Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eclecticism, madness? What a collection of doctrines I pursue.

Been reading around in some of the websites about the Bible versions. What a huge task it is just to grasp the basics of the dispute. Found more books I'd like to have. Need to pray about it. No point in buying books I won't get around to reading, or that won't be of use for anyone but myself if I do read them. I'm doing this because I want to be among those who are doing what they can to broadcast the problems with the modern Bibles.

The position I'm in sometimes amuses me. I think of myself as a Calvinist but I'm finding the best sources on this subject are Fundamental Baptists. I appreciate very much what they have done in exposing Westcott and Hort and their work. Yet some of them are aggressively anti-Calvinist.

David Cloud and Brandon Staggs' AV1611.com are the best internet sources of information against Westcott and Hort and for the KJV. Donald Waite is the source for books by Dean Burgon but also gives Amazon.com as a source, where you can find secondhand copies at a good price. He also has the website of the Dean Burgon Society. Here's an excerpt from Waite's Four-Fold Superiority of the King James Version at the AV1611 site. Cloud also has a page on Waite that is worth reading.

There's also the women's head covering issue, and none of these sources agree with me about this. For the most part the Calvinists don't either, but "Bible Researcher" Michael Marlowe does, though he disagrees with me about the Bible versions. I haven't read all his material on women but suspect I'll agree with most of it; and Mary Kassian, whose book is at the website of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, also believes Paul is calling for a literal head covering.

Those I feel the most affinity with these days are some who put great weight on the writings of the early church fathers as evidence of the doctrines and practices of the early church, and also tend in the direction of the old Anabaptist groups, the Mennonites and the Hutterites and so on, though many of them are ex-Church-of-Christ themselves. There are disagreements among them, but on the whole they are strong on the head covering and modest dress and a strict position against remarriage under all circumstances excepting the death of the spouse, and have pretty much persuaded me of their position on nonresistance as well. I've found some strong KJV-only people among them, but they aren't in the majority and for the most part they don't pay much attention to the Bible versions conflict. The best source of material for this line of thought I've found to be David Bercot and Scroll Publishing. Bercot's A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, published by Hendrickson, is a great reference and a revelation and interesting to read on its own.

I found that Fundamental Baptist David Cloud has an interesting-looking book on modest dress, though he believes the head covering is a woman's hair. I'm considering getting his book on dress, but he has others out that are just as interesting or more so, on the Bible versions problems: a history of the dispute itself for instance, going back to the year 1800, and another about the views of individual defenders of the versions, from before Westcott and Hort through today, demonstrating their rationalism over faith. Links to his site stop working before long but here's another try, to his page of Topical Books.

On top of all this I still have a special fondness for the Holiness preachers, for the teachers of the "second blessing" or the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a separate experience after conversion, and strongly feel that there is something missing along these lines in most of the churches, though it may never have been given the right name. I reject the way the Pentecostals and charismatics think about it and am still looking for the most trustworthy understanding of it. I have two or three sources for this but will have to look them up and post them here later.

I also still appreciate some of the contemplative and the mystical tradition, as did A. W. Tozer, while agreeing that there is a lot of heresy among them to be recognized and avoided and that today's versions have gone badly wrong.

One thing that is probably true about all this is that you couldn't make a denomination out of it.

But then considering the history of the church maybe that shouldn't be counted on.

And on third thought, maybe this would be the true denomination.