Amplified Bible, King James KJV

encounter biblical prophet

Visiting some Christian friends for dinner one night, I was invited to go with them to a meeting where a real "prophet" would give little speeches to various individuals. I told them I had been to a meeting like that once and while one of his little speeches seemed applicable to me, the zealous saints gave me no end of trouble trying to force on me an application of another which didn't. Furthermore, I'd be late getting home. They offered me a ride home and talked me into going. I title this story:

Everybody Else Gets a Little Biblical Message, But Earl Doesn't Need the Encounter with a Prophet Because he's Found his in the (KJV) Bible.

So after dinner a brother was trying to recall the words of a biblical song: "A day is better than ..," and he couldn't think of them. I said, 'Is it, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand."

Yes, that was it, and he asked me if I knew the song. I said, no, never heard the song, but that was from David, one of the Psalms.

We arrived at the meeting and I said hi to a sister I knew from another church, actually a woman preacher--which I don't really countenance, but I was happy to see her. Then that brother came over with his wife's Bible opened to Psalm 89, and he asked me to find that passage for him. It was King James which helped, so I proceeded looking through the psalms one at a time, until I got to Psalm 119 then realized I'd have to go backwards from Psalm 89 down to encounter it back there.

As I was flipping through the pages, the "prophet" was coming down the isles greeting people, seeming to delight in just being there. I had got down to Psalm 85 when he got to me, and I said, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand."

He replied with a heartfelt "Amen!"

I had thought with him being a "prophet" that he would immediately perceive my quest and say, "Yes, my son, that is from Psalm ..., which means such and such," giving me an enlightened lecture. But then I thought a heartfelt amen is probably all the comment necessary to delighting to be in the courts of the King. He didn't add anything to the word, nor did he take anything away. Isn't that what we're supposed to do?

So I asked him if my quote wasn't from David, the Psalms. He said yes, it was. Which one? I asked. We'll see, he replied and pulled out a worn plastic thing from his pocket and flipped it open.

Bible on pedestal Oh, it was a Franklin electronic Bible. I said I'd left mine at home, so he handed it to me and told me, you look it up. Well, his was one of the newer compact models. I like mine better, the first edition with a large screen. His had a tiny screen with a series of menus to scroll through. One difference between his and mine is he carries his in his pocket and it is showing heavy wear, while mine, I keep in pristine condition in a special box on a special shelf in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. I don't tote it around to whip out every time I encounter a Bible question.

Anyway, I looked up the verse to find it was in Psalm 84. I told the brother that we'd almost encountered it, being on Psalm 85 counting down. But then I looked at the Bible and found that the verse in question was on the top of the page, end of Ps. 84.

Being proud of my ability to manipulate an electronic King James Bible's search feature, I told the brother that I couldn't have found it without that device. He laughed and told me I already had it and walked off with his open Bible.

I thought that was pretty peculiar behavior for a "prophet," that to a Bible quote, he just says amen, and in answer to a Bible question he simply hands me a Bible and says, you look it up. I mean, what's the point of even having prophets if Bible answers don't get amplified? Why not just use the Bible in the first place?

Then the service got underway. We had some hearty singing, and then he preached from the Amplified Bible, even though he had a KJV in his pocket. Man, that Amplified Bible is wordy.

He explained his religious belief saying that it's more important to have the right Spirit than to have the right doctrine. "If you have the right Spirit, you will end up with the right doctrine. But if you have the right doctrine but the wrong spirit, you'll eventually have the wrong doctrine." Don't ask me to explain what that means, but I've encountered examples of people starting out okay, but where they end up is another story. One example is the minister who becomes a revolutionary, the spirit of the revolution coloring his whole dogma.

He was an ordained minister and, until he had tenure, had been a promising professor in the School of Divinity, with a scholarly interest in comparing the teachings of the Gospels to Marxist doctrine. But after freedom riding and lunch-counter sit-ins in the mid-sixties, he had begun adhering more to Chairman Mao's Little Red Book than the Scriptures. ...  Eddgar gave his lectures and spoke at public rallies; he carried on passionately at the faculty senate, delivering speeches which appeared to have been borowed in tone and, worse, in length from Fidel Castro. ...
    "What happened?" I said then. "I mean to the young Christian activist. Why did he change?" ...
    "What happened?" Eddgar asked himself. ...  "Teaching happened, scholarship. Mostly, however, I would be inclined to say Mississippi. That was the intervening force." He seemed mildly amazed, recollecting the person he now so clearly renounced. ...
    On the night that the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964 -- on that night, I felt ecstatic. I felt that years, decades of goodhearted efforts had been vindicated, that the world was finally changed. And, you know, two years later, I went back to Mississippi and there was not a thing different for those folks. Lord knows, I didn't have to go to Mississippi to see that. I could have walked down the road from my father's house and seen the people who have been cutting black tobacco in his fields for generations. But I had to go to Mississippi to see that. ...
    "You see, I couldn't really comfort myself with hopes for future generations, because that meant accepting the misery of the child I saw now. And I couldn't agree to the sop of the religious heaven," he said with mild contempt, "the poor received in glory, because after all, after all, it was not just the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus said the meek would have -- he said they would inherit this earth. ... What happened to me, Seth, was that my faith, or my conscience, or my moral sensibility, told me there is no logic to this life but revolution." ...
    Standing on the concrete block, projecting his voice through a bullhorn which amplified both his breathing and the click of the machine going on and off, Eddgar wan transformed by revolutionary passion. In the spirit of the cultural revolution, he called for the destruction of all elites. ...
    "What's Eddgar's sacrifice?" I asked. "For the revolution?"
    She studied me for some time. "His faith," she said.
--Scott Turow, The Laws of our Fathers511

Then the prophet gave "prophesies" to various individuals. Actually, they were edifying little tidbits of exhortation which one could probably generalize from a familiarity with the New Testament. I noticed that God speaking through a prophet employed thee's and thou's. If it's good enough for God to talk that way through a prophet, then why must He speak in an Amplified Bible?

Before I discounted the direction of the service, I had to really consider the possibility that I might be judging the man. I mean, if [really] "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand," and part of that better experience is God's style of speaking through a prophet thus, then I would be the one taking away from God's word by discounting it, not the prophet who merely says amen. Far be it from me to pass judgment.

On the way back in the van, my friends were asking me about that sister/woman preacher I knew from another church. I told them about the lunches their church used to do once a week. They asked me how they were, and I told them they were fine except that praying for the food turned into a prayer meeting that just went on and on. I felt that prayer meetings should be more for just the Christians getting together at some other time for it off by themselves rather than with the whole town encountering one when invited for lunch.

Then I elaborated by mentioning a friend I'd invited along whom I told there would be a brief prayer meeting before lunch, as I knew him to say long prayers, but he joined in and went on and on as is his custom. At least he used to be my friend.

They asked me if I lost the friendship over that, so I explained the story, how that the cannery where I worked was closing down and I had to look for a new line of work. One possibility in the past was to be a radio operator on a ship--as I am an amateur radio operator and once worked as a motorman on a ship. But they eliminated shipboard radio operators, I thought, because of satellite communication which they weren't needed for. Nevertheless, I wanted to ask someone familiar with the business, and my friend used to be in the Merchant Marines.

So I left a note for him at this place where single men hang out, asking him to come over to my place because I needed some advice. Then I thought that since he gives endless unsolicited religious advice, I better tell him it has something to do with his Merchant Marines experience so I don't get him started. But then I thought that a lot of ex Navy men hang out there too who could see the note, and there being a tension between Navy and Merchant Marines, I didn't want to cause him needless trouble, so I just put on it that I needed to talk to him about something to do with his former branch of service, and he'd know what I meant.

Big mistake! He also was once in Army Intelligence, and he treated my note like an approach by an agent of a foreign government for secret information. He broke off all contact with me and forwarded my note to the Secret Service and to the Merchant Marines for good measure. I asked a friend who understands the intelligence services what the Secret Service's reaction was likely to be, and he said they'd probably think the guy was off his medication that day.

Anyway, I told my friends that I lost his friendship, and I probably should have thought it through before I posted that note. They said, but I did think it through. And that's just the point, that we think things through, but we don't have these expanded thoughts to think things through ad infinitum, so why would we expect God to speak to us in an Amplified Bible? And that disruption in a friendship because of major misunderstanding is reminiscent of the Tower of Babel confusion where God confused their tongues as they were not keeping the languages separate and distinct for his purpose of eventually producing a Holy Bible in chosen Shemitic languages, but had tried to teach and unite their world into a single Hamitic language just as we today want to unite our Bible dialect with regular speech.

Maybe I shouldn't judge against prophetic encounters that edify according to acceptable doctrine. Maybe likewise I shouldn't fight against God when he sends some kind of a sign in a confusion of communications to a people who want to unify in various ways the Bible language with our day-to-day speech. And maybe I just want to be a steady individual not overly concerned with figuring out if I've got the right Spirit but simply reading and following the Bible, and in a traditional service the King James Bible.


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Earl Gosnell
1950 Franklin Bv., Box 15
Eugene, OR 97403


Copyright © 2005, Earl S. Gosnell III

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