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Vol. 5, No. 8
Aug., 1996

Feminism and Femininity

by Glenn Conjurske

Femininity is the woman's nature, as God created it. Feminism is a movement which seeks to stand for the woman's rights, or to redress her wrongs, and this it generally does by seeking for her a place of equality with the man. Yet all who understand the nature of these two things----feminism and femininity----know very well that they stand in direct contradiction to each other. Feminism is a direct contradiction of femininity.

All of this was brought forcibly to my mind in a recent conversation. I was speaking of the fact that among the many couples which I knew at Bible school, there were a number of very short girls who married very tall men. A rather tall girl remarked, “That isn't fair to the tall girls.”

But hold. What need has a tall girl to marry a tall man? What difference does this make? A man of six feet may marry a woman of five feet, and be perfectly satisfied in it. Why cannot a woman of six feet marry a man of five feet?

Ah, her nature forbids it. The woman not only is, but needs to be “the weaker vessel.” She is so by God's design and creation, and to depart from this is to go against her own nature. Her nature requires a man who is above her----a man to look up to, a man to lean upon. While feminism seeks independence, femininity seeks dependence----needs dependence, finds its happiness and fulfillment in dependence----and, of course, in dependence upon a man.

Therefore----as the whole world knows----a woman wants a man as tall as she is, and preferably taller. She naturally shuns a man shorter than herself, as a man naturally shuns a woman taller than himself. She is naturally inclined to marry a man taller than herself, as women are also generally inclined to marry men older than themselves. All of this belongs to nature, and the God of nature has accommodated the needs of nature, for he has created the men of every race generally taller than the women. The marriage of a tall woman and a short man universally elicits attention and remark. The taller a woman is, the taller the man she must have, and so the fewer the men upon the earth who can satisfy the wants of her nature. Thus she feels instinctively that it is not fair for the short girls to take up the tall men----for they have no need of them.

This much is obvious, for it is an outward thing which meets the eye, but the matter goes much deeper. The physical stature may actually be the least important part of the matter. A woman may even be drawn to a man who is a little shorter than she is, if he is enough above her in other respects----though she may not be inclined to stand straight and tall when she is married to him. Feminine nature seeks a man who is bigger and stronger and taller, but it most certainly cannot be satisfied with the mere physical superiority of the man. A woman wants a man who is above her in general. Thus, the more intelligent she is, the more refined, the more spiritual, the fewer the men there will be on the earth who can satisfy the needs of her nature. All of this belongs to feminine nature as God created it. The woman who rebels against this rebels not only against God, but against her own happiness.

Why then do women embrace feminism? Why do those whose happiness depends upon dependence seek independence? For the same reason that men, whose happiness depends upon dependence upon God, seek independence from him. They have been indoctrinated by Satan. The father of lies promises happiness where there is none to be found, and so lures men from the only place of happiness, in submission to God. The same devil lures women away from their own happiness in promising them equality with men. They believe his lies, and so pursue their own unhappiness. Yet still they will marry taller men, for though the devil has lured them from their place, he cannot obliterate their nature. The place which they assume cannot satisfy the nature which God has given them. Femininity is of God, feminism of the devil, and the two never can agree.


The Translation of the Aorist Tense

by Glenn Conjurske

When we read the old English version, we find the verb tenses, generally, to read very naturally. When we read the new versions, we find them often unnatural, sounding strange to English ears. This is especially true of the renderings of the Greek aorist tense. Yet the makers and advocates of the modern versions will defend these strange renderings on the plea that they are more accurate----a plea which I absolutely deny, and which I intend herein to disprove, to the satsifaction of anyone who knows English. And while I am at it, I intend to give an ocular demonstration of what modern scholarship is actually worth. Its first axiom is that all of our forefathers were in the dark, and it takes for granted that the old Bible version is everywhere inaccurate and inferior. Just the reverse is true, say I. The renderings of the verb tenses in the old version display real scholarship, while the departures from those renderings in the “New” versions display only ignorance.

But before proceeding to my task, I must beg those who do not know Greek to stay with me. It is they who need the instruction offered herein, and I intend to make the whole of it plain enough to anyone who knows English.

Before we undertake to translate the Greek tenses into English, it is our business to understand the tenses in both languages. To one who does not understand the tenses, the renderings of some of the modern Bibles will appear strange and unnatural, no doubt, but if he is impressed with the learning of “the scholars,” he will most likely take that unnaturalness as the badge of scholarship. That bubble I intend to burst. To anyone who understands the tenses in both Greek and English, the wooden renderings of the modern Bibles will appear as mere ignorance and incompetence.

Now then, the aorist tense is the indefinite tense. The word “aorist” is a Greek word, ajovristo" (aoristos), which means undefined or undefinable. The word oJristov" (horistos) is defined by Liddell and Scott as definable. The prefixed alpha (in aj-ovristo") is equivalent to the prefixed “un-” or “in-” in English. Liddell and Scott therefore define “aorist” (ajovristo") as “without boundaries, undefined or undefinable, indefinite, indeterminate,” informing us also that it is used of “an indefinite noun” and “the aorist tense.” The aorist tense, then, is the indefinite tense----the tense which expresses indefinite time. What that means I shall make perfectly plain as I proceed. Suffice it to say that the old English Bible----the King James Version----generally rendered the Greek aorist tense as indefinite in English, while the modern revisions, especially the Revised Version and the New American Standard Version, have made it their priniciple to make the aorist tense definite. They have not consistently carried out that principle, for to do so would have made nonsense of the Scriptures, but----as in other particulars also----they have followed their false principle wherever they could do so without making nonsense, and so, without making nonsense, they have made a wrong sense, where the old version gave the right one.

Now if we have an indefinite tense in English, it goes without saying that we ought to use it to express the indefinite tense of the Greek. The only question is, Do we have an indefinite tense in English? To be sure we do. Do not ask me what it is called. I do not study grammar books, but I do study English, and anyone who can speak English knows instinctively that English has an indefinite tense. We all learned to use it before we went to kindergarten, though we may never have learned what to call it.

But what is it? The English indefinite tense is the past tense of the verb, aided by the auxiliary verb “have” or “has”----or “is” and its cognates in a more archaic form, common in the King James Version. To use the past tense without the auxiliary “have” expresses definite time. To introduce the word “have” makes the time indefinite. Thus:

“I have studied Greek.” The time is indefinite. The sentence says nothing about when I studied Greek. It states only the fact that I have done so, somewhere in the indefinite and undefined past.

But drop the word “have,” and all is changed. “I studied Greek.” The sentence standing thus is incomplete and un-English. The simple past tense expresses definite time, and the sentence standing thus leaves every English ear in suspense, in expectation. It calls aloud for the specification of time. To complete the thought we must have “I studied Greek at college,” or “when I was young,” or “last year,” or “when I was in Germany,” or something which makes the time definite and specific. But to say “I have studied Greek” leaves the time entirely undefined, and leaves us in no suspense for the defining of the time. Yet again, to say, “I have studied Greek last year” is a manifest mistake. The sentence is not English, and is such as none but an ignoramus would ever speak. It is mixing definite and indefinite time.

“The Comforter came” is definite, and so unfinished as it stands. It requires some specification of time, such as “on the day of Pentecost,” to complete the thought. “The Comforter has come”----or “is come” in an excellent form which has unfortunately dropped out of common use----is indefinite, and states the abiding fact, without reference to any specific occasion or historic event.

This is the common usage of the English people, and it is precisely this which is set at defiance by the modern Bible versions. That there are apparent exceptions to this usage I grant, while I yet contend that many of those exceptions will prove upon scrutiny to be more apparent than real. That there may be real exceptions also, I would not pretend to deny. There are also undoubtedly many sentences which we might speak either with or without the auxiliary “have,” depending upon whether we intend to express definite or indefinite time. When the auxiliary “have” is not used, the time must be either expressed in the sentence or the context, or it must be understood by the context, or from the nature of the case.

So we may say either “God created man” or “God has created man,” but the two do not mean the same thing. The latter is indefinite, and merely states the fact. The former is definite, and implies a specific time. That specific time need not be explicitly stated, for it is universally understood. When time is explicitly specified, as “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” we then must use the simple past tense, “God created.” To say “In the beginning God has created the heavens and the earth” is manifestly wrong. It is not English. It is mixing definite and indefinite time, and is such a solecism as a little child would hardly commit.

Now the translators of the old English Bibles apparently understood the properties of the indefinite tense in both Greek and English, and they commonly rendered the Greek aorist with an auxiliary “have” or “hast” (and sometimes “is” or “am”) in English. So it ordinarily appears in the King James Version. Well, but knowledge has no doubt increased since the making of the old version. Unfortunately, wisdom has not increased with it, but just the reverse. Men may know more facts than they used to, but they have less understanding of the significance of those facts. Knowledge puffs up, and about the middle of the nineteenth century an intellectual scholarship began to prevail, the primary characteristic of which was pride of present attainment, accompanied with an impatience of everything which belonged to the past. Under the delusion that the human race had at last arrived, old landmarks were recklessly overturned. That which was formerly held sacred was presumed to be deficient or defective, because, perforce, it was not the product of “modern scholarship.” This spirit prevailed in textual criticism, in Bible interpretation, and in Bible translation. Its operation was deleterious in all fields, for that intellectual scholarship possessed but little of spirituality, nor was it half so competent as it was confident. Hasty and ill-formed conclusions and principles gained ready acceptance everywhere, if they but overturned received or traditional standards.

With such a spirit prevailing, it is little wonder that the old method of translating the Greek aorist fell into disrepute, and when the clamor arose about the middle of the nineteenth century for a revision of the Bible, one of the most often heard objections against the old Bible concerned its rendering of the aorist tense.

R. C. Trench complained of the old version in 1858, “Aorists are rendered as if they were perfects; and perfects as if they were aorists. Thus we have an example of the first, Luke i.19, where ajpestavlhn [aorist] is translated as though it were ajpevstalmai [perfect], `I am sent,' instead of `I was sent.' Gabriel contemplates his mission, not at the moment of its present fulfilment, but from that of his first sending forth from the presence of God.” Just the contrary, say I. Trench explicitly refers the aorist to definite time, and insists upon rendering it as definite in English. This is wrong. The old version is right. Trench continues, “Another example of the same occurs at 2 Pet. i.14: `Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.' By this `hath shewed me,' we lose altogether the special allusion to an historic moment in the Apostle's life, which would at once come out if ejdhvlwsev moi had been rendered, `shewed me.”' But again, this is exactly wrong. So far from any “allusion to an historic moment” in Peter's life, the aorist tense exactly excludes any such allusion. The word “aorist” means “indefinite”----“undefined”----and “hath shewed,” which the old version has, is exactly right.

On the eve of the revision, in detailing the supposed faults of the old version, J. B. Lightfoot wrote, “Under the head of faulty grammar, the tenses deserve to be considered first. And here I will begin with the defect on which I have already touched----the confusion of the aorist and the perfect.” By the confusion of the aorist and the perfect he refers primarily to the use of the auxiliary “have” in the rendering of the aorist. In the midst of many examples which he gives, he says, “If I read S. Paul aright, the correct understanding of whole paragraphs depends on the retention of the aoristic sense, and the substitution of a perfect [with an auxiliary `have'] confuses his meaning, obliterating the main idea and introducing other conceptions which are alien to the passages.” So say I also, but maintain that the a-oristic sense is precisely the non-definite sense. The old version did retain the aoristic sense, while the new versions have introduced the confusion, by introducing definite time into the indefinite tense. I suggest also that these “scholars” would not have been so quick to adopt a principle so obviously false, if they had not been so determined to prove the old version defective.

As for what Lightfoot calls the “confusion” of the aorist and perfect tenses, there is more of pedantry than of wisdom or scholarship in this. It is true that we must often translate the Greek perfect with an auxiliary “have” in English, but this nothing alters the fact that this is also the proper English rendition of the Greek aorist.

After the publication of the Revised Version, B. F. Westcott chimed in with the same story, saying, “The force of the aorist, which answers, in the main, to the simple past tense in English, will come before us in other connections. One or two examples will direct the English reader to consider the effect which it has in giving precision to a fact or thought.

“When the wise men ask, `Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we saw (ei[domen) His star in the east,' they place their conviction of the Divine birth in immediate connection with a sign which had been granted to them. So the unfaithful disciples appeal to a past which rises sharply before them when they say, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by Thy name, and by Thy name cast out devils?”'

But again, all of this is exactly wrong, and the King James Version exactly right. As for the wise men, “in the east” may imply a definite time to English thought, and therefore “we saw his star” may pass, but the old version's “we have seen his star” exactly represents the Greek aorist. And Westcott fails to inform us that “is born” is also aorist (though a participle), yet for that the revisers retain the rendering of the old version. Why did they not alter this to “was born”?

“Did we not prophecy” might pass in English, for the definite time “during our lifetime” may be understood, but this is not the meaning of the Greek. The aorist sets forth their general or habitual course, and no particular event. It is precisely the province of the aorist tense to denote habitual or characteristic action, with no reference at all to any particular act or occasion. “Have we not prophesied in thy name? Have we not cast out demons?” This is the voice of “many.” “Have we not prophesied in thy name?” Any particular event or occasion is absolutely out of the question. But this constant use of the simple past tense in English, to denote action which is obviously and necessarily habitual, compels us to wonder whether these revisers knew English any better than they did Greek. They appear to be as unaware that the simple past tense in English denotes definite time, as they are that the Greek aorist describes habitual action. Whatever the case, they have certainly put forth versions which are inferior to that which they thought to replace.

But I proceed to demonstrate the true sense of the aorist tense, by actual examples from the New Testament. I will of course give the examples in English, but assure the reader that the italicized words are rendered from the aorist tense in the Greek.

John 7:31----“When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?” It is self-evident that the time is undefined here. There is no reference to “a point of action in the past time,” as modern ignorance defines the aorist tense, but a simple statement of the general fact, without specifying any particular time, event, or occasion. To try to introduce defined or specific time here would make confusion indeed, for Christ's performing of miracles was habitual, and not confined to any particular occasion. To say “these signs which this man did,” as though it referred to some particular occasion, is to leave the English mind either confused or insulted. And yet we actually find “did” here in the Nestle-Marshall interlinear translation, and in Young's so-called “Literal Translation”----which is not a literal translation, but which is one of the fountainheads of the unsound intellectual scholarship of modern times.

II Tim. 4:14----“Alexander the coppersmith hath done me much evil, ...of whom be thou ware also,” denoting his habitual activities, and not a particular occasion. Even the King James Version errs here (followed by all others), with “Alexander did me much evil.” It is right in the next verse, however, with “he hath greatly resisted our words.” But this the RV and the NASV wrongly abandon, for the simple past tense.

John 15:9----“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” In the nature of the case such a statement cannot refer to any particular time or specific occasion. It states the abiding fact, which is as true in the present as it has been in the past. The time is, and must be, undefined----that is, aorist. Yet even here we read in Young's Literal Translation, “According as the Father did love me, I also loved you,” and the Nestle-Marshall interlinear gives us “loved” in both places. These two translators have at any rate the virtue of consistency. Most of the modern translations adopt the same false principle, that the aorist is equivalent to the simple past, but they are rather shy of consistently applying it, for it makes for a translation which must continually either confuse or offend English ears. Young was no doubt well aware of this, and therefore very often substituted “did” for “have” as an auxiliary. The presence of any auxiliary, where the English calls aloud for “have,” tends to reduce the harshness of the version, and it is no doubt for this purpose that Young so constantly employs “did” in the rendering of the aorist. Yet the sense which he gives remains false, for “did” is the simple past tense, and the insertion of it nothing alters the wrong sense which the simple past gives to the Greek aorist.

Luke 1:46-47----“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify [present] the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced [aorist] in God my Saviour.” To say “My spirit rejoiced in God my Saviour----besides being bald, unnatural, and un-English----is plainly wrong. This is no reference to any historical event, but to a characteristic fact, and the time is necessarily general and undefined. The whole Magnificat follows, with a full array of aorist tenses, all of them designating facts which are general, habitual, or characteristic, and certainly not definite occasions or specific events, so that we would strike much nearer the truth to translate them all by the simple present tense, than to use the simple past. Yet Young's Literal Translation must dutifully pervert these aorists, giving us “He looked on the lowliness of His maid-servant----He scattered abroad the proud----He brought down the mighty----He exalted the lowly----The hungry He did fill with good,” thus destroying both the properties of English and the meaning of the Greek. All of these are exactly wrong, while the King James Version is exactly right. I note also that the frequent use of the aorist in conjunction with the present tense (as “doth magnify” and “hath rejoiced”), or present adverbs, disallows the idea of any reference to historical events, or to any specific time. For this reason there are examples enough where it is quite legitimate----or even necessary----to translate the Greek aorist by an English present, for the time is entirely undefined, and the fact stated habitual, or characteristic, and always true. Thus:

Matthew 3:17----“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This statement, with slight variations, appears six times in the New Testament, and the tense is always aorist. It states a fact, which cannot refer to any defined or specific time. Those who regard the Greek aorist as equivalent to the simple past in English must of course regard this case as an exception, but it must remain a puzzling exception, for which they can give no satisfactory account. Some of them have wrestled with it, endeavoring to turn it into what they regard as an aorist, but with little success. Young's “in whom I did delight” is plainly wrong, for there can be no reference whatever here to time either past or definite. Marshall's “I was well pleased” is also plainly wrong. Darby's “in whom I have found my delight” displays some ingenuity, but it is entirely a work of supererogation. He unnecessarily thrusts the time into the past, and he is yet obliged to make it indefinite, by the use of the auxiliary “have.” And “have found” implies a beginning, which cannot be right----unless Darby means to apply the statement solely to the manhood of Christ. Most of the modern versions have simply yielded to the plain necessity of the case, and rendered the aorist as a present, though they must abandon their principle to do so, and cannot tell why they must.

John 13:31----“Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” This the Revised Version, the New American Standard Version, and the New King James Version are all obliged to retain, in spite of their false notions concerning the aorist. Yet both RV and NASV give us “was” in the margin, indicating what damage they would do to the passage, were they not deterred by the word “now.” Young's Literal Translation has no such scruples about murdering the English tongue, and so dutifully renders, “Now was the Son of Man glorified, and God was glorified in him.”

Matt. 22:2----“The kingdom of heaven is likened to a certain king,” which the RV is obliged to retain, though Young dutifully presents us with “was likened,” and the NKJV and NASV, determined always to abandon the old version, though the changes introduced are needless and useless, give us “is like” and “may be compared to”----both in the present tense.

Luke 14:18-20----“I have bought a piece of ground----I have bought five yoke of oxen----I have married a wife.” The time in all of these is obviously indefinite, and the new versions yield to the force of necessity, and retain the rendering of the old one.

Matt. 3:7----“Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” The bald “who warned you” of the RV and NASV robs the aorist of its undefined time, and implies some particular occasion, when they were all warned at once. It is wrong, and the old version right.

I John 2:18----“Ye have heard that antichrist shall come.” They may have heard this individually at a hundred different times, yet the RV and the NASV pervert the aorist to “ye heard,” as though the apostle had some specific event or occasion in mind. The old version is right, the new ones wrong. And in I John 2:24 the NASV and the NKJV conspire together to undo both the Greek and the English, with their twice repeated “you heard from the beginning.” “From the beginning” is as necessarily indefinite as “in the beginning” is definite, and it calls aloud for “have heard” in English. The Greek aorist calls for the same. Kenneth Wuest (of course, and as usual) mistranslates the aorist in the same way in Galatians 1:13, rendering, “you heard of my manner of life aforetime in Judaism,” against even the RV, which there retains the auxiliary “have.”

I Cor. 1:27----“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world..., and God hath chosen the weak things of the world..., and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen.” These----along with “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world?” (James 2:5)----are all statements of general fact. So far as we might suppose them to contain any reference at all to historic events, that reference can only be to the habitual, characteristic, or general acting of God, and the nature of the statements themselves excludes any reference to anything specific. Such statements of general fact or habitual action amount in essence to statements of principles----changeless and abiding principles, which are above and independent of particular events. The principle enunciated here is that God chooses the poor, that he chooses the foolish and the weak and the base and the despised. Yet the RV manifests its ignorance of both Greek and English by rendering “God chose the foolish things..., and God chose the weak things,” etc. In this place the NASV does not follow suit----it being in general much less consistent than the RV in applying its false principle.

I Cor. 2:9-10----“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us.” Could anything be more obviously general and indefinite? Yet the RV turns them all to the simple past tense, making stilted English, and falsifying the meaning of the Greek.

James 2:6----“Ye have despised the poor.” A dash of common sense, I should suppose, would make it clear enough that this is habitual or characteristic action. It describes their general course, and not some particular incident. Hence “have despised” is exactly right, so far as the tense is concerned. Yet Marshall gives us “ye dishonoured the poor man,” and Young's Literal Translation, “ye did dishonour the poor one.” I should remark that in the rendering of the aorist tense Marshall's interlinear and Young's Literal Translation are by far the worst of any which I have consulted. But observe, they are bad precisely because they are consistent. The other modern versions, while adhering to the same false principle, had less of the courage of their convictions, and so more often yielded to common sense or plain necessity, and deserted the principle which produced the unnatural jargon of Young and Marshall.

James 5:4----“the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields.” This is an aorist participle, expressing indefinite time. The King James Version is exactly right, while RV, NASV, and NKJV all give us the bald, unnatural, and incorrect “who mowed your fields.” Yet in the next verse they all follow the old version in the correct rendering of the aorist, for “Ye lived in pleasure..., and were wanton..., ye nourished your hearts,” would have been too bald and unnatural to endure. But again, in the tenth verse all three of them are back to the wrong way, replacing the correct rendering of the old version, “the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord,” with the unnatural and incorrect “the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord,” (so NASV and NKJV; “spake” in RV), as though this referred to some historic event or particular occasion. Yet it is perfectly plain that this speaking denotes a long course of prophetic utterance, and no single event or occurrence, such as the simple past tense would suggest. But these modern translators seem as unaware of the sense of the English tense as they are of the Greek.

Romans 10:16 & 18----“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? ... But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound has gone into all the earth.” Here, it will be observed, even the King James Version is wrong in the last instance, having “went” for “has gone.” Yet it is perfectly plain that there is no reference whatsoever to any specific time here, but all is general, habitual, and characteristic. Common sense would require this, regardless of Greek. Even the “New” versions have yielded to the force of it, and replaced the old version's “went” with “has gone.” Not so the old RV, which used the simple past in all of these instances.

Well, but are there not exceptions to all of this? To be sure there are, and those who know anything of the Greek Testament, and who are disposed to dispute my claims, have no doubt found exceptions enough already to disallow my rule altogether. To this I will say, if I cannot give a satsifactory account of those exceptions, then let my rule be disallowed. But bear in mind, those who adopt the opposite rule, holding the Greek aorist to be equivalent to the simple past in English, must wrestle with exceptions also, a great host of them in fact, and they can give no satisfactory account of their exceptions. As a matter of course they must continually abandon their principle in practice, and yet cannot explain why they must.

Now there are two sorts of exceptions to the principle which I advocate. There are real exceptions, and exceptions which are only apparent. The real exceptions consist of a great host of examples in which the aorist is used in historical narrative. The tense of historical narrative in English is the simple past, for, to English thought at least, the time is always definite in historical narrative. But----for reasons which I cannot pretend to divine----it is otherwise in the Greek. Whether the Greek thought is different from the English, or whether this is an improper usage of the aorist tense, I am unable to say, but it is a certain fact that the aorist tense is the tense of narrative in Greek. Not that Greek uses the aorist alone for this purpose. It frequently employs the present, as English does also----though this is usually regarded as slang or improper in English. Occasionally the Greek uses the perfect tense in narrative, and we might suppose the perfect the proper tense for the purpose, for the perfect is the definite tense in Greek. We may see an example of both in John 1:15, where we read, “John testifies [present] concerning him, and cried [perfect], saying, This it was of whom I spoke,” etc. Both the present and the perfect here are quite properly rendered by the simple past in English, for the simple past is our tense for narrative. To endeavor to thrust “has cried” into this setting would be a palpable blunder.

The aorist, however, is the usual tense of narrative in Greek, and since narrative occupies so large a portion of the New Testament, this no doubt accounts for the majority of the appearances of the aorist tense. It may be this fact which has blinded modern scholarship to the true sense of the aorist. But regardless of the number of examples, the use of the aorist in narrative is certainly an exception----a real departure from the proper meaning of the tense. Thus in the only sound thing which I remember to have seen on the aorist tense----not that I have read much on it----Weymouth says, “In short the one and only use in which our Simple Past is equivalent to the Aorist is its use in narrative as a Past Definite.”

There are also numerous apparent exceptions, examples in which the indefinite tense in Greek may be very properly translated by the definite----the simple past----in English. “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son.” Both of these are aorist----indefinite, that is----in the Greek. How is it that we properly translate them as definite in English? This question may perhaps be best answered by another: How is it that we can translate them as definite in English? The answer is very simple:

There are certain historical events which----in English thought at least----are always definite in time. Such are the creation, the incarnation, and the crucifixion. We may therefore say almost indifferently, “God created man,” or “God has created man.” Or----“Christ died for our sins,” or “Christ has died for our sins.” Nevertheless, in cases of this nature, the thought of a definite historical event so pervades the English way of thinking that it seems generally more natural to say, “Christ died for us,” than “Christ has died for us.” Yet the two do not mean precisely the same thing, nor can anything in the English way of thinking in any way affect the meaning of the Greek aorist. It is proper enough in English to say, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,” but this does not change the fact that in Greek the meaning is more strictly “God has so loved the world that he has given his only-begotten Son”----referring to the characteristic facts rather than to any historical events. God's loving the world is not a historical event, but an unchanging fact, yet the thought of the historical event so prevails in the English mind as to make it quite legitimate, and perhaps more natural, to translate the aorist here as a simple past. Not that it is necessary to do so. In II Thes. 2:16 we have the same two words in the same (aorist) tense, and read quite rightly in the English Bible, “God, even our Father, who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation.” Here there is no clear reference to any definite historical event, as God's giving of his Son, and thus the aorist in Greek may naturally remain indefinite in English.

But again, in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life.” This----or “have come”----is the correct rendering of the aorist, yet the RV and the NASV must alter it to “I came.” This illustrates their principle, which is to render the aorist by the simple past wherever the English will allow it----that is, wherever they may so render without making nonsense. The English may allow a simple past here, because the coming of Christ is a familiar historical event, and yet such a rendering alters the sense of the Greek.

We may grant too that there are places where it is purely a matter of interpretation whether the aorist is intended as a historical definite, or an aorist in the proper sense, and in such cases we may translate either way with no violence to either the Greek or the English.

We grant further that there are many places where, regardless of the meaning of the Greek, it is practically indifferent which tense we use in English. Such are the cases, for example, where the time is specified, and yet indefinite----as it is when we employ such words as “ever” or “always.” It is nearly indifferent in English whether we say, “This is the best book he ever wrote,” or “the best book he has ever written.” Yet this indifference in English determines nothing of Greek usage. And even in English, if the writer is dead, we must have “wrote,” for then the thought of a definite period, now ended, prevails.

So again, in Hebrews 1:1. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers.” I have insisted above that the time is indefinite in James 5:10, where we read of “the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord,” and I equally insist that the aorist tense indicates indefinite time here also. Yet by some peculiarity of English thought, the specifying of that indefinite time----“at sundry times . . . in time past”----calls naturally for the use of the definite tense. There is, of course, no danger of its being misunderstood to refer to any specific occasion.

No doubt hundreds of further examples could be given of both the rule and the exceptions, and some of them probably more convincing than the ones which I have used----for I have spent but little time hunting for them----but I must have done. I wish only to turn further to a couple of important doctrinal passages, where the mistranslation of the aorist tense has been much insisted upon in order to establish doctrine which is false.

And first, in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned.” I hope by this time that I have abundantly proved that this is the correct, and the only correct, rendering of the Greek aorist. Most of the versions translate this correctly----except that the NASV gives “all sinned” in the margin----but many of the commentators insist explicitly upon the wrong translation. Among these are Charles Hodge, W. G. T. Shedd, William Kelly, and William R. Newell. To take one of them as a sample of the whole, W. G. T. Shedd says on the verse, “`all sinned:' the aoristic meaning is to be retained. The apostle has in his mind a particular historical event: the same, namely, with that alluded to in pavnte" h{marton of v. 12, the sin in Adam. It is the one original sin of apostasy, more than any particular transgressions that flow from it, that puts Jew and Gentile upon the same footing, so that there is no `difference' between them. The fall in Adam, like the recovery in Christ, is a central and organizing idea in the Epistle to the Romans, and therefore it is alluded to here under the historical tense.”

But this is all mistake from beginning to end. We “retain the aoristic meaning” indeed, but that meaning is “all have sinned,” as the old version has it. The doctrine that “all sinned” in Adam's transgression you may salvage if you can, but you must salvage it on some other basis than this. The aorist tense in Romans 3:23 has nothing to do with it.

Romans 6 is another doctrinal passage in which the newer versions (RV, NASV, and NKJV) abandon the old renderings of the aorist, adopting the simple past in their place. I say nothing about the doctrines which are made to rest upon the mistake, but only point out that to exchange “we that are dead to sin” for “we that died” is a mistake, which serves only to undermine the actual sense of the aorist. This is not scholarship, but ignorance. If some prefer “have died” to “are dead,” I have no objection to that. Nevertheless, it is the abiding fact which the Greek aorist denotes, and no historic event.

But to conclude. I set out to do several things in this article: to demonstrate the true sense of the Greek aorist, to demonstrate further that the old English Bible is generally correct in translating it, while the modern versions are often mistaken, and thus to demonstrate how little modern scholarship is to be trusted. Modern scholars know some things, no doubt, but “knowledge puffs up,” and pride blinds the eyes. The modern stories about the “New” versions being more accurate than the old one are largely only fairy tales.

But mark, I am far from ascribing the “New” versions to Jesuits or New Age conspiracies. Such charges are foolish, if not wicked. The versions which I have mentioned in this article are no doubt the work of sincere and well-meaning men, but alas, they themselves are the victims of the unspiritual and unscholarly scholarship of modern times. The false renderings of the aorist tense display but one facet of modern incompetence. I may speak of other facets in the time to come, if the Lord will.


Evil Communications Corrupt Good Manners

by Glenn Conjurske

A Sermon Preached Mar. 2, 1988, Recorded, Transcribed, and Revised

First Corinthians, chapter 15. I'm going to begin reading with verse 30. I can't take up the whole argument here, but he's arguing for the resurrection, and using some strong arguments why the resurrection must be a fact. Beginning with verse 30, he says, “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” Verse 33 I want to speak on. “Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners.”

Now, let's define our terms. First of all, “good manners” has nothing to do with table manners, or etiquette, or any such thing. “Good manners” here is good morals. That's what the word means----customs. Good customs or good habits. “Good behavior” you could translate it. A good life, good morals, good behavior, good conduct. “Good” I don't think I need to define. “Evil communications,” the Scripture says, “corrupt good morals,” or good conduct. Now, the word “communications” means company, companionship, communication, intercourse, fellowship. It applies to company, communication, and conversation. It's also used in another sense: it's used of persuasion. I guess the one naturally flows from the other. This is the word homily in Greek, and if any of you know anything about ecclesiastical matters, you know that a homily is a sermon, and homiletics is sermon-making. That comes from this word which is here translated “communications.” “Evil companionships, evil communications corrupt good conduct.” You don't need to go too far to figure this out, or to find examples of it.

In the first place this: there is in the church of God today a movement called Neo-evangelicalism, which does not believe that evil communications corrupt good manners, or good morals. In fact, this movement rather believes that we ought to be engaged in evil communications, and their favorite word, whenever they have to do with liberals, apostates, cultists, Romanists----everybody who doesn't have the knowledge of God, or the Spirit of God----their favorite word is “dialogue.” Now, if you want, you may translate the word “communications” here, “dialogue.” That's exactly what it's talking about. And when Neo-evangelicalism comes along and says we must have dialogue with the ungodly, it is right in the teeth of this scripture. It's saying this evil dialogue, these evil communications will not corrupt our good manners. They have the idea that they are going to gain something by these evil communications. They hope to gain an understanding between the children of God and the children of the devil. A very easy thing to do, by the way. Just listen to what they have to say, and act upon it.

Now, there are other people who will contend for “dialogue” with the ungodly for the purpose of communicating something to them. And that's fine. We are called upon to preach the gospel. If all you mean by your “dialogue” is preaching the gospel, nobody is going to have any objection to it----but you have the wrong word. “Dialogue” implies both directions, giving and taking, and I will guess it is the devil's favorite word. It puts the church and the world on a level. We are not sent to dialogue with the world, but to preach to it. Imagine Elijah “dialoguing” with the prophets of Baal, or with their royal patrons. Better yet, go back and read the account, and see if he did so. Well, but Elijah was made of different stuff than Neo-evangelicals.

“Evil communications corrupt good manners,” and it is not difficult to see the result of Neo-evangelicals' dialogue with the ungodly. When this movement had its inception, which was about forty years ago, they were all solid Evangelicals who made up the movement. Today, one generation later, many of them have drifted to the point where you've got to come to one of two conclusions: either they're not Evangelicals any more, or the word “evangelical” doesn't mean anything any more. They still call themselves Evangelicals, while drifting further and further from evangelical truth. Well, how did they get that way? Evil communications. They wanted to be accepted by the world. The foundation of Neo-evangelicalism is its desire to be accepted by the world. They wanted to have fellowship with the world, and dialogue with the world; and those evil communications corrupted their good morals, and their good doctrine, and their good conduct; and they became like those with whom they were having dialogue. This is always what happens.

Now, there's another example that I can give you where evil communications corrupt good manners----and I know this by experience, and I suspect that some of you know this by experience----and that is in the public schools. The thing that thoroughly corrupted me when I was a boy was going to school. I wasn't corrupted by what they taught from the desk in the classroom. The teachers didn't corrupt me. The other students did. It wasn't the classroom that corrupted me, but the playground. If you want to keep a white cat white, you don't put him in a coal bin. If you want to keep a child pure, you don't put him in the public schools. When you put a child in the public schools, he learns all kinds of sin that he didn't even know existed. When I was a boy in grade school, the general subject of conversation was unclean jokes. My mind was filled with all kinds of sin which I would have known nothing about, if I hadn't been there among those companions, the subject of those evil communications. At the present day the curriculum is much more boldly evil than it was in my day, and today the classroom is certainly a much greater corrupting influence than it was forty years ago----but so is the playground.

You have to understand, the devil knows his business. If the Christians don't know that evil communications corrupt good manners, the devil does. And the devil is the god of this world. The devil is the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience. He's the one that sits at the top of this system, pulling the strings. And he knows that evil communications corrupt good manners. Now, if you were the devil, and you knew that evil communications corrupt good morals, and you were determined that the good morals of all of those who came from good homes should be corrupted; what would you do? You know what I would do? I would pass a compulsory school attendance law, and take all the kids from all the good homes, and put them eight hours a day among the ungodly, mix them all up with all the kids who know nothing but ungodliness. And evil communications will corrupt good manners, and do corrupt good manners, and you can hardly escape it. There are some kids from Christian homes that go through the public schools and come out basically pure, but there are not very many of them. For one that does, there are a dozen or a score that don't.

And I don't understand those parents that teach their children at home, and then let them run with the neighborhood kids. They might just as well send them to school. I know Christian parents who religiously schooled their kids at home, and yet let them associate with the ungodly, and those kids turned out as bad and as ungodly as any of the ungodly with whom they associated. “EVIL COMMUNICATIONS CORRUPT GOOD MANNERS,” and there is no escaping the fact.

And I have the most heartfelt pity for those parents who think to save their children from corruption by sending them to a Christian school. There is often as much ungodliness among the students there as there is in the public schools. They may be held in with a tighter reign----may not be able to do so much there as at the public schools, but they may say a lot----and evil communications will corrupt good manners. There is plenty of opportunity for speaking evil of parents and reproaching authorities, plenty of opportunity for speaking wistfully of sin, and it is those evil communications which will corrupt your children. And one bad apple, you know, will spoil a whole bushel.

Now, I want to take you into the book of Deuteronomy, the seventh chapter, where God also sets forth, practically, the effects of evil communications. The seventh chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, beginning with verse one. God says to Israel, “When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them: thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.”

Now, in a number of different places besides this one God strictly forbids Israel to make any covenant, any league, have any fellowship, or any connection with any of the ungodly nations around them; and the reason that he assigns over and over again is, if you do, you will become like them. Now, why didn't God say, “I want you to go in among these Canaanites, and I want you to make leagues with them, and have fellowship with them, establish commerce with them, and in the course of time, they will become like you are”? Infiltrate, and bring them up to the knowledge of the true God. That, by the way, is the principle upon which Neo-evangelicalism operates. “Don't come out of an apostate denomination. Get inside. Infiltrate, and change them from the inside, and bring them up to the truth of God.” Why didn't God tell Israel to do that? Very simply, because it doesn't work. Evil communications corrupt good manners. And God says if you go in and make leagues with them, they will turn away your heart from following the Lord your God. One of the first principles of the service of God is separation. You'll find it everywhere in the Bible. We've talked about it enough, and I don't have to preach it again. But you know the first thing that God said to Abraham, the very first word God ever spoke to Abraham, was “Get thee out.” Get out of your father's house. Get out of your country. Get out from your kindred. Separate. If you don't, you will be like them. That's not the only reason for separation, but it's an important reason. God assigns that reason over and over again. They'll turn away your heart.

Now then, Israel didn't carry out the commandment of God, and the trouble that they had all through their history was because they didn't carry out the commandment of God. They didn't separate. They didn't exterminate and drive out the inhabitants of the land; but they dwelt among them, or allowed them to dwell among themselves, and they became like them. It wasn't very long at all before they were given up to idolatry----the whole nation, given up to idolatry. Why? No nation had ever been blessed like they had been with the true testimony of God. They had seen the hand of God and heard the voice of God. They saw the cloudy pillar and the fiery pillar day and night for forty years in the wilderness, and they heard the voice of God speaking from the burning mount, saying, “I am the Lord thy God that brought thee up out of the land of Egypt; thou shalt have no other gods before my face.” And within a very short time, they were completely corrupted and given up to idolatry. And it was evil communications which corrupted them.

Now I want to give you another example. If you'll turn to the thirty-fourth chapter of the book of Genesis, you have a little account of one of Jacob's children----his daughter, his only daughter, as far as I know. Genesis thirty-four, verse one. “And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel,” etc. Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land and lost her chastity in the process. We don't know all the details that took place here, but you know what happens every day. A Christian girl, or one raised in a Christian home, goes out to see the daughters of the land. Of course if she goes to the public schools she doesn't have to go very far, because she's mixing with them every day of her life since she's five years old. She learns the morals of the people of the land and becomes like them. You see the same thing with Lot's children who grew up in Sodom. Lot's daughters had no morals. None whatsoever. Lot was a righteous man. He was a godly man, a man whose righteous soul was vexed from day to day with the unlawful deeds of the wicked who were all around him, but his daughters were just as godless. They had no morals. Why not? Well, because they were raised in Sodom. Now I'll tell you this, and I have seen it: some of the best men I know, living today, some of the best men I know, the godliest, the most true-hearted, and zealous and devoted Christian men I know, preachers of the word of God, have some of the worst children I know. And I know the reason for it also: because evil communications corrupt good manners. They didn't learn that evil from those good, godly, zealous, devoted fathers. They learned it in the schools, or out on the playgrounds, rubbing shoulders day after day with ungodly children. Now if you want to save your children from hell, keep them from evil communications. Keep them from all the ungodly children, and that may mean keeping them away from some of the children in the church also.

Now, you may say, “Well, that's hard.” Yes, I know. I've been doing it ever since I've had any children, and I know it's hard. Once upon a time, before my oldest child was born, we lived down in Madison. Another couple that we knew was at our house talking to us. They had a young baby, and he was asking me about how to find good books for his daughter to read when she got older, and he said, “You know, you have to send them to school.” And I said, “No, you don't have to send them to school.” “Home schooling” hadn't been heard of in those days, but I had determined before I married that my children would never go to school. Well, that was a thought that had never entered his mind before, but he told me later, “As soon as I heard it, I knew it was right.” He immediately embraced it. But his wife cried all the way home, saying, “Our little girl isn't going to have any friends.” And you know what I say to that? Thank God that your little girl doesn't have any friends. If it's a choice between having no friends and having ungodly ones, you'd better thank God your little girl doesn't have any friends, and you'd better make it your business to make sure she doesn't have any, if you want to keep her in the path of virtue and of righteousness----if you want to keep her soul out of hell. I had some friends when I was a boy, and they led me into the paths of sin. These were not close friends, either, but just acquaintances at school and church. They led me into sin. I was quite willing to be led, but that's the way the flesh is; and your little child is quite willing to be led into the paths of sin also. The flesh is the same in all of us.

Now let's go back to I Corinthians 15. We read in the thirty-third verse, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” I want to just touch on this word, “Be not deceived.” A good many people are deceived on this point. They really think that they may associate with the ungodly, fellowship with them, be friends with them, and influence them. But it doesn't happen that way. Now if you go to them as a prophet of God, for the purpose of preaching to them, you may influence them; but if you go to them on their level, as an equal, to dialogue, and to communicate, and to have fellowship, and to do their things with them, they will influence you. You will not influence them. You have already stepped down from your high and holy calling, even to maintain such a relationship, and in so doing you have put yourself in the place of weakness.

A good many people are deceived on this point, and Paul says, “Be not deceived.” Don't get any such idea in your head as that you won't be contaminated by evil communications. When God sent Israel in, he said, Exterminate them, put them to death, drive them out, have nothing to do with them, make no league, make no covenant, make no marriage, or you will become like them.

Now then, Paul is talking in this chapter about those who deny the resurrection, and he says this, verse thirty-two, “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.” The point here is this: these people have been listening to bad doctrine----doctrine that says, “There is no resurrection.” That's an evil communication, and he says, the effect of it is going to be to corrupt your good morals. The effect of it is going to take you down from this high and holy calling that you have, in which you are striving to run the race, that you may obtain the crown incorruptible. It's going to take you down from that, to the point where you will say, “Let's eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Why strive any more? Why die daily? Why fight with the beasts at Ephesus? No reason to. What he's saying is that the bad doctrine that you're listening to is corrupting your morals, bringing you down to the bottom of morality, or immorality, to the point where you say, “Let's just eat and drink, because tomorrow we die. It doesn't make any difference what we do.”

Now, you never heard of anybody that denied the resurrection that called himself an Evangelical. There may be some people who call themselves Christians who deny the resurrection, but nobody here is in danger of listening to them. So we're going to have to bring this up to a little higher plane to get any application from it for ourselves. Doctrine influences life. Perhaps not in every case. Some people manage to live a good life, in spite of their bad doctrine; but usually bad doctrine brings bad life.

Now let me give you some examples. There's such a thing as Arminianism, and there's such a thing as low Arminianism. Low Arminianism is the kind that says that every time you sin, you're lost, and you have to get saved over again; and I've told you before about Richard Weaver, who walked with God and was a powerful evangelist for six months after he got converted. He had canceled his scheduled prize fight when he got converted, and that was a very difficult thing to do, of course, because his pride was at stake. He was ”Undaunted Dick,” undaunted and undefeated, but he repented and canceled his prize fight. And he walked with God for six months, until he was walking home from a Methodist meeting one night, with the young lady that he was engaged to, and some ruffians began to abuse her. Well, “Undaunted Dick” pulverized the ruffians, and as soon as he had done so, he felt, “I have sinned.” And his next thought after “I have sinned” was, “It's all over with me. I'm lost. I have given up my salvation.” And therefore he said, “Well, as long as it's all over with me anyway, it doesn't make any difference what I do.” Therefore he went back and rescheduled the fight, went back to his old life of sin. “Doesn't make any difference what I do anyway. It's all over with me.” Now, that's evil doctrine. You want to know the test of evil doctrine? This may not be the only test, but any doctrine that produces carelessness of life is evil doctrine. It's false. It comes from the devil. Sound doctrine is the doctrine which is “according to godliness.” It produces godliness. Any doctrine which does otherwise is evil doctrine. Now if Richard Weaver had simply understood what the Scriptures say, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father,” he would have repented, and got back on the track and gone forward, but an evil doctrine corrupted his morals.

I don't think most of us are in danger of listening to cultish doctrines, listening to modernism, or things like that; but we might be in danger of something of a lesser degree, but of the same kind. You should be careful what you listen to, and you should be careful what you read. If you want to know what is wrong with Fundamentalism today, I can tell you that it has exactly the same problem that Neo-evangelicalism has. That problem is evil communications. The Neo-evangelicals have been imbibing the spirit of the world, and the Fundamentalists have been imbibing the spirit of the Neo-evangelicals. Almost everything which Fundamentalists read today, or listen to on Christian radio programs or recordings, is Neo-evangelical. The major Christian publishers and broadcasters are all Neo-evangelical, or worse. And almost all Fundamentalists feed upon these things day after day, and week after week, and its influence will tell. So long as this state of things continues, I frankly have no hope for the future of Fundamentalism. It is high time for those who aspire to be Fundamentalists to throw those modern books and magazines and tape recordings in the trash can, and put the radio in on top of the heap. Evil communications corrupt good manners.

I know, good, sound Fundamentalists can read and listen to all of this Neo-evangelical propaganda, and think they can see the evil of it. And you know what I say to that? Most of them might see one fourth of the evil, and the other three fourths, which they can't see, becomes part of them, and pulls them down. Evil communications will be the demise of Fundamentalism, or of what is left of Fundamentalism, as they were of Neo-evangelicalism. You don't need to be a prophet to see this. It is happening before your eyes.

Above all, you should be careful with whom you associate. “Evil communications” could be translated “evil companionships.” Be careful with whom you associate. You develop a friendship with a person who is of the wrong sort----and by the way that doesn't necessarily mean openly ungodly, but unspiritual----and unless you are very strong, that person is going to draw you the wrong way. Maybe imperceptibly, maybe just a little bit at a time, so that from day to day you don't know what's happening, but that's what makes it dangerous. It took forty years for Neo-evangelicals to drift to where they are today. Of course they drifted very little by very little, but still they are where they are. And yet Evangelicalism thought it was strong, and formed those unholy relationships for the purpose of influencing the other side----like some vast scheme of “friendship evangelism” on a massive scale. It didn't work. Evil communications corrupted good manners.

Now, the thing that we need to do is look upon ourselves as always ambassadors for Christ in every relationship that we have. We're not here to “dialogue.” We're here to preach. I'm not here for fellowship. I'm not here for a good time. I'm not here to dialogue. I'm here to be an influence----to bear a testimony----to preach a message. You don't necessarily have to tell the other party that, just so you know it yourself, and act upon it. If you tell the other party that, that might be the end of the contact. They will figure it out soon enough anyway, if you mean business about it.

Now I'm not sure I can explain all of this. I'm not sure that I can explain why it always happens that a rotten apple spoils the whole bushel, and why the good apples don't save the bad one, but it happens that way. One rotten apple spoils the whole bushel. “Peer pressure,” they call it nowadays. It's the pressure to conform----a very powerful thing, but I'll tell you, it usually doesn't involve any pressure at all. The pressure comes from within----from a depraved heart that would rather please its ungodly companions than a holy God----rather gain acceptance with them than acceptance with God. That was the only kind of “peer pressure” I ever felt, but it was my undoing.

This is what corrupted Solomon. The Bible says there was no man that was so beloved of his God as Solomon was, and he was a wise man too. God gave him wisdom beyond what anybody else ever had. Perhaps he was the wisest man that ever walked the earth. Certainly one of the wisest, and yet by evil communications his heart was turned away from God. His wisdom, however great, did not save him from the evil effects of evil communications. He loved idolatrous women, and married them, and of course must please them also. You say, “Well what? didn't Solomon have enough strength----Solomon who wrote all of that wisdom in the book of Proverbs and in the book of Ecclesiastes? Didn't Solomon have enough strength to stand up against the influence of those women?” He didn't. They pulled him down. They made an idolater of him. He was building high places and shrines for idols all over Israel for his idolatrous wives, and his heart was turned away from the Lord his God. Now if Solomon didn't have enough strength to withstand evil communications, who does? Your business is, stay away. Keep clear of evil communications.

I'm not saying, Don't have any contact with the ungodly, but you make sure that you're there as an ambassador for Christ. You're there as a prophet of God, not as an equal, not as someone in fellowship and dialogue, sharing, and giving and taking, and having a good time together, and so forth. There is some weakness in the human race that makes us extremely apt to learn evil. I see it in my children. You try to teach your children something from the Bible, some principle of righteousness, and see how long it takes them to learn that thing----see how many years you are at it. And some garbage, some trash from the world, they will hear one time and they'll never forget it. There's a propensity in us to follow after evil. Therefore, evil communications corrupt good manners. You put a good child in the midst of a bushel of rotten ones, and the good child doesn't influence the rotten ones, the rotten ones influence the good one. You let a good man join a corrupt church, and he'll go down. He won't bring the corrupt church up. Now if he stays outside where he belongs, he may be able to exert some influence upon those who are inside. This is the fact: evil communications corrupt good manners. This is one of the compelling reasons for the Bible doctrine of separation.

Just how much the good man may be influenced and brought down by evil communications may depend on numerous factors, such as how strong the good man is, and what is the nature and extent of those evil communications. It is a certainty that Lot was not thoroughly corrupted by living among the men of Sodom, but it is not so certain that he was not somewhat influenced by them----and it is certain that his daughters were thoroughly corrupted. And any saint of God who puts his daughters in the public schools should not be surprised if they turn out as the daughters of Lot did, for there is certainly no difference between Sodom and the public schools of America.


Suffering in the Flesh and Ceasing from Sin

by Glenn Conjurske

Brief Abstract of a Sermon Preached on June 16, 1996

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” (I Pet. 4:1).

Christ suffered for our sins, and we are to arm ourselves with the same mind----to prepare to suffer for our sins also. He suffered for our sins to deliver us from the guilt of them. That is done, and we have nothing more to do about it. Still, we must suffer to be freed from the power of those sins.

Why so? Why must we suffer in the flesh? Because such is the propensity of our natures to hold to our own ways, that nothing short of suffering in the flesh is effectual. There is no easier way----no higher life, no deeper life, no holiness by faith, no second blessing----nothing which can take the place of suffering in the flesh. In spite of all of these easy doctrines of sanctification, it will remain the truth that it is he that has suffered in the flesh that has ceased from sin. You can have a hundred fathoms of deeper life----and a hundred second blessings too----but you'll need some suffering in the flesh on top of it all, if you're going to cease from sin. Suffering in the flesh is God's way to cure men of sin. This is what he prescribes to cure our children of their evil ways. Modern psychologists don't believe in it. Discipline him, yes, but not corporally. When little Johnny talks back to his mother, and gets the satisfaction of making her feel bad, and of letting her know how evil she is, she will make him sit in the corner for fifteen minutes. Well, these little folks are good accountants, and he “casts up the account,” as they used to call it, and he decides it was worth it. The price wasn't very high. He'll do it again tomorrow. But when his eyes are red with weeping, and his tail end is smarting, he is likely to have another thought. There is something about suffering in the flesh which is effectual in turning us away from sin. And because we have such a propensity to continue in sin, this is often the only effectual way.

And knowing that it is the way of the Lord to do so, whenever suffering comes upon us, it is very natural to inquire, What is the cause of this suffering? What evil have I done? This is very natural, and the common experience of the human race. As soon as the widow's son dies, she demands of Elijah, “Art thou come to call my sin to remembrance?” It is the common experience of men that suffering----especially that which is severe or sudden----does call sin to remembrance, and this is the chief value of suffering, as a tool in the hands of God to cure us of our sinning. More on that in a little bit.

When affliction or suffering strikes us, we naturally examine ourselves, and we ought to. We ought to seek to know whether this suffering is for sin. Not that we should assume it is, for it may not be----but there is a good likelihood it may be. “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” This is the conscience, and we ought to let this candle do its work, let it search us, and see if there be any wicked way in us. We ought to do this at all times, of course, but especially when suffering strikes us. If we may look up and say with Job, “I do not know why the Lord is smiting me, but I am innocent, and I will hold fast my integrity,” very well. But make sure you do a thorough search. And don't fail to understand that even if there is no particular transgression involved, God may use suffering in the flesh as a general tonic, to purge us of our selfishness and pride and contentiousness and rashness and self-sufficiency.

And remember, it is your business to search yourself when trouble strikes you, and Job's business to search Job. Job's friends knew Job's heart better than Job did, and evidently better than God did, and they were quick to assume that the smiting was for some hidden sin, but this was none of their business, and they were wrong. They may have been nearer the mark if they had plainly seen some sin in Job, but to merely assume it, where they saw nothing, betrays a wrong spirit.

But again, if God is actually chastening you for some particular sin, the reason should not be hard to find, unless you have fortified yourself against your conscience with a good deal of sophistry. When you chasten your child, he knows why you're doing it, and when God chastens you for sin, you will generally know the reason. The fact is, you knew it already, before he stretched out his hand to smite you. The issue was already upon your conscience, but you tried to put it off. And so long as things went on smoothly, you thought you had succeeded. You thought God was going to wink at the thing. “Prosperous men seldom mend their faults,” an old proverb says, and this is surely true. So long as things go on smoothly, you suppose God is no more concerned about that thing than you are. But as soon as his hand strikes you, you think instinctively, “Oh, I'm afraid God is going to hold me accountable for this after all.” You rise up and put it away, and pray God to remove his afflicting hand. And so he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

And conscience generally speaks true at times like this. When the Lord caught Moses in the inn and sought to kill him, his wife knew exactly what to do. The reason that she knew exactly what to do is that her conscience was at war with her on the point. How was it that her conscience was at war with her? Listen, I can't give you an infallible account of what happened to bring this about, but I can give you a pretty good description as to how it happened, for human nature is the same in all of us. She, of course, had known all along what needed to be done, but flattered herself that God would not require it of her. She had no doubt done her best to put it away out of her mind, but the sudden plight of Moses called her sin to remembrance. The moment of calamity is the moment of truth, and all her vain notions about getting away with this thing vanished as soon as the “suffering in the flesh” fell upon them.

Moses' wife, you understand, was a Gentile, but no doubt when Moses had married her, he had explained to her all about the circumcision. She no doubt opposed it. It was all right for Moses if he pleased, but not for a little baby. “That's cruel and barbarous, and we won't do that to our little baby.” Moses, of course, was determined to do it, and they no doubt had a few discussions about it. Well, she knew she was with child, and she no doubt prayed the whole nine months that it would be a little girl, but God was as determined to have his way about this as she was to have hers, and when the child was born, it was no little girl. So, having lost her plea with God, she renewed the battle with Moses, and she no doubt wept, and begged, and reproached, and pouted, and finally got her way. Moses yielded to her, and the boy was not circumcised.

Now so long as things went on smoothly, the whole matter could be swept under the rug, and almost forgotten. Not quite forgotten, for conscience never quite forgets. But it can go on easy, so long as things go on smoothly. But in the inn by the way, the “suffering in the flesh” came suddenly upon them, and she knew exactly the reason for it. Though she had gone on for years thinking----hoping, at any rate----that God would never call her to account for this, now the moment of truth was come, and conscience, long resisted and ignored, was allowed to speak. She listened, and obeyed, making haste to take off her son's foreskin any way she could, with whatever came to hand at the moment, which happened to be a sharp stone. She yielded the point, as we sinners are very apt to do, with casting one last reproach about it in Moses' teeth, “Surely a bloody husband art thou to me”----but she had yielded the point to God, and the Lord let Moses go.

Now this is how suffering in the flesh causes us to cease from sin. It does not teach us what to do. It assumes we know that already. When you spank your child, he knows what he is being spanked for. The Lord's smiting hand does not teach us what to do, but it moves us to do it. And such is our propensity to have our own way, that usually nothing but suffering in the flesh will move us to give it up. You did a little dirt once upon a time, and then swept it all under the rug, and think to go on without ever taking care of it. It's a little thing, and it doesn't really matter to God. So you would like to think, at any rate, and every year which he gives you of ease and prosperity tends to confirm you in thinking so. You know the little pile of dirt is under the rug, and you know God knows it, but every year he gives you of peace and prosperity increases your hope that God will let it pass.

Then calamity strikes. You begin to suffer in the flesh. Of course you begin to examine yourself. But you're a stubborn case, and you say, “I don't know why God is smiting me, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with that little pile of dirt under the rug.” You plead and cry, and determine to clean up your whole life----to brush your teeth three times a day, and support the preacher a little better, and give a tract to your barber, everything you can think of----and God lets you go.

Another year of prosperity confirms your hopes that God is going to wink at the dirt under the rug, but then suffering strikes again----more severe this time than last time. Again you weep and pray and search yourself, and throw away your golf clubs, and vow to treat your wife better, and again affirm you're sure the trouble is not the little pile of dirt under the rug.

You know, this is the way people will talk when they are not willing to yield the point to God. “Whatever may be the cause of the affliction, it's not this little pile of dirt”----always naming, of course, the very thing their conscience is accusing them about. But when the suffering in the flesh becomes severe enough, we yield, and turn back the carpet, and sweep out the dirt. And thus it is that he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. This is the end of the chastening of the Lord, that we might be partakers of his holiness. He knows the way that is effectual, and this is the way he takes.

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