OUR AUTHORIZED BIBLE VINDICATED
BENJAMIN G. WILKINSON, PH.D.
CATHOLICS REJOICE THAT THE REVISED VERSION VINDICATES THEIR BIBLE
PREVIOUSLY we have shown how Catholics were elated over the readings in the Revised Version that undermined Protestantism, and criticized the Revisers for wanton omissions.f435 We shall now show how they rejoiced that Catholic readings rejected by the Reformers have been restored by the Revisers, and their Catholic Bible vindicated.
A Catholic bishop says that the Revisers were not as Protestant as the translators of 1611:
"It must be admitted that either the Revisers wished to withdraw several important passages of the Holy Scripture from Protestants, or that the latter, in their simplicity, have all along been imposed upon by King James translators, who, either through ignorance or malice, have inserted in the Authorized Version a number of paragraphs which were never written by an apostle or other inspired writer."f436
Cardinal Wiseman exults that the Revision Movement vindicates the Catholic Bible:
"When we consider the scorn cast by the Reformers upon the Vulgate, and their recurrence, in consequence, to the Greek, as the only accurate standard, we cannot but rejoice at the silent triumph which truth has at length gained over clamorous error. For, in fact, the principal writers who have avenged the Vulgate, and obtained for it its critical preeminence, are Protestants."f437
A Catholic Magazine claims Revision for Higher Criticism and Catholicism:
"How bitter to them must be the sight of their Anglican bishops sitting with Methodists, Baptists, and Unitarians to improve the English Bible according to modern ideas of progressive Bible Criticism! Who gave these men authority over the written Word of God? It was not Parliament or Privy Council, but the Church of England acting through Convocation. To whom do they look for the necessary sanction and approval of their work, but to public opinion? One thing at least is certain, the Catholic Church will gain by the new Revision both directly and indirectly."f438
A Catholic priest indicates that the changes agree with the Latin Vulgate:
"It is very pleasant to read the commendation given by the learned reviewer, the Very Revelation James A Corcoran, D.D., in the American Catholic Quarterly Review, of the new Revision. He devotes a considerable space to proving that the earlier English translations corrupted the text, for the purpose of attacking the Roman Catholic faith, and that even King James Version retained many of these odious mistranslations. Of the Revision he says: One of the greatest benefits conferred by the Revision on the English Protestant world, though very few or none seem to realize it, is that all the wicked translations, whether by falsification of meaning, or by interpolation, or by foisting of glosses into the text, have been ruthlessly swept away by the besom of the Revisers. And why? Solely on the ground that they were corruptions. They do not explicitly say that they were sectarian corruptions, nor need we insist on their saying it; but they recognized them as such, and every honest man, every friend of religious truth must be thankful that they have with unsparing hand driven these unholy abominations out of the book of Gods revelation. This proves that their honesty was wholesome, not partial or interested."f439
The above quotation shows the hostile attitude of Romanists to the King James Version, and their endorsement of the Revision.
A Catholic Bishop says that Protestants have prayed the Lords prayer wrong for 300 years:
"This writer (Dr. Alexander Roberts) notifies his readers in one place, that, because the Revisers made use of an amended Greek text, a vast multitude of changes will be found in the Revised English Version of the New Testament. Next he reminds them of the entire omission of the doxology of the Lords prayer of <400613>Matthew 6:13, so that all English speaking Protestants have been all along adding to that prayer words which the Lord never dictated. Indeed, they are likely to continue the practice, as the Revision of the Authorized Version will probably never be generally adopted by them."f440
A Catholic priest says that the Revised Version confirms readings of the Catholic Version:
"From the Very Revelation Thomas S. Preston, of St. Ann's (R. C.) Church of New York, The brief examination which I have been able to make of the Revised Version of the New Testament has convinced me that the Committee have labored with great sincerity and diligence, and that they have produced a translation much more correct than that generally received among Protestants.
"It is to us a gratification to find that in very many instances they have adopted the reading of the Catholic Version, and have thus by their scholarship confirmed the correctness of our Bible."f441
A Catholic Magazine says that the Revised readings do justice to Catholics:
"We have next to examine the new Version in detail to see how it will affect Catholic truth. In the first place, there are several important corrections and improved renderings. The Revisers have done an act of justice to Catholics by restoring the true reading of <461127>1 Corinthians 11:27."f442
A Catholic Bishop considers that the Revised Version is like the Douay Bible:
"And there is no reason to doubt that, had King James translators generally followed the Douay Version, the convocation of Canterbury would have been saved the trouble of inaugurating a movement for the purpose of expurgating the English Protestant Bible of the errors and corruptions by which its pages are filled."f443
French and German Catholic authorities approve the critical features of the Greek text which underlies the Revised Version:
"In the Bulletin Critique of Paris for Jan. 15, 1881, the learned Louis Duchesne opens the review of Westcott and Hort with these words: Voici un livre destine a faire epoque dans la critique du Nouveau-Testament. (Here is a book destined to create a new epoch in New Testament criticism.) To this Catholic testimony from France may be added German Catholic approval, since Dr. Hundhausen, of Mainz, in the Literarischer Hand-weiser, 1882, No. 19, col. 590, declares:
Unter allen bisher auf dem Gebiete der neutestamentlichen Textkritik erschienenen Werken gebuhrt dem Westcott-Hort-schen unstreitig die Palme." (Among all printed works which have appeared in the field of New Testament textual criticism, the palm belongs unquestionably to the Westcott-Hort Text.)f444
A Catholic magazine claims that the Revised Version is the death knell of Protestantism:
"On the 17th of May the English speaking world awoke to find that its Revised Bible had banished the Heavenly Witnesses and put the Devil in the Lords Prayer. Protests loud and deep went forth against the insertion; against the omission, none. It is well, then, that the Heavenly Witnesses should depart whence their testimony is no longer received. The Jews have a legend that shortly before the destruction of their Temple, the Shechinah departed from the Holy of Holies, and the Sacred Voices were heard saying, Let us go hence. So perhaps it is to be with the English Bible, the Temple of Protestantism. The going forth of the Heavenly Witnesses is the sign of the beginning of the end. Lord Panmure's prediction may yet prove true the New Version will be the death knell of Protestantism."f445
THE AMERICAN REVISION COMMITTEE AND ITS INFLUENCE UPON THE FUTURE OF AMERICA
AS THE influence of the Oxford Movement crossed the ocean and began to spread in the United States, Dr. Hort could not refrain from writing to Westcott:
"A most singular movement is taking place among the German Reformation settled in America, the center of the Movement being Mercersburg. The leading man is Dr. Nevin... I can compare him to no one but Newman, and higher praise it would be difficult to give. I fear he is fast drifting Romewards." Easter Eve, 1854.f451
So wrote from England one who knew. The "Mercersburg Movement," or the "Mercersburg Theology," made a revolutionary and permanent change in American Theological colleges and American theology. Dr. Nevin, however, was not the American Newman. He was only the forerunner. The outstanding leader, his associate, was Dr. Philip Schaff, President of both American Committees of Revision, Old and New Testament.
The following quotation will show, in an introductory way, how the Mercersburg Movement stood related to American churches, to the Oxford Movement, and to Dr. Schaff:
"The works of the Mercersburg professors are fraught with dangerous tendencies. The Reformed Dutch Church has, by a public and solemn act, withdrawn from ecclesiastical relations with the German Reformed Church, her ancient ally, on account of her countenance of those works and of their authors. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (O.S.) has suspended her relations with that denomination for the present year, and awaits further developments. This painful step has, in both cases, been taken after much deliberation, and with the calmness and dignity which befit a Christian Church...
"Romanism is known to have recently entered the Church of England in the disguise of Oxford Tractarianism, to have drawn off no inconsiderable number of her clergy and members, and to have gained a footing on British soil, from which the government and public opinion together are unable to eject her. The Mercersburg writers began with decided commendation of the system which is called Puseyism. Their own course has thus far strongly resembled that which has marked its history. Step by step they have advanced, till Romanism stands forth almost unveiled in the Apostles Creed, Early Christianity, and Cyprian, of Dr. Nevin in the Mercersburg Review... Yet Dr. Nevin and these very works are commended and endorsed by Dr. Schaff in this History of the Apostolic Church, and that without caution or reserve." f452
Before the part played by Dr. Schaff in contaminating American theology is presented, the fundamental doctrines which formed the issues of the Mercersburg Movement, as well as the background of its birth, must be considered. While on a visit to Germany in 1854, Dr. Schaff lectured before several organizations, on Dr. Nevin and the Mercersburg Movement. From a report of his remarks we quote the following:
"The Mystical Presence published in 1846, was his (Dr. Nevins) first dogmatic-polemic work, a Vindication of the Mystical Presence of Christ in the Lords Supper, and of the actual participation of believers in the power of His divine-human life, in opposition to the prevalent symbolical view in America, which sees in this sacrament only a commemoration of the death of Christ now absent in heaven...
"But the Movement did not stop here. Already in the Mystical Presence, the idea of the Incarnation of Christ came to the front very clearly, as the central truth of Christianity...
"In the same track with the more recent German theology, he (Dr. Nevin) studied with the deepest interest the entire Puseyite controversy, foremost the writings of Dr. John H. Newman, with whom he had many points of resemblance, and read the works of the most important Roman Catholic apologists and polemics, such as Bellarmine, Bossuet, Mohler, Wiseman, and Balmes, who of course represent their system of faith in a much more favorable light than their Protestant opponents, and know how to idealize it, so that to a deep, earnest spirit it becomes powerfully imposing.
"Dr. Nevin gave expression to his newly gained ideas in the Mercersburg Review, established by his pupils, edited by him, and read extensively beyond the Reformed Church, more particularly in the Episcopal. He there developed, in a series of essays and reviews, full of life and spirit, and always going back to fundamental principles, the doctrine of the Person of Christ."f453
It was in 1844 that Dr. Schaff, still a young man, arrived from Germany to assume his duties as Professor of Church History and Biblical Literature in the Theological Seminary of Mercersburg, Pa. He was just at the beginning of his theological career in the University of Berlin, and was, says Dr. Appel, "a gift from the Fatherland to the daughter Church on this side of the ocean, and, we may add, to the country at large, destined to serve as an important link connecting the theological science of this country with that of Germany."f454 He came determined to use as his chief argument, the theory of historical development which, in the hands of the Catholic Mohler, had struck in Germany and everywhere, strong blows at Protestantism and brought about the reinstatement of the Catholic Church to a position of leadership.
On the eve of his leaving Germany, many Protestant leaders of the new German theology rejoiced with Dr. Schaff over his call to America. Among others who wrote to him, was Dr. Dorner, whose work on the Atonement has ever attracted so much attention. Of Dorner, Andrew Lang wrote in the Forum:
"Dorner's position, however, notwithstanding his protest, is simply the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory somewhat rationalized."f455
"Especially do I ask you to give attention to the Trinitarian and Christological controversies and the development of the theory of the Atonement."f456
On his way to the United States, Dr. Schaff spent some time in England, visiting. He met Drs. Jelf, Stanley, Pusey, Maurice, and Jowett. He described Maurice as of a German temper of mind, and said of Jowett that he seemed to have more sympathy with German theological views than anyone else he met there. Pusey spoke strongly against the sect divisions in America, "expressing the wish that the bishops of the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church alone had the ground."f457
On his arrival in this country, and at his inauguration into the office which he accepted within the German Reformed Church, Schaff made an address entitled, "The Principles of Protestantism." His speech was so revolutionary that, as soon as it was translated into English and circulated, it produced a storm of criticism. It brought forth charges of Romanizing and Tractarian tendencies. "The address involved the church irreversibly in the doctrinal agitation which went on within its pale for a quarter of a century."f458
Some attribute to this address the opening note of the Mercersburg Movement. Others say it began with the tract written in the preceding year by Dr. Nevin, entitled, "The Anxious Bench." This tract was a terrific denunciation of the system of revivals held in the evangelical churches and pointed out the Sacramental System as a refuge from fanaticism.
Nevertheless the inaugural address of Dr. Schaff resulted in his being tried for heresy. He was formally acquitted; so he and Dr. Nevin went back to the Theological Seminary to vindicate themselves and promote their views among the rising generation.
Dr. Berg, pastor of the First German Reformed Church of Philadelphia, bore the brunt of opposing the Catholic tide which evidently now had set in, in America, as it had before in Germany and England. From a converted Catholic priest he had heard that the professors of Mercersburg were insidiously instilling Romanizing poison in their classroom teachings. He tried several times to bring about a change, but finding the Synod obdurate, he went over to the Dutch Reformed Church, taking with him the larger part of his congregation.
The time spent by Dr. Schaff at Mercersburg was approximately twenty years. "The Mercersburg period of Dr. Schaff's career," says his son, "coincided with the rise and development of the Mercersburg theology." In 1864 he removed to New York, and for six years was connected with the New York Sabbath Committee, whose aim, says his son, "was not to defend the Sabbath as a religious festival, but as an institution recognized by civil legislation." During this time he traveled all over the United States, north and south, seeking by documents, by editorials, and from the pulpit and platform, to enforce Sunday Laws.
In 1870, Dr. Schaff connected with the Union Theological Seminary where he taught for over a quarter of a century. It must not be thought, however, that his revolutionary influence upon American theology was limited to his stay at Mercersburg. In his later writings and correspondence, we find those peculiar doctrines which certain German theologians expected him to promote in the United States, and which he urged, at times with insistence, upon the Revision Committee.
Dr. Schaff's teachings endorse the papal hierarchy of the Middle Ages. He magnifies the priesthood until "its ministers have more than earthly power; its sacraments have inherent objective efficiency."f459 Dr. Schaffs conception of theology rests upon the doctrine of historical development.
In his life's work, called "The History of the Apostolic Church," begun in 1853, may be found his scheme of doctrines. His theories in this book were so startling that several of Americas leading theological reviews denounced them as anti-Scriptural, and anti-Protestant. In classifying the sources of history, he puts in first rank the "official letters, decrees, and bulls of Popes," pronouncing them "pure, original utterances of history."f460
"Through the misty drapery of Dr. Schaff's philosophy, every essential feature of the papal system stands forth with a prominence so sharply defined, as to leave doubt impossible, and charity in despair," said one Reviewer.f461
The following quotations from contemporary writers of standing present the danger of Schaff's teachings:
"It is quite time that the churches of our country should awake to the extent and tendencies of this movement in the midst of American Protestantism. After a series of advances and retractations, strongly resembling the tactics of the Tractarian party in England, we have at length a bold avowal of the primacy of Peter, the fundamental and test doctrine of the Papacy, followed by a concession of every vital point of Christianity Church, Ministry, Worship, Sacraments, and the Right of Private Judgment to Romanism, and that too, while the name and the forms of Protestantism are (as far as possible) studiously retained. f462
Remember, these are not the teachings of a Catholic, but of the great modern leader in American theology, President of both American Revision Committees which produced the American Standard Revised Version. One of his tendencies is described as follows:
"The first of these which we shall mention is the primacy of Peter, which Dr. Schaff pronounces a subject of vast importance, and justly observes that the claims of the Papacy are well known to center here. Dr. Schaff fully asserts the primacy of Peter, and devotes about thirty pages of his work to the proof of it, and the exposition of its relations to the Christian church and its history."f463
We shall now see that Dr. Schaffs anti-Scriptural doctrine of the "Person of Christ," modifies all doctrines and destroys Inspiration:
"As the conception of Christianity as a principle or life, the divinehuman life of Christ, leads to unscriptural views of His person; modifies essentially the scheme of redemption, and the mode of its application; involves the theory of organic development, with all its consequences; so, finally, it includes a new and thoroughly anti-Protestant view of the Church."f464
Or, as this writer says in another place on Dr. Schaff's conception of Christ:
"It involves the doctrine of organic development, which overturns all the established views of the nature of revelation and of Christian doctrine. Revelation can no longer be understood as the supernatural objective communication of divine truths, but the elevation of human nature to a higher state, by which its intuitions of spiritual objects become more distinct."f465
What an indictment of this modern doctrine of the Person of Christ! This teaching transfers the revelation of God from the Bible to the feelings, emotions, intuitions, and human judgment of the individual. It places a church composed of such individuals above the written Word of God. May we not here direct the readers attention to this startling truth, that rejecting the infallibility and inspiration of the Bible leads to seeking refuge in another infallibility. Among Hindus and others, this is the infallibility of the individual; among the Papists, it comes to the infallibility of the Church.
We further quote, from a monthly magazine of standing, to show that Dr. Schaff's system of doctrines is truly papal, and that he was disloyal to the faith he professed:
"The Church of Rome has committed it (treason). She has denied the sovereignty of her Lord, and appropriated His royal attributes to Peter, in order, from that shadowy source, to derive them, by her fictitious succession, to herself. She alone, of all the nominal churches of Christ, has done this, and a heavy reckoning she will have for it.
"Dr. Schaff has taken his position in this system so boldly and distinctly, that he quite spares us the invidious office of giving him or his theory an odious name...
"He has determined, too, to write a history of the Christian church on this system. He has thus laid the foundation of it. We shall have occasion to see hereafter that he carries up the whole building plumb and true to the ground-plan, and after the pattern showed him by the most approved masters of papal churchbuilding." f466
"That such a work should have proceeded from the bosom of the Protestant church, and from a chair of ecclesiastical history in a church especially renowned of old for its learned and powerful champions of reformed Christianity, is a portentous fact. It is, to say the least, not less so, that it has somehow gained the strongest testimonials from several of the most respectable and influential Protestant journals. The Papacy has never won a victory but by stealing a march. Her tactics have fairly been successful this time. This book is circulating through the Protestant church with an imprimatur from authorities which no American Protestant has been in the habit of questioning. One of them goes so far as to recommend that Dr. Schaff's book (then only published in German) be translated and introduced as a textbook into our theological seminaries. It would be well, as a preparatory measure, in case that were done, to apply to the General of the order of Jesus to send us over professors to teach it. Our Protestant professors would (till properly initiated and trained) betray some awkwardness in laying down the primacy of Peter as the foundation of the church of Christ, drawing the waters of history from such sources as bulls of the Popes, and weaving together beautiful legends and oral traditions into an osier-work of church history, instead of piling up, as heretofore, the solid granite of historical fact, and the pure marble of Christian doctrine. Our students of divinity, too, for whose benefit Dr. Schaff's work is especially intended, would be sorely puzzled when set to learn beautiful legends by heart, to search among bulls of the Popes for doctrine and government, and to take, for the first lesson in Church History, the Primacy of Peter. A sad change must come over our Theological Schools when this broad road leading Rome-ward is substituted for the old path."f467
It may be urged that Dr. Schaff at times spoke against the Papacy. This point is noticed by the following writer:
"It is quite true that Dr. Schaff has said some hard things of the Papacy. He speaks of the extravagant claims, the deadly coils of the Papacy. But we have not yet forgotten that Mr. Newman pronounced the Roman Church impious, blasphemous, gross, monstrous, governed by the Evil One, bound by a perpetual bond and covenant to the cause of Antichrist, which we ought to flee as a pestilence. Yet a short time after, beheld him at the feet of a Romish priest, exclaiming, I ask your blessing, and withdrawing before the world these expressions and the arguments derived from them. His peace was easily made... Dr. Schaff has said, also, handsome things of Protestantism. He has used Protestant phrases, and made Protestant observations not a few. If Dr. Schaff had written a book of unmixed Romanism, it would have found few readers in this country. f468
THE AMERICAN REVISION COMMITTEE
As in England, so in America, two Companies were formed for Revision, one for the Old Testament, one for the New. Bishop Ellicott and Dr. Angus of the English Revision Committee requested Dr. Schaff to take the initiative and a leading part. In consultation with them he selected the American members. The Episcopalians, having declined to nominate members from their body, Dr. Schaff filled out the list. He drew up the provisional draft of the Constitution, made arrangements for the organization and first meeting. During the fourteen years of their labors, Dr. Schaff was the life and soul of the work. He often traveled to England, meeting with Ellicott, Westcott, Hort, and others to smooth out difficulties and save the day in delicate situations. "For the American share in the work," says Dr. T. W. Chambers, a member of the American Old Testament Committee, "the Christian public is indebted to Philip Schaff more than to all others persons together."f469
The American Committees entered upon their work prejudiced in favor of the Vulgate. They considered the Bible of the Papacy more accurate than the King James. "But the text which the Protestants used," said the final editor of the American Version, "was in many cases, it is now acknowledged, less accurate than that represented by the Vulgate."f470
This attitude of mind certainly would be one desired by Catholics. We have evidence that Dr. Schaff felt at liberty to read his Roman prepossessions into the Sacred Text. In his Church History he translated that famous passage in <401618>Matthew 16:18, more in favor of Peter being the first Pope than even papal writers, thus: "Thou art a rock, and upon this rock I will build my church." One writer, reviewing his "Church History," said, "Dr. Schaff has laid his hand on the text itself. With unparalleled audacity he has translated <401618>Matthew 16:18, thou art a rock, and on this rock, etc., as if Peter and the rock were expressed in the original by the same word. Bellarmine has not ventured to do this, nor any other Romanist within our knowledge."f471 Could one who had such papal leanings and who dared to mistranslate the Scripture in his own history, be considered safe as a leader in translating all of the rest?
The sacerdotal leaning of Dr. Schaff can be further seen from the fact that the American Committee changed, at his personal insistence, the rendering of the English Revision Committee of <442028>Acts 20:28, from "overseers" to "bishops." The report of this incident, by his son, we give in full: "The final Revision, Paul's address to the elders, <442028>Acts 20:28, as it came from England in 1879, contained overseers in the text and bishops in the margin. In Dr. Schaffs own copy he has written on the margin Bishops in the text in all passages, and overseers in the margin (moved by Schaff and adopted unanimously April 30, 1880). The discussion was long. The printed copies of the Revision, it will be seen, contain the American change and read:
Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in the which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops."f472
Dr. Schaff was on such good terms with the Papacy that he sought and obtained unusual privileges to study Vatican documents. His biographer writes: "Through Cardinal Hergenrother, the Cardinal librarian, he received almost unrestricted access to the Vatican Library and Archives. The latter is a distinct department, containing the papal correspondence, encyclicals, regesta, and other documents pertaining to the curia."f473
What Greek text was followed in the American New Testament Revision Committee, may be gathered from the report given by Dr. Schaff of his visit to the home of Bishop Westcott, Durham, England, 1869. He said,
"Westcott and Hort's Greek Testament I think will suit me exactly."f474
Dr. Riddle tells us that in discussing the readings of the Greek New Testament to be adopted, that, "while in the vast majority of cases the preferences of the English Revisers were approved, this was due to independent judgment."f475
Dr. Riddle further informs us that the Versions, English and American, are in substantial agreement.f476
While time does not permit to study theologically the individual members of these two committees, it is evident that Dr. Schaff carried into the committees, the atmosphere of his doctrines and European contacts. All the serious changes in the English Revised, which so greatly aroused public hostility, also appear in the American Revised. In the New Testament Company, in which the most critical questions came up, Dr. Ezra Abbott was accounted the most competent in problems of textual criticism. He was a Unitarian. As a Unitarian he differed on some points from his fellow Revisers. Of him Dr. Riddle writes, "Dr. Ezra Abbott presented a very able paper on the last clause of <450905>Romans 9:5, arguing that it was a doxology to God, and not to be referred to Christ."f477
He succeeded in getting his view into the margin. In the article by Dr. Abbott on Bible Texts, in Schaff-Herzogs Encyclopedia, he claims that the early church was not so bent, as those of this generation, upon preserving the exact words of the original autographs of the apostles. Who will believe that those who lived nearest the apostles cared less for the sacred writings than we do now? To make such an arbitrary and in the very nature of things, unreasonable statement indicates too low an estimate of the sacred words for us to trust him as a qualified Reviser. Unitarians and Romanizers may serve to revise the Bible for others, but not for evangelical Protestants.
Thirteen colleges and universities located along the Atlantic seaboard had members of their faculties on these two Revision Committees. What the result has been of linking Americas educational institutions with European theology, which Dr. Schaff set out to do, may be seen in the letter written him by the famous Dr. Weiss of the Berlin University. He says:
"If to-day the famous theological seminaries in the United States have become nurseries of theological science, so that the old world no longer gives to them alone, but receives from them instruction in turn, this is owing chiefly to your activity."f478
If the influence of Dr. Schaffs scheme was so revolutionary upon all the theological seminaries of the United States, what must have been his influence and that of his Revision activities upon the American Revised Version? Will not this explain the peculiar acceptability of the American Revised Version to those who lean toward advanced and liberal theology?
Cardinal Newman and Dr. Schaff drank their inspiration from the same fountain, from the higher critical theology of Germany, at the same time both pagan and papal. As to the results of Newmans life and the Oxford Movement, let a quarterly Review testify:
"He (Newman) had left the leprosy of Popery cleaving to the very walls of Oxford, to infect the youth of England, through an unknown future."f479
As to the effect of Dr. Schaff, the Mercersburg theology, and his doctrines, let the same witness testify again:
"Our examination has extended only to a little beyond the middle of Dr. Schaff's work (i.e. his History of the Apostolic Church). But the positions he has already advanced, are such as to lay the whole truth and grace of God, and the whole liberty, hope, and salvation of the human race, at the feet of the Roman Papacy."f480
Under such influences were born the English and American Revised Versions.
THE RISING TIDE OF MODERNISM AND MODERN BIBLES
"The Revisers had a wonderful opportunity. They might have made a few changes and removed a few archaic expressions, and made the Authorized Version the most acceptable and beautiful and wonderful book of all time to come. But they wished ruthlessly to meddle. Some of them wanted to change doctrine. Some of them did not know good English literature when they saw it... There were enough modernists among the Revisers to change the words of Scripture itself so as to throw doubt on the Scripture." Herald and Presbyter (Presbyterian), July 16, 1924, p. 10.
BECAUSE of the changes which came about in the nineteenth century, there arose a new type of Protestantism and a new version of the Protestant Bible. This new kind of Protestantism was hostile to the fundamental doctrines of the Reformation. Previous to this there had been only two types of Bibles in the world, the Protestant, and the Catholic. Now Protestants were asked to choose between the true Protestant Bible and one which reproduced readings rejected by the Reformers.
A NEW PROTESTANTISM WHICH IS NOT PROTESTANT
The new Protestantism arose from the new doctrine concerning the Person of Christ. The deep love of all Christians for Christ makes them ready listeners to any teachings which seem to exalt Jesus and increase the glory of Christ. For this reason Protestants easily fell in with the new doctrines concerning Christ which were entirely different from those held by the Reformers. The new Protestantism rejected the sole authority of the Scriptures. They held that the church was instinct with a mysterious life which they called the Person of Christ.
They taught that this life came into all humanity when Jesus was manifest in the flesh; not simply the flesh of Jesus of Nazareth, but in the flesh of all humanity. They held that this life was progressive, and therefore, from time to time, it led the church to new doctrines. The Bible was secondary. This life was communicated through the sacraments, and the participants in the sacraments graduated from one experience to a higher experience. So Christ had two bodies, His own body in which divinity and humanity were united, and His "theanthropic" life common to all believers, which life constituted the body of the church, or Christ's second body.
This new Protestantism captured most of the Church of England, permeated other Protestant denominations in Great Britain, and flooded the theological seminaries of America. One college professor, alarmed at the atmosphere of paganism which had come into American universities and denominational colleges, investigated them and reported that "ninety per cent or more teach a false religion as well as a false science and a false philosophy."f481
False science teaches the origin of the universe by organic development without God, and calls it evolution. German philosophy early taught the development of humanity through the self-evolution of the absolute spirit. The outstanding advocates of this latter philosophy, Schelling and Hegel, were admitted pantheists.f482 Their theory was applied to theology in the hands of Schleiermacher whose follower was Dr. Schaff, and whom Dr. Schaff characterizes as "the greatest theological genius" since the Reformation. He also said, "There is not to be found now a single theologian of importance, in whom the influence of his great mind is not more or less to be traced."f483 The basis of Schleiermachers philosophy and theology was acknowledged by such men as Dorner to be "thoroughly pantheistic."f484
One definition of pantheism is the belief that "the totality of the universe is God." God is in the grass, the trees, the stones, earth, man, and in all. Pantheism confounds God with matter. Gnosticism is essentially pantheistic. "Dr. Schaff says there is a pantheistic feature which runs through the whole system of Popery."f485 Both Gnosticism and Pantheism are at war with the first verse of the Bible which reads, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." This verse places God before matter, makes Him the Creator of matter, and hence apart and distinguished from the material universe.
Modernism, or the new Protestantism, is essentially pantheistic and therefore anti-Scriptural and anti-Protestant. Schaff says that by following this new theology, modern evangelical Germany is as widely separated from the Reformation as the Reformation was from Roman Catholicism.
The Reformers taught that every child of God is in immediate contact with Christ and grows in grace and the knowledge of God through the Word and through the Spirit. The new theology taught that Christianity was not "a system of truth divinely revealed, recorded in the Scriptures in a definite and complete form for all ages," but that Christianity is Christ. The church is the development of Christ very much as in this false philosophy, the universe is the development of God.
This, of course, is pantheistic, though perhaps all who profess this teaching are not avowed pantheists. The new theology changed the Protestant conception of Christ; then very naturally it changed all the fundamental doctrines and consequently made the Bible secondary as the fountain of faith, while nominally giving the Bible its customary usages. However, like the Gnostics of old, this new theology would not scruple to change sacred passages to support their theology.
THE GLORIFICATION OF THE VATICANUS AND SINAITICUS
Why was it that at so late a date as 1870 the Vatican and Sinaitic Manuscripts were brought forth and exalted to a place of supreme dictatorship in the work of revising the King James Bible? Especially when shocking corruptions of these documents betray a "systematic depravation"? On this Dean Burgon says: "The impurity of the texts exhibited by Codices B and (#) [Aleph] is not a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact. These are two of the least trustworthy documents in existence... Codices B and (#) [Aleph] are, demonstrably, nothing else but specimens of the depraved class thus characterized." f486
Dr. Salmon declares that Burgon "had probably handled and collated very many more MSS, than either Westcott or Hort" and "was well entitled to rank as an expert."f487 Nevertheless, there has been a widespread effort to belittle Dean Burgon in his unanswerable indictment of the work of Revision. All assailants of the Received Text or their sympathizers feel so keenly the powerful exposures made by Dean Burgon that generally they labor to minimize his arguments.
Concerning the depravations of Codex (#) [Aleph], we have the further testimony of Dr. Scrivener. In 1864 he published "A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus." In the Introductions he makes it clear that this document was corrected by ten different scribes "at different periods." He tells of "the occurrence of so many different styles of handwriting, apparently due to penmen removed from each other by centuries, which deform by their corrections every page of this venerable-looking document." Codex (#) [Aleph) is "covered with such alterations, brought in by at least ten different revisers, some of them systematically spread over every page."
Each of these manuscripts was made from the finest skins and was of rare beauty. "The Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century is made of the finest skins of antelopes, the leaves being so large, that a single animal would furnish only two... Its contemporary, the farfamed Codex Vaticanus, challenges universal admiration for the beauty of its vellum."f488
Evidently these manuscripts had back of them royal gold. They were reasonably suspected to be two of the fifty Greek Bibles which the Emperor Constantine ordered at his own expense. Why should ten different scribes, through the centuries have spread their corrections systematically over every page of the beautiful Sinaiticus? Evidently no owner of so costly a document would have permitted such disfigurements unless he considered the original Greek was not genuine and needed correcting.
As the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are evidently the product of Gnosticism, what would be more natural than that the Catholicism of Cardinal Newman and the Gnosticism of his followers, who now flood the Protestant churches, would seek, by every means possible, to reinstate in leadership, Gnosticisms old title-papers, the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus?
THE GNOSTICISM OF THE REVISERS
Cardinal Newman believed that tradition and the Catholic Church were above the Bible. Westcott and Hort, great admirers of Newman, were on the Revision Committee in strong leadership. Dean Stanley believed that the Word of God did not dwell in the Bible alone, but that it dwelt in the sacred books of other religions as well.f489
Dr Schaff sat in the Parliament of Religions at the Chicago Worlds Fair, 1893, and was so happy among the Buddhists, Confucianists, Shintoists, and other world religions that he said he would be willing to die among them.f490 The spirit of the Revisionists on both sides of the ocean was an effort to find the Word of God by the study of comparative religions.f491 This is the spirit of Gnosticism; it is not true faith in the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible.
How far the new theology has been adopted by the editors of the many different kinds of modern Bibles, is a question space does not permit us to pursue. In the main, all these new editions conform to the modern rules of textual criticism. We have already mentioned Fenton, Goodspeed, Moffatt, Moulton, Noyes, Rotherham, Weymouth, Twentieth Century, the Polychrome, and the Shorter Bible. To these the names of others might be added. The Fenton Farrar translation opens thus in Genesis, first chapter:
"By periods God created that which produced the Solar Systems; then that which produced the Earth... This was the close and the dawn of the first age."
Here is plenty of scope for evolution, Gnosticism, and the aeon theory.
The latest sensation is "A New Commentary," by Bishop Gore (formerly of Oxford, and a descendant of the Tractarians), and others. According to this publication David did not kill Goliath, Noah never had an ark, Jonah was not swallowed by a whale, the longevity of Methuselah was an impossibility, and certain Gospel miracles are regarded with skepticism.
"Every theological seminary of standing in this country, we are told," says one of the most widely read weeklies of America, "has been teaching for a quarter of a century almost everything contained in the new Commentary."f492
Under these circumstances, how can these theological seminaries regard the Hebrew and the Greek of the Bible as dependable or attach to them any degree of inspiration?
When Doctors Westcott and Hort called "vile" and "villainous" the Received Text which, by the providence of God, was accounted an authority for 1800 years, they opened wide the door for individual and religious sects to bring forth new Bibles, solely upon their own authority.
It will be necessary to cite only two texts to show why the Protestants cannot use the Douay or Catholic Version in its present condition. <010315>Genesis 3:15 reads: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."
This rendering opens the way to exalt the Virgin Mary as a redeemer instead of her divine Seed. <581121>Hebrews 11:21 reads: "By faith Jacob dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and adored the top of his rod."
What is this, if it is not image worship? One has only to read the 13th chapter of Daniel in the Douay, a chapter which does not exist in the King James, to be shocked at one of the corruptions of the Word of God, which the martyrs rejected. What becomes, then, of the statement that all versions are good, and that all versions contain the true, saving Word of God? The numerous modern Bibles, translated from the Westcott and Hort text, or from one built on similar principles, are no better in many respects than the Douay.
Will not God hold us responsible for light and knowledge concerning His Word? Can we escape His condemnation, if we choose to exalt any version containing proved corruptions? Shall we not rather, avoid putting these versions on a level with Gods true Bible?
And what is the practical result of this tide of modernism which has largely engulfed England and is sweeping the theological schools and popular Protestant churches in America? It renders such a missionary useless in the foreign field. He will find that the heathen have been in possession of a philosophy like his for 3,000 years. He is no more certain of his ground than they are. It is sad to see the heathen world deprived of the Bread of Life because of modernism.
Uniformity in expressing the sacred language of the one God is highly essential. It would be confusion, not order, if we did not maintain uniformity of Bible language in our church services, in our colleges and in the memory work of our children. "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." <461433>1 Corinthians 14:33. It is not those who truly love the Word of God, who wish to multiply various versions, which they design shall be authorized for congregational use or exalted as authority for doctrine. Let the many versions be used as reference books, or books for study, but let us have a uniform standard version.
NOTE: How revolutionary have been the effects of that movement in England which embraced Ritualism and Revision, let the following statements from a book just off the press (1929), by H. L. Stewart, entitled "A Century of Anglo-Catholicism," speak:
"Condemned or sanctioned, the Movement is now admittedly beyond all stopping. What seemed chimerical a hundred years ago seems irresistible to-day. Four bishops, out of forty-three, are still definitely hostile."
"On the other hand, two thousand two hundred Anglican priests have lately published their unalterable conviction about the Sacrament in terms which no honest man can pretend to think different in any essential respect from those of the Church of Rome."
Speaking of Reservation, the practice of consecrating the sacramental elements some time in advance of the hour when they are to be used, and of worshiping them, H. L. Stewart gives good authority to indicate over 800 churches and institutional chapels "where the sacramental Elements were not only reserved but adored." And, "One finds in Crockford's Clerical Directory for 1927, a forecast that ten years of further decline like that of the ten just ended would wipe the Church of England out of existence."
In referring to the Prayer Book controversy, which lately has repeatedly convulsed England and which arose from the new Prayer Book so arranged as to make a ritual like the Catholic legal in the Church of England, this new volume says:
"Mr. Rosslyn Mitchell told the House of commons that if the English clergy were armed with the Alternative Prayer Book, they could make England Roman Catholic within a generation."
Speaking of the controversy in England between Higher Criticism and belief in the Bible, he further says:
"Making its normal speed of progress, according to the rate at which new thought travels westward, it has now reached America, to divide the churches of the United States into Modernist and Fundamentalist."
BARREN rock, mountain solitude, and lonely wilderness have all contributed their brave sons to defend the Word of God, and, if need be, to die that it might be kept unadulterated. He who hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the mighty, would not permit man to be robbed of that simplicity of the divine Word which made the untampered Scriptures a peculiar treasure.
The moral law within the heart is compelling. One great philosopher felt this when he said, "There are two things in the universe which awe me: the glory of the heavens above and the majesty of the moral law within me." God did not leave mankind to struggle in ignorance with the awful impressiveness of the law within, without revealing Himself in His Word as the moral Governor of the universe. The supreme lessons of the Bible only can reach the deeper feelings of the heart. The Bible is the absolute standard of right and wrong. In the Word dwells spiritual life the most perfect. Jesus said, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."<430663>John 6:63.
The Psalmist wrote: "Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy name."
The created worlds magnify the exalted name of the Eternal. But God has magnified His Word above all these. It is an unhappy hour when humanity lightly esteems the Bible; for there God reveals Himself more than through the material universe. A man is no better than his word; if one fails to command confidence, so does the other. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but Gods Word shall never pass away.
In the Bible is revealed the standard by which we shall be tried when the judgment day comes. From the garden of Eden until now, one standard and one only has been revealed. Inspiration declares that this revelation has been under the special protection of all power in heaven and earth. "The words of the Lord are pure words," says the Psalmist, "as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve every one of them, (margin) from this generation forever."<191206>Psalm 12:6,7. Lonely mounds in distant lands mark the graves where fell those who forsook home and civilization that the Word of God might live.
We believe in Jesus Christ as the divine Teacher, because unlike Mohammed and others, He did not come unheralded. There were fifteen hundred years of prophecy pointing forward to His coming among men. A perfect transmission of these predictions was necessary if they were to be fulfilled in every specification.
There is nothing which so stirs men to the holiest living as the story of Jesus Christ. Yet only within the lids of the Bible is that story found. At the cost of great sufferings, God yielded up His son. The history of the ages which prepared for this holy event, and the story of our Redeemers life are all found within the same volume. These priceless records have been the object of Gods infinite solicitude.
The divine Saviour and the holy apostles spoke beforehand of events which would occur even to the end of time. Of what value would such a prophetic revelation be, if it were not to guide those who would pass through the predicted scenes, and if it were not to warn the wicked and encourage the good? This value, however, would be destroyed if the words foretelling the events, the meaning of the events, and the prediction of rewards and punishments were so tampered with that the force of the divine utterance was destroyed. Moreover the very fact that the Word could make such a prediction not only stamps the Word as divine but condemns as wicked, yes, points out as being the predicted apostasy, that system which would either tamper with the Word, or make the Word secondary. The writing of the Word of God by Inspiration is no greater miracle than the miracle of its preservation.
The pathetic question of Pilate, "What is Truth," is not more pathetic than the error of those who say that only by balancing one version against another, or by examining the various manuscript readings, those of apostates as well as those of the faithful, can we arrive at approximate truth.
Left to ourselves we stumble through the darkness guided only by the little lamp of reason. But when we accept the Bible, a great light shines upon our path. History and prophecy unite to confirm our faith. Daniel, and John, the apostle, point out the four great empires which succeeded one another, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and pagan Rome. After these arose a cruel, anti-Christian power, the Papacy, from whose terrible persecutions the church fled into the wilderness. As Daniel and John predicted, the Papacy trod underfoot the Truth, the Word of God. From false manuscripts she issued a volume which she chose to call a Bible, but added tradition and elevated it to a greater inspiration than the Scriptures themselves.
Eating the bread of poverty and dressed in the garments of penury, the church in the wilderness followed on to serve the Lord. She possessed the untampered manuscripts of holy revelation which discountenanced the claims of the Papacy. Among this little flock, stood out prominently the Waldenses. Generation after generation of skilled copyists handed down, unadulterated, the pure Word. Repeatedly their glorious truth spread far among the nations. In terror, the Papacy thundered at the monarchs of Europe to stamp out this heresy by the sword of steel. In vain the popish battalions drenched the plains of Europe with martyr blood. The word lived, unconquered.
Let Gilly tell us how the Waldenses survived the fury of the Papacy:
"They occupy a mountain district,... and yet from this secluded spot, have they disseminated doctrines, whose influence is felt over the most refined and civilized part of Europe. They... speak the same language, have the same patriarchal habits, and simple virtues, and retain the same religion, which was known to exist there more than a thousand years ago. They profess to constitute the remains of the pure and primitive Christian church, and those who would question their claims cannot show either by history or tradition that they ever subscribed to the popish rituals, or bowed before any of the idols of the Roman Church... They have seldom been free from persecution, or vexatious and intolerant oppression, and yet nothing could induce them to conform, even outwardly, with the religion of the state... In short, there is no other way of explaining the political, moral, and religious phenomenon, which the Vaudois have continued to display for so many centuries, than by ascribing it to the manifest interposition of Providence, which has chosen in them the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty."f493 (Italics Mine.)
The Redeemer said: "Thy word is truth." Rome, the Papacy, did as the prophet Daniel wrote, she "cast down the truth to the ground." While Rome was cruelly persecuting the church in the wilderness, was she also the divinely appointed guardian of the true Word of God? God placed the answer to this question in prophecy. And now the Revised Version, built almost entirely on the Vatican Manuscript, kept in the Popes library, and upon the Sinaiticus, found in a Catholic monastery, (types of manuscripts upon which the Vulgate was built), comes forward and proposes to set aside the text of our Authorized Bible.
The Authorized Version was translated in 1611, just before the Puritans departed from England, so that they carried it with them across stormy seas to lay the foundation of one of the greatest governments the world has ever known. The Authorized Version of Gods Holy Word had much to do with the laying of the foundation of our great country.
When the Bible was translated in 1611, God foresaw the wide extended use of the English language; and, therefore, in our Authorized Bible, gave the best translation that has ever been made, not only in the English language, but as many scholars say, ever made in any language.
The original Scriptures were written by direct inspiration of God. This can hardly be said of any translation. Nevertheless, when apostasy had cast its dark shadow over the Western lands of opportunity, God raised up the men of 1611. They were true Protestants. Many of their friends and associates had already fallen before the sword of despotism while witnessing for the Holy Word. And in a marvelous way God worked to give us through them an English version from the genuine manuscripts. It grew and soon exercised a mighty influence upon the whole world. But this was an offense to the old systems of the past.
Then arose the pantheistic theology of Germany, the ritualistic Oxford Movement of England, and the Romanizing Mercersburg theology of America. Through the leaders, or associates of the leaders, in these movements, revised versions were brought forth which raised again to influence manuscripts and versions long discarded by the more simple, more democratic bodies of Christianity, because of the bewildering confusion which their uncertain message produced. Again the people of God are called upon to face this subtile and insidious program.
It is difficult for them to expose the systematic depravation without being misunderstood, and without being charged with attacking the genuine, while seeking to expose the erroneous mixed with the genuine. They recognize that these modern versions can be used as books of reference even if they cannot be put on a level with the Received Text.
Paul said, in <441728>Acts 17:28, "As certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." Paul quoted good sayings from the pagan poets, but did not use these Greek writers as authority. It is as unthinkable to forbid excellent quotations from pagan and heathen scholars as it would be to place their writings on a level with the pure Word of God. Likewise, parts of modern versions edited by scholars may be used with care in considering Bible verses from another angle. This fact, however, is taken advantage of, to claim divine inspiration for all the rest, and sow confusion among the churches of believers.
Through the Reformation, the Received Text was again given to the Church. In the ages of twilight and gloom, the corrupt church did not think enough of the corrupt Bible to give it circulation. Since the Reformation, the Received Text, both in Hebrew and in Greek, has spread abroad throughout the world. Wherever it is accurately translated, regardless of whatever the language may be, it is as truly the Word of God, as our own Authorized Bible.
Nevertheless, in a remarkable way, God has honored the King James Version. It is the Bible of the 160,000,000 English speaking people, whose tongue is spoken by more of the human race than any other. German and Russian are each the languages of 100,000,000; while French is spoken by 70,000,000. The King James Version has been translated into many other languages. One writer claims 886. It is the Book of the human race. It is the author of vastly more missionary enterprises than any other version. It is Gods missionary Book.
We shall need the Lord Jesus in the hour of death, we shall need Him in the morning of the resurrection. We should recognize our need of Him now. We partake of Him, not through some ceremony, wherein a mysterious life takes hold of us. When we receive by faith the written Word of God, the good pleasure of the Lord is upon us, and we partake of Him. Through this Word we receive the power of God, the same Word by which He upholds all things, by which He swings the mighty worlds and suns through the deeps of the stellar universe. This Word is able to save us and to keep us forever. This Word shall conduct us to our Fathers throne on high. "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the Word of our God shall stand forever."
"The starry firmament on high,
"The hopes that holy Word supplies,
"Almighty Lord, the sun shall fail,
"But fixed for everlasting years,