5: The lie of the spiritual character of the modern translators
By Jim MacIntosh
Because the characters of the men who led the modern Bible translation movement down the Minority Text path are so suspect, those who support their work tell us that regardless of their character, these men were eminent scholars, experts in their field, and therefore their work should be viewed as entirely credible. Let's look briefly at what those men really believed, to see if they qualify as suitable stewards of the truth of the Word of God. Just being eminent scholars is not enough. If these men went into the revision process carrying any bias toward or against any set of manuscripts, then that bias ought to have been declared. And if they went into the revision process with any personal agenda against any set of manuscripts, they ought to have disqualified themselves from the task. The leaders among the revisionists had such a bias and a personal agenda against the Majority Text. They also had doubts as to the inspiration of the Word of God and had convictions and involvements that would have disqualified them as being suitable candidates for reception to God's Assemblies, to put it mildly.
In 1870, the Convocation of Canterbury commissioned a revision company to revise the New Testament. Their stated aim was "to adapt King James' version to the present state of the English language without changing the idiom and vocabulary," and "to adapt it to the present standard of Biblical scholarship." The influential committee that was formed consisted primarily of distinguished scholars and divines within the Established Church of England, but with power to consult or add to their number eminent Biblical scholars of all denominations.
The most significant decision made at the start of the revision committee's work was to select a Greek text from which to make the revision. The committee was persuaded that there was a Greek text that was of higher reliability than the Majority Text, or Textus Receptus, that the translators of the King James Version used. As they carried out their work, the committee members time and again selected the corrupt Sinaiticus and Vaticanus and rejected the Textus Receptus. It is important to know how they came up with that decision and who the people were who persuaded them to do so.
The most influential of the committee in terms of selecting the text for the revisions were Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort. The other committee members relied on the expertise of these two men, both of whom were strongly opposed to the Textus Receptus and were strong proponents of the Minority Texts. They openly admitted that they were sceptics who doubted the infallibility of the New Testament and the miracles of Jesus.
Dr. Samuel C. Gipp, in his publication The Answer Book, A Helpbook for Christians, provides the following valuable comments about Westcott and Hort:
Brook Foss Westcott (1825-1903) and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892) were two non-Christian Anglican ministers. Fully steeped in the Alexandrian philosophy that "there is no perfect Bible", they had a vicious distaste for the King James Bible and its Antiochian Greek text, the Textus Receptus. [The infidelity of Westcott and Hort is well documented in this author's work entitled An Understandable History of the Bible, 1987, Bible Believer's Press, P.O. Box 1249, Pottstown, PA. 19464]
It cannot be said that they believed that one could attain Heaven by either works or faith, since both believed that Heaven existed only in the mind of man.
Westcott believed in and attempted to practice a form of Communism whose ultimate goal was communal living on college campuses which he called a "coenobium."
Both believed it possible to communicate with the dead and made many attempts to do just that through a society which they organized and entitled "The Ghostly Guild."
Westcott accepted and promoted prayers for the dead. Both were admirers of Mary (Westcott going so far as to call his wife Sarah, "Mary"), and Hort was an admirer and proponent of Darwin and his theory of evolution.
It is obvious to even a casual observer why they were well equipped to guide the Revision Committee of 1871-1881 away from God's Antiochian text and into the spell of Alexandria.
They had compiled their own Greek text from Alexandrian manuscripts, which, though unpublished and inferior to the Textus Receptus, they secreted little by little to the Revision Committee. The result being a totally new Alexandrian English Bible instead of a "revision" of the Authorized Version as it was claimed to be.
It has only been in recent years that scholars have examined their unbalanced theories concerning manuscript history and admitted that their agreements were weak to non-existent.
Sadly, both men died having never known the joy and peace of claiming Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
Dr. Henry M. Morris, a founding father of the Institute for Creation Research, USA, regarding the modern translators.
As far as the Hebrew text developed by Rudolph Kittel is concerned, it is worth noting that Kittel was a German rationalist higher critic, rejecting Biblical inerrancy and firmly devoted to evolutionism. The men most responsible for alterations in the New Testament text were B.F.Westcott and F.J.A.Hort, whose Greek New Testament was largely updated by Eberhard Nestle and Kurt Aland. All these men were evolutionists. Furthermore, Westcott and Hort denied Biblical inerrancy and promoted spiritism and racism. Nestle and Aland, like Kittel, were German theological sceptics.
Westcott and Hort were also the most influential members of the English revision committee which produced the English Revised Version of the Bible. The corresponding American revision committee which developed the American Standard Version of 1901 was headed by another liberal evolutionist, Philip Schaff. Most new versions since that time have adopted the same presuppositions as those of the 19th century revisers.
So one of the serious problems with most modern English translations is that they rely heavily on Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible developed by liberals, rationalists and evolutionists, none of whom believed in the verbal inspiration of the Bible. Is this how God would preserve His word? Would he not more likely have used devout scholars who believed in the absolute inerrancy and authority of the Bible?
I believe therefore, after studying the, teaching and loving the Bible for over 55 years, that Christians - especially creationists - need to hang on to their old King James Bibles as long as they live. God has uniquely blessed its use in the great revivals, in the world-wide missionary movement and in the personal lives of believers, more so than He has with all the rest of the versions put together, and 'by their fruits ye shall know them' (Matthew 7:20). It is the most beautiful, most powerful and (I strongly believe), the most reliable of any that we have or ever will have, until Christ returns.
Just as a point of interest, to show how morally bankrupt these men were, Fenton Hort was deeply racist. Making use of the n-word that black people find so offensive, Hort made the following statement about them: "...they have surely shown themselves only as an immeasurably inferior race, just human and no more, their religion frothy and sensuous, their highest virtues those of a good Newfoundland dog."
Dr. Morris makes the following observations about several other key people involved in revising the Bible into the modern versions:
* Edgar Goodspeed did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. He looked at Jesus as a social reformer who gave his life as a martyr for a 'cause'. Goodspeed called Genesis the product of an 'Oriental story teller at his best.'
* Julius Brewer stated, "The dates and figures found in the first five books of the Bible turn out to be altogether unreliable."
* Henry Cadbury believed that Jesus Christ was a just man who was subject to story telling, saying, "He was given to overstatements, in his case, not a personal idiosyncrasy, but a characteristic of the Oriental world."
* Walter Bowie believed that the Old Testament was legend instead of fact. He says in reference to Abraham, "The story of Abraham comes down from ancient times; and how much of it is fact and how much of it is legend, no one can positively tell."
* Clarence Craig denied the bodily resurrection of Christ. He said, "It is to be remembered there were no eye witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. No canonical gospel presumed to describe Jesus emerging from the tomb. The mere fact that a tomb was found empty was capable of many explanations. The very last one that would be credible to a modern man would be the explanation of a physical resurrection of the body."
* William Sperry showed his dislike for the gospel of John in the following statement: "Some of these sayings, it is true, come from the Fourth Gospel (John), and we do not press that gospel for too great verbal accuracy in its record of the sayings of Jesus."
* William Irwin believed that the Jewish prophets inflated the position of God in the Bible. He said, "The prophets were forced by the disasters that befell to do some hard, painful thinking. They were forced by the history of their own times to revise their messages again and again in order to keep up with the progress of the age. The Assyrians and the Babylonians forced them to revise their conception of Yahweh from time to time until they finally made Him God of the universe."
* Fleming James doubted the miracle of the Red Sea crossing. He said, "What really happened at the Red Sea WE CAN NO LONGER KNOW; but scholars are pretty well agreed that the narrative goes back to some striking and pretentious event which impressed Moses and the people with the belief that Yahweh had intervened to save them. The same may be said of the account of the plagues." Concerning Elijah's action in 2 Kings 1:10, James said, "The narrative of calling down fire from heaven upon soldiers sent to arrest him is plainly legendary."
Dr. Morris makes the following statement that describes how important it is that those who handle the Word of God be people who believe what the Bible teaches:
Textual criticism cannot be divorced entirely from theology. No matter how great a Greek scholar a man may be, or no matter how great an authority on the textual evidence, his conclusions must always be open to suspicion if he does not accept the Bible as the very Word of God.