CONTENDING IN TRUTH, AND TRUTH AFFIRMS THE
A Loving Response to Rev ___'s Paper "Contending in
Truth and in Love"
Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo
Revised Edition, October 3, 2005
Rev ___ of ___ Church has written a response to
Carol Lee's paper "A Child of God Looks at the Doctrine of Verbal Plenary
Preservation" published in the July 2005 issue of The Burning Bush.
Since I am the editor of The Burning Bush, and since Rev ___ did
quote me in a number of places on pages 1 and 5 of his paper, I believe I
have the right of reply, and wish to do so in "truth and love" as
suggested by his title.
Before I proceed, I must commend Rev ___ for believing
(1) "the King James Bible is the English Bible par excellence," and that we should
(2) "unite to defend the Word of God against its
real foes represented by the modern day Bible perversions"
Praise the Lord!
Rev ___'s Questions
Rev ___ asks,
(1) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian who believes in the doctrine of creation ex-nihilo
but not hold to VPP as a doctrine?
(2) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian who believes in the doctrine of a literal six-day creation
but not VPP?
(3) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian who believes in the doctrines of the virgin birth, bodily
resurrection and ascension of our blessed Saviour but not VPP?
(4) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian who believes in the doctrine of a literal heaven and hell
but not VPP?
(5) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian and not subscribe to the theory of VPP?
Let me answer Rev ___'s questions with the
(1) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian who believes in the doctrine of creation ex nihilo,
and a literal six-day creation, and yet DENIES that the first
three chapters of Genesis are verbally and plenarily inspired and
verbally and plenarily preserved, and hence infallible and inerrant,
without any mistake?
(2) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian who believes in the doctrines of the virgin birth, bodily
resurrection and ascension of our blessed Saviour and yet DENIES
that the Christian today possesses each and every
one of the verbally and plenarily inspired words that tell us
of our Lord's virgin birth, bodily resurrection and ascension?
(3) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian who believes in the doctrine of a literal heaven and hell which he has yet to see
WITHOUT believing that the very
words that tell him about a literal heaven and hell are totally
inspired and entirely preserved, and hence presently infallible
and inerrant without any mistake, and therefore completely true and
(4) Can one be a God-fearing and God-honouring
Christian today by believing that his Bible today contains mistakes
because God did not infallibly preserve His inspired words to the last
word, to the last letter, even to the last syllable as taught in
Matthew 5:18, and 24:35?
I trust the above questions answer the questions posed
by Rev ___.
Is Faith Based on the Words of Men or the Words of God?
Rev ___ rejects the VPP of Scripture on the basis
of the words of certain "God-fearing and God-honouring Christians" with
the assumption that they had indeed rejected the VPP of Scripture, or that
they actually believed:
(1) that God did not infallibly preserve His words,
(2) that God did allow some of His inspired words to be
utterly lost and completely corrupted without any hope of restoration,
(3) that God took a "hands off" approach to the
preservation of His inspired words and did not care at all to intervene in
history to correct the intentional or unintentional mistakes the scribes
made as they copied the Scriptures so as to restore for His people all of
His inspired words and identify for them where His inspired words are
Rev ___ went on to argue, "The fact is that, over
the ages, there had been God-fearing and God-honouring Christians who
believe in the plenary verbal inspiration of the Word of God and not the
VPP." Surely, Rev ___ must know that our supreme and final authority
of faith and doctrine is none other than the Bible itself and the Bible
alone, and not man (B-P Constitution, article 4.2.1).
In light of this, can Rev ___ please prove his non-VPP
view from the Bible itself? That the Bible does not at all teach God's
infallible preservation of all of His inspired and inerrant words to the
jot and tittle, and that God's people (including us today) can be
sure that we have the very words of God in our hands, 100%?
Rev ___ cited a host of "God-fearing" and
"God-honouring" men to prove his point. Let it be known that we do not
deny that Turretin, Baxter, Owen, Wesley, Gill, Spurgeon, and Burgon were
indeed "God-fearing" and "God-honouring" men, but let us ask again,
does their being "God-fearing" and "God-honouring" mean that their words
are infallible and inerrant, and that they were incapable of making
mistakes in their comments and observations?
Our faith must not be based on the words of men but
purely on the inspired words of God which we have today by virtue of God's
many promises to preserve His forever inspired, infallible and inerrant
words. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one
jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be
fulfilled" (Matt 5:18). "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words
shall not pass away" (Matt 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33).
Let it be known once for all that in our defence of the
KJV, and the VPP of Scripture, we do not question the salvation of these
Nevertheless, let it be stated without equivocation
that our faith is hardly based on these men, but only on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and on His forever infallible and inerrant words as cited above.
My Interaction with the Godly Men Rev ___ Cited
Now let me interact with the comments of those whom Rev
___ cited in support of his anti-VPP position. Let me deal with all of
them one by one, point by point.
Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
Rev ___ wrote: "Baxter was the beloved pastor
of Kidderminster. He warned of two extremes: On one end are those who deny
the divinity of the Word of God. These, Baxter writes give too little to
the Scripture who deny it to be indicted by inspiration of the infallible
Spirit of God, and be wholly true.'"
My Response: We agree with Baxter's
affirmation of the divine nature of God's Word, and that we should not
take the Word of God lightly, but consider the words of Scripture to be
"inspiration of the infallible Spirit of God, and be wholly true."
Rev ___ said: "At the other end are those give
too much (in bulk, but too little in virtue) to the Scripture,' and
included in this group are those who say that God hath so preserved the
Scripture, as that there are no various readings and doubtful texts
thereupon, and that no written or printed copies have been corrupted. . .
. All these err in over-doing.' (A Christian Directory, p. 725)"
My Response: Obviously Baxter was not denying
that every God-breathed word of the Sacred Scriptures to the last iota has
been preserved (the doctrine of VPP). He was simply making a true
observation that there are "various readings and doubtful texts." No one
who knows and understands VPP denies that there are "various readings" in
the copies, but the correct reading has always been preserved, and has
been identified from the multitude of faithful manuscripts, and through
the successive editions of the Textus Receptus as the Lord guided His
servants (from Erasmus, to Stephanus, then Beza, and finally the King
James men) to restore or identify for us the true reading of the Greek NT.
Neither do we deny that there are "doubtful texts" which I am sure Baxter
would agree are the corrupt Alexandrian, Westcott-Hort or critical texts
that underlie the modern "perversions" (in Rev ___'s own words) of the
John Owen (1616-1683)
Rev ___ wrote: "Owen was a pastor, preacher
and vice-chancellor of Oxford University. He was described by one
biographer as the greatest British theologian of all time.' He wrote,
the whole Scripture, entire as given out from God,
without any loss, is preserved in the copies
[not one particular copy] of the originals yet remaining; what varieties
there are among the copies themselves shall be afterward declared. In them
all, we say, is every letter and tittle of
My Response: Again we do not deny what
Owen had said, and I would urge you to read my paper, "John Owen on the
Perfect Bible," The Burning Bush (July 2004): 74-85, and see how
Owen affirms in no uncertain terms the present perfection of Scripture.
Many fundamentalists today (like those from BJU) say that God has not
preserved His words, but only His message, or
truth, or doctrine, but Owen surely objects to this false
view of providential preservation. Owen clearly believed in the
preservation of the words of Scripture (ie, verbal
preservation), not just the doctrines (ie, conceptual preservation),
for he wrote, "Nor is it enough to satisfy us, that the doctrines
mentioned are preserved entire; every tittle and iota in the
Word of God must come under our care and consideration, as being, as such,
from God." As quoted by Rev ___ above, Owen affirmed, "the whole
Scripture, entire as given out from God [ie, plenary
preservation], without any loss [of any of the
words] is preserved [ie, verbal preservation]."
Rev ___ went on to quote Owen concerning translations,
"These copies, we say, are the rule, standard, and touchstone of all
translations, ancient or modern, by which they are in all things to be
examined, tried, corrected, amended; and
themselves only by themselves. Translations contain the word of
God, and are the word of
God, perfectly or imperfectly, according as
they express the words, sense, and meaning of those originals.
My Response: Praise the Lord! Amen and Amen!
On what basis do we examine, try, correct and amend our
translations today? It is by "these copies [ie, apographs]" which
are "the rule, standard, and touchstone of all translations [whether
English, Chinese, Korean, French or German, etc], ancient [eg, the
Septuagint, or LXX] or modern [eg, NIV, NASV, RSV, TEV, ESV, CEV, TLB
etc]." Translations "are" the Word of God, and may be deemed the "perfect"
Word of God [ie, in the derivative sense] only if "they express the words,
sense, and meaning of those originals [ie, the original language
Scriptures-Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek-which God has inspired and
Rev ___ continued to quote Owen, "To advance any,
all translations concurring, into an equality with the originals - so to
set them by it as to set them up with it on even terms - much more to
propose and use them as means of castigating, amending, altering any thing
in them, gathering various lections by them, is to set up an
altar of our own by the
altar of God, and to make equal the
wisdom, care, skill, and
diligence of men, with the
wisdom, care, and providence of
God himself." (The Integrity and Purity of
the Hebrew and Greek Text of Scripture, Works of John Owen, Volume 16.
My Response: Again, praise the Lord! Amen,
Amen, and Amen! No translation (not even the KJV can be more inspired
than, or as inspired as the original language (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek)
Scriptures. As such we must never use a translation or a version (not even
the KJV, not to mention the NIV, NASV, RSV etc, and certainly not the LXX,
a Greek translation of the Hebrew OT) to castigate, amend, or alter
the original language Scriptures which we see the liberals,
neo-evangelicals and neo-fundamentalists do in such places as Psalm 12:7,
Judges 18:30, 1 Samuel 13:1, 2 Chronicles 22:2 etc.
John Wesley (1703-1791)
Rev ___ wrote, "Wesley was the founder of the
Methodist Church. In his Explanatory Notes to the New Testament, he
writes, I write chiefly for plain, unlettered men, who understand only
their mother tongue [English], and yet reverence and love the word of God,
and have a desire to save their souls. In order to assist these in such a
measure as I am able, I design, first, to set down the text itself, for
the most part, in the common English translation [which in Wesley's time
was the King James Bible], which is in general (so far as I can judge)
abundantly the best that I have seen. Yet I do not say, it is incapable of
being brought, in several places, nearer to the original.'"
My Response: I am thankful for Wesley's
promotion of the KJV which he said was "the best" among all the other
Reformation versions (Tyndale's, Coverdale's, Matthew's, Great, Geneva,
Bishops), and indeed still is the best. Since a translation remains a
translation, with limitations in the translated tongue, there is a need,
even for those who believe the KJV to be the best English translation
available, to go back to original language Scriptures betimes to get the
fulness of meaning and for clarity. This we do not deny, but rather
Wesley was quoted as saying "Neither will I affirm
that the Greek copies from which this translation was made are always the
most correct." (The Complete Works of John Wesley, Volume 14. AGES
My Response: Without the context, it is
premature for me to judge what Wesley meant by what he said. But even at
face value, this statement does not reveal to us anything about Wesley's
view of Biblical preservation, that he denied the verbal and plenary
preservation of the words of Scripture (according to Matt 5:18), or that
he believed some of God's inspired words have been lost and no longer in
John Gill (1697-1771)
Rev ___ quoted Gill concerning inspiration and
translations: "Gill was a Baptist pastor. He was a contemporary of
Wesley and George Whitefield. He says that divine inspiration is "to be
understood of the Scriptures, as in the original languages in which they
were written, and not of translations; unless it could be thought, that
the translators of the Bible into each of the languages of the nations
into which it has been translated, were under the divine inspiration also
in translating, and were directed of God to the use of words they have
rendered the original by; but this is not reasonable to suppose."
My Response: I agree with Gill totally.
That has been my contention all along, that the "inspired" Scriptures must
be understood in terms of the "original languages" (as
stated in Article 4.2.1 of our B-P Constitution) and not the translated
languages whether English, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, Thai etc. We have
never endorsed (in fact we strenuously reject) the view of Peter Ruckman
(who incidentally earned his PhD from BJU) that the King James translators
were "inspired" in their translation, and that the KJV is "more inspired"
than its underlying original language Scriptures. I hereby enjoin all VPP
opponents to cease and desist from hitting below the belt. To score points
by lumping us together with Ruckman would certainly be a violation of the
9th commandment (Exod 20:16).
Rev ___ went on to say, "On the differences
between the various Greek texts and the various translations, Gill says,
Let not now any be uneasy in their minds about translations on this
account, because they are not upon an equality with the original text, and
especially about our own; for as it has been the will of God, and appears
absolutely necessary that so it should be, that the Bible should be
translated into different languages, that all may read it, and some
particularly may receive benefit by it; He has taken care, in his
providence, to raise up men capable of such a performance, in various
nations, and particularly in ours; for whenever a set of men have been
engaged in this work, as were in our nation, men well skilled in the
languages, and partakers of the grace of God; of sound principles, and of
integrity and faithfulness, having the fear of God before their eyes; they
have never failed of producing a translation worthy of acceptation; and in
which, though they have mistook some words and phrases, and erred in some
lesser and lighter matters; yet not so as to affect any momentous article
of faith or practice; and therefore such translations as ours may be
regarded as the rule of faith.' (A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book
1, Chapter 2. AGES Library)."
My Response: I am unable to see Rev ___'s point
as regards "the various Greek texts" that he thinks Gill is saying for
Gill does not deal with "the various Greek texts" in the above quotation
at all, but that the translations are not as perfect as the "original
text," but nonetheless "worthy of acceptation" if they have been
translated by faithful men who are "well skilled in the [biblical]
languages," who are "partakers of the grace of God [ie, born again]," who
have "the fear of God before their eyes." That translations or versions
could possibly err because God did not "breathe out" English words or
Chinese words or any translated words, but the original Hebrew, Aramaic
and Greek words, we agree with Gill, but there is nothing here
in Gill that tells us that he denies VPP.
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Rev ___ wrote of Spurgeon: "Spurgeon was the
pastor of the London Metropolitan Tabernacle. He is also known was [sic]
the Prince of Preachers and the last of the Puritans. In a sermon titled
The Bible Tried and Proved' based on Psalm 12:6, Spurgeon said, "I do not
hesitate to say that I believe that there is no mistake whatever in the
original Holy Scriptures from beginning to end.'"
My Response: What a wonderful statement by
Spurgeon who used Psalm 12:6 to argue that the Bible is "tried and proved"
(and may I add that this is so precisely because God has promised to keep
and preserve His words as stated in the next verse, verse 7). I affirm
with Spurgeon: "I believe that there is no mistake whatever in the
original Holy Scriptures from beginning to end [from Genesis to
Revelation, from beginning till now]."
Spurgeon says, "There may be, and there are,
mistakes of translation; for translators are not inspired. (The
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. Vol. 35. AGES Library).
My Response: This we do not deny. There
are very many mistakes in the modern versions because of their use of the
false text (Westcott-Hort Text) and their use of the
wrong method of translation (dynamic equivalency). As far as the KJV
is concerned, we take it to be "the very Word of God" in English, and
hence do not think there are any mistakes in it because it was translated
(1) on the basis of the true and complete text, and (2) by means of the
verbal equivalence or word-for-word method (which is in keeping to the
doctrines of VPI and VPP).
Rev ___ wrote: "Spurgeon generally preached
from the King James Bible, but it may surprise some VPP proponents that he
did not hesitate to use other versions and readings from older manuscripts
when he found it helpful. Case in point, Spurgeon preached a sermon
entitled And We Are: A Jewel from the Revised Version' based on 1 John
3:1. That three-word addition (and we are) in the Revised Version,
according to Spurgeon is correct, I have not the slightest doubt. Those
authorities upon which we depend - those manuscripts which are best worthy
of notice - have these words; and they are to be found in the Vulgate, the
Alexandrian, and several other versions. They ought never to have dropped
out. In the judgment of the most learned, and those best to be relied on,
these are veritable words of inspiration.' (The Metropolitan Tabernacle
Pulpit. Vol. 32. AGES Library)."
My Response: I strongly object to Spurgeon's
endorsement of the Revised Version of Westcott and Hort (which is the
progenitor of all the modern perversions in the market today). Now, I have
some questions for Rev ___:
(1) Is he supportive of Westcott and Hort? Does he
adopt the Westcott-Hort theory that the Alexandrian manuscripts are
better since they contain "older" readings?
(2) Is he saying that it is helpful to use the
modern perversions since Spurgeon also did so and found them helpful?
(3) On page 11 of his paper, Rev ___ calls on us to
unite "to defend the Word of God against its real foes represented by
the modern day Bible perversions." If so, why is he contradicting
himself at this juncture by endorsing the Revised Version, the
Westcott-Hort text, and say that it is useful and helpful to consult
the other versions and older Alexandrian manuscripts which are
I must categorically state (lest I be misunderstood)
that I do not believe at all that Rev ___ is speaking hypocritically (as
an ___ graduate, he is surely a cut above the so-called "fundamentalist"
scholars from BJU who wrote against the KJV and VPP of Scripture, who say
one thing, but mean something else), but I cannot help but think that he
John William Burgon (1813-1888)
Rev ___ cited Burgon: "Burgon is popularly
known in BP circles as Dean Burgon. Burgon rightly took a strong stand
against the inferior textual methods and erroneous presumptions of Brook
Foss Westcott (1825-1903) and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892). Burgon
was right in disagreeing with Westcott and Hort on the weight that they
ascribed to a few but older manuscripts. Burgon is correct: Age of the
manuscript does not equate to its quality."
My response: I am very glad that Rev ___ takes
a strong stand with Burgon against the false textual critical method of
Westcott and Hort that the few but older manuscripts are bad and must be
rejected. In light of this, he should disagree with Spurgeon's view of
the Revised Version and the so-called "older" manuscripts (since he, like
Burgon, believes that "older" doesn't mean "better").
Rev ___ went on to point out: "However, on the
Received Text, Burgon states categorically, Once for all, we request it
may be clearly understood that we do not, by any means, claim perfection
[emphasis Burgon's] for the Received Text. We entertain no extravagant
notions on this subject. Again and again we shall have occasion to point
out . . . that the Textus Receptus needs correction. We do but insist, (1)
that it is an incomparably better text . . . infinitely preferable to the
New Greek Text' of the Revisionists. And (2) That to be improved, the
Textus Receptus will have to be revised on entirely different principles'
from those who are just now in fashion.' (The Revision Revised,
footnote on p. 21). Burgon was not averse to revising the Textus Receptus,
meaning to say that he did not hold the Textus Receptus to be perfect and
on par with the autographs."
My Response: We are thankful to the Lord for
Dean Burgon for a number of reasons: (1) Burgon was a defender of the
Byzantine or Majority Text which he called the Traditional Text over
against the Alexandrian or Minority Text of Westcott and Hort which he
viewed as the Corrupted Text and rightly so. (2) Burgon was a strong
defender for the KJV and spoke against any revision of it. Although Burgon
defended the KJV in no uncertain terms, there was a weakness in his
defence of it. It is unfortunate that Burgon did not defend the Textus
Receptus-the Greek Text underlying the KJV-as strongly as he did the KJV.
That is the reason why he disparagingly spoke of the need to "revise" the
Why did Burgon have such a relatively low view of the
Textus Receptus? Dr E F Hills-a friend and classmate of Dr McIntire at
Westminster, a ThD graduate of Harvard, and a Presbyterian defender of the
Textus Receptus-made an astute observation. He noted that Burgon was
biased against the Textus Receptus because of his extreme Anglicanism
which believes in the doctrine of apostolic succession. Dr Hills rightly
commented that Burgon's mistaken Anglican view of apostolic succession and
emphasis on the NT quotations of the Bishops or Church Fathers "failed him
when he came to deal with the printed Greek New Testament text. For from
Reformation times down to his own day the printed Greek New Testament text
which had been favored by the bishops of the Anglican Church was the
Textus Receptus, and the Textus Receptus had not been prepared by bishops
but by Erasmus, who was an independent scholar. Still worse, from Burgon's
standpoint, was the fact that the particular form of the Textus Receptus
used in the Church of England was the third edition of Stephanus, who was
a Calvinist. For these reasons, therefore, Burgon and Scrivener looked
askance at the Textus Receptus and declined to defend it except in so far
as it agreed with the Traditional Text found in the majority of the Greek
New Testament manuscripts" (Edward F Hills, The King
James Version Defended [Des Moines: Christian Research Press, 1984],
Dr Hills went on to say that Burgon's approach to
identifying the preserved text is "illogical." Hills wrote: "If we believe
in the providential preservation of the New Testament text, then we must
defend the Textus Receptus as well as the Traditional Text found in the
majority of the Greek manuscripts. For the Textus Receptus is the only
form in which this Traditional Text has circulated in print. To decline to
defend the Textus Receptus is to give the impression that God's
providential preservation of the New Testament text ceased with the
invention of printing. It is to suppose that God, having preserved a pure
New Testament text all during the manuscript period, unaccountably left
this pure text hiding in the manuscripts and allowed an inferior text to
issue from the printing press and circulate among His people for more than
450 years. Much, then, as we admire Burgon for his general orthodoxy and
for his defense of the Traditional New Testament Text, we cannot follow
him in his high Anglican emphasis or in his disregard for the Textus
Rev ___ concluded by saying, "He [Burgon] only
insisted, and rightly so, that any revision of the Textus Receptus must be
done using the principles of Higher Criticism [sic]."
My Response: "Higher Criticism?!!" Rev ___ must be
mistaken! Burgon did not advocate "Higher Criticism" (Read Burgon's
Inspiration and Interpretation). Let me say again that although we
admire Burgon for his defence of the KJV, we do not follow him blindly in
his relatively low view of the Textus Receptus.
Francis Turretin (1612-1687)
Rev ___ was extremely vague on what Turretin
said about "contradictions" in the Bible. Rev ___ seems to give the
impression that Turretin actually believes that there are "real
contradictions" in the Bible citing his Institutes of Elenctic Theology,
volume I, page 71.
My Response: Well I checked, and the words
"real contradictions" did not appear at all in Turretin (at least not in
the place cited). Let me quote Turretin, in the same volume and on the
same page, and you can see for yourself that Turretin denied any
"contradictions" in the Bible. Now read carefully Turretin; he wrote,
"Unless unimpaired integrity characterize the Scriptures, they could not
be regarded as the sole rule of faith and practice, and the door would be
thrown wide open to atheists, libertines, enthusiasts, and other profane
persons like them for destroying its authenticity (authentian) and
overthrowing the foundation of salvation. For since nothing false can be
an object of faith, how could the Scriptures be held as authentic and
reckoned divine if liable to contradictions and corruptions?" [Anyone who
can read English can see that this is a rhetorical question, expecting a
negative answer-Turretin denies that there are any
contradictions or corruptions in the Scriptures!]
Now, if we read page 70 of Turretin's Theology,
we find him vigorously denying that there are any "real contradictions" in
the Scriptures. Turretin wrote, "Finally, others defend the integrity of
the Scriptures and say that these various contradictions are only
apparent, not real and true; that certain passages are hard
to be understood (dysnoeta), but not altogether inexplicable (alyta).
This is the more common opinion of the orthodox, which we follow as
safer and truer." This has all along been the primary
contention and constant plea of VPP advocates in defending our Perfect
Rev ___ quoted Turretin at length, and I am
thankful that he quoted Turretin's understanding of what "original texts"
mean. Rev ___ wrote, "On the purity of the sources, this question is
asked, Have the original texts of the Old and New Testaments come down to
us pure and uncorrupted?' Turretin first defines what he means by the
original texts.' By the original texts, we do not mean the
autographs written by the hand of Moses, of the prophets and of the
apostles, which certainly do not now exist. We mean their apographs
which are so called because they set forth to us the Word of God in the
very words of those who wrote under the immediate inspiration of the Holy
My Emphasis: Take note that when Turretin (and
for that matter, the reformers) spoke of the "original texts" which are
"pure and uncorrupted," he was not referring to the non-existent
"autographs" but the "apographs" (ie, copies) which "set forth to
us the Word of God in the very words of those who wrote under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit." How can Turretin affirm this if God did
not preserve every single one of His inspired words perfectly without any
loss of any word whatsoever? To surmise that Turretin did not believe that
God has indeed preserved entirely and fully His inspired
words to the last jot and tittle (VPP) is to run
counter to Turretin's explanation of the providential preservation of the
Now, in discussing Turretin there is a need to realise
that he addressed doctrinal concerns in the 17th century when
the issue primarily concerned the doctrine of salvation, and not the
doctrine of the Scriptures as we know it today-in the 21st
century-with the introduction of Westcott-Hort and the many modern
perversions. It is not unreasonable to assume that for this reason,
Turretin was unable to see the need to push the doctrine of the VPP of
Scripture to its logical conclusion. It was not his battle, it is
As regards the "perfection" of versions, I am glad that
Rev ___ quoted Turretin's view that a Bible version can be considered
"perfect" but only in "another" sense-ie, in the derived sense, for
"all versions are the streams; the original text [apographs] is the
fountain whence they flow. The latter is the rule, the former the thing
ruled, ... There is one perfection of things and truth to which nothing can
be added and from which nothing can be taken away; another perfection of
the version itself ... Such perfection is the word carried over into the
versions. The latter is a human work and therefore liable to error and
correction - to which indeed authority can belong, but only human
(according to the fidelity and conformity with the original text), but not
divine." (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Volume 1, p. 126)." So,
it is not wrong to say that the KJV is "perfect," but it must be
understood in the derived sense-insofar as it accurately translates the
original. This I made clear in my booklet-KJV: Questions and
Answers, page 8.
G I Williamson
Rev ___ wrote, "GI Williamson's commentary on the
Westminster Confession of Faith is used (endnote, p.80). Presumably,
Williamson's commentary was used here because proponents of VPP have used
his work to support the VPP theory (see Dr Jeffrey Khoo's KJV:
Questions and Answers, p. 23)."
Well, what did I say in KJV: Questions &
Answers, page 23? Let me quote in full:
(23) What does the Westminster Confession of Faith
mean by the words, "kept pure in all ages"?
Here is an answer from Prof William F Orr of
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary: "this affirms that the Hebrew text of
the Old Testament and the Greek of the New which was known to the
Westminster divines was immediately inspired by God because it was identical with the first text that God had kept pure in all the
ages. The idea that there are mistakes in the Hebrew Masoretic
texts or in the Textus Receptus of the New Testament was unknown to
the authors of the Confession of Faith."
G I Williamson likewise did write to this effect in
his commentary on the Westminster Confession, "This brings us
to the matter of God's singular care and providence' by which He has
kept pure in all ages' this original text, so that we now actually
possess it in authentical' form. And let us begin by giving an
illustration from modern life to show that an original document may be
destroyed, without the text of that document being lost. Suppose you
were to write a will. Then suppose you were to have a photographic
copy of that will made. If the original were then destroyed, the
photographic copy would still preserve the text of that will exactly the same as the original itself. The text of the copy
would differ in no way whatever from the original, and so it would
possess exactly the same truth' and meaning as the original. Now of
course photography was not invented until long after the original copy
... had been worn out or lost. How then could the original text of the
Word of God be preserved? The answer is that God preserved it by His
own remarkable care and providence."
Rev ___ wrote that in two separate e-mails,
Williamson, a retired Presbyterian minister wrote to clarify his views,
and I have noted what Williamson had said way back in 2002 when a couple
of my students wrote against me, and misrepresented me (which they
subsequently retracted in a signed statement).
Let me just say that what Williamson wrote in his
book speaks for itself (res ipsa loquitur). Let me also say that
Williamson did not deny that the words of Scripture are verbally and
plenarily preserved (for that would be disastrous, and would contradict
what he himself had written in his book). He simply wrote, "I do not
believe that it [Textus Receptus] is quite equal to a photocopy of the
autographa [though he qualified his statement by saying that he has "great
respect" for the Textus Receptus]. It is also important to note that
although he does not believe that the TR is an "exact replica" [as
caricatured] of the autographs, yet he was careful to point out that "the
foundation of the argument for the superiority of the TR is the doctrine
of divine providence" (which is precisely the argument of Dr Waite in
Chapter 1 of his book-Defending the King James Bible: A Fourfold
But the fundamental Baptists of BJU say they believe in
"providence" and yet deny the TR in favour of WH. How will Rev ___
reconcile this with Williamson's equation of the Textus Receptus with the
doctrine of providence? I should think that Rev ___ should be picking on
BJU instead of FEBC. May I also point out that Williamson's half-hearted
commitment to the TR may be due to his preference for the NKJV and
possibly the so-called Majority Text edited by Hodges and Farstad. If so,
Williamson would find himself in disharmony with the Trinitarian Bible
Society (TBS) with which ___ BPC (and FEBC) finds herself more in
alignment. As such I should think that Rev ___ should be siding with FEBC
and TBS than with Williamson and the NKJV (which the TBS has ably
critiqued as an inferior version to the good old KJV). But perhaps Rev ___
was ignorant of this? At any rate, the final analysis is this: Although
Williamson does not uphold the TR as much as we do, he did not deny in any
way that God has indeed preserved His words to the last jot and tittle,
without any words lost (as seen in his excellent "photocopy" illustration)
which is the doctrine of VPP.
Definition of VPP
What does VPP mean? "Verbal" means "every word to
the jot and tittle" (Ps 12:6-7, Matt 5:18). "Plenary" means "the Scripture
as a whole with all the words intact" (Matt 24:35, 1 Pet 1:25). So VPP
means the whole of Scripture with all its words even to the jot and tittle
is perfectly preserved by God without any loss of the original words,
prophecies, promises, commandments, doctrines, and truths, not only in the
words of salvation, but also the words of history, geography and science.
Every book, every chapter, every verse, every word, every syllable, every
letter is "by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages"
What and where are the preserved words of God today?
They are the inspired OT Hebrew/Aramaic words and NT Greek
words the prophets, the apostles, the church fathers, the
reformers used which are today found in the long and continuously
abiding or preserved Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words
underlying the Reformation Bibles best represented by the KJV, and NOT
in those corrupted Alexandrian manuscripts and critical Westcott-Hort
texts underlying the modern versions which the church had seen fit to
reject for all these millennia but revived by modern ecumenists and
compromisers in these last days of apostasy.
Basically, those who hold to the VPP of Scripture
believe and embrace the following tenets:
(1) God has supernaturally preserved each and every
one of His inspired Hebrew/Aramaic OT words and Greek NT words to the
last jot and tittle, so that in every age, God's people will always
have in their possession His infallible and inerrant Word kept intact
without the loss of any word (Ps 12:6-7, Matt 5:18, 24:35, Mark 13:31,
Luke 21:33, John 10:35).
(2) The "providential" preservation of Scriptures
is understood as God's special and not general providence. Special providence or
providentia extraordinaria speaks of
God's miraculous intervention in the events of history and in the
affairs of mankind in fulfilment of His sovereign will for the sake of
His elect and to the glory of His Name. The divine preservation of the
Canon (books) and Text (words) of Scripture comes under God's special
(3) The Bible is not only perfect (ie, infallible
and inerrant) in the past (in the Autographs), but also perfect today
(in the Apographs).
(4) The infallible and inerrant words of Scripture
are found in the faithfully preserved Traditional/Byzantine/Majority
manuscripts, and fully represented in the Printed and Received Text
(ie, Textus Receptus) that underlie the Reformation Bibles best
represented by the KJV, and NOT in the corrupted and rejected
texts of Westcott and Hort that underlie the many modern versions of
the English Bible like the NIV, NASV, ESV, RSV, TEV, CEV, TLB etc.
(5) There are no mistakes in the Bible, period.
There are no mistakes or errors (scribal or otherwise) in such OT
passages as Judges 18:30, 1 Samuel 13:1, 1 Kings 4:26, 1 Chronicles
18:3, 2 Chronicles 22:2 etc. If there are "discrepancies" in the
Bible, the "discrepancies" are only seeming or apparent, NOT
real or actual. Any inability to understand or explain such difficult
passages in no way negates the infallibility and inerrancy of the
Scriptures, applying the faithful Pauline principle of biblical
interpretation: "let God be true, but every man a liar" (Rom 3:4).
(6) Knowing where the perfect Bible is is a matter
of textual recognition and NOT textual criticism. In the
field of textual recognition, Burgon is good, Hills is better, Waite
(7) The Chinese Union Version (CUV) is the "Word of
God" for the Chinese people today since it is the best, most faithful,
most reliable, and most accurate version among the Chinese versions
presently available. Great care ought to be taken not to undermine our
Chinese brethren's confidence in the CUV. Nevertheless, versions or
translations are never superior to the inspired and preserved Hebrew,
Aramaic and Greek Scriptures; thus there is a need to consult these
original language Scriptures for clarity and fulness of meaning, and
to compare Scripture with Scripture.
...Rev ___ has taken no oath, but I have taken an
oath that the Bible is perfect without any mistake. I will not bow to any
pressure nor be cowered by any threat to force me to agree that the Holy
Scriptures which I have in my hands today are imperfect or contain
mistakes. I fear God and His judgement, not man and his criticisms. I seek
the approval of God, not the popularity of men.
I pray that Rev ___ and all FEBC alumni would stand
fast together with their alma mater on the sole and final authority of
the forever infallible and inerrant words of God, "in one
spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil
1:27). Soli Deo Gloria!