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Darkness to Light - Vol. III, No.1

Darkness to Light
Volume 3, Number 1


Presented by Darkness to Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla

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I would like to wish all readers of this newsletter a
Happy New Year!

Differences Between Bible Versions - Paperback and eBook by Gary F. Zeolla. Discusses translation principles, Greek text-types, and KJV Onlyism. Advocates a literal or formal equivalence translation method and the use of the Textus Receptus or Majority Greek Text for translating the New Testament. Over thirty Bible versions are compared and evaluated. The "harsh" language often seen in such discussions is totally absent from this book.

Follow-up Email Exchanges

By Gary F. Zeolla


Iím still going through old email exchanges I saved from the last couple of years. The following emails are all follow-ups to items already posted on the Web site. The emailersí comments are printed in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.

Calvinism and Pentecostalism

The following emails are in response to the email exchanges listed at Calvinism and Pentecostalism.

>Hi Gary,

I am a member with AOG [Assemblies of God] and have been since 1983. I am a licensed minister as well. I have read some of your stuff. I find it very interesting as to what the AOG believes about Arminian and Calvanist. I am missing something here or someone is.

Here is what they teach and believe. . . . . In the matter of the security of the believer, The General Council of the Assemblies of God stands between the extreme positions of Calvinism and Arminianism. It accepts the Scriptural elements found in both teachings. The Calvinist stresses, rightly, God's sovereignty and divine prerogative, while the Arminian stresses, also rightly, man's free will and responsibility. The two positions, however, must be considered together if they are to be properly understood. The General Council of the Assemblies of God believes in the sovereignty and divine prerogative of God untainted by arbitrariness or caprice. It also believes in the free will and responsibility of man.  

It appears here we believe both teachings to a degree. So I would think what they are saying is both can be believed. I know this has to do with eternal security however the belief to believe both teaching is the point I am making.

In Christís Service,
Rev. Jimmy

Thank you for the info. But I must say that it appears to me to be contradictory to say one believes both position. They are mutually exclusive.

----Original Message-----

>Yes "it appears to you" the truth of the matter is that it's your opinion. And the truth is, one does not have to exclude the other. Again here is what they teach. The General Council of the Assemblies of God stands between the extreme positions of Calvinism and Arminianism. It accepts the scriptural elements found in both teachings.

There is nothing wrong with you or anyone that doesn't believe what the Assembly belief's are. But what is wrong is when one tells half-truths about what one believes. On your site it is very misleading as to what you say the Assembly's believe.

Now before you get upset and think I am only defending the AOG cause I am licensed with them, the Fact is I am not licensed with the AOG. I do attend them and I might not agree with all their beliefs, but what I don't do is try to mislead someone as to why I don't believe some of the AOG belief's, just to try to prove I am right. If I might suggest ...It would serve better if you would on your site at least tell the truth about what the AOG or anyone else belief's. You could state that the AOG belief's that they can believe both teaching to some degree. And then let other's believe what is being said. I will close with this thought: you can re-read the e-mail I sent you the first time and see just how mis-leading statements can be. (I told you I go to the AOG. And that I am licensed, which by reading that could imply I am licensed with the AOG.

In Christís Service,
Rev. Jimmy

First off, in the first part of the discussion I believe you're referring to, I specifically stated that I was not sure of what the AoG's position was on Calvinism vs. Arminianism. Then someone emailed me a section from the AoG's Confession of Faith in which the AoG specifically denies belief in eternal security. I then commented that if a group did not agree with eternal security then they usually do not agree with the other five points of Calvinism.

Moreover, it *is* logically impossible to both believe in eternal security and not believe in it. And the same goes for the other five points of Calvinism. So you can say that the AoG agrees with both positions. And if you speak in generalities you can say this, but when it comes to the specific five points, you cannot say the AoG both believes and does not believe in them. And the section of the AoG's Confession that someone email me showed that the AoG did not, at least in regards to eternal security.

----Original Message-----

>Subject: Pentecostal-Calvinist denomination

I was reading over your correspondences and noticed you said you'd never heard of a Pentecostal Calvinist denomination in the states. I know that was an old post, but Sovereign Grace Ministries (formerly PDI) is essentially P.C.A. [Presbyterian Church of America] in doctrine, except with a Baptist perspective on infant baptism and openness and practice of charismatic gifts.


Baptist Practices

The following emails are in response to the email exchanges posted at Baptist Practices.

>I was just reading some comments that you and others were making concerning baptism and membership in a local church. The one reason that our local church makes baptism a requirement for church membership is that it is a command of Jesus. Therefore you cannot allow any individual to openly disobey a direct command.

"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers

The issue is not baptism per se but the idea that one has to be baptized by that particular church to become a member of it. If one has already been baptized by even a completely different denomination, they should not need to be re-baptized to become a member of a particular church. The only exception would be if one were baptized as an infant but was now joining a church that believed in believer's baptism. Then I could see why re-baptism would be a requirement for membership.

----Original Message-----

>My thoughts exactly with one note on being re-baptized. If you were not baptized Scripturally then it is not a re-baptism but an initial baptism. We're not baptized into a denomination but are baptized as a public testimony of our faith in Christ (an outward show of an inward change); we attend a particular denomination by choice.


Suffering and Spiritual Struggles

The following email is in response to the two-part article Suffering and Spiritual Struggles.

Hi Gary,

Ö Very thought-provoking article as usual.

Sometimes I wonder why we actually *attempt* to "rationalize" things like suffering. I don't know that attempting to rationalize these things or figure them out really helps, but this is a person who has OCD [Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder] talking. Obsessing on finding the reasons for things is just as damaging as obsessing on anything else to a person like me, so I tend to avoid it!

It is true that sometimes, there is a great relief finding that God really did have a purpose in your suffering; but sometimes, the cause of our suffering is amidst that large classification of things that we simply cannot know, and trying to find the reason is a frustrating and pointless exercise.

The book of Job is a book that I've become almost scared to read. It seems like each time I read it I get sick sometime before I finish it! But I'm interested by how the book ends. The LORD comes to Job and gives Job a number of examples of things Job can't know, and then, at the end of the book, Job repents for his various speeches of the book and is restored. But in all that, God never tells him "why" what happened to him happened.

Why didn't God tell him why?

I would have to guess that the cause of Job's troubles was never made known to Job himself but to the author of the book of Job probably sometime after Job himself was dead. The problem was of such a personal nature and significance that I think Job's mind would have been destroyed if he had known. The God of the universe and the evil prince of the power of the air are having an argument using Job as a pawn; whose mind wouldn't be destroyed if they were to learn such a thing about themselves?

I think in our present age, an age in which people are more affected by the theories of Sigmund Freud than they are by the reality of Jesus Christ, we are conditioned to believe that, if we could just find out the reason why things have happened to us, we'd be okay. But I fear that the reality is, if we knew the reasons, we would lose faith, or go insane, or die from the sheer heartbreak of the significance or insignificance of the reason.

The closest thing God gives us to a reason for suffering is in response to the question, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered that neither of them sinned, but that he had been born blind so that God might be glorified. I think perhaps much of this glorification will actually take place in the next world, not in this one, as we emerge from death with the perfection God always wanted us to have.

It's not much of an answer for this side of heaven, I don't suppose, but it might be as close as we will ever come to knowing. I think it serves us well to recognize the sovereignty of God in these things we can't understand. On John Calvin's deathbed, he uttered these words: "Lord, Thou bruisest me, but it is enough that it is Thou." Calvin's was not an unreasoning faith, obviously; but it was a faith that recognized that the reasons for "everything" could not be known.

Anyway, those are the few thoughts of a hopefully helpful nature that came to my mind as I read it all. You have done much to derive value for others from your own sufferings, which is a good thing; but I think a person could go nuts trying to fathom the reasons for his or her suffering, and would certainly go nuts if they actually knew! And therein, I believe, lies a mercy of God in allowing us not to know.

God bless,

Thanks Reese. Very insightful as always. You're right about Job. It always has struck me how God didn't tell him what we the readers know from reading the first two chapters. But still, it is so hard not to ask "why?" when yet one more thing seems to go wrong. But you are correct that we can comfort ourselves that God has His reasons, and we probably will find them out someday, but very possibly not here and now like we want.

God bless,
Gary Z.

Scripture Workbook: For Personal Bible Study and Teaching the Bible
Twenty-two individual "Scripture Studies" each focusing on one general area of study.
These studies enable individuals to do in-depth, topical studies of the Bible.
They are also invaluable to the Bible study teacher for preparing lessons.

ALT2 Update and the Septuagint

My publisher had the "Web gallery" for the second edition of the Analytical Literal Translation ready for me to download on the last day of 2004. I was hoping to just "sign-off" on the gallery so that the ALT2 could go into final preparation for publication. But I began double-checking one last area--the verse references for Old Testament quotes that are indicated in the ALT text. And I began to find a few that were inaccurate. So I wanted to correct these.

And as I was checking the references, I also began studying whether the New Testament writer was quoting from the Hebrew text of the OT or from the Septuagint. The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew OT from the third century B.C. It is abbreviated as "LXX." The name and abbreviation are based on the tradition that 70 or 72 Jewish scholars worked on the translation, six from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

In the first edition of the ALT, I had indicated with the notation "LXX" a few times when the OT quote was clearly taken from the LXX. But as I studied the issue, I began to find many more such instances. So I am now in the process of checking every OT reference and adding the "LXX" notation as needed. This will necessitate another round of sending in the corrections to my publisher, having them make the corrections, and then waiting for them to make another Web gallery available.

This will delay things some, but I think it is important. When studying the NT and looking up the quotes in the OT, very often the quotes as they appear in the NT are worded quite differently compared to the OT source. In some cases it can even be difficult to determine exactly which OT verse the NT writer is referring to. Sometimes this is due to the writer paraphrasing or quoting from memory, and sometimes two or more verses are merged together. In such cases, I am indicating the various possible sources.

But more often, the difference is due to the writer quoting from the Septuagint instead of the Hebrew. So I am adding the notation LXX when the wording of the quote in the NT differs from the wording of the source verse in the Hebrew but is similar or even identical to the LXX. This will enable readers to know when the use of the Septuagint is the reason for the difference between the quote as it appears in the NT and the OT source.

It should also be noted that there are also many times when the wording of the NT quotation is basically identical to that of the Hebrew text but differs from the LXX. So the NT writer was obviously quoting from the Hebrew. And there are times when the quote in the NT, the Hebrew, and the LXX are all basically the same. So the NT writer could have been quoting from either the Hebrew or the LXX.

So having studied the issue, it is apparent that the NT writers were familiar with both the Hebrew text of the OT and with the LXX, and they freely quoted from either of these. And including the LXX notation whenever the NT writers are clearly quoting from the LXX will enable readers of the ALT to see this for themselves.

On another point in regards to the ALT2, I was not able to add an appendix listing the Byzantine Majority Text Alternate Readings as I hoped to. As things turned out, doing so would have pushed the page count into the next pricing range. And I didnít think this information would be of sufficient interest to warrant increasing the cost of the text to the consumer. But it will be mentioned in the preface and in an appendix that this information is available on the Web site.

All that said, I had already started working on the Microsoft Readerģ version of the ALT2 before the Web gallery was available. But I ran into some problems. It looks like Iíll need to do a lot more reformatting than I had hoped to get it ready. But once I am done with the above corrections, I will begin working on it again. I hope to have it available by February.

Iíve also been asked if I will make the ALT2 available to be used in freeware Bible programs. With the new paragraph formatting, the ALT is no longer in the format needed for it to be included in software programs. So the entire text would need to be reformatted. So it will be a quite some time before it would available in such formats.

But as for the hardcopy version, my hope is now that the ALT2 will be available in time for Easter. It is rather early this year, on March 27, which just happens to be my birthday. This is the first time I can remember Easter being on my birthday, but my mom says I was born on Good Friday.

Differences Between Bible Versions
Why do Bible versions differ? Why does the same verse read differently in different versions?
Why do some versions contain words, phrases, and even entire verses that other versions omit?
Which Bible versions are the most reliable?
These and many other questions are answered in this paperback and eBook by Gary F. Zeolla.


Also by Gary F. Zeolla:
Fitness for One and All
Web site and FitTips for One and All newsletter.
Helping people to attain their health, fitness, and performance goals.


All material in this newsletter is copyrighted © 2005 by Gary F. Zeolla or as indicated otherwise.