MARTIN CHEMNITZ PRESS
A MIGHTY FORTRESS LUTHERAN CHURCH
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.
6421 W. Poinsettia Drive
Thursday, December 30, 1999
CHRISTIAN NEW MISLEADS READERS
The last time I contacted Christian News, I told Pastor Otten that I did not want any of my articles printed in the future. I also canceled my subscription and stopped selling books through CN.
So what did I see in a new issue? Pastor Otten reprinted an article I wrote 11 years ago about the NET. When I wrote after 1988 about my preference for the King James Version above all others, he did not print the article. I do not want people to think that the newest version of the Beck Bible is something I would buy, use, or recommend. Nor would I use a free copy. Here are five reasons:
True, I used to favor plain language translations over the King James, but the way translations multiplied like bunnies convinced me that one standard was better than no standard. In addition, the more I used the King James, the more I loved it. If people must have a modern version, I suggest the New King James, but the Authorized Version is still the best. I deal with these issues more completely in the introduction to Thy Strong Word.
Another issue is the barbaric treatment of the New Testament text by all non-KJV translations, Beck included. (More in the book.) I learned a lot writing the introduction to Thy Strong Word. One thing that shocked me was the way the orthodox Lutherans fell for the whole Wescott Hort game of playing with the text. Some people get mad at the so-called Egyptian texts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus). But they are documents. What we do with documents – that matters. Suddenly the vast majority of all New Testament texts, the Majority Text, were considered and were called inferior to the two texts recently found, both with no history behind them. If your child showed up at Christmas with a future spouse, the first question would be, “And where did this person come from? Parents? Religious heritage? Medical history? Trust funds?” Sinaiticus appeared suddenly in a monstery. Vaticanus appeared suddenly at the Vatican. Although the two new finds are used to remove many verses from the New Testament, they do not agree with each other.
Beck fell for the modernist thinking about the New Testament text. Otten discussed it with him and talked to me about it. I noticed from Christian News Encyclopedia that Koch (another old conservative) also followed the same line of thinking. Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, taught the new methods long before the Seminex crisis. So did WELS. That made the NIV-only phase easy to adopt in WELS and Missouri.
Theological education tends to be very dated. When Koch and Beck were being trained, Vatican and Sinaiticus were new and exciting, just as the Dead Sea Scrolls were to me when I was in college and took a course in them. However, professors and pastors tend not to veer away from their original education and use the same books and notes. An older pastor, 75 years old today, probably received a Victorian education, because he was trained by men taught by Victorians. I had several professors trained by Paul Tillich, the multiple-adulterer, author of “The Courage To Be.” Tillich was very much a fad then and even made the cover of Time. I do not think many people take Tillich seriously now.
The effect of publishing and getting into doctrinal disputes is to force men into additional study. This could happen through pastoral papers at conferences, but it rarely does. (The LCA had no pastoral papers. We always had experts blow in to promote their projects.) In WELS, papers are often safe repetitions of notes from class. I did not have such notes and did not think that was the way to write, so I was panned for failing to parrot the seminary professors. The purpose of circuit meetings and pastoral conferences was to bring up doctrinal issues and deal with them. I understand from all over that doctrinal issues are avoided at all costs.
I hope that I learn as I write. No matter what I think I might know when I start a project, I learn a lot more during the effort and afterwards as well. I do not learn much from people who phone, write, or email me to call me names, but I do gain a lot from explaining, debating, listening, and reading even more papers and books. For instance, I did not know there were two Greek words for redemption until I studied justification by faith.
A few people choked on the size of my justification chapter, even the one I translated into HTML for the Bethany site. I’m sorry. I forget that most do not have a computer that needs a 440 outlet and a liquid nitrogen cooler. (Just kidding). I changed the Bethany site version and I have a Microsoft Word version that is only half a meg unzipped, much smaller when Winzipped. The problem was my table of contents. Very handy but a memory hog of Orson Wells proportions.
People continue to write from all over the world. I am glad that the Word can be broadcast 24 hours a day, with no synodical interference, all over Lutheranism, thanks to the Internet.