Did God Write Only One Bible?

Jeffrey Khoo

The Board of Elders of Life BPC, in a statement issued on January 25, 2008, accused me of misrepresenting their pastors in my article “Multiversions Onlyism” (http://www.febc.edu.sg/ VPP71.htm) which is a critique of Dr James D Price’s book against the KJV-Only position, a book the Rev Yap Beng Shin (pastor of Olivet BPC) helped print and promote. (Note that the KJV-Only position was upheld in Life BPC’s 50th Anniversary Magazine [1950-2000], and the Statement of Reconciliation of January 5, 2003 by its Board of Elders when the Rev Dr Timothy Tow was still pastor of Life BPC.)

It is no secret that the Rev Charles Seet and the Rev Colin Wong had publicly joined hands with the Rev Yap Beng Shin and others to attack the Biblical doctrine of the Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of the Scriptures, a doctrine (to them a “heresy”) which seeks to defend the KJV and its underlying texts/words (see http://www.lifebpc.com/ourstand/stmtvpp.htm). In my article, I simply stated the facts and made the logical assumption, and not without reason. (I hope they will write a critique of Price’s pricy book to rid any appearance of evil, for his book has been promoted in Singapore, especially in BP churches. Anyway, since I have already done the work, why do they not simply accept my critique but instead criticise me for defending the KJV and its underlying texts/words?)

Now, could this not be the reason? The Rev Colin Wong, in his sermon—“Did God Write Only One Bible?”—preached at Life BPC on October 28, 2007, declared what is according to him Life BPC’s position on the quality of the manuscripts the KJV translators had in their possession. In his sermon, he said: “On this Reformation Sunday, I would like to declare unto you what is Life BP Church’s position on the Word of God. Thus I have entitled my message, ‘Did God Write Only One Bible?’ …

“Since the translation of the KJV or the Authorized Version of 1611 there has been more concrete manuscript evidence that is available today, which is far superior to that which was available to the King James Version translators in 1611.”

Now, if the manuscripts today are “far superior” to those of the KJV, how then can Life BPC make the claim that the KJV and its underlying texts are “the best?” It just does not make sense!

Later in his sermon, the Rev Wong criticised the Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of the Holy Scriptures, and FEBC’s defence of the good old Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words on which the AV/KJV is based, and claimed he is backed by the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS): “…[T]he Trinitarian Bible Society and many other faithful and truthful Bible scholars do not hold or support the VPP position. Mr A J Brown of the Trinitarian Bible Society said and I spent many hours with the staff there when I was in London ministering there. …”

I wrote to the Rev Malcolm Watts, Mr D P Rowland, and Mr David Larlham, officers of the TBS, for clarification concerning Rev Wong’s view of the “manuscript evidence” and “Mr A J Brown” quoting his words above. Mr David Larlham, the Assistant General Secretary of TBS, was very kind to reply, and I quote him in full:

“Thank you for your e-mail of 29th October about the Rev. Colin Wong’s sermon ‘Did God Write Only One Bible?’. I am sorry it has taken us a while to respond. As you have written to probably the three busiest men within TBS, we regret to say that we have not had the opportunity to listen to the sermon you mention. I think it must be acknowledged that we are unlikely to find the opportunity for some time to come, in the midst of all the other more pressing duties that lie upon us.

“While it would be unfair to comment in any detail upon Mr Wong’s message without hearing it, I can state unequivocally on behalf of the Society that the views you say that Mr Wong expressed concerning the manuscripts available to the translators of the English Authorised Version in 1611 are most definitely not those of TBS.

“Whereas Dr David Allen, our current senior Deputation Speaker, most consistently upholds and articulates the views held by the General Committee of the Society, we would suggest that neither you nor the Rev. Wong should place any such reliance upon the comments of Mr Andrew Brown going back around 20 years.

“I trust that your ‘deep concerns’ are allayed. From a careful perusal of our current publications, our web site, and our Statement of Doctrine of Holy Scripture and Word List, it ought to be obvious where the Society stands, and historically has always stood, on such matters. Where any member of staff or representative may have deviated from those views, they had no mandate to do so and no heed should be paid to any such statements.”

Readers ought to note that Mr A J Brown, former editorial secretary of the TBS, was quoted not only by the Rev Colin Wong, but also Life BPC’s “Godly Path” paper (http://www.lifebpc.com/ourstand/godlypath.htm), and Calvary Jurong’s Anti-VPP paper (http://www.truth.sg/response/caljurong.htm) to discredit FEBC and its defence of the KJV and its underlying texts or words.

I am thus heartened to know that TBS does not encourage placing a reliance on Mr A J Brown’s views as expressed in 1984, and am particularly delighted by TBS’s excellent critique of the NKJV as published in their Quarterly Record, October-December 2007 (http://www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org). I would also recommend Dr David Allen’s excellent lecture on the Special Providential Preservation of the Word of God (http://www.bible-sermons.org.uk/audio-sermons/767-special-providential-preservation-of-the-word-of-god).

Does the Board of Elders of Life BPC stand with the TBS on the superiority of KJV and its underlying texts, and reject the modern corrupt versions including the NKJV? If they do, then are we not on the same page? If not, then it is they who are schismatic, not us. Let us not play into the hands of Satan, the false accuser, who seeks to divide and conquer. Both Life BPC and FEBC would only stand to lose if we do not regroup to fight the good fight of faith to the glory of God. (Are they not obliged to keep Article 6 of the Life BPC Constitution on Biblical Separation?) Let us therefore follow the lead of our founding pastor—the Rev Dr Timothy Tow—by taking a separatist stand for the KJV, against Westcott and Hort and the modern versions, on the basis of truth, earnestly contending for the once-for-all-settled faith based on the sole and supreme authority of the forever infallible and inerrant words of God in these last days of apostasy and compromise (Jude 3, Matt 5:18, 24:35). “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Cor 13:8).