On pages 318 to 321 of her book New Age Bible Versions, Gail Riplinger has a section entitled "T-H-E Christ: Antichrist" in which she attempts to demonstrate how using the definite article "the" in front of "Christ" is a New Age technique to indicate a New Age Christ. The following is my response to the information and argumentation she uses.
After she starts by referencing two Christian authors who acknowledge that cults use the term "the Christ" to mean something other than Jesus Christ, she makes the interesting statement that "Real references to Jesus as 'the Christ' are rare". I can only assume she's hypocritically referring to (but won't mention) the 19 times the KJV has "the Christ" in the text1, the very thing she's about to slam other versions for doing. She also neglects to mention (for obvioius reasons) that these "real references" prove an important fact: that "the Christ" is only a New Age term in certain non-Biblical contexts. "Christ" (xristos in Greek, mashiyach in Hebrew) is not really a formal name, it is a title which means "Messiah". It is certainly not "New Age" for a Christian to refer to Jesus as "the Christ", "the Messiah".
In fact, the KJV itself completely disproves Riplinger on this point: Riplinger is about to try to portray other versions as "antichrist" for using the term "the Christ", but the KJV says "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." (1 John 2:22)
The next thing Riplinger does is provide a table of verse comparisons, where the KJV has "Christ" and other versions have "the Christ". The following table is a reproduction of her table, but with an important addition: I have added a fourth column that lists what the Textus Receptus (the Greek text underlying the KJV's NT) has. Why I added this (and why Riplinger didn't) should be obvious:
|NIV, NASB, et al.||KJV||T.R.|
|the Christ||Matt 2:4||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Matt 22:42||Christ||tou xristou (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Matt 24:5||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Matt 24:23||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Mark 12:35||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Luke 4:41||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Luke 20:41||Christ||ton xriston (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Luke 23:39||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Luke 23:35||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Luke 24:26||Christ||ton xriston (the Christ)|
|the Christ||John 1:25||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ may come||John 7:27||Christ cometh||o de xristos otan erxhtai (But when the Christ comes (LITV))|
|the Christ||John 7:31||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||John 7:26||very Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Matt 1:17||Christ||tou xristou (the Christ)|
|The Christ is to remain forever||John 12:34||Christ abideth forever||o xristos menei eis ton aiwna (The Christ remains to the age (LITV))|
|preaching Jesus as the Christ||Acts 5:42||preach Jesus Christ||euaggelizomenoi ihsoun ton xriston (preaching (the gospel) Jesus the Christ)|
|is the Christ||Acts 9:22||this is very Christ||estin o xristos (is the Christ)|
|proof of the Christ who speaks in me||2 Cor 13:3||a proof of Christ speaking in me||dokimhn zhteite tou en emoi lalountos xristou (a proof ye seek of the Christ speaking in me (YLT))|
|the Christ||Acts 26:23||Christ||o xristos (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Acts 8:5||Christ||ton xriston (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Acts 18:28||Christ||ton xriston (the Christ)|
|the Christ. . .the Christ||Acts 17:3||Christ. . .Christ||ton xriston. . .o xristos (the Christ. . .the Christ)|
|the Christ||Acts 3:20||Christ||ton. . .xriston (the. . .Christ)|
|the Christ||Acts 3:18||Christ||ton xriston (the Christ)|
|the Christ||Heb 6:1||Christ||tou xristou (the Christ)|
In every example Riplinger gives in her table where the "NIV, NASB, et al." have used the "New Age" term where the KJV didn't, the Textus Receptus has the definite article just like the versions she condemns. That makes the TR "New Age" according to her logic.
Next, Riplinger has a small table of three verse comparisons, and she attempts to demonstrate that the KJV has a past tense visit of "Christ" while the other versions "have 'the Christ' to come":
Her next table attempts to show how "[t]he bad fruit from the new versions is already appearing", by listing four more verses in the "NIV, NASB, et al." that have "the Christ" (John 7:41, Mark 13:21, Matt 24:23 and Matt 24:5, each of which again has "the Christ" in the TR), accompanied by one reference where the occultist Blavatsky denies it was Jesus who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron and three other references where New Age proponents have used the term "the Christ" in a way that does not mean Jesus Christ. Rather than seeing the obvious fulfillment of prophecy she has just proven from these versions (the context of the last three verses about false Messiahs in the last days), she instead tries to use guilty by association, making such false Messiahs the "bad fruit" of the other versions, i.e. as if it was their fault, by including the word "the" (like the TR does), that false Messiahs come!
In the last area of discussion in this section of her book, she attempts to demonstrate how "[n]ew version editors and New Agers climb on board together, clamoring to be little 'Christs'", because of inclusion of the word "the", thus "separating 'Jesus' from 'Christ'". She does this by providing quotes. The table below are the quotes she gives, and my comments:
|"Each of us is the Christ. . .the true spiritual self. . .the anointed son of God." Filmore||Although I have no interest in defending the cultist Charles Filmore (he started the Unity School of Christianity, a schismatic offshoot from Christian Science), this quote is constructed by Riplinger from phrases from three different books. It does appear to be a fairly accurate representation of his ideas in general though.|
|"Each Christian is in due measure himself a Christ. . .Christians are in a true sense Christs, anointed ones." Westcott||
B.F. Westcott was a respected Anglican Archbishop and theologian in the late 19th century. He is one of Riplinger's favorite targets, for he and F.J.A. Hort produced the revised Greek New Testament of 1881. This particular quote is constructed by taking phrases from two separate books: The Historic Faith (page 53) and The Epistles of St. John (page 73).
|"[F]or Christ. . .is no man but the DIVINE PRINCIPLE in every human being." Blavatsky||Madame Blavatsky was a 19th century occultist. I didn't bother to look up this quote.|
|"We learn to. . .be Christs ourselves." Spangler||David Spangler is a New Ager and self-proclaimed "practical mystic" who believes "Christ" is a cosmic spirit and principle. I didn't look up this quote either.|
Next, Riplinger tries to show how including "the" between "Jesus" and "Christ" is a way for people to teach that Christ is now the church. First this time is another "quote" from Westcott, who she says also denies his bodily resurrection. The quote as given by Riplinger is "The Resurrection of Christ [is only] the church, which is Christ's body. . .through this each believer comes nigh to God. . .he that is in you [1 John 4:4 means] that is in the Christian Society." This is another carefully constructed "quote". It was harder to research than the others, as she footnotes as coming from The Epistles to the Hebrews (page 133) and The Epistles of St. John (page 42) when in fact the second phrase comes from page 258 of the former and the third phrase comes from page 144 of the latter. The first phrase appears to be completely fabricated, as it appears nowhere in either book (the closest is where Westcott quotes Eph 1:22-23 from the KJV on page 341 of The Epistles to the Hebrews, but makes no mention there of "The resurrection of Christ" and especially does not imply "[is only]" as Riplinger pretends).
Regarding the first (imaginary) phrase, Westcott certainly does not deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Westcott has affirmed in countless times in dozens of different books, including the book this quote is supposed to have come from (see his book The Gospel of the Resurrection and chapter 6 of The Historic Faith for just a few examples).
The second phrase comes from a lengthy discussion on Hebrews 9:11. Westcott is discussing about Jesus being a high priest in a more perfect tabernacle, and says "with our present powers of conceiving of divine things we must speak with the most reverent reserve. In this relation then it may be said that 'the greater and more perfect Tabernacle' of which Christ is minister, and (as we must add) in which the Saints worship, gathers up the various means under which God reveals Himself in the spiritual order, and through which men approach to him. Under one aspect, these are represented by the union of the redeemed and perfected hosts made one in Christ as His Body. Through this glorified church answering to the complete humanity which Christ assumed, God is made known, and in and through this each believer comes nigh to God."3
The third phrase comes from Westcott's commentary on 1 John 4:4 (page 144). Of the phrase from the verse "he that is in you", Westcott says "that is in the Christian Society. The Church appears to be set over against the world; so that here the thought is ove the body and not (as in 3:24) of the individual."
Yes, in certain contexts Westcott believes that the church can be called the Christ's body (see Rom 12:5, 1 Cor 12:13, Eph 1:22-23, 4:4, 4:11-16, 5:23, 5:30, Col 1:18, 1:24, 2:19, 3:15, etc.). However, Westcott never states or implies that "Christ" is "the Church" in the sense that Riplinger attempts to portray him as believing. In fact, looking at the larger context she pulled the phrases from to construct the quote, I can only assume that Riplinger is guilty of either cunning, intentional misrepresentation, or gross incompetency.
Perhaps it is fitting the way Riplinger closes her discussion on this subject on why she believes the use of "the" before "Christ" is New Age and antichrist. She shoots herself in the foot by ending with " "Who is a liar," says the apostle John, but he who claims to be Christ. "Jesus is the Christ", not Buddha, a church, "each of us" nor the coming Antichist." Notice how she just said "Jesus is the Christ" after spending four pages condeming that term? Also, no Gail, John doesn't say that, he says "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." Gail wants you to avoid using the term "the Christ" in reference to Jesus, but the Apostle John those that deny that Jesus is "the" Christ are liars. Who do you think is correct?
1 Matt 16:16, Matt 16:20, Matt 26:63, Mark 8:29, Mark 14:61, Luke 3:15, Luke 9:20, Luke 22:67, John 1:20, John 1:41, John 3:28, John 4:29, John 4:42, John 7:41, John 10:24, John 11:27, John 20:31, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 5:1
2 Rom 9:5 is an interesting verse for Riplinger to be comparing to, especially with the NIV, for this verse in the NIV explicitly affirms the deity of Christ ("Christ, who is God over all")
3The Epistle to the Hebrews, Westcott, pp. 257-258