Volume 10, Issue 1: Verbatim
Quotations on Textual Purity
Various Saints and Observers
It is admitted on all hands that the Text used as the basis of the Authorized Version correctly represents a Text known to have been widely (if not everywhere) in use as early as the second century (for the Peschitta Old Latin Versions, corroborated by patristic quotations afford ample proof of that). On the other hand it is not known that the two Codices we are discussing represent anything but copies of a bad original, made worse in the copying.
. . . but a review and comparison of the present and fashionable opinions of biblical critics. We call these the opinions now fashionable; for those who watch the course of this are aware that there is as truly a fashion in it, infecting its votaries, as in ladies' bonnets, medicines or cravats.
The nemesis of superstition and idolatry is ever the same. Phantoms of the imagination henceforth usurp the place of substantial forms. Interminable doubt, wretched misbelief, childish credulity, judicial blindness, are the inevitable sequel and penalty. The mind that has long allowed itself in a systematic trifling with evidence, is observed to fall the easiest prey to imposture. It has doubted what is demonstrably true, and has rejected what is indubitably divine.
In addition, the Protestant orthodox held, as a matter of doctrinal conviction stated in the locus de Scriptura sacra of their theological systems, the providential preservation of the text throughout history.
The Scripture is the library of the Holy Ghost; it is a pandect of divine knowledge, an exact model and platform of religion. The Scripture contains in it the credenda, "the things which we are to believe," and the agenda, "the things which we are to practice."
In these scriptures God requires all sorts of people, both men, women, children, and strangers, both learned and unlearned, to read the Scriptures, and to search after the heavenly treasures that are laid up in them, as men search for gold and silver in the ore.
It can, then, with no colour of probability be asserted (which yet I find some learned men too free in granting), namely, that there hath the same fate attended the Scripture in its transcription as hath done other books. Let me say without offence, this imagination, asserted on deliberation, seems to me to border on atheism. Surely the promise of God for the preservation of his word, with his love and care of his church, of whose faith and obedience that word of his is the only rule, requires other thoughts at our hands.
Today these sacred texts must have none of the smell of the ancient Near-East upon them; they must be made to speak in an American colloquialism that offers neither a window to the transcendent, nor an entry way to the religious consciousness that animated the communities that composed, preserved and transmitted these materials as a sacred trust. Hence, today we have Bibles that havee been custom fitted to the immediacy of the modern situation, primarily for marketing purposes, but always under the guise of "needing to communicate." One publisher alone, the Zondervan Publishing House, has excelled in this endeavor, aiming for every consumer group imaginable. This, however, is diversification gone mad: The Quest Study Bible, The New Student Bible, Women's Devotional Bible, The Adventure Bible, The Teen Study Bible, Men's Devotional Bible,Couples' Devotional Bible, The NIV Life Application Bible, The NIV Study Bible, Youthwalk Devotional Bible [?!]. This is scandal beyond belief.
Q. 6. What was the end of writing the word?
A. That the church to the end of the world might have a sure, known, standing-rule, to try and judge all things by, and not be left to the uncertainty of traditions; John v. 39. Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.
If we would destroy the Christian religion, we must first of all destroy man's belief in the Bible.
What strange mistakes have been made by some who have thought themselves able to interpret Scripture by their own abilities as scholars and critics, though they have studied with much diligence!
The only antidote to this plight is for those small remnant Reformation communities who still retain confessional and catholic integrity to act as salt and light in this insipid and ever dimming age. With little promise of success they must walk by faith and not by sight and celebrate their distinctives with intelligence, dignity, and winsomeness in hopes of attracting with the full fragrance of the old classic translations those whose senses have been dulled by the pollutants of modernity (2 Cor. 2:14_17).
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.
Westminster Confession of Faith
This section teaches—That the original sacred text has come down to us in a state of essential purity.
I have just spent the better part of the last five years attempting to localize just what was the specific dynamic, or chain of events, that led to this bankrupt state within the modern confessional churches. Obviously we all know that Biblical criticism lay at the heart of the matter, but what I wanted to discover is how and why so many well-armed and forewarned ecclesiastical bodies could all fall in time, one after another, without so much as knowing the process had taken place. Certainly everyone rightly feared and trembled at the German higher criticism, with its speculative theories about sources and carrying out an agenda dictated by the various philosophical schools of German Idealism. But it was while everyone was staring steadfastly at this Philistine, would-be invader of the Church, that time and again an apparent out-flanking took place and fall ensued. How and why?
For an orthodox Christian, Burgon's view is the only reasonable one. If we believe that God gave the Church guidance in regard to the New Testament books, then surely it is logical to believe that God gave the Church similar guidance in regard to the text which these books contained. Surely it is very inconsistent to believe that God guided the Church in regard to the New Testament canon but gave her no guidance in regard to the New Testament text. But this seems to be just what many modern Christians do believe. They believe that all during the medieval period and throughout the Reformation and post-Reformation era the true New Testament text was lost and that it was not regained until the middle of the nineteenth century, when Tischendorf discovered it in the Sinaitic manuscript Aleph and when Westcott and Hort found it in the Vatican manuscript B.
A sacred book rejected is like a king dethroned.
C. S. Lewis
They were far too shrewd to feed this disconcerting thirst for ideas with a Bible in plain English; the language they used was deliberately artificial even when it was new. They thus dispersed the mob by appealing to its emotions, as a mother quiets a baby by crooning to it. The Bible that they produced was so beautiful that the great majority of men, in the face of it, could not fix their minds upon the ideas in it. To this day it has enchanted the English-speaking peoples so effectively that, in the main, they remain Christians, at least sentimentally. Paine has assaulted them, Darwin and Huxley have assaulted them. But they still remember the twenty-third Psalm when the doctor begins to shake his head, they are still moved beyond compare (though not, alas, to acts!) by the Sermon on the Mount, and they still turn once a year from their sordid and degrading labors to immerse themselves unashamed in the story of the manger. It is not much, but it is something. I do not admire the general run of American Bible-searchersMethodists, United Brethren, Baptists, and such vermin. But try to imagine what the average low-browed Methodist would be if he were not a Methodist but an atheist!
The distressing realization is forced upon us that the "progress" of the past hundred years has been precisely in the wrong direction—our modern versions and critical texts are several times farther removed from the original than are the AV and TR! How could such a calamity have come upon us?!