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Darkness to Light - Vol. V, No.7
Darkness to Light
Volume V, Number 7
Presented by Darkness to
Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla
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Scripture Workbook: For Personal Bible Study and Teaching the Bible - This book contains twenty-two individual "Scripture Studies." Each study focuses 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 preparing lessons for Sunday school or a home Bible study and can be used for group studies.
More Emails on a Variety of Topics
Going through some more old emails. Below are exchanges on a variety of topics. My responses have been updated for inclusion here. The emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in greater than and lesser than signs; my comments are in red.
>Subject: Officers of the Church shall have been baptized as believers by total immersion
I have been attending a Baptist Church for many years and have prepared two types of Constitution in relation to the above clause which is in our old 1996 Constitution presently in use.
Now one elder of our Church who was admitted 8 years ago on the basis of this Constitution now wants to remove that clause. The bigger picture I see is that God commanded us biblically to be baptized upon a confession of faith and did not distinguish between church leaders or ordinary members. It was His command that once we have confessed Him as Lord and our Saviour, baptism by immersion is the next step in our salvation.
This Elder, his wife also an Elder and one other Elder have come from other Churches to our Baptist Church which we as members have accepted them in both membership and as Elders. After much prayerful consideration I cannot understand why this particular clause has caused so much grief in this Elder.
Can you help me to understand, please.
Thanking you in God's Grace,
To be honest, I cannot understand why they want to remove the clause either. As a Baptist church, I assume that a belief in total body immersion of believers is part of your Confession of Faith. And since elders are supposed to be examples to the congregation, then they should have been baptized in this fashion as well.
Now, personally, I might be open to allowing someone to be an elder who had been baptized as a believer, but by dipping or sprinkling, re-baptizing someone who had already been baptized as a believer might be unnecessary. The "believer" part I think is more important than the "immersion" part. But the "believer" part would be essential in my mind.
>Subject: Presbyterian Membership
I was reading you page Reformed-Baptist Perspective and noticed something in the section on Local Church Autonomy. Your text about Reformed membership isn't quite accurate, at least for the PCUSA. In the PCUSA, there are four types of church members: baptized, active, inactive, and affiliate.
Basically, when a child is baptized, they become a baptized member of the church. These members have no voting privledges and they can't voice concerns at congregational meetings. Active members are those who make a public profession of faith. These members can vote, can make comments at congregational meetings, and can be elected as elders and deacons.
Thanks for the info.
>Subject: Birthday party
I would like to understand why a birthday is considered a pagan holiday? Where would we all be if we were not born? A birthday is the day of birth.
I am planning a birthday party for a friend who has a child that is a [Jehovah's] Witness. How do I have this party, not offend him, and have him join us? His mother will be 70 years on this earth.
Your help would be appreciated.
I'm not sure if I can provide much assistance. I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with celebrating someone's birthday. There is a short section on this in the chapter on "Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses" in my Scripture Workbook.
Now JWs will say that a birthday "honors" a person too much and thus detracts glory from God. This is, of course, absurd. The real reason JWs forbid celebrating birthdays and holidays is in order to separate JWs from their non-JW family and friends. The Watchtower wants "the organization" to be the Witnesses "family." This is basic cult manipulation.
All of that said, there really nothing you can do, short of convincing the son to leave the JWs. As long as he is caught in their clutches, he will not and cannot attend a birthday party, even his own mother's.
Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance.
>Thank you for taking the time to answer.
>Subject: Re: Darkness to Light - Vol.2, No.1 [the article Hail Mary: Part One]
One important point that you didn't make:
Since the word for "full of grace" is the same with Mary as it is as used toward other believers [compare Luke 1:28 with Ephesians 1:6], we can look at its effect on other believers to see what its effect on Mary was.
All Christian women are full of grace if the Spirit dwells in them. However, all of them that we know of have continued to sin after being filled with grace and have also conceived sinful children. In fact, even the Bible seems to indicate that Jesus rebuked his mother for trying to call him away from His ministry - suggesting that she was in sin at the moment in question - thirty years after His conception [see Luke 8:19].
Therefore, the "filling with grace" doesn't seem to produce sinless offspring in normal believers. The "reproductive well" of the elect remains tainted in this life - causing their offspring to be born in sin. Christian redemption and baptism in Christ does not appear to redeem our offspring - as they too must be baptized, indwelt with the Holy Spirit and walk in faith in order to be saved.
There are only two ways that Mary could have conceived a sinless Christ child:
1. God inserted a complete created embryo of Christ into her womb that was in no part from her seed.
2. The "traducian" view that the spirit is inherited from the father of the child - therefore God used Mary's physical seed, but the human spirit of Christ came from God the Father.
The traducian position is the only one that allows for Christ's body to have literally been made from the "seed of the woman", yet allowing Him to be conceived without sin. If the spirit of a child comes from the father, then the sinful nature comes from the father. Therefore, God the Father could have taken Mary's ovum and divinely provided the other half of the genetic material to make it conceive and imparted the sinless divine spirit of God the Son into the conceived child.
Traducianism has been a minority position in the Church for over 1000 years and has never been considered heretical. Neither has any splinter group ever formed over the traducian view, so thankfully, it has not been a source of schism in the Church like heresies inevitably do.
It also is able to explain several other "problems" in Scripture that the "soul creation" position cannot. .. [such as] how Isaac could be in the "loins of his father" when Abraham tithed to Melchizedek.
Traducianism is an interesting doctrine. It doesn't seem to be terribly important except for its use in destroying the elevation of Mary to the level of a goddess.
Actually, I ascribe to traducianism, mainly because of the issue of original sin. If God created a new soul of each person at the moment of conception as the "soul creation" position has it, then God would be creating a sinful person and thus would be the author of sin. But the traducianism position has each person's soul being inherited the same as their physical body, from their parents, and thus their sinful nature is inherited. It also explains points like you mention, like Levi being in "the reproductive organs" of Abraham [see Heb 7:4-10].
>Subject: Bible Version Questions
I happened across your site and noticed you had done a lot of research on differing Bible versions. I read your correspondence on these with [Jay] Green, and just purchased and started reading your Bible version book.
I too am struggling to find an accurate version to read that reflects what God wrote. I have looked at numerous versions and verses, and also have the Hebrew Greek Interlinear by Green. I notice some problems that you might shed light on for me.
for in that he died, to the sin he died once, and in that he liveth,
he liveth to God;
(Rom 6:10 YLT)
For in that He died, He died to sin once; but in that He lives, He
lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 MKJV)
For in that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in that He
lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 LITV)
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life
that He lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 NASB)
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but
the life that He lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 NKJV)
For what [death] He died, He died once for all [time] to sin, but
what [life] He lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 ALT)
A few of these support the correct (my opinion) Calvinist view that Christ died for only those the Father gave Him. The others support the Arminian position that He died for all. To me this seems a critical difference. If it was written "once and for all" that would support the accurate rendering.
I reviewed this with our Pastor who has a PhD in Greek, and teaches Greek as well at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary. He agrees that the Greek does not support "once for all" but rather "died once."
Note: The issue here is the extent of the atonement. Arminians believe Jesus died for all people, while Calvinists believe Jesus only died for the elect. My response has been update for inclusion here:
You quote the ALT from the First Edition. For the Second Edition, I changed this to:
For what [death] He died, He died once [and] for all [fig., once and never again] to sin, but what [life] He lives, He lives to God.
I am keeping this rendering for the forthcoming ALT3. The reason for the change is the Greek word here clearly means something that is done only once, never to be repeated. In no way can it be taken to mean "once for all people." I even had someone email me saying his pastor was teaching this. That is indefensible for someone who should know Greek. Simply, put, there is no "all" (Greek, pas) in the Greek text. The phrase "once for all" (or however it is translated) comes from one Greek word: ephapax. It means:
adverb; (1) as a numerical time concept at the same time, at once, all together (probably 1C 15.6); (2) as a single occurrence once, one time only (possibly 1C 15.6); (3) as a religious technical term for the uniqueness and singularity of the Christ's death and the resultant redemption once (and) for all (HE 10.10) (Friberg's lexicon, as found on BibleWorkstm for Windowstm).
The following verses from Hebrews use the same word.
26For such a High Priest was fitting for us: holy, innocent, undefiled, having been separated from the sinful and having become higher [than] the heavens, 27who does not have a daily need like the high priests to be first offering up sacrifice on behalf of His own sins then for the [sins] of the people; for this He did once [and] for all [fig., once and never again], having offered up Himself.
11But Christ having appeared [as] High Priest of the good [things] coming, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with human hands (that is, not of this creation), 12and not through [the] blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, entered in once [and] for all [fig., once and never again] into the Holy [Places], having secured eternal redemption.
8[After] saying above, "Sacrifice and offering and in whole-burnt offerings and [sacrifices] concerning sin You did not desire, nor took pleasure in" (which according to the Law are offered), 9then He has said, "Look! I have come to do Your will, O God." He abolishes the first so that He shall establish the second, 10by which will we have been sanctified, the [ones] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once [and] for all! [fig., once and never again!]
The meaning here is clear. Jesus' death was a one time event, never to be repeated. That is the point of all of these verses. They are not dealing with the extent of the atonement.
>Subject: Copyright question
I just purchased your ebooks. I know I will be blessed by your efforts and all the wonderful information provided. I did have a question that has always troubled me. Why do Christians copyright? First I want to say this is not an attack or a condemning question. I can only begin to understand what hard work went into this Bible. Yet, I often thought that the point of all believers is to spread Gods word. If quoting or sharing information to non believers that was copy-written was frowned upon or illegal, that would not be aiding the cause. What is your opinion? I know I would feel different if I had invested as much time as you have. Thanks in advance for your answer.
Thanks for purchasing my books. As for your question, "the laborer is worthy of his pay" (Luke 10:7). If you knew how much time, effort, and money goes into writing, publishing, and promoting a book or a translation of the Bible, then you would understand the reason for the copyright. After all of that work, writers, translators, and publsihers deserve remuneration for their efforts. Moreover, if the books were not copyrighted, then nothing would stop someone from stealing someone else's books, putting his or her name on it, and profiting from someone else's labors, or worse, altering books or translations in a heretical manner.
Note: Below are related questions and answers from the "Frequently Asked Questions" chapter of the forthcoming new edition of theCompanion Volume to the ALT:
Analytical-Literal Translation]? Is it not wrong to profit from a version of the Bible?
Do you get a royalty from the ALT [
Yes, I get a royalty for each sale of any version of the ALT. But I have set the royalty relatively low so as to keep the cost of the book low. But I do have the right to receive compensation for the years I have spent translating and formatting the ALT text. Those who believe otherwise have no conception of the amount of labor that goes into producing a Bible version.
17Be letting the elders having ruled well be counted worthy of double honor, especially the ones laboring in word and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "You will not muzzle an ox treading out [grain]," and "The laborer [is] worthy of his pay."
Why is the ALT copyrighted?
Without a copyright, someone could "steal" the ALT, publish it under their own name and wrongly profit from my labors. Also, a copyright prevents someone from altering the ALT text and then trying to pass it off as the genuine text (p.22).
Unless other wise indicated, all Scripture verses in this newsletter are taken from: Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament of the Holy Bible: Second Edition, with changes made in preparation for the Third Edition. Copyright © 2005, 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.zeolla.org/christian). Previously copyrighted © 1999, 2001 by Gary F. Zeolla.
If anyone is interested, check out my MySpace page.
Between Bible Versions
Discusses translation principles, Greek text-types, and KJV Onlyism.
Advocates a literal or formal equivalence translation method.
Advocates the use of the Textus Receptus or Majority Greek Text for translating the New Testament.
Over thirty Bible versions are compared and evaluated.
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 © 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla or as indicated otherwise.