The Broad Church Movement and the Modern Bible Versions
By Dr. Ken Matto
(Mat 7:14 KJV) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The Lord Jesus Christ in the above verse tells us that narrow is the way for salvation, that is, there is no such thing as “all paths” or “all religions” meeting the criteria for salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only way for a person to become saved. (John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Notice that the verse says “the” before “way, truth, and life.” This means there are not two ways but only one and that is through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There was a movement afoot in the Church of England toward the middle of the 19th century and finally pervaded the church at the end of the 19th century. This bit of information is very important because many on the Translation Committee members of the 1881 Revised Version were heavily involved in this movement. Here are some of the names: Charles John Vaughan (Fellow of Trinity College), R. C. Trench (Anglican Archbishop), J.B. Lightfoot (Bishop of Durham), Edward H. Bickersteth (Bishop in Anglican Church), Fenton A.J. Hort (Cambridge Professor), Brooke Foss Westcott (Cambridge Professor and Bishop of Durham 1890-1901), Benjamin Kennedy (English Scholar), Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (Bishop of Norwich), Charles Ellicott (Dean of Exeter and later Bishop of Gloucester), William Moulton (Headmaster of Leys School, Cambridge), George Milligan, Robert Payne Smith (Dean of Canterbury), and William Humphrey. As you can see, the majority of these men held high positions in the church.
The 1881 Revised Version was the groundwork for all the modern versions and it is important to know that these men were involved in the Broad Church Movement because the name signifies that instead of narrow true doctrine being taught in the Anglican church, the door was broadened or made wider for the entrance of many false beliefs. It is this reason that those who translated the 1881 RV caused it to be a version which mounted many attacks on the true cardinal doctrines of the faith by bringing in new thought which amounted basically to humanism and philosophy. The following are twelve beliefs which the Broad Church movement held and is widely held today by many in church positions and by many who translate new versions. This list is taken from the book “Tabernacle Essays on Bible Translation” by Dr. James Sightler (Pages 17-18).
1) The Doctrine of Original Sin is denied
2) They focused not on the atonement of Christ but who He was. The atonement was basically ignored.
3) They denied the eternal Sonship of Christ and held to principles of Arianism and Socinianism.
4) They denied the virgin birth.
5) Eternal life was defined as having knowledge of God here on earth and an afterlife was rejected.
6) Heaven and Hell were not believed to be real.
7) The Resurrection of Christ and His Ascension were made figures and reality of them denied along with the resurrection of the believers.
8) The return of the Lord was in 70 A.D. or occurring at the time of the believer’s death.
9) Verbal inspiration of the Scriptures denied and its authority was judged only by human reason.
10) Christianity was said to be Christ.
11) The incarnation of Christ was not taught as miraculous but it was the union of God with all people as history unfolds.
12) Darwin’s theory of evolution was accepted.
Looking at these twelve beliefs, it is no wonder that so many cardinal doctrines in the modern versions are omitted. The modern versions are based upon the Hort-Westcott text which these 13 aforementioned men were involved with. Since they disbelieved so many cardinal doctrines, the question must be asked and answered. Would God give His Word over to men who deny and attack some of the most cardinal doctrines and the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is, of course, no He would not. Yet, millions of Christians continue to use the modern versions and believe they are God’s Word. These men were unbelievers and their disbelief, especially in the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, would cause one to realize that is why there are so many modern versions since there is never a final one in the modern version camp. The modern versions are always in flux. The King James was a final translation made from manuscripts which God himself finalized for translation and that is the reason the King James has remained a stable Bible for 400 years.
Those who use the modern versions will never have finality or stabilization in their beliefs since every modern version says something different and with unholy hands on these versions, God cannot and will not bless them since they are counterfeit versions designed by Satan to ingest confusion into the body of Christ. Take a look at the 12 beliefs again. Do you hold to them? If not then why are you using a Bible which was translated by men who held those beliefs? Could that be the reason that you have confusion in your life over so many issues? (1 Cor 14:33 KJV) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.