A Line in the Sand

Original Article is available at the web site: http://firmanelohim.org



by Louis A. Turk, B.A, M.Div., Ph.D.

Verbal, plenary inspiration, verbal, plenary preservation, and verbal plenary translation of the original texts of God’s word is the foundation of all Christian doctrines, because, if our Bible isn’t reliable, then we can’t be sure that anything the Bible teaches is true. Most independent Baptists pastors correctly believe the King James Version (KJV) of 1611 to be a perfect translation of those original texts into the English language, and they are therefore careful to make sure that the missionaries they support use the King James Bible (KJB which is the KJV) in the English language, and that is certainly important. But the fact is that most countries in this world do not speak English. So, what is far more important to know about missionaries to non-English-speaking countries is, Do they, or do they not, use translations of the divinely inspired and divinely preserved Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament text and Textus Receptus Greek New Testament text?

It is a sad fact that some missionaries loudly claim to be pro-KJB in order to obtain support from pastors and churches who are pro-KJB, but on their mission fields actually use Bibles translated from the corrupt Critical Text (CT) family of Greek texts—even when a good translation from the Textus Receptus (TR) is available. That is very deceptive and hypocritical to put it mildly. Those hypocritical missionaries falsely claim to be pro-KJB in order to obtain support, but on the mission field use translations which add unto and take away from the words of the original Hebrew and Greek texts (and therefore also from the KJB) in numerous verses—many of which make serious changes to extremely important Bible doctrines. People will go to Hell if they believe some of those changes. Thus the severe warning of Revelation 22:18-19:

    1. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

  1. Because an accurately translated Bible is essential to effective evangelism and the building of sound churches, God condemns to Hell any Bible translator who adds to or deletes God’s words. Words have meanings, and if the words are changed, then the meanings are changed. Therefore, what translation of the Bible a missionary uses makes a huge difference. Would your church be sound in the faith if she used the CT-based Revised Standard Version (RSV) or New International Version (NIV) instead of the TR-based King James Version (KJV)? Of course not! Nor will churches on a foreign field be sound if they use a CT-based translation instead of a TR-based translation. Instead, they will end up being more Catholic, Protestant, or Christlam (Christianity mixed with Islam) than Baptist. The sad fact is, huge sums of independent Baptist missions funds today are being poured into mission works which are being built upon Westcott and Hort Critical-Text-based translations. At the very minimum these churches are unsound concerning what Bible they should use; but the unsoundness will never end there. And, since it is impossible to take a neutral stand concerning the Bible, these unsound churches will oppose the use of TR-based Bibles, and will oppose the churches that use TR-based Bibles. Thus support going to missionaries advocating CT-based translations finances opposition to the work of Christ on the mission fields, thus making it much harder to win people to Christ. Nothing hinders evangelism as effectively and as severely as corrupt translations of the Bible.

Some pastors are “willingly ignorant” concerning this issue. These pastors think that, because they don’t speak foreign languages, God will excuse them for believing lies about foreign Bible translations. One core lesson we should learn from Eve is that it is sin to believe a lie. It is a pastor’s duty to determine the truth before making decisions. There is no excuse for supporting missionaries who use corrupt CT-based translations on a mission field when a Textus Receptus-based translation is available on that mission field. Just ask each missionary the name, publisher, address of publisher, and date of publication of the translation he is using on his mission field. Then do a web search, or write the publisher to find out what Greek and Hebrew texts that translation is translated from. Simple. Do this. Otherwise, you might, over the process of a few years, give thousands of dollars to support mission works which are being built upon a CT-based translation, and which therefore contradict many of the basic Bible doctrines you’ve taught your church to hold dear.

For a pastor to lead his church to support missionaries who use CT-based translations on their mission fields—when a Textus-Receptus-based translation is available—is a major mistake with far-reaching bad consequences. Why? Because:

  1. BulletIt is lack of love for the Lord Jesus Christ. CT-based translations remove or change many words which prove that Jesus is Lord, that He is God, that He is omnipresent, that He did miracles, and that only His blood can wash away sins, and that there is a real literal Hell awaiting unbelievers.

  2. BulletIt is lack of love for God’s word. Is shows doubt of the truthfulness and seriousness of Revelation 22:18-19. According to those verses, anyone who adds to or subtracts from God’s words is damned to Hell by Almighty God Himself. According to Psalm 138:2, God hath magnified his word above all his name. If God’s word is that important to God, it should be important to us also.

  3. BulletIt is lack of love for lost souls who speak languages other than English. Why is it that most English-speaking churches that use the Revised Standard Version, or the New International Version, or other CT-based translations, also believe in salvation by works? It is because the Critical Text family of Greek texts greatly weaken the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and instead encourage belief in salvation by works. This is just as true of translations into foreign languages as it is of translations into English. By supporting missionaries who use CT-based translations, a church is also supporting the use of corrupted Bibles which teach salvation by works.

  4. BulletIt is lack of love for hard-working Christian people who are sacrificially giving to support sound missionaries. They work hard to supply the funds, and their pastor should also work hard to make sure that those funds are used to support missionaries who are truly pro-KJB/pro-Textus Receptus. The King James Bible was translated from the Textus Receptus. So, a missionary is not truly pro-KJB if he uses a CT-based translation on the mission field when a Received-Text-based translation is available.

  5. BulletIt is lack of love for sound missionaries. Mission funds are limited—a church can’t support every missionary in the world. So, for every Critical-Text-using missionary a church supports, she is unable to support a Textus-Receptus-using missionary. It isn’t wise to starve out sound missionaries while supporting missionaries who aren’t even sound on the most foundational doctrine of all: what constitutes the word of God.

  6. BulletIt is lack of love for honesty. It encourages dishonesty and hypocrisy by making lying and deceiving profitable. It enables dishonest missionaries to get funds from pro-NIV (and thus anti-KJB) churches that would never even consider supporting sound missionaries, and also from naive pro-KJB churches. We separate ourselves from compromising, Critical-Text-using churches in the USA, because their heresies deceive people, thus making it harder for our sound, KJB-using churches to win those people to Christ. How then can we justify supporting compromising, Critical-Text-advocating missionaries who are making it harder for sound missionaries to win people to Christ on foreign fields?

  7. BulletIt is lack of love for the unsound missionaries. Some day those missionaries will have to give account before God, and will lose rewards for eternity. Therefore, true friends don’t support the use of CT-based translations by their friends when a Textus Receptus-based translation is available. Rather, they try to persuade them to use Received-Text-based translations. “Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:20-21). God has warned us all!

Let’s do a case study of Spanish translations of the Bible to illustrate the above facts. If ever there were countries needing sound missionaries, it is Mexico and the countries in Central and South America. Evangelizing these countries is almost as important as evangelizing the USA, since these countries are our close neighbors, and their spiritual welfare will affect us as well as them, and in turn will also affect our ability to evangelize the rest of the world. So, let’s review the history of translations of the Bible into Spanish.

Casiodoro de Reina translated the Old Testament from the Masoretic Hebrew text, and translated the New Testament from the Textus Receptus Greek text. His translation was first printed in 1569. His helper, Cipriano de Valera, then spent 20 years revising Reina’s translation. Valera’s New Testament revision was printed in 1596, and his Old Testament revision in 1602. The Catholic Church was in control of Spain during those days, and forbade the translation of the Bible into Spanish. Both Reina and Valera did their work under threat of death. Since both he and Reina had done their work under duress, Valera realized that his work possibly still contained errors, and needed further revision. He wrote:

  1. Oh that it would please God that by His infinite mercy He inspire in the heart of the King to mandate throughout his coasts the gathering of pious and learned men in the Hebrew and Greek tongues that they would view and review this translation of the Bible; whom with a sincere and pious desire, that desire to serve God and do good to their nation, that they compare and challenge it with the Hebrew text that God dictated to his holy Prophets before the coming of Christ, and with the Greek text that He Himself dictated to his holy Apostles and Evangelists after the coming of Christ in the flesh.

There is a video circulating among independent Baptists titled “A Spanish Treasure,” which gives the history of the Reina Valera translation up to A.D. 1960, beginning with its translation of the New Testament from the Textus Receptus. It gains its viewer’s confidence by giving accurate history right up to the last three minutes or so of the video; but then the narrator utters these very deceptive words concerning the RV-1960:

  1. Just as with the King James Bible, there have been several revisions of the Reina-Valera Spanish Bible since its original publication in 1569. By God’s providence, many of these revisions such as the 1909 and the 1960 have remained true to the original Textus Receptus Greek and Masoretic Hebrew scriptures. This is confirmed when the revisions are compared to the Greek and Hebrew and NOT to any other translations.

The easily proven fact is that most of the revisions of the Reina translation prior to 2004, including the RV-1960, did not remain true to the original Textus Receptus Greek and Masoretic Hebrew scriptures, but instead were corrupted in many places to make them conform to the Critical Text. Dr. Rex Cobb, Director of Baptist Bible Translators Institute in Bowie, Texas, and an expert in the Spanish language, compiled a list of 1,100 checkpoints where the Textus Receptus and Critical text blatantly differ, and used this list to make careful comparisons of the various revisions of the Reina translation. Dr. Cobb explains the history of these revisions:

  1. The study called the Comparison of Reina Valera Versions might also be helpful. In it you can quickly see when CT corruptions were introduced into the Spanish Bible. In the Reina Valera 1602 it began with 57 (that I found). It stayed at or slightly below that number until 1862 when a reviser named Lorenzo Lucera Pedrosa added about 56 more CT readings into the Reina Valera. That date should be noted carefully as it was the time when the textual critics and German rationalists were producing the CT. In 1865 Mora and Pratt brought the Reina Valera back in line with the TR and the KJB. I only found 29 or 30 textual departures in it, and they are what I might consider of lesser importance (of course, every word is important.) However, when the 1909 was produced, it did not follow the 1865 but rather the 1862. It corrected a few CT readings and introduced a few more, but the total number remained nearly the same. Then the revisers of the 1960 introduced about 70 more Alexandrian corruptions into the Reina Valera Bible. It even got worse in 1977. But what I clearly see is that someone is trying to move the Reina Valera in the direction of the CT and away from the TR. This is undeniable. If the defenders of the 1960 want to defend all these CT readings, that is their business; but if they are going to tell American pastors that they are “King James men” and “the 1960 is closest to the KJB” then they are painting themselves into a corner, so to speak. Most of these are good men otherwise, but the Bible says that all men are liars. The missionaries that use the 1960 are in big trouble; they are desperate to protect themselves and their incomes. They should have admitted years ago that their Bible has problems and set about to fix the problems. By insisting that their Bible is correct, they are saying in essence that the KJB and the TR are wrong, at least in many places. If the CT is good, then why don’t they use one of the completely CT Spanish Bibles such as the NIV or the NASV? Were they to do that, they would have to go to a totally different kind of church for their support. They wouldn’t do too well in fundamental churches! 

Having an accurate translation of the Textus Receptus is vital for evangelism. The following 20 verses in the RV-1960 are corrupted to imply or directly teach salvation by works: John 12:47; Romans 11:30; Romans 11:31; Romans 11:32; Hebrews 3:18; Hebrews 11:31; Luke 8:12; Luke 13:23; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Thess. 2:16; 1 Peter 4:18; John 13:10; John 13:11; John 15:3; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Peter 2:2; 1 Peter 3:21. In the RV-1960, 1Peter 3:21 teaches that baptism saves. How then can any genuine Baptist think that the RV-1960 is the best translation to use for evangelism?

Furthermore, how can anyone who claims that the RV-1909 and RV-1960 are true to the Textus Receptus be believed when Dr. José Flores, one of the consultants of the RV-1960 revision committee, publicly bragged that “wherever the RV (1909) Version has departed from the Textus Receptus to follow a better text we did not return to the Receptus”? Dr. Flores said:

  1. One principle added to the first list of the RV 1960 revision committee was that wherever the RV (1909) Version has departed from the Textus Receptus to follow a better text we did not return to the Receptus. Point 12 of the working principles states: in cases where there is a doubt over the correct translation of the original, we consulted preferentially The English Revised Version of 1885, The American Standard Version of 1901, The Revised Standard Version of 1946, and the International Critical Commentary.”  El Texto Del Nuevo Testamento, 1977, pg. 323

So, even CT-based English language Bibles and a Critical-Text-based commentary were used in making the RV-1960 revision. In no way can it truthfully be said that the RV-1960 is true to the Textus Receptus.

Dr. Phil Stringer, pastor of Ravenwood Baptist Church in Chicago, and founder of the William Carey Bible Society, draws the only conclusion an honest researcher can draw about the RV-1960:

  1. It may be expedient politics to advocate a Received Text Bible for the English speaking world and a Critical Text Bible for the Spanish speaking world, but it is horrible doctrine. Why would a “King James man” want the Hispanic world to use a Bible that conflicts with the King James Bible in hundreds of places and thousands of words?

  2. This is hypocritical and it has a great price attached to it. If you promote the Critical Text in any language you can no longer consistently oppose Critical Text Bibles in English. Sooner or later your hypocrisy will catch up to you. There is simply no doctrinal or textual foundation to prevent such a change. No matter how loudly a man or a ministry proclaims their loyalty to the King James Bible today, if they advocate the Critical Text in other languages they will probably be using a Critical Text Bible in English in a few years.

  3. No one can consistently claim to be a “King James preacher” and support the Reina Valera 1960 or the TBS Spanish Bible. http://wcbible.org/documents/The.pdf [Emphasis added by L.A. Turk].

Were there no accurate translation of the Masoretic and Textus Receptus texts into Spanish, then until such a translation was available there might be some excuse for using the RV-1909 or RV-1960 temporarily until a Textus-Receptus-based translation was available. But the fact is an accurate translation of the Masoretic and Textus Receptus texts into Spanish has been available for several years. It is called the RV-Gomez. Several Bible-believing Greek and Hebrew scholars who are noted for their strong defense of the KJB and the Textus Receptus helped Dr. Humberto Gomez revise the RV-1909 to bring it into conformity to the divinely inspired and preserved Masoretic and Textus Receptus texts. Praise God, after many years of hard work, the Spanish peoples of the world now have a Bible translation comparable to the KJB!

So, what should a pastor do if his church supports missionaries who use CT-based translations? Dr. Rex Cobb gives this advice:

  1. My suggestion to an American pastor would be to talk with his missionaries and ask them to honestly look into the matter. I would not drop their support if they did not change Bibles immediately as long as they are willing to work toward the goal of putting into the hands of the people the very best possible Bible. I would also require of them a “progress report” from time to time. I’m sure that some on “our side” have had the right position but the wrong disposition and done more harm than good. But sooner or later it will be time for the pastor to draw a line in the sand, and for the missionary to decide which side he will stand on.  [A personal letter from Dr. Rex Cobb to Louis A. Turk, dated 07/16/2012. Emphasis added by L.A. Turk].

If the Critical Text is the original text, then the Textus Receptus is a corruption intended to deceive. But if the Textus Receptus is the original text—which in truth it is—, then the Critical Text is the corruption intended to deceive. It is impossible to take a neutral stand on this issue. Preachers who stand for a CT-based translation automatically stand against TR-based translations. So, what if one of your missionaries decides to stand for a CT-based translation such as the RV-1960 instead of for a Received-Text-based translation such as the RV-Gomez? Dr. Phil Stringer found that in order to make clear his stand for Textus-Receptus-based translations he had to drop missionaries that continued to use the RV-1960 after the RV-Gomez was published. Said Dr. Stringer:

  1. When I came to Ravenswood Baptist Church, we supported several gringo missionaries that used the RV1960. I continued my support of them despite our disagreement. I long for brothers to able to get along and serve the Lord together in spite of different positions. However, I am now in the process of dropping all missionaries that use the RV1960. ... Several of the RV1960 crowd began to lie about my position claiming that I had done further study and that I had come to the conclusion that the RV 1960 was the inspired Word of God in Spanish. That is a lie and they all knew it. Not one of them spoke to me about the subject. For proof they offered the fact that I supported missionaries that used the 60. One of our missionaries met with Dr. Gomez and I, and Humberto answered all his questions. The missionary then produced a letter (which he did not send to me) and lied about every one of Dr. Gomez’s answers. I eventually saw a copy. I will not have my position lied about. I oppose all translation work done from the Critical Text whether in Greek or English. To make it clear I am dropping all missionaries that do not share this position. [A personal e-mail from Dr. Phil Stringer to Louis A. Turk, dated 07/12/2012].

Too many important decisions are being made today based on personality and friendship and politics instead of on sound doctrine and truth. Dr. Stringer is right in saying,

  1. The issue is a pure text. Every translation should be evaluated by how it matches the pure text. It should never be evaluated by politics. True doctrine never needs to be defended by lies. False doctrine always needs to be defended by lies. The truth always wins. [Emphasis added by L.A. Turk].

The purpose of this article is to see all missions funds from pro-KJB churches channeled only to genuinely pro-KJB missionaries, and not one cent used to finance Critical-Text-based translations by being sent to missionaries who, after being shown the truth, insist on using a CT-based translation when a TR-based translation is already available on their mission field. To accomplish this:

    1. 1.Missionaries presently using CT-based translations—even though on their field a TR-based translation is already available—must be made aware of the corruptions in the translation they are presently using, and must be strongly encouraged to start using the TR-based translation available to them. The goal is not to drop a bunch of missionaries, but to assure that only TR-based translations are used by the missionaries we support.

    1. 2.Missionaries who, after fair warning, insist on using a CT-based translation—even though on their field a TR-based translation is already available—must be dropped, and the funds channeled to sound missionaries using the TR-based translation.

    1. 3.Missionaries using TR-based translations (true pro-KJB/TR men) must be encouraged and supported to the maximum of our ability. Pray for the enemies of the pure, original Bible texts, and love them enough to tell them the truth and encourage them to repent. But support only friends of God’s word.

    1. 4.Missionaries who are truly pro-KJB/pro-TR and using TR-based translations on their mission fields need to speak up to make sure pastors know how seriously Critical-Text-based translations confuse lost people and new converts concerning every doctrine affected by their corruptions, thus greatly hindering evangelization and the establishing of sound churches.

  1. 5.Missionaries on a field where no TR-based translation is yet available should give assurance that they will use such a translation once it is available. And they should also give assurance that they are not lying to their converts by telling them that the CT-based translation they are temporarily using is without error. They should also tell what they are doing to help a TR-based translation in their language come into existence. And doing nothing is not doing something. Dr. Stinger gets right to the point: “I am aware that many of these languages don’t have a good Bible available. But it certainly ought to be the burden of their heart to get one. Maybe God did not call them to be a translator. That is not the ministry for everyone. But certainly they should support those who are trying to provide a good Received Text Bible in their language.” http://wcbible.org/documents/world.pdf One sign that a missionary is not truly KJV/TR at heart, is when instead of supporting a TR-based translation project, he is slandering the people making the TR-based translation with lies and gossip.

The book God’s Bible in Spanish by Emanuel Rodriguez is an excellent presentation of the history of the Spanish Bible and its revisions. I recommend that every pastor read this book (it is available from Amazon.Com), then send copies to all of the missionaries his church supports in Spanish-speaking countries. Give them some time to study it, then contact them to find out where they stand.

Where are the leaders among pastors? I received this e-mail from a missionary friend:

  1. I am glad to hear of your decision when faced with the translation issue. There is no place for toleration of error in the churches. While it is sad to hear of those that will not stand on the side of right, we need to press on for the Lord. I have followed the Spanish Bible issue since the early 90’s and have been amazed at how many men who claimed to be for the KJV would take the wrong position as they used/endorsed the 1960 Reina-Valera. You are in our prayers.

Even more amazing is how many pro-KJB pastors invite missionaries whom they know use and promote the CT-based RV-1960 to be featured speakers at fellowship meetings and missions conferences. Where is the leadership from you pro-KJB pastors? Why aren’t you protecting your flocks? The RSV was a revision of the KJB. Does the fact that the KJB is TR-based therefore mean that the RSV is TR-based also? No, because the source Greek text used in the revision was the Critical Text (Westcott and Hort text). In places in the RSV where the TR and CT differed, the CT reading was used. The same is true for the RV-1960. The RV-1960 is the RSV of Spanish translations. The arguments being used to defend the RV-1960 are the same deceptive arguments that were used years ago to defend the RSV. Take the time to learn the truth, and protect your flocks!

© Copyright 2013 by Louis A. Turk. This article may be freely reproduced without notifying the author provided no changes are made and this copyright notice is included.