Bridge To Babylon – Rome, Ecumenism & The Bible A Lamp In The Dark Deel III – Transcript, part three
Bridge To Babylon – Rome, Ecumenism & The Bible
Een lamp in het duister: De onvertelde geschiedenis van de Bijbel – Deel 3
Bridge To Babylon – Rome, Ecumenism & The Bible
Een lamp in het duister: De onvertelde geschiedenis van de Bijbel – Deel 3
The Great Revision
Through the Middle Ages the men who loved the Bible and believed it to be the very word of God struggled for centuries to see the sacred scripture translated into the languages of the common people.
In England the great climax of their effort was the publication of the King James Bible in 1611 but nearly 300 years later, what was known as the Authorized Version would be dramatically revised by a committee of English scholars as a result of the discovery of the codex sinaiticus, in 1859, and with it the publication of the Vatican’s Greek Bible known as the Codex Vaticanus.
In 1870 a revision committee came together led by two scholars named Brook Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort. These men were determined not only to revise the English words of the Authorized Version (KJV) but also the underlying Greek text.
In the century that would follow the changes they made and the reasons why they made them would spark some of the sharpest controversies in a modern church.
As they perpetrate the lie that the Vatican manuscript the Sinai manuscript are the oldest and the best. They also formulated the theory that the churches throughout all these centuries had a corrupt text to scripture and that only now could the pure text of Scripture be recovered primarily because of the discovery of Vaticanus and the discovery of Sinaiticus and of course if those two manuscripts are not sound their entire theory is gone.
These men were I think co-liberals and apostates and they had more to do with changing the world to the wrong Greek text than any other to, or any other man before them.
The work of Westcott and Hort was opposed by nineteenth-century British scholar Dean John W. Burgon. After studying their revised version of the Bible he confronted their changes in his own work titled ‘The Revision Revised’. Burgon wrote that the revision of 1881 was inaccurate and said it: “exhibits defective scholarship in countless places”. He openly declared that Westcott and Hort had created a ‘new Greek text’.
Burgon wrote that: “It is the systematic depravation of the underlying Greek which does so grievously offend me. For this is nothing else but a poisoning of the River of Life at its sacred source. Our Revisers (with the best and purest intentions, no doubt)…, stand convicted of having deliberately rejected the words of inspiration in every page, and of having substituted for them fabricated readings which the church has long since refused to acknowledge, or else has rejected with abhorrence, and which only survived at this time in a little handful of documents of the most depraved type.”
The theory of Westcott and Hort was that the greater body of Bible manuscripts which number in the thousands were somehow corrupt and that the more accurate readings were to be found in just a few copies that were supposedly older and more reliable.
Westcott and Hort’s contribution was that they were able to academically build a theory which allowed them to ignore 95% of the manuscript evidence so that they could create the the Greek New Testament that they used in 1881.
As a result Dean John Burgon would declare that: “The ‘revision’ of 1881 must come to be universally regarded as – what it most certainly is: the most astonishing, as well as the most calamitous literary blunder of the age.
Another scholar F.H.A. Scrivener served on the committee with Westcott and Hort, he voiced many objections to their theory and their conclusions. In the end he was so troubled by their work that he eventually published his own rebuttal, he said: “Dr. Hort’s system is entirely destitute of historical foundation. We are compelled to repeat it emphatically as ever, our strong conviction that the hypothesis to whose proof he has devoted so many laborious years, is destitute not only of historical foundation, but of all probability.”
Westcott and Hort, coming to the forefront, they clandestinely secretly put together this new Greek text that’s based on the corrupt texts of the Vatican, it’s based on the corrupt texts of Sinaiticus, and is based on, you go back to Griesbach, they used Griesbach his unitarian text as well.
Johann Jakob Griesbach was a 19th century german scholar who is often called the father of modern textual criticism. Westcott and Hort declared that the name of Griesbach was, quote: “A name we venerate above that of every other textual critic of the New Testament.”
Scrivener wrote that their new textual theory was built upon the thinking of Griesbach as well as other textual critics who presented alternative views to the traditional Greek text.
“The germ of this theory can be traced in the speculations of Bentley and Griesbach, but there is little hope for the stability of their imposing structure. If its foundations have been laid on the sandy ground of ingenious conjecture.”
The conjecture Scrivener referred to had to do with the theory of dr. Hort who claimed that sometime, between 250 and 350 A.D. the original texts of the Bible were deliberately altered by certain church leaders at Antioch in ancient Syria, this was supposedly followed by a second revision that took place later on. During these revisions, words and verses were supposedly added to the Bible and resulted in the longer readings which are found in the Textus Receptus or the traditional text used by the Reformers. Hort argued that codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus contained shorter readings overall because they had not been contaminated by this alleged revision process at Antioch.
Scrivener argued that Hort’s theory was completely imaginary: “Of this twofold authoritative revision of the Greek text not one trace remains in the history of Christian antiquity.”
He doesn’t give a reference or quotation from anybody operating at that period of time, he just theorizes and because he theorizes it’s true.
And then they said when they had this in 250 or 350 A.D. , which is false there was no such convocation, no historical evidence, Dean Burgon says if this were such a tremendous occurring and happenstance they would have them in papers and autobiographies and records and historical books, there’s nothing about this.
Dean Burgon also argued that Westcott and Hort defied the original instructions for the revision which required that they abstain from all but necessary changes. He further claimed that they had secretly introduced their new Greek text to form the foundation for the New Revision. Burgon: “I traced the mischief home to its true authors, doctors Westcott and Hort, a copy of whose unpublished text of the New Testament (the most vicious in existence) had been confidentially and under pledges of the strictest secrecy placed in the hands of every member of the revising body.”
What they did was to put into the hands of every one of these revisers, he put in their hands a different text, their text that they’ve been working on for eleven years and they said: now under no conditions, and in no circumstance will any of you men on this committee tell anybody you have a different Greek text, they forced upon it in secret.
According to Dean Burgon, Westcott and Hort had already created their new Greek text and then began to convince the committee to accept it. Hort himself is said to have been the decisive leader in promoting the historical theory behind it.
Burgon writes: “The revisionists had, in an eagle our, surrendered themselves to dr. Hort’s guidance.”
Yet the question remains: Why would Hort develop such an implausible theory? and then insist upon using it to alter the original Greek text of a New Testament. Some believe the answer is found in a letter he wrote as a young scholar.
He made the statement at the age of 23, in 1851. He wrote to a friend, he said: “I had no idea to the last few weeks of the importance of texts, having read so little Greek Testament and dragged on with the villainous Textus Receptus, think of that vile Textus Receptus leaning entirely on late manuscripts.” That’s where he begin and he just held to that throughout his life, 23 years old, hadn’t read much Greek Testament, comes to that. I think you can see an enemy had done this, to use the quote from Mark, and the parable of the wheat and tares, an enemy has done this.
But why did dr. Hort hold to such a hostile view of the traditional Greek text, and was he really an enemy of the Bible? After Westcott and Hort died their private letters were published and shed light on some of their beliefs. Hort appears to have capped his own doctrinal views secret while working with Westcott on the new Greek text fearing that it might be rejected because of his heretical views.
Writing to Westcott, in 1861, Hort said: “Also – but this may be cowardice – I have a sort of craving that our text should be cast upon the world before we deal with matters likely to brand us with suspicion. I mean a text issued by men already known for what will undoubtedly be treated as dangerous heresy will have great difficulty in finding its way into regions which it might otherwise hope to reach. Of course I felt this doubt all along, but made it give way to the necessities of our joint plan.”
The joint plan was a series of essays they intended to publish which dr. Hort believed would reveal their unorthodox views.
Westcott and Hort were very symbolic of a movement in the Church of England that was not Protestant in sympathy, it was not evangelical, it did not represent anything that the better part of the Church of England represented.
To understand the historic context of their writings it is important to know the environment that Westcott and Hort lived in in the 19th century.
It was an era driven by what was known as the Oxford movement. The Oxford movement was primarily to bring the Anglican Church if at all possible back under the authority of Rome.
The Oxford movement was a 19th century manifestation of the Jesuits Counter Reformation. In 1850, historian Thomas Carlyle, referred to this era as ‘the age of Jesuitism’. He went on to describe: “the wretched mortal, known among men as Ignatius Loyola the founder of the Jesuit Order, dedicated to overturning the Protestant Reformation.
Carlyle said: “ to me he seems historically definable, he more than another as the poison-fountain from which these rivers of bitterness that now submerge the world have flowed.”
During the Oxford movement the Jesuits and Romanist were believed to have infiltrated Protestant churches throughout England.
This political cartoon from 1850 shows pope Pius the ninth along with Cardinal Wiseman attempting to break into a church. The Anglo Catholics were known as Ritualists and Tractarians.
Some of their teachings about the Bible are described in the book the secret history of the Oxford movement, by Walter Walsh. They staunchly opposed the Protestant doctrine of ‘Sola Scriptura’ meaning: by scripture alone. Against this the Ritualists taught that: “The Bible is not the sole and only Rule of faith.”
They further declared: “Nor is it any infringement of the reverence due to the Bible, to declare openly and distinctly that Bible Christianity is an invention of the Devil.”
And “Our Blessed Lord did not intend any written document to be the basis of the Faith He founded.”
Perhaps most significantly they said: “If a man’s faith is pinned to a document, and that document be proved to have flaws in it away goes his faith.”
One of the major members of that Oxford movement was John Newman, Newman was a major writer of the tracks that appeared at that time in an attempt to gradually influence the Anglicans to come back under the authority of Rome, they were fairly successful, they had 150 men who came back under the authority of Rome.
In his writings, Hort often wrote about John Henry Newman. Newman had been an Anglican minister who initially preached against Rome but then gradually began to preach in its favor until he finally converted and became a Catholic priest. Hort comments on Newman with both criticism and admiration.
He once said: “You must have misunderstood me about Newman. Many of his sayings and doings I cannot but condemn most strongly. But they are not Newman and him I all but worship. Few men have been privileged to be the authors of such in incalculable blessings to the world.”
When speaking about another author, Hort wrote: “The leading man is dr. Nevin, I can compare him to no one but Newman, and higher praise it would be difficult to give.”
Once when writing to Westcott, he said: “The perfect clearness and keenness of Newman always gives me pleasure.”
In some places Hort seems to be critical of Newman’s turn towards Rome, but then in a letter to mr. John Ellerton, in the year 1848, Hort would write that: “The pure Romish view seems to me nearer, and more likely to lead to the truth than the Evangelical.”
Hort even went so far as to speak favorably about the worship of Mary and the idea of Mary as co-mediator with Christ: “I have been persuaded for many years that Mary-worship and to Jesus-worship has very much in common in their causes and their results. Perhaps the whole question may be said to be involved in the true idea of mediation, we condemn all secondary human mediators as injurious to the One. But this last error can hardly be expelled till Protestants unlearn the crazy horror of the idea of priesthood.”
Elsewhere Hort confessed himself to be “a staunch Sacerdotalist” Sacerdotalism is the belief that a priest is necessary to act as a mediator between the people and God.
Yet in the New Testament the Apostle Paul declared plainly:
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Faith in Christ as the sole mediator rather than in Mary or a Catholic priest is the central difference between the Bible based Protestant faith and the religion of Rome.
As the great theologian William Shedd said: Christ has done away with the priesthood because he is the great high priest and is our advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. So we don’t need a priest today because Christ brings us to God, he is the great high priest and he is our intercessor and mediator.
And then the false teachings about Mary, Mary is made an intercessor, Mary is now said going to be called a co-redemptrix with Christ, and that, I think, is another great blasphemy to put someone else up in place of the only mediator between God and man the man Christ Jesus.
While favoring certain elements of Romanism, Hort expressed his opposition to the traditional views of evangelical Christians.
In a letter to dr. Roland Williams, in the year 1858, he wrote that: “The positive doctrines even of the Evangelical seem to me perverted. There are, I fear, still more serious differences between us on the subject of authority especially the authority of the Bible.”
Hort seem to be expressing views that aligned with those of Newman and the Tractarians. Both he and Westcott rejected the Evangelical belief that the Bible is the infallible word of God.
Hort once wrote: “I did recognize Providence in bible writings. Most strongly I recognize it, but I am not prepared to say that it necessarily involves absolute infallibility.”
Meanwhile in 1860 Westcott expressed his own doubts, he said: “My dear Hort … I too ‘must disclaim setting forth infallibility’ in the front of my convictions. All I hold is, that the more I learn, the more I am convinced that fresh doubts come from my own ignorance and that at present I find the presumption in favor of the absolute truth – I reject the word infallibility – of Holy Scripture overwhelming.”
During this period, Charles Darwin published his theory on evolution which “challenged’’ the biblical account of the origins of mankind. And indeed called into question the credibility of the Bible as a record of true history.
Darwin himself once professed Christianity at an early age but at some point he turned against it. In his writings he said: “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true, for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished and this is a damnable doctrine.”
The Origin of Species written by Charles Darwin was released in 1859, and of course is evolution a theory, it certainly is not proven, but when, I believe was Hort obtained the book and read it he wrote to his friend Westcott that he did not see how Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ could be refuted.
Hort specifically said he thought Darwin’s theory was unanswerable. He also rejected the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden. Meanwhile in the year 1890, Westcott would write: “No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, if a literal history.
I could never understand how any one reading them with open eyes could think they did.”
Upon reading their correspondence it becomes clear what Hort meant when he spoke of the dangerous heresies he and Westcott held to since their views were a strong departure from Orthodox Christian teaching.
They had problems in every area, where there was ecclesiology, Church doctrine, whether it was Christology, doctrine of Christ, soteriology, doctrine of salvation, they were completely apostate and heretical in all of those areas
Hort even rejected the doctrine that Christ died on a cross as a substitute for the sins of the world: He said: “The popular doctrine of substitution is an immoral and material counterfeit, nothing can be more unscriptural than the limiting of Christ’s bearing our sins and sufferings to his death, but indeed, that is only one aspect of an almost universal heresy.”
Yet because Hort kept his beliefs hidden from public view, the academic world was able to embrace his imaginary theory about the history of the biblical text.
And then after they finished the 1881, that wasn’t enough, they had to sell it, so Hort was the mastermind who wrote an introduction to their Greek text. What Hort did was to falsify information give guesswork and hypothesis, very little evidence, very little documentation, selling this polluted text to the scholarly world, and it worked, all the men except Burgon and a few others in England were convinced that this was the way to go.
Germany took it up, France, Italy, United States of America, Canada, in our school Dallas Theological Seminary dr. Chafer that was convincing there, it went over to Princeton and went over to Southern Baptists in Louisville and A.T. Robertson, it just took the scholarly world by storm but it was based, not on fact but on fiction and guesswork with cleverness.
That Greek New Testament unseated the received text as the basic text of the New Testament.
It would appear that dr. Hort was finally able to undermine what he had called 30 years before ‘that vile Textus Receptus’, yet scholars argue that the ideas Westcott and Hort relied upon did not begin with them.
They didn’t actually invent the text all by themselves, sometimes people give the impression that they worked as independents and all of a sudden out of nowhere they produce this new text.
But if Westcott and Hort did not originate the idea for a new Greek text, where did it come from? 19th century minister Robert L Dabney argued that Evangelical critics had adopted their views from the ‘mint of infidel rationalism’, which he said is: “grounded in the assumption that the Evangelist and apostles were not guided by inspiration.”
In his biography of Dean John Burgon, author Edward Goulburn said that Burgons greatest fight was against the rationalist approach to understanding the Bible.
He wrote that: “Rationalism busies itself industriously with the word of God, to see whether it cannot call in question its certainty, and throw doubt upon its infallibility. The initial question of rationalism, the question by which the Evil One, succeeded in supplanting the loyalty of our first mother to her Creator, was, Yea, hath God said?”
Goulburn clearly believed that the serpent’s questioning of God’s word in the garden was a picture of the skeptical arguments engineered by the rationalist critics who took hold in the Universities of Germany in the 18th century and would dramatically alter the understanding of the Bible, laying the foundation for the revision of Westcott and Hort.
The late dr. Ian Paisley wrote that: “No Bible believer should be deceived by the parading of great names in the field of biblical scholarship, when these very men are but the parrots of the rationalist of another century. The case they present is not their own, but a modern presentation of an ancient heresy.”
Although the Bible says of itself that:
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The rationalists movement was driven by the belief that the Bible is not inspired, but was the mere invention of ordinary men like any other book of history. They believe miracles and the supernatural should be understood through rational explanation. The attack began at the beginning with a skeptical view of the book of Genesis. In the 17th century a Jewish Dutch philosopher named Baruch Spinoza is often seen as the first man to question the authorship of Moses. Spinoza had been educated by an ex Jesuit priest, he once wrote: “Belief that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch is ungrounded and irrational.”
Spinoza was excommunicated from his synagogue and his work would later be called ‘A book forged in hell’. But his influence would be furthered by a French physician named Jean Astruc who developed a more systematic method of denying the authorship of Moses and would become known as the man who originated sceptical criticism of the Bible.
Astruc was born from a long line of faithful martyrs who had laid down their lives for Christ, yet he turned away from the faith himself and is said to have become a wicked and immoral man.
The Reverend J.M. Coleman wrote that: “Voltaire describes Astruc as ‘miser and debauchee, and possessed with a devil. This was the man who laid the foundation for the destructive criticism of the Bible by his theories of Genesis.”
Astruc his ideas would be picked up by two later theologians named Karl Heinrich Graf and Julius Wellhausen who had developed the theory even further, that Moses did not truly write the book of Genesis.
The Graf/ Wellhausen hypothesis actually came out of Germany, that’s the concept that the Pentateuch was composed of the J.E.D.P. documents, which stands for Jehovah, Elohim, Deuteronomy and Priestly documents, they were all brought together to form the Pentateuch and that Moses didn’t write it in spite what our Lord said, quoting Moses many times in the New Testament and never cast any dispersion on the fact that the law, the Pentateuch was written by Moses.
After years of teaching his critical theories Julius Wellhausen was eventually troubled by the influence of his work upon others when he resigned his professorship, in 1882, he said: “I became a theologian because the scientific treatment of the Bible interested me. Only gradually did I come to understand that a professor of theology also has the practical task of preparing the students for service in the Protestant church, instead, despite all caution on my part, I make my heroes unfit for the office. Since then, my theological professorship has been weighing heavily on my conscience.”
It might be argued that Wellhausen could have avoided his troubled conscience if he had believed what the Bible says about God’s promise to preserve his Holy word.
God has promised to preserve his word, and God preserves his word true people and he puts it upon their hearts, this is the word of God, he put it on their heart with respect to the Canon, they knew that second Peter was in, but Barnabas the Epistle Barnabas was out, and he put it upon their heart with respect to the text of Scripture.
In the Bible the psalmist writes that:
Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Psalm 12:7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
The scripture also says:
Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Jesus declared that the word of God is truth.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
And the scripture tells us:
Psalm 117:2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 111:7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
Psalm 111:8 They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
In the Book of Isaiah God says:
Isaiah 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
And in Isaiah we read that:
Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
In the New Testament the Apostle Peter wrote to the church saying:
1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Meanwhile Jesus said:
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
The Critical Theory
Since the time of Westcott and Hort the critical version of the Bible has been presented as a more accurate representation of the original text. But the argument is built upon a series of suppositions that are called into question by those who defend the traditional readings.
And the reasoning usually goes something like this, and you see this all over the critical text debate: well if this is true this must be true, and if this is true that must be true, and if this is true that must be true, and as a result the critical text is superior without ever having improving the first point.
Thus what you are saying is that a lot of what the critical text is based on is more a theory than that it is a historic fact?
It’s more theory and suggestion, and today’s suggestion becomes tomorrow’s established orthodoxy, and your intelligence, it’s what I call the tyranny of the expert, you ask a question they say: ‘Everybody, every intelligent person knows this.’
Well how do they know it? ‘Well of course if you were an intelligent scholarly person you would need to ask that’
So the answer and the defense of things becomes: ‘Well this is what the experts believe, that’s true in evolution, that’s true and global warming, that’s true and a whole lot of thing so every intelligent person knows this so we don’t have to explain it, we don’t have to defend it.”
And the tyranny of the expert says: I’m an expert, my friends are experts, you’re not an expert, so we know.”
And that’s the defense of so many things. And I’ve come to believe, the tyranny of the expert, most of the time is being offered because folks absolutely know there aren’t any facts that support what they’re asserting, and they retreat to that not because they don’t want to take the time to answer a person, they retreat to that because they know there’s no answer.
And you look at the way how many many Bible teachers teach the scripture. It is to go through and say: Okay well this is what it says but a better translation would be, our older and better translations say this, their entire method of bible teaching has been based around asserting critical text readings over majority text.
And if you acknowledge that the critical text isn’t based on the oldest and best, we figured out a long time ago that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were not the best, people are starting to figure out they’re not the oldest either, or at least particularly with Sinaiticus and maybe with Vaticanus there’s several questions about whether they are as old as people want to think they are.
Concerning Vaticanus and Sinaiticus 19th century scholar Robert L Dabney questioned both their origin and the dates ascribed to them. In fact he asserted that the analysis of both was based on little more than guesswork and speculation, he said: “The grand foundation of the whole is a bundle of conjectures. None of these codices have a continuous, authentic, known history.
This charge is eminently true concerning the age which they are pleased to assign those Greek manuscripts which they recommend to us as most venerable. The Vatican, the Alexandrine, and now the Sinaiticus. It is expressly admitted that neither of these has an extent history. No documentary external evidence exists as to the names of the copyist who transpired them, the date or the place of their writing.
Nobody knows whence the Vatican manuscript came to the Pope’s library, or how long it has been there, Tischendorf himself was unable to trace the presence of his favorite codex in the monastery of St. Catherine by external witnesses higher than the 12th century. Their early date is confessedly assigned them by conjecture.”
In the same manner, George Sayles Bishop, a 19th century minister and critic of Westcott and Hort, questioned the dating of the chief manuscript, the codex Vaticanus, which was first discovered in the Vatican Library in the year 1475, how it got there is unknown.
In the sixteenth century, the Codex was recommended to Desiderius Erasmus by the Vatican’s librarian at the time, who wished to prove that it was closer to the readings of the Latin Vulgate, but Erasmus rejected it because he believed that the Codex Vaticanus had been somehow altered or tampered with after the Council of Florence in 1435.
“An Account of the printed text of the greek New Testament” By Samuel P. Tregelles. P22
“This was apparently suggested to have been a secret agreement of that council.”
The manuscript was hidden away for centuries until it was taken by Napoleon to Paris, in 1809, only to be returned to the Vatican in 1815, but during its time in Paris, a Roman Catholic scholar named Johann Leonhard Hug examined it and then published a tract: “On the antiquity of codex Vaticanus” in which he dated the manuscript to the fourth century.
Of this George Bishop wrote that: “Professor Hug labored to prove that the Vatican was written in the early part of the fourth century, but Bishop March puts it two centuries later.”
The Vaticanus is also called codex B, Bishop went on to say: “B is said to be older. Well, it may be older, because less trustworthy, less used, and so not worn out. Or it may not be older. It is first mentioned anywhere, in 1475, not fifty years before the Reformation. That is a pretty young document to claim to be lord over 1100 documents, many of which may have been for all we know, a thousand years old.” ‘Oh but it is written in great capitals, and it has divisions into paragraphs such as documents had in Eusebius his time.’ “Yes, and what is there to prevent men from imitating a manuscript of Eusebius his time, and writing it large and for a purpose?”
The Codex Vaticanus is important because it forms the very foundation of the critical text. According to Dean Burgon, Westcott and Hort developed their theory in such a way that the Vatican’s manuscript would become the chief of all Greek manuscripts in the world.
In his explanation of Westcott and Hort’s theory, Dean Burgon said the following: “Thus then, at last, the end of exactly 150 weary pages, the secret comes out! The one point which the respected editors are found to have been all along driving at, the one aim of those many hazy disquisitions of theirs about ‘intrinsic and transcriptional probability’, the one reason of all their vague terminology, – and of their baseless theory of ‘conflation’ and of their disparagement of the fathers, the secret of it all comes out at last! All is summed up in the curt formula – Codex B!”
Burgon went on to say that Westcott and Hort’s theory required that all other materials on the Bible, copies, father’s and versions, were: “All to be ruthlessly sacrificed,” he said “on the altar … of — Codex B.”
In other words, all other materials must be made to conform to the Vatican’s Greek Bible, Codex B, or the Codex Vaticanus. According to Burgon that was the theory of Westcott and Hort in a nutshell.
Yet the prominence of Vaticanus is largely based on paleo graphical analysis, Paleography is the study of ancient writings used to authenticate and to assign dates to ancient manuscripts that come from unknown origins. Incredibly the practice itself was developed by the Roman Catholic Church as part of the counter-reformation.
Writing on the history of paleography James W. Thompson former president of the American Historical Association, wrote that: “The impetus for articulation of a method of proving the authenticity of documents came from doctrinal conflicts of the Reformation and counter-Reformation.” he said “Rome was compelled to fight history with history. Since the Reformation was an appeal to history, the counter-Reformation was forced to use the same instrument.”
Thompson explained that the key founders of paleographic analysis were two Benedictine monks, the first was Jean Mabillon who developed Latin paleography, in the 17th century. His successor Bernard De Montfaucon would then develop greek paleography in the early part of the 18th century. In fact it was Montfaucon’s work that was embraced by Constantine von Tischendorf in his quest for ancient manuscripts.
Author James Bentley tells us that: “In the field of Greek manuscripts, Tischendorf obtained a work by another famous Benedictine monk, Bernard De Montfaucon, which in 1708 virtually created the study of Greek and Byzantine paleography.”
Was it merely coincidence that the Roman Church developed a system of evaluating Greek manuscripts so that eventually the pope’s Bible once rejected by Erasmus would be declared the number-one Greek Bible in the world, and in the process would also overthrow the traditional Greek text of the Protestant Reformation.
It is worthy to note that after reviewing the work of Westcott and Hort, Dean John Burgon was suspicious of what was really behind their theory, he said: “I frankly confess that to me the wholesale adoption of the theory of the two revisers looks very much indeed like what in the language of lawyers is called ‘conspiracy’.”
Meanwhile the speculations concerning the Codex Vaticanus had continued into modern times, yet most scholars seem oblivious to the fact that it’s true origins still remain virtually unknown.
The late professor Neville Birdsall is pictured here next to dr. Bruce Metzger, one of the leading textual critics of the 20th century. Birdsall was considered an expert in paleography and biblical manuscripts, concerning the codex Vaticanus he said that: “In short, we cannot be certain of the exact date nor the place of origin of codex Vaticanus nor, in spite of scholarly efforts, can its history before the 15th century be traced.”
Professor Birdsall’s analysis of Vaticanus, in 1998, seems to confirm the assertions of men like R.L. Dabney and George Sayles Bishop. The dating of the Codex is based on conjecture rather than irrefutable science.
But what about codex sinaiticus? Having been discovered by Constantine von Tischendorf in St. Catherine’s monastery, the manuscript was called the world’s oldest Bible. But Greek paleographer Constantine Simonides argued that he was the true author of the codex and that it had been created by him in the year 1840.
While the leading scholars of the day dismissed Simonides claims there were those who continued to be suspicious, this is partly because Simonides presented two unique books that were found as part of the codex. The epistle of Barnabas, published in 1843, and the Shepherd of Hermas, presented in the year 1856.
Nearly identical copies of both books were found as part of the Codex Sinaiticus in 1859. How could these rare books unknown to the rest of the world have been in Simonides possession? And how could matching copies appear in Tischendorf’s codex years later, if Simonides had nothing to do with it?
In 1874, renowned Bible scholar James Donaldson analyzed the comparison between the works of Simonides and those found in the Sinaiticus manuscript. He began by expressing his doubts about the story told by Tischendorf who claimed to have found the first parts of the codex and st. Catherine’s monastery, in 1844.
Where pages of the manuscript had supposedly been discarded in a rubbish basket and were being used by the monks to feed the fires. Tischendorf claimed he had rescued the pages from almost certain destruction, years later he would return to st. Catherine’s to discover the rest of the Codex in 1859.
In reviewing these events James Donaldson wrote the following, he said: “The torn and scattered fragments which have been cast into the large basket to feed the fire had come forth, they had all united and now constituted a complete whole, a whole so complete that the like of it does not exist. Not only were the other parts of the Old Testament found: but the only complete uncial manuscript of the New Testament was contained in it, and added to this was the complete Greek of the Epistle of Barnabas and nearly as much of the Greek of the pastor of Hermus as had been given in the Simonides manuscripts.”
Donaldson went on to say: “There are many circumstances in this narrative calculated to awaken suspicion, and there are other circumstances of an equally suspicious nature which I have not mentioned. But those who are most competent to judge have allowed that it seems a genuine ancient manuscripts”
Donaldson seemed almost reluctant to call it genuine, but chose to defer to the consensus of others it. Is also noteworthy to consider that the Simonides affair ended in 1864, and yet Donaldson published his suspicions a decade later.
Yet one aspect of Donaldson’s work was challenged by a newspaper called the Athenaeum, they claimed that the epistle of Barnabas published by Simonides must have been a forgery, they wrote that: “Simonides produced in attestation of the genuineness and date of his edition of Barnabas, a newspaper of Smyrna, published in 1843, containing a long review of the work, the paper and the print of the newspaper look uncommonly fresh and on subsequent inquiries at Smyrna, it was found that no such newspaper had ever existed, Simonides had taken the trouble to fabricate his newspaper, as well as the date of his edition.”
Yet the newspaper in question was called ‘The star of the East’ a later investigation proved that ‘the Athenaeum’ was apparently mistaken, and that a newspaper by that name did in fact exist in Smyrna during the 1840s.
Pictured here is a copy of the article with a review of Simonides epistle of Barnabas dated 1843.
Though Donaldson was willing to accept the official story he still questioned the dating of codex Sinaiticus, in particular the type of greek used them a shepherd of Hermas, he said: “The Greek is not the Greek of the at least first five centuries of the Christian era.”
If Donaldson was correct that might push the dating of the codex Sinaiticus out of the fourth century entirely.
While Westcott and Hort embraced Sinaiticus without question, there were those who continue to investigate the story of Simonides into the 20th century. In 1907, James A. Farrer published his book on ‘Literary Forgeries’ where he examined the controversy in detail.
While he recognized that the circumstantial evidence in favor of Simonides was significant he ultimately believed that the case had never been fully resolved, he said: “It is to be regretted that this matter was never cleared up at the time the claim was made. On the side of Simonides is his unlimited skill in calligraphy; the very audacity of such a claim if entirely baseless, the remarkable presence in the Codex of a portion of the Shepherd of Hermas, which Simonides was the first scholar ever to have seen in greek. The fact that no visitor to the monastery at mount Sinai before 1844 had ever seen or heard of such a work as belonging to the monks and the very extraordinary story told by Tischendorf of his discovery and acquisition of the codex. The question therefore, pending the acquisition of further evidence must remain among the interesting but unsolved mysteries of literature.”
Dr. Phil Stringer: “I can easily believe that Tischendorf and others did not do a thorough study to figure out where this came from, because they were looking for something they thought was ancient, something that fit their beliefs, and in Sinaiticus they found something that to them was the greatest Bible discovery ever made, and you know they found something they wanted it to be that, and it becomes very easy to believe something is this when you want it so badly to be this.
Yet it is undeniable that most scholars today believe Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are both genuine ancient manuscripts. But if they are the most ancient does this mean they are the most reliable as argued by Westcott and Hort. The issue becomes important when one considers that the Westcott and Hort theory would be used to produce the underlying Greek text for a vast majority of all the new Bibles in the 20th century.
The Westcott and Hort theory is based on the preconceived conviction that our New Testament text should be based upon codex Vaticanus and codex sinaiticus. It clearly is different from the received text and so now we must develop a theory that will be tailor-made for this new text that we’ve adopted. If this text is shorter then, and it is shorter, it’s shorter in nearly 2900, it has about 2900 fewer words.
The reason for the fewer words is because there are shorter readings in both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Westcott and Hort’s theory was that the shorter readings more accurately represented the original Scripture and that the longer readings were created deliberately by editors who added many words and passages to the Bible. This was done during the alleged revision that happened between 250 and 350 A.D., once these editors created the longer version of the text it was then duplicated thousands of times over, which is the reason why the majority of Greek manuscripts contain the fuller readings. It was this startling aspect of the Westcott and Hort theory that was refuted by dr. Scrivener as having no historic foundation whatsoever.
There’s not any trace of this anywhere in history this is simply something that Westcott and Hort dreamed up. Despite the lack of evidence Westcott and Hort asserted that portions of the New Testament, such as the last 12 verses of Mark (Mark 16:9-20), the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11), the story of the angel troubling the waters at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:4), and the account of Christ praying for those who crucified him (Luke 23:34), these and many other readings were supposedly not part of the original text.
Dean John Burgon argued against these assertions and demonstrated how Westcott and Hort rejected a majority of the biblical evidence in favor of their own unprovable theory. He gave as an example, the testimony of Christ on the cross, from Luke 23:34. he said: “These twelve precious words, -(Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.) doctors Westcott and Hort entertained that the words are spurious. And yet those words are found in every known uncial and in every known cursive copy, except four, besides being found in every ancient version.
It happens that our Lord’s intercession on behalf of His murders is attested by upwards of 40 patristic witnesses from every part of ancient Christendom. How could our revisionist dare to insinuate doubts into wavering hearts and unlearned heads where (as here) they were bound to know, there exists no manner of doubt at all?”
While Westcott and Hort theorized that such differences in the text were the result of deliberate changes made by the early church, their opponents argued that there was a much more historic explanation, one that dates back to the Apostles in the first century.
Corruption seems to go back to the very beginning, Paul is warning about corruption before the Canon of the New Testament is complete.
In his letter to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul wrote:
2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
Because of this, defenders of the traditional Greek texts argue that the earliest manuscripts are not necessarily the most accurate.
Dr. Phil Stringer: I’ve been in ministry for 40 years I spent the first 10 years of my life as an advocate of the critical texts. I was not an advocate of it because I’d studied the matter closely, but virtually every book I read advocated the critical texts. In Bible College I never heard the issue discussed one way or another, but after about 10 years of ministry and occasionally making statements that would be pro critical texts, one particular individual challenged me kindly and privately, I would not have listened if he’d been rough with me but he challenged me kindly and privately to study the situation, asked me questions like, ‘how do you know the oldest text is best? And that drove me to allocate a year of my life just to study this, to try and get a handle on it, I was especially helped along the way by Wilbur Pickering’s book ‘The identity of the New Testament texts’ in understanding the issue, and if you found a corrupt text that was produced to the book of Romans, the day after God inspired the book Romans, and we know that there were corrupt texts being produced immediately from statements by the early church leaders, if you found one of those texts today, it would be the oldest text anybody had, and it would be corrupt.”
In 2 Thessalonians Paul gave another warning saying:
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
The Pulpit Commentary describes the mention of a letter in Paul’s warning as: “Some letter, either forged in the apostle’s name or pretending to inculcate his views.”
Meanwhile 18th century scholar John Gill said Paul was warning of those who might be: “forging a letter and counterfeiting their hands, for such practices began to be used very early, spurious epistles of the Apostle Paul were carried about.”
F.H.A. Scrivener also refuted the idea that earlier manuscripts would necessarily be more reliable, he said: “The worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected originated within a hundred years after it was composed.”
In his book on: ‘The identity of the New Testament text’ dr. Wilbur Pickering wrote that: “Gaius, an orthodox father who wrote between A.D. 175 and 200 names Asclepiades, Theodotus, Hermophilus, and Apollonides as heretics who prepared corrupted copies of the Scripture and who had disciples who multiplied copies of their fabrications.”
Also in the second century was an early church father Irenaeus of Lyon, who warned about the corruptions of the Gnostics who were considered heretics. In his book: Against heresies, he wrote that: “Marcion and his followers have betaken themselves to mutilating the Scriptures, not acknowledging some books at all and, curtailing the Gospel according to Luke and the epistles of Paul which they have themselves thus shortened.
(Irenaeus, ‘Against Heresies,” c. 180 A.D.)
Defenders of the Traditional text believe that this Gnostic influence is most likely behind the shorter readings found in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.
They’ve dropped out a total of 2886 Greek words, just drop them right out and eliminate them because of the influence of the Alexandria Egypt Gnostics who wanted to change the text for doctrinal purposes. That’s a lot of verses, a lot of words that dropped out of a New Testament.
That’s as much as we’ve got in first and second Peter, so we’ve got first and second Peter taken out of the modern text.
But if a volume of text equal to first and second Peter was removed from the revision of Westcott and Hort, what are some of the omissions and why are they significant?
When you drop out words, if they are key words, doctrines are dropped as well and changed, that’s exactly what’s happened.
Dean john Burgon wrote that the: “Principal aim of heretical corrupters is to deny that Jesus Christ is co-equal God in the Godhead.”
Meanwhile George Sayles Bishop argued that the revision of Westcott and Hort: “Weakens and removes the divinity of Christ in many places.”
One of the most obvious omissions of their text is seen in Ephesians chapter 3, in the King James Bible we read:
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Yet in the Westcott and Hort text the words ‘by Jesus Christ’ are removed. It is an omission also found in most modern Bibles today. Another controversial reading is found in first Timothy 3:16, in the King James Bible we read:
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Yet the revision of Westcott and Hort changes the word ‘God’ and reads: “He who was manifested in the flesh”
As a result, most modern Bibles substitute the word ‘He’ in place of ‘God’.
Dr D.A. Waite: “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, Gnostics didn’t believe he was God, how could it be manifest in the flesh? so they take our the ‘theos’ put in ‘hos’ or ‘ho”, either ‘who’ or ‘which’ and over 300 times the manuscript evidence ‘theos’ God is there, in less than thirteen times you see ‘hos’ or ‘ho”, what is three hundred verses thirteen, but because of their twisted and warped manuscript evidence they throw out the documentation that is there.”
Perhaps the most deceptive aspect of Gnostic teaching is that it is based in the text of the Bible and it dramatically changes the meanings of words, adapting the scripture into its own mystical system. The word Gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis which means knowledge.
When the Apostle Paul warned Timothy to avoid ‘oppositions of science falsely so called’ the Greek word he used for science was, gnosis. As a result some believe Paul was warning on the early Gnostic deceptions.
1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
Paul also warned the church in Corinth saying:
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Early church fathers like Irenaeus believe that the Gnostics preached a completely different version of who Jesus was.
Many Gnostics held to a peculiar doctrine known as ‘adoptionism’. The term adoptionism is basically idea that God adopted Jesus, he took into union for a few years the Christ spirit, but it’s a heresy.
Movie Actor playing a Gnostic:
“We know things that the apostles did not know, it was not imparted to them, we have the secret knowledge, we can impart this knowledge to you.
The Gnostics generally believed that Jesus was just an ordinary man but that he himself was not the Christ. The Christ spirit, sometimes called the Christ principle, was something he only received once he was baptized by John the Baptist.
Movie Actor playing a Gnostic:
“The apostles told you that Jesus is the Christ, but they only had part of the story.”
To the Gnostics the Christ spirit was separate from Jesus himself, see the Gnostic heretics believed in a spirit Christology, the Gnostics did not believe that Jesus Christ was one person, and when the new versions use this gnostic manuscripts to divide Jesus from Christ, like one of the verses i did refer to in first John, that splits up the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what they believed, what the Gnostics believed, that’s why they changed these texts, that’s why they split Christ and Jesus, the Gnostics believed that Jesus was an ordinary human being like you and I are, and he had sinned and needed to be saved, he’s lost, Joseph was his father, God was not his father, No miracle virgin birth, and he’s just one person, the Christ principle came upon Jesus according to the Gnostic theories at his baptism, and left him at Calvary. So Jesus Christ is not one person to the Gnostics.
And this is the heresy that is given and warned about at the end of our Bible and yet there’s about 80 places where Jesus is either omitted or in some way separated from Christ or from a statement of deity in the modern critical text, and it goes back to these two old manuscripts which reflect this heresy.
One example of what dr. Moorman refers to is said to be found in first John chapter 4, from the King James Bible we read:
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Yet in the Westcott and Hort text the verse reads: “And every spirit which confesseth not Jesus …?… is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist.”
The word Christ is omitted the same is true in most every modern Bible. They are splitting up the the unity of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, come in the flesh, his incarnation, the Gnostics didn’t believe Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
At the end of your Bible beginning in 1 John chapter 2 verse 22 it says: Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?, and there are five warnings like that at the end of your Bible and I had read these for many years but couldn’t understand why the emphasis upon this and so there seems to be this dichotomy between Jesus and Christ, and then we began to realize that many times in the modern Bibles Jesus and Christ are separated.
1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
Of the many examples another is found in Matthew chapter 16 in verse 20, which in a King James Bible reads:
Matthew 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
But in the Westcott and Hort text it reads: “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was …?… the Christ.”
The name of Jesus is omitted.
Then in Acts chapter 16 verse 31 when Paul and Silas testified to the Philippian jailer, in the King James Bible they say:
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
But in the Westcott and Hort text it reads:
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus …?… , and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
The word Christ is removed.
Meanwhile in Matthew chapter 8 when Jesus confronts a demoniac, the demons cry out. In the King James Bible we read:
Matthew 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
But in the Westcott and Hort text it reads:
And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, …?… thou Son of God?
The name Jesus is removed.
These are just a few examples of changes made by Westcott and Hort. In his book on ‘Early Manuscripts, Church Fathers and the Authorized Version’ dr. Jack Moorman documented 86 examples were modern versions of the Bible disassociate the name Jesus from other titles and acts of deity.
Where the Authorized Version (KJV) would have the full title Jesus Christ, maybe it’s only Jesus by himself or Christ by himself.
Dr. Moorman believes that the character of these changes point toward the warnings given by early church fathers about the corruptions of the Gnostics and their doctrinal reasons for altering the biblical text.
The passage in John chapter 1 and verse 18 where it says:
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
It’s remarkable that these two manuscripts that show the heresy of adoptionism in some 80 places with the separation between Jesus and a statement of deity, also say in that portion, rather than: ‘the only begotten Son’, refer to Christ as ‘the only begotten God’ and that is Gnosticism.
Dr. Thomas Holland wrote that: “The Gnostics thought that Christ was a begotten god, created by God the Father, whom they called the unbegotten God.
Dean John Burgon believed that the text of John 1:18 had been depraved by an early Gnostic group known as the Valentinian’s.
F.H.A. Scrivener also questioned the reading, saying: “The heretic, Arius also upholds ‘God only begotten’ which circumstance does not help to reconcile us to a term that reverential minds instinctively shrink from.”
Arius was a renowned heretic from the 4th century who believed that Jesus as the Son of God did not share an equal divinity with God, but was a creature created by God the Father.
Yet Arius believed that it was right to worship Jesus as such believers would be worshipping a creature rather than the Creator himself, something clearly forbidden in Romans chapter 1 verse 25.
Hence Arianism was condemned as a heresy and seen as a form of idolatry. The phrase only begotten God is unknown anywhere else in the Bible, in contrast the Apostle John used the term: ‘only begotten Son’ four times in his writings. It would appear he was referencing Psalm chapter 2 and verse 7, which reads:
Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Dr. Thomas Holland argued that Arius along with other well-known heretics had been tainted with Gnosticism and hence cited John 1:18 as ‘only begotten God’, he said: “On the other hand, we find many of the Orthodox fathers who opposed Gnosticism quoting John 1:18 as only begotten Son.”
It is also worth noting that the New World Translation used by Jehovah Witnesses employs the phrase ‘only begotten god’ with a little g, which as dr. Holland points out is in line with their teaching that Christ is a created god. Their version of John chapter 1 reads: “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was a god.”
Hippolytus, an early church father describes certain Gnostics called the Naassenes, they claimed to receive secret wisdom from the serpent who ‘offered to them what he offered Eve in Genesis, the opportunity to be a god.’.
Gnosticism is said to be the blending of pagan philosophies with various Christian teachings. Many believe its influence continues in the world today, and can be found in a variety of groups including the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians and the entire New Age movement that teaches the same doctrine of the ancient heretics, that man does not need to be saved by God but rather needs only to become his own god.
Movie Actor playing a Gnostic:
“For you to know what the truth is, you must look within yourself.”
As shown earlier Irenaeus warned about the Gnostic corruptions of the biblical text, he said: ‘They do violence to the good words of Scripture in adapting them to their wicked fabrications.”
Certainly Gnosticism tears down every foundational doctrine of the Christian faith, the deity of Christ is gone, you don’t need Christ, Christ is not the Saviour, didn’t come to seek and save that which was lost, that’s why Matthew 18:11 is completely eliminated in the new Bibles.
It says: Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
The Gnostics didn’t believe the Son of man came to save anybody, he didn’t come for anybody, he was just a man, so the eliminate, Gnosticism takes away the person of Christ and it is antichrist, there’s no question about it, antichrist. Anybody that says everybody’s saved, anybody who says the Devil himself is saved, that’s Gnostic doctrine, that’s antichrist, it’s a gospel that is going to be proclaimed, it is a Gospel proclaimed by the modernist liberals today, all men are saved, universal salvation, universal fatherhood of God brotherhood of man, this is Gnosticism and it is antichrist that is in the new bible versions, because they don’t have the proper greek base text in the New Testament.
Nestle, Aland & Metzger
(Holy Bible, Revised Version)
This is an authentic copy of the ‘English Revised Version’ which was transmitted through our family, it is a translation of the Westcott Hort Greek text, it was a new Greek text that they then translated into this version called; ‘The English Revised Version’.
The New Testament was translated first as they gradually brought out the new Greek text to the committee of the southern province of the Anglican Church, then they translated the Old Testament. The Old Testament was completed in 1885 and therefore then this version was printed. It’s fascinating because this is not what they claimed it to be, they claimed it to be being the version set forth in A.D. 1611, it is not, it is an entirely new translation based on the new Greek text created by Westcott and Hort.
Dean John Burgon seems to have been the first to note that the revisers of 1881 created a new Greek text, but the process of revising that text was just the beginning. In 1898, a German textual critic named Eberhard Nestle published the first edition of a Greek New Testament called ‘Novum Testamentum Graece’.
Nestle combined the work of Westcott and Hort with that of Constantine von Tischendorf and added to it the work of renowned scholar Richard Weymouth, who authored the Weymouth New Testament.
After 1901 he replaced the work of Weymouth with that of Bernhard Weiss. The Nestle text was later published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1904, they adopted the newly developed Greek to replace the Textus Receptus.
The Nestle text would undergo 13 editions between 1904 and 1927, then in the 1950s another scholar named Kurt Aland began to revise the text, by 1963 the 25th edition was published with the name Nestle-Aland on the cover.
But like Westcott and Hort before him, Kurt Aland held two controversial ideas about the New Testament. Kurt Aland in two books that he’s written suggested that there would be a better chance of church unity if we perhaps would drop 2 Peter, Hebrews and Revelation from the canon. He’s got two books that indicate this.
Aland views of the New Testament were based in part on his belief that the Apostles did not actually write the Gospels and epistles that bear their names, he said that: “The authority of the New Testament had as its presupposition the fact that her apostles and eyewitnesses were speaking. As soon as critical scholarship proved that this or that New Testament writing could not have been written by an apostle, the authority of its author collapsed along with it, and with the authority of the author, the authority of the New Testament writing collapsed, and with the authority of the New Testament writing, collapsed the authority of the Church.”
Kurt Aland seemed to be describing the effect of modern textual criticism on the entire Western world that systematically turned away from Christianity in the wake of so many doubts created about the Bible.
As for Aland himself he even went so far as to question whether or not Jesus was a real person: “If the epistles were really written by the apostles whose names they bear, and by people who were closest to Jesus, then the real question arises, was there really a Jesus? Can Jesus really have lived if the writings of his closest companions are filled with so little of his reality, so little in them of the reality of the historical Jesus. When we observe this – assuming that the writings about which we are speaking really come from their alleged authors — it almost then appears as if Jesus were a mere phantom and that the real theological power lay not with him, but with the apostles and with the earthly church.”
The late dr. Henry Morris, the man known as the founder of the modern creation science movement, once wrote that both Nestle and Aland were German theological skeptics, yet these men were two of the most important caretakers of the Greek New Testament in the 20th century.
And that’s one of the facts of textual criticism, the great movers and shapers of the critical text from the very beginning were theological liberals.
Ecumenical dialogue was an important goal for Kurt Aland and his approach to the Bible, an ideology that would ultimately lead him to Rome.
Following in the footsteps of men like Philip Schaff and Constantine von Tischendorf, Kurt Aland took multiple visits to the Vatican meeting with Pope Paul the sixth and then later with Pope John Paul the second.
The connections with Rome and the Critical text had existed from the beginning, both Westcott and Hort defended Romanist ideas, and even Samuel P. Tregelles a prominent scholar who played a key role in defending the manuscripts used by the Revision committee, had been sent beforehand to the Vatican with letters of recommendation from Cardinal Wiseman in order to study the Codex Vaticanus.
It was Cardinal Wiseman who had launched the Oxford movement years earlier in order to bring England back to Rome.
Kurt Aland also worked with another ecumenical scholar, who was one of the leading textual critics of the 20th century dr. Bruce Manning Metzger.
Bruce Metzger some people say he was a conservative, fact he was the one that gave Griffith Thomas lectures at my seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, several years back. I wrote to the then president dr. Donald Campbell, that I went to school with, he was one year ahead of me in Dallas, I said ‘Donald, this man, why did you have that guy up there speaking into your seminary who was a liberal modernist?
He siad: Oh he’s alright, he’s this and he’s that”. Well Bruce Metzger also as you know is the editor of the ‘Reader’s Digest Bible’ that criticized and cracked down and shortened up and abbreviated the Scriptures, he said: Peter didn’t write Peter and John didn’t write Revelation, and all these books completely higher critical.
Bruce Metzger is editor of a number of prestigious books that are just gist’s, again, full of liberalism, bring the Bible down to nothing but mythology.
Metzger his most famous disciple is Bart Ehrman, the best-selling author whose books are dedicated to teaching others that the Bible is not really the word of God. It is interesting to note that Ehrman claims he began as an evangelical Christian, but some believe that once he was exposed to the textual theories of dr. Metzger his faith was eventually destroyed.
Dr. Jeffrey Khoo wrote that: “Metzger’s philosophy and methodology only lead to chronic uncertainty and perpetual unbelief.”
Metzger’s uncertainty began with Genesis which he believed contained myths rather than a literal account of the creation. In the introduction of his Reader’s Digest Bible we are told that the biblical authors were: “Great creative artists”, instead of prophets of old who were inspired by God.
Metzger was also the co-editor of ‘The New Oxford Annotated Bible’ which tells the reader that the books of Moses were derived: “… out of a matrix of myth, legend and history”, which appeared “… as early as the time of David and Solomon” but that only “… later in modified form became a part of Scripture.”
If this were true it would mean that Moses could not have written the books that bear his name, yet Metzger and the editors he worked with provide no proof of their assertions but merely speculate after the same manner as Baruch Spinoza and Jean Astruc.
Nevertheless Metzger’s influence is significant because he was one of the leading Bible critics of the 20th century. Mezger was a real strange character, he wasn’t a Bible believer but he has his prints all over the modern translations of the scripture because he worked on so many of them.
Bruce Metzger while he was alive was the leading American textual critic, he was the man that people went to to determine which reading, ‘when there were several readings available’ which reading of the particular verse in the Bible should be included in the United Bible Society or Nestle Aland text, he was on both committees.
Metzger was also a contributor to the Revised Standard Version, he also led the committee for the New Revised Standard Version which received the official approval of the Roman Catholic Church. This edition tells us it is an ecumenical Study Bible, Bruce Metzger presented a copy to pope John Paul II in a private audience, in 1993.
But working with catholics was not unfamiliar for him, Metzger worked with a Jesuit priest in Carlo Maria Martini on the Greek New Testament committee, and then again with another Jesuit named George McRae on the New Revised Standard Version committee.
Metzger had also taken an earlier trip to the Vatican to meet with Pope Paul the sixth, in 1973. On that occasion he and others presented a copy of the RSV Common Bible to the Pope. Metzger wrote that: “… the Pope accepted the copy as a significant step in furthering ecumenical relations among the churches.”
It was this common Bible the dr. Ian Paisley once referred to as: ‘The Bible of the Antichrist’ the title of a pamphlet he published in 1973.
And Metzger his interest was promoting ecumenism at least between Catholics, Protestants and Greek Orthodox. Well that was his total purposes, this is a stated purpose, he didn’t make any bones about that. He wanted a unified, if you would, interdenominational bible that everybody could use, that was his goal, even though he believed that Jonah was a folktale and he says that Isaiah was written by two or three different different people.
Mezger didn’t even believe that Paul wrote first and second timothy and Titus, so you have this guy translating the bible not really believing in the bible, not believing in the inspiration of the scriptures and his purpose is to get something acceptable to all the key denominations, Protestants, Baptists, Catholics and Orthodox.
Though Metzger was clearly given over to a skeptical view of the Bible he was highly regarded by otherwise conservative teachers of the gospel. After his death in 2007 one of his former students John Piper in a personal tribute to dr. Metzker said that: “In his prime there was no greater authority on New Testament textual criticism than dr. Metzker in the english-speaking world.”
We spoke with dr. James White, one of the leading defenders of the critical text, and author of the book the King James Only controversy, a work that was highly praised by Bruce Metzger in his lifetime. We asked about Metzger’s view of the writings of Moses wondering how he could be accepted by conservatives when he seemed to deny the foundation of the Bible itself.
What are your thoughts as Metzger’s often criticized about his view of the Old Testament that he apparently didn’t think Moses could have written Genesis, and Exodus and so on?
Dr. James White: “Well that’s like a view of 80% of all Old Testament scholars today, it is, it’s amazing so many of my, this is why we don’t necessarily engage these folks all that well, that’s why I’m glad I ended up going to Fuller Seminary so that I can point these things out. We are in the minority in biblical scholarship if we believe in mosaic authorship, I’ll defend it, we need to keep defending it but there was nothing unusual about that, in fact it would have been absolutely shocking had he had another view when he was at Princeton at that point in time. We unfortunately as conservatives gave the Old Testament field over to the Liberals for quite some time and we’re only just now starting to make some inroads and getting some of it back, and almost any commentary published within the past 50 years, that has any scholarly quote/unquote credentials to it at all it is going to minimally discuss alternative theories of authorship, and the vast majority are just going to begin with the assumption that if there was somebody named Moses, he may have had something to do with some of the core teachings of this document but that the vast majority was written long long long afterwards by all sorts of other people. So he was he was completely in line with the schools that he was at to hold those those positions.”
Dr. White makes it clear that he himself does not agree with Metzger’s view, but he is not necessarily compelled to reject the rest of his scholarship because of it.
dr. James White: “I fully disagree with it, I fully disagree with it but am I ready to say that therefore if someone is wrong in this area that they’re wrong in every other area? I can’t do that, not consistently, not logically.”
Yet the denial of Moses as the author of Genesis and the other four books that bear his name calls into question the entire foundation of the Bible and even the gospel itself. Throughout the scripture Moses is repeatedly referred to as the true author, in the Old Testament we read of the:
2 Chronicles 34:14 And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.
The Lord had said to Joshua before he went into battle:
Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
The Lord said:
Joshua 23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
Meanwhile in the New Testament Jesus himself said:
John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
And again he said:
Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
Jesus also said:
John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
John 5:47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
Jesus clearly confirmed that it was Moses who wrote the books that bear his name therefore if Moses were not the true author then Jesus could not be the infallible Savior, rather he becomes a misinformed storyteller repeating mere myths and legends.
If what Jesus taught about Moses was untrue how could anyone trust what he said about the Kingdom of Heaven ,or the warnings of Hell, or the promises of salvation, and life eternal for those who put faith in Him?
Charles Spurgeon once said: “We will not have it that God, in His Holy Book, makes mistakes about matters of history, or of science any more than He does upon the great truths of salvation. If the Lord be God, He must be infallible, and if he can be described as in error in the little respects of human history and science He cannot be trusted in the greater matters.”
As shown earlier the doubts about the authorship of Moses came not from Christian scholars but from unbelievers, yet does it matter to the church today whether or not a person actually believes the Bible in order to be accepted as a textual critic?
Textual critic Dr. James White: “If you’re saying, well you need to have a Christian worldview to accurately handle the the textual criticism of the Bible, that would be like saying that you need to have a Christian worldview to be a heart surgeon. Do you believe that, I’ve actually had cardiac ablation, I had a heart procedure for a super rapid heart rate because I’m an athlete, sometimes at our age we develop this thing and and I had what’s called cardiac ablation to try to control this super rapid heart rate above 255 beats per minute at times. Now I did not ask whether my surgeon had a Christian worldview but he was a extremely skilled cardiologist and surgeon.”
Dr. White’s argument is based on the idea that textual criticism is merely a science like mathematics or medicine therefore it does not matter if the information is handled by unbelievers. But as we have seen there is very little in the way of provable historic fact in the critical text theory, which as R.L. Dabney noted is based primarily on conjecture and speculation.
Nineteenth century scholar A.E. Housman whose works are often quoted by modern critics, admitted to the limitations of textual criticism and warned against those who give it too much credibility, he said: “Textual criticism is not a branch of mathematics, nor indeed an exact science at all. It deals with a matter not rigid and constant, like lines and numbers, but fluid and variable. It therefore is not susceptible of hard and fast rules. It would be much easier if it were that is why people try to pretend that it is, or at least behave as if they thought so.”
Because textual criticism is not an exact science, its opponents argue that it is unavoidably influenced by the personal beliefs of the critical scholar.
Dr. Wilbur Pickering, in his book on ‘The identity of the New Testament text’ commented on some of the speculative methods used in modern times, citing dr. Bruce Metzger he wrote: “Metzger said it is understandable that in some cases different scholars will come to different evaluations, Metzger’s ‘in some cases’ is decidedly an understatement. In fact, even the same scholars will vacillate, as demonstrated by the more than 500 changes introduced into the third edition of a Greek text produced by the United Bible Societies, as compared with the second edition, (the same committee of five editors prepared both). It thus appears that in the space of three years, with no significant accretion of new evidence, the same group of five scholars change their mind in over 500 places. It is hard to resist the suspicion that they were guessing.”
In light of dr. Pickering’s analysis, what sort of guessing or choices concerning the text of the Bible would be engineered by men who have an apostate view of the Christian faith?
It is a strange thing about error, error has a hypnotic effect, it goes against reason, it’s much like a theory of evolution or Marxism, how from a small beginning it spread everywhere and so this spread, and all of the blessing that come from the printing of the received text and the great Reformation Bibles of of Europe that must now be overturned, and now we’ve got this new Bible.
Prior to the revision of 1881 there were warnings about the spiritual condition of textual critics in Europe at the time. Years before the revision took place a renowned Baptist minister named J.C. Philpot was asked about whether or not a revision of the Bible was a good idea, in response he wrote the following: “Would it be desirable to have a new translation of the scriptures? We fully admit that there are here and there passages of which the translation might be improved but who are to undertake it? Into whose hands would the translation fall? What an opportunity for the enemies of Truth to give us a mutilated false Bible!”
Philpot clearly recognized that the enemies of the scripture were at work in the academic world and that they had flooded the field of textual criticism, he went on to say: “Of course, they must be learning men, great critics, scholars and divine’s. But these are notoriously either tainted with popery or infidelity. Where are the men, learned, yet sound in Truth not to say alive unto God who possess the necessary qualifications for so important a work? And can erroneous men, dead in trespasses and sins, carnal, worldly, ungodly persons spiritually translate a book, written by the Blessed Spirit? We have not the slightest ground for hope that they would be godly men such as we have reason to believe translated the Scriptures into our present version.”
Inspiration refers to the author,
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
That’s the original and yet God has promised to keep that intact, and he has, And we would look to translators, who like the preface to the readers, the Authorized Version translators (King James Bible 1611) sought him that hath the key of David, and they were humble men, and they were scholars, but they were spiritual men.
We have to look at the hand of God, but of course we know that yes inspiration refers only to the originals and yet God’s promised to preserve it, and he did indeed, he did indeed. And yet he preserves it through spiritual man.
We raised the issue with dr. James White, since the argument of those who defend the critical text is that the spiritual condition of a scholar or critic is somehow unimportant. Dr. White refused to acknowledge that sceptical footnotes offered by unbelievers are simply not the same as insightful footnotes given by men of faith.
Textual critic Dr. James White: “Why didn’t the people, who read the 1611, and read the hundreds of marginal notes that said, some manuscripts don’t contain this verse, Luke chapter 17, why did that not cause the same explosion?”
That’s my point, my point is: The Scriptures were being handled by God-fearing men of faith, men who,
Dr. James White: “The worldview was different, the worldview was different..
But I don’t think Westcott, Hort, Bruce Metzger, Kurt Aland, I don’t think they fit into that camp,
Dr. James White: “You can’t, even trying to put them in the same area like that is an invalid comparison, and there is almost, I don’t know almost anybody who has a clue what Kurt Aland’s views on theology were.”
As we have seen, the views of Kurt Aland where the text of the Bible are concerned were declared in his own writings, but is it a defensible argument to suggest that those who hold to a skeptical view of the Bible should be trusted to handle the word of God at any level?
One of the questions I ask when I’m talking about the people, I ask, number one: would you put a thief in charge of a bank? of course they say: of course not. Could you put a fox in charge of the chickens? No. Would you put an unbeliever in charge of your Bible?
The scripture says that:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
But if men do not believe that the words of scripture actually come from God then what could their faith be based on?
The Bible warns of those in the last days who would be,
King James Version 1611:
2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
In the Book of Ezekiel God reproved the children of Israel for allowing unbelievers into the temple of God, he said to them:
Ezekiel 44:7 In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.
Ezekiel 44:8 And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.
But the practice of working with unbelievers can be traced back to Westcott and Hort, they included on their committee a Unitarian minister named dr. Vance Smith, one who openly rejected the divinity of Christ. Dean Burgon wrote to the committee chairmen, saying: “You have knowingly associated yourself with one who has openly denied the Eternal Godhead of our Lord and the inspiration of the word.”
The whole controversy led to an uproar against having a Unitarian involved at Westminster Abbey, Burgon was supported by the protest of thousands of other ministers including Henry P Lidden a prominent theologian of the time.
In a letter to Dean Burgon he revealed that having an unbeliever handled the word of God was by no means an acceptable standard among reformed Protestants, he said: “But alas! what apology can be suggested for the Churchmen who invited a man who has spent his life in denying the Godhead of our Blessed Savior. When since the Reformation has the faith of our Church been more cruelly wounded? How can we ever approach [this translation] but as an object of legitimate, inevitable suspicion? How many passengers will at once occur in which we shall expect to trace the hand of heresy.”
Burgon called the inclusion of a Unitarian minister: “An insult to our Divine Master and a wrong to the Church [that the] pure word of God should have been thus handled.”
Dr. Ian Paisley when writing about the controversy of Westcott and Hort, said that: “So dishonest was their behavior, that Charles Wordsworth, Bishop of st. Andrews refused to sign his name to a testimonial of thanks to the chairman. Looking back on the translation, the Biship called it ‘a deplorable failure’”
When we’re talking about Westcott and Hort, they just weren’t staunch believers in the scriptures, they didn’t have a high view of Scripture, they didn’t believe the in the verbal plenary inspiration of the scriptures, you cannot have a corrupt root without having corrupt fruit.
The importance of receiving the New Testament as the word of God has been acknowledged since ancient times. The Apostle Paul wrote to the early church saying:
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Yet modern critical scholars do not handle the Bible necessarily as if it were the word of God but often think the Bible should be treated as any other historic or religious book such as the Koran.
Textual critic dr. White: “The Quran and New Testament are both ancient documents that were transmitted to us and have a textual history and you have to use the same standard and the analysis the one that you use in the analysis of the other”
Dr. White’s comment is again based on the idea that recovering the history of the Bible is like mathematics, something that can be done in a purely scientific manner without the requirement of faith or spiritual guidance from God.
Textual critic dr. White: “Yes I am saying that a non-Christian could understand the history of the Bible, of course, if I say otherwise I have to become a Gnostic, then I have to say that there’s some kind of of spiritual knowledge, and what that does is that removes the Bible from the realm of history.”
Yet the question remains which history of the Bible should be embraced, the history that was understood by the Reformers and men like dr. Scrivener and Dean Burgon, or the speculative history based on the theory of Westcott and Hort?
Those who oppose the origins of the critical text argue that the faith of Christ was ‘delivered unto the saints’ and not the scholars and critics, therefore it should be saints who handled the word of God. The scripture says:
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, saying:
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
Jesuits, Gnostics & The Papyri
Joining Kurt Aland and Bruce Metzger in their work was a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest named Carlo Maria Martini. Carlo Maria Martini was definitely a scholar and he was most definitely a Jesuit from childhood, he was the perfect man for the pope to suggest to work with the Protestants in those joint Greek projects, the creation of a Greek text.
The Vatican website tells us that Martini was the only Catholic member of the ecumenical committee that prepared the new Greek edition of the New Testament. The UBS, United Bible societies first edition Greek text had come out about 1965-66 right there and when it came out immediately after that Carlo Maria Martini was called to join with them with the purpose of creating a Greek text that Catholics could also work with, number one, and they’d also feel comfortable resetting up a Latin Vulgate to match, so that if you look at their new or new or Nova Vulgata, New Latin Vulgate and the United Bible Societies third edition Greek text, they’re virtually the same.
Martini’s involvement was apparently intended to end the conflict between the Greek and Latin texts that can be dated back to the time of Erasmus who published his New Testament in both Greek and Latin as we learned at Erasmus house in Brussels: “Two different texts, one is the version of the Greek text and at the right the column with the Latin text, it was revolutionary for this time, because the men of this time could compare the original and the translation of Erasmus, and that modified the system of the religious thinking of this time.
The modified religious thinking that the Erasmus text inspired would become the great Reformation of the sixteenth century, which led to a divide between Catholics and Protestants that spanned some three hundred years, during which conflicts were often resolved through war and Inquisition. But by the 19th century things began to change as Protestant scholars adopted the Vatican’s Greek Bible the Codex Vaticanus.
It might be said that the modern ecumenical movement began with the influence of professing evangelicals scholars such as Constantine von Tischendorf. There’s no question about his connections with the Catholic Church and it’s interesting as you go on and you focus on what’s happened in the last century, it is amazing the ties between Roman Catholicism and the ties between particularly the Jesuits and the evangelicals (those called evangelical) who change and impact evangelical world.
Many researchers believe that the Ecumenical movement to join Evangelicals with Rome is a modern manifestation of the Jesuits Counter Reformation. I think the modern ecumenical movement is a child of Rome and I believe that the idea is to bring back nigh peaceably rather than by force, massacre and war, to bring Protestantism back peaceably to the foot of the papacy, so think on the modern ecumenical movement, majors on education, propaganda and those kinds of things, church unions, unity conferences and many books, pamphlets and magazines and conferences all meeting, to promote ecumenical unity. I think that’s where the counter-Reformation works today.
In the 20th century the Jesuit Carlo Martini would become one of the most influential figures in biblical scholarship and in the cause of Ecumenism because of his work on the Greek New Testament. Over 1966 until 2002 Martini was a member of the United Bible Society, one of the five people in the world to determine the Greek text, what a powerful position, as a result of that he was elevated to cardinal, he was given special honors.
Like Westcott, Hort, Aland and Metzger, Martini was known for his liberal theology, he was even referred to as the pope of liberal Catholics, and until he died even though he was way off liberal for Catholic theology he was very useful for pulling people together in this one area, this ecumenical Bible.
But Martini was just one of a number of influential Jesuits in the history of the critical text, the first was Cardinal Angelo Mai in the nineteenth century who worked on the Codex Vaticanus. It was Cardinal Mai who met with Constantine von Tischendorf at the Vatican right before Tischendorf left for st. Catherine’s Monastery to discover the codex Sinaiticus.
But in the 20th century another Jesuit priest would play a key role in the next phase of critical text history. In the 1950s a prominent Swiss collector named Martin Bodmer purchased a series of Egyptian manuscripts that would become known as the Bodmer Papyri, this was but one of a series of discoveries that involved recovering ancient biblical texts from the sands of Egypt.
Because the papyri match some of the readings of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus some believe that they confirm the theory of Westcott and Hort and hence refute the objections of men like Dean Burgon.
Textual Critic Dr. James White: “My concern is any use of Burgon as having relevance today outside of a historical application to analyzing the balance of Westcott and Hort. What I mean by that is this: Burgon existed and wrote before the papyri, if you consistently apply the things that Burgon himself wrote, had he had the papyri he would have been forced to make different conclusions..”
But is this the case? Would Dean Burgon have abandoned or changed his theory if he had lived to see the papyri?
As shown before Dean Burgon’s theory was that the strange readings found in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were likely the result of Gnostic corruptions from the early centuries. But is there evidence that the papyri are of Gnostic origin and could this be the reason why they confirm certain readings in the critical texts?
Textual Critic Dr. James White: “Sinaiticus and Vaticanus demonstrate the primitive existence of a text that goes before them to the papyri.”
Now where do the papyri come from?
Textual Critic Dr. James White: “Many places, many places, papyri tend to be small fragments, for example p52 the earliest papyri fragment we have right now, we have no idea what its provenance is as far as to where specifically it came from, it was discovered amongst a bunch of papyri that were brought to England from Egypt so almost anywhere in Egypt, we simply don’t know, so the Bodmer Papyri, the Chester Beatty Papyri, many within that collection have different origins and sources because so many of them are fragmentary.”
The Egyptian papyri that pertained to the New Testament generally fall into three categories, the first was unearthed by two explorers named Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt. Grenfell and Hunt discovered a whole collection of papyri that were buried in an ancient rubbish dump near Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, the collection is called the Oxyrhynchus Papyri some of which supports the critical texts.
For example among the many fragments was found Uncial 0162, which is said to be very close to the readings of codex Vaticanus, yet this is only one example among the various collections of papyri.
Textual Critic Dr. James White: “The readings that they share in common are not radically changed readings from even the Byzantine texts or anything like that but the readings that they share in common demonstrate that there is a direct connection between the exemplars that was used for Sinaiticus and for Vaticanus and the period of the papyri themselves, that is the key historical issue, that’s where the connection is.”
Yet among the Oxyrhynchus remains were also found fragments of other Gospels including the ‘Gospel of Thomas’ the ‘Gospel of Mary’ and the ‘Gospel of Peter’, all three of Gnostic origin.
There’s tons of Gnostic manuscripts where they just rewrite the Bible and change it to what they want to say so the Devil was busy very early corrupting the words of God.
The next collection of papyrus are known as the Chester Beatty Papyri, named after their wealthy benefactor sir Alfred Chester Beatty, in 1931 it was published but certain manuscripts were discovered stowed away in jars and dug up from a Coptic graveyard in Egypt. The specific details of their origin remained a mystery because they were obtained through the black market, later in the 1950s, Chester Beatty would acquire additional papyri that are said to be directly related to those of Martin Bodmer, the reason is because they were taken from the same source.
Both men work for the same antiquities dealer in Egypt, a man named Phocion J. Tano who would become the permanent agent of Bodmer and Chester Beatty. But Tano did not work alone, author James M. Robinson in his groundbreaking book on the story of the Bodmer Papyri, explains how Tano worked alongside a Jesuit priest named father Louis Doutraleau.
We read that “father Louis Doutraleau, S.J. for the (Society of Jesus) worked in Cairo in the 1950s, during which time he served as a link between Tano and the bibliothec Bodmar.”
According to Robinson’s account, Tano acquired the manuscripts and Papyri while the role of Doutraleau was in ‘giving an assessment of what Tano had to offer Bodmer for sale.’
In his writings Doutraleau revealed that the papyri had come from the Nag Hammadi region in Egypt. In the same region another collection of manuscripts had been discovered a decade earlier. In 1945 was uncovered ‘The Nag Hammadi Library’ which was a collection of Gnostic writings containing over 50 Gnostic gospels and texts including the gospel of Thomas and incredibly another work titled ‘The Gospel of Truth’.
The so-called ‘Gospel of truth’ was specifically mentioned by Irenaeus in the second century who claimed it had been created by the followers of a Gnostic teacher named Valentinus along with other false Gospels, Irenaeus wrote: “They entitled their recent composition ‘the Gospel of Truth’ though it agrees in nothing with the Gospels of the apostles, and so no Gospel of theirs is free from blasphemy.”
Yet according to Doutraleau it was not far from this Gnostic library that the Bodmer Papyri were discovered in 1952, he wrote that: “Tano spoke of two discoveries at Nag Hammadi, one in a buried jar, this is the Gnostic manuscripts, the other in a grotto quite close to their what has become the bulk of the Bodmer collection.”
Doutraleau himself referred to the two discoveries as Nag Hammadi 1, (The Gnostic manuscripts) and Nag Hammadi 2 (The Bodmer Papyri).
Nearly all the biblical Papyri come from Egypt and are generally said to be of the Alexandrian text type which matches the classification given to both codex Vaticanus and the codex Sinaiticus. The name Alexandria is a reference to the ancient port city of Alexandria, Egypt. Founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.
It became one of the most important cities in the ancient world and in the early centuries was the epicenter of Gnostic teaching.
According to a Coptic Orthodox website: “The most important center of Gnosticism was Alexandria, it was in Alexandria that the greatest doctors of Gnosticism, Basilides, Carpocrates, and Valentinus flourished, Athenasius frequently refers to them as well as to Marcion, warning of their danger to Christian doctrine.”
It’s always been stated that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus have their origin in Alexandria Egypt, Bruce metzger in one of his books outlines the terrific corruption that came out of Alexandria that came out of Egypt and in one of his books he really belabors the point, he mentions all of the heretical cults and sects that came out of that area.
The history of Gnosticism in Alexandria and its association with the Egyptian papyri is significant because key portions of these collections are said to support the readings of the critical texts.
Perhaps most significant is Bodmer papyrus 75 also known as P-75 which is said to be in great agreement with a codex Vaticanus.
Textual Critic Dr. James White: “Lots of studies have been done of the relationship of P-75 with codex Vaticanus and it’s been demonstrated that while they are genealogically related, Vaticanus is not a copy of P-75 and both of them are going back to an earlier copy before them that descended down to them.”
Yet dr. White’s description seems to confirm the view of men like Dean Burgon. Burgon argued that there were different Gnostic groups that each held to their own peculiar doctrines, and that they altered the books of the New Testament based upon their own individual ideas resulting in inconsistent patterns of corruption.
Burgon wrote that; “Besides Marcian’s lacerated text of Saint Luke’s Gospel, there was an Ebionite recension of saint Matthew. Also there was a Cerinthian exhibition of st. Mark and a Valentinian perversion of Saint John. These professors of Gnosticism held no consistent theory. The proneness of these early Heretics severally to adopt one of the four Gospels for their own, and explains why there is no consistency observable in the corruptions they introduced into the text.”
The Egyptian papyri are often said to be of mixed text types meaning that they do not follow any consistent pattern. In this regard they seem to match the character of codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus that are said to disagree in some 3000 places in the New Testament alone.
If Dean Burgon had lived to see the papyri would he have changed his view as dr. White suggests, or would the papyri only provide confirmation that the peculiar readings of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and the Critical Text are in fact the result of Gnostic heresies.
Yes Burgon was right, as soon as the living Word was taken to heaven, Satan turned all of his wrath upon the written word, there was a battle, there was a battle but there was a winner, and when you look at all of the evidence and see that from the very beginning there was an attack upon the doctrinal heart of Scripture, and in the papyri they just about succeeded in pulling it out.
The view of scholars who defend the traditional Greek text is that the battle from the early centuries over the New Testament was ultimately won by the saints who believed the true faith of Christ and who separated the pure words of God from the Gnostic influence.
This is what Dean Burgon meant when he referred to the ‘fabricated readings which the Church has long since rejected with abhorrence’.
Dr. Wilbur Pickering documents a study that involved comparing some of the key papyri with a leading critical tax codices and showed ‘a range of variation in excess of 30%. As a result the new Greek Testament is typically called an ‘Eclectic Text’.
Well the only reason why they have to say is because for so much disagreement, and frequently codex Vaticanus and codex Sinaiticus disagree with each other and then some of their favored papyri disagree, so because of this disagreement rather than go to the traditional text which has this harmony which is unified which has just enough slight difference to let you know that the thousands of manuscripts that support it are independent productions, not literal copies of each other, but rather than go to that now they’ve got 7% of the manuscripts radically disagreeing with each other but frequently United in their opposition to the received traditional text manuscripts.
The contrast is sometimes presented in the following way: There are more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts that support the readings of the received text. These are said to be in agreement more than 99% of the time, on the other side are some 45 critical texts manuscripts largely from Egypt that disagree approximately 30% of the time.
There is the pure line, and the corrupt line and the corrupt line is made up of all different kind of corruptions and the corruptions don’t agree with each other.
It might be argued that the inclusion of this corrupt line of manuscripts along with the Westcott and Hort theory is what leads people to believe that the Bible has been rewritten so many times that no one truly knows what it says.
The reason is because as new papyri are discovered modern textual critics have continually made changes based on whatever new theory emerges, resulting in some 28 editions of a Nestle Aland Greek text.
As dr. Pickering tells us: “Hence, no part of the Text is safe, a new papyrus may come to light tomorrow with new variants to challenge the unanimous witness of the rest.”
The theory of dr. Hort, preferring minority readings over those of the majority text has been a continual source of conflict and debate. 19th century Scottish Minister William Garden Blaikie defined his opposition to the Westcott and Hort theory, he said: “What we contend for is not the printed text of the 16th century but the text received by the whole of Christendom after the churches rested from persecution, when there was time to exchange thought and knowledge, and the men were not forced to conceal the sacred books. The text which has the widest, the most authoritative, and the most varied attestation is what we asked for. That this happens to be also the dominant texts of 4th century A.D. and that it is identical to a very considerable extent with the Textus Receptus, dr. Hort himself asserts.”
Blaikie went on to confront the illogical nature of Hort’s argument in that it rejected the great majority of all biblical manuscripts he commented that: “ ‘in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.’, according to Solomon. In the multitude of witnesses, there is falsehood according to dr. Hort.”
The One World Bible
The Jesuit Louis Doutraleau was not only involved in the discovery of the Bodmer Papyri but was an active member of a group in France known as ‘Sources Chretiennes’, or ‘Christian Sources’, the group was co-founded by two other Jesuits named Henri Lubac and Jean Daniélou. Both men would become renowned for their involvement in Vatican Council 2 in the 1960s.
Video clip of Vatican Council 2:
The historic ecumenical council Vatican 2 comes to a close amid colorful pomp and pageantry, considered one of the most important councils in Catholic Church history Vatican 2 saw 2400 bishops and other pelops revised many aspects of church activity.
Vatican 2 is also known as the ‘Ecumenical council’ and dramatically altered the view of the Catholic Church towards other beliefs including Protestantism.
Vatican 2 was the first time the Roman Catholic Church openly changed their strategy, they presented themselves as we’re all brothers in Christ, yeah we have some differences but we can iron them out, so they changed their entire strategy from persecutor to separated brother.
Vatican 2 specifically addressed the issue of Bible translations involving Catholics and Protestants something promoted by the Jesuit Order.
Well they obviously had a huge part in Vatican 2, it was a Jesuit who actually wrote the section that said, ‘we will work with the separated brethren on Bible translation’, that was actually written by Jesuit.
The work in question was called ‘Dei Verbum’ Latin for ‘the word of God’. This section of Vatican 2 came under the influence of a Jesuit Cardinal named Augustin Bea, Cardinal Bea then employed the writings of another Jesuit named Walter Abbott.
The Jesuit Walter Abbott was an editor for America magazine, a Jesuit magazine produced in the United States, in 1959 he wrote a simple little article called ‘The Bible as a bond’ something to bond Protestants and Catholics together. The idea was that we could all get along in joint Bible translation projects and in joint projects to create the Greek and Hebrew text.
A number of Protestants were also in attendance at Vatican Council 2, one of them was David du Plessis, the man known as mr. Pentecost. According to his own testimony du Plessis had been sent there by one of the most important figures in the modern history of the Bible, William Cameron Townsend the founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, also known as ‘Uncle Cam’.
Townsend was dedicated to translating Bibles into the remote languages of people around the world by his own admission to accomplish his aim he employed ecumenical methods.
In his biography ‘Uncle Cam’ he has quoted saying: “Since we are non sectarian and non ecclesiastical, we get help from Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and even a atheists.”
Working on an old abandoned farm in Arkansas, Townsend also founded another group known as the ‘Summer Institute of Linguistics’ or ‘SIL’.
David W. Daniels:
“Anybody who wants to become a Bible translator with Wycliffe ( wycliffe.nl ook in Nederland) or with SIL or with any Bible translation agency has to go through SIL everybody in the world is pretty much funneled into the Summer Institute of Linguistics, that’s where you get the principles by which you’re supposed to learn Bible translation, go into a culture, listen to it, hear the way the language is presented, create a writing system, a sound system first, then learn the rules of the language, create a writing system because they’re preliterate, teach it back to them then in that process create a Bible for them and then teach it back to them and teach them to read their own language. So SIL is this means to do this.
Author David W. Daniels is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, years ago he along with wife Debbie sought out training through SIL.
David W. Daniels: I went there for three summers, everybody goes there for three summers. In our first summer at SIL both Debbie and I split off into different directions on weekends, one Saturday I went up into the mountains with one of our professors, he’d been a missionary Bible translator for many years, when we got up on the mountain I listened to what he said and as I was listening a thought came to mind to ask him and I said, basically I said:
Do you believe the story about Noah, the Great Flood, and all that? And he looked and he said; ‘No David but look, when you go to raise your missionary support they have all these statements of faith for you to sign, it doesn’t matter what you believe, just sign them, when you get on the mission field you can do whatever you want.’
I just spent that morning looking at the beautiful creation and thinking, wow I want to honor God and thank him always like it says in Romans chapter one and I was so excited about the day, I really wanted to hear something different from him than that, what it taught me was a number of really important things.
Number 1.: This guy had no problem lying to churches, raising missionary support 2. He didn’t believe the Bible he was translating. 3. He raised a family on the mission field. 4. Does this mean that he intended me, not to believe the Bible, to sign a statement of faith saying I did, to go on the field, to learn a language, to create a writing system form, translate a Bible I didn’t believe for them and to do this on a clean conscience? How did this guy become an SIL translator? What is going on that a non-believer is a translator? And it started to make me wonder, who else is not a believer who’s who is an SIL translator? What am I going to find on the mission field and what do they expect me to do?”
One of the most important members of SIL who worked with Cameron Townsend was Eugene Albert Nida who would dramatically alter the methods of Bible translation and greatly further ecumenical relations with Rome.
This goes back again, Eugene Nida meeting as early as 1954 with representatives of the Catholic Church, talking about building bridges so that you can do translation work together, several official meetings along the way, the pope and the Vatican and the Cardinals endorsing the idea in Vatican 2, saying it’s alright to work with the separated brethren ‘we weren’t even called heretics in that point’, we’re just separated brethren, you can work with the separated brethren to produce Bible translations, and again, the champion of this, they were so excited with his approach to this they asked Eugene Nida to come to the Jesuit school in Rome and teach Bible translation.
Eugene Nida was the most significant man for Bible translation in the twentieth century. He was that guy that created the so-called science of Bible translating in which they thought that they were bypassing all the groups, the translators themselves were told, well this isn’t denominational it’s not even Catholic, anybody can use this Bible because it’s just the word of God translated scientifically.
Nida worked for years with SIL and Wycliffe Bible , but in 1953 there was a parting of the ways during a time of conflict within the organization over the subject of the inerrancy of scripture, some believe it was this issue that brought about Nida’s resignation.
Dr. David Brown:
“I believe one of the reasons that he left Wyicliffe and Summer Institute of linguistics though he’s still continued on working with them but he left his position was that he couldn’t sign the doctrinal statement, this is my personal believe, that he couldn’t sign the doctrinal statement, he got uncomfortable because when he first started the people who are in the leadership didn’t have to sign the doctrinal statement that said you believe that the scripture was the word of God in the original writings.”
But in 1953 the same year Nida resigned all members were required to sign the statement, the issue created what can only be called a complex controversy at Wycliffe and SIL. In 1955, Cameron “Townsend complained that he wished the ‘theory of inspiration’ had never arisen in the first place.”
Despite these conflicts the work of Eugene Nida was just beginning. what happened was as he left there and with the recommendation of some people from Wycliffe he goes to the American Bible Society and starts being their chief of translators, so they send him to places, and what does he do?He tell the translators, you got to quit translating literally.
Based on his theories about language Nida engineered a new system for developing modern Bibles. Eugene Nida was the champion of what became known as ‘dynamic equivalency’, and this is a method of translation, a new method of translation that’s based on a new doctrine. Prior to Nida people at least gave lip service to the idea that God had inspired the words and so when you’re translating from one language to another your job is to take the words that God gave in Greek and Hebrew and turn them into that language, the equivalent of those words in the next language, but Nida was a big backer of the idea of ‘concept inspiration’, that God didn’t inspire words, he inspired ideas. So Nida taught that instead of translating the words we need to figure the ideas behind the words, translate those ideas into the words in that language.
Nida argued that those whose tendency was to translate the Bible word for word were guilty of ‘worshipping words more than worshiping God’. He said: “I decided that we’ve got to approach the scripture as though it is the message and try to give its meaning not just to repeat the words.”
So they say: ‘We’re just taking the meaning’, well you’re taking your interpretation of the meaning. Real Bible translation translates the words God gave and then you and I have to figure out how to interpret them and we may have differences as we come to that, but the words are the authority. Now the idea’s, well who decides what the ideas behind those words were?
Nida had gotten influenced by a doctrine called ‘Neo Orthodoxy’ a funny-sounding word but what it really means is that the scriptures are not inspired, the scriptures inspire the reader, as he said it one way of summarizing it is: ‘the Scriptures are inspired because they inspire me’ so what he believed some time in his college years, I mean I don’t know exactly where it happened but he started to believe that if you could invoke the same feeling in a reader of a different culture of what he alleges that the original Bible reader felt that that’s inspiration.
Nida his teachings also had a profound impact on another man named Kenneth L. Pike who would become the president of SIL and a leading international figure in linguistics.
Kenneth Pike was a strong Bible believer at one point way, way back in 1936-37 he himself believed that Nida had gone the wrong direction, Ken Pike wrote to his superiors these words: ‘the territory of the Devil staked a claim and has left a boy in bondage’ but after that Nida pulled Ken Pike into this whole concept of linguistics and science and all that and by the time he got his doctorate, he became a thoroughgoing believer in bible-doubting to the point that as he saw the development of Eugene Nida over the years, he wrote: “Nida has made the one greatest contribution to Bible translation of recent times”, and then he said: “He has taken over literal word-for-word translation and smashed it.”
After his death in 2011, Christianity Today declared that: “Eugene Nida’s influence can be found in most Christian homes, more specifically in their Bibles, his dynamic equivalence approach is used by many modern versions.”
In addition to convincing translators to abandon word-for-word translation Nida along with Cameron Townsend also played an important role in advancing ecumenical relations with Rome in accordance with the ideas of Vatican 2. Video of Vatican Council 2:
“Along with Catholic prelates there are a hundred observers from other faiths”
It was Nida who helped to organize the committee of scholars that put together the ‘United Bible Societies Greek New Testament’ in a rare photo Nida is pictured here beside the Jesuit Carlo Martini. It was Martini who invited Nida to teach his methods at a Jesuit university in Rome.
Eugene Nida was invited, starting in 1971, every year to come for a number of weeks to teach a whole class in translation to Jesuits. He is invited to be the adjunct professor at the Jesuit Pontifical Bible Institute in Rome, the same man training the Protestant translators goes to the Pontifical Institute of the Jesuits and trains the students there in translation.
One day Nida himself relates in his autobiography, he was approached by a Jesuit at the Pontifical biblical Institute and said: “You are doing the most important thing to happen since the Reformation” That should have raised a red flag… if a Jesuit comes to you and says, you’ve done the most important thing since the Reformation the thing you should really ask yourself is: “What have I done wrong!”.
The Nida Institute for biblical scholarship continues today through the American Bible Society, a representative from Nida’s Institute also teaches every year at the Jesuit University in Rome but those concerned about the ecumenical methods of Bible translating question the results since the process involves making sure others are not offended by the translation.
Now what do you have to do to a Bible to get everybody to approve of it? An example of ecumenical compromise is the Revised Standard Version of 1952, the Old Testament committee included an unbelieving Jewish scholar Harry M. Orlinsky whose involvement caused an uproar over the Book of Isaiah.
So when you come to Isaiah 7:14 when it talks about a virgin shall be with child, and Matthew the apostle under inspiration of the Holy Ghost translates it straightforward as virgin, well this Jewish translator doesn’t want it to say ‘virgin’ so it just says ‘young woman’ that was the beginning. What was amazing as Ken Pike who is the head of SIL at the time said: “this is wonderful, that he had seen, these liberal translators did a much better job of translating than conservative translators he’d known.”
The ecumenical movement that began with Vatican Council 2 has spread throughout the world and is often driven by unification efforts surrounding the Bible, even the museum dedicated to the memory of William Tyndale in Brussels now offers an ecumenical Bible.
Yes this is a the ‘Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling’ NBV that is used also by the Catholics, they worked together and is produced by the ‘Nederlands bijbelgenootschap’ in Holland. The United Bible Society? Yes, The United for Bible Society. And did the Catholics and the Protestants work together on this? Yes, yes certainly.
Now the Vatican has been because of Eugene Nida in an official agreement with the United Bible Societies since 1967, is that true? Yes, and it started before then, unofficially, but there was an official agreement from that point on, and by 1979 the official Greek text of the Roman Catholic Church was the United Bible societies text, which meant that you had a one-world Greek text, except for a handful of us you know that aren’t signed into the program, but they would present it as the one-world Greek text that everybody agrees upon, so Roman Catholics, the United Bible Society, the American Bible Society, almost every National Bible Society around the world agrees on the same Greek text, the same Hebrew text for translation, so from 1979 on we’ve had a a one world Bible officially approved by the Roman Catholic Church and the a pope in Greek and Hebrew. And so the new translations that stem from that are going to have great consistency regardless of what language they’re in, so I know folks are talking about: ‘boy we’re heading towards a one world bible’ we’re not heading towards one, we’ve had one since 1979.
Some believe the concept of a one-world Bible is part of the Jesuits plan to eventually unite mankind under a single world religion.
See the Jesuits kept on doing one more thing to get the Catholic side open to the Protestants and they always put the most intellectual, the most affable people in those positions, their winsome, you want to be around them, you wouldn’t mind sharing a dinner and hanging with them, that’s the kind of person that the Jesuit is.
The Jesuits were the cement and the grease and whatever else it took including the dirty tricks to make one world Bible for one world religion.
Perhaps the most dramatic episode of the new Bible movement has been the testimony of dr. Frank Logsdon a former pastor of the Moody church in Chicago in the 1950s. Logsdon influenced the development of the New American Standard Bible, he had advised his friend Dewey Lockman in pursuing the translation but came to regret it later on.
His testimony was recorded prior to his death in 1987, Logsdon said: “He started on a feasibility report and I encouraged him to go ahead with it. I’m afraid I’m in trouble with the Lord. I encouraged him to go ahead with it. We laid the groundwork, I wrote the format, I helped to interview some of the translators, I sat with the translators, I wrote the preface, when you see the New American Standard, they’re my words. Well, when I got my copy, I never really looked at it, I just took it for granted it was done as we started it, you know, until some of my friends across the country began to learn that I had some part in it and they started saying, What about this? What about this? What about this? you had part in it, what what about this, what about this? I got to the place, I said to Anne, I’m in trouble, I can’t refute these arguments, it’s wrong, it’s terribly wrong, it is frightfully wrong. And what am I gonna do about it? Well, I went through heart search, some real soul searching for about four months, I don’t know, I think about four months, and I sat down and wrote the most difficult letter of my life I think. And I wrote to my friend Dewey, and I said Dewey: I can no longer ignore these criticisms I’m hearing. And I can’t refute them. The only thing I can do, and dear brother, I haven’t a thing against you, and I can witness at the Judgement Seat of Christ and before men wherever I go, that you were a hundred present sincere, he’s not schooled in language or anything, he’s just a business man. He did the promoting, he had the money – he did the promoting. So I said he did it conscientiously – he wanted it absolutely right – he thought it was right. Bet nevertheless, I said I must under God, renounce every attachment to the New American Standard.”
Logsdon believed that the translation itself had been done earnestly but that the real problem was with the underlying Greek text that could be traced to Westcott and Hort.
Logsdon: “Well, up till that time, I thought the Westcott and Hort was the text, you were, you were intelligent if you believed in the Westcott and Hort. Some of the finest people in the world believe in it, in that Greek text. They’re the finest leaders we have today, you’d be surprised, if i told you, you wouldn’t believe it. They haven’t gone into it, just as i hadn’t gone into it, just taking for granted.”
Yet Logsdon learned of the secrecy practice by Westcott and Hort and their duplicity in replacing the received text with a text of their own.
Logsdon: “And, they pledged, had those men pledge themselves to secrecy that they wouldn’t tell anybody about the text they were using until after the book was out. Afraid, I guess, that the would be curbed, that the king of England, or somebody would prevent them. Twice British royalty refused to have anything to do with the 1881 revision. But of any rate, it was deception you see to begin with. Their own text hadn’t even been published yet. Hadn’t stood the scrutiny of the public. So the 1881 was built upon.”
Logsdon went on to express his confidence in the scholarship and faith of the translators behind the Authorized Version (KJV). Logsdon: “There are places where I believe the Spirit of God led the translators of the Authorized Version – you read their biographies! They were mighty men of God – spend as much as five hours a day in prayer. And some of them new twenty-some languages. And it before modernism filled the air, and it was before people their attention was diverted by so many other things, television, and so on. They were men of God.”
Perhaps most disturbing Logsden believe that the members of the Jesuit Order had been working to undermine the received text from the beginning, he even went so far as to state that this was one of the primary reasons the company had been founded by Ignatius Loyola.
Logsdon: “Do you know why, one of the main reasons why the Jesuits came into being under Ignatius Loyola? Their main project was to supplant the Erasmus text, get it out of the way somehow – just undermine it. They said, in order to supplant the Erasmus text we’ll put our men in Protestant seminaries, Protestant Bible schools, we’ll get them in teaching positions in seminaries, we’ll get them in pulpits of churches and I’m sure there’s some in pulpits of churches. To do what? The whole aim around the world is to destroy the Erasmus text, and this of course came the Authorized Version (KJV), came from the Erasmus text.”
In centuries past the Saints battled against the treachery and bloodshed of Rome and her counter-Reformation, but at the heart of the conflict was an assault on the Bible as the inerrant word of God.
Some believe the attack was manifest in the work of Westcott and Hort, yet in modern times there are conservative teachers who defend the critical theory and still profess to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture.
Textual Critic Dr. James White: “The quote on quote modern critical theory which I hold to, I hold to as an inerrantist.”
Yet with all the contradictions in the critical text, is such a view consistent?, or does it lead to an indefensible conclusion.
Dr. Daniel B Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary is sometimes called a modern-day Tischendorf and is considered one of the leading conservative defenders of the New Testament. Yet in an article titled ‘Fifteen Myths about Bible Translation’ dr. Wallace states that it is a myth that the Bible records the exact words of Jesus Christ. He says: “Scholars are not sure of the exact words of Jesus. Ancient historians were concerned to get the gist of what someone said but not necessarily the exact wording. In truth, though red-letter editions of the Bible may give comfort to believers that they have the very words of Jesus in every instance this is a false comfort.”
If dr. Wallace is correct and the New Testament does not contain the exact words of Jesus then how can Christians defend the specific teachings of Christ? Jesus said:
John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
But how can a man be held accountable for the words of Jesus Christ if he has no way of being sure exactly what they are?
Yet in the New Testament the promise to preserve the words of Christ was given to the Apostles, Jesus said:
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Commenting on the scripture, Dean John Burgon said “Before our Lord ascended up to heaven he told his disciples that he would send them the Holy Ghost who should supply his place and abide with his church forever, he added a promise that it should be the office of that inspiring Spirit, not only to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever he had told them, but also to guide his church into all the truth. I am utterly unable to believe in short that God’s promise has so entirely failed that at the end of 1800 years much of the text of the gospel had in point of fact to be picked by a German critic out of a wastepaper basket in the convent of st. Catherine, and that the entire text had to be remodeled after the patterns set by a couple of copies which had remained in neglect during fifteen centuries.”
Like Dean Burgon many modern defenders of the traditional text agree that the promise of God has not failed, but the question remains? Was the critical text developed as a more pure version of the scripture, or for the purpose of systematically destroying faith in the Bible so that mankind might one day be united in a one-world religion and governed by that person known in the scripture as the man of sin.
To be continued in …
“Antichrist: The Lost Doctrine”