “We know that many of those OT prophets thought they were forsaken by God, at times. They despaired of their own lives. They must have thought God was backing off from his promises.” I think that’s a fair assumption to make. But in retrospect it seems to me wierwille put a law-of-believing-spin on Romans 8 - perhaps intentionally making light of Old Testament believers and their experiences/hardships to seem of little importance or value – because he zeros in on the idea that WE instead are more than conquerors and don’t have to put up with and endure all that distress, deprivation, misfortune –"
A number of times- including one ROA evening teaching-("Believing- Hebrews 11") wierwille was rather specific. When he taught on Hebrews 11, he stopped briefly on Hebrews 11:35.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
wierwille then expounded some very specific error. He taught that they COULD have been delivered, but they chose not to ask God Almighty for deliverance, because they were "tired of the fight" and just wanted to die and get it over with, so that they'd just get to a better resurrection. So, yes, he taught that the suffering prophets of old could have believed their way out of suffering and stuff.
This error was SO egregious that chris geer later, in between making it sound like wierwille regularly walked on water, taught this differently- without mentioning that wierwille taught it wrong. ("Principles for Victorious Christian Living 1- God's Roll Call of Honour." ) The "deliverance" mentioned in verse 35 was a secular deliverance. Those torturing them would have stopped if the prophets would have recanted. The prophets refused to renounce God- and obtained a better resurrection.
vpw's blind spot due to his insistence on his fictional "law" of believing tainted even the reading of relatively-straightforward sections of Scripture.
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I didn’t mean to give intuition itself a bad rap.
Matter of fact, I believe our intuition should be integral with our more analytical study of the Scriptures...But it’s important to realize that it’s not perfect and it can be misinterpreted or even compromised by a seared conscience – certain passages like Proverbs 16:25 and Judges 21:25 will attest to that – we find that one’s feelings can be wrong, and not all inner leanings should be heeded. Because of our sin nature, we are often prone to error and poor judgment. If relying only upon our own powers of discernment, we can be led astray.
I believe people are created in God’s image and as such we reflect some unique characteristics of our Creator – like a moral compass, the ability to judge what is right from wrong and act accordingly. At times we may acquire knowledge without obvious deliberation. Perhaps that is what Ephesians 1:17 is talking about - “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you…”
Ever notice how in PFAL, wierwille gets you to doubt yourself. You learn to think of YOUR own intuition and cognitive skills as unimportant…possibly defective, maybe just plain “worldly”, just natural man driven…five-senses based…remember Eve in the Garden and the road down…oooooh she changed “The Word” , added to “The Word”, questioned “The Word” blah blah blah now she be daid…if you stick around TWI for a while, you learn there’s even more reasons to doubt yourself…you could be tricked by devil spirits or even… possessed!
One thing you do learn to trust is the signature intuition of the cult-leader.
That simply means it’s THEIR personal “unique” intuition and NOT YOURS.
It’s funny how in PFAL wierwille goes on about “The Word is of no private interpretation” – so you saying “I think it means this or that” is a big no-no. But it’s ok if wierwille does it. Only he doesn’t say “I think it means this” – he just flat out says “it means this”. He may even go on about how he uses the keys to The Word’s interpretation like looking at the context – but that’s a really sneaky move of his – you can witness it in PFAL when he gets into teaching about the holy spirit from I Corinthians 12, 13 and 14 – the way he mistakes who the pronouns refer to reminds me of finding the pea in the shell game – sure he’s staying within the context of those chapters – never mind if he screws up the Greek syntax - but remember how he handled I Corinthians 12:11 “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will “ – wierwille interprets the “he” as referring back to “every man”. But many other versions interpret it as referring to God by capitalizing the pronoun so it reads “He” – like in the Holman Christian Standard Bible “But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.” If you click on the link I gave for I Corinthians 12:11 you’ll find that listed along with some other versions on Bible Hub’s website – most you’ll find reflect a similar interpretation of this verse – that the pronoun refers to God. The New Living Translation is quite emphatic “It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”
What’s the difference?
Well, if you lean towards the “he” is referring back to “every man” as wierwille suggested then you probably bought into his idea that everyone CAN operate all nine manifestations but not everyone WILL operate all nine manifestations – it is an act of will - the capability of conscious choice, decision, and intention. In the class he explains that when someone operates their “long suit” it is of outstanding quality – if I remember correctly, he uses the example of someone who’s “specialty” is speaking in tongues with interpretation – when they do that in a believer’s meeting you’re just bowled over in amazement....now here's an observation: everybody in TWI can speak in tongues, interpret tongues and prophesy PROFUSELY ! ... I mean - that stuff is so easy to FAKE !!!! but how many have you noticed doing REAL miracles, gifts of healing that can be verified by medical doctors, genuine word of knowledge, wisdom, - info that can be verified independently - stuff that only God would know, and not just stories "I heard of a believer who did this or that". If people in TWI had such miraculous powers, they'd be on the news every other day for clearing out hospitals of the sick and dying and clearing out funeral parlors of the recently deceased. PFAL grads would be kicking covid's a$$ !
What’s an alternate interpretation? I lean toward it being GOD who is in charge of distributing to each person as GOD chooses – and it doesn’t even suggest that each person gets SEVERAL according to his own believing – and I believe that same idea is reflected in some translations like the Holman Christian Standard Bible “But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.” and The New American Standard Bible “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” But in TWI it doesn’t seem like God is – or ever was in charge.
The Way International is an authoritarian pyramid structure with the absolute power being at the top. A hierarchy or pyramid-like power structure is probably the most common among businesses and the advantages are obvious. There is a clearly defined career path, roles and responsibilities, promotion plan and chain of command. Taking the PFAL class for the first time is entry-level – the lowest level in the hierarchy. There is a clearly defined career path, roles and responsibilities, promotion plan and chain of command. You follow all the rules and regs - you’re going places – if you don’t, you risk being labeled a cop out, marked and avoided. There are no feedback loops for reactions or comments from customers or employees so as to improve a product, service or the workplace… Think about it…Do they ever ask for input or ideas? Are leaders approachable? Do they keep people boxed in with rules? Are they really interested in the personal preferences and goals of followers?
What does all this have to do with PFAL?
I’m glad I asked that question – I’ve been looking for a smooth segue.
PFAL is the master plan.
PFAL is the comprehensive and far-reaching plan of action. A master plan is defined as a dynamic long-term strategy that provides a conceptual layout to guide future growth and development.
If you’ve ever wondered about the way corps program but never been – just think of it as a Bible-based graduate school division of a university offering advanced programs beyond the bachelor's degree…only it’s not based on the Bible perse – it’s based on “the Bible” for graduates of the PFAL class – which is of course PFAL duh !…but not just the same old PFAL material…it’s the same old PFAL material hyped up and glorified with the potential to incentivize sales reps…uhm…errr…I mean incentivize way corps graduates to find more suckers to take the PFAL class. There is a phrase many of the way corps are familiar with “a suggestion is tantamount to an order”. Authoritarians rely on psychological coercion and the manipulation of information as ways to control others. The level of control becomes more stringent as one gets more involved.
The higher up you go in TWI you’ll notice more and more that conformity is encouraged as if it were a virtue. Individualism is frowned upon. Wanting to debate an issue or having a difference of opinion is a big no-no. If leadership ever does hear you out on your complaint, it’s usually a stalling tactic so you might tend to think they’re going to help you – but in the end, if they can’t “fix” you – i.e., get you to admit you’re wrong and they’re right – then they’ll dismiss you. Dissenters do not last long in TWI.
Why were we trained as PFAL class “instructors” (don’t get all excited like YOU would get a chance to actually teach something - it’s just the person in charge of running a PFAL class) to have people WAIT until the END of the PFAL class to ask any questions? We were trained to announce that caveat at the very beginning of the class saying more than likely your questions will be answered in a later session. I think the real reason is that “the instructor” hoped by the last session you forgot some questions you had during earlier sessions. And what’s with those “listening with a purpose” (don’t you love the redundancy in TWI phrases) questions in the syllabus for the end of each session. God forbid you gave the wrong answer when “the instructor” called on you. “Uhm, you in the back (the class "instructor" looks at my nametag) T-Bone is it? How many were crucified with Jesus Christ?”
PFAL is all about pat answers. Complexity is ignored – so it’s tough if your situation, question, dilemma does fit into wierwille’s script (aka PFAL). PFAL encourages an obfuscating mindset in followers...much of it depends on all-or-nothing thinking. … (An either-or fallacy is a false dilemma that presents only two options or sides when there might actually be more than two options or sides)...some other cognitive distortions often come into play such as overgeneralizations, filtering (focusing on only the negative or the positive instead of looking at the whole picture), jumping to conclusions, blaming, labeling... …what it all boils down to is whatever works to undermine rational thinking and fulfill wierwille’s (or any other TWI-leadership) need to always be right.
...Recalling my time in residence, it was extremely laser-focused on knowing The Power For Abundant Living class material backwards and forwards. During the three meals we had each day in the dining room, we were randomly called upon to give a five minute teaching - right there on the spot – and immediately critiqued right after that. Even back then I was disturbed by one fact - that people who quoted PFAL material verbatim or with very little deviation from that, received the highest praise with little or no criticism... In preparation for doing our research papers – which I suppose is one of the academic highlights of a college education – to this day I still remember LCM pounding on the podium and bellowing out “Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – base your research paper on something from PFAL”…looking back now – do you know what all that tells me? The aim of the way corps program was to create little clones of wierwille. What is a clone? Technically it’s an organism or cell, or group of organisms or cells, produced asexually from one ancestor or stock, to which they are genetically identical. In other words, it isn’t natural! It's not even supernatural...It's creepy.
That’s all for now –
I’ve got a funny feeling about this edit
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Is this whole paragraph Mr Russell's thoughts? It just reminds me of solipsism. Which is probably handy is developing one's narcissism. VPW could only give that which he is, yes?
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That’s a very stimulating observation, Bolshevik!
Well, an overly simplistic definition of solipsism is the quality of being very self-centered or selfish…and to answer your question was that whole paragraph Russell’s? No – it was an amalgam of his stuff and some other ideas I read on line – mostly stuff out of Psychology Today articles…but here is the whole paragraph of Russell’s lecture that contains that line:
“Belief, which is our subject to-day, is the central problem in the analysis of mind. Believing seems the most "mental" thing we do, the thing most remote from what is done by mere matter. The whole intellectual life consists of beliefs, and of the passage from one belief to another by what is called "reasoning." Beliefs give knowledge and error; they are the vehicles of truth and falsehood. Psychology, theory of knowledge and metaphysics revolve about belief, and on the view we take of belief our philosophical outlook largely depends.”
from The Free Library: Lecture XII. Belief
end of excerpts
= = = =
Following up on your solipsism reference I found this on Wikipedia:
Solipsism (/ˈsɒlɪpsɪzəm/ ; from Latin solus 'alone', and ipse 'self') is the philosophical idea that only one's mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind.
here are varying degrees of solipsism that parallel the varying degrees of skepticism:
Main article: Metaphysical solipsism
Metaphysical solipsism is a variety of solipsism. Based on a philosophy of subjective idealism, metaphysical solipsists maintain that the self is the only existing reality and that all other realities, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, and have no independent existence. There are several versions of metaphysical solipsism, such as Caspar Hare's egocentric presentism (or perspectival realism), in which other people are conscious, but their experiences are simply not present.
Epistemological solipsism is the variety of idealism according to which only the directly accessible mental contents of the solipsistic philosopher can be known. The existence of an external world is regarded as an unresolvable question rather than actually false. Further, one cannot also be certain as to what extent the external world exists independently of one's mind. For instance, it may be that a God-like being controls the sensations received by mind, making it appear as if there is an external world when most of it (excluding the God-like being and oneself) is false. However, the point remains that epistemological solipsists consider this an "unresolvable" question
Methodological solipsism is an agnostic variant of solipsism. It exists in opposition to the strict epistemological requirements for "knowledge" (e.g. the requirement that knowledge must be certain). It still entertains the points that any induction is fallible. Methodological solipsism sometimes goes even further to say that even what we perceive as the brain is actually part of the external world, for it is only through our senses that we can see or feel the mind. Only the existence of thoughts is known for certain.
Methodological solipsists do not intend to conclude that the stronger forms of solipsism are actually true. They simply emphasize that justifications of an external world must be founded on indisputable facts about their own consciousness. The methodological solipsist believes that subjective impressions (empiricism) or innate knowledge (rationalism) are the sole possible or proper starting point for philosophical construction. Often methodological solipsism is not held as a belief system, but rather used as a thought experiment to assist skepticism (e.g. Descartes' Cartesian skepticism)
Denial of material existence, in itself, does not constitute solipsism.
A feature of the metaphysical solipsistic worldview is the denial of the existence of other minds. Since personal experiences are private and often considered ineffable, another being's experience can be known only by analogy.
Philosophers try to build knowledge on more than an inference or analogy. The failure of Descartes' epistemological enterprise brought to popularity the idea that all certain knowledge may go no further than "I think; therefore I exist" without providing any real details about the nature of the "I" that has been proven to exist.
The theory of solipsism also merits close examination because it relates to three widely held philosophical presuppositions, each itself fundamental and wide-ranging in importance:
One's most certain knowledge is the content of one's own mind—my thoughts, experiences, affects, etc.
There is no conceptual or logically necessary link between mental and physical—between, for example, the occurrence of certain conscious experience or mental states and the "possession" and behavioral dispositions of a "body" of a particular kind.
The experience of a given person is necessarily private to that person.
To expand on the second point, the conceptual problem here is that the previous assumes mind or consciousness (which are attributes) can exist independent of some entity having this attribute (a capability in this case), i.e., that an attribute of an existent can exist apart from the existent itself. If one admits to the existence of an independent entity (e.g., the brain) having that attribute, the door is open to an independent reality. (See Brain in a vat)
Some people hold that, while it cannot be proven that anything independent of one's mind exists, the point that solipsism makes is irrelevant. This is because, whether the world as we perceive it exists independently or not, we cannot escape this perception (except via death), hence it is best to act assuming that the world is independent of our minds. (See Falsifiability and testability below)
However, being aware simply acknowledges its existence; it does not identify the actual creations until they are observed by the user.
From: Wikipedia – solipsism
end of excerpts
= = = = =
I vaguely remember getting into some of this stuff eons ago in a philosophy class in my university’s liberal arts program – but I was an art major…and also working two jobs - bass player in a bar band ( FYI we always sounded better when the audience were mostly drunks ) and a carpenter’s helper at the time, pursuing different versions of intangible things I guess - wish I would have paid better attention to that philosophy stuff cuz now I really get into it…I think my approach now with getting into philosophy of religion – there’s some similarities with the varying degrees of solipsism / skepticism...
...anyway, good catch on that soli thing, Bolshevik.
going soli on this edit and leaving everyone else out of it
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Whatever it is you guys are talking about now - you're sure to be confusing Mike!!
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As a man thinketh is all gnosis.
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The second wave of a tsunami: That's the one that drags you away from the safety of solid ground and sucks the life out of you.
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That’s why David Hasselhoff always looked so busy – maintaining constant observation of troublesome areas in anticipation of problems from the inexperienced and those who have a death wish.
oops forgot to wave
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Death wish? They were just washing the sand out of the machinery of life.
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Meanwhile the greatest cargoes of life are waiting to unload – there’s problems in the supply chain.
again with the wave
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Hey Grease Spotters,
here we are at the umpteenth session of the ALLEGED 2nd wave of returning to PFAL has started…in case anyone is wondering about these long and detailed critiques of mine and why I am going full steam ahead – it’s because my target audience are the PFAL-fans mentioned in the very first post on this thread – which includes more than the fans that the thread-starter knows personally – it also includes current followers of TWI and also the offshoots…and really ANY PFAL grad who has a strong sense of disillusionment derived from the failure of PFAL to fulfill the goals/claims/promises/benefits that “The Teacher” (wierwille) stated AND the perception of inconsistencies between the actions of “The Teacher” (wierwille) and the ideals he supposedly represented…
I am trying to be more dispassionate as well as making more of an effort to suppress my weak attempts at comedy and sarcasm – which is a toughie for a class-clown wannabe. Considering my own experience of leaving TWI and what led me to reevaluate their dogma - it was usually persuasive discussions using calm words, logic, and evidence – whether it was from fellow way corps who had already left before me, old friends I knew before I got into TWI, or other EXTERNAL sources like books on systematic theology, psychology, philosophy, critical thinking and websites like Grease Spot Café.
This post was a long time coming – “inspired” by one of my favorite sessions of the PFAL class - battle of the senses (session 6, I think – funny how much I still remember). If I would give this post a parody title, I’d call it battle of the senseless…or maybe YOUR intuition and cognitive skills versus wierwille’s “revelations” …I also thought it could be called PFAL’s sedative to YOUR intuition and cognitive skills.
Since I left TWI, this has been a thoroughly engrossing topic because it explains a lot of things - like how I got duped by wierwille in the first place and eventually becoming completely entangled in the convoluted dogma of a harmful and controlling cult-leader. Matter of fact, in August of 2006 not too long after I joined Grease Spot I started a thread TWI's sedative to the conscience
which discusses the way wierwille’s ideology tends to impair or weaken one’s sense of feelings, awareness and analysis. Though they vary in strengths we all to some degree have both intuitive cognitive decision-making methods and analytic cognitive decision-making methods and depending on our unique individual makeup we usually have a tendency to lean more one way or the other.
In an earlier post I mentioned the four major characteristics of wierwille’s ideology in PFAL - there’s probably more …and you’ll have to pardon my offhanded humor – that’s just how I deal with difficulties sometimes…I believe that’s the rub with stuff like intuition, spiritualism, and Gnosticism…we’re talking about the abstract…intangibles…immaterial…airy stuff…it becomes extremely laborious to poke around in…and I’ve said it before - it’s probably because I don’t know what I’m doing, and I don’t know what I’m looking at .
I’m sure there’s lots of other dyscognitive odds and ends in wierwille’s philosophy besides what I’ve mentioned – some have been discussed on Grease Spot… and unfortunately for many survivors of a harmful and controlling cult there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of toxins to our cognitive skills in the residuals of a former mindset – i.e., mental baggage - negative experiences that we have not let go.
As a sucker who fell for wierwille’s con game, I remember how adamant I was – convinced that wierwille was a master at “working The Word” , given everything I knew about him - gathered from not only sitting through the PFAL class for the very first time and believing all he said in the class about his years of research, pastoring, looking for definitive answers, personal experiences and especially the things he shared in the TWI-authorized book “The Way Living in Love” which I read about the same time frame of taking the PFAL class for the first time (don’t you love that “for the first time” – how many times did we have to sit through that thing?!?! ) – I was really impressed not only by all the hard work he said he put into finding those answers but also Whiteside’s book recounting wierwille hearing God’s voice promising he would teach him “The Word” if he would just teach it to others…and so as far as I was concerned he earned my trust with his slick handling of the written Word and of course his visitation from God – so I followed along with whatever he said about spiritual stuff, and had no hesitancy “investing” my whole life in it.
The legal definition of a confidence game is as follows:
The confidence game is an attempt to defraud a person or a group by gaining their confidence. The method is usually adopted to obtain money or property of another person. This act of abusing the confidence of a person is a crime in the U.S. The main elements of confidence game are:
1. intentional false representation to a victim as to some present facts
2. knowledge that the representation is false
3. intention that a victim should rely on the representation
4. representations being made to obtain a victim’s confidence and thereafter his/her money and property
from : US Legal - the confidence game
What is confidence? The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust. The state of feeling certain about the truth of something. It’s embarrassing to admit – and seems so silly and childish now how back then I really thought I could rely on wierwille to always point me in the right direction because of the mission God gave him. I looked up to him as a child looks up to their father.
I was spellbound by the chapter Are You Limiting God? In the Blue Book “The Bible Tells Me So”. On pages 23 & 24 wierwille lays it all out on how the spiritual realm works. Being into art and music I had a thing about transcending an ordinary life – to find meaning and purpose – such an ambitious goal for someone all of 20 years old…man oh man, I found THE ULTIMATE SHORTCUT.. .. .. anyway in Are You Limiting God? wierwille says:
".. .We frequently limit God in ourselves by our wrong believing, by accepting the knowledge that comes to us through our senses. Our reason says, 'That just cannot be,' and so we confess the negative, when all the time His spirit within us is crying out, 'Sufficiency in everything.'
We have been so schooled to revere the knowledge that comes to us through our five senses that we fail to recognize the knowledge that comes from the higher realm, the spiritual where the Word of God, and not reason, has first place. Both realms or worlds are here: the natural world is factual; the spiritual world is true.
As there are four kingdoms in this world, and one supersedes the other: the plant kingdom, animal kingdom, kingdom of man and the Kingdom of God; so, there is a natural world and a supernatural or spiritual world.
The natural world and everything in it comes to the mind through or by way of the natural senses. The truths of the spiritual world are absolutely not dependent upon the senses, but rather on the spirit from God in man."
End of excerpts
There are a number of confusing elements in wierwille’s statements. One of the issues is confusing metaphysical truth and scientific truth and making metaphysical truth superior to scientific truth. There’s lots of other questionable stuff like Gnosticism’s tendency toward speculation and seeking special knowledge, and the differentiation between spirit being pure versus matter being evil.
For someone who was young and naive like I was, this all sounded great and “technical” and I felt truly enlightened – I mean I found out stuff that most folks twice my age didn’t know about. in a matter of a few short weeks, I had absorbed a supernatural worldview that explained so many things. We tend to base our beliefs on trusted sources…and PFAL was mine.
As I mentioned before, I “learned” to doubt my own intuition and cognitive skills while “mastering” the habit of trusting the intuition and cognitive skills of a cult-leader.
What does all that have to do with PFAL?
Good question. I’m glad I asked that. Remember I started out this post by talking about intuition and cognitive skills.
PFAL is a class billed as teaching you the keys to a power for abundant LIVING – in other words it just a means…directions to a certain way of life. It’s just a how-to class. But normally a how-to book or class provides DETAILED and PRACTICAL advice – it should focus on ACTUAL DOING or USING something rather than spewing out theories and ideas.
In the Orange Book “Power for Abundant Living” on page 4, wierwille stated:
“This is a book containing Biblical keys. The contents herein do not teach the Scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21; rather, it is designed to set before the reader the basic keys in the Word of God so that Genesis to revelation will unfold and so that the abundant life which Jesus Christ came to make available will become evident to those who want to appropriate His abundance to their lives.”
The first issue is that throughout the introduction of the book, wierwille is concerned with material abundance rather than the intangibles of Christianity – like godliness, a reverent awareness of God's sovereignty over every aspect of life…an exercise or discipline that focuses upon God and from this Godward attitude arises the character and conduct that we usually think of as godliness…As Twinky pointed out in an earlier post from I Timothy “But godliness with contentment [God's idea of prosperity] is great gain.”
What PFAL does is tinge one’s worldview with materialism.
There is a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. PFAL is like a sales brochure – a tool to answer questions and close sales. How can I be successful? How can I increase my prosperity? PFAL has the answers. However, from experience – my 12 years of involvement – I’ve figured out, those answers are not tried and true. It is all THEORETICAL.
We tend to base our beliefs on trusted sources and PFAL was mine. There is an ebb and flow to life – and we must act or react. That’s when the rubber meets the road...theories and ideas are PUT TO THE TEST when our efforts make contact with reality. However, the journey unfolds, we may from time to time find intelligible and practical stuff. But what about the things that don’t make sense or seem incapable of handling reality? What about all the disappointments and frustrations? PFAL has a lot to answer to.
The phrase “the acid test” alludes to a chemical test to prove the pureness of gold. This test was developed in the late 18th century and used nitric acid, which dissolves other metals more readily than gold. So, the amount of metal dissolved would prove the pureness of the gold. The acid test was used to distinguish gold from copper or some other metal.
The term came to mean a process to prove the value of something, or the standard that something must meet to prove its value, a sure or decisive experiment.
This is a crucial step in dealing with the fantastic claims and hype of PFAL. Matter of fact, this also gets into what’s probably one of the most basic issues of Christianity – how to relate faith to reason.
Faith deals with revelation – or some supernatural disclosure which could not be discovered by the unaided powers of human reason. Now reason is the natural ability of the human mind to discover truth. With science, truth is determined by verification – as in the scientific method – which is a lot of observation and experimentation. Flying a plane or launching a rocket into space are doable because scientists found out the truth about gravity – like there are ways to work around it. Science is practical – if it works, it’s true.
Scientific truth gives us no criteria for metaphysical truth.
Therefore, what is needed is another definition of truth for the metaphysical realm.
In reading up on philosophy, I lean toward one theory of what truth is – it’s called the correspondence theory of truth “In metaphysics and philosophy of language, the correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world. Correspondence theories claim that true beliefs and true statements correspond to the actual state of affairs. This type of theory attempts to posit a relationship between thoughts or statements on one hand, and things or facts on the other.”
From Wiki - correspondence theory of truth
So basically, truth consists in some form of connection…correlation…resemblance…agreement between a belief and a fact. For me, this gets into how I look at the Bible – and there’s a lot of ways to look at the Bible – even as a Christian.
I believe fundamentalist groups like TWI are usually hard-pressed to link the Bible with science. I believe the Bible is metaphysical truth (metaphysical = in a transcendent sense or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses) – that it is a revelation from God – written by people inspired of God. Considering that people are not perfect, have worldviews shaped by their times and culture, I think the Bible is best understood as metaphysical truth and not as scientific truth.
“Historians, archaeologists, mainline and liberal theologians generally believe that the authors of books in the Bible simply accepted the contemporary Pagan beliefs taught in neighboring countries about the shape of the earth, and the layout of the universe. That involved a flat Earth with the Sun, Moon and Stars revolving around the Earth…”
from: Religious Tolerance.org - cosmology
The literary intent of the Genesis 1 cosmic hymn is to depict the world as having been originally established as a place of order. In our culture, our concept of existence usually involves physical material – something tangible – it has mass – takes up space or experiences – like love, the passage of time…living from hand to mouth defines a meager existence. By contrast, in the ancient world something existed when it had a function – a role to play.
In the ancient world people were much more inclined to think of creation not so much as to produce the physical cosmos but to establish order and making it functional. The cosmos was not seen as complicated machinery or systems but more like an assortment of kingdoms - realms regarded as being under the control of a particular being. Therefore, it was important to know who governed a particular domain. In my opinion what differentiates Genesis 1 from competing belief systems is that the God of the Hebrews was sovereign – supreme ruler over everything in that he named and assigned a function to everything.
Some info from The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate by John Walton
Consider the opening passage of the Bible - “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” – if I use the correspondence theory of truth, it seems reasonable that Genesis 1:1 might very well correlate with the big bang theory. The Bible wasn’t meant to be an encyclopedia or textbook. I don’t think Genesis 1 was intended to describe the science of how the universe was created, like an Astrophysics for Dummies book – it’s more like an ode to The Creator – the One who started it all.
The big bang theory is one of scientists’ best guess on how the universe began – it is “the prevailing cosmological model explaining the existence of the observable universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution… the theory describes an increasingly concentrated cosmos preceded by a singularity in which space and time lose meaning (typically named "the Big Bang singularity")”
from: Wikipedia - The Big Bang Theory
In other words, the universe started with an infinitely hot, infinitely dense singularity, then inflated — first at unimaginable speed, and then at a more measurable rate — over the next 13.8 billion years to the cosmos that we know today. The possible connection of Genesis 1:1 to the big ang theory could be that God is the one who created the infinitely hot, infinitely dense singularity.
But to be honest, this is just my warm and fuzzy way of relating a metaphysical truth to a scientific truth - in other words - that's just my opinion - I could be wrong.
It's important to understand the nuts and bolts of our worldview. How was it built? What sources are we trusting - putting our faith in?
Ronald H. Nash Ronald H. Nash (May 27, 1936 – March 10, 2006) was a philosophy professor at Reformed Theological Seminary. Nash served as a professor for over 40 years, teaching and writing in the areas of worldview, apologetics, ethics, theology, and history. In his book Faith & reason: Searching for a rational faith by Ronald H Nash on pages 51 and following Nash makes some clarifying statements and intriguing questions he said Christian theism is only one of many competing conceptual systems.
On what grounds can people make a reasoned choice among worldviews? Which worldview is most likely to be true? What is the best or most promising way to approach this kind of question? When faced with a choice among competing touchstone propositions of different worldviews, we should choose the one that, when applied to the whole of reality, gives us the most coherent picture of the world. Nash said from one perspective, there are six criteria by which we should test worldviews – and because there is merit in seeing the relationships among these criteria, they can also be treated as three groups of two:
1. The tests of reason and experience
2. The tests of the outer world and the inner world
3. The tests of theory and practice
Nash observed it’s possible to reduce the number of tests still further since they obviously overlap – for example # 1 tests of reason and experience and #2 tests of the outer world and the inner world can be thought of as extensions of the theoretical test of #3. He goes on to say it’s possible to regard all six criteria as elaborations of one basic test, coherence – since the term coherence points to the fact that the various elements of the worldview should be internally logical and consistent and should fit all that we know about reality. Test of reason is logic or the law of noncontradiction. Since contradiction is always a sign of error, we should expect a conceptual system to be logically consistent, both in the individual or sub-propositions and in the whole. A conceptual system is obviously in trouble if it fails to hang together logically.
I know this is some pretty heady stuff to talk about – but what does this have to do with PFAL?
I said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m glad I asked that question…but will I please stop asking that! Okay, I will…Sometimes I get on my own nerves.
It goes back to thinking for yourself – instead of just absorbing information from someone else. It means growing in confidence with your intuition and cognitive skills. How do we do that? Use it or lose it. Flex those “muscles” – put a load of thinking and feeling on them instead of letting them atrophy.
Some passages indicate the more we align ourselves with the sentiment and moral demands of the Bible – the more reliable our instincts become – Psalm 37:23 https://biblehub.com/psalms/37-23.htm
and the Bible does seem to suggest that when we seek wisdom as our highest priority, our intuition can very well be a safeguard against tragic mistakes:
Proverbs 2: 3-5 https://biblia.com/bible/esv/proverbs/2/3-5
Ecclesiastes 7:12 https://biblia.com/bible/esv/ecclesiastes/7/12
Psalm 111:10 https://biblia.com/bible/esv/psalm/111/10
James 1:5 https://biblia.com/bible/esv/james/1/5
I do not disparage the work of genuine, honest, altruistic Christian leaders, teachers and scholars. I appreciate their work for the way they have broadened my horizons and provided clarity and depth to my faith. But we should also remember the words of Jesus Christ in John 7:17 https://biblehub.com/john/7-17.htm
“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
I believe there’s something to this verse that might have to do with HOW our intuition and God may work together – in that metaphysical truth is self-authenticating through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit – perhaps that is also implied in passages like
John 16:13 https://biblehub.com/john/16-13.htm
and I John 2:27 https://biblehub.com/1_john/2-27.htm
I’ve always enjoyed detective and mystery novels. Disentangling oneself from the stifling and at times crippling mindset of PFAL is like a mystery. You realize there’s a problem – a crime has been committed against your personhood. It appears that your authentic-self was put in a comatose state – it was a deep and prolonged unconsciousness. This was done to you surreptitiously. Who did it? How did they do it? What was their motive? What circumstances gave them the opportunity to put your intuition and cognitive skills in a deep sleep?
Jean Shinoda Bolen's insightful book The Tao of Psychology - Synchronicity of the Self made reference to Agatha Christie's novels about her detective characters often using an intuitive approach asking what is the meaning of this event, what were the circumstances surrounding it, and what are the possibilities implicit within the event ? But in order to see the whole picture Bolen says intuition's counterpart is also necessary - which is a straight forward logical approach of the situation - what details of the circumstances do the five senses take in?
Intuition and cognitive skills are your investigative tools for solving the case of the anesthetized authentic-self and making it fully operational again.
In talking about my PFAL experiences and observations I’m reminded of a scene in one of my favorite movies, a 1998 film The X-Files: Fight the Future
In an early scene FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, are on a rooftop investigating a bomb threat against a federal building in Dallas. They and the rest of the emergency response team scattered throughout the building have thus far failed to locate the bomb. That’s when Mulder says:
“Whatever happened to playing a hunch, Scully? The element of surprise, random acts of unpredictability? If we fail to anticipate the unforeseen or expect the unexpected in a universe of infinite possibilities, we may find ourselves at the mercy of anyone or anything that cannot be programmed, categorized or easily referenced.”
Mulder’s hunch takes them on a new and broader investigative path, as a dangerous conspiracy is starting to unfold…that’s what my forage into the murky ill-defined haze of wierwille’s ideology within PFAL has been like.
Richard Paul and Linda Elder in their book Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life have some good advice for unraveling a problematic mindset:
“If the quality of your life is not what you wish it to be, it is probably because it is tied to the way you think about your life. If you think about it positively, you will feel positive about it. If you think about it negatively, you will feel negative about it…For most people, most of their thinking is subconscious, that is, never explicitly put into words…The problem is that when you are not aware of your thinking you have no chance of correcting it. When thinking is subconscious, you are in no position to see any problems in it. And, if you don’t see any problems in it, you won’t be motivated to change it…most people are in many ways victims of their own thinking”.
There are many ways to expose the various levels of your own thinking. For me, writing things out is a big help…like in a journal…and talking to someone else…Grease Spot is great for that…
...take for instance a statement from PFAL, “the law of believing works for saint and sinner alike”. For most clear-thinking folks that statement will trigger a slew of questions and inspire challenges which basically goes along the lines of Socratic questioning - and in a group setting it involves a disciplined and thoughtful dialogue between two or more people. It is often used in teaching and counseling to expose and unravel deeply held values and beliefs that frame and support what we think and say - using focused yet open questions, we can unpack our beliefs and those of others. When we dialog with another person or persons - unless you are all playing a game of random association – the problem-focused group can be very productive depending on how much everyone stays honest and on track.
When you write something down, type in a post online, say something out loud to a friend – you give a thought definite form – something that's somewhat tangible in that once it's out in the open it may summon deeper thoughts from yourself as well as invite useful feedback from others. It's not a matter of trying to impress others with what you know, striving for literary perfection or philosophical eloquence – but of getting better at articulating your own experiences, observations and realizations – learning how to express your ideas and feelings fluently and coherently…And when it comes right down to it, there are many ways to address a problem. The whole idea is to get you to engage all your levels of thinking – recalling information and experiences...analysis, evaluation, synthesis, creation, application, etc. You're striving for meta-cognition which is an awareness of one's own thought processes and an understanding of the patterns behind them.
That’s all for now –Edited by T-Bone
battle of the editors
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Actually the current Way leadership has an easy way to deal with the PFAL topic they whitewash or and wrap it into a non published history book about the ministry. Then they declare themselves as having the only true version of the present truth and don't allow in older waves of followers who ask too many questions. Like Mike for instance.
So how have the BOD returned to PFAL? Because they have time and time again rather than developing a new class based upon something else.
First the video was getting noticeably outdated and they were losing people. So ego boy Martindale are taught it with all the pomp and circumstance of Hugh Hefner on the red carpet with velvet jacket and all. What are his credentials? A psych bachelors degree and a second string college athlete stories. No research except he and Clapp.
Next when Martindale torpedoed and was usurped by Rivenbark, first the Corps taught the same Martindale class live, then they video it with Rupp lomgley and DeLisle.
After Longley left due to the dichotomy of teaching a research class with no research department they replaced him.
So the current BOD has returned to PFAL with a new Frankenstein version. Taught by tools with seared consciences.
I'm sure that approach will save the world. Just run on the rails that brought you there lol.
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I fear you may be right.
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Greetings and felicitations, Grease Spotters as we open another session of How’s Your Critical Thinking
…If you’ve been following along, then you’re aware that this thread has taken a turn for the better, by the objective analysis and evaluation of PFAL in order to form a judgment.
Part III of the PFAL book is titled How the Bible Interprets Itself, and Chapter Twelve: In Its Verse, wierwille states on pages 145 and following:
II Peter 1:20 is a Scripture that I ordinarily begin with in my classes. In this book I have gone into more background to point out the accuracy of The Word so that now we are ready to study this verse.
II Peter 1:20:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
This is the first thing one must know if he is going to understand the greatness of God’s revelation in His Word. No prophecy, not one verse, is of any private interpretation.
If I say, “This is what I think it means,” I am giving my private interpretation. If you say, “This is what I think it means,” or if any denomination writes, “This is what our denomination says it means,” we have private interpretation. Give two men the same Scripture verse and, by privately interpreting it, they will come to two completely divergent conclusions. All our splits in Christianity come because we do not study The Word from its inherent accuracy. It matters nothing what we think, what our opinions are. The crucial element is what The Word says. You and I have to do our thinking according to the accuracy of The Word.
II Peter 1:20 is the only place that idios is translated “private”. At the other places in the Bible it is translated “one’s own” or “his own”. The word “interpretation” is the Greek word epilusis which occurs at no other place in the Bible. The Greek verb form of epilusis is epiluo “to let loose upon,” as a hunting dog is let loose upon game. Idios plus epilusis equals “of no personal letting loose.” One does not just let his mind run vagrantly as when turning a dog loose upon the game; one does not let his mind wander and give all kinds of interpretations to the Scripture. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any personal letting loose.”
After eliminating private interpretation, two alternatives remain in interpreting God’s Word: (1) either there is no interpretation possible or (2) The Word must interpret itself. If there is no interpretation possible, then we might as well forget the whole project of understanding The Word. But this is not the case. The is another answer – The Word interprets itself.
The Word interprets itself in one of three ways: (1) it interprets itself in the verse where it is written; or (2) it interprets itself in its context; or (3) the interpretation can be found by its previous usage in The Word.
It was a remarkable revelation to us who do Biblical research to discover that the vast majority of the Word of God does interpret itself right where it is written. I would estimate that from Genesis to Revelation 85 to 90 per cent of the Word of God interprets itself in the verse…
…One note which we must heed is that the words must be understood according to the definitions at the time the translation was made. The meanings of words change. We would have a problem three weeks from now if a new translation were published today because of changed definitions and usage of words…
…There is another point. Verses that are self-interpreting must be in harmony with all other Biblical references on the same topic…
…Now let us proceed to the issue of narrative development. Narrative development means that several passages of Scripture on an identical incident or subject may augment the information given in each other. Each passage of Scripture relating to the same incident may not give the same details but the Scriptures must complement and agree with each other or we do not have the true Word of God.
End of excerpts from the PFAL book
~ ~ ~ ~
If you’ve ever studied logical fallacies, then it shouldn’t surprise you that wierwille’s premise (either the Bible interprets itself or there is no interpretation possible) offers PFAL students a false dilemma - also referred to as false dichotomy – it is an informal fallacy based on a premise that erroneously limits what options are available.
Sometimes on Grease Spot Café PFAL-fans will get up in arms when others criticize PFAL and the PFAL-fans will counter with arguments like “it doesn’t matter if wierwille plagiarized other people’s work – all truth is still God’s truth” …One Grease Spotter mentioned wierwille use to say that “you can find truth on the heels of the devil.”
In my humble opinion statements like that represent a very weak rebuttal. Consider the definition of systematic theology – it is “a discipline of Christian theology that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the doctrines of the Christian faith. It addresses issues such as what the Bible teaches about certain topics or what is true about God and His universe.”
From Wikipedia – systematic theology
As I have detailed in previous posts on this thread and will continue to do so – there lacks an orderly, rational and coherent account of the doctrines of the Christian faith in wierwille’s “teachings” whenever he addressed many topics – such as God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the Christian lifestyle, sin, interpreting Scripture, etc.
I’d like to parse the assumptions hidden in wierwille’s plagiarism / all truth is still God’s truth dictum.
I am most familiar with Bullinger’s work (which wierwille stole a lot from) and matter of fact - I still remain appreciative of it to this day. On my shelves of Study Bibles, Bullinger's Companion resides for quick access …This is actually my second copy of it – which I purchased in 2004 at a Barnes and Noble Store. My first copy was given to me by my W.O.W. coordinator Dawn in 1976 at the end of our W.O.W. year – I had borrowed hers so much – even photocopying sections of it for study projects – she finally said, “You use this more than I do” and gave it to me. Thanks again, Dawn
I still have that – though it’s been repaired in a bunch of places and I even had to “band-aid” the well-worn hardcover by gluing a brown Naugahyde jacket over it – it doesn’t look that bad – sort of works like Ralphie’s brother Randy’s winter wear in A Christmas Story in the scene where Momma Parker bundles up Randy so well for his trek in the snow that Randy can’t put his arms down to his sides…My Naugahyded Companion Bible has that car-door-is-ajar-look …But anyway – even though I love Bullinger’s work I don’t treat it like it’s the ultimate reference…I think PFAL-fans are that way with wierwille’s body of work – with PFAL being like the secret decoder ring depicted in the movie “A Christmas Story”…since it is the redefining ciphers of wierwille’s intuition, fundamentalism, spiritualism and Gnosticism that seem to decode the hidden accuracy and integrity of “The Word”.
Admiring Bullinger’s work does not mean I think it’s the ultimate trustworthy reference tool for Bible study – one should still exercise good judgment when reading anything. As far as Bullinger goes, I am particularly wary of his ultra-dispensationalism – which in my humble opinion has no Biblical merit – as well as some of the other highly suspect articles in the appendices at the back of his Companion Bible – especially Appendix # 164 “The ‘Others’ Crucified with the Lord” – which gets into Bullinger’s theory that there were four (two thieves and two malefactors) crucified with Jesus.
I will always give credit where credit is due – on the other hand, wierwille could only wish he was even one quarter the scholar that Bullinger was…a true scholar – no matter how good is not perfect…but what distinguishes a scholar from a fraud like wierwille is that a scholar is a specialist in a particular branch of study…a distinguished academic…a person who is highly educated…has an aptitude for study.
unlike wierwille's fabrications and exaggerations of his credentials - as stated in the authorized book on TWI, titled “The Way Living in Love” (by Elena S. Whiteside, co 1972, American Christian Press, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 72-89132), on page 175, Whiteside quotes wierwille as he talked about his studies and influences:
“I don’t remember much of the past. I’ll have to renew my mind. Oh yes, did I tell you I taught at Gordon Divinity School? Homiletics was my specialty – that’s preaching. I took everything I could take at the Moody Bible Institute too, through their correspondence courses."
Way back in early June of 1987, I contacted The Moody Correspondence School Department of the Moody Bible Institute and spoke with Vivian Ruby in the Registrar’s Office. I was stunned to find out they had no record of wierwille completing a course with them. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I had to have something more tangible than a woman’s voice over the phone telling me that in effect wierwille lied about something in his education. I asked her to mail me that information in a letter with Moody Correspondence School’s official letterhead…the letter reads as follows:
June 29, 1987
To whom it may concern,
This is to verify that Victor Wierwille did not complete a course with us. This is not to say that he didn’t purchase a course from us but that he did not complete one. We do not keep records for courses that are not complete for more than 10 years.
~ ~ ~ ~
Even if you want to give wierwille the benefit of a doubt and suggest he may have purchased a bunch of courses but did not complete them – I would say that’s doubtful – it still doesn’t agree with what he said “I took everything I could take at the Moody Bible Institute too, through their correspondence courses.”
Even if he purchased ten classes but didn’t complete any of them – how could he say he took everything Moody Bible Institute Correspondence School had to offer?
He made a vague and misleading statement. Needless to say, my "investigation" really picked up steam after I held that letter in my hand – but there was also an ominous feeling…dread...would I find out the foundation of my faith was built upon the shifting sands of a false-teacher?
...well, PFAL-fans - that's certainly something to think about isn't it...
...and If you’re wondering what drove me to investigate wierwille’s background it was probably a sneaky suspicion…a hunch…intuition…a gut feeling that all the commotion and power-grabs after the reading of passing of the patriarch was due to an erroneous and unstable infrastructure that wierwille himself had built....during that time of crisis in my faith - the words of Jesus Christ kept reverberating in my soul:
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” from Matthew 7
( you can see the actual letter here > The Moody Correspondence School Department of the Moody Bible Institute )
...anyway...getting back to Bullinger...I still like to refer to Bullinger’s Companion Bible for its outline of literary structure throughout the Bible, observations on the figures of speech, explanations of Hebrew and Greek words, and general cross-references.
I think Bullinger did stand on shaky ground sometimes - because of subscribing to the plenary verbal inspiration theory of how the Bible was written – the theory asserts that God’s inspiration extends to ALL of Scripture – WHICH INCLUDES when the writers recorded any historical, physical science and life science details…wierwille subscribed to this theory of inspiration too… “Verbal” refers to the WORDS of Scripture. “Verbal inspiration” means God’s inspiration extends to THE VERY WORDS the writers chose. I’ll get into the four major theories of inspiration that attempt to explain how the Bible was written in another post. Since this one is kinda long…
Ever the unabashed plagiarist, I believe wierwille capitalized on Bullinger’s theory of the 4 crucified with Jesus as a way to distinguish himself from all other theologians - as if to say “look what other Bible scholars had apparently missed.”
I totally disagree with Bullinger’s theory on the 4 crucified – but I’ll say this – at least Bullinger did the work. Perhaps he went a little overboard to try and gloss over the differences in the narratives on the crucifixion… I don’t know for sure.
However, when you get to wierwille’s spiel – it was a mixture of sense and nonsense that appeared to be earnest and meaningful and at times a rapid patter of deliberately evasive ambiguous language and elaborate and passionate but confusing explanations. From a theological standpoint what wierwille missed was the importance of the central figure at the crucifixion – the Lord Jesus Christ!!!!
…I am extremely skeptical of wierwille’s “narrative development” or “Scripture buildup” mentioned above in the PFAL book – for brevity’s sake I did not include his example of the 4 crucified with Jesus, because it was totally SUBJECTIVE as it was a perception that relied on his mind, as opposed to something that exists in reality (but I will debunk it in my comments forthwith).
That his meaning of narrative development is subjective is evident from wierwille’s own definition – as quoted above in the PFAL book – he said “Narrative development means that several passages of Scripture on an identical incident or subject may augment the information given in each other. Each passage of Scripture relating to the same incident may not give the same details but the Scriptures must complement and agree with each other or we do not have the true Word of God.”
Just because wierwille THOUGHT several passages of Scripture were of the identical incident or subject but giving different details does not necessarily mean that is so – wierwille borrowing from Bullinger’s theory states “two thieves or Greek, duo lestai in Matthew 27:38 PLUS two malefactors or Greek, duo kakourgos of Luke 23:32 EQUALS 4 crucified with Jesus.
When I first took PFAL in 1974, after the session on the 4 crucified with Jesus, the class instructor passed around a Bullinger Companion Bible, opened to appendix 164 of Bullinger’s theory of the 4 crucified – and lo and behold there’s a picture of five stone crosses in Brittany, France…Here’s what Wikipedia says of that site:
The Five Crosses (in French, Les Cinq Croix) are a set of stone crosses at Ploubezre, near Lannion, Côtes-du-Nord, in Brittany, France, classified as a historic monument by a decree of 7 December 1925 and, as a group, attributed to the 18th century.
The central cross is placed on a tall pillar and has a figure of Christ on one side and of Mary the mother of Jesus on the other. The other crosses are plain except for that immediately to the right of the central cross, which bears the date 1728. The base of another is inscribed with the date 1733.
Differing accounts attribute the central cross to the 15th or 16th century and consider the others to be medieval, while local lore has it that they were erected to commemorate a victory over English invaders. It is also said that they were assembled from various nearby places by the rector of the church to preserve them from destruction or on the occasion of a religious mission, perhaps in 1728 or 1733.
The 1826 land survey shows that at that time the crosses stood, with a different orientation, along the road at about 25 metres from their present position…
Interpretation by E. W. Bullinger
Groups of crosses are found also in other parts of Brittany gathered together for reasons that are now difficult to explain. Examples are a pair in front of a chapel at Croaziou and three at Pont Hir.
However, the English theologian E. W. Bullinger (1837–1913) attached special significance to the group of five at Ploubezre, claiming that it was a confirmation of his theory that Jesus was crucified with four, not just two, criminals: two thieves and two other malefactors.
from Wikipedia - The Five Crosses note - if you click on this Wikipedia link you'll see the same exact picture in Bullinger's article.
Among other errors, I think Bullinger AND wierwille were both just making a mountain out of a molehill and being ignorant of how people relate an incident – and how people may prefer one synonym over another. To one Gospel writer, the two men crucified with Jesus were described as thieves. To another writer, they’re malefactors – or evildoers. Even wierwille teaches in PFAL that each author of any book in the Bible used their own vocabulary and style when writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (as mentioned earlier, I do plan on getting into the different views of inspiration in a later post )
If you look at definitions of Koine Greek used in the New Testament ( a dialect that developed within the armies of Alexander the Great; Koine Greek is considered to be the language of life, modern Greek can be termed as the language of the books. There are some differences in the grammar between Koine Greek and modern Greek).
According to Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, editors Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich on page 532 the Greek word lestai is from a root meaning “to win”, “to seize” and “to seize as prey” and hence lestes for “one who seizes as prey”, used in antiquity for a soldier or mercenary who has an implicit right to booty; Josephus used the term for the Zealots; Rabbinic Judaism adopted the term from the Greek and used it to refer to robbers besides the Zealots. So implicit in the word is robber and revolutionary.
And on pages 391 and following of The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament concerning the Greek word kakourgos, has a root expressing a lack and has the meanings of “unserviceable”, “incapable”, “morally evil” “bad”, “weak” and “ruinous.”
Both lestai and kakourgos appear to be more synonymous than different as wierwille claimed they were. Matter of fact in Richard Trench’s Synonyms of The New Testament on pages 158 and 159 talks about no passage has suffered more seriously from translators muddling up similar words than Luke 23: 39 – 43 (see Luke 23 – Mounce Reverse Interlinear New testament )
The significant and rapidly changing moral condition of the man referred to as the “penitent thief” is obscured for many by the association which almost inevitably cling to this term. The two malefactors crucified with Jesus, the one a hardened criminal, the other repentant. In all probability he had belonged to the band of Barabbas, who for murder and insurrection had been cast into prison along with his fellow insurgents
See Mark 15:7 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament
He too was himself a lestes John 18: 40 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament
This condemned man was no ordinary malefactor – on the contrary, he was a notorious prisoner in the same class of criminals as Jesus Barabbas who the ruling priests and elders had persuaded the crowd to ask for a prisoner release according to the governor’s custom.
As a Roman official, Pilate probably didn’t wish to appear too lenient – a weakness that his subjects might exploit. And perhaps having a concern for order - which for governors, often took precedence over individual matters of justice, especially when the accused were not Roman citizens, Pilate presumably calculated that the crowd would select Jesus a popular Messianic figure, whom Pilate deems harmless, over Barabbas, thus freeing himself from the obligation to release a hardened criminal like Barabbas. Matthew 27: 16 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament
Some details from NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture
To clear up the “double-vision” of seeing 4 criminals surrounding Jesus - one should also consider the fickleness of human nature - that one of the “thieves” who mocked Jesus in Matthew 27 was also the “malefactor” who had a change of heart in Luke 23. Sometimes people do that when they’re lying at death’s door.
Another assumption that wierwille had was that the crucifixes were in a straight line (as if the Roman Execution Tech Support Team were the ancient forerunners of the way corps who are also well versed in the fine art of stringing a line to set up chairs for a meeting ) – wierwille overly dramatizes John 19: 31B – 33
Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
wierwille makes a mockery of the traditional view of the crucifixion scene described in John 19:18
Since the passage says Jesus was in the middle, wierwille acts out the soldiers covering their eyes as they walked in a straight line to ignore Jesus in the middle of the group - to break the legs of the other criminal – and then doubling back to Jesus only to find he was already dead. The scenario is very silly indeed IF the crosses were lined up in a straight line.
Rather than the crosses being set up in a perfectly straight line - It’s just as plausible that the three crucifixes were set up in a rough semicircle or triangular configuration especially on uneven ground like a hill – with Jesus’ cross being at the apex point of the semicircle or triangle – it would thus be set back from the crosses of the two criminals. Then, it would be a natural course of action for the soldiers to break the legs of the two criminals in the forefront first – and since it also says “soldiers” (plural) it is possible that there were at least two soldiers who would break the legs of both criminals at the same time – and then head up toward the middle where they find Jesus was dead already.
Even if the crucifixes were set up more or less straight across – it’s also conceivable the soldiers - being pressured by the Jewish leaders who did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath – acted hastily to break the legs of those who were obviously STILL ALIVE because they were writhing and moaning from intense excruciating pain.
Rather than cobbling together a false narrative of the crucifixion scene like wierwille did in PFAL – it makes a lot more sense to read the Gospels the way they were meant to be read – as individual stories staying within the continuity of each author’s narrative.
…With all this finagling and cobbling together a false narrative of the crucifixion scene like wierwille did in PFAL – wierwille was really playing an intellectual shell game involving sleight-of-thought, in which various words and ideas are moved about with the skillful adeptness of a double-talking used car salesman, to the amazement of PFAL students…very inappropriate for someone who goes on about being so concerned for "the accuracy and integrity of The Word” It comes across as being deceitful.
How does butchering the Gospels in a piecemeal fashion to concoct an alternate version of the crucifixion scene reflect accurately and honestly the Scripture narrative of the crucifixion?
Many Bible scholars have pointed out that each Gospel has a distinct viewpoint and a particular purpose to portray certain unique aspects of Jesus Christ – and as such, logic would dictate that the proper literary flow is to simply read each Gospel all the way through as a whole piece, to understand the author’s original intent and to get the full impact.
If you would like to see a unified narrative of all four Gospels you should check out the
NIV, Integrated Study Bible, Hardcover: A New Chronological Approach for Exploring Scripture
That’s all for now folks
…more to come later…
…I appreciate all you folks for taking the time to tune in… salute to the PFAL-fans mentioned in the very first post on this thread…including more than the fans that the thread-starter knows personally…including current followers of TWI and offshoots…and ANY PFAL grad who has a strong sense of disillusionment derived from the failure of PFAL to fulfill the goals/claims/promises/benefits that “The Teacher” (wierwille) stated AND the perception of inconsistencies between the actions of “The Teacher” (wierwille) and the ideals he supposedly represented…
…okay – that’s really all for now, folks
I wish this was one of those posts that could edit itself...I've got typos coming out the wazoo !
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Hi Grease Spotters and anyone else who might have accidentally stumbled unto this thread (if you’re a Scientologist remember the safe word is going-clear) …If you recall the minutes of our last meeting, I had pointed out the very tricky false dilemma (a logical fallacy aka a false dichotomy) that wierwille used in PFAL to present a premise that incorrectly limits the choices you have – there is either no interpretation possible or the Bible must interpret itself – but wait
We’ve hit the daily double!!
Besides slipping in a logical fallacy, wierwille also screwed up something else – even though he plagiarized it from Bullinger – he put his own devious spin on it. How Bullinger handles II Peter 1:20, 21 is quite different from wierwille:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 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.
On pages 187 and 188 of How to Enjoy the Bible by EW Bullinger Bullinger zeros in on “no prophecy of the scripture is OF any private interpretation” noting that the little word “of” indicates genitive of origin and forms part of a larger context, the scope or subject of which is NOT what Scripture MEANS, but FROM WHENCE IT CAME – thus the words are brought into harmony with the whole passage – and refer to the ORIGIN and SOURCE of the prophetic Word, and NOT to its meaning or interpretation. That is exact opposite of the way wierwille handles II Peter 1:20 & 21. I believe Bullinger had it right…kind of ironic that wierwille used his own misinterpretation of II Peter 1:20 & 21 to tell everyone else that they shouldn’t try to interpret the Bible for themselves.
…( fyi – the page numbers may vary if you have the newer edition - I have an older edition – reprinted by Samuel Bagster & Sons Ltd 1970 and 1974 – which believe it or not, I purchased eons ago at The Way International’s bookstore – it still has The Way’s price sticker on the back – only $6.25 what a deal, folks! since mine is hardbound and the one on the Amazon link is a flimsy old paperback for $18.12 flex it and weep )
Another reason I trust Bullinger’s How to Enjoy the Bible a lot more than wierwille’s butchered up copy of it – is that in his book Bullinger emphasizes time and again the value of engaging your thinking skills when using the keys to the interpretation of the Bible. Whereas in the PFAL class, wierwille comes off as being indifferent to the importance of using one’s own mental faculties since “the Bible interprets itself”. Even though in the PFAL class wierwille goes over many of the same keys to the interpretation of the Bible that are in Bullinger’s book, he breezes through them quickly – which may give PFAL students the impression that wierwille knows what he’s talking about and that they’re so easy to use there’s little thought involved when applying them.
From my own initial experience and what I have witnessed in other new PFAL grads – this tends to breed a false confidence that you are “interpreting The Word correctly – just like Doctor did in the class” – when in fact most of the time we were all regurgitating what “The Teacher” taught us. I deliberately use the word “regurgitating” because that’s what happens when you merely ABSORB information – you tend to repeat that information without analyzing or comprehending it.
On page 79 and 80 of Christian Theology by Millard Erickson talking about the PROCESS of DOING theology, Millard mentions the degrees of authority in theological statements
(now just think about that for a minute – “degrees of authority in theological statements” - and consider the fact that the PFAL class is mostly a lot of theological statements wherein wierwille expresses some facts, fallacies, views, beliefs, attitudes, etc. besides actually quoting parts of the KJV Bible)
…anyway…Millard says our theology will consist of various types of theological statements which can be classified on the basis of their source. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ATTRIBUTE TO EACH TYPE AN APPROPRIATE DEGREE OF AUTHORITY – and in each case we SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE IF THERE ARE ADDITIONAL STEPS – LIKE LOGICAL INFERENCE. Millard describes them as the following:
1. DIRECT statements of Scripture are to be accorded the greatest weight. To the degree that they accurately represent what the Bible teaches, they have the status of a direct word from God. Great care must of course be exercised to make certain that we are dealing here with the teaching of Scripture, and NOT AN INTERPRETATION IMPOSED UPON IT.
2. Direct implications of Scripture must also be given high priority. They are to be regarded as slightly less authoritative than direct quotes of Scripture. However, because the introduction of an additional step – LOGICAL INFERENCE carries with it the possibility of misinterpretation.
3. Probable implications of Scripture, that is, inferences that are drawn in cases where one of the assumptions or premises is only probable, are somewhat less authoritative than # 2 direct implications. While deserving respect, such statements should be held with a certain amount of tentativeness.
4. Inductive conclusions from Scripture vary in their degree of authority. Inductive investigation, of course, gives only probabilities – since inductive is characterized by the inference of general laws from particular instances.
5. Conclusions inferred from the general revelation, which is not as specific or not stated clearly and in detail than the special revelation, must accordingly be subject to the clearer and more explicit statements of the Bible.
6. Outright speculations, which frequently include hypotheses based upon a single statement or hint in Scripture or derived from somewhat obscure or unclear parts of the Bible, may also be utilized by the theologians. There is no harm in this AS LONG AS THE THEOLOGIAN IS AWARE AND WARNS THE READER OR HEARER OF WHAT HE IS DOING. A SERIOUS PROBLEM ENTERS IF THESE SPECULATIONS ARE PRESENTED WITH THE SAME DEGREE OF AUTHORITATIVENESS ATTRIBUTED TO STATEMENTS OF # 1 DIRECT STATEMENTS OF SCRIPTURE...and yet wierwille did this most of the time - i.e., he presented his speculations and ideas as if they were direct statements from Scripture.
I would venture to say - and I challenge any PFAL-fan to prove me wrong – that the majority of theological statements that wierwille makes in PFAL have a degree of authority spanning from # 2 to # 6 – and especially in matters of science, logic and the Holy Spirit they lean heavily on # 6 – SPECULATION !!!!– BUT - in the minds of most PFAL students the class material has as much weight as # 1 direct statements of Scripture.
There’s only a few instances I can think of where wierwille actually said he couldn’t prove something by showing us where it was clearly stated in a chapter and verse – and that was in the Christian Family and Sex class – when wierwille got into what the original sin was – he said he couldn’t give a specific verse, but he said the original sin was masturbation. ... ...hands down That's got to be one of the most outlandish speculations he's ever made !
Such a tantalizing mystery over the difference between what Bullinger said and what wierwille said about one little word like “of.” I wonder if this “itty bitty issue” strikes a nerve with any diehard PFAL-fans…in the spirit of Jesus’ stimulating challenge that LEAVES IT UP TO THE HEARER TO DECIDE whether to take his words seriously and pursue understanding “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” (see Matthew 11:15 NLT ) I’d like to ask…are you ready?...do you have your ears on? remember on page 209 of Whiteside’s book wierwille comments on the content of what he teaches: “Lots of the stuff I teach is not original. Putting it all together so that it fit – that was the original work. I learned wherever I could, and then worked that with the Scriptures. What was right on with the Scriptures, I kept; but what wasn’t, I dropped.”
…just for grins, let’s suspend criticism of wierwille’s flagrant plagiarism – and just examine his body of work from the premise of his claim that God spoke to him and would help him piece together what he had “learned” from others and with God’s guidance make it all accurate in the process.
If indeed he had God’s help then we should NOT find any errors, theological inconsistencies or any logical fallacies – in either the exact copying of another person’s material or in wierwille's supposedly “correcting", “revising” …or in some way modifying or “accurizing” another person’s material. In other words, the FINISHED PRODUCT of wierwille’s doctrine SHOULD BE ERROR-FREE and FAULTLESS IN EVERY WAY…but such is not the case – as I have been pointing out lately here as well as many other Grease Spotters have pointed out here and elsewhere at Grease Spot Café – wierwille’s PFAL class is chock-full of errors, logical fallacies, cognitive distortions, manipulative propaganda, speculations, misdirections, misinterpretations, fabrications, falsehoods, contradictions, inconsistencies and hype.
Assuming that God Almighty is an infinite, perfect, omniscient, truthful, and rational being who is perfectly capable of clearly communicating any type of information to other rational beings - and given that wierwille's body of work contains numerous inaccuracies, contradictions, theological inconsistencies, and logical fallacies - leads me to conclude wierwille made numerous false claims in PFAL and in the book “The Way: Living in Love”. God did NOT guide wierwille to produce a perfect body of work. wierwille must have lied – or if you want to give him the benefit of a doubt, he was living under SERIOUS DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR. Maybe it’s BOTH – he could have been a PATHOLOGICAL LIAR AND “suffered” from DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR.
It really should make PFAL-fans wonder about wierwille’s competency as a Biblical researcher, theologian, pastor, counselor, preacher and teacher – that he not only copied the errors of someone else’s work (like Bullinger’s 4 crucified theory) but he also mangled the correct points of someone else’s work (like Bullinger’s explanation of II Peter 1:20, 21 – emphasizing the origin of Scripture - - instead of prohibiting someone from interpreting the Scriptures as wierwille twisted it to mean).
And that’s just the “little things”, folks…If you haven’t already you should peruse the About The Way forum and the Doctrinal forum – where Grease Spotters have reexamined all things PFAL, and stuff wierwille taught in other classes like Christian Family and Sex, and The Advanced Class. Spoiler alert – be forewarned - a majority of wierwille’s work is rife with errors, logical fallacies, dubious speculations, fabrications, exaggerations, pontifications, falsehoods, contradictions, inconsistencies, authoritarianism, licentiousness, his signature intuition, fundamentalism, spiritualism and Gnosticism. Would you trust a brain surgeon who operated with that SAME LEVEL OF EXPERTISE?
Though it is never stated outright in any literature of The Way International, the words of wierwille in the PFAL class are considered by loyal followers to be on par with Scripture – in other words, whatever wierwille says about a passage has approximately equal authority as Scripture itself!
I remember at PFAL ’77 – a live re-filming of the “original” PFAL class of 1967 – one of the master of ceremonies, a TWI-ordained clergyman came on stage to answer the question many of us were wondering “would this new PFAL 77 class replace the old 1967 PFAL class as THE introductory class when joining TWI?”. ...Nope! The clergyman simply asked the audience a rhetorical question saying, “Did the Apostle Paul need to re-write the book of Ephesians?”
Thus, a switcheroo happens surreptitiously before the uncritical mind. The absolute authority of The Bible is usurped in a stealthy manner – under cover of the assumption by all, that wierwille was good at “rightly dividing The Word” AND that he was designated by God himself to teach The Word to us “in this day and time and hour” – a pompous phrase that wierwille was fond of saying quite often to give his sermons and ceremonies a sense of gravitas.
what is obvious to outsiders or any disobedient follower who is courageous enough to remove the wierwille-colored glasses is that he was a poser who stole and lied to impress others. a special thanks to Oakspear who inspired me with his thread
he coined the term PFAL-colored glasses - I was afraid to plagiarize his idea – so I altered the original text so I wouldn’t have to pay royalties to Oakspear
I’ve since reflected on the times I sat through a live Power For Abundant Living class, several live Advanced classes, way corps teachings and even times where he gave an unscripted teaching. Seeing him fumble with some definition of a word, teach something on a passage by taking it completely out of context, ignore some other fundamental principle of interpretation or in so many other ways demonstrate his incompetence – makes me think of an actor on some commercial saying “I’m not a real doctor but I play one on TV”. Sometimes he’d offer no text evidence or logical explanation – and just seemed to simply pull an answer out of his a$$ - he’d say something like “Father showed me this” or “If Father wanted me to look into a word in a verse, he’d make the word appear one inch high”.
A brief aside here on why all the plagiarizing and teaching shenanigans don't seem to faze diehard PFAL-fans. It has to do with the wierwille-colored glasses that PFAL-fans are unaware they are wearing.
What are wierwille-colored glasses?
It's to view events, people, situations, ideas, etc. through wierwille's point of view...PFAL-fans have learned to perceive everything through a mental filter.
This is a cognitive distortion – a selective evaluation of any simple or complex situations – it's basically a skewed sense of reality.
Most new PFAL-grads are unaware of the mental filter that begins to form as they continue to absorb a set of ideas and assumptions first presented through introductory classes like the Power For Abundant Living class and later The Way of Abundance and Power class. All that becomes more and more heavily reinforced through repetition as one stays involved with TWI.
This mental filter functions as a precautionary measure to safeguard TWI-beliefs by removing, blocking, sifting, or even adulterating unwanted or competing information, ideas, facts, feelings, etc. that could challenge TWI-beliefs.
(To me the most unsettling aspect of these seemingly automatic biases is that I was unaware I had such biases. It's something I could have proactively addressed and reduced or eliminated - but first I would have needed to identify them.). This becomes the TWI-mindset – or groupthink.
For me, this mindset was like a ball-and-chain that held me back.
It was a crippling mental encumbrance that put restrictions on cognitive skills, creativity, feelings and personal pursuits…
…next up, as mentioned in my previous posts, I will get into the different views of Biblical inspiration, and the vital role of intuition and cognitive skills when we read the Bible.
That’s all for now, folks
Be back soon with more goodies
***DVD bonus feature: check out Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible by James Sire ***Edited by T-Bone
The Holy Trinity of editing: me, myself and I
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Hi again Grease Spotters !
What? Back so soon?
Yup – following hot on the heels of analyzing PFAL’s problematic, misleading and shifty methods of Bible interpretation, I thought I’d mention a few books that have an honest and simple approach to interpreting the Bible as well as getting a basic idea of what theology and doctrine are all about – these are more suited for a layman’s study of the Bible – they’re not that technical but still quite helpful to exploring the most important “documents” of our faith.
if anyone would like some direction on books with much more depth and are quite detailed and tend to be more exacting of your cognitive skills – please feel free to private message me and I’ll give you a short list of books that I swear by – which could mean they’re so over my head I start swearing out loud (here’s another tip – don’t start swearing in the library - or the librarian just might kick your as- - I mean kick you out). Anyway, here’s the “layman’s list”:
Understanding the Bible by John R W Stott
I picked up this neat little paperback at a used bookstore back in 1987 – but still review this one periodically. Out of all the other books I’ll mention this one has the shortest list of sound principles of Bible interpretation – they are:
1. Look for the natural sense of Scripture – simplicity. While it is true that in some matters Scripture is not as plain as in others, devout and careful students of the Bible enjoy a wide measure of agreement on the basic tenets of historic Christianity.
2. Look for the original sense of Scripture. This is the principle of history. God chose to reveal Himself in a precise historical context. Therefore, the permanent and universal message of Scripture can best be understood in the light of the circumstances in which it was originally given. So as we read the Bible, we need to keep asking ourselves: what did the author intend to convey by this? What would the original audience understand it to mean? This is commonly known as the ‘grammatico-historical’ method of interpretation.
3. Look for the general sense of Scripture. This is the principle of harmony. From a human standpoint the Bible is a symposium with a wide assortment of contributors. From the divine standpoint, however, the whole Bible emanates from one mind. It is the word of God expressing the mind of God, and so possesses an organic unity. As with legal documents, so with the Biblical text we should seek to resolve apparent discrepancies and interpret Scripture as one harmonious whole. Sometimes referred to as let Scripture interpret Scripture – letting the plain passages unravel the more obscure ones as long as we can reasonably determine they are addressing the same issue. In that we may say every text of Scripture has a double context – historical and scriptural. Its context in history is the situation in which it was written. Its context in Scripture is the place where it is found.
some other fun books are:
NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture
Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today by Adam Hamilton
Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals by John Buehrens
The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns
How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers―and Why That's Great News by Peter Enns
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart
Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by Richards and O’Brien
Understanding Doctrine by Alister McGrath
All the above books are fairly easy to read – you won’t get bogged down in a lot of technicalities – and they’re all definitely a lot more helpful than the PFAL books…I don’t mean to hog the discussion on Bible study helps – so if anyone else has some good books to recommend please chime in…If you do get a hankering for more details let me whet your appetite with something from The Portable Seminary.
these excerpts are from chapter 3 “Interpreting Scripture” of The Portable Seminary pages 69 and following:
Three basic questions may be asked of any text: What does it say? What does it mean? How does it impact me? – Edward L. Hayes
Most people are aware that “meaningful” communication is difficult even at the ordinary human level. Between two people who speak the same language or even live in the same household, the meaning of what is said can easily be lost or distorted. Language is quite flexible…Language is continually changing. In the English of Shakespeare’s day, “physics” meant “laxatives or other medicines”; what is now called “physics” would have been known as “natural philosophy.”
To interpret is to bring out the true meaning of something written or spoken, particularly by restating it in other words. One synonym is simply “to explain”; another is “to translate.” A bilingual person who stands beside a speaker to translate the speaker’s words into another language is called an interpreter. To evangelical Christians, biblical interpretation is a fundamentally important task because the Bible is considered to be God’s spoken and written Word. The Creator’s own revelation of himself and of his purpose for his creatures is the most significant communication human beings could possibly receive. – A. Berkeley Mickelsen
…The Bible is not one book but a whole library of books, written over a span of more than fifteen hundred years by many different writers with a variety of individual styles and immediate purposes. Yet its own claims and its remarkable unity demonstrate to Christians that the Bible is “God’s Word in human language.” The interpreter, always a finite, fallible human creature, must try to see things from God’s point of view – even though they are expressed from another human perspective…
…Over the years, devoted scholars trained in the discipline called hermeneutics (from Greek for “interpretation”) have worked out canons, or rules, for translating and interpreting Scripture…
Exegesis is the process of drawing out of a text its intended meaning. From the Greek word exegeomai, the word is used to describe the disclosure or description of a document, statement, or incident…
The relationship of exegesis to hermeneutics is one of kind and degree. Hermeneutics may best be viewed as the umbrella under which exegesis fits. Hermeneutics deals with the broad principles or rules of interpretation governing exegesis. The Word of God, properly understood in various cultural settings, prompts both the teacher and learner to search for proper meanings employing historical, critical, linguistic, and cultural understandings…
Exegesis involves a process:
1. Examining the text itself, its origin and wording
2. Scrutiny of translation
3. Discovery of historical context – authorship, setting, and dating
4. Analysis of literary context
5. Determining the genre or literary type
6. Outlining and diagramming structure
7. Classification of grammar and syntax
8. Systematically studying a given truth in the setting of all revealed truth
9. Applying the text
end of excerpts
From The Portable Seminary: A Master's Level Overview in One Volume, general editor David Horton
~ ~ ~ ~
Moving on to theories of HOW God inspired the writers.
In PFAL wierwille went into that a little bit. He referred to II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” .
However, wierwille did not go into great detail on EXACTLY HOW God inspired the writers…I picked up a pretty nifty book at Half Price Books awhile back that offers up some interesting ideas on the subject. You know when I sat through PFAL I came away with the idea that there was only one way to understand how God did inspire writing of the Scriptures – and that was the vague yet somehow authoritative method that wierwille described – the authors of Scripture were moved by the Holy Spirit…
say what? that's it!
...well, that leaves a lot to be desired...(rhymes with inspired )
I always wanted to know a little more than that – even if it was just asking some simple questions like what role did the human authors play in the writing of The Bible? To what degree were they allowed to express the God-given message in a manner consistent with their own personalities? Well…this is another one of those things that’s not clearly explained in the Bible…sort of the same problem we ran into with interpreting the Bible – it’s not a textbook or encyclopedia – so we have to get into our “thought experiment mode” – we know how languages work, so we study the ancient languages all that syntax stuff – we study ancient cultures and historical setting, so we get context.
But can we figure out HOW inspiration from God worked? Was it visions? Was it an inner voice? was it a still small voice? what if they didn't understand what was revealed but tried to write about it anyway - did the Spirit of God say "I wouldn't put it that way if I were you".
Is it anything like the inspiration of an artist or musician?
What is inspiration? It’s the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
What is revelation?
What is illumination?
What is enlightenment?
That’s some fascinating stuff I occasionally mull over in little side study projects – and there’s probably overlap and some small nuanced differences in some of it – but for simplicity I’ll just address the basic “inspiration” or “God-breathed” nature of Scripture, in that there’s not a whole lot to go on –
- I mean we don’t have any actual VHS video footage to document a booming discorporate voice dictating the Psalms. Nor do we have printouts of an electroencephalogram (EEG) test that detected the electrical activity in Ezekiel’s brain using small, metal discs (electrodes) attached to his scalp – which displayed the variations as he received revelation from God
…so we’ll have to resort to THEORIZING …
...A theory is a general principle that tries to explain a phenomenon. It can be defined as a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained…and since we're dealing with something intangible like inspiration...well...there's probably going to be some assumptions involved that may help us relate it to past experiences...
...was there a learning curve with folks gaining the experience of reflecting on what they know and what God would then reveal to them? would it be like a mind-blowing information dump or would it be like a God-infused evolutionary development of their faith? would it feel like a brainstorm on steroids? how did they know it was God and not something bad they had for supper?
...As slow as I am to learn something new, I could see myself having to ask God “hey, can you run that by me again.” ...I wonder if the scroll Robert’s Rules of Writing was required reading at the school of the prophets. Wonder what the cost was for a student parking validation sticker for their camel...donkey...horse...rickshaw... rickshaw? that's Far East - never mind we're talking Middle East here.
On pages 24 to 26 of Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey
according to authors Bill Arnold & Bryan Beyer, scholars who have wrestled with these questions of how inspiration worked have proposed many theories. Four of the most common are:
1. Neo-orthodoxy theory: conceived in the early 20th century, partly as a reaction to liberalism’s disregard for divine authority. Karl Barth and Emil Brunner are two of its leading proponents. Neo-orthodoxy holds that God is utterly transcendent – meaning God is absolutely different from us and far beyond our comprehension. Neo-orthodoxy differs from evangelicalism in that neo-orthodoxy asserts the Bible is a WITNESS to the Word of God or CONTAINS the Word of God – whereas evangelicalism holds that the Bible IS the Word of God. According to neo-orthodoxy the writers recorded their experiences with God the best they could – but being human, their writings sometimes contained paradoxes or errors.
2. Dictation theory: suggests God simply dictated the Bible to human scribes – giving them the EXACT words God WANTED – writing ONLY what God dictated to them. This view generally doesn’t appear in print but has sometimes been suggested by some segments of Christianity – some conservative and fundamentalist groups.
3. Limited inspiration theory: holds that God inspired the thoughts of the biblical writers, but not necessarily the words they chose. God guided the thoughts of the writers, but he gave them freedom to express those thoughts in their own style. Having that freedom, some historical errors as well as ancient and often erroneous concepts of physical sciences, life sciences, and Earth sciences may be found.
4. Plenary verbal inspiration theory: like the other views plenary verbal inspiration asserts the Holy Spirit interacted with the writers to produce the Bible. “Plenary” means “full” or “complete”. “Plenary” inspiration asserts that God’s inspiration extends to ALL of Scripture – WHICH INCLUDES when the writers recorded any historical, physical science and life science details. “Verbal” refers to the WORDS of Scripture. “Verbal inspiration” means God’s inspiration extends to THE VERY WORDS the writers chose – but it is not the same as # 2 the dictation theory. The writers could have chosen other words, and God often allowed them the freedom to express their own personalities as they wrote – but the Holy Spirit still guided the process so that the finished product faithfully conveyed God’s message.
I’m of the opinion that the way one thinks the Bible was written will influence the way one interprets the Bible.
There ARE a FEW accounts in Scripture that indicate God communicated a word-for-word message – but assuming God is also the creator of the cosmos – with superlative attributes like omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, etc. - and the fact that we find historical errors as well as ancient and often erroneous concepts of physical sciences, life sciences, and Earth sciences rules out the dictation theory for me. Of course, that’s just my opinion – I could be wrong.
I find myself leaning toward a mix of # 1 neo-orthodoxy and # 3 limited inspiration theory. Again - that’s just my opinion…
I believe wierwille's theology would have been based on either # 2 Dictation theory or # 4 Plenary verbal inspiration theory ...
Though these theories of how the Bible was written seem simple enough to describe – the impact of which one or more of these we choose may be profound to our understanding.
I think a student of the Bible should be AWARE of the ASSUMPTIONS they hold and WHY, when reading, interpreting, and applying Scripture.
That’s all for now folks –Edited by T-Bone
I was inspired to do some editing
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I have no idea what "# 4 Plenary verbal inspiration theory ..." is all about. A tiny summary would suffice. At the moment I don't have time to read your whole post and flush it out.
VPW definitely did NOT ascribe to the Divine Dictation model.
He says so in the Corps Thessalonians tapes when he hits verse 1:1 in both of the Epistles.
The reason for this, in those two opening verses, is due to those verses making it appear like Paul AND Timothy AND Silus were authors.
In those Corps tapes VPW implies that Divine Dictation CAN happen, but GENERALLY the revelation is not given that way. For Thessalonians, he teaches, the revelation first came to Paul alone, and then he discussed it with Timothy and Silus. Lastly, all three of them put it into written form.
The familiar verses are from 2 Peter 1:20,21
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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 end product, the written scripture, comes by way of the revelation first being spoken.
So the pattern is first a revelation comes, and that could involve words, feelings, or sensations that God knows will accurately convey the revelation. Then the revelation is worked by the recipient, and processed as it is put into written form and distributed.
If you are good at searching the archive here, I posted this several times in past years, along with transcripts of the Corps tapes. Some of my very large threads were deleted, though, when bandwidth prices were prohibitive.
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My post gave a tiny summary (see about quote) but perhaps if it was put another way – that may help – see links below – I copied/pasted several introductory remarks by Alyssa on the first link – you can click on the link to read the entire article…anyway… here it is:
In a June 2021 article Alyssa Roat , a contributing writer for Christianity.com said this:
Plenary and verbal inspiration means the Bible is God-given (and therefore without error) in every part (doctrine, history, geography, dates, names) and in every single word…When we dive into the Bible, the orthodox approach has been to view the text through the lens of verbal plenary inspiration. In the simplest terms, verbal plenary inspiration means that everything in the Bible is true and inspired by God. The historic view of the church is that the Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant.
from: Christianity.com – what is verbal plenary inspiration
end of excerpts
~ ~ ~ ~
some other links:
Glosbe – plenary inspiration
GotQuestions.org – verbal plenary inspiration
~ ~ ~ ~
The fact that wierwille said divine dictation CAN happen supports my statement “I believe wierwille's theology would have been based on either # 2 Dictation theory OR # 4 Plenary verbal inspiration theory”
the main difference I see between #2 dictation and #4 plenary is that with #4 the authors were allowed some freedom to write in their own style. Either way, there’s enough apparent historical, geographical, “scientific” errors in the Bible, that #2 dictation and #4 plenary verbal are not viable options for my consideration.
You raise some very interesting points about the “mechanics” of the message. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture offers these comments about II Peter 1:20, 21:
Ancient thinkers often viewed prophetic inspiration as a divine possession that temporarily displaced the prophet’s own mind. The distinctive styles of Biblical prophets shows that this view oversimplifies the matter; inspiration still used human faculties and vocabulary (cf. I Pe 1:10-12; I Co 7:40; 14:1 – 2, 14 – 19), although there may have been different levels and kinds of ecstasy (cf. I Sa 10:10 – 11; 19: 20 – 24; I Co 14:2; II Co 5:13; 12:4) Regardless of particulars, however, ancient thinkers (and especially Jewish thinkers) generally expected inspiration to protect the inspired agents from misrepresenting the divine message (contrast 2:1).
End of excerpt
a plenary verbal verbose pupil at large...there's plenty of plenary to go around
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"Working the Word" now means "working words, feelings or sensations" . . . perhaps transparency is more subjective than I have been allowing it to be?
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Materials for "Working The Word":
1. sturdy shoe horn.
2. ample supply of goose grease.
3. large supply of logical fallacies.
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