Monday, February 09, 2009

Trip to Boston

In 2 days my wife and I will be flying to Boston, Massachusetts for her business conference. As a history buff and student of the Puritans I can hardly contain my excitement. To walk where the Pilgrim Fathers walked, to be in the land of Jonathon Edwards, and those sturdy old Puritans that planted the seeds of the American Revolution, what more can I say?

Of course, modern day Boston would make the Puritans roll over in their graves. Harvard, originally founded to train ministers to preach the gospel, has been a hotbed of humanism, communism, and moral relativism for longer than anyone can remember. The majority of those that claim the Christian religion take communion with the church of Rome, descendants of the Irish that settled in the area following the Potato Famine. This is a state that produced Ted Kennedy and Barney Frank-enough said! Per capita, Massachusetts probably has the most educated population of any of the 50 states. Book sense, therefore, does not equal common sense and when that knowledge is based on anything other than the knowledge of the Lord, the result is modern day Massachusetts.

Enough with lamenting over the current state of affairs as God is sovereign and is fulfilling His purposes. I look forward to seeing the Old North Church, walking the Freedom Trail, and hopefully discovering some fantastic old bookstore.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Blogging Again-Reformation Heritage Books

After a 2 year hiatus I have decided to return to the blogosphere where I will be talking about my favorite subject-our Lord Jesus Christ!

One of the resources I have discovered, besides the Bible, in helping me in my daily walk with Him is Reformation Heritage Books. They are a great resource for reformed, biblically based books. Beware to the Christian that is used to encountering the fluff that passes for Christian books in most Christian bookstores today. I am finding more and more that to purchase theologically sound books I must go to the internet. What a sad commentary.

I am wrapping up a series on the great hymns of the faith by Douglas Bond that I purchased from Heritage Books. I would recommend them to anyone, especially those that struggle with the new music and new forms of worship in the church today. Bond weaves into his story the importance of the great hymns of the faith that connect us to Christians across the centuries. How sad that the church would trade this treasure for theologically inept little ditties that nobody will remember in 5 years.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Reformation Month

It is October again and the stores are filled with Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations. Churches that truly understand the holiday shy away from celebrating it and are planning fall festivals. What a shame it is that these same churches are not celebrating Reforamtion Month. This used to be a common theme during the month of October in Protestant churches. In the politically correct climate in which we live the very word Protestant is seen as derogatory and divisive. Many of my fellow Baptists are so ignorant of what constitutes a true Protestant that they refuse to be labelled as one.

What were our spiritual forbears protesting against? Simply, the unscriptural teachings and practices of the Roman church with it's priestly hierarchy and that most blasphemous of offices we know as the Papacy. We all know the story of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the door of the chapel in Wittenburg. This simple act of scholarly protest ignited a fire that spread throughout Europe and the British Isles. William Tyndale, the father of the English Bible, gave his very life's blood to make available the Word of Truth in the English tongue. Great men of God such as these passed the protestant torch from one generation to the next for over 400 years. Sadly, this torch has almost been extinguished today due to the lack of a backbone and spirit of protest against error among bible believing Christians. We are seeing one Protestant church after another join the unbiblical ecumenical movement, seeking to join hands with Rome. They have little or no regard for the sacrifices of those that died to give us the true gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I pray that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ will stand up and be counted and continue to protest against the church of Rome and any other church or organization that preaches another "gospel." Let us read and study the lives and works of men like Wycliffe, Luther, Tyndale, etc. and thereby fan the flame for the true Protestant witness in this age or error. Lobby the so-called Christian bookstores to include more books by Bunyan and Spurgeon in lieu of the cream-puff spiritual books that fill their shelves. Finally, I challenge all bible believing Protestants to read John Foxe's Book of Martyrs to truly understand the sacrifices and willingness of our spiritual forbears to bear reproach for Christ.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Hebrews 11:13

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Middle East

One of the signs or our Lord's imminent return to this earth to set up His kingdom is armed conflict between nations. The naysayers will quickly point out that nations have been at war with each other since the beginning of time and right they are. But how anyone can take an honest look at history and state that the armed conflict of the past century is similar to previous centuries is not only ignorant but dishonest.

Among all of the wars and conflicts of the past century one event stands out in my mind that we are now having to deal with and that is the birth of the Israeli state in 1948. Most Christians here in America blindly support Israel because in their minds there is some sort of connection between the modern day Jews occupying Palestine and the Israelites of the Bible. Some even go as far to call the Jews God's chosen people. Personally, I believe most modern day Jews(racially) are descended from Esau rather than Jacob but that is for another post.

Before we fall behind the ranks of the Christian Zionists let us review a little history between the Jews and the Arab peoples, specifically the Palestinians. A little document known as the Balfour Declaration (1917) allowed Jews to settle in Palestine as neighbors of the then present Palestinian occupants. Following the Holocaust, the entire world was sympathetic to the plight of the Jewish people and the West caved in to Jewish demands of a national homeland. We Americans have short memories and we would do well to remember the Jewish terrorists that blew up the King David Hotel and hung British soldiers with piano wire. They were no different than the terrorists we are facing today with a single minded goal and the use of any means to achieve it.

America and Britain have stood behind Israel since 1948 more so than any other nations in the West. However, we are now reaping the whirlwind we helped create with our unilateral support of the little state known as Israeli. I hear often that they are the only democracy in the Middle East and we must stand behind them. Did you know that in this supposedly democratic country you can be fined and jailed for distributing bibles? Not quite as harsh as your fate would be if you attempted the same in an Islamic coutry, but hardly democratic.

This post is not meant to be anti-Jewish in any way or should it be inferred that I support the Arab nations. The extremists among them have declared themselves our enemies with their hatred and zeal to kill us in whatever cowardly manner they deem necessary. I fully support the war on terrorism to eradicate the Muslim extremist cancer from this planet. At the same time I support the right of sovereign nations to defend themselves against cowardly thugs with rockets and missle launchers. With all of that being said, we should not blindly support Israel because of their supposed democracy or because of some false belief that they are God's chosen people. I believe the final outcome of the conflict between the Arabs and Jews will be the spark that ignites the final world war and ushers in the return of our Lord and the setting up of His kingdom.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Vanity Fair-Pilgrim's Progress

We just finished reading about the events that transpire at the Vanity Fair, ending in Faithful's death. In Hebrews 11:37-40, the conclusion of the heroes of the faith chapter, we are told that these that suffered for righteousness’ sake are those of whom the world was not worthy. In every time period since the Day of Pentecost men and women have suffered for their Lord and Saviour. We think of the Roman Christians who died violent deaths in the colliseums. During the Dark Ages some 50 million Christians sealed their testimonies, being hounded and persecuted by the church of Rome. God has always had his witnesses, those that stood for His truth and would not be swayed, no matter the consequences. For many years after the Protestant Reformation, many Protestant homes had two books, the Bible and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. The second book they read and taught their children so as not to forget the price paid by their forebears in handing down the faith. Now it sits on clearance shelves in so-called Christian bookstores. This type of suffering is very foreign to us in 21st century America but we should commemorate it and never forget their sacrifice. Some today are offended or even ashamed of the name Protestant when they are the ones who should be ashamed. Will we forget their sacrifice? God Forbid!

In Acts 5:41 we see the disciples rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. Paul tells us in Romans 8:18 that whatever suffering we may encounter in this life is nothing compared to the future glory that will be revealed to us when our Lord returns to set up His kingdom. There is no more definite condemnation of today’s “prosperity gospel(which says that if you become a Christian then you will be wealthy, healthy, and without trouble)” than 2 Timothy 3:12 where we are told that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Thankfully, today’s persecution does not include being fed to lions or burning at the stake. Another thing to be thankful for is that the Roman church does not have the power to persecute here in the West. Persecution comes in many forms –slander, ridicule, exclusion. How many of us are willing to bear this reproach for the name of Christ? Are we living with one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world? Do we speak out against error and apostasy or just go with the flow so as not to offend? These are dark days, morally and spiritually, and the church must fulfill it’s obligation to stand for the truth. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says that our adversary, the devil, is like a roaring lion, seeking to devour whoever he can. As soldiers of the Cross we must memorize Ephesians 6:10-17, which gives us the Christian’s weapons of warfare.

Psalm 46-God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Bible Translations

This is a subject that I have pondered over often since discovering that there were other versions of the Bible besides the great King James. I have followed the tireless debates over this issue on countless forums and must say that most conversations usually degenerate into name calling and vindictiveness. However, there is an incredible amount of ignorance among Christians concerning bible translations which is not helped by the bible-of-the-month "Christian" bookstores and their advertising methods.

For my twelfth birthday I was given a brown leather King James Bible, which sadly collected a lot of dust as it sat on my bookshelf for the next 10 years. When I was growing up in church in the 1980's most people still read mainly from the King James and I seem to remember this being the version of choice in the Southern Baptist church of my childhood. When I turned 22 the Lord began to call me back to Him and I began devouring His Word like a sponge. Of course, the only bible I possessed was the King James given to me ten years earlier. I loved the language of the King James and had no problems whatsoever understanding it. Sure, there were some tough places in the Old Testament, but overall fairly easy to read.

It wasn't long before I heard about the debate over Bible translations and those known as "King James Only." I read many books/booklets from the KJVO point of view, and for a while became convinced of their arguments. You could not get me near a modern "perversion" for anything. A few years ago I read James White's "King James Only Controversey" and it really opened my eyes to the fallacy of many KJVO arguments. So, what did I do next? Naturally, I went out and purchased numerous modern versions of the Bible-NKJV, NASB, ESV, RSV, NIV. I found the New King James to be the most familiar and my favorite among the modern versions. The New American Standard, in my opinion, is the most honest of the Critical Text versions because it includes the disputed verses in brackets. I have really enjoyed the English Standard Version, but am puzzled as to why they would use the liberal RSV as their starting point. The RSV and NIV have pretty much remained on the shelf since they were purchased. The RSV due to it's untustworthy liberal scholarship and the NIV for it's simple butchery of scripture and the tendency of the translators to interpret instead of translating. All of this being said, I still prefer the King James/New King James bibles and unless I am reading from them I always feel as if something is missing.

One of the reasons for this is my belief in the Divine preservation of scripture. I believe it was nothing short of God's sovereign hand in history when the Jews were expelled from Ferdinand and Isabella's Spain in the same time period of the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Could it be just pure coincedence that the Hebrew Masoretic and Greek Received Texts just happened to show up in northwest Europe at the dawn of the Protestant Reformation? Would God have led Luther and Tyndale to inaccurate copies of the Hebrew and Greek texts? I think not! Revelation chapter 10 was being fulfilled as the "little book" was opened and men like Tyndale gave their very life's blood to translate the Bible in the common tongue. How sad it is that few Christians today even know who Tyndale is! Are we to believe that God led his servants, in fulfillment of Revelation chapter 10, to restore His Word to the church based on corrupted Hebrew and Greek texts? God forbid! Do you mean to tell me that the church did not possess an accurate copy of the Bible until those spritual dwarfs on the Revised Version committee produced their revision, or should I say overhaul of the King James?

I often hear the oldest is best argument and it just doesn't hold water. Would not the accurate manuscripts have been so used and worn in their circulation as to warrant continuos copying? So why then, do today's scholars rely so heavily on the shaky testimony of a few contradicting and incomplete manuscripts such as Sinaiticus and Vaticanus? And excuse me, but I don't for one second believe in James White's harmony theory, where the scribes would add words and phrases from memory to make the verses similar to other verses found in the New Testament. For one thing, the scribes devoted their lives to copying the manuscripts and I do not believe they would have added to that which they considered to be holy. If anything, certain scribes would have erred by leaving verses and phrases out, which we see in the less accurate copies of the New Testament. Why would God preserve His Word at Satan's seat in the Vatican library or in a trash pile in some God-forsaken monastery while His people labored over inaccurate copies of His Word? Those poor Reformers and Puritans just didn't know any better, I guess.

All of this being said, I would not describe myself as King James Only but rather King James Preferred. I do not believe this is an issue that should divide Christians. There are a few modern translations, such as the English Standard Version and the New American Standard, that are very good translations of less accurate copies of the New Testament. However, many versions such as the NIV, NRSV, REB, NLT should be avoided. For those that have problems with the Elizabethan language of the King James I would recommend the New King James any day. Do not believe the lies being told by the KJVO about the NKJV, it is an excellent version in my own humble opinion.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Duke 87 North Carolina 83

My beloved Tarheels lost a heartbreaker tonight to the cross-town rival Blue Devils. Too many turnovers and missed opportunities and too much J.J. Reddick. I must say that I live and die with UNC basketball and this will take a little while to get over. March Madness is right around the corner and tonight was good preparation for it.

Tomorrow my wife and I leave for Chicago for her business trip. I hope to visit the Moody Bible Institue while I'm there. It is snowing in Chicago now and is supposed to snow every day we are there. Just wish I had bought some longjohns, but here in sunny South Carolina they are not needed.