"AS I SEE IT"

Volume 2, Number 8, August 1999

 

["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.

 

AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.Back issues sent on request.They may also be downloaded at http://www.tegart.com/brian/bible/kjvonly.

 

All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only.Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand.Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]

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"There but for the Grace of God. . . ."

 

"A great deal of apparent virtue may be due to our not happening to be tempted at the time when we are in a certain condition, or else if our tinder and the devils' sparks had met who knows but what the best of us might have been ablaze by now?Oh how much we owe to preventing grace!We are debtors both to the providence and the grace of God which have kept us out of harm's way."

††††††††††† C. H. Spurgeon,

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit,

1880, vol. 26, p. 513.

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A. T. Robertson--Premillennialist?

 

"Some few years ago it was my great privilege to sit at the feet of Dr. A. T. Robertson as he gave a course of lectures on the Epistle to the Colossians directly from his Greek Testament in Calvary Baptist Church in New York City.He was conducting a ministerial conference, and it was my privilege in that conference to give a series of addresses from my English Bible (because I am not scholar enough to give them from a Greek Testament and most folk are not scholars enough to follow me if I were) and I was rather gratified to see the great man sitting down before me every day.I recognized Dr. Robertson as undoubtedly the outstanding Greek scholar of America, if not of the world, and yet that dear, kindly man of God sat and listened to a poor insignificant person like myself, and he was just as gracious and just as attentive as anyone could possibly be.I went through the two letters to the Thessalonians, and at the close of the last address, Dr. Robertson came to me and said, 'Well, this is the first time that I have ever listened to anyone go carefully through those epistles from the premillennial standpoint, and I must say that my judgment has gone with you through the entire series.I have never definitely declared myself as a premillennialist, but I think if I had my life to live over again I would be much more positive concerning this for I have never in all my ministry known a premillennialist who was a modernist.'I thought this was an interesting testimony.There is that about the premillennial position that necessitates a belief in the full inspiration of this Book."

††††††††††† H. A. Ironside,

THE LAMP OF PROPHECY

Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1940,

pp. 128-129.

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

THE LIFE OF SPENCER H. CONE [by his sons].New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 1857.484 pp.

 

The name Spencer H. Cone (1785-1855) is by no means a "household name" in America today, not even among Baptists.Indeed, I would doubt that more than one or two of my readers out of a hundred recognize the name or know about the man.Yet, in the first half of the 19th century, Spencer H. Cone was indeed a household name, not just among Baptists (his own denomination), but among American Christians generally.

 

Born in Hopewell, New Jersey into a devout Baptist family, Cone was an avid reader as a youth, and studied both Greek and Latin.He entered Princeton College at age twelve but was compelled by family circumstances to leave school and seek employment when he was fourteen (his father had become seriously deranged, a condition lasting more or less for the rest of his life).Cone sought and gained employment as a school teacher--at age 14!--and was the sole financial support for his family.He continued in this profession until about age 20, when he became a stage actor because of pressing financial concerns.Though he disliked acting, he was nevertheless among the best of native American actors and developed quite a following.His voice and elocution were superb.He left off acting when he was 27.

 

At age 27, Cone, as yet unconverted (though he had experienced deep conviction of sin as a youth between 8 and 10), was moved to purchase some of the writings of John Newton, slave-trader turned preacher.Reading his words, followed by the close study of Scripture brought Cone to repentance and faith.Shortly thereafter, he was asked to speak in a church in the Washington, D.C. area.Crowds flocked to hear him.Soon he became chaplain to the United States Congress, and then pastor in Alexandria, Virginia (in a church made up of about equal numbers of black and white members), where he remained until called in 1823 to the Oliver Street Baptist Church in New York City.That metropolis was the scene of Cone's labors to the end of his life, pastoring two different churches there over the next three decades.

 

As a pastor, no one in America excelled Cone in his zeal for the cause of world missions, a movement of recent origin in the United States.He was especially effective at raising money to support various missions enterprises.Among these was the publication of various missionary translations of the Bible.

 

Cone was an enthusiastic supporter and leader in the American Bible Society (founded 1816), until he was forced by his convictions to leave that society in 1836.In 1833, some of the society's members raised objections to the ABS sponsoring missionary Bible translations which translated baptizo by words meaning "immerse," an allegedly "sectarian" rendering (though an accurate translation).The ABS thereupon withdrew its financial aid to Baptist-made translations in Asia, though it had funded them before, and despite the fact that Baptists were the single most generous denomination in supporting the ABS.

 

Cone and many others--Baptists and non-Baptists--withdrew from the ABS and organized the American and Foreign Bible Society in 1837 (an action opposed by Baptist leader Francis Wayland), with the expressed purpose of making available the most accurate Bible translations in the languages of the world.Cone became chairman of this society.Later, it was proposed by some (including Cone) in the A & FBS that the common English version be subjected to the same standard as mission field versions, that is, that a revision of the KJV be made to correct known errors and obscurities, and make it as accurate as the mission field versions of William Carey in India and Adoniram Judson in Burma.

 

This proposal caused a rift in the A & FBS, resulting in Cone's resignation, and the organization of the American Bible Union in 1850, which organization Cone headed until his death in 1855.This society sponsored "immerse" versions on the mission field as well as a revision of the KJV which appeared in the 1860s (this interesting chapter in Baptist history is discussed in detail in Thomas Armitage, A History of the Baptists, pp. 893-918).

 

Besides his missions and Bible society labors, Cone was elected four times to the presidency of the Triennial Convention (1832, 1835, 1838, 1841).The Triennial Convention was a once-every-three-years national meeting of Baptists in America, both north and south, before they split in the 1840s over slavery.This was more or less the equivalent to being elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention today.At any rate, it is a mark of the great esteem that Cone was held in by his peers that he was elected to this office four times, and would have been re-elected yet again had he not refused the honor.

 

In doctrine, Cone was a moderate Calvinist and practiced close communion in his churches (scriptural baptism as a prerequisite to the Lord's table).He preached extemporaneously and always without any notes (hence his literary remains are rather few).

 

The biography of Cone by his sons (whose names are not given) is more informative than inspiring.It contains a great mass of detailed information about Baptists in general and Cone in particular, though it lacks the fire and fervency that makes for a great biography.I got my copy from a friend who made a photocopy for me of this long out-of-print book.If one should want to become expert in 19th century American Baptist history, this book is essential.

 

In the absence of this book, the reader can find brief accounts of Cone and his life in Armitage's Baptist history, pp. 904-906 (Armitage also pastored in New York City, and delivered Cone's funeral sermon), and in William Cathcart, A Baptist Encyclopedia.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ---Doug Kutilek

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THE FACTS ON JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES by John Ankerberg and John Weldon.Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1988.48 pp., paperback.$2.99

 

In this brief booklet (one of a series dealing with various cults, "ism"s and contemporary religious trends and issues), Ankerberg and Weldon do a commendable job of introducing the reader to the history and doctrines of the Jehovah's Witnesses.With thorough documentation (including 121 endnotes and a couple of pages of bibliography), the false doctrines, false claims, and false prophecies of "The Watchtower" are exposed and refuted.The book is suitable for laymen as well as those trained in Biblical studies, and even for Jehovah's Witnesses, since the book concludes with a guide on how a person can get out of the JWs and find the true God and the salvation He gives through grace.Definitely a worthwhile and valuable booklet.

 

(On my latest trip to Romania, where the Watchtower is especially active in enslaving souls, I discovered this booklet had been translated into Romanian.No doubt it has been rendered into other languages as well).

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ----Doug Kutilek

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THE FACTS ON ISLAM by John Ankerberg and John Weldon.Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1998, revised edition.48 pp., paperback.$2.99

 

With the growing number of Moslems in the United States, and the fact that Islam is at present the greatest single focus of evil in the world (the great majority of terrorist acts in recent years as well as the most intense persecution of Christians have been carried out by devoted followers of Islam), it is imperative that Christians inform themselves about Islam, its claims, its practices, and its errors.This brief booklet provides an adequate introduction to the subject, though a much more detailed account would be needed to prepare one to effectively evangelize Moslems.The endnotes provide additional sources that can be consulted.

 

The booklet is not free from defects, however.First, there is the statement that "the Christian view of Jesus Christ as God's literal Son," (p. 15) is certainly erroneous and agrees rather with Mormonism that biblical Christianity.Jesus is NOT the Son of God in the literal sense that my two sons are my literal sons--by birth, descent and procreation.Rather, His Sonship is by mutual agreement in eternity past between the co-equal and co-eternal persons of the Godhead.

 

The Greek word apologia is explained (p. 30) as meaning "to present a defense for" as though it were a verb, when in fact, as a noun, it simply means "a defense," in particular, a verbal defense.

 

Third, in describing the preservation of the NT text from corruption in the copying process, by omitting a crucial phrase in a statement from Geisler and Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible (1968 edition), they overstate the case for NT preservation.Ankerberg and Weldon quote Geisler and Nix as saying that modern critical editions of the original Scriptures present "exactly what the autographs contained--line for line, word for word, and even letter for letter." (p. 33).Geisler and Nix qualified this sentence with the phrase "for all practical purposes" (p. 375), which is accurate.By deletion of this phrase, Ankerberg and Weldon misrepresent the facts.

 

Finally, on p. 41, endnote numbers jump from 115 to 144, continuing then to 149, but in the endnotes themselves, there are no notes past 115.

 

(One remotely related observation: on p. 32, the attitude of Moslems toward the Koran is noted: "Because the Koran is predefined as God's perfect revelation--and the Bible contradicts it, therefore,--it is the Bible that must be corrupted.Historical evidence has no relevance to the issue because it is impossible that the Koran could be wrong."How exactly this sounds like King James Only advocates, who predefine the KJV as God's perfect revelation, and therefore conclude that since all other translations in English and other languages, as well as all printed Greek and Hebrew texts differ from the KJV, all these others must be corrupt.In their case, too, historical evidence--facts--have no relevance to the issue because in their minds it is impossible that the KJV translation can be wrong.)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ---Doug Kutilek

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THE FACTS ON THE KING JAMES ONLY DEBATE: HOW RELIABLE ARE TODAY'S BIBLE VERSIONS? by John Ankerberg and John Weldon.Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1996. 48 pp. $2.99

 

For the first two decades of the "King James Only" movement (ca. 1965-1985), there was very little written, especially on a layman's level, that addressed and refuted this latter-day false doctrine--beyond the booklets "Bible Translations" by Robert Sumner (published by the Sword of the Lord), and "What You Should Know About Bible Translations" by G. Christian Weis (published by Back to the Bible).At least these were just about all I was able to get my hands on.There was of course the excellent book by D. A. Carson, The King James Version Debate which Baker published in 1979.In the past dozen years, however, a growing number of booklets, books, and periodicals have focused on this pernicious and unbiblical teaching and have joined battle with those disseminating this error.

 

Among those published works that have appeared is this brief booklet by John Ankerberg and John Weldon.They begin by describing the various degrees of adherence to the KJV in the KJVO camp, the most extreme being those who declare the KJV to be absolutely error-free and infallible.They address such subjects as changes in the English language, the question of manuscripts and variant readings, the process of translation making and the KJV translatorsí own views of their works.Gail Riplinger, the self-described inspired prophetess of the KJVO movement, is singled out, deservedly so, for exposure and refutation.

 

In the final section, the booklet seems to drift from it purpose and addresses the subject of Biblical infallibility in the autographs.While this area of apologetics is important and worthy of attention, it took the reader rather far afield from the KJVO debate (almost no one involved in the controversy--except Baptist-hating Lutheran Ted Letis--denies the inerrancy of the Biblical autographs).

 

There are a number of unfortunate errors in the booklet, which the KJVO crowd will be sure to find.On p. 10, the so-called "Wicked Bible," the edition of the KJV which left the "not" out of the 7th commandment is said to have been published in 1613.The correct date is 1631 (see T. H. Darlow and H. F.Moule, Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of the Holy Scripture, etc., London: British and Foreign Bible Society, 1903-1911, vol. 1, p. 165).

 

On the same page, it is stated that the actual 1611 edition of the KJV is no longer in circulation.This is not correct.Some years ago, Thomas Nelson of Nashville republished a reprint of the 1611 KJV, following exactly the original edition in spelling, punctuation, and even printers' errors, but in Roman type, rather than the original Black Letter script.This edition is still available and has been for the past 15 years and more.

 

Again on p. 10, the Greek text of the Complutensian Polyglot is credited to Erasmus, which certainly was not the case (it was compiled and printed in Spain, a country Erasmus never visited).And it is not quite correct to say that the KJV translators used Erasmus' text in their translation.According to F. H. A. Scrivener, the 19th century's greatest expert on the King James Version, the Greek text most closely corresponding to the KJV is Beza's 1598 edition, but even this they abandoned not infrequently, some190 times or so following some other printed Greek text, and 60 times following the Latin Vulgate (The New Testament In Greek, ed. by F. H. A. Scrivener.Cambridge: University Press, 1949, pp. 648-656).

 

On p. 11, the back translation from Latin into Greek was not made in a manuscript of Revelation used by Erasmus.Rather it was an act of Erasmus because the Greek manuscript he possessed lacked the last six verses, and so his translation of the Latin Vulgate into Greek was inserted, not into any manuscript, but into his printed edition.

 

Again on p. 11, the Elzivirs were not brothers but uncle and nephew (an error made even by Bruce Metzger, but corrected in the third edition of his book The Text of the New Testament.New York: Oxford University Press).And the translation of an excerpt of the publisher's blurb from the 1633 Elzivir edition as the text "best received of all" must surely be a misreading of someone's notes, because the clause is clearly to be translated rather as, "the text accepted (or, received) by all."

 

And the sentence on that page, "In spite of Erasmus' use of only five or six relatively late manuscripts, the changes in all KJV editions were minor," makes absolutely no sense at all.

 

On p. 14, a lengthy quotation is made from the KJV translators' introduction to their version, in a context in which Ankerberg and Weldon's topic of discussion is variant readings in the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts.The quote, however, has nothing to do with this subject, but is about alternate English translations of words or phrases placed by the translators in the margin.

 

On p. 15, it is stated that at Psalm 12:7, the KJV erred in translating the Hebrew as "Thou shalt keep them," rather than "Thou shalt keep us."This is incorrect.The Hebrew of the masoretic text edition followed by the KJV translators certainly has a masculine plural pronominal suffix on the verb, and "thou shalt keep them" literally renders the Hebrew in English.Now, according to the notes in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1990.Fourth revised edition, p. 1,095), there are some few manuscripts among the many Hebrew manuscripts of Psalms which do read the equivalent of "thou shalt keep us," but the KJV translators did not employ such texts (though the Septuagint, Vulgate, and NIV did).The authors are correct, however, in declaring that the promise of preservation refers to people not words.

 

Again on p. 15, the place named Kue is not a town in Egypt, but is a region of southeastern Turkey (see the article "Kue" in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. by David Noel Freedman.New York: Doubleday, 1992, vol. 4, pp. 102-103).

 

On. p. 20, Granville Sharp's Rule is said to have been discovered in the early 19th century, but we are also told that Sharp first published his book on this rule in 1798, which is late 18th century.

 

On p. 27, we are told the NKJB was made from "the very same manuscripts" as the KJV.Actually, the correct term is printed text, not manuscripts.

 

Again on that page, the last name of Rudolph Kittel is misspelled three times.

 

On p. 37, in the last line of the lengthy quote from Edward J. Young, it should read "directly from God himself," (the words "from God" being accidentally left out).

 

Finally, the list of twelve divine characteristics (pp. 38-9) which are used to "prove" the inerrancy of the original Scriptures could just as easily be employed by KJVO advocates (and some in fact have been) to claim inerrancy for the KJV.Any time arguments can be used to prove two conflicting conclusions, there is something inherently wrong in the line of reasoning.

 

The book also lacks any warning against unreliable contemporary translations (and they are many--the RSV, NEB, TEV, NRSV, etc.).While it is surely wrong to condemn all modern versions without distinction, as the KJVO advocates do, so, too, it is irresponsible to imply--even if only by omission--that modern translations are all to be commended.

 

I offer these corrections and suggestions, not because I wish to hold the booklet up to scorn, but rather to facilitate a more accurate, more correct second edition, against which the KJVO adherents cannot honestly raise objects.This booklet does make a worthwhile contribution.I only wish that it were more accurate and more carefully done.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ---Doug Kutilek

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THE TWO WESLEYS by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 64+8 pp., paperback.

 

That Spurgeon was a Calvinist (after the manner of Calvin and not after John Gill) none would deny, and that the Wesley brothers John and Charles, were Arminian in doctrine is equally assented, but this doctrinal difference between Spurgeon and the Wesleys did not prevent Spurgeon from admiring the great things the Wesleys did for God (or rather, what God did through them), for the souls of men, for England and the world.

 

Between the apostolic age and the present time, only the Reformation era saw a greater spiritual shaking and awakening that the era of the Methodist founders--George Whitefield, and John and Charles Wesley--between the late 1730s and 1790.It has been asserted, with full justification, that the Methodist revivals in England and America spared England from a bloody revolution after the pattern of the French Revolution, where anarchy, tyranny and godlessness reigned supreme for a brutal decade, and was followed by oppressive dictatorship.

 

Spurgeon examines the lives of the Welseys and their theology, frankly stating what he did and did not agree with in their teaching.He describes the events of their missionary labors as moral but unconverted Anglican preachers in the American colony of Georgia, their downcast return to England, and their glorious conversions through the instrumentality of the Moravians and the writings of Martin Luther, followed by their stupendous labors for the true Gospel of Christ.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ---Doug Kutilek

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Some excerpts from THE TWO WESLEYS--

 

"To ultra-Calvinists [John Wesley's] name is as abhorrent as the name of the Pope to a Protestant: you have only to speak of Wesley, and every imaginable evil is conjured up before their eyes, and no doom is thought to be sufficiently horrible for such an arch-heretic as he was.I verily believe that there are some who would be glad to rake up his bones from the tomb and burn them, as they did the bones of Wickliffe of old,--men who go so high in doctrine, and withal add so much bitterness and uncharitableness to it, that they cannot imagine that a man can fear God at all unless he believes precisely as they do." (p. 4)

 

". . . not believing all the Arminian believes, [I nevertheless] still at the same time [believe] that he is often sounder than the hyper-Calvinist upon some points of doctrine." (p. 5)

 

"Not thinking enough of Wesley to become a partizan (sic), not thinking so little of him as to become an adversary, I can, perhaps make a fairly correct sketch of his life." (p. 5)

 

"As for Whitefield's opinion of Wesley, there is a story current, to the effect that some Calvinist, who was exceedingly wrathful with Mr. Wesley, once said to Mr. Whitefield, 'Do you think that we shall ever see John Wesley in heaven?'Whitefield stopped, and said, 'Do I think we shall ever see John Wesley in heaven?Well, I do not think we shall,' he said.So then our friend thought that Mr. Whitefield quite agreed with him in his bitterness.'But,' added Mr. Whitefield, 'the reason why we shall not see him is this,--I am afraid that you and I will be so far off the throne of Christ, and Wesley will be so near, that he will be lost in the brightness of the Saviour, and I hardly think you and I will be able to see him.'Our friend turned away in a moment, having got quite a contrary answer from that which he expected from the lips of George Whitefield." (p. 6)

 

"Now I, who admire Whitefield as much as the Wesleyan admires Wesley, though I am not therefore bound to close my eyes to his faults, think very highly of Wesley because George Whitefield did so, and I should not like to differ from Whitefield in his opinion.In studying the life of Mr. Wesley, I believe Whitefield's opinion is abundantly confirmed--that Wesley is near the eternal throne, having served his Master, albeit with many mistakes and errors, yet from a pure heart, fervently desiring to glorify God upon earth." (p. 6)

 

"As for John Wesley's doctrine, I have not an atom of sympathy with him, except so far as he preached the Gospel of Christ.Now, the essential doctrine of the Gospel is justification by faith.'Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.'THAT he did preach; and though on one occasion, as I shall have to show you in his life, there was a sad error in respect to this fundamental doctrine; yet he and his followers did, and do, as faithfully preach this truth as any denomination of Christians under heaven." (p. 8)

 

"I do not believe in compromises myself; I have not a pinch of that kind of thing in my nature.Union chapels always lead to 'the union,' in my opinion, and these compromises between truth and error always lead, in the end, to error becoming triumphant." (p. 27)

 

"We do not lack for ministers, we have enough, such as they are; but we do lack for ministers of a new kind, or rather of the old apostolic sort once more,--men whose hearts are a mass of molten metal, and whose tongues are like firebrands that have been kindled from the altar of the eternal God." (pp. 62-3)

 

"Oh, remember, a dead creed is of no use, we must have our creed baptized with the Holy Ghost; we must have love to God's truth, but there must be love to men's souls, too!We must know what orthodoxy means, and we must not be heterodox in heart while we are orthodox in head." (p. 63)

 

"Preach not calmly and quietly as though you were asleep, but preach with fire and pathos and passion.And above all, preach, having prayed that the Holy Ghost will be with you; that the demonstration of the Spirit and His almighty power may be with your every word." (p. 64)

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