In this day of religious toleration and widespread acceptance of "new and better" things, many long-held beliefs and practices have come under scrutiny. Claiming that so much of old-fashioned religion is too old-fashioned for this modern day, many have joined a revolution that seeks to challenge doctrines which are incompatible with current trends. Such examination is not intrinsically wrong; yea, we should abandon doctrines and practices which do not pass Biblical standards.
One of the doctrines receiving such a challenge in the last 100 years has been that of the gender boundaries of a preacher. For long, most agreed that God would only use a man as a preacher. Since the late 1800's (particularly since Azusa Street in 1906-1908), many have claimed otherwise, saying our Lord equally considers a woman as a candidate for a preacher. When the debates have ended, the dust has settled, and the hair stops flying, this question from Galatians 4:30 remains concerning whether God uses women as preachers: "Nevertheless what saith the scripture?"
A GREEK TRAGEDY
A certain Bible college was teaching the "original" Greek to its eager students. The students were supposed to translate some Greek passages on their own. The Ground rules were. (1.) Translation must be uniform. (2.) You must correct the English with the Greek. (3.) You must not correct the Greek with the English (4.) The passages to be translated must contain the word "PNEUMA." (5.) A rationale must be given for the resulting translation.
1. Student Ron Minton translated Matt 12:43 as follows, his reasoning being that flatulence was a problem in Bible times, so when a man broke wind, he tried to get away from folks.
When the unclean WINDis gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places . . . -- Matt. 12:43
2. Student Doug Kutilek translated Mark 1:2 as follows, his reasoning being that a tornado developed and drove Jesus into the desert.
And immediately the WINDdriveth him into the wilderness. -- Mark 1:12
3. Student Chris McHugh with Charismatic connections, translated Matt. 11:7 as follows, his reasoning being that they were undergoing revival and folks were expecting John to get the shakes, but they were told not to expect it.
And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with theSPIRIT? -- Matt. 11:7
4. Student Robert Hymers translated Mark 4:39 as follows, his reasoning being that an evil spirit caused the sea to be turbulent.
And he arose, and rebuked the SPIRIT, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the SPIRIT ceased, and there was a great calm. -- Mark 4:39
5. Student Estus Pirkle translated Acts 2:2, 4 as follows, his reasoning being that the context of verse four inferred the uniform translation in verse two.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty SPIRIT, and it filled all the house where they were sitting . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the WINDgave them utterance. -- Acts 2:2,4
6. Student Truman Dollar translated Acts 27:7 as follows, his reasoning being that the SPIRIT, as in other passages, directed them away from Cnidus.
And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the SPIRITnot suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; -- Acts 27:7
All agreed that the Greek was much more superior and clearer than the English and that learning it was ever so helpful in understanding and communicating the word of God. They also agreed that students of the Greek were superior to those, who only knew English. Then Professor Whatchmahamaczysz gave them a much more difficult passage, and this is the way that they translated it.
Jesus answered, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the WIND, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the WIND is WIND. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The SPIRIT bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the WIND." -- John 3:5-8
The students’ reasoning went something like this. If a man is born of water, it makes sense that the elements are being discussed. Wind like water is also an element. John 3:8 discusses a subject that does what it wants or desires to do. Since the wind cannot desire or want to do something, it must be the Spirit that does what He desires. The professor gave them all an "F" on this one, because they did not uniformly translate the word "PNEUMA." He said that they should have chosen "SPIRIT" in every place or "WIND" in every place, so that the translation would be uniform.
Professor Whatchamahamaczysz, unhappy with his students' last translation study, decided to give them another chance. The Professor told them that there are certain Greek words that are translated by certain English words in some places and different English words in other places. Bound to correct this unscholarly situation, the professor gave his Greek class an interesting new assignment, using a King James Bible.
The professor instructed his students to choose a Greek word, and then take two passages and uniformly translate them, writing down a brief conclusion. The professor promised greater appreciation for language study and a deeper insight to the real meanings of the Bible. Here are some of the results:
Student Stewart Custer read James 1:17, "Every good and perfect gift . . . is FROM ABOVE” and decided that "ANOTHEN" in John 3:3 should be rendered, “Except a man be born from ABOVE.” He concluded that when Nicodemus said afterwards, "Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb?" meant that Nicodemus did not fully understand the word "ANOTHEN," thinking that it meant “AGAIN.”
Student M. H. Clark copied Stewart's passage and rendered Acts 26:5, "The Jews knew me from ABOVE” instead of the word "ANOTHEN" reading "the Jews knew me from the BEGINNING.” His reasoning was that the Jews knew about Paul's trip to the third heaven.
Student Bobby Sumner read Luke 1:3, "having had perfect understanding of all things ‘from the very first’” and decided that "ANOTHEN" should be translated, "the coat was . . . woven FROM THE FIRST” in John 19:23 instead of "woven FROM THE TOP." His reasoning was that the coat was predestined to be woven.
Student Jim White read Mike's passage, Acts 26:5, "which knew me from the BEGINNING” and decided that "ANOTHEN" in James 1:17 should be translated, "Every good and perfect gift . . . is from the BEGINNING” instead of “Every good and perfect gift . . . is FROM ABOVE” His reasoning was that spiritual gifts are all initially given at the moment of salvation.
Student John R. Rice changed "ye desire AGAINto bondage" (Gal 4:9) to "ye desire FROM ABOVEto bondage," reasoning that the Galatians had crossed the line and God gave them up to believe a lie.
Student Bob Jones changed "Thou couldst have no power at all . . . except it were given thee FROM ABOVE” (John 19:11) to "Thou couldst have no power . . . except it were given thee AGAIN.” reasoning that this was the second time power was given to Pilate.
Student Al Joyner changed "He that cometh FROM ABOVE IS ABOVEall" to “HE THAT COMETH FROM THE FIRST IS FROM THE FIRST.” (John 3:31). He reasons that Jesus was IN THE BEGINNING so He is FIRST.
Student Bobby Ross remembered that the professor had said that "ANOTHEN" is better rendered “ANEW.” so Bob rendered Luke 1:3 to read "having perfect understanding of all things anew" instead of "having perfect understanding of all things from THE FIRST.” He concluded that Luke had a touch of Amnesia and had everything brought back to him supernaturally.
Student Gary Hudson thought that Gal 4:19, "I travail in birthAGAIN” should be changed to, "I travail in birthFROM ABOVE” and concluded that it had something to do with a virgin birth but was not sure about it and did not have any more time, for he was late driving his truck.
-- by Herb Evans
Bible Believers’ Bulletin - August 1980, p. 1; September 1980, p. 2 (Expanded)
I copied this from a friend. It's typical of your modern Bible college graduate, who gets educated beyond his spirituality. I know preachers whom I could envision giving this very speech...
Modern Exegesis of Jack and Jill (From Atscft. Fur Alg. Bibifshng.)
Verse 1: "Jack and Jill went up the hill, to fetch a pail of water." The word "and" presents some difficulties, which are not apparent to the casual reader. There is considerable doubt in the minds of most scholars as to whether Jack was accompanied by Jill, in the sense that the phrase is intended to record an actual historical event. In the setting out upon this expedition, which was apparently undertaken for a specific purpose, or, at least, with some definite object in mind, it seems likely that Jack was stimulated to undertake this mission by a basic need for water. Since most functions in the home involving water, such as cooking, washing clothes, scrubbing floors, etc., are normally undertaken by the distaff side, it is widely held that the force of the "and" in this context probably means that Jack set out with a strong picture image of Jill in his mind, and several existentialist scholars also insist that her parting words were undoubtedly ringing in his ears.
Grosskopf, in his monumental essay entitled, "JackmitJilldamortarung," takes a contrary view. He states the passage considerably earlier than is generally believed (somewhere between 404 B.C. and the 19th amendment). On this basis he maintains that the hewing of wood and the drawing of water were exclusively carried on by women during this period, and that the words, "Jack and" are a gloss by some later copyist and did not appear in the original manuscript.
"Went up the hill" is obviously allegorical. The ancients, although probably ignorant of Otis' First Law of Evaluation ("What goes up must come down."), were well aware of the transfer of water by artificial means normally involves transportation from an inferior to a superior position. (E.g. The Old Oaken Bucket, Down by the Old Mill Stream, etc.). Professor Gard de I'Eau, the hydrographer and mystic, suggests that this ana basis symbolizes man's struggle to rise nearer to ultimate unity with the cosmic. The water, he continues, has precisely the same symbolism as the crossing of the Red Sea, the Jordan, Lindburgh's trip across the Atlantic, and the landing on Omaha Beach in World War II with which everyone is familiar.
"Fetch" in the original was probably "carry." This transportation of meanings indicates that editorial alteration of the text during the Irrational Period. As H.O. Cuspocus, Professor of Tautology at the university of Balogna, states "La Donna a mobile, qual piuma la Viants." In other words, "Iffa da water she's atta da bottom of da hill, she wanna da water atta da top." This, we submit, is a conclusive argument.
Great care must be exercised in the interpretation of the word "pail." Some authorities on Celtic history maintain that there is an allusion here to the twelfth century "pale." This is borne out by the disastrous ending of the periscope ("Jack fell down and broke his crown . . ." et seq.) "Beyond the Pale -- chaos" writes Sean O'Gobragh in the only part of his commentary, which has thus far been translated from Gaelic. (N.B. - Of course, it is to be remembered that the infallibility claimed for this passage does not apply to the text, but to the truth contained therein.) Now, for verse 2 . . .
-- copied Author Unknown
In an age where lack of political correctness is viewed as a character flaw, there is increased pressure on Christians and churches (from within and from without) to "get along" with almost everyone and to avoid offense at all cost. Indeed, it would seem that offending others and separating from erring brethren are grievous sins that only the ignorant and intolerant commit.
But the scripture places far more weight on sticking with truth than on sticking with friends, even when the truth offends friends. Indeed, Paul wrote in Romans 16:17, "...mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them." He said again in 2 Thessalonians 3:6, "we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly."
We have heard the arguments that we should strive toward unconditional love and unity. And indeed we should. But we should not compromise truth and scriptural principles to accomplish these things. As a matter of fact, unconditional love is what makes us unafraid to confront and separate from those who err. Those who insist on fellowshipping with Christians who sin and cling to error but without dealing with their scriptural errors are the ones who have no unconditional love. I believe what they are exercising instead is unprincipled love. Truthfully, their love for others may not seem to have conditions, but their love for truth does. They only love truth under the condition that it does not create problems.
And their unity is also a farce. They would (and do) sacrifice the truth for fellowship. Some would accuse us of sacrificing love for the cause of truth. But as I said above, true love will cling to truth. We will, however, sacrifice unity for truth, for truth is tantamount; without it, unity is sin.
And what do we mean by truth? We mean the truths, principles, and doctrines contained in the Word of God. Believing (or claiming to believe) the Word of God produces the anticipation that we will live by that book. And we are quite aware of the jaded argument that "nobody is perfect." But scripture does not implore us to separate from imperfect brethren, for then we would all be isolated one from another. But it does instruct us to separate from some brethren, so what are those qualifications? In reading passages dealing with separation and those who are in error (1 Corinthians 5: the man in fornication; Galatians 2: Peter and his two-faced actions around different groups of people; and others) we see that the deciding factor is that one party chose error, chose sin, and did not repent. As a matter of fact, it was separation from and confrontation of these erring brethren that brought about restoration and unity. Paul pointed out to the Corinthians that their approach to the fornicator thus far had been ineffective and wrong. What worked (as evidenced by his repentance and restoration mentioned in 2 Corinthians 7) was separating from him. As such we are not opposed to putting people out of church when they cling to their sin.
Now, some ask how much separation we should exercise from those who err. Well, to provide room for restoration, it is obvious that we do not close them off entirely. The distinction is easy and clear: do not fellowship with them. Being friendly in public or in passing is not fellowship. Going places with them, eating, and "hanging out" with them is fellowship.
Ironically those who promote such unity are often those who cause strife and division. My opinion is that they harp so loudly about unconditional love and unity and not being judgmental for one reason: as a mask for their own dissembling. They "...serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." And do they ever! These are folks who go around and gather information from everyone, then use that to strengthen themselves with some and against others; in other words, they do it to serve their own cause. What does the scripture say about someone who dissembles (creates strife and division) with his speech? Proverbs 26: 24-25 says, "He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart." So, they create strife because they have hate and deceit in their hearts. They "speak fair," which corresponds with Paul saying they use "good words and fair speeches" to deceive. The seven abominations mentioned are very likely those mentioned in Proverbs 6: 16-19, "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." Those who are the subtle troublemakers in a church will exhibit most, if not all, these characteristics. Oh, and rather than expressing unconditional love, we find that God hates these things, including him who sows discord.
God does not stop with these descriptions of their sin; he goes on to detail deeper their wickedness. Note Proverbs 26:26-28, "Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin." Give me a man who will show someone's wickedness before the church, confront people, and separate from brethren, over a man who coddles them and acts as though they have done no wrong. Phooey on your flattery and cunning lies; be straight-up and plain.
Dissembling and causing strife are most always accompanied by (perhaps even defined by) gossip. Gossip is compared with fire in scripture. To stop the fire, we are told to remove the wood. Note Proverbs 26:20-22, "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." Ridding the congregation of troublemakers is not our first desire. Rather we would that they repent and get right with God. That would remove the wood easily. But should that not happen, we are not opposed to removing the wood forcefully.
Finally, let me respond to the charge that dealing with sin and confronting those who err causes division and strife and is thus just as wrong as what we have dealt with here. There would be no division were it not for the sin and error, and particularly if people did not cling to it. The strife and division are caused by those who love their sin, not by those who confront the sin. We use true love for brethren and zeal for truth to purify our lives and the lives of those we love. To do otherwise is not unconditional love; it is unconditional compromise.
Hebrews 3 - "...whose house we are, so long as we continue..."
In Proverbs, "Through idleness of hands the house droppeth through."
Just as a decent man will not live in a rickety shack, so God will not inhabit us so long as we have run-down, ransacked, unkempt lives.
This is from the tail end of a discussion I was in about Bible correctors among fundamental Baptists.
Well, so much for Wycliffe's desire "that every man ... might read in the tongue wherein he was born the wonderful works of God." It's amazing to me that these men, just like the Catholics in Wycliffe's day, think we cannot understand the Bible without having access to the original languages, and think we cannot produce a Bible that does not require the common man to either have access to the originals or (as they would prefer) depend on the scholars to help him get the best understanding of his Bible. Who was going to guide me into all truth? The originals? The scholars? Or was it the Holy Ghost?
P.S. According to these men, there will never be a Bible faithful enough to the originals for them to get weaned off the original languages. Because the standard of faithful translation is their scholarship and their own measure.
Some time back while studying Hebrews 2, a thought occurred to me: Suffering made Jesus what he is today. Now, we know that Jesus knew all things from the point of view of scientific knowledge. But he did not know all things experientially ("...yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered"). That stayed with me. Below are several of my musings on the topic. Perhaps they will at some point be part of a more formal writing.
(Note: this has not been editted much; it's mostly as I originally wrote it, so it's somewhat raw)
The word "suffer" seems akin to permit or endure (Matthew 3:15, "...suffer it to be so...", 1 Timothy 2:12, "...I suffer not a woman to teach..."). Carries the distinct connotation of "going through" something. The latin root meaning (transliterated) "to bear under." That latin root, ferre, may be akin to the word ferry. It cannot be separated from endure, actually.
By its definition, it implies discomfort, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or other. We do not "suffer" things that please us - we enjoy them. We do not endure comfort, we welcome it. We may endure something which is not painful, but whatever we endure is almost always uncomfortable. That is how we define these things in our mind. Comfort and discomfort do not co-exist, and by the same token, then, neither do enjoyment and enduring, or pleasure and suffering (at least, not to the carnal man).
Why is it that we will allow ourselves to be pressured into compromise of our position or belief by religious leadership but we preach against exactly the same thing in secular leadership? If the secular boss asked a man to compromise his position on some doctrine, we would encourage the man to stand his ground and not give in. But in a church context, if the pastor asks a man publicly to do something which he does not agree with, the member would be chastised and looked down upon for standing his ground. We treat pastors like Catholics treat the pope. He is to be above question. If he, spur of the moment, requires you to do something, even something which violates your conscious and conviction, you are expected to comply. The consequences for even hesitating or expressing doubt are serious; they will include ridicule and mockery most likely. Certainly we are to obey those who have the rule over us and we are to follow their faith. But what when obeying them contradicts what we have received from the Lord, from the scripture, from the Holy Ghost? What happens when "obey them that have the rule over you" intersects with "we ought to obey God rather than man"? We should obey God, for sure. And should some say, "Well, you obey God in this case by obeying man," then we would be compelled to present him some of the more dire circumstances in which that might be abused (such as when Gary Maxwell told another man's wife to commit adultery with him). No, I have to answer to God at the end of this life and frequently during it. The healthy balance here is (GASP!) realizing that even good men, well-intentioned men, men who love God, still make mistakes, are still prone to err, and can still be corrupted by authority. And the more vehemently they deny it and the more strenuously they demand compliance and insist on their rightness, the more they harm their own cause and bring their character into question.
...Good Tidings of Great Joy Which Shall Be to All People...
A Christian Perspective on Christmas
By Pastor Billy Ball
It never ceases to amaze me how that every year we seem to have another preacher come around and go to great lengths to try to discourage God's people from committing the awful sin of celebrating the birth of our blessed Lord, a time otherwise known as Christmas. Yes, I knew it was about time for another message pronouncing woe upon those who would be so wicked as to get excited about what the Word of God said would be "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people."
What these preachers need to realize is that Christians are not necessarily celebrating Christ's birthday so much as we are celebrating His birth! And they cannot deny that His birth was celebrated, as we shall see a little later in this message.
The funny thing it that most of the time the ones who get upset are probably those same preachers who had just finished celebrating Thanksgiving, another national holiday not found in the Bible. You see, that seems to be one of their main reasons for not celebrating Christmas - "the early church didn't do it, so we shouldn't either."
I should probably remind them that there are several things which we celebrate today that are not found to be observed by N.T. Christians, things that are surely less significant than the incarnation or human birth of the Son of God. For instance, I don't read anything about early Christians celebrating their own birthdays or their children's birthdays. Have you ever done that, preacher? What about celebrating your parents' 50th wedding anniversary? What about sending a $25.00 flower arrangement to lay on a dead person's grave? Or maybe saluting a flag with your hand over your heart? What about that evil high school graduation? Oh, and I almost forgot about fireworks on the 4th of July and New Year's Day!
Do you set wicked things before your eyes?
In our age of never-ending entertainment, it seems there is always something to keep our minds occupied. By far the thing that is best at keeping our attention must be the television.
While Momma is busy cleaning house, the children can sit in front of the TV and leave her with little worry about whether they are getting into trouble. Dad can watch his favorite sports teams on Saturday afternoon. Mom can keep up with her "stories" every weekday afternoon. And, after a good supper, the entire family can catch the local and world news. Then they can all sit back and enjoy a good movie on one of the Big Three networks. Or they may even be able to see their favorite stars in their latest theater release, available on video only months after it was at the local cinema.
It all seems so harmless, doesn't it? But is it really? Or is the devil using the television to put things in our minds that we would not normally allow him to put there ? Let's examine four reasons that a Christian should exercise extreme caution with regard to television, including the rental of videos.
It seems that there are so many children today who have no respect for their parents, which many parents blindly believe is a fulfillment of 2 Tim 3:2 (...disobedient to parents ...). And although many children are rebellious against parents who train them up right, and children are accountable for their actions, many are provoked to such behavior by parents who obviously do not obey the scriptures themselves, especially the text scriptures from Ephesians & Colossians. So, having that in mind, and knowing from experience and observation the widespread nature of this problem, I would like to show you seven ways you can lose your children by "provoking them to wrath."
Surely one of the most troublesome topics for Christians today is the issue of smoking. Is it a sin, or just a matter of preference for each individual? Does it really matter whether or not someone smokes? Can someone who smokes be right with the Lord? Much has been said both for and against smoking by saved and lost people alike. But, as with any issue, we can find the truth about the matter from God's Word and can know of a certainty whether smoking is something that should be found in the life of a Christian.
If you get your feelings hurt easily, maybe you should learn to love God's Word before you read any more of this. Psalm 119:165, "Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." Or if you have made up your mind that, whatever the Word of God says, you are going to continue smoking, then please put this tract down because you are just wasting God's time and yours. Moreover, according to Proverbs 29:1, God may be tired of dealing with you already. "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." But if you have an open heart, and want to know what God says, then please read on. What you are about to read may change your life forever.
(originally written in the summer of 1995)
Just after the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, it seems there were many questions we asked of ourselves and even of God Himself. I would like to address our perplexity with some answers from God's Word.