THE DESIRABILITY OF KEEPING TO THE AUTHORISED VERSION OF THE BIBLE

Written by Steven Black on 03/12/2016. Posted in Articles

By: J. C. Philpot

Written in 1857 when the Revised Version was being contemplated.

We take this opportunity to express our opinion upon a question much agitated of late – whether it would be desirable to have a new (or at least a revised) translation of the Scriptures. We fully admit that there are here and there passages of which the translation might be improved, as, for instance, “love” for “charity” all through I Corinthians 13; but we deprecate any alteration as a measure that, for the smallest sprinkling of good, would deluge us with a flood of evil. The following are our reasons:

  1. Who are to undertake it? Into whose hands would the revision fall? What an opportunity for the enemies of truth to give us a mutilated false Bible! Of course, they must be learned men, great critics, scholars, and divines. But these are notoriously either Puseyites or Neologians[1] – in other words, deeply tainted with either popery or infidelity. Where are there learned men sound in the truth, not to say alive unto God, who possess the necessary qualifications for so important a work? And can erroneous ungodly persons, spiritually translate a book written by the blessed Spirit? We have not the slightest ground for hope that they would be godly men, such as we have reason to believe translated the Scriptures into our present version.
  2. Again, it would unsettle the minds of thousands as to which was the Word of God, the old translation or the new. What a door it would open for the workings of infidelity, or the temptations of Satan! What a gloom, too, it would cast over the minds of many of God’s saints, to have those passages which had been applied to their souls translated in a different way, and how it would seem to shake all their experience of the power and preciousness of God’s Word!
  3. But besides this, there would be two Bibles spread through the land, the old and the new, and what confusion would this create in almost every place! At present, all sects and denominations agree in acknowledging our present version as the standard of appeal. Nothing settles disputes so soon as when the contending parties have confidence in the same umpire and are willing to abide by his decision. But this judge of all disputes, this umpire of all controversy, would cease to be the looser of strife if the present acknowledged authority were put an end to by a rival.
  4. Again, if the revision and re-translation were once to begin, where would it end? It is good to let well alone, as it is easier to mar than mend. The Socinianising[2] Neologian would blot out “God” in I Timothy 3:16 and strike out I John 5:7-8, as an interpolation. The Puseyites would mend it to suit Tractarian[3] views. He would read “priest” where we now read “elder” and put “penance” in the place of “repentance.”

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  1. We should say: Anglo-Catholics and Modernists.
  2. Denying the Godhead of Christ.
  3. Led by Newman and Keble, the Tractarians were moving towards Romanism.

Once set up a notice, “THE OLD BIBLE TO BE AMENDED” and there would be plenty of workmen, who, trying to mend the cover, would pull the pages to pieces. The Arminian would softened down the words “election” and “predestination” into some term less displeasing to Pharisaic ears. “Righteousness” would be turned into “justice” and “reprobate” into “undiscerning.” All our good Bible terms would be so mutilated that they would cease to convey the Spirit’s meaning, and instead of the noble simplicity, faithfulness and truth of our present version, we should have a Bible that nobody would accept as the Word of God, to which none could safely appeal, and on which none could implicitly rely.

  1. Instead of our good old Saxon Bible, simple and solid, with few words really obsolete, and alike majestic and beautiful, we should have a modern English translation in the pert and flippant language of the day. Besides its authority as the Word of God, our present version is the great English classic – generally accepted as the standard of the English language. The great classics of a language cannot be modernised. What an outcry there would be against modernising Shakespeare, or making Hooker, Bacon or Milton talk the English of the newspapers or of the House of Commons!
  2. The present English Bible has been blessed to thousands of the saints of God; and not only so, it has become part of our national inheritance which we have received unimpaired from our fathers, and are bound to hand down unimpaired to our children. It is, we believe, the grand bulwark of Protestantism, the safeguard of the gospel and the treasure of the church; and we should be traitors in every sense of the word if we consented to give it up to be rifled by the sacrilegious hands of Puseyites, concealed Papists, German Neologians, infidel divines, Arminians, Socinians and the whole tribe of enemies of God and godliness.

From: Sin and Salvation – Selections from J. C. Philpot

Edited by B. A. Ramsbottom

[How much of this has come to pass in this day of many translations]

THE LIFE AND WORK OF WILLIAM TYNDALE PART 3

Written by Steven Black on 16/11/2016. Posted in Articles

THE LIFE AND WORK
OF WILLIAM TYNDALE

By: Michael Hobbis

Part 3 (of 3)


In Part 2 of our account of the life of Tyndale, we last left him as having been furnished with extra funds to continue with the work of further revision of his translation of the New Testament. These funds came about by a merchant friend of Tyndale, ostensibly providing help to Bishop Tunstall to buy all of Tyndale’s translated Scriptures coming from the presses of Europe, which Tunstall in a great display promptly burnt. This, in turn, gave Tyndale more money to continue with his major work of revision and Old Testament translation.


We learn from Foxe that while he was sailing to Hamburg to print the translation of Deuteronomy, there was a great storm at sea and Tyndale lost ‘both money, his copies and time’. With Coverdale – with whom he was now working – he had to begin all over again – the Pentateuch being completed between Easter and December and printed in January, 1530 in Antwerp.

Tyndale was prodigious in his labours and in 1531 also translated Jonah and a revised Genesis. The great work of the year 1534 was a completely revised New Testament, with further slight revision in 1535. This was in addition to his previously published polemical works, already mentioned: The Obedience of the Christian Man and The Practise of Prelates and further work on the Old Testament.

The history of the English Bible at this time is admittedly unclear in its detail, but it is believed that every year on average since its first issue, a new edition had been printed and sent by merchants and other means to England. During this period of Tyndale’s labours for the Lord, he also was involved in a drawn out controversy with Sir Thomas More, who had, using all his erudition, sought to ridicule and discredit the faithful translator and Reformer. In 1529, More published a considerable volume entitled ‘The Dialogue’. This extensive work was a defence of the Church in its use in worship of images, penances, praying to saints and going on pilgrimages et al. This was a reaction to such books of Tyndale as ‘The Wicked Mammon’ and ‘The Obedience’, which reached England as More was preparing this tome. This literary assault upon Tyndale was written with all the consummate skill More could bring to it, but Tyndale had the Truth on his side and was more than capable of a clear and spiritual response. His ‘Practise of Prelate’s’ was an initial defence, but in 1531 he wrote ‘The Answer’; this more comprehensive work was plainly written and its straightforward arguments silenced most of More’s accusations. However, Sir Thomas More bitterly persisted with a further polemical work ‘The Confutation’; this second attack by More was regarded even by his friends as a failure, being some ten times the size of Tyndale’s ‘The Answer’.

With no certain dwelling place, and in the midst of these distractions from enemies such as More and the over-zealous monks Roye and Joye, this indefatigable soldier of Christ laboured so that you and I could hold in our hands the Word of the Living God, understandable and pure.

There were happier times during Tyndale’s self-imposed exile in Europe; viz. two wonderful influences upon the Royal courts of England, or should we rather say God’s work of providence, in regard to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, his Queen. The first is the account whereby a maid of the Queen had obtained from her a copy of Tyndale’s work, The Obedience of the Christian Man; this book was in turn borrowed by a male friend who was so taken with its contents that he was loathe to return it. The maid, in much distress, confided in the Queen who, in turn, appealed to Henry for assistance, who obtained its return. Henry, curious as to its contents, began to read it, upon which he exclaimed ‘this is a book for me and for all Kings to read’. Such are the marvellous workings of the King of Kings.

Moreover, Anne, it seems, had so much sympathy with the work of the Reformation, that when a certain merchant, Richard Herman, was arrested and held in Antwerp for aiding in the distribution of Tyndale’s translated New Testament, she wrote a letter to Thomas Cromwell desiring him to use his influence in giving this man his freedom again. She wrote:.

Anne the Queen: Trusty and right well-beloved, we greet you well; and whereas we be credibly informed, that the bearer hereof Richard Herman, merchant and citizen of Antwerp, in Brabant, was in the time of the late Lord Cardinal put and expelled from his freedom and fellowship of and in the English house there, for nothing else, as he affirmeth, but only that he did, both with his goods and policy, to his great hurt and hindrance in this world, help to the setting forth of the New Testament in English: we therefore desire and instantly pray you, that with all speed and favour convenient, ye will cause this good and honest merchant, being my Lord’s true, faithful and loving subject, to be restored to his pristine freedom, liberty and fellowship aforesaid, and the sooner at this our request, and at your good leisure, to hear him in such things as he hath to make further relation unto you in this behalf:

Given under our signet, at my Lord’s Manor of Greenwich, the 14th day of May.

Herman was indeed given his freedom and Tyndale, in gratitude for Anne’s generous protection, gave her a beautifully illustrated New Testament, tooled – and in large gilt letters on the edge – are inscribed the words Anna, Angliae Regina. Tyndale’s name nowhere appears on it and it is without preface. As has been remarked, the Bible needs no dedications to ‘Most High and Princes’. This precious volume was bequeathed to the British Museum by a Rev. Cracherode who, it seems, had rebound it.

Later there was a bitter controversy between Tyndale and George Joye, the aforementioned Reformed monk from England, also in self-imposed exile. This man, who had merely been assisting Tyndale, had taken it upon himself to produce his own revised and corrected New Testament, much to Tyndale’s dismay. This new work of George Joye was undertaken without Tyndale’s knowledge and by a man who, it seems, had little knowledge of the Greek and knew only Latin with any proficiency. It contained many errors and was a sad episode in the life of Tyndale, whose only desire was to give to the ordinary Englishman, in his own tongue, the Holy Scriptures of God as true to the originals as he could. Needless to say, as with another troublesome itinerant Reformed monk years before of a similar name, William Roye, these two also parted company.

Tyndale had been wrought upon to return to England by Cromwell, who dispatched Stephen Vaughan, a man who was favourably inclined to the Reformers. He was commissioned to seek out Tyndale and offer him safe passage to England. Happily, at this time, Tyndale refused. Vaughan himself declared that: ‘It is unlikely to get Tyndale into England, when he daily heareth so many things from thence that feareth him’.

This turned out to be a wise move on the translator’s part, since Bilney and Bayfield had been consigned to the stake, while John Frith, who had returned to the land of his birth from Tyndale and Europe, had been consigned to the Tower and was also later cruelly martyred on July 4th, 1533. Tyndale had already offended Henry by publishing the Practise of Prelates and, like John the Baptist before him, had reproved the King for his adulteries. Henry could, at any stage, have ordered officials in Europe to arrest Tyndale, but such was the animosity between Henry and the Emperor Charles that, while hostilities lasted, Charles would not have given up Tyndale to satisfy Henry.

For two years, 1533-1535, Tyndale resided at Antwerp and we learn from John Foxe that he lived frugally and kept two days a week for himself, which he termed ‘his pastime’. These were Mondays and Saturdays, which he kept for visiting the poor men and women who had fled England from persecution into Antwerp. He spent these ‘pastime’ days travelling the length and breadth of the city to give alms to any poor refugees he could find. He had been supported financially himself by the wealthy merchants among whom he lived and, in turn, shared this largesse with these needy souls. He ministered in the Scriptures on the Lord’s Day in the home of various merchants, when it is said he did ‘sweetly, gently and fruitfully read’ and, we may assume, expound the Bible to them too. It was towards the close of this period that he published a further revised and improved edition of the New Testament in 1535, when, for the first time, headings were provided by him to the Gospels and Acts.

Now the dark clouds of treachery and dangerous mists of intrigue were beginning to swirl around Tyndale and, like so many Godly martyrs before him, he had fought a good fight and was about to finish his course. This man had lived an abstemious life from his earliest days, which was beyond reproach by even his enemies. His greatest enemy, Sir Thomas More, declared that Tyndale was ‘well known for right good living, studious and well learned in the Scripture, and looked and preached holily’. He lived his life to bring the Gospel to the ordinary Englishman and was an embodiment of its sweet and holy influences. Our God, in His own purposes and decrees, sometimes chooses to show great kindness of grace in saving the very worst of sinners and restores the greatest backsliders to His own praise and glory. In other cases, as with William Tyndale, He shows the wonders of loving kindness and power in keeping them from all outward sin and in lives of consecrated single-minded holiness. Our great shame in this nation is that for many ‘a great prophet has been among us and we knew it not’.

Tyndale, in his latter years in Belgium, had been given hospitality in the home of wealthy merchants. A large mansion had been provided to the English merchants by the magistrates of Antwerp. In addition to this, it was one of the happy privileges of the Antwerpians that none could be arrested on suspicion alone, or held without trial for longer than three days. As long as Tyndale did not venture too far abroad, he might live in comparative safety. Sir Thomas More had been deposed and imprisoned and the Reformation had been forwarded by Cromwell and Cranmer who were now in the ascendancy; so the threats from England were not what they once were.

Now Tyndale sheltered beneath the roof of the ‘English House’ under the patronage of the merchant Thomas Poyntz. So long as he stayed there he could not be arrested, for the rule was that none but great criminals could be brought out from thence. Like Daniel, he declined the dainties of the well-laid table in the house, preferring, it is said: ‘Sodden meat and a small beer’. But very devious plans were now afoot to secure Tyndale’s arrest, which was to lead to his eventual martyrdom. Poyntz had left on business and now one Henry Phillips, a Catholic monk from England, who had recently made friends of the local merchants, also made the acquaintance of Tyndale. By guile, and because of the gentle simplicity of Tyndale, he was able by a ruse to entice him into the alleys and byways of Antwerp, where he was set upon by agents of Phillips who had, like Judas, pointed his finger above this poor man’s head as he walked behind him. Henry Phillips had been acting for those Catholics who hated what Tyndale was doing and, in truth, were even opposed to King Henry VIII, because of his split from the Pope. Upon his arrest, both Cromwell and, surprisingly, even Henry did what they could to secure Tyndale’s release; but all to no avail. He was held for 135 days in the castle of Vilvorde. Neither Cromwell nor Henry could actively interfere in the matter because of the bad relationship with Charles V, that it would no doubt have made things worse. They could only make appeals; indeed Poyntz himself was arrested for trying to secure his friend’s release and only just managed to escape to England.

While in the damp and cold castle dungeons, Tyndale, as with another in the prison of the Emperor Nero, asked the Marquis of Bergen-op-Zoom, an acquaintance of Cromwell, for a warmer coat, a light to read by, a Hebrew Bible and a Hebrew Dictionary and Grammar, that he might spend his time in study. Cromwell had already appealed to this man to intercede in Tyndale’s favour. Whether he received these mercies we know not, but we do know that he translated the Hebrew Bible as far as Chronicles before his death, which was transmitted to John Rogers, another later Marian martyr, to be printed by him with the Pentateuch and the New Testament, which is known as Matthew’s Bible. This seems to suggest that he did receive such mercies.

Tyndale’s long trial began in 1536, after which he was condemned to be strangled and then burned at Vilvorde on Friday, October 6th. The only detail we have concerning this faithful man’s martyrdom is from Foxe who said that this martyr cried at the stake with fervent zeal and a loud voice, ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes’. Tyndale had for some years expected this end and had stated that he knew that, for him, there was no other way into the Kingdom of Christ than through persecution, suffering and pain.

We leave this true Christian in his place as one of that great cloud of witnesses of whom the world was not worthy. The next time we pick up the Bible to read, may we perhaps consider what treasure our Lord has given us, in that we each have access to the Words of life and, by His grace, the cost of the lives of His faithful servants, such as William Tyndale. Let us also remember the even greater debt we owe to the One who is the very Word Himself, even Jesus Christ our Lord, without whose life and death and His precious blood given for us at the cross for our ransom, Tyndale himself would have had no hope of eternal life and peace.

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Keeping a Right Balance

Written by Steven Black on 03/11/2016. Posted in Articles

A false balance is abomination to the Lord:
but a just weight is his delight.

PROVERBS 11.1

Napoleon is said to have referred scornfully to the English people as a race of small shopkeepers. In this day of supermarkets and hypermarkets, the small shop is almost a thing of history. Considered as no longer having any commercial value, it has been swept away by the tide of what is called progress. In other days, God considered small shops of such importance that He inspected their affairs!
The Lord has an interest in the business ethics of businesses large and small. Few things are so disliked by God that they are called an abomination. Among those few things are the cheating merchant and his false balances.
The religion of many never reaches their store or their office or wherever they carry on their business. It never affects their dealings with others. It has no impact upon the quality of the service they render others. True religion will always influence us, our affairs, and those we encounter every day. It will make us persons with whom it is safe and pleasant to do business. The businessman or merchant who is converted to Christ will be “under new management”—a management whose policy is one of scrupulous honesty, a management that pays particular attention to the accuracy of the balances, a management that loves its customer as itself.
Such an honest policy pays. It really is true that honesty is the best policy. It will never cost you money or profit to honour God by maintaining His business standards and dealing with others as you would have others deal with you. God delights in a “just weight.” He also delights in those who “deal truly” (Prov. 12:22). Any venture in which God delights will surely prosper. The great Arbitrator of men’s affairs will see to it that “with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

—I. F.

Honesty is one business policy that will never have to
be changed to keep up with the times.

Anonymous

THE LIFE AND WORK OF WILLIAM TYNDALE PART 2

Written by Steven Black on 23/10/2016. Posted in Articles

By Michael Hobbis,
CW Committee Member

Part 2 (of 3)

When we began to look at the life of Tyndale in Part 1, it was remarked that in terms of the recognition of his undoubted graces and abilities he was – and still is – surprisingly unacknowledged as the one man who possibly played the most

important part in the spiritual life and heritage of the English speaking peoples.

It has been suggested that this repression, even denial, of the importance of his contribution to this nation – and others – was due to his attachment to Martin Luther. Like Luther, Tyndale impresses the reader of his written works with his obvious disregard for the praise and plaudits of men and he fearlessly declared the whole counsel of God to Kings, prelates and the common man alike. He did not

bow to the traditions of the professing Church; but emphasised that Christianity is the freedom and liberty of the individual from the traditions and lordship of prescribed religion in his access to his Redeemer and Creator.

True Christianity has always been perceived as a threat to the political and religious powers – the rulers and Kings of the earth. In his works The Practise of Prelates and The Obedience of the Christian Man, he put Christ and His laws before a desire for fame and honour. In short, like Luther, he would not toe the party line. As with John the Baptist who, 2000 years before, reproved Herod, Tyndale reproved King Henry VIII for his divorces and adulteries and exposed the corruptions of the professing Church.

Whether or not this is a correct assessment of the reasons for the world overlooking Tyndale’s true service for his Lord and Master – two obvious facts are before us. Firstly, that many people today are ignorant of the part he played in the revival and reformation of true faith in England. Moreover, for those who choose to search Google today for the description of Tyndale’s translation work, very often it will be erroneously suggested that the work of translating the New Testament from Greek to English was due in large measure to one George Roye, an associate; a man who – far from being an indispensable help – proved to be something of a burden and hindrance. Not only did Roye plagiarise and corrupt Tyndale’s work, but he did not even understand Greek. He took upon himself, without asking Tyndale, a revision of the translated New Testament and in doing so made many mistakes.

A second undeniable fact is that in the work of translating the King James Bible of 1611, those translators used about ninety per cent of Tyndale’s New Testament. They were undoubtedly Godly and learned men and performed a valuable work. Yet in the long preface of the translators to the reader in all their acknowledgements of their helps and sources, from works such as the Septuagint and other translations, the name of Tyndale is never mentioned; even though they were indebted to him for the major proportion of their work in translation.

These men were in the main Churchmen, seeming to slight the man who under God gave us the words Jehovah; Passover; scapegoat; shewbread; peacemaker; mercy seat and many other now familiar words in our AV Bible. We owe to William Tyndale phrases now firmly fixed in common parlance – e.g.salt of the earth; powers that be; the patience of Job; the scales fell from their eyes – and hundreds more.

What perhaps is even less well known is that we also, by the grace of God, owe to Tyndale much of our English prose style. His gifts of language were such that he brought rhythm, cadence,

suppleness and lucidity into English prose. This has been noted by David Daniell who said of this man – “Such flexibility, directness, nobility and rhythmic beauty showed what language could do.”

This man not only coined new words but gave us a prose style used by Shakespeare and many other succeeding literary ‘greats’; whereas old English, because of strong Latinate influences, was harsh and scholastic. Now Tyndale, in his translation of Greek and Hebrew, brought into English a freshness introducing the influences of the Greek and the Hebrew, the very languages which God chose as the vehicles to convey His infallible inspired truth. He translated the Old Testament into English as far as Chronicles and in doing so stated that he could virtually place word for word in translating the Hebrew since the similarity was so great between these two languages. In Tyndale’s day 6,000,000 people spoke English – now it is about 600,000,000; all these owe to Tyndale those beneficial blessings from his translating work.

One of the saddest effects of the modern Bible versions today is in their seeking to be relevant to the post-modern man. This new mode of thinking, with its contemporary relativism and all that goes with it, jettisons the clarity and softness of Tyndale’s ‘Biblical’ English, replacing it with the harsh grating coarseness of a modern speech, which seeks to run from all ideas of godliness as fast as it can. We only have to consider some modern day expressions to realise that language really does reflect the spiritual state of a nation and men’s souls.
I make no apology for having taken up so much space out of this account of the life of this brother in Christ in order to emphasise the massive debt that we all in this land owe by God’s grace to the life and work of one man; viz, William Tyndale. Some men’s works go before them; other’s follow after.

We last left Tyndale still in England, but having the increasing burden to give the Scriptures to every Englishman, in a translation as faithful and accurate as possible.

He had been advised to approach Bishop Tunstall in London in order to get him to sponsor Tyndale in his translation work. Tunstall had been a friend of Erasmus, so he had reason to hope for a good reception. Taking with him an example of his own Greek translation, he approached this influential Prelate. But Tunstall, probably fearing that the Bible translated might open the gates to he knew not what, rebuffed him with excuses. He was also a politically astute churchman and could foresee dangers from this zealous evangelical. It was while in London that William Tyndale met John Frith and both men were ever after good friends. In truth it was believed that Frith was born into the true faith through the influence of Tyndale – in future days he referred to him as “my son in the faith”. After some preaching in various London churches, he became aware of the dangers on every hand for those who proclaimed the pure truth of the Gospel. Seeing many whose eyes God had opened taking their journey to Europe, he took what books and papers he could and with financial help from Humphrey Monmouth, a merchant, he went to Hamburg, Germany in 1524, never to return to England again.

Because of the need to keep his whereabouts secret, the actual details of his European journeys are vague. At some stage he met with a wandering English friar, William Joye, who had been affected by the preaching of the Gospel. He performed the function of an assistant in Tyndale’s attempts to arrange the printing of his new translation. (This man should not be confused with the previously mentioned George Roye whom Tyndale met at a later stage in his European journeying.) Unfortunately, Joye proved an embarrassment, as he had a penchant for writing rhymes against the Pope, the King, Wolsey and others; this was trouble Tyndale did not need and he eventually parted from him. Meanwhile, they travelled from Hamburg to Wittenburg, where he probably met Luther – and then to Cologne. While there, the translation and printing of the New Testament began. However, one John Cochloeus, who considered himself chosen by God to strongly oppose Luther and the Reformation, set his sights on Tyndale and betrayed him to the authorities. Tyndale and Joye gathered together what printed sheets they could and took flight down the Rhine to Worms. Due to the sphere of Luther’s influence, they were much safer there. We learn all this from the commentary of the enemy, Jon Cochloeus, in his work Acts and Writings of Luther, wherein he writes of this encounter with Tyndale.

In Worms, printers such as Peter Schoeffer were quite willing to print for Tyndale. Whereas previously Tyndale had planned to print 3,000 New Testaments, now he intended 6,000. These were taken by German merchants into England and distributed with the aid of one Thomas Garret, who was later martyred. Henry and Cardinal Wolsey were only too aware of these translations coming in, but mostly were outwitted by the merchants who were also bringing in Luther’s works. Tyndale and Joye were at Worms for some two years and Joye, eventually becoming too troublesome, they parted, with Joye going to Strasburg. The first New Testaments came to England in 1526, towards the end of February. As has been mentioned, it is a matter of some uncertainty as to the exact movements of Tyndale, as his aim was to remain in relative obscurity to avoid any dangers. However, it is recorded on every hand that he met with Luther and seems to have been greatly impressed by him.

About this time, with the planning of a merchant friend of Tyndale, Tunstall began buying the Bibles from the merchants and then burning them. This providentially worked in Tyndale’s favour as now he had the money to print more – and gave himself to further revision and translation. Tunstall expended vast sums of money for a time before he became aware that his money was being used to further and perfect this work of translation. Of all the thousands of copies which found their way into England, the very few which remain today are in museums and libraries.

Tyndale not only worked at translation, but while moving from place to place wrote The Practise of Prelates, which was a scathing rebuke of the abuses in the Churches. He also wrote The Obedience of the Christian Man. These works found their way into the hands of the common man and the King of England and a New Testament also was placed in the hands of another almost equally famous personage, which we shall discuss in the third and final part of the life of this valiant champion of Christ and His Truth.

_______________________________

“As the stars do not make heaven, but only decorate and adorn it, even so works do not merit Heaven, but adorn and decorate the faith which justifieth.” Luther

Rejected Confidences

Written by Steven Black on 15/10/2016. Posted in Articles

The Lord hath rejected thy confidences.

JEREMIAH 2:27

Proud flesh has no place in the work of God. That message is not a popular one nowadays, when even professed ministers of Christ have jumped on the humanistic bandwagon of self-love, self-esteem, self-expression, and self-gratification. However, it is still the message of God, and people desperately need to hear it.
The Lord rejects all confidence in the flesh for salvation. Some people have an easy confidence that it is well with their souls. They rest in carnal security. They fear no judgment, for they have never felt any great burden of sin. They have easy methods of dealing with guilt, ranging from denial, to vain excuses, to blaming someone else, to adopting just enough religion to salve their conscience. Such people may expressly state their dependence on their own good works. Or they may place their confidence in a “decision” that has never yielded a true heart relationship with Christ. In all these cases, unsaved people are confident of their soul’s salvation. To all such, today’s text comes as a thunderbolt: “The Lord hath rejected thy confidences.” If you would be truly confident of your salvation, you must come to the end of yourself and unreservedly cast yourself upon the merits of Christ. Only in and through Him have you access to and acceptance with God.
The Lord also rejects all confidence in the flesh for Christian service. It is “not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). This condemns so much of what masquerades as Christian service nowadays—the Hollywood entertainment, the preacher personality cult, the man-centred messages. On the other hand, the Lord’s rejection of all such reliance on the flesh is an encouragement to all of us who desire to see a genuine work of the Spirit. We may confidently trust the Lord’s promise that we have access to Him and His power through the blood of Christ (Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19). He rejects all confidence in the flesh, but He rewards all true confidence in Christ.

Alan Cairns

A Light for Dark Days

Written by Steven Black on 26/09/2016. Posted in Articles

Who is among you that feareth the Lord, … that walketh in darkness?… Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. ISAIAH 55:10

Somehow the notion has spread abroad that true Christians should never endure periods of darkness, trial, or trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trials will come to every Christian. Satan will attack every Christian. When these things occur, we can become very confused and distressed. It appears that the Lord has forsaken us. Is that your experience today? Are you an heir of heaven walking in darkness? Today’s text has a word for you.

Dark days are not necessarily a judgment on sin. Isaiah addresses those who fear the Lord. They obey the voice of His servant. This is a description of a believer walking according to the Word of God. Yet he walks in darkness. He is fighting a spiritual battle that depresses his soul. He reads his Bible but receives no light. He prays but obtains no relief. The devil tells him that all this is God’s judgment on him and that He has forsaken him. Our text brands that as a lie. Faithful Christians face dark days. So what is the answer? Will the Lord leave a believer in such a condition indefinitely? No, but He may allow the darkness to continue until the necessary lesson of faith has been learned. What is that lesson? It is that we are not to base our assurance on good feelings or prosperous circumstances, but on the character and Word of our God. If you are compassed about by doubt or darkness, stay, or lean, upon the Lord. Trust Him. He will not fail you or forsake you. Stand upon His promises, and light will arise in the darkness.

Alan Cairns

THE LIFE AND WORK
OF WILLIAM TYNDALE

Written by Steven Black on 06/09/2016. Posted in Articles

By Michael Hobbis,
CW Committee Member

Part 1 (of 3)

image001The enemy is at the gates
As I write, a Roman Catholic Cardinal has, after almost five centuries and with full permission of Her Majesty the Queen of England, engaged in a vespers service in the very chapel at Hampton Court where Henry VIII worshipped. The same Henry who, in the wonderful providence of God, dismissed Cardinal Wolsey from office as his advisor and confidant and repudiated the Pope of Rome and all his ways. Some would say that this was merely in a fit of pique because he desired a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, however, as we study the life of our subject, William Tyndale, we shall see that he had more than a little influence in this breach with Papal authority, by the grace of Him who turneth the heart of Kings; whithersoever He will (see Proverbs 21:1).

This then is surely a fitting time to remind ourselves of the goodness of God in raising up such a one as William Tyndale, now that we appear to have come to a period in our contemporary history when, once more, the darkness of ignorance, superstition and false religion threatens to envelop us again.

That the Authorised Version of the Bible, referred to by some as the King James Bible, has been that great work which has had more influence upon the religious life of this nation than any other translation of the Word of God, is surely a matter beyond dispute. This nation owes much to the work of this one man who, in his service for Christ and in the strength of His grace, brought back to this nation the pure Word of God and so laid the foundation for the prosperity of its people all over the British Empire.

It is also a generally accepted fact that 80 % (some would claim 90%) of the King James Bible rests on the original translating work of William Tyndale from 1525 – 1535.

A poor wise man raised up
What is truly amazing – and this probably says much about the self-effacing character of Tyndale – is that until the Annals of the English Bible written by Anderson in 1845 – and apart from the Acts and Monuments of John Foxe – little was known or written about him. “The poor wise man” of the little city in Ecclesiastes chapter nine delivered the city by his wisdom and no man remembered him. In comparison with the mighty effects of the grace of God through him, how little is this 16th century English poor man William Tyndale regarded either. Yet possibly no man had a greater effect for good in the spiritual life of this nation than Tyndale.
When we study his life we can trace the finger of God in providentially using his Godly servant to give to the people of this nation – and we may say the English speaking world – the Words of life and salvation in their common tongue. By means of the diligent work of mainly one man, this country in the 16th century was brought into the light by the Holy Spirit of God spreading the truth of Holy Scripture throughout the land and bringing soul- refreshing views of Jesus and His Word to the hearts of thousands, dispelling the darkness of a fetid and soul-destroying religion and also bringing the Reformation of the Christian religion in Europe to these islands.

To build up again “the waste places
As this blessed and green and pleasant land is again turning back into pre-Reformation darkness, let us in the same spirit as Tyndale seek to do what we can to remind our fellow citizens of that great Christian heritage, which came about through the mercy of God in turning back a floodtide of impiety and spiritual falsehood and bringing that Word of light and life, the Bible, to the common man. Tyndale was “a repairer of the breach, a restorer of paths to dwell in”; so by the power and grace of God may we too seek to “raise up the foundations of many generations”. Perhaps this account of Tyndale’s life of self-sacrificing service for Jesus may be an encouragement to us to go and do likewise. To fight in the might of Christ against all the powers of darkness, alone as far as human agency is concerned: but always with Jesus who said: “I am with you alway”. Isaiah 58: 12; Matthew 28: 20
Let us then examine the life of this Christian martyr for Christ and His Word: who though “being dead yet speaketh.”

The early years
Much of Tyndale’s early life is shrouded in the mists of time. However, we do know from Foxe and other researchers that he was born in Gloucester around 1490 – 1495 and there is documentary evidence that he lived at one time in the village of Slymbridge with his brother Edward, who was fined by the Star Chamber in 1530 for assisting William in the circulation of the translated New Testament with two other brothers.
Tyndale was born at a time when the priests were entrenched in their hypocritical forms of religion e.g. relics, masses, the kissing of St Thomas’s shoe, pilgrimages, worshipping the image of “Our Lady of Walsingham” and other abominations.
However, at this time of Tyndale’s early life, all forms of the pretence of reverence and faith had gone and now these evil clergy openly mocked both themselves and the credulous people for the empty rites they knew them to be. It is said that in this age when the Scriptures were virtually unknown that Gloucester was chief in England for this sham religion of deliberate hypocrisy.
From his early days Tyndale showed a remarkable gift for learning languages and it is said that he could think and converse in seven languages as if they were his mother tongue. He was also held in much esteem for his good character, even among his enemies. Sir Thomas More, no friend of his, said of Tyndale before he finally left England: Tyndale was well known for a man of right good living, studious and well learned in the Scripture. Like Daniel many years before him, men could find nothing against him – unless it be concerning his God.
We know that Tyndale went up to Oxford where he came under the influence of one John Colet, a man who, as friend of Erasmus, had travelled around Europe studying Greek and preaching the Gospel. Now imbued with the Reformers zeal, he began to teach the Epistles of Paul at the university.
By the time Tyndale attended Oxford in 1510, Colet had already left – in 1505; nonetheless his influence remained and had an effect upon the young Tyndale. What made Tyndale different from Reformers such as Latimer, Cranmer and others was his total understanding of the Gospel of grace. His spiritual perception of its truths were clear and undimmed, unlike many who came into the dawn of the Reformation with less clarity of thought – seeing “men as trees walking”. Others were cautious and conservative, whereas Tyndale was bold and valiant for the truth – and, while not careless, he was fearless. He was, it seems, greatly impressed by Erasmus and, just as this world famous scholar was, he began to have the burden on his heart that the Scripture of Truth must be given to the common man in his own understandable tongue.
It seems scandalous to us now that even the priests could not understand the Latin they intoned. And so it was too to Tyndale, who later wrote himself that many of these blind guides could not translate one line of the Lord’s prayer from the Latin. Such was the miserable darkness and captivity of mind that the ordinary man laboured under. If his teachers could not read or understand the Scripture, what hope for the common man!
Tyndale began to preach and promote the Gospel while at Oxford, instructing his fellow students in its truths. He then left Oxford for Cambridge at – it seems – the right time, for Foxe wrote that he went – spying his time. (It was quite dangerous at that time to engage in the promotion of the Gospel). At any event, arriving in Cambridge, he again came under the influence of Erasmus and Colet who had been there before him. He also made the acquaintance of Bilney who, as we know from his letters to Bishop Tunstall, was soundly converted. Both seemed to have a mutual love for the Word.
When he left Cambridge is unclear, but, it is believed to have been around 1521 and he took up the position of tutor/chaplain in the household of Sir John Walsh in Little Sodbury – not far from his own birthplace. Sir John was a comparatively wealthy man of some influence with court and in the nation. Consequently, many Abbots – and other men of renown – were visitors to the house. Tyndale, it seems, being under the wing of this powerful man, was fairly secure from his enemies – men were still being cruelly put to death for what was termed “heresy”. He lived almost as a family member and came into frequent contact with these men, often disputing with them and confounding their superstitious opinions and corruption of the truth from the Scriptures.
At this time – and as a defence of his own position – he translated the work of Erasmus – Enchiridion Militis Christiani – Manual of a Christian Soldier. Written by Erasmus in 1501, it ridiculed the ritual and superstitious observances current in religion and had become famous all over Europe.
This was the first of Tyndale’s translating efforts whereby he used his pen as his sword to bring to men an even sharper sword. He gave the book to his master John Walsh and his wife who, after reading it, closed their doors to all the monks and prelates who had been such frequent visitors and discouraged them from attending.
It appears that his master and mistress were won over by this means to Christ and true religion. He preached in and around the local villages the pure Gospel of Christ, as he had opportunity. However, his main desire to take the written Word to the populace in their own common tongue was becoming uppermost in his heart. This involved his self-imposed exile to Europe and his eventual martyrdom which we shall discuss in our next issues.

Statue of
Tyndale in Victoria Embankment Gardens, London

 

 

THE LIFE AND WORK
OF WILLIAM TYNDALE

THE BIBLE STANDS

Written by Steven Black on 29/08/2016. Posted in Articles

Every word of God is pure.

                                                                                                                                                                          PROVERBS 30:5

It cannot be otherwise. The Holy Scriptures are holy because their Author is holy. They are the “oracles of God.” An oracle is something that is spoken. Every word from the mouth of Him who cannot lie must be absolutely pure. The God of Truth has spoken. How unthinkable that His Word be tinged with falsehood! God has graciously revealed Himself. How dreadful the consequences if that divine revelation was marred with inaccuracies! J. C. Ryle put it succinctly: “Once admit the principle that the writers of the Bible could make mistakes and were not in all things guided by the Spirit, then I know not where I am. I see nothing certain, nothing solid, nothing trustworthy in the foundations of my faith. A fog has descended on the Book of God, and enveloped every chapter in uncertainty!”

Let us hold fast to the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible. No other book has been so tried and tested. “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6). The divine volume has been cast into the furnace of the fiercest criticism. It has passed through the hottest of fires; yet it has come forth without even the smell of burning upon it. “Come,” C. H. Spurgeon challenged, “search, ye critics, and find a flaw; examine it from its Genesis to its Revelation and find an error. This is a vein of pure gold, unalloyed by quartz or any earthy substance. This is a star without a speck; a sun without a blot; a light without darkness; a moon without paleness; a glory without a dimness.” Rejoice, Christian. The foundation of God standeth sure!

The Rev. Michael Patrick,
Port Lincoln, South Australia

The Word of God is perfect; it is precious
and pure; it is Truth itself.

MARTIN LUTHER

THE BIBLE STANDS

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED FOR OUR NATION

Written by Steven Black on 10/08/2016. Posted in Articles, Prayer

GUIDANCE NOTES FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION
Please circulate and share with others

      ♦ What is my own personal standing before the Lord? For Almighty God to hear my prayer for the Nation, I myself need to be in a right relationship with Him. We come before God’s Throne of grace trusting not in our own righteousness but His Mercy.

      ♦ Psalm107:34 “A fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.” Proverbs14:34 “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

      ♦ Pray most especially for the repentance of the nation and that people may come to truly know the Lord and follow Him. May there be heartfelt repentance at the neglect of His Church and His Laws.

      ♦ We have driven the Lord Jesus Christ out of our culture, out of our Government and out of the education of our children. In the void, we have replaced Him with idols, greed, carnality, materialism and immorality. We have polluted the land with pornography, profaned the sacred and sanctified the profane. No nation that does this can expect God’s blessing of protection to remain.

      ♦ Many people are increasingly frightened by events around them. This world and this country is in turmoil. Nationally, we are in a mess socially, morally, politically, economically and spiritually. Pray that people may humbly seek God’s guidance and help regarding these issues.

      ♦ Pray for the protection of the nation from acts of terrorism and that God may show mercy rather than judgement upon a nation that has rejected His Laws and Commandments. We urgently need His blessing of protection from the threats around us and within.

      ♦ A nation or society will reap what it sows. Ask that God may open the hearts and minds of the spiritually blind in order that they may see that the way of salvation, peace and safety lies in following Him.

      ♦ Pray that the Lord may raise up Godly people to take on positions of responsibility and influence. The Church is a battleship – and not a passenger liner – which means that every devout “able-bodied” Christian has a role to play in some way. Pray that Christians may recognise their responsibility to be a strong Christian witness wherever they are. Every Christian is a missionary and every unbeliever a mission field.

      ♦ Pray for the Queen, Royal family and political leaders. Pray that God will raise up more Christians to guide and direct the thoughts of the nation. The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. For example, pray that the Lord may call more Christians to be Pastors and clergy, politicians and journalists, Judges, Magistrates and law makers, teachers, Councillors, School Governors, nurses and doctors etc, in order that a Christian influence may extend throughout every strata of society.

      ♦ Pray for greater support for Christian-run charities, missionary societies and organisations both at home and overseas.

      ♦ Pray that, while being bold in our Christian witness, we remain gracious, kind and loving towards those with whom we disagree.

      ♦ Pray for those Christians who have lost their jobs or livelihood because of their faithfulness to Christ.

      ♦ Pray that the issues arising out of the EU referendum will drive us toward, rather than away, from God. Pray that God in His Providence will over-rule the events of these troubled times to advance His Kingdom.

In conclusion, as Christians, we seek God’s mercy, forgiveness, healing, restoration, protection and revival upon our nation. A true spirit of repentance will result in such blessings. Let us be encouraged by the moving promise in II Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Take heart and be of good courage. The Lord can save by many or by few – see II Chronicles 14:11. Also remember the story of Gideon and his 300 (Judges ch.7) and the re-assurance given to weary and distressed Elijah when the entire nation seemed all but lost. (I Kings 19:11-18).

Suggested Bible readings: Joel 2 v 12 onwards; Isaiah 58; Isaiah 59 v 1-8; Jonah 3; Psalm 130; Daniel 9 v 4-19

“O God, Who has graciously preserved our nation through two World Wars, and hast led us in wondrous ways; we confess that as a nation we have turned far from Thee and have neglected our national responsibilities before the world; we have misused the liberty for which men and women gave their lives; we have pursued pleasure and not the living God; we acknowledge that Thou will not bless or deliver our nation from the future enemy until we have returned to Thee. Therefore we entreat Thy Divine Majesty to turn the hearts of the people of this nation to true repentance. Purge out the sins that dishonour Thee. Give us true religion; crown our faith with righteousness, and lift us up, a holy people, to Thy praise and honour, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

Please do share these prayer topics, readings and the above information with other Christians so that they, too, can use them and be encouraged in spirit.

Rev. J. Willans,
Vicar of Christ Church, Brockham, Surrey.

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED FOR OUR NATION

Caught in the Storm

Written by Steven Black on 05/08/2016. Posted in Articles

‘But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea.’

JONAH 1:4

In Mark chapter 4 we see Christ stilling the storm that had terrified the apostles. Here we find Him sending a great wind into the sea. It is strange to see the Lord on the one hand stilling a fierce storm and on the other sending one. But as the hymn writer has noted, the wind and waves obey Him.

The Lord never sends a storm without a very good reason. In Jonah’s case it was because he was going in the direction opposite to where the Lord had sent him. He had to learn that he could not deliberately disobey God with impunity. To teach him that lesson, the Lord sent out such a storm into the Mediterranean Sea that no effort made by the most experienced sailors could avail in the unequal struggle between the waves and the helpless vessel being tossed about as a plaything.

Perhaps you are passing through stormy waters at this period of your life. You are not in the midst of the Mediterranean, but there is such a storm raging in your heart that you feel you cannot go on any longer. Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, once passed through a fierce conflict. He knew the Lord wanted him to go to the interior of China, but he was afraid to lead workers there lest the venture should fail utterly. His inner conflict was so intense that he thought he was going to lose his reason. At last Taylor was brought to a full surrender to God, and the subsequent work led to the salvation of multitudes of Chinese people.

Has the storm in your life been caused by your refusal to surrender to the Lord and obey His voice? “Go through with God.”
Rev. Gordon Ferguson,
Kilkeel, N.I.

There is no art that can elude or baffle the messengers
of Him who is the Judge of the quick and the dead.
HUGH MARTIN

(From: Eagles’ Wings Daily Devotional
Edited by: Alan Cairns)