New Covenant Ministries
"The Dean Burgon
...was organized in the USA in 1978 for the
"defense of Traditional Bible
texts." By "Traditional Bible texts" are meant "the Traditional
Masoretic Hebrew Text for the Old Testament, and the Traditional Greek Text
for the New Testament underlying the King James Version."
(see "Articles of Faith, Operation and
Organization, Dean Burgon Society," P.O. Box 354,
Collingswood, NJ, 08108 USA).
Dr. Donald A. Waite is the
organization's president. Though a well-educated man
(Th.D., Dallas Seminary; Ph.D, Purdue),
his treatment of the textual issue
within this organization has been, in this writer's opinion,
to deliberately misrepresent the textual
views of Dean John William
Burgon. Though the organization reprints Burgon's works, it
distorts Burgon's approach to New Testament textual evaluation set forth
in his writings. The purpose of this treatise is to prove with documentation
that John W. Burgon
(1813-1888), Anglican Dean of Chichester (England),
was not the supposed "champion" of the views set forth by this 20th
century "society" which uses his name.
Now, given below are the reasons...
NOT SIGN THE
Dean John William Burgon was
a High Church Anglican priest who believed in
baptismal regeneration through
sprinkling. He wrote,
"Pleasant it is to you and to me
to think that when all these wonders take
place, the Church Catechism will still contain the whole sum of faith
and practice, and the Book of Books will be the selfsame unfathomed well..."
(E.M. Goulburn, John William Burgon, a
Biography pg. 265, bold ours). The members of the D.B.S.,
being for the most part Independent Baptists (including Mr. Waite himself),
would not dare concur that the Episcopal
Church Catechism "contains
the whole sum of faith and practice"!
In the D.B.S. statement on "salvation," no mention is made of baptism
as essential. It is doubtful that Burgon, being High Anglican, would sign
a doctrinal statement that omitted any reference to the "sacraments." It
is even doubtful that Waite would have had fellowship with Burgon when we
read on page 6 of his "Articles of
Faith" such a strong statement on "separation... from
worldliness, ecclesiastical apostasy, and 'disorderly brethren.' " Waite
cannot deny that the Episcopalian Anglican
Church, from its inception, has been involved in "ecclesiastical
apostasy." With such a doctrinal statement, the name
"Burgon Society" is about as
bizarre as "King James Baptist
NOT ADOPT THE
VIEW OF THEIR TEXTUS
In the "Articles of Faith" under
"THE BIBLE" (D.B.S., pg. 3), the particular
Greek New Testament the organization defends is " 'The Greek Text Underlying
The English Version of 1611' as published by THE TRINITARIAN BIBLE SOCIETY
in 1976" (bold ours). This text was originally published
in 1894, edited by
It is a text that prints accurately all of the verses in the Textus Receptus
NT Greek that were chosen by the KJV translators. Burgon would certainly
not have endorsed this text as the original NT. Below we will give
the background and details proving this point. Before proceeding, more needs
to be said about this Greek text.
The King James Bible translators did not consult merely a single
edition of the Textus Receptus but several editions that were available
in their day (Dr. Bruce M. Metzger, cf. The
Text of the New Testament Oxford, 1968, pg. 105). In
Scrivener's collation, the KJV men followed Beza's TR against Stephanus'
TR in 113 places; Stephanus against Beza in 59 places; the Complutensian,
Erasmus, and the Vulgate against both Stephanus and Beza in 80 places
(F.H.A. Scrivener, The Authorized Version
of the Holy Bible1611, Its Subsequent Reprints and Modern
Representatives Cambridge, 1884, pg. 60). This reveals
clearly that the KJV men did not hold to the perfection of any single edition
of the TR, but practiced their own form of textual criticism by translating
a variety of TR readings.
Scrivener, therefore, in 1894 produced a single TR edition that
matched the Greek readings chosen by the KJV translators from a
variety of TR editions. It was truly a
TR," allowing the student to have a handy tool for checking the precise
Greek of the KJV. This TR edition is the one published today by the
Trinitarian Bible Society of London. It
is usually in hardback with a dark blue cover. Remember, the D.B.S. makes
this TR text the standard for its membership.
To make all the verses of Scrivener's 1894 TR replicate the autographs
is purely an arbitrary assumption. There is no real basis for believing such
a notion other than the fact that it is, in detail, the Greek chosen by the
KJV translators. This is precisely, however, the official position of the
D.B.S., that every reading chosen by the KJV translators "represents words
in the original texts"
"We believe that all the verses in the King James Version belong
in the Old and New Testaments because they represent words we believe
were in the original Texts."
("Articles of Faith" ibid., pg.
3; bold ours)
What was Burgon's view of the TR? Observe
"Let no one at all events obscure the one question at issue, by asking,
'whether we consider the Textus
Receptus infallible?' The merit or demerit of the Received Text has
absolutely nothing whatever to do with the question. We care nothing
about it. Any text would equally suit our present purpose"
(J. Burgon, The Revision Revised
pg. 17; italics emphasis his; bold ours).
"Once for all, we request it may be clearly understood that we do not,
by any means, claim perfection for the Received Text. We entertain
no extravagant notions on this subject. Again and again we shall have
occasion to point out
(eg. at pg.
107) that the Textus Receptus needs
correction" (J. Burgon, The Revision
Revised pg. 21, note 3; italics emphasis his, bold
In the above, note that Burgon makes a reference
to a mistake he suggested needed "correction" in the TR ("eg. at page 107").
Turning to pages 107-108, we note the "correction" Burgon had
" 'Very nearly not quite:' for,
in not a few particulars, the 'Textus Receptus' does call for
Revision, certainly; although Revision on entirely different principles from
those which are found to have prevailed in the Jerusalem Chamber. To mention
a single instance:
When our Lord first sent forth
his Twelve Apostles, it was certainly no part of his ministerial commission
to them to 'raise the dead'
10:8). This is easily demonstrable. Yet is the
spurious clause retained by our Revisionists; because it is found
in those corrupt witnesses Aleph B C D, and the Latin copies"
(J. Burgon, The Revision Revised
pgs. 107-108; bold ours).
Does the president and membership of the D.B.S. agree with their "champion"
here, when he points out what was to him a clear mistake in the "society's"
Greek text? Do they agree with their "champion" that the words,
"raise the dead," in Matthew
10:8 (KJV, TR), do not belong there, and were "certainly no part"
of our Lord's words? They certainly
do not. It is interesting that this is a place where the Westcott
and Hort text, as Burgon points out, agrees with the TR! It is further
interesting that Burgon said the "spurious clause" was "easily
demonstrable," which proves that Burgon could "call for revision"
in the TR without going through all the steps of revision he set up.
Rev. Jack Moorman serves on the
"Executive Committee" of the Dean Burgon Society. His book,
When The KJV Departs From the
Text" is published by Waite and highly recommended
for giving us "ample evidence to retain the Textus Receptus readings
that underlie the King James Bible"
"The 'manuscript digest' is an extremely valuable part of this book,
occupying from pages 31 to 114. It considers every one of the 373 readings
of the so-called 'Majority' Greek text that change the English
translation of the Textus Receptus, giving a full support for these
TR readings...This gives ample evidence to retain the Textus
Receptus readings that underly [sic] the King James
Bible." (D.A. Waite, Why I Reject
Text pgs. 2-3; bold
Interestingly enough, one of these "TR readings" supported by Moorman
in his "manuscript digest" are the words, "raise
the dead" at Matthew 10:8
(Moorman, pg. 33)!! Now we have the
"Dean Burgon Society,"
"President" Waite, and
"Executive Committee member" Jack Moorman
siding with a TR/Westcott & Hort reading AGAINST both Dean Burgon and
the Majority Text! Dean Burgon was a true advocate of the "Majority Text",
while the "society" that hails him their "champion" is only an advocate of
defending the Textus Receptus at any cost, even where
it agrees with Westcott and Hort against Burgon!
In this writer's library is an original copy of the Westcott & Hort
Greek Text, first published in 1881. At Matthew 10:8, the words,
dead"), certainly do appear as part of the text. These
are the very words Dean Burgon says (see above quote) are
"retained by our Revisionists"
a clear reference to Westcott &
Hort. Burgon says (see above quote) that this is a
"spurious clause". The same "clause" is in the Textus Receptus!
And what "society," hailing Burgon their "champion," agrees with the
reading? why, "The
Dean Burgon Society"!
Burgon made it clear that the Textus Receptus needed more than just
a "few" corrections. Note again, from the above quotation, Burgon insisted
that "in not a few particulars, the 'Textus receptus' does call
for Revision, certainly." Dr. Waite completely misrepresents Burgon
on this point
"Now, what were Dean Burgon's methods? I summarize these in this little
#804 is the title in our
Bible For Today materials
'When and How
Would Burgon Revise the Textus Receptus'. And on page 36, I give a
summary of some of the things he would require before he would even TOUCH
the thing! He says, Leave it alone!
UNLESS and UNTIL the following could
be taken care of! I'm quoting and summarizing from Burgon's
The Revision Revised. In point number
[sic] 'M', as in 'Mabel', 'Burgon evidenced his own skepticism and conservatism
when he wrote that the exactly eight of the English Revised Version Committee
of 1881 would have been able to revise correctly the Greek text of the New
Testament PROVIDED they were..'
now here's his provisions. Now,
Burgon said it can be fine-tuned in a few places. That's what Burgon
said." (D.A. Waite, Why I Reject
Text' tape, D.B.S. annual
meeting, 7/13/89; emphasis his, bold ours).
Burgon certainly did not say that the Textus Receptus "can
be fine-tuned in a few places," but rather that it calls for
"revision" in "not a few particulars"!
Dr. Waite completely
misrepresented Burgon on this
point! Burgon further said
"I am not defending the 'Textus Receptus'; I am simply stating the fact
of its existence. That it is without authority to bind, nay, that it calls
for skillful revision in every part, is freely admitted." (J. Burgon,
The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels
London, George Bell & Sons, 1896, pg. 15; bold ours).
Burgon wanted it to be made very clear that the TR needed
much "revision." He stated that "it calls for skillful revision
in every part"! He placed a continual emphasis on this
point which is evident when he wrote, "Again and again we shall
have occasion to point out that the Textus Receptus needs
Revised pg. 21, cited above). And, Burgon said
these numerous "occasions" for pointing out "correction" in the "Textus Receptus"
were "in not a few particulars." In direct opposition to this is the
"President" of the "Dean Burgon Society," who claims that Burgon merely said
the TR could be "fine-tuned in a few places."
In his book, How & When Would Dean Burgon
Revise (The Bible For Today), Dr. Waite
lists scores of quotations from Burgon's The Revision
Revised, purporting to explain Burgon's "principles" for a
full revision of the Greek NT text. Waite challenges his readers to check
his quotations of Burgon for accuracy
"With this book [The Revision
Revised] still in print, the reader will be able to check
each and every single quotation from Burgon and to see for himself that I
have quoted accurately and fully at every point of this study."
(D.A. Waite, How & When Would Dean Burgon
Revise? pg. 2).
We would certainly agree with Dr. Waite here, for his quotations
of Burgon do appear to be "accurate" (even though Waite throws scores
and scores of Burgon's words into double emphasis where Burgon has no emphasis
at all!). Indeed, Waite's "quotation from Burgon" seems "accurate"
enough, but it is the conclusions made by Dr. Waite of Burgon that
are not always "accurate"
"This is an honest statement of Burgon's view of the 'TEXTUS RECEPTUS'
or 'RECEIVED TEXT.' He did not think it was PERFECT, but needed minor
improvements in spots, but any REVISION was to be preceded by certain
safeguards of which we'll speak later in this study." (Waite, ibid.,
pg. 12; bold ours).
The "quotation" of Burgon Waite has under discussion here
Revised pgs. xviii-xix) has nothing whatever
to do with "minor improvements" in the TR, but is dealing with Burgon's use
of the TR in collating manuscripts. Here, Dr. Waite quotes Burgon "accurately";
but then draws an erroneous inference by making Burgon imply that the TR
only "needed minor improvements in spots." Strangely enough, on the same
page, Waite quotes The Revision
Revised where Burgon said the TR needs "revision" in "not
a few particulars"! Also, on page 34, Dr. Waite suggests that Burgon
called for revision in the TR only "in some areas."
The "accurate" conclusions from Burgon are rather obvious if
the reader will simply read Burgon's statements for himself and ignore Waite's
explanations. Dr. Waite wants his readers to think Burgon taught
that the TR "could be fine tuned in a few
places""needed minor improvements
in spots" and called for
revision "in some areas." Clearly, however, Burgon said
that the TR "calls for skillful revision in every part" and
needed revision "in not a few particulars." Dr. Waite very
cleverly and carefully slips in these little distortions, resulting in a
subtle twist of Burgon's actual views so that they may appear to harmonize
with his "Dean Burgon Society." Only a highly skilled surgeon could scarcely
do a more professional job of making incisions than Waite does of slipping
NOT BE BOUND
As mentioned above, the D.B.S. uses exclusively Scrivener's edition
of the TR, "as published by THE TRINITARIAN BIBLE SOCIETY in 1976"
(T.B.S.). Recruits must sign the D.B.S. "Articles of Faith",
binding them to the authority of this single edition. Burgon, on the other
hand, denied that any "Textus Receptus" had the "authority
"I am not defending the 'Textus Receptus'; I am simply stating the fact
of its existence. That it is without authority to bind, nay that it
calls for skillful revision in every part, is freely admitted."
(The Traditional Text of the Holy
Gospels pg. 15; bold ours)
"But pray, who in his senses, what
sane man in Great Britain, ever dreamed
of regarding the 'Received,' aye, or
any other known 'Text,'
as 'a standard from which there
shall be no appeal'? Have I ever done so? Have I ever
implied as much? If I have, show me where... I mistake the
Received Text, (you imply,) for the Divine Original, the Sacred
Autographs, and erect it into 'a standard
from which there shall be no appeal,' 'a
tradition which it is little else but sacrilege to impugn.' That is how
you state my case and condition: hopelessly confusing the standard
of Comparison with the standard of Excellence."
Revised pgs. 385, 387; italics emphasis
"Any text would equally suit our present purpose."
Revised pg. 17, italics emphasis his; bold
"In other words I have not made it [the Textus Receptus]
'the final standard of appeal.' All critics,
at all times, have collated with the
commonly received text: but only as the most convenient standard
of Comparison; not, surely, as the absolute standard of
Revised preface, pg. xviii, italics emphasis his; bold
One of the basic disciplines of textual criticism [an area of this writer's
graduate studies] is the practice of "collation," mentioned here in this
last quote from Burgon. This is the work of comparing, word by word (and
even letter by letter) a given manuscript with a common Greek testament.
By this method, the variant readings of the manuscript can be ascertained
and individually listed. Burgon chose "the commonly received text," or the
Textus Receptus of his day, as a "convenient standard of comparison." As
Burgon points out (see last quote above), "All critics,
at all times, have collated from the
commonly received text." "All critics" would include Westcott & Hort,
as well as Griesbach (1745-1812), Lachmann
(1815-74), and Tregelles
(1813-75). In other words, Burgon's view of the
TR as "the most convenient standard of comparison" was no different than
that of other critics who adopted the TR for collating manuscripts.
This is a far cry from the approach of the
Society," which treats their TR as the "standard
of excellence"! In the
"Articles of Faith" pg. 3,
the D.B.S. urges "the student to return directly to the Traditional Masoretic
Hebrew Text and the Traditional Received Greek Text rather than to
any other translation for help" (italics emphasis and bold
ours). On the same page, the D.B.S. has just defined "Traditional
Received Greek Text" as "'The Greek Text Underlying The English Authorized
Version of 1611' as published by THE TRINITARIAN BIBLE SOCIETY in 1976";
Burgon made it very clear that he would not even "put forth Lloyd's
Greek Testament as the final standard of Appeal"
Revised pg. xviii). Lloyd's TR, which was a
reproduction of Mill's TR (which was a reproduction of Stephen's 1550 TR
Revised pg. xix) was used by Burgon "as a convenient
standard of comparison." Burgon emphatically denied that this text or any
other TR could be held up as a "final standard of appeal," such as
the "Dean Burgon Society" is attempting
to do with Scrivener's TR.
There are also significant differences between Lloyd's TR (used
by Burgon) and that of Scrivener (used by the
Society.") Luke 17:36, "Two men shall be in
the field; the one shall be taken and the other left", is present in Scrivener's
yet missing entirely from Lloyd's TR used by Burgon. The latter part of John
8:6, "as though he heard them not," is found in Scrivener's TR and omitted
in Lloyd's (and note that these words are in italics in some KJV printings
and not italicized in others). How could Burgon have accepted the "Burgon
Society's" insistence on "all the verses" of Scrivener's TR
edition when his own TR didn't have "all the verses" and all the
NOT INSIST ON
OF HIS PRINCIPLES
BEING FOLLOWED BEFORE A
COULD BE MADE IN THE
In D. A. Waite's book, How & When Would
Dean Burgon Revise?, he sets forth the guidelines Burgon laid
down in order to "revise in a major fashion" the "Greek Textus Receptus"
(pg. 1). The key to remember here is "revise in a
major fashion," because the Burgonian principles of revision were
only insisted upon by Burgon for a full revision of the
entire Textus Receptus. Dr. Waite, however, tries to make it appear
that Burgon insisted on "all" of these principles "before" he would make
"a single alteration," writing
"What are we to do about all of this? Why do I reject the 'Majority
Text'? We've gotta defend the Textus Receptus until ALL Burgon's tenets are
followed, and they can never be followed, so we're safe in saying we're still
with John Burgon, the Burgon Society. We still can say that because we FOLLOW
John William Burgon in INSISTING that ALL of his qualifications and prerequisites
be followed before there is a SINGLE ALTERATION of the Textus Receptus."
(D.A. Waite, Why I Reject
Text' tape, ibid.; emphasis
his, bold ours)
It is evident that Dr. Waite takes Burgon's principles for a full
revision of the TR and uses them to support the concept that Burgon would
not make "a SINGLE ALTERATION of the Textus Receptus" unless
"ALL" of them were "followed." It is not surprising to learn
that Dr. Waite, in his own book on this subject, suppresses the evidence
that Burgon DID in fact make "a SINGLE ALTERATION of the Textus
Below is a selection of material from Waite's book where we reproduce
in detail the exact manner of one of his "quotes from Burgon" and
how he conveniently omitted something from the reader.
Here is the entire passage from Waite's book, pgs.
All extreme underlining, uppercases, brackets, etc,
are D.A. WAITE's.
2. Burgon Felt The 'Textus Receptus'
Does 'CALL FOR REVISION' But That
Must Be Based Upon 'ENTIRELY
DIFFERENT PRINCIPLES' From That Of
WESTCOTT & HORT'S Text.
But (what is a far more important circumstance) we are further CONVINCED
that a prior act of PENANCE to be submitted to by the REVISERS would be the
RESTORATION OF THE UNDERLYING GREEK
TEXT to very nearly
the state in
which they found it when they entered upon their
ill-advised undertaking. 'Very nearly
not quite:' for, IN NOT
A FEW PARTICULARS, THE 'TEXTUS
RECEPTUS' DOES CALL FOR REVISION,
CERTAINLY; although REVISION ON ENTIRELY
DIFFERENT PRINCIPLES from those which
are found to have prevailed in
the Jerusalem Chamber [The location of Westcott &
Hort's ENGLISH REVISED VERSION REVISION of Greek & English in 1881].
[Burgon, REVISION REVISED, op. cit., pg. 107.]
Though Burgon agreed that the 'TEXTUS RECEPTUS' did 'CALL FOR REVISION,'
he said the 'PRINCIPLES' on which such revision should be based were
diametrically opposite to those used by WESTCOTT & HORT in their REVISED
GREEK TEXT which was used as the basis for the ENGLISH REVISED VERSION of
1881 (E.R.V.). He further stated that it was his firm belief that the 'REVISERS'
should do 'PENANCE' by 'RESTORING' the 'UNDERLYING GREEK TEXT TO VERY
NEARLY not quite
THE STATE IN WHICH THEY FOUND IT WHEN
THEY ENTERED UPON THEIR ILL-ADVISED UNDERTAKING.' Such a 'RESTORATION' has
been made possible by THE TRINITARIAN BIBLE SOCIETY in 1976 by their printing
of THE NEW
TEXT UNDERLYING THE ENGLISH AUTHORIZED
VERSION OF 1611 [available from THE BIBLE FOR TODAY
for a gift of $9.00, #471]. This is a very readable and scholarly work which
EVERY PASTOR, and EVERY CHRISTIAN WORKER and every LAYMAN should have in
[above from D. A. Waite's book,
How & When Would Dean Burgon
We have reproduced this entire point "2" from Waite to demonstrate
his writing, especially how he writes when he handles Burgon's views. Now,
let the reader note carefully that in his quote from Burgon's
The Revision Revised pg. 107,
Waite ends the quote with the words "Jerusalem Chamber". When
we turn to The Revision
Revised pg. 107 (actually pgs. 107-108), we
find out exactly why Waite failed to quote any further.
As noted in our previous reference
to this important quote, Burgon's next words are, "To mention a
When our Lord first sent
forth his Twelve Apostles, it was certainly no part of his ministerial commission
to them to 'raise the dead' (nekrous
egeirete, S. Matthew
10:8). This is easily demonstrable." Thus, Dr.
Waite conveniently cut the quotation short where Burgon DID in fact make
"a SINGLE ALTERATION of the Textus Receptus"! This reveals a
clever and indeed clear presentation of evidence for Waite's
suppression of Burgon's views. Furthermore, throughout the remainder
of his book, Dr. Waite omits entirely
any mention of these words from
Another erroneous item in the above material is Waite's claim that the
"restoration" of "the Greek text" to the "state in which" the reviser's "found
it" has been "made possible" by the T.B.S. printing of a Textus Receptus
in 1976. As previously noted, this is the TR of Scrivener which didn't even
exist until after Burgon passed away. It differs significantly
from Lloyd's TR which Burgon actually had in view.
In addition, the essential text of Lloyd's TR has been available since
1897 in the form of Stephen's 1550 TR, printed in
Greek-English New Testament and
published today in its eighteenth printing by
Baker Book House of Grand Rapids,
Michigan! In other words, if any "pastor," "Christian worker," or
"layman" wants to get his hands on the real TR Burgon said needed
to be "restored," all one has to do is go down to the local Christian
bookstore and pick up a copy of Berry's
The D.B.S. insists that it is virtually impossible today with
the limited number of manuscript collations and current caliber of textual
scholarship to do any revision or make any changes whatsoever in the
TR. They repeatedly malign professor Zane C.
Hodges, Dr. Arthur Farstad,
and others responsible for The Greek New Testament
According To The Majority Text (Thomas Nelson, 1982;
revised, 1985) in their attempts at producing a purely Byzantine
("majority") Greek N.T. Dr. Waite and the D.B.S. loudly proclaim that their
"champion" would not at all be in accord with the Hodges & Farstad Majority
Text. They denounce this Greek text entirely
"In fact, the 'Majority Text' is a veritable BLASPHEMY
against the methods advocated by Burgon!" (D.A. Waite,
Why I Reject The
Text pg. 12 emphasis
It is important to understand that Burgon did not defend the entire
Textus Receptus (as does the D.B.S.) but only the "Traditional Text"
within the TR. This is the majority text in the TR, not
the whole Textus Receptus which has additions that the
"Traditional" or majority of witnesses do not contain.
Burgon made this very clear
"In short, the Traditional Text, founded upon the vast
majority of authorities and upon the Rock of Christ's Church, will,
if I mistake not, be found upon examination to be out of all comparison superior
to a text of the nineteenth century... I am not defending the 'Textus
Receptus'; I am simply stating the fact of its existence. That it
is without authority to bind, nay that it calls for skillful revision in
every part, is freely admitted. I do not believe it to be absolutely
identical with the true Traditional Text." (J. Burgon,
The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels
ibid., pgs. 13, 15; emphasis & bold ours).
This certainly makes the D.B.S. purpose in their
"Articles of Faith" for
claiming to be "in defense of Traditional Bible Texts" misleading
respecting Burgon's terminology. By defending the entire Textus Receptus
as a "Traditional Bible Text," the D.B.S. is NOT defending "the TRUE Traditional
Text" advocated by Burgon! Having found that the TR was not
"the true Traditional Text," Burgon began making "corrections"
in the TR, numbering "150" in Matthew
"The leaders in the advocacy of this system have been Dr. Scrivener
in a modified degree, and especially Dean Burgon. First, be it
understood, that we do not advocate perfection in the Textus Receptus.
We allow here and there it requires revision. In the text left behind
by Dean Burgon, about 150 corrections have been suggested by him in St. Matthew's
Gospel alone. What we maintain is the TRADITIONAL TEXT. And we trace
it back to the earliest ages of which there is any record." (Edward
Miller, Introduction, The Traditional Text of the Holy
Gospels by Dean Burgon, ibid., pg. 5; bold ours).
Some of these "corrections" Burgon made in the TR of Matthew are listed
in A Textual Commentary Upon The Holy Gospels, Part
1 by Edward Miller (London, George Bell & Sons,
1899). Miller, who wrote the introduction to Burgon's
book, was Burgon's understudy and "Bursalls Prebendary in the Cathedral
of Chichester," where Burgon was Dean. Only "Part 1" of Miller's
Textual Commentary, which covers
only chapters 1 through 14 of Matthew, made it to print before his decease;
but he listed no less than 52 "corrections"
that Burgon made in these 14 chapters. In 47 out of these 52 changes, Burgon's
choices are identical to the changes made in the same places by the Hodges
& Farstad Majority Text!
In April of 1990, this writer made a chart listing the changes Burgon
introduced as found in Miller's commentary. On the chart, scripture references
are given down the left margin (Matthew 1:6 thru 14:19) and the readings
of the Textus Receptus, Burgon, and the Hodges & Farstad Majority Text
are set in parallel columns. [Dr. Wilbur Pickering distributed this
chart to the membership of the Majority Text Society.] With this
chart, it became evident that Burgon only sided with the TR against Hodges
& Farstad in 2 places; Burgon stands alone against both Hodges
& Farstad and the TR in 3 places; but Burgon stands
with Hodges & Farstad against the TR in 47
places, word-for-word, letter-by-letter!
The question must be asked as to how Hodges and Farstad were
able to come to the same conclusions as Burgon in these instances. We would
certainly agree with Dr. Waite in saying that Hodges & Farstad failed
to apply consistently all of Burgon's principles of textual evaluation and
even resorted to the non-Burgonian use of genealogy on the
book of Revelation. But, Burgon's text agrees often with Hodges &
Farstad because Burgon rejected the same non-majority readings of the Textus
"I mean I don't care WHAT they've
[Hodges & Farstad]
done or HOW they've ARRIVED at what they've done! I
don't wanna change! I just don't wanna MOVE, see. We're gonna stay right
where we are, REGARDLESS of how they've done it. Now they've done it wrong.
That's what we wanna bring up
a few odds
and ends as to HOW they've done wrong
IF THEY DID IT RIGHT, I'm not gonna part with this." (D.A.
Waite, Why I Reject
Text ibid.; emphasis
The above quote speaks volumes for Dr. Waite and his
"Society's" real agenda.
"REGARDLESS," he thunders, of "how" Hodges & Farstad did their work,
and, "EVEN IF THEY DID IT RIGHT," i.e., according to the proper use of all
of Burgon's "qualifications," they are still
going to defend the Textus Receptus published in 1976 by the Trinitarian
Bible Society! Here, we finally have Dr. Waite admitting that
are of no practical use to the "Dean Burgon
Dr. Wilbur N. Pickering, one of the
consulting editors for the Majority Text, summarizes well
"That our text is a 'blasphemy against Burgon' is simply uncalled for.
It is altogether too strong a statement. I would say that our text reflects
rather closely Burgon's viewpoint
I wouldn't say precisely; I wouldn't
make such a claim. But our text reflects rather closely what Burgon himself
would do. Now, one of the criticisms that Waite levels against us is that
we have not yet collated all the manuscripts. That's entirely true. I grant
that. We have not. But he tries to argue that Burgon would not have us revise
the text until such an hour that all the manuscripts were collated. Well,
of course from Waite's point of view, this is very convenient because if
we can't do anything until all the manuscripts are collated and that doesn't
happen for another thousand years we just keep on using the King James for
another thousand years until such a time when all the manuscripts are collated.
But, the problem is that Burgon himself did not do that. In fact, he left
behind his own edition of the Gospel of Matthew long before... and Burgon
certainly had not collated all the manuscripts, neither had anyone else,
and neither has anyone to this hour. So, the
way that Waite portrays Burgon's position is
false. Waite misrepresents Burgon,
and on the basis of that misrepresentation he excoriates
our text and our position." (Wilbur N. Pickering, taped
interview, 7/7/89, with Mike Arcieri, Canada; emphasis & bold
HILLS ON THE
Edward F. Hills
(1912-81) attempted to give respectability to a
defense of the Textus Receptus as the best witness of the autograph text.
He argued that the King James translators were "God-guided"
in their choices of text among the TR editions and "providentially led" to
choose readings where there were not even any known Greek manuscripts in
support (E. Hills, The King James Version
Defended 4th ed., 1984, pgs. 200-202,
220-223). Hills consequently made the KJV itself a guide
to textual evaluation, and found it necessary to part with Burgon where he
rejected the TR
"Much, then, as we admire Burgon for his general orthodoxy and for his
defense of the Traditional New Testament Text, we cannot follow
him in his high Anglican emphasis or in his disregard for the Textus
Receptus." (E. Hills, The King James Version
Defended ibid., pg. 192; bold ours).
Note that Dr. Hills is at least not as careless as Waite, stating accurately
that Burgon's "defense of the Traditional New Testament Text" was
not equal to defending "the Textus Receptus"! Hills
freely admits that Burgon cannot be consistently "followed" in a defense
of the entire TR. The "Textus Receptus" Hills had in view is defined by him
as Scrivener's edition, published in 1976 by the Trinitarian Bible Society
(E. Hills, ibid., pg. 223). This is the same TR
"defended" by Dr. Waite, who claims, "We FOLLOW Burgon."
You can't have it both
ways. You cannot, as Hills points out, "follow Burgon"
and defend the entire text chosen by the KJV translators. You must follow
either Hills or Burgon on the TR, and the "Dean Burgon
Society" even admits they choose to follow Hills! Observe
"This is definitely the thing we take from the Latin rather than from
the Greek as far as 'the book of life' [Rev. 22:19, TR]. It should be in
there and should not be 'tree of life' regardless of the fewness of the
Greek manuscripts we have on that particular thing. We believe, as Dr. Hills
has written in his book, which is, The King James
Version Defended. There are a few verses, I John 5:7 are one and
some of these others..." (D.A. Waite,
Questions & Answers tape, DBS
annual meeting, 7/13/89; bold ours).
In The Traditional Text of the Holy
Gospels, Burgon lays down his "seven notes of truth" for textual
criticism. On point #3, "Variety", Burgon shows the value of (1)
manuscripts (or "copies"), (2) versions, and (3) church
father quotations in that order of importance (ibid.,
pgs. 50-52). Under point #2, "Number," Burgon says that "it
must further be shown on behalf of any reading which claims to be
authentic, that it enjoys also the support of a multitude of
witnesses... and let no one cherish a secret suspicion
that because the Syriac and the Latin versions are such venerable
documents they must be held to outweigh all the rest"
(ibid., pg. 49; emphasis & bold ours).
Yet, the "Dean Burgon Society"
completely disregards Burgon's principle of using "versions" and "a multitude
of witnesses," favoring "book of life" in
Revelation 22:19, "regardless of the
FEWNESS of the Greek manuscripts," and giving priority
to "the Latin versions" over "the multitude of witnesses" from
Greek! Here is a place where 99% of all Greek manuscripts of Rev.
22:19 read "tree of life" (NASB, NIV, etc.) instead of "book
of life" (TR, KJV). In the face of "a multitude of witnesses"
against the Latin version, the D.B.S. abandons Burgon's guidelines and follows
What of I John 5:7, where Waite also admits he "follows Hills"? Burgon
approvingly quoted the following passage in Latin from Griesbach's
comment on the verse:
"'Si,' (as Griesbach remarks
concerning I John v. 7) 'si tam pauci...
testes... sufficerent ad demonstradam lectionis cujusdam gnesioteta [gk.]
licet obstent tam multa tamque gravia et testimonia et argumenta; nullum
prorsus superesset in re critica veri falsique criterium, et textus Novi
Testamenti universus plane incertus esset atque dubius." (J.
Burgon Revision Revised pg.
Translation "If so few...
manuscripts... [are] sufficient to establish readings of such [il]legitimacies,
one can oppose so many and weighty things, both of evidence and arguments,
that obviously nothing shall be left in the serious matter of a true and
a false standard, and the text of the New Testament in general shall be entirely
uncertain and doubtful." In other words, if so few manuscripts could support
the authenticity of I John 5:7, the entire New Testament text is called into
question! And what were those "few manuscripts" in support of the verse?
They are MS 635 (11th century, with
verse 7 in the margin, not in the text, and the marginal note is
from the 17th century!); MS 88 (12th century, again in the
margin); MS 629 (14th century, in the Vatican); and MS 61 (16th century,
which was "made to order" for Erasmus in his 3rd edition Greek text). Regarding
MS 61 in the Dublin Library, F. H.
A. Scrivener had this to say about its infamous Latinized
" 'We often hear,' said a witty and most reverend Irish Prelate, 'that
the text of the Three Heavenly Witnesses is a gloss; and anyone that
will go into the College Library may see for himself." (Scrivener,
Plain Introduction 4th ed., pg. 199, footnote
2; emphasis his).
Scrivener also pointed out:
"The authenticity of the words within brackets [i.e., I John 5:7] will,
perhaps, no longer be maintained by anyone whose judgment ought to have weight."
(Scrivener, ibid., pg. 401).
Scrivener certainly thought that Burgon's "judgment ought to have weight,"
making frequent reference to The Revision
Revised, and being one of Burgon's closest colleagues in the
field of textual research. Thus, according to Scrivener, the
"judgment" of Hills, Waite, and the "Burgon
Society" in textual matters ought not to be taken seriously
The D.B.S. restricts its membership to
only one English translation of the
Bible, the King James Version. They "urge" their people to refer
only to the KJV "rather than to any other translation
for help." Burgon, however, acknowledged the English Revised Version
of 1881 as helpful in clarifying difficult passages
"It is often urged on behalf of the Revisionists that over not a few
dark places of S. Paul's Epistles their labours have thrown important light.
Let it not be supposed that we deny this. Many a scriptural difficulty
vanishes the instant a place is accurately translated: a greater number
when the reading is idiomatic." (J. Burgon,
The Revision Revised ibid., pgs.
In his book, How & When Would Dean Burgon
Revise pgs. 24-32, Waite places an emphasis
on much of the negativism that Burgon had toward the R.V.
(Revised Version) of
[For $20, +
$4 shipping, you may
order from Pilgrim an excellent
handy-size hardback of the English R.V.
...He conveniently leaves out any positive
remarks Burgon made for this translation. The reason is obvious
Waite wants to give the impression that Burgon,
like himself, was thoroughly "King
James-Only" and had no use for
another English translation. This was not the case with
Burgon clearly believed there were mistakes of translation
in the KJV. He wrote that the words, "into thy kingdom," should be "in thy
kingdom" at Luke 23:42, saying the KJV rendering "is nothing worse than
a palpable mistranslation" (The
Revision Revised ibid., pg. 72).
D.A. Waite and the
D.B.S., on the other hand, claim virtual
perfection for the work of the KJV translators. Waite publishes a book
like Conies, Brass, and Easter by
Jack Moorman, purporting to give legitimacy
to such glaring mistakes in the KJV as "Easter"
in Acts 12:4. Bob
Barnett, D.B.S. executive committee member, wrote in a
letter to this writer dated 12/5/89 that the KJV is "inspired," "infallible,"
and "contains no errors" (!) This was hardly Burgon's view, who
recognized clear instances of error in the KJV and wouldn't hesitate pointing
Dr. D. A. Waite and the
"Dean Burgon Society" are following
the textual views of Edward F. Hills,
not Dean John W. Burgon. Hills was unique in his invention of a subjective
KJV textual model, and was also followed by the late
David O. Fuller
another infamous member of
the D.B.S. The D.B.S. wears the revered named of Dean Burgon to disguise
the Hills agenda. It is entirely incorrect of Waite and the D.B.S.
to claim to be "Burgonian to the core." It is fully inconsistent of
them to emphasize the importance of "following Burgon's principles" when
they completely set them aside for the approach of Hills.
Here is the reason why these matters should be clearly understood and
why this article has been submitted. The common heresy of
claiming perfection for the KJV (even OVER
the original Hebrew & Greek texts) has one of its strongest roots
in the subjective errors of Edward F. Hills. Since Hills made the KJV translators
"God-guided" textual critics, what is to stop them from being
regarded as "God-guided" translators? [see
our separate article on Hills, coming soon].
"God-guided" translators ?
RUCKMANISM [Peter Ruckman]
simply takes the extreme of Hills to this logical development. Only when
heresy is rooted-out can it be properly disposed. As long as
the subjectivism of Hills is believed and perpetrated, the problem of Ruckmanism
will continue to spread. The only remedy is a firsthand, accurate study of
the facts relating to the history of Biblical texts and translations, together
with an emphasis on church history that reveals the actual views of the church
regarding the inerrancy of the original Bible manuscripts.
TOP OF PAGE
J. W. Burgon, The
1883. Recommended is the photocopy of this from
The Bible For Today, 900 Park
Ave., Collingswood, NJ, 08108; gift offer #611
write for current rate.
J. W. Burgon, The
Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels
1896. Burgon gives the full details of his "Seven Notes of Truth" for
textual criticism. Also available in photocopy from T.B.F.T. (see
Kurt and Barbara Aland,
The Text of the New
1987. Eerdmans. An essential work which contains a huge amount of very
detailed information about the manuscripts.
D. A. Carson, The
King James Version Debate
A Plea For
1979. Baker Book House. A handy,
general introduction to the "TR vs. Westcott & Hort" controversy.
The Truth about the King James Version
1981. Bob Jones University Press.
An excellent 38-page booklet on the textual issue, Ruckmanism,
& more. Includes a 3-page table of Greek Manuscripts.
[Available from Pilgrim
Publications for $5 +
Norman L. Geisler
& William E. Nix,
A General Introduction to the
1986. Revised & expanded edition.
Moody Press. An excellent FIRST
book to get on the subject of texts and translations.
Doug Kutilek, An
Answer to David Otis Fuller
His Deceptive Treatment
of Charles Haddon Spurgeon Regarding the King James
1992. 2nd edition. Pilgrim Publications. A brief
expose' of one of the major influences in the whole history of
David Otis Fuller. An
eye-opening excellent 16-page booklet.
[Available from Pilgrim
Publications for $2 +
Jack P. Lewis,
The English Bible from KJV to NIV
A History and
1991. 2nd edition. Baker Book
House. Contains exhaustive information on the KJV and the popular English
Bruce M. Metzger,
The Text of the New
1968. 2nd edition. Oxford University
Press. Perhaps the most recommended work on textual criticism; regarded
extremely accurate and informative.
Bruce M. Metzger,
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New
1971, 1994. 2nd edition. United Bible Societies [thru the American
Bible Society, NY]. Analysis of hundreds of variant readings, giving
evidence and reasoning. A companion to the United Bible Societies' Greek
New Testament (also available), this book thoroughly discusses
textual problems based on the critical apparatus in the U.B.S. 4th edition
Greek Text. A book essential to every real student of textual criticism
(hardcover, 776 pages).
[Available from the American Bible Society, Grand Central Station,
P.O. Box 5656, New York, NY 10164-2904, item #AJK105528,
$23 + shipping (1998),
1-800-322-4253 credit card
orders (8am to 7pm EST) Monday-Friday; request their catalog &
see their other excellent English and foreign language
Bruce M. Metzger,
The Early Versions of the New
1977. Oxford University Press.
Wilbur N. Pickering,
The Identity of the New Testament
1980. Revised edition. Thomas
Nelson Publishers. Presents the true position for the majority text
with genuine scholarship.
Estus W. Pirkle,
The 1611 King James Bible
1994. The King's Press. One of the most comprehensive works ever produced
on the 1611 KJV. A large well-written volume (688
pages) which serves to both educate people about the Bible and expose
the modern "KJV-Onlyism" theory. Includes many charts and
comparisons between the various revisions of the
KJV, plus facts on Hebrew, Greek, and other foreign language words used in
bible translations. [Available from
Pilgrim Publications for
$16 + $4
Here is a sample from the book
"In the 1994th year of our Lord Jesus Christ, among Fundamentalist circles
in America, we are fast approaching the conditions that prevailed in England
in the early 1500's. Many religious leaders of our day and that day had/have
reached the conclusion that only one translation of the Scriptures was/is
needed and that whoever promoted/promotes or used/uses any other translation
was/is a heretic and must be exposed and stopped at whatever cost it took/takes.
In the early 1500's that one translation was The Latin Vulgate. Today that
one translation is the 1611 [supposed] King James
"...[in the Original Scriptures] The Holy Spirit used 8,674 separate
Hebrew words and 5,524 separate Greek words. This means that the Holy Spirit
used 14,198 separate words to write the 66 books of the Bible. The 1611 KJV
translators used 21,260 separate words in their translation. This means that
the 1611 translators used 7,062 more separate words than the Holy Spirit
used. This means that for every 14 words that the Holy Spirit used, the 1611
KJV translators used 21 words or 33% more words than HE did. Who gave them
the right to do this?"
James R. White,
The King James Only
1995. Bethany House. A most
needed and well researched book; thoroughly covers the KJV issue and provides
solid answers. [Available from
Pilgrim Publications for
$12 + $3
TOP OF PAGE
This Page was Created on 27 November 1998