The Lost Gospel
of St. Thomas
William Shakespeare, King Richard the 2nd, 4th Act, 1st Scene
AUMERLE Who sets me else? By heaven, I'll throw at all! I have a thousand spirits in one breast To answer twenty thousand such as you.
I once lived at a house where the landlord made the place a church and avoided revenue lost to taxes. I pointed out to him that he couldn't have a church without a minister, so he ordained me a minister in his church. I ran into opposition when I tried to enforce the smoking ban in the sanctified house. One fellow in particular threatened to beat me up. And then he would lie to the landlord (president of the church) saying he wasn't smoking.
By and by, I was getting some interference on my ham radio which I traced to a touch-control lamp in the fellow's room. It was operating in violation of Part 15 of the FCC rules and regs. His response to my offer to repair his lamp was to threaten to beat me up if I complained again.
I decided to follow the lead of his CB'er friend in the house who also got interference. He moved and so did I.
By and by, the fellow moved to another apartment, got high on drugs, passed out and choked to death on his vomit. Shades of Ananias and Sapphira who were lying to God, not to man; all those sweet lies from his mouth turned to choking vomit.
There is nothing quite like such a death to put the fear of God in one. Last Friday after returning some merchandise at the mall, I went directly to the office to subtract the return from my previous submission to Cash-Back-For-Schools. Just as that earlier residence was also a church, so is the Christian Academy I was supporting, and I get the distinct impression God doesn't like false tallies.
From my experience at an earlier church, we ended up with an evangelist preaching from the King James Version although a lot of members used the American Standard Version. To find these same people in a church where the traditional service uses the NIV seemed a stretch for honesty, but I now understand from the preacher's clarifying letter it's only a matter of perspective.
When my bank discontinued passbook savings, they started sending me statements in the mail and wouldn't use my passbook any more. I complained that I wanted to keep using it, but since they had discontinued that kind of account, they could not accommodate me. I had to use deposit slips.
That was a nuisance, so I talked them into a concession: personalized deposit slips free of charge. Well, eventually I went through them, so I went back to the bank to get more. The officer of the bank I now spoke to was a girl just out of college. When I explained what I wanted, she said she would have to charge me for those slips as that was the way the bank did it. I figured her for her early twenties, so I told her I had done business with their bank since 1970. Then I asked her what year she was born in. She thought a moment, then gave me my slips free of charge. Since I'd been doing business with the bank from before she was born, I might have some idea of how things were done. It's a matter of perspective.
Our traditional Bible goes back to the version of 1611 which itself was essentially the dialect of Tyndale earlier who himself was palpably influenced by Wycliffe in the mid 1300's. But that stage of English corresponded to the Greek of NT times which was a chosen time and a chosen development of a chosen language whose origins were sorted out at the tower of Babel. Against this tradition the preacher is saying \this church has used the (modernized) NIV since the 1980's. It's a matter of perspective more than of honesty and my perspective is the basis of a request, and not every request is swiftly granted.
As for the numerous readers of the NIV, I think more in terms of (Psalm 17:3) "Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress." Keeping the KJV dialect on my lips is staying on the straight and narrow with God's word in English.
(Psalm 17:8-15) "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about. They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly. They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." I've had experience being assaulted by a group of people using a paraphrase in the NIV going against God's word (KJV) and I attribute it to "with their mouth they speak proudly," pride being the sin at the site of the tower of Babel, "men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes," worldly dialect corrupted through the generations from the simple King James one, while I want to continue to behold my face in God's looking-glass until "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."
According to Proverbs 16:1, "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue is from the LORD." God not only prepared for us the canon, but put it in an answerable English form. But instead of this prepared form of God's word--being passed down from holy men of old speaking as moved by Holy Ghost, to scribes, to our English translators Wycliffe, Tyndale, and the 1611 group, accepted by church elders, preached by the preacher, accepted by the congregation, and therefore printed by the publisher--, we have a reversal: the publisher (Zondervan) coming up with a new version to make money on, an advertising campaign (largely false) selling it to the people who are seen by the minister to be reading it, then the elders accept the minister, and what? is God to accept whatever perversion? The fault of the publisher is (I Cor. 9:18) "What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel." The publisher has, in my opinion, abused his power for money.
As for the preachers who won't preach the KJV because they see their congregations with modern versions, (Gospel of Thomas, The secret sayings of Jesus, #102.) "Yeshúa says: Woe unto them, the clergy -- for they are like a dog sleeping in the manger of oxen. For neither does he eat, nor does he allow the oxen to eat." If the preacher is lying down on the job, not helping the congregation with the idiosyncrasies of the KJV, not familiarizing them with its language, then they sure are not going to be reading it, except for the smart ones.
At my 2003 residence I was getting interference from another one of those lamps. I went to my neighbor above me to see if it was his. It wasn't but his wife was out and they were having a boys night together so I joined them for a beer. I found the source of my trouble from my other neighbors below me, but they didn't want to bother correcting it because they valued their privacy. So I dropped the subject and eventually in their moving, the lamps and the interference have disappeared. Sometimes, as the preacher pointed out, going to the mat is not the preferred option.
Just as I drank an unaccustomed beverage to be one of the guys, we bond with all Christians throughout time by using the same Bible, complete with thee's and thou's in our English version made compatible with the Greek of the textus receptus used in versions of other languages. The NIV does not bond with the Bible dialect in English, nor does it stick with the textus receptus, but uses corrupt Greek minority texts not even agreeing with each other, and so the congregations wanting their private interpretations are more like the neighbors desiring privacy than the ones wanting to be joined to others.
I have no idea if I'm making any sense to you, but I more or less had to inform my neighbors below about their lamps (which are not considered in violation if there is no complaint of interference), and likewise God' messengers are required to deliver the message.
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Copyright © 2003, Earl S. Gosnell III
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
Permission is hereby granted to use this paper--with credit given, of course--in intellectually honest non-profit educational material.
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