Bible History According to a Mega Church Pastor

What are the inaccurate facts? Is he Anti-Catholic or just mis guided or both? What are your thoughts?


Where to begin? Jerome translated the bible into Latin because it was the “lingua franca” of that time. If you could read, and the majority could not, but if you could it was most likely you could read Latin. Remember the language of Rome was Latin. But it is a myth kept alive by some protestants that The Church forbid the Bible in other languages. I hope this pastor is just misinformed and I pray that he will seek the truth about the history of the Bible.

Most people like this are simply misinformed. They learned things from their pastors, who learned it from their pastors, etc. I believe that very few of them have malicious intent when they do these things, they simply haven’t put in any honest study on the subject. I don’t have time to watch it completely right now, so I’ll leave the commenting on the video to others; but when you see it, I’d watch it with a grain of salt. If you’re really interested in the history of The Bible, I’d suggest Where we got the Bible.

Again, I wouldn’t say the man is being malicious. He is probably Anti-Catholic, but I’d bet it’s a position born of ignorance. Very few Protestants have a solid understanding of what the Church teaches, and usually when they find out it’s the first step towards them becoming Catholic.

I’ve heard about the “corruption” that Pastor Rutherford was talking about in Luke about “one must repent” and in Jerome’s Latin it said “one must do penance.” What does the Catholic Church say about that? Is that an issue that the CC acknowledges or was that translated correctly?

That’s a long video to watch…I’m about a 3rd of the way thru at this point!!



If it is a myth kept alive by some protestants that the Church forbid the Bible in other languages, why was there the outrage with Wycliffe when he translated the Bible into the language of his people at that time? Or did I read the history wrong?

God bless!


it’s bad to have many translations, having one translation allows people to read the SAME bible, and if we believe the Holy Spirit guides the translation of the Bible, than I think we can trust Jerome he is also a very smart and devout Catholic. This guys reasoning says we want to control the language so we can control the people. This is a very individualistic mind set that is typical in protestants. Maybe the Church was at times to harsh on the language and translation of the bible, if not we should apologize but it’s far from a conspiracy theory to control the people.

I be interested to see what some of my historical friends think of his comment on the tower of babel and the Church’s decision to limit everything to one language. I know for sure that the Catholic Church isn’t the Roman Catholic Church, it is common for people to pray together in one language, we have 23 rites all of whom speak different langagues. If the reality was what he says it was, all Catholics even eastern Catholics would speak Catholic.

An interesting comment on Luke 13:3, I actually think both Jerome and Luther are correct, Penance for those in the Old Testament included giving alms and paying your debts so to speak. Where Luther and many Protestants go wrong is to think all you have to do is say I’m sorry and God will forgive you. Part of forgiveness part of being converted is paying the debt you owe to sin. Sin is a debt, that is what many early Church fathers focused on and is forgotten by Catholics and Protestants alike.

I can’t speak from authority because I’ve never studied the question, but here’s my :twocents:.

The need for a distinction is the result of a misunderstanding about what is meant when we say repent or do penance. In the Catholic mind, the two things are inseparable; we repent and do penance for what we’ve done. They are not two separate things, but rather a single cohesive reality. In many Protestant circles, repentance is separated from penance, and frequently penance isn’t really a thing in Protestantism because they believe that Christ’s sacrifice removes the need for us to atone for our sins. As a result, the two ideas have become separated in the modern mind, where they wouldn’t have been at the time of translation. When Jerome said “do penance,” the necessity of “repentance” was implied; there was no need to explicitly restate what any reader at the time would have immediately understood.

This is a common issue when dealing with translations as well as when determining meaning in a scripture passage. At the time of the NT’s writing, people were far more Biblically (OT) literate than they are now. As a result, there are several nuances and references that would have been immediately understood by readers of the NT which have become lost on most of us due to our Biblical illiteracy.

tl;dr: There is no discrepancy because in Catholicism, “penance” and “repentance” are two side of the same coin, inseparable and united. To have said both would have been redundant and unnecessarily repetitive. (:p)

There was no “outrage” over the actual translation, even though it wasn’t very good. The outrage was over the overtly anti-Catholic prologue that was included in his bible. The Church had little problem with the English translation which later became known as the Wycliffe bible. It had significant problems with the man himself and his heretical teachings, many of which he appended to that bible.

Thanks for your :twocents:!!

I understand the 2 sides of a coin with the 2 words but in actuality the words have similar meanings but are actually different. If Jerome had used the correct translation of repentance would the Church developed the sacrament of penance…maybe but isn’t important that we work with a translation that is as correct as possible?

repentance - noun

  1. deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.
  2. regret for any past action.

penance - noun

  1. a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin.
  2. a penitential discipline imposed by church authority.
  3. a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin.

I appreciate your respectful response, too. Thank you!!!

God bless,


Thank you for your response. I will have to dig back in history a bit and check out his Bible. I did not realize that he had an anti- Catholic prologue in his bible.

I would like to see what his heretical teachings were, too. More investigations!

Thanks again,


Penance was around long before the Bible was finalized, and is in fact a very Jewish concept in it’s origin. Regardless of how it was translated, the Church would still have penance as it is now practiced.

repentance - noun

  1. deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.
  2. regret for any past action.

penance - noun

  1. a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin.
  2. a penitential discipline imposed by church authority.
  3. a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin.

Keep in mind, these are modern definitions, not necessarily indicative of the full understanding at the time of translation. That said, I will work with these definitions as a starting point.

The Penance spoken of in Luke is not the Sacramental Penance listed in your definition there, but is actually closer to definition 1. The Sacrament of Penance was not called such until later in Church history. Consult the definition of Penitence: (From Google)

the action of feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong; repentance.
“a public display of penitence”
synonyms: repentance, contrition, regret, remorse, remorsefulness, ruefulness, sorrow, sorrowfulness, pangs of conscience, self-reproach, shame, guilt, compunction; archaicrue
“the writer prays to God in penitence”

Factoring in this definition, we see that Penance is:

“A punishment undergone in repentance for sin.”

By saying penance in place of repentance, he is not only upholding the necessity of repentance, but reaffirming the requirement that we make up for what we’ve done, a notion which is explicitly shown elsewhere in the Bible. Again, this distinction is really only a modern thing, so to claim that it is a mistranslation is to misunderstand what the words meant at the time of translation.

Even if “repentance” was a more literal translation, the literal sense is not the only sense in which writings are translated. For instance, there’s a particular passage in the Bible which literally translates as something like “She held the child in her bosom,” or something like that. While we may understand what is meant by this, we have a more appropriate word for it which does a better job of relating what the author mean. As such, we say “She was pregnant” in place of the literal translation. (This is from a Catholic Answers segment from a couple weeks back. Unfortunately I cannot remember the literal translation, but it was a particular saying which, at the time, meant “pregnant,” but did not translate well.)

This case with Repentance vs Do Penance may be another case such as this. The best Greek word may have been metanoeō (μετανοέω), but it may not have expressed the full meaning of that passage as it had been understood by the contemporary readers. When it was translated, an effort was made to convey the meaning using the language available. (This has always done, even in modern times, by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. This is why it’s very important to find trustworthy, scholarly translations when doing Biblical study.)

I’d also like to make clear that I am not a Biblical historian, but rather a lay-scholar. I believe that this is representative of Church teaching on the subject, but always remember that I may be mistaken.

I appreciate your respectful response, too. Thank you!!!

God bless,


Always happy to discuss this stuff. The faith of Christ is limitless in its scope and depth. I love it so much!

I won’t be able to post again tonight, so I wish you well. God Bless!

The DR Bible 1609-10 has in Lk13:3 unless you have penance [The DR old English is “haue penance”], with a margin note. Saying, in the NT signifies perfect repentance. Latter printings have, do penance. The video claims the DR says “pay penance” which is false. The following link has the 1609-10 DR. Anyone can look under Lk13:3 to verify it doesn’t say “pay penance”.

John the Baptist gives the concept of repentance and penance going hand in hand in Luke.

[Lk3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.]

There are many inaccurate or misleading statements made on the video. At one point the speaker actually said most of Europe spoke English at that time. He implied the Catholic Church wanted the bible in Latin in order that people could not reed it. Anyone who could reed at that time read Latin as that was the language of educated persons in Europe. The Vulgate Bible was translated from the original Hebrew OT and Greek NT. Latin not Greek was the language of the people, in the West, when the Latin Vulgate was translated from Hebrew and Greek. He also claimed Luther’s German translation was the first bible in German which is not correct.

[First Printed Bible in German (1466)
Before Martin Luther was even born, a German-language Bible was published in 1466, using Gutenberg’s invention. Known as the Mentel Bible, this Bibel was a literal translation of the Latin Vulgate. Printed in Strassburg, the Mentel Bible appeared in some 18 editions until it was replaced by Luther’s new translation in 1522.]

The Church has never objected to the translation of the bible into other languages. The Church objects to unauthorized translations, which may or may not have errors. Yet It needed to be authorized.

I think you need to do more reading and digging:

Check this old thread:
The anti-Catholics who love this version of events have it exactly backwards. At the the Council of Constance, held from from Nov, 1414, to April, 1418, Wycliff’s heretical writings, which were still doing great damage in the Church, were officially condemned. Wycliffe, who had spent his last days unmolested by the Church and died peacefully in bed, had been buried in a Catholic cemetary (i.e., consecrated ground). Being officially pronounced a notorius heretic, it was probably thought to be a scandal to have done so. AFTER the council his remains were exhumed and deposited in a river. In an age where people took their faith much more seriously, and heresy had social, political, and moral effects as well as religious, it seems to be a pretty understandable course of action.

I received a great response from Mr. Gary Michuta PROFILE. He give a quick response to the video.

Gary Michuta :
“The problems really begins at 8:32. First, the Roman Empire had already conquered most of the known world by the 2nd century, if not earlier. The end of the 4th they were in decline. Second, the Church wasn’t trying to impose a single language for Scripture, rather the most popular translations in the Latin West (known as the Old Latin) had become corrupt and a fresh Latin translation was needed. Third, his claim that the only translation that existed from the 3rd century to the Reformation was Latin is patently false. If you look at Graham’s “Where We Got the Bible” you’ll find dozens of examples of edition after edition in the vernacular before the Reformation. The reason the Latin is so prominent is because anyone who could read read Latin.
Fifth (I think I’m losing count), Wycliffe was opposed because he was a Lollard and his bible was biased in favor of that religious / political movement. I wonder what he would think about the other middle-English translations that existed without trouble from the Church? Not to mention all the other translations in French, German, etc. that the Church never suppressed. Sixth, in regards to the Vulgate becoming corrupted in places, this is no big deal. Before the printing press, multiple handwritten copies usually became corrupt. He’s incorrect, however, about Luke 13:3. The Latin has “paenitentiam habueritis,” which means “you shall have penance” or “you shall do penance.” It doesn’t say “pay.” I also looked up Luke 13:1 in Luther’s Works (which is the most complete set of Luther’s writings in English). He only refers to this verse once and says nothing about the Vulgate. That doesn’t mean this guy is wrong, only I couldn’t verify it. Protestantism had always had problems with “do penance” versus “repent.” Frankly, I see it as a tempest in a teapot.
Seventh, I don’t think this guy read the 95 Theses because Luther is most closer to Catholicism (and indeed a few of his points are perfectly Catholic) than American evangelicalism. Eighth, Luther’s excommunication came after a long dialogue with Rome (Prieras, Cajetan) where he basically refused any real dialogue. I don’t know if I can keep going… this will take hours. Of course, the English translations were suppressed because they weren’t authorized and they were either incredibly biased and/or include heretical marginal notes. Very one sided presentation. When he gets to the Great Bible, he lets the cat out of the bag. The problem with these earlier Protestant bibles wasn’t that they were in English, but they weren’t authorized by the English government. Ninth, Bible were chained because they were very valuable. The same was true with other large hand-copied manuscripts. It has nothing to do with keeping the Bible away from the people.
The Geneva Bible, as he notes, was filled with Protestant footnotes. His comments about the Douay-Rheims is very funny. Why did the Catholics have to publish an English bible in France and not in Bible-loving England? He if gave this question a second thought he’d realize that there is a huge political and religious causes that either he is unaware of or doesn’t understand. He keep repeating that the Latin says “pay penance” But I can’t find any DR that doesn’t say “Do penance.” Really, by the end of the video his presentation is so off the rails it’s not worth going through everything. I wonder what he thinks about the dedication of the KJV where its purpose is stated to be a foil for against the papists and “self-conceited Brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto noting, but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil” (i.e., non-Anglican Protestants - like Baptists and Evangelicals).
Oh, And I wonder why he didn’t mention the Protestant suppression and removal of the seven Old Testament books known as the Deuterocanon or as the Protestants call them “Apocrypha.”
God Bless, Gary”

Here is a response to the video from Protestant Professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Dr Ryan Reeves:

Dr. Ryan Reeves
"I haven’t seen this video before but know Azusa Pacific in general. Is there anything specifically that you noticed was different between me and them? Sometimes it’s merely a difference of emphasis, though it may be something more fundamental about how we see the evidence. Dudley is a pastor so he may have overstated a point of gotten something a smidge the wrong way.*

Actually just watched it mostly after writing that paragraph! :slight_smile:

He overstates some things. For example it’s not the case that ‘many Jews memorized the first five books’. He’s not wrong that some would but that’s a massive feat for anyone and would take education to do it.*

The Wycliffe bit is pretty off historically. But again Dudley isn’t an expert so he’s more just melding a lot of the story together. Wycliffe was not the translator of the Bible into English first. First of all it was Middle English, not modern, like he says, but it is not a broken language like ‘Ebonics’. It’s not a different language either. It’s what they spoke. Second it was the work of a committee. Still impressive but it wasn’t the first time anyone could read the Bible, per se, but rather the story is more complex. The bit about there being ‘one Bible in Latin’ is also made to sound like people don’t speak Latin and don’t understand it. Wycliffes day though is more about the rise of vernacular languages not oppression up until that point.*

I could go on or answer points you want some clarity on. Still though I would say he’s fully out to sea in his story. He just rounds off the edges and tells the story a bit too aggressively. As a professor I’m usually not snobby about this kind of retelling, and he certainly is telling the stories as they are popularly remembered. Since my videos are part of my graduate class in history I’m cleaning some of these points up at times, but more just adding color to a black and white image like in this video.*
One more note. I saw the bit on Guttenberg and again it’s just misunderstanding the story because he’s just telling the story as he sees it on the banner. It’s not the first printed. It’s the first printed with moveable type. (Even Wiki will tell that part of the story). Again though it’s more just overstating it than being bonkers about the entire story.*


Bottom line, video is inaccurate from all sides.

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