A Written Debate Concerning The Preservation Of Scripture
Timothy S. Morton
Letters, Emails, and More Letters
From time to time we get letters and
emails from "well-meaning" brethren taking issue with us over some of
our material. Probably the most controversial article on our website,
or the one that has generated the most response, is an unlikely one.
is not our material about the King James Bible, nor is it about our
position on Dispensationalism, it is our article about Honorary
I usually get two types of letters. Those from people with earned
doctorates who praise the
article, and those from preachers with
"doctorates" who hate it.
I have been called "antichrist" and worse by these brethren [or some
who idolize them] because of that simple article. It hits those who
love position and praise right where they are most vulnerable, their bloated, self-serving ego.
One would think doctrinal issues would prevail over the desire to
praise to the carnal man, but not here. When
you challenge the perception some of
the brethren would like others to have of them, you are stirring up
However, we do get a lot of letters from people concerning doctrine
our position on the King James Bible. Some simply want to ask a
question and others want to "show
[me] where [I'm] wrong."
These letters are pretty much evenly divided between the King James
Bible and other subjects. Some of those who want to correct me [and I
have been corrected a few times] fancy themselves as "armchair
scholars" or "knowledgeable" persons well equipped to "lead
[me] to the truth."
Some of you may have read our correspondence with Rick
that took place in 1996. That was before we had Internet access here in
the hills so we corresponded the old-fashioned way, by letter. Norris
started out saying he just wanted to get some information about my
views in research for a book he was writing, but it didn't take long
for him to show his true colors and unbelief. After four cycles of
letters between us, Norris could not produce the Bible he professed to
believe. He essentially admitted he did not believe a pure Bible
existed or could ever exist. He eventually did get his book
finished, I understand, to the rave reviews of some of his ilk, but
Norris was one of the most
inconsistent fellows I have dealt with.
misrepresented my position from the
Although they often make the pretense of being objective and "logical,"
they are often stereotypical in their treatment and condescending in
Another one of these "armchair scholars" is a fellow named Darron
He considers himself "an
expert on textual and
transmission issues of Scripture"
and is, of course, another avid critic of the King James Bible. Steele
first contacted me by email sometime in 2002 to ask me some questions
about my position. I am always willing to answer any inquisitive soul
as I have the time. But, again, this correspondence quickly led to
challenges of my position, and I in turn challenged his. One annoying
habit of Steele was he would often challenge a position he assumed
I held without first
finding out what my position actually was. This
is the classic "straw-man" argument:
make up a position for your opponent and then proceed to tear it down.
It is a common tactic of the "Autograph Only" crowd. They want to
describe our position for us.
My correspondence with Steele went on from time to time as I had a few
minutes to reply. Steele has twice sent me draft copies of a book he
was working on [actually, I think it is finished now], but it is just
more of the same Alexandrian
Text/"Autograph Only" hype
with a slightly different twist. Nevertheless, he insists the
Alexandrian Text is the text used by the apostles, and the one closest
to their precious original autographs. But as you will see in this
short debate, Steele also has a problem with consistency. He
refuses to apply his positions equally
to all relevant subjects.
Written Debate Proposed
A month or two ago [8-04] after Steele wrote me "pushing
as he put it, I
told him I did not have any more time for this correspondence. It was
going no where. However, I was
somewhat curious to see the progression of thought for his position.
Thus I said I would make an outline of my position for the superiority
of the King James Bible if he would make an outline of his position.
Each of us would then comment on the others position and then have a
final rebuttal of the comments, and that would end it. He could
concisely give his position, and I could mine. This
way others could see our two
positions and determine for themselves which they deem as more valid.
I sent Steele a draft copy of this page and the
he sent me some introductory remarks he wished to include. Since I
wrote these remarks it is only fair that I include his as well. They
can be found here.
I do not wish to
misrepresent anyone. I will make a comment or two, though, about a
couple things he said in his remarks. He is free to do the same
if he publishes this material. That is one of the advantages of being
Steele said I, "allege
that [he] did not believe cardinal doctrines of proper Christian
Yes I did allege that at times, and he gave me good reason to. In his
book he made a comparison using Mormonism and called the Mormons a
Christian denomination. When I took issue with that [I believe the
Mormons are a cult] in an email, Steele replied saying the Mormons
the true gospel. Having studied Mormonism somewhat I knew their gospel
was based on various kinds of works plus their brand of faith in
Christ. So I had doubts about
Steele's understanding of the true gospel.
I asked him if his gospel was the Mormon gospel and he said I was
getting off the subject of the Bible. First, I never bound myself to
any one subject, and second, I wanted to see if Steele was believing
the true gospel and thus a true Christian. He got somewhat offended
that I would question his salvation, but he then explained his
better and I was satisfied.
Another thing Steele
said is, "Brother
Morton does not always answer questions kindly when he suspects that
the asker does not believe like he does regarding the KJV." True,
sometimes I'm not very cordial. If someone is going to attack or even
question my Bible, I want them to prove their charge. I get tired of
getting letters from people who claim to know what is NOT the pure
of God, but they can never produce what they believe to be the pure
word of God. It is almost always attack,
criticize and tear down for them when it comes to the
King James Bible. They are eager to try to destroy my confidence in my
Bible, but they never have anything
PROVEN better to replace it with.
Many of them are consumed by bitterness and negativity. Steele was not
as bad at this as most, but he still cannot produce the Bible he
professes to believe. I don't expect people to believe exactly as I do
concerning the King James Bible or anything else. I am not that
naive. But if they are going to question and attack my Bible, don't
expect me to "rollover" any more than if they would question and
Darron Steele seems to me to be honest in his beliefs and approach. He
believes his position is the closest to the truth, and I respect that,
even though I think he is mistaken. I harbor no malice or resentment
towards him personally, but I think his position is based more on
limited human logic and reason than on the Scriptures and Scriptural
principles. But, of course, he thinks similar of my position. You,
reader, can determine for yourself.
Our outlines are in a slightly different format so I
three column table to keep all the corresponding comments together so
it would be easier to follow. You can go to both pages by following