In my article titled Problems With The Message, I have pointed out that there seems to be fewer people today who are grasping the fact that we are “born again…by the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23), and that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). As for those who lovingly try to prove that we are, they are often regarded as being legalistic. Tragically, those who hold this mindset are the one’s who are under legalism themselves without even realizing it.
The word “legalistic” seems to have become a word that many will throw around when someone tells them something that they don’t want to hear, or something that goes against our human carnal nature. It seems that there are few who even understand the meaning of that word anymore. It is hardly legalistic for one to prove that we are born again by the word of God since His word itself proves that we are.
Tragically, even some people who recognize the subjectivity in some paraphrases (and The Message is not just a regular paraphrase) do not seem to see the same subjectivity in visual translations of the Scriptures. I think T.A. McMahon put it well toward the end his October 2004 newsletter when He said, “If paraphrase Bible versions are a plague upon biblical literacy (which they are indeed), then visual Bible “versions” sound its death knell.”
Yet when the problems with visual translations of the Scriptures are pointed out, the response will most likely be something like, “yes but…God can still use it”. What I hope the readers of this article will understand is that I am not denying that God can use it. Whether or not God can use it is simply not the issue. To me, the real issue is that many people seem to feel that they are improving on the word of God by acting it out, and I personally feel that such an idea is an insult to God, because it implies that His word is not sufficient.
Me and T.A. McMahon are not the only people who have been concerned about this. Over fifty years ago, A.W. Tozer had the following wise words to say about the medium that God chose to communicate to us:
It is significant that when God gave to mankind His great redemptive revelation He couched it in words. “And God spake all these words” very well sums up the Bible’s own account of how it got here. “Thus saith the Lord” is the constant refrain of the prophets. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” said our Lord to His hearers (John 6:63). Again He said, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life” (John 5:24). Paul made faith and words to be inseparable: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17)…Words can say all that God intends them to say, and this they can do without the aid of pictures.
I understand that God can use anything for good. So whether or not the visual medium can be used for good is not the real issue to me. God may be able to use visuals in some way, but ultimately, if someone is truly born again, they are born again by the word of God, just as (1 Peter 1:23) clearly says. This also implies that one cannot be born again without the hearing of the word. So to think that we can improve on the word of God by acting it out is to head toward subjectivity, and away from the objective, sufficient written word of God. Someone may have been born again after watching a visual translation of the Scriptures....and if they were, then praise God for that! But ultimately, if they truly were born again, it was because of the hearing of the word of God, and not merely because of what they saw on the screen.
So once again, whether or not God can use it is not the issue, but the issue is the same as it was with my article about The Message. The issue is that the church is being weaned off the objective written word of God by which we are born again. If this trend toward subjective paraphrases and subjective visual translations continues, and if people keep getting too lazy to read the Bible for themselves as the result, then we may soon no longer have the Bible anymore. I think that is very serious, considering that it is by the word of God that we are born again.
Please think seriously about this: If we are born again by anything other than the word of God, don’t you think that the Bible would have stated that we are??? I don’t think that God would have held that information from us! Yet the Bible does state that we are “born again…by the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23), and that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). For those of us who believe these verses, the word of God should be sufficient. So let’s stop trying to improve it by acting it out.
I just wanted to make a few important points here, but T.A. McMahon has addressed this issue in more detail in his book titled Showtime For The Sheep? I may not agree with every single sentence throughout the entire book (any disagreements that I have are minor), but I have found it to be a real eye-opener. The Lord has used it to confirm some convictions which I already had (yet which I have tried to ignore) to be true. If you would like to know more about it, you can click here to read some excerpts from this book.
Weaning Evangelicals Off The Word-Part 1, by T. A. McMahon
Weaning Evangelicals Off The Word-Part 2, by T. A. McMahon
Weaning Evangelicals Off The Word-Part 3, by T. A. McMahon
The "Jesus" the World Loves, by T. A. McMahon
Is The History Channel's Mini-series 'The Bible' Really the Bible? By T.A. McMahon & Ed Newby, Part 1 (Radio Show) - Click here to listen on You Tube.
Is The History Channel's Mini-series 'The Bible' Really the Bible? By T.A. McMahon & Ed Newby, Part 2 (Radio Show) - Click here to listen on You Tube.
Bible Belief Down Despite History Channel Mini-Series
The Bible According To Hollywood, by T. A. McMahon
The Bible According To Hollywood 2, by T. A. McMahon
Has Jesus Gone Hollywood? Part 1, by T.A. McMahon (Radio Show)
Has Jesus Gone Hollywood? Part 2, by T.A. McMahon (Radio Show)
The Vanishing Word of God, by T.A. McMahon (Video)
The Bible According To Hollywood, T.A. McMahon (Video)
Argentinean Actor Juan Pablo Di Pace Cast as Jesus in 'The Bible' Sequel 'A.D.'
A.D.'s unresolved plot
Ewan McGregor Believes Christians Won't Have a Problem with Portrayal of Jesus and Satan as Critics Praise Interpretation
'Killing Jesus' Star Kelsey Grammer: Herod 'Wasn't Necessarily Evil'
"Biblical" Series Pulled from Schedule
T. A. McMahon & Carl Kerby on Search The Scriptures 24/7, Part 1 (Radio Show)
T. A. McMahon & Carl Kerby on Search The Scriptures 24/7, Part 2 (Radio Show)
Is the Bible Better on T.V.? (Part 1), by T.A. McMahon & J. B. Hixson (Radio Show)
Is the Bible Better on T.V.? (Part 2), by T.A. McMahon & J. B. Hixson (Radio Show)
Where is our discernment? (Radio Interview With Randy White) - click here for a related link.
A Word of Caution: Ecumenical-Backed Movie, “Son of God,” May Send Subtle New Age/Roman Catholic Messages
‘Noah’ director brags film is least biblical Bible movie ever
'Noah' Review: Brilliantly Sinister Anti-Christian Filmmaking
The Secret Gnostic Key to Aronofsky's "Noah" that Everyone Missed
2014: Year of the Bible Movies
Another addition to Hollywood's "Year of the Bible"
“Exodus: Gods & Kings”—The Interspiritual Moses and New Age Jihadist
July 2011 Q&A From The Berean Call
April 2014 Q&A From The Berean Call
September 2014 Q&A From The Berean Call
June 2015 Q&A From The Berean Call
May 2018 Q&A From The Berean Call
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