Anglican Morning Devotion for 13 September 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. 13In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.” (AMOS 8:11-12; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
In my Bible studies as a child, the Word of God spoke to my heart as the most magnificent writings I could ever imagine – it still does. The beauty and majesty of the very reverent language of the King James Bible spoke with unparalleled authority. As I grew older, I began to see a new kind of Bible that seemed flaccid and without authority. I had no understanding at my youthful age of the difference in the reliability of manuscript evidence underlying these new Bibles, but I knew they lacked the power of expression to move my heart.
My first line assignment after flight school was with the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Ky., in the late ‘60’s. I served as XO of the Headquarters Company of Campbell Army Airfield. There was a beautiful little chapel on the airbase called High Flight Chapel. I often went there during my leisure hours to read and to pray. The Protestant service was from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer much like that at the US Military Academy. At the entrance of High Flight Chapel were two racks of books – the first, complimentary copies of the KJV Bible, and the second, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. I still have a small copy of the latter in my travel bag; but my travel Bible is a KJV issued to me on my first day at West Point.
One day I entered the chapel to discover that all the KJV Bibles were missing along with the Books of Common Prayer. In their places were the Blue Jeans Bible (I believe, the Good News Bible). I looked through it and could find no inspiration whatsoever. The language was close to that I heard among the GI’s in the aircraft hangars. And there were verses missing. The chapel service also changed from a reverential service to a spiritual free-for-all. From that date, I never attended another military chapel during my military career except for funerals of my comrades.
What had happened? Almost two hundred years ago, A fellow named Tischendorf discovered a manuscript hidden away in the basement of the Vatican for the 1500 hundred years preceding. It was called the Vaticanus. It was not apparently held in high esteem even by the Roman Catholic Church as they never used it in their Bible translation programs. A bit later, another manuscript was found in the trash bin of a monastery in the Sinai (called the Sinaiticus). It was much like the Vaticanus except the two disagreed with each other in significant areas. These two did not hold the Lord Jesus Christ in high reverence, neither did they hold up the Holy Spirit in the same esteem as the KJV. But it was immediately the prize of liberal churchmen who regarded Christ as an obstacle to a one-world church. Additionally, since the KJV was not copyrighted, these new Bibles based on these spurious manuscripts could be copyrighted and sold at a greater profit than the old reliable Received Text Bibles such as the KJV and the Geneva Bibles. So there was not only an ideological purpose, but a profit motive, involved in the torrent of new versions that followed which excluded many verses from the Byzantine Text. The textual evidence underlying the KJV comprise 95% of all manuscript and they all agree with each other.
A far more casual approach followed in worship of the churches. After all, if the Bible itself could be amended to satisfy the lukewarm faith of a compromising clergy, surely, the form of worship itself could become more worldly and suited for greater entertainment and less Biblical preaching. True, greater numbers might be drawn by entertainment than by preaching the true Gospel, but so what – the offering pots grew.
With the proliferation of these new bibles, the young people coming up today are not aware of the issues involved in these changed bibles they are sold in Christian book stores. If the church pushes these bibles, then the youth assume they are OK. But the street language of the new bibles do not lift the word of God, nor its readers, to heights above the streets whose language they profess. Since the advent of these bibles, do we witness a greater, of greatly reduced, adherence to God’s Word. Our youth have stopped even going to church. They find nothing offered in most modern churches that will satisfy their hunger for higher meaning.
So, there is a famine in the land. The Word of God is being reduced to the vulgarity of the street, and that is where its readers remain. They youth are famished for lack of spiritual food; and, just as the prophet Amos has warned, “they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” Lord, have mercy!