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Bible Wars

The body of Christ is supposed to be one church, no not one church building or one group of people, not one part of the world. When He gave us instructions to be of one body He wasn’t talking about our comfortable, well fed western way of living a Christian life where we do not have to worry about our lives, or have to be concerned come Sunday where we plan to meet for worship.

When I think about the analogy of “one body” I see the Christians here in the west as an important part of that body, just as important as the rest but in a different way. We can be his hands and feet here in an entirely different way than the rest of the world can. We can study His Word in depth and spend a lot of time doing so without worry of persecution or even prosecution for that matter, we are allowed to dig deep and I for one am grateful for this freedom we still have.

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Sometimes this freedom gets us into trouble, into trouble with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes we take our Bibles and put them in a lower position than they deserve, this is the Word of God we handle and sometimes we take that for granted and mistreat it. i think we need to take a look at the history of the Holy Bible.

The Bible consists of many books, its not just one book its sixty six books to be exact. originals were hand written in Hebrew or Greek, some portions were in Aramaic. The books span about fifteen hundred years of human history. Original copies of the books have been lost to history, most of them anyway. What we have in our possession today are copies of the originals, handwritten copies, word for word copies of what was written. The copies are mostly in Greek and Hebrew.

Over the years it was translated to latin, german and eventually english. English is a tricky language as you should know by now and it has changed a lot over the years, since our most popular version of the Bible written in 1611 the beloved King James Version was released Christians have heralded this version as the version. In its time it was a great work to undertake and it landed its publishers in hot water as well but that is another blog. Unfortunately many Christians do not understand that since 1611 we’ve uncovered new manuscripts that were unavailable to the 47 scholars who translated the King James. The King James is an excellent work of art really, it’s God Word as much as any other version but it does have inaccuracies, it also has a couple of additions that are not in the original. I will get to that a little later.

There is a movement among Christians called the “King James Only” movement, Christians that tend to look at the King James as if it’s the original, like Jesus spoke english with an english accent in medieval times. I find this disturbing because we aren’t supposed to be divided especially not about which Bible to read. The growing controversy among believers is that one version is more reliable than another and its causing division among us, people listen we cannot allow the enemy to plant seeds of doubt as to which Bible we should read, the second we give in to this lie than he has already won. Truth is most Bibles you find at the local Christian book store are reliable and accurate. Including the King James.

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talking flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

The argument I have heard far too much lately is that the NIV (New International Version) has missing verses. I would like to clarify this misconception. Like most people I write notes in my Bible when I read, most of the time in the margins, well the original authors did this sometimes as well, so did the people who copied the originals, the men who did the copies would add their own notes not as part of scripture but as a reminder for themselves. Well what could happen then was when the next guy came around to make another copy he would take those side notes as part of the original scripture. This is what happened in Matthew chapter 6, take a look…

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

That is how verse 10-13 read in the King James Version, notice the last part starting with “for thine” and then take a look at how the NIV reads…

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

You’ll notice that the last thirteen words from the KJV are not in the NIV. Why would they leave out what looks to be a very important part of scripture? The short answer is they didn’t leave anything out, King James added those words as if they were a part of scripture from the manuscripts they had, they didn’t do anything wrong but later when scholars went to publish the NIV they went as far back as they could right to the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that were discovered after the King James was long completed, those words were not found in the earliest manuscripts.

What could look as an omission of scripture was actually never there to begin with, this is where people can get confused and than start to look at newer versions of the Bible as being deceitful. Friends please understand whether you choose to read the KJV or the NIV or the NLT or the ESV like I do this is not where we should be arguing.

Yes it’s true that some versions are written specifically for certain types of studies, and others are written for ease of reading, I have read the NIV cover to cover and loved it, now I read the ESV Study Bible and can’t get enough, one is not better than the other, but the ESV has an ease about it that I can’t quite explain but it flows like a story or a book.

It is also extremely important to note that when a new version is in the works it is not a task that one person takes on himself, it’s a team of scholars that do it together, this way it cannot have the bias of one individual rather the team looks at it as Gods work.

The Bible is the most translated book in the history of the world, from the Greek and Hebrew texts to the hundreds of languages around the world today, we cannot compare one english version to another english version and expect them to be the same, that would be like comparing a man to a woman and expecting them to be the same. If you want to know what the original says you can, learn Greek and Hebrew and go to the bookstore and pick up a Greek/Hebrew version. For the rest of us we must trust that God is in control and when He places a copy of the Bible in our hands that we can trust it. it may not look exactly the same as the original but neither will the hundreds of different and unique languages around the world, but millions have been saved around the world using a translated Bible that may not be perfect, their salvation is not in a discrepancy of words, rather its in the Lord Jesus and the fact that they placed their trust in Him.

Do not let seeds of doubt planted out there seep into your hearts, God is in control, Gods Word is to be trusted and the Bible you hold in your hands and the Bible I hold in my hands can and should be trusted. There are many reasons the world tries to divide us and we cannot let them.

http://www.christianbiblereference.org is a wonderfully written website that can articulate much better than I can so pay them a visit.

If We Truly Believe… Shouldn’t Our Lives Show It?

My son likes watching YouTube videos of people reacting to long anticipated movies as they watch it for the first time. For example, this video he was watching yesterday was three people sitting on a couch, the camera is facing them and then in a smaller window you can see the movie. So as the movie plays you can see the movie but also how the people react to what’s happening. There’s also commentary from the watchers and what they think should happen and what not.

I think it’s odd but my seven year old enjoys it and it’s not harmful so I let it be, and maybe he enjoys it because the watchers are so excited to watch the movie and they’re so eager to share their reactions with the rest of the world that they decide to record and put it on the internet.

Fast forward to today at lunch as I’m reading Acts chapter 3 where Peter and John come across the lame man at the Beautiful Gate and heal him in Jesus’ name. My reaction to that story is that it is truly amazing! How awesome is our God that He would heal someone using His followers?!

Then I got to thinking that we don’t react to our faith in a way that is proportional to our God. What I mean is, if we truly believe in what we say we believe, then why aren’t we doing what the lame man did after he was healed? He literally jumped for joy, his reaction to what Jesus did could not be contained! Our reaction should also be so joyous, but for most of us, including me, it’s not.

A few days ago I read an article written by someone who was obviously not a Christian on the topic of abortion and the writer questioned our beliefs saying that if we truly believed then why aren’t we raising a bigger stink when it comes to things like abortion. I agree, why aren’t we? There’s a small outrage on social media, you might see some protests littered across the country, but by and large we do nothing, we let it slide saying it’s out of our hands and then almost smile when we say that God will deal with them one day. The big issues are rarely discussed in our churches for fear of backlash and among Christian circles things like abortion are mostly left alone.

So I gotta wonder, are we truly and totally saved or are we still totally depraved? Because I don’t think we can be both. If we are truly saved then why aren’t we acting like it? We should be taking to the streets with the message of salvation in the same way Peter and John did after Jesus went to be His Father. They faced far more persecution than we ever will, they were literally looking death in the face but it didn’t matter because they truly believed in the message they were sending.

There are things that happen in our world that should get a reaction, and trust me I know the world isn’t going to like it but they aren’t going to stand up for life so we should. They aren’t going to stand up and demand that Jesus’ voice be heard, they’re far more likely to shut our mouths, but the good news is too good to be silenced. If we actually, really, wholeheartedly believe that Jesus rose from the dead, our lives should reflect that, our reaction to that victory should be so over the top that we could make videos of it and post them on YouTube and people would want to watch them just because they heard someone else talking about it.

I was having a conversation the other day with my brother in law about how overwhelming it is to know that Jesus knows our name, He cares about us, our lives, the things we care about, He even knows when a hair falls from our heads. That is a thought that should overwhelm us to the point of getting down on our knees and crying out to Him in Thanksgiving! He loves us all so much that His reaction to the thought of us paying for our sins was to stretch out His arms and say “I will pay it for you”

The Women’s March and How to Talk to Your Kids About it.

The media does a great job covering the women’s march. From the big one in Washington to the many smaller ones around the country and across the world. They give a lot of air time and consideration to feminists and it’s not surprising considering that most of the media leans left.

It’s also not surprising that the march for life gets almost no attention and when it does its reported as negative. They’ll say it’s an anti abortion march, or an anti women’s rights march, instead of reporting honestly and objectively that the march for life is jam packed full of women who march for the rights of unborn children, both male and female.

Media bias is so blatant these days that I don’t know how they can call themselves journalists with a straight face. The media is agenda driven and not truth driven and as a father who wants to teach his kids the truth, I often find myself at a loss as to how I’m going to explain to my kids what’s going on in the world.

There was a time when I could’ve ignored the goings on of our civilization, but with the kids being glued to their iPads and video games I can’t really get away with that anymore. As they grow older they start to ask questions. Questions about what is going on, what they saw on an ad in one of their iPad apps, or about what they see on TV. I simply can’t ignore it anymore, I have to begin to muddle my way through the answers and if you have kids that you’re trying to raise Christian, so do you.

As always the Bible is where we begin when we have questions. So what does the Bible say about women’s rights? We need to know because the world today has a very different idea of what those rights are. So let’s compare shall we.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF A WOMAN?

In the very beginning God made them male and female “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.” (NIV, Genesis 5:1-2) There is no indication that God intended that one be less than the other. There is every indication that God wanted them to be together, equal and created in His image. The only reference we might have in terms of rights is that God created them to rule over nature, together. “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (NRSV, Genesis 2:27-28)

Their shared equality went downhill after they sinned due to the influence the culture had but right after they sinned they were both punished by God for doing what they did “To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (NIV, Genesis 3:16-19) Some scholars go as far as to say that in those punishments Eve got off easier because her pain was limited to childbirth but Adam’s pain was the daily grind of hard labor producing for his family. It’s not my point but interesting to think about nonetheless. I need to address the part about the woman being ruled over by man because that’s where the whole argument about the Bible being sexist begins. Notice how it does not say that he is to treat her like anything less than human. It does not say that he is to treat her badly or that she is inferior or subservient. The Bible does say later on in the book of Deuteronomy where the commandments are given that children are to honor their father AND their mother (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16). If the man was of a higher value, God would not have commanded honor for them both.

Later on in the New Testament the status of women had decreased significantly, they were secondary citizens whose testimony held no weight in court. In many cultures at the time they were considered property, a thing that could be thrown out with the trash. This isn’t because God wanted it that way, it was that way as a direct result of sin. Sceptics often point out that the Bible talks about how badly women were treated and it’s true, the Bible does record it. But there’s a difference between something being recorded as it happened and something being condoned. The Bible records bad things, but that doesn’t mean we are taught to do those bad things.

When Jesus showed up He upset the apple cart in more than one way. His teachings upset the religious leaders, the governmental leaders, and even the everyday folks who were just trying to live their lives. One of the first things we see in the New Testament are two women of virtue and faithfulness – Elizabeth and Mary. Both are excellent examples of how all people should behave, even today (Luke 1:26-38, Luke 1:39-45).

In Luke 8:1-3 we see that Jesus allowed women to travel with Him and to learn from Him. A radically different approach than that used by other influential people at the time. In fact, women literally were at home, cooking and cleaning and having babies, that was their role in that culture. Not according to Jesus, if actions speak louder than words, Jesus’ action of including women speaks volumes about how He saw them and we should see the women in our lives.

Later on the Apostle Paul wrote You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (NIV, Galatians 3:26-29) Paul left no room for inequality between the sexes, he says that according to Christ we are all the same, we all belong to Him.

In short, the idea that the Bible says men are a step higher on the ladder to heaven is just wrong. Men and women are created equal according to the Bible, we are all of the same value.

WHAT DOES THE WORLD SAY ABOUT WOMEN’S RIGHTS?

The world on the other hand is at odds about what rights a woman should have. Women in middle Eastern countries fight for the right to drive, or to go shopping without a male chaperone. Some fight for freedom from arranged and forced marriages. Some fight for the right to vote or to just be considered equal in the eyes of the law. Some are enslaved in the world of sex trafficking and yes, men are the perpetrators behind all of that. These men are wrong, they are sinning against almighty God and His children. What they are doing when they participate in any of it is demonic and should be treated as such.

Women here in the western world do have the rights that many around the world don’t. They can vote, work in government and make their own decisions, including what to do with the unborn child living inside of them when they become pregnant. They don’t have to fight for this “right” because they already have it. They do however have to fight to keep that right because many, myself included, are fighting to take that away. Not because we are against women’s rights, but because we are for the rights of the human being living inside of them. Pro lifers like me are often called barbaric and sexist, we’re accused of wanting to keep our women at home cooking and cleaning, or barefoot and pregnant, like back in biblical times. The irony is that the real barbarism comes from the people who actually kill the unborn while they are in their most vulnerable state.

Women today also fight against the abuse and the harassment perpetrated by powerful men both in Hollywood and politics. This they should continue to do, for far too long powerful people have used that power to enslave and mistreat. However, the fight is often thrust onto innocent men who’ve never done anything to mistreat women and yet they are lumped in with all the bad men who used, abused, raped and enslaved women in various ways. The modern day feminist movement often screams from the rooftops that all men are bad, that women are smarter and can do it better. Often times the movement sounds more like a KKK rally where it’s not equality they fight for but supremacy.

Let me be clear, I am FOR women’s rights. Women should have every freedom a man has. But, I do not think they should have more rights. Men do not have the right to terminate a pregnancy simply because they don’t want to be a dad, but women do. I don’t want that right and I do not think we should have it, but neither should women. As much as I would love to go on talking about abortion that’s not what this post was supposed to be.

HOW DO WE TALK TO THE KIDS ABOUT IT?

Truthfully? I have no idea. I have no idea how I am going to explain to my kids that babies are killed because their very own mommy doesn’t want them. I do not know how I am going to tell them what rape is and why men do it. I have no clue what to say about other cultures around the world that actually own their women, and that they mutilate young girls. Honor killings, sex trafficking, forced marriages and any of the other major issues facing women this day in age are going to be hard to talk about. But I do think we need to, somehow, someway, we need to figure it out.

There are rights that women should not have, and neither should men. The right to take life is one of them. But we should all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We should all have the right to worship, to practice our religion. We should all have the right to raise our families the way we see fit, the right to work and to love and to live. I believe in women’s rights as much as I believe in the rights of children and of men.

With that as our foundation, I think we should tell our kids that there are bad people out there, there are people that want to hurt them, there are people that do not believe in God and do not want to do what the Bible says is right. There are people that do believe in God and still don’t do what is right and there are people who don’t believe but still do what is right. It can be confusing but I think we should teach our kids to love God, obey Him, follow Jesus, learn right and wrong according to the Bible and everything else will fall into place. I believe that if our kids truly believe and intentionally follow Him, we won’t have to worry about them becoming the kind of people that hurt other people.

The long and short of it is this, the world has bad people in it, just like the Bible says. The answer to the world’s problems isn’t in playing the blame game or fighting for our rights, it’s in forgiveness, repentance, acceptance of Jesus and obeying God’s commandments. If we want our kids to become good people we don’t do it by showing them what not to do, we do it by showing them what or rather, Who to follow.

Jesus is the answer.

I know it was long, thanks for reading.

see ya next time.

 

When I Was Your Age…

Did your parents ever give you the old “when I was your age…” line? Mine did, and truth be told as a kid I didn’t want to hear it. Today, I use it on my kids. When you want to convey to your kids that they have it easy compared to what you had to go through, all you have to do is use the line. And like me, they don’t want to hear it either. 
Truth be told, our kids will never get it. What with their iPads…read more

Strategic Parenting

The kids wanted a bedtime story, they always want a bedtime story. It’s become one of those things they use against me knowing I often can’t say no. 
 
My youngest son Jaxon picked a story about a girl saving up her allowance to buy a doll she saw in a store window. It’s an old book, tattered and dated, and I don’t even know where it came from but he picked it so I read it. 
 
Anyway, the girl saves up enough of her allowance to go and buy this doll so her and her mom walk downtown to go and get it when the little girl notices a man sitting on a bench with dirty clothes, an overgrown beard, worn skin and sad eyes. The girl looks at him for a while… read more

Christian Dad-Hood

There are literally tons of Christian blogs out there, theology, doctrine, eschatology. There are a bunch written by pastors, there are a bunch written by scholars and apologists. There are even a bunch done my Christian moms. But how many do you know that are done by Christian dads? A quick Google search revealed to me that there are almost none.
Despite what society will tell you today, men are the leaders of the family (1 Corinthians 11:3) and yet, the online presence of many men, Christian men included is limited to… read more

Raising Boys That Respect Women

If you want to raise sons that grow up and honor women, you don’t simply say to them “honor women” you model for them what it looks like when a man honors a woman. 
 
The question becomes from where do we glean the notion of honor and how do we, as fathers begin to practice it?
 
If you’re anything like me, watching all these women in the entertainment industry and in politics come forward with stories of abuse read more

The Strength of the Wolf is in The Pack

When I became a Christian, I thought that I could do this on my own. I don’t need to go to church or read the Bible, God will love me because I will be a good Christian and my heart will be sincere. Little did I know that I was going at it like a lone wolf – doing things my way in the name of Jesus. Whether it had to do with how I parent my boys, how I was behaving as a husband, and how I handled myself at work. I was gonna do this.
Then, an American megachurch pastor found his way into my podcast player. He was blunt, and loud, and funny. He was nothing like what I thought a pastor was…read more