Heresies and cults are rooted in Bible passages twisted into allegory

The Bible contains allegory, but when it does it also is evident in the passage. Along with legalism I think there is a strong correlation between the practice of twisting Bible passages into allegory and heretical teachings and cults.

We can look at the history of Christianity since the apostles and we will see a reoccurring pattern between allegory and heresy. The first heretics of Christianity were legalists that wanted to put Jews that found the Messiah back under Jewish law. Soon after, we know that Gnostic heretics became a plague within Christianity. They made scriptures allegorical so it would comply with their old and new mystical beliefs. It seems most heresy either comes from legalism or from some allegorical interpretation of passages in scripture that should be taken in a common literal sense.

Throughout the history of Christianity we have had those that went beyond the common literal contextual meaning of the Bible to develop strange theologies. The Roman Catholics are legalistic on some interpretations of scripture but on others they make the passage allegory without any reason other than doing so supports church decrees.

Armed with allegorical Replacement Theology and Catholic Dominion Theology the Roman Catholic hierarchy persecuted Jews and scripture believing Christians. Even today, the Roman Catholic Church still thinks that they rule the Kingdom of Christ on earth. This claim is rooted in their legalistic and allegorical twisting of the scriptures. So does that abuse of scripture put the huge Roman Catholic Church in the category of a heretical cult? I will let you be the judge. If you need any help, I suggest you read “A Woman Rides the Beast”, by Dave Hunt.

One day a Catholic monk named Martin Luther appeared. He took scripture more literally than the Roman Church of his day and presented them with 95 theses that opposed what they claimed. Rome of course rejected what Luther and scripture said and Protestantism rose in opposition to Catholicism.

The early Protestants tried to stay true to the scriptures, but since there were prophetic passages that they did not understand, they retained the claim that these scriptures should be taken in a spiritual or allegorical sense.

Both the Catholics and most Protestants created elaborate theologies to support their belief that scripture is only fulfilled in the spiritual body that started with the first human believer. That generally is now the crux of a system now known as Covenant Theology. The allegory used in Covenant Theology was mainly used on eschatological passages for Israel but their allegorical view of these passages also impacts other theologies.

In Covenant Theology true believers that were in ancient Israel are part of the Church. Therefore, they say that any passages referring to any future restoration of Israel is really allegorical information about the spiritual Church. They say that now that Jesus has come and established His spiritual kingdom He cut off the Jewish nation that rejected Him. This paved the way for heretical Replacement Theology where Jews were seen as Christ killers and a people cursed and evil. That view paved the road for persecution of Jews by even those calling themselves Christians.

Some in Covenant Theology do see a time ahead where Jews will be saved just before the end, but they see no earthly significance to the scriptural passages that in any common sense reading are talking about a literal physical restoration of the nation of Israel and a literal restored Israelite Kingdom.

After the printing press was invented, the Bible got into the hands of common people and they read the Bible in a common sense way. They read the Bible as if God wrote it to be understood by those reading it. Many of those reading the Bible first hand no longer bought into the concept that the Bible needed to be interpreted by clergy.

The common sense reading of the Bible caused new Christian leaders to emerge that taught that any literal honest interpretation of the scriptures said that there would one day be a restoration of a literal national Israel. They understood that scripture teaches that there will be a restored literal Jewish Kingdom on earth and that Jesus will rule it from Jerusalem in Israel. The common reading and the belief that the Bible should be read and interpreted in a literal natural sense, except where it was obviously not literal, brought about Dispensational Theology and the creation of new denominations. Some existing denominations also became influenced by the common sense interpretation of scripture.

Dispensational Theology claimed that God dealt differently with people in different dispensations of time to accomplish His own purpose on earth. These Christians saw a distinction between the covenant that Israel make with God that put Israel under Law, and the new covenant of grace to all trusting in Jesus apart from the Law. In Dispensational Theology, Israel remains distinct from those grafted into the New Covenant and Abrahamic promises that Israel has not yet received because of her unbelief and temporary blindness. God still has unbreakable covenants with national Israel that still must be literally fulfilled.

In the 20th century, leaders of old mainline denominations were not satisfied at just taking prophetic scriptures as allegory. They started taking anything that did not seem reasonable to them as being open to man’s higher criticism. The seminars and Bible colleges that taught higher criticism produced clergy that questioned if the words in the Bible were actually what God meant or even if they were inspired by God at all. This liberalism with the scriptures often led Christian leaders to believe and teach that the Bible should not be taken literally. Some claim it is just a guide for living. This brought to Christianity many liberal heresies and heretics that denied anything supernatural in the Bible. Today these generally oppose God’s plan for Israel and generally take a liberal (unbiblical) humanist (Marxist) worldview on moral issues.

To make a long story short. The liberals of mainline churches continued on their heretical ways. The members are now in general spiritual apostasy from the true Christian faith. Those believing God’s word in a common literal sense left these mainline churches and became known as fundamentalists and later Evangelicals. However, soon even in the Evangelical churches, some leaders used certain passages allegorically to support popular but aberrant views. Books with doctrines of psychotherapy, pop-psychology, self-help theories, etc., often were taught and scriptures were ripped out of proper context to make it seem like the views were supported by the Bible.

Of course for many decades we have also had the “Christian” cults that go way beyond any literal reading of the Bible. They formed their own allegorical interpretations of Bible passages to force fit them into some modern extra-biblical revealed truth. For example: Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Science, Unity, etc.

The Pentecostal movement also came from those who took the Bible literally, but it did not take long for more allegorical leaders to split that movement as well. There are now the Pentecostals that try to keep God’s word in proper context (for example: Calvary Chapels, some Assemblies of God, etc.) and there are those that use passages allegorically to support new and subjective physiological manifestations and doctrines (for example: Word/Faith churches, most Vineyards, etc.).

More recently we see a new breed of heretical leaders emerging with their postmodern views. They are splitting the Evangelical movement into those who still take the Bible literally and the New-Evangelicals that are redefining everything in God’s word. They make allegorical claims much like the heretics of Gnosticism and mainline liberals. Worse, they are also pushing toward heretical pluralistic universalism with an “all paths theology” and even pantheism.

Also among the “Evangelical” postmoderns we find a new push toward soft Dominion Theology from those that buy into the basic goodness of man and Marxist/socialism. They downplay biblical doctrine as if Christianity was just one allegorical truth among many truths that all eventually leads to a socialist utopia on earth, achieving the Kingdom of God on earth.

In addition, we see the allegory of various Liberation Theologies that make God a racist. There also is a hard Dominion Theology coming from allegorical heretics best known as the “New Apostolic Reformation”. They have their own allegorical twisting of God’s word and their claims of direct revelation. They appeal to Christian patriots and conservatives and lead them to believe that Christians will physically take the world for Christ. They teach Christians need to take dominion of the earth by force before Jesus can even return. We also have the heretical date setters in Bible prophecy that see allegorical timelines through various cryptic techniques that I am not going to rehash in this article.

I obviously have broad-bushed and generalized a lot here because I have to be brief. Much more could be said but you should get my main point. There is a long pattern or relationship between those in Christianity that like to over allegorize scriptures and most heresy. Heretical movements start when people depart from a common sense literal interpretation of God’s word. Heretical movements are fueled by those that put their own meaning on passages that are perfectly clear in any common reading. The allegorists have been creating heretical movements since the days of the apostles and it will only end with the destruction of the Harlot of Revelation chapter 17.

While I am on the subject of heresy, do you want to know why Christendom is in big trouble today? Just read this article by T.A. McMahon and you will get an inkling. Understand that “Christianity Today” was started and is endorsed by some of the biggest names in Protestant Christianity today. If you also read what is said about Billy Graham in this article, you will realize that there has been a radical change in his thinking since his early days as an evangelist. .

Editor note: this is a modified version of my article written on Aug 3, 2010. It is posted on my old blog.

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About Don Koenig

Don Koenig is the founder of ThePropheticYears website. He has been publishing articles on the Internet on Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and Christian worldviews since 1999. You can find well over a thousand articles and thousands of comments written by Don from the homepage of this website.


Heresies and cults are rooted in Bible passages twisted into allegory — 8 Comments

  1. Thank you again Don for getting to the core of the falling away of the church, which may be a realization of what some call the great apostasy during the last days. I think the various arguments trying to explain away what the bible says about homosexuality, like that by Matthew Vines which has been viewed more than a million times on Youtube, do the very thing you are expounding. In essence saying that the Old Testament laws are allegorical in a sense now due to the coming of Jesus who moved our relationship with God in new terms of grace and therefore what is said in the Old Testament on homosexuality is not applicable for today. Of course Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 he came to fulfill the law not abolish it. I mention this particular issue because it is taking such a tremendous hold on our world and the church as well. Don, do you have a sense of what the next manifestation of heresy for the church may look like? Thank you again for your hard work as a watchman.

  2. Don, at the bottom you put that you wrote this article in 2020* you probably meant 2010

  3. The biggest false teaching in the church to day, is works salvation spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 7:15-23 Jesus said they come in as wolves in sheep’s clothing preach salvation by works. What we instead of what Jesus did for us.

    He says in effect that grape vines produce grapes, not something else. So what is it the false teachers tell us. We have to do something more than Just believe the gospel to be saved. He said they call Him Lord, but add works to His grace. Romans 11:6 It is all grace, what Jesus did for us, not works, what we do or do not do. It can not be both.

    Then he says they did not do the will of God. What is the will of God? John 6:40 And this is the will of Him who sent me, that all that seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have eternal life, and I will raise Him up on the last day.

    Then Jesus says many will come before me on that day and tell me about all their wonderful works. They called Him Lord and even cast out demons in His name. But Jesus tells them, depart from me ye that work iniquity, I never knew you. Not I did know you and now I don’t, I never knew you. They trusted in their works and their own righteousness to be saved instead o believing on the only one who could save them by His blood sacrifice for all sin.

    Paul said the same thing in Galatians 1:8-9 First the gospel given in First Corinthians 15:1-4 That Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, He was buried and rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures. Paul said in Galatians; Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let them be accursed. As I said before, so say I again, If any man preach any other gospel to you than that which ye have received, let them be accursed.

    You rarely ever even hear the gospel in most churches anywhere. Or you hear a perverted gospel of grace plus works of some kind.

  4. The study of church history after having read,studied,& understood the better part of the Bible, or more importantly, HOW to study the Bible, is very illuminating. Early on, when I first experienced legalistic Churches, I went looking for answer’s, thinking, surely they must have gone off track somewhere along the timeline.This initially lead me to apologetics and the study of cults. Which, leads to church history, because, It did not take long in the early church history for the heretics to emerge, as Don mentions. So many of the heretical sects arose in the first couple centuries, leading to the formation of the first “Holy Roman Empire” in the early 3rd century, with the supposed conversion of the Emperor Constantine. And the Catholic Church was born. A good history of the persecution of the Jew’s and many other Christian’s is the (BIG) book: Constantine’s Sword.(about 800 pages) There was a documentary made, based on the book not long after it was published.'s_Sword

    Don, nice job of condensing this subject. We could almost discuss paragraphs one at a time. For those of you not familiar with the Catholics history, here is another great resource that I’ve posted before on the previous blog I think. When Constantine became titular head of the “church on earth” the Catholics were already well on their way to christianizing many pagan beliefs, but that accelerated afterwards. Most of the bigger temple’s were converted to churches, thus the resemblances to cathedrals. This free book explains the pagan history of the Catholic Church. Or the second Babylon.

    “The Two Babylon’s”, Alexander Hislop, 3rd addition,1919

    Both books can generally be found in good libraries.

  5. Well, the Reformed Churches just signed an agreement with the Catholics cementing the move towards unity. This just in from Lighthouse Trails Newsletter.

    A worldwide coalition of Reformed churches representing approximately 80 million Christians has signed onto an ecumenical statement with the Roman Catholic Church to “overcome divisions” from the time of the Protestant Reformation.

    The World Communion of Reformed Churches signed a “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” with Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist leaders last week at a church in Wittenberg, Germany. According to a WCRC press release, “The declaration stated that mutual condemnations pronounced by the two sides during the Reformation do not apply to their current teaching on justification.”

  6. If you read between the lines, it is the same old salvation by works they have always had. They have even brought in Islam. So I guess we are just one big happy family, and instead of going to your church, (where you probably never hear the gospel preached anyway} you can go to your nearest mosque and worship there.

    But we are in the end of the church age, and God said it would be this way. There are so many false gospels that it is getting harder and harder to tell Cain from Abel. The church day of grace is about over. The rapture has to be next. I am so looking forward to it.

    I heard a preacher the other day say that He hopes we go up slow enough so he can tell the post rapture Christians, “I told you so, I told you so.”

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