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“Holding forth the Word of Life” Philippians 2:16
“Holding fast the Faithful Word” Titus 1:9
“Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies” (Ps 139:21–22). These are the words of king David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel and the “man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam 13:14). How does David qualify to be the sweet Psalmist of Israel and “a man after his own heart”? By not only carrying out every commandment that the Lord commanded him, but also rising to his Master’s Cause, when others fled.
When Goliath challenged Israel to a man-to-man contest, and “Israel … fled from him, and were sore afraid” (1 Sam 17:24), who was it that became God’s mouthpiece: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam 17:26). And when David’s eldest brother Eliab chided him for his “pride … and naughtiness” to come and watch the battle, the “man after his own heart” retorted, “Is there not a cause?” How loudly the bells of heaven rang to salute such loyal devotion from the only one on earth! This holy hatred against those who hated the Lord was what gained the Almighty’s delight (Ps 139:21)! And what was that irresistible power that shot the smooth stone from David’s sling that hit the giant right into his forehead? Again, it was David’s holy hatred.
Throughout this century, fundamental and conservative seminaries in the West have been dominated by the Dubious Duo, namely, B F Westcott (1825–1901) and F J A Hort (1828–1892) who, like the Philistines, were entrenched in Israel until David’s appearance. “Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: … But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, … and his axe …” (1 Sam 13:19–20), so were those scholars (Dr Scrivener1) involved in the revision of the English Bible overwhelmed by Westcott and Hort and totally subdued.
As Israel was under Philistine domination, fundamental and conservative seminaries, insofar as USA was concerned, came under their bewitching sway even from the days of B B Warfield (1851–1921). When I was a student in Faith Theological Seminary, Wilmington, Delaware, in 1948, the “Gospel truth” of Westcott and Hort in textual criticism was covertly imparted to us, knowingly or unknowingly, and we accepted all that was given from the mouth of the New Testament professor. What made an indelible impression upon my mind was that the passage of Jesus pardoning the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53–8:11), the last twelve verses of Mark (16:9–20) and the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7–8) were not in the Bible, but later interpolations. Somehow I could not stomach this spurious “gospel,” because the Lord has promised those who love Him an unction and an anointing that teaches the truth, that no one can beguile them (1 John 2:20, 27).
Dr D A Waite, president of Dean Burgon Society and a leading defender of the King James Version today, gives the same testimony. When he was a student in Dallas Theological Seminary, 1948 to 1953, he also was taught to receive Westcott and Hort as angels from the Lord. Now he has discovered to his dismay how these were not angels from the Lord but from Satan (2 Cor 11:14–15). “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13).
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of (2 Pet 2:1–2).
How can we know whether a “scholar” like Westcott and a “specialist” like Hort is true or false? By examining their credentials, their life, conduct and their beliefs.
As for the Apostle Paul he could challenge those who beguiled the Corinthians with his credentials, a standard for the test of others.
Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches (2 Cor 11:22–28).
The above declaration which gives Paul’s credentials of apostleship, and of a true teacher, is a sharp contrast with the life, conduct and beliefs of Westcott and Hort.
Under a century of conspiracy of silence, the life, conduct and beliefs of Westcott and Hort have been surreptitiously veiled. Now that the conspiracy of silence is shattered, the veil of secrecy is rent by a host of witnesses, viz, Edward F Hills, D A Waite, David Otis Fuller, David W Cloud, G A Riplinger, S H Tow, let us hear them tell the inside story.2
You can fool some of the people all the time
And all of the people some of the time,
But you can’t fool Mom.
Hort’s mother was a devout Evangelical Christian. She had instructed her son in the most holy faith.
When Hort grew up he rebelled against his mother’s teachings. His mother pleaded with him in one of her letters, that he would not be missing from “the mansions of our Heavenly Father’s House. How happy it will be if we all met there: no one missing of all our household.”
Hort was particularly antagonistic against the traditional position of the Church, holding to the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture, which he called the “fanaticism of bibliolaters.” His son wrote of him, “Hence he was led to seek firm foundation than he could find to the Evangelical position.”
His shift from his mother’s evangelical upbringing was enhanced by joining the Philosophical Society and by his grandfather, an Archbishop who wanted to interpret the Bible in a manner agreeable to the principle of Philosophy. “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer 2:13).
As for Westcott, who was Hort’s Siamese twin, we need not go further. A friend wrote of him in regard to his Christian faith, “What a theology it was, how broad, anti-dogmatic and how ‘progressive’!” His true colours will be seen as we go on.
Now, when Westcott was an undergraduate at Cambridge University, he organised a club that he called Hermes. According to Webster’s New 20th Century Dictionary unabridged Second Edition, HERMES in Greek mythology is a god who served as herald and messenger of the other gods, identified by the Romans with Mercury and generally pictured with winged shoes and hat, carrying a caduceus (wand). He was also god of science, eloquence and cunning, the protector of boundaries and commerce, and guide of departed souls to Hades.
Why was the name Hermes chosen for Westcott’s club? Evidently for the part he played in communicating with the dead, for this was the beginning that led to further works of darkness.
The Hermes Club met weekly for three years, 1845–48. Hermes was also the origin of Hermaphrodite. According to the Reader’s Digest Oxford Complete Word Finder, Hermaphrodite is the name of the son of Hermes and Aphrodite in Greek mythology, who became joined in one body with the nymph Salmacis. Thus from Hermes came the fusion of sexes in one person. Hence priests of Hermes wore artificial breasts and female garments.
The question was asked, “Were these young classicists perhaps following Plato’s lead in his symposium where he describes homosexual love to be the highest kind?” One secular historian cites letters between members of Westcott’s club, and refers to the “intensity” of a homosexual relationship between members (ie, Arthur Sigdwick, Frederick Meyers); he comments, “I think the homosexuality was not rare among young classicists.”3
One evil led to another. “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hos 8:7). Five years after the founding of the Hermes Club, Westcott was joined by Hort and Benson to start another, viz, the Ghost Club or “Bogey Club,” as scoffers called it. (“Bogey” means “devil.”)
Writing about his and Westcott’s parts in the formation of the Ghost Club, Hort says:
Westcott, Gorham, C B Scott, Benson, Bradshaw, Laud, etc. and I have started a society for the investigation of ghosts and all supernatural appearances and effects, being disposed to believe that such things really exist.4
The fact of Benson the Archbishop of Canterbury being interested more in psychic phenomena, in the souls of the dead than of the living, shows what dead wood the Church of England had become. It shows up in sharp relief Westcott’s and Hort’s delving in evil spirits than in the seeking of the Holy Spirit. This is substantiated by Bishop J C Ryle (1816–1900), that the clergy of the Anglican Church, apart from naming the Name of Jesus, could hardly say anything more about Him. Thus while Westcott and Hort were Greek scholars, they knew little of the Old Testament. Did they ever read Moses’ condemnation of the abominations listed in Deuteronomy 18?
There shall not be found among you … a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee (Deut 18:10–12; emphasis added).
Westcott and Hort were friends of Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud (called a “Fraud” in The Straits Times) and Carl Jung, all enemies of the Cause of Christ.
Westcott and Hort were also secret worshippers of Mary. Westcott wrote from France to his fiancée as early as 1847,
After leaving the monastery, we shaped our course to a little oratory which we discovered on the summit of a neighbouring hill…. Fortunately we found the door open. It was very small, with one kneeling place; and behind a screen was a “Pieta” the size of life [ie, a Virgin and dead Christ] … . Had I been alone I could have knelt there for hours (Westcott, Life of Westcott, I:81).5
Hort wrote to Westcott, October 17, 1865, “I have been persuaded of many years that Mary-worship and ‘Jesus’-worship have very much in common and in their results” (Hort, Life of Hort, II:50).6
Finally, let us examine their beliefs, and disbeliefs. According to D A Waite in Heresies of Westcott and Hort, Westcott and Hort, whether jointly or individually, by their own pens have denied or attacked the following fundamental doctrines of “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
Westcott and Hort denied:
Westcott and Hort believed in:
Westcott and Hort were false prophets, ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15), “deceitful workers, transforming themselves into … ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor 11:13, 15). Their theories on textual criticism are false and must be rejected. Their NT Greek Text is therefore to be rejected as pernicious poison. And yet a hundred new “Bibles” have flowed from their corrupt source.
Did Westcott and Hort “receive the blessing from the Lord,” in their attempt to ruin the Textus Receptus on which the KJV is founded? Was the English Revised Version (NT: 1881), the firstfruit of their labours, blessed indeed by the Lord of the Holy Scriptures? Though millions were sold of the New Testament, interest plummeted when the Old Testament was revised after a few years.
In my young days, we used the King James Bible, though I had also a copy of the English Revised Version (RV). But in a matter of a few decades, the RV died of a diseased death. The RV has long gone out of print. Why? Jesus says, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matt 7:19).
The New International Version (NIV), which is riding high today, is also founded on Westcott and Hort. The NIV has truncated the three most famous sections of Holy Writ, viz, the pericope de adultera (John 7:53–8:11), the last 12 verses of Mark and the Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7f), and declared them not found in the two oldest manuscripts (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus), which Westcott and Hort aver give us the original. But why the hypocrisy of NIV’s retaining them in their truncated form? Sharp businessmen, the NIV publishers know that if they are totally left out, God’s children will not buy their product. The NIV would also go out of print like the RV.
Dear Reader, this chapter is written for you who love the Lord, like David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, the man after God’s own heart. Why did God so bless him and honour him? Because of his true-blue loyalty.
When Goliath blasphemed the name of God the Almighty; all Israel fled, including David’s three elder brothers. But the young shepherd boy, roused by the holy indignation from above, cared not for his life, but rushed head on into battle. That holy hatred so galvanised him to action, and that action so upheld by His God, scored total victory that day! What is your attitude to the work of Westcott and Hort? With their unclean hands and impure hearts, they have assailed the text of the Holy Scriptures, even as the Serpent had hated God’s Word and hissed, “Yea, hath God said …?” (Gen 3:1).
Can you say with David:
Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Ps 139:21–24).
1 “The minority in the Committee was represented principally by Dr. Scrivener, probably the foremost scholar of the day in the manuscripts of the Greek new Testament and the history of the Text. If we may believe the words of Chairman Ellicott, the countless divisions in the Committee over the Greek Text ‘was often a kind of critical duel between Dr. Hort and Dr. Scrivener.’ Dr. Scrivener was continuously and systematically out-voted” (David Otis Fuller, ed, Which Bible?, 5th ed [Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids International Publications, 1975], 291).
2 Edward F Hills, Believing Bible Study (Des Moines: The Christian Research Press, 1977), 89–112; Fuller,Which Bible?, 144–73, 277–82; D A Waite, Heresies of Westcott and Hort (Collingswood: The Bible For Today, 1979); G A Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions (Munroe Falls: AV Publications, 1993), 391–464; David W Cloud,For Love of the Bible (Oak Harbor: Way of Life Literature, 1995), 25–32, 113–215; D A Waite, Foes of the King James Bible Refuted (Collingswood: The Bible For Today, 1997), 50–4; S H Tow, “In Defence of the KJV” (See Chapter 14).
3 Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, 401.
4 Ibid., 405.
5 Benjamin G Wilkinson, “Westcott and Hort,” in Which Bible?, ed Fuller, 278.
6 Ibid., 279.
Rev Dr Timothy Tow is pastor of True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church, and principal of Far Eastern Bible College.
– Published in The Burning Bush, Volume 4 Number 2 (July 1998)