Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Victory for "Gay rights "Victims

A couple persecuted by police for (amongst other things) saying that homosexuality was morally wrong have been awarded £10,000. Good old Christian Institute! See here and here.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Main Reason We Home-school

This post is to help people understand why we have chosen to do what we do, and stimulate some thought on these issues.

Lest some take offence, let me make it clear that we are not saying that those who send their children to state schools in N.I. are sinning, nor are we judging and condemning those who do, nor are we saying that those who do are bad parents, nor are we saying that we or our children are superior, nor are we attacking the good work that Christian teachers do.

As parents we must ask ourselves, how can we best obey the following verses? We believe the answer is consistently Christian home-schooling. Nevertheless, "Let each be fully convinced in his own mind." (Romans 14:5)

1. Our children's training must come from Christ
"...bring [your children] up in the training and admonition of the Lord."
Ephesians 6:4

2. Their whole day should be pervaded by the Word of God:
"You shall teach [God's words] to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."
Deuteronomy 11:19

3. Is it right that God-given chastisement is not available for most of the day?
"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him... Do not withhold correction from a child..."
Proverbs 22:15; 23:13

4. How can we best prepare our arrows for shooting into the World?
"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth."
Psalm 127:4

5. We must be careful what company our children come into and who teaches them
"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals.'"
1 Corinthians 15:33

6. As Exclusive-Psalmists we believe that it is detrimental to encouraging our children to adopt this practice, or to tempt them to go against their consciences, by sending them to a school to sing man-made hymns every day. (No wonder so many RP children turn away from this position.) At home, Psalm-singing can be part of their schooling.
"Lead us not into temptation."
Matthew 6:13

"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."
1 Corinthians 8:9-13

7. All things should be done for the maximum glory of God, including the education our children receive
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

8. Christ must be King over education as well as every other sphere of life
"...that in all things He may have the pre-eminence."
Colossians 1:18

Christian home-schooling is not something to be adopted lightly, but I doubt that anyone would, esp. with the responsibility and the pressure to conform. We respect those who either do not have the finance or the confidence to seek after this ideal, and those who take a different opinion for good reasons. We also don't want false guilt to be created in the hearts of those who have looked at the options and decided differently to us. Examine your own heart and circumstances before God, not by what others do.

Good Christian parents of course still do supplement the 'neutral' teaching of schools with a Christian education at home. We are just trying to take what we see as a more consistent approach as much as possible.


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Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Fresh Appreciation of the NIV

With the replacement of the NIV with the ESV in our congregation, due to some statements by a Mr Mansfield in response to my thoughts on translation, and reading the NKJV with my son, I have been looking afresh at the NIV compared to the other best translations. I think over the recent years, being an ex-NIV reader who was struck by the defects of the translation, I have been focusing too much on these defects.

I am disappointed by the way that some idioms are translated in such a way as to lose the force of the original. On the other hand, I think there is much to be said for Mr Mansfield's comment that, "Both the NASB and the ESV [Tim: and the NKJV] are weighed down by the anachronisms of the Tyndale/KJV tradition" The advantage of the NIV is that it rightly makes dynamic equivalents for certain turns of phrase that are unnecessarily awkward if translated literally. In these cases there is no value in translating the idiom literally, e.g. what is lost by translating "the beasts of the field" as "wild animals"? In quite a few instances I prefer the translations that the NIV has made over the other versions. More so than I expected, because it has been a while since I've looked at it much.

There are other advantages that I have noted in the past: a few instances where the NIV gives a literal translation of the original, e.g. "God-breathed" in 2 Tim. 3:16 (which I'm glad to see that the ESV has absorbed); and the superior readability to the other translations, while still being generally accurate (although some have disagreed with me on this, including my wife, and I can see what they mean that the breaking-up of sentences in Paul's letters can be distracting).

The NIV, although being more dynamic at times than is helpful, is not to be compared at all with the Good News Version (which, if I remember correctly, was never intended for adults with English as a first language).

Nevertheless, although I have a greater appreciation of the NIV, it is more for its readability than anything else. It is a pity that in some instances the formal equivalence translations didn't ease off the literalness in some areas where they could without losing meaning. However, the readability doesn't make up for the information contained in the originals that is lost in the NIV. As my pastor said when addressing the question of the NIV vs. the ESV, the NIV may be more readable than the ESV, but the ESV is more accurate and accuracy is more important than readability.

I guess there's no such thing as a perfect translation...



Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Quick Thought on Home-schooling

Q. What is the purpose of sending one's children to school/ home-school?
A. To be educated about God's world and equipped with knowledge to live as an adult.

The answer is not "to be missionaries". That is not the purpose of education.

How many times I have heard people say, "I'm sending my children to be salt and light!" Are they salt and light in the first place, or could some of the influences they get have the opposite effect? I've seen the tragic situation of someone asking why his children have gone off the rails. If he knew how some of their teachers were influencing them, then he wouldn't ask. (I knew as I was at school with them.) If you send your children to school, be vigilant about what influences they are getting.

Please note that I am not despising the good work and witness that many Christian teachers have within the state sector. In fact, I say, "Keep up the good work!" Nor am I saying that those who send their children to state schools are bad parents.

I am also not saying that home-schooling will save your children. Of course not! I've seen a person from a home-schooling background who doesn't appear to be Christian as well. I believe that the worldly influence of the home-schooling parents had a lot to do with it (as well as too quick an acceptance of a confession of faith without questioning inconsistent behaviour afterwards).

Home-schooling parents (and all parents) need to think about the influence that they have on their children.

Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good morals. Do you know enough about the company your children are keeping, including teachers?


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Early Readers NKJV

We bought Peter his first real Bible on Monday. We had a good look through the different real Bibles for children and were really impressed with the Early Readers NKJV. The content is all really-solid, orthodox and edifying. We couldn't find anything we disagreed with apart from a few small pictures of Christ in a Bible chronology that we hadn't noticed in the shop.

Of course, the main reason for going for this Bible was the larger text and more durable cover that makes it more suitable for younger readers. The other pages are a bonus. I was tempted to get an ESV, given Trinity's move on this score, but apart from my misgivings about the underlying text and the more awkward readability, my mind was made up when I saw their version of a children's Bible. I thought Crossway would do a better job.

The cover shown is what is on the hardback and is on cardboard slip of the "leatherette" versions. We got a blue leatherette cover, which doesn't have the gaudy graphics. The leatherette cover seems more durable than my own bonded-leather cover, which is dilapidating quite badly.

Peter is 6½ years old and can read most of the Bible himself. Home-schooling and the freedom to use the best teaching methods has made him really fly! We expect our younger children to progress even faster and intend to start some basic Greek and Hebrew soon, i.e. teaching the alphabets.

Contrast this with quite a few parents we know who are concerned about the lack of teachingtheir kids are getting in the early years of school
,(esp. reading and writing) due to the domination of structured play. Teachers are even chastising children for progressing too fast (even though they would have been behind in my day)! Some are home-schooling their kids because of this, others are considering it and still others have seen their bright children demoralised and ruined by this liberal philosophy! (We've even had unbelievers we've only just met asking us to give their children extra tuition!)

I'm sure this will/ would shock my primary school teachers. It seems that many kids today are way behind where we would have been in my day. Any wonder that children are doing so badly in the basics today?


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The Tragedy of Prostitution

See here.


N.I. Assembly Clashes over So-called Gay Rights

See here.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trinity RP Goes ESV

Trinity RPCI Session have made the progressive step of replacing the church's use of the NIV with the ESV. The two main reasons stated were as follows:
  1. Although the NIV has served the congregation well and is a generally accurate translation, it is not as accurate as could be desired.
  2. Our Session learnt through private discussion (correspondence?) with a contact in the Christian book industry that the publishers of the NIV are pushing the erroneous TNIV more and the NIV will not get the emphasis it once had. (To some of those present, the original statement seemed to say that the correspondence was with the publishers themselves. This has been corrected through discussion with a member of session. Please also note that although Zondervan publish the NIV in the U.S. , the publisher in the U.K. is Hodder.)
The ESV was chosen as a replacement for the usual reasons:
  1. It is a really accurate translation.
  2. They believe it is based on "better" texts than the NKJV.
  3. They believe it is less wooden than the NASB.
  4. Although it is less readable than the NIV, it is more accurate, which is more important.
Another interesting point made by Teddy (and one I have often made myself) is that the ESV, NKJV and NASB are all very close in their translation, coming in the same genealogical tradition of the AV, whereas the NIV does not.

Teddy called the ESV the translation that he had been longing for his whole life, and after using it and examining the Greek over 4 years, he was really pleased with the quality of translation.

I had hoped that there might have been a move in the NKJV direction, after Teddy's public announcement at an EP lecture about 9 years ago (?) of his concerns over the direction that the NIV was taking and his question of whether we should move to the NKJV. I suspect his opposite view of the NT textual question held him back and when the ESV came along, this was the one for him.

Although, being unconvinced at this stage of the reasons for departing from the Traditional Majority Text used by the Church over the ages in God's providence (see this article from a non-MT scholar and I don't mean the Hodges-Farstad MT, nor am I a TR man), I'm glad that our Session have made this progressive move; the ESV is an excellent translation as is generally acknowledged.
I also really respect them for having the courage to make such a radical change.

I'm almost tempted to switch (esp. for the advantages of a common translation), but not quite.

(Due to the error relating to non-existent correspondence with the NIV Publisher, the following comments have been edited to remove all reference to this.)

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Irish Constitution Protects Home-schooling

By the way, while we're still on home-schooling, the Republic of Ireland's Constitution states the following...


Article 42

1. The State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children.

2. Parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes or in private schools or in schools recognised or established by the State.

3. 1° The State shall not oblige parents in violation of their conscience and lawful preference to send their children to schools established by the State, or to any particular type of school designated by the State.

2° The State shall, however, as guardian of the common good, require in view of actual conditions that the children receive a certain minimum education, moral, intellectual and social.

However, please note this recent attack in 1999 on home-schooling that was lessened through help from the American HSLDA. It would be interesting to know what eventually got passed. it sounds like they require registration, which is less free than the U.K. (except for liberal Scotland).

Here is another great section in the Irish Constitution:

The Family

Article 41

1. 1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.

2. 1° In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

2° The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

3. 1° The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

Rest of post

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New Scientist Doesn’t like Home-schooling

See this article on the Answers in Genesis website about subversive types like yours truly. The evolutionists are getting scared about their monopoly being taken away. After all, as has been confessed by the liberals who organised it in the U.S., the point of the state system was to eject Christianity from schools and stop its influence upon the next generation, so that they could transform society into a wonderful, atheist/humanist utopia. Isn't the world a better place for it?

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