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Location: Phila Metro, Pennsylvania, United States

Tentmaking Evangelist (Architect). An Evangelist with the Anchor Bay Evangelistic Association (non-denominational). Co-Founder of Kingdom Gospel Ministries, a ministry now in its 31st year with a mission to reconcile people of different racial, ethnic, and economic situations, and the producer of two weekly radio programs - a Sunday morning verse-by-verse Bible Study on Radio Delaware Valley and a weekly radio drama on the Wilkins Radio network. He also has archived many, many programs on the Internet. John is also a PA/NJ Architect with his own practice in its 38th year working on a wide variety of projects. Acutely interested in politics since a teenager with many articles published over the last 50 years and served as a guest on a Talk Radio show discussing race relations and on It's Your Call TV show with Lynn Doyle dealing with the subject of interethnic marriage.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

This post also appears on my political blog, but I believe it is OK to put this on LIFE IN THE SPIRIT.   I trust that no what your political views, we can all agree on this.  I left a message at the Larry Elder show which I listen to from time to time.

Larry, this is John from Pennsylvania. I found myself hollering at the car radio Friday when the last caller could not understand why a business would not want to bake a cake to celebrate a so-called gay marriage. He was mum about people refusing to give up illegal sanctuary cities, mum about California’s illegal travel ban to other states, and every other crazy leftist idea.  It is never about the law or justice, but only that the left can make people knuckle under their bullying tactics.  Over 100 million people died in the last century when these folks had an unimpeded reign. Well, I have been in business for thirty-eight years and making money is NOT the sole reason. Further, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? 

If you try gay plumbing marriage, you have a flood. If you try gay electrical marriage, you get a fire. With people it is worse, and none has the right to turn all of human history upside down and demand we accept insanity.  Better to lose some business.  Better yet for Government to stop the foolishness and make religious freedom absolute as it was first intended.

My friends, I was limited to a minute and I talk fast, but so many Christians have sold their souls on this issue - just like they have sold their souls on sexual morality, molecules to man evolution, overpopulation hysteria, climate change and any other issue du jour.   WHY?  We are supposed to stand for truth!  Do you believe in absolute truth or do you think everything is relative? God believes in absolute truth and so do I.  We must stand for it or we will be relegated to the dustbin of history and the dustbin of God which is worse!  The Jesus said the whole world will hate us because of him.  It is happening now.  Are your knees shaking or are you asking God to help you through this trial UNCOMPROMISED and standing tall for our Lord who sacrificed EVERYTHING for us?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


True and False Disciples (from Matthew 7:21 ff)
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Saying “LORD, LORD” isn't enough. YOU HAVE TO DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER. So many who act like over-the-top Christians are opposing the will of the Father at every turn and I fear for them.  22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Many will show the marks on their belts of prophecy,. Exorcisms, and miracles. MANY. That is a WHOLE LOT. 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Jesus will say he never knew them and for them to get lost!

One CANNOT keep disobeying God's word, reviling authority, and calling evil good and good evil and come into his kingdom. They would be a misfit. They do not belong. His kingdom will be one of peace. Those who cause trouble in the church would cause trouble in heaven. The Father cast Satan and a third of the angels out. Why would anyone think Ihe would welcome troublemakers into his eternal kingdom? People who do not believe his word? People who do not obey him? People who do not love what he loves? People who reject the leaders he has chosen? People who love and adore leaders God has outright rejected? Our Father in heaven is a logical God and he does what makes sense. That will surely hit the rebels hard.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


Many are stunned at how fast not only the country, but the church is crumbling.  I believe a lot of it has to do with foundations. In terms of the country, the foundation is the Constitution and the need for a spiritual and moral people in the nation to make it work.  In terms of the church, it is Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible, and the need for a spiritual, moral, and obedient people under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  No other foundation can be laid other than Jesus Christ.

I believe I am uniquely qualified to comment on this matter.  I am an architect celebrating our 38th year of ownership of my own firm and a Christian evangelist with over 62 years of unqualified faith in Jesus Christ.  I know about both physical and spiritual foundations.

In my work, we always spend a lot of effort to be sure the foundation is right – the best looking building will not withstand all the forces of nature forever without a sound foundation.  The operative word is FOREVER.  It will stand for a while.  I am working today on a house built in 1934 where the stone foundation moved.  Masonry buttresses and eight starbolts were required to stabilize it.  It is near a 400 foot drop-off into Wissahickon Creek in Philadelphia.  The ground can move beneath you over time, and you need to account for it in the beginning.  Buildings are designed to withstand wind, snow, earth movements, and much more.  In Buffalo, New York, they just got about six feet of snow with two more feet coming soon. Roofs have to be designed to hold a lot of snow, and foundations have to be designed to withstand deep frost. Winds are about the same as here though, and earthquake design is not as critical as in California or parts of the Midwest, for instance.  Buffalo does not get six foot storms all the time, though I remember they have 102” (8’-6”) when I was in college many moons ago.  If you designed a roof there the same as here, it would be OK the vast majority of the time, but it would fail under conditions they have now – conditions we never see here.

Foundations often do not crack right away – sometimes the loading changes, sometimes the ground shifts, and other times there are simply problems with the materials or the way they are connected.

Our nation was founded with the assumption people would be self-governing and have a moral compass.  The Bible was the basis for so many of our founding principles, and you can see scripture emblazoned on key buildings throughout our nation to this day despite the concerted efforts of a few remove all reminders of our foundation.

The spiritual foundations and the perilous state of the church is what concerns me even more.  I understand a country that spends far more time on banal if not evil entertainment than on spiritual development will fail.    Oops!  Did I say “country” or “church”?  Yeah, I said “country” but I could just as easily have said “church”.

I constantly hear evangelical Christians betray themselves.  They have spent precious little time studying the scriptures in order to make them wise to salvation. Instead, Christian music, Christian comics, Christian dinners, Christian “fellowship”, Christian car shows, Christian sports nights, and much more are what consume the lion’s share of their time.  Now I have nothing against ANY of those things per se – however, when you eat only desserts you get fat and out of shape and unable to run out of trouble.  You need to be conditioned by the word and beat your body into subjection if you are going to win the race.

It started out with “situational ethics”.  Canards such as lying to the Nazis to protect Jews were used to promote a system where there is no absolute right and wrong – NO moral absolutes.  People started living together outside of marriage once the stigma started to subside. And on and on.

Secularists attacked the Bible with fanciful tales of Darwinian thought and Christians compromised.  They started with the gap theory, theistic evolution, and worse, which any person who actually studies the Bible could debunk in fewer than five minutes.

They painted pictures of God being unfair to us.  If God were unfair to anyone, it would have been to Jesus – the innocent Son of God dying for the sins of the world!  Instead, they hem and haw about whether the unsaved are going to hell.   Trust, me, they are going to hell.  “There is no other name under heaven…”  “Neither is their salvation in any other…”     God the Father would never have sent Jesus Christ to die if there were ANY other way to be saved.

Without a Biblical revelation of who Jesus is, one will accept the world’s version of who Jesus is.  A platonic and naïve teacher who was kind and gentle, out of step with the politics of the day and who never said a word about homosexuals one way or the other. Perhaps to be compared to Mohammed and Buddha and Krishna, but not the Son of God or anyone worthy of total devotion.  Just another way to order ones life to please the man or force or whatever upstairs.

Nothing could be further from the truth.   Jesus was an intellectual giant at 12 and no one could ever win an argument with him.  He cleared out a whole marketplace while 12 strong men looked on taking notes. He could control nature, spiritual forces, and remote sickness.   No one else even comes remotely close because Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and is the foundation for our faith.   All we need to know is written in the Bible, which is 100% accurate not only as a spiritual tome, but in terms of history, economics, astronomy, geology, biology, anthropology, psychology, prophecy, and in all moral matters.

The problem is that people do not read the Bible, let alone study it or obey it.  I have produced over 1,250 radio shows and any number of people have called in with major issues.  In the vast majority of cases, they are not in a regular program of Bible Study and they do not pray much at all.  They usually went to church, but the word is so compromised most places, and without real power in others, their lives were dysfunctional in terms of being warriors in the kingdom of God.  

The ignoring of the scriptures, the failure of pastors to preach with authority and passion which has yielded weak Christians, and the luke-warm attitude of people has disabled them from being effective in the current war for men’s souls.

Understand that people WILL believe something.  Over 50% of evangelicals now say there are other ways to God than through Jesus Christ.  The BIGGEST lie ever told by the devil.   If you want to find Fargo, North Dakota, you cannot head in any direction and get there.  You need good maps or an up-to-date GPS or you will never get there.  How can anyone think they can go any direction they want and find God?  We have to follow his precise directions or we will be lost.  “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life!”   I wrote a tract on this – the cover illustration was a wide divided highway with many exits and only a narrow lane at the end going to our desired destination.  Some people get off in not believing the Bible.  Others with secular ideas. Still others not willing to obey the Lord.  It is not easy to get to heaven, but if we follow the Lord, we will surely get there because it is due to his righteousness, not ours.  We simply have to trust and obey him and follow him wherever he goes.

My friends, I was considering joining a church over thirty years ago that later became very successful. I went to the initial meeting where there were 40 people who became charter members.   I enquired of the Lord about it and he showed me four cracks in their foundational principles. Most people would have ignored those.  In fact, everyone else in the room either did not recognize them or ignored those tell-tale warning signs. That was it for me.  I maintained friendship to the degree I could, and did some work for them, but like a drumbeat I heard more and more what would seem to most like relatively minor but very persistent deviations from scripture.  Then one time when I visited the pastor spoke about abortion, homosexuality, and marijuana use in absurd ways, still adored by his congregation because they were following a man instead of God.  There are people there today telling unbelievable lies and hating people like me who stand on the Word of God once delivered to the saints.

Unfortunately, many of the big-name ministries you see on TV have cracked foundations. They accept the ways of man rather than the ways of God.  They have compromised in many ways, sometimes in even shocking ways.  If God’s people were thoroughly equipped, they would have withdrawn support long ago, but because these men and women appeal to the lusts of the flesh, money, and the pride of life, they are flourishing financially.  Some people post spiritual nonsense they hear from them on Facebook  taking umbrage if you point out the unscriptural nature of just about everything they say.

People of God, do not tolerate apostasy.  Do not build on cracked foundations.  Get into the word and be taught by people who actually BELIEVE the Bible – not by people who come from seminaries where the Bible is parsed and mocked and ignored.  Plunge yourself into a life with God.  Pray at length every day and get to know God and ask for the spiritual gift of discernment so you can separate truth from error. Ours minds have to be renewed constantly and we must possess the mind of Christ.  The world will grind us down, but if we are continually being filled with the Holy Spirit and renewed in our minds, we will be able to do wonders.  I do not believe we have much time left – do not be a virgin without oil.  Do not be a rich young tithing ruler unwilling to give God what he really wants.  Do not be a Laodicean whom Jesus want to vomit out.   Be a follower and brother of Jesus Christ. Be one of those he will proudly plant a crown on.  Be one Jesus will acknowledge  before the Father. Exalt Christ, defend Christ, support Christ.  Speak what Christ speaks, Do what Christ does. Acts like Christ acts.

May God bless you!


Expanding on the morning message I heard, we should aim to not be either Pharisees or Sadducees.  Pharisees ADD to the Word of God and end up making what they ADD more authoritative in their lives than the Bible.  The Pharisees honored their traditions and man-made rules about the Word of God.  Today's Pharisees have endless rules for dress or for giving, the health and wealth gospel, liberation theology, you name it.   The Sadducees SUBTRACT from the word of God. Today's Sadducees claim Genesis is an allegory instead of the narrative Jesus believed in and promoted, promote women into roles forbidden by scripture, emphasize the verses on love while subtracting those on judgment while teaching wider mercy and universalism ideas, ignoring the clear teaching of God's word.  Other Sadducees are cessationists denying the sorely needed gifts of the Holy Spirit or racists ignoring the book of James which puts partiality right up there with the more commonly mentioned sins.   It is best to simply take ALL of God's word as literally God speaking and neither ADD nor SUBTRACT from it in order not to be judged by God.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


I have been non-denominational for almost fifty years - by their nature denominations are corrupted.  Some have highlighted certain truths, such as the Assemblies of God, and I sadly know deeply compromised members of that very prideful denomination and this article celebrating their decision to be unscientific and Biblically illiterate shows that OFFICIALLY neither they nor their colleges can any longer be trusted at all - this was from over six years ago and by all accounts their position has hardened against the clear revelation of the Holy Spirit.  This article was written by enemies of the faith who gloat over yet another compromised denomination.  They clearly understand the progressive nature of compromise better than the AoG, and their snide comments about a flat earth shows their complete ignorance of the Bible and scientific history – the Bible in Isaiah said plainly the earth was a sphere while “real science” proclaimed a flat earth for centuries.  The same is true on a large set of scientific truths the Bible talked about long before “science” caught up with it. Remember that the Bible says that those who say there is no God are fools, and that is assuredly the truth. The faulty reasoning the AoG uses is appalling and also shows gross ignorance of the Bible as a whole and is scary indeed.

Assemblies of God Accepting Evolution?

THERE may be yet another Christian denomination that will soon be added to the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution. This time it’s the Assemblies of God. According to Wikipedia they’re the “world’s largest Pentecostal body” with “57 to 60 million adherents worldwide” and they’re “the sixth largest international Christian group of denominations.” So this is big news. (It was once the denomination of Jimmy Swaggart.)

In a way, this is inevitable for any denomination that plans to have a significant continuity of existence, as there’s a limited future for any religion that blatantly denies the verifiable facts of reality. Just as virtually all denominations have accepted the once-heretical solar system (see the Galileo affair), so too they will almost all, sooner or later, accept the age of the earth, the universe, and the theory of evolution. The hold-outs will take their proper place alongside the Flat Earth Society.

The Assemblies of God have recently posted this statement at their website: The Doctrine of Creation (Adopted by the General Presbytery in session August 9-11, 2010). It’s a 4-page pdf file. Here are the relevant excerpts, with bold added by us:

The Bible makes no claim to be a scientific textbook, nor should it be understood as such.

Scripture focuses our attention not so much on the act of creation as on the Creator.

Genesis 1–3 accurately communicates God’s creation of the heavens and the earth. Using language that appears to employ both prose and poetry and that contains both literal and symbolic elements, the story is a simple yet beautiful and compelling narrative intended to speak to all humankind. The complexity of creation is such that humans will never fully comprehend it.

[…The advance of scientific research, particularly in the last few centuries, has raised many questions about the interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation. In attempting to reconcile the Bible and the theories and conclusions of contemporary scientists, it should be remembered that the creation accounts do not give precise details as to how God went about His creative activity. Nor do these accounts provide us with complete chronologies that enable us to date with precision the time of the various stages of creation. Similarly, the findings of science are constantly expanding; the accepted theories of one generation are often revised in the next.

As a result, equally devout Christian believers have formed very different opinions about the age of the earth, the age of humankind, and the ways in which God went about the creative processes. Given the limited information available in Scripture, it does not seem wise to be overly dogmatic about any particular creation theory.

 [We urge all sincere and conscientious believers to adhere to what the Bible plainly teaches and to avoid divisiveness over debatable theories of creation.

That’s not as clear-cut as the statements of some other denominations, and for that reason some may dismiss this as being essentially meaningless. But we would disagree. These things take time, and doctrinal changes aren’t made easily. This statement is a very welcome change from this group’s past positions.

As might be expected, hard-core creationists are upset about this. See, for example, this rant by Ken Ham: A Sad Day for the Assemblies of God Denomination. Poor ol’ Hambo.

 (I would add that I very much admire Ken Ham and he understands the issue far more than the sadly growingly ignorant Christian populace - here is an article presenting his views that is more recent that the original post by skeptics.

Ken Ham: Assemblies of God Journal Takes a Dogmatic Position Against Those Who Insist on a Literal Genesis
by Brannon Howse  September 23, 2012
Published on September 22, 2012 in Current Issues in the World

Now of course I could understand the editor of the Assemblies of God Enrichment Journal and the hierarchy of the Assemblies of God denomination vehemently disagreeing with the heading of this blog post. But let me explain why I stand by it. At AiG, we take a dogmatic stand on marriage being that of one man and one woman (male and female), because that is obviously what the Bible teaches. Any other definition of marriage is unbiblical (and there are many Scriptures we have cited in articles to justify this; e.g., Matthew 19:4–7; Romans 1, and so on).

Now, there are people in the church that call us intolerant because of our stand on biblical marriage. They claim we are dogmatic and that we should be more tolerant and allow all views. But in making this statement they are being intolerant of our view, which, in essence, states that there is only one correct biblical view. And those that claim we are intolerant are very dogmatic about their intolerance of our view, which says that their view of allowing different positions is incorrect! [Please note: The example of marriage has nothing to do with the Assemblies of God denomination. This is just an example used to explain tolerance and intolerance.]
In other words, when it comes to claims on truth, there really is no such thing as a "neutral" position!
In this new issue of a journal from the Assemblies of God denomination, the editors have tried to be "neutral" in presenting different views of Genesis. I'm sure they see this as a balanced approach and believe they are showing tolerance in allowing different views.
However, we at Answers in Genesis believe there is only one correct view regarding how one takes Genesis-it must be taken as literal history (it is written as a historical narrative). And we must as God's people stand against the compromise of reinterpreting Genesis to fit in evolution and millions of years, which undermines biblical authority. We are often called intolerant for our stand. There are church leaders who claim they are tolerant in allowing different views regarding Genesis, but in doing so they are intolerant of the view AiG takes, which we adamantly insist is the correct biblical view.

So, in reality, in the journal of this denomination, by allowing different authors to present different views, by not coming out and clearly stating which is the correct view, and by not giving reasons why compromise views are in error, I submit that the journal is taking a dogmatic, intolerant stand against those who take the position we do at AiG.

And as we have said over and over again, it is the compromise of evolution and millions of years with Genesis. This is the Genesis 3 attack ("Did God Really Say?") that is undermining biblical authority in our day, and it is a great contributing factor as to why coming generations are leaving the church.

I submit that this journal would probably never take the same approach with the Resurrection or Virgin Birth. They wouldn't (I would hope) allow people with many different views about whether it was a real physical resurrection or real virgin birth give their opinions and let people make up their own minds! I'm sure they would want to point out error and stand on the authority of God's Word.
So I stand by my title to this blog post.

There is no doubt the church in our Western world is in a sad state. Many Christian leaders today just do not seem to understand the foundational importance of Genesis to the rest of Scripture and to the gospel. I recently learned that this fall 2012 issue of the Assemblies of God Enrichment Journal is themed around the "conflict" between what they see as religion and science-but what we would see as really a conflict between God's Word (the historical science of the Bible-the history in Genesis) and man's word (the historical science-belief-of the secularists concerning origins).

Of course, they try to act "neutrally" and present differing views, but what they end up communicating is that "neutrality" is better than standing on what God's Word clearly says in Genesis (and is confirmed throughout the Bible).

In one of the opening articles, Amos Yong, a professor of theology at Regent University in Virginia, writes about pastors who teach that there is only one acceptable view of the creation account in Genesis:
But [college- and university-educated members] do know there are a variety of views about scientific theories. A pastor's insistence that there is only one way to see things says to these members: "Leave your mind at the door before you come into church." This may not be the intended message, but it is implicit in the way pastors sometimes talk about the 7 days of creation when our audience has come to understand the ancient Hebrews did not interpret these as literally as we do. (Faith and Science: Friend or Foe?)

Thus, Yong confirms what I said earlier: he is intolerant of those who say there is only one view and dogmatically speaks against this position!

Aside from a series of articles arguing for various views on the age of the earth by Hugh Ross, Kurt Wise, and Davis Young, the issue is devoted to topics such as how to create a "safe haven" for youth to question beliefs. The author of that article writes that youth leaders should avoid advocating any views in particular-again an illustration that they are really intolerant of those who teach as we do at AiG that we must take Genesis as written and not compromise it in any way with man's historical science (beliefs about the past):
One way to get out of the line of fire is to avoid championing one view over another. Let the proponents of aposition share its strengths, and then have the detractors present the weaknesses of that position. (Preparing Young People for a Life of Faith)

The above statement (and a number of others like it in this journal) tells me that these authors do not value what Genesis has to say about the age of the earth more than they value the regularly changing opinions of men. If they're unwilling to teach what the Bible says about our origins and the age of the earth-and if they're willing to tell other leaders, the people who are in a position to teach and disciple believers, to remain supposedly "neutral" (which in reality is an intolerant and dogmatic position) and not teach a young earth (as the Bible clearly teaches)-then they are communicating to believers that what God's Word actually says is not important-and that God's Word can be reinterpreted to fit in man's fallible beliefs. Ironically, these authors think that remaining "neutral" means they aren't taking a stand, but in remaining neutral they are actually taking a stand against a straightforward reading of God's Word!

We have written many articles about the consequences of fitting the belief of millions of years into the Bible. Not only does this set the example that man's fallible beliefs can be in authority over the infallible Word of God, but it also contradicts the Bible's obvious teaching that death, disease, suffering, thorns, carnivory, etc. came after sin. For instance, read this article on the AiG website by Dr. Terry Mortenson, AiG–U.S., on the problems with death and suffering before the Fall.
Yong also makes the same assertion that many others have about Genesis, namely, that belief in a literal Genesis is a "second-tier issue":
Let us instead distinguish what is nonnegotiable, like the existence of God as Creator, from issues of second-tier import, and then allow our believing scientists and our faithful theologians to keep doing their work at this level. (Faith and Science: Friend or Foe?

But what should be being taught to people through these articles is that fallible man cannot take ideas outside of Scripture and reinterpret the clear words of Scripture to fit them in-this is the compromise that runs rampant in the church today.

Isaiah 2:22 tells us to stop trusting in man, and Psalm 118:8 states, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."

God warns us in Proverbs 30:5–6, "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."
In my talks on the relevance of Genesis, I often use an illustration showing how the church mistakenly ignores these attacks on theWord of God, saying, "It's only a side issue. They aren't attacking the Cross." But what many of these churches fail to realize is that these attacks on Genesis are attacking the very foundation of the message of the Gospel-because they are attacks on the very Word of God itself. And it is from the Word of God that we get the gospel!

Ultimately there is no conflict between Scripture and observational (or operational) science. The conflict regarding origins is really one between the historical science of the Bible (the account of history in Genesis) and the historical science of the secularists (their account of supposed evolutionary millions of years history). Since the true history of our universe is recorded in the Bible, scientific research should confirm the authenticity and accuracy of the biblical text-and it does. When one introduces ideas that stem from an ungodly worldview (the anti-God religion of evolution or millions of years) into their thinking they are bound to reach faulty conclusions at odds with God's Word. So to make this fit with God's Word, sadly, they have to change (reinterpret) the Word of God. This means that God's Word is fallible and can't really be trusted-and the infinite Creator God could not even get the first part of the Bible right. So how can we trust the rest? Thus generations taught such compromise are put on a slippery slide of unbelief through the whole of Scripture resulting in them walking away from the church. This is what is happening before our very eyes in our culture today.

I encourage you to read Dr. Liz Mitchell's analysis of one the Enrichment Journal articles in today's News to Note (an article series featured each Saturday on the AiG website).
As believers, we have to take God at His word. There's a reason God asks Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding" (Job 38:4).
As the Scripture states, "let God be true but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4).

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,


Thursday, February 16, 2017


I teach from both the NIV and the NKJV. I believe the NKJV is the more accurate of the two, though none are perfect. I thought this article from La Vista Church of Christ was pretty good, so here it is unedited. I started using the NIV many moons ago, and it is important to note the footnotes of some key aspects of what is different. We use the NKGV in our live Bible studies but still continue the tradition of using the NIV on the radio Bible Studies - however, I try to be careful to call attention to any passage better translated otherwise.
Here we go.

One of the easiest reading Bibles being published today is the New International Version. It’s clarity comes not only from its use of modern English, but also from the willingness of the translators to translate idiomatic phrases of the Bible times into similar phrases of today. This could be dangerous to any translation, for a true translation must keep the original meaning intended by the original author. An idiom in one language does not always match an idiom’s meaning in another language. I’m not an expert in this field, but I think the translators of the New International Version struck a good balance in this area most of the time.
However, as with most human works, the NIV is not without its problems. The translation was done at a period of time when the best available Greek text for the New Testament, as determined by Biblical scholars turned out to be severely flawed[1, 2]. One of the false teachings that was wide spread during the early days of the church was a belief that Jesus was not really God in the flesh. Anything earthly was considered sinful and corrupt, “So how could the pure God take on the nature of corruption,” these false teachers argued? Followers of this system of belief, now known as Gnosticism, used Bibles edited to support their beliefs[3].
True Christians refused to use these altered Bibles, but they were loath to destroy the copies since they still contained much of God’s Word. Instead they retired the books to sealed crypts. Recently, modern archeologists found these crypts. Finding copies of God’s word that was older than most of the material we possessed at that time, they gave higher weight to this older material, reasoning that older was better.
Scholars have eventually pieced together the puzzle, but not before a few new translations were made using the flawed text, including the NIV[4].
Gary Colley has published a list of problems with the NIV that all Bible students should be aware of. Some of these problems arise from the flawed Greek text that the NIV was based on, but other problems arise from the religious bias of the translators. The wording of the passages were subtly altered in a number of places to make it more acceptable to popular religious beliefs instead of attempting to accurately match the original meaning.
I would like to give you an expanded version of brother Colley’s list, showing the alteration by comparing it with other translations.
Total Depravity
“It mistranslated Psalms 51:5 to each the false theory of Total Depravity.”
KJV: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
NAS: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
NKJ: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
NIV: Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
It doesn’t take a biblical scholar to tell that there is a major difference in meaning between the NIV and the other cited passages. Why did the translators of the NIV change the meaning so much? I believe they were trying to justify their strongly held belief that people are born guilty of the sin of Adam. They attempted to provide proof where none existed.
Original Sin
 “It changes ‘flesh’ in Romans 8 to sinful nature’ teaching the false theory of original sin.”
The word being debated is the Greek word sarx which means “flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul [or spirit], or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties [physical or mortal] and passions), or (specifically) a human being.” The English word “flesh” carries a similar meaning as it too can refer to the edible parts of an animal or to the physical being of a man. However, “nature” means the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing. By changing the wording from “flesh” to “nature” the translators shifted the meaning from an emphasis on the physical make up of man to the character or spiritual make up of man.
In addition, the word “sinful” is adjoined to “nature” even when the original Greek does not mention sinfulness.
The Deity of Christ
 “It denies the deity of Christ by removing ‘begotten’ from every text referring to Jesus Christ (cf., John 3:16)”
The NIV refuses to reflect the Greek New Testament statements that Jesus was born of God. Instead they use phrases such as “the One and Only” or “I have made you my son.” Consider the difference in translation shown in John 1:14.
ASV: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.
NKJ: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth
 NIV: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Greek word being translated is monogenes. It is a compound word meaning “the only one of a race” or “the only born.” In literature it is used to refer an only child and it can be seen translated as such in Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38; and Hebrews 11:17. In the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament it is used in describing Isaac (Genesis 22:2, 12, 16) and Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11:34). Isaac was technically not an only child, but he was the unique child of promise to Abraham. Just as an only child is treasured by his parents, the Greek word monogenes also carries the connotation of someone beloved.
The NIV emphasizes the uniqueness of Christ while de-emphasizing the kinship of Christ to God the Father.
A more clear altering is seen in Psalms 2:7, Acts 13:33, and Hebrews 1:5. Consider the following:
NKJ: God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'
NAS:: that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'You are My son; today I have begotten You.'
NIV: he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: "'You are my Son; today I have become your Father. '
The Greek word gennao and the Hebrew word yalad refers to conceiving and giving birth to a child. The argument for de-emphasizing the birth is that some have argued that these verses mean Jesus had a beginning. The NIV’s wording avoids that conclusion, but at the expense of changing what the text actually says. While there are plenty of verses which demonstrate that Jesus is eternal, these verses carry the idea that Jesus is of the lineage of God – in other words, his deity, which is the point of Hebrews 1:5. That point is softened by the NIV’s translation which leaves the impression that anyone could have become God’s Son, God just happened to select Jesus. The literal reading fits well with the virgin birth of Jesus and that God was literally his father.
The Eunuch’s Baptism
“It deletes both the statement of Philip on the condition of baptism and the eunuch’s answer (cf. Acts 8:37).”
This is due to the manipulated Greek text that the translation was based upon. If it is any consolation, most copies of the NIV do include verse 37 in the footnotes.
 Salvation -at the Point of Hearing
“It falsely teaches that sinners are ‘included in Christ’ at the point of hearing (Ephesians 1:13).”
NKJ: In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit =of promise,
ASV: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,-- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
NIV: And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

Nothing in the Greek indicates the idea of being included in Christ, especially at the point of hearing the Gospel.
Salvation - at the Point of Faith
“It tampers with the plan of salvation in Romans 10:10, teaching that justification is reached at the point
of faith. The same verse teaches that salvation is reached at the point of confession (Romans 10:10).”
NKJ: For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
ASV: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
NIV: For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
            The Greek behind the phrase “unto righteousness” indicates a leading up to the point of the justification of character or leading up to the point of righteousness. However, the NIV leads the reader to believe the justification has already taken place, which contradicts other verses that teach that salvation is based on more than just belief. See Acts 11:18 and Mark 16:16.
A similar alteration is made in John 3:16.
NKJ: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
ASV: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.
NIV: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
            Notice the subtle change from the idea that a believer should not perish to the idea that a believer shall not perish. “Should” indicates that the believer has no excuse in perishing. “Shall” indicates that a believer cannot perish.
            “It changes I Corinthians 1:6 from ‘the testimony of Christ’ (the gospel) to ‘our testimony of Christ’ (testimonialist).”
            The Greek word marturion is a neuter word meaning something evidential, in other words in the general sense, evidence given or in the specific sense something like the Decalogue (in the sacred Tabernacle). Changing the “the” or “our” removes the neuter sense of the testimony, making it something that was personally done. While the Apostles did testify of Christ, Paul is not speaking of just his personal testimony in this verse, but of all the evidence that God has delivered concerning Christ.
Salvation - Before Baptism
            “It makes Peter teach that baptism is ‘the pledge of a good conscience toward God’ advancing the false theory of faith alone (I Peter 3:21).”
The Greek word eperotema, means “an inquiry.” However, the word “pledge” used in the NIV means a promise made to God and not a response to God’s request.
As you can see, the New International Version is not the best version to use if you are interested in accuracy of translation. I still like it for easy reading, but for serious study I prefer to use more precise translations, such as the New King James Version, the American Standard Version, or the New American Standard Version.
F.H.A. Scrivener, Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Vol. I, p. 120. "... while we accord to Cod. B at least as much weight as to any single document in existence, we ought never to forget that it is but one out of many, several of them being nearly (and not quite as old, and in other respects not less worthy of confindence than itself. One marked feature, characteristic of this copy is the great number of its omissions, which has induced Dr. Dobbins to speak ofit as presenting 'an abbreviated text of the New Testament:' and certainly the facts he states on this point are startling enough. He calculates that Codex B leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 330 times in Matthew, 365 in Mark, 439 in Luke, 357 in John, 384 in Acts, 681 in the surviving Epistles; or 2,556 times in all. That no small proportion of these are mere oversights of the scribe seems evident from the circumstance that this same scribe has repeatedly written words and clauses twice over, a class of mistakes which Mai and the collators have seldom thought fit to notice, inasmuch as the false addition has not been retraced by the second hand, but which by no means enhances our estimate of the care employed in copying this venerable record of primitive Christianty."
Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM PhD, "AN EVALUATION OF THE W-H THEORY," The Identity of the New Testament Text II, p. 54. "I have quoted men like Zuntz, Clark and Colwell on the "Byzantine" text to show that modern scholars are prepared to reject the notion of a "Byzantine" recension, but the main lesson to be drawn from the variation among "Byzantine" MSS is the one noted by Lake and Burgon—they are orphans, independent witnesses; at least in their generation. The variation between two "Byzantine" MSS will be found to differ both in number and severity from that between two "Western" MSS or two "Alexandrian" MSS—the number and nature of the disagreements between two "Byzantine" MSS throughout the Gospels will seem trivial compared to the number (over 3,000) and nature (many serious) of the disagreements between Aleph and B, the chief "Alexandrian" MSS, in the same space."
Brian K. McPherson and Scott McPherson, "A Brief Examination of Manuscript Variation Issues". "More specifically, we can learn from the early church where the heretics who were altering the text were based geographically and the language they used to spread their false doctrine. When we study early church history we find that although Gnostic heretics did spread to other parts of the Roman (or Byzantine Roman) world, their origination and epicenter was Alexandria, Egypt Ð the very source location of the Alexandrian text type and of the most prominent Alexandrian texts. Early prominent Gnostic heretical leaders like Valentinus and Basilides were first active in Alexandria during the middle of the second century A.D.
In the twenty seventh chapter of his work Against Heresies, Book I, Irenaeus, a second century apologist, recorded the beliefs of the Gnostic heretic Marcion. In the fifth chapter of his third book, Tertullian, a Christian apologist who lived and wrote between approximately 160-230 A.D., records that Marcion tampered with the Biblical texts. As such Tertullian's testimony that Marcion deliberately altered the scriptural texts in a theologically consequential manner is informative of this practice among heretical leaders. Notice from the quote below that Marcion is not an isolated incident, but his followers are said to be "daily retouching" the New Testament texts.
"For if the (Gospels) of the apostles have come down to us in their integrity, whilst Luke's, which is received amongst us, so far accords with their rule as to be on a par with them in permanency of reception in the churches, it clearly follows that Luke's Gospel also has come down to us in like integrity until the sacrilegious treatment of Marcion. In short, when Marcion laid hands on it, it then became diverse and hostile to the Gospels of the apostles. I will therefore advise his followers, that they either change these Gospels, however late to do so, into a conformity with their own, whereby they may seem to be in agreement with the apostolic writings (for they are daily retouching their work, as daily they are convicted by us); or else that they blush for their master, who stands self-condemned either way - when once he hands on the truth of the gospel conscience smitten, or again subverts it by shameless tampering." - Tertullian, Book III Ch. V
(NOTE: The above passage from Tertullian is quoted from Tim Warner's article "Demise of the Westcott-Hort Theory.")
Similar accounts are provided by two the fourth century writers, Eusebius and Theodoret, concering the heretic Tatian. In the twenty eighth chapter of his work Against Heresies, Book I, Irenaeus, relates followed after the Gnostic beliefs of men like Marcion. And like his predecessor Marcion, Eusebius and Theodoret record that Tatian also altered the Biblical texts. Again, this information = demonstrates clearly the practice of early heretics to deliberately alter the scriptural texts in a doctrinally significant fashion.
"But their chief and founder, Tatianus, having formed a certain body and collection of Gospels, I know not how, has given this the title Diatessaron, that is the gospel by the four, or the gospel formed of the four; which is in the possession of some even now. It is also said that he dared to alter certain expressions of the Apostles, in order to correct the composition of thephrase." - Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History. pg. 166
"Tatian the Syrian...also composed the gospel which is called 'Diatessaron,' cutting out the geneologies and whatever other passages show that the Lord was born of the seed of David according to the flesh." - Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrrhus, Ante Nicene Fathers, Vol. IX, p. 37, 38
(NOTE: The above passages from Eusebius and Theodoret are quoted from Tim Warner's article "Demise of the Westcott-Hort Theory.")
In the quote below, Eusebius records that doctrinally significant text tampering was common practice of the Gnostic heretics. One of the men, Theodotus, was a disciple of the prominent second century Gnostic heretic Valentinus who founded the Gnostic school at Alexandria. Notice again from the quote below that Theodotus is not an isolated incident, but his followers are said to be "daily retouching" the New Testament texts.
"...Theodotus, the leader and father of this God-denying apostasy, as the first one that asserted that Christ was a mere man...The sacred Scriptures...have been boldly perverted by them; the rule of the ancient faith they have set aside, Christ they have renounced, not inquiring what the Holy Scriptures declared, but zealously laboring what form of reasoning may be devised to establish their impiety...But as to these men who abuse the acts of the unbelievers, to their own heretical views, and who adulterate the simplicity of that faith contained in the Holy Scriptures,...For this purpose they fearlessly lay their hands on the Holy Scriptures , saying that they have corrected them. And that I do not say this against them without foundation, whoever wishes may learn; for should any one collect and compare their copies one with another, he would find them greatly at variance among themselves. For the copies of Asclepiodotus will be found to differ from those of Theodotus. Copies of many you may find in abundance, altered, by the eagerness of their disciples to insert each one his own corrections, as they call them, i.e. their corruptions. Again the copies of Hermophilus do not agree with these, for those of Appollonius are not consistent with themselves. For one may compare those which were preparedbefore by them, with those which they afterwards perverted for their own objects, and you will find them widely differing....For either they do not believe that the Holy Scriptures were uttered by the Holy Spirit, and they are thus infidels, or they deem themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit, and what alternative is there but to pronounce them daemoniacs? For neither can they deny that they have been guilty of the daring act, when the copies were written with their own hand, nor did they receive such Scriptures from those by whom they were instructed in the elements of the faith; nor can they show copies from which they were transcribed." - Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Reprinted 1991. pp. 214-216
(NOTE: The above passage from Eusebius is quoted from Tim Warner's article "Demise of the
Westcott-Hort Theory.")
From the available historical records we have of the early church period we can see clearly that it was the common practice of the Alexandrian Gnostic heretics to alter the scriptural texts. We must also note from the quote from Eusebius that having no two copies alike is a hallmark of the Gnostic tampering. The fact that this inconsistency is also a hallmark of the Alexandrian text tradition is yet another indication that the variation present in the Alexandrian texts may be the result of Gnostic tampering."