|Below is an excerpt of the Q&A column of the October 1997 The Berean Call newsletter. The question appears to be compiled from several different letters sent to Dave Hunt concerning his inconsistent position on God's word and the King James Bible. Mr. Hunt's "answer" follows (emphasis mine).|
Reader' s Question:
I am concerned that you may be causing confusion for your readers ...where it concerns the Scriptures....On page 342 [A Woman Rides the Beast] you stated...[that] the Bible contains all the doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteousness that is needed....Then I got the January 1997 issue of The Berean Call...[in which you say there] "is an obvious mistake in the 1611 KJV, which has been corrected by marginal note in current KJV editions....Mr. Hunt...please tell me where I can find the "Scriptures...given by inspiration of God...profitable for doctrine...[etc.]" when...you say the Bible has a mistake....Is the Word of God so mistaken that God now has to correct Himself in the marginal notes? I am getting weary. Every time I turn around, somebody is correcting the Scriptures...somebody says it has errors. What did God say if the Bible I have has errors...? Please tell me, what Bible do you own that has no mistakes in it? Could you tell me where I might be able to obtain a copy of the Scriptures with no errors?
God's Word is "for ever.. .settled in heaven" (Ps 119:89) so you will find it there. You would also find it in the original copies (were they available) written by men inspired of the Holy Spirit to give us the Scriptures. God could have preserved the originals, but chose not to for His own reasons. What we now have are thousands of copies, most of them fragments of varying sizes, made from copies of copies of copies of the originals. Copyists do make some errors, no matter how careful they are. The errors are generally very small and can be detected by comparing the many copies we have with one another Even Gail Riplinger acknowledges, "It is obvious that the Word of God in its perfect state does not reside in any one of the ancient Greek manuscripts extant today" (New Age Bible Versions, p 507). She implies (pp 510-11) that the translators of the KJV were "inspired" of God to correct any defects so that in the KJV alone we now have God's perfect Word exactly as it existed in the originals. However, those who translated the 1611 KJV deny special inspiration and even admit that there are some words of whose meaning they are uncertain and that they consulted other translations in giving us the KJV.
KJV-only advocates make a major point that God's Word must have been "preserved" here on earth. Yet that preservation was not in any single copy we have ever found. If the KJV is it, then God's Word was not preserved in perfect form until 1611—nor do the French, Spanish, Germans, Russians, et al. have God's Word because they don't have the KJV unless they can speak English.
The KJV is God's Word. Though there may be a minor error here or there, comparing other verses dealing with the same subject will make it quite clear. There are different nuances and shades of meaning in every language, so that for many words there are no exact equivalents available to a translator. That the original Greek or Hebrew cannot (in some places) be translated directly into Swahili or some obscure primitive language does not mean that the translation those people have is not God's Word.
Dear Mr. Hunt:
After reading your reply to the individual who asked you for a “copy of the Scriptures with no errors” in the Oct. 97 Berean Call, I found your reply was totally inadequate. You said nothing to remedy the confusion you are causing in your publications concerning a Christian’s final authority. There are many, many believers (especially new converts) who are struggling with this issue. They are constantly urged by their (supposedly) mature and seasoned mentors (pastors, teachers, scholars, writers, etc.) to cling to the “perfect,” “infallible,” “inerrant,” “God-breathed,” Scriptures for doctrine, instruction, correction, and absolute truth, yet when they inquire as to where these inerrant Scriptures can be found they are told they no longer exist or are only in heaven! When they inquire further as to what is meant by the term “Scripture” they enter into a convoluted maze of references to unavailable original autographs, various families of Greek texts, a myriad of English translations, diverse opinions and preferences, salesmanship, etc. etc. which is all but guaranteed to leave them confused. Their mentors will give them their “preferences” as to the “most reliable” texts and translations but always with the reservation that none of them is infallible. You have a share of responsibility for this confusion, Mr. Hunt, since you can’t give a clear, straight-forward answer to one who asks how he can obtain God’s inerrant word. This is the most basic question any believer can ask: how can one know for certain what God has said?
Since God is not the author of this confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), it has always amazed me how supposedly credible Christian “authorities” can sing praises to the word of God (sometimes waving a Bible in the air) and exalt it in every way and then not be able to produce the book they are talking about. This is highly inconsistent and misleading. It is not until a believer questions them more closely that he realizes they reserve these praises only for the nonexistent autographs. They reverence this fantasy Bible (as you know the autographs were never compiled into one volume) near to idolatry. There is obviously a force at work here other than the Lord to cause such irrational behavior. “Yea hath God said.”
After studying this issue for years I have concluded the mentality of many in Fundamentalist scholarship is dominated by this unwarranted “autograph fixation.” Instead of believing and trusting God’s word as He has preserved and provided it, they wander about like blind paleontologists looking for the nonexistent “missing link.” They are searching for something God cast aside nearly 2000 years ago. This proves they are not following the “mind of Christ.” They reverence and seek something God has no further use for and abandoned (like the brazen serpent). This desire has so affected their mentality and clouded their judgment that they reason like evolutionists. When it is suggested to them that God’s pure inerrant word may exist on earth in pure form in spite of the lost autographs, they dismiss the thought as not possible because their religion dictates “only the original autographs are inspired; copies by their very nature cannot be.” When suggested to evolutionists creation should be considered a possibility for the universe and man’s existence, they dismiss it because their religion insists “as improbable as evolution appears mathematically and scientifically, the fact that we are here proves it to be true; creation is out of the question.” Both groups with their reasoning and rhetoric have trapped themselves into a logic-tight belief system that rivals any cult, leaving practically no room for escape. If an individual of either group questioned or deviated from their respective groups “established position,” it would instantly “black-ball” him as “unorthodox” or even in the “lunatic fringe.” The fear of ridicule and the stigma of being branded “unscholarly” keeps them in check even when many of them personally have reservations. Apparently, the esteem of their peers is more valuable to them than the truth, and they are so desperate to appear scholarly that they will use irrelevant, illogical, and even emotional arguments to defend their “historic position” and “keep in the fold.”
One argument, which you use, is no text can be inerrant because all available manuscripts are only copies. This is irrelevant and even counterproductive since EVERY reference to “Scripture” in the Bible is to a COPY and not an autograph. There is no one we know of who believes the Bereans had the autographs. Neither did the Jews in John 5, the Eunuch in Acts 8, Paul in Romans 4, or even Christ in Luke 4. They all had copies, some of them likely many generations from the autographs, yet the Holy Spirit called them “Scripture.” When Paul says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16), he is NOT referring to the autographs but to the “scriptures” (copies) Timothy had (vs 15)! The autographs are not Scripture because they are autographs but because they are Scripture! Unlike today’s Fundamentalist “scholars,” the Bible makes no distinction between autographs and copies. All of this autograph hype is nothing but a satanic contrivance designed to cause a believer to doubt the Bible he has.
By faith the NT believers believed the Scriptures the Lord provided them (copies) and treated them as the very (inerrant, etc.) words of God. Not once does the Lord, Paul, the Bereans, or anyone else use the philosophical argument you and others use today: that copies cannot be trusted as pure Scripture, only the autographs are “inspired.” Such a concept is a result of human reasoning, foreign to the Scriptures.
Another argument you use is the AV translators claimed no “special inspiration” for themselves or their work. First, the Bible doesn’t claim “inspiration” for any person other than God (Job 32:8, “inspiration of the Almighty,” Like you say, Be a Berean). It says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” that is, Scripture is given by God’s breath or breathing. Where do any of the autograph writers (Moses—John) claim to be “inspired”? Many Bible books don’t even claim within themselves to be Scripture, let alone their writers “inspired.” Where does Matthew (or Mark, or even Paul in many of his epistles) claim his book is ONLY the pure words of God? Yet they ARE the very words of God. It should be clear to any Bible reader that God can use people without them knowing it, or at least without them knowing the full ramifications of what He is doing with them. Therefore, your suggestion that the KJB could not be “inspired” or inerrant because the translators didn’t claim inspiration is both invalid and irrelevant.
Furthermore, the two major premises of those, like yourself, who deny the existence on earth of an inerrant Bible are not scriptural. They contend (1) that only the original autographs were inspired, inerrant, pure, etc.—copies must be inferior; (2) that only the original languages can convey God’s complete, pure word—translations must be inferior. Another unscriptural argument you suggest is God is obligated to provide His inerrant word in every language if He provides it in one. All of these arguments are the result of human (if not satanic) reasoning without any scriptural basis to support them. The Scriptures do not even imply these arguments, on the contrary they support the opposite.
(1) God has promised to preserve His word in pure form for every generation on earth (Psa. 12:6-7; Isa. 59:21). The Scriptures don’t even hint God’s word has to be verbally and plenarily identical to the autograph to remain pure. We showed above how the Bible says copies can be “scripture.”
(2) There are many accounts of Scripture being translated in the Bible. From Joseph speaking to his brothers in Egyptian (recorded in Hebrew) to Paul speaking to the Jews in Hebrew (recorded in Greek), plus all the Old Testament quotations (which are not verbally and plenarily identical to the Hebrew, yet still Scripture). God’s word does not have to loose its authority and purity by being translated. The limitations you and others place on the preservation, inerrancy, and availability of the Scriptures is nothing but human invention without scriptural basis.
I have read your material for years, Mr. Hunt, and agree with many of your conclusions and observations, but I have been mystified as to why you essentially ignore the obvious deficiencies, omissions, perversions (Jer. 23:36), and New Age leaning of the modern translations. You speak of “the seduction of Christianity” yet ignore the seduction and weakening of sound doctrine in the modern translations which greatly aids the satanic seduction of Christianity. You ably and accurately warn about the dangers of Catholicism yet keep quiet the fact that the modern translations are based on two Catholic Greek texts (Vaticanus, from the Vatican; and Sinaticus, from a monastery), their translators calling them “the best and most reliable texts.” To return the favor to their Protestant friends, Rome will tolerate and even recommend most of the modern translations, but they have never held anything but the utmost hatred and contempt for the Authorized Version since its publication. As a result today Catholics and many Protestants have essentially the same “Bible” (apart from the apocrypha), and you remain silent.
Worse than your silence, though, is you quote (and by doing so recommend) one of these corrupt versions in your book “The Seduction of Christianity” (the corrupt NASV which says Christ is a “begotten God,” Jn 1:18). Both the Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses eagerly recommend this version over the King James, it much more closely reads as their “Bibles.” No wonder Christians are confused; their “leaders” send confusing and conflicting signals.
I am sure you have gathered by now I believe the Authorized King James Bible of 1611 (any edition) to be the pure word of God in the English language. I didn’t always believe it, though. Everything I read after I got saved told me it wasn’t pure and contained errors. This “information” left me with no final authority except my opinion of others opinion. After over a year of following this mentality the Lord (some would say the Devil) began to show me the fallacy of this position and how it was based on unbelief. When I put these matters to prayerful consideration I began to find many inconsistencies and irregularities among the KJV critics arguments:
I believe the KJB for much the same reasons I believe the 66 book canon. The Holy Spirit led believers to accept and believe the correct Greek text (Syrian) as well as the correct NT books (both Vaticanus and Sinaticus contain the Apocrypha WITHIN the canon). I also believe it because God has used it to further His cause and gospel more than any other Bible in any other language, much more than the autographs. Who knew in 1611 English would today be a major world language (spoken by nearly 1 billion people). By His near exclusive use of the KJB for most of four centuries, God has clearly “authorized” it to be His standard Bible in English. One reason He has done so is it exalts the Lord Jesus Christ to His rightful, predominate place—as God Himself—more often and more clearly than any modern translation. I believe it for the same reason NT believers believed the copies of Scripture they had, they simply by faith trusted God to provide His word as He promised and accepted the established copies that were supplied them. God had been greatly using the KJB long before either of us came on the scene, Mr. Hunt, and unless error is conclusively PROVEN, it should be retained as His very word.
Furthermore, I believe the position we hold is the safest position a believer could take. If we are wrong in believing the KJB is God’s pure word in English then we will be judged for believing the Bible He has so greatly used too much. But those who refuse to believe it could be judged for faithlessness, infidelity, and for spreading confusion and unbelief! To us the former position is much to be preferred.
I believe the KJB is God’s pure word without reservation. We treat it as inerrant and infallible. Again, how else should a Christian treat God’s word? For one to call a translation “God’s Word” yet insist it contains errors is highly inconsistent and even blasphemous. Unlike yourself, when we encounter passages we don’t understand or seeming contradictions we don’t dismiss them as translation or copyist errors and “correct” them accordingly. That would make us our own final authority. Instead of judging the Scriptures, we let them judge us. We contend God preserved the Bible in the KJV in the manner He wants us to have it. We don’t believe it must be identical to the autographs to be Scripture (study Jer. ch. 36).
Finally, Mr. Hunt, I have written a rather lengthy letter because I perceive you to be a reasonable man who seeks God’s will. I may be wrong, but I hope not. Nevertheless, can’t you see your inconsistencies? You entreat your readers to be like the Bereans towards the Scriptures yet in the same breath claim these Scriptures are not available. You say the KJB is “God’s Word” and then say it has errors. Can’t you see how this causes confusion? It is not unreasonable for your readers to expect you to produce your tangible, final authority.
In your book “A Woman Rides The Beast” you have an excellent chapter entitled “Sola Scriptura” detailing how the Roman Catholic Church usurps scriptural authority, but the tragedy is if you replace “Catholic,” “Rome,” “The Church,” etc. with “Fundamentalist,” “scholars,” “leading authorities,” etc. it would be nearly as accurate. Neither group can produce what they profess to believe and appeal to “the Church” or “scholarship” as the final authority.
For the sake of your readers and the gospel, Mr. Hunt, please come up with a more consistent and biblical position. We believe the position you hold now is a great wile Satan has conned on man. Instead of only trying to physically take the Bible out of people’s hands by persecution, he uses “logic” and “reason,” appealing to man’s pride and (feeble) intellect to “reason” the pure Scriptures out of his mind and heart. This leaves man as his own final authority. Satan’s tactics have little changed since he dealt with Eve, His suggestion “Ye shall be as gods,” is so appealing to man’s conceited ego that man will often abandon God’s life giving words for his own feeble opinion at the expense of his own life.