JREnsey blog March 2019

Thanks for joining us today for a few moments of contemplation.


The Word for Today

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (II Peter 1:3,4) NLT).


The way it is

  • Some give God the credit but fail to give Him the cash.
  • The Rapture: Future separation of church and state.
  • Church sign: “What Is Hell Like? Come hear our pastor.”
  • New NY congresswoman AOC declares victory over the modern day equivalent of slavery: jobs.
  • Does anyone know why AOC has come out against eating steak (read: cows), other than bovine flatulence ruining the environment? Hint: her chief of staff is Saikat Chakrabarti.
  • Remember: The men who wrote the 2nd Amendment hadn’t just finished a hunting trip. They had just liberated a nation.
  • I read somewhere that the Chicago police have replaced sirens on their cars with the national anthem to entice suspects to stop running and take a knee.


Quotes that speak for themselves

“Feminism makes both men and women unhappy, but it was caused by boys who never matured into men.” – Rabbi Daniel Lapin

“It is easier to see the hand of God after we have passed through a crisis.” – A. T. Robertson

“If the Word does not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.” – John Owen

“The disciple of Christ today may be described in the words of Farrar , as ‘one who believes His doctrines, rests upon His sacrifice, imbibes His spirit, and imitates His example.’” – G. H. Trevor

A note to those who struggle with obeying Acts 2:38 because of what it might mean regarding their deceased loved ones who had not embraced it: Your obedience and salvation will not “unsave” anyone else. It will not effect their standing with God in the least. Do what you know to do, what you see is right, and let God’s wisdom and righteousness be their judge, not you. – JRE


What is the connection between marijuana, mental illness and violence?

The following is excerpted from a speech by Alex Berenson, the author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence.

Seventy miles northwest of New York City is a hospital that looks like a prison, its drab brick buildings wrapped in layers of fencing and barbed wire. This grim facility is called the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute. It’s one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill—defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Until recently, my wife Jackie­—Dr. Jacqueline Berenson—was a senior psychiatrist there. Many of Mid-Hudson’s 300 patients are killers and arsonists. At least one is a cannibal. Most have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that provoked them to violence against family members or strangers.

A couple of years ago, Jackie was telling me about a patient. In passing, she said something like, Of course he’d been smoking pot his whole life.

Of course? I said.

Yes, they all smoke.

So marijuana causes schizophrenia?

I was surprised, to say the least. I tended to be a libertarian on drugs. Years before, I’d covered the pharmaceutical industry for The New York Times. I was aware of the claims about marijuana as medicine, and I’d watched the slow spread of legalized cannabis without much interest.

Jackie would have been within her rights to say, I know what I’m talking about, unlike you. Instead she offered something neutral like, I think that’s what the big studies say. You should read them.

So I did. The big studies, the little ones, and all the rest. I read everything I could find. I talked to every psychiatrist and brain scientist who would talk to me. And I soon realized that in all my years as a journalist I had never seen a story where the gap between insider and outsider knowledge was so great, or the stakes so high.

I began to wonder why—with the stocks of cannabis companies soaring and politicians promoting legalization as a low-risk way to raise tax revenue and reduce crime—I had never heard the truth about marijuana, mental illness, and violence.

[Read the remainder of this astounding speech/article HERE.]

This is a must read for every parent and pastor!


A Visit With Erasmus In Basel

The first week of December 2018 found me in Basel, Switzerland. No, it wasn’t a ski trip, or even a sightseeing excursion—it was an errand regarding the King’s business. I finally saw an opening to do something I had desired to do for decades—examine specific biblical manuscripts (MSS) collated and used to create the first Greek text of our Bible, which later became, with its sundry corrections, what is known as the Textus Receptus.

I was joined by Pastor Peter Connell of Oakley, CA. His willingness to make the journey with me was a blessing indeed. His eyes and ears joined with mine to get a firmer grip on the history of our English Bibles.

After months of preparation and communication with university authorities in Basel, we arrived there on a Sunday evening and began to prepare ourselves for what the next day would bring. We wanted to be among the first on Monday morning to enter the doors of the library of the University of Basel. Established in 1460, it is the oldest and largest university in Switzerland. The library was of particular interest to us because it held the manuscripts collated by Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) of Rotterdam to create the first Greek text of the New Testament. We were there to touch them, examine them, and be witnesses to some of the most important documents regarding Christianity in the world.

We were guided through several locked doors into a basement examination room. They seated us at a table and brought all of the manuscripts out from a secure location and set them before us. Tears came as they freely allowed us to examine those six precious documents that served as the foundation for the Greek text used to produce some of our English translations of the Bible. It was overwhelming to hold them in our hands.

Erasmus had initially intended to produce an updated and corrected version of the Latin Vulgate, the version forced upon all Bible readers in the West by the Roman Catholic Church for over a thousand years. As the son of a Catholic priest and as a priest himself, he had learned Latin early in life and loved that language. His intense studies of the Latin Vulgate convinced him of its substantial corruption. Along the way, an English priest, John Colet, urged him to learn Greek, which he did. Ultimately, he would use Greek manuscripts to support the changes he would propose in the Latin Vulgate, the revision of which was his primary objective.

Erasmus moved to Basel permanently in 1515 to be near the printer, Johannes Froben, whom he would employ to produce his Latin New Testament and other works. Froben knew that a polyglot Bible with a Greek text had been produced in Spain by Cardinal Ximenes. It would also have the Latin Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint (Old Testament), Hebrew Old Testament, New Testament Greek, and even Aramaic for the Pentateuch—in six volumes. It was already printed but its distribution was delayed by the pope. If he could beat the Cardinal in getting Erasmus’ Latin New Testament to the market, Froben knew it could mean a financial windfall, especially if he could add a Greek text with it.

Erasmus did not come to Basel with Greek manuscripts in hand. He located about six Greek NT MSS in Basel, five from the local Dominican monastery/convent library, and one from the local family of Johann Amerbach. Not one was earlier than the twelfth century. None of them contained the entire New Testament, and all lacked the Book of Revelation. He arranged to borrow a copy of Revelation from John Reuchlin, an acquaintance in Augsburg, Germany, where the manuscript still resides today. We were unable to personally examine that manuscript because of its condition; however, it has been digitized and is available online.

In a matter of a few months, although Erasmus had not finished editing and collating the MSS, they rushed the work to Froben’s press in 1516. Erasmus freely admitted that his book was “precipitated rather than edited,” which triggered a number of mistakes and inaccuracies in the text.

Some of the manuscripts reveal that he had begun to edit them but stopped to hand it to the printer “as is.” This expediency probably paid off financially, but it did little to advance the reputation of Erasmus’ editorial skills in the public market. His later editions indicate that he had learned a valuable lesson from the way the first edition was handled.

All of the manuscripts were handwritten codices—large sheets of parchment folded into quires and bound as a book. Easily visible on the MSS were the editorial marks of Erasmus and the printer’s notations. Erasmus or some previous scribe had underlined Luke 2:33a, one of the variants that would prove to be misused in the future.

There were noticeable lacunae (parts of the manuscripts that were seriously damaged or missing), and one had a page that appeared to have some text removed by cutting. Others holes that had been patched, and correctors’ marks were in evidence. There were marginal notes and other marks common to most manuscripts. Of one manuscript, Erasmus said he “corrected the manuscript here and there and sent it on to the printer.”

Manuscript AN IV-11 (Basel University designation) containing the Gospels lacked a phrase in Luke 6:28 but had been added by a corrector in the lower margin. Erasmus’ corrections can be seen in a color of ink different from that of the original scribe, sometimes inserted between the lines. Stephanus did not consult this particular manuscript, which noted textual critic Bruce Metzger said contained “a lot of errors,” for his 1550 edition of the TR, but since his text was based on Erasmus’ work, its readings became part of the official TR. Those who speak of the Byzantine MSS as though they were pristine and not corrected or defective at any place—unlike the much older Alexandrian MSS—obviously haven’t seen them.

Manuscript AN III-11 containing Paul’s epistles and scribal commentary was interesting. The biblical text was centered on the spine side of the page with commentary surrounding it on three sides. At least three scribes had a hand in producing this 387-page manuscript, which ends with Hebrews 12:18 and does not have the last seven verses of that book.

Fortunately, Erasmus was able to add to his collection of Greek manuscripts over the next twenty years, as he printed four more editions of his text, making approximately 400 changes—including additions and deletions—over those years. Many of the changes were made before the English Bible translations from Greek began to come along in 1526.

We were also able to examine a large volume containing Erasmus’ Annotations, his personal notes made while compiling the text. They explain why he made the critical decisions to render the text as he did. To see his actual handwriting and clear signature seemed to take us back 500 years, making him more of a real person. We sensed that he could step into the room at any moment.

A common question we hear: Could you actually read the manuscripts? Yes and no. Have you ever experienced the difficulty of reading a 500-year old English handwritten document? Handwriting that old in any language is difficult to decipher. Of course, we could identify ordinary Greek letters and plainly written words, but medieval scribes writing in a cursive style were notorious for inserting many ligatures (symbols representing two or more joined letters) and abbreviations to save space on precious parchment. Special study and training are necessary to be able to actually read and accurately transcribe ancient handwritten manuscripts.

To create a complete Greek text of the NT was a momentous achievement. It had never been done. That being said, it left much editorial work undone for later textual critics who have picked up the torch in the last two centuries with much older MSS closer to the autographs.

My hat is off to Desiderius Erasmus. He was committed to preserving the written text of the New Testament, and probably did the best he could possibly do given the limitations he was handed. He deserves our appreciation for the initial effort he made toward the restoration and compiling of the Greek New Testament text. We should all be forever grateful. We are also indebted to the kind folks at the Basel University Library for their congenial hospitality and the freedom they extended to us, including the privilege to take the pictures of the MSS that you see here. Included below are photos of Erasmus’ tomb and  Froben’s press.










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Truth in art

Or perhaps at 3:46. It’s called “infanticide.”

Sorry, I just couldn’t pass that last one up!


The last word:

Pray for America. No country seems to be replacing it as the last bastion of true Christian freedom.


Thanks for visiting the blog. Feel free to leave your comments. Have a safe and blessed month in March. If it comes in like a lion, perhaps it will go out like a lamb.


Published in: on March 1, 2019 at 3:19 AM  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Bro. Ensey,

    Thank you for the blog and for your words of encouragement. It is always refreshing to read and to be reminded that there are still people within this movement that are grounded in Truth and have common sense.

    God bless you,

    Alan Hosch
    Pastor Apostolic Gospel Church of Harris, Minnesota

    Get Outlook for Android


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