196 thoughts on “How Doctrine Gets Made”

    1. Wow, Darrell, many thanks for sharing only 2:21!

      I briefly looked at lesson 3 where this brilliant scholar begins to expound on the number “two” beginning in Genesis 2:22! They even assign inspiration to the chapter and verse assignments!

      Heresy.

      1. Assigning inspiration to chapter and verse numbers makes as much sense as assigning significance to word order in the English translation (not in the Hebrew), which this guy and many other Bible numerologists do– they tell you the meaning of something being the fifth word, the seventh word, and so on.

        1. Not to mention any significance of the number of letters in a word- which in Hebrew or Greek are very unlikely to be the same as in English…

        2. Ah, but you all forget that this god looked down the corridors of time and saw that the King James translators would set out to translate the Scriptures into English, so we know that their god re-inspired the English version so the Greek/Hebrew word, letter count wouldn’t really matter.

        3. After all, it turns out God had made mistakes in the autographs. They weren’t perfect, so He had to try again with the KJV. “Got that word sequence wrong last time …. Whatever was I thinking putting Scriptures in Hebrew and Greek?”

          Something on the order of the creation of man. His creation of Adam wasn’t perfect, so he had to try again. After Adam’s dates with a few snakes, an elephant, and a crocodile went poorly, he finally made woman to be the companion.

          Then Adam really felt inferior!

  1. So much win on their website:

    For purposes of identification, HOLY HILLS BAPTIST CHURCH shall be known as a Fundamental, Independent, Bible-believing, Baptist Church. We are Fundamental because we hold to the literal interpretation of the Scriptures πŸ™„ ; we are Independent because we are self-governing and self-supporting 😯 , and are not subject to any outside authority, governmental or ecclesiastical; we are Bible-believing because we accept only the Authorized King James Version of the Scriptures as the word of God for the English-speaking people πŸ‘Ώ ; we are Baptist because we hold to the historic positions and distinctive doctrines that distinguish us from both Protestantism & Catholicism. πŸ˜‰

    1. So they state that they believe in the literal interpretation of Scripture, but then make up meanings for numbers and count the number of words in a translation and assign meaning to that.

      Doublespeak.

      1. It’s pretty hard to see how you can say that every word has a secret meaning while also claiming that you hold to the literal meaning of every verse.

        1. It could be worse. Bill Gothard and ATI got on this kick for a while that every verse has SEVEN sacred and hidden meanings. I forget now what all the “layers” were, but it was stuff like, the Literal Meaning, the Meaning for the Church, the Meaning for the Home, etc., etc.

        2. @Deacon’s Son: you mean to tell me that Gothard got hold of some Kabbalah? That’s practically straight pardes!

        3. ATI and Kabbalah have more in common than some might think. Once I started studying philosophy in undergrad, I began to realize just how many “outside” ideas had influenced Bill Gothard’s thinking. Of course, we were told that studying all such “worldly thinking” was evil. Or maybe he just didn’t want us to know where he got his ideas.

      2. When desperate to avoid the topic of how far you’ve strayed from God’s calling & the clear teaching of scripture, numerology & other rabbit trails/divinations make for great distractions & ways to keep your conscience silent. πŸ™‚

  2. Well, for one, he’s not wearing a tie, AND he’s wearing a white shirt. So, he gets discredited right there. HAYMEN!

    Other than that…. Um, what?

    Grant it, I have a degree from a Fundy U, so my understanding of theology is very limited, to say the least, but… wasn’t the KJV translated? And, in any translation, don’t words get moved around?

    SOOOO, am I the only one that thinks that calling significance of the placement of words in a translation of a copy of a text a bit… much?

      1. LOL. There’s a famous court reporter typo that makes the rounds in the legal profession from time to time. A judge in Florida was chewing out an attorney for not wearing a tie. But somehow it got transcribed as not wearing a shirt. So the transcript looks something like this: “I am so sick of you lawyers coming in here not wearing shirts!!”

    1. “Grant it, I have a degree from a Fundy U, so my understanding of theology is very limited”

      SCORE!

      I have a degree from Fundy U to and I have learned more about the Bible studying it on my own than I ever did in Bible college.

      I believe preaching and teaching can be revolutionized if preachers take an extra 20 minutes to research the historical and grammatical context.

  3. *Gasp* I just looked up this verse in the ESV. The 5th word is “dead” but the 15TH word is “by” – showing that without the KJV, there is no grace and hope, only death and going “by-by.”

    Next up, phrenology.

  4. Okay, I have a question. I have NEVER understood where the idea that “five is the number of grace” comes from. Our pastor used to say that ALL THE TIME as a random non sequitur interjection, when he couldn’t think of something else to say. Anyone got anything???

      1. Heh… not to mention that “Grace” has five letters, and “by GRACE ye are saved” in in the FIFTH book that Paul wrote. Ephesians is the grace book…

        See how easy nuttiness is?

        1. Of course, in Hebrew Χ—Φ΅ΧŸ has only two letters, although various affixes can be added to it.
          But I guess the KJV-worshippers assume that God anticipated the invention of English a millenium or so after the Hebrew Bible was written, and its eventual translation to Modern English.

      1. I learned on Schoolhouse Rock that three is the magic number.

        My sister had a Magic 8 Ball. The magic of numbers is that you can take any number and do magic with it.

        I think 60 is a magic number.

        1. The Sumerians assumed that 60 was the most perfect number, because it has so many factors: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 30. That’s especially remarkable when you consider that 59 and 61, the numbers before and after 60, are both prime numbers.
          It’s from them that we get an hour with 60 minutes, each of which have 60 seconds, and 360 (6 x 60) degrees in a circle.
          This thinking also influenced the Classical notion that a year has 360 days, even though a careful count gives you a little over 365 days. 365.2425 just isn’t as cool a number as 360.

        2. Of course, there’s 1.618…, the “golden ratio,” which in some sense is sort of a perfect number.

        3. Yes, BG, I knew that about the Sumerians. The desert folks of SWA had a lot of free time, much to my kid’s dismay, for someone in that neck of the woods invented algebra. If you believe that the Garden of Eden was somewhere in that neighborhood the contrast of paradise and algebra is pretty stark.

  5. Once again solidifying my belief that the IFB is becoming a cult of Bible-worship. And, for what it’s worth, I bet the same dude that boldly wrote “NUMEROLOGY” on the chalkboard was burning Harry Potter novels back in the 2000s for containing the same “dark art.”

    Numerology is divination. Using the King James god for divination doesn’t make it any less a part of the occult or superstition.

    1. Yeah, I’m not so quick to condemn dopes for falling for numerology, but you’d be hard pressed to find it described as anything but vile & wicked in the Bible. It’s kind of mind blowing to see it proudly written on the chalk board as something we’re going proclaim!

      1. Well, from my perspective, numerology is an attempt to find secret messages or meanings based on numbers found in text (either literal numbers or numbers of words, like the speaker does here). Which begs the question, as a humorist once pointed out when poking fun at the “Bible Code,” why can’t you do this with ANY text, e.g., a ketchup label?? I think what makes this divination is that it requires the selection of a “special” text, whose numbers will, a fortiori, have some “special” power to communicate truth, and then requires some pretty tricky mental gymnastics to get to any sort of intelligible statement. Bottom line, you can make the special text say anything you want it to say. Which, incidentally, I think is part of why the Scriptures condemn this sort of thing.

        1. Yeah, re: the Bible Code, I recall some mathematicians pointing out that by applying the algorithm over and over, you could take any sufficiently long text, and get whatever message you want. And then doing just that with other long texts, such as War and Peace, or the Starr Report, or some random budget report, etc. Instant spooky prophecy!

      1. Actually, I found it interesting that he DIDN’T use his little speech (at least in the clip we saw) to put in a plug for the KJV. He seems to believe in the possibility of biblical numerology separate and apart from any KJV-only beliefs he might have.

  6. Very scholarly indeed.

    I pulled out my handy-dandy Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (Greek New Testament) and found the following:

    1. Death is the fourth word.
    2. Grace is the tenth word if you count the articles (eighth if you don’t).

    But, of course, since the Authorized King James Version was used to translate the Word of God into Greek (Textus Receptus) my efforts are moot.

    B.R.O.

    1. Numberology (our scholar likes this better…he said so himself)

      lesson 1:

      Today is the 2nd of December.

      Two is the number of division.

      December is the 12th month.

      12 is the number of governmental perfection.

      Therefore, December 2nd is the day that a divided government will get together to create a budget that will be ratified in both houses on January 8th, because January is the 1st (number for unity) and the 8th is the day (number) of new beginnings!

      Rejoice sceptics!

    2. Of course this is scholarly, one of the scholars/faculty has a

      Bachelor of Bible Degree from Dyersburg Bible Institute, a Master of Theology & Doctor of Theology from Slidell Baptist Seminary in Slidell, Louisiana. He also holds a Doctor of Ministries from Open Bible College in Millbrook, AL.

      http://www.wtbi.info/#!faculty/ch4b

      1. And their motto:

        “We believe that the Lord has led us to do what we do. And that is to teach the Word of God to anybody with a [gullible] spirit.”

  7. I have a cousin who once tried to convince me that you could determine what was right and what was wrong if you did enough math. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what he was talking about or how that was possible, and he couldn’t explain it to me. Now it dawns on me that this cousin goes to an IFB church where they teach this kind of nonsense. Got it.

    1. Your cousin is a statistician? 😎

      I bet he meant “arithmetic manipulations of small integers.” Yeah, that’s the kind of hokum that people use to manipulate others. I get spam about the “Biblical money code,” which is pretty much the same shill. Next they’ll be telling us about the validity of clutch hitting.

  8. And no one in the class recognizes that there is a serious problem with pastors who get red-faced in discussions of the meaning of a number in the Bible, who say, “You have to be stupid if you think it’s anything else”?

    1. Pastors are not to get easily angry or be quarrelsome.
    (The KJV uses archaic language to make this point in 1 Tim. 3:3 – “no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous.” The ISV says, “He must not drink excessively or be a violent person, but instead be gentle. He must not be argumentative or love money.”)

    2. Christians are to be careful in what they say.
    (“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19.)

    3. Christians are not to argue about pointless things.
    (“But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain” Titus 3:9.)

    Pastors who can’t handle someone disagreeing with them about the meaning of the number 5 OUGHT NOT TO BE IN THE PASTORATE.

    1. But we know that the Fundie system enables this crap. It attracts and promotes these self-styled, self-CALLEDβ„’, sanctimonious types to its pulpits.
      The anti-intellectual vacuum created by their separatism is filled with this junk.

      May God have mercy on them.

  9. The number 5 means BOTH “grace” AND “death”? Oh, my fellow ex-fundies, we know what THAT means: this man is a COMPROMISER!!!

    He’s trying to placate both sides by not committing to either one. Shame!

    1. In Chinese culture, the number 4 is associated with death, because the Mandarin words for “four” and “death” are homophones. It’s a serious faux pas to give a Chinese person four of anything.
      On the other hand, 8 is considered a very lucky number, because the words for “eight” and “wealth” sound alike. Some Chinese people will pay large sums of money to get license plates or phone numbers with “8s” in them.

  10. I also got interested in numerology because of a number. That number is 69. It is a special number God has ordained to show us when and were to love. 😎

    In my 1611 AV KJV, it is the number of love. In the 69th verse of Song of Solomon (5:8 which interestingly enough can add up to 69: 8×8+5), it says that Solomon is sick of love, so sick he needs it.

    In Leviticus, (the 69th book if you keep counting and go back to the beginning) in the 15th (6+9) chapter, it shows how to love wrong. In 16-17 (1+6+1+7=15=6+9) it shows the evil of a man producing “seed of copulation” and how it makes him unclean.

    Finally, when God commanded Adam and Eve, and told them to be fruitful and multiply, the word count in those two verses is 68. But once you consider sex is between not just a man and a woman, but God too, you get that one more from God to make 69!

    The numerology of 69 is amazing isn’t it??? πŸ˜†

  11. What is wrong with this picture? You are first taking a letter from Paul, artificially breaking it into chapters and verses, artificially translating it into a language that neither Paul nor Jesus spoke, then you are putting significance into the number five.

    Can’t find enough Majesty in God Himself, that you need to make up this garbage?

  12. Why is so much of the teaching we hear so theologically bankrupt? It seams like so many churches order their “church in a box” (i.e. SS material, music, guest preachers)from their favorite Fundy U. I believe a lot of churches have delegated their responsibility to “come and reason together” to a handfull of “Doctors”. πŸ™

    1. Right on!

      The larger problem is that only one moG is allowed to teach. All others must not teach on their own, but use a moG-approved cirriculum since they don’t have the lofty Fundy U degree and the associated clergy certificate of higher Christianity.

      Perhaps the not coming and resoning together is a sign of clergy control. Can you imagine trying to reason and question the teaching of a modern fundy moG? You’d be escorted out of the sacred building by the moG appointed ushers (bouncers)!

      1. Yeah their isn’t too much room for opposing views in SS. What bothers me is the handlful of Fundy U presidents (i.e. Doctors) that, unwittingly or not, control what is getting taught in a lot of churches and relieving a lot of pastors of their duty to dig into the scriptures, and feed their flock. There are a lot of spitirtually malnourished people in our churches.

        1. and “spiritually”. Looks like I picked a bad week to give up sniffing glue. πŸ˜›

  13. I can just hear him now:

    “And my dawtter was the fifth dawtter born in a family of seventeen chuldren and we named her ‘Grace’. Child number 17, a boy was jest birthed. We done named him ‘Trojan’.”

  14. That video right there is why I can’t take fundamentalists seriously. Numerology is pure unadulterated hokum, sad thing is, most of the fundi “theology” is based off equally crazy and flimsy “evidence”. I have heard conclusions reached (followed by a hearty chorus of “eymen brother”) that would boggle the mind, often based from a poor understanding of “King James English”. Welcome to the new American Dark Ages, a time filled with superstition, paranoia and warring religious factions.

    1. That Billy Sunday motif on the logo always appears to me like a man trying to hurl a Bible into a hole in the ground. Does this have some hidden meaning, too?

      As a person who uses numbers to design products which safely hurl millions of precious human beings inside a tube through the air at 567 mph, it pains me to see numbers used to hurl the minds of even just a few people into intellectual oblivion.

      1. 567 mph, you say?!?

        So, with 5 being the number of grace/death, 6 being the number of man, & 7 representing perfection, that means God’s grace overwhelms death when men fly through the air if the calculations are perfect.

        Hey, this num(b)erology stuff is sooooo accurate, it’s spooky! 😯

  15. I don’t know why y’all are such naysayers! This is biblical hermeneutics at its best.

    See, 5 stands for death. And 5 stands for grace. So, anytime you see the number 5 associated with bad things, I was right. And anytime you see the number 5 associated with good things, I was right.

    5 foolish virgins. 5 wise virgins. See? See it? I’m right.

    1. Yep. My former-former-former-fundy CEO tried to get me to read some “biblical” number book back in the late 90’s. Can’t recall the title.

      He was a good guy, but against higher education, Christian or otherwise.

      Ah, freedom!

      B.R.O.

    1. Apathetic, but it seems plausible. Let’s take your comment as an example.

      The 5th word is “number.”

      The 10th word (aka two-fives) is “signifies.”

      The 15th word (aka five-five-fives) is “four.”

      Uh-oh. Hold on just a minute while I recalculate. πŸ˜†

      1. No no no no, George!! 4 it is writ N that 4, I said, 4,is 4 ever 2 B considered equiv A lent 2 5, NOT 5 is 4 ever 2 B considered equiv A lent 2 5! Not, and I repeat, NOT!!! 5 equiv A lent 2 5!!!

      1. BG seems to grasp what the writer, Spirit & text are communicating to the reader/hearer. 5 apparently means an ordinal number between 4 & 6. It would seem that if you are interested in what the number 5 in the Bible means, you should hold out your hand, and count the fingers/thumb on it, and VOILΓ€!

  16. This may’ve been mentioned already, but the 5th word in Eph. 2:5 is actually τοῖς, the Greek word for “the”. The 15th word is… Well shucks, there ain’t a 15th word.

    Oh wait, I forgot that the KJV improved on the original Greek version. Silly me.

  17. The bad thing about this is NOT the numerology.

    The Bad Thing is that this really is how most doctrine is made.

    You see, Baptists, along with a whole slew of other Protestant denominations have been told they don’t need to consult the Church Fathers or to ask what the ancient teachings about this passage or that one were.

    Nor are they told to find the meaning in context. To understand Scripture one should read it much like one reads something else for instruction and value. The message is important.

    But these ignorant scholars, some of them even trained to read Greek and Hebrew, focus on individual words, taken outside the contextual whole. They find different verses which contain similar words. The more studious try to limit themselves to the same word in the original passages regardless of how it is translated. The less studious do not care so much. But both have committed a grave error.

    It is not the individual words that have value. It is the message as a whole. God does not speak esoterically. His Message has always been plain, open, and readily understood. Even when the message was Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin God provided His Prophet to declare the plain meaning.

    Pick a doctrine. Pick any you like. Big, little … it doesn’t matter. You will find it starts with a verse here, jumps to a verse in an entirely different context. It usually strings several small passages or even snippets of verses which by themselves actually provide no meaning. They wrap it up with oratory and “this is the Word of God speaking” and present you with a doctrine out of whole cloth.

    There really are very few actual “doctrines” found in Scripture. Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, was buried, rose again, ascended into heaven and is seated at God the Father’s Right Hand.

    But there is no doctrine on television or entertainment. There is no doctrine on modesty. Sure, we are told to be modest, but modesty is largely culturally defined.

    There is no doctrine of Inerrancy. There is a doctrine of Inspiration, but it is fairly thin and allows for a variety of understandings. One cannot using Scripture in Context actually pin down inspiration to a particular and precise mode of transmission.

    Most of the “doctrines” you and I believe were created out of whole cloth in the manner of the video. Sure, they were created by people much more persuasive. Imagine Doctor Bob Wood making the point with those passages. He can rattle off a dozen verse snippets in less than a minute.

    The Bible should not be used that way. The people to whom it was given did not dissect it. They ingested the message, the plain message. They did not go looking for hidden gold. God’s message was up front, available to all.

    1. Very thought provoking and quite a bit of truth in there. I do agree that there are some doctrines that have probably a very shallow leg to stand on. Nevertheless they are present in Scripture. But certainly some doctrines (Numerology, Modesty, Soul-Winning) were created by piecemealing Scripture.

      1. Oh there are a lot of topics present in Scripture. But the presence of a topic in Scripture does not a doctrine make.

        The problem is that we so much want our faith to have certainty that we create hard-and-fast doctrines wherever we imagine something to be.

        Faith, however, is about dealing with uncertainties, handling the not knowing. It isn’t about creating certainty. It is about trusting God when the way is unclear, the direction to go uncertain, and the future unknown. Faith relies on promises, not understanding how or when they will be fulfilled.

  18. Oh, and sorry for my long-winded messages.

    You see, I am a mathematics professor. I have other specialties as well, and, uh, a penchant for detail. My writing style is unique. I don’t think I have seen other writers use quite the style I have — although if you know of another author using this style I would like to be told where to see it!

    At any rate, even in a small explanation such as this I tend to use a lot of words. It is who I am. I doubt I could change much if my life depended on it.

    Regards,

      1. I’ve heard that one. I don’t think of myself as an intellectual. I just write conversationally, as I would talk to my students in the classroom.

        Most of them seem to appreciate it.

        I think of it more as story-telling rather than simply conveying information.

        1. rtgmath:

          I probably should have provided commentary to Eisenhower’s quote.

          Coming from the world of higher education myself, this has become one of my favorite and oft quoted quotes and was not meant to be personal regarding your extended comments on using “a lot of words!”

          It seemed to fit your “apology” and, therefore, I would like to grant you permission to use this non-copyrighted quotation which is entirely of public domain as long as you give the good general and former president credit.

          B.R.O.

    1. I detect a smattering of George Orwell in your writing. I do appreciate the thoughts that you communicated in your posts. I am only now coming to realize the truth in what you said, in my own walk with the Lord. Thanks again.

  19. I find it ironic that often when numbers are clearly used symbolically (like the 144,000 in Revelation) they choose to take it literally.

    1. When I look at this theological maladroit sweating over his numbers, the thing that jumps out at me is that there is a system of symbolic number use in Scripture, but he is Not Getting It. This system was in use for centuries as writers of more recent books that became part of the Bible mined the earlier books for imagery. Here’s a reference: http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Numbers.htm

      Using this system, it’s easy to decode, for example, 144,000:

      12 is the number of human completion, or as some sources put it, good government: everybody present and accounted for and doing what they should. Multiplying a thing by itself generally means “really, we mean it.” So if you multiply 12 by itself to get 144, you get the number that describes a superlative group of human beings. Meanwhile, 10 is the number of completion and also the basis for counting. Multiply 10x10x10 and you get 1,000, which metaphorically means something like “every last one of them” and also “a great big bunch.” So, 144,000 can be read as “all of the best examples of humanity, a very great number, conducting their lives in harmonious righteousness.”

      Exercise for the reader: Using the system described on the linked page, what is Jesus saying when He specifies “70 times 7” as the limits of forgiveness?

      BTW, five appears to have no assigned symbolic value in the scriptural system.

      1. Yeah I basically agree. I think 12 in Revelation is the number for the people of God: 12 tribes and 12 apostles so 12×12=144. 1000 just represents a multitude so 144,000 is symbolic for the people of God. New Jerusalem has 12 gates and 12 foundations with names of 12 tribes and 12 apostles on it in a similar fashion.

  20. So, they would rather stick by the KJV, written for people in a time long ago, and look for hidden meanings through numerology, than read a version of the bible that was translated for time in which we live and can be easily understood?!

      1. I’ve heard that too — people scolded for asking why. But Jesus Himself cried out, “Why have you forsake me?” on the cross. And since He never sinned, asking “why” can’t be wrong.

        It’s just that in faith we sometimes have to accept that we might not get an answer to our question or that our answer is just God Himself (as in the answer God gave to Job).

  21. This video gives new depths of meaning to the word “pointless”. Truly, this is inbelievable. Who could sit through more than about thirty seconds of this and not either; fall asleep out of disinterest; walk out from disgust; sue the “college” for fraud; or, my personal preference, decapitate the professor to see if there really is something inside that lump of fat sitting on top of his shoulders.
    If the purpose of this lecture is to disclose the greater mysteries of God I challenge anyone to come up with something more unlikely to do so.

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