Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 7

Who killed Goliath and other questions? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.


Well, we all know how it works by now. My doing this is a demonstration that some suffering is self-inflicted. Let’s see what we have from this work today to deal with.

Bible Question #15: Who slew Goliath?

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This is an easy one! Now turn to 2nd Samuel 21:19. Depending on the ‘modern version’ it will say something like:

“… Elhanan … killed Goliath …”

What do you mean Elhanan killed Goliath!? This is wrong you say. Most Sunday school children know that David slew Goliath! Well, you’re right. This is clearly in error.

Look at the same passage in your King James Bible. The Authorized King James Bible has the correct reading which is:

“… Elhanan … slew THE BROTHER OF Goliath …”

Spiritually, as Christians, we are the equivalent of David. Spiritually, Satan is the equivalent of Goliath. Just as David slew Goliath (with a rock), we Christians are “more than conquerors” as we have overcome (slew) Satan by the blood of the lamb (Jesus Christ, the rock!) and by the word of our testimony. Not only are ‘modern versions’ in error; but major doctrinal issues are involved here. Think about it.

To begin with, why do these modern translations sometimes differ? Because they are trying to be faithful to what the text says. Unfortunately, Johnson produces no material on the textual variations or the translating of Hebrew or anything of that sort.

My ministry partner, J.P. Holding, has this to say at Tektonics.

Many conservative commentators, like Archer, have supposed that in the first verse, “Lahmi the brother of” was somehow transformed into “the Bethlehemite”. Alhtough I priorly considered this a suitable textual explanation, I am now persuaded that it requires more explanation (on this, see our response to Human Faces of God, ch. 7). Even so, Callahan’s objections are not sufficient. He objects as follows (here, and now we add, in Secret Origins of the Bible [248]):

  1. First, he says, “Archer is using a method that he would scoff at if it were used by advocates” of the JEDP hypothesis. Indeed? Unless Callahan finds a place where Archer actually does this to an explanation of the same sort advanced by a JEDP theorist, he is merely making an ad hoc accusation.
  2. Second, he says he finds “no particular reason” to accept Archer’s idea “over a more simple and direct one of a later writer trying to resolve an inconsistency.”Well, I do: It has to do with giving ancient documents the benefit of the doubt; it has to do with textual criticism; it has to do with not assuming that ancient people were too foolish to see the obvious. Archer’s explanation is quite within the canons of textual criticism.
  3. Callahan wonders then why both Samuel and Chronicles use the “like a weaver’s beam” in their conclusions. The use of the phrase elsewhere is exactly the sort of thing that would induce an errant scribe to use it elsewhere in an effort to make the text coherent, or make it more memorable in an oral-based society. Callahan’s comment that a scribe would have to both move a portion of the word while leaving it there at the same time is mistaken — this is a perfect description of a known type of textual error called dittography.
  4. Finally, Callahan objects that the explanation contradicts Archer’s earlier assertion that “God kept the authors of the books, and by logical extension the editors of the canon, from error.” Archer may or may not argue this, but it doesn’t matter anyway. We do not believe that God preserved copyists from error. This is not asserted in any doctrinal statement on inerrancy (such as the Chicago Statement).

For the record, here is a summary of Archer’s explanation: 1) a copyist first mistook the sign of the direct object before “Lahmi,” which was ‘-t, for a b-t and got Bethelehemite; 2) the copyist also misread the word for “brother” (‘-h) as the sign of the direct object before “Goliath” and made “Goliath” the object of “killed” instead of “brother” as Chronicles does; 3) the word “weavers” was also misplaced after “Elhanan” to make the name “son of the woods of weavers,” which is quite an unlikely name.

Now you might not find that persuasive entirely, and that’s fine, but the point is that this should show it’s not a clear and simple question. However, looking at the end of what Johnson says, he is taking an interpretation of the original text, as Goliath being Satan and each of us being David, and then insisting that that interpretation is trying to be covered up by the modern versions. (Which, you know, all include the story of David and Goliath so how they’re covering this up is a mystery.) Yet there is given no reason why I should accept the interpretation or think it’s at all what the original writer had in mind.

Bible Question #16: Jesus said that our heavenly Father will forgive us of our sins. However, we are told that; likewise, there is something we must do. Do you remember what it is?

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Let’s turn, in a ‘modern version’ to Mark 11:26. Are you not able to find it? Are the verses in Mark chapter 11 numbered 23, 24, 25 and then 27!? Is verse 26 missing? Well, there is nothing wrong with your eyesight! Verse 26 is not there (or it is in brackets, casting doubt on it). It’s ANOTHER omission.

Now turn to the same verse in your Authorized (King James) Version. The KJV says:

BUT IF YE DO NOT FORGIVE, NEITHER WILL YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN FORGIVE YOUR TRESPASSES.

Oh, man! This is important to know! Leaving out verse 26, leaves out an important piece of Christian doctrine. Verse 26 needs to be there! And, that’s why it is properly included in your King James Bible.

The question though is not what Johnson thinks needs to be there, but what is there. Mark often does give shorter versions of what is said and if verse 26 wasn’t in the original manuscripts (And by the way, verse numbers weren’t in the original manuscripts), then whether one thinks it needs to be there or not, faithfulness to the text says to not put it there. I could say “You need to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to be forgiven needs to be in the text also!”, but if it was not in what Mark wrote, then it will not be included.

By the way, modern translations do include that in passages such as following the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. Again, an odd way of covering up doctrine.

Bible Question #17: What did Jesus say about religious hypocrisy?

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First, let’s take a look in a ‘modern’ version of the Bible. What does it say in Matthew 23:14?

Actually, it says nothing! ( The verse is missing in many modern versions ).

For the word of God, turn to the same verse in your King James Bible. What does it say?

WOE UNTO YOU SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! FOR YE DEVOUR WIDOWS’ HOUSES, AND FOR A PRETENCE MAKE LONG PRAYER: THEREFORE YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GREATER DAMNATION.

Jesus does not like hypocrisy. Notice how God knows our heart!

Again, this does not show up in the manuscripts that are being used, but here’s something to consider. I just took a few minutes to do a search of the word “hypocrite” in Matthew. It shows up multiple times never in a flattering light. Six of those times are in this very same chapter!

No one reading the chapter in a modern translation would walk away confused about what Jesus thinks about hypocrisy. KJV-Onlyists can condemn the modern versions all they want, but arguments like this are thoroughly dishonest and saw more about KJV-Onlyists than they do about their opponents.

We’ll continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 6

Ready for more crazy adventures in KJV-Only land? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The book I am replying to can be read online here. We know the drill by now. Let’s begin.

Bible Question #11: After our new birth, how are we supposed to relate to God?

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Once we are born again we have a new standard for our lives; it is Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us how we are to relate to him. Please turn to Ephesians 5:1 . In a ‘new’ version it says:

“… be imitators of God …”

Compare this to the Authorized King James:

Be ye therefore FOLLOWERS of God …”

Even though we are born again; can we possibly imitate God? Can we be the judge of the Universe? Can we be at all places at the same time? No way. We have a new nature, sure; but we are still only men.

Think about it: only Satan tries to imitate God! Ever since the garden of Eden, Satan has tried to direct worship toward HIMSELF. We, as men, could NEVER imitate God. We are only men. We can only FOLLOW God!

Publishers of ‘new’, ‘more up to date’ versions are encouraging us to be like Satan! (i.e. to think of ourselves as God).

Sigh.

It’s amazing what you can learn just by a simple word search. I go to BlueLetterBible.com and what do I see when I go to the verse? Well, the Greek word is mimetes. Already, this is a problem since it sure looks like mimic. So what do I see listed under usage.

an imitatorNothing else is listed.Also, the KJV still has Matthew 5:48, be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect. Maybe its just me, but that sounds like imitation.

The whole idea of imitation often times is that you’re not going to hit the mark, but you have something to aim for and why not aim for the best? A young man wanting to be a basketball player could want to imitate Michael Jordan or LeBron James. Will he ever reach that level? Probably not, but he can still aim for the best.

Let’s turn to 1st John 4:3 . A ‘modern’ version says:

“and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.”

Again, in ‘modern’ versions, key pieces of scripture are left out. Compare this same verse with the FULL reading in the King James. In the KJV it says:

And every spirit that confesseth not that JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

Remember, evil spirits did confess Jesus. In Luke 4:34 (and in Mark 1:24) a man having a “spirit of an unclean devil” said to Jesus:

“… Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, [thou] JESUS of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.”

Contrary to what ‘modern’ versions would tell you, the antichrist DOES KNOW who Jesus is. But, what the antichrist CAN NOT say, is that: “JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH“.

Modern versions not only need to get their gospel straight; they also need to correctly quote the true test for the antichrist.

Also, take a look at this: Compare 1st John 4:3 again between a ‘modern’ version and the King James Bible. Look one more time at what the ‘new’ version says:

“… which does not confess Jesus is …”

But, in the King James it says:

“… that confesseth not that Jesus CHRIST is …”

Besides the doctrinal error, these ‘modern’ versions continually assault the Lordship and Deity of Jesus Christ. If the King James says: “Jesus Christ”, many times the modern versions will only say: “Jesus”. If the King James says: “Lord Jesus Christ, “many times the ‘modern’ versions will only say: “Lord” or will only say: “Jesus”.

Again, this is an absurd argument. Is it as if a demon in the Gospels would not say Jesus has a body? We are talking about different situations. The spirits in the epistles would be referring to those teaching Gnostic and/or Docetic doctrines that denied that Jesus had a real physical body.

Why do modern translations translate 1 John 4:3 the way they do? Because of the manuscripts they are translating from.

By the way, let’s look at 2 John 7 in a modern translation.

I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Yep. Major cover-up going on there.

Bible Question #13: In the wilderness, when Satan tempted Jesus to turn a stone into bread for food; what was Jesus’ response?

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Turn to Luke 4:4 . In a ‘modern’ version it reads: “… man shall not live by bread alone”.

Well, that’s true and that’s part of it. But, what about the rest of the verse? Notice: words have been LEFT OUT in these ‘modern versions’.

The Authorized (King James) Bible has the correct and full reading. In Luke 4:4 it says:

“… man shall not live by bread alone, BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD“.

The fact that we are nourished by bread is true, but that is only part of the story. Our lives are sustained by the Word of God. We need bread to sustain our bodies; but, these ‘modern’ versions leave out our need for the life sustaining Word of God.

Again, we have the same situation going on here. For a cover-up, it seems strange that the parallel passage in Matthew 4 does indeed have the passage that we are told modern passages eliminate. It makes sense for Luke to leave it out since he’s writing more to a Gentile audience and Matthew to leave it in his since his audience is thoroughly Jewish. It all depends on what the manuscripts say.

Enough ridiculousness for today. More coming next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Book Plunge: Playing With God: A Theoludological Framework For Dialogue With Video Games

What do I think of Matthew Millsap’s dissertation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“And Matthew Millsap wrote his dissertation on video games and Christianity.”

My ears perk up as I’m in my systematic theology class last semester and hear these words. I immediately look up this man and find him on Facebook and send him a message. Before too long, he’s happy to send me his dissertation. In preparing to write this also, I contacted him and asked where others could go if they want this dissertation as well and he said you can contact him on Twitter.

So theoludological. I had never heard that word before and my spell check doesn’t even recognize it. It is a combination of ludology and theology. Great! That explains it! So what’s ludology? It’s the study of games. Amazing I never even knew that there was a name for what I have been doing through so much of my life.

Millsap and I are quite similar. We’re both gamers and we’re both at this time 42. We have both been playing games for pretty much all our lives.

Fact check true on the above meme.

When you go through the dissertation, it’s clear that he has a great knowledge of games. Something interesting also for me is that the games he plays seem to be more of a different genre for the most part than the ones that I play. He seems to enjoy first person shooter types and other similar games and I am much more into the RPG and JRPG genre.

Still, he has got me curious about the Bioshock series at least. (Available on the Nintendo Eshop if anyone is feeling generous)

This dissertation is divided into seven chapters. The first is about interaction with pop culture and the lack of interaction with video games. The second is about the origin and history of video games. The third is about narrative themes in video games. The fourth is about theology’s dialogue with other forms of narrative material. Chapter five is where the meat of this work is and shows how this interaction takes place and why video games are different from other forms of media. The sixth shows it in practice with a look at the game Journey. The final chapter discusses implications and further areas of research.

One possible researcher being the one writing this blog.

I was definitely pleased reading this to see how much Millsap definitely is familiar with video games. To some extent, probably a little bit jealous too picturing him getting to read so much about games and at the same time consider it theological research. I could easily picture him, seeing as he’s married, sitting on the couch playing a game like Bioshock and his wife saying “Honey! Can you take out the trash?!” “Not now, dear! Doing research for my dissertation!”

One of the rare times that excuse would work.

If you are unfamiliar with the history of video games, Millsap will give you a good crash course on it in this dissertation. He is also right in there is very little interaction with this medium. When I gave my talk at Defend this month, I was pleased to see how many people showed up. Why? Because this is a topic we need to talk about and there were people of all ages and of both sexes in there.

That being said, the narrative aspect is key. Yesterday, I watched a video on Final Fantasy IV and considered just how much a story difference there was. Final Fantasy IV when it was released over here was Final Fantasy II as Japan kept the next two games in the series to themselves. (And why did we just not declare them our political enemies at that point?!) Something I was surprised I hadn’t noticed was the marked difference in story between I and II. I was a bare bones basic account, but II was a dialoguing adventure with personal characters with real names and twists and turns.

Many games today do have stories. Many outsiders don’t realize that, but just as you watch a TV series or a movie or read a book because you want to know what happens next, so also you play a game because you want to know what happens next. Of course, there is the difference of player agency. It doesn’t really take skill to watch a TV show or movie or read a book to find out what happens next. With a game, unless you look it up on YouTube, you have to play the game successfully to know what happens. Some games even make it harder by having different endings and only those who do the game well will get the good ending.

When we look at the fifth chapter, I mainly noticed his interaction with Craig Detweiler. Consider this quote that he has from Detweiler.

Am I equating cinema with Holy Scripture? Heavens no! The Word of God is a special revelation unequaled in human history. I am not baptizing all art as sacred or all inspiration as divine. Yet God has revealed himself in ways beyond the written word. The Bible itself is a litany of unlikely communiques. Christ promised if his people did not praise God, the rocks would cry out (Luke 19:40). Perhaps those
rocks have recently taken on pop cultural forms. It does not denigrate a sacred text to study other texts; I am merely affirming what the Spirit is already doing. God does not discriminate. The Spirit can communicate via inspiring films like The Shawshank Redemption (IMDb #2) or cautionary tales like The Godfather (IMDb
#1). We need role models and warning signs. While the religious community questions prophets’ credentials, divinely inspired artists keep on singing songs, telling stories, making movies.

While I do think the phrasing can be bad here some, I think when Detweiler speaks of God revealing Himself in movies, I don’t think he’s saying the movie is like Scripture. However, I think what He is saying is that one can see in a movie sometimes an idea of who God is. I remember hearing about a Jehovah’s Witness who left the cult after watching the Passion of the Christ and realizing they didn’t have to go through everything the Watchtower said. One can get theological insights watching popular media like movies and certainly God can use a movie, a book, a video game, a TV show, to draw someone to Himself. I also don’t doubt that Millsap would disagree with this.

At the same time, Millsap did think there was a lowering going on when Christianity was explained in gaming terms.

Jesus dropped into the game of our world with both remarkable (even divine) skills and crippling limitations (of humanity). He explored many comers of his Middle Eastern “island.” Among his contemporaries, he made both friends and enemies. A tightly knit, dedicated community arose around him. Jesus and his clan experienced plenty of grief from aggressive and uncooperative rivals. He was eventually fragged during a deathmatch on an unexpected field of battle. He submitted to the rules of engagement, even while resisting them, proposing an alternative way to play. After three days, Jesus respawned, took his place as Administrator, and redefined the way the game is played

I understand Millsap’s concern here in that this can seem like crude language at times to describe Christianity. After all, respawning in a FPS is really normally not a big deal. Everyone does it. However, I also thought, “What if someone wasn’t a Christian and was a gamer and I was trying to explain Christianity to them?” I could use language that is similar to this. We could say that Jesus was the true respawner much like Lewis said Christianity is the true myth. What we can do in a game, Jesus can do and did do in reality.

Despite all of this, Millsap is definitely right in all of this in how we need theological interaction. The stories he gives from Bioshock I found particularly fascinating. I have listened more than once to the introduction from Andrew Ryan in the first game on YouTube. If you want to listen to it, you can do so as well.

Many of us would agree with some of what Ryan says in this. A man should be entitled to the sweat of his brow. Many of us could also say that while God doesn’t claim all of it and lets us have some of it, we should give some of what we receive to Him.

In the third game, he tells us the story is about a “prophet” who has a cultic form of a Christian type of religion and how someone has to go to his floating island to rescue someone. Despite what some people might think, games like this wrestle with moral decisions and questions. There are many games out there that are extremely philosophical. Consider even Final Fantasy X where the game is all about a quest to defeat a mindless, destructive beast known as Sin.

In the sixth chapter, we look at Journey. I had bought this game and I didn’t get much into it, but perhaps some weekend when I have a couple of hours, which is how long Millsap says it takes to finish it, I could do that. Millsap chose this game because it is an easy one to learn and there is no violence done by the character and it tells a story. Another one I would consider would be Stray, because after all, who wouldn’t enjoy getting to play as a cat?

I definitely agree with his conclusion. There are plenty of areas for extra study. Games are becoming one of the main features in our culture, especially with the rise of smartphones. We Christians have too often been behind the times on this interaction. We need to change that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 5

What has been removed? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So we’re continuing our look at KJV-Onlyism. Let’s see what we have today. Again, source material is here.

Bible Question #9: After we repent, and are born again (come to saving grace), what else does Jesus command us to do?

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There are many changes that come in our new birth/in our new nature, but the answer I’m looking for is this: We are to make a public profession of faith. Then we are to be baptized, by immersion, in water.

Let’s look in Acts chapter 8, verses 35-37. In Acts 8:35 Philip, the Apostle, preached Jesus Christ to the eunuch. In verse 36 the eunuch realized his need to be baptized. The eunuch then asks if he can be baptized.

Now, take a look at Acts 8:37 in a ‘modern’ version of the Bible. Many (but not all) ‘modern’ versions go from Acts chapter 8 verse 35, to verse 36, then to 38. 38?! Where is verse 37 you ask? And, what did verse 37 say?

This key verse, properly included in the King James Bible, tells us whom should be baptized. It says:

“… IF THOU BELIEVEST WITH ALL THINE HEART, THOU MAYEST.” And he [the eunuch] answered and said: “… I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD.”

Numbering verses 35, 36, and then 38 is NOT the new math!

These ‘modern’ versions, which leave out verse 37, are omitting the deity of Jesus Christ. Also, they are missing the key point: We must make a PUBLIC profession of faith. We must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. If we do not know, believe, and confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our baptism only ‘gets us wet’. Leaving out verse 37 omits a major portion of Christian doctrine.

Omissions of doctrine and corruptions of doctrine are bad news. In both cases, the reader is NOT getting the correct information he/she needs to know.

The cute thing about KJV-Onlyists is how they push the panic button over every supposed change. Now if you’re going to say a verse was removed, then you have to assume the text that you’re using to translate from is the one that is accurate. You have to establish that without a question-begging standard. KJV-onlyists look at how the translations differ and say “Well, we have the correct translation, so obviously the problem is on the other end.”

If you started with the other translations as the perfect standard, you would reach the opposite conclusion. Would it not be just as much a problem to add to Scripture? One could say that the KJV is older though, but that’s not the point. The point is the starting place is determining the conclusion.

Again, the solution is simple. These verses aren’t in the manuscripts modern translations are using. It is not a conspiracy to leave out key doctrine. What is left out supposedly is shown in other places in modern translations.

Bible Question #10: Can you recite the Lord’s prayer?

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The Lord’s prayer, taught to us by Jesus, and recorded in Luke 11:2-4 of the KJV, is as follows:

“… Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”

Now turn to Luke 11:2-4 in a ‘modern’ version and re-read the Lord’s prayer. The wording will be similar to:

“… Father, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation”.

Note this modern version states “Father” but then leaves out “… WHICH ART IN HEAVEN …”. You don’t know who you are praying to, your Father in heaven, or to Satan!

It also leaves out “our” as in OUR father. We were created by God who is “OUR” father. Satan is a father, but he is not “OUR” father. Satan is the “father” of lies.

And this ‘modern’ version leaves out “THY WILL BE DONE, AS IN HEAVEN, SO IN EARTH“. By leaving out the fact that we are praying to our Father WHOSE WILL IS DONE IN HEAVEN, this ‘modern’ version is re-directing your prayer away from God and toward someone or something else (in another place).

Lastly, there is a major omission in the last half of verse 4. Verse 4 states: “And lead us not into temptation”. But this verse then leaves out: “… BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL …”

Personally, I want to be delivered from evil! How about you?

I think the reader will agree: This ‘modern version’ is NOT the “Lord’s Prayer” you want to be praying! Think about it.

As I read through this, I am just thinking this has to be one of the most bizarre arguments from the KJV-Only position ever.

So Jesus’s disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray. In this scenario, He begins.

Jesus: Father…..

Peter: Whoa! Lord! You just said Father and nothing else! Are you praying to God or to Satan?

Jesus: I said Father…..

Satan is called the father of lies, but saying that this has to be specified would be like asking Jesus if He was praying to Joseph. As for the statement about which art in Heaven, well where else would a Jew think God would be? Now you might need this spelled out if you’re an ignorant KJV-Onlyist who has no clue how to read an ancient document, but not if you’re someone who is a Jew at the time and has half a brain.

That’s really just how dumb this argument is.

So why is this not in there? The same situation. This is not found in the oldest manuscripts.

That’s enough ridiculousness for this time. We’ll continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 4

What problems are in the modern versions? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So let’s dive back into the train wreck here.

Bible Question #6: How did Jesus’ going to the cross bring our redemption?

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A ‘modern’ version will NOT tell you how! (in Colossians 1:14). It says (of Jesus):

“in whom we have redemption …”

The full Christian doctrine is only included in the King James reading of the same verse. Properly stated, it says (of Jesus):

In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD …”

Without the shedding of blood there is NO remission of sins. Leaving out “the blood” misses a key point of doctrine (and leaves us in our sins).

There’s a simple reason for this. In the manuscripts that were used, the phrase “Through his blood” is not there. It is easy to understand how a scribe could have added such a phrase or it could have been in the margins and then became part of the text. It’s easier for KJV-onlyists to say conspiracy, but let’s look at other places in the NIV….

Romans 3:25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Colossians 1:20. and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Note that last one is in the very same chapter! If you’re involved in a conspiracy to remove the blood, you try to do that everywhere and not just one spot. KJV-onlyists are not expecting people to check up on their claims.

Bible Question #7: Who does Jesus “call” and what does he “call” them to do?

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The questions are getting harder! Open a ‘modern’ version to Matthew 9:13b. It says something like:

“For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”.

Notice how the end of this verse begs the question: “… call the righteous, but sinners TO WHAT?” Turn to the same verse in the King James Bible:

“… for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners TO REPENTANCE“.

Those last 2 words are crucial! Hell (and then the lake of fire) will get all the sinners who don’t repent. Jesus will get all the sinners who do repent. There is a big difference in those two eternal outcomes. And, there is a big difference in these two translations.

We are all sinners, and we must all repent, to be saved.

Which this quote is found exactly in Luke 5:32. Go to a Gospel search and look up the word repent and you will find several mentions. Why does it not show up in the text above? Because it isn’t in the manuscripts that were used for translation. That’s not a conspiracy. The way to argue against it is to have a non-question begging argument that it is the correct one.

KJV-Onlyists have not given us one yet.

Bible Question #8: What happens to those who do not receive the testimony of Jesus Christ, i.e. what happens the those who do not receive the gift of everlasting life?

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In many ‘modern’ versions you won’t find out! This is because part of the verse is missing (in Mark 6:11). Let’s turn there now. A ‘modern’ version reads something like:

“… shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”

However, the King James gives the full teaching:

“… shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, IT SHALL BE MORE TOLERABLE FOR SODOM AND GOMORRHA IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, THAN FOR THAT CITY.

I think the reader will agree that this verse contains important information we need to know!

Matthew 10:15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Matthew 11:23-24 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.

Luke 10:12 — I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Again, what does it say about KJV-Onlyists that you can see their arguments are faulty when you do a Bible Search online for just a couple of minutes if that long?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

 

Response to Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 3

Do we have more evidence of bad translation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So as we continue our look at this work, we find more and more of bad argumentation from KJV-Onlyists. The first question is about Noah.

Bible Question #4: Noah was a great man used by God to build the Ark. To be called for such a task required Noah to be approved by the Lord God. So, how was Noah ‘justified’ before God? Was Noah’s justification by his own works?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the answer, turn in your Bible to Genesis 6:8. In a ‘modern version’ it says something like:

“Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

Now think what the word favor implies. Favor implies that Noah was ‘better’ than others. Favor implies Noah was approved by God because of his own ‘good works’.

Now compare that to the KJV. It says:

Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord“.

Even though Noah was used of God, he was also in need of grace (just like all of us). Noah was NOT justified by his good works, but by God’s grace.

Look at verse 9: It says Noah walked with God. Notice that Noah’s walk with God occurs, in verse 9, AFTER Noah received grace from God, in verse 8. Grace precedes our walk with God. We are NOT justified (NOR saved) by our own works.

Remember, Noah got drunk on occasion (Gen 9:21). He was in need of God’s amazing grace. We are, too.

The consistent theme of the Bible is that we are saved by God’s grace and NOT by our own works. Grace and favor have two totally, different, meanings.

The Authorized King James Bible is consistent with the Bible’s teachings. These ‘modern versions’ are not.

Nothing in this text is about justification. It is not about how Noah was forgiven of his sins. The word here is hen and looking at how the KJV translates it, they translate it sometimes as grace and sometimes as favor. The idea here is that by saying favor, the text implies that Noah was better than his fellow people.

Newsflash. Noah was better. The very next verse said he was a righteous man, blameless in his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

This is not about Noah finding grace, which we could say would be something intrinsic to Noah that God discovers, but favor, in that because Noah lived differently, He was allowed a special blessing. Is that really a problem?

Not at all.

Let’s look at 2 verses. Turn to 1st Peter 4:1. In a ‘modern’ version it says: “… Christ suffered …”

In your Authorized King James Bible the full reading is quoted as:

“… Christ suffered FOR US.”

Notice the last two words give the FULL meaning. Leaving out “for us” misses the point entirely!

This is confirmed again in 1 Corinthians 5:7b. In many ‘new’ versions it says:

“For Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed.”

Again, the full reading is found in the King James Bible. It says:

“For even Christ our passover is sacrificed FOR US.”

This seems to imply that a modern reader of a modern translation won’t know this. The problem is when you look at a text like 1 Peter 4, there are differences in Greek such that some have “for us” and some do not. I suspect the same for the other passage as this would be something natural for a scribe to add.

Of course, it’s easier to just slander others and argue for your conspiracy theory.

Now if the KJV-onlyist wants to argue their text is superior in the Greek, they need an argument for that. It can’t just be asserted.

We’ll continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Response to Spiritual Deception in the Highest Part 2

Do we have more corrupted verses? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So as we continue our look at KJV-onlyism, we’re responding to this work. I plan to respond to more than one question today. First, let’s start with one that deals with the virgin birth, which I do affirm.

The answer, of course, is that God was Jesus’ father. Let’s look in a ‘modern’ version of the Bible, at Luke 2:33.

Starting in Luke 2:27 Simeon has gone into the temple to see the baby Jesus (who is with Joseph and Mary). Again, depending on the particular ‘modern’ version, in verse 33, it will say something similar to:

” … and his FATHER and mother were amazed at the things which were spoken of him” [i.e. of Jesus].

What do you mean “… and his father …” was amazed at the things which were spoken of him?! Jesus’ father was NOT Joseph! Jesus’ father was God!

Now, let’s look in the Authorized King James Bible. The KJV has the correct reading; in Luke 2:33 it says:

And JOSEPH and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him“.

For a ‘modern’ version ( NIV, NASV, RSV etc.) to say Joseph was Jesus’ father is blasphemy! Think about the doctrinal implications: If Jesus had only an earthly father and mother, then he is just any man. If he is just any man, then we are still in our sins. If we are still in our sins, then we are not saved! If we are not saved, then we have a big problem!

Here! Here! Indeed! How can we indicate in any way that Joseph is the father of Jesus?! Of course, God is His Father! Absolutely! To the flames then with any translation, or should I say transgression, that says that Joseph is the Father of Jesus!

Oh wait…..

Look at Luke 2:48.

And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

And that is in the KJV!

How dare they! Surely Mary who had the virgin birth, which I do affirm, would know who the father of Jesus is! How dare she not say Joseph! That would mean Jesus is just an ordinary man and we are still in our sins! We have a big problem!

How dare the KJV deny the virgin birth! (Which I do affirm)

Now let’s go to a common type of objection.

Turn to Matthew 18:11. You may have a hard time finding this verse. In many new, ‘modern’, versions this verse is missing! The verses are numbered 10 then 12, 13, 14! Or you may find verse 11 is in brackets, casting doubt as to whether it is scriptural.

Let’s see what the Authorized King James says:

For the Son of man is come TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST.”

This one verse, which summarizes Jesus’ entire mission to earth, is either ignored in ‘new’ versions; or it is put in brackets casting doubt on it! This verse contains a KEY piece of Christian doctrine.

People have to know they are lost, i.e. that they have a problem, to know they need a saviour.

This is a common problem with KJV-Onlyists. They look at the KJV as the perfect and then if there is any difference between the KJV and a modern translation, well the problem is the modern translation because they removed that verse. How do we know the verse was in the original? Because it’s in the KJV and that’s the perfect version!

Never mind that this passage is paralleled in Luke 19:10 which does have the Son of Man coming to seek and to save that which was lost. If this was a conspiracy of some sort, you would think that one would also be removed. So why would this not be in a manuscript?

Odds are that many a scribe could copy from memory, perhaps from hearing a verse read in the worship service, and when he copies Matthew, he automatically fills in that part. Another possibility is sometimes sidenotes would be written and this could be one and sometimes that would be included in later copies. How do we know what the original most likely said? Because we have enough copies that we can cross-reference them. If you want a good reference book on textual criticism, I recommend this one.

Thus far, two questions answered. Nothing convincing. Just shoddy research on the part of KJV-Onlyists.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Response To Spiritual Deception in the Highest question 1

Is the KJV the only Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I recently was shown some work from a guy named Robert Breaker who is a KJV-onlyist. He recommended a book that can be found on his web site called “Spiritual Deception in the Highest.” After all, the obvious work of spiritual deception is to get people away from the KJV. (We all know eschatologically the biggest disaster to the devil came in 1611 when for the first time there was actually a Bible.) So if you want to see this work, then you can see it here.

I realize there aren’t as many KJV-onlyists today as there used to be most likely, but they are still out there and either way, this is dealing with issues that many people will still struggle with. I do definitely plan to get back to Life Is A Game, but I figured I could use my skills here to deal with this. Thus, time to look at this work and see the charges that are made.

Bible Question #1: Who was it that saved Shadrach, Messach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Turn to Daniel 3:25. In this verse, Shadrach, Messach and Abednego have been thrown into the fiery furnace. However, they are NOT alone! Another one (a fourth) is there to deliver them !

Let’s start off by looking at this verse in a ‘modern version’. (Notice: the wording in each ‘modern version’ will differ slightly from all the others. But, those small differences, will not materially affect this report).

Suffice it to say that, at the end of Daniel 3:25, a ‘modern’ version has a reading “similar to” the following:

“… and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods …”

“a” son of the ( plural ) gods?! Who is that? What is His name ? Notice how that reading is very vague and “non-descript”.

But, look at this same verse in your King James Bible. The Authorized (KJ) Bible says:

“… and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God“. i.e. Jesus Christ.

It was JESUS CHRIST, THE only begotten Son of God, who delivered Shadrach, Messach and Abednego. Jesus saved them from the fiery furnace; and it’s Jesus who will save you and me from the fiery furnace (i.e. from hell, from the lake of fire ).

The Bible is clear: There is ONLY ONE SAVIOUR: The LORD Jesus Christ, THE Son (capital S) of God (big G). Jesus is the ONLY one who saves from the fiery furnace, NOT “a” son of the (plural) gods (little g). Jesus saved in the past, He does it today, and He will save in the future ! Amen ?

So let’s put this in some context.

The Hebrew word listed here is Ela and is 424 in Strong’s. Now going to BlueLetterBible, let’s see where else this shows up in Daniel.

2:11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

2:19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

2:28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

2:45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

3:14

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

 

3:15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

I have only covered chapters 2 and 3 here as these terms also show up in 5 and 6 and then stop, though surely it is not because God is not mentioned. It’s interesting that this term only shows up when it is interacting in a pagan environment. Both the Hebrews like Daniel and his friends and the pagans like Nebuchadnezzar use this term. When the Jews use it, it more refers to their God in the singular and when the pagans use it, it refers to the gods in the plural. Sometimes King Nebuchadnezzar will use it to refer to the God of Israel, but only when directly speaking to a Jewish person.

So what is more likely here?

When Nebuchadnezzar is speaking to his fellow pagans, he is not likely to say the Son of God. He is more likely to say a son of the gods, which is the way a pagan would understand matters. Now does this diminish Jesus? Not at all. Assuming that Jesus is the fourth man in the fire, which I have no problem with, this is still painting Jesus as a divine being and a Jewish reader would think that the divine being was a son of God in some sense.

It might be easy for Johnson, the author of the work in question, to paint to a conspiracy, but it’s far more level-headed to just look at the text. The pattern is consistent and rather than seek to impugn someone else, it’s better to just understand why they translate the text a certain way. It might not be as easy, but it is more fitting in Christian character.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

More on God and Emotions

Is God impassible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There is sadly a disconnect in the church. Too many of us have not gone back to our historical roots and wrestled with what we have. Yes. We affirm the Trinity (And the virgin birth), but the doctrine of the Trinity did not just fall out of the sky. Jesus did not go around teaching the Chalcedonian Creed or the Nicene Creed. You won’t find any of those fully written in the Pauline epistles. These doctrines took centuries to work out.

It’s tempting for us sometimes to remove those barriers and reject what long came before us. It should never be done lightly. If we see that the church affirmed something we don’t understand, it can help to see why they did. Consider if you were making a statement about the nature of God. Suppose you established that He existed. Now you want to go through and describe each of His attributes. Which do you start with?

Do you know where Aquinas started next?

Simplicity.

Why? Because working systematically, Aquinas knew that if you deny simplicity, you will not properly understand all the other attributes of God, including His love. Simplicity could be asking “What does it take for God to be God?” If you believe that God needs nothing at all to be God and is already God in who He is for all eternity, then you to some extent hold to simplicity.

Now one other truth the church held, and this means universal, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox, was that God was impassible. God could not be moved. It’s not that you’re suffering so much and you eventually get God to a point in prayer where He says “I can’t take it anymore! Fine! I’ll give you what you want!” It is explained to us analogically that way because that is how it can look to us, but you cannot wear God down. How do you think you could outlast God?

So in this discussion, I have been sent this article.

I am pleased to see that it is written by some qualified theologians. I am also pleased to say they are speaking of impassibility and know what it is. This is discussion that needs to happen in the church. Let’s look at this paragraph.

The basic concern here is an important one: the Bible is clear that God is not dependent on his creation in any way (i.e., he is truly transcendent), and therefore he cannot be at its mercy, involuntarily affected by it, reeling in reaction to what he has made, and thus on some level controlled by it. In other words, what he has created cannot afflict him with suffering or make him feel anything.

This is an important point and I agree. Reality, you cannot make anyone feel anything. You cannot make yourself feel anything. If you can, make yourself feel happy all the time. Won’t work. Sometimes a husband or wife can say to the other “You make me so angry” or some other emotion. Nope. They don’t have that power. (Pro-tip though guys. Probably not wise to say that to your wife in the heat of an argument.) You need to own your emotions. This is especially so in our age where everyone else is supposedly responsible because someone else feels offended.

For most of us it matters a great deal that God has emotions for very personal reasons. At stake is whether or not God really understands and cares about our experiences, especially our suffering. To say that God is impassible seems to suggest that perhaps he doesn’t. Since he can’t suffer, how could he possibly understand? And if he doesn’t understand, how could he care? We want to know that God relates to us emotionally without having the problems that our emotions create for us.

So let us be clear: God does understand, and he does care.

Here is where we can get into part of the problem. It is assumed that if God loves us and if He cares for us, then He has emotions. The problem is every theologian who holds to impassibility in the Christian tradition agrees that He loves us and cares for us.

When you deal with a complex theological argument, a simple statement like “God loves us” is not going to change the other person’s mind. Anyone who is married or has been married knows that the emotion of love fades. However, that does not mean love fades. That’s one of the reason sadly our divorce culture is such a prominent problem. We base the covenant relationship on a feeling and when that feeling fades, well then what? There is a danger to the idea in the song of being “hooked on a feeling.”

We could ask how much we do this in other places. Do we know we are “close to God” because of a feeling we have? If so, could we not be really pursuing that feeling instead of God and thinking that feeling is evidence of a truth? We all should know we are good at deceiving ourselves. Many of us have had feelings, good and bad, that have not been accurate in the past. Actually, most likely all of us have.

God cared enough about understanding us that God the Son stepped into our shoes by taking on a human nature. Jesus’s flesh and bone are proof that God has established a deep connection to our emotional experience and he wants us to know about it. In fact, he demonstrates his solidarity with us, in particular, through Jesus’s suffering. Jesus’s trials and temptations validate the bond he has with us as our Priest, the One who can truly represent us to God in our misery. Jesus really suffered as a flesh-and-blood human being. He really gets it, so when he tells us that he cares, we can know that he means it. And because he really gets it and experienced suffering without sin, God the Son can faithfully communicate that experience to his Father.

I hesitate to use the term solidarity. The Son enters into our experiences, but the Father and the Spirit do not. The incarnation demonstrates though the love that the Godhead has for us. I can say that fully as a theologian who holds to impassibility. God loves us. His love does not depend on an emotional action in Him that we generate. It depends endlessly on His timeless unchanging nature, which also means His love will never change. We can do NOTHING to make God love us more. We can do NOTHING to make God love us less. God actually CANNOT love us more than He does.

But impassibility matters for other reasons as well. Some important attributes of God are at stake. In particular, whatever similarity exists between God’s emotions and ours ought not undermine God’s unchanging character (immutability), which undergirds his faithfulness and ability to save us.

Looking at this, it’s important to note that at this time, it looks like these theologians are not denying impassibility, and they are right. Other doctrines are at stake. Immutability has been held by the church for ages. This would also entail simplicity, which I suspect is another can of worms the authors don’t want to deal with at this time, which is fine. It deserves an article in itself.

So in what sense does God have emotions? Traditionally theologians have made a distinction between passions and affections. Historically passions described the more physical aspect of emotions, which, as we explained earlier, means that to some extent our bodies are always shaping our emotions. We don’t want to say that about God, though, because God doesn’t have a body, and God doesn’t get cranky when his blood sugar drops. The church fathers used the term passions to describe what God doesn’t have in order to defend against heresies which taught that the Father suffered on the cross1 or that God compromised his divine nature2 in order to accomplish salvation. In this sense, we ought to deny that God has passions. He is impassible, meaning that the creation or his creatures cannot push him around emotionally.

For the most part, I agree with this. Note also they say that this was done to defend against heresies also that the Father suffered on the cross. We cannot say that because Jesus took on human nature, whatever Jesus has in His humanity, God has in His divinity, unless you want to say that the Father died on the cross or that He gets hungry and thirsty and needs to sleep or that the Father could poop a diaper.

DeYoung goes on to capture the core beauty of God’s impassibility by saying that God “is love to the maximum at every moment. He cannot change because he cannot possibly be any more loving, or any more just, or any more good. God cares for us, but it is not a care subject to spasms or fluctuations of intensity.”4 Thus, while it might appear at first that the doctrine of God’s impassibility will leave us with a cold, distant, and disconnected deity, instead the exact opposite is true: the glorious fact that God cannot and does not change means we can completely rely on his heart bursting with love, compassion, pity, tenderness, and anger at injustice; we can delight in his works, knowing he will always do them with these attributes without tiring. God’s impassibility is actually the grounding hope of our ability to know and trust his emotions.

The only part of this I would disagree with is of God having emotions. I would say we could say affections if we mean something analogous to what we have. As has been said before in our understanding of God, it would be strange if God were not strange.

In other words, God doesn’t have passions in that he is not jerked around by creation. God doesn’t have “good” days and “bad” days. The early fathers were not arguing that God is dispassionate but rather speaking in a philosophically credible way about how God is different from creatures. But these impassibility formulations should not compel us to say that God is in no way like us emotionally. We are passible and God is impassible. God is not like us in some important ways, and he is like us in important ways. God is energetically enthused and emotionally invested in creation by his own free and consistent choice, but God’s emotional life does not compromise his character or change his essence.

One major difference I want to say here is that God is not like us in any way. We are like Him. That is something highly important. As God says in Isaiah, “To whom will you compare me?” Answer. No one. (Isaiah 40:25) A father who says “Well, I have a son and I guess God is like that” has it backwards. He should say “God has a Son, and I am kind of like that.” Note that these authors do say that God’s essence is not changing.

Let’s return to the issue at stake for most readers: When you’re suffering, does God care? Of course God cares if you’re suffering. Not only does he care; he cares that you know he understands. Because Jesus is our High Priest, Jesus in his human nature understands suffering existentially and physically. Because of both Jesus’s purity and his human passion, God is uniquely qualified to empathize with you in Christ.

With this, I will say that yes, God cares about our suffering. As someone who holds to impassibility, I still have had no problem in the pain of my divorce going to God regularly knowing that God has love for me and wants the best for me as well. I sometimes say there is one thing God and I definitely both have in common. We hate divorce. I also fully agree that Jesus definitely knows what it is like. Jesus knows what it is like to be rejected by the one you love. He knows it especially in that His love crucified Him. (I suppose I can say I’m thankful my ex at least didn’t do that!)

However, in conclusion, I really don’t think the authors have made a case for God having emotions. They have made a case for God having love and care, but that has never been denied by anyone who holds to impassibility. Still, I think their case is much more reasoned out and better thought through than too many today. If you want to deny simplicity and impassibility, it is good to go back and ask why all branches of Christianity have historically held to this doctrine.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Can God Care Without Emotions?

If God doesn’t have emotions, can He care about you and me? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I was browsing Facebook and I saw someone make a post asking how God can care about us if He has no emotions? This idea has been known as impassibility where God has no emotions. It has been the teaching of Christians, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox, up until around the 1800’s.

If you want to respond and say “But look at this text where it says God was moved with compassion or was angry or XYZ!”, then I will tell you “Look at this text where it talks about the hand of God or the eyes of the Lord or any other number of bodily references? Most of us know that those bodily references are not to a real physical body, but they are describing God in ways we can understand. I do the same with the passages about emotions.

How about Jesus? Jesus had emotions in the text! Surely you’re not suggesting that those are just figures of speech are you?

Not at all! Jesus definitely has emotions and had them in his earthly journey and I contend He still has them today. However, if you want to say that means God has emotions, then you have the same problem again. Jesus still has a body and if you want to go this route, then you need to say that God has a body as well. If you want to say because of Jesus, God has emotions, but not a body, then you’re just picking and choosing.

Yet the question still remains. If we accept this, how can we say God cares about us or God loves us? It sounds like a difficult question until we do consider that we regularly do the same thing without emotions.

If you are married and think that the degree to which you love your spouse is dependent on your emotions, then you are going to be in for a hard time. There could be times you have a great degree of negative emotions towards them, such as in an argument, and when you do, you can still say that you love them. When you make a promise to love until death do you part, you do not make a promise to have an emotion. No one can make themselves have an emotion or else we would all make ourselves happy all the time. We can make ourselves act, even when a part of us doesn’t want to. Many of us do that when we get out of bed in the morning.

Too often, we start this also with ourselves. “When I have love, I can have emotion. Why not God?” It’s a mistake to look at us and say “God is like that.” God is not really like anything at all. As Scripture says “To whom can you compare me?” No one. It is really that we are like God. God is said to be the Father from whom all fatherhood comes. It’s not that a man can say “I am a father and I can see God is like that.” It’s really “God is a Father, and I am somewhat like Him.”

God loves us and God cares for us and that is not because He has an emotion, but because that is who He is. God is not loving, but rather God is love. God does not act and then develop an emotion, as if He was a changeable being in time. God consistently acts out of His nature.

We can say all day long “I don’t understand how that works,” but why should that matter? We can go to our churches and say that we believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. Is anyone going to stand up and say that you understand entirely how that works? If we think we understand God, then we have a really small God, hardly one worthy of worship.

Also, if one wants to question impassibility and simplicity and other doctrines, that is fine, but we have to ask why. If there is a consistent line that goes from the early church to modern times accepted by all three branches, what did we discover that they did not know? Before we take down a fence, we should see why it was put up in the first place.

God can have love towards us and have compassion towards us without emotion. Is that hard for me to understand? Of course, but what of God is easy to understand?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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