Having been on the night shift for the last three months, with very little company, I have been downloading and listening to programs from Pirate Christian Radio, with Chris Rosebrough, and Worldview Weekend, with Brannon Howse.
For the most part these gentlemen produce some very informative programs, but there are times when I begin to wonder.
Tuesday September 2 was one of those days.
As a “bonus” episode for Labour Day, Chris Rosebrough played an introduction to Textual Criticism, by professor Dan Wallace. It was an appropriate choice of days, since Textual Criticism is a labour of man.
Why not honour man’s labour on Labour Day?
I found it interesting that both Chris Rosebrough, and Dan Wallace, claimed that Textual Criticism is a “science”! Hinduism claims to be a “science” too! So does the “Church” of Scientology! There is a mystic New Age cult called “Science of Mind” Indeed evolutionists claim that evolution is a “science”, though in fact it is merely one of man’s religions, a story made up to explain creation without God!
If Textual Criticism is a “science” then one does not need to be a born-again Christian to find the words of God in the biblical text. All one needs to do is to follow “scientific” principles and you can reconstruct the original bible! Faith has no part in the process, and neither does knowing the God of the bible!
Amazingly these people are consistent with this view, that anyone can use “scientific” principles to reconstruct the bible! If you examine the history of Textual Criticism, you find that it is full of names of unbelievers, Occultists, Spiritists, and Nazis!
Essentially they are saying that the Words of God were lost, and He needs us to find them again for Him!
The original Textus Criticus was compiled by two Occultists; Brook Foss Westcott, and John Anthony Hort. These two Anglicans were members of the Hermes club, and the Ghostly Guild, a society dedicated to the study of the paranormal. (Hermes was an ancient pagan god.) Westcott was a friend of Helena Blavatsky, the nineteenth century leader of the British Occult revival.
Regardless of whether they were occultists or not, their theory is full of error, and it is on this theory that modern Textual Criticism is based. The Dean Burgon Society has an excellent article refuting the errors of Westcott and Hort here
“Helena P. Blavatsky was deeply into spiritism and communication with the dead. She was the founder of the Theosophical Society. She also attended the “Ghostly Guild” meetings with Westcott and Hort, along with Charles Darwin. In her books Isis Unveiled Volumes 1 and 2 and The Secret Doctrine Volumes 1 and 2, Blavatsky says: “We have the Bible in truth in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus.” And she goes on to say: “Westcott and Hort were true scholars that corrected the errors in previous versions.”
Madame Blavatsky also said: “Now that the ‘Revised Version’ of the gospels has been published by Westcott and Hort, and the most glaring mistranlations of the old version, the King James, are corrected, one will better understand the words. The text of the English Protestant Bible is in disagreement as usual with the Alexandrian text. That which for nearly 1500 years was opposed on Christianism of a book which every word was written under direct supervision of the Holy Ghost; of which not one syllable or comma could be changed without Sacrilege, but now is being retranslated, revised and corrected and clipped of whole verses, and in some cases almost entire chapters. And as soon as the new edition is out, its doctors Westcott and Hort will have us accept it as new revelation of the 19th century. And the King James translators have made such a jumble of it, that no one but an occultist can restore the Bible to its original form.” (H.P. Blavatsky, on the Bible, Isis Unveiled.)” ( http://brandplucked.webs.com/westcotthortjameswhite.htm )
Gerhard Kittel, a German protestant theologian, and member of the Nazi party, was the son of Rudolph Kittel, the man who changed the biblical Old Testament text from the Ben Chayyim (Masoretic) text to the Ben Asher (Leningrad Codex) text. Gerhard Kittel was Hitler’s theologian, who wrote many anti-Semitic articles justifying the Nazi persecution of the Jews. He also wrote a New Testament lexicon that is popular to this day!
Kurt Aland, another German Theologian, was released from German military service in 1940, so he could pursue his education. At a time when Germany was deep in world war 2, Aland was released from military service. The Nazis must have thought his theological work was more important than fighting for his country. At a time when the Nazi party persecuted all opposition, Aland was pursuing his education in the same nation. I can’t say that Aland was a Nazi himself, but he did prosper under them. No doubt his philosophy was quite compatible with them. This is the same Aland of the Nestle-Aland New Testament Text that underlies most modern bible translations.
Guilt by association, you say? Should I ask a Buddhist to interpret the bible for me? He associates with the Buddha. Should I ask a Muslim to interpret the bible for me? He associates with Mohammad, a man who said the bible is corrupt. A man who associated with evil spirits in a cave. Should I allow Textual Critics to interpret the bible for me? Their “science” is fraudulent, man-based, and they associate with occultists, and Nazis.
You can’t tell me that a man’s anti-Semitic, or Occultic, philosophy will not affect the way he compiles texts.
Interestingly, Dan Wallace also says the bible has been corrupted, just like Mohammad. The difference is that Mr. Wallace says that he can restore the bible to its original state, by the use of a “science” called Textual Criticism.
The problem with Textual Criticism that its proponents seem unaware of, is that it puts the words of God at the mercy of sinful men. Textual Criticism is based on unfounded suppositions, and faulty assumptions.
The assumption is that the oldest text must be the most accurate. There is a logic to this assumption, but there is also a fallacy. The Apostle Paul said;
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. II Corinthians 2:17
Now, the modern text people will tell you that the word translated as “corrupt” in the AV is actually “peddle” in the Greek. They are correct, but please read the whole verse. The context of “peddle” in this passage is people who were making copies, rapidly, and without regard to accuracy, for the purpose of selling it.
There is nothing wrong with selling copies of the Word of God, but if you are making corrupt, inaccurate, copies for the purpose of making money this is a problem, and this is exactly what Paul was getting at with his use of the word “peddle”. And, if the bible was being corrupted while the Apostles were still alive then there is no guarantee that old copies are more accurate.
In fact the very opposite is exactly what happened; Christians who knew the Word of God, would not use such corrupt copies, so they sat on the shelf, unused! What happens when you handle things with your hands? There are oils and acids that human hands excrete, and these chemicals cause vellum, and papyrus to accelerate their decay.
The bibles the Church used were subject to accelerated decay, and wore out after a few years, because of use. This was not a problem, however, because these Churches made copies of the texts they were using, so Christians always had accurate copies of the bible available to them. Churches who love the word of God took great pains to make accurate copies, unlike the peddlers of Paul’s day.
The oldest texts that Dan Wallace says are the “the most accurate” are actually the corrupt texts that sat unused on the shelf, for hundreds of years. Real Christians wouldn’t use them then, and still have a problem with them to this day.
Both Dan Wallace and Chris Rosebrough contradicted themselves on the subject of the Textus Receptus, the text that underlies the old bibles including the AV. Wallace said that while there are hundreds of thousands of variations in the various manuscripts, 99.9 percent of them are only spelling variations. Then, they turned around and said that, since Erasmus only used seven manuscripts when compiling the Textus Receptus, it cannot be trusted!
What they are getting at is that you can’t trust the Textus Receptus, and the bibles based on it, like the AV, and you must trust the Textual Critics!
The truth is that Erasmus had other manuscripts available to him, but he chose that particular seven because they were representative of the vast majority of biblical texts. Erasmus specifically ignored Jerome’s Latin Vulgate as corrupt, which it is.
Wallace made a point of stating the number of extant Greek texts to be almost at six thousand, which is accurate.
He forgot to mention, however, that among those six thousand texts there are actually two families. There is the minority text, of which the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are representative. This textual family is represented by only about two hundred and fifty manuscripts. These are the manuscripts that the modern bible versions are based on, versions such as the NASB, ESV, HCSB, NIV, NLT, CEV, and the Message.
He also forgot to mention that these texts originated in Alexandria Egypt, a centre of Gnostic thought. This is why they are often called “Alexandrian” texts. For those who don’t know, Gnosticism is virtually identical to the modern New Age movement. In fact Chris Rosebrough recently published an expose of the Gnostic heresy. One would think he would be leery of documents originating from the world centre of Gnosticism.
Well over five thousand of the biblical manuscripts are in the family of the Textus Receptus. In other words, over ninety percent of the existing bible manuscripts agree with the Textus Receptus, even though it only used seven manuscripts in its compilation!
There are thousands of textual differences between any two members of the Alexandrian text. Real differences. Among the majority text, however, while there may be spelling differences, there is no major difference at all. These texts are so uniform that Textual Critics consider them to be one text, and thus the whole library carries no more weight than one of the corrupt texts!
Rosebrough and Wallace’s emphasis on the seven manuscripts appears to me to be deliberately disingenuous. In fact that is how I would characterize the entire program. They appear to be selectively emphasizing certain facts, while ignoring others of equal or greater significance, in order to create a false impression.
While I have been somewhat impressed with Chris Rosebrough’s program, I must say it now appears to me that he attempts to look like a conservative Christian, in order to sneak in other heresies under the radar. This attack on the Word of God is very disappointing, not to mention dangerous.
Who cares if you expose some of the obvious errors of the Emergent Church, or the Word of Faith heresy, when you actively participate in such a blatant attack on the Word of God?
Both Dan Wallace and Chris Rosebrough need to repent and stop treating the Word of God with such contempt!
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: I Timothy 6:20
For further research;
Regarding Kurt Aland the German Greek New Testament scholar who played a major role in the development of the Novum Testamentum Graece, guilt by association of the man versus the work he produced is not the same. A Nazi-designed bridge, automobile or airplane could be just as sound as one designed by Brittish enginers. One must judge the work on its own merit. NA28, the current rendition of Kurt Aland work, built on the work of Eberhard Nestle (1851-1913), does include interpretation, but not in the normal sense of the word. The Greek text these men coordinated is just that – the best and most probably rendition of what the original New Testament authors wrote themselves. And, it is thoroughly documented with every – even minor – textual variant. Let the text speak for itself and don’t fall for the logical fallacy of poisoning the well.
I disagree; the bible is not the same as an automobile or a bridge. It is totally different. God preserved His Word by its use, and copying, in Churches. The Jewish Scriptures were preserved in a similar way by the Jews.
The Nazis had an agenda which made its way into the Leningrad codex.