Do we want an Old Testament without Christ?





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by Prof P W Hoek &  Rev Danie Haasbroek

The question begs asking: What is behind the attack to uproot Christ from the Old Testament? The following two examples cite institutions which could have had an influence on Afrikaans theology:

The question begs asking: What is behind the attack to uproot Christ from the Old Testament? The following two examples cite institutions which could have had an influence on Afrikaans theology:

At first, mention can be made of liberal theological trends from various overseas universities taking root locally.

Secondly, the influence of the Roman Catholic Church should be considered. A publication under the title: Working together for the Word, (Sub-titled:) Celebrating 40 years of fruitful co-operation, appeared in 2005. This was published by the United Bible Societies (or UBS). It contains the following information:

The UBS was established in 1946. At first there was no co-operation between the UBS and the Roman Catholic Church. However, in 1965 at the Second Vatican Council the Roman Catholic Church issued the document Dei Verbum. According to that document the Catholic Church would in future collaborate with the UBS and the UBS agreed to it.

Since then the Catholic Church had representation on national councils of Bible Societies around the world and they are also involved in collective Bible translation projects and Bible distribution. It is apparent that they particularly emphasize the inter-confessional approach. (The term „inter-confessional‟ means that the translation should accommodate the creeds of both Catholic and Protestant churches.)

In 1968 an important document was issued jointly by the UBS and the Catholic Church. The title of this document is: Guiding Principles for Interconfessional Cooperation in Translating the Bible. This provided a model for inter-confessional translating.

Inter alia, the apocrypha would henceforth be included in Bibles where required. Immediately afterwards prof Carlo Maria Martini became involved in Bible translation. (Later he became a cardinal.) Many more Roman Catholic theologians would follow.

In 1969 the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate (WCFBA) was instituted. This again gave rise to the Catholic Biblical Federation which is currently still involved with world-wide Bible translation projects. The Vatican considered the work of the WCFBA to be an important part of the task assigned to the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity.

With reference to the above, we would like to comment as follows:

– The Roman Catholic Church emphasizes good works as means of obtaining eternal life. Salvation can be obtained by man himself earning his salvation. A translation in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church is in danger of importing that theology into the Afrikaans Protestant Bible. The use of small print for “he” and “him” in Isaiah 53 in the 1983 version indicates that ordinary people can accomplish salvation for themselves and for others.
– Why are the Names of Christ, namely God, Lord, King, Priest, Prophet and Messiah (Anointed One) removed from the Messianic prophecies? Is that perhaps done to dethrone Him? In favour of whom?

– Because of the many non-Protestant creeds and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, do you not think it best not to unite with them in translating a Bible?
– If we should indeed unite with the Roman Catholic Church in faith, what would be the content of that faith?
– Might it not be the purpose of the Catholic Church to absorb the Protestant churches in a peaceful „ecumenical‟ way, with a view to world-wide church unity?
– Are joint Bible translations – such as the new (2016) translation – not an attempt to accommodate all faiths, and in this way promote the inter-faith movement and the New Age?

– Is the purpose of this to take the world into the New World Order – as proclaimed by Pope John Paul II on world-wide TV on January 1st, 2004 for this to be implemented ? It boils down to the fact that the world could be led into a one-world church under the Vatican. It is credible that the pursuit of a one-world government and a one-world economy forms part of this concept.

Is the pursuit of globalisation, so often mentioned today, not part of this endeavour?

In summary

Before 1965 the Roman Catholic Church had not been involved with Bible translation. Since then an influence invaded Afrikaans translating of the Bible, bringing with it a swing away from Christ (by name in the Old Testament).

The influence of the above institutions also penetrated South African theological faculties, with devastating results. Now various theologians explain Christ away from the Old Testament.

Without doubt the Bible Society and the UBS have a very important function. A return to true theological practice in all our theological faculties is also extremely important. Because this is so essential, mistakes and problems must be exposed and put right.

In the light of this requirement, the following questions emerge:

– Is the present teaching at Afrikaans theological faculties according to truth of the Bible and the Articles of Faith?
– To what extent will Protestant Afrikaans churches still be able to counsel regarding appointments of theological professors to South African universities in years to come? What kind of influence will this have on Bible translations in the course of time?

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