columns from the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 3: Number 4, 1990.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
Christian Scientists David and Ginger Twitchell Convicted of Manslaughter in Boston.
The previous Christian Research Newsletter (Volume 3, Issue 3) noted that the controversial Boston trial of Christian Scientists David and Ginger Twitchell had just gotten underway. Two months later, the July 14, 1990 Los Angeles Times reports that the Twitchells "were convicted of manslaughter in Boston last week. They were found to have recklessly and wantonly caused the death of their 2 1/2-year-old son, Robyn, by relying solely on Christian Science spiritual healing to treat his five-day [bowel obstruction] illness."
The Christian Science Church saw the Twitchell case as a challenge to its religious rights. The Los Angeles Times reports that the case "has rekindled debate on whether the government should overrule religious beliefs that affect children." According to the July 6, 1990 Orange County Register, "Harvard law professor John Mansfield, an expert on church and state issues, says recent US Supreme Court cases reflect a trend away from protecting religious beliefs as the nation moves toward a more secular society."
During the trial, Mr. Twitchell gave five days of testimony. He said of his son: "if medicine could have saved him, I wish I had turned to it." According to the July 5, 1990 New York Times, Mr. Twitchell testified that "if Robyn had shown life-threatening symptoms despite treatment through prayer, he would have taken the boy to a hospital."
The jury of eight women and four men began deliberations on the afternoon of Monday, July 9, after hearing testimony from 33 witnesses over two months. The Twitchells were found guilty of manslaughter after more than 14 hours of deliberation. Medical experts applauded the verdict, saying it would help protect other children.
Special Prosecutor John Kiernan "recommended probation for the couple -- who could have received up to 20 years in prison -- and that their other children's health be monitored," according to The Orange County Register. Judge Sandra Hamlin of Suffolk County Superior Court followed the recommendation and sentenced the couple to 10 years probation. She ordered that their three remaining children have regular medical examinations.
The Church of Scientology Provides High-tech, Doomsday-Proof Protection for the Writings of L. Ron Hubbard.
The June 24, 1990 Los Angeles Times reports that Scientology is using state-of-the-art technology to preserve the writings of best-selling science-fiction author and Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. "The movement has spent more than $15 million to protect Hubbard's original writings, tape-recorded lectures and filmed treatises from natural and man-made calamities, including nuclear holocaust."
In charge of the preservation task is "the Church of Spiritual Technology." The organization has purchased land in New Mexico, Northern California, and the San Bernardino Mountains (east of Los Angeles) to store Hubbard's materials.
The Los Angeles Times reports that, "the New Mexico site has a 670-foot tunnel with two deep vaults at the end. The tunnel is protected with thick concrete and has four doors with 'maintenance-free lives of 1,000 years.' All this to house mere copies of the original works, which include 500,000 pages of Hubbard writings, 6,500 reels of tape and 42 films. The originals themselves are being kept under tight security on a sprawling Scientology complex near Lake Arrowhead [in the San Bernardinos]."
And how are the originals being preserved? "First, the original writings are chemically treated to rid the paper of acid that causes deterioration. Next, they are placed in plastic envelopes that church officials say will last 1,000 years.
From there, they are packaged in titanium 'time capsules' filled with argon gas to further aid preservation.
Hubbard's writings also are being etched onto stainless steel plates with a strong acid. Scientology officials said the plates are so durable that they can be sprayed with salt water for 1,000 years and not deteriorate.
As for Hubbard's taped lectures, they are being re-recorded onto special 'pure gold' compact discs encased in glass that, according to Scientology archivists, are 'designed to last at least 1,000 years with no deterioration of sound quality.'
Foreign Influence Grows in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church now has 6.2 million members worldwide, and has grown by about 40 percent over the last five years, according to the July 17, 1990 New York Times.
"According to church statistics, Adventism has grown by 1.8 million members since the church held its last world convention in 1985, although the rate of growth is much higher abroad than in the United States. In 1989, for example, there were 90 conversions to the faith each day in North America, while there were 361 a day in East Africa," the Times reports. F. Donald Yost, the denomination's director of archives and statistics, claims that conversions to Adventism abroad have been exceeding those in North America since 1922. Today, the article says, "only 12 percent of Adventists live in North America. About 30 percent live in Africa and 40 percent in Central and South America and the Caribbean."
An indication that foreign influence is growing as a controlling element within the sect is evident in the recent resolution not to ordain women. "At a 10-day convention at the Hoosier Dome that was attended by church members from 184 nations, delegates resoundingly rejected a resolution favored by members from the United States that women be ordained as full-fledged ministers," the Times reports. "That vote was the most striking sign that overseas Adventists hold increasing power in the church and are not afraid to use it."
Captain Herman Loris Kibble, an Adventist minister who is a Naval chaplain based in Oakland, California, commented about the resolution: "It's not only ironic but appalling that we can't ordain women when our leading founder was Mrs. White, someone we quote more than St. Peter or St. Paul."
The Reverend Mario Veloso, an Adventist official based in Brazil, responded: "But Mrs. White never accepted ordination. Instead, she followed the biblical pattern in which only men were ordained for service by God."
Unification Church's Global Assets Could Be as High as $2 Billion.
According to the May 30, 1990 Boston Herald, the business interests controlled by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church form a vast empire that "ranges from auto and weapon parts plants in South Korea to Lobster boats on Cape Ann and news outlets in Washington, D.C." Business analysts estimate that the total value of Moon's rapidly expanding empire may be as high as $2 billion. The Herald reports that "the money allows Moon to finance the expensive conferences and projects that are gaining him international clout, observers say."
Which Bible Translation Can You Trust?
We receive many inquiries at CRI concerning the inerrancy of the Bible -- especially in regard to the reliability of various English translations. Which Bible, we are asked, is inerrant (or without error)? The King James Version (KJV)? The Revised Standard Version (RSV)? The New American Standard Bible (NASB)? The New International Version (NIV)? Or some other translation? To answer this question, let us consider the following points.
First, no single English Bible is "inerrant" in the technical strictest sense of the term. The various English versions are simply translations of manuscript copies of the original inerrant documents that were penned by the biblical writers under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The original texts penned by the biblical writers in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek -- which we call "the original autographs" -- are the only documents that are absolutely "inerrant."
The problem is, we don't have the original autographs (all of which were written prior to the second century A.D.). All we have are manuscript copies (also written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) of the original autographs. And every translation since that time (English or otherwise) has relied on the particular manuscript copies that were available at the time the translators did their work.
Now, here's an important point: the manuscript copies that were available at the time the KJV was translated in A.D. 1611 have been dated as originating in the tenth century A.D. and later. Since the publication of the KJV, whole manuscript copies that date back to the fourth century, and partial manuscript copies dating back to the early second century, have been discovered. Since there copies are closer to the time the original autographs were written, most scholars believe they are more accurate than those used in translating the KJV (though, for the most part, differences between the two sets of manuscript copies are inconsequential).
Second, no Bible claims to be the inerrant English translation. A quick reading through any Bible will indicate that variant readings are offered in many verses where the translators were unsure of the original rendering. In the KJV, for example, questionable words and phrases were placed in italics. Simply put, there were verses in which the King James translators were unsure (by their own admission) of the correct rendering. It is therefore absurd to claim that the KJV is "the only Bible sanctioned by God." If the KJV is the only inspired, inerrant version of the Bible from God to man, then what was the inspired, inerrant Bible before the KJV was published in 1611?
Third, despite the above, we need to stress that no essential doctrine of the faith is compromised or denied in any of the standard translations -- including the KJV. All of the versions maintain high integrity with respect to the Greek text on which they are based. All of the translations uphold the deity of Christ, the Trinity, the bodily resurrection, salvation by grace through faith, and the vicarious atonement of Christ.
Fourth, we must emphasize that the various manuscript copies are not in great opposition to one another. In over 90 percent of the New Testament, for example, manuscript readings are practically identical, word for word. Of the remaining ten percent, most textual differences are irrelevant -- such as differences in punctuation, minor misspellings, switched words ("Christ Jesus" instead of "Jesus Christ"), and so forth.
Fifth, in view of the above, we can rest assured that the Greek and Hebrew manuscript copies we possess today are essentially the text that was originally penned by the biblical authors. Even though we do not have the original autographs, we do have enough manuscripts (over 5,000 Greek manuscripts alone) that -- by comparing them to each other -- we can be reasonably sure of what the original autographs said. Hence, we can be confident that our English translations are reliable and accurate versions of the inerrant Word of God.
We realize this is a sensitive subject with many people. It can easily be perceived that one is denying the authority and inspiration of the Bible when making these important distinctions. We must be careful, however, to state the facts clearly.
Which translation is the best? There are many good English translations available today. In order to study the Scriptures without the benefit of knowing Greek and Hebrew, perhaps it is best to use two or three English Bibles together -- such as the KJV, the NASB, and the NIV. CRI does not advocate ridding the pews of KJVs, nor do we suggest that any one translation should be used to the exclusion of all others. Again, no Christian will be led into doctrinal error by using any of the English translations mentioned above. And, although the KJV is probably based on slightly inferior manuscripts, no doctrine of the Christian faith nor Christian practice is compromised in it. Contact CRI for more information.
CRI Brazil's Expanding Radio Outreach
Brazil is a vast land, covering some 3.2 million square miles -- roughly the size of the continental U.S. with an extra Texas thrown in. How can a relatively small ministry reach out and equip over ten million evangelicals in such an immense nation?
The answer: Radio.
We talked with CRI Brazil's director, Paulo Romeiro, to find out more about the ministry's blossoming radio strategy.
Newsletter: Tell us about your radio outreach.
Romeiro: We are very excited about what God is doing. The cults are ravaging the people of Brazil, and most Christians here are unprepared and ill-equipped to defend their beliefs and share the gospel with someone from a false religion. CRI is the only ministry with the information they need, and we must take it to as many believers as possible.
Even though CRI is based in Sao Paulo (Brazil's largest city) and impacts Rio de Janeiro and many other state capitals, we desire to reach the entire country with sound doctrine and to expose the false teachings of the cults. And God has provided the means for us to do this.
Our program is called "Defesa da Fe" -- in English, "Defense of the Faith." In May, we began a daily program on Radio Esperanca, an AM station in Porto Alegre (our southernmost capital) where we're now the second highest-rated program on the station -- after only a short time.
Since June, we have been reaching all of Brazil through shortwave radio.
Newsletter: Tell us more.
Romeiro: "Defesa da Fe" can now be heard all across Brazil, Monday through Friday, on Radio Guaruja -- a shortwave station that's picked up even in neighboring countries like Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile.
We're also on another small station in the Sao Paulo area. By faith, we see it as the "tip of the iceberg" -- the beginning of something much larger.
Newsletter: What are some of the topics you've covered recently?
Romeiro: Natanael Rinaldi (our Senior Researcher) and I have dealt with the Jehovah's Witnesses, spiritism, Transcendental Meditation, Buddhism, and aberrational Christian groups like the Local Church.
We will soon be interviewing special guests on the Children of God cult, as well as having some programs on Mormonism.
We can serve our listeners best by staying very current, and if something about a particular cult appears in a major magazine or newspaper, or on television, we make an effort to deal with that.
Newsletter: How's the response from your listeners?
Romeiro: Awesome. We've seen a substantial increase in our mail. People from all parts of Brazil are writing in and saying, "this is the program we've been waiting for!" People often express concern about family members in the cults, or say that they've been personally harassed by the cults. These letters are full of questions, and the people have nowhere else to turn. Brazilian Christians are easily deceived because of their limited knowledge of the Word of God.
This program is badly needed. We are very concerned now about the spread of the "positive confession" or "faith" teaching here through TV teachers from Rhema and TBN.
Newsletter: What's your next step?
Romeiro: There's an important project we've been working on for several years now. In October, we'll begin a half-hour national program that will be broadcast twice a week on TransWorld Radio. Some of it has been prepared as a structured course on the cults, complete with study notes and bibliographies, and we're very excited about it. In this way, we can raise up an army of believers who are "studying to show themselves approved" and winning cultists to Christ. These programs may also be broadcast in Africa.
Our dream is that one day we will be able to do a live, call-in program like "The Bible Answer Man" in the U.S. For now, we would like prayer that we could begin broadcasting on another national shortwave station, Radio Morada do Sol. It's the best station we could be on, but it would cost $5,000 per month.
Newsletter: Any plans for a Spanish-language broadcast?
Romeiro: We can always pray for one! I'm fluent in Spanish, and we're hoping that the doors will open in the future. We just received an invitation to minister in Lima, Peru -- and this is not the first.
We must find a way to reach all of Latin America.
International Fund Established
CRI has established a special account for those who would like to contribute to its overall international outreach. Current projects include sending the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL and other materials to seminaries and Christian leaders in Eastern Europe and the Third World, as well as the preparation of special literature to warn believers about the advance of the cults in former communist nations. Now you can take part in this outreach by designating your gifts to CRI toward that end.
End of document, CRN0022A.TXT (original CRI file name), "Research Notes" and "International" release A, June 30, 1994 R. Poll, CRI
A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.
Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute.
If you desire to reproduce less than 500 words of this data file
for resale or the enhancement of any other product for resale,
please give the following source credit: Copyright 1994 by the
Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa
Margarita, CA 92688-7000.
This data file is the sole property of the Christian Research Institute. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice (i.e., "Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute"). This data file may not be used without the permission of the Christian Research Institute for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold. This includes all of its content with the exception of a few brief quotations not to exceed more than 500 words.
If you desire to reproduce less than 500 words of this data file for resale or the enhancement of any other product for resale, please give the following source credit: Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000.
P.O. Box 7000
Rancho Santa Margarita
Visit CRI International Official Web Site: