Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It's sad to make this comparison, but the Message translation/distortion of the Scriptures is like a bad movie, that you just have to see to the end to justify the purchase cost ($10 at Lifeway. And on a related note, I'm becoming convinced of something that Pastor Baucham once said, that "Christian" bookstores like Lifeway need to put signs on their doors that say "the views expressed inside are not necessarily that of Christ and the Bible" (or words to that effect.)
On the surface, the idea behind the Message is a good one: roll the text out in a more easy to consume format for contemporary readers. But at the cost of compromising the integrity of the original MESSAGE, the Message misses the mark. I wonder if I can make a return to Lifeway, on grounds of Scriptural errancy in the translation?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
I've finished the Old Testament translation of the Message, and now I'm into Matthew's gospel, and while some of the translation has been engaging through the Old Testament text, once we get into the gospels, the narrative seems to get a bit strange. Having recently studied Matt. 7 at church, I'm pretty sure that the translator is taking some liberties with some of the text, as if he's writing what he THINKS the text is stating, but which it actually isn't. Still, I'm going to see it through even though I would NOT recommend this translation to others.
v. 13-14 speak of the straight and narrow paths (Jer. 21:8 - "The way of life, the way of death"). Voddie spoke about the Christian life, and how it must be entered into intentionally. He addressed the more nominal approach to Christianity, that when asked "are you a Christian?", tend to reply with "I go to church", "I was raised a Christian", or "I've been a Christian all my life" (the later of which goes against the viewpoint of entering the Christian life intentionally, but rather makes it sound like an accidental pursuit.) Christianity is not an accidental endeavor, but instead is founded on repentance and faith (Mark 1 - "repent and believe"). To state that "I've been a believer all my life" is a theological impossibility.
Voddie pointed out that we all, by default, find the "wide gate" (the doctrine of original sin). We need to find the narrow gate. We seek it and petition God, with faith and repentance. So many churches this day teach an easy salvation, with belief without repentance, or acknowledgement of the burden of sin. The world wants to believe in Jesus "meek and mild", not the final judge who will convict us based upon our sins. We all deserve the death on the cross.
The expectation, as well, as that we will experience persecution as part of our walk. Modern teaching ("Best Life Yet" stuff) teaches that you should believe to escape persecution (in other words, they have the system backwards.) We learn from the Word that the one who endures to the end will be saved, not the one who just says "the sinner's prayer". We are encouraged to endure patiently.
Pastor also taught that our sin nature makes it difficult to find the narrow gate, as it's surrounded by the wide path. But our companions are few on this road. Language on the broad road, about the narrow road, is that the narrow-road travelers are "over committed", or "they're taking it too far." Responses like "Do you think we're wrong when there are THOUSANDS at our church, or because God is blessing our church?" This was a really good point, as I've struggled with how the local UM church can be so enormous, while being so shallow in it's teaching. The broad road is convenient, easy Christianity. Church on Sunday then go home and live as you like for a week.
We are exhorted to watch ourselves, and test ourselves. Jesus is the author and finished of our faith, and we should never adopt an attitude of, as Pastor said, "Thanks for dying, Jesus, but I did the rest myself." Endurance is evidence of our salvation - it's not a result of sheer credit to our own efforts. Salvation is about more than a "sinners prayer" on a specific date and time written in a Bible somewhere. It's about repentance, because you fully know and understand that you are a sinner deserving eternal wrath (and not just repentance in thinking that we are comparably less-wicked than the "Hitlers" of the world). Repentance and faith in the person and work of Christ alone.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
A favorite hymn of mine, particularly the last verse: "Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Alleluia, Alleluia!" More background here.
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost: