The 29th Annual Meeting of
The Dean Burgon Society
On July 18-19, 2007
Bible Brethren Church
Pastor J. Paul Reno
Dr. Robert J. Barnett, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church and Academy
6504 West M-72
Grayling, Michigan 49738
We thank our host Pastor J. Paul Reno and the families of Bible Brethren Church for your gracious invitation to be with you for our 29th Anniversary meeting of the Dean Burgon Society. Pastor Reno and his family have been a very important part of the Dean Burgon Society for many years. We have fond memories of being with you folks for a DBS meeting many ears ago.
It is always a privilege to be on the platform with our faithful DBS Founder and President, Dr. D. A. Waite. Dr. Waite as our resident scholar in Bible Defense. It is expected of many that you be given the opportunity to answer this important traditional question: Dr. Waite, over your many years of studying each book, chapter, verse and word in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek scriptures underlying the translation of the Authorized 1611 King James Bible, have you ever found any translation errors or mistakes in our 1769 Cambridge edition of the King James Bible?
Over a quarter century ago I wrote a small introduction to Bible preservation entitled, The Word of God on Trial. The opening words of the Introduction are still to the point for introducing my message today: "Can we believe God? Do we really have God's preserved word? Is there an absolute authority upon which our faith can rest? These questions make our study together one of the most explosive issues of our generation."
There appears to be striking similarity between the methods of those who falsely identified the seed of God's incarnate word in the past and those who falsely identify the seed of God's inscripturated word today.
God's promises concerning the coming of the incarnate word to bring us salvation were stated early in Genesis: "15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15).
Eve believed she was seeing the fulfillment of this prophecy with the birth of Cain. Eve believed she had given birth to the Messiah the giver of life when she had really given birth to a Murder who was of that wicked one. "1And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD." (Gen. 4:1). But Cain was really not the incarnate seed as 1 John 3:12 says: "12Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous."
The next prophecy of the incarnate Messianic seed we shall examine was given to Abram in Gen 12:1-3: "1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: 2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." God repeatedly reaffirmed His covenant with Abraham between Genesis chapters 12-17. We know this was a Messianic prophecy from Gal 3: "8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.....16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.....29And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Our Lord testified that Abraham knew Him in John 8:56: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."
But Abram and Sarai faced the same problem as Adam and Eve identifying the promised incarnate seed. Like mother Eve, Sarai believed God's promises to Abram but she thought she could determine the method through which the incarnate word, the Messiah would come. We read in Genesis 16:1,2,15,16: "1Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.....15And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. 16And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram."
Hagar was from Egypt, a type and picture of bondage and the world. Hagar was descended from the tribe of Ham, not the Messianic tribe of Shem. In Galatians 4:22-29 God tells us that Hagar was a type and allegory of the flesh in conflict with the Spirit: "22For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now."
Eve who had been deceived by Satan about the Word of God concerning the tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden, was also deceived by Satan concerning the promised Messianic seed. Sarai was deceived into looking to the world and the flesh to possess God's promised Messianic seed.
We have studied these Bible patterns of identifying the incarnate word of God as a Biblical basis to observe and recognize the same approach today by those identifying the inscripturated word: I believe most modern Bible versions in print today owe their existence to the same influence of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.
The Devil has always provided the basic presuppositional logic for creating new versions of God's Word: "Yea, Hath God said?" Satan has always been questioning, denying and corrupting God's inspired, inerrant, infallible truth. Satan has always attacked God's providential preservation of the traditional Bible texts down through the centuries.
Next, the world has influenced the methodology of using a naturalistic or secular approach to locate and restore a corrected Bible text to replace what Satan has branded the unreliable received text. The world has also influenced the translation approach and methodology which have become more and more man centered and less and less God centered. The world is manifested in the greed and marketing skills which promote the continual introduction of more and more new, revised, updated, and improved Bible versions.
Certainly the flesh comes in to motivate the growth of naturalistic textual criticism. The flesh builds those isolated ivory towers of modern scholarship which spew forth the venom of unbelief in God's providentially preserved Word. These intelligentsia who claim the sole human expertise and authority to alter God's words will hold in contempt all who question or dare to disagree with them. Webster says of intelligentsia: "Intellectuals who form an artistic, social, or political vanguard or elite. "When one has become for all intents and purposes the voice of God's word to churches, universities, and all others one is for all intents and purposes sitting upon the seat of God' authority. The Achilles heal of these men is the expertise and pride of their fleshly achievements. They will never tolerate being told their modern Bibles are the product of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. They have created and exalted corrupted seed for the inscripturated word, just as Eve and Sarai identified false seeds for the incarnate word.
Now before we move on, I believe both Eve and Sarai sincerely believed in their choice for the incarnate seed. So also, many of those who are producing modern Bibles may sincerely believe they are producing the most accurate inscripturated word. But the test for knowing God's truth is not sincerity.
We return to our question: "Can we believe God? Do we really have God's preserved word? Is there an absolute authority upon which our faith can rest?" We shall look at father Abraham's faith for an answer. "16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all," (Rom 4:16). "2Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him." (Isa. 51:2).
Abraham believed God's revealed words even before they were written down as inspired Holy Scriptures.. After rescuing Lot and his family, paying tithes to the King of Salem, and refusing any reward from the King of Sodom we read of Abraham in Genesis 15:1: "1After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Then after telling Abraham that his servant Eliezer of Damascus would not be his heir, God said in Genesis 15:5: "Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be."
The next verse, Genesis 15:6 is one of the most important salvation verses in the Bible: "6And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." In this verse God revealed faith, justification, and righteousness which still remain the essentials for salvation in any age. In this Bible verse we have explained salvation by trusting God's covenant words of promise for righteousness through justification by faith alone. This is the only plan of salvation God has revealed from Genesis to Revelation to provide eternal salvation.
Immediately after Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness God said to him in Genesis 15:7: "....I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it." In Genesis 15:8 Abraham asked for a token or proof God would keep His covenant promise. "8And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?" God gave Abraham instructions to prepare a sacrifices for a blood covenant in Genesis 15:9,10: "9And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not." After Abraham had prepared and protected the sacrifices God put him into a deep sleep in Genesis 15:12: "12And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him." God told Abraham the historical fulfillment of His promise in more detail then in Genesis 15:17 Then God alone passed between the divided animal sacrifices to confirm His covenant with Abraham while Abraham did absolutely nothing but sleep. "17And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces."Abraham could kill and divide the sacrifices, but He was asleep or helpless when the Lord Jesus Christ re-affirmed those covenant promises. God alone as the smoking furnace and burning lamp passed between the divided sacrificial animals confirming God's covenant with Abraham. (Read Revelation 1:10-19 to see Jesus Christ as still the same: "15And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." (Rev. 1:15,16). Our sins nailed Jesus Christ to the Cross, we too had a part in His crucifixion and death, but He alone by His substitutionary or vicarious atonement, shed His blood for our sins, and arose to give us eternal life, and imputed to us His perfect righteousness. God gave the words of His salvation covenant. God confirmed the words of His salvation covenant. God fulfilled the words of His salvation covenant.
First, Abraham was justified by grace through faith alone without any human works according to Romans 4:1-8. He was justified by simply believing God's Words which were later inscripturated.
"1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
Second, Abraham was justified by grace through faith alone without religious rites or rituals according to Romans 4:9-11: "9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also."
Abraham was fully persuaded by faith in the words of God's promise according to Romans 4:20-22: " 20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."
Third, Abraham was justified by grace through faith alone without keeping the Law of Moses according to Galatians 3:1-19. ."6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."
We like Abraham are justified by believing the promise of the Spirit in Gal. 3:14: "14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
We like Abraham are justified by believing God covenant according to Gal. 3:15: 15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto." We like Abraham are justified by believing in God's seed, Jesus Christ according to Gal. 3:16: "16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
Fourth, Abraham was justified by grace through faith alone which works God's will according to James 2:17-24. "20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
Look at the historical record of this in Genesis chapter 22:
"9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son." Abraham already knew this by faith according to Genesis 22:7,8: "7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together." Abraham had faith in the lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world!
Now let us examine Hebrews 11:17-19 to see how Abraham's works proved His strong faith.
Abraham could only offer up Isaac by complete faith in the covenant promises of God's words:
a. Only because Abraham believed God's covenant words could he sacrifice his miracle son contrary to his own will. :" 17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son."
b.Only because Abraham believed God's covenant words could he offer Isaac his only promised hope contrary to everything he had worked and waited for. "18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called." After waiting a hundred years, Isaac was Abraham's last hope. He knew the works of his flesh could never offer any hope of receiving what God had promised him in Isaac.
c. Only because Abraham believed God's covenant words could he offer his son expecting a miracle deliverance through resurrection. "19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." Abraham knew salvation was promised through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messianic seed. Abraham's works proved he had absolutely no doubts in any of God's covenant words.
Just as God put Abraham to sleep and confirmed His covenant words to Abraham by His own actions alone, so also in Isaiah 59:19-21 God assured us that the Trinity has made a covenant promising to preserve God's covenant words forever here on earth.: "19So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. "20And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 21As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever." The Godhead is committed by a divine covenant to keep God's words in Isaiah 59:19-21 just as a Sovereign God confirmed His covenant with Abraham while Abraham was asleep. "13For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself," (Heb. 6:13) Therefore God is personally committed to preserving all His covenant words upon earth in the mouth of His seed forever.
Can we believe God? Do we know the God who revealed His Holy Words and inspired them for Holy Scriptures, has and will continue to preserve them by divine providential preservation forever?
6 "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." (Psa. 12:6,7).
"29The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deut 29:29).
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matt 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).
"For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26).
"He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:48). (See Deut 4:2;.Pro. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-20).: