A falling away: Anglican edition

The Anglican churches’ 39 Articles says the received text is the correct text of the Bible, but these churches have abandoned the received text. They have fallen away from the basis of their confession … and they didn’t even notice.

What the 39 Articles is

The 39 Articles is the doctrinal statement behind the Anglican churches. For South Africa, this is the Church of England in South Africa (CESA), lately known as the Reformed Evangelical Church of South Africa (REACH). There is also the Church of the Province of South Africa (CPSA), but they fell away from the historic confession before their founding, and embraced the errors of Rome, so I’ll just ignore them.

The 39 Articles dates back to 1562, just 49 years before the Authorised Version of the Bible was published in 1611.

What the 39 Articles says about the text of the Bible

Article 6 of the 39 articles reads as follows in the original (although I have reduced the lists to just the first and last item of each).  The point I would like to point out is at the end:

VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for salvation
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be. believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Of the Names and Numbers of the Canonical Books

  • Genesis
  • … (lotsa books)
  • Four Prophets the greater
  • Twelve Prophets the less

And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:

  • The Third Book of Kings
  • …(lotsa books)
  • The Second Book of Maccabees

All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

It says the Bible is sufficient, and it says what the Bible is.  This last statement deserves some emphasis:

All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

From this we learn that there was in 1571 no dispute about the contents of the New Testament. The phrase I would like to draw attention to is “as they are commonly received”. We cannot suppose that only the names of the books are received, without attention to the content of those books: the books themselves are received, along with their well known contents.  This is the received text.

From this text comes the Authorised Version 1611 (KJV).

What if the Bible changes?

This statement makes no provision for changes to the received text. The 39 Articles does not admit such variation. However, such variation was introduced to the public in 1844 with Tischendorff’s fraudulent “Codex Sinaiticus”, which joined the “Codex Vaticanus” and “Codex Alexandrinus” as the third false witness against the reliability of the received text, although even then their witness did not agree together.

Following Griesbach’s method of pretending the most unreliable and contorted text must be the original, Westcott and Hort produced a new Greek text for the New Testament, which is actually remarkably similar to the received text – except at a few thousand points. Their new edition lacked two important qualities: accuracy, and authority. From their work, the Nestle Alland and United Bible Society text are derived. And from this most “scholarly” work, helped by the hand of James Strong, who in his concordance insinuated loaded religious meanings into normal Greek words (such as turning workers into slaves), spring the innumerable modern English versions.

From the re-invented Greek text spring all manner of translation, starting with the RV (Rejected Version), which nobody wanted. Some liked the original NASB (Non-authentic Substitute Bible), but the first version which received widespread acceptance was the RSV (Really Successful Version). When the NIV (New Insipid Version) was published in 1984, it was a great success and became the best selling Bible version. The NIV was scuttled in 2011, and this was a boost to the ESV (Extra Sneaky Version) and the NLT (Nauseating Lousy Tergiversation).

These new translations are now commonplace in churches which reject them in their own doctrinal statement.

The 39 Articles said we know what the Bible is.  The churches don’t care.

And so?

Should we care? Should we care that Christians that claim to love the truth also tolerate things that are fundamentally against their statement of doctrine?

It would be one thing if the denomination(s) would repudiate the clause in their doctrinal statement, but they have not done so. They have not even noticed the problem, because the people who should have sounded the alarm are asleep at the wheel, lulled into stupour by the gentle sound of very scholarly people pretending to speak Greek with an English accent.

Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

Wake up sleepy Anglicans! You don’t know your own doctrine! You are ignorant of the devices of Satan. There are certain men crept in unawares, and they are in control of your institutions. The glory is departing, and will not return.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first …

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