Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
December 9th, 2009

Review: Just Watch Over Me

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From Amazon:

Her Rescue Might Be the Miracle They Needed Things like this don’t happen in Beck County. Deputy Benjamin Patil is the one to find the infant girl, hours old, abandoned in a field. As police work to identify the mother, Ben and his wife, Abbi, seem like the obvious couple to serve as foster parents. But the newborn’s arrival opens old wounds for Abbi and shines a harsh light on how much Ben has changed since a devastating military tour. Their marriage teeters on the brink and now they must choose to reclaim what they once had or lose each other forever.

Deputy Benjamin Patil has recently returned from a military tour, minus a few toes, and survivors’ guilt. Because of his troubles, his marriage has begun to crumble. His wife, Abbi, is at her wits end and no longer knows if she can continue with Ben. When the Deputy finds an abandoned baby, just a few hours old, in an open field he immediately bonds with her. He and his wife Abbi decide to take her in while the case is worked and the police try to find her mother.

There is another story entwined with this one; a story of a deaf teenage boy with serious kidney problems and is in need of a kidney transplant. When his mother gives him up he lives with his worthless Aunt and her 4 daughters. He becomes involved with the Patils and finds what he has been looking for.

The author of this book does an excellent job of drawing you in emotionally and you really start to feel for the characters. This is a touching story centered on faith in God and how He can take the worst circumstances and turn them into blessings.  This book is different than most Christian fiction books that I have read, but in a good way. It’s not overly sappy or unrealistic. The characters are average people with everyday problems.

August 1st, 2009

Review: Offworld

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Thanks to Jim at Bethany House for this review Copy. It is nice, every once in a while, to take a break from theological books and let the mind imagine for a bit.

First the nitty:

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House; 1 edition (July 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764206060
ISBN-13: 978-0764206061

From the Back Cover

Read the rest of this entry »

June 29th, 2009

Review – James White and the KJVO Controversy (Final)

I am reviewing the newest edition of James White’s book for Bethany House. (Part 1, here – Part 2, here – Part 3, here) I am deliberately taking my time and spacing it out for several reasons –

  • I come from the KJVO background, and James White was our archnemesis
  • I have many from the KJVO group on various social networking sites that see the links, and the more that they see, the more likely they are to read at least one
  • It is a great resource in dealing with KJVO’ers

This is the final review in this series.

In looking over the reviews on Amazon, I noticed a good many of the negatives (1-star) are those made by anonymous reviews. If defending the KJV is such a righteous cause, why do so in such a manner – not just the anonymous postings, but also the strong negatively leveled James White?

In chapters 7, White discusses the textual differences between the KJV and the modern translations. While many times, the rules are the same, the outcomes are indeed different. Why? Because the very few who put together the Greek which underlies the KJV NT had very little to work with while those that help with the UBS and the NA have much older MSS. The author takes the reader through the methods of determining readings, and makes a strong case that modern variants rarely, if ever, change important doctrines. He highlights different arguments from the KJVO crowd and shows them as hypocritical to their own words.

Moving to chapter 8, White delivers a power understanding of the preservation of the deity of Christ in the modern translations, sometimes strengthening it when compared to the KJV. Taking us through several important, and key doctrinal passages on the deity of Christ, including Titus 2.13 and 2nd Peter 1.1, White shows that the translation of the KJV hinders the advocacy of the Godhood of Christ. Further, he effectively deals with the counterattacks by the KJVO crowd concerning ‘omits’ and ‘loose translations,’ quoting from their works in which they condemn, often times without sound merit, the modern versions.

In chapter 9, White moves to the problems with the KJV. He writes about the archaic language found in the KJV and the translation method. While attempting to maintain that he is not anti-KJV, White demonstrates the need for updated language, especially in light of our own updating of English. Further, he shows that many times, due to the method in which the KJV was translated, words and phrases wound up meaning completely different things, depending upon the translator.

In the final chapter of the first part of the book, White attempts to answer several questions, which I assume that he, like others who defend the bible, has been asked over the years.

Part 2 of the book deals with textual data, and is not for the feint of heart.


James White has updated and expanded his first work to deal with new material and the added attacks by the KJVO crown. While at times he drifts into a directed response against certain authors, he does attempt to maintain a conversation about the KJVO doctrine and defends the modern versions. He allows that not all modern versions are recommendable, but that all doctrine should be well founded upon Scripture.

June 4th, 2009

Review – James White and the KJVO Controversy (3)

I am reviewing the newest edition of James White’s book for Bethany House. (Part 1, here – Part 2, here.) I am deliberately taking my time and spacing it out for several reasons –

  • I come from the KJVO background, and James White was our archnemesis
  • I have many from the KJVO group on various social networking sites that see the links, and the more that they see, the more likely they are to read at least one
  • It is a great resource in dealing with KJVO’ers

With that said, let’s continue with chapters 4, 5 and 6. I will not rehash every argument that he has – that is not my place as a reviewer. Let me go ahead and thank Bethany House for the courtesy copy of The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? (2nd ed.) by James R. White. This is an excellent resource for anyone – especially those still in the myth of the KJVO. It is challenging to say the least to read White and not be offended at his position, if one is a KJVO, but he raises the exact points which helped to open my own eyes to that position.

In Chapter 4 (Putting it Together) the author begins to discuss the ‘specifics’ of the KJVO argument, and does so quite well. He takes us through there early attacks on Erasmus, who first assembled the Greek Text which underlies (for the most part) the King James Version. He focus on the most famous of all verses, 1st John 5.7. In modern versions it is not found – nor is it found among the debates of the Church Fathers regarding the Godhead. While I use to dismiss this argument out of hand – no good Catholics that the Church Fathers were and all – the point is well made while I explored the 4th Century Controversy.

From there, he takes us through the history of the Textus Recptus, including the revisions made to it over the years. He aligns the textual criticism of the Textual Fathers with the Textual Critics of today. Remarkably, the goal and intent, and methods are nearly the same.

His next stop are the words of the translators themselves – in which they acknowledge their own humanity, and encourage the use of many translations. He counters several of the myths that surround the translations, calling to mind the use of the same traditions applied to the translators of the KJV.

He then moves the KJV-1611 itself, and highlights the changes in style, form, and grammer. Further, he points out the direct revisions to the text itself. (Again, if you want to know the finer points, buy the book.) It is worthy pointing out, however, that no one used the KJV-1611 anymore. The majority of KJV users use the Oxford 1769. More of that, in the book.

In Chapter 4 (The KJVO Camp) the author examines the arguments of three people

  • Dr. Edward F. hills, who White remarks that he is the least offensive KJVO’er.
  • Gail Riplinger, who White seems to devote a large amount of time debating
  • Dr. Peter Ruckman, who is one of the worse ‘misinformationists’ today.

Both Riplinger and Ruckman fill a large number of footnotes, and indeed the main text, which is perhaps one of the few down sides to White’s work. To me, he spends too much time giving them the floor – and although he answers them, it makes it seem more like a personal conflict between White and Riplinger/Ruckman than an informative book.

There is no doubt that these two people have personally attacked White (and indeed they have). Their positions are filled with purposed misinformation, geared to those who read only their writings, as if they write with an inspired pen as well. While everything that White answers them with is dead on, it would have been better to answer them without either mentioning them directly or perhaps detailing their arguments.

In Chapter 6 (Translational Differences) White deals with the conspiracy theories which spew from the camp of the KJVO, that the modern versions defile, change, pervert, and murder the word of God. Of course, for them, the Word of God is still the KJV. They hold this as a standard – never really thinking why this alone is the standard.

Be briefly discusses several passages used by the KJVO camp in showing that the modern versions dilute the word of God – including the use of the word ‘peculiar’ which White points out is believed by the KJVO camp to mean ‘odd’ because that’s how Peter and Paul meant it, and ‘and Moses 4,000 years earlier.’

I want to stress that those in the KJV movement take the time to read this book. It helps to highlight many inconsistencies in the KJVO crown, and will help you to come to a better appreciation, I believe, of the bible.

For another review, go here.

May 22nd, 2009

Review – James White and the KJVO Controversy

I am reviewing the newest edition of James White’s book for Bethany House. (Part 1, here.) Instead of a simply review – books great, go buy it – I have decided to review bits and pieces, to highlight specific items for thought and discussion.

This section of the review will cover chapters 2  and 3.

In chapter 2, (If It Ain’t Broke…) the author tackles several of the issues of those who hold tot he KJVO position (as a reminder, these people believe that ONLY the KJV is the Word of God.), one of which is the fact that many in the KJVO field hold to the idea that somehow the KJV is the standard to test all others buy.

He cites two examples:

  • In the 5th century, the Roman Bishop commissioned a new translation of the bible into Latin. Previously, the Septuagint had been the bible of the Church, a hold over from a time when Greek was the lingua franca of the day. Jerome, as scholars are apt to do, went to the source text of the Old Testament, the Hebrew MSS. In encountering this story, we are reminded that for a while, the LXX was held to be the inspired translation of the Old Testament, with permission to discard the Hebrew. (There was, I believe, antisemitism involved). The story goes is that 70(2) scholars in meeting to translate the OT, retired to secluded rooms, but when they re-emerged, they each had translated the passages exactly the same. Originally, this applied to the Torah, but eventually this story came to rest up the entire OT. For the early Church, the Septuagint held the place which the KJV does today – it alone was the corrector to the Word of God. When Jerome brought forth the Latin, Augustine, the bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa, nearly led a revolt. The problems were eventually settled, with Jerome’s Latin Vulgate becoming the translation of the West.
  • 500 years after the Great Schism, a Catholic priest names Erasmus, attempted to correct the corrupt Latin manuscripts which predominated Catholic Christiandom. In doing so, he, like scholars are apt to do, went to the original source of the NT, the Greek. Working from fiver or six manuscripts, he produced several editions of his Greek New Testament. When he lacked something in Greek, he backwards translated the Latin, and used that to supplement his work. In doing so, he provided a manuscript for what became the basis for the Greek text use by the Reformation era translators.

Let me add that it was one William Tyndale who was burned at the stake for taking Erasmus’ work and translating the Hebrew and Greek into English so that everyone who could read English, a backwater language of the day, could read the Gospel. He was met with resistance because it was only the Latin which should be used, so said Rome. So says the KJVOnlyist today.

Moving to the next chapter, the author starts to explain the idea of textual variants and the different MSS traditions – and makes the point in no uncertain terms, that ‘99 percent of the four hundred thousand variations are irrelevant to the proper translation and understanding of the Greek text.’ He also highlights the futility of abandoning one MSS tradition for other based on the location of that MSS, such as the preference of the Alexandrian Text over that of the Byzantine Text. He notes that it was the great Athanasius of Alexandria who defended the deity of Jesus Christ while it was those of Antioch who supported the terrible doctrines of Arius and his followers.

He also attempts to explain the various excuses for the variants – including scribal errors and a reference of sacred names.

He does make a solid point, in that in determining the the original text, we find a tenacity of the text – in that variant readings do not disappear; meaning that the original readings are still there as well. He makes the observation that unlike the KJVO group, because of his believe in the Scriptures, he has been able to defend against much more liberal voices and even Islamic voices. It is true, I think, that the KJVO doctrine cripples apologetics – for them, God lost His word for 1500 years, only to have it reappear in 17th English. They cannot provide a defense of Scripture beyond pointing to the KJV. For the KJVO crowd, it is the the KJV which corrects all other MSS, while for others, the word of God is found, defended, and never lost due to wars, persecutions, conspiracies, or simply the fallacy of humanity.

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