The Lord’s Prayer is in perpetual error

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)

Why do we pray the Lord’s Prayer ending with the last line:
“For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen.”?

Early sources from the 4th and 5th century CE do not have this last line. It is only seen in later Greek manuscripts from the 7th or 8th century CE. It is very likely a conflation of 1 Chronicles 29:11, and inserted into Matthew 6 by scribes. Therefore, we can safely say that later manuscripts have been tampered with by additional extraneous texts.

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all. (1 Chronicles 29:11, NKJV)

So if this last line of the Lord’s Prayer is not supposed to be there, we are voluntarily perpetuating an error. We’ve already corrected this error in our translations based on reliable sources, but we have been praying this prayer at church and at home for ages on end and I think it’s about time we correct it in our daily use. Roman Catholic’s don’t recite this last line so I think it’s about time we protestants make this correction in our recital of the Lord’s Prayer.

Ray Boltz has come out of the closet and announced he is gay

Christian musician-artist, Ray Boltz, has recently given an interview to Washington Blade, a gay magazine. Christianity Today magazine has a recent article about it. He’s announced that he’s come out of the closet and has said that the only way to deal with homosexuality is to accept it. Here’s some of what Ray Boltz said:

“I’d denied it ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’ And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore … when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, ‘Just end this.’”

I’ve listened to Ray Boltz since I was a kid and love his music. But when I just discovered he has come out of the closet, I was in shock. David Ker most recently posted on this subject amongst other bloggers. Stan McCullers has also just posted about this issue that is tearing the Episcopal Church apart. This same-sex issue is shifting within the mainline churches but it’s now also making small waves in evangelical circles. Many in our blogosphere is passing this hot potatoe

Romans 1 seems clear about this. Where do you stand?

If you don’t know who he is, here’s one of people’s favorite songs called “Thank You.”

My reults: quiz on NT us the OT

Zondervan describes this quiz as:

“Only 7 questions long, this quiz reveals your view of how the NT authors understood and used the OT in their writings. Though a simplification of a complex topic, it places participants into one of three categories (or “views”). It’s meant to be fun and informative. For a full treatment of the subject, see the book “Three Views of the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” (November, 2008), in which Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns each represent a particular view.”

Hat tip to: Jeff, ElShaddai Edwards and Peter Kirk. I came out the same as ElShaddai but different from Jeff, Peter, and TC.

Here are my results from this quiz:

NT Use of the OT — Test Your View!
Fuller Meaning, Single Goal view

You seem to be most closely aligned with the Fuller Meaning, Single Goal view, a view defended by Peter Enns in the book “Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” (edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, Nov. 2008). Since the NT writers held a single-minded conviction that the Scriptures point to and are fulfilled in Christ, this view suggests that the NT writers perceive this meaning in OT texts, even when their OT authors did not have that meaning in mind when they wrote. It should be noted, however, that advocates of this view are careful not to deny the importance of the grammatical-historical study of the OT text so as to understand the OT authors on their own terms. For more info, see the book, or attend a special session devoted to the topic at the ETS Annual Meeting in Providence, RI (Nov. 2008); Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns will all present their views.

Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo

Thanks to HarperCollins, the NRSV is gaining ground

The October sales figures by CBA are out. What surprised me was the appearance of the NRSV. This is the first time that I’ve seen it on the list. It is a pleasant surprise because this is a great translation that has been underrated by evangelicals for a long time. Since this indicates bibles purchased at CBA bookstores, it indicates that evangelicals are starting to pick up this great translation and discovering its merits and virtues. Well, after almost 20 years being published, it is finally being recognized and noticed by evangelicals. And maybe all of my fellow biblioblogger friends out in blogosphere-land who like the NRSV are contributing to this recognition in our own small ways too.

But I think this climb in the sales rankings is largely attributed to HarperCollins’ excellent marketing of its new hardcover edition, the XL edition, and the Go-Anywhere edition. I now see much more of these HarperCollins NRSVs on the bookshelves of Christian bookstores, like the one near my house. Previous to HarperCollins’ getting on board to market the NRSV, I saw very few NRSVs in Christian bookstores. It goes to show that marketing can make a huge difference in how a translation is perceived by potential bible readers. So kudos to HarperCollins and the NRSV, which is one of my favourite translations. It deserves to be read by more people and recognized for its high quality translation. Thank you Harper Collins.

[ Hat tip to: Stan McCullers and Iyov ]

Translations sold based on Dollar Sales:

1. New International Version, various publishers
2. New Living Translation, Tyndale
3. King James Version, various publishers
4. New King James Version, various publishers
5. Holman Christian Standard Bible, B&H Publishing Group
6. New American Standard Bible update, various publishers
7. English Standard Version, Crossway
8. New Revised Standard Version, various publishers
9. The Message, Eugene Peterson, NavPress
10. New International Readers Version, Zondervan

Translations sold based on Unit Sales:

1. New International Version, various publishers
2. New Living Translation, Tyndale
3. New King James Version, various publishers
4. King James Version, various publishers
5. English Standard Version, Crossway
6. Holman Christian Standard Bible, B&H Publishing Group
7. Reina Valera 1960 (Spanish), various publishers
8. New American Standard Bible update, various publishers
9. New Revised Standard Version, various publishers
10. New International Readers Version, Zondervan

The Pope’s call is a return to Christian roots – not a fusion of church and state

The Pontiff is currently in France and he has made a statement concerning church and society, stating: “The roots of France—like those of Europe—are Christian….History itself offers sufficient proof of this: From its origins, your country received the Gospel message.” Good for the Pontiff because this is a gutsy statement. It’s something that secularists do not like to hear. The history of a strong western society stems from its Christian faith. Minus the so-called war against the Turks and Arabs back in the days of the holy crusades and any so-called “war on terror” in the name of religion…western society is based on the Christian religion…or if you want to call it a society based on the spiritual beliefs in Jesus Christ. But today’s secularists seem to ignore this fact.

Today, our society is structured totally different from the days when church and state were fused together. Our democratic governments in the western hemisphere, and non-western governments that have adopted democratic principles, are not anywhere close to being fused together with an official state church (i.e. South Korea, Japan, etc.). But the funny thing is that many knee-jerk secular humanists are so uneducated about what is truly a violation of church and state. When Christian conservatives speak up on issues like abortion or Christian education in the public school systems, the secular humanists will cry foul play.

Well, here’s some news. We are not anywhere close to violating our principles of separation between church and state. Yes, we Christians speak up on matters concerning spiritual matters within the public sphere but there is no official state church involvement in the public sector. There is a big difference between a mother who speaks up on her desire for her child to receive Christian education in public schools, and the bishop or president of a church denomination who makes an agreement with the public education system to promote his/her denomination’s agenda. But even then, would there be anything wrong with this?

For example, if we know our history, the public education system was founded by church-run schools that voluntarily agreed to form a public school system. They promised that all the original churches can get involved to teach Christian education within the public school system. The last jurisdiction in North America to do so was the Province of Newfoundland, Canada, just recently in 1997. Formerly, there were church-run schools run by the Anglicans, Presbyterians, United, Baptists, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, etc. (news archive: CT, McLean’s, CBC radio). We have gone very far away from our society’s Christian roots and do not even recognize the agreements we have made to our church’s founders who implemented the centralized public education system in order to help lower the cost of our education. Now we have lost our right to teach religious education because the secular humanists have overstepped their boundaries and are trying to push Christianity off to the side because they do not know our history. Today, people are going back against their promise and making a case for not allowing the teaching of religion in public schools. Sad. We must re-educate ourselves about our own history. So like Pope Benedict said to the people of France this week, we also, must return to our Christian roots.

The NLT Study Bible is officially released today

Congratulations to Tyndale on its brand new NLT Study Bible.

Today, September 15, 2008, is the official release date of the long awaited NLT Study Bible. The NLT Study Bible Blog has just posted a press release today about some of its blog reviews on the blogosphere. The NLTSB really does deserve the attention it’s been getting because it is truly a high quality study bible. Have a peruse through some of the reviews.

Hey, I’m a sage!

I was rated as a Sage on a spiritual-types test. Peter Kirk had a link to this spirtual-types test at Upper Room Ministries. I tried it out an came out as a sage, which doesn’t surprise me but I also thought maybe prophet was a possibility, but I don’t trust my judgment about these things anyway. The test is probably quite accurate because I’m a thinker-type (an INTP on the Meyers-Brigg).

The results of the spiritual-types test describes a sage like this:

You are a Sage, characterized by a thinking or head spirituality. You value responsibility, logic, and order. Maybe that’s why you were voted “Most Dependable” by your high school classmates. Structure and organization are important to you. What would the world be like without you? Chaos, that’s what! Your favorite words include should, ought, and be prepared. What makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof it’s tradition! tradition! tradition!

Because you love words, written or spoken, you enjoy a good lecture, serious discussions, and theological reflection. Prayer for you usually is verbal. You thrive on activity and gatherings of people, such as study groups. Sages on retreat likely would fill every day with planned activities, leaving little time for silence or solitude.

We need Sages for your clear thinking and orderly ways. You pay attention to details that others overlook. Sages make contributions to education, publishing, and theology. You often are the ones who feel a duty to serve, give, care, and share with the rest of us.

On the other hand, sometimes you seem unfeeling, too intellectual, or dry. Can you say “dogmatic”? You may need to experience the freedom of breaking a rule or two every now and then. God’s grace covers Sages too, you know!

Famous Sages:

Mr. Spock | Dilbert | Elrond
Dietrich Bonhoeffer | Maya Angelou | Linus (Peanuts)
Yoda (Star Wars) | Andy Griffith | Mr. Miyagi
The Buddha | Rodin’s The Thinker | Moses
Ross Geller | Matthew (the Gospel writer) | Tiger Woods

What are the most authoritative translations?

ElShaddai Edwards and I have been conversing about the REB/NEB over at his blog at He is Sufficient. Our conversation has become an interesting conversation regarding the authority of bible translations.

ElShaddai said to me: “Thank you for using “authoritative” instead of “accurate”. It’s an interesting distinction and one that I’ve been thinking of exploring rather than needlessly continuing the translation philosophy wars.”

Then I responded by saying: “Yes, I do like the use of “authoritative” when I’m not talking about the formal-dynamic equivalency issues. This is a totally different issue when it comes to translations.”

I think the most authoritative translation today is still the NIV. Here’s my order of ranking:

1. NIV authority based on popular usage in all genres of publications, and usage in evangelical churches today
2. NKJV (authority based on popular usage in evangelical churches today)
3. KJV (authority based on popular usage in evangelical churches today)
4. NLT (authority based on huge growth in general popularity)
5. NRSV (authority based on usage in academic journals, reference books, and usage in mainline churches)
6. NAB(authority based on usage in Roman Catholic churches in the USA)
7. NASB (authority based on usage in Christian magazines and by pastors)
8. ESV (authority based on usage by pastors)
9. TNIV (authority based on usage in books)
10. Message (authority based on usage by pastors)

How often a translation is quoted by teachers, pastors and Christian publications of any sort (books, news magazines, ministry publications, academic journals, websites, etc.) are very important factors when we are considering whether a translation is authoritative, or not authoritative.

The authority of a translation is also dependent upon how accurate it is, and it is also less dependent upon whether it is a formal or dynamic translation. However, these factors are less important and are not the primary reasons for authority. In my opinion, the most important factor to what determines the authority of a translation is how often it is quoted.

You may disagree with my order of rankings and my reasons for them. Note that this ranking has nothing to do with which translation I think should be authoritative; rather, they are what I think are authoritative at this current moment in time.

Why did I pick the NIV as the most authoritative? Because it is still the most widely read and quoted translation today. Being the most read and quoted translation gives the NIV that authority.
Note that my rankings are unrelated to the CBA sales ranking because sales is only an indication of how popular a translation is at the current moment in time; however, it does not indicate how often it is quoted by authoritative figures and publications.

Which translations do you think are the most authoritative today? Share you order of translation ranking and state your reasons.

Update: ElShaddai at He is Sufficient has also posted on this topic of authority of bible translations.

A star rising: Sen. John McCain for President

Sen. John McCain’s speech tonight at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN took me by surprise, and I’m sure it also took a lot of people by surprise—including many Democrats. Let me first preface this by noting that John McCain is not a rhetoretician (edited). Obama could easily walk circles around McCain using his natural rhetorical skills. Sarah Palin could also take him with her rhetorical abilities and authenticity. But John McCain still came out a star, not with rhetoric but with his heart of humility. Sen. John McCain showed himself to be very gracious, humble and he won me over by the character that clearly shined through.

He was humble. He told his story about how, as a young person, he was initially a selfish person who didn’t love his country. But after he spent some time in his solitary cell in Vietnam, he found his moral compass, learned humility, and learned to love his country. He also revealed his personal story of heroism that we could touch. He encouraged Americans to serve their country first, and not themselves; and he encouraged everyone to serve a cause bigger than one’s self. That was truly inspiring.

McCain’s humility was apparent when he sounded out a prophetic call to his party members that their beloved Republican Party had lost its way, had fallen into corruption and needed to be reformed and changed. His humble admission and confession of his own party’s wrong-doings was an unexpected but authentically humble move. I don’t think any hardcore Democrat could knock that. No way. McCain dished out hard words for Republicans and expected them to take it. It was certainly hard medicine he thought his party members needed to hear, and McCain had the guts to say it. Truly admirable. Reform of the Republican Party is why he wants to go to Washington. He knows his Republican Party needs to change and reform is on the way—so “Way to go John! Go for it!” What touched many hearts, including mine, was the honor and respect he bestowed to Barack Obama. He even gave a gesture of congratulations to his political challenger, Obama, at the Democratic Convention. Classy move. It’s something Obama hasn’t yet done for McCain. McCain also said he wants to cross party lines and reach out to Democrats. He also said he doesn’t care who gets the credit, as long as America is made better. He doesn’t want to hear constant partisan rancor that stops the cause. He has worked with both parties and has a record of reaching out to members of both parties. This is a positive thing and I hope he follows through with it.

We saw the soft side of McCain who brought up the issue of the low-income mothers who struggle to make it through. He says he wants to fight for them. This gives me the feeling that he understands the average person who struggles. Perhaps his hardship of torturous beatings as a prisoner-of-war has given him the sensitivity he needs to be able to make heartfelt connections with those who struggle too. This is something that Republicans need to learn because hardcore Republicans do not naturally come across as compassionate even though social conservatives can be very compassionate people.

I’m sure that some Democrats will be turned on by Sen. McCain’s speech tonight, but there will always be some hardcore diehard Democrats who will back Obama and the Democratic Party’s ideals to their grave. If McCain is to win the Presidency of the United States of America, it will likely have to come from the depth of his character that can pull him ahead of Sen. Obama to win this increasingly exciting political race. He is the rising star that Republicans did not truly expect that would shine as bright as it did for him as tonight.

Matt.18:18 – What is binding and loosing referring to? excommunication or forgiveness

15 “If a brother or sister sins, go and point out the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (TNIV)

In the passage of Matthew 18:15-20, v.18 speaks of binding and loosing (forbidding and permitting in NLT). My question is this: Is the binding and loosing dealing with church discipline and the issue of excommunication (v.17), or with the issue of giving and withholding forgiveness of sins to the unrepentant sinner (v.21-22)? These are the two main alternative interpretations, but there is also a third interpretation I recently learned of, which is, a Jewish understanding of the law. Binding signified a declaration for anything that was unlawful to be done; and loosing signified a declaration that anything may be lawfully done.

1) If v.18 is dealing with excommunication, does the act of binding and loosing refer to the authority and power to enforce rules of releasing the unrepentant sinner from their fellowship (excommunication)? And does the object of the binding and loosing refer to the unrepentant sinner? This interpretation does make sense because the two or three witnesses from vv.16-17 are present to witness repentance or unrepentance.

2) If v.18 is dealing with forgiveness, does it concern the offended person’s power to release the offender from the guilt of one’s sin? Jesus commands to always forgive in vv.21-22. Then does this mean that the release of forgiveness depend upon whether or not the sinner repents? And to whom is this authority granted to? Is it in the hands of the offended individual? Or is this power also in the hands of the higher levels of authority in the church, i.e., elders/presbytery, or the bishop? With this interpretation, vv.19-20 also makes sense because Christ is present and will empower the offended party to forgive the offender.

3 If v.18 is related to the Jewish understanding of law, declaring the painful practice of circumcision as unlawful is an example of binding. Declaring the fellowship between Jews and Gentiles as lawful is an example of loosing. With this interpretation, vv.19-20 also makes sense. Christ is present to witness our lawmaking.

The possibilities of three viable interpretations can make things seem more confusing. What do you think?