Get a Grip on the History of this Book:

"The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science.
Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man.
To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties – this knowledge, this feeling … that is the core of the true religious sentiment.
In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men."
On Science, Awe, and Humility
(read more @ Alfred Einstein Thoughts of a FreeThinker)
Spirituality =/= Religion. One breathes life. Religion is tradition, to "tie it back," literally.

Welcome to my blog. This is how I talk...
It is not a dissertation or outlined. It is an exhortation, and may at times sound foolish, so be it.
Is life eternal? Who knows for sure. But -- I see people who understood their own times (Jesus clearly was such a person) and I exhort us to understand ours, now.
While this blog reeks of my personality and writing style -- the Bible (and Christ) have at least the scent of God, of something more abiding and eternal than a mystic emotion of awe and reverence.
This book deals with and as a language talks about spiritual matters.
To understand (versus just appreciate the impact of) this book is, literally Jesus, Lord and Christ. The central premise of the book defies imagination and human experience; it demands faith, and as such deals with the impossible.
Its depth has many layers, which is sometimes hard to hear when politico-religion is around, sounding the call to submit, attend, participate and donate. And, in the United States, to also "incorporate" for tax (avoidance) purposes.
[[A Psalm] of David.]] I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, [and] strengthenedst me [with] strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth."
Though the LORD [be] high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off
The history of the preservation, translations, and censorships of the language and concepts of this "book" [starting apparently with papyri] is itself in part a history of the world -- politics -- nations. Obviously, it also speaks to the control of wealth and confronts it.
and now here we are on the internet, where words and creeds are cheap. (far too cheap and too easy to propagate).
It is a history of sweat, tears, drama and fire (book-burnings, people-burnings) and bloodshed. It was spread, with changes of technology and languages; and
For some reason, the understanding and action on this book was a threat to power, and to accumulated wealth-- which tells us something about this type of power, and wealth.
Religious people exist - -and can be seriously disruptive. I suggest -- getting a grip on the language (and history) of this book, if nothing else, for survival reasons.

Could you describe nature, its origins, its behaviors, like this? [Or, do you want to lament to God, "Why me??"] Check out Job 38, when the LORD, after hearing (37 chapters of theological debate, who's to blame for Job's suffering..) the LORD finally quizzes not his miserable (self-righteous) psychoanalysts -- only back then it was religious -- but Job himself.
. . .Actually, less a quiz than a challenge -- like standing (alone of course) to defend one's beloved thesis, in hopes of that blessed Ph.D. -- and realizing one is empty-handed: Job 38
"Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? [smile...] Gird up your loins now and answer me like a man! Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth...who laid the cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy?" ... Where is light and darkness?[v.19]; "Who hath put wisdom in the heart, and understanding in the inward parts?" [v.36]
Where is light and darkness, indeed! Men still wish to know! NASA, MIT, FermiLab and various universities are still working on it . . . . . must be powerful information to invest such fortunes into exploring...
Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 (Dated: June 15, 2001)

The existence of light (a massless U(1) gauge boson) is one of unresolved mysteries in nature.

In this paper, we would like to propose that light is originated from certain quantum orders in our vacuum. We will construct quantum spin models on lattice to demonstrate that some quantum orders can give rise to light without breaking any symmetries and without any fine tuning.
Through our models, we show that the existence of light can simply be a phenomenon of quantum coherence in a system with many degrees of freedom. Massless gauge fluctuations appears commonly and naturally in strongly correlated quantum systems which originally contain no gauge fields.

PACS numbers: 11.15.-q"

(MIT Xiao-Gang Wen: The Origins of Light)

Who puts wisdom in the heart?
Do we normally think in those terms--of wisdom, as a quality, which can be planted, engrained, or even poored into a heart? We don't yet know where light comes from -- so with all our institutions, anyone have a definition, way to implant, and who can tell what is the origin of "wisdom"??
...after a while of this interrogation (still presumably being destitute and completely covered with disease) Job replies -- I will lay my hand upon my mouth....
Generally speaking, most people won't come to God (or, this word) until life has got them speechless. But "speechless" is appropriate before this text. Reading it, one is in the presence of something older, very probably wiser (even if "collected wisdom") and more perceptive than onesself. It, and its language, just may have some serious insight & wisdom you just do not have! . .
What would persuade men to risk their lives, and end up burned at the stake, rather than recant on their translation of this book, and instead of saying "FORGET you -- this is MY survival, here!" to future generations, literally say things like (Jesus, allegedly) "Lord forgive them, for they know not what they do?" -- or (Stephen, on being stoned, Acts 7, allegedly) "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge!" -- or Wm. Tyndale, 1536 A.D., Lord, Open thou the King of England's eyes!" . Why? -- or for that matter, why were these men murdered to start with? Does the world really NEED a continual provision of scapegoats and bloodshed over who rules this place? If so, then perhaps they need the central message of Christ! -- or at a minimum of the books which similarly foretell of the need for redemption and prophesy of a Redeemer to come! Why did they value it so highly -- and why do religions today clearly (which this blog will illustrate) value almost anything higher than this Bible, while quoting it?
And what IS it about those psalms? . . . how can you not admire this plain speech and sentiment?....
"But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.Selah
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time [that] their corn and their wine increased." (from Psalm 4)

Who can really summarize this topic? But I WILL speak to it -- and while the experience is shared by many (women and mothers), not enough are speaking out about it.
Now is the time to understand its concepts, and how that church-state hybrid never (ever) had any blending with the gospel in purpose and intent, and by about 300 (possibly 200) A.D. also had little in common with its language.
Which of course, can still change....
Let the games begin...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why the Great Commission, Isn't, and Why it matters

Bear with another installment of this "foolishness," please!

This is part 2 of another humongous post, as I stand in awe of what I can only call the insanity of "ChrisTRIunity."  It cannot stand the scrutiny of scholarship, and withers immediately -- at least of a dialogue and reason is involved -- when a Muslim can readily point out about the verses commonly used to support the One-In-Three approach. Someone doesn't believe this -- especially that last part:

12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, andis a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do

Right now, my post is not high-traffic, nor am I promoting it.  It is simply a setting forth of some examples, along side scriptures, of the problem and consequences to a continued failure to resolve it (by self-styled Christians) - -- and these are not just in-house problems, they spill over to the rest of us.   That said, I am not copyediting or reviewing this post (time constraints) nor is it being presented as "doctoral" or expert.  The intent is to get people, especially self-designated Christians (and Catholics) to get off the couch about the issue.  

Because oppressive religion and oppressive government go hand in hand, and this is in our midst.  We have honor killings in the US, and we have Christian women fleeing for their lives from evangelical or other traditionally (abusive) situations, and finding no safe haven as Christians.   We are also being ceremonially stripped of our children and ending up, when we keep them, either in long-term poverty, or in long-term court battles to retain custody -- and this is due to the setup of the "family" court system.

I have read many debates and websites in the past (week) around this new information (to me), that the "WEA" is up in arms against (trinitarian) Wycliffe Bible Translators (a Florida corporation) -- and protesting the "dilution of the Bible" to accommodate conversion of Muslims.

While I am not in favor of diluting the Bible, anyone who is going "triune" already has.  Either it's a valid point of reference as to this resurrection of Christ and the outpouring of the holy spirit -- or it's not.   Not everyone is going to believe, and any "Great Commission" which orders followers to attempt to make them to-- as opposed to preaching the gospel and giving people an informed choice on it! -- is going to involve coercion.

It is time-consuming and of course laborious to patiently lay things out.  Many things have already been laid out in these matters, and simply rejected by those wishing to dominate this world, allegedly for Christ -- not just stand as righteous in the next.  I wish I didn't know so much about that, but, hey, whatcha gonna do?

When a Muslim, who does not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, or the outpouring of the gift of holy spirit on Pentecost (so far as I know) has to explain to a Christian that there STILL is one God, and that God is Spirit (not a man), then I think that's a sad commentary on Christians.  I think the Christians need to get off all the commentaries, back into their Bible, and reconsider who they are following and whom they are serving.

Certain basics, once you understand them, you should be able to show another person either from the scriptures, from the power of God, or from your lifestyles, what this is about.   Collectively speaking, Christians are not.  I say this from a "blue" state in the USA and from having been brought up attending church, yet not learning a thing from it. 

No one should be endorsing a religion that oppresses the vulnerable while quoting its sacred texts -- out of context, too!

Here's yet another instance of the same consultant, from "" making short work of the One God Issue, even citing Luke 4:14-16, which mentions Jesus coming "in the power of the Spirit" but switching references (if not topics) two verses short of reading Jesus' verse 18 proclamation of what he came to do. I got this from the link after the last article, of "Is Jesus God"?

Salam, Simon.

Thank you for your question.

The Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament categorically say that God is one and ONE ONLY. You may retort: "No, He is one in three; God is three persons in one God, and Jesus is one of the three persons in One God". But really, was Jesus God?
The answer may come as a shock to many Christians. Jesus never said he was God. Actually, he said over and over again, and in many ways, that he was not God.

Jesus was a practicing Jew, and the very idea of God taking a human form is antithetical to the Torah or the Law of Moses.
This is true, and the reason so many Christians don't know it is because they are ignorant, the chief ignorance beginning with follow-the-leader and not "show me the proof."   Whereas many of these Christians apparently have (despite -- not because of -- their own leadership) somehow confessed Jesus Lord, believed that God raised him from the dead, and received the gift of the holy spirit, even into manifestation, in one way or another, that gift was to enable them, at a minimum, to be able to understand the things of God.  WHICH INCLUDES THE SCRIPTURES!  

Having somehow received something they can't explain and don't know how they got, they can't themselves teach someone else up to the point of "accomplishment" to their own level without a "come listen to my pastor" or "come sit through a year-long, one-a-week meeting" which I can only imagine being required as people have such a small, real appetite for simply reading the Bible, that they would rather get the predigested version and make sure it's "bona-fide certified."

And at the end of a year, most likely, they still will not be doing what Jesus' disciples did BEFORE Pentecost, i.e., heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, OR (mark 16) able to, with the Lord's help, locate people who are called -- or who have an appetite for the truth -- and WILL believe the gospel, when it's preached.

Personally, I don't really know how to handle this, other than to say of myself, I must NOT be Christian, because I DO endorse One God (No, Jesus is not God, he is Christ, in fact "the Christ") and the scriptures actually make sense to me.  When read a chapter and a book at a time, and as compared with each other.

Moreover of the people directly involved in my life and overtly claiming themselves to be "Christian" - their ethics and behavior doesn't even rise to the standard of many atheists I know.

They (the former) are utterly lawless, and I am referring to not minor things such as losing one's temper, but to major things like assaulting and repeatedly battering a pregnant woman (it happens to be me, but I am hardly the only one), refusing to support one's children whether living with them OR separated (because of that battering), lying under oath (repeatedly), stealing children and transporting them across state and country borders illegally (this is MY kids I'm referring to), commonly known as kidnapping, which is a felony; and in general refusing to respect the laws of the land-- or of this state.  

This is women and men both doing this, and colluding to do so -- it has been impoverishing and horribly destructive.    

Moreover, in my study of grants being distributed to so-called Christian groups, the behavior is not much better; special privileges are sought, but accountability falls far short in the "faith-based" arena.    Crooks know who to approach, therefore, when there is need to commit certain financial crimes regarding federal money. . . . Again, see left inset.   "Christian" (Trinitarian) people have endorsed all kinds of travesties (including attempted genocide, and starting a slave-trade; I'm referring to the Irish slave-trade, actually, under Cromwell), and of course hunting down and executing courageous individuals who resisted them and braved their wrath to produce accurate translations of the Bible and put them in the hands of the "laity," not to mention, in general, preaching in the name of Jesus (as opposed of in the name of the triune God).  

They have enslaved and raped women, and they ALSO have molested and raped children.  How much lower is it possible to sink, as a category of "the faithful" -- and what does it say that so many are still supporting their ranks and contributing to the building funds, the mission funds?  

Would it not be better to take those mission funds, give them back to the donors, and FIRST start getting logical and honest about the central fact:  we do not (really) believe the Bible enough to even simply preach it (straight) -- and collectively, while we hold tremendous influence and control over our flocks, we do not restrain them on the basis of saying, around here -- we do NOT beat our wives or rape our children or anyone else's.   I think this would be a very appropriate place for all Christians (and Catholics) to start.

From what I can see it is now -- as much as it has been at any other point in history -- still a blending of church and state with only a pretense at separation, if that.

And while indeed -- I happen to believe this IS the turning point of history -- IF God raised Jesus from the dead, and IF the gift of holy spirit is a reality -- then it is this God (a.k.a. the living God) and not idols we should be serving, and it also the one we are going to have to deal with come judgment, i.e., you don't get out of facing Him simply through death -- given that there is going to be a resurrection!

Consider how easy it is for someone who acknowledges Jesus, but does not believe in the resurrection, or the gift of holy spirit being made available through Jesus Christ -- to dismantle a bit of Trinitarianism.  Like the same doctrine, however, he is doing to (as I said) stop short here of reading the rest of the section quoted -- which would lead directly into Jesus' proclamation of having been "anointed" by God to preach the gospel of deliverance (etc.):

The following quote proves that Jesus was a devout and learned Jew, a rabbi:
"Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and his reputation spread throughout the region. He was teaching in their synagogues, and all were loud in his praise. He came to Nazareth where he had been reared, and entering the synagogue on the sabbath as he was in the habit of doing, he stood up to do the reading." (Luke 4:14-16)

As a rabbi, what did Jesus teach? Throughout the New Testament, Jesus exhorted the people to worship God alone and keep the Mosaic commandments. The first and the best known commandment in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, asks for total and absolute devotion to God alone:
"The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore, you shall adore the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Mark 12:29-30)

Muslims can handle this question readily, and make a fool (in ten minutes or less) of most Christians because most Christians read less scripture than, apparently, many Muslims.  That doesn't mean I agree with all the reasoning, but it certainly is a disgrace to Christians that someone they are trying to evangelize knows their holy book (including the New Testament) better than they do, and can't even frame the questions.

This is in part because to maintain the rhetoric and doctrine requires keeping the majority of the followers basically illiterate as to the gospel message, distracting their attention from reading a chapter at a time, a book at a time, or basically almost anything in context, and in a flow of sentences around one topic at a time.

Those obsessed with "the Great Commission" have self-identified as of this crowd.   It is my intention to make it very clear to laypersons that "fronting" any group or policy with this phrase entails disciplining ('discipling') all nations into believing the trinity, as the Matthew 28:19 verse (and only such verse in the Bible) allegedly commands.  And the bottom line of any leader one wishes to follow or associate with, should be accountability in their handling of this Word of God, paralleled with accountability in also handling their fiscal affairs.  They go together.

I just found another rather plain-talk (but common-sense) site on this verse in the larger (Bible) context, as well as in the chronological context of when recitations of it started showing up (i.e., not before the 4th century!).   One reason this appears to be a common sense site is that its owner -- apparently a (young?) man from Oklahoma -- is not trying to disciple the nations (or fundraise to do so) -- stage a boycott of Bible translators that don't agree with him, etc.

And Randall Duane Hughes from Oklahoma writes, (co. 2000:)

Matthew 28:19 is the only verse in the entire Bible with the Trinity formula for baptism. This is the Trinity baptism formula the majority of "Christianity" adheres to. In spite of the numerous direct commands to baptize in Jesus Name (Acts 10:48; 2:38), what seem to be direct accounts of baptism services in Jesus Name (Acts 8:16; 19:5; 22:16), and other "types" (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 1:13) that all point to baptism being performed in the Name of Jesus by the Apostolic Church. When one examines some of the content of other disputed verses that have proven to be spurious one finds the Trinity mentioned in 1 John 5:7, as well as alluded to in the doxology from Matthew 6:13b. Such additions to Scripture can only make one wonder how such a doctrine was contrived after 4,000 years of God being viewed as absolutely One by the Jews! We will take a look at some of the facts relating to the Matthew 28:19 Trinity baptism formula and the evidence that has been brought against it for you to consider.
Much has happened in the past couple of hundred years that has changed the text of the New Testament, as we know it. Various manuscripts have been discovered that have revealed to scholars (Textual Critics) what is believed to be a more accurate rendering of the text. In addition to these manuscripts (now approaching 6,000 Greek MSS), scholars also use quotations found within the writings of the Church Fathers, or Patristic quotations, along with the Versions (Coptic, Latin, Syriac, etc).
A "church father" manuscript of a later date, in other words, may be quoting scripture from an earlier date than any existing (or yet found) manuscripts, which does not contain, for example, a trinitarian formula.   This is not uncommon information, but commonly is not going to be taught at, for example, a place such as "Great Commission Ministries" (see last post, bottom corporate records from AZ)!

Something to keep in mind. Although there are some discrepancies, there remains a great deal of agreement! "Manuscript differences such as the omission or inclusion of a word or a clause, and two paragraphs in the Gospels, should not overshadow the overwhelming degree of agreement which exist among the ancient records.
It appears that no manuscripts (at all) exist of the last two chapters of Matthew prior to the time of the trinitarian debates.  this might be in part because there was some persecution and burnings, as well!

For the sake of clarifying the above point, one can look to the listing of the Papyri's as found in Kurt and Barbara Aland's The Text of the New Testament, 2nd Edition, 1995, pages 96-103. This list gives a description of the verses contained in each of the 96 papyri's listed. Matthew 26:52 (P 37) seems to be the last verse from Matthew found in the Papyri's. So there is virtually a two chapter gap (as well as a three century gap) from the "earliest manuscripts" and the traditional rendering of the Matthew 28:19 Trinity baptism formula.

Shortly after Nicea, an "anathema" clause was added to the Athanatius Creed. Thus in 385 A.D., Priscillian Avilla was put to death for failing to believe. It was around this period of time that the Bible was taken away from the laity. Only the Priest would have access to the Scriptures. A non-authorized person found in possession of a Bible would be killed. All the way to 1536 A.D. Tyndale was killed for translating the Bible into the vernacular. And mass was held in Latin so the people could not question.
Another person (also not apparently trying to start a church, raise fundings, disciple the nations, or sell things) also handles this from the point of view of logic, grammar, commonsense and correctly points out that this matter of interpolating -- regardless of how common the habit is -- the trinitarian formula into scripture and ignoring how much scripture contradicts that reading is deceitful -- and speaks of fraud.  

A Call to Biblical Authenticity
© 2004 Mark Kennicott

Historians and biblical encyclopedias all agree that it was the name of Jesus that was invoked in baptism for the first 100 years of the newly founded Church. In fact, the written works of Eusebius of Caesarea (c. AD 263-339) suggest that Matthew 28:19 originally did not contain the triune formula at all, but rather stated, "Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name." While all extant manuscripts contain the triune formula, some early church records seem to indicate that the text was changed within the first 100 years to reflect the emerging doctrine of the TrinityThere is compelling evidence to support the conclusion that Jesus never spoke the words we now read in Matthew 28:19, though scholars of textual criticism will no doubt continue to debate this well into the future. However, it is not necessary to rewrite Matthew 28:19 in order to reconcile it with the rest of the Biblical record. Certainly within the context of evangelism, we would be better served by letting the text read as it does, and then by simply asking better questions.
 such as . . .
What did the disciples actually do?
The witness of Scripture is clear. From the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost and throughout the book of Acts, baptism was consistently preached and administered by the Apostles in the name of Jesus Christ, sometimes recorded simply as, "in the name of the Lord, or Lord Jesus"
What name did they invoke audibly over those who they baptized?
Again, it is the name of Jesus invoked or implied in many Scriptures. No appeal is made to a triune formula in any of the references to baptism in the Epistles, though many are made which support baptism in the name of Jesus. (See Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, 1 Corinthians 1:13, Galatians 3:27 and Colossians 2:12)
In kennecott's introduction:

The Great Commission is a commandment, not a suggestion.  

No wonder then that Matthew 28:19-20 is such a debated passage of Scripture. Controversy and contradiction are words that readily come to mind when discussion begins.   . . .As a supporter of Jesus' name {{vs. the trinitarian formula}} baptism, I am alarmed by the methods and explanations that others use in order to prove our point.  We live in an age that demands and deserves integrity in our presentation of biblical truth, but when it comes to this one verse we are desperately in need of some correction and redirection
"We," who?  I'm not claiming membership or association with the groups who can't get this foundational (one God) truth straight, no matter how many buildings, nonprofits, or websites are put up in the name of something historically which could only be enforced through (very earthly) force. 

Specifically, we are suffering with respect to our grammar, the use of logic, and the application of hermeneutic principles. What we risk losing in the process is credibility, and possibly the very souls we hope to reach. We {{those interested in the truth of the Bible, that is}} really need to take a closer look at the text, and handle it with the care and honor deserving of God's precious Word.  Paul understood how important this was when he wrote: 
"But [we] have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." (II Corinthians 4:2)

According to the Message paraphrase of the Bible, not handling the Word of God deceitfully means that "we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves." Yet without using sound principles of interpretation, we {{again, anyone}} can easily fall prey to this self-serving mindset.

Again, it's like claiming expert status in a field.  If one does -- and those promoting this doctrine do -- then anyone can, and people should, demand a proof, either logical, historical, "hermeutical" and grammatical -- or, if it comes to the matter of faith -- supernatural.  In other words, this text speaks throughout of the miraculous, and referring to the "word"  in an audience of Gentiles (Acts 10:34-38

Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:   But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.  
There's your "reaching the nations" and "multi-cultural" verse....
The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)  That word, [I say], ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preachedHow God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost** and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 
Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, [even] to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 
And he commanded us to preach unto the people {{references Israel}}, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God [to be] the Judge of quick and dead.   To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
 Again, the Subject/Verb/Direct Object is:  God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy spirit and with power (it's synonymous), which is then followed by exercising that power in doing good and healing.

There is no co-equality here; Jesus derived his power from the anointing by God.   There is agency and their is chronology.  Perhaps if this single passage were actually read -- or preached -- and if people followed Peter in listening more to scriptures and God than Josh McDowell training CDs, there'd be a recognition of which word is to be preached, more people receiving the gift of holy spirit to start with so they might better understand "the things of God" (See I Corinthians 2 for more on spiritual v. natural), and more people might be, like this Jesus, "going about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil" in stead of behaving like (the devil), in persecuting, strangling, hanging, and burning to death those who disagreed with them, i.e., "heretics.").  There also might be more results like what is recorded right after, in Acts 10:
Treasury of Scripture KnowledgeConcordance and Hebrew/Greek LexiconList Audio, Study Tools, Commentaries
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Treasury of Scripture KnowledgeConcordance and Hebrew/Greek LexiconList Audio, Study Tools, Commentaries
No Images or Hymns AvailableVersions / TranslationsDictionary Aids
And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
καὶ ἐξέστησαν οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς πιστοὶ ὅσοι συνῆλθον τῷ Πέτρῳ ὅτι καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ ἔθνη (Gentiles, the "ethne") ἡ δωρεὰ (the gift) τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος (of holy spirit) ἐκκέχυται (has been poured out).  (see Interlinear for word-by-word breakdown)
Treasury of Scripture KnowledgeConcordance and Hebrew/Greek LexiconList Audio, Study Tools, Commentaries
No Images or Hymns AvailableVersions / TranslationsDictionary Aids
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Re:  the word for "has been poured out" (interesting tense shift to present perfect?, in the excitement of the narrative, sometimes we do this in English:  "I went in to a 7-11 and saw a robbery in progress; I was standing in line, and this guy pulls out a gun . . . . )

Another use of "has been poured out" (same tense, etc.) is in Romans 5, referred to "the love of God" being poured out through this holy spirit which is given us.  It is the same verb used in Acts 2:17 & 18 re: prophesy of pouring forth of God's spirit onto man.  For people interested in reading how the Bible uses various words (as opposed to reading second hand opinions, such as mines, on the same) the tool of simply looking up where the same Greek (or Hebrew) word shows up is very helpful and is an all-expenses (except time and internet access)paid trip through usage.  This is one way I initially built my knowledge of scripture (from almost the start); my reference books were dog-eared and highlit as much as the KJV Bible...

References to this verb, "to pour out" (or shed something) includes references to holy spirit, blood (of Jesus & others), wine, money out of money changers bowls (in the temple), and vials of God's wrath (revelation), and (Titus 3:6) God our Savior's kindness and love towards man ("philanthropia"!) which he poured out on us.

he poured out
of us;

Obviously that is a sentence fragment, so the entire sentence should be read, which normally will be several verses long, but not hard to identify.  As Titus is a "leadership" epistle, and the gist of this chapter seems to be, be aware that God was gracious to you, so quit brawling, being ligitious (lawsuits all over the place) and fighting about doctrine -- maintain good works and don't give others cause to speak evil of you as believers.  (Actually, Titus was told to admonish the believers so).  In the middle of this is a reminder of God's mercy towards us in pouring out holy spirit:

1Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness to all men. 3For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Greek interlinear shows there is no "the" before "holy ghost" (pneumatos agiou) and again, in "washing . . . and renewing" there is the reference to being cleaned and renewed, as would baptism indicate; i.e., holy spirit is showing up as something that does what water does....
 6Which he shed [poured] on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.8This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that you affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. 9But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; 11Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sins, being condemned of himself.
This is the start of the letter to Titus, addressing a certain concern.  Notice that even in this version (Douay-Rheims, which is considered a more "Catholic" version) it doesn't start out with a trinitarian formula -- Paul calls himself a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ (and per Acts 9, that was who, indeed, sent him.  Apostles are "sent" ones...):

1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of the elect of God and the acknowledging of the truth, which is according to godliness: 2 Unto the hope of life everlasting, which God, who lieth not, hath promised before the times of the world3 But hath in due times manifested his word in preaching, which is committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior:
That's the "From"; here's the "To":
4 To Titus my beloved son, according to the common faith, grace and peace from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Savior.  
5 For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest ordain priests* (presbuteros/elders
as I also appointed thee: 6 If any be without crime, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot (debauchery), or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not subject to anger, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre: 8 But given to hospitality, gentle, sober, just, holy, continent9 Embracing that faithful word which is according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine, and to convince the gainsayers.
It would probably help if these guidelines were also respected to this day, however, the converse is often showing up in association with religious leaders they are, er, less than continent when it comes to "keeping it zipped" and when it comes to money.  Likewise, in order to have some semblance of sound reading of scriptures, one has to also be able to control one's mind to read what's written, read it in context, understand some historical context, and not behave like "Girls Gone Wild" simply because there's substantial social reward (mainstream Christianity, tax-exempt status, outreach throughout the world for missions, access to orphanages, etc.) for doing so, and NOT doing so might require to walk -- or be led -- OUTSIDE the city of the faithful (which in this case is in the center of Rome, not Jerusalem, and it's currently called The Vatican) -- as Jesus was OUTSIDE Jerusalem, and once there, endure suffering for his name -- and not for the name of the Triumphant Triune God. . . . 

16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
the previous chapter 5 is often quoted (in fragment), but starts like this:

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked4For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life5Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
From what I understand, the "earthly house of tabernacle" is referring to his body, i.e., flesh; he says that God wrought them for this purpose, and also gave them the "earnest" (token, indicator -- like a title deed) of the Spirit.  

The word for "earnest" is only used 3 times in the NT; also in Ephesians 1:14 and refers to a Pledge -- as in, downpayment.  Perhaps real estate terminology may help understand it better -- would this be an Escrow account? Only, it being God's pledge, it's unlikely to fall flat!   (click to find other occurrences).

if this spirit, then, is a gift, is poured out, is shed forth (like wine, blood, mercy & grace, the love of God, or coins from the money-changers' bowls) and is something one is washed in (like water), is power and represents a downpayment on eternal life to come -- then how is it a person of a trinity!  Get real -- and get some courage!

Since I'm here -- in II Corinthians 4, inspiring language, Paul sets forth why they are committed, persistent and not afraid to suffer.  He mentions "spirit" a number of times (never as an entity to be worshipped alongside God and Jesus, creating an equilateral godhead) and indicates he believes in the resurrection -- which again, is not described as a belief in "Jesus rose bodily" but that the same God which raised Jesus up will also raise Paul up, etc.   I cannot describe it better than it's written, so here it is:

1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we areperplexed, but not in despair; 9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak14Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward manis renewed day by day17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen aretemporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

"I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest {he shall die] in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell {the grave}, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance."

 This is a direct quote from Psalm 16 (16:10).  It is one thing to have the Bible (for that audience, the psalms) read to one, and an entirely different thing to be confronted with the possibility -- or evidence -- that it was, literally true.  And that is exactly what Peter went on to declare, with the intent that it reach people's heart, and cause repentance.  It was a call to repentance, for sure:

. . . .Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 
32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
  .....There are generally about two responses to such confrontation:  Yea, or Nay.  Of the Nay, these can be further divided into, "so what?" or "shoot the messenger."

This declaration by Peter (it's not a "sermon" in the traditional sense; it was inspired utterance) took great courage, and if the record is true (and the desire is evangelism), got the desired results -- about three thousand people said "what shall we do?" were advised to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and to receive the gift of holy spirit, and did so.  There was immediate momentum and the start of, apparently, a community of faith.

Only after it was beginning to make a presence in the area  (I'm sure the "signs and wonders" and healings didn't hurt!) did the persecution begin....
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
{{Where's the trinity?  Where's the you "might" receive the gift of the Holy Ghost? Where is, worship the father son and holy ghost?}}
39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

This may be a true account (or close to it) or a false account (and far from it).  However, IF true (or close to it), it makes a lot more sense than attempting to disciple entire nations and countries, at great expense, with a dishonest rendition claimng to be the genuine article, thereby disgracing the name of Christ not only with behaviors (which has been going on for millennia) but also with the incoherent readings of the text, and ramming that down people's throats because it causes less persecution or isolation from the mainstream.

If there's no resurrection, then drop it!  If there potentially is -- then prove it.  Let's seem some of the signs, miracle and wonders in the name of Jesus Christ:  more power, less dogma!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Again, certain religions, when in power in a nation, are in the habit of not just simply "rejecting" heretics from a fellowship, but literally hunting them down and executing them.  There is a world of difference.  Moreover, when an entire country (including its political, financial, social and control-of-resource systems) is pretty well dominated by ONE style of religion (authoritarian and centralized) then, labeling as a heretic -- or harboring someone labeled as a heretic -- could mean a death sentence.  In such systems (and we're heading that way and IN it, in the US presently), the entire landscape except those who curry favor, or live in the shadow, of the same authority-- are cowed into submission and silence, or at least fenced in.  Basically, the system is of terrorizing the landscape, while farming it for profit of the rulers.

It was precisely such systems -- and they were Trinitarian in nature, which IS the nature of this doctrine to start with, and hardly by accident -- which those we now call heroes, braved in order to provide this Bible in the tongue of the common person, and labored very hard to produce it.

It takes far less labor and courage to set up corporation after corporation(which also doesn't even require much money), basically a website, and link the websites to each other -- after a nice worldwide conference -- to simply attempt to dominate the theological landscape rather than risk "excommunication" by the mainstream Christianity, rather than honestly handle -- and settle for all times through matters of integrity, logic, and adherence to the scriptures -- this matter of the Trinity, as opposed to continuing deceitful and fraudulent readings, and then "Discipling All Nations" to "the Great Commission" when in fact, that is more likely a "great addition" to the Bible and not authentic!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Some of this gets down to translations; but at least the person asking the question and answering it can outline the situation clearly; this debate centers around the nature of the future "comforter" referred to in the Gospel of John.

John is the latest of the gospels, and an excellent (and not at all to estoeric) discussion of this fact can be found in a book "The Changing Faces of Jesus" by "Vermes."

Vermes has the credentials of having studied the Dead Sea Scrolls (and a good deal more):  Look at this:

Academic career

Vermes was one of the first scholars to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls after their discovery in 1947, and is the author of the standard translation into English of the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (1962)[5] He is one of the leading scholars in the field of the study of the historical Jesus (see Selected Publications, below) and together with Fergus Millar and Martin Goodman, Vermes was responsible for substantially revising Emil Schurer's three-volume work, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ,[6] His An Introduction to the Complete Dead Sea Scrolls, revised edition (2000), is a study of the collection at Qumran.[7]
Moreover, see the personal background, here; I got and read the book:
Vermes was born in MakóHungary, in 1924 to Jewish parents. All three were baptised as Roman Catholics when he was seven. His mother and journalist father died in the Holocaust. After the Second World War, he became a Roman Catholic priest, studied first in Budapest and then at the College St Albert and the Catholic University of Leuven inBelgium, where he read Oriental history and languages and in 1953 obtained a doctorate in theology with a dissertation on the historical framework of the Dead Sea ScrollsHe left the Catholic Church in 1957; and, reasserting his Jewish identity, came to Britain and took up a teaching post at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He married Pamela Hobson in 1958. In 1965 he joined the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University, rising to become the first professor of Jewish Studies before his retirement in 1991. In 1970 he became a member of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue of London.[4] After the death of his first wife in 1993, he married Margaret Unarska in 1996 and adopted her son, Ian Vermes.
Now that kind of background, I am willing to listen to, as opposed to people who form multiple corporations by reproducing creeds they got (in conference, or off the internet) from some other council, and then attempt to influence future translations of the Bible based on collective clout !

BOOK review #1 doesn't really discuss the author, but does relate:
In this book Geza Vermes looks at Jesus from a Jewish standpoint. He considers the New Testament sources for our knowledge: John's gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, Paul's writings, and the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Somewhat unusually, he reverses the presumed chronological order of these documents and begins with John, followed by Paul, the Acts, and finally the Synoptics.
The reason he follows this scheme is that he sees Jesus as a thoroughly Jewish figure, whose message was framed in a Jewish context and was intended only for Jews. He hopes that by tracing the development of the New Testament in the opposite direction from that usually followed he can bring out Jesus's Jewish background more clearly. Jesus, he maintains, never wished to found a new religion, let alone a world religion, but the early Christian church transformed him into a divine person whose preaching was supposed to be for the whole world.
Vermes begins with John because he thinks that the Fourth Gospel is the furthest removed from the historical Jesus, both in time and in its conception of Jesus, while the Synoptics, and especially Mark, give us at least an approximation to a portrait of the man. (Vermes appears to have no doubt that Jesus did in fact exist as a historical personage.) Together with the letters of Paul, John's gospel is largely responsible for the view that Christians have formed of Jesus and his role.
. . .Most of the great doctrinal controversies of Christianity in the first millennium concerning the Trinity and the two natures of Christ had their origin in the Fourth Gospel.
Paul's contribution is equally or even more important. Vermes regards him as the most creative and imaginative among the authors of the New Testament. His thought is complex and often baffling, at least to a modern reader, but Vermes does a good job of making it comprehensible by relating it to the setting in which Paul thought and wrote. The two chapters that discuss Paul are well worth reading for anyone who has tried, but failed, to understand much of what the self-styled apostle was driving at.
Unlike John, Paul did not think of Christ as divine, nor was he interested in the historical figure of Jesus. His emphasis was on Christ as redeemer of humanity, both Jews and Gentiles, and on the Second Coming, which Paul believed was imminent. He described a "mystery drama of salvation", which still shapes most Christians' understanding of their religion today.
"Put ... simply, for Paul and his Christians the resurrection of Jesus signified the availability of a spiritual renaissance for spiritually dead sinners, for those who through their union with Christ's death inherited a share in his new life"  [quoting the book]
Book review by Anthony Campbell. The review is licensed under aCreative Commons License.

I bring that up for pointing, indeed, to how the gospel of John does indeed differ from the other three (synoptice gospels) in tone.  Moreover, it seems to have more than average sets of verses Trinitarians like to point to as justifying the divinity of Christ.  Some of these hinge on the translation of a pronoun referring to "the Comforter" -- which is then taken up by (below, here).

The version quoted implying that this comforter is a Person (and not spirit, as I have been sharing and showing last three posts, in the various quotes, along with some interlinear passages) -- happens to be the NIV (New International Version) which is less than scholarly on the part of any scholarly discussion, and in part, not a fair contest!)

The Gospel of John records a critical context in the life of Jesus, when he told his disciples about his impending departure:

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you." (John 14:7-12, New International Version)

In the above verses, Prophet Jesus talks about the coming of "the Spirit of Truth" (or "the Comforter"). He tells his disciples that they should follow "the Spirit of Truth" when he comes.

Jesus tells them in the clearest terms: "when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth."

There are differing interpretations about the Comforter held by the two groups mentioned above. The Muslims (that is, those who believe in Jesus as a prophet) aver that the Comforter was Prophet Muhammad. And those who believe Jesus to be the Son of God claim that the Comforter was the spiritual phenomenon of the Pentecost.

That is to say, the Christian claim is that the spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. ...

{{that is indeed the mainstream -- i.e., trinitarian -- Christian claim.  Those (such as Jehovah's witnesses, or some others) who debate this are considered cults, if not heretics, obviously.}}

But the context clearly points to a human prophet,** and not to any mysterious amorphous manifestation. This is clear because the prophesied Comforter is someone who can be a replacement for Prophet Jesus, so that the disappearance of Jesus will never be felt when the Comforter comes:

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you" (John 16:7 King James Version)

Muslims believe that the expected Comforter was the final prophet of God, Muhammad.

. . . .** that is, if one doesn't engage in the translation debates over some of those very passages.

The Greek (at least from whatever version this represents) to John 14:16 shows that the word "he" is not a separate pronoun, as in English, but part of a verb form: I'm going to show because it's not ahalf-bad habit (when one has a question) to simply look...  "Strongs" is a concordance number, and "morphology" (right column) is simply parts of speech and cases, which makes more of a difference in non-English languages for sure:

and I
will ask
he will give
ᾖ ⇔
he might be

(click on the "morphology" link for the legend.  "V"  (Verb, Participle Subjunctive (mood) Active (tense) -- 3rd person singular?  I don't know . . .. But it's VERB -- and whether it be a "he" or an "it" would be implied -- not specified!)

The next verse describes this comforter, as "the spirit of truth": again, the word translated "he" (John 14:17) is a pronoun, and that pronoun translated "him" twice is "auto" (the same, I believe -- see below) and the word "he" is again, implicit in the verb.

of truth,
is able
it does see
but you
he abides,
will be.

Hardly a strong place from which to assert that the Comforter is a person.  Particularly when I Corinthians 2 deals with the matter of spirit.

Here's "Buzzard" listing a variety of (earlier) translations of John 1:1 also cited as a trinity verse.

A PBS "Battle for the Bible" has a fast-paced summary of Wycliffe - Tyndale here, and the challenges both faced.  Wycliffe was not hanged or burnt at the stake -- but in 1428 his body was exhumed and then burned!

In the 14th century, the Roman Catholic Church was Western Europe's undisputed religious authority; and its central rituals -- the Mass and Communion -- the only legitimate pathway to salvation. The pope and the clergy held enormous power, and secular authorities looked to the Church for legitimation. Key to the Church's power was the fact that its rituals were conducted in Latin, a language inaccessible to the uneducated faithful. The public was completely dependent on the priesthood for access to salvation -- only through mysterious rituals conducted in an unfamiliar tongue could they conduct their spiritual lives. 

John Wycliffe, born around 1320, was a prominent theologian at Oxford University and a leading ecclesiastical politician in the dark period of English history following the decimation of Europe's population by the Black Plague. He became convinced through his own scholarship that Scripture itself, rather than the Mass, should be seen as the source of Christian authority.

Wycliffe's notion that the Bible should be translated into the common tongue for the edification of all believers was a radical innovation, and one that spawned a movement. Working outside of the Church, translators eventually produced perhaps hundreds of so-called "Wycliffe Bibles," translated and hand-copied from the Latin. It is not clear that Wycliffe himself produced any translations into English, so they are more properly known as "Wycliffite" Bibles. 

With or without Wycliffe's active involvement, the English Bible became part of an underground movement that became known as Lollardy and continued to spread after Wycliffe's death in 1384. It worried Church authorities enough that by 1407 the English translation was denounced as unauthorized, and translating or using translated Bibles was defined as heresy -- a crime for which the punishment was death by burning. In 1415 Wycliffe himself was denounced, posthumously, as a heretic. His body was exhumed and burned in 1428. Wycliffite Bibles, even after the ban, were produced in great numbers, and the 250 or so that now remain are the largest surviving body of medieval English texts. But the time was not yet right for the Bible to exist publicly in the common tongue. 
Perhaps the most influential publication of the early 16th century was the Dutch theologian Desiderius Erasmus's 1515 edition of the Greek New Testament, which included a new Latin translation. The translation -- which was printed and circulated widely among educated Christians across Europe -- made possible Martin Luther's 1522 publication of a new translation into German, which became perhaps the key text in the Reformation.

In England, William Tyndale, who was Luther's contemporary, set about creating an authoritative English translation of the Bible from the original texts. Tyndale worked in a harsher political environment than Luther faced on the Continent (the German authorities did not censure the reformers, while Tyndale clashed with and was reprimanded by English Catholic leaders) and eventually left England for Europe, most likely Germany, in 1524 in order to continue his work.

The version of the Bible that Tyndale completed in exile became one of the most influential works of literature in the English language, full of phrases that entered the popular lexicon and defined what we know as the voice of the scriptures. His translation was at once a major work of creative poetry and a radical reinterpretation of the sacred texts, challenging by interpretation the authority of the Catholic hierarchy, redefining "priests" as "elders" and the "Church" as a "congregation."

In 1526 Tyndale published his New Testament in a portable edition. First published in Cologne and Worms, and eventually smuggled into England in large numbers from Antwerp (where Tyndale found refuge during the late 1520s), it became a best-seller, popularized by itinerant preachers who recited Tyndale's words despite the fact that they risked burning at the stake. 

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