Sunday, August 24, 2008

Edward Hills versus James White

Another beautiful book by a beautiful Christian scholar, Edward F. Hills. You can even read it online.

Section III., 3., (d) How to Take Our Stand—Through the Logic of Faith

How do we take our stand upon divine revelation? Only in one way, namely through the logic of faith. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Since this Gospel is true, these conclusions logically follow: First, the Bible is God's infallibly inspired Word. This must be so, because if our salvation depends on our believing in Christ, then surely God must have left us an infallible record telling us who Jesus Christ is and how we may believe in Him truly and savingly.

Second, the Bible has been preserved down through the ages by God's special providence. This also must be so, because if God has inspired the holy Scriptures infallibly, then surely He has not left their survival to chance but has preserved them providentially down through the centuries.

Third, the text found in the majority of the biblical manuscripts is the providentially preserved text. This too must be true, because if God has preserved the Scriptures down through the ages for the salvation of men and the edification and comfort of His Church, then He must have preserved them not secretly in holes and caves but in a public way in the usage of His Church. Hence the text found in the majority of the biblical manuscripts is the true, providentially preserved text.

Fourth, The providential preservation of the Scriptures did not cease with the invention of printing. For why would God's special, providential care be operative at one time and not at another time, before the invention of printing but not after it? Hence the first printed texts of the Old and New Testament Scriptures were published under the guidance of God's special providence. Thus when we believe in Christ, the logic of our faith leads us to the true text of holy Scripture, namely, the Masoretic Hebrew text, the Textus Receptus, and the King James Version and other faithful translations. It is on this text, therefore, that we take our stand and endeavor to build a consistently Christian apologetic system.

I fled to this book to cure me of the depressing effect of reading some of James' White's The King James Controversy earlier this evening. I'm getting far deeper into this topic than I ever wanted to get. I've prayed that the Lord would show me if He really wants me to do this or not, if it's necessary or of any real use for me to do it, and to guide me by His Spirit if so. It's a chore to do this, I can never read enough, but I do continue to read. I haven't even finished Burgon's book. I've had White's book for a long time, even read some of it years ago. I still agree with the notes I wrote in the margins then, but now I know more so my notes are going to increase quite a bit.

In his chapter 2, A Short History of Unbelief, Hills gives a wonderfully concise history of how the naturalistic and liberal approaches to textual criticism grew out of rationalism.

The contrast with White is striking. White's assumptions are all rationalistic even though he uses Christian and Biblical concepts freely. Hills' are the language of faith, which is the ONLY way we should approach the problem of Bible translation.


Z said...

At today's service, an English/history teacher at the Christian high school renting our own church campus spoke. The service is at HIS church, not ours...and it's a non-denominational church with good music and a solid message.

Well, when we opened our bibles to follow with him for a little bit (he was doing Numbers 11), he read from HIS Bible and we had, I think, NIV. His was MORE American/modern than ours and I cringed! I swear I almost can't take seriously some of the more updated versions. I knwo this sounds silly, but it doesn't sound like God's speaking!

Also, there's a book of Greek terms a friend of mine is buying; it's for the definition from the Greek of terms that get debated in the Bible..are you interested in the title? Let me know.

I also, as I sat there today, realized why the more staid, traditional Lutheran or (traditional conservative) Presbyterian services appeal to me; These are the ceremonial rituals which kept the services alive before we HAD the Bible with which to pass on the stories. It would be a horrible crime to modernize ourselves out of those time-honored services which seem boring but which we owe so much to.

I'm quite sure my own Armenian Orthodox service I grew up with hasn't changed many words in its service since 350 AD. Without those services, we'd have had nothing.

Faith said...

Hi Z,
I like that way of putting it. Yes, it doesn't sound like God speaking. I suppose the revisionists would just chalk that up to our being addicted by habit to mere "tradition" but I think there's more to it than that.

There are many Greek language sources at online Bible sites, but if your friend's has something special to offer, sure, I'm curious what it is.

I can appreciate the old liturgies too, that preach the gospel in themselves from the days when the Bible wasn't available to many people. Too bad they do get boring.

Thanks for coming by.

Maestroh said...

I always find the people who spout Hills' axioms without thinking to be among the more amusing proofs of a shallow gene pool. Consider these words by Hills in the very quote you cite:

Hence the text found in the majority of the biblical manuscripts is the true, providentially preserved text.

Except Hills then CHANGES this bold declaration so he can fit in such NON-MAJORITY mss. readings like I John 5:7 and Luke 2:22 in the KJV.

Anyone who cannot see that this is little more than special pleading is disqualified from having an informed opinion on it.

You are more than welcome to come to the CARM discussion board and debate this issue.

Faith said...

There are some non-majority readings in the KJV, which the translators are regarded as having chosen for the best of reasons from the available possibilities. This does not discredit the claim for a preserved majority text. You are reading a claim for perfection into the argument that isn't there.

As I say in my post, what I appreciate about Hills and some others on the KJV side is that they have a genuine respect for the Bible as God's word, which I very rarely find on the other side of this dispute. In fact I'd say never. The prevailing tone there is rationalism.

And your own tone in your comment here leaves a great deal to be desired.