"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)

Volume Four, Number Four Winter 1996


Jerry D. McDonald

In responding to my article: "...In The House Of Abinadab..." which came out in the Summer '94 issue of Challenge, Mr. Till has dreamed up all kinds of imaginations;

  1. He imagines that the Bible inerrancy doctrine is a completely untenable position.
  2. He imagines that the KJV translators mistranslated 2 Sam. 6:3.
  3. He imagines that the list of versions he gives properly render the word ghibaw' as "on the hill" in 2 Sam. 6:3. [he had 2 Sam. 7:3, but I'm sure he meant 6:3.]
  4. He imagines that the word "thence" in 1 Chron. 13:57 shows that the ark was in Kirjathjearim when David went to get it.
  5. He imagines that I am closed minded and will not listen to reason.
  6. He imagines that the predicament that I am, "now in is the result of dreaming up a whatitcouldhavebeen hypothesis and then not testing it against all of the relevant passages in the Bible before publishing it in [my] onagain, offagain paper."
  7. He imagines that I should spend my time, "trying to understand the facevalue meaning of the biblical text...".
  8. He imagines that I have dug myself into a hole and all are apparently going to have fun watching me trying to climb out.

These things are nothing more than figments of Mr. Till's overactive imagination. But...we'll let him imagine all he wants too, and while he is basking in his imagined spotlight, I will completely destroy his article along with another argument he is fond of making.

[1] He imagines that the Bible inerrancy doctrine is a completely untenable position. Yea right! That's why he hasn't been able to destroy it in the six or so years he has been at it. Oh...yes, he does get a convert once in a while. He gets people like Mark Smith, Patrick Phillips, and Bob Hypes whose faiths could not have been very strong. You see the only person Farrell can convert is one whose faith is weak; one who is not sure of his position. He has tried to change strong Christians and has found it to be more difficult than he first thought.

Before he came to Sullivan in '91 he called me and told me how grateful he was for the opportunity to stand before strong members of the church of Christ and show them why they shouldn't believe in the Bible. However, after that debate he went home like the fox in the story of "Sour Grapes." He didn't have anyone there to pat him on the back and tell him what a good job he was doing, so he got upset and went home and grumbled about there being no one there but, "confirmed fundamentalists." I mean, "What can you expect from a bunch of old hardline, diehards?" Hey, count me in with that bunch, they are the one's I want to stand with.

Well, the Bible inerrancy doctrine has been here longer than Farrell and myself put together, and I just have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be here for a long time after both of us are dead. Untenable? Well, Farrell hasn't made much headway in proving it to be so, anyway.

[2] He imagines that the KJV translators mistranslated 2 Sam. 6:3. He asks: "why isn't it possible that the KJV translators erred in saying that Abinadab's house was in 'Gibeah' rather than 'on the hill'?" What proof does he have that the KJV translators erred in their translation? Oh, well, translators of other versions used the phrase "on the hill" rather than "Gibeah." Is that it? Is that all the evidence that he has? The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, in its discussion of Abinadab, states: "The man in whose house the men of Kiriathjearim placed the ark, after its return from the land of the Philis, his house being either in Gibeah of Benjamin or 'in the hill' (1 S 7 1; 2 S 6 3,4)" (Vol. 1, p.12). This volume goes on to say that it is natural for one to think that Abinadab lived in Kirjathjearim, but the account does not specify this as being his home. So he can bring up Bible scholars all day long, but then, so can I. Where is his proof that the KJV translators mistranslated that verse.

The word ghibaw is translated either "the hill" or "Gibeah." Should we go through every verse where that word is used and find where the translators translated it Gibeah and change it to "the hill"? Saul lived in Gibeah (1 Sam. 10:26). The same word used here is the word that is used in 2 Sam. 6:3,4. If we are going to change 2 Sam. 6:3,4 why don't we also change it in 1 Sam. 10:26? Oh well, that is where Saul's home was! Really? And how would he go about proving that? Well the scripture says that, "Saul also went home to Gibeah...". Well couldn't it properly be translated: "Saul also went home on the hill"? Well no, because that doesn't tell where Saul's home was, but if it is translated Gibeah, then we know that his home was in Gibeah. Very well.

Now if we go back to 2 Sam. 6:3,4 the passage reads: "And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah...And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah...". It makes no more sense to translate the word ghibaw in these two passages "the hill" than it makes to translated the same word "the hill" in 1 Sam. 10:26. The same word is used in both places to describe where someone lived and Mr. Till wants to translate it "Gibeah" in 1 Sam. 10:26, but "the hill" in 2 Sam. 6:3,4. He wants to blame the KJV tanslators for mistranslation when he has no evidence for his accusation. He has no textual reason for doing this except he needs the word in 2 Sam. 6:3,4 to be translated "the hill" so he can maintain his argument that the Bible is not inspired by God.

[3] He imagines that the list of translations that he gives us properly corrects the mistranslation of the KJV translators in 2 Sam. 6:3,4, and this seems to be his main source of evidence. Well no one denies that the translations translate the word ghibaw in those verses as "the hill", but what I do deny is that there is any reason for it, other than the fact that they thought they were correcting an error.

However, if Mr. Till is willing to accept this change on that basis, he must also be willing to accept the change that some, in his list, made on 2 Chron. 22:2. The New American Bible, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the New International Version all changed the wording in 2 Chron. 22:2 from saying that Ahaziah was 42 years old when he began to reign to saying that Ahaziah was 22 years old when he began to reign. Along with that list I could add the New American Standard Bible and the Living Bible Paraphrase. The Jerusalem Bible changed it to read that Ahaizah was 20 years old when he began to reign. Now, while I don't possess all the versions he listed I have shown where some of them changed Ahaziah's age from 42 to 22. Now will Mr. Till allow that? Certainly not! If some inerrantist was to bring those versions up and say that they recognized that this was a scribal error and they were correcting it Mr. Till would quickly jump up and challenge the inerrantist to show evidence that this was a scribal error.

Mr. Till argues that the original autographs had 42 years old in them, and I agree with him. I don't believe that the translators of those versions had the right to make that change, but I can see where they thought that they were correcting an obvious scribal error. They did that, however, with no more authority or textual evidence than they had when they changed the translation of en ghibaw in 2 Sam. 6:3,4 from "in Gibeah" to "on the hill." In 2 Sam. 6:3,4 they thought that they were correcting a mistranslation of the KJV, and in 2 Chron. 22:2 they thought that they were correcting a scribal error of the Masoretic Text and the KJV.

There is no way that Mr. Till would allow that reading to stand unchallenged. As a matter of fact when he and I were engaged in our written debate he wanted me to take the position that 2 Chron. 22:2 was a copyist mistake so he could lay into me and force me to show how I knew it was a copyist error. I do not happen to be a believer in that position, so I refused to take it. Instead I put pressure on him to show how he knew that it was a contradiction rather than a coreign. We spent quite a bit of space discussing that one alleged discrepancy, and when it was all said and done, Mr. Till was the one who wanted to quit discussing it. He would have liked for me to have taken the copyist error position on that verse because he would simply have asked me to show how I knew it was a copyist error.

Well, I want him to show how he knows that en ghibaw in 2 Sam. 6:3,4 was mistranslated in the KJV. I am not content with him showing translations changing the translation of that verse anymore than he would be content with an inerrantist showing translations changing Ahaziah's age from 42 to 22. To show that I am not merely speaking through my hat, brother Gaston Cogdill had a radio debate with Dennis McKinsey (atheist editor of Biblical Errancy) and in that debate, McKinsey produced the difference between 2 Kings 8:24 (22 years old) and 2 Chron. 22:2 (42 years old). When he did brother Cogdill produced the New International Version which had changed 2 Chron. 22:2 from 42 to 22 and McKinsey hit the ceiling. He said that brother Cogdill was saying that the translators of the KJV didn't know how to translate and that they didn't know anything, and McKinsey said that they did know how to translate, and he indicated that they did know what they were doing. He demanded that the KJV's rendering of 2 Chron. 22:2 was the correct one.

Well, we can all see why he would demand such. If the translators were allowed to change this passage because they believed that they were correcting an obvious scribal error, then McKinsey, Till and other atheists would have no argument there. They would just have to let that one alone. However, they are not going to do that. They will hold out until Christ comes again that the KJV's translation of 2 Chron. 22:2 is the correct rendering and it should be left that way.

Well, I contend that 2 Sam. 6:3,4 in the KJV is the correct rendering and it should be left that way. I don't doubt that the translators of later versions thought that they were correcting an obvious mistranslation, but they did more harm to the text by changing it than they would have had they left it alone. Whenever men begin tampering with the text simply because they think that they are correcting an obvious mistake (or for any other reason for that matter) then grave problems result. I say let it be. The translators of those versions had no more authority to change en ghibaw from "in Gibeah" to "on the hill" than some of those same translators had to change 2 Chron. 22:2's rendering from 42 to 22.

Mr. Till and I are in agreement that the translation in 2 Chron. 22:2 should remain as "42" because the translators had no evidence for changing it to "22." However, we are in disagreement that the translation in 2 Sam. 6:3,4 should remain as "in Gibeah", even though the translators of those versions he listed had no more authority for their mistranslation than they had for their mistranslation of 2 Chron. 22:2. The two will either stand together, or they will fall together. Mr. Till, which do you prefer?

[4] He imagines that the word thence in 1 Chron. 13:57 shows that the ark was in Kirjathjearim when David went to get it. He asked if I knew what the word thence meant. Let's see-how's this Farrell? "1 there, in that place..." (The Analytical Hebrew & Chaldee Lexicon, p.722). Or maybe this one is alright: "shawm; a prim. particl [rather from the rel. 834]; there..." (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, p.117). Or maybe this one would suite him better: "SHAM, in it, there, therein, thither, etc." (Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible, IndexLexicon to the Old Testament, p.44). It simply means: "there". Did I do OK daddy Till?

2 Sam. 6:2 says: "And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God...". Now 1 Chron. 13:6 says: "And David went up, and all Israel, to Baaleh, that is, to Kirjathjearmin which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the Lord...". One verse says that David went up to bring up with the people of Baale of Judah, "to bring up from thence the ark of God" while the other verse says that David went to Baalah (Baale Judah) "to bring up thence the ark of God."

From what I read, the two verses are saying two different things. 2 Sam. 6:2 says that David went with the people from Baale of Judah to where the ark was. The place where the ark is not named in the passage. It just states that he went with the people from Baale Judah to bring from there (where the ark was) the ark of God. However, 1 Chron. 13:6 says that David went with all the people of Israel (the people whom he had numbered) to Kirjathjearim to bring the ark there. Verse 5 says he was going to bring the ark from Kirjathjearim, but verse 6 says he went to bring the ark thence (there to Kirjathjearim).

Remember the definition of "thence"? It means "there, in that place." Thus the interpretation that David went to where the ark was, had it transported to Kirjathjearim (thence 1 Chron. 13:6) and with the men from Kirjathjearim began transporting it back to Jerusalem. However, it did not reach Jerusalem at that time because Uzzah touched the ark and God smote him, so David had the ark carried to the house of Obededom where it stayed for the next three months.

[5] He imagines that I am closed minded and will not listen to reason. No, I am not closed minded, but I have yet to see one ounce of evidence from Mr. Till or any other atheist I know that gives me reason to even consider making a move from Christianity to atheism. Everything they bring up is so absurd that rational people wonder how humanbeings could even conjure up such garbage. So until some atheist gives me something substantial, I am going to hold on to my faith that the Bible is God's inerrant word. However, they are going to have to come up with some arguments that are a lot stronger than the ones they have before I give up.

I have yet to debate a man who did not, at one time or another in the debate, accuse me of being closedminded. An antiorphan's home preacher once told me that if I would be openminded to his cause and go into the debate with the thought in mind that I was possibly wrong that he would be able to convert me to his cause. Well certainly, if I was to go into a debate with that man (or any other for that matter) truly believing that I was possibly wrong, he would stand a very good chance of converting me. However, I did not go into that debate with that frame of mind, but neither did he. I asked him if he would go into the debate with that attitude, and his response was: "Well, no!" When I asked him why he wouldn't he replied: "Because I believe with all of my heart that I have the truth, and I am not going to change until you show me where I am wrong." I then informed him that I would live by the same principle.

Mr. Till does not go into debates with us with a socalled "open mind." He may say that he does, but he doesn't and his actions prove him wrong. He is as closedminded as a closed steel trap. You couldn't budge him if your life depended on it. So why should I be any different from him? Let him show me where I am wrong, and then we will talk about my changing. But as I have previously stated, he is going to have to come up with something better than what he has offered in the past to change me. That is as "openminded" as I am going to get. Until that time, I am going to hang on to my beliefs.

[6] He imagines that the predicament that I am now in is the result of my dreaming up some whatitcouldhavebeen hypothesis and publishing it in my "onagain, offagain" paper without checking it out with all relevant references to see if it would hold up. In the first place, I am in no predicament at all. Everything that Farrell has argued in his response has been superficial. He is the one who dreamed up some whatitcouldhave

been hypothesis and sent it for publication in Challenge without testing it against all relevant scriptures to see if it would hold up. {1} He is the one who stated that the KJV translators mistranslated 2 Sam. 6:3,4 without offering objective proof for his accusation. {2} He is the one who produced versions which not only changed the translation in 2 Sam. 6:3,4, but also changed the reading of Ahaziah's age in 2 Chron. 22:2, a change that he knows that he would never accept or allow to go unchallenged. {3} He is the one who jumped on 1 Chron. 13:6 without looking up the word "thence" to see what it meant, or to see how it would affect his interpretation. So I am not in any predicament at all, he is.

(2) He talks about Challenge being an "onagain, offagain paper" but I think he needs to be reminded of the fact that he has had the privilege of having his own personal articles in every issue of Challenge since it began in 1990 with the exception of four, and two of those four ran articles which were reprints from TSR written by other atheists. The only reason he didn't have an article in those issues is because I didn't have the room to run them. In one of the remaining two I took statements from him out of TSR and from Dennis McKinsey out of Biblical Errancy and responded to them. Only one issue, in four years, of Challenge, has been printed which had nothing to do with the atheistic/skeptic belief. That was the Summer '92 issue, and that issue was devoted the subject matter of Bible authority, and instrumental music. The reason for that was that Roger Barron and I had held a debate that summer with two preachers from the Christian Church, and we thought it fitting to dedicate that issue to that subject. Every other issue has had something in it dealing with the atheistic/skeptical beliefs. And most of those issues ran articles by Farrell Till.

Would you like to know how many articles I have been allow to print in The Skeptical Review during it's five year tenure? TWO! After my second one, Farrell wrote me and told me that some of his readers were complaining about my articles and he felt that he had to succumb to their desires. So he told me that unless I could write something rational, I would no longer be allowed to publish articles in his publication because printing space was too valuable to waste on someone like me. I, then, called him and asked him who would be the judge as to what was rational and what was not. His reply: "Well-I'm the editor!". In other words, he was going to be the judge as to what was rational and what was not. He has never, even once, stated that anything I have ever written was rational. Therefore, the logical conclusion: "Jerry McDonald is banned from publishing articles in The Skeptical Review" is logically drawn. Now, he recently stated that I can resume sending articles to TSR, so we shall see. He can call Challenge an onagain and offagain paper all he wants, but he needs to remember that this onagain, offagain paper gives him an audience, any time he wishes (and I have yet to refuse to print one of his articles and he knows it), and this is a consideration that he has not always given me.

[7] He imagines that I should spend time trying to understand the facevalue meaning of the biblical text. It is this idea of accepting "facevalue" meaning of the biblical text that keeps Farrell off in the clutches of atheism. There is not a piece of literature on this earth of which one can just accept the facevalue of everything in it, and make the proper intepretation of its contents.. The Bible is full of examples of figures of speech such as metaphors, metonymy, synedoches, etc. When one comes to the point that he just accepts the "facevalue" of these texts he stands on dangerous ground.

Even though no figure of speech is involved in the texts under discussion, one must still study them in order to be able to rightly divide them (KJV) or handle them aright (ASV) according to 2 Tim. 2:15. What Farrell means by "understanding the facevalue of the biblical text" is he wants me to just accept a verse on its own merits, don't look anywhere else to see what the interpretation of that verse may be. One could not even do that with the writings of the atheist Farrell Till. Some of you may remember that we even put that statement to the test back in the Spring of '92. Mr. Till came out with a short article where he just put statements from the Bible without comment to show that they were in error. However, when we tried that with some statements from Farrell Till, we found that he didn't fare much better. This raised his hackles somewhat and I got a long letter from him trying to explain what he said he meant in those statements. However, his trying to explain those statements only proved that his theory of accepting at facevalue was nothing more than a farce that atheists use against Christians to get them to doubt the Bible. They won't allow that rule in regards to their work, so why should we be forced to allow it regarding the Bible. Sorry Farrell, but I don't accept the "facevalue" theory. I study each scripture in light of its immediate context and the overall Biblical context. I study all that is to be studied on the given subject; an area in which you seem to fail. If you want to study the Bible according to your idea of understanding "facevalue" be my guest, but don't expect me to fall for such an idiotic rule.

[8] He finally imagines that I have dug a hole for myself. Well, I'm not the one who listed translations to support my theory only to have them turn around and do the very thing that I would not allow them to do on another argument. He would not allow their actions to go unchallenged for changing Ahaziah's age in 2 Chron. 22:2 for one moment and he knows it. Yet, he will allow this to be done on 2 Sam. 6:3,4 and that's only because he needs that to make his case.

Now everything I have said, so far, is enough to destroy his article, but I can't help (as he put once it) but give it the coup de grace before I leave him.

1 Sam. 10:10 says: "And when they came thither to the hill (underline added), behold a company of prophets met him." The word for "the hill" here is the same word ghibaw that we have been discussing in this exchange. Right about now, Farrell is probably wondering what this has to do with anything, but just sit tight for a moment and I will make my point. The ASV, the NASB, the NKJV and the NWT all agree with the KJV and translate the word "the hill." The LBP uses the words "the Hill of God." However, the amazing thing is that the NAB, the NIV, the JB, and the RSV translate the word ghibaw as "Gibeah." Well lookie here! Just who is correcting whom here, Farrell? Well, while Farrell is muddling this all over in his mind, I want to say that I believe that this shows (and I believe that the translators of those translations also recognize) that the word ghibaw can be rightfully translated either "Gibeah" or "the hill" and both speak of the city of Gibeah. I don't believe that the ASV, the KJV, the NASB, the NKJV and the NWT were referring to some hill somewhere while the NAB, the NIV, the JB and the RSV were using it to refer to Gibeah. All the translations were using it to refer to the city of Gibeah, a city in the territory of Benjamin.

The point is this: If the city of Gibeah can be referred to as either "the hill" or "Gibeah" when it has reference to Saul's home town, why can't they both be used to refer to the same city when it comes to Abinadab's home town? Answer please!

I would say that, unless Mr. Till has a rabbit that he can pull out of his hat, this sends his entire argument about the mistranslation of the KJV in 2 Sam. 6:3,4 right down the tubes. And it is not I, Farrell, that have dug myself into a hole by dreaming up some whatitcouldhavebeen hypothesis and published it without testing it against all other relevant passages on the subject, THOU ART THE MAN, who has done that.

Well, Farrell has one more opportunity to deal with this before I close the exchange down for good. I certainly hope that he can come up with something a little more substantial than he has in the past. Let's all watch as he attempts to climb out the hole he has dug for himself.

CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.

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Waynesville, MO 65583

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