Saturday, August 24, 2019

One Final Post on the NKJV Textual Deviations from the Text Behind the KJV

Mark Ward has closed all the comments on his blog, having admitted a degree of defeat on the issue of zero deviations of the text behind the NKJV from the underlying text of the KJV.  I provided 20 possibilities, and I think that fifteen were still true.  Mark is admitting to six.  In the conversation, the bar kept getting moved to the advantage of Mark Ward.  It turned into proving that they relied on the critical text in certain places and then whether they intended to deviate.  Those two aspects were not part of the original charge.

Since he's not taking anymore comments, I'm going to answer his final comment, which essentially finished off the issue at his blog.  I would have been glad not to have participated if someone else stepped up to answer him.  I don't think I produced every example, because I wasn't looking at that as the task.  I'm going to quote some of the sentences or paragraphs of Ward's last comment here and answer them, so that it will be clear what I really think and not be misrepresented by him.  He never asked.

Ward writes:
If we got up to 25 or 30 examples, even, of places where they undeniably followed the CT, I’d have to change even that tune. But given the quality of the evidence provided so far, I doubt it will happen.
Mark conceded, but he'd really, really concede if I provided even more examples.  He takes a shot at the evidence I provided, that it isn't high quality.  It's a list, enough rightly to concede.  I don't think they used a critical text as their text.  It's only that they didn't rely on an identical text as the KJV, the only point.  They also include footnotes to undermine the text they did use.

He continues later:
Through this epic discussion (and other reading I’ve been doing for an upcoming lecture at Reformed Baptist Seminary on Confessional Bibliology), I have come to see even a bit more clearly what KJV-Onlyism is. It is—wait for it—KJV-Onlyism. It is not, as so many KJV-Only leaders have insisted, a defense of the TR.
That's sad, because it is a TR position.  I recently explained that in the comment section of my last post on this.  If it is a TR position, you translate from the TR for your new translations, not from the English.  If it is a TR position, you base the meaning of the words on the usage in the TR and then through lexicons.  If it is a TR position, you bring out tenses of verbs, noun, preposition, and pronominal uses from Greek syntax.

Then he wrote:
I plumbed recently to the depths of E.F. Hills’ work, and Theodore Letis’ work, and I re-read the bibliology statement by Thomas Ross that Kent once affirmed to me, and I find the same thing: the ultimate standard for the NT, the perfect-in-every-jot-and-tittle text, is Scrivener’s 1881 text.
The Bible settles on perfection for itself -- verbal, plenary preservation, just like inspiration.  You can't add or take away from something that isn't settled.  Mark doesn't settle in defiance of what scripture says about itself.  That's not better than settling.

I get the reverse engineered criticism, but it doesn't get what our position is.  Mark doesn't get it, like he couldn't find anyone who wrote a list or even look for it himself by looking at the Greek text.  Every word was available.  Before you complain that there are a missing handful of handwritten Greek words or less in Scriveners, those have evidence in non-English translations and I'm not conceding there was no textual evidence at the time of the KJV translation.  That argument can be made.  Let's not go there though and just trust that translators were translating and those words were available.

God didn't promise to preserve a Greek text, but letters (jots and tittles) and words.  That is one of our presuppositions in that bibliology statement by Thomas Ross and affirmed by Kent.  Those words were available.  That fits what God said He would do, which is what we believe.  Scrivener printed them into a text.  Was that text available?  The words were available, but even on the text, it's very close with Beza 1598, which is why I often say, essentially Beza 1598.  I have no problem saying Scrivener either, because those words were there.

John Gill wrote his commentary in the 18th century.  What text did he rely on?  He was looking at a Greek text.  He was using the King James Version.  Was there no Greek text to look at?  There were other commentaries during the period before the critical text and Scrivener, who studied the original languages.  John Trapp wrote a commentary on the books of the New Testament in 1656.  William Jones wrote his commentary on the epistle of Paul in 1636.  There are more.

Ward continues further:
But Ross believes (and Kent at least once affirmed) that the KJV translators, who were not perfect, committed no translation errors of which Ross was aware. Likewise, Ross affirms that they committed no errors in textual critical judgment. When they chose to follow Beza and include εκ σου in Luke 1:35 rather than following Stephanus, they were providentially (not miraculously) guided into being free from error. When, in dozens of places, they made similar decisions, they were free from textual critical error. This is precisely what Hills taught, with great clarity and explicitness (see especially Believing Bible Study).
I would have translated the King James Version differently, but I don't believe the translators made a mistake in their translation.  That's not a miracle point.  That's just a competence point.  I believe the KJV could be translated differently and be right, because preservation is in the language in which scripture was written.  That's another presupposition that Thomas Ross also believes.  Variation in translation doesn't make it in error.  That is the nature of translation.

Then Ward wrote:
And I reject it. The KJV translators were no more providentially preserved from error in their textual criticism than they were in their translation. In both, they were very, very good—but they were also what they said they were: fallible human beings who were only trying to make a good thing better.
One regular misrepresentation of the preface of the KJV is that they said they might be wrong on the underlying text.  No.  They said that it could be translated differently, which it was in 1769.  I'm not saying Ward is lying, but there are at least some reading comprehension issues with those who keep saying this.

No offense to Hills (especially Hills), Letis, Ross, or even me, but the position that Ward treats like revisionist history is actually the historical view, so Ward should also mention John Owen, Francis Turretin, William Whitaker, Richard Capel, and Samuel Rutherford, also as reported in Richard Muller's Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics.  They took the position we take.  Ward's position or non-position arises from the seat of his pants, something that started with no history and no scriptural predisposition.  Then Ward and those like him invent a new history for us, which is not the truth (a lie?).  A one Bible position is the historical position.  When Ward goes to Reformed Baptist Seminary, he needs to be honest about the history behind the position he attacks, and as well represent what we actually believe, not his own straw man.

I've already answered Mark's complaints about our continuing to use the King James Version in favor of a contemporary version.  I'm not saying that everything Mark says about dead words is without merit.  No.  However, people can learn what words mean.  They have to do that anyway, even if they use a modern version.  I've said that the Bible you understand is the one you read and study.  Mark has said in the past with great clarity that his purpose was to move people to the critical text and that won't happen through discussing textual criticism, so he has chosen what he sees as a more pragmatic argument.  Why would anyone fall for that?  There are many other issues with using a modern version that a church like ours thinks is worse than the "false friends" about which Ward writes.

My conscience is not snared by an unscriptural scruple as Ward charges at the end of his comment (see the last comment here).  Our conscience is informed by biblical and historical teaching.  Ward's is the novel, unbiblical view.  He's the one veering into the side of a mountain without a reliable radar to give him a proper altitude.  He has one scriptural argument that leads him to call us sinners over readability, something new in the history of Christianity.  I've never read it from anyone but him.  That sounds more like an improperly informed conscience.  He went looking for it, so that he could have something "scriptural" to say -- like a revivalist preacher who looks for a text to fit his sermon.  On the other hand, our position proceeds from exegesis from scripture and agrees with a historical position.  We arrived at our position from studying the Bible, which provided the template, paradigm, or model for what we expect. That is the view that pleases God.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wilbur the Pig: A Story for Children

A new Christian children's story has been posted, Wilbur the Pig, by Heather Ross.  It is the story of a lame pig on the Roberts' farm that was named "Wilbur" after the more famous pig from Charlotte's Web.  The pig finds a special place in the Roberts' children's hearts.  Then, one day, the pig is gone.  What happened to Wilbur?  The answer to that question leads mother and father to teach the Roberts' children an important Scriptural lesson.  Please feel free to share the story with your children and with other families that might find it a blessing.  You can read the story Wilbur the Pig by clicking here. Please feel free to share any comments you have concerning the story below.  The PDF file includes the nice pictures included with the story; reading the PDF rather than the simple text in the post is recommended.  Other edifying children's stories should also, Lord willing, be posted in time here.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Act Like Men, Not Like Girls

Phil Johnson is on the board of directors for Wretched radio.  He does a program regularly with Todd Friel, called Too Wretched for Radio or what Friel calls "Philsosophy."  At the beginning of this segment is a montage of audio of Phil Johnson from sermons and speeches, and one of the statements that surely is included to characterize Phil is "Act like men, not like girls."  In a sense, Friel is saying, "that's Phil for you."  Especially among evangelicals, Phil is considered to be a tough guy.

I searched to find what sermon the quote of Phil may have come from.  I found that Phil has written a post on "Act like men, not like girls," titled, "Man up," and a sermon, perhaps from which it comes, called, "Marching orders."  The text from which he comes is 1 Corinthians 16:13, which the King James Version translates, "quit you like men, be strong."  Johnson quotes a modern version with, "act like men."  The two commands are the latter two of four.  Johnson writes:
Incidentally, the military tone of this verse is clearly deliberate. These are orders for an army going to combat. Paul was reminding them (and us) that the Christian's existence in this earthly realm is a battle, not a banquet. We are soldiers engaged in warfare, not merry-makers enjoying a party. Do we get that? because frankly, most contemporary evangelicals don't get it. The typical evangelical church seems to think Christ has called us to be clowns who entertain the world rather than soldiers whose duty is to wage war against false religion and spiritual lies. There are churches not far from here this morning where the pastors are doing exegesis of the latest movies or trying desperately to plug into whatever the latest cultural fad is. Look around and listen to what's happening in the evangelical movement today and you might get the impression that friendship with the world is the number one goal of the church. It's not. It is a grievous sin to be avoided. "Friendship with the world is enmity with God." The church is supposed to be an army waging war against worldly values.
I agree with Phil.  It's actually a very strong message for an evangelical.  My point of writing is something different.  I'm going to use Johnson's statement, "Act like men, not like girls," to say that God and the Apostle Paul assume that we know how men act.  And Phil Johnson assumes that we also can know how girls behave too.

The Bible doesn't tell us how men act, so how do we know?  How do girls act?  The Bible doesn't say.  So how can anyone judge men or girls as to how they act?  How can someone judge something for which the Bible does not give criteria?

There are a lot of issues in scripture that (1) assume understanding of meaning and (2) require application.  If I said to someone, "Act like a man," how would he know how to do that?  I could explain it, because God assumes us to know.  I know.  Today, however, what people really do know, they are unwilling to apply.  They might say, "Act like a man," but they don't have any expectations.  They don't even think they can have expectations, because the Bible doesn't say what those expectations are.  As a result, the passage is disobeyed.  If someone criticizes the lack of application, he is viewed and accused to be an unloving, insensitive, bad person.

Johnson says, "Act like men," means, "Be manly."  He says that Corinth was an effeminate culture.  What is "effeminate"?  These are all concepts that scripture doesn't define.  There are many similar principles in the Bible -- example:  what is corrupt communication?  Scripture doesn't say.  It doesn't say what is the "attire of a harlot."  Johnson is stepping onto the "dangerous ground" of cultural issues or making application of scripture to the culture.

At the most Johnson says to act like a man is to be militant or a warrior.  What is that?  Is manliness just being militant and a warrior?  I would agree that we can know what all of these are, but can we be dogmatic in their application?  If someone is not practicing them, is it a sin?  Can we say someone is disobeying scripture?  I have found that church leaders are unwilling to make any personal judgments or do anything about acting like a man.  If you do judge someone for not being manly, you are in bigger trouble than being effeminate.

Not being able or willing to apply the Bible to cultural issues relates to postmodernism, which is something to which Phil Johnson has written as much as anything.  Are men just going to talk the talk or will they walk the walk, or perhaps better act the act?  Your masculinity is not your masculinity and mine is mine.  It's something we can judge and should act like it.

Historic sola scriptura means scripture rules every area of a life.  In the history of the church, that means that men can make applications of the Bible to culture.  They are required to do so.  There is something ironic here.  Men are not manly enough to require manliness.

Monday, August 19, 2019

My Response to Mark Ward's Response to My List of Fifteen Deviations of the NKJV from the Underlying Original Language Text of the KJV

The following appertains to two posts that I wrote related to a claim made by Mark Ward in a blog post about the NKJV not deviating from the same underlying Greek text as the KJV (here and here).  I gave him a list of fifteen.  In a new post, he said none of them are legitimate examples, so I looked at his (and two assistants) arguments, and here is my conclusion about what they wrote.

*Asterick meaning that I don’t accept the argument.
1. In Matthew 22:10—Don’t mind giving this one, although a pattern starts to emerge where the text is different and the translation favors the critical text, but it is said to be a translational decision by those who might hope to cover for the “no deviation” claim.
*2. In Luke 1:35—The translators followed the critical text, but said they were making a translation decision, not following the critical text.
*3. In Luke 5:7—Matthew 6:5 is a different usage of “tois,” which is used as a relative pronoun in Luke 5:7.  That relative pronoun isn’t in the CT or the NKJV.
*4. Luke 6:9—The issue here is that the TR uses the plural for “Sabbath days” and the CT doesn’t, which is why the KJV translates the plural “Sabbath days.”  The NKJV deviates here.  I could follow the argument about other places of the plural translated like a singular except there is a deviation here, making this obvious.
5. John 10:12—This is not a good example by me, so I defer here.
6. John 19:10—This is not a good example by me, so I defer here.
7. Acts 15:23—I defer here.
8. Acts 17:14—I defer here.
*9. Acts 19:9—The NKJV translation matches the CT and deviates.  This reads as obvious.
*10. Acts 19:39—The NKJV uses only “other” as “further,” which is following the CT, as opposed to the clear translation of “concerning other matters,” which one can plainly read is the TR.
*11. Romans 14:9—What is very interesting about this refutation is that there is a double “kai” later in the same verse translated as both-and in the NKJV, so Ward and his group have this one wrong.  If they really were relying on contemporary English, they would have done it both times.  It could not have been grammatical.
*12. Colossians 3:17—This one stands.
*13. Jude 1:3—This one stands.
*14. Jude 1:19—Both the ESV and NKJV have the same translation because they both follow the CT, and you won’t see “themselves” (eautou), as in the KJV.  It also changes the meaning as some of these others do.
*15. Isaiah 9:3—the King James translators did not rely on the Qere reading, so it’s different.  I had to tell the truth.

I appreciate the service of Mark Ward and his two other assistants in eliminating five of my bad examples, and I believe leaving ten of them.  They are saying that none of those are left.  However, I believe there is more than the above.  I said that I stopped at fifteen, because I think there are more than this, so here we go again

1. 2 Corinthians 3:14—the NKJV departs from the TR to the CT with the TR (ho) and the CT (hoti), so the NKJV translates the conjuction, “because,” and the KJV translates the relative pronoun, “which.”
2. Philippians 2:9—the CT has the article (to) before “name,” “the name,” and the TR has no article, “a name,” and the NKJV reflects this deviation.
3. Revelation 6:11—the KJV follows the TR and the NKJV follows the critical text in the plural “robes” in the KJV and the singular “robe” in the NKJV.  The Greek word in the TR is plural and in the CT it is singular.
4. 2 Corinthians 4:14—the NKJV says “with Jesus” following the CT (sun) and the KJV says “by Jesus” following the TR (dia).
5. 2 John 1:7—the NKJV says “have gone out into the world” following the CT (exelthon) instead of “are entered into the world” (eiselthon) in the TR and KJV.

Alright, me and my assistants, well, just me, have added five more, while watching the 49ers preseason game.  I’m stopping at adding five more.  That doesn’t mean there are only five more.  I’m saying these are deviations.  Mark Ward asserts that he has debunked all fifteen of the former, and I’m saying he’s overturned five of the original fifteen.  I thank him for eliminating the five for me.  Good work.  Here are five more before victory is claimed, conspiracy theories reasserted, etc.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Jessie Penn-Lewis: her mystical false god (part 8 of 22)

Mrs. Penn-Lewis’s disregard for systematic theology was evident in her confusion and false doctrine about the nature of God Himself.  As at the Broadlands Conferences preaching that “Jesus Christ is . . . the Holy Spirit”[1] was acceptable, so Mrs. Penn-Lewis could make anti-Trinitarian, modalistic affirmations about God as a single “Person manifested as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.”[2] She could also deny the omnipresence of God the Father and God the Son, claiming that they were not on earth, and deny the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit by affirming that He was on earth, but not in heaven:
God the Father, as a Person, is in the highest heaven. His presence is manifested in men as the “Spirit of the Father.” Christ the Son is in heaven as a Person, His presence in men is by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of the Father, and of the Son, is on earth in the Church. . . . The Person of God [which, it seems, is again only modalistic and solitary, not Trinitarian] is in heaven, but the presence is manifested on earth, in and with believers; through and by the Holy Spirit; in, and to the human spirit, as the organ of the Holy Spirit for the manifested presence of God.[3]
Scripture teaches that all three Persons of the Trinity are within the believer (John 14:23), not the Holy Spirit only (which is necessary, in any case, since the Divine essence is undivided), so that while the Spirit certainly is in the Christian (Romans 8:9), Christ is in the believer also:  “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20).  However, Penn-Lewis wrote:  “The thought with many is that the Person of Christ is in them, but in truth, Christ as a Person is in no man,”[4] an affirmation which, happily, is false, as then all would be reprobates.  Nevertheless, she knew that it was necessary to adopt all this confusion and false doctrine on the Trinity and the Divine attributes in order to “understand the counterfeiting methods of evil spirits”[5]—confusion about and blasphemy against the Triune God would certainly be of great help in resisting evil spirits, at least to those who think it is well to reject theology for mindless mysticism.  Thus, while Penn-Lewis did not have time for theology, she had plenty of time to pour over the writings of Madame Guyon, be “influenced by . . . mystical treatises . . . by Fenelon,”[6] and read other mystics and heretics,[7] so that “[s]ome of her language . . . sounded like the mystic cults.”[8]  “It is the mind, not the heart, that is the trouble,” she wrote; “experience may easily be of God and yet the mind” can get in the way.  “Christians . . . know too much[,] [and therefore are] sinking . . . further away from the true life in God.”[9]  Thus, her preaching and writing “c[ame] from, and appeal to, the heart rather than the intellect.”[10]  God “could not use me for writing,” Penn-Lewis wrote, when her “natural mental activities [were] aroused.”[11]  Thus, rather than carefully examining the context of passages of the Bible and recognizing the fact that a genuine work of God employs a “sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7), one could instead know one had the correct interpretation of Scripture by emptying one’s mind and having “the Holy Ghost commen[d] the message to every man’s conscience” through direct revelation.[12]  Penn-Lewis’ writings therefore do “not contain ‘mental’ matter, i. e., matter which is merely the product of the mind, even a spiritual mind,”[13] but material gained by “fresh and living experience” that showed what the true meaning of the Bible was.[14]  It is, then, not unexpected that those who use their minds—as the Spirit that inspired the Scriptures commands (Isaiah 1:18; Romans 12:1; 2 Timothy 1:7)—come to reject both her claims of inspiration and the theology of sanctification she allegedly received by inspiration.  To recognize the inspiration of the writings of a woman who plainly contradicts Scripture, exalts ignorance of theology, promulgates a doctrine of healing that does not actually heal, believes she has deep knowledge of the Cross because parts of her body begin to feel loathsome, and predicted the end of the world in 1914, one must truly set aside his mind.


The following are the parts of this series:

Jessie Penn-Lewis: Keswick and Welsh Revivalist, Quaker and Freemason (part 1 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Conversion (?) and Higher Life (part 2 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Spirit-Baptized Woman Preacher (part 3 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Keswick Faith Healer (part 4 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: the Christ-Life and Quietism (part 5 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Her Inspired Writings (part 6 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Inspired Woman Preacher (part 7 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: her mystical false god (part 8 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Worldwide Keswick Impact  (part 9 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Welsh Revival and Pentecostal Preparation (part 10 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: War on the Saints (part 11 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Christians Demon Possessed (part 12 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Warfare Prayer and the 1914 partial Rapture (part 13 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Binding Satan (part 14 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Binding and Loosing (part 15 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: “My Demon Possession Key to My Keswick Teaching” (part 16 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Inspired “Truth” on Demon Possession (part 17 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Throne Life / Power and the Higher Life (part 18 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis: Soul Force, Only the Human Spirit Regenerated, And Other Bizarre Foolishness (part 19)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, I (part 20 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, II (part 21 of 22)
Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts: Applications From Their Lives and Doctrines, III (part 22 of 22)

[1]              Pg. 170, The Life that is Life Indeed:  Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson.  London:  James Nisbet & Co, 1910.
[2]              Chapter 5, War on the Saints, Penn-Lewis.
[3]              Chapter 5, War on the Saints, Penn-Lewis.  It is not affirmed that Mrs. Penn-Lewis was indeed a modalist, rather than a Trinitarian; she could speak of the “three Persons of the Trinity” within almost the same breath as referring to God as a single “Person.”  Rather, the affirmation is that she did not know what she was talking about in her Trinitarian affirmations, as evidenced in her failure to recognize or employ the Biblical (cf. Hebrews 1:3) and classical Trinitarian distinction between God as one in essence or nature and three in Person.  Nor is it affirmed that Mrs. Penn-Lewis, if pressed, would necessarily boldly, fixedly, and stubbornly deny the omnipresence of the Father, Son, and Spirit; rather, her blasphemy on this subject is likely simply a product of her great, willful, and culpable ignorance of theology.
[4]              Chapter 5, War on the Saints, Penn-Lewis.
[5]              Chapter 5, War on the Saints, Penn-Lewis.
[6]              Pg. 61, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones.
[7]              E. g., Hannah Whitall Smith (pg. 169, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones).
[8]              Pg. 197, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones; the statement is by “Dr. Pierson, who had worked well with her during the conventions in Wales.”
[9]              Pg. 336, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones.
[10]            Pgs. 190-191, Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Mary Garrard.
[11]            Pg. 149, Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Mary Garrard.
[12]            Rejecting the Biblical fact that in genuine spirituality, worship, and Christian service the mind is always active (2 Timothy 1:7), not empty, is also a feature of Pentecostalism:  “When singing or speaking in tongues, your mind does not take any part of it” (pg. 2, The Apostolic Faith II:12 (Los Angeles, May 1908), reprinted on pg. 54, Like As of Fire:  Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival:  A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove; cf. pg. 12, Vision of the Disinherited:  The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert M. Anderson), even as in demon possession in pagan religions the “pneuma banishes the human . . . mind . . . and acts or speaks” (pgs. 20-21, Ibid).  Pentecostalism receives no support for its dangerous error that the mind is inactive from 1 Corinthians 14:14, which, when it specifies that the understanding is “unfruitful” or akarpos, “does not mean that the mind did not function, but rather that the product of the mind did not bear fruit and did not edify” (The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the New Testament, Rodgers & Rodgers, on 1 Corinthians 14:14).
[13]            Emphasis in the original.
[14]            Pgs. 252-253, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Mary Garrard; pg. 174, The Overcomer, December, 1914.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Particular Quotes from Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended by Greg Bahnsen with Some Analysis

I purchased Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended by the late Greg Bahnsen for my kindle, and have been reading it in bed at night a little at a time.  I haven't read anything yet with which I disagree.  However, he writes things in the book I haven't read anywhere else.  Below I want to include just a few quotes with analytical comments.  These are not in order, except in the order I found them when I looked back to record them in this post.  Bahnsen wrote:
Thinking to maintain neutrality with respect to Scripture, any natural theology that reasons autonomously from logical an/or empirical grounds to God results in an exclusion of revelational necessity and authority, endorsing some other imperious philosophy.  Knowledge of God must be rooted in his own self-disclosure.  Because the clear revelation of God in nature's and man's constitution is suppressed in unrighteousness, it is impossible for theology or apologetics to base their efforts in a rebellious understanding of the world of history, independently working up to a verification of God's written revelation.  Faith must necessarily start with the clear, authoritative, self-attesting, special revelation of God in Scripture coordinated with the Holy Spirit's inner testimony to the regenerated heart. 
Historically, when David Hume and Immanuel Kant exposed the invalidity of the theistic proofs, apologists generally balked at returning to revelation as the basis for their certainty of God's existence.  They elected, rather, to maintain status in the blinded eyes of the "worldly wise" by attempting to prove Christianity's credibility by means of arguments that hopefully pointed toward the probability of God's existence and Scripture's truth.  They settled for a mere presumption (plus pragmatic assurance) in favor of a few salvaged items (i.e., "fundamentals") from the Christian system.
Read both paragraphs (the second a half of a paragraph in the book), but especially consider the last line of the second paragraph above.  Bahnsen says that using the "worldly wise" to prove Christianity through means other than scripture, settle for a few salvaged items, "fundamentals," from the Christian system.  I've written on this a lot.  The reduction of doctrine to fundamentals or essentials proceeds from a wrong apologetic.  He calls them "salvaged items."  It is as though Christians are sifting through the rubble, when God didn't lose anything.

Here's another:
Resting upon the authority of the living God rather than that of independent human reasoning, the apologist must presuppose the truth of Scripture and lay siege to all apostate presuppositions.   This must be his method because the Word of God in the Bible has a unique epistemological status for the Christian:  it requires no corroboration and carries its own evidence inherently or self-attestingly.
Whatever Bahnsen may have said about his view of the preservation of scripture, this quote undoes the reliance on textual criticism to come to a point.  The teaching of preservation of scripture "requires no corroboration and carries its own evidence inherently or self-attestingly."  This should and will result in the textus receptus.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Son's Obedience to the Father in His First Temptation by Satan in the Wilderness as a Model for a Son With His Father

The Lord Jesus traveled from Galilee to Judea and the Jordan River, some 70 miles by foot, for John the Baptist to baptize Him.  This inaugurated His three year ministry.  John baptized unto repentance.  Jesus didn't need to repent, so John said, I shouldn't immerse you; it should be you immersing me.  John was the sinner, not Jesus.  That was the point John made with no uncertain terms.  Jesus said, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."

Jesus didn't say, Suffer it to be so now, to enjoy myself or have fun or make money.  It was about doing right.  Jesus wasn't held hostage to doing right.  He wanted to do right.  What does someone really get out of doing right?  The value in doing right is the value of doing right.  The value is greater than anything else, but it must be seen as greater.  We know it is greater, because Jesus said it was.

Jesus did everything right.  Through the imputation of justification, we receive the righteousness He lived by faith.  Doing right for Jesus was doing everything His Father wanted Him to do, so at His baptism in Matthew 3, the Father said in one of the rare occasions He spoke out loud for everyone to hear, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

"Suffer it to be so now" were the first recorded words of Jesus in scripture since what He said as a twelve year old in Luke 2, which was similar:  "I must be about my Father's business."  "Business" is supplied in the English.  Jesus must be about His Father's.  Whatever His Father's, but surely His Father's.  That was the Son.  Then in essence, I want to do right, which we know was what the Father told Him to do.  Then the Father validated it with, Son, I am well pleased with you.  Of course, none of what the Father wanted the Son to do was sin.  It was all right.

Going back to the point of my second paragraph, the value of doing right is greater than anything.  Why?  God created everything and sustains everything, and God the Father wants righteousness.  He rewards righteousness in numbers of different ways all over scripture.  The world rewards, but it's all temporal and in the end, it isn't even reward, but punishment.

We turn the page to Matthew 4 and the Son is tested to the greatest extent by the greatest tempter, Satan himself.  The first Adam failed at the first temptation in the Garden of Eden by Satan.  The Father had commanded His son in Genesis 2.  That son did what he wanted.  He didn't do right.  He failed that test.  God's son, Adam, didn't trust Him, so He didn't see the greater value of obedience. He convinced himself that he was justified in his disobedience.  That was a son who had every tree of the garden, which he could freely eat, much like the prodigal son, who lived in his Father's house in that parable of Jesus.

The Second Adam, Jesus, abode in a wilderness.  He fasted forty days and forty nights.  He was hungry.   Those were His conditions.  Then He was tempted.

The temptation started with Satan exalting the Son's position, "if thou be the Son of God."  Of course, He was the Son of God.  Wasn't the Son entitled to certain benefits as the Son?  He was the Son of God.  He could do what He wanted to do.  Jesus didn't assert His position or office as the Son.  Satan tempted Him to do that.  Jesus' job as a Son was to do what His Father wanted Him to do.

The temptation, one might say, is turning stones to bread.  The temptation was asserting His own will ahead of His Father's.  Life did not reduce down to physical needs.  It did reduce down to obeying the plan of the Father, staying in tune with what He wanted.

The Son quotes Deuteronomy 8:3.  Even the Son would obey God's Word.  That was again, doing right.  In the original context of the quote, Israel, which was also God's son, also in a sense of the representative son, Israel seed of Abraham but Jesus the seed of Abraham.  Israel didn't live by bread, but the Word of God.  Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights.  No one could live like that unless He was kept alive by something beyond the natural.  People live by the Word of God.

There is the Latin, fiat, used with Divine fiat.  It refers to God's creation by spoken word or by divine order, let there be light.  Jesus said to Lazarus, come forth.  Man lives because of the Word of God, not because he is doing all that it takes to live -- eating, drinking, exercising.  The Son didn't need bread to live.  He had the Word of God.  Israel didn't need bread to live.  She had the Word of God.

When Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor, this was an admission that Jesus was God.  Jesus had all riches.  If the rich young ruler had needs, Jesus could meet those. The rich young ruler could live by the Word of God, just like Jesus lived by the Word of God.  That was too hard for the rich young ruler.  He couldn't see the value.

The Father was pleased by the obedience of the Son.  Nothing was wrong with eating bread.  It wasn't a sin.  However, it would be outside of the will of the Father.  Jesus never operated outside of the will of the Father.  He wouldn't turn the stones into bread, even in order to live.  He would continue in hunger.

Life is not about having your own way.  It's not about independence.  It's not about being on your own.  No doubt, if a father wanted just arbitrary obedience to unbiblical instruction, that's not good. Both the Father and the Son authored truth.  But if a son's focus is the will of the true Father, the actual Father, and even beyond sins of commission, where the son doesn't do something he's not supposed to do, he does what the father wants.  Jesus could have eaten bread, but it was more important to do what the Father wanted.

The obedience of the Son to the Father is a model of obedience of the son to the father.  It's of greater value than satisfaction of short term gratification of physical needs, even if it is as something seemingly permissible, like eating bread.  I don't think that's usually the issue though.  It's both doing what the father doesn't want and then also not doing what the father does want -- both.  Short term gratification of physical needs becomes the priority.  If the father gets in the way, he's in trouble.

The comparison in the gospels to Matthew 4 was when Peter told Jesus that on Peter's watch, Jesus wouldn't suffer and die.  Jesus said, Get thee behind me, Satan.  Peter was tempting Jesus, like Satan had in the wilderness.  The will of the Father was for Jesus to die.  Peter instead wanted Jesus to meet short term physical needs.

Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Response to Hearing the Truth, as a Test: Deviations from the TR in the NKJV

Call this is an update of the post I wrote on Thursday, Does the New King James Version Deviate from the Textus Receptus, the Text Behind the King James Version?  Mark Ward wrote Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible, which he said was a different approach to the English translation issue.  King James Version (KJV) Only folks of whatever stripe weren't going to change based on reason of the underlying text, because it's too difficult for them.  He thinks they'll move from the King James Version to a modern version based on readability, which is his stated motive, that is, getting them to move to a modern version.

I would probably want to be called a "One Bible" man (not KJVO), since there is only one Bible.  God gave it to us in one set of exact words in Hebrew and Aramaic in the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament.  Scripture teaches a one Bible position.  That one Bible can be translated into any language and even be updated in a particular language, such as English.  The King James Version is an update.  It could be updated again.  There would still only be one Bible.  God wrote one.  One.  I'm more concerned about the one Bible than I am about the update.  Some either don't care or don't seem to care about that same concern of mine.  Mark Ward is one of those.  He says he doesn't care.

Since there is one Bible, it can't change.  Changing it would make it different, not the one Bible.  This seems simple, but it is still missed.  Enter this New King James Version (NKJV) issue.

Ward has been doing a series at his blog answering the objections to the thesis of his book.  I didn't know he was doing it, but I check on the blog, SharperIron, every day, and they linked to one of his posts in which he made the following point.  King James Version advocates, who won't follow Ward's desires for them to move to a modern version, say that the NKJV deviates from the same underlying original language text as the KJV, when it doesn't.  The NKJV translators said they didn't deviate, he purported, and they not only have not deviated, but the KJV advocates don't have any list of deviations as proof.

Mark Ward starts off his essay by saying that the above KJV advocates are sinning.  He charges us with sin.  Here are the two sentences:
I am going to charge my theological opponents with sin—though a sin of omission rather than of commission. But I can’t avoid it: the KJV-Only movement as a whole, and many individuals within it, are not telling the truth, and the leaders at least should know better.
Maybe I'm a leader.  I'm sinning, he says.  I want to confess the sin.  It's interesting here, because I've thought the opposite as Ward.  I have seen some of the NKJV translators as sinning.  They know they did deviate from the underlying text of the NKJV and then said they didn't.  When asked, they've said they didn't.  It might be a Clintonian lie, it's all a matter of what deviation is.

Years ago, I provided a short list of deviations, almost as a test case. 

I deleted the rest of this post, because Mark Ward posted my comment with the list of deviations in his comment section and he has also answered that post.  I am respecting the work that he and others have done there, and I will be writing an answer to it soon, maybe as I write this edit.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Immoral and Unhappy: Fornication Does Not Make Teens Happy

Our society constantly bombards adults, teens, and children with the message that sexual immorality is central to a happy life.  Television shows countless acts of fornication, but either almost never or entirely never shows a normal happily married family, and never shows a Christian happily married family; were the television the judge, one would think that people engaged in fornication, in same-sex wickedness, and other vile perversions vastly outnumber the number of normal people, and that the most unhappy, twisted, and terrible people were those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and attempt to follow the Bible.

Growing up as an unconverted child and teenager, it was simply assumed that it would be wonderful to commit fornication.  That was the constant message of the media and the brainwashing of the educational system.  This lie was not even opposed by the Roman Catholic school I went to up through eighth grade, and certainly was not opposed by the secular education I received after that time.  With a raging sinful flesh, under the domination of a Satanically-controlled world, and in the realm of the devil himself (Ephesians 2:1-3), my peers and I assumed that sexual immorality was key to happiness.

Of course, the Bible tells a different story--the pleasures of sin are only for a season (Hebrews 11:25), the born-again can "rejoice in the Lord alway" (Philippians 4:4), and the unregenerate are currently under the awful curse of God for their sin (Galatians 3:10; John 3:18).  Indeed, the "unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God[.] Be not deceived: neither fornicators . . . nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind . . . nor covetous . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Fornicators are both under God's wrath here and will suffer the unimaginably awful torments of hell fire for all eternity, reaping the appropriate everlasting fiery judgment for indulging in their burning lusts.

Unsurprisingly--but yet oh-so-rarely proclaimed in our culture--the evidence of social science agrees with the Bible.  While as unconverted teens we all thought, and were constantly told, that immorality would make us happy, reality in God's world tells a totally different story: 

Thus, in addition to facts such as that immoral youth ages 15-24 acquire half of all new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), that one in four teens is infected with an STD every yearthat one in four college students has an STD, and that many sexually transmitted diseases are incurable and will be with the immoral person until his or her (probably unseasonably early) death, even the large majority of those who do not get infected with a disease wish they had not been immoral.  Not only do fornicators inherit an eternal hell, but they also reap misery--not pleasure--in this life.

However, when I was growing up, not only did I never hear the gospel, nor did I consider that fornication would lead me to hell, but I do not remember ever--not even once, and that despite going to a "religious" school up through eighth grade--being confronted with the facts above that show that sexual immorality leads to misery in this life.  We were warned that doing drugs brought trouble--while there were influences both for and against drugs, at least the message that doing drugs was really dumb and messed you up got out.  The message that sexual immorality was really dumb and messed you up did not get out--only the message that it was lots of fun and something everyone should desire.

Proverbs 5:1-13 warns:

1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: 2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: 4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. 6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. 7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: 10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; 11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; 13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

God warned that those who followed the strange, heathen, or pagan woman would mourn with their flesh and body consumed, but we thought that getting on with a heathen woman was the key to happiness--a message that teenagers will have pounded into them thousands and thousands of times.

I thank God that, in the Lord's great mercy, despite my wicked heart and my wicked desires I was able to hear the gospel and turn to Christ as a freshman in college before I ruined my life through sexual immorality.  I thank God for His infinite mercy in delivering me from my sin and enabling me to be kept by His grace for my wife and her alone.  I have no regrets about that--none whatsoever--it is a matter of great joy.  Avoid the strange woman of the early parts of Proverbs and you can have the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, Solomon told his son.  Fantastic advice!

Do the people in your church know the facts in this blog post?  Do they know that fornication not only brings God's eternal curse, but misery in this life as well, and that research validates the teaching of Scripture on this subject?  Is that a message that they hear even 1% as often as they hear the worldly, fleshly, and demonic lie that saturates our culture and declares that immorality makes one happy?

If you are reading this and have no power to conquer your lusts, click here to learn about how the deliverance from sin purchased by the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, can shatter the dominion of sin in your life.


Thursday, August 08, 2019

Does the New King James Version Deviate from the Textus Receptus, the Text Behind the King James Version?

I'm actually stepping on my own post from yesterday, which I want you to read, so don't miss it:  Expectations for Earning of Respect to Lead.


Mark Ward is being very, very nice.  He's not calling King James Version supporters liars, who say that the New King James Version follows the critical text in certain places.  To be a liar, you have to know you're wrong.  These men don't know, so they haven't perjured themselves.  He writes a paragraph espousing his own personal niceness for not calling these men liars, who are merely ignorant.  He has never seen a list of places where the New King James Version deviates from the same text as the King James Version, so he was willing to make the claim that it isn't true that there was a list and with a long blog post.

I wrote a comment under his post, showing him instances where he is false, that is, producing a list, albeit not a complete one, but a satisfactory one to make that claim (as of this writing, he's published another comment, who "quotes me"--not actual quote of me--and did not publish two comments, where I sent just a list).  I hope he publishes it.  He's very, very nice, and this is important to him, as he very often categorizes King James supporters by whether they are nice or whether they aren't nice.  I'm assuming I'm not nice.  Some people online think they are the niceness pope and can come down with a condemnatory judgment of "not nice."  If something is unbiblical and you don't like it, and you act like you don't like it, you might not be nice. God wasn't "nice" at the flood, the tower of babel, and at many other times. But today, you've still got to be nice, which seems to be more important with many than being biblical.  Plenty of critical text people are not nice, and I could produce an all star list of them, which would mean what?

I want to inform you that for sure I would never take a position that the New King James Version differs than the King James Version in its underlying text, unless I could see those differences with my own eyes.  I wouldn't just make a claim.  I would have to see it myself.  Who would even do that?  I would like to know the name of a person who would make that unsubstantiated claim.  Produce the list!  Ward makes the claim that there is no list of verses that changed based upon a different underlying text, because he's searched a lot and hasn't found it.  I'm going to have to believe that he really searched.  One way to search is to look yourself at the Greek New Testament or read the New King James Version along side the King James Version.  I haven't done a thorough search in my opinion, but I have found several examples to support the claim.

The first list I ever saw was sent to me, and I reprinted that list.  Before seeing that list, I myself just assumed that the NKJV came from the same text as the KJV.   Once I saw it with my own eyes, I changed on that.  I'm going to give you several examples just so that you can have that at your finger tips.  I don't think the critical text critics of the KJV even care.  I've already written about it, and it's just a tool to use for them.  They don't even retract their previous statements.

KJV users have the NKJV and we don't use it, which shows how ridiculous we are, because "it comes from the same text" (but it doesn't), so it isn't a textual issue.  But it is a textual issue.  Even then, move along.  Doesn't matter anyway.  That's what I'm saying.  They don't care.  It's just a tool, when no longer useful, it is meaningless.  I've never seen an apology once it was revealed that they have been lying.  Yes, I'm saying they're lying, because they are too smart to not know this.  You can see that you are translating from a different word.  You know you are changing the text when you do it.

Mark said he really searched for a list.  I took the list I had, and then I started looking some more, and my list grew, so I'm assuming there are many more examples than what I'm producing here.  My gut says that the best answer to this list is that the deviations are minor.  The changes are not minor, because they are still a lie.  They don't respect that words were changed, indicating that the very words in the end are not an issue.

I know now I could make a longer list than what I'm going to produce, especially since I didn't look much into the Old Testament, but here is a mainly New Testament list (since we're focusing on the TR):
Matthew 22:10, the critical has “hous” (“whom”) and the TR has hosous (“as many as”) and the NKJV follows the critical text with “whom.” 
Luke 1:35, the NKJV follows the critical text in leaving out "ek sou" ("of thee") unlike the KJV. 
Luke 5:7, the TR has “tois” (“which”) and the critical text doesn’t have that word, and the NKJV follows the critical text, while the KJV does not. 
Luke 6:9, the TR has a plural “sabbasin” and the critical text has a singular “sabbato” and the KJV is plural, Sabbath days, and the NKJV is singular “the Sabbath.” 
John 10:12, the critical text leaves out the last word, “probata,” sheep, and the NKJV follows that, while the KJV follows the TR, which has that word, “probata,” sheep. 
John 19:10, the critical text leaves out a second “echo” (“have”) and the NKJV follows that, not the TR, differing than the KJV. 
Acts 15:23, the NKJV follows the critical text in omitting "tade", or "after this manner". 
Acts 17:14, the NKJV omits "as it were" ("ws" in the Greek) and thus once again follows the critical text. 
Acts 19:9, the NKJV follows the critical text in omitting "tinos," so it effects the translation in leaving out the word "one," as in "one Tyrannus." 
Acts 19:39, the the NKJV follows the critical text in "peraiterw" instead of "peri eterwn", subtle but different. 
Romans 14:9, the critical text leaves out the first “kai,” which is translated “both” in the KJV and left out in the NKJV, following the critical text. 
Colossians 3:17, the critical text leaves out another “kai,” which the NKJV follows instead of the TR, which keeps the “kai,” which changes the translation, from “God and Father” to “God the Father.” 
Jude 1:3, the NKJV leaves out “our” (“hemon”) following the critical text. 
Jude 1:19, the critical text omits eautou ("themselves"), as does the NKJV. 
Isaiah 9:3, the NKJV changes the Hebrew text behind the KJV by leaving out the “not” (“lo”) with OT textual criticism, the difference being that joy is increased instead of not being increased.

Edit:  This list will be given an edit based on some critique at a post, which answers this post.  I will return and give a link to this post that will give the edits.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Expectations for the Earning of Respect to Lead

A stronger obligation than ever exists in professional sports today to hire a younger coach, who played himself, and can relate better to the younger players.  The consideration behind the thinking is that young players won't just respect a coach any more.  Greater value is put on relating.  The coach indulges them if he wants to see some kind of positive response. The days of expecting obedience and confronting disobedience are long gone.  A coach who says, jump, and thinks a player will ask, how high, better think again.  A popular sentiment is that younger players just aren't coachable anymore.  They can't be coached, only cajoled.

Have the rules actually changed in the relationship between someone in authority and those under him?  Did God change the rules? Should fathers, husbands, employers, teachers, and pastors reconsider the old way of leading and develop a new kind of leadership to relate to a new kind of follower?  Can people still rely on scripture as a sufficient guide for preparing and judging leaders?

One of the major new components to leading are the feelings of the adherents.  How does the leader make them feel?  Is he sensitive enough?  Is he too scary?  Does he relate enough?  Is he using the right pronouns?  Are those under his leadership having a good time, enjoying themselves, having fun while being led?  Do they get enough time in the jumper?  Have they received enough affirmation, high-fives, yellow ribbons for participation, plaques in the back of the store for employee of the month?

Scripture is much more basic or cut-and-dry as it deals with leadership.  The perfect example for understanding this in the Bible is God the Father leading God the Son.  God the Father was pleased with God the Son.  Why?  The Son did everything the Father wanted Him to do.  A few times in scripture, the Father announces He's pleased with the Son and in every instance it is when the Son has completed a required task that the Father wanted.  Of course, the Son never disobeys the Father, so we never find out point-blank whether the Father would still be pleased even if the Son disobeyed, but we really do know that the Father wouldn't.  He's never pleased when someone does something different than what He says to do.  The Son had the one goal of always pleasing the Father.  When instructed to sacrifice Himself, do the hardest things, the Son complied.

Going back to where I started in this discussion, the new requirement for leaders is that they remain pleased even when they are not obeyed.  They can't expect adherence from their adherents.  If they do expect it, it must be a very soft expectation, an ambiguous one with no signal of possible displeasure, just smiles and happy tones, whether the instructions were followed or not.  None of this is scriptural.  Someone who won't do what he's told and with a good attitude is the one who is in the wrong, not the leader.

What has happened?  The culture, society, modern civilization has turned from a biblical view of authority, starting with God.  A civilized culture functioning properly requires respect of authority.  Perhaps you've heard, respect the office.  Even if you don't like the person in the office, maybe because of you and not him, you respect the office.  That idea proceeds from the Bible.  The Apostle Paul wrote that all authority comes from God, so it needs to be obeyed (Romans 13:1-3).  This is a hierarchical view.  Obedience to human authority is obedience to God, except in areas where it would mean disobedience to God (Acts 5:29).

When the leadership template is reversed, and obedience or compliance depends on the pleasing of the follower, the whole paradigm changes.  The one below is now in charge.  He also decides whether he likes the way he's getting led -- the tone, the body language, the rewards, the level of accountability.  This will never work.  It's not working right now, because it is how things are going in the world by the reports of many that I know in many different realms of authority.

Expectations of the Leader

With a scriptural view in mind, what are the expectations for a leader in the Bible?  The person following should want to know that His leader is leading him into what is true, good, and right, so the leader knows the truth, tells the truth, and then himself obeys the truth.  He doesn't expect one thing of those he is leading and another for himself.  If the leader isn't leading in the right direction, isn't telling the truth, taking everyone toward the right goal, then that leader is not meeting scriptural expectations.  No one should expect followers to go the wrong way.

Beyond that first biblical expectation, a leader should provide what is necessary to complete a required task.  I think of Psalm 128.  The wife is like a fruitful vine and the children like olive plants.  The vine and the plants must be watered and fed, essentially planted in good ground like the trees in Psalm 1.  A leader gives his followers what they need to accomplish the right and good goals.  This is what God does.  He is a good God.

God gives mankind everything that he needs.  He provides.  He gives men what they need to do what He says.  He doesn't just give; He gives and gives and gives.  That should be respected.

The follower should be thanking God.  He should be recognizing the bounty, all the good things that God supplies.  He should focus on what He has been given, not what He hasn't been given or just what He wants.  Scripture differentiates followers by whether they are thankful or unthankful.  Unthankfulness characterizes the unbeliever (Romans 1:21).

If you are a follower and your leader has given and given and given, he has been clear with the requirements, he has explained them, believed them, and they are the truth, then he has earned your respect.  God expects you to respect him.  He is entitled to your respect.  If you don't give it to him, you don't have a good reason not to do that.  Your reasons are selfish, proud, ungodly, and rebellious.  You should expect to hear that you are all of those, because that is the truth as well.

Leaders today feel a different kind of pressure from the culture about their leadership.  I read it, watch it, and hear about it.  They've got to give fun and games and good times.  They can't do enough to "earn the respect."  The followers are holding the leaders hostage. Many leaders have succumbed to that pressure by pandering to followers, gaining followers by promising more, by lessening the expectations of the follower.  Almost everything is a negotiation.  This is a recipe for disaster.

A leader says, no, and the supposed follower begins to throw a fit or go dark.  He's not going to do what he's told or he's at least going to moderate his effort to his judgment of his leader.  The leader retreats, cedes ground or authority.  He begins the negotiation, starts promising things, some temporal, fleshly allurement.  Once someone gets his way, it gets worse, because this ploy has worked.  The worst that a leader can do is to give in to these types of threats from those he is leading.

I don't think there is anything uglier than the entitlement of someone under leadership.   They obviously either don't understand or are rebellious against what scripture says about their role.  This might not happen so much in the workplace as it does in other spheres of authority, because the employee values money.  He will put up with some bad treatment, especially if he doesn't have the necessary talent to be indisposable to the boss or the company.  He will do what he's told to keep his job, but during times of low unemployment, like we have right now in this country, employers are putting up with a lot from people.  They understand that they can always get another job and it doesn't matter if the employer is pleased.

Church Authority

As all of the above relates to church authority, things are worse.  I'm not saying they are bad at my church, but what a pastor can expect from church members is worse.  More than ever, members feel entitled to expectations.  I'm not saying leaders are fulfilling most of member expectations, but in general members don't obey their leaders, let alone New Testament commands.  Some of this has to do with a different view of Jesus Christ.  Jesus has become a buddy and pal, and not Lord in most churches.  He's there for therapy.  He's there to forgive.  He's there to provide good feelings, which is exactly how members see their church leadership too.

When someone in a church is in error, a pastor should deal with that.  It's part of loving and protecting the flock.  I've noticed the popularity of certain verses to the exclusion of others.  Members don't remember the chastisement of Hebrews 12, scourging out of love.  They don't remember reprove, rebuke, and exhort.  They remember and emphasize 2 Timothy 2:24:
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.
And they like 1 Peter 5:2-3:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.
The emphasis here is on the part, "neither as being lords over God's heritage."  Being gentle and not being a lord over the flock are prone to subjectivity.  Almost anything can be interpreted as not gentle or as lording.  Just speaking with a masculine tone, and not something lilting and dainty, could be taken as intimidation.

Joining a church is becoming a body part that is under its head.  The unity of a church is maintained by enforcement of requirements.  Someone is a member.  Membership means gracious, kind help for church members.  It also means intervention when someone flouts the standards agreed upon.  At that juncture, tone is a lesser concern.  Happiness should not be expected.  Some form of disfavor will occur that doesn't contradict gentleness.  Gentleness and expression of dislike are both required.

Leadership Style

It might sound odd, but prostitutes are effective at leadership.  "Seduce" comes from the Latin seductio, which means "to lead."  We wouldn't call this good leadership, but it works.  Followers might prefer this of their leaders, leadership by seduction.  It's how the leader earns respect, using seduction techniques to charm his followers.  Peter describes this leadership in 2 Peter 2:17-19:  "they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness. . . they promise them liberty."

Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."  As a Shepherd, Jesus leads His followers.  They follow His voice.  Leadership comes from explaining and instructing in the truth.  When followers won't listen, they need to be warned.  Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 that the approach depends on the follower.  Some need comfort or strengthening, others need support, but some, the unruly, need warning.  In Titus 3:10-11, the factious person is warned or confronted only, and then after the third time, he's rejected.

Very often Jesus reminded His followers that He was in charge and that He was telling them what to do.  They needed to listen because of the authority He possessed.  Jesus did that with the Great Commission, beginning that command at the end of Matthew 28 by reminding the followers that He possessed all authority.  Paul reminded His listeners of His authority all the time with what he wanted them to follow.  In 1 Corinthians 11, he starts off by commanding the church to imitate him.

A Concluding Hypothetical

I want to take you through a little hypothetical now.  Let's say there was a leader and he told his followers, expecting that they were followers and thinking that he was entitled based on reasonable criteria to be followed, I want you to do this one thing and if you don't do it, I'm going to kill you.  Would you follow that leader?  Would you grow resentful of the leader because of his intimidation and threat?  God said in Genesis 2:17:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
It isn't a hypothetical.  It's what God said to Adam and Eve, His children.  He took care of His children, provided for them, but if they didn't follow this command, he would kill them.  He did kill them, because they didn't obey.  Why didn't they obey?  Because they were resentful and didn't believe that their Father had earned their respect.  This was the tack Satan took to get them to disobey and it worked. It's still working today, right now on many different fronts.

Adam and Eve didn't like God's leadership style.  They believed that entitled them to disobey.  Cain also didn't like God's leadership style.  You can move out from there, very often unbelievers. The judgment of leadership style is a cop-out.  It isn't a basis for rejecting leadership.  The onus in scripture is upon the follower to follow the leader.  If the leader is practicing the truth, which entails being obedient himself and then repentant and change when he is not, then he should be followed.  If he is in a position of authority, even if he isn't a good example, he should still be obeyed, if he's telling you the truth.  Just because you don't like how he told you to stop or what he wanted you to do doesn't give you a basis for not following.  You're just a rebel.  He deserves to be followed because God says that He is.