Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Print Page Psalms 12:6-7

Psalms 12:6-7  The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  7  Thou shalt keep them, O LORD , thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
These verses are a wonderful promise from God that he will preserve his Word, which we know as the Bible, forever. The problem is that many are trying to change this promise into something else. They say it is talking about the poor in verse 5 instead of the words in verse 6. For example in One Bible Only by Roy Beachman and Kevin Bauder they state (emphasis mine):
The pronoun them in verse 7 ("thou shalt keep them") cannot refer to the "words" of verse 7 for grammatical reasons.
They go on to say it refers to the poor instead. The reasoning is that words is feminine and poor is masculine. The word for "them" is masculine so that must be talking about poor according to them. They are not the only ones that make this claim. The ESV Study Bible says:
It seems best to take them as the poor and needy
In the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary Journal William Combs made a similar arugument as Beachman and Bauder did. This shouldn't be surprising since they run in the same circles. Dr. Thomas Strouse came back with an excellent critique of Combs article.
“Combs assures the reader that the original words are pure and inerrant words, but does not know how purely they are preserved (p. 15). Of course the retort is that if the pure originals are not preserved purely, then how can they be preserved at all. Is one to understand that God has promised to preserve His pure originals impurely? Combs does concede that these verses ‘might be a general promise of preservation.’ Next, Combs argues that the grammar of vv. 6-7 is against the word preservation interpretation. Instead, the gender differences between the masculine plural pronominal suffix ‘them’ and its antecedent feminine plural ‘words’ forces one to look for another antecedent which is masculine plural (i.e., ‘poor’ and ‘needy’ in v. 5).
“However two important grammatical points overturn his argument. First, the rule of proximity requires ‘words’ to be the natural, contextual antecedent for ‘them.’ Second, it is not uncommon, especially in the Psalter, for feminine plural noun synonyms for the ‘words’ of the Lord to be the antecedent for masculine plural pronouns/pronominal suffixes, which seem to ‘masculinize’ the verbal extension of the patriarchal God of the Old Testament. Several examples of this supposed gender difficulty occur in Psm. 119. In verse 111, the feminine plural ‘testimonies’ is the antecedent for the masculine plural pronoun ‘they.’ Again, in three passages the feminine plural synonyms for ‘words’ have masculine plural pronominal suffixes (vv. 129, 152, 167). These examples include Psm. 119:152 (‘Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou has founded them for ever’), which Combs affirms to be ‘a fairly direct promise of preservation’ of the written form of the Torah (p. 18). As the KJV/TR bibliologists have argued all along, both the context and the grammar (proximity rule and accepted gender discordance) of Psm. 12:6-7 demand the teaching of the preservation of the Lord’s pure words for every generation.
“Next, Combs quotes the NIV rendering ‘you will keep us safe and protect us…’ to argue for the preservation of saints interpretation. However, the NIV’s translation of ‘us’ for ‘them’ is based on inferior Hebrew texts influenced by Greek. Furthermore, the context of the whole Psalm argues forcefully for the preservation of the words of God which are the antidote for the words of men in every generation.
“Combs and his ilk do not have a convincing grammatical, biblical or theological argument for the ‘preservation of saints’ interpretation in Psm. 12:6-7. The proper, contextual exegesis of this passage teaches that the Lord has preserved the pure originals intact for every generation” (Dr. Thomas Strouse, “Article Review,” April 2001).
As you can see it is not uncommon in the Old Testament for a masculine pronoun to point to a feminine word. In fact it happens 4 times alone in Psalms 119 when "they" points to "testimonies"! So the people that say "them" in Psalms 12:7 cannot be referring to "words" in Psalms 12:6 are either ignorant of Hebrew or are lying. One can also look at Hebrew grammar from a 100 years ago and also see that that "they" refers to "words" and not the "poor".
Those who interpret Psalm 12:7 as referring to people and not the Word of God say that since the pronominal suffix “keep them” in verse 7a is in the masculine gender (plural) and “the words of the LORD” in verse 6 is in the feminine gender (plural), “them” must refer to “people.” In order for it to refer to God’s Word the pronominal suffix must also be in the feminine gender like the substantive. This is a faulty reasoning based upon a wrong assumption. As Gesenius, a classic Hebrew grammarian teaches, “Through a weakening in the distinction of gender, which is noticeable elsewhere. And which probably passed from the colloquial language into that of literature, masculine suffixes (especially in the plural) are not infrequently used to refer to feminine substantives.” [Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, edited and enlarged by E. Kitsch, second edition by A. E. Cowley, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910, 2nd edition), page 440, Section O].
Also, unlike the ESV Study Bible. John Wesley got it right when he said this about Psalms 12:6-7:
Thou shalt keep them - Thy words or promises: these thou wilt observe and keep, both now, and from this generation for ever.
Some Bible versions (NIV, NRSV, Holman and Message) have tried the win the argument by just translating Psalm 12:7 to say "us" instead of "them". Even though the Hebrew for "they" is third person they ignore that and instead use the corrupt Greek and Latin Old Testament.

In conclusion we can see that Psalms 12:6-7 is God's promise to preserve his Bible for all generations. We can know this because of the proximity of "they" to "words". Also, if we look at the entire chapter of Psalms 12 we can see the subject is God's words versus the words of the wicked. Finally, it is totally legitimate for a masculine pronoun to refer to a feminine word as seen several times in Psalms 119 and other places in the Old Testament.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Print Page Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner

Hate the sin, love the sinner is a common phrase. This phrase is commonly used when discussing homosexuality. Is the phrase biblical? Let us take a look at the Bible and find out

Hate the sin. God hates sin. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists 7 sins that God hates. God hates a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. We also know that homosexuality is an abomination to God when we read Leviticus 20:13. We are told to hate what God hates (Romans 12:9, Revelation 2:6). So we know the first part is clearly biblical.

Love the sinner. First of all we are ALL sinners.  Romans 3:23 says all have sinned. 1 John 1:10 says if we say we have not sinned that we make God a liar. Romans 3:13 says that no one does good.If we didn't love sinners we wouldn't love anyone. The Bible tells us we are to even love our enemies and those that curse and hate us (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27, Luke 6:35). So we can see this second part is also true.

So now that we can rest assure that "hate the sin, love the sinner" is biblical we need to make sure it is properly applied. It doesn't mean that we don't tell people what they are doing is a sin. If you love a person you will want to lead a person out of their sin. This is not done by being their friend but by first of all making sure they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Until that is the case there is no point in trying to get them out of their sins. Human effort can not free a man from sin, only Jesus can do that (2 Corinthians 5:17). If we try to make a gay person straight yet leave them dead in their sin and on their way to hell we have not done good. That is not to say that we shouldn't legislate morality. Cultures all around the world legislate morality. Making murder, rape and theft illegal is legislating morality. Romans 13:3-4 tells us government is God's way to execute wrath on those that do evil.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Print Page Billy Graham

Many Christians, including Baptists, are quick to give praise to well known leaders that fly the Christian banner. There is a yoking with leaders that should instead be reproofed for the open anti Biblical actions that they practice.There is often little to no discernment by Christians and churches. Christians and churches cannot be spiritual healthy when yoked with those with unsound doctrine (2 John 10-11). Time and time again the Bible warns us of false teachers within Christian churches (Jude 3, 1 John 4:1). In this post I will show that we should not praise Billy Graham or yoke with his ministry. God may have used to him bring others to Christ but that doesn't give us a free pass when it comes to testing the doctrine of others.

Graham's Yoke with Rome

For many decades Graham has yoked with the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church has a different salvation message than that of the Bible and it also promotes countless of other false doctrines. As early at 1957 Graham was directing new believers to the arms of the Roman Catholic Church. In September 21, 1957 in an interview with the San Francisco News Graham stated:
"Anyone who makes a decision at our meetings is seen later and referred to a local clergyman, Protestant, Catholic or Jewish." 
A decade later Graham received an honorary degree from Belmont Abbey College which is a Roman Catholic school. In 1980 Graham was prasing the doctrines of the pope. He stated in the Saturday Evening Post: 
"Pope John Paul II has emerged as the greatest religious leader of the modern world, and one of the greatest moral and spiritual leaders of the century".
In 1984 Graham's organization still didn't change their ways. They still were sending new believers into the arms of Catholic Church. In the Vancouver British Columbia crusade the vice-chairman of the organizing committee stated:
"If Catholics step forward there will be no attempt to convert them and their names will be given to the Catholic church nearest their homes".
Just to show you how many young Christians where being steered in the wrong direction one just needs to look at the 1987 Denver crusade. Over 500 individuals were referred to St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church. In 1996 119 Catholic parishes participated in Graham's Minneapolis, Minnesota crusade. Graham's view couldn't be more clear when in 1997 in his autobiography Just As I Am Graham states:

"We were concerned to let the Catholic bishops see that my goal was not to get people to leave their church;"

"My goal, I always made clear, was not to preach against Catholic beliefs or to proselytize people who were already committed to Christ within the Catholic Church."

Graham's Total Lack of Discernment and Sound Doctrine

One has to wonder how Graham, a man who preached very often and read the Bible, could show so little discernment. Here are just a few examples. Just read the transcript from the January 1997 Larry King Live transcript. It speaks for itself.

KING: What do you think of the other [churches] ... like Mormonism? Catholicism? Other faiths within the Christian concept?

GRAHAM: Oh, I think I have a wonderful fellowship with all of them.

KING: You’re comfortable with Salt Lake City. You’re comfortable with the Vatican?

GRAHAM: I am very comfortable with the Vatican. I have been to see the Pope several times. In fact, the night — the day that he was inaugurated, made Pope, I was preaching in his cathedral in Krakow. I was his guest ... [and] when he was over here ... in Columbia, South Carolina ... he invited me on the platform to speak with him. I would give one talk, and he would give the other ... but I was two-thirds of the way to China...

KING: You like this Pope?

GRAHAM: I like him very much. ... He and I agree on almost everything.

Here is another interview from April 2, 2005 on the Larry King Live show where Graham talks about the pope.

KING: “There is no question in your mind that he is with God now?” 
GRAHAM: “Oh, no. There may be a question about my own, but I don't think Cardinal Wojtyla, or the Pope -- I think he’s with the Lord, because he believed. He believed in the cross. That was his focus throughout his ministry, the cross, no matter if you were talking to him from personal issue or an ethical problem, he felt that there was the answer to all of our problems, the cross and the resurrection. And he was a strong believer.”

Billy Graham shows us he didn't have a stable doctrine when he told David Frost in a May 30, 1997 interview:
“I feel I belong to all the churches. I’m equally at home in an Anglican or Baptist or a Brethren Assembly or a Roman Catholic Church.
Graham shows how broad his scope of salvation reaches in an interview with the heretic Robert Schuller in May of 1997.
SCHULLER: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity? 
GRAHAM: Well, Christianity and being a true believer--you know, I think there's the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ. And I don't think that we're going to see a great sweeping revival, that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God's purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name.
And that's what God is doing today, He's calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven. 
GRAHAM: Yes, it is, because I believe that. I've met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN A BIBLE OR HEARD ABOUT A BIBLE, AND NEVER HEARD OF JESUS, BUT THEY'VE BELIEVED IN THEIR HEARTS THAT THERE WAS A GOD, and they've tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.  
SCHULLER: [trips over his tongue for a moment, his face beaming, then says] I I'm so thrilled to hear you say this. There's a wideness in God's mercy.  
GRAHAM: There is. There definitely is.
Finally Graham shouldn't be called a Baptist because of his views on Baptism. Read this 1961 interview with the Lutheran Standard.
“I have some difficulty in accepting the indiscriminate baptism of infants without a careful regard as to whether the parents have any intention of fulfilling the promise they make. But I do believe that something happens at the baptism of an infant, particularly if the parents are Christians and teach their children Christian Truths from childhood. We cannot fully understand the miracles of God, I believe that a miracle can happen in these children so that they are regenerated, that is, made Christian, through infant baptism. If you want to call that baptismal regeneration, that’s all right with me” (Graham, interview with Wilfred Bockelman, associate editor of the Lutheran Standard, American Lutheran Church, Lutheran Standard, October 10, 1961).

For more information I recommended the free short book Billy Graham's Sad Disobedience by David Cloud.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Print Page Babel - Genesis 11:1-9

God created the world in 4004 BC. Man became wicked and in 2349-2348 BC God wiped out the entire planet with a global flood. The only ones saved were Noah, his family and the animals in the ark and sea. In 2242 BC, 106 years after the flood, people were still speaking the same language. They were journeying to the east and came to the plains of Shinar (modern day Iraq) where they decided to dwell. With Nimrod, the great grandson of Noah, in charge (Genesis 10:8-10) they decided to use bricks to make a city and a tower. The tower would reach to heaven. Because of this God decided to give them different languages and have them scattered around the Earth (Genesis 11:9).

There are many things to be learned by the historical account of Babel. First of all it is never a good idea to disobey God. After the flood God told them to populate the Earth (Genesis 9:7) which meant to spread out and not gather in one tiny area of the planet. Because they disobeyed, God intervened and made sure what he commanded took place. It makes you wonder what Noah was thinking since he was still alive and didn't die until 1996 BC. Also, this tells us the source of the root languages in human history.