James Martin Gray - using illogical writing to claim to have the original text

Steven Avery

Quotes given for the confused position by James Martin Gray. These quotes come from the time of Hortian corruption and the connected Warfield error of emphasis on the original autographs. Rather than the historic perfection position - the Bible in hand and/or apographa.

Understand, James Martin Gray (1851-1935) is not taking the ultra-absurd position of claiming we have the original autographs, only that we can pretend to base our inerrancy claim on unknown, ethereal autographs. A position that was easily ripped to shreds in the inerrancy debate.

The Fundamentals: The Famous Sourcebook of Foundational Biblical Truths (1990 edition, 1958)

The Inspiration of the Bible—
Definition, Extent and Proof
By Rev. James Martin Gray, D.D.
Dean of Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL
Revised and edited by Gerald B. Stanton. Th-D.
p. 139-140

SA notes in brown.

"Let it be stated further in this definitional connection, that the record for whose inspiration we contend is the original record—the autographs or parchments of Moses, David, Daniel, Matthew, Paul or Peter, as the case may be, and not any particular translation or translations of them whatever. There is no translation absolutely without error, nor could there be, considering the infirmities of human copyists, unless God were pleased to perform a perpetual miracle to secure it.

Or, to put it more simply, unless God fulfills his promise to preserve his word.

But does this make nugatory our contention? Some would say it does, and they would argue speciously that to insist on the inerrancy of a parchment no living being has ever seen is an academic question

Actually, it is a charade, it is not an academic question. Since no one can ever demonstrate the truth or falsity of the proposition. Warfield was such a charlatan that he even insisted that the one claiming error has to first find the autographic text with the error - the text that Warfield never finds!

merely, and without value. But do they not fail to see that the character and perfection of the God-head are involved in that inerrancy?

The far more important question is the perfection of our actual Bible, not ethereal inerrancy of unknown autographs. Notice how in the next analogy, Gray is claiming that our Bibles today are rent, torn, errant.

Some years ago a “liberal” theologian, deprecating this discussion as not worth while, remarked that it was a matter of small consequence whether a pair of trousers were originally perfect if they were now rent. To which the valiant and witty David James Burrell replied, that it might be a matter of small consequence to the wearer of the trousers, but the tailor who made them would prefer to have it understood that they did not leave his shop that way. And then he added, that if the Most High must train among knights of the shears He might at least be regarded as the best of the guild, and One who drops no stitches and sends out no imperfect work.

Is it not with the written Word as with the incarnate Word? Is Jesus Christ to be regarded as imperfect because His character has never been perfectly reproduced before us? Can He be the incarnate Word unless He were absolutely without sin? And by the same token, can the scriptures be the written Word unless they were inerrant?

A ridiculous analogy. Jesus Christ is eternally sinless. Yet Gray claims our Bibles are rent, errant.

But if this question be so purely speculative and valueless, what becomes of the science of Biblical criticism by which properly we set such store today?

Amazing circularity. “We love textual criticism, therefore we can not have a perfect Bible.” However, this pseudo-science is the problem, not an aide. What should be done with today’s “science of Biblical (textual) criticism” is a simple discard.

Do builders drive piles into the soft earth if they never expect to touch bottom? Do scholars dispute about the scripture text and minutely examine the history and meaning of single words, “the delicate coloring of mood, tense and accent,” if at the end there is no approximation to an absolute?

More amazing circularity. Our confused scholars are involved in this mess, therefore it must give an approximate result! Gray is acknowledging that he does not really have a Bible pure.

As Dr. George H. Bishop says, does not our concordance, every time we take it up, speak loudly to us of a once inerrant parchment? Why do we not possess concordances for the very words of other books?

More absurdity.

The fact of often-errant concordances (they can be based on errant versions) is the supposed proof.

A Concordance of the Iliad of Homer

Nor is that original parchment so remote a thing as some suppose. Do not the number and variety of manuscripts and versions extant render it comparatively easy to arrive at a knowledge of its text,

More stupidity. If I ask the contras about the 24 full verses in the Mark ending the Pericope Adultera what is true scripture, I will get a litany of inconsistent answers. Then I can add Acts 8:37, 1 Timothy 3:16, Father, forgive me, the daughter of Herod, and dozens and dozens more, and nothing is "easy" for the contras. Thus, West is lying, or ignorant, or a dupe.

and does not competent scholarship today affirm that as to the New Testament at least, we have in 999 cases out of every thousand the very word of that original text?

This is simply a lie, as we go over in the papers on statistical illiteracy. West may be simply a dupe of Hort and some fellow-travelers, but the statement itself is a bald-faced lie.

Let candid consideration be given to these things and it will be seen that we are not pursuing a phantom in contending for an inspired autograph of the Bible."

Actually you are defending a chimera and a phantom, what counts is the actual apographa.

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