Joseph Herrin (03-16-2016)
Not all of the correspondence I receive from men in prison is positive and affirming. As might be imagined, there are a significant number of men in prison who are angry, selfish, inconsiderate, prideful, and in the habit of attempting to bully others. I occasionally have opportunity to interact with such men, and I appreciate these opportunities. I have had more than one such man to show a very different character after they discovered that I was not offended, nor cowed, by their abusive speech, but that I continued to reason with them and seek their ultimate welfare.
Many bullies are like children who never grew up. Some seek to intimidate through physical force, others through storming about with mental arguments and accusations. Following is one such correspondence with a man whom I will call Brutus. Brutus is a 23 year old male, 6'-1" tall, and 195 pounds. He is in prison for robbery, possession of a weapon during a crime, and aggravated assault. He received a 20 year prison sentence, and is not scheduled for release until November of 2032. Those who are in prison for violent crimes are more inclined than others to manifest an attitude of pride and bullying. It is my hope that they would humble themselves and seek reconciliation with God while they have opportunity, for one day they will stand before the judge of all the Earth. He will not be bullied, or intimidated.
Following is my correspondence with Brutus, I did not keep his original letter where he initiated this correspondence, but I quoted from his letter in my initial reply to him which should make this conversation intelligible.
I am sending you two packets of writings. One includes the Babylon Rising series which you requested. The other packet has numerous other writings which you asked for me to send you. At the end of your letter you wrote the following:
Now I think you are a great informative person, but I must ask what makes you believe in a God? I don’t think a mystery flying being in the sky can save me. How can you think it’s real? If God is so powerful why hasn’t he manifested himself to us today, or why does he sit and watch the terrible things of this world happen? I’m sort of torn! Why can’t I just be a good person and live righteous without believing in a God, and still go to a happy place when I die? That’s terrible that I feel like I have to be bullied into religion because if I don’t I will suffer eternally. Please send your opinion on this. It’s a sensitive topic for me. I want to inquire and ask more, but I will keep it as brief as I can to insure a good response.
Brutus, I am quite willing to answer your questions. Let me begin by stating that I don’t believe you really think there is no God. I think your actual problem is that you don’t want to acknowledge God, for then you would be accountable to Him for your behavior. I believe you have a strong root of rebellion in your life and you don’t like the idea of having to answer to God for your actions. Brutus, the Bible states the following.
The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
I don’t think you are a fool. I think you actually believe there is a God. Your real issue is that you don’t want to abide by anyone else’s laws, including God’s. This is evident in your letter when you wrote, “I feel like I have to be bullied into religion because if I don’t I will suffer eternally.” Brutus, God is not bullying you anymore than the State of Georgia is bullying you by putting you in prison.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections website you were born in 1993. In 2010 you committed robbery and received a 20 year sentence for that crime. You must have been only about 17 years old at the time. In 2012 you were charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during a crime. Brutus, would you not describe your own behavior as bullying? You assaulted and robbed people, threatening them with injury or death with a gun. Brutus, when you did these things you knew they were wrong. They were violations of love. Rather than doing good to others as God created men to do, you chose to do evil to others for selfish purposes.
Brutus, you asked, “If God is so powerful why hasn’t he manifested himself to us today, or why does he sit and watch the terrible things of this world happen?” Would you rather that God struck you dead the moment you committed assault and robbery? God could have done that. There is a reason He did not do so, however. The Bible states:
II Peter 3:9
But He bears patiently with you, His desire being that no one should perish but that all should come to repentance.
But you, Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth.
And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such (wicked) things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God's judgment when you do the same things? Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil - for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good - for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
[New Living Translation]
Brutus, what these Scriptures are saying is that God is patient, giving wicked men time to turn from their sins, to repent and to live righteously. God could judge all sinful acts immediately and harshly. The Bible says “the wages of sin is death.” Every person on the face of the Earth has come under the curse of sin. Everyone violates the righteous standard of God at some point. This is what is stated in the following passage.
“There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one." "Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving," "The poison of asps is under their lips"; "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness"; "Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace have they not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
I too was born a sinner. In my flesh there is a desire to do all manner of selfish and wicked things. I too would take advantage of those who are weaker, or less clever than me, if I had not come to fear God. I could put all men who are in prison to shame with my wickedness if God had not delivered me from slavery to the pull of sin in my flesh. Brutus, the Bible says that the penalty for all sin is death. If God were to exact His righteous judgment on all mankind the moment they sinned, there would not be any men, women, or children left on the face of the Earth. He would have to strike us all dead. God does not want to do this, however. He takes no pleasure in putting men to death. He would much rather than men like you, or like me, would turn from our sin that we might live.
"Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares Yahweh God. "Therefore, repent and live."
God bears patiently with sinful men and women, for He wants them to repent, to turn their back on their selfish and sinful lives, and begin to walk uprightly before Him that they might be spared. You should certainly appreciate this aspect of God’s nature, for you too have committed sins worthy of death in God’s sight. Are you not grateful that God is patient with you?
In your letter you asked, “Why can’t I just be a good person and live righteous without believing in a God, and still go to a happy place when I die?” Brutus, have you been a good person? If you are honest you must admit that you have not been. A good person does not rob others. A good person does not carry a gun and commit crimes. What else did you do? Did you have sex with multiple women? Did you get some of them pregnant? Do you have children you are failing to raise in a safe, loving, and nurturing environment? Have you given yourself to drunkenness? Have you used illegal drugs? Do you take the Lord’s name in vain? Do you curse and swear and speak many wicked and evil things? Do you take pleasure in the wickedness of others? Do you lie?
If you do any of these things, how can you describe yourself as one who is living righteously? You are not even trying to live righteously. But even if you did try, you would find that you are unable to do so. You are a slave to wicked, selfish, rebellious, and ungodly desires. You may attempt to live righteously, but you will always fall short. The reason for this is that when our forefather Adam sinned in the Garden of Evil we were still in him, for we were his seed. When Adam sinned, he fell under the rule of sin, and all his offspring which were still in his loins also became slaves to sin. The apostle Paul explains this truth in the following manner.
When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death... Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, "You must not covet." But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law's commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is... So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life - that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
[New Living Translation]
Brutus, when you asked your question, “Why can’t I just be a good person and live righteous...?” you were acknowledging that there is right and wrong in this world. Who determines what is right and wrong? God does, of course, for He is the Creator of all things. The truth is, however, that neither you, nor I, nor any other person could live a good and righteous life in God’s eyes by our own efforts. Like the apostle Paul who wrote the words above, we can try to do so, but we will fail. As much as you might want to be a good person and live a righteous life, you cannot do so. If you will be honest with yourself and look at your life experiences so far, you will admit this is true.
The problem is that we are born into this world with a serious deficiency. As much as we might want to live righteously and please God, we cannot do so for there is something missing inside of us. This is not God’s fault. It is man’s fault, for Adam turned his back on God and chose to rule himself. We are born deficient because Adam, our forefather, sinned against God. The thing we lack is the character and life of God inside of us. Instead, we have the character and life of Satan. We are born rebellious. We are like little children when their parents tell them not to touch something. All we can think of is doing the thing we were told not to do. If our parents tell us we can have one cookie, then we want to take two. If they tell us to sit down and be quiet then we want to run around and make noise.
We are the same way with God. God gave us His Law in the Old Testament of the Bible to show us that we are sinners and rebels who cannot obey Him even if we try. One of the men who loved God the most in the Old Testament was David, yet David committed adultery and murder. In a moment of temptation, David gave into the sinful passions of his flesh and committed acts worthy of death. Should God have killed David? David’s actions deserved death, but God has compassion on man. He chooses to have mercy on us, but He will punish evil, and David was punished.
God determined that He would make a way for sinful men to overcome their slavery to the flesh and sinful desires. He would place His own divine life in man. But first someone would have to pay the penalty for man’s sins, for God could not simply sweep all sin under the rug. The penalty of sin could only be paid for by someone who had never sinned. There was no man born of Adam who met that criteria, for we are all sinners. Therefore God sent His own Son to be born as a man, to be tempted in every way as we are, yet to never sin. Because Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah was man, and He was perfect and righteous in God’s sight, He could pay the penalty for our sins and we could be forgiven. In effect, God would place our sins on His Son, and He would place His Son’s righteousness on us.
II Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
This is what occurred when Christ went to the cross. Christ accepted the penalty for our sins, which was death, so that we could live.
Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross only bought us forgiveness, however. We needed something further if we were to be able to overcome sin and no longer be a slave to its power. We would have to receive the life of Christ into our own bodies. Therefore, God sent forth His Spirit to come into our lives and to produce in us both the desire and the power to live a righteous life and overcome sin. Brutus, if you have not received the Holy Spirit into your life, you cannot live a righteous life. You are still a slave to sinful desires.
In the long passage we read above, the apostle Paul talks about his desperate condition of wanting to do good, but not having the power to do so. He says, “O wicked man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of sin and death?” He then answers his own question by saying, “Thank God. He has through Jesus Christ His Son!” When Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven He sent forth His Spirit to indwell His disciples. The power of Christ’s Spirit living in man gives man the ability to do what he formerly could not. Now we can both desire to do God’s will, and we can do it. We no longer are slaves to sin, but are freed to live in righteousness.
[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
Brutus, when men and women receive the Spirit of Christ the struggle with the flesh does not end, but they now have the power to overcome temptation. They never again have to sin. Sin’s power has been broken.
I Corinthians 10:13
For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
When a man or woman receives the Spirit of Christ they are assured by God that no sinful temptation will ever be greater than their power (through the Holy Spirit in them) to choose obedience to God. Because you have not received the Spirit of Christ, you CANNOT please God. You are always going to fall short. Every man must humble himself, confess his sin to God, and accept the forgiveness that God’s Son has purchased for them by the sacrifice of His own life on the cross of Calvary. Then the man must ask God to send forth His Holy Spirit into His life so that he can be freed from sin and have the divine life of God inside of Him. The man must come to God confessing that he is not able to please God apart from receiving God’s Spirit. The man must ask God to give him His Spirit so he can be set free from sin. Christ spoke of the manner in which we must ask God for His Spirit in the following passage.
And He said to them, "Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and from inside he shall answer and say,' Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"
God knows we need His Holy Spirit to have victory over our flesh’s sinful desires. He will give us what we need if we come to Him in faith asking for it.
Of course, no man will acknowledge these things as truth, or humble himself before God to receive what he needs, unless he is ready to be done with his rebellion. If you want to accuse God of being a bully for establishing the laws upon which His own creation operates, then you are not yet done with your rebellion. Seeing that God has made a way for you to not only be forgiven, but to conquer the sin in your flesh, is it not a just thing for Him to punish those who reject His provision? God is being far more than just. He is being merciful. But if you reject His mercy you must experience His wrath. That is both fair and reasonable.
Brutus, if you want to know more about these things, I have written a book that explains all of it in much more detail. The book is titled Overcoming Addiction by the Spirit of Christ. Don’t be put off by the title. All sin is addictive, for it rules over us until its power is broken by Christ. This book sets forth the nuts and bolts of the truth of God’s plan to redeem man from sin. If you are interested, I will be glad to add you to the Parables Bookshelf Newsletter mailing list which contains this book, and I will send this book to you first. Just let me know your decision. For my part, I hope you will choose to be done with your rebellion toward God and accept His provision for your forgiveness and transformation so you truly can live a life pleasing to Him.
Respond to God while He is calling you. You have no guarantee that you will experience His drawing at a later time.
This is the response to the letter you wrote me. Matthew 7:1-2! This verse basically talks about passing judgment on another. In the letter you wrote, “You assaulted and robbed people, threatening them with injury or death with a gun. Brutus, when you did these things you knew they were wrong. They were violations of love. Rather than doing good to others as God created men to do, you chose to do evil to others for selfish purposes.”
I usually don’t do this, but for the sake of conversation I will happily oblige. In July of 2010 a group of young teens, including myself, were walking through Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia. This group contained family members of mine. It was our yearly family reunion. So not only were my cousins in attendance, but also aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, etc.. As my cousins and I walked through the park we had the misfortune of walking past two “Caucasian” people, male and female. The male, out of nowhere uttered, “Get ya’ll black (expletive deleted) away from here.” Might I add that this comment was made of free will and by no provocation by anyone in my group. In response, my younger cousin said “(expletive deleted).” The male replied and said, “I don’t care. I have AIDS, so if you want to do something, beat my (expletive deleted).” Me, being the oldest, I tried to diffuse the situation and then we walked towards our large group of family members. About 5 to 10 minutes later several police, including an undercover detective jumped out on us and took us into custody. As I sat in the police car, my family sat around just as confused as I was.
I was taken out of the car while bright lights were flashed in my face while a Caucasian male and female pointed their fingers at me. Shortly after, I was hauled away to the police precinct where I gave my story and was told that I was charged with “Armed Robbery.” To add insult to injury, the male and female claimed that I came up to both of them while sitting and put a six inch sharp blade to each of their throats and demanded their belongings. They complied and then I and several other African Americans ran off.
It’s funny that where I was arrested you could clearly see the spot where this alleged crime had happened and also when I was detained and searched I had only a lighter and one dollar in my possession. The detective told me, “No matter what I say or do, I’m going to jail. It doesn’t matter if you did this or not.” Long story short, I went to jail and the male and female people came to court several times and lied under the oath of “God” and said I committed this deed. Yet a family of at least 20 people came and testified on my behalf under the oath of “God” that they witnessed this and the claims were false! Still, the court was in favor of the so-called victims. Where was “God” at these moments Joseph? I was convicted, served time, and given probation on the condition of “first offender status.”
As for the aggravated assault, yes I did shoot that person “in the head” because gang members were threatening my life and my younger brothers because we had on a specific color. We weren’t bothering anyone, or doing anything. I was convicted on that crime and also re-convicted on the armed robbery and given 20 years because part of my conditions were not to catch any felonies. So, was that my fault or Yahweh’s fault for setting those obstacles in my way?
[Joseph’s Note: Brutus’ defense of his actions as the victim in both of these experiences is unconvincing. Men in prison frequently lie to others about their involvement in crimes, and there are numerous details of Brutus’ explanation which call his narrative into question. In the first story he says he was the oldest family member present when he encountered the male and female in the park, yet he says that 20 family members testified in court that they witnessed the events and the testimony was false. If these 20 family members, many of whom were “mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, etc.” were present and witnessed the events, why did they not intervene? And if they were present, then Brutus was not the oldest family member present.
Secondly, Brutus explains his innocence in shooting another man “in the head.” He says he and his brothers “were not bothering anyone,” yet they were wearing gang colors and Brutus was carrying a gun, which itself was a violation of his parole terms. Brutus would have me to believe they were just some unlucky armed gang members, who were in fact upstanding citizens. Brutus’ denial is made more egregious by his laying the blame at the feet of God for putting “obstacles in [his] way.”
Note that I am not saying there were not misrepresentations at the trial, but Brutus’ accounting of events is no more credible than the official narrative. By his own admission, Brutus shot another man in the head, and was a member of a gang, and was a convicted felon illegally carrying a gun. Does it not show the deceitfulness of the human heart that such a person could declare himself innocent and then lay the blame for his troubles at the feet of God?]
Knowing how holy you are, you might quote Matthew 5:39. In so many words it says “If someone strikes you on the one cheek, turn to him the other.” I don’t think so. In your writing “Champ the Serpent Sounder” you talked about Champ running into a Water Moccasin. What did you do to the snake? You killed it, did you not? Last time I looked, one of the 10 commandments says, “Thou shall not kill!” I’m pretty sure animals fall under the standard of that, after all a snake is part of Yahweh’s creation. Just like you said, “I’m a robber.” You’re a murderer. The difference is that I have proof you are a murderer, while you have only a report on a website that I am a robber.
What will you have to counter that, Ecclesiastes 3:3, “A time to kill”? Well, with that being said, these words reveal a clear contradiction in the Bible. Not only that, but the Bible is filled with conundrums. You quoted Psalms 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart ‘There is no God.’” Which definitely is not true if you read Psalms 82:6-7. Does it not say, “Ye are gods”? Can you refute that? How about St. John 14:12-14. It says I can do greater works that Jesus, and also that whatever I ask will be given to me if I ask in His name. Well, I’ve tried prayer and it didn’t work for me and I’m pretty sure it didn’t work for you either.
I don’t think you know the history of Christianity, and if you do you clearly don’t care what you found. I’ve come to realize that a lot of religious extremists such as yourself have a very strong pattern of denial. Denial of fools! In actuality, you avoided the questions I asked you. If you are a minister and your job is to show and convert people to Christ, you do a very poor job. You have no facts to prove anything you’ve said other than the Scripture! Let’s delve into your Bible some more. Who created you, Joseph? Of course, you will arrogantly and confidently say, “Yahweh.” Great. Let’s take a look. Genesis 1:26 “And God said, ‘Let US make man in our image, after OUR likeness.” Who is Yahweh referring to when he says, “OUR image”? Clearly, He is making a clear indication that creation was crafted by another, more than 1 entity! Who is the “OUR” Joseph?
Please spare me your belligerence and ignorance by not saying “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Let’s be honest and logical. Does not God claim to be the one and only supreme being, the creator of man, the heavens and earth? From the accounts of the Bible that would be false. Sorry. Let’s rewind Genesis 1. It speaks of how the earth was without form and how he created the universe. Before he chose to magically create this universe, what was he doing? Was he sitting in the dark void of space twiddling His thumbs? Or was he walking around in nothingness until he had this epiphany of his intricate plot to create every single living thing in the universe? Was he bored? Or was he more like a child and wanted to play with a few toys he had at His disposal? If you believe that he did such things, grits aren’t groceries, eggs aren’t poultry, and Mona Lisa’s a man.
This earth is billions of years old. It always has been and always will be. If no one but God existed at the time of creation, who took account of his works? Did he have a transcriber, and passed his words down to us? Better yet, he said and did these wonderful things then somehow just magically put the words in someone’s head. Even if that was remotely true, the Bible is roughly 2 to 3 thousand years old at least. The Bible Constantine compiled is 1,700 years old! Do you not think that from all that time to now that those are still the same words? Anyone with at least one iota of common sense, intelligence, rationale, and honesty would say that the words and teachings of the Bible are distorted, due to passing through so many generations, centuries, millenniums, whatever period of time you choose to use.
We both know the Bible has been rewritten over 100 times! Did you know that Joseph? Better yet, do you care? In that case, you’re not reading Yahweh’s word as you know it, but MAN’S word. Can you prove any different? Did the Bible drop from the sky? Was it sitting on a cloud? Don’t say “Yes,” because I have several ways to prove clouds are just particles in the air! Did God hand write this book and hand deliver it to the world? I think not. The Bible is a book of stories and testimonies written by MAN, not Yahweh, but MAN! Try to prove me wrong and refute that claim. So ask yourself, “Are you living in accordance with Man or God’s word?” Brush up on your research and see what you come up with.
Another point I would like to raise is “Why don’t Christians or religious persons have any substantial proof to claims of God?” Have you ever seen him? Exodus 35:20, I Timothy 6:16. I believe they say no man can or will see God. Correct? How do you know how to follow his instructions? Do they come as dreams? Are they dropped from the sky? What is it?
Yahweh is a bully! He tells me I have to do any and everything he says, and if I do not I will face consequences. Why cannot I live life as I please? Joseph, ask yourself, “Are you better than the illuminati or freemasons?” You fill people’s heads up with propaganda and lies and want them to believe it. You try to scare people with hell and torment, and if they choose to live life freely, that it is terrible. I know you’re lost and just don’t want to accept truth. There is no god or devil. One day hopefully you will realize and come to true knowledge. I can go through the Bible and find inconsistencies and half truths and falsehood.
This is what I honestly say. If you can provide me with full, concrete, scientific proof that God is real, I will worship him and be forever grateful to you. If you can, please help me, I am very open-minded.
Do not take this letter personally. I’m conversing with you as a grown man and with full respect. Do not be intimidated by me, or think I’m the anti-Christ, or a demon or devil worshiper. I can care less about the devil as much as god. They might have power with you, but don’t have power with me!
I will compile a list of questions I would like for you to respond to. If you’re up to it! On a lighter note, I thank you for all of your writings on the government conspiracy, etc.. They are very informative and very much true. I hope you continue to provide me with, and write these great books. Until the next time we cross paths, stay safe and peace unto you,
P.S. Pet Champ on the head for me.
1. Who is the author of the original Bible, and when was it created?
2. Is anything in Christianity original, or does it derive from another religion?
3. Can the devil do anything that Yahweh does not allow?
4. Have you ever seen Yahweh, seen anyone raised from the grave, or anyone walk on water?
5. Was Jesus married and did he have a child?
6. Are there contradictions in the Bible?
I received your letter. You would likely be surprised to know that like you, I have many disagreements with the teachings and practice of Christianity as it is commonly observed today. You appear to have a modicum of familiarity with the Bible. You should know then that in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, it starts out with Christ addressing seven churches located in Asia Minor. This book was written by the apostle John when the church and Christianity had been in existence for less than a century, yet we find Christ reproving five of the seven churches, some quite severely. They had already fallen into great doctrinal and moral error.
Brutus, the Bible is an account of Yahweh’s dealing with sinful men and women who are continually going astray. You should not need anyone to persuade you that men have serious moral failings, and that those who walk in integrity and truth are hard to find. You are in a prison surrounded by inmates who have done many wicked, selfish things, violating the principle of divine love on a regular basis.
You are making a serious mistake if you believe the Bible is written to a bunch of holy men and women who never do anything evil, or do not have continuing issues with false teachings. The Bible reveals the church to be prone to severe lapses, continually straying into doctrinal and moral failure. You can read any of the apostle Paul’s writings in the New Testament, and observe that one of his main themes is correcting false doctrine, and another is reproving Christians who are behaving in immoral ways.
A true understanding of Christianity does NOT assert that the church is without fault. It never has been without fault. This is why the Scriptures contain so many passages warning believers of the consequences of their walking in a manner that is unworthy of Christ. I could fill up pages with examples, but you are evidently quite good at quoting from the Bible, so you don’t need my assistance to know that what I am saying is true.
Brutus, as a minister whom Christ has appointed to serve as a teacher among the members of His body, the church, a major focus of my writings and teachings has been to correct both the doctrinal errors held by Christians today, as well as the moral failures of their lives. You recognize many of these failures, for you made mention of a number of them in your letter to me. Where you have erred, and erred seriously, is in concluding that these doctrinal and moral failures among Christians are evidence that God is not real and that the message of the Bible is false. Quite the contrary, the Bible affirms that men are easily deceived and constantly going astray. This is why God has appointed shepherds and teachers to correct and guide the church. Yet, even so, we are informed that only a remnant among those who profess to be Christians will be approved by God when they stand before Him in the judgment.
"For many are called, but few are chosen."
I Peter 4:17-18
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?
The Bible teaches that many of those who profess to be Christians will be cast into the lake of fire because they walked in a manner which was unworthy of Christ.
“He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Putting these two passages from the same Biblical book together, what is the message that comes forth? The Spirit of Christ is speaking to “the churches.” It is the churches who are warned that they may have their names erased from the book of life, and all whose names are not found in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire.
Consequently, it is neither offensive, nor disturbing to me if you should speak of there being problems with the church’s behavior and beliefs today. The Bible says the same thing. Listen to the following words of the apostle Paul.
II Timothy 3:1-5
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.
Who is it who hold to a form of godliness, but deny its power? It is Christians. Paul further states the following.
II Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Brutus, this is the hour we live in. The church has departed from truth. They will not endure sound doctrine. Instead they heap up to themselves teachers to proclaim error and falsehood to them. It is the remnant who will be approved by Christ in the day of judgment.
Consequently, if you point out false beliefs and immoral behavior among those who profess to be Christians today, you are doing nothing more than agreeing with the Bible, for it prophesied that this would be the church’s condition in the last days before the return of Christ.
You have erred, nonetheless, by assuming that I hold to the errors of the church which you listed. For many years now I have been occupied with pointing out and correcting the false teachings of the church, restoring believers to the truths of Scriptures. This activity includes pointing out where men have corrupted the Bible through errant translations and false interpretations of its meaning. You will find that I have no problem admitting that the Bible has errors today. No man should think that they hold in their hand a flawless copy of the inspired word of God. The Bible, just like the church, has ben subject to the failings of men. Some errors have been introduced innocently through men who have not understood what was written. Other errors entered the Bible through unscrupulous men who did not fear God, being motivated by selfish and unrighteous principles.
I am going to send you a portion of a book I wrote titled Foundations. This book corrects some of the foundational doctrines of the church. I send this because it addresses several issues you raised in your letter. Among these are why the book of Genesis speaks of God in the plural; Why the Bible does NOT teach that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, but in fact may be millions, or billions of years old; how Satan could sin and the sin not be charged to God who created him, etc.. You will find that the beliefs you accused me of harboring are not my beliefs at all. Rather, I have spent time refuting the very things that you have assumed that I believe.
The second book I am sending you is titled Yahweh’s Book and is on the history of the Bible, how it was written, who were its authors, how it was preserved, what languages were used in its writing, how errors were introduced into the Bible, the differences between various Bible translations, and why it presents no problem to Christians to have a Bible that is imperfect and contains errors. If you will patiently read these writings, seeking to understand what is being communicated, I have no doubt that you will come to see a number of things you did not perceive previously.
Aside from this, I would share with you something about your use of the Scriptures and the applications you have derived from them. Before I do, let me say to you that I am not offended by anything you wrote, and it is not my intent to offend you. My goal is to pursue truth with all men. I would have you to understand the proper meaning of God’s word, and to not wrest false interpretations of it due to either a superficial reading of the Bible, an absence of integrity, or a deficient desire to truly know what it is teaching. Please consider that I am taking the time to write you lengthy letters because I am assuming that you really want to know truth. If you do not want to know truth, then my time would not be fruitfully used in writing to you. If I should become persuaded at some point that you do not want to know truth, I will discontinue writing to you for I always want to use my time profitably.
Also understand that my taking the time to write to you and send you this material at some expense to myself is an indication that I view you as valuable, and worth the investment of my time and resources. I share this so that you would not view me as an adversary, for I do not write to you as an adversary, but rather as an ally who is seeking to aid you in the pursuit of truth and understanding.
Let me now address your citation of Matthew 7:1-2 and the application you have drawn from it.
“Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
Brutus, have you never observed the fault in others who profess to be Christians, where they take a single statement, often out of context, and use it to derive a principle or teaching that was not intended by the original authors? It is a very common failing among mankind. Again, some do so innocently, by failing to consider the whole counsel of God in the Bible. Others do so unscrupulously, as they are merely seeking a basis to accuse or malign another person, and they don’t really care if they are applying the Scriptures faithfully.
Because my role among the church has been that of a teacher, and I have frequently found myself engaged in correcting error, both in doctrine and behavior, this verse you have cited has been thrown up by individuals who were being corrected on numerous occasions. In fact, it was so common an experience that I found it expedient to write a teaching explaining what the Bible actually says about the subject of judging. That writing is titled The Issue of Judging. I am printing it out and including it among the material I am sending to you.
Another Scripture you cited is “Thou shalt not kill.” You interpreted this to mean man cannot kill anything, or he will be guilty of murder. You applied this specifically to my killing a snake, and concluded that due to this I am a murderer. Brutus, I must say that I do doubt your scruples when it comes to this argument. It is so weak an argument, and easily overturned, that I have to conclude that you were merely seeking to find some point, no matter how indefensible, upon which to accuse me.
As I did in the writing The Issue of Judging, I would counsel you to search the Scriptures to arrive at the Biblical definition of murder. Did not Yahweh command that animals be slain to offer as sacrifices on His altar? Do you think Yahweh would command men to commit murder when He had previously commanded them not to murder? The Law of God also required capital punishment for a number of offenses, such as murder, adultery, etc.. We can understand from these Scriptures that killing animals was not the equivalent of murder, and that even the killing of another man was not always viewed as murder by God. It is the unjust taking of a life, often in anger, or for selfish and evil purposes, that is deemed to be murder.
In the New Testament we read of Christ and His disciples catching fish in a net and cooking them over a fire. Was Christ an accessory to murder because he commanded His disciples to catch fish which were to be eaten? If you are to be consistent in your definition of murder, then you are going to have to charge every person who has ever eaten meat to be a murderer, or an accomplice to murder.
Brutus, when you present indefensible arguments such as this, you do cause me to have concerns regarding whether you are actually interested in arriving at truth. I want to assure you that I am willing to patiently discuss a great many things with you. I do not mind disagreement. I discuss points of disagreement with men continually, and I will be patient and gentle in doing so. I do want to have some evidence, however, that the person I am investing time with is acting with integrity and really has a desire to know truth and share truth with others.
I will close this letter for now since I am sending you a lot of material. I look forward to hearing back from you.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063