Disingenuous Hermeneutics

by Sandy Simpson, 2/23/15


I was reminded of a comment by Rev. Gary Gilley made on our 6-DVD series called “The New Apostolic Reformation – What is it and where is it going?”.  He was addressing proper exegesis versus wrong ways to interpret the Bible.  He said that those who inject their own ideas and doctrinal methodologies on the Bible, making it into their own image and to their own liking, are using “Fairytale Hermeneutics”.  I always liked that definition and will now add one of my own with regards to how people lie about what the Bible says when it comes to their own preconceived notions, upholding mistaken Biblical interpretations.  When you find yourself having to make up false definitions and other interpretations that are not according to the clear teaching of Scripture, you end up being a type of false teacher.  I learned long ago that if you want to teach the Bible correctly you let it interpret itself.  You teach what Jesus, the Apostles, Prophets and Patriarchs did, with the help of the Holy Spirit instead of trying to plug in manmade doctrinal systems on top of Biblical truths.


Now let me launch into some examples.




I heard a very nice pastor, who otherwise preaches good messages but who has admittedly been reading Reformed theologians such as R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur, state a definition that he did not get from Scripture but from the strict Calvinist camp.  With regards to the word “foreknowledge” in the following verses he claimed that the definition of “foreknowledge” is “foreordained”. 


Rom 8:29-30  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

Rom 8:29  For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: (ASV)


When I heard that I knew he got that definition from the likes of Sproul, not from a dictionary.  First of all the word in Greek for “foreknew” proginōskō is a different word than the word used for “foreordained” or “predestined” which is proorizō. 


Barnes comments as follows on the word “foreknew”:


For whom he did foreknow - The word used here προέγνω  proegnō has been the subject of almost endless disputes in regard to its meaning in this place. The literal meaning of the word cannot be a matter of dispute. It denotes properly to “know beforehand;” to be acquainted with future events. But whether it means here simply to know that certain persons would become Christians; or to ordain, and constitute them to be Christians, and to be saved, has been a subject of almost endless discussion. Without entering at large into an investigation of the word, perhaps the following remarks may throw light on it.

(1) it does not here have reference to all the human family; for all are not, and have not, been conformed to the image of his Son. It has reference therefore only to those who would become Christians, and be saved.

(2) it implies “certain knowledge.” It was certainly foreseen, in some way, that they would believe, and be saved. There is nothing, therefore, in regard to them that is contingent, or subject to doubt in the divine Mind, since it was certainly foreknown.


As to the next word “foreordain” or “predestine” Barnes states:


He also did predestinate - See the meaning of the original of this word explained in the notes at Rom_1:4; see also the Act_4:28 note; and 1Co_2:7 note. In these places the word evidently means to determine, purpose, or decree beforehand; and it must have this meaning here. No other idea could be consistent with the proper meaning of the word, or be intelligible. It is clear also that it does not refer to external privileges, but to real conversion and piety; since that to which they were predestinated was not the external privilege of the gospel, but conformity to his Son, and salvation; see Rom_8:30. No passage could possibly teach in stronger language that it was God’s purpose to save those who will be saved. Eph_1:5, “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself.” Eph_1:11, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”


Those two words, obviously stated in the correct order by Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, do not mean the same thing.  To “predestine” follows as a consequence of “foreknowing”.


Though it is true that God foreordained people to salvation, it is not based on a decision to send some people to heaven and some to hell.  That idea makes God into a despot, one who plotted evil, and one who lies.  God cannot do evil and will not go against His own Word where it states categorically, “He is not willing that any should perish”. 


2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.


If He did foreordain some to hell that would mean that He was willing that some would perish.  This type of mis-defining a word like “foreknowledge” constitutes gross “disingenuous hermeneutics” and it shows that the Calvinistic interpretation of “election” is fatally flawed.  This can be avoided by teaching the whole counsel of God’s Word and not just favorite passages.  Reformed theologians love to major on verses that talk about God “choosing” people before the world was created.


Eph 1:4  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

Eph 1:5  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

Eph 1:11  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,


Yet they totally misinterpret the verses that clearly talk about foreknowledge in the progression of God’s predestination plans.


Rom 8:29-30  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)

Rom 11:2  God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?

1Pe 1:2  according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.


The plans of God always stem from His omniscience of everything, his foreknowledge, not the other way around.  Without going back to the egg you end up with an omelet that is not an omelet.  In teaching this subject any true theologian will deal first with what is listed first … the omniscience of God.  God’s predestination, calling, justification and glorification of believers is first and foremost, as a foundation, based on His omniscience, not on a choice He made in eternity without regard to men believing in Him.  God knows how any person will, when confronted with the Gospel message preached to them, without which they cannot have their blind eyes opened (Rom. 10:14) and the convicting of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), either believe or not believe.  This does not give humans a power they cannot have in deciding their fate but it does gives them the power God gave them which, after the Gospel and Holy Spirit, is a free will choice.  Man needs God’s help all along the way, but after having his eyes opened to the Truth he then is the only one who can make a choice to believe or not to believe Jesus Christ. God cannot make that choice for him. That is a limit God put on Himself, and He is the only One who can limit Himself.   For instance He decided to not make people with purple hair (even the ones who dye it that way), to make reincarnation true, and to make Benny Hinn a true prophet.  He could have done those and many other things but He limited Himself to His own set of laws.  He could change His mind on anything at any time but He will not because He is faithful and true and unchanging.


Rev 19:11  Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

Mal 3:6  "For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

Jas 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.


Along these same lines, a brother in the Lord keeps trying to convince me that there is no such thing as “free will” in the Bible, except where it mentions a “freewill offering”.  This is classic Calvinist claptrap.  I keep asking him if he is reading the same Bible I am.  In my Bible the ENTIRE THING is about the will of man either in tune with God or in conflict with God. 


Luk 22:42  saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."

Mat 16:24  Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.


So to define foreknowledge as fore-ordinance is to label God as evil.  God does not lie nor is He evil in any way in promising hope to people He was already predetermined will be hopeless, disregarding any choice they are given to believe or not to believe.


Heb 6:18  so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

Jas 1:13  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.


The final comment I have on this Calvinist feature is that it puts the blame on God for people going to hell.  But people decide their own fates and it is purely their own rejection of Jesus Christ that will land them in hell.


Jud 1:15  to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him."


So it is the deeds of the unrighteous, which will be judged at the Great White Throne, that cause people to be sentenced to hell, not an inescapable predetermined future set out by God before time where a person has no chance of redemption. I really despise the way people blame God for things that He has not done.


Misapplying Grace


Another similar problem with going to the extreme of Calvinism, and one which you can use to gauge whether or not you should still be listening to certain Reformed pastors, is their misapplication of grace.  If you are a dyed-in-the-wool “Once Saved Always Saved” advocate it inevitably must lead to the idea that there is no sin you can commit that will take you away from God and salvation.  Of course they forget that it is actually only God who knows if a person is saved from beginning to end.  None of us are omniscient, and though no one can take us out of the hand of God and we have assurance of salvation as long as we remain in Him, we can choose to walk away by setting our will against His.


Heb 3:14  For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Heb 10:39  But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Luk 8:13  And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. (NAQSB, KJV, NIV, ESV etc.)

2Ti 4:4  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.


There are many other verses to this effect, but remember that Jesus Christ Himself said people can believe for awhile then fall away. 


John MacArthur recently told an audience that a Christian can take the mark of the beast and still go to heaven.  “As of 8.18.2014, John MacArthur's Grace To You website presently stands by their belief that people can receive the 666 mark, but repent for having received it afterwards.”  Watch this video to see this issue dealt with by Jacob Prasch.  This is disingenuous hermeneutics because the Bible clearly states that those who take the mark end up where the Antichrist and False Prophet go, who are by the way the first to go there. 


Revelation 14:9-12 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.

Rev 19:20  And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.


When the Bible states something you cannot dig into your manmade doctrinal bag of tricks and tell people the opposite.  This same tactic was used, sadly, by Charles Stanley on a radio program I have on tape, when a lady called in, announced that she was a Christian and was about to commit suicide.  She asked him if she would still go to heaven.  He said yes.  But there will be no murderers in heaven and suicide it self-murder. 


Rev 21:8  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."


How do you ask that question, say you are sorry to God, then commit self-murder and expect to enter heaven? It is true that there are cases of suicide where a person is out of their mind, on drugs, having a hormonal issue, etc. where only God can judge why they committed suicide.  But unrepentant suicide is an offence against God and true believers prove they love God by obeying His commands.


1Jn 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.


Reformed Theology


There are a number of good doctrinal positions within Reformed Theology.  However the positions of hyper-Calvinism, Preterism, Amillennialism and Reconstructionism/Dominionism (same thing basically) are unbiblical, and I would say in the case of strict Preterism/Amillennialism they are heretical as this denies one of the core doctrines of the Faith.  Certain points of Calvinism are true, others are only partly true, and some are wrong.  You can access my paper dealing with those issues here.  Some of what Revelation prophesies about the Antichrist and the temple happened in history but it has not all been fulfilled and what happened then was only a foreshadowing of the ultimate fulfillment of what John wrote.  Amillennialism is completely wrong as there will be a 1000 year Millennial Kingdom where Christ will reign on earth from Jerusalem.  Reconstructionism/Dominionism is also completely wrong as God is establishing His Kingdom first in the hearts of men living in the domain of the enemy and will take away the kingdoms of the earth from the rule of Satan at the start of the Millennial Kingdom. 


Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

The devil was hurled to the earth after he sinned along with the angels who followed him.  The world then became the place where Satan would make his last stand, attempting to take as many people in the world with him into judgment.  God would allow Satan to continue till his time was up for the greater glory of Himself, in that God had already foreseen that Adam and Eve would disobey Him and would need redemption through His Son.  So God allowed Satan to have temporary dominion over the earth.


Luke 4:5-8 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’


Lest you believe this was a lying or empty promise by Satan, think again.  Though Satan mixes lies with truth in his temptation of Christ, this offer was a real one based on the facts.  Notice that Jesus does not correct Satan by telling him "You are a liar.  You don't have dominion of the kingdoms of the world".  Instead He states that everyone should worship the Lord and serve Him only.  So Satan really does have a "kingdom now" and at this time the world is still in the power of the evil one.


1 Corinthians 15:24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
Luke 11:18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 2:2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


We are not moving toward some great awakening and spiritual revival in the end times as the Latter Rain teaches through the leadership of the Third Wave, New Apostolic, Word of Faith and other heretical movements.  The enemy is still prowling and will continue to do so until the physical return of Christ.  Satan is not yet bound as Reformed Theology teachers falsely teach as part of Amillennialism because the Bible says that will happen after the Second Coming at the beginning of the Millennial reign of Christ. Till then we are to carry out the Great Commission whereby those who are born again are added to God's Kingdom spiritually, awaiting the final salvation of the resurrection and Christ's physical Kingdom on earth.


Colossians 1:13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,


Those who are born again have been rescued from Satan's temporary kingdom and dominion.  We have been added to the Kingdom and await the final setting up of the physical Kingdom of Christ upon His second coming. (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/thequestionofdominion.html)


So we have a lot of partial truths and partial lies in these areas of Reformed theology.  That they would ask R.C. Sproul to be a contributor (along with a Catholic priest) on the “Truth Project” series when he promotes a number of disingenuous hermeneutics make me question what kind of “truth” they are promoting in their “project”.  That series was made to promote the core doctrines, but if you cannot agree that Jesus Christ is coming again to earth bodily to rule and judge (Amillennialism denies Christ’s physical reign on earth for 1000 years) then how can you be serious about “truth”? 


Quick Examples


Here are just a few quick examples of thousands of other disingenuous hermeneutics out there.


(1)    Don Richardson and his followers such as Daniel Kikawa, Richard Twiss, Danny Lehman, YWAM and others claim that the “Unkown God” of the Greeks was actually a known supreme being they worshipped by the name of “theos”.  But the Bible is consistent with itself that the “Unknown God” shows that the Gentiles “did not know God” as is repeated over and over again.


Gal. 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
1 Cor. 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Rom. 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
1 Thess. 4:5 ...not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God...
Ephesians 2:12-13 ...remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
2 Thess. 1:8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.


Read this article: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/themissionariesbroughtaforeigngod.html


(2)    Richardson and his cohorts also claim that the general revelation of Romans 1:20 is enough for a person to go to heaven.  But the Bible is clear that you have a have specific revelation and come to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved and end up in heaven.  Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  The knowledge of Jesus Christ and salvation must be preached to a person in order for them to be able to believe.  The revelation of Jesus Christ is a mystery to those who have not heard the Gospel and been convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit.


Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Romans 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Ephesians 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,


(3)    Pelegian theologians claim that the fall of man was not complete and he has enough good in him to decide to follow God.  But the Bible has a different story to tell.


Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Romans 7:18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


(4)    Believe it or not there are theologians out there that teach there is no real physical hell.  But the Bible and Jesus Christ are clear that those who do not believe and live in sin are destined for hell (Mt 5:22, 5:29, 5:30, 10:28, 16:18, 18:9, 23:15, 23:33, Mr 9:43, 9:45, 9:46, 9:47, Lu 12:5, 16:23, Jas 3:6, 2 Pet. 2:4) or the lake of fire (2 Pet. 3:7, Jude 1:7, Rev. 20:14-15 etc.) along with the Antichrist, False Prophet, Satan and his angels.  As to eternal torment, the Bible is also clear.


Re 14:11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."
Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Heb 6:2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Mt 25:46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Mt 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.


(5)    There are many Latter Rain/Third Wave teachers who teach that Christians need to be “drunk in the spirit” because of what happened at Pentecost.  They claim that the Holy Spirit made the disciples drunk.  But that is completely the opposite of what Peter said about what happened.


Acts 2:5-16  Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs— we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine." {Or sweet wine} Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:


Being baptized in the Spirit or filled with the Spirit is not the same thing as drunkenness; in fact they are the opposite.  Being filled with the Spirit is to be in full possession of your faculties and to be of sound mind.


Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

Romans 13:13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.

(6)   Richardson associates claim that "God has many names and can be worshipped under other names as long as he is identified in the culture as a 'supreme being'" There is an immediate problem with this idea.


Ac 4:12  Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."




There are many more examples I could give.  For more information on all the disingenuous hermeneutics out there, you can check out all our article sections as well as specific teachers.  They are all perverting the Word of God in some way, and for the most part, deny one or more of the core doctrines of the Faith.  This article was written primarily to expose those teachers who claim to be teaching truth when they are twisting the Word of God to say what they want it to say, and are unable to deal with passages of Scripture that they disagree with.