The Men Behind The Madnessby Doug Stauffer
(chapter from One Book Stands Alone)==Posted August 2018
As the previous chapter entitled “The Road to Rome” demonstrated, instead of being a mighty barrier to the advancement of the Popery (the Roman Catholic Church), the modern versions actually
strengthen and reinforce the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.
Textual criticism cannot be divorced entirely from theology. No matter how great a Greek scholar a man may be, or no matter how great an authority on the textual evidence, his conclusions must always be open to suspicion if he does not accept the Bible as the very Word of God. 1
David Otis Fuller
How did it All Begin?
The King James Bible indisputably reigned supreme from the 1600’s through the late 1800’s without any real competition. “Coincidentally,” this period contained the world’s greatest period of spiritual revival. However, in May 1881, the English Revised Version was published in England, selling two million copies within four days! Although it failed to gain lasting popular appeal, it opened the floodgates to later versions that would use the same corrupt foundation – the Greek texts designed by the Catholic sympathizers Westcott and Hort.
Most historians recognize the brutal persecution enacted by the Roman Catholic Church against all those who have disagreed with them. The most infamous of these was the system of tribunals known as the Inquisition used to torture and kill many of those that challenged the Catholic dogma. The methods they have used are notorious and include torture, imprisonment, and murder.
Hundreds of books have been written about the brutality of the Inquisition. Amazingly, the inquisitors kept detailed records documenting their atrocious acts. Dr. Bill Grady, quoting from Foxe’s Christian Martyrs of the World, gives the following statistics:
Torquemada was chief inquisitor until his death, and during the eighteen years he ruled the Holy Office, ten thousand two hundred and twenty persons were burned alive, and ninety-seven thousand three hundred and twenty-two punished with loss of property, or imprisonment – numbers so large as to seem incredible, but which are given by Llorente, the Spanish historian of the Inquisition, who was well qualified to judge of their accuracy. 2
No matter how effective or oppressive Satan’s wiles, God always provides a way to stand against them (Ephesians 6:11). The Lord chose one of their own, a converted former Catholic priest named Martin Luther, to enlighten the world. He led Germany and the rest of the world into the Protestant Reformation. The encyclopedia tells us that the name Protestant originated with a group of German princes who protested against the pope in 1529. The term has come to be applied to those denominations that arose out of the Reformation era, including the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian Churches.3 (See endnotes for the reason that Baptists are not included in this list of Protestant churches.) 4
The Westcott and Hort/Roman Catholic Church Connection
Soon after the Reformation began, the Catholic Church began a counter-reformation movement. In 1534, Ignatius de Loyola founded the Jesuits in an attempt to recapture nations lost to the Protestant Reformation. He also used this Jesuit priest organization to attack, discredit, and remove the Textus Receptus Greek Text from use and to support pro-Catholic Greek texts in its place. Eventually, the Jesuits’ greatest accomplishment would be to supplant the Textus Receptus (the text used to give us the King James Bible) with the Westcott and Hort Greek text.
Their crowning achievement of the 20th Century would be the production of a plethora of modern versions. The NIV publisher, John R. Kohlenberger may have said it best when he linked all modern versions back to the Westcott and Hort Greek text. He said, “All subsequent versions from the Revised Version (1881) to those of the present … have adopted their basic approach … and accepted the Westcott and Hort (Greek) text.” Thus, the majority of seminaries have also adopted this corrupt Greek text, in lieu of the one used by the churches for 1,600 years.
The historical accounts of corruption emphasize the importance of knowing the men and women behind the modern versions. Those claiming to make the Bible more readable, yet denying the inspiration of the Bible, should have their writings carefully scrutinized to determine their underlying beliefs and motives. Unfortunately, many revisers of the words of God have not even believed in the fundamentals of the faith, let alone the inspiration of the Bible. Two of the men most responsible for the corruptions found in the modern versions are Fenton J.A. Hort and Brooke Foss Westcott.
Those influenced by modern textual critics and their criticisms ignore or downplay the heretical beliefs of Westcott and Hort. For example, here is the standard position expressed in a book published in 1999, entitled From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man.
But those who really brought the Alexandrian texts to the public’s attention were two Church of England clergymen, Brook Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort. In 1881, after some twenty-eight years of careful textual criticism, they published a Greek New Testament that gave primary (though not exclusive) precedence to the older Alexandrian readings…Some have vilified these men’s intentions. But what has been amazing to me, as a preacher of God’s Word who must rely upon the findings of textual critics, is that Westcott and Hort themselves believed that there is actually very little difference between the two major families of manuscripts. 5
The misinformation concerning these two men is very disturbing and destructive. The changes discussed in this book have resulted from the differences between “the two major families of manuscripts.” Are they significant?
Westcott and Hort knew the importance of keeping their personal beliefs from public view. Their personal correspondence reveals that they knew the importance of displaying a public persona that looked fundamentally sound. However, it also reveals what they truly believed. Because of their lasting influence, seminaries have become breeding grounds for spiritual infidelity concerning God’s words. We need seminaries to preach and teach a dependence upon God and His word, rather than a dependence upon scholarship and man’s wisdom.
Who were Westcott and Hort? What were their Beliefs?
The best way to discover the beliefs of the dead is to study their writings. Both Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort wrote extensively. Here are some of their beliefs, as revealed by their own writings:
· Did not believe in the miracles of the Bible
Westcott in 1847: “I never read an account of a miracle (in the Bible?) but I seem instinctively to feel its improbability and discover some want of evidence in the account of it.” 6
· Did not believe in the infallibility of the scriptures
Westcott to Hort in 1860: “I reject the word infallibility – of Holy Scripture overwhelming.” 7
Hort to Lightfoot in 1860: “If you make a decided conviction of the absolute infallibility of the N.T. practically a sine qua non for co-operation, I fear I could not join you, even if you were willing to forget your fears about the origin of the Gospels.” 8
· Did not believe in the supernatural creation
Hort to Westcott in 1860: “…Have you read Darwin? How I should like to talk with you about it! In spite of difficulties, I am inclined to think it unanswerable. In any case, it is a treat to read such a book.”9
Hort to Ellerton in 1860: “But the book which has most engaged me is Darwin. Whatever may be thought of it, it is a book that one is proud to be contemporary with. I must work out and examine the argument more in detail, but at present my feeling is strong that the theory is unanswerable.” 10
· Did not believe in the efficacy of the atonement
Hort: “The fact is, I do not see how God’s justice can be satisfied without every man’s suffering in his own person the full penalty for his sins.” 11
· Westcott and Hort were clearly Anti-protestant (pro-Catholic sympathizers)
Hort: “I think I mentioned to you before Campbell’s book on the Atonement, which is invaluable as far as it goes; but unluckily he knows nothing except Protestant theology.” 12
· Believed in the necessity of purgatory
Hort to Ellerton: “But the idea of purgation, of cleansing as by fire, seems to me inseparable from what the Bible teaches us of the Divine chastisements…”13
· Believed in the communist system
Westcott: “I suppose I am a communist by nature.” 14
Hort: “I…cannot say that I see much as yet to soften my deep hatred for democracy in all its forms.” 15
Hort: “I cannot at present see any objection to a limit being placed by the State upon the amount of property which any one person may possess . . . I would say that – the co-operative principle (Communism) is a better and a mightier than the competitive principle (Free enterprise system).” 16
· Believed in prayers for the dead
Westcott: “We agreed unanimously that we are, as things are now, forbidden to pray for the dead apart from the whole church in our public services. No restriction is placed upon private devotions (to pray for the dead).” 17
The Roman Catholic system has greatly profited from the money paid for saying Mass for loved ones that have died.
· Believed in the worship of Mary
Hort: “I am very far from pretending to understand completely the ever renewed vitality of mariolatry. …I have been persuaded for many years that Mary-worship and ‘Jesus-worship’ have very much in common in their causes and their results.” 18
(Westcott compelled his wife Sarah Louisa to take the name Mary in addition to her given name.) 19
· Believed in the sacraments (sacrifices)
Hort: “Still we dare not forsake the Sacraments, or God will forsake us.” 20
· Believed in baptismal regeneration
Westcott: “By birth he may, if he will, truly live here; by baptism he may if he will, truly live forever. …I do think we have no right to exclaim against the idea of the commencement of a spiritual life, conditionally from Baptism, any more than we have to deny the commencement of a moral life from birth.” 21
Hort: “We maintain ‘Baptismal Regeneration’ as the most important of doctrines…the pure Romish view seems to me nearer, and more likely to lead to the truth than the Evangelical.” 22
· Acknowledged their heretical positions
Hort to Ellerton: “Possibly you have not heard that I have become Harold Browne’s Examining Chaplain. I have only seen him two or three times in my life, not at all intimately, and was amazed when he made the proposal, in the kindest terms. I wrote to warn him that I was not safe or traditional in my theology, and that I could not give up association with heretics and such like.” 23
Westcott to Lightfoot: “It is strange, but all the questionable doctrines which I have ever maintained are in it (a particular book lacking the fundamentals).” 24
· Other significant problems with Westcott and Hort
4 Did not believe in a literal heaven. 25
4 Did not believe in the literal second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.26
4 Did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ’s literal 1,000-year reign on earth.27
4 Did not believe in the reality of angels.28
4 Denied the Trinity’s oneness.29
4 Doubted the soul’s existence apart from the body.30
4 Did not believe in a literal Devil.31
It is hard to imagine, after reading what these two men believed, how any Christian that espouses the fundamentals of the faith could align himself with the likes of these two characters. However, every person choosing a modern version over the King James Bible does just that. He aligns himself with two men who despised the very things that most Christians hold sacred. Their influence can be seen directly in the revision of 1881 and indirectly in every modern version since that time. To ascertain the extent of their influence, read the writings of their contemporaries, including Dean Burgon, another member of the Revision committee.
This is what Dean Burgon said about the new Westcott and Hort Greek text. “The history of the ‘New’ Greek Text is briefly this: a majority of the Revisors….are found to have put themselves into the hands of Westcott and Hort.”32 Dean Burgon knew that the majority of the men involved in bringing about a “revision” of the Bible were improperly influenced by these two men.
The King James Bible New Testament comes from the Majority Text (that is, from those manuscripts that agree with each other and are most prevalent). Unlike the translators of 1611, Westcott and Hort rejected the Majority Text and relied heavily on the Alexandrian manuscripts which included the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts. One of the members of the committee pointed out that the “Vatican Codex…is regarded by Hort as a first rate authority; even when it stands alone, its evidence is regarded as of very high value. When it agrees with some other of certain selected good manuscripts, especially Tischendorf’s Sinai Codex, their joint testimony is accepted as almost decisive.” Westcott and Hort regarded both the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts as authoritative. Yet, these two manuscripts disagree with each other over 3,000 times in the Gospels alone.33 These two manuscripts have greatly influenced every modern version on the market today and form the basis for 99% of them.
When the Majority Text (of the King James Bible) was overruled by majority vote, many of the original 99 Revision Committee members resigned from the work. Dr. Newth states that the dropout rate from Hort’s overbearing presence was about 88%, with an average attendance of sixteen, and most of the attending members declining to vote.34
The final outcome was that Westcott and Hort changed the Greek text of the Textus Receptus in 5,337 instances. Hort writing to Westcott on April 12, 1861 clearly shows that they were well aware of the fact that their positions would be viewed as heretical. “Also - but this may be cowardice - I have a sort of craving that our text should be cast upon the world before we deal with matters likely to brand us with suspicion. I mean, a text, issued by men already known for what will undoubtedly be treated as dangerous heresy, will have great difficulties in finding its way to regions which it might otherwise hope to reach, and whence it would not be easily banished by subsequent alarms.” 35
Some may still not be convinced as to the heretical beliefs of these two men. Westcott and Hort did not even believe in the inspiration of the original autographs. Writing in their Introduction to the New Testament in Original Greek they stated: “Little is gained by speculating as to the precise point at which such corruption came in. They may be due to the original writings or to his amanuensis if he wrote from dictation, or they may be due to one of the earliest transcribes.” 36
These two men are directly responsible for the spiritual backbone lacking in most pulpits because of the changes brought about through their corrupt text. Consequently, the modern versions have contributed to the heresies of man. Many of these revisions attack the very fabric of everything Christians hold sacred. Whether you choose the NIV, NKJV, NASV, Living Bible, or any other modern version does not matter. The foundation of each of these modern versions is corrupt. This includes the NKJV when it departs from the Textus Receptus, choosing to align itself with the false and heretical readings of the Westcott and Hort text.
The choice is simple. One must choose to hear the words of God as recorded in the King James Bible and thereby be likened to the man that built his house upon a firm foundation. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Matthew 7:24).
When the trials of life come (and they will) the only way to withstand the onslaught is to have the right spiritual foundation. “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:25).
If one chooses to ignore the changes made by these modern perversions, he can be likened to a man that built his house upon sinking sand. “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: (Mathew 7:26).
When the trials of life come, without the right foundation, the destruction is foretold. “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:27).
Each of us should carefully consider the Psalmist’s question: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). In light of the evidence, only one choice remains. The King James Bible stands alone. All of the modern versions are built upon the same corrupt sinking-sand foundation. The Bible says, “Blessed is he that readeth…” (Revelation 1:3). One can be blessed by simply reading the Bible, but it does matter which “Bible” one chooses. The blessings do not come from picking up one’s favorite version. They come from reading God’s book, and God only wote one book!
Chapter 14 Endnotes
1 David Otis Fuller, Which Bible?, Grand Rapids, MI (Grand Rapids International Publications, 5th ed., 1975), p. 157.
2 Grady, Final Authority, op. cit., p. 192.
3 David Cloud, Way of Life Encyclopedia, WAY OF LIFE LITERATURE, Oak Harbor, WA.
4 J.M. Carroll, The Trail of Blood, (Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Lexington, KY, 1931) p. 3.
BAPTIST: Baptists do not trace their heritage to the Protestant Reformation, but back to Jesus Christ and the apostolic churches. Baptists are not a by-product of the Reformation as Curtis Whaley so aptly explained:
Though many Baptist groups sprang up during the Protestant Reformation, according to Collier’s Encyclopedia, the Baptists have descended from some of the evangelical sects of the preceding age during which the Roman and Orthodox Churches dominated all of Europe and suppressed all dissent. A Catholic, Cardinal Hosius, President of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), wrote during the early years of the Reformation period, “Were it not that the Baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater numbers than all the reformers.”
Baptist is name for various groups of Christians who hold certain distinctives such as:
1. Salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9);
3. Eternal security of the believer (Romans 8:35-39);
2. Baptism by immersion of believers only (Acts 8:36-38);
4. The Bible as the sole authority for the church – tradition and other writings are rejected as authoritative (Isaiah 8:20, John 8:47, II Timothy 3:16), including a rejection of infant baptism;
5. Priesthood of the believer – a separate priesthood within the church is rejected (I Peter 2:5-9, Revelation 1:5-6);
6. Regenerate church membership – professing Christians, giving evidence of salvation are the only ones qualifying to join the local church (Romans 10:13, Titus 3:5);
7. Autonomy of the local church – all hierarchical structures are rejected (Acts 13:1, Colossians 1:2);
5 Williams, From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man, op. cit., p. 83-84.
6 Arthur Westcott, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1903), 52.
7 Ibid., volume I:207.
8 Arthur Fenton Hort, Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1896), 420.
9 Ibid., volume I:414.
10 Ibid., volume I:416.
11 Ibid., volume I: 120.
12 Ibid., volume I:322
13 Ibid., volume II:336.
14 Arthur Westcott, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1903), 309.
15 Arthur Fenton Hort, Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, volume II (London: Macmillan and Co., 1896), 34.
16 Ibid., volume I:140-141.
17 Arthur Westcott, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, volume II (London: Macmillan and Co., 1903), 349.
18 Arthur Fenton Hort, Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, volume II (London: Macmillan and Co., 1896), 49-50.
19 Arthur Westcott, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1903), 8.
20 Arthur Fenton Hort, Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1896), 77.
21 Arthur Westcott, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, volume II (London: Macmillan and Co., 1903), 160.
22 Arthur Fenton Hort, Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1896), 76.
23 Ibid., Volume II, 165.
24 Arthur Westcott, Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1903), 290.
25 Ibid., Volume II, 49.
26 Benjamin Wilkerson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, (Takoma Park, 1930), 197-198.
28 Arthur Fenton Hort, Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1896), 219.
29 Ibid., 136.
30 Ibid., Volume II, 64.
31 Ibid., Volume I, 121.
32 Burgon, Revision Revised, op. cit., p. 40.
33 Bill Grady, Final Authority, op. cit., 98.
34 Ibid., p. 256.
35 Arthur Fenton Hort, Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, volume I (London: Macmillan and Co., 1896), 445.
36 Westcott and Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek, (NY: Harper & Bros., 1982) p. 280.