Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why You Should NOT Buy an NIV Bible

If it is the new 2010 NIV 'version', you have an impostor in your hands!

I have been using the New International Version copyrighted in1984 since 1999 because it is an accurate and very readable translation. It is a great translation for beginning Bible readers. Several of my seminary professors worked on the original 1984 translation.

However, in my sermon prep a few weeks ago, I went to BibleGateway to copy the text to start my studies, as I have many times. What I got shocked me!

Galatians 3 was different! I had unknowingly copied and pasted the NEW 2010 edition of the New International Version (NIV). There are significant editorial changes that are NOT in the original language nor in the original 1984 translation. This is wrong and misleading! 

For example, the original language says in verse 26, 'You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.' However the new edition for 2010 mistranslates the verse 'You are all children of God...'

Do These Changes Matter? 
Yes! This is a key verse in the doctrine of adoption. The original word choice is not only revealed from heaven, it has significant meaning! In ancient times, only sons received an inheritance. God, through Paul the writer, was making a very radical, pro-female statement in saying that by faith in Christ Jesus all who believe are His sons.

To say we become 'children' of God is just not what the original language or the original translation of the Scripture into English says at all.

(I will withhold my guesses as to any agenda the editors of the NIV2010 are trying to accomplish.)

And for sake of space, I will not offer an exhaustive list. One change of this caliber is enough. If you want more examples, ask for follow-up.

So do NOT buy a new NIV (c)2010.

Misleading to Keep the 'NIV' Label
What really bugs me is this: the NIV 1984 is a great translation and the NIV 2010 is a different editing job of that translation using the same respected label for an inferior work.

Honestly I wonder how the professors who worked so hard to give us the original NIV must feel? Their work now hacked up and changed beyond recognition...

So, Here is Your Christmas List!
Buy an English Standard Version for each reader in your family and circle of friends. That is what we will be using in the Crosspoint English-speaking congregation* beginning in 2011. 

Part of  my calling as your pastor is to protect you from false doctrine. Our Bibles are the starting point. I want you all to be reading and studying a reliable and accurate translation of the original language. The NIV2010 is simply not reliable or accurate. And it is too confusing to try to keep using the 1984 edition.

Time to Make a Change for Our English-speaking Church. 
Get an English Standard Version (ESV). Or if you have an older New American Standard Bible (NASB) you are reading an accurate and reliable translation.

I'll keep you posted if we need to make adjustments for our Spanish-speaking congregation.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Three Reasons We Welcome Aliens

1. There are at least 10 verses in Scripture that command God's people to love, care for, treat justly and remember that He defends aliens. Don't believe me? Do a search on the text of the NIV for 'aliens' or in other versions for 'sojourners' and you'll see it clearly.

There are a few other moral reasons Crosspoint/Encuentro welcomes people (especially Mexicans) regardless of their legal status.

2. Rising fear from drug violence and weak protection from their own government. I am no policy expert but it doesn't take much to recognize that this kind of violence would make any sane person seek a safe place to live - even if it isn't legal. In June 2010, hundreds of people in border towns were executed by drug cartels.

This is the results from a search on the words 'Mexico' and 'Violence' on Yahoo!

3. Persecution for being a Christian. Voice of the Martyrs include the state of Chiapas as a 'hostile' area where Christians are persecuted. This is more than just being snubbed for converting. Pastor Hector Guzman has friends bringing in basic supplies to families who have lost everything.

Granted not everyone coming to the US without status is a Christian, but no matter the reason for their arrival, shouldn't the church and the people of God seek both mercy and justice for fellow image bearers? Shouldn't we leverage this time of unrest that is sending refugees and immigrants to our nation as an opportunity to advance the gospel?

Bonus Reason: Our allegiance is first to Christ, then to our nation (Galatians 3:26ff) If I'm making you uncomfortable, it's on purpose. Reason #1 is the only reason we need to welcome aliens. God says He is their God. We are His people. If Arizona or Georgia or any other state makes a law that violates God's law, then morally who should we obey?

Think about that.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Excited about Church Planting Momentum in the Atlanta Area

Crosspoint/Encuentro is part of some significant Kingdom expansion work you would seldom see. Today I went to our monthly Church Planters Network (CPN) meeting and there were 40 church planters, coaches and visitors. This represents almost 20 church plants in Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, London and Bucharest. We are usually mostly white, middle-aged and Presbyterian, but today I looked around the room and saw five racial backgrounds, young guys and old guys. 40!

Several men from Bethlehem Baptist Church Minneapolis (where John Piper is the pastor) checked out what we are doing here. We had visitors from the London Church Planters' Network some of our men helped start and even a church planter from Romania! It was so cool to hear him say straight up that he and a few other pastors from the International Presbyterian Church in Romania are making plans to change their whole country through church planting. Seriously. I believe it.

Ten months out of the year, though you may not know it, I spend a day (630am-230pm) in Atlanta with this network. Pastor Hector too. I used to go to receive, now I go to give back. I coach other church planters who have started churches on the Atlanta Westside, in Vinings and East Atlanta.

Every month there is peer-coaching, prayer and training. This month's training and prayer time inter-weaved as Dr. Tom Wood and Alex Villasana led us in strong, gospel-centered life-changing interaction. I'm so proud of Tom and Alex, he's the guy that recruited, trained and still mentors me. And Alex just preached at Sunday night at the Regional Hispanic Worship Gathering for the four Hispanic churches in our area.

And I heard that J. Allen Thompson, the church planting guru of the PCA and Redeemer NYC is moving back here. My guess is so he can be closer to family and Cuba where he frequently travels to train church planters and church leaders where he was born, raised, planted churches and got kicked out in 1960.

Why tell you all this? A lot of reasons:
It's personal. Crosspoint/Encuentro is one of the first three church plants from this network.Without these men and this training I would have flopped more than once at church planting.
It's spiritual. This is the kind of momentum we have been asking the Lord of the harvest for and working towards for ten years.
It's missional. Our church vision has always been to multiply churches for all the nations because it is God's ordained method to saturate the world, Atlanta and Smyrna with the gospel.
It's eternal. Alongside godly people doing ground-breaking work in the 21st century, we will have continuing impact long after we pass into eternity.
It's global. This behind-the-scenes work is the greatest opportunity for the most people in the most places to worship King Jesus.

We are so honored to take part in this world-changing enterprise!