Chick’s World of Alternative Facts

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For decades, Chick Publications Inc. has gained popularity for attacking deceptive religious systems, hence, one would expect it to have a high degree of intellectual honesty in what it presents to the public. Sadly, that is not the case.

In fact, the Body of Christ needs to scrutinise and fact-check the claims made in their vlogs, books, articles and comics.

Last year, I pointed out a number of egregious errors and deliberate falsehoods in their materials which tragically continue to emanate from that ministry even now that its leadership rein in now in the hands of David Daniels.

The misleading information and flawed arguments in the Battle Cry May/June 2017 article entitled “Pope Decides It’s Okay to Read the Bible?” underscore the fact that KJV onlyism can only be sustained on tissues of lies.

I will be responding to that article. Quotes from it will appear in blue.

In his Sunday message to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, March 5, Pope Francis urged the people to carry their Bible as diligently as they do their smartphones. Protestants, and the civilized world in general, applaud that this dark-age “church” has seen the light. As head of an institution that tried for centuries to stamp out the Bible, this appears like a miracle

As far as I can see, only ignorant Protestants who are easily swayed by sweet words and pageantry will applaud the pope’s message. A part of it on the Vatican’s website reads:

The Word of God: this has the strength to defeat Satan. For this reason, it is important to be familiar with the Bible; read it often, meditate on it, assimilate it. The Bible contains the Word of God, which is always timely and effective.

Anyone familiar with Catholic teaching knows that when they talk about “the word of God,” they are referring to an amalgam of the Bible, traditions and teachings of the Magisterium, not Scripture alone.

The statement that “the Bible contains the Word of God” should give a red flag to a true Christian.

While modern Catholics are allowed (and even encouraged) to read the Bible, Rome still keeps it from their hearts by diminishing its authority and insisting that only the Magisterium can interpret it.

Fair enough, the Battle Cry article ends with this fact, but the meandering before it deserves some attention.

Unfortunately, there is a darker side of the story. The Bible that he is talking about is a very different Bible from the one which dozens tried to obliterate. But it wasn’t that the popes wanted to do away with all Bibles, they just had to stop one Bible. Even during the Inquisition the popes had their own approved Bible

Notice how the writer quickly deflects to the issue of Bible translations. He is pitting the Latin Vulgate (approved by the pope) with “one Bible” that dozens of popes wanted to stamp out. From other Chick works, we know he’s referring to the old Latin bible.

In the book, Did the Catholic Church Give us the Bible? (by David Daniels) we are told:

Catholic Rome got the reins of government and began destroying God’s words in Old Latin” (p. 54).

This alternative history is uncritically lapped up by many KJO patrons, but there is no historical evidence that dozens of popes obliterated the Old Latin bible. These are stuff some people make up in their own heads and have the temerity to publish them as truth.

For most of Christian history, there has been a struggle over which Bible should be used. When the Revelation 17-18 counterfeit church was burning all the Bibles, (and Bible believers) during the Inquisition, they also had a counterfeit Bible they were promoting. Of course, “promoting” is hardly the right word when their “Bible” was chained to the pulpit and written in Latin, a language few could read

All through church history, Christians have always had preference for certain Bible translations – from the Septuagint to the Vulgate to the KJV.

The real struggle started when the Catholic religion decreed that only the Latin Vulgate version was divine – a cultic idea curiously similar to KJV onlyists’ claims about the KJV.

Just as the people had to learn Latin to know God’s Word at the time, today, everyone would have to learn English to know His Word as KJOs insist.

Earlier, we read that popes “just had to stop one Bible” but now we are told they were “burning all the Bibles.” How did one Bible became all the Bibles?

We need to ask: which Bible translation was the “only true Bible” during the Inquisition (between 12th-16th century)? It couldn’t have been the Old Latin versions (Italic, African and European) because their texts differ markedly from the Received text from which the KJV was translated. Bruce Metzger observed:

The textual affinities of the Old Latin versions are unmistakably with the Western type of text … On the whole, the African form of the Old Latin presents the larger divergences from the generally received text and the European the smaller” (The Early Versions, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977, 325).

God’s counterattack was the invention of the printing press. Soon, copies of the right Bible began to flood the Western World. But his enemy did not give up easily. Satan’s plan B was to “fix” the supposedly “archaic language” of the real Bible. If it could be subtly altered to begin to match the counterfeit, maybe no one would notice. The astounding success of that plan is why the Pope can now urge his people to read the Bible

The first movable printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg circa 1450.

Between 1450 and 1611 when ‘the right Bible’ began to flood the West, which Bible translation was the ‘only real one’ and why was it replaced?

We need to know why the Wycliffe, Tyndale, Bishop or Geneva Bible versions were fake but the King James version was real.

Perhaps bereft of tangible arguments, the writer invokes “Satan’s plan B” to explain why the KJV translation wasn’t (and still isn’t) regarded as perfect.

In fact, the KJV used many outdated (and by modern usage, embarrassing) English terms e.g “cockatrice” for viper; “apothecary” for perfumer; “shambles” for meat markets; “unicorn” for wild ox; “dumb ass” instead of mute donkey; “bastard” instead of illegitimate; “spoil” instead of plunder; “Elias” for Elijah, “Eliseus” for Elisha and “Osee” instead of Hosea.

The purpose of every legitimate Bible translation is to render God’s Word in the simplest, clearest way possible such that even an uneducated person can understand it. Since the KJV failed in this regard, it necessitated a better English translation.

Furthermore, the Latin Vulgate (“the counterfeit”) had much influence on the KJV. Frederick Scrivener points out at least 60 places where the NT of the KJV follows the reading of the Latin Vulgate without a single Greek text as support (The New Testament in Greek, 1881, ix).

Bible scholars, W. E. Plater and H. J. White stated that even the vocabulary of the KJV repeats words directly lifted from the Vulgate e.g “publican,” “charity,” “Calvary” (A Grammar of the Vulgate, Oxford University Press, 1926, p. 4).

It is disingenuous for Chick’s team to demonize the Vulgate whilst idolizing the KJV.

Using modern research techniques, linguist David W. Daniels has uncovered the details of this epic war on God’s words

Unfortunately, much of the details Daniels presents are closer to tabloid sensationalism than established facts.

The footnotes and bibliography of Did the Catholic Church Give us the Bible? indicate that his information on Bible transmission were largely sourced from Chick materials, along with the questionable works of other KJOs like William Grady, David Otis Fuller, Gail Riplinger and Peter Ruckman.

Such self-quoting, “circle-the-bunkers” technique is an insult to credible research.

The move to “fix” the Bible involved forming “Bible societies,” bringing together linguists, translators, publishers and sophisticated marketing. Satan used the opportunity to infiltrate those “societies” with unbelievers and men dedicated to his agenda

How did the writer know these details? Interestingly, Daniels and Chick believed the KJV translators were also infiltrated by Jesuits. This idea came from Dr. Alberto Rivera’s “testimony” in the Crusaders’ comics:

Among the group of men chosen by King James to translate the King James Bible in 1611, was a heavy concentration of undercover Jesuits posing as members of the Church of England. God, in His sovereign grace, preserved His written word, and they were not able to change it as they had planned” (The Force, 1983, p. 14).

Now if God could preserve His Word in spite of heavy Jesuit concentration among KJV translators, why didn’t He do the same for other Bible translations before and since then?

You see, a section of KJOs believe that the KJV is a perfect translation because its translators were also inspired by the Holy Spirit, therefore anyone suggesting that it’s flawed or clamours for a better translation  is part of Satan’s folks! How convenient.

Rather than updating the language, a whole new basic Greek text was formed. Instead of using the thousands of manuscripts supporting the real Bible, a few new ones were faked as “oldest and best.” And coincidentally, their readings often supported the unbiblical doctrines of the counterfeit church…

1. This false, KJO Manichean binary of a ‘preserved’ Received text versus the ‘corrupted’ new Greek text needs to be disassembled.

Between 17th-19th century, several Protestant scholars collected several critical Greek texts other than Erasmus’ Received text.

Theodore de Beza (1519-1605), John Calvin’s successor, collected critical Greek texts.

John Mill (1645-1707) also collected and published Greek texts. Sir Richard Bentley (1662-1742) was the first to propose a revised Greek text.

Johann Bengel (1687-1751) critically studied Greek texts and was the first to classify them into Alexandrian and Byzantine.

About the only scholar from that period, John Martin Scholz, who published a text similar to the Received text, was a Catholic theologian.

2. Erasmus’ Greek text wasn’t based on “thousands of manuscripts.” He used 10 manuscripts, none of which were earlier than the 10th century.

The discovery of more ancient and larger number of manuscripts prompted newer English versions. Their differences with the KJV affect no vital doctrine.

3. According to Dr. James George Carleton, the KJV has taken some 2,803 readings, besides 140 marginal reading from the Catholic Rheims translation (The Part of Rheims in the Making of the English Bible, Clarendon Press, 1902, p. 259).

This shouldn’t be shocking since the KJV translators were 17th century Anglicans, not 20th century independent, fundamentalist Baptists.

Today, that bogus text, known as the Nestle-Aland/United Bible Societies Greek Text, is nearly universally accepted by translators of modern Bible versions …

Fake manuscripts like the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were “discovered” by men like Constantin Tischendorf. From them, Westcott and Hort prepared their Greek New Testament that became the foundation text for most modern versions

Never mind, the only reason the Nestle-Aland Greek text is termed “bogus” by KJOs is because it’s not Erasmus’ Catholic Greek text.

Bible manuscripts stand on their own merits, not by who possessed them, otherwise, the Byzantine Mss. used for the Received text would also be “fake” since they came from Eastern Orthodoxy.

The efforts of the above named scholars were geared towards producing a non-Catholic critical Greek text, and many of them were theologically conservative. Tischendorf, for example, was a Plymouth Brethren.

Many conservative Christian scholars in the 19th and 20th century preferred the revised critical texts over Erasmus’ Catholic-inclined Received text.

The next step was a broad marketing campaign to “sell” the church on the new Bibles. Part of that was an intensive effort to discredit the real Bible in English … This hugely successful effort has effectively persuaded churches, denominations, Bible colleges and seminaries to “speak evil” of the KJV in favor of the altered Bibles

This scenario was illustrated by Jack Chick on page 134 of Did the Catholic Church Give us the Bible? book.

The Pope asks his Jesuit general, “How is the Master Plan coming, General?” He replies, “We’ve funneled billions into the ‘new’ versions. No one will know which one to believe! Very soon the King James will be the most despised Bible on earth!

To Christians with a ‘Daddy-there-is-a-Jesuit-in-my-pyjamas’ paranoid mindset, this is all the evidence they need to stay away from any other Bible version.

But a reasonable Christian questions the source of such a shallow rhetoric. I have said this before: without conspiracy theories, KJV onlyism cannot stand.

Notice also the writer’s use of emotional terms like “discredit” or “speak evil” for any criticism of the KJV.

This article offers one a glimpse into the pervasive shift in the KJV only camp: a shift from the gospel message to conspiracy tales; from fact to fiction; from faith to suspicion and a Christ-centered life to an obsession with a 17th century Bible version.

The outgrowth? Persons bereft of character and truth – who ironically see themselves as “better” Christians approved by God because they use the King James bible.

New Age Bible Versions?

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“KJV Onlyism” is a relatively new movement among Christians. It affirms that the King James bible version of 1611 is the only inspired, true and perfect Bible in the world today.

Thus, they reject the NIV, NLT, RSV, NASB, and all other modern Bible translations (even the NKJV) because they were allegedly drawn from “corrupted” Egyptian manuscripts.

As a former KJV onlyite who used to view fellow Christians using modern Bible versions as “apostates”, it was the ill-logic, fanaticism and intellectual dishonesty that mare this position that ultimately led me out of it.

In the early 90’s, a KJV-only theory came up that all Bible versions except the KJV were textually laced with New Age ideas by two scholars – Fenton Hort and Brooke Westcott.

This idea came from a woman named Gail Riplinger, through her book, New Age Bible Versions (published in 1993). Her theories are still adhered to by a number of King James onlyites.

Although I can’t endorse some very flawed Bible translations (e.g. New World Translation, the Clear Word bible etc.) and I have some reservations toward liberal paraphrases like the Message bible, I consider it destructive for a Christian to regard all English Bible versions except the KJV as “the devil’s bibles.”

Riplinger claims that the purpose of her book is to prove that there is “an alliance between the new versions of the Bible (NIV, NASB, Living Bible and others) and the chief conspirators in the New Age Movement’s push for a One World Religion” (p. 1).

This statement indicates that her approach wasn’t objective, because she had already decided on her conclusion. The book is actually based on a conspiracy theory – an attempt to find New Age philosophies behind every bush and shadow.

Most of what she did in the book was to collect New Age concepts, teachings and strategies and impose them upon modern Bible translations, while at the same time rationalizing away the KJV’s similar vulnerability.

Anyone who knows about New Age spirituality will find the claim of the New Age movement forming an alliance with Bible translators to create a one world religion to be quite outlandish and in fact, a leap in the dark.

For one, the New Age movement doesn’t see (or use) the Bible as their final authority. The conspiracy theory appended to them by KJVOs appears to be a convenient rationale to evade the scholarly reasons for the differences between the KJV and modern English translations.

There are other problems with Riplinger’s book:

I. On page 2 she quotes Edwin Palmer, an editor of the NIV, who said: “[F]ew clear and decisive texts say that Jesus is God.”

There is nothing “New Age” about this statement, it’s a fact. No matter which Bible version you use, there are fewer than 10 places in the New Testament that explicitly say that Jesus is God, though hundreds more verses implicitly reinforce this basic truth.

2. On page 318 she said: “Real references to Jesus as ‘the Christ’ are rare; however the NKJV and new versions literally paint their pages with this pawn.” (p. 318)

The term ‘the Christ’ doesn’t imply a New Age connection. In 1 John 2:22, the KJV has the word ‘the Christ,’ does this also makes it New Age?

The word ‘the Christ’ occurs in the KJV 19 times and 3 times in the New Revised Standard Version, so using Riplinger’s weird logic, then the KJV would be more New Age than the NRSV.

‘The Christ’ occurs in these passages because in Greek, the word (Cristov) has a definite article (“the”). The only exception is 2 Cor. 13:3 which many modern translations didn’t render as ‘the Christ.’

3. The NIV for instance, is accused of removing up to 64,000 words from the Bible. Actually, no words are “removed.” The problem is that KJV onlyists are using the KJV as the standard by which all other Bible versions are to be judged. But the KJV is not the standard and cannot be the standard.

There were several English translations of the Bible – Wycliffe Bible, Tyndale Bible, Geneva Bible, The Bishop’s Bible – before the KJV of 1611. So why not choose one of these as the “standard”?

The Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek manuscripts should be the real standard of determining if words were or weren’t added to the text, not a 17th century English translation.

One can as well use the NIV as the standard and say “The KJV has 64,000 words added to the Bible.” Is that reasonable?

To an unbiased mind, the areas of differences between both translations are minimal and do not affect any doctrine. There is no “conspiracy” on the part of newer versions to hide the deity of Christ or any essential doctrine.

For example, let’s compare Galatians 4:7 in the KJV and NIV.

The former has the phrase “through Christ” (though it’s not found in the more ancient manuscripts) while the latter doesn’t.

Using Riplinger’s logic, we would conclude that, “The new versions deny the centrality of Christ in salvation.” But this is untrue because in Romans 5:1, 11  and other places in the NIV, we are shown the role of “our Lord Jesus Christ” in saving us.

If the NIV or modern translations wanted to hide the role of Christ, such words wouldn’t have appeared in them at all.

On the other hand, there are places in the NIV/NASB/ASV etc.  where the Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned but the KJV curiously omits it. Jude 1:25 in the NIV reads :

“To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

But the KJV says: “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

Romans 1:4 in the NASB reads: “who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,

But the KJV reads: “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

Using the logic of KJV onlyites, we would say: “The KJV has denied the Lordship of Christ!”

4. On page 81, she wrote: “Luke 4:34 reveals that only the devils call Jesus the ‘Holy One of God“.

This argument is banal. Jesus is called the “Holy One” in Acts 2:27 (KJV). Does this mean the KJV is New Age?

5. The NIV is attacked for replacing the word “God” with “He” in 1 Timothy 3:16. This is somewhat questionable, but the NIV does indicates “God” in its textual footnote, so I fail to see a New Age conspiracy there.

On the other hand, there are places where the NIV has the name of “Jesus” but the KJV has “he” instead e.g Matt. 4:19

NIV: “Come, follow me,”Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 

KJV: “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Again, in Acts 4:25, the KJV omitted the word “by the Holy Spirit” while modern translations did not.

NLT: “You spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying,‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans?”

KJV: “Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?”

If the case were to be in reverse, that the NIV, NLT and ESV omitted “the Holy Spirit” in one single text, we will never hear the end of it, how “mutant versions are pushing the Holy Spirit into the closet.”

But to attack modern translations at one point while ignoring the KJV when it fails on that same point is intellectual suicide, inconsistency and rank prejudice. A sound argument is always consistent.

6. It is claimed that the name Lucifer was “removed” from Isaiah 14 of modern versions (by New Age translators?) and replaced with the title “morning star” so as to make the passage refer to Jesus.

This is where the research and competence of the author should be doubted by every reasonable believer. The Hebrew word in the text is llyh which means “shinning one” or “morning star.”

The Brown Driver and Briggs Hebrew lexicon states that llyh means “shinning one, epith of king of Babylon” (“How are thou fallen, shinning one, son of dawn!” i.e. star of the morning). The Liddel and Scott Lexicon defines llyh as “bringer of the morn, morning star.”

The term “Lucifer” doesn’t appear in modern translations because it only appeared in Jerome’s Catholic Vulgate which the KJV translators used. (It was the Bible of Western Europe for more than 1000 years). Jerome translated llyh as “Lucifer” which according to Cassell Latin Dictionary means “light-bearing, light-bringing.”

The Septuagint, Targum Jonathan and the Peshitta, which are all ancient versions of the OT, do not have the word “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12.

Just because modern Bible versions do not follow Jerome’s translation doesn’t mean they are identifying Jesus with Lucifer!

7. Mark 10:21 in both KJV and NIV were compared and it was stated that “New Versions” delete the word “take up the cross” (p. 22)

The omitted word didn’t appear in the NIV because the early Greek texts (Nestle Aland) used didn’t contain it.

The word “take up the cross” occurs in all other places such as in Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 and Matthew 16:24, referring to the same story. The command doesn’t become less important because it wasn’t contained in the same number of times as the KJV.

8. The NIV is said to be “New Age” because it deletes 13 words from 1 John 4:3, thus “denying that Jesus is the Christ.”

On comparison, the only part that seems to be missing is “Christ has come in the flesh.” Though the reason for its removal here is unknown, on a closer look, we see that the phrase actually appears in verse 2! This is it:

“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God. Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God“.

So the NIV actually contains the very word KJV onlyists accuse it of trying to remove! New Age conspiracy? Nope.

9. The NIV and NASB rendering of Romans 1:20 was labelled New Age for not containing the term “Godhead” (p. 184)

The KJV used the term “Godhead” in Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9. But the KJV translators rendered different Greek words in Rom. 1:20 and Col. 2:9 as the same English word.

In Romans 1:20, the word there is qeiothj meaning “divinity” or “divine nature” whereas in Colossians 2:9, it’s qeothj which means “deity” (the state of being God). Yet, due to ignorance misinformed individuals have been roused to slander a more accurate rendition.

10. Several tables are presented in this book comparing the KJV with modern versions.

On pg. 1, a table is titled “Do You Have a “holy bible?” It lists out 10 Bible verses in the KJV and NIV where the word “holy” wasn’t used in the latter.

In one of these 10 verses, Matt. 12:31 (KJV), the word “holy” was in italics because it wasn’t in the original text; it was supplied by the translators. Yet Riplinger found it convenient to include it as example of modern versions being “unholy.” She’s using the KJV to judge the Greek text of the NT! How preposterous.

Now, if this criteria is valid, then the NKJV meets up as a holy Bible and it shouldn’t be attacked, yet Riplinger says that the New King James Version is also of the Antichrist! (pp. 101-2). This is highly irrational.

Now, does it mean it’s a sin for the KJV to have “the book of life” in Rev. 22:19 when every Greek manuscript has the “tree of life”? What of Acts 8:37 and 1 John 5:7 which have very slim manuscript support?

If one wants to use this same methodology, one can also make a table titled “Do you have a spooky Bible?” and list out 10 places where the KJV uses the word “ghost” instead of “Spirit”?

Or how about we compare the KJV and other English translations and point out places where the KJV uses “it” rather than “he” for the Holy Spirit (John 1:32, Romans 8:16, 26 and 1 Peter 2:11)? What will these prove? It would rather prove that no translation is perfect!

11. On pg. 2 Riplinger wrote:

The Greek text used to translate the NIV, NASB and others was an edition drastically altered by a Spiritualist (one who seeks contact with the dead through séances), who believed he was in the ‘new age‘.”

This is another rhetoric meant to poison the well. There was an end note there referring the reader to The Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, Volume II (London, 1903), p. 252 which actually says: “…the 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.”

Riplinger took this man’s words out of context in order to link all modern Bible versions with the occult – and this deceitful trend reverberates all through her book.

Several Christian scholars, including KJV defenders like David Cloud have also pointed out the many holes in this absurd “New Age bible” theory.

KJV onlyism thrives on lies and sensationalism and even worse, such falsehoods have done much spiritual damage to Christians who were saved by reading these Bible translations.

It bears the bad fruitage of divisions, fear and false accusations within the church. But I will say this: don’t let anyone destroy your faith in God’s Word with cunningly devised fables.