By Jay Rogers
Published December 22, 2007
It is subversive literature. It has led to the overthrow of governments, sparked mass migrations across oceans, and more than once changed the course of history.
Governments – from the 16th-century English monarchy to the Communist Soviet Union – have gone to great lengths to restrict or even prevent its printing and distribution. Yet it has outlasted its enemies. It is the most popular book ever printed. No other has been translated into so many languages and few have had such impact on the development of those languages.
It is, of course, the Bible, portions of which have been translated into 1,946 of the 5000 languages of the world. This includes 318 languages into which the entire Bible has been translated. No other book even comes close to these numbers.
The collapse of Communism in Eastern and Central Europe has led to an unprecedented hunger for the Bible. In China, the lifting of restrictions by the government have led to the printing of 3 million copies of the Bible in Chinese. Bible publishers expect that Cuba will be one of the next strong fields of interest as that nation redefines its freedoms in the 1990s.
The interest of individuals in the Bible has often changed the course of history. Cultural historian David Hall of Harvard University argues that “the history of spirituality in Europe and America coincides closely with the printing of the Bible and its dissemination.”
The work of a 14th century monk, John Wycliffe, did much to reform the political structure of England. He laid the foundation of reform of not only the Church but also the State. He resolved to introduce the common people to the New Testament by translating it into the vernacular of the Saxon peasants.
Before the 15th century, every Englishman who could read was able to question the teachings of the Catholic Church with regard to both civil and ecclesiastical government. Because of the perceived threat of Wycliffe’s followers, the Lollards, who distributed and taught from English New Testaments, the Catholic Church banned translation of the Bible in 1408. The only copies that continued to exist in English were hand copies of the Wycliffe originals.
In the 1440s, Johannes Gutenburg began experimenting with novel, mysterious ways of approaching printing. Skilled in engraving and metal working, Gutenburg invented movable typeset and printed 200 copies of the Latin Bible. By the time Martin Luther was born in 1483, Germany had several large printing presses capable of printing hundreds of books at a time.
In 1521, William Tyndale, an Oxford scholar, began to translate the Bible into English. He did so because he was shocked to find that the people of England were so scripturally illiterate. Tyndale translated the entire Bible into English, printed copies of his version at Antwerp, and illegally smuggled the Bibles into England. In 1535, he was betrayed by a fellow Englishman and was burnt at the stake. His last words, reportedly, were “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!”
Consider that in 1525 in northern Germany, only 5 percent of the population was literate. Yet 150 years later in New England, 95 percent was literate. This great advance was the result of the Protestant Reformation which began to dominate the religious life of northern Europe. The basis of the Reformation was Martin Luther’s teaching on the Priesthood Of All Believers: “Every Christian is a Priest before God and is capable of interpreting the Bible for himself with the aid of the Holy Spirit.” Luther was also responsible for translating the entire Bible into the German language.
In turn, every Christian wanted to own a Bible and felt responsible to learn to read in order to more effectively commune with God. The result of this teaching brought on what some scholars believe to be the highest literacy rate of any society in the world: Puritan Massachusetts of the colonial period (1620-1775).
It may surprise some to know that the Puritans, although never a large group, have done more to influence the shape of government in the world than any other group of people in modern history. The Puritans were the architects of a new form of government – Christian self-government with union – which later became the basis for America’s form of government. This was the end result of the Puritan’s belief that the Bible holds principles that are applicable to every area of human life.
Today, there is a resurgence of interest in the Bible and reading the Scriptures in America. A 1990 Gallup poll found that 42 percent of Americans view the Bible as God’s Word, up from 38 percent in 1978. Asked if they read the Bible daily, 17 percent of the people in the same survey said they did, versus 12 percent in 1978. In 1990, 21 percent of those polled said they belonged to a Bible study group, compared with 19 percent in 1978. Although not gigantic shifts, these results indicate that interest in the Bible in America is on the upswing.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Apologetics
Your comments are welcome!
Visit The Forerunner's Discussion Forum!
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.
Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan
Running time: 85 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)