Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Picture in Words #wordle #WordCloud

Dear Readers,

During the month of November, I have the custom of posting my daily gratitudes on Facebook. I will share some of them with you next weekend, but for today - here is a word cloud of some of the most common words I have used in the past few months on my blog: 

I hope you will all have a peaceful Thanksgiving this year. I would love to hear something YOU are thankful for today.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

KJV Only movement? Is the King James Version the only Bible we should use?

For a long time after leaving the FOC, I was afraid to attend another church, having been told on numerous occasions that attending no church at all was preferable to going to one of those "worldly churches" who practiced false religion among other heresies. I was also afraid to read the Bible - connecting much of it with fear of hell-fire and damnation. After nearly six years, I became a born-again believer and began reading the New International Version of the Bible - I really needed to a fresh perspective. To this day, King James scriptures bring back the fear and intimidation I associate with the FOC.

But, some of my relatives were upset with my choice of Bible, stating that it was a heresy to change scripture. I didn't buy it because, obviously, Jesus didn't speak in the King's English and the Bible wasn't written in any form of English. It's all a translation. The article below addresses the KJV only beliefs of so many English-speaking Christians to this day.

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by S. Michael Houdmann 

Many people have strong and serious objections to the translation methods and textual basis for the new translations and therefore take a strong stance in favor of the King James Version. Others are equally convinced that the newer translations are an improvement over the KJV in their textual basis and translation methodology. does not want to limit its ministry to those of the "KJV Only" persuasion. Nor do we want to limit ourselves to those who prefer the NIV, NAS, NKJV, etc. Note - the purpose of this article is not to argue against the use of the King James Version. Rather, the focus of this article is to contend with the idea that the King James Version is the only Bible English speakers should use.

The KJV Only movement claims its loyalty to be to the Textus Receptus, a Greek New Testament manuscript compilation completed in the 1500s. To varying degrees, KJV Only advocates argue that God guided Erasmus (the compiler of the Textus Receptus) to come up with a Greek text that is perfectly identical to what was originally written by the biblical authors. However, upon further examination, it can be seen that KJV Only advocates are not loyal to the Textus Receptus, but rather only to the KJV itself. The New Testament of the New King James Version is based on the Textus Receptus, just as the KJV is. Yet, KJV Only advocates label the NKJV just as heretical as they do the NIV, NAS, etc.

Beyond the NKJV, other attempts have been made to make minimal updates to the KJV, only "modernizing" the archaic language, while using the exact same Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. These attempts are rejected nearly as strongly as the NKJV and the other newer Bible translations. This proves that KJV Only advocates are loyal to the King James Version itself, not to the Textus Receptus. KJV Only advocates have no desire or plan to update the KJV in any way. The KJV certainly contains English that is outdated, archaic, and sometimes confusing to modern English speakers and readers. It would be fairly simple to publish an updated KJV with the archaic words and phrases updated into modern 21st century English. However, any attempt to edit the KJV in any way results in accusations from KJV Only advocates of heresy and perversion of the Word of God.

When the Bible is translated for the first time into a new language today, it is translated into the language that culture speaks and writes today, not the way they spoke and wrote 400 years ago. The same should be true in English. The Bible was written in the common, ordinary language of the people at that time. Bible translations today should be the same. That is why Bible translations must be updated and revised as languages develop and change. The KJV Only movement is very English-focused in its thinking. Why should people who read English be forced to read the Bible in outdated/archaic English, while people of all other languages can read the Bible in modern/current forms of their languages?

Our loyalties are to the original manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments, written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Only the original languages are the Word of God as He inspired it. A translation is only an attempt to take what is said in one language and communicate it in another. The modern translations are superb in taking the meaning of the original languages and communicating it in a way that we can understand in English. However, none of the modern translations are perfect. Every one contains verses that are at least somewhat mistranslated. By comparing and contrasting several different translations, it is often easier to get a good grasp on what the verse is saying than by only using one translation. Our loyalty should not be to any one English translation, but to the inspired, inerrant Word of God that is communicated by the Holy Spirit through the translations (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

This article was reprinted with permission and was originally published on 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What Does the Tea Party (TCOT) Have in Common With the Church?

We're stronger together - but apparently humans just can't stay united behind a cause. I'm certainly not a member of the Tea Party - though I mutually follow many of these folks on twitter. Apparently they're losing influence because of factions. Sounds like the Christian church - so many pet religions: Methodist, Pentecostal, Baptist, And that doesn't even include those far-outside-the-norm factions: Mormons and the other door-knockers, the Jehovah's Witnesses. 

How can the Gospel be interpreted so differently by so many? Imagine how influential Christians could be if we were all united!

The Followers of Christ are similar in this regard. I'm not talking about all the in-fighting and disagreements over doctrine (such that there is - watered down and handed down and altered to fit the most influential / bullies). I'm talking about the different FOC churches. The four Idaho FOC churches, which do not get along with each other. The Oregon City FOC, which believes it is the only group of true believers and that the Idaho groups are worse than worldly people. 

As far as I know the sister religion, The Church of the Firstborn, is far more accepting of both newcomers and other COFB believers.

This week, I heard a rumor that another Oregon City FOC baby had died - last name of Eells. Turns out that baby was from one of the Idaho groups - a large portion of which have the same surnames as the Oregon City group. Relatives who haven't spoken in lifetimes.

What are the effects of the divisions and fractures in groups, faiths, even political parties? Are we stronger together? How can so many people think differently from each other and still be convinced all others are wrong?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Praying for Oregon City

I was planning to write a post about thankfulness today. But I've been seeing posts from Facebook friends about the day's events in Oregon City. 

A policeman was shot in the face when responding to a house fire, neighbors were evacuated, and residents received reverse 9-1-1 calls instructing them to stay inside.

So, to anyone who reads this message: please pray for the safety of the residents of Oregon City.

To read more about this story, you can follow this link: Oregon City Officer Shot.