Friday, January 25, 2013

Bob Thiel Response and My Reply

Dr. Robert Thiel (COGwriter) has published a post in which he defends his practice of quoting prophecies from pagan sources. This post may have been a response to my last post, "Don't Play with Fire" or to statements by other bloggers that such practice is wrong.

Here is a link to the COGwriter post:

I will reply to his points in this post, as best I as I understand what he is trying to say.

First of all, it is not true that I see no reason for quoting non-biblical prophecies. Obviously, Bob Thiel has reasons for this, and his reasons may be based on a good motive, to spread the knowledge of the true gospel more widely. I too want to see the true gospel and the Ezekiel warning spread as widely as possible. But while that may be a reason or motive for quoting pagan prophecies, it is not a sufficient reason to justify it in light of Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14. The reasons for avoiding pagan prophecies outweigh the reasons for quoting them. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 override any reasons and motivations for widely quoting and spreading these prophecies as Bob Thiel has done and continues to do.

What are the reasons for avoiding these prophecies?

For one thing, God commands we avoid looking to these pagan prophecies as a guide to the future when He says that we should not listen to the words of these false prophets and dreamers of dreams (Deuteronomy 13:3, 18:14). I believe this applies, in principle, to publishing the prophecies of false religions regarding the future as a guide to the details of how prophecy will be fulfilled or to back up, prove, or reinforce what we see in the Bible about the future.

Secondly, since these prophecies may be inspired by Satan and his demons to deceive mankind and Church of God members, we risk being deceived ourselves and deceiving others if we read, publish, and spread these prophecies or when our readers look to these prophecies to learn more about the future.

Suppose there is a detail of prophecy that God does not give us in the Bible but is "revealed" by a Satan-inspired pagan prophet in the religious writings of a false religion. Why would Satan inspire such a prophecy? To help the Church of God preach the gospel? Do Satan and the demons want to help us? Do they want to give us more good, useful information (which God does not give us) to help us more accurately know the future so we can better prepare ourselves to do God's work and prepare ourselves for the kingdom of God? Does Satan want to help our conversion? Does he want to help increase our faith? Does he want to give prophecies to his prophets (not God's prophets) that will confirm and back up and reinforce the prophecies of the Bible so our faith in God's word will be increased when we see these pagan prophecies fulfilled? I think not. Rather, I think Satan has something very specific in mind with these prophecies. They are designed for an evil purpose, to hurt the Church, to hurt God's work, and to accomplish deception in the end.

Of course, for any particular "prophecy" from a false religious leader or writer, it may not be spirit-inspired but just a human guess from human imagination. But then why quote it? The very fact that someone quotes and publishes it, as a prophecy, suggests to the reader that it is inspired by the spirit world, by sources that can know more about the future than any human being can know just by reasoning. In any case, how can we know which ones are inspired by Satan and which ones are not?

There is also a subtle word-shift sometimes used I want to be clear about. I am not criticizing the quoting of all pagan WRITINGS. "Pagan prophecies" does not equal "pagan writings". Many times we quote from false religious writings to show and prove, from the Bible, that these false teachings are wrong. We quote items about history to show how false religion persecuted the true Church. We quote pagan sources to show that Christmas and Easter come from paganism, not from God. The whole context of these quotes is to show that what comes from paganism is wrong. The context is to show the difference between what false religious teachers teach (which is wrong) and what the Bible teaches (which is right) so we can avoid the wrong and do the right.

I am talking about a specific type of case, a specific type of quoting of false religious teachers, that is, quoting those writings of false teachers that are claimed by those false teachers to be supernaturally inspired, "prophecies" in other words, about events yet in the future, and doing so to give the reader insight into the details of the future that God does not give us in the Bible, or to try to backup or prove or reinforce what the Bible teaches. Such as, saying that a prophet from president Obama's home country says that someone from that country will destroy the United States. God doesn't give us any detail like that in the Bible. Should we accept it from Satan's hand?

Judge yourself if this Bible verse applies to this kind of situation: "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18).

Dr. Thiel stated that the Church of God has in many cases in the past quoted from pagan writings, and he has listed several examples. I have not looked up these up, but it doesn't matter. It may be that none of these examples fall into the category I have described, that they only quote pagan writings to show they are wrong, and not pagan prophecies to better know the future. But if they are the kind of quotes of pagan prophecies I have described, then the Church should not have quoted them.

The examples Dr. Thiel gives in the Bible (Acts 17:22-34 and Titus 1:12) are not pagan prophecies.

It is true we are not to be ignorant of Satan's devices. But that does not mean we should be involved with Satan-inspired prophecies in order to be more aware of what Satan is like. The context of this statement of Paul's is forgiveness, that is, we should know that Satan can stir up resentment and hurt us spiritually if we do not forgive each other (2 Corinthians 2:11). In fact, dabbling in Satanic prophecies, thinking it is harmless, only shows that the person who does this IS ignorant of Satan's devices, because false prophetic visions are certainly one of his devices we should avoid.

Bob Thiel actually references 1 Timothy 4:1 in his post, which I had not considered in my previous posts, but will quote it here, and you can judge if it supports what I am saying or what Dr. Thiel is saying: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons". Thank you, Dr. Thiel, for that verse.

Dr. Thiel references 1 Kings 18 and Jeremiah 28:15-16 to show that God's servants had to deal with false prophets and false prophecy. But as I said before, I am not against quoting pagan prophecies to show they are wrong, to prove them false. I am against quoting them in a context that suggests they are right, to reveal details about the future, such as the example of the Obama prophecy. And the servants of God in 1 Kings 18 and Jeremiah 28:15-16 did not quote pagan teachings to spread them, but they refutted those teachings according to God's command.

Dr. Thiel quotes Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 as being all things to all men to win the more. That is a valid principle, but there has to be limits. Yes, we sometimes should approach a subject from the reader's point of view, to show what we have in common, to gain credibility, to win the reader over to what we are saying. But never should we go so far as to share in others' sin, to be "like them", to win them over. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 sets a limit to how far we can be like others to win them over. I am sure Paul never crossed that line and we should not either. And in the example I have used of Bob Thiel referring to a prophecy from a Kenyan "prophet" that a Kenyan (Obama's ancestry is from Kenya) will destroy the United States, how is that applying the principle of being all things to all men? How many people in the United States even heard of this prophecy? This does not establish commonality with the public, but rather it introduces them to something they never heard of before.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well stated.