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1997 Letters to the Editor

PC Thank you very much for your very informative [Web] pages. I had questions about the Holy Trinity and the nature of God that I was confused about. Your writing was presented in a way that it really helped me to clarify what has happened (and will happen) in my life. Journier.

Dear DTL: Please send me several recent issues of your Darkness to Light newsletter. Are you born again? "Charismatic" or anti-Charismatic?? Pentecostal?

May God bless you. D.D.; Wilmington, DE

Response: Yes, I am born-again; but I usually do not use the term due to the many misconceptions and misuses of it. I am not Charismatic or Pentecostal; but I would not describe myself as "anti-Charismatic." I simply disagree with many Charismatic/ Pentecostal teachings, such as trichotomy rather than dichotomy.

Dear Gary: I was surprised to learn that Trichotomists believe that a person is only a soul and body but receives a spirit at regeneration. That teaching should be enough to turn anyone off. But I learned it differently….

I think that my own "Bible psychology" came out of my understanding of 1John 2:16, where we see man as three-fold: body, soul, and spirit. And each entity has its own "appetite." The body lusts after sensual things; the spirit after aesthetical things; the soul hungers and thirsts after God….

The three realms in which we are tempted suggests a Trichotomy of nature (Genesis 3; Matthew 4)….

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,
Beach Lake, PA

Response: My apologies for misunderstanding Mr. Lowe's position in the "Letters" section of the last issue of Darkness to Light [see Letters on Soul, Spirit, and Knowing God]. But I have personally talked with Trichotomists who believe the human spirit is received at regeneration.

In 1John 2:16 and the other passages Mr. Lowe refers to, the different types of "appetites" or temptations are not each specifically linked to the body, soul, or spirit.

In the above and two previous letters, Mr. Lowe presented additional reasons for his position. But I simply do not have the time to publish and respond to each of his arguments.

If the reader is interested in pursuing the topic of trichotomy versus dichotomy see my two part article Soul, Spirit, and Knowing God. I would also suggest checking a couple of systematic theology books. One promoting each viewpoint would be most helpful (Prov 18:17; Acts 17:11).

Dear Gary: I am impressed with the amount of work you are doing in putting out your paper entitled Darkness to Light.

It was interesting to read your treatment of presuppositions and epistemologies ["Dead Men Do Bleed!" - Issue #28]. I think the strength of Erickson is more in theology than philosophy, though his statements are generally of use. He does not seem to think that one can break out of the hermeneutical or philosophical circles in which one begins.

I was glad to see that you concluded with my criteria of truth and that your article maintained that one can critically evaluate epistemological assumptions....

Keep up the good work. Cordially in Christ, Gordon R. Lewis, Ph.D. Senior Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Philosophy at Denver Seminary

PC Dear Gary, Thank you for your personal testimony posted at Darkness to Light [see Who Am I?]. The Lord often brings us down and takes away from us, before he lifts us up and gives us the riches of knowing him. Your testimony honors God. I am the "webmaster" at the Presbyterian Reformed Church site to which you are linked.  Sincerely in Christ, S.I.

PC He is risen, more glorious words were never spoken and our sins are indeed forgiven. Praise the Name of Jesus. Keep up the good work.  S.T.

PC Hi! Very nice page. To be honest, what brought me was the post on a newsgroup by someone (you?) using the name "Reepicheep" ...  "Samaritan"

Response: Yes, it was me. Reepicheep is my Internet handle.

Dear brothers in Christ: I'm writing this short little note just to thank for the ministry there. I enjoy so much the newsletter that I am receiving.

Keep up the good work. I will be praying for the ministry.

A brother in Jesus, P.A.; Huntsville State Prison, TX

Dear Mr. Zeolla: I’m writing you for several reasons today. First and foremost, to tell you that I accept Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

The material you sent as well as other materials that I received have lead me to this conclusion.

One of the stopping points was the doctrine of the Trinity. I could not understand it. It did not make sense to me. Though today, I still cannot fully comprehend this doctrine, I can apprehend it.

Which brings me to my next reason for writing you; in your Scripture Workbook you make the following statements: "and the kenosis of the Son must always be remembered (Phil 2:6f)" and "or Jesus is speaking from His human nature, or, the result of the kenosis."

This word kenosis can you give me a definition of it? And also let me know whether or not this is a theological term? …

I thank you for your assistance in this matter. Very truly yours, J.C.; Graterford State Correctional Institute; PA

Response: I am humbled that I am one of the people God used in bringing this inmate to salvation in Christ. Prior to the above letter, I had several correspondences with him. As he mentions, they concerned the doctrine of the Trinity, along with questions on supposed contradictions in the Bible.

The Scripture Workbook he mentions is no longer available in hardcopy format. However, I am in the process of redoing the worksheets in it and posting them as Scripture Studies" on this Web site.

In regards to the kenosis, the quotes are from my comments on Mark 13:32 and John 14:28 (see Arguments Against the Trinity). The letter writer is correct, it is a "theological term" of sorts.

More specifically, it is a Greek word taken from Phil 2:7 where it is used in reference to Christ’s incarnation. It is translated in the NKJV as "made Himself of no reputation" with the footnote reading of "emptied Himself (of His privileges)."

The latter is probably the better rendering. The verse is NOT saying that the Son ceased to be God. That would be a logical impossibility. One of God’s essential attributes is His eternality.

The idea is, He gave up the use of His divine prerogatives. During the time of His earthly existence, although He could and at times did act as God, at other times He did not.

For instance, most of the time the fullness of the glory of His Deity did not shine through. But at the Transfiguration the disciples got a glimpse of His divine glory (Matt 17:1-6).

PC Would you please clarify for me what is meant by the following statement describing Christian faith as contained in your web site Darkness to Light? - "Our relationship to God is that we are distinct from God."

I do not understand the scriptures this way... Perhaps I just don't know what you mean here. Thanks, Eileen

Response: I am not sure where I use this exact phrase. But I will say that we are "distinct" from God in the sense of essence or nature, not relationship as the letter writer might be thinking. What I mean is we are not all a part of God as in New Age pantheism.

In other words, in Christian theology, God is everywhere but He is not everything. There is an essential distinction between the Creator and His creation. In pantheism there is no such distinction. Everything is God and God is everything.

PC The Bible HAS lost truths. The great scroll of Isaiah found near the dead sea contained the full length version of Isaiah and is about 60% longer!! Please check your sources. Your [Web] page looks very one sided.

The LDS [Mormon] sacrament prayer which was in use since the early 1800's was found on one of the scrolls also more than a century after it was first revealed to our prophet!

Thank You, A.B.

Response: The above letter is commenting on my article Have Precious Truths Been Lost from the Bible? In response, I’ll first repeat a quote from the article. The following is taken from Gleason L. Archer's A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. The context is a discussion of the textual integrity of the Old Testament:

"Even though two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave I near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations of spelling" (p.25).

There is not even a hint in this quote that the Dead Sea Scroll’s version of Isaiah is 60% longer than the Masoretic Text (the standard Hebrew Bible in use today).

Second, I read translations of all Dead Sea Scrolls documents then available several years ago and I do not remember any of them having anything to do with Mormonism. I e-mailed the writer back and asked him which specific scroll he was referring to and what his sources were. He never responded.

Darkness to Light’s Web Site

PC Greetings in the name of Christ, Enjoyed your page and hope to return often. My name is Brian Gordon and I am with "Blessed Hope Ministries" of Gainesville, GA.

We want to link to you as our "Web Site of the Month" for August. You may find us at http://members aol.com/blesshope.

We are a ministry dedicated to presenting historic Christianity to the modern world. We publish a hard copy magazine, The Blessed Hope Monthly, and also have a web site of course :-) .

Would like to hear from you and find out a little more about you, when you have time.

Thanks. A forgiven sinner, Brian Gordon; Blessed Hope Ministries.

PC Brother Gary, Great web site! I have already found it to be very useful. Keep up the good work!

Your servant,
Reformed, Baptist, Sovereign Grace Links.

PC Gary, Your page continues to have great content. Keep up the good work.

By His Sovereign Mercy, Anthony;
Anthony's Historic Baptist Webpage.

PC Just wanted to drop a line of thanks concerning your web site. I enjoy reading the articles and the Lord is teaching me many things through them.

May you continue to carry on your marvelous work in the Lord. If there is ever anything I could help you pray about, please let me know. Amazing grace, Jerry

PC I thought NO ONE knew of Reepicheep. The sight of his name brought back HOURS of pleasure reading and re-reading the entire series. I remember particularly the last one in the series - The Last Battle. God finally made some sense to me. I was 11. At 31, I am still try to find some sense in myself.

Anyway, just wanted to send you a note thanking you for staying true. After a divorce and a LONG bout of depression, it was GREAT to see that name pop up.

Use this to show NON-net believers that there IS a need for a Christian predominance on the web - before they make a "alt.christians.are.evil" group. Peace. "MediaMan"

Responses to above letters: Some visiting DTL’s Web site disagree with the contents; many others are finding the site worthwhile. Either way, I thank the Lord for the opportunity to spread His truths through this new medium.

However, by Internet standards, traffic level has been rather low. Not that numbers really matter that much. But still, with all the effort being put into it, I would ask for prayers that more would find the site and be blessed, or at least challenged, by it.

Unfortunately, there are already Newsgroups like the one the last letter writer fears might originate. "Christian-phobia" is rampant on the ‘Net. But there is a positive Christian presence also, as the Christian Web sites mentioned in the previous letters show. There are also links to other Christian sites at Recommended Internet Sites.

My Internet handle ("Reepicheep") continues to draw comments. It’s taken from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

Why the NKJV?

Beloved brother Gary: You are in my thoughts and prayers on an almost daily basis. It is so good to see you entering the lists against the detractors from the glory and sovereignty of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ….

It puzzles me that you should regard the NKJV [New King James Version] so highly. They have a Manichean change in John 10:14,15. They fail to identify all but one of the 14 occasions when our Lord stated emphatically, I AM! And they have Jesus tasting death for everyone in Hebrews 2:9.

Besides the fact that they reprint numerous verses of the KJV [King James Version] which are paraphrase, or just plain wrong (for instance when they continue to refer to eunuchs as officers without noting the difference). I have about 5 pages of such comparisons if you think they would be interesting to you. This is not a complaint.

This is not in any way to show any lack of love and understanding for you in all the work that you have done in your little paper, or on the ‘Net. To me you are a favorite brother…. By His Marvelous Mercy, Love in Christ, Jay P. Green Sr.

Response: Mr. Green and I have corresponded for several years now. He is the editor of the Modern King James Version (MKJV) and the Literal Translation of the Bible (LITV - for "Literal Version"). He also directs Sovereign Grace Publishers, which publishes the MKJV and LITV, along with the Christian Literature World magazine/ book catalog. I have recommended all of these publications in the past.

Subsequent to the above letter, Mr. Green sent me his 5 pages of verse comparisons. They compare various verses in the NKJV with the MKJV. Mr. Green then, of course, proclaims that the MKJV rendering is superior.

Looking over the list, I will say that in some cases the MKJV rendering is more accurate; but in my opinion, in some cases, either of the two renderings are possible. In some verses I believe the rendering of the NKJV is to be preferred to the MKJV. And in some, if it was up to me, I would translate the passage in a manner different than either of the two versions.

The bottom line, I will stick by my long-standing recommendation to compare more than one translation in Bible study. Now I do believe that the best translations currently available are the KJV, NKJV, MKJV and LITV versions. I would recommended that one of these be picked as one’s primary Bible version, and at least one additional one for comparison sake.

For me, I will continue to use the NKJV as the "default" version for my studies and ministry; but I always consult and at times quote from any of the other three versions as well.

For additional information on the above versions and Bible versions in general, see Bible Versions Controversy.

The above versions are available at reduced prices from the book companies listed at Christian Books and Software.

The letter and response above are abbreviated from two correspondences I have had recently with Mr. Green. For the full exchange, along with discussions of the verses Mr. Green mentions in his letter, see Correspondences with the Editor of the MKJV and LITV.

Note: Letters received via e-mail are preceded by PC.

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

The above letters were published in Darkness to Light newsletter
and posted on this Web site in 1997.

Letters to the Editor

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