Saturday, December 27, 2014

God or Absurdity vs NZ Atheist

Yesterday I came across the Facebook page NZ Atheist. I left a comment on their page and below is the discussion that ensued, of which I've taken screenshots so that everyone can see the way that professed atheists have to work hard to suppress the truth about God. I use a presuppositional approach to show the wisdom of God and the absurdity of denying God.

At this point I called it a night. I checked the discussion again today and so far there are still no answers to my questions and a few atheist trolls have turned up with their usual mocking and intellectual dishonesty, so I'm leaving it there for now. I'm interested to hear what others thought of the discussion.

UPDATE: About a day later I again pressed NZ Atheist to account for logic in his worldview. I got a long answer that didn't give a direct answer. Here's what was said:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The War on Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope and pray that your Christmas is blessed. As you may or may not know, the purpose of my blog, website, and Facebook page is to show the wisdom of God and the absurdity of denying God. It's my passion to see people coming to know Jesus Christ, and to see Christians encouraged and equipped to evangelise and give a strong defense of their faith.

Our faith is under attack and there is a war on against Christianity. In the West we see an attempt by secularists and professed atheists to keep Christ out of Christmas and out of the public sphere altogether - not just at Christmas time but throughout the year.

What I've also found is that there are also a vocal minority of Christians who are strongly opposed to Christmas and think that it's pagan. So when I shared memes like the one below I got a lot of opposition - not from atheists - but from Christians. This meme in particular was shared by the Freedom From Atheism Foundation (FFAF) and has had over 250 Shares and 35,000 views.

I found the following articles helpful in explaining why Christmas is not pagan:

The Origin of Christmas - Answers in Genesis.
Is Christmas Pagan? - Stand to Reason.
Christmas: Of Pagan Origins? 
Can Christians Celebrate Christmas? - Carm.

Preaching An Irrelevant Christmas Message?

Another issue related to Christmas is the importance of reaching out with the gospel in a way that people can understand. This article discusses that:
Christmas Sermons - Are Churches Preaching an Irrelevant Message.

Persecuted Christians and Christmas

Some absurd beliefs are more dangerous than others. And Islam is one of the most dangerous of those absurdities. For many Christians around the world it's not going to be such a "merry" Christmas because of persecution in the face of Islamic jihad and sharia law. For example Pastor Saeed is in a prison in Iran for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
American Pastor Saeed Writes Heartbreaking Christmas Letter From  "Hard, Cold" Prison - ACLJ.

Pray also for all of the Christians in the Middle East who have suffered persecution and are still suffering.

"Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." (Hebrews 13:3)

ISIS and Islamic jihadists in the Middle East are attempting to destroy Christianity. Their tactics are brutal, as this video makes clear: ISIS Swallowing Iraq: They're Beheading Children.

There truly is a war against Christmas and Christians. It is time for Christians to stand up for Christ, and time for Christians in the West to be a voice for the voiceless. News items like the one above from CBN news are not making it into the mainstream media, and most people are not aware of the genocide against Christians that is going on. We live in dire times, but thank God that ultimately we know who wins. May God bless you and give you peace through Christ this Christmas and every day of the year.

For Further Reading / Research:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The King James Only Controversy

Over a decade and a half ago I read James White's book "The King James Only Controversy - can you trust modern translations?" I had stumbled across it while perusing the books at a Christian bookstore and decided to buy it as I'd heard a bit about the controversy, although I rarely ever met any King James version only (KJVO) advocates. I think a lot of the reason I bought the book was for my own benefit - I wanted to know more about the Bible and why some people thought that the KJV was the only English version that we should use. I also wanted to increase my understanding of the issues related to the original manuscripts that translations are based on and how trustworthy they are.

In more recent times I've been finding that I'm regularly bumping into KJVO believers. While it isn't a salvation issue, I do think it's an important issue. Personally I usually use NIV version as I find it to be a good version, but I'm happy to look at other versions, and I think it's unhelpful to tell people that they have to read a book that uses outdated English that is difficult to understand. In fact at times, due to the change in language over the centuries since the KJV was written, some of the words and phrases in the KJV sound absurd to us today. For example the KJV uses the phrase "gay clothing" whereas most modern versions correctly say "fine clothing" due to the obvious change in the meaning of the word gay in today's vernacular. (See KJV Archaic Words).

Also in more recent times I've been blessed to listen to some of James White's videos online. He is a gracious and highly intelligent man that I highly respect. He has also had public debates with Muslims on a number of occasions and does so with hum.

A few weeks ago I watched this video - Should we exclusively use the King James Bible? I found it really helpful. It's a debate between James White and Jack Moorman. Interestingly, just several days after watching this debate I met someone at a church meeting who I discovered was a KJVO person, and I was able to share some of the things I'd learned from watching this debate.

With the above meme you'll find that the Greek words kai ho erchomenos (καί ὁ ἐρχόμενος) ("and shalt be") are erroneously in the King James Bible Dictionary:

But καί ὁ ἐρχόμενος is NOT in modern Interlinear Bibles or Greek texts that stay faithful to what the original manuscripts actually say. The actual Greek manuscripts have ho on (the one being) kai ho en (and having been) ho hosios (the Holy One). As stated in the meme above that I made - there is not one Greek manuscript in the world that has the Greek words "and shalt be" in Revelation 16:5.

You've also got words that should be in the KJV, but aren't. In the meme below the words "through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages" are missing:

Some questions I have for KJVO people are:

- Which KJV Bible do you follow?
  • The original 1611 version which almost no one uses and is almost unreadable due to the archaic typesetting? (E.g. They used the letter v for the letter u.)
  • The 1760 revision?
  • The 1769 Blayney revision? (This is what most KJV people use, and it's often referred to as a 1611 KJV because it's considered that it's not a new translation but is a new edition).
  • The 1769 Blayney Cambridge version?
  • The 1769 Blayney Oxford version? (There are over 100 differences between the Oxford and Cambridge versions).
  • The 1769 version with no italics for words added by the translators?
  • The NKJV? 
- If the English in the KJV is inspired then why didn't God enable the translators to get it right the first time and not have so many different versions that could cause confusion?

- Why are you believing something about the KJV that the original 47 translators of it never believed? (They never believed that the KJV translation was inspired or innerant in terms of the English words, nor did they believe that their translation was the final translation that would ever be needed in English.)

- Doesn't it strike you as odd that there are absolutely no KJVO people who are scholars with relevant qualifications? (I've searched in vain to try and find even one KJVO scholar with even a degree in biblical exegesis and biblical Greek. I'm not saying that KJVO are lacking in intelligence - it just seems to me that they are lacking in solid critical thinking skills or haven't yet applied those critical thinking skills to this issue. The closest I could find to a KJVO scholar is "Dr" Sam Gipp, who I discovered doesn't have real qualifications).

The bottom line is that modern Bible translations such as the NIV, NASB, and ESV are based on far more manuscripts than were available when the KJV was translated. These manuscripts enable the translators to know with much greater accuracy what the original autographs actually said. We can trust God's Word, and should not think that we have to use only the KJV.

One of the key issues in this whole debate is the fallacy of begging the question / circular reasoning (i.e. assuming what you're supposed to be proving). An example of begging the question is when KJVO people argue that it's terrible that modern translations have removed so many verses (which is one of the main accusations KJVO people use against modern translations), but from a non KJVO perspective it could just as easily be argued that it's terrible that the KJV added so many verses that weren't in the original texts!

KJVO people make the KJV their ultimate standard a priori and anything that doesn't fit into that paradigm is critically explained away, but they will not apply the same kinds of critical arguments to the KJV itself. This is a form of double standard, as illustrated well here by James White:

"Gail Riplinger appeared with Dr. Joe Chambers on June 4, 1994 on a radio program in Charlotte, North Carolina. Again Mrs. Riplinger allowed the interviewer to make reference to her academic credentials without once mentioning the fact that her field of study is not at all related to the Bible, history, or any type of linguistic or textual study. Again Mrs. Riplinger brought up Virginia Mollencott, but then, when a caller brought up the charge of homosexuality that history places against King James I of England, she was vociferous in her defense of King James. The interviewer rightly pointed out that James had nothing to do with the translation itself: of course, Virginia Mollencott's unannounced lesbianism had no impact upon the NIV, either, though Mrs. Riplinger would inconsistently deny this." (From 'New Age Bible Versions Refuted', by James White).


KJVO LIE: Westcott and Hort (who made an updated Greek New Testament in 1881) were spiritists / involved in the occult. (This lie seems to come from Gail Riplinger - see the video below - 'Gail Riplinger vs James White', and the above article 'New Age Bible Versions Refuted').

TRUTH: Westcott and Hort were not spiritists or involved in the occult in any way. Also this rumour overlooks the fact that the Greek used for modern Bible translations today differs significantly from Westcott and Hort's.

For Further Reading / Research: