Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recent James White Videos and the Bible Version Issue, pt. 5

Part One (this one has the videos linked).  Part Two.  Part Three.  Part Four.

After the 18 minute mark, White says that the text handed down by the providence of God and received by His churches "is not just a narrow spectrum of the Byzantine manuscript tradition," referring to the textus receptus of the New Testament.  Part of the doctrine of preservation, as taught in scripture, is general accessibility.  Something unavailable isn't received, and that is another part of a scriptural doctrine of preservation, the reception by the churches.  God preserved His Words for His people to possess, use, apply, and live.  An inaccessible manuscript is not preserved.  Something buried for all of history until the 19th or 20th centuries is a text that God's people have not been using.  There can be numbers of reasons why that didn't happen, but those manuscripts cannot be now a source for altering what God's people have accepted as scripture.

The person with whom White was debating on the social media, and he's answering in this video, asks him a couple of questions.

Upon what basis do you have any confidence that 3 John is canonical, seeing that it was not mentioned until the middle of the third century and was debated up until the fifth. Number two, upon what basis do you accept that the Pentateuch as we now have it, looks anything like the work of Moses?

White says that those questions look like an abandonment of the actual subject.  I would say, how about just answering them?  You expect people to debate your specific examples of textual variation.

Then White says that, second, "it introduces connections and confusions that really worry me, because if I didn't know who this came from, it sounds like it comes from Catholic answers."

This is a non-answer.  It's a strategy.  Again, he's worried.  Stop that. And then stop equating someone with Roman Catholicism.

Rome believes in sola ecclesia, but does that mean that believers have no association with canonicity? The Bible itself doesn't teach a canonicity of books.  It teaches a canonicity of words.  Books are an outgrowth of a canonicity of words.

The Spirit of truth would guide believers into "all truth" (John 16:13). The Westminster Confession says in the first section on scripture:

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

The church of Thessalonica received Paul's words as the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Was the church at Thessalonica a counsel?  Paul's epistles were circulating among the churches even during apostolic times (Colossians 4:16).  This is a means, a methodology, for knowing what scripture is. Peter recognized Paul's writings as inspired by God and equated them with the rest of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul quoted the Gospel of Luke and called it scripture (1 Timothy 5:18).  The Words received widespread acceptance.  This is a fundamental principle for reception of God's Words and it is scientific like science was accepted pre-enlightenment, an aspect of total truth, not the bifurcated truth, two book theory, of White.

The work of the Holy Spirit through His people in the acceptance of the Words He inspired is the means by which His people know what His Words are.  This is a method.  This is a means, a supernatural one in fitting with a supernatural book.  If you can't trust this, which is taught in scripture, sola scriptura, then you can't trust the Bible.  I believe this is also the theme behind the questions White was asked, that he mocked.

The sacral nature academia has taken on itself, standing above scripture, is a much better example of Roman Catholic type authority.  God's people are taken out of the equation, and scholars and publishers, using a very subjective, non-biblical means, replace them, holding sway over God's Word.  That's what White sees as a tool of God's providence.  No way.

The means or method we are required to accept is the biblical means or method, and textual criticism doesn't look anything like what the Bible says is the method or the means.  This is not semper reformanda, always reforming.  This is deviation from the path God set for His people.  This is by far a trajectory to Rome than what White says.

Instead of answering the 3 John question, which seems to be a test question to flush out White's thinking on the scriptural method for ascertaining scripture, White asks a question and in his typical suspicious, mocking manner.  He sets off on a few minutes of red herring -- Carthage, Hippo -- answer the question!  If he answers the question based on orthodox canonical thinking, he's trapped. He also attempts to shame the guy (who has now linked to his answer in the comment section of this series).

White then goes off in admiration of the manuscript attestation toward the preservation of the Bible. Everyone is happy about that, but that's not enough for a supernatural book.  It's as if White applauds the existence of variants.  We have even more copies available.  The Bible was never up for question, and textual criticism has made it more so, giving new fodder for Muslim apologists.  If we question our own Bible, why shouldn't they?  And White is one of the biggest questioners out there.  It isn't settled with him.

White says at almost 23 that the strength of Christianity's position is all of the manuscript evidence, which is sacrificed by the ecclesiastical text position.  Those who believe in supernatural preservation have manuscript evidence too.  If they want to rely on modern science, they've got that too.  For someone who doesn't accept divine authority, which it seems White doesn't, there is manuscript evidence, which means something, but it still leaves White and people like him with errors in their Bible.  Muslim apologists wonder rightfully how that a supernatural book written by a God Who created everything could allow it to fall into a degree of error.  That's not what believers should be preaching or believing.  The church has capitulated on that, and now we have a world filled with doubt.

White says it is a completely different world talking about the Old Testament text.  That is an error.  Both Old and New are scripture and they were authenticated and recognized in the same way.  God gave the Pentateuch to the congregation of God in the Old Testament, Israel, and Israel received and kept.  That's not all there was to it, but the basics are identical.  Why does White accept the Pentateuch?  He can't answer the question.  The man asking the question for sure isn't saying that it is by counting manuscripts or else he wouldn't receive the TR.

The last two minutes are a flurry of bombasticity to put down the man he's questioning, so there's nothing there.  What one can see with White is that he doesn't start with a biblical view of this issue.  I would hope he could change. I wish he would.  He should.  I don't expect it.  He'll double down, because he's got too much at stake.  He is doing great damage in the nature that I have related in this series, spreading doubt and uncertainty about God's Word.

37 comments:

Kent Brandenburg said...

I'm not going to discuss King James Only, no matter what angle anyone decides to play that. That's not what this is about, so George, I'm not printing any more comments on that subject. It's not that there's an answer. It's that I'm not going to discuss it. It's not what these posts are about. These posts are not critiquing different versions of KJVO. They are critiquing what James White said.

c.t. said...

People can't figure White out because he seems truly born again when he speaks on political and social issues, as when he speaks to doctrinal positions other than the foundational issues regarding the word of God itself.

This can be the flaw of Christians who take a solely academic approach to the faith, perhaps. I say solely.

It can also be due to a mental or emotional issue such as a narcissism disorder, and this would play into it this way: the Bible is something we *must* look up to and put ourselves under, in a no playing games about it way. A narcissist who by nature can't be taught anything can get around that regarding learning doctrine because there is room to satisfy vanity in seeing the true doctrine amidst a wildly overgrown field of ancient and modern error. Yeah, he learned from systematic theologians x, y, and z, but that is small compared to his own effort and ability to separate out the wheat from the tares regarding doctrinal truth. He *can't*, though, so easily dismiss the existence of the source and authority of that doctrine. The best he can do to *get above* that is to adopt the pose that it really is he that determines ultimately what the Bible says. To stand above the text and be a mediator between it and the ignorant masses. His narcissism is well taken care of now, and everything is right with his world.

Your posts are very on the mark. You're particularly good at pointing out White's unconscious adoption of postmodernist academic rhetoric and approach and attitude. It's these elements - including the emoting, theatrical affectation of voice and body language (the eye rolling,etc.) that I find most curious regarding how seemingly approving his defenders are regarding it.

As for always bringing up so-called KJVOs, the Critical Text defenders first tactic is to get their opponents to *concede* error in the word of God. It's a very 16th century Counter-Reformation move on their part.

George Calvas said...

"These posts are not critiquing different versions of KJVO. They are critiquing what James White said."

What is there to critique? He is wrong, and you are inconsistent. I show that in simplicity, consistency and can explain "preservation" in less than one page where a young convert can "get it" and know that what he has in his hands is the very words of God.

You do not want to discuss it because you have no way to answer that which the scriptures clearly teach. I can prove that every scripture you use, that you imply your form of preservations rather than what the scriptures teach clearly.

Why not let others read what I say and let them judge for themselves. What in the world are you afraid of, the truth?

Kent Brandenburg said...

George,

We've exhausted our interaction on your position. It's neither biblical nor historical. You don't believe in preservation. I'm not going to discuss it for this post. If I ever do go after your position here, I will welcome your discussion.

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

C.T.,

Thanks. It's nice to hear the obvious from someone else. I think people don't want a video made about them by James White along with his enablers. I really have nothing to lose. My feelings about it are stronger than what I'm communicating it. I think it's important to put Mr. White down to a certain degree for his antics, but much more could be said. I don't think it would be right to say everything I want to say.

I actually agree with everything that you're saying.

c.t. said...

Hard to know what to do other than pray for him. White said in one of his podcasts that he was giving a talk somewhere and two brothers approached him afterward, and, according to White, told him they didn't think he was broken. We know what they meant, and probably James did as well, but he sort of laughed it off. Yet it's interesting he would tell the anecdote at all.

Farmer Brown said...

At some point you have to ask the question about saving faith. What I mean is men like Mr. White look like believers, smell like believers, and act like we think believers should act, but at the same time they devote their lives towards tearing down the Lord Jesus.

The Lord is the Word, and they tear down the Word. Jesus himself submitted to his own Word, you might say his own person, and King David wrote, "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." David also equated the living Word with the written Word long before John wrote John chapter 1. He makes it completely clear, particularly in Psalm 119, but also elsewhere, that following God is the same as following his word.

So what about men who look really great, but tear down the word of God? What about Stewart Custer who said, "God has preserved His word in the sands of Egypt"? Here is a man who practically made his career disproving the reliability of the scripture. He tore down the faith of many, including this writer, for a time. I repented of that intellectualism, but many were permanently corrupted.

What of Larry Oats who said, "God could have preserved His Word but history proves He did not"? Many others like him name the name of Christ and devote significant portions of their energy and time to tearing down the Word.

Jesus said his sheep hear His voice and follow. Is it possible there are His sheep who do not hear His voice and do not follow? Could they still be sheep? Just because these men are "Great men of God" are they automatically given grace, or are they subject to the same scrutiny based on scripture?

Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

c.t. said...

The way I'm seeing what you bring up, Mr. Brown, is two questions: 1. The damage a person does regarding the manuscript issues; and 2. The question of regeneration in such a person. I'm inclined to think that God will have His Standard available. The pure and whole word of God that we can actually hold in our hands. And, the division, or, ironically, dividing line between it and the Critical Text side heightens awareness of the truth and the preciousness of having that truth pure and whole in the Traditional Text in sound (and in my belief inspired) translation, whether English or any other language.

As for the regeneration issue, perhaps a person can be regenerate yet will have that last bit of brokeness happen upon seeing their Saviour face to face? I myself, though I have felt clearly regeneration by the word and the Spirit, often say I feel too toxic to enter Heaven. I'm not referring to the necessity of a purgatory type of detox, but a definite feeling that we'll enter beyond the veil with a lot of metaphorical mud on us and perhaps in us, though basically OK by the imputed righteousness of Christ.

So I guess the outcome of the above view is we need to defend the Traditional Text, and counter those who basically teach that there is error in the Bible. Until the return of the Saviour King.

c.t. said...

Readers of these posts might be interested in this thread:

http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/87309-Ecclesiastical-Text-%E2%80%94-Response-to-James-White

There are defenders of the Traditional Text in the thread. Rev. Winzer, Steve Rafalsky, others...

Tyler Robbins said...

I am disappointed in the foolish and irresponsible comments in this thread, impugning the salvation of James White and Larry Oats. I am a soft critical text guy who'd like to be ecclesiastical text guy, and am open to discussing this and interacting with the other side. Surely this can be done without questioning everybody's eternal state? I haven't done that, neither did James White in his video, and neither did Bro. Brandenburg. Those who believe that critical-text people may, defacto, not even be saved don't help their own argument and betray their own shallowness. Let's do better, folks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Tyler,

I think you're saying that I haven't questioned White's salvation here, although I will say that I often tend toward explaining faithlessness by questioning salvation. It is my first line of question when I ask why people either believe or practice a certain way without repentance. It goes with my soteriology. Can someone perpetually deny a particular doctrine and practice wrong in perpetual fashion and be saved? After I get through that thinking, however, a generous thought is that he's struggling, even though he doesn't seem like he's struggling. John MacArthur essentially said that all the 500 million Charismatics were not converted, and they took severe offense to the same extent that you are. I don't think that he was being unloving, do you? He was basing that on their relationship to the Holy Spirit and worship.

How many Israelites do you think were saved in the wilderness, that left Egypt? How many Israelities do you believe were saved during the Babylonian captivity? Things can get very bad, and how do they get there? What are your thoughts about the doctrine of salvation and Revelations 22:18-19?

Having said that, my own opinion is that Larry Oats is a believer and that James White is a believer. I don't know how that helps them any more than if I said they were not believers. I would hope that I could have a defender like you. I've been lied about by both James White and Larry Oats repeatedly in the past. I hope the best for both of them.

One more thing. I do not know who Farmer Brown is. That's obviously a pseudonym. He's never told me who he is. I don't know who C.T. is, although I've read the biography of C. T. Studd, when I was a teenager.

Farmer Brown said...

Tyler, I sat under Larry Oats for a time. I thought he was sincere, genuine, caring, and scholarly. None of those will guarantee you eternal life. I hope he is a believer who is in error and can repent. It is hard to see him that way when he puts so much effort into tearing down the Word of God.

You labeled me foolish, shallow, and irresponsible, but you did not answer any of my questions and you did not cite any scripture. You also did not answer my arguments. Concisely:

Jesus is the Word. When you tear down the Word you are tearing down Jesus.

Jesus said his sheep hear his voice. Is it possible that his sheep do not hear his voice?

To that let me add this: Revelation 22:19 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.

Have Mr. White or Mr. Oats taken away from the words of this book? When Larry Oats said, "God could have preserved His Word but history proves He did not", was he taking away from the words of this book?

KJB1611 said...

I think it is interesting that in the TR Revelation 22:18-19 contain Greek verbs that suggest continuing action (so the unsaved person is the one who as a lifestyle attacks/opposes the Word), rather than, say, an apologist for Christianity who does grievously sin by attacking the Words of God but also regularly seeks to defend the Word in his interaction with Islam, Rome, etc. However, in the CT the verbs suggest point action rather than a lifestyle, so critical text people had better be very sure that they have every single Word of the Book of Revelation and know for sure where they are.

Tyler, could you or some of the critical text folks at Maranatha explain to me how you can obey Rev 22:18-19 without being sure of every Word of the book of Revelation (if not the whole of Scripture)? How do you engage in expository preaching of the book of Revelation without falling under the curse of adding or taking away from the book (which is indubitably a terrible sin, even one time, although the passage does not eternally damn those who do so unintentionally, etc.) without being able to know for sure where those words are?

By the way, someone with a Ruckmanite position like George above is also adding/taking away and should beware of the grievous judgment of Rev 22:18-19.

Farmer Brown said...

KJB1611, there is something else that is great about the verses in Revelations 22. It says, "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book..." It presupposes that the words (all the words) will remain, otherwise how could someone take away from them?

If the "Mind of God" crowd is correct, this verse should say "If any man take away from the thoughts" or doctrine, or whatever. But is says words. That demonstrates that the words are available for tampering right now, all the words. The Bible closes with irrefutable proof of word for word preservation.

Tyler Robbins said...

I'm getting ready for our first day of Bible School, so I don't have much time, and this series concluded at a lightening pace so I haven't been able to comment like I might have been able to otherwise.

Some questions:

1. It is a fact that there are approx. 5600 Greek manscripts around, each of which differ from one another like you'd expect if they were handwritten. Why have these earlier manuscripts been found? Did God fail, or is this a Satanic plot to confuse God's people?

2. Even among the younger manscripts (which we have a lot more of) there are differences. Why do you settle on the TR and/or Scrivener's 1881 Greek text (or whatever text) as your standard, seeing as how the men who compiled these texts had to engage in textual criticism of some sort to produce these prointed texts. Why is the TR a better Greek text than the NA28, seeing as how they both rely on subjective, best-guess decisions by men in their final form?

3. Even if you maintain that the TR is best because God providentially led His people to preserve that manuscript stream instead of the earlier texts which have only been discovered fairly recently, I don't see how you escape the same problem - you're relying on the work of textual criticism when you settle on a printed Greek text.

4. I hear your arguments on Rev 22:18-19. However, when I consider the questions I just raised above (and others) I have a lot of trouble seeing how this has worked itself out in history. Even Appendix A by Bro. La More in TSKT was sparse on details. It advanced a noble and very appealing theological position, but I don't see how it squares with the facts, hense my hastily typed questions above. This is behind a lot of James White's questions about the ecclesiastical text. I share his concerns. Help me see the light.

George Calvas said...

KJB1611 wrote:

"By the way, someone with a Ruckmanite position like George above is also adding/taking away and should beware of the grievous judgment of Rev 22:18-19."

Strikeout "Ruckman" and replace with biblical.

So, instead of making accusations and being a hypocrite by having others believe you actually BELIEVE the words of God as found in the Holy King James Bible (unless the monikor, KJV1611 is just mockery), tell me what am I as a KING JAMES BIBLE BELIEVER adding or taking away from the scriptures?

1> Give me the verse or verses from a Holy King James Bible and the WORDS that are missing or need to be added.

2> If you actually will man-up and back up your accusatory statements, make sure you tell me the GREEK TEXT that you used.

George Calvas said...

"By the way, someone with a Ruckmanite position like George above is also adding/taking away and should beware of the grievous judgment of Rev 22:18-19."

Both of you need some reality since you fail to approve my previous comment that answers the accusation against me. Tell the self-righteous KJB1611 and his obsession with Ruckman that he needs to listen to the following:

Peter Ruckman - Why I Believe the King James Bible is the Word of God!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RipGk3nJlzE

Kent, at least show some integrity and consistency in what you allow.

c.t. said...

Critical Text people are like evolutionists who conflate micro with macro evolution. Critical Text people conflate editing a manuscript with constructing a manuscript. There is a difference between editing a stream of similar manuscripts vs. constructing a manuscript from diverse sources. All manuscripts have to be edited. Nobody disputes that. The Critical Text side takes that fact and pretends that their ongoing project to construct a biblical manuscript is the same thing.

Remember, by Westcott and Hort's own admission the Critical Text project has been a project of deception from the beginning. They were using their own Overton Window tactic in the 19th century.

George Calvas said...

Answer Tyler's questions, for there are many more like these that will bring DOUBT into the picture.

This is why those that hold to the Holy King James Bible as INSPIRED and PRESERVED text, and that it IS the very words of God NEVER create doubt, but rather instill great confidence in the words of God, for "the just shall live by faith".

We have been faithful and "scholarship onlyism" has been the great failure in the last 200+ years holding to false doctrines of preservation.

Farmer Brown said...

Tyler Robbins, there are probably a lot of people here better able to answer this, but I think the question is one of faith, not history or science. You said, "I have a lot of trouble seeing how this has worked itself out in history."

This is like any other issue where the popular and scientific consensus goes against the Bible. This is the same as theistic evolution early in the last century. Many professing believers were led astray by that, following many of the big names (Spurgeon, Scofield, etc). All the science and all the scientist seemed to irrefutably prove evolution.

Now we have more information, so we know how flawed the science is and how dishonest the scientists are. However, even when all the scientists were maligning true believers, many still believed by faith despite the absence of evidence. That is what it is to live by faith. You judge what you see in the the world by what you see in the Bible, not what you see in the Bible by what you see in the world.

The question that anyone struggling with this needs to answer is this: does the Bible promise word for word preservation? If so, the history and science are irrelevant. Settle in your mind the promises of God, then believe it by faith. Perhaps, like creation, the Lord will reward your faith with sight, or perhaps you will never have the science. Either way, it is a questions of faith, not sight.

Tyler Robbins said...

Folks - I'm disappointed. I don't say that in a sarcastic or deliberately rude way. The issues I mentioned above are legitimate facts, and all I want to know is how the ecclesiastical text position accounts for them. I haven't heard anything but an appeal to faith. That's disappointing.

The comparisons to science and the creationism/evolution debate are specious, because fine organizations like AiG and ICR work very hard to present a Biblical interpretation of the evidence. They don't tell people to "have faith." They explain the evidence with Biblical presuppositions. I was hoping somebody here could do the same.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Tyler,

The questions you asked deserve consideration. However, our primary concern is grammatical-historical exegesis of Revelation 22:18-19. "trouble seeing how this has worked itself out in history" is not a factor in exegesis of Scripture. This is the sort of argument that modernists use to reject the resurrection, old-earth "creationists" use to oppose the plain meaning of Genesis 1-2, etc. I trust you are willing to get your position from what Rev 22:18-19 means, since we are to live by faith, not by sight, and Scripture is more sure than anything (cf. 2 Pet 1:16-21). So, I would like to ask again, how can someone who doesn't know what the right words of Revelation are avoid the curse of 22:18-19? Whatever God says in His Word "squares with the facts," and we analyze history from the perspective of faith in God's promises, rather than doubting those promises because of what our finite minds see in history.

The answers below are secondary to what I stated above, but I will give them also.

1.) Actually, it is a myth that every manuscript differs from every other one, a myth perpetuated by people who don't collate manuscripts. See "Is It True that No Two NT Manuscripts Are the Same?" at:

http://faithsaves.net/bibliology/

People who argue for this myth, such as James White, might want to do a bit more study, or perhaps collate a few manuscripts themselves.

2.) There is a huge difference between a mindset of "let's see what God's people and His churches are using and let us receive what He has preserved," which was the mindset of Baptist and Protestants when the TR was the text, and the mindset of "let's treat the Bible like a secular book and do godless textual criticism." The two are not the same at all. The type of text in the TR fits the promises of God that true belivers and churches would be using the text from generation to generation (Is 59:21; Mt 28:18-20; 4:4, etc.). The NA28 text was not in use by anybody for c. 1500 years. It doesn't fit God's promises at all. If one calls both the latter and the former "textual criticism," the words are being used in very different ways.

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hello Everyone,

Sorry I haven't been posting your comments. I was out in the woods in the mountains without a computer for the last four days for our church family camp, but I posted most of them, except for one of George's because I tire of this series being derailed by the off subject, that I already said was off subject to George. What George's comments should tell people though is that his KJVO, which is generally the type that James White addresses, truly KJVO, opposes our biblical and historical position. As I've said though, White and George have more in common than George and me, because they both reject preservation of scripture. White may say that he doesn't, but that is in fact where he's at on this. I have never read scriptural presuppositions from a CT guy, the ones that guide them in their understanding of this issue. Why? They didn't start with them. They don't have them. Instead, what you get are attacks like "reformed scholasticism." Just wow. And his supporters just let that go, among many other very strange points like that.

Tyler,

As far as answering questions. I've never dodged a question in my life here, and among the many, many posts either here or at Jackhammer, I've answered them. You can't expect TSKT to answer the historical questions, because that wasn't the point of the book. We've intended for awhile to write the second book that does that, but what will it matter if someone rejects what the Bible says about its own preservation? We purposefully set out the scriptural position first. What I found is that people then critiqued the book we didn't write. They wanted that book, because the actual book is problematic.

A lot of the questions I get asked do relate to not following the scriptural position. For instance, for a reason never explained, the only legitimate means of preservation for CT people is a hand copy. It's got to be manuscript or it doesn't count. And then second, that manuscript itself must be around today. If the manuscript is not around, God didn't preserve as far as they're concerned. God didn't promise to preserve manuscripts. He promised to preserve Words, and that is the historical position too. The questions are based on, show me the manuscript available today, that at its root says God didn't preserve and then we're back to book number one, TSKT, again.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Tyler,

I'm not entirely clear on what we aren't answering. Could you repeat that?

Also, could you please exegete Rev 22:18-19 and show how it is consistent with receiving some words in the book that are not those that John wrote?

Finally, before ICR and Answers in Genesis put together a lot of good arguments for a young earth, would the Bible alone have been sufficient to adopt that position?

Thanks.

Tyler Robbins said...

Bro(s). Brandenburg and Ross:

I realize that you weren’t “dodging” my question. I also realize that several of the folks who comment here, who are obviously pro-KJV, do not represent your own position. My most basic question has to do with the manuscripts. If we can stick to this particular issue for the moment, we may make some headway:

1. There are a lot of manuscripts. Not all of them agree. I know you and Bro. Ross have pointed out that nobody has collated every single manuscript. That doesn’t really have anything to do with my point. The manuscripts we do have generally differ from one another in minor respects, all over the place. I hope we can agree on that for the moment.

2. Because many manuscripts have subtle differences as a result of hand-copying, anybody who produces ANY printed Greek text has to decide between the different readings. I want to know what your position has to say about this matter. If you advocate the TR, how do you escape that exact same charge that the editors of the NA28 do? Didn’t the editors of the TR collate their manuscripts and filter out variant readings? Unless you believe that all the manuscripts underlying the TR are identical, they had to do that, didn’t they? There are also many different printed editions of the TR, which each differ in some ways from the other. The folks at the Trinitarian Bible Society acknowledge this; “[t]hese editions differ slightly from one another but still are regarded as the same basic text.”

3. I’m not trying to erect a strawman – I genuinely want your explanation.

There is more which could be said. I’ll keep it at this for now.

Farmer Brown said...

Tyler, I understand your disappointment. You are not the first person to be disappointed by faith alone. Naaman felt just what you are feeling. He wanted something great, but he had to settle for faith. It is good enough for ICR, though. They do tell people to believe by faith, and they believed by faith before any evidence was available.

You will never find the evidence you desire to prove a Biblical position. You cannot "prove" spiritual things, except by faith, which is the evidence of things not seen for the Godly. Faith is the first answer and the first step in any spiritual discussion. This is the case no matter what the issue; child training, creation, preservation, marriage, money, church, family, etc.

If you want to come to the right position by evidence, it will never happen. The reason for that is the right position is not understanding word for word preservation, TR, CT, mind of God, etc. None of those are the right or Biblical places to begin on this issue. The only right position on this and any other issue is faith.

Once you are willing to trust God alone you can please him, and perhaps he will reward you with sight. Perhaps not though. Abraham never received sight, neither did Isaac or Jacob. They lived their entire lives as strangers, but they pleased God because they believed by faith. They did not seem disappointed, though.

George Calvas said...

"None of those are the right or Biblical places to begin on this issue. The only right position on this and any other issue is faith."

Not true, for ye would not know faith unless the scriptures define the CORRECT faith, which is "the faith OF Christ". Therefore, the right position is to know what the word of God is a where it is found.

Other than that, you will have a misplaced faith.

Dave Barnhart said...

Farmer Brown,

Faith in the Bible itself is different from faith in anything else. Why? Because, as we know (although this is also circular before we know what the Word of God is), "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Simply put, then, we need to know what the true Word is before we can have faith in it or in what it says. Otherwise, faith coming from the Koran (also said to be the word of "God" by some) would be enough. That means we need to have some knowledge about which Word is true and which is to be believed before we read it and can get our faith.

Now, I believe that God can use his Spirit to convict someone reading his actual Word, but how will that person know that the Word he is reading is in fact the right Word of God? If we read about God or about God preserving his Word from the NIV, what is there to tell us that the NIV *isn't* the preserved Word? There is nothing there that will point us to a specific version. We will know that God has preserved his Word, but not how or where. If we use the argument about what the churches have received, that argument itself is *external* to the Bible, just as arguments from criticism are.

Also, while the argument about which version the churches have received sounds pretty strong, we then have to know which churches are good, and we have to trust that even as fallible men, they made the right decision. Or maybe they received a particular version because that's all they had. Since we weren't alive at the time of Jesus or the prophets (who I believe were used to *externally* validate the Word), and we don't have access to the originals, we still, to some extent, have to trust history and the (hopefully) Christian men who came before us to pass on what we then hope is the right Word of God.

Unless God himself speaks to us as he did to Moses or Samuel, I believe it is not particularly helpful to just say "have faith" until we know what to have faith in.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Tyler,

Thanks for the comment. The article I referenced did not just point out that nobody has collated all the MSS but that of the MSS that have been collated a good number of them are indeed exactly the same, at least in the Byzantine tradition. The sloppily copied and corrupt MSS like Aleph and B don't have any other MSS that is exactly the same as them.

I believe if you will accept our Scriptural starting point, our conclusion necessarily follows. This starting point requires faith, something Farmer Brown pointed out.

God promised to preserve every one of His inspired Words (Mt 24:35; Ps 12:6-7, etc.) in use among His people (Is 59:21; Mt 28:18-20; etc.) so that they could know for certain where they are and live by them (Mt 4:4; Rev 22:18-19, etc.). This was in connection with His institutions for worship, Israel and the church (Rom 3:2; 9:1-5; 1 Tim 3:15, etc.).

The only text that any significant group of true churches even claims is perfect is the TR under the KJV. If that is not the perfect text, then God's promises of certainty about where His Words are have failed.

With that presupposition, we approach historical data. We see the historical data as consistent with God's promises. Nobody can prove historically that the Words were not available to believers and true churches in every era. Do we have sufficient historical data to explain how, say, a Waldensian in A. D. 1234 knew where all the Words of God were? No, but God never promised us that we would be able to know how other people centuries ago were able to have certainty. He promised that His people in His churches can in their own day know where the Word is.

For the centuries after the autographs were composed under inspiration until the time those autographical copies and copies identical to them were lost--which was in all likelihood quite a number of centuries (cf. my essay on how long the autographs were around at http://faithsaves.net/bibliology/ ), a perfect Bible was available. After that time, a perfect Bible was still available because God said so. Furthermore, while quite a number of Greek MSS are exactly identical, millions of exactly identical copies would be difficult with hand copying but would become possible with the printing press. With the invention of the printing press, though, such was possible, and consistent with God's continuing providential guidance and preservation of His Word, the TR is what He who works all things after the counsel of His will had printed, which was received by His churches as the perfect preservation of the autographs:

KJB1611 said...


The Textus Receptus “was . . . the Bible of the Middle Ages and much more, since it was independent of interpretation by Popes, councils, canon lawyers or university doctors. In one sense both Zwingli and the radicals [such as the Baptists] were uncritical about the Bible in that they made no attempt to go behind the received Hebrew and Greek texts to original manuscripts, and were not concerned that alternative readings were possible — quite the contrary, there was but one text . . . Zwingli and the Anabaptists . . . both accepted the received text, and both agreed that tradition, the hierarchy and any human authorities, however ancient or eminent, must give way to the Word. . . . [the Baptists defended what this unbelieving historian calls] narrow and uncompromising bibliolatry” (Pg. 172-173, Zwingli, G. R. Potter. London: Cambridge University Press, 1976). One of the editors of the modern critical text stated: “It is undisputed that Luther used the Greek Textus Receptus for his translation of the German New Testament in 1522 and all its later editions (although the term itself was not yet in use at the time). . . . [So did] all the translators of the New Testament in the 16th century (e.g., the Zürich version). All the translations of the 17th century, including the King James version of 1611, the “Authorized Version,” were also based on this text. Thus the New Testament of the church in the period of the Reformation was based on the Textus Receptus. It is equally undisputed that in the 16th or 17th century (and for that matter well into the 18th century) anyone with a Greek New Testament would have had a copy of the Textus Receptus. . . . Finally it is undisputed that from the 16th to the 18th century orthodoxy’s doctrine of verbal inspiration assumed this Textus Receptus.” Indeed, the Textus Receptus “was regarded as ‘the text of the church’ . . . from the 4th . . . century” (pg. 143, ibid.). It is therefore not surprising that throughout Baptist and Protestant Christiandom in the Reformation and Post-Reformation era the “Textus Receptus . . . was regarded as preserving even to the last detail the inspired and infallible word of God himself” (pg. 11, The Text of the New Testament, Kurt & Barbara Aland, trans. Erroll Rhodes. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989).

Receiving what God has providentially preserved in the manuscripts in use by true churches and then the printed text received by true churches is radically different from the critical text methodology of treating the Bible like a secular, unpreserved book, the best copies of which were not in use until restored by unregenerate men like Westcott and Hort.

I hope that helps. I also hope that, because of what is involved in the literal interpretation of Rev 22:18-19, you will come join us on the TR side so you can preach an expository series on Revelation and receive the Book's blessing instead of its curse.

George Calvas said...

Ross wrote
"With the invention of the printing press, though, such was possible, and consistent with God's continuing providential guidance and preservation of His Word, the TR is what He who works all things after the counsel of His will had printed, which was received by His churches as the perfect preservation of the autographs:

It was? You mean it was received by the scholars of the day, do you not? Please show any evidence of its use in preaching, teaching, believing and especially evangelizing in the last 400 years among the body of Christ. You will not have any evidence except to show that the Holy King James Bible, inspired by the Holy Ghost and received of the churches IS the English text that replaced all before it (older English inspired text, Latin inspired text, Greek inspired text, Hebrew inspired text, others?).


Ross wrote
"Do we have sufficient historical data to explain how, say, a Waldensian in A. D. 1234 knew where all the Words of God were? No, but God never promised us that we would be able to know how other people centuries ago were able to have certainty. He promised that His people in His churches can in their own day know where the Word is."

I amazingly agree with all the above. Therefore, can we with CERTAINITY say the Holy King James Bible is the inspired scripture that we hold in our hands today?

George Calvas said...

Ross wrote
"I hope that helps. I also hope that, because of what is involved in the literal interpretation of Rev 22:18-19, you will come join us on the TR side so you can preach an expository series on Revelation and receive the Book's blessing instead of its curse."

Are you saying that you preach and teach, and evangelize (show me the Greek tracts you pass out and openly witness to English speakers in Greek) using a TR bible?...

Or are you saying that you use the Greek to CORRECT the Holy King James Bible at YOUR discretion when out of the other side of your mouth you tell us that it used the INSPIRED TR text for its translation? So, the Holy King James Bible is not inspired if it was translated from inspired text? Can you please tell us according to Revelation 22:18-19 where the Holy King James Bible errors are so that we will not cursed?

Are you saying that if you preach, teach, and evangelize using a Holy King James Bible that you violate Rev 22:18-19?

Are you saying that we all need to learn "the Greek and Hebrew" (you STILL avoid telling us which TEXT is "received" by the churches today and PROVE it) so that we are not cursed?

Steven Avery said...

> White says that the text handed down by the providence of God and received by His churches "is not just a narrow spectrum of the Byzantine manuscript tradition," referring to the textus receptus of the New Testament."

James White is accidentally correct here, if he is referring to the Byzantine mss, which is different than the TR of the NT. Edward Freer Hills made this very clear, that the preservation is a combination of the fountainhead Greek mss and the Latin historical lines. Leading to the Reformation Bible expertise working with both, and the ECW and faith-consistent textual analysis.

Steven Avery

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Steven,

In that case, I wasn't saying that White was wrong. It was just the way that he said it -- "narrow spectrum" -- stating it in the worst possible manner of textual critic speak, as if TR people started with the Byzantine manuscripts and then narrowed it even further to arrive at their position with the least possible evidence. I took off from there in that paragraph to explain what really happened without reporting what White was doing to shame supporters of the TR.

KJB1611 said...


Here are the words of Wilbur Pickering, who has actually collated Greek manuscripts, concerning the question of whether there are MSS that are exactly the same:

For example, of the 43 family members [of a group of Byzantine MSS] I have collated for the General Epistles, twenty-eight are identical (perfect) for 2 & 3 John, twenty-two are identical for Jude, five for 2 Peter, four each for James and 1 John, and three for 1 Peter."

The idea that no two Greek MSS are exactly the same may be true for the tiny corrupt minority of contradictory MSS that are erroneously called a single Alexandrian "family," but it is not true for the overwhelming majority of MSS that are erroneously reduced to a single, allegedly inferior "family" called "Byzantine."

Joe Cassada said...

It seems to me that if we can essentially dismiss what the London Baptist Confession says about preservation (and how it applies to textual criticism) because the authors of the LBCF were not aware of Dead Sea Scrolls, et al, then by the same logic we can do the same with regards to the creation account. After all, the writers of the LBCF were not aware of evolution, carbon dating, etc.

At what point do we just consider the old confessions useless? After all, we've learned so much in the last 400 years.

(said with tongue planted firmly in cheek)

Kent Brandenburg said...

Joe,

It's true. And evangelicals think that's very helpful. You're tongue in cheek, but how does that joke not represent them? Fundamentalists have to go with the same. You can't have it both ways. Mockery from them is not enough for me.