Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Conspiracy Theories gone way too far

I'd rather not have to say anything about this, but since I've occasionally recommended Scott Johnson's talks at Sermon Audio I really do have to note when he goes too far. I've written him about this too.

In recent talks he's repeated the false information that healings had occurred at Obama events. This is a story that was made up by a satirical website, Lark News. I had written him about it earlier and I have to suppose others did too, but he continues to pass along the false information.

Now on his latest topic he speaks very sarcastically of the government's financing of the switch to digital TV, wondering about their supposed eagerness to impose this new technology on us to the extent that they'd finance it. It doesn't seem to occur to him that not everything is a conspiracy and there may be perfectly reasonable explanations for some things. In this case why assume anything more suspicious than that the technology is now available to improve television enormously but since it is going to require a complete switch from the old technology to the new the public needs to be aggressively prepared for it. And since it's going to make all the older TVs obsolete the government has an obligation to help people pay for the switch.

There may very well be conspiracies afoot in the world that we need to know about, but unfortunately there is such a thing as conspiracy thinking that always sees conspiracies where there is really no justification for it. It is a violation of the virtue of charity to keep implying evil motives in people with as little justification as your own ability to imagine that a new technology could be misused. A quote from this same teaching has it that
. . .any television manufactured after 1995 already has a built in feature to send abroadcast signal from your living room of live images of what’s happening in your home.

A bit alarming, no? Does it occur to him to ask whether this is perhaps a POTENTIAL feature that a person could choose to activate or not, the way you can choose to use a webcam or Skype to broadcast yourself as people now do? Does it occur to him that there are civil liberties hounds who would be up in arms at the use of such a technology against the will of the people?

We can't find out the truth about any of this if the person presenting it has a locked-in conspiracy mental set. This attitude compromises everything he says. If he wants to be helpful he's going to have to realize that even if his material is "documented" it doesn't prove that the interpretation of it all is correct. There is no doubt a potential for a lot of technologies to be misused, but technology in itself is morally neutral.

In earlier teachings Dr. Johnson also appears to be much too credulous toward the many-times-debunked Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as well as the "Merovingian" blood lines conspiracy notion. I haven't the knowledge to criticize these things carefully myself but Dr. Johnson SHOULD require himself to have that knowledge before he speaks and should not so irresponsibly pass on such material that has been criticized carefully by others.

You need to be a LOT more careful, Dr. Johnson.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Degrees of Faith?

Stories of escape from the attacks on Westerners at hotels in Mumbai (Bombay) have been going around. I've heard two full reports now and some brief accounts as well, some miraculous escapes in some cases, such as near misses, odd circumstances keeping a person out of harm's way and so on. There were many such stories about escape from the WTC towers on 9/11 too, stories showing God's hand in various rescues, faith-building stories. I appreciate these stories. They are inspiring.

But they also raise a question in my mind whether saving our lives is of such high priority in the Christian life. The emphasis is always on the saving of the life, you see. A hero's death may also be inspiring too of course.

Both of the stories about escape from Mumbai (Bombay) emphasize the person's focused aim of escaping. They don't claim to be Christians exactly, but they do mention God, and there's no doubt that God saved them. I don't doubt that for a moment. But I do wonder about being focused on escaping because Jesus said we are not to try to save our own lives but to lose our lives for His sake.

Didn't He? But people will object if you point that out to them. They will say that maybe we are to try to save ourselves to be of use later or something like that. I think that misses the point of Jesus' teaching.

I'm not talking about the immediate aim of avoiding sure death. I don't think that's what Jesus meant -- unless you have a clear leading from Him to be doing something else in the situation rather than avoiding death of course. I'm talking about the exclusive focus on escape as opposed to seeking God's will in the circumstance.

God may use us whether or not we are being obedient, but obeying Him and dying to ourselves should at the very least mean that we aren't seeking to save ourselves from a calamity but putting His will above our own and seeking what He wants of us in that situation. If we are seeking Him then we can know in our spirit what He wants of us, we don't have to be blind to His will. We may remain blind to His will of course, that's up to Him, but we may not: He may show us something clear that He wants of us. It is possible He simply wants to lead us out of there, but more likely He would have us serve others in some way, as He did when He walked this earth and still does from heaven. This would involve self-sacrifice of course, even if we are protected from harm and eventually escape. It is by definition a sacrifice of self to put others ahead of ourselves.

I've been mulling over lately how easy it seems to be for this kind of teaching to be misunderstood, indeed not even recognized at all by Christians. Someone may accuse me of "seeking martyrdom" by simply quoting Jesus' saying we are to lose our lives for His sake, even if the context is clearly circumstances over which a person has no control. Someone else may think I'm denying that God is in control of whether we live or die if I say that saving onself is not to be our priority, based on the same quote. I'm never quite prepared for such misunderstandings. It makes me think that the Sermon on the Mount is not really taken seriously.

This was the response of a couple of people to what I wrote in response to one of the Mumbai stories, here:

What a story. Touching to hear of all the Indians helping him. I wonder if Alex or his friends were killed or let go?

I'm sure I'd react with full-bore adrenaline too (which would probably give me a heart attack but oh well), but these stories usually make me wonder how as a Christian I SHOULD react, and saving my own life shouldn't be top priority. Of course it sounds impossibly idealistic but Jesus' teachings ARE counterintuitive, clearly aimed at overcoming our natural self-protective reactions by His power, as He overcame when He went to the cross for us. We're to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors for instance, forgive our enemies and not call for their death. It's the Spirit-powered Christian response that wins people, not anything we do in the flesh. Better to convert a terrorist even while dying at his hand than escape. Truly. We're to die to self and saving our lives will lose our lives, but losing them for His sake will save them. Jesus' teaching is full of such paradoxes. We're to fear nothing, not those who can take our physical lives but only Him who has power over our eternal lives. "Perfect love casts out fear." We're to put others ahead of ourselves, those who were milling around dazed for instance. If we really lived like this, something impossible to us and possible only by God's own power, Ducky could have nothing to say against us ever.

I know this is all talk coming from me, and the walk would be an adrenaline-powered run same as the writer's unless God gave me an infusion of grace at that moment to obey Him, and I'm truly glad for this man's escape and the story he has to tell, but I can't help at least KNOWING what God would want me to be doing instead. I truly believe that this is the Christian life as God wants us to live it, in His power, and I'm well aware of my own failure to do so. What power the church would have if we learned this life as Jesus teaches it.

I believe this. I yearn for this power, this total self-giving to God's will. Most Christians, however, seem content to recognize God's hand in their lives. I don't mean to minimize such a recognition; it's wonderful. It's faith, it's belief, it's salvation.

But is the Sermon on the Mount to be regarded as something beyond normal Christian life? What gets called the "Higher Christian Life" is really just obedience to Jesus, it seems to me.

President Bush is no born-again Christian

A couple of reports on Bush's admission that he's not a literal Bible-believer, from a site called The Apostolic Report and another from AOL. He doesn't believe the Bible is literally true and he believes that other religions worship the same God Christians do.

Is it possible he is a born-again Christian with such beliefs? He had convinced many of us of that when we voted for him. But can you consider God's word to be inaccurate or incomplete in any way and be His child? Can you consider all religions to be true worship of the one true God and still belong to God? I don't see how. Isn't this denying the exclusivity of the sending of God's own Son to die for us, which is known only in the Bible? If you deny the Son Jesus says you will be denied by God. If Jesus said He is "the way, the truth and the life" and that "no one comes to the Father but by Me," then all those who deny that He is the only way to the Father but hope to get to the Father some other way are not God's.

This ought to have been apparent at the point Bush declared Islam to be "a religion of peace" or even more particularly, when he allowed a Muslim leader to pray along with other clergy in the National Cathedral after 9/11. Having a Jewish leader or a Catholic pray there is really already the same thing of course. 9/11 was already God's judgment on this nation, and there have been more judgments in the form of disasters since then as well, but including false religions in the National Cathedral, instead of mollifying God's wrath against the nation can only invite more. It is no different than the worship of the false god Tammuz in Solomon's Temple as reported by Ezekiel in the Old Testament, or any of the worship of false gods by the Israelites, done along with the true God, as reported for the people of Israel at various times, including King Solomon. We were given the Old Testament as admonition but who is paying attention? This is direct disobedience of the Commandment to "have no other gods before Me." Who can be God's child who does such a thing?

Obama's "Christianity" is even worse, but then Obama's winning the Presidency is God's judgment on the nation in itself (Well, so was Bush's, so was Clinton's etc. etc. etc). Sin begets sin.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Living Sacrifice

I receive weekly teachings from pastor Zac Poonen of Bangalore, India, whom I discovered a few months ago while looking for inspiring teaching on revival. He has continued to inspire me.

I have been in churches that preach that Christians are to observe a literal Sabbath on Sunday and to tithe a literal 10% minimum to the church, and I've been to churches that "spiritualize" either or both. The preaching on both sides can be quite convincing, but I'm now persuaded that the New Covenant has no literal requirements, but being all a matter of walking by the Spirit would have us live the Sabbath fulfilled in Jesus Christ every day, and to give as He prompts us without reference to an external standard. Pastor Poonen elaborates this view, though I think he goes too far in accusing those of the other view of bad motives:


Always Put God First In Your Life

Zac Poonen

In Malachi 3: 8-11 The Lord says, "Will a man rob [orcheat] God? Yet you are robbing Me. But you say, `How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing [defrauding] Me, the whole nation of you. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until there is not room enough. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes".

Did you know that tithing is not mentioned even once after the day of Pentecost (when the new covenant was instituted)? Tithing is not commanded under the new covenant at all – yet multitudes of covetous pastors still preach it today and exploit poor, ignorant believers. Jesus did not teach His disciples to tithe but to give. What do we have to give to God first of all? Romans 12:1 states, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies (not your tithes) as a living sacrifice to God."

Just as paying the tithe was emphasised under the old covenant, presenting our bodies to God is what is emphasised in the new covenant. Tithing was meant to be a type, just like the Passover lamb and the Sabbath day. The lamb was a type of Christ, and the Sabbath was a type of the inward rest that Christ gives us. These Old Testament rituals were all shadows of what was finally fulfilled in Christ (as Colossians 2:16,17 makes crystal clear).

Concerning tithing, God had said, "The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives" (Deut.14:23-Living Bible). Under the old covenant, they offered their tithes to prove that God was first in their lives. In the new covenant, we present our bodies to God and thus prove that He is first in our lives.

What does it mean to offer our bodies? It means giving our eyes to God so that we never use them for ourselves again. Is that easier or is it easier to give 10% of your income to God? You know that it is far easier to give 10% of our income each month to God than to keep our eyes pure each day of that month. That is why preachers teach tithing more than keeping our eyes pure. Many pastors are lovers of money and they want their congregation to tithe so that they can become rich from those tithes. Since there is no justification at all for tithing in the new covenant, they use this verse in Malachi to frighten ignorant believers into paying their tithes every month.

The early apostles were poor, as we can see clearly from 1 Corinthians 4:9-12: "God has exhibited us apostles last of all……To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands." But consider the mathematics of how a covetous pastor today becomes wealthy. If 10 people give him one-tenth of their income, he gets one man's average salary (because 10 X 10% = 100%). This is reasonable.

But well-known pastors receive tithes from hundreds of God's people. If even 100 people give their tithes to a pastor, his income will become ten times that of the average man – and very soon he will become a millionaire, at the expense of his supporters! And then in order to justify his becoming wealthy, he will begin to preach prosperity as the mark of God's blessing (from the Old Testament – Deuteronomy 28:5,8,11) – and his flock is deceived. This is the deception flooding Christendom today, all over the world, and it is all being done in the Name of Jesus. The money-changers are back in the temple of God – and there is no-one to drive them out, as Jesus did; and there is hardly any preacher who is bold enough to expose these confidence tricksters.

Then how much money should we to give for God's work? Only what we can give cheerfully – for God does not love those who give money under pressure, or who give in order to get something from Him (See 2 Cor.9:8). First give your body to the Lord and then give whatever money you want to give cheerfully, but never as an obligation and certainly not out of fear. I hope this understanding of God's Word liberates you from false teaching.

So I have to inject here that I don't think most pastors who teach a literal tithe have any questionable motives, but sincerely believe that it is required of Christians. In the average church with this viewpoint the tithe is not considered the property of the pastor but of the church for God's purposes, and managed by the elders for many needs in the church, the pastor receiving a designated salary from it.

There are of course some high profile teachers who fleece the flock but these are not representative, and I'm not sure but I think these don't normally preach the tithe anyway, but of giving the most you can give. Investigations of some TV preachers have shown that they live personally at a level of expense available only to the very wealthiest. I understand why Pastor Poonen would preach against these Prosperity Doctrine false teachers of course. He often laments that Christian leaders in India have a tendency to pick up the worst teachings from the West.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

More objections to the KJV (J. Herrin) Pt. 2

He continues, quoting from a letter he received:
Following is an excerpt from Gary Amirault that reveals some of the information he found on the KJV Bible in doing his own research.
It was extremely painful for me (Gary Amirault) when researching Bible translations to come across the fact that in 1851 the American Bible Society compared six different editions of the King James Bible and discovered over 24,000 variations between the editions of the same Bible translation! How could there be an inerrant King James Bible when even the different editions of the King James Bible had ten's of thousands of variant readings!? I was told by tradition not to question the inerrant King James Bible. No one ever told me that even in the very first year of the King James Bible, two different printings of the very same King James were not the same. No one ever told me that the editions of the KJV up until the 19th century contained 14 additional books not in today's editions. We have an exact reprint of one of the 1611 printings that contains books such as: The Idole Bel and the Dragon, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, The prayer of Manasseh, Tobit, Judith, the Song of the Three Children, Baruch, etc.. Can you find these books in a present edition of the King James Bible? If the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy is a true doctrine, which of the many editions of the KJV is the inerrant one? The original one contained books no longer in the present editions. Have these publishers "taken away from the Word?" Will the plagues of Revelation be on your head because you are using a KJV missing 14 books?
It's too bad the discussion usually gets started on a note such as this, which has been addressed many times by the many KJV-only defenders, but perhaps they should be held to blame for it because of their aggressive insistence on inerrancy, and even in some cases the "inspired" perfection of the King James. Clearly, the existence of even minor errors at any time in the history of the Bible text shows that is not the case. [See Theodore Letis article, link at very bottom of post, for a discussion of the history of the term "inerrant."]

The usual answer, however, is that the changes made WERE extremely minor, predominantly a matter of correcting printers' errors and bringing various spellings to a consistent standard. The Apocryphal books were not treated as canonical although they were included. And so on.
The Bible Inerrancy Camp and the King James Only Camp teach that we have a perfect Greek text or imply it. It is called the "Textus Receptus" by the KJV camp which is Latin for "Received Text." They teach this text was available to the King James translators which allowed them to produce an inerrant English translation. Historical records regarding this "Textus Receptus" proves their view to be totally false.
Although some do make this claim, not all defenders of the KJV claim that either the translation or the Textus Receptus are flawless. Dean J W Burgon, for instance, is one who described both as needing some correction.
First of all, the term "Textus Receptus" first appears in a second edition of Stephanus Greek text produced by the Elzevire Brothers in 1633, twenty two years after the King James Bible was printed!
When the term appeared shouldn't be important. Things often get labelled after they've been in existence for some time.
It was an advertising pitch as false as most commercials are today. The so-called Textus Receptus began its debut in 1516. It started as a work which took a self-proclaimed "humanist" Roman Catholic monk only several months to, in his own words "throw together rather than edit."
Yes, he was in a rush and yes, he was a "humanist" but that term in those days was far from what it means to us today. Nowadays people are likely to read the term "secular" into the word, as in "secular humanist," but there was nothing secular about the term in those days. Too many silly ideas get perpetuated by people reacting from a modern context to an old way of thinking.
One critic in England called it the "least carefully printed book ever published." Erasmus in trying to be the first to get a Greek text in print, threw together in a few months what it took his competitors at Alcala de Henares University many years to assemble. The University's text came to be known as the Complutensian Polyglott. Erasmus only had a handful of very late manuscripts to work from, none of which contained the complete Greek New Testament, so he filled in the gaps from the Latin Vulgate. That is why the Textus Receptus has words that do not agree with any known Greek text. He corrected his text in 4 subsequent editions.
Yes but the number of actual differences among them all is really small considering how they were put together.

Again, Mr. Amirault's astonishment and doubt comes from a lack of knowledge of how the varieties of Greek texts are dealt with. I think we're all a bit shocked when we first learn something about the enormous number of them and the number of variations in them, but the more you get to know about the subject the more you see that the differences are quite small and for the most part can be traced to a simple error in transmission.

Here's a description of the actual composition of the KJV in relation to all the Greek texts available, from The Text of the King James Version at David Cloud's Way of Life.org:

The translators that produced the King James Version relied mainly, it seems, on the later editions of Beza's Greek New Testament, especially his 4th edition (1588-9). But also they frequently consulted the editions of Erasmus and Stephanus and the Complutensian Polyglot. According to Scrivener (1884), out of the 252 passages in which these sources differ sufficiently to affect the English rendering, the King James Version agrees with Beza against Stephanus 113 times, with Stephanus against Beza 59 times, and 80 times with Erasmus, or the Complutensian, or the Latin Vulgate against Beza and Stephanus [Scrivener, Authorized Edition of the English Bible, p. 60]. Hence the King James Version ought to be regarded not merely as a translation of the Textus Receptus but also as an independent variety of the Textus Receptus.
So it's not as simple as it is often misunderstood to be. The King James translators made careful choices among many options. And it doesn't appear that Erasmus' translation was any the less to be deserving of consideration for all his rush.

But Mr. Amirault goes on in his painfully disillusioned state of mind:
In the mid 1500's a man named Stephanus took Erasmus' text, and combined it with the Complutensian Text. He produced several editions making changes along the way. The Stephanus text, which the King James translators used, differed from the self-proclaimed "Textus Receptus" in 287 places. There are no known Greek manuscripts that agree "inerrantly" with either the Textus Receptus or the Stephanus text. Erasmus, the originator of the so-called "inerrant" Greek text later to be called the "Textus Receptus" dedicated his work to Pope Leo X who later would condemn Luther and the Reformation. For a full account of this sad chapter of church deception, read "The Text of the New Testament" by Bruce Metzger. Foundation Press in Anaheim, California also has some valuable information.
And again, the discovery of some of the facts in the history of the messy business of textual criticism and construction and reconstruction have raised doubts in his mind, which are simply the product of a lack of familiarity with enough of the facts, the methods and the history to judge. From the idea of "inerrancy" he had apparently arrived at an expectation of a perfection that wasn't in fact intended by anyone familiar with the actual texts, although the term was probably a bad choice (See the Theodore Letis comment linked at the bottom of this post concerning "inerrancy").
The teaching that the King James translators had a perfect Greek text is denied by the translators themselves. In the original edition of 1611 are marginal notes as follows: Note on Luke 17:36, "This 36th verse is wanting in most of the Greek copies." Note on Acts 25:6 where their text reads: "When he had tarried among them more than ten days," they inserted the following marginal note: "or, as some copies read, 'no more than eight or ten days.'" Unfortunately notes such as these as well as much other information contained in the Original KJV have been removed to support the "Inerrancy" fraud. Enough . . . of this sad chapter of Bible translating...
Just because you have been shocked at your first apprehension of the varieties of different Greek texts that actually exist doesn't mean that it is "fraud" or that anyone has intended to deceive by the use of such terms as "inerrancy." [Read the Theodore Letis article linked below for a discussion of the history of this term.]
There was a time when Bible writing was strictly in the hands of the church. The end result was the church put the Bible into a "Sacred" language called Latin which common people in latter times could not and were not allowed to read. It was called the Vulgate. The common people could not read the Scriptures in their native tongue of English, German, French, etc.. Getting caught with any portion of the Scriptures in your native language could get one killed by the church! Please believe us. This is true. The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox churches did not want Christians or non-Christians reading the Scriptures.
Yes, but this is a red herring. Let's get it in perspective. The original determination of the canonicity of various Greek texts and their translation into the Latin did not carry any of this baggage, and is regarded by defenders of the KJV (including Theodore Letis at the link below), as the basis for the Traditional Text or Textus Receptus used by the KJV translators, as far superior to any other textual tradition. The tyranny of the Latin translation developed later in the history of the Roman Church, but the Bible had been translated into many languages in the early years, such as Syrian and I believe also Armenian, which were also available to and taken into account by the KJV translators, so they were not dependent on the Latin translation. Of course in the Roman West it was translated into Latin which was the language of that time and place.
When the first Common Language Bibles began to appear in the languages of the world, the state and church still had much control over the wording, who could read it, and which translations one could read. An Anglican Protestant was not allowed to read a Lutheran Bible. King James did not want the people of England to read the English Geneva Bible produced by John Calvin and his associates. Church leaders used the notes in the Geneva Bible as Scriptural support to tell the King how to rule. Before James the first was king of England, he was King James the sixth of Scotland. The Presbyterians caused him much trouble and their favorite Bible was the Geneva Bible. King James commissioned the King James Bible because of political reasons, not because of a love of the Creator. The English were strongly being influenced by the marginal notes in the Geneva Bible which states that the people of a monarchy had the right to overthrow that monarchy if it did not line up with Scripture? King James believed in the "Divine Right of the King." He called the Geneva Bible "seditious." Therefore, he commissioned the King James Bible.

King James had very little to do with the translation itself, so it really doesn't matter how corrupt he was. Yes, he persecuted believers, and yes, he had a thing about the Divine Right of Kings. But in fact this latter is an arguable point for a Christian, considering the scripture that says it is God who appoints government. Consider that David would not do anything to dispute the divine right of Saul to reign despite Saul's apostasy. In any case it's an arguable point and not the basis for condemnation you are making of it.

He gave the committee 15 rules which they had to abide by while translating his Bible. Several of those selected for the committee resigned because of these stipulations. This list is printed in most well researched Bible translations reference books. We will mention just a couple to show you that this version was not going to be pure nor "inerrant." "1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit." (Doesn't sound like a "new" translation , does it?)

Did he come up with those rules? I thought they were developed by the KJ group themselves.

Why were you expecting a completely new translation? The King James translators intended to put together the best English translation from the already-existing translations, such as the Tyndale and the Bishops Bible, and some 95% of it reflected those. They painstakingly compared every known text and every known translation of the time. They were aiming for the best version, not a new version. All the previous translations were regarded as God's word. But you are astonished because you expected something else without justification.

"3. The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. The word church not be translated Congregation &c." (This was to insure the old Roman Catholic\Anglican rituals, ordinances, and doctrines be not altered. They couldn't change the word baptize into immerse, for example.) "4. When a Word hath divers Significations, that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by the most of the Ancient Fathers, being agreeable to the Propriety of the Place, and the Analogy of the Faith." (In others words, they must abide by the "traditions of the elders." Remember Jesus' words, "You have made the word of God of none effect by your traditions?)
They were aiming to maintain as much of the Bible familiar to the people as possible. What's wrong with that? The terms do not falsify the meaning. The problem with the proliferation of Bibles today is that it's hard to know what people are quoting when they use a translation you're unfamiliar with, and there are so many of them this experience is repeated quite frequently. It may be arguable whether congregation is better than church, or immerse is better than baptize, but good preachers always aim to bring out the meaning of the text anyway, so I've been taught that "church" means "assembly" and "baptize" means "immerse" in more than one church. There's no reason to impute scurrilous motivations to the people who decided to maintain the traditional terms. Again, ALL the previous Bibles were regarded as God's word.
These examples should be enough to show one that the King James translators were not "anointed by God" to produce an authentically original translation free from political and denominational bias.
Oh, this is simply nonsense, based on only a partial research into a very complicated situation. The idea of "an authentically original translation" is a false expectation. But if you understand that they carefully considered every word of the existing translations and compared them to the Greek texts and to other translations in other languages, you have to see that in a sense theirs was original. Where they could they confirmed the language of a previous English version, and where they saw the need for change in keeping with the Greek text, they made the change.
They were "appointed by James" for political and monetary reasons. King James didn't put a penny into the project, but he could make money out of the project since it was his Bible. Not only were the translators not "anointed," but the King's printers weren't anointed either. The early printings had printers errors which were downright embarrassing for a so-called "inerrant" Bible.

As I understand it, the Church of England owns the King James Bible. Where are you getting the idea that the king benefited from its sale? Please, quote something to show that this has any validity.

Also, those were the first years of the printing press and you are expecting printers to be experts in the English language as well as perfect at the skill of setting type. Actually, the translators were genuine Christians. Read something about them. On the other hand, the same cannot be said for Westcott and Hort who did the 1881 revision and foisted a whole new set of Greek texts on the church: they think more like rationalists than Christians.

Please, give up the conspiracy thinking. KJV-onlies do go overboard in their insistence on supposed inerrancy, but they also recognize all these differences that you are only just discovering, and you really need to read them all before you arrive at such a blanket condemnation. See my list of links in the right margin.

In one edition they forgot to put the word not in the 7th commandment!
Yes, and I learned all about these things from the KJV-only defenders. Printers' errors are not errors of substance. Spelling errors are not errors of substance. Errors of substance are all that should really count.

The translator's [sic] have this to their credit. They noted in the preface to the reader that they only took previous men's work and hoped to make a better one, knowing others would follow them and produce even a better one yet. This preface has been also removed from present day King James Bibles because it does not conform to the fundamentalist's "inerrancy" teachings. That is why the translators preface is no longer printed in current King James Bibles.
Are you sure that's why, or is it just your imagination working overtime now that you've decided it's all a conspiracy?
We have made several tapes dealing with the many misconceptions and untruths proclaimed about the KJV. We mention here, only a few points to clearly show that the teaching of an "inerrant" KJV is a pure myth.
Again, see the Theodore Letis quote I've linked at the bottom of this post.
In 1611 two separate editions of the KJV were printed. They came to be known as the "Great He Bible" and the "Great She Bible" because one printed Ruth 3:15 as "he went" and the other printed "she went." These two original King James Bibles, printed in the first year this Bible was issued, had several thousands differences.
Another printer's error, well known and discussed by KJV-onlies. Go to the forum at the AV1611 site to find such discussions. Many many printer's errors and spelling inconsistencies, and really very little substantive.
When asked to endorse the KJV, Hugh Broughton, foremost Hebrew scholar of England at that time said he would rather "be rent to pieces by wild horses than have had any part in the urging of such a wretched version of the Bible on the poor people."
Was he reacting to the many errors or did he prefer the Geneva or something like that? Many objected to the KJV when it was first published. The same was true for every translation before and after it. Similar things have been said about every version of the Bible. A little more information has to be given in order to judge the validity of the statement.
It is vital to understand that when the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox church removed the Scriptures from the common people, these churches were then able to bring in hundreds of pagan doctrines, idols, and false religious rites. The mythologies of the Romans, Greeks, Teutons, Norse, Druids etc. were incorporated into church teaching which produced great darkness. Read about the dark ages of Europe which were brought about by Christian leaders, the popes, bishops, cardinals, and kings appointed by the pope.
What exactly are you finding in the KJV that reflects any of that pagan darkness? The King James translators made use of all the previous translations and a whole slew of Greek texts as well as texts in many languages, and they were solid Christians so they would not be interested in pagan teaching. Where are you getting such ideas?
When the Reformation began, the minds of Christian leaders were so cluttered by superstition and false doctrines that the progress they made in breaking away from the total darkness of Romanism was really only a small step out of darkness. We forget that the Anglican Church began, not because of Godly reasons, but from political and personal ones. Also don't forget, King James was much more interested in a Bible to support his view of the "divine right of the king" than to produce an inerrant Bible. Church historians have glorified the Reformation far beyond what was really accomplished. Today, we still have a long way to go.
It is good to be reminded of the context in which it was done, but you can't let your feelings about the context judge the outcome as you are doing. Despite the politics of the English version of the Reformation, there were great men of the Reformation there that you may be implicitly slandering, including the KJ translators. But concerning the Bible, you have to SHOW that there were pagan influences IN the text. Where are they? You have to SHOW that the "divine right of kings" is contradicted by the scripture. You have to SHOW that King James had any influence on the text. it was an interpretive note in the margin of the Geneva Bible that he objected to, not the text itself, no?
Today, most Bibles are produced by merchants. The church proved it only perverted the "Word of God" when she was sole guardian of it. She hid it, then changed it. Now merchants produce most Bible translations which must be sold for a profit which usually means giving the market what they want. Over 350 English translations of the New Testament have been marketed to date. The most popular and accepted translations are, of course, those which can be used to support Christendom's doctrines. Pastors will push those translations which work for them the most.

When a major Bible translation is undertaken by a publisher or some other institution, the directors are not only responsible for getting the text translated; they must also make sure that the resulting work will, over time, pay for the cost of translation and make a profit. In other words, they are under a directive to make sure that the completed Bible supports the majority view of Christendom's doctrines. The market first, accuracy to original texts second. The bottom line of present day Bible translating is: It must sell!

Yes, the place to look for the perversions is in the Bibles that are put together for money. For all your objections to some supposed intentional perversion of the text first authorized by the church and passed down the millennia you have shown none. On the other hand, there is in fact reason to suspect intentional perversion of the Greek texts that were chosen by Westcott and Hort (see my last link at the bottom of this post, where Jay P. Green discusses the corruptions of those texts), though by your attacking the KJV you may be implicitly defending them.

Your objections may possibly be a valid basis for some needed corrections to the KJV, but by your attitude it seems you would apparently throw the whole thing out and start over. This is the mistake that Westcott and Hort made and the church has been suffering ever since from their inferior English and their inferior Greek texts. The most minimal restrained correction of the KJV is what they were supposed to produce, and since they didn't do it, it still needs it. Instead, many editions of it have been subjected to the falsifications of their corrupted Greek texts and a wild variety of English substitutions without rhyme or reason.

[J. Herrin] D., this reveals just some of the things I have found about Bible translations as I researched them. It is also often overlooked by people who support the superiority of the KJV that this was the same king of England that persecuted those who disagreed in any way with the Anglican Church of England. He would even imprison men and confiscate their houses, leaving their women and children to struggle for survival. Is this the heart of someone who really loves God and who loves the children of God? It was this same King James that persecuted those we know as the Pilgrims and he tried to keep them from leaving England. Eventually they did flee to Holland to escape his tyranny, and later they sailed to America.

Is it not a conflict that we venerate these early pilgrims for their desire to worship God in Spirit and in truth, and we feel pity for all the hardship they faced, yet we also venerate the King who caused the hardship and we declare that the translation of the scriptures that he authorized is a superior translation? Somehow the church's prejudices have disconnected them from the truth. King James was a tyrant and he was by no means a godly ruler. Yet many in the church staunchly defend the Bible that he ordered written for political and monetary reasons.

King James is probably neither as bad as the anti-KJV paint him, nor as defensible as some of the KJV-onlies paint him, and it would be good to know for sure, but again, King James did NOT do the translation. Perhaps his name should be removed from it. Many have suggested that.
Again, I don't share these things with you to antagonize you, and I hope you are not offended that I have shared them. These are things I have learned as I have done my own studies, and I believe it is the Spirit of Yahweh that has led me to these things. I want to walk in truth and to avoid error so I weigh carefully the things people speak to me. Paul praised the Berean believers for doing this very thing.

May you be blessed with the wisdom and understanding that is in Yahshua our Lord,


I would like to append some more information here to this page, as there are many more things that I have come cross in my study of Bible translations. Adlai Loudy, in support of the Concordant Literal Version of the Bible, made some of the following observations.
And he goes on to quote Loudy:
In John 20:1, the King James reads:
“The first day of the week . . .”

It is little known to Christendom that this is a “bogus” translation foisted upon the church by the translators, a “camel” that has been swallowed by scholars and students alike. The writer had a well meaning brother in the Lord, who became so concerned about me and my teaching that he traveled a long distance to go over the matter with a view to readjusting me in the truth. After patiently listening to all that he had to say, I suggested a few things to him, one of which was the fact that the Scriptures, correctly translated, knew nothing about “the first day of the week.” He threw up his hands in astonishment that I would make such an irreverent indictment of the “Bible!” After facing the facts. He apparently preferred “error” to the truth, as he made no attempt to reply and quit the subject without any explanation whatever.

The original, in all three of the oldest manuscripts, reads: mia ton sabbaton, ONE OF­THE SABBATHS. Our translators presumed to know more than the great Author and corrupted the word of God. They altered “one” to read “first,” inserted the word “day,” for it is not in the original and is not needed in the translation, and changed “sabbaths” to the singular “week.” Can one imagine a more perfidious and deceptive act of man? It truly is repugnant to those who reverently regard the original as the very word of God, and want it to speak to them as He was pleased to give it...
I'll have to research this later, to find out what various others have to say about this particular phrase. Often there is a very good reason why a phrase was translated in a way that is less than literal according to the original Greek. Sometimes, in order to get across a meaning in the target language requires something other than a literal word-for-word rendering, but people with no knowledge of the language being translated, and no experience in the problems of translation, may misjudge as inaccurate or even fraudulent what is really the most accurate rendering for the sake of understanding. I don't know if that is or isn't the case here, but this whole problem of texts and translations has now become the playing field of so many novices and amateurs --including myself -- by necessity unfortunately, thanks to Westcott and Hort -- that this kind of misunderstanding is likely to be very common, and seems to have been committed by Mr. Amirault, quoted above, and Mr. Herrin too.

As for "bogus" translations, the place to look is in the lineage that has come down from Westcott and Hort.
The Authorized Version renders Romans 7:24 thus: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Since the King James “Bible” was made, this question has been read and reread by the saints of God, but the answer has been lacking. THE CONCORDANT VERSION, following the editor of Sinaiticus, restores the answer that has been lost all these years. It reads: A wretched man I am! What will rescue me out of this body of death? Grace! Now I am thanking God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord...
Is there an actual word in the Greek text that means "grace!" or did the editor of the Sinaiticus put it in as being implied? And if it is in the text, is it only in the Sinaiticus and not in the Textus Receptus or what? More explanation is needed.
These examples could be multiplied many times, but this will suffice to show that we should be very careful about building divisive articles, dogmas and doctrines on such imperfections, as are manifest in these older versions. Since the King James “Bible” was issued in 1611, some forty new dictionaries have been issued to keep pace with the growth and changes in the English language. The English and American revision committees made 36,191 changes —rectifications — of the King James Version that more closely conform to the original, after which President Schaff said the work was still far from perfect!
Of course we should be careful, and unless we are trained experts in any of the relevant fields, doubly careful. And yes, the English language has changed, but to bring that up here is not very helpful, as the problems with the various Bible translations and versions have very little to do with this mundane fact. A few dozen words at most are in question as far as archaic meanings go, and that may be an overestimation.

I assume the 36,191 changes referred to were made in the Westcott and Hort revision of the King James? If so, it is not hard to show that by far the majority of them are ridiculously unconscionably unnecessary, change for change's sake, and this fact was noted by Dean Burgon and Bishop Wordsworth and others when the revision was first published. I also did my little experiment using Psalm 91 at this blog and was appalled at the utter whimsicalness of the changes made. Purely destructive changes.

Schaff is known as a defender of the revision, but there is not enough information given to know in what sense he regarded the work as far from perfect.

The above comments are all by Mr. Loudy. I personally have not found any translation that would merit a stamp of approval as the single best and most accurate translation. Perhaps this has been God's will to keep His children ever seeking, and ever knocking, that they might find that truth is a person, and much more than mere words on a page. Yahshua said "I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life" and He has sent us His Spirit to guide us into all Truth. If we had a single inerrant translation many would fall into the habit of spending far too little time seeking the mind of the Spirit, believing that they could comprehend Truth through mere mental ascension.

The present state of Bible translations forces the seeker of the mind of Christ to come to the throne of God time after time, asking the Father to lead us to Truth through the working of His Spirit in us.
I appreciate this point of view very much. I've wondered why God allowed the Bible to get into such a state as we now find it. Negatively, it is easy to see it as judgment against the church and I believe that is the case, but He never abandons His remnant and positively, "All things work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose." Yes, it is Himself we want, and the Bible is the word that shows Him to us. It has to be accurate, but it doesn't have to be perfect for that purpose. People have been saved through reading a mere page of the Bible, without having access to more of it at that time. And we do have the Holy Spirit to show us what He desires to reveal to each of us individually. He opens and closes the doors. He brings the necessary knowledge to us as it is required for His purposes.

Unfortunately, the very existence of all these translations does in fact encourage an overuse of the fleshly intellect. That's one of the worst things about this situation.
Choosing a Bible translation is one of the thornier issues among Christians today, and many have exhibited a decided lack of grace and love toward their brothers who should disagree with some favorite translation. Nowhere is this more evident than those who have camped out around the KJV Bible, yet as we have seen, it was not divinely inspired in its translation, and has had thousands of revisions and changes, and is still full of so many errors and prejudices as to make it difficult to rely upon.
True about the attitude of the KJV-onlies, but the attitude of the anti-KJV-onlies also often leaves much to be desired.

As for the unreliability of the KJV, absolutely not. It was not "divinely inspired" because no translation can be inspired, only the original can be inspired, but it is the best translation we have these days. The "thousands of revisions and changes" are not as it seems at first glance, the first changes being mostly to correct minor errors, and ironically, the changes since Westcott and Hort being to corrupt the KJV along with all the other versions, to bring it into line with their corrupt Greek texts -- not the KJV's fault at all. The supposed prejudices, as far as they are regarded as deceitful, are largely imagined and not real. There are far more of those in the Westcott-Hort production.
The church today resembles very much the Corinthian church that Paul derided for their carnality. They had divisions among them based upon who their favorite teacher was, Paul, Apollos, Peter, and even Yahshua. The church today still has its divisions, and one source is found in arguments over which Bible translation is the best. I believe there is no "best" translation, and the serious student would do well to compare many translations and to do research of their own. A great help to me is in comparing how a word was used in other instances by the same author, or by other authors of the time. By comparing in this manner we can see what a word's actual meaning was, and we can see if the translators have altered it in certain places to fit their own views. Time after time this has led me to discover some alteration of the Scriptures that served to obscure truth from the readers.
I've been impressed by some of the conclusions Mr. Herrin has come to in his studies of various Bible passages, but it does seem to me that this very requirement that we spend so much time comparing translations is a handicap we're laboring under since Westcott and Hort, and not at all the ideal. How many rank and file Christians have the gifting to do that for starters? It's a lot to ask of the body of Christ. Throughout history God's people have learned His ways from one text or translation, and in some cases only part of a translation, and sometimes only from the readings heard in church. Many in the first generations of the church did not have a complete New Testament. God Himself teaches His people when they are seeking Him for understanding. The Holy Spirit interprets the scripture and fills in any gaps for those who are waiting on Him. It is not a blessing that we have this surfeit of choices in our day.
Let us not be saints that adopt some prejudiced view of which Bible translation is the best, but let us seek to urge one another to a pursuit of the truth and to expose error wherever we find it.

Here's a link to a discussion by Theodore Letis showing some of the history of the thinking on the question of inerrancy, which he explains in terms of Benjamin Warfield's inadvertently contributing to the Jesus Seminar mentality by accepting the idea of a "scholar's text" over the "traditional text" handed down by the church since Nicea.

I'm including this one from David Cloud's site as a clue to the thinking of textual critic Bruce Metzger. Search "Metzger" to see how he denies the inspiration of the Bible. Cloud calls him a "modernist."

And here's a good brief statement of what's right with the KJV and wrong with all other Bible translations, plus a quote by Jay P. Green. The article concludes:

The King James translators did a marvelous job with the materials they had. While this article is necessary to point out the KJV errors,it should be noted that the errors, omissions and additions made by the RSV,NIV, and other modern translations are much, much worse!
The writer of this article has a list of words he regards as archaic. Many of them I would hate to see changed according to his list myself. Some of the originals are poetic, but really not hard to understand. "Clean heart" isn't improved by "right attitude" to my mind for instance. In fact "clean heart" is a lot clearer.

From this last link I'd also like to quote a fair amount from Jay P. Green:

"What then is the evidence these Bible-alterers offer to persuade you to give up the precious words they have removed from their versions? Mainly, they cite two manuscripts, admittedly old, but also admittedly carelessly executed. The Sinaiticus was so poorly executed that seven different hands of 'textual critics' can be discerned as they tried to impose their views on the Bible . . . it was discarded, found in a wastebasket fourteen centuries after it was executed. The Vaticanus manuscript lay on a shelf in the Vatican library at Rome until 1431, and was considered so corrupt that no one would use it . . . . they have systematically removed Luke's witness to the ascension of Christ--and of course they have done away entirely with Mark's witness to the ascension, simply because these last twelve verses do not appear in those two corrupt manuscripts, the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus . . . .

" . . . Origen, an early textual critic . . . said, that 'the Scriptures are of little use to those who understand them as they are written' . . . . given the opportunity, many like Origen will actually alter the manuscripts to make them say what they understand them to mean....Justin Martyr, Valentinus, Clement of Alexandria, Marcion, Tatian, and a horde of others practiced their 'textual science' by operating on manuscripts, or by writing their own 'versions' . . . .

" . . . Today there are more than 5,000 manuscripts and lectionaries in Greek as witnesses to the New Testament text. And 95% of them witness to the Received Text readings [contained in Green's Interlinear and the King James Version]. Partly due to the fact that ancient manuscripts containing the Received Text were worn out by use, while the Alexandrian textbase manuscripts were preserved by the dry conditions of Egypt, some have sought to discredit the Received Text because they say it is not ancient. But now that manuscript portions from the second century are being unearthed, it is found that many of the readings of the Received Text which had been tagged scornfully as 'late readings' by nearly unanimous consent of the 'textual scientists' are appearing in these [newly found] manuscripts. Readings which were before called late and spurious have been found in these early-date manuscripts . . . . Yet strangely, in textual criticism classes, such discoveries are swept under the rug, not reported to the class."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Joseph Herrin's View on the Bible Versions Controversy

Since a friend sent me a few emails linking to the writings of Joseph Herrin, I've spent quite a bit of time reading through his website and his blog. His writings are wonderful; his studies are in great depth. He puts me to shame in my paltry efforts to investigate some of the same concerns he covers.

He does differ from me on the question of the Bible versions, however, and I like his writings so much in general I'm going to have to give his views on this topic some careful consideration.

He answers a letter a Christian brother had written him:

I would agree with you that there are some serious problems with many of the translations today, but I haven't found the KJV to be a better translation, but in most cases to be a much more flawed translation.
I have to comment at the outset here that there is already a problem in lumping the KJV together with all the proliferating Bible versions as a "translation." When you compare the KJV with all the others the first thing you have to note is that it is based on a different collection of Greek texts than the new versions are. This isn't properly speaking a matter of translation, but a matter of textual sources, and the two shouldn't be confused. You can't say whether the KJV is a better or worse "translation" if its textual sources are different to begin with. You can only compare the quality of the translations where the texts are identical. If the Greek has different words of course the English will read differently as well. I'm sure he's aware of all this as he goes, but the point is that the reader has to be made aware of it.

He goes on to list the many translations he consults and compares in his research to argue for his care in this regard, and I am sure that he's as thorough a researcher as he hopes to be.

I have written that all of the popular English translations are full of translation errors, but until the time that I can find a suitable computer based substitute for them, or I can develop one myself, I will continue to use them, but in many instances I will susbtitute a word that gives a better rendering.
Now, this does bother me, that he feels free to substitute a word he believes gives a better rendering, but many preachers do this these days, as well as many amateur students of these things. What is to protect any of them from producing just more "translation errors?" Can they really claim expertise comparable to the translators of the various commercial Bibles? I personally wouldn't doubt that some could but I wouldn't want the job of determining which, and from what I know of the high qualifications of the King James team I wouldn't want to declare any of their decisions wrong without taking great care. (As it happens, Herrin does investigate a couple of passages with such great care in a recent blog entry and astonished me with his excellent reasons for disagreeing with the KJV translators on a couple of points. But I've come to believe that Herrin is unusually gifted for this task, truly anointed for plumbing the depths of the scriptures.)

He goes on to quote from a letter he received, but I will have to leave that for another post.


The MySpace Hoax Trial

I have to admit that I do not understand this legal case against the woman who is being tried for having misused computer access to torment a teenage girl who subsequently killed herself.

I do not understand why it's about computer use at all. Either she's guilty of contributing to the girl's suicide or not. Either contributing to the girl's suicide is punishable by law or it's not. What does the computer have to do with it?

Look at it this way: What if she'd written letters and sent them through the US Postal Service, with the same basic intention of impersonating a boy to attract the girl's affection and then cruelly insulting her so that the girl killed herself? Would that be punishable by law? Or if laws against a misuse of the Postal Service would be involved in that case, what if the notes were conveyed some other way, dropped at an agreed-upon drop-off location perhaps?

One day in October 2006, Meier said, when she called home to see how Megan was doing, her daughter was crying because "Josh" and two other girls were saying mean things about her online, Meier said.

When Meier arrived home, Megan showed her a message from "Josh." It said the world would be a better place without her in it, Meier testified.
What if the same sorts of things were actually said by a real Josh and two other girls, say at school, where unfortunately such cruelties are commonplace? But then what if they admitted to having treated the girl that way because this woman had asked them to?

What if a young man had in person done the same sort of thing to the girl, pretended to be interested in her and then cruelly insulted her and the girl killed herself? What if he had done it at the behest of this woman who herself is accused of doing it through the internet? Who would be guilty of what? What would the law have to say about it?

I'm trying to isolate the factor of guilt in the exchange of messages that seems to be obscured by the emphasis on the medium used in the transactions.

The point is, what are the laws concerning impersonation, impersonation with intent to cause mental distress, conspiring with others to the same end and so on? Aren't these the real issues? The use of the internet is just a red herring.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Truly messianic pretensions

I'm not keeping up apparently. There really are people who are calling Obama the Messiah. I didn't know it was this overt. All the way back to 2006 apparently.

I did notice on his interview on 60 Minutes recently that he answered one question in a rather odd way. The question had something to do with how he was dealing with all the pressures of this new phase of things, all the intelligence briefings and so on, asking him if he has thoughts such as "how did I get myself into this?" and his answer, after a moment's searching for the right words, was that he believes himself to be right where he's supposed to be. The Messiah doesn't wonder how he got himself into things, he KNOWS where he is and what he's doing.

Like there's a plan, a schedule, and he knows it in advance.

Another blogger's thoughts on Obama and on the woman's headcovering.

Found this discussion today of the question of Obama as Antichrist. He has come up with some interesting observations that are new to me. I'm just posting this as a bare link for the purpose mentioned, although I have yet to study this blog carefully and may have more to say later.

Later: The author of the blog mentioned above, Joseph Herrin, also has a website where he discusses many points of theology. I was pleased to discover that he spends quite a bit of time on the question of women's headcovering, making some points about God's government I hadn't fully appreciated until now. This is the basic argument, and this is where he gets into the meaning of God's government as opposed to God's grace in more detail.

Something I had run across in my study of the headcovering was the statement that we are to understand that Christ's head is covered before the Father, and the man's head is covered before Christ, just as the woman's head is to be covered before the man. Since the man and Christ do not literally cover their heads -- and in fact Paul says just as emphatically that the man should not cover his head as that the woman should cover hers -- I didn't understand what this meant, but Joseph Herrin has made it quite clear: the woman does it as representative of both the man before Christ and Christ before the Father.

When a sister covers her head, she is standing before God on the basis of Christ’s position before God and man’s position before Christ. God wants the woman to cover her head in order to manifest His government on earth. This privilege falls only to woman. She does not cover her head merely for her own self; she does it representatively. For her own self, she does it because she is a woman; representatively, it is because she represents man before Christ and Christ before God. So when woman covers her head before God, it is just the same as if Christ covered His head before God. Likewise, when woman covers her head before man, it is just the same as if man covered his head before Christ. Man or woman should have no head because Christ is head. If one’s head is not covered, there will be two heads. Between God and Christ one head must be covered; so too must it be between man and woman, and so between Christ and every man. If one head is not covered, the result will be that there are two heads. If God is head, then Christ is not; if Christ is head, then man is not; and if man is head, then woman is not.

I also appreciate the clarity he gives here to the meaning of the symbolism of the head covering, and it makes perfect sense out of all the confusion about it: the head is covered as if to say, I do not have a head. There can only be one head, so the subordinate has to yield, signifying it by covering the head.

One thing he doesn't answer clearly, it seems to me, is whether the woman is to cover her head outside of church as well as in prayer and prophesying, though it seems to be implied that it would be fitting in all circumstances, just as it was understood to be for the last couple millennia until the 20th century.

Later: He does answer it here. Since scripture isn't specific about it he doesn't have a conclusion of his own, but leaves it to the women. His own wife and daughter have chosen to cover their heads at all times. I've been covering mine only when I know I'm going to be praying, but that's problematic because I often stop to pray when I don't expect to be doing it. So I think like his wife and daughter I should wear a covering all the time too.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It couldn't be more clearly stated what it's all about

"Messages of congratulations for US President-elect Barack Obama are written on a giant card in front of the Washington Monument in Washington..."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Last post on Obama for a while I hope

I have to say that the "finger flipping" incident is for me the final proof that Obama is not what he wants to appear to be. There are two such incidents really, one that's quite clear while he's talking about Hillary earlier in the year, and then another after he won the election and is supposedly congratulating McCain on a well-fought campaign.

Maybe I'm just out of the loop where such things are acceptable so it hits me harder than it should, but it does hit me hard. It seems to me to be the total proof of the man's hypocrisy and to my mind even ruthlessness. It may be, however, that most politicians are of the same cut and I'm just naive. There are videos at You Tube of Bush making the same gesture, but in his case it's in some kind of private context and it's up front and jokey, while in the case of Obama he's doing it surreptitiously in front of a crowd. It's calculated and mean.

It's clear by the audience response that they caught it. There was nothing else to prompt their yells at that moment.

It's even clearer in this video as you see the woman behind him react immediately to his gesture and then the woman next to her leans over and they are both laughing. The video slows down and puts words to the women's conversation.

Then Obama does a similar gesture, a little more surreptitiously and harder to prove, when congratulating McCain on his hard fought run, a perfect act of hypocrisy. Clearly he will say anything at all for the sake of effect without meaning it. It's all smoke and mirrors.

Just seems to me to go with his true thuggish background and to completely belie the idealistic image he's been creating before the crowds.

I would think it would shock his crowds, but apparently it didn't. I guess half of America is ready for a thug of a President who lies to hide his thuggery from those it might shock.

I'm posting this because it did shock me and along with his appointment of Rahm Emanuel casts Obama in his true light, a tarnished messiah. I sort of thought he'd keep up the act more consistently for a year or so, but now it seems that he's gathered confidence from his win and more of the real Obama will surface sooner than I'd guessed. His speech yesterday where he introduced Emanuel is another harbinger of that, as he made a joke about Emanuel's own habit of finger flipping.


But the thing that matters most to me is how a Christian is to respond to all this and I haven't spent enough time thinking that through, let alone praying about it -- although I do pray about it. I think the man is dangerous on the level of Hitler myself. I think very hard times are ahead for this country. What a Christian needs is spiritual strengths that few of us have, and the longer I go on talking about the election the more I'm aware that I lack them. So I hope I can pull back from this topic for a while and seek the Lord for His guidance in these times.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken Little here

Well, I'm reconciled but I can't drop it. I think we have a very dangerous man as our President Elect. He just appointed a man to be White House Chief of Staff who sounds like the equivalent of Goering or Goebbels. The last time the world had a pretender to the throne of Emperor of the World there was the US to take him down. But now the US itself has succumbed to the same spirit and there is nobody to bring him down.

And I don't think it's right to say nothing about that. Though of course there are ways and then there are ways. Being nice and polite and respectful is necessary, and we'd want to show civility, dignity, humanity, restraint and kindness, all the qualities of Christ, but even of the kind of nation we want this to be, in order to make a pointed contrast with the dishonesty and violent tactics of the other side. There must be some people who are not completely under his spell who need to be waked up and simply keeping respectifully silent isn't going to wake anybody up. It's not about us, it's about people who don't know the Lord.

So here I am, Chicken Little again. Sorry, it's where I'm at. I wish I weren't. Some links, and a message board message forwarded from a Jewish friend:

This is part 1 of Scott Johnson's series on Obama. He covers a lot of the familiar territory but there are probably some new items in here you aren't familiar with. I found parts 3 and 4 so far to have some new material (at this writing I'm only part way through part 4 and haven't heard part 5).

I don't think we need the psychoanalytic diagnostic categories, but the personality profile described in the following rings true:

By Ali Sina

...At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident – a wholesome presidential package. ...However, despite my initial interest in him, I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words.

It is surreal to see the level of hysteria in his admirers. This phenomenon is unprecedented in American politics. Women scream and swoon during his speeches. They yell and shout to Obama, “I love you.” ...The Illinois senator has no history of service to the country. He has done nothing outstanding except giving promises of change and hyping his audience with hope. It’s only his words, not his achievements that is causing this much uproar.

...Listening to Obama ... it harkens back to when I was younger and I used to watch Khomeini, how he would excite the crowd and they'd come to their feet and scream and yell.

I was amused to hear a listener calling Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan Show, (Feb 11) and saying: "Listening to Obama ... it harkens back to when I was younger and I used to watch those deals with Hitler, how he would excite the crowd and they'd come to their feet and scream and yell."

Equating anyone to Hitler by highlighting the similarities between the two is a logical fallacy. This fallacy, known as reductio ad Hitlerum is a variety of both questionable cause and association fallacy. I believe it is wrong to trivialize the holocaust and the horrors of Nazism by comparing our opponents to Hitler.

However, Hitler, prior to coming to power had not killed anyone. He was insane, but few could see that. Far from it, he was seen as a gifted man and hailed as the savior of Germany. He was admired throughout the world. He appealed to the masses of people – the working class and particularly to women, and did not just inspire them, he “elevated” them. Thousands rallied to listen to his passionate speeches. They shed tears when he spoke. Women fainted during his speeches. To Germans, he was not a politician, but a demigod, a messiah. They envisioned him as truly a magical figure of majestic wisdom and glory. They worshiped him. They surrendered their wills to him. He restored their national pride. He projected himself as their savior. He ran on the platform of change and hope. Change he delivered all right, but hopes he shattered.
Another discussion of the character and mindset of Obama:

As Obama admitted in a 2001 radio interview, he regards the Constitution as deeply flawed because it does not allow redistribution of wealth – the centerpiece of his agenda for America. That won’t stop him; he also refuses to prove that he is a natural-born citizen of the United States, and government officials have shown no inclination to enforce that constitutional requirement.

This summer he declared that “America’s greatest moral failure in my lifetime has been that we still don’t abide by that basic precept in Matthew that ‘whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me,’” citing our nation’s sins of “poverty,” “racism and sexism.”

According to Obama and his mentors Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, the root cause of America’s evil is economic inequality. “Social justice” requires the remedy of redistribution of wealth, the transfer of taxpayers’ earnings to whomever their regime will determine has need.

As Karl Marx said, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Or as the stealth candidate told Joe the Plumber: “It’s good to spread the wealth around.”

After inadvertently tipping his hand, Obama denies he is a socialist but affirms redistribution of others’ assets is a virtue. Meanwhile his minions on government computers have scrutinized Joe’s records for the purpose of discrediting him.
Joe the Plumber is every American citizen who dares to challenge the Leader. In Obama’s utopia, hard questions are disallowed.

To conceal his Muslim background and cloak his agenda, Obama fabricated the ruse that he is a Christian. In this ruse, one of Obama’s favorite biblical allusions is that “I am my brother’s keeper.” Meanwhile, the millionaire messiah’s own half-brother George has been living in a shantytown hut in Kenya, subsisting on a dollar a month. To his brother in need Obama has given nothing, but in recent years he donated over $20,000 to Wright’s hate-inciting Black Power cult.

Dreams From My Father is the 1995 memoir that analysis indicates the communist terrorist Ayers wrote for Obama to launch his protégé’s political career. In that memoir, Obama’s Kenyan aunt Zeituni was prominently featured as a beloved family member. Last week, The Times of London – not the domestic Obama-worshipping propaganda media – broke the news that for five years this aunt has been living in a slum in Boston, just miles from where he gained prestige at Harvard Law School for his charm and racial identity. Like many of his supporters, she hopes that Obama’s presidency will change her life for the better.

Obama’s heartless disregard for his own family members proves that he is an authoritarian, whose real concern is not others’ well-being but his pathological quest for power to control the lives of us all.

The stealth candidate was trained in Marxism at his mother’s knee. She became enamoured of communism in high school where she was taught The Communist Manifesto, and while concealing that Obama boasts: “The values she taught me continue to be my touchstone when it comes to how I go about the world of politics.” The father who abandoned him was a Marxist, ousted from Kenya’s government when that nation’s socialist president cracked down on communist agitators (Dreams, pp. 214-215). His mother taught Obama that his father “led his life according to principles that demanded a different kind of toughness, principles that promised a higher form of power. I would follow his example, my mother decided. I had no choice. It was in the genes” (p. 50, italics supplied).

To that end, young Barry was mentored by a Stalinist agent of the Communist Party USA, from his adolescence to the time he left for college. To that end, Obama was mentored by Wright whose “theology” provided a religious cloak for his agenda. To that end, in 1995 the communist terrorists Ayers and Dohrn launched Obama’s political career at their home. In 1996 Obama won endorsement from a Marxist group called the New Party, whose newsletter identified him as one of their members.
Under the guise of concern for the poor, Marxists invoke the name of Jesus as a champion of their cause. But Jesus never condemned economic inequality as a moral failure; both Jesus and the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, recognized this disparity as a fact of life in the world that God created.

This isn't the kind of appointment a man who seeks the unity of the nation would make. [Sorry, that story about Rahm Emanuel is no longer there. I'll have to see if I can find another one.] Here's a better link about Rahm Emanuel, a blog entry that highlights incidents in his career:

[from The Telegraph Nov 08] President-elect Obama had a shortlist of one when it came to choosing his White House Chief of Staff; Rahm Emanuel, a politician so ferocious that even his own mother calls him by his nickname of "Rahmbo".

If the Democratic Congressman accepts the job as Mr Obama's enforcer, Mr Emanuel, universally characterised as a foul-mouthed attack dog who can end the career of anyone who stands in his way, will serve as a perfect counterpoint to the sugar-coated Mr Obama.

Summing him up:

Washinton insider. Failed to stop corruption at Freddie Mac. Used one sex scandal for political gain, tried to cover up another. Plays abrasive, strong man, big money politics.

As David Keene puts it: "You might hire Rahm to blow up the bridge. I don't know if you’d hire him to build it."

Rahm Emanuel represents Washington at it's worst. This is not post-partisan. This is not change. This is not hope.

And here’s what my Jewish friend sent, quoting somebody at a message board somewhere:

I'm just a regular guy, and I have now heard for the THIRD time from people who grew up in Europe, that the situation today reminds them of the 1930's.

Two weeks I heard from two people that the financial crisis reminds them of the runup to WW2.

My grandma, who grew up in Berlin, said this week that the crowds adoring Obama's speeches in which he says nothing.....remind her of Hitler's charismatic speeches when he said nothing of substance but the crowds just gobbled him up.

To Bankman who says this is not Nazi Germany. Speak to anyone who lived in Germany in the 30's, they had a very enlightened democratic society. No one dreamed that anyone would ever kill a jew again. Jews had equal rights. And yet due to the financial crisis, the Germans elected Hitler (who already wrote Mein Kampf) because he promised them that he would help the little guy and he would bring Germany back to it's glory. And the peolpe ate it all up. After he was elected, suddenly the jews began losing their rights.....it took a couple of years, but it happened.

Will Obama be another Hitler? Hopefully not.

Can he? Absolutely!

Civilian national guard?! Spooky.

Yes We Can.... we can WHAT? Does anybody know WHAT we can do? I have no clue what he means, and neither do the millions who chant it along with him, and the billions accross the world who smile to themselves when they hear those chants.

When I hear 85 year olds (three of them) saying that this eerily reminds them of the 30's, it makes me nervous.

And it makes others nervous too. Check out the passport offices. Jew and gentile alike are "suddenly" remembering to apply for passports....

Wake up! (tshuva anyone
I think I know what "Yes we can!" means: For blacks it means blacks can rise to the top; for Muslims it means to some that they can bring down the Great Satan and convert the world to Allah; for many who have been brainwashed into thinking America -- or the rich, or the hated conservative religious Right -- is a great oppressor, it means they can triumph over the oppressor. It means they can get rid of the "haters" which means everybody who won't go along with the One World We Are The Children Happy Unity program.

Ultimately it means "We can triumph over God and run this planet on our own" which is really nothing less than the reinstatement of the hubris of Babel.

Yes, people need to wake up. The question is how do we accomplish helping people wake up -- or wake ourselves up if necessary? Especially if our own faith is weak? Well, for starters it's time for the most serious prayer we've ever done. We need light from the Lord and we need His strength. Prayer with fasting if possible.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sobriety (mercifully) reigns after the election

It's the day after the election and the words of conciliation and the healing of rifts are coming through in a way they haven't for any election since Clinton. I'm in a mood to join in today though I wouldn't have expected it. David Horowitz said it nicely, I thought, but I've seen many similar statements out there in cyberspace.

As I note in a postscript to the previous post, the importance of race to American blacks in this election finally hit me only after it was all over. For some reason it just didn't figure in my thinking in any important way until now, or until I saw the euphoric crowds last night, and now I'm seeing how overwhelmingly it was THE issue for them, and in fact it is the exclusive focus of most of the discussion today.

I may think it wrong because it means they judged so exclusively by race and not by character or background or ideology, which were the issues for me, but I'm now in the strange position of thinking that even if he cheated his way into office it's time to back off and let them have their triumph, so long in coming. They don't believe he cheated, let them believe in him.

There is no doubt that he is God's will for the nation at this time, whether for good or ill, and of course I believe ultimately it will be shown to be ill because we are so surely under judgment (which would have been true as well if McCain had won), but today it's time to give him the opportunity to live up to his promises and prove his critics wrong, and not make an issue of the likely deceptions that got him there.

It's not as if the time will never come again for making an issue of it. We can hope it won't come again, though it probably will, but that time is not now.

And what I'd like to do now is try to forget about politics for a while myself if that's possible.

And a biblical reminder from an email I got:

The Christian's Duty
1 Timothy 2:1 ¶ First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Romans 13:7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

The Christian's Hope
Psalm 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea…

10-11 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Obama the sword of the Lord

God took this nation one step farther down the road of His judgment against us last night. Obama's claim to the Presidency is probably illegitimate on a number of points, but that doesn't change the fact that he's God's choice for us at this time. Much effort has been put into exposing his illegitimacy and his danger to the nation, but it has for the most part been prevented from gaining a wide hearing. We can blame the biased media for that, and in some cases biased judges and elected officials, but the overarching reason can only be that it is God's will.

It is simply the latest bit of truth about growing corruption and dangers to the nation to be aggressively suppressed over the last decade or so, as anyone who has tried to warn about these things can attest. Despite the best efforts of committed workers over and over we've seen the forces of darkness prevail against us. How is it that Islam has actually grown in popularity and influence since 9/11 for instance? Such a thing is inexplicable except on the understanding that it is God's will that the nation be punished. Obama must be His chosen instrument for that purpose.

In his blog this morning, Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler exhorts Christians not to challenge Obama's legitimacy, but treat him with the respect due the Presidency and seek to work with him where possible. A contrary view is that Obama's illegitimacy, especially the fact that he's a Muslim but has misrepresented himself as a Christian, is part of the sword of judgment that we are exhorted in scripture to warn people about. Scott Johnson thinks this is the obligation of Christian leaders, and takes it as the impetus for his own ministry of information.

Ezekiel 33:6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
Of course that doesn't mean treating Obama with disrespect. Paul always addressed the Roman officials with respect; nothing less is expected of us now. But does that mean keeping silent about lies and plots where we know of them? Is that what God wanted of Christians when Hitler came to power?

I'm praying for a clearer understanding of these things.

The joy black Americans felt on Obama's win has to be acknowledged. Since I never saw a racial issue in his candidacy I am likely to underestimate how much it mattered to blacks, but the exuberance and tears among the crowd last night shouldn't go unappreciated. Clearly it was a tremendous milestone in American history from that point of view. This is one reason not to continue to question his legitimacy, at least in a legal official way. God gave him the win and it will be on his own conscience if it was not honest.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Can the Leopard Change His Spots?

Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

So the leopardskin imagery does fit in after all. The leopard symbolizes Nimrod the Ethiopian, who symbolizes Babel, the city he founded, so that wherever the leopard is used symbolically in scripture it points to Nimrod, now as a representative of the Antichrist to come.

Somebody (no author is identified) put together a website that tries to connect all the dots, and it's interesting enough to think about:

Page One, Are They Digging Up Nimrod? Page Two, Are They Digging Up Nimrod?:

The tomb of Nimrod is not known as Nimrod's tomb, but is knwn as the tomb of Osiris.. . The special thing about Osiris was he was represented in Egypt as being both the son and husband of his mother. It is also known that Nimrod is the son and husband of his mother. Nimrod had a son named Ninus which was known as a resurrection of Nimrod. Ninus also married his own mother. So both Osiris and Nimrod are known as being both the son and husband of their mother. . . . Nimrod means literally "The subduer of the leopard." . . . Osiris was also represented by leopards becuase he was always arrayed in leopard's skins. So both Osiris and Nimrod were known for leopards and hunting. . . .Also for Osiris it was an Egyptian tradition that "Osiris was black." Egyptians were already dark skinned so for this to be mentioned meant he was much more darker than the ordinary dark skin. At Thebes in one of the tombs of the kings there is a drawing of Osiris which shows his face and hands as being jet black.

This site has some pictures of the wall paintings in Tutankhamen's Burial chamber at Thebes with Osiris shown as very dark-skinned as said above (Osiris is the one on the left):

Here's another picture, from the BBC, showing Osiris with blue skin, apparently a convention for black skin in Egypt just as it is with depictions of the Indian Krishna:

So both Osiris and Nimrod would have to be extremely dark skinned.

Overall it can be concluded since Osiris and Nimord were both from the same time and are both known for the same things they must both be the same person! So the archaeologists digging up Osiris are digging up Nimod, and the Egyptian stories about Osiris are about Nimrod!

Page Three, Are They Digging Up Nimrod?

. . . in the Bible it says the coming of the Son of Man would be like in the days of Noah.

God saved Noah and his family before the flood just like how He will save Christians before the tribulation. Now after he saved Noah, man became corrupted again with one of its main leaders being Nimrod. This is just like how in the tribulation the antichrist will lead man in corruption. . . .

. . .Overall Nimrod is represented as a leopard three times in the bible and the leopard is symbolized as the antichrist also. . . .The antichrist also dies in the middle of the tribulation, but is brought back by the False Prophet in Revelation 13.

Also Nimrod was the king of Babylon in his time. In Revelation 18:21 it says: "Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea saying, So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer." . . .Babylon is suppose to represent the false religious system headed by the Antichirst.

Since he comes at all this from a different direction than I do I find this confirming, and there are some other things to think about in it too.

Hislop connects all the Nimrod-originated religions with the Roman Church, however.