Welcome to the “no fooling” APRIL 2016 blog!
The Word for today
“When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. 12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you” (I Corinthians 5:9-13 NLT).
Would the PC police call that judgmentalism?
More on the “religion of peace”
We were not over the shock of the Brussels bombing when the Muslims wiped out more than 70 Christians in Pakistan and wounding hundreds more on Easter weekend. I don’t think we can stand much more “peace.”
The Belgium newspaper Derniere Heure reported recently that a guard at a nuclear plant was found dead after being shot several times and having his security credentials stolen. The paper called the murder an event “completely ignored” by the media.
According to the report, the guard was found dead in the bathroom of his home Thursday. The man’s stolen security credentials were deactivated soon after the discovery. Earlier, in a Washington Post story in 2012, two other employees from the plant had left for Syria to fight with ISIS. Should we be concerned?
From 2009 to 2012, a man named Ilyass Boughalab worked for contractor AIB-Vincotte and had security clearances to inspect welds in sensitive areas of the Doel 4 nuclear reactor. Then he left for Syria, was convicted in absentia for being part of a group called Sharia4Belgium and died fighting in Syria in 2014.
According a Washington Post report, Boughalab’s family said he was radicalized after he had security clearances, but in 2014 someone else committed an act of sabotage at the plant by opening a valve, draining lubricant from a turbine and causing it to burn out. The plant was never in danger but had to shut down for four months, and the damage cost between $100 million and $200 million. The motive for the sabotage remains a mystery. [Ah, yes, a definite mystery.]
Should we worry since Muslims belong to a religion of peace?
How secure are our nuclear power plants in this country? You really don’t want to know.
Transgenderism of Children is Child Abuse, American College of Pediatrics Rules
The American College of Pediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts—not ideology—determine reality. Read the full story here:
Why does the ACP have to put out such rulings? Shouldn’t our legislators and public officials have enough common sense to know this? I believe most parents do, but they are being bullied and intimidated by the 90-day wonders fresh from the university where they received degrees in social engineering. Schools and colleges that spew this PC garbage should be defunded and any teacher advocating such nonsense fired. Parents, do you know what your children are being taught in the schools and colleges in your communities?
“Who’s calling, please?”
Book reviews: God Calling by A. J. Russell
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Some Evangelical churches—particularly ladies’ groups—have opted to use one or both of these books in their studies and devotions. Without sufficient discernment and background knowledge, some leaders have assumed that they are harmless books relating how other women are actually hearing from God. Who doesn’t want to hear from God? But are these really legitimate Christian devotional books or merely masquerading as such?
God Calling, edited by A. J. Russell, has been out since the 1930s. It is one of the best-selling devotional books for women still available today. A similar spin-off is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
These are not Bible-based devotionals. Just because they talk about prayer and quote some verses of Scripture does not make them worthy of Apostolic interest. They are more occultic and New Age than Christian. I invite our ladies and any others who are tempted to use them to consider the following reviews.
Group leaders who promote either of these books should know beforehand what they teach and encourage. The pastor should be invited to review books before a church group uses them. Popular books are promoted by publishers who stand to make megabucks from their sales. They select and publish one-sided reviews in that effort. It might be good to re-read II Timothy 3:13-17.
Tim Timmons, author of Chains of the Spirit, states: “The book is full of good thoughts, but careful examination will show that many of the concepts sound as though they originated from the angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14), rather than the Living Christ. This whole experience is inconsistent with God’s Word, which is our only reliable guide to examining this kind of activity.” (p. 30).
Edmund C. Gruss in The Discerner notes these statements attributed to Christ that do not borrow from Scripture:
– “I need you more than you need me” (p. 60).
– “I await the commands of my children” (p. 63).
– “Looking to Me all your thoughts are God-inspired. Act on them and you will be led on” (p. 104).
– “See Me in the dull, the uninteresting, the sinful, the critical, the miserable” (p. 111).
– “I do not delay My second coming. My followers delay it” (p. 177).
– “Remember this beautiful Earth on which you are was once only a thought of Divine Mind” (p. 201).
– “Wherever the soul is, I am. Man has rarely understood this. I am actually at the center of every man’s being, but, distracted with the things of the sense-life, he finds Me not” (p. 55).
– “Love is God. Give them love, and you give them God” (p. 72).
– “How often mortals rush to earthly friends who can serve them in so limited a way, when the friends who are freed from the limitations of humanity [i.e., the dead] can serve them so much better, understand better, protect better, plan better, and even plead better their cause with Me” (p. 145).
– “Yes! But remember the first hail must be that of the Magi in the Bethlehem stable” (p. 204).
“Christ” slips up on that last one. Matthew 2:9-11 indicates that the Magi arrived at Bethlehem a considerable time after Jesus was born. Note that verse 11 mentions their being at the “house.” The Magi never did visit Jesus at the stable, but the shepherds did (Luke 2:15-20).
The ending of the Lord’s Prayer
People often ask, “Why is there a confusing difference in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew and the one in Luke, especially at the end?”
The two versions of the sample prayer are given in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. It is not surprising that Matthew has the long ending of the prayer—“for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”—rather than Luke. Matthew seems to be targeting the Jews in his Gospel, and they are known for a bent to add doxologies—ascriptions of praise to God, usually at liturgical endings—to prayers. Examples might be Numbers 6:25-27 and I Chronicles 29:10-13. However, the doxology is in neither of the Gospels in the earliest Greek manuscripts. Only one Greek manuscript before AD 700 has it—Codex Washingtonianus. The verse ends “from the evil [one]” in Aleph B D Z 0170 f1 205 547, many Latin translations, and numerous church Fathers.
Tracing the insertion and expansion of the doxology through the manuscripts is not difficult. As Bruce Metzger explains: “The ascription at the close of the Lord’s prayer occurs in several forms. In [manuscripts] K L W D Q P f13 al it is the familiar triple strophic form [whereas others lack one part of it]…the old Latin manuscript k reads simply ‘for thine is the power for ever and ever.’ Some Greek manuscripts expand ‘for ever’ into for ever and ever,’ and most of them add ‘Amen.’ [Three] late minuscules (157 225 418 [MSS from 12th to 14th centuries] append it further with a Trinitarian ascription, ‘for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.’ The same expansion occurs also at the close of the Lord’s Prayer in the liturgy that is traditionally ascribed to St. John Chrysostom (347-407).” Perhaps some of the early Trinitarians wanted another reference for their doctrine when they added the Matthew 28:19-like suffix. The late manuscripts containing the doxology offer seven different variations, usually a sure sign of emendations and glosses.
Metzger further elucidates: “The absence of any ascription in early and important representatives of the Alexandrian (Aleph B), the Western (D and most of the Old Latin), and the pre-Caesarean (f1) types of text, as well as early patristic commentaries on the Lord’s Prayer ascription, usually in a threefold form, was composed (perhaps on the basis of I Chronicles 29:11-13) in order to adapt the Prayer for liturgical use in the early church.” Fortunately, those textual critics helping the KJV translators with the text could see that the Trinitarian tag was a gloss. They should have also noted that the addition of the entire doxology was a conflation to harmonize with early versions. The currently most-widespread English-language version of the Lord’s Prayer became popular in the reign of Elizabeth I of England (who fervently embraced it) around AD 1580.
Some form of the Lord’s Prayer doxology is found in a few of the ancient versions—the Syriac, Gothic, Armenian and Ethiopic—but it is not found in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts nor in the Latin Vulgate. This suggests that it had become a part of church liturgy then worked its way into Greek copies through scribal emendations and glosses. Textual critic Kurt Aland agrees: “The reason for the addition is quite clear. Whether the Lord’s Prayer is used in public worship or for private devotions, the text needs an ending.” Some suggest that Elizabeth I wanted it in the Bible because it would set the Protestant Bibles apart from the Catholic versions, none of which ever included the doxology.
It is curious that the doxology was absent in Tyndale’s original 1526 version of the New Testament, yet it was in his last edition in 1534. He had made more than 5000 changes in the 1534 edition. KJV apologists praise the late fourth or early fifth century Codex Washingtonianus for having the doxology, but it also has other spurious long endings and subscriptions, and does not have other passages that the TR/KJV have, such as the story of the woman taken in adultery, or the angel troubling the waters in John 5:4. It also has extra material at Mark 16:14 about Jesus, Satan, and restoration. Again, this is why the science of textual criticism is vitally important.
Personally, I like the Matthean doxology. But I am not sure that is sufficient reason to justify its inclusion in the Scriptures.
[Citations available on request.]
Readers are asking for more information about the Bible. Let me recommend some books that I have found to be helpful to anyone wanting to know how we got the Bible, why we can trust it, and how to think about ancient manuscripts and textual criticism. Here are some I have and recommend.
The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition
by J. Harold Greenlee, professor of New Testament Greek, former missionary, and international translation consultant for Wycliffe Bible Translators.
This inexpensive little book (only 130 pages) is filled with basic, easy to understand information about the Bible. It traces the history of the copying and transmission of the New Testament text down to the present day and introduces the basic principles of textual criticism.
Buy this excellent book for as little as $4.07 new from Bargainbookstores, or other sellers under “More buying choices” at Amazon.com.
The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible
by Paul D. Wegner, professor of the Old Testament at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona.
This larger book, over 460 pages, is more comprehensive than the one mentioned above, but still easy to read with objective information every minister can use. Contains many charts, photos and lists that provide excellent information about the Word of God we all love and live by.
You can buy this book for $33.78 new from Amazon or from their “More buying choices” section for as little as 19.96. A terrific investment!
The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (Second edition)
by Bruce M. Metzger.
The late author was one of the most notable textual experts in the field, respected by virtually all of his peers. Apostolic pastor Marvin Treece studied under him and recommended his work highly.
As professor of New Testament at Princeton, Metzger spent virtually all of his adult life in the study of biblical manuscripts. He published many books on the topic and was known as an unprejudiced textual analyst who could be relied upon to provide objective information on the history and text of the Bible. He includes a list of the papyri and many details about specific manuscripts. Has 284 pages.
You can buy a hardcover at Amazon for $26.44 or 23.84 under “More buying choices.”
A General Introduction to the Bible: From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations
by David Ewert, professor emeritus and retired president of Mennonite Brethren Bible College.
A good book for entry level readers wanting to know more about biblical texts, their history, and the canonization of the Bible. The author describes the text—it materials, the translations, and the key men involved. Contains maps, charts, and photos of some ancient manuscripts and pages of various Bibles. 284 pages.
Buy it for as little as .01 cent (you read it right) at “More buying choices” at Amazon. All prices listed were as of March 29, 2016.
Books on Closeout sale
Historical Drift: Must My Church Die?
by Arnold L. Cook
Boats drift. Cultures drift. But so do churches—both local assemblies and entire denominations. If you are concerned about slippage, you are not alone. Pastors and leaders at every level are seeing the Christian gradually, no, rapidly moving toward compromise and lethargy. The graying of the church in America is a result of putting soulwinning on the back burner. The author makes a gallant appeal to stop the drift and return to the solid foundation on which the church was built. He offers solutions you can use. The money and time spent on this book is well worth it. For several years this has been required reading for ministerial applicants in the Texas District. 346 pages. Retail price is 19.99 but we have only four of these left. We will let them go at only $14.99. First come, first served. Call for your copy today! 936-537-0250.
The Unbound Scriptures
by Rick Norris
This book is for serious readers only. Based on years of research and study, the author has provided us with more usable information about the Bible—its history, its manuscripts, and it soundness—than we’ve ever seen between the covers of one book. Crammed into 544 pages is an objective look at issues about the Scriptures facing our churches today. You don’t have to be a Greek scholar to glean personal help and inspiration from this book. You will be equipped to “always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15). Only $15.99. Very expensive from Amazon. We have six remaining. Call for your copy today! 936-537-0250.
Into His Marvelous Light Bible Study
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, Spanish and Italian. English is available in both KJV and NIV84.
AM Price 1-49 $1.75 each; 50-99 $1.50 each; 100 or more $1.25 each
A follow-up study for the new believers. This little booklet can be given to the new members to go through alone and then come back to you with any questions they may have. It can also be taught as a text in a class. 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
Order books and Bible studies from advanceministries.org or call 936-537-0250.
See more books at advanceministries.org/store
It’s getting crazier…as Obama goes to Cuba
…So let’s ask the kids what they think.
“If Twump gets ewected, I’m gonna comb my hair just like his!”
“I want Hillary for president…but Bernie and the FBI won’t let her have it!”
“I’m an undercover agent. Those terrorists won’t know I’m spying on them until it’s too late.”
“I can’t wait until I’m fifteen. I’ll be checking out the girls at youth camp in Lufkin.”
“Yeah, but you will have to beat my time, slowpoke!”
“I don’t have time for the girls; my Master’s thesis is almost due!”
“I want one of those cushy jobs up at Headquarters in St. Louis. Maybe Michael E’s position. I hear he’s getting too old. I may have a shot at youth prez!”
“I was born in Louisiana but I got to Texas just as soon as I could.”
“I have a few dates still open if any pastors want a children’s revival.”
The Last Shot
“God calls for and blesses the type of courage that only a righteous man can possess. A righteous man will avoid both wrong extremes of foolhardiness and cowardice. A combination of inner confidence and balanced caution is found in such a man. Finding the power of God to walk uprightly and humbly at the same time—that’s courage!” – E. L. Holley, in The Best of E. L. Holley
Don’t be an April fool…
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good” (Psalm 14:1 ESV).