Friday, September 12, 2008

Criticizing Professor Wallace

As you peruse Scripture, you won't find a God-ordained office of "professor." You won't see a single mention of "scholar." In Ephesians 4, God didn't give His church "educators." Did God know what He was doing? Could He have somehow performed a glitch in His plan? Could He not have foreseen an age of advanced electronics and mammoth libraries? By faith, I still choose a church and a pastor above man-made positions, employees of colleges, universities, and graduate schools.

Two or three weeks ago, preacher friends and I were relaxing at a restaurant after finishing preaching at a 50th anniversary church celebration conference in North Carolina and I asked our waiter where he was from. He said, "Jerusalem, Israel." I asked him if he was a student at University of North Carolina there in Chapel Hill and he answered, "Yes." Then I inquired about his study. "International Studies, minoring in Arabic." Before we left, he had pulled up a chair and we talked a long while, reasoning with him from the Old and New Testaments. He had just finished a class on the Old Testament with Bart Ehrman. I groaned inside. He was learning about the Bible from the secular humanist perspective, presented by an aggressive agnostic. This is the new forum for Scripture, playing with truth in a test tube.

I believe what makes this even more insidious is the respect that is given this new society by Christians, especially young men who train for actual church offices. They elevate the opinions of these operatives above any others. Parachurch campuses speckle the world, populated by men and women of advanced degrees, who contribute an expertise to God's family not prescribed anywhere in God's Word. They aren't in the Bible, but they have become worthy of the highest respect among church leaders. They don't have to fulfill the qualifications of church office, but they do fit into a secular idea of education that is more in line with John Dewey or Horace Mann.

I contend today that these "scholars" are not untouchable. They are not beyond criticism. They should be taken through the gauntlet and questioned in a greater way than those in legitimate church offices. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). We should trust God on that. Rather than entreat an elder as a father, the professor is entreated and often the overseer, the presbuteros, the president of the assembly, is ridiculed. I see it regularly firsthand. This should be a matter of trusting how God works first, trusting that the Father does know best.

The graduate professor carries tremendous weight today. Would-be scholars hasten to curry favor with these men and form a brood of fawning admirers, waiting for a mere mention from their lofty lips. They reference them in hushed tones. They crowd themselves like unmarried females anticipating the bouquet of flowers to be tossed by the new bride, scrounging for compliments. If you quote one of these men, you have spoken ex cathedra, requiring that all witnesses humbly genuflect.

If we could pause a moment in the midst of this ostentatious respect, we should recognize that this attitude doesn't tend towards knowing the truth. The things they write should hold up to criticism. If they don't, they shouldn't be accepted just because of the letters next to the authors name. If they write something helpful, great, but that doesn't mean that they are beyond the helpful grilling of ordained bishops of God's church. They should be able to be questioned about their material.

Case in point is Daniel Wallace, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, a man who presently dedicates himself with great vigor to the restoration of Scripture to something he hopes is closer to its original condition. He assumes we've lost some of God's Words. Earlier he was known as a Greek professor who authored a grammar and syntax used for Greek classes across the United States. Now he's worked himself up to a textual critic. A part of his process is a denial of a New Testament doctrine of preservation. He opposes an approach to copies of Scripture that starts with any presupposition of Divine preservation or perfection. We must live in his opinion with a certain number of mistakes. It takes on the fervor of something that is more a mandate than an opinion.

When you question Dr. Wallace on this, as I did a year or so ago, he sends you with a sigh to something he wrote, convinced it is still the standard on the topic of Divine preservation. After you read it, you are to assume that you will bow to his great expertise and fall into a relative fetal position next to his heights of academic prowess. It's all done. Daniel Wallace has spoken. Move on. Rev up the bus, the party's over.

I questioned him about this over at one of his online locations, Parchment and Pen. I saved the link to the particular post upon which I commented. I critiqued what he wrote, pointing out several incredible errors, and I have since noticed that the entire post disappeared as if it never existed (it was here, but no more). The embarrassing stuff doesn't get to stay. He hasn't submitted to the correction. None of his covey of supporters would even admit he made a mistake. What he said to me was that I was playing unfair, because I was just "cherry-picking" his mistakes. He was and is beyond that kind of criticism. Isn't the truth what we most want? Isn't that the point of all these studies? In the next week or so, I'm going to show you what is wrong with his article. Perhaps the entire thing will just disappear as well. It should; it's wrong.

By the way, you'll still have men supporting him. They might be told by the great PhD that they have become one of his acquaintances, that he gave them a passing thought on some given day. Others, of course, will attack me and say that I don't like Dan Wallace. I'm ambivalent toward that. I love Dan Wallace. I truly hope the best for him. I think he's wrong. Big boys in the so-called rough and tumble academic world should be able to handle it, but perhaps they're protected in their camelots of tranquility. I often hear "peer-reviewed journal" from them. They have been exposed to the review of peers---"two enthusiastic thumbs up, Dan Wallace." If someone reads the party line, he often gets the good review. If he says the politically incorrect thing, then comes the bruising. The scholars learn to cow-tow to the acceptable position.

Stay with me in the next few posts as I criticize Dr. Wallace. Pastor Brandenburg goes to Dallas. Hopefully I won't get all enamored by the stained glass and the ivy covered walls.

20 comments:

James Snapp, Jr. said...

Hi Kent B.,

In Eph. 4:11, God gave some "as pastors and teachers." I think a case could be made that that's a platform for some sort of preacher/educator working in the church.

I agree that seminary scholars should not be given any kind of special authority in the church. The only authority a professor has, as far as the church is concerned, is the authority of the truth that he conveys to his students -- which is the same kind of authority that any believer has.

KB: "The graduate professor carries tremendous weight today."

Among the different theological camps, yes; each one has its theological chiefs, so to speak, and frequently they are professors, not bishops. But some are both.

KB: "They should be able to be questioned about their material."

And they can be. Usually evangelical seminaries have statements of faith, or creeds, which the professors must affirm whenever their contracts are up for renewal. If a professor openly teaches something contrary to that creed, he can be brought before the school's board for some kind of interrogation, and be dismissed.

KB: "He [Daniel Wallace] assumes we've lost some of God's Words."

I think his current view is that all of God's words (at least in the NT) exist in some manuscript somewhere; it's just that we're unsure in some cases, where the manuscripts say different things, which words are God's and which words are not.

KB: ... "I critiqued what he wrote, pointing out several incredible errors, and I have since noticed that the entire post disappeared as if it never existed."

The Parchment & Pen site was hacked, resulting in the loss of a lot of material. (Apparently they did not have back-up.) But even before that, I, too, noticed that criticism, however constructive, was not well-received at Parchment & Pen.

KB: "The embarrassing stuff doesn't get to stay."

Embarrassing comment-writers do not get to stay at P&P either, in my experience.

KB: "Big boys in the so-called rough and tumble academic world should be able to handle it, but perhaps they're protected in their camelots of tranquility."

Imho, there is a strange insecurity and whiny-ness at the Parchment & Pen website. After I was banned from P&P, I sent them an e-mail objecting to the ban, and was unbanned, and then was re-banned. I wrote back and suggested that perhaps I could post at the P&P Forums instead of in the Comments-section. They eventually ruled against that. Richard Sugg, the webmaster of P&P explained it to me this way: if you want to promote your point of view, get your own blog. Okay, I thought; I can handle that. Then my earlier comments-posts disappeared, and alongside my name in the Forums appeared the description, "Unwelcome Stalker." So if I seem a little miffed about P&P. . . .

Anyway, my unpleasant experience at P&P convinced me of one thing: the bloggers at P&P -- C. Michael Patton and Daniel Wallace, in particular -- refuse to interact with some civil criticism for one simple reason: it would expose the incompetence and/or deceptiveness that they expressed in their blog-entries.

But maybe they will change.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

DT said...

I'm truly surprised to see this kind of rhetoric on your blog. I've been blessed by some other things you've written (I'm sure I will again as well). But this seems so typical of the way many in modern fundamentalism respond to someone with whom they disagree.
I've read many things that came from the pen of Wallace and one thing I never picked up on was his sense of being puffed up with knowledge or sitting on a throne. Your reaction against him is reminiscent of Peter Ruckman's "refutation" of James White, or David Cloud's insistence that anyone who invokes the names of authorities or places footnotes in their works, and yet still disagrees with him, are guilty of "scholaralotry." I've been accused of the same thing as well, again simply because I've disagreed with someone else's position. Every side of an argument uses (should) scholarship. Some is just better than others. Those who use sources form guys like Dan Wallace don't worship him just as none of us should accuse you of worshiping, say, Dean Burgon or Edward Hills.
You mentioned Ehrman in this post, but no mention of Wallace's debate with him, or the book, Dethroning Jesus, co-authored by Wallace, which is one of the best books against "Jesusanity" types like Ehrman around today. I didn't agree with everything in that book, but it has blessed me tremendously. It's the same with all of his stuff. You don't have to agree with all his conclusions, but the data he provides is beyond what you and I could produce. For example, when considering the differences between the Majority Text and the Textus Receptus, nearly everyone will say there are 1,838 differences between the two. Waite, Cloud, etc use that number as well, and none is afraid to say that it was Dan Wallace who is responsible for that count. I certainly haven't sat down to do such a task, as I"m sure neither have you. But we are confident that an honest Christian man who God has blessed with fine intellect, who is dedicated to NEw Testament manuscript studies, has been fairly accurate when doing so. What's wrong with that? The problem is we use that data and still arrive at different conclusions. And when those conclusions are different, it's usually people on your side of the textual debate that begin to hurl insults such as "you worship scholarship" at us. May we all learn to be honest with the facts.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks for your comments. Obviously in a post about criticism, I should expect some criticism. I'll start with James.

I believe pastors and teachers is one office, the office of pastor-teacher. And it is in the church, not in the school.

You have probably noticed that Dr. Wallace keeps looking for manuscripts. Those with the "preponderance of the manuscripts" view still believe that we are missing words in the Old Testament. Wallace is among them. I'm not linking here, but I've read it from him. One reason new editions of the UBS and NA keep coming out is because of new finds and new work. The Hebrew text reflected in modern versions takes in the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance.

If the reason that post was taken off was the hack of the site, I apologize for the implication.

I have noticed and give many examples of something different with Dan Wallace. There is a lack of freedom to criticize with him that I have experienced. I don't have anything special out for him. He too has made attacks---many---and he does behave in a condescending manner, which I could again give many examples.

I hope DT would notice "unwelcome stalker" as the spirit of P and P. I haven't done anything of the like. Everything that I wrote above in the post, I have seen and agree with.

The stand and statement of DTS, though I have never been with, has grown increasingly weaker, and I have seen it to be unwelcome of criticism for placing themselves in that academic setting.

DT,

Have you ever disagreed with Daniel Wallace personally? Have you ever disagreed with a notorious even conservative evangelical on something scholarly? If you haven't, then it would be tough for you to judge this. You are welcome to armchair quarterback it, but I can show you many examples.

I've never said that Dan Wallace hasn't contributed anything. I have enjoyed reading quite a few things he has written and I too quote him on subjects. But those quotes, like any others, are subject to examination.

You can read his books and he is less "puffed up," but you will find it in his articles written for online he is much more so and when you confront him, he is very full of himself. If you take a different view than he on inerrancy and say that he is wrong, he says you are arrogant. Read his articles on inerrancy. Those who support him, don't care if he makes errors. They will support that no matter what. If you go over to Jackhammer where I discuss with my preacher friends, or even here, you'll see a ton of criticism and I might not agree, but I allow heavy duty criticism, sort of like you are giving me here (although I think yours is far-fetched to make me like Ruckman).

Regarding "spirit," the CT/eclectic side is just as mean as Ruckman and that is a lot to say. I have been regularly slandered by their side and even in published materials.

I don't think you could see me worshiping Burgon, since we don't take the same position on the text. I think he has a helpful wealth of material. Hills I'm much closer to, but I haven't even read his entire book, which is strange for someone who might worship him. What Scripture says; however, is really important.

Regarding Waite and Cloud, we take different approaches on this subject. I am thankful for their defense, but I take a much different tack than Waite especially. If you read Thou Shalt Keep Them, you'll see very little attack of the other side. On the other hand, if you were to read Michael Sproul's God's Word Preserved, my-oh-my, there is something that is high on the personal attack side.

You have jumped to something that I never said in this post. I have never said I'm unthankful for the work of Daniel Wallace. I'm glad for contributions. I believe that his textual criticism and view of preservation is dangerous to the church. He himself admits his own isn't the historic view and he in no way proves that our view is not the Scriptural one. Does the idea of errors in Scripture bother you, DT? Does that seem to be what the Bible teaches? If God makes a promise and someone else says He didn't keep it, how offensive is that to you?

Thanks for commenting, DT.

DT said...

Kent,
Let me clarify that I obviously don't know enough about your personal interaction with Wallace and his supporters. If you have been treated unfairly, I'm sorry to hear that, and yes, I agree they are wrong for doing so.
I link to P&P on my blog and read it periodically. Honestly I haven't read enough to formulate an opinion of their spirit of interaction. I've read more articles than comments.
I do, however, spend a lot of time on Bible.org and have probably read most of what Dan Wallace has written. I have not picked up on the tone of arrogance that you have. An example or two would be nice. I have disagreed with him before (as I noted), as well as with MacArthur on Soteriology, Piper on Eschatology and Continuationism, Mohler on his treatment of Teresa of Calcutta, and so on. But maybe I misunderstood your question. Do you mean, have I ever disagreed with these men on a personal level, as in having actual dialogue about it with them? If so, then no. But if you mean disagree at all. .then, of course. Again, I can't judge this particular instance involving yourself because I am unaware of all that you have discussed with others. But I still disagree that Wallace is viewed as some sort of untouchable demigod. I think we'd all agree that anyone treating him as such is dead wrong.
As we should agree that this happens on all sides of all issues, and it is always wrong.
Sorry for the Ruckman reference. I know you are lightyears removed from than man. It's just that he's the first one I noticed that brings up what Cloud and Fuller call "scholarolatry". They say it is a worship of scholarship, which of course does exist and is wrong. But what they use it for is simply when someone disagrees with them. They use documentation, sources, scholarship, etc to prove their points. But people on the modern text side do as well, but when the two conflict, they accuse the modern text side of putting too much stock in scholarship.
Let me repeat, you're not Ruckman, Cloud, Waite, or anyone else. But my reading of your post about Wallace brought their mentality to my mind immediately.
Another clarification: I would never assert that you worship Burgon or Hills. I'm just saying if we take the logic of the scholarolatry argument and turn it around, we'd have to say that anyone who quotes any source regularly worships that source.
Personal attacks are always wrong, because they violate God's Word, plain and simple. Yes, some one the CT side might employ arrogance from time to time, but one cannot escape that the overwhelming majority of KJVO material is full of embellished personal attack. If your book is different, and I'll take your word that it is, then you are certainly the exception, not the rule. Likewise, arrogance and slander is the exception, not the rule, in eclectic text studies.
To answer your final question in detail would take an entirely different discussion, but let me say that I affirm with conservative, Bible-believing Christians who have accepted an eclectic approach to the text (and a former KJVO), that the Bible is free from error. The idea that there could be errors in the Bible would bother me, of course. But I wouldn't consider a textual problem, such as a variant, or copyist error, or printing error, as an "error" like that of God getting something wrong. To me, it's a matter of being honest with the evidence.
BTW, I enjoy this discussion. Thank you.

John Dyer said...

As a graduate of DTS, when I saw the title of your post, I thought it might have some good things to consider. Unfortunately, I found quite a bit of unneeded rhetoric such as: "They crowd themselves like unmarried females anticipating the bouquet of flowers to be tossed by the new bride, scrounging for compliments."

Perhaps you would find a more receptive audience for your ideas if you toned down some of the language and stuck to clearly presenting arguments. If no one listens, you would still be faithful to what you believe without compromising your message via a tone that is unnecessary and unhelpful.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello John,

What rhetoric like that does is give people cause to think, like when John the Baptist called the Pharisees a 'generation of vipers fleeing from wrath to come.' It is very picturesque and carries with it a message.

I did give Scriptural arguments here, even though this was really nothing more than an introduction. I am concerned about the influence that these professors have on young men in churches. I think we need to evaluate their scriptural role, why they are relied upon at all. You didn't interact with that point, only the tone of the writing. I could have written in a more vanilla style that would be less interesting to read. I think less people will actually consider the danger of depending on a caste of men with no biblical authority.

What do you think of that point?

Thanks for coming over and commenting!

San said...

How about a little more humility in your tone?

And yes, do, please, remove the simile about single women at a wedding. Most single women I know--even those who would love to marry--hate that part of a wedding and participate only because it's a tradition and they don't want to disappoint the bride on her big day.

Kent Brandenburg said...

San,

Thanks for you concern for my tone. Is the point accurate?

I liked the simile actually and those who don't like the tradition still see the picture. We have developed a false authority in the star power of degrees we have parsed out through these academic institutions. They possess a faux authority that needs exposure.

Thanks for coming over and commenting though.

DT said...

It's interesting what other comments are saying. You have complained about Dr. Wallace's tone, yet here you are being called out on the very same thing. Instead of admitting the double standard, you defend yourself. At least that should help you understand the point of view of Dan Wallace. He's supposedly employing the use of a tone that is akin to yours, and he probably is just as concerned as you are about the influence of your views on young men. So there ya go. . .we have two men, two viewpoints, both arguing against each other (although not personally), and both accused on using a tone that is a bit insensitive. Either we agree it's wrong for both to do it, or we chose to ignore it without complaining about it.

Kent Brandenburg said...

DT,

I challenge you to find one thing I said above about the "tone" of Wallace. I mentioned essentially two things: (1) the place of parachurch scholars in light of Scripture; (2) the unwillingness of giving in when someone is clearly shown something is wrong; (3) the defense by those in serious like with the scholar, despite the clear wrong, elevating scholarship above truth.

Do any of those sound like "tone?" They don't like "tone," which I see as just interesting writing and a warning. The only thing I've said about Wallace on this, and it wasn't tone, was that he answered legitimate errors with "you're just cherry-picking."

If I were to say anything about tone, it would be that the evangelicals talk about it as something that is serious, but they aren't really any different on this. You say they're different, but you haven't personally clashed with them. I only referred in this post to something that was said in a comment by someone else. I agreed that they don't allow criticism over at P and P.

Notice that only one person dealt with the point I made.

Thanks for commenting, DT!

Kent Brandenburg said...

Two more things. I gave three things and not two above. Most of all; however, and that is, I have a role that is actually in Scripture. What would Wallace have a problem with my influence? I haven't heard anything personally from him. I'd be glad to. I have a problem, yes, with his and his role IS NOT in the Bible. I would be awaiting someone arguing that. One person has done that alone.

James Snapp, Jr. said...

Kent and DT,

I just wanted to note three more things:

(1) As far as I know, Dr. Wallace still affirms inerrancy. I think that he has gradually adjusted his definition of "error" in order to preserve the claim of inerrancy while acknowledging the difficulties which await those who define "error" oversimplistically. For example, he says that Mark wrote, "As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send My messenger before your face, who will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight," but he does not say that Mark made an error by attributing material from Malachi to Isaiah; instead, he would posit some X-factor, such as (a) the possibility that Mark merged two passages and mentioned the author of only one, figuring that his readers were sharp enough to tell what he was doing, or (b) the possibility that Mark used "Isaiah" as a title for all the books of OT-prophecy, including the 12 Minor Prophets.

(To me, the real X-factor here is that an early copyist couldn't stand having the prophet go unnamed, and so he inserted a name. The same sort of thing happens in Matthew 13:35, in Codex Sinaiticus, one of Dr. Wallace's favored manuscripts.)

Wallace would probably also grant that extreme condensation of a narrative, and chronological displacement of events do not fit his definition of error.

(2) A remnant of the discussion I had at Parchment & Pen still exists. Wallace's initial post, "My Favorite Passage That's Not In the Bible" and the comments -- including comments from Dr. Wallace, Patton, and webmaster Richard Sugg -- are more or less intact and can be accessed via a Google search. The comments by Wallace, Patton, and Sugg ("richards") provide a pretty good sample of the tone at P&P.

(3) I comment about Patton's mistaken attack on Mark 16:9-20 (which he made in "TC in a Nutshell") at the TC-Alternate Yahoo! discussion-group, which you're welcome to visit.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello again James.

I like the way you put his thing on inerrancy. You'll also see that he says that Paul made an error in 1 Corinthians 1:14 that he later corrected in v. 16. That is a very unusual view of verbal inspiration and inerrancy. He says that inerrancy is a tertiary issue. I have nothing with Daniel Wallace in any personal way---it's just these beliefs. And yes, I like his positions way better than Bart Ehrman's. I say that for DT, also. I think the idea of following evidence and evidence being something separate from Scripture, as if the Bible isn't superior to man-made rules of textual criticism, is not good. God isn't pleased.

Thomas Ross said...

Back a while ago, Pastor Brandenburg asked me to comment on a discussion (since eliminated) he had with Dr. Wallace. Below was what I wrote. It got eliminated from the blog fast. It is his blog, so he can eliminate whatever he wants, I suppose. I reprint it here. You may find it interesting or amusing. I probably will not comment much besides cutting and pasting my comment, since I have a lot of work to do preparing to teach advanced Greek grammar and Hebrew at a local church seminary.

Greetings, one and all. If one wishes to read an in depth analysis of how those despicable Anabaptists/Baptists (of which number he who posts this happily includes himself) viewed the Received Text of Scripture from the medieval period to the twentieth century, which might cause Dr. Wallace to round out his view that preservation was first articulated in the Westminster Confession, please see “The Canonicity of the Received Bible Established from Reformation and Post-Reformation Baptist Confessions” on my website. (This is the passage that Dr. Kent Brandenburg, “Kent” above, got some of his info from. Dr. Brandenburg also contributed to a book on the preservation of Scripture, Thou Shalt Keep Them, mentioned below). If you would be interested in the proof from Scripture that modern textual criticism is sinful and unBiblical (something Dr. Edward Hills would hold to, although he could have explicated this more effectively in his The King James Version Defended (where the geocentrism is also embarrassing)—one should also note the almost entire absence of any exposition of Scripture in works such as James White’s The King James Only Controversy, and, for that matter, in the works of Riplinger-types who do more harm to the KJV position than good—Scripture says that original language jots and tittles, not English words, are preserved, Matthew 5:18—and in Dr. Wallace’s articles contra the Majority Text in JETS—which are some of the best attempts to argue for the UBS/NA position I have seen), please download Thou Shalt Keep Them: A Biblical Theology of the Perfect Preservation of Scripture, which is also on my website. Physical copies of the 2nd edition of this book (the first edition sold out) should be available soon, and can be purchased through www.pillarandground.org. For a rather more arcane analysis that, however, does indicate a great deal about the Bibliology of the Reformation era (including the Formula Consensus), please note my essay on the debate over the inspiration of the Hebrew vowel points, also on my website. This essay also contains answers to some of the posts about Lutheran, etc. doctrines of the preservation of Scripture, and should contain fodder for both the NA/UBS people and the TR people to use to shoot at each other. I also have a link to an excellent work defending the authenticity of 1 John 5:7. I think that the (other) Thomas, and many others, potentially, on this blog, might find my essay analyzing (primarily) the connection made by the magisterial Reformers and salvation through baptism interesting; if you wish to read it, please click on the “Were the Reformers Heretics?” link from my webpage, http://thross7.googlepages.com/home (note no www). (I would also be interested in finding out, if we are supposed to exalt fourth or fifth century Constantinian Catholicism, or even earlier Catholicism, as Thomas argued, if we are to believe in theopoesis as an argument for Trinitarianism (“the Holy Spirit can make us gods, so He must be God”), or into universal redemption so that nobody is ever eternally lost, or in Christ’s ransom being paid to Satan, etc.—certainly we would need to believe in baptismal regeneration, a State-“church,” and sundry weird superstitions—and I would point out that 1 Clement, to me at least, sounds just like the work of a fundamental Baptist—see my essay on my website on the doctrine of the church in this epistle.) By the way, Thomas, Scripture teaches both inerrancy and infallibility, but I won’t debate that here.
On another note, one that does seem to tie very directly into textual criticism, there seems to be some rather interesting textual analysis in certain places in the Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. For example, in his grammar on pg. 254, Dr. Wallace wrote, “In light of Johannine usage, we might also add Rev 16:18, where the Seer clearly uses the anarthrous anthropos in a generic sense, meaning ‘humankind.’” However, at least according the Wilbur Pickering’s critical apparatus on the Revelation, it appears that the reading adopted (without footnote) in the UBS text of an unarticular anthropos egeneto is in only one Greek MSS (namely, in codex A) on the face of the earth (with various other variants extant). However, this one MS is able to “clearly” establish the unusual view on 666 advanced in the exegetical discussion in the Grammar. (However, we all know that 1 John 5:7 is inauthentic, although it has far better external (and internal) evidences for it than this “clear” passage in Rev 16:18—which is, alas, far from unique in the UBS in having only one manuscript to support its reading.) This is similar to various instances of calling 99% of copies “several” MSS in Dr. Wallace’s book, footnotes that affirm that the TR has a reading that it does not, and criticism of the KJV for mistranslating participles that were not in its Greek text, but only in the UBS/NA text. (However, I should add that I, doubtless, have problems and inaccuracies in my own writings that others could pounce upon, and I would not be surprised if the things mentioned above are eliminated in future editions of the book—at least I would hope so.)
I would like to commend Dr. Wallace upon many user-friendly features in his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. Many of the exegetical discussion are also very interesting and helpful; and, obviously, I believe the book has many good qualities, since I use it to teach Greek, as a despicable Anabaptist and modern fundamentalist KJV-only professor at a lowly institution run by one of the Lord’s true churches. I would, however, passionately disagree with his questioning of the affirmation of the personality of the Holy Spirit in some of the NT books, the looser ipsissima vox presuppositions found in various places (The Jesus Crisis by Thomas and Farnell is very good on this), the refusal to ascribe certain NT books to those who wrote them, and numerous other doctrinal issues—(and I also find inclusive language irritating, and unBiblical—patriarchy in the church, the world, and in language is Scriptural) but then again, I is just a KJV fundimintilist and am too ignorint to no what is trew on these thing.
Speaking of ignorance, I would be interested in finding out if Dr. Wallace (or someone else reading this) can provide any actual external evidence on the date of Aleph and B. I am ignorant of any. I am wondering if the situation is still the same as it was when Robert Dabney wrote his excellent critique of the critical text theories of his day and defended Christological TR readings from 1 Timothy 3:16 to 1 John 5:7 as authentic in his review of Tischendorf’s NT, The Doctrinal Various Readings of the New Testament Greek. If the only evidence that these two MSS are old is what it was in Dabney’s day, and nobody has done any sort of radiometric dating, etc. then we are even less wise to base our Bible on them, since, as Dabney stated, we cannot actually trace them back past some unknown point in the medieval era (12th century for B, as I recall). I also wonder if we are begging the question when we say that there are no evidences for the TR (I speak of the text-type; I trust we all agree that the invention of the words “Received Text” in the 1600s does not mean that it did not exist as a type of text before that time any more than the use of the word “Trinity” by Tertullian and others means that the idea of the three-in-one God did not exist before the moment the first patristic to use the word wiped off his pen, and that to argue otherwise is a real cheepo) before the time Lucian or someone else created the Byzantine text, when in the patristic writings, the quotes before A. D. 400 follow that type of text 3:2 over the 25 MSS or so called the Alexandrian text, and the percentages are higher for earlier people and only brought down temporarily to a 3:2 advantage by Origen and his crew. Isn’t saying that scribes changed such great quantities of readings, and saying that there are only TR “readings,” but not a TR “text,” begging the question? Would this not prove that there is no Alexandrian or Western text either (and then again, perhaps this is a good thing to prove, since it is true; they are but rivulets, compared to the TR MSS torrent—unless “rivulet” is giving them too much).
To conclude, in a little more of a Koiné lingo: altho I is an fundementis, and don’t be a Calvanis, and is KJV onli, and am unlorned and ignornt an’ on thee radial rite wing of this thing, I doo swish you all well in my simpill way, and wood encorage you all to study the Bible and come to the trew posishon on the docrines of the Bible like perfec prisirvaton (and the other Babtist destinctives) witch of corse is the one that I bellieve in, (ecept where I be incorect, of corpse). Yew can also reach me at trkjv2 (at) yahoo.com (the @ symbol is broken up to avoid spam) if you like. All de bes. ☺

Bill Hardecker said...

Tom, What are you trying to say? BTW, I did read your work “The Canonicity of the Received Bible Established from Reformation and Post-Reformation Baptist Confessions.” It is good. Thank you for that significant research.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Pastor Brandenburg,

This was an excellent article, thank you for getting to the heart of the matter with respect to the inordinate affection which many seem to have for textual critics such as Dr. Wallace (and also, e.g. Bruce Metzger). The arguments forwarded by men like Wallace are certainly NOT unanswerable, and it'll be a great day when informed Christians, both pastors and laymen, start to think for themselves instead of just blindly accepting what someone says because he is a seminary professor.

DT said...

Kent, it was comments like these that made me believe you were complaining about Wallace's tone:

"He too has made attacks---many---and he does behave in a condescending manner, which I could again give many examples."

"You can read his books and he is less 'puffed up,' but you will find it in his articles written for online he is much more so and when you confront him, he is very full of himself"

But look, I really don't want to continue this argument because I'm realizing that this is more a personal problem you have had with some apparently unkind people. I initially took it as a swipe to all those who prefer Wallace's scholarship over that of those in the KJVO camp. Since I am one of those, and in no means feel that makes Wallace my untouchable personal sage, I felt I should comment. I'm seeing now that was a mistake.

There is one thing you said, however, that I wouldn't mind asking you about: do you always criticize people for being professors? Or did this just start now to discredit Wallace? If young men shouldn't be influenced by a "scholar" or "professor", and just keep their learning confined to their pastor, is it then wrong to go to Creation Ministries International's website or Answers in Genesis to find out about Creation Science, or do they have to just stick with what the pastor says? Isn't there something about having knowledge in a special field that can be useful? And if influence should be kept to the local church only, should you be exercising a role as a blogger, who will then influence people that come across your blog, who might come from churches with a different perspective, but then reading your blog might change their minds? I don't see the office of blogger anywhere in scripture.

Ok, that was a lot of questions, but I think you get my point. I'm trying to say (type) it in a charitable way, and I hope my tone is such. Thank you for having this discussion with me.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hey DT!

I'm for scholarship. True scholarship. However, proof by scholarship I'm not for. True scholars prove their stuff. They don't just state it and get a free pass because of it. Many now have a standard of proof that simply quotes a professor or scholar and everyone must bow. This is true scholarolatry (sp?).

I've pointed out proof by scholarship or degrees before when I've seen it. I see this occurring again with Wallace. I am thankful for the work of scholars and professors and will use it, but we don't see authority by scholarship in Scripture. We're sanctified by the truth.

Even AIG would say to check in with your church, especially them. Their saying it doesn't make it true, and they would also say the answers are in Scripture, especially them.

I'm fine with anyone blogging. It's a free country, but the blog, like mine, is open to actual criticism, using actual proof, not "Daniel Wallace said," and it's done because it came from a professor at DTS. We are taking the world's model when we behave that way. That's my point. I am saying that the amount of respect for these parachurch in many cases today superpasses that of actual church offices.

Your tone is fine. I reacted to other comments in the comment section, but I wasn't headed the "tone" direction in the post. My biggest tone criticism is that sharp tone occurs everywhere; it isn't just dedicated to KJVO. Most of the tone problems come from English preservationists that I don't relate with. On the CT/electic side, plenty of the big names are as bad as anyone, even as bad as Ruckman, and I mean Doug Kutilek in that category.

If you read the Frank Turk comments, those were as bad as Ruckman in the tone category. I know that I don't have a mellow tone here, but I do want to be fair. I want to give in when something is the truth and, that is, in fitting with Scripture.

Jerry Bouey said...

One thing I have noticed is that many believe those for the KJV are against scholarship - what we are against is scholarship that contradicts God's Word, and that includes Higher Criticism. When God said He inspired and preserved His Word, including the very words - and some textual critic or scholar comes along and says that inspiration, etc. only refers to the originals, that God did not preserve the words (only the ideas or general message), or that God failed in keeping His promises to preserve His Word (they are looking for the true text, adding things, taking away others) and to keep His Word pure (somehow they think corrupt copies and translations are God's preserved Word!). There is also a kind of scholarship that sets itself up as an authority over God's Word, that questions and casts doubt on it.

That is the kind of scholarship I am against. I am all for solid, Bible-believing, Biblical scholarship that actually teaches what the Word of God says, that supports it from history, archaeology, and science, that is willing to dig deep in the Word of God - without explaining it away or contradicting it in any fashion.

Michael M said...

Hello Dr. B. This entire post is interesting. It reminds of two passages of scripture:

JUDE 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

I have often found it amusing that professors only compare themselves to themselves, and hold sway over others because they have more letters after their name than they have in their name.  . It’s as if professor-dom has become the popedom. Reminds me of the Pharisees in John chapter 9. I have yet to see a college professor go out and build a church, so it would seem they can lecture on what they cannot do, which is to me an interesting paradox in itself.

AMOS 8:11-12 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find [it].

I found it interesting that the phrase is from the North to the East. Our euphemism would be North to South or East to West. Considering that Textual Criticism came from German Rationalism, and Germany is in the North, could it be that our Modern Day German Rationalists are still wandering from the North to the East – the Middle East to be precise, to search for the Word of God? A quest they will never fill because they already have it and rejected it, hence, they shall seek the word of the LORD and shall not find it.