Dear Saint of Grace congregation,
For this month's Grace Notes article we look at yet another extremely important issue that is unfortunately (and shockingly) plaguing the Missouri-Synod, namely, the teaching that God's Holy Scripture does NOT make clear that it is inspired and inerrant. Regrettably, there is a Professor at the St. louis Seminary (The Rev. Jeffry Kloha) who has presented a paper which states, "we now have a plastic text of the New Testament. It is plastikos, moldable, shapeable and changeable. indeed it has always been so, even if we are not aware of it... Should we, as teachers and preachers, simply accept what is printed as 'inspired'?" These are quite unsettling words coming from a seminary professor who is also being touted to be the next president of the seminary.
God's Word proclaims that it is inspired and the Evangelical Lutheran Church, since it's solidification through the Augsburg Confession on June 25th, 1530, has always believed, taught, and confessed God's Holy Scripture as being inspired and inerrant as well. This means God's Holy Scripture is the very Word of God and that it is incapable of error.
Part of Grace's desire to hold true to the doctrinal teaching of inspiration and inerrancy is reflected in the translation of God's Word used at Grace congregation. To display the importance of the translation used I am having Grace's president (George Melke) share some understanding which he has gathered. As I found them, I hope you consider this findings insightful and well guiding too.
With you IN Christ!
The Inspired and Inerrant Word of God
in the English Language
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God"
2 Peter 1:21
When newly found manuscripts of the Bible cause some teachers of the church to be confused, the laity cannot ignore the dangers. The Missouri Synod is included, since a St.louis Seminary professor in the Missouri Synod recently raised an exploratory question as to whether we have a "plastic text" of the Scriptures, one that can be "moldable, shapeable and changeable." Such questions are extraordinary for a Synod that declares Scripture to be the inspired Word of God, unchanging and inerrant. Since the Scriptures cannot be broken, how can this question even be asked? The professor's question raises serious questions for the Church.
Changing translations cause confusion and distraction to the laity. Translations are not inspired, but all of God's Word is. It is human bias, human reason and human pride that hates and discards the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, which Luther highly complimented and used for his German Bible. Synods, not mandated by Scriptures or the Book of Concord, now use translations by translators who deny the virgin birth of Christ and His resurrection. Christians should run away as fast as they can from such unbelief yet we embrace their work and publish their bible translations. Such is the state of the visible church in 2015, allowing false teachers and false doctrine and strange worship practices to thrive without correction and expulsion for persistent unbelief and false teaching.
In my travels, I came upon a book that was marked down considerably, one not considered worthy in the secular bookstores of today. I highly recommend this book if you want to learn the facts of how the Bible came to be in the English Language. Over the next months, I will share with you some of the findings that may surprise you. It is written by Gordon Campbell and entitled, Bible - The Story of the King James Version.
This excellent book starts with the factual history of the making of the first English Bibles, reveals the highest Christian scholarship in the making of the King James Bible, then follows up with historical facts of the 'newly' discovered manuscripts used by modern scholars to produce the Revised Standard Version, of which our pew Bible today is based on. Our official pew Bible, the English Standard Version, is 92% of the original RSV, and four Missouri Synod scholars had to make many corrections to correct errors, to make this a more reliable translation. Isaiah 7:14 is a perfect example.
Morden scholars have discarded the excellent work of Erasmus, his Greek New Testament Text called the Textus Receptus, also called the Received Text. Scholars today favor newly discovered manuscripts by simply saying that because they are older, they must be the most accurate. They may be older, but more accurate cannot be proven by such simple statements. If anything, these manuscripts only prove the accuracy of the work already done by Erasmus and the learned scholars who compared many reliable manuscripts in other languages that were available to them, in the making of the King James Bible and recently, the New King James Bible.
The Creator of the different languages, God Himself, as revealed in Genesis 11, has seen to it that we have always had His Word in all its truth and purity, just as He has promised. our goal should be to use the most accurate and doctrinally reliable translation of His Word in the language of today so that we can publicly hear, read mark, learn and inwardly digest all that God has revealed concerning our salvation in Christ with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Martin Luther is clear that one who translates must believe every Word of it as inspired and inerrant, and if not, flee from them. Let's look at the historical evidence beginning with Erasmus in the next installment coming soon.
*Written by George B. Melke, lay member of Grace Lutheran Church, San Mateo, California.*