Vine & Fig Tree's Web Pages advocate sweeping radical social changes in church, in politics, in family, and in every area of life. Our proposals are based on the belief that the Bible is the Word of God and a blueprint for all human action. Greater minds than ours have come to this conclusion. Among them, Simon Greenleaf, a founder of the Harvard Law School, and nearly every Signer of the Constitution. They gave us an "Experiment in Liberty" that produced the most prosperous and admired nation in history. Their experiment was replaced in the 20th century with a secular experiment in government central planning, which has brought poverty and mass death wherever it was tried. Some of the Founders toyed with deistic and "Enlightenment" ideas against the Bible, but if they were here today, they would see where these ideas have led us, and would whole-heartedly repudiate them.
Modern Americans have been trained to believe the Bible is "outdated" or "primitive." The modern world, by comparison, is "sophisticated," "scientific" and "secure." Who would ever want to go back to the world of the Bible?
It only takes a little thought to realize that "the modern world" is not all it's cracked up to be, and the world of the Bible -- the world of Vine & Fig Tree -- may have much to teach us. It is the "experts" of the modern world who have taught us to pooh-pooh the Bible.
They are wrong.
They say we can't believe in miracles. They are wrong.
They say Biblical Morality is "harsh" and the God of the Old Testament is "cruel." They are wrong.
The Issue Is Authority - "We Will Not Have This Man Rule Over Us!" (Luke 19:14)
- The Bible is a Textbook on Everything | economics, law, biology, etc.
- The "Facts" vs the Faith
- Evolution and Genocide
- Presuppositionalism and Evidentialism
- The Myth of "Logic"
- Every Word of the Bible Commands Us
- Theonomy vs. Autonomy
The Failure of Non-Christian Ethics
Are we being "Judgmental?" Yes, definitely!
From Moses to Malachi, the Bible sets forth an unchanging standard of Justice, Mercy, and Faith (Matthew 23:23). When faithfully taught and obeyed, observance of Biblical Law mends the torn fabric of life. Bringing our lives under the total jurisdiction of the Bible is the key to social renewal, not reforming the lives of others through the impersonal violence of statist bureaucratic regulation. Biblical Law is God's pattern for peace, justice, and harmony.
Theonomy vs. Autonomy
- The Comprehensive Scope of Biblical Law: Every Area of Life, Every Activity
- Obedience in Life pleases God more than Ritual and Sacrifices in Church
Can you be a Christian if you don't “worship” God?
Can you “worship” God if you don't worship the Bible?
The Gospel Message is a Word from God. Every Word of God is Law.
As we explain the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision, there are many non-Christians who are attracted by the vision of a decentralized society which beats its "swords into plowshares." But as we examine with searching detail the words of the Prophet Micah, many of them will ask,
Why bother trying to understand the Bible and some peasant religious nut who lived three thousand years ago? I am "modern" and "scientific" and I have no interest in church or religion. Please don't give me the Bible. What do I need with the Bible?
This is a question everyone asks. And I do mean everyone. Not just those who are actively working to brainwash Christians and prop up their "New World Order" military dictatorship, but church-going Catholics and Protestants too. Even Evangelicals and Fundamentalists — for all their Bible-thumping — are a product of their culture, and our culture is at war with Micah.
And Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
Our culture is at war with the Bible.
Most "Bible-believing Christians" are part of this culture. They are not aware of the fact that Jesus wants His followers to be "extremists."
So Third, we want to convince atheists and non-Christians that they should seriously consider the Bible.
Vine & Fig Tree is a movement in solidarity with Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, and millions of working-class families who have given their lives to protect copies of the Scriptures from the violent institutions of church and state, attempting to live that revelation out in their homes and in the world. This is part of what we refer to as Patriarchy.
It goes back to the book of Genesis, the Patriarch Abraham, and ultimately back to the Creation of the World.
If you're an atheist or if you're a modern Christian who believes the Fundamentalists are totally out to lunch on their view of the Bible, then this page is for you. You won't be convinced in the 15k that makes up this web page, but hopefully the dialogue can get started. I hope you email your comments to me at "Kevin4VFT @ vftonline.org."
It's a True Story
There are three reasons I believe the Bible is the Word of God.
First, I like the story.
I like the idea of being created in the Image of God.
I like the idea of loving one's enemies rather than taking vengeance on them.
I like the idea of beating swords into plowshares and everyone dwelling safely under his own Vine & Fig Tree.
I like the idea of the Prince of Peace reigning around the world.
If I look at myself, the world around me, and the history of the world through the lens of the Bible, it makes sense in an attractive way.
But a nice story is just a fairy tale if it's not really true. How do I know the Bible is the Word of a true and trustworthy God?
One reason I believe the Bible is because unbelief is horrifying.
I don't like the idea of being created by random, meaningless, impersonal forces of "nature," that make me fundamentally no different than a rat or a pig.
I don't like the idea that there's no significance to one randomly-mutated collection of chemicals raping, stabbing, and killing another randomly-mutated collection of chemicals.
I don't like the idea of the military-industrial complex killing millions of human beings to protect overseas corporate investments.
I don't like the idea of a world where everyone thinks he's his own god, and all these would-be gods plunging the world into violence and chaos.
- Human beings have value.
- They have value because they are created in the Image of God.
- They have value because God commands us to value them.
- Human beings do not have value if they are meaningless conglomerations of chemicals and water, randomly mutated when acted upon by the blind collision of impersonal forces of the universe over billions of years.
- If I am my own god, and I chose not to value other human beings, then they have no value. They are dead meat if I choose to exterminate them. Human beings have no value if "Smith" -- a meaningless conglomeration of chemicals and water -- chooses to rearrange the molecules of another meaningless and blind conglomeration of chemicals and water -- "Jones" -- from a state of being which we call "life" to a state of being which we call "death." This meaningless re-arrangement of molecules has no real significance in a cold, random, meaningless, blind, impersonal universe.
If the Bible is the Word of God, I have a good reason for believing that man has value. If the Bible is false, the idea that randomly-mutated conglomerations of chemicals have value is a fairy tale.
Of course, if you want to rape and kill whenever you feel like it, denying the inspiration of the Bible is a necessary first step in avoiding cognitive dissonance.
Arguments Against the Reliability of the Bible
I've never heard an argument against the Bible that is compelling enough for me to reject its story and embrace the alternative of meaninglessness. In fact, my
Second reason for believing in the Bible is that it is demonstrably a miraculous book.
Most of the arguments against the Bible share common traits with one of the most common: "The Telephone Game" argument.
At a party, the first participant in "the Telephone Game" will whisper a sentence to the person in the next chair, who whispers the message to the person in the next chair, and so on around the circle. The final person in the "phone chain" reveals the message, which is compared with the first participant's real message. The two are found to be totally different, and everybody laughs.
As the argument goes, this is like the transmission of the Bible over the centuries. Nobody involved in copying the Holy Scriptures took it all that seriously, they whimsically changed words, sentences, or paragraphs to suit their fancy, and the Bible we have today bears no resemblance whatsoever to what Moses or whoever started the chain had in mind.
This argument can be made to sound very educated and sophisticated, but it is pathetic and juvenile.
Here is some information on the actual transmission of the Biblical text.
In 1912, Frederic Kenyon was knighted Sir Frederic Kenyon for his service as Director and Head Librarian of the British Museum. He describes how the Jews meticulously copied the Old Testament:
Besides recording varieties of reading, tradition, or conjecture, the Massoretes undertook a number of calculations which do not enter into the ordinary sphere of textual criticism. They numbered the verses, words, and letters of every book. They calculated the middle word and the middle letter of each. The enumerated verses which contained all the letters of the alphabet, or a certain number of them; and so on. These trivialities, as we may rightly consider them, had yet the effect of securing minute attention to the precise transmission of the text; and they are but an excessive manifestation of a respect for the sacred Scriptures which in itself deserves nothing but praise. The Massoretes were indeed anxious that not one jot nor tittle, not one smallest letter nor one tiny part of a letter, of the Law should pass away or be lost.
In Kenyon's day, the oldest copy of the Old Testament was a copy from the 10th century after Christ. But in 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and they contained a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah, dating over one thousand years earlier than that 10th century copy. The results astonished the scholarly world. Gleason Archer, in comparing the manuscript variations of the Hebrew text with pre-Christian literature such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, states that it is amazing that the Hebrew text does not have the phenomenon of discrepancy and MS change of other literature of the same age: "Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A. D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible" with the exception of minor variations in spelling, on a par with the British "colour" and the American "color." "Even those Dead Sea fragments of Deuteronomy and Samuel which point to a different manuscript family from that which underlies our received Hebrew text do not indicate any differences in doctrine or teaching. They do not affect the message of revelation in the slightest."
In other words, the Old Testament we have today is virtually letter-for-letter the same Old Testament Jesus had in His day. And the copy of Isaiah that Jesus read from (Luke 4) was virtually letter-for-letter the same as the one Isaiah himself wrote. Ditto for the Proverbs of Solomon, the Psalms of David, and the books of Moses.
All this about the Bible being filled with corruptions and changes is the polar opposite of reality. There is no ancient manuscript evidence to support this view; all the evidence is against this view.
This proves that atheists live in a world of fantasy. Some atheists believe the Bible is unreliable because that's what they've been taught, and they want to be respected by those who told them. But there are some atheists who are bad people and are just making this stuff up. The ones who start these rumors about the Bible have a completely different conception of history than historical reality, and a completely different view of religious people than reality. If an atheist -- knowing even one-tenth as much about the Biblical manuscripts as the Director and Head Librarian of the British Museum -- makes up the story that the Bible is untrustworthy and unreliably transmitted through the centuries, then he is a liar who probably hates God and doesn't want to love his neighbor, refrain from stealing, or be faithful to his wife. You would be wise not to listen to such people.
Here's an analogy that better represents the analysis of different copies of an ancient manuscript. Suppose you won the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Everyone wants your winning apple strudel recipe. So you hand-write a copy. Then another. Then another. You end up making 50 copies of your recipe. Then you lose it. You call all your friends and tell them you lost the recipe, and request that they give back the copy you made for them. When you get the copies, you discover that on a couple of copies you made minor mistakes. On one copy you put "2 Tbs" instead of "2 tsp." On another recipe you wrote "20 minutes at 350°" instead of "30 minutes at 350°." But since all the other copies had the correct item, it's easy to see which copy had the mistake. This is the science of "textual criticism."
There are thousands of copies of the New Testament, some copied only decades after the original. There are only a handful of copies of the History of Herodotus (B.C. 488-428), and they are centuries older than the long-lost originals. F. F. Bruce notes,
Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest manuscripts of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals.
The Third reason I believe the Bible is the Word of God goes back to the first reason, relating to the story: I believe the story-tellers. There are two reasons I believe them.
First, they appear to be people of integrity. Simon Greenleaf, a co-founder of the Harvard Law School and the greatest authority on the law of evidence in the 19th century, said that if the New Testament were to be subjected to the Anglo-American laws of evidence in a court of law, the resurrection of Christ would be an established fact. The witnesses (the authors of the Gospels, for example) are credible witnesses.
It has been said, "History is written by the conquerors." The Old Testament is different. It is obviously not written by biased Jews who only wanted Israel to look good. The Old Testament is in a sense the most "anti-semitic" book ever written. It paints a picture of a group of people who were chosen by God and given every favor, and still rebelled and failed. They are portrayed as history's most faithless losers. And yet their story was meticulously and faithfully copied over and over by those very same folks.
This is because they believed the Bible was the Word of God, not just the word of some man.
But one element of the story these credible witnesses report is that God moved them to speak and to write exactly what God wanted written. That's their testimony. I believe it. I believe it because I like the idea of living in a universe that's lovingly controlled by a personal and sovereign God. There are no credible reasons given by atheists why I should not accept this entire worldview.
Peaceful and loving people want the Bible to be true. Rational people believe the Bible is the Word of God.
Let's Be Honest about Jesus and the Bible
Most people -- especially those who deny that He is God incarnate -- will say that Jesus Christ was "a great religious teacher." But they lie. They really HATE Jesus Christ. If you were to quote some of His more offensive lines, and attribute them to Jerry Falwell or some other well-known controversial Christian figure, that figure would be accused of bigotry, hate-crimes, and delusional behavior.
What would be the value of your life if you lived in Germany in the years 1935-1945, and the only thing you had to say about Adolph Hitler was "He's a really talented public speaker." You did not challenge his rise to power. You did not criticize his evil reign. The only thing your children and grandchildren know about you and what you thought about Hitler, National Socialism, anti-semitism, and genocidal totalitarianism was that Hitler was "a great public speaker."
Or suppose you lived in Calcutta, India, and like most others, ignored the lepers and the dying. Your only comment about Mother Teresa is that she kept her sari "appropriately laundered."
To deny that Jesus was God and affirm that He was "a good teacher," is as irrational and morally vapid as the assessments of Hitler and Mother Teresa above. If Mother Teresa claimed to be God she would be reduced from a Nobel Prize-winning humanitarian to a nut-case. Indeed, she (rightfully) would have been denied the Nobel Prize. If Hitler were to claim to be God he would be elevated from dictator to anti-Christ.
So why let Jesus off the hook?
The Jews of Jesus' day were not dumb. The Jews executed Jesus because He claimed to be the Christ, the Anointed Messiah, equal with God. If Jesus was not equal with God, then He was nuts. Whatever other nice things He said, things that might sound good on a Hallmark® Card, If Jesus was not who He said He was, then He was a liar or a lunatic.
A few atheists have logically concluded that Jesus Christ was evil, not good. They see Him as a mere man who claimed to be God.
Jesus predicted His own assassination, and said that all His claims would be verified by His resurrection from the dead. If you are willing to exercise your human abilities to study history, evaluate evidence, and reach conclusions, you will conclude that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead, that His claims are true, and that the Bible is reliable. One of the architects of the Harvard Law School, whose 3-volume treatise on the Law of Evidence was the standard authority on the subject for generations, investigated the historical records which we call the Gospels, and concluded that Christ's Resurrection was an historical fact and could be proven so in any court of law. More here.
Any court, that is, which is Christian. A court that refuses to accept the claims of Christ is a court which is committing suicide. Christianity is the necessary presupposition of justice, the foundation of the very concept of "proof." The Bible is the chronicle of human rebellion against logic, facts, proof, reason, justice, and life itself.
There are two accounts of the Creation and Purpose of Man competing for your loyalty.
THE BIBLE SAYS that the human race was created by a loving, Infinite-Personal God, Who placed Man into a beautiful Garden to live in families and take care of the planet.
MODERN SCIENTIFIC DEMOCRACY SEZ there is no God, except as you decide to create him/her/it. Man is the random mutation of genetic material, emerging without purpose and without meaning from a "primordial soup" of chemicals and energy. Marriage and families are "oppressive," and the planet is to be (a) worshipped [the "left"] or (b) exploited, "for tomorrow we die" [the "right"].
What are the results? What has "modern" actually delivered?
These words come to mind:
* violent * superficial * selfish * materialistic * conflict * secular *
* cheap * undisciplined * lust for power * corruption * illiterate *
* instant gratification *
* dictatorship * pollution * war *
* loneliness * disposable * kickback * hopelessness *
People everywhere feel it:
Something's not right.
People everywhere feel powerless:
What can be done? To whom can we turn?
Who are our heroes? Where are true leaders?
People everywhere feel lost:
Are there no absolutes?
Are there no values worth living for — worth dying for?
THIS IS THE MODERN WORLD
The Christmas Conspiracy — as seen in Micah's Vine & Fig Tree prophecy — is a movement which self-consciously defends the Bible as an infallible revelation of the hope, values, and love of God. The "Enlightened" Empire of the Status Quo is at war with the Bible and with followers of Christ who for centuries have believed it to be the Word of God.
The Christian Patriarch accepts as bedrock fact the Bible's historical chronicle of
Eden vs. Empire
Patriarchy vs. Politics
The Kingdom of God vs. the kingdom of Caesar
To ignore these choices is to choose to die at the hand of the Status Quo.
But can I trust the Bible?
And, really now, PATRIARCHY!?!
I answer: Can we trust those who say we can't trust the Bible?
I'll say it again: I can't convince you to become a Fundamentalist in one web page. All I can do is infect you with a desire to rethink your opposition to the Bible, and indicate my own willingness to continue to dialogue with you.
Let's take one of the most controversial issues surrounding the Bible: Creationism vs. Evolutionism. I'm a six-day Creationist.
You take the Bible literally?
You believe the world was created in six days?!?
What are you, some kind of obscurantist?
DON'T YOU LISTEN TO SCIENCE?
It is precisely because my eyes are wide open to what "scientists" have done to us that I reject their lies. I find it far more comfortable to side with peasants who stood against powerful, violent Empires — quite apart from any faith that God used them as mouthpieces of His revelation to us.
Anyone who's honest will admit that scientists were not "forced" to abandon Creationism by "the facts." Evolution was a "scientific"-sounding philosophical rationalization for a hatred of the Bible which resulted from an unwillingness to submit to its Authority. It is simply not a case of "The Facts" vs. the Faith. The issue is ethics, not knowledge. The unwillingness of scientists and philosophers to bridle their wills under the Standard of God's Commandments resulted in the "Military-Industrial Complex," the technocratic institutionalization of violence; the quest for god-like power.
What do I think of when I hear the word "science"?
* The Atomic Bomb * monosodium glutamate * smog * MTV * HMO's *
* "The Death of God" *
* "safe" abortions * "safe" sex * "assisted" death *
* The Death of Man *
But it's not the inventions; it's the ideology. It's the religious values upon which modern science is built.
The powerful and well-trained minds of the military leaders and politicians who plan their wars and turn the wheels of their war machine in an unmovable path toward death and destruction are dominated by a view of the world — indeed, of the entire universe — which is self-consciously at war with reality — God's reality as it is described to us by God through Jesus and the Prophets.
Scientists want all the world to believe as they do, to accept their view of the universe — its origin, nature and destiny — and, having accepted this view, to place our trust in them as those who understand best the path to health, prosperity, safety, security — in short, to salvation.
Everybody wants "salvation." Call it "the good life," or "the American Dream." The question is, How do you get it? Modern science says, "Better living through chemistry." Politicians have learned the lesson: Salvation comes through the barrel of a gun. Urban twelve-year olds carry machine guns in pursuit of this faith. The structures of our society teach Salvation through Power. Members of The Christmas Conspiracy are committed to resisting their propaganda.
There are some people today who consider themselves "radicals" or "resisters." They have not resisted as they should have. Most people in the "Peace Movement" believe that the universe is as the President and his generals and scientists describe it. Conservatives listen dutifully to the prophets of the Empire, and spend great sums of money to send their children to their seminaries (Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc.).
The priesthood of the Bush/Clinton regime — in their white coats or silk ties, working in their university degree-lined offices — has convinced nearly everyone that Jesus and the Prophets of God are hopelessly misinformed concerning reality. Rather than accepting their Word as an Absolute Authority, we have been taught to choose for ourselves. We are all "liberals" now, not "Fundamentalists."
The simple fact is that there are two competing religions here: Biblical Christianity, and an idolatry which we might call "neo-Baalism."
We must understand these two religions, see that they are in complete opposition, discern which one leads to life, and then begin to live in terms of the one we choose.
Who believes in Neo-Baalism?
Who believes in Creationism?
Those who work with their hands
Nearly everyone before 1776
BATF / FBI / IRS
What is the True Religion?
The Apostle James says,
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
As a conservative Bible-thumper, it took me a while to realize that True Religion is not a mind full of facts and crafty arguments ready for rapid deployment in a theological debate. I still believe that we ought to strive for "doctrinal purity," but the ultimate goal is to be "unspotted" from the Empires of the world. A bridled tongue and compassion for the weak are among the Christ-like character traits we must develop. The Apostle Paul says that when we develop these traits, we will not be "carried about" by the Modern World, by defenders of the Status Quo, which is founded on "the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting."
I want my children to choose Micah's religion, not Caesar's. I want them to look forward to a day — indeed, to make today the day — we beat swords into plowshares. I want them to resist those who hypnotize us all into forging spears for killing instead of hooks for pruning. I want to see them live in terms of Micah's Vine & Fig Tree vision. I am naive if I expect them to be indoctrinated in this vision in any institutional church or Empire-run school.
To the extent our thinking has not been clarified, and as we are not consistent with our foundational principles, we will not experience the harmony that God intends for us and described through the words of the prophet Micah.
We have already seen this in the 20th century. We have seen it, but we refuse to see it. Over 200 million people have been deliberately killed in this century alone; a greater percentage of the population than any previous century. The century of atheism is the century of mass death. Evolutionism means Genocide.
But modern man seeks the Tempter's fantasy: "to be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). Anything is better than admitting that God is God and we are not. Even death.
All they that hate Me, love death. Proverbs 8:36
And so I write with a sense of urgency.
And yet I don't write all I could because I don't have the strength to face the battle. When a known adulterer and crack user becomes President and tells a nation that "I didn't inhale," and when the nation can apathetically view televised scenes of the government bringing tanks against Waco, Texas citizens whose only "crime" is non-conforming thought, we are only days away from the time when those same viewers will hear the televised call to take up arms against any and all who will not confess that man is god and the State is his savior.
Jesus said His followers must be willing to "take up your cross." In our day He would have said, "take up your firing squad."
I am ready.
Is Modernism a Force for Peace?
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you,
that I have set before you
life and death
blessing and cursing
T H E R E F O R E C H O O S E L I F E
that both you and your children may live;
that you may love the LORD your God,
that you may obey His voice,
and that you may cling to Him,
for He is your life and the length of your days.
Vine & Fig Treeis my choice; the Bible, not the Status Quo.
Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:14-15
One of the reasons some people hate the Bible is because the God of the Bible is a Sovereign, Predestinating God, who has more power than man the would-be god, and is far better able to bring us "national security" than the big-wigs in the Pentagon. But to those who are willing to say "God is God, I am not" the Gospel ("Good News") is that a loving personal God is indeed sovereign.
(9) Just as our nation has apostatized from the theology and cultural vision of the Puritans. [Return to text]
(10) We'll be discussing "Baalism" later on. It was an ancient religion which most scientists in our day believe. [Return to text]
(12) Ephesians 4:14. [Return to text]
The Bible | | 1.
Presence | | 2. Globalism | | 3.
Theonomy | | 4. Peace | | 5. Family
| | 6. Garden | | 7. Community
Index | | Theology | | History | | Culture | | No State | | No Church | | Godly Families -- Everywhere | | Overview
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