Critique of “The Elephant in the Living Room,” a book against the common Spanish Bible

By Calvin George

This “Checklist” is a brief and simple critique of the book, The Elephant in the Living Room – Seeing the Shadow of the RSV in Spanish. It was edited by Pastor Mickey Carter and published in 2002 on behalf of Landmark Baptist Church and College in Haines City, Florida. The contributing authors were as follows: Mickey Carter, Phil Stringer, Gail Riplinger, David Cloud, Carlos Donate, Bill Bradley, and Allen Johnson.

checkmark Check whether it was right to declare “…the 1960 Reina-Valera was done by liberals…” (back cover), “The liberals revised and merchandised the 1960…” (p. 35) and “…they selected modernist seminary professors to do the actual translation work on the 1960.” (p. 48)

HINT: Not even one of the six editorial committee members (the only ones who had a vote on textual decisions) was mentioned in the book, and no proof was submitted to show that they were indeed theologically liberal.

checkmark Check whether I placed an advertisement in The Baptist magazine in which I refer to certain preachers as being “dysfunctional” as alleged on p. 24.

HINT: It was a book review that I did not write and never even read until after it was published.

checkmark Check whether there is a contradiction in the evaluation of what I wrote about lower case letters in Dan. 3:25 in different KJV editions.


p. 28, “This is untrue.” p. 158, “True, at least one edition…”

checkmark Check whether I have made “vicious and unfounded personal attacks upon fundamental Baptists” as alleged on pp. 50-51.

HINT: See “Letter to Pastor Carter Regarding the Spanish Bible Issue:”

checkmark As stated in p. 52, check whether the RV 1960 alone “…generates hundreds of millions of dollars every year…” for the American Bible Society.

HINT: In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, the ABS generated a total income of less than 79 million from ALL sources.

checkmark Check whether Eugene Nida himself introduced textual changes in the RV 1960 as alleged on p. 61.

HINT: “Final decisions as to the text of the Reina-Valera revision rested with the Editorial Committee which was set up for the program, for once the committee had been named, the Bible Society representatives [Nida and Twentyman] were only advisers to the Committee and had no vote on decisions.” –Nida, Eugene “Reina-Valera Revision of 1960,” The Bible Translator. vol. 12, No. 3, 1961. p. 111.

checkmark Check how many of the contributing authors of this book about the Spanish Bible even speak Spanish.

HINT: Five out of seven do not. Also, one of the contributing authors that knows Spanish did not grow up speaking it. Non-Spanish speakers do not have to live with the decisions they want to make for us, as they cannot read from any Spanish Bible, much less witness or preach from one. Charles Keen of Bearing Precious Seed wrote in his (unpublished?) article “The Spanish Bible Issue:”

“I submit brethren that it is inherently dangerous to stand in judgment of a Bible we can not read, or even for those who have disciplined themselves to learn Spanish language as a second language given the subtle nuances of another language easily overlooked by all but native speakers.”

checkmark Check whether “of Christ” is missing from Rom. 1:16 “in the critical text bibles” (notice “bibles”) as alleged on p. 116.

HINT: This would make the real and original Valera 1602 of which this book speaks well a “critical text bible,” as it also is missing the phrase.

checkmark This book obsessively seeks to link the RV 1960 to the English RSV no less than 64 times. Check whether the 1960 is missing 22 verses like in the RSV, whether it prophesies that Jesus would be born of a “young woman” instead of a virgin like in the RSV, and whether “He is not here, but is risen” is missing from a key resurrection verse as in the RSV.

HINT: Linking the RV 1960 to the RSV to such an extent is clearly out of line, regardless of whether the 1960 revisers ever consulted it.

checkmark Check whether I was quoted out of context on p. 61: “There are verses in the KJV that appear to teach salvation by works.”

HINT: The last half of this sentence from p. 26 of my book The Battle for the Spanish Bible was left out, providing a different impression. The sentence in my book ended with “…but we approach them with an attitude of faith and we compare Scripture with Scripture.”

checkmark Check whether “Nida has shown that his concept of the Trinity is a denial that there are actually three individual Persons in the Godhead…” as Jay P. Green was quoted on p. 45.

HINT: It is true that Mr. Green stated such an opinion in one of his books, but he did not even attempt to prove it. See what Nida himself wrote about the Trinity: “Only in the Trinity can one understand how the same God can be creator, redeemer, and sanctifier of mankind; how he can be the God of heaven, Jesus who lived and died upon earth, and the Spirit which indwells the believer. Only in the Trinity can one perceive the God who controls the universe and yet in tender compassion touches the heart of the lowly sinner.” –Nida, Eugene. How the Word is Made Flesh. Communicating the Gospel to Aboriginal Peoples. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952, p. 31.

checkmark Check whether I was quoted out of context on p. 147: “the Wescott and Hort text can be consulted in the process of translating.”

HINT: The last half of the above sentence on p. 115 of my book was left out. It ended with “…however, it [W & H] must not form the basis for a translation.” This was under my heading “Must be based on a Textus Receptus/Masoretic source” in which I recommended the writings of John Burgon, a strong Textus Receptus advocate.

checkmark Check whether “the same American Bible Society that translated the Revised Standard Version in English translated the RV 1960 in Spanish” and whether “some of the same people, like Eugene Nida, were involved” as stated on p. 48, and “…the Spanish 1960 revision was done by the same liberals that the RSV and other perversions were.” (p. 132)

HINT: The editor as well as a contributing author of the book got it right in the past: “The Revised Standard Version, copyrighted by the National Council of Churches…” (Things That Are Different Are Not The Same, p. 78) “The Revised Standard Version, printed in 1952 and copyrighted by the National Council of Churches of Christ…” (Purified Seven Times, p. 129). The ABS decided to obtain a permit to print the RSV in 1951, but they were not responsible for translating it.

checkmark Check whether it was right to declare: “It is amazing to me that the defenders of the RV 1960 never want to discuss its translators” (p. 42).

HINT: This book did not either, at least not specifically. It does not contain the name of even one of the six editorial committee members. The six revisers were Juan Diaz G., Honorio Espinoza, Francisco Estrello, Alfonso Lloreda, Henry Parra S., and Alfonso Rodriguez H. (See Nida, Eugene “Reina-Valera Revision of 1960,” The Bible Translator. vol. 12, No. 3, 1961. p. 111)

checkmark Check whether the statement on p. 14 that Eugene Nida removed the virgin birth from the Revised Standard Version is documented.

HINT: Nida was not even on the committee of revisers of the RSV. See the list of RSV committee members on pp. 74-75 of the book, In Discordance with the Scriptures by Peter Thuesen.

checkmark Check whether indeed Jose Flores was “…a member of the RV 1960 revision committee…” as stated on pp. 98 and 107.

HINT: On p. 42 of the very same book it correctly states, “Dr. Jose Flores was a consultant to the RV 1960 committee.”

checkmark Check whether the Portuguese Bible revised with the Textus Receptus in 1994 contains translation differences that match some in the Spanish 1960 that were attacked in this very book. This Portuguese Bible was spoken of in glowing terms on pp. 114-123.

HINT: See Ge. 1:14, Is. 9:3, 64:5, Lev. 17:14, Mark 24:22, Ac. 19:27, and 2 Cor. 2:10 in the 1994 Portuguese Bible. This proves that translating into a foreign language from the TR does not guarantee that there will be no differences with the KJV.

checkmark Check whether there is a contradiction where it states on p. 98: “…the 1960 committee members were mostly liberals and modernists. For example, Dr. Eugene Albert Nida was on their Executive Committee.”

HINT: The same book says “He [Nida] was not a member of the translation committee…” (p. 40). I recognize that one page says Executive Committee,” while another page says “translation committee.” But the literature of the ABS and UBS that I have speaks of the six 1960 committee as the “editorial” or “revision” committee, plus 140 “consulters,” in addition to Nida and Twentyman as “advisers.” Nida was the Executive Secretary for the ABS, but he was not on the 1960 revision/editorial committee, and had no vote on decisions once the committee was named. See #6 above.

checkmark Check whether in the 1960 there is “an attack on the severity of homosexuality…” as affirmed on p. 120.

HINT: The Spanish word for sodomites appears more often in the 1960 than in the KJV. Check Job 36:14 and 1 Tim. 1:10. Using this book’s logic, the KJV would be guilty of the above accusation. That is certainly not the case. I believe in giving the KJV the benefit of the doubt—should not the Spanish Bible be given the same treatment?

checkmark Check whether there is an answer to the unwarranted question on p. 42: “Can anybody name one saved person (professing evangelical) that was involved in the translation of the RV 1960?”


A. 1960 reviser Honorio Espinoza. – He was led to the Lord by Salomón Mussiet. (See Moore, Roberto Cecil. Hombres y Hechos Bautistas de Chile. Editoriales Evangélicas Bautistas, nd, p. 51)

B. 1960 reviser Francisco Estrello – Hazael T. Marroquin wrote that Estrello came to know the Lord in the religious school in which he studied. (See Marroquin, Hazael. “El Profesor Francisco E. Estrello Promovido al Cielo.” La Biblia en Mexico. Enero – Junio 1959, p. 3)

C. 1960 reviser Henry Parra – Author Francisco Ordoñez wrote that Parra had been converted to the gospel. (See Ordóñez, Francisco. Historia del Cristianismo Evangélico en Colombia. Medellín, Colombia: Alianza Cristiana y Misionera, nd, p. 62)

D. 1960 reviser Alfonso Lloreda:

“Eighteen years ago one of those ‘careless’ sowers with his hands full of the precious seed of the Gospel was scattering it at one of the street corners of the city of Baranquilla, Colombia. As the wind was blowing hard, part of the seed fell in the midst of some boys playing ball. The evangelist, after explaining a passage from the Gospel of Matthew and singing a few hymns, distributed a few tracts among the group, closed his portable organ and went away. And the seed grew without anyone knowing how. Six years afterwards Don Alfonso made a public profession of his faith in Jesus Christ in an evangelical church… He says the day he left the sand-lot baseball game to listen to Mr. Mayorga explaining the way of salvation, that day he was converted; and even though he could not attend an evangelical church until his father died two years later, he kept in contact with his evangelical friends…Today Rev. Alfonso Lloreda is one of the outstanding pastor-evangelists in Colombia and Venezuela.” (One Hundred and Thirty-Fifth Report of the American Bible Society [1951] p. 178).

E. American Bible Society Secretary for Translations Eugene Nida – He became a Christian at the age of four, when he responded to the call of a Methodist minister “to accept Christ as my Saviour and join the church.” (See “New Facts in Translation” Bible Society Record. Feb. 1969, p. 28).

F. Secretary for 1960 Revision Committee Carlos Denyer – He accepted the Lord as his personal Saviour at the age of 18. (See Concordiancia Reina-Valera 1960. Editorial Caribe, 1978, p. v of Dedicatoria).

checkmark Check whether it was right to declare that the phrase votive gifts is “popery,” and since votive gifts appears in Luke 21:5 in the 1960, the following rhetorical question was asked on p. 102: “Is this not proof that the Roman Catholic Church worked with the American Bible Society to produce an ecumenical Bible?

HINT: See Strong’s Concordance #334 and Thayer’s Lexicon. They have “votive gifts.” The Greek word underlying “votive” can be found in an edition of the Textus Receptus called Stephanus 1550.

checkmark On. p. 23 check whether it was right to offer upon request a cassette tape of the Sunday evening service in which the Spanish Bible issue was first made public in the editor’s church.

HINT: In a kind and informative letter to the editor several months before the book was written, I pointed out (with adequate documentation) 10 blatant mistruths (not opinions) in the tape which unfairly condemns the Spanish 1960. The mistruths were ignored in the book, and some were even repeated. See “Letter to Pastor Carter Regarding the Spanish Bible Issue:”

checkmark Check whether this group continues to insist that the 1960 teaches cannibalism and evolution.

HINT: See pp. 167-169.

checkmark Check whether it was honest to have declared on pp. 98-99 “According to Dr. Flores, their working principle plan was to eliminate the Textus Receptus as much as possible.”

HINT: The above is a misleading conclusion when you consider that Dr. Flores quotes another writer on p. 236 of his book, saying “…the Textus Receptus, which formed the base of the Reina-Valera Revision,” and in p. 307 of his other book Escribiendo la Biblia, that the second principle that guided the 1960 revisers was “To adjust to the Textus Receptus, the oldest manuscript employed by Casiodoro de Reina and Cipriano de Valera for their work.” (translated)

checkmark Check whether it was true that a certain book mentioned gives three reasons for producing the 1960, with all three being an attempt to reach out to Catholics, as stated on p. 108.

HINT: An examination of the book in question reveals that the context of the three points was NOT in the least talking about the motives for producing a new Bible version in any language at any time at any place, but rather something entirely different.

The Heart of the Problem

The authors of this book seem to think that the Spanish Bible controversy involves a matter that is black-and-white. In their simplistic way of thinking, all that has to be done is to translate a new Spanish Bible (or revise an old one) from the Textus Receptus, and –presto!– it will automatically agree 100% with the KJV, the “problem” will be solved, and all the tension will soon be forgotten. How I wish it were that easy! How I wish it was all black-and-white, but there is certainly some gray in this matter. Here is an example of the book’s overly simplistic manner of treating the matter at hand:

“Since the King James Bible was translated accurately from the Textus Receptus, then to compare the Spanish Bible (or any other Bible translation) with the KJV is to compare it to the Textus Receptus. Where there are textual differences between the KJV and the Spanish Bible, there are of necessity textual differences between the Spanish Bible and the Textus Receptus…” (p. 152)

It is almost as if this contributing author is in denial concerning different TR editions. An example of variations in TR editions would be Rev. 16:5. In the Spanish 1960, “el Santo” (the Holy One) can be found, referring to Christ, but it is missing from the KJV. However, it is in the Stephanus TR edition of 1550. Obviously, the KJV translators followed a different TR reading for this particular verse.

Another contributing author mirrored these simplistic views on p. 57 (quoting approvingly of someone else’s statement of faith):

“Furthermore, we believe God can also cause His supernaturally inspired, infallible, and inerrant words (scripture) to be supernaturally preserved–in translation–in other languages on the basis of the English Authorized Version (KJV), [there’s the catch -CG] the preserved Massoretic Old Testament text, [Which edition? -CG] and the Greek New Testament T.R. [received text]. [Which edition? -CG] The new language translation will not be in contradiction to the English Authorized Version.”

Since the writers of the book are calling for a new Spanish Bible, I believe they owe it to readers to be more specific (i.e., what edition or editions of the TR).

There are several Spanish Bibles that were clearly translated from the Textus Receptus that were revised recently, but the book does not clearly endorse any of them (although they are mentioned mostly in positive terms). This shows that there is a lot of “gray” and it is not as black-and-white as this group attempts to portray this issue. Examples of the most recent TR-based complete Spanish Bibles include:

1. Reina-Valera 1865 reprint of 2002 distributed by Parker Memorial Baptist Church of Lansing, MI, and typeset by North Hills Baptist Church of Whitesboro, TX, mentioned on p. 125.

2. Reina-Valera 1909 Trinitarian Bible Society revision of 2001, mentioned on p. 124.

3. Revision of Reina’s 1569 by Russell Stendal completed in 1996 (ignored in the book).

In the last 20 years, several TR-based New Testaments have also been released:

1. McVey NT (translated straight from the KJV, bypassing Greek)

2. Enzinas NT by Broken Arrow Baptist Church – revised from Enzina’s 1543 NT (the OT is reportedly being prepared at present).

3. Park/Reyes/Donate NT – revised from Valera’s 1602 (the OT is being prepared at present).

Parker Memorial Baptist Church/North Hills Baptist Church didn’t solve “the problem.”
The Trinitarian Bible Society didn’t solve “the problem.”
Russell Stendal didn’t solve “the problem.”
McVey didn’t solve “the problem.”
Broken Arrow Baptist Church didn’t solve “the problem.”
Park/Reyes/Donate didn’t solve “the problem.”

Could it be that there never was a problem to solve?

Este artículo está disponible en español.


In the first edition of this critique, I quoted David Cloud as having written, “I do not know anything about that book and was not told that my article would be a part of it.” He has since retracted that statement. “Calvin, I was wrong when I replied to you in September that I had not given permission to Bro. Carter to use my article. My pastor reminded me…that I did indeed give my permission.” (E-mail Nov. 4, 2002)

Leave a comment...