Monday, March 30, 2009

The Erroneous Epistemology of Multiple Version Onlyism part two

How do we know what we know? David Hume insisted that all beliefs be based upon evidence and that the reality of evil was proof that God didn't actually exist. Post- enlightenment epistemology demands the search of all our beliefs by reason, so that a belief without support of evidence is irrational. But there is a limit to what human beings can prove. Revelation is by nature undiscoverable. Most of the basic truths in life come by means of Divine revelation. The knowledge of God Himself is revealed to man, so that he is without excuse. Faith is the only basis for knowledge of God. We can't know Him apart from His revelation.

If evidence is required for faith, then we have reason to doubt the reliability of our belief-forming process, and if so, then we have reason to doubt all our beliefs. For any person to have knowledge, his beliefs must have been produced by cognitive faculties properly functioning according to a right design and aim. Sin has altered the faculties and undone their design and aim. This is why faith is superior to external evidence.

Man is limited in the pursuit and context of knowledge. 1 Corinthians 13:2 uses hyperbole to describe man's shortcomings in knowledge. No man understands all mysteries and knowledge. No man understands the universe or even the world in its totality. However, God does.

Believing, Not Seeing

Thomas said to the rest of Jesus' apostles in John 20:25, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." Later in v. 27, Jesus called Thomas "faithless." Why? He just needed evidence, didn't he? Shouldn't have Jesus been more sympathetic to Thomas' epistemology?

And what about Abraham? God told him to leave Ur for a land He would show him sight unseen. What does Paul say that Abraham did in Romans 4:20? "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." The promise of God was good enough for Abraham to pack up all his family and belongings to travel a long, treacherous path to a place he'd never laid eyes upon. "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).

Noah had never seen rain, but he built an ark. Joshua had never seen walls tumble, but he walked around the city of Jericho. Naaman had never seen the God of Elisha, but he stepped into the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times. "The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom" (1 Corinthians 1:22). Signs and wisdom make sense to Jews and Greeks. Preaching doesn't. It isn't credible enough for Jews and Greeks to believe. They need more.

The Demand for Divinely Revealed Presuppositions

Unless truth is presupposed, there is no proof of anything. In order to have knowledge, the world must exist in both unity and plurality. Unity is commonality and plurality is distinctiveness. Nothing can be known of things that are utterly dissimilar from one another. Without the unity of similarity there is no knowledge. At the same time, without the disunity of distinctions, nothing can be known because there is nothing to distinguish one reality from another. If reality cannot be known as a whole, then neither can any part of it be understood. Only the biblical God presents a knowable ultimate unity and distinctiveness.

Without God, all that we know is only all that we think we know. No man knows everything. Unless we know everything, we have no way of knowing whether some fact will undermine what we know. Without comprehensive knowledge, we are looking only as far as possible into a darkness to the boundaries of purported knowledge. The fact that we don't know of what we are ignorant means that we are ignorant of how what we do not know bears on everything that we think we do know. We don't know that "what you don't know can't hurt you." God is immune to all that, because He knows everything. If one knows everything, then He knows how the knowledge of one fact bears on the knowledge of another fact. We can only know what God says we can know.

Despite what we can know, Paul writes that we know in part (1 Corinthians 13:9). What part we know, we don't even know in the sense that we don't know the part that is missing and the relationship of the part we know and the part we don't know. We would have to know the whole in order to know what part is missing. Paul describes this lack of knowledge in 1 Corinthians 13:12:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Someone with superior knowledge is still looking only a little bit further into the darkness than someone else. That won't stop until the point in the future when we see God face to face. Then we will be like God (1 John 3:2) and will know even as we are known.

Things are what they are whether or not anyone knows it to be so. The Mariana Trench was the deepest seafloor depression before anyone had measured it. Only God knows what is. Because of that, only God is trustworthy as a source of knowledge. Knowledge of some things presupposes a measure of all things; and if that measure is not uniquely found in the mind of an absolute God then all of us are fumbling about aimlessly in the dark, searching for a non-existent light switch.

And how can we know that we know unless someone that knows tells us? We may think we know, but God has assured us of knowledge by His communication to us. Our confidence to know is placed in God's character. And He says that man cannot live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds out of His mouth (Matthew 4:4).

How We Know What God Preserved

How do we know what God's Words are? Are the promises of God themselves a sufficient enough guide to bring us certainty about what His Words are? Christians of the past have thought so. We can only know how God says we can know. And what does God say?

God says that He would preserve every Word to every generation of believers (Isaiah 59:21; Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119:160; Isaiah 40:8).

Deuteronomy 12:28, "Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God."

Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."

Luke 21:33, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."

We would assume then that every generation of believers would have every Word available. Those Words, which are not accessible to every generation, we should not assume are God's Words. God's people will receive His Words.

John 17:8, "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."

1 Thessalonians 2:13, "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

They receive His Words because of the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

John 16:13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."

Romans 8:11, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."

1 John 2:27, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

We can depend on the Holy Spirit, Who moved upon Holy men (2 Peter 1:20-21) in the process of the inspiration of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to know what the Words of God are. And the Holy Spirit leads and teaches men those Words. The London Baptist Confession (1689) states this doctrine this way:

[Yet] notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Faith itself is substance and evidence (Hebrews 11:1). Our faith should rely in the Word of God for what we know. We have certainty in what God speaks, because He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Because of the trustworthiness or dependability of God's Words, we can depend upon Scripture itself to know the basis for discerning what God's Words are.
  1. They will be verbally, plenarily preserved (2 Timothy 3:16).
  2. They will be perfect (Psalm 12:6; 19:7; 119:140).
  3. They will be available (Matthew 4:4).
  4. They will be preserved in the language in which they were written (Matthew 5:18).
  5. They will be known by the testimony and guidance of the Holy Spirit, therefore, through believers, who are indwelt by the Spirit (John 16:7).
The only text with any claim of perfection by believers and that has been available is the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus of the New Testament.

How Are Scriptural Presuppositions Evidence?

What is truly knowable comes from God. He reveals it. Since it's revealed, it's non-discoverable. What man discovers isn't truth like Scripture is truth. General revelation is general in its audience, not in its content. I've given about seven or eight unenumerated arguments for this understanding of what we can know.

We know that God uses mathematical probability to bring certainty in the way of fulfilled prophecies. He makes predictions and they all come to pass like He said. The one hundred percent fulfillment is evidence. This relates to evidence for verbal, plenary preservation of Scripture in two ways. First, every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. What believers agree are God's Words are not just men's opinions but the Spirit bearing witness, testifying to truth. A four to five hundred year agreement on the textus receptus and Hebrew Masoretic stands as evidence based on Scriptural presuppositions. Do we really think that we can say that all those believers for all those years were wrong? In this one area, Scripture, they were all deceived? And yet, at the end of that period of time, unbelieving textual critics were actually enlightened?

Second, the promises of preservation are like the prophecies that God fulfilled. Are we going to say that God fulfilled all of the prophecies, including the detailed dozens in Daniel and the amazing many in Isaiah, but He didn't fulfill His promises to protect His Word unto perfection? The fulfillment of prophecy says that God keeps His promises. The power of their fulfillment extends to the trust in God's promises of perfect preservation and availability of all His Words.

One hundred textual critics, mostly unbelieving, can't be trusted with a holy book written by a holy God. I like the questions posed by reglerjoe, a commenter on the first installment of this epistemology series, with this regards and as it relates to contemporary evangelical textual critic Daniel Wallace:

So evidence is the leader? And how objective does one's mind need to be in order to accurately examine the evidence? How can we know we are being reliably objective enough? So we can't be sure of God's word, but we can have faith in our own supposed objectivity?

Those questions say it all. We can't trust our objectivity with evidence if we can't trust God's promises. God's promises are revelation. The evidence isn't.

But What About the Critical or Eclectic Text?

I'll talk about this in part three.

31 comments:

mike said...

I agree with you through and through in this post until the end.

I simply don't see how, "The only text with any claim of perfection by believers and that has been available is the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus of the New Testament" is the necessary conclusion theologically.

MT is far from perfect. Anyone who has read 1-2 Samuel in it knows that. As for the TR, I would have to ask, which TR? None of the TR editions are identical.

Anyway, I look forward to your next post in the series. Hopefully you'll clear up more of your view for me.

Anonymous said...

Brother Brandenburg,

Thanks for another good article.

All faith is based upon evidence, but it is evidence provided in the revelation of the Bible. Here we are approaching the time when we remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These events are the very cornerstone of the Christian faith. As I read the four accounts of these events I am impressed at all the detailed "evidence" given by the Lord to actuall prove that Jesus died [testimony of eye-witnesses, including the centurion to Pilate; piercing by spear; wrapping in burial clothes; sealing of a tomb hollowed out of rock where no other bodies were laid; etc.] and to prove that He rose bodily from the grave [touching by Mary of His feet; eating of fish & honeycomb; breaking of bread with couple in Emmaus; over 500 that saw Him; etc.]. The evidence given in the Bible to these facts is so concrete that it convinced Simon Greenleaf and led to his conversion. Mr. Greenleaf was one of the founders of the Harvard Law school. He wrote a 3 volume text on the rules of evidence to be used in court. As an atheist he applied those rules to the Gospels. That exercise convinced him that the resurrection was an absolute, indisputable fact. He wrote a book titled, The Testimony of the Evangelists to record his finding. Unfortunately, there is included at the end of that book as it is published today an article by Constantine Tischendorff that does not accept the statements of the Bible evidence for verbal preservation.
Hence we see, as you stated, the limits of man's ability to know. If we do not take God's revelation as fact, we are like a ship upon the sea with no propeller, no sail, no anchor - left to be driven by whatever winds of unbelief and incomplete knowledge there may be.
G. Webb

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks G. Webb.

Mike. Thanks to you too. I believe that everything I wrote up to that point leads to that point as it relates. I probably will deal with that in the third of fourth post on this subject. Thanks for reading though.

reglerjoe said...

Well, I for one am shocked that I actually added something poignant to the conversation. This issue is a source of near-infinite befuddlement to me. But I think I'm getting closer to wrapping my brain around it.

I have noticed this, Kent (correct me if I'm wrong): you are a very lonely voice of reason amongst the din of nonsensical KJVO advocates. In fact, it would seem to me that you disagree with most other reasons for KJVOism.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Pastor Brandenburger,

I think what it ultimately boils down to is the authority one accepts. We accept the Bible as authoritative, and therefore feel no need to submit it to the chicken-scratchings of man, whose empirical capacities - as you indicated - are actually quite lacking in capacity.

Modernistic textual critics, on the other hand, reject the authority of God's Word (and therefore God Himself), and replace it with the authority of man. The "experts" - Daniel Wallace, Bruce Metzger, Carlo Martini, and the rest - become the arbiters of what is true and what is not.

One could argue evidences all day long with modernistic textual critics, and they would reject anything not conforming to the teachings of their pre-selected authority. And truthfully, the same can be said for us. It's just that we have a different authority we appeal to (God) than they do (man). Logically, there is no reason why we should accept evidences forwarded by modernistic textual critics, since these necessarily rest on a flawed empirical foundation.

mike said...

I will look forward to the rest of your series then.

Jude said...

Mr. Brandenburg,

I highly enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing. I do have one question for you, though. Would you say that Romans 1:20 establishes a Biblical precedent for establishing scientific truth (i.e., empirical fact) outside though observation of creation without consulting the Bible?

With all respect,

-Jude

mike said...

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus:

When you write:

Modernistic textual critics, on the other hand, reject the authority of God's Word (and therefore God Himself), and replace it with the authority of man. The "experts" - Daniel Wallace, Bruce Metzger, Carlo Martini, and the rest - become the arbiters of what is true and what is not.

Logically speaking, if these men have rejected God, then they cannot be believers. I really have no idea how you would be able to accept Wallace as a believer while at the same time say that he has rejected God himself. Is it not possible for someone to be a believer and at the same time be wrong (assuming for the sake of argument that he is)?

Brother Brandenburg has given a fantastic discussion of epistemology with plenty of excellent scripture references. None of those verses say one must accept the MT or TR to be a believer. The Apostle John delineates his apostolic criteria for who is and who is not a believer: a believer is someone who professes that Jesus came in the flesh. It was good enough for John and its good enough for me. I do hope its good enough for you too.

Kent Brandenburg said...

reglerjoe,

You added, yes. What you wrote was well-stated and I didn't think I could have said it better myself. You saw it in a way of clarity that I did not have in my head at the time.

I believe there are many out there right now that would argue for KJVO just like I this, but they aren't well known. A lot of good things are being written. I experience the joy of the Holy Spirit in this too.

Jude,

Thanks. You asked, "Would you say that Romans 1:20 establishes a Biblical precedent for establishing scientific truth (i.e., empirical fact) outside though observation of creation without consulting the Bible?"

No. I don't believe so. Rather than writing out a whole lot on this, I'll link to a few articles.

http://www.narnia3.com/articles/bibflood.pdf

http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj9a.pdf

General revelation is known by revelation. It isn't discovered. We can't put man's discoveries on the same level. God's Word is the final arbiter in all truth claims.

Don Johnson said...

Hi Kent,

I am with you on a good deal of this, but I think you claim too much with this:

We would assume then that every generation of believers would have every Word available. Those Words, which are not accessible to every generation, we should not assume are God's Words.

and this:

The only text with any claim of perfection by believers and that has been available is the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus of the New Testament.

I don't follow how Mt 4.4 promises that God's words will always be available at all times. It says that man shall live by the Word of God. It doesn't guarantee that man will have the word of God always available. Who says man deserves it?

In fact, there was a time in the OT when the word of God wasn't available. No one knew what it said. They were going through the motions out of tradition until Josiah got the bright idea of renovating the temple. Then when they found the word and brought it to Josiah, he discovered they were in deep trouble.

So not only doesn't Mt 4.4 guarantee that people would always have the word available but we have a Scriptural example of a time (we don't know how long) when the word of God was to all intents and purposes lost to God's people. See 2 Ki 22.8-14ff.

FWIW

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anonymous said...

Mike,
You said, "The Apostle John delineates his apostolic criteria for who is and who is not a believer: a believer is someone who professes that Jesus came in the flesh. It was good enough for John and its good enough for me. I do hope its good enough for you too."
I think that we all understand your concern about deciding who is a believer & who is not. Ultimately the Lord knows who are His & who are not.
I would like to point out, though, that John gave several other criteria for who are believers:
1. Admission of sin: I John 1:8.
2. Obedience: I John 2:3-5, 5:2-3.
3. Love for genuine Christians: I John 2:9-11, 3:14-15, 4:7-8.
4. Remaining in the fellowship of a true church: I John 3:19.
5. Abstaining from a life of sin: I John 3:4-9, 5:18.
6. Confession of and belief in Christ: I John 2:22-23, 5:1.
There are many people who "confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh" who have few other evidences of genuine salvation & perhaps some evidences that would indicate they do not know the Lord. What do we say about them?
G. Webb

Anvil said...

Let's say for the sake of argument that I'm a believer in 2nd century Alexandria, using a copy of the Alexandrian text (I have access to one through my church). I read in the scriptures that God has preserved his word, and the church where I live agrees that the text we have is the scriptures. Obviously, we don't see people from churches outside our area very often, if at all, since travel is so expensive, takes long, and is uncommon, so I've never seen a different copy of the scriptures than what we are using.

What about the epistemology you are describing would help me to know that the scriptures I am using are corrupt? I can't see anywhere the text would help me to know that.

It seems to me the whole problem here is that we know what we know of God from the scriptures. So, how do we have faith in what the scriptures are telling us if we don't know which scriptures are the right ones before we read them and have faith? Or worse, like above, we only have one copy, and it's the corrupt one? Are you saying my faith, and the faith of those in our Alexandrian church, is in vain?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anvil,

You ask some good questions and I'll answer them.

Don,

I'll deal with that, but thanks for commenting.

G. Webb,

Your addition on 1 John was excellent. I'm sure you could have written more from 1 John. It's a tough book, isn't it? It is 1 John 2:19 on staying in the church for those reading---I'm sure just a typo.

I'll look forward to installments three and four and your questions have helped me to understand more of what I should write. I have considered the ideas represented in the Don and Anvil comments. The Don one gets brought up regularly.

Thanks!!!

mike said...

G. Webb,

You're right, John said more than what I described, but that wasn't really my point. My point was that your own words sounded very clearly as if you do not consider Wallace, Metzger, Martini and others to be believers (i.e. you seemd to have said that you believed these men have rejected God).

So, I'm much more encouraged by your words here:

I think that we all understand your concern about deciding who is a believer & who is not. Ultimately the Lord knows who are His & who are not.

That's what I wanted hear directly. And I would encourage you to choose your words more carefully - Wallace and Metzger at the very least do/did portray the other evidences you mention from 1 John. I know Wallace and my father-in-law knew Metzger.

So this is my suggestion. Try thinking from their perspective. You don't have to accept their views of the text of the NT, but do try to understand that they consider their work in Textual Criticism to be a task of honoring the authority of God's word. You may think they are misguided (and perhaps they are), but you must recognize that they do not do their work as a rejection of God or his authority, but because they value God's authority so much that they wanted to dedicate their lives to making sure they got the word right.

All this to say, even if you drastically disagree with their view of the text of the New Testament, it would be wiser to treat them as fellow believers who are misguided and wrong: They're doing the wrong thing (modern TC) for the right reason (they value God's word).

And either way, as of two years ago, Metzger now knows where he was right or wrong about the New Testament. He's with his Redeemer.

P S Ferguson said...

Don,

To use philosophical terms, what you are positing is idealism. This suggests that it is possible to have no word of God in the concrete, but this is acceptable as long as we possess it ideally.

Could you show where the Bible was hidden from Israel? How was the Scroll lost when it was in the temple where God told Moses to put it in Deut 31:26? The King was explicitly commanded to read this book (Deut 17:18). The fact that Josiah did not bother to follow this command at the beginning of his reign did not mean God had failed to preserve His Words to that generation. In the same manner, if a believer refused to acccept the Words of God by rejecting the text preserved through the true Church by opting for the Critical Text then he alone is culpable for not heeding the Biblical presuppositions to guide him to a perfect text.

Even in Josiah's time they clearly knew the Word as it led him to begin the Reformation. There are no explicit examples in Scripture where God's people seeking the Words of God have them hidden from them. By contrast, God has established Biblical precedents which show that He keeps and protects His word. For instance, when Moses broke the original copy of the tables of God, they were replaced very soon afterwards and not hundreds of years later. In the book of Jeremiah, God responded to the burning of His inspired word by preparing Baruch to record exactly the words of the former scroll. God perfectly preserved His word to all generations in both instances just as He promised (Isaiah 59:21; Psa. 33:11; Psa. 100:5; Psa. 119:89-90).

Just so I am not accused of making this up, I will add my own presuppositions that Scripture posits as guiding us to the perfect text:

(1) All of our doctrines must be from the Bible (2 Tim 3:16). The Bible is self-attesting (1 Cor 14:29, 32, 37; Matt 18:19). How we view our world is not how God views it and believers are mandated to think God’s thoughts after Him (Isa 55:9), which requires a scriptural presuppositional approach to the textual problems. A believer must study to show “himself approved unto God” (2 Tim 2:15). As Cornelius Van Til puts it, “The Bible is thought of as authoritative on everything of which it speaks. And it speaks of everything.” We are to receive these promises by faith (Heb 11:13; Matt 13:22; Rom 1:17).
God revealed the Scriptures so men could know His will both in the Old and New Testaments and in the future (Deut 31:9-13, 24-29; 1 John 1:1-4; 2:1-17; 2 Tim. 3:14-17, 2 Pet 1:12-15). Certainly the Bible makes clear that no Scripture was intended for only the original recipient (Ps 78:5-7; Rom 15:4; Rom 16:25-26; 1 Cor 10:11). God intended for those writings to be recognised and received by the church as a whole (e.g., Col 4:16; Rev 1:4). These Words were to be guarded (1 Tim 6:20-21) as a “pattern of sound words” for the church (2 Tim 1:13-14) and to be used to instruct the future church (2 Tim 2:2).
(2) The Bible promises that God will preserve every one of His Words forever down to the very jot and tittle of the smallest letter (Ps12:6, 7; Ps 33:11; Ps 119:152, 160; Isa 30:8; 40:8; 1 Pet 1:23-25; Matt 5:18; 24:35).
(3) The Bible assures us that God’s Words are perfect and pure (Ps12:6-7; Prov 30:5).
(4) The Bible promises that God would make His Words generally available to every generation of believers (Deut 30:11-14; Isa 34:16; Isa 59:21; Matt 4:4; 2 Pet 3:2; Jude 1:17). (This is general availability, not necessarily to every person on the planet.) Certainly, we are told that for around two millennia in history only one small nation had the true and pure words of God, “He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation; and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Ps 147:19, 20 cf. Rom. 2:14).
(5) The Bible promises there will be certainty as to the Words of God (2 Peter 1:19; Luke 1:4; Prov 1:23; Prov 22:20-1; Dan12:9-10; 1 John 2:20).
(6) The Bible promises that God would lead His saints into all truth, that the Word, all of His Words, are truth (John 16:13; 17:8, 17).
(7) God states that the Bible will be settled to the extent that someone could not add or take away from His Words (Rev 22:18, 19; Deut 12:32). Indeed, the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:2 warned the saints of his day to be mindful of the “Words” of the Old Testament writings (v2a) and the New Testament writings (v2b), which would be absurd if some of these Words had been corrupted or lost.
(8) The Bible shows that the true Church of Christ would receive these Words (Matt 28:19-20; John 17:8; Acts 8:14, Acts 11:1; Acts 17:11; 1 Thess 2:13; 1 Cor 15:3).
(9) The Bible implies that believers would receive these Words from other believers (Deut 17:18; 1 Kgs 2:3; Prov 25:1; Acts 7:38; Heb 7:11; 1 Thess 1:6; Phil 4:9).
(10) The Bible shows that Bible promises may appear to contradict science and reason. In Genesis 2 we see that a newly created world may look ancient. However, the Scriptures remind us that “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Ps 118:8). The Christian life has to be a walk in faith in God’s promises not in feelings. The devil and the flesh can give you all kinds of feelings. We do not have to answer every question but to believe what God says.
(11) Christ implied the preservation of His very Words as a Standard of future judgment (John 12:48). He also warned of the vanity of ignoring His actual Words (Matt 7:26). Christ emphatically declared, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). In Matthew 22:29 Jesus rebuked, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures.” If the Scriptures were only accessible in the Originals then why would He chide them for being ignorant of Words that were not available? Believers are commanded to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and this faith is based upon the Words of God (Rom 10:17). Note that concerning the end-times, the Lord Jesus warned, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 cf. Amos 8:11; Lam 2:9).

Here are other Bible evidences that guide us:

(1) God also has established Biblical precedents which show that He keeps and protects His Words. For instance, when Moses broke the original copy of the tables of God, they were replaced very soon afterwards and not hundreds of years later and Scripture makes the point that these second tablets were written “the words that were in the first tables” (Deut 10:2). In the book of Jeremiah, God responded to the burning of His inspired Words by preparing Baruch to record in it “all the former words that were in the first roll” (Jer 36:28).
(2) Jesus preached from the existing scrolls and we are explicitly told they were “Scripture” (Luke 4:21). Jesus also explicitly said the “Scripture” that they were reading was “spoken unto you by God” (Matt 22:31 cf. Mark 12:24-26). Indeed, Christ said to His audience that when they read the Scripture they would see that which was written by Daniel the prophet himself (Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14). Other New Testament passages argue from the Old Testament text based on a phrase (as in Acts 15:13-17), a word (Matt 22:32), or even the difference between the singular and plural form of a word (as in Gal. 3:16).
(3) The Bible warns that there would be those who would “corrupt the word of God” (2 Cor 2:17; Jer 23:29) and handle it “deceitfully” (2 Cor 4:2). The Apostle Paul warns of those who “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” as heading towards apostasy (Rom 1:25). There would arise false gospels with false epistles (2 Thess 2:2). Jesus taught us that if a tree is corrupt, the fruit will be corrupt. Likewise, if a tree is good, the fruit will be good (Matt 7:17). He was speaking of false prophets. False prophets and false teachers corrupt the Scriptures (2 Pet 2:1-3). We must understand that there will always be a line of perversion as there will be of preservation. We are commanded to be fruit inspectors based upon the premise that if a man’s doctrinal belief is in error we can conclude that he will do the same to the Scriptures (2 Cor 2:17). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov 1:7); so all knowledge of the Words of God is rooted in God.
(4) God utilised fallible but Spirit-filled human writers to pen His divinely inspired Words of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16, 1 Pet 1:21). A fallible but Spirit-filled John the Baptist could point infallibly to Christ. As much as a fallible but Spirit-filled Church can recognise and receive the infallible Canon, so can she also recognise and receive the infallible Words of this Canon (John 10:27). Canonicity was recognised by the true Church (not Rome) and the corollary of this must be that the Canonised Words must be recognised by the true and faithful Church and not Rome’s texts or apostate textual critics such as Westcott, Hort, Aland, Metzger etc.
(5) The Church at Antioch has a noteworthy position in Scriptures in contrast to Alexandria. Antioch is the first place where the born-again believer is called a Christian (Acts 11:26). It is also interesting to see that where both Antioch and Alexandria are mentioned in the same passage, Antioch is listed as a place of service, while Alexandria is listed as a place of disruption (Acts 6:5-10). Egypt is for the most part associated with ungodliness in the Bible (Isa 19:14; 30:1-3; Act 7:39; Rev 11:8). Most of the New Testament books were written originally to cities in the Byzantine Text area and none written to Alexandria. However, it was precisely in Alexandria that corrupters of the true text dominated.

I have one question for those who reject such a Presuppositional approach - what Biblical paradigm do you have that guides you to all of the Words of God today? We cannot switch approaches of "pure fidelism" based on Biblical presuppositions in respect of the doctrine of canonicity, creation etc and then reject it for the canonised words. As Cornelius Van Til put it, “We cannot choose epistemologies [theories of knowledge] as we choose hats... [as if] a matter of taste .”

I would also agree (for once) with the notorious anti-KJV critic James White in his book Scripture Alone (2004)when he argues that the idea of any lost Scripture is a slight on God, “The entire idea of “lost Scripture” requires us to believe that God would go through the work of inspiring His word so as to provide for His church guidance and instruction and encouragement; but then, having inspired His Word, be shown incapable of protecting and preserving it and leading His church to recognize if for what it is. Arguing that God might wish to give to give more Scripture at a later point is one thing: charging God with delinquency of duty in light of His own stated purposes for the giving of Scripture is simply without any foundation in His truth as taught in the Bible. From a Biblical perspective of God’s sovereignty, the idea of “lost scripture” is an unambiguously self-refuting concept.”

The absurdity of rejecting perfect preservation as set out in the above paradigm can be seen in the following article which has an excellent introduction but collapses into logical fallacies in its conclusions:

http://sharperiron.org/2009/04/01/the-preservation-of-scripture/

Kent Brandenburg said...

Paul,

Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. I rejoice in that work. I know you would give credit to God. I read the article at SharperIron too. I was thinking the exact thing you did. What a great start and then he proceeds to tear apart what Scripture taught with his own reasoning. It was very sad. I know that SharperIron people would be happy. Actually, it seems like they just ignore it. They are so dependent on each other's opinions of themselves, a kind of spiritual inbreeding, that they aren't willing to criticize those logical fallacies. Again, excellent Paul. Thank you for this contribution. Amen.

mike said...

Another comment where I can place myself in whole hearted agreement with almost everything said.

But I do not understand how in all of it this statement logically follows:

In the same manner, if a believer refused to acccept the Words of God by rejecting the text preserved through the true Church by opting for the Critical Text then he alone is culpable for not heeding the Biblical presuppositions to guide him to a perfect text. .

I would argue that they are not the same manner; that there are completely different. That is to say, I remain unconvinced that the TR is the text preserved through the true Church.

I eagerly anticipate Brother Brandenburg provides an explanation of this as he has promised to do in future posts.

And it is quite encouraging to me to see just how much agreement we do have.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
I don't know Mr. Wallace, but I do not see any evidence that Bruce Metzger is "with his Redeemer." If he is, I don't understand the Bible. If a man can spend his life in the fellowship of those that hate Christ (Princeton, Roman Catholicism), deny the inspiration of the Bible, and produce such a butchering of the Bible as the Reader's Digest Bible and still know the Lord, I guess I do not understand passages like II John 9, Titus 3:10, Romans 16:18, etc. What Gospel did Metzger believe? He may have been a nice man, but he was NOT a child of God. He is one man who definitely fits the condemnation of Revelation 22:18-19. And, I have no concerns about being "hypercritical" or "unloving" in making that judgment.
Brother Brandenburg - yes, sorry for my error. I did mean to use I John 2:19.
G. Webb

Don Johnson said...

A quick response to Paul, in the form of a deep theological term: Baloney.

I'll work on something more substantive in response and probably post it at my site later. Don't have time just now.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Kent Brandenburg said...

Don,

I love you, but I think Paul deserves better than "baloney." I don't mind your calling it baloney after you show how it is, but just calling it baloney is not the way to deal with it. I understand how the feeling of disagreeing with something vehemently. I feel it every day with many things and many people, especially guys at SharperIron and their blogpost, and maybe I don't deal with people as well as I should, but you would do well to hold back on name-calling. It doesn't help your cause if your cause happens to be right, and even if it is wrong it doesn't.

Besides that, I look forward to your response here or at your blog. I've got a few more installments here that I really am itching to answer, but I have spent probably too much time at the comment section elsewhere.

Paul,

I still am preparing to link somehow to my review of God's Word in our Hands. I might go ahead and link to my review of Sprouls' God's Word Preserved too. No one has ever read that. I haven't published it anywhere. I held off because Sproul makes personal attacks in the way of lies and slander about me in that book. Unfortunately, I think that helps his cause in his circles.

Kent Brandenburg said...

G. Webb,

Thanks for the thing on Metzger. I doubt Metzger's salvation too. He did produce his "son" Bart Ehrman. It's like Frankenstein's monster. I didn't want to take the time to get into that because I didn't think it mattered at the time and would get us off track a little, but you've given some facts that would back-up your thoughts. Mike should respect that. I don't think you included everything, because I've read other excerpts that would add to your doubts about his salvation.

Dan Wallace won't talk civilly to someone like me. They lost my conversations with him over at his blog, but when he is wrong, in my experience, he does not humbly admit it. I talked to him very respectfully and he talked like a prima donna, ultra elitist. What do you think of that Mike?

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Mike,

Logically speaking, if these men have rejected God, then they cannot be believers. I really have no idea how you would be able to accept Wallace as a believer while at the same time say that he has rejected God himself. Is it not possible for someone to be a believer and at the same time be wrong (assuming for the sake of argument that he is)?

I think you misunderstood. I didn't say they had rejected God, I said that by rejecting the authority of God's Word, they also reject the authority of God Himself - i.e. are disobedient.

Granted, I do not see a reason to believe that most modernistic textual critics are believers. Carlo Martini, for instance, is a Catholic priest, which means he places any trust (such as it is) in his works and in religious ritual to do for him what Christ's shed blood only can do. Others, like Bruce Metzger, reject many fundamental doctrines of the faith, showing themselves to be the purveyors of what the Scripture calls "damnable heresies", and therefore "by their fruits we shall know them."

As for Daniel Wallace, we see that he DOES reject the authority of God's Word - he thinks it's perfectly fine for man to sit in judgment on God's Word, determining what he thinks does and doesn't belong, rather than simply trusting in the promise of preservation. The choice is between God's authority or man's authority - and Wallace chooses man's authority. The status of his soul before God, I do not know and would not venture to say. The empirical evidence of what authority he grants to govern his approach to the textual issue, on the other hand, is clearly seen.

Brother Brandenburg has given a fantastic discussion of epistemology with plenty of excellent scripture references. None of those verses say one must accept the MT or TR to be a believer.

I never said they did. We're speaking here of faithfulness to God's Word, here, not the status of someone's salvation.

The Apostle John delineates his apostolic criteria for who is and who is not a believer: a believer is someone who professes that Jesus came in the flesh. It was good enough for John and its good enough for me. I do hope its good enough for you too.

Since this discussion is not directly related to the issue at hand in Pastor Brandenburger's post, I'll say this as an aside, but we should note that there's quite a good deal more to it that John and others have to say than merely "professing that Jesus came in the flesh." After all, Catholics and Mormons and Russellites affirm that. Muslims even affirm that. There has to be some systematic synthesis of what the Scripture fully says about the matter, instead of just the cherry-picking of one verse.

Actually, this DOES bear somewhat on the topic of Pastor Brandenburger's post - for if we don't trust the authority of God's Word, and we reject the promise of perfect preservation, and if we believe that man has to "reconstruct" the Scriptures (i.e. submitting the Scriptures to the authority of man's knowledge), which means we never really know if we have them all, or that what we have is really Scripture, then what basis would we have for saying what the Scripture says about being saved or indicating the "hints" as to who is a believer, etc. in the first place?

Lamblion said...

G. Webb is 100% correct. And the same (and more) can be said about Wallace.

See this article for only one example --

http://www.lamblion.net/Articles/ScottJones/scholars_blaspheme_h.htm

mike said...

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

You're still missing my point.

When you write,

As for Daniel Wallace, we see that he DOES reject the authority of God's Word - he thinks it's perfectly fine for man to sit in judgment on God's Word, determining what he thinks does and doesn't belong, rather than simply trusting in the promise of preservation.

you make a significant leap that is quite unfounded.

There are two terms that have been used quite often by linguists and anthrophologists when describing unknown languages and cultures coined by the great Christian linguist Ken Pike, former president of Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL International.

Etic and Emic.

The etic view is the outsider's view.

The emic view is the insider's view.

Imagine you're in the jungle visiting a missionary whose been living there for a couple decades working with a small tribal people in the Amazon. You're in a boat on the river and you're talking with him. In the middle of the conversation, on the bank, two branches collide together.

"Did you see that?" the missionary says.
"Yes, it looks like the wind caught a branch or something," you say.
"No, I don't think so. I wish one of the villagers were here with a spear. I didn't see it, but that sounded like it could have been dinner." he replies.

Two very different perspectives of the same event. Your is the Etic view (relatively speaking, more on that in a moment). Its the outsider's view. But the missionary's perspective is Emic. He sees dinner in the event as an insider who has been on this river many, many times.

When you write what you do about Wallace or any of the others, you write as an outside with absolutely no understanding of his own thought processes and perspectives. You do not have or even understand his Emic view of scripture and its authority.

But there is more to it than that. Your view isn't the Etic objectivity that could very well be helpful. Your view is just as Emic. Its a different Emic from a different perspective.

So when you write about how Wallace "rejects the authority of God's word," you need to ask yourself a few questions:

1) Does Daniel Wallace believe that he, himself, has rejected the authority of God's word?
2) If he does not (and I happen to know personally that he considers himself to have a extremely high view of Scriptural authority), then then next question you need to ask is this: Why not?

And when you can confidently answer that question: Why doesn't Wallace consider himself to have rejected the authority of Scripture, then you'll be in a much better position for saying anything at all.

That's actually one of the reasons I'm here on this blog at all. I already know that I do not understand Kent Brandenburg's view and why he believes what he does. But I want to know and I'm willing to listen.

As for Metzger one more time. Yes, he may have "produced" Ehrman. But then, Jesus "produced" Judas, did he not? I also happen to know that like Jesus, Dr. Metzger produce much more than Erhman. He also produced my father-in-law, a pastor of nearly 40 year and a devout man of God if I have ever known one, one who preaches Christ every Sunday.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Mike, a couple of things, but first, thanks for hanging on here. Second, do you think that someone who espouses the JEDP theory and denies the inspiration of Scripture could be saved?

I don't think it relates to the conclusions we're going to come to in my posts in this series, but I was curious.

Judas didn't get the endorsement from Jesus that Ehrman got from Metzger.

mike said...

Kent, that's a good question, one that I'm not sure of as to how to answer.

I'm inclined to say no solely on the basis a lack of belief in inspiration. What I'm less sure about is whether accepting JEDP by definition means one does not accept inspiration, but then I suppose that would depend on how you define it. I think would keep those two separate, but I'm not completely sure.

But regardless of one's views on authorship questions (particularly OT authorship questions), I would definitely need to see in in anyone's life:

1) The fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians in his life.
2) Regularly confession of sin.
3) Genuinely loving both fellow believers and his enemies.
4) Active interest in serving his local church
5) Consistent and Regular Evangelism.

That's a good start, I think. And there is plenty more to add related to doctrine and theology - e.g. the Trinity, Christ's divinity and humanity and pretty much any of the major issues that were debated in the first centuries of the church.

But in the end regardless of what any of us think, I'm often suspicious that when we get to the New Earth, we're going to be surprised by a few of the people we see there...and perhaps protest the decision like the workers who all received the same pay for very different amounts of work.

As for Metzger, Ehrman, Jesus, and Judas, well, touché.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Mike,

Of course, we're hopeful that anyone might be saved, and the rest of the disciples certainly didn't think Judas wasn't, at least by his disposition. Doctrinal light is another factor.

The danger in advocating someone's salvation would be, at least as I see it in Scripture, the harm it could cause others.

Thanks for your answer and your comment.

Don Johnson said...

Hi Kent,

Well, here I am, back again. The term 'baloney' refers to the arguments made. I guess it is as much "name-calling" as the term 'idealism' is when pointed at me.

But whatever, I was simply being smart-alecky, but I guess no one appreciated the humour.

I have written a rather lengthy response to Paul's comments over at my site. I am sure it is full of imperfections. I am really not wanting to get into the debate, just pointing out that I think you are overstating your case.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

P S Ferguson said...

This is my reply to Don which I posted on his site:

Hi Don

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my entry. I have appreciated your consistent stand on other entries on issues such as biblical separation. Personally, I was not insulted by your “baloney” jibe, although I was concerned that it was trivializing a vital subject. I am glad you had the integrity to now reply Biblically. I would hope we will not descend to the Sharper Iron mentality of ridiculing those who disagree with us on important issues such as the certainty of the Words of God.

My charge of idealism was not ad hominen but a genuine attempt to find a label that described best a view that argued for your perpetual uncertainty position. From your extended answer, I see no reason to withdraw the term.

I am glad you acknowledge that your interpretation of the “lost Bible” in Josiah’s reign is not a fixed position. Personally, I interpret the incident in line with the perfect preservation and availability passages and that is how I came to my conclusion. What is undisputed is that God told the nation to place a copy in the temple and for the king to be guided by that copy. When Josiah sought God’s Will in the nation he was providentially led to the very place where God promised the perfect Word would be and it was therefore available to his generation. To me this is entirely consistent with the Biblical promises. Even today, if I don’t seek out God’s Words where He said they would be I fail to see that God at fault for “losing them.”

In general, your position is inconsistent with the general purpose of Scripture as revealed in the Bible. Save for the Josiah incident, which you are not even certain about, there is not a single passage of Scripture that would lead you to suggest that there would be more than 1800 years (and still counting) when we would not have available and be sure of what the Words of God are. In fact, God revealed the Scriptures so men could know His will both in the Old and New Testaments and in the future. Has not “His divine power…given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness?” (2 Peter 1:3) Indeed these Words were to control, creates and define the true Church, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Peter 1:23). Logically, if all the Scriptures were “written,” for the purpose of instructing New Testament saints (2 Tim 3:16) that purpose for the inspired writings must invariably demands their perfect preservation. If God promised to preserve all of His Words, He will not alter His course because of mankind, Satan, or anything in all of creation. A Sovereign God controls history precisely just as He has always planned and ordained and nothing can thwart His perfect will (Dan 4:35; Eph 1:11).

As you have rejected my exegesis of the many passages on Scripture that I believe presuppositionally lead us to all of the Words of God, there is little point in me arguing further about these. I think that the clear and obvious meaning from them and the whole purpose of Scripture would drive the objective believer who has never heard of textual criticism and Westcott and Hort to naturally come to the same conclusions. I do not believe it is primarily exegetical considerations which moves you to your conclusions but by going first to history and then to Scripture to attempt to explain away passages on preservation and availability. Ultimately, this position begins with textual criticism which restricts the doctrinal view from hindering the “evidence” to lead us into the “truth” concerning the Words.

In confirming the canon we have been moved and induced by the testimony of the church, and therefore we are bound to recognize the same testimony for confirming (not creating) the text of Scripture. It is therefore, inconsistent and unbiblical to distinguish between higher and lower criticism and go about to confirm the text of Scripture on a different basis as we would discover the canon of Scripture. It is especially this presuppositional point where TR adherents are met with ridicule and hostility from modern text critical advocates. This opposition is based on a failure to honestly confess that they have changed presuppositional approaches by adamantly insisting on a “neutral” evaluation of the textual evidence while essentially ignores the testimony of the church. Text critical advocates basic premise is that the church has historically erred somewhere, but the scientific textual evidence has the ability to correct this, notwithstanding the fact that the textual evidence of the extant manuscripts is hopelessly partial, contradictory and fragmentary.

A textual position that rejects the a priori presupposition that “The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice” is surely to be rejected. A Biblicist derives his ontology and epistemology from biblical theology rather than his own experience filtered through his own reason. It is an insult to God to argue that the only infallible written revelation of Himself so lacks clarity that man has to step in to determine the process. However, let me posit some questions to test the consistency of your position:

(1) Do you believe that the Scriptures are sufficient to provide a framework to guide us to all the Words of God today? If so, could you at least briefly explain this?

(2) You state “I am not arguing against the doctrine of preservation. I wholeheartedly embrace it.” – Can you define what Scriptural presuppositions guide you to adopt this fidelistic position also?

(3) Do you believe in a 66 Book Canon? What Scriptural presuppositions guide you to be certain about your view on this? If Canonicity was recognized by the true Church (not Rome) then the corollary of this must be that the Canonized Words must be recognized by the true Church and not Rome’s texts or apostate textual critics such as Westcott, Hort, Aland, Metzger etc (1 Cor 2:12).

Blessings
Paul

Kent Brandenburg said...

This is what I posted over at Don's blog about Matthew 4:4.

Let’s go Matthew 4:4 first, Don. You say it says NOTHING about availability of God’s Word. I’ve preached through Matthew and the same place in Luke too. It’s a quote of Deuteronomy 8:3. There’s no question that Jesus could make bread—He made enough bread and enough fish to feed several thousands of people—the issue here was that He was being tempted to take it on Himself to decide when and how the food would come, so the temptation was to distrust God’s love.

Deuteronomy is a reiteration of the law God gave Moses, describing how the people were to live. In Deut 8:1, God reminds them that they need to be careful to obey everything that God said, and if they did, they would live and get great blessing—so the living of everything God said was the key to their lives and futures. How do we know what God said, Don? Is it concepts or ideas? In v. 2 of Deuteronomy 8, God reminds them that they had been tested in the wilderness for 40 years as to whether they could trust Divine care for them, believing that God would take care of them. We know that while in the wilderness that they distrusted God and murmured and complained, despite the fact that God was supplying them with manna food, and so they died in the wilderness. The key for them being able to live, to be protected and preserved by God, was by obeying what He said. What did they need to obey, Don? Every word. Every word was important to live, not concepts or ideas. What does that assume? That assumes that they would have every Word. Of course it does, which, by the way, in Deuteronomy 30:11-14, they didn’t have an excuse by saying that it wasn’t available. They had it in their mouth. And yes, “word” is used there in that text, but He is referring to all the Words even as seen in the greater context of Deuteronomy 30.

It wasn’t enough that they had manna and the things that God provided for them, so they were forty years in the wilderness and they were tested and they failed the test, so that they all died in the wilderness—now He says you’re going to go into the land and you just saw what happened to people who don’t trust Me, who don’t trust God’s love and provision. So if you are going to live, it’s not going to be by bread alone, but by obedience to every Word. The way to live is to obey God’s Word and then trust God for the bread (this is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6). You do not live because you eat but because God is determined to give you life and provide your meal—as soon as God determines you’re not going to live anymore, you’re not going to live anymore.

The fact that it was said in Deuteronomy 8:3 and then repeated in Matthew 4:4 says that this is timeless. We will live by the Words that God gives us. What is inspiration but Words proceeding out of the mouth of God. Every Word. Not Concepts or Ideas.

This is exactly what it is about in Matthew 4:4, Don. Exactly. So your “They do not,” really doesn’t work. What you wrote above in your “exegesis” was the equivalent of “nuh-uh” or “does not.” It didn’t develop anything, which is why it misses it.

So to make application, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, what are relied upon by textual critics and your Nestles-Aland text, either because those two manuscripts were rejected or because they were ignored, weren’t available, we know, from 1500 to 1800 after the printing press was invented. They were not the text received by the churches.

P S Ferguson said...

I have also replied to Don and Dan Salter with the following entry on the same blog:

Dan Salter,

You first point I agree with. The second that holding to the perfect preservation and availability of all of God's Words means that we search for the word "TR" and "KJV" in the Bible is a straw man. God did not promise to preserve a text, translation, parchment, ink but HIS WORDS! You claim that there is a large gap between the TR and the originals. That is not exactly a stunning revelation to any of us. The TR compilers did not compile the printed editions from a vacuum. The WORDS were obviously there throughout the centuries and generally available in God's true Church. These WORDS were the ones handed down and settled on by the people of God soon after the advent of the printing press. There is no other alternative in respect of fulfilling the Biblical presuppositions.

Now, I have set forth the Biblical presuppositional paradigm that guides us to HIS WORDS. Don says (correctly) on his Church Articles of Faith that "The Bible is the only rule for faith and practice. It is the absolute standard of life and as such is to be obeyed by all men." He also adds John 12:48 as a proof text warning all readers that in the Second Coming we will all be judged by EVERY WORD (not just message). I am assuming he believes this and so posited the very reasonable request that he should show how we are guided to all the WORDS of God today especially those we will be judged by.

Don,

I believe these passages do believe the perfect preservation and availability. You do not so we are at an impasse. They make no sense without it as I have shown with regard to John 12:48.

Let me choose two passages.

(a) In your reply you say concerning Proverbs 22.20-21 that "the writer has given excellent counsels and wisdom so that the reader might know the certainty of the words given, the reliability and wisdom of their meaning" yet paradoxically you conclude, "This is a promise that God’s words are true, not certainty as to the words of God." I find it hard to discuss the passage with someone who says the passage was given so the reader may have certainty but the reader does not have certainty. It is a bit like arguing 2 Tim 3:16 was given to teach us that every word was inspired but in reality it was not inspired!

(b) With respect to Prov 1.23, you say it is "not a promise about specific words being preserved into perpetuity, but a promise that if you pay attention to wisdom’s reproof, God will make known his words to you." I am assuming the "you" here is referring to believers in 2009 so if you say these "words" are known unto us today then it follows that this promise implies (at the very least) perfect preservation and availability of these WORDS for those who pay attention to God's wisdom.


You have made certain statements on your website and in your reply that I would be grateful if you would answer:

(1) You said "Do I suggest that God’s words are uncertain or that God hasn’t certainly preserved his words? No!" - what Biblical presuppositions guided you to make this statement or is it just an opinion?

(2) In light of you citing John 12:48 and "The Bible is the only rule for faith and practice. It is the absolute standard of life and as such is to be obeyed by all men" - can you state clearly what Biblical presuppositions guided you to make this statement or is it just an opinion? Can I rely on the Bible to guide me to all of the Words of God today? Simple yes or no.

(3) Do you believe in a 66 Book Canon? What Scriptural presuppositions guide you to be certain about your view on this? You have written a paper on it I see for your Church. You even claim that one of the test for a canonical book was the universality of its reception but you do not give us any Scriptural presuppositions so I can only reasonably infer you believe in an open canon or that there are some doctrines you hold to that have no Scriptural support. In this paper you say, "Even if a letter of one of the apostles should be found today, it wouldn’t be included in the canon." What Scriptural presuppositions guide you to make this a definitive doctrine? You also cite "The words Jesus wrote in the dust when the woman caught in adultery was led to him were not inspired — i.e., ‘breathed out’ by God as Scripture — even though they were true, miraculous, and very convicting to those who read them." What Scriptural presuppositions guide you to recognizing this passage as part of the true WORDS of GOD?