Grace Communion International

…and another thing  by John Stettaford


I’ve been reading Tyndale’s revised translation of the New Testament, published in 1535. I read a chapter at a time to make it last longer. To make things easier for myself, I am reading it in a modern spelling version. Of course, since the King James Version is well known, much of what Tyndale penned is familiar. It is estimated that over 90 per cent of the King James Version is really Tyndale’s work uncredited.

Familiar much of it is, but here and there Tyndale’s original differs such that often I have to stop and think about the words and their meaning as he uses them. I realise that some words, which we still use today, have changed meaning. And therefore I have to ask, is this (whatever I’m reading) the case here, or just one of those places where the KJV translators felt their wording could be clearer?

Still, keeping in mind that the words are 484 years old, here is yet another version which can still be used by our Great God to call someone, convert them and to capture them for the family.

Prince Philip calls the royal family “the firm”, and he and others talk about the “family business”. To me, that resonates with us, our calling and our coming into “the family” of God. No, we’re not going to become God as God is God, but we are going to be drawn into the family and the family business.

We used to look with longing eyes for the Millennium, and for many that’s still their goal, although as a fellowship we’re a little less certain as to the specifics of the details. But Christ’s kingdom, lasting a thousand years or more, is still only temporary. At the end of it, he’s going to surrender it to his Father, who will come to this earth with the new Jerusalem. And that’s where we will be—with him in the new Jerusalem, headquarter of the—. Headquarters of the universe? Yes, but it will be a new universe. Will it be like this one, or differ from it? Not even Professor Cox, if he believed in God, could answer that. And what will we do? Will we somehow go on to bring along more children of God from new worlds? We will create and live within a paradise while all this is going on, but then what?

I sometimes wonder when I’m in a busy place like London, what does God want with all these people hustling to and fro, without any understanding of what, ultimately, they will be involved with? Yet he says he has a home and a fulfilling destiny for each one of us, those called now and those he will call later.

You see, when we begin to wonder about what this Christianity lark is all about, then we come unstuck. Our minds are too limited to capture in detail what God has in mind. When eternity is added into the mix, then we become blown away. The New Testament talks about us having rulership over a town or city. Eventually, will that be a planet? Or a solar system? Or a galaxy? Or two? No, I don’t think we can even begin to envision any future plan that comes close to the reality that then will be.

So should we not try? Again, in the Old Testament, God said of mankind, “Now nothing that they imagine will be restrained from them.” We imagine roaming the universe in tin ships like StarTrek or Star Wars, but travelling at even warp speed is impossibly slow. We will have to travel at the speed of thought. How can that be? I have no idea. It’s bad enough travelling the few miles I do each week, remembering to fill up with petrol, and the cost involved. But travelling at the speed of thought?? Well, it beats “Beam me up, Scotty,” I guess.

For most Christians we need the vision of such a future to cement our calling, conviction and determination to see it through to the end. Despite every obstacle that comes our way, or that we put in our own way. Frankly, most Christians seem to have only woolly ideas about the immediate future, with “Come, Jesus, come!” But then what? They have no idea. I hope we can do better than that; we may need to, in this uncertain world in which we live.

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