The New Bible (Revised Standard Version): Why Christians Should Not Accept It
by Carl McIntire
Why Christians Should Not Accept It
BY CARL McINTIRE
With the book now in hand it is evident that such fundamental changes have been made that it would be nothing short of a calamity of infinite proportions if the book should be accepted by the English speaking world, and replace the King James Version. The New Testament section had previously been issued, but the Old Testament was not available until September 30.Here are basic objections to the version.
The prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ is eliminated from the Old Testament. Isaiah 7:14, the beloved passage used particularly at Christmas time, has been changed. The word "virgin" in reference to the coming Messiah has been removed, and the words "a young woman" have been substituted. Yet, Matthew 1:22 specifically declares that this prophecy was given by the Lord -- "spoken of the Lord by the prophet," and bad been fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ of the virgin Mary.
The King James Version of Isaiah 7:14 reads:
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
The new National Council Bible reads:
"Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
The NCC Bible has a tiny footnote (and there are many of them on almost every page) which indicates that the reading here could mean "virgin." The note says, "Or virgin." This, however, in no way relieves the responsibility for translating the text itself leaving out the word "virgin."
In the Hebrew the word used is "almah" which means "virgin," and is translated in other Old Testament passages in the King James Version as "virgin." It is translated "virgin" in Genesis 24:43 and in the Song of Solomon 3 and 6:8. In these instances the Revised Standard Version substitutes "young woman" or "maiden." The context clearly indicates that "virgin" in the Genesis 24 passage has to do with Rebekah before her marriage to Isaac. The Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, made by 70 scholars about 270 B.C., translated "almah" by the Greek word "parthenos," which means "virgin." Matthew 1:23, written in the first century A.D., quoting this passage, also translated it "parthe-nos," "virgin." The other versions always retained "virgin" -- the Latin Vulgate of the fourth century A.D., the English Revised Version of 1881, and the American Standard Version of 1901. If the Revised Standard Version translators had had any doubt about the meaning in Isaiah 7:14, such facts ought to have settled it. Actually the use of "almah" to mean it young woman" is a later Jewish interpretation which has gotten into our lexicons.
To break the force of the predictive nature of this passage of Isaiah, written 750 years before Christ was born, in such a way, is inexcusable, and we do not believe the true church will accept such handling of God's infallible Word.
Confusion and contradiction are introduced, for in the new Bible in Matthew 1:23, which is supposed to be a quotation and a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, the word "virgin" is retained. Who is right and who is wrong? Thus Isaiah and Matthew do not agree; yet Matthew appears to claim that Isaiah said something which he did not say.
The virgin birth of Christ has been one of the key points at which the whole modernist attack w upon the Scriptures can be tested. The late Dr. J. Gresham Machen, author of The Virgin Birth of Christ, the most exhaustive and scholarly study of the subject of the virgin birth ever produced in the history of the Christian church, made this point specifically. Now the NCC's new Bible emphasizes all this afresh.
At the time of the issuing of the new Bible, in my position as president of the International Council of Christian Churches, I released a statement to the press calling attention to this fundamental flaw.
Kenneth Dole, reporter for the Washington Post, Washington, D.C., gave my statement in a news story and took occasion to ask Dr. Luther A. Weigle, dean emeritus of Yale Divinity School and chairman of the committee of 32 scholars who wrote the new revision, about my charge. Dr. Weigle, who was attending a mass meeting in Washington celebrating the new Bible, replied, according to Mr. Dole:
"'Young woman' was used simply because that's what the Hebrew means.
"You can take it for granted that whatever is printed there is what the original language said. We can't be influenced by what people like or don't like in the way the words affect their theology."
Mr. Dole continued: "However, a footnote for 'young woman' says 'or virgin.' Asked why this alternative was used when the Hebrew doesn't say it, Dr. Weigle explained: 'Simply because it was the traditional word. We wouldn't put anything in a footnote that was remote from the truth.' "
If "young woman" is what the Hebrew means, to put a footnote in because it was the "traditional word" only confuses, and reflects on the translators themselves.
Thomas Nelson and Sons, printers of the Bible, in their publicity on the inside of the jacket declared: "It contains no changes in doctrine or fundamental concepts." But this removal of the virgin birth from the Old Testament is a basic change both in doctrine and - fundamental concept and apparently Dr. Weigle in his confused reply admits this much.
The Holy Spirit surely anticipated these attacks upon Isaiah 7:14 and He placed His sentinels on guard in such a way that the layman, unfamiliar with the question of manuscripts and higher criticism, would forever have an answer to such assaults. As always, the Bible carries its own credentials.
First, the context of Isaiah 7:14, beginning with verse 10, speaks of a sign or a miracle, "Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God." God placed no limits on this sign. He said, "Ask it either in the depth, or in the height above ... .. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord."
God then announced that. He would give a sign: "Hear ye now, 0 house of David." It is not to Ahaz, but to the house of David that the sign is actually given.
"Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?" God is going to give a sign that will forever settle any question about His faithfulness.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive." This is a miracle, one of the greatest of all miracles. If, however, the passage reads, "Behold, a young woman shall conceive," there is no sign whatever. Countless millions of young women have conceived and borne sons, and many have called their sons by the name "Immanuel." The word "virgin" has to be in this context for the passage to have any meaning!
Second, another sentinel is the translation of Isaiah 7:14 in Matthew 1:23. Matthew translated the Hebrew into the Greek under divine inspiration. Weigle and his committee were translating the Hebrew into English without divine inspiration, and, if they were inspired at all, it was by him who rules another realm and who hates the Son of God.
In other words, Matthew, an apostle, has given an inspired, infallible translation of the Hebrew "almah" into another tongue.
THE DEITY OF CHRIST
A check of key passages in the Old and New Testaments referring to the deity of the Messiah reveals that the NCC translators consistently removed or toned down references to Christ's deity.
The King James Version reads:
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
The Revised Standard Version reads:
"But you, 0 Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is front of old, from ancient days."
According to the King James Version, the Babe of Bethlehem had an eternal pre-existence, and this has always meant His deity as second person of the, blessed Trinity.
According to the Revised Standard Version, the Babe of Bethlehem had an "origin" previously but this was limited to "ancient days." Christ's eternal pre-existence and deity are removed.
The King James Version reads:
"Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre."
The Revised Standard Version reads:
"Your divine throne endures for ever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity."
The salutation of this person sitting upon the throne as God is thus removed. Christ's deity is taken away.
Hebrews 1:8 quotes Psalm 45:6 and in the Revised Standard Version it reads:
"But of the Son he says, 'Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of thy kingdom.'"
The Hebrews passage ceases to be a quotation of Psalm 45 and breaks the force of this New Testament claim of the deity of Christ.
The King James Version reads:
"Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling, Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
The Revised Standard Version reads:
"Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
The new version leaves out all reference to the Son. This removes His deity.
The King James Version reads:
"Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion; shout, 0 daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."
The Revised Standard Version reads:
"Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, 0 daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass."
The reference to the coming Messiah as a just one is removed and "triumphant" inserted. The reference to His salvation is replaced by "victorious." These references to His person and work have been removed.
The King James Version reads:
"Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."
The Revised Standard Version reads:
"To them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen."
The deity of Christ is removed entirely.
There is confusion and contradiction. To use such a Bible would be dishonoring to the Lord Jesus Christ by those who have been redeemed by His precious blood and who believe that He is the fullness of the Godhead, the eternal pre-existent second person of the Trinity become man that He might be the only Mediator of the new covenant.
THEE AND THOU, AND YOU AND YOURS
The King James Version universally uses "thee" and "thou" whether these pronouns apply to God or to man. If the translators of the new version were going to follow through uniformly they should use "you" and "yours" universally. But, for or some reason-purely an arbitrary decision-they decided to retain "thee" and "thou" in the passages where deity is referred to.. and "you" and "yours" elsewhere.
For example, in Matthew 16:16, the great confession of Peter in Caesarea Philippi, one would expect to find the reply to the question of Jesus, "But who do you say that I am?" translated, "Thou art the Christ." But, instead, the answer is, "You are the Christ." So He is just a man.
Psalm 2:7, a Messianic Psalm, in the King James Version reads:
"I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee."
The quotation of this in Hebrews 1:5 represents it as a proof of the deity of Christ, and the King James Version quotes it as such:
"Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."
But with the new NCC Bible, it is all different. In Psalm 2:7 the words are:.
"You are my son."
While in the quotation in the Book of Hebrews the words are:
"Thou art my Son."
The New Testament group of translators evidently believed that this quotation did refer to deity, while the Old Testament group of translators believed that it refers only to a man. They apparently did not even compare notes.
The decision to keep "thee" and "thou- even in some places may be the very thing which will defeat this Bible, for here the translators have yielded to; the hold which these expressions have on the hearts of people in indicating reverence and respect.
"Something Has Been Lost" is the title of an editorial in the Washington, D. C., Evening Star, October 1, which said:
"It is disappointing to find that the moving poetry and cadence of such sentences as 'He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside still water' have been lost in the change to 'He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.' Another such loss is found in the passage from St. Luke: 'But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: For of such is the Kingdom of God.' The verse now becomes, 'But Jesus called to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belong the kingdom of God."'"
Then the editorial adds: "One is inclined to believe that, despite the great circulation planned for the Revised Bible, it will not displace the King James version."
The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada, in an editorial observed:
"It is not to be assumed, however, that the socalled King James or Authorized Version of the Bible will be supplanted in any foreseeable future. Its unique position among the books of the English language, the majesty of its diction and the ingrained influence it has had on the speech and thought of English-speaking people, place it above challenge by any work of these times. The new revision might enable people to understand more clearly, but in the crises of life, it will be to the' old and wellremembered language that the soul will turn for comfort and solace."
WORDS OF MEN UNKNOWN
A major failure in the production of the whole work it evident in the fact that there is no indication whatsoever of the words not found in the original text which have been added by the translators. In the King James Version this is always indicated by italics, and one recognizes this when he reads. But in this new NCC Bible a multitude of opinions, divergencies,, and differences can be and unquestionably have been' buried from the sight of all by letting what the translators have added appear simply as a part of the text itself.
For example, in the new version, Romans 5:2 reads:
"We rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God."
The King James Version reads, in fidelity to the text:
"Rejoice in: hope of the glory of God."
The NCC translators added the words "sharing" and "our" without any warrant in the text and without any indication to readers that they have done so. Such methods properly destroy confidence in the whole version. One does not know when the words are the opinion of the translators.
At this point it ought to be mentioned that the translators have set sections of the book in the form of poetry-the Psalms, the Book of Job, sections of the prophecies, and other portions-according to their own idea as to whether it is poetry or not. When one looks at the book, he thinks he is reading English verse since it is so similar to what he studied in high school.
A beloved text is John 3:16.
The King James Version reads:
"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."
The Revised Standard Version reads:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
The introduction of quotation marks into the new Bible is especially significant here. The Greek and Hebrew do not have quotation marks. The King James translators did not introduce them. The NCC translators did, and became more than translatorsinterpreters-for they decided when quotation marks began and ended.
In the conversation which Jesus had with Nicodemus, they end the quotation marks at John 3:15. Verse 16, which we have always believed to be an actual statement from the lips of Christ, is thus taken away from the mouth of our Lord. However, -a footnote is added which reads, "Some interpreters hold that the quotation continues through verse 21." So they admit they are interpreters!
How is a young person reading this new Bible to feel when he comes to this passage and the force of John 3:16 is thus broken by the omission of quotation marks? These are serious matters as they relate to the mind of a young child.
The copyrighting of this Bible by the National Council of Churches makes it the National Council Bible. In the union of various groups which brought into being the National Council of Churches in 1950, replacing the old Federal Council, the National Council received from the International Council of Religious Education the plans which were being carried out for the production of this new Bible.
It is explained in the preface that this copyright is made in order to prevent the corrupting of the text, but this copyright gives the NCC exclusive control over the use to which the book shall be put, and no publisher may be permitted in any extended manner to quote or use this book without the permission of the NCC. The King James Version is not copyrighted by anyone and it has not been corrupted.
The National Council of Churches in holding the copyright also receives the financial royalties from the sale of the book. This represents definite commercializing of the Bible by the NCC and making merchandise of the Scriptures for their own pecuniary profit.
Anyone who desires to aid the National Council of Churches financially may do so by purchasing its Bible. Those who do not approve of the National Council, its modernism, its inclusivism, and socialism, and do not desire to contribute to it financially should not purchase a copy of its Bible or encourage the sale and promotion of it.
This control of copyright also means that the Council may control the use of the text in Sunday school lessons, and the conditions on which Sunday school publications may use the texts. Already there are reports that the NCC will not permit the use of its Sunday school lessons if a paper carries other lessons too!
In the widespread publicity it has been declared that this is an "official" translation. Another word used repeatedly is "authorized." Thomas Nelson and Sons in their advertising have referred to it as an "authorized" version and then in small print have indicated, "Authorized by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A." The preface of the book says that it was authorized by the National Council of Churches in 1951.
The attempt has definitely been made by the NCC to give the impression that it is hereby publishing, an "official" Protestant Bible. The assumption is that in some way the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. is in a position of authority to issue such an official volume. An official Bible is something new in the history of Protestantism, and we have here an effort on the part of the NCC to elevate itself to a position in the Protestant world where it will be "the authority." Actually, the translation undermines the authority of the Scriptures, and the National Council's authority is exalted. The whole process has an unsettling effect as to the trustworthiness of the Scriptures, while it produces honor and prestige and power for the National Council, the former Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America. This shift in emphasis is characteristic both of the trend of the modern church and of the desire of liberal theologians.
The Roman Catholic Church has, of course, operated on the basis that its Pope and church officials give their imprimatur to its Bibles, but the Protestant world has never had any such practice until this present moment. It is a pretentious, presumptuous claim for the National Council of Churches to do this with the Bible.
The Bible belongs to all the people of God. The King James Version has its position in the Christian world simply because it has commended itself universally to Christian people. Woven into the hearts and memories of millions, it must continue to have first place in the Englishspeaking world until the day when a faithful translation, honoring the Hebrew and Greek text and including the changes in meaning of the few English words, may be forthcoming.
We do not rewrite Shakespeare and Tennyson to eliminate the so-called archaic words.
Who are the men who translated this Bible? The committee is headed by Dr. Luther A. Weigle, former head of Yale University Divinity School, an outspoken modernist, and former Federal Council president.
Dr. Weigle has been affiliated with the Co-ordinating Committee to Lift the (Spanish) Embargo, cited by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities as one of a number of front organizations set up by the Communist Party during the Spanish Civil War. He was also affiliated with the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy, cited as a communist front by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities; and affiliated with the National Religion and Labor Foundation set up by radicals in 1932 to propagandize "the new social order."
He was a signer of the "World Tomorrow" Poll and voted in favor of socialism, a drastic increase in inheritance and income taxes, and for a co-operative commonwealth instead of capitalism.
The committee actually included in its membership a Jew, Harry M. Orlinsky, of the Jewish Institute of Religion, New York. A Jew does not accept the deity of Christ, but is unitarian in belief, and this helps to explain the unitarian emphasis dealing with the passages referring to the Messiah.
Walter Russell Bowie, of Union Theological Seminary, worked on the New Testament. He is well known as a radical, and has been a member of a number of communistfront organizations.
Dr. Bowie was related to the American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born, cited as subversive and communist by Attorney General Tom Clark. This Committee is said to be one of the oldest auxiliaries of the Communist Party in the United States by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities. He was related to the American Committee to Save Refugees, cited as a communist front by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities, and also to the Church League for Industrial Democracy, cited by the Massachusetts Committee on Un-American Activities. He was a member of the Citizens' Committee to Free Earl Browder, cited as a communist organization by Attorney General Francis Biddle, and as a communist front by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities. He was a member of the Civil Rights Congress. listed as subversive and communist by Attorney General Tom Clark. All together he has been named on 15 communist or communist-front organizations.
It should be observed that four of them are of Union Theological Seminary, New York City, hotbed of modernism and socialism; three of Yale Divinity School, a center of socialism and modernism.
The flap of the jacket on the new Bible carries the following statement:
The members of the Committee since 1937, listed in order of the date of appointment and with indication of their assignment to the Old Testament and New Testament sections, are:
LUTHER A. WEIGLE, Yale University, 1929--Old Testament and New Testament, Chairman
JULIUS A. BEWER, Union Theological Seminary, 1930 Old Testament
HENRY J. CADBURY, Harvard University, 1930-- Testament
EDGAR J. GOODSPEED, University of Chicago, 1930- Testament
JAMES MOFFATT, Union Theological Seminary, 1930-1944 (deceased)--Old Testament and New Testament, Executive Secretary
WILLIAM- R. TAYLOR, University of Toronto, 1931(deceased)-Old Testament
WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE, Union Theological Seminary, 1937-New Testament
GEORGE DAHL, Yale University, 1937--Old Testament
FREDERICK C. GRANT, Union Theological Seminary, 1937-New Testament
WILLIAM A. IRWIN, University of Chicago, 1937--Old Testament
WILLARD L. SPERRY, Harvard University, 1937 -Old Testament
LEROY WATERMAN, University of Michigan, 1937 --Old Testament
MILLAR BURROWS, Yale University, 1938--Old Testament and New Testament
CLARENCE T. CRAIG, Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, 1938--New Testament
ABDEL R. WENTZ, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, 1938--New Testament
KYLE M. YATES, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1938--Old Testament
WILLIAM F. ALBRIGHT, Johns Hopkins University, 1945--Old Testament
J.PHILIP HYATT, Vanderbilt University, 1945-- Old Testament
HERBERT G. MAY, Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, 1945--Old Testament
JAMES MUHLENBURG, Union Theological Seminary, 1945--Old Testament
HARRY M. ORLINSKY, Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, 1945--Old Testament
FLEMING JAMES, University of the South, 1947--Executive Secretary of the Old Testament Section
What has happened, in our opinion, is that the modernists, men who question the inerrancy of the Scriptures and doubt basic, fundamental doctrines, fought first to capture the larger Protestant bodies which made up the leadership of the Federal Council of Churches, now the NCC. Having accomplished this task and established themselves in these churches for the acceptance of the "inclusive church"--where believers and unbelievers can live and work together and the church may harbor all kinds of contradictory opinions concerning the Bible, Jesus Christ, and the way of salvation-these men have now laid hands on the holy Bible to use it for their own end and glory.
NEO-ORTHODOX DOCTRINE IN PREFACE
The preface of this book is longer than that of the American Standard Version and does something which the American Standard Version does not presume to do. In its concluding paragraph, the preface of the NCC Bible contains a statement concerning the Bible itself. The American Standard Version simply explained in its preface the methods, procedures, and details of the translation, and made no comment, but the liberals in the National Council decided for some reason that they would move on into the realm of the very nature of the Bible itself and deliver a paragraph on this theme. They have given expression to the popular neo-orthodox viewpoint concerning the Bible.
Here we have the new modernism expressing itself in such a way that no reference whatever is made to the fact that the Bible is the Word of God or that the Bible is inspired by God. Following we give and discuss the entire paragraph.
"The Bible is more than a historical document to be preserved. And it is more than a classic of English literature to be cherished and admired."
One would think that with a statement of this kind we would then be told that the Bible is the Word of God, given by inspiration of God-that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. But, no, since it is something extra, the writers of this, together with the NCC, simply tell us:
"It is a record of God's dealing with men, of Gods revelation of Hint-self and His will."
Notice the reference to "a record." It is a reference to a record. -It is not called an "inspired" record or a "true" or "infallible" record. The whole matter of the dependability and the infallibility of the record is completely eliminated. Yet, if the Bible is not this, it is not God's holy Word.
The paragraph continues:
"It records the life and work of Him in whom the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among men."
There is not one single word in this phrase that will not satisfy the modernist and neo-orthodox, and the whole thing is so designed that it can and will deceive the individual who is not aware of what is taking place.
"The Bible carries its full message, not to those who regard it simply as a heritage of the past or praise its literary style, but to those who read it that they may discern and understand God's Word to men."
This statement is one of the clearest neo-orthodox and Barthian sentences that could be spelled out. They do not read the Bible because it is the Word of God, but they read it in order that they might discern and understand what God's Word is. The neo-orthodox position is that the words of the Bible are not the words of God but that the words in the Bible may convey the Word of God to those who can discern it! Thus there is or may be error in the record and words, but, knowing this, men can still-, if they will, "discern" the Word of God.
"That Word must not be disguised in phrases that are no longer clear, or hidden under words that have changed or lost their meaning. It must stand forth in language that is direct and plain and meaningful to people today."
Here again the neo-orthodox position is stated"hidden under words." The historic position of the church and the orthodox' position is that the language itself is the Word of God. The historic view is that of "verbal inspiration." "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The purpose of a translation is to convey in the dialect the meaning of the original languages, so that the Bible may be received as it is in deed and in truth the Word of God. Why do the translators not say so?
The last sentence reads: "It is our hope and our earnest prayer that this Revised Standard Version of the Bible may be used by God to speak to men in these momentous times, and to help them to understand and believe and obey His Word."
But what is "His Word"? It is not this Bible! It is not even the words of this Bible! It is that which the individual discerns as he endeavors to find what is "hidden under the words," whatever that may be.
I have quoted the entire paragraph. Had it been written by men who believe the Bible to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice, it would have said something like that. Read this paragraph over and over again, and see that what is not said, in view of what is attempted to be said, betrays the translators as being those who worked on a book which they did not believe or accept or understand to be the Word of the living and true God. As Christians, we cannot go along with such unbelief. God's written Word, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, must stand.
The inclusion of such a statement in the preface, which goes with every edition of this NCC Bible, will mislead and deceive-and I use that word deliberately-earnest and sincere readers of this book.
The historic Westminster Confession of Faith in its first chapter summarizes the original position of the great evangelical churches before modernism affected presentday teachings. The statement in the preface of the new Bible indicates just how far these churches in the National Council have departed from this historic position.
The Westminster Confession of Faith states:
"The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God, (who is truth itself,) the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God" (Chap. I, sec. III).
"The Old Testament in Hebrew, (which was the native language of the people of God of old,) and the New Testament in Greek, (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations,) being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them" (Chap. I, sec. VIII).
The modernist Christian Century, hailing the Revised Standard Version in a long editorial, concludes: "This is not to be interpreted as a call to a new bibliography. Such a perversion of the purpose for which the Bible exists is no longer possible throughout most of the churches, and in any case it is not wanted."
"Bibliolatry" is a word the modernists coined to describe those who believe in the infallibility of the Bible. It is ridiculous, for one who believes the Bible would not think of worshiping it or turning it into a form of idolatry, because the Bible commands the servants of Christ to worship only God. We worship God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; and we respect and honor God's Word for what it is!
It may be said that we have ignored favorable things that could be said about the RSV. When there is arsenic in a loaf of bread, one does not spend his time discussing the good ingredients of the bread, but warns against the arsenic-and properly so! The changes and defects in the RSV we have pointed out here are more dangerous to human souls than arsenic is to the body.
A STRANGE SPECTACLE
We have witnessed a strange spectacle in the twentieth century. The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America copyrighted a book and then engineered a campaign for its promotion through its own local councils and churches and was successful in arousing the people throughout the land to believe that a tremendous historic occasion had arrived. More than one million and a half people, according to the Council's figures, attended meetings in praise of this book which they themselves had not even had an opportunity to see or to examine! The very genius of Protestantism is that each man gives an account of himself to God and that he examines, firsthand, facts and evidence to make sure if a thing is right or wrong.
When one asks individuals who participated in the celebrations why they were taking part, their answer is that they were told that it was a new and valuable book--So-and-so said so, their pastor said so, the leaders of the church said so, So-and-so, So-and-so, Soand-so! But this is not the basis on which the Protestant view of the individual, his accountability and responsibility to God, has been built. This "herding" of people without their knowing what has happened can lead to very serious consequences not only in the life of the church but of a nation.
Now all of this will react as people find out the truth about the NCC Bible, and it will serve, we believe, as a real boomerang to the NCC. The Protestant churches in the National Council in the United States have turned aside to promote an ecumenical movement with the dream of a oneworld church in which unity is placed above truth. This same herding of people, the same type of propaganda, is being carried on to accomplish this end.
The word "Calvary" no longer appears in the new Bible. Will our hymns with "Calvary" need to be changed? The Lord's Prayer is written to adopt the Roman Catholic form and deletes the last clause, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." A footnote adds this clause and then says they have some "ancient" authority for it. The leaders of the committee are active in the ecumenical movement, the World Council of Churches, which desires to include the Roman Catholics and have a "one-world church." All this fits into the pattern. Shall the Protestant churches now stop using the old form? Will the common use of the Roman Catholic form hasten the unity movement for the ecumenical church',' When one sees such developments as these, he wonders if certain subjective elements did not affect the so-called scholars.
The people and the church that feed upon this new Bible will be a different people and a different church from those who feed upon the King James Version with its honoring of the deity of Christ and the virgin birth of our Lord. The effect of all this will be to pull down the church and the people's God to a lower level than that on which God's holy and infallible Word has kept and led the church through the centuries.
The program to effect all this has already been undertaken. The Methodist Church, for example, with its nine million members, is already using the new Bible in its Sunday school materials. The Association of Lutheran Editors, representing editors of Lutheran papers related to the various Lutheran denominations, recommended that the same be done for all Lutheran churches in the United States. The Presbyterian Outlook, liberal organ in the Southern Presbyterian Church, uses the new text and is leading a campaign to get pastors to accept it in their pulpits. The denominations in the NCC are expected to use their own Bible now.
The United Lutheran Church, a member of the National Council of Churches, in its 18th Biennial Meeting in Seattle, Wash., October 10, 1952, according to an Associated Press report, voted "after a hectic three-hour argument to accept the Revised Standard Version of the Bible." The church's Commission on Liturgy opposed, declaring it "would be highly unwise to give premature approval . . ."
According to Look in a feature story $500,000 has been spent in initial promotion of the book.
On the other hand, vigorous opposition is beginning to be felt. Preachers are speaking against it from their pulpits, and some who were led to believe that the changes were only minor, in phraseology, and' in no way altered the meaning are joining in vigorous activity to inform and alert God's people.
One of the most heart-breaking moves of all is seen in the fact that the American Bible Society, which was organized to print the Bible "without note or comment," has amended its charter and is now publishing portions of the new Bible, and the stage is set to publish later the whole National Council Bible with all its notes and remarks. Multiplied thousands of dollars in legacies through the years have been left to the American Bible Society to print the King James Version. The American Bible Society in 1950 became a part of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and is in the Council's Department of Foreign Missions. It furthers the National Council's program in many ways.
The impact of this new Bible is far greater than one can begin to realize. It will indeed be the modernists' Bible, and one will be able to tell, as time goes on and the lines are more clearly drawn, just who are the modernists and those who delight to follow the modernist leadership in the country.
Let the publication of this new Bible be used in the hearts of ail who see what has happened to stir them to alert others and to take part in the great Twentieth Century Reformation which is so definitely taking shape in our day. Let men everywhere rejoice that we live in a land of religious freedom where it is still possible to carry on a vigorous dissent and opposition.
(1 Peter 1:25.)
Some $60,000, called "generous financial support from publishing firms which will be producing the R.S.V.," is to be used in this extensive celebration.
Dr. Weigle has indicated in a letter reporting the activities of his committee -that some 200 changes have already been made in the new Bible since its first publication, of which he says, "A majority are matters of punctuation, capitalization, or footnotes. There are other changes of words or phrases. . . . Some examples of such changes are "bread," Matthew 7:9, 1 Corinthians 10:7; "is he," Matthew 21:9 and parallels; "ask nothing of me," John 16:23; "for this life only," 1 ;Corinthians 15:19. . . . The changes and corrections authorized -by the Committee do not constitute a revision of the Revised Standard Version, and should not be referred to as such."