The camel going through the eye of the needle

Pastor Douthwaite had another killer sermon yesterday. See what he does with the “camel through the eye of the needle” text (Mark 10:23-31). An excerpt (with a reference to a woman who had just been baptized earlier in the service):

God did something much more difficult than put a camel through the eye of a needle. That sounds incredible to us, and so many commentators and teachers have tried to soften this teaching of Jesus by claiming that there was a gate into the city of Jerusalem that was named “the eye of the needle” and if your camel had too much stuff on it, you would have to take some off to get through. But it was possible! But let us move past such nonsense to the real point: Jesus meant what He said. Unless and until you can put your big, fat, sinful, camel-self through the eye of a needle, you will never get yourself into the kingdom of heaven. The disciples understood that, that’s why they immediately asked: “Then who can be saved?”

And Jesus says: “All things are possible with God.” Because what had God done? He didn’t put a camel through the eye of a needle, He did something much, much greater: in love, He put His almighty and infinite Son through a virgin’s womb. That His Son, clothed in our flesh and blood, love us to death. That we who are dead in our trespasses and sins and clinging to our false gods, be loved to life. And so Jesus comes to give us what no one and no thing else can: love. True love. Eternal love.

And so in love He is born, and in love He lives. In love He ascends the cross, and in love He dies. In love He takes our sins, and in love He gives us forgiveness and life. For as it was said of the rich young man, so it is true for you: And Jesus, looking at you, loves you. Not because you deserve it, but because that is who your God and Saviour is and what He does: love.

Today you got to see that love in action yet again, as the almighty and infinite Son of God came through the waters of Holy Baptism, and again did something much greater than put a camel through the eye of a needle – He put YuRim through His death and resurrection and gave her the promise of eternal life. He washed away her sins and gave her a new birth and made her His child forever. Not because water can do such great things, but because He can.

And in just a few moments, you get to see this love in action again, as the almighty and infinite Son of God come to you in the bread and wine of His Supper, doing something much greater than putting a camel through the eye of a needle – putting His body into your mouth and pouring His blood over your sin-parched lips, thus giving life to the dead, forgiveness to the sinful, and salvation to the needy. Not because bread and wine can do such great things, but because He can.

Halloween Book Burning

More anti-conservative, Bible-hating conservatism: Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, North Carolina, is sponsoring a Book burning for Halloween. And what they are burning, like the devil’s own children, are Bibles. Here is a copy of the announcement:

Come to our Halloween book burning. We are burning Satan’s bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, ect. These are perversions of God’s Word the King James Bible.

We will also be burning Satan’s music such as country , rap , rock , pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel , contempory Christian , jazz, soul, oldies but goldies, etc.

We will also be burning Satan’s popular books written by heretics like Westcott & Hort , Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham , Rick Warren , Bill Hybels , John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll , John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham , Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn , Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa , The Pope , Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning, William Young, etc.

We are not burning Bibles written in other languages that are based on the TR. We are not burning the Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva or other translations that are based on the TR.

We will be serving Bar-b-Que Chicken, fried chicken, and all the sides.

If you have any books or music to donate, please call us for pick-up. If you like you can drop them off at our church door anytime. Thanks.

Satan’s popular books (by Christians)! Satan’s music (soft and easy) ! Even Satan’s Bibles (defined as those that are not KJV)!

I do think this is a fitting Halloween activity, as these folks are acting like actual devil worshippers honoring his special day: cavorting around their bonfire; sacrificing chickens; blaspheming, desecrating, and destroying God’s Holy Word.

HT: Francis Beckwith at First Things

Where God puts His Name

Our pastor tossed off a comment in yesterday’s Bible class that still resonates with me and that has profound implications. In the context of our study of Genesis, via Luther’s commentary (which consists of his lecture notes, so that, as our pastor said, it’s as if we were sitting in on Luther’s course at the University of Wittenberg), we were contemplating the statement that Cain departed from the presence of God. Throughout the Scriptures in both Testaments, the pastor said, God’s presence is associated with where He puts His name. He says of the Temple in Jerusalem that His Name dwells there. With the Incarnation, Christ says that whenever two or three gather in His Name, He will be in the midst of them. When we worship, we begin with the invocation, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Baptism, God puts His Name with our name. See the implications?

Making the Bible more conservative

Rod Dreher at Crunchycon draws attention to a venture designed to make the Bible more conservative. It’s a project of Conservapedia, a conservative version of Wikipedia. The idea is to use Wiki-style mass collaboration to make a new translation of the Bible that accords with ten principles. From Conservative Bible Project – Conservapedia:

(1) Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
(2) Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
(3) Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[3]
(4) Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;[4] defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle”.
(5) Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as “gamble” rather than “cast lots”;[5] using modern political terms, such as “register” rather than “enroll” for the census
(6) Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
(7) Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
(8) Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
(9) Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
(10) Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word “Lord” rather than “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” or “Lord God.”

So the account of Jesus forgiving the woman who had committed adultery is a “liberal” addition! Revise the parables to reflect free market principles!

If you go to the Bible translating wiki site these people have set up, you will see that they are working from the King James translation. They must think the King James translation is too liberal!

The idea is that thousands of conservatives in a vast self-correcting collaboration will translate the Bible. Never mind that contributors do not need to know the original languages or anything about the Bible. The free marketplace of free market ideas will take care of it.

But more to the point: If you are more conservative than the Bible is, you are too conservative. If you are more liberal than the Bible is, you are too liberal. To read the Bible, you don’t stand above it, evaluating it and passing judgments according to your beliefs. Rather, the Bible evaluates YOU and passes judgment on YOUR beliefs. And if you think the purpose of the Bible is to advance your political agenda or to “combat harmful addictions” and if you think the parts about forgiving sin are “liberal,” you haven’t got a clue about the nature of God’s Word.

I’m totally annoyed that such presumption is labeled “conservative.” Could some of you please explain for the record why this project is NOT conservative?


Ancient Egyptian coins depict Joseph

The Jerusalem Post reports a startling archeological discovery. Coins with Joseph’s name found in Egypt :

Archeologists have discovered ancient Egyptian coins bearing the name and image of the biblical Joseph, Cairo’s Al Ahram newspaper recently reported. Excerpts provided by MEMRI show that the coins were discovered among a multitude of unsorted artifacts stored at the Museum of Egypt.

According to the report, the significance of the find is that archeologists have found scientific evidence countering the claim held by some historians that coins were not used for trade in ancient Egypt, and that this was done through barter instead.

The period in which Joseph was regarded to have lived in Egypt matches the minting of the coins in the cache, researchers said.

“A thorough examination revealed that the coins bore the year in which they were minted and their value, or effigies of the pharaohs [who ruled] at the time of their minting. Some of the coins are from the time when Joseph lived in Egypt, and bear his name and portrait,” said the report.

Bear his PORTRAIT? So we might be able to see what a major figure in the Bible LOOKED LIKE? That would be beyond remarkable. Not to mention strong evidence for the historicity of the Genesis account.

This story says that the coins include pictures of cows and grain, as in Pharoah’s dream that Joseph interpreted.

I can find no published images of the coins or of Joseph’s face. If anyone finds any, let us know.

The new new-NIV may be even more gender-inclusive

We blogged about how a Zondervan editor thinks the handling of the TNIV was a mistake, but, as some of you pointed out, he may have been referring more to mistakes of marketing than of mistakes of translation. Other news reports are suggesting that the new TNIV will have even more gender-inclusive language:

The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible is going to begin its first revision in over 25 years, according to the Associated Press. The changes that will be made will be to make the language more modern, meaning the text will reportedly have more gender neutral and inclusive language. It is expected that the revisions will be completed in late 2010 for publishing in 2011.

The most controversial aspect of the revision is the inclusion of gender neutral language. This new version will not have all gender references removed, only those where the translators feel that the original text did not intend to be gender exclusive. One example, according to the AP, would be changing “sons of God” to “children of God.”

See also this. Creating one impression with Christian publications and another with secular publications is not a good sign.

HT: Rev. James Douthwaite