“Some American fundamentalists have denounced Westcott's and Hort's Greek text of the Bible as corrupt. Most of these critics subscribe to the King James Only movement. King James Only author Gail Riplinger quotes them in her book New Age Bible Versions. In it, she accuses Westcott of being involved in the occult. However, Westcott himself wrote,
“‘Many years ago, I had occasion to investigate spiritualistic phenomena with some care, and I came to a clear conclusion, which I feel bound to express …. It appears to me that in this, as in all spiritual questions, Holy Scripture is our supreme guide. I observe, then, that while spiritual ministries [supernatural occurrences] are constantly recorded in the Bible, there is not the faintest encouragement to seek them. The case, indeed, is far otherwise. I cannot, therefore, but regard every voluntary approach to beings such as those who are supposed to hold communication with men through mediums as unlawful and perilous. I find in the fact of the Incarnation all that man (so far as I can see) requires for life and hope.’ “
Charles Spurgeon was a contemporary of Westcott and Hort. He never attacked their character or beliefs, though he did indeed differ with some of their approaches to textual criticism. Spurgeon is not our ultimate guide, but it does seem strange that such a one as he would never speak against the Christian faith of these two men.
Oh, and Spurgeon used and approved of much of the Revised Version that was the ultimate result, in England, of their work.
For the unconvinced, I offer the following quotes from these men, letting them speak for themselves about what they believed regarding the Scriptures they so masterfully assembled from the documents they used; documents, by the way, many years closer to the originals of the apostles.
“However imperfectly this design has been carried out, I cannot but hope that such a method of inquiry will convey both the truest notion of the connexion of the written Word with the living body of Christ, and the surest conviction of its divine authority.” (A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, 7th ed.; London: MacMillan & Co., 1896, p. vii)
"a belief in the authority of the books of the New Testament so widely spread throughout the Christian body, so deeply rooted in the inmost consciousness of the Christian Church, so perfectly accordant with all the facts which we do know, can only be explained by admitting that they are genuine and Apostolic, a written Rule of Christian Faith and Life." (History of the Canon of the New Testament, Westcott, p.14)
“The same Divine Power which watched over the fragmentary recital of the acts and words of the Lord and His disciples, so that nothing should be wanting which it concerns us to know, acted (as far as we can see) in like manner in preserving for our perpetual instruction those among the writings of the Apostles which had an abiding significance.” (History of the Canon of the New Testament, Westcott, pp. 42, 43)
“Their [the Holy Scriptures’] catholicity is the constant mark of their divine origin; and the undesigned harmony which results from every possible combination of their different parts is the surest pledge of their absolute truth.” (History of the Canon of the New Testament, Westcott, p. 46)
"My design in all change has been to place in a clearer light the great laws of the interpretation of Holy Scripture, which (as I believe) alone vindicate most completely its claim to be considered as a message of God through men and to men." (Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, Westcott, preface to the second edition)
“At the same time, it is gratifying to see the evidence everywhere apparent of the author's [Westcott's] convictions as a devout Christian, and a firm believer in the authority and inspiration of the Sacred Word. A tone of hearty confidence in the Scriptures, as true and the source of truth, pervades the work.” (An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, London: MacMillan & Co., 1902, p. viii)
"We have a Bible competent to calm our doubts, and able to speak to our weakness. It then becomes not an utterance in strange tongues, but in the words of wisdom and knowledge. It is authoritative, for it is the voice of GOD; it is intelligible, for it is in the language of men." (Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, Westcott, p.8)
"The world which was at first good is now full of evil; man who was at first blessed has fallen under the curse of sin; and such contingencies seem to be involved necessarily in the idea of a finite existence. But a redemption has been wrought for both; and so too on the historical side of our religion an uncorrupted Bible lies before us if we patiently and candidly search for it, and a true personal interpretation may be gained by sincere and faithful study." (Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, Westcott, pp.43-44)
Westcott had a "firm conviction of the unerring truthfulness of the Sacred writers" (Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, Westcott, p.45)
“The same divine messengers who committed to writing the original records of revelation, embodied their teaching in a visible society. The Bible and the Church trace back their claims to the same source, and each can appeal to the other to bear witness to its permanent integrity.” (An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, London: MacMillan & Co., 1902, p. 56)
“...for as the Son of God was made man for our redemption, so the Spirit of God spoke through men for our instruction.” (An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, London: MacMillan & Co., 1902, p. 219)
"The subject [the Bible in the Church] is one on which it is impossible to write without misgiving. If I have said anything which can be rightly construed as derogatory from the divine majesty of Holy Scripture, I am the first to wish it unsaid. If I have said anything inaccurately (and with all care it can scarcely be otherwise), I sincerely trust that I may be corrected. If I have said anything which may lead one student of the Bible to just and faithful views of its Divine authority, I thank God humbly for this fruit of painful and anxious work." (The Bible In The Church, Westcott, Preface p.xiii)
"It is only by acknowledging the variety and distinctness of the parts of which the Bible is composed that we can gain any adequate sense of its real unity, of its inherent completeness, of its internal witness to its proper Divine authority." (The Bible In The Church, Westcott, p.11)
"the Bible contains in itself the fullest witness to its Divine authority... legibly stamped with the Divine seal as 'inspired by God' in a sense in which no other writings are." (The Bible In The Church, Westcott, p.14-15)
"The utterance of Scripture is treated as the voice of God conversing with men. Through the written word the Wisdom of God addresses us." (The Epistle to the Hebrews, p.399)
"The Bible is the record, the inspired, authoritative record, of the divine education of the world." (The Epistle to the Hebrews, p.493)
Mr. Faulkner, Regretfully yours is the stand of a 'pope' here allowing only one sided opinion to be posted. Such practice has had ample antecedent in history: a dangerous position indeed since Romans 1 stated that some would "suppress truth in unrighteousness." Truth can defend itself given freedom of speech is granted. "In the multitude of councillors wisdom is found". No need to Google search this, plain meaning.
Out of the same mouth may come out blessing and cursing -one of those contradictions of fallen nature. So, it's not as important what Westcott uttered at times, but what he did not say but his deeds revealed contrarily. If making a deeper search one can find pernicious conflicting issues coming out of the same mouth.
All the Reformers were former Catholics, though Erasmus the scholar sat at the window of opportunity lacking the courage to stand for the Reformation in spite of his staunch anti cleric criticism. Nevertheless, his work as a humanist Scholar, has been unsurpassed in his intent to publish the best Greek and Latin texts of Scripture available, borrowing from the Italian bible manuscripts instead of the RC Vulgate when Greek manuscripts were short to corroborate the Received Text.
Once more I ask that this comment section be reserved for those with honest questions, not for those who wish to post an entirely different point of view. SermonAudio is open to both sides of this argument and you can create your own blog for that purpose.
I will continue to delete adversarial comments.
One point I am making in this post is that those who have villified Westcott have probably not listened to the man himself.
Another point is that all translators and Biblical scholars are flawed, whether Catholic priest Erasmus who indirectly was responsible for the KJV or Westcott or Spurgeon or all the KJV translators or all the ESV translators. Given enough time, we could pick apart any one of them.
But that would be time wasted. For the "picker" is flawed too. And so am I.
Enjoy your Bible, whatever version God has led you to, and keep learning...