Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What About Those Keys?

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19
I have heard a number of explanations of this passage, but none as clear, complete, and theologically satisfying as the one Pastor Forsee gave in this past Sunday's sermon. I'll let you hear it the same way I did. Just click here for the 2-minute clip.

Here is the whole sermon.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Amazing Grace


Friday, April 25, 2008

A Call to Battle

Our pastor, Rev. Timothy Forsee, delivered a message at the Interchurch Holiness Convention in Dayton Ohio on Tuesday, April 15, 2008.

Let me tell you something - he was on fire, on message, on a roll! It is only 14 minutes, and well worth your time. It will make you proud to be a Christian and ready to get every sinner you know saved.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Which King James Version?

In a previous post, I defined a particular kind of belief that I call a Radical King James Onlyism or RKJO. In this article, I want to examine the claim of RKJO adherents that the King James Version is the word-for-word inspiration of God.

This claim is implied when authors of RKJO books create their ubiquitous "comparison tables" where they excoriate other versions for "leaving out God's words." They complain if a version chooses a word that is different from the KJV. To see this, just do a Google search on NKJV and see what comes up.

They also make direct claims for the inspiration and inerrancy of the KJV:

I am saying that the Authorized Version is every word of God that was in the original autographs, preserved to this day." - Sam Gipp, An Understandable History of the Bible, Chapter 9
“The King James Bible was ‘given by inspiration of God.’” - Peter Ruckman, The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship, pp. 271-272
These are bold claims that should be easily to put to the test. If the KJV is perfect, inerrant, and unchangeable in every word, then we would expect to find just that - an unchanging document. However, that is not what we find. When we examine the history of the KJV, we see that it has been revised at least four times since its first publication in 1611. The revision most commonly used today is the 1769 version made by Benjamin Blayney.

When confronted with this revision history, RKJO adherents quickly dismiss it by claiming that the revisions were limited to spelling and punctuation changes. They assert that no words were changed. This is an important argument for them, because their claim of word-for-word inspiration and inerrancy is made for the 1611 version. If they use the 1769 version (and most of them do), then any documented wording changes would seriously undermine their argument.

Well, there is bad news for their argument. The revisions did make wording changes. F.H.A. Scrivener outlines a number of wording changes between 1611 and 1769. In the approved RKJO manner, I will show the comparisons. First, I will show the wording of a passage as it is in the 1769 version, then an image of the same passage in the original Authorized Version printed by Robert Barker in 1611.

In Deuteronomy 26:1, the 1769 version adds the words "thy God":
Deuteronomy 26:1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;

The 1769 version adds "the children of" in Joshua 13:29.
Joshua 13:29 And Moses gave inheritance unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and this was the possession of the half tribe of the children of Manasseh by their families.

The 1769 version changes "seek good" to "seek God" at Psalm 69:32.
Psalm 69:32 The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.

Jeremiah 49:1 says "inherit Gad" in the 1769 version, but says "inherit God" in the 1611.
Jeremiah 49:1 Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities?

The 1769 version says "the Christ" at Matthew 16:16. The 1611 omits "the."
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

The 1769 version changes "no man" to "none" and then italicizes "there is."
Mark 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

The 1611 version says "aproved to death", the 1769 says "appointed to death" at 1 Corinthians 4:9.
1 Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

Now, if you are the least bit tempted to think that this line of argumentation against the RKJO position is nit-picking, please remember what the RKJO position is. The RKJO position is that the King James Version is the word-for-word inspired, immutable, and perfectly preserved Word of God. They say that other versions are "corrupt" because they "change God's Words." The acid test of the validity of an argument is whether it works both ways. Is the KJV corrupt because its words have been changed?

Here is the truth: the King James Version itself is not perfectly preserved! Even to this day, there are differences between the Oxford Authorized Version and the Cambridge Authorized Version at Jeremiah 34:16, 2 Chronicles 33:19, and Nahum 3:16.

So here is a question any RKJO must answer and then defend: if the KJV is God's perfectly preserved Word, then which KJV is the prefect one, and why?


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chick-fil-a Founder Honored

Today, President George Bush honored Chick-fil-a Founder, President, and CEO Truett Cathy with the Lifetime President's Volunteer Service Award at the White House.

Truett Cathy is a committed Christian with a firm committment to honoring the Lord's Day by not doing business on Sunday. Here is the official company statement on their Sunday policy:

Of the many unique characteristics that distinguish Chick-fil-A, Inc. from other quick-service restaurant companies, the most notable – and the most asked about – tradition is that of closing all its more than 1,380 restaurants on Sunday. Following is a brief explanation of how the “Closed-on-Sunday” policy started and why it will continue to remain in place.

Since Truett Cathy, founder and CEO of Chick-fil-A, opened his first restaurant in 1946, he has made his Closed-on-Sunday policy as much a part of the Chick-fil-A brand as the original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich. While many question the chain’s policy and how Chick-fil-A could forgo sales on one of the busiest days for food service, Cathy answers challengers by saying closing on Sunday is one of the best business decisions he has ever made.

Cathy’s practice of closing his restaurants on Sunday is unique to the restaurant business and a testament to his faith in God. Within the first week of business at his Dwarf Grill restaurant in Hapeville, Ga. more than 60 years ago, Cathy knew that he would not deal with money on the “Lord’s Day.” Today, the Closed-on-Sunday policy is reflected in the company’s Corporate Purpose:

To glorify God by being a faithful steward to all that is entrusted to us.
To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
Cathy believes that being closed on Sunday says two important things to people: One, that there must be something special about the way Chick-fil-A people view their spiritual life; and, two, that there must be something special about how Chick-fil-A feels about its people.

Cathy believes that by giving employees Sunday off as a day for family, worship, fellowship or rest, the company attracts quality people. And people, Cathy says, are the cornerstone of all that
Chick-fil-A does as a chain. Chick-fil-A has the opportunity to attract individuals who want to be associated with an organization with a values-based vision, is purpose-driven and that truly values a balance between work and family.

In today’s business world, the Closed-on-Sunday policy may seem to be a costly business decision. But, as company sales figures have consistently proven, Chick-fil-A restaurants often generate more business per square foot in six days than many other quick-service restaurants produce in seven. Chick-fil-A generated more than $2.64 billion dollars in sales in 2007, and the chain has enjoyed sales gains for 40 consecutive years (every year since the first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in 1967). Cathy credits “blessings from the Lord” for the great success the company has enjoyed, and he remains as committed as ever to maintaining the Closed-on-Sunday policy. “I feel it’s the best business decision I ever made,” says Cathy.

[end of statement]

Bless you, Mr. Cathy!


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Some Useful Links

From time to time I get the question, "Are there any places on the web where I can find good, useful, and reliable information for Bible study?" That is a fair question, because the Internet is mind-bogglingly huge, and a significant chunk of it is useless. Just finding something is not enough. Next you have to research the source to see if the information comes from a reliable place. The task can be daunting.

The search is well worth it, though. And when you do find a good source, it is like gold. A good source for Bible translations or commentaries can save a bundle of money. Also, electronic copies of texts tend to be searchable. It can be much easier to find things online. I use the online versions of books I own for just this purpose.

I think it is a great idea for people to share links to online resources that they have found to be useful. Listed below are links to some resources I use on a regular basis, along with a short comment on why I like them. I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment with any link you can share. I'm always looking for good stuff.

Bible: Bible Gateway
These guys run one of the most powerful Bible text resources on the net. Just about any version you would want to use is here, and each version is fully searchable. They are also a good place to link into from a blog article if you what to refer to a Bible text. For instance, John 3:16 in the KJV, or Ephesians 2:1-5 in the NASB.

Bible: Parallel Bible
Sometimes I want to see several versions side-by-side. The Parallel Bible is the place to do this. The interface is a little clunky, but once you get used to it, it is a powerful tool.

Bible: Greek Interlinear
If you don't use Greek interlinears, skip this. If you do, you might like this one. They have online PDF printouts, and they have a free software application that does a lot of fancy cross-referencing in the New Testament Greek text. Please be aware that it is the NA 27 critical text.

Bible: Audio Treasure
The entire Bible in audio MP3 format, in different versions and languages.

Commentary: Adam Clarke
This is the good old fashioned Adam Clarke, just like the six-volume set on my bookshelf. I find myself using both the print version and the online version. I use the books when I want to read large amounts of text. I use the online version to search for specific words or topics. It is harder to read large amounts of text online, especially here, because they have inserted a bunch of annoying, useless hypertext links.

Commentary: Matthew Henry
The same for Matthew Henry. Got the books, sometimes use the online.

Commentary: John Wesley
The same for John Wesley.

Commentary: Robertson's Word Pictures
Robertson is an old classic, and sometimes he can give some great insight into the original text of the Bible. He is not nearly as good as Ralph Earle, though, and you have to watch his theology.

Commentary: Tanach with RASHI
If you ever want to know what the ancient rabbis taught about some Old Testament text, RASHI is your guy. RASHI (capitalized because it is an acronym) was an eleventh-century French rabbi who collected and recorded teachings on the entire Tanach (OT). Don't take the rabbis too seriously, though. Remember they are not Christians, and they tend to lean heavily toward mysticism and allegorizing Scripture. Some of the connections they make are just flat-out bizarre.

Library: Christian Classics Ethereal Library
What can I say about CCEL - it is just huge! Church fathers, ancient creeds, anything old. It is the Christian way-back machine.

Library: Jewish Virtual Library
Everything Jewish.

Library: Wesley Center for Applied Theology
Everything Wesley, John or Charles. Everything Methodist, from the beginning to now. There are all of the Wesleys' sermons, writings, and songs, Methodist journal articles dating from the very beginning, and even current articles on Wesleyan theology. This place is huge, but alas, as of this writing, it has no search tool. No matter - you can do it with Google. Just add "+site:nnu.edu" (without the quotes) and you will be searching the library.

Software: E-Sword Bible
This is a really nice Bible search and study tool that is provided totally free. I have seen commercial software that did not work this well.

Please leave a comment with at least one of your favourite resources.


Top Ten Things. . .


10. "Look! Let's stop that car and ask those folks how we can become Christians."

9. "Don't worry, Billy, those people are Christians. They must have a good reason for driving 90 miles an hour."

8. "What a joy to be sharing the highway with another car of Spirit-filled brothers and sisters."

7. "Isn't it wonderful how God blessed that Christian couple with a brand-new BMW?"

6. "Dad, how come people who drive like that don't get thrown in jail? Can we get a bumper sticker like that, too?"

5. "Stay clear of those folks, Martha. If they get raptured, that car's gonna be all over the road!"

4. "Oh, look! That Christian woman is getting a chance to share Jesus with a police officer."

3. "No, that's not garbage coming out of their windows, Bert. It's probably gospel tracts for the road workers."

2. "That hand gesture must mean something different where they go to church."

1. "Quick, Alice, honk the horn or they won't know that we love Jesus!"

- Anonymous