The Milieu of the Revised Standard
On occasion it
is enlightening to analyze the circumstances surrounding the publication
of a book, for it reveals the purpose of its presentation. In 1954, the
World Council of Churches held its great convention in the Chicago
suburb of Evanston. At that convention five slogans were in evidence.
These slogans, which included reference to the Revised Standard Version,
at that time only recently published, tell much of the spirit in that
1. Do not call us a council of denominations, for
we were born to destroy denominations.
2. We intend to take over the foreign mission work
of all denominations.
3. We propose to use this new Revised Standard
Version, which is our child, to be our constitution and atomic bomb to
bring all other Bibles throughout the world in harmony with it.
4. We are going to build long plans for a bigger
and better world.
5. There is only one divine service left—none like
it was ever conceived in time elsewhere—to lift the human race up in
reverence to God. That is the sacrifice of the Mass.
These slogans are quite a revelation, and merit
closer examination. Each one in its own way is threatening to humble
souls who wish to avoid the religious intolerance and coercion of former
years. The first would force all Christians into a single world church;
the second would prevent the full spread of the gospel; the third would
foist a faulty Scripture upon all Christians; the fourth implies
religious interference in the political sphere, thus introducing a
perilous breach in the separation of church and state, the one principle
which has given religious freedom to mankind; and the fifth would
utterly destroy the very foundations of Protestantism by restoring us to
the tyranny and blasphemy of the Mass. In past generations, thousands
suffered martyrdom rather than to yield to such practices.
Such is the unpromising milieu surrounding the
presentation of the Revised Standard Version of Scripture. It cannot be
denied that it was produced to support the cause of ecumenism and the
unsanctified aims of the World Council of Churches. It is thus not mere
coincidence that the use of the Revised Standard Version and like
translations has been accompanied by a blurring of the distinction
between Protestantism and Catholicism. We live in an era when the
Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury feels free to call for a Christian
Church led by the pope (Singapore Straits Times, October 3,
1989); scholars in the Southern Baptist Church claim that they share one
Lord, one faith, one baptism with Roman Catholics (Williamson Daily
News, August 26, 1989); and Lutherans find that they can join with
Roman Catholics in united aims (Minneapolis Star Tribune). Yet in
all these churches are faithful men and women who will not yield their
faith, nor compromise doctrine. They are not blinded by current
ecumenical propaganda nor are they willingly ignorant of religious
history. Yet Scripture has perceptively foretold the day, which we
believe is imminent, when all but God’s elect will accept papal
dominance once more.
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship
him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain
from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8
This prophecy, of course, received a limited
fulfillment in Europe during the Dark Ages. But here is foretold a
worldwide return to the blighted conditions prevailing in Europe when
the Papacy controlled the destiny of an entire continent. That history
should be re-read, for the World Council of Churches is committed to a
return to those conditions. And it was as an instrument to achieve such
a state of affairs that the Revised Standard Version was prepared.
Clearly it was designed to be the lone source of scriptural testimony in
the modern era in a manner similar to the supremacy of the Latin Vulgate
in the former era. Since it was based upon corrupted manuscripts similar
to those used by Jerome in his preparation of the Latin Vulgate, the
analogy is close.
Just as the era of the Latin Vulgate led to the
virtual abandonment of Bible study and the acceptance of the voice of
the church in its place as the authoritative Word of God, even so do we
already discern a great falling away from scriptural study and a trend
toward compliance with the word of fallible man.
We mentioned that the slogans of the 1954 Evanston
World Council of Churches Meeting possessed a tyrannical flavor. We have
also noted that such an attitude contributed to the dominance of another
corrupted version of Scripture, the Latin Vulgate. We should therefore
not be surprised to learn that the return road to Rome will embolden
persecutors of nonconformists just as surely as it did in former times,
for God has stated, referring to the time when all the unconverted will
worship the Papacy, that
It was given unto him to make war with the saints,
and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and
tongues, and nations. Revelation 13:7
Once again this prophecy was partially fulfilled on
the continent of Europe during the medieval rule of the Papacy, but
looks to a day beyond, where such persecution will be worldwide and will
reach to the remotest corners of the earth.
The same persecution is referred to in Revelation 17.
These shall make war with the Lamb. Revelation
But in this passage of Scripture the ultimate triumph
of our God is revealed.
And the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of
lords and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and
chosen, and faithful. Revelation 17:14
We thank God for this promise of the ultimate triumph
of our God, His people, and His Word.
If any wish to follow the return pathway to Rome, and
desire deprivation of their God-endowed right to follow the faith of
their personal conviction, and wish no freedom in foreign missionary
work, and care not if Scripture is corrupted, and desire a union of
church and state, and would happily participate in the celebration of
the Mass, then manifestly the Revised Standard Version is perfectly
designed to serve these wishes.
But for true-hearted men and women who cherish their
freedom in the Lord, who wish to witness wherever the Holy Spirit leads
them, who fervently desire to study only the unadulterated words of
Scripture, who uphold the principle of the separation of church and
state as a bastion against violation of the consciences of men, and who
humbly partake of the simple emblems of Christ’s broken body and His
shed blood, unperverted by the priestly fantasy of their ability to
create the very body and blood of Jesus Christ, the Revised Standard
Version will find no place in their hearts, nor will it be accepted as
the authoritative Word of God.
1 Reported in a letter to friends written
September 21, 1954, by Dr. B.G.Wilkinson who attended the meetings in