Hey, I’m a preacher.
But I’m also a human being, and sometimes I make mistakes.
I am not going to get into a long-winded diatribe on everything that can go wrong in extreme fundamentalism, but I happened to watch one of Pastor Scott Anderson’s videos. Pastor Anderson is the pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, and a couple of years ago, he garnered some internet fame for his outrageously titled message “He Who Pisseth Against the Wall.” It’s on Youtube, and you can check it out if you really want to.
Anyway, I decided to check his youtube channel and I came across this video of him preaching Genesis 1. You don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to.
Here’s the problem. In the first few seconds of his message, Pastor Anderson says:
Genesis chapter 1, beginning in verse number 1, the Bible reads, ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’ And of course, those are some of the most famous words in the entire Bible – the words that start out the Bible.
And it’s amazing because there are so many phony, false versions of the Bible out there today – if you don’t have a King James Version. And they already start tampering with God’s Word in this verse. Unbelievably, I mean just right out of the gate, Genesis 1:1, they make a change to this verse.
You see, the Bible says that in the beginning, God created the heaven – singular, not plural. He created the heaven and the earth. And that’s very important because what God created there in verse number one is not referring to the sky and the earth. It’s actually referring to the heaven as in the place where God lives.
So, what is my issue with what Pastor Anderson said? I don’t really have an issue with him, but the Hebrew Scriptures do. You see, what he says disagrees with what appears in the actual Hebrew text.
The word translated as heaven in the King James translation is ha-shamayim. You see that last bit – the yim at the end? That is the Hebrew equivalent of putting -s on the end of word to make it plural.
The reason that other translations of the Scriptures translate ha-shamayim as “heavens” is because it is plural in the original language.
I don’t know Pastor Anderson, and to be honest, I don’t really mind that he is a King James Only fundamentalist. My point is not to ridicule him.
My point is that even pastors and preachers can make mistakes. Don’t accept things they say – whether it is some famous megachurch pastor or the pastor of your local congregation – wholesale without question.
In Acts 17, we see an example of how we should approach preaching:
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness,examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
When Paul went to Berea (a small town to the east of Mount Olympus in Greece), he preached the gospel to the Jews there. Instead of just saying, “Oh, Paul looks respectable and is interesting. He must be right!” the Berean Jews daily examined the Scriptures. They tested what he had to say against the Scriptures.
Lazy Christians will fall for false teaching.
Take the time to interact with the Scriptures as a community, not just as an audience. Ask questions. Dig deeper. Have discussions. Grow together.