Evangelical and Fundamentalist Consent to "Presence"
The Emphasized Bible translated by Rotherham is published by Kregel, an evangelical publishing house. Rotherham relates his struggle with the word parousia in the third edition of his translation. Although contrary to his theology, he acknowledged that parousia means "presence" and so translated it in every occurrence.
He states on Page 271 in the Appendix:
"In this edition the word parousia is uniformly rendered 'presence' ('coming,' as a representative of this word, being set aside). The original term occurs twenty-four times in the N.T., viz.: Matt 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor 15:23; 16:17; 2 Cor 7:6, 7; 10:10; Phil 1:26; 2:12; 1 Thess 2:19; 3:3; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess 2:1, 8, 9; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4, 12 and 1 John 2:28.
The sense of 'presence' is so plainly shown by the contrast with 'absence' (implied in 2 Cor. 10:10, and expressed in Phil. 2:12) that the question naturally arises,—Why not always so render it?
The more so, inasmuch as there is in 2 Peter 1:16 also, a peculiar fitness in our English word 'presence.' This passage, it will be remembered, relates to our Lord's transformation upon the Mount. The wonderful manifestation there made was a display and sample of 'presence' rather than of 'coming.' The Lord was already there; and, being there, he was transformed (Compare Matt 17:2.) and the 'majesty' of his glorified person was then disclosed. His bodily 'presence' was one which implied and exerted 'power'; so that 'power and presence' go excellently well together—the 'power' befitting such a 'presence'; and the three favored disciples were at one and the same moment witnesses of both."
Harry Rimmer (D.D., Sc.D.), who was styled "Fundamentalism's outstanding spokesman" until his death, admitted that the word parousia meant personal presence. In his book, The Coming King, he observed that the Greek word parousia is used 13 times in describing the return of Christ and not once does it have the thought of "coming."
Christianity Today (a well-known evangelical magazine) published a series of essays on "Fundamentals of the Faith." the essay in booklet form on "The Second Advent of Christ" had this to say about parousia:
"…let us look at the Greek words used in the New Testament for the idea of the return. First of all, there is the word parousia, which means basically 'presence.'"
No doctrine is more frequently mentioned in the New Testament that Christ's Second Advent. Yet, few doctrines have been as greatly fragmented into such diversified concepts. Much of the beauty of this doctrine has been wrested from the grasp of God's people. All secular Greek dictionaries define parousia, "presence." Most Biblical dictionaries likewise define parousia, "presence." Most current fundamentalist and evangelical writings on the Second Advent usually begin by correctly defining parousia, "presence." Then a strange thing happens. Somehow the word "coming" replaces "presence."
Incorrect theology (viz. the errors taught by the professing church) require that parousia be translated "coming," so as to conform to its teachings, but Scriptural harmony requires that it be translated "presence."
Continued with next post.
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