If you drive through any appreciable stretch of the United States, you are bound to come across churches. In some sparse locales, these places of worship are few and far between, much like the dwellings of those who attend them. In other places, churches abound, with nearly every street seeming to possess its own house of God. When my wife and I lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, one of our favorite pastimes was driving through the rolling forests that lay between our city and the Appalachian Mountains. On these drives, we grew to appreciate the term Bible Belt, as we would pass countless small, country churches on every drive. On one stretch of road no more than five miles long, we encountered some ten different churches, at least five of which included “Baptist” in their title. Likewise in Saint Louis, where we now live, church steeples dot the cityscape with peaceful regularity, directing commuter’s eyes heavenward. Continue reading
Having examined Protestant reactions to the Roman Catholic conceptions of Divine Revelation and the Church, Non-Catholic Churches, the Priesthood, the Liturgy, and Religious Freedom, what may we conclude? As noted before, the initial reactions of many Protestants to the Second Vatican Councils seemed to be generally positive in nature. As we have seen however, critical Protestant reactions to Vatican II are more nuanced. Some reactions are positive, such as that of Marty, who concludes that “for the most part, Vatican II appropriately addressed the anguishing circumstances of its time.” Others are more caution, such as Patterson, who reacts with both joy and concern, especially regarding ubiquitous language about the primacy and infallibility of Rome. Other reactions are more negative, such as those of Sproul and Duncan. The former writes that since Vatican II must be interpreted through Trent, there remain fundamental and dangerous misunderstandings of the council and the acceptability of its teachings for Protestants. While noting that many Protestants view Vatican II positively, Duncan similarly notes that while there may be new levels of understanding between Protestants and Catholics, there are significant barriers to true unity and understanding. Continue reading
Another facet of the Second Vatican Council that has garnered a variety of responses from Protestant Christians involves those documents discussing the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian Churches. While not universally affirmed, the general perspective of Protestant scholars on this issue has affirmed the position taken by Vatican II. Clearly the council gave special attention to Eastern Orthodox churches, which until Vatican II were summarily ignored or feuded with by Rome, as in Orientalium Ecclesiarum the Eastern Church was acknowledged to have an antiquity, continuity, and ecclesial validity rivaling Rome itself. Regarding Protestant-Catholic relations, Lindbeck argues that, despite of reports concerning numerous unintended consequences of Vatican II, the renewal of Protestant-Catholic relations remains very much an intended consequence of the council. Indeed, he argues that the placement of Marian dogma within the constitution on the Church was an important step along the road of ecumenical Protestant engagement and an important step away from pre-Vatican II Marian maximalism. Continue reading
Having briefly noted a history of the council and some of the historical and methodological problems associated with this study, we may now turn to the Protestant reactions to the Second Vatican Council. Here we examine several areas of engagement: Broad Protestant Reactions to Vatican II, responses engaging the Church and Revelation, reactions concerning Protestants and Other Christians, and several other issues that remains outliers in the greater conversation. As noted before, this study argues that despite Protestant warming to certain Roman Catholic ideas stemming from Vatican II, there remain deep-seated concerns pertaining to the Roman Catholic conceptions of Divine Revelation and the Church. Continue reading
Over the next two weeks, Pursuing Veritas will be offering an overview of Protestant Reactions to the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church. This series is presented with at least one major caveat: Not every Protestant reaction to Vatican II has been examined — indeed, many of the most “interesting” were omitted due to their lack of critical credulity. Accordingly, this series does not pretend to speak for all Protestants (or even “Protestantism”, whatever that might mean). Instead, this series intends to provide some perspective on how “the other half” of Western Christianity has responded over the years to the watershed moment what is the Second Vatican Council. Continue reading
1985 King James Version
Here we briefly note another KJV update from the 1980s, the 1985 King James Version, which retains the wording and order of the 1611 KJV while modernizing the spelling of that version. A favorite of many in the “KJV Only” camp, this translation is not so much a new version as it is the latest edition of the 1611 KJV.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Completed in 1989, the New Revised Standard Version has become one of the most popular translations for the academic study of the Bible. Intentionally created as both an ecumenical translation and an heir to the legacy and language of the KJV, the NRSV updated the language and grammar of the RSV, while seeking a more accurate and gender-neutral translation (“Introduction”, NRSV). Due in large part to its commitment to gender-neutral language, the NRSV was not well received by more conservative readers of the KJV legacy. Overall, the philosophy of the translation committee was “As literal as possible, as free as necessary,” and this version casts itself as a readable literal translation meant to be read aloud (“Introduction”, NRSV). As an ecumenical work, three major editions of the NRSV have appeared: the Common Edition (OT and NT), the Study Edition with Apocrypha and Dueterocanonical books, and the Catholic Edition with books ordered according to the Vulgate. The effectiveness of the NRSV as a translation builds upon the early successes of the KJV and the RSV, yielding an accessible and accurate translation.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The newest major member of the KJV family of translations is the English Standard Version, first published in 2001. Like the NRSV, the editors of the ESV sought to create an accurate and ecumenical translation that followed in the legacy of the KJV and RSV (“Preface”, ESV). Unlike the NRSV, however, the ESV took a more literal and traditional approach to the issue of pronoun gender, essentially making the ESV the more conservative alternative to the NRSV. The 1971 edition of the RSV was the starting point for this translation, with updated language and an influx of insights from textual criticism (“Introduction”, ESV). The stated purpose of this new translation was “to retain the depth of meaning and enduring language that have made their indelible mark on the English-speaking world” since the publication of the KJV (“Preface”, ESV). Overall, the overall tone of the ESV provides ready access to the historical patterns of the KJV family, as well as engaging the literal aspects of the Greek more fully than versions such as RSV.