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Dr. P. B. on Jesus's Words Only (December 2010)

I was forwarded an email where a Dr. PB was asked to review Jesus' Words Only and give his criticism.  He particularly focused upon my mention in Chapter 7 of JWO Jesus' warning in Revelation that a church was being tempted by a false prophet who was a "Balaam," and I compared how similar Paul is to Balaam's experience and teachings. I will include all of his critique below interspersed with my comments in blue. In the very end, and I never saw it coming, you will see Dr. PB says we are supposed to only listen to Paul, and not the Jesus who spoke to the 12. Uggh!

Dr. PB

The writer of "Jesus words only" makes a comparison of Balaam to the Apostle Paul which is absurd because they both had a vision. Balaam and Paul were nothing alike and comparing meat offered to idols is ridiculous.

My Reply: This miscategorizes my argument, and thus becomes a straw man fallacy. To analyze whom Jesus meant by a Balaam in the NT Church in Revel. 2:14, I compared Paul to Balaam. I am asking the question whom did Jesus intend to identify. While PB makes it sound like the only similarility I draw is that both Paul and Balaam had a vision, this is misleading. Rather, I noted several other similarities: they both said it was permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols, they both permitted fornication. Balaam did so per Jesus in Rev. 2:14 and Paul did so when he permitted an abandoned wife to remarry without the certificate of divorce (or Paulinists, including apparently Dr. PB, say fornication is permissible now because Paul says the law is abolished, as we shall see below); they were both stopped on a road where their vision took place, etc.

PB then says the vision similarity is "absurd" and the eating idols "similarity" is "ridiculous. But he never articulates why. It is a simple question: are they similar or not? He does not prove they are dissimilar and hence how he deduces these comparisons are 'absurd' or 'ridiculous' is unknown.

Dr. PB

He twists scriptures to fit his narrow focus that "salvation by faith alone is clearly refuted." He says, "Salvation by endurance in good works to the end is crucial besides faith." Hundreds of theologians throughout the centuries have explained in detail from the Bible that salvation is the "gift of eternal life." His doctrine of salvation is more Freewill Baptist or Charismatic. This is why they try to get you resaved every week at church. This is why their statistics look good at the end of the year for the number of conversions. I have debated these guys before and quoting Greek terms goes over their head. So I end up saying, "Your concept of salvation is like a child's toy. You have it one day and the next day you can lose it." I think this viewpoint has more to do with their psychological issues than theological correctness. They have a fear of failure so they match their theology with their sporadic behavior (cognitive dissonance). What is interesting is that when I was in seminary, I read a review in a "Psychological Christian Journal" which said that in researching, many who hold this view are guilty of sexual moral issues and tend to be depressed more than any other target group in America (Christian bi-polarism).

My Reply: This mocks the admitted plan of salvation in the Original Testament (OT) -- you have it one day and lose it by sin. He mocks this as a "concept of salvation like a child's toy." However, Ezekiel 33 makes it absolutely crystal clear that what Dr. PB mocks was the OT plan of salvation:

8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of[b] them. How then can we live?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’  13 If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done14 And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is just and right— 15 if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die. 16 None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.

Hence, in the original testament from God, sinners are restored to life by repentance; and the righteous pass over into death by sin until they repent again. This is the plan of salvation that Dr. PB mocks as a "child's toy" which can come and go.

Following Dr. PB's reasoning about my motives, Ezekiel must have had some terrible sexual perversion that drove him psychologically to this message. But Ezekiel was a prophet, and Dr. PB's reasoning is itself a perverse scorning of the righteous plan at least in the OT. If it changes in the NT (I don't think so) is a different question. But no one can mock this plan of salvation without mocking God.

I regard, frankly, this comment by Dr. PB as blasphemy. In the OT any insult on the goodness of God is blasphemy. To insult God's words that everyone knows was true in OT times as a "child's toy" and suggest those advancing it are guilty of "sexual morass issues" (an Ad Hominem fallacy) is an insult on God's nature (and His prophets who proclaimed His truth) for having instituted this plan of salvation to Israel.

Dr. PB

He makes quotes from the following commentators and twists their words out of context to prove his pretext: A.T. Robertson.  Young.  Charles Stanley.  Martin Luther. Brown-Driver-Briggs. John MacArthur.

Not one of these writers would agree with this guy on his view of salvation and the Apostle Paul.

My Reply: I quote Robertson, Young, Stanley, as pro-Paul advocates who agree with me on certain points. I do so without ever implying they agree with me on my view of salvation or Paul. (I also quote Luther when he was pro-Paul for the same purpose. But after JWO (2007), I did find Luther later switched, and agrees with me on salvation, and even in the end apparently on Paul. See this link.)

PB engages therefore in the fallacy of a straw man (i.e., putting a weak claim in the mouth of the one he criticizes) so as to easily knock him down. But PB claims I said something ridiculous that I never said. This is unworthy logic in a serious discussion.

Furthermore, his argument proves I am citing the best quality proof against Paul. I cite witnesses who admire and follow Paul but I found statements where they admit facts that are damaging to Paul's credibility or consistency with our Lord Jesus. Hence, PB helps prove my sources are not my allies, but Paul's friends. And hence I am using sources that are trustworthy to Paulinists because their statements are admissions-against-interest when they do not want to admit problems in Paul's credibility/inspiration.

Dr. PB:

He makes sweeping generalizations throughout his book which are not true.

He said, "The KJV was a production of Calvinistic puritans." The KJV was not a production of Calvinistic puritans. It was a revision of the Bishops Bible which was affiliated with the Church of England and more Episcopalian and only the Greek "Textus Receptus" was used. I have seen the original KJV Bible in England and most Americans would have trouble reading it. I also have a copy of the Textus Receptus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bishops%27_Bible

My Reply:  While Dr. PB claims I make sweeping generalizations, this deflects attention from the fact that this is exactly what he is doing, not me.

First, Dr. PB claims that the Calvinists had no hand in this because the compiled Greek text was the "Textus Receptus." But this is misleading, and his proof is actually an admission I am correct.

Dr. PB is correct the translators chosen by King James to do the King James Bible relied in translating the Greek New Testament on a compiled form of the Textus Receptus. However, contrary to what PB implies, this too was connected with Calvinists. The edition of the Textus Receptus they used was the version published in 1598 by Beza, the head of the Calvin Institute at Geneva. A scholarly article lists all the strange variants in this version of the Textus Receptus by Beza of the Calvin Institute -- a compilation of hundreds/thousands of Greek NT mss. It then says:

Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis [i.e., a version of the Textus Receptus] contains some extraordinary readings.[11] Below is a comprehensive enumeration of those readings, with text and translation. ("Codex Bezae," Wikipedia.)

One extraordinary effort at tampering in the Textus Receptus from Beza (used by the KJV) is the omission of Matt. 5:20--that one's righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees to enter heaven. There is no known Greek mss that deletes this, but Beza did so. See "Codex Bezae," Wikipedia. This verse is a thorn for those who do not like the message of 5:19 that the "least" in the KOG teach not to obey the Law, and Jesus depicts the Pharisees in that way in Matt. 23:23. Hence, those who oppose the Law's relevance are not entering heaven if Jesus spoke 5:20. But Beza deleted it in his "Textus Receptus." Fortunately, the KJV translators did not allow Beza's brazen deletion to stand. But it shows you what chicanery was afoot. Likewise, Beza deleted "bound in heaven as on earth" --- with no mss support -- from Matt. 18:18 ("Codex Bezae," supra) for doctrinal reasons, which again the KJV translators realized and did not follow.

Moreover, even though the KJV translators were alert to Beza's trickery in assembling his version of the Textus Receptus, the King James translators did use the fact that the Calvin Institute did an English-language Geneva Study Bible in 1599 as grounds to wholesale adopt from it extraordinarily biased mistranslations in the KJV which supported Calvinism in place of traditional readings from the English Bishop's Bible. (See the long list below.) This GSB was wholy dependent upon Beza's Textus Receptus.

Second, Dr. PB claims the KJV was not a production of Calvinists. But the fact it was is beyond dispute. Some history will help clarify.

King James himself was a Calvinist. He was the King of Scotland since 1567—long before becoming the King of England in 1603 upon the death of the English Queen. And when he reigned over England, he simultaneously was reigning over his homeland of Scotland.

As King of Scotland, James superintended a state system that had already made the church founded by John Knox—the Presbyterian church—the state official Church. And what was that religion? Knox’ church was founded upon Calvinism. In fact, Scotland, in 1560, at an official general assembly at Edinburgh, and at the request of John Knox, decreed there “Presbyterian Calvinism was recognized as the established religion of Scotland.” (“Church of Scotland,” Encarta).

When King James’ reign was expanded in 1603 from Scotland to include England, he encountered a state Church of Anglicanism in England. Anglicanism was a Catholic system of masses and such. King Henry in 1529 broke the English Catholic church from Rome simply so he could divorce Catherine and get remarried without the Pope’s permission. However, when King James took over England, he changed the Anglican official state church in three ways: (1) it was now the official state religion; (2) the Puritans—the names for the Calvinists of England—were installed as the ministers and pastors; and (3) all Catholic aspects were removed. In time, the Anglican church adopted the Calvinist confessions as official credos. And in 1622, James ordered that no preaching was permitted any longer other than quotes from the Lord’s prayer or the official Calvinist confessions.

With this context in mind, now let’s look at the origin of the KJV. The leading Calvinist of England, John Rainolds, asked the King in 1604 to authorize a new English Bible. There were other English Bibles, but Tyndale and the others were not Calvinist in spirit. The King agreed, and appointed 54 translators. The first editor was Rainolds, who was the leader of the Puritans (British Calvinists) and ran a school for them. He died in 1609. Rainolds was replaced as main editor by Dr. Miles Smith.

Dr. Smith deserves some extended attention, for it might profit us to change the name of the KJV Bible one day to Dr. Smith’s Bible. This way we will pay more attention to the actual hand on the Scripture than to some amorphous monarch. Of Dr. Smith, Gustavus Paine in The Learned Men (Thomas Crowell & Co.: 1959) at page 50 writes in a totally complimentary light:

Because he was the final critic who looked for flaws and smoothed out the whole translation, there is perhaps more of Dr. Miles Smith in the King James version than any other man.

Paine lets us know that Miles Smith was a Calvinist. At page 49 we read:

In the end he went over the whole Bible as editor, taking the greatest pains from first to last...Like John Rainolds, Smith was a Calvinist who conformed enough to meet the church of England [pre-James England] halfway.

Thus, the KJV’s first editor-in-chief—to use our modern labels—was Rainolds, a Calvinist leader of England—and the second and final editor-in-chief was Dr. Miles Smith, also a Calvinist. Thus, when you find mistranslations that add or subtract words that support Calvinism, then you have every reason to infer these two editors inserted their Calvinist doctrines into the text. In other words, they biased the text.

When you find such bias, you must conclude the KJV no longer can have authority on matters affecting doctrines that touch on Calvinist doctrine.

1. You cannot cite the KJV to prove we are not regenerated by faith (a mistranslation of John 1:13) -- Calvinists insist our regeneration is simply an act of God having nothing to do with our will;

2. You cannot cite the KJV to prove limited atonement (a mistranslation of 1 John 3:5) -- Calvinists claim Jesus did not die for the whole world but only those God fore-ordained to salvation;

3. You cannot cite the KJV to prove we are not ever seen as sinning—so we must be covered always by Christ (a mistranslation of 1 John 3:5, 9);

4. You cannot cite the KJV to prove a one-time faith saves (a mistranslation of John 3:16, John 5:24, etc., omitting the continuous aspect of the Greek present tense used) - the Calvinist contending a faith given us by God just once alone saves us irreversibly;

5. You cannot cite the KJV to prove those who one time heard and followed Jesus cannot be snatched from Jesus’ hand (a mistranslation of John 10:27-29, again using English simple present for what is a continuous form in Greek) - the Calvinist contending the one act of regeneration by God saves us and guarantees our once hearing and listening suffices to save us; and

6. You cannot cite the KJV to prove that it is hypothetical that one who has renounced Christ is impossible to repent (a mistranslation of Hebrews 6:4-6) -- the Calvinists disputing Arminius who properly translated this verse to prove a Christian in fact can lose grace and salvation.

In almost any matter touching on salvation doctrine, you cannot rely upon Dr. Miles Smith's Bible—aka the KJV.

Dr. PB:

It is rather paranoid for him to say that the KJV was "protecting" Paul.

My Reply: How can I be expressing paranoia which means I have a persecution complex when I am saying the KJV translators were biased to harmonize Jesus to Paul? It has nothing to do with any feeling of my own to defend myself. It is a puerile attack to smear the mental stability of the person whose writings you are criticizing. A common fallascious argument is known as the Argument of Ridicule. It does not appeal to your reason but rather to your fear to be associated with someone labeled 'crazy' or 'paranoid.'

What I have said is that Jesus has been mistranslated to sound more Pauline. In the example I discussed of John 3:16 versus Romans 10:9, I showed that our English present continuous tense should have been used in John 3:16 which would have shown a conflict with Romans 10:9. However, if you use the English simple tense for John 3:16 as does the KJV, NIV and others, our English present tense has one sense that it could mean a one-time event and match the aorist Greek tense of Romans 10:9. Hence, by that simple mistranslation step, the conflict between Jesus and Paul is obscured.

Now lets look at what I actually said to which Dr. PB is apparently referring. I explained how Luther was the origin of the wrong tense in John 3:16, but I explained it was partly due to German lacking a continuous tense. Then I said as to Luther's error: "It may have been a subconscious bias. It may have been simple error.http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/JWO/chapter-15-jwo.html Then I later said the KJV had the option of fixing this as we do have the English continuous tense (and Luther's German does not have such a tense):

In the German language, Luther could not express the Greek continuous meaning. There is no German verb form equivalent to the Greek progressive tensei.e., the Greek Present Active tense. The German language "has no progressive mood." 10 Thus, due to a weakness of the German language, Luther could not even unequivocally express a progressive meaning--"continues to believe." (The King James translators in 1611 did asimilar slight of hand to 'believing' in John 3:16.)11 Id.

Then in footnote 11 I wrote:

11. The 1611 translators could have used the English Continuous Present ("is believing"). Instead, they arrived at a translation that effaced the original meaning by rendering the Greek for is believing in John 3:16 as believes. In English, this is the Simple Present tense. In this context, it implies a one-time faith saves. This would have been correct if the underlying Greek had been in the aorist tense. However, the Greek was present participle active. (See Appendix A: Greek Issues.)

Is this paranoia on my part? Of course not. These are valid points. Even Dr. PB has admitted that I am correctly explaining Greek verb tenses at play. (See next quote.) Dr. PB clearly has chosen verbal insults on my intelligence and emotional well-being rather than to discuss the facts. I have seen this all too often. It should not persuade anyone.

Dr. PB

Most of what he writes is correct about the Greek tenses but his application is all wrong trying to prove his narrow point about Paul being a false prophet. I do not know of a single seminary that would teach such a crazy thing. None of the major commentaries would agree with his "application" of the verses he used.

My Reply: PB offers more Argument from Ridicule. It again is being used to fallasciously avoid offering proof. I have said plainly the Greek continuous tenses when Jesus speaks in John 3:16 are at odds with Paul's aorist tense (one time action) in Romans 10:9. Salvation is contingent on continuing in faithfulness, obedience, and hearing (John 3:16; 5:24) if you listen to Jesus, but is complete on a single event of faith if you listen to Paul. (Romans 10:9.) It seems that PB agrees with my understanding of Greek (I did study Greek in school), but he seems to miss the point.

What is astonishing is that he thinks it is remarkable that none of the major commentaries agree with my "application." Yes indeed, none have drawn the comparison between John 3:16 and Romans 10:9 to prove a contradiction. However, I cited commentaries that agree with me on each verse and the important tense differences. They each independently confirm what I say. They simply do not apply them to prove Jesus and Paul in these two verses are at odds -- visible when the tenses are translated correctly. But that does not prove the application is incorrect. It proves that no one has thought to make the application that I have made. It deserves a reasoned response, not merely jeering that no one thought of this issue before.

Dr. PB

Throughout his book, he has not followed the principles of basic hermeneutics:

HOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE

GENERAL PRINCIPLES;

Interpret the Bible on the assumption that it is the only source of authority - II Tim. 3:15-16

Let the Bible interpret itself by examining cross-reference Scriptures - II Tim. 2:15

Let the Holy Spirit guide you in interpretation and application of the Scriptures - Jn. 16:13

Make a distinction between what the Bible records and what it approves - Ps. 119:66

Recognize that the main purpose of the Bible is to change lives and not just to increase knowledge - James. 1:22

Imitate the people and examples found in the Bible only when followed by a command.

Notice the difference between Biblical commandments, Biblical prohibitions, and  Biblical  principles.

Let the Bible be the final authority for all beliefs and doctrines instead of tradition, feelings, experiences, or opinions - Jeremiah. 17:9 ; Gal. 5:24 ; Is. 55:8

Every Christian has the responsibility to interpret the Scriptures for himself - Acts 17:11

A clear passage of Scripture is to be given preference over an obscure passage in interpreting the Bible

GRAMMATICAL PRINCIPLES:

1.  Scripture has only one meaning and should be taken literally but can have many different applications.

2.  Interpret words in the light of their meaning at the time they were written.

3.  Interpret a word in relation to its sentence and context.

4.  Interpret a passage in harmony with its context.

5. Interpret a parable in the light of its central truth.

6.  Interpret passages dealing with prophecy literally unless the context or a related passage indicates otherwise.

7.  Recognize the parts of speech used in the passages:

a.  Parable - a short story illustrating a moral lesson

b.  Proverb - a short and wise saying with an obvious truth

c.  Simile - the use of "like" or "as" to compare similar things

d.  Metaphor - a comparison of two or more totally different things

e.  Hyperbole - an exaggerated statement for effect

f.  Irony - the use of words to express the opposite of what one really means.

g.  Personification - to represent a thing as a person

h.  Apostrophe - to address an abstract idea or inanimate object as if capable of understanding

i.  Euphony - a substitution of a pleasant expression for an unpleasant one

j.  Type - a person, thing, or event which was literally true but also symbolizes or represents someone or something yet to appear in the future. They are: persons, institutions, offices, events, actions, or things.

HISTORICAL PRINCIPLES:

1.  Scripture can be only understood in the light of biblical history. Answer the questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how?

Who

1.  Who is the writer of the book?

2.  Who is speaking in the passage?

3.  Who is being addressed?

What

1.  What is the central truth or main theme of the passage?

2.  What is the key verse?

3.  What is the promise to claim?

4.  What does this passage mean to you?

5.  What action does this passage want you to take?

When

1.  When was the book written?

2.  When is the passage talking about (past, present, or future)?

What time of the year is it?

3.  When in history did the events in the passage occur?

Where

1.  Where was the book written?

2.  Where did the events in the passages occur (country, city, etc.)?

Why

1.  Why was the book written?

2.  Why did the people do what they did?

How

1.  How is the person speaking (serious, sarcastic, etc.)?

2.  How can you apply to your life what you learned?

3.  How can you specifically change your attitudes or actions after studying this passage?

2.  Look to the Old Testament to aid in interpreting the New Testament.

3.  Historical facts or events become symbols of spiritual truths only if the Scriptures so designate them.

4. Determine the significance of the passage in its historical setting. Examine the geography of the land, cultures, and customs of the people that are related to the passage.

THEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES:

1. Before you can understand the meaning of the Bible, you first must examine and understand the grammar of the text.

2.  A doctrine cannot be considered biblical unless it sums up and includes all that the Scriptures say about it.

3.  Accept biblical doctrines even though you may not fully understand them.

4.  A teaching merely implied in Scripture may be considered biblical when a comparison of related passages supports

My reply. My point is we must first determine canon before we determine doctrine. If something does not belong in canon, it must be removed before we develop doctrine from it. The above series of directions from Dr. PB apply only to authenticated canon. But until it is authenticated, these principles are improper. Dr. PB's view will perpetuate the error of long centuries of approving the canon based upon what we like, what doctrine we prefer, etc., rather than basing it on a Biblical-test that qualifies it as inspired.

Canon history thus is where I start in my book, not heremeneutics.

What happened in the long period prior to the Protestant Reformation is the Roman Catholic Church created a canon that matched their doctrines rather than decide on a canon for its authentic Biblically-qualified origin first, and then let that decision shape doctrine. As Wescott who compiled the Greek manuscripts in the late 1800s said: “It cannot be too often repeated, that the history of the formation of the whole Canon involves little less than the history of the building of the Catholic Church.”

Dr. PB

He really has an obsession about fornication for some reason that sounds more psychological than theological. His debate about the meaning of fornication goes to rather a ridiculous extreme viewpoint because what he says has no practical aspect today. Half of all Christians today get a divorce and remarry as a real fact unfortunately. To be specific, 52% of unsaved get a divorce and 53% of Christians get a divorce. So you have a 1% greater chance of getting a divorce as a Christian today.

My Reply: We find here more effort at Ad Hominem and Ridicule, suggesting a "psychological" reason for my paying attention to the issue of fornication. But Dr. PB knows better that I discuss fornication for a very serious reason. I cite Revelation 2:14 where our Lord Jesus said Balaam taught the Israelites to eat meat sacrificed to idols and to fornicate. Jesus says in that verse there is someone "like" Balaam among us in the NT. I am simply searching to find him. (Would PB say the same of our Lord that His attention to this issue of fornication suggests a pyschological defect in our Lord? One must wonder.) In the book JWO, I spend time proving Paul like Balaam permitted eating meat sacrificed to idols and fornication, or, as to the latter, it is perceived by eternal security advocates (like PB) to say Paul permits fornication as the Law is abolished. Thus, I was making was a very serious comparison, and one that Dr. PB does not properly respond to.

Now pay very close attention to the fact that Dr. PB himself implies that fornication is no longer a big deal, and it is impractical to address it any longer. He says Christians have become so much like the world in behavior that fornication can no longer be addressed, implying it should not be any longer our concern. A true Pauline approach, as Paulinism says the Law is dead to us.

I can only deduce that Dr. PB indeed is another Paulinist besides the one I quoted in JWO (Mr. George) who agrees that Paul permits fornication. Dr. PB appears to be saying my attention is out-dated and I could never change the Christian community to think fornication is wrong. Dr. PB believes our Christian community is so far gone and so much like the world that it has "no practical aspect today."

Specifically, do you see above where Dr. PB says I have a "ridiculous extreme viewpoint" because my focus on fornication "has no practical aspect today"? He says Christians divorce and remarry just like anyone else. There is a 1% improvement in being a Christian. He seems to imply that talking about fornication is outdated given Christians are conformed to a lifestyle that cannot practically be altered any more. Oh goodness me!!

Dr. PB has proved my point. Paulinists permit fornication. In JWO, I proved numerous quotes from Paulinists who say Paul meant that fornication, among other things, was permissible when he said the Law was abolished. It just might not be expedient, but these Paulinists I quoted said fornication was permissible --- relying upon Paul's words. Here you have it -- more proof from Dr. PB.

PART TWO

Dr. PB.

His assertion that Paul was converted on the road to Damascus and later apostacized is absurd. The Bible does not agree with him nor does 2000 years of Christian history.

Church Tradition teaches that St Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome and was beheaded, whence the sword is his symbol.

According to Eusebius: "When the government of Nero was now firmly established, he began to plunge into unholy pursuits, and armed himself even against the religion of the God of the universe... Thus publicly announcing himself as the first among God's chief enemies, he was led on to the slaughter of the apostles. It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified under Nero. This account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day."

If the Apostle Paul was an apostate prophet and was martyred for his "weak (apostate)" faith then we are all in trouble. When I have asked Christians throughout my ministry, "Who is the greatest Christian the last 2000 years, they usually say "the Apostle Paul."

My Reply: Dr. PB has not proven that Paul did not apostasize later. If Paul taught fornication were permissible due to the fact "the Law is dead to us" and we can eat meat sacrificed to idols, I do not see the fact Paul was killed for his faith as inconsistent with saying Paul apostasized. I did not say Paul stopped being a professing believer in Christ. Paul had a unique view that he could hold these apostate anti-Law views and still profess and teach Christ. A nonbeliever would not recognize that Paul's apostasy would be a reason to spare him from persecution. Paul would be martyred along with all other professing Christians. Dr. PB has cited therefore irrelevant facts that do not prove Paul did not apostasize.

Notice also that Dr. PB says if what I say is true, then Paul was martyred for his "weak faith." When did I say that? Another Red-Herring fallacy. Instead, in my book, I said I accept Paul was truly martyred for his faith. But again, non-Christians who kill us have no insight as to our disputes, and would martyr Paul for reasons other than his apostasy. Hence, that fact of martyrdom for Paul's faith proves nothing on this issue of whether Paul taught these two doctrines similar to what Balaam taught.

Dr. PB

He takes several complex theological issues like the eternal security of the believer, what is fornication, and what is idolatry and combines them in a complicated manner. Many denominations have argued about these things for years using much greater arguments than this writer. But a clear verse always takes precedence over an unclear verse:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life NIV

1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. NIV

No matter how hard he tries, he cannot change or twist the meaning of the word "eternal." He just takes obscure verses whose interpretation is not clear. His doctrinal views are more Freewill Baptist. This is the why the denomination is dying very fast.

My Reply: I cannot be sure of his point. Is it about the word "eternal"? Or is it that these verses are supposed to support eternal security on a one time belief? I suppose the latter. With that assumption, I will respond.

I demonstrated in JWO that the Greek word in these passages rendered as "believe" meant "continued to" and whatever the word means, either believe, trust, obey, etc. Thus, it is not one time and now you are "eternally" saved, as Dr. PB apparently wishes to assert.

In Jesus's Words on Salvation, which I wrote second, I also demonstrated that the best scholarship concurs that in John 3:16 that it has the meaning of "obey unto" not "believe in." It is pisteousin followed by EIS, not EN. And John 3:36 -- 20 verses later -- makes this clear with an antithesis to pisteousin by the word for disobedience (apitheo). And I offered many more proofs, including the Septuagint usage of pisteousin (which is how modern scholars in the first place found the error in supposing pisteousin always means believing). I devote an entire chapter to proving this -- Chapter 26. See http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/JWOS/freejwoschaptersonline.html

Incidentally, if you read 1 John 5:13, that verse uses the identical construction as John 3:16 -- "pistousin eis" -- meaning who "continue to obey unto the name / Son" etc. Thus, for the same reason, Dr. PB is in error in how he reads that verse.

Dr. PB

His interpretation of the doctrine of Balaam is way out in left field. The historical and traditional meaning of Rev.2:14 is found in Clark's commentary:

Revelation 2:14

The followers of Balaam, the Nicolaitanes, and the Gnostics, were probably all the same kind of persons; but see the note at verse 6. What the doctrine of Balaam was, see the notes at Num 24-25, and 31. It appears that there were some then in the church at Pergamos who held eating things offered to idols in honour of those idols, and fornication, indifferent things. They associated with idolaters in the pagan temples, and partook with them in their religious festivals. (from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

My Reply: Clarke is not expositing on the verse here. He is telling you what was going on in the world at that time. PB admits Clarke is guessing on the full scope of their behavior by saying it "appears" to be x, y and z. Clarke does not know. Clarke is guessing. It is an educated guess, but it is still a guess, and Clarke does not conceal that fact.

Dr. PB. In the first century, meat was purchased in the marketplace similar to many countries of the world today- not at a grocery store. There was no practical way to determine if the meat they bought had been offered to idols or not. This writer is a legalist to the nth degree. He would have rather go hungry than buy any meat in the public market. I agree with Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1-5

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. NIV

My Reply: So Dr. PB makes the silly argument that prohibiting eat meat sacrificed to idols is unreasonable because we would have to go hungry if we could not purchase it in the marketplace. Pure childish argument. There are plenty of foods besides the types of meats sacrificed to idols.

But I do thank Dr. PB for quoting Paul saying that we can be entirely "indifferent" to all foods we eat, which Clarke above said was the belief of the Nicolatians which Jesus condemned in Rev. 2. So you see, if the Paulinist cites enough authorities from their own allies, they backfire and prove Jesus in other contexts condemns the doctrines of their Paul.

Dr. PB. What is really interesting is that this passage of Scripture is addressed to those in the city of Pergamon which had the Pergamon altar or the altar of Zeus. On this altar, humans were sacrificed. In 1878 a German began to excavate this site in Turkey.  Germany actually bought the altar of Zeus and moved it to Berlin where they built the Pergamon museum.

The last 100 years, only 2 people have spoken from the altar of Zeus: 1) Adolph Hitler and 2) Barak Obama http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pergamon_Altar http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=151262

My Reply: PB appears to be saying that there was available meat sacrificed to idols in the town in which the recipient Timothy lived. This only further accentuates the libertine message of Paul, making it corroborate the fact of Paul's indifference extended to eating meat sacrificed to idols. How that helps PB's argument, I cannot imagine.

Dr. PB. The author was way out in left field about Rev.2:14 referring to Paul's doctrine related to Balaam. Balaam was paid by the King of Moab to tell him what the future was going to be for his kingdom. He wanted to hire him for a fee- Numbers 22:4-7.

My reply. How can Dr. PB get something so wrong when he took time to look up the passage? It does not say the King of Moab wanted to know the future of his kingdom. He wanted a curse upon Israel. Click here and read.

Dr. PB. At first he refused to go to the elders of Moab for a "fee of divination' (witchcraft) but Balaam finally gave in because he got greedy and that is when God was angry with him (Numbers 22:8-21).

The sin of Balaam was greed (1 Tim.6:9-10) and using divination to make prophecies (Joshua 13:22) instead of depending on the Holy Spirit. This is the doctrine of the last days with "prosperity theology" who teach this just for money.

My Reply: Balaam was indeed greedy. But Moses tells us that on this ocassion Balaam did not rely upon divination, but instead the Holy Spirit came upon Balaam several times (e.g., Nu 23:5,12,16, 18-24; 24:1) and Balaam truly spoke a blessing from God. Then Balaam gave the prophecy of Christ about a star rising over Israel which Matthew speaks about regarding the Magi in Matthew ch. 2.

In fact, here is Numbers 24:1 when Balaam next blesses Israel:

1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. 2 When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him 3 and he spoke his message:

Compare this to what Dr. PB said -- Balaam was "using divination to make prophecies...instead of depending on the Holy Spirit." False! God's words are directly to the contrary!

Dr. PB. The Israelites worshipped Baal by having sex with temple prostitutes (fornication), worshipping Baal, and eating meat offered to Baal at the temple. Numbers 25:1

Rev.2:14 is literally true what Israel did at the time of Balaam:

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. NIV

This all occurred in the temple of Baal among the Moabites. Balaam was a poor example of serving God and not giving in to greed and compromising with idol worshippers and using divination to predict the future instead of the Spirit of Truth.

My Reply. Look at the quote from Jesus provided by Dr. PB from Rev. 2:14. Jesus is absolute in His prohibition with no exception that you could eat such meat at home purchased from a market.

What Dr. PB tries to do is diminish the words of our Lord by arguing that Jesus supposedly had that intended exception. Why does PB argue this? Because he knows Paul permits eating idol meat and he then apparently reads that to be at home with market-purchased meat. But there is no exception in our Lord's words. That's key.

Thus, Dr. PB saves Paul by diminishing and reading exceptions into our Lord's words. But Jesus says that some false prophet among us is like Balaam and tells us it is ok to eat idol meat. And if Jesus meant us not to look at Paul in this, all Jesus had to say is what Dr. PB says is mentioned in Numbers 25:1 -- that such eating took place at "the sacrifices to their gods." But Jesus does not express such an exception. Hence Jesus does not spare Paul. Jesus is thus obviously pointing directly at Paul.

My Final Observations to Christians at Large.

Our Divine Lord Jesus was attacked by His opponents in several ways. They claimed He had a demon, He was out of his mind, that He was a sinner (e.g., the hand-washing issue, healings on Sabbath), etc.

Jesus said we are blessed by God when we are persecuted for His name sake. Because a servant is not greater than His master, we can expect nothing better than the same treatment that Jesus received. But Christ has overcome the world. So rejoice when you receive criticism like I received above!

More important, Dr. PB illustrates the modern dilemma for each Christian to make a choice. Dr. PB would keep Paul even if to do so he has to resort to insult, ridicule, and, in my view, even blasphemy (labeling as a "child's toy" what unquestionably was the plan of Salvation in the OT).

Thus, when you see Paul defended in this way, it proves dear brothers and sisters that you have a clear choice whether to follow Christ or Paul. You can see Paul's followers must resort to such tactics to keep Jesus from being the "sole teacher" above any apostle. (Matt. 23:8,10). Hence, we can clearly see the desperation of those following Paul when Christ challenges them and insists on His prerogative to be the "sole teacher." It is not a good recommendation for their Paul. Thus, let's continue to follow Jesus and His glorious and righteous teachings as well as example! We still love Dr. PB and show him respect. And we bless him for what in essence are curses, insults and ridicule upon us. Christ commanded us to love our enemies, and we have no option but to treat PB with love. Let's pray for PB as I hope he prays for me.

Shalom and the Blessings of Christ, Doug