Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can we / should we expect revival in our day?

Some say we can't because of the widespread apostasy in the churches, that it's simply not God's will for us at this time. Some say we shouldn't because a revival of the doctrinally weak and experience-driven churches would be a disaster. A. W. Tozer said something along these lines. I've personally feared even to pray for revival because of my experience with the counterfeit revivals that have come down through the charismatic movement, which too many people today identify with revival.

Leonard Ravenhill probably remains the strongest voice for true revival we have, and his books still inspire. Why Revival Tarries is perhaps the most influential. It inspired a young man a few years ago to start a website that is a collection of sermons mostly aimed at revival. I personally have found the 2007 Revival Conference hosted by this site and available on audio on video at the site very inspiring. I don't agree with all the doctrinal positions represented -- some in fact I reject altogether -- and some of the preaching even seemed to me to miss the meaning of the very scripture quoted to support a particular point, but for the most part the preaching strongly calls for reformation of the churches and personal life as foundational to revival and presents a true picture of true revival. And at least in my own personal case I can say this preaching has strengthened me in a way other preaching has not, to the diligent seeking of the Lord He calls us to.

I have to suppose I'd be even more inspired if the speakers were from the Reformed tradition, where the preaching is more reliable, but it seems that, for many reasons, in general the Reformed aren't seeking revival. Some do think we may be having a reformation of sorts with the apparently growing popularity of Reformed doctrine, and this could be the foundation for a genuine revival. I tend to agree with this position. In the late 90s I was very happy to find a Reformed church starting up in my area in a sea of churches of every kind of lamentable doctrinal position. Reformed preaching aims to build us up in the knowledge of scripture and convict us and console us from scripture alone. It typically approaches the Bible book by book and explores each book verse by verse so that its message is fully appreciated. Gradually my local Christian radio has also turned toward Reformed preaching and it's a feast for the hungry Christian who has been wandering in the desert of weak and even false preaching.

Yet I find myself restless again. Something is missing. Dare I say the Holy Spirit is missing? It's a feeling I've had for a very long time. I keep being drawn back to the need for revival. There is nothing in the charismatic churches I could ever want to return to, EXCEPT that they keep alive a sense of the power of the Holy Spirit. However, much of what they impute to the Holy Spirit is false so that looking to them for inspiration is out of the question. On the other hand, in the Reformed context, although the presence and work of the Holy Spirit is certainly desired, solicited, and expected, there seems to be a contentment with the Word preached to a congregation that in my view remains predominantly fleshly. There seems to be an assumption that if the Word is being preached accurately, the Holy Spirit has led it and blesses it. I've come to have my doubts about this. The preaching of the Word itself all too often seems to stay on the level of the letter, rarely reaching the spirit. Sometimes the preaching of one of the "higher life" preachers will be able to convict me through the Holy Spirit of a sin I can recognize, and even give me the strength to face it down, while a similar preaching on the exact same topic from the Reformed camp may not move me, or in fact it depresses and discourages me, because (I've come to think) it is coming from the preacher's own mind rather than his mind as the instrument of the Holy Spirit.

There is also a tendency toward jocularity that jars one out of any spiritual appreciation, at least in my personal experience. All in all there is way too much flesh in the service, despite the strong orthodox preaching, despite the determination to stick to the most spiritual music and so on. Again, I have found that my own struggles to obey have not been strengthened in this environment. Can even the most doctrinally sound preaching be done in the flesh? Alas, I fear it can be. Can the most spiritual music be sung in the flesh? That too. I know there are many sincere and dedicated Christians there, but I do have to say it feels like dead orthodoxy to me.

I do appreciate the point made by Jim Eliff that genuine revival comes as a result of true preaching of the word.

. . . let me make an easily misunderstood statement: Revival, as we commonly understand it, would be ill spent on such doctrinally deficient churches as we find today. This may seem a strange comment to make since I, like many of you, have actually hoped for and preached for revival. But my conviction has to do with the usual, one-sided understanding of revival prevalent in most circles. As A. W. Tozer said, “A revival of the kind of Christianity which we have had in America the last fifty year would be the greatest tragedy of this century, a tragedy which would take the church a hundred years to get over.”

Merely bringing to vibrancy or bringing to life the experience of the believer alone may be extremely useful for dead orthodoxy—orthodox or correct belief without life. But we do not, on the main, have dead orthodoxy today. We have live heterodoxy. Hetero means “other” or “different.” Heterodoxy is divergent or even heretical belief. Reformation is that word we use to speak to the recovery of the correct doctrines and their vigorous application to all of life.

We should not want a revival of experience alone without true reformation.

No, we shouldn't, but there is something odd about Eliff's way of describing revival here. Is it even possible to have true revival in a heterodox or doctrinally deficient church? Would God come to such a church? And what does Eliff mean by "experience?" Is it possible to have an experience of God without a true knowledge of God? But certainly a false revival can come to such churches, so solid discernment is needed. Eliff speaks also of a "flash flood" of Holy Spirit conviction of sin that is short-lived, but this is hardly dangerous -- disappointing no doubt, but not dangerous, compared to a false revival that snares many into demonic deception. (I'm sure the devil can prompt false conviction of sin too, but that's another subject.) But Eliff is certainly right, you can't have true revival without solid preaching.

If we are as close to the very end of the world as I and many others think we are, perhaps we can't hope for a general reformation among the churches. Perhaps those that ARE reformed should be looking for revival, however.

Or perhaps the only solution for those of us who are hungry for revival is to seek personal revival on one's own. This is what I have been doing.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dean Burgon's blasts at Westcott & Hort's Bible Revision (Famine of God's Word Pt. 7)

I want to quote some remarks by Dean John William Burgon, the earliest critic of the revision of the Bible done by Westcott and Hort in 1881, on which the most popular Bibles today are based.

He was eminently qualified to make such a criticism of their effort, and he pulls no punches.

Burgon is not of the KJV-only school, who believe that the KJV is perfect as it is, although they often claim him as their own. He appears to have supported the original intention to produce an updating of the King James, which is what Westcott and Hort were commissioned to do, so he is not of the opinion that it did not need some revision.

When he saw the revision that was actually produced, however, he was appalled at the liberty taken by the revisers, first in substituting what he denounces as an outrageously corrupt text in the place of the text on which the KJV was based, and second in undertaking not just a revision and updating, but a whole new translation. In the quote I reproduce below, he uses strong language in denouncing their work, such as "calamity" "vicious" "untrustworthy" "gravest errors."

A brief biography of Dean John William Burgon from Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

A lengthier biography by the Dean Burgon Society:

What I've quoted below comes from this page:

Burgon's Revision Revised is excerpted at links on the lower left margin. The other links on the margin are also very much worth reading.

From his Preface to The Revision Revised

It requires to be demonstrated by induction from a large collection of particular instances, as well as by the complex exhibition of many converging lines of evidence, that the testimony of one small group of documents, or rather, of one particular manuscript, (namely the Vatican Codex B, which, for some unexplained reason, it is just now the fashion to regard with superstitious deference,) is the reverse of trustworthy. Nothing in fact but a considerable Treatise will ever effectually break the yoke of that iron tyranny to which the excellent Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol and his colleagues have recently bowed their necks; and are now for imposing on all English-speaking men. . . .

In the end, when partisanship had cooled down, and passion had evaporated, and prejudice had ceased to find an auditory, the 'Revision' of 1881 must come to be universally regarded as what it most certainly is, the most astonishing, as well as the most calamitous literary blunder of the Age.

I pointed out that 'the New Greek Text' which, in defiance of their instructions, the Revisionists of 'the Authorized English Version' had been so ill-advised as to spend ten years in elaborating, was a wholly untrustworthy performance, was full of the gravest errors from beginning to end, had been constructed throughout on an entirely mistaken theory. Availing myself of the published confession of one of the Revisionists, I explained the nature of the calamity which had befallen the Revision. I traced the mischief home to its true authors, Drs. Westcott and Hort, a copy of whose unpublished Text of the N.T. (the most vicious in existence) had been confidentially, and under pledges of the strictest secrecy, placed in the hands of every member of the revising Body. I called attention to the fact that, unacquainted with the difficult and delicate science of Textual Criticism, the Revisionists had in an evil hour surrendered themselves to Dr. Hort's guidance, had preferred his counsels to those of Prebendary Scrivener, (an infinitely more trustworthy guide) and that the work before the public was the piteous (but inevitable) result. All this I explained in the October number of the Quarterly Review for 1881.

In thus demonstrating the worthlessness of the 'New Greek Text' of the Revisionists, I considered that I had destroyed the key of their position. And so perforce I had. For if the underlying Greek Text be mistaken, what else but incorrect must the English Translation be? But on examining the so-called 'Revision of the Authorized Version,' I speedily made the further discovery that the Revised English would have been in itself intolerable. even had the Greek been let alone. In the first place, to my surprise and annoyance, it proved to be a new translation (rather than a revision of the old) which had been attempted.

Painfully apparent were the tokens which met me on every side that the Revisionists had been supremely eager not so much to correct none but "plain and clear errors", as to introduce as many changes into the English of the New Testament Scriptures as they conveniently could.

That's how I would expect it to seem to anybody who makes the simplest comparisons between the different Bibles, as I discovered from doing the casual comparison of the versions on psalm 91 as I have shown here. Since the revisions have some 36,000 changes from the KJV, most of them of the sort I discovered in psalm 91-- that is, absolutely unnecessary, nuisance changes just to make them read differently from the KJV-- that alone ought to make people question the motives of W and H, and the revisions themselves. Then when you see the comparisons that have been done of the passages where actual words have been left out and even whole verses, which is the result of using the corrupted Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, what's amazing is that so many of the church have accepted these new versions and defend them. They are not a revision of the KJV which is what was originally intended, they are entirely new versions, based on corrupt Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, and full of ridiculously unnecessary changes in the English as well.

In all this, the KJV never did get the originally intended MINOR revision, and now it's probably too late.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt. 6)

Update 7/30:

My position has now settled down to this:

Westcott and Hort pulled a flimflam with their new version, violating the trust committed to them, making thousands of corrections (36,000 if I recall correctly) that are mostly no help but a nuisance, selling the unwary church on a set of texts that history including the KJV translators had rejected as corrupt, and in general leaving a legacy of chaos and disorder in the churches. (They were not even true believers. Their letters reveal doubts about the most important tenets of the Christian faith. The texts they preferred were denounced as corrupt beyond belief by a colleague and contemporary of theirs, Dean Burgon. I want eventually to get some quotes up from him.)

It's not that the word of God is not in the new versions, but it's certainly true that it is truncated.


I haven't yet posted all the many comparisons that demonstrate this, but the differences are many.

It's also not that the KJV is perfect in itself, despite the insistence of a certain branch of the church -- it may have needed and still need some minor updating. But it certainly did not need what they did to it.


1. We don't need to answer all the objections to the KJV. It's not necessarily that the KJV doesn't need some corrections to make it more accessible to people today, but

  • as a practical matter it is not going to happen as it should -- under the authority of the true churches;
  • as a practical matter it isn't really all that hard for everybody to read it, especially if it is preached to them as well;
  • as a practical matter the changes that might really be necessary (as opposed to those that might be desired by any given person) are very very few;
  • so as a practical matter it IS the word of God and we would do well to throw out all the others and stick to it.

2. The vast preponderance of the changes made by Westcott and Hort in the translation itself, quite apart from changes based on a different set of Greek and Hebrew texts, are manifestly unnecessary. They clarify nothing, in fact they make the meaning less accessible in some cases (pinions over feathers???). Westcott and Hort violated a trust in making so many absolutely unnecessary changes, creating a dissonance in the reading of the word in churches that accept all the versions, and in general promoting chaos. The very fact that they did such a thing ought to make the new versions suspect.

3. As a practical matter, we need to have the same Bible. We need to have an authorized English Bible. We need to be able to memorize and quote it and have all the words match up with everybody else's version. It's a depressing situation that we don't have this.

4. Apart from the translational stupidities, the W&H preferred Greek and Hebrew texts are the inferior ones, not those that the KJV is based on. I know this is argued up one side and down the other, but the KJV translators were God-fearing men as well as men of the highest scholarship, and they weren't ignorant of the other textual lineages either. It wasn't as if those preferred by W&H were unknown, they had been rejected by the church down the centuries. They simply had some very old copies of those corrupted texts and argued that their mere age made them superior, although this is highly illogical reasoning. The age of any copied text shows only that that copy happened to survive the ravages of time, it says nothing at all about its superiority to other texts, and may in fact if anything speak to its inferiority. The fact that the preponderance of preserved copies and fragments are of the other type, the type on which the KJV was based, although they are not as old as W&H's, their very preponderance, I'm saying, make them far more likely to be the superior texts, as having been copied so frequently shows them to have been more acceptable to the church down the centuries.

The KJV translators knew what they were doing, they were highly learned scholars. Dean Burgon describes Westcott and Hort's knowledge of Greek as on the level of schoolboys, and their use of the English language as clumsy. Also, there were 47 who worked on the KJV and they consulted one another, while Westcott and Hort were a party of two who did not even believe in the basics of Christianity. WHY OH WHY OH WHY do we allow their false productions to proliferate and corrupt the churches????

The basic rejoinder to the anti-new versions position is that the KJV has errors of its own.

Before getting into that dispute, and I may not be able to go far with it myself though I know I can find references to post instead, I want to reemphasize the points I've been trying to make so far.

First of all, it has to be remembered that the KJV was THE Bible for over 200 years before they set about revising it in the 19th century. It was the standard. It is still the standard. The revisers were not to alter it beyond the absolute minimum required to bring some of its language up to date.

However, in revising it, Westcott and Hort violated a trust by introducing new texts, and made changes that couldn't possibly be defended as compelling although they had agreed to make no other kind, and that in fact the changes they made are so frequently of such a mindlessly trivial sort (which I believe is shown in the first few verses of Psalm 91 alone) that the authority that appointed them should have thrown it all out. You have to keep in mind that the KJB was first, it was there, it was God's holy word and those who set about changing it behaved with an appalling cavalierness to take the breath away.

Now, after all that, and after dozens of newer versions spawned from that original profane assault on the word of God, all following in its footsteps, even vying with each other to come up with more and more absurd alterations, the argument forwarded in FAVOR of it all is that the KJV was flawed and that Westcott and Hort's manuscripts were superior, so that the readings in the new versions -- or some of them, they are not all the same so who knows which are right? -- are superior.

We're supposed to forget that a couple of liars and thieves put the whole thing in motion and nevertheless accept that they were right to do so because supposedly they had the superior manuscripts to work from.

I'm not going to get into this right now. It's beyond my knowledge for starters, but I do know that most of the argument rests on the greater age of the manuscripts used by Westcott and Hort (not that they needed manuscripts at all, since most of their changes appear to be simply whimsical changes in translation of the SAME manuscript texts). Where the KJV people argue that their texts have left out much of the word of God, they counter that apparently the texts underlying the KJV, on the contrary, added in what was not originally there, pointing to these earlier manuscripts as evidence.

It's amazing how many fall for this earlier-manuscripts = superior manuscripts argument. The fact that they survived so long might just as well be evidence that they were not much used, while manuscripts that are preserved in the thousands from later times are those that the church recognized as authentic. There ARE differences in the manuscripts. Should we trust that the eminently qualified KJV translators knew of all the differences and knew which were most reliable, or should we trust those two of inferior qualifications and proven bad character who then came along, violated a sacred trust, instead of clarifying the Bible actually mutilated it, and who are somehow now considered to be justified by the claim that their texts were superior?

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt.5) Some credits and explanations

I'm no scholar, I'm just a member of the flock of Christ who recognizes a flimflam in the modern Bible versions. There are plenty of others out there like me, and some of them ARE scholars. I hope as I go along on this topic I'll be able to quote them to good purpose and give credit where credit is due.

I do have Gail Riplinger to thank for writing the book that brought the problems of the Bible versions to my attention. I'm aware that there are errors in her book, and in fact many in the KJV-only camp don't regard her work as solid enough to credit her. David Cloud, a KJV-onlier himself, agrees with her that the new versions have done much spiritual damage to the body of Christ, but he finds serious errors in her work, which he exposes here:

James White, who is a defender of the new versions, was able to point to many errors in her book, including unproven attacks on the character of the revisers.

However, White's is a broadside attack that needs to be answered back and I haven't found a rejoinder to this particular article yet. But here are a couple of answers to his book

Although I'm aware of the objections to her work, which seem to have some validity, nevertheless she was a groundbreaker for me. As David Cloud points out, her sensationalistic approach gave the problem a wide audience. She brought the problem to my attention and I am grateful to her for that. She has the spiritual nose for fraud even if her scholarship doesn't hold up in some ways. Her main work was a work of collation, of making the kind of comparisons I just made for Psalm 91 only she went into the underlying texts as well and she did it for the entire Bible. The method is pretty straightforward, it can't be faked. In its simplest form it's a project anyone can take up. It's laborious and timeconsuming but it is necessary for revealing the utterly unjustifiable changes from the KJV that are in the new versions.

Mrs. Riplinger apparently went beyond that work to make errors of scholarship and attribution, and also went on to make unsupportable accusations of some of the Bible scholars behind the new versions. As I just discovered myself, however, it is very hard to avoid suspecting the motives of those involved in such an undertaking when you really look at those comparisons. A spiritual fraud of the deepest deceitfulness imaginable seems the only explanation for the mindless destruction wreaked upon the word of God by the changes in the new versions. Perhaps most of those who defend the new versions today are innocent of such deceit themselves, but it is hard to think those who did the revising could possibly be innocent, when you see the choices they made.

I suppose it's possible that in some cases they merely intended to find the best possible rendition of the text, but it's hard to hold to that idea when you contemplate the actual choices they made, And when you remember that Westcott and Hort, the original revisers, were charged with and agreed to, preserving the English Bible as intact as possible and making any change with extreme caution and respect, and then you realize that they substituted a completely different set of texts for the KJV's, and you see the actual changes they made, and then you see the subsequent changes made in later revisions that build upon their revision, it is very hard to avoid the impression that there is a concerted effort to destroy the Bible rather than preserve it. Very hard. When you see changes made toward a minority reading and even apparently merely whimsical choices that throw good English and good sense along with caution to the wind, there is no scholarly justification for such things that can be anything but a rationalization of the absurd.

My favorite writer on the subject right now is Dean John William Burgon, who wrote tomes on the subject during the time of the Westcott-Hort revision, and I've only recently discovered him so it will be a while before I can do him justice. I'm going to have to put up some wonderful quotations from his writing, some of which I have available already but it takes time to get such things together to post them. He is a scholar of the Biblical texts so when he says that Westcott and Hort violated their agreement to make only the most necessary changes in the text, even making changes that are so far from necessary they are unconscionable, he has a knowledge to back him up that I don't have.

My approach is naive, of necessity, but also it's better that way if I hope to talk to Christians in general. I'm relying on common sense and spiritual sense to recognize the problem when it is demonstrated, as I've just done with Psalm 91.

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt. 4)

Since this is taking so much time I doubt I'll get through the whole of Psalm 91 in my project to show the falseness of the modern Bibles just in this tiny portion of the scriptures, the unconscionable attack on the word of God that the modern Bible versions really are. I've been moved to this kind of language in denunciation of them, by the way, because of this little project. Getting into the actual differences between the modern texts and the KJV shows the sheer mindless destructiveness of the revisions in a way all the scholarly discussions don't. You can see right before your eyes that there is no rational foundation for the changes that were made, just in the first few verses of Psalm 91.

In most of the differences I've highlighted, the revisers seem to be making change for change's sake, the exact opposite of what the original revisers, Westcott and Hort, were commissioned to do - make only compellingly necessary changes for the sake of improving comprehension. On the contrary, the whimsical changes that dot the various revisions show that not only W&H but all the revisers that followed them in multiplying versions seem merely to want to throw a cloud of confusion over the word of God.

There can be only one spiritual source of such an undertaking.

I'll do at least another verse of Psalm 91, verse 4:

KJV: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

NKJV: He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

RSV: he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

NASB: He will cover you with his pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

NIV: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

The more I do this the madder I get.

Even in the very popular Psalm 91, which you'd think any revisers would want to preserve at the very least for the sake of those who memorize scripture (unless of course there is an absolutely imperative compelling reason for a change), the NKJV, which SEEMS to be dedicated to preserving the KJV more than all the others, makes the unjustifiable change from "noisome" to "perilous" in verse 3, and now makes in verse 4 the unjustifiable change from "under his wings shalt thou trust" to "under His wings you shall take refuge." In this alteration the NKJV is following the modern revisions instead of the KJV.

Here is another of those places where the revisers seem to have gone out of their way to choose a minority reading. Strong's gives both definitions, trust and take refuge, for the underlying Hebrew term, and shows that the Hebrew term occurs 37 times in the Hebrew Bible and is translated as "trust" in the KJV in 35 of those places. 35 out of 37. But the revisers decided to substitute "take refuge" for this obviously preferred reading of the KJV. Why? Don't they seem to be making changes for change's sake, simply to distance today's Bible as far as possible from the KJV, simply to add confusion to doubt? The more of these bogus Bibles are out there circulating among God's people, the more they have succeeded in obfuscating God's word and disunifying the flock.

Here's Strong's, from the Blue Letter Bible site:
1) (Qal) to seek refuge, flee for protection
a) to put trust in (God), confide or hope in (God) (fig.)
AVto trust 35, to make a refuge 1, have hope 1

The RSV has you finding refuge instead of taking refuge; the NASB has you seeking refuge rather than taking it or finding it, and on this one the NIV agrees with the RSV that you will find it.

They all agree in their shared mission to destroy the word of God that the KJV has it wrong in saying thou shalt trust, but they don't even want to preserve a semblance of unity among themselves about whether one takes refuge, seeks refuge or finds refuge. Don't you get the impression that the honored revisers just sat around asking themselves, "Let's see, how can we introduce a little change here that looks plausible enough to pass with the unwary reader, while throwing the whole thing into doubt in such a way that nobody will be the wiser?"

Oh, but the masterpiece of change in this verse is from "feathers" to "PINIONS!" Yikes!
pin·ion 1
1. The wing of a bird.
2. The outer rear edge of the wing of a bird, containing the primary feathers.
3. A primary feather of a bird.
1: the terminal section of a bird's wing including the carpus, metacarpus, and phalanges; broadly : wing2: feather, quill; also : flight feathers
— pin·ioned \-yÉ™nd\ adjective

Yoo hoo, hey guys! Wasn't the idea to IMPROVE THE READABILITY of the Bible for the millions? What sense could it possibly make to go from the eminently readable "feathers" to the peculiarly technical "pinions?"

Oh, SURELY, my readers (I pray the Lord will bring me a few), we see here the nefarious plot of the revisers as naked as it's going to get. Can't you just picture the guy who came up with this cracking up over his clever coup? Hee hee hee, he's going, and his band of pranksters with him.

Then we've got the NASB replacing "buckler" with "bulwark" and the NIV replacing it with "rampart." A buckler is a small shield, a bulwark is a fortification or embankment, a rampart is another synonym for bulwark or fortification. It appears the NIV just took the NASB's "bulwark" and produced another variation on the theme, or vice versa, depending on which translation came first. Change for change's sake.

Well, there is a stretch of the term that is possible, from shield to surround to fortification, and God IS a bulwark, but what reason can there be to make that the meaning of the word in this case? I can't see any reason except a perverse desire to injure the KJV. They seem to be sprinkling changes everywhere that are justified only by the very flimsiest seeming plausibility, anything to corrupt God's word and hurt His people. This may not be their conscious intention, but if it is not, then it shows a cavalier attitude toward the text that is hardly any better.

Then we've got the RSV, NASB and NIV all substituting "faithfulness" for "truth!" In this case if you check the Concordance you will find that there are 117 places the Hebrew term is translated truth, true or truly in the KJV, out of 128 occurrences of the Hebrew term in the entire Bible, only 3 of which have faithful or faithfully. Again, the revisers are going out of their way to find the least acceptable rendering of the Hebrew while keeping enough thin plausibility to fool the nonexpert. ANYTHING to contradict the KJV! Anything will do!

For some reason, here as in other places I've noticed, the NIV prefers the KJV's reading of a word, in this case "feathers" while it indulges in the other mutilating corrections of its kin. Anything to confuse, to keep the potential critic unsettled?

I'm going to end this project for now. If anyone wants to take up the project from this verse on, I think you will continue to find small changes that have no justification except to obfuscate and confuse.

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt. 3)

This little project to compare the verses of Psalm 91 in the KJV with the modern Bible versions is already revealing the deceitfulness of the revisers, it seems to me. I was already convinced that the revisions are a trojan horse in the house of God, but the pernicious extent of it is coming home to me with peculiar force as I've done this experiment.

To continue with Psalm 91, verse 2:

KJV: I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

NKJV: I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."

RSV: I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."

NASB: I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!"

NIV: I will say* of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
[* footnote here has "or He says."]

I can only repeat that there is no reason for any of these changes, showing that the revisers did not honor their agreement to leave the text intact unless there was a compelling reason to change it. Again, the changes seem minor, but the very fact of making them at all is an offense because it is unnecessary, makes the sharing of God's word among the flock difficult and raises doubt in people's minds: So what DOES the Hebrew say? OF the LORD, or TO the LORD?

Why would the NIV take "He is" out of italics, which in the KJV are there to indicate that the words are not in the Hebrew but are needed to complete the sense of the English? Is that mere sloppiness?

There is no reason not to trust the KJV translators who were a formidably learned lot, and again, the revisers are without excuse.

It is hard to avoid the impression in surveying the scattering of unnecessary little changes they made that the revisers were in fact intent on mutilating the Bible.

But to continue:

Psalm 91, verse 3:

KJV: Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

NKJV: Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.

RSV: For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.

NASB: For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, And from the deadly pestilence.

NIV: Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.

In none of the changes identified so far is there any hint that the Hebrew requires them. They are all English substitutions, simply translational choices, all of them utterly unnecessary, and in fact they are vicious in the context of the stated objective to change as little as possible in the Authorized text.

Well, let's start with "noisome" which the noisome, pestilential and perhaps also deadly modern mutilations have managed to change into something else entirely. "Noisome" does NOT mean "deadly" or "perilous."

The dictionary has: noisome \NOY-sum\, adjective:1. Noxious; harmful; unwholesome.2. Offensive to the smell or other senses; disgusting.

It's hard to see how you get from that to "deadly" or "perilous."

The Hebrew word translated "noisome" in the KJV occurs 15 times in the entire Bible, and is translated "noisome" once, here, and in nine other ways elsewhere:

AVcalamity 4, wickedness 3, perverse thing 1, mischief 1, noisome 1, iniquity 1, substance 1, naughtiness 1, naughty 1, mischievous 1

Not one of these renderings includes a hint of "deadly" or even necessarily "perilous." "Destructive" perhaps, even "ruinous" but overall it is closer to "noxious" or "disgusting" or "obnoxious" or "extremely annoying."

Leave the word alone, it's quite apt, and "deadly" is not apt. "Noisome" is not even archaic.

Again, there was no compelling need to make this change in the Bible. Again, it serves only to obfuscate, not to clarify, only to make things more difficult for God's people, not easier.

Is "trapper" an improvement on "fowler?" True, it may be more recognizable to moderns, but even the other modern mutilations didn't use it. Again, the principle that was to have been followed was to make no unnecessary changes. This is another unnecessary change.

So is "fowler's snare" versus "snare of the fowler" (and the latter is better aesthetically). So is "save" versus "deliver" unnecessary.

All these changes do nothing but disunify believers, even in ways that escape detection. It begins to seem this had to have been the real intention of the revisers. Woe to the shepherds who scatter the flock.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD (Pt. 2)

There's so much to say about the Bible famine, it's hard to know where to start.

Maybe here: Last night I was reading in Psalms and thought of comparing the KJV to some other versions just to see what sort of changes I might find there. It was instructive.

I started the comparisons with a couple of the most popular psalms, 23 and 91. Here's 91:

The KJV has:

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Starting at Verse 1, the KJV: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Differences from the KJV are highlighted in the following in a different color:

The NKJV is almost the same except for modernizing the verb: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

The RSV (Revised Standard Version), the original revision, has: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,

The NASB has: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

The NIV has: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Comment: Up to a point the changes in the new versions appear trivial, the mere substitution of a synonym (or near-synonym) for the King James word, not substantially affecting the meaning, so that to object to it might appear merely nitpicking.

But think about this. The very triviality of such changes is an offense to God and His church. The KJV was THE English Bible of all English-speaking peoples at the time of the making of the new versions in the 19th century. The men commissioned to revise it were only to update it to the English of the day, they were not to change anything substantial in it, and wouldn't you expect that such a project would be done with the utmost respect for the word of God, and for the people who used the Bible, keeping as much of it intact as possible? Wouldn't you? And that's what they had contracted to do!

Instead they produced a new Bible, a different Bible. They went back on their agreement. They introduced a completely different set of Greek New Testament texts for starters (which of course does not affect the Psalms which are in Hebrew -- although, as a poster here reminded me, a different Hebrew text also underlies the new versions) and they went about systematically changing the text of the KJV on the basis of those texts, but also changing it apparently simply willynilly, to no rational standard whatever, as the first line of Psalm 91 demonstrates:

What would possess men of any sensitivity to the English language, not to mention spiritual sensitivity, not to mention respect for the Bible trusted by millions, to change "the secret place of the most High" to "shelter of the Most High?"

Is it a small thing? Do I cavil to no purpose? (It will get worse than this). No, this is an enormity (an outrageous, improper, vicious, or immoral act).

Have they even any textual excuse, is there anything in the Hebrew text to demand the change from the secret place to the shelter? The only way to justify it would be if there were a genuine DEMAND for such an alteration, an imperative need, something so clearly indicated in the Hebrew that it would not be right to let the KJV's translation of it stand.

No, they have no such excuse. Strong's Concordance will tell you that in a moment. The predominant rendering of the Hebrew term suggests something secret or hidden. "Shelter" is a very weak option, very weak, and in fact it is not EVER used in the KJV to translate that Hebrew term. That Hebrew term appears 36 times in the text, and was translated into TEN different English words in the KJV, not one of them being "shelter:"

AVsecret 12, secretly 9, covert 5, secret place 3, hiding place 2, backbiting 1, covering 1, disguiseth 1, privily 1, protection 1

1) covering, shelter, hiding place, secrecy
a) covering, cover
b) hiding place, shelter, secret place
c) secrecy
2) secrecy (of tongue being slanderous)

Check the Strong's Concordance at Blue Letter Bible ( for Psalm 91:1 to verify the above.

The RSV also changed the grammar of the sentence from a single statement about the dweller in the secret place of the Most High, with a period at the end, to a clause that combines the dweller with the speaker of verse 2. I don't know Hebrew but surely those who do know whether there are two separate sentences there with different subjects, or one with one subject. Surely the KJV translators, a gathering of enormously qualified men, would have known what the Hebrew actually says. And other new versions have not followed the RSV's lead in this, reverting to the form of the KJV and making two sentences of it. I wonder why?

They all change the KJV's "shall" to "will." WHY? "Shall" is grammatically correct!

Then the NIV, which has a reputation for going farther than many of the revisions in undoing the KJV, changes "abide" to "rest." Do we REALLY have a problem with "abide?" It isn't even an archaic term! "Abide" means basically to stay in one place. If the Hebrew meant "rest," the KJV would have said "rest" (and so, presumably, theoretically, rightly, would the NASB and the NKJV and the RSV). Again, where is the sensitivity one would expect in the handling of the sacred text? Where is there any fear of God among these revisers?

This is all taking a lot of time, so I'm not even going to be able to get to the other verses in this post. I'll save them for the next and following posts.

To end this one, I would ask if other Christians in churches that accept a variety of different translations have been bothered by the same experience I've had. That is, when you read along in your own Bible as the pastor or elders read a passage aloud, have you had the jarring experience I've had of finding your own Bible enough out of synch with the reader's that you are actually forced to do a bit of translation of your own in order to follow along at all? Does it set your nerves on edge? Have you noticed that congregational unison reading of the Bible is no longer possible at all unless you read from a uniform text in, say, the back of the hymnal? If the congregation is assigned a passage to memorize, is it jarring to hear it recited in a variety of different forms? I can tell you that all that is true for me, and for me it is a depressing experience. Maybe I'm hypersensitive.

But it seems to me that it is fair to call this chaos, cacophony, confusion, even a confusion of tongues as at Babel.

Oh but we've adjusted. Except for the depressive effect -- on some of us anyway. No big deal, right? Well, it would be no big deal if it were worth it, if there really were a good reason to put us through it, but there isn't. There is no need for this babel of tongues in the churches. The modern versions are usurpers, inferior by almost all standards, serving only to disrupt and confuse and dumb down and divide the body of Christ.

A famine of hearing the word of the LORD? (Pt.1) Amos 8:11

Too strong a title for my topic I wonder? I don't really think so. I think we are in a famine, a famine of the true word of God while we are up to our necks in a sea of false Bibles, the modern versions that were spawned from evil seed in the 19th century and have been multiplying at an astonishing rate over the last decade or so.

For years I've hated the new versions in a visceral sort of way, after having encountered the Gail Riplinger study in the early 90s, but because so many scorned her work (perhaps rightly to some extent) and so many apparently solid Christians and highly trusted pastors defend the new versions, I struggled along accepting them in spite of myself. Specifically I personally struggled along with the New King James just because it claims to be a mere modernization of the English which preserves the essence of the King James, and because it isn't the King James, which I thought I didn't want.

The NASB (New American Standard Bible) is particularly popular in churches I've attended. The NIV (New International Version) is usually frowned upon as inferior but I know it is also a very popular Bible in other churches and Bible studies, considered more readable than the KJV. I had to go online to find any KJV-only people since I know none personally. Not real KJV-only people who say it's the only trustworthy Bible, that is: there are those who prefer it but don't claim that it should be preferred, just that they happen to like it themselves, or are used to it or something like that.

I didn't prefer it, I thought I preferred the New King James instead, I thought I wanted an updated King James -- you know, one that preserves the basic language of the King James but modernizes some of its terms, since, after all, language does evolve. I thought I didn't like reading the old English. Not that I have a problem understanding it, just that it's, well, outdated, and shouldn't the church have a Bible in the vernacular? If the NKJV had really been merely an updating I might have been happier with it.

Might, I say, because I'm rethinking all of this now, since I have committed myself to the KJV and am very happy with that decision. I'm now on the verge of throwing myself wholly on the King James and defending it, old English and all, as the only true Bible without any requirement of updating. I now use it exclusively and I've rid myself of other translations I possessed (actually I keep some in a box so I can use them to make comparisons but I don't even like having them around any more). I dropped my NKJV like a hot potato.

It turns out that I love reading my KJV. Having committed myself to it I find it easy reading, clear reading, trustworthy reading. I feel very secure reading it. I know it is true.

In contrast, even though in the past I thought I preferred the NKJV, instead of finding it easy to read I used to fight with it. I did read through all of it but in fits and starts, couldn't really sustain a continuous sequential reading for long. I hated its footnotes that were constantly intruding the information that there are other manuscripts that give a different reading for this or that. I also hated the logo on the front of it, that symbol that's supposed to represent the Trinity. Every time I looked at it I received an ugly sensation from the mere experience of laying eyes on it. It's hard to account for, but I had a loathing of it that was intuitive or visceral like my dislike of all the modern versions, only more intense and focused. Actually, it was spiritual: I now know that it is an occultic symbol, used widely in different forms of witchcraft and satanism. Then as I began to research all this in the last few months I also learned that the NKJV doesn't always follow the text of the KJV as it is claimed it does. Not only do its obnoxious footnotes cast doubt on the text, but in the text itself it makes unnecessary changes to accommodate it to the new versions. No wonder I had problems reading it consistently.

This is just by way of introduction. There's a lot more to come on this subject, as I'm going to be arguing that the true churches should take all their modern Bibles out to an open space, make a huge heap of them and burn them to ash.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Economic Crunch Coming

I've seen other articles since I posted on the likelihood of food shortages, which say we probably won't feel it very much as a shortage, at least not right away. We will, however, feel the price crunch and that will affect Americans on the lower end of the economic scale who are already barely making ends meet. True, most of us would be better off eating less for a while anyway.

But I do see this as part of a growing trend. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but this is how it goes: 9/11 already made a dent in the economy by forcing airlines into bankruptcy, a situation which has been evolving over time. Hurricane Katrina is what started pushing the price of oil up and up, which has been pushing food prices up, also getting worse over time. The nation has been paying out enormous sums of disaster relief money for what seems to be a string of unusually severe natural disasters over the last few years, disasters of all kinds from hurricanes to wildfires to tornadoes to floods. Relief is still available, but always there are some who fall through the cracks anyway, and at some point if the trend continues the bank that finances the relief simply has to break.

It's just a matter of time as long as we continue as a nation on our downhill slide into paganism and immorality. Surely Christians know that God is behind all these events, surely we know these are ways He brings judgment against nations, surely we know that America deserves judgment for a disgraceful list of government-sponsored sins that have been accumulating for decades now.

Surely we know that the only way to prevent complete desolation is national repentance. Is it happening? Is it even happening in the churches where of all places it should be happening? Where's the sackcloth and ashes, the weeks of corporate humbling before God in repentance and pleading for thenation? In the past America actually had some Presidents who called for times of fasting and prayer. Churches that wanted God to comedown and revive the Christian life of their communities used to praythrough the night for months. Now it's rare if a church can get it together for half a day. And individually we're a sad lot when it comes to that kind of discipline, too, and here I'm mostly speaking for myself and SO wanting a spiritual strength I continually fail to muster.

So as I see it, we may not necessarily be facing a sudden crisis (although I'm not completely sure of that), but we MUST be facing a gradual tightening of the vise that we will most likely feel when it's too late.

I know I'm repeating myself. Probably for a while to come I'll be repeating some themes.