Monday, April 30, 2012

College for Church Kids, pt. 3

When we make any decision, we start with, does it obey Scripture?   Christian colleges teach the Bible.  They even require Bible classes.  If your child attends one of these classes, he will be receiving biblical doctrine and practice.  Does God permit a child of God to learn a skewing of scripture?  I established in part one, "no" (part 2).  The Christian college acts with authority either as a church or like a church to teach its doctrine.  Our church kids should not be exposed to that.  I'm coming late to this, because it wasn't something I had considered or thought about in at least my first 15 years of leading a church.  So as I write this, it is something that I have come to believe from a persuasion from the Bible.

What occurs in a state, secular school is not the same.  First, it isn't coming at it with ecclesiastical or like ecclesiastical authority.  Second, the Bible itself treats the two sides, secular versus professing Christian, radically different.  1 Corinthians 5 gives us a good example of this.  Consider vv. 9-11:

9  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Christians may company with unbelievers, those "of this world," but not those who are "called a brother," but are engaged as a practice in certain activities.  I understand why the professing Christian is more dangerous than the secular.  Our church kids go onto the state campus with a clear delineation.  They know they aren't dealing with believers on the secular campus.  Third, when it comes to the parachurch organization, there is a tremendous danger in validating these unscriptural alternatives to the biblically prescribed way of receiving doctrine and practice.  We place our approval on them when we send our kids to one of them.  They are man-made inventions, other ox-carts in contradiction to how God said to do it.

The suggestion has been made that if we sent our children to a Christian college to get their education, because of its correct worldview, it would be superior to the secular college.  The idea is that they could resist the influences of some wrong doctrine more easily than they would be able to battle the all-out assault of the state college on the views of our young people.  I think this suggestion is worthy of consideration.  It makes sense, except for its violation of scripture.  It just makes sense.  It isn't scriptural.  Sometimes we exalt what makes sense to us because it makes sense to us.  But even if it makes sense to us, it isn't right if it conflicts with the Bible.  It isn't better, even if it makes sense to us.  If we send our church kids to a Christian college that disobeys our doctrine, we are sending them into  fellowship with those who teach and preach another doctrine.  That violates 2 Thessalonians 3 and Romans 16:17-18.

The decision between Christian college and secular college isn't binary.  There is another option:  Christian college, secular college, and no college.  If you don't think your child can handle secular college, the only other choice isn't Christian college.  You can wait until the child is ready for secular college, or have him get a job or have him involved in some vocational learning with someone you trust.

Someone commented that your children might be offered fornication.  He could also be tempted with alcohol, foul language, rock concerts, pornography, and more.   That could also happen at work, the neighborhood, and with family.   We could cloister ourselves away from all possible bad influences with monastic-like isolation.  The above 1 Corinthians 5 passage says we don't do that.  Jesus in John 17 said that He wants us in the world.  The way we combat those sins is by letting everyone know we're a Christian, be bold in our testimony and not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.   If you take a bold stand against liquor and pornography and other worldly items, people won't keep bothering you with it.  This is what I've heard from everybody that I've talked to who has attended a secular college.  They don't want to be around you any more that you want to be around them.  When you are preaching to people, they will run away.

We want to start college outreach on the secular campus.  It is difficult to do that when you don't have students in those colleges.  Our separation from those colleges has resulted in a lack of evangelism on college campuses.

When your daughters attend a secular college near home, safety is an issue, especially in an urban area, like where we live.  I would suggest doing something for self-defense---mace, etc.

Our church kids should look at their church as the source of their biblical and spiritual nourishment and growth.   Fundamentalists especially have inculcated to their kids that this occurs in the most prominent way with the Christian college.  It just isn't true.  They should regard that accountability and discipleship and ministry should happen through their church.

Church kids will be challenged in a secular environment.  They'll have to take a stand.  They'll have to develop discernment.   They will be tested earlier in a way that everyone will be tested eventually.  The tests are going to come anyway.  Why not have those tests come with the help of their church?   Why not get them out of the way?   Why not have them learning out to act in the world at an earlier date?  I believe they will mature more quickly and understand their purpose even better for their being on earth.  Many men, who attended Christian college, do not really get tested until they are out in the world afterwards.  Sometimes the real test doesn't occur until they reach mid-life and suffering a season of discontent.  Then, for the first time in their life, they face what they could have confronted and conquered and toughened them for everything that would present itself later on, when a collapse would be cataclysmic.  The test will come earlier or later, but it will come.

I earlier commented that English is English and Math is Math.  Some concepts in a secular college in philosophy, history, and literature will contradict a Christian worldview.  But we are expecting that, aren't we?  So we have the opportunity then to prove everything and hold on to that which is good, which is a constant practice our entire life.  We can develop the answers that we need to combat that in the real world.  And we will do it with the help of our church and our family.  Young people are segregated from those important and vital helps when they are sent off to the Christian college.  That isn't a better situation for them.

Like in so many other areas of fundamentalism, there was a problem that occurred and so a solution was invented that seemed like a good way to deal with the problem.  The solution became as much a problem or a bigger problem than the original problem.  The solution already exists in the institutions that God created.  The secular colleges attack Christian values.  They do.  But we're not getting our values from the state college.  We're learning things that will prepare us to get a job in the world, the same world of the secular college.  It is a secular world.  Making tents is making tents.  Doctoring is doctoring.   Engineering is engineering.  Physics is physics.  Physical therapy is physical therapy.  You will have to sort through some wrong philosophies, but you are there to get an education.

I haven't noticed that our Christian colleges are better at preparing young people to succeed in the world.  You have very few Christians who are better at something that someone is doing in the secular---musicianship, science, writing, and more.  The Christian colleges themselves have essentially admitted this by having their professors go to state colleges to get their advanced degrees and by looking to state accreditation.   When I have edited writing, I found the state educated to be better writers than the Christian college educated.  In a major way, good writing is good writing.  I don't think being better at doing these things means that we are a better Christian.  However, it seems we are contradicting the point of college when we leave college prepared in an inferior way.  What I'm saying is that we can learn the Christian life at home and in the church, where it ought to be taught, and then prepare for earning a living or getting a job in a place that is the best equipped to do that.

More to Come.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Paradigmatic Example of New Age Medicine and How to Expose and Analyze it, part 1

What is below is an adjusted version of a real letter by someone on this subject, pertaining to an actual chiropractor named Jay Fox, a practicioner and advocate of muscle testing/Applied Kinesiology, homeopathy, and traditional chiropractic techniques.  Minor changes have been introduced, and the name of the individual visiting Chiropractor Fox changed to “Judy,” representative of “Judy Doe,” wife of “John Doe.”  The author of this letter is, thus, “John Doe,” writing to another family member.  The letter is paradigmatic for methods of New Age medicine and quackery, and, I believe, you will also find it both informative and entertaining.

For a number of months in the past, Judy had been going to Chiropractor Fox for the purpose of benefiting her health.  In light of her frequent visits to him, and my God-given role as protector and provider of our household, I thought it well to join her on one of her visits and see what was going on.  Thus, a few months ago, I did so.

The office was clean and nice in its appearance.  Chiropractor Fox appeared to be a cordial and friendly man.  Seeing that I was in the office, he explained the basis upon which he performed back manipulations, and also explained his process of muscle testing.  Some of these declarations began to raise serious questions in my mind, as did other features of the office and his chiropractic practice.

First of all, the practice of muscle testing should be noted.  What Chiropractor Fox did was place the substance to be tested in a certain location on Judy’s body, and then move her arm to see if her muscles “tested” strong or weak on the basis of where she was holding the substance.  For example, to see if she should take a particular vitamin supplement, Fox would have her hold it in her hand, or under her chin, and then, Judy having stretched out her arm, Fox would move her arm.  If her arm moved down, then this was evidence that the substance being tested was harmful.  If her arm did not move down, then it was fine.  If it was deemed fine through this method of testing, Fox would then say numbers out loud and move her arm.  At whatever number her arm moved down after he spoke the words, he would declare that this was the number of pills that Judy should consume of the substance in question.  Chiropractor Fox also tried muscle testing on me, and it seemed to me like what made my arm move down was how hard he was pushing on it, not whatever his alleged mechanism was for discovering if what he said was really good for me or not.  When we left the office, Fox employed muscle testing to determine how long it was until Judy needed to come back. He said, “two weeks,” and pushed on her arm, and it did not go down.   He then said “four weeks,” pushed on her arm, and it again did not go down.  This process was repeated until he said “fourteen weeks,” at which time her arm went down upon his pushing upon it.  Thus, it was determined that she needed to come back to see him in fourteen weeks.

Muscle testing, otherwise called Applied Kinesiology, was invented by Chiropractor George Goodheart.  Goodheart, a “Michigan chiropractor . . . worked out elaborate charts showing the effects of specific nutrients and herbs upon specific organs, teeth, acupuncture meridians, and muscles.  These are extremely elaborate, and a major question is raised as to how such complex interrelationships could possibly be validated without the efforts of numerous researchers and the production of a great deal of published research [which does not exist]. . . . Goodheart was psychic (personal communication) and developed his charts by this means. . . . Goodheart combined the occultic philosophy of early chiropractic theory concerning the body’s supposed Innate Intelligence with ancient Eastern practices designed to regulate supposed mystical life energies within the body. . . . Applied kinesiology is thus a blending of the theory and/or practice of chiropractic and ancient Chinese Taoism. . . . [V]arious occultic and spiritistic books . . . employ [muscle testing] toward that end . . . [t]hat applied kinesiology is used in occult practice is not surprising given the fact that Goodheart himself is a psychic who developed his system by psychic methods.”[1]  That my wife was having things done to her that came from a psychic, from the occult, and the things that were supposed to contribute to her health were actually revealed by evil spirits, was extremely disturbing to me, since we are to “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:31).  Furthermore, there was clear evidence that Chiropractor Fox was indeed employing the occult techniques developed by Goodheart, for on his wall is a chart stating that he employs “Neuro-Emotional Technique,” and the chart, on the bottom, indicates the development of this system of “medicine” from George Goodheart.

In addition to the fact that the “medicine” Fox is employing developed out of demonic influence from George Goodheart, other clear signs of pagan and occult influence are readily apparent from Fox’s self-professed practice of “Neuro-Emotional Technique” (NET).  The NET chart on the wall of his office attempts to connect diseases to the Yin and the Yang—pagan concepts from devilish Eastern religion.  If one calls the “Neuro-Emotional Technique” hotline, as this writer did, he will be told that NET cleanses “toxins” from one’s body.  Upon asking what these “toxins” are, this writer was not told that NET somehow removed extraneous uranium atoms, or lead atoms, etc. from the body, but was told that the “toxins” are an imbalance in one’s chi.  As this writer can testify from actually making the phone call and finding out, one will be told that the body is made out of chi energy.  The Technique “rebalances” one’s chi, and this is what the removal of “toxins” signifies.  One finds the acupressure point that corresponds with the unbalance in chi, then taps on it, and this rebalances the chi.  Homeopathic remedies are also recommended to balance chi.  The statements on the phone by an official NET counselor are also confirmed on the NET website, which states that the NET method, professedly developing and expanding on the work of George Goodheart, “tests the chi” of someone and is based on “Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, and the Meridian System.”  The NET website advertises “free hypnosis” MP3’s, claims to have “found the royal road to the subconscious,” and makes other occult and spiritually dangerous claims.[2]  It also claims that “the body consists of water and electricity,” promotes homeopathy, and affirms other unscientific and false notions. The idea of chi comes from Eastern paganism, and there is no scientific evidence for it whatever, nor, even more importantly, the slightest indication in Scripture that such a thing exists.  Acupressure points and acupuncture are similarly a development of occult religion.[3]  (Homeopathy will be dealt with below.)  The fact that Fox’s “Neuro-Emotional Technique” (NET) claims to rebalance chi is further evidence for its demonic nature.

A “medical” technique that was revealed to a man by devils through occult means will not be good for our health.  God killed people for getting help from devils (Leviticus 20:6; 1 Chronicles 10:13), and devils are responsible for causing sickness in Scripture (Luke 13:16)—although, of course, not all sickness is directly caused by demonic agency (John 11:4).  Demons do not have an agenda to make people, especially God’s people, healthier.  Going to Chiropractor Fox can be exposing ourselves to the occult, and funding him is contributing to occult practices.  His chiropractic office should be avoided for this reason, and we should warn those who might want to go to him of the occult nature of his practice, and of muscle testing in general.


[1] Pg. 157, 167 “Applied Kinesiology (Muscle testing),” chapter 11 (pgs. 155-167) in Can You Trust Your Doctor? The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family, John Ankerberg & John Weldon.  Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991.  It should be mentioned that all the books and Internet articles cited below in this analysis that approach the subjects treated from a Biblical and scientific perspective provide further bibliographical sources and documentation of their claims for one who wished to test their validity.
[3] Cf. pgs. 109-143, Can You Trust Your Doctor? This chapter also provides evidence that acupuncture/pressure has no more scientific benefit than a placebo (cf. also “Be Wary of Acupuncture, Qigong, and ‘Chinese Medicine,’ Stephen Barrett,

Monday, April 23, 2012

College for Church Kids, pt. 2

I'll be continuing with the actual history of one Bible onlyism, also known as KJO, and why I'm not a Calvinist, but I'm busier than usual, ready to leave for a few days, so I'll move ahead with this series, because it's easier right now to write about.  Stay tuned.  There is a part one to the below post.


All four of my children have spent every year of their primary and secondary education so far at Bethel Christian Academy, a ministry of our church.  I do not believe that an elementary and primary aged young person should go to a public school.  It's not because it would be wrong to attend a public school.  Moses and Daniel both went to public school.   They didn't divide over the school, but over disobedience to the Word of God.   I wouldn't want to risk these children and young people to the influences of the public school.  It's too much for almost all children and young people.

For many years, we recommended all of our high school graduates to some Christian college.  Ultimately, it could only be a college the ministry of a church.  It turned out OK for our young people.  But here's what happened---mainly three things.

First, the nature of the Christian college is such that few to none believe and practice like our church.  That's where the conviction of 1 Timothy, two texts in particular (1:3b, 4a; 6:2b, 3, 5b), enters the decision:

....that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed.... 

These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;....from such withdraw thyself....

On the basis of these texts, within the context of a church or an ecclesiastical institution (one that claims to teach doctrine and practice with authority, like a parachurch organization), I don't believe we should be exposing our own young people to doctrine and practice other than what our own church believes and practices.  I don't see how to obey these passages in God's Word and recommend young people to any Christian college that doesn't believe and practice identical to our church.  There is one doctrine and practice.  Our young people should continue believing that.  We are not to give heed to any other doctrine.

Every Bible college our young people attended, they were being taught a doctrine and practice other than our church's.  I don't blame that on the colleges.  I blame it on us for recommending and even sending our young people to those places.  These places believed and taught their doctrine before our young people arrived.  And then when they did arrive, they were in for a regular battle over what they were taught at our church.

This all makes sense, because these college-aged students should be learning their doctrine and practice in their own church.  The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15), not a college.  Before or shortly after I was born, churches became convinced that their young people had to go to college to get their doctrine.  So much goes wrong in doing it this way (that I will discuss in a future part to this series), and mainly because God didn't design this as the way for doctrine and practice to be promulgated.  I'm sure that they thought that a person could no longer be prepared for this complicated world by a mere church.  And churches agreed to this extra-scriptural arrangement.

I can't recommend our high school graduates to a place that teaches something different than what we believe or practice.   It's because of those verses in 1 Timothy.  I found it difficult to oppose when they learned something different, without coming into sharp conflict with the place where they received it.  I didn't want to have that kind of conflict, but I really brought it upon myself by recommending it or sending them there in the first place.  And again, it wasn't the fault of that institution.  They were probably doing the best job they could with the ideas they already held.

Many Christian colleges are a worse influence than a state college.  Why?  One, your young people are exposed to the wrong belief and practice.  The kids are often peddled a worldly version of Christianity that is more damaging to your young people's affections for God.  Their guard is down.  They become accustomed many times to a view that diminishes what they received from their church.  Some watered down version of Christianity, I believe, is more dangerous than what you know is in and of the world.  That's easier to distinguish and dispense with.

So church kids should learn their doctrine and practice from your church.  The only other alternative is to learn it at a church that teaches exactly what you believe and practice.  That's not superior to your own church, but I believe it is acceptable, because it doesn't come into conflict with 1 Timothy 1 and 6.

I believe that your church kids are better off going to a local community college or something better (the latter in part depending on the financials) and staying home with their family and their church.  Their family and their church are what should be teaching those most important doctrines, practices, and character traits.  That's what we're doing and I'll break that down a little bit more in a future part to this series.

Second, I noticed that young people who graduated from a Christian college were ill prepared to support a family.  Now, you may say, sure they do:  pastor, missionary, and Christian school teacher.  None of those gives much hope of financial support, especially for a twenty-two year old young man, who needs to support a wife and family.  Generally, each of those require someone else to do something to support one of those young people.

This is where I began rethinking the point of college.  Why do we send our young people to college?  Is it to get Christian instruction?  I send you to number one again for that point.  I think it is to prepare them to earn a living, essentially to fulfill their God-given roles, which for a man is to support a wife and children.  Part of being a good parent is training your sons to earn a living.  Do Christian colleges do the best job in preparing a young man to do that?  At this point, I don't think so.  I'm not convinced that they even do a superior job of educating our college-aged young people.  I'm talking about preparing them to make it in the world in the most basic way possible.   Christian colleges try.  They very often do their best.  My observation is that as a whole they're inferior, in part because they lack the resources.

Our first tier of education responsibility is to fulfill the basic responsibility of earning a living.  That is a godly task.  It should be fulfilled.  Christian kids can make it in the world after high school if they have Christian character.  They'll be able to hold a job.  They might even do more.  If we're talking about the advantage of college, we want more than merely holding a job.  We want to offer a greater advantage of a better job---for instance, the kind of job that allows the wife to stay home with the children.  In many instances, you've got two Christian college graduates, who both, man and woman, must earn an income to make ends meet.  They're done with college, back in your church, and now what?  They're not the responsibility of the Christian college.

Third, Christian colleges have a difficult time competing with state or other private colleges in the quality of education.  They can't usually get the experts in the field that can compete even with the community college.  This year my daughter, a senior in high school, took Chemistry in a local community college and her teacher was a PhD in Chemistry that was an excellent teacher of Chemistry.  By the way, the class cost her and us (as taxpayers in this state) one dollar.   I understand that you'll have some bad influences from them here or there.  We can debate that if you wish.  Math really is math.  Much of science really is science.  English is English.  Writing is writing.  And when they are in those classes, they'll be at home and with their church, or at least with their church, the right church, to guide them through those times.  They're going to face them in the real world anyway.

I'll be breaking down how this has worked and is working with us in future parts to this series.

Friday, April 20, 2012

James 5:14-20 and Unconventional or Alternative Medicine

As we discovered in previous posts on James 5:14-20 (this is the fifth post on the passage; part one is here), James 5 requires the use of medicine in its commendation of oil.  Nobody has been led by the Holy Spirit to reject medicine and the best available human means through which God heals the body.  Christians should thank God for and use the best available resources that medical science makes available. Medical science is based upon the Biblical principle of subduing the earth and having dominion over it, as affirmed in Genesis 1, by studying it through the use of the scientific method.  Unfortunately, many believers are not pleasing God by employing the best resources medical science has discovered in our created world, but instead employ a variety of unconventional medical techniques that do not fit within Scriptural principles.

Christians should not employ, recommend, or do anything other than oppose and warn against all New Age "medicine."  Several articles warning God's people about New Age medicine are available on my website here. New Age "medical" practices at times engaged in, sinfully, by the people of God, include Reiki, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Reflexology, Iridology, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Macrobiotics, Naturopathy, Rolfing, Applied Kinesiology, Neuro-Emotional Techniques, Touch for Health, and Behavioral Kinesiology.  All of these pagan practices are exposed in an excellent article by David Cloud here.  Note that "chiropractic" is listed in this list.  It is true that a minority of chiropractors practice medical science, but, unfortunately, it is a small minority. One can learn the distinction between the minority of chiropractors that employ medical science and the majority that employ New Age "medicine" and other quackery here.  Another article, this one also by Bro Cloud, exposing the dangers of New Age chiropractic is available here..  A fine book exposing New Age medicine, available here, is Can You Trust Your Doctor? by Ankerberg & Weldon.  If you are uninformed on these issues, the book could help you both honor the Lord and possibly save your life or the life of loved ones, and live longer and be a better steward of your body.

Christan leaders and workers should be aware of the New Age practices that are infiltrating churches all over the country, and the people of God should be warned about such errors.  Usually New Age medical practices are advanced and advocated using the same sorts of techniques as other sorts of quackery.  A reliable source (albeit by non-Christians), recommended by the Christian Medical Association, to distinguish between real medicine supported by science and quackery is Quackwatch, the website here.  Apart from the evolution, I have found the information on Quackwatch to be extremely accurate, although, as they step on a lot of toes, they make those who endorse quackery their enemies.  The articles on ways to spot quackery (here are some more ways) are not a bad place to start.  The articles on how quackery sells, with the "related topics" link at the bottom of the page, is also very valuable.  For the cost of one visit to a quack practicioner, you can also get the course Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us, taught by a professor at the Yale school of medicine (note the 70% off retail price coupon code.)

I have found that too often men in church leadership, and men leading their families, fail to take charge of protecting their families and churches from New Age and quack medicine, and what the Bible calls "old wives tales" spread as ladies, who are more easily deceived (1 Timothy 2), accept quack or New Age ideas, told to them without any genuine factual basis by other ladies who have themselves adopted ideas without any real factual basis, or from New Agers or quacks directly.  Rather than men exercising godly leadership and discernment, they just roll over and allow New Age and quack ideas into their families and churches.  Brethren, this ought not so to be.

God is dishonored and displeased when His people disobey James 5 and follow New Age or quack techniques instead.  Furthermore, since He is the One who heals, healing in answer to prayer is less likely to come when God's people disobey James 5 and, instead of seeking the best of medical science, follow New Age or quack "medical" ideas instead.  Nor is it being a good steward of one's body, or of the physical bodies of one's family, when the saints of God die earlier than they should have because of following New Age or inaccurate "medicine."

Christian leader--and men in general who lead their familes--be warned.  Get informed.  Reject all New Age "medicine."  Reject all quack "medicine."  Follow James 5, and, to care for your physical body when sick, pray and trust the Lord, and employ the best means of medical science God has made available.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

WHY I'M NOT A CALVINIST (part two): Romans 9

The Bible comes first, then comes theology.  When we look at the Bible, do we see Calvinism?  We started with Romans 9 and we continue, picking up in v. 14.

God's love can be trusted.  The national election of Israel did not assure personal salvation.  Physical descent from Abraham did not guarantee the blessings of the covenant for Ishmael or Esau.  Individual Jews should not assume salvation just because of national election, any more than than a physical descendant of Abraham was guaranteed the benefits of the covenant. God is righteous to elect on His own terms.   He is righteous not to elect Ishmael or Esau for the Romans 9:1-5 blessings.  No one can sit in judgment upon Him.

In support of the truth of v. 14, Paul quotes Exodus 33:19 in v. 15.  The Exodus text refers to God's merciful and compassionate choice of the nation Israel over the other nations of the earth.  God could have destroyed the nation after she built the golden calf, but instead He lead them and protected them into the promised land, the nation, not the individuals, because the individuals weren't saved eternally (cf. Heb 3-4).  Often the word "mercy" in the Old Testament does not refer to the individual mercy of personal salvation, but to the covenant mercy to the nation as a whole.

God's choice of Israel was based upon nothing other than mercy (v. 16).  The example of God giving Israel mercy indicates that "it," that is, mercy, comes out of the will of God, because it certainly wasn't merited by Israel.  This does apply to personal salvation, but in the context it relates to the whole  nation.  God's acts of mercy to them as a nation do not then guarantee personal salvation for any of them.  Paul deals with the argument that God has been unrighteous to the entire nation just because He has not saved every individual.  He rebuts this from the Old Testament.

Romans 9:17 furthers the proposition of v. 16, using the example of Pharoah. God raised up Pharoah to his position. It isn't that God "created" Pharoah for this position, but that God worked to the end that Pharoah would arrive at this exalted position over Egypt.   The point of "raised up" is not that Pharoah was foreordained or predestined to Hell, but that God brought him, an already evil man, to his reign over Egypt as the leader of that nation, so that his personal wickedness could reveal itself more plainly in order then to display the glory of God (cf. Exodus 4:21).

By hardening Pharoah's heart, God provided the blessing for His elect nation that He might be glorified (cf. Exodus 7:3).  The hardening of his heart related to his not letting the people go (Exodus 7:14), not so that he would be eternally damned.  As much as God hardened his heart, Exodus also reveals that Pharoah hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:7, 34).  Both Pharoah and God were hardening Pharoah's heart.  As much as hardness of heart can lead to the eternal damnation of the soul, in the context of Pharoah's heart-hardening, God was delivering His elect nation by means of the hardening, illustrating the truth of Proverbs 21:1, "the king's heart is in the hand of the LORD."   The deliverance was not spiritual salvation, but a physical deliverance that proved God was both powerful and covenant keeping.  God was not glorified in some predestined rebellion of Pharoah, but in the victory of His elect, servant nation over a humanly powerful Egypt. God brought Pharoah to power for those purposes.

Another argument is introduced in v. 19, which is essentially, why does God find fault in anyone if He has mercy on those whom He will have mercy and hardens whoever He wills to harden?  The question this poses is "Is God fair?" And it is related to the next point, that is, who would be able to resist God anyhow?  The problem isn't the answer to the question, but the question itself. Paul makes that known in v. 20.

Because of their inferiority, men don't have the perspective to challenge God with such questions.  Paul pictures man's predicament with the potter-clay imagery, which comes from Jeremiah 18-19.  In the Old Testament passage, God is the Potter and the entire nation Israel is the clay (18:6).   Jeremiah 18:4 is a key interpretational verse.

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

A contrast exists between "he made" and "was marred."  The former is active and the latter passive.  "Was marred" is a niphal verb, which speaks of the vessel, the men, marring or corrupting itself.  You would see the same construction in Genesis 6:11-12, where the earth corrupted itself, not God.   Since Israel had marred herself, God as the Potter could see fit not to use her. God had condemned and had the authority to condemn a marred pot.  That was the message that the Jews with whom Paul argued needed to hear.

God would get glory through obedient Israel or disobedient Israel.   Israel marred herself, so God would get glory through her captivity.  God could and would also be glorified by the destruction of Israelites.   God's purpose for Israel changed based on the condition of her behavior.   What Paul teaches in Romans 9 would have been nothing new for a Jew who knew Jeremiah 18-19.   As clay, Israel should not have been demanding anything of her Potter, God.  Jeremiah 18:10 especially enlightens us regarding Romans 9:

If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

God, the Potter, will treat the clay, Israel, different, conditional upon Israel's actions.   Israel sounds like the Calvinists in Jeremiah 18, accusing God of not giving them suitable opportunity, when God had done so, and judged them based upon their faithful obedience.

In the light of Jeremiah 18-19, we understand the questions of v. 20.  A fully made clay, now pot, questions the Potter, not some uncreated, formless clay. The answer is that Israel had marred herself.  The formation of the clay changed conditioned upon its behavior.  The sovereignty of God expressed in v. 21 is not some predetermined sovereignty, but one that chooses in accord with the condition of the clay.  That's how all of Jeremiah 18-19 reads and every other clay-potter text in the Old Testament.

Not to be lost in all this discussion is that the election of Romans 9 is national election.  It contradicts a belief in personal, unconditional election unto eternal life or eternal damnation.  Calvinism in its interpretation of Romans 9 fails in a proper consideration of the Old Testament texts to which Paul refers in the chapter.

More to Come.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Pentecostal Doctrine of Faith-Healing and James 5:14-20, part 4

Indeed, when James 5 teaches that the sick believer is to consider his spiritual needs and fellowship with the Lord, pray and get godly counsel and fellowship, and use medicine, he affirms a view of the relationship between God as healer and physicians dominant in inter-testamental Judaism as seen in the Apocrypha in the Wisdom of Ben Sira:
Make friends with the physician, for he is essential to you; him also God has established in his profession. From God the doctor has his wisdom, and from the king he receives his sustenance. Knowledge makes the doctor distinguished, and gives him access to those in authority. God makes the earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent should not neglect. Was not the water sweetened by a twig that people might learn his power?[i] He endows humans with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works, Through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines; thus God’s creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth. My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, for it is he who heals. 10 Flee wickedness; purify your hands, cleanse your heart of every sin.[ii] 11 Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and memorial, a generous offering according to your means. 12 Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too. 13 There are times that give him an advantage, 14 and he too beseeches God that his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure. 15 Whoever is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor. (38:1-15)[iii]
Intertestamental Judaism taught:  “Pray to God, for it is He who heals. Flee wickedness; purify your hands, cleanse your heart of every sin . . . then give the doctor his place.”  James likewise taught that God heals, but one must use medicine.  Rejecting medicine is not Biblical faith—it is disobedience to James 5 and ungodly fanaticism.

James 5:14-15 provides no support whatsoever for Pentecostalism’s doctrine of healing.  Pentecostalism is either ignorant of or ignores the historical background to James 5:14-15 and its support for the use of medicine in healing.  Without dealing with arguments to the contrary, Pentecostalism assumes that James 5:14-15 is a binding prescription for believers in the entire church age.  Pentecostalism’s faulty, non-Baptist view of the church allows him to believe that the statements of James 5:14-15 are valid for those not part of true Baptist churches, although only such churches truly have church leadership such as elders.  Pentecostalism makes all disease the result of sin and failure to ascend to the Higher Life, while James specifically indicates not all disease is the result of personal sin, and Pentecostalism’s Higher Life theology was unknown in the first century and for the first 90% of church history.  Pentecostalism’s neglects the fact that the faith of “the prayer of faith” is a gift from God, exercised in accordance with His sovereign will, rather than the spontaneous production of every man at his own will.[iv]  James, unlike Pentecostalism, teaches that only when it is God’s will to heal can the prayer of faith be proffered to God.  Nor does James 5:14-15 specify that the healing is miraculous.  Indeed, James enjoins the sick to use medicine to be healed, while Pentecostalism discourages the use of medicine.  James 5:14-15, when interpreted in a literal, grammatical-historical way, provides no support whatsoever for Pentecostalism’s Faith Cure.  James 5:14-15 is only a witness for Pentecostal healing theology if one holds to an a priori commitment to the Pentecostal position, based on supposedly authoritative testimonials to its effacacy outside of Scripture, combined with a hermeneutic of either empty proof-texting or allegorical eisegesis.


[i] Ben Sira refers to Exodus 15:25, following the Jewish tradition that “supposedly, the water passed through the porous wood, which filtered out enough of the impurities to make it potable” (pg. 84, Exodus:  The JPS Torah Commentary, N. M. Sarna, on Exodus 15:25).  Indeed, the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Exodus 15:25 specifies that Moses used the “bitter oleander tree” (ynpdrad ryrm Nlya), since “Palestinian tradition accords the power of sweetening brackish water . . . [to] bitter oleander” (pg. 577, Exodus 1-18: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, W. H. Propp, on Exodus 15:25).  Likewise, Philo wrote:
181 And when they had departed from the sea they went on for some time travelling, and no longer feeling any apprehension of their enemies. But when water failed them, so that for three days they had nothing to drink, they were again reduced to despondency by thirst, and again began to blame their fate as if they had not enjoyed any good fortune previously; for it always happens that the presence of an existing and present evil takes away the recollection of the pleasure which was caused by former good. 182 At last, when they beheld some fountains, they ran up full of joy with the idea that they were going to drink, being deceived by ignorance of the truth; for the springs were bitter. Then when they had tasted them they were bowed down by the unexpected disappointment, and fainted, and yielded both in body and soul, lamenting not so much for themselves as for their helpless children, whom they could not endure without tears to behold imploring drink; 183 and some of those who were of more careless dispositions, and of no settled notions of piety, blamed all that had gone before, as if it had turned out not so as to do them any good, but rather so as to lead them to a suffering of more grievous calamities than ever; saying that it was better for them to die, not only once but three times over, by the hands of their enemies, than to perish with thirst; for they affirmed that a quick and painless departure from life did in no respect differ from freedom from death in the opinion of wise men, but that that was real death which was slow and accompanied by pain; that what was fearful was not to be dead but only to be dying. 184 When they were lamenting and bewailing themselves in this manner, Moses again besought God, who knew the weakness of all creatures, and especially of men, and the necessary wants of the body which depends for its existence on food, and which is enslaved by those severe task-mistresses, eating and drinking, to pardon his desponding people, and to relieve their want of everything, and that too not after a long interval of time, but by a prompt and undeferred liberality, since by reason of the natural impotency of their mortal nature, they required a very speedy measure of assistance and deliverance. 185 But he, by his bountiful and merciful power, anticipated their wishes, sending forth and opening the watchful, anxious eye of the soul of his suppliant, and showed him a piece of wood which he bade him take up and throw into the water, which indeed had been made by nature with such a power for that purpose, and which perhaps had a quality which was previously unknown, or perhaps was then first endowed with it, for the purpose of effecting the service which it was then about to perform: 186 and when he had done that which he was commanded to do, the fountains became changed and sweet and drinkable, so that no one was able to recognise the fact of their having been bitter previously, because there was not the slightest trace or spark of their ancient bitterness left to excite the recollection. 181 a‡ranteß d∆ aÓpo\ qala¿tthß me÷cri me÷n tinoß wJdoipo/roun mhke÷ti to\n aÓpo\ tw◊n e˙cqrw◊n ojrrwdouvnteß fo/bon. e˙pilipo/ntoß de« touv potouv trisi«n hJme÷raiß, au™qiß e˙n aÓqumi÷aiß h™san uJpo\ di÷youß kai« pa¿lin h¡rxanto memyimoirei√n wJß mhde«n eu™ propeponqo/teß: aÓei« ga»r hJ touv paro/ntoß prosbolh\ deinouv ta»ß e˙pi« toi√ß prote÷roiß aÓgaqoi√ß hJdona»ß aÓfairei√tai. 182 qeasa¿menoi de« phga»ß e˙pitre÷cousin wJß aÓruso/menoi cara◊ß uJpo/plewˆ, di∆ a‡gnoian taÓlhqouvß aÓpathqe÷nteß: pikrai« ga»r h™san: ei¶ta geusa¿menoi gnamfqe÷nteß twˆ◊ par∆ e˙lpi÷da ta¿ te sw¿mata parei√nto kai« ta»ß yuca»ß aÓnapeptw¿kesan oujc ou¢twß e˙f∆ e˚autoi√ß wJß e˙pi« toi√ß nhpi÷oiß paisi« ste÷nonteß, ou§ß aÓdakruti« poto\n ai˙touvntaß oJra◊n oujc uJpe÷menon. 183 e¶nioi de« tw◊n ojligwrote÷rwn kai« pro\ß eujse÷beian aÓbebai÷wn kai« ta» progegono/ta hØjtiw◊nto wJß oujk e˙p∆ eujergesi÷aˆ sumba¿nta ma◊llon h£ dia» metousi÷an aÓrgalewte÷rwn sumforw◊n, a‡meinon ei•nai le÷gonteß tri÷ß, oujc a‚pax, uJp∆ e˙cqrw◊n aÓpoqanei√n h£ di÷yei parapole÷sqai: th\n me«n ga»r a‡ponon kai« tacei√an touv bi÷ou meta¿stasin oujde«n aÓqanasi÷aß diafe÷rein toi√ß eu™ fronouvsi, qa¿naton d∆ wJß aÓlhqw◊ß ei•nai to\n bradu\n kai« met∆ aÓlghdo/nwn, oujk e˙n twˆ◊ teqna¿nai to\ fobero\n aÓll∆ e˙n mo/nwˆ twˆ◊ aÓpoqnhØ/skein e˙pideiknu/menon 184 toiau/taiß crwme÷nwn ojlofu/rsesi, pa¿lin i˚keteu/ei to\n qeo\n Mwushvß e˙pista¿menon th\n zwˆ¿wn kai« ma¿lista th\n aÓnqrw¿pwn aÓsqe÷neian kai« ta»ß touv sw¿matoß aÓna¿gkaß e˙k trofhvß hjrthme÷nou kai« despoi÷naiß calepai√ß sunezeugme÷nou, brw¿sei kai« po/sei, suggnw◊nai me«n toi√ß aÓqumouvsi, th\n de« pa¿ntwn e¶ndeian e˙kplhvsai, mh\ cro/nou mh/kei, dwrea◊ˆ d∆ aÓnuperqe÷twˆ kai« tacei÷aˆ, dia» th\n touv qnhtouv fusikh\n ojligwri÷an ojxu\n kairo\n thvß bohqei÷aß e˙pipoqouvntoß. 185 oJ de« th\n iºlewn auJtouv du/namin fqa¿nei proekpe÷myaß kai« dioi÷xaß to\ touv i˚ke÷tou thvß yuchvß aÓkoi÷mhton o¡mma xu/lon dei÷knusin, o§ prose÷taxen aÓra¿menon ei˙ß ta»ß phga»ß kaqei√nai, ta¿ca me«n kateskeuasme÷non e˙k fu/sewß poiouvn du/namin, h£ ta¿ca hjgno/hto, ta¿ca de« kai« to/te prw◊ton poihqe«n ei˙ß h§n e¶mellen uJphretei√n crei÷an. 186 genome÷nou de« touv keleusqe÷ntoß, ai˚ me«n phgai« glukai÷nontai metabalouvsai pro\ß to\ po/timon, wJß mhd∆ ei˙ th\n aÓrch\n e˙ge÷nonto/ pote pikrai« du/nasqai diagnw◊nai, dia» to\ mhde« i¶cnoß h£ zw¿puron thvß aÓrcai÷aß kaki÷aß ei˙ß mnh/mhn uJpolelei√fqai. (Moses 1:181-186)
While likely erroneous and in truth the record of an actual miracle—although the statement in Exodus 15:25 that the Lord “taught” Moses a tree (X$Eo ‹hOÎwh◊y …whôérwø¥yÅw) to use for the healing in response to prayer is suggestive—the Jewish tradition that Exodus 15:24-27 records an event where the Lord healed Israel, not by direct miracle, but through natural means, the purification of the bitter water by Divinely and providentially ordered properties in the tree that Moses employed, illustrates the Jewish view that healing through the employment of medicine and properties the Creator placed within His creation was by no means despised or looked down upon, as in Pentecostalism’s Faith Cure doctrine.  The Jews believed that the power of God was declared and His glory manifested through the use of medicine in healing.

[ii] Compare Sirach 38:10 with James 4:8, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” kaqari÷sate cei√raß, aJmartwloi÷, kai« aJgni÷sate kardi÷aß, di÷yucoi.

[iii] Sirach 38:1 ti÷ma i˙atro\n pro\ß ta»ß crei÷aß aujtouv timai√ß aujtouv kai« ga»r aujto\n e¶ktisen ku/rioß  2 para» ga»r uJyi÷stou e˙sti«n i¶asiß kai« para» basile÷wß lh/myetai do/ma  3 e˙pisth/mh i˙atrouv aÓnuyw¿sei kefalh\n aujtouv kai« e¶nanti megista¿nwn qaumasqh/setai  4 ku/rioß e¶ktisen e˙k ghvß fa¿rmaka kai« aÓnh\r fro/nimoß ouj prosocqiei√ aujtoi√ß  5 oujk aÓpo\ xu/lou e˙gluka¿nqh u¢dwr ei˙ß to\ gnwsqhvnai th\n i˙scu\n aujtouv  6 kai« aujto\ß e¶dwken aÓnqrw¿poiß e˙pisth/mhn e˙ndoxa¿zesqai e˙n toi√ß qaumasi÷oiß aujtouv  7 e˙n aujtoi√ß e˙qera¿peusen kai« h™ren to\n po/non aujtouv mureyo\ß e˙n tou/toiß poih/sei mei√gma  8 kai« ouj mh\ suntelesqhvØ e¶rga aujtouv kai« ei˙rh/nh par∆ aujtouv e˙stin e˙pi« prosw¿pou thvß ghvß  9 te÷knon e˙n aÓrrwsth/mati÷ sou mh\ para¿blepe aÓll∆ eu™xai kuri÷wˆ kai« aujto\ß i˙a¿setai÷ se  10 aÓpo/sthson plhmme÷leian kai« eu¡qunon cei√raß kai« aÓpo\ pa¿shß aJmarti÷aß kaqa¿rison kardi÷an.  11 do\ß eujwdi÷an kai« mnhmo/sunon semida¿lewß kai« li÷panon prosfora»n wJß mh\ uJpa¿rcwn  12 kai« i˙atrw◊ˆ do\ß to/pon kai« ga»r aujto\n e¶ktisen ku/rioß kai« mh\ aÓposth/tw sou kai« ga»r aujtouv crei÷a  13 e¶stin kairo\ß o¢te kai« e˙n cersi«n aujtw◊n eujodi÷a  14 kai« ga»r aujtoi« kuri÷ou dehqh/sontai iºna eujodw¿shØ aujtoi√ß aÓna¿pausin kai« i¶asin ca¿rin e˙mbiw¿sewß  15 oJ aJmarta¿nwn e¶nanti touv poih/santoß aujto\n e˙mpe÷soi ei˙ß cei√raß i˙atrouv.
Translation from pgs. 438-439, The Wisdom of Ben Sira: A New Translation with Notes, Introduction and Commentary, P. W. Skehan, & A. A. Di Lella (2008).  New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008.  Note their commentary on the passage.

[iv] Indeed, perfectionistic theology in general neglects the fact that faith is a gift from God, rather than an autonomously generated product of man.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Actual History of King James Onlyism

King James Only people aren't obsessed over their history.  I haven't even heard a King James Only person bring up the history of King James Onlyism (KJO).  However, the opponents of KJO seem to be very interested and want to be its historians.  In the last few months, I heard two versions of KJO history, one from Kevin Bauder (Central Baptist Theological Seminary) and the other from Bill Combs (Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary---pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Bauder did not go out of his way to make-up a KJO history.  Somebody asked him a question.  But Combs went out of his way to write one.  I consider myself to be a historian.  I've taught history for over 20 years.  I've read a lot of history, both good and bad.  To get the correct history, you've got to want it.  You've got to want to be accurate.  These guys don't write like historians.  They write like opponents of KJO.  What they say and write is supposed to pass as some kind of scholarly treatment of the topic, but it reads like nothing of the kind.  When you research and write a real history, especially if you are an opponent, you're going to get some insight into the analysis, really attempting to get behind it.  They don't do that.  Perhaps you've heard the term "hack."   It's someone who demeans someone else for political purposes, churning out something quickly and of a low quality.  That's how Combs' five-part series reads.  No one reading it should see it as the actual history of KJO.  It's a caricature for those with an identical point of view as Combs.  He shows zero empathy for what he targets in his assessment.

I understand the point of these men writing a "history" of KJO.  They've got to make it seem like something recent, like a cult.  Setting up the fake history of KJO makes a way for a different narrative, one in which the view of Bauder and Combs, textual criticism, will look historic, as if this is how Christians always believed.  They really don't have a history as of yet, at least one that will make their position look good.  So they'll tell a KJO story, a fictional one, to detract from their lack of a personal one.  A "history of KJO" is a red herring to their absence of a history.  And it doesn't matter to them that they have none.  What matters is that they can be an orthodox and unquestioned user of multiple versions of Scripture.  Multiple-versionism must be seen as normal Christianity and some form of one-Bible-onlyism as extreme and heterodox, leaving them unquestioned.  I get it.

Very interesting about the history that Bauder and Combs present is that they contradict each other.  Bauder says KJO started in 1930 with a book by a Seventh Day Adventist, Benjamin Wilkinson.  Combs says it started in England with Dean Burgon and then spread to America.  The Seventh Day Adventist lie is the most popular of the two, because that's the one told by James White, Douglas Kutilek, and even Wikipedia.  It would make me laugh if it weren't so sad.  So Combs is departing from the KJO-history reservation.  Perhaps I should be happy that KJO has several more years under its belt with Combs, except that it seems that Combs' "history" reaches back a little further to swat down Dean Burgon.  That way Combs can deal with two separate types of KJO.   The Wilkinson history seems to get at Ruckmanism and starting back with Burgon will also repudiate the TR-only brand of KJO.   Think of the former as the Southern Revivalist brand and the latter as the D. A. Waite Northern Fundamentalist brand.  With Combs new history---his story and he's stickin' with it---he can attempt to take down both brands of KJO.  Voila.

A good reason to tell the history of KJO now would be to undo what Bauder and Combs, et al., have written.  If KJO is new, we should know that too.  It's true that KJO could only be since 1611.  That isn't first century.  But KJO really is a corollary position to OBO, that is, one Bible only.  That doctrine goes back to the New Testament, just like the doctrine of justification by faith, what some will call a reformation doctrine.  KJO isn't a 20th century or 19th century doctrine.  It's a corollary to the OBO, a first century doctrine.  On the other hand, MVO, multiple version only---that's not New Testament.  It wasn't even invented by Christians.  And that's the doctrine Bauder and Combs wish to defend by making up a fake history of KJO.

A Summary of the Actual History of King James Onlyism

King James Onlyism is a corollary to one-Bible doctrine, like the Roosevelt corollary to the Monroe doctrine.  So OBO goes back to the New Testament and the faith once delivered.  Scripture teaches an inspired and settled original text to which words were not to be added or from which words were not to be taken away (Rev 22:18-19).  New Testament churches and genuine Christians continued to believe that and teach it.  It goes back to the first century like justification by faith goes back to the first century.  It wasn't controversial that God gave His people one and only one canon of Words that they received (Jn 17:8).  This has been the mindset of God's people since God revealed every one of His Words and all of them (1 Thess 2:13).  God the Spirit of Truth would lead His people to all truth, not just some of it (John 16:13).

When we can get a large enough historical sample size to judge if OBO was where Christians were post-printing press, we find that is how they were continuing to believe and teach.  Kurt Aland himself admits this, when he writes:

We can appreciate better the struggle for freedom from the dominance of the Textus Receptus when we remember that in this period it was regarded even to the last detail the inspired and infallible word of God himself.

John Owen represents the above sentiment as he wrote in the 17th century:

The whole Scripture, entire as given out from God, without any loss, is preserved in the copies of the originals yet remaining. . . . In them all, we say, is every letter and tittle of the word.

Without bias, Richard Muller reports the OBO account in volume 2 of his Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics.

OBO entered the post printing press era as the reigning thinking of Christians and then continued that way through the 19th century.   OBO thinking affected a KJO thinking.  The KJV was referred to, as a norm, as the received version.  Harper's Magazine in 1859 printed the following:

We believe we may safely assume that whatever new translations of Scripture may be made for scholars or private reading, the use of our received version will never be superseded by any other among the people.

OBO and KJO are grass roots.  Christians know intuitively and instinctively, as part of their nature, that there is but one Bible, written by God.  Since Christians had received under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that one Bible, that should continue as the Bible.  This is the very thinking reflected in the historic confessions of genuine Christianity.   Those who wrote those confessions thought the same.

Dean Burgon came along to defend the attack on that belief, that thinking.  Dean Burgon didn't start that.  Sure, there were men who assigned perfection to the King James Version.  But when you say "perfection," you have to define what that means.  It's an accurate translation of a perfectly preserved text.  Some have gone further than that, but all of it comes out of the flow of Christian thinking from New Testament times that there is one God, Who inspired one Bible, and that we would always have that one Bible accessible by means of Divine preservation.

Combs is way, way off base when he writes:

By the 1800s one can find occasional statements by an odd individual here and there arguing for the perfection of the KJV. This was probably bound to happen. When a particular version has nearly universal preeminence and has been in use for a long period, it can easily be ascribed with the qualities of the original language writings (inspiration and infallibility). This is, in fact, what happened when Jerome produced his Latin Vulgate translation ca. A.D. 400. He ran into stiff opposition from those who were used to reading their Bible in the Old Latin manuscripts, which they considered inspired.

The OBO and KJO doctrine and thinking wasn't and isn't parallel to the top down Roman Catholic produced Latin Vulgate.  That's entirely a strawman invented in absence of Scriptural presuppositions.  Not to be missed is Combs' language "odd individual here and there."  In 1852, the American Bible Union printed this statement:

The Society declares its adherence to the commonly received version, without correction, and its determination never to aid in its correction directly or indirectly; neither to do the business itself, nor to procure it from others.

Oh yes, "an odd individual here and there."   The Southern Presbyterian Review in 1859 asks:

Does not our Constitution of the American Bible Society mean that we circulate King James' English Version and that only?  Did not the founders and fathers of our society intend to restrict themselves to this in the solemn pledge of the Constitution to circulate only the received version?

More oddness.  That sneaky American Bible Society.  In 1898 in A History of the Baptists in the Middle States by Henry Vedder, he writes:

At the annual meeting, May 25, 1850, after a discussion that extended through three sessions, it was decided that the society should circulate only the Received version in English, without note or comment.  That decision without doubt represented the wish of the great majority of the Baptist denomination at the time, nor was there any considerable change of sentiment at any time thereafter.

Many more of these quotes could be supplied to pile on the agreement with these thoughts.  This is the actual History of King Jame Onlyism.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Pentecostal Doctrine of Faith-Healing and James 5:14-20, part 3

Note:  The Greek in this post may become garbled unless you have Accordance Bible Software Greek fonts.  You can download a trial version of Accordance free here and get the fonts with the free download if you wish.

The oil of James 5:14-20 is medicinal.  Medicinal oil was very frequently used in ancient times.  In James 5, since “anointing” (aÓlei÷yanteß) is a participle dependent upon the imperative “let them pray” (proseuxa¿sqwsan), the use of medicine, as the oil is here used as a medical instrument, is required.  Faith Cure advocates and Pentecostals who contend that one must follow the procedure of James 5:14-15 in healing, but either reject the use of medicine or affirm that its use is only optional, disobey James 5.  Nobody has been led by the Holy Spirit to reject the use of the best medical means available for healing because of James 5:14-15, since the Spirit required the use of medicine in the passage.  Nonetheless, while both prayer and medicine are enjoined, the emphasis of James is on prayer rather than upon the medical anointing with oil, since “let them pray” is the specific command and “anointing” is a subordinate participle.  Sometimes good medical means are not available, but the believer always can and should pray.

“The word aleipsantes  (‘anoint’) is not the usual word for sacramental or ritualistic anointing. James could have used the verb chrio if that had been what he had in mind. The distinction is still observed in modern Greek, with aleipho  meaning ‘to daub,’ ‘to smear,’ and chrio meaning ‘to anoint.’ Furthermore, it is a well-documented fact that oil was one of the most common medicines of biblical times. See Isaiah 1:6 and Luke 10:34. Josephus (Antiq. XVII, 172 [vi. 5]) reports that during his last illness Herod the Great was given a bath in oil in hopes of effecting a cure. The papyri, Philo, Pliny, and the physician Galen all refer to the medicinal use of oil. Galen described it as ‘the best of all remedies for paralysis’ (De Simplicium Medicamentorum Temperamentis  2.10ff). It is evident, then, that James is prescribing prayer and medicine. . . . In answer to ‘the prayer offered in faith,’ God uses the medicine to cure the malady” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, on James 5:14-15).

“The oil specified was olive oil (elaion) which was freely available . . . [and] was used for dietetic, toilet and medical purposes.  There is no indication that the oil needed to be specially consecrated fro its use in anointing the sick.  Two different words are used for the application of oil in the New Testament.  Aleipho is the humbler one and usually means to apply oil for toilet purposes (Matt. 6.17, Luke 7.46).  Chrio is the ritual and official word for anointing and is used only in the figurative sense of anointing by God.  Here in James the humbler word is used. . . . [A]n analysis of the usage of the verb aleipho in the New Testament appears to support the medical view [of James 5:14] rather than the religious one. . . . It is never used in the gospels of anointing for a religious purpose, but only for toilet or medical purposes. . . . Anointing with oil . . . was used only for the healing of physical disease in the New Testament. . . . James was saying that normal medical methods should be used in the name of the Lord and based on prayer . . . we may translate [the relevent] clause in verse 14 as ‘Giving him his medicine in the name of the Lord.’ . . . James held that healing should be a combination of medical and non-medical methods, and in illustration referrred to a contemporary medical method of anointing with oil which he said should be used in the name of the Lord and with prayer. . . . [In] James’ reference to anointing with oil . . . he is here recommending the employment of both physical and non-physical methods of healing. . . . [Methods of] medical healing . . . are God’s gifts to suffering humanity and are to be used in healing the sick” (pgs. 338-339, 343, “Healing in the Epistle of James,” John Wilkinson. Scottish Journal of Theology 24 (1971) 326–45).

The verb "anoint," aleipho, appears in Matt 6:17; Mark 6:13; 16:1; Luke 7:38, 46; John 11:2; 12:3; James 5:14.  In all of these texts, the anointing is not ceremonial, with the sole possible exception of Mark 6:13;  but note even on that verse:  “Oil was used medicinally in OT times (Is. 1:6; Jer. 8:22; 51:8) as in other ancient societies, and the action of the Samaritan in pouring oil and wine on the wounds of the traveller in Jesus’ parable (Lk. 10:34) was probably common practice. It may be, therefore, that the disciples’ use of oil was purely a pragmatic, medical measure” (The Gospel of Mark : A Commentary on the Greek Text, R. T. France, on Mark 6:13).  Note also in the LXX Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20; 14:2; 2 Kings 4:2; 2 Chronicles 28:15; Esther 2:12; Daniel 10:3; Micah 6:15; Judith 16:8 (however, note also Genesis 31:13; Exodus 40:15 (yet also note cri√sma later in the verse); Numbers 3:3).  Contrast the ceremonial emphasis in the New Testament uses of cri÷w: Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38; 2 Corinthians 1:21; Hebrews 1:9, an emphasis which is the strongly dominant use in the LXX (Exodus 28:41; 29:2, 7, 29, 36; 30:26, 30, 32; 40:9–10, 13; Leviticus 4:3; 6:13; 7:36; 8:11–12; 16:32; Numbers 6:15; 7:1, 10, 84, 88; 35:25; Deuteronomy 28:40; Judges 9:8, 15; 1 Samuel 9:16; 10:1; 11:15; 15:1, 17; 16:3, 12–13; 2 Samuel 1:21; 2:4, 7; 5:3, 17; 12:7; 19:11; 1 Kings 1:34, 39, 45; 5:15; 19:15–16; 2 Kings 9:3, 6, 12; 11:12; 23:30; 1 Chronicles 11:3; 14:8; 29:22; 2 Chronicles 23:11; 36:1 Psalm 26:1; 44:8; 88:21; 151:4; Hosea 8:10; Amos 6:6; Isaiah 25:6; 61:1; Jeremiah 22:14; Ezekiel 16:9; 43:3; Sirach 45:15; 46:13; 48:8), although there are a few exceptions, some of which are only possibly exceptions, or alternative uses (such as painting a house, Jeremiah 22:14; cf. also Deuteronomy 28:40; Isaiah 25:6; Jeremiah 22:14; Ezekiel 16:9; 44:3; Judith 10:3).  Thus, while it is true that anointing with oil at times is used to represent the Holy Spirit, one would expect cri÷w rather than aÓlei÷fw in James 5:14 if pneumatic typology was the intended emphasis.

For examples of the medical use of oil, note in Josephus:
But now Herod’s distemper greatly increased upon him after a severe manner, and this by God’s judgment upon him for his sins: for a fire glowed in him slowly, which did not so much appear to the touch outwardly as it augmented his pains inwardly; for it brought upon him a vehement appetite to eating, which he could not avoid to supply with one sort of food or other. His entrails were also exulcerated, and the chief violence of his pain lay on his colon; an aqueous and transparent liquor also settled itself about his feet, and a like matter afflicted him at the bottom of his belly. Nay, farther, his privy member was putrified, and produced worms; and when he sat upright he had a difficulty of breathing, which was very loathsome, on account of the stench of his breath, and the quickness of its returns; he had also convulsions in all parts of his body, which increased his strength to an insufferable degree. It was said by those who pretended to divine, and who were endowed with wisdom to foretell such things, that God inflicted this punishment on the king on account of his great impiety; yet was he still in hopes of recovering, though his afflictions seemed greater than anyone could bear. He also sent for physicians, and did not refuse to follow what they prescribed for his assistance; and went beyond the river Jordan, and bathed himself in warm baths that were at Calirrhoe, which, besides their other general virtues, were also fit to drink; which water runs into the lake called Asphaltitis. And when the physicians once thought fit to have him bathed in a vessel full of oil, it was supposed that he was just dying; but, upon the lamentable cries of his domestics, he revived; and having no longer the least hopes of recovering, he gave order that every soldier should be paid fifty drachmae; and he also gave a great deal to their commanders, and to his friends, and came again to Jericho, where he grew so choleric, that it brought him to do all things like a madman; and though he were near his death, he contrived the following wicked designs.

168 ÔHrw¿dhØ de« meizo/nwß hJ no/soß e˙nepikrai÷neto di÷khn w±n paranomh/seien e˙kprassome÷nou touv qeouv puvr me«n ga»r malako\n h™n oujc w—de pollh\n aÓposhmai√non toi√ß e˙pafwme÷noiß th\n flo/gwsin oJpo/shn toi√ß e˙nto\ß proseti÷qei th\n ka¿kwsin  169 e˙piqumi÷a de« deinh\ touv de÷xasqai÷ ti aÓp∆ aujtouv ouj ga»r h™n mh\ oujc uJpourgei√n kai« eºlkwsiß tw◊n te e˙nte÷rwn kai« ma¿lista touv ko/lou deinai« aÓlghdo/neß kai« fle÷gma uJgro\n peri« tou\ß po/daß kai« diauge÷ß paraplhsi÷a de« kai« peri« to\ h™tron ka¿kwsiß h™n nai« mh\n kai« touv ai˙doi÷ou shvyiß skw¿lhkaß e˙mpoiouvsa pneu/mato/ß te ojrqi÷a e¶ntasiß kai« aujth\ li÷an aÓhdh\ß aÓcqhdo/ni te thvß aÓpofora◊ß kai« twˆ◊ puknwˆ◊ touv a‡sqmatoß e˙spasme÷noß te peri« pa◊n h™n me÷roß i˙scu\n oujc uJpomenhth\n prostiqe÷menoß. 170 e˙le÷geto ou™n uJpo\ tw◊n qeiazo/ntwn kai« oi–ß tauvta proapofqe÷ggesqai sofi÷aˆ pro/keitai poinh\n touv pollouv dussebouvß tau/thn oJ qeo\ß ei˙spra¿ssesqai para» touv basile÷wß  171 kai÷per de« meizo/nwß h£ aÓnti÷scoi a‡n tiß talaipwrou/menoß e˙n e˙lpi÷di touv aÓnasfalouvntoß h™n i˙atrou/ß te metape÷mpwn kai« oJpo/sa aÓrwga» uJpagoreu/seian crhvsqai mh\ aÓpotetramme÷noß potamo/n te pera¿saß ∆Iorda¿nhn qermoi√ß toi√ß kata» Kallirro/hn auJto\n paredi÷dou a‚per su\n thØv e˙ß pa¿nta aÓrethØv kai« po/tima¿ e˙stin e¶xeisin de« to\ u¢dwr touvto ei˙ß li÷mnhn th\n aÓsfaltofo/ron legome÷nhn  172 kaÓntauvqa toi√ß i˙atroi√ß dokhvsan wJ/ste aÓnaqa¿lpein aujto/n kaqeqei«ß ei˙ß pu/elon ple÷wn e˙lai÷ou do/xan metasta¿sewß e˙nepoi÷hsen aujtoi√ß tw◊n de« oi˙ketw◊n oi˙mwghØv crwme÷nwn perienegkw»n kai« mhd∆ h¢ntina aÓmfi« touv swqhsome÷nou e˙lpi÷da e¶cwn toi√ß stratiw¿taiß aÓna» penth/konta dracma»ß e˚ka¿stwˆ keleu/ei nemhqhvnai  173 polla» de« kai« toi√ß hJgemo/sin aujtw◊n kai« fi÷loiß toi√ß aujtouv e˙dwrei√to kai« parhvn au™qiß e˙pi« ÔIericouvntoß me÷laina¿ te aujto\n hØ¢rei colh\ e˙pi« pa◊sin e˙xagriai÷nousa wJ/ste dh\ teleutw◊n pra◊xin toia¿nde e˙pinoei√. (Antiquities 17:168-173)

Again, Josephus recorded concerning the death of Herod:

After this, the distemper seized upon his whole body, and greatly disordered all its parts with various symptoms; for there was a gentle fever upon him, and an intolerable itching over all the surface of his body, and continual pains in his colon, and dropsical tumors about his feet and an inflammation of the abdomen,—and a putrefication of his privy member, that produced worms. Besides which he had a difficulty of breathing upon him, and could not breathe but when he sat upright, and had a convulsion of all his members; insomuch that the diviners said those diseases were a punishment upon him for what he had done to the rabbis. Yet did he struggle with his numerous disorders, and still had a desire to live, and hoped for recovery, and considered of several methods of cure. Accordingly, he went over Jordan, and made use of those hot baths at Callirrhoe, which run into the lake Asphaltitis, but are themselves sweet enough to be drank. And here the physicians thought proper to bathe his whole body in warm oil, by letting it down into a large vessel full of oil; whereupon his eyes failed him, and he came and went as if he were dying, and as a tumult was then made by his servants, at their voice he revived again. Yet did he after this despair of recovery, and gave orders that each soldier should have fifty drachmae apiece, and that his commanders and friends should have great sums of money given them.

656 ⁄Enqen aujtouv to\ sw◊ma pa◊n hJ no/soß dialabouvsa poiki÷loiß pa¿qesin e˙meri÷zeto pureto\ß me«n ga»r h™n ouj la¿broß knhsmo\ß de« aÓfo/rhtoß thvß e˙pifanei÷aß o¢lhß kai« ko/lou sunecei√ß aÓlghdo/neß peri÷ te tou\ß po/daß wJ/sper uJdrwpiw◊ntoß oi˙dh/mata touv te h¡trou flegmonh\ kai« dh\ ai˙doi÷ou shpedw»n skw¿lhkaß gennw◊sa pro\ß tou/toiß ojrqo/pnoia kai« du/spnoia kai« spasmoi« pa¿ntwn tw◊n melw◊n wJ/ste tou\ß e˙piqeia¿zontaß poinh\n ei•nai tw◊n sofistw◊n ta» nosh/mata le÷gein  657 oJ de« palai÷wn tosou/toiß pa¿qesin o¢mwß touv zhvn aÓntei÷ceto swthri÷an te h¡lpizen kai« qerapei÷aß e˙peno/ei diaba»ß gouvn to\n ∆Iorda¿nhn toi√ß kata» Kallirro/hn e˙crhvto qermoi√ß tauvta d∆ e¶xeisi me«n ei˙ß th\n ∆Asfalti√tin li÷mnhn uJpo\ gluku/thtoß d∆ e˙sti« kai« po/tima do/xan de« e˙ntauvqa toi√ß i˙atroi√ß e˙lai÷wˆ qermwˆ◊ pa◊n aÓnaqa¿lyai to\ sw◊ma calasqe«n ei˙ß plh/rh pu/elon e˙klu/ei kai« tou\ß ojfqalmou\ß wJß teqnew»ß aÓne÷streyen  658 qoru/bou de« tw◊n qerapeuo/ntwn genome÷nou pro\ß me«n th\n fwnh\n aÓnh/negken ei˙ß de« to\ loipo\n aÓpognou\ß th\n swthri÷an toi√ß te stratiw¿taiß aÓna» penth/konta dracma»ß e˙ke÷leusen dianei√mai kai« polla» crh/mata toi√ß hJgemo/si kai« toi√ß fi÷loiß. (War 1:656-658)

Philo wrote:

Again: why need we seek for more in the way of ointment than the juice pressed out of the fruit of the olive? For that softens the limbs, and relieves the labour of the body, and produces a good condition of the flesh; and if anything has got relaxed or flabby, it binds it again, and makes it firm and solid, and it fills us with vigour and strength of muscle, no less than any other unguent.

ti÷ de« touv aÓpo\ thvß e˙lai÷aß e˙kqlibome÷nou karpouv ple÷on e¶dei zhtei√n pro\ß aÓlei÷mmata; kai« ga»r leai÷nei kai« ka¿maton sw¿matoß lu/ei kai« eujsarki÷an e˙mpoiei√, ka·n ei¶ ti kecalasme÷non ei¶h, sfi÷ggei pukno/thti kai« oujdeno\ß h∞tton e˚te÷rou ÔRw¿mhn kai« eujtoni÷an e˙nti÷qhsin. (Dreams 2:58)

Pliny, in his Natural History 23:39-53 discusses in detail the “medicinal properties of the various kinds of oil,” commenting on olive oil, green oil, castor oil, almond oil, laurel oil, myrtle oil, cypress oil, citrus oil, walnut oil, oil of balsamum, radish oil, sesame oil, palm oil, and many other types of oil, whether fresh or aged.  His discussion underscores the very significant medicinal use of oil in ancient medicine—sometimes in accordance with what God has enabled science to verify experimentally today, and sometimes not. 

Patristic references to the medicinal use of oil include: “Antony, the great monk . . . rejected the practice of anointing with oil, and the use of baths and of similar luxuries likely to relax the tension of the body by moisture.” (Ecclesiastical History, Sozomen, Book 1:13);  “Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished?” (Theophilus of Antioch, Theophilus to Autolychus Book 1:12).  Compare also the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Kittell, on aÓlei÷fw.

Lightfoot records the following material concerning medical anointing with oil from Jewish sources:

R. Simeon, the son of Eleazar, permitted R. Meir to mingle wine and oil, and to anoint the sick on the sabbath.  And he was once sick, and we sought to do so to him, but he suffered us not.” [Talm. Jerus. In Berachoth, fol. 3, col. 1]
         “A tradition.  Anointing on the sabbath is permitted.  If his head ache, or if a scall come upon it, he anoints with oil.” [Id. In Maazar Sheni, fol. 53, col. 3
         “If he be sick, or a scall be upon his head, he anoints according to the manner.” [Talm. Bab. In Joma, fol. 77, 2.]
Lightfoot then comments:
[A]nointing with oil was an ordinary medical application to the sick. . . . Now if we take the apostle’s counsel, as referring to this medical practice, we may construe it, that he would have this physical administration to be improved to the best advantage;  namely, that whereas ‘anointing with oil’ was ordinarily used to the sick, by way of physic—he adviseth that they should send for the elders of the church to do it;  not that the anointing was any more in their hand, than in another’s, as to the thing itself, for it was still but a physical application—but that they, with the applying of this corporal phsyic, might also pray with and fro the patient, and apply the spiritual physic of good admonition and comforts to him.  Which is much the same, as if . . . . a sick person should send for the minister at taking of any physic, that he might pray with him, and counsel and comfort him. . . . [The] [A]postle, seeing anointing was an ordinary and good physic . . . directs them . . . to get the elders, or ministers of the church, to come tot the sick, and to add, to the medical anointing of him, their godly and ferbent prayers for him[.] (Pg. 316, The Whole Works of John Lightfoot, vol. 3, John Lightfoot, ed. John Rodgers Pitman.  London:  J. F. Dove, 1832.)

A search of the Talmuds of Jerusalem and Babylon will provide further evidence of the sort set forth by Lightfoot.

It is very noteworthy that the recorded and commended uses of oil for medicinal purposes in the Bible are those for which there is a rational scientific purpose (Luke 10:34; Isaiah 1:6, etc.).  The medically questionable or harmful uses that are mixed into discussions such as that of Pliny are not commended in the Bible.