Sunday, March 25, 2018

Not Believing God Is and Should Be A Problem in Denying Perfect Preservation of Scripture

Among interviews for his book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible, Mark Ward said that the arguments from textual criticism were going nowhere in persuading people to stop using the King James Version.  He wanted to make progress, and that wasn't doing it.  So, if the Greek texts that someone used were different, that was totally fine, according to Ward, not really a big deal at all to him.  To him, you would be fine to use a contemporary translation of whichever text you think is best.  He doesn't want to fight about that, because he doesn't think the differences are very great.

I would join Ward in his unhappiness with people mangling the meaning of the Bible with whatever translation they use and if it is because they don't understand the words of the King James Version.  If you have the right words of the Bible, but you don't understand them and teach a different meaning than what they actually mean, that is really, really bad.  I hate it when it is someone reading it and messed up in his understanding and especially when someone preaches something wrong because of his misunderstanding.  I also join Ward in saying that the power of the very words of God are found in their actual meaning.  If you have the right words and the wrong meaning, it is like having the wrong words.  He's right on that.

I would not join a church that used something other than the Hebrew and Greek text behind the King James Version.  However, if I had a choice to attend a church where someone preached something wrong from the King James Version or preached something right from the English Standard Version, I would choose the latter.  Getting it right is more important.  I agree with that, enough that I would be far more chagrined -- by far -- with someone who was massacring the meaning of the King James than someone who was getting the meaning of the English Standard Version exactly right.  I believe the power is in the meaning and in the substance.

Mark Ward is a critical text proponent, which has different words in the text underlying the modern translations than that of the King James Version, up to 7% total difference in the underlying original language words of the New Testament.  He says he doesn't care about those differences and that there isn't enough that matters, because what does matter is the meaning of the words.

I want to focus on Mark Ward's problem as it applies to the doctrine of the preservation of scripture.  I don't care what accurate translation of the Bible one uses, he will find that it teaches the same exact doctrine on the preservation of scripture.  You can find the historical and biblical teaching on the preservation of scripture in whatever Bible you happen to use.  Let's say you were using the English Standard Version to come to your position.  What you would learn from the English Standard Version would stop you from using the English Standard Version.  You would have to believe in the perfect preservation of scripture, knowing that it is an actual doctrine of scripture.  The meaning is so important, just like Mark says.

As a church and an individual believer, I get all of my doctrine from the Bible, not from experience or feelings.  I know I'm depraved because scripture says I'm depraved. In the same way, I know I'm justified because the Bible says I'm justified.  I trust the Bible, which God says pleases Him.   This is called living by faith.

Scripture is inspired, and I know that and believe that because scripture says it's inspired.  God says His Word is inspired.  If I deny inspiration of scripture, I'm denying what God says about His Word.

Then we come to the preservation of scripture.  The historic doctrine of scripture has reflected what scripture says about itself, what it says about its own preservation.  The doctrine of preservation of scripture, like justification in the doctrine of salvation, comes from God's Word, not from experience or feelings.

So God says He preserved every Word and every Word is available to every generation.  If you are saying that God didn't do that, when He said He would, then you are, first, calling Him a liar, and, second, saying that not everything we're reading is inspired by God.  Inspiration applies to words.  If a word isn't inspired, it isn't inspired.  Third, you don't have a Bible without error if the words are changed from what God gave originally.

A lot of what the Bible says, one believes without any proof except the Bible itself is true.  I can't tell if my sins are gone.  I didn't see creation.  I didn't see the flood.  I haven't seen anything the Bible prophesies and it prophesies a lot.  It hasn't happened yet.  You believe the Bible because it is true and it has already been validated as true.  Whatever it says about anything is true.

The authority of scripture relies on its truth.  What it says is true.  If something outside of the Bible can invalidate it, then it isn't true.  This is serious.  For history, Christians believed God inspired and then preserved every word, based upon scripture.  They got their doctrine of preservation from scripture.  For them, that outdoes or trumps anything that occurs outside of scripture or that people feel or experience.  They knew about textual variations of the copies.  That didn't change what they believed.  They wouldn't allow something outside of scripture, whether it seemed like evidence or not, to stop them from believing what God said.  This is conservative theology, where the beliefs come from scripture.

Doctrine doesn't change.  If the Bible ever taught something, then it will continue to teach that.  It can't suddenly start meaning something different.  There can't be a new teaching.  When what it teaches is changed, people become in authority over the Bible, instead of the Bible over people.

It is a problem not to believe what God said He would do.  If He didn't do what He said He would do, then He is lying, and He doesn't lie.  There's more than that.  I want to illustrate.  I've talked to many Muslims through the years.  I've talked to a lot of other religions far more, but the biggest argument of Muslims against Christianity is that our Bible has errors in it.

If you were Mark Ward, you would need to say to that Muslim, you're right Mr. Muslim, the Bible has errors, but it doesn't matter!  We've got the meaning!  If he was a sharp Muslim, which they are by nature more sharp than your average professing Christian, he would bring up the problem I'm talking about.  He says his book is divine, so it doesn't have any errors.  Mark would say, my book is divine too, but it has errors.  Ooops!

There are many people turning from the faith today because they've lost trust in scripture.  I've talked about the story of the famous, atheist textual critic, Bart Ehrman, and what happened to his faith when he became convinced that God didn't preserve His words, like He said He would.  Ward doesn't want to talk about this.  He says it doesn't matter, because the meaning is all that matters.  God didn't inspire a meaning.  I'm not saying Ward believes that, but in a practical way, he does, and it's a kind of neo-orthodox position on the Bible.  Scripture puts the emphasis on words, and Ward against that emphasis, puts it on meaning, because he doesn't believe in preservation of words.

Scripture promises all the words.  I believe we have all of them.  I have no problem talking to the Muslim man.  I know my position is biblical and historical.  There is a big problem for someone like Ward though and everyone else like him.  This is where the faith itself is under attack, the faith which is actually the meaning of scripture.

26 comments:

Jim Peet said...

Kent,

We linked to your article on Sharper Iron here

Thanks

I appreciate you

Jim

George Calvas said...

NO, words are not important to you because you continue to misuse the scriptures you say you believe!

Thus saith the scriptures, "All scripture IS given by inspiration..."

You have trouble with one simple word, a linking verb, IS. That verb expresses a current state of being. Therefore, the subject "All scripture" IS (that which is in the current state of being) is linked to the predicate "given by inspiration".

Therefore, since I am reading it in ENGLISH, then the simple common sense question that should be asked is:

Is THIS that I am reading, scripture that is given by inspiration? The context of 2 Timothy 3:16 is based on the same fact that Timothy mother and now Timothy had inspired scripture in their hands because it was known to be "given by inspiration of God". That knowing, which is of the Holy Ghost can only be found within the body of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, in perfect preservation of the above, where is the perfectly preserved words of God found?

The conclusion of an honest man who searcheth the scripture daily to see if these things be so, regardless of those who are "proud knowing nothing" is EASILY found to be the Holy King James Bible!

Your Greek and Hebrew text are not even part of the discussion, for it is THAT BOOK that is recognized, preached, memorized, loved, practiced and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ without any controversy from those who actually believe what it says.

Your a failure in teaching this doctrine of the faith is appalling. You teach it just like a Roman Catholic appealing to HISTORY FIRST rather than the Holy Bible. I know that because you have NEVER once said WHICH GREEK AND HEBREW TEXT IS INSPIRED.

You talk about being a man, yea right, in some eyes of women rather than real men who have the confidence, ability and the Spirit of God to correct you all day long for your UNBELIEF!

You do not like me because I use "plainness of speech" that you cannot refute, but then "open rebuke is better than secret love"! In your case, the love of men rather than the love of God in teaching that the Holy King James Bible IS inspired by God, through the Holy Ghost and recognized to be so by the body of Jesus Christ WORLDWIDE.

Once again Kent, what IS your FINAL AUTHORITY?

Write me and let me know. (preachthegospel11@gmail.com)

George

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anyone who clicks on Jim's link,

So far none of the comments at SI deal with the actual post. That would be interesting to read, if they did. They make the same type of commentary I'm accustomed to reading, but they don't deal with the post at all. Is it true? My wife read it and she said it was simple to understand, helpful in that way. Not one person that I read deals with the actual point of the post. None. I do get why. It's hard to deal with, because someone has to deny what scripture teaches. I would say they know it. Most people still in your average church still thinks we have every Word of God available to us. They think that. Where did they get that position?

Just a few short observations though. This is not comprehensive or complete just random.
1) Fideism is a pejorative, obviously. You can apply a lot of different meanings to the word. I am saying this is a truly faith position. I think fideism is an attack. Mike Harding says fideism is not faith, and that's true depending on how you define it. Why can't we just judge it by what it says instead of attempting these types of confusing word games. Fideism is meant as a shot. Is justification by faith, fideism? All we have is the Bible. Is that good enough for believing?
2) It would seem easy for Tyler to give the proof for his position. It is postponed, I would surmise, because it's not too simple. You can't go to history to defend the new doctrine. I get it.
3) Scourge of Fundamentalism, KJVO -- interesting. Then the associations of KJVO bringing legalism. What about the ebola virus? Studies show it also causes ebola. Important work.
4) There are wrong KJVO positions, for sure. It's easier ot lump them all together, because what is serious about there being one Bible is hard to deal with.
5) No two hand copies agree is an urban legend, proven by someone who actually did the hard work of collating manuscripts. People who have never done that get very excited and upset, because that little mantra, no-two-manuscripts-agree, serves like some kind of fortune cookie or bumper sticker simplification, more scriptural to them than scripture itself. That is the scourge of fundamentalism, looking somewhere other than scripture for your positions, like pragmatism, false gospels left unchallenged, and coalitions of unscriptural institutions that subjugate the church.

That's it for now.

p.s. George Calvas has left me a long comment, and I'm going to publish it, unless someone can talk me out of it, but I'm doing it so that people can see the other position, and to show how close it is to the Mark Ward position ideologically.

Tyler Robbins said...

Kent, you called your position fideistic in your book - it's the title of Addendum C in your book! It's not an attack; I thought I was accurately representing your position. You've also labeled it that way in your blog, in years past. Come now, Kent.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Tyler,

I don't mind the term fideism, but it's useless when it's like KJVO and not defined, like not understanding a word in the KJV, because it's out of usage. If meaning is what matters, then what do we mean by fideism? I define what I'm saying it means, and then, I think, it is Beacham who says it's like believing that the ark is still on mount ararat, that's fideism, believing that without biblical evidence. I don't think so. I'm saying, Tyler, it's used in a pejorative, because people can inject into the word whatever they want it to mean. It's unhelpful in that way. Are you saying this previous paragraph is not true?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Objective definition of fideism, when you google the word, right at the top:

fi·de·ism
ˈfēdāˌizəm
noun
the doctrine that knowledge depends on faith or revelation.

Tyler, do you agree with the dictionary definition? If so, what's wrong with it? Mike Harding says it isn't faith, actual faith.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Everyone,

I've published George's comment, because I believe he represents a position the King James Version, actually a very common one out there. There is a fundamental, foundational similarity between George and critical text people, that is, what God inspired, He did not preserve.

George Calvas said...

"There is a fundamental, foundational similarity between George and critical text people, that is, what God inspired, He did not preserve."

Wrong. What is preserved (thing that hath been) is that which matches what is the scripture and inspired today (that which shall be), that is, the Holy King James Bible.

To find the preserved text in any historical era is simple. Find the body of Christ that believe the bible is inspired and is Final Authority in the same way that those who believe it is today.

George

Bill Hardecker said...

George,
In 1 Peter 2:5, the 1611 states: "Ye also as liuely stones, are built vp a spirituall house, an holy Priesthood to offer vp spirituall sacrifice, acceptable to God by Iesus Christ."

The word "sacrifice" is in the singular.

The 1769 states: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

The word here is "sacrifices" (plural).

Which is true and how do you know that?

Kent Brandenburg said...

George,

Your position isn't what the Bible teaches about preservation. It's also impossible. I'm glad you told me what it was though, because I wouldn't have known it or understood it.

The King James Version didn't exist in 1400 or 1200 or 800 or 300. I know that you know that. It didn't exist in 1500 or 1600 either, so what were God's words in 1580? God didn't inspire ideas or meaning. He inspired words. Those words were Hebrew and Greek. This is scripture teaches and it's what that body of Christ that you mentioned believed. Your position is a new position and it isn't preservation.

Tyler Robbins said...

Bill, good catch on 1 Pet 2:5. The 1611 likely retained the singular because that's what how Tyndale translated it. In point of fact, all manuscript traditions have it as plural in Greek. Not sure why Tyndale missed that, but it was clearly corrected in later editions.

Anonymous said...

The wait for Tyler Robbins to give you the proof for his position, Mr. Brandenburg, (Point 2 in your first comment above) will probably continue for some time. But if you want jokes about Jesus turning water into Red Bull, cappuccino, or Welch's grape juice, then Tyler Robbins is your man. Glad he has time for that. Wish he would have had time to ask Mark Ward your questions.

Mr. Brandenburg, do you think Mike Harding is using the word "scourge" as a noun or a verb in his comment? If he's using it to speak of an instrument of punishment, he might be on to something. A perfectly preserved Bible would in fact cause some trauma to the idea of Fundamentalism.

Bob

Tyler Robbins said...

Bob - I just posted another about mocha, coconut frappuccinos; I think you'll like it. Have you watched the hour-long interview I did with Mark Ward? If you wish, you can always contact Mark Ward and ask him questions yourself. But, it'd be wise to restrict your questions to the vernacular argument, which is what his book is about.

To all - this kind of debate often draws ridicule and scorn. It may not do any good, but I'd like to point out that I've been honest, fair and kind in my interactions with Kent and others on this issue. There's no need to be snarky, defensive or issue silly comments like Bob just did. I run a state-wide regulatory investigations unit; so let me assure you, Bob, I have enough to do.

I haven't written detailed response articles to Kent's book because it's not that important to me. I plan to do it one day, but I have other things I'm writing. I will not allow myself to be held personally responsible by anonymous commentators to "refute" Kent's book.

I have yet to see somebody interact with Ward in a substantive way about his vernacular argument, and actually address what he wrote. I asked Ward if he thinks he can discuss this issue without getting into textual criticism; I suggest you watch the interview to see his response. The vernacular angle is a good argument, and it deserves to be heard.

Kent is in a good position to respond to it, and he has some good thoughts. I spoke to Kent about this on the phone, and we had a nice discussion. I didn't get a chance to ask Ward everything I wanted; the interview ran too long as it was. For all y'all who'd like to ask Ward detailed questions along this line, you know where to find him. If you're willing to pay me to be your representative, then I'll consider asking Ward the questions on your behalf.

Let me know!

Kent Brandenburg said...

Tyler,

You could take off and never visit here again, I'm sure. Then people wouldn't have the opportunity to heap scorn on you. I could stop too and I wouldn't have the fun comments, almost all stupid IMO at SharperIron. Yes, I did publish Bob's comment. You could comment or ignore him.

I have dealt with Ward's argument in a substantive way, and I did quite a bit in this post. I haven't had anyone deal with what I've written in a substantive way either. Mine, IMO, is more important, because it is tied into historical and biblical theology right down the middle of the highway. I see Mark as nibbling at the fringes of what is bad out there.

Mark talks about "false friends." I've said, just get a Defined KJV. It does it. Make sure you know what these words means when you preach them. Good to do, look up the original word. It is easy even in Strong's concordance. Somebody could look at a modern translation. That's what Mark says to do. Fine. Look at the MEV. Your responsibility is not over there.

Bob is upset about my argument not being answered. He'd like to see it. I'm at lots of years having made this argument, and I get really nothing. Mike Harding says, read Combs at Detroit in the journals. That's what is considered a good answer. Combs doesn't deal with my argument.

I don't think people think they need to deal with scripture, because, I don't think, they really care about specific scriptural arguments, and it comes back to what I'm saying. They don't think all of the truth matters anymore as long as they're got what they think is essential, because we can't hope for more than that. This is foundational to their acceptance of modern versions.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bob,

The scourge of fundamentalism does sound like a good novel title. It reminds me of the leaven of fundamentalism back in the day when Pensacola made those videos against BJU on the text issue. It may be a play off of that.

KJB1611 said...

Does Dr. Ward even deal with the Defined KJV, or does he just ignore it? Thanks.

George Calvas said...

"However, if I had a choice to attend a church where someone preached something wrong from the King James Version or preached something right from the English Standard Version, I would choose the latter."

Why would you do that? Two wrongs do not make it right. The first wrong- Corrupt Bible (ESV); second wrong- not correcting an error. Why not go to the preacher and correct him by the scripture? Would that not be wiser?

George

George Calvas said...

"Which is true and how do you know that?"

The last. v4- Jesus Christ the living stone in context to all those that are saved in Christ v5- Ye, lively stones are in the plural, therefore the "update" was made from sacrifice to sacrifices. The words are still the same. The body of Christ accepted the update.

That change has been accepted for 250 years, but recently those who continue to attack the words of God instead of believe them now find excuses to change them to such a degree that they have perverted doctrines, created schisms with multiple authorities and many have apostatized from the faith of Jesus Christ.

George

George Calvas said...

"Your position is a new position and it isn't preservation."

No, my position is biblical. 2 Timothy 3:16 is in context to v15, therefore the scriptures that Timothy's grandmother had is inspired. Therefore, when the Lord said "Search the scripture" or "have ye not read the scripture" implies that in all those cases that the scripture was recognized as inspired.

There is no concept of "preservation" in the scriptures. The bible is the living word, it is eternal, therefore it is. The question is, Where is it and not where was it in 1500 or 1100 or 800!

As I have said, you find those who believe "all scripture is given by inspiration" as the body of Christ believes today about the Holy King James Bible and there you will find "the preserved text" ever since it was first written.

The Holy Ghost of God has put his power upon the scriptures that is believed by faith today and can with reason be proven that to be so as found within holy writ.

The Lord God does not want to go backwards (Greek and Hebrew), but move forward with confidence that "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."

That is simply biblical faith that can only be found with those within the body of Christ that stand in "the old paths" of that English Holy Bible that has proven itself faithful so that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

George

Anonymous said...

Greetings, Bro. Brandenburg,

I think that having George Calvas' unbiblical position presented at least let us know about it – that's it out there.

However, I sigh when I see a whole string of comments by him, and would hope we won't have to wade through a host of his comments on many topics. It's your blog, and I learn a lot from you and others. I was relieved when you stopped posting so many of his comments some time ago.

I don't think that he very often contributes much of use other than just letting us know that another weird view is out there and what one proponent of it believes.

I'd comment more, but at this stage in life, I just don't have much time to do so.

E. T. Chapman

Andy Efting said...

Regarding the Defined KJV -- doesn't the fact that there is a need for this type of thing prove Mark's point?

George Calvas said...

E. T. Chapman,

I have used the scripture in context to show you what inspiration is, therefore please explain how it is unbiblical?

George

Bill Hardecker said...

Andy,
I can't really comment on Mark Ward's book, yet, since I haven't read it. But I will be taking a look at it, soon. I could recommend an article written by John Thackway, pastor of Holywell Evangelical Church, in Wales. Thackway's paper argues the distinction of the KJV English (not merely Elizabethan) - but a reflection of the Hebrew and the Greek even in word-order, which could throw any reader for a loop. The article also deals with what is antiquated English, the pronouns and verb endings (which I am sure you probabbly already know about), archaic terms, a couple of true and reasonable points concerning the decline of the English, and the fact of man's sinful nature and lack of the Spirit's aid in reading a spiritual book. It is a relevant paper and cites many authors including A.T. Robertson, and David Danielle.

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.tbsbibles.org/resource/collection/255F0F61-81C1-4992-BC04-CA72788DF0BB/232-1.pdf

Andy Efting said...

Bill,

Thanks for the link. If you ever get a chance to read Mark's book, I think you'll find that he deals with many of the points Thackway brings up in his essay.

There are two big ideas that I took away from Mark's book. First, 1 Cor 14 speaks to issue of translating special revelation (tongues in context but the same principles apply). The point of 1 Cor 14 is that the goal is edification and edification only comes when people understand the message. Verse 9 says it should be "easy to be understood." If you have to use a Defined KJV, or look it up in the dictionary (as suggested by Thackway), then the translation is not really in line with the Biblical ideal here.

Second, Mark shows that many KJV terms don't actually mean what we think they mean anymore, because of the evolution of the English language. He calls them false friends. The point here is that there are times when we simply don't know that we need to look up the term to find out what it means. So, saying to use a dictionary doesn't even help in these situations.

Andy

Bill Hardecker said...

Andy,
It appears to me that archaism is the sole case against the regular use of the KJV. If so, I would have to disagree. It is true that archaisms are more of a challenge to the reader but it is more of a strength to the translation. The archaisms (not merely spellings and forms - although a case could be made for vindicating them italicized words), idioms, nuances, poetry, and sentence structures (accurately reflecting the original languages) of the KJV English simply remain superior to modern equivalents. Leland Ryken (English professor emeritus at Wheaton College, IL), who isn't a KJV proponent makes two argumentation for celebrating the KJV's archaisms: "(a) allows us to exercise continuity with a past that we should treasure and (b) alerts us to the ancientness and "otherness" of the original biblical text" ("The Legacy of the King James Bible:...", Crossway, 2011, pg. 232). Again, I haven't read Ward (and I will, soon enough, Lord willing. I like the reviews that I have read thus far - it seems like an easy read, and done so on purpose, which I gladly welcome). I am also extremely thankful for Pastor Brandenburg pooling his comments and rebuttals to Ward in a post somewhere "here, here, and here." I frequent this blog but I missed the interactions between Pastor B. and MW. And by doing so, I can benefit from the good Pastor's points and counterpoints. I am glad you got to read Thackway's article. For me, he delivered well on his brief thesis.

Bill Hardecker said...

Andy Eftiing,
I finished Mr. Ward's book, and wrote a review: http://hardecker-exlibris.blogspot.com/2018/04/a-book-evaluation-authorized-use-and.html

I remain unconvinced of Mark's thesis but gained an appreciation for a more careful reading (and explanation) of the KJV when teaching/preaching God's Word.