Thursday, November 10, 2005

With Gentleness and Reverence (Part 1)

Or should I say with meekness and fear? Sound like an inconsequential difference? Read 1 Peter 3:15 in the NASB and in the King James Version (or click here to read it in the AV 1611 KJV), and tell me if a way to understand the instruction would be misunderstood or wrong by saying that meekness means gentle or a non-abrasive presentation and fear means to above all show reverence for He whom you are defending.

The way that I understand the bible - these explanations stay true to what the bible says in 1 Peter. Meekness could or should be understood as "enduring injury with patience and without resentment" or by being "not violent or strong." Fear should be understood as "to have a reverential awe of <fear God>."

Now, why do I bring this up?

Last Saturday, I was working on my Sunday School lesson in 1st Peter 3 (it's amazing how God works, huh?) when a pair of men came to my door. They politely introduced themselves as being from a local church and asked for a moment of my time. I invited them to continue the conversation, and they asked me a few questions.

Q: Are you born again?
A: Yes, I am.

Q: When did that happen?
A: I was 5 years old, and I prayed that God would forgive me of my sins. I knew that I was a sinner (even though more complete understanding of that truth has been revealed and will continue to be revealed to me over time), and I asked Jesus to come into my heart (which I understood as Christ was now going to be in control of my life and the leader that I should follow). When I did this, I prayed next to and into a heat vent because I thought that God would hear me better (I could always hear mom and dad better through the vents, so I figured that it should work for prayer too).

Now, the two gentlemen didn't make any comments or ask further questions about my conversion, so I assume (hope) that they understood and accepted that I am saved. I do have to say that whenever I have witnessed to strangers, I don't usually accept a basic conversion story like I gave without furhter information. I ask the person for a profession of faith, of sorts - specifically regarding these issues:

  1. Who is God (Christ, Father, Spirit, Trinitarian understanding)
  2. Understanding of Sin (I do it, God hates it, it's end result is - or should be - my damnation)
  3. The sacrificial atonement of Christ on the cross (the only means by which I - the sinner - am made right with God and avoid His wrath in eternal damnation)
  4. Many other questions would be incorporated as the conversation continues and requires.
So, instead of being questioned further, the men thanked me and handed me 3 tracts. Now, I was curious as to why a Christian would hand me, another Christian brother, tracts on salvation. Now, to be totally fair, only one of the tracts was relating to salvation. The other two were about a specific bible translation. Here is where the "rub" came in our conversation.

Here is the the gentlemen who came to my house believe about the Bible:
  1. The AV 1611 King James Bible to be the perfect and infallible word of God.
  2. The Bible was inspired in its origination and then divinely preserved throughout its various generations and languages until it reached us in its final form.
  3. The AV 1611 preserves the very words of God in the form in which He wished them to be represented in the universal language of these last days: English.
  4. Each word is therefore sacred and as such is, in [their] minds, exempted from the pilferage of presumptuous scholars, whether they be of the Alexandrian variety or of the "conservative," Traditional (Byzantine) type."*
To summarize this position - they believe that the 1611 KJV is the only actual Bible, all others are heretical. I asked one of the gentlemen if the other versions (NIV, NASB, NKJV, etc) were heretical, and he answered, "Yes!"

My position is that the original writings of Peter, Paul, John, Moses, etc are inspired, and the bibles that we have are considered divinely inspired scripture insofar as much as they correctly and exactly communicate the original writings. The way that we can come to know what the original writings were (since no original copies have been found or still exist) is to study the copies that were made. There is a fairly complex process involved when figuring out what the originals said that I do not have the time to go into.

Obviously, being told that the Bible that I read, study, and teach from is heretical, is enough to get a reaction from me. In my next post, I will get to the heart of this whole ordeal, and show what I've learned (

*The bullet points were taken from one paragraph of the online doctrinal statement of the church that they attended, and separated into bullet points, by myself, for presentation in this format.

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