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Appendix E

Godís Word Made a Joke

 

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 cartoon.

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 contemplate.

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 Textus Receptus.

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.

 


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