The second condemnable aspect of the text of these Bibles is still worse. The unfaithful translation could be ascribed to carelessness, serious enough because we are supposed to have such reverence for God’s Word that we tremble at it (see Isaiah 66:2). But there is also in The Greatest is Love and Reach Out a systematic, deliberate falsification of those words of God which the producers of these Bibles do not like. These Bibles falsify those outstanding passages in the Now Testament that teach God’s sovereign, eternal predestination, His eternal election of some men in Christ unto salvation and His eternal reprobation of other men unto damnation. I am not now going to defend or explain the doctrines of election and reprobation. I only want to show the fact that these Bibles change the texts that plainly teach these doctrines. I will show this by first quoting the text as it is correctly given in the King James Version and then giving the same text as it appears in The Greatest is Love andReach Out.
1. Acts 13:48: “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” The Greatest is Love reads, in the second part of the text: “and as many as wanted eternal rife, believed.” The text teaches that the reason why some believe in Christ is that they were ordained by God unto eternal life. The Greatest is Love changes the text so that it says that the reason why some believe is that they themselves want to have eternal life.
2. I Peter 2:8: “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” The Greatest is Love reads, in the second part of the text: “they will stumble, because they will not listen to God’s Word, nor obey it, and so this punishment must follow—that they will fall.” The text teaches that God has appointed some men to stumble over Christ into hell through their own disobedience. The Greatest is Love drops the entire phrase that teaches this and substitutes a phrase that it has invented for the occasion.
3. Romans 8:29: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” The Greatest is Love reads: “For from the beginning God decided that those who came to Him—and all along He knew who would—should become like His Son, so that His Son would be the First, with many brothers.” The text teaches that in eternity God predestinated, or elected, some persons to be conformed to the image of Christ, that is, to be saved. The Greatest is Love changes this to read that God merely decided that whoever would come to Him (of which “coming to Him” there is absolutely no mention in the text!) would become Re Christ. The text speaks of a choice of certain, definite persons, whereas The Greatest is Love speaks of an abstract decision concerning a certain event, namely, some people’s coming to Him. In addition, the text says that God’s eternal predestination of certain, definite persons is due to His foreknowledge of them, that is, His eternal knowledge of them in love. The Greatest is Lovereplaces this personal knowledge of certain men by God with, a mere knowledge beforehand as to which men would come to Him.
4. Romans 9:10-13: “And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” The Greatest is Love reads: “And years later, when this son, Isaac, was grown up and married, and Rebecca his wife was about to bear him twin children, God told her that Esau, the child born first, would be a servant to Jacob, his twin brother. In the words of the Scripture, ‘I chose to bless Jacob, but not Esau.’ And God said this before the children were even born, before they had done anything either good or bad. This proves that God was doing what He had decided from the beginning; it was not because of what the children did but because of what God wanted and chose.” The text teaches that God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they were born. The Greatest is Love changes the text so that it will merely say that God chose to bless Jacob and did not choose to bless Esau with the birthright blessing, apparently. The text says that God’s words to Rebecca, prior to the birth of her twins were spoken so that the purpose of God according to election might stand, that is, God’s, free and sovereign election of some (Jacob) unto eternal life, in distinction from others (Esau). The Greatest is Love changes this to read that God chose certain things from the beginning (“This proves that God was doing what He had decided from the beginning; it was not because of what the children did but because of what God wanted and chose”). The text simply does not speak ofwhat God may or may not have chosen; it speaks of whom God chose, which person. The Greatest is Love also changes verses that follow in Romans 9:17, 22. In verse 22, it changes the phrase, “fitted to destruction,” to read: “those who are fit only for destruction.”
This deliberate perversion of God’s Word is gross wickedness. In the Old Testament, wicked King Jehoiakim of Judah, not liking the words of God that were written in a book, cut out all the pages of the book and burned them in the fire (seeJeremiah 36). God punished him terribly for this mad wickedness, as Jeremiah 36:29-31 threatens. Revelation 22:18, 19 solemnly warns against corrupting the written Word of God. The punishment for those who deliberately do this is damnation. This is the sin of those who have produced The Greatest is Loveand Reach Out, and it becomes the sin of those who knowingly promote these corrupted versions of the New Testament.
The reason why the producers have falsified these passages is evident. In their introductory remarks to The Greatest is Love, they show that they adopt the Arminian theology. They believe, therefore, that God loves all men, that He gave Christ to die for all men, that He tries to save all men through the begging and pleading of preaching and evangelism, and that it is up to each man now to exercise his “free will” by believing in Jesus. Upon this decision for Christ depends every man’s salvation. Election, in this theology, is only God’s decision in eternity that all who do believe (of their own ability) will be saved. And because He knows things before they happen, He also knows which people will (of their own ability) believe in Christ. Having adopted this theology, they sally forth into God’s Scripture determined to bring it into line with their thinking. Does the Word of God teach, in Romans 8:29, that God predestinated, or elected, some definite, particular persons to be saved, so that their entire salvation is due to His election of them? Well, this would demolish the stock Arminian theory of predestination, that God merely decided in eternity that all persons who would believe would be saved. Romans 8:29, therefore, has to be adjusted, that is, mangled, to harmonize with the Arminian notion. Does God say as plainly as can be inRomans 9:13 that He hated Esau and made known that hatred before Esau was born, or had done any evil? Well, this would contradict the theory that God loves all men and, therefore, the text has to be changed, so that that obnoxious word, “hated,” does not appear. Does I Peter 2:8 say that some men have been ordained to stumble at the Word and go to hell? Well, that would contradict the notion that God wants all to be saved and tries to save all, so the whole, offensive phrase must be dropped. (Jehoiakim cut out the passages with his penknife and burned the paper they were written on.) Does Acts 13:48 teach that the reason why some men believed Paul’s preaching was that God had eternally ordained them to eternal life, so that faith depends on election? Well, that would contradict the pet Arminian notion that election depends on faith, so the word, “ordained,” is simply replaced by “wanted,” which then will make faith dependent on man’s will instead of God’s.
But why go on? It is demonstrated that The Greatest is Love and Reach Out are deliberate, damnable falsifications of God’s Word and God’s doctrine. All true Christians, not even to mentionReformed Christians, whose faith is expressly attacked here, will recoil from them in horror and indignation.
It is incredible that these Bibles gain acceptance within Reformed Churches. In 1618 1619, at the Synod of Dordt, the Reformed Churches once and for all condemned the Arminian theology as heresy, the bringing again out of hell the Pelagian error (see the Canons of Dordt, II, Rejection of Errors, III). The Canons of Dordt teach, as the gospel itself, the doctrines of predestination, total depravity, limited atonement, efficacious grace, and the perseverance of saints. Every Reformed man, by virtue of claiming to be Reformed, subscribes to the Canons and condemns the Arminian teaching. Many Reformed Churches officially are bound to the Canons and its teachings. Every officebearer in these Churches swears his allegiance to the doctrines of the Canons and vows to oppose Arminian tenets. If Reformed people and Reformed Churches, knowing the facts about The Greatest is Love and Reach Out, yet promote them and approve them, they show that they are apostate. Would to God that in simple honesty they would cease calling themselves Reformed. If a man is genuinely interested in being Reformed, let him repudiate these vehicles of the Arminian heresy, and let him ask once why it is that a Reformed Church tolerates and even promotes these Bibles, which undermine the very foundation of the Reformed faith and, in order to accomplish this, pervert God’s Word.
Since some people fall for these new versions well-meaningly, because they think that they help their children and young people to understand the Bible, we will take note briefly of the right way to help children understand Scripture.
First, see to it that your children, from the time that they are five or six years of age, receive thorough instruction in catechism classes from the Church. Make sure that this instruction is based on the uncorrupted Scriptures, that it is in harmony with the three, great creeds of the Reformed faith, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dordt, and that it consists of instruction in the truths of the Scriptures.
Secondly, get for your home copies of the best translation of the Bible available, the King James Version. It is not perfect. One imperfection, for example, is its failure to use the word, “Jehovah,” throughout the Old Testament as the main Name of God. But it is the best. It is faithful to God’s Word and, therefore, reliable.
It is, for the most part, easy to understand. It is beautiful in its style. The use of this version has other benefits that we tend to forget. The words of the King James Version are the words of the Reformed confessions and of the historic Christian Church, words like regeneration, justification, predestination, and sanctification. By using the King James Version, our children are gradually absorbed into the realm of the Church of the past and the sphere of the Reformed creeds. These words are completely missing from many modem versions, so that a child reared on them is cut off from the Church of the past. It is a matter of sound pedagogy that the same Bible be used in the home, in the Christian school, and in the Church. It is confusing to a child to read, memorize, and learn one version of the Bible in the home, another in the school, and probably another in the Church.
Thirdly, read from the King James Version daily with your children. Have them follow in their Bibles, and have them participate in reading aloud. As you read, consider yourself a prophet to your children, which indeed you are. At appropriate points, explain what you are reading. Encourage your children, from the youngest age, to interrupt the reading with questions as to the meaning of the passage. You will discover that you have to face a daily barrage of questions, “Dad, what does this mean?”, “Mom, what does that mean?” In no time a discussion ensues. These moments are alive with the presence of the Holy Spirit, leading the children (and the children’s parents) into the truth.
Fourthly, so that you can do this with your children, see to it that you yourself are in a Church where, twice on Sunday, the whole, pur6 Word of God is preached, explained, and applied, year in and year out. See to it that you endure sound doctrine and that you are not included in the ecclesiastical multitudes today who have itching ears, who turn away their ears from the truth, and who are turned unto fables (II Timothy 4:3, 4, King James Version).
The result of this, under the blessing of the Holy Spirit, will be that your children, already by the age of twelve, will be sitting in the midst of the doctors of the Church, loving the Word of God, hearing the Word of God, and themselves asking questions, so that all men are amazed at their understanding.