Source: Sherman Publications

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Spiritual matters
Changes should stay true to Word of God

May 11, 2011

In 1513 Ponce de Leon set sail in search of waters that would make old people young again.

As we all know it was a futile quest. There is no magical potion or waters or anything else that will make us young again, we are all part of this sinful world and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

St. Peter wrote to those who were struggling with the life they were living. Some who had believed in Jesus had returned to the old way of life and were wondering why things had not really changed.

Others were struggling with some of the changes they were going through, the trials they faced because they believed in God.

He called them to remain faithful to God's calling to them. God reminds us through Peter's writing that we are born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable (1 Peter 1:22).

Our first birth is, obviously, to earthly parents. They, however, are the same as we are. They were born in sin and they have passed that sin on to us.

As Jesus told Nicodemus, if we want to see the Kingdom of Heaven we need to be born again, born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5).

We need new parents, imperishable and sinless parents. This comes to us in the Spirit of God and the Word of God.

This leads us to live in love for one another, but not just a brotherly love, we are led to the deeper love that God has for us, a love so great it caused Him to send His Son to die for our sins.

Paul must have also wrestled with those who would change what God taught through him.

He tells the Galatians: But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)

John, too, struggled with changes to God's Word. In Revelation 22 he warns against adding to or taking away from the words of prophecy written in the book.

Recently we have heard about changes coming to the Bible. Is this good?

Unfortunately, meanings of words change within a culture and context.

Sometimes words might be changed that will reflect the same thing, for instance we might translate a word "joy-filled" replacing the word "gay" because society sees it differently today than it did 50 years ago. The same meaning is conveyed.

There are other instances where this is not so. One of the changes proposed is to translate "virgin" to "young maiden."

These, in our culture today, are not necessarily parallels as they were in the past.

Not to be thought of as out-of-date or unwilling to change, I do think it is important to hold to the Word of God as it has been given us.

If that makes me old-fashioned, so be it. Better than that, may it make me true to the Word of God.

The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.