Thursday, September 26, 2019

Does Your Modern Bible Version Have a Presuppositional Bias?

We are planning Bible Studies at Saint Athanasius Anglican Church that will use a lightly updated Tyndale translation from the Greek New Testament.  You may ask why would we use an early English translation from the Greek that was even before the King James Version when we have modern versions that are easier to read and probably based on more accurate Greek manuscripts?  Putting aside the more complicated arguments of textual criticism of the Critical Text verses the Textus Receptus, the Tyndale translation we are using has been lightly updated and is easier to read than the King James Version (updated in 1769).  Tyndale’s translation comes from the Received Text or Textus Receptus but apart from the focus on underlying Greek texts I would draw the reader to the presuppositional bias in modern translations imposed upon the Greek New Testament.  For William Tyndale and the Protestant Reformers, they were seeking the new learning from the Greek New Testament now available to them to translate by formal equivalence into English the message of the Gospel on how believers by faith were made and sustained in the one true faith.  This was their focus and so we can rely on their translation because they had no other theological agenda.  The scholar Ruth Magnusson Davis compiled the New Matthew Bible from Tyndale’s New Testament translation and study notes of William Tyndale and John Rogers, both men who sealed their testimony with their blood as martyrs burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English.  Ruth Magnusson Davis in her example below shows us how modern versions show in translation a presuppositional
theological bias imposed on the translation. Ruth Magnusson Davis published an example of the difference in doctrine from a modern translation of Revelation 10:6 from translations from William Tyndale along with other 16th Century Bible translations including the King James Version (1611).

Ruth Magnusson Davis writes: “The Reformers believed that when the Lord returns at the close of this age, he will usher in the end of time, and the end of the world as we know it.  The earth will burn with fervent heat, as Peter says in his Second Epistle.  But in recent times this doctrine has been replaced in popular understanding by the doctrine of a literal 1,000 year rule of when Christ returns.  This is called Premillennialism.  Even teachers I respect teach this doctrine of Premillennialism, and part of the reason why is that modern ‘translators’ have changed the Scriptures to accommodate Premillennialism.  A dramatic illustration of what these translators have done is with Revelation 10:6.

Revelation 10:5-7 in the New Matthew Bible: And the angel which I saw stood upon the sea, and upon the earth, lifted up his hand toward heaven, and swore by him that liveth for evermore, which created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which therein are: that there should be no longer time: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to blow: even the mystery of God shall be finished as he preached by his servants the prophets.

The meaning is, when the 7th angel begins to blow his trumpet, time will be no more.  Creation and time will be swallowed up in eternity as the mystery of God is finished.  A similar rendering in found in older Bibles consistently right through to the King James Version.

However, beginning with the Revised Standard Version 1946, the sense is changed.  Modern Bibles have here that there will be no more delay.  It is important to understand that the difference has nothing to do with the underlying Greek manuscript.  The Greek is the same.  It is simply that modern versions have reinterpreted the Greek to accommodate Premillennial doctrine.  They say that this verse means that after the 7th trumpet, there will be no delaying the thousand-year reign of Christ.  Since this means that time will continue for another 1,000 years, they have to change the Scriptures.  This truly is enormously significant.

Watch the progress of translations over the centuries and see what happens when the Revised Standard Version comes along:

Wycliffe 1380:  time shall no more be
Cranmer 1539  there should be no longer time
Geneva 1557     there should be no more
Rheims 1582 (Roman Catholic): there shall be no more time

Now the change begins:

RSV 1946: there should be no more delay
Jerusalem Bible 1968 (Roman Catholic): the time of waiting is over
New English Bible 1970: there shall be no more delay
The Living Bible 1971: there shall be no more delay
NIV 1973: there will be no more delay
New King James 1988: there should be delay no longer
New Matthew Bible 2016: tiem shall be no more (The October Testament)

The New Matthew Bible October Testament stands alone among all the moderns, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, in guarding the historic doctrines of the Church and the Reformers.”

This is why we are inviting people in the Richmond Virginia area to our unique forthcoming Bible Study in October.  Time and location will be announced soon.

For more information about the New Matthew Bible:

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What Should Be Expected From Youth Ministry?

I know from experience that youth ministry is often a major source of contention in the local church.  The youth minister whether a layman or an ordained pastor is usually the target of so much dissatisfaction from the congregation.  Youth ministry ought to be about a transition from youth into adulthood.  The adults in the congregation should invite the youth into adulthood within the church and preparing youth to take over lay leadership positions in the local church ought to be one of the purposes of youth ministry.  Even though in our society we tend to prolong the culture of youth the biological reality is that youth is less than 10 years and then biologically our youth become young adults.  How to invite youth into adulthood is the approach of Peter David Gross Executive Director  of Wheatstone Ministries
Peter David Gross in the photo below is a fellow Anglican and member of Saint Matthew Anglican Church in Newport Beach California.  Take a look Readers at the website for Wheatstone Ministries and let me know what you think about his approach to youth ministry.

Saturday, June 29, 2019


When you search for “churches” you find a bewildering assortment of names and types of churches and denominations.  As you drive through the streets of a town or city you see an astounding variety of names outside buildings which are churches or temples or mosques.  It is as though there is in America a supermarket of religion where each of the churches and denominations is on display and we have the daunting task of choosing one or the other as we survey the packed shelves searching for our Sunday consumption.
In this fascinating but confusing supermarket of religion you will find the general category of “Anglican” and within this category you will “traditional” and “modern.”  “Anglican” does not take the same amount of space on the shelves as do the names “Roman Catholic” and “Methodist” and “Southern Baptist” but it is easily identifiable there.

Why choose the Anglican Way (traditional) from among this bewildering display?  Consider these reasons:

1. The Anglican Way has been around a long time.  When it comes to such things as smart phones or vehicles we rightly buy the latest tested technology.  However, when it comes to matters of the human spirit and soul and of man’s relation to God, looking to the accumulated wisdom of the centuries becomes vitally important.  In religion what has been believed, taught and confessed for centuries and what has been prayed and performed for more than a millennium is more likely to be our guide in making a sound choice than what has been produced in the last few years.  This is not just an arbitrary criterion but one based on the belief that what has been believed, taught, and confessed has been informed, guided and directed by the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.   

Of course, having been on the scene a long time a traditional faith may look tired and may seem to be merely part of the way things are.  However, this is not necessarily so and the Anglican Way as an historical religion can be as vibrant today as it was two, three, or four centuries ago.  In fact a clear definition of the Anglican Way was formulated in the sixteenth century as part of the reformation of the Church in England.  The intention was to keep it the ancient and biblical Church it had always claimed to be, thus confounding the popular notion that it was founded by Henry VIII.  What actually occurred was that reform took place in his reign and that of his successors.

2. The Anglican Way is not a system of ideas but it is a living Faith.  Therefore we do not refer to it as “Anglicanism” or “Episcopalianism” for such terms suggest an ideology where people are committed to certain ideas or principles or beliefs thus making it a religion only of the head, a cerebral faith.  One of the first descriptions of Christianity was “the Way” (Acts ix.2) and our Lord Jesus Christ referred to himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John xiv.6).  He is the Way to Almighty God, our Father, because he is the Truth and the Life.  So the center of the Anglican Way is union with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the one and only Way.  Thus this religion is a total way of life for every day or every year for the whole person, the whole family and the whole congregation.  It is a walking with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit through the world to the heavenly Father in glory.

3. The Anglican Way is both personal and corporate.  Each baptized person is encouraged to know the joy of a personal relation to the Lord Jesus Christ and to experience the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart assuring him that he is a child of God our heavenly Father.  Yet he is also taught to see himself as a member of the body of Christ, bound in the Holy Spirit to other members of the body.  Part of limb separate from the body has no proper use; likewise to be fully Christian the individual believer is called Christ into a dynamic relation with fellow members of the body of Christ.  This calling to be together and belong together occurs in public worship but it also takes place in a variety of forms of fellowship and service together in parish life.  The belonging together in Christ Jesus is especially proclaimed by the rite of infant baptism wherein a child from a Christian family is made a member of the body of Christ.  Later that child publicly embraces the faith of his Baptism at Confirmation, and receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  So he learns to pray, “Our Father…” in both a personal and a corporate way.

4. The Anglican Way orders our lives a Way to the living God and with one another in the Body of Christ through the discipline of common prayer.  In fact the service book that is used is called, The Book of Common Prayer, which was first produced (from earlier services) in 1549 in England.  We find in the pages of this book provision for our relation with God on every day of the year, with special attention to Sundays and festivals.  For each day of the year there are two services, Morning Prayer (Matins) and Evening Prayer (Evensong).  Then there are services for every Sunday and for the great festivals of the Church Year (Christmas, Easter, etc.).  Also there are services for holy Baptism, for Confirmation, for Matrimony and for the Burial of the dead.  When a person or a family or a congregation follows the discipline of the Book of Common Prayer in sincerity and truth then he or they will be practicing the Anglican Way, walking with Christ Jesus in the Spirit and in the communion of saints to the Father.

5. The Anglican Way is preeminently a biblical religion.  In fact, when practiced according to its own rules it places before Christians a full encounter with the contents of Holy Scripture, an experience which is probably not equaled in any other form of Christian religion.  Each day in the two daily services there is the reading of a passage from the Old Testament and from the New Testament (so that the church reads through the whole Bible on a regular basis using a Lectionary); there is the meditative reading/praying of Psalms and there is the meditative reading/praying of biblical canticles (e.g. the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis). Further, there are readings from the Bible each Sunday and on feast days at the service of Holy Communion.  The faithful who read the Bible and hear it read are not encouraged to understand it according to their own privatized judgment and feelings of the moment, but as members of the Body of Christ, the holy, catholic Church.

6. The Anglican Way looks especially to the Early Church for guidance, illumination and inspiration.  Obviously the early centuries of the Church in the Roman Empire were the time when the Church developed its worship, doctrines, disciplines and pieties.  So when the Anglican Way was emerging in the sixteenth century as the English Way of being the Church of God in England, the bishops explained the relation to the early Church in terms of a 1,2,3,4,5.  They said that the Church of England (Anglican Way) is committed to One Bible which has Two Testaments.  This Bible is to be read and interpreted by those who believe the Three Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian), who have learned the Church’s dogma and doctrine and discipline from the Four Ecumenical Councils (Nicea 325; Constantinople 381; Ephesus 431; & Chalcedon 451).  Further, the Church is to learn from the way such things as Piety, Liturgy, Canon Law, Ethics and Sunday observance developed in the First Five Centuries.  Yet being in this Way does not mean looking back to live in the past but learning from the past for the sake of the present and the future.

7.  The Anglican Way is associated with the pursuit of excellence in the way it performs divine service in the public place.  The Book of Common Prayer was not written in the English spoken in the market or the tavern in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  It was written in a dignified, understandable English whose meaning can be quickly appreciated and learned by people of average intelligence.  The very title of the prayer book, The Book of Common Prayer, suggests that this is a Way of Prayer/Worship for all people whatever be their class or their profession.  Related to the Book of Common Prayer is the translation of the Bible known as the King James Version (1611).  These two book have had a tremendous influence not only upon the development of the English language but upon the formation of millions of souls in the love of God.  Th emotion of the dignity of language is an expression of the supreme dignity of God himself and also of the dignity of his Church where we gather in his holy Name.  Further, as used in the Anglican Way they have also attracted the production of memorable music, poetry and art.  Thus, for example, we now have (where there is a good choir) such beautiful services as Matins and Evensong where much of the whole act of worship is offered to the Father through the Son and with the Holy Spirit in chant and song with fine music.

8.  The Anglican Way is committed to Christian education for the whole Body of Christ.  The clergyman is seen as “the godly and learned minister” able to teach the flock of Christ from the Scriptures with wisdom and knowledge.  The laity is seen as called to acquire a working knowledge of the whole content of Scripture, to believe the Creeds and to practice the morals of the Christian religion.  Further, through parochial schools, colleges and universities, the Anglican Way is committed to the ideal of bringing all human knowledge under the rule of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.  Thus it is not surprising that Anglicans have spoken of commitment to Scripture, Tradition and Reason, not as equal partners but in terms of acknowledging the authority of Scripture, through the help of Tradition and with the use of godly reason.  So the expression, Credo ut intelligam (“I believe in order that I may understand”), is taken seriously, for Anglicans seek to bring everything into subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ and the revelation of Truth from the Father through him.

9. The Anglican Way is committed to the educating and sanctifying of the whole person, body and soul, and as a thinking, feeling and acting being.  The Way leads not merely through this life but to the life eternal, to the joy of the life of the age to come in the glory of heavenly bliss.  Thus Christians are encouraged by the grace of God to begin now to be what they shall be in the fullness of life in heaven.  We are to love the Lord our God with heart and soul and mind and strength.  So while the Anglican Way places a high premium on the development of our minds (so that we think as Christians) it also seeks o develop our affections and emotions so that they are directed to that which is good and true and beautiful.  In fact there is a beauty in orderly, spiritual Christian worship which elevates and purifies the affections, feelings and desires and directs them to their fulfillment in Christ.  Likewise in godly meditation upon the sacred Scripture each day there is not only a quickening of the mind but, as the mind drops into the heart, there is a raising and purifying of the affections and desires.  Finally, there is the vocation to be the willing servants of Christ daily at home and at work, in school and in leisure.  This is the practical outworking of loving the neighbor for Christ’s sake.

10.  The Anglican Way in obedience to the command of Christ is committed to the evangelization of the world and especially to each parish/congregation proclaiming the Gospel in word and action in its own area.  There are many ways of bringing people of both sexes and all races to know Jesus Christ, but when inquirers are ready to enter into the worship of the local church, then, in preparation for the common life in Christ, they are instructed in the meaning of the Creed, the Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer (what to believe, how to behave, and the art of prayer/meditation), in the reading of Scripture, participating in Christian liturgical worship and fellowship and service.  On this foundation they grow in maturity in Christ through sharing in Common Prayer.

11.  The Anglican Way is an ordered, hierarchical form of Christianity confessing Jesus Christ as Lord of all in a modern, egalitarian, secularist world.  Thus it is perceived by many as being anti-cultural, for it stands in opposition to the drift in our culture towards selfishness, self-destruction and chaos.  The Anglican Way promotes the ordered and generous living that gives the peace that passes understanding in God for God transcends all temporary and transient cultural fads.  Following divine order in creation and by grace it seeks to guide and control for the purpose of sanctification, our natural desires.  Being hierarchical, it does not fit into modern ideas of equality for, following the Early Church, it has three grades of clergy—bishop, presbyter (priest) and deacon.  Further, it confesses that, according to the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ, only those men called by God ought to be bishops, priests, deacons in the Church.  Moreover, this divine order is seen not a constricting but as liberating, for it releases man to serve the living God in ways which are pleasing to his Majesty and ennoble humanity.

O God our Father, forasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee; Mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

[Lightly edited. The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon, President of the Society, Whitsuntide, 1997]

Saint Athanasius Anglican Church
10811 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
804.248.8940     GlenAllenAnglicans.Org
Christian Education 9:30am / Holy Communion 10:30am

Member of
The Anglican Province of America

Friday, May 24, 2019

Are You A Spiritual Person?

Are You A Spiritual Person? 
Spiritual? By what standard, man or God?
Many people today say they are spiritual but what does that mean? Has the phrase become a meaningless platitude in this age of forced subjectivism? True spirituality is the quality of life generated and nourished by the Spirit of God, in which believers experience the power and presence of God in their lives. True spirituality comes from living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and is evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit, spiritual maturity and growth in holiness. Take our test and see how many questions you can affirm to find out if you are a ‘spiritual’ person.

The foundations of spirituality

Do you have a need for spiritual renewal? 1Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Ro 7:14; Jude 19

Believers have been renewed spiritually, have you? John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Ro 8:11; Tit 3:5; 1Pe 1:3-23

Do you have Faith? Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Jn 6:53-58; 14:1; 20:31; Ac 16:31; Ro 10:9-10

Do you have a longing for God Psa. 27:8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Ps 119:2; 143:5-6; Php 3:10-14

The nature of spirituality

Enoch walks with the One True God.
Are you living under the Spirit’s control? Rom. 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  Ro 8:12-13; Gal 5:16-17; Eph 5:18

Are you reflecting Jesus Christ’s character?  2Cor. 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Ro 8:29; 1Jn 3:2-3

Are you intimate  with God through the Spirit?  Rom. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. See also Gal 4:6

Evidence of spirituality

Are you bearing spiritual fruit? Rom. 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Mt 7:17; Jn 15:5-8; Ro 14:17; Eph 5:8-9

Do you have love for one another? 1John 4:7   Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. Jn 13:34-35; 1Co 13:1-4; Col 3:12

Do you possess spiritual maturity? 1Cor. 3:1   And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1Co 14:20; Heb 5:13-14

Do you show concern for weaker believers? Gal. 6:1   Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Ro 14:1, 3, 19-21; 1Co 8:9-13

What about your understanding of spiritual truths? (How are you doing so far?) 1Cor. 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Jn 14:17; 16:13-15; 1Co 2:15-16

Have you increased in holiness? Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Ro 12:1-2; 1Co 6:19-20; Gal 5:24; Col 3:1-2

Have you increased in humble obedience? John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 1Jn 2:2-6; 5:2-3

Aids to spirituality

Are you cooperating with the Spirit? Gal. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Ac 7:51; Eph 4:30; 1Th 5:19

Are you in meditation on God’s Word? Josh. 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Jn 17:7; 2Ti 3:15-17

Are you spending time with God? Luke 6:12  And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. Mk 1:35; Ac 4:13

Do you encourage others? Heb. 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Col 3:16; 1Th 2:11-12

Are you prepared for tests and trials? James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Ro 5:3-4; 1Pe 1:6-7

Examples of spirituality

Gen. 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Acts 6:8   And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.      
 Ge 6:9 Noah; Moses: Nu 12:3, 6, 8 David: 1Sa 13:14; Ac 13:22 Stephen: Ac 11:24 Barnabas

How did you do?  Did you find the answers difficult? Most of us do and we certainly are working to be able to affirm all these aspects of true spirituality.  Would you like to join in a community that seeks to perfect true spirituality?  Come and see.

Saint Athanasius is a member of the Diocese of the Eastern United States in the Anglican Province of America.

Source: Alister McGrath

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