This entire post will be dedicated just to the point of Slye’s sermon that made me the most frustrated. Actually, the next two posts will be. This will just cover my problems with his method of Biblical Interpretation. The next post will be my theological reasons. His point is as follows:
4. God is not on the throne.
-“…Satan, the ruler of this world…” –John 12:31(Msg)
-“Then the devil led Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor. The devil said, ‘If you will bow down and worship me, I will give you all these things.’” –Matt. 4:8,9(NCV)
-“The devil who rules this world…” –2 Cor. 4:4(NCV)
-“…the world around us is under the power and control of the evil one.” –1 John 5:19(NLT)
My problems with this point are three-fold: Exegetical, Theological, and Psychological/Spiritual
I: Exegetical: This word “exegetical” is just a big word for “Bible Interpretation.” That’s my first problem with this point in the sermon – Slye’s methods of Biblical Interpretation. Here are some fatal flaws in his methods to consider.
– Translation jumping: First off, one should be wary of an any preacher that jumps around among different translations. On this point alone, 3 out of 4 of the quotations are different translations. In the whole sermon, he jumps among 5 different translations. Many times when translation jumping is done it can be a sign of a pastor that has an opinion first and then tries to find Scripture to support that opinion. He will then try and find the translation that best “fits” his opinion. This is not the sign of a preacher that has submitted himself to Scripture as the authority over his own opinions, but rather a man who sees Scripture as the most widely accepted authority he can appeal to bring validation to what he wants to say. I don’t know if this applies to Slye specifically, I’m simply giving the reader something to look out for. One more little read flag: always be scared of a preacher using a shotgun smattering of Biblical quotes with as many ellipses (the dot dot dots…) as Slye uses. All Scripture should be used with consideration given to its context, not dotting it away.
– Ignoring the original language: This is related to translation jumping. I’m not even close to having had any real training in Greek or Hebrew, but with the tools available to anyone on the internet, there is no excuse for pastors blatantly ignoring the original text. Some ways this damages this message:
[“ . . . Satan, the ruler of this world . . .” –John 12:31(Msg); The word “Satan” is not found in the original language, and the word “ruler” in the Greek is actually only “prince.” More on this later]
[“The devil who rules this world . . .” — 2 Cor 4:4(NCV); The original reads “the god of this world has blinded the mind of the unbelievers . . .” The words “devil” and “rules” are not in the Greek. In fact, the word “god” in this passage is the word “Theos.” Out of the 1330 times this word is used in the New Testament, all but 10 of those times it is translated in a way referring exclusively to the true God of the Bible. So while there is some disagreement as to which translation is best in this passage, we can be sure that the seeming “clarity” of Slye’s translation is not the clarity that the passage actually gives us.]
[“ . . . the world around us is under the power and control of the evil one.” –1 John 5:19; The original reads word-for-word “we know that we are from God and the whole world lies in wickedness [or evil, or the evil one].” Based on the translation of the previous verse (5:18), it seems that the translation of “evil one” is right, but there is the chance this could be just “wickedness.” Nevertheless, “lies” is still very different in connotation than “under the power and control of”]
Sorry folks, translation matters.
– Ignoring context: I talked some about this in my ellipses comment earlier, but none of the verses he quotes actually means what he’s trying to have them mean. None of them!
[John 12:31 – This is in the middle of a statement by Jesus about his crucifixion saying “now will the prince of this world be cast out.” Hardly a statement of Satan’s authority.]
[Matthew 4:8,9 – Slye argues this would not be a legitimate temptation if all the kingdoms of the world were not Satan’s to give. Except one problem: Jesus. Our Lord’s response to Satan after this temptation is “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only you shall serve’” (4:10[ESV];the next verse). Jesus pretty much tells Satan he has not the authority to give what he’s trying to! This is not Slye’s use of the verse.]
[2 Cor 4:4 – verses 3 and 4 say, “even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god or this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (ESV). In context it seems that the actual power of the “god of this world” only extends to those perishing, not to those who have been redeemed. On a funny side note, the verse before this is describing pastors who are pure in their preaching before God, and he mentions how these preachers refuse “to tamper with God’s word.” I find it interesting that Paul mentions this just two verses before our verse that was taken out of context by a preacher.]
[1 John 5:19 – verse 18 and 19 together say “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (ESV). Not only do these verses tell of God’s power over Satan to not let him touch any of His children, but the “whole world” is established as the contrast to the “we.” I don’t think the “we” is talking about the institution of the church. If that were the case, one could argue the “whole world” meant the actual institution of reality we call “the world.” I think the “we” is referring to a group of people that are Christians, which would make the contrast here at the people level, not the institution level. This means the “whole world” probably only refers to people that are unsaved, not the world itself.]
I’ll just give this all to you now to hold you over while I really wrestle through the real meat of this post.