Clarification of Confession

Re: Preservation of God’s Word

Brutus Balan

To Charles Seet and the Board of Elders of Life BPC,

As an interested observer and FEBC graduate and fellow fundamentalist I am baffled by this unholy downward spiral over words. To be so self-right is not to see one’s own inconsistency and contradictions. Consider the following:

  1. Far Eastern Bible College Statement

(The Burning Bush, Vol 12 Number 1, Editorial, pg 2,)

“The infallible and inerrant words of Scripture are found in the faithfully preserved Traditional/Majority manuscripts and fully represented in the Printed and Received Text…that underlies the Reformation Bibles best represented by the KJV…” (#4)

Life BP Church Statement

(‘Our Statement of Faith on the preservation of God’ Word, 8 Nov 2005, 2nd para)

“We do believe that the Hebrew and Greek texts that were used for the King James Version of the English Bible (KJV) were providentially preserved by God and are therefore the closest to the original autographs of the Bible.”

Comment: Both agree that The Received Text is providentially preserved by God that underlies the KJV. The omission in Life BPC statement is the word ‘faithfully preserved’ but included in the FEBC tenet.

  1. FEBC: “God has supernaturally preserved each and every one of His inspired…words…kept intact without any lost of His word” (#1)

Life BPC: Life BPC states that the originals were providentially preserved in the Received Text and are closest to the originals. ‘Closest’ implying not word perfect (The “…Perfect Bible debate is all about the Hebrew and Greek texts (or copies) immediately underlying the KJV…We do not ascribe perfection to them (i.e. 100% exact replica of the autographs) or say that they are THE preserved texts to the exclusion to the other manuscripts within the family of Received Texts.”)

Comment: It is clear that Life BPC believes that the Received Text is not the only providentially preserved text and that it is inadequate as THE Word of God. But FEBC says that it is an exact copy of the original revelation and therefore inerrant and infallible (#4) and IS THE Word of God.

  1. FEBC: “The Bible is not only infallible and inerrant in the past (in the autographs), but also infallible and inerrant today (in the apographs)”. The Bible has no errors, period (#1, #5, p2).

Life BPC: The original writings (autographs) were “inerrant, infallible (obviously perfect)’ in the past but the ‘providentially preserved’ copies (apographs) we have today have errors “after the originals were lost”. If it is so, how then can you claim to hold to an ‘INERRANT and INFALLIBLE BIBLE and the FULL preservation of God’s holy Word.’?

Comment: It makes non-sense of the phrase ‘divine providential preservation’ if it means less than perfect if God was involved in the transmission of His own words in writing. To say it was not miraculous but providentialis semantic silliness. The miraculous would be the actual preservation of the originals not the copies of the originals. The Verbal Plenary Inspiration of the originals must by reason of logic guarantee Verbal Plenary Preservation if not in the Received Text, surely in the Majority texts which then need to be textually recognized and any variance rectified and harmonized to know for certain the exact, word perfect, infallible and inerrant words of God as in the originals (cf. The Burning Bush, Editorial Vol 12, No 1, p2, #6).

If you believe that the word perfect Word of God cannot be known even in the body of the manuscripts of The Majority Texts, you cannot then hold to your position of ‘INERRANCY and INFALLIBILITY’ as stated in your declaration of the 8th November 2005. It’s a contradiction. Note your quote, “…we hold to an INERRANT and INFALLIBLE Bible and the full preservation of God’s holy Word.”What is “full preservation”? Does full means not full? Deceptive words are not of the Holy Spirit!

You can’t have it both ways. Note your quote again in the words of G. I. Williamson, “We see that God determined that the early copies of the original would be made. True, each erred in a slight degree, but they did not err in the same points..................And so, while the true (or perfect) original text would not be entirely reproduced in a single copy, yet it would not be lost or inaccessible because by the majority testimony of several copies, error would always be witnessed against. The true text would be perfectly preserved within the body of witnesses.(The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes; pp 14–17.)

Analysis of the above quote:

  1. God determined the copies be made of the original (providential preservation).
  2. Each copy of the original ‘erred’ but not in the same points (granted).
  3. The true originals are not found in one single copy (eg. the Received Text) but in the witness of the Majority text (agreed).
  4. Yet the true original words are not lost or inaccessiblebecause by the majority testimony of several copies, error can be recognized and the true words (text) of the original can be established (textual recognition, rectification and harmonization (cf. The Burning Bush, Editorial Vol 12, No 1, p2, #6).
  5. Therefore, the “true text (words of the originals) would be PERFECTLY PRESERVED within the body of witnesses” (The original words are intact to the jot and tittle).

CONCLUSION OF ANALYSIS: The Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of the original true text does exist within the body of witnesses of the Majority Texts. That’s exciting!

Since Life Church quoted Williamson, it will be true to say that Life BPC subscribes to the Verbal Plenary Preservation of the originals by the process of textual recognition, rectification and harmonization by a simple comparison of the received Majority Texts and thereby concur with FEBC that the word PERFECT, INERRANT AND INFALLIBLE Bible exists. Isn’t this the clear statement in the Constitution of The Life BPC, article 4.2.1, “We believe in the divine, verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, (and in) their consequent inerrancy and infallibility…”?

FEBC concedes that others can differ with them “over the absolute certainty as regards the underlying texts or words” but as long as other VPP and KJV defenders “…maintain VPP in the lineage of Byzantine/Majority manuscripts and the Textus Receptus…” and deny the Westcott-Hort Text and also deny the existence of scribal errors, “…slight differences of opinion over the verbally preserved texts/words among KJV defenders should remain as non issues…”(The Burning Bush, Vol 12, No 2, pp80–81, Non issues).

If G.I Williamson is believed, Life BPC shouldn’t use the KJV any longer for it is not based on the body of the Majority Text (witness) but on a single text – The Received Text. Therefore, the KJV cannot be the closest to the originals and therefore not “the very Word of God” and “fully reliable.” For Williamson, The majority texts are the source of finding the providentially preserved Bible which was kept under God’s “singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical (sic)…” as Life BPC puts it. Again do words mean exactly what they are meant to mean?

Life BPC Constitution further states, that the debate is all about the Hebrew and Greek texts (or copies) immediately underlying the KJV. And that the Received Text is not, “THE preserved texts to the exclusion of other manuscripts within the family of Received Texts.” If that be the case, it is reasonable then to say that the Received Text being a ‘single copy’ without the benefit of the collective witness of the majority testimony of several copies, cannot be the best text to fully access the perfectly preserved words of the originals. One then will surmise that the KJV cannot be the best translation because the translators had not the benefit of the other majority manuscripts at that time. Why then does Life BPC still use a translation based on an inferior text? It is muddled reasoning and theological hypocrisy.Your discerning members will be in a mental knot to unravel such contradiction of statements, words that don’t mean what they meant to mean and the inconsistent practice of Life leadership. At least the VPP/Received Text/KJV proponents are consistent in conviction and practice.

You have the most inconsistent and contradictory position over this matter and yet the charge of heresy is thrown at FEBC. It has ceased to be a theological debate and has become personal. Now the legal threat to evict the college over your own inconsistent stand is heartless. To drag FEBC into the pagan arena to the cheers and jeers of the Lord’s enemies and then to ally with the diabolical lion to prowl and devour a Bible College which still stands true to His Word is not the Spirit of the Lord. The fiery darts of evil have struck deep the armor-less leadership. Isn’t there any one in the Life BP church session with wisdom and understanding? Will not the silent church rise to wake the dead? God have mercy!

Brutus Balan
Hobart, Tasmania

30 January 2008