February 15, 2009
Rick Warren twisting scripture as he always does
February 15, 2009
This article was written by Pastor Gary Gilley who will be one of the featured speakers on the DVD we will be releasing in the spring.
Enjoy the article-Tim
Use and Misuse of Scripture
The truly blessed individual is described in Psalm 1: His delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law he meditates day and night. Godly people delight in the Word of God. They love it; they cherish it; they can’t get enough of it. That is why they meditate on it day and night. It is their joy to contemplate God’s truth. Such lovers of truth take seriously Paul’s injunction to be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15). Those who desire God’s approval must handle accurately, or literally, “cut straight,” the word of truth. They diligently study the Bible in order to interpret it correctly and then apply it properly. Anything less results in workers who are ashamed – not because they do not mean well, or do not love the Lord, but because they have mishandled the Scriptures and thus, at least to some degree live false lives, leading possibly even to the dishonoring of God. No child of God wants to dishonor their Lord and so the careful study of the Word is serious business. We do not have the option of carelessness or superficiality, much less distortion of the biblical text. So it is the precious privilege of the child of God to, year by year, grow in his understanding of Scripture. Never perfectly, but always earnestly, the believer craves to increasingly know God’s truth more fully. For in doing so we honor Him and live life abundantly (John 10:10).
Of course, those who so love the glorious truths of the Word will also contend earnestly for the faith (the body of truth found in the Word) which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). All of us will fight for the things we treasure. If we treasure our marriage, we will stand against all obstacles that would destroy that marriage. If we value our children, we will protect and guard them from all that would harm them. If we adore the Word of God, how can we do anything less than fight for it against all adversaries? It has always been beyond my comprehension as to how a believer can claim to love God’s Word and yet tolerate teachers who pervert it.
This brings us to the topic of our paper. Satan, of course, has always sought to twist and misrepresent the Scriptures. Over the years he has invented many ways of doing so, but recently he has used several seemingly benign methods that I believe are going undetected by many evangelical Christians. Please consider with me three areas that need careful evaluation.
Hermeneutics is the science that teaches the principles, laws and methods of interpretation. Whenever we attempt to interpret anything, be it the IRS code, the sports page, a novel or the Bible we use certain hermeneutical methods. When we seek to understand almost any literature, besides the Bible, we all tend to use normal, literal hermeneutics. Loosely this means that we take words and sentences at face value, expecting that the author meant what he said and we can understand what he meant. Theologians call this the grammatical-historical approach. But when it comes to the Bible, Christians throughout history have had a hard time using normal hermeneutics. Instead they have tried to infuse into the Word meanings that were never intended. For a fuller understanding of some of the errant approaches of the past, see my book, “I Just Wanted More Land,” Jabez, or Bernard Ramm’s Protestant Biblical Interpretation. I am more interested at this point in some of the newer approaches that are rapidly becoming popular among the evangelical elite. Some of the new hermeneutics seem to spring from postmodern and deconstruction thought (see TOTT papers on postmodernism). But whether or not this is the case, there is a movement away from the objective grammatical-historical method to a more subjective slant in which the reader’s understanding of the text takes precedence over the original intent of the author (in the case of the Bible, the Holy Spirit). On a popular level this is evident in the many Bible studies in which believers are encouraged to share what a certain passage of Scripture “means to me.” Often no one has actually done any careful study of the text, nor is anyone’s interpretation considered wrong or challenged. The implication is that whatever the text means to you is a proper interpretation, even if it is far from what the author intended it to mean. On the scholarly front the rage is to backpedal from the grammatical-historical approach and develop methods that emphasize the subjective element (i.e., what it means to me). Some scholars effectively neutralize the meaning of the text by bringing a preunderstanding to it. Rather than allowing the text to speak for itself, a preconceived foreign meaning is brought to the passage with the result that the true meaning is lost or distorted. For example, open theists bring to the text of Scripture a preconceived understanding that God cannot know the future with certainty. They then reinterpret any passage which speaks of God’s foreknowledge through the grid of their presuppositions. Others, even in conservative camps, are advocating that a passage of Scripture can have multiple meanings. This is a repudiation of one of the cardinal rules of grammatical-historical hermeneutics, that of one meaning in any given text. This is a vast and concerning subject, far beyond the scope of this paper. I would refer you to Robert Thomas’ excellent book, Evangelical Hermeneutics for more on this matter. The bottom line is that if we desert normal methods of interpretation, if we do not allow the text to speak for itself, if we insist on bringing our own meanings to the passage, we will not be accurately handling the Word of God.
Flowing directly from the stream of modern hermeneutics are modern translations. I have explored some of the issues surrounding translations, including the King James controversies and the manuscripts debate, in previous TOTT papers, so I will not replow that ground. At this point I am more interested in the philosophy behind the numerous translations of Scripture available today. Most translations in the past have been attempts to render into another language (my comments will be limited to English) as closely as possible the Hebrew and Greek words in which the Bible was originally written. While no translation has ever been infallible (only the original autographs are), and while all translations involve a certain amount of interpretation – since it is impossible to literally render word for word Hebrew and Greek into English – most translations attempted to stay as close as possible to the biblical languages. The King James Version is a case in point. The translators endeavored to produce a translation of Scripture that was as literal as possible and still be readable. That they did a remarkable job can be attested by the longevity of the KJV, first published in 1611 and still being read today (with some modifications) by millions. Other works such as the American Standard Version (ASV), The New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New King James (NKJV) and now the English Standard Version (ESV), have all had this same philosophy and all, I believe, are excellent attempts at translations.
But hand in glove with the rise of subjective hermeneutics has been the popularity of translations that do not attempt a word-for-word, literal translation, but a thought for thought rendering. These freer translations aim at dynamic equivalence: producing the same effect on today’s reader that the original text produced on the original reader. In such versions far more interpretation on the part of the translators go into the work as they attempt to explain what the authors meant rather than rendering what they said and allowing the reader to interpret the words for themselves. To some degree this is true of any translation, but the freer the translation the more interpretation is taking place by the translators. Easily the best known translation in this field is the New International Version, which has become the best selling English Bible of our times. Recently the Today’s New International Version has been published. It attempts a gender-neutral translation – replacing masculine pronouns and sometimes nouns in an effort to make the Bible less offensive to certain segments of society. Also popular is the New Living Translation.
Then there are the paraphrases such as The Living Bible and more recently, The Message, which make no attempt to translate words at all but amount to running commentaries on the Bible. Understood as mere commentaries, paraphrases may have their place. Unfortunately, as we will see, many misconstrue them to be translations leading to a plethora of problems.
The bottom line is that the further a translation moves from the literal, the more interpretation is taking place, and the less accurate to the original text are the words found in the translation. Let me give you a typical example. Observe the translation of the Greek word sarx in a number of translations. It is important to note that sarx literally means “flesh” and can refer to physical flesh or something spiritual, depending on the context. Compare five versions’ rendering of sarx in Romans 8:9a.
KJV: “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you.”
NASB: “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.”
NIV: “You, however, are controlled not by your sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.”
LB: “But you are not like that. You are controlled by your new nature if you have the Spirit of God living in you.”
Message: “But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourselves than of him.”
Note that the first two translations – both literal in philosophy – translate the word sarx as “flesh,” leaving the interpretation of the word up to the reader. Also, the literal rendering of the sentence produces the sense that if the Holy Spirit dwells in an individual, then they are not in the flesh. In other words, a person cannot be a believer and still be in the flesh. The Christian’s position in Christ is that they are no longer in the flesh. But the NIV translates sarx as “controlled not by your sinful nature.” Not only is one Greek word translated by a phrase, but that phrase changes the meaning of the text. The NIV interpretation would lead us to believe that the issue is one of control, not one of position. It is not, according to the NIV, that we have been set free from the flesh (i.e., we are no longer in the flesh) but that we are not controlled by our sinful nature. A massive amount of interpretation has taken place, and the interpretation actually changes the meaning of the verse from Paul’s intent. The Living Bible rendering goes further, completely removing any idea of the flesh at all. Now we are controlled by our new nature – a concept foreign to the passage. What The Message is doing is anyone’s guess, and quite typical of this paraphrase. The Message’s message is a complete distortion of the text. It is amazing the accolades that this paraphrase has received in the Christian community when it consistently changes the meaning of the Scriptures.
The point is this – the further a translation moves from the philosophy of literalness the less the work is a translation and the more it is an interpretation, and the more untrustworthy it becomes. Dynamic-equivalent versions are usually easier to read and therefore may be helpful to the young Christian and children. They also may prove useful as reference tools and general reading, but for serious Bible study a literal translation is indispensable.
The following chart by Robert Thomas will help us in our selection of translations. It measures the relative deviations of translations from the original Hebrew and Greek texts, i. e., how close are the translations to the original. For Bible study I believe that only the literal translations should be used.
The Church of the Closed Bible
This is the most subtle and insidious of the three areas of concern, and will be the topic of our next paper.
 Robert L. Thomas, How to Choose A Bible Version (Great Britain,: Christian Focus Publications, 2000), p. 96
by Gary E. Gilley
February 15, 2009
The article featured will be by Pastor Gary Gilley but I wanted to let everyone know where I stand on this issue as well.
The which version is best bible discussion can get very heated very quickly.
I use a King James Bible. Always have probably always will.
I also use a New King James Bible which I like as well.
Here is part of the problem as I see it.
The King James Bible has been good to go for around 400 years or so.
I can see why we perhaps wanted to change the language a bit to make it more readable.
Good point but I also dont buy the excuse that you cant (or our kids) understand the King James Bible.
Its very readable and why are we constantly lowering the bar with our children instead of raising it?
For instance if your kids are required to read classic literature such as “Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens do you think they will be able to find a newer version thats easier to read?
Of course not.
So we really need to get over the thee and thou conflict that is often bought up when reading Gods word in the King James Bible.
I am also not a King James Bible only person.
We really need to realize that Erasmus who wrote the Textus Receptus was a Dutch Humanist as well as a Roman Catholic priest until the day he died. He also was in a hurry when he wrote the Textus Receptus using a limited amount of manuscripts because he had a deadline.
So I do not buy into a Catholic conspiracy with the Westcott Hort text since Erasmus lived and died a Roman Catholic priest. Wescott and Hort were liberals but they were not Roman Catholic.
The facts about Erasmus are there and part of history now.
That also doesnt mean I dont think there is a problem noticing that the King James is good for 400 years or so and then a couple different translations come up which is fine.
Now we have around 50 different translations of the Bible in English and I can assure you that our English language has not changer that much to require so many translations.
Thats part of the problem why so many translations in such a short time?
And there are some really bad ones out there.
The Message Bible which is used often ( seems to be Rick Warrens fave) is a poor new age paraphrase Bible.
Its what Eugene Peterson thinks the Bible says.
Then go do some research on Eugene Peterson.
I avoid The Message like the plague and I cringe when I hear people quote it.
And now we have the Green Bible which focuses more on creation.
Can you say paganism.
On the other side of the coin I think Gail Riplingers book (which I own) “New Age Bible Versions” is very poorly written full of misquotes, bad research and generally some very weird conspiracy theory.
I have read and watched hours of Ms Riplingers debates (back when she debated) and read a lot of her counter arguments against guys like James White.
I find her attitude and fruit to be very unscriptural and un Christlike.
Not that our enemy satan is not trying to tear down Gods Word and go back to his original ploy “Did God really say”‘?
You will find the enemy very alive and well within the Emergent Church and much of their teachings.
Anyway thats my two cents and Im not going to part fellowship with someone who uses a NIV even though I personally would not use a NIV because I dont think its as good as a King James Bible.
Comments are closed on this blog now so if you have a beef feel free to email me.
Here is Garys article part One and Two.
Its full of fine and balanced solid research information. And then we will be moving back to more topics of the Emergent Church-Thanks Tim
The Bible Translation Debate – Part 1
(December 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 14)
There are many Christians who are confused over the plethora of Bible translations that are available today, especially to the English reader. A visit to any well-stocked Christian bookstore would result in discovery of translations such as: the King James Version, the New King James Version, the Revised Version, the Revised Standard Version, the Jerusalem Bible, the American Standard Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the Geneva Bible, the New International Version. In addition one would run across several paraphrases such as the Living Bible, the Phillips translation, and recently released, the Message. If all of this is not overwhelming enough, we find that these translations come packaged in wide variety of “reference Bibles.” Reference (or study Bibles) are not translations as such, but rather Bibles that incorporate certain footnotes and study aids along with whatever translations chosen. Some of the more popular include, the Life Application Bible, the International Inductive Study Bible, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, The Scofield and the Ryrie Study Bible. In recent days a new study Bible has appeared for almost every niche in the church. There is the Full Life Study Bible and the Spirit-filled Life Bible for Charismatics; the Catholic Study Bible for Catholics; The Children’s Ministry Resource Bible for children workers; African Heritage Study Bible for American Blacks; The Experiencing God Study Bible for the mystical; The Woman’s Study Bible for women; the Overcomers Bible for those involved in 12-step programs; the New Geneva Study Bible for the Reformed; The Student Bible for the student; and of course, Ryrie and Scofield for the dispensationalist. Unfortunately, this is only a sampling of offerings. It is enough to confuse veteran believers, pity the poor new convert.
By God’s grace, however, let’s say you have made your selection and head to town to make your purchase. As you enter the bookstore you are suddenly sidetracked again as your eyes behold a copy of Gail Riplinger’s book, New Age Bible Versions. To your grave astonishment you find that Riplinger has denounced the very Bible you had intended to buy as corrupt, and perhaps, even of the devil. As a matter of fact, all translations, except the 1611 KJV are part of a New Age conspiracy to usher in a one-world religion by destroying God’s Word, according to Riplinger (It might be added at this point that Riplinger’s work has been largely discredited even by those who agree with her basic position). At this point, you collapse on the floor, crawl to the nearest Barnes and Nobles and purchase a cheap novel. It is just too difficult to read the Bible.
Maybe it would be best to start over with a fresh understanding of Bible translation. The Bible obviously did not come to us in its present form. Rather, as God inspired its human authors His words were written down in scrolls. These original manuscripts (or autographs as they are sometimes called) contained no errors, presenting perfectly the Word of God. However, there are no known originals left. What we possess today are thousands of copies of the original manuscripts (this includes fragments, which in some cases may contain only a verse or two). The problem is that while the manuscripts we study today agree to an incredible extent there do exist differences. It is comforting to note, however, that scholars estimate that the text we have before us is between 98 and 99.9% pure — exactly as originally written. Only about 50 readings of any significance is in doubt, and none of these affect any basic doctrine. So we can have complete confidence in our text.
As the church became more established, certain definable New Testament manuscript traditions tended to become the standards within more or less defined areas. These became known as “text-types” and there were four of them:
The Byzantine text: Preserved by the Byzantine Empire, there are far more manuscripts of this tradition than in the other three combined, but most of them are of relatively late date.
The Western text: Sprang from fairly undisciplined scribal activity, and therefore, considered the most unreliable of the “text-types.”
The Alexandrian text: Prepared by trained scribes, most likely in Alexandria and its regions. This text has excellent credentials.
The Caesarean text: Probably originated in Egypt and was a mixture of the Western and Alexandrian texts.
The Textus Receptus and/or the Westcott and Hort
The problem facing the scholar is deciding which of the texts-types are the most accurate, and then choosing which of the manuscripts within the text-types are the best. Some of the criteria used in making such decisions are: 1) the age of the document. Usually the older the manuscript the more authoritative it is. 2) the length of the reading. The shorter the reading of a given passage the more preferable it is since it has been proven that later scribes, at least, tended to add bits rather than remove them. 3) the difficulty of the reading. The more difficult the reading the more comfortable we are with it since, once again, the scribes were more likely to amend a difficult reading than an easy one. Having said all of this, however, not all scholars agree on the reliability of the texts-types. Among conservative Christians there has developed a major disagreement between two schools of thought:
The Textus Receptus:
In 1516 the Roman Catholic/humanist Greek scholar Erasmus gathered together about six Byzantine manuscripts (none of which contained the entire NT and none of which was written before the twelfth century) and published a Greek NT. He was persuaded to do so by a printer who desired to get a Greek text to market before a competitive version, at that moment being compiled by others. As a result Erasmus was forced to work from a very limited number of manuscripts and in great haste. He, and others, would later revise his work many times over the next century. When the translators of the KJV began their work on the NT it was from a revision of Erasmus’ Greek NT that they did their work. Later, in 1633, another revision of Erasmus’ work contained these words, “The text that you have is now received by all, in which we give nothing changed or perverted.” From that point on Erasmus’ revised Greek NT has been known as the “received text,” or the “Textus Receptus.” It is important to note that the text was not received in the sense that God put His stamp of approval on it, or that the official church of that day did either. It was received in that it was considered the standard text of that time. It is also of value to realize that the TR is based on a small number of haphazardly collected and relatively late Byzantine manuscripts (it is not based upon the whole Byzantine tradition which consists of thousands of manuscripts). It was compiled by an unsaved Catholic scholar motivated by greed. In about a dozen places its reading is attested by no known Greek manuscript at all. Yet, it was to become the basis for all English and European translations from 1611 to 1881. And the TR is at the foundation of the translation debate today.
Westcott and Hort:
Since 1881 most translations have been based upon the Greek NT text developed by B.F. Westcott and F.J.A. Hort. These, somewhat liberal scholars, argued that the Byzantine text was of late origin and therefore inferior to the Alexandrian tradition. In their work, the scholars used manuscripts that dated back to the second century, some 600 years earlier than anything used by Erasmus. As a basis they used two manuscripts — the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus. These works are believed by many to be the finest and most complete NT manuscripts known to exist. However, they could not have been used by Erasmus for they had not been rediscovered in his day.
While neither tradition is without flaw, most modern translators of the Bible have chosen Westcott and Hort’s work because of its careful scholarship based upon more recent discoveries , its use of much older and more complete manuscripts, and upon the apparent fact that the Byzantine manuscripts did not exist before A.D. 350 and are never quoted by the ante-Nicene fathers. On the other hand the Alexandrian text-types are found in Biblical quotations by the ante-Nicene fathers and in early versions dating back as far as A.D.200.
Honest disagreement still remain concerning which Greek NT is superior. However, among those who love God’s Word there is no conspiracy or attempt to corrupt the Word of God. I believe that all manuscripts can be used and studied, and as was stated earlier, we can have complete confidence in the Bible that is in our hands.
Just a word on the manuscripts behind the OT. When the KJV was translated, the oldest Hebrew manuscripts available were copies made about A.D. 850. Since 1890 many older manuscripts have been discovered, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of our Hebrew manuscripts now date back to 200-300 B.C. Most scholars assume that the older the manuscript the more accurate it is likely to be. If this is true, then modern translations of the OT have a 1000 year advantage over the translators of the KJV. Either way, it is comforting to note, that the Dead Sea Scrolls have given solid proof that the later manuscripts in our possession are accurate and trustworthy.
by Gary E. Gilley
Related Article: Part 2
The Bible Translation Debate – Part 2
(January 1997 – Volume 2, Issue 15)
We now move from the subject of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts to the English translations available today. It must be understood that there is no such thing as a true literal translation. Instead, there is a spectrum, a graduation. Translation is not a pure mechanical process, and is never completely divorced from interpretation. The desired end product is a rendering that means what the original means, but is written in a way that we can understand. The translators of Scripture take three approaches:
These are attempts to render the original languages as literal as possible, even at the expense of readability sometimes. The best examples are the KJV, The NKJV and the NASB.
Paraphrases represent the opposite approach, sacrificing accuracy for readability. Works such as the Living Bible, Phillips, and The Message, are all highly readable but represent more the interpretation of the author than a translation of the text. These may have value as a comparison but are of little use as a legitimate translation.
Works such as the NIV attempt to blend the best of accuracy and faithfulness to the text, with readability that gives clear and easy understanding. This necessitates a great deal more interpretation on the translators part than a strictly literal translation. For example, in Rom 8:3-9 the NASB consistently translates “sarkos” as “flesh,” which is the literal translation of the word. The NIV, on the other hand, in its attempt to help us understand what “sarkos” means, translates it in a number of ways: “sinful nature,” “man,” “sinful man,” and “sinful.” While the NIV’s translation may be more easily understood and more similar to the way we talk today, the question is, “Is it accurate?”
A study of the above passage shows that it actually causes more confusion. The NIV’s translation boils down to an interpretation with which many Bible students would disagree. On the other hand, how many modern readers understand what it means to be “in the flesh?” And how many would study to find out? These are the dilemmas that the translator faces. It might be added that both the KJV and the NKJV translates “sarkos” two different ways in this passage: as “flesh” and as “carnal.” So, in this passage anyway, the NASB is the most consistent and literal of the three translations.
The literal translations, such as the KJV, NKJV and the NASB, are superior especially for the purpose of serious study because of their accuracy. While they may be more difficult to read in places, the believer who truly desires to understand truth will get beyond this problem, without having to deal with the confusion that the freer translations invite. On the other hand, one might recommend one of the free translations, such as the NIV, for new Christians, children, or for general reading.
THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS
A brief history of our English translations might be of interest at this point. It should be noted that godly leaders have always attempted to put the Bible in the language of the people in order that they might “Grow in respect to salvation” (I Pet 2:2). The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic and was translated into a Greek version, the Septuagint, approximately 200 years before Jesus walked the earth. The Vulgate was a Latin translation of the whole Bible, by the scholar Jerome in A.D. 405. This version of the Bible was known as the Vulgate because it was in the vulgar, or common language of the people.
It was not until 1380 that the first English translation was produced, by John Wycliffe. The English government opposed this work, eventually even passing a law against any English translations. Those who resisted found themselves persecuted. Wycliffe was so hated that his remains were exhumed and burned in 1428.
It would be almost 150 years before another translation of the English Bible was published, this time by William Tyndale. Again the English government and clergy opposed this work, and King Henry VIII issued a proclamation in 1530 that the translation, and circulation, of the Scriptures in the common language of the people be forbidden. Tyndale’s famous response was, “I defy the Pope and all of his laws; if God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plow shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.” Tyndale was able to follow through on this threat, but ultimately died a martyr for his efforts.
Persecution was unable to stop the translation of Scripture into the English language. In 1535 the Coverdale Bible was published, followed by the Matthews in 1537 and the Great Bible in 1539. The next important translation was the Geneva Bible (1560), which was translated by Christian refugees who fled Britain during the reign of Queen Mary. Since the translation was produced in Geneva, Switzerland it became known as the Geneva Bible. But the real significance of this work was that it contained marginal notes, of both a doctrinal and practical nature, which became very controversial due to their Reformed theology, and their apparent disdain of kings. It was the Geneva Bible which the Puritans studied and brought to America on the Mayflower. The Pilgrims hated the King James Version and would not even allow it in the colonies for years. The Geneva Bible would be the preeminent English translation for seventy-five years. As a side note, it was also known as the “Breeches Bible” because of its reading of Genesis 3:7, “And they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves breeches.” Two other popular translations of the day were the Bishop Bible (1568), which was the work of Archbishop Parker and sanctioned by Queen Elizabeth, and the Douay Bible of 1582 which was a Roman Catholic translation.
It was between 1607 and 1611 that the greatest of all English translations of the Bible — the King James Version — took place. Forty-seven scholars, working in several teams, produced the greatest piece of translation that the world had ever seen. Its accuracy and beauty has endeared the KJV to millions for almost four hundred years. King James I of England had sanctioned a new translation (although it never was given an official civil or ecclesiastical authorization despite the handle, “Authorized Version”). King James was apparently not a believer, lived a very ungodly life and hated the Puritans. However, because of the popularity of the Geneva Bible with its anti-king sentiment, he felt threatened. He called for a new translation; he did away with all marginal notes; and he used some Puritans as translators to insure its acceptability. Although the KJV would undergo numerous revisions over the years (the modern KJV is very different from the original) there would not even be a major attempt at a new translation until the 1881 Revised Version and its American cousin, The American Standard Version of 1901.
These two translations, and almost all that have followed them, are based on the Westcott and Hort Greek NT rather than The Textus Receptus. This fact has set up the debate that still lingers among many, concerning which translation is more accurate (see The Bible Translations Debate Part I).
Some King James-only advocates, refer to the NASB and NIV (and sometimes even the NKJV) as corrupt translations. They usually attempt to point to the differences between the translations that they believe are attempts to subvert the true meaning of the Word of God. For example, they claim that the NASB and the NIV do not use the word “blood” as often as the KJV, which is supposed to prove that the NASB and NIV are soft on the issue of atonement.
Besides being pure nonsense, the fact is that all translations could be challenged by such criteria. For example, even David Hunt, a supporter of the KJV, admits that when it comes to declaring the deity of Christ, the modern versions excel. He says, “There are eight verses in the New Testament that clearly declare that Jesus is God: Jh. 1:1; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; II Thes. 1:12; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; II Pet. 1:1; and Rev. 1:8. The KJV is clear in four of these (Jh. 1:1; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; and Heb. 1:8), whereas the NASB and NIV are clear in seven of the eight (the same four plus Titus 2:13; II Pet. 1:1; and Rev. 1:8). . . If the situation was the other way around. . . Some KJV-only advocates would surely accuse the modern versions of down playing Christ’s deity” (Berean Call, Jan, 1995).
I personally believe that the Bible translations debate is blown way out of proportion by some. Rather than fighting over which translation is superior, we might do well to spend more time reading one of the great translations, especially the NASB, the KJV, the NKJV and perhaps the NIV. For further reading on this issue I would recommend:
The Men Behind the King James Version, by Gustavus S. Paine.
The King James Version Debate, a Plea for Realism, by D. A. Carson.
What You Should Know About Bible Translations, by G. Christian Weiss.
by Gary E. Gilley
February 5, 2009
Very good and informative article by my sis in the Lord Deb Dombrowski at Lighthouse Trails.
I would also encourage those who want more information on Rick Warren buy Warren Smiths book “Deceived on Purpose”. Its a very good read and biblically solid information from my friend and brother in the Lord Warren Smith.
Here is a link if you would like to purchase this book.
Here is Debs article
When Lighthouse Trails reported in November of 2006 that New Age leader Marianne Williamson came to Rick Warren’s defense regarding his strategy to bring about global peace, tying it in with global meditation, it became clear to some that it was just a matter of time before Rick Warren came out of the “new spirituality” closet. That day is much closer now with the launching of the premier edition of his new magazine, the Purpose Driven Connection.
After subscribing online to the magazine, Lighthouse Trails received the first issue less than 24 hours later by U.S. mail. While the customer service and delivery was remarkable, the content of the magazine is troubling.
The 144 glossy page, high quality magazine has been put together by a professional team of editors, marketing engineers, and design directors and will be issued four times a year at a cost of $29.99 annually or $10 an issue. Rick Warren is the Editor-in-Chief, and is also one of the main writers. On a first run through, one thing becomes quickly apparent – this is a promotional project for Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven Movement. Aside from articles written by him and about him, as well as the mention of his name in numerous spots, there are 18 photos of Rick Warren throughout the publication.
But a pricey magazine filled with the chief editor’s name and picture does not constitute serious concern. What does, however, is the material within its cover. The magazine reads like a Robert Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale, and Peter Drucker book all rolled into one with articles written by contemplative proponents Mark Batterson, Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, and Lee Strobel.
An emphasis in the magazine is “connection.” In the “Editor’s Letter,” Rick Warren says: “YOU WERE CREATED FOR CONNECTIONS…. Life is all about connecting. A disconnected life is merely existing” (p.2-3). Warren promises that the Purpose Driven Connection will give the “power” and the tools for this connection. “Power flows through connections…. When you’re a member of the Purpose Driven Connection, we’ll help you develop the four kinds of relationships you need in order to grow: mentors, models, partners, and friends” (p. 3).
In addition to the magazine, an online community, a Personal Spiritual Health Assessment, and Small Group Study Guides, Warren plans on offering PDC Courses, Summits, Retreats, Coaches, Weekends, and more. With so many venues being offered to members, it is a fair question to ask what resources and influences will be used to provide all this training.
Those who have tracked Rick Warren over the past several years, using biblical discernment, know there have been New Age implications in his teachings and his persuasions. Warren Smith, in his book Deceived on Purpose, laid out many of these implications and Warren’s tie to New Age sympathizer Robert Schuller. In the premier issue of Purpose Driven Connection, Warren has once again brought in New Age influences, which are given as tools to build Purpose Driven connections.
In a section of the magazine called “The Scene,” one page is devoted to popular “Christian” books. Warren has included books that have contemplative and or emerging slants, such as Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel, as well as listing The Shack as a “notable best-selling Christian” book (no disclaimer or warning provided, which gives the indication to readers that this is a good trustworthy book….
Even more troubling, on that same page of Purpose Driven Connection is a book titled Led by Faith written by Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagaza with a foreword written by Rick Warren. Ilibagaza’s story is a most incredible and heart rending story of her survival, hiding in a cramped bathroom with a group of other women during the Rwandan genocide. But Ilibagaza’s message is one that resonates with New Age leader Wayne Dyer, who has vigorously promoted Ilibagaza. Her books are published by Dyer’s publisher, one of the largest and most prolific New Age publishers today, Hay House. It is Dyer who said that A Course in Miracles would be the way to bring peace to the world. In Ilibagaza’s first book, Left to Tell, she acknowledges Dyer’s influence in her life.
This Lighthouse Trails report is not intended to bring criticism against a woman who suffered so much in Rwanda. It is rather to show that America’s most popular evangelical pastor, who few Christian leaders have dared to challenge on his beliefs and actions, is moving swiftly toward a global spirituality that will ultimately reject the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. The Purpose Driven Connection is a step toward this reality.
Immaculee Ilibagaza, a Catholic, has also written a book about Mary apparitions called Our Lady of Kibeho. On Ilibagaza’s website, it reads:
“After the genocide, and two decades of rigorous investigation, Our Lady of Kibeho became the first and only Vatican-approved Marian (that is, related to the Virgin Mary) site in all of Africa. But the story still remains largely unknown. Now, Immaculee Ilibagaza plans to change all that. She made many pilgrimages to Kibeho both before and after the holocaust, personally witnessed true miracles, and spoke with a number of the visionaries themselves.”
Some may feel that for Rick Warren to write the foreword (and promote in his magazine) to a book that has a story of such incredible suffering, releases him from any obligation. But in light of Rick Warren’s major influence on millions of people and given the fact he claims to be a Bible believing Christian, he is obligated indeed. To promote a book and author, in the name of Christianity, that points to Wayne Dyer (author of Living the Wisdom of the Tao and Real Magic) and Mary apparitions is misleading and unruly.
On the back page of the Purpose Driven Connection sits a full page promotion for an organization called Hands on Network, which is now part of the Points of Light Institute. The promotional reads: “It is Through People That Change Happens in the World. Take action. Be the change.” The “Be the Change” theme is prevalent in the global spirituality efforts. As we have previously reported, Rick Warren is on the “Leadership Council” of a liberal organization, Service Nation (Be the Change, Inc, which is working toward mandatory volunteer service for Americans. The motto of Service Nation, “Be the Change,” is taken from Hindu guru, Mahatma Gandhi and a motto that both Rick Warren and President Barack Obama would agree upon. Incidentally, in the middle section of Purpose Driven Connection is a full page photo of Rick Warren and President Barack Obama, along with a five page interview Warren did with Obama, which states that Obama’s “Christian beliefs … influence his views on faith, abortion, freedom, and evil” (p. 74).
What is most tragic about the Purpose Driven Connection is that Rick Warren presents stories of those who have truly suffered in one form or another (persecution, natural disaster, poverty, etc), but he is using these stories to further his plans for a Purpose Driven world and has left much of truth behind, offering a false spirituality in its place. It is equally disturbing, that in a world where so many have either rejected Jesus Christ or not heard about him at all, in what could perhaps be the 11th hour before the return of Christ, a man who claims to be a Christian and who many say is the major representative for evangelical Christians goes virtually unchallenged by Christian leaders and the majority of Christian pastors and professors. The question must be asked, is Rick Warren hiding behind the sufferings of the world in order to masquerade his plans of a new universal reformation that will include all religious persuasions and will offer the world a “gospel” that offends no one, yet for that very reason can save no one?
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
(1 Timothy 4:1-3)
February 5, 2009
I have just added a bunch of new links be sure to check them out.
The Inerrancy of Gods Word conference was a real blessing.
Jacob Prasch was very good and I enjoyed the hang time I got with Jacob who came up singing “This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys to me.
(fyi I played with Gary in the late 70′s early 80′s)
Jacob was funny but yet a skilled teacher speaking on the Bible and false interpretations, as well as Heresy and Biblical authority.
Jacob also spoke on the errors of Calvinism and how John Calvin studied the Bible. Jacob also touched on humanism.
Very powerful speaker.
Everyone else did a great job as well.
And it was always good to play some music with Buck Storm.
February 4, 2009
From my friend and brother in the Lord Warren Smith
THE SHACK & and; Its New Age Leaven
God IN Everything?
By Warren Smith
“A little leaven leaventh the whole lump.”
- Galatians 5:9
The Shack is being described as a “Christian” novel and is currently ranked number one on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback fiction. Many believers are buying multiple copies and giving them to friends and family. The Shack reads as a true story, but is obviously allegorical fiction. The book conveys postmodern spiritual ideas and teachings that challenge biblical Christianity – all in the name of “God” and “Jesus” and the “Holy Spirit.” Author William P. Young’s alternative presentation of traditional Christianity has both inspired and outraged his many readers. All the while his book continues to fly off the shelves of local bookstores.
Much like New Age author James Redfield’s book The Celestine Prophecy, The Shack is a fictional vehicle for upending certain religious concepts and presenting contrary spiritual scenarios. Allegorical novels can be a clever way to present truth. They can also be used to present things that seem to be true but really are not. Some books like The Shack do both.
I was drawn into the New Age Movement years ago by books and lectures containing parabolic stories that were not unlike The Shack. They felt spiritually uplifting as they tackled tough issues and talked about God’s love and forgiveness. They seemed to provide me with what I spiritually needed as they gave me much needed hope and promise. Building on the credibility they achieved through their inspirational and emotive writings, my New Age authors and teachers would then go on to tell me that “God” was “in” everyone and everything.
I discovered that author William P. Young does exactly the same thing in The Shack. He moves through his very engaging and emotional story to eventually present this same New Age teaching that God is “in” everything.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me first provide some background material concerning this key New Age doctrine that “God is in everything.” A good place to start is with Eugene Peterson, the author of the controversial Bible paraphrase The Message. After all, Peterson’s enthusiastic endorsement of The Shack is featured right under the author’s name on the front cover.
Ironically, it was Peterson’s endorsement that caused me to be immediately suspicious of this high-profile, bestselling “Christian” book. Through his questionable paraphrasing of the Bible, Peterson had already aligned himself in a number of areas with New Age/New Spirituality teachings. One obvious example was where he translated a key verse in the Lord’s Prayer to read “as above, so below” rather than “in earth, as it is in heaven.” “As above, so below” was a term that I was very familiar with from my previous involvement in the New Age Movement. This esoteric saying has been an occult centerpiece for nearly five thousand years. It is alleged by New Age metaphysicians to be the key to all magic and all mysteries. It means that God is not only transcendent — “out there”— but He is also immanent — “in” everyone and everything.
But, as I found out just before abandoning the deceptive teachings of the New Age for the Truth of biblical Christianity, God is not “in” everyone and everything. The Bible makes it clear that man is not divine and that man is not God (Ezekiel 28:2, Hosea 11:9, John 2:24-25, etc.) In Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, I quoted the editors of the New Age Journal as they defined “as above, so below” in their book, As Above, So Below:
“’As above, so below, as below, so above.’ This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one.” (p. 32)
My concern about Peterson’s undiscerning use of “as above, so below” in the Lord’s Prayer was underscored when the 2006 bestseller, The Secret, showcased this same occult/New Age phrase. In fact, it was the introductory quote at the very beginning of the book. By immediately featuring “as above, so below” the author Rhonda Byrne was telling her readers in definite New Age language that “God is in everyone and everything.” Towards the end of the book, The Secret puts into more practical words what the author initially meant by introducing the immanent concept of “as above, so below.” On page 164 The Secret tells its readers—“You are God in a physical body.”
Most significantly, in his book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, New Age leader Benjamin Crème reveals that a New World Religion will be based on this foundational “as above, so below” teaching of immanence — this idea that God is “in” everyone and everything:
“But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent — outside of His creation — and also the concept of God immanent in all creation — in man and all creation.” (p. 88)
New Age matriarch Alice Bailey, in her book The Reappearance of the Christ, wrote:
“…a fresh orientation to divinity and to the acceptance of the fact of God Transcendent and God Immanent within every form of life. “These are foundational truths upon which the world religion of the future will rest.” (p. 88) [link added]
In a November 9, 2003 Hour of Power sermon – just two months before he was a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals – Crystal Cathedral minister Robert Schuller unabashedly aligned himself with this same New Age/New World Religion teaching. The man who claims to have mentored thousands of pastors, including Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, stated:
“You know in theology — pardon me for using a couple of big words — but in theology the God we believe in, this God of Abraham, is a transcendent God. But He is also an immanent God. Transcendent means up there, out there, above us all. But God is also an immanent God — immanence of God and the transcendence of God — but then you have a balanced perspective of God. The immanence of God means here, in me, around me, in society, in the world, this God here, in the humanities, in the science, in the arts, sociology, in politics — the immanence of God…. Yes, God is alive and He is in every single human being!”
But God is not in every single human being. God is not in everything. One of the many reasons I wrote Deceived on Purpose was because Rick Warren presented his readers with this same “God in everything” teaching. Quoting an obviously flawed New Century Bible translation of Ephesians 4:6, Rick Warren — whether he meant to or not — was teaching his millions of readers the foundational doctrine of the New World Religion. Describing God in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life, he wrote:
“He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.” (p. 88)
Compounding the matter further, “immanence” has been taught as part of the Foundations class at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. An ill-defined reference to immanence on page 46 of the Saddleback Foundations Participants Guide plays right into the hands of the New Spirituality/New World Religion by stating:
“The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation).”
All of this discussion about “God in everything” immanence is to explain why The Shack is such a deceptive book. It teaches this same heresy. This book ostensibly attempts to deal with the deeply sensitive issues surrounding the murder of a young child. Because of the author’s intensely personal story line, most readers become engaged with the book on a deep emotional level. However, the author’s use of poetic license to convey his highly subjective, and often unbiblical, spiritual views becomes increasingly problematic as the story line develops. This is most apparent when he uses the person of “Jesus” to suddenly introduce the foundational teaching of the New Spirituality/New World Religion — God is “in” everything. Using the New Age term “ground of being” to describe “God,” the “Jesus” of The Shack states:
“God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things….” (p. 112)
This false teaching about a “God” who “dwells in, around, and through all things” is the kind of New Age leaven that left unchallenged could leaven the church into the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. And while many people have expressed a great deal of emotional attachment to The Shack and its characters — this leaven alone contaminates the whole book.
Clearly, the “Jesus” of The Shack is not Jesus Christ of the Bible. The apostle Paul chided the Corinthians and warned them that they were vulnerable and extremely susceptible to “another Jesus” and “another gospel” and “another spirit” that were not from God (2 Corinthians 11:4). In the Bible, the real Jesus Christ warned that spiritual deception would be a sign before His return. He further warned that there would be those who would even come in His name, pretending to be Him (Matthew 24:3-5;24).
Without ascribing any ill motive to William Young and his book The Shack, the author’s use of spiritual creativity seems to give a “Christian” assent to the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. His mixing of truth and error can become very confusing to readers, and God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33).
Dr. Harry Ironside, pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948, emphasizes the fact that truth mixed with error results in “all error” — a direct refutation of the Emergent Church teaching to find “truth” wherever it may be found — including books like The Shack. Ironside wrote:
“Error is like leaven, of which we read, ‘A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.’ Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.” (quoted in The Berean Call, April 2008)
The Shack has touched the hearts and emotions of many people. While there are many other examples of the author’s unbiblical liberality, introducing the heretical New Age teaching that “God dwells in, and around, and through all things” is in and by itself enough to completely undermine any value the book might otherwise have for faithful believers. To allow yourself to get carried away by this story, while disregarding the book’s New Age/New Spirituality leaven, is to fall prey to the “truth-and-error” mixture that pervades The Shack. And as Dr. Ironside warned—“God hates such a mixture.”
Before Christians buy one more copy of this book, they need to come to terms with what this author is ultimately teaching and what it is they are passing along to their friends and fellow believers.
“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (1 Timothy 4:4)
Warren Smith is the author of numerous articles and books on the topic of the New Age/New Spirituality and how it is entering the evangelical church.
Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church
The Light that was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace
Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel
February 1, 2009
Hi to all: I am wrapping up being at a conference in Tempe,AZ with a lot of friends and brothers and sisters in the Lord. Spent some great time with my friend and brother Buck Storm worshipping the Lord and playing some wonderful music. Always good to play music with Buck.
Also spent a lot of time with our good friends Don and Sue Butler. Iron sharpens Iron.
Plus it was great to meet Jacob Prasch, David Hocking, Bill Koening, Dr Rick Oliver, Randall Price as well as spending some time with my friend and brother in the Lord Warren Smith.
Warren did a great job on exposing the book “The Shack”. More to come on that as well as topics the others addressed.
Pastor John Higgins was a wonderful host as well.
More to come on all this and lots of information coming this this week once I get back and have had some time to rest.
I will also be shutting off all comment’s on all my blogs and website’s.
It is a free country and people can respond to what I write and post on their own blogs.
To many times debate just turns into a schoolyard fight with people just gathering to watch the fight.
People in both camps.
I will lose hits because when you have guys like Richie Abanes, Greg Horton, or even Michael Newnham at Phoenix Preacher people will gather for the fight.
It all just crumbles down to petty bickering, and foolish talk .
None of which builds up the Body of Christ.
I will speak more on this later in the week.
There is a lot more unity than you would think.
At the conference I saw people who didnt agree 100% with each other come together with a common purpose.
I was also very encouraged to see the huge amount of young people at the conference who were hungry for truth and acurate information in this great time of deception.
I have asked some people mostly in the Nazarene denomination to reply publically they can still do that from their own blog, websites and or pulpits.
Again more on all this later.
We will also be expanding our links page make sure you check that out.
I can still be contacted by email for any concerns
More to come next week.
Peace and Blessings