Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beware of Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

As a reviewer I get many requests via e-mail to review books. I first received the request for Chandel L. White’s Romans to Jude, Precise Christian Scripture Revealed: A How-To Guide for Unveiling Authentic Gospel Truth (http://www.romanstojude.com/) last fall from his publicist. I ignored the first few times it came to me, but the wording in the description of the book both intrigued and repelled me.

Finally I accepted the request to review and received a .pdf of the book to read. In the somewhat organized chaos of our recent move, I didn’t have time to read the book until yesterday. Even then, when I shut the file on my desktop, I was still undecided as to writing a review. Normally, I don’t post reviews of books I can’t get into, are poorly written, or contain content I don’t agree with, desiring to promote good books by authors I can wholeheartedly support.

But this morning in my quiet time with the Lord, the title for a review (the one above) kept floating through my mind. Then I read several scripture passages from my devotional The Daily Light that addressed this subject. More scripture came to mind, along with several statements and phrases from the book. It was obvious the Lord wanted me to write this review.

As a student of the Bible and as one who loves in-depth inductive Bible study, I appreciate the emphasis the author put on this type of study. But his insistence that it is only in the books of Romans through Jude and those only in the King James Version we can find the “true” gospel is where I began to take exception with him.

First, if we’re studying the gospel, how can we leave out the Gospels and Acts which tell the story of Jesus Christ, “the author and finisher” of the gospel, our faith? And for that matter, how can we leave out the Old Testament when we read that God had His perfect plan for salvation, the gospel, already in place before He created the foundations of the world (John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:3, 9:26; 1 Peter 1:20)?  And speaking of foundations, again how can we leave out a study of Jesus in studying the truths of the gospel when Christ Himself is the foundation of that gospel? (See 1 Corinthians 3:10–12.)

Second, why use only the King James Version? It was translated from the Greek and Hebrew texts the translators had access to four hundred years ago. The original Hebrew and Greek texts are the inspired words of God, not a human translation into any language. Yes, I believe the Bible was inspired, but I don’t believe that any one translation of those original words are inspired.

The author mentions several times that the “true” revelation is found only in the Old English of the King James Version. But the KJV isn’t written in Old English; it’s written in Early Modern English. A poetic and lyrical form of English, but still amazingly readable today.

For example, in a discussion of Shakespeare’s English, the author of an online article makes this point:

Look at the following passage in Old English and try and read it:

‘Fæder ure þuþe eart on heofonum si þin nama gehalgod tobecume þin rice gewurþe þin willa on eorðan swa swa on heofonum urne gedæ ghwamlican hlaf syle us to dæg and forgyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele soþlice.’

Do you recognise it? If not, try this one:

‘Oure fadir þat art in heuenes halwid be þi name; þi reume or kyngdom come to be. Be þi wille don in herþe as it is dounin heuene. yeue to us today oure eche dayes bred. And foryeue to us oure dettis þat is oure synnys as we foryeuen to oure dettouris þat is to men þat han synned in us. And lede us not into temptacion but delyuere us from euyl.’

Easier, and perhaps you recognise it now, but only just? Look at the next one:

‘Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debters.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’

You have just seen a long evolution of the English language. The first is Old English and the most famous literary work written in that form is Beowulf . The Old English extract is, of course, taken from the Bible and is part of the Lord’s Prayer.

The second passage is from the Wyclif Bible of 1348, two hundred years before Shakespeare, and it is written in what is called Middle English. The most enduring and famous writer of that time is Chaucer.

The Third is from the King James Authorised Bible and it came out in the same year as The Tempest , in 1611. You have no difficulty with that extract, of course, because it is written in Modern English. You probably find that version of the Bible far easier to read than a Shakespeare text, although the language is the language all English people spoke in Shakespeare’s time. (http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/resources/shakespeare-old-english/)

Frankly, the author’s insistence that we can only gain a deeper knowledge and hidden meaning of the “true” gospel from “this section of the Bible [which] reveals the mystery of the gospel in its fullness” smacks of Gnosticism, a false teaching of the early church that still rears its head today. Although it is usually called by different names. Gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge, and the main emphasis of the Gnostics was that they claimed to have a special knowledge above that of ordinary believers. They believed that their special knowledge and enlightenment superior to those who adhered to the written Word of God.

Paul addressed the Gnostics specifically in his teaching in 1 Corinthians 8, 13:2; 2 Timothy 2:14–16; and Colossians 2:2–4. In handling the Word of God, believers must be careful to avoid all empty speculations and interpretations from outside scripture. In the author’s bio is this paragraph:

White has been interested in humanity’s relationship with the ethereal and textual truth of God since early childhood. These curiosities have lead [sic] him on a 30-year journey filled with enlightened experiences with various spiritual organizations: Christian (denominational and non-denominational), Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Nation of Islam, and Science of Mind. In addition, he has also followed the teachings of many of America’s most well known Christian leaders as well as philosophies and works by John Randolph Price, Louise L. Hay, Eckhart Tolle, Ernest Holmes, Wayne Dyer, Esther Hicks, Robert Lomas, Thomas Sowell Ph.D, W.E.B. DuBois, Albert Pike and Max Weber. White has also developed a great appreciation for the insight of the Bhagavad-Gita, the Tao Te Ching and the philosophy of Zen.

True Christianity is not a composite of all the religions in the world leading to the same God. It is a belief in and a daily relationship with a living Savior, Jesus Christ. Nothing else.

The simple gospel of Christ, defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, is that Christ died for our sins and was buried and rose again the third day, “according to the scriptures.” The “mystery” is that Christ, in the form of the Holy Spirit, now indwells us (Colossians 1:26–28).

It is not the “the wisdom of [my] inner man” but the indwelling Holy Spirit who now teaches us through scripture as Christ promised in John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  

So in light of this seemingly innocuous Bible study White proposes to Christians, we must take heed to the words of scripture and be discerning to the false teaching contained within.

For “we have . . . a more sure word of prophecy whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

“Beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts” (Jude 17–18).

“The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 John 2:18).

Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).


Aaron said...

Very well said Marjorie.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Amen and Amen.

Chandel L. White said...

Dear Ms. Vawter,

Thank you very much for reveiwing my book, "Romans to Jude - Precise Christian Scripture." With all due respect, I would like to bring clarification to one of the items you mentioned in your review. I never mentioned "that the “true” revelation is found ONLY in the Old English of the King James Version." However, what I did fail to mention was the reason I created a reading strategy geared specifically for the KJV text. The reason I decided to place so much emphasis on the KJV is because it was the first version of the Bible that African slaves (African-Americans) were given. Slaves were indoctrinated by word of mouth without ever having the opportunity to read the unadulterated gospel text for themselves. For, how could they, being foreigners and uneducated in the English language? So, in defense of this very fact, being that it still affects the offspring of slaves the world over, I decided to share not only with African-Americans, but with all Bible believing people a reading strategy (The Strategy of W.H.A.T.)that would enable all Christians to behold the highest intentions of the gospel text - not a watered down, misconstrued version of it.

I would challenge you to please take a look at pg. 49 again . Here you will find the reading strategy I coined, The Strategy of W.H.A.T. Regardless of my opinions early on in the book...this reading strategy that I detail is by far the most revealing look into our New Testament (Romans through Jude) scriptures to date. You will notice that I never define any terms nor do I try and sway readers to ingest any notions that I may have. I have simply designed a reading strategy to help Bible readers come into a clearer definition of the gospel for themselves. My book is not only a "how-to" guide, but it is a reading challenge to all Christians. This book is nothing more than an attempt to help readers unearth certain textual elements that have been hidden for ages.

Of course you and I disagree with one another...and that is perfectly fine. Nevertheless, I am very thankful for your input. You have definitely provoked thought.

Chandel L. White

Carrie Pagels said...

Very deep. It is difficult when we feel we must address a difficult situation. Thanks for sharing.