There was so much feedback about last week’s discussion of the King James Bible anniversary that it seems like a good idea to add some further thoughts about the KJV and other various translations before venturing into other subjects.
As mentioned previously, just one of the positive aspects of the KJV is that one doesn’t get commentary that is often coming from a leftwing bias. The KJV translators just let the text do their talking, unlike the geniuses who operate as Bible translation editorial boards today. One only needs to look at the old Interpreter’s Bible and gasp at the long list of liberals who wrote that insufferable commentary. By the way, if you want to torture yourself, crack the Interpreter’s Bible open and just attempt to get through a couple sections of commentary. It is the very definition of bad writing.
One of the things the Christian left has done in tampering with Scripture is forcing an environmentalist, “green” agenda into the Bible. It has effectively taken the discussion far beyond what the Bible intended regarding stewardship.
Many, many conservative Christians, by the way, emphasize careful stewardship of our environment, but that news rarely makes the news. It doesn’t fit the liberal agenda of a knuckle-dragging constituency on the right.
Also, notice what liberal policies have influenced in The Message, the popular version championed by the center-left. Eugene Peterson’s 10-million selling The Message Bible alters Scripture in the name of environmentalism.
The Message translates John 3:17, saying that Jesus “came to help, to put the world right again,” instead of “that the world through Him might be saved” (referring to salvation of souls, as stated in the KJV).
Peterson doesn’t stop there. He also adds “green” to Romans 15:13: “Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy …”
The Green Bible – no doubt popular in mainline circles – is no less ideological to the point of making the left swoon. Produced in league with the Sierra Club, The Humane Society and the National Council of Churches, The Green Bible has an intro by Desmond Tutu and contributions from N.T. Wright and Brian McLaren.
These contributors claim that the Bible is virtually obsessed (my word) with environmental concerns, but actually, the Bible is not terribly concerned with, ultimately, this present world. You see, this is where worldview and eschatology come to the fore.
The Bible actually says that even this physical planet is under judgment and will one day be completely remade.
Another feature of the “newer Bibles” is the emphasis on mysticism. This goes in lock-step with those who wish to push the square peg of environmental excesses into the round hole of Scripture.
Hear Ray Yungen, from his terrific book, “A Time of Departing”:
I am aware that Foster and Manning both say things that would stir the heart of any Christian. But the issue here is one of mysticism. Is their mysticism legitimate? Biblical meditation and prayer, as found abundantly in the book of Psalms, is not to stop thinking about God but rather to think intently on God and to direct all our thoughts toward God. The following statement by William Shannon quoting Merton leaves an inescapable conclusion:
‘The contemplative experience is neither a union of separate identities nor a fusion of them; on the contrary, separate identities disappear in the All Who is God.’
In essence, he is saying there is only one big identity – God. This is more in tune with core shamanism than Christianity, yet Manning embraces Shannon.
In Leviticus 19:31, God says, ‘I am the Lord your God.’ Only God possesses God’s identity. Any other teaching is heretical.
This whole emphasis on liberal causes that has seeped into the Bible itself is eye-opening.
I was amazed back in the 90’s to see a copy of the NIV Men’s Devotional Bible and a quote from Thomas Merton. The NIV team saw fit to include this statement by the Catholic mystic Merton, who claimed that “sin is the refusal of spiritual life.”
The quote sounds spiritual. It sounds “deep.”
The problem is, it’s nonsense. If sin were the refusal of spiritual life, we’d have billions of sinless people. Many people are spiritual. It was shocking at the time that a “Christian” publisher would produce something like that. It isn’t anymore.
In any event, we feel cold winds blowing in Christian publishing today, and as I’ve stated many times, the mainstream houses are no longer friendly to conservative authors. All the more reason to support groups like WND Books; Lighthouse Trails; Encounter; Regnery; etc.