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alan1979
04-16-2005, 02:52 AM
Hey all,

I purchased the Harper Collins Study Bible today and although I appreciate the notes, I have a concern that some of you may or may not share. I was looking at the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible 3rd edition at the store and realized just how anti- Inspired some versions are becoming today.I understand that some works are scholarly in nature, but they are still dealing with the scriptures. I am becoming concerned that the bibles that are becoming used and taught from mostly at the seminary level are the ones that deny the possibility of the miraculous, the prophetic, etc... The homosexuality issue is another can of worms in itself, namely the New Oxford 3rd edition changing from the 2nd on their stance. Also the 3rd edition has john 14:6 simply saying jesus is the gateway, where as the 2nd has him being the ONLY WAY TO GOD. The 3rd has Phil 2:6 displaying jesus as a "heavenly being" where as the 2nd has him being Divine (God). How do you all feel about these changes occuring, and more importantly, being evangelical, and those of you who don't believe in JEPD, and the Q-gospel, do you have a problem reading versions like Harper and Oxford? Thanks for your time, I would appreciate all opinions.


Alan

jdarlack
04-18-2005, 12:58 AM
Hi Alan,

I heartily share your concern. When I was in community college, I took a class on "The Bible and Literature." Now I grew up in a Christian home with a very good education in the Bible, but it seemed that the Bible that my professor was teaching about was a different Bible. I did not buy the assigned Harper Collins Study Bible, as I already had my own copy of a Bible (good old NIVSB)--for personal study (this was long before I knew anything about BibleWorks!) Anyway, I remember smelling something fishy as we read through Northrop Frye's The Great Code (a decent book for tracing thematic threads in Scripture, but with a non-Evangelical, pro-JEDP view of things)! I was fuming as the professor explained to my classmates how Moses didn't really write things and that the Gospels were mere metaphors of changed lives, etc. I was almost turned off completely to biblical scholarship or any other kind of academic thinking about Scripture at that point.

Thankfully, both in Bible college and in seminary I have never been required to purchase one of these study Bibles. On the other hand, my professors have been quick to encourage us to engage the theories and think through them critically so that we can defend the faith! So, while I'd never recommend a parishoner to purchase such a Bible, I would encourage pastors and Sunday School teachers to do so! (At least if you can get them cheap!) I think that it is valuable to read the notes to know what the folks in the pews may be reading. It's also valuable to see where we may need to engage in some good sound scholarly and prayerful wrestling with difficult issues in the text.

Well, I've rambled enough...

BroBill
04-19-2005, 11:18 AM
I think the Bible is justified in predicting that here at the end time, there is great apostasy going on in the so-called churches and their subordinate organizations (seminaries, etc). The fruit of which are Bible translations that are more interested in pleasing the readers than in presenting the word of God. The great criminal is generally identified as "higher criticism" but in reality it is unregenerate human nature in the church. Too many leaders don't fully believe in the Bible and don't treat it as the word of God. While anyone that has taken to translate the Bible from the original languages is quick to discern that no English Bible is true to the languages for a variety of reasons, but these discrepancies are increasing in newer Bible versions for no good reason other than wanting to please the masses by providing a Bible that appeals to everyone. The biggest culprits are the Study Bibles that purport to tell you everything the Bible states and undermine the function of the Holy Spirit as the interpreter. My favorites will continue to be Young's Literal Translation and the King James. I believe both versions have been translated by people more faithful to the original language than many of the newer versions have done.

alan1979
04-19-2005, 10:55 PM
Thank you both for your replies. I feel better knowing that I am not alone in this feeling. It is difficult being a seminarian at a place like Fuller, which I have learned invalueable amount of information, knowledge, and have grown in many ways, however it is appearing to be more and more liberal and inclusive which isn't always a good thing. I feel that although I am not a scholar by any means and don't know all of the ins and outs of the JEDP theory nor that of the Q-Gospel 2 source theory, I do realize that both of these theories are just that; theories. I read the book, WHO WROTE THE BIBLE and realized that all of the authors conclusions weren't built on anything that we could actually read. So too with the Q-gosepl. I just don't like how the bible is becoming more of a text book day by day in the Seminaries and the Church. Thanks for taking your time to bare with me.


Alan

BroBill
04-20-2005, 06:59 AM
Not being a seminary trained theologian, I have to admit I don't even know what JEDP and Q Gospel 2 source are, and I'm probably the better for it! If we would just trust in the Bible instead of trying to disect and dicotomize it we would be better off. We can guess at times and know at others who wrote certain books and can see that there have been updates made after the original writers were gone, but are we doing such to differentiate between what is inspired and what is not. Paul stated that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" and Peter tells us that the Bible was written by "Holy men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit". God's message to us is, take the information and run with it, proclaim it on the hilltops; not nitpick it and put it under a microscope looking for supposed flaws. Did the Bible make you a better person in God's grace? Did reading "Moby Dick" do the same for you? Then treat the Bible as the word of God and tell others of the change it made in you, of the Savior you found.

One final note: Beware of what else you may be learning, it can be easy to spot the large errors while all the little ones slide by. Again, the Bible states that at the end the wickedness inside the church will grow by leaps and bounds. Even those that profess to reverence the Bible can be found undermining it by small degrees. may the Lord be with you in your studies!

-Bill

Gontroppo
04-20-2005, 07:31 AM
Bill, in your posts you have said twice that the bible states that the church will be more and more filled with error at the end [or words to that effect: hope I'm reporting you correctly]

Where does the bible say this, please?

David McKay
www.davidmckay.info (http://www.davidmckay.info)

BroBill
04-20-2005, 11:58 AM
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Act 20:29-30)

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2Pe 2:1-2)

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away (apostacia) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (2Th 2:3)


Is Paul referring to the church or the world? The world has been fallen, he is referring to the church! Falls in the Bible generally don't just happen, they are slow processes of denial and apostacy.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2Ti 3:1-5)

Likewise here, it is easy to assume Paul is speaking of the world, but the end brings it together, the world does not have a form of godliness, but those who make such a profession are in the church.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (1Ti 4:1-3)

Now here Paul is more specific about referring to the church.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Mat 24:4-5)

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mat 24:11-13)

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Mat 24:23-24)

Again, we need to ask ourselves, is Jesus referring to the outside world or inside the church? Kind of hard to deceive the very elect from the outside, but easier to do it from within when you think their on your side.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jud 1:4)


If they entered the "body" thousands of years ago, how much has been corrupted by now? How many "Christian" rites are perverted and not according to the Bible? Speaking of which, if the Bible is how we tell the true from the false, then don't you think the main thrust would be to pervert the Bible? Change it's meanings, change it's words, cause distrust in it's teachings, ridicule it's science. Bring in evolution, higher criticism, meaningless dissection of the authorship of the Bible, etc.

Need more texts?

Gontroppo
04-21-2005, 01:01 AM
Hi Bill.

Each verse you have cited seems to refer to the period in which it was written, or shortly after, or to the whole Christian era. Sometimes the verses show specifically, as in the words to Timothy by Paul, that they refer to Timothy's own time We see this when Paul concludes with "from such turn away."

All of these verses you cited show that corruption entered the church at the very beginning of the last days, which so far have been going for almost 2000 years.

We also read about the advance of the kingdom during this period in such passages as Daniel 2 and 1 Corinthians 15.

I was querying whether you had verses that specifically refer to the present time. A lot of people throughout the church's history have thought that the passages which speak of "the last days" refer specifically to their own time.

Many have been positive that they were living in the immediate period before Christ would return. So far they've all been wrong.

But in 1 John, we read that his readers were not just in the last days but in "the last hour." So referring to the present time as the last days [as compared with the rest of the Christian era] is misleading, I think.

David McKay
www.davidmckay.info (http://www.davidmckay.info)

BroBill
04-21-2005, 11:49 AM
Yes, we obviously do not share the same interpretation of Scripture. But I do think it is of bad taste to consider my view "misleading" (synonomous with "deceitful") as my view is acceptable within Christianity. It is called the "historical" view. That is, that prophetic interpretation takes place throughout history, as compared to the preterist view (all or most prophecy is fulfilled in the past) and futurist view (all or most prophecy will be fulfilled immediately before the second coming). This, of course, applies to apocalyptic literature.

Now, I gave you Scripture, but you give me back only presumptive arguments. All throughout the OT and NT are found similar phrases: "in that day", "at that time", "the day" all referring to the Second Coming/Day of Judgment. Christ used phrases similar to Pauls in the context of the Second Coming (Matt 24:19-22; 29, 36-38, 50; 7:22) and so many more it is beyond scope to list them all here. I would suggest that you do a word study on "day" and see what you come up with on your own.

Yes, it is true that Paul's main thrust may have been people of his own time, (I do not believe this to be so) however it should also be remembered that since Eve first begat Cain there has been a desire in the heart of man to look for the coming of the "seed" to redeem man. Although Christ has come and paid the price for that sin, there is still the looking forward to of the final redemption when the earth will be cleansed of that sin. Therefore, when you read Scripture you see that in every generation of believers there has been that question, "Will I be alive when Jesus comes (again)?" Without this, man would fall into a state described by Christ in the parable of the wicked servant (Matt 24:43-51) and some already have.

If I knew Christ wasn't coming back until 2050, then I have plenty of time to decide for or against Him. But if He could come tomorrow, then today is the day to decide. No generation has had more than a lifetime to decide and be ready for Christ! Thus Paul's statements are JUST as applicable in our time as his, and moreso now because he probably never dreamed that it would last this long.

Also, are you saying that the world and the church are getting better? That view has generally been unfounded in the world since previous to WW1. That man was ushering in a utopia on earth prepatory to the Second Coming. When in earth's history has the church had to deal with such issues as homosexuality in the pastorship let alone churches springing up endorcing such a relationship as being in accordance, or at least condoned, by the plain word of Scripture? I didn't realize Australia was so isolated!

jgjackson
04-21-2005, 05:58 PM
> If I knew Christ wasn't coming back until 2050,
> then I have plenty of time to decide for or against
> Him.

This is a common error. While you might know that
Christ isn't coming back until 2050, you yourself
might drip dead from an aneurysm before you finish
reading this post. The urgency of decision is always
immanent regardless of the timing of the parousia.

Gontroppo
04-21-2005, 10:45 PM
Hi Bill.

Firstly, I agree that we don't know when Christ is coming, and also find helpful the point that I might get run over by a bus next time I am down in Bathurst town.

But the view that Christ's coming is just around the corner can't be supported by Scripture. It was always wrong [as has been proved by the fact that the world is stll here] and it is wrong now because there is nothing specific in the Scriptures that tell us the exact time of Christ's coming, and they categorically tell us that no one knows the day or the hour and that we should always be ready.

Concerning the world getting worse:
There are many evil things in our world. There were many evil things throughout history. I would agree with the point that the 20th century, the most "civilized" and educated has been the most bloody. People think of Hitler killing possibly 8 million people [and 6 million Jews] but often forget Stalin's 10 million Russians and Mao's 40 million Chinese.

But, the world is a much better place in many ways since the coming of Christ.

While our Western countries have many false Christians and cults, and many who do not believe in Christ, his kingdom is advancing in other parts of the world.

Also, though we have liberal churches tolerating evil, their congregations often die out within 1 generation of the false gospel being promoted. The growing churches throughout the world are often, but not always, those preaching the old-fashioned gospel.

The publishing of the bible since the birth of the bible societies in the 1800s has been absolutely amazing, as has the spread of the gospel through the modern missionary movement that began in the late 1700s.

A huge proportion of the world has the bible for the first time in their own languages.

Communist countries which tried to blot out Christianity were not successful. There are millions of Christians in Russia and China and their number is growing much faster than the birth rate every day.

We must take evil seriously, but we should also be grateful for the great things God has done and is doing in our world.

But, we eagerly await Christ's coming, because only this will fully bring the glory of God throughout his renewed creation.

David McKay
www.davidmckay.info (http://www.davidmckay.info)

BroBill
04-22-2005, 09:32 AM
jgjackson:

Although I had originally stated:
"If I knew Christ wasn't coming back until 2050, then I have plenty of time to decide for or against Him."

And you had answered:

"This is a common error. While you might know that Christ isn't coming back until 2050, you yourself might drip dead from an aneurysm before you finish reading this post. The urgency of decision is always immanent regardless of the timing of the parousia."

Maybe I did not make myself clear, that statement was an example of a mindset (not my own) of what could happen if the Bible did not keep us ignorant of the time of Jesus' coming. Jesus' parable, also mentioned, confirmed His view of the same. There is, of course, also the example of our probation closing on us while we are yet alive also, it is generally referred to as the "unpardonable sin". However, this statement was made in the hopes of proving a point, not to be taken as my way of thinking.

Brother Gontroppo,

I see you have made the same summation based on your statement of being hit by the bus, so the same answer applies to this also. Same with the example of His coming being tomorrow as well. These were two extreme positions given for example, not to be taken literally. I am sorry to see that what I thought would be so evident to be an example was so misconstrued.

However, again, you seem to think that the churches are in fact getting better and not worse. You state that these churches, or at least their congregations, that spring up with these ideas disappear in a generation never to be heard from again. Again I ask, is Australia that isolated? We are not talking new denominations that have sprung up within the last generation, we are talking mainline Protestant denomination: Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists - this is where the battles are being fought and losing (and even if they appear to be winning, Satan is actually still winning, as ground is still be given up)! The large Mega-churches such as Saddleback and Willow Creek, while generally liberal, will take time to see how long they will last. One generation? I think you greatly underestimate the condition of things, at least here in the US (if Australia is doing better, I am glad for the work of God being done there).

As for the gospel going into the whole world, of that I offer no denial, but what is going on at the front door does not have any correlation to what I am seeing at the back door. While the Bible is being translated for the masses previously ignorant to the Gospel, which Bible is it that they are translating from? Would you still think the same if it was the "New World Translation" from the Jehovah Witnesses? The topic that these posts began on is the fact that there are Bible translations that are not all they are cracked up to be. This is very true, while there are only about 20 "big name" versions, there are probably about 100 English versions (a number are now defunct). How many of them are true to the word of God? (Not that I am starting a debate in that matter, I ask rhetorically).

Is the world a better place since the time of Christ? Hard to say, I admit certain things are better, but then again, I am trying to recall from the Bible the stories where children were taking guns to school and killing their fellow classmates, since you have yet to bring Bible texts into this discussion to support your view that the world actually gets better before the Second Coming maybe you can find those texts for me? I apologize for my sarcasism and wish I had your optimism about the times we live in but my Bible tells me that as the world gets worse towards the end the people of God need to learn rely more about the sacred words of Scripture (while the Devil is trying to yank even that out from under their feet). To Know what is truth and be unshaken in those beliefs, that when a thousand fall at our right and ten thousand at our left, that we through faith can go through to the end in the grace of God. Of couse if its all just going to be a picnic then we don't have a thing to worry about, do we?

By the way, these posts should not be taken pessimistically, being aware of the dangers to come does not imply a fear of the future. I rest in God's grace but prepare for the consummation.

jgjackson
04-22-2005, 05:25 PM
> But, the world is a much better place in many ways
> since the coming of Christ.

Thank you for bringing this up (I almost did, but didn't have time to wrote a coherent posting). Certain circles (read "dispensationalists") tend to focus exclusively on a handful of moral issues, specifically sexual. Consider the last 200 years of American history: the elmination of slavery, labor laws that set minimum standards for wages, safety, and working hours, the reduction in racism, protection of civil rights, etc.

Some 20-something friends were comparing how things were when one of their fathers was a policemen to how things are now with one of the 20-somethings being a policement. In the 60's, no one raised an eyebrow is a suspect was bruised and bloodied (especially if he wasn't white) when booked. Today, cops generally don't get by with such interrigation techniques (they they may try from time to time).

At one time coal miners in WV were paid in script that they could only spend at the company store. They were virtually the property of the big coal companies. There were no safety standards, so deaths were frequent from accidents, and nearly universal for coal-related disease.

These are all life-and-death moral issues that have improved drastically during the 19th and 20th centuries. Yes 10's of millions died due to Hitler,
Stalin and Mao (notice how the atheists and pagans make the inquisition look insigificant!) But in spite of that, the average lifespan of the 20'th century person nearly doubled. Also, it isn't fair to look at just the raw numbers as the total population has also increased drastically.

Now what about sexual sins? To a large degree, the increase is only apparant, because society is being more honest about its sexual pervisions (hmmm, isn't honesty one of those morality things?). We see it flaunted more these days. But brothels and infidelity and letting unwanted children die has been around for all history. In actuality, the teen pregnancy, abortion rate, and birth rate has fallen significantly since 1990 and larger numbers of teens are remaining virgins. In spite of all the liberal boo-hooing that abstenance programs don't work, progress is being made.

In short, we need to loose the dispensational defeatist attitude that we're on a sinking ship and so there's no need to polish the doorknobs (to use the metaphore dispensationalists have been known to use) and start polishing those doorknobs, and swab the deck, and carry out the great commission like Christ told us to.

Gontroppo
04-22-2005, 09:10 PM
G'day Bill
I agree with you as to the reason that we are kept ignorant of the time of Christ's coming. But this is why we should not loudly proclaim that it is just around the corner, because we don't know. There are no prophecies being fulfilled today which were not being fulfilled throughout the whole of "the last days." I think there is a kind of arrogance that makes us think the bible was written specially for us at this very moment. Peter tells us in his first letter that the Scriptures were specially written for those after Christ came, but that encompasses 2000 years.

I think J Jackson's comments help us to reflect on whether the predisposition to think things are getting worse is based on too narrow a view of history. Older people [see the current British TV series Grumpy Old Men] are inclined to think things were better in their youth. But we need to look at 2000 years, not the past 10 or 20 or 50 or 100.

Also, as Jackson points out, Dispensationalists have a vested interest in the world getting worse, so it is easy to find things happen just as you expect or hope!

Concerning mainline denominations, the big liberal denominations are dying out very rapidly. Churches which have a low view of the bible, approve homosexuality, etc are losing members in their thousands.

It is true that some health and wealth gospel churches are currently growing, but, as you say, they lose a lot of members out of the back door.

Evangelical colleges are experiencing record numbers throughout the world. There are hundreds, if not thousands of these colleges springing up in Africa, China and India [though sometimes in an understandably low-key way]. In India Gospel For Asia has a program for taking the gospel to 500,000 villages where Christ's name has never been heard.

In Australia, evangelical colleges have record numbers of students and evangelical churches are growing.

Of course it is concerning when theologically biased, or even heretical bibles are being distributed, but the huge growth in the bible societies' distributions is of reliable bibles, not bibles produced by cults.

I always get a big kick out of this chart:
See http://www.biblesociety.org/trans-gr.htm


I am not a promoter of the big churches like Willow Creek and Saddleback, but I wouldn't call them "liberal." They may not espouse everything that the bible teaches, but they do preach the gospel and teach people to have a high view of the bible and to believe its warnings of God's judgment.

There are many things in these churches that are not my cup of tea, but people really are being saved through them.

I think the best single picture of the state of the world is the parable of the wheat and the tares. God's kingdom is advancing, but Satan's is also. However the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 about Christ's kingdom advancing until he has put down all false authority and power fills me with optimism that Christ's one will survive, whereas Satan's will one day be kaput.

And Daniel's vision of the stone that grew until it filled the whole earth is a vision of the church, growing under God's grace.

David McKay
www.davidmckay.info (http://www.davidmckay.info)

rriffle822
04-22-2005, 09:51 PM
G'day Bill

I think the best single picture of the state of the world is the parable of the wheat and the tares. God's kingdom is advancing, but Satan's is also. However the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 about Christ's kingdom advancing until he has put down all false authority and power fills me with optimism that Christ's one will survive, whereas Satan's will one day be kaput.

And Daniel's vision of the stone that grew until it filled the whole earth is a vision of the church, growing under God's grace.

David McKay
www.davidmckay.info (http://www.davidmckay.info/)

And we should notice that it was a wheat field with tares in it, not a tares field with wheat.

You also might want to make mention of the parable of the mustard seed which grew up until it dominated the garden.

"The Lord said to my Lord, sit now at my right hand til I make your enemies your footstool. The Lord shall send the Rod of your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of your enemies"

Ron

Gontroppo
04-23-2005, 08:34 AM
What do you take the mustard tree to represent, Bill?

I don't know what you mean about the wheat and tares ... too subtle for me.

David McKay
www.davidmckay.info (http://www.davidmckay.info)

rriffle822
04-24-2005, 10:35 PM
What do you take the mustard tree to represent, Bill?

I don't know what you mean about the wheat and tares ... too subtle for me.

David McKay
www.davidmckay.info (http://www.davidmckay.info/)


Matthew 13:31-32 31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 "which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."

Pretty clear it is the Kingdom of God. And that the Kingdom will grow until it dominates the garden.

Matthew 13:24-30 4 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 "But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 "So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' 28 "He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' 29 "But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." ' "

At the time of the ingathering, it is a wheat field that happens to have tares in it, not a tare field where the wheat just happens to be there among the tares. IOW the field is dominated by wheat not tares.

Yours in Christ
Ron

Gontroppo
04-25-2005, 01:45 AM
Your email was encouraging, Ron!

Your interpretation seems sound, too.

David McKay
www.davidmckay.info (http://www.davidmckay.info)

Pastor Jay
07-10-2005, 05:12 PM
IOW the field is dominated by wheat not tares.

Come on guys... a little systematic theology needs to be introduced here, don't you think?

First, you guys know that there is no such referent to an intentional "tare field" in the pages of scripture. By it's nature the tears are understood to "choke out" the sown wheat. This passage (Matt 13:24) is about the presence of tears "having been sown in" along with the wheat. This is not an exposition of Christ's understanding of the "world" (which left alone produces tears - note the earlier verses of 18-23) This is a text that deals with the results of the Gospel "having been sown" resulting in God's Kingdom, and the inevitable tears that the enemy often sows along with it. Certainly the field is dominated by the wheat (as is the church/Kingdom of God), yet the world is not to be understood to be dominated by the wheat, that is not what the text is referring to.

Second, no matter the interpretation of the context, Jesus' words in Matt 7 are quite strong...

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14 (NASB)

I don't mean to step in uninvited, but I enjoy communicating and interacting with other brothers. You guys impress me with your love for the text and desire for good exegesis. Im new on here so take it easy on me J