Monday, August 31, 2009

"Faith" Versus Faith

By Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer
One must analyze the word faith and see that it can mean two completely opposite things.

Suppose we are climbing in the Alps and are very high on the bare rock and suddenly the fog shuts down. The guide turns to us and says that the ice is forming and that there is no hope; before morning we will all freeze to death here on the shoulder of the mountain. Simply to keep warm, the guide keeps us moving in the dense fog further out on the shoulder until none of us have any idea where we are. After an hour or so, someone says to the guide: "Suppose I dropped and hit a ledge ten feet down in the fog. What would happen then?" The guide would say that you might make it till the morning and thus live. So, with absolutely no knowledge or any reason to support his action, one of the group hangs and drops into the fog. This would be one kind of faith, a leap of faith.

Suppose, however, after we have worked out on the shoulder in the midst of the fog and the growing ice on the rock, we had stopped and we heard a voice which said: "You cannot see me, but I know exactly where you are from your voices. I am on another ridge. I have lived in these mountains, man and boy, for over sixty years and I know every foot of them. I assure you that ten feet below you there is a ledge. If you hang and drop, you can make it through the night and I will get you in the morning."

I would not hang and drop at once, but would ask questions to try to ascertain if the man knew what he was talking about and if he was not my enemy. In the Alps, for example, I would ask him his name. If the name he gave me was the name of a family from that part of the mountains, it would count a great deal to me. In the Swiss Alps there are certain family names that indicate mountain families of that area. For example, in the area of the Alps where I live, Avanthey would be such a name. In my desperate situation, even though time would be running out, I would ask him what to me would be the sufficient questions, and when I became convinced by his answers, then I would hang and drop.

This is faith, but obviously it has no relationship to the first instance. As a matter of fact, if one of these is called faith, the other should not be designated by the same word symbol. The historic Christian faith is not a leap of faith in the post-Kierkegaardian sense because "he is not silent," and I am invited to ask the sufficeient questions in regard to details but also in regard to the existence of the universe and its complexity and in regard to the existence of man. I am invited to ask the sufficient questions and then believe him and bow before him metaphysically in knowing that I exist because he made man, and bow before him morally as needing his provision for me in the substitutionary, propitiatory death of Christ.

  • Schaeffer, Francis August. He Is There and He Is Not Silent. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1972. p. 99-100.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dan Wallace on Tetagmenoi

I was looking through, and I found a very interesting article by biblical scholar Dr. Daniel B. Wallace on the verb τεταγμενοι in Acts 13:48, which is translated in English as appointed or ordained. He points out that the verb is a strong support for divine sovereignty in salvation. Here is what Dr. Wallace has to say about the verb:

Acts 13:48 is indeed a strong verse on God's sovereign choice of those who would be saved. The verb TETAGMENOI does not occur in Acts 20:13, but the aorist form of it does occur in Acts 29:23. There, the middle voice is indeed used and is translated like an active verb. However, the aorist has a distinct middle form that is different from the passive form. The perfect tense, found in Acts 13:48, does not. Context, lexeme, and usage are key. In 1 Cor 16:15, an active voice verb is used. So, neither of these texts offers a real parallel to Acts 13:48. The problem with taking the verb in Acts 13:48 as a middle is that it would have to be a direct middle (the idea would be 'they appointed themselves'), which is nonsense in this context and is extremely rare of a usage overall. I know of no linguistic ground for overturning the traditional translation here. (link)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Translation Bias in the Douay Rheims (Pt. 2)

G3341 - μετάνοια
metanoia (met-an'-oy-ah)
From G3340; (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [another’s] decision): - repentance.
(Taken from Strong's Greek dictionary)

Once again, the definition sounds pretty straightforward, but the meaning can get lost in translation. This is what happened with this one particular word when the Bible was translated into the Latin Vulgate by Jerome. The Latin word that μετανοια is translated into is paenitentia. Obviously, the word carries undertones of penance, and this is exactly how the Roman Catholic Church has interpreted this word. It didn't help that the Vulgate was deemed as the authoritative translation of the bible during the Council of Trent[1], and subsequently became the basis for most Roman Catholic translations up until the last century or so.

And of course, this ends up being carried over into the Douay Rheims bible, where μετανοια turns into "do penance." This mistranslation appears consistently[2] throughout the DRB:

And saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(Matthew 3:2, DRB)

Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance.
(Matthew 3:8)

John was in the desert, baptizing and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins.
(Mark 1:4)

And going forth they preached men should do penance:
(Mark 6:12)

And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins.
(Luke 3:3)

Woe to thee, Corozain! Woe to thee, Bethsaida! For if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the mighty works that have been wrought in you, they would have done penance long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
(Luke 10:13)

It continues on, but you should have gotten the picture by now. It is unfortunate that a mistranslation such as this contributed to the faulty understanding of the word of God at the time, and has led to biased translation of the scriptures. It is for this reason that I always exhort people:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15, NASB)

End Notes
1. Text from the fourth session of the council of Trent: "Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod,—considering that no small utility may accrue to the Church of God, if it be made known which out of all the Latin editions, now in circulation, of the sacred books, is to be held as authentic,—ordains and declares, that the said old and vulgate edition, which, by the lengthened usage of so many years, has been approved of in the Church, be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions, held as authentic; and that no one is to dare, or presume to reject it under any pretext whatever." (link)
2. Well, almost consistently, anyway. I found one particular instance where μετανοια is translated correctly, and that's in Mark 1:15: "And saying: The time is accomplished and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel." Why the DRB translates the word correctly here but not in other places, I do not know, and I'm not aware at this moment of other such occurrences, so I would say that this one particular instance is an exception to the rule.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Translation Bias in the Douay Rheims (Pt. 1)

G4245 - πρεσβύτερος
presbuteros (pres-boo'-ter-os)
Comparative of πρέσβυς presbus (elderly); older; as noun, a senior; specifically an Israelite Sanhedrist (also figuratively, member of the celestial council) or Christian “presbyter”: - elder (-est), old.
(Taken from Strong's Greek dictionary)

The definition of the word sounds simple enough, but translation bias tends to make things less than straightforward. In particular, the Douay Rheims Bible (which has been one of the most commonly used Roman Catholic translations in the English language) presents a rather glaring example of translation bias in its treatment of the word

The word is typically translated as "ancient," which is a bit of an exaggeration since the word literally refers to older men. But then
πρεσβυτερος suddenly changes to "priest" when it is used in reference to church elders/presbyter. It doesn't even do this consistently, since πρεσβυτερος remains translated as "ancient" in other locations, such as 1 Peter. It is also noteworthy to note that αρχιερευς (high priest) occurs in some of the passages where πρεσβυτερος appears. This serves to further point out the inconsistency of the Douay Rheims' translation.

To demonstrate this, here is a table comparing for instances of
πρεσβυτερος as they appear in Acts and some of the epistles. For purposes of comparison, the Douay Rheims' translation is placed side by side with the English Standard Version and the Nestle-Aland 26th Edition Greek New Testament:


Nestle-Aland 26th Edition

English Standard Version

Douay Rheims Bible

Acts 4:5

γένετο δ π τν αριον συναχθναι ατν τος ρχοντας κα τος πρεσβυτέρους κα τος γραμματες ν ερουσαλήμ,

On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem,

And it came to pass on the morrow, that their princes and ancients and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem.

Acts 4:8

τότε Πέτρος πλησθες πνεύματος γίου επεν πρς ατούς, ρχοντες το λαο κα πρεσβύτεροι,

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders,

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said to them: Ye princes of the people and ancients, hear.

Acts 4:23

πολυθέντες δ λθον πρς τος δίους κα πήγγειλαν σα πρς ατος ο ρχιερες κα ο πρεσβύτεροι επαν.

When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.

And being let go, they came to their own company and related all that the chief priests and ancients had said to them.

Acts 22:5

ς κα ρχιερες μαρτυρε μοι κα πν τ πρεσβυτέριον· παρ' ν κα πιστολς δεξάμενος πρς τος δελφος ες Δαμασκν πορευόμην ξων κα τος κεσε ντας δεδεμένους ες ερουσαλμ να τιμωρηθσιν.

as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

As the high priest doth bear me witness and all the ancients. From whom also receiving letters to the brethren, I went to Damascus, that I might bring them bound from thence to Jerusalem to be punished.

Acts 23:14

οτινες προσελθόντες τος ρχιερεσιν κα τος πρεσβυτέροις επαν, ναθέματι νεθεματίσαμεν αυτος μηδενς γεύσασθαι ως ο ποκτείνωμεν τν Παλον.

They went to the chief priests and elders and said, "We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul.

Who came to the chief priests and the ancients and said: We have bound ourselves under a great curse that we will eat nothing till we have slain Paul.

1 Timothy 4:4

μ μέλει το ν σο χαρίσματος, δόθη σοι δι προφητείας μετ πιθέσεως τν χειρν το πρεσβυτερίου.

Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.

Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.

1 Timothy 5:17

Ο καλς προεσττες πρεσβύτεροι διπλς τιμς ξιούσθωσαν, μάλιστα ο κοπιντες ν λόγ κα διδασκαλίᾳ·

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

Let the priests that rule well be esteemed worthy of double honour: especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

1 Timothy 5:19

κατ πρεσβυτέρου κατηγορίαν μ παραδέχου, κτς ε μ π δύο τριν μαρτύρων.

Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

Against a priest receive not an accusation, but under two or three witnesses.

Titus 1:5

Τούτου χάριν πέλιπόν σε ν Κρήτ, να τ λείποντα πιδιορθώσ κα καταστήσς κατ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ς γώ σοι διεταξάμην,

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you--

For this cause I left thee in Crete: that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee:

James 5:14

σθενε τις ν μν; προσκαλεσάσθω τος πρεσβυτέρους τς κκλησίας, κα προσευξάσθωσαν π' ατν λείψαντες λαίῳ ν τ νόματι το κυρίου·

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

1 Peter 5:1

Πρεσβυτέρους ον ν μν παρακαλ συμπρεσβύτερος κα μάρτυς τν το Χριστο παθημάτων, κα τς μελλούσης ποκαλύπτεσθαι δόξης κοινωνός·

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:

The ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech who am myself also an ancient and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come:

As shown in here, there is obvious translation bias in attempting to read the sacerdotal priesthood into the New Testament. This is just one of the more obvious examples of translation bias in the Douay Rheims. Whenever I have the time to do so, I will make a continuation to this post, highlighting another example of translation bias.

UPDATE (August 26, 2009)

Somebody recently argued that since the DRB is based on the Vulgate, it wouldn't be right to base the accuracy of its translation on the NA26. Of course, this doesn't fly because the Vulgate consistently renders πρεσβυτερος as "presbyteros." And even if it didn't, it's not the Vulgate's rendering that matters, it's the text as it was written in the original language.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reformed and Baptistic (Christian Traditions Selector)


Of course, it doesn't reflect my agreements with said groups 100%. If that were the case, Campbellite would be a lot lower on the list, and Lutheran would be higher than Eastern Orthodox, rather than the other way around. But otherwise, it's pretty accurate, I'd say.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dissecting the Divine Book (Part 1)

This video series is made as a rebuttal to the Islamic propaganda video "The Divine Book." Dissecting the Divine Book addresses the claims that are being made by the various personalities that appear in the Islamic video, and refutes the misrepresentations and mishandling of facts that appear therein.

Credit goes to Wired 4 Truth for providing the video's voice-overs.

1. You may view the original video series in Noreagaaa's youtube channel:
2. Smith, Abdullah. The False Jesus of Christianity (Part One). Answering Christianity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

John Hagee: Jesus is Messiah, After All

I've been quite critical of John Hagee's hyper-dispensationalism, especially after reading through chapter ten of his book In Defense of Israel. Recently, however, it has come to my attention that he has written a clarification entitled A Special Message from Pastor John Hagee Regarding His Book In Defense of Israel. Apparently, he states that he does believe in Jesus as Messiah after all, even though he gave the impression that he denied it in some of the statements he made in his book.

I guess that's what happens when you try to follow dispensational/zionist views to quickly: You walk the fine line between orthodoxy and heresy. Anyway, there are some less than helpful statements in there, such as his rejection of what he deems to be "replacement theology," so he's still not completely off the hook, in my opinion.

Maybe if he would just drop all of his unhelpful dispensationalist views, his view on the relationship between the two covenants would become much clearer.

Related Article:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Convert from Islam Threatened by Parents

Taken from Jihad Watch

Guys, please pray for Rifqa Bary and other brave souls who are faced with death for their commitment to the Lord Christ Jesus.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Daniel Wallace on the Dividing line

In the last Dividing Line program of Alpha and Omega Ministries, they had Daniel B. Wallace as a special. He a renowned New Testament scholar and the executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. (CSNTM). This is a special webcast as it deals with New Testament manuscripts, textual criticism and the recent attacks by Bart Ehrman on the textual reliability of the New Testament. I would urge anybody who is interested in this important issue to listen to the webcast.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Debate: RazorsKiss vs. Mitch LeBlanc

RazorsKiss (from #ProsApologian) and Mitchell LeBlanc (from just finished their debate on epistemology. The debate thesis was: "Is the Triune God of the Scriptures the basis for knowledge?" You can guess who's affirmative and who's negative. Anyway, check out the the debate transcript and vote for whoever you think did better in the debate.

2 other minor, unrelated news:

1. I just started a new youtube channel. Right now, I'm using it just for browsing, though. So it may be a bit of time before I actually start posting videos. For now, I'll be concentrating on this blog.

2. I have some other stuff lined up for future blog posts. To give you all an idea on what I'll be tackling soon, I'm gonna have some stuff on Islam, some stuff on Jesus-Mythicism, and some stuff on Dispensationalism (which I haven't tackled yet but will have fun doing so). Lord willing, I hope that I will be able to go through all of that within the course of this month.