Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Preaching Gold Candlesticks

September means the end of my Naval contract and the beginning of life as a pastor. This time last year I was excitedly awaiting my R&R leave to begin so I could meet my newborn daughter. Now I am anxiously awaiting the beginning of a vocation that will allow me to spread God’s word throughout a community and minister to the needs of my church and the lost in our area. I’m not going to claim a lot of prophetic stuff and say that God sent down a word to me and I have had visions…none of that, but in my prayer and quiet time with the Lord I have come to believe that God is ready to do big things in Miller, SD. Our church just needs to be open and willing to be His vessels. And I believe that willingness is there.
I pray for a lack of distraction to what isn’t important. Questions have come up among people I know who are saved most of them are about peripheral issues that ultimately won’t matter to anyone’s salvation. One today that stood out, “What translation will you preach from?”
I skirted around the issue because I really didn’t want to get into a KJV only argument first thing in the morning after a three day weekend. I really like the KJV, but to say that a translation is inerrant is to miss the point entirely. I was raised reading the NIV and while it is not currently my translation of choice I would have to say it was sufficient to teach me about Jesus.
There are KJV-only advocates running around asking us to bow to a translation. They want us to translate the KJV into other languages rather than translating from Greek and Hebrew into those languages. This rides the fence of idolatry to put a translation of the Word above the Word itself.
I do think we need to be careful not to take certain translations as authoritative. As nice and popular as some paraphrases are, they are really more like commentaries than objective translations. A paraphrase will undoubtedly reveal the opinion of the person paraphrasing. A translation should utilize formal and dynamic equivalence in a way that ensures clarity of the gospel and optimal accuracy. Perfection is impossible in translation, but if we properly pray and discern as we study God’s word, He won’t fail us.
For myself? I probably find myself in the NASB and ESV more than anything else as of late. But if something in one of those translations doesn’t make sense or isn’t clear, I am happy to jump over to the KJV, NIV or HCSB to gain some clarity or a different perspective. I suppose I will settle into preaching from one specific translation eventually, but I will always compare translations, and once I have a little bit of Greek and Hebrew know-how I will undoubtedly take it deeper.
Most of all though, we can’t let an issue like this divide the church. We can’t sit around and make arguments about whether or not a painting of Adam and Eve should have belly buttons or what color the carpet should be in the sanctuary.
Mar 3:24-26 (KJV) "And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. [26] And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end."
In “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, John Proctor is asked why he has not been attending church. Proctor says that Reverend Parris preached nothing but “Gold candlesticks” until the pewter ones on the altar were replaced. I pray that as followers of Christ we can move past things like this and remain faithful to the body of believers and support our leadership. But more than that I pray that I never “preach gold candlesticks” when the Gospel will suffice for eternity.

1 comment: