Since he's not taking anymore comments, I'm going to answer his final comment, which essentially finished off the issue at his blog. I would have been glad not to have participated if someone else stepped up to answer him. I don't think I produced every example, because I wasn't looking at that as the task. I'm going to quote some of the sentences or paragraphs of Ward's last comment here and answer them, so that it will be clear what I really think and not be misrepresented by him. He never asked.
If we got up to 25 or 30 examples, even, of places where they undeniably followed the CT, I’d have to change even that tune. But given the quality of the evidence provided so far, I doubt it will happen.Mark conceded, but he'd really, really concede if I provided even more examples. He takes a shot at the evidence I provided, that it isn't high quality. It's a list, enough rightly to concede. I don't think they used a critical text as their text. It's only that they didn't rely on an identical text as the KJV, the only point. They also include footnotes to undermine the text they did use.
He continues later:
Through this epic discussion (and other reading I’ve been doing for an upcoming lecture at Reformed Baptist Seminary on Confessional Bibliology), I have come to see even a bit more clearly what KJV-Onlyism is. It is—wait for it—KJV-Onlyism. It is not, as so many KJV-Only leaders have insisted, a defense of the TR.That's sad, because it is a TR position. I recently explained that in the comment section of my last post on this. If it is a TR position, you translate from the TR for your new translations, not from the English. If it is a TR position, you base the meaning of the words on the usage in the TR and then through lexicons. If it is a TR position, you bring out tenses of verbs, noun, preposition, and pronominal uses from Greek syntax.
Then he wrote:
I plumbed recently to the depths of E.F. Hills’ work, and Theodore Letis’ work, and I re-read the bibliology statement by Thomas Ross that Kent once affirmed to me, and I find the same thing: the ultimate standard for the NT, the perfect-in-every-jot-and-tittle text, is Scrivener’s 1881 text.The Bible settles on perfection for itself -- verbal, plenary preservation, just like inspiration. You can't add or take away from something that isn't settled. Mark doesn't settle in defiance of what scripture says about itself. That's not better than settling.
I get the reverse engineered criticism, but it doesn't get what our position is. Mark doesn't get it, like he couldn't find anyone who wrote a list or even look for it himself by looking at the Greek text. Every word was available. Before you complain that there are a missing handful of handwritten Greek words or less in Scriveners, those have evidence in non-English translations and I'm not conceding there was no textual evidence at the time of the KJV translation. That argument can be made. Let's not go there though and just trust that translators were translating and those words were available.
God didn't promise to preserve a Greek text, but letters (jots and tittles) and words. That is one of our presuppositions in that bibliology statement by Thomas Ross and affirmed by Kent. Those words were available. That fits what God said He would do, which is what we believe. Scrivener printed them into a text. Was that text available? The words were available, but even on the text, it's very close with Beza 1598, which is why I often say, essentially Beza 1598. I have no problem saying Scrivener either, because those words were there.
John Gill wrote his commentary in the 18th century. What text did he rely on? He was looking at a Greek text. He was using the King James Version. Was there no Greek text to look at? There were other commentaries during the period before the critical text and Scrivener, who studied the original languages. John Trapp wrote a commentary on the books of the New Testament in 1656. William Jones wrote his commentary on the epistle of Paul in 1636. There are more.
Ward continues further:
But Ross believes (and Kent at least once affirmed) that the KJV translators, who were not perfect, committed no translation errors of which Ross was aware. Likewise, Ross affirms that they committed no errors in textual critical judgment. When they chose to follow Beza and include εκ σου in Luke 1:35 rather than following Stephanus, they were providentially (not miraculously) guided into being free from error. When, in dozens of places, they made similar decisions, they were free from textual critical error. This is precisely what Hills taught, with great clarity and explicitness (see especially Believing Bible Study).I would have translated the King James Version differently, but I don't believe the translators made a mistake in their translation. That's not a miracle point. That's just a competence point. I believe the KJV could be translated differently and be right, because preservation is in the language in which scripture was written. That's another presupposition that Thomas Ross also believes. Variation in translation doesn't make it in error. That is the nature of translation.
Then Ward wrote:
And I reject it. The KJV translators were no more providentially preserved from error in their textual criticism than they were in their translation. In both, they were very, very good—but they were also what they said they were: fallible human beings who were only trying to make a good thing better.One regular misrepresentation of the preface of the KJV is that they said they might be wrong on the underlying text. No. They said that it could be translated differently, which it was in 1769. I'm not saying Ward is lying, but there are at least some reading comprehension issues with those who keep saying this.
No offense to Hills (especially Hills), Letis, Ross, or even me, but the position that Ward treats like revisionist history is actually the historical view, so Ward should also mention John Owen, Francis Turretin, William Whitaker, Richard Capel, and Samuel Rutherford, also as reported in Richard Muller's Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics. They took the position we take. Ward's position or non-position arises from the seat of his pants, something that started with no history and no scriptural predisposition. Then Ward and those like him invent a new history for us, which is not the truth (a lie?). A one Bible position is the historical position. When Ward goes to Reformed Baptist Seminary, he needs to be honest about the history behind the position he attacks, and as well represent what we actually believe, not his own straw man.
I've already answered Mark's complaints about our continuing to use the King James Version in favor of a contemporary version. I'm not saying that everything Mark says about dead words is without merit. No. However, people can learn what words mean. They have to do that anyway, even if they use a modern version. I've said that the Bible you understand is the one you read and study. Mark has said in the past with great clarity that his purpose was to move people to the critical text and that won't happen through discussing textual criticism, so he has chosen what he sees as a more pragmatic argument. Why would anyone fall for that? There are many other issues with using a modern version that a church like ours thinks is worse than the "false friends" about which Ward writes.
My conscience is not snared by an unscriptural scruple as Ward charges at the end of his comment (see the last comment here). Our conscience is informed by biblical and historical teaching. Ward's is the novel, unbiblical view. He's the one veering into the side of a mountain without a reliable radar to give him a proper altitude. He has one scriptural argument that leads him to call us sinners over readability, something new in the history of Christianity. I've never read it from anyone but him. That sounds more like an improperly informed conscience. He went looking for it, so that he could have something "scriptural" to say -- like a revivalist preacher who looks for a text to fit his sermon. On the other hand, our position proceeds from exegesis from scripture and agrees with a historical position. We arrived at our position from studying the Bible, which provided the template, paradigm, or model for what we expect. That is the view that pleases God.