Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scrambling for an Explanation: The LXX Argument

The Bible teaches the perfect preservation of Scripture. That's why the people in the pew of churches all over the country believe it, despite the pressure from academics and elitists. They read their Bible and that is the plain reading of the text. It really is like the public schools drowning the nation in evolution, but still only convincing a minority of Americans. And then most people that do use new versions do not know that they are studying a different text of the Bible. They think it's just updated English. And most new or multiple version advocates don't mind that myth perpetuating itself. The following verses are just a few of what convince Christians that they should expect to have all the Words God inspired in the original manuscripts:

Isaiah 59:21, "As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever."

Matthew 5:18, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

Matthew 4:4, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

Psalm 12:6-7, "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."

These aren't all, but they are a sampling of what people have seen and then depended on as a basis for a belief in the perfect preservation of Scripture. It has seemed plain to your average Christian that this is what God has said.

You have those who have read about textual variants and textual criticism and superior or older manuscripts, and their faith is shaken in these promises of God. They've had to react to men preaching these verses to them. They didn't approach their view of preservation beginning with exegesis, so now they are scrambling for an explanation for what they believe from Scripture. The best they can come up with, besides revising the meaning of verses like those above or just attacking the already developed and historic doctrine of preservation, is "The LXX Argument" or "The Septuagint Argument."

Here's how the argument goes. Many of the quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament do not match up with the Hebrew of the Old Testament. They match up more word for word and in more places, however, with the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, the LXX (the Septuagint). So Jesus and the Apostles must have been relying upon the Septuagint, an inaccurate or corrupt translation, as an adequate version of the Bible to use. In so doing, they validated or justified an inaccurate or corrupt text as permissible.

One of their favorite Old Testament quotations is the one in Luke 4:14-21:

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

They often testify that the reading of Jesus here is much closer to the LXX than it is the Hebrew Masoretic text. And they also make a point that Luke says "it was written" and that Jesus "stood up for to read." They conclude that Jesus was using and endorsing the Septuagint, based on this passage. And if He was, He was also showing that some differences in wording of the text of the Bible are insignificant as long as the same message is found in the various readings.

Alright, so what about this argument, the LXX argument. Is it correct? Is there anything wrong with it?

First, we interpret the possible implications from a passage in light of plain statements, explicit teachings, that are made elsewhere. This is a corollary to "interpret Scripture with Scripture." It is to interpret the obscure in light of the plain. Wouldn't a doctrine that God would allow Scripture to change or be lost or be altered be a doctrine that we would find somewhere else in the Bible, if that is what is to be implied from Luke 4:14-21? That would seem to be an important doctrine, the one about the Words of God being amended or modified. But that idea flies in the face of the preservation passages already written.

What we see happening in Luke 4 and other places like it, we should interpret based upon the plain teaching found elsewhere. This is how you come to true doctrine. The Bible will not deny itself or contradict itself (2 Tim 2:13). God will not contradict a teaching about perfect preservation, especially when there are zero passages that tell us that God would allow or that it would be permissible for the Words of Scripture to change. Whatever implications might be made about the preservation of Scripture from Luke 4:14-21 should be made in light of the plain statements that the Bible already makes on the subject.

Second, nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus or the apostles are quoting from a translation. We read nothing about a translation anywhere in Scripture. That teaching must be put into the text in order to get it out. One would think that a translation would be mentioned if one of the apostles were depending on it. Not one time in the gospels or the epistles does a writer ever allude to the Septuagint. It isn't in there.

Third, there is tremendous Scriptural evidence that Jesus and the Apostles were using the Hebrew text. Even in the passage in question, we should consider what kind of scroll would be used in a Jewish synagogue. It would not have been a Greek one. By saying, "It is written," Jesus would not have been referring to a translation. "It was written" (v. 17) is perfect passive, so it is a past action with ongoing results. What Moses had written was still written to that day, which is why Luke would have used that word.

When Jesus refers to Scripture, He refers to the three fold division of the law (Luke 24:27, 44). which was not the case with the Septuagint. The Apostle Paul does the same in Acts 26:22. The Hebrew text had the three fold division. Also we should see exactly how Jesus uses the Hebrew text of the Old Testament in Luke 11:51, moving from the first book, Genesis, with the example of Abel, to the last book, 2 Chronicles, with the example of Zacharias. If you were looking for the last book of the Old Testament in the Septuagint, you would look in Malachi for Zacharias. He isn't in there. 2 Chronicles is the last book of the Hebrew Old Testament.

Jews knew Hebrew. They didn't need a Greek translation at that time. Pilate included Hebrew as one of the languages in the signage he placed over Jesus on the cross (John 19:20). In Acts 21:40, Paul spoke to the Jews in Jerusalem in "the Hebrew tongue." Jesus talked to Paul in the Hebrew tongue in Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:14). The Torah was the basis for teaching in the Jewish synagogue in that day (Acts 15:21). We should assume that Jesus and the Apostles spoke to the Jews in Hebrew. We don't have a basis to believe otherwise. We have a strong exegetical basis to believe that they did.

Fourth, the words from Jesus in Luke 4:14-21 do not fit the Septuagint word-for-word either. The words there allude to more than just Isaiah 61, but also to Isaiah 58:6. The actual words Luke penned obviously were not the exact equivalent of any text, Hebrew or Greek. You have definite problems with wording if you think that Jesus was quoting from the Septuagint. The words aren't the same in the Greek of Luke 4 and Isaiah 61.

Fifth, Luke 4:16 does say that Jesus stood up to read. He did read. However, as we move along, it doesn't say that he read the words that begin in verse 18. It was normal for the synagogue rabbi to read and comment, to read and targum. It is the equivalent of my saying, "In John 3:16 we have written that if we believe in Jesus we'll have everlasting life, but if we don't believe in Him, we'll perish." I'm teaching the truth of the verse and using some of its words to do so.

When the Greek words of an Old Testament reference used in the New Testament by the Lord or by an Apostle are the same or similar to the Septuagint, but not the traditional Hebrew text of the Old Testament, what is happening?

This is a question to be answered. Even in the consideration of the question, however, one should understand that we are talking now about an extra scriptural argument with the LXX argument. Above we have scriptural arguments. They should stand as a basis for the position we take, since the Bible is our authority for faith and practice as Christians. If we use an extra scriptural argument to take a position, we are depending on human reasoning for our position, not faith. That isn't acceptable for a Christian and it doesn't please God.

One who depends on the Septuagint argument should also consider this. He is using a translation as a basis for determining what is the Old Testament text. Isn't this a Ruckman argument? Don't those who support a critical or eclectic text position have a problem with using a translation to amend or correct an original language text?

To answer the question, first, we have a plausible explanation for why the Septuagint may match up with Greek quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament. Septuagint experts have posited this as a reason and John Owen gave it as one in his Biblical Theology in the 17th century. This is a position presented in Invitation to the Septuagint by Karen H. Jobes and Moises Silva, a standard work on the Septuagint. Owen wrote this view (p. 544): "Christian users and copiers of the Septuagint would naturally adapt their quotations to those given in the New Testament." What we use today, called the Septuagint, was amended out of respect of Christ to match the words of Christ in those locations in the Greek New Testament. This is a historical explanation for a historical argument that allows the actual exegetical arguments to stand. It is an argument that harmonizes with Scripture.

Second, the words that we read of Jesus and the Apostles do not match the Old Testament text exactly because they were not exact quotations. They were referring directly to the text of the Old Testament, but they were in the nature of targuming. In Luke 4, Jesus referred to what "was written," when He opened the scroll. However, He didn't quote it word for word. He was doing what Jewish teachers did, that is, comment on the text on the fly, using His own words. Thomas Strouse writes about what Jesus did in His targum:

Christ’s expanded and inspired interpretation of Isa. 61:1-2a not only becomes part of the canonical Scripture, but is also an object lesson in bibliological interpretation, enhancing one’s understanding of the Lord’s eschatology. Dispensationally, He divided up Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming of the Lord into the first coming and the second coming (cf. Lk. 4:21). The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecy of Isa. 61:1-2a with His first advent, and will fulfill Isa. 61:2b with His second advent in connection with the conclusion of “the day of vengeance” (Isa. 61:2b; cf. 34:8; 35:4; 63:4). Christ’s employment of targuming OT Hebrew texts gave further complementation to the interpretation of these texts and additional contribution to the whole of Christian theology.

We should take our positions about the text of Scripture from Scripture itself. Jesus wouldn't have used or quoted from a terribly corrupt text of Scripture. He would not have endorsed it. It was the position of Jesus that God would preserve His Words for every generation (Matt 24:35). Jesus Himself testifies at the very end of the New Testament as to the perfection and the settled nature of the text, which we read in Revelation 22:18-19:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

71 comments:

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

Don't know how I ended up here. Wonders of blog search. I had to look at your profile to figure out where you were coming from. I once attended an independent baptist church in Astoria OR. Bayview Baptist, Marvin Mckenzie. I had him over for chat, actually he called and invited himself over. Told him I was a linguist working in NT studies.

You might find it interesting that there are people outside the evangelical and/or fundamentalist frame work who have problems with Daniel Wallace, who having written what is probably the worst NT Greek grammar on planet is now devoting his energies to Textual Criticism. BTW, I wrote a review of Jobes-Silva which you quote.

Anyway, textual criticism isn't really a big problem for someone with a high view scripture. Bart Ehrman is NOT prototypical of what happens to an evangelical who takes a close look at the greek text. It didn't happen to his fellow student at Princeton Michael W. Holmes who also studied under Bruce Metzger.

Also check out the scholars like P.J. Williams, Peter M. Head, T.Wasserman and others on the evangelical textual criticism blog. These guys are not bible bashers.

d4v34x said...

Brother Strouse makes interesting use of the word "inspiration" there.

Bro. B. You read PJ and see one thing. I read PJ and see another. You read Muller and see . . . I guess I don't know what you see as you haven't responded to my inquiry, but I suspect I see something different. You read the verses at the beginning of this post, and see something I don't.

Matt 4:4 was the very first verse I ever committed to memory. I still recall the day my father taught it to me. From that day to this, I have never understood it to mean what you understand it to mean. And my father was a KJVO man, but I don't think he understood it to mean what you understand it to mean either.

One of us has a reading comprehension problem. I know alot of folks use "one of us" to mean "you not I", but by "one of us" I mean "either you or I".'

Which is why I think it would have been helpful for us to finish our earlier conversation.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks for commenting C. Stirling.

D4,

My comprehension happens to match up with the historic position, which I've written on several times here at the blog. We're going to publish it in a second volume of TSKT that will flesh out what was taught in the first book.

On Mt 4:4, I've written on that here as well, so if you do a search at my blog, you can read it. I've preached through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Deuteronomy where we have the quote and from which the quote comes.

I believe there are many other great texts on preservation. But these are sufficient to give the point.

Regarding Muller, I've read the book. Muller doesn't say that he believes what these historical men believed. He's just reporting. And it's clear they believed that they took a perfect Bible position based on doctrine. And that's while agreeing or admitting that there are textual variants. As far as "best texts" by Turretin, which you made a point of, you should know that his idea of best texts are the uncorrupted ones, based on the reception of the church, versus the wrong ones based upon pernicious error. This is different than oldest and shortest is best. They didn't believe that. But I can appreciate your catch there.

I think a major point that received no comment is that Warfield and Hodge came along and changed the doctrine of the Westminster Confession, put their own spin on it, to allow for textual criticism. This kind of revisionism should at least be honestly admitted by those approaching the issue.

Muller isn't writing on preservation. He's presenting what these historic Christians had as a bibliology. The biggest attack I hear on the preservation issue isn't that they didn't believe in perfect preservation, but they only believed it as a kind of pendulum swing away from Roman Catholicism, bringing the church back to sole Scriptura.

I don't know if that answers your questions or not.

Gary Webb said...

D4,
For once I am able to agree with what you have written here - that is, that you have a reading comprehension problem, at least when it comes to Scripture. I have been wondering why you never seem to understand what Bible verses are teaching. I think I have found the answer in John 8:43 - "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word." This would explain why the statement of Scripture never seems to settle the question for you. I commend Brandenburg for the way that he patiently responds to your constant disgreement and refusal to allow
Scripture to have the authority. He has followed 2 Timothy 2:24-26 - "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

d4v34x said...

Sort of, not really. It doesn't matter. After re-reading your debate with Mr. Turk and your post, "Answers to Questions . ..", I'm not going to ask you any more questions. I will give you an answer to as many as I am able of the questions you pose in that same post, and then that will likely be the end of our discourse on the subject. Largely due to reading your posts/debate points, I have come to believe that this is one of the foolish questions we ought to avoid since it engenders strife.

I don't say that Christians ought not discern or embrace a doctrine of preservation, but I have arrived solidly at a position on this issue and, thankfully, my understanding of Biblical preservation (and I will say I don't think your position is Biblical) doesn't necessitate that I flood the blogosphere with reasons why people can't trust translations based on anything besides the CT.

d4v34x said...

I should clarify to Brother B.'s readers my statement about foolish questions. I did this via email with him and quote a portion here . . .

"I didn't mean that your particular questions engendered strife. I think the excessive belaboring of the C/T vs TR question, from either side, engenders unneccessary strife. However, if I believed as you do, I would probably feel compelled to defend and promote it as vigorously as you do."

Brother Webb, both sides of this debate believe they have scriptural authority on their side. I think we have to get past "I think the Bible says it, and, if you don't, you don't submit to Biblical authority." I feel that's part of the strife I refer to above.

Sorry.

d4v34x said...

By the way, Brother Webb, my reading skills are good enough that I can comprehend when someone tells me I'm not genuinely born again. More strife.

Gary said...

Gary Web,

Either you are taking John 8:43 out of context, or you really think that D4 is a child of the devil. I have read these discussions here for about a year now, and D4 has always been very respectful in his comments. He Is undoubtably a child of God and has the FRUIT (Gal. 5:22) to prove it!

With all due respect to the position that God has given to you, you should try to show at least SOME signs of fruit in YOUR comments!

So that God does not judge you to harshly, you should apologize to D4.

Joshua said...

I put this down to "he hath chosen his teachers". I don't think a debate on whether d4 is saved or unsaved is going to be helpful.

It is very clear from Scripture that teaching and pure doctrine are important. False doctrine has a way of trapping people, and hiding truth from them. Obviously, we feel he's the trapped, and he feels the reverse.

Once someone has chosen a false doctrine, particularly after they have left a previous position (or family position) to adopt it and "done their research", it's very hard to change them. The research is done, false teachings are accepted and there is a thousand little threads that link the person with the teaching. I don't know if this will be entirely accurate, but let me speculate on some of the ties that bind:

PERSONAL DESIRE: Someone in d4's position doesn't want to believe that only the manuscripts behind the KJV are correct and the CT wrong. He wants to believe the the Bible's being used by a significant majority of Christians are ok. It's not wrong to want that, but there is a personal hope that we are mistaken.

PERSONAL COST: It will cost him something if he accepts our view. It will affect where he fellowships and who he fellowships with.

OTHER FALSE BELIEFS: Chief here are beliefs about Church History and the nature of the Church. The vast majority of the professing "Universal Church" have taken his approach to the Scripture. It's going to take an epic upheaval in his thinking to accept that only IB's and a few scattered Free Presbyterians ended up with a pure doctrine of the Scriptures. As a conservative evangelical, who are his teachers? Who are the good guys in his world? I guess it will be Lewis, Carson, JMac, Piper, Sproul, Doran etc. All these men who have taught him so much other good stuff.... could they really be woefully and totally deceived and deceiving on the matter of Bible versions? For an IB, it's easy to say "yup", but not so for an evangelical. These people are your hero's. Could they really all be wrong? He does not read what we read in Scripture because his view is clouded by acceptance and trust in what these people say. He is willing to consider what Brandenburg has to say, but it's not being considered on the balance of probabilities (50/50). Brandenburg must prove beyond all reasonable doubt (99%+), with a killer argument that cannot be answered before it will shatter the already accepted view.

Joshua said...

What I'm saying is that this isn't just an intellectual matter. There is emotion, trust, multiple teachings and whole worldview that all work together to produce a belief in something. This isn't a slander on him - we're just the same. I didn't accept the KJV the first time it was explained to me, because I hadn't let go of much of my evangelical teaching yet. But as I stayed, came to trust and respect those who were teaching me, then finally when my faith in the pantheon of conservative writers was shattered, I was open and ready and eager to learn, and I discovered much. I wanted to learn, and so I did. Most people here aren't looking to learn but rather "prove me completely wrong and I'll believe you!" Not a lot comes out of that. d4 is definitely the most patient and consistent of the folks we've had here, but that's what it boils down to.

In our view, he is just another conservative evangelical who can't accept by faith what Scripture plainly teaches because he's accepted the teaching of men adopted from infidels. In his view, we are probably sectarian ultra-conservatives with a suspicion of scholarship trying to tear down modern Bible versions with our own particular slant on history, texts and the Church, and just want certainty at the cost of truth.

I guess what I'm saying is it's not going to help to rip on the man. We understand where he is coming from, he definitely understands where we are coming from. Both are convinced the other is wrong. I've spent several years of my saved life utterly convinced of false doctrine, and the Lord was gracious enough to show me the light. It took a combination of many factors - none of which was the comments section on a blog. If it comes to you when you're praying, bring him before the Lord, but otherwise - let's just say goodbye and leave it at that.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Joshua,

I agree with you. I think what Gary Webb does is think through scripture to come up with a reason and that verse sticks out to him---it's what he thinks---and sounds plausible. It's worth thinking about. Most people wouldn't want to consider it, even though Paul commanded all of us in 2 Cor 13:5, Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith," and I do it all the time, that is, examine myself.

What is the issue ultimately that keeps us from believing the clear Word? How does that relate to Jesus? Some would say that it's just people having different interpretations. That seems to be an acceptable modern view, actually post modern one. But I think your explanation is plausible.

By the way, is this a 99%+ position? I think to say yes we are getting into the realm of epistemology. How do we know what we know? If Scripture isn't good enough, then on this issue, I won't be able to produce the evidence.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I know that people that are readers here, often silent ones, might wish for me to come in and defend d4 because of questioning of salvation. That I would need to do that to be credible in a sense. But I've also found that it doesn't hurt any of us to be questioned. It doesn't mean that we're not saved, but it should be a strong consideration for any one of us. By the way, not that we could lose it, but that we are deceiving ourselves and we're lost and we don't know it. I'm not saying that's the case with d4. I would like to think that he's here asking questions because he believes. That's what I hope. And I treat him like a fellow believer, assuming he cares, even though I know too he's sarcastically ridiculed what I teach here at other locations that I've read.

I'm not going to defend everyone who comes along here at the blog. I'll even let Gary Webb defend himself at times. I think he can do it. And I'll let d4 do the same. I get to do that all the time here as it relates to what I say and how.

Your testimony, Joshua, is very interesting as it relates to this issue. I would wonder how many are like you. There are a few. Gary Webb himself has a doctorate from Bob Jones. Anyway, more opinion. Or strife. :-)

Joshua said...

Pastor,

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with Gary Webb. Some people take "judge not" to mean you can't think a negative thought towards someone - but judging them saved and born again based off blog posting is just fine. I don't really subscribe to either.


There definitely seems to be a connect between someone's spiritual state and acceptance of good doctrine. I guess what I wrote is the "Ecclesiastes" approach to the situation - an understanding of the man component. I do not take the post modern line of "everyone has their own opinion so who knows". I explained how I understand. For the post-modernist, that's as far as I can go. I go one step further to say that the Bible shows him to be mistaken.

I guess I think that teaching and learning is a heart matter. d4's heart is closed towards what you teach, for various reasons I speculated about above. One of those, which Gary Webb has put forward, could be because he knows not God. Like you, I wonder, then examine myself.

I think what is taught here is a 100% position. It's Scriptural. Thank you for taking the time to write this article, as I've been looking for a good summary against the LXX for a while.

d4v34x said...

For the record, I don't think Brother B. is obligated to defend me or reign in any commenters acting more or less in good faith. As he intimates, I'm a big boy now. (C: And, yes, it is good for everyone to examine himself periodically to see if he is in the faith or no. I do.

Gary was kind enough to offer defense on my behalf, but I must admit I have been, at least once, innappropriately contentious here (although I repented, confessed, and sought and received forgiveness). Still, I believe I have been perhaps entirely respectful otherwise.

As for Josh's comments, technically, I'm not a conservative evangelical. I'm not sure exactly what you'd call me- I go to an FBF church; I'm an MBBC grad; by and large, I disagree with so-called CCM; my soteriology is largely Calvinistic although I can't embrace the limited atonement part, my eschatology is dispensational, pretrib, premillenial presently, but I need to study more to confirm that. Doran is probably the closest thing to me on your list of folks there.

Finally, I too appreciate the spirit in which Josh's comments were made.

I think WIT business can now carry on as usual. ;^)

PS Ferguson said...

I have just finished reading a history of the WCF by a bunch of CT writers published by Banner of Truth. Interestingly, they point out that the critical influence on the Doctrine of Sripture was the writings of Cambridge Divinity Professor William Whitaker in his Disputations (see online google edition, p148)who stated, "If God had permitted the scripture to perish in the Hebrew and Greek originals, in which it was first published by men divinely inspired, He would not have provided sufficiently for his church and for our faith."

The chapter on Scripture written by William R. Spear declares on page 95,

"The Council of Trent had declared the Latin Vulgate to be 'authentic' in this sense. Beside grounding this decree on the superior authority of the Roman Church, the Catholic position was that existing Hebrew and Greek copies of the Bible had been deliberately corrupted by the Jews and heretics (that is the Greek Orthodox), and that, therefore the Vulgate was more pure. It is in response to the latter claim that Whitaker and the Confession assert the providential preservation of the Scripture in its original languages."

(To Glorify and Enjoy God: A Commemoration of the 350th Anniversary of the Westminister Assembly by Banner of Truth 1994)

Despite the fact that Spear admits that the TR is the Confessional position, the "Reformed" writers of this commentary embrace the CT.

Gary Webb said...

I am glad my comments to d4 stirred the conversation that has resulted. I know what I wrote seems harsh, & I considered that as I wrote.
There are many times when - scripturally - we might treat someone who is saved as a unbeliever. Matthew 18:15-17 is an example. If the person removed from the church later repented, his action would prove his faith. The man in I Corinthians 5 was treated as an unbeliever because of his gross sin, but 2 Corinthians indicates he repented.
I have for years considered the anathemas given in Revelation 22:18-19 for those who add to or take away from Scripture. Those curses are for unbelievers. However, Christians can commit the same sins that unbelievers commit.
When someone repeatedly refuses to hear Bible teaching over a period of time, the proper response is to apply the appropriate Scripture and observe the response.
I have wondered why d4 comes to this blog, since he rarely ever agrees. When he responded the way he did to verses on preservation, it is proper & right & the gracious thing to do to apply the appropriate passages - even if tha seems harsh.

Anvil said...

D4,

I think you nailed it exactly, when you stated "Brother Webb, both sides of this debate believe they have scriptural authority on their side. I think we have to get past 'I think the Bible says it, and, if you don't, you don't submit to Biblical authority.'"

I have heard a number of Pastor Webb's messages, and while I think him one of the better expositors I've heard, the application part of his sermons comes out exactly as you have stated. Once he believes he has made a logical argument, you are in error and not in submission to scripture when you disagree with his application.

I would agree with the men on this blog that scripture was intended to have a single meaning, not multiple meanings that different people can take different ways. And yet, solid Bible-believing preachers that demonstrate through their life that they are committed to obeying scripture disagree on those meanings. Not being convinced by the speaker does not necessarily mean the listener must be the one in error, even though the speaker will think so, as he has his position firmly settled. If you've read enough of Pastor B. and some of those in his "camp" on various blogs, you already know that they don't agree with each other in every single area either. Only they know if that means each considers the other disobedient to scripture in that area, and what conclusions to take from that.

It does seem to me though, that making statements that more than imply that those who are not convinced must not have been regenerated, when they cannot know that for certain, as only God knows the heart, is definitely a big part of what creates unnecessary strife, as you have noted.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Using the LXX in textual criticism is sort of like using one of those oversized plastic Mattel screwdrivers from "Junior's First Tool Set" to try to work on your car. It superficially looks somewhat like a tool you might could actually use, but ends up obviously being the wrong way to go.

Claymore said...

Joshua said: "It's going to take an epic upheaval in his thinking to accept that only IB's and a few scattered Free Presbyterians ended up with a pure doctrine of the Scriptures".

Not to question what you have said about the upheaval, brother, but what say you of various Independent Methodists, Bible Presbyterians, Independent Non-systemised, and non-denominational Bible Churches which hold to the same belief that you, Dr. Webb, and Dr. Brandenburg all hold to? Something I suggest any CT advocate do is hear Dr. Mark Cowles on the subject - Dr. Cowles is TR only, and yet is neither an IB nor a Free Presbyterian - he is a non-denominationalist. What say you also of the many IB's who do not hold to the same position? When I was a lad, my family made an exodus from an IB church where the pastor announced that he would start using the NIV. I ask this only because it seemed you were making a sweeping generalisation, and doing hurt to those outside your box who hold to your position on the Scripture in English (in many ways I have found the Spanish to be closer to the originals than is the English in the KJ - you can ask my Spanish friends about that) by implying they do not.

d4v34x said...

Brother Webb,

As for why I come here, there are many reasons. Kent lived for many years in my hometown. I went to the same schools as he did, and he was a higher profile and respected individual. I liked what I knew of him. When I ran across him at another blog, I sort of followed him over here to see what he was up to.

Once here, I discovered that he had the most well reasoned defense of the KJV/TR only position I had ever heard and I wanted to test it, find the boundaries, identify the presuppositions and examine them-- you know, get all Berean on him.

As for your other comments, I'll still shake your hand should I find myself seated/standing/reclingin next to you at the marriage supper of the Lamb. :^)

Anvil said...

Brother Webb,

I can't speak for D4, but the reason I come to this blog in spite of disagreement (and it seems to me I disagree about as often as he does, even if I am less vocal) is for sharpening. There would be no point at all to this blog if everyone wrote "Amen" in response to each post. No one learns anything that way. If all one reads is what one already knows and agrees with, that person stagnates and does not grow or learn. Plus, even if it's an unintended effect, I'm sure it helps Brother B. in his defense of his positions as well, as one always learns a lot more about defense when actually having to defend.

For myself, I come here because of the high view of scripture, even though some of the practical outworking of that is different from what I believe. It is clear that Brother B. and co. (speaking more of Jackhammer here) are committed to living by the scriptures, and that emphasis keeps me coming back to hear what they say, even knowing in some cases that I'm likely to disagree. I much prefer to read those types of writers, even when I disagree, to those who might agree with my position on a particular issue, but who seem by virtue of some of their actions to discount scripture having any real authority over what we believe and do.

Joshua said...

d4,

Maybe my comments there about your tutors said more about me then you in the end. I was only hypothesizing, yet I'm sure I'm right in saying that somewhere along the line you've accepted teaching that rejects the TR, and this has closed you to Brandenburg's teaching.

Claymore,

No offense intended there. In my limited knowledge I only really knew about IB's and Free Presbyterians. I guessed there would be a smattering of other churches, but didn't know them to name them. I'm glad for anyone who has a Scriptural belief in preservation.

Christian said...

I am surprised (but I know I should not be) that an article on the LXX leads more to a discussion of one of the commenter's salvation than it does a discussion of the LXX. I for one will assume that all posters have a firm belief in the Gospel even if they disagree with me on an interpretation of scripture. Now if that scripture is say Ephesians 2:8-9 and they think that works is necessary for salvation maybe I will doubt their salvation, but for those who want to debate Matthew 4:4 and whether it has to do with preservation or not,I will pray they agree with ME, but not think they need to be warned about "the wrath to come" because they do not agree with ME. (notice the intentional capitalization and I will save further discussion for a later time).

If no one minds, I would like to ask some actual questions about the article.

Brother Brandenburg,

When do you believe the LXX was translated? You seem to believe that it was done after the Greek NT and made use of such (NT quotes) for translating. I am aware of some of the various theories, I am curious what yours is and what support you would offer for such a theory.

In addition (and just to be picky), I thought the TR as a Greek family of the NT...it seems we have been arguing about "the TR" position in reference to the OT.

Now for those of us who have a TR/MT (MT=Mazoretic Text) position we might have some concerns about the differences of the TR (NT) quotations from the MT (OT). This seems to be the point of the article. I will say that that I have run across many instances of difference between the NT and the quotations from the OT. (ran into one recently in studying Luke 3:6) I know the people of the past were not as concerned about precise quoting as we seem to be today (as Brother Brandenburg seems to assert in his second point). There are times when this makes sense but other times when it does not...Luke in chapter 3 was not targuming if I understand his introduction to the quote in vs 4. Luke is not likely a Jewish writer writing to a Jewish audience, he is a historian and appears to be deeply concerned with accuracy and certainty (cf 1:4). Furthermore, I have a hard time with this explanation for the many different variant quotes in the NT from OT passages.

I am interested in exploring the validity of Brother Brandenburg's first argument as well.

Please, please, feel free to question my salvation but keep in mind a true interpretation of Romans 14:4 cf. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 or you may find yourself experiencing Mathew 7:2. Furthermore, I would suggest when one questions another's interpretation of scripture it is very different from questioning the scriptures themselves. When one raises his interpretation to the level of infallibility they risk the very danger many claim to avoid by not adding to the scriptures. Although this may be in some ways a question of certainty (see 2 Peter 1:16-21); it is more a question of inspiration. If you think someone's disagreement with your construct of preservation is evidence of a lack of regeneration that would appear to say more about your view of your construct than it does about your opponent. The Scriptures cannot be broken; my (or your) disagreement with Them does no real damage to Them. I believe our task is to understand, obey, and know the God of these Scriptures--not enhance them with our cleverly constructed arguments and logic (cf 1 Timothy 1:4; 4:7; 6:3-4; 2 Timothy 2:14, 23; Titus 1:14; 3:9-10; Deuteronomy 29:29; Isaiah 8:20)

For His glory,
Christian Markle

Kent Brandenburg said...

Christian (how could we question someone's salvation with your name; John Bunyan would roll over in his grave),

I'm going to leave the "questioning of salvation" issue for another future post, but I'd like to answer parts that dealt with the post.

Christian asks: "When do you believe the LXX was translated?"

I don't know. My speculation is that it may have been around in Greek in Jesus' day, but it was altered in various fashion through the centuries. There is a lot of trust that someone must have in the extra-scriptural and non-canonical letter of Aristeas to back up a common interpretation, but even if it were around at that time, we don't know that we have the work they did. I don't have a scriptural basis for the preservation of a translation of the Bible.

Christian wrote: "In addition (and just to be picky), I thought the TR as a Greek family of the NT...it seems we have been arguing about "the TR" position in reference to the OT."

I'm sure that textual critics would smack you down for calling the TR a family, but I'm not that picky. In history the Hebrew Masoretic was also called the received text of the Old Testament. Ben Chayim himself, I believe, called it that.

Christian wrote: "Now for those of us who have a TR/MT (MT=Mazoretic Text) position we might have some concerns about the differences of the TR (NT) quotations from the MT (OT). This seems to be the point of the article. I will say that that I have run across many instances of difference between the NT and the quotations from the OT. (ran into one recently in studying Luke 3:6) I know the people of the past were not as concerned about precise quoting as we seem to be today (as Brother Brandenburg seems to assert in his second point). There are times when this makes sense but other times when it does not...Luke in chapter 3 was not targuming if I understand his introduction to the quote in vs 4. Luke is not likely a Jewish writer writing to a Jewish audience, he is a historian and appears to be deeply concerned with accuracy and certainty (cf 1:4). Furthermore, I have a hard time with this explanation for the many different variant quotes in the NT from OT passages."

I think that Luke 3:4 in the TR is an exact translation of the Hebrew text of Isaiah 40:3. It just leaves off the last three Hebrew words. Before it gets to those three words, it quotes it precisely. Interestingly enough, those three words are left off in the LXX too. So the idea that at some point men just followed what they read in the NT, seems to fit.

Again, I'll probably write a whole post on the issue of questioning whether someone is saved. I think we are far more testy about it than the Apostle Paul would have been. And remember he commands to the church at Corinth, Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith. "The faith," not the works. But how do you examine whether ye be in the faith? Something to think about.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Christian - If I might address one issue related to the dating of the LXX, I would note that we can be pretty sure that at least one book of the OT in the LXX - Daniel - was (re)translated in the 2nd century AD. This was done by Theodotion, who was a heretic, but who also had at least enough respect for the text to realise that the Greek Daniel of his day was highly corrupt, and needed to be redone.

The point to this is that it means that the standard story we always hear about the LXX - translated in the 3rd century AD by 72 Jewish scholars at Alexandria, etc.etc. - while being historically interest, is not necessarily the final story on that translation. There certainly is no reason to accept that the LXX as we have it today was necessarily the LXX of Jesus and the Apostles' day. The possibility does at least exist that the present LXX took material from the Greek NT in the form of translated OT quotes, rather than the other way around.

Claymore said...

From my studies in the story of the LXX, it was translated in the days of Ptolemy Philadelphius, the second of the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. According to the story, Ptolemy Philadelphius (mentioned in Daniel 11) had a great love for the Jewish people, or something to that effect, and wanted a copy of the Jewish writings in the Greek language. The Jews obliged by sending 72 rabbis to Alexandria for the purpose of translating their Scriptures - hence the name (Septuagint meaning "seventy") but the other reason is that Hebrew was becoming a dead language in preference to Greek among the Helenised Jews, while the Hebraic Jews were using Aramaic, which is similar to Hebrew but is also quite different. In many ways it would be like Jerome's Latin Vulgate, which unfaithful copyists altered to fit the Vatican's sefl-contradictory en vogue atheology.

Thomas Ross said...

If d4 is still here--or if any other non-perfect preservationist wishes to answer this, I'd be happy to hear it--how, if the TR is not the perfectly preserved Word, do we avoid the following curse when we preach, teach, translate, recommend a Bible version to someone else, etc.?

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

By the way, since the TR is perfectly preserved, I don't need to say that every CT advocate is unregenerate--the TR verbs for adding/taking away indicate continuing action, so the unregenerate person is the one who continues to add or take away, not the one who is wrong one time and takes, unwittingly, a CT position, or the like. However, in the CT the verbs are changed, and the add/take away is what one would expect for one time action--so CT people had better be able to be sure about where the text is, for they are eternally damned, it appears, if they are off one time on one word of the book of Revelation.
Nonetheless, even with the verbs in the TR, how can one avoid the grievous sin of adding/taking away without having a perfectly preserved copy of Revelation? I've never heard a less-than-perfect preservationist give me a good answer on this, as far as I can recall.

Claymore said...

Thomas Ross said, "so CT people had better be able to be sure about where the text is, for they are eternally damned, it appears, if they are off one time on one word of the book of Revelation"

I think this is more than just the book of Revelation. As the Holy Spirit knew that this would be the last book of the Bible, I think the "this prophecy" refers not just to the Apocalupsis Iesu Christou, but to the entirety of Scripture viewed as one prophecy.

d4v34x said...

Brother Ross,

The way I understand Bro. B's position, the TR isn't preserved in a single edition of a manuscript, hence the frequent appeal to "the Greek behind the KJV". How do the TR Onlies know which to take from manuscript X and how much from Y and how little from Z? Seems to me they are in as much peril concerning that curse as any CTer. Especially given the fun Erasmus seems to have had hammering out a Revelation text.

Thomas Ross said...

I think it is more than just Revelation as well--I don't see why we would be cursed for adding or taking away from that book alone--but if a CT advocate wishes to quibble, he had at least have a certain, infallible, available copy of the book of Revelation, even if he has no certainty about the other 65 books--though I have not run into many that have exactly this position.

d4v34x said...

Since you ask, Brother Ross, we do not wilfully, or perhaps even carelessly, abridge or hide the manuscripts or teachings of the Book.

To get closer to what you're really asking, we do neither of those with His Words as He has preserved them.

Gary said...

Ok, now I'm just curious....in regards to Revelation, is the adding and taking away in regards to the written word or interpretation of the word? If it is the interpretation, than does anyone have the infallible interpretation, because I have never been able to fully understand everything in the book of Revelation and he (John) IS making it a salvation issue.

Claymore said...

Gary, I think that when the summation of all that is said in Revelation, and throughout the Scripture is taken into consideration, it regards the specific words, rather than the interpretation thereof. Sometimes there may be two or three minor interpretations, which men of church history will emphasise, but the primary interpretation is never truly lost in the process if the heart is right.

Thomas Ross said...

Dear D4,

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Doesn't the passage say WORDS? Where did "manuscripts/teachings" come from?

In Revelation 1:11, the KJV/TR reads:

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

The RSV/CT reads:

saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

How do you know whether Christ said "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last" here or not?

How do you know where the true text of Revelation is in the hundreds of other places where there is textual variation, so that you don't add or take away even one word?

d4v34x said...

"Doesn't the passage say WORDS? Where did "manuscripts/teachings" come from?"

Partly from Brother Brandenburg: "The Bible doesn't say they'll be available in one Greek edition. It says they will be available. Some might not like that answer . . .(1)"

TR Onlies face the same challenge they pose to the CTers. They don't explain how they know how much to take from Beza, and how much from this Stephanus or that Stephanus. Nor do they explain how they know the right amount of each ended up in the 1894 Scriveners Edition, nor how they know the 1894 edition contains all the very Words behind the KJV, no more no less.

(1) http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2006/03/where-are-words.html

Claymore said...

David,

If one were to take all the quotes of Scripture from all the writers of Church History, such as Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement of Rome, &c, he would come out with the entire TR without adding or detracting one word, and they will find that these men state it as a quote. Something that CT advocates cannot answer is how Westcott and Hort were involved in the occult - how could their work be of God?

d4v34x said...

Claymore,

That might be a difficult assertion to satisfactorily demonstrate.

As for your occult question, I think when "shorter is better" and "older is better" failed them, they reached for the ouija board. You do what you gotta do.

Seriously, though, are you going to make claims of certain piety for Erasmus and all the 1611 translators? After all, if they weren't for Him, they were against Him.

Claymore said...

David,

First, if you were to speak with Dr. Cowles on the subject, you would be satisfied on the subject of church history - Dr. Cowles, pastor of Highway Bible Church in Placerville, Californiashire, is an authority on the writings of the early church, and has written a book (if I am not mistaken) on the subject that is roughly 1000 pages - almost as large as Dr. John Wickliffe's book on the canon.

As to the occult question, the chaps the use of anything demonic cannot be of God, lest we say that God's work be attributed to Satan - Jesus said this approached blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and that is one of the unpardonable sins (see Luke 12:10, given in context of those who said that Christ cast out devils by Beelzebub). It really becomes a red herring to apply this to men such as Lancelot Andrewes - a quite godly man, simply because he was a Paedobaptist - interestingly enough, more godly men were of this sort than otherwise. I have yet to see the Dunkard counterpart to John Fletcher, John Wesley, James Renwick and Robert McCheyne.

Concerning what you said of Desidirus Erasmus Rotterdamus, the Received Text owes nothing to him. I received it from men before Erasmus, before Irenaeus, who received it from Polycarp, who received it from the apostle John, who receive it from the Lord Himself. Just because Erasmus compiled a number of documents does not mean that the TR is existent only because of him.

d4v34x said...

Claymore,

I was joking about the Ouija board. I thought that was evident.

Thomas Ross said...

D4,

I would have thought that you know perfectly well that Pastor Brandenburg has the same answer that I do to the question I posed you—the words are in the Scrivener Textus Receptus underlying the KJV. Those words were available before the time of printing and afterwards, and God’s people could know where they are at all times. I hope that you weren’t taking something Pastor Brandenburg said out of context on purpose to try to make it appear like he had the same position of uncertainty that you do.

You said:

TR Onlies face the same challenge they pose to the CTers. They don't explain how they know how much to take from Beza, and how much from this Stephanus or that Stephanus. Nor do they explain how they know the right amount of each ended up in the 1894 Scriveners Edition, nor how they know the 1894 edition contains all the very Words behind the KJV, no more no less.

Thomas Ross said...

My answer:

Perhaps you never read the following by Dr. Edward F. Hills, who wrote this years ago (I used a version reprinted by David Cloud because I had it more easily accessible on my computer, but he quotes Hills accurately—Dr. Hills’ book is linked to on my website)—so perhaps the question that you affirm TR-only people “don't explain” actually has been answered for a long time:

Dr. Edward F. Hills, in his excellent book The King James Version Defended, makes the following comment in regard to the KJV and the Received Text --
"The King James Version is a variety of the Textus Receptus. The translators that produced the King James Version relied mainly, it seems, on the later editions of Beza's Greek New Testament, especially his 4th edition (1588-9). But also they frequently consulted the editions of Erasmus and Stephanus and the Complutensian Polyglot. According to Scrivener (1884), out of the 252 passages in which these sources differ sufficiently to affect the English rendering, the King James Version agrees with Beza against Stephanus 113 times, with Stephanus against Beza 59 times, and 80 times with Erasmus, or the Complutensian, or the Latin Vulgate against Beza and Stephanus. HENCE THE KING JAMES VERSION OUGHT TO BE REGARDED NOT MERELY AS A TRANSLATION OF THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS BUT ALSO AS AN INDEPENDENT VARIETY OF THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS.
"The King James translators also placed variant readings in the margin, 37 of them according to Scrivener. To these 37 textual notes 16 more were added during the 17th and 18th centuries, and all these variants still appear in the margins of British printings of the King James Version. IN THE SPECIAL PROVIDENCE OF GOD, HOWEVER, THE TEXT OF THE KING JAMES VERSION HAS BEEN KEPT PURE. NONE OF THESE VARIANT READINGS HAS BEEN INTERPOLATED INTO IT. ...
"This comparison indicates that the differences which distinguish the various editions of the Textus Receptus from each other are very minor. They are also very few. According to Hoskier, the 3rd edition of Stephanus and the first edition of Elzevir differ from one another in the Gospel of Mark only 19 times. Codex B, on the other hand, disagrees with Codex Aleph in Mark 652 times and with Codex D 1,944 times. What a contrast! ...
"BUT WHAT DO WE DO IN THESE FEW PLACES IN WHICH THE SEVERAL EDITIONS OF THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS DISAGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER? WHICH TEXT DO WE FOLLOW? THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS EASY. WE ARE GUIDED BY THE COMMON FAITH. HENCE WE FAVOR THAT FORM OF THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS UPON WHICH MORE THAN ANY OTHER GOD, WORKING PROVIDENTIALLY, HAS PLACED THE STAMP OF HIS APPROVAL, NAMELY, THE KING JAMES VERSION, OR, MORE PRECISELY, THE GREEK TEXT UNDERLYING THE KING JAMES VERSION. This text was published in 1881 by the Cambridge University Press under the editorship of Dr. Scrivener, and there have been eight reprints, the latest being in 1949. In 1976 also another edition of this text was published in London by the Trinitarian Bible Society. We ought to be grateful that in the providence of God the best form of the Textus Receptus is still available to believing Bible students" (Edward F. Hills, The King James Bible Defended, The Christian Research Press, 1973, pp. 218-223).

Thomas Ross said...

Now that I answered the questions you asked me instead of answering my questions, D4, could you please answer what I asked you? Let us hear again—and tremble in awe and reverence before—the infallible Word of God:

18* For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19* And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Here are the unanswered questions again:

In Revelation 1:11, the KJV/TR reads:

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.



The RSV/CT reads:

saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”



How do you know whether Christ said "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last" here or not?

 How do you know where the true text of Revelation is in the hundreds of other places where there is textual variation, so that you don't add or take away even one word?

I would say that you didn’t answer my first question about words morphing into manuscripts or teachings, but I am guessing that the misinterpreted quote by Pastor Brandenburg was intended to demonstrate that Revelation 22:18-19 really doesn’t mean “words” when it says “words” but it means “manuscripts” or “teachings.” Since I have shown you that Pastor Brandenburg doesn’t believe what you seem to have thought he said, could you please give a real answer to the question and explain how something like “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” doesn’t really mean “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” but really means something totally different? And after you have shown that “words” doesn’t mean “words” but means “manuscripts,” can you tell me which manuscripts have the correct words in Revelation 1:11, and the hundreds of other places where there is textual variation in the book, so that you are not adding or taking away anything at all?

If you can’t answer, would it be better to cook something up that you know perfectly well is bad exegesis, and so sin, despite the dire warning of Revelation 22:18-19, or would it be better to repent and change your position so you actually know by faith where the words of Revelation are, and you actually CAN not add or take away from them?

Claymore said...

I knew you were joking about the Oija board (something most men would have been gaoled for once), but I was not joking about Westcott and Hort being involved in the occult - they were heavily involved in necromancy and other such practices, and yet their text is the basis of most modern versions since the King James. I also was not joking about attributing anything good to the occultists, as that would be attributing the work of God to Satan.

d4v34x said...

Brother Ross,

In answer to your question, I think margin notes including alternate readings is a way. I know that sounds like adding to. I don't think it is. After all, it was good enough for Scrivener. Does/do he/they bear the curse?

As for your answer, it dodges the central question. My question was not what was included, but by what criteria it was included.

However, your answer has a few interesting implications, including:

1) In some passages, if a scholar wants to appeal to the Greek behind the KJV, he must actually appeal to the Latin, or Greek rendered from Latin (see the Vulgate affirmation from Hill above). This renders the TR Onlies' claim of preservation in the original languages spurious.

2) You admit variations between the editions of the TR. Your claim of difference, then, with CTers can only be one of degree, not kind. The TR is a critical text of one sort or another. Various manuscripts colated and edited based on some CRITeria.

3) Furthermore, you (via Hill/Cloud) appear to resolve any variant readings in the Greek by consulting the English? This is essentially English preservationism. If you manage to avoid it, you avoid it only by contortion.

I'll say it again. The problem here is your foundational premises. You see a scope to the preservation promises that many good exegetes do not see. I agree with them.

I suspended my retirement from this discussion because you asked me a direct question that I thought would lead where it has, and that this discussion would be fruitful (and I think it has), but I will trouble you no more on this.

Dear writers and readers of WIT, grace and peace.

David

bhardecker said...

"The one great fact, which especially troubles him (meaning Dr. Hort) and his joint Editor, as well as it may, is The Traditional Greek Text of the New Testament Scriptures. Call this Text Erasmian or Complutensian, - the Text of Stephens, or of Beza, or of the Elzevirs, - call it the "Received," or The Traditional Greek Text of whatever other name you please; - the fact remains, that a Text has come down to us which is attested by a general consensus of ancient Copies, ancient Fathers, ancient Versions. This, at all events, is a point on which, (happily,) there exists entire conformity of opinion between Dr. Hort and ourselves. Our Readers cannot have yet forgotten his virtual admission that, - Beyond all question the Textus Receptus is the dominant Graeco-Syrian Text of A.D. 350 to A.D. 400." Burgon, Revision Revised, page 269.

This Anglican divine had no problem tracing the TR to the early years.

Thomas Ross said...

By the way--this is broken up because the computer is not letting me post the whole thing at once.

My questions to D4:

How do you know whether Christ said "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last" here or not?

 How do you know where the true text of Revelation is in the hundreds of other places where there is textual variation, so that you don't add or take away even one word?

I would say that you didn’t answer my first question about words morphing into manuscripts or teachings, but I am guessing that the misinterpreted quote by Pastor Brandenburg was intended to demonstrate that Revelation 22:18-19 really doesn’t mean “words” when it says “words” but it means “manuscripts” or “teachings.” Since I have shown you that Pastor Brandenburg doesn’t believe what you seem to have thought he said, could you please give a real answer to the question and explain how something like “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” doesn’t really mean “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” but really means something totally different? And after you have shown that “words” doesn’t mean “words” but means “manuscripts,” can you tell me which manuscripts have the correct words in Revelation 1:11, and the hundreds of other places where there is textual variation in the book, so that you are not adding or taking away anything at all?

If you can’t answer, would it be better to cook something up that you know perfectly well is bad exegesis, and so sin, despite the dire warning of Revelation 22:18-19, or would it be better to repent and change your position so you actually know by faith where the words of Revelation are, and you actually CAN not add or take away from them?

D4’s answer:

In answer to your question, I think margin notes including alternate readings is a way. I know that sounds like adding to. I don't think it is.

My reply to D4’s answer:

Here is Revelation 22:18-19 again:

18* For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19* And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Note that this command is in the autograph—the autograph said that anyone who adds or takes away words from this Book will have horrific judgment. Can you imagine John the Apostle saying that alternative marginal readings in the autograph were OK? And why are corrupt Words that were not in the autograph OK—without that being the “adding” condemned by Revelation? Well, simply because D4 says so. It is OK if the number of the beast, 666, has a marginal reading stating “616” (as certain modern verions actually do, based on certain corrupt MSS of Revelation)—this is not adding a corruption to the text. Oh no. It is OK if we don’t know if Christ is the Alpha and Omega in Revelation 1:11, or not—this is not adding or taking away. No. It is OK if we don’t know the truth in hundreds and hundreds of places in the book of Revelation. I suppose it is also OK if a modern Bible version has a footnote that says that “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son” might really be “a young woman shall conceive and bear a son.”

Lu 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

There is no point discussing manuscript evidence with someone who is going to treat the Word of God in such a callous way.

Thomas Ross said...

I had asked D4:

If you can’t answer, would it be better to cook something up that you know perfectly well is bad exegesis, and so sin, despite the dire warning of Revelation 22:18-19, or would it be better to repent and change your position so you actually know by faith where the words of Revelation are, and you actually CAN not add or take away from them?


Unfortunately, it seems that D4 did think it was better to cook up something that is bad exegesis—and, unless he has hardened his conscience and does not have the Holy Spirit, he knows perfectly well that it is bad exegesis. I truly regret the decision he has made. It is a decision to neglect the warnings of Revelation 22:18-19 and fall into those sins. I am sorry he has made such a horrible and dangerous decision.

I don’t post the rest of this for D4—see Luke 16:31 above—but for anyone else who is reading this who thinks that his further questions that he brings up to try to confuse this issue have some merit. It is sad that he will spend one line on the exegesis of Revelation 22:18-19 but oodles of space bringing up less important questions than “thus saith the LORD.”

D4 wrote:

After all, it was good enough for Scrivener. Does/do he/they bear the curse?

My reply:

I am guessing that D4 refers to the fact that the Scrivener TR footnotes the places where the Westcott-Hort critical text diverges from the TR. It is an amazing thing that the fact that Scrivener documents the corruption of the CT is somehow supposed to mean that he is violating Revelation 22:18-19. The footnotes are valuable because if, say, one is teaching Greek and using books that are based upon the critical text (such as Rodgers & Rodgers Exegetical Key to the Greek NT, or even lexica), one knows if the tool is commenting on the preserved Word or on a footnoted corruption.

Note, by the way, that D4 had said: “[TR people] don't explain how they know how much to take from Beza, and how much from this Stephanus or that Stephanus. Nor do they explain how they know the right amount of each ended up in the 1894 Scriveners Edition, nor how they know the 1894 edition contains all the very Words behind the KJV, no more no less.” I answered that, but I did not see any admission that it was answered and his statement was not true. (Actually, the part about how the Scrivener TR is the words behind the KJV wasn’t answered—let me answer it. I quote the title page to the Scrivener TR: “THE NEW TESTAMENT IN GREEK: ACCORDING TO THE TEXT FOLLOWED IN THE AUTHORIZED VERSION. . .”). It is too bad that TR people “don’t explain how . . . they know that the 1894 edition contains all the very Words behind the KJV.” I guess none of them has ever read the title page to the Scrivener TR. Either none of them has done so, or perhaps D4 should study the position he is opposing just a little bit more carefully before making statements about what TR people don’t explain.

Thomas Ross said...

Miscellaneous further responses, that are not necessarily connected:

Unless D4 can prove that the Greek words of the Scrivener TR were NOT available to every generation of believers—which he cannot—he cannot attack the TR affirmation of preservation of the original languages. It is also an ungodly and unbiblical method of argumentation to affirm the kind of ridiculous non-exegesis of Revelation 22:18-19, and to ignore the plain statement of Matthew 5:18 that original language words would be preserved, and then make claims about Latin texts (which, I assume from D4’s affirmations, were not themselves translated from Greek texts, but had readings pulled out of thin air that are not in any Greek MSS anywhere, but somehow found their way into the TR—an affirmation that D4 can only make if he has collated all Greek MSS in the world—but why worry about this epistemological difficulty, when D4 can reject the plain statements of the Word of God, the foundation for all knowledge?) and use uncertain historical claims to overthrow the plain promises of the Word. This is the hermeneutics of unbelief, rationalism, and modernism. Also, yes, there were collations based on critieria. The TR criteria are:

John 17:8:
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.
Joh 12:48* He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Ac 2:41* Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Ac 8:14* Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
Ac 11:1* And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
Ac 17:11* These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
1Th 1:6* And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
1Th 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.

The TR criteria are, “Where has God preserved His Words through His churches so I can receive them?” The CT criteria are based on the presupposition that God did not preserve His Words as He said He would do in the Scripture. So there are criteria—criteria of faith and criteria of unbelief and sin. D4 only makes them appear the same by equivocating on his terms.

Thomas Ross said...

D4 said:


I'll say it again. The problem here is your foundational premises. You see a scope to the preservation promises that many good exegetes do not see. I agree with them.


There you have it, folks. Hearken to, humble yourself before, and tremble in reverence and awe before the unalterable Words of Revelation 22:18-19:

18* For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

D4 dares to say that these words don’t really mean what they say—“take away from the words of the book” really means manuscripts, or teachings, or marginal notes, or ANYTHING other than what it actually says. Yes, D4 is right—the problem here is foundational premises. But God thinks that the wrong foundational premises are very serious: “the plagues which are written in this book . . . [being] taken away . . . out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

I hope that D4 is truly one of the elect for whom Christ prayed in John 17:8, truly one of those of whom Christ said, “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them.” All of the “many good exegetes” who are not prayed for in John 17 will not be found in the book of life, the holy city, and the blessings of the book of Revelation.

D4—and all who wish to affirm such foolishness as exegesis of Revelation 22:18-19 to get out of what the verses actually say—REPENT!

At the end of D4’s comment, he said:

I will trouble you no more on this.

I do not intend to say any more here, either, unless D4 either repents (which would make me very glad, and, far more importantly, would honor the Lord) or gives actual exegesis of Revelation 22:18-19. Unless he is going to deal with the verses, there is no point talking about the secondary matters of history. Evidences—even one rising from the dead—won’t do it for someone who won’t listen to Scripture.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

d4v34x - 1) In some passages, if a scholar wants to appeal to the Greek behind the KJV, he must actually appeal to the Latin, or Greek rendered from Latin (see the Vulgate affirmation from Hill above). This renders the TR Onlies' claim of preservation in the original languages spurious.

I think you have misread what Hill wrote, or at least are not understanding what he said.

Hill does not suggest that the Greek behind the KJV is based upon the Latin Vulgate. Instead, he says that there are times when the Greek of the TR agrees with Erasmus, as well as with the Polyglot and the Vulgate, over and against the Greek editions of Beza and Stephanus. It is most likely that Erasmus' Greek collation was derived from the Polyglot, which itself did not derive from the Vulgate, despite the fact of agreement between the two texts.

Therefore, there is no need for a scholar to consult the Latin Vulgate to explicate a reading in the Greek TR, contrary to your assertion.

d4v34x said...

Against my better judgement . . .

Let me say on the front end, that my responses will be to the point and without necessarily including a lot of supporting reasoning. Furthermore, I will probably have to post more than one comment to respond.

First of all, let’s deal with Revelations 22:18-9, which I haven’t really done. Brother Ross has repeatedly misquoted (or mis-targumed) it here, stating—in his exact words— we are not to “add or take away even one word”

This is not what the passage says. The passage says, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things…” or “…shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy…”

What is John’s (inspired) point? John’s point, seeing that he equivocates “things” (concepts, accounts, curses, etc.) and “words” (you know, words) is that we don’t mess with the text, either purposely or carelessly. This does not apply, in my opinion, to copyist errors or people acting in good faith to reconstruct, from the manuscripts that have been preserved to us, an original reading, even using rational means (although someone who does this faithlessly may well put themselves in danger).

The point is about changing the text to omit meaning the autograph included or include meaning the autograph did not.

In light of this, Brother Ross’s question about the Alpha and Omega quote is legitimate, but beside the point. He would use it and my response (or, heretofore, lack of it) to it and his Rev. 22 question as some sort of shibboleth as to whether I deserve a hearing at all, or for that matter (second time in one comment thread!) as to whether I’m saved or not.

It’s a sort of gamesmanship. I, in Brother Ross’s opinion (I surmise), do not tremble sufficiently at the Word of the Lord (and therefore may be dismissed). I’m sorry, sir, there is no way you can judge that from this exchange, and to assert such is abusive to your brother in Christ, and, possibly, the Word of God.

d4v34x said...

Other random responses to Brother Ross:

As for your list of NT quotes about receiving the Word, NONE of them refer to or necessarily imply receiving a settled text or perfectly preserved written words. Most uses of “Word” in them refer to the message of the Gospel. And you accuse me of bad exegesis.

Brother Ross states above. “Unless D4 can prove that the Greek words of the Scrivener TR were NOT available to every generation of believers—which he cannot—he cannot attack the TR affirmation of preservation of the original languages.”

I disagree. I bear no such burden of proof. Furthermore, given that Brother Brandenburg affirms that prior to the Scriveners TR/Beza/Stephanus/Erasmus all the very Words were not found in one manuscript but in many disperse manuscripts, the burden is on you and him to demonstrate from scripture the necessity of claiming what you do about Scrivener’s TR. I maintain you cannot do so without resorting to the type of eisegesis you put forward on the various NT uses of receiving the Word.

As for my margin notes comments, I assumed the various editions of Scrivener’s, where they varied from previous editions (as you admit they do) would notate such, presumably in the margins. Apparently they do not. Thank you, Brother Ross, for your correction. My question then is, which of the various editions— all of whose title pages makes the same claim you quote above, I presume— is the actual Greek behind the KJV. They can’t all be if they differ from one another no matter how minor the differences—this is your standard.

d4v34x said...

Other random responses to Brother Ross:

As for your list of NT quotes about receiving the Word, NONE of them refer to or necessarily imply receiving a settled text or perfectly preserved written words. Most uses of “Word” in them refer to the message of the Gospel. And you accuse me of bad exegesis.

Brother Ross states above. “Unless D4 can prove that the Greek words of the Scrivener TR were NOT available to every generation of believers—which he cannot—he cannot attack the TR affirmation of preservation of the original languages.”

I disagree. I bear no such burden of proof. Furthermore, given that Brother Brandenburg affirms that prior to the Scriveners TR/Beza/Stephanus/Erasmus all the very Words were not found in one manuscript but in many disperse manuscripts, the burden is on you and him to demonstrate from scripture the necessity of claiming what you do about Scrivener’s TR. I maintain you cannot do so without resorting to the type of eisegesis you put forward on the various NT uses of receiving the Word.

As for my margin notes comments, I assumed the various editions of Scrivener’s, where they varied from previous editions (as you admit they do) would notate such, presumably in the margins. Apparently they do not. Thank you, Brother Ross, for your correction. My question then is, which of the various editions— all of whose title pages makes the same claim you quote above, I presume— is the actual Greek behind the KJV. They can’t all be if they differ from one another no matter how minor the differences—this is your standard.

d4v34x said...

Furthermore, the Preface to Scriveners contains more complete information than the title page assertion (a mere editor’s claim, btw not any sort of criteria, or, as I requested, a “how”). Witness:

“In considering what text had the best right to be regarded as “the text presumed to underlie the “[sic]Authorised Version,” it was necessary to take into account the composite nature of the Authorised Version , as due to successive revisions of Tyndale’s translation . . .

“There are however many places in which the Authorised Version is at variance with Beza’s text; chiefly because it retains language inherited from Tyndale or his successors, which had been founded on the text of other Greek editions. In these cases it is often doubtful how far the revisers of 1611 deliberately preferred a different Greek reading; for their attention was not specially directed to textual variations, and they might not have thought it necessary to weed out every rendering inconsistent with Beza’s text, which might linger among the older and unchanged portions of the version.

“On the other hand some of the readings followed, though discrepant from Beza’s text, may have seemed to be in a manner sanctioned by him, as he had spoken favourably of them in his notes; and others may have been adopted on independent grounds. These uncertainties do not however affect the present edition, in which the different elements that actually make up the Greek basis of the Authorised Version have an equal right to find a place. Wherever therefore the Authorised renderings agree with other Greek readings which might naturally be known through printed editions to the revisers of 1611 or their predecessors, Beza’s readings have been displaced in favour of the more truly representative reading, the variation from Beza being indicated by *.

“It was manifestly necessary to accept only Greek authority, though in some places the Authorised Version corresponds but loosely with any form of the Greek original, while it follows exactly the Latin Vulgate. All variations from Beza’s text of 1598, in number about 190, are set down in an Appendix at the end of the volume, together with the authorities on which they respectively rest.”

My source for the above is the Preface to The New Testament in the Original Greek, edited by Scrivener, published 1881, and conveniently linked for anyone to peruse at the website of one Thomas Ross. (I added paragraph breaks to improve readability.)

From this source we glean the following (in no particular order):

1. The printed Scriviner's text is that presumed to underlie the KJV.
2. Beza was a sort of textual critic.
3. The 1611 revisers engaged in some form of textual criticism.
4. There are portions of this the KJV that appear to be translated directly from the Vulgate, the exact Greek behind which is unknown to us.
5. Scrivners text is retroactively compiled and edited using the English as a final authority.

If your understanding of scripture demands you accept these editions as the very Words, feel free. I allow you that liberty, but I can’t go with you. I’m sorry. I won’t question your salvation, only your judgment, and that not too harshly. You are my brothers.

Thomas Ross said...

I had asked D4:

How do you know whether Christ said "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last" here or not?

 How do you know where the true text of Revelation is in the hundreds of other places where there is textual variation, so that you don't add or take away even one word?

. . . [C]ould you please give a real answer to the question and explain how something like “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” doesn’t really mean “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” but really means something totally different? And after you have shown that “words” doesn’t mean “words” but means “manuscripts,” can you tell me which manuscripts have the correct words in Revelation 1:11, and the hundreds of other places where there is textual variation in the book, so that you are not adding or taking away anything at all?

If you can’t answer, would it be better to cook something up that you know perfectly well is bad exegesis, and so sin, despite the dire warning of Revelation 22:18-19, or would it be better to repent and change your position so you actually know by faith where the words of Revelation are, and you actually CAN not add or take away from them?

To this D4 answered:

In answer to your question, I think margin notes including alternate readings is a way. I know that sounds like adding to. I don't think it is.

D4 has now added to this answer the following (in part):

The point is about changing the text to omit meaning the autograph included or include meaning the autograph did not.

In light of this, Brother Ross’s question about the Alpha and Omega quote is legitimate, but beside the point. He would use it and my response (or, heretofore, lack of it) to it and his Rev. 22 question as some sort of shibboleth as to whether I deserve a hearing at all, or for that matter (second time in one comment thread!) as to whether I’m saved or not.

It’s a sort of gamesmanship.

My response:

Notice that D4 has no explanation for how one can know where the true text of Revelation is in the hundreds of places where there is textual variation. He has no way to have certainty about whether Revelation 1:11 says Christ is the Alpha and Omega or not. He has no way to have certainty about whether the number of the beast is 666 or 616. However, instead of repenting and changing his view so that he can have certainty about the text of Scripture, he will attack me by saying that asking the question is “some sort of shibboleth” and is “gamesmanship.” He says that it is unreasonable to use the fact that he cannot explain Revelation 22:18-19, but refuses to change, as a reason to consider that he does not deserve a hearing. But when the chief priests and elders refused to listen to the Word of God, Christ refused to give them an answer (Matthew 21:27).

Thomas Ross said...

D4 is wrong on the exegesis of Revelation 22:18-19—in Revelation 22:18 the antecedent to the Greek pronoun rendered “these things” is the word “words,” and in 22:19 D4 admits “words” means, “‘words’ (you know, words).” So the “things” of 22:18 are not “concepts, accounts, curses,” but “words.” Revelation 22:18-19 curses those who add or take away words.

Even on his incorrect exegesis, D4 admits: “Brother Ross’s question about the Alpha and Omega quote is legitimate,” but he then refuses to answer it. He will not answer a legitimate question based on exegesis of Scripture, but he dares to call a legitimate question based on exegesis of Scripture “gamesmanship.” This is not receiving with meekness the engrafted Word.

To require D4 to explain Revelation 22:18-19 and call him to task for what is nothing less than a ridiculous and ungodly misinterpretation of the passage is not, to use his word, “abusive.” It is keeping the second greatest commandment:

17* Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:17-18).

It is also a totally Biblical judging of sin and disobedience. It is warning the unruly, 1 Thess 5:14.

D4 says that I am engaging in bad exegesis when I quote John 17:8, etc. He says that none of the verses I quoted refer to a settled text (apparently the “message” of the Bible is not conveyed in actual words). If they do not refer to something settled, they refer to something unsettled. I ask him:

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. John 17:8

Christ prayed John 17:8 for all believers. Can D4 tell us which words have been given by the Father to the Son and received by believers? Of course, he cannot—just as he cannot avoid the curse of Revelation 22:18-19, for he doesn’t know—and chooses, willingly and deliberately, to reject the true position that gives certainty about the location of the words of the book of Revelation. D4 refuses to receive those certain and preserved words. The fact that John 17:8; Revelation 22:18-19, and other texts refer to a particular set of Words that one is cursed for not receiving is as plain as the sky is blue. If John 17:8 does not refer to a particular set of words, and Revelation 22:18-19 does not refer to the actual words of the autoraph of Revelation, how could God say He doesn’t want actual words added or taken away in a that would satisfy D4? If these verses don’t do it, D4 wouldn’t believe it, even if one rose from the dead.

Thomas Ross said...

D4 wrote:

“Brother Ross’s question about the Alpha and Omega quote is legitimate, but [I won’t answer it] . . . He would use . . . my response (or, heretofore, lack of it) [at least D4 admits here that he has written paragraph after paragraph after paragraph about this, that, and the other, but he didn’t answer my question about Revelation 22:18-19—which was all I asked] to it and his Rev. 22 question as some sort of shibboleth [how dare he call a question about the Word of God a “shibboleth”! This is blasphemy!] as to whether I deserve a hearing at all, or for that matter (second time in one comment thread!) as to whether I’m saved or not.”

Please note that I never said a single word of my own about whether D4 is saved or not. All I did was quote what GOD said about those who add or take away words in Revelation 22:18-19. GOD says:

18* For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

D4 rejects the only text of Revelation that can allow obedience to Revelation 22:18-19. If he doesn’t like what God says about those who do so, he can take it up with Him. Actually, God will take it up with D4 when D4 stands before Him. It would be far better to take God’s view of the matter now than wait until then.

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

I need to deal with this comment of yours, mainly because it claims to represent my position.

"Furthermore, given that Brother Brandenburg affirms that prior to the Scriveners TR/Beza/Stephanus/Erasmus all the very Words were not found in one manuscript but in many disperse manuscripts, the burden is on you and him to demonstrate from scripture the necessity of claiming what you do about Scrivener’s TR."

This is not what I have said. What I have said is that Scripture does not teach the preservation of a particular copy, or that there would always be one copy that had all the Words. That does not mean that I do not think that all the Words were in one copy. Those two are different. My theology comes from Scripture. My application of that, I believe, is that believers did know what all the Words were and they did have them in single copies. However, I can't prove that from history. I accept it based on an application of Scripture.

So there we go.

d4v34x said...

Kent,

I misunderstood then. Please tell me which edition of Sciveners has all the very Words, no more no less so I can understand your certainty better.

TR,

You wrote:[how dare he call a question about the Word of God a “shibboleth”! This is blasphemy!]

Bologna. Humans can use all sorts of things as a sort of shibboleth in debates. Even questions about the Word of God. To call you on it is not blasphemy.

You further wrote that you nowhere called my salvation into question. However, you wrote "...unless he has hardened his conscience and does not have the Holy Spirit" Furthermore, I don't think Abraham's words to the Rich Man apply here. Sorry.

Christian said...

Brother Dave (D4v34x),

Would it be possible for you to email me privately at chrisjen520 ((at)) gmail.com.

Christian Markle

Gary said...

Thomas Ross,

I love my KJV, but for you I dusted off my old NIV (since I don't own a RSV) and checked out Revelation 1:11. You'll be relieved to know that the words were written in red, thus showing that Jesus did indeed say those words.

D4,

Thomas Ross stated his position perfectly several posts ago. He said in regards to the TR:

"But what do we do in these few places in which the several editions of the Textus Receptus disagree with one another? Which text should we follow? The answer to this question is easy. We are guided by the common faith. Hence we favor that form of the Textus Receptus upon which more than any other God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of his approval, namely the King James Version, or more precisely, the greek text underlying the King James Version.

Kent said about his own beliefs:

"My theology comes from scripture. My application of that, I believe, is that believers did know what all the words were and they did have them in single copies. However, I can't prove that from history. I accept it based on an application of scripture.

D4 you are argueing against their faith in their own "infallible" interpretations. Even though Thomas Ross admitted that there were some minor disagreements within the TR, he is able to excuse them through faith that God sorted through the discreptancies and created the perfect KJV in the end.
I feel sorry for the people who don't speak English, as they must suffer with second hand translations.

In regards to Kent, He is admitting that he can't suppport his belief through history. Only through his interpretations of scripture.

I don't claim to have all the answers to this little debate, but I do know that my God is not a liar. If he meant that he would preserved every single word, than I know that somewhere either in heaven, earth, or in some little cave in Jerusalem, It is preserved. I do know that the KJV is not a word for word perfect preservation and so, I do not put my faith into that translation.

If as I think you are saying, that God is refering to the adding or taking away of the meaning, than I'll let God confirm or reject that in your spirit.

God's ways are higher than my ways and I will just trust that he is in control and that all things shall be revieled in his perfect timing. God Bless.

Gary said...

D4,

I guess what I was trying to say in the last post was, that you should stop trying to argue with them. It would take a road to Damascus experience to change their minds, but even than it's doubtful.

Thomas Ross said...

In relation to Pastor Brandenburg's comment on perfect copies--as demonstrated in my essay on the longevity of the NT autographs, there is clear evidence for perfect copies being available to churches for substantial periods of time--and my article on the question of whether there are copies that are identical also demonstrates that there is clear evidence for numbers of copies that are exactly the same. The OT proves that there were perfect copies available for many centuries. So it is historically plausible that believers could have had single perfect handwritten copies that were the same as the Scrivener TR (which, of course, does not have any variants in it), although it cannot be absolutely proven with history.

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

Thomas and I take identical positions. I haven't read every word he has written here, but my belief is that every Word and all the Words have been available to every generation of believers. As far as knowing what those Words are, I believe that God's people will know. Churches agreed on Books, 66 of them, and they agreed on Words. The only text that Christians have claimed perfection is the textus receptus. The KJV translators translated from a text, so to say that it was invented by Scrivener is just not the case. The pastors of the 17th century were studying the Greek and Hebrew text behind the King James Version. And they believed in original language perfect preservation. This is seen in the WCF and the LBC.

My certainty comes by faith, D4. As will yours, if you have it. We're challenged in that faith on the first page of Scripture.

Related to Revelation 22:18-19, I find dissatisfying the way people such as yourself approach that passage. And it does seem that you, among many others, interpret in the way that best serves your own thinking about the text of scripture. I wish I could say otherwise. I mean that with all due respect. Those verses come across very serious as something not to trifle with. They don't seem unclear to me.

A critical text person is going to have trouble with those two verses always. And especially if he reads them, as Thomas Ross pointed out, in the critical text. Those verses use the aorist for add or take away, rather than the present, making it ironically even more serious.

Gary,

I'm a presuppositionalist, as everyone is, whether they admit it or not, so I don't base my belief in preservation on history. Neither could you, because you've never seen the original manuscripts and you've never seen a manuscript from the first two centuries AD. And if you trust in Christ, then you've got to base your forgiveness of sins on faith as well. There's a lot that we don't know from history, but that doesn't mean we don't believe that God's Word is true. We see the Bible as history. It is God's Word.

As far as my faith in my infallible interpretation, far from it. My view is the historic view of the church. And I believe that we can know what Scripture means. "Words" means "words." I do expect men who disagree to at least be able to show an actual position, to flesh that out from Scripture. I would look for that and not just explaining away what God's Word says.

d4v34x said...

Gary is right, of course, as are those who have contacted my privately. I have ignored my own counsel and stayed too long in this discussion, foolishly inviting others to do the same.

I desist.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Question for D4 - Why do you assume that any preservation of Scripture taking place would have to go through the Greek manuscript set?

d4v34x said...

Probably for the same reason most folks do-- potential meaning loss due to translation.

Just to be clear, where the originals were written in Hebrew I don't "assume" them to be preserved in Greek, but Hebrew. Same for Aramaic.

In case you meant something else by that question, I believe they were providentially (via second cause, i.e. humans) not miraculously (first cause, i.e. direct Divine intervention) preserved.

Thomas Ross said...

I believe it is clear that nobody has a good explanation for Revelation 22:18-19 without accepting the perfect preservation of the TR.

Kent Brandenburg said...

D4,

Separating providence from miracle is a new theological invention for the sole purpose of revising the meaning of the WCF. I don't think it's good to play around with words like that.

John MacArthur wrote this: "Personally I believe that providence is a bigger miracle than a miracle."

Read this:

http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2007/12/can-we-separate-miracle-of-inspiration.html

d4v34x said...

Kent, as I said to you in a private exchange, both are under the sovereignty of God; both are his acts. Some are direct, some indirect.

I don't think its bad to have one word that describes a particular way in which God may work versus another word that describes a substantively different way that God may work.

As for your assertion about when that "reverse equivocation" was engineered, I really think that may stem from presuppositions rather than the intent of the Confession. But I really do need to read Muller myself. Can I borrow your copy? :)

d4v34x said...

By the way, this is me desisting. See the difference? :)