Friday, August 30, 2019

Jessie Penn-Lewis: Worldwide Keswick Impact (part 9 of 22)

Despite her Biblical ignorance and terrible heresies, Mrs. Penn Lewis preached worldwide in Quaker, Anglican, Lutheran, Salvation Army, Y. W. C. A., China Inland Mission, and many other settings[1] to audiences that readily adopted the theology of sanctification and healing she had received from the spirit world by inspiration.  She “joined the staff of the women’s meetings . . . [at] Keswick . . . by the invitation of the Trustees” in 1899,[2]  having already “been present at the Convention . . . [y]ear after year”[3] before this time, and continued her “service in the Women’s Meetings at Keswick . . . [until] 1909.”[4]  She preached “[a]t Keswick also, for many years, [at] open meetings . . . addressed on the Sundays preceding and concluding Convention week,”[5] for she was as “an influential figure in the Keswick Convention,”[6] being asked to deliver Bible Readings to mixed gender audiences at Keswick.[7]  Many people came to Keswick specifically to hear her preach.[8]  After 1909 “she still continued one of the Trustees of the Convention,” simply “retir[ing] from the leadership of the Women’s Meetings and from the heavy organizing work”[9] to focus on her message of warfare with Satan and the coming end of the world.  She remained closely associated with Keswick until her death; shortly before her passing she was found “at Keswick in July 1927 . . . [and] travelled to Llandrindod Wells [the Welsh Keswick] on July 29th, as one of the speakers of the Convention.”[10]  She was also “a standing member . . . [of] the Council of Reference” for the Welsh “Llandrindod Keswick Convention”[11] that she helped to found,[12] and it “was Jessie’s special task to introduce [Keswick-type] conventions to North Wales.”[13]  Indeed, she was the initiator of the process through which the Llandrindod Wells Convention began.[14]  She also “helped organize . . . many new Keswick-type local conventions.”[15]  She did, however, give up some of her responsibilities in 1909[16] to focus on that “message of the Cross” she had received by direct revelation accompanied with feelings of corruption in her body parts, a message which needed to be “proclaimed anew” to prepare “the Church . . . for translation at the Lord’s appearing,”[17] and to that end her booklet “The Word of the Cross” was printed in the millions of copies and translated into “no less than one hundred languages and dialects”[18] as a result of a vision[19] of “someone coming in shining armor covered with precious stones[,] and this being was filled with God”—Dr. Rudeshill, the printer of her works himself,[20] although not long afterwards he “lost all his enthusiasm for her work.”[21]  At times a new book she had received by revelation would be “by far the most popular book at Keswick th[at] year.”[22]  Her works filled “Japan, China, . . . India[,] . . . Jamaica, Mexico . . . other Caribbean centers . . . Canada . . . the Australian States . . . Singapore . . . [and] Kenya . . . [were translated into] German, French . . . Swedish, Russian, and other Baltic languages . . . also into Yiddish . . . Italian . . . Hungarian, and other languages,” and influenced Christendom in many other nations.  In short, her “message was reaching the whole world,” as distribution of her works was taken over by the “Christian Literature Crusade,” prominent publisher for Christian and Missionary Alliance literature.[23]  In America, “the name of Jessie Penn-Lewis had become a household word and . . . her books were in great demand.”[24]  Her doctrines spread so widely that they have “permeated the teaching of the Church of God, even in circles where her name is scarcely known.”[25]


The following are the parts of this series:

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

 [1]              cf. pgs. 131, 144-145, 156, 245, etc., Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Mary Garrard.
[2]              Pg. 184, “An Autobiographical Sketch,” The Overcomer magazine, ed. Jessie Penn-Lewis, December 1914; pg. 199, The Keswick Convention:  Its Message, its Method, and its Men, ed. Harford.
[3]              Pg. 178, Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.
[4]              Pg. 185, “An Autobiographical Sketch,” The Overcomer magazine, ed. Jessie Penn-Lewis, December 1914.
[5]              Pg. 244, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.
[6]              Pg. 525, “Demythologizing the Evan Roberts Revival,” Pope.
[7]              Pg. 155, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[8]              Pg. 157, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[9]              Pg. 238, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.
[10]            Pg. 299, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.
[11]            Pg. 147, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones.
[12]            Pgs. 121-122, The Keswick Story:  The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.
[13]            Pg. 152, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones.
[14]            Pg. 168, Transforming Keswick:  The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall.
[15]            Pg. 163, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones.
[16]            When, in 1911, she received an inspired “telegram . . . from Evan Roberts saying, ‘Withdraw at once,’” she gave up responsibilities at the Welsh Keswick as well (pg. 147, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones).
[17]            Pg. 210, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.
[18]            Pg. 217, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.
[19]            Pg. 213, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.
[20]            Pg. 109, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones.
[21]            Pg. 140, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones.
[22]            Pg. 180, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.
[23]            Pgs. 308-313, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones; cf. pg. 178, An Instrument of Revival, Jones.
[24]            Pg. 104, The Trials and Triumphs of Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Jones.
[25]            Pg. 197, Mrs. Penn-Lewis:  A Memoir, Garrard.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Seductive and Destructive Lie of Art as Personal Taste, pt.2

Part One, and Two Recent Posts on Art:  One and Two (and Here's a Third from Further Past)

Exodus 31 verses 1 through 6 read:
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5 And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee.
Among other places in scripture, this passage represents a scriptural understanding of art.  The artist is Bezaleel, and in his characteristics, the LORD "filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship" (v. 3).  With those traits, he could "devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship" (vv. 4-5).  His partner, Aholiab, was very similar (v. 6).

Bezaleel and Aholiab needed these attributes for true craftsmanship for the depiction of the glory of the Lord in the tabernacle.  True art depicts the object of genuine beauty, which is fashioned after the nature of God as seen in His creation.  The tabernacle provides a model for art and Bezaleel the artist.  Terence Fretheim writes:
Bezalel executes in miniature the divine creative role of Genesis 1 in the building of the tabernacle. The spirit of God with which the craftsmen are filled is a sign of the living, breathing force that lies behind the completing of the project just as it lies behind the creation. Their intricate craftsmanship mirrors God’s own work. The precious metals with which they work take up the very products of God’s beautiful creation and give new shape to that beauty within creation. Just as God created such a world in which God himself would dwell (not explicit in Genesis, but see Psalm 104:1-4; Isaiah 40:22), so now these craftsmen re-create a world in the midst of chaos wherein God may dwell once again in a world suitable for the divine presence. 
J. Cumming in the Biblical Illustrator writes:
It is quite clear that we must cease to think of the Divine Spirit as inspiring only prayers and hymns and sermons. All that is good and beautiful and wise in human art is the gift of God. We feel that the supreme Artist is audible in the wind among the pines; but is man left to himself when he marshals into more sublime significance the voices of the wind among the organ tubes? At sunrise and sunset we feel that 
"On the beautiful mountains the pictures of God are hung"; 
but is there no revelation of glory and of freshness in other pictures? Once the assertion that a great masterpiece was "inspired" was a clear recognition of the central fire at which all genius lights its lamp: now, alas! it has become little more than a sceptical assumption that Isaiah and Milton are much upon a level. But the doctrine of this passage is the divinity of all endowment; it is quite another thing to claim Divine authority for a given product sprung from the free human being who is so richly crowned and gifted. 
Thus far we have smoothed our way by speaking only of poetry, painting, music--things which really compete with nature in their spiritual suggestiveness. But Moses spoke of the robe-maker, the embroiderer, the weaver, and the perfumer.
The Pulpit Commentary reads concerning the same context:
Artistic excellence is not a thing to be despised. It is very capable of abuse; but in itself it is a high gift, bestowed by God on a few only, with the special intent that it should be used to his honour and glory—not indeed in his direct service only—but always so as to improve, elevate, refine mankind, and thus help towards the advancement of God's kingdom.
Before the crafting of the tabernacle, the divine Glory descends on Mount Sinai for six days, covering it with a cloud.  The building of the tabernacle is a commission corresponding to God's creating the universe as seen in the linking of both creation and the tabernacle the institution of the Sabbath, foreshadowed in Genesis 2:1–4 and juxtaposed to the detailed description of the tabernacle in Exodus 31.  It is a re-creation of the act of original creation.  Art is imitative and depicts the glory of the Lord, the beauty of His holiness.  Bezaleel imitates God, the creation of the tabernacle representing the humanization of God's creation of the heavens and the earth, even as the tabernacle makes a place for the divine to dwell among mankind.

A parallel exists between the account of the creative, artistic act of Exodus 31, performed then in 35-40, and the making of the golden calf and its aftermath in Exodus 32-34.  In the case of the tabernacle, God's people are  requested, not commanded, by God to offer precious metals. With the calf, there is a similar offering of precious metal.  Bezaleel's work required skill at depicting the nature of God.  Aaron's work proceeds according to the fashion of the nations round about and from his own imagination.  It does not require any great ability.  In the former, God is glorified, and the latter He is blasphemed.  The contrasting patterns offer a lesson.

The tabernacle represents the created order from original matter that was without form and void. The form reflects the meaning of divine arrangement: light from darkness, day from night, dry land from the midst of water. God gives it coherence through His revelation.  On the other hand, the making of the golden calf arose as an expression of the desire of self to satisfy lust, even communicated by the sounds that Joshua heard in coming down the mount.  Some consider it a kind of word-play because the Hebrew word in Exodus 32:25, translated "naked" and meaning "a lack of control or restraint," is parua,  Pharoah, a kind of resubjugation to Pharoah, using the spoils that Israel took from the Egyptians when they left Egypt. The tabernacle was a holy act and the calf was an unholy one.

Revelation of God is the basis for true beauty, objective beauty, the beauty of God's holiness, and art.  It is a transcendent depiction of God's revelation, such as produces the awe of God's creation and His will.  The physical world is not a prison from which to escape, even to look inward, but is the creation of God and the location of His visitation of man, just like the tabernacle.  This can include the glory of depicting in a realistic way ordinary people functioning at their work, which has spiritual dignity and significance.  The Bible is the first book of God's revelation, but Dutch landscape painters portrayed nature as God's second book of revelation.

Martha Bayles in Hole in Our Soul:  The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music, said the modern age has been a period of "intense self-consciousness about the meaning and purpose of art" and it all started when art "began having radical doubts about its relationship with the truth."  Instead of looking for the truth outside of ourselves, the modern age or the enlightenment looked to the ultimate reality in the mental, particularly in the realm of ideas.  Pre-enlightenment or pre-modern, art had been to express truth, which always originates from the outside of a man, so that art is a mirror or reflection of objective truth, a vehicle for real knowledge.  In a world of matter in motion, beauty does not exist as an objective quality, but the outpouring of inner feelings or expression.

Christians should enjoy the aesthetic qualities of art while developing the tools for critical analysis, so there is more to come.

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Seductive and Destructive Lie of Art as Personal Taste, pt.1

Two Recent Posts on Art:  One and Two (and Here's a Third from Further Past)

Art says both a lot about you, but it also influences you.  Some of what is called "art," as I've written recently, really isn't art, but that you call it "art" also says a lot about you.  Like everything else on earth in the realm of the world, the flesh, and the devil, men want what they want.  They like the "art" that they like.  Modernism and then postmodernism shifted art from the object to the subject, so that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  However, liking the "art" is not what makes it art.  It does though say something about it, when you like it, and it's something contradictory to God.

You say, "I like this" or "I really like this," and don't think there should be any criticism, because art is only a matter of personal taste.  It isn't, but you want it to be, because you want what you want without criticism.  The "art" abides in its own domain, not to be touched by God's authority or scriptural thinking.  The teaching of scripture is not just an item of belief, but it functions as a unified, overarching system of truth that applies to all other subject areas.  It applies to science, business, sociology, history, art, and everything.

God rules everything in a believer's life through scripture -- it gives the truth about the whole of reality, the interpretation of every subject matter.  The purpose of Christianity is not just the salvation of the soul and the sanctification of the life, but to provide an interpretation of the world.  God doesn't want us to turn over everything to the secular, except for Bible studies and prayer meetings.

Turning art to personal taste conforms to the development of a two track system between truth and taste, so fracturing the Christian life.  Believers are told to be salt and light, except it's off limits to the actual world, which then allows or influences professing Christians toward the acceptance of secular values.  Being controlled by the Holy Spirit means nothing is off limits, but this bifurcation between the sacred and secular says that God is boxed out of that of the subjects' choosing.  This is a form of idolatry or loving the world.  The ungodly art can't be forsaken, so really neither is the self forsaken.  Following Christ requires forsaking self (Luke 9:27).

This is our Father's world.  God created it.  Nothing has an identity separate from the will of the Creator and everything in creation must be interpreted in light of the relationship with God.  People want to keep their "art," because of its interconnection to feelings.  The painting, sculpture, music, or architecture seduces with feeling that results in the subject operating according to his lust.  Lust is not an allowed way for a believer to judge anything.

For awhile now someone likes how he looks liking "art."  If others like it, he has to look like he understands what makes it good.  He can't say he likes something godly, because it most often isn't popular, that is, it isn't pop art.  Association with popular art gives the sense of rubbing off on the one who likes it.  He likes it too.  To God, it's dung, to use the term that Paul uses in Philippians 3:8 to explain his unconverted life.  He counted his former life as dung, but  he can't call the popular art dung, because it's so important for him to fit into the world.

"Art" should not get a pass.  It isn't neutral.  Nothing is neutral.  All of art, like everything else in life, should be judged against the beauty of holiness.  When someone doesn't, his value changes.  It moves from God to self.  The highest value is what pleases himself and not God.  God isn't a deistic god standing by as his creation administers itself.  He isn't ignoring choices.  The personal taste that circumvents God expresses value different than God's.  Here's a person not following after God.  He doesn't like what God likes.  God is cordoned off this life, except where He is allowed.  Someone truly saved doesn't do this.  He doesn't dictate to God what and where God functions in the world.  This is liking a God who saves him but isn't the Lord of His aesthetics or art.

More than any facet of a man's soul, his feelings cohere to his body, where sin indwells.  Paul writes that sin dwells in a person's body parts, which is why salvation from the presence of sin occurs with the glorification of the body.  "Art" connects with feeling.  Does the feeling though arise from the right thinking, that is an ordinate affection, or is it the byproduct of lust?  Ungodly art that displeases God follows the allurements of depraved flesh.  The feeling of the subject justifies the object of his pleasure.  The bifurcation of that object into the mere secular, outside of scriptural judgment, completes the seduction.

As I describe aesthetic value, a right feeling, so that someone loves God and others according to godly values, some might consider it a matter of liberty.  Paul commanded, be not conformed to this world (Rom 12:2), which is not to accommodate, comply or harmonize with the spirit of this age. This is not relegated to pornography or something with such associated meaning as a swastika.  This is all aesthetic not in accordance with God.  It can be the gritty, trashy, urban murals of the modern inner city.  Often the decoration mirrors the subjective expressions of the tattoo "artist."  It doesn't have to be "wrong," just violating the objective beauty of the nature of God manifested in His creation.  That is wrong, because it conforms to the world, not transformed by a mind renewed by the Word of God.

The ungodly art disorders the loves.  God Himself through scripture commands love God.  He can't love God, because the world has bypassed God.  The profanity stains his conscience, disabling his ability to discern.  Others then are influenced by his wrong choice, multiplying the destructive lie of art as personal taste.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wilbur the Pig: A Story for Children

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


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Act Like Men, Not Like Girls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 16, 2019

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

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


The following are the parts of this series:

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

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