Whether you are new to the area, just passing through or in need of a new church home... we welcome you to join us each Sunday at 9:00 am.
We are located in Fruitport Township, just minutes from the Lakes Mall area. Click here to contact us.
Did Jesus have siblings, brothers and/or sisters? Joseph and Mary's biological children? Answer: Scripture does not answer that precisely. While the word translated as “brothers” can have the meaning of “cousins,” it is likely half-brothers and sisters (children of Joseph and Mary) are referenced in Matthew 12:46; 13:55-56; Mark 3:31, and Luke 8:19. While the Bible teaches that Mary was a virgin who became pregnant with the Christchild through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38), there is nothing in Scripture to prohibit the idea of her having biological children with Joseph.Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.
I have read some of The Message and it seems to be written in a form easy to understand. However, when I compare it to another translation, such as the NIV, I can see the relationships, but it doesn't seem to capture the essence of traditional Scripture. I have seen a lot dealing with a watered down version of the Bible and how that seems to be a common thing among some denominations. The Message is one man's interpretation of God's Word. My main question: is this a good book to read and does it accurately represent the Word of God or is it something to stay away from? It begs the question whether this book is in violation of Revelation 22 verses 18 and 19. I have talked with other WELS members about this and I get varying responses, but mostly are against this book. I would like to see what WELS has to say on this matter. Answer: Do keep in mind that the following information is simply a personal assessment of The Message. WELS does not have an official list of recommended Bible translations.That being said, The Message is a paraphrase, not what would be understood as a translation. While a translation can contain the biases of the translators, that is even more true of a paraphrase: it is very easy for the person doing the paraphrasing to incorporate into the finished product ideas and shadings that reflect the person’s own faith. When we understand that The Message is a paraphrase by a (now retired) Presbyterian pastor, we will be interested in seeing if historic Presbyterian doctrines find their way into his paraphrase.And so, does his paraphrase indicate consistently that the Lord’s Supper is a holy meal in which Jesus’ body and blood are present in, with and under the bread and wine? He renders 1 Corinthians 11:26-27 (“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”) this way: “What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt. Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of?” I do not see the real presence of the Lord’s body and blood in that paraphrase.Again, thinking of historic Presbyterian doctrines, does his paraphrase indicate that people really can fall away from the faith? Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower teaches: “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away” (Luke 8:13). The Message turns the truth of that verse into this: “The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone.” “Enthusiasm?” “Fad?” Or faith?Beyond these two items, here are a couple of other concerns. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches beautifully that salvation, including the gift of faith that joins us to Jesus and brings us salvation, is entirely God’s doing. The Message says: “Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. [My emphasis] It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role.” Titus 3:5-6 “[God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” becomes “He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit.” Time constraints prevent me from sharing more examples where this paraphrase falls short of reliable translations.People using The Message will need to understand that it is a paraphrase—a retelling of what is in the original Bible languages from the viewpoint of the author. If it is going to be used, it is safest to have a reliable translation alongside it.Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.
Pastor Timothy J. Winkel
2651 Shettler Road
Muskegon, MI 49444
Telephone: 231 777 3011