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Sep 24, 2009

Back-up-Verse Theology

I remember as a young Christian reading about how Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for following their traditions over their hearts. I would think to myself, “I’m glad we don’t do that today.” It wasn’t until about fifteen years later that my eyes were opened to just how much of my religion was based on nothing more than tradition. The more I studied into this subject, the more I found that a staggering percent of the stuff we practice and teach in the Christian religion is based on things we’ve made up over the years. More than half of the stuff we take for granted as being factual is not found anywhere in Scripture. After it’s been spoken so many times by a bunch of people we respect, we begin to believe it actually exists in the Bible, and amazingly, no one can tell us any different. I have found that most Christians today honestly don’t know the difference between tradition and what is actually in the Bible. Amazingly, most of the claims we make about the Bible aren’t even in the Bible.

I think one of the biggest traditions in Christianity today is the idea that we have to back up every single statement we make with a Bible verse. I can hardly get through some Christian books because in an attempt to be politically correct, the author has cut and pasted so many Scriptural references in and out of every single statement he makes. It absolutely bewilders me every time someone demands a Bible verse to prove something I’ve said. It’s become a Cardinal rule in our generation. It’s as though people have been convinced that they are as dumb as a post, and they can’t tell on their own whether something is truth or not just by thinking about it.

I have found that the Scriptural reference mentality actually stupefies people. If you have to look in the Bible to find out if murder is wrong, there’s a major problem. If you need a Bible verse to prove that loving one another is a good idea, you’re already dead. Because of this mentality we have about the Bible, we’ve not only become a generation of radically insecure people, but we’ve also become a generation of people who don’t even think to consult our hearts in any given situation.

Most folks will argue that if we don’t demand a Bible reference to back up every statement, we could all be lead astray and fall into heresy. I personally feel that the exact opposite is true. In my opinion, when I look at the history of Christianity, and focus particularly on the last hundred years when this mentality become popular, I see more heresy, division, and outright apostasy taking place because of this mentality. When you list the atrocities that have taken place on our earth because someone found a Bible verse to support their cause, it’s rather disturbing. Everything from the KKK right down to the Holocaust were the aftermath of someone believing they found a verse that backs up their position. 

People will always disagree on the meaning of a Bible verse, but remarkably when it comes to the truth and heart of love, people from all backgrounds and circumstances recognize it immediately. Even tribes of people who have been secluded in the rain forest for thousands of years understand love's truth. They recognize it the moment it's spoken. 

There are reported to be over thirty-eight-THOUSAND denominations of Christianity in the United States alone. Almost every single split took place because of a disagreement over the meaning of a particular Bible verse. When it comes to believing in God, loving people, getting along and living in forgiveness, you can visit any kindergarten class in America and kidsfind the absolute truth. How is it that a child of five can know spiritual answers, yet grown adults need to search a concordance and find a verse before they can come to truth?

I once posted an article where I wrote about how a husband should give his entire heart to his wife and love her unconditionally, and someone left a comment saying, “It would be nice if you would have used Scripture to back this up.” I thought, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???? Is this what it’s come down to in this generation? I honestly believe that this dead-heartedness is the direct result of Bible worship. Christians have been taught to think in verses. They walk around not even making a bit of sense because their entire language has been taken over by their obsessive quotations of Scripture. 

Someone once asked me why I don’t use Scripture to back up the things I write, and I said, “I prefer to do things the Scriptural way. Jesus didn’t do that. Paul didn’t do that. Peter, John, and Jude didn’t do that either.” I’m not minimizing the sanctity of Scripture and I’m certainly not attempting to diminish its value or suggest that it’s useless. I’m confronting a mind-set that refuses to look at our hearts and recognize truth when we see it. I’m confronting an entire generation who for some reason doesn’t know truth when they see it, and that thought terrifies me. Jesus said, “My sheep will know my voice.” I fear that if Jesus came today, no one would recognize His voice unless he backed it up withverse Scripture.

Ironically, the people who are the biggest sticklers for back-up-verses are usually people who are involved in a system of church that is almost entirely unscriptural. I find this to be a common side effect in folks who have stopped listening to their hearts. The Bible verses they do actually read, mean only what someone else has told them it means. If they can’t be trusted to find the truth in their own hearts, they certainly can’t be trusted to interpret Scripture. Sadly, their interpretations are amazingly distorted by a series of twisted teachings they heard over the years from someone they trusted. In some cases, I’ve seen people actually see words that are not on the page when they read a Bible verse, because someone else told them the words were there. 

I once posted an article where I challenged the popular view that the Bible is the main way God speaks to us today. Before I finished the article I visited several Bible answer sites and asked them where the Bible said that this is how God speaks to us today. Almost every single “Bible expert” came back with 2 Timothy 3:16 

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Do you see something missing in this passage? 

Amazingly after I posted the article I probably had no less than twenty people send me rebuking emails with that verse attached to them as proof that the Bible is the main way blindGod speaks to us today. They, along with thousands of others have literally been duped into seeing things that aren’t there because of what they’ve been taught repetitively throughout their life. Another example of this is when I confront people with their theology of “binding demons.” They proudly quote Matthew 16:19

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 

Though this verse says absolutely nothing about demons, people see only what they’ve been taught. This is the result of a person’s willful abandonment of their own heart. Because we have quit looking at our heart to find truth we have become naked and susceptible to pretty much anything we’re told. I don’t believe that it’s the lack of Scriptural references here that is at fault. I honestly think this comes about because of our trained dependency on Scriptural references. eyes

In fact, I started to break free from this robotic mind set when I began to look at what was in my heart and compare it to what I’ve been told the Bible says. That was the exact point where my eyes began to open for the first time in almost twenty years. I have found that when I live from the heart and stop meticulously following Scripture; Scripture starts following me. This is the place I believe that we are supposed to be in, in New Testament times. God is ready and waiting to write the book of Darin, and that cannot happen until Darin lives from his heart and knows truth from within because that’s where the kingdom of heaven exists.

Darin Hufford

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    I also believe that the scripture about 'binding and loosing' has been totally misused in terms of demons and deliverance, and get quite frustrated when people shout out "I bind these spirits of..." and somehow expect the demonic to submit to them. I used to do it but received teaching that challenged it.. and my eyes have been opened.
    Actually it's a heart of unbelief, pride and mistrust that requires a scripture to back up everything we say, I think.

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    when I was first saved I was the most obnoxious person in the world to be around because I knew all sorts of bible verses but totally missed the heart and the person the bible was trying to reveal to me. It is one thing to know what the bible says and another to know what it means. It has been my experience that the people with the most bible verses in their arsenal are also the most difficult people to have relationship with because often they mask dysfunction with a verse. I know people who will fight you over the verses about women not teaching claiming a commitment to the bible but when you peel away the layers of their heart you find that they are deeply insecure men who have issues with women and their verse just provides biblical "cover" they need not to deal with their own heart.

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    I love the "Scripture starts following me" thing. The Bible has no heart in it at all. Paul actually says it KILLS. The greatest author of New Testament said his writings and all the other used without Spirit (and where does the Spirit dwell? HEART!) have the ability to kill. And that's precisely what we do with it so often. We kill others with it and we kill ourselves with it. We put ourselves in the jail of unfreedom and religious laws in the name of St Paul who was the greatest freedom preacher since Christ's death. We quote the most horrible verses he ever wrote and forget the most HEART ones. And we kill and we kill, the FRUIT of it is death. However, we have also successfully redefined the biblical word fruit. So we're blind to see the killing and teach others to do the same.

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    Sorry, but this is so inspiring. Don't you love how Jesus quoted the Scripture? He constantly quoted the most controversial things. "Hi Pharisees! Don't you remember how David stole the most holy bread from the temple of God? Hmmm.. quite a heart person, that David boy! Guys, learn what the word MERCY means!" I always blamed God that He invented religion and gave it to Moses. But now I see it differently. How horrible must the Old Testament people have been that the God who loves freedom with all his heart had to invent such things as we see in Moses' books. How come that Abel was OK with just one thing - a lamb sacrifice and 3 thousand years later the Isrealites can't survive without a horrible complicated Law. Paul says God never wanted the Law somewhere in Hebrews( can't quote here :D)

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    Darin Hufford

    Myso - great stuff. I love the way you think.

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    David Backus

    AS Jesus stated, the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. I believe the Bible is the same way. It was written for man, man was not made for the Bible. It seems these days we have become enslaved to the very thing that was designed to serve us and free us. Satan always has a sick way of twisting good things that God gives us. And Myso, I agree, it sucks that we have to have such a complicated religion. I wonder if God, while giving us scripture was thinking "Why am I DOING this? This is ridiculous." He shouldn't have HAD to give us the Bible.

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    Darin, we're just painting together. You draw a bit, I draw a bit. Everyone who comes here looks and draws their bit. We're painting a beautiful picture of our amazing God. We've lost the Truth thousands of years ago. Only now I see the deep truth of the prophecies that speak of recovering something the first Church had. It's not doctrine, it's not a lifestyle, it's not a spiritual language nor set of social rules that was accepted by first Christians. It's not the Bible. It's Him. We're painting the Truth about Him. After 2 thousand years we start to see again that He truly LOVED the people and that He truly was a HEART person. And now when we paint the painting ourselves we suddenly realize why John used such weird and mystique words. The Truth is just so simple and so amazing...

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    Darin, I absolutely love your way with words. "It’s as though people have been convinced that they are as dumb as a post, and they can’t tell on their own whether something is truth or not just by thinking about it." And the husband who wanted back up verses - "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?"
    This is great. Thanks! :-D

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    What the Bible thumpers do is to try to spread the fear that grips thier own hearts. It is the very tactic that anyone will use to try to MAKE you believe as they do.
    "In the abundance of words there lies sin".- When I think of past arguments with Jehovah Witnesses,(or anyone that disagreed w/ moi) I was no different than they were. But THEY of course were blind to the cultist beliefs they held, not me! It was always the challenge of proving who was right & who was wrong. Gosh! It was ugly! Love never entered that picture.

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    debsfree said "What the Bible thumpers do is to try to spread the fear that grips thier own hearts."
    Wow, so very true.

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    I love the way you tell it like it is. What you're saying is so true. God has written the law on our hearts and Jesus was always telling people to consult their heart and think for themselves. He never said what the Kingdom of God was he only said what it was like. It's up to us to figure it out.

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    Ruth, I love this "He never said what the Kingdom of God was he only said what it was like. It's up to us to figure it out."

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    Thanks myso!

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    I like this. I was on another site once where people were trying to carry on a conversation about a subject, and this one woman kept coming in and interrupting with Bible quotes. nothing else, just quote after quote, that I couldn't see fitting in...this has happened a number of times and it is very annoying. no conversation, no dialogue just quotes, [its as if she thinks because what she wrote is a quote from scripture, it trumps everyone elses comments, and she wins...wins what?]

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    Darin Hufford

    Yea Wendy I've seen that about a million times:) I think people feel that their own words are less powerful then quoting Scripture. That's what I'm trying to set straight in people's minds. Their own words ARE scripture. If they are children of the liviing God.

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    Want to see a GREAT example of this? Rent "Religulous", the Bill Maher documentary. He interviews people at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL. These people are so busy quoting Scripture that when they run out of things to quote, they can't think of answers with their own brains! I hated this about the Church. When I sought counseling last year to heal my relationship with God, I deliberately did NOT seek a Christian counselor. I was sick of people throwing Bible verses at me. I wanted (and found!) someone to listen to my pain & help me process it. Now I'm healed, out of the Bible, and following my heart & my instincts. Thanks, Darin and Free Believers, for being part of the healing!

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    This is interesting. I read a few passages of Scripture this week where the writers (Paul, Peter, John) said, I'm not going to bother explaining this to you, because God Himself has already taught you this.

    It seems contempoary Christians live out the same level of fear they had before Christ. They just found a different vehicle to drive. No real relationship equals no real security.

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    Darin Hufford

    It's nice to know how many people do get this. Sometimes I feel alone in the things that go through my head. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees these things:) Do you guys also think that clowns on unicycles are a danger to society? Hummmm, maybe that's just me:)

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    I love this post! I have long strayed from the idea that I have to back up everything with scripture, and perhaps it could be argued that I have strayed to a fault. However, more disturbing to me is when I talk with another Christian who says they believe this or that, because they were told by someone that a particular scripture meant a specific thing. As the person who told them this was someone they respected, they did not research anything for themselves, or consider that the verse many have an entirely different meaning.

    Yesterday, a friend and I were in a discussion about the fallibility of being human, and how that does not go away just because someone comes to Jesus...

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    ...among the "sins" she mentioned was the sin of depression. I've heard many people claim that depression is sinful, but I've never once heard anyone "back it up with scripture". If you counter that depression is not sinful, but is simply part of the human condition that some people struggle with, the usual counter is something along the lines of, "You call it issues, I call it sin."

    I think the robotic scripture quoting, as well as the embrace of allegedly scriptural truths without verifying first that they are true, is alienating to Christians and non-Christians alike.I usually just "go with my gut" on my beliefs, and later check scripture, therefore many people do not think my beliefs are valid. For this reason, I often don't fellowship within a church body.

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    Darin Hufford

    I remember looking down on people who go with their gut and check the Scriptures later. Today, it's all I do and I find that every single time, my gut is Scriptural.

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    Once again, I am blown away by your blog, Darin. And everyone else's comments are great too.
    How do I get free from the guilt of not being in the Bible every day? I went to Christian Schools all my life, memorized tons of chapters (got trophies etc. for it too) and then joined a mission that was, you guessed it, all about taking the Bible to every people-group on earth! Was it all a waste of time? It sure seems like it now.
    I was very relieved when I heard you, Darin, say on one of your podcasts that the year you stopped reading your Bible was the best year of your life! What a 180 degree change of mind, for me, but I see how I worshiped the Bible and not the WORD.

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    out of the fog

    You know Jesus knew, obviously, that there was no written word yet when he told his disciples to go, teach and baptize. They were instructed to teach all they had learned from Love incarnate. He said later for them to wait for, the Holy Spirit, not the written word, before they go.
    Thanks again Darin, for reminding us that God gave us a brain and a heart for us to use rather than always waiting for someone else to turn on the switch to them. It is sometimes embarassing to see what you have been duped by in the past, but still freeing to know that you have re-engaged with how God created you. If not, we would still not recognize the Truth when we heard or read it. I am very glad to be on the trail with you and others.

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    Wooooowwww!!!! that is exactly what happens to me since I left the institution. I go by my instincts, and later result that this is in the Bible. Truly like Paul said WE ARE OPEN LETTERS. WE ARE BIBLES. Thanks so much fellows. It is so good to share with you all.

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    Darin Hufford

    Isn't that exciting Miguel. We are living letters. We are scripture being written. I love it!!!!

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    Miquel, love the comment on instincts. I had an interesting conversation the other day with a person from the church I used to attend. I had told him I was no longer attending. His question to me was "Did God tell you you could leave?" I had to think(for all of a second)then said, "No, but then I couldn't hear Him even if He had said "Go"". But, I said with a grin, I have a relationship with Him now and that would seem to answer the question of whether I should or shouldn't leave the church. Don't you think?" He had no response. It would seem that my instincts were right on!
    Brain, Heart and Ears fully engaged now!!

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    Al Newberry

    You're a heathen, Darin. I rebuke you. Haven't you ever read this scripture: "And thus saith the Lord, I have given you a Bible, therefore you don't need my Spirit to reside in you or anything like that." It's from I Blasphemians 6:66

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    James G

    For many years I felf like someone with a food allergy where regular food became poison. Whenever I read the "Word" it seemed to mock me in my depressed state. Mix that with people who tell you to simply confess the "Word" and your pain will go away and I was miserable much of the time. Now I cannot blame the others because it was my bitterness that made the word bitter. Darin, you challenged me to look at God and the word in a different way through your love series. I began began to talk to him heart to heart. Now I enjoy our times as we read the word togther and I let him deconstruct what I have learned previously and teach me what his heart really means. I was hearing what I was taught by well meaning but wrong Christians and now he is teaching me and I love it.

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    Marjolijn Joosten

    You are right and you are not right. I need the Bible and with Gods help try to apply to my life what it says. God says he will put HIs law in our hearts(Jeremiah) , well I believe he has done so and the Bible just confirms it. God didn't say He'd put Theology and tradition in our heart.And of course He is speaking to us today. But I think we are pretty often deaf.Don't worry, Jesus will deliver us from teachings, theologies and traditions that have no value to HIm.Thank you for what you wrote. It's good to roch the boat.:)

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    June Melanson

    Hey Darin .....the stuff you write is so mind-freeing, and actually, just common sense. Why, oh why have people made the gospel so complicated? It is so very simple! Love, live from your heart, walk in freedom and grace, and we will definitely know His voice and follow Him.

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    Nope. You're not alone, Darin. Great post. ;)

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    thanks again Darin, love the line "I have found that when I live from the heart and stop meticulously following Scripture; Scripture starts following me." powerful stuff,

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    Back-up verse theology exists because it was something that helped reformers to breakaway from the roman catholic church and for every other protestant denomination to break away from every other protestant denomination . This mindset seems to forget what James said about "wisdom" . no short pity quotes required . its a letter . just read the whole thing ;)

    Actually, if backup verse theology didn't exist .. would the current movements of spiritual growth?

    think of it as a stepping stone and a seed . you might look at the earth and see only dirt . but mustard trees don't grow over night . or out of nothing . but that has more to do with the Authorless Gospel commonly attributed to John . and some of Matthew but no quotes required its a (good) newspaper just read the whole thing .

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    I guess when you're grown . the seed doesn't seem as important as the fruit . so when people are grumbling about the seed not being everywhere . instead of teasing them by drawing obvious Old Testament attributations to the word "seed" in conjunction with their "one track mind" i ask .. what will this seed grow into ? Seeds are hardened in the beginning for protection .. but become softer as they bloom and blossom and reseed the ground with their fruit . thanks for the meditation Darin, i'll stop by later . fun topic

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    Dana Salsbury

    The idea of backing something up with scripture leads to eisegesis, the concept of scripture conforming to us. It's Janis Joplin saying, "You know you've got it if it makes you feel good," and then finding a scripture fragment that generally agrees with that. Very dangerous.

    Exegesis is the opposite. It means that in reading scripture, we conform to it instead, and do what it says. The more we read it, the more accurately we are molded, because at that point we are receiving the full counsel of God.

    Scripture is not meant to 'back us up' in our wishywashyness. It is God Himself shaping us through our willingness to learn.

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    Joe G.

    Truth is where we find it. It can come through scripture, a conversation with a friend, a dream, or through Balaam's ass. Even so, I note that Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, et. al., frequently quoted scripture to get ideas across. I particularly like the word of Jesus to the Pharisees "Ye do err not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God." It is important to know scripture and have it written on our hearts. We can speak scripture that will not be found in the Bible if we truly know God and converse with Him. Certainly we will speak what is in our hearts and if it has been said before and recorded, a truth from God in the Bible, we will certainly speak it. If others think we are following a "backup verse" tradition, is that our problem? We were not called to be lawyers.

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    Dana Salsbury

    Good point Joe. If a scripture impacts us, then we walk away from that with a conviction. That's exegesis. When we quote it, it's not coming from our fingertips (as something we grasped for) but from our heart.

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    Thanks for the thought provoking thinking! Being freed from traps and bondages of various kinds is what the Holy Spirit loves to do in our lives. My love for the Word has grown in recent years so much because I can sense the Father's heart and voice as He speaks to me through it. What an awesome gift it is to us kids. Thanks again!

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    The difference between eisegesis and exegesis is the same difference between media with a liberal and conservative bias . if you are one the other seems biased and if you are the other then the first seems biased and if you're neither then all seem biased everything else is pretense .

    eisegesis = means someone elses opinion on interpreting the scripture

    exegesis = means my opinion of interpreting the scripture

    but away with all this "gesis" because its all about "Jesus" at least that's the way my "eise" be seein it .

    its more than interpretation . the word is a seed . what is important is the fruit that comes from it . not the particulars .

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    good point Joe . didn't Jesus say .. "woe to you lawyers?"

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    I don’t think we can take what Jesus said to the Pharisees and automatically assume it's meant for us. They were spiritually dead people who had to depend on a written law because they didn’t have new hearts. We now have a heart that’s alive to God and the law is already written on our hearts so we can now look to our hearts to guide us instead of a book. Also, I don’t think the Bible ever refers to the letters of the NT as scripture. That term is reserved only for the OT writings.

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    Joe G.

    Aida, I can certainly understand where you are coming from with your take on the meaning of scripture. My understanding differs. When Jesus said "It is written..." and defeated Satan in the wilderness, He was using the sword of the Spirit, not whacking Satan over the head with the Torah. I see scripture as that which is written in our hearts by God. If people read passages of the New Testament and have their lives transformed, it is evidence that the writing is from God. It only has meaning to us, however, by the grace of God. God gives us discernment if we ask. And we can ask God if we find a passage for which we question the inspiration.

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    Dana Salsbury

    Good point Joe. The Word needs to be written on our heart continually. Once is not enough, because there is a lot of dark things that come from our heart, and some of them look very. very good.

    I mentioned Janice Joplin earlier; I'm sure her heart was telling her that drugs were God's will for her -- maybe even His provision.

    Morality cannot be defined by individual choice. We need God's leading and sometimes correction. When I read the Bible it's like turning up the volume of what He is saying to me. I need that.

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    Thanks for clarifying, Joe. That’s a good point. I guess I would go even further and say that that also applies to writings that are not in either the OT or the NT. I’ve found so much life in more contemporary writings that I know God has inspired them. I believe a lot of our problems are caused by the fact that we have to have a written law to tell us what to do. When we were given our new hearts, the law of love was written on them. Now we can consult the love that is written on our hearts to see what are wise decisions and what are foolish ones.

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    Joe G.

    Nicely said, Aida! I agree that one of the major struggles many Christians have is with the written law and legalistic tradition. In truth, we are dead to the law and it is dead to us. Paul said it well by noting that the power (strength) of sin is the law. Some of the wisest advice I have ever received is "Follow your heart, not your head." Our minds are being renewed but our hearts know the truth, giving us access to the mind of Christ. With respect to writings, I very much believe there are non-canonical writings, both ancient and modern, that are inspired. I recall being blessed by the first part of the book of Barnabas, once a part of canon. Yet the latter part of the book is apparently from the Didache, a legalistic writing. Of course the very word "canon" means law or body of laws.

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    Joe G.

    Dana - I have profited greatly from reading the Bible. I came to a knowledge of the truth while reading it and have learned much through it. Even so, it is the Spirit that taught me or I could not have understood the words, metaphors, and parables within. I find that the Bible leads us beyond dependence on written word into an increasingly personal relationship with God, a dependence on Him, the One of whom scripture speaks. Our horizons expand as we realize there are so many ways in which God can speak to us. I feel certain many Christians have been illiterate and yet have had a wonderful relationship with Christ while many with theological degrees have missed Him.

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    Did anyone see the kids movie "Ella Enchanted"?.

    I just had the idea that how people in the IC are so obsessed with the Bible as their final authority and never mention the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Anyway, in the movie, this man is cursed and turned into a talking book. He is imprisoned in the book and Ella has to carry him around with her, to give her guidance, show her the way.

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    about one and a half year ago I watched a videoclip on a website of a cult...and was shocked about how they backed up every little detail of their sick theology with scripture. It was the day I realized: You can back up everything with scripture. And I decided not to do that ever again. The bible is too great of a book and not just a paragraph encyclopedia.

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    Dana Salsbury

    Because people, cults, and even Satan (Jesus' three temptations) it's important to be able to counter with Scripture and expose errors in their misuse of Scripture. Context is essential...Supporting Scripture helps...Proper use of types and shadows is important...Understanding the original Greek/Hebrew. I believe that God wants us to be prepared so that nobody can take advantage of us.

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    I get it. It is so much easier to hide behind what has been taught than to think clearly and be a stand for what is in our heart. Authenticity, honesty, openess and love cannot be present when the head rules tha heart. Speak your truth!

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    Joseph Brost

    how come the bible is not questioned it seems more like people are experts to give you a microwaved answere from their radiation filled minds...things that have meaning need to be cross examined. Revelation says the mystery of seven stars if you ask me that is one of the most intriguing thing i have ever read in the bible yet that is one of the least discussed things i have ever heard anyone who goes to a "church" talk about..but something childlike awakens in me when i hear things i never heard before like i have been invited into a dimension that blah i don't know thats freaking amazing.

    btw i suffer from a flip your bible open OCD and land on a passage i guess i am coming just coming out of my bible fortune cookie your stuff man especiallly the honesty

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    'How come that Abel was OK with just one thing - a lamb sacrifice and 3 thousand years later the Isrealites can't survive without a horrible complicated Law.'

    Where people won't love, they have to have law. And I suppose, the more horrible we are, the more law we need. I suppose that's why God gives us the governments we deserve. If a nation departs from the love of God, we'll get a despot.

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    All I can say is WOW and Thank You!! What you're teaching has been a passion of mine practically since converson. I have to ask you though, how did you manage to actually make it into a public speaking venue without being stoned or run out of town? My husband has been trying to teach such concepts (in his words, to show that the Emperor really *is* naked) for years and it has resulted in being asked to leave congregations. In the church we now attend, there is, as you say, a division. There is a group who are hungry to hear what he has to teach, and a group who have called him dangerous, and advised his teaching be kept from the youth. He is, however on the teaching committee and the pastor greatly respects his approach. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

  56. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I would love to meet your husband. If for no other reason then to be an encouragement to him. It has been exactly like that for me. I was a pastor in a famous mega church for about 5 years and their doctrine went totally against everything I taught. I know the division very well:) I was hated with a passion for many years. Still am:-)

    Let him know I'd love to meet him.


  57. Gravatar
    Robert Morris

    Totally makes sense. Today I was thinking about Pat Robertson's terrible comment about Haiti and how that concept of God comes out of traditional, OT thinking. I look forward to participating in a relationship with God that works for me, which means I get to participate in shaping our reality, with the Spirit's guidance in life and Bible understanding. But since he doesn't say much, it's perceived as me making decisions with confidence that he is providing and accomplishing anything good that happens.

  58. Gravatar
    Robert Morris

    forgot three words at the end of previous comment.

    . . . as a result.

  59. Gravatar

    Darin, seriously - you rock. Speak it loud brotha!

  60. Gravatar

    The obsession with backing everything up with Scripture can go against the same people who want it. My older brother who only lived a few years after becoming a Christian 39 years ago was taught this, so he insisted on back-up Scriptures for things such as how he was asked to dress for church services. (He wanted to dress casually so his friends would feel welcome). He also wondered why the congregation did not "greet one another with a holy kiss" etc, etc... He was years before his time. He'd have loved your post. Wonder if God is letting him read it? What a picture!

  61. Gravatar

    Fantastic, I have thought this for years as I have sat in church listening to church leaders mangle scripture to suit their own programme. In my time I have heard that, the heavens are brass, that their is opposition in the heavenly realm, that unless we care for the poor, God will not come and do his thing, that we should bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there are people in the room with a spirit of, well take your pick, that God is judging the church as he did the people in the OT, that he is refining, winnowing and chaff chucking, that they where with us but not of us, all this is backed up with cookie cutter scriptures, that support the churches current programme and leadership, which is always billed as very important and what God is doing now !!!!

  62. Gravatar

    Sorry about this question but I have to ask it for my own satisfaction. Do people "following their gut" come up with as many different versions of the truth as people following the "back-up verse" mentality? I guess I know part of the answer - If you know in your heart "God is love" and you are seeking to live a life of loving others, that is the direction your "gut" will take you. I suppose it goes with what you have said somewhere that people will find in Scripture what they want to find, from the KKK to prosperity doctrine. I suppose in a way they are going with "their gut too", but just don't admit it. They "go with their gut" then pretend (even to themselves maybe) that they came at it the other way round ("the Bible told me . . .").

  63. Gravatar

    I guess it is what happens when as Jesus said "These people honour me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." A heart open to the love of God and loving others will find the right way. I guess we can be afraid not to have it all written down in black and white because we know that sometimes we do act selfishly or unlovingly and we think we need the Bible to pull us back into line but we really know in our hearts when that is happening, don't we.

  64. Gravatar
    Russell Macfarlane

    This piece is HOT!!! Thank-you. :-)

  65. Gravatar
    Alex Di Matteo

    Powerful stuff! I realized about ten years ago that I could have easily been replaced with a computer that had a bible in it. Fearful that if I gave my opinion on anything it was usurping the place of Gods Word. People need flesh and blood counsellors. When I hurt I need a compassionate person to let me know that It will be okay, and that they understand how I feel. I need a hug and a pat on the back at times, as well as a rebuke on occasion. The Bible cannot do this in every occasion. People who are led by the Spirit of God, can, and do. Simple truths, but oh how difficult to embrace, or even see, when we are blinded by pre conceived ideas. Thanks to all of you who have made yourselves vulnerable by posting your ideas. We all have a long way to go, are you not glad that God is patient.

  66. Gravatar
    Alex Di Matteo

    I have a queation regarding what you wrote about Jesus not vicariously dying for us. At least it was something like that. What then is your take on this scripture: For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. I really appreciate the sense of freedom that I pick up from what you write, however I also sense a danger in rejecting what has come before as far as theology is concerned. Too many people are quick to abandon all that they learned because they say it puts them in bondage. Christianity is more than feeling good. We have a responsibility to be accurately representing what the word of God teaches. That as you know comes from studying the word ,but we don't need to always be quoting Scripture in order to answer questions.

  67. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Hey Alex. I'm not really sure I understand the question. I'll take a shot at an answer but I may be way off in terms of what your question is. The wrath of God was on SIN, not on people for sinning. When Christ became sin, He was put to death. He wasn't punishing Christ in place of us, He was punishing sin on our behalf. I'm not sure I agree that we have a responsibility to accurately represent what the Bible teaches. We have a responsibility to love one another and believe in the one He sent. The whole responsibility to the bible thing, has come about through years of institutional teaching, but I'm not sure it's entirely accurate because they didn't even have a bible back then. That's just stuff we came up with on our own for the most part:-)

  68. Gravatar
    Alex Di Matteo

    Thank you for your response to my question. I am not trying to catch you or trip you up, but I am interested in what you have to say. You caught exactly what my question was, and I see the logic in your response. As far as responsibility to accurately represent the Word, Paul exhorts Timothy to study to show himself approved by God, as a workman that doesn't need to be ashamed because he rightly handles the word of truth.Do you not see an admonition to accurate handling the written word, howbeit Paul was referring to the hebrew scriptures.

  69. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I see that as Paul wanting Timothy to know the Hebrew scriptures that pointed to the coming Messiah and how those scriptures were fulfilled in Christ. I think we take verses like that and make them a law for Christians today. In fact, I think we take every NT verse that either says to do something or not to do something and we have created an entirely new list of laws that are just as bondage filled as the original law. We end up making Christianity about following the new set of laws. It's just not about that. It's about relationship.

  70. Gravatar
    Alex Di Matteo

    Thank you again for your response to my question.
    I appreciate what you have to say, and I appreciate your patience, as you must get a lot of the same questions from many people. God bless you as you endeavor to lighten the spiritual load
    for those that are burdened or overwhelmed.

  71. Gravatar

    About 7 or so years ago, I discovered I was #heart dead'! There had been a Bible study about what the river of life was. As I drove my car to visit a person that hadn't been to the Bible study because she was depressed, because I was worried about her and wanted to comfort her, in my heart I 'knew'. This is what the river of life is, loving those that need loving and so the Holy Spirit flows, running His life from one to another. When I follow my heart, the scripture follows... that is the truth. I've heard people say when asked to give to someone needy... "I'll pray about it and if the Lord leads, I'll give." We are freakin' crazy to believe that we have to wait for the Lord to tell us to love one another!

  72. Gravatar

    That's funny how satan backed up his temptations with Bible verses. Jesus showed how Pharisees searched the Scriptures in hope of finding eternal life, but missed the very Person those Scriptures were talking about.

    So the heart of Jesus is the master key to understanding the Bible. I've noticed that people understand the Bible only to the extent they know the Lord. With the increase of our knowledge of the Lord, they way we look at the Scriptures changes. I would believe one thing in the Bible, but some time later I would say: "Hold on a sec! My God is not like that". But many Christians hold theological views that were worked our hundreds years ago and hold to them their whole life. How sad!

  73. Gravatar

    I have been on a "sabbatical" from my denomination now for over 2 years. I was active in choir, middle school religion classes and helped out at the coffee and donuts (Thank you God for donuts!! a true sign of a loving God) I have been looking around for GOD because I wasn't finding him in my "church" Lots of good intentioned misguided people.....Wow, did this blog wake me up further. I am on my second reading of "Misunderstood God" and I thank you for writing what I have felt for 50 years. I truly believe God has saved me through your writing. I'd say "God Bless You" but I now know he has and does!!! All of us!!

  74. Gravatar

    Alex, actually that verse in Timothy has been mistranslated. The correct translation is "be diligent to present yourself approved by God." Since there was no Bible available for believers to read or study, the concept of study developed after the printing press was invented at a much later time. I believe that scripture is really referring to a lifestyle rather than the mere intellectual act of studying.

  75. Gravatar

    can you back this teaching up with scripture? preferably king James Version cause that is the one Jesus wrote :)

  76. Gravatar
    Bible Study Boy

    Many do not understand the bible because they do not want to be obedient to the word of God. However, without the holy spirit, one cannot possibly see the truth contained in the scripture. In order to understand the bible, we must search the scripture with the guidance of the holy spirit.

  77. Gravatar

    Darin, great stuff! I believe that this goes to man's desire to make spiritual things tangible. The "church" became a building. The "sabbath" remains a day. The "Word of God" (which according to John, in 2 different books, refers to Jesus!) has become a book. We have this need to put a label and a handle on everything spiritual. It's hard to run a religion when you can't see and touch things, right? Keep teaching it, brother!

  78. Gravatar
    Blwn Awy

    It seems one of the main culprits for the church's fanaticism about "gettin it right" is the issue of heaven and hell. As long as a hell of forever and ever torment is in the mix, it seems impossible folks wouldn't feel hard-pressed to "get it right". Which then touches everything else we think, say, and do.

  79. Gravatar

    Pharisees are alive and well in 2011 and they are mostly bible thumping, scripture quoting, narrow minded, paranoid, war mongering, Christians.
    I'm really angry with the church as I have known it. I was raised southern Baptist and by 10 yo filled with vivid images of the horror of HELL. I was scared and left the church when I left home. I was saved at 30 and reintroduced to an evangelical fundamentalism which freed me from much of my past bondage. However over the course of 15 years that church went from a free loving open environment to a narrowly defined paranoid guilt trip just waiting on Jesus' return. But I'm betting that when Jesus shows up they wont see him. He wont look like they pictured. Yes I'm a little bitter. But I'm working on it.

  80. Gravatar

    I partially agree with this post. I too have a tremendous hatred for the way selfish and self-promoting religious freaks MISUSE and MISQUOTE the bible to justify whatever it is that they are into. One can find a Misquoted bible verse to justify just about anything. If I am not mistaken I think that it was Jesus who said you love the letter of the law but do not understand the spirit of the law?

    I think that this mindset is used mostly by people who study the bible to find loopholes which will allow them to do whatever their corrupt hearts desire and still feel good about themselves while beating the crap out of their wives and children.

    So in my humble opinion I don't think that the problem is with the bible itself, but instead with the way that both deceived and deceitful hearts use the scriptures.

    I may be wrong but this is the way I feel about it, and since we are encouraging free speech and heart speech, this is what I feel in my heart.

  81. Gravatar

    Never forget that the Church existed nearly 400 years before the Bible was even compiled. What did they do during that time? I believe they "held to the traditions" that Paul and the others taught them orally and in the letters they sometimes sent when they could not be there directly to instruct them. The other scriptures were written as a record to attest to the life of Christ. Then they were compiled according to what the Church believed and taught for 400 years prior as so many books kept popping up that had dubious content and legitimate authorship that was in doubt so it had to be defined as a closed book or cannon of scripture so everyone had the same texts to use at mass.

  82. Gravatar

    Rock-solid, Darin. Thanks. I got this link from a fb friend that captioned the bible page hugging phantom pic with. "Comfort your favourite verses today may end up later as weak theology that's hard to shake."

    So at the risk of being ironic, Psalm 49:3b NIV ©1984 says, "the utterance from my heart will give understanding."

    Also I read once that the "ALL SCRIPTURE" of 2 Timothy 3:16 contrasts to the "HOLY SCRIPTURES" of 3:15 and refers to all of man's writing.

  83. Gravatar

    Here’s the link to what I had read.

    It helps in our consensus from the blog and comments about scared scriptures for messianic benefit and the divine benefit of us all being the living letters of all scripture being written.

  84. Gravatar

    Oops! I inadvertently made an ironic April fools joke: sacred [holy] rather than scared [anxiety] :D

  85. Gravatar

    Yes, Yes, Yes>
    Couldn't have said it better!!
    Thanks Darin :-)

  86. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks Jimm. I'm putting together my next book which is going to be a collection of my favorite blog posts and this one is going to be included along with the one entitled "Christians and the bible" in the "Articles" section. I'm glad you like this. It confirms my decision to put it in the book. Blessings.

  87. Gravatar
    Andrew M

    Darin .i have been listening to your stuff for the last 8 yrs .. I am a man who has a deep personal relationship with The Holy Spirit.
    I have preached in several places around the world about how to have a REAL relationship with God. How to hear his voice and know IT! Everything we have with our father is a direct consequence to receiving His heart into your heart pure unbelievable prayer! Which of course prayer is not request but amazing intimacy with God our Father!..
    The thing i see most is many people believe but very few KNOW Him. But we will see with in this and the next generation many KNOWing Our Father and MANY MANY doing the works of God as they are brought into REAL relationship.
    Bible =Book of relationships
    ...YOur articles and preaching are great in helping people move into REAL relationship and to growing up out of childhood CHRISTianity! .May you be blessed more even though that is impossible as you are already supremely BLESSED!

    Cheers Andrew

  88. Gravatar
    Trisha Wright

    What came from your spirit reached mine. Thanks for the confirmation.

  89. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks so much Trisha.

  90. Gravatar

    yes, heaven forbid we should actually lean on the word as truth and live by it. It is scriptural to back up our words with the bible, when we speak HIS words. Why are people so set against this now? It amazes me the lengths people will go to to make excuses. People are perfectly capable of thinking and using their own minds, they are not brainwashed because they use scripture for everything. The idea you give off here is way off mark if you ask me. He DOES peak through his word. When did hearing that become confused with not being able to think independantly?

  91. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    When the Pharisees who had memorized most of known Scripture didn't recognize Jesus from Adam, yet those who had almost no knowledge of the Scriptures whatsoever knew Him instantly. How could that be Michelle?

  92. Gravatar
    Victoria Hill

    I agree with you to some degree but Jesus, Paul, and the rest of the writers of the NT quoted OT passages all the time. In the book of Matt and Luke Jesus constantly refers back to the Old Covenant.
    I think that it"s good to ck. with Scripture, keeping in mind that the epistles were written to certain churches regarding certain problems. All taken in context but never the less they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. I think the problem is most people don't know that.

  93. Gravatar

    Jesus refuted Satan with Scripture. Jesus, Peter, Paul and the other New Testament writers quoted the Old Testament constantly in order to make their points.. Luke, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit wrote something very interesting in Acts 17:11. Concerning the Bereans, they "studied the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." Just because the Pharisees were willfully blind is not an excuse the de emphasize Scripture. I like a lot of what is said on this site concerning the IC, but this doesn't mesh with what we see and read in the Bible at all.

  94. Gravatar

    I have more to say, but actually posted the comment before I was done. So, I apologize for having to do a second one. You said in your article, "If you have to look in the Bible to find out if murder is wrong, there’s a major problem." Well, Paul contradicts that comment in Romans 7. He says that without the Law (OT) he wouldn't have known what sin was. I am fairly confident that you didn't learn Biblical truths such as Justification, Sanctification, etc. without continued study of God's Word. Putting what we say on par with Scripture is beyond scary, if that were true, how come so many other writings aren't included in the Bible (such as the Gnostic Gospels, or the writings of the early Church Fathers)? Just because some distort the Bible and take it out of context to suit their own passions is not a reason to lesson it's importance. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:3 that many will depart from sound doctrine. How do we know what sound doctrine is unless we study God's Word daily?

  95. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Ken I think you missed the entire heart of this article. You seem to think that I am minimizing the importance and sanctity of Scripture. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think you may have missed this quote from this very article.

    “I’m not minimizing the sanctity of Scripture and I’m certainly not attempting to diminish its value or suggest that it’s useless. I’m confronting a mind-set that refuses to look at our hearts and recognize truth when we see it.”
    The point of this article is to confront the modern day idea that “EVERYTHING” we say and do must be backed up with a bible verse and people won’t know it to be true unless they see a verse.
    Did Paul, and the other writers of scripture ever reflect back on OT verses from time to time? YES of course they did. Did they back up everything they taught with another scripture? NO. Not by a long shot.

  96. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    The verses you quoted in order to make your point are quite interesting. Yes, Jesus did quote scripture to Satan in the wilderness, however He wasn’t backing up something he said - He was simply quoting scripture to Satan. He was using Scripture to answer the devil. I think that’s a great idea. He wasn’t using the bible to back up something he told Satan, and remember, Jesus was quoting Himself when he was talking to the devil in the wilderness.
    The Bereans were checking the scriptures to see if the prophecies concerning the Messiah were in line with what they were being told. I think that’s also a great idea, especially when they didn’t know Jesus personally. Great idea, however they weren’t using it to back up something THEY had said. They were using it in their investigation which is a wonderful thing.

  97. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    In Romans 7 where Paul talks about not knowing what sin was unless he read it in the law, he wasn’t writing that in an effort to get the reader to read and study the law in order to know right from wrong. Paul was explaining to the reader that WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER THE LAW. He was speaking in past tense and he was telling the reader that once he (Paul) read the law - sin sprang to life and Paul died. Then Paul said in verse 6 “  But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been RELEASED FROM THE LAW so that we serve in THE NEW WAY OF THE SPIRIT, and not in the old way of the written code” This is precisely the point I’m attempting to get people to swallow. The NEW WAY OF THE SPIRIT does not require us to read and study a written code of ethics in order to know it. You already know it because the Spirit now lives inside of you!!! It just requires us to look into our hearts and listen.

  98. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Earlier in Romans 2,Paul gives the same challenge that I’m giving people in this article.
    Romans 2:14-15
    “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are WRITTEN ON THEIR HEARTS, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.”
    You are right. There are many concepts that I wouldn’t have known unless I read them in the bible, such as Justification and sanctification and many other things. Once again you seem to think I am trying to get people to not respect or read the bible. That’s not at all what this article is about. I wouldn’t have known about Noah’s Ark or Moses or Sampson or how Jesus was born. There are lots of things I wouldn’t have known unless I read about them in the bible. All great stuff.

  99. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Do I need a bible verse to show me that murder is wrong? NO. Why? Because I love. Do I need a bible verse to show me that stealing is wrong? NO. Why? Because love tells me this in my heart. Do I need to study the bible every day in order to know that telling a lie, lusting after my friends wife, cheating on my wife or worshiping an idol is wrong? Nope. I already know that in my heart. THAT is the point of this article.

  100. Gravatar

    Darin, thanks for your quick reply. Even though we will disagree, I appreciate the interaction. It still very much seems to me that you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. On one hand you say you don't minimize Scripture, then in the very next breath you do exactly that by claiming what we say is on par with it . I'm certainly do not disagree that we are no longer under the Law, or that we now have the Holy Spirit in us. These are wonderful truths, but I see great benefit in what you seem to make fun of, "Back Up Verse Theology." Scripture is the very foundation of our faith, without it, we wouldn't even know the Gospel message. I have to agree with this quote by Paul Howee (spelled wrong? )" All of these dangerous teachers claim to uphold the Bible while they seem to work petty hard to try and discredit it. Whether they realize it or not, they do much to undermine the trust the Christians have in God’s written Word." Doing this from my phone is a pain. :-)

  101. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I'm not sure where you think I'm "making fun" of the bible. I think perhaps you might be assuming something that's simply not the case. I would challenge some of your thinking but I'm not sure there would be any benefit to it. At the very least I would ask you to honestly ask yourself if some of the things you hold to concerning the bible just might not be true. We've both obviously been raised in religion and we've learned a lot of things about the bible. Much of it is things we've been saying our entire lives but we've never stopped to think whether or not they're true. I have another article that I'm sure you'll disagree with but it's worth the read. It's called "Christians and the bible". You can find it in the Articles section. Read it slowly and seriously ask yourself if the points being made are correct or not. Like I said, I'm sure you'll disagree with it but at the very least it's sure to get you thinking.

  102. Gravatar

    Darin, I didn't mean to say you are making fun of the Bible. I meant it seems like you are making fun of those of us who use it to "back up" what we believe and why. Just wanted to clarify that. Just because a lot of people misquote or distort Scripture does not mean it shouldn't be are guide in our Christian walk. Also, I didn't grow up in "religion," I have always been taught and truly believe it's a relationship, not a religion. I agree with some things you say, especially concerning the IC, but in this area I don't. I went back to Bible college over a year ago because I strongly feel God calling me into ministry. Since then my views on pastors ( one man show versus plurality of leadership), tithing, church buildings, paying pastors, etc. has changed dramatically. I would say for the better, and more in line with Scripture as opposed to tradition. I'm still going to finish up with my AA, but our family is moving more towards a house church form if worship.

  103. Gravatar

    Also, I will read the article you suggested, but it will like all things, be filtered through God's Word. That is as it should be.

  104. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Ken, it appears that you think for some reason that I want you to NOT filter it through the bible. You seem to have a pre-decided perspective about me and my intentions that you can't help but filter everything you read from me through. When you decide something about a persons intentions and heart it's almost impossible to see anything else but what you've already determined about that person in your heart. It's like people who believe in an angry and violent God. When they read the bible, all they see is evidence that supports what they already believe about him. I want to encourage you to drop whatever it is you believe about my intentions. If you think I'm "against" scripture, I promise you that you'll only see THAT when you read my articles and you'll miss the point entirely. Whatever it is you believe about me will ultimately appear as truth when you read my words. Even If I tell you point blank what I believe, you won't be able to hear my words for what they are.

  105. Gravatar

    wow this is all i gatta say god is amazing he saved my life i could of died when i puncured my lung bet the doctor said if it was even 1 cm over it would of hit my kidny and i would of died do you call that fluk luck? well i dont its clearly god and ya it is true half the stuff people say is false read the bible for your self like i did and you'll find alot of amazing things you didnt know before and im only 14 and ive red the whole thing at least 2 times

  106. Gravatar
    Godson Ezenwa

    I love this it inspires a lot
    Keep it up
    The lord is your strength

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