Rev. VanBaren is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Loveland, Colorado.

The Inclusive Bible

You have doubtlessly read of the “Inclusive Bible.” It is man’s attempt to improve on the revelation of God to us given in Holy Scripture. It seems that in the minds of some the old Bible is no longer suitable for our current day and age. Nor is this merely a matter of translation — this is deliberate revision of the Word of Holy Scripture. We quote part of an article appearing in The Christian News, January 29, 1996.

Christians have always believed that God is omnipotent and omniscient. Well, the divine attributes have been expanded: He is now inclusive, too. In fact He is no longer “He.”

“Our Father-Mother in heaven, hallowed be your name,” goes the Lord’s Prayer … in The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version, published by Oxford University Press. This new version is not really a translation, but an attempt, based on the New Revised Standard Version, to correct earlier translations.

According to the editors’ introduction, it not only reflects but also “attempts to anticipate developments in the English language with regard to specificity about a number of issues such as gender, race, and physical disability” (emphasis in original).

… Masculine pronouns for the Deity have been pruned away. “In this version,” the editors announce proudly, “God is never referred to by a masculine pronoun, or by any pronoun at all.” Often this means “changing the syntax of a sentence so as to avoid using a pronoun.” Sometimes it means repeating “God” incessantly:

“God is my shepherd, I shall not want. God makes me lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside still waters; God restores my soul. God leads me in paths of righteousness for the sake of God’s name.”

St. Paul doesn’t address “brethren,” but “brothers and sisters” and “sisters and brothers” alternately. Even the Devil’s sex is carefully unspecified, so there is some comfort for men….

The new version avoids offense at all costs — even imaginary offense. “The blind” become “blind people.” “Lepers” become “people with leprosy.” “Slaves” become “enslaved people.” “Dark” and “darkness” have been edited out to avoid aspersions against “dark-skinned people.” St. John’s critical references to “the Jews” have been tactfully altered, though St. John himself (like all the central figures in the Gospel) was a Jew. (Hey — what about the Romans?) Even “right hand” has been deleted in deference to southpaws….


Will there be no end of attacks on Holy Scripture? If the devil can not destroy the Bible, he will see to it that it is so altered as to lose all reliability and infallibility. Surely none who value the inspired Scriptures will even consider using such a tainted paraphrase (it is not a “version” or “translation”). This type of work can only come from those who deny the inspiration of the Word of God.

Promise Keepers Again

The Religious News Service reports (Feb. 2, 1996):

The Promise Keepers men’s movement has started unveiling its plans for more than 20 men’s conferences at sports arenas this year, and two of the events already have sold out.

The movement, which encourages men to be more committed to their families and their Christian faith, held conferences in 13 cities last year. A total of more than 720,000 men attended.

A 1996 conference planned for Indianapolis sold out in eight days. An event in Minneapolis sold out shortly after the Indianapolis conference.

“Some of them sold out relatively quickly last year, but eight days is pretty quick,” said Promise Keepers spokesman Roger Chapman.

The theme of this year’s conferences is “Break Down the Walls.”

“There are centuries-old walls built of pain, hurt, neglect and abuse,” said Promise Keepers’ President Randy Phillips. “Our desire is to exalt the person of Christ and power of the cross in a way that breaks down the walls that exist brother-to-brother, brother-to-sister, and church-to-church.”

Bill McCartney writes in his Men of Action Newsletter of January 1996,

We must learn what it is to be broken and emptied before the Lord. A broken man can be used by God to break down walls. This means to forfeit all of our self-interests, all of our suspicions about others, all of our negative attitudes and all of our unforgiveness and condemnation of others. Can anything less qualify us as a disciple of Jesus Christ (I John 4:19-20; James 5:6-10)?

…Men, let us begin to break down the walls — by laying down our lives and hungering for God’s will.

And an invitation was sent to area churches near Ft. Collins, Colorado to attend a local rally with the Promise Keepers’ theme: “Break Down the Walls.” The invitation included the plea, “Please plan to attend this evening of fellowship, praise and worship. Join us in ‘uniting’ as the Body of Christ!!”

The intent of the movement becomes ever clearer. This year the emphasis is upon “Breaking down the walls.” These “walls” are not only such as exist within families, but also those which exist between denominations of churches as Roman Catholic, Protestant, and even Mormon (though the latter can by no stretch of the imagination be included in “church”). Clearly the walls are to be broken down not by resolving differences on the basis of Scripture, but ignoring them. Could this work be one more way of establishing that one world church — the church of antichrist?


“A Record-setter for Disasters”

We have been reading of various and serious disasters occurring across our country. A short article pointing this out was in the Denver Post of February 15, 1996:

Floods, snow, winds and ice have contributed to making 1996 — only six weeks old — a record year for disasters.

The government already has issued 27 disaster declarations, the largest number so early that “anyone can recall,” said Phil Cogan of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; 21 states are involved. 

FEMA, which provides equipment, loans and grants to affected communities, has staff working on all 27.

“We have not had a moment that we could at least catch our breath and catch up,” said FEMA chief James Lee Witt.

Vermont, suffering from flooding that began Jan. 19, became No. 27 on Tuesday.

The most recent calamity has left Washington, Oregon and Idaho drying out from floods that began a week ago. These states estimate damage will top $620 million.

The 27 declarations are close to the full-year average since 1991: 37.6 declared disasters.

Also among 1996’s disasters are January’s storms and floods in the East.

The Eastern storms caused $585 million in insured losses, while Pennsylvania alone estimated flood damage at $700 million. 

Meanwhile, growers in the Southeast have requested a declaration because of freezing weather earlier this month, and Montanans are waiting for one as a result of floods.

FEMA also has people deployed to work in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Florida and Georgia, which were struck by hurricanes last year [and in] California, which is recovering from the Northridge earthquake in 1994.

The theory is that the El Niño current in the Pacific Ocean is the cause of this increase in disastrous storms. And perhaps scientists can come up with some reasonable explanations for every disaster that strikes.

But does not Jesus indicate (Matt. 24:7), “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places”? In fact, we have here a strong reminder of the testimony of Revelation which speaks of the seven trumpets in which one third of the earth is destroyed — an increase from the normal one fourth. Do we hear the beginning of the sounding of the trumpets? We may not know yet for sure. It is remarkable, however, that the secular press points out the startling increase in disasters. If this continues, what will happen to the insurance companies? If it continues, what will happen with the country’s “balanced budget”? What will happen with the stock market?

We can but watch and pray. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. It is the time for diligence and faithfulness on the part of the church.

Development of the Computer

Revelation 13:15, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

From the Denver Post:

Would you believe that fifty years ago this month (February), scientists in Philadelphia unveiled the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, ENIAC? The first electronic computer weighed 30 tons and filled a room.

A few years later, experts were predicting that computers might someday weigh as little as 1.5 tons, and that dozens of them might be installed around the world.

Today, computers weigh far less than 1.5 tons. Tens of millions of them go into service each year, ranging from massively parallel computation engines that simulate weather patterns to humble little chips in wrist watches and dolls and automobile dashboards.

What about 50 years from now?

Even the experts know it is reckless to forecast computer technology more than five years out. Bill Gates once said that 640 kilobytes of RAM ought to be enough for anyone.

So — what once seemed impossible is now taking place. Within fifty years we have computers which are vastly superior to that original one, in schools, in the workplace, and in many homes. It would then seem very possible that Revelation 13 is near fulfillment as well.