- Are you saved?
- Statement of Faith.
- King James Bible believer
- M.A.D. = Mid-Acts Dispensational
- Pre-Trib Rapture
- KJV Sites
- Dispensational Sites
- Errors of Hyper Dispensationalism (Acts 28)
- Sinner's Prayer = False Gospel
- Campbellite "Church of Christ" heresy
- "Time for Truth!" John Davis
- Why I am not a Baptist
- The Hebrew Epistles
- More than one gospel
- What is right division? (2 Tim. 2:15)
Friday, September 18, 2015
Dear Dr. John, where is my Bible? by Herb Evans
DEAR DOCTOR JOHN: Where is my bible?
This pamphlet is a reproduction of a written dispute between John R. Rice and a layman Christian because of an article in the December 15, 1972 Sword of the Lord. It is reproduced with the conviction that truly born again Bible believers, led by the Holy Spirit, have the ability to judge rightly, when Bible issues are brought before them. Only the original correspondence is duplicated and that without biased comments. You dear readers are the judges. The intent of the pamphlet is to expose the NASV, ASV, and RV (a rose by any other name) translations as corrupt translations and also to present a case for the Authorized Bible (King James) being the infallible Word of God. It is noteworthy that, to the date of printing, my last letter and telegram to Dr. Rice have not been answered. I extend my deepest appreciation and thanks to the following men:
1. David Otis Fuller, Wealthy St. at Eastern S.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan, Author of "Which Bible" & "NASV and K.J. Compared"
2. E.L. Bynum, 1911 34th St., Lubbock, Texas 79411 Author of "Why we reject this version" tract
3. Dr. Peter Ruckman, P.O. Box 6036, Pensacola, Florida 32503, Author of "Manuscript Evidence" & "NASV the Devils Masterpiece"
4. J.J. Ray, P.O. Box 77, Junction City, Oregon 97448,
Author of "God Wrote Only One Bible" & "Eyeopener" tract
5. Dr. Edward Hills, Author of "The King James Defended" and "Believing Bible Study"
6. Trinitarian Bible Society Tract "The Divine Original"
Herbert F. Evans, 157
Patties Place Portersville,
PA 16051 (most recent address - 8/15/03)
Sword of the Lord Article - December 15, 1972 - p. 5
Why Divide His People Over Greek Manuscripts They Cannot Know About?
You were kind to write me September 25. Please forgive my delay in answering.
You asked about my opinion on which group of manuscripts used principally in the translation of the Scriptures—whether the group used by the king James Version or the additional manuscripts used in the more recent versions are most reliable.
I have read the books by Dr. Peter Ruckman and by David Otis Fuller. I do not believe the matter has the IMPORTANCE which they give to it.
The simple truth is that the more recently found MANUSCRIPTS, CODEX ALEPH, CODEX VATICANUS and others MAKE VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE in the translations and NO DIFFERENCE whatever in the doctrine taught in the Scriptures [Note: for later reference]. I prefer and use the King James Versions of the Bible altogether in my preaching, in my devotions, and principally in my study. I have, for years, checked up with Scriptures in the American Standard Versions, that is, the 1901 version, and find it very valuable. And many of the best Bible teachers, including Dr. R. A. Torrey, and others more recent, have regarded it as the most accurate of all translations.
I think it a mistake to divide churches and bring dissension over questions as to whether Origen set out to pervert the Scriptures, for example, or whether Wescott and Hort were really liberals who intend to sabotage the Scriptures. I think they may have made mistakes, since they were human. I do not believe it is proper Christian attitude to pass judgement on people’s motives and to make radical accusations about things which we could not possibly know very well.
In actual practice I use and prefer the King James Version and think it ought to he used always in public services because more people are familiar with it. And certainly I do not believe in using the Revised Standard Version, the New English Version, the Good News for Modern Man all of which are modernistic. I do not like Phillips because it is a paraphrase, not reliable. I do not think we ought to regard the Amplified Version as a strict translation but more as a commentary. I have about seventeen English versions of the Bible, and I sometimes check many of them. I think it is sufficient for us to say we prefer the King James Version, that we have a GREAT RESPECT for the American Standard Version and not to divide people over other INCIDENTAL differences. In Jesus’ name, yours, (signed) John R. Rice
* * *
Dear Dr. Rice,
I have read your letter/article, "Why divide Gods people over Greek manuscripts," in the Sword of December 15, 1972. I have read the books you mentioned by Peter Ruckman. You emphasize what he has to say about the Greek, which I have yet to see refuted or challenged for scholarship or Biblical fidelity, but what about what he says about the plain English (and demonstrates) of the ASV. Is the fact that Acts 8:37 is missing— UNIMPORTANT? Is the fact that Joseph is rendered Jesus’ father in Luke 2:33 INCIDENTAL? Is the fact that the blood is taken out of Col. 1:14 a cause for GREAT RESPECT? Why are the real issues and challenges concerning the subject never met as other controversial doctrines and subjects? Why so much evasion? Why the appeal to stop dividing God s people over the NASV when all of us didn’t bat an eyelash at dividing over the RSV. Is the deliberate hiding of the issues by many a move to protect the rank and file Christian from doubts about the Bible? I think the silence and weak arguments of those in influential position will do much more harm to weak Christians who could be told they have a Bible that has been both inspired and PRESERVED. I have written you before and you said you MISPLACED my letter. You also said you were very busy, which I believe, but you have had time to answer modernists and apostates, and I think myself as a blood bought brother deserve as much consideration. I appreciate the Sword and hope that I can continue to have confidence in its fundamental and conservative stand.
Thank you in Christ, Herbert F. Evans
224 BRIDGE AVE BOX 1099,
MURFREESBORO TENNESSEE 37130
PHONE A C 615-893-6700
February 2, 1973
Dear Brother Evans:
Your letter is before me. I am sorry you did not take to heart the article in the SWORD OF THE LORD. You did not think I had done any research on it and did not think it was worth your attention. I think you should be more careful about the matter than that.
You are scandalized that Acts 8:37 is missing in the American Standard Version of the Bible. I have before me four copies of the Greek New Testament. One is the Textus Receptus, or Received Text; one is the edition of Westcott and Hort; one put out by the British and Foreign Bible Society combining the work of Nestle, Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, and Bernhard Weiss; one is the Nestle Text. In two of these editions, footnotes very carefully and give any variations with other widely accepted Greek manuscripts. The Received Text has Acts 8:37, so does Westcott and Hort. The other two omit it.
Out of more than 2,300 copies of the New Testament, all of the copies, of course, and usually copies of copies of copies, all copied by hand, now and again, not often, somebody made a MISTAKE in copying or some copyist ADDED a word of comment and it was later INCORPORATED into the text; so godly men, earnest students, with an enormous amount of labor are TRYING TO FIND the EXACT wording of the original Greek text.
Many think that Acts 8:37 was a GLOSS added by some copyists. The truth is, I think so, too. It is not like the rest of the Bible and it SEEMS to teach DIFFERENT on the plan of salvation. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is not enough to make one saved. Many people believe that Jesus is the Son of God and are not saved. I THINK it is a GLOSS. However, I DO NOT MIND it being in the King James Version of the Bible. If you want it, all right, but do not put yourself above all the godly men who work much harder on this than you and think it is not necessarily in the original text. To arbitrarily worship the King James translation and to slander everybody who differs is a sorry business.
In Luke 2:33 the Received Text says "Joseph and his mother”; all the other three Greek texts mentioned say "his father and mother.” Now, as I said, I like the King James Version. And, of course, I know that Joseph was not literally the father of Jesus. But, of course, also, everybody knows he was His foster father, His legal father, and acted as His father. And if in the original text it turns out that the word “father" was used here, that should not be disturbing to anybody who knows the Scriptures well. In every one of those New Testament copies, as everybody knows, the virgin birth and deity of Jesus Christ is very plainly laid out and could not be misunderstood. But if verse 33 in the original text called Joseph "his father and mother," then even in the King James Version verse 41 of the same chapter says, Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year.
And in verse 48 Mary said, “Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." And in Luke 4:22, the people who had known Him nearly all His life said, "Is not this Joseph’s son?" However, these Scriptures do not mean that Joseph was literally and physically the father of Jesus but only that he was His foster father, His legal father, acting as His father.
And that is the way we use the term all the time. My daughter Elizabeth and her husband, Dr. Handford, have seven adopted children. All of them call Elizabeth "Mother" and call Dr. Handford "Dad." Another daughter of mine, Grace, and her husband, Rev. Allan MacMullen, have two adopted children. Both of them call them "Dad and Mother." They are not deceiving anybody, they are not lying; they are simply using accepted language with a general meaning and everybody understands it. Why make something else out of statements in the Bible when the Bible so expressly and repeatedly says that Jesus was born of a virgin? We are not supposed to think that here another Scripture means something else.
Now you may PREFER one rendering of the Greek text, selected out of some 2,300 manuscripts, with occasional differences. I do not know, except I do know the scholarship of good men who worked on this and if you were familiar with the field at all you would know that tremendous labors, study, scholarship and intensive efforts to find the true text has been carried on by a multitude of good men and you would not feel like calling such people crooks and perverts and infidels as Dr. Peter Ruckman does. Two of these different editions of the Greek New Testament leave out the word for blood in Colossians 1:14. The scholars SIMPLY DECIDED since many manuscripts did not have that term it was INSERTED BY A COPYIST who wanted to make it plain. However, the American Standard Version is as clear as it could possibly be on the atoning blood, salvation by faith in the shed blood of Jesus, and it is obvious there was no intention to change the doctrine nor do any despite to the blood of Jesus here.
You may PREFER to have the term blood put in that verse. Since it is everywhere taught in the Bible, and since there is not any clear evidence that it was here in the original manuscripts, then it DOESN’T MATTER TO ME. I reserve the right to differ with the American Standard Version. I do not have the right nor allow anybody else the right to presume that the translation was done in ignorance or spite or perversion or infidelity. One who thinks that simply doesn’t know enough about it to pass judgment.
Now, the PLAIN, SIMPLE TRUTH is that there are many places where you could QUESTION the translation of the King James Version also. Again I say I PREFER IT to any other translation, use it continually, but the translation is NOT INSPIRED. It is only the BIBLE ITSELF that is inspired.
One MISTRANSLATION of the King James Version in Revelation 22:14 would make salvation by works and it is obviously wrong. It says, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” But the Bible certainly does not teach that anybody earns a right to Heaven by keeping the commandments. And that MISTRANSLATION is corrected in the American Standard Version and the translation there properly is, “Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city." The Episcopalian translators there, who did not fully understand the doctrine of salvation by grace, evidently DID NOT CHECK the manuscripts carefully enough to get the translation right in the King James Version. [this is not a matter of translation but a matter of using the correct Greek Texts]
The King James Version in Acts 12:4 says, ". . . intending after Easter to bring him forth." But the word there in the Greek is "passover” not “Easter." And if you are familiar with the history you will know that there was not any Easter celebrated, the term was not even used, until long after New Testament times. In that case the translation WAS WRONG. They did not have any "Easter" in New Testament times. [Note: In 1973, we did not know that the prior English Bibles, for the most part, used “Easter” even to the degree of the “Jews’ Easter” and the “Easter lamb.” --Herb Evans]
Now, following a false teacher, a man with an angry disposition who split his own church, BROKE HIS OWN HOME [SLANDER?] and now, I HEAR, is in worse trouble— following him you have made a big issue about a doctrine not taught in the Bible at all, that the King James Version itself is the exact and inspired translation of the Bible. You don’t know enough to do that kind of teaching and anybody who goes against the scholarship of all the great Christians in the world without even decent respect and without considering all the study that has been done on it has no business dividing brethren and causing trouble in the churches.
In Jesus name,
yours, (signed) John R. Rice
Herbert F. Evans
Dear Dr. Rice:
Thank you for your letter of Feb. 2, 1973. I have read the "Sword" for over ten years and have recently ordered 2 racks of your booklets for our church here. Please understand I have no personal ax to grind with you. However, I must take issue with your article and letter of February 2, 1973. To begin, I am quoting some strong words from Spurgeon. In this way you cannot take occasion with me for slandering good men or putting myself above them.
"The approved method of the present carnival of unbelief is not to reject the Bible ALTOGETHER but, to RAISE DOUBTS as to PORTIONS of it, and questions as to the uniform inspiration of it as a whole. C.H.S.
"If the Book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? We have given up the Pope, for he has blundered often and terribly; but we shall not set up instead of him a horde of popelings fresh from college. Are these correctors of Scriptures infallible? ls it certain that our Bibles are not right, but that the critics must be so? Now, Farmer Smith, when you have read your Bible, and have enjoyed its precious promises, you will have tomorrow morning, to go down the street to ask the scholarly man at the parsonage whether this portion of the Scripture belongs to the inspired part of the Word or whether it is of dubious authority . . . We shall gradually be so bedoubted and be criticized that only a few of the most profound will know what is Bible and what is not, and they WILL DICTATE to the rest of us. I have no more faith in their mercy than in their accuracy . . . and we are fully assured that our old English version of the Scriptures is sufficient for plain men for all purposes of life, salvation, and goodness. We do not despise learning, but we will never say of culture or criticism, 'These be thy gods, O Israel.’" C.H.S.
These words of Spurgeon are my sentiments in general. As for specifics, I have divided your letter into five categories of appeal in order to better answer you:
1. your appeal to the scholarship of godly men
2. your appeal to errors in the King James Bible
3. your appeal to my issue not being Bible doctrine
4. your appeal to dismiss Ruckman s arguments because of his personality and his personal life
5. your appeal to following false teachers
Is it scholarly to say as you do, "Many think Acts 8:37 was a GLOSS added by some copyist? The truth is, I think so too." I never considered it scholarly to be believe what people THINK. I am Interested in what people KNOW.
Is it scholarly to say as you do, ". . . it SEEMS to teach a different plan of salvation?” This sounds like a contradiction of your article of December 15, 1972 where you say the codices "make VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE in the translations and NO DIFFERENCE in the doctrine taught in the Scriptures." If It does teach a different plan of salvation, why would you say, ". . . however, I DO NOT MIND it being in the King James . . .”
I hope it worthy of your attention that Acts 8:37 is in Tyndale’s Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, The Bishops’ Bible, and also Martin Luther’s Non-Episcopal Bible. Is it scholarly to say that “Episcopalian translators 'mistranslated’ Revelation 22:14,” when the text they used says, “poiountes tas entoias autou?" The Tyndale Bible, the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Bishops Bible, the Rheims Bible, and Martin Luther’s Non-Episcopal Bible agree with the King James rendering? Are you putting yourself above all these scholars?
Is it scholarship when, “The scholars SIMPLY DECIDED since many manuscripts did not have that term it was inserted by a copyist?" I must agree it was a SIMPLE decision, but a scholarly one? No! What about the scholars before 1881 who left the blood in Colossians 1:14? Did scholarship begin in 1881? What about the scholars that disagree with your scholars? Do we now argue over whose scholars are the best, or the godliest, or who has the most on his side? The Thessalonicans were noble because they searched the Scriptures not because they searched the consensus of the scholars.
2. Errors in the King James Bible
I have already covered the supposed mistranslation of Rev. 22:14 and how it is found in the early English Bibles and Martin Luther s Bible. I doubt whether Martin Luther was an Episcopalian, and I doubt he "did not fully understand the doctrine of grace."
Some people might get the wrong idea about 1 Jn. 2:3, 4; 3:24, Rev. 12:17 and 14:12 which have similar language, but removing difficult Scripture is not the answer. Besides all this, you say the codices "make very little difference in the translations and no difference in the doctrines taught in the Scriptures,” which contradicts your statement, "One mistranslation of the King James Version in Revelation 22:14 would make salvation by works and is obviously wrong." Is salvation by works no difference in doctrine or little difference in doctrine?
Much of what you say in reference to Luke 2 and 4:22 is true, but you well know that there is a great deal of difference between Mary speaking in a practical vein as you illustrated, the people speaking according to their limited knowledge, and the NARRATIVE being changed from “Joseph” to “father,” when it has textual support and has been around for over 300 years. There is no-good reason to do this.
Your best point, I would say, would be in Acts 12:4 where"after Easter" is better rendered "after Passover." Passover is in the Received Text. However, are you not stretching your point here, as both words are used as a chronological reference to the same period of time. There is no idea of bunnies and eggs implied. If the best you can do is “Easter,” I remain unconvinced of your position. *
*Note: At this early date, I did not know that mostly all pre—King James English Bibles used “Easter” extensively, even to the point of the “Jews’ Easter” and the “Easter lamb.”
3. Issue is not a doctrine of the Bible
“You have made a BIG ISSUE about a doctrine NOT TAUGHT in the Bible.”
“. . . godly men . . . ARE TRYING TO FIND the exact wording of the original text.”
“Intensive efforts TO FIND the TRUE TEXT has been carried on by a multitude of good men.”
“. . .the TRANSLATION IS NOT INSPIRED. It is only the Bible ITSELF that is inspired.”
If I understand your quotes correctly, you are suggesting the following:
1. We still do not have the true text yet.
2. We still do not have an inspired, tangible Bible.
3. All we have is an uninspired translation and an inexact not quite true text.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction . . . that the man of God may be THROUGHLY FURNISHED unto ALL good works. — 2 Tim. 3:16, 17
Would ALL, here, mean even judging the good work of translating? But according to you a translation cannot be inspired. A translation therefore is NOT PROFITABLE for doctrine nor correction, unless you first learn Greek. However, if we go to the trouble to learning Greek, we still do not have the TRUE TEXT or the EXACT WORDING, and we are still in trouble as only “INSPIRED SCRIPTURE” IS PROFITABLE.
4. Dismiss Ruckman’s arguments because of his personality and personal life
You appeal to Peter Ruckman’s personal life and personality to discredit and dismiss his teaching [even though Rice’s booklet on “Divorce” exonerates Dr. Ruckman]. I have no way of knowing the truth or falsity or circumstances of your charges [Later, I found out what his wife had done to him, which constituted grounds]. However, if what you say is true, the way that you say it, and we should dismiss his teaching concerning the ASV being a perversion, shall we also dismiss his teaching of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ or shall we just dismiss that which you disagree with him about??? Is not truth the truth no matter who teaches it? In your article and letter of February 2, 1973, I read your complaints regarding SLANDER, lack of brotherly love, and lack of right attitudes on the one hand, and I then read on the other hand about Fundamentalist NUTS and attacks [SLANDER] on Ruckman’s personal life, and I can’t help sensing a double standard somewhere.
5. Following false teachers
As far as your suggestion that I am following Peter Ruckman, you should be more careful as the convictions, which I expressed were mine, before I read Ruckman’s books. If you remember, I sent you correspondence that reflected my views dated April 1968 concerning the Dewey Beegle issue. The books I read by Peter Ruckman are "Manuscript Evidence" and "The Devil s Masterpiece, the NASV" printed in 1970 and 1972.
You neither defined Ruckman’s false teaching specifically nor refuted it from God’s Word the only authority we may use in correcting someone’s false doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16,17). I shall now name two false teachers to you. I will define their false teaching, and I will refute it.
The False Teacher: Dr. Hort
The False Teaching: "I have been persuaded for many years that Mary worship and Jesus worship have much in common in their causes and their results.”
The Refutation: Matt. 5:l0 and 1 Tim. 2:5
False Teacher #2: Dr. Wescott
False Teaching#2: "No one now, I suppose, holds the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, give a literal history I could never understand how anyone reading them with open eyes could think they did."
Retutation #2: Matt. 19:4
Wescott and Hort developed the Greek Text that was the basis of the Revised version (R.V.), the predecessor of the ASV, which is essentially the same version. Perhaps you will find these two "godly" (Lord, forgive me) scholars and their false teaching worthy of your attention.
Well Brother Rice we certainly do disagree and it certainly is unfortunate. I hope you do not now consider my views as arbitrary. Possibly you would consider an expense paid debate with Peter Ruckman over such a controversial issue???? Yours in Jesus Christ, Herbert F. Evans
February 15, 1973
Dear Brother Evans:
Your letter has come and I am in the office today and so I take a bit of time to answer briefly.
1. In the first place, it is fine to quote Spurgeon, but you ought to be honest about it. For as you surely know that Spurgeon was speaking about the BIBLE ITSELF, not about some particular translation of it. I feel just as he did that our old English version of the Scriptures is sufficient for plain men for all purposes of life, salvation, and goodness. And against whom is Spurgeon speaking? He plainly says “the critics.” No one has a right to make Spurgeon mean what he didn’t say.
2. You disdain scholarship and the fact that the devoted Christian scholarship of the world, at least nine out of ten, disagree with you about the so-called manuscript evidence, and the radical claim by Ruckman, Fuller and the Trinitarian Society. And not more than one in one hundred would go so far as Ruckman does and, I suppose, as you do, in claiming perfection for the translation of the King James Version and for all practical purposes claiming inspiration to the translators. Then why do you quote scholars? And why do you go back to go over what somebody told you what somebody wrote but what you did not discover for yourself? If you do not have any faith in honest Christian scholarship, then don’t quote them or don’t rely on them.
3. You didn’t face honestly the claim which you make but which the Bible does not make— the man—made doctrine that the translation is inspired and perfect. You still have to deal with that if you are going to go on that basis.
4. Why would you go against the Byzantine manuscripts which you profess to think are true and reliable, I understand, on Acts 8:37 which they omit?
"It is true that the critical text omits Acts 8:37 but so do not only the early papyri, the early uncials, the lectionaries, the Syriac, and the Egyptian, but the Byzantine cursives themselves the very group of manuscripts these men professedly are following " (Marchant A. King in Bibliotheca Sacra, current issue page 39.)
Now since I do not claim that everybody whoever copied a manuscript or everybody whoever preached from one or everybody who translated it was therefore infallibly inspired then I do not have to defend the manuscripts nor the supposing infallibility of the translation of the King James Version. That is your dilemma, not mine.
A debate with Dr. Ruckman? No, the Scripture says, "Make no friendship with an angry man" (Prov. 22:24). His language, his spirit, are not the kind with which good Christians ought to fellowship, in my Judgment, and the very fact that you read his abusive words and are not offended is very sad. And I have far more important and better things to do than to enter into such a debate.
And now let me say again, why do you teach a doctrine not taught in the Bible? Why not face it honestly—the Bible does not teach that everybody who quotes the Bible will quote it correctly, everybody who copies the Scripture will copy it correctly, everybody who preaches the Scripture will preach it correctly, everybody who translates the Bible will translate it correctly? There is no such doctrine in the Bible about any of these things. Why not spend your time on things the Bible really teaches?
In Jesus name, yours, John R. Rice
Herbert F. Evans
Feb. 27, 1973
Dear Dr. Rice:
Thank you for your letter of February 15, 1973. I am sorry that you see fit to discredit my honesty and misrepresent me by editorializing my comments. I am sorry you avoid most of my letter dealing with the erroneous charges of Feb. 2, 1973 (letter and article). You charged me with following Peter Ruckman. You charged Peter Ruckman with being a false teacher, but you did not define his false teaching nor refute it with Scripture as one should. You charged the King James translators falsely by saying they mistranslated Rev. 22:14. You charged the King James Bible with teaching a different plan of salvation, contradicting your own statements that the codices, "make very little difference in the translations and no difference in the doctrine taught in the Scriptures,” "Do the various translations differ materially on any doctrine . . . , on the plan of salvation . . . No, they do not!" p. 355 your book "Our God Breathed Book the Bible." You do not answer to your contradiction nor to my defense of your charges against me and others. Your latest letter of February 15, resorts to misrepresentation and charges of dishonesty rather than facing the issues. Nevertheless, I will answer your charges:
Your #1 Charge:
". . . it is fine to quote Spurgeon, but you ought to be honest about it . . . No one has the right to make Spurgeon mean what he didn’t say . . . Spurgeon was speaking about the Bible itself, not about some particular translation of it . . . And against whom is Spurgeon speaking? He plainly says “the critics."
If you reread my letter, you will find the only comments that I attach to Spurgeon’s are as follows:
“I am quoting some strong words from Spurgeon. In this way you cannot take occasion with me for slandering good men or putting myself above them . . . These words of Spurgeon are my sentiments in general."
These words reveal my motive of expressing my general sentiments and avoiding occasion being taken. I could stop here, as your charge is unwarranted, but you raise some interesting points. You remind me that Spurgeon was talking to critics. Very well, let us go a step farther and find out what kind of critics. Also, let us find out what kind of Bible he was speaking of:
1. They were critics who, "raise doubts to portions of the Bible"
2. They were critics who, "raise questions as to the uniform inspiration of the Bible as a whole portion of
3. They were critics who, "are Correctors of Scriptures"
4. They were critics who judge "whether this Scripture belongs to the Inspired Word"
5. They were critics who judge whether a Scripture "is of dubious authority."
6. They were critics who "would dictate to the rest of us" what is Bible and what is not . . .
Now as far as your other statement, "Spurgeon was speaking of the Bible itself (?) not about some particular translation of it . . . " If I understand you correctly, as I have read your view, you mean the Original Autographs which have taken the form of a mystical Bible. I cite your statements. Ibid., p. 354, p. 356
“. . .when we speak of inspiration, we speak of the Original Autographs, the Original Manuscripts. We have none of the Original Manuscripts . . . therefore the various translations contain, together, the eternal, unchangeable Word of God."
I submit to you that the Bible Spurgeon was speaking of:
1. could be read by Farmer Smith—“Now, Farmer Smith when you have read your Bible . . . ”
2. had portions that could be questioned whether they were part of the "Inspired part of the Word."
3. was a Bible some were correcting. "Are these correctors of Scripture . . .”
4. was not called "Original Bible"nor"Original Autographs"nor"Mystical Bible."
5. The Adjective that was used in the quote was the "OLD ENGLISH Bible."
I hardly think Farmer Smith was reading the Original Autographs or your Mystical Bible. I hardly think the Autographs were being questioned as being part of the Original. Inspired Word, nor the Mystical Bible. I hardly think they were correcting the Autographs or a Mystical Bible. I submit that you make Spurgeon mean something else and not I.
Again, these words of Spurgeon are my sentiments against any kind of critics that fit the above qualifications, whether they be textual critics, higher critics, or ordinary curbstone critics.
In addition, I cite W.A. Criswell from your book. If he meant what he said, I heartily agree with him.
". . .with complete and perfect assurance I can pick up my Bible and know that I read the revealed Word of God. The God who inspired it [the bible he picked up??? This will eventually haunt the good doctor—see the last page—the final telegram] also took faithful care that it be preserved through the fire and blood of the centuries." Ibid., p. 366
Your #2 Charge: "You [Herb Evans] disdain scholarship . . .”
"If you do not have faith in honest Christian scholarship then don’t quote them or don’t rely on them."
You misrepresent me as disdaining all scholarship—all Christian scholarship. However, I am not against all scholarship. I am for honest Christian scholarship that does not conflict with the Word of God. I am, however, against conjecture and opinion that masquerade as scholarship. I disdain doctrinal or unbelieving bias, passed off as scholarship, and I am against some scholarship that dictates to me without good reason. You say in your book:
"Unbelief in Christ and the Bible disqualifies one to translate the Scriptures." -- Ibid. p. 378,
What does that do to Dr. Wescott who wrote:
“No one, Now, I suppose, holds the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, give a literal history—I could never understand how anyone reading them with open eyes could think they did."
You seem to think that I disqualify myself from quoting scholars because I don’t go along with all of yours. I see neither your reasoning nor your failure to either affirm the above quote of Wescott as well as Hort’s or to challenge them, regardless of whether I did my own research or not.
YOUR #3 CHARGE: "You [Herb Evans] didn’t face honestly the claim which you make . . . the man-made doctrine that the translation is inspired and perfect."
I wish you were more specific, when you accuse me of dishonesty. My position is this. The translation that God places his stamp of approval on is inspired to the extent that things equal to each other are to the same thing equal. God inspired the Original Autographs once and for all. He then preserved the Text through a host of copies. He also preserved and assured their faithful reproduction into other languages. This in no way implies that the copyists were inspired nor the translators. This in no way implies that there were no copyist errors nor bad translations. It does imply accuracy to the extent that we now have an infallible Bible in our language. By infallible I mean (1.) free from error (2.) absolutely reliable; sure; that cannot be mistaken (Dictionary). This does not imply there are no archaic words nor phrases, nor does it imply that there are no renderings that can be improved as far as the way we speak today. I submit however that the modern day Greek and Hebrew nationals would have a similar problems, if they had the Original Autographs. Your test for inspiration would “flunk" the Original Autographs! Your test of inspiration would allow Greeks more of an inspired Bible than the English.
On p. 356 and p. 360 your book, you say:
"The Old Testament Scriptures which Jesus read and loved and quoted, He had only copies. Scriptures from the writing of Moses nearly fifteen hundred years before . . ." Ibid., p. 356
“ . . .The Lord here guarantees even the verbal accuracy of the translations and copies not of one particular copy nor of the particular translation but of the inspired Word IN ALL THEM TOGETHER.” - Ibid. p. 360
“. . . therefore the various translations CONTAIN TOGETHER the eternal unchangeable Word of God." --Ibid, p. 376
You charge me with man-made doctrine because of my position on Inspiration and preservation and all along you have this strange concept of a Mystical Bible in all the translations. What is worse, you claim in your book that Jesus faced the same situation and suppose there were different translations then. Do you find this doctrine taught in the Scriptures? Do you not have one standard for me and another for yourself? Why is it not man made doctrine to do what you do? As follows:
. . . not a single statement of fact, not a single command or exhortation, has been missed in our translationS." [???] Ibid. p. 355
Why is it all of a sudden man-made doctrine when I drop the "S” from “translations” of you quote??????
Your #4 Charge: "Why would you go against the Byzantine manuscripts which profess to think are true and reliable, I understand, on Acts 8:3 which they omit?
When did I profess this? Where in all my correspondence did I even mention Byzantine manuscripts? Edward Hill in his book, "The King James Version Defended declares Acts 8:37 Non Byzantine. It is included in the Textus Receptus, however. Even Wescott and Hort’s liberal text has it. Dr. Hills points out (p. 124, p. l25) that Irenaeus (180), Cyprian (255), Pacian (370), Ambrosiaser (380), Augustine (400), E2 (7th century). Harclean Syriac Bible, 20 miniscules, the old Latin and Vulgate all have it.
Your #5 charge:
"Now since I do not claim that everybody whoever copied a manuscript or everybody whoever preached from one or everybody who translated it was therefore infallibly inspired then I do not have to defend the manuscripts nor the supposing infallibility of the King James Version. That is your dilemma not mine . . . 'Why not face it honestly [where have I heard this before?] . . .the Bible does not teach that everybody who quotes the Bible will quote it correctly, everybody who copies the Scriptures will copy it correctly, everybody who preaches the Scriptures will preach it correctly, everybody that translates the Bible will translate it correctly? There is no such doctrine in the Bible about any of these things. Why not spend your time on things the Bible really teaches."
Why do you misrepresent me so? When did I ever claim “everybody” who quoted, preached, copied, or translated the Bible was inspired? The fact that I condemned certain translations and translators make clear my position. The whole issue of this correspondence has been over the corrupt ASV (the issue we have departed from). Better yet, when did I ever claim that some of the copyists, translators, quoters, or preachers were inspired???? The Scriptures do not teach the translators to be inspired. They do teach however, that the scriptures were preserved. You take issue with what I didn’t say but avoid what I do say regarding Psalms 12:6,7 and Isaiah 59:21. Your dilemma is that you do not have a tangible, infallible Bible in Greek or English.
You say in your letter, "A debate with Dr. Ruckman? No, the Scripture says, "Make no friendship with an angry man—Pro. 22:24.” I didn’t invite you to make friends with Doctor Ruckman, I invited you to an expense paid debate. Paul didn’t have to make friends to dispute in the temple. I think Pro. 22:24 is a bit overworked here.
You have chosen to misrepresent ne, discredit my honesty, failed to answer my defense of your charges, and departed from the real issue of the ASV being a corrupt Version. If you were right on your mystical Bible, you still would have to face the issue of corruption in the ASV versus no corruption in the KJV. The test is going to be whether you can with your full page ads get God’s people, Bible believers, to accept the ASV. I say you won’t. God has his stamp of approval on the KJV.
Yours in Christ Jesus, Herbert F. Evans
March 21, 1973
Dear Brother Evans:
I am sorry you did not take more to heart my letter. I do not think an extensive answer will be profitable: you are not writing to ask for information but to try to correct me and teach me Thank you for the effort anyway. Will you note two or three things?
1. If God s inspiration of the Bible and His promise that Scripture cannot be broken and that the Scripture endures forever--if that guarantees the King James translation of the Bible, then it must guarantee equally some version in every language. You have no reason to suppose that God has certain methods of dealing with the Bible in America and doesn’t mind about the rest of it. I do not think you will claim this, but it is still inevitable: either among every nation there must be an infallible Bible, without any mistakes in translation, miraculously guaranteed, or your stand about the King James Version has no evidence at all.
2. You say, "The test is going to be whether you can with your full page ads get God’s people, Bible believers, to accept the ASV. I say you won’t. God has His stamp of approval on the KJV."
Well and good. You are saying almost exactly what I have said. I prefer the King James Version of the Bible. I do all my preaching from it. I do my private devotional reading from it and my memory work in thousands of verses and perhaps twenty whole chapters. In all my counsel I ask people to use the King James Version in their private devotions and in family worship. I certainly agree that it is the most useful and best version of the Bible for everybody. That dos not mean that I claim for it what the Bible doesn’t claim and does not mean that I slander and abuse everybody who admires the American Standard Version, even as I do.
I do not think it helpful for you to keep your mind full of argument, suspicions and charges. You were kind to write and thank you for taking the time. I am sure you meant to help me.
In Jesus’ name, John R. Rice
* * *
Herbert F. Evans
April 2, 1973
Dear Dr. Rice:
Thank you for your letter of 3-21-73. I agree with you that extensive answers at this point would not likely be profitable. You evidently found some profit however, in duplicating your first reply of our correspondence in the Sword of the Lord. Of course your readers did not have the opportunity to read the rest of the correspondence. This seems to be standard procedure with the "Sword" and of course is your prerogative as editor. However, for the sake of fairness and objectivity, I hereby request your permission to duplicate all of the correspondence. [To date 3/15/03, we have not received permission, but then Dr. Rice did not seek our permission].
No, you are right, I did not write you as a disciple seeking information. I thought it clear from the beginning of the correspondence that I was taking issue. You seem to think it a humbling thing to be taught or corrected by me. I can’t say that I blame you as I survey and compare my abilities and accomplishments in comparison to yours. Let us be clear, however, I did not abuse or slander you (or call you a fundamentalist nut or radical). I only informed you of your error as brothers are instructed to do. As I see it, my responsibility to you is now fulfilled.
As for your two points:
1. you say:
" You have no reason to suppose that God has certain methods of dealing with the Bible in ‘America’ and doesn’t mind the rest of it . . . it is . . . inevitable: either among ‘every’ nation there must be an infallible Bible, without any mistakes in translation, miraculously guaranteed, or your stand about the ‘King James Version’ has no evidence at all.”
Following your line of reasoning and the rules of logic you have made, I say:
“You have no reason to suppose that God has certain methods of dealing with the Bible in ‘the original Greek’ and doesn’t mind the rest of it . . . it is . . . inevitable: either among ‘other’ nations there must be an infallible Bible, without any mistakes in translation, miraculously guaranteed, or your stand about the ‘Original Greek Autographs’ has no evidence all.”
2. I am thankful you still consider the King James Version the “best” and the most useful. So why bother with anything inferior? Why not use and recommend only the best? Why admire and recommend an inferior and erroneous version that quotes Isaiah in Mark 1:2, when all along it was Malachi who said it? (Mal. 3:l) The "best" version quotes "the prophets.” I thank you for your response and your time.
Herbert F. Evans
THE COUP de GRACE
THE SWORD Friday, April 13, 1973, page 5
“Now the Lord has prepared things for us, this wonderful truth. Don’t you see you are going to have to answer to God about the Bible? I have a miracle in my hands in this Book. I don’t mean the paper. I don’t mean the leather cover. I have in my hands a message from God, the infallible, eternal Word of God. And ten thousand years from now this will still be the Word of God. It abides forever. It is written in Heaven. Every word of it in the original manuscripts was breathed out from God. How foolish for me to ignore it! How wicked if I don’t read it!
MESSAGE CONFIRMATION COPY
Herbert F Evans, PC Box 442, Herkimer, NY 13350
3158665292 TDMT Herkimer NY 36 04-12 0557P EST
PMS Doctor John R Rice—Murfreesboro Tn 37130
Addendum to my April 2nd letter: I read April 13th Sword Article Page 5. What version is meant in your statement, "I have in my hands a Message from God, the infallible eternal Word of God?” -- Herbert F Evans
Christian Leader Comments on the Debate
“God has delivered him into your hands . . . you should consider making a booklet of the letters. I appreciate your sweet gentleman—like manner in dealing with these issues.” -- E.L. Byum
“It is always a great blessing to hear the same view—point from a cool, calculated, legal objective angle. --Dr. Peter S. Ruckman
“It certainly is a superb way in which you have handled this whole situation. I don’t see how Dr. Rice has a leg to stand on . . . I never knew how quickly you can tie people in knots when it comes to the inerrant, infallibility of the Word of God.” --David Otis Fuller
You have done very well . . . to bring these matters to the attention of those who should be concerned.” --Gordon Mellish, Sec. Bible Society
“God bless you for exposing John R. Rice’s position in regard to God’s Holy Word.” --J. J. Ray