Arguing from Analogy Rather Than Reasoning from Scripture
By Mike McGuire
Many false teachings arise from using analogies to derive doctrine rather than scripture. Analogies can illustrate or enlighten a teaching, but when the Bible clearly teaches a different message, we must follow the Bible.
An analogy is simply an inference that because two known things are alike in some ways, they must be alike in other ways. Analogies can help; they can explain or illustrate, but they can also distort clear teaching of Scripture. When analogies fail, they must give way to the authority of Scripture.
Cults often use false analogies to promote false teachings contrary to the Bible. One recent example is the “God the Mother” cult. They are a growing religion with between 2-3 million followers focusing on rich college students. To be saved, one must believe in “God the Mother.” This “mother” is a seventy-something Korean woman.
Their rationale is that since the beginning of Christianity, we have been taught to pray to God the Father, and we are his children. So, their rationale continues, we cannot be children on earth without both a mother and a father. If that is true, and we have a heavenly father, then we must also have a heavenly mother. That is how the analogy goes. The Bible does not support this doctrine.
For more information, click here. In the description below that video is a link to the direct website about the “God the Mother” teaching. You can verify my assertions there.
Here is another take on it all.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses use another false analogy to identify Jesus Christ. Rather than using the scriptures accurately, they take bits and pieces of scripture to create a doctrine. I call this “Frankenstein Theology.” In the novel, Dr. Frankenstein took bits and pieces of recently deceased cadavers and knit them together into a body that became known as “Frankenstein’s Monster.”
Let’s examine their teaching. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Their official name) denies the deity of both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Their deity is a tenet of Orthodox Christian belief. To make the Watchtower’s case, they rely on analogy and non-logical thinking.
Quoting from their book Reasoning from the Scriptures: “Is Jesus Christ the same person as Michael the archangel? … Michael means ‘Who is like God?’ The name evidently designates Michael as the one who takes the lead in upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty and destroying God’s enemies.
“At 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (RS), the command of Jesus Christ for the resurrection to begin is described as ‘the archangel’s call,’ and Jude 9 says that the archangel is Michael. Would it be appropriate to liken Jesus’ commanding call to that of someone lesser in authority? Reasonably, then, the archangel Michael is Jesus Christ” (page 218). They leave out the part about the trumpet. Is Jesus Christ a trumpet?
Can you spot the false analogy here? This faulty reasoning causes persons lacking formal training to fail to spot this error. This is a logical non sequitur, that is, it does not logically follow their rationale. In those days a forerunner preceded an official to make an announcement saying, “Hear ye! Hear ye!” That preceded a formal proclamation. The official did not make that announcement; a subordinate did. The same here. The subordinate, Michael the Archangel, shouts the command preceding the coming of Christ. Christ is not making the announcement. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are in error. Their logic similarly fails regarding the deity of the Holy Spirit.
A final false analogy is that of Judaizing legalism, saying that Christians must follow a Jewish lifestyle to be true Christians. I recently heard this analogy: When you are adopted into a family, you adopt their customs as well. Since we have been adopted in God’s family (they say the Jews), we must adopt their customs. Therefore, Christians must obey all the Old Testament rules and regulations.
A detailed reading of the book of Galatians will refute the heresy of this doctrine. It is a different gospel that the apostle Paul warned about in Galatians 1:8. Adding anything to Christianity is both heresy and deceptive teaching. Reading from Acts 10 through 15, you will see that Gentiles were never obligated to follow Jewish customs, not even the Sabbath.
Whenever someone tries to argue a point from analogies, remember that analogies are illustrations at best. Draw your doctrine from a close study of Scripture, not simply analogies.