Sluice Box Adventures
Believing Bible Study in the 21st century
End Of Age Messages
One of the more amusing efforts of Bible critics in these last days is the claim by some that their unbelief represents the "historic position of Bible-believing [!] fundamentalism"
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Some Little Known Historic Positions
Daryl R. Coats 1992, 1994, 2001
"Looking for that blessed hope," (Titus 2:11-14)
First, this claim is nothing new. The apostles were often beaten, imprisoned, and threatened because of a claim that their "doctrine" (Acts 5:28) didn’t match the historic positions of the fundamentalist Pharisees of their day (e.g., Acts 4:1-3; 6:8-11; 23:28-29). Even our Lord Jesus Christ was accused of teaching "new doctrine" (Mark 1:27) that didn’t match the historic position of the fundamentalist Pharisees–a position that was wrong.
As Jesus Himself pointed out when He and His disciples were accused of doctrinal error on the basis of the Pharisees’ "historic position,"Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. ... teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. Laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men ... ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition ... making the word of God of none effect through your tradition" (Mark 7:6-12). Historic positions don’t count for a thing unless they are supported by the word of God.
Second, this claim is hypocrisy worthy of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Many of the critics making this claim nevertheless reject the "historic position" on the second advent, baptismal rites, integration and segregation, altar calls, and any number of other subjects. These critics are also very selective in their use and citation of "historic positions." As the following examples illustrate, some "historic positions" don't support critical unbelief at all.
An Historic Position on the English Bible and Its Enemies[excerpted from a sermon by John Wyclif, found on page 429 of the 1902 revised edition of The English Works of Wyclif, Hitherto Unpublished, edited by F.D. Matthew (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner)–spelling changed to conform to modern usage]
The friars with their fathers say that it is heresy to write thus God’s law in English, and make it known to lewd [uneducated] men. ... Christ and his apostles taught the people in that tongue that was most known to the people. Why should not men do now so? Also the worthy realm of France hath translated the Bible and the gospels out of Latin into French. Why should not Englishmen do so? As lords of England have the Bible in French, so it were not against reason that they had the same sentence in English.
In Wyclif’s time (before 1384), Rome was known for its opposition to the very idea of an English Bible. Notice that Rome didn’t mind French "bibles"—even when they were in England. Furthermore, Rome didn’t try especially hard to stop the translation of the Bible into German, Italian, Dutch, French, Spanish, or any of the other Reformation languages. All of these languages had Bibles before English did–some even had Bibles centuries before the Reformation. But Rome opposed absolutely an English Bible, and in 1408 she banned "unauthorized translations" of the Bible into English–little dreaming what would happen two centuries later when God gave the English-speaking peoples the Authorized Version of 1611! Historically, God’s enemies (not His people) have been the ones opposed to the English Bible.
An Historic Position on Bible "Scholars"[excerpted from Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (1651), chapter 46; spelling changed to conform to modern usage]
More examples of Vain philosophy, brought in Religion by Doctors of School-Divinity, might be produced; ... the Writings of the School Divines are nothing else, for the most part, but insignificant Trains of strange and barbarous words, or words otherwise used, than in the common use .... [Their language] hath a quality not only to hide the Truth, but also to make men think they have it, and desist from further research.
Hobbes’ book (subtitled The Matter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil) was the first major work of political science. Notice that he traces the "Vain philosophy" found in Christianity back to the scholars who teach at the divinity schools.
Notice further what he says about the writings of these scholars:
1) they are "insignificant";
2) they are incomprehensible to a "lay audience" ("redactors" and "conflations");
3) they occasionally use common words ("inspired"; "myth"; "word of God")–but only after assigning them definitions that don't match "common use";
4) they hide the truth while claiming to present/open/clarify it.
An Historic Position on the Reliability of Greek Scholars on Eternal Matters [excerpted from Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire’s Micromegas (1752), chapter 6]
... An old peripatetic, lifting up his voice, exclaimed with an air of confidence: "The soul is perfection and reason, having power to be such as it is, as Aristotle expressly declares", p. 363, of the Louvre edition:
"+<J,8,P,4" J4H ,FJ4, 6"4 8@(@H J@L *L<":4< ,P@<J@H J@4@L*4 ,4 J"4."
"I am not very well versed in Greek," said the giant.
"Nor I, either," replied the philosophical mite.
"Why, then, do you quote that same Aristotle in Greek [sic]," resumed the Sirian.
"Because," answered the other, "it is but reasonable we should quote what we do not comprehend in a language we do not understand."
Voltaire was an atheist and a noted critic of the Bible and the gospel. Yet notice his observation concerning the reliability of Greek scholars when they discuss eternal matters such as the soul: they start quoting "the Greek," in part to impress others, but mainly to cover up the fact that they don't know or understand what they are talking about!
An Historic Position on Using Greek to "Correct" the Authorized Version[excerpted from Royal Tyler’s The Algerine Captive (1797), chapter 6]
"Learning ... has its fashions; and like other fashions of this world, they pass away. When our forefathers founded the college at Cambridge, critical knowledge in the mazes and subtleties of school divinity was all the mode. He that could give a new turn to an old text, or detect a mistranslation in the version, was more admired than the man who invented printing, discovered the magnetic powers, or contrived an instrument of agriculture which should abridge the labour of the husbandman ...."
"But," inquired my father, "is there not some valuable knowledge contained in those Greek books"
"All that is useful in them," replied our visitor, "is already translated into English; and more of the sense and the spirit may be imbibed from translations than most scholars would be able to extract from the originals even if they availed themselves of such an acquaintance with that language as is usually acquired in college."
Several things are noteworthy about this passage. First, notice that most scholars are not engaged in original work; they merely follow current trends and fashions in academia. They are as much enslaved to fashions as are the sodomites of San Francisco.
Notice also that one noted academic trend is "correcting" perceived mistranslations in "the Version"–the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible; scholars pay higher tribute to someone who thinks that he can correct the Bible than they do to scientists and inventors who have actually benefitted mankind. Notice again that scholars emphasize "knowledge of the original languages" in an effort to impress the masses (and the masses often fall victim to this effort). Note too that Bible-believing, God-fearing Christians can glean more from the English Bible than most "scholars" can "extract" from a Greek text.
Lastly, notice the "even if they availed themselves of" the information "usually acquired in college," many of the folks who use "Hebrew" and "Greek" to "correct" the Bible don’t even know those languages—they’re merely parroting what they’ve heard from someone else. Even those men who "studied" the languages in college didn’t learn enough about them to correct the Bible.
An Historic Position on the Alexandrian Text of the Bible[excerpted from an 1867 newspaper article which Mark Twain wrote for the Alta California, and which later appeared as Chapter 28 of Twain’s travel book The Innocents Abroad]
I wish here to mention an inscription I have seen, before I forget it:
"Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth TO MEN OF GOOD WILL!" It is not good Scripture, but it is sound Catholic and human nature.
This is in letters of gold around the apsis of a mosaic group at the side of the scale santa of St. John Lateran, the Mother and Mistress of all Catholic churches of the world.
Bible believers should immediately notice three things that show just how much Laodicean Christianity has deteriorated in the 140 years since Twain wrote these words.
First, in 1867 even an infidel unbeliever knew enough about the Bible that he could recognize the Alexandrian text for what it was: "not good Scripture," but good Catholic doctrine that appeals to carnal human nature. How many people who read Luke 2:14 in the NIV would recognize that the NIV "is not good Scripture"?
Second, in 1867 Alexandrian deviations from the true text of the Bible were considered newsworthy enough to be mentioned in secular newspaper articles. How many "Christian" newspapers and magazines today would consider them newsworthy?
Finally, in 1867 a secular newspaper in California (of all places!) was willing to expose the Church of Rome for what it really was. How many "Christian" publications will do the same today?
Mark Twain may have been a Bible-rejecting atheist and staunch critic of "Christianity," but when it came to recognizing the true nature of the Alexandrian text, he was light years and centuries ahead of the faculty members at most Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities in our day.
Daryl R. Coats
1992, 1994, 2001
The LORD'S Messenger
A Message To The People
“Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.” Haggai 1:13