I had tried to get a discussion forum started, but the only posts I got in two months were spam. To get the ball rolling, I posted a few comments I'd gotten in emails, which I am now putting on a new page for easy reading. I had sent out emails announcing my new website, and most of the responses were either positive or at least, "I'll check it out."
Here is a sampling of some of the positive comments.
But not everyone was so supportive. One (ex-Way) site on which I asked to have a link to my site wrote, "I do not link to sites related to the error in doctrine that is being promoted by Rev. Finnegan. Your site not only promotes the same doctrine, it also links to others who promote the error." I'm not sure which error they were referring to, but I guess they are not into open discussion. In contrast, someone else I wrote to said, "I always welcome new information to check out. It opens the door to learning and tests us, to see if the things you believe are really believable! I will definitely look into it."
A few comments were negative, such as the following:
I replied as follows:
The following was the response:
Here's another one:
I wrote back:
It is not my desire to tear down what anyone has done. If I have any "spiritual duty" it is the same as that of all Christians: to speak the truth in love. Any doctrines that I try to disprove from the Bible I do so because I was blessed to be taught things that fit with the Scriptures better. I do not do so because of any hurt I experienced.
I found it interesting that this person who stated that it is more important to express the love of God proceeded to make judgments about me that they had no knowledge of. I am not "starting my own ministry" nor do I churn out books and tapes to sell. I too do honest work for a living.
There are also many other scholars on the same academic level as Bart Ehrman who not only retained their faith, but also have recognized that the primary message of Jesus was the Kingdom of God. When Jesus was on earth before, had he been asked whether studying the Scriptures or laboring to express God's love was more important, he probably would have said "both." There wasn't a division between "doctrine" and "practice" as there is in this culture. He said that his words were the key to eternal life, but not just hearing them - we must obey them as well. As far as impacting people's lives, preaching the message that Jesus commanded us to preach is what impacts them on an eternal level.
Another (positive) comment:
I just browsed through your new site,
skimming through the reading. It looks good, I'm glad you've launched this
site. I'll bookmark it and continue checking it out in more detail as time
goes on. The more of us out there preaching the Kingdom message the more
likely we are to reach the "hungry" seekers out there. I'm putting
together a personal site called "The Coming Kingdom" which I intend
to be a place people can go to find kingdom scripture listed in logical
meaningful order in order to go to the scriptures themselves and let the scriptures
speak for themselves. This way, as my reasoning goes, we will have to rely on
God teaching us and revealing and giving us understanding by way of His
Yes, what you say makes perfect
sense. And I agree about needing to rely on God and not a man's opinion.
Since there are teachers out there, I like to see what they have to say, and
see if it fits with the Scriptures.
I received an email with several questions and observations. When I wrote back, I inserted my replies within the text.
Yes there is. First of all, God set man on the earth to have dominion over His creation (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 8:1ff). In Genesis 12 and 13, God promised to give land to Abraham, and then in chapter 35 He confirms the land promise to Jacob, and adds the promise that kings will come from his loins. Then, God knew that Israel would want a king, and so He outlined certain criteria for that king in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. It's not that He did not want them to have a king; it's that He wanted them to have a king who ruled in a godly manner, so he provided for that in the law, long before they asked for it.
But the idea of the Kingdom of God was not just in response to Israel asking for a king. It was part of God's plan all along, as can be seen by the many prophecies about it throughout the Old Testament, and into the New Testament. God's ultimate plan is for a man to rule on His behalf, and that man would be a perfect and godly man who would rule righteously and justly. The result of this righteous rule will be a world that is permeated by God's ways, His love and peace and perfection. That is what the Messianic prophecies were all about.
His task was more than just leading them. He was the Lawgiver. It was through Moses that God gave them the Law, which was part of the covenant that God made with them. That Law also included the prophecy of a coming prophet in whose mouth God would put His Words.
But He did. He told Moses to speak to them on His behalf, He said Moses would be like a god to them, and He told Moses to write all the things in The Book of The Law.
I'm not sure what the "blah blah blah" is referring to. The priesthood was part of the Law which pointed toward the ultimate sacrifice of Christ.
As I said above, if God never intended it, why are there so many prophecies throughout the Bible about a coming King who would rule a perfect Kingdom on God's behalf? And why would Jesus say that the reason he was sent was to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (Luke 4:43)?
Constantine did not affect the canon that much. It had been in development for quite a while by then. And the Gnostic scriptures were never seriously considered to be canonical by the Church.
Many Greek and Hebrew manuscripts from before the Dark Ages have been recovered, though.
The Gnostic ideas and those of Greek philosophy are what changed the true Biblical message into what the "orthodox" church now teaches. But the Canonical books of the Bible do not agree with Gnosticism, and in fact warn against it in several epistles, especially those of John.
The word "scripture" does not mean "everything that was ever written." Not everything that was written was considered Scripture.
Jesus said that the Scriptures testified of him. He quoted the Hebrew Scriptures many times. He did not think they were unimportant.
That was what VPW taught, but from what I have read there is no basis for translating the Greek as "breathed in." He breathed ON them.
I agree that the holy spirit is not something that we receive one time. I agree that it continues to work in us spiritually. But there is nothing in the Bible to support the notion that holy spirit gives us a heavenly dwelling when our bodies fail to support us. When our bodies fail, we die, which the Bible calls falling asleep. We remain asleep until the resurrection when Christ returns.
God can teach someone things through His spirit, in conjunction with the Scriptures. That is why we are exhorted to test every spirit, and to prove all things, holding fast to what is good. However, learning something JUST through meditation opens up the possibility of being mistaken and even deceived.
I don't know much about Kabballah, but I do know that it is not based on a simple reading of the Scriptures, and that also leads to the possibility of deception.
Where does this translation come from?
Jesus never suggested that the soul/spirit goes on to live without the body. This idea comes from Greek philosophy, not from the Hebrew Scriptures. He believed the same thing that the Prophets wrote - that those who die are asleep - i.e. unconscious, until they are awakened at the resurrection.
I don't know where that translation comes from, but in any case, even if it didn't say it here, there are many other Scriptures that testify to the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and there were eyewitnesses who saw him alive after he had died. This is what they preached.
I don't blame you for dumping everything you learned in The Way. However, it is so easy to get misled by the many ways of looking at things, that there has to be a standard. God wants us to come to Him and know Him and His Son. It makes more sense that He would keep it simple. He would not make it so complicated and esoteric that you can't understand it from the simple testimony of eyewitnesses.
There are a lot of skeptics who believe that the New Testament was not written by eyewitnesses, but I would recommend looking into some of the apologetics web sites who deal with that sort of thing. I don't agree with everything they conclude regarding doctrine, but they do a good job of showing that the Bible as we know it is trustworthy. One of the better ones is The Christian Think Tank (http://www.christian-thinktank.com) by Glenn Miller (not the bandleader!). Another is Tekton Apologetics Ministries (http://www.tektonics.org) by James Patrick Holding.
I would exhort you to look into the proofs of why the Bible is a reliable standard, in spite of the unreliability of some so-called "Biblical research." I find that a simple reading of the Scriptures without pre-conceived notions leads to an understanding of God's plan for mankind. I pray that you will look into this.
I received the following in an email. I provided short answers to the questions here, with links to where on my website I deal with it in more detail.
This is a frequently misquoted passage. II Cor. 5:8 actually does not say that to be absent from the body IS to be present with the Lord. It says that Paul had a DESIRE TO BE absent from the body AND present with the Lord. But he indicates in other scriptures that he knows he will be with the Lord at the Return.
The point of the parable was not to teach what happens after death. Jesus used a story to make the point that EVEN IF one returned from the dead, some would not believe. It could not be teaching consciousness after death, as that would contradict the many Scriptures that say that the dead are unconscious.
This phrase occurs six times in Matthew (8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30) and once in Luke (13:2) and refers to the reaction of those who come to the realization that they will not be in the Kingdom of God (at Christ's return). But nowhere does it say that the weeping and gnashing of teeth happens in the grave, nor does it say that it will continue for all eternity.
Revelation 20:6 says that they which have part in the first resurrection "shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Where are Jesus and the saints going to reign from during those thousand years? Isaiah 2:1-4, Jeremiah 17:25, and Micah 4:1-3 tell us that the throne and center of government and worship will be in Jerusalem.
I hope this helps. Keep on seeking the truth!
I received the following in an email:
I got a response to the above email, and inserted my replies into the text.
I agree. We can't just go by our experiences, as convincing as they may seem, since Jesus himself and several epistles warned against convincing deceptions.
I have thought about that too. I think it is one of the "other gospels" but there may be others too.
I have heard a lot about his book, but I have not yet had a chance to read it. I hope to soon though.
[NOTE: These answers were written not long after starting this website. I have since done more in-depth study on the subject, the results of which can be seen in the set of articles under the title Speaking in Tongues.]
Regarding the "Once Saved Always Saved" page, I received the following questions: