By Editorial Staff
Published April 8, 2008
There’s a typical argument heard on campus, particularly in the religion department: “You can’t trust the Bible because its full of inconsistencies and contradictions.” Religion professors and skeptics of Christianity capitalize on the fact that there are thousands of various readings of both the Old and New Testaments … leaving Christian faith with little to stand on.
But is this true? Ezra Abbot, a member of the American Revision Committee, wrote about the various readings in his Critical Essays: “The number of ‘various readings’ frightens some innocent people, and figures largely in the writings of the more ignorant disbelievers in Christianity. ‘One hundred and fifty-thousand various readings!’ Must not these render the text of the New Testament wholly uncertain, and thus destroy the foundation of our faith?
“The true state of the case is something like this. Of the 150,000 various readings, more or less, of the text of the Greek New Testament, we may dismiss nineteen-twentieths from consideration at once, as being obviously of such a character, or supported by so little authority, that no critic would regard them as having any claim to reception. This leaves, we will say, 7,500.
“But of these, again, it will appear on examination that 19 out of 20 are of no sort of consequence as affecting the sense; they relate to questions of orthography, or grammatical construction, or the order of words, or such other matters as have been mentioned above, in speaking of unimportant variations.
“They concern only the form of expression, not the essential meaning. This reduces the number to perhaps 400, which involve a difference of meaning, often very slight, or the omission or addition of a few words, sufficient to render them objects of some curiosity or interest, while a few exceptional cases among them may relatively be called important. But our critical helps are now so abundant that in a very large majority of these questions of reading we are able to determine the true text with a good degree of confidence. In the text of all ancient writings, there are passages in which the text cannot be settled with certainty; and the same is true of the interpretation.”
Biblical scholar Philip Schaff concludes that only 400 of the 150,000 various readings caused doubt about the textual meaning, and only 50 of these were of great significance. Not one of the variations, Schaff says, “altered an article of faith or a precept of duty which is not abundantly sustained by other and undoubted passages, or by the whole tenor of Scripture teaching.”
That textual errors do not endanger doctrine is emphatically stated by Sir Frederick Kenyon: “No fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading.”
Kenyon also points out that the Bible has the most reliable manuscripts in the world when compared with any other ancient book. “Scholars are satisfied that they possess substantially the true text of the principal Greek and Roman writers whose works have come down to us, of Sophocles, of Thucydides, of Cicero, of Virgil; yet our knowledge of their writing depends on a mere handful of manuscripts, whereas the manuscripts of the New Testament are counted by hundreds, and even thousands.”
Taken from Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell, © 1972 by Campus Crusade for Christ, San Bernardino, CA pages 43-45.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
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Special Two-Disc Set!
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Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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