by Al Maxey
Issue #741 -------
January 30, 2018
"I begin to smell a rat."
Miguel de Cervantes [1547-1616]
Samuel Butler (1612-1680), the English poet and satirist, coined the phrase "drum ecclesiastic" as a description of the pulpit: a drum "beat with fist, instead of stick." I suppose we all at times have witnessed preachers "pounding pulpits" as they sought to emphasize some theological point they wanted the people in the pews to remember. Those called by God to speak His message to His people (as well as to the host of lost souls throughout the world) have a great privilege and grave responsibility. As ambassadors of His grace, we have truly been given a "bully pulpit" by virtue of our calling. The word "bully" in this phrase may confuse a lot of people, for today we tend to view this word as a negative: "a person who hurts, frightens, threatens, or tyrannizes over" others; "to force others into doing something by threatening loudly and browbeating." A "bully pulpit," however, is simply "a prominent public position that provides an opportunity for expounding one's views" [Merriam-Webster online dictionary]. Another source had this to say, "A 'bully pulpit' is a conspicuous position that provides an opportunity to speak out and be listened to. This term was coined by United States President Theodore Roosevelt, who referred to his office as a 'bully pulpit,' by which he meant a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda. Roosevelt used the word 'bully' as an adjective meaning 'superb' or 'wonderful,' a more common usage at that time" [Wikipedia].
On the other hand, we can all, I'm sure, think of pastors and teachers who have indeed "bullied" and harassed others from the pulpit, and who used this position to promote their own religious agenda, rather than being faithful to their calling to promote His cause and proclaim His message. The apostle Paul spoke of such religious rodents a number of times, and was not afraid to confront and even condemn such men who were making a mockery of this divine opportunity to speak on behalf of the Lord. "Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, ... the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives" (Philippians 1:15-17). Paul warned Timothy of those "wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions" (1 Timothy 1:7). Yes, they may "hold to a form of religion," but they clearly, by their actions and teachings, show that they are "always learning but are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:5, 7). They are teachers more than willing to "tickle the ears" of their hearers, feeding them whatever pabulum they desire and/or demand, and all for personal gain (2 Timothy 4:3). Like Paul, we today face a plague of religious rodents in robes. There is a rat infestation in the house of God, and it is time for the faithful to do some fumigating!
The church of our Lord has always been plagued with party pulpiteers parading as pastors, and the Good Shepherd's flock has suffered greatly at their hands. "Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: ... Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I shall demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep" (Ezekiel 34:7, 10). Our call, our commission, to be pastors and teachers is a tremendous responsibility, for we have been given a "bully pulpit" from which to touch the hearts of those around us and provide divine guidance for this journey through life. Whether we literally stand behind what is often called a "pulpit," or if our "bully pulpit" takes other forms (as it will), we who are called must never take lightly this charge: "Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2). James, the brother of Jesus, issued this caution, to which many today would do well to give heed, "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a greater condemnation" (James 3:1). Being the "mouthpiece of God" is serious business, and those called must take it seriously. Sadly, many do not, and they use these opportunities to their own glory, and to press their own agendas, and to proclaim their own messages, rather than His.
Therefore, down through the ages, God has called forth certain of His servants to address these pastoral failings; to stand against the partyism and sectarianism "in the pulpit" that has too frequently beset the One Body. These reformers are seldom well-received, and they often pay a rather high price at the hands of the rigidly religious for their faithfulness to their calling to redirect the flock to better pastures where they may find more wholesome spiritual fare. There is only one Shepherd, and only one Flock, but in that universal Flock one will find many sheep folds. The danger is when any one fold perceives and proclaims itself to be that one Flock to the exclusion of all other folds. This is a spiritual blindness and arrogance that is hard to stomach, yet we've all seen it and experienced it. It is also an arrogance that quickly finds its way into the pulpit where party pulpiteers promote the view that their group, and their group alone, IS in its entirety "THE One True Church." When preachers and teachers in their denomination or sect begin to move away from such religious rigidity and sectarian teaching, refusing to preach the party particulars, they are quickly "named and defamed." This has occurred in every denomination and in every faction thereof (including my own faith-heritage: that wing of the Stone-Campbell Movement denominated "Churches of Christ"). It is heartbreaking to watch this take place right before your eyes, but, again, we have all seen it and experienced it. I have chosen to do more than curse the darkness, however; I am determined to light a lamp in the face of this darkness, which has not made me overly popular in certain circles.
For example, I am on the mailing lists of a good many ultra-conservative publications that take the view: unless you believe exactly as they do, and preach exactly what they do, and practice exactly what they do, you are headed straight for hell. Publications such as "Contending for the Faith," "Truth Magazine," "The Spiritual Sword," and a number of others, each of which is the work of a certain faction within Churches of Christ, are quite vicious in their evisceration of disciples of Christ who do not bow to their particular party perceptions, preferences and practices. I have been "written up" in several of them repeatedly, as have some of you who are reading this. In the January, 2018 edition of The Spiritual Sword there were a good many articles by leaders within this faction on the theme: "Being Distinctive in the Pulpit." Frankly, I think that is an excellent topic for further discussion, not only in my own faith-heritage, but within the whole of the Body of Christ Jesus. God has given many of us the opportunity to speak for Him to His people. What is our message? What is our purpose for stepping into the pulpit? What results do we hope to achieve? Have we carefully and prayerfully examined our motives and attitudes as we accept this calling and assume this responsibility as representatives of our Redeemer? And then, as the theme of this publication suggests, in what way(s) can we establish "a distinctive pulpit"? What would that look/sound like? Distinct from what?!
I applaud this publication for daring to suggest this line of thought, for it will indeed generate some very pointed questions that require some very reasoned responses rather than regurgitation of party or sectarian parameters and patternistic particulars. Is the ultimate purpose of the pulpit (or any opportunity to speak for Him, regardless of where or when) to put down those who differ with us, or to lift up The One who gave Himself that we might all be part of His forever Family? Is its purpose to preach law and works, or to proclaim love, grace, mercy and freedom in Christ? Is its purpose to evangelize the lost or encourage the saved? Any person who dares to stand before the Flock and speak for the Shepherd had better already have answered these questions in his own heart and mind. Why should anyone in a pew listen to the one in the pulpit if the latter has no clear perception as to his/her purpose for being there?! Any rodent in a pantry knows clearly why it is there and what it hopes to accomplish by being there. If only the same could be said of more preachers in a pulpit! This is very serious, for if our pulpits don't become distinct, they will most certainly become extinct!
It is true that some don't believe the church should have either pulpits or preachers, so they will likely regard this whole matter as moot. I believe, however, that there is a place for both, although I will just as freely admit that there has been tremendous abuse and misuse of both over the centuries. In one of my very first Reflections articles (dated January 26, 2003), I discussed this very matter, and I would urge the reader to examine it ("Pulpit Preachers" - Reflections #11). Regardless of how one feels about "pulpit preachers" and "pulpits," the reality is that they are there. Scripture neither prescribes nor proscribes them. It is just one of many ways of actively serving God by proclaiming His Word. It can be used for good; it can be used for evil. Again, I applaud The Spiritual Sword for raising the topic, and the individual writers of that issue for their willingness to examine this topic from various perspectives. I thought some of what they wrote was right on point, and some of what they wrote was way off. Hugh Fulford, who is a preacher in Tennessee, and who is also one of the writers for this publication, went through the articles of this month's issue and shared in the January 23 issue of his newsletter "Hugh's News & Views" about a dozen quotes that he felt were quite insightful, and which undoubtedly emphasized the points he felt needed to be made with respect to making "a distinctive pulpit." I won't copy his entire newsletter here, but would encourage you to write to him, if you are interested in seeing the full text of his twelve quotes, and request a copy. His email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also subscribe to The Spiritual Sword, if that should interest you, by writing the Getwell Church of Christ, 1511 Getwell Road, Memphis, TN 38111 (Phone: 901-743-0464). My critics never provide their readers with such detailed information about how to subscribe to my writings or how to contact me, but I have always made it my policy, when reviewing another's work, to let people know how to go to the source and read the information I'm reviewing for themselves so they can make a more informed determination as to the validity of what I'm saying. I invite my critics to do the same (but will certainly not be holding my breath waiting for that to happen).
Distinctive Pulpit - Spiritual
As I read through the quotes selected by Hugh Fulford from the various contributors to the January, 2018 issue of The Spiritual Sword, I found a number of statements that I felt were very insightful and to the point about attaining and maintaining a spiritual distinctiveness "in the pulpit." In his own article, Hugh wrote: "If we are going to have in the present age the church as set forth in the New Testament, then we must preach the same things that produced that church and those things that are necessary to keep the church true to the will of God." I couldn't agree more! We know that Paul went about "preaching Jesus and the resurrection" (Acts 17:18). Philip, as he went to Samaria, was "proclaiming Christ to them" (Acts 8:5), and as he came to the eunuch from Ethiopia, who was reading from the prophecy of Isaiah, he "opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him" (Acts 8:35). The early disciples, even when ordered by the Sanhedrin to cease and desist, "every day, in the temple and from house to house, kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Messiah" (Acts 5:42). Saul of Tarsus, after his conversion, "immediately began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, 'He is the Son of God'" (Acts 9:20). When the Philippian jailer said to Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?", they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved" (Acts 16:30-31). In Thessalonica, Paul spent three Sabbaths "reasoning with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ'" (Acts 17:2-3). In Corinth, after the arrival of Silas and Timothy, "Paul began devoting himself completely to the Word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ" (Acts 18:5). Apollos "was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus" (Acts 18:25), "demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ" (vs. 28). Paul wrote, "Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (1 Corinthians 1:17), and so "we preach Christ crucified" (vs. 23), for "I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. When we preach Jesus, and what God accomplished for sinful man through His Son, we thereby proclaim the Gospel. The "Good News" has nothing to do with rules and regulations regarding religious rituals, it has nothing to do with how we sing, or whether a church building has a kitchen or not, or who gets to pass a Communion tray. The "Good News" is what God has done for us through Christ. By His grace a gift of redemption and salvation is freely offered; by faith we accept this gift, and with an attitude of gratitude we devote ourselves to serving Him and others in love the remainder of our lives. Now, that will preach, brethren!! So, yes, Hugh, let's preach the same things that produced that original One Body of believers: the gospel of God's redemptive plan put into effect by Jesus, a plan embraced fully by faith. Such preaching and teaching would most definitely make for a spiritually distinctive pulpit, as opposed to the secular and sectarian silliness too often heard from these platforms.
Alan Highers, in his editorial, touched on this: "There was a time when preachers of the gospel enunciated the fundamentals. They preached what men must do to be saved." I'm glad Alan identified what he meant by "fundamentals," since far too many preachers have elevated the cherished traditions associated with a Sunday "worship service" to the status of fundamentals impacting salvation. The fundamentals of the Good News are simply stated as: belief in God and His Son, belief that the Lord Jesus lived, died, arose, ascended and is coming again to claim His bride; that this is a gift of God's grace, and that it is accepted by faith, and not by any act or work we might do; and that we show our deep gratitude for this gift through our daily acts of love for Him and our fellow man. When we preach this we maintain the spiritual distinctiveness of "the pulpit." Even here, though, we must exercise caution lest we fail to move beyond the foundational fundamentals of the Good News. If one preaches week after week from the pulpit on "how to be saved" to a local group of believers who have been saved for decades, this would be like living on the foundation of a house without ever bothering to complete the building. Yes, it is important to lay a good foundation, but the real challenge is building upon that foundation. "Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation" (Hebrews 6:1), even though some important teachings are to be found in this foundation (i.e., repentance, faith, washings, the resurrection, etc. - vs. 1-2). I had a man inform me years ago, when I first began preaching, that every sermon I preach from the pulpit must contain a review of the "plan of salvation" and an invitation to come forward and "obey the gospel" (i.e., be baptized, according to him). When addressing a group of believers, however, who have already "obeyed the gospel," would it not be more appropriate to proclaim how to "walk in a manner worthy of our calling" (Ephesians 4:1f)? Perhaps "the pulpit" could be used to encourage and educate and equip these believers "for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12-13). "The growth of the body for the building up of itself in love" should also be part of the distinctive preaching from "the pulpit." Dan Jenkins touched on this, writing, "What happens to Christians and the Lord's church when we fail to grow in knowledge? Obviously, the world drifts further and further away from God, and the church stops growing." If we are to grow numerically, we must first grow spiritually: "So the churches were being strengthened in faith, and were increasing in number daily" (Acts 16:5). A distinctive pulpit doesn't put the cart before the horse! Spiritually distinctive preaching is not only about planting, but also about watering (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).
Distinctive Pulpit - Sectarian
Sadly, far too much of what comes from our pulpits is sectarian rather than spiritual. Getting a person into the "right" church building (OUR church building, of course) is given far more time and energy than getting a person into Christ. We preach more faction than Family, more sect than Savior, more tradition than Truth. About the only time some pulpits get pounded is when the pulpiteer is pounding the denominations. Alan Highers, in his editorial, wrote: "For many years I rarely heard of any young person who left the church and went into denominationalism. Some became unfaithful and went back into the world, but with the teaching they had received, most could never be comfortable in joining any denomination." Notice the sectarian distinctiveness of his statement: WE are "the church." If someone leaves US, they have left "the church." If someone goes to any other group, they are leaving "the church" for a "denomination." WE, and WE ALONE, are THE one, true church, and this was "the teaching they had received" week after week after week from the pulpit. Higher goes even lower, however: "What about our young people today? Do they understand the plea of churches of Christ? Could they discuss it or speak to others about it? Do they know the difference in the church and denominationalism? What could they say to any other person about why they are members of the church of Christ?" Brethren, this is pathetic, for it is nothing other than rigid sectarianism. If this is what is coming out of "our" pulpits these days, then is it any wonder "we" are losing entire generations to those folds within the Flock who focus more on the Good Shepherd than sectarian shibboleths. Any fold within the Flock that preaches itself more than its Savior deserves to have its lampstand removed.
I would personally far rather that our young people (and any person, for that matter) understand the plea of Christ than the "plea of churches of Christ." I would rather they know their Savior than their sect. Truly distinctive pulpits will be motivating and educating people to tell others how to get to heaven, rather than how to get to our building. When we truly come to grasp the fact that wherever the Father has a child, we have a brother or sister; when we finally become aware that there are spiritual siblings in many different groups with varying traditions; when we finally realize that the One Flock of the One Shepherd is NOT fully contained in any one little fold, then we will begin to grasp His grace and the broader parameters of His Family. Yes, we can even talk with one another, work with one another, fellowship with one another ... hey, we could even have a "pulpit swap" with other groups of believers whose traditions may vary from our own. Now that is "distinctive." I've done this a number of times over the years, and I most definitely look forward to doing it again, for it was very spiritually uplifting to all involved ("Preachers Swapping Pulpits: Reflective Review of a Pastoral Practice" - Reflections #696).
David Powell, in his article in this edition of The Spiritual Sword, wrote: "Sermons that convert are not afraid to examine and explain the Scriptural necessity of baptism, worship without mechanical instruments of music, the role of women in worship, marriage, divorce and remarriage, the Day of Judgment, or hell." I don't believe any of us should be "afraid to examine and explain" anything that is contained in the inspired writings of both OT and NT documents. I'm not sure sermons delivered from a pulpit are necessarily the best methodology for "converting" someone (although it does happen on occasion if a previously prepared heart hears a well-prepared sermon, and all the planets and stars align just right), but that's a topic for another discussion. I find interesting, not to mention disturbing, some of the items that Powell regards as "Scriptural necessity." Yes, baptism is "necessary," but I would counter: necessary unto what?! As for "worship without mechanical instruments of music"? Perhaps Powell would like to show us those specific passages in the Bible where this is specifically stated!! Don't hold your breath, by the way: no such passage exists. There is not even a single hint anywhere in the Scriptures that God is in any way displeased with this practice. Indeed, just the opposite. I have even challenged the legalistic patternists to please provide even one verse where God condemns this practice or even hints that He is displeased with it. Not one single person has yet provided that one single verse! They have condemned me for asking this question, but they have yet to provide the biblical proof for their insistence that it is a "Scriptural necessity" that when God's children come together they must sing "without mechanical instruments of music." Indeed, they insist that this must be part of that "distinctive" preaching from pulpits. Perhaps Hugh Fulford can ask David Powell to respond to this request. Since he declares it is a "Scriptural necessity" to preach this, then surely he has a biblical passage in mind. All I ask is that he share it with us (after all, you would think he would be eager to).
Along similar lines, Allen Webster, in his article, writes: "When doctrinal sermons on fundamental issues are considered old-fashioned, the next generation of the church will accept denominational baptism, put women in leadership roles, use instruments in the early service, and plan a yard sale with the denomination down the street." When you characterize these as "doctrinal" matters on "fundamental issues," you are strongly suggesting that God's Word has clearly and unequivocally spoken specifically to them, and that some divine decree has been issued with which there can be no argument. I simply ask once again: show us that divine decree. Should be a simple thing to do, right? Perhaps Hugh Fulford himself, in his article in the current issue of The Spiritual Sword, has addressed this matter already: "Oblivious to what God has set forth in His Word, people have devised their own religious beliefs and practices, as well as their moral standards, from a 'smorgasbord' of religious notions, all while being in total ignorance of what the Bible teaches." Hugh, I think you have a point. "Distinctive pulpits" spewing forth "fundamental doctrines" and "Scriptural necessities" regarding things about which there is nothing said in the Scriptures is indeed an indication that such pulpiteers are "in total ignorance of what the Bible teaches." The problem, as most are able to easily perceive, is that such preaching has confused and even conflated human tradition with divine Truth! "Thus, you invalidate the Word of God for the sake of your tradition ... In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men" (Matthew 15:6, 9). Be advised: Jesus condemned those pontificating from such "distinctive pulpits" almost 2000 years ago, and my guess is He's just as disgusted by such today.
Perhaps the best comment comes from David Pharr: "Thoughtful persons recognize that what is called Christianity today is a morass of conflicting and confusing doctrines, rituals, and sectarian churches and cults. Caring people are frustrated over divisions in families and among friends. People of goodwill who want to be followers of Jesus know it would be better for all to be on common ground spiritually." AMEN, David. Of course, what David didn't say, but which we all know he intended, is that the "common ground spiritually" may only be found when those in the wretched denominations come to their senses and get themselves to a "Church of Christ" building wherein may be found members of the one and only "true church" on planet Earth! When all of them (the wretched denominationalists) finally agree with us (the favored infallible few of the Father), then the days of frustration and division will be over, and there will at long last be peace on earth and goodwill among men. Good grief!! May God spare us from any further such "distinctive pulpits." We have more than had our fill of this sectarian swill.
From a Minister in California:
Thanks, Al, for this excellent article on "The Case of the Added Article: 'Thou'-Distancing 'The' of 2 Thess. 1:12" (Reflections #740). 5 STARS for this article!! It makes a big dent in the proposition of the Jehovah's Witness group (who deny the deity of Jesus Christ). Your study also reminded me of learning of Granville Sharp's Rule when I was studying Greek.
From a Minister in Georgia:
Thanks for your article on the "Added Article." While you know I disagree with some of your writings, you do present some good material with which I agree from time to time (LOL). I have attached a treatise that I wrote some time ago pointing out the deceptions of the Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as others, who deny the deity of Christ.
With regard to this religious group, I too have done several studies on their beliefs, as well as a study on the version of the Bible they have produced. Following are a couple of examples:  "The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures: Analysis of the JW's Tendentious Translation" (Reflections #145) and  "'The Only True God' - John 17:3 - Examining the JW's Favorite Proof-Text in Denial of the Deity of Christ Jesus" (Reflections #97). -- Al Maxey
From a Reader in Oklahoma:
Al, that was a great article ("The Case of the Added Article"), and yet WE (Churches of Christ) insist that we never add to or subtract from the Word of God. Yet, so few of us can read or accurately translate the original languages of the Scriptures, and so we never think about how much has been added/deleted or mistranslated. In our arrogance, we have decided English is the only language to convey God's will, and the King James Version in particular! No wonder we are so screwed up! Also, your article "Cross Out and Cross Over in Christ: Is There a Coming 'Judgment Day' for Christ's Redeemed or a Present Day Transition Reality?" (Reflections #739) is a great comfort to me, and it has answered a lot of questions! Unfortunately, our "preacher" just had a lesson proclaiming that unless we live "perfect moral lives" then we SIN, and we will face each of those sins on Judgment Day unless we repent of them. Since we all sin, and since we have no idea of the date/time of our deaths, this preacher said, we are left with only a "hope" of salvation, not any real "assurance." This is pure nonsense, for certain, but sadly there are a lot of good brothers and sisters who do not know any better. I am convinced that Jesus has handled my feeble efforts and made up for my failures with His blood. Do I believe I should live a good moral life to the best of my ability? For certain. But my best is far from perfect. May 2018 be the greatest year yet for you and your ministry!
From a Reader in Florida:
Al, it is so good to be receiving your thought-worthy lessons in Reflections. Such scholarship reveals truths that make what we have come to believe real or false. You have helped me over the years to tweak, adjust, or even give up unsubstantiated beliefs, and to embrace the rich meaning of God's Word. We grieve the death of our brother Edward Fudge, but rejoice in his victory and his loving legacy. As for your latest study ("The Case of the Added Article"), I was wondering if the same rule applies to Romans 7:9 - "And I was alive apart from (the) law." The definite article "the" not being in the Greek text suggests to me that I am not under any law system that nullifies grace.
This reader is correct in his analysis. There is no definite article before the word "law" in Romans 7:9. This, then, informs us that Paul has in mind ANY legalistic system by which men seek to approach and appease deity. I have sought to develop this biblical thesis more fully in a couple of the Sunday morning adult classes I've taught. These classes have been recorded (MP3) and are available on CDs. The two that would probably be most helpful here are: (1) "Law to Liberty: Reflecting on our Journey away from Legalism and into Freedom in Christ" [Order Here] and (2) "An In-Depth Study of the Epistle to the Galatians: Magna Charta of Christian Liberty" [Order Here]. -- Al Maxey
From a Minister in New Zealand:
It is really humid here in New Zealand at the moment. We are just past our longest day (December 21), and the days are now slowly getting shorter. Regarding your article on "The Case of the Added Article," it is surprising that some cannot acknowledge the deity of Jesus, because such denial has serious implications. The whole point of John's prologue (John 1:1-18) was to show that God and flesh came into contact with each other, and the denial of such is to submit to some form of modern day Gnosticism. Furthermore, it infers an inferior sacrifice on the cross, and the consequential bereft condition in which we are left without the sacrifice of a perfect Savior. It seems sometimes that we reason, "Because we can't fully understand something, then that something must be wrong." Yet, as someone has well said, "It may be here that eyesight ends and faith begins." God bless you, Al.
From a Reader in Unknown:
Al, I'm very thankful to God for the insight He has given you to liberate many God-loving people within the Churches of Christ. I hope to find time to write you and share with you how I came across your Reflections. As for the recent Reflections article you published ("The Case of the Added Article"), I have found three additional translations that aimed to convey what Paul intended in 2 Thess. 1:12, indicating Jesus is both "God and Lord." They are: (1) The Orthodox Jewish Bible - "...according to the unmerited Chen v'Chesed of Eloheinu and Moshiach Yehoshua Adoneinu." (2) The Emphasized Bible, published in 1902 by Joseph Bryant Rotherham, a scholar and minister with the Churches of Christ - "...according to the favour of our God and Lord Jesus Christ." (3) The John Etheridge Translation of the Peshitta - "...according to the grace of Aloha and our Lord Jeshu Meshiha."
From a Reader in Georgia:
Just read "The Case of the Added Article." As always, very enlightening. I wonder how Huxley and Orwell would feel about the move from "translations" to "commentaries" such as The Message? In order to make the Scriptures more relevant, it seems that accuracy has been sacrificed. Now, I'm not a "salvation by rule following" kind of guy, but as you suggested, we fail to get the "truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" when we fail to read it as it was written. Blessings to you and your family, my friend.
From a Minister in Tennessee:
I've just read "Cross Out and Cross Over in Christ" and "The Case of the Added Article." I believe my brother-in-law also receives your Reflections. He and I were discussing the Bible recently, and I enjoyed an observation he made concerning the belief too many members have concerning salvation. He said, "We are once saved, never saved! -- that is, until we find out in the judgment." Thank you, Al, for your studies! I am not a Greek scholar, nor even a dabbler, but I do understand the importance of your study and appreciate your scholarship.
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