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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Vassar, Michigan
"He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." (John 9: 2-5)

Recently a brother in Christ sent an e-mail communication to certain pastors in Michigan that ended up mentioning my name. In the closing paragraphs he said that I am sending out information "to warn people" about the seminary he oversees. I have called this pastor, and assured him over the phone that I am not involved in a campaign to harm him or his ministry. A few times since the views of his seminary were made more public through a speech given by a professor at a preachers' meeting, I have used that speech to explain why I do not recommend the school. These occasions have been private and very few, and certainly justifiable. The most important thing about a theological seminary is its theology. If you differ with its theology, you cannot recommend a seminary to others. I certainly hope that everybody knows I have no animosity toward this man. Please pray for me! I don't want to "strive" (II Timothy 2:24-25).

One of the differences over which men are squabbling today is the issue of the Bible's text. Of course, I hold to a view of Biblical preservation that directs me to the traditional form of the text and to translations based on it. Other fundamentalists adhere to a view that accepts the theory of modern textual criticism and prompts them to endorse newer versions like the NASB and the NIV. One thing perhaps that good men who differ on this issue might acknowledge together is that leading fundamentalists of the past have displayed deference or preference for traditional readings, even when Westcott and Hort reject them!

See what Scofield says about two famous disputed passages:

"The passage from verse 9 to the end is not found in the two most ancient manuscripts, the Sinaitic and Vatican, and others have it with partial omissions and variations. But it is quoted by Irenaeus and Hippolytus in the second or third century" (speaking of Mark 16:9-20). "John 7:53 - 8:11 is not found in some of the most ancient manuscripts. Augustine declares that it was stricken from many copies of the sacred story because of the prudish fear that it might teach immorality! But the immediate context (vs. 12-46) . . . seems clearly to have its occasion in the conviction wrought in the hearts of the Pharisees as recorded in verse 9; as, also, it explains the peculiar virulence of the Pharisees' words (v. 41)."
Of course, C.I. Scofield accepted the theory of modern textual criticism, but in these important instances he argued strongly against the conclusions it required. He refused to believe that the long-accepted text of these two Gospels could be so seriously flawed.

See what H.A. Ironside said about Mark 16:9-20:

"I do not dwell on the critical question as to the authenticity or otherwise of the last part of this chapter, verse 9 to 20. It is not found in two of the most ancient manuscripts, but it bears the stamp of inspiration, and the book of Acts and the history of Missions attest its credibility, so that I see no reason to assume that it is other than a part of that God-breathed Scripture which is for our instruction and blessing."
This kind of attachment to the traditional text was common among the leading fundamentalist teachers of the past. See what M.R. DeHaan wrote in 1961:
"I believe personally that there has been no better translation made than the King James Version. I would advise you to stick by it . . . The omission of Acts 8:37 from the Revised Standard Version is only one example of the many violations which this translation does to the Word of God. Personally, I have no use whatsoever for these new editions which tell us that certain portions are not in the original manuscripts. It is much safer to stay by the King James Version . . ."
John R. Rice, who is often quoted today in support of the critical Greek text, preached many times on the phrase "prayer and fasting" omitted by the critics in Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:29. Monroe Parker preached on Mark 16:15, and openly expressed his disagreement with modern critics over it. In his great book What the Bible Teaches the scholarly R.A. Torrey quoted the traditional reading of John 1:18 ("the only begotten Son") in opposition to the altered reading of the critics, even though he endorsed their work in theory! Long-accepted readings were reverenced and generally retained by old-time fundamentalists, regardless of their position on textual criticism.

Even today, most spokesmen for the Lord among the fundamentalists are reluctant to reject scripture passages that the critics want to omit. In application, modern text theories have not had prominence among evangelistic fundamentalists over the years. Perhaps they knew the Shepherd's voice and heard it in places where the new theories denied it. Interestingly, if the principles upon which passages such as the end of Mark and the woman taken in adultery are rejected are indeed flawed in these cases, then the whole theory upon which the revised text is based is wrong. If our spiritual forefathers had been more consistent in this matter, more of them would have questioned Westcott and Hort! No matter how he comes to view the opposing theories of textual criticism, the fundamentalist will be in good company if he defers to the traditional text!

Monthly Article
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
(517) 823-7848

Dr. Rick Flanders Biographical Data

Converted in 1963 through a radio ministry.
Earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bob Jones University.
Honorary D.D. from Pensacola Christian College.
Pastor at Juniata Baptist Church since 1973.
On BCPM Board, (Baptist Church Planting Ministry)
and also MACS. (Michigan Association of Christian School)

Articles published in the;
Sword of the Lord
Baptist Preacher,
Christian View of the News,
Pulpit Helps,
Maranatha Watchman
Church Bus News,
and other national periodicals.

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