Archive for June, 2018

On my last day of this short vacation, I wanted to post something about some viewing I’ve been doing recently. I’ve found that I can double up on time by listening/viewing material while getting ready for the day and doing other mundane household activities. I’ve been asked to speak on textual criticism at BI’s Asia Consultant Seminar in January 2019 and on the English version issue at a supporting church in eastern PA next summer, so I wanted to learn more about both issues.

Some of you may be familiar with Steven Anderson’s attack on BI (and on me personally) a few years ago. If you know nothing about this, then you are better off. In fact, if you have never heard of Steven Anderson, consider yourself blessed in your ignorance. Anderson seems to love stirring up controversy and is basically a conspiracy theorist when it comes to English versions. He attacked Dr. James White, a pastor and an apologist who has debated various KJVO advocates (and debated many others on various issues), in March 2014. Dr. White graciously agreed to allow Anderson to interview him in August 2014. It’s 2.5 hours long, so it’s a lot to wade through, but I found it quite revealing of Anderson’s thinking. Clearly, White exposed the irrationality and self-contradictory nature of Anderson’s thinking. But what was particularly instructive was when Anderson explained how he arrived at his KJV-only position (starting around 26:00 into the video). He basically had a subjective, feeling-oriented experience in which he “heard the voice of God” in the KJV. He didn’t hear God’s voice in any other version. Though he would deny that a person can get saved only through the KJV (in the attack on White in March, he said people of other languages need to read the Bible in their own language), it’s actually the only logical conclusion to his position. At numerous places, White tried to show Anderson the self-contradictory nature of his positions, but Anderson always found a way to slither out from under the intense scrutiny.

Another KJVO advocate is Gail Ripplinger. She has even stranger views about the KJV. I had heard of her and her book, New Age Bible Versions, but had never actually read the book or heard her speak. So, I listened to a 1993 debate between her and Dr. White, that R.C. Apologist posted on YouTube in 2015. Ripplinger’s view is even more dangerous than Anderson’s, because she claims to have received a “word from God” in which He gave her “acrostic algebra,” which is a means by which you can supposedly find hidden meaning behind various letter combinations. White exposes the many errors of Ripplinger’s views and book, including numerous egregious misrepresentations of many good men. Sadly, Dr. Kent Hovind actually defended Ripplinger after this debate. It’s amazing to hear Hovind and Ripplinger (through his reading of a letter she wrote) claiming that what they are experiencing is persecution for the sake of the Lord. Surely, the Lord is not in illogical, divisive views or any claims of new revelations!

Because I had been viewing these videos about the KJV debate, it pulled up a debate between Dr. White and Dr. D.A. Waite. I have to admit that Waite was probably the most moderate in his demeanor. However, he was also like Anderson and Ripplinger in refusing to be backed into a corner by logical argumentation. Instead of answering questions about conclusions to which his self-contradictory views took him, he would dodge them and spout out more of his views.

After that overdose of KJVO advocates, I decided to turn my attention to an actual study of the facts of textual criticism. Dr. Mark Ward, a good friend and a Faithlife writer, helped me know about some free lectures by Dr. Daniel Wallace at credohouse.org on textual criticism. Since I studied this information in my doctoral studies, I found much of it to be review, but it was good to be reminded of the facts and to learn many other things that I didn’t know. I’m not quite halfway through the lectures but have found Wallace’s presentation of the issue to be quite fascinating. Since Wallace has extensive personal experience with the NT manuscripts, being the executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, he has a unique insider perspective on the issues. While I don’t fully agree with Wallace’s view on a developing “canon consciousness” (in various places like 2 Pet. 3:16, Peter indicates his consciousness of actually writing Scriptures), I am finding his lectures to be extremely valuable.

Anyone familiar with the issues of textual criticism knows that even the KJV translators wrestled with textual variants, as one of Dr. Ward’s friend’s noted. I really appreciate Ward’s blog, because he’s a deep thinker, an engaging writer, and most importantly, a committed Christian. He’s trying to help Christians see the real issues behind the KJV issue. In fact, he wrote a book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible, to help with the issue, and he has developed a website, KJVParallelBible.org, to show English speakers in Elizabethan English the differences between the Textus Receptus and the Critical Text, the latter being the basis for most modern versions of the NT. I highly recommend Dr. Ward and his works!

I also highly recommend Dr. James White. I found his kind, patient spirit toward the KJVO advocates to be quite commendable. His ministry is called Alpha & Omega Ministries. Though I haven’t read or listened to everything he’s put out there, I found what I’ve read or listened to so far to at least lead me to give a positive recommendation.

One interesting observation that I read on CAnswersTV‘s video description of the White-Waite debate is that the KJV-only position actually began among the Seventh-Day Adventists in 1930. A book was written then and then another by a different SDA guy in 1955. But it wasn’t until Rev. David Ottis Fuller, a Baptist pastor, wrote Which Bible? in 1970 that the position became popular among certain fundamental Baptists. Apparently, Fuller removed the SDA connnections and baptized it, so to speak, to make it more palatable for Baptists. I’ll have to do more study on that idea, because I had never heard of it. Fuller was quite a big name in Grand Rapids, MI, where I live. He helped establish children’s radio ministry and Grand Rapids Baptist Bible College, which is now Cornerstone University.

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When the summer began, the work was piling up faster than I could keep up. I wondered how in the world I’d have time to take a short vacation (4 days) here in Ukraine. I had to save all of my workshop preparation for this week. I hate procrastinating, but I had no choice. I knew it would be intense to spend almost all day every day checking the translation with the Greek for John 1-7, but I knew God would give grace.

What ended up happening is that almost every day as I did the work, I finished much quicker than I thought. In fact, these past two days, I finished with 3 hours still remaining in the day. Instead of jumping into the next chapter in the afternoon, I would set the work aside to catch up on emails and other projects. I actually got my urgent emails down to almost 0, and I took care of many other less urgent emails as well. I even made good progress on another lecture for the Bible translation course, after taking advantage of some quiet moments in travel from the US.

So, having come to the end of this week, I can feel good about setting work aside for 4 days to enjoy family and friends in Ukraine, before diving back into the work in a week. We’ve already been able to enjoy some nice evenings together, especially since the weather is absolutely beautiful. If you could only hear Eliyas’ excitement when the playground we are walking to is finally in sight, you’d also agree that he finds it quite enjoyable! (The picture below was actually just a quick moment between Sunday morning church services and Sunday lunch.)


Praise God for how abundantly He answered prayer! And to top it all off, it was such a joy to read through John 1-7 in Greek. I love this statement from the officers of the Jewish leaders: “No one ever spoke like this man!” (Joh 7:46 ESV) Such statements almost brought tears to my eyes. What a glorious Lord!

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Dear Family and Friends,

Many challenges and encouragements to improve our marriages are found in the second book in the Marriage and Family Counseling course I’m taking. In Sweethearts for a Lifetime, Wayne and Carol Mack have found that marriages are often lacking because “so little in our society encourages couples to make the kind of adjustments and sacrifices in their lives that are necessary for oneness in marriage.” When our society encourages a self-focused life, it is only by the power of the Spirit working through the Word that we can see the right way to live. PRAY for God to help Oksana and me to strengthen our oneness.


Oksana and I are thankful for good ministry opportunities in 13 churches during almost two months of travels recently. We enjoyed reconnecting with 13 churches and seven supporting families. We were not able to find a second vehicle before the trip; but God enabled us to fit everything into our Ford Escape and gave us safety over the many, many miles we covered.

2018.04.01 Easter (1)

Eliyas’ First Easter (Reading, PA)

During meetings in the first six weeks, we were able to return to one location, giving us a “home away from home” to enjoy welcoming spring as a family and to get some work done. I was able to complete five of nine lecture days for the two-week course, Bible Translation, that I will be teaching at Bob Jones University in July. Since then, I have completed another day of lectures and have made significant progress on the second course, Translation Technology, a one-week course. PRAY as I need to complete the rest of the material for both courses by the middle of July. PRAISE God that He has provided a way for a co-worker to share some of the teaching via Skype for the first course, and that He opened a way for two PhD friends to help teach Bible software in the second course. PRAY also for the Lord to raise up more students to take the Missionary Linguistics Program at BJU.


After furlough we had only two weeks at home before we headed out to Ukraine at the end of May. We will spend two weeks there before going to another Metanoia NT workshop in Eurasia. I have had to save all my workshop preparations for the first week in Ukraine, so PRAY for wisdom and strength as I prepare. PRAISE God for helping the team and Oksana to finish all their work so that I can start preparing. PRAY for wisdom as Oksana and I try to resolve complicated linguistic issues, including whether to borrow words from the old parent language of Metanoia or its new host country language.

When we return from Eurasia, we will have only two weeks in MI before we head to SC for the translation courses. Then, we’ll have only a few days at home before I lead the BI Consultant Seminar. PRAY for grace in these quick turn-arounds. PRAY also for good preparation and participation in the seminar. PRAY too that the Lord would provide a minivan before the trip to SC, since my mom will be going with us on that trip.

It looks like I will not be doing the research trip to another creative-access country this year or going to Mexico. Thank you for your prayers!

PRAISE God that Tim Fink has answered God’s call to become BI’s new director. PRAY for Tim and his wife Sandy as they adjust to this new ministry over the summer. PRAY for God to provide project coordinators and a Scripture Use manager.

For the sake of Christ,

Troy (for the three of us)


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