Part I – Genesis: In the End

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

1 Timothy 4:1-3

In the End

Readers must be mindful of the spiritual context of the times in which this apologetic work is written. Everyone has their own opinions and assessments of the environment within which they live. Here are mine, and they strongly infuse this work.

            We are living in an age which is directly and tragically experiencing what Paul referred to as ‘the great falling away’—that is, a massive betrayal, an apostasy, a widespread departure from what has throughout history been regarded as true and simple Christianity (see 2 Thessalonians 2 and 1 Timothy 4).[1] There is an intense concern among those who truly know God about the level of deception happening within Biblical Christianity. This issue of spiritual deception in our time is, one might say, another important reason I’ve decided to provide a Christian response to the 12RFL. Mr. Peterson’s message is becoming popular with those who either claim to be Christians or who are evincing an increased level of interest in Christianity due to Mr. Peterson’s material and presentations. Mr. Peterson’s sincerity, integrity, knowledge, humor, and enthusiasm are wonderful to see and pleasant to listen to, yet Christians are called to ‘test the spirits’.

            Today, that which is being touted as ‘Christian’ is anything but. In many cases today what people see as Christianity is in fact just a dead, insipid, cultural ethos; a habit, a way of life people adopt because it either confers benefits to them in their social circle, salves their conscience, maintains traditions, or generates in them a sense that their righteousness exceeds that of their fellow man.

            Beyond all these things in significance, however (and powerfully confirming them), are Jesus’ warnings about what things would be like just prior to His return. In the 24th chapter of Matthew He warns once about wars and rumors of wars, once about pestilence, once about earthquakes and famines—but He warns us four times about deception. And just so do we see today biblical (what people would today consider ‘fundamental’) Christianity under assault, not from without, but from within. It would take another complete book to list all the current deceptions and apostasies and heretical movements ongoing in today’s Christian environment (many books have done so—consult the selected bibliography to this work). Throughout this work I will attempt to point out where today’s heresies or deceptive doctrines might obfuscate or confuse what I attempt to convey. The authority source against which I will attempt to measure and assess the 12RFL is the Word of God—the Bible, as interpreted by the Holy Spirit.

            However, there are some important elements of today’s religious environment, the religious ‘context’, if you will, that should be shared with readers up front (in the spirit of full disclosure) for this work to be understood. I present them here from an fundamental biblical Christian perspective.

            According to the Word of God, Islam is not Christianity. There can be no grounds for ‘mutual understanding and agreement’ in these two faiths. There are undoubtedly devout Muslims who believe with all their hearts and minds that the god of Islam is the true God. There are many who have dedicated their lives in service to their god, no question. But the god of Islam and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are mutually exclusive and in their essence, hostile to one another. It may seem superfluous to mention, but there are doctrines and movements nonetheless today among so-called Christians wherein Christians, in the name of unity, are working hard to conflate Islam with Christianity. Biblical Christianity, however, has nothing in common whatsoever with Islam. Christians can (and should) befriend Muslims, work with them, help them, and pray for them, that they would come to a knowledge of the Living God, but when it is lived in truth, the system that is Christianity cannot but be opposed to the system that is Islam.

            In the same way that Islam is not Christianity, neither is Roman Catholicism. Unfortunately Roman Catholicism is constantly referred to by non-Christians, those on the outskirts of Christianity trying to assess it, or by so-called Christians unfamiliar with the authority of the Bible or the clear, accessible, and undisputed history of Catholicism, as Christian. Diabolically, in many parts of the world Roman Catholicism is taken to be the highest representation of Christianity, when in fact it is the utter opposite. Roman Catholicism has far more in common with Islam and Rabbinic Judaism than it does with biblical Christianity (two commonalities come to mind: Catholicism is a works-based religion—by which it is meant that its adherents believe they must do some sort of work to attain their salvation and right standing with God—and they originate from the same source—the desire for man to make his own god, and the belief that man can make himself righteous enough so as to be accepted by God). Roman Catholicism has throughout its history up until today been intensely and poisonously anti-Christian. There are enough books, studies, and information freely available for the reader who may be affected (or offended) by this assertion about Roman Catholicism—readers wishing to know the truth—to consult so as to answer their concerns. If you wish to ignore this truth, well then … may I suggest you consult Rule 8 in the 12RFL.

            Rabbinic or ‘Talmudic’ Judaism[2] is not Christianity. This may seem trite to mention, but it will become clearer if the statement is made thus: the god celebrated in Rabbinic or Talmudic Judaism is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob described in the Hebrew scriptures. Rabbinic/Talmudic Judaism is at its core a belief system in which man is god, where one’s faith is in the utter sufficiency of man to rectify his own sin, to reclaim his own righteousness, to effect his own salvation. While the Jew, because of the gifts God gave them, can be the highest expression of man’s capabilities as men, he can also express the worst. The Jew is, as Art Katz has noted, “mankind writ large.”

            Mormonism is not Christianity; Mormons are not Christians. Satan is not Jesus’ half-brother, and when we die, we do not go to other worlds to become gods of those worlds. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not Christians. Those of the Emerging Church, from the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’, adherents to Mr. Rick Warren’s aberrant theology, those following the doctrines of positive confession or faith healings—all of these and more fall outside the pale of Biblical Christianity. Yet in today’s deceptive mélange of religions, when discernment fails and truth is flung to the ground, all of these aberrations and more are considered by most of society to be Christian denominations or faithful representations of the Church. They are not.

            When Jesus asked the rhetorical question, ‘When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?’ he was referring to the fact that those possessing a faith in Him as He is revealed in the Word of God would be few. Most, by the time He comes back again, will be worshipping a god of their own making—a god of their own hands, a god in their own minds. Those who do know and obey Him in truth will undergo persecution from those once within their ranks who, due to their refusal to love Truth, will ‘fall away’ to pursue false, heretical teachings. Some false systems, like Islam and Roman Catholicism, have been around for centuries; others are ‘emerging’ in recent times.

            In such a spiritual environment, readers are gently and with humility asked to suspend habits of leaping to conclusions before complete explanations are conveyed. Try not to read this work with preconceived ideas about what Christianity is, because the odds are that such preconceived ideas were not formed through and with the Word of God through the interpretation of the Holy Spirit. Reader, as you proceed through this work, may I request that you set aside whatever doctrines you may have thought in your life were “Christian”, and simply refer to the Word of God as presented in the Bible and, most important of all, ask God that He gives you an understanding of what it means or how it applies where it is presented in this work.

            The only authority source by which the 12RFL is assessed in this work is the Word of God—the Bible. The Bible is very clear; it means what it says. Where it speaks plainly, it means for the reader to take things literally. Where analogy or alliteration is intended, the Bible makes this clear—the parables are parables (i.e. Jesus is not literally a door, or bread); when people see visions, the text describes what they see as ‘like’ something (e.g. a voice like the sound of trumpets). Where there are common expressions, the context makes the analogy clear.

            Is such faith in an inerrant Bible typical fundamentalism? Well, what do you mean by ‘fundamentalism’? If you mean someone who takes the Bible to be the literal Word of God, who is of the conviction that it has no errors, that is depicts real history, real people who really existed, and which reveals the character and personality and nature of a personal, sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God to mankind … then yes, these assessments are from a fundamentalist perspective.

            There is very definitely the possibility that elements of this work might be misunderstood. To explain, permit me to pose a question. Who can best understand Mr. Peterson’s work—those with the most advanced psychology degrees, or his fellow teachers, or those who have seen every one of his YouTube videos a dozen times each? Not really. Actually, the one who will understand him best will be the one who knows him best—as differentiated from the one who knows about him (lots of people know about him; only a few really know him). Those who have spent time talking with Him, who have an active, ongoing, close and personal relationship with him, are best placed of all to understand, to see the things of depth, the layers of reference and meaning, and the critical message his work is intended to convey. Of all people, this author suspects that his wife best understands Mr. Peterson’s work. She will see farther into the analogies, best understand the deep references made about his children and his feelings for them, and identify most closely with passages that describe his thoughts about weighty matters. Perhaps after his wife, his children will have a strong understanding and comprehension of his work. Then, following, it will be other people who have known him over a period of years and talked with him extensively about things that matter.

            Well, so it is with God and His revelation to man as given in the Bible. Who will best understand those revelations and His Word? Who will be most likely to truly understand the meaning in the words? Those who know God, who have spent time talking with Him; those who have an active, close, and personal relationship with Him—and sadly, there are many more who know about God than those who know Him.


[1] Note that this massive apostasy has its origins within the Church, not with those outside the Church. The dangers spoken of in this section do not apply directly to Mr. Peterson. Readers should be aware, though, that those who call themselves Christians may adopt some of philosophies and modes of thought advocated by one or more of the 12RFL, and there are some elements of these rules that may, if digested without discernment, take them further down the road of apostasy and away from the Truth as given by God in His Word.

[2] As differentiated from Biblical Judaism; rabbinic or ‘Talmudic’ Judaism is a religion in which there is a supreme confidence in man’s ability to justify himself before God—by his works, his obedience to Law, by his piety. Readers interested in this unique expression of modern Judaism (sadly too accurate) are commended to the works of Mr. Art Katz, and specifically his discussion on “The Two Judaisms”, found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_MUZkxI1RQ.

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