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Monday, July 25, 2016

Reformation

Carrying on the Reformation
by Doing Theology for the Church
Paul was consistent in the way he spoke about spiritual gifts by employing the
metaphor of the “body,” and thus the growing of the body into “maturity,” and
finally the sharing and expanding of spiritual influence from the Christian community to
the wider civil community (as in Ephesians 4–6 and Romans 12–14).
As we learn from the biblical passage above, the way of growing the body is to feed it with
the truth of God in Christ through faith by grace. This “feeding” of the body is the ministry of the Word of the apostles and prophets. It is conducted by the office of theology through evangelists, pastors and teachers. John Webster, in his
Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch (Cambridge: CUP, 2003), aptly sums up such an office of theology in the Church: “(1) Whatever its institutional location, Christian
theology is properly an undertaking of the speaking and hearing
church of Jesus Christ; (2) because of this, the exercise of theological
reason, directed by the Word, is an office
within the church; (3) the office of theology is thus to assist in the edification of the church by
guiding the church’s reading of Holy Scripture.”
 
Hence, theological education should cultivate a Christian mind
in a biblical, theological and spiritual community of learning.
Yet, theological education should not stop at this point, or the
Reformation would soon cease to be. By standing on the shoulders
of the Reformers, Singapore Bible College strives to theologically
equip faithful servants of Jesus Christ in three ways: (1) to
communicate the Word of God effectively for the edification of the
Church, (2) to lead by serving fellow Christians and non-believers
humbly as servants of Christ, and (3) to engage social and cultural
issues of this age with the love and truth of the gospel.
By doing theology for the edification of the Church and the
urgent evangelization of the unreached, SBC has carried on the
Reformation for the last 63 years and will bring it into the future. In
this journey, we rely on the Triune God, participating in His saving
plan for fallen humanity and the corrupted world; we partner with
fellow believers to bring the mission to fruition; and we seek for
your unceasing prayer and generous support for the advancement
of this mission.
 
Please pray for us.
 
On 31 October 2017, the Christian Church will celebrate the
500th
Anniversary of the Reformation. The Reformation
brought unprecedented changes to the West and
subsequently to the rest of the world. But what was the fundamental
vision of this movement? And how is this vision related to the
mandate of theological education?
 
Since the first days of the movement,
the Reformers affirmed that the
only true Church is the Church that
holds fast to the evangelical faith
testified in the Holy Bible. Based on the principle of
Sola Scriptura, the highest authority
of Christian belief and living is the Bible itself. Thus Luther states in
his first lecture on Psalms, “The Scripture is the womb from which is
born the theological truth and the Church.”
 
From Martin Luther to Ulrich Zwingli to John Calvin, the Reformers
were all diligent students of the Bible who scrutinized the message
of the Bible as biblical scholars. Each served in their parish as pastors,
but each also taught in theological institutions. They exemplified
two particular roles—pastor and scholar—that signified an office
of theology in the Church, with the local church and for the local
church. What is the office of theology? It is the encompassing ministry of
the Word of God in the Church through evangelists, pastors and
teachers. The first Reformers saw a long neglected exercise of the
spiritual endowment from God for the discernment of truth and
the edification of the Church. The Apostle Paul exercised and
encouraged the office of theology in the Church, as understood in
his Epistle to the Ephesians 4:11-13, 
 
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets,
some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of
Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in
the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining
to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ
 
Rev Dr Clement Chia, Principal
Singapore Bible College

FEBC new webmaster

Far Eastern Bible College, Singapore

Administrative Staff

Mr Murray Ong, IT Manager
Miss Eileen Chee, Assistant to the Matron
Mrs Tan Chew Ying, Bookkeeper
Miss Janet Lim, Clerk
Mrs Yap Ling Ling, Librarian
Mrs Manuela Heng, Bookroom Assistant
Mr Roland Wong, Volunteer Helper
Mr Samuel Goh, Webmaster

Bye bye sister Wendy Teng

New kid on the block

Far Eastern Bible College, Singapore

The Board of Directors

Rev (Dr) Jeffrey Khoo, President
Eld John Leong, Secretary
Mr Wee Hian Kok, Treasurer
Rev (Dr) Koa Keng Woo
Rev Stephen Khoo
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy
Rev (Dr) Quek Suan Yew

Welcome to the infighting of Bible-Presbyterian Church! 


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Did he say.......?


Which Bible Translation Is Best? All the Good Ones.

I am on a mission to end Bible Translation Tribalism. If you don’t know what I mean by “Translation Tribalism,” see if any of these tribal stereotypes (some borrowed from another blogger) ring true for you:

  • The NIV 2011 is the Bible of the broad swath of centrist evangelicals.
  • The TNIV is the Bible of egalitarian leftist evangelicals.
  • The ESV is the Bible of complementarian, conservative, neo-Reformed evangelicals.
  • The NASB is the Bible of conservative evangelical serious Bible students.
  • The KJV is the Bible of fundamental, independent Baptists.
  • The HCSB is the Bible of Southern Baptists.
  • The NLT is the Bible of seeker-sensitive evangelicals.
  • The NET Bible is the Bible of computer nerds.
  • The NRSV and CEB are the Bibles of Protestant mainliners.
There is probably a little truth in every one of these somewhat tongue-in-cheek stereotypes (except in the ones you don’t like, of course). There really are different groups in Christianity, and they really have differences. It’s not completely accidental that each of these groups would gravitate toward particular translations. And I’ve argued before that the common translation continuum is, though potentially misleading (because all translations use a mixture of both “literal” and “dynamic” renderings), still genuinely useful as a rule of thumb:

image00

Image taken from Mark Strauss’ Mobile Ed Course, BI181 Introducing Bible Translations
But get that thumb out of your mouth, because it’s still wrong for Christians to be suspicious of other Christians just because of the Bible translation they carry to church. The tribalism needs to stop. All Bible-loving-and-reading Christians need to learn to see the value in all good Bible translations.

People who use the NIV exclusively need to also see the value of the NASB. People who use the ESV exclusively need to discover the help the NLT can provide. People who are KJV-only need to stop seeing the translation work of godly, careful brothers and sisters in Christ—such as Doug Moo of the NIV, Wayne Grudem of the ESV, and D.A. Carson of the NLT—as threats but as gifts.

To say “I am of the NIV” is wrong. To say “I am of the NASB” is wrong. To say “I am of the ESV” is right and proper and everyone else should wise up, you compromisers!

No, wait, wait . . . Give me a moment to breathe deeply and count to 10. Hey, I’ve got my own preferences. But I’ve officially given them up for your sake. And my own—because I actually think that the existence of multiple English Bible translations is a benefit to us all, not a justification for hoisting banners and circling wagons.

Trusted voices on translations

 

Bible translation tribalism doesn’t begin with a wicked desire to divide God’s people. It starts with a simple fact: translations are complicated things, and very few people have the expertise necessary to thoroughly evaluate them, let alone produce them—so the Christian consumers whose buying dollars determine which translations are successful are forced to trust “experts” when deciding which translation is best.

And whom do we trust? Generally speaking, we look to and trust our pastors for this kind of expert guidance. Hopefully, our pastors have a good grasp of translation theory and a lot of experience working through Scripture texts in Greek and Hebrew (Logos Bible Software exists for just this kind of work). But pastors who have done this work are actually more likely to realize that translations are complex. So they, too, trust others’ judgment. They trust their peers, their professors, their denominational leadership, their favorite Christian writers and scholars. This trust is completely natural and fundamentally good. We all trust authorities all the time to help us make decisions on issues that are too complex or would take too much time to grasp. I know my job, you know yours. But we all outsource other jobs to the experts. We try to be well-rounded, and we develop “informed opinions” about many topics, but we’re never going to be as informed as the experts in any given field. We simply don’t have time go around constantly doubting the work of the economists, civil engineers, chemists, optometrists, and Bible translators whose work we rely on.

If there’s a better recipe for highway asphalt out there than the one our municipality is using, we’re just going to leave that in the hands of the highway commissioner and drive on our roads anyway. If the textual critical issue in Jonah 1:9 could have been handled a little more adroitly; if the relationship of tense and aspect in Mark 4:13 fails to reflect the latest scholarship coming out of Steve Runge’s office; if there’s a more suitable rendering for rāqîaʿ in Genesis 1:6—99.9% of Christians, 99.9% of the time, will leave those issues in the hands of the experts and read their Bibles anyway. We will still trust our favored Bible translations, because people we have every reason to trust told us we should trust those translations.

But that’s just what the people in the church down the street, those false “Christians” with their wicked “Bible” “translation” (and their funny hair!), are doing. They’re trusting their leaders. So why are we better than they? If there’s a difference between “us” and “them,” it’s not that “we” are sitting down in a lengthy series of congregational meetings with all our Greek and Hebrew Bibles on our laps and hashing out all the differences among translations, and “they” aren’t. We should be content, without believing our translation to be perfect, exactly, to trust that it is reliable without condemning those who have made a different choice. Our pastor (and/or our crowd) decided translation X was best. Fine. We shouldn’t let our preferred translation become a symbol, a rallying cry, a boundary marker separating us from other groups within the body of Christ.

A way out of Bible translation tribalism


It’s the idea that we must determine which translation is best that has divided us into translational tribes. The need to pick the be-all and end-all Bible translation, the one that is simultaneously literal and understandable and beautiful, the one that (as one press release for a major translation claims) “eliminates . . . the tradeoff between accuracy and readability,” is creating a barometric pressure that is unnecessarily heating up the whole topic.

English speakers are looking for the wrong thing when we look for best. As I said, we need to look for useful. Does that sound too pragmatic? Let me clarify. We need to ask, “Which English Bible translation is most useful for preaching?” “Which is most useful for evangelism?” “Which is useful for reading through in a year?” “Which is conducive to close study?” How about for reading to kids? For memorization?
The average Christian has umpteen Bibles at home; we can afford, financially, to buy different editions for different purposes. Many of us have Logos, with its even greater number of Bible translations.

Because of our embarrassment of financial and translational riches, we can get very specific in our search for useful. “Which English Bible translation is most useful for preaching to these particular people?” “Which English translation is most useful for evangelizing this person I just met?” “Which one is most useful for reading through this year, given that I just read a more literal/paraphrastic version last year?”

A Bible translation thought experiment

 

Imagine there was only one English Bible translation and that it had never occurred to you that there might be another. The truth is that even if we were stuck with your and my least favorite translation on the chart above, we’d still have an inestimable treasure. We would still have God’s words. The KJV translators, in a sadly neglected but eerily prescient preface to the KJV, said the following:
We do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English set forth by men of our profession…containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God: as the King’s speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, everywhere. [direct Logos link]
The KJV translators had no qualms saying that even relatively poor translations don’t just contain God’s words but are God’s word. They were not Bible translation tribalists. Perhaps we should take a page out of their book.

mark ward

Mark L. Ward, Jr. received his PhD from Bob Jones University in 2012; he now serves the church as a Logos Pro. He is the author of multiple high school Bible textbooks, including Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption.


 

Friday, April 29, 2016

FREE Machen biography by Stonehouse from the OPC


Celebrate the 100th anniversary of J. Gresham Machen’s ordination with a free copy of his biography by Ned B. Stonehouse, a co-founder of Westminster Theological Seminary with Machen. You can get your copy in ePub or Mobi format through the Orthodox Presbyterian Church here. Enjoy!

 http://store.opc.org/SearchResults.asp?Cat=1823

The Lion of Princeton

B.B. Warfield was among the most consequential figures in the history of the Reformed faith in America and his presence and influence are still felt even today. In this new book Kim Riddlebarger provides a biographical overview of Warfield’s life and traces the growing appreciation for Warfield’s thought by contemporary Reformed thinkers. Furthermore, he evaluates the fundamental structures in Warfield’s overall theology and examines Warfield’s work in the field of systematic theology.

Warfield’s continuing influence make this book an invaluable new resource that will add significant clarity to the study of Warfield and his theology.

Everyone’s a Theologian

Many people react negatively to the word theology, believing that is involves dry, fruitless arguments about minute points of doctrine. They prefer to focus on the basic truths of Scripture and may even declare, “No creed but Christ.”

But as R.C. Sproul argues, everyone is a theologian. Any time we think about a teaching of the Bible and strive to understand it, we are engaging in theology. Therefore, it is important that we put the Bible’s varied teachings together in a systematic fashion using proper, time-tested methods of interpretation so as to arrive at a theology that is founded on truth.

That is precisely what Sproul does in Everyone’s a Theologian. Sproul, demonstrating his trademark ability to make complex subjects easily understood, surveys the basic truths of the Christian faith, reminding us once more of what God is like and of what he has done for his people in this world and the next.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ARTICLE X: The Autographs

We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original. We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

Article X deals directly with the perennial issue of the relationship of the text of Scripture that we now have to the original documents, which have not been preserved except through the means of copies. In the first instance, inspiration applies strictly to the original autographs of Scripture, the original works of the inspired authors. This indicates that the infallible control of God in the production of the original Scriptures has not been perpetuated through the ages in the copying and translating process. It is plainly apparent that there are some minute variations between the manuscript copies that we possess and that the translating process must inject variations for those who read Scripture in a language other than Hebrew and Greek. So the framers of the Chicago Statement are not arguing for a perpetually inspired transmission of the text.

Since we do not have the original manuscripts, some have argued that an appeal to the lost originals renders the whole case for the inspiration of Scripture irrelevant. To reason in this manner is to show contempt for the very serious work that has been done in the field of textual criticism. Textual criticism is the science that seeks to reconstruct an original text by a careful analysis and evaluation of the manuscripts we now possess. This task has to be accomplished with respect to all documents from antiquity that have reached us through manuscript copies. The Old and New Testament Scriptures are probably the texts that have reached us with the most extensive and reliable attestation. For more than ninety-nine percent of the cases, the original text can be reconstructed to a practical certainty. Even in the few cases where some perplexity remains, this does not impinge on the meaning of Scripture to the point of clouding a tenet of the faith or a mandate of life. Thus, in the Bible as we have it (and as it is conveyed to us through faithful translations), we do have, for practical purposes, the very Word of God, inasmuch as the manuscripts convey to us the complete vital truth of the originals.

The further affirmation of Article X is that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original. Though we do not possess the originals, we have well-reconstructed translations and copies that, to the extent they correspond to the originals, may be said to be the Word of God. But because of the evident presence of copy errors and errors of translation, the distinction must be made between the original work of inspiration in the autographs and the human labor of translating and copying those autographs.

The denial is concerned with the important point that in those minuscule segments of existing manuscripts where textual criticism has not been able to ascertain the original reading with absolute certainty, no essential article of the Christian faith is affected.

To limit inerrancy or inspiration to the original manuscripts does not make the whole contention irrelevant. It does make a difference. If the original text were errant, the church would have the option of rejecting its teachings. If the original text is inerrant (and we must depend on the science of textual criticism to reconstruct that inerrant text), we have no legitimate basis for disobeying a mandate of Scripture where the text is not in doubt. For example, if two theologians agree that the original text was inerrant, and if both agree as to what the present copy teaches and further agree that the present copy is an accurate representation of the original, then it follows irresistibly that the two men are under divine obligation to obey that text. If, on the other hand, we asserted that the original manuscripts were possibly errant, and the two theologians then agreed as to what the Bible taught and also agreed that the present translation or copy faithfully represented the original, neither would be under moral obligation to submit to the teachings of that possibly errant original. Therein lies the importance of the character of the original manuscript.


R. C. Sproul, Can I Trust the Bible?, vol. 2, The Crucial Questions Series (Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2009), 31–35.

THE CHICAGO STATEMENT ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY

A SHORT STATEMENT

  1.      God, who is Himself truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.
  2.      Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.
  3.      The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
  4.      Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.
  5.      The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the church.


ARTICLES OF AFFIRMATION AND DENIAL

Article I
We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God. We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the church, tradition, or any other human source.

Article II
We affirm that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the church is subordinate to that of Scripture. We deny that church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.

Article III
We affirm that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God. We deny that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.

Article IV
We affirm that God who made mankind in His image has used language as a means of revelation. We deny that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation. We further deny that the corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God’s work of inspiration.

Article V
We affirm that God’s revelation within the Holy Scriptures was progressive. We deny that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it. We further deny that any normative revelation has been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.

Article VI
We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration. We deny that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.

Article VII
We affirm that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us. We deny that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.

Article VIII
We affirm that God in His work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared. We deny that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.

Article IX
We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the biblical authors were moved to speak and write. We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God’s Word.

Article X
We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original. We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

Article XI
We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses. We deny that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.

Article XII
We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. We deny that biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Article XIII
We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture. We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

Article XIV
We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture. We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.

Article XV
We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy is grounded in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration. We deny that Jesus’ teaching about Scripture may be dismissed by appeals to accommodation or to any natural limitation of His humanity.

Article XVI
We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the church’s faith throughout its history. We deny that inerrancy is a doctrine invented by scholastic Protestantism, or is a reactionary position postulated in response to negative higher criticism.

Article XVII
We affirm that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures, assuring believers of the truthfulness of God’s written Word. We deny that this witness of the Holy Spirit operates in isolation from or against Scripture.

Article XVIII
We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.

Article XIX
We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ. We deny that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the church.


R. C. Sproul, Can I Trust the Bible?, vol. 2, The Crucial Questions Series (Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2009), xv–xxi.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

B-P Church = Bible-Pharisee Church ??????????????

"Pharisee" is derived from Ancient Greek Pharisaios (Φαρισαῖος),[7] from Aramaic Pərīšā (פְּרִישָׁא), plural Pərīšayyā (פְּרִישַׁיָּא), meaning "set apart, separated", related to Hebrew pārûš (פָּרוּשׁ), plural pĕrûšîm (פְּרוּשִׁים), the Qal passive participle of the verb pāraš (פָּרַשׁ)

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharisees

 B-P Church is


Bible-Pharisee Church ???, or ???

Bible-Press Church....???



Contact in Singapore

 Pastor:
 
Rev. Tan Eng Boo : 02-9784-2761 (Hp)
email: revteb@rocketmail.com
 
 
Elder:
 
Seah Soon Huat
: 02-9835-2178 (Hp)
email: seahiren@singnet.com.sg

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Did the NIV Delete 64,575 Words?

by Christopher D. Hudson
I rarely get involved in debates on Bible translation. In fact, I don’t weigh in a lot of debates, as I believe my mission is to challenge people to simply read, engage, and apply the Bible.
As long as people are reading God’s Word, I’m not concerned about varying opinions on Bible translations, worship styles, church denominations, etc. I’m happy knowing we share a faith in Christ Jesus first and foremost, and I hope to walk with my brothers and sisters as we take one more step in the journey with Jesus.
However, I feel I must speak up when trust in God’s Word is in danger of becoming weakened due to someone’s attacks on certain translations of the Bible. A person who solely promotes the KJV (King James Version) and believes that any modern translation is evil undermines the faith of people who choose to read and study God’s Word in a translation other than the KJV.

As personal background, my degree is in ancient languages (New Testament Greek). I have a love for many Bible translations, as they have been helpful to many people (myself included) in their walk with Christ. I enjoy reading regularly from the KJV, NIV, ESV,  NLT and others. 

MY LOVE FOR THE KJV

I absolutely love the King James Version (KJV). In fact, I serve as the editor of a KJV Study Bible. God has used the KJV mightily over the centuries, but it is only a translation of the original Hebrew and Greek Bible.

Ultimately, I firmly believe that God’s Word is infallible. But I don’t want to confuse God’s Word (in the original Greek and Hebrew texts) with human fallible translation efforts. God’s Word is infallible. The NIV is fallible. So is the ESV. So is every translation—even my beloved KJV.
There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that God gave special blessing to Martin Luther’s translation, John Wycliffe’s translation, or to King James’s translation.

I don’t say that to undermine the Bible at all. God is perfect, and the gospel is perfect. His Word is infallible. One of the benefits of having so many translations is that we can do our best to understand the text as it was originally written thousands of years ago.

ZONDERVAN/HARPERCOLLINS

Some who attack the NIV in favor of the KJV openly denounce those who publish and back the NIV. In full disclosure, I am personal friends with the editors at Zondervan who publish the NIV Bible. We e-mail and talk on the phone often. I can assure you they are faith-driven, humble, Jesus-following people. They are actively involved in conservative churches and ministry. I’ve known some of their staff for nearly twenty years; we have challenged each other in our faith and walk with Christ. I have no doubt of their Christian commitment or their passion for preserving God’s Word.

Zondervan is owned by HarperCollins, and HarperCollins is owned by News Corp. As public corporations (headed by Rupert Murdoch), these companies are not “Christian” companies. However, the leaders of the organizations have wisely realized that they will make more money if they allow Zondervan to fulfill its faith-driven, Jesus-centered mission. They know that Christians trust Zondervan, and they’ve intentionally allowed the company to remain staffed with deeply committed, faith-driven, Jesus-centered people. In fact, the head of Zondervan’s Bible publishing efforts has served as a long-term pastor. He and I spoke this week on the phone about our mutual love for Jesus, Christ's teaching, and the truth about the gospel.

Christians have no grounds for criticizing the NIV based on its publishers. Even though the parent company, News Corp, is a secular corporation looking to turn a profit, it doesn’t interfere with the Christian editors who are preserving God’s Word at Zondervan. I believe that God has blessed Zondervan’s efforts so that they are among the most profitable divisions of HarperCollins.

HAS THE NIV REMOVED 64,575 WORDS FROM THE BIBLE?

An accusation has been made that the translators of the NIV removed a remarkably large number of words from the text of the NIV. This may be one of the most ill-informed and unfounded arguments against the NIV I’ve ever heard. I’m guessing the person who made this accusation looked at overall word count of the KJV and the NIV and saw a difference. Or maybe they counted all the “thees” and “thous” that the NIV doesn’t include? Actually, I can’t figure out how they would have come up with that number.

So, did the NIV translators remove words that are in the KJV? Yes. Their goal was to translate the original intent of the biblical writers in fewer words. Did they undermine or take away from the biblical meaning in doing so? No. (Translating between languages is always dynamic and never just word for word. The best translator in any setting can communicate the literal meaning with fewer words.)

Some people have criticized the NIV due to the removal of the term “Holy Ghost.” That’s just silly. NIV translators used “Holy Spirit,” which is essentially the same term. Personally, I believe that “Holy Spirit” is probably a better translation and more accurate for a modern-day reader. (Is it better to tell children that God is a Ghost or that God is a Spirit?) Anyone who uses this change in wording as an argument against the NIV shows they are trying to be inflammatory and not being intellectually honest.

DOES THE NIV USE A STRANGE BIBLE TRANSLATION MODEL?

Not at all. The NIV gets attacked a lot because it is the most popular translation. However, very similar translation philosophies are followed by translators of the ESV and the NLT. If you throw out the NIV, you need to throw out virtually all modern translations that follow similar translation philosophies.

HAS THE NIV REMOVED VERSES FROM THE BIBLE?

Another factor in the debate on Bible translation is the Hebrew and Greek texts these translations came from. I believe that the Greek and Hebrew texts used by modern scholars for recent translations (NIV, NLT, ESV, etc.) are more accurate.

The KJV was published in 1611 from a collection of Greek texts, which has become known as the Textus Receptus. The Textus Receptus is an excellent collection of manuscripts, and reading from them (or a Bible translated from them) can properly teach people about God, Jesus, and the gospel. However, there is no Bible verse that says the Textus Receptus is inspired. I believe the only inspired versions are the original copies written by the original authors.

The problem lies in that for over a thousand years, people hand copied the Bible word by word. And while these outstanding scribes were 99.99 percent accurate, occasionally they made a mistake. To me, what is remarkable is how accurate these scribes remained while playing a gigantic game of “telephone” (each copying a previous person’s work).

As language scholarship and archaeology has improved, we have been able to get back to manuscripts that seem to more likely resemble the original autographs written right after the time of Christ. As we’ve gotten closer to the original, we have found that there were a handful of problems in the Textus Receptus. While none of these problems really violate the gospel, they offer subtle changes.

As an example, it appears there are about 45 verses that the New Testament writers did not actually include in their original work. Well-meaning scribes seemed to have added them in over the centuries to help clarify a verse or passage in order to help readers understand.
However, none of those 45 verses change any core belief of the gospel. They are almost all clarifications. My faith is solid in God, Jesus, and the atoning work of salvation even if those 45 verses aren’t there (or if they are, it doesn’t change anything). Modern translations (including the NIV) are often criticized for removing the 45 verses. Actually, they have done a better job of maintaining the original Bible text since it looks like the 45 verses were not in the original. (Also, the 45 verses really haven’t been removed from the NIV at all—each of these verses is still present in every copy of the NIV and can be found in the NIV footnotes.)

BIBLE ACCURACY AND MY FAITH

This area of textual criticism is an area I studied extensively. My faith is in God and the God of the Bible. My hope is in Jesus. If I can’t trust the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, I can’t know that my faith is firm. After much, much study, I came to the conclusion that the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts are very accurate. They accurately record Jesus’ words and teaching. As such, my faith is secure. 
It’s easy to throw rocks, and I’m afraid those who vehemently oppose and attack the NIV (or any other translation) do so in a way that hurts Christians and their faith. Thankfully, Jesus is bigger than our human attempts to win an argument. I pray he’ll continue to be exalted even while some Christians—perhaps well-meaning ones—continue to tarnish the love and gospel of Christ in their efforts to preserve what they believe is the truth.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

FEBC starts another round of fighting

FEBC starts another round of fighting with Life BP Church, calling Life BP Church as liberal.


Not Liberal

Neither are we liberal or modernistic. Liberalism or Modernism says you can be a Christian without believing the Bible, without believing in Jesus Christ. Be warned that liberalism has crept into the Presbyterian Church. One clear example is the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA). In 1924, 1293 Presbyterian ministers in the PCUSA denied the five fundamentals of the Christians Faith: (1) Inerrancy of Scripture, (2) Virgin Birth, (3) Miracles of Christ, (4) Substitutionary Atonement, and (5) Resurrection of Christ. Do you believe the Bible is 100% God’s Word without any mistake and Jesus Christ is the only Saviour? If you do not believe in the five fundamentals of the faith, you should not call yourself a Presbyterian, not even Christian. Without the five fundamentals of the faith, there is no Christianity and no salvation. But today in the PCUSA and in the Presbyterian Church here in Singapore, and even in the Bible-Presbyterian Church, there are those who say the Bible is not 100% perfect. They say the Bible was only perfect in the past when it was first written, but no longer perfect today. They deny that God has preserved His inspired words perfectly. But Psalm 12:6-7 says very clearly, The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt 5:18).