Category Archives: false teachers

Numerical Church Growth And The Biblical Purposes Of Church Services

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

NUMERICAL CHURCH GROWTH IS IMPORTANT TO CHURCHES. There are practical reasons for this. If churches don’t grow numerically, they will eventually die out as the aging attendees can no longer attend, or they pass away. If churches don’t grow numerically, they will eventually have no substantial reason to exist. If they don’t grow numerically, they will eventually run out of money and will, then, be unable to pay their expenses and will be forced to shut down. Most importantly, if churches don’t grow numerically, it means they have ceased to reach new persons in their communities with the Gospel message, and have failed to get them to attend their services.

ASTRAY FROM THE BIBLICAL PURPOSES OF CHURCH SERVICES. The fact that many churches are in serious numerical decline has caused a lot of them to stray from the Biblical purposes of church services. But what are the Biblical purposes for having church services? According to the New Testament, church services are to be held so that Christians can worship God together, pray together, be taught from the Word of God together, and to have fellowship with one another. But how have Bible-believing churches strayed from these God-ordained purposes? By making their services primarily a means of reaching non-Christians with the Gospel of Christ. This focus, they hope, will not only win many persons to believe in Jesus Christ, but also become  a means of increasing the number of attendees at their services, and thereby keep the church from going out of existence.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN EVANGELISM BECOMES THE PRIMARY PURPOSE FOR CHURCH SERVICES? It is certainly true that churches can and should be evangelistic. The Gospel can be made known during church services through music, through personal testimonies, through literature,  and through preaching and teaching the Word of God. But when reaching non-Christians with the Gospel displaces the God-ordained purposes for church services, it has serious negative consequences. Even though a church which has made this shift in its purpose for its services might still have a strong emphasis on worshiping God,  it is certain to spend less time teaching and preaching the Word of God to the Christians in attendance. The non-Christians are fed what they need to learn, and the Christians get little of the meat of God’s Word. This is comparable to what would happen if a family is made up of a wide variety of ages, but at meal time everyone is expected to eat what the youngest family members are able to eat. The youngest family members might thrive on such a diet, but not the older ones. But this is not the only negative consequence of church services becoming primarily a means of reaching non-Christians with the Gospel. Another almost-inevitable negative consequence is that in such church services many truths of the Word of God will be skipped over because of their potential to offend and thus alienate the very ones the church is trying to reach with the Gospel. Preachers in such  churches will very likely not warn about specific false teachers and their falsehoods. Preachers in such churches will not likely specifically identify religious groups that claim to be Christian, but in fact are not. Preachers in such churches will not be likely to forthrightly say certain kinds of behavior are to be avoided because the ones they are trying to win to Christ are involved in those behaviors, and they don’t want to drive them away from the services. Such preachers might forthrightly condemn things that the Bible specifically condemns, and which most persons agree are wrong. But they will be hesitant to speak against things that might be only what could be called questionable, borderline, and known to lead to worse behavior. The moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages and moderate gambling are examples of what I mean. Preachers in such churches will most likely say, “Don’t get drunk.” But they won’t say, “Don’t drink alcoholic beverages at all.” Preachers in such churches will say, “Watch out so you don’t become problem gamblers.” But they won’t say, “Don’t gamble at all.” Another almost-inevitable consequence of making evangelism the focus of church services is that the  music used will be the kind that is more acceptable to non-Christians. This means, it will be more entertaining than is appropriate in church services. And it means it will be more worldly or secular in style than it should be. Another way to put it is, the music will not be appropriate for worshiping  the Holy God revealed in the Bible. Here is an example of that very thing: One preacher told me and a couple other preachers of an experience he had as a guest speaker at church in serious numerical decline, and which was made up of mostly elderly Christians. He said that as he visited with the church folks before a service, someone began to play taped Christian rock music over the loudspeaker. He asked them why they were playing THAT kind of music. He was told it was done to appeal to the younger people. In our day it is common for older Christians to be criticized for objecting to much of the music used in contemporary churches.But those older Christians are justified in saying such music has no place in Bible-believing churches. To summarize the point of this paragraph, let me say that what happens when a church makes evangelism the primary purpose of it services is that it often gives itself over to accommodating the persons it is trying to reach with the Gospel of Christ. This always weakens a church, even if it results in many more attendees. It weakens a church because this kind of accommodation is contrary Biblical teaching, and it, therefore does not develop strong Christians.

BIBLICAL STATEMENTS CONCERNING THE GOD-ORDAINED PURPOSES FOR CHURCH SERVICES. Above, I said the New Testament tells that God has specific purposes for church services. But where we can these be read in the New Testament? I will give some of the chapters and verses to read, and you can look them up yourselves. As you read them, look for the statements indicating that the teaching and preaching of God’s Word to Christians was central to the meetings of the Christians. (We now would call the meetings church services.) Acts 2:41 – 47; Acts 14:21 – 28;  Acts 15:22 – 41; Acts 16:1 – 5; Acts 18:8 – 11 & verse 18, first sentence; Acts 18:24 – 28; Acts 19:7 – 11;  Acts 20:17 – 38; Ephesians 4:11 – 16; Ephesians 5:17 – 20; Colossians 1:28; Colossians 3:16 & 17; 2 Thessalonians 2:5 & 16; 1 Timothy 4:6 & 13; 1 Timothy 5:17; 2 Timothy 3:14 – 17; 2 Timothy 4:1 – 5; 1 Peter 5:1 – 4.

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Baptist Beliefs Versus Those Who Produced The King James Version

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

In this post, I will present the views of Bible-believing Baptists versus those who produced the King James Version, also known as The Authorized Version and the King James Bible. The beliefs of Bible-believing Baptists are presented below from volume 1 of John T. Christian’s 2-volume work that is a history of the Baptists. I have this 2-volume set in hardback, and have read it carefully. The important and interesting chapter given below is taken, with permission, from this website: http://www.reformedreader.org. This is a valuable resource for those interested in the history and beliefs of Baptists.

Before you read the chapter from John T. Christian’s book, consider a few Bible-based Baptist beliefs that differ considerably from the beliefs of those who produced the King James Version. Baptists believe in autonomous local churches, in contrast to state-controlled churches, believed in by those who produced the King James Version. Baptists believe that one must profess faith in Jesus Christ before being baptized, in contrast to the baptism of infants, practiced by those who produced the King James Version. Baptists believe in religious liberty for all, in contrast to those who produced the King James Version, who believed in and practiced the persecution of those whose beliefs differed from theirs. (My post right before this one documents the persecution experienced by many at the hands of the State-controlled church of which those produced the King James Version were a part.) As you read the following chapter from Christian’s book, you will learn more Bible-based Baptist beliefs that differ from the beliefs of those who produced the King James Version. This information should help Baptists who are King James Version-only re-evaluate their excessive exaltation of the King James Version. It is a good and honorable translation, but that should not make us overlook the false teachings and shameful persecution of others by those who produced it. Such men would not now be allowed in the pulpits of Bible-believing Baptist churches. Why then, are they so highly esteemed?

A History of the Baptists

Chapter I – The New Testament Churches


The Great Commission—A Definition of a Church—A Voluntary Association—A Church Not National or General—The Officers of a Church—The Ordinances—The Proper Subjects of Baptism—The Form of Baptism—The Lord’s Supper—The Ordinances as Symbols—The Churches Missionary Bodies—The Continued Existence of the Churches.


After our Lord had finished his work on earth, and before he had ascended into glory, he gave to his disciples the following commission: “All authority is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). Under the terms of this commission Jesus gave to his churches the authority to evangelize the world.

A New Testament Church is a company of baptized believers voluntarily associated together for the maintenance of the ordinances and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The distinctive characteristics of this church are clearly marked in the New Testament.

Such a church was a voluntary association and was independent of all other churches. It might be, and probably was, affiliated with other churches in brotherly relations; but it remained independent of all outward control, and was responsible to Christ alone, who was the supreme lawgiver and the source of all authority. Originally the teachers and the people conjointly administered the affairs of the church.

In the New Testament sense of the church there can be no such an organization as a National or General Church, covering a large district of country, composed of a number of local organizations. The church, in the Scriptural sense, is always an independent, local organization. Sister churches were “united only by the ties of faith and charity. Independence and equality formed the basis of their internal constitution” (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, I. p. 554. Boston, 1854). Gibbon, always artistic in the use of material, continues: “Such was the mild and equal constitution by which the Christians were governed for more than a hundred years after the death of the apostles. Every society formed within itself a separate and independent republic; and although the most distant of these little states maintained a mutual, as well as friendly, intercourse of letters and deputations, the Christian world was not yet connected by any supreme or legislative assembly” (Ibid, p. 558).

The officers of the church were first, pastors, indifferently called elders or bishops, and, secondly, deacons. These were the honorable servants of a free people. The pastors possessed no authority above their brethren, save that by service they purchased to themselves a good degree of glory.

The more recent Episcopal writers, such as Jacob and Hatch, do not derive their system from the ancient Scriptural form of government, but always acknowledge the primitive congregational form of government, and declare that episcopacy is a later development In the New Testament, elder and bishop are different names to describe the same office. Dr. Lightfoot, the Bishop of Durham, in a very exhaustive discussion of the subject, says:

It is clear, that, at the close of the Apostolic Age, the two lower orders of the three fold ministry were firmly and widely established; but traces of the episcopate, properly so-called, are few and Indistinct. The episcopate was formed out of the presbyterial order by elevation; and the title, which originally was common to all, came at length to be appropriated to the chief of them (Lightfoot, Commentary on Philippians, pp. 180-276).

Dean Stanley represents the same view. He says:

According to the strict rules of the church derived from those early times, there are but two orders, presbyters and deacons (Stanley, Christian Institutions, p. 210).

Richard B. Rackham (The Acts of the Apostles cii), A. D. 1912, says of the word bishop (episcopos):

We may say at once that it had not yet acquired the definite sense which it holds in the letters of Ignatius (A. D. 115), and which it still holds today, viz., of a single ruler of a diocese. From Acts xx..28, Titus i. 6,7, and comparison with I Timothy iii. 2f., we should conclude that episcopus was simply a synonym for presbyter, and that the two offices were identical.

Knowling (The Expositors Greek Testament, II. pp. 435-437) reviews all of the authorities, Hatch (Smith and Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, II. p. 1700), Harnack (Gebhardt and Harnack, Clement of Rome, ed. altera, p. 5), Steinmetz, etc., and reaches the following conclusion:

This one passage (Acts 20:28) is also sufficient to show that the “presbyter” and the “bishop” were at first practically identical.

Jerome, at the end of the fourth century, reminds the bishops that they owe their elevation above the presbyters, not so much to divine institution as to ecclesiastical usage; for before the outbreak of controversies in the church there was no distinction between the two, except that presbyter was a term of age, and bishop a term of official dignity; but when men, at the instigation of Satan, erected parties and sects, and, instead of simply following Christ, named themselves of Paul, of Apollos, or Cephas, all agreed to put one of the presbyters at the head of the rest, that by his universal supervision of the churches, he might kill the seeds of division (Hieron. Comm. ad Tit. 1:7). The great commentators of the Greek Church agree with Jerome in maintaining the original identity of bishops and presbyters in the New Testament. Thus did Chrysostom (Hom. i. in Ep. ad Phil. 1:11); Theodoret (ad Phil. 1:1); Ambrosiaster (ad Eph. 4:11); and the pseudo-Augustinian (Questions V. et N. T. qu. p. 101).

There were two ordinances m the primitive church, baptism and the Supper of the Lord. Baptism was an outward confession of faith in Christ. It thus expressed a belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and a subsequent resurrection of all believers through the eternal Spirit.

Only believers were baptized and that upon a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The church was composed of believers or holy persons. The members were called in the New Testament “beloved of God, called to be saints”; “sanctified in Christ Jesus”; “faithful in Christ”; “God’s elect, holy, and beloved.” The conditions of membership were repentance, faith, righteousness, and the initiatory rite of baptism, which was symbolical of the changed life.

In this connection it is interesting to note that all the Pedobaptist Confessions of Faith include only believers in the definition of the proper members of a church, The following definition of a church is taken from the Augsburg Confession of Faith of the Lutheran Church. It fairly represents all the rest. It says:

To speak properly, the church of Christ is a congregation of the members of Christ; that is, of the saints, which do truly believe and rightly obey Christ.

So universal is this definition of a church in all of the Confessions of Faith that Köstlin, Professor of Theology in Halle, says: “The Reformed Confessions describe the Church as the communion of believers or saints, and condition its existence on the pure preaching of the Word” (Köstlin, Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopaedia, I. p. 474).

The above definition, consistently applied, excludes infant baptism, since infants are incapable of faith, which always, in the New Testament, is a prerequisite to baptism. The New Testament teaching is quite clear on this point. John the Baptist required that those who were applicants for baptism should experience repentance, exercise faith, make a confession of sin and live a righteous life (Math. 3:2; Acts 19:4). Jesus first made disciples and then baptized them (John 4:1), and gave distinct commandment that teaching should precede baptism (Math. 28:19). In the preaching of the apostles repentance antedates baptism (Acts 2:38): the converts were filled with joy, and only men and women were baptized (Acts 8:5, 8, 12). There is no account or inference implying the baptism of an infant by Jesus or his apostles.

This is generally conceded by scholars.

Döllinger, a Catholic scholar, Professor of Church History in the University of Munich, says: “There is no proof or hint in the New Testament that the apostles baptized infants or ordered them to be baptized” (John Joseph Ignatius Döllinger, The First Age of the Church, II. p. 184).

Dr. Edmund de Pressensé, a French Senator and Protestant, says: “No positive fact sanctioning the practice (of infant baptism) can be adduced from the New Testament; the historical proofs alleged are in no way conclusive” (Pressensé, Early Years of Christianity, p. 376. London, 1870).

Many authors of books treating directly on infant baptism affirm that it is not mentioned in the Scriptures. One writer only is here quoted. Joh. W. F. Höfling, Lutheran Professor of Theology at Erlangen, says: “The sacred Scriptures furnish no historical proof that children were baptized by the apostles” (Höfling, Das Sakrament der Taufe, p. 99. Erlangen, 1846. 2 vols.).

A few of the more recent authorities will not be amiss on this subject. The “Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics,” edited by Professor James Hastings and Professor Kirsopp Lake, of the University of Leyden, says: “There is no indication of the baptism of children” in the New Testament.

The “Real Encyklopädie fur Protestantiche Theologie und Kirche” (XIX. p. 403. 3rd edition), the great German encyclopaedia, says:

The practice of infant-baptism in the apostolic and post-apostolic age cannot be proved. We hear indeed frequently of the baptism of entire households, as in Acts 15:32f; 18:8; 1 Cor. 1:16. But the last passage taken, 1 Cor. 7:14, is not favorable to the supposition that infant baptism was customary at that time. For then Paul would not have written “else were your children unclean.”

Principal Robert Rainy, New College, Edinburgh, Presbyterian, says:

Baptism presupposed some Christian instruction, and was preceded by fasting. It signified the forgiveness of past sins, and was the visible point of departure of the new life under Christian Influence and with the Inspiration of Christian purposes and aims. Here it was the “seal” which concerned a man to keep inviolate (Rainy, Ancient Catholic Church, p. 75)

The form of baptism was dipping, or an immersion in water. John baptized in the river Jordan (Mark 1:5); and he baptized in Aenon near to Salim “because there was much water there” (John 3:23). Jesus was baptized in the Jordan (Mark 1:9), and he “went into the water” and he “came up out of the water” (Matthew 3:16). The symbolical passages (Rom. 6:3, 4; Col. 2:12), which describe baptism as burial and resurrection make it certain that immersion was the New Testament act of baptism.

This, indeed, is the meaning of the Greek word baptizein. The word is defined by Liddell and Scott, the secular Greek lexicon used in all colleges and universities, “to dip in or under the water.” In the lexicon of J. H. Thayer, the standard New Testament lexicon, the word is defined as an “immersion in water.” All scholarship confirms this view. Prof. R. C. Jebb, Litt. D., University of Cambridge, says: “I do not know whether there is any authoritative Greek-English lexicon which makes the word to mean ‘sprinkle’ or to ‘pour.’ I can only say that such a meaning never belongs to the word in Classical Greek” (Letter to the author. September 23, 1898). Dr. Adolf Harnack, University of Berlin, says: “Baptism undoubtedly signifies immersion. No proof can be found that it signifies anything else in the New Testament, and in the most ancient Christian literature” (Schaff, The Teaching of the Twelve, p. 50).

Dr. Dosker, Professor of Church History, Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, says:

Every candid historian will admit that the Baptist. have, both philologically and historically, the better of the argument, as to the prevailing mode of baptism. The word baptizo means immersion, both in classical and Biblical Greek, except where it is manifestly used in a tropical sense (Dosker, The Dutch Anabaptists, p. 176 Philadelphia, 1921).

Nothing is more certain than that the New Testament churches uniformly practiced immersion,

The Lord’s Supper shows forth the death of the Saviour till he shall come again. It is a perpetual memorial of the broken body and the shed blood of the risen Lord. In the Scriptures the Lord’s Supper is always preceded by the act of baptism, and there is no account of any person participating in the Supper who had not previously been baptized. That baptism should precede the Lord’s Supper is avowed by scholars of all communions.

Dr. William Wall sums up the entire historical field when he says: “For no church ever gave the communion to any persons before they were baptized. . . Since among all of the absurdities that ever were held, none ever maintained that any person should partake of the communion before he was baptized” (Wall, The History of Infant Baptism, I. pp. 632, 638. Oxford, 1862).

The Baptists have always insisted that the ordinances were symbols and not sacraments. Indeed this is the heart of their contention.

President E. Y. Mullins has concisely stated the historical contention of Baptists in the following words:

They have seen with great vividness and clearness of outline the central spiritual elements of Christianity. With a like vividness and clearness they have perceived the significance of the outward form. For them it has seemed as if the very life of Christianity depended upon keeping the spiritual and ceremonial elements in their respective places. Christian history certainly justifies them in their view. Forms and ceremonies are like ladders. On them we may climb up or down. If we keep them in their places as symbols, the soul feeds on the truth symbolized. If we convert them into sacraments, the soul misses the central vitality itself, spiritual communion with God. An outward religious ceremony derives its chief significance from the context in which it is placed, from the general system of which it forms a part. If a ceremony is set in the context of a spiritual system of truths, it may become an indispensable element for the furtherance of those truths. If it is set in the context of a sacramental system, it may and does become a means for obscuring the truth and enslaving the soul. It is this perception of the value of ceremonies as symbols and of their perils as sacraments which animates Baptists in their strenuous advocacy of a spiritual interpretation of the ordinances of Christianity (McGlothlin, Infant Baptism Historically Considered, p. 7).

The early churches were missionary bodies. They were required to carry out the great commission given by our Lord. The obedience to the missionary program laid out by the divine Lord, the disciples in a few generations preached the gospel to the known world. The first church was organized by Jesus and his apostles; and after the form of this one all other churches should be modeled. The churches so organized are to continue in the world until the kingdoms of this earth shall become the kingdom of our Lord, even Christ. Prophecy was full of the enduring character of the kingdom of Christ (Dan. 2:44, 45). Jesus maintained a like view of his church and extended the promise to all the ages. He said: “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The word church here is doubtless used in its ordinary, literal sense as a local institution; and in the only other passage where it is found in Matthew (18:17) it must be taken with the same signification. The great mass of scholarship supports the contention that this passage refers to the local, visible church of Christ (Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospel of Matthew).

The critical meaning of the word does not differ from this (Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 197). The word “church” was used by our Lord and the apostles not so much in contra-distinction to the Jewish Theocracy, as to the Jewish synagogue, and the synagogue was always local (Cremer, Biblico-Theological Lexicon of the New Testament Greek, pp. 330, 331). The Roman Catholics have always denied the existence of a universal spiritual church (Alzog, Universal Church History, Vol. I. pp. 108, 109). Until the German Reformation there was practically no other conception of a church. When Luther and others split off from the Roman Catholic Church, a new interpretation of this passage was adopted to suit the new views; so they held that Matthew 16:18 merely pointed to the ultimate triumph of Christianity. But manifestly this interpretation was remote from the meaning of the Lord.

Paul gives a large promise: “Unto him be glory in the church of Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph. 3:21). Ellicott translates the passage: “To all the generations of the ages of ages.” The glory of Christ was to exist in all of the ages in the church. The church was, therefore, bound to exist in all of the ages. Even the redeemed in heaven are described in the Scriptures as a church.

The author believes that in every age since Jesus and the apostles, there have been companies of believers, churches, who have substantially held to the principles of the New Testament as now proclaimed by the Baptists. No attempt is made in these pages to trace a succession of bishops, as the Roman Catholics attempt to do, back to the apostles. Such an attempt is “laboring in the fire for mere vanity,” and proceeds upon a mistaken view of the nature of the kingdom of Christ, and of the sovereignty of God, in his operations on the earth. Jesus himself, in a reply to an inquiry put to him by the Pharisees (Luke 17:20-24), compares his kingdom to the lightning, darting its rays in the most sovereign and uncontrollable manner from one extremity of the heavens to the other. And this view corresponds to God’s dealings in the spiritual realm. Wherever God has his elect, there in his own proper time, he sends the gospel to save them, and churches after his model are organized (William Jones, The History of the Christian Church, xvii. Philadelphia. 1832).

The New Testament recognizes a democratic simplicity, and not a hierarchical monarchy. There is no irregularity, but a perpetual proclamation of principles. There is no intimation that there was not a continuity of churches, for doubtless there was, but our insistence is that this was not the dominant note in apostolic life. No emphasis is put on a succession of baptisms, or the historical order of churches. Some of the apostles were disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:35), but there is no record of the baptism of others, though they were baptized. Paul, the great missionary, was baptized by Ananias (Acts 9:17, 18), but it is not known who baptized Ananias. Nothing definite is known of the origin of the church at Damascus. The church at Antioch became the great foreign missionary center, but the history of its origin is not distinctly given. The church at Rome was already in existence when Paul wrote to them his letter. These silences occur all through the New Testament, but there is a constant recurrence of type, a persistence of fundamental doctrines, and a proclamation of principles. This marked the whole apostolic period, and for that matter, every period since that time.

This recurrence of type is recognized even where error was detected. The disciples desired Jesus to rebuke a man who walked not with them (Mark 9:40), but this Jesus refused to do. The church at Corinth was imperfect in practice and life. The Judaizing teachers constantly perverted the gospel, and John the Evangelist, in his last days, combated insidious error, but the great doctrines of the atoning work of Christ, conversion and repentance, the baptism of believers, the purity of the church, the freedom of the soul, and the collateral truths, were everywhere avowed. At times these principles have been combated and those who held them persecuted, often they have been obscured; sometimes they have been advocated by ignorant men, and at other times by brilliant graduates Of the universities, who frequently mixed the truth with philosophical speculations; yet; always, often under the most varied conditions, these principles have come to the surface.

Baptist churches have the most slender ties of organization, and a strong government is not according to their polity. They are like the river Rhone, which sometimes flows as a river broad and deep, but at other times is hidden in the sands. It, however, never loses its continuity or existence. It is simply hidden for a period. Baptist churches may disappear and reappear in the most unaccountable manner.. Persecuted everywhere by sword and by fire, their principles would appear to be almost extinct, when in a most wondrous way God would raise up some man, or some company of martyrs, to proclaim the truth.

The footsteps of the Baptists of the ages can more easily be traced by blood than by baptism. It is a 1ineage of suffering rather than a succession of bishops; a martyrdom of principle, rather than a dogmatic decree of councils; a golden chord of love, rather than an iron chain of succession, which, while attempting to rattle its links back to the apostles, has been of more service in chaining some protesting Baptist to the stake than in proclaiming the truth of the New Testament. It is, nevertheless, a right royal succession, that in every age the Baptists have been advocates of liberty for all, and have held that the gospel of the Son of God makes every man a free man in Christ Jesus.


Books for further reading and reference:

George P. Fisher (Congregationalist), A History of the Christian Church, pp. 1-44.

Philip Schaff (Presbyterian), History of the Christian Churches, Vol. I.

John Alzog (Roman Catholic), Manual of Universal Church History, 4 volumes.

Thomas J. Conant (Baptist), The Meaning and Uses of Baptizein.

John T. Christian, Immersion, the Act of Christian Baptism.

Edwin Hatch, The Organization of the Early Christian Churches.

King James Of The King James Version Versus Baptists And Others

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen, First Baptist Church, Spearfish, SD

The King James Version is a good Bible translation. I have read it at least 40 times, and continue to read it once a year. Unfortunately, many sincere Christians in our day, including many fellow Baptists, have gone to extremes about the King James Version, and make many false claims about it. One false claim is that it alone is the Word of God in English. Some of these persons seem to think that the Word of God was not in English until the publication of the King James Version. But if they admit the Bible was in English  prior to the King James Version, they must admit that those translations still are the Word of God. We know for a fact that those earlier translations are still in print. Some of them, and maybe all of them, can be found online. So, since we still have access to those English Bible translations that preceded the KJV, they must still be the Word of God. And here is something else to consider: since the Word of God was in English prior to the KJV, and in English through the publication of the KJV, by whose authority is the claim made that no English Bible translation since the KJV can be considered the Word of God? By whose authority is the claim made that the KJV alone is God’s preserved Word for the English speaking world? Baptists, of all persons, should not make such a claim, for they do not believe there is any ecclesiastical authority that legitimately can make such a claim. Baptists do not believe in State churches, popes, magisterium, or that any denominations can legislate such matters for the rest of the world.  Another false claim made by such persons is that the current KJV has the same words as the original KJV. This is provably false. I have documented such word changes on this blog. The number of word changes might be relatively few, but they are nonetheless real.   Other false claims about the KJV can be considered, but these are the only ones I wish present at this time.

What all King James-only Christians, especially Baptists, need to consider is the fact that the King James Version was produced by a denomination that was/is  a State church, something contrary to and abhorrent to Baptist beliefs. Moreover, that  State church, the Church Of England, was at the time a persecutor of Baptists and others that did not bow to its ecclesiastical authority. The men who did the translating work to produce the King James Version were a part of that persecuting denomination, and in the introduction to the King James Version, they lavished great praise upon King James as a defender of the Christian faith, in spite of the fact that he, with their full knowledge, led the opposition to Baptists and others. Proof of these facts about King James and his denomination is abundant. Besides others providing such proof, so do Baptists who document Baptist history. One such Baptist historian is J. M. Cramp. What follows is from his old book on Baptist history. It gives ample proof of the persecutions suffered by Baptists in England at the hands of King James and his State church, which, remember, included the translators of the KJV. Knowledge of these facts will help us moderate our views of the King James Version, and especially of the men who produced it. The quote is given with permission of its source, The Reformed Reader, a great resource on Baptist history, beliefs, and etc. Here is a link to its website: http://www.reformedreader.org.

CHAPTER III.

Severity of Elizabeth’s Government—Bigotry of James I.—The Hampton Court Conference—Emigration—John Smyth’s Church—Their Confessions—Bartholomew Legate—Extracts from Baptist Publications on Liberty of Conscience—The King’s Distress at their Increase

So great was the severity of Elizabeth’s Government, that the Separatists of all classes were scattered about, and forced to hold their meetings in the utmost privacy. The Baptists, having been especially marked out for expulsion, could scarcely meet at all. Consequently, but little is known of them during the remainder of this reign. There is no doubt, however, of their continued existence. One writer refers to “Anabaptist Conventicles” in London and other places. Another intimates his suspicion that there were some, even in the Church of England, who held their sentiments. A congregation was discovered in London in 1588, whose views and practices point them out as “Anabaptistical.” Strype says, that they were accustomed to meet together on Lord’s Days, and listen to exhortations from the Word of God; that they dined together, collected money to pay for the food, and sent the surplus to such of their brethren as were in prison; that they used no form of prayer; that they refused to regard the Church of England as a true Church: that they denied the authority of the Queen, and of all magistrates, in religious affairs; and that they held it unlawful to baptize children. At a still later period a Baptist is mentioned as being in prison at Norwich, and in peril of death, solely on account of his religious opinions.1

James I. was as bigoted and despotic as Elizabeth. While in Scotland he had affected great zeal for Presbyterianism. When he subscribed the Solemn League and Covenant, in 1590, “he praised God that he was born in the time of the light of the Gospel, and in such a place, as to be king of such a Church, the sincerest [purest] kirk in the world. ‘The Church of Geneva,’ said he, ‘keep Pasch and Yule [Easter and Christmas; what have they for them? They have no institution. As for our neighbour Kirk of England, their service is an evil-said mass in English; they want nothing of the mass but the liftings. I charge you, my good ministers, doctors, elders, nobles, gentlemen, and barons, to stand to your purity, and to exhort the people to do the same; and I, forsooth, as long as I brook my life, shall maintain the same.’”2 But on his rising to the higher dignity of King of Great Britain he suddenly became enamored of Episcopacy. Kingcraft, in which he thought himself an adept, harmonized better with bishops than with presbyters. Bishops seemed to be the natural allies of sovereigns. “No bishop, no king,” was James’s motto. Like all new converts, he evinced remarkable fervor of attachment, and was ready to do anything on behalf of the cause. The Puritan clergy, that is those who wished for more liberty, and desired to assimilate the government of the Church to the Genevan model, asked for a hearing. The result was, the event known in history as the Hampton Court Conference. It was no conference, however, for the King had made up his mind beforehand. His behavior was rude and overbearing. Nine bishops, with other dignitaries, appeared in support of the Church of England and of things as they were; Dr. Raynolds, with three other ministers, represented the Puritans. Their demands were comprised in four particulars : “1. That the doctrines of the Church might be preserved pure, according to God’s Word. 2. That good pastors might be planted in all churches, to preach in the same. 3. That the Book of Common Prayer might be fitted to more increase of piety. 4. That Church government might be sincerely ministered, according to God’s Word.” In support of these requests, Dr. Raynolds adduced many weighty considerations, and argued with great modesty and forbearance, though often interrupted and insulted by the King. “Well, Doctor,” said James, “have you anything else to offer?” “No more,” Dr. Raynolds replied. “If this,” rejoined the King, “be all your party have to say, I will make them conform, or I will harry them out of the land, or else worse.”3

The Puritans saw that there was nothing to hope for from the Government, and took measures accordingly. Many crossed over to Holland. Among them were some of the Brownist persuasion, afterwards called Independents, and now Congregationalists. Churches of that order were established at Leyden, Amsterdam, and other places. Such as could not leave their own country worshipped God in private, and kept themselves quiet, hoping, though as it were against hope, for better times. Of that class were many Baptists. Enoch Clapham, a writer of that age, speaks of them as “leaving the public assemblies, and running into woods and meadows, and meeting in bye stables, barns, and haylofts for service.”

4

John Smyth had been a clergyman of the Church of England, and held the living of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. On leaving that Church he became a minister among the Brownists, who esteemed him so highly that Bishop Hall calls him their “oracle in general.” After a toilsome and perilous service of about fifteen years, during which he and his friends had suffered much from Elizabethan tyranny, it was deemed necessary to abandon the field, in order to preserve life and liberty. In the year 1606 he joined a party of emigrants who settled in Amsterdam. There they united with an English Church which had been formed some time before. But Mr. Smyth’s connection with that Church was not of long duration. He had left “the Church of England for the Brownists, and now more mature reflection led him to take another step. The Brownists denied that the Church of England was a true Church, and therefore they re-ordained all ministers who went over to them from that Church, accounting its ordinances null and void. But they did not re-baptize. This appeared to Mr. Smyth an inconsistency. He thought that if the ordination was invalid, the baptism was no less so. Investigation followed, which was extended to the whole question of baptism, and issued in the conviction that believers are the only subjects of the ordinance, and that immersion is essential to it. Some of Mr. Smyth’s friends shared in the conviction. There has been much dispute respecting the manner in which they proceeded, some maintaining that Smyth baptized himself and then baptized the others. It is a thing of small consequence. Baptists do not believe in Apostolic succession, as it is commonly held. But the probability is, that one of the brethren baptized Mr. Smyth, and that he then baptized the others. The number of these brethren soon increased greatly. A Church was formed, of which Mr. Smyth was chosen pastor. At his death, which took place in 1611, Mr. Thomas Helwys was appointed in his place. In the above-mentioned year, before Mr. Smyth’s death, the Church published a Confession of Faith, in twenty-six articles. We will transcribe those which relate to the constitution of a Church, and to the ordinances.

“10. That the Church of Christ is a company of faithful people, separated from the world by the Word and Spirit of God, being knit unto the Lord, and one unto another, by baptism, upon their own confession of the faith and sins” (1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1; 2 Cor. 6:17; 1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 8:37; Matthew 3:6).

“11. That though in respect of Christ the Church be one, yet it consisteth of divers particular congregations, even so many as there shall be in the world; every of which congregation, though they be but two or three, have Christ given them, with all the means of their salvation, are the body of Christ, and a whole Church, and therefore may, and ought, when they are come together, to pray, prophesy, break bread, and administer in all the holy ordinances, although as yet they have no officers, or that their officers should be in prison, or sick, or by any other means hindered from the Church” (Eph. 4:4; Matthew 18:20; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 3:22, 12:27, 14:23; 1 Peter 4:10, 2:5).

“12. That as one congregation hath Christ, so have all. And that the Word of God cometh not out from any one, neither to any one congregation in particular, but unto every particular Church, as it doth unto all the world. And therefore no Church ought to challenge any prerogative over any other” (2 Cor. 10:7; 1 Cor. 14:36; Col. 1:5, 6).

“13. That every Church is to receive in all their members by baptism, upon the confession of their faith and sins wrought by the preaching of the Gospel, according to the primitive institution and practice. And, therefore, Churches constituted after any other manner, or of any persons, are not according to Christ’s testament” (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:41).

“14. That baptism, or washing with water, is the outward manifestation of dying unto sin, and walking in newness of life; and therefore in nowise appertaineth to infants” (Rom. 6:2, 3, 4).

“15. That the Lord’s Supper is the outward manifestation of the spiritual communion between Christ and the faithful, mutually to declare His death until He come” (1 Cor. 10:16, 17, 11:26).

“19. That every Church ought, according to the example of Christ’s disciples and primitive Churches, upon every first day of the week, being Lord’s Day, to assemble together, to pray, prophesy, praise God, and break bread, and perform all other parts of spiritual communion, for the worship of God, their own mutual edification, and the preservation of true religion and piety in the Church (John 20:19; Acts 2:42, 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). And they ought not to labor in their callings, according to the equity of the moral law, which Christ came not to abolish, but to fulfill” (Ex. 20:8, &c.).

“20. That the officers of every Church or congregation are either elders, who by their office do especially feed the flock concerning their souls; or deacons, men and women, who by their office relieve the necessities of the poor and impotent brethren, concerning their bodies” (Acts 20:28; 2 Peter 5:2, 3; Acts 6:1, 4).

“21. That these officers are to be chosen when there are persons qualified according to the rules in Christ’s Testament, by election and approbation of that Church or congregation whereof they are members, with fasting, prayer, and laying on of hands; and there being but one rule for elders, therefore but one sort of elders” (2 Tim. 3:2, 7; Titus 1:6, 9; Acts 6:3, 4, 13:3, 14:23).

5

Shortly after the publication of the Confession, Mr. Helwys, accompanied by most of the members of the Church, returned to England. They feared that if they remained longer abroad in a foreign country their conduct would be regarded as cowardice. They considered, too, the circumstances of the brethren who had continued in their own land, and who were “as sheep without a shepherd.” So they went back to their native shores, and established themselves in London, meeting for worship in strict privacy. They had encountered a great risk in returning at such a time. The fires of persecution had been lighted again, and men burnt to ashes for heresy. On the 18th of March, 1612, Bartholomew Legate, an Arian, suffered at the stake in Smithfield; on the 11th of April, in the same year, Edward Wightman was put to death at Lichfield, in the same manner. This man, if the warrant for his execution may be believed, was a wholesale heretic, for he was charged with “the wicked heresies of Ebion, Cerinthus, Valentinus, Arius, Macedonius, Simon Magus, of Manes, Photinus, and of the Anabaptists, and other arch-heretics; and, moreover, of other cursed opinions, by the instinct of Satan excogitated, and heretofore unheard of.” He maintained “that the baptism of infants is an abominable custom,” and “that Christianity is not wholly professed and preached in the Church of England, but in part.” There was his real delinquency. But the public, even in those days, would have protested against burning a man merely for his Baptist and anti-Church of England principles. It was found necessary, therefore, to blacken the victim to such an extent that he might appear perfectly hideous and fit only for the fire. But Bishop Neile, of Lichfield, and his coadjutors, who acted as Royal Commissioners on the occasion, were manifestly “forgers of lies.” No sane man could possibly hold the multifarious opinions imputed to Wightman. Crosby appropriately remarks that “many of the heresies they charge upon him are so foolish and inconsistent, that it very much discredits what they say;” and that “if he really held such opinions he must either be an idiot or a madman, and ought rather to have had their prayers and assistance than be put to such a cruel death.”

6

Another person, said to be a “Spanish Arian,” was also condemned to die; but so much sympathy had been expressed by the people at the other executions, that “he was suffered to linger out his life in Newgate, where he ended the same;” for “King James politically preferred,” says Thomas Fuller, “that heretics hereafter, though condemned, should silently and privately waste themselves away in the prison, rather than to grace them, and amuse others, with the solemnity of a public execution, which in popular judgment usurped the honor of a persecution.” Fuller had before observed that “such burning of heretics much startled common people,” and that “the purblind eyes of common judgments looked only on what was next to them (the suffering itself), which they beheld with compassion, not minding the demerits of the guilt, which deserved the same.”7 Thus wrote a Protestant clergyman of the seventeenth century; but murder is murder, however perpetrated, whether by the sword, the fire, or the slower process of the dungeon.

Though the Baptists were debarred the use of the pulpit, the press did them good service. Two tracts, published by them soon after the events just recorded, were honorable alike to their good sense and pious feeling. The first appeared in 1614. It was entitled, “Religion’s Peace; or, a Plea for Liberty of Conscience,” and is the earliest published work on the subject in the English language. Of the author, Leonard Busher, no account has been preserved. It may be gathered from the tract itself, that he had formerly belonged to the Brownists. He was acquainted with the Greek original of the New Testament, and was a diligent student of the sacred volume. Two other tracts were written by him, which poverty prevented him from printing. One of these was entitled, “A Scourge of Small Cords, wherewith Antichrist and his Ministers might be driven out of the Temple of God!” the other, “A Declaration of certain False Translations in the New Testament.” Our Authorized Version had been published but three years, and here was revision already threatened! Many of these works were very ably written, and if we had room for extracts from them, they would serve to show that our Baptist forefathers were distinguished for mental vigor and independence. They had shot ahead of their religious contemporaries, too many of whom, instead of sympathizing with them, caricatured their principles and excited popular fury against their persons.

How severely the Baptists suffered in the reign of James I., may be gathered from a statement made by one of them in 1620. “Our miseries are long and lingering imprisonments for many years in divers counties of England, in which many have died and left behind them widows, and many small children; taking away our goods, and others the like, of which we can make good probation; not for any disloyalty to your Majesty, nor hurt to any mortal man, our adversaries themselves being judges; but only because we dare not assent unto, and practice in the worship of God, such things as we have not faith in, because it is sin against the Most High.” This passage is taken from a tract entitled, “A most Humble Supplication of many of the King’s Majesty’s loyal subjects, ready to testify all civil obedience, by the oath of allegiance, or otherwise, and that of conscience; who are persecuted (only for differing in religion), contrary to Divine and human testimonies.”

8 After an interval of several years, a parliament was about to assemble. The “Humble Supplication” was written on that occasion, and it was hoped that the patriotic men, who had signified their intention to seek redress of all grievances and the restoration of freedom, would hear the complaints of persecuted Christians. The treatise was probably written by the author of “Persecution Judged and Condemned;” but the arguments are more systematically arranged than in that work.

“The author of these arguments against persecutions,” says Roger Williams, “as I have been informed, being committed by some then in power close prisoner to Newgate, for the witness of some truths of Jesus, and having not the use of pen and ink, wrote these arguments in milk, on sheets of paper brought him by the woman, his keeper, from a friend in London, as the stopples of his milk bottle.”

“In such paper, written with milk, nothing will appear; but the way of reading it by fire being known to this friend who received the papers, he transcribed and kept together the papers, although the author himself could not correct nor view what himself had written.”

9

This appeal was presented in vain. The persecution continued. Messrs. Dodd and Cleaver, two authors of the time, who published in partnership a pamphlet, in 1621, entitled, “The Patrimony of Christian Children,” assign as reasons for engaging in this controversy, “that those of the contrary opinion were very industrious, and took great pains to propagate their doctrine; that divers persons of good note for piety had been prevailed upon by them; that several had entreated their help and assistance; and that they had been engaged already in private debates about this matter.”10 Another person, writing in 1662, states, “that they [the Baptists] separated from the Church, and writ many books in defense of their principles, and had multitudes of disciples; that it was their custom to produce a great number of Scriptures to prove their doctrines; that they were in appearance more holy than those of the Established Church.”11

It would appear, therefore, that the Baptists were an active and growing body. This is further evident from a letter addressed to the clergy by Archbishop Abbot in 1622, in which he tells them that his Majesty was “much troubled and grieved at the heart, to hear every day of so much defection from our religion, both to Popery and Anabaptism, or other points of separation, in some parts of this kingdom;” and that he attributed these defections, in great measure, to the lightness, affectedness, and unprofitableness of that kind of preaching which bath been of late years too much taken up in court, university, city, and country. “The usual scope of very many preachers,” it is added, “is noted to be a soaring up in points of divinity, too deep for the capacity of the people, or a mustering up of much reading, or the displaying of their own wit, or an ignorant meddling with civil matters, as well in the private of several parishes and corporations, as in the public of the kingdom, or a venting of their own distastes, or a smoothing up of those idle fancies, which in this blessed time of a long peace do boil in the brains of unadvised people; or lastly, a rude or indecent railing, not against the doctrines (which when the text shall occasion the same is not only approved, but much commended by his royal Majesty), but against the persons of Papists and Puritans. Now the people bred up with this kind of teaching, and never instructed in the catechism, and fundamental grounds of religion, are for all this airy nourishment no better than ‘abras?tabul?’ new table books, ready to be filled up with the manuals and catechisms of the Popish priests, or the papers and pamphlets of Anabaptists, Brownists, and Puritans.”

12

We think the King was right. The preachers of the day had not been educated, for the most part, in the best school, and knew not how to engage the sympathies of the people. Puritans and Baptists were much more likely to gain the popular ear. It was said of our Lord, that “the common people heard Him gladly.”

“New World Order Bible Versions” : An Evaluation

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
First Baptist Church
Spearfish, SD

This post is an evaluation of what seems to be a very popular  DVD and youtube video called “New World Order Bible Versions.” I have watched it very closely at least four times, and it is clearly a promotion of what is known as King James Bible/KJV-onlyism. For those who are not familiar with this subject, King James Bible-onlyism is the belief that only the King James Bible or King James Version is the Word of God in English.

After carefully viewing this presentation, I must say at once it is one of the most pathetic defenses of KJV-onlyism available. With friends like this, the King James Version doesn’t need enemies. There are so many faults in this “defense” of the King James Version, that it would take a small book to deal with all of them. Therefore, only some of the major and obvious  ones will be considered. An honest look at these faults will alert readers to the fact that they must be careful about the rest of the presentation.

Fault number one: manipulation is used  to support what the two main speakers believe about the King James Version. It is certainly legitimate to  present evidence to support one’s view of any subject of interest. But evidence and manipulation of it are not the same thing, and manipulation is evident right on the cover of my copy of the DVD, which is produced by FRAMINGTHEWORLD.COM. It has a person with a hood over his or her head (the face is not clearly visible), and it has a sinister look to it. In front of this person there are pictures of four modern English Bible translations: the New International Version, the New King James Version, the New Living Translation, and the English Standard Version. The point being made is obvious: there is a sinister influence behind these translations. What is striking is that a “translation” put out by an organization with a long record of opposition to the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith is not pictured along with the others. To the best of my knowledge, the New International Version, New King James Version, New Living Translation, and the English Standard Version were produced by persons who adhere to the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. But this is not so of the one that should have been in the picture because it does have a sinister influence behind it. I am referring to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “Bible.” Why was this one left out of the picture on the DVD’s cover? Maybe an it was an oversight, but that does not change the fat that the DVD/video has an agenda to discredit any translation that is a serious challenge to the acceptance of the King James Version by the general public. So, the producers of this DVD/video resorted to manipulation right from the start.

Fault number two: the DVD/video starts out with a presentation about the forthcoming new world order, but then links it to modern English Bible translations. Those of us who believe the Bible to be what it is, the Word of God, and have read it carefully, know that it teaches a forthcoming new world order, though it does not use that term. This new world order will be headed up by Satan and his agent, the antichrist. And we believe that Satan and the antichrist can cleverly use even Bible translations to accomplish their goal. This would be especially true of any translation that deliberately undermines the fundamentals of the Christian faith, such as the  Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “Bible” clearly does. But to link Satan’s plan to bring in his new world order to any and all modern English translations is plainly a serious error. But that is what the DVD/video does. One of the “evidences” that the DVD/video gives to link the new world order to modern English Bible translations is how some of them word part of Hebrews 9:10, in comparison to how it is worded in the King James Version. Here is how the KJV words this verse: “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation.” The context of verse 10 shows that the time of reformation came with the passing of the Old Covenant and the introduction of the New Covenant, which was done by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Zondervan KJV Study Bible ( not to be confused with those with similar names) has a good note on Hebrews 9:10’s reference to the time of reformation. Here is what it says: “The new covenant, with its new priesthood, new sanctuary and new sacrifice, all introduced by Christ.” But, here is how the Common English Bible words verse 10: “These are superficial regulations that are only about food, drink, and various rituals ways to wash with water. They are regulations that have been imposed until the time of the new order.” The DVD/video makes “the new order” to refer to the “new world order,” even though this is not what the CEB says, and even though the context of Hebrews 9:10 in the CEB makes it clear that “the time of the new order” was the introduction of the new covenant by the Lord Jesus Christ. The wording of the NIV in Hebrews 9:10 is also condemned, for it says this: “They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings — external regulations applying until the time of the new order.” Like the CEB, the NIV does not say “new world order,” but “the new order.” And the context of the verse in the NIV makes I clear that it is not referring to “the new world order,” but to the new covenant introduced by the Lord Jesus Christ. The wording of the NET Bible (New English Translation)  in Hebrews 9:10 is similar to the CEB and the NIV, and, of course, condemned. The NET Bible says this: “They served only for matters of food and drink and various washings, they are external regulations imposed until the new order came.” The NET Bible does not refer to “the new world order,” any more than do the CEB and NIV, and for the same reasons.

Fault number three: The DVD/video teaches that the New Testament’s book of Hebrews was in the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek, known as the Septuagint, even though the New Testament was completed long after that Greek translation of the Old Testament. This is one of the strangest faults in the DVD/video. The DVD/video shows a picture of The New English Translation of the Septuagint, and condemns it for its translation of Hebrews 9:10. The picture displayed in the video even says it is a new English translation of the Septuagint. But remember, the book of Hebrews, along with the rest of the New Testament, was written long after the Septuagint was made. The New Testament writings are no more in the Septuagint than the speeches of President Abraham Lincoln. Do the producers of the DVD/video, or its speakers, not know what the Septuagint is? Do they think that no one viewing the DVD/video would notice this big blunder? Does this blunder lend credibility to the DVD/video?

Here is what might have happened: they intended to denounce the previously-quoted NET Bible (New English Translation) because of how it words Hebrews 9:10, but showed a copy of the New English Translation of the Septuagint, not knowing the difference between the two. If that is so, it reveals major ignorance on the part of the producers and speakers.

Now, what does the Greek word translated in the King James Version as “reformation” in Hebrews 9:10 mean? Strongest Strong’s Concordance of the King James Version gives the following definition of the Greek word: “a new order.” Yes, that is the definition it gives: “a new order.” It does not say “a new world order,” but “a new order.” Therefore, it is wrong to draw the conclusion made in the DVD/video about the other translations referred to above.

Fault number four: the DVD/video builds a case against some modern English Bible translations by a mishandling of Galatians 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 9:27. Both verses will be considered. First, consider Galatians 5:12. Here is how the King James Version words the verse: “I would they were even cut off which trouble you.” The context of this verse is the fact that when the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the New Covenant (also known as the New Testament), he thereby brought the Old Covenant to an end, including its many rules and regulations, one of which was the rite of circumcision. But there were false teachers in the first century A. D. who insisted that circumcision was still obligatory. They did what they could to convince believers in the Lord Jesus Christ  to continue this now-outdated rite. They, therefore, caused a lot of confusion among Christians. Not only is this a  subject dealt with in Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians, but also in Acts 15. But what did Paul mean in Galatians 5:12? It can be understood in at least two ways: 1) One view is that Paul meant he wished the ones who were causing the confusion among the Christians would cut themselves off from the fellowship of the believers, thereby helping to end he confusion. This is a legitimate interpretation of the verse. It is held by many Bible students, and is the one promoted in the DVD/video. 2) Another view is that Paul used a deliberately-exaggerated statement, called hyperbole, in which he said he wished the false teachers would not stop with circumcision, but would also emasculate themselves. This is the view of some translators of modern English Bible translators, and it is seen in their translations. Consider some examples: The 1984 edition of the NIV says, “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” The ESV says, “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves.” The updated edition of the New American Standard Bible says, “I wish that those who were troubling you would even mutilate themselves.” The Holman Christian Standard Bible says, “I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated.”

Now, the point to understand is that the speaker in the DVD/video condemns such translations because he mistakenly insists Galatians 5:12 must be understood literally. And he, therefore, thinks the translations just quoted are teaching self-mutilation of one kind or another, which, we agree, is not taught in the Bible. So, what does the Greek word translated “cut off” in the KJV mean? Strongest Strong’s Concordance says it means, “to cut off; emasculate.” That is what it says: “to cut off; emasculate.” The Greek word is used six times in the New Testament, and it is always translated as “cut off” in the King James Version. However,  we need to understand that the words “cut off” are sometimes to be understood figuratively, as in Galatians 5:12 and other verses in the KJV, and sometimes literally, as we shall learn from examples found in the KJV. We find a figurative use of these words in Mark 9:43, in which Jesus said, “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off.” In verse 45 he said, “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off.” Very few persons think the Lord meant these statements to be taken literally. Therefore, since these are hyperbolic statements by the Lord himself, it is legitimate to believe Galatians 5:12, even in the KJV, is a hyperbolic statement about self-mutilation. And that is why the translations quoted above word verse 12 the way they do. We do not know for sure how the  KJV’s translators themselves understood their wording of Galatians 5:12. Did they think it means to cut oneself off from Christian fellowship? Or did they think it has a figurative meaning? Since we do not know the answers to these questions, we should be careful to not force our interpretation into their words, and we should be careful in how we evaluate other translations.

Now, let’s consider some verses in which the words “cut off” are to be taken literally. John 18:10 tells us that Peter took a sword and “cut off” the right ear of the high priest’s servant. John 18:26 refers to  the man whose ear Peter had “cut off.” In Acts 27:32 we read, “Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.” The contexts of all these statements help us to decide when the words “cut off” are to  be taken literally or figuratively. We should not, therefore, read a literal interpretation into verses which could be understood figuratively, and then condemn translations that don’t fit into our notion of how the verses are to be understood.

Here is how Galatians 5:12 is worded in the Wycliffe Bible, which preceded the King James Version: I would that they were cut away, that disturb you. [I would that they that distrouble you, be also cut off.] (I wish that those who disturb you, or who trouble you, wanting you to be circumcised just like they be, would cut it all off!)” This quote is from the Bible Hub website.

If the producers of the DVD/video and its speakers had looked more  carefully into how to interpret Galatians 5:12, it would have helped them to see that it can be understood in at least two ways. And it would also have helped them to avoid their mistaken conclusion about the meaning of 1Corinthians 9:27 as it is worded in some other translations. The KJV words the verse this way: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” But the 1984 edition of the NIV words it this way: “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” The speaker on the DVD/video takes the NIV wording literally and claims it is promoting Roman Catholic theology of self-abuse. But the NIV wording is not to be taken literally any more than the KJV wording of  Mark 9:43 and 45, discussed above. What does the Greek word translated “keep under” in the KJV mean? Strongest Strong’s Concordance says it means, “to wear out, weaken; to beat up, treat roughly.” Here is how the Geneva Bible, which preceded the KJV, words the verse: ” But I beat down my body, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means after that I have preached to others, I myself should be reproved.” The Geneva Bible no more promotes Roman Catholicism than does the NIV. In both translations, hyperbolic language is used. Here is how the Wycliffe Bible, which preceded the KJV, words the verse: but I chastise my body, and bring it into servage, (or into servitude, or into slavery); lest peradventure when I preach to others, I myself be made reprovable.” What is true of the Geneva Bible is true of the Wycliffe Bible. And what is true of those  translations is true of the NIV’s wording of this verse. Not one of them supports Roman Catholic theology.

Fault number 5: the DVD/video says the Bible does not say that Joseph was the father of Jesus, either literally or otherwise. Those who are familiar with the Biblical accounts of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ will be puzzled that the DVD/video makes this claim about Joseph’s relationship to Jesus. This puzzlement is due to what we read in Luke 2:42 – 50, the key verse being verse 48. Here are verses 41 – 52 from the King James Version. They were taken from this website: http://www.biblegateway.com.

“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

 

Remember, verse 48 is the key verse. It says Mary said to Jesus: “And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” The speaker in the DVD/video says Mary called Joseph the Lord’s father, but he says that was her mistaken opinion, and was not the teaching of the Bible. Not only did the speaker say that; he also said the Lord’s response in verse 49 was a rebuke to Mary. Verse 49 says,” And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” The “Father” here is, of course, a reference to God the Father.

But is his claim about verses 48 and 49 correct? It is true that we must make a distinction between someone’s opinion in the Bible and the teaching of the Bible. But we have good reason to believe that Mary’s opinion about Joseph and Jesus was correct. That is, we should believe Joseph was the Lord’s father, but not in a literal sense. The Bible clearly and correctly teaches the Lord was miraculously and mysteriously conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, and that she remained a virgin until after the Lord’s birth, after which Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage. But Joseph was the Lord’s father in a different sense than being his literal father. He was his father by marriage to Mary. Perhaps we can say he was his legal father, just as a man becomes the legal father of an adopted child. Here is what John Gill, the famous Baptist Bible scholar of long ago, said about Luke 2:48 in his commentary on Luke’s Gospel: “Mary calls Joseph his father, though she knew he was not, in a proper sense; but because he was supposed to be so, and was his father by the law of marriage; and especially she might call him so because of his paternal care of him in his education, and bringing him up: for it is a maxim with the Jews, that not he that begets, but he that brings up, is the father.'”

Why would the speaker on the DVD/video teach this peculiar viewpoint about Luke 2:48? It is because to take the normal view of the statement by Mary would mean he would have to accept the NIV’s wording of Luke 2:33, and he certainly would not want to do that because he believes the NIV is one of Satan’s new world order Bible versions. Here is how the NIV words Luke 2:33, which speaks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph: “The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.” So, to be consistent, the speaker had to not only condemn the NIV’s referring to Joseph as the father of Jesus in Luke 2:33. He had to also say that Mary’s statement in verse 48 was wrong, because she said Joseph was the Lord’s father. But this does not solve the speaker’s dilemma, for in Luke 2:27 and 41, both the KJV and NIV say Mary and Joseph were the Lord’s parents. If Joseph can be called the Lord’s parent without it contradicting the Biblical truth of the Lord’s virgin conception and birth, why can he not be called his father without it doing so?

We have considered five faults in the video/DVD called “New World Order Bible Version.” Many others could have been considered, but it is hoped that a candid look at five of them will help others not fall victim to the false teaching in the video/DVD. The King James Version is a great and time-honored English Bible translation, but it does not need to be defended with false teaching.
 

Rick Warren Describes The One-World Church

The following excellent article was written by David Cloud, who is a Baptist missionary and prolific author on many Biblical subjects. It is used with his permission. It is hoped that you will read it with an open mind, for it shows that a man, in this case the popular Rick Warren, can lead a large church and be well-known around the world as a church growth expert and author, and yet have strayed far from Biblical truth. What is true of Warren is, unfortunately, true of many other church growth experts and authors. After reading David Cloud’s own words, continue to read his quotes from Roman Catholic sources that prove Roman Catholicism has a very unbiblical view of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rick Warren Describes the One-World Church

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The following statement by Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren is from an interview with Francis Rocca at Vatican City, Nov. 26, 2014, Vatican Television Center, Catholic News Service, posted at:
www.facebook.com/
video.php?v=10152421040155723

“We have far more in common than what divides us. When you talk about Pentecostals, charismatics, evangelicals, fundamentalists, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and on and on and on and on. They would all say, ‘We believe in the Trinity. We believe in the Bible. We believe in the resurrection. We believe salvation is through Jesus Christ.’ These are the big issues.

“Sometimes Protestants think that Catholics worship Mary, like she is another God. That’s not exactly Catholic doctrine. People say, ‘Well, what are the saints all about; what are you praying to the saints?’ And when you understand what they mean by what they are saying, there is a lot more commonality.

“Now, there are still real differences. There is no doubt about that. But the most important thing is if you love Jesus we are on the same team.
“The unity that I believe we will see realistically is not a structural unity, but a unity of mission. And so when it comes to the family, we are co-workers in the field for the protection of what we call the sanctity of life, the sanctity of sex, and the sanctity of marriage. So there is a great commonality, and there is no division on those three.

“Many times people have been beaten down for taking a biblical stance, and they start to feel, ‘Well, maybe I’m out here all by myself.’ No, you’re not. The church is growing in Latin America. The church is growing in Asia. The church is growing in Africa. It’s not growing in North America or Europe, but it is growing everywhere else. So maybe we have this idea that we’re not as influential, but we are far more influential than people realize.”
__________________This is a description of the formation of a one-world church by the pastor of one of the largest congregations in the Southern Baptist Convention, which is widely considered to be a very “conservative” denomination. This is a pastor whose books have sold by the millions and who has been acclaimed as “America’s pastor.” Yet he doesn’t understand the ABC’s of the gospel, salvation, and the church. He understands neither Baptist doctrine nor Catholic doctrine, and it is obvious that he doesn’t care. Understanding doctrine is not a priority. It’s not his agenda.

Rick Warren represents every element that defines the building of the one-world “church” — contemporary worship music, ecumenical social work, downplaying of doctrine, fuzzy doctrinal thinking, contemplative prayer, non-judgmentalism, and treating “critics” as unchristian and dangerous, to mention some of the major ones.

The hour is very late.

“The Immaculate Virgin preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Apoc. 19:16) and conqueror of sin and death” (Second Vatican Council, Vatican II Documents, “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” chap. 8, I, 52, 53; II, 59, pp. 378, 381- 382).

“As St. Irenaeus says, she being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert with him in their preaching ‘DEATH THROUGH EVE, LIFE THROUGH MARY’. THIS UNION OF THE MOTHER WITH THE SON IN THE WORK OF SALVATION IS MADE MANIFEST FROM THE TIME OF CHRIST’S VIRGINAL CONCEPTION UP TO HIS DEATH. She cooperated in the work of the Saviour in an altogether singular way to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result, she is our mother in the order of grace. Mary, sharing as she did even on Calvary, had a part even in the once for all acquisition of the great treasury. Now from this common sharing of will and suffering between Christ and Mary, she ‘merited to become most worthily the REPARATRIX [one who makes amends or atonement] for a lost world,’ and therefore, DISPENSATRIX [one who dispenses] of all the gifts which Jesus gained for us by His death and His blood (Second Vatican Council, Vatican II Documents, “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” chap. 8, II, 56, pp. 380-381).

“Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but BY HER MANIFOLD INTERCESSION CONTINUES TO BRING US THE GIFTS OF ETERNAL SALVATION. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of ADVOCATE, HELPER, BENEFACTRESS, and MEDIATRIX” (Second Vatican Council, Vatican II Documents, “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” chap. 8, II, 62, pp. 382-383).

“Mary has by grace been exalted above all angels and men to a place second only to her Son, as the most holy mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ: she is rightly honoured by a special cult in the Church” (Second Vatican Council, Vatican II Documents, “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” chap. 8, IV, The Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church, 66, 67, pp. 384-385).

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth ANOTHER JESUS, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive ANOTHER SPIRIT, which ye have not received, or ANOTHER GOSPEL, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

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About Way of Life – The name “Way of Life” is from Proverbs 6:23: “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” The biblical instruction that molds men to God’s will requires reproof. It is not strictly positive. It does not focus on man’s “self-esteem.” It does not avoid controversial or unpopular subjects. It warns as well as comforts. It deals with sin and false teaching in a plain manner. It is reproves, rebukes, exhorts with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2). This is what we seek to do through Way of Life Literature. The Way of Life preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. A mail stop is maintained in Port Huron, Michigan.

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