Quench not the Spirit, 1st Thessalonians 5:19.
One of the great missteps in our culture of Christianity today is the mistaken assumption that the word of God and the work of the Holy Ghost in converting sinners are independent of one another. I say "our culture of Christianity" and in so doing, I am creating a sweeping indictment of modern Pentecostals, Charismatics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Bible Churches, Fundamental Baptists, and just about every other group out there claiming to win souls for Christ.
As I said in the last post, whether or not a person can be saved out of the new versions is immaterial. What is becoming more and more evident is that they are not getting saved. From the height of each and every Western Nation's government to the lowest of dwellings in that land, the God of our forefathers is grieved. We have become corrupt in government, corrupt in education, corrupt in our churches, corrupt in our entertainment, corrupt in our social gatherings and corrupt in our homes.
The great leavening influence of the word of God has been quenched. It has been quenched by new versions. It has been quenched by adherents to the King James Bible adhering more to the marginal notes than to the text. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit. We have substituted it, dulled it and disregarded it. The Holy Ghost works through the word of God.
Before any person is ever converted to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost must do the preparatory work in that person necessary for conversion. His tool for that work is the word of God. In the parable of the sower there are four types of ground on which the seed sown attempts to take root. There is some ground in which it cannot take root.
A soul winner who seeks results that can be measured in changed lives and a revived church knows that there are some people who represent soil conditions in which the word of God cannot take root. A wise soul winner will seek to bring that person to place in which the sown seed cannot be choked out or fail to take root. In doing this work his most important ally is the Holy Ghost.
John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
John 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
John 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
What bible you use in that work will be important. I want you to consider the following scenario:
You find out that you have only a short time to live. Your children are too young to properly remember you or to process any careful instructions you may give them. You write a carefully crafted letter to them detailing your exact thoughts towards them and your desire for their lives. You leave that letter with a trusted relative to be read to them on a future specified date in which they are all gathered together.
Instead of dying, you lapse into a comma in which everyone assumes that you are unaware of your surroundings. Instead, you lie there day after day hearing and thinking about everything you have heard. You have lost the ability to speak or move, but your hearing and reasoning is fully intact. The only way that you will ever be heard is when your letter is read.
On the given day, your children are gathered into your hospital room. You hear your relative explain the purpose of the letter and you await its being read. As they read it to your children, you realize that your relative has changed the letter. They didn't agree with key points that you made and didn't like how you worded certain things. Your children are hearing a mixture of your words and of your relatives thoughts and philosophies disguised as yours.
How would you feel about that? Would you be pleased or grieved? Of course you would be grieved. You have been betrayed and your words have been toyed with.
Now, consider an alternative. Your relative gathers your children together and explains that due to a catastrophe beyond anyone's control the original letter was destroyed. You listen carefully as the relative that you trusted does his or her level best to recount to your children what that letter said. It is not exact, but you can hear in the presentation the great care your relative makes in conveying to your children your exact thoughts and feelings towards them.
You may be disappointed in the result, but you will not be grieved with that relative. You will feel a sense of gratitude for the effort they have made to recall your words and to convey them.
Not all bibles are perfect like the King James Bible. Throughout the middle ages, Lollards (a broad term for itinerant non-Roman Catholic evangelists) roamed throughout the hills and valleys of Europe carrying small passages of crudely translated portions of the gospels, translated into one of the hundreds of local dialects of Europe. They risked torture and death if they were caught. What they carried was the very best that they could do in reverencing the word of God and with such skill as they had making it available to men.
If their bible differed from what sits on a pedestal in heaven, it was not because they took issue with something that was written. It was because they were fallible men who in risking their lives to translate such portions of the Latin Bible as they had seen and heard, could not remember it all and sometimes stumbled in translation. By all evidence compiled by historians the Holy Ghost was pleased with their efforts and bore witness to the word preached.
Contrast that to the NIV or to the ESV. With the perfect word of God available, these man made substitutes for what God really said masquerade themselves as the word of God. They are a grief to the Holy Ghost. Do not expect him to reprove its users of sin, righteousness or of judgment. He hates those bibles. What is lacking in most of today's goofy soul winning is the quickening power of the word of God to circumcise the hearts of its hearers.
There has arisen a theology that tries to explain why people who have prayed the magic prayer never change. It tries to explain why and how auditoriums filled with thousands of people waving their hands and wiggling their butts are truly saved and born again people. It seeks to explain away large soul winning numbers for a church that never grows.
Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
We have filled our churches and our respective nations with people who were shown that Jesus is the Christ and that he is the Son of the living God by the power of the flesh. Those few who bother to worship, worship in the power of the flesh. Before I ever give people the gospel, I teach them that there really is a perfect bible and that they can know what it says. That is why the Black Creek Baptist Church has gained a reputation as a place where broken lives become whole, where wounded families heal, and where vile sinners are converted into gody saints.
No nation, community or church can be turned around when the Holy Ghost is grieved with the presentation of the word of God.