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   In Defense of Traditional Bible Texts

"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."
. . . Psalm 12:6-7 . . .

Preaching Problem Passages with Power

The Dean Burgon Society's 1998 Annual Meeting

Dr. Robert Barnett, Dean Burgon Society Vice President
Copyright 1999 by the author, reproduction and distribution rights assigned to the Dean Burgon Society.

I.  Rejecting the Word of Christ's Resurrection produces fearful unbelief and silence
   A.  Disciple unbelief of Mary Magdalene's testimony
   B.   Disciple unbelief of the two Emmaus disciples' testimony
   C.  Disciple unbelief by the eleven rebuked by Christ's own bodily testimony to
     1.  Unbelief in Christ's word indicates unbelief of> His Person. He is Lord, not liar!
    2.  Unbelief in Christ's work on the cross implies> unbelief in His Person
     3.  Unbelief in Christ's Person is illustrated by> who one follows
 II.   Receiving the Word of Christ's Resurrection produces Fishermen seeking souls
 III.   Rehearsing the Word of the Resurrected Christ produces Fearless Signs unto Salvation
   A.  Signs following the apostles
   B.   Signs following the ascension
     1.  Christ's reception into Heaven
     2.   Christ's rule from Heaven
     3.   Christ's rule upon earth through His body the Church


On behalf of the saints of Calvary Baptist Church of Grayling, Michigan, we count it an honor to host the Dean Burgon Society for your 1998 meeting. As your host we commend you for your dedication and faithfulness to God's Holy Scriptures at your 20th Anniversary Conference. It is a joy for all of us to share together in the defense and declaration of God's Holy Scriptures.

The late Dr. David Otis Fuller often said, "There are no errors in the King James Bible. There may be problems, but no errors." And concerning those problems in the KJB, Doc would say, "Any problem I find in the King James Bible I put down to my own ignorance."

Dr. D. A. Waite, president of the Dean Burgon Society, has more than 120 college and university hours of credit in language study alone. He has more credit hours in language studies than the average college graduate has in all subjects combined. He has spent his 70 years as a student and teacher of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and English. I publicly asked Dr. Waite again during the morning worship service at our church July 19, 1997: "Dr. Waite, have you found any errors in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text underlying the King James Bible? And after a lifetime of study have you found any translation errors in the authorized King James Bible? Dr. Waite repeated again as he has for many, many years: "To the best of my knowledge, I have found no errors in the underlying text or the translation of the authorized King James Bible."

Now all of us know what problems are. I lost my reading glasses last week, my car broke down, and the scales tell me maybe I should lose a couple of pounds. Now those are problems. But my King James Bible has no errors or problems. It isn't broken anywhere so it doesn't need fixing! There is nothing lost in the text which needs to be found! And there are no excess verses, phrases or words which need to be removed. That is my position after 65 years of Bible study and ministry. I believe I can also speak for every executive and advisory member of the Dean Burgon Society and say without apology that all "Problems" found in the authorized King James Bible are problems in the mind of the beholder.

Some people consider Mark 16:9-20 one of the greatest problem passages in the Bible. Along with the ministry of Jesus Christ in , it is one of the two largest scripture portions doubted and denied in the New Testament by textual criticism. It is an exciting problem passage because it is one of the most factually supported portion of scripture ever brought under attack. Dean John William Burgon in his Last Twelve Verses of Mark amassed in the last century factual evidence proving to many of us the validity of these twelve verses of God's Holy Scripture beyond a reasonable question. His defense of the faith in remains unanswered to this day by a century of textual critics. is only a problem passage to those who are influenced by human critics of the Bible. To God and Bible believers all twelve verses are Holy Scripture without problems.

My first examination of the evidence supporting this text came from the late Dr. David Otis Fuller. He edited a trilogy of books in the 70's in defense of the providential preservation of Holy Scriptures entitled, Which Bible? (1970), True or False? (1973), and finally, Counterfeit or Genuine Mark 16? John 8? (1975). From his introduction in this latter volume concerning the research work of John William Burgon, Dr. Fuller said, "It was the privilege of this compiler, after struggling through several rounds of red tape, to see for myself three of the sixteen folio volumes Burgon had written in his own hand, a compilation of eighty-seven thousand quotations from the early Church Fathers. I make bold to say there is no other collection like this in existence." (It has been said that if the entire New Testament should be destroyed, there are sufficient quotes from the early church fathers to reproduce every scripture verse.) Incidentally, Dr. Fuller remained active as a vice-president in the Dean Burgon Society, and his organization, "Which Bible?" still exists today at Wealthy Park Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan under the name, "Institute For Biblical Textual Studies."

Dean John William Burgon's book, the Last Twelve Verses of Mark, has been reprinted by the Dean Burgon Society and is currently available and recommended as must reading for every person who lacks faith in the accuracy and authority of . Four years ago at the 16th Annual Dean Burgon Society meeting with Pastor Paul Reno in Hagerstown, Maryland, Dr. D. A. Waite delivered a message entitled, "Dean John William Burgon's Vindication of the Last Twelve Verses of Mark." That message summarizing Dean Burgon's book into a 37 page booklet is available from Dr. D.A. Waite as B.F.T. #2506.

This booklet in part exposes the false statements by Bible Believing leaders who claim no doctrinal changes have been made by textual criticism. The statements of modern Bible versions like the NKJV, NASV NIV and Ryrie study Bible are given which cast doubt on . Dean Burgon's Masterful defense of Mark 16:9-20 is contrasted with the Tenets of Westcott and Hort and defects in the Vatican ("B") and Sinai (Aleph") Manuscripts. Evidence of all the Greek Lectionaries is declared as supporting Mark 16:9-20. Evidence from all the Greek manuscripts except "B" and Aleph are avowed as in support of Mark 16:9-20. Evidence of 29 early church fathers is confessed as supporting Mark 16:9-20. The internal evidence supports Mark 16:9-20. The booklet is a concise outline summary including charts of Dean Burgon's exhaustive defense of Mark 16:9-20.

Three Baptist pastors while confronting the Chairman of the Bible Department in a Baptist Bible College, asked him if he could preach as the Word of God? He bowed his head and said, No. We asked him then if he could honestly hold up the King James Bible like the fundamentalists at the beginning of the 20th century and say without apology this is the Word of God from cover to cover, or must you say with the liberals from that period that it merely contains the word of God along with human error? He stood red-faced and speechless because he believes Mark 16:9-20 is human, not divine in origin.

Spiritual giants of the past have encouraged us to preach as God's Holy Scriptures. Listen to the words of the late Dr. H. A. Ironsides, who said of this passage in his commentary on Mark: "I do not dwell on the critical question as to the authenticity or otherwise of the last part of this chapter, verses 9 to 20. It is not found in two of the most ancient manuscripts, but it bears the stamp of Inspiration, and the book of Acts and the history of Missions attest its credibility, so that I see no reason to assume that it is other than a part of the God-breathed Scripture which is for our instruction and blessing."

Also the late G. Campbell Morgan, known as the prince of expositors, in his commentary on Mark said of : "These last twelve verses constitute a battleground of textual criticism, and by many are rejected as not genuine. I do not propose to stay for a moment to discuss the matter. Suffice it for me to say that while recognizing the difficulties giving rise to the contention, I most strongly hold that they are certainly genuine, the weight of evidence both external and internal, compelling me to that conclusion."

Let us turn in our Bibles today to and may we ask our teacher the Holy Spirit, to apply these Holy Words to our hearts as God's inspired, infallible, Holy Scriptures accurately translated and preserved for us in the authorized King James Bible.

The resurrection account of our Lord Jesus Christ in Chapter 16 of Mark begins early in the morning on the first day of the week, as Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices to anoint the body of Jesus. Concerned about who would roll the great stone from the door of the sepulchre for them, they found the stone already removed, and a young man sitting on the right side in a long white garment and "they were affrighted.". ( And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. {7} But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. {8} And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid."

How can anyone believe this is God's ending to Mark's gospel or good news? How can silent fear and trembling be the final response of Christ's disciples after hearing the gospel of an empty tomb, and a risen Savior, as confirmed by a heavenly messenger? Since liberals believe Mark is the first gospel from which the other's developed, this disciple unbelief of fear and trembling supports their unbelief in the supernatural, literal, bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Cutting off the last 12 verses of Mark gives liberals ground for promoting the other endings of the gospels as progressive later disciple development of the Christian doctrine.

But, the gospel of Mark did not end at verse 8! Verses 9 through 20 give an explanation for and elimination of this fearful state of trembling manifested by the disciples in verse 8.

I. Rejecting the Word of Christ's Resurrection produces fearful unbelief and silence

A. Disciple unbelief of Mary Magdalene's testimony v. 9-11

(Mark 16:9-20) "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. {10} And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. {11} And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

B. Disciple unbelief of the two Emmaus disciples' testimony v. 12, 13

{12} After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. {13} And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

C. Disciple unbelief by the eleven rebuked by Christ's own bodily testimony to v. 14

{14} Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Unbelief in the person, work, and word of Jesus Christ remains the most destructive and damnedable sin in the world today! It matters not who the messenger is, the gospel of the substitutionary death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins must be believed!

1. Unbelief in Christ's word indicates unbelief of His Person. He is Lord, not liar!

() "And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not." () "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. {11} And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." () "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

2. Unbelief in Christ's work on the cross implies unbelief in His Person.

() "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." The Holy Spirit came to reprove the World in () "Of sin, because they believe not on me;" 

3. Unbelief in Christ's Person is illustrated by who one follows.

() "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" Who is being honored by those who follow the unbelief of Holy Scripture promoted by the science of textual criticism? () "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you." Who's voice is obeyed in , God's faith or man's unbelief?

Victory over unbelief comes from Faith as a gift of God's Grace: () "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;" () "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: {13} Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." () "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast." () "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." () "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

I. Rejecting the Word of Christ's Resurrection produces fearful unbelief and silence.

II. Receiving the Word of Christ's Resurrection produces Fishermen seeking souls

{15} And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Evangelism is a divine command, not a human choice. () "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." As Paul said, () "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. {15} So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. {16} For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. {17} For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."

{16} He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Evangelism brings every human being to a divine decision and choice between Jesus Christ and Satan, salvation and damnation, between heaven and hell. One who believes unto salvation will choose to obey Christ's command and example in water baptism. Baptism is not essential unto salvation, but it is essential as a first step of obedience for every believer. Unbelief in the Person, Work, and Word of our Lord Jesus Christ is the most wicked and damning of all human sins. () "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." () "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." Unbelief damns souls to perish for eternity in eternal hell. Textual criticism by promoting unbelief in God's Holy Word, helps send souls to hell.

I. Rejecting the Word of Christ's Resurrection produces fearful unbelief and silence.

II. Receiving the Word of Christ's Resurrection produces Fishermen seeking souls

III. Rehearsing the Word of the Resurrected Christ produces Fearless Signs unto Salvation

A. Signs following the apostles v. 17,18

{17} And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; {18} They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Signs in the Bible were given primarily as God's way of dealing with the unbelief of the Jews or nation of Israel. () "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:" Signs were given to strengthen faith until the completion of the canon of Holy Scripture. () "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe." The apostle Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake on the island of Melita while gathering sticks, but remained uninjured shaking the snake off into the fire. (). Immediately thereafter, he miraculously healed many on the island of various diseases. The apostle Paul experienced the fulfillment of the sign gifts of .

These were all apostolic signs for apostolic times until the completion of the canon of Holy Scripture. () "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. {9} For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. {10} But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." "That which is perfect " is in the neuter gender in the Greek, pointing to the completed canon of scripture. Perfect Holy Scripture has already come according to, by divine inspiration to be profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, () "That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Only the completed Holy Scriptures are God's perfect body of infallible authority given to bring us to spiritual maturity.

The only Biblical apostolic signs the church should look for in the last days are the evil mimicking false signs by Satan and antichrists used to bring about deception and to turn people away from God's truth in His Holy Word. () "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." () "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: {9} Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, {10} And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. {11} And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: {12} That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Many people may claim sincere faith today based upon emotional experience or feelings received from spiritual power, signs, and lying wonders. But unless their faith rests squarely upon God's revealed truth in the Book, the Blood, and The Blessed Hope of Jesus Christ and His imminent return to earth - their faith is deceitive, bringing them to damnation, not salvation!

B. Signs following the ascension v. 19,20

{19} So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

1. Christ's reception into Heaven
Christ said he would return to the Father. () "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father."

Luke agrees with Mark that Christ ascended into heaven. () "And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. {51} And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven."

Luke gives the details of Christ's ascension. () "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; {11} Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Textual criticism undermines the accuracy and authority of the ascension of Jesus Christ. If you do not believe the ascension as found in Mark, how do you know it is valid in Luke? Textual criticism uses the western text to question the accuracy and authority of Luke's account of the ascension. And if you trust the textual critics who question the accuracy of the doctrine of the ascension in both Mark and Luke's gospels, how can you have faith in the account of the ascension written by Luke in the book of Acts?

2. Christ's rule from Heaven

Stephen witnessed Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God: () "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, {56} And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."

We are to look to "Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" now in Heaven at the right hand of the throne of God. () "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." () "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; {13} From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool." () "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him." () "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:" () "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." () "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

We are to look to Jesus for the power to live victorious Christian lives over sin and Satan in this life. () "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, {20} Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, {21} Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: {22} And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,"

3. Christ's rule upon earth through His body the Church

{20} And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

If we believe we will be preaching the gospel! If we believe Mark 16:9-20 God will be working through us! () "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. {19} Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {20} Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

If we believe we will witness God's sign of Jonah by seeing the miracle conversion of lost sinners into the family of God. That is still God's greatest miracle sign we may expect to see following the preaching of the gospel today. () "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:"() "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." () "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" () "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." () "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

() "But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: {40} For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. {41} The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."

May God enable us to preach with power as God's Holy Scriptures filled with faith, and never as a problem passage plunder by human philosophies and plans.

Preaching Problem Passages With Power
20th Annual Dean Burgon Society Meeting
Calvary Baptist Church
6504 West M-72
Grayling, MI 49738
Delivered by Dr. Robert J. Barnett, Pastor

The Dean Burgon Society

Please click here for the Most Important Message of the Bible Concerning You. "
Is any of the following a blessing to you today?
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Matthew 24:3

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9

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