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Response to EACA on VPP

Joshua Lim and Philip Tang

 

1.  Brief Introduction to the VPP situation in Singapore.

 

In the early 2000 Dr. Jeffrey Khoo and members of the FEBC wrote a series of articles in which they asserted the perfection[1] of the KJV. They further argued that if God were all-powerful, He would not only preserve the physical words of Scripture in the extant manuscripts but would give His people a  physical copy of the Old and New Testament identical in content to the Original autographic text. Unless God does this, argued Khoo, God would not be omnipotent. Khoo identified the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts immediately underlying the KJV to be the text.

 

2.   How God preserved the physical words of Scripture according to Khoo.

 

Khoo published two articles explaining clearly how God preserved the physical words of Scripture.

 

The “providential” preservation of Scriptures is understood as God’s special and not general providence. Special providence or providential extraordinaria speaks of God’s miraculous intervention in the events of history and in the affairs of mankind in fulfilment of His sovereign will for the sake of His elect and to the glory of His Name. The divine preservation of the Canon (books) and Text (words) of Scripture comes under God’s

special providence[2]. (emphasis by authors)

 

Could God have restored for His Church all of His inspired and preserved words in the days of the Reformation? As the all-powerful God, He certainly could, and by faith we believe He surely did. Just as He restored the Old Covenant words of His Decalogue through His servant Moses (Exod 19:16-21:26, 31:18-32:28, 34:1-4; Deut 5:1-29, 9:20-21, 10:1-5), and all His words in the scroll which Jehoiakim cut up and burned (Jer 36:1-32), so we believe the Lord has similarly done for His New Testament words which have been kept pure in the Traditional and Majority manuscripts and are now found in the Printed Text of the Protestant Reformation—the time-tested and time-honoured Textus Receptus underlying the KJV. FEBC simply does not see the need for any kind of textual critical work today[3]. (emphasis by authors)

 

Firstly, Khoo asserted that the physical words of Scripture was preserved by God’s miraculous intervention in the events of history’ and then he explained how God ‘preserved’ the physical words during the time of the KJV translators − ‘just as He restored the Old Covenant words of His Decalogue through His servant Moses’ .

 

A reference to Exodus 34:1,28 (which Khoo made) reads,

 

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou didst break… And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

 

The biblical record has it that God called Moses and spoke to him.  Khoo, by equating the event at Mount Sinai with that of the KJV translators, implies that God spoke to the KJV translators when they were translating the Bible into English.

 

Truly, Khoo is not speaking about the preservation of the physical words of Scripture but rather a re-inspiration or restoration(similar to that during Moses’ time) of the biblical texts underlying the KJV.

 

Only cults of Christianity such as the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses make similar claims about new prophesies and post canonical inspirations. It is a cardinal doctrine in Reformed Christianity that the events experienced by Moses and Jeremiah have ceased after the close of the Canon and the passing away of the Apostles.

 

3.   Khoo and FEBC faculty members incessantly make unfounded claims that ICCC subscribes to VPP.

 

Many of the articles (by Khoo and FEBC faculty members) in the Burning Bush make references to the ICCC, implying that ICCC upholds Khoo’s new theory of preservation by re-inspiration.

 

In July 2008, Khoo made the most extravagant claim regarding the ICCC in his article, ‘Kicking Against The Pricks: The SCCC Contradicts The ICCC On VPP’ when he equated the stand of ICCC with VPP, saying,

 

“This is what VPP affirms—the Hebrew/Aramaic words of the Masoretic Text, and the Greek words of the Textus Receptus are the very inspired and preserved words of God, and the Authorised or King James Version (AV/KJV) is a faithful translation of those divinely inspired and preserved original language words.”

 

The word ‘inspired’ carries with it very specific meaning for Khoo. It meant that the KJV translators were doing what Moses did at Mount Sinai but in the year 1611.

 

In the Burning Bush, July 2007, Jeffrey Khoo wrote[4] about his trip to Nairobi to speak at the Bible College of East Africa (BCEA). Khoo seized on the opportunity to propagate VPP. He wrote,

 

“I preached a sermon on the need to lay right and solid foundations which are Christ and His Word (Ps 11:3, Eph 2:20), forever infallible and inerrant on the perfect preservation of the inspired words of the Holy Word…on the perfect preservation of the inspired words of the Holy Scriptures.

 

Khoo goes half-way round the world to sow seeds of discord[5] among Christians who do not subscribe to his theory of preservation by re-inspiration.

 

The B-P Christian community in Singapore who does not subscribe to the preservation by re-inspiration (VPP) of Khoo and the FEBC tried their best to keep the peace of the Church for the sake of Jesus Christ, even though they were accused by Khoo as liberals, denying inerrancy of the Bible, and all sorts of name-calling. However, if a lie is repeated often enough people will tend to believe it. That is why our joint-statement on Khoo’s article “ On VPP: Kicking Against The Pricks” was written to refute the misrepresentations of Khoo’s article. The joint-statement was not an attack on Khoo as claimed by the EACA. We merely described Khoo as “confused in his thinking.”

 

4.   Answering “East African Christian Alliance  speaks on VPP”

 

On behalf of the EACA, Bishop R.M. Kivai wrote as follows:

 

a)  Let it be clear that the onslaught against his [Jeffrey Khoo] stand on V.P.P. has no biblical basis…

 

Our reply:  The question of the preservation of Scripture is not an issue. (The position of orthodox evangelical Christians has always been that God has providentially preserved His words in the extant manuscripts.) As was demonstrated from the articles written by Khoo (and the FEBC), the “preservation” of VPP was described as being similar to Moses when God spoke to Moses and the ten commandments were rewritten on the stone tablets. Obviously, when Khoo equates what the KJV translators did in 1611 to that of what Moses did in Mount Sinai, one begins to question Jeffrey Khoo’s orthodoxy and its attending beliefs.

 

In the tenets of the “VPP of Scriptures”, Khoo asserts that David Waite is the person who is able to recognise what the perfect Bible is. (Refer to Appendix A, point 6). This is the most startling dogma of VPP. What gives Waite, a mere man, the ability to tell the difference between the perfect Bible and not so perfect one? Do we need Waite to tell us what is or is not the word of God? Has David Waite replaced the Holy Spirit in bringing God’s truth to believers?  This makes the theory of VPP an affront to the plain teachings of Holy Scripture.

 

The Apostle John writing to Christians on the work of the Holy Spirit said:

 

“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things…But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”  (1 John2:20,27)

 

b)  Founding President of the ICCC, Dr Carl McIntire, believed the Bible to be 100% perfect without any mistake, and that Psalm 12:6-7 teaches the VPP of the Holy Scriptures.

 

Our reply: There is no doubt that the Bible is 100% perfect and without any mistakes or errors. We are in complete agreement with that statement. 

 

That Dr. Carl McIntyre is a founding member of the ICCC and its 1st president gains our utmost respect for the man. However, we disagree that Psalm 12:7 teaches the preservation of God’s words. Psalm 12:7 refers to the preservation of God’s people. This we say with great confidence because the KJV translators in their 1611 version have marginal notes for Psalm 12:7. Refer to Appendix B. We believe the KJV translators to be great scholars and do not doubt their knowledge of Hebrew.

 

 c)  It is never right to confuse by our scholastic jargon, the mind of a layman who simply believes the Bible to be God's infallible word.

  

Our reply: We are in complete agreement with you. It is for this very reason that we have diligently avoided confronting Khoo and the FEBC who have not let up on their assault on non-VPP, B-P churches in Singapore. The situation in the B-P churches was one of chaos and confusion[6] in the congregations when Khoo and the FEBC vigorously promoted without due regard to the spiritual condition of the lay people.

 

d)   Original languages versus originals [autographs] are two totally different concepts. This is a blatant lie! What is their intention of changing these words?

 

Our reply:  It is good that this has been brought up. This misunderstanding by the EACA can be resolved if the doctrinal statement of the ICCC is examined in its proper context. Article II therein reads:

 

“Among other equally Biblical truths, we believe and maintain the following

 

a.     The plenary Divine inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, their consequent inerrancy and infallibility, and, as the word of God, the supreme and final authority in faith and life;”

 

The question that comes to mind is -- what is the intended meaning of the author of the Article II(a)? It is common knowledge that the original languages are Hebrew/Aramaic for the OT and Greek for the NT. However when the sentence is read in its context, “…we believe and maintain (the following) the plenary Divine inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages,...”, it is obvious that the author of Article II (a) is saying that the ICCC subscribes to the doctrine of the verbal plenary inspiration of Scriptures[7].

 

The other possible, but unlikely, meaning is that extant copies of the manuscripts in Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek are Divinely inspired. This would mean that each time a Greek NT or Hebrew/Aramaic manuscript is copied the Holy Spirit would keep the copyists from making errors.  Such a doctrine is totally foreign to reformed Christianity.

 

Louis Berkhof, a distinguished systematic theologian, writing on the doctrine of inspiration, remarked:

 

“ …the doctrine of inspiration, as set forth in the preceding pages, applies only to the autographs (the original writings of the Biblical authors)[8]…”   

 

Therefore, writing the word “autographs”  within  square brackets in the ICCC’s statement on "Believing the Holy Scriptures of the originals [autographs] to be fully inspired with its words and genders and being complete as God's revelation to man without error"  is not a blatant lie but an explanation that the ‘originals’ refer to the autographs.

 

5.   Conclusion.

 

Khoo and the FEBC have written very clearly that their theory of ‘preservation’ i.e. VPP differs from what the traditional reformed Christianity understands on the preservation of Scriptures. Theirs is a preservation by re-inspiration.

 

It is not only the SCCC that rejects VPP. Affiliated bodies to the ICCC such as the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions (founded by fundamentalists, Carl McIntire and J. Gresham Machen, has categorically rejected VPP in their Resolution of Bible Inspiration[9].


APPENDIX  A

 

The Far Eastern Bible College upholds the VPP of Scripture and believes in the following tenets:

 

(1) God has supernaturally preserved each and every one of His inspired Hebrew/Aramaic OT words and Greek NT words to the last jot and tittle, so that in every age, God’s people will always have in their possession His infallible and inerrant Word kept intact without the loss of any word (Ps 12:6-7, Matt 5:18, 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33, John 10:35).

 

(2) The “providential” preservation of Scriptures is understood as God’s special and not general providence. Special providence or providential extraordinaria speaks of God’s miraculous intervention in the events of history and in the affairs of mankind in fulfilment of His sovereign will for the sake of His elect and to the glory of His Name. The divine preservation of the Canon (books) and Text (words) of Scripture comes under God’s

special providence.

 

(3) The Bible is not only infallible and inerrant in the past (in the Autographs), but also infallible and inerrant today (in the Apographs).

 

(4) The infallible and inerrant words of Scripture are found in the faithfully preserved Traditional/Byzantine/Majority manuscripts, and fully represented in the Printed and Received Text (or Textus Receptus) that underlie the Reformation Bibles best represented by the KJV, and NOT in the corrupted and rejected texts of Westcott and Hort that underlie the many modern versions of the English Bible like the NIV, NASV, ESV, RSV, TEV, CEV, TLB etc.

 

(5) There are no mistakes in the Bible, period. If there are “discrepancies” in the Bible, the “discrepancies” are only seeming or apparent, NOT real or actual. Any inability to understand or explain difficult passages in the Bible in no way negates its infallibility and inerrancy, applying the faithful Pauline principle of biblical interpretation: “let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom 3:4).

 

(6) Knowing where the perfect Bible is a matter of textual recognition and NOT textual criticism. In the field of textual recognition, Burgon is good, Hills is better, Waite is best.

 

(7) The Chinese Union Version (CUV) is the “Word of God” for the Chinese people today since it is the best, most faithful, most reliable, and most accurate version among the Chinese versions presently available. Great care ought to be taken not to undermine our Chinese brethren’s confidence in the CUV. Nevertheless, versions or translations are never superior to the inspired and preserved Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Scriptures; thus there is a need to

consult these original language Scriptures for clarity and fulness of meaning,

and to compare Scripture with Scripture.


APPENDIX B

 

psalm12_7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The KJV translators explained Psalm 12:7 in their 1611 version. They wrote in the marginal notes what ‘them’ in verse 7 means. It reads ‘Heb. him i.e. every one of them’. Therefore, the preservation is not about ‘words of the Lord’ but preservation of God’s people.



[1] A Plea For A Perfect Bible’, Burning Bush, Jan 2003.

[2] ‘VPP of Scriptures’, Burning Bush, Jan 2006

[3] In Defence Of The Far Eastern Bible College, The Reformed Faith, And The Reformation Bible’, Burning Bush, July 2006.)

[4] 21st Century Reformation Movement In East Africa

[5]When Leaders Of Churches Fail To Discipline.” An anonymous blog  http://valiantfortruth.tripod.com/id18.html

[6]  When Leaders Of Churches Fail To Discipline.” An anonymous blog  http://valiantfortruth.tripod.com/id18.html

7 By the verbal plenary inspiration of Scriptures is meant that the Biblical authors were so influenced by the Holy Spirit that their writings are as a whole and in every part God’s word to us. The divine influence which accompanied them in what they wrote extends to their expression of their thoughts in language, as well as to the thoughts themselves. The effect being that in the original autograph copies the language expresses the thoughts God intended to convey with infallible accuracy, so that the words as well the thoughts are God’s revelation to us.(adapted from AA Hodge)

8 Systematic Theology (New Combined Edition); Louis Berkhof, p.158

9 The IBPFM writes “We believe in the acceptance, propagation, and militant defence of all of historic fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith…This Mission Board belongs to The Associated Missions of the International Council of Christian Churches (TAM- ICCC)…”. http://www.ibpfm.org/purpose.php#Our%20Faith