"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 2, Number 9, September 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.]
"Preachers are those who prove by their example that virtue doesn't pay."
Henry Louis Mencken
Spurgeon on Providence, and Forgiveness
"Do not think that you understand providence, for I am sure that none of us do."
Charles H. Spurgeon
The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit,
1883, vol. 29, p. 428
"You that have no sins shall have no pardon. You good people shall die in your sins. But oh, you guilty ones, who humble yourselves under the hand of God, my Master thinks that it is a pity that you should be among these self-righteous people."
Charles H. Spurgeon,
Ibid., p. 432
"THE SPIRIT ITSELF,"
OR, THE GREATEST DEFECT IN THE KING JAMES VERSION
Any honest evaluation of the King James Version of the Bible leads to the conclusion that it has numerous defects as a translation, some major, most minor. Among these are places where it certainly does not follow the reading of the original manuscripts, places where its rendering violates Greek or Hebrew grammar, and places where it is simply inaccurate, unintelligible or obscure. But of these translational defects, among the most serious, quite probably the worst of the lot, is its occasional use of the English pronoun "it" to refer to the Holy Spirit.
At least four times in the King James Version of the Bible, the blessed Holy Spirit, Third Person of the Trinity, is referred to by the degrading word "it"--
John 1:32 "And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and IT abode upon him."
Romans 8:16 "The Spirit ITSELF beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
Romans 8:26b "The Spirit ITSELF maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
I Peter 1:11 "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when IT testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow."
(Quoted according to the KJV text as found in the Old Scofield Bible; emphasis added).
In this regard--that is, calling the Holy Spirit "it" four times instead of "he" "or "himself"--the KJV is paralleled (to my knowledge) in English Bible versions currently in use only in the Jehovah's Witnesses' corrupt New World Translation, a translation deliberately falsified to exclude all references to the Deity of both Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Jehovah's Witness translation agrees exactly with the KJV in calling the Holy Spirit "it" in all four passages.
I checked the New King James Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version, the Living Bible, the New Living Translation, the Contemporary English Version, Today's English Version, the New English Bible, Moffat's translation, the Revised Standard Version (1946) and the New Revised Standard Version (1990). Only the last two--the RSV and the NRSV--imitate the KJV in any of these passages, the RSV referring to the Holy Spirit as "it" in John 1:32, while the NRSV does so in both John 1:32 and I Peter 1:11. Even the 21st Century King James Version calls the Holy Spirit "it" in only the first three references (in I Peter reading "He").
So, the KJV shares this distinction only with the NWT of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and to a lesser extent with the RSV and NRSV translations of the apostate National Council of Churches. If it were the NIV or the NASB and not the KJV which had this feature in common with these notoriously unreliable versions, it would be shouted from the roof-tops by Ruckman, Waite, Riplinger, Cloud, and the rest of the KJVO rabble. But because it is the KJV, they are silent as a tomb, and are very accommodating to this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
To call any person, but especially to call one of the Persons of the Trinity by the English pronoun "it" is degrading and debasing, and is inexcusable. The correct pronoun--the ONLY correct pronoun--in such a case is "He."
This use in the KJV of the neuter pronoun "it" to refer to a Divine Person has many defenders among the King James Only extremists. They argue that the Greek noun pneuma--"Spirit"--and the pronoun auto used in Romans 8:16, 26 are grammatically neuter and therefore the pronoun is correctly translated by the neuter English pronoun "it." (John 1:32 and I Peter 1:11 have no pronoun in Greek, so any pronoun used in the English translation is one supplied by the translator).
Such an assertion displays an ignorance of both Greek and English grammar. While Greek does have grammatical gender, English has only natural gender; and while in Greek nouns relating to persons may be neuter (such as teknon and paidion, both words for "child", just as Maedchen, "girl" in German is also grammatically neuter), it does not follow that these nouns describe "its" rather than "hes" or "shes," and when translating into English, no one would sensibly translate "the child, it . . ." or "the girl,
it . . ." Yet , "the Holy Spirit, it . . ." is defended!
Not only that, but in the Old Testament, the word for "Spirit" (ruach) is often feminine in grammatical gender (Hebrew has no neuter), such as Genesis 1:2, and Judges 6:34 and many other places. Does this mean that in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit should be called "she"? Perish the thought, yet to be consistent with their defense of the KJV's fourfold "it" in the New Testament on the basis of Greek grammatical gender, KJVOers should insist that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit should be referred to as "she."
Some who proclaim the KJV to be error-free, among them David Cloud, editor of "O Timothy," have a strange reticence in defending the KJV on this point. About four years ago, Cloud and I exchanged a number of letters on the KJV issue. In four or five consecutive letters, I specifically challenged him to tell me whether he believed the KJV was correct to call the Holy Spirit "it." He never once had the courage to address the issue. I suspect that he knew deep in his inner soul that on this point at least, the KJV was very seriously in error and was completely indefensible. If he thinks otherwise, why has he no courage to state his opinion?
I will plainly state my opinion on the matter: I think that here the KJV comes dangerously close to blasphemy, if it does not in fact actually wander into it.
The fault is not in the original text, but in the translation. When Paul uses a neuter Greek pronoun auto, "himself," to refer to the Holy Spirit twice in Romans 8 (no pronoun is used in John 1:32 or I Peter 1:11), he does so for grammatical regularity. In Greek, as in Spanish, French, German, Latin, Romanian, and many other languages, pronouns, like adjectives and the definite article, must agree with the noun they modify in gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter), number (singular, dual, or plural) and case (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative), as far as these categories are present in the respective languages. By using auto, the neuter, instead of the masculine form autos, Paul was merely conforming to standard Greek grammar.
By way of comparison, John--a native speaker of Aramaic (a sister language to Hebrew in which the word for "spirit" is also feminine)--occasionally uses the masculine demonstrative pronoun ekeinos when referring to the Holy Spirit (John 14:25; 15:26; 16:8); once he uses the masculine pronoun auton (John16:7). Of course, in each case, John is quoting Jesus, who may have been speaking in Greek, or who may have spoken in Aramaic, which John, under the Holy Spirit's unerring guidance, translated into Greek. John uses masculine pronouns ad sensum, in "violation" of standard Greek practice, to refer to the Holy Spirit, a Divine Person.
How did this practice of calling the Holy Spirit "it" enter the KJV? Emory H. Bancroft, long-time Professor of Doctrine and Systematic Theology at the Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, New York, wrote what has been one of the most widely-used Bible college theology textbooks, CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: SYSTEMATIC AND BIBLICAL (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1961. Revised edition). It was, for example, one of two standard theology textbooks at Baptist Bible College, Springfield, Missouri during my student days there, as well as for many years both before and after. Bancroft directly addresses the issue of the KJV's reference to the Holy Spirit as "it" and offers some very serious criticisms of the theology of the KJV translators:
"In the Authorized Version, the personal pronoun which refers to the Holy Spirit is translated by the neuter 'it,' as an index of the trend of thought among Christian people of that time. Men prayed of the Spirit as of 'it,' an influence, an energy, proving that the Socinian teaching had chilled the zeal and enthusiasm of the Christian doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. A striking evidence of the revival of the truth concerning the personality of the Holy Spirit is the reintroduction into the revised version of the masculine pronoun wherever the Spirit is referred to." (pp. 147-148)
If Bancroft is correct, the charge of heresy on the part of at least some of the KJV translators cannot be denied. This would be yet one more in the list of their heresies, false doctrines and false practices, including baptismal regeneration and salvation only in the church, the union of church and state, infant baptism, persecution of dissent, hierarchical church government, a special priest class, clerical vestments, the "real presence" of Christ in the Lord's supper, amillennialism, and more. If KJVO advocates were to judge the theology of the KJV translators (and Erasmus) as severely as they judge the theology of Westcott and Hort, they would never touch the KJV (or the textus receptus) again.
It is to be noted that the KJV was at least in part, but only in part, following the practice of earlier English versions. What follows is the results of a search of editions available to me.
In John 1:32, Tyndale's first edition (1526) read "it" but his revised edition (1534) did not, nor did the revisions of Cranmer (1539) or Coverdale (1540), which simply supplied no pronoun in translation. The Geneva New Testament of 1557 did not read "it," but the editions of 1560, 1562 and 1607 did. Likewise, the Bishops' Bible edition of 1602 had "it." The Roman Catholic Rheims New Testament of 1582 reads "he."
In Romans 8:16, Tyndale (both 1526 and 1534) has "the same sprete" [that is, spirit] as do Cranmer and Coverdale. The Geneva reads "the which selfe same Sprite" [that is, Spirit] in the 1557 edition, but "the same Spirit" in the editions of 1560, 1562, and 1607. The Bishop's edition of 1602 has "The Spirit it selfe," while the Rheims has "the Spirit him selfe."
At Romans 8:26, Tyndale (both editions) plus Cranmer and Coverdale have "the sprete." Geneva 1557 has "the Sprite," while the other three Geneva editions have "the Spirit it self(e)," as does the Bishops' Bible. Rheims reads "him self."
In I Peter 1:11, none of the versions examined offered any precedent for the KJV translation "it," all reading otherwise.
In summary, the KJV had no agreement with Tyndale 1534, Cranmer, Coverdale, Geneva 1557, and Rheims in any of the four passages (0:4); with Tyndale 1526, the agreement was only once (1:4); with the Geneva 1560, 1560, 1607, agreement was only half (2:4); with the Bishops', agreement was in three-fourths (3:4). The KJV calls the Holy Spirit "it" more than any of the translations before it.
Some might try to justify or excuse the KJV translators by saying that they were merely following their predecessors. This is hardly an excuse. In truth, fully half of these English translations examined never called the Holy Spirit "it," and another one--Tyndale's first edition--did so just once, a reading which he subsequently changed in his revised edition. Only the Bishops' Bible comes close to setting a pattern followed by the KJV. Yet, the KJV outdid even the Bishops' by adding another passage--I Peter 1:11--where the Holy Spirit is addressed by the degrading pronoun "it."
Furthermore, it was the duty and responsibility of the KJV translators to carefully examine prior translations and correct their defects. This they utterly failed to do in these passages, leaving the defective rendering of the Bishops' Bible intact in three places and introducing an error in a fourth. Whatever their predecessors did or did not read cannot excuse the KJV men on this point.
The KJV by its four-fold reference to the Holy Spirit as "it" set a precedent that had and even yet has a long and pernicious life. Error dies hard, especially once entrenched. When later scholars set to revise the KJV, they often left these four passages uncorrected. Henry Alford's mid-19th century revised English version left the KJV uncorrected in all four verses. The American Bible Union (Baptist) revised New Testament of 1865 (2nd edition, 1867) also let this old error stand unremedied in all four verses. Even the later revision of this translation done by Henry Weston, Alvah Hovey and John Broadus (published ca. 1889) leaves "it" in John 1:32, though Romans 8:16, 26 read "himself" and I Peter 1:11 has "he."
The English Revised Version of 1881 retains the KJV's "it" in John 1:32 and I Peter 1:11, but has "himself" in both Romans 8 verses. Its American "cousin," the American Standard Version follows the same pattern, but also introduces a new error in this regard. At Acts 8:16, contrary to all previous English versions I have examined which read "he," the ASV has, "for as yet it [that is, the Holy Spirit] was fallen upon none of them." While correcting the errors in Romans 8:16, 26, the ASV introduces one here, for which it could and should be blamed. The RSV of 1946 follows the ASV at this point, as does the New World Translation.
It is only when we arrive at the twentieth century (aside from the Catholic Rheims translation of 1582) do find English versions which consistently and correctly identify the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of God, as "He" rather than the blatantly erroneous "it" and "itself" so-long propagated by the KJV. It is indeed a very telling fact that only the KJV and the Arian New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses continue to disseminate this error in our day.
Those who imagine that the KJV, unlike any translation of the Bible before or since in any language, is faultless and error-free are compelled to address the matter: are the Arians, Socinians and Jehovah's Witnesses right? Is the Holy Spirit correctly and properly spoken of as "it" rather than "He"? Only if these heretical groups are right can the KJV be deemed infallibly correct in its translation of John 1:32, Romans 8:16, 26, and I Peter 1:11.
My Nine Years as a Lost Church Member
I grew up in a church-going Baptist family. Among my earliest memories is being in church at age three, and I cannot remember a time after that that I was not taken to church on a regular basis. Not only did I go to Sunday School, but during the summer, I also went to Vacation Bible School year after year, and since my mother was a worker in the VBS, my attendance was always perfect. At home, Bible stories were read to my siblings and me. In short, I grew up learning and believing the Bible and the stories from the Bible that are the regular subjects of children's lessons in church: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Jonah, and the rest of the Old Testament characters, and of course the stories of Jesus: walking on water, healing the sick, lame, and blind, feeding 5,000, dying on the cross and rising from the dead, and all the rest. There was never any question in my mind that these stories were entirely true--something I still believe to this day.
As I grew up in church, I learned that it was expected of each person that sometime he would "go forward" at the end of the church service and say that he believed in Jesus and wanted to be baptized. I knew that this action was expected of me, but I was very introverted and reluctant to be a spectacle in front of the hundreds of people at church.
However, one day I saw an opportunity to fulfill my obligation without having to embarrass myself unduly. One day in Sunday school, when I was about 8 years old, the lesson was on the importance of accepting Christ personally as Saviour and about going forward at the end of the church service. I learned that a friend of mine planned to do that very thing--go forward, I mean. I thought, "Now I won't have to do it by myself." So, we both went forward, filled out "decision" cards, and had our hands shaken afterward by all the blue-haired old ladies in the congregation and by many others.
The following week, the assistant pastor came to the house and spoke to me (with my mother sitting right next to me) about the facts of the Gospel and the importance of believing in Jesus. I gave honest mental assent to what he said, and was scheduled for baptism a few weeks later, which took place as planned. And so I became a "member in good standing" of the largest Baptist church in the city. But . . .
My mental assent to the facts of the Gospel was only that: mental assent. There was no conviction of sin, there was no drawing or illumination by the Holy Spirit, there was no repentance, there was no saving faith in Christ, and there was no salvation! And that is how I remained for nine years. During those nine years, I continued to attend church on a regular basis. If someone had asked me (as some did) if I were a Christian, I would have answered, "Yes, I've been baptized," which certainly is not what makes a person a Christian. And during those years, I never had any "doubts" about my salvation (something I rarely thought about). Satan certainly never put any doubts in my heart about salvation in those days. The last thing he wanted was for me to get seriously concerned about my spiritual state, since that might lead to the discovery that I was indeed very much yet in my sins and without forgiveness.
I heard hundreds of sermons and lessons in those years, and heard the truths of the Gospel many times, but these had no impact on my sin-darkened soul. And during those years, I never read the Bible, except for once reading Philemon, among the shortest books in the New Testament, just so I could brag that I had read one book of the Bible. I did take the Bible with me to church week by week, and read the texts covered in Sunday school, but for all practical purposes, the Bible was a closed book to me.
I graduated from high school after the first semester of my senior year and ten days later was enrolled in college (I was in a big hurry to get a law degree in those days). I soon felt overwhelmed by the college experience: the coursework was vastly more demanding than high school. And both personally and socially, I felt very isolated. The only familiar faces in the sea of 14,000 students were friends of my older sister and brother, all at least a year or two older than me (I being just 17 years and 3 months old). In such circumstances, God brought to my mind words from a sermon. The pastor had said, "If you have troubles in your life, read the Bible. It will help you out." What did I have to lose?
I took a New Testament I had received six or seven years earlier as an award for perfect attendance at VBS but which I had never read, and began with Matthew's Gospel (in private; I was embarrassed for anyone to see me reading the Bible). I was first of all stunned at how many famous proverbs and literary quotes were Biblical (how did I get through 17 years of church attendance without discovering this?). But by the time I got to Matthew chapter 5 (the beginning of the famous "Sermon on the Mount") my attention became focused on another matter--my own sinfulness and guilt. Jesus declared that not only was violating the letter of the law sin, but the desire in the heart to sin was also sin. I had committed no adultery, but the lust certainly was there in my heart. A deep gloom and burden of conviction descended upon me. I was guilty. I knew it, and God knew it. I had offended God. What could I possibly do to set things right with God? But I kept reading.
By the time I got to Matthew chapter 11 a few days later, I recognized that I was hopelessly, helplessly lost. But here I found cause for hope. In verses 28 and 29, Jesus made what is commonly called the Great Invitation: "Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I did not hesitate. "If He is making that offer to me, I will take Him at His word, I must take Him at His word." So I came. And true to His word, He took away my sin, my guilt, and my burden, and He gave me salvation, eternal life and peace with God.
The following months were rather bumpy spiritually for me. I continued to read the New Testament until after about a full year, I had read it all through. The Holy Spirit convicted me of various things in my life, conduct and vocabulary that needed changing, and without any human encouragement, my progress as an obedient Christian was very uneven, with periods of fighting against the Holy Spirit, followed by periods when God withdrew His presence from my life. I battled with doubts about my salvation at such times.
I had the additional obstacle of some bad teaching. I had been taught as a child that it was not possible to be certain of one's salvation, and that to say, "I know that I am saved" was a mark of pride and arrogance. This, combined with the Holy Spirit's heavy hand of conviction and occasional withdrawal, left me very miserable for over a year, and greatly in doubt about my spiritual state.
Some 15 months after my conversion, a co-worker was saved at his aunt's funeral. He shortly thereafter invited me to a Bible study with the associate pastor who had led him to Christ. I went as a favor to the guy, not expecting to get anything out of it. I went and was amazed. Here were about 20 people studying the Bible--and it was interesting, unlike the very dull and poor teaching in the high school and college classes at the church I attended. I started going regularly to these Friday night Bible studies, then began going to that associate pastor's Sunday school class. I was now receiving the personal encouragement to live a consistent Christian life that I had needed for over a year. I began to drop activities and people from my life and began to actively share my faith with people at work, at school, and at city parks. Three months after first going to the Bible study, I sensed that God was calling me to become a preacher, and immediately enrolled in Bible college.
At Bible college, the struggle with the issue of assurance of salvation came to a crisis after about two months. For several weeks, I spent much time in the afternoons after class in agonizing prayer, and spoke to my local pastor about my struggles. He wisely told me it was something I would have to settle personally between myself and God. After such a struggle, I came to assurance that I did possess salvation, and had for a year and a half. I also soon realized that I had not been baptized after salvation (the universal Biblical pattern), and I presented myself for baptism.
I found salvation through reading the Gospels for myself. I constantly urge others to read them personally, and not to trust to what others say about them. When I was 8, I did what others expected of me, and became a lost church member. When at 17 I read the New Testament for myself, I did what Jesus expected of me, and became a child of God.
THOMAS HOBBES ON THE PAPACY
"The Papacy is not other than the Ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof."
Thomas Hobbes, LEVIATHAN, pt. iv, ch. 47
(quoted from The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations,
Oxford University Press, second edition, p. 248)
GORE: A POLITICAL LIFE by Bob Zelnick. Washington, D. C.: Regnery, 1999. 384 pp. $29.95
Bob Zelnick, long a highly-respected senior political reporter for ABC News, was fired by that news organization for writing this book (this is prima-facie evidence that this is a good book). When it was learned that he was working on this book, he was ordered by his "higher ups" to cease and desist. But because he valued the truth more than his salary and prestigious job, he continued. And was summarily canned. So much for vaunted media proclamations of freedom of speech.
Zelnick has written a political biography of current Vice President and Presidential Wanna-be Al Gore. Indeed, any biography of Gore would have to be a political biography, since he has held but one job in his whole adult life that was not in politics (he was a mediocre political reporter for the Nashville Tennessean newspaper for a half-dozen years in his twenties, between his military service and his first run for office in 1978). Indeed, Gore is virtually the quintessential political insider. His father was a long-time Congressman and Senator from Tennessee, and though Al spent some time each summer on the family farm, he grew up in Washington, D.C., living on an upper floor of a Washington hotel owned by a relative. He attended the prestigious DC private school St. Albans.
Gore the reporter was a long-haired, blue-jeaned recreational user of marijuana (begun in the 60s and continued for a period of 10 years, including his time in Vietnam). But the very day he decided to run for Congress, he cut his hair, gave up the dope, and began wearing a suit. You can fool a majority of the people some of the time. He won.
From Congressman to Senator to Vice President to presidential candidate in just over two decades (he had actually run for president in 1988, a mere decade after his first election). Gore has become Clinton's presidential apprentice and successor-designate (with a nearly clear field) as a reward for his absolute loyalty to Clinton, in backing him publicly during his multitudinous scandals and being the chief fund-raising front man, collecting money via illegal phone calls from the White House and collecting money given illegally by foreign nationals.
Gore pictures his greatest expertise and therefore his greatest influence to be in the area of environmentalism. More than anyone else he has pushed the notion that the globe is warming (in the face of much evidence to the contrary) and has played Chicken Little boldly affirming the sure disaster awaiting us all (in spite of the fact that numerous expert scientists believe increased CO2 in the atmosphere and global warming could well be positive goods). His claim that the internal combustion engine--automobiles--is a greater threat to man's existence than nuclear weapons has exposed him to much ridicule. Were Gore to have his way environmentally, we would soon all be back in caves, huddling around a fire, eating the game we took with our spears and arrows.
Gore is given to exaggerating his resume. True enough, unlike Clinton, he did volunteer for military duty knowing that he would go to Vietnam, but he went as a reporter for a military newspaper, and though he claims that he came under enemy fire, he was at best at distant earshot from it (so says the man on guard duty with him that night).
He has claimed that his investigative reporting in Nashville led to numerous indictments and prison time for corrupt politicians. In reality, there were only two indictments, leading to one acquittal and one fine. No jail time. Gore claimed that he and his wife were the models for Eric Segal's famous book "Love Story," leading to a vigorous denial by Segal. He has claimed that he invented the internet--a real laugher (of course, he also claimed to "re-invent government" in the early 1990s). He claimed that his sister's death to lung cancer led him to an undying hatred and opposition to the tobacco industry, yet in 1988, he boasted to a group of North Carolina tobacco farmers that he had raised tobacco, doing every step from setting out the plants to hanging the harvested leaves in the barn. And this big-hearted guy gave less than $400 to charitable causes in a year when his income was a quarter million dollars.
Zelnick has done a thorough job of research and writing, which has proven unpopular with liberals. He has presented Gore as he was and is, and by so doing has cast him in a generally bad light (though Zelnick gives Gore credit where credit is due--he is truly a family-oriented man, and is generally quite thorough in his research of topics he is interested in). Since in all likelihood Gore will be the Democrat presidential candidate and --perish the thought--potentially our next chief executive, we would do well to know just what kind of man personally and politically he is. Zelnick lays out the facts clearly and cogently.
"[Bill Clinton] may well be as personally corrupt as any [president] in the nation's history." Bob Zelnick, GORE, p. 8