Monday, November 9, 2015

The Real Issue: Final Authority

It may not seem to be the most important question in your life, or the one you think about the most .... but it's certainly one of the most inescapable.  In any area, whether family relations, or scientific measurement, or the councils of government and beyond, the issue that comes up constantly, and inevitably, is very basic: What's the final authority? Which brings up a second question, much more personal in nature: in your own life, do you have a final authority?

There's a family disagreement.  A father wants to move to a new town, to take a new job.  But his wife wants to stay where they are; she doesn't want to leave her own job, or her own friends.  A young man wants to skip college, and go straight into the workforce, but his parents disapprove - - - or, maybe, his parents disagree about what he should do.  Who makes the final decision?  Some families might be tempted to take a vote, but that doesn't always work.  So, how do they decide?  Who has the final authority?

Some of the officers of a corporation want to make a new acquisition, or sell off a non-performing subsidiary.  But there's no agreement among the Board of Directors. Who makes the final decision?  The company president?  The chairman of the board? The stockholders?  Who's the final authority?


The issue comes up again and again.  Sometimes, the stakes are a matter of life and death.  Do you remember the tragic case of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who had fallen into a coma and was pronounced to be in a permanently "vegetative" state?  Her husband claimed that Terri would have wanted her feeding tube to be removed, ending her life, but she had left no "living will," to indicate this conclusively.  Her parents claimed that she would want to be kept alive.  Who would make the decision? Who was the final authority? The case went to the courts, both state and federal.  The courts disagreed. A Florida judge ruled that the feeding tube could be removed, and it was.  The Florida legislature stepped in, passing "Terri's Law," giving Gov. Jeb Bush the power to order the reinsertion of the tube. The courts ruled that the law was unconstitutional: back to square one. Bush called upon his brother, President George W. Bush, who kicked the case over to the United States Congress.  The question remained, as Ms. Schiavo slowly died: who had the final authority?  (It certainly wasn't her husband or her parents, although it should have been; they had reached a stalemate.) The Congress passed an emergency bill transferring authority in the case to the federal courts. Obviously, the final authority would become the Supreme Court of the United States. But the Supreme Court refused to hear the case. As Ms. Schiavo wasted away, the situation became so heated that, for awhile, it appeared that Florida sheriffs might have to face off against the National Guard for custody of the dying woman.  All because no one could agree who had final authority over her fate. Inevitably, it became obvious Who really had final authority, and Ms. Schiavo died. And this tragic, ludicrous political circus became one of the great historical examples of what happens when there's no final authority.


We simply can't live without authority; and the necessity of authority presupposes the need for a final authority.  I'm writing this at 2:45 PM on a Saturday.  But where you live, it might be 11:45 PM, or 8:45 AM on Sunday. Which time is correct?  Who's to say?  Well, that one's easy: we're all off! At the moment, it's 7:45 PM in Greenwich, England. Greenwich Mean Time is the standard for the entire world.  That's the final authority in establishing time zones. 

How long is a meter?  I mean, exactly how long? Obviously, it's 100 centimeters, or 1000 millimeters, but that begs the question: how do we know these things?  How do we get a final, accurate measurement?  For years, there was a platinum bar, kept in a vacuum chamber in Washington, D.C., that was the official standard for the length of a meter.  That was the final authority. 

In recent decades, the bar has been discarded in favor of more accurate measurements: now, a meter is considered to be the distance a ray of light travels in a certain fraction of a second, measured by a laser beam.  But there's a definite standard: a final authority.  Time and distance are not matters of opinion.  There are authorities by which they can be judged.  Subjective judgments are irrelevant.

For a student in school, the final authority is the teacher: he or she is the one who grades the papers.  The teacher may be wrong, or may contradict the textbook, but when grade time rolls around, the teacher is the final authority!

So, what's the final authority for the issues that count the most: the moral and personal and spiritual questions and decisions that we all face, every day?

 For Christians, who have been born again according to Jesus' instructions in John 3:3-8, the final authority is the word of God, the Bible.  There are nominally Christian groups who elevate other things to the level of final authority: the Roman Catholics, for example, who regard the teaching of the church as a final authority; or the Mormons, who rely on the writings of Joseph Smith, or the decrees of such church bodies as the Quorum of the Twelve.  But for those who have personally received Jesus Christ according to John 1:12, it's the Bible, and the Bible alone.  Teachers and preachers are good, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is always available: but the final authority is the Bible.  Even the Holy Spirit won't contradict that, because He wrote it!

But in the past century or so, Christians have been faced by a very unsettling question, which had never arisen before, outside of "scholarly" circles: "which Bible?"  Until the English Revised Version of 1881, and then the American Standard Version of 1901, the Body of Christ throughout the English-speaking world agreed that the Authorized Version of 1611, the King James Bible, was the "real thing."  But suddenly, as new translations in English started coming out, Christians had to start making some choices.  This was only aggravated as the proliferation of new English versions continued, from the Revised Standard Version of 1946 to the New American Standard Version of 1971, the New International Version of 1978, and the so-called "New King James Version" of 1982. These were only a few of the new versions: in fact, since 1881, over 300 English versions of the New Testament or the complete Bible have been published.

So, someone might ask, what's the problem?  If the Bible is the final authority, isn't it good to have as many editions of it as possible? The answer might be "yes," if the versions were basically the same, and said basically the same things: but they aren't, and they don't. For example, the New American Standard Version contradicts or changes the meaning of the King James Bible thousands and thousands of times - - - and I'm not just talking about "updated" language, but real changes in meaning.  The new Bibles say that Joseph was Jesus' father in Luke 2:33; the King James Bible doesn't.  The King James Bible says "Easter" in Acts 12:4; the new versions say "Passover."  The new Bibles include footnotes that say that part of John 8, the beloved story of the woman taken in adultery, probably shouldn't be in the Bible, and that 1 John 5:7 shouldn't be there.

So now the Christian is faced with two, three, or 300 "final authorities," with thousands of important contradictions between them.  How is he or she to settle the confusion?


(I'm not even mentioning the all-important issues of differing Greek translations and texts and editions: that's a basic component in the problem, too.  But it will have to be treated separately.) 

At this point, "higher education" comes into the picture.  Since the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, "scholars" in those languages say, "We're the only ones who know what it really means; we'll tell you which version is correct."  So, the Bible is no longer the final authority: the "scholars" are.  And what happens when the scholars disagree among themselves?  Well, then, the Christian is left with no final authority. Because the scholars, having robbed the Christian of any final authority, have none with which to replace it, except for their own "preferences."

And Christians get together for a Bible study, and each has his or her own favorite translation, and instead of any real, God-given authority, it quickly degenerates into a game of ring around the rosie: "Here's what my version says.  Now, Jack, what does your version say?  Okay, Louise, what does your version say?"  And if there are contradictions, the Christians brush them off, in the name of "Christian unity," saying, ultimately, "Well, as long as we can get along together, we won't pay any attention to what God really intended."

That is not what God had in mind when He gave His propositional revelation to man.

If a Christian is serious about following his or her Creator and  Saviour and Lord, he or she must have the Lord's words - - - His real words, not 300 differing versions of His words.

And the evidence of history, and the evidence of legitimate Greek scholarship, and the evidence of common sense, leads to one conclusion:  that the King James Bible, which was accepted as God's word for 300 of the 400 years of its existence, is exactly that. All other versions (in English) are counterfeits.

And believing that is what makes me a "renegade Christian."  But believing the truth has never been popular, and never will be.  Nevertheless, as Paul said, Let God be true, but every man a liar (Romans 3:4).

Thank God for giving us His pure, flawless, perfectly preserved word in our own language!  May He give us the grace and the courage to believe it, live by it, and, when necessary, die by it!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Pastor Suta: from violence to victory

As Christians are persecuted and martyred throughout the world, this blog has usually examined cruelties and atrocities committed by Mohammedans.  As bad as the Muslims are, however, there are many other groups and religions that hate Christianity and Christians, and will not tolerate them.  Some Hindus fall into this category. India, Pakistan, and other countries with large Hindu populations see daily persecution of Christians. But God is more powerful than His enemies, and, just as He can bring beauty from ashes, he can bring His enemies to Himself through the faithfulness of our suffering brethren.

Such is the case of Suta, a Christian living and serving Christ in a rural village in India.  When he became the focus of Hindu persecution, his enemies attacked.  But God has a way of turning things around, and the unexpected happened.

The following is a dramatization of Pastor Suta's story, provided by Voice of the Martyrs:


Please pray for Pastor Suta and his former tormentor, and praise our wonderful God and Saviour Jesus Christ, for His daily and limitless mercies!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Who's washing your feet?

He began to wash the disciples' feet. - - - John 13:5

The Lord Jesus loves His people so much, that every day He is still doing for them much that is analogous to washing their soiled feet. Their poorest actions He accepts; their deepest sorrow He feels; their slenderest wish He hears, and their every transgression He forgives. He is still their servant as well as their Friend and Master. He not only performs majestic deeds for them, as wearing the mitre on His brow, and the precious jewels glittering on His breastplate, and standing up to plead for them, but humbly, patiently, He yet goes about among His people with the basin and the towel. He does this when He puts away from us day by day our constant infirmities and sins. Last night, when you bowed the knee, you mournfully confessed that much of your conduct was not worthy of your profession; and even tonight, you must mourn afresh that you have fallen again into the selfsame folly and sin from which special grace delivered you long ago; and yet Jesus will have great patience with you; He will hear your confession of sin; He will say, "I will, be thou clean"; He will again apply the blood of sprinkling, and speak peace to your conscience, and remove every spot. It is a great act of eternal love when Christ once for all absolves the sinner, and puts him into the family of God; but what condescending patience there is when the Saviour with much long-suffering bears the oft recurring follies of His wayward disciple; day by day, and hour by hour, washing away the multiplied transgressions of His erring but yet beloved child! To dry up a flood of rebellion is something marvellous, but to endure the constant dropping of repeated offences-to bear with a perpetual trying of patience, this is divine indeed! While we find comfort and peace in our Lord's daily cleansing, its legitimate influence upon us will be to increase our watchfulness, and quicken our desire for holiness. Is it so?

- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Friday, October 23, 2015

Does God love everyone?

That's quite a question, isn't it?  (Of course, if you're an atheist, the question is moot: if there is no God,  then there's no point in worrying about it.  But this post is intended for intelligent people, not fools, and The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God [Psalm 14:1].)  Usually, the answer to this question is instant and automatic:  "Of course He does!  God loves everybody!"  But instead of going with our automatic, knee-jerk responses, let's consider the question for a minute, or an hour, or a few years.  After all, if there's any doubt at all that God loves everyone, then you and I have some serious thinking to do.  The best way to think about it, of course, is to go to God's propositional revelation, the Bible, and see what He says about it.  He's already given us the invitation: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD (Isaiah 1:18).  So, let's take Him up on it.

Most people in the Western world who have had the slightest exposure to Christianity have absorbed certain preconceptions, through no fault of their own.  They've heard the Gospel, or parts of the Gospel, or what somebody says is the Gospel, and they have certain ideas rooted deep in their minds: "We're all God's children.  God loves everyone.  Hey, 'God is love,' right?  God loves me, no matter who or what I am!"  Part of this is wishful thinking, but mostly it's the result of no thinking at all - - - and fuzzy, dishonest preaching by those who claim to be speaking for God.  It's a very popular concept: "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner!  We're all part of God's family!"  Various groups, like the homosexual community, even make up bumper stickers and signs proclaiming how much God loves them. 

But is that what God says, in the Bible?

We're going to throw away the popular preconceptions, and look at the facts, as revealed in the Bible.  And, without trying to sound clever, the Bible has good news, and bad news.  The Gospel, of course, is good news: that's what "gospel" means.  But the Gospel doesn't say that God loves everybody.

Someone says, "What about John 3:16?"  We'll get to that.  But even that verse doesn't say that God loves everybody.  Read it carefully; we'll be coming back to it.

Before getting into the scriptures themselves, we're going to answer the question, honestly and without apology.  This answer is bound to be controversial, but it is Biblically true, even though most Christian pastors and priests don't have the guts to say it.

If you've been born again, according to Jesus' words in John 3:3-7; if you've received Him as your personal Saviour, according to John 1:12; if you've come to Him honestly, by an act of the will, and asked Him to forgive you and save you, then you're a child of God, and God loves you with all His heart, and will never stop loving you.  You may have never been inside a church in your life before coming to Christ; you may have been a drunk or a sexual deviant or a glutton or a liar; that has nothing to do with it. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine; when you get to Heaven, you'll have a better idea of His great love, but even then you'll never understand it completely.  You have been given eternal life, and it's already begun.

If you have not received Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and been born again in a moment of time, then God does not love you: in fact, you are God's enemy.  Never mind the stupid cliché about "Hate the sin, love the sinner;" if you've chosen, by your own free will, to reject salvation on God's terms, God does not love you.  You can be a member of a church or the pastor of a church or a Baptist or a Muslim or a Presbyterian; but if you haven't been born again, God does not love you. Never mind the Rosary or the confirmation or the perfect attendance record in Sunday School; those have nothing to do with it.  I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it's better you hear it now, than at the Judgment. You, too, will have "eternal life," but it will be spent in Hell.

In 1741, Jonathan Edwards,  one of the most noted preachers in American history, delivered a message in Enfield, Connecticut.  It was called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," and is regarded as one of the greatest sermons ever preached; for decades, it was included in American literature textbooks, as an example of great writing.  But its real value is that it presents, with no sugar coating and no apologies, God's view of unsaved men and women.  It is not a pleasant reading experience, but if you're not a believer, and you have the guts, you should read it.  It's worth more than all the books ever written by Billy Graham or Joel Osteen or Rick Warren or any of the Popes.

"Never mind Jonathan Edwards," someone says.  "The Bible says God loves everybody, and that's what matters!"  But, unfortunately, that's not what the Bible says.  God actually hates some people.  The scriptures can speak for themselves:

And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them (Leviticus 20:23). He didn't "abhor" the abominations; He abhorred the people who committed the abominations.  That's clear.

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:4, 5).  "Hatest?"  Well, that's what the Bible says.

God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11).

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth (Psalm 11:5).   "Trieth" means "tests," or "examines." Notice: those last three quotes weren't from some angry, long-bearded old prophet like Jeremiah or Ezekiel - - - not that they'd be any less true if they were.  Those were Psalms of David, the little shepherd boy who killed Goliath, the "sweet psalmist of Israel."  And he had no illusions about "God loving everybody."

What about Solomon?  He was the wisest man who ever lived, according to the Bible, apart from Jesus Christ.  What did he have to say about God loving everybody? These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).  It doesn't say God hates the acts; it says He hates the people who commit the acts.  Maybe your hands have never shed innocent blood (like an abortionist or a Muslim terrorist), but how about the rest of the list?  Have you ever displayed a proud look?  Told a lie?  Had a wicked fantasy or plan or imagination?  Hurried down to the "club" after work, or to that "special" motel?  And you think God loves you?

"But wait!  A few paragraphs back, you said it didn't matter if I was a sexual deviant or a liar or any of those things!"  No, I didn't.  I said that having done those things wouldn't stop God from loving and accepting you, if you received His Son as your Saviour.  If you don't do that, you're sunk: God doesn't love you at all.

In one of His prophecies through Hosea, God revealed that He was even capable of hating people whom He had previously loved: All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more (Hosea 9:15).  God is holy, and pure, and cannot abide evil - - - evil acts, or evil people.  But it's important to stress that, today, once God has saved us and made us part of His Body, He cannot and will not "back out" and let us be lost again. Those who receive Christ today are saved permanently and forever.

"But that's all Old Testament stuff," someone protests.  "That's that cruel old God of the Old Testament.  Jesus and the New Testament are all about love!"  Actually, God's fury is more awful in the New Testament than in the Old, but that's another subject.  If you want to talk about Jesus....

In the Gospel of Luke, people came to ask Jesus about a recent atrocity that had occurred.  They wanted to know if the victims were more "wicked" than anybody else: was God judging them?  Jesus, as always, was ready with an answer: and He saw their motivations.  They wanted to believe that God only judged really bad people.  They were self-righteous, like most modern people. ("Ted Bundy or those 9/11 guys might be in Hell, but I'm not that bad!")  And Jesus turned their question back on them:

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:1-5).  Jesus was not a sucker or a fool.  People who object to "fire and brimstone preaching" are too ignorant to know that the first such preacher in Christian history was Jesus Himself: Mark 9:43-48, Luke 17:29.

The classic example of God's love vs. His hatred is that of the twins Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25), two of the progenitors of the Israelis and Palestinians (Philistines).  Because Esau had no respect for the spiritual blessings he had been given, God clearly stated - - - in the New Testament - - - how He felt about the boy: As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (Romans 9:13). He had already made this clear in Malachi 1:3: And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. If you can read those verses and say that "God loves the sinner, but hates the sin," then you are either functionally illiterate, or willfully in denial of God's revelation.

If you have never received Jesus Christ, and found forgiveness and refuge in Him, then God doesn't view you as a "lovable" creature at all. He views you as a child of disobedience (Colossians 3:6), a child of wrath (Ephesians 5:6), and, for that matter, a child of the Devil himself (John 8:44, Jesus speaking). God is not your Father; God is your enemy (Romans 8:7).  

So, what about John 3:16, and all the wonderful, priceless declarations of God's love in the Bible?  Am I denying them, or saying they're not true?  Not at all!  God forbid!  But you need to read them carefully, and if you do, you'll notice something.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life John 3:16).  

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). 

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37). 

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not (1 John 3:1).

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).

I could easily list a score of others, but you can check the references for yourself.  Every time the Bible talks about God loving the world, all people ever born, it's in the past tense - - - for God so loved the world, etc.  He loved the world, everyone from you and your children to Osama Bin Laden, enough to send His Son to die for your salvation.  Now, that's not "my interpretation."  I quoted the actual verses.  The other verses about God's universal love say it the same way.

The love of God is found at Calvary, at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ, and nowhere else.  What more could God do, to demonstrate His love?  After allowing His Son to voluntarily come to earth and be tortured to death, so that you might be saved, what more does He owe you?  Are you so special, and so wonderful, that you deserve something more?

God loved everyone, and His love was so great that He he made the greatest sacrifice imaginable to make your salvation possible.  Even now, if you're still separated from God by sin and stubbornness and unbelief, God wants you to be saved, and He is willing and eager for you to come to Him, and find His love.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus Christ was crucified, not just so that a few "elect" people could be saved, but so that anyone who was willing could be saved: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:5-6).  

That includes me, and I received Jesus Christ, by an act of the will, simply crying out to Him for forgiveness and salvation, many years ago.  That's when the love of God saved me!  And you can be saved, too, and brought into Christ's family, and become a son of God, at this very moment - - - if you're willing.  

God loves everyone who has placed their faith in His Son.  He loves us with a love that is eternal, indescribable, and that cannot be taken away.  But we can't receive that love by clinging to our own traditions or superstitions of ego: we have to come to Jesus Christ.  He's the only Way - - - and He's available to everyone.

If you want to, you can meet Him today.  But if you'd rather continue in your own opinions, and what some preacher or professor has drummed into your head, then you're in a dangerous place.

God showed the human race His universal, all-encompassing love at Calvary, when His Son bore our sins.  But if you're not willing to believe that, then don't talk to the rest of us about the love of God, because you know absolutely nothing about it.

God paid the highest price imaginable to show His love for you.  But if that wasn't good enough .... take your chances. You'll eventually have an opportunity to explain your reasons to Him, but it will be far, far too late.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Can I stab a Jew, Daddy?"

Nothing surprising here, gentle reader: just another example of the love and care lavished on the innocent children of Mohammedan and Philistine (i.e., "Palestinian") children by their parents and teachers.  This is not a new subject, and has been addressed many times on this blog.

As recent news has shown, the currently fashionable way of murdering Jews in Israel is by stabbing; apparently, the Palestinians are re-stocking their arsenals of guns and missiles.  Jew-stabbing has become pandemic in Israel ... leading to this, published on Facebook within the past week:


But how could it be otherwise?  These truly precious children, for whom God has a very special concern (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16), are ruthlessly and heartlessly propagandized and trained literally from the cradle. Two examples from Palestinian television will suffice for now; there are hundreds of others:



A "religion" can be judged, among other things, by how it treats its women and children.  The treatment of women and children in Islam is simple: rape, beatings, pedophilia, sexual slavery, training for suicide, female genital mutilation ... but why go on?  The facts speak for themselves.  And remember: this same "religion" that is invading Europe, and is praised and coddled by such creatures as Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau.

It is the most evil "religion" in history, far surpassing anything in the Old Testament.

Personal note: I apologize to regular readers of this blog for the inactivity of recent months.  God has blessed me with several conditions requiring surgery, and although His faithfulness is magnificent and unfailing, I haven't been up to much on the Internet.  I appreciate your patience and your prayers!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Papa, Don't Preach

To: Jorge Mario Bergoglio
       alias "Pope Francis"

Most Hellish Father:

We see from the headlines that you have now presumed to set your foot on the soil of the United States, having just left the embrace of your fellow Catholic and fellow Communist, Fidel Castro of Cuba. We are further informed, by your vassals and lackeys in the press, that it is your intention to visit with the current President of the United States, and that your supreme and outrageous impudence will result in you addressing a joint session of the American Congress this week.  

It is extremely unlikely that you will ever see this note, but the note must be written.

Please be aware, Mr. Bergoglio, that the plaudits and worship you are now receiving in the mass media, and from so many of America's elected officials, do not represent the sentiments of all Americans.   There are hundreds of thousands of us who know the true history of your so-called "church," and millions more who recognize you for the heathen, Godless imposter that you are, and that all of your predecessors were.

(Of course, we are also aware of the millions of Americans who revere you, and who belong to your "church."  American Catholics are our friends, neighbors, and, often, family members.  [Indeed, the majority of Catholics, in America and elsewhere, would probably leave the "church" were it not for family loyalty, and their unwillingness to alienate their relatives.]  We have no ill will toward these people, many of whom are persons of high character and great amiability, and some of whom are actually Christians, despite the "church" they attend.  We are not "anti-Catholic;" we are opposed to the hierarchy and teachings of the Roman institution, not its members.)

Among those of us who have studied the history of the Roman Catholic institution, and the history of the Papacy, you will find no warm welcome, no tearful outpourings of praise, no enthusiasm at all.  You, Mr. Bergoglio, are merely the latest in a long line of Baalite frauds and tyrants who have headed the most wicked "church" on earth.  (Let us be clear.  Islam is the most evil religion in human history; but the so-called Roman Catholic Church is the most Satanic religious organization ever to curse this sin-sick planet.) Like all religious liars, you are one of the "many antichrists" of whom John the apostle warned in 1 John 2:18.  No, we don't think that little Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina is the Antichrist spoken of in Biblical prophecy: you're not that big, or that important.  But an antichrist you are, and we resent your presence on our soil.

You have already begun to smirk, during this visit, as is your habit. And well you might: you have made a mockery of the principle of "separation of church and state" that is invoked by theophobes and anti-Christians whenever a genuine follower of Christ raises his or her head.  In a way, America might even be said to be an officially Catholic country, ever since Ronald Reagan appointed an ambassador (not merely a representative) to the "Holy See" in 1984 - - - a diplomatic recognition extended to no other religion.  And now, the members of your "church" have so infested the government that some people claim your control is complete: the current vice-president, six of the nine justices of the Supreme Court, and nearly a third of the members of Congress are Catholic.  Your institution has sunk its claws very deep into America: congratulations.  But do not be so deluded as to think that some of us don't see this.

You will address the Congress, which is a ghastly violation of American principles in itself; and you will lie, because you, like all popes, are a professional liar.  In your case, the lies will include an excoriation of capitalism and a tacit endorsement of Communism, but other popes have had different perspectives.  Your political statements are irrelevant, however: you are not here to promote Communism, or social justice, or humanitarian sentiment.  You are here to flex your muscles, to exhibit and enhance the power of the Roman Catholic Church.  To further its interests, popes would endorse (and have endorsed) everything from Third Reich Naziism to Marxist Communism.  The Roman Catholic Church is the great chameleon of history: today capitalistic, yesterday Communistic, tomorrow something else: but always looking to control and enslave the minds and hearts of the gullible and faithless.

Enjoy your visit. Chuckle at your hirelings in Washington and elsewhere.  Manipulate the young and the old, the rich and the poor, because that's what popes do.

But don't expect those of us who have a personal acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ, and a knowledge of His perfect word, the King James Bible, to applaud your effrontery.  We have but three words for you, taken from a wretched rock and roll song by a slattern who was raised Catholic:

Papa, don't preach.

*"Most Hellish Father" was Martin Luther's preferred form of address to Pope Leo X.  The title was accurate and appropriate in Luther's time, and it is accurate and appropriate today.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Brand loyalty?

From time to time, those of us who believe strongly in the authority of the King James Bible are scoffed at, for a number of reasons.  That's okay; we're used to it.  But one of the silliest criticisms of our belief goes something like this: "You only like the King James Bible because you were raised on it. Your family used it.  It's traditional.  It's a matter of brand loyalty, like preferring Coke over Pepsi, or Ford over Chevrolet."
king james bible
Really?  Is it that simple?

It would be foolish, of course, to deny that some people "prefer" the King James Bible because of family or church tradition. For people who haven't carefully considered their presuppositions, tradition is very often a determining factor, not only in religious matters, but in such things as political party affiliation.  But that doesn't simply apply to people who use the King James Bible; it applies to those who grew up in a family or church that used the New International Version, or the Revised Standard Version, or any other.  It certainly applies to most people who don't read any Bible at all: if one's background is devoid of Christian influence and activity, one is likely to remain in that state, unless and until they experience a genuine conversion. That's simply human nature.
King James Bible
But for those of us who have a deep commitment to the unique authority of the King James Bible, it goes far beyond "brand loyalty," or family tradition.  Many of us were raised with Roman Catholic versions, or the Book of Mormon, or the Torah and Talmud.  But at some point after receiving Jesus Christ as our Saviour, according to John 1:12, we learned about the things that distinguish the King James Bible from all other versions, and all other "holy books," and reveals it to be God's final and complete propositional revelation in the English language.
King James Bible
This is, to be sure, a minority position in the contemporary Christian church.  "Liberal Christians" take a very low view of any version of scripture, claiming that the Graf-Wellhausen "documentary hypothesis" and other theories reveal that the Bible was written by men, not God.  Evangelical and most fundamentalist Christians claim that, although the King James has a "glorious heritage," it is outdated and incomprehensible, and that God's words can only be found in "the original autographs," the actual pages penned by the prophets and apostles.  The fact that "the original autographs" have not been available for thousands of years seems to trouble them not at all, and they happily embrace any new version of the inferior and spurious Greek texts that they believe to be faithful to these "autographs" that they've never seen.  No matter how inaccurate, unreliable, or simply silly a "new Bible" is, it will always be embraced by many of today's Christians.  That doesn't make them bad people, but it says something about their lack of discrimination.

Those who, on the other hand, believe in the unique authority of the King James Bible have very specific reasons for their position.  Some of these involve the unreliable Greek manuscripts upon which 99.9% of the "new Bibles" are based (there have been over 200 new English versions of the New Testament, or the complete Bible, since the publication of the English Revised Version of 1881).  The subject of these Greek manuscripts would require a separate post, and is but one of the reasons King James Bible believers hold their views.  In fact, King James Bible believers are quite radical - - - or, in terms of this blog, "renegade."  We even believe .... get ready for it ... that the King James Bible is superior to the "original autographs."
King James Bible
I will pause momentarily to allow for the guffaws and curses of any "Biblical scholars" who have stumbled upon this blog.  Maybe I'll eat a sandwich while they're recovering.

Okay. Now, when I say "superior," I am not saying that the original manuscripts were not God's perfect, propositional revelation: they certainly were.  And when copies of copies of those manuscripts were translated into the Greek Textus Receptus (the manuscript upon which the King James New Testament is based), the Textus Receptus was likewise authentic and reliable.  Later, when Luther translated the New Testament into German, or the words came into such English versions as Wycliffe or the Bishops' Bible or the Geneva Bible, they, too, were reliable and authentically divine in their provenance.  But the King James is "superior" to the original manuscripts (which "scholars" hold up as the only final authority), for several very simple reasons.
King James Bible
For example: the King James Bible is written in the universal language of the 21st century; the "original Greek" is spoken by less than 1% of the world's population.  English is the primary "official language" of the United Nations (for what that's worth); it is also the language spoken by commercial airplane pilots, ships' captains, and harbor masters throughout the world.  When a Lufthansa jet departs Mexico City for Paris, the pilot communicates with the control tower in English.  Chinese schoolchildren begin studying English in kindergarten.  I'm not claiming that "everyone speaks English," of course; but with the advent of instant international communication, particularly via the Internet, it is becoming the true universal language.  When the Greek originals were written by Jews such as Paul and Peter, they were not written in Hebrew or Latin, although Latin was the "official" language of the Roman Empire; they were written in Greek, which was both the scholarly language, and also (in the Koine form) the language of the man on the street. Greek was  the universal language then; today, it's English.
Charlton Heston
In addition, the King James Bible is orthographically arranged in a readable style.  The "original autographs," in Greek, did not have paragraph or even sentence divisions; the letters all ran together. (wouldyoubothertoreadabookprintedinthatmannertoday?ofcourseyouwouldn't.)  Although this is not an "original Biblical manuscript," this is what such texts looked like:

Practically and historically speaking, the King James Bible has, furthermore, been responsible for more conversions to Jesus Christ, and more Christian outreach, than all of the other English versions put together.  Someone will say, "That's because it's been around longer."  But that's only a partial truth: for the 300 years between the publication of the King James, and that of the English Revised Version, preaching and distribution of the Bible was much more limited than it is today.  In the past forty years or so, the combined sales of the "new versions" have far outstripped those of the King James Bible, and these new versions have been preached over the airwaves, and on the Internet.  And yet, the results, or fruits, of these versions have been puny indeed compared to the impact of the King James Bible.
Charlton Heston
There are many other reasons.  One of the simplest is this: we have the King James Bible, but we don't have the original manuscripts.  No scholar on this troubled globe has laid eyes on even a fragment of a genuine "autograph" in nearly two thousand years.  But we can read, study, memorize, and rely on the King James Bible.

Someone, no doubt, will tax me with the following objection: "Everything you're saying applies to any English version, not just the King James!  Even The Message is easier to read than the originals!" But The Message has not had a tithe, not a hundredth, of the impact of the King James; and, anyway, this post is not an exhaustive list of reasons why we owe allegiance to the King James Bible.  This post is simply a response to the charge of "brand loyalty" - - - and the superiority of the King James Bible to the "original autographs" is but one arrow in our quiver.

There are many more, to be discussed in due time.  For the moment, we can thank God that He has graciously provided us with His final, authoritative propositional revelation in our own language - - - whether the majority of Christians realize it or not.