Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Only One Bible Belief

I just wrote a comment to someone and I thought I'd publish it here, except removing the name of the one to whom the comment was directed.

Let’s completely take the term “KJV” out of the equation and replace it with the the term “Bible.” Let’s even get out of our head for the moment the concept of “translation."

The Bible is not paper. It isn’t ink. It is Words made from letters. Scripture presents one Bible, one set of Words. Since the Bible is so dependent on Words, since that is what it is, Words, you can’t say that there are two Bibles or four Bibles or ten Bibles and yet they are all the same. That is not possible. It’s like this: 4 does not equal 5. Or, 93 does not equal 100. Those are not the same, but in this we are supposed to say that they are the same. They are not.

Now if someone were dealing with the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, and you had 7% word differences, you might say that they were both the Iliad and Odyssey. But with the Bible, unless the very Words don’t matter, you can’t say that two books that are 5-7% different are both the Bible. This flies in the face of what Scripture says about itself. So as we view this in a doctrinal way, we don’t have a basis for accepting two different sets of words as the same. I will not join you in that idea. And I am talking about 5-7% difference between the CT and the TR. You’ve got bigger problems if you look at the differences between the manuscripts of the CT.

Now you may say that the words don’t change any doctrine. We have established that is not true in Thou Shalt Keep Them, our book (which you can buy here: incidentally). Does the Bible tell us what doctrine is or do we determine what Bible we believe by what doctrine it contains? Because they are not the same. I’m not saying that they teach two different gospels, but that’s not a standard that we would expect either by what the Bible teaches. They do teach different doctrine though.

What you are asking us to accept though, [Person], is to accept more than one Bible. Do you see that? You make this very statement: “We do deny that it is the ONLY Bible that is of God. ” Can you imagine an unbeliever getting a hold of that? It would be confusing. “You mean there is more than one Bible?” I can hear him say. Answer from you: “Of course.” Well, that seems rather strange. I don’t accept the two Bible idea. It isn’t scriptural. This is where faith comes in.

Now you may say that you believe there is only one Bible, but you don’t know what the Words are. You can’t, if you are CT/eclectic, ever claim to know what the Words of God are. You may think that you can’t know. If that’s true, then how do you know what the 66 books are? Perhaps that’s less of a leap with your mind. Your mind can handle 66 books. Your mind can handle rejecting the Epistle of Barnabas for instance or the Shepherd of Hermas. Why? It doesn’t relate to what Scripture says, it again comes down to being rational to you.

How rational are many of the events of Scripture? Esther. Jonah. Genesis 1. Genesis 3. Every Gospel. Revelation. And how rational are many of the events? We receive them by faith. Abraham did that many times—going to the Promised Land, offering Isaac, etc.

[Person] and others here, join us in faith in, in the belief in, the providential, perfect preservation of Scripture in the language in which it was written. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Monday, March 29, 2010

President Obama's "Great" Health Care "Victory"

As you read the after reports of the passing of Obamacare, you heard of his greatness, the giant victory, and the making of or the validating of his presidency. I want us to consider what really occurred to evaluate whether this did measure a victory and his greatness.

First, President Obama won his presidency running as a candidate that would bring change to the political discourse of the federal government. He would be someone open and transparent and ready to listen. Voters, especially independent ones, gave him the benefit of the doubt based upon that hope, the latter word one that Obama wanted people to buy into. They voted for him, because they believed that he could bring people together through his leadership, through a kind of sheer force of personality and charisma. Voters believed President Obama would usher in a new era of bipartisanship and unity. Of course, then Senator Obama had that 25 to 30 percent, that made up his liberal base, who wanted him to transform the government into their vision of socialism, but he wouldn't have won the election if everyone thought that was what they were voting for. There were many who were warning that he was not going to be some force of change for peaceful relations in Washington, DC, but people instead opted for "hope," which was probably more like a fantasy.

Second, as President Obama came into office, the economy of the country was nearing cataclysmic conditions. The voters trusted President Obama to make the kind of decisions that would improve the economy and increase the employment rate. He talked during the campaign as though this would be his top priority. Then when he came into office, he focused immediately upon the government take-over of health care, what even Governor Howard Dean is calling "redistribution of wealth." So the economy never was Obama's top priority, that was just campaign rhetoric to get votes. He took on the healthcare subject early in his presidency with the hopes that the natural economic cycles would improve about the time his re-election campaign kicked off, knowing that he would perhaps sacrifice his majority in either the House or the Senate. He knew that his political capital would be shrinking, so he needed to move fast before it got so small that he couldn't control Congress, even with his huge Democrat majority.

Third, let's make sure we understand this huge victory that President Obama got. He persuaded zero Republicans. He didn't even get all of his Democrats. The victory he won was in getting a very, very small majority with the party that was already in control of Congress. He persuaded his own party!! Yippeee!!! What great a task is that? And we know, of course, that he would not even have been able to get the support of his own party without all sorts of shady deal making behind the scenes. And then he had to finish it off in the Senate with a parliamentary type of procedure called "reconciliation." He knew he couldn't get a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, so he settled on a reconciliation process that would only require a majority of the votes in a Senate where the Democrats have a 59-41 majority.

So that's our big, transformative victory? It isn't bipartisan. Poll after poll shows that people didn't want the bill to become law. Democrats will argue that when you poll the individual parts of the bill, people wanted it. Right, but the parts that they polled on were the things that almost anyone would want with all the bad stuff that came with getting those things that people wanted. It essentially ignored what President Obama had said he would work on, the economy. We might all be happy that he couldn't do anything worse to the economy than the healthcare bill itself. And last, he talks barely a majority of his own party into voting for it. Surely many of them will be having second thoughts about what they did. This was no kind of big victory. Democrats should have expected this kind of legislation to pass with control of both the executive and the legislative branches. They have a rubber stamp to get almost anything that they want, so this was no kind of victory. It's about as much a victory as my getting out of bed in the morning.

In one sense, I have to admit that I'm cynical, but it is difficult to trust someone so duplicitous. As soon as the health care "victory" is won, President Obama takes a trip to visit the troops. He leaves the United States after his great victory. It's not a victory he wants to stick around and "enjoy." And whatever negatives he could receive from a nation, who by a fairly large majority didn't want his health care bill, which are a lot, would be swallowed up by the positive of visiting the troops. It's like hitting a guy wearing glasses. You don't want to criticize a guy who's visiting the troops. How could a guy so untrustworthy be so bad who surprises the soldiers in Afghanistan? Premeditated. Contrived. Hard to appreciate.

Is it a victory for our country when you can't even persuade all of your own party, let alone anyone in the other party? Is it a victory for the country when you can't even persuade the country itself that the bill is going to be best for it? Is it some great victory when you accomplish it at the expense of all the other things you said you would actually do? John Lott writes today in an article published while I was writing this:

Would Barack Obama and the Democrats have won in 2008 if he had promised what he ended up doing: to dramatically increase government spending and deficits, raise taxes on the middle class, hide special deals on health care, and make it impossible for people to keep their current doctors and health insurance plans?

No. He wouldn't have won the election. And he knew that. So what is this great victory? It is the victory for dishonest politicians, who make promises, knowing that they aren't going to keep them. It's a victory for them.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fundamentalist Seminary Attacks Centrality of the Church part two

Jeff Straub has come back and written a follow up to his Restoring the Centrality of the Local Church? about which I wrote a very short post to identify it to my readers. His follow up is entitled, Overstating My Case? A Second Reflection on 1 Tim. 3:15. I appreciate his reflection on his first essay, but I'm afraid he may just be digging his hole a little deeper. I do not gloat in any way over all this, but this whole incident could be very instructive to many, and I think corrections need to be made.

Straub, I believe, was primarily concerned over what Dave Doran of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary had written at his blog about Straub's post. Doran had written something similar to what I had. Does Straub have a point of view and then look in the Bible to accommodate it? I'm not sure, but he was off on this one and then stayed off. This will not be answering his entire post, but will refute the particular exegetical point from which he buttresses the whole.

In his first offering, he said that the church of 1 Timothy 3:15 was "the universal church." Doran and myself both said that the church of 1 Timothy is local, and especially the one in 1 Timothy 3. Of course, I believe that the church is always an assembly, since that's what a church is, an assembly. There is no such thing as an unassembled assembly. Universal and church are a contradiction in terms. But for the sake of this argument, we're just looking at 1 Timothy 3:15. Straub would like his point to remain, so even though he does some backtracking in his second essay, he still misses it when he tries to further his exegesis. Here's what he wrote:

Recently I suggested that a local church is not the pillar and ground of the truth because of the tendency that local churches have to stray into error. Dave Doran has rightly challenged my use of 1 Tim. 3:15, and I confess that I should have phrased things differently. In the text in question, Paul is giving instructions to Timothy for local assemblies. Indeed, churches rightly ordered are pillars and grounds of the Truth. Note that in the text of 1 Timothy, the phrase is anarthrous so that we are talking of a pillar and ground and not the pillar and ground.

"Phrased things differently"? OK. We'll give him that. But then we get the "a" pillar and ground and not "the" pillar and ground. Dr. Straub should know that there is a reason why the KJV, NASV, NKJV, NIV, etc. all translated this "the pillar and ground of the truth," even though it is anarthrous. Anarthrous does not mean indefinite. I don't think we can get away with "phrase things differently" on this one, however.

On p. 239 of his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace writes:

In genitive phrases both the head noun and the genitive noun normally have or lack the article. The construction is known as the Apollonius' canon, named after Apollonius Dyscolus, the second-century Greek grammarian. Apollonius observed that both the head noun and the genitive noun mimicked each other with regard to articularity. Rarely did they go their own separate ways.

Later Wallace relates on p. 245: "Though by definition an articular noun is definite, an anarthrous noun may also be definite under certain conditions." Then he lists some of these conditions. The eighth of these is a "genitive construction" (p. 250). He says that in the genitive construction, "[i]t makes little semantic difference whether the construction is articular or anarthrous."

In other words, according to the Apollonius' canon, if "the truth" is definite, which it is, then "pillar and ground" must also be definite. The translators understood that no article was necessary to make "pillar and ground" definite. It was definite. So they translated it "the pillar and ground," making it definite by adding the English article.

A good example of this canon in play elsewhere is in Colossians 3:5:

For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

Notice "the word of the truth." This is very similar to 1 Timothy 3:15 because "word" is anarthrous in the Greek, no Greek article. And yet "word" is still definite, "the word," because "the truth" is definite.

Our understanding based upon Greek grammar is that 1 Timothy 3:15 should be understood as "the pillar and ground of the truth," not "a pillar and ground of the truth," because of the Apollonius' canon. Jeff Straub erroneously sees something with the lack of article before "pillar" that really isn't there at all. So the point stands that the assembly, the local church alone, is the pillar and ground of the truth, and not anything else. This is an instance where someone cherry picks something from the Greek to find a theological point that isn't there at all.

Friday, March 26, 2010

President Obama's Humiliation of Israel

Here is a great article by London Telegraph writer Nile Gardiner. This guy is fast becoming a favorite read of mine. He indicates how President Obama treated the Prime Minister of Israel. It's an embarrassment and intolerable to me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fundamentalist Seminary Attacks Centrality of the Church

I've not read anything this blatant, but I've got to appreciate the clarity. Most, it seems, try to be ambiguous today, so that you can't quite figure out what they mean. Not in this case. Here, Jeff Straub, on behalf of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, says that the church is not central (no pun intended). Fundamentalism has already been attacking the centrality of the church for a long while, holding churches under its sway, but no one is trying to hide anything with this essay. Now I know those who read the article will say, nuh-uh, he does so say the church is central. Right. The "Universal Church." This is a seminary training men to interpret the Bible in its context. Straub says that the "church" that is the pillar and ground of the truth, the one in 1 Timothy 3:15, is all believers, the so-called "universal, invisible church." Of course, that's blatant eisegesis. The church of 1 Timothy 3:15 has a pastor and deacons (see all of chapter 3). So who's the pastor of the "universal church"? Who are the deacons of that "church"? Some are so entrenched in this Augustinian and Platonic interpretation, really allegorizing the understanding of "church," that they see it everywhere.

So this fundamentalist seminary attacks the centrality of the church. I hope the best for them. But they are wrong. I would wonder what churches would think of sending their men there to train. I guess men wouldn't need to think about a church sending them anyway. As long as they are in touch with the big one, the big nebulous, cloudy one, they would have all the authority they need. I find Kevin Bauder, their president, an interesting guy, but all the church hoppers of the world are yelling, "Amen!" Parachurch organizations giving the thumbs up. They could be central (not the seminary). Hey, one free floating blogger could be central. That's a thought.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Codify Uncertainty and Doubt

I've written a new article at Jackhammer that I don't want my regular readers here to miss. So please click on this link, and read it all. I think it is vitally important. If you don't like commenting at Jackhammer or just prefer to comment here, then please do comment here.

Iran and the Nuclear Bomb

Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law professor, has shown himself not to be some flaming conservative, so what he says about the nuclear bomb and Iran should be even greater cause for pause. Read what he writes here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Insurance for Dummies part three

Well, most of you know now that the House of Representatives passed Obamacare. I hadn't finished the series yet on health care (pt. 1, pt. 2), so I'll say a little more today. To do so, I think Rush Limbaugh has really hit the target with these words:

What's happened here is not insurance. Insurance is you insure yourself against a catastrophe, something that might happen to wipe you out. This is not insurance. This is simply the insurance companies being captivated or taken over by the government and having their behavior mandated for the express purpose of putting them out of business. Under this bill, as I told you last week, you don't have to buy insurance. You can wait until the accident or the illness happens and then buy it that day, and they have to sell it to you. No matter what. If you get terminal cancer and the doctor gives you three months, they have to sell you your coverage. Except you're not going to have to buy it. If you can't afford it, we -- all your neighbors -- will. No insurance company can stay in business doing this.

It's the same thing with preexisting conditions. No preexisting condition? The liberals keep talking about automobile insurance companies. What happens to you, you have an automobile policy, you're driving around, and you have an accident and you do a lot of damage? Hey, guess what? You are a higher risk. Your auto insurance premium goes up, right? Why shouldn't that happen with health care? Why shouldn't it? (whining) "It's not fair? No, it's not fair!" Well, it won't now. It won't now. So, yeah, preexisting conditions are going to be covered, but who's going to pay for this? Insurance premiums are going to skyrocket in the next couple of years until they are out of business and the government steps in to take over with the...public option. Which is just waiting a couple of months, couple of days, couple years down the tracks. It's just waiting for this to happen because this bill mandates the destruction of the private health insurance business.

He hits on a lot of the problems with government controlled health care. I don't even think anything more needs to be said. He deals with a few more issues than what I brought up in earlier essays on this. This bill is unlike anything else that we have in America. People who drive poorly pay higher auto insurance, but that idea won't affect health care. People will be rewarded for their stupid health care decisions. Think of President Obama, the smoker, who is likely a future lung cancer patient. You can smoke your whole life, get lung cancer, and then get health "insurance" the moment you find out you got the cancer. Neat deal, huh? I think there are going to be a lot of people who like this! They'll vote Democrat. Of course, it won't work. Nothing like this will work without wrecking the economy. But you can be completely irresponsible and not pay for it. People will love it!!

Homosexuals will do what they do, get the HIV virus, then full-blown AIDS, and they can start paying for insurance the day they need health care. Good deal, huh? We know that isn't insurance, don't we? Insurance gets paid before you have the accident and before you have the event occur for which you need to be insured. This is essentially giving someone money for being irresponsible and not paying for insurance. This is where we are folks. More bad behavior being rewarded. And next we'll go to immigration. People who break immigration laws will be rewarded. The whole point is getting votes and gaining power for the Democrat Party, using our money to do it. It isn't about health or about our country being great.

Let's think about someone with which you'd have a little more sympathy. Little boy gets leukemia and he can't get healthcare. He wants insurance, but the insurance companies won't give it to him. Evil people. Well, before that they loved their flat screen TV. They also liked their trip to Disneyland. They enjoyed buying those lottery tickets. They didn't like paying insurance premiums. Who needs them?!?! Then came the leukemia. But that's OK now. Obamacare is here! Don't get me wrong. I want the little boy to get treatment. However, do you see how this trains people to behave irresponsibly?

So how will this work politically? The earlier Obamacare gets passed, the more time people will have to start getting the benefits that the Democrats think will persuade people to vote for them. Some people will really suffer, but they are hoping that more people will like what they're getting to offset those who are angry with it. Other bad things could happen to the economy that will sink them, but they think it is worth the risk long term to put more of the American economy under government control. They are creating more dependents who will need to vote Democrat to keep being taken care of. Those people like the idea of other people paying for what they want, so the Democrats will look very attractive to them. Get the idea?

By the way, in light of a few comments I've received, readers could also read this article, entitled A Dark Day for Freedom in America, in the London Telegraph by Nile Gardiner.

And here is another very good response by George Will about the Democrats continuing as the dependency party.

20 Ways Obamacare will take away your freedom.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Answering Aaron Again on the Doctrine of Preservation of Scripture

Aaron Blumer has continued his series over at SharperIron on the how and why of preservation. I'm going to answer his essay paragraph by paragraph, but first a few introductory comments. I thank Aaron for considering the doctrine of preservation and not acting like the doctrine or issue doesn't exist, it doesn't matter, it's a "non-essential," or is a laughing-stock. Uncertainty about the Words of God yields uncertainty about the Bible's authority and then tends toward an uncertainty about meaning. Much more could be said about that in some future post. I want a fair and thoughtful conversation about this without the typical name-calling and pejorative, standard fare on most forums. Those are not serious attempts to know the truth. As well, to come to the right position, we need to be willing to change positions. We are not likely to come to the right view if we find ourselves conforming biblical teaching to a view we already hold. I'm hopeful this could be the case with Aaron.

With no disrespect to Aaron and despite what he writes in his very first line, many fundamentalists and evangelicals don't believe God has preserved His Word, that is, unless "Word" is some generalized concept referring to the Word as a whole, not the very "Words." That is a new development in bibliology. When we talk about what God inspired, it is verbal plenary. If God preserved that, then He preserved all the Words in the order in which He gave them. If not, then I believe we are giving a whole new understanding of "keep" or "preserve." If there is some point to God's Word being individual words, then preservation of God's Word would refer to the preservation of the very Words.

Aaron's second paragraph presents a straw man as it regards the position presented by Thou Shalt Keep Them (TSKT). The book does not assert that the Bible teaches preservation of a "particular manuscript or text." In other words, we don't believe that God's Word teaches that some one single copy, not the original manuscript, wove its way through all of history untainted. We haven't argued for a promise of that. TSKT says that God's Word promises the perfect preservation of every Word and all the Words, that is, what God inspired. That's what God promises in His Word. I would welcome Aaron to show us the passage(s) that teach this "potentially discoverable" form of perfect preservation. Based upon what scripture promises about the preservation of His Word, that wouldn't even be preservation.

Let me illustrate. Let's say that I gave you 100 marbles and I promised to keep or to preserve every one of them for the rest of your life. Twenty years later, you ask for the 100 marbles back. And I say, "Here they are," and hand you a bag with 93 of them. I inform you, "I preserved your marbles." You wouldn't think that I did. You wouldn't call that preservation. No one would. Or let's say that I said, "Here are 93 of the 100 and the other 7 are ‘potentially discoverable.'" No one would think that is preservation or even some legitimate form of preservation. For someone to believe that this represents what God promises in the way of preservation strains credulity.

Aaron mentioned that Moritz and others have examined the preservation passages and come to very similar conclusions as the authors of TSKT did. I don't think so. We may both use the word "preservation" or both say "God has preserved His Word," but we mean something very different when we say that. Aaron says that our side "obscure[s] the real issues in the debate and attempt[s] to frame it in a way that heavily favors [our] view." Wow. I thought we were just exposing what scripture said about preservation, what I would hope that Aaron and other believers would think is a good thing. I would want to know how we obscure the real issues. And I would wonder what he thinks "the real issues" are. I never got any specifics from his article, just the accusation.

If someone takes a position that differs from Scripture or that contradicts what God's Word teaches, from where should we say that he has received his view? If it not biblical teaching, isn't it concocted by men. Aren't those men influenced by something extra-scriptural? If God's Word teaches something and we refuse to believe it, are we believing or unbelieving in that instance? I think we know the answer. From where does unscriptural teaching originate? It has to come from somewhere and I think it isn't hard to demonstrate that it comes from rationalism or humanism. We have orthodox doctrine in the Bible and then in history. If some new doctrine originates, it isn't unusual to investigate what caused the new doctrine. Since it isn't the Bible, we could show how that rationalism or humanism were involved. That's easy to do with the modern "science" of textual criticism.

Aaron professes that the scriptural doctrine of man's fallibility somehow guarantees that man will fail at preserving His Words. Based on that assertion, he should also conclude that we have no guarantee of perfection in the original manuscripts either, since man wrote those. Of course, he says that inspiration is different in that God guarantees perfection for inspiration, that God superintended inspiration in a way that would give us every Word and all of them. But not in preservation. Why not? The Bible says enough for us to conclude supernatural intervention in both inspiration and preservation.

TSKT didn't say that there wouldn't be errors made in copying. It did say that supernatural, divine intervention would result in the preservation and availability of every Word for every generation of believers. This is another straw-man in Aaron's arguments.

For several paragraphs, Aaron uses man's fallibility and the scripture that teaches it as a basis for saying that we don't have every Word. I agree with the doctrine Aaron fleshes out from the verses he uses (he especially illustrates it by misspelling my name throughout the presentation—"Brandenberg" instead of "Brandenburg"). I disagree with his application to preservation. God promised perfect preservation and accessibility. God's Word, God's promises, and God's power can always overcome man's fallibility.

What is ironic about this section is that this is the very basis for a presuppositional apologetic that buttresses the point of TSKT. We've got to trust that God would do what He said He would do. We assume He would. We look to see How He did. Because of our sin, we need supernatural interceding. God's Word tells us what to believe, not external evidence, which we should assume is spoiled and that man cannot interpret because of His sinfulness. This blows away the critical text and its rejection of theological presuppositions, saying that sinful man must allow external evidence to lead him to "the truth." Man doesn't discover revelation because of his sinfulness. Discovery and revelation are by nature mutually exclusive.

An unsustainable leap in Aaron's presentation occurs in this statement: "Our understanding of inspiration and preservation must account for what Scripture reveals about believers' propensity to err and sin." We all agree that man sins, but this does not change what God says He will do through the church, because God is sustaining that effort in a supernatural way. That's why we have promises of preservation and inspiration. What Aaron chooses to believe on this is something I've never read in anything—it is brand new doctrine—not found anywhere else in history, an occurrence that didn't seem to matter at all to the SharperIron audience, as long as what he wrote fit their previous thinking.

Aaron then takes this same point of fallibility and applies it to what all of Israel or an entire church does, regardless of what God said He would do. A good parallel here is that we are working out our salvation (Philippians 2:12) because God is working in us (Philippians 2:13). We're not saved or preserved or kept because of our power, but because of the power of God (1 Peter 1:5). No man can pluck us out of His hand (John 10:28-29). In the same way, God will reveal "all" of His truth to His own (John 16:13). The church is working out preservation, but God is guaranteeing it by His power. Because God commands a church to "hold fast," does that mean that a church could possibly not hold fast, even though they are regenerate? That's an assumption that Aaron seems to be making in his attempt to buttress this novel point that he makes. He says the church was capable of slipping and failing, when Scripture tells that Christ is able to keep us from falling. Are we to hold fast? Yes. But is He holding fast to us? Yes.

Aaron writes this, conceding a major point made in TSKT:

That they were given the responsibility of keeping and declaring the words of God (Brandenberg, [sic] 100) is not in dispute. But they were given many other responsibilities as well, and ultimately failed to execute any of them perfectly.

A major point of Aaron's whole first offering on preservation was that the "how" was sharply disputed. Here he says that the "how" is not in dispute. Despite the fact that Aaron did not admit that he had been persuaded on this point, I accept the admission that the "how" of preservation is no longer in dispute with him. He has accepted Scripture as to the "how" of preservation. God used His church. I congratulate Aaron for this concession. Perhaps others will follow in conceding that the church is the means of preservation, the "how" that is so often denied.

Aaron uses the oft cited example of the single copy left preserved and surviving in the temple in the Old Testament as a basis of a failure of preservation. I have never been able to wrap my brain around how that proves a point for the other side. It doesn't disagree with anything else in Scripture about preservation. The copy was still in Israel's temple both preserved by Israel and by God. If there was one copy remaining, that indicates preservation like only one possible heir in the line of Christ proves the continuation of the line of Christ. Someone may need to help me to understand how this doesn't only hurt those who are attempting to say that there was a failure in preservation, and that this proves that.

Concerning inspiration, Aaron says that God acted directly on the writers of Scripture as they spoke and wrote. I agree with that. Doesn't John 16:13 say that God would guide His own into all truth? The church has believed this, counted on this teaching, and used it as a basis for believing in a sixty-six book canon. God would make manifest to His own what His Words were. The very Holy Spirit who moved upon men in inspiration also could and did guide them in canonicity and preservation. We must believe in this principle as a basis for a certain, sixty-six book canon. That too is a miracle of God's providence.

We have a strong scriptural basis for believing in a word perfect Bible in the promise of not one jot or one tittle passing from God's law in Matthew 5:18. Jesus in Matthew 24:35 said that His Words would never pass away. The standard for Scripture is perfection (Psalm 12:6). John gave the standard of not one word being added to or taken away from the settled text (Revelation 22:18-19). You can't take away or add to a text that isn't settled. We should assume that God would testify to the very Words that He inspired so that those would always be available for His people (Isaiah 59:21; Matthew 4:4).

The reason why there are no preservation statements that parallel inspiration statements is because inspiration and preservation are two different activities of God. Men were not "moved" by the Holy Spirit in preservation of the already inspired text, but they would be guided by the Holy Spirit to it. God also promised that every Word would be available. We should assume that it would be.

Aaron ended by saying that future articles would explore whether God has "enabled fallible human beings to make error-free copies of His Word." Again, this is a straw-man. God promises every Word and all Words. There is no promise of a man making an error free copy. That should not hold anyone back from believing what the passages do teach, which still lead us to believe in a perfect, preserved text of scripture.

What we have here is a matter of faith. Abraham did not see and yet believed. He did not stagger in unbelief despite the lack of evidence. He believed God's Words. We should believe the promises of God for preservation like we believe the even fewer passages that teach inspiration. Here's the catch though. A Bart Ehrman knows what Scripture says about preservation. He believes it. When he begins seeing the textual variants, he staggers in unbelief and ejects from Christianity. He couldn't believe in a miracle of providence. Others know of textual variants and they just change what Scripture teaches and what the church had believed. Do you see what has happened? Men are reacting to sight and not living by faith. One rejects Scripture altogether and the other changes its meaning. Both are faithless moves. Let us gird up our loins as men and be strong.


My wife and I traveled to New York to West Point for the plebe-parent weekend this last Thursday to Monday. While we were on the grounds of the U. S. Military Academy on Friday, I met and talked to another parent whose son and my son were acquaintance. I'm being purposefully ambiguous as to his identity and some of the details, like his bio and career. Anyway, after awhile I told him I was a Baptist pastor in California. He is in Alabama, where Baptists abound and is Bible-belt territory, unlike where my church is. I found he was a former Episcopalian, married Catholic. I asked him to give me his totally honest opinion, and I wouldn't be offended one bit, whether he thought that all the Baptists down there have made Alabama a better state, a better place to live. He said something pretty close to this: "They help preserve the morality and the family, which is good. However, the daughter of the Southern Baptist pastor and my daughter both play on the volleyball team, and his daughter told my daughter that because she worshiped Mary, she was going to hell."

Now I don't know if that's what this Baptist pastor's daughter said exactly to this man's daughter. However, if his daughter didn't receive Jesus Christ alone for salvation, she was going to Hell. We spent a little time after that talking about pluralism, taking different points of view, and how that things had changed in the way of toleration and speech. He seemed to enjoy the conversation. What the pastor's daughter said to his daughter, many would call inflammatory. And yet it was true. It was something like what I think Jesus would say. It was bold.

Saturday night we attended a banquet there in the cadet mess hall, a gigantic stone block structure in the middle of a mammoth barracks that the cadets lived in. You really would need to see it to get a sense of the immensity and the impressiveness of the place. Everyone was in full dress, we ate a banquet meal, and the president of Rwanda spoke. We were seated with another plebe and his family, filling out a ten person table. In the midst of the meal, the mother of the other plebe asked whether we were hoping for one of our daughters to attend West Point. My wife and I both said, "No." I told them that we did not believe that women should be at West Point. We did not believe that the roles of women should be egalitarian, but complementary. They all nodded quietly. No comment. I think many would call my comment inflammatory.

Let's shift back to something I wrote at the end of my last post about women wearing men's clothes. I said at the end of that essay that the particular young ladies whom I had described were an abomination to God for having worn pants. One commenter said to another commenter that what I wrote was inflammatory. I based my statement on Deuteronomy 22:5, which says that the person who does such a thing was an abomination to God. I applied that verse to them.

Is inflammatory good or bad? I think the connotation is that it is bad. You've done a bad thing if you've been inflammatory, I believe, based on a modern understanding of the term. I think that many won't say the truth because they don't want to be "inflammatory," as if avoiding that has risen to a higher moral plane than the truth itself. So you abstain safely from being inflammatory, but in so doing leave the truth unsaid.

Speak the truth. It's loving to do so.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Women Wearing Men's Clothes

Here I go again. And for three reasons in particular. First, I was sent a mass email from my alma mater (Maranatha Baptist Bible College) in which was a link to watch a live stream of a basketball game at the home gym in Watertown, Maranatha men versus Northland men. I opened that email right when I was preparing to do my daily trip to nowhere on the Nordic Trac for forty-five minutes. I often watch live sporting events while on the Nordic Trac in my garage, where I have a home office (I live in California---it's warm), on my computer screen. We don't have cable so I can watch things for free on my broadband internet. The game was just starting as I began to exercise. So I watched.

Northland defeated Maranatha. I watched the last part of the first half and then most of the second half. Maranatha might need to do something about its gym floor, because guys were slipping all over the place due to non-stop moisture in many places, especially right under one basket. About 5 people could not towel it off fast enough. There was a lot of ice-skating out there. But I digress. At half-time, the video feed stayed on, and the student body held some kind of activity on the court with girls running around all over the place. I switched it off then because I didn't want to watch that. All of the girls, all of them, a couple of dozen, were wearing pants. Mainly jeans. Not all loose fitting. It wasn't easy to look at. I just shook my head watching it. What they wore definitely affected how they behaved as well. They were running and bumping around, well, like men. They had girded up their loins like a man and were doing the now permissible type of activity.

Now for me, it isn't that I don't think women can do physical activity. I believe they should. And that isn't my point, so I'm going to leave that little digression to go back to my original focus. I never saw that type of female appearance when I was a student. The school has departed from that particular standard. As I watched how women's dress has changed there, I thought about the basis for the standard in the first place. I believe there is a distinct male garment and female ones that are unique to women. Because of God's prohibition in Deuteronomy 22:5, that when violated the individuals involved are an abomination to Him, I don't believe women should wear the male garment and men the female garment. Our culture still mainly keeps the female garment off of men. Men don't wear skirts and dresses. However, women wear pants. So men don't have a distinct garment any more.

And then I get to the crux of this part of this post. A big argument for the women-wearing-pants crowd is that women wear women's pants. I'm telling you. I don't see it. These professing Christian women don't wear pants that are different than men's. They don't care. That argument comes out only when someone like me comes along. It isn't any kind of conviction, just a convenient game to play at the time. I know that. I think the people know it too, and it shows when you look at all the pants. These women or the men, who supposedly are in headship over them, don't have a conviction about "women's pants." They just don't care about following Deuteronomy 22:5 at all.

I recognize that some people have other arguments. It's just that the "women's pants" argument is the one I hear the most now. It's the men and women both wore robes' argument. Since they both wore robes then, then they both wear pants today. Of course, that misses the point of obeying Deuteronomy 22:5. The assumption is that there would have been a male robe and female robe and neither gender was to wear the other's robe, which would have had distinctions that distinguished it plainly from the other. The move to women's pants hasn't been a move to distinguish the distinctions. It has been one to remove those distinctions. It has been a move to disobey Deuteronomy 22:5.

And again, I know there are other arguments. They have not been the historic position of the church on this passage. The two that come immediately to mind are the Canaanite worship point and then the "don't-wear-military-implements" argument. I'm not even going to deal with them. I've done that here before. They are just dodges. If there is another argument it is the don't-argue-over-non-essentials argument. This abomination to God isn't an essential, you see---to us it isn't.

The second event that directed me to think about this enough to write about it was something that happened in our school. A woman who is not a member of our church mentioned to us that wearing pants exclusively was a conviction for her. She would not wear skirts or dresses, didn't even own any. I won't comment further, but you can see how this may have gotten me contemplating this.

The third happening was a recent article by Kevin Bauder, which was published at SharperIron. This was an essay just before one he wrote has garnered a lot of attention, and I'm planning on writing about that one myself in the near future, but in the previous article, he mentioned the pant-skirt issue. He wrote:

For instance, one of my earliest written pieces was a response to someone who was trying to impose the “no pants on women” theory on our church. I regarded Fundamentalist speculations about music as simply pathetic.

I have recently seen potshots taken at this particular point, as a reason to be dismissive of separatists. These separatists have these, you know, strange standards. They were normal for most of Christian history. But now we have just subjugated ourselves to the world's way of behaving on this.

What the church has done is what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 15:6: "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." Deuteronomy 22:5 is a command that was kept by the church for centuries, but it has been voided now by Pharisaic tradition, tradition intended to make the Christian life "easier." Christians won't have to 'stick out' so much. They can fit in quite nicely with the world and many think this is a good thing. Why did we all take that position for so long, keeping the distinction? What were we thinking? These new theologians and teachers are so much more enlightened, seeing things in the text that people never saw before. It just took a little digging to find some way to void the teaching.

Alright, I'm done for now. No, wait, one more thing. These individuals who do this, all those girls on the basketball floor at Maranatha---they're an abomination to God. Alright. Now I'm done.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Health Care Insurance for Dummies part two

I neared the end of my first installment with this:

I know the government of the United States should not be involved in the health care industry and I hope that the people of this country will rise against this administration and his party in their attempts to bring health care under government control. Why?

I answered the why with three points.
  1. The Constitution of the United States says nothing about health care. Health care is outside of the power of the federal government.
  2. Whenever the government tries to do something that is done by private enterprise, it costs more for the government to do it.
  3. If the government gets involved with health care like they are proposing, you will lose more of your freedom.
Those were very fundamental analysis of the situation based on the one aspect of government control. However, more could be said in criticism of the direction President Obama is taking the country on this issue.

One philosophical viewpoint of the Obama administration, it seems, and most in the Democrat Party, is that health care or health insurance is guaranteed by the Constitution, that is, a fundamental human right or civil right. The Constitution does not include health care in its bill of rights. The American people are under no obligation to provide free health care to every one of its citizens. That viewpoint is wrought with many difficulties and destructive consequences, one of which is the sense of entitlement it engenders that will bankrupt our nation. It is necessary for our country to require its citizens a large degree of personal responsibility, including the taking care of one's own health.

When we take away individual responsibility in the area of health care, just like we have with our social security, the health of people will not improve. People will more likely be willing to abuse their health with the assumption that the government will rescue them when they do so. That is already a sad result of the bureaucratic nature of group HMO (health maintenance organization) type of health insurance. Everyone is charged the same amount for his insurance no matter what kind of lifestyle practices he chooses. With a guarantee of health care for everyone, the government will take away the incentive to live a healthy lifestyle. Health will actually decrease and the care will become more expensive because of that loss of incentive.

Lowering Costs

If our concern with health care is about costs, we will not lower prices for everyone by providing health insurance for free for the uninsured. Adding 30 to 40 million uninsured will ask the rest of the population to shoulder the cost for these extra people by either paying more or by rationing their own care. The number of doctors will not increase, so the load on doctors will not become easier. The same number of doctors will be required to take care of that many more patients.

Is the Obama administration really concerned about lowering costs for people? Or is the present president of the U. S. mainly about strapping even more people into a mindset of government entitlement and guaranteeing the growth of the Democrat Party by creating that many more government dependents? I think the latter. One strategy in the Democrat playbook is to demonize the profits made by insurance companies. The idea is that a vote for Obamacare is a vote against the health insurance companies, which is an age old Democrat strategy of class warfare. I believe that Lamar Alexander made a very appropro statement concerning the cost lowering strategy of targeting the profits of the insurance companies:

Now, some say we need to rein in the insurance companies; maybe we do. But I think it's important to note that if we took all the profits of the insurance companies, the health insurance companies, entirely away -- every single penny of it -- we could pay for two days of the health insurance of Americans, and that would leave 363 days with costs that are too high. So that's why we continue to insist that as much as we want to expand access and to do other things in health care, that we shouldn't expand a system that's this expensive; that the best way to reduce cost -- to increase access is to reduce cost.

We will not save much money by removing the profit that insurance companies make for doing business. The demonizing of health care providers makes sense in whipping up support for the health care bill, but it won't do much to lower costs, especially seeing that this industry is 86th nationally in profit margin at 3.3%. Who President Obama chooses to attack are private businesses. The attack on private industries results in what? The loss of jobs. The loss of jobs seems to be a Democrat Party specialty.

Tort Reform

What would save a lot more money would be reform in tort laws related to medical malpractice. That alone would save hundreds of billions of dollars in medical costs every year. Why? It would reduce the money paid out for expensive, frivolous lawsuits every year. It would reduce the amount of money spent on defensive medicine by doctors because of fear of lawsuits. Last, it would shrink the amount of medical malpractice insurance that doctors are required to pay that is passed along to us the consumer.

But who does the present malpractice laws benefit? Again, follow the money. They benefit defense attorneys, the largest contributors to the Democrat Party. That's why the laws do not get changed. Until President Obama starts getting serious about tort reform, he doesn't care about lowering the costs on the average American citizen for their health care. This really is just more about government control and power, which will be for us an increasing loss of freedom.

More to Come

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Health Care Insurance for Dummies

Are there problems with the way we do health care in the United States? Yes. We do get sick and injured, and sometimes we've got to go to a doctor or hospital. Doctors and other health care workers should be paid for what they do. Various medicines also cost money to develop and manufacture. If our life is threatened by some illness or cataclysmic health issue, we will want to get the health care we need. We don't want ourselves or our loved ones to die because they couldn't afford to pay for what they needed. We also care about people in general and want others to have access to the people, facilities, and medicines that would result in good health for them.

When we talk about health care, we really are talking about how much it costs. People's interest in health care mainly relates to how much they will have to pay for what they need, the percentage of their total income that they spend on it. Then it relates to access to what they need. And last comes the quality of the health care. At the root level, people want to live and they don't want a lack of accessibility to end their lives. If you have ever been in a situation or have seen someone else in one where their health care saved them from dying, you can understand the intense interest here. And then they don't want their quality of life to diminish because they can't get the kind of care they need.

A lot of what most people do for health, they do themselves. They alter their behavior in a way that will allow them to stay healthy. This relates to what they eat and how much, to how and how much they exercise, the ways that they keep from getting sick, and the safety precautions that they take to keep from getting injured. With everything that most people do to stay healthy, for a large part of their lives, they can usually avoid having to do anything that will cost a lot of money in order to stay healthy. Even as you are reading this, you may be thinking that you haven't been to a doctor for a year or more. Perhaps you've never been in the hospital since you've been born. The ideal for people is to live in a healthy manner so that they won't have to spend that much on health care.

Of course, as these bodies in which we live wear down through usage and age, they often begin to malfunction in some way that threatens our lives. Sometimes we can't do much about it because it is a genetic issue. Other times, a choice we made in life is causing the problem, our eating, drinking, or an activity that endangered our health. Most of the money we spend on health comes at the tail end of our life because of the process of aging. The other concern is some kind of unforeseen cataclysmic event---car accident, cancer, tumor, etc.

Most people could pay most of their health care without insurance. Most people wouldn't even need health insurance until they were older if it wasn't for the possibility of some surprising event or a few ordinary situations that are very expensive, like childbirth. Without health insurance, most people could not afford to pay for the expenses of bringing a child into the world. And then there are those circumstances that no one could predict that cost more than what most people could afford to pay at one time. Because of the possibility of one of these unforeseen events, most people believe they need to have health insurance. What health insurance is supposed to do is to spread out the costs for our health care over our entire lives. As well, some people are going to need more health care than others. When everyone pools together money by paying for insurance, those who need it more will get more care even though they aren't paying more in premiums.

When we pay our health insurance, we'd like to not use it. We'd be OK paying for the insurance and not having to use it at all. And that's the way it is with many. They pay their premiums and they end up taking less care than what they are paying in. On the other hand, there are some who receive more care than what they actually pay in. In order for an insurance company to operate and pay their employees, they must take in more money in premiums than what they spend for health care.

The price of health care has risen at a faster rate than most other items in our nation's cost of living. We are paying a greater percentage of our income toward health care than ever before. This does affect the economy of the entire nation. The standard of living of the average American family diminishes because of what they have to pay for health care. It hurts other industries, because people cannot spend money on other things because they have to spend it on health care. When people are not spending money on those other things, those industries stop making those things and the people who work for those companies lose their jobs. When someone loses his job, he doesn't have an income from which to pay for health care. And yet he and his family still need health care. Somebody is going to give the health care and someone is going to pay for it too. Of course, that causes the prices to rise that everyone else is paying and this causes this whole cycle to get even worse.

So what's the problem? Why is health care so expensive? What would provide the most help for the cost of health care to go down?

President Obama believes that the solution to this health care problem lies with the government. He wants greater governmental involvement. He and the Democratic party in the United States are telling this nation that the government can solve this health care crisis by giving much greater charge of this nation's health care industry to the federal government. Is this going to work? Will this succeed? Will this be the answer to bring down the escalating costs? Health care is the biggest subject in the U. S. government for 2010, even as it was in 2009. It wasn't the most significant topic for the American people, but it is what the Obama administration has chosen for the government of the United States to deal with.

Will the government bring down the cost of health care? I think it is possible for the government to do that. I don't think that the government can or will do that, but I think it is possible for the government of the United States to bring down the cost of health care. Now for the government to do that, I also believe that the average lifespan of Americans will shrink, there will be greater national poverty, and our health will be much worse. However, health care will be cheaper. Everything will need to be much less expensive because there will be far less money for most people to spend due to the government involvement.

I know the government of the United States should not be involved in the health care industry and I hope that the people of this country will rise against this administration and his party in their attempts to bring health care under government control. Why?

First, the Constitution of the United States says nothing about health care. Health care is outside of the power of the federal government. The founding fathers wrote the Constitution in a major way to limit the power of the federal government. Government controlled health care is unconstitutional. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land and our federal representatives have sworn to uphold the Constitution.

Second, whenever the government tries to do something that is done by private enterprise, it costs more for the government to do it. We already see that the entitlements that the government presently operates are going bankrupt. The country is already massively in debt because of Social Security and Medicare. For the same health care that you presently get, you can be sure that it will become more expensive if the government gets involved.

Third, if the government gets involved with health care like they are proposing, you will lose more of your freedom. The government will control more of your life. Health care is a frightening tool in the hands of a corrupt government. Everyone needs health care and with the government in charge, it will be easier than ever for it to control your life. The government will be able to manipulate you based upon your need for health care. As the government controls more and more of private enterprise, in this case the health care industry, it can play on the greed and the fears of people with the use of health care. More people will be receiving benefits that someone else has paid for and will surely vote for the party that will keep those benefits coming at the expense of someone else.

More on this later. I will explain how we can actually lower health care costs if we would be willing to accept some common sense solutions. I will also explore reasons why the Obama administration wishes to do this despite the problems.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Must Read as Related to the Gospel, Culture, and Meaning

I commend this article at a blog called "Conservative Christianity. I'm interested in your thoughts as it relates to what the author is saying. I agree with him 100%. I believe that the kind of Christianity that he describes has become mainstream, especially evangelicalism. It has profaned God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

[As an example of what "Conservative Christianity" is talking about---here---among many others from what is considered the most conservative of evangelicalism, people for whom many fundamentalists have deep admiration. Don't do a search on "dude" on that site, because you won't be able to read it all. 301 "dude" references.]

Monday, March 01, 2010

TESTIMONY OF THE QURAN TO THE BIBLE -- by Thomas Ross -- part one

This is a pamphlet written by Thomas Ross for Muslims for the purpose of their hearing the gospel. It is not written for believers. You are welcome to comment.

I. The Quran States that the Bible is the Word of God

The Quran states: “Lo! We did reveal the Torah [the Old Testament], wherein is guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed to Allah’s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of the law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book, and they were witnesses to it: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by what Allah has revealed, they are infidels. . . . Whoever judges not by that which Allah has revealed: such are wrong-doers. . . . And we caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and we bestowed on him the Gospel [the New Testament] wherein is guidance and light, confirming that which was revealed before it in the Torah—a guidance and an admonition to those who ward off evil. Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoever judges not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers” (Surah 5:44-47).

The Quran plainly declares that God revealed the Old and New Testaments, that they are guidance and light. The Quran states, as quoted above, that anyone who fails to judge by what is revealed in them is an infidel, wrong-doer, and evil-liver. In fact, the Quran declares: “O People of the Scripture [Jews and Christians]! You have naught of guidance till you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed to you from your Lord” (5:68). For that matter, the Quran told Muhammad, the founder of Islam, to look to the Old and New Testaments if he had any doubts about the Quran: “And if you [Muhammad] are in doubt concerning that which we reveal to you, then question those who read the Scripture that was before you” (10:94). If Muhammad, who the Quran states is a “good example” (33:21) for Muslims, was told to test the Quran by the Scripture that was given before, the Old and New Testaments, and Jews and Christians have “naught of guidance” until they listen to and obey the Bible, and anyone who does not fail to judge by the Bible, in which is guidance and light, is an infidel, wrong-doer, and evil-liver, then every Muslim, everyone who listens to the message of the Quran, must carefully study the Bible and compare it with the Quran. To fail to do so is to reject the Quran and Muhammad. The Quran, claims, over and over again, to confirm and uphold the Torah and the Gospel, the Old and New Testaments—Muhammad claimed he was the “messenger from Allah, confirming . . . the Scripture . . . which they [the people of the Book, the Jews and Christians] possess” (2:101; cf. 2:41, 89, 91, 97; 3:3, 81; 4:47; 6:92; 12:111; 35:31; etc.) Every Muslim must believe that “This Quran . . . is a confirmation of what is before it” (10:37). Every Muslim must recognize that the Quran places the Old and New Testaments on an equal level with itself as Scripture: “Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He has revealed to His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he truly has wandered far astray” (4:136). “We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them” (3:84).

II. The Quran, the Bible, and History Prove that the Bible is Pure and Uncorrupted

Some today claim that the Bible was indeed the pure and perfect Word of God when it was originally written, but it later became corrupt, so that the declarations found in the Quran about it are no longer true today. No Muslim should dare to make such statements, for in doing so he plainly contradicts the Quran, the Bible, and the facts of history.

The Quran affirms that the Bible had not been corrupted from the time it was written until Muhammad’s day. It constantly states that it is confirming what was already revealed by God, and never states or hints that the text of the Bible has been corrupted in any way. As already demonstrated in the quotations above, the Quran commands people alive during Muhammad’s lifetime in the late sixth and early seventh century A. D. to “judge” by the Old and New Testaments, and calls those who do not do so infidels, wrong-doers, and evil-livers (5:44-47). How could the Quran command people to judge truth based on the Bible if the Bible had been corrupted? The Quran warns that the “People of the Scripture . . . have naught of guidance till you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed to you from your Lord” (5:68). How could they obey the Torah and the Gospel if they had been corrupted and lost? Would God have told Muhammad to evaluate the Quran based on the Bible available to the Christians and Jews of his day if the Bible had become corrupt (10:94)? Why would the Quran state, “Bring the Torah and study it, if you be men of truth” (3:93)? How could the Quran state that the religious “doctors of the children of Israel know . . . [what is in] the scriptures from the men of old” (26:196-197)? How could they know what was in the Bible if it had been lost and corrupted? Why would Muhammad be “confirming . . . the Scripture . . . which they [the Jews and Christians] possess” (2:101) if the Bible that they possessed was corrupt? If the Bible had been changed, would Muhammad be a true messenger from God if he confirmed the copies of Bible the Jews and Christians had instead of warning that they were corrupt? The Quran states that it is “a scripture from Allah, confirming that in their [the Jews and Christians] possession” (2:89). Would God confirm the Scriptures in the possession of the Jews and Christians if they were corrupt? Anyone who states that the Bible had been corrupted from the time it was given by God to the lifetime of Muhammad rejects the Quran. No Muslim dare do so.

Not only must every Muslim believe that the Bible has been preserved pure and uncorrupted from the days it was given by God to the time of Muhammad, he must believe that it has not been corrupted since Muhammad’s day down to the present time. “No change can there be in the words of Allah” (10:64), and “there is none that can alter the words of God” (6:34), so the Bible could not become textually corrupt at any time. Similarly, Allah in the Quran states, “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message: and we assuredly guard it from corruption” (15:9). The Bible also claims that God would preserve all of His Word pure and free from corruption: “The words of the LORD [1] are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Ps 12:6-7). “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot [the smallest consonant of the Bible] or one tittle [the smallest vowel or even one dot or mark of any kind] shall in no wise pass from the law” (Mt 5:18). Jesus said, “my words shall not pass away” (Mt 24:35). God promised that the pure Word of God would be available to every generation of believers: “As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed [descendants], nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever” (Is 59:21).

History makes it clear that the Quran and the Bible are right when they teach that the Old and New Testaments have been preserved pure and uncorrupted. There are thousands of manuscripts of the Old Testament. One source, the Cairo synagogue geniza (a storehouse for manuscripts), discovered in the 1890s, held over 10,000 manuscript portions. Thousands of Old Testament manuscripts from other locations are also in existence. Extremely ancient Old Testament manuscripts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls or those discovered in the ancient fortress of Masada have been discovered that are letter-for-letter identical, line after line, with Hebrew manuscripts that were made 1,000 years later, and with printed editions of the Old Testament today. The Old Testament has not bee corrupted or changed!

Over 5,600 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament have been discovered, along with over 10,000 Latin manuscripts and at least 9,300 manuscripts of other early versions, for a total of more than 24,000 New Testament manuscripts. This is far, far more than the evidence for any ancient book outside of the Bible—the book with the second largest number of copies is the Illiad of Homer, with 643 manuscripts, less than 2.7% of the evidence for the New Testament, although it was the most widely read book of antiquity! Furthermore, all but 11 of the 7,957 verses of the New Testament could be reproduced without a single one of the 24,000+ manuscripts we have from the 36,289 quotes made by early writers in Christendom from the second to the fourth century. Furthermore, New Testament manuscripts date back to the time period that the books were written; a number of ancient sections of Scripture on papyrus date to shortly after the final books of the New Testament were written. In contrast, the oldest copy of Homer’s Illiad dates to the 13th century A. D.! History proves what the Quran and the Bible teach—the New Testament has not been corrupted or changed![2]

In summary, every Muslim must believe that “no change can there be in the words of Allah” (10:64), who would “assuredly guard it from corruption” (15:9), so the Bible cannot have been corrupted. The Quran clearly teaches that the Bible had not been corrupted from the time God gave it to the days of Muhammad in the 7th century A. D. The Quran regularly teaches that the Bible that was then in use by the Jews and Christians was the pure Word of God. The Bible cannot have been corrupted after the days of Muhammad, for we have many Biblical manuscripts that are centuries older than the time of Muhammad, and the text of the Bible that is found in these ancient copies is the same type of text that is found in later copies and in modern printed editions of the Bible. History confirms what both the Quran and the Bible teach—the Old and New Testaments have not been corrupted, but are still the pure and perfect Word of God today.

See this complete study--parts 1-3--by clicking here.


[1] In the Old Testament, the word LORD in all capitals represents the Hebrew name Jehovah for God.
[2] For more evidence on the preservation of the Bible, please read Bible Study #1: What is the Bible? at, or contact the assembly of believers in God listed at the end of this booklet.