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                   "Pilgrimettes"  From  THE  PILGRIM  

    "The  Dean  Burgon  Society"

       by  GARY  R.  HUDSON

    "The Dean Burgon Society"

    ...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...



     Why Burgon would never sign this "D. B. Society doctrinal statement"


     Burgon's rejection of the society's "infallible Textus Receptus" theory


     Burgon's changes in the Textus Receptus

     (he would not be bound to the Trinitarian Bible Society's edition of

     the Textus Receptus)


     Burgon would not insist on "all" of his principles being followed before

     a "single alteration" could be made in the Textus Receptus

     (reveals D. A. Waite's distortions of Burgon's views)


       Burgon would not completely discard Hodges & Farstad's Majority Text  


     Burgon would not follow Edward F. Hills on the Textus Receptus

     (including Burgon's opposing view of the textual validity of 1 John 5:7)


     Burgon would not be "KING JAMES-ONLY"

     (Burgon approved of the English Revised Version's clarity)





     All bold, italicized, & underlined words are ours (Hudson) unless otherwise notated.

      Reason  #1


    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 Church."

      Reason  #2


    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 F.H.A. Scrivener. 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 "King-Jamesed 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 ours).

    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 in view

    " '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' (nekrous egeirete, S. Matthew 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 "Majority 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 The 'Majority' Text pgs. 2-3; bold ours).

    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, "nekrous egeirete" ("raise the 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 The 'Majority 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 correction" (The Revision 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 (The Revision 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 in distortions!

      Reason  #3


    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 to bind"

    "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." (The Revision Revised pgs. 385, 387; italics emphasis his)

    "Any text would equally suit our present purpose." (The Revision Revised pg. 17, italics emphasis his; bold ours)

    "In other words I have not made it [the Textus Receptus] 'the final standard of appeal.' All critics,  wherever found,  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 Excellence." (The Revision Revised preface, pg. xviii, italics emphasis his; bold ours)

    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,  wherever found,  at all times, have collated from the commonly received text." "All critics" would include Westcott & Hort, as well as Griesbach (1745-1812), Lachmann (1793-1851), Tischendorf (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 "Dean Burgon 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";  Scrivener's 1894 TR.

    Burgon made it very clear that he would not even "put forth Lloyd's Greek Testament as the final standard of Appeal" (The Revision Revised pg. xviii). Lloyd's TR, which was a reproduction of Mill's TR (which was a reproduction of Stephen's 1550 TR  cf. The Revision 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 "Burgon 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 "words"?

      Reason  #4


    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 The 'Majority 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 Receptus"!

    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. 12-13.

    All extreme underlining, uppercases, brackets, etc, below..

    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.

    Burgon wrote:

    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  not quite  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 TESTAMENTTHE GREEK 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 their library!!

    [above from D. A. Waite's book, How & When Would Dean Burgon Revise?]

    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 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' (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 Burgon!

    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 Berry's Interlinear 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 Interlinear!

      Reason  #5


    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 'Majority' Text pg. 12 emphasis his).

    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 alone!

    "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 Traditional Text... 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 Receptus.

    "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  BUT EVEN IF THEY DID IT RIGHT, I'm not gonna part with this." (D.A. Waite, Why I Reject The 'Majority' Text ibid.; emphasis his).

    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 Burgon's "qualifications" are of no practical use to the "Dean Burgon Society"!

    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 ours).

      Reason  #6


    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 Hills.

    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. 483).

    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 passage:

    " '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 by "anyone"!

      Reason  #7


    "King James Version-Onlyism"

    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. 216-217).

    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 1881...

    [For $20, + $4 shipping, you may order from Pilgrim an excellent handy-size hardback of the English R.V.  published by Cambridge University Press.]

    ...He conveniently leaves out any positive remarks Burgon made for this translation. The reason is obvious  Dr. 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.

    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 them out.


    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 Ruckmanism 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.

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     Recommended  Reading

    J. W. Burgon, The Revision Revised

    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 above), #1159.

    Kurt and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament

    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 Realism

    1979. Baker Book House. A handy, general introduction to the "TR vs. Westcott & Hort" controversy.

    Stewart Custer, The Truth about the King James Version Controversy

    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 + $1 postage]

    Norman L. Geisler & William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible 

    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 Version

    1992. 2nd edition. Pilgrim Publications. A brief expose' of one of the major influences in the whole history of "KJV-Onlyism" David Otis Fuller. An eye-opening excellent 16-page booklet. [Available from  Pilgrim Publications  for $2 + $1 postage]

    Jack P. Lewis, The English Bible from KJV to NIV  A History and Evaluation

    1991. 2nd edition. Baker Book House. Contains exhaustive information on the KJV and the popular English translations.

    Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament

    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 Testament

    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 works.]

    Bruce M. Metzger, The Early Versions of the New Testament

    1977. Oxford University Press. Extremely informative.

    Wilbur N. Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text

    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 A Study

    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 postage]

    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 Bible..."

    "...[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 Controversy

    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 postage]

     James R. White's


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