Pray for Our Mission Teams to Arizona and Guatemala, July 21-28

Please pray for the members of our church who will be gone on mission trips the week of July 21-28.
The Arizona Team will be made up of Phillip & Cheryl Aguero, Randy & Sheila Hein, Lisa Hiott, Roger McJunkin, Victor & Sharon Whitworth, and Dyanna Wise from Enon Baptist Church. They will be working with Aletheia Church in Sedona, AZ, the church plant we are supporting, and where Josh Jennings is pastor.
The Guatemala Team will include Scott & Toby Mercer, Eli Newman, Len Newman, Kaeleigh Pinion, Don Shuman, Mendel Stewart and Lena Warner. They will be working in various ministries associated with Hope of Life, located in the Zacapa area of Guatemala. They will be part of the Carpenters for Christ Mission Team of 85 people from eleven churches in the Upstate.



Change in Service Times – 2.4.2018

Due to the icy road conditions foretasted for tomorrow morning, 2/4/2018, we are going to cancel the 8 AM Worship Service as well as Sunday School. The 10:30 AM service is being postponed until 11:00 AM. 
The evening schedule is going to be maintained as normal.  


Summer Camp Deposit Due

Summer camp deposit? Already?!! That’s right, this year our youth will be heading to Daytona Beach, Florida for Student Life Camp at the Beach. Students will have an awesome time worshipping the Lord and enjoying lots of fun in the sun. We have rented out a block of rooms at the Ocean Walk Resort, which is across the street from the camp. Ocean Walk Resort is on the beach and has a water park on campus. The dates of camp are July 9-13.
An initial non-refundable/non-transferable deposit is due on Wednesday, January 17. The deposit is $125 for church members and $185 for non-church members. The non-refundable/non-transferable balance is due on March 14: $125 for church members and $185 for non-church members. Limited scholarships and financial aid are available.

See Mike if you have any questions!


Why I’m Switching to the ESV

I am making a change in the Bible translation I use in preaching – from the New International Version (NIV) to the English Standard Version (ESV). I have used the NIV for about 25 years because it was widely considered the best combination of an accurate translation and easy to understand English. This is why the NIV was so well received by conservative Christians and churches of various denominations, and became the best-selling English translation. However, many individuals, churches, and denominations are now evaluating whether to continue using the NIV in light of recent changes that have been made to it.

The people responsible for translating and publishing the NIV have just released an updated version that is commonly referred to as the NIV 2011. The translation that has been used for the past 27 years is now being called the NIV 1984, but will no longer be published. In fact, as soon as this new NIV 2011 became available earlier this year, Zondervan (its publisher) began removing the NIV 1984 edition from bookstore shelves. The new NIV 2011 is now being marketed simply as the NIV. That means if you go into a bookstore today to buy an NIV Bible, you will be purchasing an NIV 2011, without any indication on the box that it is an updated NIV.

This new NIV 2011 has not been well received by many evangelical scholars, including Southern Baptists. This controversy comes on the heels of a 2005 update, called Today’s NIV (TNIV), which was so strongly condemned that Zondervan stopped publishing it in the USA. Most of the criticism has been aimed at the “gender-neutral” language of these updated versions. This refers to changes in how some masculine words in the original Greek and Hebrew are translated. For example, words such as “man” and “he” have historically been translated literally as “man” and “he” to describe people in general. But the NIV 2011 sometimes uses gender-inclusive terms such as “humankind,” “’human being,” “person,” etc. One example is found in Revelation 3:20:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (NIV 1984)
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (NIV 2011)
Critics point out that by using gender-inclusive language, the 2011 update makes that verse less personal. Also, the modern English usage of the singular “they” can be misleading. Of even greater concern is how the NIV 2011 fails to translate the Hebrew and Greek words literally, as the NIV 1984 did, and as most major translations do. Some critics have also expressed concern that the translators of the NIV 2011 appear to have been too concerned about being “politically correct” at the expense of translation accuracy.

I believe that some of the criticism leveled against the NIV 2011 has been too severe. All the translators of the NIV 2011 are conservative, evangelical scholars who believe in the full inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. Their stated goal is to be faithful to both the original languages and to current English usage. However, I agree that in some places they appear to have sacrificed translation accuracy in order to adapt to today’s emphasis on language being more gender-neutral.

The real controversy over the NIV 2011 is more about translation philosophy than anything. The ESV translators state their translation philosophy in the preface of each ESV Bible: The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as much as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on “word-for-word” correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages. Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original. In contrast to the ESV, some Bible versions [such as the NIV] have followed a “thought-for-thought” rather than “word-for-word” translation philosophy, emphasizing “dynamic equivalence” rather than the “essentially literal” meaning of the original. A “thought-for-thought” translation is of necessity more inclined to reflect the interpretative opinions of the translator and the influences of contemporary culture. Every translation is at many points a trade-off between literal precision and readability, between “formal equivalence” in expression and “functional equivalence” in communication, and the ESV is no exception. Within this framework we have sought to be “as literal as possible” while maintaining clarity of expression and literary excellence. As an essentially literal translation, then, the ESV seeks to carry over every possible nuance of meaning in the original words of Scripture into our own language. As such, the ESV is ideally suited for in-depth study of the Bible. Indeed, with its emphasis on literary excellence, the ESV is equally suited for public reading and preaching, for private reading and reflection, for both academic and devotional study, and for Scripture memorization.

The NIV translators state their translation philosophy in the preface of each NIV Bible: The updated NIV you now have in your hands builds on both the original NIV and the TNIV and represents the latest effort of the committee to articulate God’s unchanging Word in the way the original authors might have said it had they been speaking in English to the global English-speaking audience today. The first concern of the translators has continued to be the accuracy of the translation and its faithfulness to the intended meaning of the biblical writers. This has moved the translators to go beyond a formal word-for-word rendering of the original texts.

In light of the above stated translation philosophies, I believe that the ESV’s goal to be an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as much as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer will give us a more accurate translation than the NIV’s stated intent to go beyond a formal word-for-word rendering of the original texts by trying to discern how the original authors might have said it had they been speaking in English.

I want to emphasize that the NIV 2011 is still a good translation. I will read it and use it along with other translations as I study. It is important that we recognize that all translations of the Bible have value to Christians. John Piper is one of the most outspoken promoters of the ESV and critics of the NIV (all editions). But Piper believes all translations are the Word of God and of value: I would rather have people read any translation of the Bible—no matter how weak—than to read no translation of the Bible. If there could be only one translation in English, I would rather it be my least favorite than that there be none. God uses every version to bless people and save people. . . . But even though the weakest translation is precious, and is used by God to save and strengthen sinful people, better translations would be a great blessing to the church and an honor to Christ.

The ESV is becoming a great blessing to the church in the 21st century. It is the preferred translation of many evangelical leaders such as James MacDonald, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul. Southern Baptist endorsers include former SBC president Jack Graham, and current seminary presidents Albert Mohler and Paige Patterson. The ESV has become the most commonly used translation in many evangelical seminaries, including Southern Baptist’s Southern and Southeastern seminaries. It is also widely used in conservative Christian universities like Anderson and North Greenville of the SC Baptist Convention. In light of the growing popularity of the ESV, it may soon surpass the NIV as the most widely used and best-selling English translation of the Bible.

I am making the switch to the ESV because I think it is a better translation than the NIV. Some members of our church have been using the ESV for several years. Some are using the ESV Study Bible, which I recommended to our church a couple of years ago as the best study Bible available today. If you do not have an ESV Bible, I encourage you to get one and give it a try. It would make a great Christmas present for yourself or anyone on your gift list.

Please join with me in prayer that the ESV will be, in the words of John Piper, a great blessing to our church and an honor to Christ.


Family Discipleship Seminar for Parents – Begins January 7

I want to invite parents of children and youth (and couples who plan to have children) to join the Younger Couples’ Sunday School class that I teach for a Family Discipleship Seminar, January 7 – February 25 (eight weeks). Mike Sterlachini will be leading this seminar during the Sunday School hour in the Fellowship Hall. He will be sharing how and why the church can partner with parents in discipling the next genera- on. He will address concerns parents have about discipling their children, and share ways to overcome them. Mike will also review some of the methods and resources available to parents to help them effectively disciple their children/youth. Participants will have an opportunity to provide input on how our church can better equip parents to disciple their children, and how we can develop a dynamic family ministry here at PFBC.

I encourage all parents of children and youth (and future parents) to attend this class. You can sign up in the vestibule beginning this Sunday. Parents, please invite your friends from outside our church who have children or youth to come with you. I think this seminar will be a great help to all Christian parents who care about their children’s spiritual well-being.


Christmas On The Lawn

Please bring a new, non-secular ornament to hang on the Christmas tree in the Fellowship Hall entrance any time between November 19-December 6. This will make a meaningful door prize (for a non-PFBC member) for Christmas on the Lawn on December 10.


2017 Mission Conference

Mission Conference on Sunday Morning, October 22

Mission Banquet Following 10:30 AM Service

     Next Sunday will be a special day for our church as we focus on what God is doing to advance His kingdom throughout this world. We will have missionaries from many countries with us on Sunday morning. They will be speaking in our Sunday School classes, and one missionary will be preaching in both morning worship services.

We will have lunch right after the 10:30 am service in the Fellowship Hall (around 12 noon). Tickets for this banquet are only $3 each or a maximum of $15 per family.

Please look inside this newsletter under Jeff’s column for more information about this special weekend at PFBC.



Where Is God When Things Go Wrong?

In last Sunday’s sermon from Psalm 139, we learned that God shapes each of us into the person He wants us to be (vv.13 & 15) in order to carry out the purpose He has planned for our lives (v.16). Most Christians do not question such teaching when life is going well. But when life is hard, questions often arise about God’s goodness or fairness. John Blanchard addresses such questions in his booklet, Where Is God When Things Go Wrong? One of the most helpful answers to that question is a quote from Joni Erickson Tada. In 1967, at age 17, Joni became a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident. She has spent the past 50 years in active Christian ministry, speaking all over the world and writing many books and articles – from a wheelchair and without the use of her hands. I think she is well-qualified to respond to questions about why God allows suffering and hardship in people’s lives:

“My accident was not a punishment for my wrongdoing – whether or not I deserved it. Only God knows why I was paralyzed. . . . If I were still on my feet, it’s hard to say how things might have gone. I probably would have drifted through life . . . dissatisfied and disillusioned. . . . I’m really thankful he did something to get my attention and change me.

“Today, as I look back, I am convinced that the whole ordeal of my paralysis was inspired by God’s love. I wasn’t the brunt of some cruel divine joke. God had reasons behind my suffering, and learning some of them has made all the difference in the world.

“When we learn to lean back on God’s sovereignty, fixing and setting our thoughts on that unshakable, unmovable reality, we can experience great inner peace. Our troubles may not change. Our pain may not diminish. Our loss may not be restored. Our problems may not fade with the new dawn. But the power of those things to harm us is broken as we rest in the fact that God is in control.”


Register for PFBC Camps Today!

Register for Truth Journey Sports Camp here.

Register for Joyful Noise Music and Creative Art Camp here


The New Website Is Live!!

The new website is live! Explore the new site and learn about what God is doing here at PFBC!!