Answering the charge “Erasmus was a Catholic humanist.”
Those who promote the modern Vatican supervised versions like the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, Holman Standard, etc. cannot deny the fact that their ever changing UBS/Nestle-Aland critical Greek text is the result of a formal agreement with the Roman Catholic Church to create an “inter confessional” text to help unite the separated brethren.
For documentation of these facts see Undeniable Proof the ESV, NIV, NASB, Holman Standard, NET etc. are the new “Vatican Versions”
Then go on to Part Two and simply look at the verses, phrases and word omissions (about 2000 words) common to versions like the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, the modern Catholic versions and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation.
They are ALL the same, because they are all based on the same Vatican supervised “inter confessional” text.
The Catholic St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 says in its Preface: “The translators have carried out the directive of our predecessor, Pius XII, in his famous Encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, and the decree of the Second Vatican Council (Dei Verbum) which prescribed that…”WITH THE APPROVAL OF CHURCH AUTHORITY, THESE TRANSLATIONS MAY BE PRODUCED IN COOPERATION WITH OUR SEPARATED BRETHREN SO THAT ALL CHRISTIANS MAY BE ABLE TO USE THEM.” From the Vatican, September 18, 1970
I have a copy of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 27th edition right here in front of me. It is the same Greek text as the UBS (United Bible Society) 4th edition. These are the Greek texts that are followed by such modern versions as the ESV, NIV, NASB, Holman Standard AND the new Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 AND the Jehovah Witness New World Translation.
If you have a copy of the Nestle-Aland 27th edition, open the book and read what they tell us in their own words on page 45 of the Introduction. Here these critical Greek text editors tell us about how the Greek New Testament (GNT, now known as the UBS) and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece grew together and shared the same basic text.In the last paragraph on page 45 we read these words:
“The text shared by these two editions was adopted internationally by Bible Societies, and FOLLOWING AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE VATICAN AND THE UNITED BIBLE SOCIETIES IT HAS SERVED AS THE BASIS FOR NEW TRANSLATIONS AND FOR REVISIONS MADE UNDER THEIR SUPERVISION. THIS MARKS A SIGNIFICANT STEP WITH REGARD TO INTERCONFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS. It should naturally be understood that this text is a working text: it is not to be considered as definitive, but as a stimulus to further efforts toward defining and verifying the text of the New Testament.”
There it is folks, in their own words. They openly admit that this text is the result of an agreement between the Vatican and the UBS and that the text itself is not “definitive” – it can change, as it already has and will do so in the future, and is not the infallible words of God but merely “a stimulus to further efforts”.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
This from their own site –
Collaboration for the Diffusion of the Bible
“Following the responsibility undertaken by the then Secretariat for the preparation of the dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, the PCPCU was entrusted with promoting ecumenical collaboration for the translation and diffusion of Holy Scripture (Dei Verbum, n. 22). In this context, it encouraged the formation of the Catholic Biblical Federation, with which it is in close contact. TOGETHER WITH THE UNITED BIBLE SOCIETIES IT PUBLISHED THE GUIDELINES FOR INTERCONFESSIONAL COOPERATION IN TRANSLATING THE BIBLE.” (1968; new revised edition 1987).
The modern Vatican Version users (ESV, NIV, NASB etc.) use this flimsy and ultimately meaningless “Erasmus was a Catholic Humanist” excuse to justify their use and promotion of their ever changing versions that not even they believe are the complete and infallible words of God.
They ignore the fact that Erasmus never was a practicing Catholic priest.
He often criticized many doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
He died in the presence of his Protestant friends.
His books were eventually placed on the forbidden to read list by the RCC and most importantly –
No Catholic bible version ever used the Greek text of Erasmus to make up their translations, but ALL Reformation bibles did use Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza as their textual basis.
The King James Bible translators did not even primarily use Erasmus but relied far more on the Greek texts of Stephanus and Beza.
As usual, the KJB critics’ argument is misinformed, deeply biased and misapplied. Learn more about the man Erasmus and his theology here:
In Defense of Erasmus by Dr. John Cereghin Pastor, Grace Baptist Church of Smyrna, Delaware
And here –
Please read the entire articles, but briefly some of relevant points that should be noted are:
Erasmus published his printed Greek text in 1516. This was prior to the beginning of the Reformation in 1517 when Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany. There WAS no Reformation or any official Protestants at this time. Aside from a few persecuted minorities like the Waldenses in the remote Alps, the Catholic church was the only game in town.
Even Wycliffe and Tyndale were nominal Catholics. He dedicated his Greek text to the Pope, but this was most likely a political move to get his Greek text accepted and it ultimately did not do him any good at all.
The Catholic church never did approve of the Textus Receptus. In fact, the Council of Trent (1545-1564) branded Erasmus a heretic and prohibited his works. In 1559, Pope Paul IV placed Erasmus on the first class of forbidden authors, which was composed of authors whose works were completely condemned.
It was soon said by the Catholics that Erasmus laid the egg and Luther hatched the chickens. Erasmus examined hundreds of Greek manuscripts from all over Europe. He was familiar with virtually every variant reading we know of today. He was NOT limited in his knowledge of Greek readings by the alleged ten manuscripts he used to put together the New Testament Greek text. His Greek text, along with the minor revisions of Stephanus and Beza became the basis for the New Testament texts of all Reformation Bibles.
Luther was a Reformer from outside the Catholic church, while Erasmus believed he could reform it from the inside. Erasmus himself wrote against many of the abuses and excesses of the Catholic church and the celibacy of the priests. He rejected the typical Roman Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 establishing the papal primacy and he began to teach baptism by immersion AFTER conversion. There is no record of him ever officiating as a Catholic priest and he died in Switzerland in 1536 surrounded by his Protestant friends.
What is called the Textus Receptus was NOT the basis for the Catholic Bibles, but rather for the Reformation Bibles like Luther’s German Bible, the French Olivetan, the Italian Diodati, the Portuguese Almeida, the Spanish Reina Valera, the English Geneva Bible and of course the King James Holy Bible.
So, what exactly is the primary basis for such modern bibles as the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV and Daniel Wallace’s NET versions etc? It’s the United Bible Society’s ever changing and evolving “nothing is settled or sure” Greek text based primarily on the VATICANUS manuscript found in the Vatican library, and put out by a joint effort of Evangelicals and the Catholic Church!
Guess why the UBS (United Bible Society) Greek texts are the basis for all these new versions? It’s because Catholics and Evangelicals were united to produce this text. One of the 5 chief editors was the New Age Jesuit Cardinal Carlos Martini, who believed god was in all men and in all religions.
Just open a copy of the UBS New Testament Greek and turn to the first page. There you will see a list of the 5 chief editors who put this Critical Greek text together. The 4th name on the list, right before the inerrancy denying Bruce Metzger, is Carlo M. Martini.
In his book “In the Thick of His Ministry” the Jesuit Cardinal Martini writes: “The deification which is the aim of all religious life takes place. During a recent trip to India I was struck by the yearning for the divine that pervades the whole of Hindu culture. It gives rise to extraordinary religious forms and extremely meaningful prayers. I wondered: What is authentic in this longing to fuse with the divine dominating the spirituality of hundreds of millions of human beings, so that they bear hardship, privation, exhausting pilgrimages, in search of this ecstasy?” (In The Thick Of His Ministry, Carlo M. Martini, page 42.)
Jesuit Cardinal Martini served on the editorial committee for the United Bible Societies’ 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions. These are the “bibles” most modern Christians are using today when they pick up the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET or modern Catholic “bibles”.
Wasn’t Erasmus a humanist?
Dr. John Cereghin Pastor, Grace Baptist Church of Smyrna, Delaware responds:
Here is a major attack and a very deceptive one. Was he a humanist? Not by our standards but, in Renaissance meaning, was simply one who studied the classics, classical culture and education. Andrew Brown, of the Trinitarian Bible Society, gives the proper definition of a humanist in this context:
“Erasmus was a thoroughgoing ‘Christian humanist’ from his youth to his death. The use of the word ‘humanist’ in the Renaissance and Reformation period does not in any way share the atheistic connotations which that word now has in popular usage. A ‘humanist’ in that period was simply someone who was interested in classical literature, culture and education, as a means of attaining a higher standard of civilized life. Stephanus, Calvin and Beza were all humanists in this sense, and it is these ‘humanist’ ideals which have largely shaped Western culture in the succeeding centuries, blended with the teachings of the Christian Gospel.”
Another common charge brought against the King James Bible is this one by the Vatican Critical text promoter, Dan Wallace of the NET bible version fame.
Daniel Wallace — “Erasmus only used half a dozen, very late MSS for the whole New Testament any way” (Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible is the Best Translation Available Today).
1. Erasmus had knowledge of many manuscripts other than those he used for his first edition. Erasmus “began studying and collating NT MSS and observing thousands of variant readings in preparation for his own edition” (Eldon Jay Epp, “Decision Points in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Studies in The Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism, edited by Epp and Gordon Fee, p. 18; quoting Bentley 1983: 35, 138). “It is well known also that Erasmus looked for manuscripts everywhere during his travels and that he borrowed them from everyone he could. Hence although the Textus Receptus was based mainly on the manuscripts which Erasmus found at Basel, it also included readings taken from others to which he had access. It agreed with the common faith because it was founded on manuscripts which in the providence of God were readily available” (Edward Hills, The King James Bible Defended, p. 198).
You can buy the NIV at your local Catholic book stores –
The ESV is now published with the Apocryphal books; you can pick up a copy at the Catholic book stores, but you won’t find the King James Bible there. Here is a Catholic site that advertises it –
Here is a list of the “bibles” they recommend at this Catholic site
ESV w/ Apocrypha (Deuterocanonicals) is Here!
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
New American Bible Revised Version
New Revised Standard Version
New Jerusalem Bible
English Standard Version
Common English Bible
Did you notice which Bible is NOT on their list?
Get yourself a copy of the King James Bible and stick to it. It is the only Bible seriously believed by thousands of redeemed by the blood of the Lamb Christians to be the complete and inerrant words of the living God.
All of grace, believing the Book,
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