Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Craft of Dishonest Quotation - 1

Over the next week or so, God willing, I will be addressing some issues with Gail Riplinger's New Age Bible Versions. Yes, I’m back on the Riplinger subject. Why? Because I bought a copy of New Age Bible Versions and read it, and I’m determined to make you all suffer as I did... or something like that, anyway. Actually I put a lot of effort into examining the book, and I don't want to waste it.

Gail Riplinger first came to prominence due to her book New Age Bible Versions.[1] This book is intended to show that modern Bible versions are connected to the New Age movement, and are part of a New Age conspiracy to usher in Antichrist’s one-world religion. It does nothing of the sort, of course – it cannot, for the premise is untrue. There are bad Bible versions, and good ones, and of course there are people involved in the translation of the Bible whose theology is unorthodox. But Gail Riplinger goes far beyond this, into fully-fledged conspiracy theories. Most of the tables supposed to prove her claims are nothing more than examples of the genetic fallacy, making men offenders for a word – literally. Thus the fact that modern versions use the word ‘One’ to speak of God is alleged to prove their connection to the New Age movement. This is of course nonsense. For one thing, the King James Bible uses the phrase ‘The Holy One’ to speak of God more than a dozen times! Having examined the passages she quotes in support of this, I find that most of the time the use of the word ‘one’ is merely dictated by the conventions of modern English grammar – so that underlying her comment is the real complaint, that the modern Bibles are written in modern English! On P. 77 she tells us that there is no Greek or Hebrew word for ‘one’ in many of these passages – there is not, but this is because it is quite correct in Greek and Hebrew to simply use the noun ‘the good’ or ‘the holy’ to describe God. This is, however, bad English; thus, to make it good English, the translators added the word ‘one’. It should be added that the NIV, the NASB and the New King James Bibles never use ‘The One’ alone as a title for God.

So why do the modern versions seem in places to sound similar to some New Age writers? The true explanation is simply that New Age authors are writing in English about religion, and thus they will use a great deal of the same vocabulary as modern Bible translators, just as they also use a great deal of the same vocabulary as the King James Bible! Although Mrs. Riplinger twits modern versions for using the word ‘teaching’ where the AV reads ‘Doctrine’, it is notorious that Madame Blavatsky’s multi-volume work of occult teaching is called The Secret Doctrine. Satan can use Christian vocabulary as easily as he can invent new terms. The New Age movement has developed its own jargon, of course, but like most false religious movements in the West, it has also appropriated wholesale the vocabulary of Christianity, filling that vocabulary with its own meanings. So once again, it is not the title ‘The Christ’ that is evil (contra Riplinger on Pp.318-321 and in many other places), but the meaning that the New Age movement has filled the title with. For this reason it is not enough to prove that a writer uses a specific term that the New Age uses, it must also be proven that the writer uses it in the same way as the New Age movement’s writers.
God willing, next time I shall begin to show that Riplinger has not done that, she has merely assumed it, the logical fallacy of begging the question. Where she has attempted to do so in the case of Brooke Foss Westcott, she has only demonstrated a remarkable level of dishonesty. I know, I said 'dishnoesty'. Hold your fire, there's eighteen pages of this in Word, and that was just page one!
Some ground rules: Don't expect me to do all the work. Wait, this is the introduction. Don't expect me to run around after commenters, I'm a busy man. As in full-time Gospel ministry busy. I now have to finish off preparing for a Young People's talk that was sprung on me last night.

[1] G.A. Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions (Ararat, VA, AV Publications, 1993), hereafter NABV

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