Tag Archives: religion

Gospel Forgeries

forgedWhat is very important for people to understand is that during the early centuries there were MANY different beliefs regarding Christ. Today’s Christian beliefs regarding Christ were NOT the majority belief during the early centuries. What we have today is the result of centuries of fighting and forgeries. The opponent with the biggest material resources and secular arm of power to enforce their agendas was the opponent whose beliefs won the battle and paved the way for what is believed as “orthodoxy” today.  Just as we have countless theological beliefs and differences today, so it was then. What makes the difference between then and now is that we have copyright laws that prevent people from forging books in other people’s names. Back then, forgery was a huge problem. Historical evidence attests to this fact and, scholars agree on this point. Whenever the disputes over doctrine collided, it was a simple fix – they forged documents that leaned toward their theological views and wrote these forgeries in the names of well known people. The debates over what was the “right belief” were prevalent and heated back then just as they are today.

In his books, scholar Bart Erhman covers this issue of forgeries excellently and, brings to the forefront of reasoning, the questions that most Christians either REFUSE to ask, or CHOOSE to overlook. It simply frustrates me that Christians tend to believe blindly what they are told regarding the Bible and scripture, as well as doctrine and belief, without doing their own due diligence and research on the issue. As a matter of fact, it is not just Christians that are guilty of not doing their due diligence on their religious teachings and scriptures — other religions have the same problem. Countless followers do not research to find out if what they are being taught is true.  Because religious people tend to ACT on their beliefs in unethical and immoral ways to hurt others that believe differently (in the name of their religion or God), it morally behooves us to search out if what we are being told by religious leaders IS TRUE. What type of godly testimony do we have if we ignorantly believe what we are told? What does this tell the world? That we are NOT going to do the research; that we do not CARE what the REAL TRUTH is; that we are too AFRAID to find out if we have believed a lie? What IF you have believed a lie? Wouldn’t you WANT to know? What IF those lies are destroying the relationships within your family and your marriage? WOULDN’T YOU WANT TO KNOW?

I was handed lies my whole Christian life about the Bible and doctrine. Those lies led to abuses and strife in the home, destruction of my marriage and family, isolation, fear of government, fear of authorities and other religions, fear of the church and religious leaders. Today, because of an honest effort to find out if what I was taught was true, I have been freed from the bondage to the lies I once believed. If you are in bondage to ANY religion that has attached to it FEAR of retaliation for not conforming, then my guess is that you are believing lies too. Just my honest opinion. There is no FEAR in TRUTH.

Whatever you are being taught needs to be challenged with the utmost effort and research! I believe that this journey into truth requires character, humility and, a heated desire that will enable one to not only uncover the lies, but once uncovered, discard them for the right beliefs based on the FACTS presented. It’s time to NOT take mans word that truth is truth! Why? Because men lie to further their own agendas; and when they do propagate lies, it brings abuse and suffering to those that are weaker or slighted by their dogmas and rules.

I will simply leave the following quotes from Bart Erhman’s book, Lost Christianities, as the thoughts to ponder in hope that those who read them, will decide to embark on that journey into truth that will either validate their beliefs, or damn them as lies.

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Gospel Forgeries

“Almost all of the “lost” Scriptures of the early Christians were forgeries. On this, scholars of every stripe agree, liberal and conservative, fundamentalist and atheist.” – Lost Christianities, Bart Erhman

“That Christians in the early centuries would forge such books should come as no surprise. Scholars have long recognized that even some of the books accepted into the canon are probably forgeries. Christian scholars, of course, have been loathe to call them that and so more commonly refer to them as “pseudonymous” writings. Possibly this is a more antiseptic term. But it does little to solve the problem of a potential deceit, for an author who attempts to pass off his own writing as that of some other well-known person has written a forgery. That is no less true of the book allegedly written to Titus that made it into the New Testament (Paul’s Letter to Titus) than of the book allegedly written by Titus that did not (Pseudo-Titus), both claiming to be written by apostles (Paul and Titus), both evidently written by someone else.” — Lost Christianities, Bart Erhman

“Other books, however, are widely regarded as forged. The author of 2 Peter explicitly claims to be Simon Peter, the disciple of Jesus, who beheld the transfiguration (1:16-18). But critical scholars are virtually unanimous that it was not written by him. So too the Pastoral epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus: They claim to be written by Paul, but appear to have been written long after his death.” — Lost Christianities, Bart Erhman

“How could forgeries make it into the New Testament? Possibly it is better to reverse the question: Who was  collecting the books? When did they do so? And how would THEY have known whether a book that claims to be written by Peter was actually written by Peter or that a book allegedly written by Paul was actually by Paul? So far as we know, none of these letters was included in a canon of sacred texts until decades after they were written, and the New Testament canon as a whole still had not reached final form for another two centuries after that. How would someone hundreds of years later know who had written these books?” — Lost Christianities, Bart Erhman

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If scholars know about forgeries in the Bible, and have known about them for centuries, why do Christians fight against that knowledge? Why aren’t they addressing this reality and fighting for the truth to be made known and/or corrected in Scripture? My guess on that question is a simple one and, possibly, a hated one. Here is my opinion on that question, if you don’t like it, just agree to disagree with me:

I believe that the changes that were made to scripture were done in order to:

  • Give men pre-eminence and dominance over women.
  • Proliferate inequality of the sexes
  • Allow for sexual dominance and control
  • Afford men power, control and prestige in religion and the world

If one just reads the countless articles on this blog that expose these truths scripturally and historically, these points that I give will become obvious. Why else would male-dominated religions wish to use, and tout as infallible and inspired, corrupted texts that have been altered by MEN to oppress and suppress women and, bring the masses into bondage to FEAR of their God, their rules? Why else would religious leaders defame, attack, label and “name-call” those women and men who bring these facts to light?  It wasn’t women that made the forgeries, keep that in mind. Inequality always leads to abuse. Just my opinion based on the evidence uncovered. Read my blog articles yourself and form your own opinion. BUT, You don’t have to believe me. Afterwards, go on your own quest for TRUTH. Let the FACTS guide your thought processes and build your foundations — not hear-say and opinion from fallible men who have agendas to uphold.

Assimilation of the Church to the World

ASSIMILATION OF THE CHURCH TO THE WORLDassimilation

For those that claim the title of “Christian,” it is very important to understand that the religious systems of the world are full of corruptions. It is my humble opinion that none are exempt. To think that there is a pure religion out there would be ludicrous. It doesn’t matter what one thinks, the historical evidences show that man corrupts everything he touches.  There are countless millions following the “doctrines and commandments of men” and not God. Many of these corruptions have an agenda in mind. What is that agenda? Control of others for self-indulgence, personal gain, power, control and money.  History supports this premise and shows it with glaring clarity.

In order to separate tradition from truth, in order to separate truth from the corruption, in order to genuinely understand and know the truth, we must study history and textual criticism. Studying the Bible, for many, is of no avail because the understanding of the times in which it was written is not there. One must understand the culture, the events taking place at the time of penning of scripture, and so much more in order to truly understand what the authors meant. How can one KNOW what was “meant” if you are interpreting based on the current culture and word usage? Jesus and his disciples spoke in terms that the people of their day were familiar with. Today, we are not familiar with many of the colloquialisms and terms they used. They were dealing with the real problems of the day and age in which they all lived; thus, learning history is important to correct understanding and interpretation.

We also must understand the “tares” that man has inserted through translation, that have become foundations for many. There is so much truth wrapped around a “cloak of deception” aimed at leading people to believe and act in a manner that is in direct opposition to truth and love! There were some insertions, changes and deletions through translation that have affected one particular race of people throughout history – women. As a result, women have been robbed of equality, honor and dignity. They have been treated in-humanely and, even today, still are, in some countries.

All this said, today’s history lesson will cover how the church assimilated with paganism. Throughout, I will interject my thoughts and enclose them in brackets. What will become apparent is that the church system has not changed. The corruptions then, are still around today. Let’s dive in and see what we can learn from this tidbit of early church history.

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Early Church History to the Death of Constantine

Edward Backhouse, 1906

With the increase of the Church in numbers and wealth, the introduction of infant baptism and the growth of a sacerdotal religion, there came an increased assimilation to the world. The dividing line between Pagan and Christian lost its sharpness, or was drawn from a new and entirely different point.

The Christians of the earlier ages were marked out from the rest of mankind by their life and conduct: “They are in the flesh, but live not after the flesh. They dwell upon earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.” But now the difference turned more especially upon external and ceremonial distinctions. [Think about this for a moment. Today, one’s Christianity is based on church attendance and service, looking outwardly holy in all manner of one’s life. What is considered “holy” living? Following all the many rules, spoken and unspoken, that the clergy within the religious system tell us to follow! Salvation is based on these same factors as well as baptism. If someone does not fit into our perceptive “mold” of what a Christian should be, then we label them as “lost,” “sinners,” “not right with God,” “reprobates,” “heathen,” etc. Standing in God’s place of judgment, we treat them differently and shun them. We isolate ourselves and our families from them as if they had a plague of sin that would affect and corrupt our righteousness. By doing these things, we break the most important commandment of all – to LOVE our neighbor as ourselves. Additionally, we give off a “better than thou” attitude that leaves a stench in the nostrils of those we are trying to reach for God!]

The Christians were those who had been baptised with water, those who partook of the bread and wine, or as it was now called, the Sacrament or the mysteries [calling it such was one of the many corruptions by clergy]. Not that there were wanting other tokens of discipleship of a less formal kind; the martyrdoms, the conduct of the Church during the times of famine and pestilence, and the holy watchful life of thousands, both in and out of office, still affording a shining testimony to the world around of the vital and energetic power of the Gospel. But in proportion as more importance was attached to the ceremonial distinction, the moral difference was overlooked.  [This is a very important statement here. When religious leaders put more weight on outward appearances and rules, the wicked thoughts and intents of the heart will manifest themselves in hidden abuses such as rape, domestic violence, incest, physical abuse, pedophilia, sex trafficking and other such crimes. As we have seen in overwhelming evidence on this blog, the internet is full of stories of these atrocities taking place hidden under the mantle of the church. The “church” has become a safe haven for criminals because they look and sound good on the outside!]

When a man like Gregory Thaumaturgus could adopt a pliable policy, and make the holy rule of the Gospel bend to the vicious habits of the newly baptised heathen, it is easy to account for the decline in morality. And after the edicts of Milan, when admissions into the Church took place in a still more wholesale manner, the maintenance of morals and discipline must have been extremely difficult, not to say impossible. [Throughout the early church, moral corruption was rampant – just as it is today. If we just do our homework and search the internet, we will find countless thousands of articles of such abuses and crimes as well as many victims speaking out about their abuses.]

Moreover, as the danger became more urgent, the voices of the watchmen on the walls grew fainter. [The “watchmen” were supposed to be church leaders. Their voices grew fainter because they had no desire to rid the church of the crimes, many of which, I believe, they were complicit in.] After the second century the influence of the Montanists rapidly declined, whilst the Novatians and others who pleaded more or less earnestly for a return to primitive manners and discipline, seemed never to have gained the ear of the general Church. Here and there, however, the cry of warning was still heard from individuals. [Those that are trying to expose the corruptions and deliver truth to the people, will always be ignored and/or silenced. This still takes place today. We must also add to this the use of character assassination — used against those that try to get the truth to people.]

Amongst these was Aerius. He was a native of Pontus or Armenia, and a friend of the semi-Arian Eustathius, bishop of Sebaste, by whom he was made a presbyter. Disputes arose between himself and the bishop, which widened into a rupture with the Church; and Aerius and his followers, who were numerous, openly separated from their fellow Christians. They also renounced the possession of worldly property. The teaching of Aerius on some points remarkably anticipated that of the most enlightened Protestants at the time of the Reformation, and drew upon him the hostility of the orthodox Church. Epiphanius, who attacks him in no measured language, brings forward four special counts upon which he charges him with heresy. The first is his assertion that the Holy Scriptures make no distinction between a bishop and a presbyter. Next, that prayers and offerings for the dead are not only useless but pernicious: if they avail to the benefit of the departed, no one need trouble himself to live holily, he will only have to provide by bribes or otherwise a multitude of persons to make prayers and offerings for him, and his salvation will be secure. Although a monk he condemned all set fasts: a Christian man should fast when he feels it to be for his soul’s good; appointed days of fasting are relics of Jewish bondage. Lastly, he ridiculed the observance of Easter as a Jewish superstition, insisting that Christians should keep no Passover, because Paul declares Christ, who was slain for us to be our Paschal Lamb. [Aerius was telling the truth here and the church leaders wanted him silenced! A rule of thumb is to “label” those truths as “heresy.” Then, label the truth teller as a “heretic.” By doing so, no one will believe the truth and continue to believe the lies instead.  These same tactics are still being used today within religion as a whole.]

“Aerius,” says his biographer, “brought scriptural weapons to the attack of the fast growing Sacerdotalism of the age; dared to call in question the prerogatives of the Episcopate; and struggled to deliver the Church from the yoke of ceremonies which were threatening to become as deadening and more burdensome than the rites of Judaism.” The warning voice was uttered, but it fell on closed ears. “The protest,” he continues, “was premature; centuries had to elapse before it could be effectually renewed.” But alas ! the rulers of the Church not only rejected the warning; they persecuted the messengers. [This sounds so familiar, doesn’t it? Persecute and silence the messengers of truth. Persecute and silence those that expose abuse or speak out about their own abuse at the hands of the church and its leaders. Persecute, silence and discredit those that expose the corruptions in translation of scripture. Church leaders and church people can be vicious about their attacks on those that speak out or expose what’s hidden or corrupted. Look at what they did to Aerius.]

Aerius and his associates were denied admission to the churches, and even access to the towns and villages, and were compelled to sojourn in the fields or in caves and ravines, and hold their religious assemblies in the open air, exposed to the cruel severity of the Armenian winter. Aerius lived about A.D. 355.

[Make life unbearable for these “heretics.” Follow them where ever they go and persecute them. Stop them from being able to get the bare necessities of life. Slap lawsuits on them to cripple them financially. Take to blogs and websites to slander and discredit them. Show the world the “genuine, unconditional love of God you have” for your fellow man that you exude by doing such things (Being facetious here). THIS is the FRUIT of the religious system at its finest. Is there any wonder that people are fleeing the faith?

By these tactics, you will know who truly AREN’T God’s people. For they fill many of the churches of today and, instead of extending love toward others, they extend hatred and slander toward victims of abuse who speak out, hatred and slander toward those that expose corruption in the church, hatred and slander toward those that expose corruption in translation of scripture;  and, they offer up murder against those that live or believe differently. “They should be stoned!” they say. It never occurs to them that the intent of their heart is MURDER. They are guilty of murder in their heart, and believe it is justified – all in the “name of God.”   Instead, they should be showering their fellow man with love, letting “unconditional” LOVE do its work in the hearts of men, leading them to the “unconditional love of God” that can penetrate even the hardest heart and lead many to repentance and faith.

For those that do these things to their fellow man “in the name of God,” they are not only exuding hatred, abuse and slander, but they are breaking the Third Commandment. Since when is hatred, slander, abuse and murder justifiable? Sadly, there are some Christians that think it is if it’s done in God’s name.]

Buildings of Worship

Milan Cathedral, Italy

Milan Cathedral, Italy

SPLENDOUR IN WORSHIP. To the ancient simplicity there now succeeded a taste for religious pageantry, the natural associate of ease and opulence in a superstitious age. The notion began to prevail that in order to captivate the multitude, Christianity needed to be surrounded with pomp and presented under images of sense. The example of Constantine gave a powerful impulse to this movement. In his new capital on the Bosphorus, in Antioch, Jerusalem and other places, he erected churches which emulated in their magnificence the grandest of the heathen temples. . . Did it never occur to the good bishops of the age of Constantine that all this outward glory, however it might harmonise with the character and purpose of the Old Dispensation, is foreign, if not wholly repugnant, to the spirit of the New? So far from being able to serve God better in their glittering temples than did the early Christians in their simple unconsecrated buildings, the allurements of sense which they took so much pains to accumulate, were the very means to obstruct and render more difficult that worship in spirit and in truth which is alone acceptable unto Him. — Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, pgs 237-238.

Even today, magnificent churches span the globe. Unparalleled in opulence and splendor, these churches have become not just a testament to the immense wealth the church has amassed, but they have become normative for every religious sect. Many today still believe that they can worship God better in bigger buildings decorated in costly materials and crafted with the most intricate and ostentatious architecture. What they fail to realize is that church buildings have become the biggest idol in the hearts of religious leadership and their followers. Just as these elaborate buildings interfered with the purity of worship in Constantine’s day, so it is today. Churches have become places of religious showmanship, rooted in elaborate orations and music aimed at getting religion’s followers to let loose of their pocketbooks.

We must understand that church buildings have nothing to do with God. They are a mutation of paganism with early Christianity; an invention of Constantine’s own theological devices.  Early Christians had no designated “churches” of worship. Pagan temples were converted to “churches” in order to bring the masses together to congregate into one place so that they could be monitored and controlled by clergy. This is exactly what many churches of all denominations do today. They monitor and control those that enter through their doors and use the tactics I elaborate on in my book, Religion’s Cell, to bring about thought reform to the specific institution’s ideals and dogmas.

There is nothing wrong with meeting in a building in this day and age to worship. There is everything wrong with the way in which organized religion wield’s it’s power and control over people in order to control and manipulate them once they enter into the “church building.” Real Christianity is missing in many of today’s religions due to corruption. . . it has turned into a system of showmanship and of amassing wealth instead of a system of purity rooted in helping the poor, the fatherless and the widow in need.

Is Extortion Still Alive in Today’s Churches?

extortionWhile this story is from the third century, it mirrors very well, many of today’s churches and their leaders. Extortion was taking place in churches then, just as it is today. Not only this, but please notice the attitudes and behaviors that were taking place in Paul’s churches. “The history of Paul of Samosata is so illustrative of ecclesiastical life in the third century that it must not be passed over. Paul was elected bishop of Antioch in 260. He was of a speculative turn of mind, and attempting to blend the philosophy of Plato with the doctrines of the New Testament, he conceived very false opinions regarding the nature of Christ. He seems also to have been a man of a worldly character, fond of power and display (Backhouse).” Much like many of today’s clergy, Paul of Samosata shows how far men will go in order to attain for themselves, power, prestige and money. There are countless clergy the world over whose behaviors mirror Paul’s of Samosata. Thankfully, during the third century, there were still some Bishops that still believed in the purity of the faith enough to see Paul for what he was – a self-seeking individual puffed up with pride with a desire for control, power and prestige. He was removed from his position after a synod met and discussed his behaviors. Here is a portion of that letter that was disbursed to all the churches regarding his deposition. The elaboration in brackets is mine.

“We need not,” such is the language of the circular, “say anything of such matters as this; that whereas he was formerly poor and beggarly, and has neither inherited from his parents any means, nor acquired such by any art or trade, he was come to have excessive wealth by his deeds of iniquity and sacrilege, and by the extortion he has practised on the brethren. [He was taking money from his congregants. Much like today’s clergy, he built for himself financial wealth off the backs of the poor. This same thing is happening in churches across the world that are using “fear” to force tithing and/or giving. Paul was doing just this and the other bishops at the Synod  called it like they saw it – EXTORTION.]  Nor need we say anything about his his pride and assumption of worldly dignities, and his preferring to be styled a Ducenarius [Similar to today’s titles of Doctor, Reverend, Ph.d., or Apostle] rather than a bishop, strutting through the market places and reading letters and reciting them as he walked in public, attended by multitudes of people. [Notice all the self-aggrandizement] Nor need we say anything of the affectation he practises in our ecclesiastical assemblies, making a great parade and courting popularity, and confounding by his arts the minds of the more simple [He was an exceptional public speaker who could easily sway people to his way of thinking]; nor of his setting up for himself a lofty tribunal and throne, so unlike a disciple of Christ; nor of his having, like the rulers of this world, a Secretum? [He set himself up as head of the ecclesiastical fellowship. A Secretum was a private seal much like a King or ruler would have to seal their letters.] and calling it by the same name; nor of his striking his thigh with his hand, and stamping on the tribunal with his feet,  and reproving and insulting those, both men and women, who did not applaud him or shake their handkerchiefs, as in the theatres, or shout and leap about, but chose to hear reverently and modestly as in the house of God. Besides this he put a stop to the psalms which were sung in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ as being new compositions of modern men, [Some of today’s churches do exactly the same thing; especially the fundamentalist sect that I came out of….Paul was trying to control the type and style of music in his churches much like the Independent Fundamental Baptist churches I attended.] and prepared instead, at the great Paschal festival, women to sing psalms in the midst of the church in honour of himself, such as one would shudder to hear; and he suborned the bishops and presbyters of his party in the neighbouring districts and cities to promote the same kind of things. [He put together multi-church functions where he could be elevated amongst his peers and he and his constituents given honor and prestige. This also allowed them to take up “love” offerings from the people to be given to each speaker.] And then again there are the adopted women [priest’s housekeepers], as the people of Antioch call them, kept by him and by his presbyters and deacons. We are not ignorant that many have fallen through the adoption of such women into their houses, whilst many others have come under suspicion; so that, even though it should be admitted that nothing really disgraceful had been done by him, yet he was in duty bound to have avoided the suspicion arising out of such conduct.” — Edward Backhouse, Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, pgs 231-232.

From this excerpt we can see, once again, that not much has changed. Although there are many church leaders that do not fall into this type of behavior, one cannot ignore the multitude of clergy that do. The sect I came out of exhibits these same behaviors of Paul of Samosata in amazing detail. What should this tell us? That it is wrong. Plain and simple. This letter went to all the churches telling congregants WHY he was being removed as bishop. It should stand as a testament to us of how clergy should NOT act. We should also bare in mind what the early church leaders believed regarding false prophets or religious leaders like Paul of Samosata:

As regards the prophets and apostles moreover, according to the doctrine of the gospel, so do ye. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord: he will not remain with you [more than] one day; or if need be, the second day also; if he remain three days he is a false prophet. When the apostle departs, let him take nothing but bread enough to last till he reach his night quarters; if he ask for money he is a false prophet. And any prophet who speaks in the Spirit, ye shall not try nor test; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet, unless he have the behaviour of the Lord. From their behaviour therefore shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. No prophet who in the Spirit orders a table shall eat of it, otherwise he is a false prophet. Every prophet, though he teaches the truth, is a false prophet if he does not do what he teaches. Every approved true prophet who holds Church meetings for a worldly mystery, but does not teach [others] to do what he does, shall not be judged by you; for his judgment is with God; for the ancient prophets also did likewise. And whosoever shall say in the Spirit: Give me money, or anything else, ye shall not hearken to him; but if he tell you to give for others who are in need, let no man judge him. — The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, chapter XI.

Instead of overseers (or bishops) and deacons, the corresponding passage in the Apostolical Constitutions has “bishops, presbyters, and deacons,” the offices having by this time become separated. The Gospel was preached by the traveling ministers, on the simple principle that the workman is worthy of his meat. “If,” says the Teaching, “the apostle should ask for money he is a false prophet.” — Edward Backhouse, Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, p. 119

The Quest for Power and Control

outofcontrolSadly, as corruptions entered the early church and the church hierarchy began to develop, the struggle for power and control of the churches (sees) among bishops proliferated.  Bishops, (other terms we use today are ‘Priest’ or ‘Pastor’) were fighting for preeminence and control. From the following tidbit of church history, we can see some of the doctrinal corruptions as well as this struggle. The fight was so bad amongst the clergy, and the power they wielded so strong, that secular leaders lived in fear of them! In many parts of the world today, secular authorities are still living in fear of religious leaders. The times have changed, but not the church or the fear it instills. Anywhere religion is intertwined with secular powers, you will find all manner of abuses and atrocities hidden. The number one race of people that are affected by this marriage of religion and state?  Women and children.

But Cyprian’s language on this subject is thrown into the shade by that of the Apostolical Constitutions, which savours of the servility and prostration before rulers, common in the far East. “The bishop is the minister of the word, the keeper of knowledge, the mediator between God and you. After God he is your father, who has begotten you again to the adoption of sons by water and the Spirit; your ruler and governor; your king and potentate; your earthly god. . . . Let not the laity on all occasions trouble their governor; but let them signify their desires to him through the deacons, with whom they may be more free. For as we may not address ourselves to Almighty God, but only by Christ, so let the laity make known all their desires to the bishop by the deacon, and let them act as he shall direct them. . . . How dare any speak against their bishop, by whom the Lord gave you the Holy Spirit through the laying on of his hands; by whom ye were sealed with the oil of gladness and the unction of understanding; by whom the Lord illumined you and sent his sacred voice upon you, saying, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee!”

[Notice how man has now placed himself as the ‘mediator’ between God and man AND given himself honor and reverence of position? There is only one mediator between God and man and, only one person that deserves honor and reverence.]

This passage belongs indeed with more probability to the fifth century than to our present period. But when ideas such as these were becoming current, it is no wonder that the more worldly minded among the bishops began to assume to themselves great outward importance. Many who occupied the sees (leaders of the churches) in the large cities were addressed and waited upon as though they were persons of rank in the State.

It was now also that the bishop of Rome began to put forward a claim for pre-eminence over his fellow bishops. Even before the end of the second century, Victor, a haughty and ambitious prelate, had attempted to assert such a superiority. The attempt was premature; the Roman bishop was still only one amongst many equals, and when his decrees clashed with the judgment of others, superior in experience and character to himself, he was forced to give way. Thus in 254, in the dispute upon the validity of baptism administered by heretics, when the Roman Bishop Stephen found Cyprian of Carthage, Firmilian of Caesarea in Cappadocia, and other eminent prelates opposed to him, he attempted to brandish the spiritual weapons of the Church against all the host of his adversaries. He excommunicated the bishop of Carthage, denouncing him as an Antichrist, and threatening with spiritual censures any members of the Roman Church who should dare to entertain his delegates. He proceeded to cut off Firmilian and the Asian bishops. But the thunderbolts which were to be launched with such tremendous effect by his successors were not yet forged, and the prelates treated his “audacity and insolence” with contempt, Firmilian declaring that he who boasted of being the successor of Peter was “the real schismatic, who by his excommunication of others had made himself an apostate from the communion of the Church.”

[Notice how religious leaders use the term “anti-Christ” as a label for anyone that disagrees with them and THEIR beliefs or, to gain the preeminence over someone else?]

But spiritual Rome was nevertheless advancing by sure steps towards the same pinnacle in the ecclesiastical world which the capital of the Empire had occupied in the political. Notwithstanding his dispute with Stephen, Cyprian calls the Roman bishopric “the throne of Peter, and the chief Church whence priestly unity takes its source.” The Emperor Decius, after the martyrdom of Fabian in the year 250, was so conscious of the growing power of the Roman see that he declared he would rather hear of a rival to his throne than of a new bishop.” — Edward Backhouse, Early Church History to the Death of Constantine.

Throughout church history, we see the development of a system of power and control designed to manipulate people and bring them into submission to men. “Spiritual Weapons” (murder, torture, shaming, public humiliation, gossip, slander, labeling, etc.) are used against those that fight either within the system for preeminence, OR, used against those that fight the system because of the corruption they see. Really, it’s a lose lose situation for anyone desiring to see the filth purged and the purity and love brought back. What existed back in 200 A.D., exists today. Nothing has changed, it has only gotten bigger, broader and more powerful.

The church systems of the world influence billions. That’s a lot of power and control! The corruptions that existed back then, have grown exponentially and encompass every religion worldwide.  How do you remove the POISON from a serpent this big that has been growing out of control for centuries? Think about it?

Linda (Hyles) Murphrey’s Story

From the Author:

Linda Murphrey is a popular inspirational speaker and expert in human behavior as a Certified Personal and Professional Development Coach, a Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and a lifelong student of interpersonal dynamics. She has been educating, speaking and mentoring people on how to reach their dreams, thrive in the midst of change and fulfill their highest destiny – both professionally and personally. A seasoned sales and business development expert, business owner, speaker and inner success coach, Linda offers a vast breadth of experience and expertise. She has served as a consultant to individuals and numerous corporations by instructing and impassioning executive management, sales professionals and entrepreneurs to plan and realize their goals.

Linda has currently written and released several chapters of “Healing from a God Who Wasn’t.” The book is Linda’s journey from religious fear and entrapment to freedom and truth.  In these chapters, she delves into her personal life growing up in a 50,000-member cult. Her chapters are a guide for victims of toxic faith searching for “religion rehab.”  I recommend these chapters for anyone who has been involved in any religious bondage, no matter the religious sect. Cults all operate the same. The abuses are the same. Her personal story as the daughter of Jack Hyles not only reveals the shocking details of the secrets she was forced to keep, but they also teach lessons to the reader that will help them to heal and grow. For more information or to purchase any of her chapters please visit Linda’s website:  lindamurphrey.com.  Here is Linda’s Story (similar to her TEDx talk in April, 2012):

headerEarly in my life I learned that there was one thing that would always, without fail, kill a festive mood at a dinner party. And that was to talk about me – to talk about my life, my life as the daughter of a cult leader. There was very little that was jovial or lighthearted about the first twenty-eight years of my life, and it is a story to which few people can possibly relate. So I avoided that topic at all costs. It was too painful, and I knew no one would understand. I became a master at diverting attention, diverting the conversation onto somebody else and away from me. I so rarely talked about my life that, on the unusual occasion when I would slip (after someone had  pushed me to divulge), rather than just casually and comfortably sharing – I vomited the story! And it went something like this:

*****

I grew up outside of Chicago in Hammond, Indiana, where my dad was the pastor of a church that, through the years, evolved into a mega-church with a proclaimed membership of 50,000. It operated and still operates under the guise of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church. But those who have left, the followers who have tried to leave, the outsiders, and even the media recognize it as a cult – an organization centered around one man and his belief system.

There were very strict rules that I (and all members) adhered to in order to avoid committing the many proclaimed “sins” – women wearing pants, drinking alcohol, rock music or even Christian music with a beat, men having long hair, movies, dancing, etc. You name it – if it was fun, it was probably a sin.

Every member was in complete obedience to my father. They didn’t dare disagree or be disloyal, for fear of being publicly ridiculed, punished or banished for doing so. They didn’t go on a vacation without asking my dad’s permission, and if he had said to “drink the Kool-Aid”… I’m not kidding, they would have. My dad’s influence spanned across all states and in other countries. His teachings and methods permeated hundreds of churches across America, influencing tens of thousands of people.

My dad lived a double life: one of a righteous family man and dynamic religious speaker in the public eye, but one of sordid secrets privately – secrets that only my siblings, my mother and I knew. He hated my mom, treated her terribly, and even turned his own children against her. He told us she was crazy, and we knew that in order to make my dad happy, we must hate her too. Our home was full of turmoil, hatred, stress and strife. As a little girl, it was isolating, intense and frightening.

My dad was unfaithful to my mom. He had a mistress for many years, a woman on staff who was also the wife of a Sunday School teacher. He built her family a beautiful home right around the corner from our house. You could see their home from our back door. It was all just craziness – living one way, preaching another.

My older brother became another version of my father. As Pastor of a church in Texas, he was found to have been having affairs with fourteen different women in the church. He later divorced his current wife and married one of the fourteen. My father tried desperately to cover it up; moved him to another church where he was later found to have had seventeen affairs with different women. He recreated what he had seen my dad live. And my dad did nothing but lie for him and cover it up.

I felt like I had one main responsibility as a child. It was simple, but daunting – to keep all the secrets. And there were so many. You see, he had taught us that the best way to please God was to please him because he was “God’s man.” And he taught us that in order to please him, we must keep all the secrets. We could never even tell our best friends what went on in our home because it might be the cause of the destruction of his ministry. I literally feared for my very life if I ever talked about my dad’s ministry or about what went on in our home. I feared God would kill me for any disloyalty to God’s man. The greater the secrets, the greater the fear – and the greater my determination to keep quiet.

I’ll admit – the money from my dad’s ministry was rather enticing as a kid. Tithes and offerings from such a huge mega-church, as well as from my dad’s book sales and speaking engagements, created a lavish lifestyle for our family. My father (under “his” ministry) owned blocks of buildings in the city where the church was located. In addition, there was a college campus, two high schools, two grade schools, a cemetery, and other properties/buildings. And, even into our adult years, he owned us. He owned our homes, our cars, our furniture, our careers… he owned our lives. We didn’t dare cross him because we were too afraid we’d lose everything.

He died an extremely wealthy man, evidently a multi-millionaire, but left nothing to his children. Instead, he left everything to the organization, which my younger sister and her husband led until August of 2012.  During the time that my brother-in-law and sister controlled the church, they perpetuated my dad’s legacy: the strict rules, the undying loyalty, and the desperation to keep all the secrets.

I never understood why I was the only one of the four kids who was so tortured by the hypocrisy, so disturbed by the mind control over thousands and thousands of people, and so determined to find a better life. Why was I the only one that insisted on answers to my questions? And, why was I the only one that ultimately broke away and completely cut ties with the brain washing, the oppression, the fear, the secrets, and the life that had never been…my life?

I finally walked away when I was about twenty-eight years of age, then being estranged from my entire family. And, other than my oldest sister, I did not see my family again until many years later at my dad’s funeral.

*****

Okay, see what I mean? Not a story to share in casual conversation at a dinner party. Or maybe ever. So after leaving my dad’s organization, I decided that I would never talk about my past at all. For one thing, who would understand? For another thing, it was too hard. It hurt too much. So I made a mental note in permanent marker: MUST NEVER TALK ABOUT MY LIFE! And for many years, I didn’t. I couldn’t.

However, wonderful things have happened through the years.  Therapy, deprogramming, freedom from the mind control…and I began to heal and learn and accept and forgive. I even learned to be thankful for that bizarre life that I had lived, because I realized I had learned some amazing lessons not only from being there, but from having the guts to leave. I now have values that are deeply carved into my very soul from my experiences. Values you don’t get from reading a book, or from a workshop, or from another person. Values that are only this deeply engrained when you’ve lived what I lived.

Because my dad was a cult leader, I now embrace three values that no one will ever take away from me. The first one is freedom:

  • Freedom to explore my own interests.
  • Freedom to live within my own value system.
  • Freedom to determine my own value system.
  • Freedom to believe what I believe, and never stifle what I believe.
  • Freedom to disagree.
  • Freedom to ask questions, and to require honest answers.
  • Freedom to learn who I am.
  • Freedom to love who I am.

The second value is truth. I learned pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be very “free” until I dealt with what was true, and that was hard for me. Truth was a scary word for me, because for my entire life, I had never been allowed to face truth and speak of what went on in our home. I had never even told my best friend everything that went on in the Hyles household. Being truthful was one of the scariest things I could think of, but it was necessary in order to be set free.

I learned that “secrets grow in the dark, but when exposed in the light of truth, they begin to lose their power.” Mary Vernon (my dear therapist in Dallas, Texas, who nurtured me and who loved me through many years of healing) used to say to me, “Linda, you are only as sick as your secrets.” So slowly, I stopped keeping secrets. And as scared as I was in my late twenties, I finally began to deal with what was true. I finally began to speak what was true, and eventually, learned to live openly only in truth.

The third value is courage. Did you know that you actually cannot live in freedom or truth if you have no courage? Courage is a requirement for both. You may desire to live in complete freedom and complete truth, but if you’re lacking courage, you will live in neither one.

In my late twenties, I’ll admit – I only had a tiny shred of courage. It wasn’t much. But it was all I needed. My desire be free and honest was so great that my small shred of courage was enough to allow me to walk away. I have a plaque on my desk that I have had for years and it’s gone with me everywhere I’ve ever moved. It says, “The secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage.” Those words have always resonated with me.

I knew I wasn’t going to be happy unless I was free, but I knew I wasn’t going to be free unless I could muster up some courage to get out of there and begin facing truth. I had to cling to and act upon that tiny shred of courage in order to finally leave a cult, the only friends I’d ever known, my childhood connections, my history, and my family…knowing that in doing so, I would finally have what I had longed for my entire life – freedom and truth.

Freedom. Truth. Courage. Three words that may seem a bit trite and over-used by some people. To me, they are the air that I breathe – values upon which I insist on living and loving in my life.

Oh, and one other thing that I actually now value? Sharing my story. Talking about me. Who would have thought! I now recognize that it is through sharing my story that I can so passionately share with others my values – values gained after twenty-eight years in an emotional prison that kept my heart under lock and key and, kept my soul shackled by fear and kept my mind from knowing…what I knew.

You know, I sometimes wonder if perhaps living in the absence of our values is what can most clearly determine what indeed our values are. For me, I believe that the absence of and the denial of these values, is what ultimately created the presence thereof. For so many years, I was denied freedom, truth, and courage. And now? I will never let them go.

Not to worry. You’re still not going to find me at a dinner party talking about my childhood. That’s not going to happen. You won’t find me sitting around with strangers or mere acquaintances, elaborating over the fact that my father who took a wonderful church and turned it into a 50,000-member cult. I still know that’s a mood killer. I get it.

But you will find me here, and in other appropriate settings, especially if I can help someone – talking about my life…with sincere gratitude for all that I’ve learned…in spite of and because of living in the absence of freedom, truth, and courage.

And thank God, I now have all three.

From the Author:

Since coming forward with her story in 2012, a lot has happened. Linda has published four chapters to her book, Healing from a God Who Wasn’t. Her brother-in-law, Jack Schaap, now the former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, is sitting in federal prison for taking a minor across state lines for sex.  Needless to say, this has created much emotional turmoil in Linda’s life. Because of Jack’s arrest and her coming forward to speak the truth, she has been attacked and maligned by people within the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult from all over America. Complete strangers, some of them pastors! What a sad testimony to the fact that brainwashing blinds people to truth. Not only this, it causes them to act hatefully and maliciously toward those who dare to speak truth and expose the lies they have believed. What a sad testament to the fact that religious leaders can control the minds and hearts of masses of people. Cult followers choose to remain blind and attack and discredit the source of that truth rather than to accept it.

Linda came forward to release the truth that had been kept from the public for over fifty years of her life.  These secrets made her sick, very sick. And what she discovered was that, in the hearts and minds of thousands, her dad is STILL an idol that is revered and protected. Unfortunately, as I have expressed so well on this blog and in my book, Religion’s Cell, “Mankind has a tendency to act in accordance with what it perceives to be the truth, not in accordance with what the truth is in fact. . . Bringing to light the error in the perceived truth sheds light on the real truth. However, because perception is fact in the minds of many, revealing the truth can bring a person under the verbal attack of the masses, especially if they are truths that debunk religious dogmas, doctrines and behaviors or expose abuse.”  I was right.

Despite the attacks and hate mail, Linda still speaks truth. She remains committed to “speaking the truth in love.” Secrets only make a person sick and the mind, a battleground. Telling the truth takes courage and frees a person to be who they truly are instead of a clone of the cult system and a keeper of secrets. The time has come for Linda and victims everywhere to break free of the shackles of bondage to fear and stand strong against the darts and arrows hurled. There are countless thousands suffering bondage and abuse within the religious systems of the world and they need people to come forward, exhibit freedom, show courage, and tell the truth. That time is now. Thank you, Linda, for telling your story!

Christianity before Constantine

church historyEarly church history is full of examples of Christianity that parallel today’s Christianity and its leaders. Sometimes there is no need to elaborate because the truth speaks for itself. The following excerpt by Eusebius in the latter second century speaks volumes of what complacency and prosperity does to Christians. This, sadly, is what we see today as well. Nothing has changed.

Eusebius has left a description of the Church on the eve of the persecution, by which it may be seen how ill-prepared were the professors of Christianity to withstand so tremendous a shock. After telling us that many places of trust, and even governments of Provinces, were in the hands of Christians, who enjoyed entire freedom of speech and action on the subject of their religion, and almost boasted of this liberty; and after dilating “the multitudes who in every city crowded together for worship, not in the old buildings, but in new and spacious churches,”  he confesses that “the unwonted ease and honour they had enjoyed had robbed them of faith and love.” “We envied and reviled one another: we assailed one another with words as if with actual darts and spears, which indeed we were almost ready to take up. Rulers inveighed against rulers, and people rose up against people; hypocrisy and dissimulation abounded. The divine judgment, which usually proceeds with a lenient hand, began by little and little to afflict us; but, as if destitute of all sensibility, we were not prompt to propitiate God, some even acting as though they thought He took no account of their conduct. Some who ought to have been our shepherds, abandoning the law of piety, were only anxious to acquire lordship over the rest.”

Christians and Military Service

militaryOne of the many areas of concern for Christians is whether or not God is okay with them serving in the military. I remember when my oldest son, at the young age of 14, became enamored with the military. His whole desire was to serve his country in the armed services as soon as he was old enough to enlist. However, when he became of age and expressed this earnest desire to preachers and church leaders, they did all they could to discourage him from joining the military. One preacher even went so far as to have a church service where he made a former military man (because he enlisted after the preacher told him not to many years prior) apologize publicly for being in the military as if it was a huge shame to have done so, and a dishonor to God! This preacher gave the congregation the impression that this soldier had dishonored and disobeyed God.  This wasn’t a dishonor to God. What happened was the man did not listen to the preacher. It’s all about control here. How sad that this man was made to feel that his years of service and sacrifice were not pleasing to God and that God could not use him because of it.

Many preachers, in the cult I came out of, taught that if a person joined the military, they would be contaminated by ungodly living and vices that would make them useless to God. This is what they expressed to my son. Really? Is God that SMALL that HE is not powerful enough to bring about good from the life of a sinner if such a thing should occur? Is every person that joins the military without self-restraint or morals? (That’s basically what they are saying about those who do join.)  Who is MAN to decide who God can or cannot use for his purposes? God did not give preachers the authority to control the lives of others with their opinions and doctrines. God gave the Holy Spirit to individuals to guide them, not church leaders.  Sometimes, people forget that.

This issue of serving in the military has been an ongoing issue from the beginning with Christians. As a result, many zealous Christians, thinking they were standing for God, brought shame, reproach and harm upon those who served with them.

During the early centuries, Christian leaders did everything they could to discourage believers from enlisting just as they do today in some religious sects. They even went so far as to instruct new believers who were already serving to abandon their service. Why? Did not King David fight many wars? Did not Saul fight many wars? Did not the early Jews fight wars to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem or to conquer Canaan? Was God angry with them for doing so? Because they were kings and leaders, did it exempt them in some way from God’s anger or from being a dishonor to God?  Does serving a non-Christian King give one the right to refuse to be called into service even though God is the one who determines those in authority and commands us to honor them? Does serving a Christian King make fighting and serving okay? Did not God command the Jews and Kings to wipe out entire people’s? If so, then why would God be against military service, especially in time of war?

Sadly, the reasons given to Christians for not serving in the military, have been fabricated and twisted by religious leaders in order to control them. It has nothing to do with God. It has to do with control. When church leaders were telling my son that it was not God’s will for him or anyone else to serve, what right did they have to say such a thing?  Think about this: If God puts it on the heart of a man or woman to serve their country, who are these religious leaders to tell them it is not God’s will for them? God has given his spirit to each individual to guide them in performing his will in their life. For a religious leader to tell others what God’s will is for them is a usurping of the Holy Spirit’s position in the life of a believer! In the end, this type of teaching about serving in the military will only bring the same consequences that it brought the early Christians. Let’s see how it affected one early Christian and those he served with in the military. My words are in brackets in these passages and all bolded emphasis is mine.

“Do we believe it lawful for a human oath to be superadded to one divine? for a man to come under promise to another master besides Christ, and to abjure father and mother and all nearest kinsfolk whom even the law has commanded us to honour and love next to God Himself? Shall it be held lawful to make an occupation of the sword, when the Lord proclaims that he who uses the sword shall perish by the sword? Shall the son of peace take part in the battle, when it does not become him even to sue at law? [These are all excuses religious leaders gave early Christians to keep them out of military service.] . . . If faith comes later and finds any pre-occupied with military service their case is different; and yet when a man has become a believer, and faith has been sealed, there must be either an immediate abandonment of the service, which has been the course with many, [God does not command this] or all sorts of quibbling will have to be resorted to in order to avoid offending God; or last of all, that same fate must be endured for Him which non-combatant citizens are ready to accept.”

In the same tract he relates an instance of refusal, not indeed to enter the army, but to wear the laurel wreath of victory. The bounty of the Emperors was being dispensed in the camp; the soldiers were approaching crowned with laurel; some of them were Christians. “One, more steadfast than his brethren (who imagined that they could serve two masters), his head alone uncovered, the useless crown in his hand, was nobly conspicuous. [This is what many Christian zealots do. They are “nobly conspicuous” drawing attention to how separated, righteous, noble and holy they are in comparison to others.] He was presently marked out, and all began to jeer him while at a distance, and to gnash upon him when he came near. [For the Christian, this treatment is worn as a crown of honor, showing others how noble he is to take persecution for his faith, not realizing that he is just being foolish in bringing persecution unnecessarily upon himself.] The murmur was wafted to the tribune, as the soldier was leaving the ranks. The tribune stopped him. ‘Why do you not wear your crown like the rest?’ ‘I have no freedom to do so,’ [Must be a religious, unspoken rule.] he answered. Being pressed for his reason he confessed, ‘I am a Christian.’ The case was considered by the officers and voted upon, and it being decided to remit the judgment to a higher tribunal, the offender was conducted to the prefects. Immediately he put off his heavy cloak, loosed his military sandals, gave up his sword, and dropped the laurel crown from his hand. [He is so prideful that he is willingly to throw down his life?] He was taken to prison, where,” adds Tertullian, “he awaits the white crown of martyrdom. [What about his family? He certainly is not thinking about them! That’s pretty self-centered. What is the reason he is going to die? What is the cause?  Pride.]  Adverse judgments,” continues the writer, “have been passed upon his conduct, as if he were headstrong and rash and too eager to die [Ya think?], because, in being called to account about a mere matter of attire, he brought trouble on the bearers of the Christian name; — he forsooth alone brave among so many soldier-brethren, he alone a Christian! [He wasn’t the only Christian. He was the only one brazen enough to be so foolish and, too proud to retract his words and humble himself.] So they murmured and were alarmed because the peace and immunity they had so long enjoyed was endangered.” [He endangered the safety of other Christians because of his attitude and foolishness.]

— Edward Backhouse, Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, pgs 111-113.

What this tidbit of history shows us is that a soldier, thinking he was serving God by refusing to wear the victor’s crown of laurel, ended up being a reproach to other Christians and endangered their safety as a result. Did he think that God would be against wearing the laurel? Seriously? Sounds like a bit of SELF-righteousness and pride to me.  Little behaviors and attitudes such as this are the cause of persecutions for Christians. What many do not realize is that sometimes, there are those that are brainwashed into believing things that God did not say and, by example in scripture, did not require of anyone. How many Christians bring upon the name of Christ a stench because they are over zealous in their rules, self-righteousness and separation?  You have to be really good at twisting scripture to convince someone that wearing a victor’s crown is wrong because you are a Christian. You have to be really stupid to die for that belief. Could this young man simply have “put his foot in his mouth” and then was just too proud to retract it?

It takes some genuine humility and unconditional love toward those who are not Christian, to truly behave the way God would want and, to be the example to them that God would want. This soldier could have spared his life if he would have just humbly put the crown on his head and apologized. Humility and unconditional love of others will cause a person to look to the benefit of others and do all they can to not be a rock of offense to them. If you are not sure about some rule or doctrine, humble yourself until you can do some research on it! Don’t be as foolish as this soldier was.

Before we take to drawing a battle line in the sand regarding service in any area, think about the perception you are giving off to others. Is it offensive? Are you, by your actions and words, letting others know loudly and clearly that you are holier and more righteous than they are because of your faith? Will this perception bring any of them to Christ or, turn them away? (Just remember that there are non-Christians that have more ethics and morality than some Christians.) This attitude is repugnant to others and gives off an air of judgmentalism. Many Christians, like this lone soldier of the first century, will be persecuted because they bring it upon themselves through foolish attitudes, thinking and behavior.

This early Christian wasn’t refusing to serve, he was refusing to wear the victor’s wreath upon his head – something that is no offense to God! Is serving in the military wrong for the Christian? No. If God leads you to do so, then do it.  It doesn’t matter what church leaders say about it. Let the Holy Spirit guide you, not men. Clothe yourself in humility and unconditional love and you will never be a rock of offense to others, bringing reproach upon yourself or God, whether in the military or not. What some Christians forget is that soldiers sacrifice their lives and families so that they can enjoy safety and freedom. How repugnant for those who now serve, or have served, to say that God is against it and that they will be a bad influence on a Christian that decides to enlist and serve. It’s not the service that makes the difference with God. It’s the thoughts and intents of the heart. For religious leaders in the cult I came out of to imply that everyone who joins the military will be corrupted and be of no use to God, is also implying at the same time, that those already in are corrupt and have no moral foundations! By default, they judge those in the military as a whole, paint them with a broad brush, and then they themselves complain when they get judged by unbelievers and painted with the same broad brush. The only difference is that Christians call it “persecution.” That certainly sounds more “noble,” doesn’t it?

Service in the military does not corrupt people — poor character, lack of ethics, lack of morality, PRIDE, love of money, self-centeredness, a thirst for power and control of others, loving conditionally instead of unconditionally — these are what corrupt people.

A Brief Reality Check

dignity“The ministry was not confined to one reader or one expositor or even to the presbyters, the appointed teachers of the Church. When the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, descended on the disciples–women as well as men– and they began to speak with other tongues, Peter declared that what was then happening was the fullfillment of the prophecy of Joel regarding the spiritual gifts of the New Dispensation. . .

How large a part women had in the work of the Church during its early days of vigour and simplicity, may be seen from the sixteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. About one-third of those to whom the Apostle sends his Christian salutation are women – Prisca, Mary, Junia, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus’ mother, Julia, and Nercus’ sister – and five or six of these are distinguished for their place in the Church, or their abounding labour in Christ. Of one it is said, “Unto whom not only I give thanks but also all the Churches of the Gentiles.” Of four others that they “laboured,” or “laboured much in the Lord.” — Edward Backhouse, Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, pages 53-54.

Tidbits of history such as this are very important for people to recognize and understand. Women had much bigger roles in the early church than men, throughout history, wish to admit. Because men wish to maintain control, prestige and power, they do not want the truth to be told about women. The truth places women as equals intellectually and spiritually. Religion robs women of equality, autonomy, honor and dignity. The reality is that, through translation, religious men of old made a conscious effort to point religious texts in the direction of putting women in submissive and abusive roles, robbing them of protection and equality in the world.  Not only this, but religious men of old have never been willing to give women their dignity back!  It’s time for this to change and for laws to be enacted to protect women from this abuse; and, for women to be given their honor, dignity and equality back.

Paul’s Real Teaching as to Veiling – Part 1

truth
Through translation, man has corrupted scripture in order to have power and control over women. The TRUTH we are taught regarding women, is nothing more than lies wrapped up with the palatable (for men) trappings of men’s interpretations, preconceptions and opinions.

Now that we have covered all the changes to these passages due to preconceptions and opinions of men, let’s look at the real meaning of the following passages. What one will realize is that women have been done a great injustice on this subject because of translation. Instead of these passages covering the truth, they have been “pointed” by translators to a LIE. . . a “subjugation and control” lie where women bare the brunt of the abuses, as a result. Here are the verses once again:

1 Cor. 11: 1-16 – The usual sense (not ours) put upon these words by expositors, beginning with verse 3, we give in the language of Dr. Weymouth’s Modern English translation:

(3) “I would have you know that of every man, Christ is Head,  that of a woman her husband is the Head, and that God is Christ’s Head. (4) A man who wears a veil praying or prophesying dishonours his Head; (5) but a woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her Head, for it is exactly the same as if she had her hair cut short. (6) If a woman will not wear a veil, let her also cut off her hair, but since it is a dishonour to a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her wear a veil. (7) For a man ought not to have a veil on his head, since he is the image and glory of God: while woman is the glory of man. (8) Man does not take his origin from woman, but woman takes hers from man. (9) For man was not created for woman’s sake, but woman for man’s. (10) That is why a woman ought to have on her head a symbol of subjection, because of the angels. (11) Yet, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man nor man independent of woman. (12) For just as woman originates from man, so also man comes into existence through woman, but everything springs originally from God. (13) Judge of this for your own selves: is it seemly for a woman to pray to God when she is unveiled? (14) Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a dishonour to him, (15) but if a woman has long hair it is her glory, because her hair was given to her for a covering? (16) But if anyone is inclined to be contentious on the point, we have no such custom, nor have the churches of God.”

I would sincerely ask that you please click on these links to read the eight MISFITS of these verses by Hebrew and Greek Scholar, Katherine Bushnell: Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4.

SO, WHAT IS PAUL’S REAL TEACHING AS TO VEILING?

The real purpose of these passages was to stop the practice of men veiling in worship, as Dr. John Lightfoot so ably contends. The Jewish man veiled as a sign of reverence before God, and of condemnation for sin. This sort of head covering was called a tallith, and is worn, to this day, “by all male worshippers at the morning prayer on week days, sabbaths and holy days: by the hazzan at every prayer before the ark: by the reader of the scroll of the law when on the almemar,”–so states the Jewish Cyclopaedia. The hazzan is the chief functionary of the synagogue, and the almemar is the reading-desk. The Romans also veiled in worship, and the Corinthian church was made up in large part of Roman converts. The testimony disagrees as to whether Greeks veiled in worship, or did not. The question therefore arose, were women to be forbidden veiling, as the Christian men, or not? Paul, in the passage, (1) forbids men to veil (since “There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”); (2) permits women to veil; (3) but guards against this permission being construed as a command to veil, by showing that ideally  the woman should unveil, before God, man, and angels; (4) shows that there is special propriety in women unveiling when addressing God in prayer; (5) declares that (contrary to the teaching of the Jews) there is nothing for a woman to be ashamed of in showing her hair, for it is a “glory” to her; (6) and disavows veiling as a church custom.

St. Paul’s words are to be interpreted as follows:

3. But I wish you to understand that of every [Christian] man Christ is the Head; but of a wife the husband is a head [also]; and God is Christ’s Head.

4. Any [Christian] man praying or prophesying, having his head covered [as is required among the Jews, in sign of guilt and condemnation] dishonours his Head [Christ, who has atoned for all his sins.].

5. But any wife praying or prophesying bare-headed dishonours her [other] head [her husband], for it would be one and the same thing as [having] her head shaved.

6. For [Jewish law provides that] if a woman is not covered, let her be shorn. Now if it would bring disgrace to a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

First of all we wish to say, where the practice has ceased of veiling in sign of guilt and condemnation before God and His law, this whole teaching, in its literal sense, has no application; the veil has no significance, and can be worn or rejected in worship. But the spiritual teaching remains, that among those who believe that Christ has made for them a full and SUFFICIENT atonement, any badge that signifies guilt or penance for sin is out of place, for women as much as for men. This is the lesson for all Christians to learn. Women need to especially learn a lesson here; what have they to do with wearing a badge of servility to the male, because of Eve’s sin? Has not Christ atoned for Eve’s sin also? Does that remain as the ONE point where Christ’s atonement failed?

(Verse 3) We add the word “Christian”, to verse 3, because, as Chrysostom says: “He cannot be the Head of those who are not in the Body. . . so when he says ‘of every man’ one must understand it of believers.” We add “also” because woman could not be a believer at all, and in the Body, unless Christ were likewise her Head. The word used here and throughout this passage, for man, is aner, meaning “the adult male, or husband.” Dean Stanley rightly explains, “Anthropos [“man” without regard to gender] would have been the natural word to use with reference to Christ. . . but for the sake of contrast with ‘woman’ he has changed it to aner.” But there is further reason: according to the Oral Law of the Jews the aner alone was obliged to wear the tallith.

(Verse 4) “Every man (aner) . . . having his head covered dishonoureth,” not “his own head, by wearing the token of subjection,” as expositors say, but dishonoureth Christ. The symbolic language of “headship” having just been introduced, in all fairness it requires its application to what follows. Besides, Paul taught actual “subjection” of man to man, and to religious leaders, Eph. 5:21, 1 Cor. 16:16, and hence would NOT teach that the mere symbol of “subjection” was not to be allowed the male. The meaning is, “every man. . .having his head covered dishonours Christ his head,” by wearing the tallith.

(Verse 5) If I should describe how I had burned down a house, I should have small chance of escaping punishment by a mere denial, later, that I had done so. A sufficient proof that I had done the deed is “But you have even told HOW you did it.”  So here; a description by the person as to HOW a thing may be done nullifies the force of a seeming denial by that same person of that deed. Says Dr. A.J. Gordon: “It is quite incredible that the Apostle should have given himself the trouble to prune a custom which he desired to uproot, or that he should spend his breath in condemning a forbidden method of doing a forbidden thing.” These words prove conclusively to an unprejudiced mind that Paul DID NOT silence women praying and prophesying in the churches, as is claimed in the ordinary interpretation of 1 Cor. 14:34.

“Dishonoureth her head,” i.e., her husband rather than her own head, in analogy to the argument of verse 4. This is because she would lay herself open to the charge (before Jewish law at least), of being an adulteress, and such a charge is always considered dishonouring to a husband. In what sense it would amount to having the head shaved, the next verse explains.

(Verse 6) “For if the woman be not covered, let her be shorn.” Paul refers to the Oral Law of the Jews. Says Lightfoot: He “does not here speak in his own sense but cites something usual among the Jews.” It admits of proof that such was the Oral Law. A woman “sinner” is described in the Talmud as “she who transgresseth the law of Moses and the Jewish law.” The gloss explains: ” ‘The Jewish law, that is, what the daughters of Israel follow though it be not written” (i.e. the Oral Law). The question was asked: “How does she transgress the Jewish law? Answer: “If she appear abroad with her head uncovered, if she spin in the streets,” etc., etc., through a long list. For the offences here enumerated, one of which is uncovering the head, it is prescribed that the wife should be divorced “with the loss of her marriage portion.” (Kethuboth, fol. 7, col. I). Furthermore, in that section of the Talmud called “Sotah,” which treats of unchaste women, under the sub-head, Of the duty of Repudiation of a Wife for adultery, we learn that this DUTY rested upon a Jew whose wife was seen abroad with her hair “not don up”, i.e. not covered. Thus we learn that a Jew, even if favorably disposed towards his wife’s profession of Christianity, and towards the practice of unveiling in worship, might be compelled by his relatives or the synagogue authorities, much to his regret, to divorce his wife, if she unveiled. The rest of the story, as to what would be done with the woman who unveiled, and thus furnished sufficient proof of “adultery” to compel her husband to repudiate her, we learn from Dr. Edersheim’s Sketches of Jewish Social Life, p. 155: “It was the custom in case of a woman accused of adultery to have her hair shorn or shaven,” at the same time using this formula: “Because thou hast departed from the manner of the daughters of Israel, who go with their head covered. . . therefore that hath befallen thee which thou hast chosen.” An unveiled Jewish wife might, then, be tried for adultery; and when so tried, be “shorn or shaven.” Paul here cites this obstruction to commanding women to unveil, but her permits it (verse 10).

“Now if it is a shame,”–The word translated “but” (de) readily admits of the translation “now” in this sense, see Jno. 6:10, 19:23, 1 Cor. 15:50 etc. That is, if it be a case which disgrace and divorce would follow, she is permitted to cover the head,– “Let her be covered.”

A little historical evidence at this point ought to go a long way. If the Apostle, as is so often assumed, was accustomed to forbid women unveiling, how did it come to pass that women “sat unveiled in the assemblies in a separate place, by the presbyters,” and were “ordained by the laying on of hands,” until the eleventh canon of the Church Council of Laodicea forbade it, in 363 A.D.? I give the account in the words of Dean Alford in his comments on 1 Tim. 5:9; the same admission is made by Conybeare and Howson in their Life of St. Paul, and stands undisputed in church history. (to be continued)

— Katherine Bushnell, 1923

There is so much more to come on this topic that I must stop here and continue in another lesson. Please remember that thus far, what has been taught has been skewed to put women in a place of subjugation and control that the Bible did not authorize nor command.  History must be studied in conjunction with scripture to ‘unmask’ the MISFITS used by men to point women to a place of servility to men.  You won’t want to miss the continuence of this “unveiling” of the real meaning behind these passages! Please subscribe to the news feed so you do not miss the next article.