Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Craft of Dishonest Quotation - Conclusion

So I conclude what was originally an essay prepared to help people to think through Gail Riplinger's abuse of quotations in NABV.

The previous posts have demonstrated conclusively that Gail Riplinger appears to have a cavalier disregard for the rules of fair play. She alters quotations at will, and appears to think that this is a quite legitimate procedure. She has no regard at all for context, but then, this is true of her use of the Bible as well. To illustrate how the modern versions teach error she compares on P. 106 the AV and the NASB, where she claims the modern versions encourage the seeing of visions. To prove this she cites Colossians 2.18, “taking his stand on visions he has seen.” Of course the problem here is the context, for those who are seeing visions in Colossians 2.18 are false teachers, who are seeking to “defraud you of your prize” (NASB). She falls over Colossians 2 once more on P. 129, where she cites Colossians 2.23 to prove that the new versions encourage asceticism, promoting, “Self-abasement… severe treatment of the body… harsh treatment of the body,” in contrast to the AV’s “humility… neglecting of the body.” But who are spoken of in Colossians 2.23? Those same heretics referred to in 2.18!

It becomes apparent that Riplinger’s present Christian association is with a circle that routinely use single verses plucked out of context to back up their statements, and Riplinger has picked up this bad habit, which she applies to sources other than the Bible. Of course this is not how one ought to do Bible study, and it is certainly not how one reads a book. Context is king. Words do not have meanings on their own, but placed in a context, something Riplinger seems dimly to understand in some places, but which she generally ignores. Thus, for example, she spends Pp. 559-80 doing something exceedingly strange with The Shepherd of Hermas. What she does is take words and phrases from the Shepherd and place opposite them quotations from the Bible, that are in completely different contexts, to 'prove' that the Shepherd is an occultic work (or something like that, anyway, otherwise the whole thing is just pointless). Thus on P. 561 she notes that the Shepherd contains the phrase “delivered unto him”, and cross references this with, “Luke 4.6 records, ‘the devil said… that is delivered unto me.’” But Matthew 11.27 records that Jesus said, “All things are delivered unto me.” Why must we understand that the Shepherd is not referring to Christ here?

On P. 563 she quotes from the Shepherd, “The gate was made recent that they which are to be saved may enter.” Opposite she writes, “This Calvinistic predestination statement appears in numerous new versions, particularly the NIV… the gate here referred to is the ‘wide gate… that leadeth to destruction’ (Matt. 7.13) and the ‘gates of hell’ (Matt. 16.18).” Now, what fair-minded person would conclude such a thing? Is it not in fact apparent from the context that this is intended to be “the gate… which leadeth unto life’ (Matt. 7.14), "made recently" by the death of Jesus Christ? Only by taking single word and phrases out of context can Riplinger make the Shepherd appear to be a New Age work, rather than what it is, an early Christian allegory. It would be very easy to show that Riplinger is herself a New Age heretic by using this method on her writings! For example, on P.315 she writes: “‘Christ’ takes centre stage in the new versions as Satan attempts to move the true God… into the wings.” I have of course omitted the words “Jesus Christ,” but this is no more than Riplinger does with Westcott when she omits "but assumes" from the phrase, "He does not expressly affirm but assumes the identification of the Word with Jesus Christ." Of course, this would is highly unfair, but that is rather the point! If it is wrong for me to quote Riplinger like this, why is it right for her to quote others this way?

I would note that Riplinger, like all too many Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, regards anything outside of her own system of belief as not only wrong but actually heretical. Most well-known in this regard is her attitude towards Calvinism, which she has called “heretical”, stating that the “five points form a satanic pentagram,” a form of argument that has no basis in reason at all. Most notorious, however, ought to be her denial of the eternal Sonship of Christ. Gail Riplinger holds to an ‘Incarnational Sonship’, that is, that Jesus is called ‘the only-begotten Son of God’ because of the miracle of His birth. Although this has been a minority position frowned on by most of the Church, it is not a heresy, just an error[1]. Riplinger, however, condemns as heretical the teaching of the eternal Sonship! On P. 337 she writes, “Begotten is used in reference to the body of ‘flesh’ ‘beheld’ by mankind.” Thus, to her mind, any reference to the Father ‘begetting’ the Son eternally is heresy. Now, she is at liberty to use the word ‘begotten’ however she likes in her own theology (even if she is wrong), what she is not at liberty to do is to read her own minority understanding of this word into the writings of others. Yet on P. 344 she cites Edwin Palmer’s statement, “The Holy Spirit did not beget the Son” as if it refers to the incarnation and not to inter-Trinitarian relationships. Although she has disclaimed this intent, why else would she have juxtaposed a quotation from a Mormon source? She certainly gives the impression that Palmer and Brigham young are referring to the same thing.

With this in mind, it is not surprising that she has been tempted to twist Westcott’s quotations as she has. What is most appalling is just how completely she has yielded to that temptation. Riplinger liberally sprinkles the book with dishonestly doctored quotations from those she opposes. I have concentrated on quotations from a single source, Bishop Westcott, because as a full-time minister I have to spend most of my time preaching the Gospel - which is as it ought to be. Unlike Riplinger's son-in-law, I am not an evangelist for a Bible version, but for Jesus Christ (see Hazardous Materials). Westcott is quoted often, and I happened to possess several volumes of his works. I came to Riplinger’s book with an open mind, but having examined the quotations from Westcott, I find I cannot trust any of her quotations without examining them for myself. A defender of Mrs. Riplinger has written on this blog that he admires her spirit. I would like to ask how any Christian can admire the spirit of a person who uses the words of others as I have documented Riplinger using the words of Bishop Westcott. We are faced with a choice, either Riplinger is completely ignorant, and unable to understand a word of what Westcott said, or she is dishonest. In either case she is unfitted to write books, and disqualified from teaching Christians. One is in fact left with serious doubts about her salvation, for “… all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone,” according to Revelation 21.8, and “whatsoever… maketh a lie” shall “in no wise enter into” the New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21.27).

Pray for Gail Riplinger that she repents and withdraws this book.

Lone Footnote:
[1] I use the common theological terminology, referring only to those departures from the historic faith that undermine the fundamentals as ‘heresies’, and other wrong theological ideas as ‘errors’

6 comments:

The Puritan said...

I review your effort in one sentence: Sympathy for the devil.

Ransom said...

I review your commment in one word: Pathological.

Highland Host said...

My dear 'Puritan', apparently you believe that, because a man's theology is more than a little wobbly in some places, it is fine to charge him with all manner of heresies THAT HE DID NOT HOLD. We in Britain have a principle known as fair play. It is that great British tradition which I am defending. That and the obligation on Christians to tell the truth.

You seem to have a problem with that.

The Puritan said...

>My dear 'Puritan', apparently you believe that, because a man's theology is more than a little wobbly in some places, it is fine to charge him with all manner of heresies THAT HE DID NOT HOLD. We in Britain have a principle known as fair play. It is that great British tradition which I am defending. That and the obligation on Christians to tell the truth.
You seem to have a problem with that.

Like all defenders of the corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts and the devil's bibles made from them you write 800,000 words in defense of these anti-Christ creeps without once mentioning their biggest sin: corrupting the very Word of God, and consciously so. Knowingly working in the darkness so as to not get found out. By their own words. Putting over a redacted and re-written 'Word of God' on innocents who don't know any better. Committing the first death by a thousand cuts, the first defilement, that has led to the perversions of the NASB and ESV and NIV but also to the abominations that change the apostle Pauls words on homosexuality to him approving of homosexuality, among other changes. The very archbishop of Canterbury wrote a glowing forward for that one. The filth of the devil unleashed is upon us, but God's elect know the truth and know the voice of the Shepherd, and like it or not, God's elect will continue to *expose* your devil bibles until the very return of the King. The devil and his devils can't fool God's elect, but they can fool the currently innocent. As always, the devil can't defeat God's plan, but he and his useful idiots can annoy God's plan. God and His elect have the victory in the end. Like it or not, God's elect have the victory in the end. We have to suffer the devil and his children for a time, but we have the victory in the end. Amen.

Highland Host said...

So, because Westcott worked on the 'Revised Version' (long out of print and little used even in its day), and was co-editor of an edition of the Greek New Testament, it's fine to call him a Semi-Arian and say he denied the deity of Christ? It's fine to twist his words to make him say stuff he never said? Your definition of ethics leaves something to be desired. In fact it reminds me of an old joke about a lawyers' definition of 'Ethics' - "It'th a county to the north of London."

I was trying to demonstrate that Riplinger was highly dishonest in her use of quotations. I used Westcott because she quotes him a lot, and I happened to have access to a number of his books. But you would not be satisfied unless I praised Gail Riplinger for her fairness and attacked Westcott as every kind of heretic. Sorry, not going to happen.

As for the rest, speak to the question, chum. Where have I misrepresented Riplinger? Or is my crime daring to call her what she is, a liar? Your rant may make you feel better, but it makes you look pathological.

(N.B. A liar is someone who tells lies. Saying that a man is a semi-Arian when he actually affirms that Jesus is of the SAME essence as the Father is a lie. Gail Riplinger says that Westcott is "a kind of Semi-Arian". Westcott says Jesus is of the same essence as the Father, thus Riplinger has told a lie (made a statement that is contrary to the truth), and thus Riplinger is a liar. QED)

Highland Host said...

The 'Puritan's' melt-down has hopefully been instructive. I would only point out that to compare 'Good as New', whose editor took upon himself to actually revise the canon of Scripture, to the NASB, is self-refuting absurdity.