Author Archives: Kyle French

May common sense triumph!

Ugh. Watching Super Why continue its assault on Western Children’s literature, I discover that they have also been taken over by the grammar hypercorrection Nazis.

Wyatt gets in trouble for something, and he walks out, saying, “oh, I feel so badly!” This is wrong. It’s a hypercorrection of the phrase “to feel bad,” under the misconception that “bad,”as an adjective, must be modifying something. Since the only thing around to modify is the verb “feel,” the adjective is corrected to an adverb.

“I feel bad” is the correct phrase, and it’s perfectly fine. “Bad” in this case is a substantive adjective, an adjective functioning as a noun. You feel something and the feeling that you feel is “bad,” a generic term covering a wide array of negative physical and emotional sensations – pain, guilt, sorrow, sadness, etc.

“I feel badly” means something quite different from “I feel bad.” “Badly” means that the verb being performed is done ineffectively, or incorrectly. So a person who feels badly either has leprosy, making them unable to feel physical sensations, an emotional disorder that gives them inappropriate feelings, such as the desire to laugh at funerals, or perhaps some form of synesthesia or a phantom limb.

It could be a Hegelian thing.

I expected to read this article on the decline of contemporary praise and worship with a certain level of amusement and agreement.  Radio-style praise and worship, especially over the last 20 years has been terribly full of fluff, and the sooner done with it we are, the better.  However, I found the article to be singularly unhelpful.  Our options aren’t hymns or performance-oriented radio fluff.

I’m a huge fan of hymns. But the great musical innovation of the last century is syncopation, and that is something that has to affect our church music like it affects everything else.  The problem with most classic hymns (the best ones – I’m discounting the truly dreadful stuff) is that the meter overwhelmed the lyrics.  Even at the time they were written, nobody ever talked that way.  But nobody seemed to know  how to put together a song that flowed like a person actually talking, let alone appropriately moved by the words they were saying.

That’s the gap that CWM filled: simple songs with simple truths that sound like an actual person talking.  And modern hymnodists have taken the hint.  How Deep the Father’s Love sounds nothing like O For a Thousand Tongues.  I doubt that any new song can be completely devoid of syncopation ever again.  Why would it?

I’ll confess that CWM has been declining for the last 20 years at least.  It had to – it was being canned for people to put on the radio, and radio just isn’t a good medium for music intended for congregational singing.  But there’s an iceberg of modern worship music that never made it to the radio, dating back at least to 1900.  There’s good stuff in there, none of it hymns, and lots of it at least as durable.  Is that stuff declining too?  Or is congregational worship music simply maturing?

Translation, again.

2 Samuel 23:2-5, the last words of King David.  Spot the difference:

New King James

English Standard

The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me:
The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me;
His word is on my tongue.
The God of Israel has spoken;
The Rock of Israel said to me:
“He who rules over men must be just,
Ruling in the fear of God.
And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
Like the tender grass springing out of the earth,
By clear shining after rain.”
When one rules justly over men,
Ruling in the fear of God,
He dawns on them like the morning light
Like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,
Like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.
Although my house is not so with God,
Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant,
Ordered in all things and secure.
For this is all my salvation and all my desire;
Will He not make it increase?
For does not my house stand so with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
Ordered in all things and secure.
For will he not cause to prosper
All my help and desire?

I made it bold, so hopefully you caught that these translations say the exact opposite thing about David’s life. I mean, come on, guys!

Now, without digging deep into the Hebrew, I can make a guess:  The original text says something like this: “Not so my house with God”, and the issue at hand is whether that is supposed to be a statement: “My house is not so” or a question: “Is my house not so?”  So it’s probably not a textual criticism thing.  The actual wording of the original text, I’d guess, is not in question at all.

And yet, two translation teams came up with the exact opposite meaning, based on what?  New scholarship?  Shouldn’t we favor the more traditional understanding of the text, unless there is some clear, overriding reason to change it?

So.  For bonus points, go to Bible Gateway, or your favorite resource for comparing translations, and see how they fall.  How many different takes on 2 Samuel 23:5.  I’m guessing at least 3-4.

Lost me at “finality”

Sinclair Ferguson has a very helpful article on inerrancy, that I agree with completely… until the last point.  Why do people insist on understanding the closing of the canon like this?  Taken this way, the closing of the canon must have had a more profound effect on the daily lives of saints than ever the Day of Pentecost did.

You can almost hear the shattering echo of a giant door being slammed as John penned the final “amen” of Revelation, and someone saying, “The passage is blocked behind us now, and there is only one way out – on the other side of the mountains.  I fear from the sound that boulders have been piled up, and the trees uprooted and thrown across the gate.  I am sorry; for the trees were beautiful, and had stood so long.”

It’s all so unnecessary, too, because scripture and prophecy were never the same thing.  Not all scripture is prophecy, and even in scripture, not every prophecy is recorded.  There is only one recorded prophecy from any of the sons of prophets that met with Elisha before Elijah had ascended. They told him that Elijah was going to be taken that day, which Elisha already knew. A whole school of them, and no significant prophecies recorded, neither from the sons, nor from the fathers.  Twice Saul got caught up with a school of prophets and prophesied with them till the next morning, and we have received not a word of what they said in scripture.  Philip the evangelist had four daughters who prophesied, and yet not one word that they said was ever scripture.

There’s simply no reason to think that all this prophesying that was not adding to scripture before the canon was closed should suddenly be understood as adding to scripture after the canon was closed. Prophecy and scripture are simply two separate things. So it is extremely unhelpful to take the testimony of scripture about what spirit-directed life must look like in the light of Pentecost and de-normalize it, especially in support of a doctrine like inerrancy.

Thoughts on Ezekiel 28

  1. When was this book written?  This is the second time he’s mentioned Daniel as an established baseline for wisdom  and piety.  I had it in mind that Ezekiel was either contemporaneous with Daniel or with Jeremiah.  But writing at the same time as Daniel doesn’t seem to work with saying things like “Behold, you are wiser than Daniel!”
  2. I know vs. 11-29 are generally taken to be talking bout the devil.  All well and good, but the text specifically says that it’s a lamentation against Tyre.  So I want to know what all this “beauty of perfection,” “covering cherub” stuff has to do with Tyre.  The stuff about the multitude of trading makes sense, but the rest doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Tyre at all.


Super Why:  Why do yo have to ruin perfectly good stories?  Why couldn’t you start with a story being told wrong and fix it by telling the story right?  Watching you is like the old joke about playing country music backwards:  His dog comes to life, his wife comes back, he gets his old job.  So why sing the song?