Monday, August 25, 2008

Taking a punch to the gut from the modern Bible versions defenders

Well, now I've ventured into the camp of the new versions defenders and find Burgon dismissed as overstating his case (I have to agree he probably does that, at least he seems to enjoy dramatizing it, but his case is solid without it), and Scrivener brushed off as simply one of the conservatives, and so on, while they respect the reply to Burgon by one Bishop Ellicott (which in my opinion Burgon demolished beyond recovery), and treat Westcott and Hort as respectable contributors to the history of Bible translation.

They don't condemn the fact that W&H completely disobeyed their assignment to MINIMALLY revise the Authorized Version / King James. Shouldn't the character of the revisers matter?

Have they compared the attitude of the AV (King James) translators which demonstrates their reverence and fear of God with the attitude of W&H who sound like regular secular academics?

Do they care that W&H expressed the typical rationalistic doubts of their time about the supernatural elements of the Christian revelation?

They don't seem to be bothered much that there were eminent scholars of the time who considered the texts used by W&H to be corrupted and in fact known to and dismissed by the King James translators. No, they just wave this away: Oh it's not all that bad.

It doesn't seem to bother them that W&H not only used a whole other set of corrupted texts, but also changed thousands upon thousands of words in the English, most of them tiny little changes without any justification whatever, which Bishop Wordsworth described as "change for change's sake." This is something I discovered for myself in this blog when I looked at the various versions of Psalm 91. (How ironic that White opens his book with a sanctimonious little sermon against change for change's sake when if you do any comparisons at all you have to see that that kind of change is HUGE in the new versions).

And it doesn't bother them that Christians can't quote the Bible to each other without having to stumble over different terminology and sometimes not even be able to recognize the passage being quoted.

And it doesn't bother them that ordinary Christians, including Christian pastors, are burdened with the job of translation and textual criticism as part of their normal Bible study without the slightest expertise. We're just supposed to expect this extra work as part of our commitment to Christ (James White says something like this). I see nowhere that all Christians are expected to be Bible translators and critics, far from it, we are told to conform ourselves to the image of Christ, period. We should be able to trust that God has provided us those gifted to take care of such responsibilities for us. It appears that the last time He did so was with the King James translation.

Something went very very wrong in this Bible revision enterprise. Surely it has a lot to do with the influence of rationalism that had already corrupted the church of England by that time. It must also have a lot to do with the habits of intellectual work, which can easily pollute the spiritual life if not diligently brought into submission to Christ. Yeah, when they sound like academics instead of Christians, something's wrong. And many seminary trained pastors sound like that too.

Quite the towering multiply-interlocking snare the devil has built on this one. The smooth condescending tone by Christians in praise of the revisers and their coup against the church, plus the stubborn superstitiousness and intemperate revilings by the Christians who take the KJO position out to nevernever land, seal the deal.

Well, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds. However, if this is judgment against the church, the only thing that will work is Christians waking up and repenting.

I'm finding this awfully exhausting and discouraging right now. But I'm going to keep slogging through White.