The "Historic, Orthodox Position" regarding the inspiration and preservation of the Holy Bible.
Reb E. asks: "Will Kinney, why is it important to have a perfect and inerrant Bible now if it was not important that there was perfect and inerrant Bible prior to the King James Bible?"
Hi Reb. That is a reasonable question. What I believe is happening is that people before the King James Bible didn't doubt the Bibles that they had. They thought that what they had was the words of God. In fact, I don't know of any formal confessions that were made about the inerrancy of Scripture prior to the time of the King James Bible.
But God Himself promised that He would preserve His words and heaven and earth shall pass away, but not His words. I believe the very nature of God itself requires that there be a perfect and inerrant Bible at some point in history.
What is happening today is that the majority of Christians do NOT believe in the inerrancy of the Bible - any Bible in any language. The issue of inerrancy is a relatively recent doctrine that was developed as a result of examining the very nature of Scripture and God's promises.
As far as I know the issue was first formally addressed in the Westminster Confession of 1646 by the church of England. You will notice that this is after the King James Bible and by the same group God used to give it to us.
But today the whole doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture and the Bible is being denied and the Bibles are becoming more and more corrupt textually.
You have some very shabby and poorly thought out attempts to defend inerrancy by groups like the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy and John MacArthur, but these only refer to "the originals", which ends up meaning absolutely nothing about having an inerrant Bible NOW.
And most of the "bibles" people are using and promoting today (other than the King James Bible believers) are in fact the new Vatican Versions like the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, Holman, etc. that nobody believes are the inerrant words of God.
God Himself said He would send a famine of hearing His words into the land, and Jesus said "Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
This growing apostasy and unbelief is all under the control of God's sovereignty; nothing is taking Him by surprise. The professing church will apostatize from the faith. And this is happening now. (End of comments)
The "Historic, Orthodox Position" regarding the inspiration and preservation of the Holy Bible.
I often hear those who criticize the King James Bible and do not believe that any Bible or any text in any language is the inerrant, complete, pure, perfect and inspired words of God, appeal to their alleged "historic position" to support their views. They tell us that "only the originals" were inspired and that no existing texts or Bible translation is now the inerrant word of God.
However, as we shall see from the following Confessions of Faith regarding the inspired word of God, the historic position supports the King James Bible believer's view, that is, that we presently possess an inspired and inerrant Bible. Nowhere in any formalized Confession of Faith regarding the Holy Bible will you ever see such common phrases as used by the Inerrant Bible Deniers of today like "only in the originals" or "only in the autographs". These expressions, which in fact deny the existence of an inerrant Bible, do not begin to appear in the formalized Confessions until well into the 20th century, when the multitude of conflicting and contradictory bible versions began to gain ground in the seminaries which had abandoned faith in an inerrant Bible.
A student of the Confessions of Faith knows that various articles were placed in the Confessions when certain problems arose over doctrine. Some of the early Confessions of Faith said nothing about the inspiration of the Bible. Yet it would be unfair to say that they did not believe that the Bible was inspired of God. The historical Confessions of Faith have a definite bearing on the Bible version issue.
The Westminister Confessions of 1646 is probably the most famous Confession of Faith ever written. It says, "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." This is of course not a Baptist Confession, but it has had great influence among Baptists. This Confession says that the Scriptures were "inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages..." How could anyone make such a statement, unless they believed that they had reliable copies of the originals and reliable translations?
The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland formally states regarding the Westminister Confession - "The Authorised Version has had explicit and implicit Church sanction over many hundreds of years in various countries. It was the version used to support the documents of the Westminster Assembly both in their wording and in their proof texts, and so Presbyterian Churches claiming to hold to these standards ought to acknowledge the Authorised Version appropriately."
"Any Church that holds fully to the teaching of the Westminster Confession must recognise that the Bible teaches the full of providential preservation of the text of Scripture . Not least because various parts of the wording and teaching of the Westminster Standards depend on verses that are only in the Received Text and have therefore been omitted in most modern versions (e.g. Matt. 6:13, 1 John 5:7). They can only therefore allow and approve the use of a translation which is based on the providentially preserved text.
Only the Authorized Version follows the divinely preserved text completely however. Even the New King James Version, which claims to be based upon the same text as the AV, departs from the Received Text in over 1200 places. It also undermines the true text by printing all the textual variants in its margin giving as its reason that the reader can now select the 'true' reading for themselves. This is only likely to create serious confusion and doubt – on what basis should such selection be made and with what resources can the individual reader judge for themselves? Only the AV is a safe guide and faithful to the deposit of truth received of God.
The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland
In view of these requirements, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland believes that it is important to assert, maintain and defend the best translation available in the English language. In 1961 the Synod passed a resolution which continues to express the Church's position. The Synod 'states its firm conviction that the Authorized Version is the best and most faithful translation of the Word of God to be found in the English language'. This then is the only English translation that is used in the public worship of the Church and recommended by the Church for family and private use. "
This whole article of their Confession of Faith in the King James Bible can be seen here
The Helvetic Consensus Formula of 1675 says, "God saw to it that His word, which is with power unto salvation to everyone who believes, was entrusted to writing not only through Moses, the prophets and apostles, but also He has stood guard and watched over it with a fatherly concern to the present time that it not be destroyed by the cunning of Satan or by any other human deceit." If these people had no reliable text and no reliable translation, how could they make such a statement? If their Greek and Hebrew texts were not pure, and they had no pure translation, why would they make such a foolish statement?
The Midland Confession, 1655, was adopted unanimously by the messengers of the churches meeting at Warwick, England. This group of Baptists said, "We profess and believe the Holy Scriptures, the Old and New Testament, to be the word and revealed mind of God, which are able to make men wise unto Salvation, through faith and love which is in Christ Jesus, and that they are given by inspiration of God, serving to furnish the man of God for every good work; and by them we are (in the strength of Christ) to try all things whatsoever are brought to us, under the presence of truth. II Tim. 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20." We hardly see how the critics of the KJV can find any comfort in that statement of faith. Those who adopted the Midland Confession of 1655, believed in the inspiration of the Scriptures, they believed they had those Scriptures, and they believed that by those Scriptures they could "try all things whatsoever are brought to us, under the presence of truth." In 1655, you can well know what English version they used, and they had never heard of the Westcott & Hort text, and we can thank the Lord for that.
The Standard Confession of 1660 (Baptist), said, "That the holy Scriptures is the rule whereby Saints both in matters of Faith, and conversation are to be regulated, they being able to make men wise unto salvation, through Faith in Christ Jesus, profitable for Doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." While they mention no version, and said nothing about the originals, yet they believed that they had the holy Scriptures. We are confident that they were using the KJV.
The Second London Confession of 1677 (Baptist) says, "The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule of all saving Knowledge, Faith, and Obedience. . ." We ask, how can the Holy Scriptures be a certain and infallible rule if we have no infallible Bible? To hear Dr. Rice and others tell it, all versions have errors in them, and if this be so, we are left in a tragic situation. The Second London Confession of 1677 says, "The Old Testament in Hebrew, (which was the Native language of the people 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 an controversies of Religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them." The Baptists of 1677 believed that the Scriptures were inspired of God, and that "By His care and Providence kept pure in all Ages." They believed that the Church in all ages could appeal to the pure Scriptures. That is quite different than some of our modern fundamentalists who talk about inspiration, but who are constantly finding errors in the Bible.
Which Bible were the Baptists of 1677 using? It surely wasn't the NASV, ASV, RSV or the Living Bible. Don't you suppose that it was the King James Bible of 1611?
The General Baptists of England published the "Orthodox Creed" In 1678. It says, "And by the holy Scriptures we understand the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, AS THEY ARE NOW TRANSLATED INTO OUR ENGLISH MOTHER TONGUE, of which there hath NEVER been any doubt of their verity, and authority, in the protestant churches of Christ to this day." They then list the books of the Old and New Testament and then say, "All which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the Rule of faith and life." What Bible do you suppose these people were using in 1678? It was English and there can be little doubt that what they are talking about the Authorized Version of 1611.
The Philadelphia Confession of Faith was adopted in 1742 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This Confession was printed for the Baptist by none other than the famous Benjamin Franklin. It states, "The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. . . " It further says, "Under the name of holy Scripture, or the word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these. . . " They then list the 66 books of our English Bible, and end that paragraph by saying, "All which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life." It is clear that they were talking about an English Bible, and we do not have to guess as to which one they were talking about. Further on in this article they state that the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament were "inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in as controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them." It is clear that they are talking about something they had at that time, and could appeal unto.
They did not appeal to the "pure Word of God" preserved in heaven. No doubt God's Word is pure in heaven. However, we cannot appeal to something that we cannot see. No doubt the "originals" were pure and uncorrupted, but we cannot appeal to the "originals", because they are not available. We dare anyone to prove that any mortal man ever saw all of the originals on this earth. We know it cannot be done. If we do not have the pure Word of God today, it is extremely doubtful that anyone on this earth ever had all 66 books of the pure Word of God!! What kind of a God do we serve? Would He leave us in such a mess?
Excerpts from the Presbyterian Encyclopaedia - 1884 - under the section of English Bible - W. Adams D.D.
"Nothing which diligence, circumspection, scholarship, love of truth, and prayer, could avail was wanting to perfect this version of the Word of God. It is what it professes to be, a translation not a paraphrase; each word and expression corresponding to the original. What has, by some, been deemed a defect, is in fact a great excellence in our translation; it preserves, as far as possible, the very idiom of the original, the peculiarities of Oriental diction; thus proving that the men who made it understood what was the best style of translation - that which a transparent glass is not seen itself but shows every thing which is beyond it."
"But so it happened, in the kind providence of God, that the received version was made just in that auspicious moment of peace mind and union among Protestants, which has secured its adoption by all as the common standard. None have charged it with partiality, as favoring this or that sect, for the good reason that these sects and partialities did not then exist."
Other Baptist Confessions Of Faith
In 1888, the Baptist Union of Great Britain adopted a doctrinal statement which contained the following: "The following facts and doctrines are commonly believed by the churches of the Union, The Divine Inspiration and Authority of the Holy Scripture as the supreme and sufficient rule of our faith and practice; and the right and duty of individual judgment in the interpretation of it." This is their entire statement so far as the inspiration of the Bible is concerned. They mention nothing about the "originals" or any particular version of the Bible. However, there can be no doubt as to what version ranked supreme with them at this time.
The New Hampshire Confession of Faith was adopted in 1833, and it states, "We believe the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect 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, that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; 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." Please note that they mention no "originals" and no version. There was one version that ruled supreme in the English language of 1833 and it was the King James Bible.
It should be apparent that if the Baptists of 1833 had a "supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried," it could not have been the originals, since not one of them had seen even the original manuscript of even one book of the Bible! Their "supreme standard" had to be a Bible, to which they had ready access.
The Tennessee Association of Baptists “established the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible as its standard” in their 1817 meeting.
We believe that any person, either in a public or private capacity who would adhere to, or propagate any alteration of the New Testament contrary to that already translated by order of King James the 1st, that is now in common use, ought not be encouraged but agreeable to the Apostles words to mark such and have no fellowship with them; and for the authority of our belief we refer to the following scriptures, viz: Deuteronomy 4th Chapter and 2 verse, Chapter 12 and 32 Chapter 28 and verse 14, Joshua 1 and 7, Proverbs 30 and 6, Rev. 22 and 18, 19, 2 John 10 verse.”
From pages 2 and 3 of the minutes of the Tennessee Association of Baptists (org. 1802), when meeting at Hickory Creek Meeting House, Knox County, Tennessee, October 4, 1817.
Charlton Heston - ”…the King James translation has been described as 'the monument of English prose' as well as 'the only great work of art ever created by a committee'. Both statements are true. Fifty four scholars worked seven years to produce the work from its extant texts in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English. Such an undertaking can be expected to produce great scholarship, but hardly writing as spare and sublime as the King James....
The authors of several boring translations that have followed over the last fifty years mumble that the KJV is "difficult" filled with long words. Have a look at the difficult long words that begin the Old Testament, and end the Gospels: 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; darkness was upon the face of the deep.' and 'Now, of the other things which Jesus did, if they should be written every one, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.' Shakespeare aside, there's no comparable writing in the language, as has been observed by wiser men than I.
Over the past several centuries it's been the single book in most households, an enormous force in shaping the development of the English language. Carried around the world by missionaries, it provided the base by which English is about to become the lingua franca of the world in the next century. Exploring it during this shoot [Ten Commandments] was one of the most rewarding creative experiences of my life."
--Charlton Heston, Actor
In the Arena: An Autobiography, pp. 554-555
David Cloud writes concerning the famous lawyer - "Philip Mauro (1859-1952) is another example of the many fundamentalists of old who defended the King James Bible. Beginning in the early 1920s, Mauro wrote in defense of the King James Bible and in opposition to the critical Greek text which had been published by Westcott and Hort thirty years earlier, and to the modern versions which were beginning to flow from it. Mauro's 1924 work "Which Version? Authorized or Revised?" was reprinted 50 years later in David Otis Fuller's True or False. This brilliant lawyer carefully represented the side of the Traditional or Received Text. The thing that characterized Mauro is that which characterizes each defender of the Received Text and the KJV: faith in God's providence and an emphasis on Bible preservation.
"In view also of the leading part the English speaking peoples were to play in shaping the destinies of mankind during the eventful centuries following the appearance of the Version of 1611, we are justified in believing that it was through a providential ordering that the preparation of that Version was not in anywise affected by higher critical theories in general, or specifically by the two ancient Codices we have been discussing. For when we consider what the A.V. [Authorized Version] was to be to the world, the incomparable influence it was to exert in shaping the course of events, and in accomplishing those eternal purposes of God for which Christ died and rose again and the Holy Spirit came down from heaven--WHEN WE CONSIDER THAT THIS VERSION WAS TO BE, MORE THAN ALL OTHERS COMBINED, "THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT", AND THAT ALL THIS WAS FULLY KNOWN TO GOD BEFOREHAND, WE ARE FULLY WARRANTED IN THE BELIEF THAT THIS WAS NOT THROUGH CHANCE, BUT BY PROVIDENTIAL CONTROL OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES, that the translators had access to just those Mss. which were available at that time, and to none others." (Mauro, Which Version?)
The Confessions of Faith give little or no comfort to the critics of the KJB. The KJB was the English Version that reigned supreme from the time of the London Confession of 1677, the New Hampshire Confession of 1833, the Baptist Bible Union of 1923, and all of the other Confessions in between and afterward.
It all boils down to how big of a God we serve. Did He have the power and desire to preserve the word in written form for us today, so that we are not left in the dark concerning what is the word of God? Is His power so weak or His Divine purpose so unsure, that we must now search out all the manuscripts, all the Hebrew and Greek texts, and all the versions, in order to say that we do have the word of God mixed in with all the errors. If we are reduced to this state, may the Lord help us, for we are in absolute confusion unmatched in human history. If we are still looking for the word of God, and do not have an infallible Bible, it should be obvious to all, that we never will have such a Bible. This means that God has not kept His promise, and where do we stand, if we have such a God?
Regarding the practical outworking of the doctrine of the preservation of God's words, the modern version proponents either believe the true words of God are "out there somewhere" in all the variant manuscripts but we are not sure which ones they are; or they reduce "preservation" to the idea that the general, overall message is in all "reliable translations", though the particular words and numbers, many whole verses and the meaning of much of Scripture remains uncertain or even lost. Neither view really means that "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" has actually been divinely preserved through history to the present day.
Instead of "heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:36), the modern versionist really thinks along the lines of "heaven and earth shall pass away, but most of the general sense of what I said won't pass away."
In contrast to the historic Confessions of Faith regarding the Holy Bible, let's now look at some quotes and polls from the Evangelical community of today.
The following quotes come from men prepared the way for and later adopted the textual theories of Westcott and Hort, whose Greek text forms the basis of most modern New Testament versions, as the NIV, NASB, RSV, ESV, and Holman Standard.
As early is 1771 Griesbach wrote, "The New Testament abounds in more losses, additions, and interpolations, purposely introduced then any other book."
In 1908 Rendel Harris declared that the New Testament text had not at all been settled but was "MORE THAN EVER, AND PERHAPS FINALLY, UNSETTLED."
In 1910 Conybeare gave it as his opinion that "the ultimate (New Testament) text, IF THERE EVER WAS ONE THAT DESERVES TO BE SO CALLED, is FOR EVER IRRECOVERABLE."
In 1941 Kirsopp Lake, after a life time spent in the study of the New Testament text, delivered the following judgment: "In spite of the claims of Westcott and Hort and of von Soden, WE DO NOT KNOW the original form of the Gospels, AND IT IS QUITE LIKELY THAT WE NEVER SHALL."
In 1960 H. Greeven also has acknowledged the uncertainty of the neutral method of New Testament textual criticism - "In general, the whole thing is limited to probability judgments; THE ORIGINAL TEXT, according to its nature, must be and REMAINS A HYPOTHESIS."
In 1963 R. M. Grant adopts a still more despairing attitude - "The primary goal of New Testament textual study remains the recovery of what the New Testament writers wrote. We have already suggested that to achieve this goal is well-nigh impossible."
The NIV -What do the NIV editors think about their own version? They tell us in the NIV Introduction -"Like all translations of the Bible, made as they are by imperfect men, this one UNDOUBTEDLY FALLS SHORT of its goals."
They got two things wrong and only one right. By their saying all translations fall short, they have effectively stripped the inerrant Bible out of the hands of the common man, and imply that no translation can be the pure words of God. They sure didn't get this unbelief from the Bible itself. The Bible clearly teaches that a translation CAN BE the inspired and pure words of God.
They also reveal their unbiblical stand and deep ignorance by their stupid statement "made by imperfect men". If God cannot use "imperfect men" to give us His words, then we would never have had "the originals" to begin with!
The only thing they got right was " this one UNDOUBTEDLY FALLS SHORT." Maybe the NIV committee will get it right when they come out with their announced "major revision" to come out in 2011. Ya think?
You can get saved using versions like the NIV, NASB, NKJV, ESV and Holman, but your faith will be weakened and you will be more open to the fiery darts of the wicked concerning the truth of your faith in the gospel of Christ. Why? Because this gospel is only found in a Book than none of them believe is 100% true. At what point does God start to tell them the truth?
The following testimonies about the character of Evangelicalism today were not made by Fundamentalists; they were made by key Evangelical leaders.
"A GROWING VANGUARD OF YOUNG GRADUATES OF EVANGELICAL COLLEGES WHO HOLD DOCTORATES FROM NON-EVANGELICAL DIVINITY CENTERS NOW QUESTION OR DISOWN INERRANCY and the doctrine is held less consistently by evangelical faculties. ... Some retain the term and reassure supportive constituencies but nonetheless stretch the term's meaning" (Carl F.H. Henry, first editor of Christianity Today, chairman for the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism, "Conflict Over Biblical Inerrancy," Christianity Today, May 7, 1976)
"MORE AND MORE ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS HISTORICALLY COMMITTED TO AN INFALLIBLE SCRIPTURE HAVE BEEN EMBRACING AND PROPAGATING THE VIEW THAT THE BIBLE HAS ERRORS IN IT. This movement away from the historic standpoint has been most noticeable among those often labeled neo-evangelicals. This change of position with respect to the infallibility of the Bible is widespread and has occurred in evangelical denominations, Christian colleges, theological seminaries, publishing houses, and learned societies" (Harold Lindsell, former vice-president and professor Fuller Theological Seminary and Editor Emeritus of Christianity Today, The Battle for the Bible, 1976, p. 20).
"WITHIN EVANGELICALISM THERE ARE A GROWING NUMBER WHO ARE MODIFYING THEIR VIEWS ON THE INERRANCY OF THE BIBLE SO THAT THE FULL AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE IS COMPLETELY UNDERCUT. But is happening in very subtle ways... What may seem like a minor difference at first, in the end makes all the difference in the world ... compromising the full authority of Scripture eventually affects what it means to be a Christian theologically and how we live in the full spectrum of human life" (Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, 1983, p. 44).
A Recent Poll
Amazing Statistics - I was listening to my radio today, and happened to catch Pastor Michael Youseff's Message on His "Leading The Way" program. The title of today's message was "The Bible, The World's Most Relevant Book.
In his message he gave statistics of a poll that was conducted. Here is what the poll revealed:
85% of students at America's largest Evangelical Seminary don't believe in the inerrancy of Scripture.
74% of the Clergy in America no longer believe in the inerrancy of Scripture.
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled...Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come A FALLING AWAY FIRST, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition..." 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
For those who may be interested, Dr. Jason Gastrich challenged me to debate the King James Only position over at the Baptist Board. The BB has since removed the whole debate, but Mr. Gastrich was kind enough to leave it up at his site. I think you will find it very interesting.
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