This detailed report is a critique of a conference that took place at the end of November 2007 in Iglesia Bautista Libertad in Matamoros, Tam. Mexico, where Missionary Humberto Gomez is the pastor. Although he had advisers, Humberto Gomez was the sole man who made final textual decisions for the Bible they now call Reina-Valera-Gomez (this according to what Pastor Gomez has told me in writing). I do not consider the RVG to be a perversion nor any other tasteless derogatory labels some have used for the 1960. I urge others who will not endorse the RVG to refrain from bashing it in their attempts to explain why they will not use it. I have personally chosen not to endorse this Bible, and my reasons are outlined at “Reina-Valera-Gómez? Over 20 reasons why I cannot endorse the new Gómez Bible”
I gathered the statements from the conference from the videos. When the statements were in Spanish, I translated them myself for this report. The videos do not state the dates of the recordings, and I do not treat statements in a chronological order. I would like to state for the record that I use the KJV exclusively in English, but I do not believe it should be treated as capable of correcting Bibles in other languages.
By missionary Calvin George
Este artículo está disponible en español.
OK to translate the KJV into other languages
During one of the question-and-answer sessions, Pastor Karl Baker, one of the conference speakers, stood up and stated that the AV had been translated into 182 languages. Then he added that we should remind people of that when they say the RVG was influenced by the English Bible. The problem with Pastor Baker’s statement is that it isn’t documented. There have been all sorts of wild figures tossed around as to how many time the KJV has been translated into foreign languages (bypassing Greek and Hebrew) but with no reference to the source of their information. See my article “Has the KJV been translated into hundreds or thousands of languages?”
RVG the first Spanish Bible of national origin?
During the same question-and-answer session, Dr. D.A. Waite, one of the conference speakers, stated the following: “Brother Daniels from Chick Publications…He studied the Spanish Bible. He told me, I have no way of checking, he told me what I think is true, that there’s not a single other Spanish Bible, with the exception of Pastor Gomez’ Bible, that’s written by nationals alone.” (At this point Pastor Gomez nods happily and begins to clap). Waite continues: “The 1960, gringos.“ (Pastor Gomez nods) 1979, gringos. Reina-Valera, gringos. Nothing from us people, this man (pointing to Pastor Gomez) is Spanish, he’s a native, that’s his language, not ours. …So the only one (pointing to Pastor Gomez), the only national Spanish original.
Casiodoro de Reina had some form of help in his revision according to biographers, but the names listed as helpers by Jorge Gonzalez in his article “La Biblia de Reina: un sueño hecho realidad” are all Hispanic. The statements in the RVG conference on foreign influence in the Reina-Valera are refuted in the words of Cipriano de Valera himself in the preface of his 1602 revision:
“The labor I have done to bring to light this work has been large and time-consuming; and even greater when I have not had help from anyone of my nation, not even to read, write or correct. I have done all of it all alone.”
There was at least one American reviser in the line of Reina/Valera Bibles, namely H.B. Pratt of the 1865 revision. But the RVG is certainly not the first Spanish Bible of national origin. The credit for the first complete Spanish Bible translated from the original language belongs to Casiodoro de Reina, who was a Spaniard.
There were some English speakers that had some connection to the 1960, but they were not on the revision committee with a vote on textual decisions. Therefore to state in the conference that the 1960 was done by “gringos” is simply incorrect. Author Luis D. Salem admired the members of the 1960 committee as “a board of scholars, totally Latin American…the pride of Hispanic Protestantism.” (“Un Acontecimiento Histórico” La Voz [Chile] Feb. 1961, p. 6). I have more documentation regarding the 1960 revisers in my book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible.
If your Bible says “Hades,” raise your hand
Shortly after Pastor Phil Stringer’s message, Pastor Gomez asked those that had a Bible that read “hades” to raise their hands. I believe this was an intimidation tactic that was inappropriate. Moments later, while Gomez was criticizing previous Spanish Bibles for having the Spanish word for hell less often then in his translation, 3-4 minutes were erased from the video recording as provided on DVD by Dr. Waite’s Bible for Today Baptist Church. This was determined by the time at the bottom of the video screen, and by the fact that Gomez was halfway through a sentence, then the recording jumped to a different topic. Perhaps there was a technical failure and no intentional editing was done. But since Gomez was in the middle of stating something very controversial it would seem like an unlikely coincidence that a technical failure would have taken place with the recording at that very moment. Naturally, if they desired to edit the recordings, they were in their right to do so, especially since nowhere does it state on the DVD’s that they were left unedited. I have a separate article that deals with what was said about hell in previous Spanish Bible at the conference: “Why the word hell appears less often in the common Spanish Bible compared to the KJV.”
Gomez: ”they have taken away what is most precious, the Word of God”
Also shortly after Pastor Stringer’s message, Gomez made some other controversial comments:
“The ecumenicals are the ones that have provided the Bible they bring in their hands. That is incredible; it is shameful for us, brethren. It should be shameful (said while shaking his head). Sometimes we complain of what people take away, that they take away our praise and our music, and we forget that they have taken away what is most precious, the Word of God.”
“Ecumenical” could be interpreted as involvement with Catholics, especially since that charge has been made in the past about the Reina-Valera, without documentation. Yet there was absolutely no Catholic involvement in the 1569-1960 Spanish translations, but rather persecution. It cannot be denied that the American Bible Society (solely responsible for the 1865), and likely the British and foreign Bible Society (solely responsible for the 1909) which together sponsored the 1960, have become ecumenical (including involvement with Catholics) since the Vatican II council in the mid 1960’s. However, as documented in my book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible, efforts on the part of the United Bible Societies to explore cooperation with Catholics did not take place until 1964. I have a document that lists the denominational affiliation of the advisory council of the American Bible Society in the year 1960. Even though over 60 delegates were named, not one was listed as a Catholic.
If it is wrong to use previous Spanish Bibles because the societies that sponsored them are now ecumenical, it would be wrong to use the KJV because the Anglican Church which was mostly responsible for it (most KJV translators were Anglicans) is now ecumenical, and even some “gay” marriages are now performed in Anglican churches by “gay” Anglican priests. It is wrong to hold a foreign Bible to a different standard than the KJV.
Conference speaker: “I like friction”
Pastor Frankie Bryan was one of the guest speakers. During his message he referred to the controversy regarding the RVG and stated, “That’s OK, I like friction. It don’t bother me. It’s been a fight and a scrap all my life.” Pastor Gomez’ website had been assuring readers concerning the Spanish Bible that “we are in no controversy regarding other translations.” (http://Gomezministries.gaius.org/ourdoctrine.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005) However, in this conference they not only admitted to controversy, they welcomed it.
During his message, Pastor Bryan gave his position on the KJV as follows: “…the King James Bible. I believe it’s the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God!” In other words, he didn’t just use confidence building terms such as “reliable” and “trustworthy,” he used terms used to describe the original manuscripts. Humberto Gomez has used these same terms in describing his position on his website: “We Believe that the 1611 is the perfect word of God…We Are King James only. We believe that this is the inerrant inspired word of God.” (http://www.gaius.org/humbertogomez/OurDoctrine.htm Accessed March 11, 2006) Since Pastor Gomez believes the KJV is perfect and inspired, it is obvious what his motive was in producing the RVG, especially when the title page acknowledges that he collated it with the KJV.
Conference speaker: “Do I believe in double inspiration? Your question is too complicated!”
During an illustration in his message regarding his position on the RVG, Pastor Bryan mentioned that he had been asked recently if he believed in double-inspiration. Pastor Bryan then explained how he objected to the question, saying something to the effect that the terminology was too complicated. Here was a golden opportunity to stand up against Ruckmanism, and the guest speaker refused to do it. No one in the entire conference as presented on video mentioned anything about the danger of Ruckmanism even once. In fact, Pastor Gomez’ home church in Ohio is apparently one of the biggest distributors of Peter Ruckman books and recordings, judging by the catalog issued by the church.
Did Reina and Valera use the British to write their Bibles?
During one of the question-and-answer sessions, Pastor Stringer, one of the conference speakers, stood up and stated: “And the Roman Catholic Church accused Reina and Valera of being used by the English to write their Bibles!”
This statement is so sensational that Pastor Stringer should have presented documentation to back up his statement. After reading all the biographical information on Reina and Valera I could find during the past 10 years, this accusation is news to me. If Pastor Stringer means by his undocumented statement that Reina and Valera used the British to write their Spanish Bibles, then Valera lied when he stated in the preface to his 1602 revision that he received no help, and did his work all alone. Another possible interpretation of Pastor Stringer’s statement is that Reina and Valera were used to write English Bibles. This is less likely what was meant, but regardless I challenge Pastor Stringer to produce documentation to back up his statement at the conference.
That the Spanish Bible and at least five other Bibles in other foreign Bibles were consulted by the KJV 1611 revisers is a matter of record, as the preface to the 1611 states so. Normally, consulting of Bibles in other languages during Bible translation work is done to see how previous translators have translated certain difficult passages in which the context may be obscure. That the Spanish Bible could have influence the KJV translators somehow is not denied or objected to (in fact it is very intriguing). But with Pastor Gomez it was not a matter of his allowing the English Bible to merely influence an occasional difficult passage in his Spanish Bible. He stated in the conference that “The standard to follow needs to be the King James. I say that publicly, and I am not ashamed of it. 100 percent!”
Gomez: “If it was right to begin with, don’t take it out”
During one of the morning sessions Pastor Gomez stated: “Well if here it says that Christ is God, it’s that Christ is God. Over here also where it should say that Christ is God, it should say that Christ is God. It’s that simple. That verse that you are using to justify yourself, that verse proves that these verses were fine, that they should have been left as they were, Christ is God.”
The RVG took “holy” out of Rev. 16:5, even though it was in the Texts Receptus (though not unanimous among all editions) and had been in the 1569, 1602, 1909 and 1960 Spanish Bibles. These Spanish Bibles stated in this verse that the Lord is holy. Stephanus 1550, one of the best known Textus Receptus editions, has “holy” in this verse. Pastor Gomez stated above in certain words that if a reading was doctrinally sound to begin with, it should not be changed. Did Pastor Gomez apply that principle consistently to his RVG? Or did he use the English Bible as “the standard to follow” in this verse?
In Acts 8:12 and 15:35, the Spanish 1569, 1602, 1909, 1960 have had the word “gospel.” The underlying Greek word is interesting, because it can be translated as either “preach/announce,” or “preach/announce the Gospel.” The RVG removed the word “gospel” from these verses. On a technicality, the underlying Greek word can be translated without “gospel.” However, according to Pastor Gomez’ own criteria already mentioned, if a reading was doctrinally sound to begin with, it should not be changed. They had been translated with “gospel” in 1569, 1602, 1909 and 1960. Was this another case of Pastor Gomez using the English Bible as “the standard to follow?” Other similar examples could be given.
Waite: The one behind the 1960 was “an unbeliever”
As Dr. Waite was ending his first session, he was asked from the audience as to who was behind the 1960. Dr. Waite replied that it was Eugene Nida. When asked if Nida was a Gnostic, Dr. Waite responded as follows with no documentation: “He’s an unbeliever, he’s an apostate, and he doesn’t believe in the deity of Christ.”
To say that Eugene Nida was behind the 1960 and leave it at that was an injustice. As extensively documented in my book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible, Nida was present as a representative of the American Bible Society when the six 1960 revisers did their work, but he had no vote on textual decisions. An article in the magazine The Bible Translator of July 1961 reveals his role:
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 were only advisers to the Committee and had no vote on decisions. The basic work of the revision was done by an Editorial Committee of six persons: Juan Díaz G. (of Mexico), Honorio Espinoza (of Chile), Francisco Estrello (of Mexico), Alfonso Lloreda (of Venezuela), Henry Parra S. (of Colombia), and Alfonso Rodríguez H. (of Cuba)…at each of the meetings there were representatives of the Bible Societies: John H. Twentyman, of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and Eugene A. Nida, of the American Bible Society, but these men had no vote in the meetings. Their task was to help in the practical arrangements of the meetings, to assist the committee in digging out commentary data or providing information on special exegetical and linguistic problems, and to help prepare copy for the mimeographed drafts to be sent to the consultors. [Emphasis added]
Without documentation, Dr. Waite stated that Eugene Nida was an unbeliever. Although Nida became progressively less conservative as he grew older, I give his testimony of salvation the benefit of the doubt. Nida became a Christian at a young age, when he responded to the altar call at his church “to accept Christ as my Saviour.” (Bankson, Benjamin A. “New Facts in Translations.” Bible Society Record. February 1969, p. 26.)
Again without documentation, Dr. Waite alleged that Nida was an apostate and didn’t believe in the deity of Christ. Let’s allow Nida to speak for himself in his own words:
The revelation of God in Jesus Christ and as recorded in the Scriptures is uniquely supernatural, for its source is none other than God Himself. (Nida, Eugene A. Message and Mission. South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1960, p. 228.)
Dr. Waite was unfairly trying to portray the 1960 as produced by a man whom he alleged with no documentation whatsoever was an unbeliever and an apostate who denied the deity of Christ. As documented, the facts are quite different. To portray the 1960 in such derogatory terms is an insult in light of the six godly men who revised the 1960. The 1960 revisers were not fundamentalists, but neither were the Anglicans and Puritans that revised the KJV. The 1960 revisers were known for being conservative in their theology, as revealed by their own writings, and by what was being said of them during their lifetime. In my book on the history of the Reina-Valera 1960 I documented the story of the men that gave us the 1960. Four of the six revisers suffered persecution at the hand of Catholics. One reviser was known for witnessing door-to-door and, spent time in jail due to persecution.
At this time during Dr. Waite’s session Dr. Mickey Carter, one of the conference speakers, spoke up during question time and said: “Brother Waite, tell them also that Nida is the one that took the virgin birth out of the RSV.” To this Waite said “amen” and pointed to his translator to translate what Carter just said. Then Waite continued: “Nida did that very thing; he took away the deity, the virgin birth of Christ.”
It has been documented many times how Nida was not a 1960 nor RSV reviser, how he believed in the virgin birth, but this mistruth just keeps getting repeated. Once again, here is documentation regarding Nida and his belief on the virgin birth from a book he wrote on Bible translating:
It is extremely important that the translator use all care and caution in the use of the word for “virgin.” The use of a word which designates both a virgin and one who participates in certain puberty rites is often quite dangerous, unless the translator is fully aware of all the practices in such puberty rites. The word for “young girl” is often not sufficient, for in many societies a considerable amount of pre-marital and pre-puberty sex experience is taken for granted. (Nida, Eugene A. Bible Translating. New York: American Bible Society, 1947, p. 190.)
In many languages a difference is made as to the relative age of the brothers and sisters. For example, in the Maya language an older brother is called one thing and a younger brother is called another…In John 2:12 one must be sure that the word for designating Jesus’ brothers means his “younger brothers,” if the language makes such a distinction. Any other translation would seriously affect the teaching of the virgin birth. [Emphasis added] Nida, Eugene A. Bible Translating. New York: American Bible Society, 1947, p. 181.
As to the charge that Nida took the virgin birth out of the RSV, he was not even on the committee of revisers of that translation. See the list of RSV committee members on pp. 74-75 of the book, In Discordance with the Scriptures by Peter Thuesen.
During the question-and-answer session in the last day, Pastor Stringer stood up and stated among other things that Eugene Nida was “the editor of the 1960.”
That Nida had no vote on textual decisions was documented earlier.
Waite: Spanish Bibles previous to the RVG “contain poison”
During a question-and-answer session, Dr. Waite was asked what should be done with previous Spanish Bibles, including the 1909 and 1960. To this he tragically answered: “Don’t pass them on to others to use, because they contain poison!”
(Hear the 30-second recording of Dr. Waite making this controversial statement here).
I’m truly saddened that Dr. Waite, who has dedicated his life to the noble cause of defending the KJV, has gradually become more extreme in recent years. The fact that he has changed as to the Spanish Bible can be verified by comparing what he is teaching now to what he taught in 1984:
“It gets down to the book you hold in your hand, as well. If you suspect it’s just filled with errors and errors and you can’t depend on the words being accurate and that you can hold it up and say it’s the Word of God as you preach it like from the King James Version for example. You’re not going to be much either, if you have doubt, like are you sure about this. You know, you’ve got to preach it as it is. The Lord knows about all these background subjects, about the originals, and about the copies and about the Hebrew and the Greek, but you’re preaching from an English, or Spanish, if you’re a Spanish preacher, right? You can’t doubt the Spanish verse, can you when you’re preaching? You gotta preach thus sayeth the Lord! Cipriano de Valera is it? And preach it as it is! And believe it’s a good translation in the Spanish! Believe it as the Word of God in Spanish.”
Waite, D.A. Bible Texts and Translations Seminar, 1984, Tape 18, side 1
Gomez’ pastor providing the idea of placing the label “poison” on other Bibles
Missionary Humberto Gomez did downplay Dr. Waite’s poison comment when he translated, but he did not downplay anything moments later when the pastor of his home church in Ohio provided the idea of writing “poison” on the side of a non-KJV Bible. Here is was Pastor Thomas Gresham said: “What we have done is, in English there is many different versions, and if someone has something other than the King James, we tell them to put it in their personal library, write ‘poison’ on the side.”
Think about how extreme this idea is that was presented at the conference! Since Missionary Humberto Gomez’ pastor believes any English Bible other than the KJV is poison, he must believe an English-speaker cannot be saved except through the KJV. Can poison save? I personally do not use or endorse a Bible in English other than the KJV, but that will not stop me from stating that the idea of labeling a non-KJV Bible as “poison” is outrageous and extreme! I believe this group that is providing this new Spanish Bible has shown themselves many times to be on the extreme. Be careful.
Lumping those who love the 1960 in with Communists, Muslims and Modernists
In his last speech, Dr. Waite made one last derogatory comment about the 1960. Talking about how no one could take away their Bible, he stated: “The Communists can never take it away from you. The Moslems will never take it away from you. The modernist will never take it away from you. And those that love the 1960 can’t take it away.” At this moment, judging by his facial reactions, he apparently realized that he had just lumped those that love the 1960 in with Communists, Muslims and Modernists. [He then stated something indiscernible due to being interrupted by the translator] After hesitating, he then continued with a hearty laugh, and clasped his hands together. Many laughed in the background. Then Dr. Waite continued by saying, “We gotta be kind you know!”
Tarnishing the glorious heritage of the Spanish Bible with Gnostic heresy allegations
A minimum of 47 percent of the verses that Dr. Waite considered to have Gnostic readings in the Spanish Bible apply to all the major translations in the heritage of the Reina-Valera (1569/1602/1862/1909/). He did not mention this during the conference, as he may not have been trying to portray the whole Reina-Valera line as being corrupted with Gnosticism. However, research demonstrates that almost half of the “Gnostic” readings that he attributed to the 1960 apply to just about every major Reina-Valera translation starting in 1569; therefore, when he made the provocative statement in the conference that Spanish Bibles previous to the 2004 RVG “contain poison,” he sadly was in effect denouncing our entire Spanish Bible heritage. Dr. Waite’s Spanish Bible heresy allegations are treated separately here: “Spanish Bible Gnostic heresy allegations at Reina-Valera-Gomez Conference”
Editor of controversial Elephant book praised by Gomez in the most glowing terms imaginable
In 2002 a highly-controversial book was edited by Mickey Carter entitled The Elephant in the Living Room. Among other tasteless and sensational things, this book alleged that the 1960 Spanish Bible taught cannibalism and evolution, that the 1960 attacked the severity of homosexuality, it questioned whether anyone involved with the revising of the 1960 was even saved, etc. This book also contained charges that were repeated at the RVG conference, such as accusing Nida of introducing textual changes to the 1960 after he supposedly took the virgin birth out of the RSV. These charges in the Elephant book were refuted with documentation (see Critique of “The Elephant in the Living Room,” a book against the common Spanish Bible) several years ago. However, the same people continue to make the same allegations about Nida even though those allegations have been documented long ago to be mistruths. Apparently to some, “the end justifies the means.”
In my correspondence with Pastor Gomez, I brought up the Elephant book several times, because he was identifying himself with the group who wrote it. He refused to take a stand against it, and in his November RVG conference it was obvious why. He introduced the editor of the controversial book in the following glowing terms:
“I want to honor in a special way, we were going to do it tomorrow, but this man is in my book the greatest of the champions in the defense of the purity of the Word of God. This man paid a very high price, very, very high price. The work that we have accomplished was born in the heart of this man … Preacher, thank you! I cannot thank you enough for the price you paid for us! Amen. And we are enjoying it now. Our Bible never got any better [now?] it’s better than ever. Thank you for being a champion! I know you paid a great price. … I know you were misunderstood and all that but preacher, thank you! Thank you! … This man, brethren, was a champion, champion, champion, champion!”
Pastor Gomez allowed Pastor Carter to come to the pulpit and defend The Elephant in the Living Room book shortly after Dr. Waite’s second session. Pastor Gomez did not write the Elephant book, but he allowed it to be defended from his pulpit, and praised the editor in a way I have never heard anyone ever be praised before (such as calling him “champion” four times in a row). Pastor Gomez has not separated himself from those who have been extremely controversial, but rather is very thankful to those controversial figures who “prepared the ground” with the Elephant book and other literature. This was evident when Pastor Gomez introduced Pastor Carter in the following words just before he preached: “Our brother paid a high price; however, we are reaping what he sowed.”
Pastor Carter does deserve respect and honor for the many years he has been in the ministry and for all the preachers he has helped train. However, Pastor Gomez was not honoring him for that, but rather for what I consider to be a highly controversial issue which played right into Pastor Gomez’ hands.
We NOW have a pure Spanish Bible
Several speakers made statements to the effect that we now have a pure Spanish Bible. Other speakers could be quoted, but their sentiments are likely expressed in the second sermon of Pastor Karl Baker, a graduate of Peter Ruckman’s Bible institute, one of the speakers at the conference:
“And NOW God has given you the Word of God (said while holding up a copy of the RVG). … God is giving you something more perfect. … It now holds a perfection and a purity. … I’m not worried about the book anymore. … the God of grace has left you NOW with a pure book (said while holding up an RVG). … We’ve been praying that God would give you a pure Bible.”
What is wrong with the above statement? It clearly implies that we have not had a pure Spanish Bible, until Pastor Gomez revised the RVG around 2004 (the date on my sample copy). They are clearly setting the groundwork for a “Gomez Bible onlyism” movement of sorts, which I fear will involve much controversy and division like we have never seen before in the Fundamental Spanish-speaking world, threatening the revival we have seen in many areas in recent years. When previous Spanish Bibles came out (such as the 1909 and 1960) they were not promoted as “we now have a pure Bible” as is happening with the leaders behind the RVG.
Question the qualifications of other revisers, but not mine
During a question and answer session on the last morning of the conference, Gomez questioned the competence of the 1960 revisers in the area of Greek and Hebrew, and went on to say, “the majority of the Hispanics were just used for their language only.” He asked if there were any exceptions, and that moment his translator Carlos Donate answered that Charles Denyer was the exception. Perhaps Denyer went to a seminary, but I am not aware of it. He was a professional Christian translator, translating in English and Spanish (not Greek or Hebrew). He was not a member of the 1960 revision committee with a vote on textual decisions, but rather a secretary later in the project who recorded decisions and helped to assure that changes were made consistently when applicable.
What about the six actual revisers on the 1960 committee? I have documentation in my possession for three of the six regarding their training in biblical languages. According to their transcripts, Alfonso Rodriguez Hidalgo and Alfonso Lloreda both took Greek and Hebrew classes as part of their degrees at Princeton Theological Seminary. Honorio Espinoza took Greek and Hebrew at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. (SBTS does not make transcripts available on the request of third parties, but they sent me the list of required courses for his degree at the time Espinoza enrolled and graduated, and it included Greek and Hebrew). I stated in my book that Juan Díaz Galindo was a Hebrew professor, but my documentation for that is unavailable at the time of this writing, as it is in a file cabinet at my home on the mission field. As for the fifth 1960 reviser, Francisco Estrello had his seminary training oversees, where obtaining transcripts is much more difficult, and has not been pursued at this time. As for the sixth and last reviser (Enrique Parra), little is know about certain aspects of his background, especially his education. All that I could find about his education background is him teaching at the Inter-American Biblical Seminary in 1947, and later becoming the principal of a Christian school. Since he taught in a seminary, it is assumed he had theological seminary training, which traditionally includes training in Biblical languages.
If Pastor Gomez is going to question the academic qualifications of the 1960 revisers, especially in the area of original languages, I challenge him to reveal his own academic credentials, especially in the area of Greek and Hebrew.
Proof that one of the main collaborators on the RVG is extreme
Shortly after Pastor Stringer’s message on the first night of the conference, Pastor Gomez referred to Missionary Carlos Donate as one of the “main collaborators” in his Bible project. What is significant about this? During my correspondence with Pastor Gomez in 2005, I sent him a sound clip of something extremely controversial that Missionary Carlos Donate had stated publicly from the pulpit of Pastor Carter’s church on September 24, 2002, in a speech entitled “The Bridge.” The controversial statement is as follows:
What I’m going to say this morning, what I’m going to emphasize, are terrible things. Because I’m going to join the 1960 with the most corrupt putrefaction that has emerged from the sewers of hell. The most stinking miry place there is—hell, the deepest. And the 1960 is the bridge or the door that guides or attempts to guide them to that putrefaction. … I have begged with the brethren that they at least go back to the old Valera 1909, but they love to swim in the dirty murky water.
Pastor Gomez agreed that it was so objectionable, that he referred to it in his speech “The Spanish Bible Problems” at the 2005 Dean Burgon Society meeting in Canada soon after:
“There has been attacks left and right concerning the Spanish Bible. I heard some American missionary [Donate was born in New York] say so much bad stuff about the Spanish Bible, that the Spanish-speaking brethren will never hear him and will never listen to him. And they will never come to terms with the truth. I heard some American missionary say that the Reina-Valera Bible comes from hell. Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re gonna convince the Mexicans that they need a revision! No way! … No wonder why the Mexican brethren in all the Spanish world are up in arms against everything that smells of revision, that smells American! … I’m paying a price for the people that have done such a thing. Sometimes when you hear the name Humberto Gomez some people immediately will identify me with these people.”
Pastor Gomez is indeed identifying himself with some of these people now, at least the one he mentioned that had stated that the Reina-Valera came from hell. In his RVG conference in November 2007, Pastor Gomez identified Carlos Donate (who had stated that the Reina-Valera 1960 came from the sewers of hell) as one of his “main collaborators” in the RVG project. Missionary Carlos Donate was not collaborating with Pastor Gomez at the time of the 2005 DBS speech, but Pastor Gomez knew in advance exactly how controversial Missionary Carlos Donate was, and yet eventually allowed him to become one of his “main collaborators.”
More examples of extremism are manifested in Missionary Carlos Donate’s book The Old Spanish Bible Restoration Project. 1602 – 2002, 400 Years of History published by Stringer Publications of Haines City, Florida. Between pages four and five the 1960 translators were lumped in with those of other versions and were bitterly described as “Heretic translators and revisers [sic] unsaved, modernists, liberals, neo-fundamentalists and against the traditional texts.”
More examples from Donate’s book:
“The 1960 Reina-Valera was made to join the Evangelicals with the Catholics, or those that sympathize with Catholicism.” (p. 61)
“In another translation of an African tribe, the word that was substituted for ‘lamb’ was bull. ‘Christ is the bull of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ – - Taken from Evangelical Missions Quarterly, July 1998, Vol. 34, #3, page 316. ‘ . . . Who do men (like Nida) say is the Son of man? . . .’ (Matthew 16:13).” (pp. 36-37)
The article mentioned as proof is “Behold The Ox Of God” by Joy Anderson. What was alleged was not “taken from” said issue of the Evangelical Missions Quarterly, as I have read the article and have a copy in my files. Nida was not mentioned even once in said article.
Not only was no proof submitted that Nida translated “lamb” as “pig,” Nida himself actually warned against doing the exact blasphemous thing he is accused of! Read on:
“…the Marshallese have no sheep. Only a few Marshallese even have an idea of what such an animal might be like. In such a case, one must borrow the foreign word “sheep” from English or some other foreign language…The story has been circulated that the word ‘seal’ was used for sheep in one of the Eskimo translations. This is an intriguing story but without foundation in actual fact. A baby seal might be considered parallel to a lamb as far as general attractiveness and reputed ‘innocence’ is concerned, but after these features the parallel stops. Such an adaptation would be completely unsatisfactory.”
(Nida, Eugene. Bible Translating. New York: American Bible Society, 1947, p. 136)
More examples from Donate’s book:
“…The 1960 Reina-Valera was designed by a Catholic who wanted the ‘separated brethren’ to return to the Holy Mother Roman Catholic Church.” (p. 64)
Who was this Catholic who “designed” the 1960? Like usual, no documentation was provided. No documentation has ever been produced showing the participation of any Catholic in editing the 1960. In fact, of the six revisers, two were threatened by their families during their youth for their opposition to Catholicism, another publicly campaigned against a law that favored Catholics, and yet another reviser even spent time in jail falsely accused of placing a bomb in a priest’s residence! All documentation concerning this is revealed in my new book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible.
Pastor Gomez has not distanced himself from some who have been extremely controversial, but in some instances has welcomed them to participate with him and has publicly identified with them and praised them.
Leader of the project a figurehead?
Around noontime on the last full day, Pastor Gomez stated the following:
“Don’t tell me there are no specialists behind this sacred book [referring to the RVG]. There are many more brains. … [he mentions three Americans at this time]. And I’m only one who carries the thunderous voice, that’s all and no more. God called me to do it, and I wanted to pay the price. All that was needed was someone that would stand up on the hedge, that would be firm and say we are going to do it for the glory of God.”
I do not know the extent to which Pastor Gomez was or wasn’t involved, but there are several matters already mentioned that have caused me to suspect that he was being heavily influenced by Americans who wanted the RVG to match the English Bible even when the Spanish Bible already followed the Greek and Hebrew closely (I don’t mean by that that the English Bible doesn’t follow the original languages closely). That he didn’t allow anyone else to have a vote on textual decisions but himself (according to what he has told me in personal correspondence) reveals that he could have been easily influenced compared to a group of men fully competent in the original languages. A one-man revision in our day for a language involving over 300 million people is not right in my opinion. Some bring up cases of one-man revisions in the past, but most of those are from an era of inquisitorial persecution or when communication was quite primitive compared to today’s standards.
A settled text not guaranteed
Moments before dismissal at the last day of the conference, Pastor Gomez stated: “It has been a tremendous labor of perfection. … In case some ask, is the Bible going to keep changing and changing? We hope not, brethren. In fact, our collaborators have reached the determination that ending this December, we are going to stop, and if God wants us to do a revision in four or five years for something that is serious, we will correct it. On the contrary, if there is nothing serious, if it’s only a matter of preferences, forget that; it’s remaining the way it is, and almost certainly it’s going to remain the way it is in December.”
KJV the standard for the Spanish Bible?
During a question and answer session on the last full day of the conference, Pastor Gomez mentioned that although his revision was based on the Masoretic Text and Textus Receptus, he believes that the standard to follow is the KJV:
“But the standard to follow has to be the King James. This I say publicly, and I’m not ashamed of it. 100 percent!”
What is wrong with this? It’s just as wrong as saying that for the English, the standard should be the Spanish Bible!
No tough questions were asked
A considerable amount of time was allowed for questions and answers during the conference. I believe the questions asked revealed that the overwhelming majority of those asking questions were already sympathetic with the RVG project. I have listed the type of questions that I felt should have been asked, although some could probably be rephrased to not sound so abrupt. These are the questions that crossed my mind as I watched the videos of the conference:
- Why was not a committee formed, instead of only Pastor Gomez making the final decisions?
- Did a committee of men choose Pastor Gomez as the sole leader of the RVG project in the beginning? If so, who?
- What documentation is there for various statements made in the conference? (such as for Nida supposedly being the editor of the 1960, that he supposedly took the virgin birth out of the RSV, that he is an unbeliever, etc.)
- Why has a complete listing of all of the RVG advisors not been made public? (Don’t those who are considering using the RVG have a right to know?)
- What are Pastor Gomez’ academic credentials?
- If his advisers had more academic credentials, why was Pastor Gomez not an adviser instead of the head of the project making final decisions?
- Why was the Elephant book allowed to be defended at the conference, when documentation was submitted several years ago that revealed it contained many mistruths?
- Why was a man who has been responsible for some of the most sickening charges imaginable (saying that the 1960 came from the sewers of hell, that Nida translated “lamb of God” as “pig of God,” etc.) allowed to become one of the “main colaborators” of the RVG project if Pastor Gomez was trying to stay away from controversy?
Even if I was in favor of revising the Spanish Bible, I wouldn’t look to this highly-controversial group for it, as I believe they are taking the wrong approach and using questionable tactics. It appears from their statements and attitudes as documented here that they are trying to start a controversial RVG-only movement of sorts. I plead with the reader to beware. If you are not in favor of the RVG, beware of how you oppose it. In opposing it we must not imitate the behavior and controversial methods of those we disagree with. For those who are still in favor of it, beware of endorsing and defending controversial divisive methods as well as ”the end justifies the means” attitude as revealed in this conference. We must not allow Spanish-speaking Fundamentalism to be divided.
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