WESCOTT AND HORT
by D.A. WAITE, Th.D, Ph.D.
Heresies in Bibliology
In this general division of Bibliography there is usually taken up the doctrine of the Bible, including its inspiration, supernatural origin, canonicity, and the like [Cf. Lewis Sper-ry Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols., Volume I]. Under this heading for Westcott and Hort I noted the following items, in varying degrees of heresy and/or error.
Vague or Erroneous Position on Inspiration, Revelation, or Inerrancy
1. Westcott wrongly claimed the "messengers" were "inspired" rather than only their words.
(Hebrews 1:2) in the prophets ... In whatever way God made Himself known to them, they were His messengers, inspired by His Spirit, not in their words only but as men....
—Westcott—Hebrews, op. cit., p. 6
This is a heresy which many have accepted even in our own day. Second Timothy 3:16-17, however, is very clear to refer that which is "God-breathed" or "inspired of God" only to the "all scripture," or that which has been written down in words. The men were not "inspired" according to the Bible's clear statement here, only their words were "inspired of God," or "God-breathed." Second Peter 1:20-21 tells us that the "holy men of God" spoke as they were "moved by the Holy Spirit." This "moving" or being "borne along" by the Holy Spirit is the correct way of speaking of God's use of His men in the writing of Scripture. If indeed the men were "inspired," they would have been so throughout all their lives and in every situation, and hence would be infallible in all their utterances, written or spoken. Such was not the case, and this is nowhere taught in Scripture. Inspiration must refer only to the words of the Scripture as Second Timothy 3:16-17 clearly teaches. To go beyond the Bible at this point is laden with grave theological dangers.
2. Westcott implied that you could find "revelation" in "Scripture," rather than equating "revelation" and "Scripture."
(John 5:39-40). From the essential elements of revelation, external (voice, shape) and internal (word), the Lord passes to the record of revelation in Scripture.
—Westcott—John, op. cit., pp. 90-91
When you say there is a record of "revelation in Scripture," you are implying that some of the Scripture might not contain "revelation, "but in certain portions of the "Scripture," there is some "revelation." The proper teaching of the Bible on this matter is that all Scripture is God's "revelation," and not just some parts of it. It was all "revealed" by God's Holy Spirit through the human writers. Again, this is an error which persists among the liberals, modernists, and neo-orthodox even to this day.
3. Hort seems to imply that "all things necessary to salvation" are the only really important things in the "Scriptures. "
So only, we believed, could the unique character of the Scriptures be rightly appreciated as "containing all things'" necessary to salvation."
—Hort—1 Peter, op. cit., p. vii
There is a thought here, as in modern times, to limit the "Scriptures" only to the "all things necessary to salvation," implying that, perhaps, the historical, the geographical, the chronological, or the scientific matters, were either not important, or perhaps not given inerrantly or were not trustworthy. Men today who deny biblical inerrancy and infallibility in all matters of which they speak, limit these terms to things pertaining to "salvation." It could be a similar reference in Hort as well.
4. Hort omits any mention of verbal, plenary inspiration, or biblical inerraney or infallibility, and so does Westcott.
Throughout the five books examined, both Westcott and Hort alike omit any stand for belief in a verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible which also gives inerrancy and infallibility to the original writings. There is therefore a weak and heretical and unsatisfactory view of the Bible which is held by them. Often things which are omitted are more important an indication of a man's heresies than what he states in plain English. Learn to listen for "the absent note." For example, Hort, in commenting on First Peter 1:23, which states: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever," has this to say:
It [that is, the word translated "Word"] is God's whole utterance of Himself in His incarnate Son, the written or spoken record of this utterance or of any part of it being a word only in a secondary sense.
—Hort—1 Peter, op. cit., p. 93
This is a verse which has consistently been interpreted in the past and in the present as a reference to the "Word of God" being the Bible. Here, Hort comes along and states that it is possibly a "word only in a secondary sense." This is a sort of spiritualization of the "Word," rather than an acceptance of it as the literal Bible which God produced through His verbal, plenary inspiration.
5. Westcott isolated belief "in Christ" from any "propositions about Christ." In commenting about John 14:1, Westcott wrote:
The belief is "in Christ," and not in any propositions about Christ.
—Westcott—John, op. cit, p. 200
If you are not willing to place the meaning of "belief in Christ" into the definite "propositions about Christ" as given to us in the Bible, you have a liberalistic theology indeed. We will see more of this under the all-important, definitive chapter below on Christology.
False or Erroneous Position on Biblical Interpretation Principles
1. Westcott referred to the historical "Cain" as only a "typical example" and as merely a "representative" rather than being a historical person. He wrote:
(1 John 3:12) But the insertion of v. 11, the positive rule of Christians, leads to the insertion of the negative before the typical example of the opposite character. . . . The history of the first death naturally attracted wide attention as presenting in a representative and impressive form the issues of selfishness, self-will, sin.
—Westcott—1-3 John, op. cit., p. 110
This certainly does not sound like Westcott believed Cain was a genuine and real person. A "representative form" is not a real personage of history.
2. Hort denied that Paul actually saw the Lord Jesus Christ in an outer vision, stating that it was only an "inner vision."
That is, (Revelation 1:1) Paul speaks of God as enabling him to have an inner vision and perception of His Son. . . .
—Hort—Revelation, op. cit., p. 3
This is a heresy clearly, since Acts 9 is so plain in pointing out that Paul saw a light brighter than the sun, and heard a voice. The men with him saw the light, and heard a sound, but couldn't understand what was being said. It was outer, and not "inner." A mere "innervision" could not have blinded Paul.
3. Hort denies that the Book of Revelation is a "repetition of words spoken by Christ to John," saying they are John's words in "the prophetic spirit."
These epistles (Revelation 2:7) are not merely a repetition a words spoken by Christ to John in vision, but in speaking them he is moved by the prophetic spirit.
—Hort—Revelation; op. cit., p. 23
As a "Revelation of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:1), the entire book of Revelation is just that. It is not John's "prophetic spirit" at all, but the Revelation of Jesus Christ Himself.
4. Hort denies that "Christ" is the "primary Revealer" thinking that it is "God."
(Revelation 1:1) The conception of the book is not that the primary Revealer is Christ, though by the will or permission of God. ..; but that the primary Revealer is God....
—Hort—Revelation, op. cit., p. 5
Well, Christ is also "God" that is, He is Deity. Saying it this way almost denies the deity of Christ. It would appear that the expression, "the revelation of Jesus Christ" would indicate that the Lord Jesus was the "primary Revealer." John 16:12-15 clearly indicates that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself "has yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak." The Book of Revelation is a part of the "many things" that Jesus Christ Himself had to say to His own.
False or Erroneous Position in Mixing Israel with the Church
1. Westcott erroneously called Israel of the Old Testament the "old church."
The Christian Church (John 1:12) was not, as it might have been, the corporate transfiguration of the old church, but was built up of individuals ... gives prominence to the act of personal faith which distinguishes the first-fruits of the new Israel.
—Westcott—John, op. cit., p. 8
The Church is a New Testament institution, and is not the "new Israel," nor is the nation Israel in the Old Testament the "old church."
(John 5:36) The new church grew out of the old church, as its proper consummation.
—Westcott—John, op. cit., p. 24; for similar
references, see also Westcott—John, p. 43,
and Westcott- Hebrews, p. 51
(IN THIS CASE WESTCOTT IS CORRECT AND WAITE IS WRONG. THERE WERE CONVERTED PEOPLE IN ANCIENT ISRAEL, HENCE IN THE OVERALL, ANCIENT ISRAEL WAS THE OLD TESTAMENT CHURCH - Keith Hunt)
2. Hort also erroneously looked at the "Christian Church" as the "true Israel."
. . . nor is it less characteristic that he dwells on the significance of the conception of the Christian church as the true Israel by which all the Apostles were united (pp. 7, 16, 116).
—Hort—1 Peter, op. cit., p. xii
(1 Peter 2:9) It is less easy to see in what sense St. Peter termed the new Israel a royal priesthood.
—Hort—1 Peter, op. tit, p. 126
"Israel" is "Israel" and will never change. The "Church" is the "Church" and that will never change either. Neither becomes the other.
(WAITE IS SPLITTING HAIRS HERE, THE CHURCH COULD BE CALLED "SPIRITUAL" ISRAEL - Keith Hunt)
False, Erroneous, Weak, or Incomplete Exegesis of Vital Verses
1. John 1:12 not clear on salvation.
Westcott does not give a clear exegesis of John 1:12, one of the most simple verses on salvation in all of John. (See Westcott—John 1:12, op. cit., pp. 9-9).
2. Other verses which are falsely interpreted, erroneous, weak, or incomplete in exegesis.
According to my expectations, the following are verses which Westcott or Hort failed to expound accurately or completely to my satisfaction (with page references):
John 1:29 (Westcott—John, p. 20)
John 6 (p. 113 ff.)
John 7:3 (p. 116)
John 6:33 (Westcott—John, p. 102)
John 8:21 (Westcott—John, p. 130)
John 10:9 (Westcott—John, p. 153)
John 10:10 (Westcott—John, p. 154)
John 10:11 (Westcott—John, p. 154)
John 10:15 (Westcott---John, p. 155)
John 10:17-18 (Westcott—John, p. 156)
John 10:28 (Westcott—John, p. 158)
John 10:30 (Westcott—John, p. 159)
John 10:33 (Westcott—John, p. 159)
John 11:51 (Westcott---John, p. 175)
John 19:30 (Westcott—John, p. 278)
John 20:30-31 (Westcott---John, 297)
(AS WAITE DOES NOT GIVE WHAT WESCOTT AND HORT SAID ABOUT THESE VERSES, IT IS RATHER SILLY THAT HE PRESENTS THEM TO US - Keith Hunt)
In Westcott's book on Hebrews, the following are weak or defective:
Hebrews 4:12 (Westcott—Heb., p. 101)
Hebrews 5:9 (Westcott—Heb., p. 129)
Hebrews 13:8 (Westcott—Heb., p. 435)
(AGAIN MY SAME COMMENT ON WAITE - Keith Hunt)
Westcott was also weak or erroneous on the following verses in his book on 1-3 John:
1 John 1:1 (p. 7)
1 John 1:2 (Westcott—1-3 John , p. 8)
1 John 1:2 (Westcott—1-3 John, p. 10)
1 John 2:9 (Westcott—1-3 John, p. 88)
(AGAIN MY SAME COMMENT ON WAITE - Keith Hunt)
These ideas are merely suggestive as to the various heresies and otherwise weaknesses of both Westcott and Hort in the area of bibliology, or the doctrine of the Bible. The greatest heresies grow out of their failure to believe and to teach clearly in any of their five books the fact that the Bible is verbally and plenarily inspired of God, and consequently infallible and inerrant in the original writings. Without this clear stand on God's Word, the Bible, Westcott and Hort's theological position is likely to be loaded with heresies of one sort or another. And such is the case.
TO BE CONTINUED
TRUE INDEED; AS WESTCOTT AND HORT DID NOT BELIEVE IN THE "GOD BREATHED" BIBLE....EVERY PART AND VERSE INSPIRED..... THEY WOULD WITH THAT ALONE BE PROVED TO BE FALSE TEACHERS, AND SO ALL THEY WROTE WOULD HAVE TO BE TAKEN WITH A LARGE, HUGE CUBE OF SALT.
THEY WOULD BE PART OF THE THOUSANDS OF FALSE PROPHETS AND TEACHERS THAT WOULD COME ALONG DURING THE CHRISTIAN AGE TO THE RETURN OF CHRIST.