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Monday, 8 December 2014

Love Thy Neighbour


Bruce Hales (self professed Man of God) and worldwide leader of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church suggests in his own printed ministry that his followers ought to develop an utter hatred of 'the world'!

Is this the utterance of a Christian leader or an unChristlike megalomaniacal businessman and flock fleecer?



27 comments:

  1. The biblical command to love your neighbour as yourself has always been inclusive.

    After the decree of Cyrus the Great in 538 BC some of the deported people of Israel decided to return to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon. These returnees valued the documents which we know as the Torah, the Pentateuch, which included a Leviticus scroll where in our chapter 19:18 this command first occurs. (See Nehemiah 8:1-12.)

    We know that the returning priest-scribe Ezra took a rather exclusive view and expressed his concern about the mixed marriages that were occurring between returnees and the peoples of the lands - Israelites who lived in the country areas away from Jerusalem and who had not been exiled - and neighbouring Canaanites. (See Ezra 9:1-4.) The command to love your neighbour as yourself, however, required them to treat their fellow rural Israelites as one with them, “as yourself”. People returning from Babylon together with Israelites who had remained in the land were followers of the same God, and they were to love each other without erecting barriers between themselves.

    Crucially and challengingly, the command to love was extended to outsiders as well: “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34.) The Torah-taught people of Israel were to love their own and the outsider equally.

    Jesus had very interesting things to say about this commandment - see Mark’s Gospel 12:28-34 and Matthew 5:43-48, as well as the story he told about a merciful Samaritan, which is recorded in Luke 10:25-37.

    In the last letter we have from the apostle Paul he comments clearly on the Leviticus command - see Romans 12:8-10. According to Paul, all the commandments were “summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

    Love that is inclusive of fellow-believers, the outsider and your enemy meets all the social requirements of God’s law.

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  2. So, does it therefore follow that in their doctrine of separation and considering themselves the pure assembly, or the one true church, the PBCC are without the law and therefore not pleasing to God?

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    1. The priestly authors of Leviticus introduced our chapter 19, in the so-called 'Holiness Code' section of their scroll, with the resounding words, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy" (19:2); and they proceed to deal with aspects of both ritual and moral law for the people of Judean Israel under that banner headline.

      It's important to differentiate between the ritual and moral aspects of the law as the scribes laid them down in the mid first millennium BC. The ritual law was concerned with the cultic observances of the people - think of the layout and practices of the Tabernacle and the Jerusalem Temple - and that involved provision for sacrifice, the removal of impurity and a degree of separation - for example, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year. The moral law, though, embraced everyone in their ordinary day-to-day domestic and social lives.

      In the terms of Leviticus, Jesus and the apostle Paul, it is an infringement of God's moral law and therefore a defiance of God's holiness not to love your fellow believer, your outsider neighbour, the stranger in your midst and (according to Jesus) your enemy "as yourself". Love must be inclusive.

      It has long seemed to me that in emphasising separation the PBCC/Exclusive Brethren confuse the requirements of God's moral law with the demands set down for the ritual practices of the Iron Age Judean-Israelite cult. That is why everyone who is outside this group of Exclusive Brethren cannot be loved inclusively.

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    2. And as well as the ritual and moral laws, some of the laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are best described as public health regulations. It is important to recognise these too, and not apply them ignorantly, as some sects do.

      There were many laws about what you may and may not eat, which were probably intended to prevent the diseases transmitted by some food sources. Today’s hazards in various foods are somewhat different, and our secular laws are a better guide. Treating a new mother as unclean (Leviticus 12) may have prevented transmission of puerperal fever, but modern practices can achieve that better and more easily.

      Burying human waste (Deuteronomy 22:13) would help to prevent the spread of diseases like dysentery and cholera, and the many verses about avoiding contact with a dead body could have prevented spread of haemorrhagic fevers and other diseases.

      The public health regulations in Leviticus 13-15 were about preventing the spread of some unknown disease that the KJV calls leprosy, which was altogether different from the disease that we call leprosy today. Jim Taylor’s misuse of these chapters as an excuse for “shutting up” was probably based not on his ignorance, but on a perverse desire to control people and punish dissenters. If his teachings had been rationally or morally or scripturally defensible, he would not have needed to suppress dissent in that way.

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  3. John 3:16 Darby Translation

    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.

    The Greek word for world used is 'κόσμον' - also translated as 'cosmos' - a pretty inclusive location of where God shows His love! So, if He loves the world, I'll try to do the same. Warts and all.

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  4. The title of this blog quotes the PBCC Exclusive Brethrens self appointed ‘minister of the lord in the recovery’ (yes, that’s his title recorded in the UK Charity Commission report of Jan 14 ! ), as saying “ought to develop an utter hatred of 'the world'”

    Yet the God of the bible ‘loved the world’ !. Read the bible in John 3 v16

    The PBCC Exclusive Brethren are taught that everything and everyone ‘outside’ of their group is “In the World” “Worldly” and that any such thing or person is therefore defiling and not fit to be associated with. Bruce Hales himself has said that talking to persons “in the world” (those not in our group) “gives a sense of defilement” !

    Yet this “world” which the Exclusive Brethren PBCC so despises, contains a multitude of different types of people and things, some of these might be –

    a. All other Christians bought by the blood of Christ, who PBCC EB refuse to worship, fellowship or have communion with, nor even eat or drink with

    b. Any non members which PBCC EB separate from and refuse to eat or drink with

    c. The poor & needy, the widowed, the fatherless, the orphans, the homeless etc

    d. The rich and wealthy

    e. The ones who live a moral life and do good to others and treat others as they would like to be treated

    f. The evil, the immoral, the wicked, the adulterer, the murderer, the liar, the deceiver

    g. Culture, art, sport, tv, radio, education, cinema, books, technology

    Yet,

    The Exclusive Brethren PBCC, treat all of these things & persons the same and separate from ALL of them declaring them ALL to be “worldly” and therefore iniquitous to be withdrawn from and kept separate from under their doctrine of separation from evil.

    The PBCC Exclusive Brethren therefore clearly do not exercise spiritual discernment, nor do they exercise spiritual understanding, biblical sensibility, common sense, logic, nor most important of all, love.

    The only groups that operate in such a manner are the sectarian cults.

    No real genuine Christian Church acts in the way described above, because it is so abhorrent and contrary to the Christian faith as taught in the Holy Bible, Gods Word.

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    1. Simon Peter, a good Jewish boy brought up under the Mosaic law would not have dreamed of entering the house and eating with gentile Cornelius but in Acts 10 he learned a great lesson from God: "what God has cleansed do not make common or unclean."

      Any true believing Christian regardless of their worship affiliation or lifestyle is "clean" in God's sight. So for the EB/PBCC to even imply that such people are "defiling" is an insult to God and the work of Christ on the cross.

      When BDH says he senses defilement when speaking to someone out side the EB, how does he know whether or not that person is a believer?

      What would he do if a true Christian shared openly about his faith to BDH? I think it would put him on the spot, and immediately find fault.

      So sad - just like the Pharisees (the word means "separate ones".)

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  5. 16:31 Think you can tell God what he can accept? Our God is Not for turning. You turn if you want too.
    God doesn't accept warts and all or any old thing will do. His house is a clean one.
    It means giving up opinions, contentions, submitting to authority and washing one's robes.
    He accepts persons who heed the word and obey. God is going to cast certain things inro the lake of fire, which includes the notion of the clergyman, corruption, the Man of sin and all that is hateful to Christ.
    19:45 - Did you know God hates sin?
    You are very thick, so little wonder you understand anything, let alone context.

    Peter

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    1. 'You are very thick, so little wonder you understand anything'

      I don't actually recall Jesus saying anything along those lines, so why would a supporter of the recently renamed Plymouth Brethren Christian Church?

      Mark R Elliott

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    2. Peter @ 9 December 2014 at 18:55
      You say – “He accepts persons who heed the word and obey. God is going to cast certain things inro the lake of fire, which includes the notion of the clergyman, corruption, the Man of sin and all that is hateful to Christ. 19:45 - Did you know God hates sin? “

      Peter,
      What part of the points A to G in post 8 December 2014 at 19:45 talk about sin ?

      The only categories discussing ‘sin’ are those mentioned in point F

      However,
      The Exclusive Brethren PBCC separate from, do not allow participation with, & show no love or Christian compassion to & refuse to even eat or drink with, ALL the other categories mentioned in points A, B, C, D, E & G

      Why is this ?

      Why do you the PBCC EB think that those categories discussed in points A, B, C, D, E & G are ‘Sins’ ?

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    3. Peter - "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1 Darby translation.

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    4. "God is going to cast certain things into the lake of fire, which includes the notion of the clergyman, corruption, the Man of sin and all that is hateful to Christ."

      Damn! That's that trumped up furniture salesman from Sydney done for then! What a shame!

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  6. Hello Peter,

    Let's see how I can say this nicely ... I can't. You're wrong! Your opinion is contrary to the word of God, so I cannot countenance it at all. The *only* qualifications are repentance from sin and faith towards The Lord Jesus Christ. His blood then washes us clean. And what gets us to repentance - hell-fire preaching, separation, good living, rules and regulations, Mr Bruce's crazy sayings? No:

    Romans 2:4 (DARBY)

    4 or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance?

    Simply it's the goodness of God. He is good. He loves the world. He even loves the heavy drinking EB leaders. But, yes He does expect faith based change once that relationship is established. For example. Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, in which is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit. (And that's clearly not whisky!)

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  7. Would sin include separating what God has joined? Oh, and by the way. Mr Hales is a clergyman if ever there was, albeit one who is extraordinarily ignorant.

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  8. The problem , Peter, is that the Exclusive Brethren accept and obey the word of a man rather than the Word of God.
    Jesus never turned anyone away. He said "Come unto Me ALL you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." I remember a hymn we sang in the EB hymn book - Repentance only God requires from man and faith in Christ His well beloved Son. Do you still sing that? Do you believe it?
    As an aside do the Exclusive brethren think everyone who disagrees with them is very thick? I don't recall the Lord Jesus describing anyone in such a manner.

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  9. "Love not the world nor the things in the
    world"
    "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son"
    "Be ye therefore perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect"
    How do we reconcile the first two, or has a corner been turned?

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    1. Good question: The answer is in context - something the EB are very bad at understanding. The next verse explains what is meant, but when the EB rip a verse out a wave it in peoples faces things go badly wrong.

      1 John 2 (Darby)

      15 Love not the world, nor the things in the world. If any one love the world, the love of the Father is not in him;

      16 because all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

      17 And the world is passing, and its lust, but he that does the will of God abides for eternity.

      We're not to love the *things* of the world - lust of the eyes and of the flesh - things like power, money, immorality etc. But God clearly calls us to love the people of the world for whom He sent His Son.

      This is another reason why the wafer thin reasons for separation are defective and hurts the hearts of God and man.

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  10. You silly buggers. And I'm including the Peeb. What Bruce means is he feels defilement - UNLESS- there is moolah involved. Get with the program! As you all know - the Peebs hate you unless there is dosh involved - and they will drop to their knees and kiss your ring finger is there's a pile of oxford scholars in your fist. I watched one handing out bottles of wine and wishing a customer a 'Merry Christmas' the other day and I thought - you bloody hypocrite! You don't even believe in the spirit of Christmas. They are hypocrites, they do tell lies, they do say anything that will enhance their bigger picture (making money) and they will pay lip service to anyone to get tax exemptions and charitable status. Now let's see what the driveling little sycophants will say about that.

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  11. Christmas for the PBCC is an enforced secular holiday; this they reluctantly take as it means lucrative business has to be put on hold; however, the up side is that there are greater opportunities for keeping fit, such as elbow bending exercises.

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    1. Christmas & the PBCC EB

      It is very odd for a so called Christian group not to engage in anything Christian at Christmas time.

      Anything secular such as big meals, lots of drinking, is ok, but anything Christian or religious such as, nativity, carol singing, Christmas church services, etc are not approved of and disagreed with.

      For a Christian, Christmas starts with Christ.

      For a Christian the birth of Christ, God come down in the form of man, is the most blessed, wonderful thing to happen, only surpassed by his crucifixion at the cross and resurrection. But this is what is important, if God had not come down in the form of man (Christ Jesus birth), there would have been no crucifixion and shedding of blood for remission of sins !

      1 Timothy 1 v15 explains it very well

      “Faithful [is] the word, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom *I* am [the] first”

      If at the birth of Christ Jesus even the heavenly hosts praised God (Luke 2 :13) and the shepherds praised God (Luke 2 :20) and the wise men came to praise him (Matthew 2 :2 and 10), then how much more should we Christians praise God, for it is through Christ that we are saved

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    2. Christmas & the PBCC EB

      It is very odd for a so called Christian group not to engage in anything Christian at Christmas time.

      Anything secular such as big meals, lots of drinking, is ok, but anything Christian or religious such as, nativity, carol singing, Christmas church services, etc are not approved of and disagreed with.

      For a Christian, Christmas starts with Christ.

      For a Christian the birth of Christ, God come down in the form of man, is the most blessed, wonderful thing to happen, only surpassed by his crucifixion at the cross and resurrection. But this is what is important, if God had not come down in the form of man (Christ Jesus birth), there would have been no crucifixion and shedding of blood for remission of sins !

      1 Timothy 1 v15 explains it very well

      “Faithful [is] the word, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom *I* am [the] first”

      If at the birth of Christ Jesus even the heavenly hosts praised God (Luke 2 :13) and the shepherds praised God (Luke 2 :20) and the wise men came to praise him (Matthew 2 :2 and 10), then how much more should we Christians praise God, for it is through Christ that we are saved

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  12. If you people are so knowledgeable about religion you should realise everyone is entitled to their own beliefs whether you agree with them or not. Suggest you get a life and let others get on with theirs.

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    1. Anonymous of 14 December 2014 at 05:29,

      You are absolutely right when you say everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs. In developed countries our laws recognise this principle, and so do our prevailing standards of morality.

      One way of putting this principle into practice is to allow children the freedom to decide for themselves what they believe, and strictly refrain from punishing their expressions of belief or disbelief.

      However, neither our laws nor our prevalent standards of morality give us complete freedom to practice our religions. You can believe whatever you like, but you can’t do whatever you like. If your religion harms others, including your children, then our laws and good people in general will have something to say about it. They will try to deter it. That is part of what people are doing on this blog.

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    2. Anonymous 14 December 2014 at 05:29

      Yes indeed everybody should be entitled to their own beliefs.Without persecution or harm.For that would be freedom of faith

      So then why do the exclusive brethren choose to control what people believe.Why do they choose to cause harm to anyone who's beliefs may differ to that of their own.Why do they choose to split and divide families.

      If everyone was truly entitled to the freedom of their own belief ,whether someone else had agreed with them or not . Then there should be absolutely no need that this shunning and separation should have any need to take place

      The exclusive brethren are a dangerous harmful cult.They have caused so much extreme harm, that they have even driven some people to commit suicide.

      And now the world is finally catching on to full extent of their nasty deeds

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  13. Dear Anonymous14 December 2014 at 05:29,

    You are right that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.

    The PBCC frequently states as part of its belief that "We go by the Bible", and nowadays it also declares itself to be a mainstream church, so it's reasonable that some people try to explore common ground with the Brethren based on those two statements. However, your final sentence is revealing, inasmuch as it seems to express a desire to be separate from contributors to this blog. It's difficult, therefore, to work out how you fulfil the inclusive biblical command to love your neighbour as one of your own when you propose and practise separation like that.

    It would probably be easier for everyone if the PBCC didn't say that they go by the Bible and are a mainstream church. That way, no-one would have the expectation that Brethren will be loving and inclusive according to the most important New Testament injunction, and, busy as we are in our daily lives, we wouldn't look for the kind of friendliness and welcome from you that is evident in mainstream churches.

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  14. Anon 5.29 ......Not when their beliefs cause actual harm, loss and distress to others. There are laws to prevent those of a criminal tendency causing harm; are you suggesting that if wrong doing has a doctrinal foundation it should somehow be exempt from censure? Furthermore, why should such activities be subsidised by the State? Some questions for you to answer.......

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