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You don't need to be a scholar to tell which Bible is the true one. God never intended His words of truth to be known or understood only by the scholars. They don't agree among themselves as to which text to follow or how to render it in English once they agree as to the text - as it witnessed by the conflicting NAS, NIV and NKJV. Jesus tells us "Beware of the scribes..." and in 1 Corinthians 1:19-20 "It is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" There is an easy way for every Christian to test the multitude of conflicting Bible versions flooding the market today. Are they a true or a false witness? Mark 14:56 tells us: "For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together." In a court of law a false witness will sometimes or even usually tell the truth, but he betrays himself as a false witness by saying something either false, contradictory or absurd. So it is with the NKJV, NASB, NIV and all the other modern Bible versions competing for your money and your mind. So Christian friend, I ask you to sit for a little while in the jury box, listen to the testimonies, and determine which one is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Example #1 What is your righteousness before a holy and just God? Is it your own works or the imputed righteousness of our precious Lord Jesus Christ? The imputed righteousness of Christ is illustrated and clearly taught in the King James Bible of 1611. In the beginning, after Adam and Eve had sinned and hid themselves from God because they were naked, we are told in Genesis 3:21: "Unto Adam also and to is wife did the LORD God make coats of skin, and clothed them." An innocent animal was slain, and its coat was made a covering for the naked, guilty pair. God has to cover us; we cannot cover ourselves acceptably before Him. Isaiah 61:10 beautifully expresses this truth: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness...as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." Zechariah 3:1-4 illustrates the same truth. Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua the high priest to resist him. The Lord rebuked Satan. The Bible tells us that: "Joshua was clothed with filthy garments." But God said: "Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." In Matthew 22 our Saviour gives us a parable about a wedding where the guests were bidden to the feast. But the king saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. "And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless." Then the man was bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness. You and I have no righteousness of our own doing. "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" -Isaiah 64:6. But praise our God for his wonderful Son, Jesus Christ. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21. "and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Philippians 3:9. All the preceding information was given to show the true doctrine so that the false teaching of the new versions will be seen more clearly. Revelation 19:7-9 tells us again of the wedding feast. V.7 "the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; FOR THE FINE LINEN IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF SAINTS." This last phrase is consistent with the rest of Scripture that it is not our righteousness that makes us acceptable unto God, but the robe of the imputed righteousness of Christ. Versions that read just like the King James Bible are Tyndale's New Testament of 1534, Miles Coverdale 1535, the Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible of 1599, Greenâ€™s interlinear, John Wesley's 1755 translation, Daniel Webster's of 1833, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909 (el lino fino son las justificaciones de los santos), the 1744 French Martin - ("ce fin lin dÃ©signe la justice des Saints."), Luther's 1545 German Bible, Darby's translation, the Bible in Basic English 1970, Lamsa's translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the Third Millenium Bible, the 21st Century KJB version, and even the 2002 paraphrase called The Message which reads: "She was given a bridal gown of bright and shining linen. The linen is the righteousness of the saints." However, the Catholic Douay, New American (St. Joseph of 1970), and the Jehovah Witness Bibles read in a similar way to many modern versions. St. Joseph: "the linen dress is THE VIRTUOUS DEEDS of God's saints." The NKJV, NASB, ISV (2003 International Standard Version), the 2001 ESV (English Standard Version), the brand new Holman Christian Standard Bible, and the NIV have, â€œthe fine linen is the RIGHTEOUS ACTS of the saints.â€ (or "the fine linen is the righteous deeds of God's people"). The Holman Standard reads: "For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints." That is the Catholic doctrine of works salvation and it is now taught in the NKJ, NIV, and NASB too. If our righteous acts or rignteous deeds are going to make up our wedding dress, it will be pretty soiled and tattered, don't you think?. At the very least, you have to admit that not all these versions teach the same truth in this verse. So which one is right? For a further development of the theology of this verse as it stands in the King James Bible please see my article here: http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/Rev19-8.html (technical notes: The NASB concordance renders the word dikaioma as justification, requirements, ordinances, regulations and righteous acts. It is from the verb "to declare righteous". The context and Biblical consistency of doctrine must determine the meaning in a given text. If it be argued that the word is plural, so, I've been told, is righteousness in Isaiah 61:10. There are many words in the N.T. which are plural but are rendered as singular in English. Mt. 6:1 heaven, Mt.14:6 birthday, Mt. 16:7 bread, Mt. 22:2 marriage, John 1:13 blood, Acts 13:22 will, Acts. 19:19 price etc. Plus each saint, and there are many, has his own robe, thus many robes composed of the only one kind of righteousness which is Christ's. Example #2 God is sovereign and in control of his universe. Daniel 2:21 "he changeth the times and the seasons". Acts 1:7 "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power,"; Acts 17:31 "he hath appointed a day (already done) in the which he will judge the world in righteousness"; Rev. 9:15 "And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men." God alone is in control of time, even to the very hour. John 7:30: "Then they sought to take him; but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come." The KJV along with Tyndale, Geneva, Douay, Webster's 1833 translation, the KJV 21, Third Millenium Bible, Young's, and the Spanish Reina Valera correctly translate 2 Peter 3:11,12 "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and HASTING UNTO the coming of the day of God..." Tyndale,Geneva, Webster, KJV 21, TMB=KJV, Douay - hasten towards; Young - hasting to; Span. apresurÃ¡ndoos para la venida, while the RV, ASV have -earnestly desiring. But something has definitely changed in the new "bibles". The NKJV & NASB have "hastening the coming" and the NIV has "speed its coming". We cannot hurry up Gods timetable or affect it in any way. The new versions teach the opposite and contradict the rest of Scripture. For a further development and explanation of the theology of this verse as it stands in the King James Bible please see my article here: http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/hastingunto.html Example #3 In 2 Sam.14, Joab enlists the help of a wise woman to change David's attitude toward his son Absalom. David apparently received the woman's message as from the Lord, because he allowed Absalom to return to Jerusalem. Part of the message is v.14; "For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered again; NEITHER DOTH GOD RESPECT ANY PERSON." In other words, we all die, regardless of wealth or social position. The Geneva Bible, Youngs translation, and the 1917 Jewish Pub. Co. of America Version all agree with the KJV. However, the NKJV, NASB, & NIV say "God does not take away life." This is a false statement. It contradicts 2 Sam. 12:15 just two chapters before where the Lord struck the child and he died. 1 Sam. 2:6 says: "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up..." and God himself testifies in Deut. 32:39; "I kill, and I make alive." This is not a case of the NKJV or NAS honestly examining the Hebrew, because both have rendered the same words in other places just as the KJV has them here. Why change what this wise woman said from the truth into a lie? For a further explanation of this verse please see my article here: http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/2Sam14.html Example #4 A false witness can say something so utterly ridiculous that you know he is lying. Let's look at the NAS - the rapidly fading star of the scholarly types. Is it possible to deceive God? He knows our every thought and the words before they come out of our mouths. Of course, you say, no one can deceive God. Stupid statement #1 . Psalms 78 tells us of Israel's rebellion and sin against their God and of his continued compassion towards them. One of the people's many recorded sins is found in v.36: "they did FLATTER him with their mouth, and lied unto him with their tongue." We can flatter God - say all kinds of nice things about him yet not really mean them. God is not fooled by mans false words of adoration. The ASV, NIV, NKJV, Darby, Geneva, RSV and NRSV all agree with the KJV that they flattered God. But the NAS says they DECEIVED him. That my Christian friend is an impossibility. I hope you aren't deceived into thinking the NASB is the true Bible. Stupid statement #2. Psalm 10:4 describes a wicked man: "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God; GOD IS NOT IN ALL HIS THOUGHTS." In other words, in everything this man thinks, God never enters the picture. The NKJV, NIV agree with the KJV. But the NAS has "All his thoughts are 'There is no God.'" Not even the staunchest atheist walks around all day long thinking; "there is no god, there is no god, there is no god." Stupid statement #3. Ephesians 5:13 says along with the NKJV, NIV,ASV, Darby, Geneva and Spanish: "But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light; for WHATSOEVER DOTH MAKE MANIFEST IS LIGHT." In other words, the light of God's truth shows things for what they really are. It tells us what sin and unrighteousness are by exposing them. The NAS would have us believe "everything that becomes visible is light," Oh, really? Example #5 As a false witness will contradict himself, so too will a false bible. Hebrews 3 tells of the children of Israel who didn't believe God and hardened their hearts so as not to enter the promised land. Verse 16 says; "For some, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses." Tyndale, Geneva, Young and Reina Valera of 1602 agree with the KJV. However the NKJV,NIV & NAS say: "For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt by Moses?" You would naturally answer "Yes, it was all" to the new versions. But that is a lie, a contradiction and contrary to the whole sense of the passage. Joshua and Caleb believed God and eventually did enter the promised land along with thousands of the children of the parents who refused to believe God. The whole point of the passage is to believe God and enter into his rest. Be like Caleb and Joshua. Example #6 Who is in control of the world? Is it God or Satan? Jesus Christ said: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Mat.28:18. The Lord's prayer in Mat. 6:13 ends with :"For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever, Amen." This phrase is in brackets in the NAS and removed in the NIV. Jesus either said it or he didn't, they can't all be right. In Ephesians 1:20-22 it is said of Christ that God "raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet." Daniel 4:17,25,26 tell us that "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." II Cron. 20:6: "O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?" Satan is a liar from the beginning. When he told Jesus, during the temptation, that all the kingdoms of the world were his and that he gave them to whomsoever he would, he was lying. His statement directly contradicts Daniel 4:17 and the other Scriptures. But the NIV, NAS and NKJ have bought Satan's lie and are passing it off on to God's children. In 1 John 5:19 the KJV along with the Geneva, Tyndale, Youngs and the Spanish of 1602 say: "And we know that we are of God, and THE WHOLE WORLD LIETH IN WICKEDNESS." We live in a fallen world; it lies in sin; but God is still in control and ruling even though it may not appear that way. But the eye of faith sees his sovereignty and rejoices in this confidence. However the NIV says: "The whole world is under the control of the evil one." (Before you rush to your school boy Greek, check out your own version on the presence or lack of the definite article.) The NASB has "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." The NKJV tries to strike a medium with its: "lies under the sway of the wicked one" but it is also wrong when it calls Satan the "ruler of this world" in John 16:11. For further discussion of who rules the world, please see: http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/riddle.html Example #7 Words and Numbers I believe God is very serious about his words and those who would tamper with them. Deut.4:2: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it." Proverbs 30:5,6 "Every word of God is pure...Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Also Rev. 22:18,19. The NAS and the NIV are both grievously guilty of adding to, diminishing from and changing the words of God. This is not just my opinion, but documented facts from their own "bibles" and concordances. I will give just a few of the many examples I have found. In Judges 16:13,14 the NAS & NIV add 33 extra words to the text, which are not found in any Hebrew manuscripts, but according to the NIV footnote are found in some Greek copies. In II Sam. 13:34 the NIV adds another 21 words from the Greek. They are not found in the NAS. And again the NIV adds another 15 words to Psalm 145:13 from the Syriac - which are not in the NAS. In Gen. 4:8 NIV adds from the Greek: "let us go out into the field." I have found well over 40 examples in the NASB and more than 80 in the NIV where they do not follow the Hebrew text but go with the Greek, Syriac, Targum etc. Here are documented facts about some of the many places where versions like the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, Holman Standard and other modern Bible versions reject the inspired Hebrew texts. See http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/NIVapos.html and http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/NIVapos2.html 2 Chronicles 22:2 tells us that Ahaziah was 42 years old when he began to reign. All Hebrew texts, plus the Revised Version, the ASV, Geneva, Darby, Young, Spanish, NKJV, and even the RSV & NRSV say 42. Yet the NAS & NIV change this number to 22 on the basis of the Syriac and some LXX copies. This information is in a footnote in the Scofield NIV of 1984. It is recorded in 2 Kings 8:26 that he was 22 years old. There is a rather easy solution to this apparent contradiction. Jehu was appointed by God to cut off the house of Ahab - 2 Cron.22:7. Ahaziah was son in law to Ahab - 2 Kings 8:27. So if you count how long each king related to Ahab reigned, you come up with exactly the 42nd year as a son of Ahab (related by marriage) when Ahaziah began to reign, though physically he was only 22. Ahab 1 Kings 16;29 -22 years reigned, Jehoram of Israel 12 years 2 Kings 3:1 and Jehoram of Judah 8 years 2 Chron. 21:5. Thus 22 + 12 + 8 =42. The new versions are based on unbelief. They say "This is a scribal error." They don't believe God has preserved his word without error. They do not have an inspired, inerrant Bible in their hands. Ask them and you will see. For a more in depth discussion of the 22 versus 42 "problem" please see http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/22or42.html A riddle is found within a riddle in Judges 14:12-18. Verse 15 says "it came to pass on the SEVENTH day". This is in all Hebrew texts, ASV,Geneva, Young, Darby, Douay, NKJ (but with misleading footnote) and Spanish. The NIV changes this to the FOURTH day with a footnote that says some LXX, Syriac 4th; Hebrew 7th. NAS also has FOURTH but no footnote. NAS NIV still have a contradiction because of v.17, 18. Can you solve the riddle? Hints: Could any days have intervened between v12 and v.15? And what would the first 7th day of v. 15 have meant to the Jewish Samson? There is no need to doubt God's Holy word. Get the KJV Holy Bible and stick with it. I have also developed a fuller explanation of the riddle within a riddle found here: http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/riddle.html One last example dealing with numbers - though I have many more. In 1 Samuel 13:1 the KJV, NKJV, Geneva and Spanish say: "Saul reigned ONE year; and when he had reigned TWO years over Israel..." The NAS says: "Saul was 40 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 32 years over Israel." The NIV has: "Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty two years." Gleason Archer, one of the translators of the NIV, says in his book Bible Difficulties on page 171 that the Hebrew text here has been lost. How is that for God preserving his word?! The NAS & NIV not only disagree with each other but contradict Acts 13:21 where we are told that Saul reigned for 40 years. The Hebrew text is not lost. Check out the concordances of NAS- NIV and you will see they have at times translated the words "one" and "year" just as the KJV. For further development of the truth of this verse as it stands in the King James Bible, please see my article here: http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/wdslost.html "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it." The NIV complete concordance tells us that they have not translated THOUSANDS of Hebrew and Greek words. Here are just a few examples. Zechariah 1:7 NIV omits "saying". The NIV number for this word is #606. Their own concordance tells us they have "not translated" this word 878 times. Zech. 1:11 "Behold" is gone. NIV #2180 not translated 550 times. Zech 1:18 omits "mine eyes" #6524 36 times not translated; "saw" and "behold" also are gone from this same verse. "Children" #1201 not translated 237 times; Zech. 8:17 omits "in your hearts", Zech. 8:19 omits the word "fast" 3 of the 4 times it occurs in this verse. Zech. 9:1 omits "burden". All of these words are in the NAS, NKJ, and of course the KJV. The NIV has over 64,000 fewer words in it than the KJV. It does not translate the words "it came to pass" (also, to be, happen, occur) #2118 887 times. The words "I pray thee" #5228 in NIV are not translated 297 times out of the 405 times it occurs in the Hebrew text. See how the omission of this simple phrase changes a request into a demand. In Exodus 33:18 Moses speaks to God: "And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory." NIV: "Then Moses said, 'Now show me your glory.'" This type of "bible" may appeal to the blab it and grab it crowd, but it is not the pure word of God. The NAS 95 Update version omits almost 8000 words from the Greek and Hebrew texts which were previously in the NAS 1977 edition. Perhaps they reason we don't talk in that old fashioned way any more, so let's update the language to a more modern usage. But I ask you, if this book is indeed Gods holy words of truth, and he wrote it in this manner, what or who gives the modern scholars the right to edit Gods word? Thank you for your time and attention. May God give you the grace and humility to come to the correct verdict and the only correct version. Through the electing grace of God, washed in the blood of the Lamb, a brother in Christ Jesus our Lord, Will Kinney
I have always done the typical thing of dividing missions into two categories, as do most people--foreign missions and home missions. However, in the past year, I have ceased to do that. My main reason for doing so arises from an honest evaluation of the true condition of our own nation, the United States of America. We cannot afford to continue treating our nation as a thoroughly evangelized entity in which there is a need for some few "home mission" projects. Indeed, the USA is now one of the most unevangelized nations in the world. The USA is the third largest nation in the world now. China is the largest. India is second. But, our 300,000,000 plus population brings us in at third place. Additionally, our growth is so phenomenal that by 2050 we are projected to be half again larger--coming in at 450,000,000 people. That is close to half a billion.But, consider that at present there are approximately 11,000 independent Baptist churches, and consider the true state of those churches when it comes to zeal, purity, and influence, and you must conclude that the USA is truly unevangelized. I believe that perpetuating the "home" versus "foreign" labels we use in missions fails to take this fact into consideration. Our independent Baptist churches are mostly white, mostly suburban or rural, and mostly middle class. Vast populations of our land are ignored completely in the discussion. The urgency to "reseed" America is undervalued. To me, missions is just missions--near to home or far away. "The mission field has come to us," we say. Okay, if that is true, then let us start thinking that way. It is all simply missions--no further designation is necessary. My thoughts, Norman Johnston Norman Johnston is a missions professor at Ambassador Baptist College and an active member of the Aletheia Project.Â The Alethia Project is an organization whose goal is to to use the Internet to reach non-English speaking people with the Gospel. For more information about the Aletheia Project please visit their website at http://www.aletheiaproject.com.
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by Hohn Chofter 13 years of ministry alongside college-and-career-aged single folks, I've witnessed and counseled and comforted more than my share, perhaps, of dear people who have suffered from the tragedy of sexual and physical abuse. And in a culture that is seemingly degrading by the day, especially sexually, it should not surprise us that we are seeing more and more reports of it, even within the church, sadly. I laid out numerous examples in paragraph 12 of a previous blog post, and since that time we've seen more and more and more examples, including one from earlier this week at Matt Chandler's Village Church.[*] Interestingly, that last article appeared to validate certain concerns that I and others have raised previously about the "Ministry Safe" organization, particularly the dangers associated with possible conflicts of interest and institutional bias.On a brighter note, also earlier this week, the SBC sexual abuse advisory group released its "Caring Well" report. Although I don't agree with everything and continue to be concerned that terms such as "abuse" and "spiritual abuse" are too vague to be helpful, the report has many helpful points, and appears to represent some positive movement. In particular, I appreciated large portions of pages 17-22, which included this sobering view from Rachael Denhollander, "Predators often target faith communities because our mishandling of sexual assault means that churches are one of the safest places for predators to flourish", as well as some reasons why that could be, explained under subheadings such as:Failure to Recognize and Value God's Image in Every PersonFailure in Understanding the Doctrine of SinMisapplication of Confession, Repentance, and Forgiveness of SinConfusion Over Doctrine of the ChurchMisunderstanding that Sexual Abuse is Not Only Sin—But a CrimeMisunderstanding of Church AutonomyAnd while of course not every church in the SBC or the United States might be guilty of these theological failures, one needs only to consider the average state of biblical literacy and understanding across American evangelicalism as a whole to realize that the list is probably pretty spot-on. Indeed, having read many dozens if not hundreds of articles and stories on the topic, themes such as "I was pressured to keep this within the church" with little thought to the protection of the governing authorities in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2, and "my pastor told me I had to forgive" with no regard for genuine repentance in 2 Corinthians 7, are so common as to be nigh-constant.Meanwhile, all of this is happening against the backdrop of a parallel conversation in evangelicalism, specifically the issue of complementarianism vs. egalitarianism relating to women in leadership roles within the church. The secular Washington Post has summarized the recent discussion in a way that links the two issues, and speaking as a staunch complementarian, I agree with that linkage in one important way.Complementarian Churches Ought to be the Safest Places for WomenWhenever we look at human authority structures in the Bible, we see a dynamic between the one in authority and the ones under authority. The ones under authority are to submit to the one in authority—but the one in authority should be trembling under the weight and responsibility that the Word of God places upon those in authority. Some patriarchal Christians might be quick to point out the three verses dealing with the wife's submission to her own husband in Ephesians 5:22-24, but then downplay the next six verses in Ephesians 5:25-30 dealing with the husband's sacrificial (even unto death itself) obligations to his own wife. Parents might be eager for their children to memorize Colossians 3:20, and yet conveniently forget that Colossians 3:21 commands parents not to provoke their children. Bosses might be thrilled that servants are to be subject even to unjust managers with all respect as it says in 1 Peter 2:18, but nevertheless the masters are commanded to treat their servants justly and fairly in Colossians 4:1. Governing authorities might shout "obey" to its citizens per Romans 13:1-2, but woe to those authorities if they fail to approve the good and avenge God's wrath upon the wrongdoers per Romans 13:3-4.And when it comes to the church, the language is arguably the strongest of all. Jesus in Matthew 20:25-28 clearly told the disciples that followers of Christ must not lord it over others the way the rulers of the Gentiles did, but rather that they must be servants, and the one desiring to be first among them must be a slave, following in the example of Jesus Himself, who came not to be served, but to serve. This archetypical example of servant leadership is a radical departure from both the authoritarian leadership styles of the Romans, as well as most concepts of leadership today, whether in the United States generally or even in much of the evangelical church, sadly.One needs only to consider the example of certain high-profile Christian leaders—and in many cases, their sad falls—to see this borne out time and time again. Whether it's the heavy-handed leadership of Mark Driscoll, who charmingly referred to wives as homes for penises, or Doug Phillips, who was disgraced and then sued for the sadly all-too-banal story of grooming and seducing his family's nanny, or Paige Patterson, who in a sermon approved of a 16-year-old girl being referred to as "built" and in another incident told his head of security that he wanted to meet with a rape victim alone so that he could "break her down" (presumably an aggressive cross-examination of her testimony), or James MacDonald, who set up photos of some of his fellow elders' wives to use as target practice, with the ones most troublesome to him apparently designated for higher point values. Based on many reports, in all of these men's organizations, they appeared to demonstrate all of the authority and none of the servanthood—and it showed in their attitudes toward women.The Scriptures on the nature of leadership in the church don't end there, of course. Elders are to rule well over the local church, as it says in 1 Timothy 5:17, and their very name is essentially interchangeable with the word overseer. And from Hebrews 13:17, we see that congregants are indeed to obey and submit to their elders. But the nature of the rule and oversight that congregants are to follow is the very servant leadership described by Jesus in Matthew 20:25-28 and Mark 10:42-45, and the weight of that is further established by the very same Hebrews 13:17 that talks about submission to the elders—because those elders are going to give an account before God Himself for how they kept watch over the souls God placed under the elders' care.Reinforcing this point, 1 Peter 5:1-4 commands elders to shepherd the flock of God, willingly and not under compulsion or for shameful gain, and explicitly not domineering but as an example, once again bringing to mind Jesus and the servant leader. Indeed, as we search through Scripture for what elders are to do, it sounds like a whole lot of service and precisely the opposite of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Elders are to preach and teach and even rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine, a necessary task, but one that is often arduous and hardly enjoyable, except perhaps for the pugnacious and quarrelsome (who ought to be disqualified from eldership in any event). Elders are to pray, and tend to the sick, and care for the church of God, and shepherd the flock for whom they are accountable before the Lord.Speaking from my own experience as a lay elder, it is a blessed and joyful task, and a deeply fulfilling one, but it is also an enormous amount of work, and I'm truly grateful for treasure laid up in Heaven, because it certainly isn't a source of material profit. On some levels, I believe complementarian leadership in the church would be quite a bit less controversial if the focus were more on the endurance and perseverance needed for the often inconspicuous and sometimes thankless tasks of shepherding and caring for the flock and the least of these, and not at all on the (mostly) American phenomenon of the glamorous and successful "celebrity" Christian preacher.Opening Your Mouth for the MuteAnd as we do shepherd and care for the flock and the least of these, complementarians should remember that yes, 1 Corinthians 14:34 says what it says, and yes, 1 Timothy 2:12 means what it means, and although these might be controversial topics today, the Scriptural words and concepts are not hard to understand—even if they are hard for some to bear. But as we consider the weighty Scriptural call for men to lead the church, we must also remember what that means with respect to the women. I have previously questioned the helpfulness of frequent attempts to apply Proverbs 31:8-9 to the larger "social justice" debate in the US, especially in light of the fact that in our age of social media, just about anyone can have a voice, and in our society of casual wealth that would be unimaginable in the Ancient Near East, just about no one is truly destitute. One obvious example of where Proverbs 31:8-9 would indeed apply are the untold millions of murdered unborn, who truly lack a voice (although they have a heartbeat) and are truly destitute (not only of material wealth, but also of basic human rights).But another example would be right here, where women as a matter of biblical structure are necessarily absent from the plurality of elders, and indeed, they are explicitly called to be silent. In these cases, should we not be vigilant to apply Proverbs 31:8-9, and speak up for their rights and defend their interests? This could of course take many different forms, but in a (largely) peaceful and wealthy society where neither murder nor death are lurking around every corner, should we not be especially watchful and protective, then, in the area of physical and sexual abuse, which sadly runs rampant throughout our society?In a previous article, I mentioned how in 2016, actually reported cases of rapes and sexual assaults numbered nearly 300,000, while domestic violence incidents were over 1,000,000. Underlying those horrifying statistics is the sad reality that only a fraction of each type of crime is reported, and that when one considers the terrible human cost of this suffering as it ripples outward, sometimes compounded down through the third and fourth generation, the direct and indirect impacts of these grievous and sinful crimes are far, far worse than the sterile numbers indicate. So often, Christian men say they would defend Christian women from any physical threat, even with their own lives. I honestly trust this is usually a genuine sentiment, and not mere lip service. And so here is an area that presents a perfect opportunity to live this out.Are you, complementarian man, approachable if someone that you care about has a secret to disclose that she deems to be sensitive, shameful, or even sinful? And what will your response be if she recounts an event of physical or sexual abuse? Remember, complementarian pastor, in our dealings with women, 1 Timothy 5:2 would have us treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters. So if your own biological mother or sister came to you with such a recounting, what would your first reaction be? I know mine would likely be to strive to mortify my immediate outrage and thirst for vengeance, before offering as much comfort and tangible assistance as I could, including reporting the matter to the governing authorities (which might even be a legal requirement, depending on your jurisdiction) and helping her to seek justice, regardless of who the alleged perpetrator was.Speaking as a lawyer, this does not mean we throw out the idea of due process, of course, nor does it necessarily even mean #BelieveAllWomen in the ideological or political sense of that hashtag. What I'm talking about is more along the lines of bearing your fellow Christian's burden, mourning with those who mourn, and remembering that pastors and elders are neither the governing authorities with respect to crimes, nor the investigating detective, nor the cross-examining lawyer on the case. Proverbs 18:13, 17 would indeed tell us that the accused has his own story to tell, and he should absolutely have the opportunity to tell it. It may be, however, that you, complementarian leader, will not be the one to hear or adjudicate that story.As men, we are sometimes inclined to put ourselves in the shoes of the accused and sympathize with him, even as specific false accusations from the past spring to our mind in a type of confirmation bias. But the reality is that the most credible studies have shown a range of only 2-10% of rape accusations being demonstrated later to be false. If you think without any supporting evidence that those statistics are fake news, well, go ahead and triple that range, sheerly for the sake of argument, and the reality would still be that the great majority of rape accusations are at least somewhat plausible.It grieves me, then, when I hear of cases where the churchman immediately springs to protect the accused rather than the accuser, or pushes cheap grace upon the tangibly wronged, or even worse, tries to cover the crime up via pressure for silence—especially when the accused is a man of influence within the church. But simply because a man is successful or respected in the community, that does not mean he is incapable of horrific sins or crimes. Deep down, I think many of us really do know that, because whenever fathers have daughters, we're typically going to warn them against the ulterior or even dark motives of guys in general, since back when we were single, quite a few of us were those guys.Distinguishing Ourselves from the WorldI hope all of this has been relatively straightforward, because at the risk of sounding naïve, I really don't think it should be especially controversial to us as Bible-believing Christians. I also believe that a proper complementarianism that cherishes and treasures and looks out for the rights and interests of women can be an amazing way to distinguish ourselves from the secular world. Part of this will be in the area of attitude. It would be perverse, after all, for a man's heart attitude toward the biblical structure of complementarianism to be, "Yeah, we get to keep those wimminfolk down!" And may I humbly submit that in light of our fallen, sinful nature and the inevitable stumbling blocks relating to pride for those in leadership, perhaps we could even use a bit less, "Now let's go forth boldly as MEN and go do a bunch of manlike leader-man things," and a bit more time in earnest on-our-knees prayer for the weight of this responsibility and what it might truly mean for those under our spiritual care.By the way, I am indeed aware that we live in a gender-confused society, and yes, I still stand by what I just said, because first, it should not require a macho caricature of biblical masculinity to show a contrast with the world, and second, no matter what the world might look like, biblically we are all still called to humility and servanthood and sacrifice all through Scripture (Philippians 2:3-4 being one of the most obvious and clear, and one of my absolute favorites). In the face of a Roman Empire full of sexual immorality and confusion, Christian men led, and the Gospel spread, by standing for the truth via a willingness to suffer and even die under persecution, and not by becoming political culture warriors. And on that note, I'd much rather see one tangible and sacrificial act of biblical manhood, than a hundred tweets full of empty words or even worse, chest-pounding bravado about it.In the secular world, we see an increasingly pornified culture where women are objectified and commodified and degraded and pressured to indulge in every form of perversion, existing right alongside fourth-wave feminism and the #MeToo movement and all of their supposed attempts to empower women and eliminate gender differences. The contradictions and confusion inherent in these worldviews that lack an ultimate purpose like pursuing Jesus Christ and an objective anchor like the Word of God are patently obvious, especially when we see so much subjectivity that half of the feminists seem to glorify porn while the other half seem to reject it.Meanwhile, as I've said in prior comments, everywhere we look, women seem to lose out whenever they're stacked against any other identity or interest group, such as ethnicity, national origin and immigration, Islam, or more recently transgenderism. Even in an area that would seem like a slam-dunk such as female genital mutilation, a barbaric and cruel practice with zero medical and health benefits, this society simply is not standing up for women like it could and should.It must not be this way in Christianity. What an opportunity we have to demonstrate a church culture that cherishes, values, and protects women, because the Bible commands us to cherish, value, and protect women. That is my prayer for the church universal, and that is how I would strive to serve any church where I might have the immense and weighty privilege to help as a servant leader, including my own beloved local church. And that is my prayer for your church as well, dear reader. [*] In 2015, Chandler and his elders at the Village Church also received criticism for their treatment of another woman, Karen Hinkley, a former missionary whose then-husband had admitted to possession of child pornography as part of a long-standing indulgence in pedophilic desires. The Village Church's church discipline of Hinkley and subsequent apology to her have been widely reported, including here (with paywall) and here (without paywall, although from a secular publisher that has been hostile previously to biblical Christianity, so read with discernment).
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