Tares Amongst the Wheat A Conspiracy Without a Goal

by Cris Putnam
TaresThis is my review of Chris Pinto’s film, Tares Amongst the Wheat. Personally, I like Chris Pinto having met him and spent some time talking in the hospitality suite at the first Future Congress. I’ve also enjoyed his past films and even quoted him in my own published work. I also share his zeal in opposing Rome. In Petrus Romanus I discussed a lot of same issues regarding papal authority and the undermining of scripture that are presented in Tares. I wrote an entire chapter centered on “The Donation of Constantine” a Vatican forgery used to undergird papal authority for hundreds of years.

Thus, I am well aware that Rome has a record of altering history and forging documents. I am not predisposed to doubt Pinto’s thesis but I do.

The film is centered on the idea that Codex Sinaticus or “Sinai Bible” was actually created as part of a Vatican conspiracy to undermine biblical inerrancy. I agree with Pinto and others that the Vatican has a vested interest in undermining Sola Scriptura and have argued vigorously that the Bible contradicts Rome’s theological traditions. So the idea is that Rome conspired to forge a Bible that differs significantly from the reformation efforts is plausible. However, Pinto’s conspiracy has huge gaping hole that seems fatal.

After watching the film and hearing Greek New Testament scholar Dan Wallace’s response, I am unconvinced that Codex Sinaticus is a forgery because the conspiracy is fundamentally incoherent. There’s no discernible pay off for the conspirators. The movie did not present any evidence that modern Bibles help Catholic theology in any meaningful way or undermine inerrancy. In fact, I think the opposite is true.  The problem for the Tares Amongst the Wheat thesis is that Codex Sinaticus is just as caustic to Rome’s traditions as the King James Version.  You would think that if Rome were going to concoct a forgery they might include something about Mary or purgatory but this is not the case. Where’s the payoff for Rome?

Why does Dr. James White, who argues vigorously against Catholic apologists in defense of reformation theology, find the conspiracy to be ridiculous?  He comments here.  It is because he is aware of the textual critical issues that Pinto is not… the conspiracy is not even possible once you realize what it would necessarily entail. If one bothers to look into textual criticism, you will quickly see that Sinaticus undergirds an entire text type.

Sinaticus is in general agreement with Codex Vaticanus and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, following the Alexandrian text-type. The Alexandrian text-type is the form of the Greek New Testament that is seen in the earliest surviving documents, as well as the text-type used in Egyptian Coptic manuscripts. It seems to reflect the oldest tradition and hence the original documents. In later manuscripts (from the 9th century on), the Byzantine text-type became far more common and remains as the standard text in the Greek Orthodox church and also underlies most Protestant translations of the Reformation era. There are more of them but most scholars put quality over quantity. The KJV and its reverse engineered Greek parallel Textus Receptus are of the Byzantine type. But even so, not a very ancient strain.

The problem with Textus Receptus is it is based on Erasmus’ edition which is based on only six very late Greek manuscripts (10th century) and the Latin Vulgate. Erasmus was a Roman Catholic humanist, so its rather odd that he gets a pass from Pinto. Even worse, the last few verses of Revelation are actually transcribed directly from the Latin Vulgate back into Greek because Erasmus did not have the Greek for the last section. In fact, in over twenty passages, Erasmus’ Greek text are not supported by any known Greek manuscript.[1] This disturbing fact makes TR much more of Roman Catholic origin than Pinto seems to realize.

The problem is that the Alexandrian text type has a huge number of papyri fragments that support it.  This is taken from Wikipedia and is based on David Allen Black’s New Testament Textual Criticism:

Uncials: Codex Coislinianus, Porphyrianus (except Acts, Rev), Dublinensis, Sangallensis (only in Mark), Zacynthius, Athous Lavrensis (in Mark and Cath. epistles), Vaticanus 2061, 059, 068, 071, 073, 076, 077, 081, 083, 085, 087, 088, 089, 091, 093 (except Acts), 094, 096, 098, 0101, 0102, 0108, 0111, 0114, 0129, 0142, 0155, 0156, 0162, 0167, 0172, 0173, 0175, 0181, 0183, 0184, 0185, 0189, 0201, 0204, 0205, 0207, 0223, 0225, 0232, 0234, 0240, 0243, 0244, 0245, 0247, 0254, 0270, 0271, 0274.

Minuscules: 20, 94, 104 (Epistles), 157, 164, 215, 241, 254, 322, 323, 326, 376, 383, 442, 579 (except Matthew), 614, 718, 850, 1006, 1175, 1241 (except Acts), 1243, 1292 (Cath.), 1342 (Mark), 1506 (Paul), 1611, 1739, 1841, 1852, 1908, 2040, 2053, 2062, 2298, 2344 (CE, Rev), 2351, 2427, 2464.  [2]

That’s not all of them either. So for Pinto’s conspiracy to work not only is Codex Sinaiticus a forgery, it means that all of these papyri which share the same text type were similarly forged and planted in archeological sites around Egypt and middle east. It starts to get prohibitively absurd when you consider the amount of effort and the number of conspirators that would be required. Even for the Jesuits…

However even if we allow for the sake of argument that all of this is a huge Vatican conspiracy, it just doesn’t compel because you can debunk Peter as pope, the mass as a sacrifice, indulgences, and prayers to Mary and the Saints with an NIV.  As far as undermining inerrancy, I find the long ending of Mark from Textus Receptus to be much more problematic.  “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mk 16:18. KJV)  In contrast, the oldest manuscripts of the Alexandrian text type do not have this passage and modern scholars believe it to be a late edition. Unless you are willing to drink a glass of poison to prove your point, it seems to me that the modern scholars have done inerrancy a huge favor.

[1] Doug Kutilek, “Erasmus, His Greek Text And His Theology,” accessed September 10, 2013



[2] David Alan Black, New Testament Textual Criticism, Baker Books, 2006, p. 64.

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.


  1. Christy Marsh says:

    A word of warning: If you oppose Rome and are vocal about that opposition on social networks, be aware that professional Vatican inquisitors are infiltrating these sites. They are a particularly nasty bunch and will threaten your welfare if you provide irrefutable proof of Rome’s crimes. This happened to me yesterday when I shared my genealogy and the history of crimes against my family. Also be aware that priests are contacting particularly vocal opponents via the internet to “arrange a meeting.” This has happened to both myself and a friend who is also a vocal opponent. Be aware and protect yourselves.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Christy – I wrote a book 2 years ago that called the Pope the false prophet and the mass a heresy. This year I wrote a book connecting them to UFOs and demons posing as aliens. I’ve spoke publicly on these topics. So far I have not been threatened. I’m not afraid “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”(1 Jn 4:4)

  2. Barry Wyatt says:


    I have been a fan of yours in the past and really like the work you have done with Tom Horn. I am a bit puzzled at what you really are out to accomplish with this article. I am also a fan of Chris Pinto as well as a number of other other speakers/writers/radio show hosts who tend to travel in the same circles. In the last few months I have started seeing my favorite people turning on each other- and often over issues that clearly aren’t core doctrines. If you have to defend a core doctrine and point out where someone is lead astray, I get it. It is not just you, but how any of you have thought about it and come to the conclusion that you would be building up the body of Christ by publicly expressing a condescending opinion of some of the other brother’s work blows me away (again, on topics outside of Christianity’s core doctrines). In this case I haven’t seen the entire Tares Among the Wheat documentary, though I have seen parts of it available on Youtube. You really don’t represent a number of points that Chris has made in the past accurately in your article. Pinto has always argued there was good evidence that Codex Sinaticus was created by Constantine Simonides, intentionally using a much older script. Reading other articles you have posted currently, you are giving off an impression of minimizing the work of anyone without a Ph.D at the end of their name. In the case of all of the research that Chris has done concerning this topic, it is really condescending. I would ask you to seriously just stop for a minute, and ponder what you are really setting out to achieve with your posts. If you are successful at undermining Chris Pinto’s (or other Christian’s) work, are you really helping to make disciples of all nations? Are you really showing him love as a Christian brother, because I don’t see that as being optional. If the people outside of the Christian community see the infighting going on in this small community I would think they would be less likely to see us as being any different from the rest of the world- and definitely NOT more likely to become a disciple of Christ. I am not writing this as something for you to post, but I hope that Chris will provide some measured commentary. Although I may seem to be one-sided on this topic, you are my brother as well, and I will defend you as tenaciously if I find someone discrediting your valuable work or undermining you.

    Your brother in Christ,

    • Barry Wyatt says:


      My sincere apology for letting my auto-correct misspell your name- that is a bad way to start any communication.


      • Cris Putnam says:


        Chris is actually doing damage to some peoples perception of the reliability of the New Testament by doing this. Textual criticism does us a great service by finding what the original authors wrote. Why would we want to rely on the work of the 16th century Catholic? We have discovered 1000s more manuscripts since then. It’s not condescending to point out the glaring flaws and leaps of logic. If you want brain surgery performed you shouldn’t go to auto-mechanic, if you want information on the Greek New Testament why would you listen to someone who cannot even read it? Sorry but that’s not condescending, its common sense.

  3. Well thought out article that had to give you a certain amount of pain writing in opposition to a friend’s beliefs but we stand for the truth at all costs right? When a Christian is a public speaker and writer and has apparent error, the word of God tells us to warn the Church about such a person. Hopefully, Mr. Pinto learns from this as men do. I certainly wouldn’t throw out his catalog of work because of a few times he tends to color outside of the lines. We all catch ourselves doing it at some point in our lives.

    I’d like to see more of what you’ve got on the verse in Mark regarding drinking poison. I have Pentecostal friends who believe they can do this although none have tried it. Plus, the Jolo, West Virginia snake handlers live a few hours south of me. Would like to have some really good ammo to go up against their claims the next time it comes up. One ex-Facebook friend in particular used to tell folks they were unsaved because they didn’t operate in all nine gifts of the spirit as he claimed to do as well as the members of his Pentecostal assembly. Would look forward to a future article on this subject of the gifts that are said to have been available on the day of Pentecost and how that matters today in belief systems like the one I just mentioned.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      David the majority of scholars now believe the longer ending (Mk. 16:9-20) was written later by someone else as a summary of Jesus’ resurrection appearances and a few miracles performed by Christians. It gives a misleading impression that’s …well dangerous. Most all modern translations either don’t include it or put a heading on it or footnote that it is most likely an addition. You can read about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_16

      • David Strader says:

        Thanks brother.

      • Chuckles says:


        My NASB has a note like that at the end of Mark’s Gospel. I have to admit, it always seemed to me as if there was a distinct change in “tone” at Mk. 16:9 that wasn’t consistent with the rest of the account.

        There’s apparently another theory that the real end point for Mark’s Gospel is even earlier, at Mk. 16:3. That would eliminate the resurrection of Christ from Mark’s account. Have you heard of that? I’ve heard some who defend verses 9-16 as being part of the original text use this “verse 3 theory” to support their argument, but that seems to me like a red herring.

        Anyway, thanks for addressing this issue. I too have appreciated very much Chris Pinto’s work regarding America’s revolutionary founders, and their real attitudes toward the Christian faith. Pinto has done a great service there, especially in refuting David Barton. But it would seem that perhaps, with this manuscript issue, Pinto may have waded into waters too deep for his expertise. It’s good that you’re providing the other side.

        Regarding Christians “turning on each other”, a Christian is not turning against another Christian by attempting to correct him/her, nor is it wrong to do so publicly when the Christian in error has published error. Chris Pinto has done that very thing with David Barton, refuting Barton’s errors publicly.

        Good to see this issue dealt with.

      • Scarlock says:

        Hello Cris,

        I have a lot of respect for both yourself and Chris Pinto for the good work you do for the body of Christ.

        With reguards to your stance on Mk. 16:9-20 , and the general perception I got of “age = accuracey”.
        Have you looked at the work Dr Chuck Missler published in his “How we got our Bible” series detailing the works of Dr Ivan Panin and others.

        Dr Missler points out the fact that the encoded heptatic structure of the entire scripture authenticates the last 12 verses of Mark, and refutes the shortened versions. This is the preverbial nail in the coffin for any Alexandrian rendering of Mark.

        He further explains how the Gnostics conspired to remove key verses from the bible, changing a little bit here and a little bit there.

        You question a motivation or “pay off” for this conspiracey, forgetting the prime motivation behind ALL conspiracies, Satan. It’s crystal clear why the ancient manuscripts were corrupted, and that is simply to create doubt. Doubt is the very first weapon weilded by Satan to turn people away from God (Gen 3), and what better way then to create doubt over the authenticity of the origional texts!

        I would question why you would think that the influance of Satan behind the Vatican would not be the same influance of Satan behind the Gnostics? Why would there NOT be a coordinated attack and conspiracey against the word of God by Satan.

        • Cris Putnam says:

          Unfortunately, Missler did not deal with all of the evidence. Two early Christian writers testify that these verses are not found in Mark: Eusebius says that they are not in accurate copies of Mark and are missing from most manuscripts (Quaestiones ad Marinum I). Also Jerome testifies that almost all Greek manuscripts of his time lack vss. 9-20 (Epistle CXX.3, ad Hedibiam).

          Pinto’s movie slanders a Christian biblical scholar Tischendorf and promotes a known con-man Simonides who claims to have forged Sinaitcus. His claims were examined and debunked in the 19th century and Pinto presents a very one sided version of the history. It seems the only reason to believe Simonides is from a misguided effort to promote KVonlyism.

  4. James says:

    Well if you believe what the Pope said today, Why worry about the Wheat and Tares? Yep, this is one of those throw down the gauntlet. Let the defending of this Pope begin, but to do it, you had better be good at shape-shifting. Another reason there is no need for a Pope. God the Father…Jesus…You or Me. Jesus is my Mediator… When in doubt read the directions.

  5. Greg says:

    I’m a big fan of Chris Putnam’s work, btw. Part 2 of my post that was rejected on Chris Pinto’s website, some 5 weeks ago:

    The so-called Critical Text is not (does not equal) Codex Sinaiticus.

    The Byzantine Textus Receptus (TR) is NOT the so-called Majority Text.

    This TR-only argument was settled decades ago, with many other textual witnesses surfacing (since Westcott) supporting the so-called critical text family. The critical text family does not all hang on Sinaiticus, and it goes way beyond Westcott & Hort.

    While Pinto’s argument is not KJV-Only, it’s method, presuppositions & approach to textual criticism IS essentially the same i.e. built on unsupported theological presuppositions, logical fallacies, ad hominem arguments & guilt-by-association. TR-Only will undoubtedly produce KJV-Only Lite, but why stop there?

    The question isn’t whether God preserved His word down through the ages. The question is HOW, and where.

    The transmission history of the NT was not the same as that of the OT. There was intense Roman persecution against Christians in the early centuries. NT copies were made quickly under terrible conditions, and circulated under threat of execution. There were no trained, professional, quality-control NT copyist teams, publishing houses, or scribal institutions. The early church couldn’t exactly outsource this task to the Jewish scribes & Pharisees.

    Remember the Dead Sea Scroll & Elephantine papyri discoveries in the last two centuries. Amazing witnesses to the preservation of the Biblical canon, & the readings & linguistics of the early manuscripts. People once thought koine Greek was some weird ‘Holy Spirit language’ until the Elephantine papyri were discovered (in pagan Egypt; gasp!) in the late 19th century, proving that koine was the lingua franca at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry. Should these recent discoveries be discarded whenever they don’t match Byzantine material? Because God ‘wouldn’t’ have tucked discoveries away for later times?

    Beware of a priori ‘spiritual assumptions’ about what God must have done, or how He did it.. since the text itself doesn’t describe or prescribe the HOW of that process. If God “must” have _widely_ preserved his word in the hands of the _majority_, then why did the Bible essentially disappear from the hands of common man for some nine hundred ‘Holy Roman Empire’ years? What does a thousand years of Biblical darkness do to this ‘God always kept His word in the hands of the majority’ premise? Is God always saving the majority in the world, or the professing church? You’d think He would, right?

    Beware of using a ‘Saints vs. Sinners’, guilt-by-association, scoreboard approach to the debate over which text family is closer to the original autographs e.g. the ‘liberal’ Westcott versus TR champion Erasmus (the humanist!). Drill down & you’ll find all the textual families were transmitted, handled & compiled by sinners(!). Quite often liberal & even unbelieving scholars produce incredibly reliable work. God managed to speak to the fathers ‘in many portions & many ways’.. occasionally overriding the limitations of a donkey, pagan king, or even the witch at Endor. Many Christians would be shocked to discover some of the heretical beliefs held by John Calvin, Billy Graham, or C.S. Lewis. J.H. Thayer (an unbeliever) produced one of the best NT Greek lexicons in history. God can & has preserved His word, yes even through infidels & unbelievers.

    Not every matter of scholarship boils down to Jesuits vs Reformed traditions. One wonders if this resurgent enamorment with the Textus Receptus isn’t more about someone’s newfound crush on the (so-called) Westminster Divines & reformed theology.

    Beware of arguments that dismiss decades of conservative lower textual criticism, in favor of an opinion of the librarian who happens to be the current custodian in possession of an ancient uncial codex.

    Should we presuppose (based on Pinto’s arguments) that God would preserve the best copies of His Greek & Hebrew texts in institutions owned & run by godly, saved Christians? If so, then why are these manuscripts being divinely protected & preserved in secular places like the British & Israel Museums?

    Beware of cherry-picked comparisons between textual families, dropped into a popular documentary to pad an unsupported, theological premise. E.g. compare the TR reading of John 1:18 “only begotten son” to the so-called ‘corrupt, Jesuit counterfeit’ Alexandrian-type reading “only begotten God”. Which sounds watered-down to you? Should we determine which reading is authentic based on how it rings to our ears?

    BTW: I think Chris Pinto’s works on the Secret Histories of America’s Beginnings, and (esp) the Hidden Faith of the Founding Fathers (exposing David Barton) are all superb. I applaud & encourage his work exposing the Vatican in general, and the Jesuits in particular, with their modern role pursuing an ecumenical, One-World false religion & government. They’re near the top (on the human side) of the coming Beast system. Chris Pinto’s strength is his presenting & film-making skills. Pinto is just off on this ‘TR-only’ side issue, and I think he jumped the gun in this area. No major truth or doctrine is at stake in this (sadly) renewed food-fight over TR, Majority, and critical text-types. It’s a tempest in a teapot, a distraction. There are bigger battles that need fighting imo, than: TR vs. Majority vs. Critical Text types. And we don’t need to re-dig our fathers’ wells in this area.

    Respectfully (all typos inserted by Jesuits)

    -Greg in San Diego

    • Chuckles says:

      Oh yes, “A Lamp In the Dark”, another of Pinto’s timely films exposing the “Rome is the original church” canard. After viewing that film, I read the article on the Adullam Films website dealing with the Waldenses, Albigenses and other early Christian groups who stood with the Bible, against Rome’s heresies and compromises, never allowing themselves to be absorbed into the RCC. The article promised more info on those groups in the sequel to “A Lamp In the Dark”, to be entitled “Tares Among the Wheat”. I was really looking forward to seeing the new film.

      I’m disappointed to find that, instead of continuing the study of (real) Church history, it looks like Chris Pinto has detoured into a mine field of sorts. The Lord can steer the controversy to His purposes, of course, but a complete, comprehensive film exposing Rome’s false account of Church history is still badly needed.

      Maybe Pinto will get around to that eventually.

  6. k.m says:

    Chris your looking at this all wrong, first off the pope just said you dont need to believe in god to go to heaven. In other words purgatory or mary no longer matter from what he said. Sinaticus has 23000 corrections, its to prove our theology wrong and christians are wrong because the bible is wrong! You wrote a book on the vaticant and alien deception well then the catholic doctrine will become the alien doctrine it will change.

    So dont look at it as what to the catholics have to gain, but what does satan have to gain? Well he has alot to gain when we cant say the bible was inspired because it has so many errors. So welcome to the one world religion that isnt Catholicism which the vaticant will help usher in. You can also listen to people like Mike Hoggard completely break down why alot of translations based off of sinaticus is corrupting the word of god before this video was even released.

  7. James says:

    You say:

    “As far as undermining inerrancy, I find the long ending of Mark from Textus Receptus to be much more problematic. “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mk 16:18. KJV) In contrast, the oldest manuscripts of the Alexandrian text type do not have this passage and modern scholars believe it to be a late edition. Unless you are willing to drink a glass of poison to prove your point, it seems to me that the modern scholars have done inerrancy a huge favor.”

    So your argument against the long ending of Mark 16 is based upon the feasibility of God’s claims? I thought that the Christian axiom was Scripture, I didn’t realize that it was instead pragmatism! Scripture says that we are taught inwardly by the Holy Spirit not by modern scholars (1 John 2:27). I’m well aware that invariably both sides of a dispute regarding Scripture will claim that they are being led by the Holy Spirit, and yet we know that the Holy Spirit does not cause men to construct arguments for the authenticity of Scripture that rely upon the wisdom of men instead of the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5). So, if one were being led by the Holy Spirit we would not expect their arguments to rely upon the irrational (as shown below) conclusions of textual scholars but instead upon rational arguments that are based solely on the power of God which is seen in His preservation of the Bible.

    Incidentally, you invalidly infer that all believers should have all spiritual gifts when you state: “Unless you are willing to drink a glass of poison to prove your point.” Perhaps you should heed God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30: “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? After converting Paul’s sentence from the interrogative mode to the declarative mode (as the biblical context requires us to) we arrive at the proposition that not all believers are expected to have all spiritual gifts (including being impervious to poison).

    You state “that the modern scholars have done inerrancy a huge favor” and yet the Critical Text upon which their conclusions are ultimately based is the product of B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, two Anglo-Catholics, who both denied Biblical inerrancy, promoted racism, and are said to have dabbled in spiritism.

    Regarding Mark 16:18 and the miraculous nature of the promises in this verse, it may be instructive to note that similar promises were made in back Isaiah 43:2 yet Scripture gives us reasons to believe that those promises were realized. Likewise, the fulfilment of Mark 16:18 is found in verses like Acts 3:6-7, Act 5:15 and Act 28:3-6. However, even if there were no verses that demonstrated the fulfilment of Mark 16:18, Christians would still be obliged to believe it since it is the Word of God; yet, you argue as if it’s possible to decide which Scriptures are authentic by relying upon the conclusions of fallible “scholars.” I thought that there was only one Arbiter of truth?

    Additionally, I have read that the longer ending of Mark 16 is cited during the second century (Papias, Justin, Irenaeus), the third century (Vicentius, Tertullian, Hippolytus), throughout the fourth century (Ambrose, the Cappadocian Fathers), and the beginning of the fifth century (Augustine). This would mean that the very verses in contention were quoted by many early Christian writers of which at least three were important church fathers whose writings pre-date both the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts. It is also said that the large and overwhelming majority of ancient manuscripts have preserved the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel. What do the modern scholars say about this?

    As Christians, all of our arguments regarding which manuscripts are genuine or not should first and foremost be based upon the doctrine of preservation. It goes with out saying that if any argument is irrational then it cannot come from the Holy Spirit since the bible says that God cannot contradict Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Yet, it seems like every time someone is out to discredit the inclusion of the longer ending of Mark 16, they use the existence of Sinaiticus and Vaticanus as one of the main reasons why the shorter ending should be preferred despite the fact that this argument is demonstrably erroneous. Even if one were to make the impossible leap to the unwarranted conclusion that these (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) are in fact the oldest extant manuscripts (I say this is impossible because the dating methods used are based upon assumptions and are thus fallible), it would be thoroughly irrational for one to thereby conclude that the contents of these manuscripts are thus closer in accuracy to the content of the originals. Why? Well, for one, it is easy to envision a scenario where during the supposed ancient time that these manuscripts were said to have been created, there simultaneously existed hundreds of other manuscripts that were less heretical than these two and were therefore used daily. This alternate inference would explain the quick demise of contemporaneous manuscripts and the preservation of the relatively unused Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. How could one rule out this inference while maintaining the other inference that exalts these two manuscripts to the status of “the earliest and thus the best” without committing the elementary blunder in logic commonly referred to as “asserting the consequent?” Since there are many other undermining inferences one could hypothesize to explain why the oldest manuscripts are not necessarily the most reliable, it follows that there aren’t any necessary inferences that one must derive from the stipulated premise that these manuscripts are the oldest. This is why similar conclusions made by “modern scholars” are nothing more than logical fallacies. Such is the case with the conclusion made by Dr. Scot McKendrick in the BBC documentary excerpt that was included in the “TARES AMONG THE WHEAT” documentary. He erroneously concludes that “This [Codex Siniaticus] is the ancestor of all the Bibles that everybody else has in the world.” An astute logician would die laughing upon examine the premises used to reach such a conclusion. Yet, many and perhaps the majority of Christian “scholars” that I have read, reach similar conclusions based solely upon the flawed premise of antiquity.

    Speaking as one who does NOT rely upon the dates assigned to any of these manuscripts, I see Sinaiticus and Vaticanus as two spurious manuscripts that deserve more scrutiny but less importance than the thousands of others and the “TARES AMONG THE WHEAT” documentary establishes this case to my satisfaction. For anyone wishing to enter the world of bible manuscripts and their history, the first and utmost principle that one should adhere to is the doctrine of biblical preservation which is undergirded by verses such as: 1 Samuel 3:19; Psalm 12:6-7; 105:8; 119:89, 152, 160; 138:2; Ecclesiastes 3:14; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 4:4; 5:18, 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23-25; etc. Once the Christian realizes that God is an active participant in the preservation of His Word (and thus His integrity), one begins to understand how one should draw conclusions regarding the manuscripts that we have. Reasonable conclusions are not based upon a fallible idea that elevates two manuscripts as elite over hundreds of others simply based upon their supposed antiquity, reasonable conclusions are based upon the infallible promise from Our Infallible God using the expected outworkings of His promise. The wickedness and guile associated with these two manuscripts is not consistent with how the biblical God would be expected to preserve His Word, this conclusion is based upon His criteria (in the Scriptures), not mine.

    With all of the above in mind, the “TARES AMONG THE WHEAT” documentary presents compelling confirmations of God’s promise to preserve His Word in the Traditional Text. After all, why shouldn’t we link the prominence of the Traditional Text and the Reformation to the doctrine of biblical preservation without fear of being impugned? Biblical preservation is promised and accomplished by the hand of God through his elect custodians and not through textual scholars. For the Old Testament the custodians of God’s oracles were the Israelites (Romans 3:2); for the new testament the custodians are the Church (1 Timothy 3:15). So, if one acknowledges that the Traditional Text is quoted by prominent Christian writers in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and one acknowledges that in history the Traditional Text was in use by the Church (Greek) throughout the greater part of the Byzantine period (312AD-1453AD) and for over 350 years afterwards by the Protestant churches of the Reformation, it then becomes clear that the Traditional Text is the object of preservation.

    Finally, having completely and on numerous occasions watched Chris Pinto’s “TARES AMONG THE WHEAT” and after listening to the CDs that he released afterwards on Codex Siniaticus, I can safely say that you have yet to address many major issues that remain compelling arguments for why Codex Siniaticus should be treated with the greatest suspicion. Among these issues, a deal-breaker for me is realizing that there is no good reason for Tishendorf not to have attended the showdown that was publicized in the papers regarding the authenticity of the his codex. Obviously there are many other concerns, for instance, anyone (but especially a supposed Protestant) who would consider it an honor to meet with and keep company with Pope Gregory XVI (who was overseeing the slaughter of dissenters during the ongoing inquisition of that time) is a person that should be viewed with the utmost scrutiny. Other reasons could be provided were it not for the sake of brevity but I think that my point has been made.

    I see irony in your act of invoking Dr. James White as being more knowledgeable than Mr. Pinto about “textual criticism” especially since Dr. White has gone on the record as denying Dr. Tishendorf’s own account that he found Codex Siniaticus in a waste basket. In a debate with Dr. Moorman, White says:

    “I did want to correct just one misapprehension. Sinaiticus was not found in or near a trash can. That is a common myth, but it’s untrue. All you have to do is read Constantine von Tischendorf’s own first-hand account of his discovery of the manuscript. A monk brought it out of the closet, the cell, wrapped in red cloth. Folks, people in monasteries do not wrap garbage in red cloths, O.K? This is a text that had been in use for 1500 years at that time.” – Debate between Jack Moorman and Dr James White, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwe_nxeVwE0,(Time Marker: 31:12 – 31:50)

    Yet when we examine Tishendorf’s own account we find the following:

    “It was at the foot of Mount Sinai, in the Convent of St. Catherine, that I discovered the pearl of all my researches. In visiting the library of the monastery, in the month of May, 1844, I perceived in the middle of the great hall a large and wide basket full of old parchments; and the librarian, who was a man of information, told me that two heaps of papers like these, mouldered by time, had been already committed to the flames. What was my surprise to find amid this heap of papers a considerable number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in Greek, which seemed to me to be one of the most ancient that I had ever seen. The authorities of the convent allowed me to possess myself of a third of these parchments, or about forty-three sheets, all the more readily as they were destined for the fire. But I could not get them to yield up possession of the remainder. The too lively satisfaction which I had displayed had aroused their suspicions as to the value of this manuscript…And so saying, he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume wrapped up in a red cloth and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover and discovered to my great surprise, not only those very fragments which, fifteen years before, I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete, and, in addition, the Epistle of Barnabas and a part of the Pastor of Hermas. ” – When Were Our Gospels Written? An Argument by Constantine Tischendorf. With a Narrative of the Discovery of the Sinaitic Manuscript

    As is seen from Tishendorf’s own account, both claims (found in a basket vs. wrapped in a red cloth) are mentioned by Tishendorf yet White portrays these claims as being dichotomous; he wants his audience to believe that the “found in a basket” claim is false while the “wrapped in red cloth” claim is true. Now if White has since issued a retraction of his faulty assertion then the next sentence is no longer necessary since we are all prone to error. Otherwise, since Dr. White implies by his quote that He is aware of Tishendorf’s account, it is not completely unreasonable for the reader to conclude that he is engaging in deception or is in fact the one who is misapprehending the situation. Either way, I would think twice about exalting White above Pinto in regards to how they handle the subject of Textual Criticism.

    • Ryan says:

      Thank you James, for the best and most informed post here. As one who’s actually familiar with Textual Criticism, I too can readily say that “the ‘TARES AMONG THE WHEAT’ documentary establishes this case to my satisfaction”. It is true when Greg above says “The critical text family does not all hang on Sinaiticus, and it goes way beyond Westcott & Hort”. But that is said in a way as to insinuate that there are plentiful linchpins to nail the Critical Greek Text to the wall as being the Original. In similar fashion, Mr. Putnam copies & pastes from Wiki a smathering of uncials and miniscules to make it look as though today’s CGT – with or without Codex Sinaiticus (Codex Aleph) – is plentifully confirmed.

      However, it would have been nice to see Mr. Putnam also reference the same David Allen Black’s – whose first book he references above in support of the papyri – sequel, “Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism”, wherein he appraises fellow colleague Dr. Maurice Robinson’s Majority Text position as superbly informed and quite convincing. By no means is the Critical Greek Text position even settled as to the textual platform (though the same must be admitted with the Majority Text but to a drastically lower degree, and let it not be forgotten that the Textus Receptus used to be THE ‘majority text’), but the total manuscriptual evidence does actually point to the TR-MT in favor over the CGT when the unduly brushed-aside Dean Burgon’s exhaustive works are exhumed. Yes, it IS true that the world’s foremost textual critics brush Burgon to the side, but NOT because they’ve refuted him. It is because they are less informed than he was and/or they have formulated their own opinion against the TR-MT position in favor of the view that the older is the more reliable, and that the longer must be additional or conflational. But when read, each scholar decides IN HIS OWN MIND which material is authentic, which is not; which is conflationary, which is primitive (original).

      For example, today’s foremost commentary on Acts starts out by seesawing the arguments on the underlying Text to the point that by end of paragraph, he’s left the reader with NO ASSURANCE that there actually IS a determinable, definitive underlying Text on the Acts. His own methodology begins with the CGT, then splices in some MT verses that HE FEELS to be original. THIS IS THE STATE OF TEXTUAL CRITICISM.

      And that holds true for both New Testament AND Old Testament textual criticism. To quote Greg once again: “Remember the Dead Sea Scroll & Elephantine papyri discoveries in the last two centuries. Amazing witnesses to the preservation of the Biblical canon, & the readings & linguistics of the early manuscripts. People once thought koine Greek was some weird ‘Holy Spirit language’ until the Elephantine papyri were discovered (in pagan Egypt; gasp!) in the late 19th century, proving that koine was the lingua franca at the time of Christ’s earthly ministry”. Well, yes these discoveries ARE amazing testaments, but that’s not the same as saying that they are letter-perfect, word-perfect, chapter-perfect witnesses. Christian apologists all too often cite the Dead Sea Isaiah scrolls as though it confirms letter-for-letter today’s (Medieval) Hebrew manuscripts. But in reality, they do not. And neither do two of any Medieval Hebrew manuscripts agree with each other perfectly. And yet the apologists, arguing from their lack of investigation, foist upon believers ‘Bible Codes’ that simply cannot exist (referring namely to Hebrew codes; I noted mention above of Ivan Panin’s work, which although interesting does not take into account several linguistic criteria necessary to prove its Greek-priority case). Furthermore, Greg above is regurgitating the same fallacy that most NT scholars still do today: that Koine (vulgar) Greek was the “lingua franca”. No, what these documents prove is that the language of the NT was not exclusively used for its own composition; but the thing is, that was already known! See…..

      The language style of the Greek NT is the same that had been used centuries early in translating the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Yes, the Greek NT employs TRANSLATIONAL Greek. And so do many ancient documents subsequently found. Even the works of Josephus are in translational Greek, as he himself informs us. So all that Koine Greek probably is, is translational Greek, at least that of the NT. One Dr. Gustaf Dahlman from the early 1900’s wrote some works arguing this case, but conveniently (as with the Textus Receptus), the evidence marshalled forth was drowned by preexisting CONSENSUS, to which had been ammunitioned one Dr. Adolf Deissmann’s works. Deissmann makes a good case for certain aspects to first century Greek, but needlessly uses the evidence to buttress an a priori cause towards the NT Greek being ‘common’. NT Greek is not common; the grammar in some books is horrid (though revealingly faithful if considered ‘translational’). So, if one wants to know how Textual Criticism REALLY works, it is by this: consensus.

      Consensus is a powerful thing. It could prove a TR-based Original, a MT-original, or a CGT-original (or arguably a Syriac-original, which is one of the thorniest and most lied about issues there is in NT Criticism). It all depends on who has the evidence. Or so they say. But in reality, it really depends on who dictates and controls the interpretation of the evidence, as well as the evidence itself. For instance, note how in Pinto’s video the librarian ends up lying to the camera in promising a full disclosure of the story(ies) of Tischendorf’s “discovery”. You do well to point out what you point out above, James. I have to disagree with Mr. Putnam when he states, “Pinto’s movie slanders a Christian biblical scholar Tischendorf and promotes a known con-man Simonides who claims to have forged Sinaitcus. His claims were examined and debunked in the 19th century and Pinto presents a very one sided version of the history. It seems the only reason to believe Simonides is from a misguided effort to promote KVonlyism”. I believe that Pinto does NOT slander Tischendorf; that the case of Simonides was still left up in the air but that the case moved on because CONSENSUS MOVED IT ON until Pinto grabbed the baton ; that it is in fact very one-sided to merely state “Pinto presents a very one sided version of the history” without confuting, from the same records which Pinto utilizes, where he misappropriates that written record ; and that Pinto in fact favors, along with the KJV, the Geneva Bible, because they are both based on the TR.

      Hopefully some reader can see just how empty it is to claim, as did Mr. Putnam, “the majority of scholars now believe the longer ending (Mk. 16:9-20) was written later…” Well, I can say from experience that that ‘majority’ is a controlled majority, the ones most often published by the major publishing houses due to their particular theological or textual stance. Not that someone behind the curtain controls the scholars’ decisions, but that the decisions being made to popularize and thus canonize into consensus, are coming from a controlled Establishment closely guarded and ever trying to chip away at the foundations of Belief. One small example is what happened to Princeton University starting in 1929, and even to its breakaway successor Westminster which continues to battle against Compromise. It happens incrementally. Chip by chip. And not just against the traditional TR-based people such as the KJVO, but also within them; it is nteresting to note that KJV-onlyism is actually preceded by a Latin Vulgate-onlyism.

      The way I see it, Mr. Putnam in filing his charges against Pinto, and then Missler who “did not deal with all of the evidence”, is that Mr. Putnam is guilty of the same. What exactly is THE New Testament to him? I can only infer that it is the CGT, based on his defense of Mark’s Ending, his “the majority of scholars now believe”, and his “Most all modern translations”, along with his one-sided excerpt in favor of the early (though provencially dubious) papyri. And yet…………..

      These selfsame (consensus) modern translations STILL include in Mark 7:19 the NON-EXISTENT:
      “(Thus he declared all foods clean.)”
      This is quoting the same ESV that Mr. Putnam hyperlinks for us on this webpage. Except when you look it up in a print bible, the otherwise Red Letters suddenly become Black. And why is this? BECAUSE THIS STATEMENT IS NOT PART OF THE GREEK NT. Not CGT, not TR, not MT, no not a single manuscript or fragment, uncial or otherwise!!! It is only found as a marginal notation by a very late scribe in one copied manuscript, but somebody got the idea that the copying process should integrate the scribe’s interpretive thought directly into the text itself! Interestingly, the KJV lacks this (false) statement. But hey——CONSENSUS EVERYBODY! This literally IS what the majority of scholars believe should belong in our New Testaments. And sadly, the more modern they become, the less integrity they have–at least the ESV brackets it and switches from red to black font, though they are to be severely faulted for footnoting 7:19’s immediately preceding Greek with the literal rendering and yet NOTHING for the obviously intrusive & NON-EXISTENT statement “thus he declared all foods clean.

      People have written books about issues revolving around Deity, literary style, literal vs. dynamic equivalence, lexicographical updatings (such as for the Greek word Monogenes), etc. etc. etc. But the fact is, that there WAS INDEED a conspiracy that crept up over time, found its way into Simonides hands (the alleged author of Codex Aleph after all, who probably added novelty to Codex Alexandrinus), then into Tischendorf’s hands, a scholar who Dean Burgon constantly has to refute for sloppy scholarship, then into Dean Alford’s hands (upon whose work the famous Expositor’s Greek Testament was based), then into the hands of the known Spiritualists Westcott & Hort (read anti-Holy Spirit, if you will), then finally into Richard Weymouth’s hands who collated all these along with Vaticanus and some other texts, and published under the dialectical title “The Resultant Greek Testament”. Yes, the consensus-result of purely subjective methodologies. But surely the method must have been refined, right?

      According to a Japanese textual critic, there are a mere 80 places of disagreement between this 1892 (1st Ed.) textual platform for John’s Gospel and the 2010 (28th Ed.) platform collated by the Alands, and a mere 54 places of disagreement from the United Bible Society’s 4th Ed. What needs to be understood by the sheeple is that Barbara & Kurt Aland monopolize the two —- yes, they produced BOTH the Nestle/Aland (now just the Aland or SBL) platform AND the UBS platform. And they’ve been at it for all 28 editions / 4 editions!!!!!!! But this is ridiculous considering that the textual platform itself has hardly changed from that which is found in the Westcott-Hort edition! Earlier than the Sinaiticus was the Lachmann and also the Tregelles textual platforms. Even earlier yet was Albert Bengel who is considered the father of modern Greek NT textual criticism. His aim was pure, but Tregelles’ is definitely questionable and Pinto rightly paints him as such within his documentary. I personally think his intentions are made transparent most in his Hebrew lexicographical work. He tried to sanitize a Rationalist’s work (like many other Hebraists of the time), riding the consensus wave while minimalizing the Spirit-filled ‘Cambridge Orientalist’s’ work (but at least utilizing it) such that that scholar’s work is STILL regarded as inferior (though Ewald did the worst damage, and still dominates Hebraist thought today).

      So in essence, we have a monopolized, subjectively patched-together Critical Greek Text, really the work of two Spiritualists (anti-Holy Spirit) who worked from inspiration of the Tischendorf edition, from which in the same year of its publication the Revised Version translation that ALL modern CGT-based (which would be most) translations flow from, under the editorship of Philip Schaff (as also documented by Pinto), we have the following essentially-unchanged Tischendorf-inspired Spiritualist W/H-inspired works which dominate our modern scene (not being exhaustive here):


      The reason that the minor change is bad in this case has to do with the roots. Of course, lack of change is what everybody wants for chain-of-custody over time; but the CGT collators’ roots stink, and Pinto wasn’t the first to smell it. Very few people side with Dean Burgon today, but that doesn’t make him wrong. Thank God for Maurice Robinson, whose methodology is sound enough to impress if not persuade the David Allan Black that Putnam borrows from. I wouldn’t trust my opinion of Textual Criticism in Mr. Putnam’s hands. He is a theologian, not a textual critic. But he can contribute to textual criticism, as can Chris Pinto. And, I do think Mr. Pinto has contributed, immensely so. And let me be specific here: contributed to Greek New Testament textual criticism. For those who live under the delusion that the Old Testament is a settled matter, you live under a very heavy delusion indeed.

      But I say these words not to defray faith, but to encourage the blinders to fall off and the stupor to be challenged to work. Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, no one can rightly navigate the waters of Biblical Textual Criticism, and subsequently Biblical Interpretation, and THEN consequently, theology. Yes, theology dictates translation and even Text-platform choices, too. Heck, it even moved the rabbis to tinker with the grammar itself of the Hebrew Bible. These are serious, serious issues. And because it is no light matter, I do sympathize with KJVO’ers, but simply cannot side with error, no matter what side of the fence it falls on. And in this case, and after having read the source material referenced by director Chris Pinto, I do not see wherein Chris Putnam is justified in accusing the former of finding “A Conspiracy Without a Goal”. The conspiracy is there, in AND OUTSIDE OF Mr. Pinto’s documentary. And the goal is as “Scarlock” and “k.m” point it out as, above. James, I wish Mr. Putnam would have been more fair to Mr. Pinto in doing his research before accusing Mr. Pinto of doing his wrongly, especially in light of how you point out Mr. Putnam’s treatment of Dr. White. This is what moved me to write. Mr. Putnam seems to have done worse than what he accuses Chris Pinto of doing.

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  1. […] posted on LogosApologia.org by author, Cris Putnam.  He refers to the thesis of the film as A Conspiracy Without a Goal.   While we are not at all offended by the disagreement, we find a number of considerable […]