"They're fideists" is the smoke screen en vogue for the MVO (multiple version only) crowd. They pirouette for applause from their friendly rationalists, smiling and waving like British monarchs. "They're bad. They're fideists. We're not." I see them in a tight bear hug with Bruce Metzger, their textual daddy. You know, Dr. Bruce, the man who co-wrote a book with his prize student, Bart Ehrman. They pull away from the embrace to taunt the fideists.
I'm writing this in humorous manner for the enjoyment of my readers, but I am very serious in all this. They have a very complicated position to take. They're lovin' Bruce Metzger. They're claimin' they believe in preservation. They're sayin' they don't believe in preservation, in a sense. They're presuppositional gettin' their suppositions post-evidential.
Wrong. Truth is, if we are fideists, then so are they---the three fingers pointing right back at themselves. I can already hear the new theory---they're "plausible fideists" and we're "implausible fideists." They leap into the gray and we the dark. "The gray is so much lighter than the dark. It's got evidence in it." No, it doesn't.
Here's the thing---James White is a fideist, and so is Fred Butler (yeah Fred, you got mentioned next to James [bald is the new hair] White), James Price, Kevin Bauder, William Combs, Phil, John, C. H., and Bob. You're all fideists guys. You're like the evolutionists who say they're science, but they really are philosophy. You're philosophy too, just mixed with staggering doubt. L-i-t-t-l-e F-a-i-t-h. That's you guys. You are willing to redefine providence to keep staggering. I'd rather keep providence intact, but not you. It's worth pummeling to get what you want. And meanwhile, you're fideists, just like me.
How? Let me explain. It's not hard. Folks, no verse says there will be 66 books of the Bible. No verse says there will be 39 OT books and 27 NT books. None. So how do you come up with your books? You believe God would do what He said He would do. You think you have evidence. You don't. You have the acceptance of churches. Churches settled on 66, not because any verse said it would be 66. And so we believe 66. We believe the Holy Spirit guided the churches to use and copy and pass along 66 books. Not that everybody did. And for awhile it was a little unsure for many. But finally the 66 came through the gauntlet. For a little bit of time those apocryphal books were looked at closely again. Some still think they're in there. Why do we say they're not? Well, because those aren't the ones that the true church, the orthodox church, accepted. We take that from Biblical principles. "We" includes MVO guys.
So you're fideists when it comes to the preservation of books. The Bible doesn't actually teach that specifically. It teaches the preservation of Words, of jots and tittles. We would look for what the Holy Spirit preserved through the churches, look for perfection. We think it matters if one book is missing, even though we could lose several of the books and still have all the doctrines preserved. We think it matters if a word is missing since we believe in a perfect Bible, in inerrancy, in verbal plenary inspiration.
Isn't this great? Welcome to the fideist club, guys.