Tag Archives: Authorized King James Version

Monday Monkey “Wisdom Teeth” (Episode 19)

My daughter showed me one video on YouTube [Click Here] of a girl who had her wisdom teeth removed. That led to another video, and another, and another. They were so funny (and sad) that I felt Mr. Monkey needed to have surgery.

There’s no deep, hyper-spiritual message to this episode of Monday Monkey. It’s just funny.

However, my wife did ask me, “So, what Bible verse will you use for this?” All I could think of was 1Corinthians 14:27 – If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, [let it be] by two, or at the most [by] three, and [that] by course; and let one interpret. 

With that said, don’t get more than 3 cotton-stuffed monkeys in the same room – we Baptists might get nervous (smile).

“Wisdom Teeth”

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Filed under Humor, Monday Monkey

Research Sources Needed

I would like your help…

I have decided to do a research paper addressing the doctrine of separation. You could help by forwarding any relevant source material, such as books, articles, denominational publications, etc.

Specifics

Specifically, I need material published by denominations who prohibit fellowship with believers in other denominations. In other words, if you have access to published material that says stuff like, “We will not associate or worship with Southern Baptists because…,” I would greatly appreciate a copy.

You can reply here, or you can forward copies of source material to my email: PastorACBaker@yahoo.com.

Thank you for your help!

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Filed under Christian Unity, God, legalism, Theology, Uncategorized

Was John R. Rice a Heretic?

On the 400th aniversery of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, I would like to pose a question to my brothers and sisters who refuse to recognize any other translation: was John R. Rice a heretic? If you do not know of whom I am referring, let me give you a little background information.

Dr. John R. Rice

Dr. Rice, who died in 1980, was one of the most well-known fundamentalist writers and evangelists of the 20th century. He wrote more than 200 books and booklets which were published in many languages and sold all over the world. He condemned the compromise, liberalism, and apostacy being taught at major denominational colleges and seminaries.  He fought for a return to holiness and the fundamentals of the Christian faith. But what I think he will always be remembered for is his founding of the weekly paper, Sword of the Lord.

For the record, I highly respect Dr. Rice. I have in my personal library several of his works published back in the 1960’s. He was a great writer and a great preacher; however, he was not flawless. He said some things back in the day that I have a hard time with. On the other hand, he had some things to say that would shock the average reader of Sword of the Lord and the typical legalist who believes the KJV is the one-and-only perfect, preserved text for the English-speaking world.  Unlike the Sword which continually decries any other translation as dangerous and confusing, Dr. Rice actually recommended the 1901 ASV. OK, would somebody get a glass of water for the fainting KJV-only person on the floor? Dr. John R. Rice, founder and editor of the Sword of the Lord newspaper, actually said that the…

“…American Standard Version, translated in 1901, is perhaps the most accurate of all versions… It takes advantage of the three great manuscripts – the Sinaiticus, the Vatican, and the Alexandrian manuscripts – which were not available when the King James Version was translated.”   from, Dr. Rice, Here Is My Question (Wheaton: Sword of the Lord, 1962), p. 59.

As an overall explanation of his beliefs on the topic of multiple translations, Dr. Rice also stated:

“[There] are many, many translations. The differences in the translations are so minor, so insignificant, that we can be sure not a single doctrine, not a single statement of fact, not a single command or exhortation, has been missed in our translations. And where the Word of God is not perfectly translated in one instance, it is corrected in another translation. And if the Word of God is not perfectly portrayed in one translation, it is portrayed, surely, in the winnowed sum of them all… Have copyists passed on to us any major errors so that in any particular matter we miss the Word of God? There is abundant evidence that they have not. Do the various translations differ materially on any doctrine, any fact of history, any Christian duty, on the plan of salvation, or the Person of Christ, or any comfort or instruction? No, they do not! God has preserved His Scriptures. – from, Our God-Breathed Book, the Bible (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1969), p. 355.

Now, according to many legalists, at least to those who refuse to read or use any other translation of the Bible than the King James 1611, Dr. Rice, who had probably been one of their heroes, is now a liberal. Poor guy! He did so much!

I believe that God inspired His Word (2 Timothy 3:16). I believe He gave it to us in the original autographs. I believe that He has preserved copies of those originals in the examples we have of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic manuscripts. What I do not believe is that the King James Version was the one-and-only, forever-settled-as-pure-and-inspired translation. It is ONLY a translation. To say that no other English translation is the Word of God is to say that the Geneva Bible, 51 years older than the KJV, was just a book.

The Kings James Version of the Bible changed the world. We should all be grateful for it. I still use it many times when preaching, and especially when memorizing verses. But even though the KJV was and is a blessing of God, His Word is preserved in the ORIGINAL TEXTS. Anything other than the original languages, including the King James, is a translation.

Our goal should be to use the best translations of the texts at our disposal when we are preaching and teaching, comparing them with each other and the originals, when possible, so that we can better understand how God’s Word should be understood in today’s language. After all, if you can’t understand it, doing you no good is the least of your worries – doing harm because of a faulty understanding based on a changed vocabulary is far worse. That is where the REAL heresy comes from.

But hey, it doesn’t matter which translation, if you are not reading it and studying it on your own, you might as well be reading Harry Potter and the Temple of Whatever. READ your Bible. STUDY your Bible. Let the Holy Spirit guide you as you read and study and then a wonderful thing will happen – you won’t be ashamed in the end (2 Timothy 2:15); you will find light for your path (Psalm 119:105); and you will know how not to sin against God (Psalm 119:11). Even the ASV, ESV, HCSB, or the NIV will tell you that….right, Dr. Rice?

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Filed under baptist, legalism, translations, Uncategorized

Why Be a Legalist?

Well, that’s a good question! The question could also be asked another way: what makes a person want to be, or remain a legalist? This, essentially, was the question recently posed by a friend on Facebook. Assuming we know what a legalist is, what makes a person attracted to this way of thinking? Let me respond with five possible answers.

But before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. What is a legalist? Here are a couple of really good, all-around definitions of legalism. The first one is from GotQuestions.org (which I recommend). I would advise reading the whole piece on their website. The following is an excerpt:

The word “legalism” does not occur in the Bible. It is a term Christians use to describe a doctrinal position emphasizing a system of rules and regulations for achieving both salvation and spiritual growth. Legalists believe in and demand a strict literal adherence to rules and regulations. Doctrinally, it is a position essentially opposed to grace. Those who hold a legalistic position often fail to see the real purpose for law, especially the purpose of the Old Testament law of Moses, which is to be our “schoolmaster” or “tutor” to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-Christian-legalism.html

The second is a definition found on Wikipedia. Believe it or not, it is a pretty in-depth article. Again, here is a portion of that article:

Legalism, in Christian theology, is a sometimes-pejorative term referring to an over-emphasis on discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigour, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of law over the spirit. Legalism is alleged against any view that obedience to law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle of redemption…Legalism refers to any doctrine which states salvation comes strictly from adherence to the law. It can be thought of as a works-based religion. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legalism_(theology)

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But to be fair, most people that I would label “legalists” are not people who believe that salvation is earned by works of any kind, at least if they are Baptists. The vast majority of legalists to which I refer, and of which I used to belong, use a system of rules and regulations to determine spirituality, spiritual growth, and favor with God and other believers. They believe, as a whole, in the redemptive work of the cross, but set a universal standard which defines holiness for all who claim Christ, regardless of cultural or societal considerations. To the legalist, anyone who behaves or believes differently than the legalist’s perceived standards must not be “right with God.”

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So, back to the original question:

“Why are Some People Legalists?”

One reason could simply be that they do not know any different.

When I was growing up, I did not know anything different than what I was exposed to in our little churches, missionary conferences, revivals, or Christian schools. Even though I believe that most of what I was taught was doctrinally sound, I was not encouraged to examine different viewpoints, even those of other Baptists, specifically if they were anything other than “Independent, Fundamental, etc.” I was not allowed to explore the true nature of a life of grace and freedom. Many are still in this situation. Tragically, they are content with their ignorance. They refuse to consider the fact that they may be wrong on a particular point. Even when Scripture is plain and simple, because of the secluded nature of these groups, they would rather stick their heads in the sand than risk being wrong. Being wrong might make someone else, even another denomination, right about something. Heaven help us!

A second reason could be that they came from an unholy lifestyle and now seek to redeem themselves (or their consciences).

Some people are so ashamed of their past that they go overboard in trying to live a life of holiness. They see in their past a link between so-called “worldly activities” and their fall into depravity. In an effort to show they are no longer the person they used to be, and in order to avoid temptation, they strictly avoid certain activities deemed “worldly.” Sadly, even though they mean well, they project their own weaknesses onto others, therefore expecting others to abide by the same level of austere living, or be seen as worldly. However, in many cases, appearances are not what they seem. The very ones who are so legalistic in some areas of life wind up being the ones with the biggest weakness in that area. Their overbearing attitudes, in many cases, may only be the big doors hiding skeletons in their closet.

A third reason could be the desire to be controlled or told what to do.

As strange as it may sound, some people don’t like to think for themselves, nor do they like being responsible for their own choices. It is sort of like people whom I have seen that were once under a totalitarian government. When they no longer had a dictatorial system telling them what to do, they either lost all control or had no motivation to do any good. Legalistic churches provide the lazy or immature Christian a list of “do’s and don’ts” so that he/she doesn’t have to search the Scripture for guidance. It is much easier this way. If the pastor says something is wrong, and that God would not approve, then that’s it – end of discussion. Having a list is safe and doesn’t require much thought. They prefer being a marionette to being mature.

A fourth reason, which is among the more sinister, is that they want to control others.

Freedom is dangerous. Freedom allows for movement and change. Freedom allows for the individual to be led by God in a specific direction that may or may not be God’s will for another. Freedom takes power away from those who would want to control others for their own edification or gratification. Legalism keeps the sheep under strict control by encouraging tattling and fear of being ostracized. There are pastors, well-intended men, who would rather their people live under a specific set of guidelines than question long-held, man-made traditions. These leaders are afraid to lose their congregations to the world, but also to other churches. They may even find comfort in controlling others due to their own inadequacies. Much like emperors and dictators, they manipulate weak Christians in order to maintain their little kingdoms. Rarely do they admit weakness. Often, they micro-manage every aspect of ministry. They have to be in control.

A fifth reason could be that some people are more afraid of God than in love with Him.

So many people that I know and used to be like were more afraid of losing their relational standing with God than anything else. As a matter of fact, by being legalistic, one could be assured that God was pleased with him. I wonder how it really was for Enoch as he walked with God. Many modern preachers are quick to make the application of Enoch’s walk with God to the way we act in this world. They make little of the relationship implied by the narrative (Genesis 5:24). In reality, very few lists would even be needed if one had an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. To the legalist, God is not a friend; He doesn’t laugh; He speaks in Old English, and He holds a grudge because of what it took to buy the sinner’s salvation. When you think of God as always looking for an opportunity to send judgment, then being legalistic is the safest way to go. You’d hate to be hit with a lightning bolt.

There you have it. I am sure there may be other reasons, but this is a good start.

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What’s Down the Road?

I was just thinking about the new year, not to mention all of the things that I have committed to do. First, there were simple things like pounds to lose, things to fix, books to read, tests to take, messages to preach, and people to see.  Now, on top of all of that, there are more threats of war, higher fuel prices, decreasing morals, and a new season of American Idol. What are we going to do?

A wallpaper picture really caught my attention, today. The scene was a peaceful road leading towards some distant mountains obscuring the horizon. Above the mountains were what seemed to be fireworks and the phrase, “Happy New Year!” It caught my attention because it made me think, “Are we driving into a celebration, or a battle?

We may not like to think of it this way, but we have lived in a pretty peaceful world for a number of years. Well, just to qualify that statement, Americans have lived peacefully. Even with the last 20 years’ worth of gulf wars, nothing we have experienced in the last 30+ years compares to the Vietnam conflict, the Korean War, or especially World Wars 1 and 2. The world has had its share of trouble, but nothing on the scale of the world wars and genocides of the early to mid 1900’s. Is it possible that the road leading into 2011 may find something besides celebration?

Just a quick glance of the the world news today gave me a shudder……

When you think about it, our country is no longer the leader she once was. We have lost our moral authority and our will to act unilaterally. Our leadership is seeking a plurality of world powers in the name of peace, while giving away our blood-bought sovereignty wrapped in treaties. The peace that was maintained by our threat of force is now up for grabs by any snot-nosed maniac willing to threaten with a car bomb. Who will now lead us down the road? Even more frightening, who are we willing to let lead us?

But even with all the doom and gloom on the horizon, there is hope.

Things could really get bad in the days ahead, and that should disturb us. What is just beyond the mountains ahead could spell the end to everything we have grown to accept as normal and peaceful. Even so, our hope is not in man, nor governments, nor political parties, or fragile treaties. Our hope is in God. Our God is in control.

Just think, the Bible is a good example of how nations can come and go like the seasons of the year. Israel was hardly ever at peace, yet the believers in God were comforted with such words as, “Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” – Isa 41:10 KJV

If world markets crumble and governments collapse; if Social Security checks cease; if jobs become harder to find than Lindsay Lohan‘s common sense; God is still God. Followers of Jesus need not fear what is down the road. He can take care of His own.

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. – Luk 12:22-30 ESV

The future could be full of conflict, or it could be as peaceful as ever. We don’t know what the fireworks mean. But one thing is for sure, “I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand.” As I walk down the road of life, I am not alone.

Bring on the future!

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Filed under America, Culture Wars, General Observations, Preaching, salvation, scary new year, the future, World View

What’s Your Life Worth?

So, I get a phone call from a reader who asks, “Is everything on your site serious?” Well, obviously, no. Even my chili recipe contained humor. But this post may be more serious than others.

This one is serious.

What would you die for? What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? Then you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Foolish, frankly.

Even more than concrete items, some value their pride more than life. They are willing to fight to the death, or kill others when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be thought of wrongly. So many have yet to learn that what people think of them does not determine the reality of who they are.

From the perspective of family, I would say that most believe life is worth risking life. If my loved ones were in danger, then it would be natural to put my life on the line. Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society is very fickled when it comes to how it determines the value of one life. One life is not as valuable as another, after all. Life is not as valuable to some if convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.  I would die for my children, but many kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that values gold more consistently than life itself.

What about beliefs? Are you willing to die for what you believe? Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s ok. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance. A martyr is one who will die for what they believe, rather than deny it.  Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

But here’s one more thought…how much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, right? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you. Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own. Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s. Your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make you of incalculable worth! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilts and failures as His own, and paying the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes you valuable. That makes Jesus pretty unique. How many others have done what He has for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

That’s the whole reason for Christmas, you know.  Jesus had to come to earth as a baby to grow into the Man that would willingly go to a cruel cross.  The gift of Christmas is the gift of life, purchased with the life of the Giver of Life. How ironic is that; and how wonderful?

What is your life worth?  Well, it was worth the Messiah suffering the most excruciating death Rome could conceive.  It was worth the Prince of Peace being shredded by a “cat of nine tails.” It was worth God becoming flesh so that we could know Him.  If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.  Your life is worth it.

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, salvation, self-worth, Uncategorized, World View