Sunday, October 19, 2014

"It's already been gotten right!"

What would you say if someone decided Shakespeare's plays, Charles Dickens' novels, or the music of Beethoven could be rewritten & improved?
   
 I'll be right back. . . 

(Between his unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for President in 1976, and his defeat of President Jimmy Carter in 1980, private citizen Ronald Reagan, a veteran broadcaster, delivered over 1,000 daily radio broadcasts on political and related topics.  His broadcasts were more like Paul Harvey than Rush Limbaugh, but they were pure Reagan.  Here, as aired on September 6, 1977, are The Great Communicator’s reflections on the King James Bible.)

 Writing in the journal "The Alternative", Richard Hanser, author of The Law & the Prophets and Jesus: What Manner of Man Is This?, has called attention to something that is more than a little mind boggling. It is my understanding that the Bible (both the Old & New Testaments) has been the best selling book in the entire history of printing.

Now another attempt has been made to improve it. I say 'another' because there have been several fairly recent efforts to quote "make the Bible more readable & understandable" unquote. But as Mr. Hanser so eloquently says, "For more than 3 1/2 centuries, its language and its images, have penetrated more deeply into the general culture of the English speaking world, and been more dearly treasured, than anything else ever put on paper." He then quotes the irreverent H. L. Mencken, who spoke of it as purely a literary work and said it was, "probably the most beautiful piece of writing in any language."

They were, of course, speaking of The Authorized Version, the one that came into being when the England of King James was scoured for translators & scholars. It was a time when the English language had reached its peak of richness & beauty.


Now we are to have The Good News Bible which will be in, "the natural English of everyday adult conversation." I'm sure the scholars and clergymen supervised by the American Bible Society were sincerely imbued with the thought that they were taking religion to the people with their Good News Bible, but I can't help feeling we should instead be taking the people to religion and lifting them with the beauty of language that has outlived the centuries.

Mr. Hanser has quoted from both the King James Version & the Good News Bible some well known passages for us to compare. A few thousand years ago Job said "How forcible are right words!" [Job 6:25] The new translators have him saying "Honest words are convincing." That's only for openers. There is the passage [Eccl. 1:18], "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow". Is it really an improvement to say instead, "The wiser you are, the more worries you have; the more you know the more it hurts?"

In the New Testament, in Matthew, we read "The voice of the one crying in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way." [Matthew 3:3] The Good News version translates that, "Someone is shouting in the desert. Get the road ready." It sounds like a straw boss announcing lunch hour is over.

The hauntingly beautiful 23rd Psalm is the same in both versions, for a few words, "The Lord is my shepherd" but instead of continuing "I shall not want" we are supposed to say "I have everything I need."

The Christmas story has undergone some modernizing, but one can hardly call it improved. The wondrous words "Fear not: for; behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy" has become, "Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you."

The sponsors of the Good News version boast that their Bible is as readable as the daily paper – and so it is. But do readers of the daily news find themselves moved to wonder, "at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth"? Mr. Hanser suggests that sadly the "tinkering & general horsing around with the sacred texts will no doubt continue" as pious drudges try to get it right. "It will not dawn on them that it has already been gotten right."

This is Ronald Reagan. Thanks for listening. 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Liena's Prayer

What does it mean to be a Christian in Syria today?

In the midst of all the savagery and atrocities coming from ISIS and the other followers of Muhammad comes this answer, from a young Syrian woman named Liena.  Produced by The Voice of the Martyrs, this video shows the reality of life in Syria, and presents a challenge for Christians everywhere.

video

The release of the video precedes the 2014 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on November 2.  Our prayers for Liena and her family, as well as for such suffering saints as Saeed Abedini and Asia Bibi, must continue.  They're praying for us.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Victory ... then the crash

And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this
 great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst? 
 (Judges 15:18)

Samson was thirsty and ready to die. The difficulty was totally different from any which the hero had met before. Merely to get thirst assuaged is nothing like so great a matter as to be delivered from a thousand Philistines! but when the thirst was upon him, Samson felt that little present difficulty more weighty than the great past difficulty out of which he had so specially been delivered. It is very usual for God's people, when they have enjoyed a great deliverance, to find a little trouble too much for them. Samson slays a thousand Philistines, and piles them up in heaps, and then faints for a little water! Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel, and overcomes Omnipotence itself, and then goes "halting on his thigh!" Strange that there must be a shrinking of the sinew whenever we win the day. As if the Lord must teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds. Samson boasted right loudly when he said, "I have slain a thousand men." His boastful throat soon grew hoarse with thirst, and he betook himself to prayer. God has many ways of humbling His people. Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. When David had mounted the throne of Israel, he said, "I am this day weak, though anointed king." You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. If God has wrought for you great deliverances in the past, your present difficulty is only like Samson's thirst, and the Lord will not let you faint, nor suffer the daughter of the uncircumcised to triumph over you. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route. So, tried brother, cheer your heart with Samson's words, and rest assured that God will deliver you ere long.  


- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Muhammad Rapes Again

Another heartbreaking example of the way women and girls are treated by "the religion of peace," this time in Syria.  Here is Rawan Milad Al-Dah, who was 16 years old at the time this video was made in 2013.  In addition to the automatic curse of being born in a Mohammedan country, Rawan was also caught up in the struggle between President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian rebels attempting to overthrow him - - - the same rebels being provided with aid and materiel by the Obama administration.  The rebels used Rawan, and only God knows how many others, as unwilling "temporary wives" in their "sexual jihad" (Jihad Al-Nikah).  When they were done with her, they presumably went back to using American weapons to attempt the overthrow of Assad. Listen as Rawan describes, yet again, the fruits of Islam:

video

Make no mistake: there are no "good guys" involved in this conflict. Assad himself is one of the nastiest characters in the Mideast, which is saying quite a bit, and everyone from the United Nations to the Obama administration despises him, which is why America has been arming his opponents.  But now, within the past year, the greater threat has come from ISIS.*  ISIS and the Syrian rebels are now battling for supremacy, while Obama and other Western leaders wonder if they shouldn't join forces with Assad after all.  But that's a geopolitical matter; the treatment of women and children by all Mohammedans, even when the women are coming in from "civilized" countries and whoring themselves out voluntarily, is more personal, and more horrific.  It's impossible to sympathize with Assad or his enemies, but anyone who doesn't curse the name of the demon-possessed Muhammad, when hearing Rawan's story, has a cold heart indeed.


That's Islam, praised by Western leaders as "a great and peaceful religion," and even now engaging in sexual slavery as far from the Mideast as England.  The "religion" of Muhammad: coming soon to an area near you, if it's not already there.


*ISIS, the members of which refer to themselves as "the Islamic State," stands for "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria."  However, such sympathizers as Barack Obama refer to the group as ISIL, meaning "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant."  What's the difference?  Very simple, and very telling: the Levant encompasses the West Bank of Israel.  When the Muslims in these various groups quit killing each other (itself a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, Genesis 16:11, 12), they will certainly move on to destroy Israel.  That is the sworn duty of every Muslim alive.