View of Bible from Friends Perspective
The Bible as viewed by the friends of the workers: it as a source for justifying the workers, finding verses for Sunday morning meetings and some studying for Wednesday night Bible studies.
When people ask 2x2s what they believe, they will say "We believe the Bible" because they know that this is the answer that other people want to hear. My experience as a 2x2 and outside the 2x2 religion has taught me that 2x2s don't believe the Bible and don't consider it God's word (or if they do, they reject God's word).
The Friends Belief on Understanding
(In general)2x2s believe you can only understand the Bible if your profess. The friends believe that a proper understanding of God comes from a Bible plus the workers, and if the workers differ from Bible, then they are wrong.
Despite the Bible having been translated into plain English, the workers believe that only by being homeless and nonsalaried (so they claim) and by praying and reading their Bible can a proper understanding of the Bible be gotten. They depend on their overseer, previous preaching of other senior workers, their feelings and their own personal experience and beliefs of God to obtain material for their preaching.
The overseers, workers and the friends do not believe that the author's intentions and is the sole, proper understanding to have of the Bible. So when they say "They believe in the Bible", they mean "We believe in the workers interpretation of the Bible."
I asked a 2x2 once, "When you ask a question of one worker and ask the same question to another worker and get two opposing answers, does that mean that the spirit of God is not with one of them?" She replied that I had erred and was only supposed to ask one worker, and if I asked another, it was because I was "unwilling" to accept the first answer. I have since learned from reading the Bible translate into plain English (nothing needed added to Bible or taken away) that God was with neither of the workers.
Source of the Problem About View of Bible
The source of the problem with the "friends" view of the Bible is that the overseers put pressure on the workers to get people to profess. And the parents pressure the kids to profess. So as long as workers come to meetings with more people and the are all repeating what they've taught them, what do they care about how kids and parents view the Bible? As long as everyone gives their testimonies and most people are satisfied with how they sound, then why change? The money keeps coming in, the workers keep their jobs and the overseers rake in the cash.
The Bible for Testimonies?
You might think I'm joking, but I'm not. Having been raised in a professing home, I can tell you at least that this was my view of the Bible. My parents read their Bible to "get ready for meeting". And I read my Bible on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings to "find a testimony for meeting." I know a man who quit meetings after learning about God and went to visit his mom. He said, ~"Look mom, how sad is this. I can flip open a Bible and give a 'testimony' on just about any verse of the Bible."
I remember when I was getting bored with the "testimony" thing. And my "testimonies" were slacking off. They were boring and my mom noticed this. So she told me to find something interesting to relate the verse to. So I did. I mimicked the outward pattern. In fact, I remember my testimony. It went something like this:
I was watching some squirrels yesterday. And they were gathering nuts and hiding them away in trees and burying them in the soil. And I just want to take these things of God and hide them in my heart.
After the meeting, my mom commended me. And I learned the lesson that testimonies have nothing to do with how you actually feel, but about whether other people (including my parents) like how they sound. It was clear to me that the Bible was not relevant to my emotions, needs or that our god cared about me. This 2x2 god just cared that my testimonies were sounding OK.
The Real Problem
The real problem with this view of the Bible as a "source of justification and testimonies" is that it's a lie. The Bible is about the LORD God. It's about the Father and his son and his holy Spirit and their wondrous works for mankind. And to make the Bible any less than this is to be robbed of what it is. The Bible is the word of God as given by the Father to mankind to profit with.
Bible Says about Itself
Mar_12:10 And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
Scripture is relevant in understanding everyday life.
Mar_15:28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.
The scripture foretells future events, showing how God knows everything and has told us before it even happens. This shows how awesome God is.
Luk_4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Because people didn't believe in scripture and know it, they didn't realize that God himself in the flesh was standing right before them.
Joh_2:22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
Scripture, when known before hand gives us assurance and direction and faith for the future and what we need to do with our lives. Because of the commandments of God and his parables, it causes me to act on what I read so that I can receive blessing from God. God reminds me how great He is and to humble myself before him so that I don't fall under the condemnation of the devil.
Joh_7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Jesus Christ referred to scripture and gave it so that we could know Him. It was God himself who spoke to the prophets who told of the word of God (Jesus Christ) to the people to help them, protect them and try to keep them safe and blessed.
There are tons more verses on what the Bible says about itself, but this is just a little so you can see how far off my view of the Bible was while I was one of the friends of the workers.
The Workers View on the Friend's View of the Bible
The workers like their friends dumbed down, so this view of it being a source of testimonies is just fine. I remember sitting in meetings towards the last and thinking of what a waste of time it was and how they rattled on about nothing for so long you would think they were paid by the hour and their knowledge-base was extremely limited. You wouldn't be far off if you believe this. The workers preach maybe 3 hours a week for their living!
But worse than this, the workers don't want their friends to believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God that is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.
When I started reading and praying with a friend of mine, the workers told us to stop because it was causing problems in the field.Yes, people were starting to obey Jesus Christ and people were seeing that the emperors have no clothes. Their solution to this is to quickly excommunicate people who believe in God. In fact, if you come to believe that Jesus Christ is God and get to talking about this in meetings, they will excommunicate you. That's how little the workers think of Jesus Christ, the son of God and only God and Saviour of mankind.
And Another View
You might say, "Hold on a second. I know some of the friends who are well studied in the Bible and ...." And I will say, "Yes, you're right. Some of them study the Bible and can tell the stories and find verses quickly." But here's the thing. After all that studying and "learning" of the Bible, why do you think that they still don't know who Jesus Christ is? Why don't they see Jesus Christ as God? And if any of them actually did, then why aren't they excitedly talking about it in meetings? And you know, and I know, that if they did talk about Jesus Christ as God in the meetings, then they would see who God is and that they are unlike God, are in a cult and get out. So, my argument against this that if they really do use the Bible to know God, then why are they still in a cult? I know plenty of people who actually believed the Bible and because of this got out. I am one of them.
Friends - Home|
Compare the Friends
|To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. - Jesus Christ speaking to Saul, see Act 26:18, see Salvation through Jesus Christ.|