Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tom Hagler Jr. Butchers James 1:18!

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18)

As an example of the poor interpretation of scripture found in Tom Hagler Jr.'s book
Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth, notice what he has to say on this passage.

To begin, most of our problems are resolved if we understand which “word” is under consideration in the above scripture. As 2 Timothy 2:15 states, we should be “…rightly dividing the word of truth.” Many words will have more than one meaning.

Now, let us examine the word “word.” There are three kinds of “word” used in the Bible…there is the written word, the spoken word, and the living Word. Jesus Christ is the living Word of God. If we can prove the above “word” verses refer to Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and not to the spoken word, or written word, then, to a great degree, we will have been successful in reconciling these verses.

 The fact that Jesus Christ is the Word being referred to in the following two verses is rarely disputed:

 1. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:7) 

 2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”(John 1:1-3, 14) The following should also be obvious: “Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word.” (Luke 1:2) One cannot be an eyewitness of the written or spoken word, but can be an eyewitness of the living Word. The word eyewitness in the original Greek language was used to mean a direct vision of deity…such as in Greek mythology, a character claims he saw Zeus. Jesus was deity. Also, in this context, “ministers of the Word”…would mean “body servants” of the living Word…Jesus. 

The following should also be obvious: “Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word.” (Luke 1:2) One cannot be an eyewitness of the written or spoken word, but can be an eyewitness of the living Word. The word eyewitness in the original Greek language was used to mean a direct vision of deity…such as in Greek mythology, a character claims he saw Zeus. Jesus was deity. Also, in this context, “ministers of the Word”…would mean “body 
servants” of the living Word…Jesus.

Using the above logic, James 1:18 is resolved, “…Of His own will begat He us with the Word of Truth….” Jesus did say, “…I am the way, the Truth, and the life….” John 14:6. Jesus is the living Word of Truth. James 1:18 could be quoted as follows: Of His own will begat He us by Jesus Christ.

What an interpretation!  To what commentator or bible scholar may we turn who agree with Hagler as evidence that this is an old or primitive explanation? Despite how ridiculous it is, there’s a reason why it is explained this way. James 1:18 is an obvious gospel means passage.  Consequently, the thought among the Hardshells is that this is one of those passages in the Bible that is a "problem" which must be “reconciled”.  Funny how 95% of the Christian community see no such problem. Hagler is at such pains to avoid what every average Christian sees when they read this text (i.e. that men are saved through the gospel) that he actually divides up the expression the word of truth into the word and the truth, citing verses which show that Christ is both. Since Christ is 1) the Word and 2) the Truth, in order to avoid gospel instrumentality, we therefore must make the leap that Christ is the word of truth. And this logic (appropriately stated by the way) is all done in the name of rightly dividing the word of truth!  Done as if completely oblivious that basic Bible interpretation should lead one to 2 Cor. 6:7 and Eph. 1:13 where the word of truth is proved to be the gospel!  And, perhaps even worse, done with a total disregard to the immediate context which verifies the same (v.19-23), as if this should have no say-so in the matter!

By the way, if the word of truth is Jesus, then did Paul actually mean in 2 Tim. 2:15 that we ought to rightly divide Jesus? Oh that's right. 2 Tim. 2:15 isn't talking about regeneration or salvation. Therefore, it's not a "problem" which needs to be "reconciled". It's okay for the word of truth to mean the gospel in that place just as it does in every other occurrence in the scriptures (i.e. Ps. 119:43; 2 Cor. 6:7; Eph. 1:13).

My friends, do you really feel that this is an honest interpretation? Is it not rather that Hagler is forced according to a preconceived grid of Bible interpretation established by tradition to avoid means at all costs, regardless of how bad the text must be abused?

Open your eyes.

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