Saturday, July 24, 2021

By Babel’s Rivers

A couple of stanzas from Psalm 137 in The Pilgrim Psalter by Henry Ainsworth.

By Babel’s rivers, there sat we, 
yea, wept, when we did mind Zion. 
The willows that amidst it be
our harps we hanged them upon.
For songs of us there ask did they
that had us captive led along;
and mirth, they that us heaps did lay
Sing unto us some Zion’s song! 

Jehovah’s song how sing shall we;
Within a foreign people’s land?
Jerusalem, if I do thee 
Forget, forget let my right hand. 
Cleave let my tongue to my palate,
If I do not in mind thee bear,
If I Jerusalem do not 
Above my chiefest joy, prefer!

The second stanza above as originally presented, to compare updates that have been made:

Iehovahs song how sing shal wee;
Within a forreyn-
people’s land?
Ierusalem, if I doo thee 
forget: forget let my right hand.,
Cleav let my tongue to my palat,
if I doo not in mind thee bear:
if I Ierusalem doo not, 
Above my chiefest joy, prefer!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Pilgrim Psalter

In connection with the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing in Plymouth, Sister Mary Huffman of Birmingham, Alabama has republished The Pilgrim Psalter by Henry Ainsworth (originally, The Book of Psalmes, Englished both in Prose and Metre. With Annotations, opening the words and sentences by conference with other Scriptures. Amsterdam: Giles Thorp, 1612). In December of 1620, the Mayflower Compact Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth Harbor. In their worship, they used Ainsworth’s Psalter.

Description from The Psalter Company website:
The Pilgrim Psalter (originally titled “The Book of Psalms, Englished in Prose and Meter”) was produced by Henry Ainsworth in 1612. Ainsworth was a Hebrew scholar and Bible teacher among the English Separatists in Amsterdam. Ainsworth’s metrical translations of the Psalms are remarkably faithful to the Hebrew text, and he set them to many of the standard tunes of the Reformation era. The Pilgrims began using this Psalter while living in Amsterdam, and they carried it with them on the Mayflower. It was used in Plymouth until the colony ceased to be independent in 1692. It is here newly reprinted with updated spelling and musical notation, along with a historical introduction explaining its history, features, use, and lasting influence.

ISBN: 978-1-7369918-0-0
Publisher: The Psalter Company, LLC
Binding: Hardcover, Cloth
Pages: 446
Dimensions: 9 1/4" X 6 1/4" X 1 1/4"
Price: $20 each of $325 for a case of eighteen​
Sister Huffman is a devoted Christian and talented musician well-qualified to edit this edition. In addition to the metered psalms and accompanying tunes, the front material has 60 pages, including:
  • An endorsement from Colonel John Eidsmoe, Board of Directors of the Plymouth Rock Foundation
  • Foreword by Gary Marks, minister emeritus of the Church of the Pilgrimage
  • The original preface by Henry Ainsworth
  • Introduction by Mary Huffman, explaining the Pilgrim history as well as the psalms and tunes of the psalter
  • A brief essay on the worship of the Pilgrims, by Paul Jehle, President of the Plymouth Rock Foundation
The bulk of the book – 358 pages – contains Ainsworth’s translations of the Psalms in meter, with accompanying tunes. There are, of course, 150 psalms. Each is provided with a tune – some with more than one tune. This new work presents these psalms not just as historical material, but as songs for the churches to sing. The modernizing of spelling and updating of how the tune is presented will aid in this. The Pilgrim Psalter could be used exclusively by churches that want to sing the Psalms only. It could be used as a hymnal supplement in churches that would not want to sing the Psalms exclusively.
The back material includes a writing by Ainsworth on the life and work of David; a biography of Ainsworth; information on the tune sources; and a bibliography.
To truly understand the heart, mind, and soul of the Pilgrims, we need to understand their music...Through their music they received comfort, assurance, and inspiration to their quest and pursue their vision. And their music was not the chanting of monks, the cantatas of Bach, the oratorios of Handel. Their music was plain and simple, sung without musical accompaniment, assembled in the Reformation Psalters, and based upon the word of God, particularly the Psalms. John Eidsmoe, “Endorsement”
To combine all these factors and considerations of Hebrew and English poetry in a consistent way throughout the entirety of the 150 Psalms is no small task. Indeed, while other English Psalters have achieved more polish by English standards, none has achieved more accuracy with the Hebrew in wording and structure, and in such a systematic and comprehensive way, and still with a remarkably intact English poetic structure. Mary Huffman, p. xxxii
The mark of the Reformation and doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believer restored the concept that the choir was the congregation, and thus the Pilgrims’ focus was on the participation of the people in worship. Paul Jehle, p. lx
This work provides continuity by making good use of The Music of the Pilgrims by Waldo Selden Pratt – a book published in 1921 (Boston: Oliver Ditson Co) on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock.

The book is very handsomely done! I highly recommend it. If you are a collector of song books, it will make a nice addition to your collection. If you are a student of church history and/or American history, you will want this book. If you are looking for songs to sing – The Pilgrim Psalter has them.
Sample Recording, Psalm 33 from The Pilgrim Psalter

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

12-Year-Old Nearly Died, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Lockman Foundation Logsdon Statement

I contacted the Lockman Foundation with some specific questions about the Foundation, Dewey Lockman, and S. Frank Logsdon, etc. I did not get direct answers to the questions, but receive this in an e-mail.
Here is our official statement regarding Mr. Logsdon:

Logsdon was not a co-founder of the NASB, nor was he a translator. We don't know why anything he says would be relevant to the NASB. The NASB stands on its own merits, apart from any individual, as an accurate and trusted translation.

The Lockman Foundation strictly adheres to the fourfold aim that guides all of its translation work:

These publications shall be true to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
They shall be grammatically correct.
They shall be understandable.
They shall give the Lord Jesus Christ His proper place, the place which the Word gives Him; therefore, no work will ever be personalized. (Our work is a symphony, not a solo, because many have had a part.)

In His Service,
Carole Holdinski
The Lockman Foundation
This e-mail is dated Thursday, April 15, 2021. It is different from the official statement posted on the website of James R. White.

The questions I asked were:
  • Is this (i.e. the statement posted on the website of Alpha Omega) an official statement?
  • If so, by whom was it made? (For example, Board, President, etc.)
  • When was the statement made?
  • Is it possible that someone misread and/or misunderstood the referenced letter from Logsdon to Lockman stating he was moving to Florida in 1973?

Lockman and Logsdon, no urban legend

An urban legend

This is a brief summary of something on which I am working for the future. I am posting the summary because I am also posting an e-mail I received from the Lockman foundation, and some of this is needed to explain it.

Back in 2002, someone on the Baptist Board using the moniker LRL71 wrote:
“There is an ‘urban legend’ out there that a man by the name of Frank Logsdon, who was supposedly a ‘co-founder’ of the NASB, had ‘recanted’ his associations with the Lockman Foundation and the NASB. KJV-onlyists have placed this (mis)information in their tracts as proof that the NASB is unequivocally the most perverse translation out there.”
KJV-onlyists have contributed to the confusion, making claims that Logsdon never made, such as:
  • “Chief NASV Translator” 
  • “co-founder of the NASB” 
  • “one of the men who translated the NKJV”
What Frank Logsdon actually said:
So…back in, oh, what was it, 1956, 57, Mr. F. Dewey Lockman of the Lockman Foundation – one of the dearest friends we’ve ever had for 25 years, a big man, some 300 pounds, snow white hair, one of the most terrific businessmen I have ever met. I always said he was like Nehemiah; he was building a wall, and you couldn’t get in his way when he had his mind on something; he went right to it; he couldn’t be daunted. [I] never saw anything like it; most unusual man; very unusual. [I] spent weeks and weeks and weeks in their home, real close friends of the family. 

Well, he discovered that the copyright [on the American Standard Version of 1901] was just as loose as a fumbled ball on a football field. Nobody wanted it. The publishers didn’t want it. Who would want it? Nobody wanted it. It didn’t get anywhere. Mr. Lockman got in touch with me and said, “Would you and Anne come out and spend some weeks with us, and we’ll work on a feasibility report; I can pick up the copyright to the 1901 if it seems advisable.” Well, up to that time I thought the Westcott and Hort was the text. You were intelligent if you believed the Westcott and Hort. Some of the finest people in the world believe in that Greek text, the finest leaders that we have today. You’d be surprised; if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. They haven’t gone into it, just as I hadn’t gone into it – just taking it for granted.

Well, at any rate, we went out and started on a feasibility report, and I encouraged him to go ahead with it. I’m afraid I’m in trouble with the Lord. [Because] I encouraged him to go ahead with it. We laid the groundwork; I wrote the format; I helped to interview some of the translators; I sat with the translators; I wrote the preface. When you see the New American Standard, they are my words. Well, when I my copy (I got one of the fifty deluxe copies, that were printed; mine was number seven, blue—a light blue cover.) But it was rather big and I couldn’t carry it with me, and I never really looked at it. I just took for granted that it was done as we started it, you know, until some of my friends across the country began to learn that I had some part in it and they started saying, “What about this; what about this?” Especially Dr. David Otis Fuller in Grand Rapids. I’ve known him for 35 years, and he would say (always called me Frank; I’d call him Duke), “Frank, what about this? You had a part in it; what about this; what about this?” And at first I thought, now, wait a minute; let’s don’t go overboard; let’s don’t be too critical. You know how you justify yourself the last minute. [But] I got to the place where I said, “Anne, I’m in trouble; I can’t refute these arguments; it’s wrong; it’s terribly wrong; it’s frightfully wrong; and what am I going to do about it?” Well, I went through heart searching—some real soul searching for about four months, I don’t know, I think [it was] about four months; and I sat down and wrote the most difficult letter of my life, I think.

I wrote to my friend Dewey, and I said, “Dewey, I don’t want to add to your problems,” ([he] had lost his wife some three years before;  I was there for the funeral; [also] a doctor had made a mistake in operating on a cataract and he had lost the sight of one eye and had to have an operation on the other [one]; he had a slight heart attack; had sugar diabetes; a man seventy-four years of age) but I wrote and said, “I can no longer ignore these criticisms I am hearing and I can’t refute them. The only thing I can do—and dear Brother, I haven’t a thing against you and I can witness at the judgment of Christ and before men wherever I go that you were 100% sincere,” (he’s not a translator; he’s not schooled in language or anything; he was just a business man; he did promoting; he had the money; he did the promoting; he did it conscientiously; he wanted it absolutely right and he thought it was right; I guess nobody pointed out some of these things to him, when it was finished), but nevertheless, I said, “I must under God renounce every attachment to the New American Standard.”
[This transcript will vary from most (if not all) that are available online, as they tend to smooth out the speech patterns, while I have tried to capture them – hopefully to give the feel that Logsdon is speaking extemporaneously. This was not a written speech. So, for example, when he mentions 1956 or 57, he does not have a paper before him but is remembering when he thinks it happened. However, this way of transcribing might make it harder to comprehend at times. I recommend listening to the audio to overcome that problem. This recording had to be made after the death of Dewey Lockman, January 11, 1974 and before the death of Franklin Logsdon, August 13, 1987. I believe external and internal evidence indicate that it was most likely recorded in 1974.]

The urban legend or Christian myth aspect of this saga is that it “grew legs and walked upright.” However, there is a real story underneath, which I am working to uncover. Discounting the later debaters who dispute from their preconceived prejudices, I believe the main witnesses tell the truth to the best of their abilities. There are a number of discrepancies in the stories, but I suspect none are lies – just various people telling a story as they remember it from their own vantage points. At this time I believe if sufficient records can be found it will clarify and harmonize most of the discrepancies. Perhaps some day some people will care about the truth of the matter more than the advantage they can obtain in an ongoing debate!

Logsdon, the man and the preacher

Stuart Franklin Logsdon (1906-1987) was born in Eckhart Mines, Allegany County, Maryland, March 20, 1906 to Joseph Franklin Logsdon and Ada Elizabeth Deffenbaugh. He married Anne Nicholson Lauder (1906-1998) in 1932. They had one child, Elizabeth Elaine (Betty) Logsdon. Stuart Franklin Logsdon passed away on August 13, 1987 in Largo, Pinellas County, Florida. He and his wife are buried in Serenity Gardens Memorial Park in Largo.

For about 30 years Logsdon pastored churches in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Ontario (Canada), Illinois, and Michigan. In 1930, he was living at Rawlings in Allegany County Maryland and was a minister in the Rawlings Methodist Episcopal Circuit, including Cresaptown Methodist Episcopal Church. Sometime afterward he affiliated with the Baptists, going to Grace Baptist Tabernacle in Buffalo, New York in 1932. Logsdon was a respected pastor. He pastored Bethel Baptist Church, Erie, PA (late 1936-circa 1942; a GARBC-affiliated church), Central Baptist Church in London, Ontario (1942-50), Moody Memorial Church, Chicago, IL (Dec 1950-Sept 1952),  Immanuel Baptist Church, Holland, MI (1952-58). He taught at London Bible Institute in Ontario, Canada. He participated in Bible conferences and other meetings with such men as M. R. DeHaan, Billy Graham, Roy Gustafson, Bob Jones, Robert T. Ketcham, R. G. Lee, J. Vernon McGee, Stephen Olford, Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, Lehman Strauss, George Sweeting, H. O. Van Gilder, John Walvoord. According to news reports, Logsdon was the “main speaker each morning” at the national meeting of the Conservative Baptist Association in 1964 in Long Beach, California. Publishers of his books include Back to the Bible, Moody Press, Regular Baptist Press, and Zondervan. Perhaps Logsdon is best identified as an independent Baptist who moved in conservative non-denominational circles.

Moody Church has some of his sermons online:

Though Logsdon may not be well remembered today, he was well known among conservatives and fundamentalists in his day. His stand against the NASB may be part of the reason that he and his books are no longer promoted in the same circles in which he mainly moved.

Church News, Section D, St Petersburg Times, Saturday, June 21, 1958, p. 10-D

Monday, July 19, 2021

A poll and an opinion

A couple of articles I cannot recommend as sound, but are nevertheless interesting.
The author states that the material was gathered from over 75 interviews he conducted between 2010 and 2018 with those dissatisfied with their evangelical faith. I was struck by the fact that the interviewees often complained about white evangelicals’ allegiance to politics. Yet it was often their own political views rather than theological ones that influenced their exit from evangelicalism.
I have numerous and significant disagreements with the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic (so-called) Church. Nevertheless, this opinion piece makes a valid point about their need to stand on what they believe.

The Canon Revisited

“The books received by the church inform our understanding of which books are canonical not because the church is infallible or because it created or constituted the canon, but because the church’s reception of these books is a natural and inevitable outworking of the self-authenticating nature of Scripture.”
Michael J. Kruger, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012, p. 106

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Ye who seek comfort

1. All ye who seek a comfort sure
In sadness and distress,
Whatever sorrow burdens you,
Whatever griefs oppress:
When Jesus gave himself for us
And died upon the tree,
His heart was pierced for love of us;
He died to set us free.
2. Now hear him as he speaks to us
Those words for ever blest:
“All ye who labor, come to me,
And I will give you rest.”
O Jesus, joy of saints on high,
And hope of sinners here,
We place our ev’ry trust in thee
And lift to thee our prayer.

This Latin hymn was translated into English by Edward Caswall. He was born July 15, 1814, at Yately in Hampshire. His father R. C. Caswall was a clergyman there. Edward died January 2, 1878. The hymn usually appears with the tunes St. Bernard and Kingsfold.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

In other words, cowboy and turtle up

  • affix, noun. An additional element placed at the beginning or end of a root, stem, or word, or in the body of a word, to modify its meaning. (Compare infix, prefix, and suffix.)
  • clavicorn, adjective. Having club-shaped antennae, as many beetles of the group Clavicornia.
  • cowboy up, verb. To adopt a tough approach or course of action.
  • dicta probanta, noun. A theological term meaning “proof text”.
  • diurnal, adjective. Of or relating to a day or each day; of or belonging to the daytime; active by day (Compare nocturnal).
  • hendiadys, noun (Rhetoric). A figure in which a complex idea is expressed by two words connected by a copulative conjunction. For example, “to look with eyes and envy” instead of “with envious eyes.”
  • heresiologist, noun. A person who studies or writes about heresies; a heresy hunter.
  • infix, noun. An affix (word or letter) that is inserted in the body of a word.
  • lingua franca, noun. Any language that is widely used as a means of communication among speakers of other languages.
  • nocturnal, adjective. Of or relating to the night; done, occurring, or coming at night; active at night (Compare diurnal).
  • perlaceous, adjective. Resembling pearl in appearance; pearly, nacreous.
  • poetaster, noun. An inferior poet; a writer of poor or trashy verse; a mere versifier.
  • prefix, noun. An affix (word or letter) placed before another word.
  • schlimazel, noun. Bad luck, misfortune.
  • schwa, noun. An unstressed mid-central vowel (such as the usual sound of the first and last vowels of the English word America), represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet by (ə). The the symbol (ə) used to represent this sound.
  • sea change, noun. A striking change; any major transformation or alteration.
  • subnival, adjective. Designating the uppermost mountain zone in which regular plant growth is still possible, immediately below the permanent snow line.
  • suffix, noun. An affix (word or letter) added at the end of a word to form a derivative.
  • turtle up, verb. To cope by withdrawing (as in to one’s shell).

Friday, July 16, 2021

Baptists and Calvinism, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.
  • Baptists and Calvinism: Lessons from Sprague’s Annals of the American Baptist Pulpit -- “Sprague is himself not a Baptist. In other words, he has no ‘dog in the fight.’”
  • Did We All Come from Adam and Eve? -- “...the wonders of modern genetics, far from unhitching humanity from Adam, is actually completely consistent with God’s eyewitness Genesis account of His special creation of two humans—Adam and Eve, the parents of every human being ever born.”
  • Fight Google’s Censorship! -- “DuckDuckGo is not specifically conservative–it just doesn’t have the leftist bias of Google. DuckDuckGo just puts up what most people actually are searching for when they do Internet searches.”
  • Innovation at Skogskyrkogården -- “Skogskyrkogården, Woodland Cemetery, is considered one of the most important works of modern architecture of the 20th century.”
  • Jeff Riddle: A Small Part of a Bigger Picture -- “I would like to commend to you the work and ministry of Dr. Jeff Riddle, lead pastor of Christ Reformed Baptist Church of Louisa, Virginia. Dr. Riddle has been a prominent and influential voice for a minority Reformed view of Scripture which has come to be known as the ‘Confessional Text Position’ (sometimes referred to by others as the ‘Traditional Text Position’, the ‘Canonical Text Position’ and the ‘Ecclesiastical Text Position’).”
  • Miles Coverdale 1488–1569: Bible Editor, Bishop and Beggar -- “The first complete printed Bible in English was the result of the enthusiastic and diligent editorial labours of Miles Coverdale.”
  • Mountain Springs Church - Org. 1885, Floyd County -- “Situated in a remote part of Floyd County and now surrounded by the Berry College Wildlife Management Area, Mountain Springs Methodist Church built its first permanent structure around 1875 across the road from its current church building.”
  • PRTS Update -- “PRTS has applied a precise and academic evaluation of the ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Such study invariably uncovers that the truest Greek text in existence is the Textus Receptus.”
  • Support for Biden erodes among Democrats as U.S. looks past pandemic -- “Just 35% of the country thinks the U.S. economy is headed in the right direction, and 44% say they are ‘very concerned’ that prices will keep rising, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.”
  • Thomas J. Rusk Led Annexation of Texas July 4, 1845 -- “The seat of Cherokee County and Rusk County are also named for Rusk and statues and dedications for Rusk stand proudly around Nacogdoches.”
  • U.S. Supreme Court backs conservatives against California donor disclosure -- “We are left to conclude that the Attorney General’s disclosure requirement imposes a widespread burden on donors’ associational rights.”
  • WAC Announces Expedited Entrance for Four Texas Institutions -- “One week after announcing the acceptance of membership invitations, Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Jeff Hurd announced that the official join date for Abilene Christian University, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University has been moved up to July 1, 2021.”
  • 76-Year-Old Woman Incarcerated For Not Picking Up Calls While In Class Granted Compassionate Release -- “Because of her release to home confinement, the most pressing initial concerns (COVID, age, and health) were addressed. The court concludes that it would do little (if anything) to serve the goals of sentencing to require her to return to full custody.”

Systemic Racism Discussion

Karen Swallow Prior on systemic racism, and a reply by Peter Lumpkins. You might find these interesting.
  • Don’t believe in systemic racism? Let’s talk about the sexual revolution. -- “If you still don’t believe in systemic racism, let’s talk about the sexual revolution. ‘The sexual revolution that started in the 1960s — spread through popular culture, enacted by the masses and codified in law — is now as pervasive and inescapable as the popup ads on our computer screens. Almost no home or family or person has been unaffected by it.”
  • Systemic Racism & Sexual Revolution: Replying to Karen Swallow Prior -- “When Prior returns to describe the analogous nature between the 60s sexual revolution and systemic racism in our culture, she offers no real similarities apart from her raw assertion there exists similarities. For example, the sexual revolution ‘spread through popular culture . . . now as pervasive and inescapable as the pop-up ads on our computer screens . . . From myriad loudspeakers, it broadcasts the words and rhythms of pop-music erotica. And constantly, over the intellectual Muzak, comes the message sex will save you and libido make you free.’ But where would we similarly find systemic racism like this in our culture?...In the end, Prior contradicts her own analogy.”

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Sermon Committee?

What is a sermon committee, and what do they do?

In some discussion about the new SBC President (pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, AL), Steve Newhouse mentioned a sermon committee. I have never heard of such previously. If you live long enough, I suppose you learn lots of new things! He did not specifically say what this committee is, while implying it is group that somehow helps the pastor in the preparation of his sermons. Another person named Kristin later explained that pastors often have formal or informal committees that talk about things “that might influence the direction of what passages or topics would be good for the congregation.” David Griffin pointed to Ed Litton’s own explanation of his committee – what he calls a preaching team – which is involved in discussing details even such as the outline of and approaches to a sermon series.

“We employ a preaching team approach at Redemption Church that is comprised of eight men from our staff/congregation who meet weekly to discuss study insights, outlines, and approaches to the text. This sermon prep process includes working in the languages, consulting commentaries and books, and listening to strong communicators.” – Pastor’s Statement by Ed Litton
Someone on the Baptist Board pointed me to a similar practice of Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC.

“...on Saturday night before preaching on Sunday, a small group meets at his house. He reads his sermon manuscript to them, receives feedback and makes changes accordingly.” Pastors talk leadership & preaching

In Preach: Theology Meets Practice, Dever writes: 
“I’ve made it a practice over the past fifteen years to take a few members of my church to lunch on Saturdays and think with them through the application grid...Then, later, after I’ve written the sermon, I’ll read it to a few friends in my study on Saturday night, and often there are women present who give me some of the best comments I receive.” (Preach: Theology Meets Practice, Mark Dever, Greg Gilbert, Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing, 2012, pp. 93-94)

This all seems quite unusual to me, both from (1) the standpoint of it being new – something of which I have never heard – and (2) not being much like the “sermonizing” recorded in the New Testament. Generally, the teaching of the New Testament preachers is much more spontaneous, whether evangelism in the field (e.g. Acts 2:14, Acts 13:14-16) or teaching in the church (e.g. Acts 15:7, 1 Corinthians 14:29-31). Further, the need of such a committee puts the emphasis on the sermon as oratory rather than the sermon as teaching the word of God.[i] Finally, it jettisons the idea of New Testament practice as the normal way we should approach church, including preaching.[ii]

[i] The writing down of notes or thoughts is not so objectionable, as that what goes on in many pulpits is about the speaker rather than the hearers. Preaching should not be about devising a cunning format, or delivering a stunning discourse. It should be about communicating the truth of the gospel and God’s word. 
[ii] Some of which includes dialogue (Mark 8:27–10:52; Acts 19:8; 20:7-9; I Corinthians 14) as opposed to lecture. The type of meeting that Paul described in I Corinthians chapter 14 is much more open and informal than the average Baptist meeting today. Is it possible that there should be both much more teaching and interactive dialogue in our regular gatherings? How do the scripture examples show us we should operate in this area of practice?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Plagiarizing sermons, using God’s material, or something else?

The election of Ed Litton to the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention was controversial. On the heels of that controversy is a dust-up about his borrowing of sermon material. Boiled down to its simplest, the issue is that Ed Litton plagiarized sermons of former SBC President J. D. Greear.[i]
  • This news is out there and cannot be ignored. Even Ed Litton has responded with that understanding.
  • This is, at least to some degree, political. Many are responding pro or con in direct proportion to whether they were pro or con Ed Litton becoming President of the SBC.
Perhaps this controversy provides a good opportunity to reflect on how preachers use the material of other preachers.[ii] As mentioned above, some of the outrage is more about Litton’s SBC presidency than actually about borrowing or plagiarizing sermon material. It perhaps even adds a new element which previously was not a concern among preachers and churches generally. When I was a young preacher, I remember that it was common that many of the older and more experienced preachers compiled and printed their sermon outlines. They expected others to use this material as a resource. I do not recall that any were particularly concerned about getting credit. In fact, it seems they took it as a compliment when others used their outlines. I do not relate this to encourage preaching other preachers’ work. It is all too common for a preacher to pick out someone’s outline and use it with little or no study of his own. I relate this to say this is not something new. On one hand, learning from others is normal and to be expected. On the other hand, copying another person’s style and words to preach a sermon like that other preacher did crosses a line, whether it is with or without that person’s permission.

I tell people if they have learned anything from something God and other Christians taught me, feel free to pass it on. I do not need any credit. There is a problem, and no little amount of hypocrisy, when we claim a sermon is from God and then we try to copyright it!

I have written “commentaries” on several books of the Bible. I place footnotes in the books to credit material I immediately and consciously use. In them I also acknowledge the fact that I have learned so much over my ministry that there is no way I can remember who all to credit. I have included statements such as these below to stress that fact.[iii]
Over years of study, I have learned about Jonah from many sources. Many of these became a part of my own thinking and I no longer remember the specific sources. Therefore, this booklet includes thoughts of many of God’s people I can no longer directly credit. But here I credit generally all those whom the Lord used to teach me, and that own my work as built on their foundation.
Concerning acknowledgements, there are too many to name or even remember who have taught me concerning the epistle of Jude. Even many turns and phrases may reflect some long remembered thoughts whose originators are long forgotten.
In these comments on Philemon, I have tried to “give credit where credit is due” in the footnotes. Yet I am unable to satisfactorily credit the multitude of persons who have taught me over the past 35 years, as well as what my mind has retained from other unremembered sources. May God give them their credit that is due, and may the reader be well aware there are numerous sources that can no longer be remembered or named.
Now those statements are in print. It is a simple fact that we are not going to have footnotes in sermons like we have in written material. “I heard a story about” should be good enough, shouldn’t it, without going into detail as to its origin? Telling someone else’s story as if it were our own blatantly violates both truth and trust. Many years ago, I attended a ceremony with a motivational speaker who was a university professor and expert in communication. And he was a great speaker, as speaking goes. He opened with an extremely touching fishing story about him and his father. Later, I learned that the story was not true (at least it was not his story), and that this was apparently standard procedure. I lost much respect for him.
Or maybe we tell too many stories? God’s holy word has a plethora of illustrations we can use. Above all, we should stick with 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word.”

[i] You can read more about this controversy HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
[ii] Yes, even personal reflection! 
[iii] On the other hand, preaching to mostly the same people every Sunday, I do not make that kind of acknowledgement every time I preach. I may mention it from time to time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

James 4:13ff

James 4:13-17 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

If we rightly believe our life in a vapour, it might not affect all that much whether we plan to go somewhere, conduct business, and make money (i.e., not knowing about tomorrow, we still might make plans. Cf. Proverbs 6:6-8 Proverbs 31:16). However, if we rightly believe our life in a vapour, it should affect how we think and talk about those plans! A plan is made in the mind or thoughts. The thought-out plan is spoken with the mouth. Have these two things occurred with or without taking the truth about life, the future, and God into account? Very often our tongue will tell (Matthew 15:18). Over a lived-life, the Christian should learn that God is the disposer of life, and the events of life (Luke 12:20; Proverbs 16:33; 19:21).

In verse 13, James refers to what they say. In verse 15, he refers to what they ought to say. In verse 14, he refers to what they do not know, as well as the true condition of life. Verse 15 applies the recognition of this true condition to how we think and act.
  • Our knowledge is restricted. “ye know not what shall be on the morrow.”
  • Our life is temporal. “It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
  • God’s will is sovereign. “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
James concludes with a general principle that stresses the importance of doing what we know to do. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. Do not sin. Do what you know is right.

Monday, July 12, 2021

A Simple Guide to Family Worship, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still

He that complies against his will
Is of his own opinion still
Which he may adhere to, yet disown,
For reasons to himself best known.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

My Dearest Friend

My Dearest Friend.

1. I have a Friend, a precious Friend,
Who keeps my day by day,
On whom my hopes of heav’n depend,
Who is my guide and stay.

My dearest friend, my truest friend,
My friend in life, my friend in death,
Unto His name let praise ascend,
With glad, with glad exultant breath.

2. I need not feel one anxious thought,
Or know one pressing care,
But that I may—His word hath taught—
Take unto Him in prayer.

3. O sinner, take Him for your Friend,
His grace is free to all;
He will the trusting soul defend,
Nor suffer it to fall.

4. ’Tis sweet to feel His presence near,
And on His strength rely;
To know that He thro’ life will cheer,
Support when death is nigh.

5. ’Tis sweet to work for such a Friend;
Dear Lord, our efforts guide,
For if Thou wilt Thy blessing send,
The work shall e’er abide.

This song, as posted above, is No. 190 in The Best Gospel Songs and Their Composers (Dalton, GA: A. J. Showalter Company, 1904) with the tune by Anthony Johnson Showalter. It shows a copyright of 1901. The hymn itself was written by Mrs. J. M. Hunter. Though she wrote hundreds of hymns, it appears that none of us in the present know who she is! As others, I have come up empty in my attempts to identify her. I wonder if two letters written to a Mrs. J. M. Hunter in 1911 and 1912 by preachers Lyman Abbott and Charles W. Elliott might be to this Mrs. J. M. Hunter. These are housed in the Columbia University (New York, NY) Rare Book & Manuscript Library Archival Collections. Perhaps someday they could be researched to see whether they turn up any information.

This hymn, with a different tune and under the title I Have a Precious Friend, is found on page 545 in The Sacred Harp, 2012 Cooper Revision. In it the composer, Thomas Jefferson Allen, disposes of the refrain that Showalter uses (which has a different meter), and rather uses the first stanza as the repeating chorus (making the tune common meter with a common meter chorus). He uses stanzas 2, 3, and 4 as his stanzas 1, 2, and 3.

1. I need not feel one anxious thought,
Or know one pressing care,
But that I may is word has taught,
Take unto Him in pray’r.

I have a precious friend,
Who keeps me day by day;
On whom my hopes of heav’n depend,
Who is my guide and stay.

2. O sinner, take Him for your friend,
His grace is free to all,
He will the trusting soul defend,
Nor suffer it to fall.

3. ’Tis sweet to feel His presence near,
And on His strength rely,
To know that He through life will cheer,
Support when death is nigh.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Jeff Riddle and a Turretin Fan

The following links present an interesting discussion about the Textus Receptus (or Traditional Text) between Jeffrey Riddle and a blogger who styles himself TurrentinFan (i.e., a fan of Francis Turretin).

Friday, July 09, 2021

Do minor changes make the KJV an imitation? Conclusion.

I hope supporters of the King James translation of the Bible can find common ground, proceed with caution in unclear areas, promote a Bible that is consistent from its initiation, to the present, and for the future,[i] and leave the theatrics for the purveyors of the ever-changing modern critical text of the Bible.
There is no doubt that orthography has a place of interest and usefulness. Capitalization or the lack thereof – especially for modern readers’ expectations – may cause us to find or miss divinity in a passage. Punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence. For example, a comma and the lack thereof might make things serious (or humourous).
  • Let’s eat, grandpa.
  • Let’s eat grandpa.[ii]
Sometimes these things seem clear-cut. On the other hand, there are fluid standards and/or the fluid interpretation of standards. Sometimes what someone insists is the only correct punctuation really does not change what people read and understand. The way I was taught punctuation when I was in school often appears to be outdated by today’s standards. I (generally) use commas more often than recommended by current standards.
The approach of folks like Verschuur and Kizziah, however well-intentioned, ultimately leads people to doubt their King James Bibles rather than have confidence in them. Believers may begin to agonize over minutiae where they once with simplicity confidently read and trusted their Bibles. This new approach makes readers dependent on some authority or authority figure – we must accept what someone else has researched and claims to be true.[iii] Perhaps there are some slight differences that ought to be cleaned up in some printings of the King James Bible, but I do not think any of this is widespread enough to cause us to worry about whether we have the word of God.
Let’s not belittle this kind of discussion, as do others. The Bible is the most important above all other books. We ought to look at the issues carefully. We ought to be sincere and thoughtful. When possible, as a group of King James supporters, can we agree on some orthography that should be fixed? If so, let’s do it. However, let’s not divide over how the same word can be spelled in different ways. And let’s not look through a 21st century lens to find problems where there are none.

[i] That is, consistent in meaning & application, not exact orthography from 1611 to the 21st century.
[ii] In reality, unless the reader lived in a cannibalistic society, the reader would likely understand what the writer really meant – while laughing about the obvious mistake in punctuation!
[iii] We complain about this when someone tries to make a priest over the believer in other situations.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Do minor changes make the KJV an imitation? Part Three.

Unlike Matthew Verschuur, who is very specific in recommending which Bible he thinks is the “pure” edition of the King James translation, Nic Kizziah leaves us hanging. He uses very strong language to condemn counterfeit Bibles, but then does not tell us to “buy this one.” At the end of his composition he writes, “The best place I know to purchase a good Bible at a reasonable price is at Bearing Precious Seed Ministry.” I agree and recommend Bearing Precious Seed Bibles. However, I have checked my Bible that I purchased and found some of the very “errors” that he says makes a Bible counterfeit. His trumpet gives an uncertain sound.[i]
“Just give us the text that has established itself as the standard text of the Holy Bible, an old fashioned, Christ exalting, devil kicking, Authorized King James Bible,” Kizziah writes. But which one is that? He continues, “To the best of my understanding this is the 1769 edition of the 1611 King James Bible with a few minor printing errors and spellings corrected along the way in the 1800’s.” But how many claim to follow the 1769 edition? Which printing errors and spellings were corrected, since all editions from the 1800’s are not exactly the same?
In his treatise Kezziah further advises, “All the common ordinary Bible believer wants is the same Bible that his grandmother had and the same Bible her grandmother had and the same Bible her grandmother had etc. that’s all.” I agree. I believe he is right about that. What he is wrong about, though, is thinking that these grandmothers had the same concern about minute orthography as do some 20th and 21st century King James advocates. They did not.
Here is the sum and substance of it all. To find the right and wrong Bible, one must have and consult his “Quick Check List When Buying a King James Bible?” Those poor grandmas were out of luck! Here is the “Check List.”

Kizziah’s check list proves too much. In Genesis 11:3, the “Real Bible” must have throughly, but the 1611 printing has thorowly. Genesis 23:8 should have intreat, but 1611 has entreat.[ii] Genesis 41:38 should have a capital “S” (Spirit), but 1611 has a lower case “s” (spirit). Exodus 25:30 should have shewbread and alway, but 1611 has Shew-bread and always. Leviticus 25:9 should have jubile, but 1611 has Jubile. Numbers 10:25 should have rereward, but 1611 has rere-ward. 1 Samuel 18:6 should have musick, but 1611 has musicke. Psalms 149:6 should have twoedged, but 1611 has two edged. Isaiah 59:17 should have cloke, but 1611 has cloake. Matthew 1:19 should have publick, but 1611 has publique. And if we would create a hill to die on with the “seven-letter” Saviour, it might be worth noting that the 1611 typography is Sauiour, not Saviour. I realize that this can be considered nit-picking. However, it is nit-picking the nits picked by the pickers. If the 1611 printing of the new translation has “cloake” – do we really need to differentiate between “cloke” and “cloak” to identify a “real” Bible from a counterfeit? Pfft.
Interesting also, when claiming that ensample means something different than example – why not look at the Bible itself? 2 Peter 2:6 uses “ensample” and Jude verse 7 “example” with the same meaning regarding the same historical incident.
Whichever edition is the one of which Nic Kizziah speaks, “It is basically the same Book that rolled off the printing press in 1611.” Basically, but not exactly.  “The only differences being,” he writes, “it was changed from Gothic type to Roman type, printer’s errors were corrected and spelling was stabilized.” It becomes the one that Nic Kizziah says it is. We just have to accept that!
As concluded yesterday, good honest Bible believers who happen to buy and use a King James Bible with some variant spellings should not be charged with using a Bible that is “counterfeit.” This practice causes confusion and dissension, sets up a select few as authorities over us all, and turns fellow KJV supporters into opponents rather than allies. Lord, help us to avoid such a course of action.

[i] For example, Kizziah proclaims, “The rules of English grammar may change but the King James Bible is fixed in a moment of time (the 1800’s, the 1900’s and for ever more) and is unchangeable. This is the standard text and there is no other.” How is it fixed in a moment of time, when you say it was being fixed from the 1600’s to the 1900’s. Which one is the standard text? Be clear. (He sort of seems to say, “There is a standard text; I am just not sure which one it is.”)
[ii] There can be a difference in the words “entreat” and “intreat,” according to the context. Sometimes entreat means to treat in a certain way, as in Matthew 22:6, et al. However, in the English language “entreat” and “intreat” are also variant word spellings with the meaning “to ask earnestly” (e.g. Exodus 10:18). Using the spelling variant “entreat” instead of “intreat” (or vice-versa) does not make a Bible “counterfeit.” However, it is best leave “intreat” where it is and “entreat” where it is, already in the King james translation. The variant spellings can then function as a cue to the possible difference in meaning.