Category Archives: Bible

Reflections and thoughts on the Scriptures

Is the defense of religious freedom a legitimate Christian ministry?

“Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith,” says Robin David, the ADF International allied lawyer defending the pastors in court. “In India, many citizens face fierce harassment because they belong to a religious minority.”

These Christian pastors in India are being persecuted not because they are a minority but because they are Christians.  While “nobody should be persecuted for their religious belief” may be a nice sentiment, the reality is that persecution occurs on a daily basis. In fact, anti-Christian irrational hatred and the resulting persecution is amply talked about and predicted in the Lord’s teachings and throughout the New Testament.

It is right and proper for us to support each other as believers and stand up against persecution and the injustice it represents. The NT teaching that Christians must be ready to embrace suffering for the name of the Lord does not constitute a surrender to the claims of evil without opposition on our side. Jesus suffered ultimately but He never stopped to assert His divine right to be recognized as the Son of God, the Son of Man, and the Savior of the world. We see the same example through the lives of the apostles and the martyrs of the faith.

Being subject to persecution should never be seen as a reason for Christians to approve of persecution, even if they gladly embrace it as a sign of their loyalty to Christ. Christ embraced suffering because it was part of the great plan of God to offer a sacrifice for our sins. He accepted, after a great struggle, his destiny and promised that His disciples would be persecuted as well. Not for a moment, however, did Christ praise his persecutors for what they were doing. It was out of mercy that He actually prayed that they be forgiven for the evil they were doing to Him, as He knew that they would eventually face God’s judgment and punishment.

However, when freedom of conscience exits the “defense of Christian believers” realm and enters the realm of political and legal definitions, one question demands our attention: Do we as Christians care to defend non-Christian religious belief? If we do not, does that mean that we do not care about the people who hold such beliefs (i.e. do we need to endorse one’s wrong beliefs in order to be able to show true Christian love? Or is denouncing one’s false beliefs, in fact, a show of true love and concern for their soul?) If we insist on religious freedom for Christians, does this oblige us to insist on religious freedom for all religions? How is this latter situation different from universalism and supporting messages that are non-Christian or even anti-Christian?

Then if Christians are persecuted, shall we ignore the fact, and shrug it off, because, as we will see, both Jesus and the apostles predicted the inevitable hostility of the world against Christ’s disciples? Shall we not stand up for those of our brothers who suffer under tyrannical regimes or by the hand of evil people just because they are believers?

Religious liberty, if seen as a merely secular pluralist concept, seems to go against the exclusivity of the Biblical message of salvation. After all, what does it profit you if you gain all the pluralism of religions in the world, securing the tolerance of all belief systems toward each other, but lose your soul by rejecting Christ?

Yet, is the fight for religious freedom just a secular cause, which has no application in Christian ministry?

I have been involved in defense of the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech in Eastern Europe since the 1990’s. In a place where the state is god and only its ideology is promoted and imposed on the people and the churches, the stand for freedom of religion is an inherently Christian cause. To treat the state as god, and believe only state ideology, which bans or limits the spread of the Gospel, is idolatry. The very belief in the true God is a defiance of the false god of the state. Thus a fight for “religious freedom” can be a new form of the all-time valid and biblical fight against idolatry.

Any attempt to stand against idolatry will result in a harsh and hateful response. Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Gideon, Hezekiah, are only a few men of the Old Testament whose stories remind us of this fact. The truth that God is the only true God and Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son, through whom we are saved, drives the principalities and powers insane.

Tertullian, the 3rd-century lawyer and theologian, properly declared: “The first reaction to truth is hatred.”

However, if the biblical standard of persecution against Christians is the norm, and we should expect persecution to take place if we are active believers, is our fight for religious liberty simply idealistic wishful thinking? Is this really a needed ministry to help the church?

The legitimacy of these questions stems from the clear teaching of the Lord Jesus and the New Testament that Christians, true followers of Jesus, will be persecuted only because of their belief in Him. From the Scriptures, we see that we will be inevitably persecuted by those who hate and oppose God, that we are to bless them who persecute us, that we are to pray for our enemies (which includes those who persecute us), and that we are to…rejoice when we are persecuted in His name. Also, we see that if they persecuted Christ, they will also persecute His followers; we are to flee persecution and to endure (be strong and not lose our faith). The prophets and scribes, servants of God, are always persecuted, as Jesus Christ was rejected.

If they hated the message of Christ, the Son of God, who exposed the deeds of the world, which are evil, how much more will they persecute His messengers, who will have the same message?

Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered…
and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure. 
2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Perish the thought that all of these teachings are a calling to hide, bless secretly, and be irrelevant.

Jesus warned His disciples, respectively us His contemporary followers, that we must be strong in faith. This was said not for the purpose of our going into hiding with our faith and message, but for the exact opposite purpose. We are to be light and salt, to be a city on a hill, and to shine with the truth and the light of the Gospel. The truth is if we are not actively doing these things, then no persecution will ever come our way.

As the Scriptures tell us: only if we want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will we suffer consequences. If our faith is hidden, not relevant to the sins and problems of this world, then there will be no need for persecution, since those who oppose the message of God in Christ will feel no offense.

Where does then the fight for religious liberty, as a Christian cause, apply since persecution is a normal, or at least an expected, essential element of a vibrant Christian faith?

In fact, the Bible is full of examples of men of God and followers of Christ standing up for their right to believe and speak their message. There is also one woman involved in that type of service, Esther.

Daniel 3, 6; Matthew 10; Acts 4, 5; Romans 13; 1 Timothy; 1 Peter 2:13-17 are just a few examples of the theme which runs through the whole Bible and the whole history of man: the fight for freedom. That’s freedom to be who God has created us to be, freedom from sin, and from slavery of death. And as the world is still under the dominion of Satan, such freedom is impossible to achieve unless one has the faith and courage to stand against the intimidation of the forces that be for the truth of Jesus Christ as the only way to God and salvation.

An element of the truth is standing for righteousness. Not only those who are persecuted are blessed in the beatitudes, but also those who hunger for righteousness. It is useless to be happy that you’re being persecuted if you’re persecuted not for righteousness’ sake but because of your fear or personal lack of integrity, or even misdeeds.

Governments and authorities are ministers of God (Romans 13). However, when these ministers embrace evil, ungodly principles and ideologies then they no longer serve God and the people but evil, corruption, sin and eventually — death. There are a number of examples in history, one of them being “communism.”

An example in the Western so-called “civilized” governments is their adoption of laws that defy and turn God’s very creation into a mockery. The legalization of same-sex “marriage” has no other purpose than to make a statement to God that we, men and women, can define our own gender and our own “holy matrimony” in defiance to His creation and to anything natural.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

The very idea that we can reformulate, rebrand and reassign gender, which is a part of God’s creation, and is currently the cry for “equality” and “human rights” in the world, represents a  rejection of the truth that there is a God, that He is a creator, and that He has designed a plan to save us and reconcile us to him. Anyone who thinks that “marriage equality” laws are actually aimed at correcting a wrong in society is completely blind to the immense spiritual and historical significance of this “movement for equality.” It is a design of the enemy of God to mock even the very dignity He has bestowed us with — our identity and image as we are born as male or female.

It is clear to anyone involved in observing these political, cultural, and spiritual trends of making up new rights and new equalities that the biggest enemies of these movements are Christians who are not silent about their beliefs; the ones who dare oppose the cultural shifts toward calling evil “good.”

The proponents of gender equality and sexual “rights” naturally want to curtail the freedom to preach the Gospel, to speak of God’s love, and to state that God can heal sin and perversion. If homosexuality is to be adopted as an intrinsic human right and societal value, then naturally, any opposition to such a “value” must be deemed anti-social. And if the Bible teaches that homosexuality is sin and something bad, then those who preach and teach the Bible must correct and curtail their teachings or be pronounced a threat to society.

In April of 2018, a famous left-wing progressive American TV anchor was “exposed” to have written in a blog years before of her disapproval of homosexuality. When the blog was found out in 2018 she put on a show that her blog had been hacked which caused a government agency to investigate. Eventually the TV anchor backtracked and said that she honestly did not believe that she could have written those opinions of criticism against homosexual behavior. This formerly held opinion was “not her voice.” Some called for her firing. She responded by  apologizing to the homosexual community. The “community” withdrew an award they had given out to her as a pro-homosexual public figure.

The main lesson from this incident is that certain behavior seen as immoral by many in the past, (and that behavior has to do with sexual “liberation” or perversion, depending on the interpretation), is now not allowed to be the subject of criticism without the critic facing personal and social repercussions, to the extent of one having to lie, squirm and apologize profusely and cause the FBI to investigate. The fear and the terror experienced is in having an opinion that is not according to the party line or in this case, social “orthodoxy”! If in the past it was “religious bigotry” that wrote social and legal norms, at this point in time it is the morally unhinged sexual revolution that defines what is “right and wrong.”

A recently adopted “covert” California consumer law banned treatment and services for people who might want to revert from their homosexuality as “fraud” (California Law Makers: Faith Practices Can Be Punished as Fraud).

How different are these developments, occurring at the moment in the West, from the former communist control of the freedoms of thought and speech? It is not the specific sin here that we are opposing. Sin is sin, regardless of how repulsive or prevalent, or how hidden and inconspicuous. It is the turning of that sin into a mandatory social construct of honor and righteousness that is the stronghold to which we are opposed.

These are only two examples which point to the fact that groupthink is alive and well in the so-called free countries; that the fight for freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech rages on. We are made aware that the very foundation of the struggle to proclaim the message of God’s mercy and judgment in Jesus Christ does not affect only churches, but the whole of society including politics.

If a society excludes the freedom to speak against sin and corruption, which is the liberating message of the Gospel of Christ, for which He and His followers were hated back then (John 3:16-21), and are hated today, if self-censorship out of fear becomes the norm for people of faith, if we cover our moral cowardice under the pretense that we are responding to the world’s appeal to be tolerant, then can we fulfill the purpose of being a light in a dark world?

As long as the struggle for freedom is not one that minimizes the Christian message, or replaces it completely, as in the example where due to the need to respect all people we announce that all religions are equal, religious liberty work has a legitimate place among Christain ministries. Here is a list of four reasons why this is so:

  • Witness. Defending religious freedom opens up an opportunity to speak about the faith of Christ in different contexts, including in the courts and in politics.
  • Brotherly love and compassion. Defending religious liberty is helping our brothers in need by prayer and by morally and legally standing by their side while they are suffering for their faith.
  • Justice and righteousness. Defending religious liberty is the prophetic role of Christians to stand up for justice when governments and rulers abandon their role of simply serving and become a quasi-god type of structure, desiring to regulate the thought and the speech of people.
  • Biblical Example. Defending religious liberty is inspired by the respect of the apostles for governing authorities yet their refusal to obey the illegitimate orders to stop proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thus to state that no one should be persecuted for their belief is truly a nice sentiment, but as we’ve seen has little support in the New Testament for Christians. The Christian teaching is that there will be a lot of opposition to those who live and teach the way of Christ.

The fact that Christians are persecuted does not justify the reason why we are persecuted. As long as we do not see ourselves as victims when persecution comes, but as victors, by rejoicing in our blessings, and praying for our enemies, then there is no reason for us to not stand up for what is right and what is true — namely the message that Christ is Lord, and that persecution against His followers is illegal and in fact is persecution against Him.

By standing up for what we believe in, even in the face of persecution, we are overcomers and ambassadors of liberty in Christ. The ministry of religious liberty, which aims to defend the rights of Christians to believe, worship, and speak, is meant to help us not be victims but victors. We serve a living God who can use our lives and witness to liberate those who seek him, and no one has the right to imprison that message.

Churchianity v Christianity

A British theologian challenges the teaching in the church that evangelism, when wrongly understood as simply adding souls to the ecclesiastical structures and congregations, is an adequate representation of the mission of God in Jesus Christ.

So far, in his series on ‘Churchianity’, Dr Joseph Boot has argued that Christians need to develop a cultural theology grounded in the Bible and has addressed two common faults among evangelicals’ approaches to culture. In this third installment, he challenges well-meaning but errant thinking on the relationship between religion and politics and culture.

Read the whole article here:

Northwestern Bulgarian Initiative to Secede: A Cry of Despair and a Call to Mission?

map of Northwestern Bulgaria

The Northwestern corner of Bulgaria, from west to east: Vidin, Montana, and Vratza.

We have been serving with the Gospel and mission work in Northwestern Bulgaria since 2001, and by moving to serve in the local church in 2009.

Recently people in the region called for the autonomy of the three Northwestern districts in the country — Vratza, Montana, and Vidin. However, the initiative was withdrawn as its leader, a factory worker from Montana, acknowledged that his idea was to point to the devastating economic situation in the region and feeling of despair people who live there feel. Northwestern Bulgaria is the poorest statistically region of the European Union.

The Northwestern voters usually support generally support in the majority the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the former communist during elections. Only the truth of the Gospel can help these desperate people, and this may be a cry for spiritual help with the message of hope in Jesus.

There are churches in the Northwest region, however, they are small and face economic and spiritual hardship. Our perception is that it is the place with least missionaries in the nation.

(NOTE: The articles in Bulgarian may have to be translated with an online translator for general concepts and ideas, as such machine translation is not reliable.)

map BG

Map of Bulgaria and neighboring countries

Answers to Questions in a Worldly, Post-Christian Culture

An open Bible

Who shapes our outlook on this life and the life to come? God and His Word, or the words of the culture around us, dominated by the prince of the air?

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” When we don’t want to listen to the truth of Scripture we have ways of reasoning faith away by simply ignoring the Biblical teaching or by twisting it to mean something different from what it actually means. Christians have an obligation to teach those who accept the Gospel of Christ to obey all that He has commanded (Matt. 28:16-18). The Great Commission mandate is not just to listen to and marvel at the Lord’s teachings, but to instruct the nations to obey these teachings.

No one can teach obedience to Christ’s commandments unless they themselves obey His teachings.

A recent interaction with a long-term friend and supporter prompted me to post the following links which lead to articles and videos addressing issues that our ministry, and most Christians, engage with on a regular basis and issues which are of critical importance of understanding Christ’s teachings in these last days. There are a lot of publications on these subjects thus it is not necessary for me to repeat what others have already written or said on the subjects. The publications behind these links will raise a question or in some — just eyebrows. Yet the truth of the Word of God cannot be reinvented and laden with non-existent but culturally palatable meanings. Only proper reading of Scripture, led by the Holy Spirit will lead us to understand God’s will and to obey the commandments of Christ (which are not that hard: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor!)

The publications address homosexual imperialism, homeschooling, the authority of women in the church, and the church’s relation to Israel.

The Homosexual Agenda in Our Public Schools

10 Biblical Reasons to Homeschool

What Does It Mean Not to Teach or Have Authority Over Men (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

Marching to Zion (a 1:48 hr documentary on youtube addressing the relationship of the people of God to contemporary Israel in view of the New Testament and the end times).

It is noteworthy that the said links are from and for the American context and cultural scenery. It may seem that the content does not relate to our missionary work. Nothing can be further from the truth. US Christianity has had and still has an influence on the church and missions worldwide. American popular culture, also affecting the American church, popular music, Hollywood movies, technology, and worldview with attached ideologies affect the whole world through the power of the media.

We cannot avoid the changed context of the global culture we live in.

That’s why we must address issues and ideologies geographically removed from us, yet brought home through technology and speed of travel. Christian mission overseas is affected by the state of Christianity in other places and especially in the U.S. to which many Christians and churches look up to.

To illustrate the importance of understanding the spiritual dynamic of today’s global and politicized world we should ponder the imperialistic mandate of the then British prime minister David Cameron, who in 2013 announced to the nations that he wanted to export the whole world the same-sex “marriage” his government had so proudly of introduced into their own legal system. Cameron’s arrogant pronouncement sounds like the Great Commission, just with the opposite moral quality.

The favorite phrase of the superheroes of American comic books and their Hollywood offshoots usually goes like this: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” How we, as the body of Christ, handle the “power” of cultural influences and the power of God’s Word is of great importance to the fulfillment of the Great Commission entrusted to us by the Lord.

Who is Your President?

United States presidential candidates in 2016

The United States presidential candidates in 2016, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor, states Proverbs 29:23.

With political passions engulfing the globe one must ask if believers should stay away from politics? The answer is negative. Simply our “politics” is different. It is of the Kingdom of God, and not of the kingdoms of this world. When Christ declared to Pilate in John 18 that His kingdom is not of this world He did not mean that He is an escapist. Neither did He want that for His disciples. He  meant that the way He and His followers engage in this world defies its principles of corruption and rebellion. Just the opposite, Jesus’s own mission and the one He gave to the church is one of full engagement with the Gospel with all peoples and worldly powers (Matt 28:16-18)

We also need to remember that regardless of our well-devised political systems, and our preferences of one or the other, it is God who places rulers in place, and he removes them, per His own will. The principle of God’s ultimate sovereignty is well described in Daniel, chapter 4.

The Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. (Daniel 4:25b).

The whole chapter speaks of the sovereignty of God. It overrides the so-called “sovereignty of the people” and of the sovereignty of a “nation.” Democratic elections are not the ultimate source of kingly appointments. See verse 17.

The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’

The United States presidential elections of 2016 are a perfect example of these truths. Donald Trump, a man laughed at and vehemently opposed by both the political and media establishments, won the elections. His victory should be a sign to all, especially to Christians, that God’s will is ultimate and He is no respecter of man. The eternal plans of God will override all human plans for life and society.

His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:33-35)

Those who were laughing in arrogance at Donald Trump’s efforts to campaign for the presidency are not laughing anymore. They are crying (WARNING: Inappropriate language used by one of the featured political activists at the end of the video clip. Another one’s implied but soundless.).

Today’s planners of a future without God should learn from king Nebuchadnezzar:

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (Daniel 4:7)

Freedom of Speech vs. Free Speech

Holy BibleOne may have the freedom to express oneself and that is a political and legal right in many democratic nations; however, it is the Creator of speech Who eventually has the final say on the matter. Freedom of speech is often wrongly seen as expression free from any moral limitations.

Jesus taught that “the evil man takes out from the evil treasure of his heart evil things; as the good man takes out from the good treasure of his heart good things.” This is true about our speech. Lies and slander about people or about who God is, have effect on our lives, regardless if we believe in that or not.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

— Matthew 12:34-37 KJV.

Theological lying and slander against the true God maybe protected legally by the rules of freedom of expression. But freedom of speech is different from free speech. The former usually guarantees one to be able to say whatever they want no matter how wise, stupid, ridiculous or offensive; it is generally designed as a legal right to criticize tyrants and prevent evil ruler and bureaucrats from shutting down those who speak the truth. Yet in a self-centered society this good legal guarantee of expression can be, and has become, a defense of most reprehensible and useless forms of expression. (We will not give any examples here to not promote this kind of expression,  but such are readily available on the net.)

Free speech, on the other hand, is one that is morally and ethically justifiable, and leads to the truth and to the ultimate freedom in Jesus Christ. Hence lying and slandering God, although maybe be protected by “freedom of expression,” but it is not free speech – it is deceptive and destructive. There is no freedom without truth and Jesus clearly taught that freedom is to study and obey His teachings (John 8:32). As the world continues to slip into darkness and chaos, Jesus has called us to be light and salt, and call to repentance all who seek the Truth. This the speech that the world needs to hear. 

Lord or Sir? Borthers or Sisters?

Christ meets Saul on the road to Damascus

Christ meets Saul on the road to Damascus

It is critically important that Bible translations remain true to the original text. The truth will set us free if it is presented…truthfully. Unfortunately, throughout the ages, as well as today, translators play with the cultural perception of the biblical message. Such playfulness often goes beyond the bona fide search for proper and adequate communication of the Word and changes the meaning of certain passages of Scripture. Such changes can confuse the reader or worse — lead to error and apostasy.

For example, this verse, Acts 26:15 has always grabbed my attention and made me ponder on its lack of logic:

And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. (ESV)

To put the verse in context: This is apostle Paul, explaining to high government officials his interaction with the Lord Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus. This is when Paul was still Saul and was severely persecuting Christians, the followers of the Lord. Saul did not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Secondly, the question is illogical since it contains the answer: : “Who are YOU (QUESTION), LORD (ANSWER)?” Why is Saul asking the Lord who He is? Obviously he knows him — calls Him “Lord.” If he did not know him, why why is he calling him “Lord,” then?  Or if actually does not know who he is talking to, Saul is asking an honest question, “Who are you really?” But then the address “Lord” does not make sense. “Lord” is meant to denote one and one only Person in the NT – THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. So is Saul (Paul) being hypocritical here, and all of a sudden acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord, and still asks him who He is? Or is it the religious hypocrisy of the translators that has played a role in this mix up?

I suggest it is the second. The proper translation of the word “lord” which is capitalized by translators in this passage to give honor to Jesus Christ, Who indeed is speaking to Saul, is “sir.” Yes, the translators know that it is Jesus speaking to Paul, and try to honor His name by capitalizing Saul’s addressing Him. However, Saul seems to  not have an idea of who he is talking to. Saul gets even more confused when the person talking to him states that Saul is persecuting him! It only makes sense that Saul is using the term “lord” or “master” from which we derive today’s word “mister” and “sir” in that very sense. Saul is simply being polite to a stranger who is talking to him. Yes, under very strenuous for Saul and his companions’ circumstance, but still — a stranger.

Only 3 of over 30 translations, however, use the proper translation – “Who are you, sir?” The Complete Jewish Bible, God’s Word Translation, and the New Living Translation. Even the loose interpretive book based on the Bible original — the Message translates Saul’s address wrongly — “Who are You, Master?” The use of “Master” speaks that the author of the Message felt that Saul was aware of Christ’s Lordship, at least to some extent. Thus even the Message asserts the confusing question-answer statement posed by Saul to Jesus.

Following the true translation of Saul’s address to the unknown to him till that moment Jesus Christ, as “Who are you, sir?” then all becomes clear to the reader immediately. The traveler who hates Christians is in shock; he wants to know who is talking to him in such a powerful and authoritative way. However, we imagine in the older times when the view of God was higher and less focused on the human side of the Lord, the translators did not want to offend the divinity and authority of Christ, at the expense of blurring Saul’s words and interaction. Then the rest of the translators followed suit, cementing the confusion. 3 of 33 is not many.

However, no one is without sin. The same NLT, which so well translates the question of the confused persecutor of Christians to the appeared Lord Jesus Christ, does its own “cultural” misinterpretations and bad translating. Under the contemporary push toward “gender equality,” a Marxist and left wing socialist ideology, NLT inserts “sisters” where the actual writer of the New Testament book only writes “brothers.” Thus 1 Timothy 4:6 reads like this in ESV

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

The context is that the teachings of apostle Paul must be clearly explained to Christ’s followers. However, this becomes a different verse in NLT, which reads:

If you explain this to the brothers and sisters, you will be doing your duty as a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is fed by the message of faith and the true teaching you have followed.

Given, the NLT editors have put in a footnote that the original only says “brothers.” However, putting words in the mouth and pen of biblical authors is no small offense. It seems that NLT publishers, and those of a number of other new translations  (NCV, NIRV, TNIV, NRS), are quite concerned about the lack of “gender sensitivity” of the biblical authors and in this case — Paul the apostle. Why is it that instead of footnoting their interpretations and musings on biblical interaction with contemporary ideological agendas, these editions change the original and create the platform for a significantly different meaning? Are Christian women so insecure and lacking self-identity that the Bible must be changed so that they feel politically and ecclesiastically accepted? Do Christian women even care about PC and “equality” of the type the world pushes, in which women must be, look, and act like men? (“Gender equality” is a concept dramatically opposed to biblical worldview of genders. Man and woman in the Bible are complementary to each other, not “class enemies” fighting for domination.)

How serious are such offenses, abandoning the original meaning to insert a contemporary overtones of the Bible? Confusion in the case with “sir” and “Lord” as to the meaning of the verse and the interaction. As to the second part, Dr. Luis Marcos has a very interesting position which should be read in full here: I Now Pronounce You Human and Human: How Gender-Neutral Bible Translations Prepared the Way for the Christian Acceptance of Gay Marriage.

Any botched version of the truth, like rewriting the biblical text to fit contemporary mores, becomes breeding ground for error and apostasy. We must not forget the teaching of Revelation 22:18. It should remind us that even in a world and day when people think they can change their gender at will, God’ Word is eternal and any playfulness with it is playing with fire. Eternal one.

Faith That Works: Worshiping God or Caesar?

manif-9 septI grew up in communist Bulgaria when public false worship of the national false god was mandatory. One of the major roles of the government, and why not the main purpose, was to ensure obedience to the ideology of the ruling cult – the communist party.

The  photograph o the left has recorded a so called “manifestation” of the people in Bulgaria under communism. All schools, universities, factories, and all workers had to show up for these parades and shout worshipful slogans to the communist party, the state and its leaders. The socialist utopia was at its highest frenzy.
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