Go back to:or of the Salvation vs. introduction
What a scripture "could" mean has no importance and being dogmatic, saying "this is what it means" does not make it true. What a scripture does mean is of prime importance. Throughout this series the reader will be asked many questions to get them to think about the answers to those questions. Don't just stop at reading the question. Think about the question and formulate a conclusion based upon the evidence and be willing to adjust your understanding when new evidence comes to your attention.
However, the so-called "proofs" of false doctrines often try to manipulate your mind's ability to fool itself in order to circumvent your reasoning ability. But there is a way to test claims about the Bible to keep oneself from being fooled. Below is how to defend against those tricks, bypassing the mind games played by people who try to defend false doctrines. Before enumerating those things, it is important to get some facts. So before you begin unraveling any doctrine, determine what is needed to prove the doctrine (Isaiah 44:7 [par|int]) and research the ancient history of the doctrine. (Isaiah 48:16 [par|int])
What Is NeededWithout knowing what you are looking for, you cannot provide proof of anything, whether proving or disproving a doctrine, so brainstorm about what the doctrine needs in order to be proven, so that you know what you are looking for and then seek to disprove it.
To find the truth, we must look for proof of the opposite. If you want to prove hellfire, you must look for hellfire, but also look for anything that disproves hellfire and competing ideas and not accept anything but the facts, rejecting theological speculations, stories, presumptions and assumptions. (1 Timothy 1:3, 4 [par|int]) Generating your own list of possible interpretations based on Scripture is also acceptable as long as you do not allow yourself to be duped by your own clever thinking. Do not become attached to any one idea until you become convinced, through careful analysis, that it is the best.
For example, to prove the Trinity, you must prove first that the scriptures say that Jesus is the same as God and that the holy spirit is a conscious, independent aspect of God, and that all 3 personages are the same personage, or simply a statement that God represents himself in 3 personages. Inversely, after you gather that evidence, you must also seek to prove that the Trinity is false, proving that the "proofs" provided for the Trinity are not effective as well as provide proof that God is undivided or that the Son is not God and the holy spirit is not a personage independent of the Father. Finding all three of the latter is best. And finding proof of competing theories, such as Jesus being a created being, even an archangel, destroys the foundation of the Trinity.
By highlighting these things on both sides, we are prepared to look for the truth. Without knowing what we're looking for we may find truth to be fleeting or end up following a path that leads to destruction because there is only one narrow path that leads to salvation. (Matthew 7:13, 14 [par|int])
Do you think it fair to consider what is needed to both prove and disprove a doctrine and then seek to test it by those standards? If not, state your disagreement in a comment below.
Research the HistoryResearching the history of the doctrine is often telling. If the Bible writers never taught such a doctrine, then it really does not matter what was taught afterward, as the Bible is God's word and should be considered the last word on Christian doctrine. Two millenniums of theology count for nothing if the doctrine is not found in the Scriptures or if the Scriptures put the doctrine on the other side of the religious fence.
For a doctrine to be true, its history in biblical times must be established in scripture. And if the doctrine that isn't found to be in the Bible can be traced back to Babylon or even further back to Satan himself, then the doctrine must be discarded as not only false, but dangerous to one's eternal salvation.
Those supporting false doctrines will often try to invent or reinterpret history without any foundation for doing such. Their interpretations will be chock full of supposition and guess work with no or questionable scriptural support.
Do you think it fair to research the history of a doctrine to find out if it is Biblical? If not, state your disagreement in a comment below.
Clear Away the DrossThe following list is a summary of the things you can apply to help find the facts. These things disprove false doctrines and reveal true doctrines. The list is in a logical order, but it does not need to be applied in any specific order. I highlight their tricks in each post and demonstrate their non-reasoning with the following tools. In each case, these things are the best ways to get at the facts; one of them will always trip up false doctrines and they can all contribute to finding the truth.
- ‣ Determine whether there is a direct mention of the doctrine or not.
- ‣ Identify spurious (fake) renderings not in earliest manuscripts. (Proverbs 30:6 [par|int])
- ‣ Consider other possible explanations in the scriptures. (Exodus 20:5 [par|int]; Ezekiel 18:1-32 [par|int])
- ‣ Compare to other accounts relating the same events, symbols or message. (Matthew 15:3-7 [par|int])
- ‣ Ask questions in order to understand what is really being discussed. (Matthew 24:3 [par|int]; John 14:5 [par|int]; Jeremiah 32:11 [par|int])
- ‣ Identify how the verse was understood by the original audience. (Nehemiah 8:9-12 [par|int])
- ‣ Determine the writer’s/speaker's intent. (John 6:48-69 [par|int]; Luke 22:19 [par|int])
- ‣ Identify how it is accomplished. (Romans 5:15-19 [par|int])
- ‣ Identify its purpose in the account. (2 Timothy 3:16 [par|int])
- ‣ Find and resolve non sequiturs. (Genesis 1:1 [par|int]; Isaiah 45:18 [par|int])
- ‣ Identify the true meanings of words. (John 1:41 [par|int])
- ‣ Identify what the opposite is. (Job 27: 8 [par|int])
- ‣ Identify changed words by the translator. (Proverbs 12:17 [par|int])
- ‣ Identify figurative (Symbolic) language. (Revelation 1:1 [par|int])
- ‣ Compare to common applications outside the Bible. (Luke 6:44 [par|int])
- ‣ Compare to similar grammar in unquestionable verses. (Galatians 3:16 [par|int])
These are not a scattershot. Each one is very specific and defensible. By using this method, the posts in this series logically debunk the so-called "proofs" of the various doctrines without elaborate explanations or creating unique and unheard-of rules of grammar to compensate.
I certainly do not take this task lightly. However, what I present in each subject of the Salvation vs. series is the best of the best reasoning I could find for each scripture with what I believe to be irrefutable proof. The following posts are explanations of the individual points of the list above.
Do you believe that a defined system of challenging claims is needed to get at the facts? If not, state your disagreement in a comment below. If you have other ideas about how to challenge claims to get at the truth, then state them in a comment below.
Start at Part 1
Go to: Part 4 (2): Investigate Its Mention