Saturday, August 29, 2015

Another King James Only Encounter

Well I just wrote about bumper sticker Christianity a while back and well it happened again. My wife and I were at Captain D's fish restaurant. While we were ordering a man and his wife were just ahead of us and he smiled at us and gave us a tract, and asked us if we knew Jesus as our personal savior. I politely answered yes, and took the tract. They had ordered before us so they were leaving before we did and walked over to our table, told us about their church, and then he said, "we only teach from the King James bible. It is the only version that is inerrant and infallible."

Well, I replied that it was a good version and I liked it but it was not inerrant and infallible. Why did I say that? I really prefer not to have these conversation's, but I also am opposed to people stretching the truth. I then confessed that I was somewhat of a theologian, and that I had taught New Testament at a seminary, and could read Greek a little, and that, while very good and quite accurate, the King James version was not inerrant. He became angry, told me that he had to leave and would not discuss it further. He then (smile) went on telling me about textus receptus, and all the other codeces, and how the King James Version was the only one authorized by God. His reasoning was that God would not give us a bible that had errors.

I once again began to try to point out some of the errors that I think are especially troublesome and he got angrier and said, no, I am not going to discuss this any farther. When I became silent, he began again to try to convince me that the King James Version was the only version that was correct. He said that I could read other versions if I wanted to but they would not be sufficient and that I needed to only consult the King James as the final authority.

By this time, I wanted to laugh out loud but I chose not to be rude. Finally he left. I have to wonder to myself, why are their so many ignorant believers? He seemed to think that we got the King James Version, similar to how people in Star Trek got their food. It must have been instantly put out of a replicator in King James English. Now, I am not trying to put down the King James Version. I like it and I use it a lot. What I would like to have happen is for the saints of God to be a little more open minded, have a little bit more historical knowledge, understand that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and that the New Testament was written in Greek. It had to be translated into English, and no matter how hard one tries something gets lost in translation. Yes, they are sufficient to make us wise for salvation; yes they tell us the redemptive story of God's love for us, but they are not inerrant, and they are not meant to be a legal, constitutional document, nor are they meant to be a science book, or a complete history book.

They should read John 5:39-40 and realize that they are there to point us to Jesus of Nazareth.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bumper Sticker Christianity

As I visited a local Walmart today, I saw a bumper sticker that had been placed on the door as if it were a sign. The bumper sticker read as follows: "THE KING JAMES BIBLE IS THE PERFECT WORD OF GOD." This bumper sticker turned sign shows the epitome of ignorance that is within the ranks of evangelical, fundamental, charismatic, and Pentecostal Christianity. No true theologian would make that claim. Even the most strict bibliolaters would consider this bumper sticker false. Yet, this graphically explains what is most wrong with evangelical Christianity.

I have proven over and again on this blog that the "perfect word of God" is Jesus and the gospel. The fact is that there are many errors in the King James Bible. There are errors in all bibles and the only thing that a theologian would assert is that the original autographs of the biblical books are perfect. The strictest Biblicist would not assert what the bumper sticker asserted. The King James Version is certainly a good version, better than some of the more modern in some ways but most definitely it is not perfect.

So, let's look at biblio-idolatry, known as bibliolatry. It is rampant in the ranks of evangelical Christianity in all of its forms. By all of its forms I mean, but do not limit it to fundamentalists, evangelicals, charismatics, Pentecostals and any form of Christianity has holds to a high view of the scripture. Holding to a high view of scripture in and of itself is not a problem. I hold a high view of scripture, however it is limited to the redemptive purpose of scripture. And most distinctively, I do not hold to the view of scripture that sees it as a legal constitutional document. While the Jews, before the cross were taught a legal constitutional view of scripture, Jesus and his first century followers began teaching a solely redemptive view of scripture, and redefined the phrase word of God to mean Jesus or the gospel.

I am totally convinced that if you were to be able to speak with Paul, or Peter, or James, or any writers of the gospels, and you referred to the bible as the "word of God" they would look at you strangely, and correct you. They would tell you that the scribes and Pharisees saw the scripture (Old Testament/Tanakh) that way, but they were correcting that view by showing that it only points to Jesus, and His redemptive purpose. They would go on to tell you that as a legal constitutional document it will only show you how much you fall short of God's standards. When read as a legal constitutional document, it will only act as an instrument to bring charges against you, and will only show you how much you need forgiveness and grace. Viewed as a legal constitutional document it only works as an instrument of the accuser of the brethren.

You may ask, how can this be the case? If the bible is the story of redemption, and not a legal constitutional document why hasn't the Holy Spirit told this to others? Why are there not more people who believe and teach this? This is a valid question and the answer is that the Holy Spirit has told many people, but some of them are so entrenched in the current evangelical doctrine, in religion when it comes to the scripture, that they are fearful of varying from it. People fear that if they do not see the scripture as a legal constitutional document, and if they don't see it as the word of God that it will somehow be diminished, to that I say hogwash. The fact is this, when one looks at the scripture exactly as Jesus and His first century followers did, it becomes less contradictory, and has much more solidity of message.

The fact is simple, the person that had the bumper sticker on their door as a sign, is actually tearing down the validity of the bible by making erroneous claims that have no basis in fact. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The way which seems right III

Pro 16:25  "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

This is the third post in this series. The other two can be found here and here. It would be best to read the other two first, but I will briefly recap where the other two have been, and provide a road map where this is going. It is my contention that the way which seems right... which is the way of death... is current evangelical doctrine. That is what this paradigm shift is all about. In order for the church to embrace real life, that is the life that Christ promised, it needs to reject the way that seems right in favor of the way that is right. The way that is right is the pristine gospel... that is, the gospel as it was understood by the first century church; the gospel that Paul et. al. taught.

It amazes me as I read the pages of the New Testament, how much evangelical Christianity and evangelical Christian doctrine resembles much of what the first century Christians wrote against. To begin with, the way that seems right, involves religious performance and moral excellence. There is no problem with moral excellence, except when it is demanded for, and used to judge worthiness in the sight of God. The problem is not moral excellence but religious performance. I am especially cognizant of the warnings in Matthew chapter 23. Jesus addresses the futility and hypocrisy religious performance. The reason is that religious performance inevitably produces pride and self-righteousness.

(Mat 23:15) " Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves."

Pastors, teachers, and preachers know better than to be self righteous but because they are unwilling to show any signs of weakness and humanity in the eyes of their followers they end up fulfilling this passage all over again. Jesus was speaking to the scribes and Pharisees of his day in Judaism, but this is in reality a direct result of and problem caused by emphasis on religious performance and moral excellence. Ultimately, the focus of most church leadership is religious performance and moral excellence. That seems so right doesn't it? Ah, but remember, there is a way which seems right.... uhuh.

On the other hand, the pristine gospel, focusing only on the gospel, grace, and redemption promotes within a person, a peace, and rest with God, that translates to joy, and ultimately love for God which in turn begins to bring about moral excellence and genuine love for others. This is the mechanism of the gospel. Unfortunately, there are not many groups that have embraced the truth. Therefore, there is no real transformation because for the gospel to really change lives it has to be corporate, but it WILL NOT work under the current evangelical doctrine. The ultimate demand for religious performance and moral excellence will kill the spiritual transformation and force the individual to try to reform themselves. This is precisely what is wrong with Christianity, and why I am writing this series.

Pastors, teachers, and preachers are afraid to set their people free, and watch the gospel really work. They instead hold on to the doctrine for dear life, and by that kill the spiritual life of their congregation. They insist on keeping a legal constitutional view of scripture and that is a shame.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Way Which Seems Right II

Pro 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death"... This is the second post in a series that is looking at the meaning and interpretation of the above verse from Proverbs. It is found in two places in the Proverbs. The first is Proverbs 14:12 and the second one is Proverbs 16:25. This makes it an important concept since it was repeated. I would suggest that you take the time to read the first post if you haven't had the chance, and then read this one. In summary however, I posited that the way that seems right unto a man is any form of religion including evangelical doctrine and dogma. The death that results from the way which seems right is spiritual. While I am not suggesting in any way that it disqualifies one from eternal salvation, it practically brings death into the persons life. In other words, it works to kill the spiritual life that comes with the assurance of believing the gospel.

Over the last few years, I have found that so many of the doctrines that evangelical Christianity teaches are in error. I am challenging us to rethink some of our positions, and allow life to be the driving force of our day to day walk. It will only come to pass as we allow the Holy Spirit to correct some of the many errors we have been taught, teach and believe. In fact, church doctrine is so far off the mark that I wonder if it does much more harm than good? I rather think it does. It puts people into bondage when it should set them free. If the root is good, the branches are good, but if the root has error then the branches cannot help but be erroneous. Here is a list of the errors and problems that I have written about in this blog over time. These have all been proven to a point that goes way beyond the preponderance of evidence. They are hard to accept because they fly in the face of conventional doctrine. They challenge and sometime contradict what we have been taught and accept as fact.

List of errors that separates church teaching from the teaching of the first century apostles that wrote the New Testament:
  1. Viewing the entire scripture as the word of God; The first century followers of Christ limited the definition to the gospel and Jesus the gospel made flesh. This gave it a redemptive focus rather than a legal constitutional focus.
  2. Viewing the scripture as a legal constitutional document; Jesus and his followers taught a solely redemptive focus to the scripture.
  3. Misinterpreting Romans 10:17; The New Testament teaches that faith comes by hearing the gospel, and not necessarily the scripture as a whole. Faith only comes by hearing the gospel so the scripture is only the word of God as it defines and describes God's redemptive work in the world through Jesus Christ.
  4. Not recognizing the transition that takes place within the pages of the scripture, especially the New Testament; The New Testament is a book about a transition. It is a transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant and it does not come abruptly... not even in the New Testament writings.  It begins with a story about the Jews, under the Old Covenant. It moves from John the Baptist (Last Old Testament Jewish Prophet) to Jesus (New Covenant Prophet, Priest and Messiah) to the cross event, to Pentecost and a strictly Jewish Church, to the story of Cornelius and the inclusion of the Gentiles into the church without the necessity of circumcision, to the New Creation that Paul wrote to made up of Jews and Gentiles who believe the gospel.
  5. Not recognizing the audience relevance of the New Testament writing; The gospels are almost exclusively about and to the Jews prior to the cross event. This makes the messages of John the Baptist, and Jesus specifically and primarily to Old Covenant Jews facing the advent of the covenant transition. We make a grave mistake when we extrapolate those messages as if they were written to us on the other side of the cross event. This is especially true if we are Gentiles. There is an obvious Jew/Gentile distinction within the pages of the New Testament.
  6. Not recognizing the specific intended audience of the epistle of James and Hebrews; Both Hebrews and James was written to the believing Jews. James early on to an exclusively Jewish Jerusalem church and Hebrews, just prior to the destruction of the temple, again to Jews who were about to renounce Christ to stop persecution. The book of James is turned into a reason for emphasizing the legal constitutional aspect of scripture by church teachers, which is far from the truth. Hebrews on the other hand is a manual that acts as the rosetta stone for understanding the New Covenant.
This is not an exhaustive list but because this post is beginning to run long, it will need a follow-up post. but you can begin to see just how far off the mark Christian doctrine is and why God would be awakening people to a new and better understanding of the scripture. One that will put the proper focus on Christ and begin to reduce the worship and fear that it gives to men, especially those in leadership. This is why I am bold enough to suggest that the current church state of affairs is probably more damaging than beneficial. All of this is backed up nicely by a careful reading of scripture.

The two overriding messages of the scripture

While this blog is dedicated to my paradigm shift it is also about the way in which evangelical Christianity is off the mark in doctrine and...