The Word of God – A Petition for Reason
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11
During this sermon, I am going to reference myself about 8 million times, taking you through some of my personal experiences since coming to Christ. This is not to blow my own horn, but it is to provide you with a basis for understanding why I am constantly telling you to read your Bible.
The one way that I can, hopefully, drum this into you, is to tell you about my own experiences. In seeing them, I hope you will see why you also need to follow suit.
The night before typing this sermon, I was getting over a cold and quit work early, just after I got all the necessary Sunday stuff done. “The rest can wait while I get some rest.” As Hideko wasn’t home, and as I was too hungry to go to bed without eating, I turned on a war movie that I was still finishing from days before.
The guys were in combat and right in the middle of the fighting, they took a break to read their letters from home. Those letters were handwritten, took some time to arrive in Vietnam, and then more time to get out to the men in the field.
The next day, when I typed this sermon, I went as usual to the mall and 7-11 to do my morning jobs there before coming home and finishing this sermon. As I came home, an Amazon truck pulled in front of me, rushing down the road with some hugely important package that had to be there… right now.
We have gone from patiently waiting for things to come about, to wanting everything – right now. And more, we want bigger, better, flashier, and something that will delight our senses and tickle our ears. The love letters from home no longer fill our minds with delight.
We can talk to someone on the other side of the world, face to face, for free, and any time we wish. We hurry through our conversations and cut off the other person over a knock on the door, or the start of a football game.
We started this series with a sermon entitled, “The Word of God – The Basis of Our Faith.” Since then, we’ve mildly touched on only a few relevant points of doctrine. This was never intended to be a series on anything more than the most important of tenets which will at least give us a sound basis for not getting pulled into some teaching which is completely crazy. But that can still happen. I assure you of this.
To teach forever on doctrines which may be important to anyone of us would mean that we would never again actually get into the Bible itself. And if that was the case, each and every one of us would be all the less sound in our relationship with the Lord. Doctrine is not a means to an end. It is simply a part of what the Lord expects of us in our walk with Him.
And so, if you want to continue learning sound doctrine, there is a cure for your hunger. That is to attend our Thursday evening Bible studies. Yes, I know… Oh no! Each week, you will get exactly that – directly from the Bible, but also as a compilation of doctrinal concepts which fit in with the verses that are being analyzed.
However, what I teach you there is still based on who I am as a person, what I have learned through reading, studying, being trained by others, and so on. Or, maybe I simply plagiarized someone else – meaning I just took what sounded good and went with it because that was the easiest route to my path of wealth and stardom.
When I met the Lord – I mean when I really realized who I was in relation to Him and my need to devote my life to Him – I had a lot of other responsibilities in my life. Of course, I had Hideko as a wife, and you must know how time-consuming that is… well, at least for her.
Tangerine and Thorr lived in the house and children are known to take up some of our time. I had a business just down the road – Asian Trade. I also had several part-time jobs. In total, I worked seven days a week, from before sunrise until up to, or after, sunset.
But I also had something that most people don’t have. I had ten hours a day of free time. How is that possible? It is because I had Asian Trade. A retail business, especially one that deals with things that people don’t need, but who are just looking to fill their lives with something interesting, is a business that may have one customer a day, or maybe ten, each there for just a few minutes.
The rest of the time is spent all alone and it needs to be filled with something. With ten hours a day, and with nothing else to do, when the Jehovah’s Witnesses came and asked if I wanted to talk, I was like, “Thank God – relief from the boredom!”
And so, we talked. At one point, I asked a question, and one of the two said, “Oh that’s right here.” He opened up the Bible, showed me a verse that was pertinent to a particular part of my life that was not right with the Lord, and I froze. One verse had changed my life.
From that day on, I started to read the Bible – ten hours a day. Actually more, because when I got home, I started to read it again on the couch. If you have an audio Bible, you know that it takes about 70 hours to get through it. That is read aloud, and it is read slowly. One can read the Bible in much less time than an audio Bible.
Each week, I would read the Bible through. As soon as I got to the word “Amen” at Revelation 22:21, I would turn back to Genesis 1:1 and start again. For the first couple of months of this, I also started going to the JWs Kingdom Hall on Sunday morning. I had never seen anyone actually open the Bible to teach, and so I thought they must really know what they were talking about.
After just a short time, it was perfectly evident that what they were teaching had nothing to do with what the Bible says. If it was two months going there, I had already read the Bible at least eight times. If it was three, make it twelve or more. And so, through the Lord’s tender mercies of giving me a slow retail business to run, we parted company.
Text Verse: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16
Paul warned us about being tossed to and fro and being carried about by every wind of doctrine. And as he says, that is “by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” My question to you is, “How do you know?” It is the main subject of our final sermon of this series.
After my short stint with the JWs, I continued to read the Bible each week or so. But I started changing things up. I would count time intervals – how many years it was from this to this. Or how many days old a person was when something happened in his life, and so on. One time through, I counted how many times the word “Jerusalem” was mentioned in the Bible and made a note of all of the different names that God used when speaking of Jerusalem – there are a lot.
I also changed the order of reading. I would read one OT book and then one NT book. By the time I had read the Old once, I was also finishing the New for a second time.
Then I started reading books 1, 23, and 45; 2; 24, and 46, and etc. Thus, you would end at 22, 44, and 66. The patterns that run through that type of reading are literally astonishing, but that is for another day. Every time that I read through the Bible, I would think of something interesting to do or to search out so that there was some type of a challenge for me.
Eventually, I took a self-learn course in both Hebrew and Greek, and then bought an interlinear Hebrew and Greek Bible and read both testaments, out loud, in Hebrew and Greek. I had no idea what it said, but it was a start.
As I went through them, I also looked for translational and numerical errors in their text. By the time I was done – after going through only one time and without knowing Hebrew or Greek at even a basic level, I had almost nine single-spaced pages of errors which I submitted to the publishers for correction.
An example of a very basic error is that they translated the divine name Yehovah as “Jacob.” I would say that is a bit problematic for someone who thinks they are reading an accurate translation. If you want to see the errors – the four-part Bible is on the shelf in the back here at the church. Just flip through and look for highlighted or annotated errors.
Why is this important? Because people are reading that document, as pitifully translated as it is, and they think they are getting the straight scoop. They have put their trust in something which even a dolt like me, on my first read through it, could find innumerable errors.
And that was recommended to me by the well-known TV Show “Prophecy in the News.” It came with his highest stamp of approval, and it turned out to be a marginal translation at best. After that, I realized that if he is endorsing something so bad, I could find something other to do with my time than watch his TV show.
Ok, that is a portion of my original time in the word. I continued this pace for two full years until I finally closed Asian Trade and went back into the wastewater business. This wasn’t bad, because on the night shift, other than one’s regular duties, you either watched TV, read a book, or went outside out and threw paper airplanes. Again, I spent any free time reading the Bible.
So, I’ll let you do the math. I never counted the number of times that I have read it, and that isn’t what was important. What was, is that despite having read the Bible many, many times, I still had absolutely no theology at all.
One can read a manual on chemicals and understand what is being said, and yet not know how to properly work with those chemicals because there are other things that are involved doing so. One form of knowledge does not necessarily equate to ability in all areas of that discipline.
I knew all about Jesus, why He came, and what the Bible was telling me, but I had no way of expressing it. I had never told anyone about Him in a specific way and probably could not have done so. But one day, a pastor asked Hideko if he could tell her about Jesus. He did, and in three minutes, he had explained something that I could not have properly done after three years of reading the Bible.
Once I realized this, my next step was to make a sign, “Bible Questions Answered – Don’t Be Shy,” and I would go to the beach, plunk it in the sand, and wait for people to come. And they came constantly. If you want to learn how to teach, or if you want to learn how to unpackage the knowledge you possess and turn it into theology, then what you need to do is to simply get a sign and let people start asking you questions.
You might make yourself look like a fool for the first week, but very quickly, if you care at all about sticking it out, you will expand in your ability to unpackage that information you possess, and you will be able to convey it to others in a reasonable, intelligent manner.
But there is the same problem with going to that guy on the beach that there is with going to church on Sunday morning. Without knowing the Bible yourself, you are listening to someone who may or may not have any idea of what he is talking about. That is a real problem. Because the Bible is our means of understanding the Lord and what He expects. And so, let us discuss that beautiful word once again, and may God open our hearts to His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Proper Interpretation
The subject of proper biblical interpretation has been written about and expanded on for millennia. Entire books are dedicated to single sections of individual disciplines, and in-depth courses in Bible colleges and seminaries are focused on these things as well.
Simply defined, the subject of hermeneutics is that of dealing with interpretation of a given literary text. In the case of the Bible, we would say, “biblical hermeneutics.”
Within biblical hermeneutics, there is a vast array of terminology which is used to define various interpretive methods. In order to properly apply biblical hermeneutics, however, we need to first define what is proper concerning the application of those things.
In other words, we might know that the book of Acts is a historical account of what occurred at the beginning of the church. But we may not understand how to properly apply that knowledge in our interpretative method.
And so, even before knowing the type of literature that is presented – be it historical, prophetic, poetic, or whatever, we must know how to draw out from what we are reading what is actually appropriate.
This is the area of study known as exegesis. The prefix ek, means “out,” and thus one is to draw out of the text what is being said. The opposite of this, then, is eisegesis. Instead of drawing out what is intended, someone may read a passage and insert his own completely subjective interpretation into the text. Without any support for the conclusion at all, he will make a statement that what he presents is valid, logical, and appropriate.
This is what democrat scholars do with the constitution of the United States of America. They call it a “living document,” meaning that it changes and grows within itself, and it is thus subject to their own personal interpretations. From that faulty premise, they then eisegete all kinds of ideas which destroy the original intent of those who presented us with this founding document.
The Bible was given to man by God. He did it through men of God at various points within history, in various languages, and in various locations. But even with these variations, there is the one overarching truth that what is presented is ultimately from God. Therefore, the word will be consistent, unchanging in its overall intent, and will steadily and unwaveringly direct the reader concerning its overall truths.
Therefore, and with that in mind, we are to exegete, or draw out, what is being said. But there is then something which is actually even more important to be considered. It is the first, greatest, and most destructive failing of almost all students of the Bible. That failing is to simply know the contents of the Bible – in their entirety.
One of my favorite personal expressions – one that I say all the time and so many of you have heard it many times – is that “Everyone is a specialist in the Bible, but almost no one knows the Bible.” They may dogmatically argue for a particular precept from the Bible, for example a mid-tribulation rapture, and yet they may not have ever read the entire New Testament, or even the books in which the rapture verses are given.
Never mind that the rapture is actually even alluded to in Old Testament typology – a part of the Bible which they probably have never even opened. For anyone to teach any part of the Bible, it is almost unthinkable to me, and unconscionable at best, that he would not have first read through the Bible – from cover to cover many, many times.
And yet, there are pastors and ministers that I know personally who have admitted to me that they have never read the Old Testament, or that they have gone through the Bible once. One was an ordained minister of 34 years, and he had read it once. What this means is that everything such people are teaching is based on an uncertain footing, and it has been derived solely from someone else’s possibly already faulty hermeneutic.
But the problem is that if they have not read their Bible – which is a vast and complicated book – many, many times, then they cannot truthfully say that what they have been taught actually matches with what God – who is consistently revealing Himself through this word – is actually saying.
An example of this is the heresy known as hyperdispensationalism. This teaching incorrectly divides the overall gospel message of Jesus Christ into two gospels – one for the Jew and one for the Gentile. This occurs based on a faulty hermeneutic, and an eisegesis of many verses and concepts, particularly those which refer to the Old Testament, and especially the Mosaic Covenant.
And so, I ask you now, before we continue on, have you read the entire Bible – cover to cover? If not, you are unqualified to teach on any subject of the Bible. Because the Bible is inspired by God, and because its message is a unified whole, how can you know that what you are teaching is not somehow aberrant when taken in the entire context of Scripture, of which you have not even read?
Secondly, how many times have you read through the Bible? Some have better memories than others, but remembering something is not the same as properly aligning that memory with all of the other points contained within the whole.
Only in repeatedly returning to the Bible, reading it while considering everything else that is contained within it – something which can only occur through repeated readings – and then properly aligning those considerations into a rounded systematic theology, can you properly explain why you have chosen one interpretation of a verse or concept rather than another.
There is a savant who has memorized every book he has ever read. He read the KJV of the Bible once, and you can ask him, “What is the name of the person on page 247” of the copy he read, and he will tell you that – or anything else that is in that book. And yet, despite knowing every word of that Bible, he has no theology at all.
Thirdly, how long has it been since you last read the Bible? How many here today remember what they had for lunch yesterday? How about lunch last Tuesday? That food was something you probably personally selected based on its size and content, numminess, cost, and etc. Or, maybe it was prepared by the loving hands of someone important to you. And yet, you don’t remember what it was.
The Bible says that God’s word is sweet to our taste, more so than honey (that is the numminess). It says that it nourishes us (that would be the size and content). It says that it is better to us than thousands of coins of gold and silver (that is its cost). And along with those things, it was prepared, in love, by the hands of the Creator of the universe. And yet, like our lunch from last Tuesday, our memory will fade concerning its contents if we do not open it daily and eat of its delight. This not an “if.” It will happen.
Fourthly, have you limited yourself to one translation of the Bible? If so, you have limited yourself to man’s fallible and short-sighted ability to translate what God has given us. As I type commentaries and sermons from the word, I make a special point of documenting each valid translational error in the King James Version.
So far, and having completed only a small portion of the books of the Bible, I am up to thousands of actual, verifiable, and often damaging errors in it. If you want a copy of that resource, email me and I’ll send it to you.
But people have been so conditioned by a false teaching that – as Paul calls it – “the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” – that they simply accept that the King James Version is the only acceptable Bible version on planet earth.
But, like not reading the Bible and yet being a specialist in all things theology, many have never checked these translational things out. Despite this, they are adamant that what they have been told about the infallibility of the King James Version is not to be questioned. How can they know if they haven’t even checked it out?
I will give several reasons for both sides of this issue before we finish today. For now, I will give you arguments against the lie. One is that there is great money to be made by those who perpetuate this lie. The KJV is in the Public Domain. Anyone can make a printing of it without any costs apart from the printing itself.
Making a Bible translation is a huge undertaking. It is expensive, time-consuming, and tedious. But printing Bibles can be a very profitable business. And so, translations are copyrighted. But what if you can convince people that the Bible you are printing for free is God’s only inspired word? These people make – literally – millions of dollars.
Secondly, like any cult, if you claim that you have the only “something” that comes from God, you now have total sway over those you are leading. If your doctrine is based on the faulty King James Version, and someone in the congregation says, “But wait, that’s not how the NASB translates it!”, then your theology is called into question, and it very well may be wrong. Poor Pastor Imperfect. He has made an error!
And so to tell your congregation that the KJV is inspired by God and no other translation is to be accepted – why, in fact, it is of the devil!, then you now have ease and comfort in your control over those otherwise difficult miscreants.
And thirdly, this type of practice comes down to pure laziness. Theology is hard work and walking around with an unopened and unread KJV is so much easier. The pastor will explain to you what you need to know, and that is sufficient for you. This is one of the largest problems within the church – simple laziness towards the things of God.
Those are but three of the innumerable reasons why people hold onto the inane teaching of KJV-onlyism. I will give the other side of the argument before we finish today. This is a sad mark on those people, and someday they must stand before the Lord and give an account for their beliefs, as we all will.
Next, it is of the highest value to believers that they read the Bible from cover to cover, that they read it constantly, and that they ask questions of it, and then mentally tie the various parts of it together into a unified whole. If you are not doing this, then you have absolutely no basis – at all – for accepting the doctrine of one person over another.
The teachings of RC Sproul, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, John Calvin, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, John Hagee, Andy Woods, and Charlie Garrett – and any and all others – are actually on an exact same level with you. Your acceptance or dismissal of their teachings is subjective and without any real foundation. This is a thought that Solomon deals with in the proverbs –
“The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17
Each of these people or groups has a theology which sounded good to those who listened, and yet the divergence in doctrine between them is often as great as the difference between oxygen and lead. Someone gives his case, and it sounds good. But then you hear another argument and you say, “Yes, that sounds better.” But without knowing the word, they could both be completely wrong, and you would never know it.
There are people that spend their entire lives pursuing constitutional law. They argue over it, they debate it before courts, they present their cases to representatives and senators, and they fight against those who twist the true intent and meaning of what the constitution is saying. As important as that is for each of us in the United States, it is actually of very little weight, value, and meaning in the greater scheme of things.
As you sit here, or in any other church, unless you have read your Bible, and unless you continue to read your Bible, how can you be sure of anything – literally anything – that you are told concerning this marvelous gift of God?
The Word of God – holy, pure, and perfect too
It is given to satisfy man’s weary soul
In this life we trod, let us take an eternal view
And allow the word to convert us to God’s heavenly roll
There, in the Book of Life our names will be
Because we pursued His word and found Jesus
Innumerable redeemed, there by the glassy sea
Such a marvelous thing God has done for us
If we will just open the Bible, our own Book of Life
And accept what it says as holy and true
Then between us and God will end the strife
The word is given; to us life begins anew
Thank You, O God, for this marvelous word
In accepting its truths our place in heaven is forever assured
II. Errors in Thinking
My hope, my desire, and my yearning for each of you is that you get to know this word. This doctrine series is fine, but it is simply an attempt to have you reason out what you should already know. This is why we have been going through the Bible, verse by verse, on Sunday morning and on Thursday evening.
Doctrine sermons are only as good as how they actually align with what the Bible says. In Acts, Paul said to those at Ephesus, “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). One cannot declare the whole counsel of God unless he teaches the whole word of God.
But in teaching – be it in the word of God, in constitutional law, in thermodynamics or astrophysics, or in some type of scientific, religious, or philosophic discipline – we as humans make logical errors in our thinking. These are known as fallacies.
Fallacies can be things we can do in our own heads without ever expressing them, we can type them up in an article for a newspaper or magazine (liberals are especially good at this type of thing), or we can pass them on to others in our speech. These things usually come about because we do not think critically.
A great way to think critically is to take a course on…. Yes! Critical Thinking. What is a category mistake? Well, if you don’t know, then you might not see why Calvinism is wrong on so many points. What is a fallacy of illicit major? What if I said to you, “All cats are mammals. No dogs are cats. Therefore, no dogs are mammals.”
You know that is incorrect, but you cannot reasonably explain where the error is. What is a red herring? What is an argument from popularity? What is a source fallacy? If you don’t know what these things are, then you probably haven’t got a clue as to why you are being led down the primrose path by a speaker, scholar, or commentary.
Not too long ago, I finished a line by line commentary of the book of 1 Peter. In verse 5:13 Peter says, “She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son.” People argue over what Peter means by “Babylon.” Is he speaking of the real Babylon, is he metaphorically speaking of Rome? Or is it something else.
Regardless as to the answer, one commentator that I read – one of my favorite commentators – cited the work of a guy named Professor Salmond, stating, “Professor Salmond, in his admirable commentary on this epistle, has so forcibly summed up the testimony that we cannot do better than to give his comment entire:” (Vincent’s Word Studies).
In his quote, Professor Salmond makes several illogical arguments, he makes at least two fallacies – an argument from popularity and an argument from silence, and then he makes his faulty conclusion based on those things.
My goal next is to give you just a few fallacies that run through our heads so that you will not make these errors in the future. The first is so obvious that it is hard to know how we fall for it, and yet we do. It has become such a large problem within the church in recent years that it has stolen away countless thousands from the simple gospel of grace, or from simple proper doctrine.
It is the source, or genetic, fallacy that because someone is Jewish, he is authoritative to speak on a particular issue. This has grown so much in recent years because Israel is back her land, Hebrew is revived as a language, and the Jewish people are coming to Christ in large numbers.
Because of this, people make the immediate assumption that this particular person, or that guy over there, is a specialist simply because he speaks Hebrew and/or was raised in Israel. Others go even further and quote rabbis and rabbinic commentaries as if they were authoritative.
Such people have rejected Christ, and still reject Christ, and yet they are sought out because of who they are. Because of this, there are so many aberrant teachings on things like the Feasts of the Lord, or the Sabbath day, that it is almost impossible to find anyone who can give a proper biblical answer on those things.
And because people haven’t taken the time to simply read their Bible, they just… go with it. “That sounds good to me. I’ll go with it.” And this is not limited to Jews, but to Arab Christians, or even – believe it or not – Muslims who have converted to Christianity. Because of the source, they are held in an esteem which is both improper and dangerous.
Paul says in Galatians 2, “But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me” (v.6).
The Galatians had gotten into an idol-fest because of Jews who came in, showed how holy they were through the teaching of a false gospel message, and had led the church astray. Paul had to deal with them forcefully and in a direct rebuke because of their inability to not think logically – they had fallen for the genetic fallacy.
And more, in both 2 Corinthians 11 and Philippians 3, and elsewhere, Paul gives a list of his own supposed qualifications – much greater than anyone else’s – and yet he calls them as loss and as rubbish. They are not the basis of who he was as an apostle, and nor should they be the basis for what we think concerning others.
A second, similar, fallacy is trusting in someone because he knows a source language – for example Hebrew or Greek. Add in that they are Jewish and they speak the language, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. One of the people that I mentioned in a previous sermon, who teaches that Jesus was created by God, is both Jewish and speaks the biblical languages.
And yet he not only teaches that Jesus was created, but he also teaches that one can lose his salvation, and that the rapture is mid-tribulation, not pre-tribulation. If he can’t get those basic points of doctrine correct, then he shouldn’t be listened to. But… he is Jewish and he speaks Hebrew and Greek. So what!
Every single day as I type my own Bible commentary, and each week as I type a sermon, I read numerous commentaries from some of the finest Hebrew and Greek scholars in Christian history, going back hundreds of years, and yet they will come to completely opposite conclusions concerning very important verses, concepts, and even doctrines.
And so, the only thing that I have to rely on when I come to such divergent opinions is my own understanding of Scripture. If my knowledge of the word is limited, then my analysis of the word will also be faulty. Forget the fact that Pastor Imperfect knows Greek. That means less than nothing if he doesn’t know how to tie his knowledge of Greek in with what the rest of the Bible is saying.
And that fallacy ties in with the next. Forget his race or culture. Forget whether he speaks Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. And also, please ignore the title that is placed before or after his name. That is a fallacy known as an appeal to authority. We look to titles, accredited degrees, or the place where someone was educated, as a mark of authority.
Do you know how many Doctors of Theology teach Calvinism or Wesleyanism? Do you know how many pastors and professors were educated at Yale or Harvard Divinity School? Nowadays, they don’t even teach the Bible for the most part, and if they do, they dismiss it as a book of myths and nonsense.
Accepting someone’s theology because he has a particular degree, or was schooled at a particular school, or has a particular title – such as “Reverend” – is a terrible way to place your trust in someone. Do any of you know what Jesse Jackson’s title is? How about Al Sharpton?
Having said that, it is equally fallacious to dismiss someone because he has a certain degree, title, or place of education. People do that all the time as well, and it is equally as wrong. The only thing that matters in a presentation is if that which is presented is correct.
Another thing we should avoid is to assume that someone is a great preacher or teacher because of either his eloquence or rhetorical skills. How many of you would agree with the statement that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah? How many of you would agree with the following statement –
“The Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of God as given through Moses… I believe that every Gentile person can only come to God through the cross of Christ. I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption.” John Hagee, April 30, 1988, Houston Chronicle
The man who said these things is one of the greatest orators that you might ever hear. He is confident in his presentation, dogmatic in what he barks out, and he is a first-class heretic. He clothes his sermons in Americanism, he presents flowery sermons which are powerful and stir the emotions, and yet, of those I have heard, very few – if any – were biblically accurate. I personally do not remember one.
He says that the Torah is the word of God, but he fails to acknowledge that it is only a part of the word of God, and that it speaks of one over-arching theme – the need to come to Jesus Christ. as He Himself said in John 5 –
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:39, 40
Another preacher, who gave some of the finest sermons I have ever heard, and which were delivered with precision and conviction, admitted one night that he had never read the Old Testament. So, where did his theology come from? Even if it was correct, and it was, it was only by the grace of God that he was educated in one school rather than another. Because he didn’t get it from Scripture.
What a sad commentary on how we select our leaders, and on how we nearly idolize people without even considering what their standing with the very basis of our faith is. Such fallacies could go on and on. “He leads a 20,000 person church? So what! Is that any more important than a guy in rural Arkansas that leads a 50-person church?
“He’s been to Israel 47 times?” Yes, and Benny Hinn was raised there. So what! “Everybody agrees with Him!” Yes, and everybody could be wrong. It doesn’t matter if 10,000 people teach that Yom Teruah is a picture of the rapture. If it isn’t (and it isn’t!), then it is a false teaching. That is what is known as “The Bandwagon Fallacy.” “Everybody climb aboard! The more on the bandwagon, the truer this will become.” No, it doesn’t work that way.
For now, that is enough fallacies. You get the point. What I would ask of you is to be reasonable in your thinking, dogged in your pursuit of sniffing out the truth, and fervent in your desire to read the word. Read it when you rise. Read it during the day. Play it on the radio as you drive. Think on it, meditate on it, talk about it, and let it fill your heart and your soul as you come in and as you go out. And in the evening, before going to bed, pick it up and read it again.
I know some of you have it with you in bed at night, right under your pillow, but that means of learning is untrue. Biblical osmosis has been scientifically proven to not work. You will have to expand your brain cells through active participation with the word. And when you do, I know that the Lord will be pleased with your efforts. I know He will.
And so now, before we close, I want to read you some highlights from the original preface to the King James Version. This preface is exceedingly long, very hard to read and understand, and at times tedious. One might think that this is why it is no longer published with the King James Version, but that is not correct.
The reason for this is because it dispels every single myth that KJV Only adherents hold to. And if it were known to the general populace, then those who profit so greatly off the word of God, in the manner in which they do, would no longer have that giant source of revenue filling their unholy coffers.
And, people would actually start to obtain sound theology by doing what the King James translators suggested when they put forth their very faulty, but admirable translation. Their words speak of the word of God, the basis of our faith. If people cannot get something as basic as what they say correct, then how susceptible are we as humans to the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.
There are numerous quotes in this lengthy preface which speak of using reason when handling the word of God. I have selected only a few for you today. The rest are recorded and explained on my website for those who wish to know more.
Nay, we will yet come nearer the quick: doth not their Paris edition differ from the Lovaine, and Hentenius his from them both, and yet all of them allowed by authority? Nay, doth not Sixtus Quintus confess, that certain Catholics (he meaneth certain of his own side) were in such an humor of translating the Scriptures into Latin, that Satan taking occasion by them, though they thought of no such matter, did strive what he could, out of so uncertain and manifold a variety of Translations, so to mingle all things, that nothing might seem to be left certain and firm in them, etc.? [Sixtus 5. praefat. fixa Bibliis.] Nay, further, did not the same Sixtus ordain by an inviolable decree, and that with the counsel and consent of his Cardinals, that the Latin edition of the old and new Testament, which the Council of Trent would have to be authentic, is the same without controversy which he then set forth, being diligently corrected and printed in the Printing-house of Vatican? Thus Sixtus in his Preface before his Bible. And yet Clement the Eighth his immediate successor, published another edition of the Bible, containing in it infinite differences from that of Sixtus, (and many of them weighty and material) and yet this must be authentic by all means.
The finger of the translators of the King James Version not only points back in time to those who accuse translators of various translations of being in bed with Satan, but they point forward to modern King James Only adherents who make exactly the same claim.
Further, they make it quite clear that those named translations and editions are all authoritative. And more, they go on and name other Bibles, stating they too are also of equal authority, even though they had “infinite differences” between them. Despite all of these variations in numerous translations, they state that each is authentic.
Has God completely lost control of His word? The answer is “No.” He has protected this marvelous gift and has given us the honor and responsibility of searching it out and using reason when we approach it. It may be that translations by man have problems, as the KJV certainly does, but God’s message still goes forth, even through such marginal translations as it.
Therefore as S. Augustine saith, that variety of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: [S. Aug. 2. de doctr. Christian. cap. 14.] so diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is no so clear, must needs do good, yea, is necessary, as we are persuaded.
The King James Version translation committee agrees that a variety of Translations is profitable for finding out the sense of Scripture. And not only that, but marginal notes for those “no so clear” areas are not only a little ok, but they are “must needs do good” and are necessary.
They that are wise, had rather have their judgments at liberty in differences of readings, than to be captivated to one, when it may be the other.
According to the translators, the wise should search out varied translations. The opposite then, would show a lack of scholarship by those captivated by one translation. It is exactly why we use at least two versions during our Thursday night Bible study, and I refer to between 20 and 25 versions for each sermon I type. I would also say that sticking to one teacher of the Bible is equally damaging and that multiple teachers, may bring you to a better understanding of the truth.
Add hereunto, that niceness in words was always counted the next step to trifling, and so was to be curious about names too: also that we cannot follow a better pattern for elocution than God himself; therefore he using divers words, in his holy writ, and indifferently for one thing in nature: [see Euseb. li. 12. ex Platon.] we, if we will not be superstitious, may use the same liberty in our English versions out of Hebrew and Greek, for that copy or store that he hath given us.
The translators say God uses diverse words in His holy word to make a point and that we should feel free to do the same through multiple translations in the English (or any) language.
As you can see, from this final sermon in our doctrine series, a sermon which actually contains almost no doctrine in and of itself, there is an immense need to do one thing above all else, and there is another thing which supports that first matter. We are to read and study the word of God, in its fullness, in order to know God and what He expects of us.
And the thing which supports that first matter is that we are to use reason in our pursuit of this word as we do so. If we are willing to do these two things, we will be on a sure footing as we proceed on our happy trek to our even happier home where we will fellowship with our Creator for all eternity.
Don’t squander your time. What you do right now has bearing on what you will be doing for all eternity. This word tells us of our state before God, of what God has done to correct that state, and what that correction means for the human soul.
And throughout the entire word – this precious gift of God – there is one point of highlight that radiates forth from it – the promise and then the coming of Messiah. The whole body of Scripture testifies to the Person and work of Jesus Christ. May we never be found deficient in our pursuit of this word, because in pursuing this word, we will be pursuing the love of God in Christ – to the glory of God the Father.
Closing Verse: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Saturday, 25 January 2020
And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 2 Peter 2:2
There is a dispute between manuscripts in this verse. Some say the plural of the same word used in verse 2:1 (destructive). Others use a different word signifying licentiousness. Either way, the intent is that the false teachers will lead those they teach astray, the number being “many.”
This has been true throughout the church age. False teachers leading aberrant sects and cults have taken many down unsound paths of unrighteousness, sexual sin, perversion, bad doctrine, and on and on. This isn’t just limited to those who branch off from the mainstream church, but it is also found in a great way among the church itself. Within large, mainstream denominations, there is an underlying culture of sexual sin and the covering up of it when it catches public attention.
At times, however, what is shameful becomes an open part of the ways of such people, such as Joseph Smith of the Mormons. Today, that has become a reality in many “mainstream” denominations where such destructive and licentious ways are openly acknowledged and applauded. Several branches of the Presbyterians, the Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, the Methodists, and many more all applaud sexual perversion, abortion, and other unholy lifestyle choices. In fact, it has become a necessary requirement for ordination and selection to a position to that people hold to completely unholy values.
Even the most conservative denominations in the church today are showing signs of cracking and giving way to such avenues. The magnitude of the term “many will follow” probably could not have even been imagined by Peter as he sat and wrote out the words of his epistle. It is because of following such people, and their perverse agendas, that many will be led astray, Peter notes that of them “the way of truth will be blasphemed.”
There are at least two ways that this is true. The first is that people would actually believe that this is what the gospel teaches. It is taking something pure and glorious and turning it into something vile, perverse, and unholy. The second is that people would then accuse the gospel of actually being responsible for what the people did. The first thought leads directly to the next. When it is believed that the gospel is the source of such unholy conduct, then it is the gospel which leads people to following that same path of unholiness.
Considering, for example, that homosexuals are gladly ordained as pastors and priests in such denominations, and then they are eventually elevated to the positions of Bishop, it is no wonder that the outside world sees this conduct, believes that it is something acceptable within Christianity, and turns from any desire to participate in the faith at all. The greatest heathen in society is on a better moral standing than the highest officials within the church. When this is so, woe to those who lead and participate in such halls of unrighteousness.
Life application: Such people are set on their own appetites and how they can manipulate others for their own benefit and glory. Unfortunately, in order to be a false teacher with followers, there must be those who follow.
History is replete with such groups and sects. In the 1800s, there was a huge turning away from the truth and many heretics flourished in the freedom provided by the US Constitution. The Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some Adventist groups grew rapidly in numbers. All of this occurred because people followed a charismatic leader rather than paying heed to the Bible – which admonishes us to follow the Lord, to think on the Lord, and to fix our eyes on the Lord.
Cults continue to spring up in our times, but something much less obvious has arisen in the 20th and early 21st century. Heretics have infiltrated mainstream denominations – both in the seminaries and in the pulpits. Bad doctrine abounds and there has been a grand shift from reliance on the word of God to the traditions and teachings of these heretical leaders.
What the Bible clearly forbids is heralded as “tolerant” and they say God is “doing a new thing.” But God is unchanging, and His standards never fluctuate. Sadly, the congregants who sit in these denominations are accountable for their failure to investigate what they are taught, but the majority will fail to do so. As you attend church, please compare what is taught with what the Bible says. If the two contradict each other, the problem rests with the church or the pastor, not with God and His loving intent for you.
What He speaks is for the good of His creatures; the Bible is for our well-being and to dismiss it will only bring sadness. Be filled with the joy of the Lord; read, learn, and love His word – the Holy Bible.+
Heavenly Father, You are a great and loving God. We know that Your word is meant to lead us down paths of righteousness and safety and we divert from it at our own peril. Please continue to give us the desire, time, and ability to study and discern Your word and intent for us. All glory to You. Amen.