Once upon a time there were two groups of people in a third world country who lived in the same large village. The two groups obtained drinking water from different sources. The first group obtained their water from a huge crystal-clear spring high upon the side of a mountain. This spring had been tested for impurities many times, and never had even a single germ or other impurity been found. The other group obtained their water from a river that flowed through their village. There was another small village upriver, where people would bathe and use the toilet in the river; but the river was large, so that changed the appearance of the water very little—to the naked eye the water from this river looked crystal clear also. However, when carefully inspected, germs could be seen swimming in the water from the river, while no germs were found in the water from the spring.
Now the spring was more than large enough to supply the needs of the whole village, but most people drank from the river instead. Eventually, disagreement over what was the healthiest source of water became a point of contention between the two groups. Leaders from the spring-using group constantly warned river-water drinkers that the river was polluted, and that they were in danger of dying from serious illnesses such as typhoid, cholera, and hepatitis. This offended the river-using group—so in this one large village the two groups were divided and could not fellowship with each other.
One of the leaders of the river-using group said, “I grew up in this village drinking water from this river. I love its taste, river water is best, and I will never drink water from your spring.” Another leader of the river-using group said, “God has blessed this river with many more people drinking from it than from the spring; this proves that it is pure.”
Another leader of the river-using group also spent a lot of time in a smaller village downriver. He was a very friendly guy, and a very persuasive politician. He told his river-using friends: “Flatter and make friendships with the spring-using leaders so that they will be embarrassed to offend us by speaking against river water.” Realizing that he needed the support of the spring-using group in this large village to reach his goals, he told the spring-using leaders there, “The spring here and the river in the village downstream are from the same source: rain. This proves that the river water downstream is just as pure as spring water, and in fact is spring water. I am pro-spring-water-only. Here in this large village people should drink only from the spring. And the village downstream should drink spring water from the river.” He and his friends shamed the spring-users who questioned his logic, asking, “For the cause of rescuing men who are dying of thirst, can’t we get along? Can’t we just agree to disagree without breaking fellowship? Won’t river water quench a man’s thirst just as well as spring water? Can’t we unite together to more effectively fight thirst.” He and his river-water friends would even publicly drink water from the spring to prove that they were true spring-water-only advocates. Their friendly smiles and crafty arguments persuaded many of the leaders of the spring-using group who had grown tired of arguing about water, and they quit mentioning the pollution of the river. These weak spring-using leaders even began to invite the politician to speak in their meetings, which he did, always looking for opportunities to promote the use of river water in the village downriver as the very best spring water for that village. Then he would ask for contributions to pipe it into every home in that village. There were spring-water users working to supply spring water to that same village, but many of the spring-using leaders were wrongly persuaded that the river-water-promoting politician was getting more done to quench thirst then those men, and so supported the river-water-promoting politician instead! Some spring-using families from the large village even moved to the village downriver to help the politician build the pipe, where they immediately joined the river-water users instead of the spring-water users, since it was not as popular there to drink spring water. Thus they showed that they really had no genuine convictions whatsoever concerning what was the healthiest water to drink. Nevertheless, when visiting their spring-using brothers in their old village, they loudly claimed to still be “spring-water-only.” Only spring water should be used here they would loudly say, and would lie, claiming that the river water in the village downriver was actually spring water. When pollution in the downriver water was pointed out to them, they would say, “The differences between spring water and river water are so minor that they aren’t worth fighting over. Fighting thirst is what is important.” And they would lie again, claiming that they had also found some pollution in the spring water. Thus badly needed funds that should have been used to supply clean spring water to the village downriver were wasted building pipe to bring in polluted river water.
However, a few of the leaders of the spring-using group saw right through the phony arguments of the river-using group’s leaders. The problem was not the source of the water, but that the river water had been polluted. The issue was pure water versus polluted water. And, because they loved the people of the village downriver, and did not want to see them get sick and die, they continued to try to persuade people not to drink from the river. Constantly they advised: “Beware! The river is polluted. Drink only from the spring! ” By this time the main leaders of the river-using group had taken water from the river to be tested, and they now also knew that the river was polluted. They had looked through a microscope with their own eyes, and had seen the germs swimming in the river water. But pride wouldn’t let them admit the truth or repent. How could they tell their followers that the water they had been giving them to drink all these years as a source of life was actually the reason for sickness and death in their village? Knowing they couldn’t win a public debate on the water issue, they feared they would lose followers and income if the truth became known. So, to distract from the water issue, they began privately but viciously slandering the character of each spring-using leader who was exposing pollution in river water.
But time is always on the side of truth. One day what the truth-telling spring-water users had warned about happened. People in the river-using group in every village along the river became violently ill with cholera, and within a short time many died. Almost every river-using family lost at least one or two family members in the plague, including the families of the river-using leaders. In many cases whole families were wiped out. There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. But it was too late!
However, note well: none of the spring-water-users got sick or died.
Hear ye, and understand the parable of water. It makes a life or death difference what water you drink and give to others to drink! The spring water is the pure words of God found in the Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament text, and in the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament text, and in accurate translations thereof. The polluted river water is the corrupted words of the Critical Text and translations thereof.
Can a person who is dying of thirst be saved by giving him water to drink from a polluted river? No. Depending on how bad the pollution is, perhaps you can filter out the pollution first; but that will mean that you are giving him clean water, not polluted water. Otherwise, you very well might infect the person with a fatal disease that will take his life instead of saving it.
Can a person be lead to Christ using a corrupt, Critical-Text-based translation of the Bible? No, not if that translation teaches salvation by works, and you deceitfully present it as being the infallible, verbally inspired word of God. Let’s suppose that, in your presentation of the gospel, you secretly hide corrupted verses, and show the person only whatever verses are still true to the Textus Receptus. If you thereby persuade him that salvation is actually by grace through faith, and he believes and is saved, then you have really used the Textus Receptus to lead him to Christ, and not the Critical Text. But he will not realize this! And he will be doomed to being a weak Christian until this misconception is corrected. When he eventually reads the verses in that corrupt translation that teach salvation by works, he is going to be one very confused individual.
Even worse, what if that person doesn’t get saved, but reads the rest of that translation, and believes the verses in which the gospel of salvation has been corrupted to teach salvation by works and by baptism? Then he goes to Hell instead of to Heaven.
You can tell the person up front that the translation contains some pretty serious translation errors, but that there are enough verses that haven’t been changed that you can show him how to be saved. That is far better than lying to the person by telling him that the corrupt translation is inerrant, but has the disadvantage of shaking the person’s confidence in the very book you are trying to use to lead him to Christ. This will only work if the person has more confidence in you than in that corruption of God’s word. Until he is provided with a translation upon which he can safely rely more than upon you, he will be very weak in the faith.
So, what is the answer to this dilemma? The obvious answer is:
1. If a translation from the original Masoretic Hebrew and Textus Receptus Greek texts has been made, then use it. Don’t use a translation from corrupted texts. For example, in Spanish use the Textus-Receptus-based Reina-Valera-Gomez, not the Critical-Text-based Reina-Valera-1960.
2. If a translation from the original Masoretic Hebrew and Textus Receptus Greek texts has not yet been made, then do everything in your power to help such a translation be made as soon as possible.
3. If you don’t know which translation is most faithful to the verbally inspired and divinely preserved original texts, then don’t remain ignorant like the people in the river-using group in the parable above. Lives depend upon you knowing and supporting the truth. Don’t let laziness or unconcern prevent you from doing the necessary research to learn the truth. Don’t support Critical-Text-based translations of the Bible. Support only genuine Received-Text-based translations.
Beware lest we be duped into giving people in other countries dirty water to drink so that they get spiritually sick and die the second death.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 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: 19 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. Rev. 22:17-18