THE QUARTERLY MISSIONS JOURNAL OF FIRSTBIBLE INTERNATIONAL
IN THIS ISSUE: • The Reformation in Light of Baptist History • Bibles 4 Muslims • Pastor’s Conference in South India
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It is necessary to give some space in this issue for the technical side of Bible translation which will help to bolster our faith in the Word of God.
In Light of Baptist History
A follow-up to our last issue on the subject of the Reformers. This article by James Alter sheds light on the Reformation in relation to Baptist history.
Announcing a special fundraising effort for churches to help supply the Scriptures for one of the most neglected groups of the world - the Muslims.
a short history
THE LIVING WORD
Short sketches on various Bible translations starting with Wycliffe in 1380 and leading up to the King James Version of 1611.
Dr. Charles Turner makes the case that Jesus becoming the Living Word and the Bible being the inspired written Word are both miracles of divine power.
Ken Fielder reports on the successful Pastor’s Conference held in Coimbatore, India, and the progress of FirstBible’s partnership with South India Baptist Bible College.
of the English Bible
And the Written Word
Unpublished WORD EDITOR: Dr. Charles Keen ASSISTANT EDITOR: Ken Fielder CIRCULATION/ADVERTISING: Jerry Rockwell GRAPHIC DESIGN: Steeple Press Publications, Jody Powers, Murfreesboro, TN PRODUCTION/PRINTING: Clark’s Printing Co., Ventura, CA
in South India
Some of the authors and their material featured in UW Journal are not necessarily in agreement with the theological position of the UW Journal. Their writings are included because of their insight into the particular subject matter published in the UW Journal. The Unpublished WORD Journal is a quarterly publication of FirstBible International. All correspondence should be sent to the editorial officers at: FirstBible International, 3148 Franklin Road, Murfreesboro, TN 37128 (615) 796-0043 ∙ email@example.com ∙ www.firstbible.net
FirstBible International is a ministry of Franklin Road Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Dr. Mike Norris, Pastor Unpublished WORD [
E D ITORIA L This editorial of the Unpublished WORD Journal will make you aware of three news items to which I trust you will give special attention. FIRST, the space and material given to the translation issue, though some of this material is technical, is information of which we fundamentalists need to be in possession. I believe the day has come when we need to be conversant and not just contentious. Though the Bible issue is ultimately a faith issue, there is historical, grammatical and scholarship information that will strengthen our faith. If we did not have these areas of study, the fact would remain that God preserved His Word. But we do have them and they can be aids in presenting the subject. (Paul brought into his theological positions the works of heathen poets. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said...” [Acts 17:28]. “Even a prophet of their own, said...” [Titus 1:12].) Scholars do not create our Biblical position of preservation, inspiration, etc., nor are they the last word on it. But they can support it. SECOND, we are announcing the establishment of Bibles 4 Muslims Sunday. The goal is to zero in on that part of God’s world and send whole Bibles. There is openness, and in many places there are couriers in place and either Scriptures ready to print or in translation process. There is more information coming and we have developed several good tools to assist you in partnering with us in this huge project. We would like to ask you to participate one Sunday in October, November or December. THIRD, we are including a special article on the Reformers and Baptist Church History written by Rev. James Alter. I have asked him to do this because of some confusion caused by the last issue of the UWJ. Our goal was not to be hemispheric in our treatment of the Reformation, but to show their effects on the translation issue. I said on page 8, “Some of the men honored as reformers were friendly to our spiritual fathers, the Anabaptist. We do not believe we (the Baptists) are the outgrowth of the Reformation. Neither does FBI believe in apostolic succession, but we do believe in doctrinal succession.” Some felt that was insufficient to clarify our position. In an effort to be “fair and balanced” we have asked Brother Alter, who is well informed in Baptist Church History as well as FirstBible International’s position, to address the subject from Baptist history. Please be sure to read this article.
Dr. Charles Keen Minister of Munitions Director of FirstBible International
] Unpublished WORD
Classifieds Interested in Serving the Lord with FirstBible?
Professional Printers Needed Sheet-fed or Roll-fed press operators needed to train nationals in Mongolia or India. Must raise own support. Time commitments from one to six months. India Representative Needed Representative needed to raise funds and awareness for FirstBible work in India. Must raise own support. Training available. Mongolia Representative Needed
Matching Funds Challenge Met! In late 2008 a Christian businessman gave $75,000.00 Matching Funds Challenge to FirstBible. An appeal was made through this Journal and through letters sent out to many churches asking for their participation in this wonderful opportunity to give a gift that would have double-impact. Due to the overwhelming response, we are pleased to announce that we have to date received just under $78,000.00 in funds and commitments. We are grateful that so many churches and individuals have chosen to partner with us in reaching the unreached people of our world. The Lord is doing great things through FirstBible International in Mongolia, India and in several closed Muslim countries. Please pray that the impact of these funds will result in many people hearing the gospel and bring much glory to God.
Matching Gift Donation
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Representative needed to raise funds and awareness for FirstBible work in Mexico. Must raise own support. Training available.
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Please send rĂŠsumĂŠs by mail to: FirstBible International Attn. Ken Fielder 3148 Franklin Road Murfreesboro, TN 37128 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org For questions, you may call the office at 615.796.0043.
Unpublished WORD [
IN LIGHT Of Baptist History
by James Alter
ow should Baptists view the Reformation? The simple answer is—Biblically.1 Our heavenly Father has promised to give us biblical sight. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psalms 32:8). We follow this guidance as the Holy Spirit of God guides us into all truth.2 This truth is found in only one place, the changeless Word of God. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” ( John 17:17). Abraham Booth (17341806), long time pastor of the Prescott Street Baptist Church, verbalized the heart of the Baptist: This divine book, this heavenly volume, I accept with humility and gratitude from the hand of my adored Creator, as a gift of inestimable value; and, considering it as the grand charter of my eternal salvation, I cannot but esteem it as my indispensable duty implicitly to submit to its sacred dictates, in every affair of religious concernment.3 For the Bible-believer, any subject, approached and viewed through biblical lenses, becomes clearer. Emotion is removed from the decision making process. Un-biblical thought processes4 are cast down, unscriptural allegiances5 are renounced, and heretical endorsements,6 (intentional or unintentional) are confessed as sin, repented of and forsaken. We must remember that the Reformers remained Catholic in many key areas such as infant baptism, unregenerate church membership, denial of individual soul liberty, the marriage of church and state, and denied the autonomy of the local church etc. The key problem with the Reformation becomes clear when we simply apply Scripture to our examination. The Catholic “Church” did not need to be reformed, it needed to be rejected! “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself ” (Titus 3:10-11). Baptists are not Protestants. If Baptists are Protestants, Christ had no ecclesiastical expression or genuine gospel witness for 1300 years. If Baptists are Protestants, then the church, God’s chosen vehicle of expression in this age, traces its heritage through an institution that systematically killed millions of people who disagreed with its heresies. If Baptists are Protestants, then the Donatists, Waldensians, Albigenses, Paulicians, Cathari and others were simply heretics. If this is the case, we may in good conscience, discard distinctives such as a born-again church membership, autonomy of the local church, individual soul liberty, believer’s baptism, and our non-sacramental view of the ordinances. If Baptists are Protestants, then let us proudly tear down the walls of ecclesiastical separation and join again our siblings from our mother, the “Holy Catholic Church.” But Baptists are not Protestants. We trace our distinct doctrines all the way back to the early church and the Apostles. “Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:” (Proverbs 23:10). The old landmarks were property markers identifying the boundaries of family lands. In biblical times a man’s reputation, wealth and standing in the community were based on his family’s God-given land. For us as Bible-
] Unpublished WORD
believing Baptists, our landmarks are not man-made institutions or regulations. Our old landmarks are the doctrines of the Word of the living God. When we remove these or diminish the significance of any one of them we enter into the fields of the fatherless, with no heritage to claim, no doctrinal authority on which to stand, and no model of genuine obedience on which to base our ministries—anything goes. One significant difficulty is encountered immediately as one enters into this discussion. Most of us, who were educated in fundamentalist institutions, were taught courses in“Church History” or “The History of Christianity.” Rarely were the textbooks written by Baptists. Rarely were the doctrines discussed in these histories distinctively Baptist. Even more rarely were the individuals discussed, Baptist men. Consequently, we have adopted (at least philosophically), a spiritual family tree from which we were not descended and we are almost completely ignorant of our own true and Christ-honoring heritage. It is interesting to note, from a biblical perspective, that the historians, who wrote the books on the history of Christianity, seemed unaware of the fact that a Christian is one who has placed their faith and trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life. The historians, who wrote on Church history, were not to be bothered with a clear definition of what a church actually is. We end up with the history of “Christians” who were not born-again and the history of an organization that was never a church. It is no wonder there is such confusion! A fundamental error of the Reformers was their understanding of the local New Testament church. Thankfully, in the last ten years or so, this has begun to change. Many of our independent Baptist Colleges are now teaching Baptist History and Distinctives courses. I fear however that we have in some cases simply placed our Baptist History alongside the former “Church History,” as if they are somehow compatible. At this point an inevitable question arises, “Do you believe that God only used Baptists?” No, we do not believe that God has only used Baptists. God can use anyone He chooses to use. God used King Cyrus. “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God
beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:” (Isaiah 45:4-5). So the answer is first, God can use anyone He chooses to use. Second, while He has worked through many of the Reformers, in spite of their error, there exists a group of people which He used before, during and after the Reformation. The Reformers, if they had their way, would have exterminated these Baptist people from the face of the earth. An example of this is Ulrich Zwingli. Hailed as a great reformer and godly man, Zwingli was in actuality a killer and a murderer of the highest order. Does this sound too strong? Consider this: In 1525, Zwingli was tired of the Baptists in Zurich. Balthazar Hubmaier became convinced of Baptist principles and was tortured by Zwingli on the rack, though they had been friends! J. Newton Brown records: Hubmaier published a tract, in which he complains of Zwingli and his followers: - that they had proceeded so far as at one time to throw into a dark and miserable tower, twenty persons, both men and pregnant women, widows and young females, and to pronounce the sentence upon them - that thenceforward they should see neither sun nor moon for the remainder of their lives, and be fed till their days were ended with bread and water. And that they should remain in the dark tower together, both the living and the dead, surrounded with filth and putrefaction, until not a single survivor of the whole remained. He tells us, farther, that some of these persons would refuse to take even a mouthful of bread for three days in succession that the rest might have the more to eat. ‘O God!’ he writes, ‘what a hard, severe, cruel sentence upon pious Christian people, of whom no one could speak evil, only that they had received water baptism in obedience to the command of Christ!’ 7 How then should Baptists view the Reformation? In many cases, the way the Jews would view the Holocaust. It matters not to the martyred whether the martyrer is Catholic or Protestant. One truly sad result of our failure to study Baptist history is the promotion and endorsement of these Baptist-hating, Protestant leaders. We hear often of Latimer and Ridley, Anglican priests who were burned to death by Bloody Mary. But what did Hugh Latimer think of the Baptists and how did continued on page 15 Unpublished WORD [
Launches Bibles 4 Muslims
national program designed to connect local churches with the great need for the Scriptures in the Muslim world has been introduced by FirstBible International. The effort offers churches the opportunity to supply missionaries and local believers with Bibles and New Testaments who then personally distribute them to Muslims who have never had any form of the Scriptures. Dr. Charles Keen, founder, and Dr. Mike Norris, director, state, “Bibles 4 Muslims is the appropriate way we as Christians should respond to terrorism- with the Word of God. It is also the most strategic way for churches to provide Bibles with the guarantee that they will be distributed for the purpose of church planting in Muslim countries.” Many of the Bibles are smuggled into countries and given away at great risk to those engaged in the process. In most cases, it is truly the “first Bible” that the recipient has ever seen or held.
awareness tools provided by FirstBible. However, a church can observe the offering on any Sunday that is best for them. The tools are available at no cost and include a poster, bulletin insert, hand-out brochure, and a coin folder that holds $5.00 worth of quarters. Additional tools are a six-minute video production, PowerPoint presentation, and a Bible study lesson about Muslims and the Bible. Many churches teach the Bible study lesson on a Sunday leading up to the day they will receive their offering.
Bibles 4 Muslims is an event when churches set aside a Sunday to receive a special offering for the Scriptures. For every $5.00 given, a Bible or New Testament is printed and distributed in one of the 48 Muslim countries in our world. Many are Scriptures published, not only in the major languages, but in some of the minor dialects. This makes the program unique in that it is not singlefocused on the major languages for Muslims of Farsi, Urdu and Arabic.
Participants can enroll at the program’s website as well as order awareness tools at: www. bibles4muslims.com or by calling (866) 997-6003. Dr. Mike Norris, pastor of Franklin Road Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which is the home church for FirstBible International states, “Since 9/11, our church has looked for a way to respond to terrorism. Nothing has caught our interest like Bibles 4 Muslims and the chance to respond appropriately to the attacks on our nation. We are excited to be able to not only give the Word of God, but also to do it in such a strategic manner.”
Most churches are observing the event on a Sunday in October or November by using the
] Unpublished WORD
A Short History of
The English Bible “Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell that we may eat the kernel, that putteth aside the curtain that we may look into the most holy place.” – The Translators to the Reader, the Preface to the King James Version, 1611.
John Wycliffe translated the first Anglo Saxon English New Testament in A.D. 1380. At
this time, there were no printing presses. Wycliffe and his associates wrote the first English New Testaments by hand, one copy at a time. The entire Bible in handwritten Anglo Saxon English was completed in 1384. Unfortunately, Wycliffe used the Latin Vulgate as the basis of his translation. He should have used the Greek and Hebrew texts as the basis for his translation. By making a translation of a translation, he repeated many of the errors that were in the Latin Vulgate Version. One of Wycliffe’s associates revised his translation in 1388. This revision greatly improved what had been an excessively literal translation of the Latin Vulgate. This improvement is evident when one compares the earlier version of the Wycliffe Bible with the later version of the Wycliffe Bible.
William Tyndale translated the New Testament from the original Greek text into
English in 1525. For this work, the Romanists put him on trial as a heretic and burned him alive. One can see the strength of Tyndale’s translation because he used language that the people understood well and yet the translation was full of beauty and dignity. Many of Tyndale’s 10] Unpublished WORD
translation phrases and sentences are preserved in the King James Version, which adopted them with very little change of expression. Miles Coverdale translated the Bible into English in 1535 but used Latin and German texts as the basis for his translation. He also included some of the apocryphal books in his translation. He also departed from Tyndale’s translation by bringing back to the English Bible the Church of England ecclesiastical terms that Tyndale had banished from his translation. Coverdale’s translation was the first printed edition of the English Bible. It did not find a lasting place in the hearts of Englishmen.
Matthew’s Bible, published in 1537, was the work of John Rogers. He revised Tyndale’s version of Genesis through Second Chronicles and Coverdale’s translation of the remainder of the Old Testament, including some apocryphal books. This Bible also did not prove to be acceptable over a long period.
The Great Bible, published in 1539, was a revision of Matthew’s Bible. People called
it the Great Bible because it was a very large size. The Great Bible was the first Bible approved by a king of England. He issued a royal decree saying that the clergy should place Bibles in churches so that people could read them. This proved to be an annoyance to preachers because people were so eager to read the Bible, they would often find someone to read it aloud during the preachers’ sermon! The Great Bible stirred so much interest that the clergy had to chain it to a lectern to prevent people stealing it.
The Geneva Bible, published in 1557, was the work of zealous Protestant reformers
such as John Knox, William Whittingham, John Calvin, and Theodore Beza, all of whom resided in Geneva, Switzerland. Most of these men fled England in 1554 because of the English queen known as Bloody Mary. She was a fervent Roman Catholic whose passion was to execute all people who would not submit to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.
Bloody Mary burned at least 274 Protestant pastors at the stake in 1555. To counter Bloody Mary’s rule of terror, the Protestant leaders in Geneva began translating the Bible into English without the restraints of English Kings or Queens. The Geneva Bible was the Bible that gave momentum to the Protestant Reformation. It had many notes that explained the meaning of some verses. Several of the notes strongly criticized the Pope as antichrist and some of the notes denied that kings had a Divine right to absolute rule. The Geneva Bible introduced the division of chapters into numbered verses for the first time. The Puritans, who came to America in 1620, brought the Geneva Bible with them, not the King James Version. The Geneva Bible became the Bible of the English household, in a similar way that the Great Bible was the Bible of the Church of England bishops.
The Bishops’ Bible, published in 1568, was the work of a group of Anglican
Bishops, hence its name. The Bishops’ Bible was not widely accepted by the common people because it had a tendency to use the hierarchical terminology of the Anglican Church. The Bishop’s Bible did not succeed because the Geneva Bible continued to be preferred as the Bible for the reading in the household.
The King James Version, published in 1611, was the work of capable Bible scholars who could read the Greek and Hebrew biblical manuscripts and based their
translation on the Received Hebrew and Greek texts. Because King James was very concerned about the various religious factions that were causing unrest among the English people, he wanted a Bible version that would help to unite the nation and be acceptable to all the factions of the English clergy. The King James Version is a careful revision of earlier Bibles. However, the King James translators retained the old Church of England ecclesiastical terms, which Tyndale had so strongly opposed. The translators preserved the ecclesiastical terms largely because King James and the Anglican Bishops had strictly charged the translators to preserve the ecclesiastical terms of the Bishop’s Bible
Martin White Home with the Lord
t was our privilege to partner with Missionary Martin White in Mongolia. The Lord used Bro. White to plant two churches and turn them over to national leadership. He also started a Bible Institute which continues today.
Bro.White was a great asset in getting a FirstBible ministry established in Mongolia. Under the direction of Mickey Cofer, he supervised the day-to-day operations of the printing ministry. He had a great desire to see a Bible translation project, led by Bill Patterson, started and was instrumental in pulling men together to get them on board. Partly due to his influence, that project is now progressing well. In the fall of 2008, Bro. White answered the call to return to the United States and become the pastor of Calvary Bible Baptist Church of Rochester, New York, where he was saved many years ago. After only three Sundays in the pulpit, Bro. White had a massive stroke on January 1, 2009, from which he never recovered. He went home to be with His Lord on February 18, 2009. He was 53 years old. Please pray for his wife, Beth, their four children and their families in their and our great loss. Unpublished WORD [11
Confessional Statements on the Inspired and Inerrant Scriptures Article Ten of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) “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.”
The London Baptist Confession (1677) “The Old Testament in Hebrew, (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations) being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical.”
The Westminster Confession (1646) “The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar (common) language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.” - The Westminster Confession of Faith. (A.D. 1646)
The Dean Burgon Society (1982) “We believe in the plenary, verbal, Divine inspiration of the sixty-six canonical books of the Old and the New Testaments (from Genesis to Revelation) in the original languages, and in their consequent infallibility and inerrancy in all matters of which they speak (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:21; I Thessalonians 2:13). As the Bible uses it, the term inspiration refers to the writings, not the writers (II Timothy 3:1617); the writers are spoken of as being holy men of God who were moved, carried or borne along by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21) in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally, plenarily, and verbally inspired, free from any error, infallible, and inerrant, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired.
12] Unpublished WORD
The Philadelphia Baptist Confession (1742) “The Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.” The Philadelphia Baptist Association Confession of Faith. (A.D. 1742)
continued on page 23
Dr. Charles Keen is standing beside a 100% reproduction of a working model of the Gutenberg Press located on the campus of Crown College, Powell, Tennessee. The press is one of only five known to exist in the United States.
Come visit a piece of history!
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The Living Word and the Written Word Dr. Charles Turner
“Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel, that putteth aside the curtain; that we may look into the most holy place.” –The Translators to the Reader, the King James Version, 1611
he miraculous inspiration of the Bible is much like the miraculous birth of Jesus. Both are revealed in Scripture as facts for us to believe even if we cannot fully explain them. The Lord Jesus was born because of cooperation between the Holy Spirit and a human being, Mary. Jesus, being God, had already been in existence for all of eternity. She was not the mother of His Deity. She was the mother of His human body. The entire process of the conception, birth, and preservation of Jesus was miraculously superintended by the Holy Spirit. God used human beings to bring the living Word of God into the world. He also used them to protect (preserve) Jesus from being killed by King Herod. Although the Holy Spirit used a human being to bring about the entrance of Jesus into a human body, the whole process was done in such a way that human sin and error was not involved. Jesus was in no way contaminated by the sinful nature of Mary. Matthew was careful to emphasize this when he wrote Matthew 1:20 “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew placed the word Holy last in the New Testament Greek sentence in order to emphasize that the birth of Jesus was in every way a holy birth. Human sin did not in any way defile the Son of God or make Him anything less than the Holy Son of God. Matthew wanted us to know that the birth of Jesus had occurred because of the work of God the Holy Spirit and was therefore holy in every way. In the same manner, “holy men of God spake as they were moved (carried along) by the Holy Ghost”
(2 Peter 1:21). Just as the Holy Spirit superintended the miraculous birth of the living Word of God into the world, so He also superintended the miraculous entrance of the written Word of God into the world. In the same way that the living Word of God was not defiled by human sin, so the written Word of God was not defiled by human error. So the living Word of God was protected at His birth from those who would have destroyed Him, so the written Word of God was protected from those who would have destroyed it. Just as the living Word was conceived, born, and protected by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit who used godly people, so God used holy men who were miraculously controlled by the Holy Spirit to conceive, write and protect the written Word of God. Jesus became the living Word through whom God revealed the truth about Himself to mankind. The Bible, likewise, became the written Word by which God has revealed his final and complete revelation of truth about who He is and what His will is for people. The coming of the living Word into the world, and the inspiration of the written Word are both miracles wrought by the power and infinite wisdom of God. Because the inspiration of the Bible is a miracle performed by God, it is not, therefore, a matter to be totally understood by the human intellect. It must be accepted by reasonable faith. It is impossible to fully explain how the Holy Spirit conceived the Lord Jesus. It is equally impossible to explain how God’s thoughts were transmitted to Unpublished WORD [13
the minds of men, who wrote those thought in the Bible. The same kind of miracle that the Holy Spirit performed in the body of Mary to bring about the birth of the living Word was also used in the minds of the writers of the Bible to bring into being the written Word. Because the inspiration of Scripture is a miracle performed by the power of God, it cannot be totally comprehended by the human intellect. However, some insist that the miracle of biblical inspiration can be totally comprehended by the human intellect. Biblical textual criticism is based on the false presupposition that human beings are smart enough to comprehend the miraculous method that God used in inspiring and preserving the Bible. This results in the humanizing of God and makes miracles impossible.
from God in the Person and words of Jesus to have a reasonable faith that accepts the Bible for what Jesus said it was – God’s Word.
This is the Gnosticism of the First Century dressed up to be respectable intellectualism in the TwentyFirst Century. It makes the judgments made by human beings superior to judgments based on God’s miraculous revelation. God’s revelation should be accepted by reasonable faith. However, the humanist-intellectual does not accept that God’s power and wisdom are superior to his own ability to reason. He begins with the supposition that his own ability to reason is either equal to God’s wisdom or superior to it. He will accept only that which he can “prove” by scientific empiricism. However, he does not stop to realize that there is no such thing as totally proven scientific empiricism.
Implications of Biblical Inspiration for Bible Translators
Bible Inspiration and Textual Criticism It is impossible to be an empiricist of biblical textual criticism simply because one will not live long enough to read every manuscript of the biblical text that exists. Biblical manuscripts number over six thousand and are located in places far apart under conditions controlled by many governments and religious sects. The time it would take to acquire them and compare them to each other would be equal to that of several life times. No one will ever live long enough to do it. Even if one did live long enough, one would still be biased in his research. No one is totally objective and free from biased presuppositions. We should be Bible believers, not Bible know-it-alls. We do not need to know it all, even if that were possible. We have enough revelation 14] Unpublished WORD
Jesus accepted that fact and lived accordingly. No where in Scripture do we see Jesus being a textual critic of the Scriptures. Jesus, in His wisdom, knew that one should believe God’s Word and obey it. If the Son of God, the wisest and holiest God-Man to ever live, took this view of Scripture, I should say, “I do not know the answers to all the doubts about some of the texts of the Bible, but I …agree exactly with what Jesus said two thousand years ago.” This is the only reasonable position for a Bible believing Christian to take.
Because the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, it is, therefore a holy Book. Since holy men of God wrote the inspired Bible, only holy men of God can adequately translate it. Because the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, the person who would translate that Bible should live under the control of the Holy Spirit as in Ephesians 5:18. A person who is unregenerate and therefore does not have Holy Spirit controlling him should not be a Bible translator. Although the Holy Spirit should control the Bible translator, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit will inspire his translation in the same way that He inspired the original writers of Scriptures. His Bible translation will be inspired by the Holy Spirit only in so far as he translates accurately what the Holy Spirit said in the originally written biblical texts. The inspiration of the Bible also implies that the original text of the Bible exists in the Textus Receptus Koine Greek text of the New Testament and the Masoretic Hebrew text of the Old Testament. These manuscripts are the same as the original autographs. Therefore, these two texts should be the standard to follow as one translates the Bible into the languages of the world. The modern, critical texts produced by textual critics are biased, subjective, and based on flawed intellectualism.
Reformation continued from page 7
he view their burning? Here is the answer in Latimer’s own words: The Anabaptists that were burnt here in divers towns in England as I have heard of credible men, I saw them not myself, went to their death, even intrepid, as ye will say, without any fear in the world, cheerfully. Well, let them go (Latimer, Sermons, I. 143).8 When confronted with this information fundamentalists sometimes respond, “Well they did a lot of good things too” and “they were willing to die for their faith.” Let us examine these opinions in the light of Scripture. “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (I Cor. 13:3). What then is the biblical estimation of their work? It was profitless. Bishop Nicholas Ridley presided in the trials of people charged with heresy, condemning many as heretics,9 knowing the result of this condemnation would be that the condemned would have his body tied to a post and burned as chunks of flesh fell into the flame until the “heretic” finally died. Regardless of what else these men did, they have earned our censure, not our admiration or praise.10 Another question is often asked, “Why are we arguing about little doctrinal points, when people are dying and going to hell?” Our answer, we believe that God’s work must be done God’s way, and when practiced, God’s way will ultimately produce more fruit, fruit that remains. God’s way is outlined quite succinctly in the Great Commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:... Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20). The plan of God as outlined in the Great Commission includes: going, teaching all nations, then (and these next two steps are not optional) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, followed by, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever the Lord commanded. Through written revelation we find that the God-ordained institution for the accomplishment of these purposes is the local, New Testament church, which by a simple reading of the Scriptures, will be a Baptist church. As Dr. Roy Thompson has said, “Only a Baptist church can fulfill the Great Commission!” Francis Wayland was an influential Baptist pastor and educator in the nineteenth century. He made a statement that will help to clarify the issue at hand. It is evident that all disciples of Christ must hold essentially
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the same belief respecting the character of God, the obligations and character of man, and the way of salvation through the merits and atonement of the Redeemer. But it is also evident that, holding these truths, men may adopt sentiments at practical variance with them. These sentiments, in the process of time, may encroach upon and undermine the truth, so that it becomes more and more inoperative, until, at last, a church once spiritual and heavenlyminded becomes formal, ritual, and worldly. Wayland clearly understood the dangerous encroachment of error. Many Baptists have, I believe, adopted sentiments that are at practical variance with our foundational beliefs. How does the acceptance of error happen? Here we will describe the road to error as having three lanes. The first lane is the severing of our Baptist people from their magnificent, God honoring heritage. Francis Wayland wrote, I have, on several occasions, alluded to the fact that we have suffered loss, as Baptists, by following the examples of other denominations. It would almost seem to an observer that we were ashamed of our own peculiar sentiments, Unpublished WORD [15 Unpublished WORD [15
and took pleasure in testifying that between us and their sects there were no real points of difference. I think the points of difference are important, and that our whole history is, in the highest degree, honorable to us as a Christian sect. If any sect ‘has occasion to glory, we more.’ If any man among us does not feel a manly pride in the sentiments which have distinguished us, and in the manner in which we have maintained them, there must exist something peculiar either in his head or his heart.11 The second lane corresponds with the first. This lane on the road to the acceptance of error is the endorsement and even reverencing of men who held unbiblical views. The third lane is the failure of good men to teach God’s people Baptist principles, and the failure of Baptist people to study and learn those Baptist principles. These are the distinctive principles which clearly define what a New Testament church is and what it is not. This neglect robs our people of the ability to discern the doctrinal error of those we endorsed in the second lane. Did any of the Reformers hold views at practical variance with the clear teaching of Scripture? Are these the men that we should commend to our young preachers and church members as models of faithful ministry? How many of the Reformers fulfilled the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20? None. How many of these men established New Testament churches? None. Does it matter to God whether or not these men fulfilled the Great Commission or established New Testament churches? Yes. To illustrate the work of God in history we may cite the following men and their life experiences as illustrative of biblical ministry: Felix Manz, Balthazar Hubmaier, George Blaurock, Conrad Grebel, William Kiffin, Hansard Knollys, Benjamin Keach, and Edward Wightman. This is a small list of men, Baptists all, heroes of the faith, whose lives and testimonies would inspire and instruct God’s people. They stood firm for right biblical principles and in many cases paid the ultimate price, yet most Baptists do not even know their names. Pastor R. B. Ouellette often says, “Nearness is likeness,” and we would agree. In promoting men who were not Baptists we water down the significance of our differences, the significance of our principles, and by extension, diminish the necessity of the sacrifices made by our forefathers. The study of Baptist history 16] Unpublished WORD
and principles is more than nostalgia; it is the record of ministry done according to biblical conviction as opposed to societal or political expediency. Our study of and familiarity with Baptist history and doctrine sheds the light of the Word of God on the deeds of the Reformers. The Reformers must first have their contributions viewed and judged according to their obedience or disobedience to the clear teaching of Scripture. Second, Baptist men, who, during the same time period, were ministering according to the plan of God and were used more mightily than the Reformers, have been forgotten. Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry wrote: Let us, in charity but with absolute loyalty to God’s word, point out what differentiates a Baptist church from Pedobaptist churches. To the law and the testimony that must be accepted as true ecclesiastically which approaches most nearly to what was decreed by Christ, the Lawgiver, as the basis of the fellowship of his disciples. Christ ordained the means of the progress and perpetuity of his kingdom. What was right then is right now. There has been no new revelation nor change of methods. Disciples were to teach, or disciple, baptize believers, and keep commandments. If we have the constitution, the organization, the spirit of New Testament or apostolical churches, all fears may be dismissed. Baptists differ fundamentally from Pedobaptists in practically adhering to the NEW TESTAMENT AS THE SUFFICIENT, THE EXCLUSIVE, AND THE ABSOLUTE RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE. The soul of Baptist churches is submission and conformity to the New Testament. Individual liberty is to be regulated by divine law. The end of revelation is the limit of moral and religious duty. Loyalty to Christ must in all things take precedence of personal inclination. The New Testament is not to be supplemented by tradition, nor the syllabus of popes, nor the decrees of councils and synods, nor by acts of civil government, nor by notions of personal convenience, nor by parental constraint. No Christian can take as obligatory upon his conscience the belief or practice of any person or family or church or nation, except as sustained by the word of God.12 God has revealed clear truth to us in the pages of His Word as to what a church is, and by extension, what a church is not. When we promote men from history who had a distorted view of the church and many other doctrines without warning, 16] Unpublished WORD
we promote false doctrine and confuse our readers and hearers. We especially confuse our young preachers. We drill into them the importance of right division and discernment. We teach them the importance of biblical doctrine and then contradict this teaching by our endorsements. The following articles are quoted directly from the Augsburg Confession, written by Phillip Melanchthon and approved by Martin Luther in 1530. The phrases, “They teach” or “Also they teach,” in the articles are intended to state what Lutherans believe and teach. Article VII: Of the Church. 1] Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered. 2] And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and 3] the administration of the Sacraments… The Lutherans are happy and proud to declare what they believe a true church is and what a true church is not. They are quick to identify how they are different from Baptists in the administration of their sacraments. They readily condemn our doctrine in the following article: Article VIII: What the Church Is.… the Church properly is the congregation of saints and true believers, nevertheless, since in this life many hypocrites and evil persons are mingled therewith, it is lawful to use Sacraments administered by evil men, according to the saying of Christ: The Scribes and 2] the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat, etc. Matt. 23, 2. Both the Sacraments and Word are effectual by reason of the institution and commandment of Christ, notwithstanding they be administered by evil men. 3] They [Lutherans] condemn the Donatists, and such like, who denied it to be lawful to use the ministry of evil men in the Church, and who thought the ministry of evil men to be unprofitable and of none effect. Donatists were Baptist people of the fourth century who desired to choose their own pastors. They expected those pastors to be born-again and give evidence of that new birth by living holy lives. Augustine hated the Donatists and with his Roman cohorts had some thirty-thousand of them killed. Luther and Melanchthon, as reformed Catholics,
agreed with Augustine concerning the Donatists. Put simply, Augustine, Luther, and Melanchthon knew the difference between themselves and the Baptists and believed those differences significant enough to separate from us! Dolton Robertson in our book, Why Baptist? wrote, “The New Testament church is marked by what it believes and what it does. When these essential principles are diluted in even the slightest sense, it is a step toward apostasy and irrelevance.”13 Ironically, Luther and Melanchthon would have agreed with this statement as evidenced by their belief that a true church is defined by the gospel they preach and their administration of the sacraments. Of course, we as Baptists only have two ordinances and they are not sacraments, so apparently even according to the Lutheran Confession, one of us is not a true church. Curry accurately stated the Baptist position of the ordinances: Baptists hold that Christ enjoined two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and they seek to preserve them unchanged in number, order, mode, and significance…In these two ordinances we declare that
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the Lord made atonement for sin by his death; that his death is reckoned to the believer; that salvation is on the principle of substitution; and that the believer has died to sin and has risen again to newness of life through faith in Jesus Christ. Those who are baptized into Christ—and this involves necessarily antecedent faith and excludes involuntary and compulsory baptism—put on Christ, assume his uniform, assert allegiance and loyalty, and come under the most imperious obligations to separate from evil and live for him who bought them with his precious blood. These ordinances in strictness are not sacraments, and are wholly inoperative without personal antecedent faith. If sacramental, and the meritorious means of salvation, the great doctrine of justification by faith is cut up by the roots.14 We are constantly reminded of Luther’s great stand on justification by faith. Just how strong was his stand? The following is the article on baptism from the Augsburg Confession. See if you can identify a difference in the biblical teaching of baptism and Martin Luther’s view. Article IX: Of Baptism. Of Baptism… that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God’s grace. They [the Lutherans] condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism. Article X: Of the Lord’s Supper. Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise. Augustine, Luther, and Melanchthon knew the difference between themselves and the Baptists and thought those differences significant enough to separate from us! “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). Is there anything in the book of Romans about salvation by grace through faith alone? Does the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul give us any instruction in the doctrine of baptism? Is this clear teaching different than that of Luther and Melanchthon as stated in the Augsburg Confession? If it is, then we are commanded to mark them and avoid them, not hail them as great religious leaders! 18] Unpublished WORD
Please, read carefully here. I know that no Bible-believing Baptist preacher would agree with Luther and Melanchthon in the confession cited above. But I am sure that many of us have been told that Luther “rediscovered” the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. As seen in his confession, this is not the case. We promote men like Martin Luther because these are the illustrations we were taught as young preachers. We then read Protestant writers who are in agreement with the Reformers and take our illustrations from these sources, all the while exalting men who lived in direct disobedience to God’s Word and who viciously persecuted our forbears. The simple fact of the matter is this, there have been Baptist people preaching the pure, unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ since He established the church and sent the Holy Spirit. The study of Baptist history and principles is not secondary to the work of the Lord! God’s work must be done God’s way, for His glory alone. 1 Dr. Charles Keen in his article, A Thumbnail Sketch of God Moving in Human History, (Unpublished WORD, Winter 2009) stated, “This historical trek is not an endorsement of men or movements. The discussion of the characters in this article does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of their doctrine, affiliations or lifestyle but reveals their effect on church or world history.” He felt a clearer examination of this subject from a Baptist perspective was in order and asked me to prepare this article. 2 John 16:13 3 Abraham Booth, Posthumous Essays, “A Confession of Faith, Delivered by Mr. Abraham Booth at his ordination over the church of Christ in Little Prescot Street, Goodmans Fields, February 16, 1769,” W. Button, London, 1808, p. 94. 4 2 Corinthians 10:5 5 Romans 16:17 6 Isaiah 5:20 7 J. Newton Brown, Memorials of Baptist Martyrs, American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1854. p. 119-120. 8 Jasper Ridley, Bloody Mary’s Martyrs, Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York, 2001 p. 35. 9 Ridley p. 35. 10 Romans 16:17 11 Francis Wayland, Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches, Sheldon, Blakeman & Co, New York, 1857, p. 121-122. 12 J.L.M. Curry, A Baptist Church Radically Different From Pedobaptist Churches., American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1889 pp. 2-3. 13 James Alter, Dolton Robertson, Why Baptist? The Significance of Baptist Principles in an Ecumenical Age, Ancient Baptist Press, Sidney OH, 2008, p. 163. 14 Curry, pp. 10-11.
James Alter is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Sidney, Ohio, and author of Why Baptist? He is Editor of the Ancient Baptist Journal www.ancientbaptist.com.
Missionary Biography Ken Fraley FirstBible International Representative
t all began with the Word. When I joined the Air Force at the age of 18, there was a well dressed older man in the recruitment center handing out pocket New Testaments to new recruits. I kept it for years and took it with me on a TDY with the Air National Guard and read the entire book of Matthew. When I came home, I told my wife, Gina, we were going to church the next Sunday. We did, and a big man named Bud Ling approached us and took the Bible and led us to Christ. After I was saved, I began witnessing to others and winning souls, and God called me to do it full time. My first real exposure to missions was at the First Baptist Church of Milford, Ohio, under Dr. Charles Keen’s ministry where I developed a real burden for the people in the 10/40 Window who have never heard the Gospel or had a Bible to read. After retiring from the pastorate in July 2008, God began to draw me to the ministry of FirstBible. In February of this year I surrendered under the preaching of Dr. Keen. I am presently trying to raise my personal support so I can start putting The Word into their hands with a local preacher to show them the “Way.”
A Special FirstBible Sunday
One of my goals as a pastor is to keep God’s charge to the church to “reach the world” always before my people. One of the ways that we do that is to have special emphasis Sundays throughout the calendar year. We recently hosted a FirstBible International Sunday with Dr. Charles Keen. The day’s purposes were fulfilled in that our church now has a deeper burden and strategy to help the unreached people groups of the world. At the end of the evening service, our church family voted to adopt a neglected people group. We have adopted the Chiru people of Northeast India. In partnering with FirstBible International we will help the Chiru people get a reliable Bible translation in their native tongue. The funds we have committed will also be used to further the preliminary stages in seeking national leadership for the purpose of establishing a fundamental church. I cannot tell you how excited our people are in this missions venture. We can always try to do more with our resources and our personnel in reaching the world, and this Bible publishing project has stirred our hearts once again. We believe this is money well invested in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We must, with innovation and ingenuity, reach out to those who have no Gospel present among them. I would encourage pastors to have a FirstBible Sunday and to use that day not only to educate their people, but to also allow them to get involved in helping to reach the over 3 billion neglected people. Dr. Greg Baker FaithWay Baptist Church, Ontario, Canada
Unpublished WORD [19
Pastor’s Conference in South India O AT RE MB
en By K
e just returned home from Coimbatore, India. There were 8 of us who traveled to the campus of South India Baptist Bible College to host a Pastor’s Conference on February 3-6. At least 38 language groups from all parts of India were represented among the approximately 150 pastors and the 150 senior college students who attended. Dr. P.D. Cherian and his staff did an excellent job planning and organizing the meeting. The Lord blessed each session and there was great liberty. Our desire was to stir the hearts of the Indian pastors to the plight of the unreached. No church is to be the end product or end result of the gospel effort. Every church is to be a Great Commission church with a worldview and a desire to spread the gospel where Christ has not been named. There was a very good response as some heard for the first time that one-half of our world has still never heard the name of Jesus Christ and that there are more than 4,000 languages still waiting for the Scriptures. One pastor commented, “This is eyeopening.” God has given us two faithful men who presently serve on the faculty of South India Baptist Bible College who will be traveling throughout India on behalf of FirstBible. We believe God has raised up Benjamin Christopher and Sathianesan Mathew for the purpose of continuing the momentum of this Pastor’s Conference. Their goals will be to raise awareness of the 20] Unpublished WORD
unreached people groups and raise funding for Bible translation and publishing, particularly for the unreached people groups of India. Please pray that what God started in the hearts of the Indian pastors will continue on. Their involvement in the spreading of the gospel is absolutely crucial to reaching the people groups of India and beyond.
Next India Pastor’s Conference: Feb. 2-4, 2010 India is the second largest country on earth with a population of 1.1 billion and is growing at a rate that will soon make it the largest country on earth. It is a land of great diversity both culturally and economically. Some of the world’s richest rich as well as the world’s poorest poor live in close proximity within its borders. Many believe that the Apostle Thomas introduced India to Christianity in the first century. Sporadic missionary effort took place down through the centuries until 1706 when the first Protestant missionary, Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg, arrived in India. He began the first Scripture translation into an Indian language, completing the New Testament in the Tamil language in 1715. Troubled by ill health all his life, Ziegenbalg died in 1719 at the age of 36. In only 13 years of service, he left behind a dictionary and grammar book in Tamil, the New
Testament, the Old Testament up to the Book of Ruth, and several gospel tracts. He built two church buildings, founded a seminary for the training of indigenous clergy, and left over 250 baptized Indians. William Carey sailed for India in 1792 and one year later sailed for India. He would become known as the “Father of Modern Missions.” His service in Calcutta and Serampore is legendary for the impact he made with the gospel and the impact he made on many different facets of the culture. But he is best known for his impact in the area of Bible translation. In Carey’s lifetime, his mission printed and distributed the Bible in whole or in part in 44 languages and dialects. His life has inspired many missionaries to follow him to India. Despite all the gospel effort and the church planting movement that has taken place since Carey, there is a desperate need. Today, one-third of the world’s 6000 unreached people groups are in India. The opportunity God has given FirstBible to impact these people groups has unlimited potential. We are in the process of establishing a translation training center on the college campus. Our goal is to teach translation philosophy and linguistics for the purpose of preparing the students of South India Baptist Bible College to translate Scripture for India’s unreached peoples. Qualified faculty will be needed for both semester long and modular classes. Would you pledge your prayer toward this effort? Would you consider partnering with us financially to make this a reality?
A FirstBible International State Church I can still remember sitting in my church office on that beautiful summer day in South Georgia in 1999 playing what I call, “Global Roulette.” (I would spin the globe and then stop it wherever my finger landed and then ask the Lord if that was the country He wanted me to go as a missionary.) Little did I know then that God was preparing me for a new focus for my life and ministry. The phrase “people groups” was unheard of to me at that time. All I knew was that half the world was sitting in darkness and the question that kept hounding my conscience was, “What was I going to do about it?” It was during our Missions Revival that God began to connect the dots in my mind about the matter. Two years later, after much prayer and counsel with Dr. Keen and many others, the concept of a “State Church” was born. Let me explain: Our church would “adopt” our state (in our case Florida) and focus mainly on the churches of like faith in our state. Our strategy involves: 1. Raising awareness in the churches in our state by phone, mail or email contact. 2. Challenging them to pray daily for the unreached. 3. Partnering with them in church planting, national training, Scripture translation, and Bible publishing. 4. Providing them with the necessary material needed to keep them informed. 5. Having all the monies raised from our state to be channeled through the State Church to the projects. The benefit of this strategy is we would provide for them a relatively close office and an FBI representative that could be easily accessible to their church for meetings and updates without ever being any more than one days drive away from their families. Also the State Church can provide materials more cost efficiently because we are just sending to the churches in our own state. It is easier to gather together local pastors within the state for periodic meetings than have them come from long distances. Another thing that makes a State Church unique is that we pick our own language or Bible projects and we are autonomous. So it must begin with the pastor. If you as the leader are not completely sold on reaching the unreached, then your people will not be. It takes a complete commitment from you to change the mindset in your church and transfer the burden from your heart to theirs and often it takes time. I would suggest that you look for untapped resources in your church that can assist you in spreading a burden and passion for the unreached. For instance, at Calvary Baptist in Lakeland, Florida, where I pastor, we have a group of widow ladies that meet on a monthly basis. I immediately put them to work on researching unreached people groups around the world and made it their responsibility to supply the Sunday school teachers each week with a profile for that teacher to read to their class and then pray for that unreached people group. I then made it their responsibility to have a profile each week to be posted in the announcements on the screens in the main auditorium so that it is always before the people. They also send out letters and make necessary phone calls to others encouraging them to be involved. I must say that these ladies who would have normally been overlooked have become the very ones God has used to help me spread a passion for reaching the unreached. Pastor Shane Skelton Calvary Baptist Church, Lakeland, Florida Unpublished WORD [21
Librarian’s Choice ® Biblical Bible Translating by Dr. Charles V. Turner
n this issue of the Unpublished WORD Journal is a rather technical book dealing with several translation issues ranging from translator qualifications to word hunting, definitions and several things in between. Much of the information in this issue of the UWJ came out of Dr. Charles Turner’s book, Biblical Bible Translating, which is the Librarian’s Choice for this month. If you have a desire to know more about the translation ministry, we would recommend this fine work. It is technical but readable. The information is new and enlightening but at the same time sequential and is easy to track. Dr. Turner has the right stand on the formal text issues. He has been associated in the past with Baptist Bible Translators Institute of Bowie, Texas, and is now actively involved in a Bible translation ministry. We intend to use this textbook in our college training program. To order a copy, please contact Sovereign Grace Publishers, Inc. at www.sgpbooks.com and type “translating” in the search window, or call 765-296-5538.
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22] Unpublished WORD
continued from page 12 The Trinitarian Bible Society (2005) “The Hebrew Text: The Society uses the Hebrew Masoretic Text as the textual basis for the Old Testament in its translations. Great care was taken by the Jews over the centuries to preserve the Hebrew text in its purest form; their work produced what is commonly called the Masoretic Text. This text has been the standard Hebrew text for over one thousand years. When translating the Hebrew into other languages, occasionally ancient translations such as the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and the Aramaic Targums are consulted because of the difficulty of the Hebrew. But, because God gave the text originally in Hebrew, these ancient translations must be treated as secondary to the Hebrew. The Masoretic Hebrew Text is the most reliable form of the text of the Old Testament, and is the basis of all of the Society’s Old Testament publications. The Greek Text: The Society uses the form of the Greek text of the New Testament known as the Textus Receptus or Received Text. This text underlies the New Testament of the Authorized Version and the other Reformation translations. It is a faithful representation of the text which the Church in different parts of the world has used for centuries. It is the result of the textual studies of conservative scholars during the years both before and after the Reformation, and represents for the most part over 6,000 available Greek manuscripts. The Society believes this text is superior to the texts used by the United Bible Societies and other Bible publishers, which texts have as their basis a relatively few seriously defective manuscripts from the 4th century and which have been compiled using 20th century rationalistic principles of scholarship.” There are passages of Scripture that teach the preservation of God’s word, but those passages do not say anything about that preservation being limited to an English translation of Scripture. Unpublished WORD [23
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