Should Christians Trust
the
Revised Standard Version?

By Cecil J. Carter


Introduction

About the time of the publication of the Revised Standard Version in 1952, the copyright holders, in this case, the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States Of America, published a brochure, entitled "An open letter concerning the Revised Standard Version of the Bible."

On page nine, under the heading, "The Revised standard Version affirms the Deity of Jesus Christ" we read the following statement.

"The Scriptural grounds for the doctrine of the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ are consistently and clearly stated in the Revised Standard Version."

Many thousands of Christians taking this statement at face value have been led to lay aside the pure text of the Word of God for a version which we shall now proceed to examine concerning the accuracy of the foregoing claim.

At the outset it is proper to mention that the quotations contained in this brochure are from the 1952 edition of the Revised Standard Version, from now on designated RSV. In the years following publication of their first printing the scholars have been forced to make some changes in their translation, so that there will be some variations in editions published since 1952.

Before bringing the actual scriptural reference to the fore, one other statement from the above mentioned "Open Letter" should be inserted in the record at this point. "The doctrinal implications of the Revised Standard Version, with respect to the Deity of Jesus Christ, are the same as those of the King James Version."

 

The RSV and the deity of Christ

We shall now let the Word of God speak on this foundational doctrine of the Deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. According to John 20:31, our eternal salvation rests upon the fact that we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be exactly what the Bible teaches us, "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His Name."

The Authorized or King James Version, from here on KJV, states clearly the absolute Deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh..." 1 Timothy 3:16 KJV

The RSV reads: "Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh..."

The RSV footnote here acknowledges that the manuscript they are using reads "Who": other ancient authorities read "God": others "Which". It would appear that in order to get out of their difficulty created by the use of "Who" or "Which" appearing after religion; they use "He" instead of "God", the only word that really fits the structure of the sentence grammatically. In their effort to get away from this great testimony to the Deity of our Lord Jesus, the translators not only reject the word "God" which has much manuscript evidence to support it, but, if their footnote is complete, as we presume it is, they descend to using a word "He" which according to their footnote is not found in any manuscript. The RSV translators are by no means alone in this devious strategy. Be sure to check any new version at this point. Here is an unintentional revelation of bias against His Deity.

Dean John Burgon, Professor Charles Hodge and other great scholars have brought overwhelming evidence from the manuscripts, and the quotations of the Greek Fathers to verify the reading of the KJV "God was manifest in the flesh."

KJV reads at Romans 9:5: "Whose are the Fathers, and of whom, concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever."

RSV reads at Romans 9:5: "To them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen."

By a neat little bit of punctuation work a clear statement of the Deity of our Lord, is turned into an ascription of praise to God. Can this be prejudice again rearing its head? There are many who feel that it is.

Romans 14:10bF.F. reads: "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."

Here our Lord's Deity stands out very clearly. Perhaps too much so for some. We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, every tongue shall confess to God, every one shall give account of himself to God.

RSV simply changes one important word and the testimony to Christ's Deity is eliminated. RSV reads: (and so do many other of the newer versions), "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of "God". If my reader will turn to 2Corinthians 5:10 we shall see where the early mutilators of the manuscripts slipped badly. The RSV and every other version that I have examined this far, which changes the judgment seat of Christ, to the judgment seat of God in Romans 14:10b translates 2Corinthians 5:10 "The judgment seat of Christ." In this way they make a built in contradiction in their version. It would appear that the heretical mutilators of the text in the early centuries noting that 2Cor 5:10 does not explicitly state the deity of Christ, saw no need for a change at this point. In failing to do so they left a powerful bit of circumstantial evidence regarding their activity in Romans 14:10.

KJV reads in Acts 20:28b: "...The Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Once again the doctrine of our Lord's Deity stands out as clear as crystal.

RSV 1952 reads: "...to feed the church of the Lord, which he obtained with his own blood." The formula of changing only one word is again effective to the elimination of the foundational truth of our salvation.

A footnote in RSV reads, "Other ancient manuscripts read of God". This is a master piece of understatement and misdirection. Among the many manuscripts which read "The Church of God" are those which are erroneously referred to as the oldest and best manuscripts, namely Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. It is interesting to see how these translators waver around in their efforts to do away with the Deity of our Lord Jesus. So far as the Greek manuscripts are concerned these are described as the oldest and best. Upon the authority of these two, with every other Greek manuscript in existence standing against them as well as the voices of the early Church Fathers who wrote years before Vaticanus and Sinaiticus existed, the translators of the RSV have removed the last 12 verses of mark's Gospel and dropped them into the footnotes. This action was taken in spite of the fact that the oldest known Greek manuscript, Vaticanus has one column left blank at the end of Mark 16:8. In effect this old manuscript cries out to us of an important omission from the text. All Latin manuscripts, all Syriac with one exception in each case, contain the last 12 verses of Mark.

The American Standard Version of 1901 which also questions these verses has a footnote which reads, "The two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other authorities, omit from verse nine to the end." The New American Standard Version is no better in its treatment of these precious verses.

It is obvious that by far the greatest manuscript authority justifying the translators in omitting these 12 verses from the text of RSV is the fact that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus do not contain them.

We must now ask in light of all this, how can they justify themselves for NOT accepting the testimony of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, when each of these manuscripts reads "The Church of God" in Acts 20:28?

Only one conclusion is possible. The translators are manipulating manuscript evidence to fit into a preconceived outline of doctrine concerning the Deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Vaticanus and Sinaiticus they consider supreme when the object is to be rid of the glorious triumphant conclusion of Mark's Gospel. The same authority is rejected when it witnesses to the Deity of the Lord Jesus: This arbitrary decision in spite of the fact that the translators know that they are setting aside the testimony of manuscript which they consider to be of the highest authority. What a travesty of translation is here! Manuscripts used to delete 12 verses of God's Word from their honoured position held throughout the church age, the same manuscripts rejected when they witness to the Deity of our Lord Jesus.

In Revelation 1:8,11,17 the KJV present as chain of Scripture which beautifully and clearly teaches the Deity of Christ. Vs 8 reveals One Who is the Almighty, He claims to be the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending. In Vs 10 John hears a voice as speaking to him, saying in Vs 11 "I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." In Vs 12 John turns to see the voice which spoke to him. In Vs 17 the speaker is clearly revealed as our Lord Jesus. He says there "I am the first and the last." Here is a well constructed line of teaching showing that He Who Claims to be the first and the last in Vs 17 is also the Alpha and Omega the first and the Last in of Vs 11: and hence the Almighty of VS 8 where the word is "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come. The Almighty.

RSV and the New American Standard Version and others get rid of this striking attestation to our Lord's Deity simply by omitting, "The beginning and the ending" from Vs 8: and omitting "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the Last" from Vs 11. This breaks the beautiful chain of evidence concerning His Deity at this place. I fail to see any note in the margins of RSV or New American Standard Version to the effect that a most significant omission has occurred. But I do find a note of solemn warning in Revelation 22:19

"If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part our of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book."

In Revelation 20:15 we read "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." With this solemn warning ringing in their ears, it would appear that those early heretical mutilators of the Word of God, did not care to leave Revelation 22:19 as it is written . So we find that instead of their part being taken from the book of life, it is taken from the tree of life. These erroneous reading is allowed by RSV, ASV of 1901, NASV and others.

When we turn to the Old Testament reading the RSV we see that the question of Deity fares no better than in the New Testament.

The KJV reading of Psalm 45:6 "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever", becomes in the RSV "Your divine throne endures for ever and ever." A footnote admits the possibility of the KJV reading which ascribes Deity to this One. Strangely and inconsistently RSV properly renders the quotation in Hebrews 1:8.

"But of the Son, He says, Thy throne O God is for ever and ever." Here they admit a clear attestation of Deity to the Son o God, and also give the reverential "Thy" which is denied Him in the Old Testament. Once again this makes a built in contradiction between the OT and NT in RSV.

The translators spoil any credit due them for a proper rendering in Hebrews 1:8 by a corrupt footnote which reads, "Or God is thy throne."

Micah 5:2 in KJV reads "Whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting." This plainly speaks of the eternal existence of the One who was to be born in Bethlehem. RSV pleases the Unitarians and the self styled Jehovah Witnesses, who believe and teach that the Lord Jesus was a created being, by giving a rendering which can easily be interpreted to mean that Messiah had a beginning. "Whose ORIGIN is from of old, from ancient days." This Unitarian reading assigns a day of creation for the Uncreated One. RSV is not alone in this error.

An interesting corruption of the text is the RSV rendering of Psalm 69:1. In the KJV this portion of that beautiful messianic Psalm says, "Save me O God for the waters are come in unto my soul." Here is obvious reference to the fact that His soul was made an offering for sin.

RSV 1952 translates it: "Save me O God! For the waters have come up to my neck." yet the RSV translates the same word as soul, in Psalm 6:3. "My soul is sorely troubled." Neck would sound odd in this verse.

Psalm 19:7: "The law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul" Once again it would seem odd to translate the word neck.

See also Psalm 23:3 "He restoreth my soul" KJV c.p RSV

 

The RSV and the Virgin Birth

One of the great doctrines of the Bible is the fact that our Lord and Saviour was born of a virgin. True Christians in every age have never doubted this clear Biblical teaching of the Old and New Testaments.

The words of Simeon, in Luke 2:35, as he stood, filled with the Holy Spirit, holding the infant Jesus in his arms, "Lord now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation...yea a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed," indicate that a person's attitude toward the virgin birth of our Lord reveals the true state of that heart so far as faith is concerned. A man may be not too clear about many things, but if he doubts this great truth, a serious heart condition is indicated.

Further evidence of this thought is found in John 8:44, where Jesus replies to the insult implied in Vs 41 where the Jews slight His Holy birth with the words, "We be not born of fornication": with the terrible indictment, "Ye are of your father the devil."

The KJV in Isaiah 7:14, clearly states, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His Name Immanuel."

The RSV just as clearly states that it is a young woman who shall conceive and bear a son. RSV 1952 has a footnote "or virgin." So also does the New English Bible.

Let us hear the "Giant among Scholars", Robert Dick Wilson on this vital subject. Let us keep in mind the fact that at the age of 25, this man could read the New Testament in nine different languages, he could recite the entire New Testament in Hebrew without missing one syllable. Later in life he mastered forty five languages and dialects in his great ministry of withstanding the attack of the critics of the Bible.

This great scholar said "Two conclusions from the evidence seem clear; first that "Alma" (The word translated virgin in Isaiah 7:14) never meant young married woman: and secondly...the presumption in common law and usage was and is that every "Alma" is virgin and virtuous."

Justin Martyr, born AD 114, well over 200 years prior to the existence of the manuscripts to which RSV owes its existence, faced the same problem that Bible lovers do today and he dealt with it as follows. He shows how at that time Christians understood the word, "Alma" and the verse Isaiah 7:14 In his first "Apology" and in his dialogue with Trypho, he expressly refutes the "young woman" rendering, of his day.

Irenaeus - born approximately AD 120 was a great opponent of the heresies of his day. On Isaiah 7:14 he wrote, "For what great thing, or what sign should have been in this, that a young woman should conceive by a man, and should bring forth...but since an unlooked for salvation was to be provided , through the help of God so also was the unlooked for birth from a virgin to be accomplished."

On May 22, 1922 the well known modernist preacher Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick preached a sermon which was later very widely circulated under the title "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" Dr. Fosdick contended that there are those who hold to the virgin birth as an historical fact.

"In the evangelical churches other 'equally loyal and reverent people', however, look upon the virgin birth simply as an explanation of great personality and one of the ways in which the ancient world was accustomed to account for unusual superiority. The doctrine thus serves to express the conviction that Jesus came especially from God and the subsequent adoration of Jesus in terms of a biological miracle that our modern minds cannot use."

It is therefore not surprising to find this same Dr. Fosdick, praising the appearance of the RSV and acclaiming it as being "in a real sense the authorized translation for our Protestant churches."

These scholars who are proponents of the "Young Woman" rendering of Isaiah 7:14, would have us believe that the Hebrew "Alma" used in this verse and properly translated virgin in most other versions, is a flexible word, which can by extension be translated, "young woman," and that "Bethulath" is the inflexible word which must always be translated virgin.

A careful study of the Scripture indicates the reverse to be true. The word "bethulah" which occurs approximately 50 times in the OT is rendered "virgin" in Joel 1:8, where obviously a young widow is in view. The same word is used in Genesis 24:16, concerning Rebekah, prior to her marriage. "And the damsel was very fair to look upon a virgin..." Srong's Hebrew Dictionary gives the meaning of the word "damsel" as "a girl". This word is translated, variously as damsel, maiden, young woman. The record goes on to say that this young woman was a "bethulah", translated - virgin; but the Spirit of the Lord foreseeing the controversy that would arise over the subject, adds, "...neither had any man known her." That clearly reveals that at this point in her life, Rebekah had not cohabited with any man. If the word "bethulah" was the inflexible Hebrew word which only and always meant virgin in the strict technical sense of the word, then it would be quite unnecessary and redundant to mention the fact, that no man had ever cohabited with her. Because "Bethulah" is the word which in the Scripture seems to have a slight elasticity to it on the one occasion mentioned in Joel 1:8; the Scripture uses it with proper and explicit protection for the character of Rebekah.

The word of Isaiah 7:14 translated properly virgin, is "Alma". It occurs on ly seven times in the OT and always refers to a woman who is truly virgin. It is rendered as "damsel" once; "maiden" twice; and "virgin" four times.

Justin Martyr (AD) one of the early church fathers, declared that, "The Virgin Birth was the universal belief to be accepted by every one calling himself a Christian."

Dr. Howard Kelly, one of the greatest men of medical science, a gynecologist of world renown, found no difficult in believing and receiving the simple yet profound record of the incarnation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by means of the Virgin Birth. He writes, "If I reject the Virgin birth, the New Testament becomes a dead, man made letter, recounting imaginings of honest but misguided men." (A Scientific Man and His Bible)

 

Moody Bible Institute
 
The December 1952 issue of Moody Monthly, carries a smashing indictment of the RSV. After calling attention to the unorthodox views of the sponsoring National Council of Churches, and indicating that this in itself should cause grave doubts in the minds of those who were aware of the attitudes of the NCC, the article goes on to show how greatly the translators have weakened the Biblical doctrine of the Deity of Christ, and tampered with the teaching of the Virgin Birth. It concludes with a solemn warning to Bible believers that the alterations in the sacred text of the Bible are such that the Christian cannot place confidence in the RSV.

 

Prairie Bible Institute
 
Many years ago after examination of RSV Prairie Bible Institue bought back the copies that it had sold, and returned them to the publishers. For several years the most recent Prairie Book Room Catalogues have carried a printed announcement that Prairie Bible Institute will not sell the RSV.

 

American Board of Mission to the Jews
 
In 1952 this mission published a booklet under the title "The Revised Standard Version - A Sad Travesty." In commenting on the RSV change of the reading in Isaiah 7:14 where it reads "a young woman" instead of a "Virgin" Joseph Hoffman Cohn states very plainly that there is not a place in the Hebrew Bible where the word 'almah" means anything else but a virgin.

 

The American Council of Christian Churches
 
In 1952, the ACCC President Dr. WW Breckbill, declared that straight thinking Christians will reject this new Bible of modernism. He goes on to say that the New RSV is a product of such men and such organizations as often deny the foundational teachings of the Christian faith.

 

Bible Truth Publishers
 
Oak Park Illinois, published an article, "A brief examination of the New Revised Standard Version", in March 1953. After boldly challenging and exposing the errors of RSV the article concludes, "We stand by our earlier statements that the RSV is untrustworthy, and strongly advise against its use, except as a reference book, and then only with great caution."

 

The People's Gospel Hour
 
The People's Gospel Hour published an excellent brochure, The Revised Standard Version, by Pastor Perry F. Rockwood. Pastor Rockwood has done a thorough work of bringing together quotations from the writings of many of the RSV translators. These quotations reveal the strange theological bias of many of the translators. There is sufficient evidence presented here to cause truly Biblical Christians to rule out the use of this version in our churches, assemblies, and Bible Schools.
 

The RSV, The National Council of Christian Churches, and Communism

 

None Dare Call It Treason
 
- By John A. Stormer, 1964. This amazing book went through 20 editions in 1964, with a total of approximately six million eight hundred thousand copies. In his chapter, "Subverting our Religious Heritage", Stormer, taking his information from the Congressional hearing on the controversial Air Reserve Training Manual, lists five prominent names from among the RSV translators as being cited by the Committee on Un-American Activities, as having a total 105 affiliations with communist fronts and causes. He mentions that another 25 members of the committee of scholars, translators, theologian etc. who worked together to produce RSV have records for support of communist causes.

Stormer makes another important pronouncement to the effect that up to that time, 1964, there had never been as much as three percent of Protestant ministers affiliated with communist fronts or causes; but on this vital project, almost 30% of the participating committee were so affiliated.

 

Air Reserve Center Training Manual
 
The Air Reserve Center Training Manual was published January 4th, 1960. Quotations from the hearing before the Committee no un-American Activities House of Representatives, USA Eighty-sixth Congress, Second Session. Feb 24th, 1960.

An Examination of the RSV and the copyright holders: The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.

"To imply some relationship between the Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible and Communism is insidious and absurd. To aver by innuendo that the National Council of Churches is associated or in any was influenced by the Communist party is an example of irresponsibility at its worst. The adoption in the text as official Air Force Statements of the opinions of prejudiced persons identified only on page four of the appendix; to wit, Circuit Riders Inc. pamphlet; "Apostate Clergymen Battle for God - Hating Communist China;" The National Council of Churches Indites itself on 50 counts of Treason to God and Country" is an incredible reflection upon the judgment and sense of responsibility of all those involved" P. 1296

The above quote is taken from a letter addressed February 11th, 1960 to the Secretary of Defence, at the Pentagon, Washington, DC; written by James Wine, Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.

As a result of this letter of protest the Air Reserve Training Manual was withdrawn from circulation among the Air Force by the command of Secretary Sharp who testified that the withdrawal action did not signify any doubt about the veracity of the accusations against the National Council of Churches membership. He made it very plain that the only reason for taking the manual out of circulation was his feeling that the Air Force should allow other branches of the Government to handles the actual naming of subversives that had been exposed by the FBI and other Government agencies.

Mr. Arens: "Mr. Secretary, when you issued your press release repudiating the publication as representing the Air Force views, and issued your apology to the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the US, did you, by that act, mean to convey the impression that the Air Force was convinced that the National Council of Churches of Christ in the US was not infiltrated by fellowtravellers?"

Secretary Sharp: "No, I did not intend to indicate any concurrence with this statement, or objection to the statement as to its validity. I felt simply that this kind of a statement, should not be made in an Air Force publication." P. 1299

Mr. Arens: "On page 53 of Air Force Manual 205-5, the following appears, does it not sir?" "A while back the Americans were shocked to find that Communist had infiltrated our churches. It isn't so shocking though when you consider how the Communists were using Russian Churches today. They want to do the same thing here. They want to teach the Soviet gospel from the pulpit." P.1300

Mr. Arens: "...Thus far of the leadership of the National Council of Churches of Christ in America, we have found over 100 persons in leadership capacity with either communist front records or records of service to communists causes. The Aggregate affiliations of the leadership, instead of being in the hundreds as the chairmen first indicated, is now, according to our latest count, into the thousands, and we have yet to complete our check, which would certainly suggest, on the basis of the authoritative sources of this committee, that the statement that there is infiltration of fellow travellers in churches and educational institutions is a complete understatement."

The report goes on to list the names of five of the RSV translators, giving the number of their communist front activities and affiliations individually, with a total of 105 confirmed by government agencies.

The Chairman: "This does not charge the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the US as being a proscribed organization at all. It merely states that of the 95 persons who served in the project which they sponsored , (The publication of RSV - parenthesis mine) 30 of them have been affiliated with pro-Communist fronts, projects, and publications." P. 1308

Mr. Arens: "...is the record clear, that you are not now nor did you at any time intend a repudiation of the validity of the material attributed to this committee, attributed to the FBI or other intelligence agencies, which is quoted in here respecting Communist infiltration in churches and infiltration by fellow travellers in church groups?"

Secretary Sharp: "That is correct." N.B. It was on Secretary Sharp's order that the Air Force Manual was withdrawn from circulation.

This investigation was conducted in 1960, and one would feel that it would cause a great awakening in the churches, which would result in a house cleaning of the subversive forces at work to destroy the power of the Gospel. Such appears not to be the case.

 

The Readers Digest, November 1971 issue
 
Under the heading "Must Our Churches Finance Revolution?" The Redears Digest presents an article of supreme importance. A preliminary statement says in effect that the World Council of Churches preaching the Gospel of racial justice is actually using church money and church influence or power to support insurrection and violence.

This is followed by a list of WCC activities, or rather support for those engaged in guerrilla activities, including terrorist groups. Four of the most heavily supported groups, are avowedly communist. And according to the article three of these four are receiving arms from the USSR.

 

Readers Digest, December 1971.
 
The Digest presents a second article, entitled "Which Way the World Council of Churches?" A question at the head of the article asks concerning the WCC if this ecclesiastical United Nations may not have become just another platform from which communism seeks to flay the nations of the free world.

Once again the Digest releases a gigantic broadside of exposures, concerning the subversion, violence and oppression which is not only connived at but often supported by WCC funds.

Reprints were available from the Digest Reprinting Editor.

While the WCC is a much larger organization than the National Council of the Churches of Christ in US; this council is a very sizeable and influential member of the World Council of Churches, and must share the responsibility for all that is done in its name.

This article is written without malice or ill will to any one, but with a prayerful desire that the eyes of true Christians will be opened to the nature of the scholarship and ownership of the Revised Standard Version, and that as a consequence very enlightened believers will prayerfully use his or her influence to remove the RSV from our churches, assemblies, Bible schools and missions.

 

The National Council of Churches Continues Its Leftward Trek

In his Christian Crusade Weekly, May 6th, 1973 issue, Dr. Billy James Hargis reminds us that in its great annual meeting in Dallas Texas, December 3-7, 1972, the National Council of Churches elected its President, Dr. W. Sterling Cary. Dr. Hargis expresses concern because he states that Cary was one of the signers of the notorious Black manifesto. This manifesto called for, "an armed confrontation and long years of sustained guerrilla warfare." This article further reports that at the annual conference of the National Council of Churches, another one of the speakers was the ultra leftist radical, LeRoy Jones. Mr. Hargis states that Mr. Jones called for revolution in the United States, from he NCC pulpit; at the same time voicing a threat that if the churches did not support this revolution to pull down America, that the church would be taken care of too.

Further items revealed by Dr. Hargis are as follows. "A Roman Catholic Bishop by the name of Patrick Flores also called for a socialist revolution. NCC leaders outlined their plans to support "Key 73" in order to extend their influence over others. Dr. Hargis quotes Dr. R.H. Edwin Espy, "Unity for the sake of mission rather than unity for the sake of unity, is the wave of the future."

Crusade Weekly goes on to report, "An interesting article in the Los Angles Times of February 14th, 1973, says that the new homosexual Protestant denominations are now seeking membership in the National Council of Churches. In fact they made a formal request to be affiliated with the National Council of Churches in 1970 and were told that they must have at least 50 congregations and a membership of 20,000 to qualify. Membership in the NCC for the "gays" will be no problem as soon as they meet the numerical demands."

In view of the fact that the Division of Christian Education, of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA holds the copyright of the Revised Standard Version; and realizing that every sale of this version directly or indirectly aids in its world wide program of departure from the faith, the Christian must now decide whether or not he will become an accomplice in this program.

From the preface of the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament, Catholic Edition, "We welcome with keen satisfaction the Catholic Edition of the Testament according to the Revised Standard Version. It comes near to fulfilling one of the deepest aspirations of the ecumenical movement, since it provides all Christians with a translation of the Word of God which they can share."

The same publication includes a letter by Cardinal Cushing, addressed to the Catholic Biblical Association, in Cambridge, England. Quoted here in part, "With great joy I do give my approval to this Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament. Those responsible for its preparation state in the introduction that they have had constantly in mind an ecumenical purpose. I whole heartedly endorse their aims and believe that this edition will do much to promote a greater bond of unity and a more fraternal climate between Protestants and Catholics..."

 

A Final Word

In the previously mentioned, "open letter concerning the Revised Standard Version," the National Council of Churches make a statement that is highly misleading. They say, "The RSV is based upon a more accurate knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible. The King James Version was based upon a few medieval manuscripts, and these, especially in the New Testament, contained the accumulated errors of many centuries of manuscript copying."

The unanswerable challenge to the above misrepresentation of the facts has been issued in John Burgon's, "The Revision Revised." From the following testimony it would appear that Professor Millar Burrows, a highly esteemed member of the RSV translators does not share the attitude of disparagement towards the Received Text as might be indicated by the open letter of the National Council of Churches.

While many of the modern translators have made much of the superiority of the famous Dead Sea Scroll known as St. Mark's Isaiah Scroll, and have used its readings to "correct" our Authorized Version, citing its authority in opposition to the Masoretic text which is the basis of our Old Testament, Dr. Burrows sets the question in a rather different light.

In his discussion of the value of St. Mark's Isaiah Scroll and its comparative value in shedding light on the Masoretic text, Dr. Burrows says, "An old manuscript is not necessarily a good manuscript. A copy made in the ninth or tenth century AD may more accurately reproduce the original text than one made in the first or second century BC. As a matter of plain fact, the St. Mark's Isaiah manuscript is obviously inferior at a great many points to the medieval manuscripts. This does not, however, deprive the ancient scroll of all importance." Dead Sea Scrolls, Page 303.

This amazing acknowledgment concerning the superiority of the despised, "medieval manuscripts," is followed by an equally astonishing pronouncement concerning the self contradictory nature of the ancient manuscripts which are so often erroneously referred to as "the oldest and best manuscripts."

Conservative Christians have known for many years that the ancient manuscripts upon which the new version of the Bible are based, differ not only from the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts from which we derive the King James Version, but they also differ radically among themselves, thus nullifying their witness against the Received, or the Majority Text.

These great differences in the few surviving ancient heretical manuscripts not only invalidate their contradiction so the Received text, but also make possible the great variety of modern "versions" every one of which is not only at variance with the unexcelled King James Version, but at variance with each other.

Millar Burrows puts the matter in these words, "Considering how widely the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament vary, how radically the ancient Greek versions differ from he traditional Hebrew text...it is a matter of wonder that through something like a thousand years the text underwent so little alteration. As I said in my first article on the (Isaiah) scroll, "herein lies its chief importance, supporting the fidelity of the Masoretic tradition." P. 394 Much more might be said about St. Mark's Isaiah scroll...by and large it confirms the antiquity and anuthority of the Masoretic text. Where it departs from the traditional text the latter is usually preferable." Page 314

 

Second Thoughts of a Revised Standard Version Translator.

Concerning the changes made by the RSV translators in the book of the prophet Isaiah, on the authority of the "very ancient," and therefore presumably "best," manuscript, that is the St. Mark's Isaiah scroll, the learned Professor says with an admirable honesty not always found in those who have erred:

"Thirteen readings in which the manuscript departs from the traditional text were eventually adopted. In these places a marginal note cites, 'one ancient manuscript', meaning the St. Mark's Isaiah scroll. A brief review will show that even in these thirteen places the superiority of the manuscript's reading is not always certain. For myself I must confess that in some cases where I probably voted for emendation I am now convinced that our decision was a mistake, and the Masoretic reading should have been retained." The Dead Sea Scrolls P.305

H. Robert Cowles, Editor of "The Alliance Witness" under the title, "Confessions of a New Version Sampler;" gives his personal testimony, Speaking concerning the RSV of 1952, he says, "Scholars hastened to point out, passage after passage of the Old Testament had been modified beyond recognition by alternate readings based on flimsy evidence or manuscripts of doubtful integrity. Often these new rendering brought into question the deity of Jesus Christ and the unity and inerrancy of God's written revelation. The rejection of the RSV by the evangelical wing of the church was nearly complete. Not that the RSV was all bad for it was not. But there was no way for the average reader to know where it could be trusted and where it could not." Then with reference to the new versions as a whole. Mr. Cowles says, "In the past two decades the proliferation (of versions) has been epidemic...the aggregate effect of this unprecedented multiplication of versions has been to add as much confusion as light. Beset by so many similar voices, the church has been unable to settle on a single voice...meanwhile the impoverished Christian, with little of God's Word hidden in his heart, suffers from spiritual anemia. And the church of Jesus Christ, dependent upon the virility of its individual members, suffers too."

Mr. Cowles concludes, "I for one have decided to wait no longer, after twenty five years of sampling the substitutes, I'm returning to the King James...For me the wait is over. I'm back with the Authorized Version...I am satisfied that at least for me the choice is valid. Maybe it will be valid for you too."


 

Addenda

A Weighty Witness Against The Revised Standard Version

The January 1953 edition of Bibliotheca Sacra carries an article of paramount importance to any examination of the RSV.

This "Critique of the Revised Standard Version" is edited by Dr. C.F. Lincoln. Bibliotheca Sacra is published by the renowned Dallas Theological Seminary.

The article is prefaced by an Editor's note, which reads, "This symposium is a brief expression of criticism of the Revised Standard Version edited by Dr. C.F. Lincoln, and prepared by several members of the Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary, With the advice and counsel of the entire faculty."

Dr. Lincoln, speaking on behalf of the entire faculty of this great seminary, opens the battle with a hard hitting broadside; "There are two very obvious but nevertheless weighty reasons for condemning this version as an unreliable and unacceptable translation for the reverent Bible believing Christian."

The learned doctor then proceeds to state without equivocation that the majority of the men who actually translated the RSV held "definitely heretical views, such as cannot be countenanced by true conservative Christians and students," the remainder of this sentence may touch a sore spot with trusting Christians who have been assured that no vital doctrine or teaching has been altered or affected by the RSV. Lincoln concludes, "It is evident that the personal views of these men have been introduced into the text of this new translation."

Next he turns his attention to the sponsoring organization and copyright owner of RSV, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA stating, concerning it, "The NCC... has, since 1908, proved to be unBiblical in its objectives, socialistic in its aims, and destructively modernistic in its doctrine ... True Christians know too well the character of this sponsoring organization to approve it as a trustworthy guide in determining and safeguarding the text of Holy Scripture."

Using as his basis, the books, magazine articles and spoken declarations of the translating body, Dr. Lincoln draws a composite picture of the united error of the team. This list of departures from the faith as it was once delivered to the saints includes the denial of verbal, plenary inspiration of the original Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, Denial of the virgin birth of our Lord and Saviour, Denial of the full Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Questioning the Messianic nature of the Old Testament prophecies. Contradiction of the truth of the Holy Trinity. Denial of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the unity of Isaiah, the historicity of Job and Jonah. Questioning the authenticity of the Gospel of John. etc. etc.

In answer to the pleas of some, that such biased men could and would produce an unbiased text, 'containing no changes in doctrine or fundamental concepts,' because they are willing to translate objectively without introducing personal ideas or errors, Dr. Lincoln replies, "All experience shows that such a theory is completely illusory and that true objectivity is never obtainable under such circumstances."

The consistent witness of the entire faculty of this great seminary, may be summarized in Dr. Lincoln's words, "The inescapable conclusion, then, is that in this version a group of liberal committee men has produced a translation which frequently and at most vital points undermines conservative Christian truth. The use of this version therefore should be limited to comparative and critical private study by discerning students only, and that it should be referred to with the same reservation and precaution that one uses in consulting other liberal versions and religious works."

Merrill F. Unger, Th.D, Ph. D.
In the same critique, Dr. Unger speaks with certainty.

"There are two fatal weaknesses in the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament which inevitably make it unacceptable to evangelical Christians. The first is its attitude toward the reliability of the Hebrew or Massoretic Text of the Old Testament: the second is its method of translating the text."

Dr. Unger, quite properly castigates the RSV for with-holding the reverential "Thee and Thou" from messiah in Psalm 2::7; where it reads "You are my son" instead of "Thou art (implying Deity) my Son." He continues, "The same dangerous procedure casts aspersion upon the Deity of Messiah in WHAT IS PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT ATTESTATION OF THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, all of it contained in Psalm 110, the significance of which is attested by its remarkable prominence in the new Testament;" RSV Reads, "The Lord says to my lord: Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool." instead of "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Psalm 110:1.

The above paragraph will be better understood in the light of a statement found in the NCC "open letter concerning the RSV" in it is found the following, "The rule of the RSV, therefore is to use 'you' where the address is to our Lord as the eternal Son of God, outside of his earthly life and appearances."

This principal may indeed have some merit in itself, but the application of it in the RSV is nothing short of calamitous, with consequent usage becoming an unpardonable device to cast doubt upon the Deity of our Lord on numerous occasions. One of many such corruptions is found in the RSV rendering of Psalm 45:6; where the KJV reads, "Thy throne O God is for ever and ever," RSV reads, "Your divine throne endures for ever and ever." RSV admits in Hebrews 1:8 that this Scripture refers to the Son of God, and translates it properly except for a corrupt footnote. Nevertheless, the RSV reading of Psalm 45:6, by refusing the "thou" which they say is reserved for Deity, eternal or rather for the "eternal Son of God", rob our Lord Jesus of His rightful position. They not only remove Deity from the occupant of the throne, but transfer the honour to the throne. "Your divine throne..."

S. Lewis Johnson, Th.D. continues the critique.

"The most glaring flaw of the new version is the woeful lack of exegetical insight into the New Testament on the part of its translators."

J. Ellwood Evans, Th. D. in summary.

"The Preceding discussion has demonstrated that the RSV is a translation which can never receive the approval of conservative scholars."