Monday, September 15, 2008

Bibles and Churches

"Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?" (Acts 2:8)

From the first day of the church, God has made it clear that he wants people to hear the good news of Christ in their own languages. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enabled the apostles to proclaim the message in a wide variety of languages to a diverse audience.

In the years since then, the message has been preserved in the Bible. Missionaries have traveled the globe, translating the gospel into many more languages.

In the English-speaking world, we have been blessed with numerous translations of the Bible, from the old King James Version to the newer English Standard Version. Some versions have been excellent. They have been accurate and understandable. Some versions have been horrible. They have altered the meaning of words in order to deny key doctrines such as the deity of Jesus Christ. Some versions have been very good, but with an ever-changing language, they have become difficult to understand. No translation has been perfect. Some have been great. Some have been atrocious.

In a similar way, churches translate the gospel into their circumstances with varying degrees of success. Some churches present an accurate and understandable message about Christ. They reach people around them without changing the gospel. Some churches present a terribly inaccurate message, even misleading people into obvious heresy. Other churches present the right message, but in a difficult form for people to grasp.

As with Bible translations, no church is perfect. Some churches are great. Some are awful. The goal is to be a church with credibility, a church with an understandable and accurate message that is being lived out in the lives of its ordinary members.


Mike said...

Amen. That's the goal for all of us.

We have all failed yet the Lord uses us anyway.

Terry said...

That's always amazing to me.

Anonymous said...

So I keep forgetting my 1 John notes at home.

Anyway, I notice you worship with the Contact Church in Tulsa. I love what you guys are doing - I've visited there quite a few times and have even taken part in running a summer camp for the Contact Kids a couple of times.

That's a great church - is Todd Box still preaching there?


Terry said...

I didn't realize you had been to the Contact Church. Were you with the group from Florida that helps with the camp in Norman? My wife and I have not gone to camp yet, since our son is only 5 years old. When he is older, we will be involved in it, though.

Todd still preaches for us. He and Ron Babbit usually rotate in preaching. Ron preaches one month, and Todd preaches the next month. Todd also runs our recovery houses for men with addictions.

Will you be coming back anytime soon? I would enjoy the opportunity to meet you.