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, July 30, 2013

Random Apostasies and Heresies

I’m getting behind in my blog work, and here it is already time to post a “Random”  update!

I have reported on Joel Osteen’s false teachings several times in the past, but I found a good short article this past week which I think has some good information about this heretic.

Well, there’s more going on about Sarah Young’s book, “Jesus Calling.”  It seems that a pastor wrote a book critiquing it, and he was railed against in the reviews.  The followers of Young others like her, such as Beth Moore, behave so much like cult members that it is astonishing!  All discernment is thrown out the window as they follow these false teachers with every fibre of their being.  I find it to be very sad.

I’ve seen the Women of Faith conference advertised at my church in the past, and never saw anything in the advertisements which raised my warning flags.  But, now it looks like they are going the way of all other “tickling the ears” conferences.  The books sold through the Women of Faith online bookstore should be a good litmus test of what they are sanctioning and promoting at their conferences.  I guess it has been a while since I’ve seen the conference advertised, because they’ve been promoting this junk for quite some time now, including selling Brian McLaren’s heretical books.  Now they are getting involved with New Ager Roma Downey!  This article at Lighthouse Trails gives more information.

An interesting article was one I read from Tim Challies, about the obsession Christians have with virginity.  Of course we all believe that sexual relations should only take place within in the confines of marriage, but we also know that in today’s sex-saturated society that there are those who are seduced into having sexual relations while in junior and senior high school, let alone while in college.  What often happens is that these young people realize they have done wrong, repent of it and want to move on, but many Christians teach that they are now “damaged goods.”  This is especially true of the girls.  I think Challies makes some very important points.

I haven’t previously addressed a religious system which is prevalent in the area in which   I live - the Amish.  The Amish are indeed a very legalistic group of people, and I have read may testimonies by those who have left that system.  Now, I don’t doubt that there are true believers among the Amish, just as there are among Roman Catholics, but the Amish’ stress on works places a very heavy burden on their followers.  And the idea that living as if they are still in the 18th century makes them more holy and less likely to become worldly is just untrue. 
A friend recently loaned us a DVD movie based on a book by Beverly Lewis, who, for whatever reason, is enamored with the Amish and writes novels about them, romanticizing their religious beliefs.  It was very sad to see that the movie actually approved of such legalistic living.
This is all to say that I found a very interesting article about the Amish, as well about Beverly Lewis’ romanticizing of them.  I consider the Amish to be cultic.

More about Charles Stanley’s In Touch magazine has been reported by Lighthouse Trails Research ministry.  The magazine is getting deeper and deeper into the mystical movement and away from sound biblical teaching.  Stanley has to be held personally responsible.

Recovering Grace had a good article about the origins of Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles and all the false and legalistic teachings found there.  Just with the highlights covered in the article, one has to wonder why Christians - especially home-schoolers - are still enamored with him.

Former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu says that he would rather go to hell than to go to a “Homophobic Heaven.”  Of course we all know that the word “homophobic” means being against sanctioning homosexual behavior.  Him being from the Anglican community makes this not really as surprising as it seems, since the Anglican community long ago went pro-homosexual.  Tutu says he won’t worship “a god who is homophobic.” I guess Tutu will discover the truth too late.

Tim Keller is getting more and more apologists and theologians criticizing his teachings - which is good from my vantage point; I always like it when popular teachers are exposed for their false teachings.  This article reviews a new book which examines some of Keller’s teachings.

Another popular false teacher is Donald Miller, of “Blue Like Jazz” fame.  He gave some advice recently about seeking truth, and yet it was poor advice - as usual.  A good examination of this latest teaching was posted over at Juicy Ecumenism.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) really, really doesn’t seem to every want to be an orthodox denomination again.  Now they rejected the hymn “In Christ Alone” because it teaches a biblical truth about God’s wrath!  Sigh!

An interesting thought about how Joseph Smith was fooled by Satan - according to the LDS teachings!

Oh, the United Church of Christ keeps demonstrating why it isn’t a real Christian denomination.  I don’t know if there is anything in their teachings which line up with the Bible!  They have an advice column on their official web site, and received a request for advice about a non-married sexual relationship, in which the one partner is suggesting a three-some.  The advice columnist has no problem with polyamory, and even uses the Bible to say it is okay!  In the advice, there is no condemnation of what the partner wants to do, rather the problem is that the two are not in agreement!!!!!  Well, once you approve homosexual behavior, then why is polyamory wrong?

Another liberal denomination, the United Methodist Church, has a pro-homosexuality movement within which has never been, to my knowledge, condemned by the UMC.  Well, this movement has led to the Desert-Southwest Conference to declare all their facilities now have “open bathrooms” policies.  The idea is to help “transgendered” people.  ARGH!  More of the emperor’s new clothes.

Lastly, the Pope is still Catholic.  I last reported about his granting indulgences for following him on Twitter, and now he has granted indulgences for those who attended the World Youth Day in Brazil.  Along with this heresy, the pope did a lot of praying to “Mary” while in Lampedusa, Italy.  Having read the prayer, all I can do is shake my head at such foolishness.  In addition to reporting on this event, Elizabeth Prata examines the whole issue of praying to Mary, and just how unbiblical it is.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The "Passion Translation" of the Bible

This article is from the August 2013 issue of The Berean Call.  I think it is a very important report on the false teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation, with their own cultic Bible version.

One More Translation: One More Step Away From The Truth
Edwin Newby

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God (Latter Day Saints article of faith, No. 8).

While I do believe that the Holy Bible is Divinely inspired and written by men, I do not necessarily hold to the idea that only the 66 books we now have in our (Protestant) bibles are the sole Divinely inspired books of antiquity (http://www.seedtheseries.com/blog/Intro.html).

In the words of Dallas Theological Seminary president Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952), "All heresy is either the Bible plus, or the Bible minus." The quotes above are examples of adding to the Word of God. In the case of the Mormons, the Bible specifically contradicts LDS teaching. Consequently, and not surprisingly (according to the LDS Church), the Bible is "incorrectly translated" in those verses.

The second quote by "Nephilim" teacher Rob Skiba is actually an admission that his view of the Genesis 6 "sons of God" lacks support from the Bible alone. He therefore adds to the Bible to support his case by using apocryphal books to fill the "void" left by Scripture. Though the New Testament writers on a few occasions referred to apocryphal books, there is no certainty that the ones available today are the same as when quoted.

Another example of "adding" to the Scriptures is seen in the explosion of Bible translations and paraphrases today. From the "Queen James Version" published by homosexuals to the Passion Translation, the "agenda" is plain to see.

Former missionary and now New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) pastor Brian Simmons is producing the Passion Translation (PT). It wrests the Scriptures as blatantly as Eugene Peterson's The Message. The portions translated so far furnish ample evidence of his need to alter Scripture in order to support NAR doctrinal teaching.

Not surprisingly, his translation has been endorsed by NAR leaders such as Dr. Che Ahn, Senior Pastor Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena, CA: "Brian Simmons is a brilliant man that has been given fresh revelation and insight into the deeper meaning of the Scriptures...." Or Katherine Ruonala, Senior Minister, Glory City Church, Brisbane, Australia: "I pray that as you read these sacred works, the fire of God will awaken you to a fresh hunger. It was through a life-changing encounter with God that Brian was commissioned to do this translation and I believe that an impartation for Holy Spirit encounters is released through his ministry" [our emphasis].

Simmons was "commissioned" to do this translation? Professing "the anointing" of the Lord, Simmons forsook the manuscripts that previous translators have used and opted for Aramaic versions no earlier than the fifth century. As a consequence, the wording of many verses runs quite contrary to those derived from the Greek.

Simmons writes, "For centuries, it has been believed that the New Testament was first written in Greek. [But,] some scholars now lean increasingly towards the thought that Aramaic and Hebrew texts of the New Testament are the original manuscripts, and that many of the Greek texts are copies, and a second generation from the originals! This is radically changing translation concepts, and will result in many new translations of the New Testament based on Aramaic" [Excerpt taken from the "Translator's Introduction" to Letters from Heaven by the Apostle Paul, Simmon's fourth release of The Passion Translation.] Mind you, he doesn't tell us who those scholars are.

Further, Simmons seems to echo the opinion of some Hebrew Roots teachers--an opinion without proof. Fragments of New Testament manuscripts from the second century written in Greek exist. And, more recently a first century Greek fragment of Mark's Gospel has been found.

Simmons relies upon the Aramaic translation. But the readers of Paul's letters were not Aramaic speakers. Rome, Greece, and western Asia Minor were Greek speaking. Paul would naturally have written to them in Greek.

The oldest Aramaic bible manuscripts are written in a different dialect than the Aramaic spoken by Jesus and his disciples in Galilee.

Also, the synoptic gospels have long been said to have "large overlaps in Greek" (for example, similarities between Matthew and Mark). This simply means that some writers of the Gospels were familiar with other gospels already written in Greek.

Concerning the PT, it is instructive that another commentator notes, "I must mention that even those verses he claims to translate from the Greek are still drastically different" (http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/05/a-new-nar-bible-part-3-wheres-the-manuscript-evidence/3153). They are different because the human bias of Simmons drives this work.

For example, consider his translation of Galatians 6:6. The KJV reads, "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." To "communicate" means to "share" (as translated in other English translations) material things with those whose full time job is to teach the Word of God. Compare it to the Passion Translation:

“And those who are taught the Word will receive an impartation from their teacher; a transference of anointing takes place between them.”

The meaning given by Simmons is supportive of NAR teaching regarding the "anointing" but has nothing to do with what the verse says. Again we see the NAR bias imposing itself upon Simmon's translation.

Even Paul's greeting to the Philippians is corrupted by Simmons. The KJV reads, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:2). In the PT Paul's greeting becomes,

We decree over your lives the blessings of divine grace and supernatural peace that flow from God our wonderful Father, and our Anointed Messiah, the Lord Jesus.”

Inspired by positive confession, NAR folks are not afraid to make "decrees," believing that they are speaking for or in the place of God. Simmons is adding to and departing from the Scriptures and most of all distorting God's Word for the sake of his movement. As noted, so do the LDS and other groups.

A critical passage for perilous times (2 Timothy 3:1-9) is 2 Timothy 4:2-4. In the KJV the exhortation is to "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." Doctrine is specifically mentioned twice in this passage.

The point of the passage and the protection for the sheep is removed by the PT:

“Proclaim the Word of God and never give up! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not, with all the outpouring of the Spirit--with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people. For the time is coming when they will no longer listen and respond to the healing words, but because they are selfish and proud they will seek out teachers with soothing words that line up with their desires, saying just what they wanted to hear. They will close their ears to the truth and believe nothing but fables and myths.” [our emphasis]

Finally, the book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom. The PT does much to subtract from that wisdom. Consider just one verse--Proverbs 1:7:

“How then does a man gain the essence of wisdom? It starts with God, For the first rays of revelation-light come from Him. So trust Him and live in awe and adoration of Him! Careless ones will never stop to do this, For they scorn true wisdom and knowledge.”

In truth, Proverbs 1:7 tells us that, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." As A. W. Tozer points out, "No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God."

In Psalm 119:105, the inspired writer of Scripture tells us, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." The Passion Translation does much to obscure and turn off that light.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Random Apostasies and Heresies

One reason why apologists such as me continue to press the issue of proper teaching and exposing false teachings is that unbiblical teaching leads to an unbiblical worldview.  The proof can be given in two examples: abortion and homosexuality.   Unbiblical teaching in regards to just these two moral issue have led to the unbiblical worldview that God approves of both and therefore we should also approve of both, no matter how much it leads to the moral corruption of our society.  These two topics, as well a the preaching of the social gospel, have led almost all the mainline denominations into varying degrees of apostasy in regards to their overall theological viewpoints.  Then this leads to more and more un-discipled Christians who remain in the flesh with their worldviews.  And it spreads like cancer through the body of Christ.

As an example of my point, the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has now decided to affirm sexual anarchy with the embracing of openly homosexual members.  Even beyond that, they are embracing the lie of “transgenderism.” 

Even Roman Catholicism has their rogues who support same-sex fake marriage.  Jesuit Priest John Whitney in San Francisco (where else?) marched in the “Gay Pride” parade in solidarity with and respect for our homosexual brothers and sisters.”  Too bad he forgets that the only brothers and sisters of Christians are other Christians!  Will the Pope excommunicate him?  Not likely.

Speaking of the Pope, he is now offering indulgences to reduce time spent in purgatory if you will just follow him on Twitter!  Yes, the heretical idea of purgatory, and the heretical idea that one can earn their way out of such a non-existent place simply by following the Pope’s “tweets,” is again demonstrating that the Roman Catholic Church is NOT a Christian organization.  IF purgatory was real, does it make sense that God would lessen one’s time there just because they followed the pope’s “tweets”?!?!  If you think purgatory is real, and that indulgences are biblical and beneficial, I invite you to read my article on the subject.

In my last “Random” post I provided some information about the upcoming “Wildgoose Festival” and the false teachers who would be in attendance.  More information can now be found at Lighthouse Trails Research.

Elizabeth Prata has a good list with 20 Characteristics of false teachers.  If you recognize any of these characteristics at your local assembly, perhaps you should think about running out of there!

If you are interested in learning more about the false teachings of people in the Word of Faith cult or other charismania, there is a “Strange Fire Conference” coming in California in October.  The Cripplegate talks a little bit about what you will learn and who will be speaking, but they mainly give a good report about Rodney Howard-Browne’s having his dander up about the exposure people like him will be getting and what is wrong with his pragmatic approach to his false teaching.

Richard Foster has been mentioned in some of my articles about the current move to bring all things mystical into the Church.  Lighthouse Trails Research ministry has a good post about problems with his teachings.

I will end today’s edition with an interesting article about Bill Gothard’s method cultic teaching which “inoculates” his followers against those who would criticize him.  Recovering Grace ministries is a good one for information about Gothardism and the harm his false teachings have caused.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Christian Husbands and Wives

Feminists attack Christians for their belief that in a marriage women are to submit to their husbands.  They claim that this makes the woman a slave to her husband, and opens her up to abuse.  In the same way, many legalistic Christian men use the idea of his wife submitting to him as an excuse to abuse her and rule over her as a dictator.

The passage abused by both extremes is Ephesians 5:22-30.  Here is what this passage says:

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one every hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body.”  (NIV)

I’m not going to get deep into this passage - there are plenty of commentaries and books about it.  But I am going to just highlight the main ideas behind it, from both the wife’s and the husband’s responsibility.

Wives have a very "easy" responsibility; they are to just submit to their husband’s authority.  This doesn’t mean she is a slave to her husband, rather it means that she submits to his leadership as head of the family.  If there are issues in which husband and wife cannot come to a consensus, then the husband is the ultimate authority and his decision is to be followed.  Notice that the wife submits in the same way as the church submits to Christ.  As Christ would never lead the church astray, if the husband is desiring his wife do something against what Christ would want (something immoral or illegal, e.g.), then the wife is not expected to blindly submit.  Other than those types of issues, the wife just submits to her husband as the leader in all matters.  Of course that means HE is the one God holds responsible for the outcomes!

Husbands have a much more difficult and defined role and responsibility.  While the wife is given no instruction about loving her husband, the husband is commanded to love his wife in the same way that Christ loved the church - in a fully sacrificial way, helping her to be spiritually blameless and holy.  He is to love his wife as if she is his own body, and care for her in that way.  If the husband obeys this command, there will NEVER be any abuse.  He will act as the leader of the home, guiding the spiritual life of the family, protecting the family in every way.  He doesn’t make decisions unilaterally, rather he includes his wife in decision-making, and only if there is no agreement does he have the  authority to make the final decision and be responsible to God for the decisions he makes.

Let’s look at one more passage to round out the teaching; 1 Peter 3:1-7:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (NIV)

Notice that the Scripture again says for the wife to be submissive to her husband.  However, what is interesting here is that Peter addresses the result if the husband is an unbeliever - he may be won to Christ because of her behavior!

Some people claim that this passage says that a woman should not use jewelry or braid her hair, etc, but that is not what it is saying.  What it IS saying is that the wife is not to make her external adornment her beauty - that her real beauty should be the inner person.

Look at what Peter says to the husband - that he is be considerate of her and treat her with respect.  Some versions say that he is to live with his wife “in an understanding way.”  The husband is to treat his wife as a “weaker partner” (or “weaker vessel”).  This does not mean physically weaker, although normally wives are weaker physically than their husbands (simple physiology), rather I think it points out that women tend to be more emotional and tender about life than men.  The husband is to treat his wife with gentleness and tenderness, seeking to understand her.

Finally, look at the reason Peter gives husbands as to why they should treat their wives in this manner - SO THAT NOTHING WILL HINDER YOUR PRAYERS!  Think about that, husbands - how you treat your wives affects how God hears your prayers.

When husbands and wives live according to the commands of the Bible, there will never be any abuse, nor will women be treated as bondservants.  Their relationships will be better than any marriage of unbelievers.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

“New Age Bible Versions” - Chapter 10, Part 1

As with my review of Chapter Nine, I have to split this chapter into two due to its length.

L.  CHAPTER TEN:  “Self-Esteem Dream.”   This chapter is about how new versions promote the “self-esteem dream.”  The NIV and NAS are usually cited to support those “who look up to man.

1.  P. 179 chart.  To be “proud” or “boastful” is not always a result of high self-esteem, contrary to Riplinger’s claim.

a.  2 Cor. 1:4; KJV “your rejoicing” vs. “be proud.”  Riplinger again takes out of context with deception.  KJV says, “we are your rejoicing.”  NAS says, “we are your reason to be proud.”  Put “be proud” in context and KJV and NAS say the same thing, as does the NIV.

b.  2 Cor. 5:12; KJV “glory on our behalf” vs. “be proud.”  NAS actually says, “giving you an occasion to be proud of us” (NIV is similar).  Again, in context they say the same thing.

c.  2 Cor. 1:12; KJV “rejoicing” vs. “our proud confidence.”  The sense is the same in context.

d.  2 Cor. 7:4.  Let’s look at the passage first, since Riplinger addresses two phrases from it, and I  will bold the phrases in question:
KJV: Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
NAS:  “Great is my confidence in you, great is my boasting on your behalf; I am filled with comfort.  I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.”
NIV:  “I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you.  I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

The first phrases addressed are obviously synonymous in context - that Paul is talking about his confidence in them.  The second phrase (KJV “great is my glorying” vs. NIV “take great pride”) is again synonymous, and NIV actually is clearer. 
My understanding of Paul’s “boldness of speech toward you,” is that his confidence in them leads him to talk boldly about them.
Matthew Henry says,  “And he adds it was his great affection to them that made him use such boldness or freedom of speech towards them, and caused him to glory, or make his boast of them.”  [my bold emphasis].
If Henry understood the boasting, what is Riplinger’s complaint?  There is no promotion of self-esteem here.

e.  James 1:10.  An example of Riplinger’s dishonesty.  KJV “(no Greek)” vs. NIV “take pride in.”  NAS says “glory in”; the word is italicized to show it isn’t in the original.  But NAS is a formal equivalency translation whereas NIV is more of a dynamic equivalency translation and doesn’t italicize.  There is no deceit in adding the phrase in v.10; it’s just clarifying the passage by carrying over the thought from v.9.  KJV does the same thing each time it uses a word that is italicized.  Whether there is an original word in that place is irrelevant to Riplinger’s argument - it has nothing to do with promoting self-esteem.

f.  Phil. 1:26; KJV “your rejoicing” vs. NAS “proud confidence.”  Let’s look at it in context, starting at v.24:
KJV: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus CHrist for me by my coming to you again.
NAS:  “yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.  And convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith., so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.

The two, in context, say the same thing.  There is no hint that the boasting is of oneself, and therefore no hint of teaching self-esteem.

g.  James 1:9; KJV “rejoice” vs. “ought to take pride in.”  One has to wonder why this wasn’t addressed together with v.10; if it had been, then the deceit there would have been exposed.  Although these could be seen with a different sense, again there is no reason to suggest it “promotes self-esteem.”  

h.  Gal. 6:4.  Let’s look at the full verse and see that pride is the context of both:
KJV:But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
NIV:  “Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.

2.  P.180.  There are several verses in which Riplinger has a phobia over the use of the word “self.”  When someone speaks of “self-control” or “self-restraint,” there is the understanding that this is something a person has the capability of doing on their own.  The Spirit does indeed empower us, but we make our personal choice to act with “self-control/restraint.”  If we take Riplinger’s  logic to its conclusion, homosexuals can just claim they don’t have the Spirit so they can’t exercise self-control.  Riplinger is WRONG when she says self-control/restraint are “virtues which are solely the fruit of the Spirit.”  The Scriptures do not say this.  As a matter of fact, atheistic humanists exercise self-control.  Even the words KJV uses reflect choice.  The following passages show, in sequence, KJV, NAS, and NIV verbiage:

a.  1 Tim. 2:15  sobriety,  self-restraint,  propriety
b.  Acts 24:25  temperance, self-control, self-control
c.  1 Cor. 7:5  incontinency, lack of self-control, lack of self-control
d.  1 Cor. 9:25  is temperate, exercises self-control, goes into strict training
e.  Gal. 5:23 temperance, self-control, self-control
f.  2 Tim. 3:3 incontinent, without self-control, without self-control
g.  Pet.1:3 [sic]  [nothing at 1 Pet . 1:3 or 2 Pet. 1:3]

3.  P.180 chart claiming that “self’ stands first in the lines of new versions.”   The chart says “NAS, et al,” but NIV reads the same as KJV, so she is wrong here.

a.  Rom. 15:1 in NAS says that we who are strong are to bear with the weak, and not “just” to please ourselves, but to please our neighbor.  Riplinger points out that “just” is not in the Greek, and that the word being there is about pleasing ourselves, apparently in addition to pleasing our neighbors.  KJV says we are to bear with the weak in our neighbor, “and not to please ourselves.”   (NIV reads as KJV).  So, apparently with the NAS we can please ourselves as long as we also please our neighbors while with KJV we only please our neighbors.  This is a very finely nuanced difference, but I don’t see where this is evidence that the NAS is promoting self-esteem.

b.  1 Pet. 3:3.  This is another very weak case, based on the NAS adding the word, “merely” to external.  Even when KJV was the only Bible I owned, I understood this verse exactly the way NAS puts it: that outward beauty is okay, but that it is secondary to inward beauty.  Peter isn’t saying one can’t adorn themselves outwardly.  What he is saying is that outward adornment is not as important as who the person is. The passage in the NAS is certainly NOT promoting self-esteem.

4.   P.181.  Complaint about the word “likeness.”  Riplinger also makes the statement, “The words ‘as’ and ‘like’ are not interchangeable.”  However, a good unabridged dictionary demonstrates that a meaning for “like” is indeed “as.”  Her contention is that the use of “like” or “likeness” is leading us to want to be “like God” in the same manner as “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12.  She gives us only two examples:

a.  1 Pet. 2:2.  KJV says “as newborn babes,” while NAS/NIV say “like newborn babes.”  These mean the very same thing!  At least I understand these both the same way; as a newborn in Christ, like a newborn in life, we are to crave spiritual milk the way a baby craves milk.

b.  Eph. 4:24.  Here we have another claim that we are trying to be like God.  Since context is everything, let’s look at Riplinger’s claim first:

NIV, NASB, et al.:  put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness.”
“KJV:  put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

In both these citations, the bold emphasis is Riplinger’s.  Now let’s look at what NAS and NIV really say:
NASB: put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
NIV:put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Riplinger’s emphasis on “true” implied that the other versions deleted that word, when all she did was cut the NAS citation short.  The understanding of the last phrase is the same in all versions.
The whole point of this passage is that, now that we are Christians with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  (KJV 2 Cor. 7:1).  In other words, we are to strive to be like God in our holiness (not that we will ever be like God, but that in Christ we are to live in holiness); the new man takes after God in righteousness and holiness.  Whether we take “after God” or behave in His “likeness,” the understanding is identical without any hint of self-focused attempts to be gods ourselves.

5.  P. 182.  KJV “followers” vs NIV, NASB, et al “imitators.”  The claim is that “imitation Christians are being produced by “imitation Bibles.”  What Riplinger seems to be ignorant of is the fact that “imitate” also connotes being as much like the imitated as possible!  For the word “imitate,” Webster’s says, “1. to try to act or be the same as; to follow the example of; as, one should imitate the wise.”  Riplinger found two places in the whole Bible where the word “imitators” was used, yet she claims this is creating “imitation Christians.”  (Even if she was correct about the word being misused, it would still be a logic fallacy of the small/unrepresentative sample.)  But let’s look at her two examples of “imitators” vs. “followers” and let Matthew Henry’s words answer the charge.

a.  1 Cor. 11:1:  The first verse of this chapter is put, by those who divided the epistle into chapters, as a preface to the rest of the epistle, but seems to have been a more proper close to the last, in which he had enforced the cautions he had given them against the abuse of liberty, by his own example:  ‘Be ye followers of me, as I also of Christ’ (v.1), fitly closes his argument; and the way of speaking in the next verse looks like a transition to another.  But, whether it more properly belong to this or the last chapter, it is plain from it that Paul not only preached such doctrine as they ought t believe, but led such a life as they ought to imitate.  ‘Be ye followers of me,’ that is, ‘Be imitators of me;  live as you see me live.’ (bold emphasis mine)

b.  Eph. 5:1:  ‘Because God,  for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you, therefore be you followers of God, or imitators of him;’  or so the word signifies.  Pious persons should imitate the God whom they worship, as far as he has revealed himself as imitable by them."  (bold emphasis mine)

6.  P.182, bottom chart.  Another absurd complaint, supposedly showing man setting himself up as his own god.

a.  John 10:34; KJV “ye are gods” vs NAS “YOU ARE GODS.”  These say exactly the same thing, so I assume the capitalization is what bothers Riplinger.  This is a style that NAS uses when quoting O.T. passages (Ps. 82:6 in this case).  Riplinger is surely aware of this, so this charge is a dishonest ploy apparently to incite distrust in the NAS.

b.  Rev. 4:4
KJV:around about the throne were four and twenty seats
NAS: around the throne were twenty four thrones.”

The problem apparently is that NAS uses the word “thrones” instead of “seats,” which surely means that the NAS is making us equal with God.  However, the Greek T.R. which underlies the KJV uses the same word - thronos - for both places.  A throne according to Webster’s, is “a seat occupied by one having power of authority.”  I believe if one continues reading Revelation, one will see that the elders do have some authority.  The point I must make is that the KJV should have translated “thrones” rather than “seats.”

c.  Gen. 1:27.  When God made man in His image, isn’t that the same as saying He made man like himself?  In other words, “Like God did God make man.” (LB)  The Living Bible was originally written for children, who may not understand the word “image.”  And it is dishonest of Riplinger to use a paraphrase for children as an example of what’s wrong with new Bibles.

7.  P.183 chart.  The claim here is that new versions change the distinctive “blasphemy” to “slander,” which hides “a critical aspect of the word.”

a.  Col. 3:8.  Matthew Henry says,  And, as the corrupt principles in the heart be cut off, so the product of them in the tongue; as blasphemy, which seems there to mean, not so much speaking ill of God as speaking ill of men, giving ill language to them, or raising ill reports of them, and injuring their good name by any evil arts.
Sounds like “slander” to me.  If Henry understood it this way, why not Riplinger?  Thayer’s says the word means, “slander, detraction, speech injurious to another’s good name.

b.  Mark 7:22 & Matt. 15:19.  Thayer’s here is the same as Col. 3:8.  Henry understood it to be slanderous talk against God or man.  Our modern usage of “blasphemy” is directed only against what is holy, whereas “slander” can be used of God or man, hence it is a better word here.

c.  Titus 2:5.  KJV “blasphemed” vs. NAS “dishonored.”  The word “blaspheme” itself means the dishonoring of that which is holy.  NAS “that the word of God may not be dishonored,” and NIV “no one will malign the word of God.”  Both give the very same meaning in context as “blaspheme.” 

d.  2 Tim. 3:2.  In context “blasphemers” does indeed seem to be a better word than NIV “abusive.”  This is the only example of the five verses Riplinger gives that I see as possibly a legitimate complaint.  But does it change doctrine, give succor to New Agers, or encourage self-esteem?

8.  P.184, the removal of the “Godhead” being apparently due to ascribing divinity to man, and “The Antichrist’s ‘divine nature’ defended.”

a.  Rom. 1:20.  The Greek uses the word theiotes, “divinity.”  Vine’s says, “The attributes of God, His ‘divine’ nature and properties.”  I think, in context of this verse, “divine nature” is definitive.  

b.  Acts 17:29. Vine’s says, “In Acts 17:29 it is used as a noun with the definite article, to denote ‘the Godhead,’ the Deity (i.e., the one true God).”  This appears to be a legitimate complaint from Riplinger in that the choice of words in the newer versions is not as good.  In the context of this verse, even I don’t like “Divine Nature.”  However, this doesn’t come to anywhere near her charges of defending a “divine nature” of the Anti-Christ or pointing a divine nature in man!

9.  P.185; verses that help man recognize his divine affinity.”

a.  Ps. 8:5; KJVlower than the angels” vs. NAS “lower than God.”  If you’re a little lower than God, can you not be lower than the angels?  And if one is lower than the angels, is he not also lower than God?  In context, I find little difference in the understanding.  Can it be twisted?  Yes, but so can just about anything in the KJV, which is the Bible of choice of the Mormons!

b.  Heb. 2:7, which is a quotation of Ps. 8:5.  NAS’s added phrase here (“for a little while”) may be from the Septuagint, whereas their own Ps. 8:5 may be from the Hebrew.  NIV says “angels” here and “heavenly beings” in Ps. 8:5, but those are essentially synonymous.  At the resurrection man will be equal to the angels (Luke 20:36), so “for a little while” could refer to that time before the resurrection.  There is no doctrinal problem with this.

10.  P.186 and the charge that new versions have removed references to God in “the process of building a pedestal form man.”  As far as Riplinger is concerned, if you don’t actually say “God” over and over in the same paragraph or sentence, then you are removing references to Him!

a. Rev. 21:4; KJV “God” vs. “He.”  In context “He” is obviously God, and I don’t believe anyone reading this would understand “He” to mean anything other than “God.”  After all, in vv.5-7 KJV just says “he” for God; is KJV removing references to God?  The context of the paragraph is discussing God, so reference to God has not been “removed.”

b.  Heb. 10:9; “O God” is missing.  It is missing here, but “God” was just cited at v.7 when the writer quoted Ps. 40:6-8.  At v.9 he is just going over it a section at a time.  God is still referred to.

c.  1 Tim. 3:16; KJV “God” vs. “He.”  NIV and NAS both footnote “God” as being in later mss.  Nevertheless, the context says he is talking about God.  God is indeed referred to .

d.  Gal. 1:15.  Complaint against the NAS only.  But the context can mean only God.

e.  Matt. 22:32.  “God” is all over this verse.  To use “He” once in the whole verse is not glorifying man or removing references to God in any way.

f.  Col. 2:19; KJV “Head” vs. NAS “head.”  The reference is to Christ as head, not God the Father, so no reference to God was removed.  Whether or not it is capitalized, the analogy is the same - Christ is the head and the church is his body.

g.  Matt. 6:33  was addressed in C.2.e.

h.  The truth is that all references to God remain in NAS/NIV.

11.  P.187, two charts, both discussing the replacement of “God” with “divine.”  Charts say “NASB, NIV, et al,” which makes NAS or NIV guilty by association.  The charge is that God is being pushed aside and is being replaced with “personal power.

a.  Gen. 41:38.  NIV is the same as KJV, saying "the Spirit of God” is in Joseph, which are more explicit than NAS which says “in whom is a divine spirit.”  While NAS recognizes the divinity of the spirit indwelling Joseph, it doesn’t specifically state the divine spirit is the Spirit of God (although, in context, what other spirit is divine?)  So does this intimate personal power instead of God’s power?  Not hardly.

b.  Rom. 11:4.  KJV says, “What saith the answer of God?” vs NAS, “What is the divine response?”  Contextually, Paul is referring to God, who is indeed mentioned as God in the previous passages.  There is no way that this could be taken by any one to mean a “personal power” instead of God. (I continue to wonder if Riplinger understands how to read context.)

c.  Acts 19:27.  This one is against the NIV.  Here should be no problem using “divine majesty” instead of KJV’s “her magnificence” because reference is to one of their gods, and context dictates that the reference is not to the true God anyway.

d.  1 Sam. 28:13.  KJV says “gods” vs. NAS “divine beings” and NIV “spirit” (but footnotes, “Or . . . spirits” or. . . “gods”).  Context shows all three are good descriptions of what is taking place.

e.  2 Cor. 10:4; KJV “mighty through God” vs. “divine power.”  The context of “divine power” is power that comes from God.  I see no problem here.

f.  Acts 8:10.  In this case the people are talking about a man who “used sorcery, and bewitched the people.”  I think it is better that the distinction is of not being the “power of God,” because his power was from the occult.

g.  One out of six examples is a somewhat valid complaint about word choices, but does not validate the charge that references to God have been removed to give man “personal power.”  This is one verses out of the whole Bible, and even if all six complaints were valid, even that is an unrepresentative sample!

12.  P.188 chart where, supposedly, “man’s ‘divine’ powers preclude the need for God.”  Riplinger doesn’t specify which new versions - she just says “NEW VERSIONS” as if all are guilty.  She claims new versions of the BIble “either omit ‘God’ entirely or show man ‘helping him along.” (It really would help in checking her citations if she just once listed the passages in Biblical order - she makes people go back and forth through the Bible to check her statements for any truth.)

a.  1 Cor. 16:2.  KJV “as God hath prospered him.”  vs “as he hath prospered.”  “God” is italicized in the KJV - not in the original manuscript; argument dismantled.

b.  2 Cor. 5:21.  More of Riplinger’s dishonesty.  She says that the KJV says, “we might be made the righteousness of God in him” [her emphasis], while “new versions” say, “we might become the righteousness of God.”  This is from the NIV, but the verse in CONTEXT says, “in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Every version I have says virtually the same thing.  She has no case with this verse (unless it’s in a version I’ve not seen) - just rank dishonesty.

c.  Gen. 12:3:  KJV “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” vs RV “the families of the earth shall bless themselves.”  The RV at least footnotes:  “Or, in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  I don’t know how the average person would look at this, but I certainly understand RV to say the same as the KJV.  It’s saying that we bless ourselves when we are blessed by God.  But I’ll give this one to Riplinger as for being a bad translation, even though she makes all versions guilty by association with RV.  I don’t see how this one statement “preclude the need for God.

d.  Gen. 12:7; KJV “seed” vs. NAS “descendants.”  Riplinger uses Gal. 3:16 as identifying which word is correct because it used a singular “seed” vs a plural “seeds.”  However, Gal. 3:16 appears to be discussing another meaning, a spiritual “seed,” but Gen. 12:7, as well as Gen. 13:15, in context, are obviously speaking of literal, multiple descendants.  Matthew Henry, at Gal. 3:16, says,

“And [Paul] give us a very surprising exposition of this.  We should have thought it had been meant only of the people of the Jews.  ‘Nay,’ says the apostle, ‘it is in the singular number, and points at a singular person - that seed is Christ.’  So that the covenant is still in force; for Christ abideth forever in his person, and in his spiritual seed, who are his by faith.”

e.  Gen.4:1.  “With the help of the Lord” or “From the Lord,” the thought is the same.  We routinely say we got something “with God’s help” when our thought is “directly from God.”  This is a very weak complaint, especially since Eve was having a baby and NEEDS to work with the Lord in order for it to be born - God has yet to let a woman give birth without her assistance!

f.  John 9:4; KJV “I must work” vs. “We must work.”  KJV appears to be better if Jesus is just talking about himself, which KJV shows.  However, those which use “we” appear to have Jesus saying that ALL of us are to do God’s work while the time is still available.  So they aren’t saying God needs man’s help, nor are they eliminating God from the equation, nor are they even hinting at man being divine, as charged by Riplinger.

g.  1 John 4:9;  KJV God’s love “toward us” vs. NAS/NIV God’s love “in us.” NAS/NIV demonstrates a more personal relationship, not that of “precluding God.”

h.  1 Peter 4:11;  KJV “ability” vs. NAS/NIV “strength.”  This is nit-picking.  I understand it to be “strength in our abilities.”  In context it is similar, but definitely doesn’t “preclude God.

i.  John 10:29.  KJV “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all” vs complaint against TEV for:  “What my Father has given me is greater than everything.”  Notice first that “them” in KJV is italicized and not in the original manuscript.  Riplinger says the TEV “tells man that he not God ‘is greater than everything.’” The ironic thing here is that Riplinger refers to NAS/NIV footnotes as concurring with TEV.  These footnotes have never been mentioned when they concur with KJV!  This says she only uses the NIV/NAS footnotes when they suit her bias.  At any rate, the TEV footnotes agree with KJV.
Nevertheless, in context the TEV does NOT appear to be saying that what God gave Jesus was his followers, rather it seems to be referring to the authority God gave Christ, which allows Christ to say that no one can snatch his followers away from him.  I would never have thought it was about man being “greater than everything” had not Riplinger made that a possibility.  It appears to me to derive from Riplinger’s bias.

j.  Not a single passage is guilty of the charges Riplinger laid against them of omitting God or having man helping Him.

Part Two of my examination of Chapter Ten will be in the near future.