JREnsey blog July 2021

The First Word

Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies” (Jonah 2:8 NLT).

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Historical tidbits II

  • Some were surprised to learn that Protestants also persecuted and even martyred some Christian believers who would not fully accept their doctrines and practices. Catholics preferred burning heretics at the stake, while those in Lutheran or Zwinglian Protestant states usually used beheading or drowning. (Look closely at the woodcut at lower right.) John Calvin did choose to burn Michael Servetus in Geneva, however, because he wrote in opposition to the doctrine of the Trinity.
  • After Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517, he continued writing scandalous tracts against the Catholic Church, and was later declared a heretic. In 1521, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, contacted Luther and promised safe passage to attend the 1521 Diet of Worms—a council of religious and political leaders—and stand on trial. Once there, religious leaders asked if he stood by the opinions he had previously espoused. Luther said that he did, knowing it might mean he would be tortured or burned at the stake. To help Luther escape these fates, Frederick III of Saxony staged Luther’s kidnapping and placed him at Wartburg Castle. Luther disguised himself as a knight, assuming the name Junker Jörg. He spent his time there translating the New Testament from Greek into German so common people could read it.
  • Luther added words in his translation he felt should be in the Scriptures, such as allein (German for alone) at Romans 3:28. Alone is not in the Greek text, but he included it to strengthen and add weight to his theological position.
  • When he came to popularity and power in Germany, Luther opted for a state church model similar to the Roman Catholics. Certain doctrinal violations were considered to flow over into the realm of “the princes” (the state). Luther was not opposed to strong punishment for those who did not line up with his teaching.
  • The Anabaptists were special targets of Luther. Rather than all citizens bowing to religious authorities, their commitment to a believers’ only church allowed them to reshape basic Christian beliefs and practices. Anabaptists emphasized baptism on the basis of adult confessions of faith, instead of infant baptism. Church leaders were chosen from within the community of believers instead of being appointed by church hierarchies, or by state officials. Reforms were based on the church community’s reading of scripture, rather than on the basis of what was politically expedient and approved by princes. Church discipline and social shunning replaced trials and executions of those with whom they disagreed.
  • For worship, Anabaptists gathered in houses, barns and caves to read scripture together. They discussed biblical texts and discerned together, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, how to apply them to daily living. They sang songs composed by their own members based on experiences of persecution and martyrdom. No more majestic cathedrals, chants, organs, monastic choirs, and elaborate liturgies where members were largely spectators. They rejected feudal oaths since their primary loyalty was to God and not to princes and emperors. They advocated a life of peace, rejected violence, refused to carry swords, forgave those who wronged them, and reconciled conflicts between members of the church. Many of them gave their lives for the morsels of truth they grasped from reading Scripture.
  • Luther’s legacy lives on, in the form of another famous leader. When Atlanta pastor Michael King traveled to Germany in 1934, he was so inspired by the story of Luther’s Reformation, he decided to change his name. He also changed the name of his then 5-year-old son, Michael Jr. From that day on, Michael Jr. was known as Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sources: Renaissance & Reformation by William R. Estep; various Internet sources

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Will Evangelical Feminism Dethrone Christ?

Since the Scriptures link the headship of the husband over the wife with Christ’s headship over the church, if we are to accept that man is not truly the head of the woman, but merely the inconclusive “source,” can we now accept that Christ is not really the head of the church?

“For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24 NLT).

During the last six decades, Christian feminists joined cultural liberals in gradually rejecting all distinctions between men and women in creation, in cultural life, and in religious leadership. This trend has guided us toward what we are now seeing manifested in our times—a genderless generation splintered into many factions wallowing in abject confusion. They have attempted to explain away the significance of the creation model as well as the clear pronouncements of the New Testament regarding male headship in the family and church.

When the concept of male headship is eliminated, Paul’s analogy in Ephesians falls apart. There is no headship in full equality. Where is true authority if there is no leader who is ultimately responsible? To “progressives,” biblical commands that make common sense are to be dismissed as patriarchal, obsolete, and irrelevant.

Many Evangelical feminists have embraced the imagination of gender “sameness,” which assaults the most basic of biblical concepts as well as natural biology. Men and women are not the same, merely having different reproductive organs. Jesus said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?” (Matthew 19:4; Genesis 5:2). Feminists tend to deemphasize or ignore the obvious differences in men and women in order to support their demands.

When equality dethroned Christ

The Roman Catholic Church in the Council of Trent (1545-1563) declared that tradition—what the popes and priests had taught and practiced for centuries that was now being challenged in the Reformation—was on a par with Scripture. In one move, they symbolically dethroned Christ and His Word, elevating their self-determined practice to the level of God’s Word. That meant that they would continue to preach and practice what they had been doing even if it did not have the blessing or authority of Scripture. According to Paul’s analogy in Ephesians 5, the church is to subject herself to Christ in everything since He is the head of the body. When Paul wrote the letters from which his teaching is taken, he was writing “command(s) from the Lord Himself” (I Corinthians 14:37 NLT). But the Roman Catholic Church assumed equality with Christ in establishing praxis and dogma—meaning what they say and do may differ from inspired Scripture, but in absolute equality their actions were to be considered to have as much authority as Christ and the Bible.

My question: Could the Apostolic church, the body of believers holding to Acts 2 as its basis for sound salvation doctrine, also be moving toward dismissing all relevant scriptures relating to the headship issue as ancient prejudicial patriarchy and claim full equality for men and women in home and church? If that part of Paul’s Ephesian analogy can be upended, can they also assume equal authority with Christ to rewrite other biblical requirements? Would that not be dethroning Christ and making the church equal in authority to Him? In Ephesians 5, the point is clearly made that the relationship of husband and wife is comparable to that of Christ and the church. If husband and wife are now equal and leaderless, what does that do to Paul’s analogy? How close would that be to the Roman Catholic position of ascribing equal authority to church tradition and culture?

If husband and wife are now fully equal and the wife no longer has to submit to her husband “in everything” as her “head,” is the next step for the church to declare, Catholic-like, equality with Christ in establishing doctrine and/or practice? Are we embracing a so-called “apostolic hermeneutic”—meaning that we will be interpreting Scripture in the light of what we have deemed to be acceptable at some time in the past? Will what is displace what should be according the Scriptures?

Would we be wise to determine what Scripture means by whatever we may be collectively practicing at the time? Is that the new hermeneutic for our times? Now, in the end of this Christian era, are we deciding that the Bible really doesn’t say what we thought it said for 2000 years? Should we assume that from A.D. 60 until 1960 we were parked on ignorant hill and are just now recognizing that the apostles were misogynistic scoundrels whose writings should be dismissed by our more enlightened minds?

True authority remains in the Word of God

Paul used the analogy of Christ and the church by inspiration. The church belongs to Jesus (Matthew 16:18). He started it, and He is still the Head. He has never capitulated. He has never extended equal authority to men. The creation model of the husband as the head of his wife and children is still in force. Absolute equality would render the relationship leaderless. Something with two heads is antithetical to nature. If the church is decapitated, where in the body is the “mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16)?

An interesting sidelight—all Bible translations listed in BibleGateway.com render the Greek kaphale in verse 24 as “head,” with a couple of exceptions that use “leader of…authority over.” The JUB has the Heb. rosh, which also means “head” in the sense of leader. That means that the feminist authors who want to corrupt the meaning of the word to suggest it indicates “source” in this and the I Corinthians 11 context, befitting their narrative, are currently in opposition to more than 50 committees of Greek scholars and linguists, plus their publishers and the vast majority of commentators over the years. They also ignore a basic principle of hermeneutics that when the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, lest it result in nonsense.

After two thousand years of reading and heeding passages such as Ephesians 5:22-24; I Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:34,35; I Timothy 2:8-15, 3:1-12; Titus 2:1-5; et al, that corroborate male headship, will we now arrogantly presume that secular culture and egalitarian writers have finally struck truth—that men and women are absolutely equal in authority within the home and in the church? Instead of challenging our culture to conform to the Word of God, must we now preach to the church to conform to the imaginations of culture? As someone said, theological confusion results when we first look at what we want and then attempt to build a theology that justifies it.

Are Apostolics involved in this interpretation?

If the generally acknowledged feminization of Christianity has not reached us, why do we now feature articles in our official publications which herald the “feminine side of God” and promote “source” for “head”? Are these concepts being introduced in our own educational institutions? The radical egalitarian interpretation fails the common sense exam as well as the Scripture test because Christ and the church can never be equal. How can we do justice to clear biblical principles when man is not considered the head of the woman, as the Scripture plainly says, but is viewed merely as some ethereal source through a clever exercise in sophistry?

The question stands—if we can force the equalization of the male/female, husband/wife relationship, will the church/Christ authoritorial relationship become the next target?

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Which Bible to buy?

“Which translation should I buy?” is a frequently asked question. It depends on several factors. Are you needing a study Bible? One for devotional reading? A Bible for your kids? One that you are familiar with that has English as it was spoken 400 years ago or one with contemporary language? Are modern or medieval idioms preferred? A text that is very accurate as compared to the Greek/Hebrew originals or a paraphrase (I recommend avoiding the latter entirely)?

         Generally speaking, the closer we get to the autographs via the oldest and most reliable manuscripts, the purer the text. This is why the older manuscripts are usually given more weight than those copies that were made hundreds of years later. Bibles that are translated from MSS that include the earliest Hebrew and Greek copies are considered by most scholars as likely being more faithful to the autographs. That is important when choosing a Bible.

In terms of Bible sales, the New International Version and King James Version have held relatively steady over the last 10 years, according to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. The data (below) showed that the NIV and KJV held the first and second spots, respectively, in both 2011 and 2020. Other translations also showed relative stability.

Rankings as of January 2020 (numbers in parentheses represent 2011 rankings; the rankings may or may not have changed a little from a year ago):

  1. New International Version (NIV) (1)
  2. King James Version (KJV) (2)
  3. New Living Translation (NLT) (4)
  4. English Standard Version (ESV) (5)
  5. New King James Version (NKJV) (3)
  6. Christian Standard Bible (CSB) (6)
  7. Reina Valera (RV) (not ranked)
  8. New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) (9)
  9. The Message (Message) (8)
  10. New American Standard Bible (NASB) (7)

Source: https://disrn.com/news/top-ten-bestselling-bible-translations

Why are there slight differences in some Bible verses? You will find the answer to this and hundreds of other questions in my recently updated book Searching the Scriptures: Merging Truth, Texts and Translations. The eBook is available at advanceministries.org/store and the hard copy is available from Amazon.com.

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Words from around the Net

  • The difference between humans and animals: Animals would never allow the dumbest of the herd to lead them.
  • Grandparents: “We used to attend six-week tent revivals seven nights a week.” Parents: “We used to attend Sunday through Wednesday revivals at  our church.” Us: “We used to attend church occasionally on Sunday mornings.” Our children: “We used to attend church on Mother’s Day and Easter.” Our grandchildren: “What’s church?”
  • “I see people my age out there climbing mountains and zip lining, and here I am feeling good about myself because I got my leg through my underwear without losing my balance.” – Anonymous
  • “Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.” – Arthur C. Clarke
  • Theological confusion results when we first look at what we want and then attempt to build a theology that justifies it. – Anonymous (In case you missed it as used above)
  • “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun rises and shines; not because I see it, but because by it I see everythin

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Books

Biblical Christology: Jesus the Christ

by J. R. Ensey
No study is comparable to the inquiry into the nature of the Godhead. One must know His identity to fully know Jesus. Those who have questions about the Person and work of our Lord will find this volume helpful to their study. Christ is presented as the Incarnate God, the indwelling Spirit, and the Coming King. Includes the text of the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.

AM Price  $3.95

 

A Hill To Die On

by J. R. Ensey
Is truth worth dying for? If so, which truth? Which doctrine? This book suggests that there are some things worth risking our reputations, our resources, and perhaps our lives for. Six months ago we would never have thought we would be where we are today as a nation. The Christian faith is rapidly being dismembered and deconstructed to make way for socialism and/or other religions. The rush of endtime prophecy fulfillment should stiffen the backbone of every Christian and make us realize there will be a price to pay for our faith. The nine chapters include:

– A Hill To Die On

– Truth in an Age of Deception

– Unity in an Age of Division

– Righteousness in an Age of Hedonism

– The Church in an Age of Spirituality

– Absolutes in an Age of Relativism

– God and Government

– Is American Christianity Returning to the Social Gospel?

– Our Finest Hour

AM Price  $12.95

Pastoral Epistles

by J. R. Ensey
The apostle Paul wrote three letters to two younger ministers he affectionately called his “sons.” The epistles became part of the canon of Scripture and have served since then as the best instruction available for those in ministry and lay leadership. Doctrine, practical church discipline, lifestyle and much more is all here. The verse-by-verse commentary is accompanied by a complete outline for ease of study and teaching.

AM Price $13.95

To order go to advanceministries.org/store  

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Let a little light in…

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The Last Word:

Remember: When broad minds meet the narrow gate of truth, they will usually say, “Yes, but…,” and promptly turn left. 

 Stay cool, be right, go straight.

JREnsey

 

Published in: on July 1, 2021 at 12:01 AM  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Dear Brother, I do much enjoy these monthly tidbits!!!!
    Thank you for taking the time to put this out!!!

    Buddy Casto


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