14 August, 2007

Church Offers ESL; Motivation in Question

ROME, GA - At Rome Independent Baptist Church, English as a Second Language (ESL) has become a top priority. Pastor Mark Franks told TBNN that the entire church is behind their new project, "Everyone is very excited about all of the new ESL classes we will be offering this fall. We have folks teaching that I never thought would be interested in ESL; some might not even be qualified. I guess when God is moving in peoples' hearts, you just can't predict what is going to happen."

At TBNN, we don't question the need for ESL, but we did want to know "why?". In a relatively small community like Rome, GA, why offer so many different ESL classes? What is the motivation?

According to Pastor Franks, "About six months ago, several of the older ladies of the church brought a concern to me. They had seen some people at Wal*Mart that did not look white and did not seem to be speaking English. These sweet ladies were immediately concerned that the foreign language speakers did not have access to the bible. They suggested that we start several different ESL classes as soon as possible."

After a deep breath, Franks continued, "After setting up an ESL committee, we checked in with local government offices to get some demographic data. We discovered that we have more immigrants in this area than we realized. Do you know that we have eight different language speaking groups right here in Rome? Amazing! Because of that, we are preparing ESL classes right now for Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Greek, Malaysian, Portuguese, and Arabic speakers; well, maybe not Greek."

We inquired, "Wouldn't it be a lot simpler in terms of time and effort to first get bibles to them that they could read now? We are sure that the bible has been translated into all eight of the languages you mentioned."

With his smile disappearing, Franks responded, "I'm not sure I understand."

We rephrased, "Teaching English takes a long time. While it is a noble task, it will be quite some time before any of these people could read a bible in English. So why not first distribute bibles in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, etc. to the folks who need them?"

Franks seemed to now comprehend the situation. He said, "The King James Version only comes in English. It can't be translated correctly into other languages without those people missing out on some of the inspired Word of God. By teaching them English through ESL, within just three to four years they can have access to the holy scriptures."

Well, the motivation for the ESL classes now seemed crystal clear.

We had one last question for Pastor Franks, "What about the millions of people in the world who don't speak English and won't ever make it to Rome, GA? Will they ever have access to the bible?"

Franks answered excitedly, "Yes! As a church, we are saving up to send a couple from our church to Zimbabwe to teach the people there English. It is exciting to spread the good news of the KJV!"


W.A. Foote said...

Hey! Does anybody know how the Gospel was ever preached before 1611?

Les said...

Sounds like something my alma mater would help support. :)

W.A. Foote - I totally agree! It's like the Lord can only work through the KJV and not reveal Himself through the Holy Spirit to anyone.

Nicholas said...

I knew what was coming! Funny!!

It's the KJV or nothin' dawgonit!

Darrin said...

Funny stuff. I suppose most of the elect "foreigners" have been divinely placed near Rome, GA! Lucky for them!

I use the KJV almost exclusively (I jokingly remind my wife it's the "Authorized Version"), but I don't think it's the only way to go. I just can't understand the newer translations! (Guess 17th century English is my first language.)

Brother Slawson said...


I too read the KJV more than any other book... period... before I went to college. Sometime thereafter, whence I became more aware: forthwith writing essays, that my profs, which apparently had bought into the liberalization of English; discoverd my tendencies and anon told me so.

Brother Slawson said...

Ooopss... typo there.

I meant to say:
"...anon they tell me so."

John said...

Sadly, I've run into people with this exact mindset. Using their logic, Chinese-speaking people could be given Chinese-language Bibles to hold them over until they possess English skills sufficient to read the KJV. Only then would God's Word be truly accessible to them.

Stephen Newell said...

Interestingly enough, there is a massive kernel of truth to this post, as funny as it is.

Georgia is a hotbed of Spanish-speaking immigrants. There are places in and around Atlanta where if you pass certain stop lights, the entire neighborhood past that stop light is Spanish-speaking. Curiously enough, Rome does have a burgeoning Hispanic population.

Just makes the whole post even funnier to someone who's been there.

Sewing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sewing said...

Hahaha, very funny. They are really doing KJVESL education—it would probably suite native English speakers, too!

My introduction to Biblical belief many years ago was reading from Genesis through to Joshua in a leather-bound, red-letter KJV. I thought nothing of it at the time, but in hindsight, I see that it could only have been by the power of the Holy Spirit that I was able to persevere through the entire Hexateuch in Jacobean English!

Bob Hayton said...

Funny yet sad too. There really are missionaries and churches which insist on foreign language translations being made from the the KJV!!! And they cause division on the mission field.

Oh, and the people in Zimbabwe already know English. They were a British colony. Most people are bilingual (a tribal language and the trade language: English). Maybe the church should send their missionaries to a French speaking country or something. :^)

Darrin said...

Brother Slawson,

I understand your comment prefectly.

College didn't change my preference - they don't care about language at MIT!

Mad Hatter said...


I'm Reformed but going to a fundy church... and a good many of my friends actually believe this.

They don't call it the KJV, they call it the KJ. The KJV isn't really a version, they say, it is the only true word of God. All other versions are spelled NIP/ESP/NASP - the p stands for perversion.

Excellent post, thought my stomach would burst from how hard I was laughing.

Diesel said...

As one of my college profs used to say, "If the KJV was good enough for St. Paul, it's good enough for me."

Steve said...

In the many years I worked in Japan, until 2007, I saw the young, male, Mormans offering "free" English lessons to those interested. Needless to say, once the Japanese who found the instructors to be kind and well meaning were subjected to the hidden agenda of religion....they were too busy to take more classes. Now, perhaps moving an ESL Shinto or Buddhist to a different religion is a task indeed, less so if the ESL student is already heard of Christ. We all know the celebration of Christmas is big in Japan, much to the observation of interest from an American Christian minister friend of mine. His selling of Easter was less of a success overall, simply no gifts with the "event". In the end it kind of drove the minister off the deep end, he left Japan after ten years, with all the scars of a man banging his head against a wall. I say this as a friend, he was very honest with the situation.

Cheers, Steve


Desia said...

Good luck teaching the Zimbabweans English in order to read a KJV Bible! English is not my first language and although I’m totally bilingual, I still find it hard to understand many parts of the KJV. Trying to understand what is being said often obscures the meaning to me so much that I give up!