Saturday, May 9, 2015

THEFT #18 - Stealin' Back Scripture

Hi folks!  This is a slight modification of a post I made to a particular Facebook theology group in which I am involved.  It is primarily an answer to one member of the group who accused me of heresy--are you ready--because I did not exclusively use an English Bible version based on the Greek text edition known as the "Textus Receptus."  In plain English (haha), this means I am a heretic for not exclusively using the King James Version.  If you know me, you can anticipate my response, but--in the end--I thought it prudent to draft a statement on my fundamental Biblical beliefs, and on how I find these beliefs not only in the KJV, but also in other carefully translated English versions like the NASB and the ESV.  In some ways, this is a long "rant," but I think a necessary one.

So . . . (taking a deep breath) . . . . here goes!

Let me say that I fully believe in the substitutionary atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as brought about by His death and resurrection, and ascension to the Father. I believe that Jesus Christ was then and still is fully God and fully Man, and that He will return again to judge the living and the dead. I also believe in the Tri-Unity of God, that He is One God, Three Persons, and that the Three Persons are the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that no human can be saved from his/her sin without faith In Jesus Christ based on the Biblical truths I just expressed.

I believe in the instant sanctification of the new believer by the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, and in the ongoing sanctification of the believer by that same Spirit during the earthly life of the believer. I believe in a literal six-day creation of universe as set forth in Genesis 1 and 2, and in the fall of mankind as presented in Genesis 3.

I believe in a literal Great Tribulation of 7 years followed by a literal Millennium of 1000 years. I believe the church will be "caught up" or "raptured" immediately prior to the Great Tribulation, and that she will return with Christ to defeat Satan and his anti-Christ at the end of the Tribulation, and that she will help Him govern the earth during the 1000 year Millennium. I also believe National Israel will be restored during the Millennium under the rule of Christ and the saints of the Church, and that after the Millennium, that the Lord Jesus will bring His final judgment on the current Creation, and afterwards bring in a New Creation as described in Revelation 20-22.

NOTE:  The beliefs I express before the phrase "IN ADDITION, I consider to be basic and essential to salvation in Christ. Regarding the two paragraphs after "IN ADDITION"--although I believe these things with great zeal--I do not consider them salvation issues.

I have come to believe the statements I made above through my own study of the Old and New Testaments, and through the study of godly men who have written commentaries and articles on these Scriptures. I use the word Scripture to mean the 66 books of the Old and New Testament as laid out in the Masoretic Hebrew text as published in the BHS3 edition, the Koine Greek text as published in the Nestle-Aland #26 and #27 editions, with consultation of the Stephanus 3rd Edition, also known as the Textus Receptus, of the Byzantine tradition as published in the Majority Text as edited by Hodges, and in several English translations including: KJV, ASV (1901 American version) NKJV, NASB (1977 and 1995 editions), Amplified Bible, ESV (English Standard Version), and (rarely) the NIV (North American version). Knowing some German, I have also consulted Luther's original translation, along with 2 modern German editions.

***Please note that I consider all of the above editions of Scripture to be reliable representations of the written Word of God. BUT: For those who claim that one of those editions is the "only" true version, my answer is simply that no human nor group of humans has possession of the original Hebrew or Greek manuscripts, and therefore for anyone to claim that he/she can know which set of manuscripts represents the "true" word of God is nothing short of human arrogance.

DISCLAIMER: Along with this, I repeat my assertion that the church as a whole can indeed claim to have the true written Word of God as He intends us to know it, and that the minor differences between the various textual traditions do not affect any critical Christian doctrine. For those who claim that the "critical" Greek texts (e.g., NA26) have taken the "blood of Christ" or the "deity of Christ" away from the Word of God, my answer is--if this was the intention of the Nestle-Aland editors, that they failed miserably in doing so, for I see both the blood and deity of Christ all over Nestle 26 and 27.

Finally, in all charity and good will, I must clarify that I have nothing against the Textus Receptus nor the King James Version. I consult and use them along with my preferred versions, and I bear no malice toward those who favor these versions, nor would I try to make them change their mind. However, I would suggest that those who claim that the TR and KJV version are the only valid versions of the true written Word of God are simply wrong, and I would ask them to extend the same charity to me as I use my preferred editions. As evidence I simply put forth the core beliefs I expressed in my first 3 paragraphs, and I adamantly claim that those core beliefs are as easily found in, e.g., the NASB as they are in the KJV, and vice versa.

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