Monday, 30 August 2010

A Note to the Left

A note to the moral and political Left, to conspiracy theorists and end-times preachers: when you have been asked to provide support for your view, ignoring, deleting, unfriending, censoring, changing the subject, name-calling, accusing, ex-communicating, imprisoning or killing the person isn't an answer to the question.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Importance of Spelling

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Can China Prevail Over America?

Some are predicting that America's economy shall collapse and China's shall prevail.

The reason I bother to answer such claims is because many are using these predictions to find fault with capitalism as an economic system, favouring forms of socialism or even communism. As a result, many voted for Leftist parties in recent American and Australian elections instead of voting for parties with traditional Christian values.

Another reason I take issue with it is because some are even publishing that these predictions are a sure sign of the end of the world. Lots of valuable time and resources are spent publishing and following such claims.

My feeling is that China's continued economic growth depends on a strong American economy for two reasons:

One, because China's recent economic growth has depended highly on its exports to America; and

Two, because China's growth has depended on its export around the world of products that have an international market which exists only because of America or because of American companies or products.

So if America's economy collapses into a subsistence economy, China's would soon follow. China's is a dependent economy - it is not a stand-alone economy.

11.63% of China's foreign trade is directly with America - but China's biggest exports to other countries are only possible because American products have created an international market for those items.

One example is China's export of accessories for electronics and computers. Many of these products relate indirectly to American companies and inventions, e.g., Microsoft and Apple computers.

Therefore if America's economy collapses and reverts back to an agricultural economy, there will no longer be a growing worldwide demand for many of China's major exports (including electronics and computers and accessories for American-made products or companies).

Despite currently ranking first in the world in exports (after the EU), China already ranks only 102nd in the world in GDP per capita - so imagine where China would rank in GDP per capita if it loses the market for its biggest exports around the world!

China's largest import from America is agriculture (food). China would still have to import food from America - the world can do without electronics, but China can't do without food! So China's balance of trade with America would therefore soon go into deficit and America's into surplus. Millions of people currently employed in China's manufacturing industries would therefore have to revert back to primary produce (farming).

So if America's economy collapses into a subsistence economy, China's economy would soon follow. And America's economy would still be the strongest of the two!

(China's GNP = $7.96 trillion (2008). China's GDP = $4.33 trillion. GDP is a better economic indicator than GNP. China's world trade = $2.56 trillion. 59% of China's economy depends on foreign trade. China's trade with USA = $298 billion. 11.63% of China's foreign trade is direct trade with USA. It's difficult to put a figure on the proportion of China's exports to all other countries that relate to a market that is made possible only because of America, or American companies, or American products - but it could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in my estimation.

It's up to those who believe China could prevail above a collapsed American economy to provide statistics that support such a view.)

I think private property and freedom (capitalism) are still the way to prosperity. I think Christians should still be voting for traditional Christian values. And I don't think it can be asserted that one's economic forecast for China must be a sure sign of the end of the world. Jesus can return at ANY time.

Anyway, we shall see - it's all up to God's will, isn't it.


Saturday, 28 August 2010

Guidance in your spirit

"Sometimes your head is telling you to use common sense but your heart is telling you to go with what you feel. After everything I've been through, I've came to define love as when your head & your heart agree, when everything inside you is screaming, this is right..." - Pagtalunan Evelyn Gambol.

I think the above quote seeks to describe the feeling a person has when they don't have an assurance in their spirit about a certain decision, and it seeks to describe the feeling a person has when he does have an assurance in his spirit about something.

I would probably use different terminology, and perhaps I'd divide between mind and heart a little differently - but the conclusion would probably be the same.

The quote says that unless our mind and heart are in unquestioned agreement, it's a 'no'. That can be true. But there are times when we have to make a decision before our mind has a chance to catch up and get into agreement with our heart. The only way we can do that is to have a submitted mind, and to acknowledge that God leads through our heart - through our spirit - not through our mind.

But that's only true when we distinguish between heart and emotions. Your heart is your spirit, not your physical emotions. Man is a spirit, he has a soul and he lives in a body. The Holy Spirit lives in our spirit. Therefore God will guide you through your spirit, or heart - not through your physical mind or emotions.

If it is our emotions that are conflicting with our mind, then neither of them alone are good guides. But if it is truly our heart (our spirit) that is not at rest about a decision, then it pays to take heed to our heart. If what's really happening is that our spirit (our heart) is unassured, then we should pay attention to it. When our spirit (our heart) hesitates, it should be taken as a 'no' - at least for now.

But when our heart (our spirit) assures us - even though our mind and emotions may protest and may not want to submit - we can go ahead confidently. Perhaps this is the scenario that the above quote was seeking to describe.

Patriotism in the Church


What role does Patriotism have in the church?

John Edwards:

What role does patriotism have for indigenous nations, and for Palestinians?


John, not following....please explain.

John Edwards:

I mean, is there a role for native Americans, Australian aborigines, or Palestinians for example, to be as patriotic in their churches about battles fought for their lands as there is for say American, Australian or Israeli patriotism? It's the same question as yours, only with the spotlight on a few specific instances of patriotism.


I like the way you are thinking about this, rather than including only America which is what so many use as the "measuring rod" of what a country and a "christian" should look like. Which is FAR FROM what the bible declares the church ACTUALLY looks like. There is only ONE body...and they are scattered all over this world in every is there a place for being Patriotic in the body of Christ...or is this something that is extremely American? That is an interesting question John. Something tells me that believers in China (who have NO FREEDOM) - - are NOT patriotic.

Let's look at Webster's dictionary:

"Patriotism" is love and devotion to one's country. The word comes from the Greek patris, meaning fatherland. Patriotism, however, has had different meanings over time, and its meaning is highly dependent ...upon context, geography, and philosophy. The act of being loyal to or fostering positive and supportive attitudes towards one's country, especially in periods of national turmoil, such as war.

"patriotic" - inspired by love for your country.

Interesting how patriotism and love are linked in the defnition given by our dictionaries. Should followers of Jesus Christ LOVE their country? Should we be devoted to nationalism or to individual souls? Some would say both....I'm just not seeing it in my bible.

Please help show me in the scriptures where I should be patriotic and I will gladly renounce my outlandish questioning on the issue.

John Edwards:

The Church in China is deliberately patriotic. The reason for this is because a major cause of the Communist Party's suspicion of the Church in China has been its perception that the Church could be an outpost of an American nationalist agenda. Therefore the Church in China, in an open letter to the Communist Party, has openly asserted its autonomy from Western churches and its loyalty to all things Chinese - in order to alleviate unneccessary suspicion and persecution from the Party.


"The Church" in China that you are referring to is the one setup by the government, correct? There is a Chinese version of Christianity that is not persecuted (which may have some true believers) and then there is an underground persecuted church which I would submit is NOT patriotic.

John Edwards:

I refer to the underground Church. They are openly patriotic. In the past, arrested Pastors had a policy of silence when questioned by their persecutors about the extent of membership in the house churches. But a couple of years ago, whe...n membership had grown so much, the house churches changed their policy. Now they desire that the government acknowledge how big membership in the house churches has become. They want the government to acknowledge the existence and legitimacy of the house-churches. They said they won't stop no matter what. But they desire the government to see that the Church in China is not an insurrectionist movement. It has no formal ties to the West. The Church is loyal to the People's Republic of China. It has no intention of overthrowing Chinese government. The Church desires to be loyal to Chinese government in China. The government need not fear the Church. Leaders of various house-church movements got together and penned an open letter to the Communist Party to that effect.


Interesting John, thanks for sharing. I'm not sure I agree that there stance is Patriotic (at least in the same sense as American patriotism), but I do see your point. It is the same point true believers in America would communicate to ou...r government: We are not here to overthrow or resist politics OR to rebel against authorities...but we are after the hearts and minds of lost sinners and we seek to follow Jesus into a spiritual kingdom...not a worldly one.

In other words "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 1 Tim 2:2

John Edwards:

Yes, it is patriotism in the sense that the Church honours the role of delegated authorities; the Church refuses subversiveness and insurrection from inside the Republic and has no links to it from outside the Republic; the Church in China comletely Chinese and completely autonomous - and it would never do anything other than seek the welfare of the people, the Republic and the government of China.

I think we can all be like that. A nation is simply people. We are commanded to love people. And we are commanded to obey authorities. In that sense therefore we can be patriotic towards a nation.

Under the Old Covenant, Israel lifted-up banners in the name of the Lord God: "We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners..." (Psalm 20:5).

In the New Covenant, the Church shows forth "the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light" (I Peter 2:9).

But God has also ordained other institutions besides the Church: for example, the family, and government, and nations. Patriotism is simply the acknowledgment of the institution of national identity. The New Testament acknowledges national identity - not because nationality impacts upon salvation but, like the institution of the family, nationality is an institution in which God has ordained that humanity lives.

To be patriotic about nationhood is to thank God for the grace of life. There is a basis upon which we can be patriotic towards a nation even when its history has been unrighteous - even when its policies still need to improve in many aspects. And that basis is this: simply that God has granted life, ordained nationhood and ordained government.

An individual can still love and feel loyalty to his or her family even if his or her hasn't been the best behaved and most functional family on earth. He or she can still be 'patriotic' towards his or her family, as a way of honoring God who created families; and as a way of honouring his or her parents - and as a way of keeping the framework together in which God can work.

Similarly, the Church can be patriotic towards its nation as a way of honoring God who ordained the national identity; as a means of honoring the nation's God-ordained leadership; and as a means of creating a positive, encouraging, empowering, equipping, faith-filled atmosphere which instills hope for the nation's future on the basis of what God has potentially provided for the nation through Christ on Calvary.

Just because your son may have an injury, or a handicap, doesn't mean you don't cheer him on on athletics day. You still cheer him on because family is family. It's the same with national patriotism!


Well said. Something I will prayerfully consider. Thanks.

John Edwards:

I should add: it doesn't mean national patriotism at the expense of another nation - to the disadvantage of the other nation. God has ordained all nations and He sets the boundaries of their territories. Therefore we should honor each and... every nation. And its only natural that each of us has a special emotional patriotism towards our own nation - just as we would toward our own family - irrespective of the areas in which we still have room for improvement - while at the same time honoring other nations and families and the institution itself.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Law = Love

"On the lips of Jesus, the law becomes love. There are Ten Commandments, yet the first and only commandment for Him is “You shall love the LORD your God … and the second is like it! You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mat 22:37-39). The voice of Sinai yearns. Israel misunderstood God from the start. Mount Horeb thundered but only with passion. His laws are love-laws. Blessed?" - REINHARD BONNKE

Thoughts About the Welfare State

by Neil Reynolds:

"How brutally will the British coalition government cut spending in the year ahead? People are worried – very worried. Around the world, they apparently expect the worst. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster says the cuts make the poorest people suffer the most. The Socialist Party of England and Wales condemns them as “vicious.” (“The entire public sector is being hacked.”) The Labour Party agrees: The poor will be “hit the hardest.” In an editorial, The New York Times describes the cuts as “draconian” – especially punitive, the newspaper says, for the poor. U.S. President Barack Obama says that they could set off another global recession.

This is strange – very strange. A casual perusal of Britain’s “emergency budget” shows that the Conservative-Liberal coalition has, in fact, increased spending for the poor. It has largely protected the welfare state and in some cases (child tax credits, for example) has expanded it. It has exempted public sector workers earning less than $32,500 a year from the two-year pay freeze; these exempt workers get raises of $380 a year. It has lifted the basic personal tax exemption by $1,550, releasing more than 880,000 low-income earners from paying any income tax whatsoever. It has increased the basic state pension by a minimum of 2.5 per cent. And so on.

Britain’s “brutal budget” does require some public sector sacrifice. Senior civil servants will be permitted to fly first class “only in exceptional circumstances.” Cabinet ministers will have use of chauffeurs “only in exceptional circumstances.” It’s going to be rough.

The budget does begin to address the country’s profligate resort to deficits for the past decade. But its impact shouldn’t be exaggerated. Britain’s deficits are now equal to 10 per cent of GDP. Five years from now, they will be equal to 2.3 per cent of GDP. This is the right direction, but the distance travelled isn’t all that heroic.

By and large, brutal budget cuts do not actually exist. In his analysis of the budget (frequently referenced as the toughest since the Second World War), British economist Philip Booth explains that people have confused cuts in projected spending with cuts in actual spending. It is true that the budget included cuts of $170-billion over the next five years. But these cuts are mostly based upon hypothetical spending increases as projected in the defeated Labour government’s five-year plan.

Mr. Booth is an economist at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a London-based markets-oriented think tank. He says that, for all practical purposes, there are no cuts in spending this year and few cuts in coming years. He says the budget imposes restraint, not reduction. This restraint, he says, limits spending increases to the rate of inflation. This is vicious? This is draconian?

There will be “cuts” – but to middle-class, household budgets. The tax increases will be real and they will be painful enough. One of them is the infamous bank tax, successfully resisted by Canada at the Group of 20 summit; the levy will reduce the British deficit by an easy $12.4-billion in the next four years. Predictably, however, this revenue – though publicly advanced as an innovative fund to make banks pay for future bank crises – will go straight into general revenue and will not provide a pence worth of crisis insurance. In the meantime, Mr. Booth says, the British will experience “unprecedented levels of peacetime government spending.” The government’s share of the country’s earned income will peak at “54 pence in every pound” – 54 per cent. Without a reversal of direction, the British budget papers calculate, this government share of incomes could hit 70 per cent in the next few years.

Mr. Booth has argued in the past that Britain’s decrepit welfare state has already made it too easy for people to live without working. From this perspective, the budget’s increased financing for welfare programs will make this problem worse. He argued the point earlier this month in an essay published by The Catholic Herald.

“The model of eliminating poverty by increasing government spending has been tested to destruction,” Mr. Booth wrote. “[Britain’s] welfare bills are huge – over 30 per cent of households receive more than 50 per cent of their income from the state, not allowing for benefits in kind such as housing, health and education.”

“Three essentials for economic fulfilment are work, saving and families,” he wrote. “Our welfare system crucifies all three. ... [Britain now has] the largest proportion of children in Europe brought up in workless households.” By again increasing welfare spending, Mr. Booth observes, the country will increase to record levels the number of people who gain no economic benefit from working – a good way to hardwire an increase in Britain’s welfare culture. You get more of what you subsidize. Thus the critics may be perversely right after all: The budget could indeed hit the poor the hardest."


Is it 'Christian' to Tax the Wealthy at Higher Rates?

We should stop wishing for the creation of a huge welfare state. Instead, wish for businesses to grow. We should vote for a conservative political party rather than a Leftist party.

Of course I'd like to see it taken even a little bit further. Personally I think a flat-tax system would be more Biblical. I don't believe it's justice to tax some people harder than others just because they have more.

Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen's idea was to charge everyone a flat 20% tax (or thereabouts) and eliminate all other taxes. That's more righteous. Under the current system of income tax in Australia, some people pay no tax, others pay around 12%, or 20%, or 30%, or 45% depending on their income. Former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's proposed super-profits tax on top of company tax would have meant that some mining companies would effectively be paying over 80% tax! That would be unfair on Australian shareholders.

Countries that have introduced a flat-tax system have all prospered as a result.

It isn't 'Christian' or 'fair' to think that someone or a company should be taxed harder than others just because they have more - even if the money is going to be handed to the poor.

When it comes to social welfare, I think the system in Japan and America (before Obama changed things) had some elements that are more Biblical than some elements of our system here in Australia. No wonder Japan and America became such prosperous economies! I may explain the advantages of some elements of their systems in a future post.

Are Big Corporations UnChristian?

There is an attitude today that expects the government to do more for us; that says we have rights to bigger handouts; that thinks the 'Christian' thing for a government to do would be to tax big industries harder so welfare programs can increase; an attitude that regards big companies as impersonal evil entities who owe us something.

A big company is nothing more than a lot of individuals like you and me who bought shares, putting their money and hard work together to provide a better service. What's wrong with that? You're free to join them by becoming a shareholder.

I mean, let's say a Woolworths opens in a town like Coominya, QLD. Sure, the single corner store in Coominya will experience a reduction in its daytime sales. And some die-hard Left-leaning people will call Woolworths all sorts of evil names.

But think of the advantages to everyone else living in or near Coominya. They would be able to buy most of their groceries in one location instead of having to drive all the way to Ipswich or Gatton to get certain things. And things would be cheaper, because Woolworths can buy in bulk and sell at cheaper prices than a corner store. Dozens and dozens of locals could get jobs - casual, fulltime, apprenticeships, management positions - instead of needing to drive to Brisbane to work.

Think of all the savings in time, petrol, and prices - and think of all the wages. Now multiply those savings by the number of people living in the Shire - 15,000 people. Potentially the area could be $200,000 better off combined PER WEEK as a result of a Woolworths opening in the area. And yet some people would rather see all those people lose all those blessings just so the daytime takings of one corner shop doesn't go down. They'll call the big company all sorts of names. They'll blame the Liberal Party.

See how counterproductive that is? How selfish! They'd rather disadvantage 14,999 people just so one person doesn't have to change.

The corner store owners don't have to be disadvantaged either. They can buy shares in Woolworths - that way they can benefit from Woolworth's success too. And they can also change the nature of their business to meet a need.

For example, they could open late-nights when Woolworths is closed. Or they could start stocking products that locals need which Woolworths doesn't stock. Or, they could instead use their resources and time to start providing a service to people in the area which isn't currently being offered. That way Coominya keeps becoming a better and better place.

It's silly to hold progress back - silly to make everyone in Coominya keep paying corner store prices, or drive all the way to Gatton and Ipswich for groceries, or drive all the way to Brisbane to work - just so one corner store's profits don't go down!

I've heard people criticizing Ikea for using self-service automated checkouts instead of employing checkout staff. They even called in unChristian and selfish.

But look at it this way. For one thing, Ikea has lots of shareholders many of whom could be Christians like you and me - so the more profit they make, the more God's work can advance. And the more profits they make, the more the company can expand and employ more people.

Why employ people unnecessarily as checkout operators when technology provides a more efficient system? That isn't being a good steward of our time and resources!

Instead, it means all those people who would otherwise have spent 40 hrs a week employed as checkout staff, are now freed-up to go and be productive in another field where they are actually needed. So society benefits. Everyone benefits. Plus, everyone is free to buy shares in Ikea.

But we'd rather bash Ikea. We'd rather criticize Woolworths. Do you see how our so-called 'Christian' ideas against big business and conservative government actually hinders progress and prosperity? It creates poverty. It's self-centred. It's lazy. It shifts blame onto others. It's unjust. It's judgmental. It's critical. It's unequal and unfair against other hardworking shareholders. And yet people, even Christians, think it's their 'right'.

This is why even the poor are actually better-off under conservative policies than under eftwing socialist policies.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Is the Left Christian?

Jesus said to help the poor. But He said to do it with our own resources. He was talking on a personal level - not on a macro-economic policy level. Nowhere did He say that we have the right to take and use and redistribute somebody else's money to help the poor. Nowhere did He say that we should expect the government to provide more and more services for us. And Paul said that believers should work with their own hands to provide for themselves and for the poor.

Neither Jesus' nor Paul's statements were an inauguration of some sort of Socialist welfare system. It was about being personally productive and being voluntarily compassionate with your own resources.

Labour and Greens supporters always pull out that 'compassion for the poor' card. But let's examine it for a minute and see if it's really effective:

Is abortion compassionate? It kills 80,000 babies every year and doesn't appear to be making women any happier.

Is legalizing gay-marriage compassionate? It inevitably results in gay adoption and surrogacy - which is really a form of child abuse because every child deserves both a father and a mother.

Are Labor's huge cash stimulus packages, the proposed resources super profits tax, and increasing welfare programs compassionate?

In less than three years Labor has squandered a multi billion-dollar surplus and turned it into a multi billion-dollar deficit - Australians are going to be paying it off for years. That will make less money available for all of us.

Don't forget companies are not evil entities - they are just made-up of shareholders - everyday Australians like you and me - individuals, mum and dads. So if you hurt the company, you're hurting the very people you claim to be helping. The more you tax the company, there'll be less jobs available for everyone else = more poverty. It also forces prices up, which disadvantages not only all of us but also buyers overseas, resulting in more poverty here and overseas. Then the government needs to increase welfare and foreign aid to make-up for it.

But welfare very often breeds welfare dependency. Public benefits very often destroy personal responsibility, ingenuity and productiveness. Recipients become victims of the system. As someone once said, "The bigger the government the smaller the citizen".

Conservatives don't say there should never be any welfare - in fact, under a conservative government prices are always lower and there is more welfare available for people. Conservatives just don't look to the government for more and more and more. Instead, they focus on the freedom to develop industry - because that's where everything comes from in the first place.

If you want everyone to have more milk, don't milk the milk-cow to death - better to focus on getting the milk cow really really healthy! Or better still - produce more milk-cows. Then everyone will have more milk - not just today, but tomorrow too.

Doesn't that sound like something Jesus would want?

The Blame Game

"I have never met anyone who was able to blame their way to happiness" - John Hunt

A Real Man

"A real man doesn't love a million girls. He loves one girl in a million ways" - I saw this quote today.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

In the Right Track

"When my spirit is dancing, I know that I'm in the right track" - Dianne David

The Essence of Phariseeism

"The Pharisee spirit is in those that accuse others of being a Pharisee!" - Ann Blaha.

"A Critical Spirit," The Modern Church's Definition Of The Pharisee
by Britt Williams on Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 2:26pm

"The farthest thing from the Spirit of Jesus is the spirit of religion. Throughout the Bible, there are certain spiritual types and patterns available for our consideration. If we want a Biblical model for dead, Christ-rejecting religion, none so exemplifies this spirit more than the Jewish Pharisee. Nothing is more different from Jesus than a Pharisee. Not surprisingly, Jesus' harshest words and fiercest battles involved the Pharisees. The Pharisees not only resisted and rejected the message and person of Jesus Christ, they also plotted His betrayal and ultimately, His murder. Thus, to call someone a "Pharisee" is to essentially accuse them of being a Christ-hater and Christ-murderer. However, how might we truly define the Pharisee?

Unfortunately, in the professing church today, the beliefs that "obedience to God’s commandments constitutes legalism" and a "zeal for Biblical accuracy equates to Phariseeism" are wide spread. These erroneous beliefs are consistent with the rank Antinomianism that has spiritually crippled and blinded the modern evangelical church. Sin abounds among professing Christians today and the light of God's Word is shunned and opposed. Consequently, "criticism," like perhaps nothing else, is considered the defining characteristic of a Pharisaical spirit. Somehow, correcting, reproving, or exposing sin or doctrinal error with the Scriptures is now believed to be hateful, cruel, and self-righteous. Is this accurate? Is such a view Biblically sound? In finding our answer, we must remember that dead religion is the devil's counterfeit for Biblical Christianity. It is a sham, a fraud, a spiritual mirage, cleverly crafted to deceive the undiscerning. Jesus, when teaching on the difference between true and false spirituality, often used parables. Within those object lessons, he always cited things similar in appearance but different in nature. For example, "sheep" and "goat" have a resemblance, but they are two different creatures. To the untrained eye, "wheat" and "tares" appear as the same plant, but they grow from different seed. Thus, a counterfeit is always exposed and debunked when compared to the genuine it imitates. To truly contrast two opposing parties and define their unique characteristics we must find the distinct areas in which they differ. We can never rightly determine a counterfeit 100 dollar bill from the genuine by merely concentrating on the obvious agreements (for example, the picture of Benjamin Franklin), we must rather, ascertain the subtle differences. Hence, to truly understand the Pharisees, we must compare them with Jesus and find how they differ. What individual and unique traits separate the character of Jesus from the character of the Pharisees? And more importantly, was "criticism" something unique to the Pharisees and foreign to the Lord Jesus Christ?

Notice, when we apply this rule of comparison and contrast to "criticism," we find it cannot be the distinguishing mark of a Pharisaical spirit. Why? Because Jesus was just as critical of the Pharisees as they were of Him. Jesus is characterized in the Gospels as being very forthright, often reproving the Pharisees publicly. For example, in Matthew 23 alone, one ten minute sermon, Jesus referred to the Pharisees as hypocrites 7 times. Furthermore, He called them 12 other derogatory names ranging from "blind guides" to "serpents." And finally, he told them they were hell-bound. Therefore, we see that Jesus was brutally critical of the Pharisees. On the other hand, the Pharisees projected a very peaceful public image. They often met Him with proper titles and approached him with feigned respect. More times than not, they flattered Jesus, but their heart was filled with hatred, while they secretly plotted to do away with Him. Hence, the Pharisees were just as critical of Jesus, but more cloaked under religious hypocrisy. Jesus' disagreement with the Pharisees was well known, documented, and easily understood...

"The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said."
-John 18:19-21

While the Pharisee's disagreement with Jesus was more clandestine. They gave the appearance of peace, love and tranquility, yet they plotted His murder.

"Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry..."
-Luke 23:4-5

Hence, it is not merely "criticism" that distinguishes the Pharisee, but hypocritical "criticism of Jesus" (the Word) that defines this spirit. This is a subtle but profound difference in terms. It's not that we are critical, or judgmental, but rather, are our criticisms and judgments in agreement with, or opposed to God's Word? The Pharisee, therefore, will actually judge outside of God's Word and do so while he hypocritically and arrogantly condemns "judgment".

In fact, the words "criticism," "critical," or "critic" are no where found in the Bible (KVJ). Moreover, contrary to popular opinion, Jesus is extremely critical...

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a DISCERNER of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
-Hebrews 4:12-13

The Greek word translated into the English word "discerner" is "krit-ee-kos." The word literally means to be decisive, critical, or discriminative. This suggests that Jesus Christ, who is the living Word of God, is critical [this fact is eluded to in verse 13 in the personification of the Word, i.e., "his sight"]. This idea refutes the modern, popular, and yet worldly philosophy which teaches that criticism is always wrong.

Thus, to the charge of Phariseeism I respond:

Am I judgmental?
Yes, boldly so, examining and proving all things according to God's Word.

Am I intolerant?
Absolutely, intolerant of anything and everything opposed to Jesus Christ.

Am I critical?
Of course I am. I am consumed, no possessed, with a critical Spirit, His name is the Holy Ghost.

Am I open-minded?
Never, I'm utterly given over to a narrow mind.

However, none of these declarations necessarily make me a Pharisee.

"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
-Matthew 16:6

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Thoughts About the Functional Equivalence Method of Modern Bible Versions

Many modern Bible versions, in an attempt to become more readable, have followed a translation philosophy of dynamic or functional equivalence, rather than exact equivalence. The only problem is, while some might think the meaning is equivalent, to others the meaning might not be equivalent enough - it might be altered or somewhat lost. This might have been avoided if the translators had sought to translate more exactly.

Here's an illustration that explains what I see happening:

I once did a pastel on paper, depicting Manly beach, NSW - in the Impressionist style. Being an Impressionist work rather than a work of Realism, I included only those details that had left an impression on me.

Most of my friends found my finished work acceptable - some, admirable. But one day I showed it to someone, and he was aghast. "Where's the clubhouse?!" he asked/exclaimed. In the limited detail of my Impression, I hadn't included the Manly Surf Life Saving Clubhouse. Never having been a Manlysider myself, I hadn't been able to appreciate the iconic importance that the clubhouse held to many locals. The building didn't make a lasting impression on me - so I didn't include it in my Impression of the scene. But unbeknownst to me, this person who was now viewing my work had once lived in Manly, and over many years had grown quite attached to the sight of his beloved clubhouse. To him it was untenable therefore that any depiction of Manly beach could ever be considered adequate without including the clubhouse. To him, it couldn't really be considered a picture of Manly at all!

In the same way, a modern translation committee might take a text of Scripture then render it in a modern way which they think sufficiently expresses the meaning of the original. They've produced their 'impression' of the Scripture rather than aimed for 'photo realism'. And most people might think the work of 'impression' is wonderful, and be be blessed by the modern version. But someone else might read it and be aghast. He might be aware of some aspect of truth which is present in the original but is altered or missing in the modern rendering. It may be an aspect of truth which had become important in his Christian experience. To him it might be untenable therefore that any version of the Bible should ever omit or alter that aspect of truth in the original. To him, it couldn't really be considered a real Bible at all!

That illustrates the limitations of dynamic or functional equivalence. The only way to avoid it is to aim for exact equivalence as far as is possible.

In my opinion, the role of a faithful Bible translator should ordinarily be to attempt exact equivalence with the original as far as is possible - like a work of photo-realism rather than an impressionist work.

There may be a role for interpreting the sense of Bible passages too - but that role ordinarily belongs elsewhere than by altering or ommitting parts of the Bible-text itself. At least, if that's what a Bible version is doing, then that ought to be stated so in the foreword, rather than claiming translation superiority.

I quite enjoy the Aussie Bible, and the Amplified Bible at times. But in the same way that no matter how many impressions or abstractions an artist does of a scene, it's always important to prioritize keeping the original scene in mind or keeping photos or photocopies of the original scene in our possession so that we can always give relevance to any modern or future interpretive works - so it is always important to preserve the original text of Scripture as exactly as possible so as to give relevance to any modern or future interpretive versions.

Friday, 20 August 2010

A Key to Understanding the Prophets

A key to understanding the Scriptures of the Prophets might be to look for how it explains Jesus and the Gospel and the Church as it emerged on the scene in the first century AD - instead of looking for some future eschatological outline.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Jacob Have I loved, Esau Have I Hated

Paul quoted this verse. It was a statement by God. But notice God didn't say it in the first book of the Bible, before Jacob and Esau were born - He said it in the last book of the Bible long after the two brothers had lived and died.

Yes, before they were born, God declared what the outcome of these two guys' descendents would be, based on His foreknowledge. It wasn't even a statement about the two brothers, primarily. Esau didn't actually serve Jacob during his lifetime. It was mainly a statement about the two brothers' descendants. But the outcome was not without a cause: Esau despised his birthright and chose to allow Jacob to inherit it. The New Testament later actually describes Esau as a profane person - a prototype of the type of Hebrews who were at risk of missing-out on God's promised salvation due to unbelief in Jesus.

Paul told this story to illustrate that it was not without precedent in Scripture that many Jewish people were missing-out on experiencing the promised salvation - it was an outcome long foreseen by the Prophets. God had elected that salvation would be by grace alone, and He foresaw that many, despite being Jewish, would not believe. Therefore the outcome which the Roman believers were witnessing in the first century was quite in-keeping with prophecy and quite in-keeping with God's original promises. Paul's Gospel [the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith] was therefore vindicated, despite its implications for unbelieving Israel.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A Poem by Pastor Rufino Lagat

Ginoo, salamat sa unang bidlisiw sa adlaw, tima-an sa pagbukhad sa bag-ong kabuntagon; samtang iyang gihagkan ang mga daw-kristal nga mga yamog nga nangumbitay sa suwab sa kadahunan, ilhanan sa Imong walay hunong nga pag-atiman kanako..Oh,Ginoo, salamat gayud!

Monday, 9 August 2010

I Pet.1:1,2

The sanctified, obedient and blood-sprinkled believers in Jesus Christ were considered "strangers" from the Jewish, Law-keeping point of view - but from God's point of view the Church - made up of both Jews and Gentiles - was in reality the very thing that God had foreknown from the beginning; the existence of the Church as the true people of God was the very plan that God Himself had elected from the beginning - a chosen plan based on His own grace and willingness to extend His peace.

T.U.L.I.P. - My Version

Total Depravity:

Justification could never be earned on the grounds of Jewishness nor on the grounds of keeping the Law;

Unconditional Election:

God therefore elected to grant salvation on a different basis that would not be conditional upon Jewishness nor conditional upon observance of the Law;

Limited Atonement:

The basis upon which God elected to grant salvation meant that a person would not automatically be saved just because of his Jewishness;

Irresitable Grace:

God chose to save both Jew and Gentile - by His grace! Who can resist (dispute) the graciousness - the justice, equality & mercifulness - of that plan.

Perseverence of Saints:

Seeing it was always legitimately God's plan to save both Jews and Gentiles by the grace of Jesus Christ alone - rather than on the basis of Jewishness or on the basis of keeping the Law - believers who had chosen not to succumb to the insistences of the Judaizers could therefore rest assured that this confidence of theirs would not disppoint them in that Great and final Day. The believers' confidence was founded in the legitimacy of the plan which from the beginning was God's own: to save by His grace (rather than by Jewishness nor by the observance of the Law).

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Wisdom is Justified By Her Children

I think it probably means that although the Jews failed to comprehend that the Gospel was indeed God's plan (despite coming packaged in two different styles of approach: John's approach (fasting, holiness, etc) and Jesus's approach (f...riend of sinners, etc). Despite Israel on-the-whole failing to recognize God's plan (God's wisdom), the children of God's wisdom (that is, those who truly in their hearts comply with God's plan) acknowledge that the plan (the Gospel, the wisdom of God) is legitimate (they justified it).

It was the Jews who neither mourned nor danced when the mourners mourned and the pipers piped - but it was the children who belonged to wisdom who nonetheless justified it.

Jesus was saying that despite the Jews' overall rejection of God's plan, there was a group who would acknowledge God's plan.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

God's Will in Paul's Journey to Jerusalem

Was it or was it not God's will for Paul to go up to Jerusalem?

Paul said, "And now I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem." 

I take that to mean that Paul felt he had no choice - it was God's will.

Paul said he didn't know what would happen to him there. Everywhere he went, however, the Holy Spirit was indicating that he was headed for some troubles.

He was in a hurry, hoping to be there for Pentecost. But on the way, he was told through the Holy Spirit that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

I take this to mean that Paul was to delay his journey. He did end-up staying somewhere for "many days" after this prophecy.

But Paul still felt constrained to go to Jerusalem eventually. Finally it was indicated by a prophet that the Jews in Jerusalem would tie Paul up when he goes there. This time there was no instruction that he should not go - he was told only what would happen when he arrives there.

When Paul's acquaintances heard this, they tried to persuade him not to go up to Jerualem, but Paul wouldn't be moved. He was ready. So his colleagues ceased, saying, "The will of the Lord be done". They had attempted to dissuade him not because it wasn't God's will that he go, but out of concern, knowing what would happen to him once he arrived. So they packed up their things and went to Jerusalem with him.

So apparently although God had His proper timing, it was after all God's will for Paul to go to Jerusalem despite what would befall him there.

That is the manner in which my friend Jolon understood the will of God in the matter of the two prophecies about Paul's journey to Jerusalem.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Discussion About Bible Versions


KJV-only fanaticism is a bit silly, imo.


Newer editions of the NIV keep correcting earlier renditions - and each time it does, it becomes more and more like the KJV. Funny, but true!

If we have to have a modern version of the Bible, I wish its translators would at least use the same translation-philosophy as the KJV instead of the "dynamic equivalent" philosophy used by many modern versions - because although it may be 'dynamically equivalent' to refer to "...the child's [Jesus'] father and mother..." (Luke 2:33NIV), it's not the same doctrinally as saying, "...Joseph and his mother..." (KJV); etc.

Is there any modern version which only seeks to modernize the syntax rather than assumes the right to omit or change the meaning of words for the sake of 'flow' or 'dynamic equivalent'?


John: the Greek phrase behind the two versions you cite is, in the ancient manuscripts, quite contested. I'll give you a sampling of the variety from the ancient sources in formal equivalence English: "the father of him and the mother" (NIV... seems to follow this one or perhaps the next); "the father of him and the mother of him"; "the father of him" (omit mother); "Joseph the father of him and the mother"; "Joseph and the mother of him" (NKJV follows this one) "Joseph and the mother"; "Joseph." I won't trouble you with which ancient manuscripts and which church fathers record the variants above.

The renderings of Luke 2:33 that you cited are not based on whether it has been rendered through formal equivalence or functional (i.e., "dynamic") equivalence, but upon which Greek reading was considered most authoritative.


But many modern versions switch between manuscripts. That shows their loyalty is with something other than the manuscript. At least the KJV translator's made a decision and as far as I know, stuck to it.


John, Apparently you think that purveyers of dynamic equivalence translations (now called, btw, "functional equivalence") are so careless theologically as to want to change the meaning of the texts. If you were to peruse their writings carefully, you would find a decided zeal for presenting the precise meaning of the original in the equivalent stylistic forms used by native speakers of the target language.

Yes, their loyalty is not to one single copy, made many centuries after the original. Their loyalty is to get at what the now lost original said, as best as that can be determined by the current state of manuscript study. We only know the original from the copies.


But they keep changing their opinion about which manuscript was, after all, more reliable. And the more they learn, the more they realize the KJV got it right, so it seems.


The Scofield bible does that. He rep[laced obsolete words, like "prevent" and "conversation" (but I love those words)


When you copy out passages of the Bible, is your copying perfect? If you and ten reliable friends wrote out ten copies of, say the letter to the Romans KJV, would all ten copies be the same? And, if you later wanted to get back to the exact text of the KJV, would you follow only one of the ten copies? Or would you collate all ten, to find the best agreement, and the best readings?


Yes, unless I felt I could make an academic decision that one of the copies was actually the correct one. Plus, many modern translators omit or change words that appear even in their own source manuscripts. For example, their source manus...cripts might say "Christ" but they change it to "he"; or it might say "Christ Jesus" but they render it merely "Jesus" - just for the sake of flow. Doing so does have an effect on function: saying 'Christ Jesus' carries more implications than merely 'Jesus'.


1) First issue first. How would you make the "academic decision" that one of the copies was exact? Even a photocopy can be unclear.
(2) There's no defense for carelessness. Can you give me a specific text in translation that commits the e...rror you charge? Hearsay won't do.


Okay, issue (1) first. When NIV keeps publishing revisions based on new decisions about the preferability of one manuscript over another, and when each of their revisions is making the NIV look increasingly like the KJV - it unsettles my c...onfidence in their decision-making processes which led to their original assertions about "the oldest and most reliable manuscripts". At least the KJV translators had enough confidence in their own decision-making process to stick with it. And it seems the longer the NIV committee lives, the more they are realizing the KJV translators had seemingly made an informed choice.


1) I think you overstate the frequency of revisions of the NIV.
2) I am not at all sure that the revisions move the text closer to the KJV. If anything, their current work is moving closer to the TNIV, which Zondervan is taking off the mar...ket.
3) We shouldn't think that text-critical work will come to an end beyond which nothing more can be done.
4) We shouldn't think that translation committees shall ever be permanently satisfied with their results. Did you ever work in a committee to produce a document?
5) Also, there were various revisions to the KJV which are little known to American readers. The biggest one was in the 1880s. Facsimile editions of the 1611 KJV are very different from current editions.


Issue (2). The NKJV, if I'm not mistaken, claims to use the same manuscript used by the KJV for the New Testament. If the NKJV translators were indeed loyal to their own manuscript of choice, there should therefore be no ommitted, changed or added words for the purpose of flow. It should differ from the KJV only in syntax. But that's often not the case.


The NKJV translators wisely did not choose to hold themselves to the standard of replication that you suggest. Theirs is an improvement upon the KJV, while still using the Textus Receptus as the base text for NT.


But in many instances the NKJV renders a verse in a way that doesn't reflect ANY known manuscript!

The NKJV has also made revisions which demonstrate that their original rendering wasn't always based on pure translation. E.g., earlier editions said that Jesus emptied Himself, whereas newer editions return to the KJV's rendering: that He made Himself of no reputation. That's more than just modernizing the syntax! Obviously therefore the translators can't really claim "exact equivalence".


I'm not a zealous defender of the NKJV. As for the "pure translation" idea, "pure" by what standard? There are various measures of such "purity." And what seems pure to one scholar may seem polluted to another. In Korean, I'm told, "You're ...pulling my belly button" means "You're joking with me." We'd say, "You're pulling my leg." One Arab Christian I know had that said to him by an American Christian lady with whom he was sitting at a church dinner: "You're pulling my leg," she said. His much offended reply: "Madame, I haven't touched your leg." What would be the "pure" translation of that English line into Arabic?


Ha ha! :) It all depends on what the translators claim about their translation. I quite enjoy reading "The Aussie Bible" for example, with all its Australian slang and colloquialisms which probably only an Aussie can understand! :) But... in the case of the Aussie Bible, the publishers are upfront about their translation-philosophy. Unlike the NIV and NKJV's revision committees, the Aussie Bible doesn't claim any superior manuscripts, superior academics, or exact equivalence nor functional equivalence. But I think what we are discussing here is a serious translation of the Bible, rather than paraphrases, and rather than a conversation across the dinner table. People are relying on the very wording of the Bible almost like precedents in law! In this instance therefore it behooves the translator to strictly translate. Leave interpretations up to the reader. If an ancient text said, "You're pulling my leg", then a faithful translator will translate it, "You're pulling my leg" - rather than render it in terms of his opinion of what the expression may have meant. Unless of course, you're upfront about being a paraphrase rather than a translation. So, do you know of any modern translation that is loyal to these ethics of translation as faithfully as the KJV?


So, you insist upon the phrase "he that pisseth against the wall" for the books of Samuel? Do the "ethics" of translation require this? Shall this be read to the fifth grade boys sitting in church?

The better strategy for most readers today is to put the "pisseth" in the margin, and to translate the sense of the phrase in the main text. The text is not about urinating in public. The text is about men of military capability.


Yes I do! The translator's job IF HE CLAIMS EXACT EQUIVALENCE, and SUPERIOR ACADEMICS would be to put his opinion of the sense of the phrase in the margin, and to leave the exact equivalent (which he boasts) in the text. Of course if he's not claiming exact equivalence then it doesn't matter. ('Exact equivalence' means exact equivalence to the words, not to their sense!)


Responsible translators aim to be understood. That's "equivalence." Who claims "exact equivalence"? To do that would be to replicate the Hebrew and the Greek.


The NKJV claims exact equivalence, as opposed to dynamic equivalence. But there is even variation between the NKJV's UK and US editions - not just to reflect variant spellings, but the US edition even omits entire words and concepts. And yet 'exact equivalence' to the original manuscript is claimed in both editions. Go figure!

Responsible translators use syntax in order to be understood - they don't interpret the text.

A responsible translator doesn't explain the text - he just translates it. Explanations, interpretations, and his opinion of 'the sense' belong in margins. Translation alone belongs in the text. Unless he is upfront about being a paraphraser rather than a translator.

This is a sincere question: do you know of any modern version that is as loyal to that as the KJV?


I believe the term used by the translators of the NKJV was not "exact equivalence" but "complete equivalence." See the preface to the NKJV for their enunciation of the claim. When the NKJV first came out in print, this claim was widely criticized. And rightly so. I teach Hebrew Bible for a living. No translator achieves complete equivalence.


Agreed, no translator achieves complete equivalence - but their best attempt needs to be made. To say Jesus emptied himself as opposed to saying he made himself of no reputation isn't really an attempt at near-equivalence - it's a deliberate parapharase, explanation, interpretation or opinion.

...which they've virtually admitted, by reversing their rendering in newer editions


John, when you say, "Responsible translators . . . don't interpret the text," you overlook the fact that every act of reading is interpretation. Does my phrase "He's not red, he's scarlet," mean "He's not just a little sunburned, he's cooke...d," OR "He's not just a lefty but an all-out Communist" OR "He's not just from any old red state that votes Republican," or "He's not just a little adulterous, he wallows in it"?

I've got to call it a night. It's late. It's been fun, John.


Yes but the actions of making-oneself-of-no-reputation and emptying-oneself aren't similar enough to be explained by that. It's a case of the 'translator' substituting his own feelings about an action for the meaning that he knows the original words really had.

If we believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the original Scriptures in the original language, then we also ought to be able to believe that God saw fit to inspire the original writers to select words which can be translated almost equivalently into foreign languages and still carry the same sense.

To use your example of "he that pisseth against the wall" - if you relegate it to the margin, and instead place 'the sense' in the text - what would your text be? Would it be the word 'male'? That would fail to convey some of the sense.

We don't know that David had a practice of using the expression synonymously with the word 'male'. I don't even know if anyone else among David's contemporaries ever used the same expression as being merely synonymous with the word 'males' - do you? What extra-Biblical manuscript-evidence do you have which proves that the expression was synonymous with the sense of the simple word 'male'?

The expression which David chose to use on this unique occassion evokes the sense of far more emotion and disdain than the mere word 'males'.

As far as I know, David used the expression in this one instance only; and no-one else ever used the term at all.

And we believe the Holy Spirit inspired the writer of the Book of Samuel to include this expression when the writer could just as easily have used the word 'males' if that was all the sense that God elected to convey to us.

See how much is lost from God's inspired Word by pretending to know what the intended 'sense' was? It's not your right as a translator to assume that role, where the constraints of language-translation make it possible.

Thanks for your valuable input, Dr Byron. I appreciate it! And thank you David for tolerating this discussion in your thread! Good night to you.