Monday, August 26, 2013

My rant sandy about changing God's word!

"The foolish man builds his house upon the sand."



We all pretty much know what it means, right? That you must have a rock-solid foundation to build your home on. That analogy makes sense to the 2013 mind as much as it did when it was written because we all live in buildings built on concrete... 

So, how about ALL Christian parenting books out there that are instructing us how to build our spiritual houses...are they built on rock? They claim they are. And, they quote the Bible a lot and so everyone believes that they are. But, are they?


The Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek. 

The Bible was written thousands of years ago.
The Bible was written by people who lived in a completely different culture.

You could say that the foundation or...the "rock" of the Bible...is made up of the original language, culture, and people who wrote it. God spoke through those people who spoke those languages at that time and place in history (HIS story) and He recorded a very complex "letter" to all of us so that we'd not be led astray by "Paul Bunyan" tales or "whisper down the lane" tales.

I don't think most people understand how significant all that is. 


I've lived outside the US and am SO thankful that I have had that opportunity. One thing I can tell ya is...even living in the same time period...on the same side of the planet...in this digitally connected age...the language, culture, and people in that country (Guatemala) were significantly different from the US. 


How so?


Some things that were different in Guatemala from the US...

- how people approach and enter your home
- how people wash their bodies
- how people care for pets
- how people wash their hands and dry them
- how people eat
- how people apply salt to their food
- how people prepare/cook their food
- what people eat
- how people greet you
- how people say good-bye
- basically...how people do...just...about...everything

Seriously. I sat in the car one day as my husband was picking some things up from the market and I was watching a lady down the street walking toward me as she shook the rain off of her arms and even the way they do that...is distinctly different from how an American moves their body in the same situation.



(Random shot of one of the streets in the town I lived in)

There was an air conditioning company installing our ac...and the owner came to the house...and walked in and I was nursing the baby. He walked right over and put his hand on her head and smiled and said, "Que lindo bebé!" (What a beautiful baby.) He sat next to me then and with NO regard to my breast he talked to me about the installation. (Another time, an American was in my home and when he got the drift that I was even THINKING of nursing my baby under my shirt completely out of sight of anything he got completely flushed red and left the room.)

With all the differences...there were also different understandings about life in general which made it hard for me to make jokes, for example. I would try to joke and people would laugh often, but, mostly it was because my mutillated Spanish and silly comments just were funny but not because my attempts at the actual JOKES were funny. Like my jokes weren't funny THE WAY they were intended to be funny. :)


A good friend of the fam would sometimes come over to the house with her husband and I swear he was the king of Spanish expressions! I came downstairs to greet them and had just showered and he smiled broadly and told me I was something like "fresh like lettuce?" I looked at her was like, "Whaaaat??" He did this to me all the time! His wife just smacked him playfully and told him to stop and tried to explain the expression to me. I still don't get it!


And, as I learned, with Spanish there were expressions and words for things that were specific to regions within the country. And, there were words like "coche." Coche in Guatemala is a pig. But, people in Mexico drive coches. (I learned "coche" as pig and so when I listen to my fav Spanish soap opera made in Mexico I always giggle when they talk about driving expensive pigs...)




So, now imagine this... 

Imagine you were traveling to Guatemala with your toddlers...alone...(I know it's totally realistic! ha! It's necessary for the crazy illustration I've come up with!) and...something happened and you were fatally wounded! (sorry!) And, as you were dying you wrote your most important thoughts out for your future generations. Stuff that really mattered to you. You wrote this, obviously, in English...and croaked. So long. And, your kids, for this story are now orphans in some village down there and so are adopted by a local family and...end up forgetting English.


About 50 years into the future, your kids realize they have this letter from you and it's in English! And, they ¡no hablan inglés! So, they take it to the HS English teacher at the local school and ask him to translate it into Spanish for them and anxiously await to finally read your precious dying words!


This teacher grew up in the jungle...literally. This teacher never saw a car until he was 12 years old. His  home was a thatched-roof hut with a dirt floor. There was no glass in his home's windows. No electricity. And, the only running water he'd ever seen was in the creek by the house. They had chickens living inside the house and his bed was a board in the same room with his parents and siblings. 


This teacher's dad hunted for wild boar and monkeys to feed the family. This teacher would go out into the jungle with his mother when he was younger and pick certain plants and roots to cook. His mother would spend much of her day topless as it was hot and easier to feed her 10 babies that way. She carried his siblings on her back and she did their laundry in the creek. 


Spiritually this teacher grew up with a mix of Catholicism and ancient Mayan traditions and many many old wives tales! His  mom never heard of or would even consider using birth control? This teacher grew up in a country where moms all stay at home and abortion...is abhorrent to the general public. 


This teacher hadn't ever walked into a school or anything until he was 12...when his family moved into a "town" with roads and a school where he then began his education...and moved into a house with a toilet and a stove that used electricity instead of kindling that he'd have to collect daily. This teacher had only ever seen 2 Americans...your two kids who were raised in his village...And, he has now been given the task of translating your letter into Spanish...

No matter how sincerely this teacher would want to translate your words...how faithfully do you think this teacher would be able to translate your words about the..."not getting caught up in the rat race"...and not letting anyone "give you crap?" Think of all the weird expressions we use like, "kicking your butt" or "sucking up to someone" or "not kissing your bosses butt" or any other # of sayings that are so not able to be understood literally?? How would this teacher understand what you meant when you talked about your "locker at school" or about "going from the frying pan into the fryer"? 


Or, even without "expressions" think of how many things would be specific to your time period and country? What if you added to your letter to NOT get sucked into (sucked into there's another one) getting caught up (and another!) in current "fads" of fashion like tattooing is these days. "Back in my day, we all wore blue eye shadow and had mullets! Oh the fashions were scary! BUT! Unless you see one of my school pictures (what's he gonna think is a school picture? A picture of your school?) you wouldn't know because that fashion fad wasn't permanent like tattoos are!


In order for this teacher to really faithfully translate your American English words from even just 50 years ago into something you'd agree was really what you meant to say would be to first study and fully understand the culture and world you lived in. Yes? The teacher would have to understand what is "butt kissing?" and what the world you lived in was like? What was it like for you growing up in a world where killing babies inside their mamas was considered a "woman's right" since before you'd been born and that people protested in the streets to keep that legal? What was it like growing up in a country where most kids had divorced parents...and spent most of their childhoods in daycare or school? Even when those specific things aren't part of our personal lives, they are the culture that we live in...that shapes our world views. And, in order to understand say, why one would leave a letter for their daughter advising her to "never be a doormat to a man" one would have to have some understanding of the culture of modern feminism that would be part of that feeling.



Modern Bible translations and most people preaching "the gospel" these days seem to not have ANY understanding of the Jewish culture or beliefs of years ago...of the language...of ancient shepherding practices...of sheep...of anything. So, they take the words and try to understand them in the context of "today" and what they think they already know and that foundation is shifty. That foundation will change with the current times and culture.

It's sand.





For example..let's talk about one of my pet peeves...

Almost everything you ever read in a Christian parenting book...is not based on the view of children that the authors of the Bible had. And, it freaks me out that these authors (and their fans) don't ever consider this!


If you ask a Jew today if kids are born sinful...they'll say..."What!?" No. Jews today...do not believe that children are born sinful...because they still believe what they have believed for 1000's of years on that subject. Yet this belief in all of Adam's children carrying Adam's sin in their blood somehow...which is completely contrary to what the Bible authors believed...is the very foundation of modern Christian parenting!? 

Where did this belief even come from? You may be surprised to know that it actually did not come from the Bible that says this of Jesus, "He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good." Isaiah 7:15


Yes. The Bible says Jesus reached an age of accountability because He was Jewish and the Biblical authors were Jewish and that is what they believed about children...

From Wikipedia:
"According to Jewish law, when Jewish boys become 13 years old, they become accountable for their actions and become a bar mitzvah. A girl becomes a bat mizvah at the age of 12. Most non-Orthodox Jews celebrate a girl's bat mitzvah in the same way as a boy's bar mitzvah. Prior to reaching bar or bat mitzvah, the child's parents hold the responsibility for the child's actions. After this age, the girls and boys bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics, and are able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life."
But, your Bible has the Jewish David saying he was a sinner since conception in Psalm 51:5? That's actually a gross mis-translation of the Hebrew in which David actually says his MOTHER committed an act of sin conceiving him...with a man who was not her husband. Hmmm...

Well, your Bible says in the New Testament a dozen times that we have a "sinful nature?" If you use a Bible translation that uses that expression you should know that that is not in the original text. There are (something like) 10 different ways that one word...the word "sarx" or "flesh"...is translated in the NIV and other transliterations like it depending on how the translators wanted it to be. 

That word is used here:


1 John 4:2-3
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
and here...

2 John 1:7
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 


and here...

1 Tim. 3:16
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

and here...

Hebrews 5:7
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

and here...

1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

and here...

1 Peter 4:1
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh

...and...a whole bunch more..
.and translated as "flesh" it is completely understandable, isn't it? 

But, when the very same word appears here...

2 Corinthians 10:3
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh

The NIV translates it...

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.


You may think that's small and who cares. But, the deal is, that change was simply not necessary at all. And, the liberty that is taken to change words to make it "more understandable" is taken everywhere...BUT what you don't realize is that changing the words to "make it more understandable" makes the translating committees belief of the meaning of the text more understandable...not the original meaning.

Do you get that?


Think about it. If the original word used = flesh OR sinful nature, it should be translatable either way. But, look at those verses above...would any of those make sense if you replaced "flesh" with "sinful nature?"


1 Peter 4:1
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh/sinful nature


2 Corinthians 10:3
For though we walk in the flesh/sinful nature, we do not war according to the flesh/sinful nature


That's ridiculous!

How about Paul...

Phil. 1:22-24
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

Paul is praising living in "the flesh" saying it's useful and full of fruitful labor...and the word translated there as "the flesh" is THE SAME WORD that the NIV (and others) translate as "sinful nature." 

Come on? Really?And, just so you don't think I'm promoting any particular Bible version (as in that maybe I'd be one of those KJV only people!) here are some other examples...


Romans 7:5
NIV For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

NASB For while we werein the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at workinthe members of our body to bear fruit for death.

KJV For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

LITV (Literal) For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin were working in our members through the Law for the bearing of fruit unto death.

Webster’s For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit to death:
___________

Romans 7:18
NIV I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.

NASB For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not

KJV For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

LITV (Literal) For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good. For to will is present to me, but to work out the good I do not find.

Webster’s For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not.

___________

Romans 8:4-6
NIV (and so he condemned sin in sinful man) in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind that nature of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

NASB (He condemned sin in the flesh,) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

KJV That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

LITV (Literal) so that the righteous demand of the Law might be fulfilled in us, those not walking according to flesh, but according to Spirit. For the ones that are according to flesh mind the things of the flesh. And the ones according to Spirit mind the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace;

Webster’s That the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For they that are according to the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh: but they that are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to becarnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace:

If you think about it...Jesus sweat blood in the garden. He did not walk according to His flesh...His body knew pain. He had a human body just like us. He knew what He was about to go thru would be the foundation for the word, "excruciating" because "crucifixion" was the most painful death penalty ever! But, He walked according to the Spirit. He did not allow His aversion to pain to keep Him from doing what was right for others...

Doctrine of original sin = sand. 



And if you look at the verses above...it's possibly denying that Jesus came in the flesh or had any virtue in going to the cross. 

The Bible makes a point of saying that someone who does not proclaim that Jesus came in the "sarx" is an anti-christ, yet, MOST Christians believe that Jesus "didn't have a father because the sin is passed thru the father...so Jesus didn't get born with original sin..." 

Really? 

But, places the NIV translates it "sinful nature" it's the same word that the original text written by people who did NOT believe we're born sinful wrote...means "flesh." The people who wrote the NT were Jews who believed that children reached an age of accountability at their bar mitvah. They believed that the same flesh we are born with Jesus was born with. 

They knew that Jesus had the same flesh as us...and yet...He managed not to sin...so see...we have no excuse...

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
SO! Getting back to my original point...

The "rock" of the word which was written by Jews in Hebrew and Greek says "flesh" because the Jews didn't see our flesh or babies or children as sinful. 


And, what does the modern church think sin is, anyway? What did Jesus hang up there and suffer for? A physical condition that ya can't help? God's not condemning humans for a birth defect...which original sin would be. We're created in the image of God. We're created perfect with the truth on our hearts. And, all of us "like sheep have gone astray and each has turned..." Each of us...when we, like Jesus, got to the age where we were able to know the difference between good and evil...we all...CHOSE...evil. We all CHOSE to do wrong. It is not the fault of our blood. We COULD help it. It's not Adam's fault. It's ours. No one to blame but ourselves...and that's why there's no one to blame...but ourselves when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ...



Ezekiel 18:14-20
Now behold, he has a son who has observed all his father’s sins which he committed, and observing does not do likewise. He does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife, or oppress anyone, or retain a pledge, or commit robbery, but he gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, he keeps his hand from the poor, does not take interest or increase, but executes My ordinances, and walks in My statutes; he will not die for his father’s iniquity, he will surely live. 

As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was not good among his people, behold, he will die for his iniquity Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.


So, the first foundation of the modern Christian's understanding about children is based on a belief that began outside the Bible and was added to it.


Revelation 22:19
...and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.


Now, let's add more understanding about children...If you ask a modern Christian what the "rod" spoken of in the Bible is for...they'll tell you it's for spanking/hitting children because "foolishness is bound up in their hearts" because of original sin. They'll tell you that God COMMANDS it. But, in ancient times...the people who wrote those words in the Bible about the rod...didn't see kids that way...and actually knew about shepherding. They knew about sheep. And, they knew "the rod" to be a weapon to use against predators.

Just like if you went back in time you'd know about the internet and they wouldn't...they knew about shepherding and we don't...


Modern Christians don't even know anything about...sheep! Most have never even seen one in real life! Never touched one! Never cared for one! So, why do they think they know anything about that shepherd's rod!?


To build the foundation for your home and your parenting on an understanding of the letter that God left for us...when you have no idea what all of it is based on...is building your house on sand.




And, where has this gotten us? Jesus said we'd know stuff by its fruit, right? Just take one look at the world we live in right now in the USA...The "tree" of the Christian church has been producing its "fruit" in America now since 1776 and culturally...you can see what kinda' tree that church is, can't ya? I'd say all these "small" changes that so many people wanna just say, "Well, let's just agree to disagree on this..." have been a destructive force within the church and it has spread to the entire world. 


"Original Sin" is the foundational doctrine for people who justify hitting kids with the Biblical rod. "Original Sin" takes away the virtue Jesus had in being tempted IN ALL THINGS JUST AS WE ARE and yet He didn't sin. It sets us up to expect to sin and easily excuse it because "we can't help it because it's in our blood." All these things steal, kill, and destroy our families and personal lives...and the work of Jesus on the cross. The doctrine of Original Sin did not come from the One who came to give us LIFE and that more abundantly.

I have struggled to take this seriously, myself, honestly. I write stuff like this and feel it strongly and then hesitate to publish for fear of offending people. So, I feel like this is what I really believe but...do I be-living it? I feel like I know what's right yet, at the same time I have a hard time believing it in a Christian world that accepts anything as God's word the same way they accept McDonald's food as food. I write this then read it and think, "C'mon...aren't ya taking this a bit toooo seriously?" But, then I think about if it were me? What if it were me? And, then I think about all the damage that mis-interpreting the Bible has done. I think, "What if I was satan? How would I attack God?" And, it all points to these terrible watering-downs and mis-interpretations of the Bible.


You know...in the Jehovah's Witness Bible...you know what they believe, don't you? They believe Jesus is NOT God. And, their Bible version proves it. John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was a god." 

They add that one tiny word, "a" and it CHANGES EVERYTHING! 

And, has been used to lead an entire group of people far off track, true? Wikipedia says there are over 7.78 million Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide. 

And, you know, if you wanna argue with a JW missionary at your door, you'll just play, "Battle of the Bible Versions" with them if you pull out any of your English versions. But, if you get out the original Greek for John 1:1 you know what it says? "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and God was the word."



You go back to the original and there's no denying the truth. No denying The Truth. 

Would you use a Jehovah's Witness Bible and just ignore that part? Would that change in that one verse make you hesitate to believe any of it for fear of what else is changed? 

I wouldn't use a Jehovah's Witness Bible because it's not...the words God left for us. So, if I wouldn't use a JW Bible because of one changed verse...why would I use an NIV that's changed countless verses? It's the same reason I reject the NIV and other Bible versions like it.

I just love words. I actually do. I looked it up one day and I'm a "logophile." So, the NIV...offends me. And, I'd never want them to do to my journals what they've done to the Bible...

I also love the Word of God (in John 1:1) also...and think His words matter even more...


John 8:31-32
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word (and you can only do that if you have His ACTUAL words)then you are truly disciples of Mine (and not of the translating committee who changed His words); and you will know the truth (of what Jesus actually said), and the truth will make you free.”






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