Monday, September 21, 2009

The Craft of Dishonest Quotation - 3

Having introduced the subject, it's time to get down to the serious stuff - the evidence that Gail Riplinger dishonestly uses quotations in NABV. I will present the case slowly, sorting Riplinger's quotation abuse by type.

Type 1. Where a quotation is taken out of context to make it appear that a person believes what they do not.

This is most often done by quoting either a passage where the author quoted is himself giving a quotation if it was a statement by the author himself or by quoting passages describing the views of another as if they are giving the views of the author. The most notorious of these abused out-of-context quotations is found in the very first quotation in the book, on P. 2, where she writes that B.F. Westcott “Believed he was in the ‘new age.’” This refers us to Arthur Westcott: Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott (London, Macmillan, 1903)[1] Vol. II, P. 252. There he writes:

“… [T]he Son of Man will vindicate His sovereignty by showing that He satisfies every need and every capacity which the struggles of a new age have disclosed.”

The phrase ‘new age’ has nothing to do with the occult idea of a ‘New Age’, but refers rather to an era in world history – there is simply nothing sinister about it! The next example of such a misquotation is on P. 46, where she writes:

“Both Westcott and Hort assert that the devil is not a person but a general “power of evil.”

A note refers us to the back of the book, where we are directed to Westcott’s Commentary on the Epistles of John, P. 106. There Westcott refers us to a note on 1 John 2.13, where Westcott explicitly refers to the devil as a personal being, writing that he is “a personal antagonist.”[2] While Satan is called “a power” on P. 106, there is no denial of his personality, and elsewhere there is an express avowal of the personality of the devil!

On P. 151 Riplinger, attempting to show that the new Bible versions promote worldliness, quotes from Westcott’s The Historic Faith[3] P. 11,

“There was a time when it was usual to draw a sharp line between religious and worldly things. That time has happily gone by.”

Taken as Riplinger gives it, the quotation could be read as saying that all activities are perfectly fine, and particularly that activities which were once regarded as ‘worldly’ are actually quite acceptable for Christians to participate in. But that is not what Westcott actually says in context. Riplinger has left out what follows, as a fuller quotation will demonstrate:

“There was a time when it was usual to draw a sharp line between religious and worldly things. That time has happily gone by. We all at last acknowledge more or less that all life is one. But perhaps our temptation now is to acquiesce in worldly motives for right-doing: to stop short of the clear confession both to ourselves and to others that as citizens and workers we take our share in public business, we labour to fulfil our appointed task, because the love of Christ constraineth us.”

With this context supplied, we see at once that Westcott actually refers to the pernicious habit of compartmentalising life into the sacred and the profane, religious activity and secular activity. Westcott is right to say that all life belongs to God, and that our callings in the world are vocations in which we glorify God. We could perhaps allow that Westcott does not speak the language of 20th century American fundamentalism – but then of course he does not, he is a 19th century Anglican! It is incumbent on an author to understand those she quotes, particularly if she is antagonistic to them!

On P. 167 she refers to the next page of Historic Faith, stating that “B.F. Westcott’s years of association with the esoteric world led him to call ‘faith…a power’ we can ‘use’.” What Westcott actually said was,

“Faith, I repeat, is in its essence the power by which we grasp the future, the unseen, the infinite, the eternal; and in its application it is a principle of knowledge, a principle of power, a principle of action.”

The word “use” comes from the next page, in context:

“For ourselves, then, what is faith to us, this sovereign power which can see, use, dwell in the heaven which lies about us still?”

The context instantly informs us what Westcott means by “power”, he means “power” as in the power of sight or the power of hearing, a faculty of the human person. Nor is he saying that we as men “use” faith, but that faith ‘uses’ heaven! Note well, Riplinger claims Westcott says we use faith; in fact it is faith that does the using in Westcott!

On P. 281 she gives a quotation from Historic Faith that reads “From God to God”, using this to back up the idea that Westcott believed in a cycle of ‘ages’. Sadly for those who wish to claim Mrs. Riplinger is an honest writer, the full quotation is as follows:

“Thus it is that the cycle of our creed is completed. ‘From God, unto God’ is the sum of the history which it discloses, wrought out once for all in the human life of the Son of God, and through the Spirit being still wrought out by His power in the world.”[4]

Westcott is simply saying that the Apostles’ Creed has a view of history that begins with God and ends with God. This is not heresy, it is basic Christianity!

On P. 296, attempting to show that Westcott held an unorthodox view of hell, Riplinger quotes him as saying:

“Hell is ‘not the place of punishment of the guilty’ but Hades is ‘the common abode of departed spirits.’”

This sounds pretty damning until we read Pp. 76-8 of Historic Faith, where the original Westcott quotation comes from. There is of course only one mention of ‘hell’ in the Apostles’ Creed, in the controversial article “He [Jesus Christ our Lord] descended into hell.” Westcott in context:

“He descended into Hell, that is, into Hades, into the common abode of departed spirits and not into the place of punishment of the guilty. This clause, as we know, has given occasion to much misunderstanding and superstition.”[4]

What Westcott affirms is that Jesus actually died on the cross, that His body and soul were separated. What he is denying is the idea of the ‘Harrowing of Hell’ taught by some of the ancients,

“The stirring pictures which early Christian fancy drew of Christ’s entry into the prison-house of death to proclaim His victory and lead away the ancient saints as partners in His triumph; or again to announce the Gospel to those who had not heard it, rest on too precarious a foundation to claim general acceptance.”

I would add that the same is true of the fable of some of the Word-Faith teachers that Jesus died spiritually and went to the place of punishment after death. Once again, Westcott is simply not saying what Riplinger represents him as saying here.

God willing, next time I will continue with this task. There are many more quotations to come!

[1] Hereafter Life
[2] Westcott, The Epistles of St. John (London, Macmillan, 1905) Pp. 89-90
[3] The Historic Faith: Short Lectures on the Apostles’ Creed (London, Macmillan, 1883), hereafter Historic Faith.
[4] Historic Faith P. 76.


The Puritan said...

The context of Westcott is he was a liberal theologian and an apostate, *and* on the subject of the manuscripts he was a dark-minded, dishonest, consciously dishonest individual who knew very well he was dishonestly putting a false bible over on the Christian world and worked on in darkness until he could get it done before anyone found him out.

Defend such a servant of the devil all you want. You don't understand what Riplinger is uncovering anymore than any naive-to-the-occult would understand such things.

Something basic you need to ponder: no apostate actively involed in fooling the innocent and the easily duped states his beliefs and intentions explicitly. Riplinger is reading him between the lines as his fellow occultist did and as the impressions of his beliefs comes through to the unwary.

Ultimately his writings mean nothing compared to his satanic work against the Word of God.

Ransom said...

I was wondering when Highland Host's personal Riplinger sycophant was going to show up. Certainly took a long time.

You don't understand what Riplinger is uncovering

If it is so obvious that Westcott was a liberal, you would think that Gail the Ripper would have been able to supply accurate quotations to that effect, instead of constantly manufacturing them.

A cornucopia of invented evidence suggests suggests an invented offense . . .

Highland Host said...

My dear 'Puritan'. Apparently you believe that as Westcott was a "liberal theologian and an apostate" it is fine to treat his words like silly putty. I know what Riplinger is trying to do, which is make him appear to have been the most monstrous heretic in all of history.

Defend such a false witness all you like, you just don't understand what Westcott was doing, or indeed anything about him - unless of course you have read any of his books, or books about him that do not come from the same stable as Riplinger's ringer.

Something basic you need to ponder. We can only have access to a man's thoughts as far as he wrote them down. Academics do not write in recondite code that is only understood by tearing words from their contexts and inventing new contexts to put them in. We can only know Westcott's work BY his writings. Dan Brown thinks that he can 'read between the lines' of the Gospels to discover that Jesus was just a mortal man. I fail to see how this is any different from what Riplinger does with Westcott.

You see, chum, what she has to prove is that he WAS an occultist, and that occultists would 'read between the the lines' of his writings the way she does! Finding recondite codes in writings is not amethod of sound reading. We condemn it with the Bible as Kabbalistic. Why is it any better in the writings of a Victorian Anglican Bishop?

Taken out of context one can make a statement mean whatever one wants it to mean. In context that statement has a specific meaning.

And as Ransom has said (and I will say repeatedly), if Westcott was guilty of all the heresies Riplinger accuses him of, the evidence ought to be in plain sight, notsomething that has to be supported by out-of-context citations, invented composite quotations and twisted sentence fragments. After all, the man was a Victorian Anglican, not a 17th century Presbyterian! He simply did not HAVE to hide!

Highland Host said...

PS. I think that I know EXACTLY what Riplinger is doing - throwing as much mud as possible in the hope some of it sticks.

Highland Host said...

Further note: Westcott was not an occultist. This is a statement I intend to prove after this series (which runs to 10 installments) is complete.

The Puritan said...

>Something basic you need to ponder. We can only have access to a man's thoughts as far as he wrote them down.

No, we have the person's actions as well. In the case of Westcott, his actions speaks louder than his words. And the correspondence between him and Hort on the subject of their being aware of getting caught before they are able to finish their work and spring it on an unwary public thus having better effect is enough, more than enough, to expose them as the dark servants of the devil that they were.

Highland Host said...

Back to begging the question. Only in the world of King James Onlyism is producing a revised edition of the Greek New Testament, and a new Bible version based on that text, a dark and sinister activity. To which letters do you refer? Undoubtedly to quotations in NABV, so give me page references. Or references to Westcott's biography if perchance you have access to that.

And don't try to refer these things to occultism. Hold your horses and you'll see why it is ridiculous to claim Westcott was an occultist, or, as Riplinger claims on P. 25 of NABV, "a London spiritualist."

The Puritan said...

1861 Apr. 12th - Hort to Westcott: "Also - but this may be cowardice - I have a sort of craving that our text should be cast upon the world before we deal with matters likely to brand us with suspicion. I mean, a text, issued by men already known for what will undoubtedly be treated as dangerous heresy, will have great difficulties in finding its way to regions which it might otherwise hope to reach, and whence it would not be easily banished by subsequent alarms." (Life, Vol.I, p.445).

Highland Host said...

My dear Puritan. Which edition are you quoting? Or are you referring to one of Riplinger's notes? If the latter, please give to page number in Riplinger. Why? I have a first edition of Westcott's 'Life', and Vol. 1 only has 441 pages!

If Riplinger, then this is a misprint. The trouble is, I don't know which of the numerals is wrong. I'll try to hunt up the passage myself. I have a shrewd idea what the context may be, but I could be wrong (unlike some people I do not profess to be directly guided by God in my writing), so I will refrain until I have found the actual location. It's not in the last 20 pages of the book!

The Puritan said...

>(unlike some people I do not profess to be directly guided by God in my writing),

Are you mocking Riplinger, by, by the way, taking her out-of-context; or are you mocking John Calvin who made the *exact same statement* in a preface to his Institutes?

Considering you will defend an apostate to the end of the world I suppose you might be mocking both Riplinger *and* Calvin.

"I will venture boldly to declare what I think of this work, acknowledging it to be God's work rather than mine."

- John Calvin referring to his Institutes of the Christian Religion, in his preface to the 1545 edition

The Puritan said...

>My dear Puritan. Which edition are you quoting?

Why don't you just google the quote.

Ransom said...

Why don't you just google the quote.

Because there's this little thing called "burden of proof"?

Funny how KJV-onlyists are always trying so hard to avoid bearing it.

Highland Host said...

Why don't I google the quote? Because, dear chap, I don't usually do that sort of thing, and so the thought did not occur to me.

You didn't tell me where you found it. Could you, or would that be a terrible imposition?

Highland Host said...

My apologies, the reference is in fact to a page number in the 'Life' of HORT, not Westcott. Given that I do not possess a copy of Hort's biography, I cannot comment with certainty at the present time. I have a recollection from a modern book on Hort ('F.A.J. Hort: Eminent Victorian)' that this was a reference to writing a book in answer to the ultra-liberal 'Essays and Reviews'. Hort was concerned that the book he was projecting with Westcott and Lightfoot would not be conservative enough for many. Hort's theology was somewhere to the left of Westcott's. But I do not have the book to hand, and so I may be mistaken.

But enough! I am not interested in proving Westcott was an Evangelical - he wasn't! I am only interested in showing that he was not a semi-Arian occultist who denied the sinlessness of Christ, the deity of Christ, and so on - contra Riplinger's assertions, which she has to back up with manipulated quotations. I might use the analogy of the defence lawyer defeding his client - who he knows to be a thief - from a murder charge of which the thief is innocent.

The Puritan said...

Why don't you mock Calvin for his statement re God and his Institutes like you've mocked Riplinger for the same thing? Why don't you? Because you and all other Riplinger critics are *respecters of persons* which God Himself certainly is not.

Highland Host said...

Maybe I didn't mock Calvin because Calvin didn't sprinkle his book with dishonestly manipulated quotations and false accusations of heresy, chum.

Isn't it funny how you picked up on a remark in a comment, not something in the argument. I have about 30 pages of argument, and you had to pick up on a comment. And you twitted me with picking up on details in Riplinger's HazMat!

If I make a difference between one person and another, it is for precisely the same reason ANY Christian engaging in polemics does - that one person is teaching rightly, while another is teaching falsely. To be a 'Respecter of persons' is to treat a person differently according to their social standing. This I am not guilty of as regards Riplinger.

Now speak to the question: You tell me why it is right for Riplinger to falsify quotations and misrepresent the beliefs of others. Tell me just exactly why the Westcott quotations were justifiably altered by Riplinger, and why it's fine to string sentence fragments from different books and contexts together the way Riplinger does. I want you to deal with specific examples that I have provided, and tell me why you think that Riplinger's right and I'm mean and nasty to say she isn't.

In other words, put up or shut up.