Charles Holt and "Sentinel of Truth"
A Review (III)
Liberals Always Need a New Idea
Brother Charles Holt is full of "new ideas." They are so new they cannot be found in the Bible. Yet he cannot seem to understand WHY his "new ideas" are so strongly opposed - since he is "honest" about it all. Because he is so "honest" about his "new ideas" he must rewrite the Bible to make it fit in with his "new ideas." Allow me to clarify this point. Although he is not the one who is behind this new translation, yet he lends his full support to it through Sentinel of Truth.
Because Brother Holt and brother J. D. Hall have a "new idea" about the definition of the word "church" and other scriptural matters, they feel a need to "re-write" the Bible. The present or old versions do not meet their new ideas, so they need different words to define different meanings. This is the exact pattern of any who desire to revolutionize old "traditions." The "attitude" of these brethren runs true to form of many .liberal, modern denominational theologians who do not wish to conform to the will of God. I wish to cite examples. Notice the parallel thoughts in both cases. The example under consideration is that of those who taught that GOD IS DEAD. Here are some propositions set forth in their writings.
"That the idea of God and the word of God are in need of radical reformulation. Perhaps totally new words are needed . . . ultimately new treatment of the idea and word can be expected . . . "That our TRADITIONAL liturgical and theological language needs a thorough overhaul; the reality abides, but CLASSICAL MODES OF THOUGHT AND FORMS OF LANGUAGE MAY WELL HAVE HAD IT.
"That certain concepts of God, often in the past confused with CLASSICAL
CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF GOD (or TRADITION which Paul delivered -LR) MUST BE DESTROYED."
(Radical Theology and the Death of God, Thomas J. J. Altizer and Wm. Hamilton, preface, pp. 10-11; all emph. Mine - LR.)
Here are some samples taken from S. 0. T. to demonstrate the parallel between their liberalism and that of those just quoted. In either case, the TRUTH of the Bible does not conform to the man's particular views, so he must find new words, new definitions because he has new ideas that do not conform, he needs a new translation that will conform. Now notice these statements.
"Our personal approach to these things is to correct the errors of the sectarian-slanted translations . . . The first thing to watch for is ecclesiastical or sectarian-slanted words. For instance, 'baptism,' 'church,' 'bishop,' 'deacon,' and many others are all words created by forces of false Christianity and used in their translations to support their unrighteous institutional concepts" (J. D. Hall, July, 1966, pg. 23.)
It is difficult, indeed, to understand the reasoning or logic of this man. Just WHAT does he mean by "created words"? ("Words created by forces of false Christianity . . .") Just how were these words "CREATED" by "forces of false Christianity"? If they were CREATED, then they did not exist before; hence they had to be formed and given some meaning which did not exist before. Now, did the translators CREATE these words to give a CORRUPTED, PERVERTED meaning from the original Hebrew and Greek? JUST LET BROTHER HALL DEMONSTRATE HOW T H E WO R D BAPTIZE IS DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL WORD IN THE GREEK TO PROVE IT WAS CREATED. HE CANNOT DO IT! I CHALLENGE HIM TO PROVE THIS TO BE A "SECTARIANSLANTED WORD!"
Again, just HOW did the translators CREATE SECTARIAN- SLANTED WORDS? Which religious sect did they represent? What a dilemma if each sect represented by its respective translator tried to interpret a word to meet its particular views. That would have been the start of another religious war! Just which of the SECTS do our translations uphold? They did not interpret the Bible, they translated it.
Isn't it strange that Brother Hall calls our translations "sectarian -slanted" and yet by far the greatest majority of the divisions and sects in religion RESULTED FROM DIFFERING VIEWS AND DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS of the TRANSLATIONS THEY ALL RECEIVED AND UNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO BE THE WORD OF GO~D? No, the translations are not the result of "sectarian-slanted words," but SECTS are the result of "private interpretation" or PERVERSIONS of the teachings of the will of God found in them.
The translators simply used words that were the most accurate and suitable. They used words that had the closest meaning without altering the sense. Hence this notion about "created" words is absurd.
Now, the USAGE of these words changed in the course of time. People changed the usage and meaning of words, hence a word used one way during the days of the translators may be used differently or given different meanings by people today. For instance, the word church; in the translations it is never used in reference to a building or an ecclesiastical governing body. But in the process of time people gave this word a different meaning, or applied to its meaning something which the translators did not intend as they used it in their translation. Here is a case of a word that is often used in the wrong sense today, but we cannot blame the translators for the mistakes of people today!
The same is true with the word baptism. The English word was given to define the original Greek "baptizo" and by a perversion or corruption of its usage by "sectarian slanted" teachings people give it meanings contrary to the original. The same with the rest of the words referred to by Brother Hall. The translators used the correct words but in the course of time PEOPLE HAVE CORRUPTED THEIR MEANING TO SUIT THEIR "SECTARIAN-SLANTED" VIEWS TO "SUPPORT THEIR UNRIGHTEOUS INSTITUTIONAL CONCEPTS." We need to teach people the true meaning of these words, not "create" a new translation.
Now if these words mean the same as in the original Greek, and brother Hall & company desire new words, or a new translation, then HIS product will be as "sectarian slanted" as he accuses the others of being. Then his "true Christianity" will be "false Christianity" and THEIR translations will be used to "support their unrighteous institutional concept."
Let us guard against denominational tendencies among us by all means, but let us guard against liberal, modernistic efforts to destroy the teachings of the scriptures themselves. We all realize there are a few words in our translations that are not found in the original Greek. But it is no difficult task to determine when and where these are found. And we do not need to "create" a whole new translation to correct these errors! When a word does not alter the original sense, we are not at liberty to translate such a word to give it a different meaning from the original in order to project our thoughts into the Sacred Oracles. There is a difference between correcting a translated word to meet its original definition, and translating a word to pervert its original meaning. And the latter appears to be the intention of our brethren to create a totally new concept of doctrine relative to their position. If our translators, with all their scholarship, knowledge and integrity made mistakes, how can we be certain our translators will produce a version free from error? As with liberal Protestant theologians, so also with Brother Holt, Hall and company. They bring the Bible down to the level of their ideas.
Liberal, modernistic (and atheistic) theologians do not find the Bible words suitable to their atheistic propaganda, so they need "totally new words" to define their positions. Likewise, these brethren do not find the Bible to correspond with their views - and naturally they must be right - so they too need to translate the Bible in such a way as to make it fit their teachings. Hence, whatever does not harmonize with their doctrine, they simply label it "sectarian -slanted" and revise is so that it does fit.
One issue involved in this matter is the translation of the word church. Because Brother Hall, Holt and others associated with S. 0. T. reject what our translations teach on this matter, they must of necessity make a new translation to meet their views. Here again is another sample of their arguments against our translations.
"one can begin to understand to what great length this old dragon (Satan-LR) will go in order to flood the world with perverted translations which distort the picture of this great institution of God of heaven." (August 1967, J. D. Hall) Did he say INSTITUTION???
What kind of a God do we believe in? The only source of knowledge upon which our salvation depends are the translations we have - which are the works of the devil! God allows the Devil to undermine the only source of knowledge we have concerning salvation. This makes for a hopeless situation, indeed. This impugns the righteous and just character of God.
Brother Holt said: "It is regrettable that the translators of our Bible ... thought that they knew a better way to express what the inspired writers were saying on this matter than the inspired writers did ... They translated the word 'eklessia' according to its regular meaning by the word 'assembly' in all cases where the assembly referred to was NOT religious or was not to be religious in nature, but where the assembly to which it referred was thought to be religious in nature, they translated it by the word 'church'." (Sept., 1966, pg. 2)
Brother Holt would make it appear that any other definition than "assembly" is NOT a "regular meaning" of "eklessia." Thus, by this statement, he would like to leave the impression that "assembly" is the only definition; hence, any other meaning would be entirely "irregular." The definition of "eklessia" is: "a calling Gut, meeting congregation, assembly, church. Since both, "assembly" and "church" are "regular meanings" or definitions of "eklessia," then wherein did the translators err in using these words? "And he is the head of the body, the CHURCH . . ." (Col. 1: 18). The body here is called "the church" but it means more than "assembly." As Saul made "havoc of the church" THOUGH IT WAS NOT ASSEMBLED, Christ is head of the church AT ALL TIMES, not just when Christians are assembled.
He further stated: "In the 'eklessia' there is no designation whatsoever of the nature of the assembly nor the character of its organization. Since the word 'church' is used in our Bible to translate the word 'eklessia,' it must convey the same idea and nothing more. Thus it is unmistakably clear that the word does not depict the church as an organization or a body politic with any special power or authority over individual Christians" (ibid., pg. 2).
Simply because in the word "eklessia" there is "no designation ... of the character of its organization," it does not mean the church HAS NO organization, or is not organized. Certain things can be "characteristic" of a word without a detailed description found in it.
For example, in Gen. 2: 7 we read that "God formed man of the dust of the ground." In the word MAN there is no designation whatsoever of the nature of the "man" that "God formed." Strictly from the reading of this word MAN that "God formed," all we could surmise is that he was simply a PILE OF DUST! His characteristics are not described in the word, or term "man." We might say he was a pile of breathing dust, but that is all. But when we read other passages of scriptures we learn what axe the characteristics or the NATURE (or organization) of this thing called "man." He has a spirit, he has arms, legs, eyes, ears, heart, lung, etc. He moves, has feelings, emotions, in short, HE IS A HIGHLY ORGANIZED CREATURE! Yet when the Bible uses the term "man" it does not go into detail to describe every essential feature of his construction or "organization." As we learn many things by "necessary inference" or knowledge from other sources, so also we know by this rule that every time the word "man" is found it refers to some sort of a "being" of a definite NATURE, or make-up.
The same with the word "church" or "eklessia;" Brother Holt can know that he can find some description of the "church" outside or apart from the word itself. Does the description or NATURE, or organization of the word "church" or "eklessia" have to be found in it for one to know what it is? Simply because Gen. 2:7 did not describe in detail this thing called "man," are we to DENY he has certain organs, that he is a highly organized creature? Does Brother Holt deny he has arms, legs, eyes, etc. to perform functions for the body?
The word "organize" means: "To bring together or form as a whole or combination as for a common objective; to arrange systematically; ORDER." (Funk & Wagnall's Dictionary) When you do this you have an ORGANIZATION. And that is precisely what the apostles did in the New Testament days, and thus the church was an organization.
In 1 Cor. 12:12 we find undeniable proof that the church is an organization. "For as the body is one and hath many members, and all members of that one body being many, are one body, so also is Christ."
Notice the distinction between "members" and "the body," and in addition, notice the relation of the "members" to "the body." Paul said, "For the body is not one member, but many" (v. 14). Hence many members are joined together, united to make up one body. Each member has its own definite function to perform. Paul clarified this very fact. "There are diversities of gifts . . . . differences of administrations . . . diversities of operations" (vv. 4-6). These members do not exist or function separate or apart from the body. Simply because a member does its own work, it does not mean that it does not function IN or FOR the body. "If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it not therefore of the body" (vs. 15)?
The very fact that Paul speaks of these as being "OF THAT ONE BODY" proves the church to be an organization by its very nature. All members function, but in a collectivity of a body, a body of members. When we therefore consider the definition of the word "organize" or "organization," the very description of the church in these passages proves the functioning of the members is "arranged systematically," "brought together," "form as a whole or combination as for a common objective." The very language of I Cor. 12 speaks of a harmonious, coordinated action in the body as an ORGANIZATION. Though each member has his own duties to perform, the "differences of administrations," "diversities of operations" by these various members comprise a perfect, complete and whole functioning BODY.
Further we learn that the Lord "gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers . . . for the edifying of the BODY OF CHRIST" (Eph. 4:11-12). And so, the Lord gave "governments" (I Cor. 12:28).
This word comes from "kubernesis," which means: "Pilotage, directorship (in the church); government." just what kind of government would this be if it had no AUTHORITY? (Which Brother Holt denies as being in the church, "over individual Christians.") If there is no inherent authority in government, then it could not function or exist as such; it would be a meaningless "government." How could elders "rule" and why would Christians "obey," "submit" to the "rule" of elders if they had no special kind or type of authority "over individual Christians?" Ruling by EXAMPLE is not ruling, for "rule" and "example" are not synonymous, are not related, do not mean the same thing. One can LEAD by example, and certainly elders ought to be an example to the flock as Peter admonished. But example does not answer the definition of the term, "rule."
Paul and Barnabas "ordained them elders in every church" (Acts 14:23). So we read of the "saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi WITH the bishops and deacons" (Phil. 1:1). If there were no distinction or an organized form of the church, then why did not Paul Simply salute ALL OF THEM as "saints" rather than "saints . . . WITH THE BISHOPS AND DEACONS"? The fact that there was this distinction made among the church proves "the organization of the church."
I appeal to all good brethren to beware of this blight that has come upon the people of God through the mission of Brother Holt in his Sentinel of Truth. I cannot find words strong enough to warn you against the great evil and danger it presents to you.
We can observe from all that we have considered, that the MISSION of brother Holt through Sentinel of Truth is a monstrous failure, and that as such it will stand long in the memory of faithful brethren who "hold fast the traditions" made known by God. Not only has Brother Holt proven himself an unworthy Editor because of his violation of his own editorial policies, but in so doing he is guiltier of the wrong "attitudes" he accuses others of having. This fact is HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT. This is so because the "attitudes" he deplores in others, and of which he is guilty himself, AS WELL AS LIBERAL BRETHREN, is the very thing that prompts him to "CHOOSE THE IDEA THAT CHURCHES MIGHT SEND CONTRIBUTIONS TO ORPHANAGES AND IN SOME MEASURE COOPE RATE WITH OTHER CONGREGATIONS IN SUPPORTING GOSPEL PREACHERS."
This is especially dangerous to unsuspecting brethren who consider brother Holt "sound" because it will lead them to CHOOSE the same "IDEA" because of the "attitude" brother Holt leads them to deplore among faithful brethren. If he can "brainwash" weaker, unsuspecting brethren into thinking that what we teach and hold is false, upon the basis of "attitudes," then he will get them into believing (as he does himself) that ATTITUDES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TRUTH! Yet he has completely failed to prove JUST WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE ATTITUDES OF THOSE WHOM HE CRITICIZES. This is the very first and most significant sign of departure into liberalism. When a brother begins to argue upon the basis of "attitudes," something is drastically wrong with HIS ATTITUDE TOWARD DIVINE TRUTH. Brother Holt is already "flirting" with some of the most liberal brethren among us, and how soon he will JOIN WITH THEM, only time will tell. He has a very subtle way of endorsing their teachings and practices.
Another danger in evidence is, that while liberal brethren violate scriptural patterns concerning the church, it organization and work, (all of which brother Holt is now more apt to "choose,") brother Holt takes an even bolder step into liberalism by OPENLY REJECTING scriptural patterns concerning these matters. He rejects what the Bible says, and thus in rejecting Bible patterns, he and others with him, are making a NEW TRANSLATION that will meet their views. Jehovah's Witnesses are no guiltier of this sin than Brother Holt and those with him. Every time Witnesses differ with plain Bible teachings, they appeal to the New World Translation to teach what THEY WANT TO TEACH. The same is true of Holt, Hall, etc. with regard to their translation. As we observed earlier, liberal, modern Protestant theologians who teach that God is dead no longer wish to conform to His will, so they too need a "new translation." This speaks of an improper ATTITUDE with regard to the divine authority of God revealed in scriptures. The word of God does not appeal to their foolish thinking, so they need "new words" and definitions to suit their "new ideas." Though their ideas may differ from Brother Holt and those associated with him, nevertheless the principle by which BOTH change the will of God to suit their desires is identically the same.
Truly, then, the very title, Sentinel of Truth is a MOCKERY of what it claims to uphold. Brethren, beware of those teaching false doctrine under the false pretense of being the GUARDIANS OF TRUTH.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 10, pp. 6-10