Archive for July, 2007

Dr. Van on KJVO

hebrew.gifDr Van,   When you refer to King James Version Only-ism, what do you mean?   Most people lump those who believe that God has preserved His Word in the Textus Receptus text with the Ruckmanite position, which says the King James Version is superior to the Greek and Hebrew.  The latter position is unacceptable.   Dr. Gary Gillmore, evangelist. 

Reply: 

1)  The Ruckmanite position, as you refer to it, is the one usually meant by King James Only people.   It declares that the English translation of 1611 is the one that God inspired, and that other translations are to be judged by it.  No transmission or translation, however, is infallible, whether declared so by pope, professor, or preacher.  Some among them even consider that the Greek and Hebrew texts are to be judged by the ‘Official and Inspired’ KJV, which, as you say, is unacceptable.  God molded and selected historic Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek for a distinct purpose.  No translation into another language, even Latin, can fully and properly convey God’s truth.

2)  Some, including Dr. Clearwaters, as you may recall, have declared the KJV to be the best of English translations for one reason or another.  Dr. Clearwaters favored it for its literary quality and clarity.  Others prefer it because it is closest to the Textus Receptus, that is, the Hebrew and Greek copies as handed down through the ages.  In my opinion, thus far, those who cite evidences and reasons to favor the TR have not been convincing.  New evidence, of course, might change that.  But, based on evaluation of extant Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, the texts used for more recent translations seem preferable.  Favoring  the TR or the KJ is no problem;  I still favor the KJ for many things.  Declaring the TR or the KJ the providentially correct transmission or translation is totally unfounded.

3)  The term inspiration refers to the original inscripturation (the first writing down) of the various special revelations from God, the sum total of which constitute our Old and New Testaments.  That inscripturation was divinely guided, infallible, without flaw.  No single text exactly represents those various originals.  Copies made through the ages have included errors made by copyists.  It is determining which words and letters were of the original inspired text and which might have been scribal errors that is the work of textual research.  It is in this area that differences have risen.

4)  One important distinction:  What did God promise concerning retention of His Word?  Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Luke 21:33) “and it is easier for heaven and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fall” (Luke 16:17).  “Till heaven and earth pass one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled” (Matt 5:19).   The doctrine of preservation declares that every detail of the autographa will survive.  It does not guarantee that anyone will be able infallibly to sort out which variation represents the original autograph and which was by later scribes.  Any who claim to be able to identify the correct text today, for any reason they invent, have merely appointed themselves God.  Declaring KJ only or TR official and infallible is definitely heresy.

5)  Some have reported that there is a divisive attitude among fundamentalists over this issue.  If that is so in some areas, it is either because certain dogmatic, unfounded views have engendered a bitter spirit or perhaps because a more-holy-than-thou attitude is being manifest.  Neither seems to be in the spirit of Christ.

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This article was written by Dr. Warren Vanhetloo, a former professor of mine at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary.  It is published here with his permission. You can subscribe to these Cogitations by emailing Dr. Van at cbsvan@sbcglobal.net.

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What Happened to the Ephesians?

ephlibrary.gifThe sun beat down on our heads as we descended the several flights of stairs to our destination.  Millions have walked this path, yet it was special for me, very special.  Finally, ducking my head through the entrance, I entered the cave.  It was dark and much smaller than I had imagined.  There was the place where he slept.  I could see clearly the chiseled area he used as a desk to pen the book.  I felt as if I was walking on holy ground.  Continue reading

Help Wanted!

bday.gifMy family reaches a landmark this Thursday with the 13th birthday of my oldest child Christina.  Christina is a very talented and intelligent young lady who is active in her local church and growing by leaps and bounds.  However…

I am both sobered and saddened by this upcoming event.

I am sobered because of the massive work to be done to prepare her for adulthood.

I am saddened because I have only 5 more years in which to accomplish this in house.

What advice can you give a young father at this stage in his life? 

CD Review: Reflections on a Journey

cd-2.jpgRecently, I had the privilege to review a new CD by pianist Greg Howlett, Reflections on a Journey.  I use the word privilege intentionally because this recording was a real joy to hear.  As a music pastor, I receive numerous samples of music and recordings in any given year; and, I must admit, I don’t often look forward to the time it takes to review what is mostly average or below average quality work.

However, with Reflections on a Journey, I took a journey myself.  When I was nine years old, I started piano lessons with Mr. Stanfield.  I can’t even remember his first name because he was always “Mr. Stanfield” to me.  He wasn’t the most advanced or educated teacher I have had, but he had more “heart” in his fingers than just about anyone I have ever heard or met.  He was very good though–don’t get me wrong!  Mr. Stanfield would sit at the piano in our church auditorium in Indianapolis, Indiana, and create a texture of music that always seemed to express the hymn in just the right way.

It’s been many years since Mr. Stanfield and I parted ways and I have been a piano teacher myself now.  Though I can dazzle people with technique and ability, it is always the more mellow and familiar sounds that seem to impact my listeners.

Greg Howlett has that ability–to touch the strings of your heart–with his beautiful recording.  Accompanied by the Nashville String Machine orchestra and a talented chorus, Greg has taken ten familiar songs and created a musical masterpiece along with orchestrator Steve Mauldin that you will want in your home library and church bookstore.

You can listen to samples by clicking here.

You can order the CD, watch a Behind the Scenes video, and learn more about Greg at: www.greghowlett.com.

What Is a False Teacher, pt. 2

The second New Testament book that I want to survey on the subject of false teachers is 2 Peter, specifically chapter two:

1. Just as false prophets came out of Israel, false teachers will come out of the church. (2:1)
2. False teachers infiltrate (pareisaxousin) the church. (2:1)  They are deceptive in their approach.
3. The content of the teaching of false teachers is heresies (haireseis). (2:1)  Interestingly, “heresies” is transliterated, not translated.  In classical Greek, haireseis were schools of philosophies.  In the NT, it describes religious parties or sects, like Pharisees (Acts 15:5) and Sadducees (Acts 5:17). 
4. These heresies bring spiritual ruin (apoleias). (2:1)
5. False teachers deny the Redeemer. (2:1) [There is some debate over the meaning of this verse.  I take the position that the false teachers were not regenerate and only claimed that Christ had bought them.  You could also make an argument for unlimited atonement saying that Christ died for everyone, even false teachers; though they deny His claim on their lives.  I don’t wish to make this point a prolonged discussion for this thread.  Simply, let it suffice that false teachers deny Christ.]
6. False teachers bring sudden judgment on themselves. (2:1)
7. False teachers are successful in leading many astray. (2:2)
8. The teachings of false teachers are shameful (aselgeiais), referring to lustful, and in this context, sexually immoral activity. (2:2)
9. False teachers are blasphemers of truth. (2:2)
10. Because of their greed, false teachers will fabricate words (plastois logois) in order to commercialize (emporeusontai) the church. (2:3)
11. The judgment of false teachers is sure and imminent. (2:3)

Verses 4-10 contain illustrations of God’s sure judgment on sin.

12. False teachers indulge the flesh. (2:10)
13. False teachers despise authority. (2:10)
14. False teachers are brazenly arrogant. (2:10-11)
15. False teachers have no better instincts than animals when it comes to spiritual things. (2:12)
16. False teachers will receive the just reward for their sin. (2:13)
17. False teachers revel in unrighteousness. (2:14)
18. False teachers are habitually addicted to sin. (2:14)
19. False teachers have willfully rejected truth. (2:15-16)
20. False teachers cannot deliver on their promises. (2:17)
21. False teachers are unregenerate and will go to hell. (2:17)
22. False teachers lure people into immoral living. (2:18)
23. False teachers lure immature believers. (2:18)
24. False teachers promise freedom that they don’t even know personally. (2:19)
25. False teachers are slaves of sin. (2:19)

There is much more that could be said and many more passages that could be examined.  However, in the final installment of this short survey, I will summarize my findings thus far and draw a few conclusions about false teachers for discussion and, hopefully, understanding.