Does God Speak “American”?

HEY, JESUS, DO YOU LIVE IN ENGLAND; ARE YOU STUCK IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY; HAVE YOU EVER VISITED CALIFORNIA; AND…
DO YOU SPEAK “AMERICAN”?
Several thoughts ran through my mind last Sunday as I looked out on the congregation and noticed an unusual number of first-time visitors. “I wonder what they think of all this?,” I thought to myself. “What if I had never been in an evangelical charismatic church before; what would I get out of the experience?” Without intending to, I found myself living the entire worship service through the eyes of an “outsider” or “unbeliever.” What a shock that was! Bombarding my consciousness were words and phrases I had never heard before, such as “quicken” and “endued”. Several times people spoke for the Lord, but the entire message was given in a clumsy, haltering, mispronounced form of Shakespearian English – “Hast thou not heard thy God when I promised thee thine inheritance from afar?” These people, who are indeed sincere believers, have learned somewhere that when they enter the church door and began to discuss spiritual things, either with God or with each other, they must get a dreamy look on their face and launch into a 300-year-old form of speaking.Here’s the $60,000 question: Does God speak “American”? Have we convinced ourselves by tradition and common usage that God cannot communicate to us in 20th century American English?  

A big part of the reason for this “language gap” is the common use of the King James Authorized Version of the Bible. For centuries, Christians have memorized the words of Jesus as translated into the language of 16th century Christians. Thus, when prophesying, they naturally lapse into what they know best, Old English. The solution to this problem is simple: If you find this version changing the way you speak English, BUY A DIFFERENT ONE! I recently questioned my Sunday-school class as to the definition of the word “begotten.” NOT ONE STUDENT COULD TELL ME!

Allow me to share a couple of “clear” passages of Scripture from the King James Authorized Version of God’s Word.

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“…Art thou made of the King’s counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten?” Then the prophet forbear and said, “I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.” 2 Chron. 25:16

*Sounds like the Knights of the Round Table and as clear as mud.

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“And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in place.” John 5:13

*Ok, have fun with “wist” and “conveyed”.

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“…oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, but was let hitherto, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” Romans 1:13

*Should I pause for the interpretation?

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“Behold also the ships, which though so great, and driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, withersoever the governor listeth.” James 3:4

*Do I even need to add anything to this disaster?

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Let’s start using Bibles that don’t require a PHD in English History to read and understand. If you are “over your head” in the King James Authorized Version (authorized by a king who used to chase naked women around his castle), at least compromise by purchasing the New King James Version which takes most of the clumsy Old English out. If savages that live along the Amazon River are being given copies of God’s Word in their own every-day language, let’s also cast off the shackles of British prose, and listen to Jesus speak “American” to His American children!

One other contributor to the “language gap” is unfortunately purposeful deceit. Some prophets and preachers couch all of their prognostications in Old English to prevent the clear understanding of the hearer when they don’t have the facts straight while preaching and prophesying. Their mental process works like this: “I’m not sure if I have a clear word for this guy and his job situation so I’ll just baffle him.” – “Thus saith the Lord: Put thy hand to the sword, and take the land which I shall give you, for it is a good thing I have sworn to bless thee with, and know that I shall be over and under thee..” WHAT? Is God giving me a word, or is God speaking to an Englishman living in the Mojave Desert? If you have a word from God for someone, I beg you, communicate it in language that HE CAN UNDERSTAND! If you don’t have a clear word, sit down until you get one.

If you find yourself getting wrapped up in Old English, start concentrating on communicating the truth of Jesus in American English. It might take hard work and several months to do it (for a fee, I’ll serve as your language consultant), but it will be well worth your effort. For example, next time you’re tempted to say, “Brother, God wants to quicken thine heart and endue thee with the Spirit so as to thwart the works of the evil one in thine walk,” just say, “Brother, God wants to give you spiritual common-sense and empower you by His Holy Spirit so that you can defeat Satan when he tries to get involved in your relationship with Jesus!”

If God knows me intimately and indwells me through His Holy Spirit, I’m pretty sure He knows and speaks my language: “American”.

What do you think?

3 Responses to Does God Speak “American”?

  1. RubeRad says:

    I think there are also plenty of language issues between the evangelical community and the world other than KJV vs. modern English. How about when Bush said

    “I believe that God wants me to be president”

    What the world saw was a megalomaniac appropriating the name of God towards his own ends.

    What the Christian community recognized was the humility of a Christian man submitting his future plans to God’s providence.

  2. Bruce S says:

    king who used to chase naked women around his castle

    Hey, I still do chase naked women around my castle. What’s wrong with that?

    Seriously, your argument is weak, though. What if you like “Aulde English”? What if you find the Psalms, for just one example, more beautifully rendered in the KJV? What if you were raised by a father who used KJV English in all his mealtime praying and find it natural?

    So, I have to ask, why do you care about another person’s personal tastes?

    If you want to attack the KJV, do it on the grounds that the collection of Greek texts available at the time were seriously compromised.

  3. aerhtrytuy says:

    Here are some links that I believe will be interested

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