What Do You Mean It’s Unbiblical?
I received a message from a friend asking my thoughts on the teaching that we could live in our physical bodies for several hundred years or longer and that we could avoid physical death altogether. I have a couple of friends who have embraced the idea of physical immortality. This friend knew that and she was curious to know if I supported the teaching. I wrote back saying that presently, I’m not convinced that this idea is true, though I respect the right of my friends to hold this view if they choose to. She wrote back saying this teaching was unbiblical and she didn’t understand how anyone could support it.
I replied that the idea—whether true or not—is easy to support, biblically. Off the top of my head, I came up with several passages from the Bible that supported it. The one that came to mind first was when Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
Both Enoch and Elijah were translated into heaven without physically dying. It wasn’t hard for me to see that this idea was biblical. Whether it’s true or not is a completely different matter. The idea that we can escape physical death is not new and it’s one of several minor doctrines that people have explored lately.
I don’t like dismissing people’s ideas before hearing them out and asking the Holy Spirit if the idea is worth investigating. (If that sounded like an invitation to send me your manuscript on the subject, it wasn’t.)
Some doctrines are more important than others. And some are so minor they don’t demand that we take a position on them. Salvation, the resurrection, the person of Jesus, and the work of the Holy Spirit are major doctrines. I’m less flexible on those issues, but on matters that are not essential to the faith, like physical immortality, I think there’s more latitude for divergent views. I have some concerns about how we handle discussions of non-essential doctrines, and that’s what the rest of this message is about.
My friend had rejected the teaching of physical immortality mostly because it wasn’t being taught by any mainstream leaders (as far as she knew) and that made her think it had to be false. And it wasn’t just that she had rejected a doctrine. She seemed ready to end her friendship with the people who embraced it. After all, if someone is teaching a doctrine that’s false, that makes them… (you guessed it) false teachers. And who in their right mind would want to be friends with a false teacher? Lastly, if the idea were false, she thought it must be false because it was unbiblical. Because as we all know, if something is biblical, it can’t possibly be false.
So here’s the crux of the problem:
Many believers have been conditioned to think that the words “biblical” and “true” mean the same thing and that the words “unbiblical” and “false” mean the same thing. But this is not the case.
I can’t say an idea is “unbiblical” simply because I don’t believe it’s true. When I say that I believe something is untrue, I’m expressing my opinion. Opinions don’t carry much weight and we all know that. So to make a more forceful argument against something we disagree with, we prefer to say it’s unbiblical. When we say something is unbiblical, we’re trying to use the Bible to prop up a weak opinion. Sometimes we’ll disagree with a teaching and say it’s unbiblical, but in many cases, we haven’t searched the scriptures yet. Rather than admit that our objection is based on the fact that the idea lies outside our present grid of understanding, we tell ourselves it’s unbiblical.
Even when we do search the scriptures, the fact that an idea is mentioned in the Bible does not prove its truth or falsehood. All the pseudo-Christian cults draw heavily from the scriptures for their doctrines. While they all have extra-biblical writings which help explain their systems of belief, they all believe in Jesus. Many of them teach that He is the Son of God and that he died and was resurrected. Many of their doctrines are perfectly biblical. What makes them cults is the fact that their biblical truths have been twisted ever so slightly, rendering distorted versions of the truth. While you can say that many of these views are false, you can’t say they’re unbiblical.
Satan knows that the best way to appeal to religious minds is to build arguments directly from the scriptures themselves. The whole reason why people accept false teachings is that they’re biblical. Over the entire church age, the most pervasive heresies have been the ones that are best supported by the scriptures. Heresies that have no basis whatsoever in the scriptures are the easiest to disprove.
Many people think that having a thorough knowledge of the Bible is the best defense against error, but many who have become experts in the scriptures did not recognize its author when they stood in His presence. Knowing the Bible can certainly help us know the truth, but D.L Moody hit the nail on the head when he said, that reading the Bible without the illumination of the Holy Spirit is like reading a sundial by moonlight. Knowing the scriptures and knowing the Word who was made flesh are not the same thing. The only way we can ever know the truth about the things of God is by developing a deep, personal relationship with Jesus, learning to hear the Holy Spirit, and spending time among those who manifest His presence.
Doctrines and Friends
One approach to living in a spiritual community is to associate only with those who agree with your views of God. If you belong to a group that insists all its members agree to the same set of doctrines, you’re a member of a religious sect, which is how the Pharisees and Sadducees developed and lived out their theologies. These groups get their identities from their belief systems. Those who take their identities from their belief systems can’t have any of their beliefs challenged. Because you’re not just challenging their beliefs, you’re challenging their identities.
The other approach to living in a spiritual community is to live with people who are allowed the freedom to disagree on minor doctrinal points. These people take their identities from the Father. Those who take their identity from the Father can have their beliefs challenged because you aren’t challenging their identities, you’re only challenging their doctrines. I think it’s healthy to allow friends to have divergent views without placing taboos on the subjects they discuss. The fact that we remain friends with people who hold doctrines we disagree with doesn’t mean we support their doctrines. It means we value their friendship above their doctrines. Kris Couchey said this:
“Years ago when I was taking a class on CAD (computer-aided design) the Spirit of God showed me how it takes three perspectives of an object to fully perceive its makeup and dimensions. In the kingdom of God, this is a reality as well. There is no one perspective that can fully perceive the totality of the reality of what and how God is manifesting Christ in us. He gives different people different portions that when brought together give us a clear perspective of the whole. And when we embrace the perspectives by the Spirit and realize there is “further” truth we do not personally have but is given to others; we need the humility to recognize our completion is in union with the rest of the family.”
As our friends explore ideas about God that we haven’t considered, the truest expression of love may be to give them a little room to stretch their theological muscles.
In his book There Were Two Trees, Rick Joyner pointed out that Jesis never said that we would discern by whether something was scriptural, but by the fruit it produced. Is the fruit good or bad…is the fruit Jesus? Determining that answer takes discernment as well, but I find it a helpful guideline.
Through the years I’ve learned chew the meat and spit out the bones… It has taken a bit of learning to come to a place I could say no one single group has the entirety of GOD’s truth.. (though it seems MOST will claim otherwise).. GOD gives beautiful facets through most unusual sources at times, key is having eyes opened to “see” and receive the truth. In any case GOD has been dealing with me about just that lately, a couple years ago if you told me some of the unusual books I would read I would have put up a healthy argument but like Noah at burning bush some how Holy Spirit caused the anointing to be so heavy on those books, it drew me beyond the title, and I must say I’m so grateful to have received the precious gems of GOD’s TRUTH contained within…
Science and medicine may indeed extend life, which it already has in different ways. Physical death, however, has a spiritual root to it, so I don’t know immortality is possible in this fallen age. The Bible does promise that the body will be freed from it’s bondage to death and decay. I’m not familiar with the teaching your friend speaks of. Where did she hear about it?
“Those who take their identity from their belief system can’t have any of their beliefs challenged, because you’re not just challenging their beliefs, you’re challenging their identity.” ~ Michael King
This is a real beauty.
By the way, identity is not of God, its not good and is not to be sought. The reason is, that if you identify, you submit your son ship to a group. Identity is collectivist, and son ship is individual. You seek in that identifying, to be owned by another, named after them even.
I did think, as I read the word “cults,” that really what makes them cults, is that someone controls others, and their victim’s identity is somewhat, if not fully, forced to be taken from the group. It might be very instructive to compare this idea with allegiance to governments in the secular, where allegiance is presumed and forced on every member from childhood, at least in this one… Every one of them carries on their persons, identification.
But what I really wanted to point to concerning biblical, and I don’t think I will mention that a Roman Emperor invented canon, oops just did, maybe I wasn’t being fully honest there? Let’s revise my trickery to say I will not talk about the falsehoods of canon here, but try to focus on “biblical.”
If one thinks that biblical is the last word on things then there is a problem with that –
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
Heb 5:10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Heb 5:11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
The writer had much to say about his. He refused to. It never made it into the scriptures.
Biblical says that men should know about this Melchizedek, but biblical also denies this to them, and seems to promise at a later time this would become something shared with people. Something that until now has not been done, but most take this to mean that the simple things that he could not tell them, are in some way unknowable? This would only be the case if everyone ever, and always, was dull.
So if biblical is the last word on everything, was this just a taunt? Of course one might contend that the bible has the information available to those who will with the spirit of wisdom and revelation, be able to find this in the full bible, something I agree with. A hint being that you must face up to, who is Most High God?
But somewhat annoyingly, let me repeat, that the bible never came out with this.
I know personally, I believe why this is, and also what he would have said, and I know why he wouldn’t. But if someone tells me, “Hey Joe come over for dinner and tell us what the writer didn’t say about Melchizedek, if I do so, guess what?
I will be “un-biblical,” although I would also be a trained product of revelation, trained by the holy spirit and my high priest Jesus, priesthood trainer, to know this stuff. That makes me similar to the one who would not centuries ago, risk teaching this stuff, to some other men, in a time when to know the truth, would risk their lives, only a bit more advanced, in that I would today, dare to. In that I crave to.
I would concerning “biblical” be a heretic, since I share something that the bible left out, even after the bible “telling” people plainly that they should be able to receive it, if they were not children/dull in the faith. A heretic, and although I can teach this doctrine, the harder one holds to what the writer to the Hebrews was after repairing, the worse I will seem to them.
So love you Michael, and I will no doubt quote this paragraph highlighted above.
Oops sorry PM, I saw that Michael King had shared this and thought I was reading his blog. I will revise my threat to share the quote as being from Michael but will now share it as from you.
I heard teaching on humility and it is that while you believe that your interpretation of the Bible ie your knowledge of God and His Kingdom is correct, you keep an open mind to the possibility that you’ve got it wrong. Otherwise when God shines a light into your heart’s eyes He finds them shut tight.
This is great! Thanks, PM!
Thanks PM for your thoughts on this subject.
For whatever reason it’s difficult for people to just agree to disagree but still respect and love each other.
Strange thing is this seems to be true especially when it comes to Christian theological beliefs. Sometimes I wonder if the Hindus, Buddhists, etc attack each other as much as Christians do.
I recently learned that pride is when you accept zero possibility that your interpretation of the Bible and understanding of God’s ways could be wrong. I therefore like to think that I am just going from one level of stupidity to a lesser one by God’s grace to keep myself humble. I believe this kind of attitude can help me stay open to new teachings. And as I continue to ask God for wisdom and revelations I will have a better chance of growing in the right direction.
Hey, this is very interesting. I have not checked my account for a Long time so today I logged in MeWe and see this post. It is interesting because I thought of sharing something concerning that and recommend a series of books written by a South African Evangelist Robbie Cairncross. it is a three books series on living through the cross, I am currently reading and my mind is blowen, as you shared above there are lots of scriptures that Support that. is just that we have been reading the bible with some sort of glasses. Who said, God said when you eat the fruit you will die spiritually as we are often taught, and who said you will die suddenly. If we all agree that Jesus is the tree of life why should we die again? The fact that we are dying does not nugget the scriptures, traditions of men have conditioned us to die. A good example is what the scripture says women will be save through child bearing. Many People have believed this and have had painless births and some of them even fell asleep to be awakened to receive their babies. so check out Robbie Carncross. Jesusbesetfree.tv and the books Living through the cross and a number of DVDs.