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“Holding forth the Word of Life” Philippians 2:16
“Holding fast the Faithful Word” Titus 1:9
One Bible Only? OR “Yea Hath God Said?”
False doctrine does not meet men face to face, and proclaim that it is false. It does not blow a trumpet before it, and endeavour openly to turn us away from the truth as it is in Jesus. It does not come before men in broad daylight and summon them to surrender. It approaches us secretly, quietly, insidiously, plausibly, and in such a way as to disarm man’s suspicion, and throw him off his guard. It is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and Satan in the garb of an angel of light, who have always proved the most dangerous foes of the Church (J C Ryle, Warnings to the Churches, 56).
|The Differences Between Historic Fundamentalism and Neo-Fundamentalism in
Their Respective Views on Biblical Inspiration and Preservation
|The perfect, infallible and inerrant Bible is not only in the Autographs but also in the existing and tangible Apographs (the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek Scriptures on which the KJV is based).||The perfect, infallible and inerrant Bible is only in the non-existent and intangible Autographs (the actual Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek Scriptures penned by the Prophets and Apostles).|
|The Autographs are entirely preserved. We have all of God's Word today (100%). Every word and every doctrine preserved (i.e. verbal preservation).||The Autographs are essentially preserved. We have most of God's Word today (99%). Every doctrine preserved, but not every word (i.e. conceptual preservation).|
|The biblical basis for the doctrine of 100% preservation of the Scriptures is found in Matt 5:18 as stated in the Westminster Confession. Other verses are Ps 12:6–7, Matt 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33.||There is no biblical basis for the doctrine of 100% preservation of the Scriptures. All Scripture verses supporting preservation like Matt 5:18 are explained away.|
|There are no mistakes whatsoever in the Bible. Discrepancies like the one found in 2 Kgs 8:26/2 Chron 22:2 are only apparent and not actual errors.||There are no mistakes in the Bible that should cause any worry. Allows for insignificant mistakes or minor errors (e.g. 2 Kgs 8:26/2 Chron 22:2).|
One Bible Only? (238 pages, edited by Roy E Beacham and Kevin T Bauder, and published by Kregel in 2001) should be retitled, Yea, Hath God Said? (Gen 3:1). In this book, one hears again the seductive “scholarly” hissing of the snake that seeks to cast a doubt in the hearts and minds of God’s people concerning what God says of His perfectly inspired and absolutely preserved Scriptures. On page 22, they pose the question: “Does the Bible promise that all of God’s words will be preserved?” KJV/TR-Only advocates affirm the twin doctrines of the verbal and plenary inspiration and preservation of God’s words, yea even to the jot and tittle (Matt 5:18), but these so-called Baptist fundamentalists, who teach at Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Plymouth, Minnesota, answer with a rhetorical “Did God say it?” “Yea, hath God said?”
Having questioned the Word of God, they had the cheek to describe themselves as belonging to the “conservative wing of fundamentalism”. What a betrayal! Had they not identified themselves, I would have thought they were modernists or at least neo-evangelicals. But they say they are “fundamentalists”! They are no fundamentalists if they question God and His Word like this. If they are truly fundamentalists, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. Dr Carl McIntire has rightly said, “The worst sin today is to say that you agree with the Christian faith and believe in the Bible, but then make common cause with those who deny the basic facts of Christianity. Never was it more obviously true that he that is not with Christ is against Him.” They undermine God’s Word and the faith of God’s Church by denying that God’s people have God’s infallible and inerrant Word today. Are we seeing the emergence of a new breed of left-wing fundamentalism—the rise of a Neo-fundamentalism?
Now, let us examine the book chapter by chapter.
In his preface, McLachlan, the president of Central Seminary, affirms the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, but only “in the autographs” (10). McLachlan explains that the autographs or original manuscripts of Scripture are no longer in existence. What the Church has today are the manuscript copies which reflect about 2000 variant readings, “none of which”, assures McLachlan, “affects the overall theology of Bible-believing Christians” (10).
There is no denial that there are variant readings in the over 5000 New Testament manuscripts we have today, but McLachlan is truly naïve to think that no fundamental doctrines are affected by any of these variants. It is clearly evident that certain manuscripts have been purposely doctored to undermine the fundamental doctrines of the Christian Faith. These corrupt manuscripts belong to the Alexandrian text-type which liberal scholars parroting Westcott and Hort claim to be the best and most reliable. But the oft-neglected Dean J W Burgon has proven beyond doubt that the Alexandrian codices of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus hailed by Westcott and Hort to be as good as the autographs are among the “most scandalously corrupt copies extant:—exhibit the most shamefully mutilated texts which are anywhere to be met with:—have become … the depositories of the largest amount of fabricated readings, ancient blunders, and intentional perversions of Truth,—which are discoverable in any known copies of the Word of God” (Revision Revised, 16). One well-known example of corruption which affects doctrine is found in 1 Tim 3:16. The inspired text reads Theos ephanerothe en sarki, “God was manifest in the flesh” (KJV), but the Alexandrian text altered the inspired text to read, Hos ephanerothe en sarki, “He appeared in a body” (NIV). By changing “God” to simply “He” the Alexandrian scribes have effectively cancelled the Godhood of our Lord in the original inspired Scripture, and by so doing robbed the Church of a most precious and wonderful proof for the deity of Christ.
Some may take this lightly, “Why are you so hard on Westcott and Hort and the Alexandrian text? It is just one word or one verse in the Bible. It is not that bad!” Whether this is excusable or not, let the Apostle James be the judge, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas 2:10). The same applies to those who attempt to corrupt the Bible: Whoever corrupts one word or one verse in the Bible is guilty of corrupting all of the Bible.
The question remains: Is corruption in the Alexandrian text found only in this single place? Most definitely not! Dean Burgon in examining the two highly prized codices of Westcott and Hort, viz., the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus found many omissions, additions, substitutions, transpositions and modifications in them, and these alterations “are by no means the same in both. It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two MSS. differ the one from the other, than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree” (Revision Revised, 12). Yet these most untrustworthy and grossly mutilated manuscripts are what the modern Bible translators rely on to translate their modern versions.
Now McLachlan refuses to take a stand against the corrupt Westcott and Hort text. He is against “becoming frozen in time by anchoring to and absolutizing only one English translation or one narrow family of Greek manuscripts” (12). He wants to be “very balanced” to accept the whole “kettle of textual soup”. He recommends the textual-critical recipe of neo-evangelical charismatic—Gordon Fee—to make this large “kettle of textual soup” edible (11). Hence the book title—One Bible Only?. McLachlan and his faculty want to be very broad to embrace all kinds of manuscripts and versions whether corrupt or not. They despise the narrow way of just one Bible and one Preserved Text. To them, it is simply foolish to adopt the narrow way. But what did Jesus say? “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:13–14). It would be wise to follow Jesus, not McLachlan.
The bottom line is this: Not all the Bibles are the same. That is a fact! The Alexandrian manuscripts that underlie the modern translations are plagued throughout with all kinds of fabricated readings that are out of harmony with the majority of extant and faithfully transmitted manuscripts. Most of the Bible versions today are based on corrupt manuscripts as compared to the KJV which is based on the providentially preserved text that has been “kept pure in all ages” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1.8). As such, it is not a both-and but an either-or commitment. It is either the Christ-exalting and faith-producing KJV or the modern Christ-denying and money-making perversions. As Jesus has said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24). Similarly, no one can serve two Bibles! We have Only One God and He has given us Only One Bible!
Over against the denials and doubts cast by One Bible Only?, Statement #11 of the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) 16th World Congress, Jerusalem 2000, affirms this: “Believing God safeguarded the Bible in times past and will continue to do so in the future and all eternity. He preserved ONE Holy Scripture, the Bible. ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away;’ Matthew 24:35. Believing the O.T. has been preserved in the Masoretic text and the N.T. in the Textus Receptus, combined they gave us the complete Word of God.”
Bauder strongly objects to the fundamentalist movement that recommends the King James Version as the only acceptable English Bible for the Church. Bauder is troubled by the rise of the King James-Only movement and disturbed that “Churches and fellowships … began to pressure their preachers to use only the King James for public reading and teaching. Resolutions were passed honoring the King James Version and recommending its exclusive use” (15). Why should he be so troubled by this? Did he not entertain the possibility that the KJV could be a superior version in terms of its text and translation (18)? What is wrong if conservative Christians feel that it is the only Bible they should use?
Bauder claims that “historic fundamentalists were not King James Only.” This is however not the observation of James Barr who wrote, “For fundamentalist society as a whole the Authorized Version functioned as the direct and immediate expression or transcript of divine revelation … The virtual use of only one English version, and it is one originating within very traditional early seventeenth-century Christianity, thus indirectly but very powerfully supported the alienation of the fundamentalist public from, and its opposition to, the positions, interests and methods from which all biblical criticism grew and on which it depended” (Fundamentalism, 210–211). Barr, who is no friend of fundamentalism, appears more honest with the facts than the fundamentalists of Central Seminary. Dr Robert Gromacki of Cedarville College, in his New Testament Survey textbook, affirms the KJV “as the text of fundamentalism” (New Testament Survey, xii). Dr Ian Paisley, a prominent leader of the World Congress of Fundamentalism, upholds the KJV as the only Bible fundamentalists should use. Without mincing his words he wrote, “I believe this Authorised Version is unsurpassably pre-eminent over and above all other English translations, … I cry out ‘There is none like that, give it me,’ and in so doing I nail the Satanic lie that the Authorised Version is outdated, outmoded, mistranslated, a relic of the past and only defended by stupid, unlearned, untaught obscurantists. … I believe this Book will always be the unsurpassable pre-eminent English version of the Holy Bible and no other can ever take its place. To seek to dislodge this Book from its rightful pre-eminent place is the act of the enemy, and what is attempted to put in its place is an intruder—an imposter—a pretender—a usurper” (My Plea for the Old Sword, 10–11). In similar fashion, Dr Carl McIntire and the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) in two recent World Congresses, in Amsterdam 1998 and in Jerusalem 2000, affirmed the exclusive KJV stance of historic fundamentalism.
Indeed, there is today a God-driven movement at the grassroots level towards the KJV and the Textus Receptus. But the “scholars” today are trying their level best to stop it. This is hardly strange since it is usually the saints and not the scholars that are sensitive to the Truth. History has shown that the seminaries are the ones that go apostate first. But the Lord will always preserve His Church from being totally devastated by heresy. Has He not promised, “and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18)? There will always be a faithful remnant. What Bauder has observed is the work of the common faith of the faithful Church to insist on the use of the best English version of the Bible today which is the KJV. But now you have so-called “scholars” from the seminaries who seek to undermine the Ecclesial Faith in its movement towards one Bible only! Dr Paisley’s warning is timely, “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 rationalists of another century. The case they present is not their own but a modern presentation of an ancient heresy” (My Plea for the Old Sword, 13). This surely applies to One Bible Only? and its authors.
I am thankful for Bauder’s concession that it is not irresponsible of certain Pro-KJV advocates to assert the superiority of the KJV among English Bible versions, and its underlying Hebrew and Greek Text (18). He acknowledges that there are moderate Pro-KJV advocates who are vehemently opposed to the heretical views of Ruckman (19). Such a position is clearly articulated by Dr D A Waite in his book—Defending the King James Bible: A Four-fold Superiority. The KJV ought to be the only Bible the English Church should use because it is superior in terms of its (1) Text (Traditional and Preserved Hebrew Masoretic and Greek Received Text), (2) Translation technique (verbal or formal rather than dynamic equivalence), (3) Translators (Bible-believing and Bible-defending scholars who had a thorough mastery of the biblical languages and an impeccable command of the English language), and (4) Theology (upholding every fundamental doctrine of the Historic Christian Faith). Bauder cannot but admit that the KJV is the only translation that meets all four criteria (19).
What then is the problem? It is this: One Bible Only? argues that “the King James is not the only true Bible in the English language” (19). Its authors insists that modern Bible perversions that are based on the corrupt Westcott and Hort text must be allowed in the churches and be regarded as the Word of God. They are in effect saying, “The NIV, NASB, RSV, TEV, CEV, ESV, NLT etc., though based on the highly corrupt Westcott and Hort Text are not dangerous to use.” Does this make sense to you, my dear reader? If I were to tell you, “This glass of milk though laced with arsenic is not dangerous to drink,” what would you think of me? I do not have to tell you this, but Bauder is dispensing dangerous counsel most unbecoming of a fundamentalist! The authors of One Bible Only? are advocating a sort of pluralism. With regard to Bible versions, they want to go ecumenical! Can Truth and Error be mixed? How quickly they have forgotten 2 Cor 6:14! If they persist in this error, Central Seminary will soon become Central Cemetery! God forbid that this should happen, but history does often repeat itself!
What is the real danger of One Bible Only? It is this: the false teaching that the Church today is bereft of an absolutely infallible and inerrant Bible. Bauder does not believe that the God who perfectly inspired His Word has also perfectly preserved His Word. He affirms Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) but denies Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP). He spent seven whole pages (20–26) arguing that we do not have an infallible and inerrant Bible today by denying the doctrine of VPP. By denying VPP, Bauder might as well deny VPI for what is the use of an infallible and inerrant Bible yesterday but not today? Dr Paisley was absolutely correct to say, “The verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures demands the verbal Preservation of the Scriptures. Those who would deny the need for verbal Preservation cannot be accepted as committed to verbal Inspiration. If there is no preserved Word of God today then the work of Divine Revelation and Divine Inspiration has perished” (My Plea for the Old Sword, 103). Dr Timothy Tow, founding pastor of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore and principal of the Far Eastern Bible College, likewise wrote, “We believe the preservation of Holy Scripture and its Divine inspiration stand in the same position as providence and creation. If Deism teaches a Creator who goes to sleep after creating the world is absurd, to hold to the doctrine of inspiration without preservation is equally illogical. … Without preservation, all the inspiration, God-breathing into the Scriptures, would be lost. But we have a Bible so pure and powerful in every word and it is so because God has preserved it down through the ages” (A Theology for Every Christian: Knowing God and His Word, 47).
Bauder in denying VPP not only goes against a long string of biblical texts that teach the twin doctrines of VPI and VPP (Exod 32:15–19, 34:1–4; Deut 4:2; Ps 12:6–7, 78:1–8, 105:8, 119:89–90,140,151–152, 160; Prov 22:20–21, 30:6; Eccl 3:14; Jer 36:27–32; Matt 4:4, 5:18, 24:35, Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33; John 10:35; 2 Tim 3:16–17; 1 Pet 1:23–25; 2 Pet 1:19–21; Rev 22:18–19), he is also against the great Confessions of Faith that affirm the same. The Presbyterian Westminster Confession of Faith (1643–48) states, “The Old Testament in Hebrew … and the New Testament in Greek … being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.” The Baptist New Hampshire Confession (1833) similarly states, “We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is an infallible and inerrant treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter … and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true centre of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.” The Helvetic Consensus Formula is even stronger than the Westminster Confession and the New Hampshire Confession in its affirmation of providential preservation: “God, the supreme Judge, not only took care to have His Word, which is the ‘power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth’ (Rom 1:16), committed to writing by Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, but has also watched and cherished it with paternal care ever since it was written up to the present time, so that it could not be corrupted by craft of Satan or fraud of man. Therefore the church justly ascribes it to His singular grace and goodness that she has, and will have to the end of the world, a ‘sure word of prophecy’ (2 Pet 1:19) and ‘holy Scriptures’ (2 Tim 3:15), from which, though heaven and earth perish, ‘one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass’ (Matt 5:18).” There is no denying that the doctrine of VPI and VPP are historically fundamental doctrines affirmed by both Presbyterian as well as Baptist Protestant churches since the 16th century Reformation.
Kutilek begins by caricaturing Pro-KJV advocates as people who believe that the KJV is more inspired than the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, and that a person cannot be saved unless he uses the KJV (27). Who are these people? He lists the following names: Benjamin G Wilkinson, James Jasper Ray, David Otis Fuller, Peter Ruckman and Edward F Hills. He equates D A Waite and David Cloud with Peter Ruckman. This is not just a gross misrepresentation, but outright dishonesty. It is common knowledge that both Dr Waite and Mr Cloud in their writings have strongly denounced the KJV as “doubly inspired” and “advanced revelation” heresy of Ruckman. A simple search in the internet would bear this out. Kutilek is malicious.
It is also ridiculous to allege that Pro-KJV advocates would deem a person unsaved unless he uses the KJV. Let me ask Mr Kutilek: Can a person be saved by reading a tract, a testimony, or a Christian novel? Is a person automatically or necessarily saved if he hears the gospel preached from the KJV? Is a Roman Catholic or a member of a cult saved if he uses and keeps on using the KJV?
Can a person be saved through the NIV? The Trinitarian Bible Society answers: “The NIV contains enough truth to be used of the Holy Spirit to draw a man to the Saviour. But although it contains truth, is it the very Word of God? If not, Christians must be urged to return to the truth.” We do not deny that sinners may be saved through corrupt or mutilated versions if such versions contain enough of the gospel. This however does not mean that God sanctions such versions or that the Church should continue using them. God holds all His people responsible for using the most faithful translation based on the purest text.
It looks like One Bible Only? to make its case needed a spin-doctor, and who better than Kutilek? Well, it must be noted that Kutilek did an exquisite job in transgressing the 9th commandment (Exod 20:16).
Kutilek then attempts to psychoanalyse the KJV/TR-Only movement. He says that the KJV/TR-Only mindset is a result of its need for certainty. Kutilek says that the Christian can be certain about the doctrines of salvation and have full assurance of everlasting life because “God explicitly states them in His Word,” but he objects to any kind of certainty with regard to the providential preservation of God’s Word (28). He argues that God’s people can only be certain of an inspired Bible as originally given, but they cannot be at all certain that they will continually have an inspired Scripture. Quoting Burgon, he says that God “[n]ever made any promise in the Scripture of the inerrant and infallible transmission of the Bible from the originals” (28). We do not deny that copying mistakes were made during the transmission process. However, this in no way negates the fact that despite the copying mistakes made in the transcription process, God providentially made sure that none of His words would be lost. The great 17th century Calvinist theologian—Francis Turretin—rightly said that God cannot be at all careless in providentially preserving His words—“Nor can we readily believe that God, who dictated and inspired each and every word to these inspired (theopneustois) men, would not take care of their entirepreservation. If men use the utmost care diligently to preserve their words (especially if they are of any importance, as for example a testament or contract) in order that it may not be corrupted, how much more, must we suppose, would God take care of his word which he intended as a testament and seal of his covenant with us, so that it might not be corrupted.” Turretin does not deny scribal errors in the copying process but he says that “even if some manuscripts could be corrupted, yet all could not” (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 1:71–72).
Kutilek denies the doctrine of biblical preservation. Quoting Burgon, Kutilek says there is no biblical basis whatsoever “that the original autographs of Scripture have been perfectly preserved in a particular text, text family, or English translation” (28, 49). If Burgon were alive today, he would surely have disavowed any association with Kutilek and would have castigated his erroneous views. Consider what Burgon had written concerning the inspired Scriptures, “There exists no reason for supposing that the Divine Agent, who in the first instance thus gave to mankind the Scriptures of Truth, straightway abdicated His office; took no further care of His work; abandoned those precious writings to their fate. … all down the ages the Sacred Writings must needs have been God’s peculiar care; that the Church under Him has watched over them with intelligence and skill; has recognised which copies exhibit a fabricated, which an honestly transcribed text; has generally sanctioned the one, and generally disallowed the other. I am utterly disinclined to believe—so grossly improbable does it seem—that at the end of 1800 years 995 copies out of every thousand, suppose will prove untrustworthy; and that the one, two, three, four or five which remain, whose contents were till yesterday as good as unknown, will be found to have retained the secret of what the Holy Spirit originally inspired. 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 has in point of fact to be picked by a German critic out of a waste-paper basket in the convent of St. Catherine; and that the entire text had to be remodeled after the pattern set by a couple of copies which had remained in neglect during fifteen centuries, and had probably owed their survival to that neglect; whilst hundreds of others had been thumbed to pieces, and had bequeathed their witness to copies made from them” (The Traditional Text, 11–12).
Quoting Burgon, Kutilek argued against the divine promise of the providential preservation of the original Holy Scriptures. He quoted Burgon as saying, “… That by a perpetual miracle, Sacred Manuscripts would be protected all down the ages against depraving influences of whatever sort, was not to have been expected; certainly, was never promised” (28). Let me quote Burgon in context, and you, the reader, can judge for yourself whether the good Dean believed in the special providential preservation of the Scriptures or not: “The Church, remember, hath been from the beginning the ‘Witness and Keeper of Holy Writ.’ Did not her Divine Author pour out upon her, in largest measure, ‘the Spirit of Truth;’ and pledge Himself that it should be that Spirit’s special function to ‘guide’ her children ‘into all the Truth’? … That by a perpetual miracle, Sacred Manuscripts would be protected all down the ages against depraving influences of whatever sort,—was not to have been expected; certainly, was never promised. But the Church, in her collective capacity, hath nevertheless—as a matter of fact—been perpetually purging herself of those shamefully depraved copies which once everywhere abounded within her pale” (Revision Revised, 334–335). As much as the Lord had guided His Church in identifying the New Testament Canon, so also did He guide her to identify the NT Text which Burgon averred was not the Revised and Apostate Text of Westcott and Hort, but the Received and Preserved Text of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation.
As regards the KJV, Burgon wrote, “Our Authorised Version is the one religious link which at present binds together … millions of English-speaking men scattered over the earth’s surface. Is it reasonable that so unutterably precious, so sacred a bond should be endangered, for the sake of representing certain words more accurately,—here and there translating a tense with greater precision,—getting rid of a few archaisms? It may be confidently assumed that no ‘Revision’ of our Authorised Version, however, judiciously executed, will ever occupy the place of public esteem which is actually enjoyed by the work of the Translators of 1611,—the noblest literary work in the Anglo-Saxon language. We shall in fact never have another ‘Authorised Version.’ … As something intended to supercede our present English Bible, we are thoroughly convinced that the project of a rival Translation is not to be entertained for a moment. For ourselves, we deprecate it entirely” (Revision Revised, 113–114). Does not Dean Burgon sound very KJV-Only? Till today the KJV remains the best selling Bible.
Did Dean Burgon believe in an existing infallible and inerrant Bible? There is no question he did. Using the analogy of Jesus Christ as God incarnate—the Theanthropos—forever, Burgon argued, “As He was perfect and faultless, so do we deem it (i.e. the Scriptures) infallible also, without spot or blemish of any kind. We reject as monstrous any ‘theory of Inspiration,’ (as it is called,) which imputes blunders to the work of the Holy Ghost. … How mysterious is the record,—so methodical, so particular, so unique; preserving the very words which were syllabled in Paradise, and describing transactions which no one but the Holy Ghost is competent to declare! Come lower down, and where will you find more beautiful narratives,—still fresh at the end of three and four thousand years,—than those stories of Patriarchs, Judges, Kings, which wrap up divinest teaching in all their ordinary details: where every word is weighed in a heavenly balance, fraught with a divine purpose, and intended for some glorious issue: … Surely we have become too familiar with the providence which has preserved to us the very words of the four Evangelists, if we can bend our thoughts in the direction of the Gospel without a throb of joy and wonder not to be described, at having so great a treasure placed within our easy reach. Can it indeed be, that I may listen while the disciple whom Jesus loved is discoursing the miracles, and recalling the sayings of his Lord? May I hear St. Peter himself address the early Church,—or know the precise words of the message which St. Jude sent to the first believers,—or be shown the Epistle which the Lord’s cousin addressed ‘to the Twelve Tribes scattered abroad’? How does it happen that the Book is not for ever in our hands which comes to us with such claims to our undivided homage?” (Inspiration and Interpretation, 4, 6).
How infallible and inerrant is the Bible? Dean Burgon was at his best when he answered thus, “The Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the Throne! Every Book of it,—every Chapter of it,—every Verse of it,—every word of it,—every syllable of it,—(where are we to stop?)—every letter of it—is the direct utterance of the Most High!—pasa graphe theopneustos. ‘Well spake the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of’ the many blessed Men who wrote it.—The Bible is none other than the Word of God: not some part of it more, some part of it less; but all alike, the utterance of Him who sitteth upon the Throne;—absolute,—faultless,—unerring,—supreme!” (Inspiration and Interpretation, 89).
Kutilek put words into the mouths of Pro-KJV principals by saying that they believe the KJV to be as inspired and as infallible and inerrant as the original language Scriptures. We make no such claim. We believe that “the King James Version (or Authorised Version) of the English Bible is a true, faithful, and accurate translation of these two providentially preserved Texts [Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text and Traditional Greek Text underlying the KJV], which in our time has no equal among all of the other English Translations. The translators did such a fine job in their translation task that we can without apology hold up the Authorised Version and say ‘This is the Word of God!’ while at the same time realising that, in some verses, we must go back to the underlying original language Texts for complete clarity, and also compare Scripture with Scripture” (The Dean Burgon Society, “Articles of Faith,” section II.A). No translation can claim to be 100% equivalent to the original language Scriptures, but if it is a true, faithful, accurate translation based on the preserved text, it is the Word of God. The Textus Receptus is like the platinum yardstick of the Smithsonian Institute, accurate to the last decimal point. The KJV on the other hand is like the wooden yardstick used in the homes and shops. Would anyone deny that the common yardstick though not the perfect yardstick of the Smithsonian Institute is any less a yardstick and fit to measure?
I think you can see clearly now how spin-doctor Kutilek has not only distorted and misrepresented Hills, Fuller, Waite, Cloud et al, but also Burgon, by telling us that the eminent Dean of Chichester, who fought so hard against Westcott and Hort and their corrupt Greek Text and KJV Revision, did not believe he had an infallible and inerrant Bible, quoting him out of context. It must be brought to your attention that when Burgon spoke of “mistakes,” he was talking about Transcription, and not the Text itself! This is a significant distinction. Burgon also had a very high view of the KJV and cautioned any revision of it.
Kutilek laments that the KJV/TR-Only movement has caused “conflict and division,” and is “destructive and distractive” (49). Does not Kutilek understand that Truth is a Sword that divides? Jesus said, “I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34). Peace and unity at the expense of truth and purity is utter folly (read my paper, “Love Divides, Truth Unites” in The Burning Bush 6 : 1–6). Kutilek wants those who believe in an infallible and inerrant Bible today to shut up. It would be very easy for those who believe in the verbal plenary inspiration and preservation of the Holy Scriptures to simply keep quiet and let things be. But that would be treachery! “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10). “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). (Read Dr John C Whitcomb, “When Love Divorces Doctrine and Unity Leaves Truth” in my book, Biblical Separation: Doctrine of Church Purification and Preservation [Singapore: FEBC Press, 1999], 106–114.)
Our earnest contention for the inerrancy and infallibility of an extant Bible in the original languages is not an act of schism but of love for both God and man. We are intent on teaching “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27); we can do no less. Like the biblical doctrine of separation, the doctrine of the verbal plenary preservation taught in the Holy Scriptures and affirmed in the Reformation creeds is sorely neglected today. It is about time the Church be indoctrinated with the twin doctrines of verbal plenary inspiration and verbal plenary preservation in order to be vaccinated against the diseases of limited inerrancy and imperfect preservation as taught by neo-evangelicalism and neo-fundamentalism respectively.
In Beacham’s chapter, we see Darwinian rationalism in action. Beacham believes in the “evolution” of the Hebrew Scriptures. He wrote that because the Hebrew Scriptures “evolved” (58, 63), “it is impossible to suppose that Jewish scholars in the first century A.D. restored all of the very words of the original writings exactly as they were originally written” (62). His view of the Hebrew Scriptures is not only atheistic (he denies God’s providential preservation of His Scripture), but also agnostic (he denies the Church today can be certain she has an absolutely inerrant and infallible Scripture). No reader will fail to see that God is totally left out of the picture in his treatment of the history of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Beacham says that it is impossible to be sure that the Jewish people themselves had an inerrant and infallible Hebrew Old Testament at the time of the first century. Well, let us hear what the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had said about the divinely inspired Hebrew Scriptures in AD 27. Jesus in no uncertain terms declared that the Hebrew Scriptures the Jews had at that time, which were not the autographs, were word perfect to the jot and tittle, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt 5:17–18). I believe Jesus, not Beacham. (More on Matt 5:17–18 later on.)
Beacham’s chapter is nothing more than a Bible-doubting and faith-denying chapter. Beacham’s Hebrew Bible contains mistakes. Only Moses, David and the Old Testament prophets had perfect Bibles, but poor us, we do not have such perfect Bibles today! We Christians in this age are somehow less privileged. God did not care to preserve all of His words for us.
I submit to you that Central Seminary’s imperfectly preserved Bible is no different from Fuller Seminary’s limitedly inerrant Bible. Neo-evangelicalism has a new sister in neo-fundamentalism. God’s people had an infallible and inerrant Bible then but not now. What good is the Bible if it was perfect only then, but not now? What use is it to believe in a perfect God who is unable to preserve for us His infallible and inerrant Word? If God is incapable of preserving His words, how can we be sure He is able to preserve our salvation to the very end? We can have no confidence in the salvation He offers.
In Neo-fundamentalism, I see a strain of Neo-theism. The current Neo-theism questions God’s omniscience; One Bible Only? questions God’s omnipotence. Dr Carl McIntire was prophetic when he described this present compromising age of weak evangelical/fundamentalist scholarship: “What is so interesting about all this is that, in talking about the mighty acts of God and trying to make out of our God a great and powerful God, they have produced for us a God who is unable to give us a record that is true” (McIntire Maxims, 8).
In Beacham’s chapter, I hear not the voice of my Saviour, but the voice, nay, the noise of a stranger. I will not follow (John 10:27).
Glenny continues with One Bible Only?’s goal in undermining the inerrancy and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures. With a scholarly air, he sniffs at the Textus Receptus and hawks the Westcott and Hort text as the superior text. He swallows hook, line and sinker the Westcott and Hort theory that earlier, more difficult, and shorter readings are the better readings as opposed to the later, easier, and longer readings of the Traditional Text (79). He touts the Alexandrian text-type as “the best text-type now extant,” citing modernists Metzger and Aland for support (96). What a travesty of conservative biblical scholarship when slow-to-believe fundamentalists kowtow to the Bible-denying scholarship of theological modernism! Dean Burgon and Dr E F Hills would have been much safer guides!
It is thus no surprise that Glenny should blunder in disparaging the Traditional Text. Just like Westcott and Hort, Glenny would like to play textual-critical pope. Believing the Traditional Text to be inferior, he wrote, “The fact that no Greek manuscript with this text type is known from before the fourth century makes it questionable whether it existed before that time” (78). This allegation is blatantly false. It ought to be noted that this whole “text-type” paradigm and “recension” myth is a dreamt-up invention of Westcott and Hort and textual critics of their mould to confuse the transmission history of the original Scriptures in support of their Critical Text. Dean Burgon has rightly and justifiably written off the imaginary recension of the Traditional Text concocted by Westcott and Hort: “They supply no information. They are never supported by a particle of intelligible evidence. They are often demonstrably wrong, and always unreasonable. They are Dictation, not Criticism. … they are perceived to be the veriest foolishness also” (Revision Revised, 95; see also “John William Burgon and the New Testament” by Wilbur N Pickering in True or False? ed David Otis Fuller, 216–257). If we really want to talk about text-types and textual history, there are basically and clearly only two lines: the preserved and the corrupted (see “The Transmission of the NT Greek Text” chart below).
It is equally false for Glenny to say that the antiquity of the Traditional or Preserved Text cannot be proven. Dr Harry Sturz (who incidentally is no friend of TR/KJV preservationists) in his study of the early papyri concluded in no uncertain terms that there is “valid evidence that distinctive Byzantine (Traditional) readings were not created in the fourth century (contra Westcott and Hort) but were already in existence before the end of the second” (The Byzantine Text Type and New Testament Textual Criticism, 69). It is therefore wrongheaded to consider the Traditional Text to be late and fabricated (the pontification of neo-evangelical Daniel Wallace and charismatic Gordon Fee notwithstanding). As a fundamentalist, Glenny ought to be quick to defend the inerrancy of Scripture, but we find him doing just the opposite, undermining the Scriptures whenever he gets the opportunity.
Glenny favours the ever-changing Greek Text of the United Bible Societies now in its 4th revised edition, and that of Nestle-Aland which has already gone through a whopping 27 revisions (79). The above Critical Greek Texts are offsprings of the corrupt Westcott and Hort Text. The Textus Receptus, on the other hand, since the Reformation period has remained essentially a uniform text until Anglican liberals Westcott and Hort came into the scene with their Revised Greek Text. Instead of trusting in the providentially guided textual decisions of Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and finally the KJV translators who were no doubt Bible-believers and Bible-defenders with a high view of Scripture, Glenny would rather trust the textual-critical work of Westcott and Hort who not only denied the historicity of the creation account in Genesis, but also the inerrancy of Scripture. Hort wrote this of Darwin’s theory of evolution, “But the book which has most engaged me is Darwin. Whatever may be thought of it, it is a book that one is proud to be contemporary with. I must work out and examine the argument in more detail, but at present my feeling is strong that the theory is unanswerable” (Hort, Life, I:416). Hort’s sidekick Westcott believed the first three chapters of Genesis to be myth, “No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, give a literal history. I could never understand how any one reading them with open eyes could think they did” (Westcott, Life, I:78). Can we trust Westcott and Hort in making correct judgements concerning the text when they show themselves to be entirely faithless in God’s record of His creation? By faith we believe in the truthfulness of the Genesis account that God created this whole universe out of nothing (ex nihilo) in six literal days by the power of His Word. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb 11:3). “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6).
Westcott and Hort’s denial of biblical inerrancy is seen in their translation of 2 Tim 3:16. In their English Revised Version (ERV), they rendered the verse this way, “Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable….” By placing the copula “is” after “inspired of God,” the clause is made to mean that not all parts of Scripture are inspired of God; only those portions which are inspired are profitable. The KJV translators, on the other hand, correctly placed the copula “is” right after “All Scripture:” “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable….” It is no wonder that when the ERV came out in 1881, the great Presbyterian scholar, Robert L Dabney, wrote a scathing attack against Westcott and Hort’s rendering of 2 Tim 3:16 in the Southern Presbyterian Review of July 1881, “The poisonous suggestion intended is that, among the parts of the ‘scripture’ some are inspired and some are not. Our Bible contains fallible parts! The very doctrine of the Socinian and Rationalist. This treacherous version the revisers [viz. Westcott and Hort] have gratuitously sanctioned!” Indeed as modernists, Westcott and Hort were not fit to handle the Scriptures. They cannot be trusted. I cannot but agree with Dabney who soundly castigated the corrupt Greek Text of Westcott and Hort and their English Revised (Per) Version as coming from “the mind of infidel rationalism” (quoted in Paisley, My Plea for the Old Sword, 14).
Glenny disparages the Textus Receptus of Erasmus by the oft-heard Westcott-Hort complaint that Erasmus edited his text hastily and carelessly (82). We do not deny the fact that the very first edition of Erasmus’s Text was less than perfect. Erasmus was hurried by his publisher to meet the deadline. To be fair, it must be told that Erasmus took pains to correct whatever mistakes there were in his subsequent editions in 1519, 1522 and 1527. Stephanus who took over the editing of the Textus Receptus relied on Erasmus’s last two editions and not his first for sure. This age-old tactic to cast doubt on Erasmus’s Textus Receptus was ably denounced by Dean Burgon, “To raise an irrelevant discussion, at the outset, concerning the Textus Receptus:—to describe the haste with which Erasmus produced the first published edition of the N.T.:—to make sport about the copies which he employed:—all this kind of thing is proceeding of one who seeks to throw dust into their eyes:—to divert their attention from the problem actually before them:—not—(as we confidently expect when we have to do with such writers as these)—the method of a sincere lover of Truth” (Revision Revised, 17–18).
Glenny then went on to undermine the classic biblical proof-text for the doctrine of the Trinity, namely, 1 John 5:7 (83). He repeated Metzger’s myth that Erasmus promised to include 1 John 5:7 if a Greek manuscript could be presented to him that contained the text (83). H J De Jonge of the faculty of theology, Leiden University, an authority on Erasmus, has convincingly argued, giving evidence that Metzger’s view on Erasmus’s promise “has no foundation in Erasmus’s work. Consequently it is highly improbable that he included the difficult passage because he considered himself bound by any such promise” (cited in Michael Maynard, A History of the Debate Over 1 John 5:7–8, 265; full bibliography of primary source: Henk J De Jonge. “Erasmus and the Comma Johanneum.” Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 56 : 381–89). Metzger eventually admitted his error in the 3rd edition of his book—The Text of the New Testament—but hid it under a footnote on a distant page (how convenient!). For further study, read my paper, “Does a Clear, Biblical Proof Text Exist for the Doctrine of the Trinity?: A Preliminary Examination of the Antiquity and Authenticity of the Johannine Comma (1 Jn 5:7f),” Foundation, May–June 2000, 34–5; reprinted in 50 Years Building His Kingdom, Life Bible-Presbyterian Church anniversary magazine, 2000, 87–8.
Glenny says, “The history of the TR leaves no doubt that the text has changed many times. This is a major problem for those who claim that it exactly represents the originals” (86). Let me say that it is only a problem to Glenny, not to those who hold to a TR-superiority position. Dr Hills provides a better interpretation and perspective of the history of the TR: “The texts of the several editions of the Textus Receptus were God-guided. They were set up under the leading of God’s special providence. Hence the differences between them were kept down to a minimum. But these disagreements were not eliminated altogether, for this would require not merely providential guidance but a miracle. In short, God chose to preserve the New Testament text providentially rather than miraculously, and this is why the several editions of the Textus Receptus vary from each other slightly” (The King James Version Defended, 222–223).
Which of the TRs then exactly represents the originals? Dr Hills answered, “The answer to this question is easy. We are guided by the common faith. Hence we favor that form of the Textus Receptus upon which more than any other God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of His approval, namely, the King James Version, or, more precisely, the Greek text underlying the King James Version” (The King James Version Defended, 223). Thus Dr Waite’s personal conviction that “the words of the Received Greek and MasoreticHebrew text that underlie the King James Bible are the very words which God has preserved down through the centuries, being the exact words of the originals themselves”, with which Glenny has taken issue, is entirely defensible. Simply apply the logic of faith, and apply it consistently.
The doctrine of the special providential preservation of Scripture as affirmed in the Reformation creeds demands such a view of an inerrant and infallible original language Scripture that underlies the KJV. Reformed author, G I Williamson, did write to this effect in his commentary on the Westminster Confession concerning preservation, “This brings us to the matter of God’s ‘singular care and providence’ by which He has ‘kept pure in all ages’ this original text, so that we now actually possess it in ‘authentical’ form. And let us begin by giving an illustration from modern life to show that an original document may be destroyed, without the text of that document being lost. Suppose you were to write a will. Then suppose you were to have a photographic copy of that will made. If the original were then destroyed, the photographic copy would still preserve the text of that will exactly the same as the original itself (emphasis his). The text of the copy would differ in no way whatever from the original, and so it would possess exactly the same ‘truth’ and meaning as the original. Now of course photography was not invented until long after the original copy … had been worn out or lost. How then could the original text of the Word of God be preserved? The answer is that God preserved it by His own remarkable care and providence” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, 15).
Glenny goes on to contend that the KJV of 1611 is different from the KJV printed today. He went on to argue that the 1769 edition of the KJV which is the KJV being used today differs from the 1611 KJV “in at least 75,000 details” (90). He then ridiculed the Pro-KJV position with these words, “for the King James-Only advocate, such differences are more than an embarrassment; they are a contradiction of the King James-Only position. How can the KJV be inspired and yet have errors in it that should be changed?” (91). Let me answer Glenny’s false charge. No sane Pro-KJV defender would ever say that the KJV is “inspired” in the same way the original Scriptures were. No right thinking Pro-KJV advocate would say that the KJV is “advanced revelation” and hence superior to the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. That is Ruckman’s heretical position, not Burgon, Fuller, Hills, Waite, Cloud, nor mine. It is absolutely misleading to say that “there are 75,000 details of differences” as Glenny would have us believe. Dr Waite through personal study discovered that the differences between the 1611 and 1769 KJV have mainly to do with spelling and punctuation (Central Seminary Refuted on Bible Versions, 73–76). The KJV of 1611 and that of 1769 are essentially the same.
The most damaging chapter of One Bible Only? is this very chapter that denies God’s special providential preservation of His Holy Scriptures. Glenny says yes to the total inspiration of Scripture but no to its entire preservation. Glenny says that “The Scriptures teach inspiration and inerrancy in relation to only the original autographs” (103). For support, he cites the [Neo]-Evangelical Theological Society’s (ETS) statement on biblical inerrancy: “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs” (102). Let me just point out that the ETS statement is too general to be definitive. Although it says that inerrancy is in the autographs, it does not say at all that it is confined to the autographs alone. Thus, the ETS statement does not necessarily support Glenny’s theory of Sola Autographa.
The whole concept of Sola Autographa is a new doctrine introduced by 19th century liberalism, picked up by 20th century neo-evangelicalism, and now championed by 21st century neo-fundamentalism. The 16th century Reformation scholars have always spoken in terms of Sola Scriptura, and not Sola Autographa. They always assumed the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture in terms of Autographa cum Apographa. Prof Richard Muller of Calvin Theological Seminary rightly observed, “The Protestant scholastics do not press the point made by their nineteenth-century followers that the infallibility of Scripture and the freedom of Scripture from error reside absolutely in the autographa and only in a derivative sense in the apographa; rather, the scholastics argue positively that the apographa preserve intact the true words of the prophets and the apostles and that the God-breathed (theopneustos, q.v.) character of Scripture is manifest in the apographa as well as the autographa. In other words, the issue primarily addressed by the seventeenth-century orthodox in their discussion of the autographa is the continuity of the extant copies in Hebrew and in Greek with the originals both quoad res, with respect to the thing or subject of the text, and quoad verba, with respect to the words of the text” (Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, s.v. “autographa”).
If one were to ask Glenny whether he has an infallible and inerrant Bible today, his answer would have to be no. Do we have all of God’s inspired words today? Glenny answers, “We might have lost a few words through negligence, but the amount that has been lost is so minimal that it has no effect on overall doctrine and little, if any, on historical or other details” (121). In other words, the Church today has only a 99% and not a 100% inspired Scripture because God has allowed perhaps 1% of His inspired words to be lost. But Glenny assures us that the 1% that is lost does not affect our doctrine, nor our salvation. What foolish thinking! What dangerous teaching! It directly opposes what Jesus said in Matt 4:4, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” If Jesus said “every word” of Scripture is important for His people, surely He would preserve every inspired word for His people throughout the ages. Jesus does not lie. I believe Jesus’ injunction that man should live by His “every word” is true. And for the Christian in every generation to live by His “every word”, He must necessarily preserve His “every word”. I believe Jesus kept His promise, and He as God surely cannot fail.
Glenny quoted six modern confessions (one from a theological society that militant fundamentalists would deem neo-evangelical, and five from theological seminaries mostly Baptist of the same anti-preservationist stripe) to argue that only the Autographs were inspired, infallible and inerrant. Glenny quoted notorious anti-KJV advocate, Dan Wallace of Dallas, to argue that “the doctrine of preservation was not a doctrine of the ancient church”, and that the doctrine of preservation “first appeared in a church creed in the Westminster Confession of 1647” (116). The implication is that such a doctrine never existed until it was stated in a 17th century creed, in the Westminster Confession of Faith. By the same logic, one would also have to conclude that the doctrine of the 100% deity and 100% humanity of Christ in one Person never existed prior to its appearance in the 4th century Athanasian Creed! What ill logic! The doctrine of the 100% inspiration and 100% preservation of God’s Holy Word existed even before the Westminster Confession as much as the doctrine of the 100% deity and 100% humanity of Christ existed before the Athanasian Creed. The doctrine of 100% inspiration and 100% preservation of God’s words in the Holy Scriptures is not a new doctrine but a very old one. It certainly did not begin with D A Waite, nor E F Hills, nor J W Burgon, but with the Holy Scripture itself. The doctrine of preservation is as old as the Bible. Why is the Bible our Supreme, Final, and All-sufficient Authority in faith and life? It is precisely because it is God’s Perfect Word, infallible and inerrant, even today!
Now Glenny says he believes in providential preservation. This is what he says, but what does he mean? Do know that when Glenny says he believes in preservation, he does not mean entire preservation but essentialpreservation; it is conceptual preservation, not verbal preservation; only the vital doctrines are preserved, not the inspired words (122).
Does the Bible teach partial and conceptual preservation or plenary and verbal preservation? The Bible and the Protestant Church creeds affirm the latter. The Reformed Confessions in both Presbyterian and Baptist circles affirm not just the 100% inspiration of the Autographs, but also the 100% preservation of the Autographs in the faithful Apographs that have come down to us today. The Westminster Confession of Faith (1.8) for instance states, “The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.” Note that the Westminster Confession did not use the term “Autographs” but spoke of the Scriptures in terms of the original languages (Hebrew OT and Greek NT). The Westminster Confession clearly affirms the 100% inspiration (“immediately inspired by God”) and 100% preservation (“by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages”) of the Holy Scriptures in the original languages.
Francis Turretin as quoted earlier expounded on the early confessional doctrine of Biblical preservation and understood it to mean “entire preservation”: “Nor can we readily believe that God, who dictated and inspired each and every word to these inspired (theopneustois) men, would not take care of their entire preservation.” Know that Turretin was no ordinary theologian. His Systematic Theology textbook was used in Princeton Seminary until Warfield came into the scene with his radical and new “Autographal” view of the original text which opened the door to liberal textual criticism that has spawned a whole new generation of critical texts and modern perversions of the Scriptures that seek to displace the time-tested and time-honoured TR and KJV.
Glenny says that there is no biblical basis whatsoever to believe that God has preserved His inspired Scripture perfectly so that none of His words would be lost. He claims that “not only is Scripture without a verse to explain how God will preserve His Word, but no statement in Scripture teaches that God did preserve perfectly the original text of Scripture in one manuscript, one family of manuscripts, or even in all of the manuscripts” (123). Such a deistic view of God and His Scripture is indeed strange considering that it comes from the mouth of a “fundamentalist” who claims to believe only the Bible (Sola Scriptura). Glenny says he believes in the providential preservation of Scripture, but cannot prove his belief from the Scriptures. He admits there is no biblical basis for his belief. On what does he base his faith then? His faith is based on the “evidence of history” (121). Now any honest historian would acknowledge that what is called “evidence of history” may be interpreted in a number of ways. From the human perspective, there is no such thing as one history but many histories. History is subject to human interpretation and thus cannot be an infallible authority. Only the infallible Scripture which is not only inerrant in matters of faith but also science, history and geography can serve as our infallible Guide in interpreting the things of the cosmos. It is only when we read history through the lens of God’s Word will we interpret history accurately. Every fundamentalist knows that the supreme and final authority of faith is the infallible and inerrant Scriptures. Glenny has therefore undermined Sola Scriptura here.
Glenny undermined not only Sola Scriptura, but also the many verses that teach the providential preservation of the Scripture, the more important ones being Matt 5:18 and Ps 12:6–7 (116–121). On Matt 5:18, Glenny said, “This passage is not speaking about the continual preservation, through written copies, of the exact words found in the autographa; it is declaring that all of the prophecies in the OT that pointed to Christ will be fulfilled down to the smallest detail. … Matthew 5:18 does not even refer to the NT text, let alone speak of its perfect, supernatural preservation” (116). I am amazed by Glenny’s muddled theology and constipated interpretation of Matt 5:18. From where did he learn his theology and hermeneutics? Glenny says that Matt 5:18 does not mean preservation at all. His constipated exegesis has led him to conclude that the text merely speaks of the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies. Not only that, he contends that the verse has nothing to do with the New Testament whatsoever.
First, let me demonstrate how Glenny is theologically muddled. When theologians want to prove the verbal inspiration of Scripture, which verse would they cite? Where in the Bible are we taught that every word of the Bible is inspired to the last jot and tittle? Is it not Matt 5:18? In The Moody Handbook of Theology, Paul Enns wrote, “In His use of the Old Testament Christ gave credence to the inspiration of the entire Old Testament. In Matthew 5:17–18 Christ affirmed that not the smallest letter or stroke would pass from the law until it would be fulfilled. In v.17 He referred to the law or the prophets, a common phrase designating the entire Old Testament. In this rather strong statement, Jesus affirmed the inviolability of the entire Old Testament and thereby affirmed the inspiration of the entire Old Testament.” So this verse does not only mean the fulfillment of prophecies as Glenny would have us believe, but the inspiration of the entire Old Testament. If Glenny is correct that this verse cannot be applied to the providential preservation of the Old Testament, then by the same token it cannot be used for the verbal inspiration of the Old Testament either. If we apply Glenny’s hermeneutics on Rev 22:18–19, then we must also say that God forbade the tampering of the Book of Revelation only, and not the rest of the Bible. Does this make sense? It goes without saying that Glenny’s hermeneutical method is utterly flawed.
Second, does Matt 5:18 refer only to the Old Testament and cannot in any way include the New? And does not Matt 5:18 teach just the verbal inspiration but also verbal preservation of the entire Scripture? Let us hear from Matthew Henry: “Heaven and earth shall come together, and all the fulness thereof be wrapt up in ruin and confusion, rather than any word of God shall fall to the ground, or be in vain. The word of the Lord endures for ever, both that of the law [i.e. OT], and that of the gospel [i.e. NT]. … for whatever belongs to God, and bears his stamp, be it ever so little, shall be preserved.” Here in Matthew Henry we find a sane and sound exposition of this precious verse. The original language Scriptures are not only fully inspired but also entirely preserved, and as such we can say that we have the infallible and inerrant Word of God today!
Not only Matthew Henry, the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS) uses Matt 5:18 to prove the entire preservation of Holy Scripture as well. The TBS booklet on The Greek New Testament states, “God has promised in His Word that He would not only preserve His Word for generations to come, but that His Word was permanent and would be kept free from corruption. Matthew 5.18 states ‘For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.’ … These verses demonstrate that God has not left His church for centuries without an authoritative copy of the Word of God, but that God’s people down through the ages have faithfully copied and recopied copies of the original autographs. The church all over the world has used the Traditional Text in all its various forms, and God has seen fit to multiply multitudes of copies and has brought salvation to many generations through this preservation process.”
It is important to note again that both the Westminster Confession and the Helvetic Consensus Formula cite Matt 5:18 as proof for the divine inspiration and providential preservation of the Holy Scriptures. The clear and categorical statements of 100% inspiration and 100% preservation made by the Westminster divines were what led Pittsburgh Prof William F Orr to conclude, “this affirms that the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New which was known to the Westminster divines was immediately inspired by God because it was identical with the first text that God had kept pure in all the ages. The idea that there are mistakes in the Hebrew Masoretic texts or in the Textus Receptus of the New Testament was unknown to the authors of the Confession of Faith.”
Not only did Glenny fallaciously dismiss Matt 5:18, but also Ps 12:6–7 as a proof-text for the preservation of God’s words (119–120). Ps 12:6–7 reads, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Glenny denies that the words “keep them” and “preserve them” in verse 7 refer to “the words of the LORD” in verse 6. He interprets verse 7 to mean the preservation of God’s people (v5) rather than God’s words (v6). He argues, “The pronoun them in verse 7 (‘thou shalt keep them’) cannot refer to the ‘words’ of verse 6 for grammatical reasons. It refers to the ‘poor’ and the ‘needy’ of verse 5. … Hebrew grammar requires that it be the righteous whom God is keeping and preserving in verse 7. In Hebrew, nouns and pronouns have gender and number, and the gender and number of each pronoun normally should be the same as that of its antecedent. The pronoun them (v.7a) is a masculine suffix whereas the noun words (v.6a) is feminine. Furthermore, in the Hebrew text verse 7b reads, ‘You will preserve him from this generation for ever.’ … This connection is clear in the Hebrew because the pronoun on the verb preserve (v7b) is third person, masculine, and singular” (119–120).
All this sounds very good and convincing, but Glenny conveniently hides (if he indeed knows his Hebrew grammar) the fact that his explanation is not the only way in which the text can be read in Hebrew grammar. Gesenius’s Hebrew Grammar (440) states, “Through a weakening in the distinction of gender, which is noticeable elsewhere … And which probably passed from the colloquial language into that of literature, masculine suffixes (especially in the plural) are not infrequently used to refer to feminine substantives.” Waltke and O’Connor’s Biblical Hebrew Syntax (302) likewise states: “The masculine pronoun is often used for a feminine antecedent.” Glenny purposely misleads when he says that “pronouns normally should be the same as that of its antecedent.” Gesenius says it is not normal, for masculine pronominal suffixes, in this case “them” in verse 7 “are not infrequently used to refer to feminine substantives,” i.e. the “words” (feminine noun) in verse 6. Waltke and O’Connor say the same, “The masculine pronoun [i.e. “them” in verse 7] is often used for a feminine antecedent [i.e. “words” of verse 6].
Glenny also argues from grammar that the word “them” in “thou shalt preserve them” should be rendered as “him” and not “them”. That is because it is in the Hebrew “third person, masculine, and singular”. Although Glenny has declined the pronoun correctly, he neglects to tell his readers of another grammatical rule that comes to play when a verb with a pronominal suffix contains the energetic nun. The Rev S Y Quek of the Far Eastern Bible College offers this grammatical counterpoint in support of the KJV reading, “It is true that the pronominal suffix for ‘preserve them’ in verse 7b is a third person masculine singular suffix (‘him’). Why did the KJV translators translate it as ‘them?’ The key is that in the addition of the suffix, the Holy Spirit wanted to emphasise the verb ‘preserve’ so that an ‘energetic nun’ (the letter ‘n’) is added before attaching the pronominal suffix. When this occurs an additional rule comes into operation in the Hebrew language. There is no masculine plural pronominal suffix in the third person when the energetic nun is applied to a verb (see Gesenius, Hebrew Grammar, 157–158, section 4, I). Hence the Scripture writer, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used the singular masculine pronominal suffix, retaining the same gender as in ‘keep them’ (verse 7a). Therefore it is again very legitimate and consistent with Hebrew grammar for the KJV translators to translate the masculine singular pronoun suffix with the energetic nun as a masculine plural pronoun—‘them.’”
In defence of the doctrine of preservation and the KJV rendering of Ps 12:6–7, let me direct you to the Rev Peter W Van Kleeck, a Baptist pastor and theologian who earned his double Masters from Westminster and Calvin Seminaries, and was Director of the Institute of Biblical Textual Studies. In his book—Fundamentalism’s Folly?—Van Kleeck took to task the nonsense spouted by Central Seminary in One Bible Only?. Van Kleeck under the section, “The Churchly Tradition’s Rendering of Psalm 12:7,” did a historical study of the interpretation of this verse in an attempt to refute Edward Glenny who dogmatically asserted that this verse cannot at all mean the preservation of Scripture. Allow me to quote Van Kleeck: “The evidence shows that the churchly tradition allows ‘them’ the breadth to include both people and God’s words in its interpretation. … the modern versions elect to overlook the Reformation’s Hebrew basis for translation in Psalm 12:6–7; and the churchly tradition is censored in the new versions and by Central Seminary by not including a translation and interpretation that is broad enough to include both oppressed people and God’s words. Glenny’s modern, sectarian approach to the text had again limited the scope of his exegesis. By so doing he has wrongly argued the false claim that there is no text of Scripture that teaches providential preservation, and thereby fails to meet the criterion of his premise.” It ought to be highlighted that One Bible Only? is an anti-preservationist book that has bowed the knee to the textual-critical Baal of Westcott and Hort, and has undermined God’s providential work over His Sacred Text during the Great Reformation of the 16th century. And by so doing, they have done a great disservice to the fundamentalist cause. No wonder Van Kleeck calls it “Fundamentalism’s Folly”.
Under the section “Biblical Problems”, Glenny reveals that he does not believe he has an infallible and inerrant Scripture today. In Glenny’s mind, God has not preserved 100% of His words. Based on such a presupposition he allows and even recommends the “scholarly” approach of “conjectural emendations” to the Hebrew text as introduced by liberal scholars. Glenny desires to follow the liberal scholarly guild of Bible correctors, but soothes his fundamentalist conscience by saying that he is “forced” to do so (114).
In which places must the Bible be corrected? Glenny cites a number of mistakes in the Bible: 2 Sam 8:4/1 Chron 18:4, 2 Kgs 8:26/2 Chron 22:2, 2 Kgs 24:8/2 Kgs 24:15. He pontificates, “These obvious discrepancies in the KJV and the Hebrew manuscripts on which it is based show that none of them perfectly preserved the inspired autographa” (115). He goes on to demean Bible preservationists by saying that they do not grapple with the problems, or pretend that they do not exist. Of course, this is far from true.
Now, let us grapple with these so-called “Biblical Problems” or biblical discrepancies. We do not run away from the fact that there are such differences, contradictions, discrepancies in the Scriptures but the question that needs to be asked is: Are such differences, contradictions, discrepancies in the Bible merely apparent or actual errors? Based on the biblical presupposition that we have a 100% inspired and 100% preserved Scripture, we conclude that these discrepancies are only apparent and not actual errors at all. Over against the modernist approach of conjectural emendations, fundamentalist scholars solve such “problems” by employing principles of harmonisation. Such differences can be easily reconciled. There are often several possible solutions. True fundamentalists would employ the Pauline hermeneutics in their approach to discrepancies in the Bible, which is “let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom 3:4). Fundamentalists should never in any way say the Bible contains mistakes. Our Bible is perfect, infallible, inerrant, and we mean what we say, unlike Glenny and his company.
As regards 2 Kgs 8:26 and 2 Chron 22:2 which read 22 years and 42 years respectively in the original Hebrew language Scripture, it ought to be pointed out that even the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia lists no textual variants. In other words, every existing Hebrew manuscript reads 22 and 42 respectively in those two verses. This reveals that no copying mistakes were made, for if they were indeed scribal errors, the Masoretes would have corrected them; why did they allow these “mistakes” to remain unless they were not mistakes at all but were the very inspired words of the original writers? Now the NIV and NASB went against the Hebrew Bible and the KJV by changing 2 Chron 22:2 to read 22 instead of 42, making it agree with 2 Kgs 8:26. Is this acceptable? Is Glenny now going to say that the NIV and NASB can be more inspired than the Hebrew Scripture? Is this not a sort of NIV/NASB Ruckmanism? Glenny treads on dangerous waters for he is evidently more comfortable with Speculative Modernist Theology than Fedeistic Fundamentalist Theology.
I find myself in partial agreement with Glenny when he wrote, “The historical evidence for the preservation of God’s Word is similar to the evidence we use to determine the limits of the biblical canon. No explicit statement in Scripture details every book that is to be included in the canon, but we hold fast to our conviction concerning the sixty-six books in the canon on the basis of the historical evidence” (122). Glenny went on to quote J R McRay to support his case, “The formation of the NT canon must, therefore, be regarded as a process rather than an event.” Glenny affirms the historical evidence but denies the more important biblical evidence. KJV/TR defenders, however, believe in the doctrine of Bible preservation precisely because it is taught in the Scriptures, and see God’s providential hand at work in preserving His inspired words in history. History is certainly His Story. God is sovereign, omnipotent and omniscient, and surely the entire preservation of His very own words to the jot and tittle is not something beyond His control, power and wisdom.
As Glenny affirms, providential preservation is a “process”. The Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS) affirms this as well, and proves it through the biblical and historical arguments. The TBS booklet on The Greek New Testamentstates, “God has promised in His Word that He would not only preserve His Word for generations to come, but that His Word was permanent and would be kept free from corruption. Matthew 5:18 states ‘For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.’ … These verses demonstrate that God has not left His church for centuries without an authoritative copy of the Word of God, but that God’s people down through the ages have faithfully copied and recopied copies of the original autographs. The church all over the world has used the Traditional Text in all its various forms, and God has seen fit to multiply multitudes of copies and has brought salvation to many generations through this preservation process.”
The question we need to ask now is this: Is there a historical precedent that can be cited to prove that the process of divine preservation of Scripture can result in a standard or a fixed text? The answer is yes. The historical precedent is in the canonisation of the New Testament. All the inspired New Testament books were completed by AD 90 when the Apostle John wrote the last book of Revelation, and God warned against adding to or subtracting from His Word in Rev 22:18–19. However, we know that in the first few centuries, there were uninspired men who penned spurious writings and passed them off as Scripture. Some of these were the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Epistle of Barnabas, etc. Nevertheless, none of the inspired books of Scripture have been lost or obscured in the canonical process. By the providential guidance of the Holy Spirit, God’s people were led to identify the 27 books to become our NT Canon, no more, no less. There was a terminus to the canonisation of Scripture at the Council of Carthage in AD 397. In like manner, the Lord allowed copyist errors and corruptions to enter during the transcription process through the pen of fallible scribes. Nevertheless, His providential hand kept His inspired words of Scripture from being lost. In light of God’s providence, that nothing happens by chance, and that history is under His sovereign control, I believe that in the fulness of time—in the most opportune time of the Reformation when the true church separated from the false, when the study of the original languages was emphasised, and the printing press invented (which meant that no longer would there be any need to handcopy the Scriptures thereby ensuring a uniform text)—God restored from out of a pure stream of preserved Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, the purest Hebrew and Greek Text of all—the Text that underlies our KJV—that accurately reflects the original Scriptures.
That the providential preservation of Scripture sees its historical parallel in the providential canonisation of Scripture was Dean Burgon’s thinking as well. Dr Hills wrote of Burgon: “Burgon … never lost sight of the special providence of God which has presided over the transmission of the New Testament down through the ages, expressly set out to maintain against all opponents that the Church was divinely guided to reject the false readings of the early centuries, and to gradually accept the true text. He denied that he was claiming a perpetual miracle that would keep manuscripts from being depraved at various times, and in various places. But ‘The Church in her collective capacity, has nevertheless—as a matter of fact—been perpetually purging herself of those shamefully depraved copies which once everywhere abounded with her pale’ (The Revision Revised, 334–5). He believed that just as God gradually settled the Canon of the New Testament by weaning His churches from non-canonical books, so He did with the Text also.”
Having said this, I must add that I am quite sure Glenny would disagree with my interpretation of history as much as I disagree with his. Wherein lies the disagreement? In this: Glenny believes that “God has providentially preserved the text of Scripture in multiple manuscripts throughout history so that none of its doctrinal content is lost or affected adversely” (122). I, on the other hand, believe that God has providentially preserved the text of Scripture in the majority of the manuscripts throughout history so that none of its inspired words is lost or corrupted totally. In other words, Glenny believes in conceptual preservation, whereas I in verbal preservation.
Glenny’s position on preservation is quite similar to the liberals and neo-evangelicals who argue for conceptual inspiration against verbal inspiration. Fundamentalists have always believed in the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, and by the same token it is only biblical and logical that they should believe in the verbal plenary preservation of the Scriptures. Why would God want to inspire His words without wanting to preserve every one of them? The deistic heresy that God inspired His Word but did nothing to preserve it must be rejected. No one denies that some copying mistakes were made during the transmission process. But the question is: Did God lose the words of the originals when the “autographs” were destroyed? Although the Church does not have the autographa (the very first scripts) today, she has the apographa (copies) which reflect the autographa. Providentially speaking, the autographa were neither lost nor destroyed.
It is quite illogical to say that only the doctrines are preserved, but not the words. Without the words, where the doctrines? Without the chicken, where the egg? Every word of Scripture is important for Biblical doctrine, even the jots and the tittles. By way of illustration, a comma can change the meaning of a whole sentence. Consider this: “No man is without sin” and “No, man is without sin.” See what a difference a tiny comma can make!
The doctrine of the special providential preservation of Scripture is intrinsically linked to the doctrine of the miraculous inspiration of Scripture. To deny one is to deny the other. Dr E F Hills was extremely astute to observe that a fallacious view of preservation would invariably lead one to a denial of the inspiration of the Scripture: “Conservative scholars … say that they believe in the special, providential preservation of the New Testament text. Most of them really don’t though, because, as soon as they say this, they immediately reduce this special providential preservation to the vanishing point in order to make room for the naturalistic theories of Westcott and Hort. As we have seen, some say that the providential preservation of the New Testament means merely that the same “substance of doctrine” is found in all the New Testament documents. Others say that it means that the true reading is always present in at least one of the thousands of extant New Testament manuscripts. And still other scholars say that to them the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures means that the true New Testament text was providentially discovered in the mid-19th century by Tischendorf, Tregelles, and Westcott and Hort after having been lost for 1,500 years.
“If you adopt one of these false views of the providential preservation of Scriptures, then you are logically on your way toward the denial of the infallible inspiration of the Scriptures. For if God has preserved the Scriptures so carelessly, why would he have infallibly inspired them in the first place? It is not sufficient therefore merely to say that you believe in the doctrine of the special, providential preservation of Holy Scriptures. You must reallybelieve this doctrine and allow it to guide your thinking. You must begin with Christ and the Gospel and proceed according to the logic of faith. This will lead you to the Traditional text, the Textus Receptus, and the King James Version.” Glenny and his colleagues would do well to take heed of Hills’s warning and advice.
“What is the best Bible version or translation?” Milliman gives a Barthianistic, existential answer to this question when he said the most “appropriate answer … though disappointing to some people, is, ‘That depends’” (134, 137). Such an answer displays a crass lack of spiritual discernment. Such a wishy washy, ini-mini-myni-mo approach to choosing a Bible does nobody any good. It is indeed simplistic and naïve of a Bible professor like Milliman to think that all Bibles are good. Milliman’s approach is a man-pleasing, book-selling, rather than a God-honouring and truth-promoting approach.
There are basically two criteria in evaluating a version: (1) On which original language texts are the translations based, and (2) by what method of translation is the version produced?
First, on which original language texts should a translation be based? As far as Milliman is concerned, “the Masoretic Text is, by far, the text of choice in translating the OT” (135). I agree with Milliman, although I would specify that it is the Ben Chayyim edition on which the KJV is based. As far as the New Testament text is concerned, Milliman is open to both the Majority Text/Textus Receptus and the Westcott-Hort Text. It is clear that Milliman is biased against the theological approach in favour of the lower critical approach to the text. In his opinion, the textual-critical method of Westcott and Hort and their cohorts remain “the most reasonable way to reconstruct, with confidence, the original text of the Bible … the text generally followed is The Greek New Testament published by the United Bible Societies” (136). He admits that “virtually all modern translations have been based on this text” (136).
It is indeed strange that Milliman a professing fundamentalist would prefer a Greek text that has been edited by Roman Catholics and modernists. He seems quite sure that these men who deny the gospel and the fundamentals of the Christian faith are able to decide for him which readings of the text are inspired and which are not. Does he not know that “spiritual things are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:13–14)? Are men who are void of the Spirit capable of making the correct decisions with regard to the text? Who can ascend unto God’s holy hill except those with clean hands and pure hearts (Ps 24:3–4)? We would rather trust the textual decisions of the reformers and the KJV men. These were the men whom we can expect the Holy Spirit to guide as they attempted to reconstruct the original text (John 14:26, 1 John 2:27). The Textus Receptus on which the KJV is based is the Reformation Text which has stood the test of time for nearly 400 years, and its ancestry can be traced right back to the first century when the inspired New Testament was written. This is the providentially preserved text that is worthy of our trust and use. The logic of faith would lead us to this conclusion. It is absurd to think that God would allow His Church to use a corrupted text down through the centuries only to raise up two Anglican liberals—Westcott and Hort—in 1881 to produce their “pure” text. The doctrine of the providential preservation of Scripture, that God has kept His words pure throughout the ages, would have us know that the purity of the text existed from the very beginning when God put His inspired words on paper, and not only after 1881. Milliman thanks Westcott and Hort. To these two and to Milliman, I say, “No thanks!”
Second, there are two Bible translation methods, the traditional formal equivalence (word for word) method and the modern dynamic equivalence (thought for thought, or thought for word) method. Milliman began rather well by saying that “in Bible translation strong arguments can be made that the translator should be most interested in faithfulness to the specific forms of the original text” (138). But the next moment, he compromises. Translations, he says, “that are produced based on any one of these theories may all be able to lay claim to the label ‘accurate’” (138). Milliman compromises by calling for “balance” (147). Does not Milliman know that “balance” is a favourite term of neo-evangelicalism? He then went on to put in a good word for feminist translations: “No reason exists to insist on male-oriented language when a gender-neutral translation would best reflect the meaning of the original text” (147). Such a “balanced” approach that takes lightly specific forms and genders of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures opens a can of worms. Milliman says, “Meaning … takes precedence over form” (140). But who determines “meaning?” How do we know it is “meaning” and not “opinion”? Where do we draw the line? If we employ the dynamic approach to translation, we become slaves to subjectivity. The dynamic equivalence method may be well and good for human literature, but not so when it comes to translating the Bible, for in Bible translation we are not dealing with human literature but divine Scripture. If we, as fundamentalists, believe in verbal plenary inspiration, that every word of God in the Holy Scriptures is divinely inspired and God-breathed, then the only acceptable and God-honouring method of translation must be a verbal plenary translation (VPT) method which is the formal equivalence (word for word) method.
Milliman ought to return to Bibliology 101. He ought to be reminded that God inspired “words” not “concepts”. I wonder if Milliman is sympathetic to the liberal view of conceptual inspiration vis-à-vis verbal inspiration. I trust not. But one thing is certain, his view on biblical translation does not square with his view on biblical inspiration.
Which English Bible version does Milliman recommend? Milliman would recommend any version, as long as it suits the user. He goes by what he has said earlier, “it depends”. It depends on one’s tastes and preferences. Insofar as English Bibles are concerned, the Christian is privileged to have a Baskin Robbins’ variety of flavours. It does not matter whether a version is based on the corrupt Westcott-Hort Text or not, or whether a translation is accurately and faithfully translated or not, the reader is simply encouraged to pick one that suits his taste. Despite knowing the weaknesses and unfaithfulness of these modern versions, Milliman has no qualms recommending all these corrupt versions: ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NCV, LB, NLT, NIV, NIrV etc. Milliman considers the NIV to be the best all-round version and highly recommends it (150). The NIV being the most popular of all modern English Bibles today is indeed the most dangerous. Read my critique of the NIV in Chapter IX of my book—Kept Pure in All Ages—published by the FEBC Press, 2001 (obtainable from the FEBC Bookroom, 9A Gilstead Road, Singapore 309063).
It is truly naïve of Milliman to think that all these versions “accurately present the Word of God and, at the same time, fulfill the need for a variety of uses” (150). If all these Bibles were the same, faithfully and accurately translated based on the inspired and preserved text, then there would be no problems, but such is simply not the case. There are truly serious problems in all the above versions, and they could rightly be deemed perversions of the Bible. I stress again that all the above versions are a hodgepodge of modernist, feminist, ecumenist, and evolutionist perversions of the Bible. Every Christian ought to be warned against them.
Many English versions have been published, but none has yet overthrown the KJV. The KJV remains the best, most faithful, reliable, accurate, trustworthy, beautiful English Bible we have today. Can the venerable KJV ever be replaced? Should we ever think of revising it? Here is Dean Burgon’s reply: “Whatever may be urged in favour of Biblical Revision, it is at least undeniable that the undertaking involves a tremendous risk. Our Authorized Version is the one religious link which at present binds together … millions of English-speaking men scattered over the earth’s surface. Is it reasonable that so unutterably precious, so sacred a bond should be endangered, for the sake of representing certain words more accurately,—here and there translating a tense with greater precision,—getting rid of a few archaisms? It may be confidently assumed that no ‘Revision’ of our Authorized Version, however judiciously executed, will ever occupy the place in public esteem which is actually enjoyed by the work of the Translators of 1611,—the noblest literary work in the Anglo-Saxon language. We shall in fact never have another ‘Authorized Version’” (Revision Revised, 113).
Bauder wrongly entitled his chapter, “An Appeal to Scripture”. It should be retitled, “A Denial of Scripture”. Besides all his verbiage, the 7 passages of Scripture Bauder cited—Rev 10:1–4, John 21:25, Matt 13:1–13, Mark 4:1–13, 2 Kgs 22:8, 2 Chron 34:15, and Tit 3:10—have all been twisted out of context to support his strawman and red herring arguments. In many of his paragraphs, he paints his highly imaginative version of the Pro-KJV position, making it look ridiculous, and then conveniently critiques his very own absurd caricature of his opponents. This is not only unfair, it is also dishonest. In his offensive posturing against Traditional Text preservationists, he clearly shows himself to be a desperate man who can only find fault with his opponents by creating faults for them. Only ignoramuses, obscurantists and recalcitrants will buy into Bauder’s unjust criticisms of the KJV and the Textus Receptus.
Bauder began by saying, “Orthodox Christians affirm that God has preserved His Word. They acknowledge that God has accomplished this preservation through providential means. They recognize in the traditional Greek and Hebrew texts a substantial preservation of the words of the original documents” (155). Bauder’s first two sentences are good and true, but he hedges on the third when he said that the Scriptures are only substantially preserved. What does he mean by “substantial preservation”? Obviously, based on what has already been propounded by his colleagues, it means that God’s preservation of His Word was imperfect, some inspired words have unfortunately been lost, but no worries, the inspired words that have been lost are the insignificant and redundant ones that do not affect our salvation. By “substantial preservation” Bauder means 99% preservation. We have only 99% of God’s Word today, not 100%.
Such a 99% view of preservation is certainly not held at all by most Bible-believing and Bible-defending Christians as Bauder would have us believe. Allow me to cite the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) 16th World Congress in Jerusalem, 2000, Statement #2, “On the Word of God Forever Inerrant and Infallible”: “The first historic doctrine of the Christian Church presented in the doctrinal statement of this Council of churches is its belief in the inerrancy and infallibility of the entire Bible … God’s Word has been given to us directly from heaven by the Holy Spirit and Jesus, while He was here, said that the Father had sent Him and had given Him the words which He had delivered to man. Jesus was explicit when He said, ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away.’ The penalty pronounced on adding to or taking from the Scriptures was severe judgement from God Himself. … It is this Bible that has brought into existence the ICCC. It is through this Bible that the Holy Spirit has given the faith to the leaders who have established this Council and has helped them maintain a sure and clear witness to the Bible’s full truthfulness. It is this Bible and its record of past prophecies that have been seen to be fulfilled in the smallest level, and every Word of God is true. … Nothing that the archaeologists have discovered and will discover will contradict this Book. … This Holy Book is the work of our righteous God in making possible the only salvation that exists and in bringing men and women through the preaching of the Word in all its ‘foolishness’ into God’s everlasting kingdom. The ICCC reaffirms all the statements carefully and prayerfully worked out …, all of which are based squarely on this holy and perfectrecord which came from heaven, of which God is the Author and that indeed is why it is called the Word of God.”
Note that the ICCC statement affirms the preservation of “every word” to the “smallest” detail, and that the Bible is “perfect” and thus “fully” truthful. It is clear that the ICCC, which represents Bible-loving and Bible-defending Christians from all over the world, believes in entire (100%) preservation. It is ludicrous for Bauder to think that our God could give His Church an infallible and inerrant Scripture only in biblical times, but not today. If God is powerful enough to inspire His Word to the jot and tittle without error, surely He is powerful enough to preserve all of His inspired words so that today His people can say they have the very same inspired words the Apostles and Prophets had! Surely, we have a 100% Scripture today!
Bauder made some reckless comments on the original language manuscripts when he said, “If the preservation of the Word of God depends upon the exact preservation of the words of the original documents, then the situation is dire. No two manuscripts contain exactly the same words.” Here again, Bauder speculates and pontificates. He makes a statement and assumes it is truth and fact, and expects his readers to take his word for it. He does not say he has conducted any kind of thorough primary research. Neither did he cite any worthy and reliable authority to back his claims. There are over 5000 extant New Testament manuscripts, how does Bauder know for sure that no two manuscripts contain exactly the same words? Has he personally checked, studied and compared every one of the 5000 plus manuscripts? Or is he simply parroting what the liberals and neo-evangelicals have been mouthing all along, casting doubt on God’s inspired Word?
It is a fact that the majority of the New Testament Greek manuscripts bear remarkable uniformity and harmony. The scribal errors have been comparatively few. The actual corruption of manuscripts was kept to a minimum. This however was certainly not true of the minority manuscripts of Westcott and Hort. Using the Textus Receptus as the standard, Burgon compared the Westcott and Hort uncials to see how much these manuscripts agree with the Traditional Text as represented by the Textus Receptus. This was what he found when he compared the Gospels of the Textus Receptus with those of the five Westcott-Hort codices: “the serious deflections of A from the Textus Receptus amount in all to only 842: whereas in C they amount to 1798: in B, 2370: in a, to 3392: in D, to 4697.” (Revision Revised, 14). Of the 5255 extant Greek manuscripts (as of 1967), 5217 agree with the Textus Receptus, and only 45 agree with the corrupt Westcott-Hort Text (D A Waite, Defending the King James Bible, 52–53). This shows that these so-called “oldest and most reliable manuscripts” are very different from the Traditional Text used by the churches down through the ages. Burgon went on to compare these five codices (a, A, B, C, D) to see how much they agree among themselves in respect of their textual variations. He discovered that they are never once found to be in accord in respect of any single ‘various Reading’” (Revision Revised, 17). How can we possibly trust these so-called “oldest and most reliable manuscripts” when they cannot even agree among themselves even once in any of their variant readings? They are a messed-up text for sure.
The majority of the manuscripts, on the other hand, reflect uniform and ancient readings. Most textual variations or copying mistakes are of the minor sort that can be easily corrected when carefully compared. This Burgon acknowledged, “Happily, our manuscripts [i.e. the Traditional Text] are numerous: most of them are in the main trustworthy: all of them represent far older documents than themselves” (Revision Revised, 18). Surely, the majority text must be the favoured text being most used, widely used and faithfully copied throughout the centuries. Burgon was absolutely correct to conclude, “With regret we record our conviction, that these accomplished scholars have succeeded in producing a Text vastly more remote from the inspired autographs of the Evangelists than any which has appeared since the invention of printing [viz., the Textus Receptus]” (Revision Revised, 25–26). Indeed the inspired words of the majority manuscripts are all found in the Textus Receptus underlying the KJV.
Bauder claims that KJV/TR-Only advocates are living in a world of “theological illusions” and one of these illusions is the appeal to faith (158). Bauder correctly says that faith must be based on God’s promise, but he denies that God ever promised that He would preserve all of His words for every generation. If one were to quote Ps 12:6–7, Matt 5:18 etc., he would cleverly explain them all away and say that they do not mean preservation at all. How convenient! Bauder writes off any verse in the Bible that teaches preservation by means of his fallacious hermeneutical method. Bauder should employ the same hermeneutical method on all the verses supporting inspiration like 2 Tim 3:16 and 2 Pet 1:21, and I am quite sure he would find such an exercise very enlightening. Bauder should really try it. He might just discover to his horror that he has no biblical basis whatsoever for his faith in a divinely inspired Scripture, that the doctrine of inspiration is likewise a “theological illusion”!
Bauder faults KJV/TR-Only advocates with another “illusion”, that of the appeal to reason. He argues that KJV/TR-Only advocates are wrong to reason that verbal inspiration must require verbal preservation (158). Then he cites some instances in Scripture to prove that God did not see fit to preserve all of His words. Bauder wrote, “With regard to God’s spoken words, He has certainly not seen fit to preserve all of His words in a publicly accessible form … In John’s presence, God spoke through seven thunders, but then He explicitly forbade John to preserve those words in written form (Rev. 10:1–4). When the Scriptures tell us that not all of Jesus’ ‘acts’ were recorded (John 21:25), it logically follows that not all of His ‘words’ were recorded either” (158–9). Now, Bauder has got it all wrong. When KJV/TR-Only advocates talk about the preservation of God’s words, we always mean His written words as recorded in the canonical Scriptures. We understand very well that God has not chosen or seen it fit to put on paper all of His revelation. We understand very well that it is not the spoken words but the written or inscripturated words that God has preserved (Matt 5:18).
If Bauder needs biblical instances of God’s actual preservation of His written words, there are at least two examples in the Scriptures. In Exod 32:19, we find Moses in righteous indignation smashing to pieces the Ten Commandments that were written by the finger of God. Was that the end of the Ten Commandments? God forbid! Deut 10:4 sees God rewriting the same Ten Commandments on two tables of stone. The Lord also commanded Moses to keep the second set of Ten Commandments safe in the ark for a perpetual testimony (Deut 10:5). Does this not tell us of God’s mindful preservation of His written words? In Jer 36:32, the prophet Jeremiah told his secretary Baruch to write again all the divine words of judgement found in the original scroll that King Jehoiakim had cut up and cast into the fire. Not only were the same words written again, God commanded that more words of condemnation be added for the punishment of Jehoiakim who had treated God’s words with such contempt. Does Bauder still think that God cannot preserve His words perfectly? May he think again, lest he fall into the error of Jehoiakim.
Bauder then says that our appeal to evidence is an illusion. He charges KJV/TR-Only proponents of revising history arguing that there are no manuscripts that support the Textus Receptus before the 4th century (160). I do not wish to go over already thoroughly ploughed grounds, but just to say that the antiquity of Textus Receptus readings is ably proved and demonstrated not only by Burgon, but also Sturz and Van Bruggen.
Bauder then accuses KJV/TR-Only advocates of “irresponsible speculations” for talking about early corruptions of the Scriptures (160). But does Bauder read the Scriptures? Does he not know that Satan hates God’s Word? Right from the beginning, in the Garden, Satan had already undermined God’s Word by tempting Eve with “Yea, hath God said?” Right in the days of the Apostles when the New Testament was being written, Satan had already attempted to introduce into the Church “another Gospel” (Gal 1:8). Spurious Gospels and Epistles had been written to confuse and detract from the inspired Canon. How can Bauder be so naïve to think that there are no evidences of Satanic attempts to corrupt the Scriptures? Burgon unlike Bauder was astute to observe, “And the Written Word in like manner, in the earliest age of all, was shamefully handled by mankind. Not only was it confused through human infirmity and misapprehension, but it became also the object of restless malice and unsparing assaults. Marcion, Valentinus, Basilides, Heracleon, Menander, Asclepiades, Theodotus, Hermophilus, Apollonides, and other heretics, adapted the Gospels to their own ideas. … Want of familiarity with the sacred words in the first ages, carelessness of scribes, incompetent teaching, and ignorance of Greek in the West, led to further corruption of the Sacred Text. Then out of the fact that there existed a vast number of corrupt copies arose at once the need of Recension, which was carried on by Origen and his school. This was a fatal necessity to have made itself felt in an age when the first principles of the Science were not understood; for ‘to correct’ was too often in those days another word for ‘to corrupt’. And this is the first thing to be briefly explained and enforced: but more than a counterbalance was provided under the overruling Providence of God” (The Traditional Text, 10–11).
Bauder accuses KJV/TR-Only advocates of a fourth illusion in that “they turn the debate into an ad hominemexpose of personalities associated with the Alexandrian and Western manuscripts” (160). What is wrong with ad hominem arguments rightly and justifiably used? Consider the infallible example of our Lord Jesus Christ. How did Jesus deal with heresy and the heretics of His day? When we study the life of Christ, we find our Lord sparing no effort and mincing no words in denouncing the heretics of His time, namely, Israel’s pastors and doctors of theology—the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees. Matthew 23 is full of argumentum ad hominem. Did not the Lord curse Israel’s teachers with woes, and call them hypocrites, blind guides, fools, whited sepulchres, serpents and vipers? They were the pastors and teachers of Israel who instead of guiding God’s people into the straight and narrow way of life, led them into the broad way of death. Instead of shepherding God’s people to green pastures and still waters, they led them to poisoned fields of thistles and thorns. Jesus was very angry with these false pastors and teachers, and said they deserve “the greater damnation” (cf. Jas 3:1).
If we are to be loyal to Christ and His Word, we must cultivate the Davidic spirit—we must be men after God’s own heart. The Davidic spirit is the spirit of holy hatred: “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).
Who are the enemies of God’s inspired and preserved words? The leading two must be the progenitors of the corrupt critical text, viz. B F Westcott and F J A Hort. I have no qualms calling Westcott and Hort modernists. They called the Textus Receptus “vile” and “villainous”. They attacked the verbal plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures in 2 Tim 3:16 in their perverse ERV. They were rightly taken to task by Robert Dabney who called their rendering of 2 Tim 3:16 “the very doctrine of the Socinian and Rationalist”. We do well to distance ourselves from Westcott and Hort. But not Bauder, he considers these Anglican liberals his friends, speaking highly of their corrupt Greek text (177).
The fifth illusion Bauder accuses the KJV/TR-Only movement of is its appeal to supernaturalism. He argues against the miraculous preservation of Scriptures. Here is another strawman that Bauder has conveniently erected—he falsely charges KJV/TR-Only advocates for believing that no copying mistakes were ever made in the transmission process (162). KJV/TR-Only advocates do not deny that copying mistakes were made during the transcription process, but that does not negate the fact that God has superintended the transcription of His inspired words to ensure that none of His inspired words would be lost. If 10 scribes were copying the Scriptures, one or two might possibly make a mistake in copying a particular verse, but the rest would have copied it correctly, and the mistake made is easily identified and rectified by the rest. The special providential hand of God has ensured this. God’s providential work is always supernatural. God knows all things and is all-powerful. Man makes mistakes, but not God. He who has inspired every jot and tittle of His Word has surely preserved every jot and tittle of His Word (Matt 5:18).
Dr Hills wrote, “If the doctrine of divine inspiration of the Old and New Testament Scriptures is a true doctrine, the doctrine of the providential preservation of these Scriptures must also be a true doctrine. It must be that down through the centuries God has exercised a special, providential control over the copying of the Scriptures and the preservation and use of the original text have been available to God’s people in every age. … If God has not preserved the Scriptures by His special providence, why would He have infallibly inspired them in the first place? And if the Scriptures are not infallibly inspired, how do we know that the Gospel message is true? And if the Gospel message is not true, how do we know that Jesus is the Son of God? It is a dangerous error therefore to ignore the special, providential preservation of the holy Scriptures and to seek to defend the New Testament text in the same way in which we would defend the texts of other ancient books. For the logic of this unbelieving attitude is likely to lay hold upon us and cast us down into the bottomless pit of uncertainty. … You must reallybelieve this doctrine [of the special, providential preservation of Scriptures] and allow it to guide your thinking. You must begin with Christ and the Gospel and proceed according to the logic of faith. This will lead you to the Traditional text, the Textus Receptus, and the King James Version.”
Divine providence has to be supernatural—God is a Perfectionist, and He has supernaturally kept His Word pure through the ages so that none of His inspired words is lost. When God works, whether miraculously (i.e. direct intervention) or providentially (i.e. indirect intervention), it is always supernatural and special. We believe in an Almighty God who is able to preserve perfectly His infallible and inerrant Word (Heb 11:3).
In his final section, Bauder identifies the central issue: “The core issue in the King James-Only controversy is whether one must have the very words of God (all of the words, and only the words of the autographa) to have the Word of God” (164). To me this seems to be an awfully silly question. It is gratuitous that in order to have the all infallible, inerrant, sufficient and authoritative Word of God today, we must have the “very words” and “all of the words, and only the words of the autographa”. Insofar as historic and reformed fundamentalism is concerned, this has always been the position—that God has “kept pure in all ages” His Holy Scriptures, and so in every age, she has the very Word of God in the original languages.
Hindus and Muslims all believe that their Scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita and the Koran respectively, are perfect. Yet Christians who claim to believe in the one living and true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and Christ the only Mediator and Saviour of the world, are not so quick to believe they have an existing infallible and inerrant Scripture. What a shame! If we adopt Bauder’s position, then Christianity is no longer true, and Christians shall become the laughing stock of the religious world. Indeed, if the Christian Bible is not perfect, infallible and inerrant, “then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; … If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor 15:14–15, 19). If what Bauder and his colleagues teach is true, then Christianity could rightly, in Bauder’s own words, be written off and ridiculed as “a curiosity”, preached by “eccentric but harmless old uncles” (165). Let me conclude by saying that this is Bauder’s Christianity, not mine.
What can we say about One Bible Only? I can only say it is a very misleading book; full of misinformation. It is filled with misrepresentations of the KJV/TR-Only position and misinterpretations of the Holy Scriptures. Yea, Hath God Said? would have been a more accurate and appropriate title for this untrustworthy and unedifying book. Stay clear!
Dr Jeffrey Khoo is academic dean of the Far Eastern Bible College. The above was a paper presented to the Dean Burgon Society on the occasion of its 25th Annual Meeting, July 23–24, 2003, Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, Newington, Connecticut, USA.
– Published in The Burning Bush, Volume 10 Number 1, January 2004.