Monday, January 28, 2008

Mourn for the Death of a Lost Soul

It is a sad day for the Mormon Church. Not because they have lost their President/Prophet (Gordon B. Hinckley died on January 27, 2008), but because they have sent another soul to hell. With former Governor Mitt Romney running for the GOP presidential nomination, this country is going further away from understanding what Biblical Christianity is all about. With the ridiculous conversations going on and the mindless acceptance of the Mormon cult as a valid Christian denomination, it’s no surprise that Mike Huckabee’s comments in response to Romney’s faith were taken out of context and plastered all over the liberal media. He was right; Mormons do believe that Jesus and Lucifer (Satan) are brothers. In fact, they believe we are all spirit brothers and sisters begotten during the pre-existence in Heaven by “Heavenly Father/Elohim” and his wife through physical intercourse. Sadly, with Mitt’s growing popularity and the growing trend in uneducated guesswork by such prominent “evangelical (I use this term very loosely)” pastors such as Joel Osteen claiming that just because Mitt uses common lingo that they share a Savior in Jesus Christ, it seems there is nowhere to turn away from the heretical, undiscerning minds of today’s postmodern culture. I leave you with a declaration from the Lord from the prophecies found in the book of Isaiah that are so important, the declaration is repeated three times in three sequential chapters.

43:10 - You are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.

43:11 - "I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me.

44:6 - "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.

44:8 - 'Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced {it} to you and declared {it?} And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any {other} Rock? I know of none.' "

45:5 - "I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;

45:6 - That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other,

45:7 - The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

So, although Mr. Hinckley believes he will be on his way to the highest “degree of glory” (3rd of 3 levels of heaven: Celestial - for Mormons who have kept ALL of the laws and ordinances of their church. What will the celestial heaven (kingdom) supposedly be like for a good Mormon? He will be a god, he will rule over a planet with his wives and spirit children.), he will in fact be suffering an eternal damnation in hell. If that sounds harsh, maybe we will begin to take the Gospel seriously and stop letting the Mormon cult ruin the souls of those who are perishing.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jack Chick and the KJV

It seems as if Jack Chick (Chick Publications) is at it again (as if he ever rests from the issue). Regardless of where you are in the world, regardless of the language you speak or understand, he is proclaiming once again that the KJV (1611) is the only “words” of God. In fact, a preface to his most recent article on the issue indicates “Jack Chick’s passionate message will either have you nodding in agreement, or gnashing your teeth in anger." I’m afraid that I am doing neither. While the premise of his article is that as America gets away from the faithful preaching of the Word, we are bound for failure and ultimately destruction, I do not agree that the KJV is the only true Word of God nor do I agree that one cannot be saved apart from it. The KJV is a beautiful translation and a wonderful formal equivalence of its day, however, to believe the argument that it is the only viable translation of the Word of God is both ignorant and lacking in scholarship.

Sadly, Mr. Chick believes that more contemporary translations are from Satan and used as a means to destroy our seminaries. While I agree with the idea that there are several faulty, even heretical translations available today, with good scholarship and a heartfelt conviction to translate the Bible as closely as possible to the original languages for the purpose of edifying the common man in his common language, I do not believe that the KJV is the only “words” of God in English. In fact, it seems as if this movement (KJV-Onlyism) is bent on the idea that the KJV itself is inspired. As ridiculous as it seems, apparently we must remind these brothers and sisters that the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and all others who wrote the Bible did not speak the “King’s English.”

An additional point I would like to make is that concerning Chick’s view of Catholicism. I do agree that the Catholic Church has made efforts at ecumenicalism in the past (during John Paul II's "reign") and that many evangelicals have succumbed to this temptation. I also agree that the Roman Catholic Church itself is an apostate organization (but, I would not say that there are no believers in the organization, even if said believers are spiritually immature, lacking in both discernment and faith to have already come out of the organization). This is not because I hold to the idea that the Pope is absolutely provable as the final “Anti-Christ,” but rather because of Catholic doctrines of interpretation (adding the Apocrypha and including such unbiblical teachings as purgatory, the papacy, and the granting of indulgences, etc.), church traditions (ex cathedra, mass, etc.), and general theology (infused righteousness, veneration of the saints, Marian co-redemption, etc.). These issues have proven time and again that the Catholic Church is based upon a man-centered Gospel in which man can save himself (by being a good Catholic) or the church can save man (through the work of the Priests), rather than upon a Christ-centered gospel in which man is completely incapable by nature and by choice in regards to his own righteousness to save himself. Wasn’t this the reason for the reformation? Yes, a corruption in morality, but also a corruption in theology.

All these things aside, another point to make from his article (“What’s Going to Happen to America?”) is that his understanding of believer’s aversion to his heralding of the KJV as the only “words” of God (as he calls it) is due to its cultic nature, not due to the beauty of its translation or a desire to pervert the Gospel. The entire principle of translation that brought us the Bible in its original inspiration as well as translations throughout the years is that it should be made available to the common people. Greek was the common language during the writing of the New Testament. Latin was the common language during Jerome’s translation to the Latin Vulgate. Luther translated to German, the common language of his day and location. Tyndale translated to English, the common language of his day and location. To conclude that the KJV is inspired (though it holds the inspired Word), or that the principle of translation (making the Word available to the common man) ended with the KJV is foolish. To require that everyone become familiar with a short-lived English dialect in order to fully understand the Word of God is also foolish. If we are to believe this, we are to also believe that unless you can read and comprehend Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek you are not allowed to read the Scriptures. If we go that route, we will end up on the same course as the Catholics with their “Latin Mass” and necessity of the clergy to interpret for us. Many apparently do not know this, but even Erasmus, compiler/author of the Textus Receptus used to translate the KJV, translated missing parts by use of the Latin Vulgate, as well as using it for better flow. If it is such a sin to use the original languages to translate into the common language, why is it not a sin to translate a translation and harmonize the Gospels with words not originally penned in the Greek?

As a last point, Christians who do not prescribe to the KJV alone do not “believe God’s words were lost with the originals,” do not wholly subscribe to an “’ecumenical movement,’ enticing many Protestants and Baptists into their net,” do not “claim both Christ and Ba’al,” do not control Christian bookstores to put the KJV “on the bottom shelf or it’s collecting dust in the back room,” and do not “hold the King James version in contempt.” In fact, I believe that the KJV is the most popular Bible translation available in English today. It is not the KJV, but rather the idea that this version is the focus of cultic Bibliolatry today, that so offends discerning believers in Christ.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Let's Play the "Blame Game"

What is it about human nature that causes individuals to shift both blame and responsibility for their actions upon alternate sources? Looking back to the book of Genesis in chapter 3 verses 1-19, we can recount the events of the fall from grace:

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, `You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" 2 The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.' " 4 The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! 5 "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." 11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." 14 The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." 16 To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." 17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, `You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. 18 "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

If you’ll notice, in verses 12-13, man blames the woman for his actions, and woman blames the serpent for her actions. All (the serpent, the woman, and the man) are punished for their sin in verses 14-19, but it is interesting how neither the man nor the woman take responsibility for their disobedience, but rather begin the continued art of blame-shifting from original sin.

Most recently, I observed while on a police ride-a-long a woman who was stopped and arrested for drunk driving after traveling the wrong way down a one-way street. Being nearly double the legal drinking limit for the operation of a non-commercial motor vehicle (.13 or 13% BAC [Blood Alcohol Content]), the driver never once related her behavior to the irresponsibility of her choice to drink in excess and drive, but rather not having asked her friend better directions (having turned right into oncoming traffic rather than left in the correct direction). Sadly, this illustration of behavior coupled with the Scriptural example given from Genesis adequately relates the human condition in relation to sin: That our foolish pride, recognized or not, causes us to shift the responsibility of our own sinful actions rather than address the fact that we are all filthy sinners deserving of death and in need of God’s beautiful grace (Romans 3:23, 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Whether Adam and Eve in the Garden claiming, “It’s not my fault, ‘they’ made me do it!” or this poor drunken fool of a woman declaring, “It was the directions!” we all have the same response in the flesh to our individual sin. According to James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all." So while we are in our sin trying to shift blame from ourselves to an outside source, we are all lawbreakers and guilty before God. In fact, Isaiah 64:6 tells us, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” While our fleshly nature attempts to divert God’s attention to our sin away from ourselves and his attention to our “righteousness” to ourselves, the opposite occurs. He holds us responsible for our own sin (Romans 14:11-12) and counts our righteousness as filth (again, Isaiah 64:6).

Think of how much more of a glorious example this makes Christ in relation to our gross disobedience to the Law of God. In fact, apart from Christ as Lord, God does not receive our righteous deeds as righteous deeds at all (Ephesians 2:10). In closing, it is the imputed righteousness of Christ which allows us to glorify God, and to receive this capability, we must first surrender ourselves with a repentant and contrite heart to a Holy God through Jesus Christ.