Question:

Hi,

I was just reading about the supposed Book of Jasher on your web site. Until recently I did not believe in the 100% accuracy and inerrancy of the Bible, and I was dangerously close to falling into heretical doctrines. The Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are two of the sects that were beginning to look more appealing to me. I also did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ.

Looking back, I can see that my heart was full of pride because I felt that I had a special knowledge of God when in fact I had barely any knowledge at all, and the knowledge I did have did not save me.

Whether there are ancient books out there that can indeed shed missing light on some of the more obscure passages of Scripture is irrelevant. What matters is putting the scriptural knowledge we already have to use, instead of becoming inordinately interestedinnoveltiesand pet doctrines that have nothing to do with our salvation.

One can know the entire Bible, every single verse, by heart, and still not be saved.

I would ratherknow nota single verseof the Bible and have Jesus Christ in my heart than be puffed up with damningpride for what I know already, and fail to put into practice.

A monstrous inversion takes place in the human heart when one ceases to allow the Bible to judge him, and begins instead to judge the Bible.


Answer:

I'm glad the web site has been of use to you. But I do want to caution that one cannot know Jesus Christ without knowing the Bible. It is easy to fall into a trap when you realize that you are wrong to jump to an opposite extreme that is also wrong. Ignorance is not bliss. We have to both learn and apply what is found in the Bible. I know you understand this, but I want to make it clear.

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:21-25).

Thank you for your concern. I am learning about the dangers of contemplative mysticism as well, which can be another trap that many have already fallen into. This would be the idea that one can "experience" Jesus Christ inside one's self, by practicing a prayer of silence (not silent prayer, but prayer that is devoid of all thought and desire). I know that Jesus dwells within us, for He said that He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, and that he would come in and sup with us if we open the door to Him. However, I am not sure that this is the best way to open that door, as there is no peephole to see who is on the other side.

I have a strong desire for a deeper walk with God that will enable me to overcome self and the flesh. I know this is a good desire to have. However, I am not convinced that this is the way to go about fulfilling that desire.

My dad suggested I read several books that deal with the deeper life. All of them have a lot of truth concerning the self-nature, but a running theme is the idea that the way to overcome it is to seek to empty ourselves of all desire and reasoning in prayer, and simply leave ourselves open to God without thinking about anything in particular. I have noticed that reading these books has actually decreased my desire to read the Bible.

At first, this appealed to my strong ambition for holiness and victory over sin, but now I am beginning to see that it is more akin to Eastern mysticism (Buddhism and philosophical Daoism) and transcendental meditation. This is very dangerous in that it can leave us open to deception from spiritual forces of darkness. My dad also has quoted something Jim Jones said about how evangelical Christians have made a "paper idol" of the Bible. I think he feels that a lot of Christians use the Bible too authoritatively as if it were God Himself and that this hinders people from entering the kingdom of God, the way the Pharisees in Jesus' time used the Torah to do the same thing. Over a year ago he stopped believing in the Trinity and that Jesus Christ is God, and now I am beginning to see how dangerous contemplative mysticism can be. He used to be a very committed Christian, but now I am becoming more and more concerned for him. Please pray for him and for me as well.

There is a multitude of information on the Internet about the benefits of contemplative mysticism, and from what I have read it seems to be creeping more and more into the churches. You will find far more information that extols its virtues than that which exposes it for the trap of the enemy that it is. Maybe it is time to stop reading other books and concentrate on the Bible alone. First, it was theology that was distracting me from God, and now it is the opposite of theology that is distracting me and leading me astray.

I'm always amused that people who claim to believe in God disparage the book God has given us. If we look at how the early church worshiped, we find, "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). Learning God's teachings is one way we give praise and honor to our Creator. As Paul told Timothy, "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine" (I Timothy 4:13). He was also told, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).

Idol worship is giving honor to false gods who do not exist. It isn't idolatry to give heed to the instructions of the one true God. "Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man" (Proverbs 3:3-4). That is why the Israelites were told,

"Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you - 'a land flowing with milk and honey.' Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deuteronomy 6:1-9).

Knowing God's teachings is critical to our ability to follow God. The reason people disparage it is because they know that what they want to do is not supported by God.

For example, the idea of emptying all thought from your head to connect with God is a teaching of Hinduism -- an idolatrous religion that has multiple gods. See Transcendental Meditation for more on this matter.

The way to have a deeper understanding of God is to learn from God and apply His teachings to your life. You can't get it through the artificial wisdom of man. "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:21-25).

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6).