Over the past few days I have noticed a particular sentiment gaining steam. At first, it seemed to be limited to African American fans of a particular gospel artist (nearly 5,000 likes and 1,500 comments). Then I started to see it show up fairly often among a broader audience. I will be sharing the facts on the matter towards in the second part of this blog, but the Thing That Matters in my view is the reason why this "thing" has spread so fast.
Gospel Artist Erica Campbell shared a picture with a misleading caption stating "The #NIV has taken scriptures out of the bible on mobile devices and computer apps. 45 COMPLETE verses removed from the bible. #readitforyourself #dontbedecieved #readtheHolyBible"
In summary, the picture states the NIV has removed 54,575 word including Jehovah, Calvary, Holy Ghost, and omnipotent. It prefaces this statement with Zondervan is now OWNED by Harper Collins, who also publishes the Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex. (A few facts, Zondervan doesn't publish either book. Zondervan is a Christian publisher. Zondervan did not translate the NIV Bible, they PUBLISH it along with hundreds of other Christian books, curriculum, and other resources.)
Can you see how inflammatory this is? Particularly following a ruling for marriage equality that many Christian oppose and even view as a sign of the "end times." The use of words like "now" and "removed" are used to imply that this information is new and that these changes are the result of intentional tampering by the "satanic gays" (the implication that gays are satanic comes from linking the satanic bible with the joys of gay sex. It should be clear that I do not believe gays are satanic). The NIV has not been revised since 2011, so why is this information surfacing, rather, resurfacing now? Why would a prominent Gospel Artist with great influence within the African American church choose to share the photo with the hashtag #dontbedeceived.
This is the result of an intentional strategy to create division, spread fear, and ignite a culture war. Unfortunately, Erica Campbell finds herself on the wrong side of this strategy. She has played right into the hands of those who are acting in a way that is contrary to the way of Christ.
If you haven't been paying attention to what is featured in the news you may want to start. The police are being portrayed as villains out to kill black males. The force designed to serve and protect is now a symbol of fear and oppression. Intentional. One of the best, most widely used and easily understood translations of the Bible is being labeled as "tainted." Intentional. Gays (usually not lesbians) want to turn your kids gay and usher in bestiality. Intentional. At every turn, each segment of the population is being placed in opposition to another. Intentional.
Don't miss the strategy. Don't miss the forest for the trees.
The more fear that can be evoked, the greater the division that can be created. People tend to fear what they don't know. When we isolate the races, there is less of a chance they will form relationships and get to know each other - squelching love and birthing fear. When we convince you that people of a different sexual orientation are out to destroy your marriage and harm your kids, we place you in a position of being defensive, or even combative, further increasing the division, not recognizing the commonalities, thereby creating an environment of oppression and disdain.
While I will not be addressing eschatology directly, it definitely relates to the issue at hand. A popular belief in Christendom is the "antichrist" will usher in a one world government and ignite a global war that ends in Jesus returning to defeat the devil. So when Christians see the divisions, at a subconscious level, they find comfort. They revolt against unity for fear of helping the antichrist bring in a one world religion which is a supposed sign of the end times. Another sign is Christian persecution.
I read so many statuses that say things like "the Bible said this would happen." Christians take pride in persecution - so much so that they make it up where it doesn't exist, failing to realize that Jesus was persecuted by the religious, not the "sinner." Enter in marriage equality and the attack on God's plan called traditional/biblical marriage. "It's like the days of Noah," they say. Couple this with the deeply ingrained teaching that the King James Version of the Bible is dictated by the hand of God and you have the perfect mix for hysteria. Anything that challenges the Holy Bible as we know must be from satan.
(Allow me a slight rabbit trail here - why do you suppose many preachers instill the notion that the KJV is the only real Bible? It's because it keeps them employed. You don't understand the King's English, and they know that. Truthfully, they don't either - that's why you'll hear things like "in the Greek this says…" What's interesting is what follows is often what is plainly stated in the NIV. Go figure. I've literally sat in services with my NIV and read exactly what the preacher "translated" from the Greek.)
All of this ultimately stems from the fear of hell. You could say that all of this is done to scare the hell into us. If you are deceived you will ultimately end up in hell, tortured for all eternity. Are you starting to see a pattern?
(Got Questions does a great job of explaining "missing" verses, so if you are burning to know what happened right now, visit their site . Snopes also has an easy to read article on the subject here. I will be taking a broader approach in this blog.)
Here's the point: Our faith was never intended to be centered on, or limited to a book. The Bible is not the fourth member of the trinity. The Bible is not our cannon, Christ is. There is no "original Bible" in English, or any other language for that matter. The books included have always been debated, even while Jesus walked the earth. His very own brother, Jude, quotes a book that we don't have in our Bible today.
The Bible is a collection of inspired writings by men who were learning to about God just like you and I, translated and interpreted in every edition. Jesus is the exact representation of God - He is the instruction manual, He is The WORD of God. Interestingly enough, when Jesus quoted Scripture He changed it, too. (Ever read where He quoted part of Isaiah - He definitely omitted a few key thoughts.)
As followers of Jesus, we should invest our time researching in finding out how to best live out the command of Jesus in our world today. It is disappointing that Christian alarmists are "researching" this very black and white issue as if it is important. Let me tell you - it doesn't matter. A simple moment of consideration would reveal that if the satanic homosexuals were attempting to corrupt the Bible, the verses they remove would probably center on things that actually change the message. Don't get caught up in this absolute foolishness. Read a Bible you understand. If you're not a Shakespeare fanatic you probably don't understand the KJV. It's poetic, it's beautiful, but it's not easily understood.
Make every effort to live at peace with all humanity. Jesus desires that we operate in unity, as one, just as He and the Father are one. Let's spend our energy on loving humanity, on kindness and care.
As Michael Jackson so beautifully penned in his song HIStory:
How many people have to cry
The song of pain and grief across the land
And how many children have to die
Before we stand to lend a healing hand
Every day create your history
Every path you take you're leaving your legacy
Every soldier dies in his glory
Every legend tells of conquest and liberty
Every day create your history
Every page you turn you're writing your legacy
Every hero dreams of chivalry
Every child should sing together in harmony
All nations sing
Let's harmonize all around the world