Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men?

I didn't know how out of touch I was until I received a Christmas card last year with one of the new versions of Luke 2:14 on it. I don't know how it had escaped my attention until then, but I was really shocked when I saw it. Of course I went and checked it out with Burgon immediately. He was shocked too.

Is it just hidebound loyalty to tradition that keeps us attached to the King James rendering?
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

It's still in our Christmas carols, it's still the most common way we think of it. But if the modern Bible versions are based on the "earliest and best" manuscripts, apparently we're just wrong.

Here are a couple of the new versions:

NASB: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men *with whom He is pleased." To which is footnoted: * Some manuscripts peace, good will among men [AMONG men? Not TOWARD men?]

And the NIV: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
I think the card had the NASB version.

Then more recently in a discussion about these things, someone answered me as follows:
You say "Burgon shows in no uncertain terms that the Greek text they substituted in the place of the Received Text (on which the Authorized (King James) Bible and its predecessors had been based), was already known to be corrupt."

But the newer translations are not based on some "preferred text" that is different than the Received Text used in the King James translation. The Received text has merely been corrected on the basis of fragments of ancient manuscripts that have been discovered in the Near East during the 20th century. For example, the Chester Beatty papyri, the Bodmer papyrus, and the Ryland manuscript.

The text of the Bible had been copied by hand for 1500 years, and small errors inevitably crept into it because however diligent the copyists were, they were also human and subject to fatigue. These errors accumulated and were present in the received text.

One important emendation is in the angels song of Luke 2. Where the KJV has "peace on earth, good will to men," the New International Version has "peace to men on whom His favor rests." This is because in the earliest known fragments the Greek word behind the KJV's "good will" is in the genitive or possessive case. The angels were not giving some syrupy promise of peace and good will, but rather singing about God's good will and favor.

The also are many other important improvements in the New Testament made by the newer versions, as, for example, in the last chapter of Mark.
Well, there it is, the party line, the entrenched assumption of the superiority of recently discovered texts over the texts that the King James was based on. Now we are told that the King James version of Luke 2:14 is "syrupy" and the angels wouldn't have been singing such things. But he even seems to be unaware of the major changes made by Westcott and Hort, which were not based on "fragments" of ancient texts but on the remarkably complete Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, and instead focuses on the more recently discovered papyrus fragments as the source of what he of course regards as necessary corrections and emendations to the King James. These fragments are identified as of the Alexandrian type in the Wikipedia articles.

I answered him of course along the usual lines:
ALL the modern versions are based on some version of an eclectic text that contains the favored texts from Westcott and Hort. Our Bible should not contain even one word from those texts -- they are corrupt. Read Burgon. This is not to say that the KJV didn't need some revision, but unfortunately the question of what revisions might actually be necessary is so obscured by the dreck that has been substituted in the place of it we'd have to go back before W&H's mess and start over.
And then I quoted some of what Burgon had to say about Luke 2:14:

"A more grievous perversion of the truth of Scripture is scarcely to be found than occurs in the proposed revised exhibition of S. Luke ii. 14, in the Greek and English alike; for indeed not only is the proposed Greek text [which he reproduces here] impossible, but the English of the Revisionists ('peace among men in whom he is well pleased') 'can be arrived at ... only through some process which would make any phrase bear almost any meaning the translator might like to put upon it' [quoted from Scrivener's Introduction p. 515].

More than that: the harmony of the exquisite three-part hymn, which the Angels sang on the night of the Nativity, becomes hopelessly marred, and its structural symmetry destroyed, by the welding of the second and third members of the sentence into one. Singular to relate, the addition of a single final letter [Greek letter "s" given here] has done all this mischief. Quite as singular is it that we should be able at the end of upwards of 1700 years to discover what occasioned its calamitous insertion... [He goes on at some length here to explain the convoluted error by which this was inserted]

...Absolutely decisive of the true reading of the passage -- irrespectively of internal considerations -- ought to be the consideration that it is vouched for BY EVERY KNOWN COPY of the Gospels of whatever sort, excepting only Aleph, A B D [W&H's preferred texts which he now discusses at tedious length] : ... The Armenian, Georgian, Aethiopic, Slavonic and Arabian versions, are besides all with the Received Text. It therefore comes to this: -- We are invited to make our election between every other copy of the Gospels, -- every known Lectionary -- and (not least of all) the ascertained ecclesiastical usage of the Eastern Church from the beginning, -- on the one hand: and the testimony of four Codices without a history or a character, which concur in upholding a patent mistake, on the other.

[He then goes on to list the Church Fathers whose versions agree with the Received Text, which he calls a "torrent of Patristic authority" -- including Irenaeus, Origen, the Apostolical Constitutions, Eusebius, Aphraates the Persian, Titus of Bostra, Didymus, Gregory of Nazianzus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius, Gregory of Nyssa, Ephraem Syrus, Philo bishop of Carpasus, Chrysostom ... Cyril of Alexandria and others.][All the above from Burgon, The Revision Revised, pages 41 - 42 and he goes on discussing this same passage through p. 47 and in many other notes throughout his book.]

How I wish Burgon's thinking were better known.

I got to reading in Burgon's Revision Revised again today. It almost always makes me cry. How could such good sense, such good scholarship, such wisdom, such faithfulness to God's purposes have been ignored in favor of the corrupted Greek texts and the hideously bad English of the modern Bible versions? It breaks my heart.

How could the Church have been so easily deceived? How could so many good preachers have fallen for such lies? And they won't even consider the other side of the question. It's like the Church is under a spell. God's judgment beginning at the house of God of course.

Burgon was sure that good sense would prevail and that what has actually happened couldn't happen. He'd be appalled to see the condition of today's churches under the spell of Westcott and Hort and their Alexandrians.

Looking again at Burgon I'm made aware again that the sophistication of his writing, as well as his scholarship, probably puts him beyond the reach of most of today's readers. It's hard going even for someone as determined as I am to understand him. I can't help thinking that if the KJB had remained THE English Bible that most probably the average literate person wouldn't have a problem with Burgon either, because the King James elevated and refined the English language. Now we've got dumbed-down readers at least partly because we've got dumbed-down Bibles.

I wish people COULD read Burgon as is, but knowing most can't, or won't try, I wish someone would digest and condense his writing for the average reader, since that's the only way he could become accessible to the majority in the churches. Most pastors should be able to read him as is, but they might be more inclined to do it if someone took the trouble to edit him.

I wish I had what it takes to do that myself, but of course I couldn't handle the parts about the Greek sources, and I'd never get through such a project unless I limited myself to the most extreme minimum of his observations. I love his general comments, his sarcasm, his overview of the issues, but all that would have to go.

The most important thing to get across would be the fact that the Alexandrians which are some part of all the modern Bibles (except the NKJV but it has other problems also stemming from Westcott and Hort), were in fact corrupted in the early centuries, apparently by Gnostic heretics. The second most important thing would be to demonstrate just how specific parts of the scripture have been corrupted, first by the corrupted Greek texts, and then by the outrageously stupid English readings W&H substituted for the elegant, precise and sensitive English of the KJB. Burgon discusses all these factors at length. The bulk of such a project would have to focus on the changed scripture passages and the most pointed demonstrations of the errors in the modern versions.

I wonder if there's anybody out there who could do this?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Great Apostasy: Satan's Agenda in Promoting the Westcott-and-Hort-derived New Bible Versions

From a poster at a debate forum, here is another example of how the false belief that the Alexandrian Greek manuscripts of the Bible are "earlier and best" encourages distrust of the Bible and the major tenets of Christianity.

She treats 1 John 5:7 as THE source of the idea of the Trinity, so since it isn't in the "earliest and best" Greek manuscripts this major tenet of the faith can be dismissed as a later invention.

In her next post she says, in answer to another poster who said the Trinity doesn't depend on that one verse:
As this link showed, yes there are many verses used to show that Jesus is a god, but that isn't the issue here. Since the Bible states that there is only one God, the orthodox group of Christianity had to find a way to counter the claims that they were polytheistic. The idea of one god in three persons is really only supported by 1 John 5:7. There are two other verses in the Gospel of John that could be construed to support the Trinity, but they are weak. (John 14:10 & John 10:30)
In other words that one verse pretty much is what I originally understood her to say, THE source of the idea of the Trinity as we understand it, One God in Three Persons.

But like so many who judge the Bible from the intellect (or the flesh), she fails to appreciate that the Trinity is to be found in countless passing references in the Bible, in both old and new Testaments, that characterize Jesus Christ as Jehovah God Himself, not "a god," both fully God and fully man, and God the Father and God the Holy Spirit as both God in all powers and attributes as well as separate personalities. The charge of polytheism is made by many ignorant sorts, but the true Trinity is all over scripture prior to all such charges. In any case, this kind of argument can mislead some who follow their flesh instead of the Spirit in understanding the Bible.

She treats Luke 22:20 as THE source of the idea of the NEW Covenant, so since it isn't in the "earliest and best" Greek manuscripts apparently in her thinking this also can be dismissed as a later invention that has wrongly defined Christian doctrine.

She also points to Mark 16:17, one of the last twelve verses of Mark, as the basis for Christian Science, but the whole passage as the basis for Christian witnessing and evangelizing, which she implies would not have become characteristic of Christianity if the "earlier and best" manuscripts had remained the basis of the religion.

This poster also references Bart Ehrman, who is famous for having gone from a "born again" believer to agnosticism through this sort of Bible scholarship and now writes books questioning and denouncing the central beliefs of Christianity.

This poster lists basic Christian beliefs not found in the "earliest and best" Bible manuscripts, referencing Bart Ehrman:

Here are 12 Basic Tenets of Christianity that I found on the internet.

1. Jesus Christ is the Only Way to Eternal Salvation With God the Father
2. We Are Saved by Grace Through Faith – Not by Works
3. Jesus Christ is the Son of God
4. The Incarnation of Jesus Christ
5. The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ From the Grave
6. The Ascension of Jesus Christ
7. The Doctrine of the Trinity
8. The Holy Bible is the Inspired and Infallible Word of God
9. We Are Baptized With the Holy Spirit at the Moment of Salvation
10. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit
11. The Doctrine of Hell
12. The 2nd Coming of Jesus Back to our Earth

From the research of Bart D. Ehrman, these are from the top ten most familiar verses that weren't “originally” in the New Testament. (Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, Bart D. Ehrman, 2005, Pgs 265-266)
She emphasizes at the end of her post that her topic is specifically how Christian doctrine is different from what it was originally meant to be because the original Bible mss were not its basis:

This discussion is about verses or sections of the New Testament that aren’t in the earlier Greek manuscripts and how they could impact basic Christian tenets, beliefs, traditions, and practices.
Of course she treats the Bible the same way Ehrman does, by treating each book as separate from the others rather than as revealing an aspect of the truth that is to be combined with the others to give the complete picture. In fact Ehrman specifically criticizes this basic rule of Biblical exegesis.

It seems to me that this poster's argument (and Bart Ehrman's) accurately reflects exactly what the modern Bibles based on the bogus Alexandrian texts are intended by Satan to do to the church, which he well accomplished through Westcott and Hort and scholars who lean to their own understanding: to suggest that it was misguided or evil men who invented Christianity by ignoring the "earliest and best" sources, to undermine faith in God's word, ultimately no doubt to precipitate the Great Falling Away that true scripture prophesies will characterize the last days before the revelation of the Antichrist and the Second Coming of Christ.
2Th 2:3 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;
At least it seems to be accomplishing this objective whether intended or not. All while at the same time keeping vast numbers of sincere Bible-believing pastors and teachers convinced that the W&H Bibles are based on the "earliest and best" manuscripts, so they then pass on this false teaching and some who take the pains to investigate what this implies will also fall away.

Later: Someone answering her on that thread also accepts the lie about the superior "oldest and best" Alexandrian manuscripts although he disagrees with her that the supposedly wrongly added material has had the impact on church doctrine she is claiming it has. He is quite knowledgeable about where the Critical Text differs from the Textus Receptus. All I can say is how sad it is that this gigantic lie has become so accepted among Christians.

Later yet: Hoping to get her point said as well as possible: Her idea is that much of Christian doctrine has NO basis in the Bible at all, and this is shown by the fact that much of it isn't in the "earliest and best" manuscripts, so of course it was therefore inserted later -- not derived from the Bible but made up and inserted into the Bible -- which is the standard explanation from the Westcott-and-Hort-Alexandrian-text-fiasco camp for the discrepancies between the Textus Receptus and the Alexandrians. They won't consider that the Alexandrians were corrupted by heretics, which is so amply testified by Dean Burgon, so they put their trust in these bogus claimants to superiority and judge the TRUE text by this false standard to be the corrupted text. PUTTING GOOD FOR EVIL AND EVIL FOR GOOD.

Boy what a massive destruction campaign W&H / Satan pulled off against the word of God.

And STILL so many preachers and teachers go on blithely accepting the intellectualizations of Daniel Wallace, James White, Bruce Metzger, the Bible Researcher Marlowe and the whole compromised bunch of them.

Wake up wake up wake up wake up.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chuck Missler defends the KJB / Textus Receptus

Just discovered this video series by Missler, Authenticity Codes of the Greek Text of the KJB. I've only heard a small part of it and don't know if I will be completely convinced by his argument as it goes on. He has so far pointed out that the Alexandrian Greek texts underlying the modern versions turn out to be corrupted, and that's 90% of the necessary argument right there, but Missler tends to get a bit far-out and he purports to defend the authenticity of the KJB by some kind of in-built Bible "code" he's going to go on to discuss in Part 2.

Later: Now having heard Part 2 I can say that I'm mildly impressed but as usual mostly bored with the way Missler enjoys going off into extraneous issues to make his points. In this case he's found, via the work of a 19th Century Russian mathematician, that the true Greek text of the Bible (the Textus Receptus that underlies the King James) exhibits words and letters and elements of the structure of the text in sevens and multiples of sevens. One would have to do the counting oneself to verify this claim, of course, and I'm not going to do that, but if he's right it is interesting to consider that God might leave His "signature" on His inspired text in such a way. Missler says this is specifically the case in the genealogies of Jesus, and that it authenticates the disputed last twelve verses of Mark as well. He lists many ways that sevens and multiples of sevens occur in the Greek of these two parts of scripture.

I have to allow that a certain kind of mind may find this sort of thing fascinating and even a faith-builder. For me it's kind of a ho-hum and I don't feel like listening to more of it. Great if it's true I guess, but for me it's a far more compelling argument for the last twelve verses of Mark simply to point out, as Missler also does in Part 2, that the fact church fathers of the second century quote from that passage is sufficient condemnation of the bogus Alexandrian texts which leave it out. That is, Irenaeus and Hippolytus both quote from this passage well BEFORE the dates of the Alexandrians that were foisted on the church by Westcott and Hort and are so wrongly trusted by modern scholars.

But if anyone is more excited by Missler's mathematical excursions, go for it.