Voice of God Recordings - Because He Said So - Part 3:
In the newsletter entitled "Because He Said So" published by Voice of God Recordings in an attempt to convince the cult followers to ignore the fundamental issues in their published materials, the second half of the second article is the most disturbing. After making an attempt to convince the cult followers that they cannot trust their Bibles, (but they still must believe them BECAUSE THEY SAY SO), Voice of God Recordings actually .. challenges .. their followers!
In the very center of the article, after questioning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the calling of His disciples, the author gives the reader this challenge: SEE FOR YOURSELF! THE BIBLE CONTRADICTS ITSELF! The article reads, "We encourage you to read Matthew 4, Mark 1, and John 1:28-43 and then try to answer these questions." And then proceeds into what they allege are contradictions found in scripture.
But then, rather than offer answers to the readers, Voice of God Recordings stresses the point that there ARE errors in the Bible, and you MUST employ blind faith to believe. The author writes, "Are you going to forsake the entire Bible and your Christianity because you can't make the Gospels logically agree? Or, will you simply have faith that the Bible is written through the Divine inspiration of God, exactly the way He wanted it?"
As we pointed out in our previous example, normal (not programmed) Christians who are armed with an understanding of Scripture and history of the Bible Canon do not waver in faith when atheists make the same arguments Voice of God Recordings made in this publication. We've previously mentioned those who believe in Scriptural Inerrancy, the stance most cult ministers took before the public became aware of the fundamental issues with the materials published by Voice of God Recordings. And we've mentioned other views of scripture outside of Scriptural Inerrancy, specifically those who study the texts and are aware of their genre, history, and variances in translation. Normal (not programmed) Christians are prepared to give a defense of their beliefs -- not to "only believe" BECAUSE WE SAY SO. And rightfully so:
"Honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15
Christians who were not influenced by the programming and indoctrination of this religious cult would be a bit surprised that this article asks the reader to believe that there are errors in their Bibles , and that they are to believe this "book of errors" with no defense of the faith. It is the direct opposite of 1 Peter 3:15, and a dangerous road to trod. History has horrific examples of men who ask their followers to accept their doctrines by blind faith, some of which slaughtered their entire congregations such as Jim Jones. Ironically, William Branham started Jones' career in Indianapolis, and the two toured the nation in the "Divine Healing" ministry.
Again, we will not debate the multiple ways in which normal (not programmed) Christians defend the faith by offering answers to these types of questions, or try to help you decide which method is better than others. For this discussion, we will explain what those who believe in Scriptural Inerrancy would say in defense to Voice of God Recordings' deceptive tactics to support the fundamental issues with their printed material. It seems appropriate, because before this publication, most cult pastors and even Voice of God Recordings leaders proclaimed the same stance. This appears to have changed when the public became aware that they were advertising their printed material with fictional stories and false claims.
In this section of the article, Voice of God Recordings makes the claim that Matthew 4, Mark 1, and John 1 all contradict each other with regards to the timing of Simon and Andrew deciding to follow Christ. Most who believe in Scriptural Inerrancy would answer the author's allegations by pointing them to the Temptation of Christ. Matthew and Mark do not put the journey to Galilee immediately after the temptation in the wilderness. They explicitly say it happened after John was cast into prison. John's Gospel is the only one describing the intermediate period. It appears that after the temptation in the desert Jesus went back to the place where John the Baptist baptized, and the collection of stories are simply not in order.
That the collection of stories in the Gospels are not in chronological order is a shocking new discovery to those who study the Bible only through William Branham's perspective. In fact, had the author of the article published by Voice of God Recordings spent even a little time studying the aspects of Scripture that are "common knowledge," he or she would be aware that the Gospel of The Gospels of Mark and Matthew are arranged thematically, while the Gospel of Luke is arranged chronologically. Written to a Jewish audience, thematic arrangement was more common than the chronological arrangement expected by Gentiles. John's Gospel is also not arranged chronologically, but in an arrangement that expresses the deity of Christ.
Those who do not follow the Scriptural Inerrancy belief system are also aware of this issue and prepared to have a defense to both atheists and those like Voice of God Recordings who would ask their followers to believe their Bibles through blind faith alone. They are aware that the Gospels are not in chronological order, but they are also aware that the Gospels are comprised of both written and oral tradition. Some stories contained in the Gospels were handed down from the original writings, while some passages of scripture were added through memories of the event discussed by the early Christians. Similar to Voice of God Recordings many testimonies reverencing William Branham's life and times, the early Christians reverenced the life and times of Christ.
Although some scholars disagree, many Bible scholars date the earliest manuscripts of the Gospels to:
Mark: 66-70 AD
Matthew: 80-90 AD
Luke: 80-90 AD
John: 200 AD
Some passages contained in the Gospels came even later, such the ending of the book of Mark. The "snake handling" verses often referenced by William Branham are believed to have been written between 300 and 400 AD and are not found in the original manuscripts.
So to a Christian who believes the Bible can be Divinely inspired without accepting the doctrine of Scriptural Inerrancy, the order of passages are not important so much as the Divinely inspired content. The argument the author makes in the article, questioning the Bible because of the order of events differing from book to book, is of no value. They were not intended to be in chronological order, nor should they be understood as such.
The most ridiculous aspect of this section of the newsletter is the idea that we can accept the fundamental issues with some of the fictional stories William Branham presented to his following because of the lack of understanding of the structure of the Bible. Even if the Gospels were written chronologically, and they all differed greatly, they were the testimonies of four individual men about an event they remembered from the past. And beyond that, it was an event that they themselves did not witness -- they were not the women at the tomb and they were neither Simon or Andrew. These were testimonies given to them second-hand, which they knew to be true, and they included in their books testifying of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Like the opening statements of the newsletter, this is a subtle deception similar to the Serpent deceiving Eve through subtle words. And it is an important point that must be made as they proceed through the articles that come later in the newsletter. If you are to believe that William Branham can be both in Houston, Texas and the mountains of Arizona at the exact same time, you must believe that the chronology of the Bible is in error. Therefore, Voice of God Recordings must emphasize what they allege as error, and ask cult ministers to do the same.
Voice of God Recordings, Catch The Vision Update, 2012 Volume 2, "Because He Said So"