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Posts Tagged ‘King James’

by Rocky Glenn

Being born with an evangelist for a father and a mother who not only taught more of my Sunday school and vacation Bible school classes than I can remember, but also traveled with dad as part of a southern gospel group, it’s no surprise most memories of early childhood involve some sort of church activity or function.  From carrying cardboard sheep clothed in a robe in the annual Christmas play to sitting front row during the Saturday night singings, from helping to print the church bulletins at home in our basement to laying out the stencils on the plywood as dad painted the revival sign, from singing in the kid’s choir to eating flower shortbread cookies with holes in the center while drinking from little plastic jugs filled with grape flavored drink, childhood for me was church.  Of all those memories, one of my favorite memories is the excitement of dad receiving a new set of gospel tracts in the mail and knowing I got to help sort and stamp them.

If you’re unfamiliar, a gospel tract is simply a pamphlet or brochure containing a scripture or religious message.  Most tracts are typically small, pocket-sized and can easily be distributed by hand, left on a gas pump, under a car’s windshield wiper, on the restaurant table, or behind the faucet in a public restroom.  Not only do I remember the joy of sorting and stamping them with dad, I was thrilled when dad would slide one out of his shirt pocket and let me be the one to leave it behind.  Dad had various rubber stamps we would use with his red ink pad to stamp either our home address and phone number or the church’s name, address, and phone number on the chance someone might find the printed invitation to Christ and need to contact someone to pray or ask questions.  In my early twenties, I carried the practice of distributing tracts with me on my second of three business trips to Las Vegas after learning on the previous trip of the advertising materials distributed on the street which, to put it mildly and nicely, were certainly not about spreading the gospel of Jesus.

As a boy, when dad’s new shipments of tracts would arrive, I would hound him night after night until he finally said it was time to sort out the bad and stamp the good.  It was dad’s job to sort them and my job to stamp them.  At times there were more good than bad and other times more bad than good.  As I got older, dad started explaining to me the determining factor on the good and bad tracts and I got to assist with the sorting prior to stamping . . . but only once or twice . . . and then we stopped sorting altogether and simply started stamping all of them.  When it came to sorting the tracts, it wasn’t about color, it wasn’t about size, it wasn’t about print, and there was no scientific method involved.  Sorting the tracts came to down three little letters . . . K – J – V.  The good tracts were those with scripture references from the authorized 1611 King James Version of the Bible.  The bad tracts were those which referenced any version other than KJV.  As dad started to teach me how to sort the tracts and was faced with my questions of why we couldn’t use the “bad” tracts, he found himself questioning if there was anything really bad about them at all.  If they pointed someone to Christ, could they really be considered bad?  As the revelation began to set in, we stopped sorting the tracts and simply stamped them all to prepare for distribution.

Jesus faced a similar situation with his disciples in the town of Capernaum.  John approached Jesus explaining they had encountered a man that did not belong to their group or follow them casting out devils in the name of Jesus.  What’s not certain in either narrative listed in the gospel of Mark or Luke is John’s intentions in making such a report. Was he complaining or was he boasting?  We cannot be certain, but I would suspect it was hint of both.  He was upset with the idea of others using Jesus’s name yet commending himself to the master for taking efforts to stop the man.  Whatever his intention, Christ’s response is certainly not what he expected, “Don’t stop him. He that is not against me is for me.”  The beauty of such a statement is reinforced just immediately before John had even approached Jesus.  In the moments prior, he took a child in his arms and said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this welcomes me.”  There is no mention of Jesus correcting the child for the manner in which he approached him.  It simply says he took him in his arms.  While Jesus was seeking to make all welcome, John was seeking to sort out the bad.

The life of a churchboy is a life of sorting out the bad.  It’s a life of living as if your way to Jesus is the only way.  It’s a life not realizing anything – whether it may be something we prefer, like, or even agree with –  which points to Christ and not away from him is a good thing.  It’s a life of choosing to be right over choosing to be welcoming.  It’s a life lived seeing things through a glass dimly.

Just as Christ extended his arms to welcome the child, it’s time we extend our arms to make all welcome.  It’s time we stop seeking to sort out the bad.

Rocky

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If you are like my wife and me, you can remember from your first day in church being taught that the Bible was God’s holy word. The Bible was perfect and without mistake or any contradictions.

We felt the Bible was personally written by the hand of God through chosen men, and all the answers were contained therein. I truthfully think a lot of us Christian people have come to see the Bible as the fourth member of the God-head.

In fact, to even question if the Bible is inerrant was sacrilegious. It was like the familiar quote in the court system when being sworn in, do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We have come to believe the Bible is the truth, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible. Everything is contained within the written word, and God can do nothing outside of the written word.

Swear-In

Of course that way of thinking really limits the Holy Spirit, who lives within us and is our teacher and guide. If the Spirit teaches us something or shows us something, we immediately want to look it up in the Bible, and if we cannot find it there, then we think the voice of the Spirit certainly must be wrong.

Also like my wife and me, many of you have come to a point where you began to wonder if this inerrancy of the written word of God is really the case. I remember reading a section in one of my Bibles between the Old and New Testament that was about how we got our Bible. I remember thinking about how certain books were chosen, by men, as divinely inspired and others were not, which books to put into what we call the Bible and which books to leave out. It sure made me think about how this can be a perfect, inerrant group of writings. Of course at that time, I quickly dismissed my questions and moved on, lest I made God mad at me for questioning his perfect book. Or maybe I was more worried about making the pastor and other members mad.

Of course a lot of us were taught that the King James Version of the Bible was the true word of God and any other translation was wrong, and some translations were even an insult to God. My thought on that is how can any translation be considered the true word of God? They are all translations, even the King James. Truthfully, some of the stories I have heard about King James and his instructions on interpreting the manuscripts would make me want to stay away from the King James Version anyway. This is why we depend on the Spirit within us to bring the truth to light and not depend on any particular translation.

When we read John 1:1 and many other verses within the Bible, we come to realize that when we hear that the Word of God is living, perfect, powerful, inerrant and so forth, what is being described is Jesus, not a book.

The Bible was definitely inspired by God, and that inspiration was through men. We all know if mankind has a hand in anything it is going to be flawed. Being inspired to write does not mean you write word for word through dictation. I can be inspired to write a book about a topic, but it is still going to be me writing, and have my thoughts, feelings, and flare to it.

Just because the written word of God is not perfect, that does not negate anything about God. I always heard people say that if the Bible has errors in it or contradicts itself, then the whole idea of God must not be true either. I really do not understand that logic, especially since we know that Jesus is the Word of God. The written word, when viewed through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. The verse in 2 Timothy 3:16 does not say the written word is perfect.

In fact, when Christ walked on the earth, and the early days of Christianity, there was not even a written word like what we call the Bible available to the believers. There was the Word of God though, because Jesus has always been around.

My wife and I believe the Bible to be very valuable for learning and a means of hearing from God. We also believe the Holy Spirit within us and His still, small voice is even more valuable. We believe godly friends and wise people of God can be a help and guidance to us as the Holy Spirit speaks through them.

Jesus word of GodSo many of us want to fight and defend the written word we call the Bible. We divide ourselves into groups and denominations, we separate ourselves from the world, we fight, condemn and alienate ourselves over the written word because we think it is the inerrant words and ways of God, yet the true Word of God, Jesus, is standing right in front of us and we miss Him. Just like when Jesus was talking with the Jews and said in John 5:39 and 40 … ‘You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life’.

We see that life is in Christ. Jesus is not telling them to come to the Bible or accept the Bible, but to come to Him. Jesus is the true, powerful, inerrant, living Word of God. Read your Bible, let the Holy Spirit bring life to the words, learn and be encouraged from them, but realize the written word is not perfect. Look to the living, perfect Word who is Jesus, and listen for His voice through the Spirit.

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