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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Twisting Scripture Part 3


How often have you encountered some bizarre doctrine only to be stunned to hear a Bible verse quoted to support it? With new religious cults springing up almost daily and old ones growing rapidly, this is more and more common. How are they seemingly able to twist Scripture to mean something Christians have never believed it to mean in two thousand years?
James Sire, author of the Universe Next Door and How to Read Slowly, has isolated twenty separate kinds of reading errors which are characteristically made by cultists as they interpret the Bible. He covers the full range form simple misquotation to complex argumentation which links one slightly eccentric interpretation to another, mixes in a few orthodox readings and ends with a conclusion totally foreign to the biblical world view. Sire also handles twisted translation, over specification, virtue by association, ignoring the context and others. Scripture Twisting is a great book to pick up and read. I recommend it!


11. Selective Citing:
To substantiate a given argument, only a limited number of texts is quoted: the total teaching of Scripture on that subject would lead to a conclusion different from that of the writer. Example: the Jehovah Witnesses critique the traditional Christan notion of the Trinity without considering the full set of texts which scholars use to substantiate the concept.


12. Inadequate Evidence:
A hasty generalization is drawn from too little evidence. Example: the Jehovah Witnesses teach that blood transfusion is non biblical, but the biblical data which they site fails to either speak directly to the issue or adequately substantiate their teaching.


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


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


15. The Obvious Fallacy:
Words like obviously, undoubtedly, certainly, all reasonable people hold that and so forth are substituted for logical reason. Example: Erich von Daniken says, "Undoubtedly the Ark [of the Covenant] was electrically charged!".


TO BE CONTINUED....

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