Monday, May 08, 2006
Preservation: Does It Seem Like They Care?
Part of arguing the issue of the preservation of Scripture is figuring out as soon as possible whether the person you're talking to really cares or not. In recent conversations on this doctrine, I have found what seems like a lack of intellectual honesty. For instance, when approaching Psalm 12:6, 7, tremendous exegesis has been shown on the gender disagreement issue---between them and Words. Gesenius' Hebrew grammar mentions it. Thomas Strouse and I have shown examples (they are numerous) of specific gender disagreement between the feminine noun and the masculine pronoun, to the extent that one should view this as a tendency in the Old Testament. God is making a point. The MVO (multiple versions only) side (Mike Sproul, Doug Kutilek, Keith Gephart) disregards it. They don't want it to be true, so it can't be true. They (especially Mike Sproul in his recent book) blatantly misrepresent our stated and published positions to the point of slander. I'll give some of them in order.
1. His very first quote of me is wrong. He writes on p. 143 in footnote #1: "Brandenburg claims that the TR is a text type (p. 9)." I say nothing about the TR being a text type on p. 9. Under my definition of the TR on p. 13, I don't call it a text type. On p. 9, I write this in a parenthesis about the Alexandrian Text: "The Egyptian MSS do not form a united text type as the TR MSS do." My point was about the unity of the Alexandrian Text; that A and B disagree in thousands of places unlike the TR Manuscripts. I never used the term "type" in any kind of technical manner. And I say Manuscripts, not just TR, in order to carefully differentiate this. This kind of stretch by Sproul, right at the beginning, shows a huge problem. He is attempting to discredit me, not deal with the issue at hand.
2. He pulls the same kind of tactic on the second statement of mine. Notice that he doesn't actually quote me. If you want to deal with people seriously, you should quote them. My quotes would not back up his assertions. He wants people to think that I am attempting to fool people or to twist the definitions of words. On p. 49, he uses a military slide presentation he saw by Lieutenant Colonel Denise Parker (Denise, not Dennis) that said definitions had this function: "3. They help us start; they allow us to talk to each other about the subject, to investigate and research it, to see it." Well, what he saw Denise make in her slide presentation is what I was doing in TSKT, stating definitions so that readers would know what we believed the terms meant. He says that I am attempting to change the historic definition of inerrancy. I wrote for "inerrancy" in TSKT on p. 11: "The quality of having no errors; usually applied to the original manuscripts of Scripture; however, based on Scriptural promises of preservation, it also characterizes the preserved text of Scripture." Does that seem like a problem to you? Webster's Unabridged says, "Lack of error." But Sproul writes on p. 143: "Brandenburg claims inerrancy means a current text of Scripture (p. 11)." I think if anyone read my whole quote, they would know exactly what I meant. Sproul purposefully misrepresents me for some reason. He knows he is doing it. I don't know why he does it. In several cases, he makes it difficult, because he makes an accusation without putting a page number. He does this on the fourth and fifth points that he makes against me. I guess people are just to assume that Sproul is correct with no quote and no page number.
So there is just the first two. I can keep going and going. Let me give a list of very bad ones before at some point in the future, I get all of them.
1. On p. 144, he says that I refer to the TR as the "inerrant autograph" (sic). Well, in my definitions, I say that the autographa are the original manuscripts. I've never said that the TR is the original autographs. We never said that anywhere in the book. He regularly smears us with double inspiration and this is one way he does that.
2. On p. 149, footnote #14, he writes: "This is an amazing slander. Without one piece of documentation he asserts that men who study this issue and cite other godly heroes willfully distort their citations." He says I am slandering people. If he did not jump to conclusions, he could have understood me to be saying that men do this on both sides. I was thinking about examples of men doing this pro and con. The quote he refers to in the Introduction of TSKT (which he misquotes by the way, making me say something different than what I said it on p. 22 of TSKT---changing "Even as that" to "Even at that") was differentiating TSKT from all of the books that had been written on the subject---ours exegesis and theirs based on historical quotes. On top of that, I never said a thing about men citing "godly heroes." Sproul goes ballistic about this---calling it "amazing slander"---and then he says that this is exactly what "'KJV-only' advocates" do when they "cite Scrivener, Spurgeon, and Burgon" (p. 149). So he says I make an amazing slander and then he goes on to give examples of exactly what I was talking about. He proves for me that I was slandering no one. I said on p. 22 of TSKT that men "craftily pull a quotation from its context." This is done by both sides of the issue. How the CT/Eclectic do it is by giving the impression that the quote has to do with varying the text, when it has to do only with the altering of a translation. The preservation issue does not relate to the exact words of a translation, but the exact words of the text behind it. Most quotes of these "godly heroes" relate to changes in translation, not to changes in the text. One cannot use a quote about translation to present someone's view of the preservation of the text. Sproul is willing to call me "slanderous" (sinning) when I did nothing even remotely close to that.
3. I said in my introduction on p. 22 that the "praise of men" is "worthless," and Sproul twists that on p. 151 into "Brandenburg and Cloud attack Fundamental Fathers by calling any citation of them "worthless" and "man worship." I never ever called citing men as "worthless" or "man worship." I said that "praise of men" is worthless. Sproul puts words in my mouth in order to make me look bad. Do you see what he is doing?
4. That isn't as bad as his next statement on p. 151, "They (Cloud and me) insist that everyone must worship their interpretation of Scripture." So Sproul says that I encourage false worship. Do you see that? Do you see how evil that is?
5. Then later in the paragraph he says, "It seems, according to Brandenburg and Cloud, that if you cite someone who disagrees with them you are 'worthless' and guilty of 'man worship.'" Again, I never said anything remotely like that. That, folks, is slanderous.
6. On p. 149 in footnote #16 Sproul states: "Ironically, the e-mail that advertised this book (sent uninvited to multiple members of this author's church) to promote it among the Maranatha Baptist Bible College alumni purports this book as representing the theology of a man, Dr. B. Myron Cedarholm, the late founder of that college." Fortunately for Dr. Cedarholm, he gets to be a Dr. like Sproul in the book. Perhaps one has to die in order to get conferred with a doctorate. The first lie here is that I sent the e-mail "uninvited." I am an alumnus of Maranatha three times (BA, MA, M.Div) as is my dad, my brother, and my sister. I was on their public email list (there was a private one for people who did not want their email to be known). I am one of the very few Maranatha alumni even to write a book. I sent that to announce to the alumni from their voluntarily provided email list, to let them know that I wrote a book and that it was available. Sproul purposefully and slanderously makes it sound like I targeted members of his church. That is so wrong! I sent it to every MBBC grad on their voluntary, public email list (his church obviously has MBBC grads). Maranatha sends me an uninvited email every month, and I don't complain. I got an email, uninvited, several years back from Mike Sproul and I still get them periodically. So I don't get this total slander. What is the email list for if it isn't for alumni to write other alumni? That is all I did. And I didn't say that the book represented the theology of Dr. Cedarholm. The book was not at all a presentation of the position of Dr. Cedarholm, but a presentation of Scripture. Sproul again purposefully misrepresents me in a slanderous way! I said that the book took the same position as the founder, so that alumni of Maranatha would know where the book was coming from. I could have said, that takes the same position as Bud Weniger (CT/Eclectic position), and really doubt that anyone would have complained. Or if I said, that takes the same position as Dave Jaspers (majority text position), no one would have given me a hard time. So this paranoid delusion on the part of Sproul is incorrect.
I have many more, but I'm going to let you decide. Tell me what you think.