There is a
place for humor and there is a place for awe and respect. Surely Godís
Word is in the latter category, for within its pages is the way of
salvation, the story of redemption, the truth of our God. Yet so
irreverent has Christian society become that mortals now dare to make
light-hearted comments concerning Scripture to arouse the mirth of the
godless and careless populace. How far removed is this from the actions
of men who rendered up their lives to preserve the Word of God
inviolate! It seems that with the explosion of biblical translations and
with the introduction of certain paraphrases of Godís Word utilizing
coarse language to be "relevant" to a society which no longer fears its
God, men and women, even within the church, believe they can treat Godís
Word with the same hilarity that they use for a common work of fiction,
devised in the evil minds of men.
One crude jest regarding the Scriptures was in a
comic strip appearing worldwide, The Wizard of Id, produced by
two American cartoonists, Brant Parker and Johnny Hart. The central
character in the comic strip is not the Wizard but the pygmy-sized King
of Id. He is often seen with his tall, and only weakly intellectual
knight, Sir Rodney.
In The Bangkok Post, June 24, 1990, the comic
strip showed the king and Sir Rodney taking a stroll. They happened to
meet a citizen who had a book under her arm. "Hi, Blanch; whatís the
book under your arm?" the king queried. Blanch replied, "The Good Book."
Turning to Sir Rodney, after Blanch had walked on, the king asked,
"Whatís she doing with a copy of the tax laws?"
While it may be that some heads of government see the
tax laws as the best book in their country, this rather weak effort to
generate mirth at the expense of Godís sacred Word, is at very best in
poor taste, and at worst plain sacrilege. It will be noted that this
comic strip was extracted from a Thai newspaper. Since ninety-four
percent of Thais are Buddhists, and five percent are Moslems, this
irreverent reference to Godís Word would do nothing to raise its status
in their eyes. Thais could only conclude that in Christian circles the
Bible is of scant religious significance. If a newspaper in Thailand
were to similarly treat the Buddhist Scriptures or the Koran in this
manner, the perpetrators would be jailed for a number of years under the
strict laws of sacrilege enforced in that otherwise freedom-loving
country. One can only pray that most Thais would not understand the
The cartoon did not conclude at that point. As the
king and Sir Rodney roamed farther afield, they met a scribe dressed as
an abbot. "Good morning, scribe," greeted Sir Rodney cheerfully.
"Morning, Rodney; morning sire," replied the scribe. "How goes the
scriptural translations?" questioned Sir Rodney.
Clearly this question, in the presence of the king,
was the source of much embarrassment to the scribe, who was rude enough
to whisper to Sir Rodney, emphasizing just how reticent he was. Sir
Rodney, understandingly, interrupted the scribeís whispered reply with
the exclamation "Right!" and a little later, "Yes, how true!"
At last the scribe walked, on jauntily waving as he
called, "See you later," to which Rodney responded, "Keep up the good
work." Puzzled, the king questioned Sir Rodney. "Okay, whatís all the
secrecy?" "Heís with the KJV," replied Sir Rodney.
Leaving aside the loose mention of Godís Word, this
cartoon is intriguing. One suspects that the cartoonists have more than
a casual knowledge of the disdain presently being heaped throughout
Christendom on the King James Version of Scripture. We ponder whether
there is an element of the prophetic in this cartoon. Perhaps we will
reach the point where those who support the King James Version of
Scripture will become objects of scorn and some will be shamefaced when
their scriptural preference is discovered. Impossible? Did not once men
execute others for preferring a Bible virtually identical to the King
James Version? Parker and Hart have, at least, left us with a matter to
They are mere secular cartoonists performing their
art for mercenary benefits. But what of Christian magazines? Less than
one month later the South Pacific Record (July 14, 1990)
published a cartoon alluding to the controversy over various Bible
translations. In a journal which published an article demeaning the King
James Version as a T-Model Ford, it came as no great surprise to see
Godís Word made a lighthearted affair.
The cartoon illustrated a notice behind a very
stern-looking woman sitting at a desk. The notice stated, "Give here to
support National Bible Sabbath." One church member, wishing to ensure
that his donation would be well used, questioned as he searched his
inside coat pocket for his wallet, "Will my contribution fund the KJV or
the NIV?" The layman was depicted falling backward in a dead faint when
the woman at the desk replied, "NeitheróSwahili and Cantonese!" Swahili
is the dominant language of East Africa and Cantonese is a prominent
language in Southern China and Hong Kong.
Apart from other considerations mentioned above, this
cartoon did demonstrate a great misunderstanding of the matter at issue.
Russell has made a thorough survey of Bible translations in Southeast
Asia including Thai, Vietnamese, Tamil (a common Southern Indian
language), Chinese, Malay, Kadazan (a language of Sabah in the
Northeastern portion of Borneo). Without exception every one of these
translations is based upon perverted Greek manuscripts. Colin discovered
the same to be true of the Korean Bible.
Thus the question is not to which foreign language
translation the money collected on Bible Sabbath goes, but rather, Is
the Bible Society, printing Bibles in Cantonese or Swahili or any other
language, using corrupted or uncorrupted Greek manuscripts? In this
respect we can recommend the Trinitarian Bible Society alone among the
well-known Bible Societies. All of its translations are based upon the
Again we urge the sacredness of Godís Word. It is not
to be the object of jest, but rather of deep respect and love, knowing
at what price it was preserved, and even more important, at what price
the story of salvation, of which it alone is the pure source, was paid.