I want to share with you my former presuppositions. I want to share with you what I think I know, without bothering to research it till after it's out there in the open.
What I thought I knew about the New International Version (NIV) of the bible, I had heard in my own church and also from many churches at various points; that it translated the original documents comprising the bible by phrase-units, not by words, as units. For that reason I had been taught that the NIV was a good version for gaining comprehension but not for fomulating doctrines.
Now: what I heard in the last two weeks of class, about the NIV is that the council of Christians who did the translating were Calvinists, more specifically "Lordship Theologists," who obfuscate the righteousness that comes by the faith that saves and the righteousness that comes by the faith of walking with the Spirit.
If these new insights into free will from Romans 8 are correct, it'd blow the roof off of some traditionally difficult passages. For me one of the worst books in scripture to make cohesive with the gospel is 1 John. 1 John reminds me a lot of my own personality... at least the kinds of mistakes I try not to make. It thinks of reality as black and white, right and wrong, without any room for gray, without any grace or practicality.
Now as I pop the top what will I find? Let's read a characteristic black/white passage from 1 John (3:4-6 ) in the NIV and then again in the NKJV (which I was recently told, distinguishes the faiths of justification/sanctification):
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
I see a huge difference... do you? The first makes it sound, and, this is the only way I could understand it, as if those who are saved by Christ do not sin. It makes me have to assume, therefore, that he means this as a generality, in comparison to those without God, because it can't be absolutely true... obviously.
I see this now, and can you too? The NIV reads scripture as if we're distinguishing the saved from the unsaved, and the NKJV reads it as a matter of who, among the saved, is growing to be like Christ. What a difference.
I now suspect that the "study notes" accompanying my NIV bible are also written by the same group of Christians, those who by the power of a Calvinist mindset, meld justification with sanctification as if by the power of irresistible grace, the Holy Spirit is ever intervening in us to make us obey despite our choice to resist.
Let me read to you the "study notes" footed in the two versions:
John is not asserting sinless perfection, but explaining that the believer's life is characterized not by sin but by doing what is right.
If Christ is sinless and the purpose of His coming was to remove sin, then whoever abides in Him does not sin. Habitually sinful conduct indicates an absence of fellowship with Christ.
Wow, pretty dead-on.
Well, which one is it?
Is it possible to be a carnal-Christian, or is it not? Is it possible to be sin-free at times, or is it not? Which concept of Christian rules do you believe John meant to communicate?
And if I think that's an important question (for perhaps both study notes make true interpretations), here's one that is even more important: which filter of the Word does the least gymnastics? I praise God that His Word can be read in a superiorly simple manner.