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The Myth of Scholarly Neutrality
Republished July 16, 2009 (first published via the FBIS July 16, 2002)
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
866-295-4143,
fbns@wayoflife.org
Republished July 16, 2009 (first published via the FBIS July 16, 2002) (Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) –

[The following is excerpted from “What Difference Does It Make” by Wilbur N. Pickering. This is published as an appendix in
Unholy Hands on the Bible, Volume II, edited by Jay Green, Sr. (Sovereign Grace Publishers, Lafayette, IN 47903, 765-429-4122, sales@sovgracepub.com, http://www.sovgracepub.com/). In this article, Pickering exposes the myth that there is no doctrinal issue involved with the modern Bible versions and he exposes the error of modern textual criticism.]


We need to lay to rest the myth of neutrality and scholarly objectivity. Anyone who has been inside the academic community knows that it is liberally sprinkled with bias, party lines, fads, vendettas, personal ambition, spite and just plain old ordinary meanness--quite apart from a satanic hatred of the Truth. Neutrality and objectivity should never be assumed, and most especially when dealing with God’s Truth--because in this area neither God nor Satan will permit neutrality. In Matthew 12:30 the Lord Jesus said: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters abroad.” God declares that neutrality is impossible; you are either for Him or against Him. Jesus claims to be God. Faced with such a claim we have only two options, to accept or to reject. (“Agnosticism” is really a passive rejection.) The Bible claims to be God’s Word. Again our options are but two. It follows that when dealing with the text of Scripture neutrality is impossible! The Bible is clear about satanic interference in the minds of human beings, and most especially when they are considering God’s Truth. 2 Corinthians 4:4 states plainly that the god of this age/world blinds the minds of unbelievers when they are confronted with the Gospel. The Lord Jesus said the same thing when He explained the parable of the sower. “….when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mk. 4:15; Lk. 8:12).

Furthermore, there is a pervasive satanic influence upon all human culture. 1 John 5:19 states that “the whole world lieth in wickeness.” The picture is clearly one of massive influence, if not control -- NASB, RSV, NEB and Jerusalem render “in the power of,” TEV has “under the rule of,” NIV has “under the control of,” NKJV has “under the sway of.” All human culture is under pervasive satanic influence, including the culture of the academic community. Ephesians 2:2 is even more precise: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Satan actively works in the mind of anyone who rejects God’s authority over him. FOR SOMEONE WHO CLAIMS TO BELIEVE GOD’S WORD TO ACCEPT AN EDITION OF THE BIBLE THAT WAS PREPARED BY UNBELIEVERS IS TO IGNORE THE TEACHING OF THAT WORD.

Interpretation is preeminently a matter of wisdom. AN UNBELIEVING TEXTUAL CRITIC MAY HAVE A REASONABLE ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE RELEVANT EVIDENCE, HE MAY HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACTS, BUT THAT BY NO MEANS IMPLIES THAT HE KNOWS WHAT TO DO WITH IT. If “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10), then presumably the unbeliever doesn’t have any, at least from God’s point of view. Those who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ will presumably wish to identify with God’s perspective. Anyone who edits or translates the text of Scripture needs to be in spiritual condition such that he can ask the Holy Spirit to illumine him in his work as well as protect his mind from the enemy. …

In Jesus’ day there were those who “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43), and they are with us still. But, the “praise of men” comes at a high price -- you must accept their value system, a value system that suffers direct satanic influence. To accept the world’s value system is basically an act of treason against King Jesus, a type of idolatry. Those conservative scholars who place a high value on “academic recognition,” on being acknowledged by the “academic community,” on being known for “scholastic excellence,” etc., need to ask themselves about the presuppositions that lie behind such recognition.

Please note that I am not decrying true scholarship -- I have three earned graduate degrees myself--but I AM CHALLENGING CONSERVATIVES TO MAKE SURE THAT THEIR DEFINITION OF SCHOLARSHIP COMES FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT, NOT FROM SATAN, THAT THEIR SEARCH FOR RECOGNITION IS GODLY, NOT SELFISH. I RATHER SUSPECT THAT WERE THIS TO HAPPEN THERE WOULD BE A DRAMATIC SHIFT IN THE CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN WORLD WITH REFERENCE TO THE PRACTICE OF NT TEXTUAL CRITICISM AND TO THE IDENTITY OF THE TRUE NT TEXT.



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