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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and

Discern Fact from Fiction

Bible Versions and Footnotes

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#74, #75, #76, & #77: "In all man-made religions the authority of God's Scripture and unchanging word is challenged. The Seventh-day Adventists are no exception. They have their own version of the Bible, known as The Clear Word Bible, which inserts the words and ideas of Ellen G. White directly into the biblical text."—Narrator.

#74: Adventism is a man-made religion. This is another point that begs the question. It also shows that the narrator does not understand Adventist history very well, for a knowledge of the providences that brought Adventism into existence would make it hard to call it "man made."

#75: They have their own version of the Bible. Not so. Jack Blanco's paraphrase is not in any sense an official Adventist version. As the documentation package under "Point 49a" proves, The Clear Word's copyright is held by Dr. Blanco, not by the denomination or one of its presses. "Blanco" is the only name that appears on the spine, since he is both the author and the publisher. Thus, while it is true that Dr. Blanco has his own paraphrase, it is a falsehood to say that Seventh-day Adventism has its own version.

This writer has never owned a copy. If most members owned copies and regularly used them, that fact might be construed into evidence to support this charge. But the truth of the matter is that a minority of members regularly use this paraphrase, though it is likely more popular than Philip's or The Living Bible.

Under "Point 39" in the documentation package are two pages of the three-page preface to The Clear Word, but the first page is missing. The first page of the preface begins with these two sentences: "This is not a new translation but a paraphrase of the Scriptures. It is not intended for in-depth study or for public reading in churches." The second edition adds but one word: "This is not a new translation but an interpretive paraphrase . . . ." The Clear Word is crystal clear. Why didn't the contributors to the video read the very first sentences of the preface? On the other hand, how could they not have?

#76: It's known as The Clear Word Bible. Not any more. Dr. Blanco wanted to avoid misunderstandings, so he had the title changed for the second edition. It now carries the title, The Clear Word, not The Clear Word Bible.

Did the contributors to the video know about the change of title for the second edition? Yes they did, for the documentation package shows a photocopy of its cover under "Point 49a."

Additionally, when the video's footage shows a picture of Mr. Ratzlaff holding the first edition, the viewer can read on its cover, "A Paraphrase to Nurture Faith and Growth." Yet Mr. Ratzlaff at that moment calls Dr. Blanco's paraphrase "An Expanded Paraphrase to Nurture Faith and Growth" (see #80). The word "expanded" appears on the cover of the second edition, not the first. This indicates that either Mr. Ratzlaff, or the writer of the script he memorized, well knew about the second edition.

#77: The words and ideas of Mrs. White were inserted into the biblical text. Actually, it's the words and ideas of theologian and college professor Jack Blanco, not Mrs. White. Anyone comparing Dr. Blanco's paraphrase with her writings can see that he inserts words that didn't come from her.

In the two pages of the preface reproduced under "Point 39" in the documentation package, Dr. Blanco uses the word "paraphrase" six times. Twice he says that he interpreted and once that he "inserted information." While he not once refers to Mrs. White, he does say this:

There were times when certain words and expressions from commentaries, translations, word studies, periodicals and conversations with colleagues [p. 60] were found to be more appropriate and accurate than my own.

Rest assured that the authors of all these sources didn't borrow their wording from Mrs. White.

Is interpreting and inserting the words of "colleagues" and "commentaries" in paraphrases sinister? Not at all. That's what paraphrases are all about, for they are not true to the biblical text. The paraphraser weaves in his understanding into the passage.

True, Dr. Blanco's paraphrase is more than just the average paraphrase. That's why it now says "expanded paraphrase" on the cover.

A Response to the Video

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