John T. Willis

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Church Politics: This is a Heart Issue (Part 2)

Continuing our study of church politics, here are only a few of the issues which have faced the church during my own lifetime. 1. The King James Version. Only recently, several prominent teachers and preachers in the Church of Christ denomination declared that the ONLY acceptable translation of the English Bible is the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. This was first published in completion in 1611. Since the KJV, a great deal of important information has emerged which was unknown in 1611. a. Archaeologists and researchers have unearthed and studied numerous ancient texts of the Bible which did not exist in 1611. b. The English language has changed tremendously since 1611. Hence, much of the language of the KJV is outdated and incorrect in modern English in the twenty-first century A. D. Only one example is the verb "prevent" in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, which meant "go before" but now means "keep from." Thus the correct translation now is "precede." c. Discoveries of the Ugaritic language and culture and the Dead Sea Scrolls and many other finds have given better interpretations of many texts of the Bible unknown in 1611. d. Many churches have split over this incorrect version of the English Bible. This was and is because people do not know the Hebrew and Aramaic of the Hebrew Bible or the Greek of the Newer Testament. 2. Thou and You. Connected with this first issue is that many preachers and teachers in the Church of Christ denomination argued that one MUST address God as "THOU" in prayer, because this is the ONLY CORRECT translation in the KJV. Many split different churches over this issue. The truth is that "thou, thine, thee" in King James language means the singular. So, in the KJV, one addresses Satan as "thou"--as in Matthew 16:23: "Get THOU behind me, Satan." Furthermore, in the KJV "you, yours" means the plural. In the imperative, the particle, and the pronominal suffix, it is very difficult for an English speaker or writer or reader can understand the significance of the SECOND PERSON. A very simple example is Matthew 5:14: "YOU are the light of the world." Many assume "you" is each individual. This is totally incorrect. The word "you" in Greek is plural, thus means "all te people of God collectively." In the English of the twenty-first century A. D., it is certainly PREFERABLE to address God as "YOU." There is nothing at all "HOLY" about using the term "thou, thine, thee." It simple means the singular. 3. Eating in the church building. Many people have contended that it is contrary to God's will for anyone to eat in the church building. The text to support this is 1 Corinthians 11:22, which many have interpreted this to mean it is unscriptural to eat in the church building. But this verse actually means the exact opposite. What was happening at Corinth is that rich Christians assembled at an early time to have "love feasts" to promote fellowship. They ate and drank before the poor could finish their work and arrive. Paul responded to this by telling them that the rich should bring their food and drink and wait until the poor arrived so they all could have fellowship as true fellow Christians. Instead of promoting this type of fellowship, these early Christians in Corinths actually split the church for their mistreatment of the poor. Share YOUR insights and experiences and stories and conflicts and misgivings with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis