A response to Mark Ward’s article critical of the KJV and confessional text

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Mark Ward, PhD (Bob Jones University) has written an article critical of those who prefer the King James Version (KJV) and the Textus Receptus (TR)…

3 Ways to Graciously Engage KJV-Only Believers https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-graciously-engage-kjv-believers/

In his article which, according to its title, supposedly deals with “KJV-Only Believers,” Ward says,

“The mainstream KJV-only movement insists that its ultimate concern is not actually the KJV. It’s the full ‘preservation’ of the Greek and Hebrew texts from which the KJV was translated, namely the Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Greek Textus Receptus, or ‘TR.’ KJV-onlyism is actually, officially, TR-onlyism.”

Ward, here, shifts from KJV-only believers to those who believe in the “preservation of the Greek and Hebrew texts from which the KJV was translated.”

Contrary to what Ward asserts, here, about “the mainstream KJV-only movement,” many confessional Protestant Christians believe God, by his providence, watched over and preserved sacred Scripture over the centuries, in order for the people of God to always have access to the written Word of God. In fact, the historic Protestant confessions of faith, in their Scripture references, refer readers to passages found in the Masoretic Hebrew text and the Greek Textus Receptus (TR).

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1:8) states that the Hebrew and Greek texts of Scripture, “being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical,” meaning: God has providentially preserved the original language biblical texts throughout the ages.

It’s not extremist to believe God inspired and preserved his written Word.

It’s not something we should pity our poor misguided brothers and sisters for believing.

The inspiration and providential preservation of Scripture used to be something all Protestants believed, which tells us how far Ward and many other modern day “Protestants” and “Evangelicals” have drifted from historic Protestantism.

Further on in his sad article, Ward betrays his failure to grasp the subject with which he is dealing….

“But here’s something every KJV reader ought to know: Elizabethan English is no longer fully intelligible, and 1 Corinthians 14 tells us explicitly and repeatedly that intelligibility is necessary for edification.

“If with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air (1 Cor. 14:9).

“Even KJV extremists know it contains ‘dead words’ and obsolete phrases no longer present in the real-life lexical stock of English speakers.” 

Is Mark Ward correct? Let’s read, in the KJV, the same verse he quoted,

“In the same way, unless you use your tongue for intelligible speech, how will what is spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air” (1 Cor. 14:9, KJV).

Does anyone believe this verse in the KJV is not intelligible?

No doubt the KJV does contain some obsolete words, but it’s not hard — let alone impossible — to read the KJV if one desires to do so. I read it every day. When I do come across a word I don’t understand, which is rare, I look it up.

I look up the meanings of words all the time. In all sorts of books and articles I read. I’ve done this all my life, and I always will. It’s how I learn and increase my vocabulary.

There are dictionaries available that define the meanings of outdated words found in the KJV, such as the one available (free of charge) from the Trinitarian Bible Society; there are glossaries of outdated words bound in some editions of the KJV (e.g., Cambridge Concord); and some editions of the KJV include modern word alternatives in their margins (e.g., Westminster Reference Bible). Not to mention, there’s always Google.

What about Ward’s assertion that the KJV is written in Elizabethan English?

Is this true? No, it’s not.

The translators of the KJV gave us a unique form of English.

Unlike modern translators, whose translations Ward insists we use, the translators of the KJV reshaped early modern English by adapting it to the original language texts they were translating, thus providing us with a unique form of English; a unique biblical English shaped by the Hebrew and Greek texts of Scripture.

The spelling and grammar of the KJV was updated in 1769, making the English of the KJV very accessible to readers today.

In short, Mark Ward’s article is pathetic. I suggest you ignore it, and him.

“While the Renaissance Bible translator saw half of his task as reshaping English so that it could adapt itself to Hebraic idiom the modern translator wants to make no demands on the language he translates into.”

“The basic distinction between the Renaissance and the modern translators is one of fidelity to the original. Partly the loss of faith in the Hebrew and Greek as the definitive word of God has led to the translators’ loss of contact with it, but more responsibility lies in the belief that a modern Bible should aim not to tax its readers linguistic or interpretive abilities one bit. If this aim is to be achieved then it seems clear that a new Bible will have to be produced for every generation—each one probably moving us further away from the original text, now that the initial break has been made.”

Gerald Hammond, The Making of the English Bible (2; 12)

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Suggested Resources

Gerald Hammond, The Making of the English Bible https://www.amazon.com/Making-English-Bible-Gerald-Hammond/dp/0856354333

Alan Macgregor, Three Modern Versions: A critical assessment of the NIV, ESV & NKJV, and reasons for keeping to the AV http://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/publications/three-modern-versions/

Robert Preus, The Inspiration of Scripture: A Study of the Theology of the Seventeenth Century Lutheran Dogmaticians https://www.cph.org/p-655-The-Inspiration-of-Scripture.aspx

Garnet Milne, Has the Bible been kept pure? https://www.amazon.com/Westminster-Confession-providential-preservation-Scripture/dp/1522039155

Edward Hills, The King James Version Defended https://www.heritagebooks.org/products/the-king-james-version-defended-hills.html

Theodore Letis, The Ecclesiastical Text https://www.amazon.com/Ecclesiastical-Text-Criticism-Biblical-Authority/dp/0965860701

Theodore Letis Resources: http://www.holywordcafe.com/bible/Letis.html

Jakob van Bruggen, The Ancient Text of the New Testament https://tinyurl.com/yctj2o2r

Why Use the Authorised (King James) Version? http://www.tbsbibles.org/articles/why-use-the-authorised-king-james-version

TBS Bible Word List  https://www.tbsbibles.org/store/ListProducts.aspx?catid=607222&view_type=0

Confessional Bibliology http://confessionalbibliology.com/

Word Magazine https://tinyurl.com/ycereb4y

 

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Review: Institutes of the Christian Religion (1541 Edition)

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Calvin I finished reading today. Luther I start reading tomorrow.

Institutes of the Christian Religion ($23.14) 920 pages
Banner of Truth (1541 edition) https://www.amazon.com/Institutes-Christian-Religion-John-Calvin/dp/1848714637

I really enjoyed reading this book. I found it to be very edifying.

I read sections of it each morning as part of my morning devotional reading, after I’d read the Bible.

As the publisher says:

Among the intermediate editions of the Institutes, none deserves to be better known than the first French edition of 1541. Avoiding the technical details and much of the polemics of the final work, the Institutes of 1541 offer a clear and comprehensive account of the work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in creation, revelation and redemption, in the life of the individual Christian and in the worship and witness of the church.

As I said, I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be very edifying, the Spirit of God speaking to me at various times throughout this book. It was amazing to me how many times I’d read something in my daily reading of the Bible that was also in my daily reading of the Institutes.

Anyone interested in a good, basic introduction to Protestant theology will find it in this book. It’s very biblically based. Not philosophical, scholastic, or verbose.

The book is Smyth sewn, so it won’t fall apart on you. At 800+ pages, that’s very important. The book has clear and readable font. And it’s also available for a very good price.

Below are a few passages taken from the book…

“To summarize, then, the precept means this. As the truth was revealed to the Jews in symbolic form, so now, devoid of symbols, it is made known unto us. Throughout our lives we must think of perpetual rest from our works, so that God may work in us by his Spirit. Second, we should observe legitimate church order in the hearing of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and the offering of solemn prayers. Third, we should not place excessive burdens on those who are under our authority. In this way, there will be an end to the lies of those false teachers who in times past have fed poor common folk on Jewish beliefs, making no distinction between Sunday and the Sabbath except by saying the seventh day, which was formerly in force, has been revoked, but that one day should nevertheless be kept. That is simply to maintain that the day has been changed to spite the Jews, and to remain wedded to the superstition which Paul condemns. It is to preserve some secret meaning, as was the case under the Old Testament.” (144)

“He [the Holy Spirit] is the one who, refreshing us by his dew, distills for us the energy of life, which is why he is called ‘oil’ and ‘anointing’ (1 John 2:20, 27). He is the one who, by burning away and consuming our base appetites, kindles the flame of love in our hearts, a work for which he is called ‘fire’ (Luke 3:16). He is the one who breathes into us divine life, so that we should no longer live for ourselves but should follow his prompting and leading. So if there is any good in us, we owe it all to his grace and power. On the other hand, whatever we have of our own is only blindness of mind and crookedness of heart.” (258)

“For the Christian life should be so soberly controlled as to appear, from first to last, as a kind of perpetual fast.” (302)

“A Christian’s life is a perpetual study and exercise in the mortification of the flesh, until it is finally crushed and the Spirit of God rules within us.” (304)

“Since it is the Lord who forgives, forgets, and wipes away sins, let us confess them to him, in order to obtain grace and pardon. He is the physician; let us then show him our wounds. He is one who has been offended and injured; so let us ask him for mercy and peace. He is the one who knows hearts and who sees every thought; let us then open our hearts to him. He is the one who calls sinners; let us turn back to him.” (313)

“We accept and possess Jesus Christ by faith as he is presented to us by God’s goodness, and by partaking of him we receive grace twice over. First, being by his sinlessness reconciled to God, instead of a Judge in heaven to condemn us we have a most merciful Father. Second, we are sanctified by his Spirit, so that we may turn our minds to holiness and innocence of life.” (351)

“Now if men need some inducement to do good, there is nothing better to spur them on than to make them see the purpose of their redemption and calling. That is what God’s word does when it reveals that our consciences are cleansed from dead works by the blood of Christ so that we may serve the living God (Heb. 9:14); that we are delivered from the hand of our enemies so that we may walk before God in righteousness and holiness all the days of our life (Luke 1:74-75); that the grace of God has appeared so that, renouncing ungodliness and worldly desires, we may live sober, holy, and righteous lives in this world, as we await the blessed hope and revelation of the glory of our great God and Saviour (Titus 2:11-13); that we have not been called to provoke God’s wrath, but to obtain salvation in Christ (1 Thess. 5:9); that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, which it is not lawful to defile (1 Cor. 3:16-17); that we are not darkness but light in God, and that therefore we must walk as children of the light (Eph. 5:8); that we are not called to uncleanness but to holiness, and that God wills our sanctification, so that we abstain from all willful desires (1 Thess. 4:3, 7); that since our calling is holy, we can only answer it with purity of life (2 Tim. 1:9); that we have been delivered from sin in order to obey righteousness (Rom. 6:18).” (396)

“We must everywhere serve the cause of love and think of our neighbor’s edification.” (717)

“If, then, we are not our own, but belong to the Lord, it is clear what we must do to avoid going astray, and what our goal must be in every department of life. We are not our own: let not reason and will therefore determine our plans or the things we need to do. We are not our own: let us not therefore choose as our goal whatever might suit the flesh. We are not our own: let us therefore forget ourselves as much as we can — ourselves and everything around us. Again, we are the Lord’s: let us then live and die for him. We are the Lord’s: let his will and wisdom govern all we do. We are the Lord’s: let every part of our lives be directed to him as to their sole end. What progress that man has made who, knowing that he is not his own, denies his reason lordship and dominion over him and surrenders it instead to God! For just as there is nothing which leads to ruin more surely than self-satisfaction, so also the only haven of salvation is to cease to be wise in oneself, and to want nothing on one’s own account, but simply to follow the Lord.” (790)

“All believers, as long as they live in this world, will inevitably be as sheep to the slaughter, that they may be made like Jesus Christ their Head (Rom. 8:36).” (819)

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“Choose which of the two you wish.”

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The Martyrdom of Marinus at Cæsarea

At this time, when the peace of the churches had been everywhere restored, Marinus in Cæsarea in Palestine, who was honored for his military deeds, and illustrious by virtue of family and wealth, was beheaded for his testimony to Christ, on the following account.

The vine-branch is a certain mark of honor among the Romans, and those who obtain it become, they say, centurions. A place being vacated, the order of succession called Marinus to this position. But when he was about to receive the honor, another person came before the tribunal and claimed that it was not legal, according to the ancient laws, for him to receive the Roman dignity, as he was a Christian and did not sacrifice to the emperors; but that the office belonged rather to him.

Thereupon the judge, whose name was Achæus, being disturbed, first asked what opinion Marinus held. And when he perceived that he continually confessed himself a Christian, he gave him three hours for reflection.

When he came out from the tribunal, Theotecnus, the bishop there, took him aside and conversed with him, and taking his hand led him into the church. And standing with him within, in the sanctuary, he raised his cloak a little, and pointed to the sword that hung by his side; and at the same time he placed before him the Scripture of the divine Gospels, and told him to choose which of the two he wished. And without hesitation he reached forth his right hand, and took the divine Scripture. “Hold fast then,” says Theotecnus to him, “hold fast to God, and strengthened by him mayest thou obtain what thou hast chosen, and go in peace.”

Immediately on his return the herald cried out calling him to the tribunal, for the appointed time was already completed. And standing before the tribunal, and manifesting greater zeal for the faith, immediately, as he was, he was led away and finished his course by death.

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History (Book VII Chapter XV)

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My life isn’t mine anymore

Nero's torches, Henryk Siemiradski, 1876

“Nero’s torches”, Henryk Siemiradski, 1876

“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Romans 8:36)

Too many self-professed Christians are missing the power of love — and a proper understanding of the New Testament’s completion and fulfillment of the Old Testament.

Jesus didn’t defend himself, although he could have (Matt 26:53). Instead he prayed for those who murdered him (Luke 23:34). Stephen didn’t defend himself, he imitated Jesus by praying for those who murdered him (Acts 7:60). James didn’t defend himself when he was murdered with the sword (Acts 12:2). Eusebius tells us Peter and Paul died martyrs’ deaths in Rome (Ecclesiastical History, Book II Chapter XXV).

None of the Christian martyrs defended themselves. They’ve always prayed for those who persecuted them. This is what Christians do. Their love is expressed to the lost world by their unwillingness to react to hatred and violence in the same way as the lost world reacts to hatred and violence. Their love is expressed in a desire to imitate their Savior. All those who follow Christ will be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12), sometimes even unto death and, as Christians, we are not to fight back and defend ourselves, we are to pray for those who persecute us.

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” (1 Peter 2:21-23)

No one says this is easy to do. Not to fight back goes against everything within us. But that’s the point. I can’t react as I used to react. I can’t react as my flesh wants me to react. I have to be different. I have to be like Jesus. That’s what the lost world needs to see: a living example of the new life the crucified and resurrected Savior gives to his followers. Christians live their new lives by the power of the living Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us (Gal. 2:20), and not just for us but for the whole world (1 John 2:2).

A life lived by the power of the Holy Spirit doesn’t look like the lives lived by people in the lost world. It doesn’t look like the life I used to live. A new life lived by the power of the Holy Spirit will look strange, unnatural, and foolish to people who don’t know Christ as their Savior.

The cross of Christ and his resurrection are foolishness to the lost world (1 Cor.1:18; Acts 17:32) . And always will be. The followers of Christ who live their lives filled with love and forgiveness for those who deserve neither will always appear foolish to the lost world.

This is the whole point. It’s not supposed to make sense to the world. The Christian’s love is supposed to look oddly different — and be strangely compelling — to those who are lost. 

“God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

My life isn’t mine anymore. My life belongs to the one who loved me, was delivered up for my offenses, and was raised again for my justification (Romans 4:25).

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A special report on the death of Saniyah Nicholson

The late Saniyah Nicholson

The late Saniyah Nicholson

To the national corporate media, a young black child’s life is not worth reporting on when it’s taken by black male.

Even when it happens day, after day, after day in cities all across the USA.

This is the real racism that prevails in America’s national (not local) corporate media newsrooms.

Black kids being gunned-down by black men all over the nation is local news only. Like traffic accidents. The feeling is “There’s nothing we can do about it” or “We don’t care to do anything about it” which is nonsense. We can do something about it! We can end the failed war on drugs and we can revitalize the economies of impoverished inner cities if we care enough to do so.

We can provide hope to young black men. If we want to. If we care about them.

Sadly, no one of significance has cared about them for the past fifty years. MLK and RFK were the last two people (who could have actually gotten something done) to care, which is why they both were murdered.

To today’s national corporate media, a young black child’s life is not worth reporting on when it’s taken by black male.

On the national level, this ongoing pattern of dysfunction and violence is totally ignored.

No problem is ever identified.

No solutions are ever offered.

No national conversation ever takes place.

The talking heads on the Sunday talk shows are silent.

And silence is complicity.

In a country where guns are used to kill about 10 times more black children than white children each year, why is the national US media ignoring the plight of black children being gunned down on a near daily basis?

Without national media attention, and a national conversation, this problem will never be solved.

But the national media refuses to cover these stories and refuses to treat them as an on-going pattern of violence occurring in cities all across the USA.

The national media doesn’t care about black people, despite what it claims.

Shame on the national media!

help

Caught in the Crossfire – A special report on the death of Saniyah Nicholson… https://youtu.be/hLWOwtZmPQE

 

Pattern of Violence https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUDaValP-9OKvgrcwYShCTE9qGLYtnf8M

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Review: “The Presence of the Kingdom” by Jacques Ellul

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I’ve read quite a few of Jacques Ellul’s books over the years but I just got around to reading his first book, which was written in 1948:

The Presence of the Kingdom by Jacques Ellul https://amzn.to/2ls7k8J

I had high hopes for this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Ellul can be a challenge to read. And the fact that he wrote in French, and everything he wrote must be translated, doesn’t help. But it’s mostly his thinking that is challenging. Most people, including myself, simply haven’t thought about things as much as Ellul did, so it’s hard to get a grasp on his thinking.

The Presence of the Kingdom is the easiest of his books that I’ve read thus far, and this is probably because it’s his first book and the many thoughts he later fleshed out are, in The Presence of the Kingdom, in a more germinal stage.

This makes the book more interesting to me because, although he expands upon his ideas in later books, this book allows me to think for myself, and try to imagine where we should go next, as though he never wrote another book, which is exactly what Ellul was hoping for when he wrote The Presence of the Kingdom.

We need to know where we are before we can know where we need to be going. We need to realize the trouble we’re in and how to get out of it. We need to reach the world for Christ by living a different style of life in the world around us.

If you want to know why politics and wars never solve problems but only create new ones… if you want to know why we can never say “no” to the latest new technology… if you want to know why communication technology has created a lack of genuine human relationships… if you want to know how we can reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ… buy this book. You’ll be very glad you did.

Rarely, after reading a book, do I feel like buying a case of them and passing them out to neighbors, friends, and strangers on the street. But with The Presence of the Kingdom I feel like doing exactly that.

“At the present moment we are confronted by a choice: either a mass civilization, technological, ‘conformist’ — the ‘Brave New World’ of Huxley, hell organized upon earth for the bodily comfort of everybody — or a different civilization, which we cannot yet describe because we do not know what it will be; it still has to be created, consciously, by men. If we do not know what to choose, or, in other words, how to ‘make a revolution,’ if we let ourselves drift along the stream of history, without knowing it, we shall have chosen the power of suicide, which is at the heart of the world. But we cannot have any illusions; confronted by the power of organization, our revolutionary knowledge can scarcely be used. On the other hand, where are the men and women, at the present time, who have a true sense of ‘revolution’?”

Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom (p. 31)

“We do not have to strive and struggle in order that righteousness may reign upon the earth. We have to be ‘just’ or ‘righteous’ ourselves, bearers of righteousness. The Bible tells us that where there is a just man justice prevails… Thus justice is not a goal to attain, or a balance to be acquired, but it is the gift of God, free and inexplicable, which exists in our life so that our means are not intended to ‘bring in’ justice, but to manifest it.” 

Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom (p. 66)

“When I speak of ‘life’… I simply mean the expression of the Holy Spirit, working within us, expressing himself in our actual life, through our words, our habits, and our decisions. Thus what we need is to rediscover all that the fullness of personal life means for a man standing on his own feet in the midst of the world, who rediscovers his neighbor because he himself has been found by God. In the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit we receive the answer to this work of God, and we are bewildered because we are no longer very sure about the way forward, which no longer depends upon us. The end, as well as the means, has been taken away from us, and we hesitate as we look at this way which lies open before us, whose end we cannot see; we have only one certainty, and that is the promise which has been made to us of a certain order, which God guarantees: ‘Seek ye first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you’ (Matt. 6:33).”

Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom (pp. 77-78)

“Day after day the wind blows away the pages of our calendars, our newspapers, and our political regimes, and we glide along the stream of time without any spiritual framework, without a memory, without a judgment, carried about by ‘all winds of doctrine’ on the current of history, which is always slipping into a perpetual past. Now we ought to react vigorously against this slackness—this tendency to drift. If we are to live in this world we need to know it far more profoundly; we need to rediscover the meaning of events, and the spiritual framework which our contemporaries have lost.”

Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom (p. 138)

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Drag queen story time: behavior modification works best when you start early…

demon drag queen story time

Demon drag queen reading to children at the Michelle Obama public library

What Is Behavior Modification?

“Behavior modification is a treatment approach which is focused on changing behavior. This method is based on the work of B.F. Skinner, a well known psychologist who developed the operant conditioning theory — which suggests that behavior can be modified by consequences and through reinforcement. The major goal of behavior modification is to replace undesirable behaviors with acceptable ones. An underlying theme is the belief that how people react to an object or event can be modified by learning. This technique can be used in all age groups, and can be applied to a wide range of settings…” Continue reading: What Is Behavior Modification? https://www.livestrong.com/article/105661-behavior-modification/

I’m guessing these public libraries wouldn’t allow a Bible story time, even though the Bible is on the public library bookshelves…

An amazing demon drag queen has entertained children in Michelle Obama’s library

“A demon drag queen has entertained children at the Michelle Obama public library. The library in Long Beach, California, invited a drag queen replete in glorious red-tipped horns to read stories to the delighted kids…” Continue reading: An amazing demon drag queen has entertained children in Michelle Obama’s library https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/10/17/an-amazing-demon-drag-queen-has-entertained-children-in-michelle-obamas-library/

Drag queen Miss Kitty Litter reads to kids… Library comes together for pride celebration https://youtu.be/rl4zTAb5zxU

 

Drag queen Flo Leeta reads to kids… Library’s plans to have drag queen read to children sparks backlash https://youtu.be/PC3TUMQelqQ

 

Talking to Kids about Pride Month | Jessi Cruickshank https://youtu.be/9IMKpe5bmaw

 

Drag Queens Invited into British Primary Schools https://youtu.be/xmclPzB1j6E

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