Let me Explain the Meaning of the Title: Bearing False Witness is a broader category compared to Telling Lies. Typically "Lies" are premeditated and intentional. The person telling a lie usually KNOWS that he/she is NOT telling the whole truth; whereas, bearing False Witness can be any statement, intentional or unintentional, that falls short of being a faithful representation of reality.
Politicians and Lawyers are especially good at bearing False Witness as they will blend accurate facts with subtle falsehoods. For the Record, I do not think Shawn McCraney is always lying intentionally when he speaks "idle words" that do not correspond to reality. McCraney bears False Witness in two ways:
1 - Misrepresenting what "the LDS believe" via lazy paraphrasing, instead
2 - Misrepresenting what the Bible teaches.
In contrast to McCraney's "straw man" methods, I will NOT give you a lazy and inaccurate paraphrase of Shawn's beliefs; instead, I will quote his words directly. Shawn McCraney's False Witness for this Week is found in the following vain babblings he spoke during the April 28th "Heart of the Matter" TV show.
Shawn McCraney Says: "The Christian Epistemology versus the LDS Epistemology: The Christian Epistemology is we have a train and an engine is Facts. That is the engine pulling the train. Behind that Train are cars, and those cars are elements of Faith. Facts pulling Faith pulling Feelings."
"Those Feelings do not exist in and of themselves, nor the things that drive the Train — they are at the Caboose. God does not want us, He's never asked us, to believe in a vacuum. That's why He sent His Son; He never wanted us to believe in a vacuum; He gives us all kinds of evidences of His existence: In the Cosmos, on Earth, written in our Hearts, in His living word, through His Son. All kinds of evidence, archeological evidence, tons of it. For you to have Facts, to then establish your Faith, and then the caboose, your Feeling towards those things.
"The LDS Flip it. The train is being pulled by feelings. Feelings first, then by Faith in those Feelings, and then the Facts are the last thing."
Dr Matt Knows about Epistemology & Truth. Coincidentally, I know something about Epistemology. I happen to have a section in my Changing Your Stripes Manual that explains five fundamental epistemologies. In addition to explaining five fundamental ways of knowing in my CYS Manual, I also define the meaning of Truth — staying true to the words of Jesus, in that definition.
Coincidentally again, I know a substantial amount about Feelings. I include a 17-page explanation of the spiritual, perceptual, and physiological realities corresponding to the words "Feelings" and "Emotions" in my book, Changing Your Stripes.
With the words of the Bible as our anchor for truth, I will contrast McCraney's so-called "Christian Epistemology" against the epistemology given in the Bible. I will explain:
1 - Why McCraney's previous paradigm of Facts pulling Faith pulling Feelings
2 - Why the "flip-side" — Feelings pulling Faith pulling Facts — is NOT at all
False Witness of the Week
Why McCraney's Words are a False Witness. McCraney describes Christian Epistemology: "Facts pulling Faith pulling Feelings." First, these words are NOT found in the Bible, nor is this idea explicitly articulated by the Bible; so how could these words possibly represent Christian Epistemology?
Through the words of the Bible, God is perfectly capable of speaking for Himself and is able to articulate His own Epistemology — His Way for humanity to Know!
From the start, McCraney's personal epistemology is called into question. As we measure Shawn's words, against the words of the Bible, we are able to judge the validity of his personal assertion. To his credit, Shawn did quote the following Bible passage:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
But it requires a leap of faith to imagine that the previous passage means: "Facts pulling Faith pulling Feelings." Instead, this verse from Hebrews defines "faith" and is best understood within the whole context of all that the Bible teaches about "faith" — this verse does NOT directly define "epistemology." Indeed the Bible DOES directly establish a Christian epistemology.
To understand what Paul meant by the words in Heb. 11:1, we need to interpret this single sentence within the context of ALL the Bible reveals as to Faith, Facts, Feelings, and Epistemology. Yes, I said "ALL." To avoid "vain janglings," the thorough student of the Bible will begin with what scientific researchers call a "Literature Review."
After weighing ALL that God has revealed on the subject at hand, what His Epistemology IS, will come clear; honestly, we won't have to paraphrase at all, we'll let the Bible speak for itself! Epistemology is the philosophical study of how human beings make claims to Knowing/Knowledge.
Let's begin with a few Bible passages that quickly call into question, McCraney's so-called "Christian Epistemology." Here's an example from the New Testament that illustrates how Peter came to "know" that Jesus is the very Son of the Living God:
When Jesus asked "whom say ye that I am?" This was Peter's reply:
"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
Here, theBible establishes one epistemological avenue through which we can have sure Knowledge. McCraney implies this God-given epistemology with these words:
"[God] gives us all kinds of evidences of His existence:
Peter's evidence that Christ is the Son of the living God, was a "written in our Hearts" experience — precisely as prophesied by Jeremiah:
"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts" (Jeremiah 31: 33).
What God will reveal to the heart of each individual, a law written in the heart, is a primary way for God's children to "Know" Him, and His Ways. The Law Written in the Heart is a metaphor that means the Spirit of God will witness of things that are true, and we will feel it in our Hearts. This is consistent with a New Testament account:
And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; . . . And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24: 30-32).
This "burning" is not the same as a mere physiological "feeling." This burning by the Spirit of God is what creates and sustains the Faith of Latter-day Saints, and the Faith of all Christians, and believers in God generally.
All the scriptural passages thus far go to the importance of spiritual inspiration as a basis for our Faith. Reinforcing this notion, and calling into question the supposed importance of seeing, touching, or hearing empirical Facts as a basis of our Faith . . . is the experience of Elijah.
"And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (I Kings 19: 11-12)
Though God can command the elements of the earth and bring forth mighty winds and earthquakes, . . . yet, His faithful servants come to Know Him, and hear Him, in a "still small voice." Here's further Bible evidence that this is God's primary epistemology:
After the scribes and pharisees visually witnessed Christ healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day, did this empirical evidence cause them to believe that he was the Son of God? The Bible records the reaction of the scribes and pharisees to witnessing a miracle:
". . . there was a man which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. . . . And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. . . . [Jesus] saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him."
What are these "Facts" that supposedly pull "Faith" in the "Christian Epistemology" according to McCraney? The empirically observed "Fact" that Jesus healed a man with a withered hand did not bring these particular pharisees to "Faith." And neither did a hundred other healings, bring scribes, pharisees, and chief priests to a Knowledge that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God.
What was missing? God's fundamental epistemology: the witness of the Holy Ghost spoken in a still small voice. Who can hear this voice? Those who have Faith. I suggest that the Bible will point to the pure hearts and the pure faith of individuals, as being a pre-condition to hearing the Still Small Voice/ Law Written In the Heart/ Witness of the Holy Ghost.
False Witness #2: The Bible passages we've reviewed thus far contradict McCraney's "Christian Epistemology" of "Facts pulling Faith pulling Feelings." Thus McCraney's representation of "Christian Epistemology" is a False Witness.
I'm scratching my head in the first place, wondering why Shawn McCraney likes to put things in his own words anyway. Why does he NOT rely upon the direct words of the Bible in the first place?
Now, to another False Witness that Shawn spoke:
"The LDS Flip it. The [Epistemological] train is being pulled by feelings.
It is unwise for McCraney to make such a sweeping generalization in the first place, for all I need is one counter example to make his generalization . . . a False Witness.
So, I will personally supply the counter-example: I'm a Latter-day Saint (a Mormon); I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know what "feelings" are, because I've researched and written about them in my book, Changing Your Stripes. Further, I know the difference between a Heavenly manifestation versus mortal perception augmented by physiological stirrings (emotions/feelings).
I declare thus: My "Faith" in the Lord Jesus Christ is rooted in a witness given by the Holy Ghost: Jesus is the Son of God and the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and this is a knowledge that I received as I directly asked of God. This spiritual witness has been further reinforced through a thousand every-day experiences of hearing the "still small voice" and acting upon this inspiration — the consistent result being a serendipity of occurrences unfolding beyond normal human experience.
I'm a "Mormon" . . . I am "LDS" . . . and Feelings don't "pull" my Faith at all; instead, it is the Law Written in the Heart that is my Guide and my Anchor. In fact, I write about this sure way of "knowing" in my 300-page book, "Changing Your Stripes."
I first published my book "Changing Your Stripes" in 2006 — years before Shawn McCraney rants about "LDS Epistemology." Thus, I have not concocted a Belief System that conveniently contradicts Shawn McCraney's supposed LDS Epistemology of Feelings pulling Faith pulling Facts. Shawn's would-be epistemology for Mormons is NOT a valid description of how I've come to Know, . . . and I'm a Mormon.
I could easily give a thousand more "counter-examples" of what Shawn McCraney asserts. But just one counter-example is sufficient to establish Shawn's words as a False Witness.
* * * * * * *
Dr Matt's rebutts McCraney's msconception of Christianity and the Trinity. Shawn asserts that there is no Marriage in Heaven, but Dr Matt gives Biblical reasons why Marrying, or "being given in marriage," does not happen in Heaven, but Marriages performed on earth by the power to "bind in heaven" continue into eternity.
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