We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

“New Age Bible Versions” — Chapter 19

V.  Chapter 19: “Antichrist Is Here: Denying the Deity of Christ.  The premise of this chapter is that the “new version” Bibles delete the various divine titles of Jesus, thereby diminishing His divinity.. 

1.  On page 302 Riplinger has a chart with three passages: Matt. 1:25; Luke 1:31; Luke 2:21.  In the KJV the name of Jesus is spelled with all upper case letters:  “JESUS.”  New versions just print the name as any other name: “Jesus.”  Common sense should tell us that this was just a style of the KJV translators.  Jay Green’s literal translation using the same TR as the KJV spells the name like all the other Bibles.  To say this diminishes the deity of Christ is a non sequitur

2.  p. 303 has a chart with passages which “prove” that the new versions are “stripping” Jesus’ divinity.  The chart says “NIV, NASB, et al” in comparison to KJV.

a.  Matt. 19:16:  KJV “Good Master” vs “Teacher.”  Jay Green translates it as “Good Teacher.”  “The Defined King James Bible” says that “master” here means “teacher/rabbi.” So changing “Master” to “Teacher” is actually making a more accurate reading.  Of course the next complaint would be that “Good” was left off.  The discrepancy as I see it is wether “good” is directed at Jesus or the actions.  Nevertheless, this does not diminish His deity.

b.  Matt. 25:21: KJV “thy Lord” vs “master.”  Actually, it is “your master.”  This parable is an analogy with a human lord/master.  The terms are synonymous, and do not refer to Jesus.  Riplinger misrepresents the context.

c.  Matt. 12:25:  KJV “Jesus” vs “he.”  As usual, Riplinger includes the NIV, which says “Jesus.”  NASB says “He,” with the upper case signifying Jesus.  It appears to me to be just a matter of style so as not to keep repeating “Jesus.”  No diminishing of deity.

d.  Luke 2:21 again, with same response as I gave above.

e.  2 Cor. 4:10:  KJV “Lord Jesus” vs “Jesus.”  Well, the entire book of 2 Corin. many time references the “Lord Jesus Christ” or “Jesus Christ,” or just “Christ” in all versions.  So with all the other passages giving so much “divine identity,” isn’t it rather a foolish complaint to say that in this one place the new versions are diminishing His deity?!?

f.  Acts 19:4:  KJV “Christ Jesus” vs “Jesus.”  Does dropping “Christ” for prefixing his name do anything to “strip” Jesus divinity?  NO.  We can actually say that “Christ” is the Greek for “Messiah,” and neither term reflects divinity.  So, for no reasons like the previous passages, we still have to say that this is not indicative of “stripping” Jesus’ divinity.

g.  2 Cor. 5:18: KJV “Jesus Christ” vs “Christ.”  The previous passage says the divinity is stripped due to lack of the title “Christ,” yet here we have Christ and we lack Jesus’ personal name.  How is this stripping divinity?!?

h.  Acts 5:42:  KJV “Jesus Christ” vs “the Christ.”  Okay, let’s look at this one in context to see just how foolish Riplinger’s claim is here.  KJV: “…they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”  “Christ” is a title, so more properly it would be rendered “Jesus the Christ.”  NAS: “…they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”  In this context they are teaching and preaching that Jesus is the Christ.  NIV:  “…they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”  These are all saying the same thing but in a slightly different grammatical style.  There is no stripping away of any divinity.

i.  1 Cor. 16:22:  KJV “the Lord Jesus Christ” vs “the Lord.”  At the opening of this letter, at chapter 1 vs 2-9, Paul discusses “the Lord Jesus Christ,” “our Lord Jesus Christ,” etc.  I think he well identified who he was talking about as being “the Lord.”  THEREFORE, to have just “the Lord” at the end of the letter only shortens the complete title which everyone already knows.  It does not strip any divinity from Jesus.

j.  2 Cor. 11:31:  KJV “Lord Jesus Christ” vs “Lord Jesus.”  As with previous, there is no stripping away of divinity.

k.  2 John 1:3 [sic]:  KJV “Lord Jesus Christ” vs “Jesus Christ.”  Dropping “Lord” does not strip divinity.  The context of John’s letters is the divinity of Christ.

3.  p.305  After going through some convoluted arguments about the underlying manuscripts of the KJV NT and the “new versions,” Riplinger then has a chart which shows KJV text having “clear and decisive texts that declare Jesus is God” while the “new versions” remove such.   Let’s look at them.

a.  1 John 3:16.  KJV “Hereby perceive we the love of God because he laid down his life for us.” vs “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us.”  Since these really say the same thing, just grammatically different due to the obsolete English of KJV, I don’t see the problem.  The “he” here is NOT God the Father, so even with KJV it is still not a “clear and decisive text” about the divinity of Christ.  In fact, there really isn’t even a hint of divinity here.

b.  Jude 1:4 [sic]:  KJV “the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” vs “our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”  This is really out of context.  The text is about denying God and Christ; in KJV it says, “denying the only Lord God…”, meaning that these false teachers deny both God the father and Jesus.  NAS says “Master and Lord,” while NIV says “Sovereign and Lord,” which say essentially the same thing, but they leave out the denial of God the Father.  But nothing in either version is a “clear and decisive” text about the divinity of Christ.

c.  1 Cor. 10:9:  KJV “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted and were destroyed of serpents” vs “We should not test the Lord, as some of them did and were killed by snakes.”   Since in the other versions the context of “Lord” has been identified as being Christ, one would have to observe that both versions say exactly the same thing — that it was Jesus as God who was tempted in Numbers 21.

d.  Rom. 14:10,12:  KJV “judgment seat of Christ… So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” “[Christ is God.]” vs “God’s judgment seat…For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”  First, the KJV text isn’t “clear and decisive” with divinity for Christ.  Saying the judgment seat is of Christ, and that people must account for themselves to God, is NOT saying that God and Christ are one and the same.  That is just reading into the text.  But in the overall context of Scripture, the judgment seat is God the Father’s, so I think the KJV has an error by saying it is Christ’s.  Even if it is of God the Father and God the Son, this text does not clear and decisively say Christ is God in any version!

e.  Acts 2:30:  KJV “he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne” vs “to seat one of his descendants upon his throne.”  In this passage Peter is quoting Psalm 132:11, which does NOT say “Christ” would be raised up, rather it says, in KJV, “Of the fruit of thy body” — i.e., one of his descendants.  This passage is interpreted as referring to the Messiah (Christ) but it doesn’t say “Messiah.”  All versions in the very next passage tell who this “descendant” is — i.e. Jesus Christ.  Again, neither passage is “clear and decisive” about the divinity of Christ.

f.  Rev. 1:11:  KJV “I am Alpha and Omega” vs “OMIT.”  Riplinger then says this: “As the chapter is written in the KJV, it is the best defense of the deity of Christ that can be shown to a Jehovah’s Witness.  They believe that the Alpha and Omega is God, but their version agrees with the new versions which obscure the deity of Christ.”  Well, this is incorrect.  First, we already have the same statement in vs. 8, although here it is followed by “says the Lord God,” which could be taken to mean the Father, as Riplinger claims with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  But let’s look to see if we can still prove the deity of Christ in the “new” versions. Verse 7 says the one who is coming is the one who is pierced (Jesus).  Verse 8 says the one who is coming is the "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending" and it quotes the "Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (the Lord Almighty is God).  Are two coming?  Beginning at v.11 a conversation ensues and continues to vs 17,  where the person talking to John says, "I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth, and was dead [who has to be Jesus]; and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."  Chapter 2:8 again identifies the speaker as "the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive".  Chapter 22:12, 13 has this same person calling himself "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last", and verse 16 identifies this person as Jesus.  Now, take this and compare it to information from Isaiah 43:10 and 48:12,13.  In 43:10 God says, "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."  This is sort of like saying "I am the first and the last".  In 48:12,13 God actually says, "I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.  Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth..."  So God is using the same identity that Jesus uses in Revelation, and further identifies himself as the one who "laid the foundation", i.e. made the creation.   Do we then have two "Alpha and Omega" and two "first and last"?  Of course not; which means I just proved from Revelation that Jesus is God, the “Alpha and Omega” and “the First and the Last.”  “Alpha and Omega” being absent from v.11 still leaves it at chapter 22!

g.  Rom. 5:9:  KJV “saved from wrath through him” “[He is God!]” vs “saved from the wrath of God through Him.”  KJV doesn’t identify whose wrath, nor does it hint that wrath is of Jesus.  It certainly does NOT say Jesus is God.  New versions identify of whose wrath is being spoken.

4.  p.306, in regards to Philippians 2:5-7, Riplinger again claims the new versions deny Christ’s deity in this passage.   KJV: “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” vs “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.”  Well, the Greek word is “harpagmos,” which according to Strongs means, “something to hold onto: — robbery.”  I think “robbery” doesn’t adequately explain what is taking place and can be quite confusing.  Vine’s has a good explanation, which I think demonstrates that there is no denying deity in the new versions:
harpagmos (ἁρπαγμός, 725), akin to harpazo, “to seize, carry off by force,” is found in Phil. 2:6, “(counted it not) a prize,” rv (marg., “a thing to be grasped”), kjv, “(thought it not) robbery”; it may have two meanings, (a) in the active sense, “the act of seizing, robbery,” a meaning in accordance with a rule connected with its formation, (b) in the passive sense, “a thing held as a prize.” The subject is capably treated by Gifford in “The Incarnation,” pp. 28, 36, from which the following is quoted:  

“In order to express the meaning of the clause quite clearly, a slight alteration is required in the rv, ‘Counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God.’ The form ‘to be’ is ambiguous and easily lends itself to the erroneous notion that to be on equality with God was something to be acquired in the future. The rendering ‘counted it not a prize that He was on an equality with God,’ is quite as accurate and more free from ambiguity.… Assuming, as we now may, that the equality was something which Christ possessed prior to His Incarnation, and then for a time resigned we have … to choose between two meanings of the word harpagmos (1) with the active sense ‘robbery’ or ‘usurpation’ we get the following meaning: ‘Who because He was subsisting in the essential form of God, did not regard it as any usurpation that He was on an equality of glory and majesty with God, but yet emptied Himself of that coequal glory.… ’ (2) The passive sense gives a different meaning to the passage: “Who though He was subsisting in the essential form of God, yet did not regard His being on an equality of glory and majesty with God as a prize and a treasure to be held fast, but emptied himself thereof.”  

After reviewing the arguments pro and con Gifford takes the latter to be the right meaning, as conveying the purpose of the passage “to set forth Christ as the supreme example of humility and self-renunciation.

5.  p. 307 charts are showing where “worship” (and variations of the word) are replaced in the NASB, hence, in Riplinger’s view, removing the deity of Christ.  (Of course the NASB is only ONE out of many “new versions” so it should not be held as an example of the rest while claiming ALL new versions are corrupt.)

a.  Luke 24:52:  KJV “they worshipped him” vs NASB:  “OMIT”.  Well, it wasn’t replaced here.  And one passage lacking “worshipped” in the entire Bible certainly doesn’t remove the deity of Christ!

b.  Matthew 8:2, 9:18; Mark 5:6: KJV “worshipped him” vs  NAS “bowed down
c.  Matthew 15:25:  KJV “worshipped him” vs NAS “bow down
d.  Matthew 18:26:  KJV “Worshipped him” vs NAS “falling down prostrate
e.  Matthew 20:20:  KJV  “worshipping him” vs NAS “bowing down

All of these passages uses the same Greek word, “proskuneo.”  This word means “to do obeisance, do reverence to,” neither of which has to be “worship.”  (“obeisance” can mean to “bow or curtsy”) I think it may be anachronistic to say that the people noted as doing this action were bowing to Jesus in worship rather than in honor and respect.  They didn’t know he was God incarnate.  Therefore, I think that NAS has a better description of the action.

f.  The short chart at the bottom of the page has three references to where the NAS did translate the word as “worship” or “worshipped”:  Rev. 13:4 twice and Rev. 9:20.  In these instances the object of worship is “the beast,” “the dragon,” and “demons.”  I believe context demonstrates that the people were indeed worshiping these entities rather than Christ.  Yet  Riplinger makes an issue out of it, as if the NAS translators would rather worship Satan than Christ.

6.  Summary of Chapter 19.  The object of this chapter was to “prove” how the new versions of the Bible stripped, diminished or otherwise denied the deity of Christ.  As with all the previous chapters, Riplinger very much overstates the case, misrepresents the facts, and is just plain wrong about her charges.

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