Clarity or Confusion ?
“If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for war”
(1 Corinthians 14:8)
It is important that we do not muddle up the truth of God. If one reads the book of Mormon one finds that there is a good deal of Scripture in it, but there is no clarity, everything is muddled up. Similarly with the Koran, there is a lot of stuff taken from the Jewish Scriptures, but there is a lot of error mixed in with it. The following extracts give examples of what I have just said:
The Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 4:10-13)
“And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him. And the Spirit said unto me again: behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property. And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; Behold the Lord slayeththe wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.” (Consider where this sort of writing is mostly culled from – Ruth1:1; Job 32:18; Genesis 31; 1 Samuel 23:7; Genesis 38:7 and John 11:49/50) Note the confusion involved and the book of Mormon is riddled with this sort of thing. The terminology being largely culled from the Bible gives it a kind of respectability and maybe that is why some get carried away by it. Natural intelligence is no security, for the present applicant for the position of president of the United States is a Mormon.
The Koran (Surah 2:135)
“They say: ‘Accept the Jewish or the Christian faith and you shall be rightly guided.’
Say: ‘by no means! We believe in the faith of Abraham, the upright one. He was no idolater.’
Say: ‘We believe in God and that which is revealed to us; in what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes; to Moses and Jesus and the other prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them, and to God we have surrendered ourselves.’ ”Note the confusion in this one short passage. God spoke to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 26:1-6 and Genesis 28:13-15), but there is no recorded speaking to Ishmael and in the case of the people (the tribes), note what is said as to them (Exodus 20:19). God also spoke to Moses (Exodus 3) and He later spoke to Jesus (Mark 1:11) but it is gross error to put Christ on a level with the other persons mentioned. What God said on the mount of transfiguration makes this clear. Peter had to be adjusted on this point. God said; “This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight: hear him” (Matthew 17:5). The passages referred to here are only a selection of those that could be quoted.
When we come to the Bible it is noticeable that Paul in many cases seeks to make the truth clear so that we do not get things muddled up. If we take 1 Corinthians 8 we find that Paul distinguishes the Father from Jesus Christ. To us there is one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned. If in hymn or prayer we address the persons mentioned we should make it clear who we are addressing by the terminology we use, that is, God should be addressed as Father, rather than Lord and Christ should be addressed as Lord, rather than God. In the Old Testament sometimes God is addressed as Lord (e.g. Psalm 147:5), but now we know that God has made Christ Lord (Acts 2:36), and so we should now use that title to address Him, as also was Joseph, who is a type of Christ in his present position (Genesis 42 onwards).
In Isaiah we do get Christ spoken of as “Father of Eternity” (Isaiah 9:6), a statement as to which Mr. Darby said: “I confess, presents to me no scriptural or intelligible idea” (Notes and Comments on Scripture Vol.4. Page 147) In the New Testament we find that Thomas addresses Christ as his Lord and his God when He was present (John 20:28), so that there was no confusing of the persons. We may speak about Christ being God because his nature is divine in an absolute way, but that is a different thing from addressing Him in a way that confuses Him with the Father.
Again, Paul clearly distinguishes The Father from Christ in many places. Often I notice Christians speak of Christ as being the Creator. Actually it is God that is the Creator but Christ is the instrument that He used to do it. The passage that we have just considered in 1 Corinthians shows this. It says that it is the Father that is the source of all things (they are of Him), but Christ is the instrument that He uses (they are by Him). As to Creation other passages confirm this, in particular Hebrews 1:2 “By whom also he made the worlds”. In the Old Testament we find that God is often described using anthropomorphic terms (ascribing human attributes to God), so that we have the Arm of Jehovah spoken of (e.g. Isaiah 53:1), and in that passage this appears to point to Christ. The arm suggests the means by which things are done, which is consistent with the thought that Christ is God’s arm, that is the one by means of which He does things (consider 2 Chronicles 32:7/8). However, God is not described usually in the New Testament using anthropomorphic terms. Rather we have the man Christ Jesus who had Himself all normal physical attributes. The so-called Athanasian Creed muddles everything up: making Christ and his Father identical in almost every way. Whereas Scripture teaches that their relationship is a complementary one. Those who have honestly studied Scripture cannot deny what I have just demonstrated, but they may go into mental contortions in an attempt to show that Scripture also supports the creedal statements. As to headship Paul says that Christ’s head is God (1 Corinthians 11:3), and as to ownership “Christ [is] God’s" (1 Corinthians 3:23).
If we turn to John’s Gospel we find that John is at pains to distinguish Christ from all others. John the Baptist is distinguished from Him (John 1:19-28). As to Sonship, Christ is the only-begotten and God is his own Father (John 3:16 and 5:18). We are God’s children, to ensure (probably inter alia) we don’t, as some do, think of Christ simply as our elder brother. The AV uses the word sons in John 1:12 but the correct translation is children.
Today Satan is attempting to bring in confusion as to what marriage is. God made woman to be a helpmate (counterpart) for man (Genesis 2:18); the relationship was to be complementary, not what today is called an equal partnership. Such a relationship does not work, hence the increase in the breakdown of marriages to-day as compared with those one hundred years ago. Show that I am wrong if you can. Perhaps there are men that will not admit it, but if a wife does not look up to her husband he will very likely lose his love for her. “Woman’s head [is] the man” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Perhaps this is the reason why some men turn to girls or boys in their early teens. I never heard of paedophilia when I was young. I expect it existed, but it is doubtful if it was prevalent. A relationship between a man and a man may be an affectionate one, but it is not marriage in a Scriptural sense or even a traditional sense, for the simple reason that it cannot result in procreation. In the case of a relationship of a man with a woman it can result in procreation except where there is some physical defect in either the man or the woman or where age has made procreation very unlikely. Further, headship cannot be maintained where both are the same sex. Both cannot be heads. We are not talking about Lordship incidentally. A man is not Lord over his wife and it is nowhere suggested in Scripture that a wife is a chattel, whatever some religious or other systems may propound. Further, there is also the question as to at what age people should be allowed to marry. The age in this country is sixteen. However, not so many years ago the age was twelve. It could be argued that once a child has reached puberty he or she should be allowed to marry. There are native tribes that allow marriage at an early age. However, in this country it would most likely be called child abuse. In fact I have had prepubescent girls indicate that they want to marry me, strip me, sleep with me, etc. I do not oblige them. However, what are we going to say about Mohammed? He had a very young wife. The impression one gets is that criticism of what he did is muted so as not to inflame the Moslems. Scripture does not give an age when persons should get married, but it does indicate a person should be grown (Genesis 38:11). I am no advocate of very early marriages as the persons may not be fully developed physically or mentally and there may be problems as to how the persons are going to maintain themselves or any children they may have. Then what about incest? If sexual relations between man and man are acceptable or between woman and woman, why not accept relations between natural sisters or brothers? It will probably be said this is likely to cause disease, but then so can homosexual relations and promiscuity. Some relationships may not be wrong, but may not be wise, such as an elderly man marrying a teenage girl. She may think it a good thing if he was rich! There is nothing wrong in a European marrying an African native, but it may not be wise because of cultural or other differences. I go further: what is wrong with a man having multiple wives or a wife having multiple husbands? A husband can be head to multiple wives, but a wife cannot have multiple heads. It wouldn’t work. Today in the Western world we do not have polygamy (several wives at the same time), but we do have what someone called serial polygamy (a succession of wives). If we start tampering with God’s ordering we get on a slippery slope which can lead to all sorts of depraved behaviour. Read Romans 1:26-32. Where do we end? What about humans having sexual relations with animals? Scripture has something to say about this (Leviticus 18:23). It is called confusion. There are often consequences if we abandon the teaching of the Bible. Sexual error often leads to suicide or insanity in my experience.
Do we want to live in a land of gloom... without any order? (Job 10:22). Let us beware as to the direction in which we are heading. Giving up good practices for evil ones is not the sort of course we should be on.
Paul roundly condemns those that cause confusion, as we have it in Galatians 5:12 “I would that they would even cut themselves off who throw you into confusion”. On the other hand we have a blind man who was made by Christ to see all things clearly (Mark 8:25).
May we be helped to have clear vision and not be confused by teaching which is acceptable in the world, but which is in God’s eyes confusion.