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Letters to the Editor

Dear Valerie,

With regard to the King James (Tyndale) 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible, it cannot be denied that this Bible reigned supreme for 350 years, and remains a powerful voice even today. The sufficiency of this Bible to convince anyone of the truth of Christianity is NOT questioned. There was more faith when this was virtually the only version of the word of God than there is today.

Tyndale wrote: - “ If any man search for the truth, and read the scriptures by himself, desiring God to open the door of knowledge unto him, God for his truths sake, will and must teach him.”

It is a point of interest that while the Bible is a world best seller, it is little read. Not one in ten thousand have read it.

I read with interest in the Tyndale Society Journal No. 27 July 2004, the review by Neil L. Inglis of Rome and the Bible. The History of the Bible through the Centuries, and Rome’s Persecution Against it. The author, David Cloud, obviously shares with William Tyndale a hatred of ‘The blasphemous Roman Catholic System’, which is still active today! Have we forgotten that the reason that Tyndale produced his New Testament in 1526 was to expose the non-scriptural teachings of Rome, and the false power of the Pope? Tyndale’s reward was to be burnt at the stake. Tyndale translated 1 Tim. 2:5 as follows: - ‘For there is one God, and one mediator bitwene God and man, which is the man Jesus Christ’.

In the same review it is suggested that the Tyndale Society is a BROAD church, and could be said to have an ecumenical philosophy. Broad churches, of course, believe everything and believe nothing. William Tyndale translated Matt. 7:14 as follows: -‘For strayte is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto lyfe, and few there be that fynde it’. I fear that the so-called Tyndale Society has lost its way.

Anthony Mitchell,
Tyndale Taught Ploughboy
Shirehampton, Bristol, UK, 30 December 2004.

Editor’s Note
It seemed fair to give the reviewer, Neil Inglis, the right of reply to Mr Mitchell’s letter. Neil’s comments are printed below.

Dear Mr Mitchell, You raise the fascinating issue of religious tolerance and its relationship to the Tyndale Society. Your question is well worth raising, and well worth answering.

At the Society we impose no litmus tests and thus number Catholics, Protestants, Jews, atheists, and others among our membership. At the Journal, we strive to write articles that will be of interest to all of our readers and that will challenge without giving offence. The Journal, in short, reflects the Society’s latitudinarian atmosphere (hence “broad church”).

But there is an implicit paradox here, as you point out. We Tyndalians may be friendly, but the sectarian battles of Tyndale’s time were anything but friendly. The Reformers (perhaps even Tyndale himself!) might have seen us as fence-sitters at best.

Even in the relative civility of 2005, there is a further problem for book reviewers like me. How are we to handle contemporary religious publications that adopt a sectarian tone, as many do? Dare we pretend they don’t exist, especially if they contain at least some useful material? Society members don’t have a monopoly on Tyndalian studies, and we have an obligation to look beyond our ranks to see how the outside world treats WT. Here the reviewer can act as a filter, extracting the useful points and leaving aside the chaff that Society readers have neither the time nor inclination to read.

Sincerely yours,
Neil L. Inglis, February 2005.

Dear Mrs Offord,

With reference to the splendid hand-coloured copy of the 1534 Luther Bible, mentioned in TSJ No. 28 January 2005 p.57 as mercifully having been saved from the calamitous fire in the Herzogin Anna Amalia-Bibliothek at Weimar in September 2004, readers may wish to note that an excellent full-colour facsimile of this very copy was published as: The Luther Bible of 1534 (complete facsimile edition. 2 vols and booklet) edited by Stephan Füssel, Cologne: Taschen, 2003. ISBN 3-8228-2470-4. It was reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement, No. 5,231 4 July 2003 p. 31.

Yours sincerely,
John L. Flood (Prof.)

Vic Perry was kind enough to comment on the last issue of the TSJ No 28 January 2005. His remarks on the tea towel illustration on page 63 are of interest. Naturally new members will have to buy a back copy of the Journal to understand his comments!

Vic wrote;-

‘You have done Elkstone and the tea towel proud. The quote from Tyndale is only approximate. The only occurrence of a cobbler that my computer search found is in his Obedience:
‘Nevertheless the truth is, that we are all equally beloved in Christ, and God hath sworn to all indifferently. According, therefore, as every man believeth God’s promises, longeth for them, and is diligent to pray unto God to fulfil them, so is his prayer heard; and as good is the prayer of a cobbler as of a cardinal, and of a butcher as of a bishop; and the blessing of a baker that knoweth the truth is as good as the blessing of our most Holy Father the Pope.’ As this passage has a similar message to the tea towel the designer must have known his Tyndale well.’

Korey D. Maas, University of Oxford, April 2005