Kent Brandenburg has rushed to the aid of Chris Pinto in an attempt to revive his reputation as a cutting-edge researcher. Regaling us with his expertise on the transmission of the biblical text, Kent began writing a series of articles excising an autopsy upon what he calls “the multiple version men.” That is Brandenburg newspeak for “Christians who are not KJV only and defend modern translations.” If you are wondering, that is like really, really bad.
The first one in the series was republished over at Noise of Textus Receptus, so obviously, Chris Pinto thinks he has written an opinion piece so astonishing and profound, his detractors must sit up and take notice.
I really don’t have time, nor really the interest, to engage all of Kent’s posts. I anticipate that Kent, or one of his surrogates, will stop by here and lecture me in the comments about what a sad deficiency on my part for not laboring through his series point by point, because they believe I can learn something; but honestly, I want to move on to other important things. With that said, let me interact with the first point he raises. It is a clear demonstration of the facile, slipshod responses masquerading as a rebuttal Kent provides.
1. They leave men with the wrong source of scriptural bibliology.
The textual critic, multiple versionist has never started with the Bible. He didn’t go to history to find the historical, biblical position on the preservation of scripture. He didn’t and doesn’t develop a biblical position before he starts in with his textual criticism. He is not a man of faith, in other words, because faith always starts with what God says. You know you will be wrong when you don’t start with the Bible to come to your position. You will read zero development of theology as a basis of the multiple version point of view. Nothing.
The last issue of the Biblical Evangelist republished an article by Douglas Kutilek on Psalm 12, concerning the doctrine of preservation. A very, very long article was intended to establish that Psalm 12 teaches the preservation of the poor and needy and not the Words of God. So here is Kutilek attempting to “liberate” the Bible from teaching on the perfect preservation of scripture, and what does that leave us with? We are to depend on a handful of scientific gurus to reveal what God’s Words are. Kutilek buttresses his point on gender discordance, and in so doing, is dishonest in not revealing the purposeful gender discordance that is found in pronouns that refer to the Word of God. There are multiple clear examples of this in the Bible, and, therefore, taught in Hebrew grammar and syntax. I and many others have communicated to Kutilek on this, but then he would have to admit that error, so he continues to propagate the misrepresentation. He says that “them” in Psalm 12:6-7 must refer back to poor and needy based upon gender agreement. Again, that’s not true. I’m not saying that the passage doesn’t teach the preservation of the poor of needy, but that the plain reading, and why many Christians have read it this way, is the preservation of God’s Words.
Kent’s words here are so full of inaccuracy and misstatement it is difficult not to call them intentionally dishonest. He seriously thinks any God-fearing Christian who has engaged in textual criticism and believes in the orthodoxy of modern versions really does not believe the Bible. That person is to be identified with the “multiple version men” (MVM) and thus does not have faith in God.
So if you are someone like myself, or one who is even more knowledgeable in the subject like James White, and you question the Simonides theory of Chris Pinto and reject the TR/KJVO worldview of the “single version men” (SVM), well then, you have no faith in God when it comes to the text of our Bible. Seriously. Who exactly argues like this?
As Kent moves along in his comment, he continues to pile on the dishonesty in taking to task Doug Kutilek’s article on Psalm 12:6,7.
Let me break it down,
The SVM will claim that God preserves every single word He inspired. I happen to believe that as a MVM, but how I see history telling us God did that preservation differs radically from the revisionism I read from the SVM like Kent and Pinto. One of the passages SVM (aka KJVOs) will cite for their view of preservation is Psalm 12:6,7 which states,
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
It is claimed by the SVM/KJVOs that this is a direct promise by God Himself that His Word will be kept and preserved from the generation when God began revealing Himself, through to when David originally wrote Psalm 12, and into eternity. In other words, this is a promise that the entire Bible will forever be preserved and not a word will be lost. The truly devout KJVOs argue that the concept of “purified seven times” is a prophetic promise directly related to the various English translations that preceded the publication of the King James in 1611. I talk about that a bit in my series of posts answering the apologetics of KJV onlyists.
Contrary to what Kent asserts for the Pinto fans, Doug Kutilek has written a devastating article against their apologetic talking-point, showing that Psalm 12:6,7 does not, in any fashion, support the idea of an eternal preservation of the biblical text as is claimed by the SVM. In fact, it is a rather detailed, exegetically driven study that proves from the Hebrew grammar itself that the promise to “preserve them” is not the words of God, as in biblical manuscripts and texts, but relates back to the “poor and needy” mentioned in 12:5. God preserves “them,” i.e., the poor and needy, from the attacks of the wicked who seek their spiritual destruction. If anything, Psalm 12 is a Psalm giving God praise for the eternal security He provides His people.
The dishonesty of his words is only compounded when Kent writes that, “We are to depend on a handful of scientific gurus to reveal what God’s Words are….I and many others have communicated to Kutilek on this, but then he would have to admit that error, so he continues to propagate the misrepresentation.” Oh really? Provide me the names of the “many others” who have communicated this to Kutilek. Because as his article documents, the vast majority of Hebrew commentators, both ancient and recent, side with Kutilek, not the SVM on who the “them” truly are.
Take for example, John Gill, who writes on Psalm 12:7, “Ver. 7, “Thou Shall Keep them, O Lord...Not the words before mentioned, as Aben Ezra explains, for the affix is masculine and not feminine…but the sense is, that God will keep the poor and needy, and such as he sets in safety, as Kimchi rightly observes: they are not their own keepers, but God is the keeper of them….”
A fuller list of scholars is provided in Kutilek’s article, but the list includes John Calvin, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke and host of other excellent men, many of who, like these men, wrote way before there were any so-called multiple versions. If I take Kent’s words here, I have to conclude that those guys are not full of faith, started with textual criticism instead of the Bible, and are a group of scientific gurus. Or could it be they are God-fearing, Bible-loving, faith-filled Christians who just so happen to disagree – based upon the grammar of the Hebrew – with Kent and all the SVM.
Adding to the genuine, biblical understanding of Psalm 12:7 that Kutilek explains is the word “generation.” Rather than it being a way of speaking about a fixed point in time and the promise of total preservation of every one of God’s Words during the transmission of the biblical text, the word “generation” speaks to a condition or class of men. In this case, the wicked who attempt to bring down the poor and needy. They are referenced in 12:8 as those who “prowl on every side.” The point being is that David is contrasting a righteous generation with a wicked one.
One Psalm over in Psalm 14:5 the “generation of the righteous” is contrasted with those who have no fear of God, or what would be the “generation of the wicked.” The NT consistently uses “generation” in this fashion and Philippians 2:15,16 even mirrors what is being stated in Psalm 12:7,8 when Paul writes,
that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
So where do the Single Version Men lead us? Are they leading us to the purity of God’s Word? Are they cultivating a solid commitment and faithful affirmation to the true Word of God? (Which of course is only found in the KJV or any other TR based translation).
Or are they teaching us horrendous Bible study skills that strip the biblical text of its true meaning? Are the in truth passing along a deceitful reading of history and facts about the transmission of the Bible? All in a desperate attempt to defend their single version perspective that leaves all Christians without a genuine understanding of what God truly said and how He brought us His Word.