"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Benevolence To Saints And Strangers (12:13)

                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

              Benevolence To Saints And Strangers (12:13)


1. As Christians we have the responsibility to...
   a. Present our bodies as living sacrifices - Ro 12:1
   b. Prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God - Ro12:2
   -- Made possible by the transformation that comes by renewing our

2. A remarkable transformation that characterized early Christians was
   their benevolence...
   a. Toward their brethren
   b. Toward those who were strangers

3. As commanded in our text (Ro 12:3), they...
   a. Distributed to the needs of the saints
   b. Showed hospitality even to strangers
   -- Which was in keeping with God's good, acceptable, and perfect will

[What about us today?  How is our benevolence to saints and strangers?
Perhaps we might do well to take a closer look at the two commands in
our text...]


      1. Distributing - "The word used here denotes having things in
         common, (koinwnountev). It means, that they should be
         communicative, or should regard their property as so far common
         as to supply the wants of others." - Barnes
      2. to the needs - "That is, distribute to them such things as they
         need -- food, raiment, etc.  This command, of course, has
         reference to the poor." - ibid.
      3. of the saints - "Of Christians, or the friends of God." - ibid.
      -- "Making the needs of fellow saints your own and helping them."
         - B. W. Johnson

      1. By the church at Jerusalem (a church helping its members) 
         - Ac 2:44-45; 4:32-36; 6:1-6
      2. By the church at Antioch (a church helping other churches) 
         - Ac 11:27-30
      3. By the churches of Macedonia and Achaia (many churches helping
         one church) - Ro 15:25-26; 1Co 16:1-2; 2Co 8:1-24; 9:1-15

      1. The collection on the Lord's day is designed for this very
         purpose - 1Co 16:1-2
      2. If brethren are in need, we should not hesitate to use the
         collection for this purpose
         a. For needy saints in the local congregation
         b. For needy saints in other places
            -- Though there are some limitations 
            - e.g., 1Ti 5:9-16; 2 Th 3:6-15
      3. Our assistance is based upon ability and opportunity
         a. According to our ability - 2Co 8:12-15; though note 2Co 8:1-4
         b. According to our opportunity - Ga 6:10

[The Lord has provided a systematic method to meet the needs of His
saints.  Of course, this does not preclude helping one another as
individuals (1Ti 6:17-18).  Nor does it mean we have no responsibility
toward those not saints, for we are commanded to be...]


      1. given to - "Pursuing (as if in a chase or hunt)..."
         - Robertson's Word Pictures
      2. hospitality - Love to strangers (philoxenia)
      3. "This expression means that they should readily and cheerfully
         entertain strangers." - Barnes
         a. A duty often enjoined in the Scriptures - He 13:2; 1Pe 4:9
         b. A qualification for both bishop (elder) and needy widow
            - 1Ti 3:2; 5:10
      4. "The 'hospitality' of today, by which is meant the
         entertainment of friends or relatives, hardly comes within the
         Biblical use of the term as denoting a special virtue." - ISBE

      1. By Abraham, extending hospitality to "three men" - Gen 18:1-8
      2. By Lot, pursuing hospitality to "two men" - Gen 19:1-3
      3. By Job, who left no stranger in the street - Job 31:32
      4. By Jethro, who rebuked his daughters for neglecting Moses 
         - Exo 2:20
      5. In the support of early missionaries 
         - Mt 10:11,42; 25:35; 3 Jn 5-8

      1. The principle of hospitality presumes ability and opportunity
         a. Our responsibility is based upon ability - cf. 2Co 8:12-13
         b. Our responsibility is based upon opportunities - cf. Ga 6:10
      2. The pursuit of hospitality is enabled through preparation
         a. You are more likely to offer hospitality without grumbling
            if prepared beforehand
         b. Cheerful giving is made easier by purposeful planning 
             - cf. 2Co 9:7
         c. Why not have a place in your personal budget for
            entertaining strangers?
      3. The practice of hospitality can take various forms, if safety
         or wisdom is a concern
         a. Housing can be provided through arrangements with a local motel
         b. Food can be given in the form of vouchers or gift
      4. The potential of hospitality for good can be seen in regards to
         a. Supporting those who travel to preach the gospel
         b. Touching the hearts of those who may be in need of the
      -- "The primitive Christians made one principle part of their duty
         to consist in the exercise of hospitality; and they were so
         exact in the discharge of it that the very heathens admired
         them for it." - Cruden's Concordance


1. As we seek to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect
   will of God"...
   a. Do not neglect to provide for the needs of your brethren
   b. Do not hesitate to show love for those who are strangers

2. Let the words of Jesus Himself challenge us to a higher plane of giving...
   a. That we might be more like our Heavenly Father - cf. Lk 6:32-36
   b. That we might be repaid at the resurrection of the just 
      - cf. Lk 14:12-14

Speaking of such things as our Heavenly Father and the resurrection to
come, have you received the hospitality that God extends to all who are
lost...? - cf. Ro 5:8-10
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible Has Not Been Corrupted by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible Has Not Been Corrupted

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The image on the front cover of this month’s R&R is St. Catherine’s Monastery where Codex Sinaiticus was discovered by Constantin von Tischendorf in 1844.]
Many are those who insist that the Bible has been corrupted over time, that we do not really know which verses belong in the Bible, and that translation errors are so plentiful that we do not have the original message. Yet these allegations have been confronted and refuted time and time again. Apart from the Old Testament (which has been fully verified), a myriad of books over the years have masterfully demonstrated the integrity of the New Testament text, including such volumes as J.W. McGarvey’s Evidences of Christianity, Kurt and Barbara Aland’s The Text of the New Testament, F.F. Bruce’s The Canon of Scripture, Bruce Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament, F.H.A. Scrivener’s A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Sir Frederic Kenyon’s Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Benjamin Warfield’s An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, and many others. Those who cast aspersions upon the integrity of the biblical text manifest either abysmal, inexcusable ignorance of the long established facts of the matter or deliberate bias. If the reader desires the truth regarding the authenticity and integrity of the Bible, the evidence is available—if the individual is willing to spend the time and effort to weigh that evidence and arrive at the proper conclusion (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). Do we have the message that the original authors penned? The fact is that the books of the New Testament are the most extensively verified books of ancient history. The facts completely undermine and discredit any attack on the integrity and transmission of the Bible.


We know how the original New Testament books read because we have three surviving classes of evidence by which to reconstruct the original New Testament: Greek manuscripts, ancient versions, and patristic citations. The current number of Greek manuscript copies containing all or part of the New Testament now stands at 5,795. This amount of manuscript evidence for the text of the New Testament is far greater than that available for any ancient classical author. The time between the writing of the original books of the New Testament and the earliest surviving copies is relatively brief. Although no two manuscript copies agree in every detail, the degree of accuracy achieved by most scribes was remarkably high. The vast majority of textual variants involve minor matters that do not alter any basic teaching of the New Testament. No feature of Christian doctrine is at stake. Suitable solutions to these differences are detectable. Even if they weren’t, manuscript evidence is so prolific that the original reading is one of the extant options. Even those variants that some might deem “doctrinally significant” (e.g., Mark 16:9-20; John 7:53-8:11) pertain to matters that are treated elsewhere in the Bible where the question of genuineness/certainty is unquestioned. We can confidently affirm that we have 999/1000ths of the original Greek New Testament intact. The remaining 1/1000th pertains to inconsequential details.
Additionally, a wealth of ancient versions provides further verification of the purity of the biblical text, including Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Armenian, Georgian, Ethiopic, Old Slavonic, and others. Textual critics through history have steadfastly affirmed the value of these ancient versions in reconstructing the New Testament text. For example, Vaganay observed: “After the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the versions constitute the most valuable source for writing the history of this text” (1934, p. 28; cf. Vogels, 1923, p. 84—“The versions are very valuable for establishing the original text of the Bible.”). Though noting the limitations, the Alands admitted: “[T]he importance of the versions is substantial” (1987, p. 182).
The same may be said for the wealth of textual materials available via the so-called “Church Fathers,” i.e., early Christian writers who quoted, paraphrased, and otherwise alluded to passages from Scripture in their letters, commentaries, and correspondence. This latter source of information is so prolific that Metzger affirmed: “Indeed, so extensive are these citations that if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, they would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament” (1968, p. 86).
These contentions have been verified by the greatest textual critics and linguistic scholars of the past two centuries. Their conclusions have not become outdated, but remain as valid today as when first formulated. If the integrity of the text of the Bible was fully authenticated in their day, it remains so today. Consider the following statements by some of these world class authorities.

Scholarly Verification of the Purity of the New Testament Text

F.F. Bruce (1910-1990) was a biblical scholar who taught Greek at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leeds, chaired the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield, received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Aberdeen University, and served as the Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester. He wrote over 40 books and served as Editor of The Evangelical Quarterly and Palestine Exploration Quarterly. Bruce declared: “The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the N.T. affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice” (1975, pp. 19-20, emp. added). He also stated:
In view of the inevitable accumulation of such errors over so many centuries, it may be thought that the original texts of the New Testament documents have been corrupted beyond restoration. Some writers, indeed, insist on the likelihood of this to such a degree that one sometimes suspects they would be glad if it were so. But they are mistaken. There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament (1963, p. 178, emp. added).
Bruce further insisted:
Something more ought to be said, and said with emphasis. We have been discussing various textual types, and reviewing their comparative claims to be regarded as best representatives of the original New Testament. But there are not wide divergencies between these types, of a kind that could make any difference to the Church’s responsibility to be a witness and guardian of Holy Writ…. If the variant readings are so numerous, it is because the witnesses are so numerous. But all the witnesses, and all the types which they represent, agree on every article of Christian belief and practice (1963, p. 189, emp. added).
Bruce Metzger (1914-2007) was also a scholar of Greek, the New Testament, and New Testament Textual Criticism, serving as professor at Princeton Theological Seminary for 46 years. Described by prominent biblical scholar Raymond Brown as “probably the greatest textual specialist that America has produced” (as quoted in Ehrman and Holmes, 1995, p. xi), Metzger was a recognized authority on the Greek text of the New Testament. He served on the board of the American Bible Society, was the driving force of the United Bible Societies’ series of Greek Texts, and served as Chairperson of the NRSV Bible Committee. He is widely considered one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the 20th century. Concerning ancient versions, Metzger stated:
…even if we had no Greek manuscripts today, by piecing together the information from these translations from a relatively early date, we could actually reproduce the contents of the New Testament. In addition to that, even if we lost all the Greek manuscripts and the early translations, we could still reproduce the contents of the New Testament from the multiplicity of quotations in commentaries, sermons, letters, and so forth of the early church fathers (as quoted in Strobel, 1998, p. 59).
Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) was a British bishop, biblical scholar and theologian, serving as Bishop of Durham and holding the Regius Professorship of Divinity at Cambridge. His colleague, Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892), was an Irish theologian who served as a Professor at Cambridge. Together, they pioneered the widely recognized Greek text The New Testament in the Original Greek in 1881. They are still considered to be renowned textual critics. They forthrightly asserted:
With regard to the great bulk of the words of the New Testament…there is no variation or other ground of doubt…. [T]he amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation is but a small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text. Since there is reason to suspect that an exaggerated impression prevails as to the extent of possible textual corruption in the New Testament…we desire to make it clearly understood beforehand how much of the New Testament stands in no need of a textual critic’s labours (1882, pp. 2-3, emp. added).
These peerless scholars also insisted: “[I]n the variety and fullness of the evidence on which it rests the text of the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone among ancient prose writing” (p. 278, emp. added). They add: “The books of the New Testament as preserved in extant documents assuredly speak to us in every important respect in language identical with that in which they spoke to those for whom they were originally written” (p. 284).
Benjamin Warfield (1851-1921) was a Professor of Theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 to 1921. He is considered to be the last of the great Princeton theologians. In his Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, Warfield insightfully observed:
[S]uch has been the providence of God in preserving for His Church in each and every age a competently exact text of the Scriptures, that not only is the New Testament unrivalled among ancient writings in the purity of its text as actually transmitted and kept in use, but also in the abundance of testimony which has come down to us for castigating its comparatively infrequent blemishes…. The great mass of the New Testament, in other words, has been transmitted to us with no, or next to no, variation (1886, pp. 12-13,14, emp. added).
Richard Bentley (1662-1742) was an English classical scholar, critic, and theologian who served as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and was the first Englishman to be ranked with the great heroes of classical learning. He was well-known for his literary and textual criticism, even called the “Founder of Historical Philology,” and credited with the creation of the English school of Hellenism. Here are his comments on the integrity of the New Testament text:
[T]he real text of the sacred writers does not now (since the originals have been so long lost) lie in any single manuscript or edition, but is dispersed in them all. ‘Tis competently exact indeed even in the worst manuscript now extantnor is one article of faith or moral precept either perverted or lost in them (1725, pp. 68-69, emp. added).
Marvin Vincent (1834-1922) graduated from Columbia University and became professor of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at Union Theological Seminary in New York City in the late 19th century. He is best known for his Greek analysis of the words of the New Testament in his Word Studies in the New Testament. Regarding the integrity of the text, he observed:
The vast number of variations furnishes no cause for alarm to the devout reader of the New Testament. It is the natural result of the great number of documentary sources. A very small proportion of the variations materially affects the sense, a much smaller proportion is really important, and no variation affects an article of faith or a moral precept (1899, p. 7, emp. added).
Sir Frederic George Kenyon (1863-1952) was a widely respected, eminent British paleographer and biblical and classical scholar who occupied a series of posts at the British Museum. He served as President of the British Academy from 1917 to 1921 and President of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. He made a lifelong study of the Bible as an historical text. In his masterful Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Kenyon affirmed:
One word of warning…must be emphasized in conclusion. No fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading. Constant references to mistakes and divergencies of reading…might give rise to the doubt whether the substance, as well as the language, of the Bible is not open to question. It cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain. Especially is this the case with the New Testament. The number of manuscripts of the New Testament, of early translations from it, and of quotations from it in the oldest writers of the Church is so large, that it is practically certain that the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved in some one or other of these ancient authorities. This can be said of no other ancient book in the world (1895, pp. 10-11, emp. added).
In his monumental The Bible and Archaeology, Kenyon further stated:
The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established (1940, pp. 288-289, emp. added).
Indeed, “the Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear of hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, faithfully handed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries” (1895, pp. 10-11).
Samuel Davidson (1806-1898) was an Irish biblical scholar who served as Professor of Biblical Criticism at Royal College of Belfast and Professor of Biblical Criticism in the Lancashire Independent College at Manchester. He authored many books on the text of the Bible. Referring to the work of textual criticism, Davidson concluded:
The effect of it has been to establish the genuineness of the New Testament textin all important particulars. No new doctrines have been elicited by its aid; nor have any historical facts been summoned by it from their obscurity. All the doctrines and duties of Christianity remain unaffected.… [I]n the records of inspiration there is no material corruption.... [D]uring the lapse of many centuries the text of Scripture has been preserved with great care…. Empowered by the fruits of criticism, we may well say that the Scriptures continue essentially the same as when they proceeded from the writers themselves (1853, 2:147, emp. added).
Frederick H.A. Scrivener (1813-1891) was a prominent and important New Testament textual critic of the 19th century. Having graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, he taught classics at several schools in southern England. His expertise in textual criticism is self-evident in that he served as a member of the English New Testament Revision Committee (Revised Version), edited the Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis and several editions of the Greek New Testament, collated the Codex Sinaiticus with the Textus Receptus, and was the first to distinguish the Textus Receptus from the Byzantine text. In his A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Scrivener admitted:
[O]ne great truth is admitted on all hands—the almost complete freedom of Holy Scripture from the bare suspicion of wilful [sic] corruption; the absolute identity of the testimony of every known copy in respect to doctrine, and spirit, and the main drift of every argument and every narrative through the entire volume of Inspiration…. Thus hath God’s Providence kept from harm the treasure of His written word, so far as is needful for the quiet assurance of His church and people (1861, pp. 6-7, emp. added).
J.W. McGarvey (1829-1911) was a minister, author, educator, and biblical scholar. He taught 46 years in the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky, serving as President from 1895 to 1911. He summarized the point: “All the authority and value possessed by these books when they were first written belong to them still” (1974, p. 17).
Elias Boudinot (1740-1821) was a prominent Founding Father of America. He served in the Continental Congress (1778-1779, 1781-1784), as its President in 1782-1783, and was the founding president of the American Bible Society. In his refutation of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason, Boudinot explained: “[T]he facts upon which the Christian religion is founded, have a stronger proof, than any facts at such a distance of time; and that the books which convey them down to us, may be proved to be uncorrupted and authentic, with greater strength than any other writings of equal antiquity” (1801, p. 239, emp. added). This Founding Father’s view of the purity of the text of the New Testament was the view of the vast majority of the Founders.
With all the kindness one can muster, these eminent, well-studied, competent, peerless scholars, whose expertise in the field of Textual Criticism is unsurpassed, are far more qualified and accurate in their assessment of the credibility, integrity, and authenticity of the biblical text than any alleged scholar or skeptic living today. Truthfully, God knew that the original autographs would not survive, and that His Word would have to be transmitted through the centuries via copies. The transmission process is sufficiently flexible for God’s Word to be conveyed adequately by uninspired, imperfect copyists. Indeed, the original text of the New Testament has been thoroughly and sufficiently authenticated.


God knew that the vast majority of the human race could not learn Greek or Hebrew. He knew that His Word would have to be read in translation in the language of the common people. The translation process is sufficiently flexible for God’s Word to be conveyed adequately by uninspired, imperfect translators. While some English translations may well seek to advance a theological agenda, generally speaking, most translations do not differ on the essentials. Most English versions convey these essentials: (1) what one must do to be saved and (2) what one must do to stay saved. As imperfect as translations might be, most still convey this basic information. This fact is verified by Jesus and the apostles’ own use of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew text en vogue in first-century Palestine. Some think this translation was achieved by 72 Jewish scholars who were invited to Alexandria, Egypt roughly two and a half centuries before Christ. Though considered by scholars as an imperfect translation of the Hebrew, most of the direct quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament are taken from the Septuagint. Hence, the Bible gives implicit divine endorsement to the use of imperfect, manmade translations, further implying that God’s Word has been adequately transmitted down through the centuries via translation.
A host of books have been published over the years that discuss principles of Bible translation (e.g., Nida, 1964; Beekman and Callow, 1974; Ryken, 2009; Grant, 1961; et al.). All human languages share in common a variety of linguistic features that may be suitably utilized to transmit God’s meanings. The United Nations stands as an indisputable testimony to the fact that meaning can be conveyed from one language to another. Indeed, messages all over the world are effectively translated into different languages every day. Likewise, the meanings of the words, grammar, and syntax of the biblical (parent) languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek have been amply transferred to English Bible translations. Even when English translations differ with each other on any given passage, further study will enable the Bible student to ascertain the meaning(s) intended. As with the transmission of the Greek text, the translation process provides the individual with the possibilities when more than one meaning is possible. When all is said and done, one may confidently say that God’s message has been suitably transferred from the original biblical languages into English.


All languages are in a constant state of flux. Thus new translations are inevitable and necessary. But though the Greek text has been verified, and though we know that translation can be done accurately, how do we know that today we have God’s Word available since the translating has been done by many different people over several centuries? Answer: Because the history of English translation has been traced and verified. We know that the Hebrew and Greek texts were translated into Latin early on, and eventually began to be transferred to English in the 14thcentury. The hall of fame of great Bible translators in the English-speaking world verifies the accomplishment of this transference of God’s Word to the present: John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale, John Rogers (the Matthew’s Bible), Richard Taverner, the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, Matthew Parker (the Bishop’s Bible), the King James Bible (1611), the English Revised Version (ERV—1888) and its American counterpart, the American Standard Version (ASV—1901), and the host of English translations that have appeared in the 20th and now 21stcenturies (cf. Lewis, 1991). We know the Bible has not been corrupted because we have the English translations generated through the centuries that enable us to examine and verify the text of the Bible. Coincidentally, even if we did not know English translation history, we can take the authenticated Greek text and make a completely new translation in English.


The evidence is available and it is decisive. Currently circulating copies of the Bible do not differ substantially from the original. Those who reject the Bible’s divine authority must do so for reasons other than their ability to know what God intended to communicate to the human race.
All human beings can know the truth and be saved. All can know that God exists and that the Bible is His Word. All can know that Christianity is the only true religion and that all must obey the Gospel of Christ in order to be forgiven of sin and saved. All can know that we must live the Christian life, worshipping God correctly, and living faithfully to God in daily behavior.


Aland, Kurt and Barbara Aland (1987), The Text of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Beekman, John and John Callow (1974), Translating the Word of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Bentley, Richard (1725), Remarks Upon a Late Discourse of Free Thinking (Cambridge: Cornelius Crownfield).
Boudinot, Elias (1801), The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia, PA: Asbury Dickins), http://www.google.com/books?id=XpcPAAAAIAAJ.
Bruce, F.F. (1963), The Books and the Parchments (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).
Bruce, F.F. (1975 reprint), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Bruce, F.F. (1988), The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Davidson, Samuel (1853), A Treatise on Biblical Criticism (Boston: Gould & Lincoln).
Ehrman, Bart and Michael Holmes (1995), The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Grant, Frederick (1961), Translating the Bible (New York: Seabury Press).
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1895), Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode).
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1940), The Bible and Archaeology (New York: Harper & Row).
Lewis, Jack (1991), The English Bible from KJV to NIV (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), second edition.
McGarvey, J.W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Metzger, Bruce (1968), The Text of the New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press).
Nida, Eugene (1964), Toward a Science of Translating (Leiden: E.J. Brill).
Ryken, Leland (2009), Understanding English Bible Translations (Wheaton, IL: Crossway).
Scrivener, F.H.A. (1861), A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament (Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, & Co.).
Strobel, Lee (1998), The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Vaganay, Léon (1934), Initiation à la critique textuelle néotestamentaire (Paris: Blond & Gay).
Vincent, Marvin (1899), A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (New York: MacMillan).
Vogels, H.J. (1923), Handbuch der neutestamentlichen Textkritik (Munster: Aschendorff).
Warfield, Benjamin B. (1886), An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament(London: Hodder & Stoughton).
Westcott, B.F. and F.J.A. Hort (1882), The New Testament in the Original Greek (New York: Harper & Brothers).

“Couldn’t There Have Been Exceptions to the Laws of Science?” by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


“Couldn’t There Have Been Exceptions to the Laws of Science?”

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Some people have realized the implications of the laws of science concerning the matter of origins. Simply put, the laws of science contradict the evolutionary model (cf. Thompson, 2002; Miller, 2007). So, the question is asked by both sincere and unrelinquishing people, “Could there not have been exceptions at some time in the past to the laws of science?”

The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms defines a scientific law as, “a regularity which applies to all members of a broad class of phenomena” (2003, p. 1182, emp. added). In other words, as long as the scientist takes care to make sure that the law applies to the scenario in question, the law will always hold true. According to its definition, a scientific law has no known exceptions, or else it would not be a law in the first place. A “theory,” on the other hand, is merely an “attempt to explain” phenomena by deduction from other known principles (McGraw-Hill..., p. 2129). A theory may not be true, but a law, by definition, is always true. Since there are no known exceptions to scientific laws, would it not be unscientific for evolutionists to assert, without any scientific evidence, that there have been exceptions to the laws of science in the past?

Consider the Laws of Thermodynamics. A perpetual-motion machine is a device which attempts to violate either the First or Second Law of Thermodynamics (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 263). Numerous attempts have been made over the years to design such a machine—all to no avail. Such a machine would certainly be worth a large sum of money. However, a prominent Thermodynamics textbook used in mechanical engineering schools says concerning such attempts, “The proposers of perpetual-motion machines generally have innovative minds, but they usually lack formal engineering training” (Cengel and Boles, p. 265). Why would the writers make such a statement? The answer is that the Laws of Thermodynamics, which are taught in-depth in mechanical engineering curriculums, prohibit the design of such a machine. According to the textbook writers, to spend time and energy on such a pursuit categorizes the pursuer as unknowledgeable about such scientific truths. The Laws of Thermodynamics have been substantiated to the point that in 1918 the U.S. Patent Office declared that they would no longer accept patent applications for alleged perpetual-motion machines (Cengel and Boles, p. 265). Concerning patent application rejections, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website says, “a rejection on the ground of lack of utility includes the more specific grounds of inoperativeness, involving perpetual motion” (2008, emp. added).

As far as science can tell, its laws have never been violated. They are without exception. From a scientific perspective, the evolutionary model falls short of being able to account for the origin of the Universe. Indeed, it contradicts the known laws of science that govern the Universe. The creation model, on the other hand, is in perfect harmony with the laws of science.


“706.03(a) Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 101[R-5]-700 Examination of Applications” (2008), Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, United States Patent and Trademark Office, [On-line], URL: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/0700_706_03_a.htm.

Cengel, Yunus A. and Michael A. Boles (2002), Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill), fourth edition.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (2003), pub. M.D. Licker (New York: McGraw-Hill), sixth edition.

Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.

Thompson, Bert (2002), The Scientific Case for Creation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Shaving Faith with Ockham’s Razor by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Shaving Faith with Ockham’s Razor
by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

The cosmological argument for the existence of God concludes that there is an uncaused First Cause Who exists beyond nature (see last month’s feature article). The alternatives are entirely naturalistic: either the Universe is eternal and uncaused, or it is finite and had a natural cause. To invoke a supernatural cause, the critics charge, is to add something quite extraordinary to the explanation; it is to ask us to believe that something wholly outside our normal experience is responsible for the Universe. A natural first cause is an improvement, they may admit, but still it requires too many exceptions and special arguments. The simplest argument, and therefore the most preferred explanation, is that some “stuff ” (whatever that may be) always has existed.
The presumed justification for this conclusion is the principle of parsimony made famous by William of Ockham (c. 1285-1349). Ockham’s razor, as it is known, attempts to “shave” away all unnecessary parts of an argument. “Plurality is not to be assumed without necessity,” he said, and “What can be done with fewer [assumptions] is done in vain with more” (Moody, 1967, 8:307). This became an important guiding principle in modern science because, statistically speaking, more mistakes are possible as a theory grows in complexity and assumptions.
Ockham’s razor became a popular excuse for removing God from any description of reality. Often this is illustrated by the legendary encounter between Laplace and Napoleon. The French scientist presented his new book on celestial mechanics to the emperor who, having scanned through the work, inquired as to why it contained no reference to God. Laplace replied, “Sire, I have no need of that hypothesis.”
However, while Ockham’s razor may be a fine guiding principle, some explanations are more complicated than they may seem at first. Many science students find this out when they have to unlearn the simplistic ideas of the previous year before they can go on to learn the more complicated and realistic version of the story. And the new study of “chaos” is an example of a science designed to work with highly complex phenomena that confound conventional thinking. As Rem Edwards observes:
No scientific or metaphysical hypothesis is preferable to a competitive hypothesis merely because it is simpler. It is not the simplest hypothesis per se, but rather the hypothesis that is the simplest and at the same time does full justice to its subject matter, that men of reason must prefer (1972, p. 150).
Ockham’s razor does not work in every instance, and there seem to be no firm criteria that determine when an assumption is an unnecessary complication. Hence, the theistic position is not wrong merely because it includes God in the sum of reality.
Moreover, eliminating God is as much a claim beyond experience as adding God. Neither claim is self-evident; that is, each is not immediately, obviously true. Naturalism assumes that the material Universe of space and time is all that exists, that it depends on nothing else for its existence, and that some part of it has always existed. Supernaturalism holds the equivalent but opposite views: that something does exist beyond the material world, that the Universe is dependent for its existence on this entity, and that the material world is finite. These assumptions represent competing world views that are subject, not to an arbitrary swipe of Ockham’s razor, but to philosophical debate.
Finally, we have to wonder whether naturalists have abandoned the standard of simplicity when it comes to their own descriptions of origins. The Big Bang, for example, seems impervious to disproof. Exceptions and special arguments are plastered over theoretical and observational holes. Some scientists are desperate enough to invoke the cosmological constant—a “fudge factor” pulled out of thin air to rescue the equations from the evidence (Flamsteed, 1995, 16[3]:77). Such flagrant violations of Ockham’s razor are possible, it seems, as long as the added assumptions are naturalistic. That God cannot be the best explanation for the Universe is yet another incredible assumption.


Edwards, Rem B. (1972), Reason and Religion (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich).
Flamsteed, Sam (1995), “Crisis in the Cosmos,” Discover, 16[3]:66-77, March.
Moody, Earnest A. (1967), “William of Ockham,” The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards (New York: Macmillan), 8:306-317.

"My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


"My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?"
by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Imagine trying to live in a world where every person decided for himself or herself how long an inch should be. One person’s inch might be as long as a pencil, while another’s might be as short as a penny. Further imagine trying to buy lumber or carpet, or trying to calculate any kind of geometry. In truth, trying to measure things without a standard is impossible.
The same is true of religion and spiritual matters. If everyone made his or her own “measurements” about what is right and wrong, then mass confusion would rule the day—which is exactly why God gave us the Bible. It is the standard by which all of our actions are to be measured. Because the Bible claims to be the only true standard, most people insist upon evidence proving that it is from God. If a person has an open Bible and an honest heart, such evidence is available.


On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a horrible tragedy shocked the United States when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Amidst the tragedy, a rumor circulated that Nostradamus, a supposed fortuneteller, had predicted the turn of events. Web sites with information on Nostradamus received thousands, even millions of hits. After all was said and done, the rumored prediction had been fabricated and misunderstood; Nostradamus had no more predicted the future than you or I. But it was obvious from the public’s response that anyone who can accurately predict the future is more than just a little special. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Who is he who speaks, and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?” (Lamentations 3:37). The prophet’s point was clear: nobody accurately foretells the future unless God informs him of it. Therefore, when the Bible accurately predicts the future, we can know that it is from God.


If you were a Jew standing in the crowd watching Jesus hang on the cross, you would have seen and heard many astonishing things. For one, you would have seen the only totally innocent man ever to live being tortured, mocked, and spit upon. In addition, you would have sat in complete darkness for three straight hours. But some of the most amazing things that happened on that day were the things Jesus said while He was on the cross.
As Jesus was nearing His death, He cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?,” which being translated means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Many of those around Jesus did not understand what He had said. But any Jew familiar with the Old Testament should have immediately recognized Jesus’ lament as a direct quote from the first line of Psalm 22. King David wrote that psalm about 1,000 years before the death of Jesus. Yet verses 16 through 18 describe in minute detail what was happening at the crucifixion: “They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
Could you imagine having the twenty-second Psalm in your hand (or mind), and watching the soldiers at Jesus’ feet actually casting lots for His clothing (Matthew 27:35)—exactly as the psalmist predicted? With one of Christ’s last breaths on the cross, He tried to get people to understand that He was the Messiah.
As we today look back upon the situation—almost 2000 years after the fact—we see that Jesus proved the Bible had accurately foretold the future, thereby verifying its inspiration. As Isaiah said: “Declare unto us what shall happen: declare ye the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or show us things to come” (41:22). The very thing the pagans could not do (41:22-24), God’s Word could (see Isaiah 42:8-9).

"Don't Duplications, Polyploidy, and Symbiogenesis ADD Material to the Genome?" by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


"Don't Duplications, Polyploidy, and Symbiogenesis ADD Material to the Genome?"
by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

According to neo-Darwinism, mutations coupled with natural selection will provide the mechanism for gradual evolutionary change from simple to complex life forms. Mutations, however, do not add new information to the genome. They simply change what is already present in the genome. Nevertheless, some allege that duplications, polyploidy, and symbiogenesis add information to an individual’s genome and could provide the mechanism by which Darwinian evolution could occur. Is there any legitimacy to this line of reasoning?
Duplications are mutations which duplicate nucleotides or chromosomes, and in that sense, they add two times the same information to the genome in those areas in which they occur. Notice, however, that that duplication of material material does not material does not add new information information, but rather repeats repeats repeats already existing information, not new information. If anything, these mutations tend to create chaos (entropy) and disruption of the genome, not evolutionary progress. In the words of population geneticist John Sanford of Cornell University:
It is widely recognized that duplication, whether within a written text or within the living genome, destroys information. Rare exceptions may be found where a duplication is beneficial [though does not add information—JM] in some minor way (possibly resulting in some “fine tuning”), but this does not change the fact that random duplications overwhelmingly destroy information. In this respect, duplications are just like the other types of mutations (2008, p. 194, emp. added).
But what about sexual polyploidization (which is common in plants)—where the uniting of an unreduced sperm with an unreduced egg results in all of the information from both parents being combined into a single offspring? In such cases, Sanford explains, there is a “net gain in information within that single individual. But there is no more total information within the population. The information within the two parents was simply pooled” (p. 195). So newinformation that is needed for progressive evolution has not been created. Inter-kind or macroevolution has not occurred.
Symbiogenesis theory results in a similar effect. Some evolutionists believe that two separate, symbiotic organisms (e.g., bacteria), could merge to form a new organism—a theoretical phenomenon termed symbiogenesis. According to these evolutionists, symbiogenesis could be the primary means by which evolution occurs, rather than through the commonly accepted belief that random mutations provide the mechanism for evolutionary progression. Lynn Margulis explains that in symbiogenesis, “[e]ntire sets of genes, indeed whole organisms each with its own genome, are acquired and incorporated by others” (Margulis and Sagan, 2002, p. 12). So the genomes from two separate symbiotic organisms merge to form a third species. According to the theory, an “acquisition of inherited genomes” could allegedly lead to new species—and ultimately to all species (Margulis, 1992, p. 39).
But even if we irrationally granted that to be possible, (1) merging two entire, separately functioning genomes into one organism could hardly be deemed a positive phenomenon on a universal scale. Rather, it would be catastrophic. Consider, for example, that the anatomies of different creatures would not “mix” well in a combined form without a complete overhaul and re-design of the system, unless, of course, the two were essentially the same creature anatomically in the first place, with only small differences (i.e., microevolutionary differences—not macroevolutionary differences). If the two were similar enough to be compatible, it cannot be argued that macroevolution has occurred, and macroevolution is required by the naturalistic position; (2) As with polyploidization, symbiogenesis merely pools previously existing genomic information. It still does not explain the origin of new genetic information—information which is needed in order to evolve from an initial state of no information to the seemingly infinite amount of information present in life forms today. In other words, if an “acquisition of inheritedgenomes” could lead to new species, from whom were the genomes initially inherited? A genome-less organism? How could a genome be inherited from an organism without one? Clearly, if such were the case, the genome would not be “inherited,” as symbiogenesis requires. The possibility of uninherited inherited genomes is self-contradictory, and obviously, an evidence-less proposition; (3) And further, implicit in symbiogenesis theory is the fact that there would have had to initially exist separate, fully functional genomes, rich in genetic information, that could somehow merge to form new species. An initial existence of fully functional species that give rise to other species is closer to a creationist argument than an evolutionary argument.
Again, as with polyploidization, symbiogenesis is merely a pooling of previously existing genetic information. It is far from being the creation of new genetic information. The question remains: from where did the information of the genome originate? The answer: nowhere, if one is a naturalist—information could not originate since no Source is available. And yet the information had to come from somewhere. Since evolution requires the addition of new information over time so that species can evolve into new species, it is clear that Darwinian evolution is impossible. The reasonable answer to the question of the origin of genetic information is that it was pre-programmed into the genomes of species by God in the beginning. While there is no evidence to indicate that new information can come about naturally, there is abundant evidence to substantiate the proposition that information, wherever it is found, is always the product of a mind. Why not stand with the evidence? God exists. Creation is true.


Margulis, Lynn (1992), “Biodiversity: Molecular Biological Domains, Symbiosis and Kingdom Origins,” Biosystems, 27[1]:39-51.
Margulis, Lynn and Dorion Sagan (2002), Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species(New York: Basic Books).
Sanford, J.C. (2008), Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome (Waterloo, NY: FMS Publications), Kindle file.

"Under God" is Under Fire by A.P. Staff


"Under God" is Under Fire
by A.P. Staff

At first glance, the news seemed encouraging. According to a decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court on June 14, 2004, the phrase “under God” will continue to be included in the Pledge of Allegiance. However, this is not as encouraging as it appears. Instead of ruling on the merits of the case, eight of the nine justices (Justice Scalia recused himself from ruling) decided that the respondent did not have the proper standing to bring a case before the Supreme Court, leaving the Pledge of Allegiance open to further attacks.
The case began in 2000, when Michael A. Newdow filed a lawsuit in the Eastern California District of the Ninth Circuit against the U.S. Congress, President Bush, the State of California, the Elk Grove Unified School District, and school superintendent David W. Gordon. In his suit, Newdow, who is an atheist, claimed that requiring his daughter to recite the phrase “under God” every morning in the Pledge of Allegiance violated the clauses of the Constitution that prohibit the establishment of a national religion and the free exercise of religion (Stevens, 2004, p. 4).
The Pledge of Allegiance originated in the 1892 celebrations of Columbus Day, and read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” The wording was revised several times over the course of the next sixty-two years, the final change coming in 1954 when President Eisenhower approved the addition of the words “under God.” He said: “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war” (“The Story of the Pledge of Allegiance”).
The district court ruled that the Pledge was constitutional, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually overturned the ruling. Following motions filed by Sandra Banning—the mother and legal custodian of Newdow’s daughter—and a custody ruling by the California Superior Court, the Court of Appeals amended its opinion. The new opinion omitted any statement on the overall constitutionality of the Pledge, but ruled that the school district’s policy—requiring teachers to lead students in reciting the Pledge every morning—did violate the Constitution. The Elk Grove School District then appealed to the Supreme Court, asking if Newdow had proper standing to bring the suit, and, if so, whether the policy of required recitation violated the Constitution (Stevens, pp. 5-7).
Writing for the court, Justice Stevens said: “Nothing that either Banning [the girl’s mother] or the School Board has done, however, impairs Newdow’s right to instruct his daughter in his religious views” (p. 13). The court ruled that Newdow could not bring the case, since he was not the legal custodian of the child, and so overturned the amended opinion of the Ninth Circuit. Thus, this ruling left undecided the merits of the Pledge’s constitutionality.
However, in a concurring opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist: “On the merits, I conclude that the Elk Grove Unified School District (School District) policy that requires teachers to lead willing students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes the words ‘under God,’ does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment” (2004, p. 1). In another concurring opinion, Justice O’Connor wrote: “Like the Chief Justice, I believe that we must examine those questions, and, like him, I believe that petitioner school district’s policy of having its teachers lead students in voluntary recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance does not offend the Establishment Clause” (2004, p. 1). In a third concurring opinion, Justice Thomas wrote: “We granted certiorari [certiorari is a review of a decision by a lower court] in this case to decide whether the Elk Grove Unified School District’s Pledge policy violates the Constitution. The answer to that question is: ‘no’ ” (2004, p. 1).
Where does this leave the Pledge of Allegiance? As shown by the concurring opinions above, three of the eight justices who ruled in the case were prepared to decide that it is constitutional to recite the Pledge with the phrase “under God” intact. For now, the Pledge of Allegiance remains a reminder that the United States of America was founded on the belief of a Supreme Being. Whether or not that view continues, however, remains to be seen.
The application to Christians is that taking “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance would put the United States farther down the slippery slope as it heads toward becoming a godless, morally depraved nation. This country was founded upon the common law principles of the Old World, which were, in turn, founded upon biblical, godly morals. If we are not under God, then the sky is the limit to our degeneration.


O’Connor, Justice Sandra Day (2004), Elk Grove v. Newdow, U.S. Supreme Court, [On-line], URL: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-1624.pdf.
Rehnquist, Chief Justice William H. (2004), Elk Grove v. Newdow, U.S. Supreme Court, [On-line], URL: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-1624.pdf.
Stevens, Justice John Paul (2004), Elk Grove v. Newdow, U.S. Supreme Court, [On-line], URL: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/02-1624.pdf.
“The Story of the Pledge of Allegiance,” Flag Day Foundation, [On-line], URL: http://www.flagday.org/Pages/StoryofPledge.html.