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Before You Ask


Chapter 8 - Appeal to Revelation - The God Card

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Posted February 23, 2016

Before You Ask - Chapter 8
Appeal to Revelation - The God Card


Chapter 8
Appeal to Revelation - The God Card

So you don’t have “the Revelation”?
You have a “different spirit?

The New Testament is the Friends’ and Workers’ guide and standard for living. They frequently read it, some even wearing out more than one Bible in their lifetime. They claim their doctrine is the Bible. Even so, they are unable to provide scriptural support for some of their beliefs and traditions strongly enforced by Workers.

The Nature of an Appeal


Persuasive appeals are often used when there isn't sufficient proof. A conclusion, belief or viewpoint SHOULD be able to stand on its own merits. An appeal is not evidence and is not justification for a conclusion. Appeals do not address why a view¬point is worthy of acceptance or rejection. Appeals may be effective in influencing or persuading, but they are not proof, nor are they good reason to adopt a belief. 

Appeals are irrelevant, are not a good reason; yet they are often substituted for good reasons and sound evidence. When proof is scarce or non-existent, attempts to persuade are often made by appealing to irrelevant matters. Some of the more common appeals are experiences, feelings, traditions, precedent, beliefs, preferences and possible consequences. Emotional appeals are also made to shame, pity, fear, sympathy, guilt, pride, hope, generosity, etc. The goal of an appeal is to obtain agreement, compliance or a change in point of view. 

Examples of Appeals to Revelation:

It’s clear that you just don’t have “the Revelation.”
You don’t understand because you never got/received “the Revelation.”
If you’re asking that kind of question, then you haven’t had a true Revelation.
If you had received ‘the Revelation,’ you would understand.



WHAT IS “REVELATION”?

Revelation is a relative concept.
Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.
Like truth, it is subject to interpretation.


DEFINITION: A Revelation is a truth or understanding revealed from God to man. God’s disclosure or manifestation to man of Himself and His will (New World Dictionary).

The word “Revelation” is used 12 times in the New Testament and isn’t found in the Old Testament. The Greek word for “Revelation” in the New Testament is “apokalupsis” (Strong’s No. 602) and it signifies an “uncovering” and the communication of the knowledge of God to the soul. The word “Reveal” is used in 29 times in the NT and 22 times in the OT. The Greek word “Reveal” is “apokalupto” (Strong’s No. 601) and it signifies “to uncover, unveil.” 

Definitions for the word “Revelation” vary from person to person. What one person deems a Revelation, another may consider as an idea, belief, opinion, brainstorm, concept or theory another has chosen to believe, has bought into, and/or is persuaded is true, right or best. What one person considers as a Revelation, another may consider as the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

 

Difference in General and Special Revelations

General Revelation is the knowledge of God’s existence and basic morality, as well as the knowledge of right and wrong, that can be obtained through nature. Scripture says that non-Christians are provided sufficient general knowledge of God, as well as knowledge of right and wrong, and are without excuse if they act against it.

Paul says people can obtain general knowledge of God in creation. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest [evident] in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen [evident], being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

According to Paul, the natural order of morality is innate in humans. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature [instinctively] the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:14-15).

Special Revelation, the focus of this article,  has been defined as supernatural communication from God that has been given to humanity. It is not innate. The truth revealed by Special Revelation cannot be known by looking at tradition, nature, history, conscience or reasoning.

Revelations Today…in the New Covenant

In the Old Testament, God gave messages to the Prophets and Apostles through special Revelations, dreams, visions, angels, casting of lots, oral and written communication, etc. Some were mysterious future prophecies about Messiah who would come to earth. The children of God expected Revelations given by God’s prophets would come to pass and looked forward to the arrival of the promised Messiah.

Revelations of the type received by the prophets in the Old Testament are no longer given in the present covenant or dispensation. In the New Covenant, Jesus promised those who believed in Him would be individually (personally) led by the Holy Spirit, who opens, uncovers, reveals and interprets the Scripture to believers through the Bible.

In the two covenants, God made use of two distinctly different methods: Special Revelation in the old and Illumination in the new. The word “Illumination” describes the New Covenant method where God speaks through the Bible by the Holy Spirit who “guides you into all truth” (John 16:13).

In the New Covenant, Illumination or enlightenment is now found in one place where the Word of God is found, the Bible. Now, spiritual Illumination and interpretation of the Bible come through the Holy Spirit to the reader. “God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake IN TIME PAST unto the fathers by the prophets, hath IN THESE LAST DAYS spoken unto us by His Son...” (Hebrews 1:1).

In the past, God spoke through the prophets via Special Revelations, but NOW He speaks to His children “by His Son.” Jesus is God’s final Revelation to man. “...that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was ONCE delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). The Greek meaning for ONCE in this verse is “once for all” and is a one-time event, with no continuing action that never needs to be repeated.  Jesus Words are only found in the Bible (shown in red letters in some Bibles). The Bible is sufficient to show the reader the way to salvation. "The Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise unto salva¬tion" (2 Tim. 3:15).  The Holy Spirit illuminates the Bible to readers.

Paul provided God’s list of ministry positions:  “… he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors (shepherds) and teachers” Eph. 4:11. The last prophet was John the Baptist:  “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Matt. 11:13). The Workers are Evangelists. Shepherds (pastors) lead, feed and protect the sheep. Teachers instruct, coach and train pupils. Neither Pastors (shepherds) nor Teachers were given authority to rule over others, but rather were to be guides and leaders.

Jeremiah and Isaiah prophesied of a time when there would no longer be human mediators between God and men. Of a time when God's children would not need any man to instruct them in the Lord; a time when God would speak through the Holy Spirit who would guide and teach believers individually (Jeremiah 31:33-34, Isaiah 30:20-21). Of a time when ALL true believers would have God's anointing (2 Corinthians 1:21, 1 John 2:27). That time would be during the New Covenant, which is the present.

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah….I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD” Jeremiah 31:31-34. 

“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them”  Heb 10:15-16 (citing from Jeremiah 31:33).

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” 1 John 2:27 (citing from Jeremiah 31:34).

“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” Isaiah 30:21.

“Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” 2 Cor 1:21-22. 

We are living in the times of the New Covenant where “…there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim. 2:5. The Holy Spirit dwells within the heart of each child of God, and believers don’t need anyone else to teach them. God has written His laws in their hearts and minds, and the Holy Spirit walks with them, guiding and whispering in their ears which way to turn.

According to Jeremiah and Isaiah, in the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit guides believers INDIVIDUALLY regarding truth (John 16:13).  We are unable to determine what the Holy Spirit tells someone else.  However, we CAN judge whether or not an alleged Revelation is in line with the Bible, with Biblical precedents and Biblical principles. A true Revelation, Illumination or Inspiration from God will never go against, add to or take from God’s Word in the Bible. 

God has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus, and His Son’s Words are found in the Bible. If your faith in the written Word of God, the Bible, before you accept it as truth, you will likely want to see where an alleged Revelation or interpretation is expressed in at least one other passage to confirm what was revealed to you or to someone else. The Biblical principle of confirmation involved two witnesses. It’s wise to thoroughly study and know Jesus’ Words, shown in red letter text in some Bibles.

The Foundational Revelation


Peter’s Revelation was “Thou [Jesus] art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). This was revealed to Peter and has also been revealed and believed by all Christians thereafter. Jesus told Peter, "Blessed art thou for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven" (Matt 16:17). 

Paul’s Revelation was: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:1-4).

God gives Christians the Revelation that Jesus of Nazareth, son of  Mary and Joseph, was the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah and Saviour that the prophets foretold would to come to earth and “through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43, John 3:16).

What does “believe in Him” mean?

It means that there is one God and His words are contained in the Bible. Men are sinful, separated from God and  can do nothing to earn salvation. That Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary and Joseph, is the Son of God, the long promised Messiah, the Christ. That God sent Jesus to earth in the form of man where He lived a perfectly righteous life, died on the cross, was resurrected and ascended to heaven.

That Jesus’ actions on earth redeemed and saved mankind from their sins, and reconciled man to God. That Jesus’ sacrifice opened heaven to those who repent of their sins, believe in, accept, confess Him as Lord and follow Him. That Jesus provided the only way to God: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me." That the “good news” (gospel) is that if we believe in Him, repent of our sins, trust that Jesus death and resurrection paid for our sins, then we will be saved from the judgment we deserve and receive everlasting life (Acts 10:43, John 3:16).

Each person has a choice to make. Either he will die in his sins or he will trust Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and receive Him personally into his heart. 

Verses supporting the details above for “believing in Him” are:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God… 1 Peter 3:18
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name… John 1:12
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Christians believe that God’s Way to heaven is through believing in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). The “good news” (gospel) is that all we need to do is believe on His name and we shall be saved from our sins (Acts 10:43). We cannot earn our way into Heaven by doing good works or by being a good person. Salvation is only by God's grace (gift) through faith. “God’s Way” is not a method—it is a man: Jesus, period. Christians believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection finished the work of redemption and paid the price for the sins of all mankind, which reconciled God with man and saved man from God’s wrath.

Christians believe that when a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they open the door of their life, heart and mind to the Holy Spirit, who will “abide with you forever” (John 14:16) and will “guide them into all truth” (John 16:13).  

Christians believe that Jesus lived a completely righteous life that was substituted for the sinful lives of mankind. Once a believer accepts Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, He intercedes for them and is the only qualified mediator between God and man.

Every born again Christian has the Holy Spirit dwelling within him/herself. Christians trust in the authority and guiding of the Holy Scripture.

Short Version of Faith statement:
I believe:
That the Bible is the Word of God.
That the promised Messiah was Jesus Christ, who was the Son of  God.
That Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, was put to death on the cross, was resurrected and his blood paid for sins of mankind.
I repent of my sins and accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and will have life everlasting.

Supporting verses for above statement of faith:

Acts 16:31 - And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 10:43 - To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Rom 10:9 - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
John 3:36 -  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Eph 4:4-7 - There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Ephesians 1:17-20 - “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe…”

Most Workers will agree that the above items of faith or belief are necessary for salvation. However, they add stipulations. They believe there is more to it; that Jesus didn’t finish the work–he only began it:  “… that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1).

From the cross, Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished” (John 19:30).  Yet, the Workers believe their sacrificial ministry is necessary to finish the work Jesus began. They have added additional Revelation, commandments and traditions to Jesus’ finished work. Some of these additions are the missing Revelation it is implied some don’t have or get.

Appeal to Revelation - The God Card


When asked for support in the Bible for a particular belief or practice, if the person knows the answer and doesn't mind telling you the answer, they will answer your question plainly. A simple answer is the easiest way out. However, it’s not unusual to be given a “thought stopper” reply to discourage certain or hard questions regarding their church belief system or doctrine.

One of these some Workers use is Appeal to Revelation, such as: “If you had received the Revelation, then you would understand (or see it).” The implication is you are deficient or “less than” because you don’t get or have it. If-then statements are verbally abusive attacks. They are a reply, but are not an answer to a sincere question.

Another term used for Appeal to Revelation is “The God Wildcard Fallacy. [ It] excuses contradiction in logic or reason by ‘divine mystery.’ It comes in many forms, and is played when honest questioning leads to absurd or illogical conclusions” (Source: Logically Fallacious by Bo Bennett, p. 226).

Presenting an Appeal to Revelation is used to gain control, to stop the line of questioning, to show who has the power and authority in the conversation and to shame and put down the questioner. An Appeal to Revelation is also an attempt to elevate or boost the Workers’ conclusions, preferences or viewpoint, and evade the question for which they have no good answer. It is difficult to defend yourself against this type diversion, and is best to ignore it and come at your question from a different angle. 

Calling a belief a "Revelation" elevates it to a place where it is immune to contrary evidence. It is insinuated that if you can't or don’t see it, that proves you don't have or have lost the spirit, your Revelation, your understanding or your vision. It cannot be proven. A stalemate will likely result if both parties take a spiritual high ground claiming they each have knowledge from a Revelation. When the so-called God given Revelations to two individuals are contradictory, it would seem that one or the other is a private interpretation, opinion or preference. Of course, in the 2x2 church, the Workers’ Revelation will outrank all others.

Harold Bennett said, “You mean to say that you received divine Revelation that us Workers don't know about?” The scripture does not support the idea that Workers are privy to special Revelation unattainable by the Friends or believers. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to ALL men liberal¬ly" (James 1:5).

Does the Scripture say scriptural illumination is confined to a few select people of a certain rank? Or does it say: "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 " (2 Pet 1:20-21).“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15).

If you ask a Worker a question and s/he can explain it and provide its scriptural basis, they are usually happy to do so. They don’t bring out the God Card because there is no need to. It’s times when they cannot come up with a satisfactory scriptural answer that some may make an Appeal to Revelation. It’s an evasion, a diversion and a cop-out. The fewer clear supporting scriptural answers there are to a question, the more likely it may become a matter of “Revelation.”

To the discerning listener and sincere questioner, the Appeal to Revelation simply doesn’t hold water. It’s not convincing, satisfactory or acceptable. A reply that doesn't make sense, add up, sound right, click or ring with truth probably doesn't answer your question. It’s an excuse to avoid dealing with a question in a spiritually responsible manner and to put the blame on the questioner and an attempt to make them feel bad for asking. The questioner is snookered.

Most Friends and Workers believe the Workers are the only ones qualified to explain the contents of the Bible; that they are God’s only true interpreters of the Bible and His will. One of the early Workers, Bill Carroll, Overseer of Victoria, Australia, said the Ws are God’s sole interpreters of the Bible. Some believe the way God works is that God reveals things to Workers who reveal them to the people. This is not scriptural.

Some Workers’ interpretations and conclusions have been elevated to the status of scripture; and their words are viewed as God speaking through them. Clyde MacKay wrote that questioning him was the same as speaking against God: “And while you think you may have done this to me, Jesus said forasmuch as ye have done it to one of these the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Just as God said to the children of Israel, ye have not spoken against Moses, but you have spoken against me” (October 25, 1997 Letter to Ross Bowden). This is not scriptural.

The late Overseer, Willis Propp said, "God's servants are the understanding authority of the Word of God" (1979 Olympia Convention). Some Workers have said the scripture isn't the Word of God until spoken by a Worker. Some have declared that the Bible is a dead book unless it is made to live through the mouth of a Worker.  Hearing the Workers speak is given far more importance than reading the Bible yourself in the 2x2 church. This is not scriptural either.

The Workers are NOT prophets. God told Moses: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”

The people asked: “How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?” God answered:  When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him  (Deut. 18:18-22).

In other words, the way to tell if a prophet was a true prophet of God was by the message of the prophet. If the prophet’s words did not come to pass, then he was not a true prophet. As stated, there are no more prophets of the Old Testament variety, and the Workers are not prophets.

So how can one discern whether a scripture has been accurately interpreted by a Worker? A reliable scriptural test can be applied; that of the Two Witnesses. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Cor 13:1; John 8:17; Deut. 19:15; 1 Tim 5:19). The scripture does not contradict itself. A rightly interpreted passage will have more than one scripture to confirm it. If it is correct, there will be additional scriptures that confirm the Worker’s interpretation. If we find that a

Workers’ interpretation of a passage contradicts God’s Words in other places in the Scripture, then we can know that interpretation is not trustworthy. The Holy Spirit always reveals truth that harmonizes with the scripture. God is not the author of confusion, and He does not contradict himself. We don’t need to fear when we do not believe a man’s so-called “Revelation” or any dire predictions against us for not believing it, when we are trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.

A Worker wrote:  "To lose confidence in the ministry would be losing confidence in all we believe..." This is not true. Losing confidence in some Workers’ understanding and interpretation of the Bible is not at all the same as losing confidence in God or the Bible. Christians are personally responsible to God for what they believe and do and are only to follow ministers insofar as they follow Christ. As Paul wrote: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

Christians believe that they are born again (saved) when they believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the prophesied Messiah (Christ) who died for the sins of mankind and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. They believe in the name of Jesus and His finished work of redemption which paid for the sins of mankind, which reconciled God and man. They accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and king, turn from their sins (repent) and trust and submit their life, heart and mind completely to Him and His teachings expressed in the New Covenant in the Bible. While on earth, the Holy Spirit dwells within them and guides them (John 16:13), and when they die, they believe they will go to heaven.

Friends and Workers believe
you "have the vision" when you "see" that their belief system they call “the truth” is God’s only right way because they alone follow the true pattern of the original apostles and the early church; because only they have a 2x2 homeless ministry and church in the home with no name, and follow certain required rules and traditions (which have been added by the Workers to the finished work of Jesus' sacri¬fice). Because they alone do all these things, they firmly believe the Workers are God's only true appointed servants on earth. There is no scripture to support the conclusion there is only one right way to heaven that doesn’t mean “Jesus is the way.”

The Revelation the Workers want outsiders to “get” is that the Workers are God’s Only True Servants and their church is God’s Only True Way. This is not a Revelation confirmed in scripture. The Bible says the saving Revelation is to see, believe, accept and trust that Jesus of Nazareth is the  Son of God, the promised Messiah, the Christ, the sacrificial Lamb that paid for the sins of mankind with His blood sacrifice at Calvary (John 1:1-8; 3:16).

Workers are eager for their converts and followers to become enlightened, to get the vision, the so-called “Revelation” that the Workers are God’s only true ministers on earth and that the only way to God, heaven and eternal life is through them. They believe they are the gate through which one must go to enter heaven. In other words, the Workers have a monopoly on salvation. An elderly sister Worker,  Edna Blackburn, once remarked that in preaching the gospel, the hardest thing to get across to people was that it was God’s only right way

Suggestions for Replies to:  Appeal to Revelation

Situation: A 2x2 has asserted that you don’t have “the Revelation”…

Don’t act the least bit confused or ashamed. First, one needs to learn what the accuser’s concept of the word “Revelation” is.  Always get the accusatory terms defined clearly.

“Glad you brought that up. Let’s talk about Revelation! To communicate clearly, we need to define what the word “Revelation” means to each of us. Would you agree that a Revelation is a truth, understanding or enlightenment revealed by God to a believer in Christ to be saved?”

What Revelation are you referring to? I’m asking for clarification to see if our definitions of Revelation match. The Bible recommends the use of discernment, and supports asking questions to test teachings and practices. So I’m asking you: What Revelation are you referring to?

“What Revelation is it you think I haven’t received?”
“What essential Revelation must one have to become a Child of God?”

Isn’t the ultimate Revelation “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”? This was revealed to Peter and has been revealed to me also. I believe it with all my heart, mind and soul. So what Revelation are you talking about that I never received? 

Here’s my Revelation: I admitted I was a sinner, I repented and I’ve turned from my sins. I believe that Jesus Christ died for me on the Cross and rose from the grave, and His death paid for my sins. When I invited Jesus into my life as my Lord and Saviour, I was born again and am now a Child of God. I now trust and submit my life to His control and the New Testament is my standard for living out His will.

It may be difficult for them to put it into words. You might help them along by asking if their “Revelation” is the following four beliefs:

1.  That the 2x2 fellowship is God's ONLY right way/church (all others are false)
2.  That God only accepts worship in homes (not church buildings)
3.  That the Workers are God's only true servants/minister on earth (all others are false)
4.  That one must support the ministry in all their decisions--even when the Holy Spirit directs you to do otherwise 

Are you saying that the Revelation I don’t have is that I must support all the Workers actions and decisions without question?  That’s not what Paul recommended. He wrote: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

So, it’s really not about “Revelation” of God’s way.  It boils down to it's YOUR way, or the highway; in other words, be excommunicated.

What’s next if you don’t have “the Revelation” or have “a different spirit?”

You have asked difficult questions? Argued a point with a Worker? Disagreed with a Worker’s decision, interpretation, doctrine or authority? Depending on how widespread, how vocal and how offensive you have displayed your discontent, you may receive (1) a temporary punishment (2) a strong reprimand or (3) a sentencing. 

(1)  For some offenses, the Workers may not allow you to fully participate in meetings until you have “proved yourself.” The length of proving time is at the Workers’ discretion. You may have married outside, married a divorced person, have become pregnant out of wedlock, or have acted out in an unacceptable manner.  

(2) The Workers may conclude that you have “lost your Revelation” (if you ever had it.) However, there is still hope for you. You may be allowed to remain in the fold--PROVIDED you fully accept, comply, obey, and support all the Workers’ decisions, even if they are wrong. You must not cause any trouble, keep quiet about your doubts/questions and not say anything controversial in your testimonies. Being told you’ve lost your Revelation is usually a serious warning.

(3) If the Workers decide you have “a different spirit,” things are far more serious. This is grounds for being excommunicated, and you will most likely be told not to attend any further meetings. It’s possible you may be able to stop your excommunication, provided you beg to stay and sincerely agree to stop causing trouble and submit to all the Workers’ decisions and requirements without question. You will likely be told to be sure to attend all meetings and may be required to re-profess. A reason given is that “a different spirit” cannot have fellowship with those who have a right spirit. The solution is for the person of a “different spirit” to move on and find somewhere else where they can be satisfied. 

If the Workers come to you to pronounce a sentencing or judgment, rest assured the final decision was made beforehand, and approved by their superiors who are waiting in the wings for a report. They prefer there be no witnesses present unless they bring them. Your sentencing will be a kangaroo court where you will probably not face your accusers, there is no jury, no debate, no appeal and you are your only representative. Their goal is to notify you of your excommunication (probably not using that term), and to make sure you understand that it means you’re not to attend any further meetings, except possibly gospel meetings where you cannot speak, of course.  

It is not uncommon for others present at the visit to be told not to talk about it. The Friends may be poisoned against the excommunicated person, who is evil spoken of and lied about. The excommunication is justified due to the person having an alleged wrong or different spirit, being unwilling, offended, had a nervous breakdown, etc. Friends may be discouraged from being involved with the person and cautioned they might lose their salvation if they do. The victim is shunned when their fearful friends who unquestioning submit to the Workers’ authority write them off, and act as though they are dead. It is sometimes said this hurtful treatment is done to the victims to cause them to miss the 2x2 fellowship and bring them back. The victim soon learns who their true friends are. Where is compassion?

Even though the victim was forced out, sometimes it is said, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19).  Shunning those who leave the Fellowship has been a fairly standard procedure for a long time (Wm Irvine, Ed Cooney, Joe Kerr, Alberta, Canada, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, etc.) There’s even a sermon on the Telling The Truth website (TTT) by Jack Carroll giving instructions to do so. LINK: http://www.tellingthetruth.info/Workers_early/carrolls2.php#shunning

The following is how highly the Workers think the Friends should view their authoritarian decisions: “The right thing [is] to respect that decision because of where it has come from and to work with it no matter what our own thoughts might be on the subject…We may think that we are "obeying men" and not "obeying Christ" when we submit to something that seems wrong to our own thinking. However, the scriptures teach so much about submission…We also know that a point could be reached… where, because of some deep conviction before God, we would feel that we could not submit to something that is being asked of us. However, there is also great danger in not submitting and in taking a rebel attitude when the situation doesn't warrant that extreme position in God's mind. So, I would like to encourage all of you to accept the present situation...Whether the decision is right or wrong, the right thing for all of us is to respect it because of those who have made the judgement. If the decision is wrong, I am sure that the Lord will have ways of correcting that over time. He still is very much on the throne” (Dale Shultz April 12, 1999 Letter). http://www.tellingthetruth.info/Workers_later/shultz.php

If you suspect you may be receiving a notification (kangaroo court) meeting, be sure and (1) record and transcribe the visit--but don’t let the Workers know you are doing so. If they know, they may leave without saying why they came. They will still need to advise you of your sentence, but may do so over the telephone, as they are reluctant to be recorded or for there to be anything in writing that could “fall into the wrong hands” or be posted on the internet and that might put them in a bad light. (2) Be sure you have 2-3 witnesses in good standing in meetings on hand, but don’t let the Workers know ahead of time. If they object when they see the witnesses are present, point out you are merely following the Biblical precedent found in Matt 17:16: “take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (3) You might ask the lead Worker if s/he would begin the meeting with a prayer—this confounds them, since they are coming for the purpose of sentencing you to a lost eternity. Be prepared to pray yourself if they refuse, or prepare one of your witnesses to do so. 

During this whole process, from beginning to end, keep this in mind. Compare the Workers’ words and demeanor with Jesus who said He didn’t come to judge the brethren and pass sentence, and He refused to judge between two brothers who came to him. He didn’t excommunicate the sheep, He went to find the lost sheep, and He gave his life for the sheep. He was full of compassion for them, including the woman taken in adultery. He did not deny Judas the bread and wine or fellowship all the way through the last supper, even though He knew Judas would betray him. Jesus said, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory” (Matt. 12:20).

Remember:  No man has the ability to take a believer’s salvation from him. Jesus said: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand” John 10:28-29.

If you’re excommunicated, don’t fear to firmly say:

“Go your way. I don’t need you. You’re not my Lord and Savior – Jesus is.
He will take care of me.”



 

Chapter 7 - Ad Hominem...Verbally Abusive Personal Attacks

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Revised May 28, 2006

Before You Ask - Chapter 7
Ad Hominem...Verbally Abusive Personal Attacks


Chapter 7
Ad Hominem...Verbally Abusive Personal Attacks
General Verbally Abusive & Personal Attacks

Techniques & Suggested Replies for Dealing With Ad Hominem Attacks

Technique No. 1: Ignore the bait
Technique No. 2: Point out their tactic
Technique No. 3: Point out irrelevance
Technique No. 4: Agree with thine adversary quickly
Technique No. 5: Turning the Tables
Technique No. 6: Reply using Scripture


Ad Hominem - General Information

"When sound proof is lacking, mud is a good substitute."
"No case--abuse the other attorney!"

It is easy for some to confuse the merits of a claim with those of its source. For example, some are inclined to reject a Question, when it comes from someone they disapprove of or don't like. In effect, they are saying:

I reject your claim because you are [blank].

Replace [blank] with any term or phrase that might have a negative impact: "an anti-truth activist", "a liar", "ignorant," "just saying that to get even," and so on. A fact about the person making a claim or asking a Question is rarely grounds for rejecting the claim. Even so, workers often counter tough questions by heaping verbal abuse or accusations on a Questioner. Suppose the question is: "What is the underlying Scriptural basis for a particular religious belief or practice?" And evidence is flimsy at best or nonexistent. Some replies "get personal" and use verbal attacks abusing the Questioner's personal character, origins, circumstances, opinions, affiliations or behavior.

Truth is the answer every Questioner is seeking to his question. Truth is truth--period. Regardless of when or where; regardless of whether it is expressed, exposed or questioned by friend or foe; regardless of whether the one speaking the truth is a king, a slave, a prisoner, the Bible, the devil or a talking donkey. Anyone can speak the truth--even a notorious liar, or a person strongly motivated by self-interest, jealousy or vengeance. Hostile witnesses may speak the truth. Even the demons spoke the truth that Jesus was: "the Christ, the Son of God, The Holy One of God," in Luke 4. The lifestyle, desires, hopes, disappointments and circumstances of the speaker have absolutely no relevance to the accuracy of the words he speaks.

If Ms. Questioner has doubtful credibility in some area, the proper response is to suspend judgment about it, or to ignore it. No matter what claim or question Ms. Q might make, we are rarely justified in rejecting it as false because of our knowledge or suspicions about Ms. Q. If Ms. Q supplies REASONS for believing something, the question of whether those reasons establish the truth of her claim is totally unaffected by her alleged lack of credibility. No fact whatsoever about Ms. B would constitute a reason for rejecting, discounting, objecting to, or even suspending judgment about the worth of her beliefs or inferences. Considerations as to a person's credibility are irrelevant to the question of whether her premises establish her conclusions.

Replies using verbally abusive attacks and accusations in lieu of good, sound reasoning and evidence are called "Fallacies of Ad Hominem" (Latin for "to the person") in textbooks on Logic and Debate. This tactic has long been recognized, even back to the time Latin was in use. Ad Hominem Fallacies are character assassination, but in reality, your character, whether good or bad, has absolutely no bearing on your question or viewpoint. The character and actions of the Questioner are irrelevant, and especially so when the practice or belief you are questioning was in place long before you were ever born.

Attempts to insult, ridicule, belittle, mock, taunt, shame, scorn or batter you are all personal attacks. They are directed "to the man" (hence the Latin name "to the person") rather than "to the man's point, argument or question." Some Ad Hominem attacks are made by using the Insult-Weapon; others use the Shame-Weapon, which will be discussed in greater detail later. Ad Hominem Fallacies can be divided into three types: (1) Abusive, (2) Circumstantial and (3) Tu Quoque. Each type will be discussed in more detail.

An Abusive Ad Hominem attacks your character or ability, using that as reason to disregard your input. It insinuates that you are defective in some area; therefore whatever you say on this issue is also defective.

The Circumstantial Ad Hominem attack cites your personal situation or circumstance as the reason you accept or advise an action. The implication is that you are self-serving. "Of course you would advise that--it's in your best interest do to so!"

In Ad Hominem Tu Quoque, your point is not addressed, but rather attention is called to a similar alleged weakness or wrongdoing of yours. Tu Quoque is Latin for "You, too!".

However real or imagined, your deficiencies and circumstances are not relevant to the issue being discussed. Whether or not a practice is justified by the Bible has absolutely no connection or relevance whatsoever with the Questioner's background, lifestyle, desires, motives, deficiencies or circumstances. Pointing out supposed faults in the Questioner DOES NOT address the truth or falsity of the question itself. It is a diversion. An assault on the Questioner is merely a low down attempt at diversion...at any cost.

NOTICE HOW JESUS ASWERED QUESTIONS: Jesus was asked by John the Baptist' disciples in Matt. 11: "...Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" Did Jesus say, "John, if you were 'what you ought to be' you wouldn't have asked that question?" Or, "John, you should KNOW the answer to that!" No, He didn't reproach them or give them/him the run-around. Instead, Jesus quoted Old Testament Scripture (Is. 35:5-6) which foretold that the promised Messiah (Christ) would perform miracles when He came to earth. And Jesus was famous for performing these same miracles: healing the sick, opening the eyes of blind, healing the lame so they walked, etc. He answered their question by showing them the answer in the Scriptures, which confirmed to them Who He Was.

This fellowship claims it is the closest way to the New Testament ministry and church, and that the workers follow Jesus' example more closely than any other ministers. If the workers closely followed Jesus' example in answering questions of the friends, would they not willingly show them the Scripture confirming that the beliefs and practices of the 2x2 fellowship are God's will?


Ad Hominem
Verbally Abusive & Personal Attacks
"Getting a bit personal, aren't we??"


An attack may be carried out with name-calling, stereotyping or pigeonholing. Value-laden, discrediting or shameful labels may be freely applied, such as "the devil's agent," "a worker of Satan," "a trouble-maker," "a sower of doubt," "poison," "hate mail," etc An attack may cast doubt on your intelligence, integrity, sanity, judgment, morality, spirituality, etc. Some attackers point out how you or your action have adversely affected them: i.e. caused them to be disappointed, embarrassed, angry, ashamed, pained or put them to some trouble. ALL OF WHICH ARE IRRELEVANT to the issue in question. They claim to follow the standard of the New Testament; therefore, their practices are either the commandments of God or "commandments of men" (Mark 7:7-13).

Attacks dealing with what you ARE usually point out some alleged, undesirable character flaw, such as being unwilling, rebellious, difficult, doubtful, vain, deceived, bitter, unhappy, troubled, miserable; OR because you ARE NOT properly submissive, humble, etc.

An attack with the intent to shame may be directed towards something you HAVE, such as the wrong reasons, wrong motive, wrong spirit, bad attitude, doubt, unbelief OR because you DON'T HAVE enough faith, willingness, submission, etc.

Attacks are sometimes accusations of some selfish things you allegedly WANT, such as to be noticed; to take control, to get attention; to take your own way; to follow the world OR DON'T WANT to understand or see, do or believe.

Some attacks are engineered so you will feel ashamed about some things you DO or DID, such as cause trouble or strife, mistakes or failures you made, doing as the world does, OR because you DON'T believe the workers' words are equal in authority to God's Word; don't accept that the workers are given special revelation; don't believe the fellowship is God's ONLY right way.

As in real war, there are numerous ways and means to attack and abuse. At times, several are used in one whack, or in conjunction. Then, you may get a double or triple whammy! An attacker may sweet-talk and smile at you, and at the same time put a knife in your heart and cruelly turn it. Learning certain phrases and various forms of Ad Hominem verbige often used in verbally abusive attacks will tip you off that an attack is about to be delivered.

A very common response to an unwanted question is to infer that your question is caused by another DEEPER, serious problem. Other attacks are structured to make you feel ashamed, guilty or embarrassed. Of course, the ultimate goal is always the same: to cause you to drop your question. Some have a further agenda; that of utterly crushing your ego for daring to question them. Don't be alarmed. Their efforts don't have to succeed and will only be as successful as you allow them to be. By refusing to accept or believe their accusations or assertions, you can foil their attempt to divert your attention to yourself and your deficiencies.

REMEMBER: Their goal is for you to drop your question. If they can sidetrack you into defending yourself against their insult, or cause you to feel ashamed, they will succeed in evading your question.

In Ad Hominem attacks, verbal abuse is used to influence and gain your acceptance or compliance--without giving good reason. Don't accept their assessment of your faults! ONLY God can read your heart--who are they to slander your inner man? Have these particular faults ever been brought up to you before? Don't you find it strange that they weren't brought up UNTIL someone couldn't or didn't want to answer your question(s)? Your flaws and deficiencies are absolutely irrelevant to whether or not there is good Biblical reason to support the belief or practice you questioned.

When you are criticized or attacked, it is normal to want to defend yourself, and also to counter attack or "hit back." In other words, when you are pushed hard, you will tend to push back. However, if you do, you will end up playing the game their way, and they will be the winner. Although it may prove difficult, resisting the temptation to defend yourself is the best route to take. DEFENDING YOURSELF SIDETRACKS THE DISCUSSION. It is highly likely that you will not obtain the information you seek, and instead will be caught up in a series of attacks and defenses, which are a complete waste of time. To avoid this, don't defend yourself, don't counterattack, and don't reject their claims outright. Just don't react to their attacks--instead, sidestep them and call the discussion back to the main topic.

If they know the answer, why don't they just tell you? Why do they resort to pointing out faults, name-calling and verbal abuse? I suggest it is either because they:

(1) don't know the answer, or
(2) don't want to tell you the answer.

REMEMBER THIS! An insult, accusation or attack proves nothing about you, nor does it answer your question. It does prove, however, that they don't want to answer your question. Might be interesting to learn why...! DON'T TAKE THE INSULT OR ASSAULT PERSONALLY! This cannot be stressed though. Just IGNORE it!! Mentally redefine the deficiency message you received from them so that you don't perceive it as an insult to you. It's a gimmick! It's like flattery; it's given in an attempt to gain something. So detach yourself from your feelings, and let the insulting put-down be like water running off your back. Don't let it sink in. DON'T let it hurt you (or don't let it show if it does!), and don't allow it to sidetrack the conversation.

They would give the same response to ANYONE who asked a question about a practice or belief they don't have scripture to support. It is highly unlikely you were the first person they have clobbered with this maneuver. They may have gotten off the hook the last time they used it, but it doesn't have to be successful this time--not at YOUR expense anyway! ! You CAN foil their attempt! Don't let them weasel out of giving you a straight answer--especially not after they have heaped insults on you! Keep them on track, and remain intent on getting an answer out of them, even if it is simply an, "I don't know."

Ignoring their insult doesn't mean that you won't have the pleasure of calling a spade a spade. But giving insult for insult lowers you to the level of the insulter (remember your mother telling you this?). You don't have to attack the person. You can show him that you see quite clearly what he is attempting to do by insulting you, and point out the irrelevance between your character and your question and his reply.

It is important to maintain good eye contact when doing this. Muster up a completely unashamed, guilt-free, all-knowing, bemused, "I'm no dummy" expression. Don't ruin the effect by sounding ugly or nasty; or by having a sneer or smug tone, or by raising your voice. Retain a respectful, confident attitude and good eye contact. Keep your goal uppermost in your mind, and steer them back to your question.

Do not even for a minute consider that the attack on you might be warranted. Attacks are irrelevant to the issue at hand. Even if the accusation is true, an attack on YOU does NOT answer your question, and is not warranted. What happened is that your question put them on the defensive, so they used a defense mechanism: Attack Be the Exception! Allow this low-down tactic to fail this time!! Whatever fault of yours they indicate your questioning "shows or proves" to them is just specu-la-tion to get them off the "hot seat." Don't let their strategy work. Don't accept their criticism or take their remarks personally and feel guilty or ashamed. Look them in the eye with all the dignity you can assume. Recognize that their remark is designed to manipulate you into dropping your question(s), and resolve not to let it happen. Duck the attack. Totally reject it and zero back to the subject they were hoping you would leave alone. They may have successfully used this tactic before to evade a particular question and to ward off further questions, but this time it's not going to work


Techniques & Suggested Replies
To Abusive Personal Attacks


Technique No. 1:
Ignore the bait. In doing this, you are claiming you are not in the position of X. It has been said that a person is treated with as much respect as he shows himself. I believe there is a lot of truth in that, and have proved it many times over. You didn't deserve the insult; they don't have the authority to dish out insults; and you don't respect their opinion:

"Please, could we just stick to the question I asked, why X?"

"I have no intention of being sidetracked from my question into discussing my imperfections. I am still waiting to learn your answer to my question, why X?"

"I get the idea that you aren't interested in explaining these things to me. Could it be that YOU yourself don't know the Scriptural reason that this fellowship follows this practice?"

"Please, I have a simple one-track mind and have to stick to one subject at a time. Now, what is your answer to my question, why X?"

"Hey! It almost sounds as if you are trying to lay a guilt trip on me! Well, I don't happen to be in the mood to defend myself today (said with a smile). Now, what do you say to my question, why X?"

"We don't have a lot of time, so it would help if we suspend judgment and stick to my question, why X?"

"There is a rumor that the workers are not interested in answering questions of the friends. Is that true? If it's not true, then what is the answer to my question, why X?"

"Why don't you just answer my question? Resorting to insults or to pointing out my faults in reply to a question is a pretty good indication that the question disturbs you, and for some reason you don't want to answer it. I admit I am curious as to why that might be the case, but our time is limited, and I really want to know the answer to my question, why X?"

"Let's stick to the question at hand, instead of discussing the status of my spirit.
What would your answer be to this question if I were not X?
OR How do you answer this question when a not-X person asks it?"


Technique No. 2: Point out their tactic in a general way; then restate your question. Don't respond to their insulting bait X. Zip back to your question and hang on tenaciously until you get an answer--of some sort. "It's obvious to me that you're attacking my character in order to avoid answering my question. Now days, the schools are training children to recognize these tactics. Are you aware that your reply/line of reasoning commits the Fallacy of Ad Hominem? This Fallacy is committed when the person is attacked, instead of the person's position. You attacked (me personally/my character), instead of answering my question. Attacking (me/the Questioner) proves nothing about the subject I brought up. When someone is on the hot seat, or is between a rock and a hard place and feeling pressured or threatened, they often resort to using this fallacy. Are my questions and persistence making you feel (pressured/stressed)? I am really sincere in wanting to know, why X?"

"It's interesting to me that my shortcomings weren't mentioned until after I brought up the subject of Z. Does my question make you uncomfortable? Do you not want to answer it? Why do you resort to (insulting me; judging me; attacking my character), when a straight answer from the Bible would satisfy? Or perhaps you don't know the answer? I want to know, why X, and I'm not going to stop until I get the answer."

"Wait a minute! It looks as though this visit might be getting off on the wrong foot. I AM YOUR FRIEND, and I feel like I am being treated as an enemy! (Those words/that statement) were/was (irrelevant, unnecessary, unkind, unbecoming and uncalled for.) What's more--you haven't answered my question. I didn't request an assessment of my faults. I know I'm not perfect. I asked you over because I need to know the answers to some questions, and you are supposed to be the expert in these spiritual matters. Now let's wipe the slate clean and start all over. I asked you why X, and I want to know?!"

"So far, my (X character/integrity) has been (maligned/attacked,) and my question has been ignored. However, I STILL intend to find out why...X? Are you going to give me a straight answer? If you can't answer my question why X, then knows the answer? Does your overseer know?"

"It doesn't surprise me that the workers hold the opinion that those who question have a 'wrong spirit.' What does surprise me is that my question threatens you so you feel it necessary to resort to using such an obvious distraction gimmick. I am really puzzled as to why you don't just answer my question, instead of judging my character. You give your LIFE for this system--SURELY you know a good Biblical reason for why X?"

"Where did you learn that X-unwillingness reveals itself in questioning?" If I were you, I wouldn't go around using that line of reasoning. No student gets out of a logic or debate class without being able to recognize that VERY common fallacious reasoning tactic. The name of it is the Ad Hominem Fallacy. It is basically attacking the person who asks the question rather than answering his question and giving proof of your position. Now what is the answer to my question, why X??"

"Let's leave my spirit out of this. You've attacked my character and integrity; and done everything but answer my question. I'm going to ask you one more time: Why X?"


Technique No. 3: Point out irrelevance between X and/or Y and your question. Be prepared to explain WHY the points under consideration are irrelevant. "Pronouncing judgment on my character is completely irrelevant to my question. The things I am concerned about (took place/were written) long before I was ever born. Do you or do you not know the answer to why X?"

"We are all aware that people believe what they want to. They see things through rose-colored, (brain-washed) glasses which are colored by their environment and experiences. I'm not going to try to convince you to believe anything different about me because it's irrelevant to my question. But, be careful you don't deceive yourself! Now, what is your answer to my question, why X?"

"The answer to my question should be the same, regardless of the state of my spirit (X): good, bad or wrong; willing or unwilling; because my spirit (X) is not relevant to this question. Now, what I really need to know is why X?"

"Surely the answer to my question would be the same, regardless of whether or not (it was asked in faith or unbelief/a woman or man asked)? After all (faith/one's sex) has no affect on/is irrelevant to truth. So why X?"

"The truth stands unchanged, regardless of whether or not it is true that I am (X doubting/unwilling/need to submit). The Bible says that Jesus was born of a virgin, regardless of whether or not I believe that--it is still the truth. Regardless of my shortcomings, the truthful answer to my question will be the same. Now, why X?"

"I simply asked a simple question. The condition of my spirit is irrelevant to this conversation. What I want to know is what good reason do the workers have for believing X?"


Technique No. 4: "Agree with thine adversary quickly." You may agree with something the other party said, but what they said did NOT answer your question. Attack the significance of their point. "That is true, but so what?" Go right back to your question, like a boomerang. Don't be surprised, however, if you are given ANOTHER fallacious reasoning technique on the heels of the one you just countered. "If we start discussing all our shortcomings, we could be here until the Lord comes back! So let's not get sidetracked. I would like to stick to my question, why X?"

"I couldn't agree with you more! And the more aware I become of my shortcomings, the more grateful I am that Jesus paid for my sins. My heartfelt desire is to bring others to know Him also. My problem is: How do I answer them when they ask me, why we X?"

"Oh, I understand perfectly! The problem is that I disagree completely at the same time! Now, why X?"

"What you said is certainly very true, but it's not significant in the least to my question, why X?"
"What you have said is true, but it is not relevant to the point we are discussing, why X?"

"I will be the first to admit I have many, many faults. However, I don't see how the answer to my question can be found in a discussion of them! So if you don't mind, let's stick to the subject. I am still waiting to know your answer to my question, why X?"

"You're absolutely right. I don't Y (have faith in; am unwilling). I am quite willing to follow God's commands that I can read in the Bible, but I don't (have faith in; am unwilling) to follow men's words, instructions and traditions as though THEY were God's Word, when I can't find a basis for them in the Bible. (Mark 7:7-13). The Bible advises us against putting absolute faith in men's word. So if you would just help me by giving me the Scripture text supporting the practice of X, I will be content."


Technique No. 5: Turning the Tables. Make their argument or explanation work for you, and against them. This is very effective. Hung by the tongue! Replying to: "If you were not UNWILLING, you wouldn't ask questions":

"And then again, maybe it is because YOU are UNWILLING to answer my question--or unable to--that you are trying to distract me from my question, why X?"

"The answer is the very thing that would eliminate the UNWILLINGNESS I stand accused of. Why are you unwilling to answer my question, why X?"

"On the other hand, it could also be that YOU are UNWILLING to answer my question or unable to do so; so you condemn me for questioning, why X?"

"We all have challenges with being X/UNWILLING. Are you possibly X/UNWILLING to answer my question, why X?"

Replying to: insinuations that you have a problem or are trying to be DIFFICULT, UNREASONABLE, etc.

"Why is it so DIFFICULT for you to tell me the real story/the truth about X?"

"I asked a very REASONABLE question. In return, I received judgment. I am still waiting for a REASONABLE answer. I choose to ignore your unkind/uncalled for remark. There have been many times in my life that I have wished I could take back some of some of MY words. Now, let's get back to my REASONABLE question. What is your answer to: Why X?"

"I think I see what you mean: Are you saying I AM the PROBLEM because I asked you a PROBLEM question? Do you have a PROBLEM with my question, why X?"

Following are a couple examples from the Bible where men used the technique of "turning the tables."

In Numbers 16:3, Korah, a Levite, took several choice men: "And they gathered them-selves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, YE TAKE TOO MUCH UPON YOU, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?"
***Then in Num 16:7, Moses turned the tables, using Korah's own words: "And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: YE TAKE TOO MUCH UPON YOU, YE SONS OF LEVI."

In Num 16:9, Moses speaking: "SEEMETH IT BUT A SMALL THING UNTO YOU, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?"
***Then Moses sent for Eliab and Abiram, who replied by turning the tables and using Moses own words in Num 16:13: "IS IT A SMALL THING that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?"

Technique No. 6: Reply using Scripture: Replying with a quote from Scripture or a phrase from a hymn makes it hard for them to "kick against the pricks." Defend your right to question; to be imperfect; make it understood they are not your authority--and have no right to condemn, judge you. What they think doesn't count. "He that is without sin...let him cast the first stone...," John 8:7. Are you sinless? Neither am I. I'm so very glad Jesus paid the price for our sins on Calvary. Now, what' your answer to my question, why X?"

"Ask and ye shall receive." (Matt 7:8) 'Asking' is simple, but I never thought 'receiving' would be so difficult. Why is it so difficult for you to give me a simple straightforward answer to this question, why X?"

"Condemning the source/or the messenger has no affect on the accuracy of information, evidence and truth. "Am I your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" (Gal. 4:16). Now, are you going to answer my question, why X, or do I need to ask someone else?"

"I am well aware that I have many shortcomings (looking grieved and humble). Putting all that aside, however, I was convicted recently when I read 1 Peter 3:15: "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you...". So I sat down and made a list of all the things to which I give lip service, but for which I didn't know the underlying Scriptural reasons. So will you please help me by explaining why X and Y and Z?"
If good solid reasons are not forthcoming, try countering with:
"Well, since you don't know the answer to my question, why do we do X, then it seems reasonable not to expect me to continue the practice of X. Is this what you mean?"

"I don't see any point in discussing 'motes and beams' (Matt 7:3). It's neither of our places to be Speck Inspectors. God is the only truly qualified judge. Now, what is your answer to my question, why X?"

"I would caution you to be VERY careful in making remarks like that. You're sealing your own fate: `For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.' (Matt 7:2). Now, back to my question, why X?"

"There's is really no point in your voicing your judgment of me. 'To my MASTER, I stand or fall' (Romans 14:4.) Perhaps you were trying to evade my question? I am not going to give up until I know the answer to why X? If you won't tell me, who do you recommend I ask who will know the answer?'"

"Jesus said for everyone that asketh, receiveth;" That means me, since God is no "respecter of persons." And that means it's OK to ask questions, and that there is an answer to my question. "And he that seeketh, findeth." That means that He has promised I will get my question answered. "And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened." So I'll be able to understand the answer. Now, again, what is the answer to my question, why X?" (quote from Luke 11:10)

Jesus said: "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?" If you truly are a servant of God, then I won't receive a stone, a serpent or a scorpion for an answer to my question, why X?" (quote from Luke 11:11-12)


More Chapters will be added in the future.




 

 

Chapter 6 - Comparisons, Analogies, Allegories

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Revised March 15, 2011

Before You Ask - Chapter 6


COMPARISONS, ANALOGIES, ALLEGORIES

The Pearl of Great Price Analogy


The analogy that I've thought about for some time now is that when we professed we were "selling all" and buying a field that contains a "treasure" or "the pearl of great price." Only to find out that the treasure or pearl (pick your verse in Mat. 24) wasn't really the one of great price -- it was a man-made imitation. A forgery. Now we weren't told this at the beginning; we were told that it was the real thing and we believed those who told us. And we "sold all." For some of us that meant effectively abandoning our natural families because they were still in "worldly religions." But we believed those who told us that this treasure was the real thing from God.

Then we find out that some man named William Irvine made this treasure. He followed a pattern partially from the Faith Mission and partially of his own interpretation and he MADE it with his own two hands to look like what he believed the REAL treasure would look like. Later some of his followers helped reshape it a bit because they themselves had their own ideas about what the REAL treasure looked like. So the treasure that we all bought was not the real one from God, but the replica made by these men. This fact was kept from those who bought for many decades, though some knew but apparently agreed that it was "close enough" and did not fuss.

Later when we ask some of those who had represented the treasure as having been the real thing from God, they said "well, it's just like the real thing. That's what we MEANT. Sorry that you thought we were saying that it WAS the real thing. So, since it's just like the real thing, everything is dandy and why be bothered? After all, nobody else has made anything even close."

If this scenario happened to even the most hearty professing person in a retail store with some merchandise, for example, I bet they'd be none too happy. Probably call the Better Business Bureau.

But as we heard, we worship "in spirit and in truth", NOT in a form.

By B.G.


The Painting Analogy

Suppose you paid dearly for a painting represented to be an original by a world famous artist. Unfortunately, you later find out that it had not been painted by that particular artist, after all—that it is a fake by an unknown artist. You have been defrauded by the art dealer you purchased it from. Yes, you still have a painting--but now, you don’t know it’s value. Since there is no doubt that it is not in the class of paintings by famous well known artists, it is demoted to the class with unknown artists. Since the painting is not a genuine, original by a well known artist, it is not worth what you paid for it. You must now reappraise and re-evaluate the painting, and decide what you are going to do with it. Will you keep it, or let it go? Would you want to warn your friends (especially your FRIENDS) and even strangers against this crooked art dealer?

This is the situation many of the friends find themselves in when they learn that William Irvine started this 2x2 ministry and church about 100 years ago. They feel like the props have been knocked out from under them. The main overriding reason some bought into the 2x2 belief system was because they were told/taught and believed it was the ONLY genuine apostolic New Testament church on earth today. Many have remained in this fellowship primarily because (1) they believe it is of apostolic succession, and (2) they fear a lost eternity if they don't continue in it.

But, like the painting, the 2x2 church turned out to be a fake/fraud. The church and fellowship they bought into is not what it’s cracked up to be. It is not of apostolic succession, and did not originate in the New Testament, and it has for a founder, not Jesus or God, but a fallible human man, like other churches do. It's not the bill of goods they were sold at all—not the original, authentic, genuine NT church of Jesus. With the discovery of William Irvine, it no longer merits an elevated status above other churches—it is demoted to the class of churches with founders.

When a person has accepted the fact that Wm Irvine started the 2x2 ministry and church, and that it didn’t exist in a continuous line from the New Testament apostles, certain questions naturally come to mind. This additional knowledge calls for a serious reevaluation, and a possible realignment or change in spiritual perspective and beliefs. It is only normal to wonder, to struggle with a number of complex questions. The lives of many friends are significantly altered by the way they answer these questions:

  • What is the value of this church?
  • Does this knowledge change anything?
  • What difference does it make that this fellowship has a founder?
  • Does having a founder contradict any of my other spiritual beliefs?
  • How can this fellowship be God's only true way, when it has a human founder?
  • What reasons do you have for believing it is God’s only way?
  • Is there a good basis in the Bible for regarding it as God's ONLY way to Heaven?
  • Is it the closest way to the New Testament church and ministry?
  • How is this church and ministry superior to other churches and ministers?
  • How is the 2x2 way unique?
  • Where do I go from here?

By Cherie Kropp


THE INVESTMENT ANALOGY

Let's just say that Mom and Dad had trusted a certain firm with their money that they had squirreled away bit by bit, and chosen the "safest" place that there was by believing this firms claims that they were the only ones never to lose anyones money, as they were the only ones with the inside track to the world's financial markets. They faithfully watched the papers and the market reports daily, added more money, and rolled over c.d.'s as they matured. So frugally did they live, as money is the root of all evil.

One day their son came over with the newspaper, and on the front page, was the headline that this firm was busted. Evidently, the newer management realized what they could get away with, as they coasted along on the reputation of the firm. They had gotten reckless, and decided to use their clients money without telling them, as after all, they were the financial experts right? Well of course they eventually got caught. Their response to their son was, "That's lies! Our accounts have been doing very well! We have all these statements to prove it! We know those people would never scam us, we trust them!

As time plays out and more evidence surfaces, it is obvious to almost everyone that the money is long gone. Mom and Dad still refuse to accept that they are financially bankrupt. They would have too much to face if they accepted this fact. Number one would be their complete lack of security and identity, followed by realizing that life as they know it would change completely. Painfully, they would become aware of the fact that, as they cannot afford their previous lifestyle, that they would also lose the friends that went with it. I have to say that their pride would make it almost unbearable! The fact that they, who had so much, or thought they did, let people play them for a fool. How could they face anyone, especially their family and friends that had previously inquired.

  • I wonder, if this were you would you try to warn anyone else?
  • Do you think you might try to show people how to safeguard against this happening to them?
  • Do you think you would just go on with your life in a week or two as if nothing happened?
  • Do you think it would be natural to meet with other investors who were swindled by this firm to compare notes support each other?
  • Would you condemn them as bitter and malicious?

NOTE: The author's name to above is unknown. If anyone knows the author, please Contact Us, and proper credit will be given.


THE BUBBLE ANALOGY

There was once a community of people who believed that life in the world was very dangerous. In fact it was deadly. No one could survive unless they were willing to come into a specially constructed Bubble a man and a few of his friends had planned and built, roughly following the plans of a Bubble they once had been in, where everything was "safe" and where none would be contaminated by the deadly outside world.

Life inside the Bubble was intense and stressful. Days were filled with hard things to do and endure. There were dress and hair codes for the women and the men were robbed of their masculinity by the leaders. The people were all under the surveillance of the leaders who said what to do and not to do in order to stay safe inside the Bubble. There were constant fearful reminders to everyone at frequent meetings which were deemed essential for everyone to attend. The people were told that life outside the Bubble would mean sure death! In fact, everyone was reminded from time to time by the builder of this bubble, and his subsequent leaders, that there were certain things that would result in a person being expelled from the Bubble. A small doorway was in the side of the Bubble through which anyone in violation of the rules would be shoved and left to DIE!

Now, a certain man was more bold than most and dared to ask the leaders how they knew for sure that life outside the Bubble was deadly. At first they ignored him and gave no answer, but, he was persistent and finally they said they considered him a troublesome person, who just wanted attention for himself. The leaders spread false stories about him. They said he was "bitter." They sternly warned him that if he kept up his questioning he could find himself on the outside someday; and then he could see for himself the truth of what they said. And of course, some of the leaders, especially the younger ones who were born inside the Bubble, believed everything that was taught.

Not to be easily put off, this certain man began to talk with others, in the Bubble, about his doubt concerning sure death outside the Bubble. He shared questions with them, which the leaders would not answer or to which they gave him only conflicting vague answers. The differing answers depended upon which leader he talked to in the various parts of the Bubble. Some of the Bubble people listened sympathetically. Some walked away in disgust and anger. Most disagreed with what he thought, for they were strong believers in everything their leaders taught them from their childhood. A few went directly to the leaders and reported what they had heard this certain man say. In fact, they embellished on his honest questions, hoping to be rid of such a trouble maker.

The leaders agreed among themselves that the time had come for action. On an appointed day everyone was called together and told that, due to the persistent and malcontent conduct of this certain man, he was going to be shoved out through the doorway. They washed their hands of all responsibility; made a weak attempt to get him to repent. When he maintained his integrity, and refused to follow their foolish rules, they hustled him to the doorway and shoved him out of the Bubble!

There was a great gasp. A few wept. But most just wagged their heads and clicked their tongues. Some stood transfixed watching to see how he would die outside the Bubble. They watched and they watched. What they witnessed became the source of a lot of trouble for many years to come.

The man's first reaction, thinking he was about to die, was to lay motionless and wait for death to come. But suddenly he took a deep breath and discovered the air outside was wonderfully fresh and had none of the artificial odor he had smelled inside the Bubble for years. The sky was bluer and the sun shone brighter. He stood and smiled back to the doorway through which he had been shoved and tried to open it. It was locked tightly. He began to motion to those still watching that it was better out than in. With an urgency he did everything he could think of to induce others to come out too, and to enjoy the wonderful life and safety he experienced outside the Bubble. Some thought a lot about this situation. Most only stood and stared.

At first no one could understand his gyrations. Soon, some did understand. They ran with haste to tell the leaders about what was transpiring at the doorway. When the leaders arrived, they were deeply mystified. As soon as they understood he had proven their teachings false the leaders became alarmed, then very angry. How dare he thwart their teaching and prove them false! How dare he put his doubts into their minds! He was jeopardizing their dominating leadership position. Hewas taking away the fear they had installed in "their" people for many years. Something had to be done!

Quickly the leaders organized a work detail to have the walls of the Bubble painted black to a height of ten feet so that no one could see out and watch what the man was doing. The leaders told the people not to have anything to do with what he was trying to communicate. Most of the people were pleased to have their upsetting view blocked! However, some were very curious to see what was happening to the man. When they thought no one was watching they would mount a ladder and peer above the black barrier. They began to understand that what their leaders had told them was not true! The leaders were divided in what to do. They had many leaders' meetings and tried to come up with a believable story. Some wanted to tell the truth. An assortment of conflicting explanations were made. Most said nothing should be done to destroy their feeling of harmony and unity which, as they often told the people, existed in all parts of the Bubble. Many different and conflicting versions were told of how the Bubble originated. Though they often contradicted each other, one thing they agreed on, at first, was that those who were caught associating with any who looked out of the Bubble, or asked questions, were also to be shoved through the doorway.

Many who left the Bubble devised ways of communicating the truth to some of those inside, in spite of the leaders telling people not to listen to what any of those "bad" outside people were saying. The leaders told their people inside that everything they saw and read from those outside was a lie.

Then a most alarming thing began happening. Others decided to go through the doorway on their own! Now the situation was out of hand. The existence of life in the Bubble was in grave jeopardy, especially for the leaders, and those who had invested so much of their lives maintaining life in the Bubble which they had come to NOW, was the only way to live.

As the numbers of people in the Bubble began to dwindle, the leaders and younger "leaders-in-waiting" were scurrying. They spent their time trying to convince people still in the Bubble that they were not to doubt that the Bubble had always been in existence and what they taught about "death" outside the Bubble was the absolute truth. This is what the people remaining in the Bubble wanted to hear.

Meanwhile, most of those "outside" the Bubble were enjoying happy, abundant lives in freedom from the former bondage to which they had become accustomed. Many of them even learned of a very special Man who arranged for them to live forever in paradise, if they would accept the marvelous gift He had made arrangement for. And many thankfully accepted His free eternal gift.


THE BOX ANALOGY

Imagine living all your life within a little box. Everything you know is defined by the walls of that box. You are very comfortable around the people inside that box. You are all convinced that whatever God does, surely all of you inside the box will be the first to know about it. And in fact, talk of God doing anything outside the box is discouraged because everyone inside knows that they are God's people and life inside the box is what it's all about.

You know that there are people outside the box but you're not quite sure what they're about. The walls of the box prevent you from really understanding those other people and that's a good thing because if you got to understand those outside, well, you might just want to leave the box, and that would be really dangerous because when Jesus returns, He's only coming back to pick up that box and then burn up everybody else. You don't want to be outside the box when Jesus returns.

But then what happens when God opens the top just a little bit and you're only one that sees it. It's really bright outside and looks scary. Too many new things to consider. But you build up the courage and while everyone is screaming at you not to look outside you gently poke your nose out and take a sniff of the air. Hey! It smells okay! "Of course" yell all the other people "But it will kill you if you breathe it in long enough."

Meanwhile you're looking out through the gap and things look pretty interesting. So you tentatively slip outside but keep a tight hold on the box because you don't want to fall off the top and lose out. But hey! It's really scary out here and at the same time it's a bit exhilarating! There are so many amazing things to see and people start coming up and talking to you and they wonder what you're doing. You explain to them that you've been living in that there box and you're just having a look at what's outside. Some people tell you that they've seen the box and they know that others live inside and never come out. They think that's a pretty strange way to live because it's clear to them that not much would happen inside that little box.

But anyway you start taking some steps...one...two...three...but what's this? It hasn't killed you after all! but oh no! The thought jumps in your head that Jesus might come back while you're outside the box. You feel really afraid for a bit but then you look around and see all this amazing stuff and lovely people. Some of them even claim to know God! You spend some time talking with these people and you discover that maybe they do know God. They seem to act like they know Him.

Time slips by and you go on all sorts of amazing adventures and learn heaps of new things and have the best time with people you'd have never met if you'd stayed in the box. Meanwhile you discover that you still know God and that He didn't leave you when you stepped outside the box. In fact, if you're honest, you admit that you probably know more about God now then you ever did the whole time you were in the box. It seems like now, your life is just one big adventure with God instead of just saying and doing things inside the box that other people inside the box say and do as well.

So you discover that God is doing many different and amazing things and you admit that you'd never have found out about them if you'd stayed inside. In fact, when you really stop to think about it, you wonder why you stayed there as long as you did, and then eventually you ask yourself "What could possibly get me back in that box?" And you realise the answer is....nothing!

But then you remember there's a lot of people in that box that you care about. So you try and call out to them and try to explain how great it is outside and that God is doing so much more than we ever thought possible. But the people inside the box just don't want to know. Many of them ignore you, and others say you're lying and others pretend you don't exist anymore.

Most of them go on about their daily box lives as if you're just some annoying thing in their imagination. Really! The thought of it! Life outside the box! HUH! You might as well believe that people can live underwater without an oxygen tank. Some even make strange claims like, "I don't know to step outside the box to know that everybody out there is wrong."

But very, very occasionally, as long as you're patient and gentle and caring, someone inside the box asks a genuine question. They really want to know what life is like outside the box. So you tell them and share with them how great God has been.

And even more rarely one of them asks if you'll give them a hand because they want to get out of the box too. So you help them out, and they weep when they see how beautiful and amazing and wonderful and big that God really is! And after you've helped just one person out, you realise that this is what life is about! It's not about living your own way and doing whatever you want to do. It's all about helping other people get out of the boxes they're in.

By Rob Oxenbridge


THE MAN WHO BOUGHT A HOUSE

In this town there lived a man who had been able to save enough money from his hard work that he decided that he was now able to afford a very nice house for his family. In one of the nicer parts of town was a beautiful old house that appeared to be vacant, and he often went by and looked at it from the street. The more he looked at it, the more he fell in love with this old house.

One day as he was standing admiring this house, he was approached by a very nice-looking gentleman who said to him: "I have noticed you frequently admiring this fine old house. I happen to be the agent for the owner, and I am authorized to sell it, if I can find a buyer." This was, of course, good news to the man, since the more he had looked at the house, the more he wanted it for himself and his family.

The agent took the man into the house and showed him through it, and everything the man saw made him want the house even more. The house was beautifully designed and built, with skill and imagination, in a style which was no longer very popular among most people, but which he and his family had always found attractive. He could picture in his mind how happy and comfortable his family would be there. It seemed that his fondest dream was about to come true. The man bought the house.

Before the man moved his family into the house, he asked the agent about the usual inspections, for termites, dry rot and other possible structural problems. The agent told him that everything had been inspected thoroughly by his staff. "You can take my word for it: this house is sound and solid. It is the finest house in the city!" The man thought for a moment that he should ask to see the inspection reports, but the agent was the kind of person that inspired trust and confidence, and the man had a strong feeling deep in his heart that the agent would not try to deceive him about something so important.

The man and his family moved into their home, and it was even more lovely and comfortable than he had imagined. They invited their friends and relatives to visit them, and they were able to entertain them graciously and hear their guests' praises of their beautiful home.

One evening his brother was visiting. The brother was a meddlesome and sometimes unpleasant person, but the man tried to be gracious to him because he was his brother.

"This is a very lovely old house you have," said the brother.
"Thank you for the compliment," replied the man.

"How is the foundation? Sometimes these old houses have structural problems."
"Don't worry about that," responded the man. "Everything has been inspected and is in good order."

"Who inspected it?"
The man began to get irritated with his brother. "It's really none of your business, but I'll be happy to tell you. The seller's agent had it inspected."

"Did you examine the report yourself?"
This was really going too far, the man felt. But he answered anyway, "I didn't have to. The agent read the reports and told me that they were in order."

"How can you trust the agent that much?" the brother asked, shaking his head.
"I pity you if you have to go through life without trust, without belief, without relying on the goodness of others! Sometimes you just know in your heart that you can trust someone."

The brother said nothing, but got up to leave. "I'll maybe poke around a little outside and look over your foundation. I'm not an expert, but I do have some experience with these things."

"I do not give you permission to go nosing about my house or grounds. You are just looking for something that will give you an excuse to find fault with my home and to spoil my enjoyment of it!"

"I assure you that I am only motivated by my concern for you as my brother. I will not cause any damage." And with that, he left the house.

As he looked around the grounds and examined the house, he had to admit that it was beautiful. But he also knew that paint could hide many problems. Near a corner, in the back, he found a small, almost invisible door that appeared to lead into the basement. It had been sealed shut with a half-dozen screws. He went back inside and asked the man: "Are you aware of the door into the basement which has been sealed shut?"

"Of course I am aware of it!"
"Why is it sealed shut?"

"Because there is absolutely no need for anyone to go into the basement. There is nothing there."
"Have you ever been there?"

"No, of course not! Why would I want to go down there? I'm sure that it's just dank and musty, and there's nothing there."
"I think it would pay to take a look, to check the foundation."

"Absolutely not!" shouted the man. "This is MY house! It is MY basement! I have no interest in going there, and I forbid you to do so! I told you that the foundation has already been inspected. Now please leave me in peace!"

Rather than argue with the man, the brother left. But the sealed door continued to bother him, and the basement which it concealed. A few weeks later, when the brother knew that the man and his family were going to be away for a day or two, the brother took a screwdriver and a flashlight to the man's house and carefully opened the sealed door.

He had to stoop to enter the dark basement. The man had been right: there was nothing down there, except the posts and beams and braces that held up the house. As he crept among them, lighting his way with the flashlight, he noticed that the beams and posts had thick coats of paint. Everything was covered with paint. He took his pocket knife and scraped away the paint in a few spots, and where he had removed the paint, instead of solid wood he found a lacy, delicate framework of worm holes. He scraped away paint from some of the other structural members, in all parts of the basement, and found that the wood fiber was missing in all of them, either having been eaten by worms or termites, or having crumbled with dry rot. He was horrified. Not a single beam or post or brace could be relied on.

He wondered what could be holding up the great weight of the house. It seemed to be only the paint which was covering up the rot. He almost imagined he could feel the house settling, having removed the little bit of paint, and he urgently wanted to escape. He found his way to the door, and closed it carefully after he was again in the sunshine. But his mind was troubled.

As soon as the man and his family returned, the brother came to see him. "I have some terrible news for you," he said. He confessed that he had entered the basement, contrary to the man's order. "But I know you will forgive me when I tell you what I found." He then told the man that his entire house was in danger of falling down because of the worms, termites and rot in the structural members in the basement.

But instead of thanking his brother, the man flew into a rage. "You are telling me this only to rob me of the pleasure I have in living in this beautiful house! How can you attack me like this? How can you say such terrible things about a house that is so beautiful? You obviously are my enemy. You are jealous of me because of my house. You have made up these lies with the sole purpose of trying to destroy my happiness and to cast aspersions upon my house, the agent who sold it to me and the people who inspected it and pronounced it sound. Get out! And because you have become my enemy, I never wish to see you again!"

The brother tried to calm the man. "I assure you that I am not your enemy. I am acting only with your good at heart. Why would I want otherwise?"

The man would not be calmed. "You are trying to destroy my love for this house. Therefore you must have an evil motive."

"Please," said the brother. "Come down with me to your basement, and I will let you see with your own eyes what I have found."

"I am not interested in seeing anything that you have to show me. You are obviously such an evil person that you would stoop to any level to deceive me into believing your lies. You have probably planted phony evidence in my basement. You would twist and misinterpret anything I found so that it would appear to support your filthy lies about my house. No! I will not go into the basement with you! I don't care about your delusions, and I don't have the time to humor you."

The brother was puzzled by the man's obstinacy. He couldn't understand why he wouldn't at least look in the basement himself. Perhaps, by replacing the beams, or by taking other measures in time, the house could be saved. But if nothing was done, the house would surely collapse, sooner or later, perhaps injuring someone.

Seeing that he could not help, the brother left, sad that he had been unjustly labeled an "enemy."

In spite of the man's confidence in the soundness of his house, his brother's words did trouble him for a few days. Finally, he could no longer resist the temptation, and he took a flashlight and crept through the small door into the basement. He looked around and saw where his brother had scraped the paint away to expose the fragile, rotten timbers.

He was furious! Why had his brother done this? He went upstairs to a cabinet and got a bucket of paint and a brush, and carefully repainted all the places that his brother had scraped away. "There!" he said, as he screwed the door back into place.

He decided that he would not tell his wife and family what had happened, because it would only disturb them and spoil the love and pleasure they enjoyed, living in such a beautiful house.

By Richard Packham , 1995 (an ex mormon) http://www.2think.org/parable.shtml

Go to Chapter 7

 

 

Chapter 5 - Comparisons, Analogies, Allegories

E-mail Print PDF

Revised March 15, 2011

Before You Ask - Chapter 5


Comparisons, Analogies, Allegories

Suppose you paid dearly for a painting represented to be an original by a world famous artist. Unfortunately, you later find out that it had not been painted by that particular artist, after all—that it is a fake by an unknown artist. You have been defrauded. Yes, you still have a painting--but now, you don’t know it’s value. Since there is no doubt that it is not in the class of paintings by well known artists, it is demoted to the class with unknown artists. Since the painting is not a genuine, original by a well known artist, it is not worth what you paid for it. You must now reappraise and re-evaluate the painting, and decide what you are going to do with it. Will you keep it, or let it go?

This is the situation many of the friends find themselves in when they learn that William Irvine started this 2x2 ministry and church about 100 years ago. They feel like the props have been knocked out from under them. The main overriding reason some bought into the 2x2 belief system was because they were told/taught and believed it was the ONLY genuine apostolic New Testament church on earth today. Many have remained in this fellowship primarily because (1) they believe it is of apostolic succession, and (2) they fear a lost eternity if they don't continue in it.

But, like the painting, the 2x2 church turned out to be a fake/fraud. The church and fellowship they bought into is not what it’s cracked up to be. It is not of apostolic succession, and did not originate in the New Testament, and it has for a founder, not Jesus or God, but a fallible human man, like other churches do. It's not the bill of goods they were sold at all—not the original, authentic, genuine NT church of Jesus. With the discovery of William Irvine, it no longer merits an elevated status above other churches—it is demoted to the class of churches with founders.

When a person has accepted the fact that Wm Irvine started the 2x2 ministry and church, and that it didn’t exist in a continuous line from the New Testament apostles, certain questions naturally come to mind. This additional knowledge calls for a serious reevaluation, and a possible realignment or change in spiritual perspective and beliefs. It is only normal to wonder, to struggle with a number of complex questions. The lives of many friends are significantly altered by the way they answer these questions:

  • What is the value of this church?
  • Does this knowledge change anything?
  • What difference does it make that this fellowship has a founder?
  • Does having a founder contradict any of my other spiritual beliefs?
  • How can this fellowship be God's only true way, when it has a human founder?
  • What reasons do you have for believing it is God’s only way?
  • Is there a good basis in the Bible for regarding it as God's ONLY way to Heaven?
  • Is it the closest way to the New Testament church and ministry?
  • How is this church and ministry superior to other churches and ministers?
  • How is the 2x2 way unique?
  • Where do I go from here?

When someone reaches this point, it’s not unusual for them to want to visit with the workers. For what purpose? To see if there is something they are missing--something they don’t see. To give the workers a chance to resell them on the 2x2 system. To give the workers their last chance before they cut short their losses and cut loose from the group. To judge for themselves whether or not there is good reason to continue in this group. To learn whether or not there are any good sound reasons and/or documented evidence to shore up claims the workers make about the 2x2 system. Surely, they reason, the workers must have good reason that they’ve overlooked since they give their very LIVES for this belief system. They want ANSWERS—the Plain Truth! The Hard Truth. “ Many infallible proofs.” They don’t want the run-around, or pussy footing—just the facts, please. They want reasons supported and consistent with Scripture and Biblical principles and practices. They don’t want to hear for “reasons” the opinions, experiences and analogies of a worker, but that is often what they get—it is all that many workers have to offer.

The following was written to help sincere Questioners evaluate the countless little stories and comparisons you will be subjected to while attempting to get your simple questions answered about this so-called simple way you have been associated with.


Evaluation of Analogies

Often friends ask a question about the 2x2 belief system, and the workers reply with an analogy. A comparison of two items is called an "analogy." The Bible is full of analogies--a parable is an analogy. When people are trying to understand something new, they usually relate the new idea to something known to them. In other words, the new is explained by the old and familiar. New, unknown objects, concepts, information, happenings, events, ideas, beliefs, situations, etc. are far easier to understand when they are compared to something similar that a person has knowledge of, has previously experienced or encountered. Therefore, comparisons are extremely useful tools that help illustrate points about a previously unknown idea or concept. So, the workers take the item being questioned and compare it to something else that the Questioner is familiar with or accepts as "right," hoping to make them feel comfortable with the familiar and leave off their uncomfortable questions.

ANYONE can come up with a comparison or analogy. The basic format is: "this is like that." "X is like Z." Even a child who reports that his corn cob has a bone in it is comparing a cob of corn to a piece of meat. If you look hard enough and long enough, you can usually find similarities between any two items or situations. Because two things share some similarities, it is sometimes ERRONEOUSLY assumed they ARE the same entity. For instance, humans closely resemble apes in many ways. Does the presence of these similarities prove humans ARE apes? Similarities don't prove evolution. Similarities are NOT conclusive! DON'T ACCEPT A COMPARISON AS PROOF!!

An Analogy is NOT a sufficient reason to take a leap in faith; and is NOT a sound basis for eternal security or for risking one's soul. The BEST a Literal Analogy can do is to point to a high degree of probability--it cannot PROVE anything. A Figurative Analogy adds color to an explanation and aids understanding by illustrating more vividly the point the speaker is trying to get across. There are good, poor, and faulty comparisons or analogies. An analogy cannot stand alone, and is not an end in itself. Analogies that are not reinforced by other evidence are merely illustrations. Comparisons, analogies, similarities are never conclusive.

Basically, there are two kinds of analogies: Literal and Figurative. A Literal Analogy compares two items or cases in the same class that are similar in essential aspects and equal in value. The KEYWORD is "SIMILAR." The term "comparing apples to apples" applies to a comparison (analogy) made between two SIMILAR cases.

A Literal Analogy goes from the known to the unknown; from an actual case to a prediction. From things which resemble each other in some respects, it MAY be inferred or asserted that they will also resemble each other in some other respect(s). In order to make valid Inferences from a comparison or analogy, it is ESSENTIAL that the items being compared are:

  1. Similar in vital aspects
  2. Of equal value
  3. In the same class

INFERENCES: When comparing two SIMILAR items, SOMETIMES--but NOT ALWAYS--it may be assumed that what is true in one case will also be true in another similar case. In other words, a high degree of probability (not proof) MAY be established that what is true in one case MAY also be true in the other similar case. For example, if one member of Class "A" has "X," then there is a high degree of probability that others in Class "A" MAY also have "X." Explaining how one can know that the current 2x2 fellowship is a continuation of the New Testament ministry and church, a Canadian brother worker compared the following two DISSIMILAR items (Grandfathers and cake recipes) to the 2x2 fellowship:

"It's like your great-grandmother's recipe. You are looking through your great grandmother's recipe box and you find a recipe for what you think is a cake that she used to always make that was just wonderful. You wonder if it is THE one? So you make it, and YES! It tastes just exactly the same! It doesn't matter if the recipe has been lost in the box for years and years; you know that it is the recipe for the same cake because it tastes the same." [Eldon Kendrew, Alberta, Canada, 6/4/95 to John & Shawna Mitchell]. "I have no idea who my great-great-grandfather is, but I know that he had to exist, because I am here today. We know how life begets life, and it is the same spiritually." [Eldon Kendrew 6/4/95 to John & Shawna Mitchell]

Needless to say, great grandfathers and grandmother's cake recipes are not in the same class as a religious belief system, or the 2x2 fellowship. These two analogies break down in all three areas. The items being compared in the examples are NOT similar, not equal and not in the same class. Therefore, these analogies are NOT Literal Analogies, and are good only for illustrating the speaker's point or opinion. No conclusive evidence or logical inferences can be drawn from such remarks as these. They are what is known as Figurative Analogies which will be discussed in more detail later. EQUALITY: If one item has an important ability the other does not have, then they are not equal. For example, the items being compared in the following analogy are far from being equal:

“You folks have no problem recognizing the way children are born into the natural world, do you.? You have no problem with that at all. You should have no problem in how God’s children are brought into the world . You don’t question natural childbirth; God’s order for children to be brought into the world. You don’t question that at all. So why would you question the order that God has arranged for children to be born into His family—why would you question that? ” [Willis Propp, Transcript of Wesenburg visit in Canada 4/92]

This is not a Literal Analogy since the natural process of childbirth has nothing to do with salvation; and the two are not equal and not in the same class. The similarities are extremely superficial; therefore, it cannot be reliably inferred that what applies in one case also applies in the other case. This is also an attempt to divert the conversation with a Red Herring about asking questions. SIMILARITIES: The compared elements must possess an initial likeness that justifies a comparison, such as two persons, two buildings, two wars, two books, two symphonies, two states, two schools, two governments, etc. Just because two things share some superficial, non-critical similarities is no guarantee they will be alike in significant and relevant respects. The essential characteristics of two items being compared cannot be merely related by casual happenstance, surface appearance or mere proximity. Focusing on superficial points of similarity and ignoring significant, vital or fundamental differences between two things commits the Fallacy of Faulty Analogy. Some examples are:

Mushrooms and toadstools look alike.
(But it would sure be a mistake to assume that because one is edible, the other is also!)

A water pump and the human heart have some similarities.
(But few would conclude that a mechanic is qualified to repair both of them! Yes, they have some similarities, but they aren't significant, critical similarities. Furthermore, their differences are critical!)

In his historical article "Glimpses in History of Simple Christian Peoples," Dr. Cornelius J. Jaenen limited his discussion to various primitive religious groups who held SOME similarities to the 2x2s, while disregarding significant differences, such as infant baptism, that show the primitive group could not have been a forerunner of the 2X2s. When significant differences are ignored, a comparison is of no value. So you have two groups that are similar in certain non-critical, non-essential areas. What does that prove? Certainly not that one group is the same group as the 2x2 group. It proves nothing. In his book Reinventing the Truth, Page 54, Kevin Daniel addresses this point regarding Dr. Jaenen's article:

"Even with regard to the beliefs which the author does seem to wish us to accept as important, the article conveniently fails to mention that none of these groups adopted all, or even most of the practices of which the author approves. And some of the practices condemned in other groups (such as the requirement that all members become homeless celibates) have in the past been adopted by the 'Two by Two' sect which the author espouses."

CLASS: When items being compared are NOT in the same class or category, it cannot be inferred with any degree of certainty from one item that the other item will be similar. Only Literal Analogies can be used as a basis for making inferences. Comparing two items that are not in the same class or are significantly dissimilar is often called "comparing apples to oranges." Comparisons MUST be made of similar items of equal value in the same class, for a Literal Analogy to be valid. In other words, apples must be compared to apples and not to oranges. Items are not in the same class if one case has an important ability that the other does not have. For example: "How can you expect to reform a criminal? A leopard can't change his spots, you know."

"We should not feel bothered if we offend people with the gospel. After all, in order to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs."

"The scripture* teaches that God's way began in eternity. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way before his works"...One of the simplest answers that I can give is that it began when 2 and 2 became 4. It began with God, and it has always been; 2 and 2 have always been 4. And I could go back in my experience maybe to when I first knew that 2 and 2 was 4, but that's not when 2 and 2 became 4. And I could go back in my mother's experience when it likely first became aware to her that 2 and 2 was 4, but that wasn't when it became 4. So we can go back, and we don't have to trace it generation to generation back to the beginning. The fact that we find 2 and 2 are 4 today helps me to appreciate that it was in the beginning." [Willis Propp, Wesenberg Transcript, Canada, April, 1992]

*Possibly Willis was referring to Prov 8:22-23: "The LORD possessed ME in the beginning of his way, before his works of old....I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was." ("ME" and "I" refer to Jesus--not to the 2x2 fellowship!!) The origin of a mathematical truth and the origin of a man-made fellowship are not in the same class! This analogy was concocted to fit the speaker's a pet theory because he has no scriptural basis.

The above examples do not compare items in the same class. Therefore, they do not qualify as Literal Analogies, and fall under the category of Figurative Analogies. A Figurative Analogy compares items, cases, etc. which are NOT in the same class, are not similar and are not equal in value. Figurative Analogies are very useful in illustrating a point, making a vivid impression, and aid in clarity. As long as you ignore the differences in a Figurative Analogy, everything is the same! If one item has an important ability the other does not have, then they are not equal and are not in the same class; and generalizations about other characteristics they may also share in common are speculation or incidental. Reliable Inferences cannot be made of dissimilar items that are not in the same class and not equal in value, or from comparing "apples to oranges." Figurative Analogies have no value in establishing probability. They ARE wonderful for illustration purposes, however. Some examples of Figurative Analogies are:

  • “Life is like a River.”
  • "To thwack a child over the head because he does not get his lesson is about as wise as it would be to rap a watch with a hammer because it does not keep good time."
  • "Old Walter Williams would never make a good governor because an old dog cannot learn new tricks."
  • "You should not changes horses in the middle of a stream; therefore, you should not change generals in the middle of a battle."
  • "Pulling the church bell is like pulling the devil's tail." (Charlie Mitchell)
  • "Believing in Jesus is like believing in the tooth fairy."
  • "Imagine the Hard Case living out his life on a luxury liner. That ship represents his world view, his philosophy or religion, and he believes it is safe. Now imagine the Bible-believing Christian rowing up to him in a lifeboat. Why should he leave his elegantly crafted ship to get into the lifeboat? He will not, unless he has good reason do to so. In order to get him off the liner, we must take him below decks and show him the holes below the water line. Only when he sees his ship will not save him will he be interested in getting into our simple little boat." [From the book: Hard Case Witnessing by James R. Spencer, Page 59]

 


WHITE HORSE ANALOGY: Because two things share some similarities, it is sometimes assumed they ARE the same entity. For instance, humans closely resemble apes in many ways. Does the presence of these similarities prove humans ARE apes? Similarities don't prove evolution. Similarities aren't conclusive! Likewise, because of a few similarities found in this fellowship and which we read about in the New Testament concerning the church and ministry, some "leap" to conclude that the 2x2 fellowship IS the continuation of the New Testament church. However, just because two entities have some characteristics in common doesn't make them one and the same entity. Regarding the Underground Church Concept held by the Landmark Baptist faith of the mid 1800's, Charles Spurgeon said:

"If I see a white horse in a pasture, and he disappears for a time in the woods, then I see a white horse coming out from the woods on the other side, I can be fairly sure it is the same white horse, even though I could not see him while he was in the forest."

"Fairly sure" is NOT a positive identification. One would think that any church asserting they are "from the beginning" would be able to produce a documented line of succession and reasoning which would withstand scrutiny. Similar to the above "reasoning," some of the friends and workers cling to the slim hope and possibility that the 2x2 fellowship is of apostolic succession and contend that it went "underground," or "into the woods." However, an analogy conceived by a man cannot disprove history to the contrary. Since white horses and belief systems are not in the same class, are not equal or similar, this analogy offers no basis for probability. It simply illustrates a far fetched possibility. There is no evidence this fellowship existed before 1897-99, and there is much evidence that proves it began about 1897-99. Similarities don't prove identity. At BEST, similarities can only give a degree of probability. Similarities must be taken into consideration with evidence and proof. The most an analogy can do is to establish probability, and probabilities come with no guarantees!

 


Summary of Analogies

An Analogy is not a valid comparison, if the items compared:

  • are not in the same class
  • are not alike in essential characteristics/similarities; are different in critical areas
  • the differences are greater than the similarities in the items compared.
  • have critical* point(s) which have been omitted or ignored. *critical = essential characteristics, pertinent. The critical thing is one that MUST be present; it is inherent, inevitable, controlling, fundamental, basic.

IF the items ARE in the same class, the comparison is a Literal Analogy.
Only Literal Analogies can be used to infer probability. IF the items ARE NOT in same class, the comparison is a Figurative Analogy.
Figurative Analogies cannot be used to determine probability.

ANALOGIES ARE NOT ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS.
ANALOGIES ARE NOT PROOF.

SOME ANALOGIES POINT TO A DEGREE OF PROBABILITY.


Questions To Ask To Evaluate Analogies

Often when there is no Scriptural text supporting a religious tradition, custom or practice that its followers are required to adhere to, an analogy will be used to defend the position when questioned. However, Analogies CANNOT determine proof. They can only show probability WHEN certain conditions are met. Here are some questions that may be asked to evaluate an analogy:

A. What does the Analogy attempt to prove? Some possibilities are:
That two similar items will be alike in other aspects.
That what is true of one item is true of the other.
The significance of one item OVER another
That X can be inferred because there is a similar person/event in scripture
That the 2x2 method existed before Irvine came on the scene
That results prove the source (effect proves cause)

B. What are the two items being compared? Are there any ambiguous, critical terms? Ask for definitions.
Does the meaning of a main term change/shift in the course of analogy?
Are the asserted facts of the analogy verifiable?

C. If comparison is made to a Biblical situation or person, Does the Bible confirm all the facts given in the analogy?
Are there any assumptions? Unproven assertions?
Does the Bible define the terms used

D. Is the analogy a Literal Analogy? Are two items in the same class?
Are the two items equal?

F. How Similar are the two items being compared? Are the two items alike in ESSENTIAL characteristics/similarities. Consider source, main point, purpose. If two actions are being compared, is the purpose for the actions the same? Do the similarities pertain to critical, main points, which are relevant to the issue?
Or are they superficial, surface similarities only skin deep?
[Critical = ESSENTIAL, pertinent characteristics. A critical point is one that MUST be present; it is inherent, inevitable, controlling, fundamental, basic.]

Could the critical similarities have been produced by chance?
Or produced/caused by any other method or reason?
Do any other cases, people, situations etc. have these same similarities?
Does the converse hold up logically?

G. Are there any striking differences?
H. Do the differences outweigh the similarities?
I. Are any critical fundamental differences disregarded, ignored or omitted?
Any contrary evidence not taken into consideration?
J. When followed on out, does the Analogy:
Hold or break down?
Become ridiculous? Absurd?
Contradict with or disprove other beliefs presently held? When the analogy is followed out fully, is it consistent or contradictory with 2x2 beliefs and practices? For example, if it were true that “when TRUE SEED is planted in hearts, it will produce THE SAME,” then it would prove the SAME THING when other groups outside the 2x2 group also produce the SAME fruit; i.e. PROVE they are Children of God . And we know the 2x2s do not believe this. Therefore, the similarities shown are superficial.

Every analogy must break down or stop at some point since the class members are similar, but NOT identical. In other words, the likeness of the two items being compared will not extend indefinitely to all areas. Eventually, the list of similarities will end and the differences will remain. Carrying a comparison out too far or going beyond the point of meaning intended will distort the message, and sometimes becomes ridiculous: "If a corporation has no feelings because it has no heart, then it cannot enter into contracts because it has no hand."

Example: The main point Jesus was making in John 10:11-18 is that a hired shepherd cares more for himself than he cares for the sheep he is charged with taking care of; while on the other hand, a true shepherd does the opposite--cares more for the sheep than himself. The 2x2s carry this parable way on out beyond Jesus' point, and have made a hard fast doctrine out of the point the shepherd was a hired shepherd, which is a distortion of Jesus' message.


About Allegories

What is the difference in an Allegory and an Analogy? An Analogy is a comparison of two items. An allegory is a story where people, things or happenings have a hidden or symbolic meaning. An allegory is not reliable evidence since an allegory can be made out of ANY statement by taking the main characters and events and assigning them with other meanings. Reinterpretation or renaming is no proof that any interpretation other than the literal is correct or valid.

A teacher once took a random newspaper article and read it aloud to his class. Then he assigned new meanings to the various characters and events and read the article aloud again. The result was hilarious. But what did it prove? That you can make anything mean anything you want it to. Altered or reinterpreted meanings prove nothing conclusively. We are no different when we read into a situation or Scripture our preconceived ideas, instead of reading out of Scripture the authors' original intended meaning. The true meaning is whatever the author or speaker meant at the time he said or wrote it. It's easy to read into, instead of reading out of.

The Bible plainly identifies the meaning of the key items used in some of its allegories. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus identified the seed, wayside, stony, etc. Paul identified in Gal, 4:24-31, "Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children." Many of the friends’ testimonies are allegories they have made up. How often have you heard the terms:

 

  • "Naturally Speaking..." compared with "Spiritually Speaking..."
  • "This passage is a 'type and shadow' of..."
  • "This natural item X is compared to another item Z spiritually ..."

However, allegories men draw to a Biblical character or precedent are not a reliable basis for belief unless the Bible has plainly identified them. One danger of the allegorical approach is that the Scripture may be dissociated from it's simple, literal meaning. Another potential danger is that it opens the way to arbitrarily reinterpreting the Scripture. Thus, in using the allegorical approach, the Bible's literal meaning may be ignored and substituted with alleged "hidden truths" interpreted by men. Some words do have meanings below the surface. For example, Jesus said, "Walk in the Light as I am in the Light." What did He mean by "the Light"? One said it meant "the 2x2 ministry and church in the home." When the context is carefully considered, the main emphasis of the passage is love, as is the rest of 1-2-3 John. Keeping true to the context, it would seem that "Walking in the light" would mean "walking in love." Extreme care must be used in reading INTO Scripture a message that it never intended or meant, instead of reading OUT of Scripture its real meaning. Some interpret "the poor" in the Scripture to be referring to the workers. Can man's "private interpretation" be trusted? If the Bible doesn't mean what it says, any Tom, Dick or Harry can reinterpret it to say whatever they want to. How could we depend on God's Word if we had to depend on men to interpret so-called “hidden” meanings to us? Why were we given the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth if men may reinterpret at will?


Analogies To Biblical Terms or Events

Some justify their belief in William Irvine as a man used or raised up by God by pointing to a similar event or person in the Bible. Analogies may suggest similarity, but analogies never prove similarity. Characteristics in common do not prove that two cases are identical, or that what is true in one case can be inferred to the other case. Mushrooms and toadstools look alike. Does that prove anything? It would sure be a mistake to assume that because one is edible, the other is also. So what if "this" is like "that" in one area? If you look hard enough and long enough, you can find similarities between ANYTHING. It is POSSIBLE, but not plausible, probable or conclusive that what is true in one case is also true in another case.

When a common practice/tradition is compared with a similar Biblical event or custom, the practice/tradition instantly may seem to take on a much greater significance or validity--and may be examined far less carefully. Don't be hoodwinked! The Questioner may assume that if he doubts the practice is scriptural, that would be the same as fighting against God, and "Who am I to argue with the BIBLE?" Examining comparisons drawn by men should not be confused with arguing with God! Similarities to Biblical characters or events are NOT justification. The following examples of analogies attempt to justify a person (Wm Irvine) or an action by pointing to similarities in the Bible:

"Wm Irvine was just another 'repairer of the breach and the restorer of paths to dwell in,' mentioned in Is. 58:12. He was a man that God used to restore God’s original plan and way."

ROBERT DARLING: In about 1967 or 1968, Robert Darling spoke at the Convention held at Silverdale, British Columbia, Canada.. His text was Daniel 2: 34-35, and 45, particularly about "the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands," which "filled the whole earth." He then announced that the stone was William Irvine's sister who became very ill and died. According to Robert, she supposedly had a dream which she related to William, which deeply stirred him and in some manner supposedly influenced him religiously from that time on. Robert Darling's main point was that we should be crediting Wm's sister who was taken in death by God before William Irvine even began preaching--rather than credit William Irvine with starting this fellowship; and thus, avoid any accusation that this fellowship is man-made. William's sister was, therefore, "the stone made without hands." A few weeks later in a private conversation, Robert Darling affirmed to Paul Abenroth that William Irvine was the first worker, and he did not claim or believe that the friends and workers existed before Wm Irvine, whom he termed "the firstfruits of our faith" in our day.

THAROLD SYLVESTER, referring to the book "The Secret Sect," by Doug & Helen Parker claimed a scriptural precedent for William Irvine as being "the firstfruits of faith" in our day. He cited Abraham and Sarah and Zacharias and Elizabeth, claiming that they were the "the firstfruits of faith" in their day. [Richland WA Spec Mtg, 1985] WILLIAM LEWIS mentioned that a lot of lies were going around, without giving any particular examples. He then discussed Joseph's brothers who sold him into slavery and then lied to Jacob that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Wm Lewis pointed out that Jacob didn't question what was told him regarding the fate of Joseph--he didn't go out and dig into things, and have to prove Joseph was dead for himself. Jacob accepted the lie that was told him and grieved for his lost son. Years later, when Jacob finally heard the truth, he was able to accept it. It was all in God's timing. The subtle implication was that the friends should emulate Jacob and not question and probe into things they are told. (Should they happen to find out they were lied to about the history of their church and become aware of the truth, then they should look to Jacob for their example, and just accept it.) And the friends should keep in mind that the discovery of the real truth is all in God's hands and timing. [William Lewis, Texarkana, TX Conv, 1993]

William Lewis stopped his analogy here. Why? Why didn’t he carry it out further? Recall the rest of the story?? Joseph's brothers quaked in their boots when they found out Joseph was still alive, and knew what they had done. Then Joseph's brothers begged his forgiveness for the evil they had done against Joseph, and Joseph forgave them. If Wm Lewis had carried his analogy out further, he would have been required to do as Joseph's brothers did. He would have admitted to his spiritual brothers and sisters the wrong that he and other workers have done to them in perpetuating the historical lies (and omissions), and begged their forgiveness, and urged other workers to do the same. But Wm. Lewis stopped short of this…


Analogies To Biblical Characters

When the subject of William Irvine comes up, he is often compared to a Biblical character, as in the following analogies. Do similarities prove anything? The differences between the two men compared far outweigh and outnumber the similarities. Irvine and the following Biblical characters are not equals and are not in the same class, so a valid conclusion cannot be inferred by comparing the two. There are too many critical differences, and too few significant similarities. Thus, these analogies serve only as illustrations, and are a waste of your time if your goal is to get your Question(s) answered.

Analogy to David: "Irvine's fall was similar to David's, who fell into the temptation of adultery with Bathsheba when he didn't go to battle himself, but instead sent his armies out." (quote of Irvine Weir.) (Note: King David was royalty and Wm Irvine was an evangelist--not in the same class!)

Analogy to Sampson: "Irvine was like Sampson, who was a strong man of war, until Delilah influenced him so that he put her before God." (quote of Ed Cooney.)

Analogy to Saul #1: "Irvine's fall was similar to that of Saul, who lost his anointing." (Ed Cooney and Jack Carroll reportedly used this explanation)

NOTE: What do Irvine and Saul have in common, other than they were both men, both prophesied, and both became separated from their kingdoms or had their kingdoms removed, after a (seemingly) good start. They were definitely not in the same league; one was from the ordinary working class--and the other was royalty. A serious comparison of the two men fails to turn up very many similarities, and reveals a number of dissimilarities.

Analogy to Saul #2: IRVINE WAS LIKE SAUL...

Saul was called to be king through Samuel, God's known prophet.
Irvine was a mere MAN who claimed to be chosen of God.

Saul was called to be anointed; later he lost his anointing (1 Sam.-15:23).
Irvine never was anointed by anyone; though some claim he later lost his anointing.

Saul's appointment was confirmed by the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 3:20)
Irvine was self-appointed; no other individual or Scripture confirmed he was chosen of God

Saul made no predictions nor delivered any messages from God.
Irvine made predictions which never came true. He also delivered the message that God saved only those who came through the ministry and fellowship Irvine started.

Saul never claimed he received any messages directly from God;
Samuel remained God's prophet in Saul's time to whom God entrusted His messages.
Irvine claimed he received revelation directly from God, and that he was a prophet of God.

Saul fell because he disobeyed God (1 Sam.15:22--23).
Explanations for Irvine's down fall are numerous; to having a weakness for women;
to losing his mind; to pride.

God's rejection of Saul was announced by Samuel.
Irvine's rejection was not announced, but hidden and kept secret by men who took his place.

Samuel didn't take control for himself. He later anointed David as God's choice of king; God confirmed Saul's call circumstantially when Saul was chosen by lot "before the Lord."
Irvine's leadership ended when he was ousted by others who took the control for themselves.

Saul was a divinely appointed king over God's children, a pre-existing body of people chosen by God and confirmed by signs and wonders.
Irvine was a self-appointed leader over a group of people who became a body who followed Wm Irvine's teachings and emphasis. No special circumstances confirmed God called Irvine to be a prophet.

Saul's ecstatic prophecies were signs that PROVED Samuel's predictions.
Irvine's unfulfilled predictions were signs spoke words the Lord had not given him to speak in the Lord's Name. Deut 18:20-22.

CONCLUSION: The similarities between Saul and Wm Irvine were very superficial, and the differences were significant.


Wheat & Seed Analogies

When the subject of William Irvine and/or the origin of the 2x2 church come up in a discussion with a worker, an analogy is often not far behind. In situations where there is no proof available—analogies abound! If you allow it, the analogy will divert your attention from your original question. Remember:

AN ANGLOGY IS MERELY A COMPARISON DRAWN BY MEN--IT IS NOT AN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION. Don't be diverted by it--don't even give it a second thought--don't even stop to point out its faults. Just get back to the question you are seeking an answer to.

From the following analogies, it is obvious the workers believe they alone possess the TRUE Seed of the kingdom, and further, that they alone possess the TRUE Spirit. Their belief is derived in part from their conviction that no other group meets the requirements for salvation, AS THEY INTERPRET the Biblical “requirements.” They submit analogies as "proof" that the 2x2 fellowship existed before William Irvine founded it in 1897-99. However, analogies are never conclusive or proof.

In the examples that follow, many times the workers refer to and build on the theme of the TRUE SEED. When the Bible sets out the theme of a TRUE SEED, did it not mean the promised Messianic Seed-line? The Seed of Christ? The 2x2 definition of the term "TRUE SEED" is their 2x2 ministry plus their church fellowship that meets in their homes. However, Jesus’ definition of the “seed” was: "the word of the kingdom" in Matt 13:19; and "the word” in Matt 13:19, 20, 21, 22(2), 23; Mark 4:14. The parable in Matthew where the tares were mixed in with the wheat gives no definition for seed; however, it immediately follows the parable of sower, so the same definition likely applies.

Matt 13:37-38: “He (Jesus) answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; THE GOOD SEED ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;“ In the parable of the seed and sower, it was GOOD seed that was planted—not TRUE seed. “TRUE” seed isn’t even mentioned in the Bible. A seed is a seed is a seed. What seed isn’t TRULY a seed? Perhaps A FAKE SEED? Something that is represented as a seed, but isn’t REALLY a seed?

A seed is not in the same class or category as God's truth or God's dominion. Can we reliably infer anything to a seed from God’s everlasting kingdom, dominion and truth--beyond what the Scripture says??? We are directed "...not to go beyond the things which are written," 1 Cor 4:6 NAS. The Bible never defines "God's truth" or "God's rule" or a "Seed" as being comparable or the same as a fellowship or method now called "the truth."

It is equivocation to apply verses praising God's everlasting truth to the 2x2 belief system called "the truth," that is barely 100 years old and was founded by a man. Just as it is not lawful to plagiarize the ideas, writings, etc. of another and pass them off as your own, neither can you legitimately (“rightly dividing the word of truth”) take the meaning of a word/term and pass it onto another, or infuse its meaning into another word/term, where it doesn't belong. The Biblical meaning(s) of a word or term is an intrinsic possession of that word or term, and it cannot legitimately be transferred to another word or term on a whim, arbitrarily or at will.

There are at least four (4) different kinds of seed in the Bible, and possibly more:

(1) Natural: of plants or grain, agriculture.
(2) Human: of man: offsprings, descendants, children
(3) Human: of Israel: the Messianic Seed-line from which Jesus would be born.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations...His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven...Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seedshall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.” Ps 89:3-36. The seed of Israel that sprang from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will never become extinct and the world will always contain the descendants of Abraham. God’s promise of redemption through the seed of mankind in Gen. 3:1-15. "Now to Abraham and his seed...which is Christ." Gal 3:16. Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, literally descended from the "seed of David." Matthew and Luke both recorded Jesus' genealogy back to Abraham and Adam showing that Jesus met the qualifications of the promised Messiah from the “seed of David” standpoint of prophecy.

(4) In the Parable of parable of sower, Jesus defines seed as "the word of the kingdom," Matt 13: 3-9. Jesus defines seed as "the word:" in Matt 13:19, 20, 21, 22(2), 23; Mark 4:14. The workers believe they alone possess THE Seed of the kingdom and THE spirit. The 2x2 definition for seed is the workers gospel message, their fellowship, belief system.


Seed Analogy #1

"Some say that God's truth was revived or started over or began in the early 1900's. This serpent raises its ugly head periodically. "The same God who preserved wheat from Joseph's day until now, is the same God who has preserved the seed of the Kingdom from the beginning of time until now.

"Why `from Joseph's Day?' In Joseph's time, there was a 7 year famine. Every wheat seed could have died out, been consumed, and/or destroyed, but God put Joseph there for the purpose of preserving wheat, both for the present and the future, as well as preserving humanity. Ps.89:36.

"Did God have to make another Adam and Eve? The same God who preserved human seed from the time of Adam and Eve until now is the same God who has preserved the spiritual seed of the Kingdom from the beginning of time until now...the latter being far more important and precious than human seed. However, without human seed, God's spiritual seed could not live either. "We which are alive..." meaning Paul and on through....1 Thes. 4:17.

"God promised many times throughout His Word that there would be a 'remnant' and His promises are sure. In Noah's day, there were only 8 souls saved...but there were 8! He didn't let the human seed die out then. He didn't have to make another Adam and Eve. Nor would He allow His Spiritual seed to die out! Ps.72:5; 89:1, 4, 29; 100:5;

"Did God have to send Jesus to earth the second time because He allowed His truth to die out? No, God has preserved Jesus' example and His Word and His Truth through the lives of men and women all through the ages. Ps. 145:13, 72:7; Dan. 4:3, 6:26." (Author Unknown)

NOTE: This essay by an unknown author traces the Biblically recorded preservation of God's seed, both humanly and spiritually, from Adam through Noah, Joseph and down to Jesus. It gives several Scripture references of which the common theme is things everlasting which will endure forever from generation to generation; God's dominion and kingdom-Ps 145:13, Dan 4:3, 6:26; mercy and truth-Ps 100:5; fear of God-Ps 72:5. The comparison is purely a Figurative Analogy because natural, human and spiritual seeds are not in the same class or categories, nor are any of them equivalent with God's dominion; therefore, one cannot infer anything from one to the other.


Seed Analogy #2

"It is no different now than in Joseph's day. When conditions were not right for the seed to grow, the seed was held for seven years, but when it was planted, it produced the same thing as before the dry years. Wm. Irvine was just the man who started planting the seed again."

This Analogy attempts to show a scriptural precedent; that God preserves a seed through men and brings it out again and again through men; and ultimately that Irvine was the most recent man given the genuine New Testament seed. The analogy compares items from two different classes: (1) Joseph storing natural seed for famine, as compared with (2) Irvine starting a belief system/fellowship. Since the two are not in same class, this is a Figurative analogy only, from which nothing can be inferred. The analogy disregards the purpose of the 7-year time period --a time of preparation for survival through the coming famine. The conditions were extremely good for seven whole years for the seed to grow. A good part of the seed was planted and grew and another part of the seed was stored for the future. There was a bounteous reaping, an overflow, a surplus! The conditions were VERY good or right. The writer said: "When conditions were not right for the seed to grow." The Bible doesn't indicate this was a factor.

What was the point of Joseph storing the grain for 7 years? Was it to prove that "what you sow, that shall you reap"? Was it to prove that when you sow corn, corn comes up; and when you sow tares, tares come up? It wasn't any big deal for the corn of wheat to come up wheat when it was planted 7 years later. This wasn't news--it was EXPECTED. To see this as the point of Joseph's actions is to completely miss the point. What else could the seed do? What were its alternatives? Four possibilities: (1) that it wouldn't come up at all, (2) that it would come up inferior, (3) that it would come up superior, (4) that it would come up the same. The REAL point was that God used Joseph to help preserve the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Messianic Seed-line, which Seed God promised would endure and be established FOREVER. "His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven." Ps 89:29, Ps 89:4, Ps 89:36. In other words, if we believe the Bible, the Seed will never die out. So it wasn't necessary for Irvine to start planting any seed again--the Seed was there before Irvine was born, and was there when he started his 2x2 ministry and fellowship.


Seed Analogy #3

The following type analogy is sometimes given by workers concerning Wm Irvine's role in the founding of the 2x2 fellowship. Verifying the facts being used easily proved this analogy to be faulty, since it was built on a false premise:

When the ancient tombs in Egypt were discovered and opened, they found some wheat seeds in them. Some of these ancient seeds were planted, and wheat plants came up and bore wheat. Likewise, God gave His seed to Wm Irvine who planted it, and it came up the same as the New Testament church.

However, The Dictionary of Misinformation states: "Wheat found germinating in Egyptian tombs: A persistent story has it that wheat grains found in King Tut's, or other ancient Egyptian tombs, sprouted and grew when planted. If so, none of the persons who were involved in discovering, exploring or studying the tombs knows anything about it. There have been many experiments, often involving seed obtained from museums, to determine maximum viability. The extreme for wheat is about thirty-five years, though some seeds--notably the legumes--may sprout after a century or more."
[From The Dictionary of Misinformation Page 319-9 by Tom Burnam; see Amazon]


Seed Analogy #4

Sometimes seed/wheat analogies are used to infer that one shouldn’t expect to be able to trace the 2x2 method back through time to the New Testament apostles, just as one would not expect to be able to trace wheat seed back to its origin.

"This way cannot be traced from generation to generation back to Christ any more than the origin of a grain of wheat could be traced back to a certain wheat stalk that was raised years ago."

This analogy is also built on a false premise. A grain of (hybrid) wheat CAN BE and HAS BEEN traced to the first plant of its kind. This analogy attempts to hinder, thwart, and deter the friends from trying to trace the history of the 2x2 fellowship. By insinuating such a task is hopeless or useless, it is hoped that the friends will decide not to waste their time trying to investigate it, and will not find out the real truth. Overturning the speaker's assertion completely, is the fact that the contradictory is true. "This way" HAS BEEN traced numerous times by various people! The analogy infers that what is true about a wheat seed's history is true about "this way's" history. "This way" is in the class of fellowships, systems, organizations, groups, methods, churches, formats, ways, etc., while the other item is in a class of plants. "This way" is capable of many things that a wheat seed is not. They are definitely not in the same class. The similarities are few and far between, and the differences are great. This analogy gives no reliable basis whatsoever from which it can be inferred that the 2x2 fellowship is God's only true way on earth, whose history cannot be traced.


Seed Analogy #5

"Genesis 1:12...wheat seed. Wheat has always been wheat. If you were a wheat farmer, and I was a wheat seed merchant and you came to me to obtain a truckload of wheat seed, it would not be necessary for me to put into your hand a historical brochure with a written record of when and where that wheat has been grown in past years in several states and countries of Europe and the near East and back to the garden of Eden for that wheat seed to grow wheat. Every wheat seed is a living historical brochure of wheat clear back to Gen. 1:12.

"And so the spiritual lesson is: Jesus said in Luke 8:11, `The seed is the Word of God.' The Word of God has always been the same seed. Whether anyone believes and receives the seed of the Word of God makes no difference in this respect, for God's Truth is God's Truth--if nobody believes and receives it, or a few do or many do.

"As with wheat seed, there could have been times in the centuries of time there may have been no wheat seed planted, but it was still wheat seed. And if farmers took wheat seed out of the granary and planted it again, there would be wheat growing and harvested again in the world. So it may have been there were times in centuries past if there was no one in the earth believing and receiving the seed of the Word of God for a time, and then God was able to raise up true ministers like Jesus established to sow the seed of the Word of God, then there would be the godly harvest in the world again. It is just that simple and certain." [Dan Hilton 1/1/84 Burlington, WA Special Meeting]

NOTE: The analogy infers that what is true about a wheat seed will also be true about "This Way," (the 2x2 method.) A wheat seed and belief system are not in the same class. Therefore, nothing can be inferred by comparison--it is merely an illustration of the speaker’s viewpoint or opinion. The seed is the “Word of God” and it grows to fruit in the right soil, which is within people. Who sows the seed is irrelevant.

The following assertions in the above analogy are unsupported by Scripture:

  1. THAT who sows the seed is significant--THAT workers are the ONLY sowers of the “TRUE” seed.
  2. THAT definition of "Word of God" and God's Truth is their 2x2 ministry and fellowship
  3. THAT there were times when "wheat seed was not planted;" and "when there was no one in the earth believing and receiving seed of Word of God for a time"

The following are major differences in the above analogy:

  1. A grain of (hybrid) wheat can be and has been traced to the first plant of its kind.
  2. Nearly all wheat seeds left dormant 5 years or longer will spawn and very few of the seed heads are anything like normal, and often the seed itself is incapable of reproducing normal wheat.
  3. Source of seed. Man can't make a seed, nor cause one to grow. Man can and has made many belief systems.

THEREFORE, it is faulty to conclude from the above analogy:

  1. THAT for a "godly harvest" to occur there must be "true ministers like Jesus established" (the workers) to "sow the seed of the Word of God."
  2. THAT a mere comparison is sufficient evidence to conclude that the 2x2 ministry and church is historically continuous with the New Testament church.

 


Other Seed Analogies - Fruit Proves Source

The statement “Wheat is wheat” is NOT evidence. There isn’t sufficient evidence to contend that the 2x2 method IS the New Testament church, or the SAME AS the New Testament church, or that it is historically continuous FROM the New Testament church. It has been claimed:

"We know that this is God's true way because this fellowship still produces the same thing today that it produced in New Testament days."

"Irvine just started planting the seed again that had lain dormant, preserved by God. Like the wheat seed that was found preserved in one of the pyramids--even though it lay dormant for a long time, it was still good seed; when planted, it still produced wheat."

"THIS is a seed and is governed after the law of the harvest. That is, a seed produces after its own kind. Whenever people are willing to accept the true seed in their heart, the results will be the same no matter time or connection."

“Because if grain was kept in a barn for many, many years, when taken out and sowed, it would still produce only wheat...and because what we have today parallels the New Testament teachings, we know we have what is True Seed will never produce but after its own kind, and when True seed is planted in hearts, it will produce the same.... and so this is satisfying to me...that when we have the New Testament ministry and church and fellowship today is proof that the seed is the same as was planted in hearts in New Testament days when Jesus was on the earth.” [Letter by Muriel Erickson, Sister Worker, 1997]

“If you see an apple, you don’t have to question that the seed which produced the apple came from an apple tree. Now all the apple trees could die, and the seed could lie dormant for years; yet when the apple seed is planted, it will still produce apples. On the other hand, we have 2x2 ministry which is the same as the New Testament Ministry . Just as apples are always produced by apple trees which grew from apple seed, the fruit in this fellowship is proof that the 2x2 ministry is from the New Testament.”

The above faulty analogies all infer that a dormant natural seed produces after its kind--so therefore, a dormant belief system also produces the same New Testament fellowship, fruit and results. However, since wheat and apple seeds are natural seeds and are not in same class as the 2x2 belief system, nothing can be inferred from one to the other. It is true that wheat and apples may grow from dormant seeds, but the 2x2 ministry did NOT come from the New Testament ministry because of that fact. These are Figurative Analogies, and are only good for illustrating the speakers thoughts and opinions, and are not valid proof.

The definition used in the above analogies for "seed" is erroneous: Jesus defines seed as: "the word of the kingdom" in Matt 13:19; and as "the word" in Matt 13:19, 20, 21, 22(2), 23; Mark 4:14. THEREFORE: If the parable of the sower is Biblical basis for saying THIS (fellowship/belief system) is a seed, then apples are being compared to oranges.

The following assertions in the above analogies are unsupported by Scripture:

  1. No Biblical proof/precedent THAT God’s truth died out or was dormant.
  2. No proof THAT what the 2X2 fellow-ship produces today is the same as produced in New Testament days.
  3. THAT the 2x2 belief system Irvine started was in existence previously
  4. THAT the 2x2 fellowship is "a seed" or the "true seed."
  5. THAT Biblical seed (the Word) is governed after natural "laws of harvest."


The following are major differences in the above analogies:

There is Biblical text that opposes or is contrary to the asserted conclusion given:

1. THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for God's way TO BE DORMANT.

The "gates of hell" will not prevail against His church (Matt 16:18); His Truth shall endure forever (Ps. 89:4, 29, 36; Luke 8:11; 1 Pet 1:24-25; Ps. 100:5; 117.2). Therefore, there was absolutely no need for Irvine to "start again" a religious church group when the real, genuine, authentic item was still around, which could not possibly be extinguished, and to do so only created a superfluous imitation.

2. THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for the following to die out:
Abraham's seed (Jewish race)
David's seed (Christ) will endure forever
God's truth, dominion

THEREFORE, it is faulty to conclude:

THAT results prove source, or that effect proves cause.
THAT the nature of the 2x2 fellowship of today proves its source. Since the same "results" can be observed in other groups, the results can be caused by means OTHER than the 2x2 fellowship.


Analogy of Adultery

"This question is sometimes asked by those insisting on taking part in our meetings, while living in adultery: 'Is adultery an unpardonable sin?' No, it is not an unpardonable sin. We are taught in Prov. 28:13, 'He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.' There would be no mercy or forgiveness until the adultery is put away." [Eldon Tenniswood's comments to California Workers on Divorce & Remarriage dated 11/1/64]

An analogy used by Eldon Tenniswood to support his stand on the divorce and remarriage issue goes something like this. If a man robbed a bank and then repented, but kept the money, we would not believe that he had really repented. To show the true signs of repentance, he would need to make restitution. Eldon then draws a comparison to two people who divorce and remarry, and after a short time, return to meetings repentant. According to Eldon, if they were truly repentant, they would give up their marriage, just as a robber would give up money he had stolen. Is there any merit to this analogy?

He attempts to prove that just as a repentant robber should give back the stolen money, so also a repentant remarried divorcee should give up his/her new spouse. Two categories of people and two actions are compared; a thief robbing a bank and a couple who get married after both were divorced earlier. Analogies do not prove a point when the situations are not in the same class or category, and there are significant differences in the two items being compared.

1. Remarriage and robbery--and money and human beings--are not in the same class.

2. The analogy overlooks the significant difference that money has no feelings or choice about who possesses it; while a wife/husband does.

3. The analogy overlooks the significant difference that generally speaking, robbing a bank is far more destructive than remarriage after divorce. Marrying someone--even after a divorce--is hardly equal to waltzing away with $100,000 from a bank heist.

4. The analogy overlooks the significant difference that robbery is intentional and divorce is not intentional. No one enters a marriage INTENDING to make it fail. It is entered into with hopes, dreams for a long and wonderful mutual relationship. Failure for a marriage to work out is a great disappointment. The mistake and failure are grievous to those involved. Many are extremely sorry for the failure of their marriage; and are repentant over their mistake or weak will, and ask God to forgive them. God forgives those who ask, and remembers their sin no more. He wipes out their mistake--the first marriage. They have a clean slate. The analogy doesn’t take into account the passages of scripture that contradict its conclusion, namely:

1. THAT: "Marriage is honorable for all" doesn’t exclude divorcees OR workers.
2. THAT: "To avoid fornication, let EVERY man have his own wife, and let EVERY woman have her own husband" 1 Cor. 7:2-5

It is true that repentance offered absolutely VOLUNTARILY and not due to any outside force or pressure is generally viewed as pure repentance. To whom is repentance due? You? Me? The Church? The Workers? NO! One repents to those they have wronged--to God and to anyone else they have harmed or offended. The thief wronged the money owner. However, it is not always the case that divorcees have wronged their ex-spouses. Some have been deserted (1 Cor 7:15); some had adulterous spouses (Matt 5:32 & 19:9), etc. in which cases, the Bible specifically says that remarriage is acceptable.

The analogy is based on several UNPROVEN ASSERTIONS:
THAT the couple *should be* repentant about their remarriage.
THAT ONLY death can sever a marriage.
THAT remarriage constitutes “living in adultery”

Ralph Woodrow analyzes this identical analogy, in his book Divorce & Remarriage, pp 77-78: THE CAR THIEF

"'But, 'some object, a couple in a second marriage must breakup in order for God to forgive them just like a man who steals a car must return it!' We agree that a man who took a car should not keep driving around in a stolen car. He should return it to the rightful owner--if he can! But in many cases he can not. It may have been years before that the crime was committed. He may not even know who the car belonged to. The former owner may have already collected insurance. He may be dead. Does this man who took a car remain forever unforgiven because circumstances will not permit a return? In such complex situations, God simply forgives a repentant heart and gives the man a clean slate.

"Besides, the return of a car and the return of a wife, as it were, do not provide a valid comparison. A car is a thing, not a person. A car does not love, does not have emotions, does not think, does not involve children. Did the man who is remarried actually steal the woman? Did he take her against her will? Was not the marriage by mutual agreement? The concept of returning stolen property could seldom apply here.

"For people in second marriages to return to their first mates is, in the vast majority of cases, impossible. God does not require the impossible. He simply forgives and that's that. According to Deuteronomy 24:4, at least, once one had actually remarried, there was to be no return to the previous mate, even if the second husband died. Only in a very unique situation might it be otherwise (cf. Jer. 3:1).

"Some teach that if it is impossible to go back to a first husband or wife, then a person must live single. But a forced celibacy is not God's plan. Suppose a car thief repents and tries to return a stolen car. He cannot find the owner. He feels it would be wrong for him to keep the car. So he takes it and pushes it over a cliff. The car is destroyed: no one has the benefit of it. As silly as this is, this is the 'logic' of those who insist that people with previous marriages must separate and remain single. Who benefits? A woman does not have a husband, a husband does not have a wife, children do not have their parents, their economic situation suffers, two residences must be maintained, etc. Such is legalism--that one should push his happiness, his effectiveness, his peace of mind, his marriage, over a cliff--all because of an interpretation some have forced on a very tiny portion of scripture!”


Suggested Replies To Analogies

RECOMMENDATIONS. In the Editor's opinion, the very best way to respond to an analogy that has been used to reply to your sincere question is to IGNORE IT. Don't even attempt to point out that it is a Figurative Analogy, worthless as evidence, full of flaws and weak points. Do the same (ignore it) if they answer your question with a tale about one of their experiences. Experiences and analogies prove nothing, as far as you are concerned. They are NOT the answers you are seeking.

I recommend ignoring analogies and experiences--even to the point of interrupting and cutting them short (if you care to) because your time to question is usually very limited. The workers will NOT be staying with you any extended length of time once you begin to question them. They will most likely cut short their visit plans with you once you get in to heavy questioning. I've know of this happening time and time again. You may as well plan for it, and use your time to question wisely and efficiently. Therefore, any comments you make about the analogy will just take up valuable time that you can't afford to spare, if you REALLY want your questions answered. An analogy is an attempt to divert your attention. So don't get sidetracked by discussing the analogy. The BEST a good Literal Analogy can do is to point to a degree of PROBABILITY, which is not the answer or type evidence you are seeking. Quite frankly, I have yet to hear a Literal Analogy used for an explanation by a worker, and literal analogies are the only kind from which valid inferences can be made. The analogies given so far have all been Figurative, and only serve to illustrate the worker's thoughts and opinions--and are not a reliable basis from which to make inferences or to estimate probability. If the 2x2 group is what they claim to be, and the Bible is their ONLY textbook, then the basis for any practice they enforce or belief they expect you to hold should be easily found in the Bible. You are merely asking them to show you the chapter and verse.

SUGGESTION: Counter an analogy with an analogy of your own. Analogies are useful in presenting unwelcome information gently. When you want to present information in such a way so that it will not be rejected from the outset, consider using an analogy, such as the fake painting at the beginning of this chapter. Or make up one about Santa Claus--did you feel like a child who found out Santa Clause wasn't real, when you found out about Wm Irvine? Remember how Nathan used an analogy in 2 Samuel 12 about the rich man taking and killing the poor man's only precious ewe lamb to show David his sin concerning Uriah and Bathsheba? The picture that an analogy draws in the mind will usually stay much longer than a simple explanation.

OTHER SUGGESTED REPLIES:


The two items are not in the same class, so what applies to one doesn't necessarily apply to the other. Now, back to my question, why X?
The two situations are not analogous. What is your answer to my question X?
Similarities do not establish identity or proof. What is the answer to my question X?
Similarities do not establish a precedent for universal behavior. Where does the Bible say X?

That analogy overlooks the significant difference of Z. Could you just show me where the Bible says X?
The differences are too great for a comparison to be of any value. Could you just show me where the Bible says X?
The differences outweigh the similarities in that analogy. What is the answer to my question X?

The resemblance doesn't go far enough to draw a valid inference. So, back to my question, why X?
There are only surface similarities.
There are just too many dissimilarities in the items you are comparing for my comfort. This is a serious matter. My salvation is at risk here. I REALLY need to know why X?

The analogy breaks down when you carry it out to Z. So what is your answer to my question, why X?
If you carry this analogy our further, it breaks down. I need your help. Would you please show me the verse in the Bible that is your basis for X?

Can you show me an analogy a Bible author wrote that applies to my question X?
Where does the Bible plainly indicate that X (assumption) is the case? or is true?

Your analogy illustrates your opinion well. However, since “the truth” isn’t in the same class as a natural seed, the analogy offers no proof that it existed before 1897.



Go to Chapter 6



 

 

Chapter 4 - Diversion Tactics

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Revised Sept. 21, 2003

Before You Ask - Chapter 4


Diversion Tactics

A diversion is anything that diverts or distracts the attention. Countless, ingenuous ploys have been used down through the ages to direct attention away from the subject at hand. Frequently, diversions are used when one is backed into a corner, losing ground or face, in the hot seat, or feels uncomfortable with the present. Diversions may be useful, welcome, obvious, amusing, devious or creative. Everyone has at times deliberately created a diversion. When we offer candy to a crying child with a skinned knee, we are making an attempt to divert the child's attention away from his pain. Shoplifters often use an accomplice to create a diversion and distract attention from the shoplifter. In a conversation, changing the subject or focus usually diverts attention away from the subject.

If your goal is to get your Question answered, you need to be a good judge of replies. Some replies to sincere Questions are merely Diversions -- NOT answers. If they know the answer -- why don't they just tell it to you, instead of trying to get out of the Question? That's all you want -- a straight answer! Now, why on earth would someone deliberately try to divert your attention when you have asked a sincere Question? To get out of answering the Question is obvious.

I've come up with only three possible reasons why someone would try to get out of answering a Question.

  1. He doesn't want to answer it, or
  2. He doesn't know the answer.
  3. He knows the answer, and wants to answer, but the fear of loss or of a consequence from someone having power over him are so great that he will not tell the truth. He's afraid to answer.

When the workers can't provide scriptural evidence and reason for accepting their practices and beliefs, they usually try to get off the hook. They cast around for a diversion because they don't want to say "I don't know," or admit that many of the required behaviors are not based on scriptural truth, but rather on their traditions. When reasons are scarce or lacking...many look for a diversion since it provides a way out without losing face.

A totally irrelevant wisecrack has broken up many good discussions! A tip of the slung (slip of the tongue), can be quite diverting; i.e. such spoonerisms as: "For now we see through a dark, glassly..." (1 Cor 13:12). "Our Lord is a shoving leopard." "May Sod rest his goal." So it should not come as a surprise that humor or ridicule are occasionally intentionally introduced into a conversation in an effort to divert your attention away from your Question. While the humorous remark may be vastly amusing and very much diverting, nevertheless, it is usually irrelevant to your Question, which is sincere and deserves consideration. Press on until you get a satisfactory answer!


Saved by the Bell!
When the going gets tough -- the tough get going!


Suppose you have asked a Question that is important to you. The other person takes control of the conversation and talks non-stop at great length about some irrelevant side issue. You don't interrupt because you assume there will be plenty of time to adequately cover your Question. (Bad practice -- assuming!) You automatically defer to their authority and remain respectfully quiet while they lead the conversation completely astray. Surely, down the line somewhere, they will tie their rambling narrative into your Question. However, suddenly they stand up and say, "Sorry, our time's up, we've got to go now!" Then, they take their leave, appearing quite pleased with themselves.

Afterwards recalling the conversation, you realize, "I STILL don't have the answer to my Question!" What happened? You were taken! That's how far your deference and respect took you! They talked all around your Question, without ever actually answering it. They managed a successful diversion. They distracted your attention until their time ran out, and they were off the hook -- saved by the bell! The explanation was like parallel parking on a busy street. It started, proceeded, stopped, edged forward, backed up, as time zoomed past you. To keep this from happening, it's a good idea to find out at the beginning of the visit exactly how long they will be able to visit with you.

Beware! No matter what age you are, it is not uncommon to fall under the spell of those you consider to be your superiors or those in authority, and this respect holds you back from interrupting or taking control of a conversation. If you are intent on getting an answer to your Question, you may have to steel yourself to interrupt, and steer the conversation back to the subject you wish to discuss. Doing so may make you seem rather impatient or childish, but it's practically the only way to get your Question answered -- be tenacious.

Books about salesmanship point out that the longer a person interacts with you, especially one who wants to convince you of something, the more indebted to him you feel. The more time you allow to elapse in irrelevant conversation, the more inclined you are to agree with him, the less inclined you are to challenge him, and the more guilty you feel rejecting his explanation. To avoid this pitfall, just don't let the discussion stray for long. Interrupt, take control and bring the discussion back to the subject.


The Red Herring
When the going gets tough -- change the subject!

In hunting fox, sometimes a herring (a fish) would be dragged across the hound's path to divert the hound from pursuing the scent of the fox. Distracted, the hounds would follow the scent of the herring and forget all about their original goal -- the fox. From this underhanded practice, the expression Red Herring was coined, and it has come to signify the act of deliberately changing the subject and diverting the course of a conversation.

If a Red Herring is successful, the initial topic will be dropped, and instead, the Red Herring topic will be picked up and discussed. We all resort to using a Red Herring occasionally. When we're in hot water, we change the subject! When our position is proving weak, we change the subject. When something makes us uncomfortable, we change the subject. The object of a Red Herring is to persuade you to voluntarily drop your concern, investigation or Question, and focus on something else. There are many variations of Red Herrings, but they all have in common that they take one away from the original goal, which, in this case, is the Question you would like to have answered.


Examples of Red Herrings:

Q: When did this fellowship actually start?
A: (Red Herring:) "I can't tell you that, but I CAN tell you about the time when the gospel came to my family in 19..."

Q: You say long hair for women is doctrine and not tradition. Yet, Dale X told me that long hair for women was not doctrine. Don't the workers agree on what is and is not doctrine??
A: (Red Herring:) "Ah, yes, Dale and I were companions for X years back in 19XX in the state of X; and then again in 19XX for another year. I remember one time when Dale blah--blah--blah (off with a diversion).

Q: Where did this doctrine start?
A: (Red Herring:) "It first came to us over 60 years ago. I thought it started in Canada, because the one that brought the gospel to us was from Canada. We had never heard of it before, and we inquired of him, 'Where did you hear this?' He said, 'We heard it from someone that came from Ireland or Scotland.' We listened to that Gospel. 'Where did it start?' It started in Heaven, and we are thankful that this Truth came from Heaven that we have accepted today."

Q: (to sister worker) "Have you ever heard of a man called William Irvine?"
A: (Red Herring:) "Jerry, what have you been reading?!!"

Q: "It really doesn't matter; what I want to know is did 'the truth' start with William Irvine?"
A: (Red Herring:) "Who told you that?!!"

Q: "I'm not at liberty to say. I just want to know if it is true?"
A: (Diversion attempt:) "Absolutely not! I heard Linda isn't going to meetings now. How do her folks feel about that?"

Q: (Stunned at her lie, but determined to keep the conversation on track:) "Aunt Frances, I didn't call to talk about Linda. I called because I have some Questions I wanted to ask you which have really been troubling me. I want to know who William Irvine was? And why do some people say he started the truth?"

Q: "I read a book called The Secret Sect. Is what it says true?"
A: (Red Herring) "I know someone who read that book, and they said it made their faith grow even stronger."

Q: If that's the case, why aren't the workers handing it out to all the friends to read then? (Turns the tables)


Replies to Red Herring Fallacies

It's far better to give everyone the benefit of a doubt, rather than to assume that an irrelevant reply to your Question is a deliberate Diversion attempt. You're far more likely to reach your goal and get your question answered when you treat people with respect. Make certain of your facts before you accuse anyone. They may have truly misunderstood your Question. If this is so, when you point out the reply didn't answer your Question, they will verify the Question, and reply with a straight answer. And you save yourself the embarrassment of making the false accusation.

Technique: Don't become diverted or distracted from your purpose, which is to get your Question answered. Come back to your Question, like a boomerang. GET BACK ON TRACK. If their reply addressed a point other than the one you asked about:

  1. Point out the subject they addressed
  2. Point out the subject of your Question
  3. Point out (1) and (2) are not the same topic
  4. Therefore, their reply doesn't answer your Question.
  5. Ask your Question again and ask for a simple/direct answer to it.
  • "Excuse me for interrupting, but what about my Question?"
  • "Excuse me, but is this going to tie into my Question somewhere?"
  • "That's not what I meant by X. I was asking...."
  • "I don't see how that has anything to do with my Question, which is..."
  • "Please help me understand how that ties into my Question, which was Why...?"
  • "We seem to be hopping from subject to subject! I'd really like to get back to my original Question. It's important to me to understand this clearly." (repeat Question)
  • "Look, I asked a simple Question. All I want is a simple answer -- just a simple: "yes or no" will do." (repeat Question)
  • "Could we please just stick to my Question. Perhaps I didn't make myself very clear. What I need to know is..."
  • "You apparently misunderstood my Question. I am not concerned about that. What I AM concerned with is X? Is X true or false?"
  • "We sure have gotten off the subject. Before I forget all about it, I'd like to know..." (repeat Question)
  • "Excuse me for interrupting. I just want to make certain of something before we go any further. This is all very interesting, but I want to be sure that all this is going to lead back to my Question eventually? I've looked forward to this visit/conversation for a long time, and I don't want to get sidetracked."

Replies: The Burden of Proof

When it is pointed out that a reply is irrelevant, beside the point, off the subject, doesn't answer the Question, etc, some may look amazed and ask: "How so?" or "Why Not?" They may challenge you, saying something like: "I don't see how you can say my answer is irrelevant. Why do you say that?" OR: "I didn't answer your Question? I sure thought I did. It's perfectly clear to me. I don't know how I can make it any clearer."

The reason their reply is irrelevant is because it did not answer your Question. Remember, the Burden of Proof is on THEM -- not you. It is THEIR responsibility to show you how their reply answers your Question. Some possible replies pointing out irrelevance are:

  • "Y is irrelevant because it doesn't answer my Question -- I asked you about X -- not Y."
  • "That is true/quite interesting, but as far as I can see, it is totally irrelevant to my Question, which was...?"
  • "All of that is beside the point. Just give me a "yes or no?"
  • "Y is true, but it doesn't explain my Question. I want to know: Why...?"
  • "What you say is true, but so what? I didn't ask about that -- I asked about X. Why X?"
  • "That is interesting, but it's beside the point; it doesn't answer my Question, which is: Why...?"


Red Herring: Reminders

TIP: Many times a Red Herring will begin with: That reminds me of X... Some Red Herrings are simply repetitions of statements made by a highly, revered worker. For example: Well I remember one time Willie Jamieson told us..; OR: George Walker used to say... Talking about something that is a reminder of the subject under discussion, can only lead the conversation FURTHER away from your Question. Stick to your guns and stay on the track. You may use this excellent line of reasoning to gently lead them back to the standard you want to be used, the Bible, God's Word, rather than the word of the workers.

Q. "Can workers fail? Or are they infallible?"
A. "No, they're not infallible"

Q. "Then, since workers are fallible, and it is possible they could fail, for the purpose of this discussion, let's stick to the Bible, God's Word alone, so we can be sure to keep any possibility of human error out of this. Let's go to Willie Jamieson's foundation. What Scripture supports his statement?"
Red Herring: Advice

Some reply to a Question by giving advice. "What YOU need to do is..." They always know better than you do! They talk down to you. They minimize what you think or have been doing; and maximize their knowledge and methods as being superior to yours. According to them, all you need to do is turn from doing what is wrong (what you're doing) and do what is right (what they recommend), and you'll have your answer! Advice is thinly veiled criticism.

Frequently, the advice given is: go to meetings regularly; come back to meetings; just keep coming to meeting and the Spirit will reveal it to you; get right with God; read and pray more; submit more; burn those books and read your Bible; try harder; stop questioning; drop the subject. For example: Some things you have to accept in faith. You don't have enough faith! You haven't been reading the Scriptures and praying enough.

Technique: Just ignore the advice. Don't let it get your back up, and don't get sidetracked into discussing it. If you can agree with it, do so. (Agree with thine adversary quickly.) Boomerang back to your Question. What about it? You don't want to wait for the answer. You would like the answer NOW. If it could be spoken and heard in meeting -- then it can be said and heard here and now. Why must you hear the answer within the limited framework of a meeting? Jesus and Paul answered Questions when they were asked. Further, Paul even answered Questions in writing.
Red Herring: Counter-Questions

Instead of answering your specific Question, some will pose a counter-Question, sometimes playing for time or information. The counter-Question shifts the Burden of Proof back to the Questioner. DON'T accept it! It's not your responsibility to prove their position -- it's theirs! A conclusion stands or falls on its OWN merits, not because it cannot be/has not been proven false. For example:

Q: Can you give me one good reason I should believe X?
A: Can you give me one good reason NOT to believe X?

When your Question asks for their supporting reasons for a belief or practice, it's up to them to prove their position. You don't have to disprove it, or show how it is lacking or wrong at all, if you don't choose to. As God's servants, they are the teachers. You're asking for the reason they believe or do something; reasons to support their position, conclusion or practice. Either they have good reason, or they do not. If you are to hold this same position or belief, you must know their reason behind it and evaluate it for yourself.
Examples of Red Herrings Using Counter-Questions:

  • "Now, why would you be worried about THAT?"
  • "What do YOU think the answer to that Question is?"
  • "Do you see it done any other way in the Bible?"
  • "Was it not time to return to methods of Christ?"
  • "And just who are you to be criticizing God's perfect way?"
  • "Why do you always have to know WHY? Why can't you just accept it in faith?"
  • "So what if there is a founder? What difference does that make?"
  • "How can you criticize God's perfect way?"
  • "What would it prove if we could trace back to Abraham?" (quote of Wm Lewis in The Sunday Sun (Georgetown, Texas), July 14, 1991, page 2, The Secret Sect By Brad Stutzman)
  • "Just ask yourself why you want to do that? Examine your motives. Could it be vanity or pride or because you want to impress others?"
  • "Why would we want something started by a man when we have Scripture to prove that this fellowship is "from the beginning"?
  • "Why does everyone need to know about the history? What good would it do anyone to know about William Irvine?"
  • "Did it ever occur to you that the devil might have something to do with this Question?"
  • "Have you read where they were to meet any other place than the home for worship or meetings?"
  • "Why are you worrying about that? That's God's business, and He will take care of it in His own time."
  • "The one thing they (authors of The Secret Sect) can't DISPROVE is that this (way) is from the beginning. Interruptions are insignificant. Surely the God who planned the way of salvation and got it started in the earth when He revealed it to Adam could do it one more time. If Adam got it without a human being revealing it to him, why couldn't William Irvine?"


Replies to Red Herrings Using Counter-Questions

Technique: Don't get taken up with their counter-Question. You don't have to answer a question just because you were asked. Ignore it. Refuse to play their game. Don't let them put the monkey on your back. Would they reply to an outsider with a counter-Question? You deserve no less consideration. Put the Burden of Proof back on them. They claim they follow the Bible only. Unless there is Scriptural support for a belief/practice, it is merely an assertion, preference or opinion.

  • "So what are you saying -- exactly?"
  • "What are you trying to imply?"
  • "Exactly what are you suggesting?"
  • "I'm asking YOU what YOU believe, and WHY."
  • "If I knew the answer to my Question, I wouldn't be asking you."
  • "I'm merely asking for the Scripture that supports this belief/practice."
  • "No, I don't understand it. Would you please help me. I would like you to teach me ALL about it -- starting with the very basics."
  • "Usually, when a person answers a Question with a Question, they either don't know the answer, or they don't want to tell the answer. Which is the case with you?"
  • "If you know the answer -- why don't you just tell it to me, instead of trying to get out of the Question? That's all I want -- a straight answer!"
  • "I'm asking YOU for reasons why YOU believe this belief/practice is God's will. Just pretend I don't know anything about "this way." Now, tell me why I would be wise to accept this belief/practice."
  • "Asking ME a Question does not answer my Question to you. A belief stands or falls on its own merits. I asked you X. What is your answer?"
  • "All I'm asking is for you to explain your reasons for believing X. Since you're giving your very life for this fellowship/belief system, I'm sure you have very good reasons! I'd just like to know what they are."
  • "Why do I ask that Question? Because I don't want to "...err (by) not knowing the Scriptures...." (Matt 22:29). (OR: Because I want to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in
  • you with meekness and fear. 1 Pet 3:15)
  • "If you preach something is essential for salvation, you, no doubt, have back-up for it in the New Testament. Could you tell me what Scripture supports X?"
  • "Unless you can show Scriptural support for a belief/practice, it's merely an assertion (or your preference/opinion). A belief stands or falls on its own merits."
  • "I'm curious: Is this how you would reply if an outsider asked you this Question?"

Red Herring: Minimizing Significance
It doesn't matter...it's really not important

Sometimes Questions are brushed off as unimportant, irrelevant and not worthy of an answer. A mountain-size Question may be reduced to a mole hill. Some replies cut a pine tree down to a pine needle. Some replies major in the minors. The Red Herring diversion minimizes your present concern (X), and reinterprets it as insignificant. At the same time, you are encouraged to appreciate or maximize another subject (Z). Don't look there -- instead, look over here! The goal is not only to redirect your attention, but also to change your focus and perspective. Don't you see? What you are distressed about (X) doesn't matter at all -- THIS other thing (Z) is what really matters. What you need to do is decrease your concern for (X) and increase your concern for (Z). Your perspective is off, you see. You are making way too much of too little, and far too little of much. It's not (X) that is important, but rather (Z)! Your priorities are out of order; your perspective is out of kilter; you're making a big deal out of nothing; X is not worthy of the attention you're giving it. You're out of sync! Ideally, they hope you will buy their outlook, drop yours, and go away quite happy with the exchange.

Those who admit that William Irvine was the founder usually use some variation of the fallacious reasoning tactic Red Herring to talk down the significance of William Irvine's role in the fellowship. Does anything really change if you decide to call a skunk a rose? Minimizing a lie (skunk) doesn't really change the fact that a lie was and is still being told. Regardless of whether it's called a rose or a skunk, a lie still stinks! When you thought you were buying into the authentic, original way Jesus started, you were willing to pay dearly for this pearl of great price. Later, you found out you were intentionally sold a mess of pottage -- in exchange for your very LIFE! You can't replace those lost years, can't relive your childhood, can't erase your needless suffering and pain you endured or make up those missed experiences -- nor those you put your children through. You endured misery for happiness that should have been yours, except for the lie. Your joy was taken from you. None of that is important? Their intentions were good? They meant well? Doesn't change a thing. You were robbed! You endured pain and suffering. You have a right to righteous indignation that this fraud and farce is being carried out in the name of the truth of God! Don't feel one bit guilty if you are angry. You won't go wrong fighting against what God hates -- and God hates a lying tongue and a false witness.

Importance, significance, value and priority are matters of opinion -- not fact. They are individually ascertained and cannot be proven. You have a right to beg to differ with anyone's opinion as to what is and is not important. How can evidence be considered unimportant that proves you were intentionally deceived? Would a court find the evidence unimportant that proved a car dealership had deceived you regarding the mileage of one of their cars you purchased? Irvine's role IS of maximum importance because it proves the lie, the deception. When confronted with evidence proving he has lied, a liar has three choices: admit it, deny it or evade the Question. This article uncovers several common evasions used to avoid the Question. If they know the answer -- why don't they just tell it to you, instead of trying to get out of the Question? That's all you want -- a straight answer!


Examples of Red Herring: Minimizing Significance

Question: "Who started this fellowship and when?"
Replies to this Question often minimize William Irvine's role, and emphasize something else.

Some examples are:

  • "Irvine's founding role is of little consequence, for we alone follow the true pattern of the original apostles, and the early church."
  • "It doesn't really matter who started it. All that matters is that we are building on the same foundation as Christ, and we know we are."
  • "The history isn't really important. The important thing is when the gospel came to you, and began a work in YOUR life. Now, when was that?"
  • "The origin makes no difference because the Spirit of God can do anything."
  • "It doesn't matter if Irvine was 1st, 2nd or last -- as long as it is the same thing the disciples and apostles had, and it is."
  • "Jesus said, 'By their fruits ye shall know them.' We are thankful we have the fruit and don't need to trace the seed of the fruit back to Adam and original creation."
  • "The Jews could trace back to Abraham, and it didn't mean a thing. God can raise up people from stones...we don't need to trace it back. Don't worry about tracing the truth back."
  • "We may not know where God's people were in all ages, but that doesn't matter. If God has raised up in our day a prophet that has gone back to Christ, that's all that's important. We must keep that firmly in our minds."
  • "I hope there were people who did this in the centuries between the first century and 20th, but we have no records and we do not know. God knows...Whether they did or did not does not make a bit of difference to our salvation. The pattern in Jesus was always there waiting for sincere and honest men and women to go back to." (Dan Hilton)
  • "So what if there IS a founder? What difference does that make?"
  • "Someone sometime had a revelation, but who it was and when doesn't matter. What does matter is that we have a revelation that this is the right way."
  • "I don't see why it's any of the friend's business, or why they should ever need to know that. All they need to know is that this is God's only true way."
  • "So what if 'the truth' came from Greece, Italy or Macedonia to England. What does it matter? The fact is -- it came. And we are ever so grateful. Why would I waste precious time pondering where it came from and how?"
  • "Personally, I have never been taken up with genealogies, or other things that Paul warned against in 1 Tim. 1:3-4." (Understood that these things are not important, and you shouldn't be taken up with them either)
  • "It doesn't really matter what people think of you today, or how they view the way you look. Someday all will recognize that the women in the truth are the most beautiful people in all the world."
  • "It's not how much head knowledge you have, but how much heart knowledge that really matters."

Replies to Red Herring: Minimizing Significance

How do you rate, rank or judge importance? Importance is individually ascertained, and is a matter of opinion. Someone baiting you with a Red Herring shrinks the importance of your concerns and blows something else all out of proportion. Since your goal is to get your question answered...you will be spinning your wheels if you get taken up discussing the value or importance they are boosting or demoting. It's not something that can be proven beyond all doubt -- importance is a judgment call, a value and not fact. You could argue all day about the importance something deserves -- and never prove it. However, no one can argue against or deny your feelings. They are yours. You are entitled to them. You feel exactly how you feel, no matter what anyone else says. No contest. Period. You do not have to accept the value others place on something -- it is their opinion.

Technique: For most topics, you can let it be known that you consider the values they expressed a matter of opinion. You're after facts -- not opinions, experiences, preferences, etc. What you consider important IS important to you, but you don't have to prove why. It's your choice -- values are choices. It's up to you. You may or may not choose to point out why William Irvine is important. You do not have to accept the value others place on Irvine's founding role. Nor are you obligated to argue how you feel or think concerning it. But, if you want to, go ahead and let it be known that you (emphatically/unequivocally) do not agree with their opinion regarding what is or is not important. Be aware, however, that in doing so, you are taking their bait (Red Herring), which can lead you away from your Question on a wild goose chase, especially if the other takes issue with your view.

The evidence that proves William Irvine was the founder is (no doubt about it!) EXTREMELY important/significant since it proves you were intentionally deceived. Drawing an analogy usually proves this point very well. Try illustrating how important it would be to them to find out something they believe is valuable or important is not true.

For example: Would they like to know it if the bank where they had their life savings had for its president a man who had a criminal record for embezzling? Would it be important for them to know this? If they had their preference, when would they like to know this fact? The sooner the better? Before they began to put their money in that bank? WHY? What difference would that have made? The answer is that they would have evaluated the situation differently. Well, feeling much the same way, you wish you had known much sooner that the belief system/church you had been investing your whole life in had for its founder a man who made false prophecies, was mentally unbalanced and also a womanizer. Just like them, you would have evaluated the situation in a different light, had you known. Would it comfort them to be told not to worry; that people aren't always perfect -- but just trust us -- the bank is solid! Here you've been investing your time, money and very life in this 2x2 belief system for years, believing it had a solid foundation, and now you find out the founder has a sordid, questionable past. This is why this matter is important to you. You've been trusting something that isn't trustworthy, etc. If you'd known earlier, it would have saved you much unnecessary loss, pain and suffering. If any of you readers come up with some other analogies, please send them to Telling The Truth.

  • "It may not be important to you, but it is VERY important to me. I will not have any peace until I know..."
  • "Unlike you, this is VERY important to me, and I'm not going to rest until I get an answer to..."
  • "Regardless of its importance, I would like to know..."
  • "I understand that in YOUR opinion, X is not important. However, it is VERY important to me and many others! I want to know..."
  • "You believe we are each individually accountable for our actions, don't you? As far as importance, would you agree your soul is your highest concern? Whose business is your soul? Who's accountable for your actions, for what you accept and believe? That's why this is VERY important to me -- it has the power to affect my soul. That's why I want to know..."
  • "You seem to be diminishing the importance of understanding the Scripture, and emphasizing reliance on the Spirit. Do you believe the Spirit will ever guide us contrary to the Scripture? So, what Scripture says we must..."
  • "Are you suggesting that I should sacrifice truth to preserve an illusion?? I can't do that -- I value truth too much. I have to realign my point of view when additional or corrected truth comes my way. Can you tell me the truth about..."


Red Herring: Clichés & Slogans
Canned Statements


Lousy logic is a more palatable when it is sloganized. Adages, slogans, platitudes and maxims are sometimes given in reply to a Question. However, a general saying of unknown origins is far from being an unquestionable authority and should not be accepted as a good reason. Many accept familiar axioms, sayings and proverbs as valid proof, but they aren't. Acceptance proves nothing.

Just because someone coined a cliché doesn't mean they were correct in their observations. Every adage cannot be true. In fact, for many adages offered to support an argument, there is another cliché saying the reverse is true! For example:

  • Look before you leap - He who hesitates is lost.
  • Leave well enough alone - Progress never stands still.
  • A man gets no more than he pays for - The best things in life are free.
  • A fool and his money are soon parted - You can't take it with you.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder - Out of sight, out of mind.

Examples of Red Herring: Clichés & Slogans

  • "Where there's a will, there's a way."
  • "The people aren't perfect, but the way is."
  • "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
  • "Paper doesn't refuse ink."
  • "A person who is right on the inside, will be right on the outside."
  • "When in doubt -- don't."
  • "If we do not suffer with Him, we will not reign with Him."
  • "Suffering must precede the glory."
  • "We follow in a faith that questions not."
  • "If you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem."

Q: Do you believe in the doctrine of the trinity? A: Yes, and I would explain this teaching by John 15 and 17.
A: Yes, we sing a song (Cease Not) that mentions the Father, Son and Spirit -- these three are one. (NOTE: This hymn was omitted from the 1987 hymnbook!)


Replies to Red Herring: Clichés & Slogans

Technique: Ask for clarification or for the speaker to rephrase the statement. Ask for scripture to support the saying they are giving as a reason. Many times they are merely parroting phrases they've heard over the years, and they haven't ever really examined what the phrase is saying or means. In other words, they don't even know what they are really saying, or realize that their statement is full of holes or does not apply. "How does that saying tie into what we are discussing?"

  • "Where does it say / indicate that in the Bible?"
  • "In other words, what are you saying?"
  • "Just exactly what do you mean by that statement?"
  • "What are you trying to say?"
  • "Could you rephrase what you just said in some other terms? I'm having trouble following you."

In Closing...

Whether or not a Diversion attempt will be successful is up to you, as the hearer! When your goal is to get your Question(s) answered, you need to be a good judge of replies. Does the reply you received actually answer your Question? If you can stand off and objectively look at a reply, carefully scrutinizing it from all angles, the possibility of your getting hurt or losing face in the questioning process is far less. When you stand off and look at something -- you're not engaging your emotions. You cannot be objective and emotional at the same time. Try it on something and prove it for yourself.

Further Recommended Reading:


Vigilant Listening - The Importance of Developing Critical Listening Skills
By Kevin N. Daniel

Go to Chapter 5





 

 
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