Joe Carter Creates A Conspiracy

Joe Carter, the TGC never-Trumper who routinely data-mines Wikipedia providing the world with Big Eva think pieces, has favored us with a breathless warning of ecclesiastical danger.

The Christian Church is becoming infiltrated by QAnon and Alt-Right cultic forces.

If you are like most Christians, your immediate response is “Who?” Folks can read his article to get the gist of who or what QAnon is supposed to be and do. Needless to say, Joe thinks they are a dire threat against the Christian church even risking the pushing open of the very gates of hell to prevail against God’s redeemed.

If we chase Joe’s white rabbit, however, in reality he is troubled that serious Christians supported Trump in 2016 and he is extremely annoyed that even more will support him in 2020. This is especially true in light of the fact that they have witnessed how crazy leftist Democrats hate them, America, and anything that stands in the way of their leftist progressive Utopia breaking forth upon the planet. If those Evangelical were like me, a Ted Cruz guy throughout the 2016 election, the last four years have only demonstrated that Trump – warts and all – is the only rational option. He is a flawed man for sure, but he is the one man who actually loves America, it’s people, and it’s core values. Democrats want to fundamentally change that as Obama proclaimed back in 2008.

At any rate, Joe is convinced that during these last four years, conspiracy theories have abounded, and hapless Trump evangelicals, blinded by their unwavering adoration of Trump and their America First religious ways, have allowed conspiracy theories to cloud their thinking, the QAnon conspiracy being the most insidious. But do serious evangelicals know what QAnon is? I mean really?  He tries to bolster his QAnon taking over the church thesis by comparing it to groups like Lyndon LaRauche and the Aryan nation, but they are just as way out fringe and virtually unknown to most faithful Christians as QAnon. It’s actually an insipid comparison.

Joe only lists two conspiracies as examples of his conspiracies seeping into the church, flat earthism and the belief that COVID 19 originated in a bio weapons lab.

Notice the sinister conflation. Anyone even familiar with flat earthism knows it is a kooky idea that swirls around in the fever swamps among moonbats on the internet. If I would venture a guess, most of them are untethered from a solid church and are the kinds of individuals who are easily tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. No serious minded Christian believes anything they promote.

The Wuhan bio weapons lab, however, is a possibility. Remember how Arkansas senator, Tom Cotton, was ridiculed for pushing what was called a debunked conspiracy theory when he suggested this very idea?  WaPo ran a ridiculing hit piece against him in early February, and since then, intelligence has put forth some serious evidence that COVID 19 is a virus that originated in a lab.

Of course, only a few are saying the CCP intentionally manufactured the virus as a weapon, but the bat-to-human transfer involving some anonymous adventure tourist eating bat soup at a wet market in Wuhan is a bit fishy. Being a kid raised during the end of the cold war, I know that commies lie all the time. They also do dastardly things, and have a horrifically bad human rights track record. Moreover, they govern with catastrophic incompetence, Chernobyl for example. It is easy to see the same thing happening with the current communist thug cartel running China. Joe insists that a conspiracy cannot be believed without data and evidence. Okay. But there is lots of evidence that COVID 19 originated in a viral research facility near that wet market. Jim Geraghty lays out the trail in this article.

Unironically, however, he believes conspiracies without the presence of data and evidence. The biggest: the Russian collusion hoax that was initiated by the HRC campaign and investigated by direct order from Obama. Joe believes it was all legit, because that terrible Trump had to be colluding with Russians, the kind of conspiracy that lacked data and evidence as Joe outlines in his article. Now that conspiracy he believed for so long is crumbling day by day as documents are declassified.

More and more, during the last three years of Trump, we have seen absolute jaw dropping reports in the MSM, sources of news I imagine Joe believes are trustworthy and fair-minded, telling us Trump was finished. Almost without exception, all of those bombshell reports confidently predicting it was the beginning of the end as the walls are closing in on Trump were retracted within 24-hours. Believing legacy media without question is itself believing conspiracy theories.

Now that the Russian hoax has been exposed and all his hopes that Trump would be hauled from the White House in hand cuffs have been dashed to pieces, Joe has turned to projecting his conspiracy theory failure onto the Christian Church by creating a fresh conspiracy theory that accuses countless believers of drinking the QAnon kool-aid. The only problem is that the vast, vast majority of believers literally know nothing about QAnon. In a way it is slander, though a passive aggressive slander, the kind he decries at the conclusion of his article.

 

 

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Redemption

I read Doug Kutilek’s review of what appears to be a wonderful little book. It tells the story of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Christian conversion and his renunciation of his racist views around a decade after the war and a few years before his death. The following review is taken from Doug’s occasional email newsletter, “As I See It,” volume 18, number 8 for October to December. Thought I would share with the readers.

forrestNathan Bedford Forrest’s Redemption by Shane E. Kastler. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing, 2010. 176 pp., hardback.

Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877), the legendary Confederate cavalry officer in the American Civil War who was the terror of Union armies for four years, has been the subject of numerous biographies and studies. We reviewed one of the more famous accounts, that by Robert Selph Henry, “First with the Most” Forrest, in the very first issue of As I See It 1:1. We followed this up with an article in As I See It 3:6, “The Conversion of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA,” about Forrest’s embracing Christianity late in life, a thing mentioned only in passing in most Forrest biographies, with few or no details.

This present biography of Forrest, while tracing his life in a well-written and succinct account admittedly dependent on other earlier accounts, does so with an eye constantly on the influences that ultimately led to Forrest’s life-transforming conversion in late 1875. It could be properly sub-titled “A spiritual pilgrimage from profane sinner to humble saint.”

Forrest’s mother and his wife were lifelong devout Christians, and always prayed regularly and fervently for Forrest’s conversion (and protection during the war—a multitude of such prayers were definitely answered). While he respected their faith, he long felt that religion was only for women. During the war, numerous pastors and preachers served in Forrest’s command and regularly preached and taught the Bible in camp, often with Forrest in attendance. Near the end of the war, Forrest wrote a letter to his soldier son, urging him to NOT follow his own sinful ways (though he neither used tobacco nor drank alcohol nor was ever unfaithful to his wife, Forrest was an inveterate gambler, was known for his volcanic temper, and his profane language—except in the presence of women).

After the war, through a series of financial failures (in stark contrast to his consistent ante bellum business successes), Forrest was brought to the end of himself. He encountered one of his former soldiers who had been converted to Christ with a clear change for the better of the man, and began regularly attending church with his wife. After a sermon by the pastor on the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:24-27, the parable of the two builders, Forrest clearly saw himself as a man who had built his life on the sand, as a sinner facing eternal personal calamity. Confiding these things to the pastor, the pastor urged him to go home, and read through Psalm 51, one of David’s Psalms of repentance and confession of sin. At their meeting the next day, Forrest confessed that he had trusted Christ as savior and was at peace with God.

Though he lived less than two years after that event, he was clearly a different man. Among other things, he spoke briefly at a banquet given in his honor by some of the black populace of Memphis. In his remarks, he spoke of his desire to see the blacks attain success in life and the full exercise of their rights. Among other things, he said:

Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.

When presented with a bouquet of flowers by a black girl, he stooped and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Were this incident widely known, Forrest would be a symbol of reconciliation between the races, rather than there being demands by the uninformed calling for the removal of a statue in his honor from a Memphis park.

Forrest is a prime example that there are no hard cases with God, that no one living, no matter his age or the depths of his sin and corruption, is beyond the reach of God’s saving and forgiving grace (or the prayers of believers), if he will humble his heart, assume full responsibility for his sins and seek God’s mercy. I am sure that Forrest would confess, in the words of Paul, “This is a true statement worthy of complete acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.”

The author Shane Kastler is a Southern Baptist pastor, currently serving a church in Louisiana. His research is thorough, his writing readable, and his documentation and bibliography adequate.

Doug Kutilek

Studies in Eschatology [5]

tabernacle1The Israel/Church Distinctive

I began a study looking at eschatology by considering the basic hermeneutics, or those principles of Bible study that are foundational for the various eschatological systems.   With this article, I want to touch briefly on a significant principle of hermenuetics, The Israel – Church Relationship.

The Israel – Church relationship is without a doubt the most significant disagreement between all the adherents of each eschatological system. Moreover, nearly all the other hermeneutical principles are shaped by how one understands the differences and similarities between the national, ethnic group Israel, or the Jews, with the NT Church, which is defined as being comprised of both Jews and gentiles united in one body in Christ.

With all the literature I have read on the subject, those who hold to a Reformed Covenant view of Scripture practically make any dissenting position from their understanding of Israel and the Church a test for orthodoxy. There were a few non-Covenant oriented authors who took a similar, opposite stance against those who would depart from their particular view of Israel and the Church, but I found it was the Reformed Covenant authors who were the most stern in their pronouncements of error.

Keith Mathison, for example, in his book critiquing dispensationalism, paints his dispensational subjects as holding to a view of the Bible that is both unique, in that it is relatively new to Church history, and heretical, in that they promote two entirely different Gospels and views of salvation, [see also Crenshaw and Gunn, pgs. 117ff.]. Sam Waldron shares a similar criticism against John MacArthur when he states rather disingenuously that John’s dispensational convictions, while not heretical, do raise issues with the Gospel and the Christian faith [Waldron, 127]. Other authors provide like-minded critiques in which they dance around calling those believers with non-covenant views of Israel and the Christian Church heretics. They may merely conclude that their theological convictions regarding Israel and the Church are problematic and troubling, and are to be avoided. But there are a few Reformed Covenant writers who do place their convictions outside the pale of Christian orthodox, or brand them as being pseudo-Christian.

With all of that in mind, how one understands Israel’s relationship to the Church is such a vital hermeneutical pillar in a person’s eschatological structure, that it is important we frame a full picture of the main disagreeing points.

The Reformed Covenant position on Israel and the Church is derived from a set of theological presuppositions emerging out of Covenant Theology. God is said to have only one particular, redeemed people who are the same in both testaments. This redeemed people are called “the Church” or the “appointed assembly” or “called out assembly” [Berkhof, 555 ff.] They were present within the nation of Israel during the history of the OT; for instance those 7,000 who did not bow the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18).

Robert Reymond describes the Church as “comprised of all redeemed in every age who are saved by grace through personal faith in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ, ‘the seed of the woman’ (Gen. 3:15) and suffering Messiah (Isa. 53:55-10)” [Reymond, 805]. Citing Mathison again, he writes that the Church is all believers of all ages (meaning both in the OT & NT) have one God, and one Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Additionally, the believers of all ages are one body, one bride, one household, one flock [Mathison, 26].

The Church, then, is understood to transcend both testaments. In the OT, this “redeemed assembly” was within the nation of Israel and can correctly be identified as “Israel,” but in the NT, this “redeemed assembly” takes on a new identity in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Gospel moves redemptive salvation beyond the borders of an exclusive Jewish nation state called “Israel” to include the entire world: people “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9).

The relationship between OT Israel and the NT church is considered a typological one; Israel is meant to foreshadow the Church to come [Mathison, 38]. The NT Church fulfills all the OT promises and purposes made to OT Israel [Mathison, 26]. All those original promises of restoration and being made a ruling kingdom over the earth God gave to OT Israel are literally being fulfilled NOW in the NT Church [Long, 361]. So it is accurate to call the Church the new Israel and certain New Testament passages like Ephesians 2:11-20 and 1 Peter 1:10-12 strongly suggest the NT Church has fulfilled, or even replaced, what the OT Church in Israel was meant to be.

That is not to say Reformed Covenant believers do not recognize a distinction between Israel and the Church. There certainly is a recognized distinction between OT Israel and the NT Church, however there isn’t a strong dichotomy between the two as the non-covenantal believers suggest [Crenshaw and Gunn, 118]. In fact, it is the strong dichotomy of the non-covenant believers that is the most concerning for the Reformed covenant folks. Holding a sharp dichotomy between the OT people of God, Israel, and the NT people of God, the Church, leads to some significant theological problems the most notable being a division between the people of God. That strong dichotomy presents two divided groups called “the people of God” and suggests two possible ways to salvation, one for the OT Jews and another for the NT Church. That division is considered artificial, especially when Jesus himself speaks of being a shepherd over one flock (John 10) and there is now one new man made of both Jews and gentiles (Ephesians 2).

It is true some dispensational writers in the past make such a strong distinction between the Israel of the OT and the Church of the NT, they would argue for a different Gospel spoken to the Jews by Peter and James and another proclaimed by Paul to the gentiles. A more recent example is the hyper-Zionist teachings of John Hagee who argues Jesus never offered Himself as a Messiah to Israel [Hagee, 132-145], or that Jesus was not crucified by the Jews [Hagee, 131], in spite of Peter’s words to the contrary (Acts 2:22, 23, 36). But those are extreme examples and do not reflect the whole of the theological thought on Israel and the Church which dissents from Reformed covenantalism.

The modern Reformed Covenant position on Israel and the Church tends to overlook two important historical factors influencing their view.

First is the idea of the Church being the new or spiritual Israel, or what would be the same as the OT “believing remnant.” Historically, this perspective on Israel and the Church has always been that of the Roman Catholic Church. I always found this close connection between the Reformed and the Roman Catholicism to be intriguing. That is especially true seeing how modern day Reformed apologists like Sam Waldron and Robert Reymond who are both highly critical of dispensational, non-covenant believers, have their historical roots with the Protestant Reformation. Yet, Roman Catholic teaching on the subject speaks of the OT Church, Israel, and the NT Church being the true Israel, the true people of God [Bovis, 20, 31, 32]. Elsewhere, the Church is referred to as the new Israel, which advances in this era, the Church of Christ [Flannery, 360].

Second is the antisemitism which has infested the historic Christian Church. The direct result of a view of replacement theology which says the OT Israel has been done away with and all their promises of restoration are fulfilled in the NT Church has been a nasty prejudice against the Jewish people. The Medieval Catholic Church is probably the worst instigator, but antisemitism continued after the Protestant Reformation by various Protestant groups who carried over the Catholic perspective on Israel and the Church, and it continues even until this day, particularly in Europe.

Now, contrasted with the Reformed Covenant perspective on Israel and the Church is the Reformed non-covenant perspective, also known as dispensationalism. Just like the Reformed view, the dispensational view is built upon specific theological presuppositions. For instance the idea the NT does not have total and complete revelational priority over the OT as the covenant perspective argues so that certain prophecies and promises made to the nation of Israel are cancelled and fulfilled entirely by the Church. Also, how one interprets OT eschatological prophecy will play into the conclusions regarding Israel’s relationship with the Church.

Those presuppositions provide a different approach to the biblical teaching on Israel and the Church when we consider the biblical evidence.

First, I believe it is clear in Scripture that Israel and the Church are distinct. The Church is understood to be only a NT entity that is not to be equated with one, specific redeemed people who transcend both testaments. There are similarities in the relationship between the NT Church and Israel, but a concise reading of Scripture tells us the two are never equated as being one and the same. That is especially true in the NT. Of the seventy-three references to Israel in the NT, the vast majority refer to national, ethnic Israel while a few others refer to Jewish believers [Vlach, 25]. Never does the NT writers equate the two as being one and the same. That point is noteworthy because the term Israel is kept distinct from the Church AFTER its establishment in the book of Acts [Vlach, 25]. That would imply the Church has not absorbed all of the OT promises made to Israel pertaining to their fulfillment in a future kingdom.

Building of the last point, a second area of difference between the Reformed Covenant view and the dispensational view of Israel and the Church has to do with defining the people of God. I believe it is completely accurate to say God has a redeemed people He has called to Himself and they are manifested in both testaments. Hence, contrary to covenantal criticism of dispensationalism, salvific unity does exist between Jews and gentiles; that is, they are one, redeemed people called by God by grace through faith in Christ.

However, a distinction between national Israel and the Church still exists. It is a distinction that is similar to the roles of men and women. Men and women share equally in salvation, yet they both have different roles as they serve in the local Church and in marriage [Vlach, 28]. The same could be said about masters and slaves (Ephesians 6:5ff.), as well as parents and their children (Ephesians 6:1-4).

And then a third area which differentiates the views of Reformed Covenant believers and non-covenant, dispensational believers is a belief in the future salvation and restoration of Israel in a physical kingdom upon the earth. Michael Vlach rightly points out the importance of noting there are many who hold to the Reformed perspective on Israel who would firmly teach a future salvation for Israel [Vlach, 29]. In other words, “all Israel will be saved” as Paul affirms in Romans 11:26. Thus, the future salvation of Israel is not strictly a dispensational view.

But, in addition to a future salvation for Israel, dispensationalists believe the Bible teaches a future restoration of Israel in the land with Christ reigning in Jerusalem. As a geo-political kingdom, Israel will have a special role of service to the rest of the nations. The idea of a future restoration, then, is more than just the idea of salvation in Christ and is the main distinguishing difference between the two positions.

So, with this outline of hermeneutics in mind, we have the foundation available to move along and consider the various eschatological systems. I will first give a brief overview of the main systems of amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism, and then return to defend premillennialism as the system I believe is taught from the biblical text.

*******
Sources

Curtis Crenshaw and Grover E. Gunn III, Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow. (Footstool Publications: Memphis TN, 1985)

Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 4th ed. (Eerdman’s Publishing: Grand Rapids MI, 1991)

Andre De Bovis, “What is the Church?,” Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Vol. 48. (Hawthorn Books: New York NY, 1961)

Austin Flannery, o.p. ed., Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents. (Scholarly Resources: Wilmington MD, 1975)

John Hagee, In Defense of Israel. (Frontline: Lake Mary FL, 2007)

Gary Long, Context! Evangelical Views of the Millennium Examined. (Great Unpublished: Charleston SC, 2001, 2nd ed. 2002)

Keith A. Mathinson, Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? (P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg NJ, 1995).

Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 2nd ed. (Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, 1998)

Robert L. Saucy, A Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensational & Non-Dispensational Theology. (Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1993)

Samuel E. Waldron, MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response. (Reformed Baptist Academic Press: Owensboro KY, 2008).

Michael J. Vlach, Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths. (Theological Studies Press, Los Angeles CA, 2008).

The Teachings of the Second Vatican Council, (Newman Press: Westiminster MD, 1966)

Answers KJV Onlyists are Afraid You will Provide [3]

thehaterI have been providing responses to the KJV onlyist challenge:

See parts one and two.

Moving along to final questions,

22). Do you know – for a fact – what the requirements of the American Bible society are, for a person to participate as a translator – in a Modern Version?

Okay, what exactly are the requirements? I would be curious if our KJVO advocate here really knows for himself.  I went to the American Bible Society website and hunted all over the place to find an “official” list of requirements to be a translator, but apparently they are either hidden in the darkest corners in the underground vaults of their building in New York City, or they have found out that a league of KJV onlyists are out to expose their New Age agenda, because they don’t list the requirements for a person to be a translator. I am guessing that either a KJVO advocate knows something we modern Bible version (MBV) folks don’t, or he is exaggerating the nature of these so-called requirements.

The next question has 3 or so extra questions woven in to one. I will look at them in turn:

23). Do you know – for a fact – what the requirements of the German Bible Society are, for a person to participate as a translator – in a Modern Version?

I figure that if our KJV onlyists can’t produce a “requirement list” for the American version, he is going to be even more hard pressed to find one for the German group, it being in a foreign language and all that I am sure our KJVO apologist here doesn’t have a clue how to either speak or read.

Do you know that the United Bible Societies, the UBS Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament – used in 95% of the seminaries today – is essentially the product of the German Society and that they retain the Copyright on the Nestle-Aland Greek Text?

Okay? So what? Oh, I am confident our KJV onlyists will insist there is some conspiracy to be exposed, but I have yet to see any serious evidence for one. At least evidence for one that should strike fear in my heart. By the way, most KJV onlyists carry on about how the KJV is a non-copyrighted work, but in reality, Oxford and Cambridge presses hold the copyright on the KJV. See an extended study on the KJV and copyrights.

Do you realize that the Beliefs, Teachings, Ideology and Methods of Translation of the German Bible Society will therefore be evidence on every page of the Greek Text that Modern Versions use (since modern versions rely almost exclusively on the Nestle-Aland bad Greek Text)?

translatorsFirst off, it would be helpful if our MBV accuser provided some documentation, or any evidence for that matter, explaining the “Beliefs, Teachings, Ideology and Methods of Translation” by this black-hooded German Bible Society. All we have from him are baseless accusations. Secondly, how is he defining “bad.” I have an idea, but in order for him to establish some credibility for his conspiratorial delusions, I would like to have something more substantial.

His next question, question 24, is fairly lengthy, so I will not quote it in its entirety.

24). Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, if the Germans Bible Society was around in the Time of Hitler, (which it was), and if the German Bible Society operated during the time of Hitler’s Third Reich in Germany (which it did), and if it needed a Nazi “certificate of good standing” (which it did), then what would this mean…for your modern Bible Version?

I guess it would mean that anyone who uses a MBV is a goose-stepping, SS, Brown shirt wearing, Jew-hater. Seems to me that is what he is implying anyways. Again, our author suffers from a lack of substantive footnoting. I would like to see a bit of documentation demonstrating a tight connection between the German Bible Society, the Nazis, and my ESV.

Furthermore, as the question charges, I want to see where the “Nazis” corrupted the OT. Apparently they did, right? The older Hebrew texts are still in print. If it is true that the Nazis made and approved the OT text from which the MBV are translated, then our KJV apologist should be able to give us clear examples where the Nazis changed the OT.

Additionally, the charge against the German Bible Society is a tad misinformed, because they did not officially organize until 1981, thirty-six years after WWII. There was a group of Protestant societies called the German Bible foundation, but they were established as early as 1710.  Certainly there had to have been some semi-organized group of Christians around when the Nazi took over Germany, but it is factually mistaken – and slanderously so – to charge the official German Bible Society with collaborating with Hitler.

Oh, but there is more.

The author goes on in his question to assert that the Nazis hired OT theologians to revise the OT in order to promote their antisemitic views.  He then implicates a Hebrew scholar he names as “Kittel.” He has to have in mind German Hebrew scholar Rudolf Kittel, who published three editions of the Hebrew OT, as one of the Bible-changing, Jew-haters hired by the Nazi party. The major problem with that charge, however, is that Rudolf Kittel died in 1929. That happens to be just a few years before the Nazi party came into power.

kittelMore than likely, our KJV onlyist is confusing Rudolf with his son Gerhard, who is usually the one accused of Nazi collaboration. Of course, KJVO apologists rarely care about such sniggling details. Gerhard was a New Testament scholar, not an Old Testament scholar, like his father. He edited the famous Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the NT that is still in use today in many seminaries and is quoted as an authority in defining NT words.

Though it is true Gerhard was named as an “official” theologian by the Nazi party and the Nazi’s often appealed to some of his works as an excuse for their antisemitic eugenic policies, the KJV onlyists who attempt a connection of modern Bible versions to Gerhard Kittel via the Nazi party are straining at some serious gnats. Moreover, they have to demonstrate where in Gerhard’s NT dictionary does he promote Nazi antisemitic ideas as well as how it impacted Bible translations to favor Nazism.

25). IF all of these concerns were valid, legitimate and provable, then do you still think that we should thoughtlessly chose and decide that Modern Versions of the Bible are somehow superior to the Historic Bibles that have been used around the world for thousands of years?

That is a mighty big “IF.” So far, none of the accusations leveled here against MBV have even come close to being established as legitimate. They all bubble up from the fever swamps of KJVO imaginations.

I could ask a similar question of our KJV apologist: IF all of those concerns were shown to be invalid, illegitimate, and outright contrived, then do you think you should apologize for leading young, unwitting Christians astray by confusing them with such baseless accusations and stupid nonsense?

26). Just how happy do you think that God will be, when you get up to Heaven in a few years, and they you can explain this yourself to HIM???

Well, what about you Mr. KJVO apologist? How happy do you think God will be when everything you wrote here is revealed to be foolish and nothing by wood, hay, and stubble and all of your dishonest misinformation is burned up before the Lord?

27). If you are a Pastor, is it true that you should already have these answers, Is it true that you should already have done this research, Is it True that you should already be ready to give an answer of him that asketh you – of the reason(s) and the hope that you have within you…???

I believe I have demonstrated to my readers, and I will to any congregation God is pleased to send me to pastor, that I have done sufficient research into this area. Moreover, I believe I have shown that the KJVO questions are easily answerable and refutable and when hard pressed with counter-questions, the KJVO apologist cannot adequately defend his world view.

28). We can certainly afford to be wrong ! The question is: Before God (and James 3) can you afford for us to be right ???

I am not sure what this question is asking, but lets turn it back on the KJVer. Before God, are you absolutely certain you are right about your history of Bible translations? Are you willing to repent of KJV onlyism if it can be shown to you that the belief is utterly unsupportable?

29). So, to continue…sharing truth here….Would you be surprised to learn that the German Bible Society does not follow Protestant Theology ? Would you be surprised to learn that the German Bible Society despises Martin Luther, His Bible and the Textus Receptus, and instead seems committed to promoting Bible Texts that (a) were rejected by the Christian Church for thousands of Years and (b) that “coincidentally” seem to greatly favor Roman Catholic Theology?

Again, I don’t believe you have established your conspiracy about the German Bible Society. But let’s say they are all devil worshipers and don’t care a lick about Martin Luther and Protestants. With all the mounds of manuscript evidence we have on hand to compare to their work, where exactly did they depart from the Bible?

Even more to the point, where exactly does the Received Text maintain orthodoxy where the MBV texts don’t? In other words, is there any orthodox Christian doctrine that is ONLY found in the Received Text? How exactly is the so-called modern Greek text corrupted from the original? That is what you haven’t shown. Like I have said before: heretics don’t intentionally corrupt texts as KJV onlyists claim. They have corrupted interpretations that they bring to the text so as to twist the text to fit those interpretations.

30). Would it surprise you to learn that for the Greek New Testament used by the German Bible Society/UBS, that they (UBS) hired the head of Theology of the Roman Catholic Church, the head of the Pontifical Institute in Rome (which trains the best of the Roman Catholic Theologians and Priests)…who is Archbishop Carlo Maria Martini of Milan ? And they hired him to be one of the main overseers of the Greek Text that is being used by almost all Protestant Seminaries in the USA today ? What should we do when we find this out ? Should we ignore it ? Should we pretend this practice does not take place, and maybe it will go away ? Do we keep smiling and say nothing ? Or do we decide to seek Truth, Love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and start asking the questions that others have been afraid to ask ? Do we finally decide that we will stand for something, take a risk and ask some very hard questions ???

attackI have already mentioned this before, but let me ask one more time just in case our KJVer skipped quickly over my question: What do you do when you find out Erasmus, the man who gave us the Received Text, the text KJV onlyists insist is the pure Word of God, was a life long Mary-worshiping, Eucharist-taking, infused-grace believing, celibate priest who never recanted his Catholicism?

Do you keep smiling and say nothing? Or will you recognize your hypocrisy of accusing MBV folks of collusion with Catholics even though the very Bible you claim is straight from heaven was edited in its original by a Catholic who didn’t care for Protestants? Will you finally decide to stand for the truth and answer some hard questions, even if it leads to abandoning your KJV onlyism and in spite of being named an apostate by Peter Ruckman?

31). Keeping in mind that the corrupt Greek Text of Westcott & Hort are used for a great deal of the UBS/Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament Text, How much research have you personally done on the Occultic Practices of Westcott & Hort, or do you wish instead to email us, and we can share with you some of the details of this, from their own writings ???

I have actually done quite a bit and if you will read my testimonial on leaving KJV onlyism, you will note how it was my research into the lives of Westcott and Hort, sparked by Gail Riplinger’s asinine book, New Age Bible Versions, that placed me on the path of leaving KJV onlyism once and for all.

How about you? Have you personally done any research into what Westcott and Hort REALLY believed? Or do you choose to only believe second and third hand misinformation published by KJVO  apologists who have distorted the lives of those men to make them out to be virgin slaying Satan worshipers? Have you taken the time to read the research of James May, who has read through nearly all of Dr. Westcott’s printed works and has shown that KJV onlyists totally manufacture the bulk of their libelous citations against him?

32). Would you be surprised to learn that many of the translators of the modern versions of the Bible state in their own writings that they do NOT believe in the literal Bible ? Have you personally done research on this topic yourself ? Have you read 3 books on this specific subject ? Have you even read one?

I want to see some documentation to the first question, and then I want to see him make a direct connection between their so-called unorthodox belief about the Bible and how that belief has corrupted their translation.

As for doing research on this topic: I have read at least 50 books on the subject, many of which are KJVO publication I still own to this day. How’s them apples? Additionally, I have read hundreds of web articles from KJVO publications and I once participated on at least two KJVO web board discussion groups and interacted personally with a few aggressive KJVO apologists for nearly a year or more until I was dismissed from their groups for being a “troublemaker.”

I will say that after spending that time with those self-taught “experts,” maybe except for two or three, none of them had any solid grasp on textual criticism, let alone proper translation technique. A good portion of them were not even familiar with the original biblical languages except for use of a Strong’s concordance or an online Bible search program. And all of them were prone to fits of conspiratorial nonsense and contrived historical revisionism in order to lend support to their KJVO worldview.

Let me ask you: Have you read at least 3 books that critically evaluate the claims set forth by KJVO apologists? How about one? And I mean you truly read it, not thumb through it to find more selective grist for your KJVO mill. I mean truly read it and pondered what the author was saying against KJV onlyism?

33). Don’t feel so good if you have read the “King James Only debate” by James White. Are you even aware of how much re-writing there was, between the First Edition of this book, and all of the Editions that came after ? Have you also gone on the internet to see, learn, read or study the answers that Gail Riplinger gave ? (We are simply trying to help you assess – for yourself – just how thorough and truth-seeking your research, which you have personally done, has been)

Okay, so the accusation is that James White, a scholarly critic of KJV onlyism, re-wrote his book, The King James Only Controversy, several times, thus producing several editions. The implication of this question is that James has been deceptive about his multiple editions and that they were necessary because he had so much difficulty dealing with KJVO argumentation, or he distorted the truth about the credibility of the KJVO apologists he was criticizing.

Seeing that I happen to know James just a bit, and seeing that I know many men who are much closer to James than I am and can vouch for the integrity of his character, I find the accusation posed in this question to be… well … trashy. So, I personally emailed James White through his ministry, Alpha and Omega Ministries, and presented to him this question. This is what he wrote back to me:

There has been only one edition of the book to begin with. While I would like to do a new edition, it would be hard, since I did the original typesetting myself! So I have no idea where these folks are coming from or what they are referring to. I shall look into their charge.

 

In other words, our KJVO apologist has either been misinformed as to the nature of Mr. White’s book, or he is making that lie up. I know James, and I do not believe he is lying to me. (BTW, Since I originally wrote this post, there has been a second, updated edition that expands on the original work including interaction with the claims of Bart Ehrman and Muslim apologists against the Bible – Fred).

So which is it Bible Discernment guy? Are you intentionally making that charge up or have you bought into the distortions of fact? I notice that you got the title of his book wrong when you wrote out the question, so maybe you are a dupe depending upon 2nd or 3rd hand information. Additionally, you seem to think that Mrs. Gail Riplinger is a credible apologist for your cause even though she has been debunked by even individuals within KJV onlyism. See for example David Cloud’s two articles I found easily after a quick search here and here.

So there we go. I answered everyone of those 33 questions. If anyone were to take just the least amount of time to study outside the KJVO bubble, they will find the questions are not at all frightening.  They can be answered, even if they are too heavy for Satan.

defeat

Answers KJV Onlyists are Afraid You will Provide [2]

whatI have undertaken a response to the 33 Questions that modern Bible version advocates are afraid they will be asked. The author of those questions has deluded himself into believing they are debunkers designed to shut down anyone who dares to raise an objection against King James onlyism.

See Part 1 for a brief intro and my response to the first set of questions.

Moving along to the next set:

Number 11 is a long one that contains some sub-questions, so I will not cite it in its entirety.

11) Are you aware that if you reject the Greek Text which underlies the King James Version, that you are rejecting the Bible and the Validity [sic] of the Bibles, and undermining the credibility and witness not only of the historic christian [sic] martyrs who were English, but also those from Spain, and From [sic] Holland, and from France, and from Germany and from Switzerland, and from Italy, since they all also rely on the Greek Textus Receptus that the King James uses?

The question suggests that if you are reading a modern Bible version (MBV) instead of the King James, then you are choosing a translation that stands opposed to the historical translations from the period of the Reformation. Because those versions were translated from the Textus Receptus, or the Received Text, and the King James was one of the final English translations based upon the Received Text, to use a MBV instead of the King James means you are rejecting ALL of those other historic translations as well as the ones favored by the Christians who died for their faith during the period of the Reformation.

The author then goes on to list some of those translations even including the Geneva Bible in among the list of the other foreign language translations based upon the Received Text and tying it to the American Pilgrims and Puritans.

We need to place some important historical facts into context.

Keep in mind that when Erasmus first published his Greek text that would eventually be called the “Received Text,” textual criticism of any serious nature was still in its infancy. Principles of textual criticism were still being hashed out by scholars and it wasn’t an exact science just yet.

Additionally, Christians were also recovering their knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek languages. Any serious study of the ancient biblical languages was primarily limited to the professional clergy and even then the languages were not necessarily studied with any depth, especially to uncover meaningful exegesis of the biblical text.

Furthermore, the collection, collation, and editing of Greek manuscripts into one textual apparatus from which a person could translate was also severely limited. Erasmus only had less than a dozen or so manuscripts to start with and even those were incomplete. As the Reformation expanded across Europe, so also did the knowledge of Christian scholarship with regards to textual criticism.

Thus, for our questioner to suggest that the only viable Greek text is to be found in the Received Text alone and the only viable translation is the King James alone is not being honest with the historical facts of how textual criticism developed.

Moreover, there is a reasonable explanation for why only the Received Text was utilized in the translation of those other foreign language Bibles:

Putting together a textual apparatus from which to translate is just plain hard.

Once the work had been accomplished by Erasmus and others, no one else necessarily had the “know-how” or the resources to compile an alternate text. For the growing Protestant Reformation all that the Christians cared about was getting the Word of God into the hands of the people. The Received Text was used, not because it was considered orthodox and the pure Word of God over other rival texts, but because it was the only one really accessible to the general public for use in translating.

As for the claim about the Geneva Bible being used by Puritans and Pilgrims, they rejected the KJV because it was in their minds a Conformist Anglican produced Bible. They choose the Geneva, not because it was based upon the Received Text, but because it had strong ties to the Protestant Reformation and because it wasn’t the KJV.

A couple of excellent questions to pose to our KJV onlyist in return would be:

Which edition of the Received Text do you have in mind? You do know there are nearly 25 editions/revisions of the Received Text? And, Are you a King James Onlyists or a Received Text Onlyist? If you only care about the Received Text being preserved, would you favor an up-dated English translation based upon the Received Text to replace the aged KJV?

Let me treat these next 4 questions together because they address similar things:

12). Do you know (a) the life, (b) the character, and (c) the teachings & (d) beliefs of the Bible translators of the Modern Versions that you are defending? Do you know – for example – what they believed about Jesus Christ?

AND

13). Do you know – for a fact – what they believed about the Deity of Jesus Christ?

AND

14). Do you know – for a fact – whether or not they believed that Mary should be worshiped?

AND

15). Do you know – for a fact – what they believed about the Trinity?

[how would you prove or demonstrate your answers to others … like us?]

nivThe series of questions implies those scholars who were involved in the textual criticism that produced the Hebrew and Greek texts used to translate our MBV like the NASB and the ESV, were really heretical in their theology and their work cannot be trusted. Generally, questions like those are aimed at Westcott and Hort who are considered by KJV onlyists to be the arch-heretics who displaced the Received Text.

Heretics, however, rarely corrupted the physical text of either the OT or the NT. What they did do is to keep the text intact, but pour their heretical teaching onto the Bible. They twist the Scriptures, as Peter says, to their own destruction.

So, how exactly do I go about proving or demonstrating what it was those individuals believed? Well, probably the easiest way to “prove” or “demonstrate” what any group of individuals say about doctrine is to actually read their works where they have written about Christ’s Deity, Mary worship and the Trinity.

Sadly, KJV onlyists rarely do that type of leg work or they do lazy research just reading selected citations. None the less, they still offer their personal attacks against the textual critics who have provided so much excellent historical work for the Church at large in the area of our Bible. Even if citations can be provided that do prove the person was orthodox in all of those areas of theology, the KJV onlyists rarely accept the citations as convincing.

I, in turn, would asked the KJV onlyist if he was aware that Erasmus, who gave us the Received Text, was a staunch Roman Catholic priest who did believe in the power of the Eucharist and worshiped Mary. I would further ask him if he was aware of the fact that the KJV translators were staunch Anglicans who believed in infant baptismal regeneration.

16). Do you know – for a fact – WHY they rejected the Textus Receptus, that underlies the King James?

It is dishonest to suggest those textual scholars rejected the Received Text. What they did was to improve NT textual scholarship and part of that was laying aside the Received Text as the most accurate NT text. Scholars have clearly documented the problems found in the Received Text, the key one being that it was based upon inferior textual witnesses to the original autographs. That doesn’t mean they were bad witnesses, but that there are better ones.

What the question implies is that scholars rejected the Received Text because it was “orthodox” and they were liberal heretics who couldn’t stand for God’s Word. Nothing is further from the truth.

17). Do you know who their professors were in their colleges & universities were, and how those college professors influenced them?

AND

18). Do you know who their professors were in their colleges & universities were, and what the Biases of those colleges professors was [sic] – in terms of being in favor of (a) God, (b) Christianity, and (c) the Bible?

My first challenge back to any KJV apologist who asked me either one of those two questions would be simply: Do you?

I would be willing to wager some Chic-Fil-A waffle fries that he would be clueless as to who the professors were who taught those suspect NT scholars and what biases they had against the faith, if any at all.

The only real point with even asking those two questions is to increase the severity of those scholars’ heresy. Not only were they personally heretical in their beliefs, but they also learned from heretics!

Of course, the burden is upon the KJV onlyists leveling the charges to demonstrate the heresy of the professors and universities in question, and then to demonstrate that if any heresy did exist how if at all did it impact the scholars who handled the NT documents in question.

19). Do you know – for a fact – whether or not those translators even believed that the real and true Word of God (the Bible) could be found within the manuscripts either (a) that they used or (b) that the Historic Christian Church has used for 1900 years?

AND

20). Do you know – for a fact – whether or not those translators – of the modern versions you rely on for your spiritual growth and communion with God – believe in the fall of mankind (Genesis 1-3) and the Biblical Doctrine of Original Sin?

AND

21). Do you know – for a fact – whether or not those translators – of the modern versions you rely on for your spiritual growth and communion with God – believe in the same historic Christian teachings that you believe in? Do they even claim to believe in the historic Christian teachings?

Again, my first challenge back to the KJV onlyist would be the same as above: Do you?

Notice the dishonest slight of hand here. The inquisitor has switched from bashing the scholars who put together the Greek text to bashing the translators. The reader may not catch the switch, but the NT textual scholars are not necessarily the same as the NT translators. There have been translators who have translated MBVs that even I would say are unorthodox and liberal. However, those liberal translators did not tamper with the physical Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.  They merely translated their work to reflect their bias.

Moreover, the translations usually targeted by KJV onlyists are conservative and were translated by conservative, God-fearing and Bible-believing men.  I happen to personally know some of the translators involved with the production of the NASB and they most certainly do believe in the historic Christian teachings of the Church, contrary to what our author suggests with his questions.

Additionally, the ESV was translated by many godly men, including Wayne Grudem, who has been a strong apologist for the biblical perspective on manhood and womanhood. I would encourage our author to visit a wonderful little website called the Bible Researcher that traces the historical development of many of our English versions. He will discover that most of them do not have the sinister background that he believes they have.

I will finish up my responses with the next post.

The Sobering Reality of Eternity

I was sent an email last week linking me to the following video. It looks to be mainly scenes from over in Europe and Russia, but a few shots may be from the U.S. Watch it and then meditate on the following,

The video records various instances in which people barely escape what really could be considered instant death or horrific injury. Most folks watch it and think, “Oh wow, that was close!” In fact, the video is even titled, “When Luck is on your Side,” but luck has nothing to do with it.

Those images should be a sober reminder that life can be cut short at any moment. No one thinks that when they walk down to the store for some milk that they will have their life taken by an out of control truck. No person thinks he will accidentally be hit by a speeding commuter train because he just so happened to be looking the opposite direction and unwittingly wandered onto the track.

Eternity is just a breath away for everyone, and tragically, their souls will be turned into hell.

I am reminded of this section from Jonathan Edwards’s famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, which was an exposition of Deuteronomy 32:35 that states,

Vengeance is mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.

The unseen, unthought-of ways and means of persons going suddenly out of the world are innumerable and inconceivable. Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak that they will not bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The arrows of death fly unseen at noon-day; the sharpest sight cannot discern them. God has so many different unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell, that there is nothing to make it appear, that God had need to be at the expense of a miracle, or go out of the ordinary course of his providence, to destroy any wicked man, at any moment. All the means that there are of sinners going out of the world, are so in God’s hands, and so universally and absolutely subject to his power and determination, that it does not depend at all the less on the mere will of God, whether sinners shall at any moment go to hell, than if means were never made use of, or at all concerned in the case.

Articles on Cessationism and Continuationism

I plan to put up a new article category cataloging my various articles I have written on cessationism and continuationism. Here they are as of this date:

David Dancing Before the LORD
How were the Spiritual Gifts Transmitted? Part 1 and Part 2
The Continuationist Sign and Wonder Problem
Responding to Michael Brown
Why Won’t Faith Healers Heal Amputees?
Charismatic Ecumenism
Wonder Working Power
Coast to Coast Christianity
Hunting Benny Hinn
Skeptical Inquirers
Resources on Cessationism
The Spirit of Anti-Christ
MennoKnights Top 50 Churches Charismatic Super Primer
The Theology of Miracles
Charles Chauncy and Jonathan Edwards

Reymond: An Essential Reader

reymondI imagine many of my regular readers are aware of the passing of Presbyterian minister and theologian, Dr. Robert Reymond. The announcement was made late last week. I only knew him through his fabulous writing, specifically a number of his key theological works. If I were asked who my favorite theologians are, he would easily be in the top five of my list.

If you have not availed yourself of his material, you are missing out on an immense blessing. He has written a lot. As well as preached a lot. In fact, at the Aquila Report link above, they not only link to a list of his written resources, but they also have links to a collection of his sermons. It would be worth checking out.

I thought I would highlight the key works that have ministered to me and share them with a wider audience who may not have read them.

A New Systematic Theology  Dr. Reymond is probably best known for his systematic theology.  It is by far my favorite of all the systematics I have read over the years. Sure you have to wade through his Presbyterian hang-ups with infant baptism, covenant theology, and even eschatology, but that is primarily the last one third of the book. The first two thirds are rock solid.  His treatment on divine revelation and the justification of knowledge is one of the best I have read as he argues persuasively for a presuppositional approach. His study of God is outstanding, especially his views of creation, the divine decrees, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Of course, his calvinistic presentation of soteriology is nearly unrivaled.

I am not sure if the print edition is available anymore. A Kindle version seems to be, though.  As I understand it, Thomas Nelson has done the Christian world a disservice by letting it go out of print. That is sad, because Nelson put together a handsome volume for this magnum opus. The binding was smooth and the paper was thin, but not cheap thin, which allowed a 1200 page book to fit nicely under one cover. Just holding it you knew it had authority.  By all means, if you can secure it, do so.

Jesus: Divine Messiah. This is probably my second favorite work by Dr. Reymond. Not only is this book a valuable biblical study on the person of Jesus in both testaments, It is also one of the absolute best apologetic works on the subject a Christian can get.  I have referenced it numerous times over the years when I have taught on the person and work of Jesus Christ. The fact that there is an opportunist on Amazon trying to sell a copy of this book for 200 bucks suggests to me that Mentor Press has also allowed it to go out of print. Shame on them if that is the case.

Paul: Missionary Theologian A excellent study on the life of the apostle Paul that is not only educational in that Dr. Reymond attempts to lay out the missionary endeavors of Paul in a chronological fashion with the book of Acts, but it is also has a warm, devotional touch that encourages the reader.  I don’t agree with all of his theology he presents, particularly the replacement theology, but the overall value of the book eclipses those shortcomings.

Contending for the Faith A collection of essays, articles, and lectures by Dr. Reymond highlighting important themes in Christian theology on a variety of subjects.

Faith’s Reasons for Believing: An Antidote to Mindless Christianity. This is something of a re-print and expansion of a much earlier book Reymond wrote on apologetics called “The Justification of Knowledge.” It has seemed to have flown under the radar of a number of apologetic bloggers, because I rarely see it referenced or recommended by them. The book takes the biblical approach of presuppositionalism and deals with why we know what we know, how does the Bible reveal God, the work of the spirit in revelation, and interacts with B.B. Warfield’s classic evidentialism. He also talks about the importance of evidences and the biblical evidence we should present to unbelievers.  The only draw back about the book is that it was poorly made. The first copy I had began to fall apart with in a day after I got it. I had to take it back and replace it with a new copy, but it too, though after a few weeks, began to come loose at the pages. Hopeful the publishers have fixed that problem with later editions.

Dr. Reymond has written a lot more, and I am sure those other works have tremendous value in them. The books I mention here are the ones that had the most profound influence upon my thinking and the way I convey theological truth, particular his systematic work and his book of Jesus as messiah. I thank God for this blessing to His Church, and hopefully I can pass along his legacy to future readers who will be just as equally impacted by his teaching.