Saturday, 29 December 2012

The King James Bible.

I have recently become annoyed at myself for having so many different bible translations. I must have 40 bibles, various translations. But I really seem to struggle at holding to one. I know this sounds trivial. But how am I to hold scripture to a high value, and believe that it is true, if every translation I read is different, has verses omitted, and footnotes that say "or:...".

Now, I have decided to prioritize one translation over the rest, permanently. This doesn't mean I won't consult other translations, but it does mean I won't be using lots of others all the time. I want to basically jump in full time to one translation, work all my doctrine and beliefs from it, ignore anyone that says its inferior, and most of all call it the word of God (I am not calling my bible Jesus, although he would be the author he is THE Word).

I have chosen the King James. Its taken much soul searching, and I have expressed a lot of discontent with the translation in the past, there are things in there I disagree with, which has made it difficult for me to adjust to using it, but it has been good enough for people like Henry Morris, and Spurgeon - why not good enough for me. It's a translation that hasn't had a revision (not counting the RV, thats essentially a new translation, nor the NKJV) in 250 years, and isn't going anywhere soon. Yet the ESV has had 2 revisions in 10 years, the NIV 2 in 25 years, the NLT probably 3 or 4 since 1996..and so on.

 I need something stable. I also need something eloquent and elegant whilst accurate. This was where temptation struck, and I considered using the Matthew Bible as my primary. Its a temptation that still stands. If it were in Roman text it would be a no-brainer, but my facsimile has gothic font, but it does still have advantages over the KJV, such as 'love' instead of 'charity' in 1 Corinthians 13. But it also came about prior to the Geneva Bible, and thus isn't versified. Now this is in some ways an advantage over the KJV, but it makes searching for verses quite lengthy.

So why not the Geneva Bible? doesn't read as well as the KJV, and often uses the word 'that' instead of 'the' which is quite jarring. It also has some footnotes that I dislike, such as calling behemoth an elephant - which is understandable, but still nonsensical considering the tail difference between a (undiscovered at the time) brachiosaurus and an elephant. (okay I'm biased - but so are they).

I could use the NKJV, its quite similar to the KJV, but - it doesn't have the word flow, thee and thou makes the KJV text flow so much better, and rather than sounding American (as all bibles do to me nowadays) it sounds thunderous, and Shakespearean - lighteth, cometh, shineth - its amazing!

So, the KJV is my main translation. I suggest you grab one translation, and believe it to be the inerrant word of God, I would recommend an older translation, preferably the KJV (the most popular old translation, which is still used by a lot of churches) and just use it. The propaganda which says that its hard to understand isn't true. If you have used a new translation, you will decipher the older language quite easily, many verses are actually identical to the KJV.

Not only will you free yourself from a system that seems to require a guru to teach truth, declares bible verses to be false and nonauthentic, you also take yourself away from bias - the KJV is the original ecumenical translation, its been used by every church denomination and cult in existence, from baptists, episcopalian, catholic, presbyterian, pentecostal, Jehovah's witnesses, mormons and so many more. Yet it stands up against the denomination specific translations that we seem to have today. If it is THAT good, why abandon it for a translation that will require a revision in less than a decade? Get the KJV in a great binding, and it will last you your entire life. Can you say that about the ESV legacy bible? or the NIV 2011? A church I watch online, the pastor uses the ESV 2001, and I will be reading along with my ESV 2011, and it's different.

Yet I watch Sanderson1611's sermons, and he uses the KJV and so do I!

Again I am not KJVO, I see the need in many quarters for new translations, but I wouldn't be so quick to push the KJV aside, it may have it's faults - but I can be a post-trib, conditionalist and use the KJV and still believe it to be the word of God, and believe literally that every verse is true. Sure, if I used the ESV or NIV I would find conditionalism better supported - but why should that be the case? Can both translations be right, or is one wrong? Well, it was a translational choice of the KJV to translate Sheol and Hades as Hell, I know the words behind them, so I know when it says Hell in OT its not Gehenna. Same with Hell in the NT. I'm not going to be a snob though. I can simply write Sheol in if I am that picky.

So yes, this is a confusing, fatigue-written post. Just an update *yawn*. I will probably be using another translation in a month.

Peace out brethren
God bless.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sandy Hook and Westboro Baptist Church.

Up until now, I haven't commented on Westboro Baptist Church. There was a time when I agreed with some of the things they said, I thought that God hated gays and that America was under judgment etc.

Luckily I prefer my bible to the words of men, and I now understand that God's wrath abides upon them, but to say he hates them would be to ascribe a human quality to an omnipotent and omnipresent God, who has an infinite IQ, and infinite love. I also used to believe in eternal torment as well - now I am a conditionalist, and I don't see wrath as hatred so much as God being righteous and sinners facing righteous judgment and the result being destruction in the lake of fire. It is what it is, you cannot anthropomorphize God any more than you can deify man. To that I say Thank God for Jesus :)

This isn't about Westboro's theology anyway - and I don't profess my theological views are being perfect -, this is about the absolutely abominable decision by them to protest the funerals of the murdered school children at Sandy Hook Elementary. see here

If you didn't already know this, I can already imagine the absolute disgust and shock you are feeling. If God loves anyone its children, in fact Christ says the Kingdom is made of such as these. As someone who takes the bible literally, I believe that more than anything. Who's heart doesn't light up when a child is in the room? Kids are great! Being made in the image of God we love children, and would die to protect them! I'm also one who believes that children will fill the millenial kingdom - not the ones who grew into sinful adults - but the ones who never had a chance, ones like those who died yesterday.

So what I see here is more than just cruelty on Westboro's part, I see prophecy in action - Jesus said that the "love of many will grow cold", and he was referring to Christians here - or at least professing ones, he said that lawlessness would increase, and as such love would grow cold. This (in my opinion) refers to to the golden rule, which is to totally love God, and to love your neighbour as yourself. Westboro professes to love God, yet claims child killing is God's judgment, and expresses no sympathy for those grieving parents or those murdered children.

Please explain, why those children were judged? What had they done, what sins had they committed? Is God judging their parents, their community, their nation? If God is judging their parents, then why not kill them? or send a meteor into Connecticut, or destroy America. Thats how God works! look at the bible, Look at Abraham intercessing for Sodom and Gomorrah, and God responding with mercy and kindness - thats our God! The God who will save an entire city of sinners for the sake of ten righteous, or will fight with a Pharaoh for his people (Theres a reason that God chose the firstborn of Egypt - they were the eldest) .

What Westboro is saying, is that Atheists who call our God capricious and evil, are right. The God described by the Apostle John as 'love', and who's qualities are described by the Apostle Paul does not exist for them. But just to be sure, lets go through  1 John 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 13:

 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1Jn 4:8 NIV)

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails.  (1Co 13:4-8 NIV)

Does this sound like the God of love who then sends a 20 year old into a school to shoot children? I think not, but it does sound like someone else in the bible!

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 NIV)

What greater victory is it for the Devil, to kill children, and then have professing Christians blame it on God! Westboro bring dishonour to the name of God by saying this, they are attributing qualities to him that don't exist. God does not work like this, in darkness - let me put it like this, if God were bringing judgment down upon us, we would know it. In fact everyone will know it - thats why they will hide in caves and beg them to collapse upon them to hide them from judgment. God is upholder and sustainer, Satan is destroyer.

The messed up theology of Westboro may get them into the press, but not for evangelistic purposes, but by way of mockery, they give Christians a bad name - and not for the right reasons. There was a time that the church was persecuted for things they didn't actually do, things like cannibalism, and magic. Then later they were persecuted for denying polytheism - things which they were right to do. But throughout it all, they were known for their good works, and it was only differences in beliefs, and the occasional rumour which led to their harassment.

But nowadays, churches like Westboro make Christians look callous and heartless, even hateful, it gives atheists every reason to hate us and our God when they hear:

“Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment,” Shirley Phelps-Roper tweeted on Dec. 15.

I have to ask, what would Jesus do? This is one of those occasions where I think Jesus would help the people of Sandy Hook, and bring glory to God's name. I say this because you can almost guarantee that some of those children would have been the children of Christians, and there is great precedent in the gospels of Jesus helping Samaritans, and even Romans. So would he abandon his children, and the children of HIS children? Never. Westboro should be there helping them, feeding them, counselling them, even helping to repair the school so they can get it reopened (all of which would bring glory to the name of God - Matt 5:16).
If they don't wish to do that then they should stay away, they are an embarrassment to the faith, truly hateful, and prideful, and callous! That 20 children died is not a time to celebrate, and the idea of anyone dying is not something God celebrates, He doesn't revel in the death of anyone - even those that are wicked. Now if Westboro theology declares a 5 year old child as wicked, its not any sort of theology that I see in the bible.

Now lets look at a few verses that Westboro might find interesting:

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the Lord will see and be displeased and turn His anger away from him.” (Pr 24:17-18)

"He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished." (Pr 17:5)

"If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you." (Pr 25:21-22)

"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (Matt 5:44)

"Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23) 

[I don't think that those children were wicked at all, it seems that Westboro do however, and therefore I am using such verses]

That a child could be considered "the enemy" to a church, is despicable. I will however tweet a link of this blog entry, to as many Phelp's as I can think of, in the hopes that they read it and repent. I feel sad for them, that they have become so wrapped up in their own concept of Godliness, and wanton vanity that they would rejoice at the death of 20 children.

Please Westboro, follow the great commission!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Contemporary Christian Music - are we gold?

A while back I wrote a blog article on CCM, I kind of got bored of the idea of doing a second part as it isn't exactly an exciting subject. Well, I suppose this will be a continuation of the "rant" theme I've had going for a while.

I love CCM, its what go me away from listening to Rihanna and Paramore and Chris Brown and all that stuff, It has it's pluses. But the thing is, people listen to that and only that, its theology-lite, and because the artists are not exactly versed in anything more than songwriting and music, often-times what comes out is man-centred, or theologically inaccurate.

Even so, some songs, such as Britt Nicole's "Gold", aim to be encouraging - it really is a lovely song - but it doesn't mention God, or Jesus once, and it's not encouraging christians, (Who would be unlikely to dress as "emos", or skateboard on sidewalks where it's not allowed), from what I can tell it's encouraging the lost, but frankly - a song like this should be telling these folks to buck their ideas up - it isn't good to dress in dark clothing and wear eyeliner and rebel against authority (I can't believe I actually just said that!), nor is it a good thing to vomit your guts up every day. It's this namby pamby idea that if someone is hurting they need a hug and encouragement.

What they need is the fear of God! Yet they get a hug. All Christians should be hardened to this nonsense, we are supposed to be expecting persecution and even execution. Yet we're being turned into cissies. Then our artists are scratching the itching ears of the lost! What is going on?

Maybe Britt thinks that the youngsters in her music video are christians, and are representative of christian youth. I don't know. But her lyrics don't suggest it:

This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you've been told, you're worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it's your time to shine
From the inside out it shows, you're worth more than gold

This is of course - a bit dodgy to say the least. You see, alot of these folks are objects of wrath right now, more so than their parents. they're fornicators, idolators, druggies and murderers. Until recent times an evangelist would never dream of telling a  non-believer that they're "worth more than gold"
They would tell them that they're a sinner, that they're wicked and that if it were not for God himself we would never seek him. The bible says that we are rebels against a righteous king, that we are desperately wicked in our hearts (inside), and that we are going to die - and rightfully deserve to. There is not a man alive who hasn't broken at least one commandment (most in some way have broken them all), and as such we are fully deserving of the punishment we WILL receive, which is destruction in the lake of fire.

So don't let anybody tell you that you're not loved
And don't let anybody tell you that you're not enough

Yeah there are days when we all feel like we're messed up
But the truth is that we're all diamonds in the rough
So don't be ashamed to wear your crown
You're a king you're a queen
inside and out

I don't know, but it seems that Miss Nicole is a universalist - maybe she thinks everyone is going to be saved. Yes, God loves everyone on earth, but this second line is wrong - we aren't enough. We can't save ourselves, and we will never be good enough without the help of God. We are not Kings, we are not Queens, and telling people they are may sound great, really lovely, flowers, unicorns and my little pony sort of stuff. But its not true! This woman is a professing Christian, yet she has exalted us as equal to Jesus who is our ONE, TRUE, KING. We should be ashamed to wear a crown, because its satanic! "You shall be as God, knowing good and evil".

You glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
This is for you, wherever you are

Feel good about yourself, love yourself - yay. With songs like this, maybe nonbelievers will start listening to CCM. Then we can just take out any sort of gospel centred stuff, and then we can just congratulate ourselves on how great we are.

Its understandable from "the world", who have no concept of sin, who deny God in all areas, who have no hope. But from a supposed Christian artist this is unacceptable. Who taught her? What denomination does she represent? Because this isn't theology, its worldy self-esteemism, self congratulatory prattling. I told you this was a rant.

But as a final though - have a look at the lyrics, remember that this is played on Positive, encouraging, "christian' music stations, and ask yourself how different this is from secular music.

Then ask yourself, how different is this from, amazing grace, how great thou art, great is thy faithfulness - which are songs about, our position, God's position, and God's relationship to us.

Then remember that there is a whole genre of music just like this, which calls itself christian.