Welcome to the January 2014 blog!
The Yahshua folks are at it again
Those who insist on using only the Hebrew name for God and believe that everyone else should, are claiming that the name Iesous (Greek for Jesus) is not in the oldest complete Greek manuscript of the Bible—referring to the Codex Sinaiticus. That is not altogether true. The name is there but it is abbreviated as IH XP in Matthew 1:1, Acts 2:38, et al. Use of abbreviations was common for terms representing deity—Jesus, God, Lord, Christ—and a few other names and terms that were frequently mentioned in the text. A straight line was drawn above the word to denote its status as an abbreviation. This conserved time and space on the manuscripts that were done on parchment and in all capital letters as the Great Uncials (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, etc.) were. Parchment was very expensive as a means of writing. It is said that Sinaiticus used well over 300 animal skins in the making of that manuscript.
If you would like to see the Codex Sinaiticus, go to http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscript.aspx?book=33&lid=en&side=r&zoomSlider=0. Most other important Bible manuscripts are also available for viewing on the Internet.
When it comes to the Bible, let’s all try to be ingenuous and objective about the manuscripts, the Greek/Hebrew texts, the translations, and all other aspects concerning God’s Word. Telling the truth about the Bible will harm no one’s faith, but misrepresentation creates a credibility gap and will ultimately destroy faith. The issue is too serious not to be totally transparent. We can be mistaken without dissembling, but if the truth is at hand, we should strive for it, speak it, and not fear it.
Update on using the NIV
For many years my family used the New International Version (1978/1984 editions) of the Bible in our family devotions. I found it to represent the biblical manuscripts with honest scholarship while providing a fresh way of saying what Jesus and the apostles and prophets taught. The Apostolic doctrine was there in clearer terms, strengthening our fundamental principles.
Around 1990, new leadership at Biblica, the owners, felt it was time for a minor update in the language to harmonize with the spirit of political correctness in our culture as it relates to gender neutrality and current social ideology. The New Testament was published in 2002 and the complete Bible in 2005. They gave it the name TNIV. It was an immediate flop. Many scholars and teachers and pastors took out ads denouncing it. In three or four years the publishers stopped the presses, apologized to their clientele, and promised a new corrected edition.
The new edition appeared in 2011. They had replaced most of the changes they had made earlier but still left some of the inclusive language with the taste of political correctness. Criticism was minor, but the millions of us who loved the 1984 NIV were sorely disappointed. It had become the best selling Bible on the market. In retrospect, I believe the publisher’s decision will prove to be a grave mistake, although no translation or copies done by humans without inspiration is perfect. “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless” (Psalm 18:30 NIV). The original Bible writers were inspired and what God said through them was flawless, but later scribes and copyists proved to be somewhat less than perfect in their work since no two manuscripts are exactly the same.
I do not recommend the new NIV as a basic Bible. Most verses still read exactly the same, but there are three or four reasons that I don’t promote the new version. I believe they still use the best Greek text to translate, but in trying to make the receptor language reflect today’s gender neutrality mindset, I think they went too far. Many of their word changes are fine and I have no problem with them, but there are some that I cannot affirm. I have spotlighted these in a paper delivered in the Apostolic Theological Forum of 2011. To read the paper titled The Translation Wars, please go to advanceministries.org/articles.
Advance Ministries does not sell the new version. When I am asked which version I endorse, the answer is “none.” If I did, someone would find a problem with it and say I was endorsing some flaw or copyist error. At this time, I prefer the ESV to other major versions for my own use and study, finding it sufficiently accurate, the language is KJVish in many places, and the scholarship well above average. There are a couple of places that I would prefer a different rendering, but that is true of any version, including the traditional KJV.
William Booth (c. 1900): “In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”
The Gipper (Ronald Reagan): “[W]e’re not going to have real prosperity or recovery until we stop fighting the symptoms and start fighting the disease. There’s only one cause for inflation— government spending more than government takes in. The cure is a balanced budget. Ah, but they tell us, 80 percent of the budget is uncontrollable. It’s fixed by laws passed by Congress. Well, laws passed by Congress can be repealed by Congress. And, if Congress is unwilling to do this, then isn’t it time we elect a Congress that will? … The truth is, Washington has taken over functions that don’t truly belong to it. In almost every case it has been a failure. Now, understand, I’m speaking of those programs which logically should be administered at state and local levels. Welfare is a classic example. Voices that are raised now and then urging a federalization of welfare don’t realize that the failure of welfare is due to federal interference.”
[Where are you, Ronnie, when we need you? But thanks for reminding us that Congress has the power to undo any laws that are presently on the books. I can think of one right now that is in dire need of repealing.]
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-46 BC): “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”
Donna Schaper, senior minister of Judson Memorial Church in NYC: “What is it about women that the religious right can’t tolerate? … Unwanted pregnancies cause poverty and release unprepared children into a world that increasingly refuses to sustain them. But that ‘practical’ argument is not why women can have morally good abortions. We can have morally good abortions because we are human beings, with God-given rights to human agency, just like men.”
NBC’s Brian Williams: “As we approach the one-year mark … of the tragedy at Sandy Hook … there is a plea tonight from this country’s psychologists. They say the gun issue is not just a political issue, that protecting our children from gun violence, including in their own homes, is a matter instead of public health.” [Yet another reason to avoid both psychologists and NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC and Al Jazeera newscasts.]
Sen. John McCain: “[T]he United States of America is fortunate to be served by as able, articulate, honest, dedicated and impassioned a world leader as my friend Joe Biden.” [Joe Who?]
Judith Curry, a climatologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says, “All other things being equal, adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will have a warming effect on the planet. However, all things are never equal, and what we are seeing is natural climate variability dominating over human impact.” [That’s worth repeating: natural climate variability might have something to do with the weather and the temperature, reckon?]
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal: “It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson [of Duck Dynasty] gets suspended.”
Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1778: “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”
Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, affirmed that “the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. …It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion.”
[Joseph must have survived with other Nazis to ultimately become an advisor for the current administration.]
Goebbels further stated: “To be a socialist is to submit the I to the Thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole.” [That could never happen in America, could it?]
Off the bus, Rosa
The President has visually pushed Rosa Parks off the anti-discrimination bus with a single narcissistic tweet:
The tweet included a photo of the first African American president of the United States sitting in the same bus and in the same seat from which Parks declined an order to move to the back of the bus during a protest in 1955.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/01/barack-obama-pushes-rosa-parks-off-the-bus-photo/#ixzz2nev7bZhv
Now being referred to as the “Narcissist-in-Chief,” he embellished the label at Mandela’s funeral while seated next to a blonde woman from Denmark. They took a “selfie” as they bantered during the funeral proceedings. Someone tweeted back to the Prez, “Get over yourself!”
Unlimited social media is not for smart Apostolic teens…or their parents
Columnist Michael Reagan: “Too many people of all ages still blindly trust that what they see on TV and the Internet is true. But when it comes to social media, kids—and too many of their parents—are incredibly trusting and naïve. … These over-trusting souls tell the whole world where they live, what they own and when they’re going away on vacation—and then they’re shocked to come home to a robbed and ransacked house. In the Smart Phone Age, when everyone with an iPhone thinks he’s a news reporter, trusting everyone in the room or on the street with your secret or your politically incorrect opinion is a dumb idea. … It’s pretty clear that technology and social media have outrun our ability to handle them.”
Father, Son and Holy Ghost are names?
Recently it was suggested by a prominent Pentecostal theologian that the references in Matthew 28:19 of “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” may be considered names and not merely titles. Although we did appreciate his bottom line being that the baptism formula should still be “in the name of Jesus” (or some form thereof), a few brethren were a little confused by that approach. The General Superintendent finally had to address the issue in an online forum. Obviously, although I highly regard the theological expertise of the individual who made the suggestion, it is extremely difficult to consider the terms “Father, Son, the Holy Ghost” as names in the context of Matthew 28:19. Only a presupposition of separate persons within the Godhead would encourage such a theory.
Dismissing Father and Son as names for a moment, let’s focus on “Holy Ghost.” If “Holy Ghost” is a name it would be a strange one. Two questions arise: Does His name end in Spirit or Ghost? And should we still refer to Him as “the Ghost”? If “Holy” is part of His proper name, wouldn’t the use of “Ghost” or “Spirit” alone not constitute His proper name?
In the Greek New Testament, the word translated as “Ghost,” as in “the Holy Ghost” (e.g., Matthew 28:19, et al.) is pneumatos, or Spirit. Sometimes the KJV translators rendered the word as “Spirit” and other times as “Ghost.” The KJV is just about the only version still being used that employs the term “Ghost.” KJV purists insist that the term Holy Ghost should be used exclusively when we are referring to Him. Really? The KJV translators wrote Luke 11:13 like this: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” If it is somehow not kosher to use the term “Holy Spirit” when it is clearly referring to the one Spirit of God believers were to receive, one should confront Jesus and Luke about their theology. Additionally, the obvious inconsistency of capitalization of the terms does contribute to the confusion.
One advantage of translating the word as Spirit rather than Ghost is that “Spirit” can always be used, whereas “Ghost” always requires the word “Holy” prefixed. (Vine’s, p. 1086) It would sound strange to say, “The Ghost and the Bride say, Come” (Revelation 22:17), or “the Ghost himself” (Romans 8:16), or “born after the Ghost” (Galatians 4:29). The translators rendered the Greek phantasma, (from which we get “phantom”) as “spirit” in Matthew 14:26 when a better understood rendering would have been “ghost.”
Back to proper names in Matthew 28:19, the Wycliffe, Tyndale, Cranmer, and the Geneva Bibles all said “goost, goost, goost, and Gost,” respectively in that verse. None of the four Bibles mentioned capitalized “holy.” The “holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13 KJV) leaves us wondering just who is being referred to. The 1611 King James rendered the verse, “Goe ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Sonne, and of the holy [sic] Ghost. It would appear if they wanted us to believe “holy Ghost” was a proper name, they would have capitalized both words.
The facts seem to be these: the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost are the same when the one Spirit of God who baptizes us into the kingdom is being referenced (I Corinthians 12:13). The Greek phrase in the NT is the same, not offering any distinction. The difference is only in the translation. It matters little (at least to me) whether one prefers “Ghost” or “Spirit” when referring to the one Spirit of God, although it may matter to those we are attempting to influence with the relevance of the Word. And the titles in Matthew 28:19 are still just that, not proper names. The theologian was right…baptism is still to be done “in the name of Jesus.”
Did a Oneness believer interrupt the Reformation?
In last month’s blog, I asked the question, “What impact, if any, did Michael Servetus have on the Protestant Reformation?”
I will share two of the responses and my own thoughts:
Servetus’ passionate zeal and his belief of truth (as he saw it at 19 years of age and from which he never wavered) were impressive. But, his incredible tenacity, albeit possibly a bit misguided or poorly timed, and his willingness to die for what he believed—wow! What an example.
I’d like to think that if he could have seen the future and fully understood the scope and scale of the fight, and the efforts of the others in that fight, he may have timed his actions a bit more carefully. Or at least I hope he would have. And, if he could have remotely seen that grander stage in the way we can in a historical perspective, he would possibly have timed his attacks better to aid in the whole of the Reformation. It is easy for us to see the breadth of the stage on which he stood and played out his part because we can read century after century of history. But had I been on the street with him at that time in Paris or Geneva or Vienna, I’m not so sure I could have made better decisions, not being able to see the other acts of the play.
It struck me that we are in a similar fight here in the last days, and we are on a similar stage playing our part in God’s plan. But, we often act as if we are the only player, and taking another look at Servetus was a good awakening for me to get a glimpse into my bit-part and how it needs to be timed correctly and played out in fervent zeal and prayerful passion.
– Galen Walters, TX
Michael Servetus is my hero of the Reformation period.
Several years ago while researching information for a book I was writing about my biblical revelation of the true identity of Jesus, I studied the history of a large number of contributors to Christian theologies. As I read about Michael Servetus and what he championed, I found someone else that had been able to see through the fallacy of the sanctimonious Catholic Church’s teaching—that of its substitutional religious, extrabiblical doctrine—as I had.
Michael Servetus was extremely intelligent and highly educated with an astute mind, which in my opinion gave his discoveries solid credibility. While secular history identifies him as “catholic,” the truth is, it was in name only. His legacy is clearly not “catholic” in mind or spirit. Most everyone in those days were pervasively considered “catholic” because all other religious beliefs were declared heretical and came with a death sentence carried out by order of the ruthless Catholic Church. This was especially so for those whose reputations were seen as influential in the eyes of the general population. The pope deemed everyone not professing Catholicism to be “heretics” and were a threat to the established church’s extrabiblical catechetic doctrine.
However, Michael Servetus was adamantly opposed to the corrupted Catholic Church. In particular, he openly opposed the church’s non-biblical Trinity doctrine and its infant baptisms as false, non-scriptural doctrines. His in-depth study of the scriptures convinced him that the Trinity doctrine in all its definitions, along with infant baptism, were in conflict with the Word of God and therefore blasphemous.
Michael Servetus’ understanding was that Jesus was an autonomous, created man, the son of God, but not God intrinsically. He believed that Jesus was the Christ by the anointing or incarnating of God’s Spirit, but not the Father explicitly. In today’s doctrinal pigeonholing he would be called a dynamic monarchist. Servetus’ staunch convictions and his writings infuriated those that held to the tenets of the Catholic Church, eventually resulting in his death by burning at the stake at the conniving of John Calvin, an archenemy in religious theology.
Michael Servetus did not seem to have much of a direct affect on the Reformation as much as he revealed a crack in the Catholic Church’s long established doctrine of the Trinity. Michael Servetus’ theological doctrine revealed a different mindset to the approach for reading of the Bible that was forbidden and considered heretical under the tyrannical rule of the Catholic Church for over 1200 years.
– Hank Whitsitt
In the first months and years after the beginning of the Protestant Reformation (c. 1517), one false doctrine after another was falling or coming under scrutiny. In Germany Luther had attacked the Catholic indugence (forgiveness for pay) scheme and battled against salvation by works. In Switzerland and France, John Calvin was challenging the Catholics over transubstantiation and church government. Repressed groups all over the Continent were coming out of their caves to make their voices heard over New Testament issues that had been dismissed or clouded by Rome. Waiting in the wings were the Baptists and the Campbellites who would in time call attention to serious fundamental doctrines such as baptism, while the Socinians were already taking shots at the Trinity. But at the rate the primary reformers were moving, they just might beat them to it.
The most formidable obstacle standing in the way of the Reformation being complete was the doctrine of the Trinity. It was probably just a matter of time until it came to front and center. As yet, the major players in the Reformation had not tackled it, but they or someone of their stature doubtless would have. It was the hammer with which the popes and their minions had beaten down dissenters for centuries. The primary reformers would probably have dealt with it in time, but time wouldn’t wait for antitrinitarian Miguel Serveto (latinized Michael Servetus). He was a man on fire with a message.
Although only a teenager from Zaragossa, Spain, Servetus was a prodigy possessing a mind with a razor’s edge keenness. Motivated to study biology and medicine, he entered the university in nearby Toulouse, France. Before long, those disciplines alone could not assuage the hunger for knowledge of God and Scripture. Through diligent theological study he soon saw the errors of the Trinity—and he was uniquely graced with the guts to speak out about it. Not only did he speak, but in 1531, at age 22, he published a book and boldly titled it On the Errors of the Trinity. Europe would never be the same.
I have been quick to give Servetus well-deserved, glowing reviews over the years. But in reading biographies and histories concerning the Reformation, I am made to wonder whether he may have interrupted the Reformation rather than accelerated it. It is possible that he forced the major reformers to come to the defense of the Trinity before they were ready to listen to Servetus’ analysis. In a few years some of the more prominent reformers might have had the clout and the courage to take on that cardinal doctrine. Baptism in the name of Jesus would not have been far behind. The Reformation was simply incomplete until the Trinity began to be removed from its pedestal atop the doctrinal pyramid in the twentieth century—500 years too late.
My question is: Did Servetus prematurely force the hand of reformers in less than fifteen years after the beginning of the Reformation? Was it a bridge too far? Did their rigid response—Servetus’ martyrdom and his books burned—slow the Reformation? Once they had officially protected and re-affirmed the doctrine in the face of Servetus’ attacks, before deeply and sufficiently evaluating it, there was no going back. It would now be 400 years before the doctrine of the Trinity would be seriously challenged.
The selling of ADHD
The New York Times on Dec. 15, 2013 published an article explaining how ADHD became such a popular diagnosis in the last two decades. Doctors are paid to provide it!
Along with the diagnosis comes the prescription for Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta or similar drug. Treatment may be “required” for months, even years. How much money does the pharmaceutical company make off of just one patient? Over three and one half million kids are now on some medication for the “disorder,” in addition to the adults who have been diagnosed with it. Doctors who are willing to step out into the light of day and speak the truth are exposing the greed that has taken hold of the profession and big pharma.
I have pled for years for our pastors and laymen to not take such a diagnosis as law and gospel. They do not have to medicate their children simply because they are more active or occasionally more detached. They need parenting with love and understanding more than drugs that can disable their brain. If you look for them, there are articles aplenty on the web about this abuse.
The following article appeared two days later. You can access both articles on the NY Times website.
Drugmaker stops paying doctors to give diagnosis that promotes their product
Traditionally, doctors were some of the most trusted folks on the planet. That was before immigration to the land of the free and the home of the brave became so popular after WWII. Doctors from virtually every nation under heaven began to pour into the country to escape the tyranny and weirdness of kings and presidents back home. Many were qualified and ethical, but many others lacked the background of basic honesty and integrity we had come to know and expect here in America.
Add the rise of Big Pharma to the mix and you have the ingredients for corruption. American doctors and their immigrant counterparts by the thousands were sucked into the vortex of payola—“I will promote your pills if you will grease my palm.” Thus we have the rise of SSRIs, the anti-psychotic medications that have twisted the brains of millions of people. Billions of $$$ have flowed into the coffers of the drug makers.
Now we know the truth. Diagnoses of ADHD, depression, anxiety and similar “disorders” were given and meds prescribed for their treatment. Millions became hooked on them. Murders and suicides among those taking them escalated exponentially. Mass shootings during the recent years were almost exclusively committed by those on such drugs. Why so many on those meds? Doctors were being paid to provide the diagnoses and write the prescriptions.
Since the recent rash of suicides, school shootings and workplace violence, at least one SSRI drugmaker has vowed to stop the practice of paying doctors for these diagnoses. On December 17, 2013 GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the world’s fourth largest pharmaceutical company, announced that it would cease compensating doctors for prescribing the company’s products, would stop paying professionals for speaking at medical conferences, and that it would remove prescription-related sales targets for its reps. GSK sells Paxil, Wellbutrin and other medications for “mental health” problems. We can only hope that the makers of Prozac (Eli Lilly), Zoloft (Pfizer), and similar meds will follow suit. This is not to paint all medical doctors with the same brush, but when the New York Times publishes such scandalous reports, one should take notice. Both of the referenced articles can be accessed on the NY Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/health/the-selling-of-attention-deficit-disorder
Also, it is our hope that those reading this who have been diagnosed with diabetes will begin to do their own research to discover why this particular disease has exploded in recent years. They might be surprised to find that doctors are making big money from the diagnosis as well as the pharmaceutical companies.
My new books
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People in Proverbs
Solomon and others share their wisdom about nineteen different people in the Book of Proverbs. From the Man of Understanding to the Stupid Man, from the Virtuous Woman to the
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New Official “Into His Marvelous Light” Online Interactive PDF Now Available!
At the bottom right of the home page, www.intohismarvelouslight.com, you will find a new ‘button’ and a link to allow you to download a new interactive PDF of Into His Marvelous Light. The new Interactive PDF looks just like the new version of the Bible Study in KJV. The study allows interested parties to fill in the blanks on the questions / statements, and take the study on your web site. At the end, they can print it out. All you have to do is to fill out a quick form telling us where you will be posting the study and agreeing to not print from the PDF, post a link to IHML.com and the copyright language, and you will be off and running. Also, we are providing three different choices of banner ads touting IHML on your site. The study and the banner ads are free for the taking, as long as you register. Look for the FREE IHML Interactive PDF button and download it for your church site. And if you currently have a version that was created by someone other than IHML Publishing, expect a letter notifying your church of this new link, and requesting that you replace the old version with this new one. May God bless your soul winning efforts! The Publisher
No other one-hour Bible study has enjoyed the consistent results of IHML over the years. Often copied but never duplicated. It is attractive, well written, and doctrinally sound. It will convince any open-minded person (and some whose minds are not so open) that the new birth is absolutely essential and that Acts 2:38 constitutes that experience. It’s possible that more souls have been won with this Bible Study than with any other single teaching tool in the past 20 years. Discover how easy it is to share the plan of salvation with others. Available in both English and Spanish. English is available in KJV and NIV.
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A follow-up study for the new convert. This little booklet can be given to the new convert to go through alone and then come back to you with any questions they may have. It covers the new birth—what has happened to them experientially, and goes through what their responsibilities as believers are now.
AM Price 1-49 $1.75 each 50-99 $1.50 each 100 or more $1.25 each
After a missile took out his reindeer while passing over Syria, Santa crash landed his sleigh, took out his AK-47 and asked directions to Assad’s palace.
What we are seeing today in one line: “Oppression of the many to provide for the excess of the few.” -Anonymous
Note: Sister Rayna Longstreth is the author of the “Dear Modern Culture” article in an earlier blog. Thanks, Sister Rayna!