For those familiar with Ward’s “False Friends” argument you know that the central feature is that the Church is reading words it does not understand with the secondary addendum that the Church does not know that she does not understand those words. The latter is an addendum because without the central feature the addendum is nonsensical.
If the Church understood all the words she read in the Bible, then she would know the words she is reading in the Bible. Simply put, not understanding the words precipitates not knowing. As such, while Ward likes to emphasis the “not knowing that she doesn’t understand part” his primary contention is that the Church does not know the words of God, particularly in the KJV, and therefore the Church needs to find a new English version of the Bible.
There is another Bible that most of the English-speaking Church does not understand. That Bible is the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. The central feature of Ward’s argument applies here too and so does the claim that the Church needs a new NT every time another edition of the Nestle/Aland. And Ward’s primary contention remains the same, the Church does not know the words of God, particularly in the Greek, and therefore the Church needs to find a new Greek NT whenever the next edition of the Nestle/Aland is printed.
The Church doesn’t understand, but Mark Ward does. He could advocate for the Church’s learning and thereby the understanding of the words in question, but Ward regularly dismisses that out of hand. He could make his book and YouTube channel about teaching God’s people about “False Friends” and thereby solidifying the KJV in the hearts and minds of God’s people. But, no. Instead, he leverages his arguments against the use of the KJV. Why?
Why doesn’t Ward, as the apostle to the KJV crowd, take all of his research and help KJV folks better know and appreciate the KJV and thereby cling to their copy of God’s word even more. Why is it that Ward has chosen to use his mind to cast doubt particularly about the KJV? He could just as easily find words in other versions which God’s people do not know, but he doesn’t. What would possess a man who recognizes that the Church needs to learn about her Bible to use the Church’s ignorance to cast doubt on her Bible?
William Shakespeare, that paragon of False Friends, once wrote, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” I would like to add that some assume they are great simply because they are educated and because what they say accords with the prevailing evangelical academic mind.
Consider this brilliant and humble commentary offered by Ward when comparing the KJV defender and the brilliant prevailing scholarly mind.
Interestingly enough Ward does exactly as I have described in today’s post. He starts with the Church’s ignorance about words in the KJV, transitions to the Church’s overall ignorance of the original languages, and then makes a plea to trust the scholars, a group in which he includes himself on a couple occasions in the video.
Do Pearl’s arguments constitute the most robust defense of the KJV? Probably not, but this lack of showing his belief in the KJV does not make the knowing of his belief in the KJV somehow unreasonable or immoral.
In the end, Ward knows most of the Church does not know Greek and Hebrew. Furthermore, he knows that KJV adherents do not understand certain words in the KJV. Who then is to guide the unlearned? Brilliant scholars and the prevailing evangelical scholarly opinion is that the Church doesn’t have a standard sacred text, it shouldn’t want a standard sacred text, and if it does, it wants something it currently cannot have without being unreasonable or immoral according to scholarly opinion.
It seems then that once you give up that your translation is best chosen by the scholars then it stands to reason that the Greek and Hebrew which underlies that translation is best chosen by the scholar. And if such is the case, then who and based on what authority is the final call about what is or is not God’s word made? It seems to me that the answer is clearly and plainly, the fallible human scholar. Full stop.
N.B. – It is important to note that we have said here over and over that insofar as modern translations reflect the original words of Scripture those words are the very words of God in the substantia doctrinae. That said, our major contention has not been that Multiple Version Onlyists do not have the Bible. Rather our major contention has been that the most able of them, the most educated among them, cannot provide a robust method of knowing they have the inspired infallible Bible apart from standard probability arguments which apply to all books of antiquity.
4 thoughts on “Mark Ward’s “False Friends” Argument is Simply Elitist”
Mark Ward and modern text critics have replaced the authority of the Pope and his magisterium to tell Christians what the Bible is with that of academics like themselves. This is why they do not use their education and talents to teach Christians how to understand the Bible for themselves, but seek to make Christians dependent on them. Part of this is about “filthy lucre”, as they are making lots of money off this arrangement, but part of this is simply wickedness. As the usurped authority of the Pope over the people was wickedness, so is theirs likewise.
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In a similar vein, I developed two questions for Mark and those who think like him:
1. If you cannot understand the King James translation of the Bible, why should I take your advice?
2. If you can understand the King James translation of the Bible, why do you think I cannot?
You might enjoy reading the questions in context.
I even eventually wrote a “hymn” to accompany the thought:
1. Ye scholars, hearken unto me,
Ye, who against my Bible be;
Ye work and toil, the “King” to foil
Therefore, its beauties do not see.
2. Ye scholars, on your letters high,
Do cause us plebes to weep and sigh;
Why fight ye so, to such lengths go
To smite the Bible hip and thigh?
3. Ye scholars, with a single eye,
Would like to wave the “King” good-bye;
Both halt and lame, ye ply your aim
New Bible versions to supply.
After I posted it on Facebook, a friend asked, “But where’s the filthy lucre verse?” So I added a fourth stanza.
4. Ye scholars, in your hallowed walls;
By lucre filthy full enthralled:
As merchandise, the word is priced:
What—“thirty pieces”—is it called?
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Love this poem/song. Keep it coming.