This message was given at the 33rd Annual Meeting and
Conference of the GraceWay Bible Society meeting, Saturday,
October 27th, 2001, held at Brampton Ontario, Canada
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. The King James Only Controversy.
II. The Primacy of the King James Bible.
III. The Westcott and Hort Theory.
IV. Westcott and Hort Only!
V. What You Have to Believe to Accept the Westcott and Hort Theory.
VI. Were Westcott and Hort Infallible?
VII. Who Were Westcott and Hort?
VIII. The Doctrine of Westcott and Hort.
IX. Were Westcott and Hort Saved Men?
X. The Work of the English Revision Committee.
XI. Were Westcott and Hort Secret Practitioners of the Occult?
XII. The Fundamentalist Defenders of Westcott and Hort!
XIII. In Conclusion
I. The King James Only Controversy
You don't have to read very much in contemporary, fundamentalist,
Baptist literature to come across warnings about the "King James only
Dr. Jerry Falwell announces that he is hiring Dr. Harold Rawlings to
"refute the 'King James Only' cultic movement that is damaging so many good
Dr. Robert Sumner warns about the "veritable fountain of misinformation
and deceptive double talk on the subject of 'King James Onlyism'."
Dr. J. B. Williams refers to those who advocate the King James Only as "misinformers"
and as "a cancerous sore."
Dr. Robert Joyner calls King James Bible loyalists, "heretics".
Dr. James R. White warns about King James Bible proponents "undercutting
the very foundations of the faith itself'.
Such references to the King James Only Controversy are very common. Some
refer to loyal sup- porters of the King James Bible as the "King James Only
Cult". Another common term is the sneering reference to the "King Jimmy
Boys." However the use of the "King James Bible only" wasn't always so
II. The Primacy of the King James Bible
God was doing a great work in England in the early 1600s. The preaching
of the gospel of Christ out of the Matthew's Bible and the Geneva Bible was
leading to multitudes of conversions. Evangelicals and Puritans were
becoming a stronger and stronger force in the Church of England and in
Yet many were concerned that the final translation work into the English
language had not been done. King James was persuaded to authorize a new
translation. The King James Bible was printed in 1611.
At first there were questions and concerns about this new Bible
translation. This was as it should be. No one should accept a Bible
translation lightly. By 1640 however, the King James Bible was clearly the
Bible of the English people. The Geneva and Matthew's Bible, once greatly
used of God, went out of print. There was simply no demand for them anymore.
The Church of England, with its official evangelical doctrinal
statement, used the King James Bible exclusively. It was the Bible of the
Puritans, both inside and outside the Church of England. In fact the
Puritans began to use the distinctive Biblical English of the King James
Bible in their day-to-day speech.
The King James Bible was the Bible of the Presbyterians, the
Congregationalists, and the Quakers. It was clearly the Bible of the
Baptists. By 1640 it was the Bible of the Pilgrims (some had used the Geneva
The King James Bible was the Bible of evangelicals in England, Wales,
Scotland and Ireland. It became the Bible of the English colonies across the
Atlantic Ocean. The only religious group of any size or importance in
England that didn't use the King James Bible was Roman Catholicism. All
non-Catholics could have been referred to as "King James only people." When
the Methodist Revival stirred England in the 1700s, it did so with the
preaching of the King James Bible. John Wesley, one of the founders of the
Methodists, made his own translation of the New Testament. However, it found
little acceptance, even among Methodists. Only the King James Bible was in
When English colonies flourished in Australia and New Zealand, the King
James Bible was the common Bible of the settlers. When President George
Washington took the first presidential oath of office in the new United
States of America, he did so with his hand on a King James Bible. Every
American president since, with the exception of Franklin Pierce, has done
Over one hundred fifty English translations were produced between 1611
However, they found no audience except in a few cults. Most went out of
print quickly. The English speaking, Christian world was truly "King James
Baptist preachers produced a Baptist translation of the Bible. They
replaced the word baptism with the word Immersion. They replaced the word
church with the word assembly. However, they found no audience, not even
among Baptists. Their translation was soon out of print. The Baptists were
truly "King James only".
As hard as it may be for the liberals and secularists to admit, the
American public schools were built around the King James Bible. The Oxford
Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, (not exactly a
religious right publication), describes the early public schools this way,
"Public schools had a distinctly Protestant flavor, with teachers leading
prayers and scripture reading from the King James Bible in their lessons".
The Roman Catholic minority objected to the King James Bible and so they
developed their own school system. With the exception of the Catholics, the
United States was clearly King James only.
Russell Kirk (a Roman Catholic historian) describes the influence of the
King James Bible on the United States, "The book that was to exert a
stronger influence than any other in the Americas was not published until
1611, a few years after the first Virginian settlement: the 'King James'
translation of the Bible, the Authorized Version, was prepared by English
scholars for King James I. Read from American pulpits and in the great
majority of American households during colonial times, the Authorized
Version shaped the style, informed the intellect, affected the laws, and
decreed the morals of the North American Colonies." Truly the early United
States was King James only.
According to Winston Churchill, ninety million copies of the King James
Bible had been printed by the mid-twentieth century.
The King James Bible was the Bible of the great modern missions movement
of the 1100's and 1800's. The missionaries from England and the United
States were saved, called to the mission field, and trained under the
preaching of the King James Bible. They traveled around the world,
introducing the gospel of grace to millions. Many of these missionaries knew
little or no Greek and Hebrew. They translated the Bible into 160 languages
from the King James Bible. Truly the modern missions movement was a King
James only movement.
III. The Westcott and Hort Theory
In the 1870s, a challenge arose in the English world to the primacy of
the King James Bible. There had always been a challenge from Roman
Catholicism, but this challenge came from men who were officially
Protestants: Church of England Bishop Brooke Foss Westcott and Cambridge
University Professor Fenton John Anthony Hort.
The heart of the Westcott and Hort theory was that the New Testament was
preserved in almost perfect condition in two Greek texts, the Vaticanus and
the Sinaiticus. Sinaiticus was discovered in a wastebasket in St.
Catherine's Monastery (near Mt. Sinai) in 1844 by Constantine von
Tischendorf. The Vaticanus was found in the Vatican library in 1475 and was
rediscovered in 1845.
The King James New Testament was translated from a different family of
Greek texts. To Westcott and Hort, the King James Bible was clearly an
inferior translation. It must be replaced by a new translation from texts
that they considered to be older and better. They believed that the true
work of God in English had been held back by an inferior Bible. They
determined to replace the King James Bible and the Greek Textus Receptus. In
short, their theory suggests that for fifteen hundred years the preserved
Word of God was lost until it was recovered in the nineteenth century in a
trash can and in the Vatican Library.
Hort clearly had a bias against the Textus Receptus, calling it
"villainous" and "vile". Hort aggressively taught that the School at Antioch
(associated with Lucian) had loosely translated the true text of Scripture
in the second century A. D. This supposedly created an unreliable text of
Scripture which became the Textus Receptus. This was called the Lucian
Hort did not have a single historical reference to support the idea that
such a recension took place. He simply theorized that it must have taken
place. In spite of the fact that there is not a single historical reference
to the Lucian Recension, many Bible colleges teach it as a historical fact.
IV. Westcott and Hort Only!
It is clear that the modern movement to revise the English Bible is
based completely on the works of Westcott and Hort.
K.W. Clark writes, "...the Westcott-Hort text has become today our
Textus-Receptus. We have been freed from the one only to become captivated
by the other... The psychological chains so recently broken from our fathers
have again been forged upon us, even more strongly."
E.C. Colwell writes, "The dead hand of Fenton John Anthony Hort lies
heavy upon us. In the early years of this century Kirsopp lake described
Hort's work as a failure, ...But Hort did not fail to reach his major goal.
He dethroned the Textus Receptus. ...This was a sensational achievement, an
impressive success. Hort's success in this task and the cogency of his
tightly reasoned theory shaped - and still shapes - the thinking of those
who approach the textual criticism of the New Testament through the English
Zane Hodges, a long time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary,
writes, "Modern textual criticism is psychologically addicted to Westcott
and Hort. Westcott and Hort in turn, were rationalists in their approach to
the textual problem in the New Testament and employed techniques within
which rationalism and every other kind of bias are free to operate."
Alfred Martin, former Vice-President at Moody Bible Institute, wrote in
1951, "The present generation of Bible students having been reared on
Westcott and Hort have for the most part accepted this theory without
independent or critical examination. ...if believing Bible students had the
evidence of both sides put before them instead of one side only, there would
not be so much blind following of Westcott and Hort." The two most popular
Greek manuscripts today, Nestles-Aland and UBS (United Bible Society),
differ very little from the Westcott and Hort text.
V. What You Have to Believe to Accept the Westcott and Hort Theory
You have to believe that people who believed in the Deity of Christ
often corrupt Bible manuscripts.
You have to believe that people who deny the Deity of Christ never
corrupt Bible manuscripts.
You have to believe that people who died to get the gospel to the world
couldn't be trusted with the Bible.
You have to believe that their killers could be trusted.
You have to believe that the Celtic Christians, Waldenses, Albigenses,
Henricians, Petrobrussians, Paulicians, the Greek Orthodox Church, the
Protestant churches, the Anabaptists and the Baptists all did not have the
pure word of God.
You have to believe that the Roman Catholics and the nineteenth century
rationalists did have the pure word of God.
VI. Are Westcott and Hort Infallible?
Even though many evangelicals treat the Westcott and Hort Theory as
proven fact, there have always been serious textual scholars that challenged
The brilliant textual scholar, Dean John Burgon, referred to Westcott
and Hortís "violent recoil from the Traditional Text" and "their absolute
contempt for the Traditional Text". He refers to their theory as
"superstitious veneration for a few ancient documents."
Another famed textual scholar and contemporary of Westcott and Hort,
Scrivener wrote, "Dr. Hort's system therefore is entirely destitute of
historical foundation. He does not so much as make a show of pretending to
it; but then he would persuade us, as he persuaded himself...".
It is a phony claim to scholarship to simply parrot the ideas of
Westcott and Hort and pretend that you are superior to those who don't
accept their ideas. Those who wish to change the King James Bible, so long
greatly used of God and cherished by the English speaking people, need to
give clear reasons why!
How do you know that the "older" Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts
aren't corrupt manuscripts? How do you know that the Lucian Recension ever
took place? Why do you believe that the evangelicals throughout the
centuries were using a corrupt text? Why would you trust Westcott and Hort
VII. Who Were Westcott and Hort?
B.F. Westcott was born in 1825. F.J.A. Hort was born in 1828. They were
members of the Broad Church (or High Church) Party of the Church of England.
They became friends during their studentdays at Cambridge
University. They worked for over thirty years together on the subject of the
Greek text of the New Testament.
Westcott went on to become the Bishop of Durham (England) and served for
a while as chaplain to Queen Victoria. Hort is best remembered as a
Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University.
Both men wrote several books. They are best remembered for their edition
of the Greek New Testament entitled, "The New Testament in the Original
Greek". They are also remembered for being the two most influential members
of the English Revised Version committee which produced a new English
translation. Scrivener thought that they exercised too much influence on
Westcott died in 1901. Hort passed away in 1892. Both men had sons who
collected their personal correspondence and who wrote biographies about
VIII. The Doctrine of Westcott and Hort
It is clear that neither Westcott nor Hort held anything even faintly
resembling a conservative view of Scripture. According to Hort's son, Dr.
Hort's own mother (a devout Bible believer) could not be sympathetic to his
views about the Bible. Westcott wrote to Hort that he overwhelmingly
rejected the "idea of the infallibility of the Bible". Hort says the same
thing, the same week, in a letter to Bishop Lightfoot.
When Westcott became the Bishop of Durham, the Durham University Journal
welcomed him with the praise that he was "free from all verbal or mechanical
ideas of inspiration".
Hort called the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement "immoral". In
doing so he sided with the normal doctrine of the High Church Party of the
Church of England. The Low Church Party was generally evangelical, teaching
salvation through personal faith in Jesus Christ. The High, Church Party
taught salvation by good works, including baptism and church membership.
Westcott and Hort wrote many commentaries that include references to
classic passages about salvation. Repeatedly their commentary is vague and
unclear. Westcott taught that the idea of "propitiating God" was "foreign to
the .New Testament". He taught that salvation came from changing the
character of the one who offended God. This is consistent with his statement
that, "A Christian never is but is always becoming a Christian."
Again and again, Westcott's vague comments about salvation are easy to
interpret as teaching universal salvation.
The Doctrine of Christ
It was common in the days of Westcott and Hort for those in the Church
of England who denied the Deity of Christ to speak in vague terms! To
clearly deny the Deity of Christ was to jeopardize your position in the
Church of England. Many High Church modernists learned to speak of the
Deity of Christ in unclear terms as a way to avoid trouble.
Many statements by both Westcott and Hort fall into that category of
"fuzzy" doctrinal statements about Christ. Westcott and Hort were brilliant
scholars. Surely they were capable of expressing themselves clearly on the
doctrine of Christ if they wanted to.. At best they are unclear; at worst,
they were modernists hiding behind the fundamental doctrinal statement of
the Church of England.
Other Teachings of Westcott and Hort
There are many other areas that cause fundamental Bible believers to
have serious questions about Westcott and Hort. Westcott denied that Genesis
1 through 3 were historically true. Hort praised Darwin and his theory of
evolution. Both Westcott and Hort praised the "Christian socialist" movement
of their day. Westcott belonged to several organizations designed to promote
"Christian socialism" and served as President of one of them (the Christian
Both Westcott and Hort showed sympathy for the movement to return the
Church of England to Rome. Both honored rationalist philosophers of their
time like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Dr. Frederick Maurice, and Dr. Thomas
Arnold. Both were serious students of the Greek philosophers Plato and
There is much about the teaching of Westcott and Hort to deeply trouble
any objective Bible believer.
IX. Were Westcott and Hort Saved Men?
The evangelical defenders of Westcott and Hart are quick to assert that
they were saved men even if some of their ideas seem a little strange in our
day. They remind people that both were ordained preachers in the evangelical
Church of England.
However, there is no doubt that there were many Church of England
preachers that were not true evangelicals. The High Church party was well
known to teach salvation by works. Within the Church of England there was a
vigorous debate between true evangelicals and those who taught baptismal
regeneration or some other system of works for salvation. In their lengthy
writings, neither Westcott nor Hort ever give an account of their own
conversion. They never identified with the evangelicals in the Church of
England. They were never accepted by the evangelicals in the Church of
England. They were associated with various occult figures, but never with
While Westcott and Hort praised evolutionists, socialists, and
modernists, they were bitterly critical of evangelical soul winners.
Westcott criticized the work of William Booth and the Salvation Army. Hort
criticized the crusades of D. L. Moody. Hort criticized the soul winning
Methodists while Westcott and Hort praised evolutionists, socialists, and
modernists, they were bitterly critical of evangelical soul winners.
Westcott criticized the work of William Booth and the Salvation Army. Hort
criticized the crusades of D. L. Moody. Hort criticized the soul winning
Both criticized evangelicals. Neither gave any- one any reason to
believe that he had ever trusted Christ as his personal Saviour.
X. The Work of the English Revision Committee
In 1870, the English Parliament authorized a revision of the King James
Bible. Two teams of translators were hired. Most translators were from the
Church of England but there were also seven Presbyterians, four
Congregationalists, two Baptists, two Methodists and one Unitarian. The
translators were instructed to make as few alterations to the King James
Bible as possible.
A similar committee was developed in the United States at the same time.
The two committees exchanged copies of their work. Several thousand Church
of England preachers signed a petition protesting the inclusion of a
Unitarian, Dr. Vance Smith, on the Revision Committee. They felt that only
saved men should be involved in translating the Bible. Proper translation
required the illumination of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Both Westcott and Hort defended Smith and lobbied for his presence on
the committee. Westcott threatened to quit if Smith was not included.
Westcott and Hort supplied everyone working on the committee with a private
copy of their new Greek text. Hort lobbied (some would say intimidated)
committee members to follow the Westcott and Hort text. Westcott, Hort, and
Bishop Lightfoot pressured the committee to go beyond their man- date for
doing a revision of the King James Bible. Dr. Frederick Scrivener opposed
many of the changes to be made on the basis of the new Westcott and Hort
Greek Text. Committee meetings were referred to as "... a kind of critical
duel between Dr. Hort and Dr. Scrivener."
Arthur Hort described his father's method for describing the right
reading of the text as "to settle the question by the light of his own inner
consciousness". Dean Burgon spoke of Hort's method as deciding by "the ring
of genuineness". Hort was far more concerned about his feelings than he was
about the textual debate over any passage. Westcott referred to the debate
over textual readings as "hard fighting" and "a battle royal".
The original chairman, Bishop Samuel Wilber force, resigned after
referring to the project as "this most miserable business".
Westcott and Hort eventually won most of the debates. After the new
English Revision was published, both Scrivener and Burgon published lengthy
refutations of the Revision. Burgon at- tacked the Revision strongly,
calling it "excursions into cloud land" and "blowing smoke". The people of
England largely rejected the new translation. At- tempts to make it the new
Authorized Version of the Church of England met with such protest that Queen
Victoria abandoned the idea. Neither the English nor the American Revision
sold very well. They were both soon replaced by other versions. However, the
multitude of new English versions were all based upon the same Westcott and
Hort Greek text and upon the theories of Westcott and Hort. Their English
translation failed but their principles won the day. Even though
evangelicals rejected the English Revision and the Westcott and Hort text,
it did find supporters. Modernists and rationalists, both within and without
the Church of England, praised their work. Theosophy founder, Helen
Blavatsky, wrote at great length in praise of the new Greek text.
The defenders of Westcott and Hort claimed that the evangelicals were
too simple-minded and unlearned to understand the work of Westcott and Hort
and other English "scholars". Evangelicalism was presented as unscholarly.
After a generation, many evangelicals began to feel uncomfortable at always
being labeled as unscholarly and uneducated. Some evangelical leaders began
to look for ways to reconcile the historic Christian faith with the theories
of Westcott and Hort.
These theories and the Greek text of Westcott and Hort began to find
their way into evangelical seminaries and Bible colleges on both sides of
the Atlantic Ocean.
Two generations after the failure of the English Revision, the theories
of Westcott and Hort had become majority opinion in evangelical Bible
colleges and seminaries in both the United States and England. Their
theories were universally accepted in modernist seminaries. The Jehovah's
Witnesses and other cults bragged about having Bible translations based upon
the Westcott and Hort theory.
Compromising evangelicals were suddenly proud of having "scholarship"
accepted by the world. They used the same Greek text as the Roman Catholic
Church, the modernists and the cults.
A relative handful of Bible believers refused to accept the Greek text
and theory of Westcott and Hort. Such holdouts became an irritation to the
"scholarly" evangelicals. As study of the issue in- creased, opposition to
the Westcott and Hort theory grew. "Westcott and Hort only" no longer seemed
an adequate reason for abandoning the King James Bible. The "scholarly
evangelicals" began to react harshly to their "King James only" critics.
XI. Were Westcott and Hort Secret Practitioners of the Occults?
In 1993, Gail Riplinger published New Age Bible Versions. In this
book, she alleges that Westcott and Hort were practitioners of the occult.
It is indicated that they provide a bridge between apostate Christianity and
the occult and the New Age Movement
This charge created a sensation and generated a tremendous amount of
criticism for Mrs. Riplinger. It is, of course, a very important charge. An
objective look at the evidence for such a charge is important.
Along with Bishop Edward White Benson, Westcott and Hort founded the
Ghostly Guild. This club was designed to investigate ghosts and super-
natural appearances. The club was based upon the idea that such spirits
actually exist and appear to men. According to The Encyclopedia of
Occultism and Parapsychology, The members of the Ghostly Club
would "relate personal experiences concerned with ghosts.
This club would eventually become the Society for Psychical Research.
According to James Webb in The Occult Underground and W.H. Solter, The S.P.R.
- An Outline of It's History, this club became a major factor in the rise of
spiritualism among the elite of English society in the late 1800's. Many
leading occult figures belonged to the Society.
Along the way, Westcott and Hort dropped out of the Ghostly Guild.
However, they had plenty of opportunity to be exposed to the occult and
demonism before they withdrew..
Westcott's son refers to his father's life long faith in spiritualism
(Archbishop Benson's son referred to Benson in the same way). Communion with
spirits became quite fashionable in the late 1800's in British society. Even
Queen Victoria, who normally led a responsible Christian life, dabbled in
spiritualism. However, it was considered un- seemly for Church of England
clergymen, and Westcott had to keep his ideas quiet.
According to Westcott's son, Arthur, Dr. Westcott practiced the
Communion of the Saints. This was a belief that you can fellowship with the
spirits of those who died recently.
Bible translator J. B. Phillips also believed in the Communion of
Saints. He believed that the spirit of C. S. Lewis visited him after his
death. According to Arthur Westcott, Bishop Westcott also had such
experiences with spirits. His son writes, "The Communion of Saints seems
particularly associated with Peterborough. He had an extraordinary power of
realizing this Communion. It was his delight to be alone at night in the
great Cathedral, for there he could meditate and pray in full sympathy with
all that was good and great in the past. . . There he always had abundant
company." Westcott's daughter met him returning from one of his customary
meditations in the solitary darkness of the chapel at Auckland castle. She
said to him, " I expect you do not feel alone?" "Oh, no," he said, "It is
Either Dr. Westcott's children lied about him or Dr. Westcott was used
to meeting with spirits. Bible believers recognize these spirits as demons.
Westcott and Hort both joined a secret society called, The Apostles. It was
limited to 12 members. One of the other members was Henry Sidgwick. He was
also stated to have led several professors at Trinity College into secretly
practicing the occult. Westcott, his close friend, was also a professor at
Trinity College. Strange company for a Christian teacher and Bible
In 1872 Westcott formed a secret society, the Eranus Club. Members
included Hort, Sidgwick, Arthur Balfour (future prime minister of England),
Archbishop Trench and Dean Alford. Both Trench and Alford would be involved
in Bible revision work. Balfour became famous for his seances and practice
of spiritualism. The Eranus Club would eventually become known as an occult
Westcott's defenders point out that Westcott also eventually dropped out
of Eranus. Still he was certainly allied with practitioners of the occult in
a secret society for a period of time.
Balfour and Sidgwick were involved in several occult organizations,
socialism and Theosophy. How many Christians have so many friends prominent
in the practice of the occult?
Balfour would also be involved in the founding of the League of Nations
and in forming a secret society with Cecil Rhodes (the Round Table and the
Council on Foreign Relations).
The evidence for Mrs. Riplinger's assertions is strong. Would Westcott
and Hort's defenders accept anyone today who had such connections? They were
clearly in contact with people who were "familiar" with spirits. There is
every reason to suspect that they might also have been in contact with
spirits. Based upon their associations, there is no clear reason to reject
the suggestion that they were involved in the occult. The balance of
evidence creates, at the very least, a strong suspicion of occult influence
on both Westcott and Hort (especially Dr. Westcott).
XII. The Fundamentalist Defenders of Westcott and Hort
There are fundamentalists who refuse to accept the characterization of
Westcott and Hort as liberals (much less occultists)! J. B Williams writes,
"I have three of Westcott's commentaries in my library, and I challenge
anyone to find one sentence that would be a departure from Fundamentalist
Keith Gephart writes, "In reality, Westcott had made clear statements
affirming orthodox doc- trines such as the deity of Christ. In no way was he
guilty of heresy and apostasy." In responding to a critic of Westcott and
Hort, Gephart wrote this, "I cannot help but suspect that. . . some blinding
presupposition. . .drives you to prove him a heretic at any cost."
Dr. Stewart Custer writes, "Especially when these men have written in
their mature years book after book defending the conservative interpretation
of scripture, it is unjust to characterize their whole ministries by a few
misinterpretations that they may have been guilty of."
Evangelist Robert Sumner admits that Westcott and Hort were liberal in
theology but he still believes that they were trustworthy to "restore the
It would be easy to ask at this point if everyone is reading from the
same books. How can there be such a difference of opinion about what these
men believed and wrote?
It is true that these men (especially Westcott) wrote commentaries in
which they used the great doctrinal terms of the Christian faith in a
positive way. They used terms that were part of the official doctrinal
position of the Church of England (in which they both held prominent
Almost all denominational liberals use the terms expected of them. This
is important in maintaining their income, position and influence. The
important thing is how they explain those doctrinal terms (or fail to
Unless you are determined not to see it, it is clear from their
commentaries that they put a liberal interpretation on many Christian
doctrines. Both of their sons admit that they were accused of heresy because
of their books. This understanding of these statements in their commentaries
are supported by several external facts.
Westcott and Hort identified with the High Church Party (Broad Party)
within the Church of England. In contrast with the more evangelical and
conservative Low Church. Modernism found it's home in the High Church Party.
Westcott and Hort constantly praised theological liberals, socialists
and other radicals like Coleridge and Darwin.
No similar praise is found for evangelicals or fundamentalists, either
in or out of the Church of England. They are normally ignored! When they are
mentioned at all, like D. L. Moody, it is with disdain!
Their private correspondence reveals their liberal drift much more
clearly than their commentaries. Of course, it was safer for them to admit
what they really believed in this forum. Their correspondence also shows
that they had concerns that they could not afford to have all of their
beliefs known by the general public.
The biographies of Westcott and Hort written by their sons clearly
reveal that they were not in harmony with the official positions of the
Church of England. Their sons had no reason to lie about them. Certainly
their sons had no King James only bias. It is interesting that some
men can't face the real record about Westcott and Hort. In fact, some who
are quick to attack even minor differences with living preachers, take a
blind eye to Westcott and Hort.
However, this is easy to understand. Their campaign to replace the King
James Bible has been based upon the work of Westcott and Hort only. To admit
these men were not trustworthy would be to admit that they have been wrong
in a major premise of their entire ministry.
Perhaps we must be forced to suspect that some blinding presupposition
drives them to prove that Westcott and Hort were not heretics at any cost.
It appears that "scholarship" requires only a shallow reading of Westcott
and Hort and ignorance of their personal letters and correspondence.
Their defenders do not spend any time quoting their personal correspondence
or the biographies written by their sons. Their defenders never recount
the testimonies of their conversion -- because no such testimonies exist.
XIII. In Conclusion
Dean John Burgon was a contemporary and acquaintance of both Westcott
and Hort. He was a firm opponent of the Westcott and Hort theory, their new
Greek text and the revision of the English Bible that they so heavily
influenced. In an article entitled "The Secret Spanking of Westcott and
Hort" Burgon wrote: "the text of Drs. Westcott and Hort is either the very
best which has ever appeared or else it is the very worst; the nearest to
the sacred autographs or the furthest from them. There is no room for both
opinions, and there cannot exist any middle view." In other words, "things
that are different are not the same."
Millions of professing evangelicals have never heard of Westcott and
Hort. None the less, their approach to the Scripture is based upon the
theory of Westcott and Hort - Westcott and Hort only. No matter how many
books, professors, colleges and denominational leaders these theories are
filtered through, they are still the work of Westcott and Hort only.
Those who challenge the primacy of the King James Bible in the English
speaking world depend on the work of Westcott and Hort.
Westcott and Hort are not a sufficient basis to reject the Textus
Receptus or the King James Bible. Their objectivity, scholarship and
doctrine are all at best "suspect." There is no reason to believe that they
were saved men. There is more reason to believe that they were influenced by
the occult than there is to believe that they were influenced by the Holy
Perhaps the "King James Only Controversy" is misnamed. It is really a
"Westcott and Hort Only" controversy.
Are you willing to abandon the historic contributions of the Textus
Receptus and the King James Bible for Westcott and Hort, Westcott and Hort