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Chapter 31

The Milieu of the Revised Standard Version


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 version.1

  • 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 17:14

    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 Evanston.  <BACK>


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