Saturday, January 31, 2009

Debating Misquoting Jesus

The following article was found at this link: American Vision

On Wednesday January 21, I had the privilege of attending the debate between Dr. James White and Dr. Bart D. Ehrman in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The weather hardly seemed Floridian at fifty degrees with a breezy chill, so it was a good night to be inside anyway. The resolution on the floor: “Does the New Testament Misquote Jesus?” With two men with over fifty years of scholarship and about fifty books between them, the evening promised some mental stimulation at least, and did not disappoint.

Before I get to the meat, let me express a little disappointment that this debate devolved, as most debates do, into many issues besides the actual topic. The rabbit trails may run closely to the original, and may have crossed the correct path a few times, but the three-hour debate essentially involved two and a half hours of related ideas and arguments and only about a half-hour actually on the main point. It was educational, lively, inspiring and challenging, and even entertaining, but in the end (despite some comments to the contrary) neither party established their own view well enough, and both parties had an effective counter to the fullest claims of the other.

This may come as a surprise to the many who have read Dr. White’s assessment of his performance. Far be it from me to disagree with his established authority on these matters, but I find the implications that he essentially steamrolled Ehrman to sound a little inflated. He writes of Dr. Ehrman:

He did not prepare for the debate, had no idea who I am, and did not read anything I’ve ever written, hence, he was in a tough spot, given that I had studied his works so thoroughly. As a result, he made horrific blunders in misrepresenting me in his rebuttal.[1]

I don’t know for sure that Dr. Ehrman (whom I have no necessary interest in defending) did not read White’s works in preparing, but I also don’t know how it would have made a difference if Ehrman did. I’m not sure what unique contribution Dr. White’s works have added to manuscript scholarship that Ehrman would not have already crossed in over twenty years in New Testament textual studies, journals, etc., after having studied under the most well-known name in the field in Bruce M. Metzger at Princeton, crossed both conservatives and liberals of all degress, and having earned international recognition in the field himself. In the midst of the debate, Ehrman showed that he was well familiar with the arguments White put forth as they simply represent the standard Evangelical defense within academia for some years now. And besides, the subject for debate was not “What Has James White Written on the Subject?,” or “Who Is James White?,” it was “Does the New Testament Misquote Jesus?” The issue of White’s publications on the subject is substantially a red herring.

Despite both men possessing scholarly credentials and reputations, during the course of their debate over the integrity of Biblical manuscripts, each resorted at times to Ad Hominem appeals. For example, James White argued that God has preserved His word in the multiplicity of fragmented manuscripts (5000+ to date), even though many of those manuscripts contain differences. Though within the many pieces, the “tenacity” of the word remains. “It’s like having a 1,010 pieces for a 1,000pc jigsaw puzzle. It’s all there, we just have more than we need,” he illustrated. Amidst his rebuttals of this claim, Dr. Ehrman complained that only Evangelical Christian scholars continue to make this “tenacity” argument (against the vast weight of international scholarly opinion), and Evangelicals do so because they must defend their underlying doctrine of inspiration.

You can see how Dr. Ehrman’s rebuttal at this point commits the classic Circumstantial Ad Hominem: he dismisses Dr. White’s “tenacity” argument essentially by saying, “You only believe that because you have a vested interest in doing so: your religious tenets require you to do so at the expense of facts.” But this dismissal only attacks Dr. White’s alleged motivation and says nothing about the issue itself. Even if Dr. Ehrman’s claim were true, it would not disprove, or even weaken, the “tenacity of the text” argument.

At several points, however, Dr. White treats Dr. Ehrman in a similar manner. It is worth noting how even devout believers do not escape the human frailty for fallacious arguments, and here we have a case in point. Dr. Ehrman primarily argued that since the manuscripts of the Bible exist in multiple fragments which contain many discrepancies (a fact agreed upon by all sides), therefore they in fact do not preserve God’s word. Throughout the debate, Dr. White left the main issue in order to point out that Dr. Ehrmanelsewhere in his writings and interviews denies the orthodox doctrine of inspiration. White himself after the debate explicitly made an issue of this: “In any case, [Ehrman’s] radical skepticism was clearly documented, and those in attendance found it very useful.”[2] White appears to think this is relevant to the main point, but logically it is not.

The “radical skepticism” charge implies that we should dismiss Dr. Ehrman’s argument as biased liberal propaganda. (White alludes to this again explicitly after the debate, pronouncing that Ehrman’s behavior during the debate “betrays his deep bias and prejudice.”) But this again completely avoids the main issue. Even though Dr. Ehrman’s argument does not prove the extent of what he claims (for other reasons), Dr.White’s emphasis on Ehrman’s personal denial of inspiration does not address the points of the actual argument. Even if Dr. Ehrman loved to draw Satanic symbols on his notebooks and burn Bibles for fun, these facts would have no necessary logical connection to his argument about the texts. At best they could possibly motivate his argument, but, as in the case of White’s motivations, they could not serve as a logical refutation.

I also find White’s mentioning that, “I think those in attendance were a little surprised at Dr. Ehrman’s treatment of me, but I wasn’t overly surprised,” to sound a little like an plea for pity. Ehrman treated White no more harshly than vice versa. Anyone who emerges from a debate with the vigorous and sometimes jabbing rhetoric that White gives should expect a little in return. Another reviewer on the web notes that “Ehrman’s aggressiveness was appropriate.”[3] I agree. It’s the nature of academic debate, as White knows way better than I do.

Ultimately, each man said enough to refute the other’s most positive claims, and yet not enough to substantiate his own. White’s claim that the multiplicity of fragments contains the whole of the Word will not hold as a historical or logical proof. It does, however, present a problem for Ehrman who claimed positively that since the manuscripts contain errors, therefore they do notfaithfully transmit the message of the originals. This strong of a claim will not hold either. Since we simply do not have the originals to compare with the much later copies that we do have, we simply cannot say one way or the other based on current physical evidencethat the modern Bible does or does not faithfully transmit the originals. We as Evangelicals believe that it does, but the evidence itself cannot prove or disprove this.
White’s “tenacity” argument—the standard Evangelical argument—successfully defends againstEhrman’s view by allowing for the possibility that the originals are retained, but it does not and cannot prove it. Yet Ehrman can rightfully argue from the same evidence and the same lack of originals that based on manuscript evidence we cannot positively say that the originals were faithfully preserved. We simply don’t know unless we have the originals to compare.

In the end, despite all of the helpful information and engaging points, the debate proved little beside the limitations of evidentialist apologetics. If manuscript evidence forms the basis of our trust in the veracity of Scripture, then we cannot conclude veracity one way or the other. Without the prior existence of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, revelation in any form cannot exist. Our trust that the Bible faithfully preserves the word of God requires such a priori Truths. This is why, in nearly all of the Reformed Confessions and in much of subsequent creedal traditions, the inspiration of Scripture is an article of faith as much as the existence of the Trinity and the deity of Christ. The current evidence itself is consistent with this belief, but cannot stand as the basis, foundation, justification or proof of it.

White’s own 1689 Reformed Baptist confession states as much (virtually identical to the Westminster Confession of Faith on this point):

4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic;…[4]

We can consider New Testament textual evidence to be among those “many other incomparable excellencies,” but yet must admit that the persuasion of its veracity comes not from that evidence, but from the Holy Spirit. Ehrman, despite whatever errors he may commit, knows at least this much, and Evangelicals should acknowledge it.
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lecrae ft Cam - Desperate

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Piper - Be Couragous, President Barack Obama

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stacey Campbell

It seems that some people are not happy with me pointing out the errors of Stacey Campbell. I wish they were more unhappy with what Stacey Campbell is doing than with my words. I challenge the readers to examine the actions of Stacey Campbell and my words and see which one we should be upset about!

Wow, from those videos I can see why people would be more upset with my words than that! Yes, that was sarcastic. It is a sad day when the above foolishness is defended and people are more upset when people point out that it is foolishness then they are by the actual foolishness!
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A few weeks ago I posted the article, "IS NEW HOPE CHURCH DECEIVED?"

In the article, I shared some information about a conference that New Hope Church in Abilene, TX recently held. Today someone posted a comment about my article and I would like to take some time to respond to the comment. My words will be directed to the person who posted it.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read the blog and share your thoughts. I want truth more than anything else. In the pursuit of truth, I welcome challenges that will make me re-examine what I currently beleive. I thank you for challenging me and what I have written.

I hope you will consider my response carefully and truly think about what I am saying.

You began your comments by quoting:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Mt 7:1

From this quote, it seems that you are clearly saying we as Christians are not to judge.

Take a few minutes and think about your claim:

If you are claiming that I am judging others, are you not making a judgment about me?

Doesn't your comment require that you have made a judgment and that judgment is that I am judging, and so you are telling me to not judge on the basis of you judging me?

In fact I will suggest that your comments are filled with judgments:

Let's look:

"You make some bold links here. First off linking Todd Bentley too Stacey Campel. While the two might have been leaders at the same place, Stacey is not held accountable for Todd's mistake. This is true for you as well. You are not held accountable for the mistakes others make. Then linking Tod Bentley and his mistakes to New Hope Church through Stacey; seems like a stretch to me"

Where did I say that Stacy Campbell is responsible for Todd's mistakes? Is that not a judgment you are making about what I have written?

Here are my actual words:

Remember New Hope just held a confrence called, Ignite 09. One of the speakers was Stacy Campbell. Guess what? She was at the Lakeland Revival! She was one of the leaders there to comission Todd Bentley as an apostle! In fact I have the video!

That is all I said, where did I blame her? Where did I hold her responsible?

It is a fact that Stacy went to Lakeland to "comission" Todd as an "apostle"

Therefore she was in support of the Lakeland chaos!

That is a fact.

You went on to write, "All I see in this blog is one Christian attacking another Christian." Is that not a judgment on your part?

I hope my point is clear. Your comments also contain judgments, so are you violating the very scripture you quoted?

Now let's back up and look at the text more carefully:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considereth not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? THOU HYPOCRITE, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5)

Read this again carefully. Notice that it is addressed to a hypocrite--not to those who sincerely want to discern whether a teacher or teaching is true or false to God's Word. And instead of being a prohibition against honest judgment, it is a solemn warning against hypocritical judgment. In fact, the last statement of this Scripture commands sincere judgment--"Then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

IF WE TAKE A VERSE OR A PART OF A VERSE OUT OF ITS SETTING, WE CAN MAKE THE WORD OF GOD APPEAR TO TEACH THE VERY OPPOSITE OF WHAT IT REALLY DOES TEACH. And those who do this cannot escape the judgment of God for twisting His Word (2 Peter 3:16). Let this be a warning to us never again to take a text or Scripture out of its context.

Many who piously quote, "Judge not," out of its connection, in order to defend that which is false to God's Word, do not see their own inconsistency in thus judging those who would obey God's Word about judging that which is untrue to the Bible. It is tragic that so much that is anti- Scriptural has found undeserved shelter behind a misuse of the Scripture just quoted.

You should take some time and read the entire chapter of Matthew 7. Notice these words just a few verses after the one you quoted:

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

That is filled with language of judgment. In fact, how can I obey the command to beware of false prophets, if I am not to judge?

In fact, look at what Paul wrote:

1 Timothy 1:20 -
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

He named names!

Look at what Jesus told the Church of Pergamos in Revelation chapter 2:

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

The church was not taking a stand against false doctrine. How can you do that unless you judge a doctrine to be false?

We are not to make hypocritical judgments and we are to ensure our judgments are biblical.

So let's review:

You have told me not to judge but in doing so you have made judgments yourself.

It is clear from God's word we are to make biblical judgements especially in regards to false teachers!

Let's move on.

You wrote:

"What happened to correcting one another out of love?"

That is a great question. What makes you think that I did not write my post out of love?

Is it not love to warn people of false teachers and heritical movements?

Is it not love to rebuke and to warn?

Is this not love?
Matthew 3:7
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 23
13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14 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. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. 16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to rebuke others and to warn.

I am very busy, and I would much rather post other things. However, to love others is to warn them of false teaching.

The greatest act of hatred is to allow someone to be deceived and to say nothing. If you love people, are you warning them of what is going on in many circles of the charismatic world? Do you speak out when false prophecies are made? Do you speak out when things that are occuring are clearly not biblical?

At the end of your comments you wrote this,
"spent sometime on wikapedia, and now you think you understand and can post this blog to be the TRUTH when all it is, is YOUR opinion."

Wow, that seems to clearly be a judgment. What did I say that is not true?

You have told me not to judge yet in doing so you have judged.

The scriptures are clear that we are to avoid false teachers and speak out against it. This can only be done by making scriptural judgments.

You seem to think that if one offers up scriptural criticism and rebuke, that is not a sign of love. However, I pointed out a number of scriptures that show the opposite.

You seem to have indicated that I have offered opinion and not truth, once again making a judgement about my words. I submit that I have offered a strong biblical challenge to some of the craziness happening in the Charismatic world.

Thanks again for challenging me. I'm sorry you took offense to my post, but I am not sorry for warning people about a movement that is filled with chaos and false teaching.
I challenge all readers to not just take my word for it. Do a search for Stacy Campbell. Find her videos and watch them carefully. Check her words against the scriptures, and let the Bible lead you to truth.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Spiritual Gifts Pt 7

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

This morning at Victory Baptist Church we had Pastor Jon Cardwell in attendance. He is traveling to Alabama to become the Pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.

The Sovereign Grace Baptist website has the following announcement:

The pulpit committee, having met on Saturday, December 20th, made their recommendation to Sovereign Grace Baptist Church with regard to calling Jon Cardwell as the congregation’s next pastor. The congregation voted on Sunday, December 21st, and the call was extended that afternoon. Brother Jon has humbly accepted the Lord’s call through the believers of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church and will be working with the leadership to transition from California to Alabama.

Brother Cardwell has recently served as a missionary-pastor to congregations in remote villages of Alaska since 2002 and had to leave as symptoms of an illness yet to be diagnosed forced him and his family to leave the harsh enviornment of “bush” Alaska. Since his honorable discharge from the US Navy in 1993, he has also served the Lord in missions to Asia and as a pastor to a local congregation in Riverside, California.

Sermons and messages from Brother Jon’s previous ministries can be found on by CLICKING HERE.

Here is the link to the Sovereign Grace Baptist Church website: Church

Here is the link to the sermonaudio page: sermons

Take some time to visit the pages. Remember to pray for Pastor Jon Cardwell as he ministers in Alabama.
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History of C. G. Finney and Decisional Regneration

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

P46 the Earliest Extant Witness to the Corpus Paulinum

The following was found at, The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

P46 the Earliest Extant Witness to the Corpus Paulinum
Rob G. Reid
Monday, Jan 19, 2009

The earliest papyrus manuscript containing most of the epistles of Paul, less the pastoral epistles, along with the book of Hebrews is from the Chester Beatty Papyri Collection known as P46. This papyrus was discovered along with P45 and P47 in the Fayum of Egypt in the ruins of an early Church. The manuscript traveled 130km north to Cairo and was broken up in two portions by a dealer. Presently, part of the papyrus is in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland. The other portion of the papyrus was acquired by the University of Michigan, where it is presently housed. As stated previously, this is the earliest Pauline manuscript and along with the prestige has come much scholarly debate concerning the date of the papyrus. F. G. Kenyon first suggested a third century CE date. Subsequently, Ulrich Wilcken dated the document to ca. 200 CE. More recently, Young Kyu Kim suggested a provocatively early date to the reign of Domitian in 81–96 CE. His argument was predicated upon six premises: (1) comparative literary papyri of such an early date, (2) comparative documentary papyri of an early date, (3) several unique features of the handwriting, (4) and (5) other morphologically early components, and (6) a corrector’s hand which was thought to be in several documents of the early period cumulatively convinced Kim.

However, most have not found Kim’s case compelling. Comfort and Barrett are more sober in their judgment, yet still rather early dating the papyrus to the middle of the second century. Bruce Griffin, in a detailed response to Kim’s dating, has offered what seems the most probable suggestion of ca. 175–225 CE. Metzger concurs offering “about 200.”

Furthermore, with respect to the textual character, this papyrus has a close affinity with Codex Vaticanus (B), locating it within the genealogical tradition of the Alexandrian family. Thus, P46 is a very important witness to the Pauline tradition and when taken together with other early witnesses (e.g., Aleph, B) may well touch the earliest transmission stream of the Pauline tradition. The desert sands of Egypt may not make for comfortable living, but we should be grateful that they preserved this ancient treasure as few other regions could.
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Misquoting Jesus

Review of
Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005)
Daniel B. Wallace,
Executive Director,
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (

Bart Ehrman is one of North America’s leading textual critics today. As a teacher and writer, he is logical, witty, provocative, and sometimes given to overstatement as well as arguments that are not sufficiently nuanced.

His most recent book, Misquoting Jesus, for the most part is simply New Testament textual criticism 101. There are seven chapters with an introduction and conclusion. Most of the book (chs. 1—4) is simply a lay introduction to the field. According to Ehrman, this is the first book written on NT textual criticism (a discipline that has been around for nearly 300 years) for a lay audience.

The book’s very title is a bit too provocative and misleading though: Almost none of the variants that Ehrman discusses involve sayings by Jesus! The book simply doesn’t deliver what the title promises.

But it sells well: since its publication on November 1, 2005, it has been near the top of Amazon’s list of titles. And since Ehrman appeared on two of NPR’s programs (the Diane Rehm Show and “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross)—both within the space of one week—it has been in the top fifty sellers at Amazon.

For this brief review, just a few comments are in order.
There is nothing earth-shaking in the first four chapters of the book. Rather, it is in the introduction that we see Ehrman’s motive, and the last three chapters reveal his agenda. In these places he is especially provocative and given to overstatement and non sequitur.

In the introduction, Ehrman speaks of his evangelical background (Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College), followed by his M.Div. and Ph.D. at Princeton Seminary. It was here that Ehrman began to reject some of his evangelical upbringing, especially as he wrestled with the details of the text of the New Testament.
The heart of the book is chapters 5, 6, and 7. Here Ehrman especially discusses the results of the findings in his major work, Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (Oxford, 1993). His concluding chapter closes in on the point that he is driving at in these chapters: “It would be wrong… to say—as people sometimes do—that the changes in our text have no real bearing on what the texts mean or on the theological conclusions that one draws from them. We have seen, in fact, that just the opposite is the case.”

Some of the chief examples of theological differences among the variants that Ehrman discusses are (1) a passage in which Jesus is said to be angry (Mark 1:41), (2) a text in which “even the Son of God himself does not know when the end will come” (Matt 24:36), and (3) an explicit statement about the Trinity (1 John 5:7-8).
Concerning the first text, a few ancient manuscripts speak of Jesus as being angry in Mark 1:41 while most others speak of him as having compassion. But in Mark 3:5 Jesus is said to be angry—wording that is indisputably in the original text of Mark. So it is hardly a revolutionary conclusion to see Jesus as angry elsewhere in this Gospel.

Regarding Matt 24:36, although many witnesses record Jesus as speaking of his own prophetic ignorance (“But as for that day and hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father alone”), many others lack the words “nor the Son.” Whether “nor the Son” is authentic or not is disputed, but what is not disputed is the wording in the parallel in Mark 13:32—“But as for that day or hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father.” Thus, there can be no doubt that Jesus spoke of his own prophetic ignorance in the Olivet Discourse. Consequently, what doctrinal issues are really at stake here? One simply cannot maintain that the wording in Matt 24:36 changes one’s basic theological convictions about Jesus since the same sentiment is found in Mark.
In other words, the idea that the variants in the NT manuscripts alter the theology of the NT is overstated at best. Unfortunately, as careful a scholar as Ehrman is, his treatment of major theological changes in the text of the NT tends to fall under one of two criticisms: Either his textual decisions are wrong, or his interpretation is wrong.

These criticisms were made of his earlier work, Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, which Misquoting Jesus has drawn from extensively. Yet, the conclusions that he put forth there are still stated here without recognition of some of the severe criticisms of his work the first go-around. For a book geared toward a lay audience, one would think that he would want to have his discussion nuanced a bit more, especially with all the theological weight that he says is on the line. One almost gets the impression that he is encouraging the Chicken Littles in the Christian community to panic at data that they are simply not prepared to wrestle with. Time and time again in the book, highly charged statements are put forth that the untrained person simply cannot sift through. And that approach resembles more an alarmist mentality than what a mature, master teacher is able to offer. Regarding the evidence, suffice it to say that significant textual variants that alter core doctrines of the NT have not yet been produced.

Finally, regarding 1 John 5:7-8, virtually no modern translation of the Bible includes the “Trinitarian formula,” since scholars for centuries have recognized it as added later. Only a few very late manuscripts have the verses. One wonders why this passage is even discussed in Ehrman’s book. The only reason seems to be to fuel doubts. The passage made its way into our Bibles through political pressure, appearing for the first time in 1522, even though scholars then and now knew that it is not authentic. The early church did not know of this text, yet the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451 affirmed explicitly the Trinity! How could they do this without the benefit of a text that didn’t get into the Greek NT for another millennium? Chalcedon’s statement was not written in a vacuum: the early church put into a theological formulation what they saw in the NT.

A distinction needs to be made here: just because a particular verse does not affirm a cherished doctrine does not mean that that doctrine cannot be found in the NT. In this case, anyone with an understanding of the healthy patristic debates over the Godhead knows that the early church arrived at their understanding from an examination of the data in the NT. The Trinitarian formula only summarized what they found; it did not inform their declarations.

In sum, Ehrman’s latest book does not disappoint on the provocative scale. But it comes up short on genuine substance about his primary contention. Scholars bear a sacred duty not to alarm lay readers on issues that they have little understanding of. Unfortunately, the average layperson will leave this book with far greater doubts about the wording and teachings of the NT than any textual critic would ever entertain. A good teacher doesn’t hold back on telling his students what’s what, but he also knows how to package the material so they don’t let emotion get in the way of reason. A good teacher does not create Chicken Littles.
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The Gift Of Prophecy Today

I have been teaching on the Spiritual Gifts at Victory Baptist Church. One major point I keep repeating is this, the gifts people claim to have today do not match what we see happening in the bible. Take the Gift of Prophecy, what do we see today. Here are some examples:

Wow, that sounds really bad! However, this "prophet" claims God told him this:

This Prophet said... well, I have no idea what he is talking about!

But before you get to excited about the wonderful things that are going to happen in 2009 we have yet another prophecy:

But wait this Prophet has good news for 2009

This Prophet has even better news!

More good news

But wait, GOD spoke to someone else and the news is not so good:

But God has spoken to someone else:

I will add more videos later but as I was putting this together God spoke to me and told me that all of these so called prophets are liars and that he speaks through his bible alone today. Yes, that was sarcastic. However, it should make you realize this. If we claim God is speaking outside of his bible today you open the door for anyone to claim God spoke to them, and look at what happens!
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Spiritual Gifts

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Friday, January 23, 2009

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

This was the statement that launched the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, an interdenominational joint effort by hundreds of evangelical scholars and leaders to defend biblical inerrancy against the trend toward liberal and neo-orthodox conceptions of Scripture.

The Statement was produced at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago in the fall of 1978, during an international summit conference of concerned evangelical leaders. It was signed by nearly 300 noted evangelical scholars, including Boice, Norman L. Geisler, John Gerstner, Carl F. H. Henry, Kenneth Kantzer, Harold Lindsell, John Warwick Montgomery, Roger Nicole, J.I. Packer, Robert Preus, Earl Radmacher, Francis Schaeffer, R.C. Sproul, and John Wenham.

The ICBI disbanded in 1988, its work complete. The Council ultimately produced three major statements: this one on biblical inerrancy in 1978, one on biblical hermeneutics in 1982, and one on biblical application in 1986. A published copy of the statement may be found in Carl F. H. Henry in God, Revelation and Authority, vol. 4 (Waco, Tx.: Word Books, 1979), on pp. 211-219.


The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian Church in this and every age. Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God's written Word. To stray from Scripture in faith or conduct is disloyalty to our Master. Recognition of the total truth and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate confession of its authority.

The following Statement affirms this inerrancy of Scripture afresh, making clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God's own Word that marks true Christian faith. We see it as our timely duty to make this affirmation in the face of current lapses from the truth of inerrancy among our fellow Christians and misunderstanding of this doctrine in the world at large.

This Statement consists of three parts: a Summary Statement, Articles of Affirmation and Denial, and an accompanying Exposition. It has been prepared in the course of a three-day consultation in Chicago. Those who have signed the Summary Statement and the Articles wish to affirm their own conviction as to the inerrancy of Scripture and to encourage and challenge one another and all Christians to growing appreciation and understanding of this doctrine. We acknowledge the limitations of a document prepared in a brief, intensive conference and do not propose that this Statement be given creedal weight. Yet we rejoice in the deepening of our own convictions through our discussions together, and we pray that the Statement we have signed may be used to the glory of our God toward a new reformation of the Church in its faith, life and mission.

We offer this Statement in a spirit, not of contention, but of humility and love, which we propose by God's grace to maintain in any future dialogue arising out of what we have said. We gladly acknowledge that many who deny the inerrancy of Scripture do not display the consequences of this denial in the rest of their belief and behavior, and we are conscious that we who confess this doctrine often deny it in life by failing to bring our thoughts and deeds, our traditions and habits, into true subjection to the divine Word.

We invite response to this Statement from any who see reason to amend its affirmations about Scripture by the light of Scripture itself, under whose infallible authority we stand as we speak. We claim no personal infallibility for the witness we bear, and for any help that enables us to strengthen this testimony to God's Word we shall be grateful.

You can read the entire statement at this link:
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Idolatry and The Superbowl!

February 1, 2009 is the date the Superbowl will be played. It is also the date when we will see which churches are not really churches at all. Every year when the Superbowl comes around there are many so called churches who cancel services or show the Superbowl during the evening service! A football game becomes more important then the preaching of God's word. The sad part is that there are professing Christians who will have no problem with this! Let me say this as clearly as I can. Any church that cancels a service or shows the Superbowl for their evening service is not a church! Anyone who is a member of such a place should leave or they are a fool!

I hope that is clear enough. We will list every church in the Abilene area that cancels their services or shows the Superbowl!

Here is a video from a Church that announces what they aregoing to do on February 1, 2009.

Super Bowl Promo 2009 from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.
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Though the church fathers, who lived shortly after the apostles, said
relatively little about the gift of tongues, what they did say furnishes a helpful
comparison with what contemporary Pentecostalism says about the gift.

Here is a link to an in-depth look at what the church fathwrs had to say about the subject:

This is a link directly to a pdf file


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Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated

The following was found at this link: Hated

Romans 9:10

And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad - in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call - 12 she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

One of the main reasons why some Christians reject the reformed (biblical) understanding of Divine election is because of traditions associated with the love of God. The strong reaction of some against the doctrine of God's Sovereignty in election is often times due to a desire to defend a concept that they have regarding the love of God. They feel that God's attribute of love is in question or under attack.

Great care is needed to point people to the biblical texts which can clarify the issue. Not everyone seems to be open to examine their assumptions because these traditions are so very strong. The tradition that God loves all people in the exact same way is a strong one. I have to say, for many years, this was exactly the case in my own life. Many see no need to examine the texts at all because in their minds, the concept they have of the love of God = what the Bible teaches. As Dr. James White rightly says, "those most enslaved to their traditions are those who do not believe they have any."

However we understand the phrase "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" in Romans 9, I think we would all have to agree that God's love for Jacob was certainly different or of a different kind than His love for Esau. I think we all have to say this or else the text is meaningless. But if this is indeed the case, then just this one verse would refute the idea that God loves everyone in the exact same way. There must be different dimensions of the love of God.

Some seek to avoid this conclusion by saying that Jacob and Esau refer to nations rather than individuals. Certainly it is true that Jacob and Esau became mighty nations. However, the text itself refers to individual people (Jacob and Esau in the womb of their mother) and not nations, and even nations are made up of individuals. For God to set His love on a nation and reject another nation certainly has ramfications for the individuals within those nations - so the conclusion many are wanting to avoid (that God elects some but not all - and that He loves some in a special way that He does not love all) remains inescapable.

Lets remember the context here also. Paul is explaining why not all of the people of Israel have embraced their Messiah and come to salvation, and has just told us that God's word has not failed because not all Israel is truly Israel (Romans 9:6). All who were the true Israel did embrace Christ because they were the ones the promise was made to, and it is just this continued flow of thought from Romans 8 into Romans 9 that brings us to the "Jacob I loved, Esau I hated" statement. Paul is explaining why God's word does not fail in any way at all because all the true Israel will be saved, and nothing can separate the true people of God from the love of God (something made clear in Romans 8). "Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad - in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call" one brother was chosen and the other was not.

God has mercy on whom He will have mercy. God's electing purpose to set His electing love on Jacob and not on Esau is an EXPLANATION as to why God's word has not failed in any way at all. God's promise is true and His word always accomplishes its intended purpose. All the elect will receive this mercy. This is what the entire Romans 9 passage is teaching us. God's choice of one brother and not the other was not based on their actions (or works) but based on the powerful effectual call of God (something also made clear in Romans 8, where all the called are justified).
The fact is that God is Sovereign. As such, He reserves the right to have mercy on whom He will and to pass over others, leaving them in their hostile disposition against Him. God revealed Himself to Abraham in a way He did not for his neighbor down the street. His electing love on Israel was not bestowed on the Canaantites or the Philistines. After His resurrection, Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus but not to Pontius Pilate in his bedroom. The whole Bible speaks of a God who is Sovereign in the way He bestows mercy.

And this is just it - many have come to me weeks after hearing me teach on this subject and although they admitted to me that at first, they were inwardly hostile and resistant to the teaching, but after taking a second look and examining it for themselves they have made comments such as, "Its amazing! Now I see this truth everywhere I look in Scripture."

One person just recently told me, "I now see God's electing love in places I never imagined - I am reading my Bible and I am now seeing this in the parables of Jesus, and so many other places. I see that Jesus rejoiced that God's truth was hidden from some but revealed to others.. I had read these kind of passages for years and never seen it. Luke 10:21 says that Jesus "rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will."" Jesus actually rejoiced that the Father hid truth from some, and rejoiced in His Father's electing love. This has rocked my world, and what was once a loathsome thing, is sweetness and light, now I can see it."

If Jesus rejoices in His Father hiding (which speaks of activity) truth from some that He reveals to others, I think it should at least cause us to ask the question "why?" Why would God hiding some things from some and revealing His truth to others be precious to our Lord? Why does it not excite us the way it excited Jesus? (that's something to think about for sure)

As Romans 9 continues from verse 14, God sees it as perfectly just to dispense His mercy as He sees fit. Mercy, by its very definition, cannot be demanded. No one can demand mercy. The fact that no fallen angel will ever be redeemed causes no intellectual problem for the angels in heaven - God's just character remains in tact, and the angels of God continually sing "holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts." If God had elected no one to salvation, the songs of worship from the angels would never have missed a beat! God owes nothing to rebel sinners!

What should surprise us about the text "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" is not that God hated Esau. Esau was a sinner and deserved the wrath of God just like the rest of us. What should astound us is not that He hated Esau, but that He set His love on Jacob. This should absolutely shock us! Why would God have anything to do with such a sinner? But sadly, we are not always astounded by this amazing mercy, I think because deep down, we tend to believe that everyone deserves mercy. The truth is, everyone of us is every bit as much a sinner as Jacob, but until we as Christians really "get this" we do not grasp the amazing grace God has bestowed on us.

All people receive some mercy - God was very merciful to Esau, but ultimately Esau did not receive the exact same mercy as his brother Jacob. God sends His rain to all - on the just and the unjust, but He bestows His effectual redeeming love only on some. Not everyone is saved. Some do perish. The fact that even one sinner will be numbered amongst the heavenly host because he was redeemed by the sheer mercy of God should amaze us. The fact is that this number will not be just a few, but will be so vast that no man can count it.

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Formation of the Canon of the New Testament

The Formation of the Canon of the New Testament
By B.B. Warfield
Pub. 1892, by the American Sunday School Union, Philadelphia, Pa.

IN ORDER to obtain a correct understanding of what is called the formation of the Canon of the New Testament, it is necessary to begin by fixing very firmly in our minds one fact which is obvious enough when attention is once called to it. That is, that the Christian church did not require to form for itself the idea of a "canon," - or, as we should more commonly call it, of a "Bible," -that is, of a collection of books given of God to be the authoritative rule of faith and practice. It inherited this idea from the Jewish church, along with the thing itself, the Jewish Scriptures, or the "Canon of the Old Testament." The church did not grow up by natural law: it was founded. And the authoritative teachers sent forth by Christ to found His church, carried with them, as their most precious possession, a body of divine Scriptures, which they imposed on the church that they founded as its code of law. No reader of the New Testament can need proof of this; on every page of that book is spread the evidence that from the very beginning the Old Testament was as cordially recognized as law by the Christian as by the Jew. The Christian church thus was never without a "Bible" or a "canon."

But the Old Testament books were not the only ones which the apostles (by Christ's own appointment the authoritative founders of the church) imposed upon the infant churches, as their authoritative rule of faith and practice. No more authority dwelt in the prophets of the old covenant than in themselves, the apostles, who had been "made sufficient as ministers of a new covenant "; for (as one of themselves argued) "if that which passeth away was with glory, much more that which remaineth is in glory." Accordingly not only was the gospel they delivered, in their own estimation, itself a divine revelation, but it was also preached "in the Holy Ghost" (I Pet. i. 12) ; not merely the matter of it, but the very words in which it was clothed were "of the Holy Spirit" (I Cor. ii. 13). Their own commands were, therefore, of divine authority (I Thess. iv. 2), and their writings were the depository of these commands (II Thess. ii. 15). "If any man obeyeth not our word by this epistle," says Paul to one church (II Thess. iii. 14), "note that man, that ye have no company with him." To another he makes it the test of a Spirit-led man to recognize that what he was writing to them was "the commandments of the Lord" (I Cor. xiv. 37). Inevitably, such writings ', making so awful a claim on their acceptance, were received by the infant churches as of a quality equal to that of the old "Bible"; placed alongside of its older books as an additional part of the one law of God; and read as such in their meetings for worship -a practice which moreover was required by the apostles (I Thess. v. 27; Col. iv. 16; Rev. i. 3). In the apprehension, therefore, of the earliest churches, the "Scriptures" were not a closed but an increasing "canon." Such they had been from the beginning, as they gradually grew in number from Moses to Malachi; and such they were to continue as long as there should remain among the churches "men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

We say that this immediate placing of the new books - given the church under the seal of apostolic authority - among the Scriptures already established as such, was inevitable. It is also historically evinced from the very beginning. Thus the apostle Peter, writing in A.D. 68, speaks of Paul's numerous letters not in contrast with the Scriptures, but as among the Scriptures and in contrast with "the other Scriptures" (II Pet. iii.16) -that is, of course, those of the Old Testament. In like manner the apostle Paul combines, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, the book of Deuteronomy and the Gospel of Luke under the common head of "Scripture" (I Tim. v.18): "For the Scripture saith ' 'Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn ' [Deut. xxv. 4]; and, 'The laborer is worthy of his hire'" (Luke x. 7). The line of such quotations is never broken in Christian literature. Polycarp (c. 12) in A.D. 115 unites the Psalms and Ephesians in exactly similar manner: "In the sacred books.... as it is said in these Scriptures, 'Be ye angry and sin not,' and 'Let not the sun go down upon your wrath."' So, a few years later, the so-called second letter of Clement, after quoting Isaiah, adds (ii. 4): "And another Scripture, however, says, 'I came not to call the righteous, but sinners'" -quoting from Matthew -- a book which Barnabas (circa 97-106 A.D.) had already adduced as Scripture. After this such quotations are common.

What needs emphasis at present about these facts is that they obviously are not evidences of a gradually-heightening estimate of the New Testament books, originally received on a lower level and just beginning to be tentatively accounted Scripture; they are conclusive evidences rather of the estimation of the New Testament books from the very beginning as Scripture, and of their attachment as Scripture to the other Scriptures already in hand. The early Christians did not, then, first form a rival "canon" of "new books" which came only gradually to be accounted as of equal divinity and authority with the "old books"; they received new book after new book from the apostolical circle, as equally "Scripture" with the old books, and added them one by one to the collection of old books as additional Scriptures, until at length the new books thus added were numerous enough to be looked upon as another section of the Scriptures.

The earliest name given to this new section of Scripture was framed on the model of the name by which what we know as the Old Testament was then known. Just as it was called "The Law and the Prophets and the Psalms" (or "the Hagiographa"), or more briefly "The Law and the Prophets," or even more briefly still "The Law"; so the enlarged Bible was called "The Law and the Prophets, with the Gospels and the Apostles" (so Clement of Alexandria, "Strom." vi. 11, 88; Tertullian, "De Prms. Men" 36), or most briefly "The Law and the Gospel" (so Claudius Apolinaris, Irenaeus); while the new books apart were called "The Gospel and the Apostles," or most briefly of all "The Gospel." This earliest name for the new Bible, with all that it involves as to its relation to the old and briefer Bible, is traceable as far back as Ignatius (A.D. 115), who makes use of it repeatedly (e.g., "ad Philad." 5; ("ad Smyrn." 7). In one passage he gives us a hint of the controversies which the enlarged Bible of the Christians aroused among the Judaizers (" ad Philad." 6). "When I heard some saying," he writes, "'Unless I find it in the Old [Books] I will not believe the Gospel' on my saying,' It is written.' they answered, 'That is the question.' To me, however, Jesus Christ is the Old [Books]; his cross and death and resurrection and the faith which is by him, the undefiled Old [Books] - by which I wish, by your prayers, to be justified. The priests indeed are good, but the High Priest better," etc. Here Ignatius appeals to the "Gospel" as Scripture, and the Judaizers object, receiving from him the answer in effect which Augustine afterward formulated in the well known saying that the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is first made clear in the New. What we need now to observe, however, is that to Ignatius the New Testament was not a different book from the Old Testament, but part of the one body of Scripture with it; an accretion, so to speak, which had grown upon it.

This is the testimony of all the early witnesses - even those which speak for the distinctively Jewish-Christian church. For example, that curious Jewish-Christian writing, "The Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs" (Beni. 11), tells us, under the cover of an ex post facto prophecy, that the "work and word" of Paul, i.e., confessedly the book of Acts and Paul's Epistles, "shall be written in the Holy Books," i.e., as is understood by all, made a part of the existent Bible. So even in the Talmud, in a scene intended to ridicule a "bishop" of the first century, he is represented as finding Galatians by "sinking himself deeper" into the same "Book" which contained the Law of Moses ("Babl. Shabbath," 116 a and b). The details cannot be entered into here. Let it suffice to say that, from the evidence of the fragments which alone have been preserved to us of the Christian writings of that very early time, it appears that from the beginning of the second century (and that is from the end of the apostolic age) a collection (Ignatius, II Clement) of "New Books" (Ignatius), called the "Gospel and Apostles" (Ignatius, Marcion), was already a part of the "Oracles" of God (Polycarp, Papias, II Clement), or "Scriptures" (I Tim., II Pet., Barn., Polycarp, II Clement), or the "Holy Books" or "Bible" (Testt. XII. Patt.).

The number of books included-in this added body of New Books, at the opening of the second century, cannot be satisfactorily determined by the evidence of these fragments alone. The section of it called the "Gospel" included Gospels written by "the apostles and their companions" (Justin), which beyond legitimate question were our four Gospels now received. The section called "the Apostles" contained the book of Acts (The Testt. XII. Patt.) and epistles of Paul, John, Peter and James. The evidence from various quarters is indeed enough to show that the collection in general use contained all the books which we at present receive, with the possible exceptions of Jude, II and III John and Philemon. And it is more natural to suppose that failure of very early evidence for these brief booklets is due to their insignificant size rather than to their nonacceptance.

It is to be borne in mind, however, that the extent of the collection may have - and indeed is historically shown actually to have varied in different localities. The Bible was circulated only in handcopies, slowly and painfully made; and an incomplete copy, obtained say at Ephesus in A.D. 68, would be likely to remain for many years the Bible of the church to which it was conveyed; and might indeed become the parent of other copies, incomplete like itself, and thus the means of providing a whole district with incomplete Bibles. Thus, when we inquire after the history of the New Testament Canon we need to distinguish such questions as these: (1) When was the New Testament Canon completed? (2) When did any one church acquire a completed canon? (3) When did the completed canon -the complete Bible - obtain universal circulation and acceptance? (4) On what ground and evidence did the churches with incomplete Bibles accept the remaining books when they were made known to them?

The Canon of the New Testament was completed when the last authoritative book was given to any church by the apostles, and that was when John wrote the Apocalypse, about A.D. 98. Whether the church of Ephesus, however, had a completed Canon when it received the Apocalypse, or not, would depend on whether there was any epistle, say that of Jude, which had not yet reached it with authenticating proof of its apostolicity. There is room for historical investigation here. Certainly the whole Canon was not universally received by the churches till somewhat later. The Latin church of the second and third centuries did not quite know what to do with the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Syrian churches for some centuries may have lacked the lesser of the Catholic Epistles and Revelation. But from the time of Ireanaeus down, the church at large had the whole Canon as we now possess it. And though a section of the church may not yet have been satisfied of the apostolicity of a certain book or of certain books; and though afterwards doubts may have arisen in sections of the church as to the apostolicity of certain books (as e. g. of Revelation): yet in no case was it more than a respectable minority of the church which was slow in receiving, or which came afterward to doubt, the credentials of any of the books that then as now constituted the Canon of the New Testament accepted by the church at large. And in every case the principle on which a book was accepted, or doubts against it laid aside, was the historical tradition of apostolicity.

Let it, however, be clearly understood that it was not exactly apostolic authorship which in the estimation of the earliest churches, constituted a book a portion of the "canon." Apostolic authorship was, indeed, early confounded with canonicity. It was doubt as to the apostolic authorship of Hebrews, in the West, and of James and Jude, apparently, which underlay the slowness of the inclusion of these books in the "canon" of certain churches. But from the beginning it was not so. The principle of canonicity was not apostolic authorship, but imposition by the apostles as "law." Hence Tertullian's name for the "canon" is "instrumentum"; and he speaks of the Old and New Instrument as we would of the Old and New Testament. That the apostles so imposed the Old Testament on the churches which they founded - as their "Instrument," or "Law," or "Canon" - can be denied by none. And in imposing new books on the same churches, by the same apostolical authority, they did not confine themselves to books of their own composition. It is the Gospel according to Luke, a man who was not an apostle, which Paul parallels in I Tim. v. 18 with Deuteronomy as equally "Scripture" with it, in the first extant quotation of a New Testament book as Scripture. The Gospels which constituted the first division of the New Books, - of "The Gospel and the Apostles," - Justin tells us were "written by the apostles and their companions." The authority of the apostles, as by divine appointment founders of the church was embodied in whatever books they imposed on the church as law not merely in those they themselves had written.

The early churches, in short, received, as we receive, into the New Testament all the books historically evinced to them as give by the apostles to the churches as their code of law; and we must not mistake the historical evidences of the slow circulation an authentication of these books over the widely-extended church, evidence of slowness of "canonization" of books by the authority or the taste of the church itself.

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Prophet predicts disaster will prevent Obama from taking office

I have been preaching on the Spiritual Gifts at Victory Baptist Church. Sunday we covered the gift of Prophecy. I suggested the gift of predicting future events no longer occurs. One of my arguments was the fact that what is called prophecy today is not like the gift that we find in the bible. Consider this story:

Prophet predicts disaster will prevent Obama from taking office

Reporting from Parowan, Utah -- Our trip to the Parowan Prophet began with a letter to the St. George Spectrum. It was set among missives proposing that oil companies bail out Detroit automakers, that county inmates be forced to winter in tents, that lawyers be barred from public office. A rough crowd.

This particular letter to the editor in the St. George, Utah, newspaper carried the headline " 'Prophet' shares grim forecast," and it was signed by one Leland Freeborn of Parowan, who wrote that he was known to many as the Parowan Prophet.

After establishing his bona fides as an international talk radio guest and proprietor of a survivalist website that has "passed more than 100,000 hits," Freeborn wrote:

"I think that you should hear what my opinion about the Obama election is: that he will not be the next president. I said on my home page in August that if he lost to expect to see the 'riots' that 2 Peter 2:13 tells us about. He didn't lose. But the story is not finished yet. I still think they may begin the riots before Christmas 2008, as I said."

These riots, according to his prophecy, will encourage the "old, hard-line Soviet guard" to seize the moment and rain down nukes on the United States, killing at least 100 million of us.

"Prepare now," Freeborn's letter concluded. "We are downwind from Las Vegas. I hope you can survive."

You can read the rest of the report at this link:

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Think About Preaching

I want to challenge everyone to take some time to think about preaching.

Listen to the following sermons:

Understand that both sermons are on the exact same text of scripture:

Think as you listen and see if you can figure out the diffrence between the sermons.

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My Portion

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1 in 3 'Christians' says 'Jesus sinned'

It looks like the American Church is doing a great job teaching their people!

Half of Americans who call themselves "Christian" don't believe Satan exists and fully one-third are confident that Jesus sinned while on Earth, according to a new Barna Group poll.
Another 40 percent say they do not have a responsibility to share their Christian faith with others, and 25 percent "dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches," the organization reports.

Pollster George Barna said the results have huge implications.
"Americans are increasingly comfortable picking and choosing what they deem to be helpful and accurate theological views and have become comfortable discarding the rest of the teachings in the Bible," he said.

Growing numbers of people now serve as their own theologian-in-residence," he continued. "One consequence is that Americans are embracing an unpredictable and contradictory body of beliefs."

You can read the rest of this report at this link:

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What about the gift of healing?

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Are there true prophets in the church today?

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The Maccabees

Brief Sermon Overview:

The original, historical fulfillment of the prophetic words, "but the people who know their God will display strength and take action (Daniel 11:32)," is probably Judas Maccabeus and his followers. A brief history of the second century B. C. Maccabean revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes is given. Attention then turns to the strength producing knowledge of God possessed by His people.

You can listen to the sermon right here:

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Is this your Bible?

Is this your Bible? It's sad to say that this is the common condition of God's Word found in many christian homes, cars, and sadly, even churches. When was the last time you opened your Bible? Many of you probably went to church this long did it take you to find your Bible, before you left? Was your Bible in the floorboard of your car? The dashboard? Was it in your bedroom floor? Was it at church, waiting for you? We claim to be Christians, and yet, we never read our Bibles. God's very own Word, and we can't even take the time to study it, and the truths of it.
So, here is my challenge for you:
1. Put down the remote, ipod, cell phone, candy bar, etc. and pick up something that will actually benefit you...God's Word.
2. If you are in a church that does not preach from the Bible, at every service...LEAVE!
3. Pick up your Bible, and READ!

Now it's up to you... Will YOU read your Bible this week?

Rebekkah Hammack
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Did You Know?

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chronological Bible Reading -- One Year Plan

At Victory Baptist Church we are reading the bible in Chronological Order this year.

Here is a list of some of the readings:

Day 1 Genesis 1 - 3
Day 2 Genesis 4 - 7
Day 3 Genesis 8 - 11
Day 4 Job 1 - 5
Day 5 Job 6 - 9
Day 6 Job 10 - 13
Day 7 Job 14 - 16
Day 8 Job 17 - 20
Day 9 Job 21 - 23
Day 10 Job 24 - 28
Day 11 Job 29 - 31
Day 12 Job 32 - 34
Day 13 Job 35 - 37
Day 14 Job 38 - 39
Day 15 Job 40 - 42
Day 16 Genesis 12 - 15
Day 17 Genesis 16 - 18
Day 18 Genesis 19 - 21
Day 19 Genesis 22 - 24
Day 20 Genesis 25 - 26
Day 21 Genesis 27 - 29
Day 22 Genesis 30 - 31
Day 23 Genesis 32 - 34
Day 24 Genesis 35 - 37
Day 25 Genesis 38 - 40
Day 26 Genesis 41 - 42
Day 27 Genesis 43 - 45
Day 28 Genesis 46 - 47
Day 29 Genesis 48 - 50
Day 30 Exodus 1 - 3
Day 31 Exodus 4 - 6
Day 32 Exodus 7 - 9
Day 33 Exodus 10 - 12
Day 34 Exodus 13 - 15
Day 35 Exodus 16 - 18
Day 36 Exodus 19 - 21
Day 37 Exodus 22 - 24
Day 38 Exodus 25 - 27
Day 39 Exodus 28 - 29
Day 40 Exodus 30 - 32
Day 41 Exodus 33 - 35
Day 42 Exodus 36 - 38
Day 43 Exodus 39 - 40
Day 44 Leviticus 1 - 4
Day 45 Leviticus 5 - 7
Day 46 Leviticus 8 - 10
Day 47 Leviticus 11 - 13
Day 48 Leviticus 14 - 15
Day 49 Leviticus 16 - 18
Day 50 Leviticus 19 - 21
Day 51 Leviticus 22 - 23
Day 52 Leviticus 24 - 25
Day 53 Leviticus 26 - 27
Day 54 Numbers 1-2
Day 55 Numbers 3 - 4
Day 56 Numbers 5 - 6
Day 57 Numbers 7
Day 58 Numbers 8 - 10
Day 59 Numbers 11 - 13
Day 60 Numbers 14 - 15
Day 61 Numbers 16 - 17
Day 62 Numbers 18 - 20
Day 63 Numbers 21 - 22
Day 64 Numbers 23 - 25
Day 65 Numbers 26 - 27
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Scripture Alone

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Passionate Preaching

The following was found at:

Two deadly dangers face the church as it advances into the 21st century.The first threat is the wholesale devaluing of preaching itself. In this paradigm shift, biblical preaching is being displaced by other things. Exposition is being replaced by entertainment; theology for theatrics; [the] unfolding drama of redemption is being replaced by just plain drama. Preaching is out, dialogue is in. Straightforward exposition is being demoted to secondary status. As bad as this is, of even greater concern is another error. It is an error that befalls even those who are able preachers. The error is that their preaching is little more than a data dump. Preaching has become clinical, cold, sterile, and stagnant. It is precision without power or light without heat.
Dispassionate preaching is a lie. If the preacher is not consumed with [the] passage for the message, how can those who hear it believe it? This is what must be recaptured by the men at this conference who are not in danger of giving up the pulpit to entertainment, but who can become listless and lifeless in expositing the Scriptures. The kind of preaching [that] burst onto the scene in the first century. It was powerful and passionate. Acts is full of sermons, and when they are all added up, twenty-five percent of the text of the book is dedicated to recording the words of these sermons. This underscores how important apostolic preaching is. It suggests to us the kind of preaching we are to emulate. It is not just expository preaching we need, but expository preaching of a certain tone and thrust. We need apostolic expository preaching. We need to preach not just what they preached, but as they preached."

Peter's sermon in Acts 2 is the model we should use for our expository preaching:

1.Read the text. Beginning in verse 16 he reads the text. This is where expository preaching begins for it makes God the real preacher.

2.Explain the text. This is what the word "expository" means — simply explain the text. There is an inseparable connection between verse 21 and verse 22. In this verse he now begins to explain the text of the former verse.

3.Support the text. What Peter will now do, having explained the text, [is to] undergird it with other cross-references. He supports the central theme and traces it through the course of Scripture. He will now give four strategic cross-references that bolster his explanation. He will show that the full counsel of God speaks with unity and clarity on this truth. These serve as pillars to undergird the message.

4.Synthesize the text. In verse 36 he summarizes the text, bringing it down to the bottom line. He gives the bottom line conclusion that the whole sermon has been leading to.

5.Apply the text. This cannot be an expository sermon without this step. Now comes the crescendo of the sermon. Here is the action point, the imperative voice. This sermon is so powerful that the listeners give the invitation. "What must we do?" The authority of the Word of God has been pressed to their heart, their conscience has been awakened and the Spirit has stirred their hearts. Now Peter gives the application. Here is what you must do. Expository sermons must get to the "you." In this case: "Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

It starts with the text, stays with the text, and drives home the text.
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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Shack Revisited

How many of you have run into someone who has read, or is reading the book called “The Shack”? We've posted on this before but now we're seeing some churches in Abilene teaching it in their Sun Schools. One such church is actually fighting over it right now and we got a request to repost some info on the whacked it is.

You can go to the Shack's website and read about the book and all the wonderful endorsements…but notice that you’ll not see many theologians or pastors endorsing the book…but here is the one of the couple and the first on the list…

“When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!”
[Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, BC]

What I hope to show you is that in this case the result is heresy! Why are we studying this?

Listen to the warnings of Paul:

  • 2 Timothy 1:13- “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. ”

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

  • 2 Timothy 3:13 “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

  • Ephesians 5:6- “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” This one is especially poignant!

Besides the fact that Scripture warns us about this type of false teaching, why are we going to briefly look at this tonight? Several reasons…

A. It’s popular- we need to know what’s out there and be able to engage those we run into on what’s being discussed theologically. Here’s what the Shack website said:

April 8, 2008- In the past week The Shack has climbed to the #33 on the USA Today Top 50 Books, and has risen as high as #7 at Amazon in all books and #6 at Barnes and Noble for instore sales. We are blessed at the wide-ranging success of this title as we have distributed almost 500,000 books in 11 months, mostly by word of mouth. We are now in discussions with major New York publishing houses that will help us release the book to its widest possible audience as well as helping with Windblown’s other titles and future ones we want to develop. We have also begin the pre-production phase of transforming The Shack into a feature-length film”

B. It is growing by word of mouth- That means that if this book is whacked…many, many Christians are not discerning enough to know they are spreading heresy.

C. It’s not over! They’re going to make a movie out of this!

What is “The Shack”...a 248 page book.
o Book written by William P. Young- a son of a missionary, Canadian by birth
o Undergraduate degree in “Religion”
o Shack was a story for his 6 children
o Characters of Mack and Willie are both him in the book

The Seductive Shack: So what’s all the fuss about? What is the lure of this particular book all about? Why are so many people falling for it? I think it can be summed up in 3 ways:

1. The Desire for an intimate relationship with God – the Shack is providing supposed answers to people who long for a deep, personal relationship with God…in their own terms. Who wouldn’t want to hear the voice of the LORD God as He walked with you in the garden in the cool of the day? (Gen 3:8)

This is the idea that religion is NOT relevant today- here is what the back of the book said, “In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”

2. The severe lack of Theological discernment abounding today- with so many buying off on this w/o blinking an eye…theological discernment is at an all time low. It’s easy to fall head over heals on this kind of writing and bad theology when you don’t know anything about how God has already revealed Himself.

3. The lure of an emotional attachment- this is the one that grabbed me…and I think Jason too! The first 80 pages of the 248 page book were very intriguing…they lured you into a story of a father whose young daughter is kidnapped and brutally murdered from his very grasp…while he is saving the life of a young boy. It’s about his anger and “Great sadness” as he loses the young love of his life and struggles with the God he is now angry with…and he struggles with life itself and his other daughter who is basically blaming herself for the young daughter’s death.

4. The non-fictional mask- The book is portrayed as a true story...but it is NOT. The author admits this and yet he writes it as if it really happened- this is deceptive!

The Overview of the Wacked Shack: Now…what’s wrong with this book? Just about everything! This is a grossly unscriptural book that will mislead a lot of people. After reading and noting all the problems, here are the scriptural problem areas:

A. Attack upon the Sufficiency & Authority of Scripture
B. Unscriptural Portrayal of God:

  • God the Father and Holy Spirit as women

  • Modalistic

  • A sin-tolerant (and sin loving) God

  • Flippant Portrayal of a Holy God

  • Complete Denial of God’s Sovereignty

  • Denial of Sin Nature & Judgment of sin

  • Borderline Universalism

These are the main points. I’m only going to cover three tonight (Attack upon Scripture, denial of sin nature/judgment, universalism)…the rest I’ll probably post on the Blog for everyone who wants to look at more. These rebuttals will in no way be exhaustive…we’ve only got a little time so I’ll touch on the Scriptural answer to each briefly. We’re going to look at all these areas in two parts…first we’ll let THE SHACK speak…and then we’ll let God, through His Word, speak…

The Shack on the Scriptures: Like the Puritan Catechism, let’s take a look at what the author is teaching the masses about the Word of God itself:

A. The Shack Speaks: Let me read you a few sentences:

  • “the thought of God passing notes did not fit well with his theological training. In seminary he had been taught that God had completely stopped any overt communication…preferring them to only listen to and follow sacred Scripture…God’s voice had been reduced to paper” (p. 65).

  • “Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book” (p. 66). Interesting that at the bottom of the same page it says, “Mack wanted more” (more than just a book and a religious club?) Mack wants more than the Bible!

  • “part of me would like to believe that God would care enough about me to send a note” (p. 71)- YES, it’s called the Bible!

  • "None of his old seminary training was helping in the least” (p. 91)

  • “So was there an actual garden…Eden and all that?” Holy Spirit- “Of course” Mack- “There are lots of people who think it was only a myth” HS- “Well, their mistake isn’t fatal” (p. 134) So it’s not fatal to think the Bible is a myth?

  • "what about your wrath?...weren’t you always running around killing people in the Bible? You just don’t seem to fit the bill” to which she says “you’re going to find this day a lot easier if you simply accept what is, instead of trying to fit it into your preconceived notions [i.e. the Bible view!]. Mack then says “aren’t you spilling out great bowls of wrath and throwing people into a burning lake of fire?” she says “I am not who you think I am Mackenzie. (p 119-120)

  • “how will I hear you? Sarayu (Holy Spirit)- “You will learn to hear my thoughts in yours” Mack- “What if I confuse you with another voice? What if I make mistakes?” HS- “Of course you will make mistakes; everybody makes mistakes, but you will begin to better recognize my voice (p. 195-196)

  • “Be willing to reexamine what you believe. The more you live in truth, the more your emotions will help you see clearly. But even then, you don’t want to trust them more than me” (p. 197)

B. The Word Speaks: Wow! Here are the major problems I see:

1. Denial of Sola Scriptura- Telling people that the Bible reduces God’s voice “to paper”…that the Word confines “God in a box…or in a book” that you will progressively learn to hear God speak in your mind/thoughts…to recognize Her voice amidst many mistakes is a complete denial of Sola Scriptura.

Here is Dr James White’s definition of Sola Scriptura:

“The Bible claims to be the sole and sufficient rule of faith for the Christian Church. The Scriptures are not in need of any supplement. Their authority comes from their nature as God-breathed revelation. Their authority is not dependent upon man, Church or council. The Scriptures are self-consistent, self-interpreting, and self-authenticating. The Christian Church looks at the Scriptures as the only and sufficient rule of faith and the Church is always subject to the Word, and is constantly reformed thereby” [taken from his 1993 debate with Patrick Madrid]

2 Timothy 3:13-17 “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Acts 17:2, 11, 18:28; 2 Thes 2:10; Rev 2:2, 22:18-19

2. Denial of the Inspiration and Truth of Scripture- there are some statements in this book that are a flat-out denial of Scripture.

Remember the quote I just read, when Mack questions Papa [female black lady] about her wrath that he’s read about in Scripture, what does she say?

o “you’re going to find this day a lot easier if you simply accept what is, instead of trying to fit it into your preconceived notions [i.e. the Bible view!].

Simply accept what is, not what’s written in Scripture! The conversation goes on…

o Mack then says “aren’t you spilling out great bowls of wrath and throwing people into a burning lake of fire?” she says “I am not who you think I am Mackenzie. (p 119-120)

Saying “I am not what the Bible says I am is a flat-out denial of Scripture- its validity, its authenticity, its inspiration.

3. Total Reliance on Extra-Biblical Revelation: The last two quotes from the book are the really scary part. When Mack rightly asks the female Asian Holy Spirit, “how will I hear you?
Here’s how the conversation goes…

o “You will learn to hear my thoughts in yours” Mack- “What if I confuse you with another voice? What if I make mistakes?” HS- “Of course you will make mistakes; everybody makes mistakes, but you will begin to better recognize my voice (p. 195-196)

And then a page later here is what’s suggested by the author;

o “Be willing to reexamine what you believe. The more you live in truth, the more your emotions will help you see clearly. But even then, you don’t want to trust them more than me” (p. 197)

Don’t trust what you’ve heard in God’s Word, don’t rely on Scripture alone, just listen to your inner voice which won’t always prove reliable, listen to your emotions instead…but even then you can’t trust them more than me.

So it’s a toss-up between the inner voice that you won’t always recognize…and the emotions that rise and fall like the sea!

God’s Word says the following:

o Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Peter seems to trust in the Word of God even more than a mountain top transfiguration experience!

o 2 Peter 1:19-21 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Proverbs has an apt warning to end this section on:

o Proverbs 30:5-6 5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

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