Monday, April 2, 2007

My Personal Statement of Faith

1. Concept of God – God exists eternally in 3 persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), yet is one God in essence. God the Father is the Head of the Trinity; Jesus Christ is God the Son, the Word of God, and eternally begotten of the Father and accomplishes the will of the Father, also acting as Intercessor, High Priest, Savior, Redeemer and Lord for the body of believers; God the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son, He is the Inspiration of Scripture, gives illumination to the Word, comforts and indwells believers as a sign of salvation (the baptism of fire) in Jesus Christ, reveals Truth to and gives spiritual gifts to all believers.

2. Deity and Lordship of Christ – Jesus Christ is God, the second Person of the Trinity. He is the only Lord and only Way to reconciliation with the Father through His sacrificial death on the cross, taking the punishment of the sin of the world upon Himself for the forgiveness of that sin.

3. Plan of Salvation – All humanity are sinners by nature (from the Fall of Adam) and by choice. The Law of God reveals our sin to us and the need for repentance and a Savior in Jesus Christ. Repenting from that sin, confessing that sin to God and believing (trusting, not acknowledging) by faith in Jesus Christ to save us from that sin by His redemptive work on the cross, we are saved. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The Holy Spirit producing fruit in us is the evidence of salvation and the Guarantor of the true saints persevering to the end (salvation cannot be lost if it is truly received).

4. Bible – The Bible is God’s inspired Word. Being such, not authored by men alone, but by God, it is inerrant in the original manuscripts. This does not mean successive manuscripts are not the Word of God, but that simple scribal errors such as misspellings, punctuation, and alternate forms of names may be present. God, however, being both capable and able, has preserved His Word through the generations and it is in fact infallible. It is the final authority in Christian life and a means by which to be fed spiritually, from the milk of the Word in our spiritual infancy to the meat of the Word as we spiritually mature.

5. Church – The Church is twofold: The Body of Believers and the general place of worship for those believers. As Believers in Jesus Christ, our bodies have become the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Church, as the focus of Christ’s redemption, is also known as the Bride of Christ, in that believers are made both Children of God and one body in Christ through their faith, presented to Christ as His Bride by the Father at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. We are now the Body of Christ. Secondly, the church is the place of worship, fellowship, preaching, teaching, prayer, edification, discipline, and Christian love for the believer. It is made up of a membership of baptized, born-again, believers in Jesus Christ.

6. Baptism – Baptism is by immersion, for the believer only, and an act of obedience both by following as Christ did and identifying ourselves with Christ. The going down symbolizes our identification with Christ in His death and burial as well as death to the old self, the sinful flesh. The coming up symbolizes identification with Christ in His resurrection and new life in the Spirit. Baptism is the first of two ordinances observed by the Church today and while symbolically and obediently important, is not necessary for salvation.

7. Lord’s Supper – The Lord’s Supper is the second ordinance observed by the Church. It is taken as a proclamation of the Lord’s death until He comes again and done in remembrance of Him. The bread represents His body which was broken for us, and the fruit of the vine represents His blood which was poured out for the forgiveness of sins. One must examine themselves so as to not take of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy fashion. The practice does not cause one to cannabalistically eat and drink the blood of Christ by transubstantiation, nor to eat and drink Christ’s actual body and blood along with the bread and cup. Once again, this is an ordinance for the believer only.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Points of Contention with King James Version Onlyism

1. While the New Testament of the King James Version was translated from the Textus Receptus, being the most extant transcripts available at the time, the translation was still originally commissioned approximately 34 decades prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which now are the most extant transcripts available.

The translation has a number of editions including 1611, 1629, 1638, 1762, and 1769. So which of these years did the KJV become the ­­only Word of God in English? Let's not forget that the KJV originally included the Apocrypha as well.

While it is true that no original manuscripts are still in existence, this most reasonably leaves the practice of textual criticism rather than historical criticism to be preferred.

The Textus Receptus came from Erasmus, a Roman Catholic (some sources say to his dying day), who did not have a complete copy of the book of Revelation. He reverse translated verses in the book from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek, as well as adjusted texts in many places to mirror the Latin Vulgate. Additionally, he hastily rushed the composition to please his publisher which created a plethora of typographical errors.

While the Latin Vulgate is not a good resource to use for translation, as it is not an original Biblical language (and would thus produce a translation of a translation), the principle of translation used by Jerome, that is to bring the Scriptures into the common language of the people (Latin of the Roman Empire), is a commendable one. This principal of translation was shared by Jerome (Latin), Luther (German), Tyndale (English) and contemporary Bible translators. It is that very principal that the Roman Catholic Church corrupted in removing the availability of the Scriptures from the laiety in order to pervert them to their own means.

While the KJV is a viable formal equivalence of its day, it is not the best available formal equivalence with the exacting nature of such translations as the NASB. While the studious Bible reader can gain an understanding of the King’s English, it was a short-lived dialect and has not been the modern English language for hundreds of years.

These 6 points are not a dismissal of the KJV Bible translation, rather, they are a dismissal of the notion that the KJV is the only acceptable translation in English. While tradition and aged authority may predispose one to the preference of the KJV, to claim that it alone stands as the Word of God isn't just an example of poor scholarship, but borderline cultic. It is not the translation that is important, but the transmission of the message of the original manuscripts.