Closing Churches

June 17, 2014


I  was reading an article and the author was lamenting that he pastored two churches that ultimately closed. There are times when closing a church is a good thing. Growing up we had a phrase about being dead and too dumb to drop over. Many churches, especially in large cities have declined to the point where all funds and energies are tied to a building. It is best for them to close and merge with a larger church to be better stewards of their gifts and money. Many refuse because of building worship or living off of past glories. They are in essence docents of the mausoleum. Many rural churches could merge as well since we are far past the days of horses and buggies so a church 10 to 15 miles away that is growing is better than four that are three miles away and are just barely maintaining. In unity there is strength and if ever there was a time for unity in the Body now is the time. Quit calling pastors only to discourage them and drive them from ministry.

I am a Baptist and sadly we are more known for splits than merges and having numerous camps. If there are 13 Baptist churches in a town, but none of them are of our camp we will start one because there is just not a good church in town. Balderdash and poppycock that theory is but we practice it just the same.

Other groups are not immune to this either. I live in a town fo 30,000 and we have two AOG churches and another one trying to get started. We have two UMC churches. One has a woman pastor and that may be the issue that separated them at one point. Lets not talk about how many Baptists we have representing three stripes of the group.

However, if you have four churches in a ten mile area preaching the same doctrine three are redundant. I once found eight churches that could have merged into one, but knowing that would have been the impossible dream I did pairs. I wrote to each pair of churches, none of the eight had pastors, and suggested that they figure out which had the better building and then merge selling the other property using the money to secure a pastor so they could grow.  All flatly rejected the prospect.

One pair had 30 members between them and though I never met them I would be very confident in saying that nearly all of them were over 70 thus in 5-10 years the churches would be closed due to death and dotage. I suggested one such church might merge with the one where I was Associate Pastor and another church in the area got mad at me and read my pastor the riot act. When I spoke with someone from that church and suggested that they merge with them that church did not want them. They did not want to see a building close that had 12 members and all but one lady over 70.

If all you are doing is keeping doors open, you are not wise. Many of these churches have gone through one pastor every year or every two because the church is dead and too dumb to drop over. That sounds harsh, but we need to get past building worship and living in the past so that we can be truly fulfilling our calling. Heal rifts and dump costly buildings that may be lost one day anyway due to death, eminent domain or the loss of tax-exempt status. 100 people in one church can do far more than 20 people in five. A split that is not over doctrinal issues has a 99% chance of being a split in the flesh and caused or at least used by the devil. He enjoys divide and conquer. It is all about God, so unite as He has come to create one Body not millions of loose cells. If all the major doctrines are the same then put the petty bickering and camp idolatry aside and grow up in Christ so that His kingdom grows not yours.

One day, I’ll be more open and tell you how I really feel about it.

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2 Thessalonians 2:2-2:2

Many folks wonder why I am still using the KJV when there are a multitude of versions out there that are so much “easier” to read. Indeed, they are amazed that I am a KJV only man. Many would say that while the KJV is a great translation there is no reason to oppose the others since they allow the reader to better understand the Word. After all, should not a preacher want people to read and understand the Word? Why then pick on the newer versions?

If it were only a matter of simplifying the English, I would not be so adamant in my stance. Unfortunately, the problems go far deeper than that. I do not hold to the belief that the King James translators were inspired like the Apostles and Prophets or that there is no longer any reason to study the Greek or Hebrew now that we have the KJV. Double Inspiration folks are way off balance and probably do far more harm to the KJV only position by their extreme stance and their demeanor than some of their Liberal opponents. While they and I may share some similar convictions on some issues, I could not fellowship with him nor would we use the same paths in logic or theology to get to any similar conclusions. Bottom line is that I count him a hindrance rather than a help to the truth.

As a matter of background, I was not raised in a KJV only church. I was raised in or at least exposed to the United Methodist Church. I received a RSV for perfect attendance at a Vacation Bible School back in elementary school. It saw little light and when I pulled it out of its box after I was saved in 1975 at age 22, it still had the new book smell to it. The Gideons issued me a KJV New Testament in 1970 when I was in Air Force boot camp. My only other exposure to the KJV was through Oliver B. Greene and other tracts that I found in the Laundromat while in High School. It appears that these tracts stuck with me. When the friend that witnessed to me asked how I would know something was in the Bible, I said that if it had thees, thous and hasts in it I would think that it was probably in the Bible. Of course, that means that someone could have quoted an obscure Shakespearean line to me and I might have assumed it was in Scripture. Nonetheless, I equated KJV English with the Bible at that time.

The man responsible for getting me to church and ultimately saved was afraid that the KJV would turn me off so he gave me a NASB as a gift and I read that for awhile. However, I went back to the KJV when I came across John 7:8-10 in the NASB. Jesus tells His brethren to go up to the feast, but he is not going up to it in verse 8, but He does go up in verse 10. This was rather disconcerting because it appeared that Jesus has just lied to His brethren. As a new convert, I wondered how Christ could lie to those folks like that. I don’t know why I did, but I pulled the KJV off the shelf and it said, “I go not up yet…” It is a big difference between not going up at all and not going up until later. The word yet was not italicized. Italicization indicates that it is not in the text, but rather supplied by the translators to allow flow of reading or to allow proper context and intent of the Greek to be viewed in “modern” English. The word yet was in the Greek text. All it took was the word yet to change the whole tenor of the passage and remove any doubt about Jesus’ intent or character. With that I put the NASB on the shelf. Had it not been a gift, I would have thrown it away. I have read tha even one of the men on that revision board has since recanted his position and has asked for God to forgive him for what he did.

Remember I was only a new convert. I had never heard of any textual issues. If my pastor then was a KJV only man he never preached his position only the Word. I had no external pressure to go either way. I had tossed my RSV because I questioned an evangelist about Hell and he asked me what version I was using and told me that I was not using a very good one. Later I learned that he was right, but I took his word on it then. The NASB went away from my own “research” and choice. I never did like “The Living Bible”, which is what the lad that led me to Lord used. It is a paraphrase and not a true translation. Then it was a preference, now it is a conviction that the King James Version or the Authorized Version is the best translation because it comes from the Textus Receptus or Received Text. The New KJV does as well, but they muddied up some passages that I understood in the Old KJV. Maybe they tried too hard. They also brought the false scholarship into it via the footnotes thus discrediting it as a proper version if it condones the errors of the other manuscripts.

Everyone fusses about the archaic words, but I do not ever remember having a problem reading them. Now and then I might get tongue-tied saying them, but I have had that happen with Modern English as well. Also, the NIV uses plenty of words that I would consider archaic and would need to look up. (See http://www.av1611.org/kjv/vanceniv.html) I have read lots of books where I have had to use a dictionary to look up words that I did not know. Why would that be such a problem to do the same for the Bible? I have never had a good answer to that. In a land once noted for its high quality of education is it not educational to learn new words? Call it a history lesson even if we do not use them in everyday use. In a book the size of the Bible, I would imagine that there is only a small percentage of the words that could not be easily understood by an eighth-grader. At least a Christian School eighth grader as public schools have declined. Ever try to read a legal document or a government regulation? They have not made any strides in making those more readable for the layperson.

Once you get accustomed to the thees, thous, and hasts it is not all that bad. The uniqueness actually makes it easier to memorize and most people still equate that language to being biblical since the KJV is still the largest selling version. It can’t be that hard to understand if it is still outselling the others. According to one supplier of Bibles it is also the version of choice in Africa. If it can be understood in a third world country where English may not be the primary language then why is it so hard for us?

Ok, for the most part you might be saying that all I have given you is some statistics and personal experiences or preferences. Is there something fundamentally wrong with having an up to date English version. No, there is not, but there is something fundamentally wrong with the versions that are being touted as only trying to make the Bible easier to read or that they are better translations than the KJV.

It is always best to start at the beginning. The mother of all the current translations came about in 1881. I am going to deal with three areas concerning this first version and then deal with the results of it and its offspring. First, let’s look at the climate of its birth. It was an age of rationalism. Everything was being challenged, but especially God.

Karl Marx (d. 1883) had already written his works on Communism, which took God out of the economy. Indeed, he said that religion was an opiate of the masses. In our society, we have replaced God with drugs. People seek peace, courage and answers from true opiates. Followers of Karl’s philosophies have enslaved and murdered millions. If that is the result of freedom from the God’s “opium” then I have no desire to be drug free. Yes, I know there have been murders and war in the name of the Judeo-Christian God, but the numbers of the last century alone by the non-religionists far outnumber the total of any religious wars in recorded history. In the last century atheists killed 172 million whereas only thousands perished in the Inquisition, which was perpetrated by heretics not true Christians. Marx liked a fellow named Darwin and dedicated his “Das Kapital” to him.

Charles Darwin (d. 1882) had published his theories of evolution, which took God out of His creation. Evolution reduced man to a cousin of an ape that had by astronomical odds been conceived in primordial ooze and fought by trial and error or mutation to the top of the food chain. It is reported that Darwin later recanted his theory either by becoming a Christian or returning to his upbringing. I do not know if that is true or not. The truth is the damage he has caused has hindered many souls in being saved and has been instrumental in the chaos and degeneracy in our current society. If man is nothing but an accident of evolution and has no intelligent Creator to whom he is responsible is it no wonder that men go ape today and live by the callous precept of the survival of the fittest? Why not kill those whose territory or property you desire? It is even being put forth that rape is just the result of the natural tendency of the dominant male. There is no soul therefore abort and practice euthanasia at will. Why let the handicapped or weak survive to degrade the race? Why shouldn’t my ethics be tied to my situation since I am the master of my own destiny? Why are your morals better then mine? The theory of evolution of man has resorted in the moral devolution of man. It is racist and was part of what brought Hitler to his concept of a master race. http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-007.htm

Higher Criticism sought to take God out of His Word. The Bible was not approached as a divinely preserved work of Holy Spirit inspired men, but rather as just a piece of literature and thus to be edited at will. This is much like the political analysts that come on after the President’s speech to tell us what he really meant to say or what was meant by what he did not say. This is a far cry from the attitudes of all previous transcribers or translators of the majority of the ancient Hebrew or Greek texts and revisers of the KJV as well. Though the theory has been abandoned by most scholars the damage this caused in 1881continues today not only in the pollution of the text, but is a cause of hindrance in ministries to Islamic nations as those theories and dogmas became a basis for a new chapter in Islamic apologetics. (See http://contra-mundum.org/schirrmacher/rationalism.html)

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is the father of modern psychoanalysis. Though born into a Jewish family, he grew up in this age of theological dissent and devotion to science. He became an atheist. He is the root cause of one of the most dangerous enemies to Christianity. Indeed, in the name of mental health many Christians as well as people of other faiths have been imprisoned in Communist countries. Role-play was designed to take God out of man’s mind showing that man can solve all his problems without the need of God.

Many of the therapies are “crazy” like “primal scream” where they place the adult patient in a diaper and give him a bottle and allow him to cry out his infantile trauma. Some have an evolutionary twist to them like having a group of people mill around on the floor like tadpoles. Over the years, we have been told by these “professionals” that the best person to introduce a 12 year old girl to sex is her father because whom does she trust more? Then we heard that the Father was not that important to a family. Recently we heard that the father is actually harmful to the family because he consumes most of the resources and puts little back into the family. People with those types of beliefs are hardly sane enough to counsel anyone else. People who have been divorced six times profess to be good marriage counselors. Regression therapy takes you into your past life or lives. This is not science but reincarnation, which is a religious belief. Pop psychiatry is the opiate for the masses that do not take drugs.

Infiltration of an organization is one of the best ways to take it over and stop any negative position it may have on your lifestyle or goals. Hence the takeover of colleges and churches by Liberals and the infiltration of Conservative churches by pro-psychiatry people who mock the faith of our fathers and rewrite the Book to justify their actions.

While I was in the Air Force, I took advantage of a program called College Level Entry Program (CLEP). This program allows you to take what is basically a final exam for selected courses. Depending on the course, the exam and your score you may receive from three to six semester hours of college credit. I took quite a few of those tests and received many hours of credit. I took two psychology exams. I was a new Christian at the time, but knew enough about the “psych” world that if a question had an answer that was about sex or was derogatory to religion in general I chose that answer. One I passed with a fairly good grade. I missed passing one by a point or two because I needed to know a few more names and dates. I had the philosophy down pat if I did not know all the players and their statistics.

There are people who sincerely want to help others with their problems. They are just in the wrong field using wrong hypotheses. In fact, many enter the field to solve their own problems and are like people with malaria seeking to treat people with a cold or flu. Some have tried to “redeem” the hypotheses by throwing some Scripture in their practices and trying to find the theories in the Word. Indeed, there may be a few things psychiatrists say that are true and that truth may be expressed in the Word. That then becomes an issue of plagiarism as they do not give Him proper credit, but assume that it is their invention or genius rather than His revelation.

There is such a thing as biblical counseling and that is to be supported. When you car is broken you take it to a man who has read the manuals and knows how it is supposed to work and has the tools to repair it. The Bible is our owner’s manual and the tools to fix us are clearly within its pages. Go to a man that believes that manual and uses it as it was meant to be and you can be fixed as well. Get a physical to be sure your problem is not a true medical problem and then go see a man of God. I would also strongly recommend the book “Competent to Counsel” by Dr. Jay Adams. While I do not agree with his TULIP theology, I believe his concept of biblical counseling to be sound as it is grounded in Scripture. (http://hallchristians.com/clergy/63.shtml)

As you can see, this was not a healthy environment to try and birth a new translation of the Bible. Indeed, with the abundant manure of infidelity on the ground no true seed would have anything to grow in. The humanist seed abounded in the two of the committee members and found fruit in the weakness of the others. Unfortunately there was not a crop failure or still birth of this work. But then, the children of the flesh always outnumber the children of faith. However, praise His name, He did have men declaring the truth and winning souls. There was still light overcoming darkness. Men like Dean Burgon (1813-1888). You should read his writings. (http://www.alibris.com/)

Let us now look at this committee and their commission. The Revision Committee of 1881 was only commissioned to do what all revision committees before them had been commissioned to do. They were to update the English and look for typos in the English. The KJV detractors like to say that you could not read a 1611 version of the KJV. That is true as spellings and words change. If that were all that the 1881 crew had done there would be no honest complaint to be found in their revision or would there be any flood of revisions needed later.

Hast without the “t” means the same thing. Taking the “eth” off of giveth or liveth would not change anything. Changing colour to color or favour to favor would not have caused a problem. It would just be what they were supposed to do. Even with our great digital age I read books all the time that have “typos” in them and printing was far more difficult in those days. They were to clean anything like that up in the new revision such as the use of “their” when it should be “there”. Things like transpositions of letters like raeson instead of reason. If they would have stuck to their commission, many may have stayed with the “archaic” KJV for various reasons, but the 1881 Version would have been an accurate and proper version, which would be hard to contest.

The problem is that they went way beyond that call or commission. They were by their own admission not qualified to do any more than what they were commissioned to do. No one was qualified to do either intense translation work or any major textual studies. In essence there were no real scholars on the committee. What they ended up doing would be equal to you needing delicate neurosurgery and deciding to let your general practitioner or a first year medical student perform it. What they did to the Bible is as much of a butcher job as you would have had in the OR. If you lived you would most likely be severely crippled and only a shadow of your former self and hence the crippled editions of the inspired and preserved Word of God. What would cause them to go so far beyond their commission?

This brings us to the conspiracy or committed intent of Westcott-Hort. Brook Foss Westcott and John Anthony Fenton Hort are the premier promoters of the manuscripts and philosophy used by the 1881 Revision Committee. Indeed, from the accounts that I have read they bullied their opinions upon the rest of the committee. The committee initially resisted going outside the realm of what they were commissioned to do, but this not so dynamic duo wore them down by their persistence.

The committee was formed by the Church of England/Anglican Church, which was founded to be a middle ground between Catholicism and Puritanism. (http://65.107.211.206/religion/denom1.html) There is a lot of Catholic ritual within that group. In America, we know these folks as Episcopalians. Even one of their priests told me that they were considered “Catholic Lite.” They have branches within them that would be more Evangelical (Low Church) and others that would be more Roman Catholic (High Church). During the time of the committee the high church or Roman Catholic supporters of the Anglican Church ran most of the seminaries. This is not exactly an organization that I would heavily trust to revise the Protestant Bible when many of these High Church lads eventually defected to the Roman Catholic Institution. The KJV folks were also Anglican, but the philosophical and theological differences between the two groups of men are sufficent enough but add to it that the KJV lads were eminently qualified to do the work whereas the 1881 folks admitted that they were not qualified squelches any arguments from that perspective.

In reading the writings of both Westcott and Hort, it is clear that they favored the High Church format and wrote glowingly of their admiration of the Roman Catholic Institution, but very little of Christ. In fact, they were more involved with politics, animal rights, and botany than what that which would be considered standard duties of a pastor.
Westcott expressed great doubt that he was even a believer. Again, not a man that I would expect to reverence the text as the Word of God and he did not believe in the infallibility of the Scriptures but did reverence the Pope. Is it any wonder then that a future version of Westcott’s labor, the NIV would rate an “imprimatur” by the Pope meaning there was nothing in it that was contrary to Catholic doctrine? Check your KJV. You will not see an imprimatur on it and I bet you can easily find some things contrary to Catholic doctrine within its pages.

Hort was no better. He went to hear D. L. Moody but did not want to hear him again because he was conventional and commonplace and thought Sankey was an inferior song leader. After a great sermon by Spurgeon on a national day of fasting, Dr. Hort’s first letter to a friend spoke about squirrels, roses, gooseberries and the death of a cat. While Spurgeon had trouble deciding which sermon to use, Dr. Hort found it difficult to even write one.

These two lads are the great theological wizards that had immense influence on the versions we see abounding today. Our “scholars” rave about the great work done by these men and love all the versions that are coming out. The first two men were no scholars and most likely unsaved. I worry about men who praise them and the fruit of their labors.

Westcott and Hort used bogus texts to contrive bogus interpretations hence they practiced what I call pseudo-scholasticism. In that day anything old was considered to be very significant. Thus when manuscripts that were four hundred years older than what was used by the King James translators were found it was like finding gold in California to those “scholars.”

All that has glitter is not gold and old is not necessarily better. If I wanted to find out what revivals were like in the 1930s and their effect on the Churches would I go to a 103 year old atheist or a ninety three year old believer? I would get appraisals from both, but how credible would be an unbeliever’s account? Sometimes the reverse is true. If I want to see a master at a video game I would go to a ten year old rather than a fifty year old. What if I found a 113-year-old believer that agreed with the ninety three year old and not the 103-year-old lad? Are two witnesses in agreement better than one that disagrees? Usually, but not always, but even in a court case if both agreeing witnesses were credible their testimony would weigh heavier than the other one. It certainly was that way in the Bible times. (Matt 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1; 1 Tim 5:19; Heb 10:28)

Much ado is made about these older manuscripts because they do not agree with the Textus Receptus used to translate the King James. The folks who fuss about this fail to tell people that the only thing these older manuscripts agree on is that they disagree with each other on almost everything. It is said that it was unfortunate that the KJV translators did not have these texts. I do not believe it would have mattered because they would have thrown them out. The reason that the Textus Receptus is also called the Majority Texts is that they had texts that were not consistent with the majority of the texts and they excluded them. These “ancient” texts so loved by the 1881 folks and our modern scholars would have been laughed at and tossed aside by the KJV translators. Indeed one of the ancient texts was found in a trash bin and should have stayed there.

Back to my analogy of age, there are far more ancient writings of the early Church fathers, manuscripts, lectionaries and even translations that agree with the Textus Receptus. All the verses “challenged” by the Westcott-Hort manuscripts are present or alluded to in those older references. Some date back to the 1st Century. So, do I believe in the manuscripts from the 17th century that agree with writings from the 1st Century or with something from the 4th Century that disagrees with both? By sheer volume the 4th Century manuscripts are outnumbered, which is what you would expect if these were variants not accepted by the Church at large as valid copies of the Scriptures.

In fact, there are over 5,000 manuscripts availiable today. 99% of them agree with the KJV. 1% of them disagree with the KJV and as I said with each other so why are the newer versions better when they use the variant readings from the 1%? They aren’t and can’t be. These variations were already in the Vaticanus texts and rejected by the KJV folks. The 4th Century manuscripts mirror the Vaticanus so what light would they have shed or diefference made to the KJV translators? None. http://www.av1611.com/kjbp/faq/since1611.html

Even one of their touted manuscripts is written in such a way as to leave room for all the so-called missing verses and is an obvious falsification of the manuscript that it was copied from. Red lights should have gone off all around the room when this manuscript was submitted. My theory is some rich heretic commissioned the copy, but the copyist had too much integrity and would only do it if he could leave space to show that he saw the correct text but did was he was paid to do to protect his reputation as a copyist. It is only a theory, but better than the stuff Westcott and Hort came up with.

To counter sheer logic, the Westcott-Hort proponents come up with explanations that have no historical proof. They invent councils and philosophies that prove their point but have no proof they existed. Evolutionists do much of the same thing and though there is sufficient proof against their positions they still hold to them. The evidence weighs against the manuscripts used by the 1881 revision committee and the modern version people, but they still hold on and argue that they are valid and valuable. That is much like the girl who took the huge diamond her boyfriend bought her to an appraiser who informed her that it was not a real diamond. She called the appraiser a liar and a cheat because her boyfriend would not buy her a fake. Her love and faith was wonderful but not based on any fact. The loyalty of these folks to their corrupt manuscripts is much the same kind of love affair. There is much loyalty, but little fact and boisterous rejection of the facts when presented. Indeed, only recently one of those folks called me a heretic and offered to pray for my “putrid soul.” I declined the offer, as I did not feel such a prayer would even be heard.

II Thess 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (KJV)

It does not appear that it ever entered the minds of the scholars that these manuscripts may have been altered for evil purposes. Paul alludes to the fact that someone was sending out letters (epistles) mimicking Paul’s style and claiming to be Paul, but teaching false doctrine thus troubling the believers. Others made personal appearances speaking things they ought not to and either claiming to be sent from Jerusalem or to be a messenger of Paul and maybe some so bold as to claim to be actual angels. (Acts 15:1; Gal 1:6-9) With some of the crazy things we see and hear today this kind of heretical nonsense is more than plausible. So why would they not tamper with the manuscripts and put out bogus ones that proved their point?

People who did not have a copy of the true epistles would be deceived and those who had them would be confused if they were babes in Christ having no discernment or until they were able to contact someone who had a proper copy. This kind of plagiarism happens today. The Book of Mormon is so much a ripped off copy of the KJV that even a 10 year old could spot it and yet people still consider that book to be “scripture.” Judge Russell could not even read the Greek alphabet so his New World Translation is nothing but a KJV rewritten/paraphrased to his liking and people are still deceived by this fraud. And thus, the fraudulent manuscripts from 1881/4th century still deceive people in the name of easier reading.

Some of these false prophets did not like the resurrection or taught that it had passed already and others wanted to keep the law and demand circumcision. Some of them were so good in their presentation that they confused the Galatians, troubled the Thessalonians and even convinced the Corinthians that Paul was not a real apostle but rather that they were the true apostles. Paul had to argue with his own converts and tell them to check their salvation since they did not consider him to be an apostle or at the least on the same level as the lads they liked.

It is naïve to believe that they did not put out writings to preach their error and a few lies in the midst of the truth is easier to sell then an outright lie. So changing a few words and leaving out a couple of passages would be easier to deceive people than with a total rewrite of the Scriptures and denying them totally. That way you could still look and sound Orthodox while poisoning the well.

I John 2:
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (KJV)

Folks went out from the true Church. Did they just return to paganism or Judaism? Some did, but others formed other sects and could have easily copied manuscripts their way. Most of these sects obviously did not grow large and hence their writings and copies would be among the minority of texts while the accepted texts would multiply as the Church grew. While many of the cults themselves did not survive their ideas would revive themselves over the centuries and many exist today just under new names.

I John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (KJV)

I John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
(KJV)

II John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (KJV)

One group of bogus texts was found in Alexandria, Egypt, Origen’s hometown. Origen was a lad and a half. He had seven plans of salvation and is considered the theological father of modern day Jehovah Witnesses. He did not believe that Christ came in the flesh.

What are the realistic chances that a good clean copy of the Scriptures would come out of this hotbed of heresy? The statistical probability of evolution being true is better than the chances of unaltered manuscripts being found here. Yet, they are old and they must be good in the eyes of some scholars. We always say you are whom you hang around. Well, these texts hung around heretics of the first order and cannot rationally be considered anything but perverted and heretical.
Another group came out of the Vatican. Nothing good comes out of the Vatican. These are the folks that put Europe in the Dark Ages and murdered thousands of Jews, Anabaptists, and even Catholics if the Catholics had something the Bishop or Pope wanted. They converted by the sword and stake, not the Gospel’s Cross of reconciliation.

In a recent article in the Dallas Morning News, a priest speaking about the molestation of children and hiding the priests that did it said that it was not necessary to tell the truth. This is nothing but centuries old Jesuit heresy. Much of Catholic doctrine is contrary to the Bible and they hold writings of men higher than the Bible. Why do you think a manuscript coming out of this theologically adulterous institution would be unadulterated? Read Foxes Book of Martyrs and tell me that this group would protect the manuscripts if they disagreed with their dogma? Indeed, much is missing from their copy. Is this because of intentional editing or just an accident of time? I vote for the editing.

Please understand that I am criticizing the Institution, not folks who sincerely follow Catholicism. Many are Catholic by culture or birth. They are not really Catholics anymore than I was a Methodist or my wife was a Lutheran. We had a name and knew a few rituals, but we knew very little about the theology or position of either denomination. I knew nothing of Wesley and my wife knew nothing of Luther until I went to Bible College.

Indeed, I once met a lady that said she was Lutheran and when I asked her if she believed what Martin Luther taught about sola fida and sola scriptura she asked if I was referring to Martin Luther King, Jr. Many Catholics know little about the history or major doctrines of their church so they are in the same boat that lady and I were in. A great many of the congregation where I now serve are former Catholics including the father of the current Senior Pastor whom pastored the church before he died. I believe if more would study the Word, they also would leave Catholicism.
For a more detailed description of the errors and origins of the various manuscripts read, Final Authority by Dr. William Grady http://www.biblebelievers.com/Grady/Final_Authority.html or New Age Bible Versions by
G. A. Riplinger. There are others, but these two are thick enough to keep you busy for some time.

1 John 4:1-3
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
(KJV)

Again, we have John proclaiming that even in his lifetime false prophets were already running amuck and we have seen them throughout Church history. Did we suppose that none of these guys would dare tamper with the Scripture? That would be ludicrous. We have plenty in our recent history who either rewrote the Bible to their liking or wrote books that supposedly added to the Bible, which is condemned by the Scripture. Is it unrealistic to think that there would be some who would take away from Scripture? No, and I believe that we see their work in these 4th Century manuscripts that resurfaced at a time of apostasy to try and destroy the foundations for the righteous. (Psalm 11:3) The Word is our foundation. From the beginning, it has been “Yea, hath God said?” It shall be the same until the new heaven and new earth for satan will use the same lie to deceive people at the last battle at the end of the Millennium.

If the Word that we have is not the infallible, inerrant and preserved to the last jot and tittle what shall we do? We are without hope for the very promise we rest upon may not be in the “older” manuscripts or at least “some of the ancient texts” may omit it. We come to full knowledge of the Word after salvation through the aid of the Holy Spirit. The Word is foundational to our initial faith and to our continuing education of God and His plan.

Either John 8:1-11 is His word or it is not and if it is not than maybe John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-14 were also just marginal notes and we cannot rest upon those promises. Indeed, all is called into question and maybe we better return to Judaism, but then we have the JEPD theory that condemns the veracity of the Pentateuch and there is the theory that two different men wrote Isaiah. Much more is at stake here than just easier reading and eliminating thees and thous. If God can give us inerrant originals can He not preserve His Word for all generations? If not, is He less than omnipotent and did His omniscience not know those originals were pretty flimsy and would not last? How did His foreknowledge miss that point? Is He so weak that He had to wait for the 1881 translators to finally find the true manuscripts and straighten out the errors of centuries? He said that Heaven and earth would pass away but not His Word? Did He lie or just overstate His abilities? That might be somebody’s God, but not mine!

God is not the author of confusion and either He has preserved His Word or He did not. Either I am right when I preach the “questionable” passages as the Word of God or I am not and thus adding to His Word and in heresy. If I am right then those who go by the “scholarship” and explain them away are taking away from His Word and in heresy. It cannot be both ways. One position is truth and the other error. There is no gray here.

II Thess 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. (KJV)

The mystery of or conspiracy of iniquity was already at work in Paul’s time. Iniquity is lawlessness or transgression. The law of God as revealed in the Scripture is what is transgressed. Why is it transgressed? Because like the doctrine of the Pharisees it is replaced by the traditions of men and questioned as it was in Eden. The Sadducees took away from His Word by denying portions of it. The record is not believed because the record says that God will preserve His Word. (Matt 5:18; 24:35) God does not like His Word added to or diminished. (Deut 4:2; Rev 22:19) The argument that no major doctrines are changed is not mentioned in those Scriptures as a valid reason to accept the corrupt manuscripts. When you remove blood, Christ, Lord Jesus and the like you may not have changed the doctrine but you have diminished the emphasis that God meant for these subjects. Diminish is not an acceptable action.

Because of this adulteration of the Word of God we have the consequence and that is apostasy. If you trace the history of every denomination that has departed from the KJV/AV/TR, you will find a downhill slide to apostasy. While there are still remnant pockets here and there most every denomination has left the theological position of their founders. Some are into perversion. Some are throwing big kisses at the Roman Catholic Institution.

Rev 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (KJV)

Even the vilest of harlots was once pure and the Roman Institution may have been a part of the true Church at one time, but she polluted herself by bringing in pagan rituals and strange doctrines yea, damnable heresies thus becoming the mother of harlots. Those who came out of her loins during the Reformation were pure as touching the Gospel though they carried too much of her tradition and error with them. Now, they too have cast off their purity and are returning to Momma. Their founders called the Pope an AntiChrist and now their descendants kiss his ring. The blessing is that their apostasy indicates the time of His return is near. Maranatha!

Many Baptists are falling into that nonsense as well. The Southern Baptist Convention once considered by non-Baptist groups as being more hard core Fundamentalist than the Fundamentalists have shifted away from the KJV and are seeing the fruits of Liberalism in their seminaries. In Texas and in other states as well, we have the Liberal convention and the Conservative convention in battle. The Conservatives are not nearly as Conservative as they once were but are far more so than the other side. The other side are so “cooperative” that they seem to cooperate with anyone or anything but God and His Scriptures.

I have read many surveys where most of the mainline denomination pastors no longer believe in Hell, the Virgin Birth, inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures, etc. The numbers are higher for those under fifty than over fifty because we see the ripening fruit of the seminaries. In essence, these church leaders are not even Christians. They believe little or nothing of what saints have died for over the centuries. What can they be but blind leaders of the blind? Again this is creeping into even Independent Baptist schools.

Some might say that if the apostasy was prophesied then why fight it? To borrow a principle from another passage, if you stand on the other side in apathy or even passive support you become as one of them. (Obadiah 11) You hear cursing and bewrayeth it not. (Prov 29:24)

Does that mean that all users and supporters of the other versions are lost? No, some have just been duped by their seminary or the easy English and have not studied the root problems. I once worked five years with an NIV man and I still count him as a friend. I believe him to be saved and that his heart is in the right place. We had numerous discussions on this issue. I told him that I would have many things that I will have to apologize to God for when I get there and that his use of the NIV will be one of his.

Yet, I learned from this that we could never work in the same field again as it causes much confusion when I point to 1 John 5:7,8 as a proof text of the Trinity when the NIV either deletes it or the footnote calls it into question. Do they listen to the Senior Pastor or the Associate? What do I tell a brother whose faith is shaken by the contradiction? Should I say that it doesn’t matter and just believe? Believe what, a Book that even scholars debate on whether it is the Word or not? Just believe in a foundation that may not be secure because God allowed man to mess it up? Again, God is not the author of confusion.

1 Cor 1:19-21
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (KJV)

The lad that called me a heretic said he could give me a long list of his scholars that disagreed with me and deemed me no scholar at all. Webster gives one definition of a scholar as any student or pupil. I indeed seek to be a student of Christ and His Word so in that respect I am a scholar. Do I have all the accolades of man and a noteworthy member of his societies? No, and I do not seek them.

One need only survey the Old Testament and find many references to when the Kings, Priests/Doctors of the day were out of the will of God and God sent unnamed prophets, pickers of sycamore fruits or other socially unacceptable people to rebuke them. In the New Testament, while the Pharisees and Sadducees mocked Christ it was the harlots and publicans who heard Him. Indeed, most of the men that He used were unlearned by that society’s standards. Jesus even once thanked the Father that he revealed His truth unto babes and not to the wise and prudent. During the Inquisition it was the Doctors that oppressed the people and kept the Gospel from the masses substituting tradition instead. The Reformation tore many away from that darkness, but now we have a breed of Nicolaitanes that force the common man to look to them since it is nearly impossible to know the Word without them. Many who deny the Lord that bought them have degrees and titles. Honestly, I am not even sure I can find a group of men that I would want to revise the KJV today because too many have axes to grind and halos to shine.

Am I against education? No, not at all, but we have placed too much emphasis on the teachings of man and too little on the Holy Spirit. If a person has the Holy Spirit and is in obedience to what Word that has already been taught him then the Spirit can and will teach that person all things even if the person has never seen a Greek or Hebrew word. If you put all your trust in men with degrees you will never trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit that might disagree with that man and you are thus headed for cultism.

Too many suffer from the errors of the Corinthians because they rally around their camps or seminaries and say I am of this one or that one and parrot men more than imitate Christ. When I taught the Sunday evening Bible studies at my previous church I wrote out every lesson and challenged them to study the Scriptures to verify what I was saying and not to accept the quotes of Chairman Ron. A true heretic and cultist would not issue such a challenge.

Two of the best men that I have ever served with are not scholars by the world’s standards. One called himself just a second-class tract passer and yet God called him to win souls and start churches. The other is my current pastor who has a secular degree from Stephen F. Austin but has not attended any seminary. Yet, it would be tough to find a better pastor or student of Christ. Truth is not defined by degrees. Truth is that it is. I have quoted and given some Internet references for some scholars. You can find those who disagree. When you have two scholars on opposite sides of a question you have to rely on something other than degrees.

I have tried to provide you with history, Scripture and other things to help you make a decision. Actually, I have several hundred years of history on my side and counting the first century proofs a couple of thousand years. The other folks have one clump of 4th century manuscripts and less than a hundred years of “scholarly” debates. Still, I urge you to study the Word and sincerely seek guidance from the Holy Spirit. I believe that you will come to the conclusion that the Textus Receptus is the preserved Word of God and that the best translation we have today of those texts is the KJV/AV. I have been challenged because I appear to be being dogmatic and then tell you to pray about the matter. I believe strongly that I am correct in my assertions, but I have no desire to be a Pope so I urge you as Paul told Timothy to study that you may be approved of God and not of men. That practice in no way diminishes my belief or conviction. In any case, keep looking up for our redemption draweth nigh! Maranatha!!


Having been in ministry of some form since 1975 I have seen a few things. Some have been great and others not so great. I have had some victories and fallen on my face. Yet, I have always had the desire to serve the Lord and have pressed on looking for His grace and wisdom to lead me on though many times I thought maybe I could do it on my own.

Having found that I cannot do it on my own I wonder how we got to where we are where so many things are considered for a person to serve that have nothing to do with Scripture. The process tends to place people in a position where they have to depend on themselves and the system to find a place of service rather than the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, if you look at the qualifications of a pastor and deacon in 1 Timothy 3 and then look at some of the “job descriptions” churches and organizations use to select people you will find a vast difference between them.

Oddly enough, the Apostle Paul had the 1st Century version of the credentials desired today and he counted them as dung and nothing to hang on to very tightly. He had the education, the references, the positions, titles and power that would make many a ministry salivate and yet after he was saved they were useless. He now had real wisdom and power. Yes, he used his background in ministry as all people do. I come from a variegated background to say the least and while I can use that to gain an audience once I get an ear it is not going to help me much. After that, God better be doing something or I am wasting my time building wood, hay and stubble as well as possibly preventing someone from being saved or committed to Christ if they are saved.

However, the flip side of Paul would keep him from serving in any large or famous ministry in America. He has been incarcerated several times so many a prison ministry may interview him. He has caused instances of community unrest even to the point of riot. He does not have a great oratory style or voice and he does use it to insult people from time to time. He will not look good even in an Armani suit because the scars from his stonings and whippings as well as the damage from being ship wrecked do not give him a great TV presence and with that voice radio is out as well.

He does good written communication work, but so much would have to be edited because of name calling and politically incorrect speech. He is so backward because he deals with peripheral issues like hair and how to behave at a church supper where communion is also offered that are non-essential to salvation so we must not be dogmatic about such things. After all, in essentials unity and in non-essentials, charity is a biblical mandate or is it?

What? He says women are to be submissive and cannot be pastors? Oh, if we ever published that in the Jerusalem Apostolic Times we would be sued and have massive protests outside our door! What is this nonsense of him wanting his young apprentice, Timothy, pastoring a church? Why, the lad is only 21! Paul knows that you cannot even be a member of the Sanhedrin until you are thirty and then only if you are married. Single and 21, what is Paul thinking?

If Paul would have a hard time finding a ministry what would the fishermen in the group do? Rough edged, burley, minimally educated fishermen would be out the door if they even got an interview. Yea, even Jesus based on His earthly background would have a hard time. I mean, a carpenter with a controversial heritage that creates unrest in the community. He takes on the PhDs of the Sanhedrin and says so many disparaging things about these pillars of the community and spiritual leaders. He would not be a boon to our donations as He started out with thousands of followers and then He ran most of them off with His deep theology so that only a relative handful remain. There is a rumor that He was under the scrutiny of the government as well. After all, His cousin challenged the government to the point of losing his head!

Did Jesus have a proven track record for His three years of ministry? Yes, He fed thousands, but in the end was deserted by nearly everyone. One of His own inner circle denied Him three times. He had no home or steady income so you cannot run a background check to see if He was fiscally responsible. He had no formal education yet He silenced the intelligentsia much like Amos did to the royal priesthood of his day.

Paul said that God has chosen the weak, the base and the foolish and very few of the people the world would consider good candidates were among them. Yet, we push men who might be the next Amos, Peter, Phillip or even Johns out the door because they do not meet men’s criteria and thus we hinder the power of God, sap the strength of the Body and may even damn some to Hell that those men were called to bring to Christ because they cannot relate to the Christian upper crust, but need someone on their level or background. We have made most of our ministers fit the characteristics of the minority not the majority of who God used to turn the world upside down.

We have also made it so expensive to be “prepared” for ministry that if man makes it through the maze and gets his cheese degrees and pedigree then it is tough for him to find a place that can afford him. Not that he is greedy of filthy lucre, but he has debts and oddly enough he got into debt to serve the God who said to avoid debt as the borrower is servant/slave to the lender. Imagine that!

Ultimately, if they find their position and achieve some modicum of success they are on a tightrope trying not to fall to the left because of pride or fall off to the right because of discouragement. That brings me to the main thrust of my message. And someone said, “Finally! I wondered where he was going.” To understand a problem you sometimes have to go back a good piece or notice the twists and turns on the road that gets you there.

The temptation affects not only the “professional” ministers, but also the volunteer ministers in the churches. After a person serves for a time they look at their ministry and if they are well compensated either in “packages” with retirement plans, book allowances, travel expenses, etc. they may think they have succeeded and the pride thing starts to kick in.

If the person is a volunteer, but he gets his rewards from the respect of the congregation, many mentions of his name from the pulpit and awards at yearly banquets then he/she is also in danger of pride and having to suffer with the other people who are not as high up on the rung as they are getting a stick neck by having their nose stuck up in the air.

The other end of the spectrum is the despair and burn out where there is no “personnel packet” and the accolades are not coming in as frequently as desired or not at all. If most ministers are honest, this is the norm and the other situation is rare. No one likes to be in such a position, but it is probably the place where we will become more dependent upon God’s power and not ours. We base too much on current trends rather than biblical example.

The author and finisher of our faith was deserted when, from a human perspective, at the time He could have used more friends. Paul followed the same pattern. Demas and others forsook him and indeed he was alone at his first hearing at Caesar’s court. He had to defend his apostleship to the Corinthians and he led them to Christ. If you look at his defense in 2 Corinthians 11 you will not only see the irony of the conflict but also a list of things he endured that are not on anyone’s pastoral bucket list.
Ministry is often thankless, unappreciated, under compensated or not all, hard, tiring and while you joy in the Lord and are thankful to be able to serve you will not always be happy. Joy and happiness are two different things. Read church history and especially Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and it is easy to see the error of prosperity preaching, Indeed, that may also reflect on the condition of the modern church when Menno Simons said that the true church will always be persecuted. We have it far too easy, but that is changing.

The cure for the pride factor and the discouragement factor can be found in the following passage.

Luke 17:7-10

7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. KJV

Because we are so independent, competitive and needing affirmations, accolades, etc, we develop a wrong view of many things but especially Christian service. It is, after all, not about you. You cannot demand your rights because you are bought with a price you are not your own. That makes you a servant and hence the relevance of the passage. You may say, this lad was a slave and that is true but so are you. Yes, we wear many hats. We are sons, joint-heirs, ambassadors, witnesses, saints and sometimes martyrs, but we are also slaves/servants.

Note in the passage, not one word of praise comes from the master to the servant. Everything the servant did was expected. We want praise because we showed up for work and did what we contracted for when we accepted the salary and benefits. After that, the company does not have to do anything else after that. The deal was cut. They do not have to give you raises, bonuses or enhance your benefits. They offered you A, B and C and you said you would take it. That is the end of story. You are no longer happy with that then get another job not a picket sign or union steward.

This lad was one hard working fellow. It seems he is the only servant so he does the field work and is the chef and kitchen crew. That makes me tired just thinking about it, but then I am spoiled by a forty hour work week from Monday to Friday. I try to avoid overtime as really most of it goes to taxes and at my age, my time is more important to me than the little bit extra I may get.

This fellow did not have such luxuries. He worked from sun up until sun down six days a week with only the Sabbath off, but he had to work harder on Friday so that there would be no need for manual labor on Saturday. They did not have refrigeration or microwaves so that would have been a grand challenge. As far as we can tell, this lad got no real perks. The master did not even say, “Hey, take the night off we’ll call for take out.” He busted his hump in the hot fields plowing and herding cattle to come in and do the meal, dishes and whatever else the master desired before he went to bed. I picture him finishing up the dishes and having a start on breakfast about 2300 and maybe falling into his rack by midnight only to have to be back up by 0 Dark 30 to start all over again. Y’all want to apply for his job? I doubt it.

After all of this, Jesus said that when you have done all that you do say that you are an unprofitable servant. So, even if God really wanted you to spend all the time and money to get numerous degrees you have nothing to be proud of because you only did what you were supposed to do so what thanks do you have coming? According to this passage, none. You are not to lord it over God’s flock so don’t strut in expecting them to sweep and bow. Some will be impressed, but many others will be looking at other things about you and will not give two cents for your papers. If that will hurt your ego you may need another calling to business or something else because you are missing the point. The congregation owes you nothing and are not required to feed your ego.

I worked once with a fellow that went to bible college and came back ordained and his home church members treated him no differently and it ate his lunch. He forgot the passage where Jesus says that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country and in his own house. All the titles in front of your name and alphabets after your name are to be used like Paul used his Roman citizenship or his Jewish resume. They get you a hearing with folks who would not hear you without them. Other than that, you should forget them if you can. Use them sparingly, if you must, but do not be infatuated with them. That infatuation will bring you down. After you have used them all that you need to use them you are still an unprofitable servant for you only did what you were required to do. There is nothing above and beyond the call of duty for your duty is all you can do so expect nothing and you will not be surprised.

For the brethren who get depressed, the answer is really the same for you. The master in the parable did not thank the servant so do what you are supposed to do and let it go. Some may want to protest and say that Christ gives rewards and blessings. Indeed, He does. However, many of the people you will minister to will not be Christians and even those who are will not necessarily act like Him. Besides, much of what we will receive we get when we get to glory. You may get some awards and thank yous. It is fine if you do, but don’t let them be your focus. He is the focus and His mission is the focus. All else is trivial.

In Mark, Jesus said we would get a hundredfold of what we give up for His sake, but that return is not always in the way we wish or think. I am an only child and yet, I have plenty of mothers, fathers, etc in Christ. I have two biological children, but I have some kids that would think of me as an uncle, if not a father. My son once said I was the coolest Dad in the church according to his friends so some of them might have let me adopt them. 😉 I can think of some houses in various places where I would be welcome for at least three days. If a prophet stayed more then three he was a false prophet, but a few folks might even want me to hang around for a few more days.

You may have a great resume, but so what? Do not expect any accolades or even blessings from God as you think you should receive. You may be wanting something far less than He wants to give you or even something that you would find out later is not a blessing should He give it you. Whatever gifts He has given you use them to your fullest extent as the day is coming when no man can work and it is your duty to all that can do and be thankful that Jesus loves even the unprofitable servant. That is who He uses the one who abandons himself to do the will and work of Christ expecting nothing and being humble enough to know without Christ, he is nothing. Maranatha!