Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Brainwashed Bibliology

For years evangelicals and fundamentalists (of the non revivalist variety) have given the cold shoulder to supporters of the King James Version (KJS = King James Supporters). I designate King James Only men that way because of the pejorative nature of the KJVO identification. Most evangelicals and fundamentalists are not likely to listen to anything that a KJS will say in any theological or scriptural matter. If you remain KJS, you are discredited on salvation, sanctification, and almost any scriptural view you hold. I know that from experience. So I would think that I might hear a lot of testimony from other KJS, who have had a similar experience as I have. Feel free to let me know. You're not complaining; you're just reporting.

What is the "cold shoulder?" Don't look it up in the Bible. You won't find the practice there. They give no due process. It isn't biblical separation. It isn't loving. It doesn't have any particular goal in mind. It's almost sheerly political. They give KJS the "mean girl" routine either by ignoring them, talking only about them and not to them, or offering short, clipped answers as if from the start they're already fed up with your mere presence. You're left to figure out what it means. For any of them who are reading this, you might be thinking, "Hey, he got what was happening! That is what we do!" I really do not think that they know how to separate.

I can't know exactly why they operate in this fashion. They might say that they long ago swept aside the easy arguments of King James Onlyism, so now they just want to get a distance from this kooky group. To them, all KJVO are English preservationists or inspirationists who probably believe you can only be converted with a King James Bible. It also can be peer pressure. If they are caught talking to a KJS, they could lose some luster in their own group. They must treat all KJS as unreasonable and stupid, one sure way to receive kudos from your evangelical and fundamentalist crowd, or at least not to suffer the censor of the people with whom they so wish to be in favor. You can be an amazing favorite with these guys if you leave the KJS position and regularly mention that you once believed "like them (KJS)."

Things Have Changed

I have noticed that recently that the rhetoric against KJS has become more about separation. Many times the threat of separation comes from fundamentalists in commentary about conservative evangelicals. Here's how it works. Many fundamentalists think that certain conservative evangelicals are moving their direction, so the fundamentalists are talking about the kind of relationships they might be able to have with these evangelicals. A lot of the fundamentalists are already attending their conferences, fellowships, and other meetings.

Let me digress for a moment. When especially young fundamentalists blog, they generally show more love toward these evangelicals than they do fundamentalists. It has also become fashionable to quote these evangelicals, indicating that you are reading them. Most of them do write books, something that not many fundamentalists have accomplished. I see these new evangelicals as the new heroes to replace the old big names who have passed off the scene. Fundamentalism doesn't have any heroes of similar caliber or respect that they once did, so the attention is shifting to these conservative evangelicals as the replacement. This seems to be the death knell for this brand of fundamentalism.

I continue. The fundamentalists still say that separation is the issue that mainly gets in the way with fellowshiping with these evangelicals. They're also uncomfortable with some of the methods that many of these evangelicals use in their churches. The evangelicals answer the separation criticism by saying that the fundamentalists aren't consistent. If they will separate from the men to the left of them, themselves, then they should also be willing to separate from those in fundamentalism erring at the right of them. In other words, if fundamentalists are going to blast the evangelicals for being indifferent about Billy Graham, then they should also stop being indifferent with some of their wacky right-winged cousins.

I digress once again. Some of the young fundamentalists are fed up with the inconsistency on separation, so they are moving over to the evangelical brand of separation, which kind of looks like no separation. The big thing really is not having someone come speak for you or for you to speak to them. This is the big dream for this new evangelical, fundamental continuum. Presently it only exists in their drooling imaginations. Others are sorting through how to be consistent. Consistency all comes to a smithering halt when you see Sexton and Paisley on the platform with Jones and Ollila.

Enter the KJS. A great target to stop being indifferent would be the KJS. The evangelicals already just roll their eyes, shake their heads, and scoff at these silly wabbits. Condescending chuckles all around. Hefty back-slapping for maximum snarkiness. The fundamentalists have to sort of like be with them, since they're, ya know, all fundamentalists. Yuck. Ugh. The poster boys for stupid fundamentalism in their opinion are the KJS. So what to do? Prove your separation credentials by separating from the easiest target, the ones everyone loves to hate, the KJS. (The next easy target is Frank Garlock. He thinks rock music hinders plant growth. Ban him.) Some momentum is gaining on building a separation consensus with fundamentalists that goes beyond the cold shoulder that already exists.

The Radical Bibliology

I had already been hearing the calls for separation from these men with the radical bibliology, the KJS. Their bibliology is bad. It's an attack on um, um, inspiration. Inspiration is even a major doctrine. It's somehow stayed in that category despite love for Bruce Metzger. So they've got the perfect test case for consistent separation. They earn their separation chops by dividing from the KJS.

How is KJS against inspiration? Well, they, of course, all of them, believe that the King James is inspired. There we go, double inspiration. They use only the King James because it is the only Bible around that is inspired. All KJS believe this. Even if they don't, they do. Even if they don't, I'll treat them all exactly the same. No one will call me on it if I do. You don't have to. They are KJS. KJS doesn't have to be treated as well as someone like a Bart Ehrman, a person that actually contributes to sound, scriptural bibliology. Did you hear he's been on the NY Times bestseller list? There's scholarship for you.

Sound Bibliology?

And what exactly is the sound bibliology of the non-KJS men? Besides not being KJS, which is the best part of their bibliology, they believe that God inspired the original manuscripts. So do most KJS. And then God preserved His Word. They believe that. It's not taught anywhere in an explicit manner in scripture, but it is inferred in a few verses, and if those verses don't actually teach it, it is sort of a logical conclusion that you could make since you are sitting there with an English translation in your hand. And for them, that's the sound view. That's the view that is orthodox. That's the one that stays in fellowship.

I find the bibliology of these multiple version guys to be very confusing. Very jello-like. Amoebic. It's like listening to a major league baseball player explain steroid use. The story keeps changing. In the end, it doesn't matter if you've got Scripture promising preservation anyway is the thing. You can depend on comparisons of copies and mounds of textual evidence, stuff that is of much greater reliability than the preservation of, for instance, Tacitus. And no doctrines have been lost. That is part of the doctrine too. They're all in their somewhere. And we've got to be careful teaching this doctrine of preservation anyway. You see what happened to Bart Ehrman when he believed in preservation, don't you? So we've got to be careful being too presuppositional---it might not end well with that kind of approach. We need more bibliological ambiguity on the doctrinal side and then let the evidence lead us to the truth.

That whole last paragraph (with a little underlying humor from me) is very close to what I read the other side say, the non-KJS men. That is the foundation on which they stand in order to separate from the KJS. They have the orthodox bibliology. I would add that all the words are in the multiplicity of the manuscripts, but they don't really believe that. They believe that at least a few words still haven't been found, but you can all know that they're still searching, still collating, and still waiting.

Who Is Brainwashed?

So have these non-KJS, multiple version, critical text men read works of bibliology that have dealt with the subject of preservation? Have they read an in depth historical bibliology with thorough analysis of what bibliology Christians have held? Do we read any of this kind of research and study in the works they have published? I haven't seen it. Their books are full of restatements of Metzger and Aland, non-theological works.

Bart Ehrman, in Misquoting Jesus, had nine propositions that he developed in the course of the book. In his debate with Ehrman, James White could not challenge the assessment that he himself agreed with eight and a half of the propositions in Misquoting Jesus. The only thing they disagreed about was the interpretation of the evidence. And this is the kind of thing that is the source for non-KJS bibliology.

They love to reference the letter from the King James translators to the reader as a preface to the King James Translation. In that letter, the translators say that they expect that someone might be able to improve upon their translation in the future, giving men the permission to do so. They don't relate anything on the doctrine of preservation. They don't relate one point of bibliology in their introduction to their translation. They use that preface as an authority for correcting the King James Translation. And then the non-KJS say that they can't find anyone who believed in the preservation of an English translation. They can't find anyone before 1610 who believed in the preservation of the King James Translation. Sit back KJS. When they are done with such criticism of KJS, you have been slain. You are speechless. Only arrogance would now open his lips to attempt to answer such devastating bibliology.

These non-KJS men are ready to separate over bibliology, over inspiration of Scripture, from KJS men. They do so and they are either ignorant or ambivalent to the history of the doctrine of preservation. They have drunk the koolaid of textual criticism. They are content with believing that KJS started with a Seventh Day Adventist, David Otis Fuller, or maybe Donald Waite. They think that perhaps it began with Dean Burgon, who, they rush to add, wouldn't even be KJVO if he were alive today.

Let's go back a little bit further to the wealth of bibliology written in the 17th century, representing historic and pre-enlightenment sole scriptura. There you'll get historic bibliology. There you'll read what men of God have thought about this for centuries. There you'll get a pre-brainwashing bibliology that depends on the teaching of the Bible itself for the doctrine of its own preservation.

63 comments:

Turretinfan said...

In response to a portion of your article, here's a simple challenge (link to challenge).

And by the way, the KJV is my favorite version of the Bible,

-TurretinFan

Jason said...

KJS?! Even *I* am a KJS. I'm also an ESVS. Nobody is bothered that you support the KJV. It is the exclusivity of your position which most reveals your underlying false teaching on bibliology.

You demonstrate a disturbing level of self-delusion on this point.

DMD said...

Kent,

While I usually prefer the cold shoulder treatment, a few passing comments: (1) I agree with you that many folks fail to differentiate carefully enough among those that you label here KJS (I think Larry worked hard at it, BTW) and that is seldom helpful; (2) many of us resort to cold shoulder treatment as a means of avoiding another round of the same argument and/or as a reflex to the very same treatment that comes from the KJS folks (my hunch is, Kent, that I have received as many cold shoulders as you only from the opposite folks--and there are more inclined in our normal circles to give me a cold shoulder than you); and (3) it's somewhat interesting/curious to me for you to seem to complain about people responding to your KJS position negatively when you will respond to a non-KJS position very negatively.

I might be mistaken, but I thought I understood it to be your practice to make a non-KJS position a matter of separation. Am I wrong on that? Not asking to argue, but to clarify in case I have misunderstood something (or been misinformed).

reglerjoe said...

Paedobaptism - liberty
Charismatic gifts - liberty
Preservation - separate! Heterodox alert!

[sigh]

I'm too Calvinistic for the fundies and to preservationist for the 'gellies.

I guess I really don't have to develop a doctrine of separation. I think everyone will do it for me.

(Where did I put my "Island of Misfit Toys" t-shirt?)

Kent Brandenburg said...

Turretin Fan,

I'll look at your challenge. Thanks.

Jason,

Are you saying there is more than one Bible? When He inspired Scripture, did He give a multiple choice? Bibliology shouldn't be buffet style. That's not a scriptural bibliology.

DMD,

Funny on the cold shoulder joke, but in fact you do understand, which adds to the point. I wasn't sure where Larry worked hard at it, or who Larry is. I think DMD is Dave Doran though. I can tell by the variance of your text. I'm sorry about the cold shoulder style of separation that you have received.

On your #3, I don't mind negative treatment at all. I don't like stuff like "bigot" and "liar" as I got recently from James White. I'd rather he be negative about the arguments and deal with them. He has dealt with some things in His book, but nothing in the nature of the historic position on preservation.

Negativity is fine. The ten commandments are negative. There is a way for negativity to be done. I'm criticizing the cold shoulder method of professing separatists. I'm sure that I don't operate that way. I'd rather someone deal with the arguments, but you're saying that you have dealt with all this before. I've read many of the books by the fundamentalists and none of them deal with Owen's defense of preservation, among others.

I separate on the preservation issue. Yes. But I separate as I describe it in my last post at Jackhammer on Separation and Ranking Doctrines. Scripturally. My point in the above post is about KJS becoming a fashionable and convenient issue of separation, rather than, like ReglerJoe mentions, baptism. It is also dealing with the concept that KJ guys don't believe in inspiration, making a separating issue. I'm exposing the whole separation over false bibliology thing. It's clear to me who doesn't have a scriptural bibliology on this.

DMD, thanks for coming over and you are always welcome. I think you should consider the historic position on preservation of scripture.

Reglerjoe,

That was very well put. I think you're going to be OK.

Jason said...

I can't believe you pulled that one on me ("Are you saying there is more than one Bible?"). Seriously, I'm quite shocked.

My comments were about the KJV/ESV, a translation. You respond with the word "Bible."

If I were to rephrase your question using the word "translation" ("Are you saying there is more than one translation?") the matter becomes more clear. Of course I believe there is more than one "Bible" (i.e. translation). So do you.

You're not merely KJS. You're not even merely TRS or even TRO. Fact is, whether you admit it or not, you're KJO. Nothing less will satisfy you. So please don't go around using misleading terms like KJS.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jason,

You did know that the KJV and the ESV come from two different Greek texts that differ over 5%, didn't you? And that is besides the OT differences.

I'm not KJVO as most would define it. I'm original language perfect preservationist. KJS I made up for the one post to differentiate my position from the English preservationist/inspirationist.

Thanks Jason.

DMD said...

Kent,

Thanks for the friendly welcome to your blog. A quick comment and then a question.

By Larry, I meant the Larry at Ben Wright's place, and his attempt to make a distinction among those who argue for the KJV. It seemed that everybody was being indescriminately lumped into one category and Larry was trying to be more careful than that. He had a good seminary training, so I think that's the reason.

On to the question. You used the words "original language perfect preservationist" to describe your position. Help me understand how you are using the word perfect there. Does that only mean that none of God's Words have been lost or does it mean also that we have them in the condition in which they were given (i.e., no variant readings at all)?

This is a sincere question since there seems to be a real difference between those two views and the implications are very significant. As I said earlier, I am not looking to argue, just to understand.

Thanks,
Dave Doran

P.S. sorry for the lack of clarity earlier--I thought you would know, but I shouldn't have been obscure for other readers.

mike said...

Kent,

I would take issue with much of what you said here simple because I tend to fall into the group that you're criticizing for giving the cold shoulder. Just because most evangelicals won't listen, I hope you won't assume that none will.

Because here I am. Reading your blog. Regularly. And that's because I see you value the Greek text. I'm not a TR guy. But I'm not a Nestle-Aland guy either. I've got well over a dozen different editions - NA/UBS, Tischendorf, WH, Stephanus TR, Scrivener TR, Elzevir TR, Robinson' ByzT, Hodge/Farstad's MT, and Comfort/Barrett's Earliest Manuscripts. I do my own TC without preconceived assumptions against the majority text - and I'm often frustrated that the many, many minuscules have not been collated and examined.

As to preservation. God has obviously preserved the scripture in our manuscripts. Its what that looks like that I'm not entirely sure about. All I can say is that the Bible has consistently been available.

Anyway, all of this to say, I may not agree with you on much, but there's at least one evangelical who hasn't stopped listening. And I think more would listen if there were most KJS's who were as articulate and thoughtful as you are.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Dave,

I'm happy Larry differentiates. It's a good and honest way to be on this issue.

My position on preservation is that we know what the Words are. This is the historic position. Pre-enlightenment bibliology did not stumble over the existence of variants. They trusted the Holy Spirit and the common faith of God's people. I have asked several people to show me a pre-enlightenment bibliology (written by a Christian) that did not believe in the inerrancy of the apographa. I've never received one. And I'm not talking about the recognition of variants. We recognize that copies and editions differed. They believed in the preservation of Words. As have and do I.

Hello Mike.

Thanks for coming over again. I recognize you and I'm happy you are reading. I have noticed your hard work and diligence in the languages.

Jason said...

Kent,

I'm not sure what I said that would make you think I didn't have a passing understanding of the textual differences behind the two translations. You have equated "Bible" with two translations which is a serious problem precisely because the real issue in the matter is the original language texts.

I get the impression (perhaps mistaken) that Mike and Dave have not read the book you edited titled "Thou Shalt Keep Them." In this book you argue for verbal, plenary accessibility. You call for separation from those who do not.

I agree with Mike that you are one of the few consistent and thoughtful TRO proponents. And your consistency has led you to some extremely dangerous conclusions. The epitome of my point is found in chapter 12 where Corkish refers to those who do not hold to verbal, plenary accessibility by saying "The Enemies Are Exposed" (section heading) and then clearly calls for church discipline and separation.

Your book is the best argument TRO'ism has turned out in the sense that it makes a serious attempt at giving biblical arguments for the position. But it is also a frightening wake up call for those who hold to the historic, biblical position on Scripture.

This is why I objected so strongly to your use of the term KJS. I have many close friends and companions who are KJS. The fact that someone is KJS doesn't concern me at all. But you are nowhere close to that position. You hold to an extreme, exclusive position, a claim which can only be fully appreciated by reading the book you edited.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jason,

G'day. OK. 1) Whether we separate over the issue or not doesn't change anything about the doctrine of preservation. 2) The historic, biblical position is perfect preservation. I've not had anyone challenge me on this. I have received no pre 18th century quote saying otherwise. And even the 18th century quotes will say that people believed like I do.

Several readers here, I'm sure, have read TSKT and would say it is almost entirely expositions of scripture.

Jason said...

1) No, but it does make it a bit odd when you paint yourself as a KJS since myself and just about every Fundamentalist I've ever met would consider themselves a KJS at some level. In other words, it seems to me to be an attempt to look moderate and avoid a "pejorative" label.

2) I don't understand how you can even make such a comment. I just challenged you. There have been multiple books and dozens of blog posts challenging you. Of course you'll say you want to be challenged with a particular quote but the fact is, this has been done in multiple publications.

I understand you don't think they were valid arguments, but how can you suggest that you haven't been challenged? What gives?

Joshua said...

From what I can gather from this Kent and Jason discussion, both seem to be claiming their doctrine of the preservation of Scripture to be historic for orthordox Christianity.

From what I can also gather, Kent has made several very bold claims that no one prior to the 19th Century thought other than he does.

Jason, if your position really is as orthodox and conventional with the backing of both Scripture and history, surely disproving that statement would be easy?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Joshua,

Thanks for dropping by. I like the way you melded it down to the bare essential. You nailed the point I was making on bibliology.

Jason,

No one has challenged me on this historical point. When I debated Frank Turk online, he never challenged it. He agreed on that point. Aland says it is true. I think the other side should at least give in that their point is new. We're not talking about the existence of variants before the 19th century. Everyone knew that. I'm talking about the belief itself changed in the 19th century.

Drew Jimenez said...

This was a very good column, Brother Brandenburg.

Gary Webb said...

Dr. Brandenburg,
I appreciated your article & your patience in replying to those who differ.
I haven't interacted with as many people as you have on this issue because I generally don't blog. However, I have not yet met anyone on the critical text side who gave me a Scriptural basis for their position. This is the whole reason for holding a doctrinal position, isn't it? It is for me.
It doesn't bother me that the perfect preservation position is not "the historic biblical position on Scripture" as Jason claims. Nor does it bother me that perfect preservation is "extreme" or "exclusive" as Jason says. It would bother me if it was not Biblical.
I hold to a literal 6 day creation because the Bible clearly teaches it. It does not bother me if "scientists" reject it as extreme. Of course, it is nice to find men who are highly educated in science who do support that position. Likewise, it is good to find that men centuries ago held to the perfect preservation position, but it really doesn't matter.
As far as being extreme to others, it is a joy to me to read the Bible and find over & over that it teaches that all of its words are preserved & not one is lost. I think that is what every Christian ought to use as the basis for understanding the "manuscript evidence." What about the rest of you who have responded?
G. Webb

Bob Hayton said...

Here's an article with quotes from Francis Turretin revealing that he held the TR in his day had some errors in it and needed to be corrected by appealing to the ancient manuscripts. He held that the original language text had been preserved to such an extent that we most certainly can find the true words by comparing texts through collation. This is a hopeful evangelical perspective on textual criticism, essentailly.

Check out the article for yourself. Here is Michael Marlowe's conclusion after citing Turretin at length:

"Nevertheless, the thing to be noticed here is that Turretin's concept of providential preservation in no way prevented him from calling the commonly received text "corrupt" in some details, and he points to the oldest available manuscripts as a superior authority. In addition to these, he also refers to the evidence afforded by ancient versions (the "Chaldee paraphrases" or Aramaic Targums) and to patristic quotations (Eusebius). In short, the question is to be resolved by referring to ancient copies, versions, and fathers, the same sources favored by textual critics today. Turretin supposes that by the preservation of these oldest witnesses, from which the more recent copies may be corrected, God has provided the means for the restoration of the text -- and in this indirect way he has preserved every detail of the true text. Presumably, Turretin would say that God then makes use of text-critical scholarship to bring about the necessary corrections in due time."

Kent Brandenburg said...

I'm going to comment on Bob's comment first. I'm glad you came over and commented, Bob. You're welcome to do that.

Any reading, please consider Bob's comment in attempting show that his position was the doctrinal positional held pre-enlightenment. What does he do? He doesn't quote Turretin. No. He quotes someone who is commenting on Turretin, so that you'll read what this guy says about Turretin. If you read Turretin, who wrote the Helvetic Consensus Formula, which clearly presents my, our, the historic position, you will read that they believed in perfect preservation and availability. As brother Webb has so eloquently written, it is the biblical position and the historic understanding of those preservation passages that they quote, that are now attacked by men like Bob and by Michael Marlowe.

This is one that bothers me greatly. He says that Turretin said that the TR had errors in it. I'm going to put this in capital letters: HE SAID THAT TURRETIN SAID THAT THE TR HAD ERRORS IN IT. I don't want you to miss it. I wasn't screaming. Turretin never said that. He said that men made errors in copying. I SAY THAT TOO. But he then ensures his readers that those errors were corrected, so that now we have, because God is involved with Scripture, something different than Tacitus, a PERFECT EDITION OF THE BIBLE, OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.

These men attempt to read textual criticism into the Bible, into Turretin, into men that believed nothing of the kind, nothing like what he tries to read them into. They don't represent it properly.

So Bob, you would do better to get the sense of what Turretin and Owen believed, among many others, rather than spin what they wrote into post-enlightenment textual criticism. Notice how he says at the end, "Presumably, Turretin would say..." Turretin says nothing of the kind.

Someone can grab ahold of Michael Marlowes article. But there are several things he doesn't admit:
1) These men believed they had every Word available right then and perfectly.
2) They held a perfect preservation bibliology as did every other believer at that time. You can read that this was the Baptist position too, but the quotes are far less plenteous because they didn't have easy access to print anything.
3) They used preservation promise presuppositions (faith) to come to their positions.

That is the truth.

Pastor Webb,

Thanks for your comment. I agree. Ad Fontes, back to the source. The Bible is our only source for faith and practice. I believe that revealing the lack of historic belief is tell-tale for these men, who take a new, post-enlightenment position. All they can grab ahold of us is this mistaken notion that men did textual criticsm. That wasn't their stated position.

Bob Hayton said...

I was attempting to be brief and wanted to encourage you to go to that article where several quotes are compiled. Okay then, here is a quote from Turretin the perfect preservationist:

"This [i.e. that Cainan in Luke 3:36 is spurious] is plainly proved: (1) by the authority of Moses and of the books of Chronicles which, in the genealogical records formed in three places (Gen. 10:24; 11:13; 1 Chron. 1:18), make no mention of him; (2) the Chaldee paraphrases which uniformly omit Cainan in the book of Genesis and Chronicles; (3) Josephus does not mention him, nor Berosus guided by him, nor Africanus whose words Eusebius quotes in his Chronicorum (cf. 1.16.13 [PG 19.153-54]); (4) the sacred chronology would thus be disturbed and brought into doubt in the history of Moses, if the years of Cainan are inserted between Arphaxad and Sala. Abraham would not be the tenth from Noah as Moses asserts, but the eleventh. (5) It does not exist in any of the Codices. Our Beza testifies that it is not found in his most ancient manuscript (Annotationes maiores in Novum ... Testamentum, Pars prior [1594], p. 262 on Luke 3:36). Ussher ("De Cainano Arphaxadi filio" in Chronologia Sacra 6; cf. Whole Works [1847-64], 11:558) asserts that he saw the book of Luke written in Greek-Latin on the most ancient vellum, in characters somewhat large without breathings and accents (which having been brought from Greece to France was laid up in the monastery of St. Irenaeus in the suburbs of Lyons; and being discovered in the year 1562 was afterward carried to England and presented to the University of Cambridge), and in it he could not find Cainan. Scaliger in his prologue to the chronicle of Eusebius ("Prolegomena," Thesaurus temporum Eusebii .. chronicorum canonum [1606/1968], 1:ii) affirms that Cainan is lacking in the most ancient copies of Luke. Whatever the case may be, even if this passage proves to be a mistake, the authenticity of Luke's gospel cannot be called in question on that account: (a) because the corruption is not universal; (b) this error is of little consequence and a ready means of correcting it is furnished by Moses, so that there was no necessity for that learned man Vossius to throw doubts upon the purity of the Hebrew manuscript in order to establish the authenticity of the Septuagint."

This doesn't sound like you and he would agree on this point. So his perfect words and your perfect words are not the same. He appeals to manuscript evidence for his position on this point. Is this not a Biblically warranted methodology? Yes elsewhere he develps a clear bibliology, as that article that I referred to demonstrates. But how do Turretin's own words here back your claim that he beleived all the words were perfectly available? Is Turretin not pointing out a corruption or error in the accepted Greek text (TR) of his day?

Thomas Ross said...

Please note that the paper "The Canonicity of the Received Bible" documents that perfect preservation is the historic Baptist position. It is available at:

http://thross7.googlepages.com.

Jason said...

Kent,

I have no intention of bringing up a specific quote because I can guarantee you'll have an answer as to why it doesn't mean what it seems to mean. And the same would be true if you gave me a quote.

The reason is because we're both interpreting history around our positions. Fact is, this is an issue that our generation has had to wrestle with at a deeper level than any other generation. We have gotten to the precise details of the matter so it's easy to read our understanding into their wording.

Reality is, if you look at older systematic theologies, they tend to give very little mention, if any, to the question of preservation.

Bottom line is, as Webb said, is it biblical? I have done the study. I know what I believe and debating with you here won't change me or you.

I just wish more people would read your book before accepting your position. You are right that the book is expositional and it is one of the few Scriptural arguments for your position in print.

I think any student who has studied at one of the solid Fundamentalist schools would be able to see the grievous way in which you guys twist Scripture and abuse logic in that book and that's the ultimate issue. I'm not afraid of the truth. I'm begging people to read your book.

As I've mentioned before, the root of this issue is all about hermeneutics and epistemology.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bob,
You insinuate that Turretin was not a perfect preservationist, leaving yourself with deniability; however, obvious to anyone that you were so doing. Is that honest? Turretin, Institutes, p. 106, "By the original texts, we do not mean the autographs written by the hand of Moses, of the prophets and of the apostles, which certainly do not now exist. We mean the apographs which are so called because they set forth to us the word of God in the very words of those who wrote under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit."

The question of the bibliology of Turretin is being avoided in this. I believe it is being avoided on purpose so as to misrepresent Turretin. This is not uncommon in debate. If we take a step back, we can come up with dozens and dozens of quotes pre-19th century that show that men believed in perfect preservation. That was their bibliology. You won't find any that will say differently. YOU STILL HAVEN'T PRODUCED ONE BIBLIOLOGICAL STATEMENT BACKING YOUR BIBLIOLOGY.

As you scour through all of their writings that we have, since you will find no doctrinal agreement with your position, you must look for these types of minutiae to drive through your truck of textual criticism. You make no admission of what these men believed. Instead, you choose to bypass that, when we're talking about bibliology, to focus on one word in the NT that Turretin was struggling to harmonize with the OT. You're right, I don't agree with his conclusion, but I agree completely with his bibliology, the thing we're talking about.

Do you notice that M. Marlowe did not spend the time breaking down what it was exactly Turretin was talking about. Turretin was arguing against the authenticity of the Septuagint.

You ask, "Is this not a Biblically warranted methodology?" The Bible doesn't warrant textual criticism anywhere. It does the opposite. It takes the Bible out of the hands of unbelieving forensic scientist and puts it into the hands of the church.

I would say that Turretin did believe that all the Words were perfectly available. Even in Luke 3:36 he believed that, even based on what he wrote after #5) in his quote. He thought the Word was available. I believe in this one place, Turretin is not thinking carefully enough with how his harmonizing of the Words of Scripture fit with his bibliology. It doesn't change his bibliology.

The historic position on preservation of Scripture is that God had divinely inspired the writing of the autographs and providentially preserved the apographs down to the present time; however, with the advent of modernity, this simple faith was not scientific enough and independent textual critics began to tinker with Scripture as though it was just another collection of ancient books, subject to the same experimentation.

Kent Brandenburg said...

It's funny Jason, but I'm begging for you to give me one place in the book that is wrong. I understand you don't like what the book teaches. That is clear. But unless you can refute the exegesis, you would be saying just that you don't like what Scripture says about it, because it differs from your epistemology. You've used that word before. I think it is good to think about. How do we know what we know? Is it through science falsely so-called or is it by Scripture. Scripture is knowledge. It is supreme knowledge, wisdom from above, not that which is earthly, sensual, and devilish.

You talk about solid fundamentalist seminaries. With all due respect, how many fundamentalist seminaries read Turretin, Owen, etc. I never even heard of them. I encourage you to read Reformed Post-Reformational Dogmatics, vol 2, by Muller. Until then, when you say respectful theologies, you are talking about all post-enlightenment, and why didn't they contain any preservation of Scripture in them? They didn't believe in it. They said nothing about it. They essentially ignored what theology had been written. It's sad really.

Jason said...

Kent,

I don't recall you asking me at any point to show you where your exegesis was wrong. But as I already mentioned, arguing the points will not change either of us. I have read your arguments carefully and thoughtfully. I can only assume that you have done the same with credible fundamentalist proponents of my position.

The only way forward here would be to discuss the hermeneutic and epistemology that backs your book. For instance, you say Scripture is "supreme knowledge." But then you imply that other knowledge is "earthly, sensual, and devilish." The question is, *what* other knowledge? All knowledge found in "science falsely so-called"?

In other words, we agree that Scripture is the ultimate source of knowledge. But is it the only source of knowledge?

And then there is authority. Scripture is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice. But is Scripture our *sole* authority in matters of faith and practice?

The answers to these and other questions are crucial. They are in fact, so crucial, that to give incorrect answers to these questions is to render the statement "I believe what the Bible teaches about Scripture" meaningless.

P S Ferguson said...

James White in his book The King James Only Controversy, (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1995) on page 47 manages to devote a single page out of 286 to the doctrine of preservation. No Scripture is cited just some rationalism about the fact that we do not know how God would preserve His Word. He does inconsistently state the pre-suppositional approach for canonicity on this page, “God worked with his people over time, leading them to recognize what he had already done through the act of inspiration.”

The glaring inconsistency of White is seen in another of his books Scripture Alone published in 2004 by the same publishers. He begins his section on canonicity by asking rhetorically, “Is a clear knowledge of the canon’s extent important to the function of scripture in the Church? Yes. So does it not follow that God will both providentially preserve the Scriptures and lead His people to a functional, sufficient knowledge of the canon so as to fulfill His purpose in inspiring them? Indeed, will He not exercise just as much divine power in establishing and fulfilling His purpose for the Scriptures (their functioning as a guide to the Church) as He as in inspiring them?” (p103) White then goes on to tell us, “the true foundation for confidence in the Canon of Scripture is found in God’s Sovereign power to fulfill His own purposes (Psalm 135:6), and it is His purpose for Scripture to function in the church as a means of instruction, admonishment, and encouragement.” (p109). Speaking of II Tim 3:16-17, White explains that the apographs referred to by Paul, “in God’s providence, the very form of the church, having elders in the position of teaching and admonishing and leading, requires it to have access to this God-breathed source of authority, the Scriptures.” (p104)

White is very clear in another section that the idea of any lost Scripture is a slight on God, “The entire idea of “lost Scripture” requires us to believe that God would go through the work of inspiring His word so as to provide for His church guidance and instruction and encouragement; but then, having inspired His Word, be shown incapable of protecting and preserving it and leading His church to recognize if for what it is. Arguing that God might wish to give to give more Scripture at a later point is one thing: charging God with delinquency of duty in light of His own stated purposes for the giving of Scripture is simply without any foundation in His truth as taught in the Bible. From a Biblical perspective of God’s sovereignty, the idea of “lost scripture” is an unambiguously self-refuting concept.” White goes on to say, “God is eternal and has infallible knowledge of the future; He surely knew every situation the church would face when He inspired the Scriptures long ago. Are we to believe that He is incapable of giving a revelation that would be sufficient throughout the church age?”

It is amazing that once White changes topic to talk about the preservation of the Canon he suddenly find a Biblical presuppositional framework that he cannot see for the Words of the Canon (despite there being at least 50 times more Bible promises for preservation of the Words than inspiration of the Words and 100% more than for a 66 Book Canon). James White would be advised to follow the advice of Cornelius Van Til, who put it, “We cannot choose epistemologies [theories of knowledge] as we choose hats... [as if] a matter of taste.”

White et al need to remember that all of our doctrines must be from the Bible (2 Tim 3:16). It is self-attesting (1 Cor 14:29, 32, 37; Matt 18:19). Believers are mandated to think God’s thoughts after Him. (Isa 55:9), which requires a scriptural presuppositional approach to the textual problems. A believer must study to show “himself approved unto God” (2 Tim 2:15). As Cornelius Van Til puts it, “The Bible is thought of as authoritative on everything of which it speaks. And it speaks of everything.”

Reformed author, Keith A. Mathison adopts an even stronger position and argues,

"The fallible “Jewish Church” was entrusted with the Old Testament Books for around fifteen hundred years and through His providential guidance managed to preserve an inerrant canon, so there is no prima facie reason why we cannot believe that God could entrust the New Testament books to a fallible New Testament Church and that they would also be able, under His providential guidance, to preserve an inerrant and authoritative canon. How does this happen apart from an infallible decree from an infallible Church telling the people of God which books are truly the Word of God? Jesus said His sheep hear His voice and do not hear the voice of strangers (John 10:4-5). God’s people in the Old Testament era hear His voice and God’s people in the present era hear His voice. Apart from such supernatural providential preservation, there is no way to explain the extent of unanimity that gradually arose concerning the twenty seven books of the New Testament."

Although rejecting the TR, Greg Bahnsen also correctly summarises the essential need for the preservation of the canon, albeit inconsistently, "To think otherwise would be, in actual effect, to deprive the Christian church of the sure word of God. And that would in turn (a) undermine confidence in the gospel, contrary to God’s promise and our spiritual necessity, as well as (b) deprive us of the philosophical precondition of any knowledge whatsoever, thus consigning us (in principle) to utter scepticism."

Evangelicals who believe in providential preservation of the canon but not canonized words need to explain why if God can protect His Word on that scale, why do we have so much trouble believing He could protect individual Words? Neo-evanGELicals (with the emphasis on the JELLY) are paradigms of consistency - don't you just love them!!

Anti-KJV "Fundamentalist" critics are just as bad. Dr Rolland McCune is impaled on the logic of his own words in criticizing Neo- Evangelicals for rejecting inerrancy, "The new evangelical argument also creates an ambivalence to authority within the Bible itself. Some verses have no divine authority because they contain error. Only the salvation texts, called “revelational” or “doctrinal,” have real, binding authority. The selective process creates a “canon within a canon,” and one is forced to weed through the Scripture searching for truth in the midst of error hoping to find the genuine canon and save his soul from eternal perdition. This is hopeless….The phenomena argument assumes that fallen man can sit in judgment on the Bible. This assumption in turn denies the total inability of man, especially Noetic sin – the depravity of the human intellect. The unaided mind of man simply does not have the right or capacity to pass judgment on the truth-claims of the Bible."

Quite, Dr McCune – perhaps you could share the same insight with your colleagues at Detroit Baptist Seminary when they are promoting the texts of modernists such as Hort, Metzger, Aland et al and carving up passages such as 1 John 5:7! William Combs of the same Detroit Baptist Seminary boldly asserts, “The Bible does not teach its own perfect preservation, and it is a serious error to claim otherwise.” He also states that we can never have certainty in the Words as "While it is not possible to produce a text that is in all points identical to the autographs, nevertheless, carefully produced texts and versions are able to convey God’s truth to the reader." Søren Kierkegaard and Karl Barth could not have put it any better! This uncertain “certainty” position of modern Fundamentalism is in marked contrast to what the Lord spoke through Solomon about the inspired words, “Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” (Prov. 22:20-21).

Rolland McCune and William Combs might be a presuppositionalist in other matters, but when it comes to the textual issue, they most certainly embrace evidentialism by elevating reason and history over Biblical promises.

Anonymous said...

Jason,
I guess you are just going to keep saying that that TSKT "twists Scripture" without giving an example. I understand that attempting to prove what you assert would take time, but it seems that to not support what you assert is rather cowardly.
Because of the failure on the part of the critical text supporters to provide an exposition of Scripture to support their position, it would seem to me you MUST show how TSKT "twists" Scripture or be bound to follow the position it sets forth. Again, Scripture is the authority for my faith ... and yours?
G. Webb

Jason said...

Webb,

I've already explained why I am not going into detailed discussion. You may think that's cowardly if you want.

CT supporters have indeed given significant expositional support for their position.

I have recognised your expositional support from my perspective even though I passionately disagree with your conclusions. For you to not make the same admission from your side could suggest ignorance of the published material. I don't that's the case. It could suggest commitment to a position over truth. Perhaps there's another explanation I haven't thought of.

You say "Scripture is the authority for my faith," but without explaining your epistemology, your statement could mean a lot of things. Some of them being completely unbiblical.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Paul Ferguson,

Great stuff on White, canonicity, and authority. Very good. Solid. I appreciate the contribution.

Jason,

I'm glad for your appreciation for the exposition of Scripture in TSKT. Maybe you could write something on your epistemology sometime. I'd be glad to read it.

Todd Mitchell said...

You are right that KJVO proponents tend to be ignored. I admit that I've tended to do that myself. Your blog has reminded me that at least some KJVO folks are definitely still worth listening to, even if we disagree on this issue. (Thanks to you, I've killed my Facebook account.)

You've exhorted us to go back and learn from the teaching of the 17th century. I agree with you, but for a different reason. Go back to that era, and you find out that today's KJVO debate is nothing new -- we've been through this before with the debate over vowel points. For your interest, here's a paper I wrote on this in seminary, with all its warts and flaws:

http://www.firstbaptistgranitefalls.org/pdf/VowelPoints.pdf

Anonymous said...

Jason,
You say "CT supporters have indeed given significant expositional support for their position." I guess I am ignorant. I have read pages & pages of argument based upon manuscript evidence, history, etc. I have not yet seen one book or article that says, "This passage says that we should ... consider the oldest text to be the best ... consider the most unlikely reading to be the best ... consider the reading of the LXX above the Hebrew ... allow modernist textual scholars to determine the text of the NT ... etc., etc. I have seen a few books that weakly say, for example, that Matthew 5:18 does not promise that the text will be preserved. Is that to what you are referring?
I say this seriously & not sarcastically - I would like for you to recommend a book from the CT side that gives serious & extended exposition of Bible texts as the basis for their textual method. I do not know of one.
G. Webb

The Puritan said...

The subject was raised above regarding KJOs, or Traditional Text in sound translation onlists, believing that one can't be regenerated by a corrupt version.

Doctrine of regeneration and the Holy Spirit being able to work outside of Scripture but ordinarily not and all that aside...

I, for one, don't back down on saying the Traditional Text regenerates, but one has to see it this way: if a person reads the Bible innocently, like a child, not knowing issues of the underlying manuscripts, *but sees the Bible as something that is above them* then they are approaching it in a manner that potentially causes the seed of the Word to fall into fertile ground, even if they are taking in that seed from an imperfect version.

On the other hand, if a person continually reads a 'Bible' thinking it is imperfect, and that man is needed to determine its content, and thus is in effect *seeing the Bible as something that is below them*, i.e. something *they and scholars and man in general determine, ultimately, what it is to be* then that person is in no position to receive even a partial amount of seed (living language) in anything resembling fertile ground. That person is still operating under the internal tyranny of their vanity and worldly pride, and rebellious self-will.

How you approach Scripture effects your inner state. It is like the difference between being God-centered and man-centered.

The dead or sterile orthodoxy, the unbalanced intellectualism (which is even itself shallow), the resort to degrees of sacerdotalism, and the resort to academic man-fearing and respecting of persons and just adopting unbiblical academic models for the faith that we see in Reformed environments these days are a result of these individuals having an approach to Scripture that is not as a child, looking up, recognizing and valuing its authority but looking down on it, as scholars, determining what it will be, treating it as any other document from the past.

I do believe the innocent person described above who sees the Word as something that is above them will eventually gravitate to the pure and whole Traditional Text Word of God. In our era there does not seem to be many choices for that in English, does there?

I would also argue that the Authorized Version is a most unique and remarkable production as a translation and in terms of language itself, *refined* rather assiduously through time, but that is a different subject on top of the subject of the underlying manuscripts.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Todd, The Puritan, and Gary Webb. I'll be back perhaps this afternoon with comments, but I'm on my way to church. Have a great Lord's Day.

Thomas Ross said...

Dear Bro Mitchell,

I would encourage you read a paper of mine on the question of the inspiration of the vowels--which concludes that the advocates of their inspiration just might have a point--at http://thross7.googlepages.com under the Bibliology section.

By the way, Jason has convinced me that the CT is correct. The power of refusing to give any evidence for his position is so overwhelming that I am thoroughly convinced. I think we should all do this when preaching as well--state what we believe, give no verses for it, and thus convince everybody by our sheer lack of evidence.

Jason said...

Gary,

Scripture does not tell us how to handle textual method. Our textual method is extrapolated logically based on our understanding of preservation which is something that Scripture *does* address. To elevate your logical extrapolation to the point of being "Scriptural" is wrong and highlights the epistemological nature of the trouble.

Kent,

http://givemetruth.net/infocus/?s=epistemology

If you read from the bottom up, you'll get an idea of the types of issues I'm concerned about when I bring up epistemology. This was written quite a while ago.

Anonymous said...

Jason,
“Logical extrapolation”? That sounds like another way of removing the authority of some of Scripture’s clear statements.
For example, Romans 3:1-2 says: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
Here is God’s clear, unmistakable, non-extrapolated statement about the preservation of the OT text. God “committed” [aorist passive indicative of pisteuw] His “oracles” [logion] to the Jews. That rules out “correcting” the OT Hebrew text with the Greek of the LXX.
Or, take 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.”
Would you say that any statement is made about textual method from this verse? Here again is a clear reference to the Hebrew and particularly to Hebrew letters … not to the Greek of the LXX. Does this text make any statement about what Bible the Jews in Jesus’ day were using? Does it make any statement at all about the preservation of the Hebrew text, or – as the CT position normally claims – is Jesus just making some generic statement about the “message” being preserved or holding its validity?
I guess you can call that “logical extrapolation”, but I do not know how you can assert that “Scripture does not tell us how to handle textual method,” when such statements are made throughout Scripture.
Also, on what authority do you say that taking “logical extrapolations” that come straight from Scripture and using them as a basis for doing something is not “Scriptural.” Jesus made the “logical extrapolation” that, since God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob and was God of the living that those men must be alive and there must be a resurrection. Was He “wrong”? Should we not follow His example?
All I know to do to figure out the “textual problem” is to read the Bible, see what it has to say on this issue, and determine my position on that basis. If that is wrong, you and I do not have the same understanding of Christianity.
G. Webb

Jason said...

Gary,

Neither passage you bring up deals in any way with how to deal with variants in the text. But the fact is, there are variants in both the Old and New Testament texts. Since Scripture does not deal with the textual method involved in resolving these variants, any conclusion we reach is a logical extrapolation of what Scripture does say.

Now I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't draw logical extrapolations from the text. But the difference between Jesus doing so and you and I doing so is that we are under the curse. We are rational beings in the image of God, but our rational capacities are finite and our knowledge limited.

I have no problem drawing logical conclusions based on the clear statements of Scripture. But there comes a point when we are so far away from what the text actually says, and so far into the realm of finite human reasoning, that we cannot claim to have absolute biblical authority. In other words, we dare not lay down a dogmatic, exclusive position as what God says, if God didn't actually say it.

Joshua said...

"In other words, we dare not lay down a dogmatic, exclusive position as what God says, if God didn't actually say it."

Jason, you've reasoned your way right around to that sentence, but then it comes back around and bites you.

God never said He'd preserve 66 books of the Bible - but you probably take a pretty exclusive dogmatic approach to that. The evidence you have for God preserving His word in 66 books-of-worth-fighting-for-dying-for-and-separating-over is the exact same evidence the RT proponent argues from.

It's just that you don't want to accept the logical end of your own reasoning there. You think that it would be a major heresy to chop out an entire book, but chopping out a few sentences here and there is nothing special if current scientific opinion can cast so much as a sliver of doubt on it.

All the verses and church history you would call upon to defend 66 books apply just as equally to the sentences.

I agree with what you said about man's reasoning under the curse. I agree with what you said about going far into the realm of finite human reasoning. It's just that that is exactly what modern textual criticism is - man's reasoning, divorced from Scripture. That's why so many of the big names in this "science" do not know God, or are plagued with heresy.

Anonymous said...

Jason,
Both passages that I gave give very definite direction about how we are to go about deciding which variant reading is correct, as I stated.
Another example would be I Timothy 3:15, which says that the NT church is "the pillar and ground of the truth." That tells us that we do not choose variant readings that have never been adopted by NT churches through the ages - in other words, the readings found in Sinaiticus and Vaticanus go contrary to the majority of readings used by NT churches.
How can we be "so far away from what the text actually says" when we have it right in front of us?
As a reminder, I am still wanting you to give me a list or at least one book from the CT that gives exposition of passages as the basis for its position.
G. Webb

Jason said...

Joshua,

You do not defeat a correct principle by showing where it is poorly applied. God's Word is our final authority. We may believe things to be true that God doesn't say. But when we attribute to God things that He did not say, we are on dangerous ground.

Gary,

I'd prefer not to give you a target to smash. But you know as well as I that there are books that deal with the texts on this matter.

1 Timothy 3:15 says the church is "the pillar and ground of the truth." It does NOT say a single word about written revelation. Are you suggesting that written revelation is equivalent to "truth"? Again, we're back to epistemology.

I am still waiting for answers to my questions on epistemology. I am very interested in what kind of epistemological paradigm would allow you to treat Scripture like you do.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I read the epistemology material, Jason. I'll post sometime over here on that issue. It is something that I had thought about, but I wouldn't think that people should prefer evidentialism in scriptural matters. I will get into the idea of what is evidence.

Regarding "truth" and "the truth," they are exegetically different. You should study the differences between tes aletheias and only aletheias. "The truth" is Scripture.

Bobby Mitchell said...

Pastor Webb,

Your conversation with Jason is eerily similar to one I had with a BJU sophomore a few weeks ago. He wanted me to explain why we hold our position on preservation. I took him through the Scriptures and gave him our reasons.

Throughout my presentation he had many questions designed to cast doubt. I tried to patiently answer his objections, but he was not truly interested in knowing the answers.

Before we concluded our time together I pointed out to him that I had shown him Scripture for holding to the received text and he had not given me any for being CT or MVO. He had no answer for that.

Just like Jason he had no Scripture for his position. Jason has questions, reasonings, big-name scholars, and more questions. His refusal to name a single book that gives Scripture for the CT mindset is very telling.

Your responses have been excellent and encouraging.

Side note: It is amazing that people who claim to be students of the Bible don't even understand 1 Timothy 3:15.

Jason said...

Bobby Mitchell,

I hope you weren't as condescending to this young man as you have come across in this post.

Perhaps you needed to set your "presentation" aside and demonstrate a simple commitment to the truth that takes his questions seriously instead of viewing them as evidence that he is "not truly interested in knowing the answers."

Do you really think that you have all of "the answers"? If not, then why not admit that?

The reason there is "no Scripture for our position" is that we refuse to go out on a limb and speak with certainty on an issue God Himself has not spoken on. In other words, we are too careful with Scripture to abuse it and construct a "biblical" answer to a problem which Scripture simply does not address.

"MVO" = Modern Version Only? I have never in my life met one of those.

I understand I'm coming across pretty heavy. There are two reasons:

1) I don't appreciate the sideswiping attacks directed at me through a comment to another person. It smacks of the intimidation tactics which tend to be modus operandi for many Fundamentalist leaders, but which are wrong.

2) This issue has gotten out of hand. We're now in a place where mainstream Fundamentalists are separating from and even church disciplining those who differ with them on this issue. Churches and families are being torn apart all around the world over this false teaching. All bets are off. The lines are being drawn.

My heart is broken over the devastation this issue is causing.

Jason said...

Kent,

Glad you read the material. I'll keep an eye out for your thoughts when you post them.

Regarding "the truth," I can't see that the presence of the article invariable indicates reference to the whole canon of Scripture. This seems in an untenable position when considered in the context of 1 Timothy 6:5 for instance (just the first case I happened to look up). Also, it seems highly speculative if not eisegetic to interpret 1 Timothy 3:15 that way.

I agree that "the truth" is in Scripture and that Scripture is the written record of "the truth" as used in some contexts. But that doesn't make the two terms synonymous.

Joshua said...

MVO = multiple versions only.

Jason, you keep stating your position, then dodging whenever anyone tries to get you to explain it or prove it.

My honest opinion is you simply do not wish to engage Kent in a debate. You know that if you start trying to back up your statements with evidence, he's going to bring the Scripture, and the History and the Logic. You probably have neither the time nor the inclination to tackle that.

I can sympathize with that - I've met folks who I know are wrong, but I just don't have the time free to engage them. It's just that then I leave it alone. You seem to want to keep chipping in, but not actually saying anything (or backing up anything you say) in a way that could lead to productive debate.

The Puritan said...

>"This issue has gotten out of hand. We're now in a place where mainstream Fundamentalists are separating from and even church disciplining those who differ with them on this issue. Churches and families are being torn apart all around the world over this false teaching. All bets are off. The lines are being drawn."

Cardinal Sadoleto, I understand your passion. I was born in 1516, and I, myself, have seen nothing but strife among Christians over these issues in my life. You know my position from previous correspondence, how I stand with the reformers and M. Calvin in particular, your debating partner. I just want to correct you on one thing: you say Fundamentalists are separating from your people on this issue, but it is not only Fundamentalists (Anabaptists, you mean?), but it is also the Lutherans and the schools of Zurich and Geneva wherever they now exist and are teaching throughout Europe. Even now, Cardinal Sadoleto, there is a party of Englishman with Calvin in Geneva preparing a new translation of the Word of God from the Masoretic and Received Text. With the publishing ability of Geneva your agents will be kept very busy intercepting these. As you well know I wish all of you little success in your endeavors, and, I hope, no unbecoming animosity, as our Lord takes care of these matters as He sees fit.

Anonymous said...

Jason,
You haven't given me a book because you can't give me a book that provides Bible exposition for the CT position.
You haven't given me any Scripture because you can't give me any Scripture that supports the CT position.
You "won't go out on a limb" because that is what your position is - out on a limb with no Scripture to support it.
I haven't noticed that you don't speak with certainty. You have told me (and others) that our approach is wrong because we used Scripture as the basis for making our decisions on the text.
Why is it wrong for people to separate & to carry out church discipline on the textual issue. Remember 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"?
Your heart ought to be broken over things that break the heart of God, and the corruption of the text of the Word of God is right at the top.
G. Webb

Bob Hayton said...

Jason,

I feel your pain on this. I agree it is a very divisive issue. You are getting beaten up over here. That's one of the reasons I come over here so seldom.

The Scripture for our position is as follows:

1) The Bible is God's inspired infallible Word. (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20-21, and others)

2) The Bible preserves God's message to man. The oral message of the Gospel, and the oral prophetic preaching, was preserved through inspiration in the Bible. (Heb. 1:1-4; Rom. 3:2; Rom. 15:4; Joshua 1:8)

3) The Bible is our only infallible measure of determining true doctrine. (Acts 17:11; 2 Pet. 1:19).

4) The possibility exists however for there to be wrong interpretations or wrong understandings of the Bible's message. (John 5:39; Luke 24:25-26, 45; 2 Pet. 3:16)

5) We will be judged according to the Scripture on the last day. (John 12:48)

6) God's word will remain true and sure through all time (Is. 40:8; Ps. 119:89; Matt. 5:18; Matt. 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23-25)

7) God will guide His people by means of His Word, such that there will never be a complete apostasy from the true doctrine of Scripture. (Is. 59:21; Matt. 4:4; Matt. 16:17-19; Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:27; John 14:26; John 16:13-15; Jn. 17:17)

8) God has promised to that his written Word will endure or be preserved. (Ps. 119:152, 160; [Ps. 12:6-7]; [Is. 40:8; 1 Pet. 1:23-25])

9) From points 7 and 8, we can infer God will keep his Word generally available to His people through all genterations.

This bibliology, for which more Biblical support could be given, does not tell us how perfect the text of Scripture available to believers must be.

Obviously before all the NT epistles were written, they were not available. And even afterward it would have taken time before copies were made available for all God's people.

Also, if we compare how the NT authors and Jesus quoted the OT, and then compare how both the OT and the NT treat parallel passages and how they record in different places what was said on the same event, we find that Scripture does not teach that the words must be exactly the same in order for the text to be considered Scripture.

Also there is no promise of a perfect edition of Scripture in one manuscript, text or edition of a text. Nothing says we need to have all God's word in one book or we don't have the Bible.

I would venture to say there are a lot of evangelical textual scholars and Bible scholars who believe all God's words are preserved in the manuscripts that we possess.

I would venture to say there is a bibliological presentation like this in several evangelical theology books. It may not be as fully laid out, but they do discuss this.

It is not as if I and Jason and others do not start from a Bibliological stance. We do recognize the KJVO group saying more than Scripture says, and proving more by appeal to Scripture than what Scripture actually states. Scripture never forbids an honest evaluation of the textual evidence either.

Hope this helps deflect some of the focus on you, Jason. Thanks for dealing with this, however. The points you are making need to be raised.

Blessings in Christ,

Bob Hayton

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bob,

You wrote: "You are getting beaten up over here. That's one of the reasons I come over here so seldom."

Awww Bob, you poor thing. What is that you do at your blog with people who disagree with you? You are far more bossy over there than we are here. I never complain about how I'm treated at your blog. Jason can handle it, so you don't need to do the "hey, we're in this together" thing.

Regarding your stated biblical doctrine of bibliology, this is the first I remember seeing from you. I've never seen a scriptural defense of preservation from CT/eclectic position. It is interesting to look at. This may very well be the first listed bibliology in the history of the eclectic text. I might quote you as the first in history. I haven't read any that attempt to at all be complete.

You wrote: "1) The Bible is God's inspired infallible Word. (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20-21, and others)"

Is it verbally inspired? You left that out. I noticed infallible, but not inerrant. Without verbal and inerrant, it is a neo-orthodox statement. More importantly, it doesn't represent the very texts you referenced.

You wrote: "2) The Bible preserves God's message to man. The oral message of the Gospel, and the oral prophetic preaching, was preserved through inspiration in the Bible. (Heb. 1:1-4; Rom. 3:2; Rom. 15:4; Joshua 1:8)"

God's message? So what is man and what is God in there? You are inferring that we have some of man in what we are reading. It's just the message preserved? That isn't a historic position on preservation. You mention Joshua 1:8---"all that is written therein." He isn't talking about something oral there.

You wrote: "3) The Bible is our only infallible measure of determining true doctrine. (Acts 17:11; 2 Pet. 1:19)."

Agreed. But doctrine that comes from Words, not ideas.

You wrote: "4) The possibility exists however for there to be wrong interpretations or wrong understandings of the Bible's message. (John 5:39; Luke 24:25-26, 45; 2 Pet. 3:16)"

Agreed. But 2 Peter 3:16 doesn't make that point. This is in stark contrast as well to the historic doctrine of perspecuity.

You wrote: "5) We will be judged according to the Scripture on the last day. (John 12:48)"

John 12:48 says "words," Bob. That isn't good exegesis. And if "Scripture," as you describe it, is the same thing as what we read in 2 Timothy 3:16, graphe, then it means the very "writings."

"6) God's word will remain true and sure through all time (Is. 40:8; Ps. 119:89; Matt. 5:18; Matt. 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23-25)"

True and sure? That's falling quite a bit short of what those verses say. I appreciate you putting your stake down on your bibliology, but you didn't get this point of doctrine from the Words of those verses. We don't get to make up what Scripture is saying. We have to take it for what it says, or it says nothing.

You wrote: "7) God will guide His people by means of His Word, such that there will never be a complete apostasy from the true doctrine of Scripture. (Is. 59:21; Matt. 4:4; Matt. 16:17-19; Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:27; John 14:26; John 16:13-15; Jn. 17:17)"

Huh? I agree that there will not be a total apostasy of the true doctrine of scripture, but what you actually read pre-enlightenment isn't what you are writing here, so one of the two are apostate on the doctrine of scripture. Is the pre-enlightenment bibliology the true one or is it the post-englightenment? If there is no apostacy, then your doctrine is wrong. I read the verses you referenced and I read, "every Word" and "words," not the ambiguity that you stated here.

You wrote: "8) God has promised to that his written Word will endure or be preserved. (Ps. 119:152, 160; [Ps. 12:6-7]; [Is. 40:8; 1 Pet. 1:23-25])"

All of it or some of it? Verbal, plenary? You're going to get in trouble with your CT crowd with your Psalm 12:6-7, but I appreciate the honesty. I don't know, however, how you see written Word in those passages, but you don't in others.

You wrote: "9) From points 7 and 8, we can infer God will keep his Word generally available to His people through all genterations."

Again, is Word all of them or just his Word, the message, or in general His Word. If He keeps it available through all generations, you can't be a CT, electic person, Bob. You've just turned into at the least a KJV or NKJV person.

You wrote: "This bibliology, for which more Biblical support could be given, does not tell us how perfect the text of Scripture available to believers must be."

Thanks for the clarification. This is different than the historic position, because men believed that the text was preserved perfect. Scripture says it is pure and every Word is available to every generation. So Scripture does say.

You wrote: "Obviously before all the NT epistles were written, they were not available. And even afterward it would have taken time before copies were made available for all God's people."

With all due respect, this is inane. None of the NT epistles were available to Moses or David or Jeremiah.

You wrote: "Also, if we compare how the NT authors and Jesus quoted the OT, and then compare how both the OT and the NT treat parallel passages and how they record in different places what was said on the same event, we find that Scripture does not teach that the words must be exactly the same in order for the text to be considered Scripture."

Read John Owen's position on this in his Biblical Theology. I had not read it until about two weeks ago, when I purchased the book. He takes the same position that I have espoused on this. Jesus targummed. The translators and/or the copiests of the various editions of the Septuagint read Jesus Words back into the OT Greek text.

You wrote: "Also there is no promise of a perfect edition of Scripture in one manuscript, text or edition of a text. Nothing says we need to have all God's word in one book or we don't have the Bible."

If we know what all the Words are, then we can put them all into one edition. The Bible assumes that we will, since we do have the Holy Spirit. This is the promise of preservation, that we would have all the Words. We've never argued for the perfect hand copy here.

You wrote: "I would venture to say there are a lot of evangelical textual scholars and Bible scholars who believe all God's words are preserved in the manuscripts that we possess."

I've not read any of them. Most will say that we don't have a text for 1 Samuel 13:1.

You wrote: "I would venture to say there is a bibliological presentation like this in several evangelical theology books. It may not be as fully laid out, but they do discuss this."

I'd be glad for you to point me to them.

You wrote: "It is not as if I and Jason and others do not start from a Bibliological stance. We do recognize the KJVO group saying more than Scripture says, and proving more by appeal to Scripture than what Scripture actually states. Scripture never forbids an honest evaluation of the textual evidence either."

Daniel Wallace says that you can't start with theology and then go into textual criticism. You must allow evidence to lead you to the truth. This is what I hear coming from Jason. Textual criticism, at its root, must not have theological presuppositions get in the way.

You wrote: "Hope this helps deflect some of the focus on you, Jason. Thanks for dealing with this, however. The points you are making need to be raised."

I'm fine with them being raised. It helps me understand where he's coming from: evidentialism. He wants our paradigm for epistemology. I'm going to put something like that out in the near future. I think it would be good to compare epistemology, to understand exactly what ours is and what his is.

Bob Hayton said...

To clarify, I wrote my most recent post quickly on my lunch break, so I overlooked "verbal" and "inerrant". I have done exegesis on a lot of these passages and really evaluated them, and I disagree with some of what Kent is saying they obviously mean. I agree I have more work to do to clean up my presentation of this bibliology. Also, on 1 Sam. 13:1, I don't think we have to say we can only use Hebrew manuscripts. The manuscript evidence we have from Hebrew and Greek, and Aramaic texts, contains all of God's words. My position is somewhat open on this point, however, to be honest.

As for the targumming, I would hold that Jesus is showing us that exact verbatim quotes are not necessary, and exact verbatim agreement is not required for a text to be considered Scripture. This should influence our bibliologies.

Jason said...

Puritan,

That was a creative way to direct an ad hominem attack.

Gary,

Ok. Since you insist. "God's Word in Our Hands." *sigh*

Please don't put words in my mouth. I did not say your "approach is wrong because [you] used Scripture as the basis for making [your] decisions on the text." I said you twisted and abused Scripture.

Your use of Rev 22:18-19 is an example of it. No one is adding or taking away. All the data for both texts is there, preserved by God.

Bob,

Thanks for trying to draw some fire.

Joshua said...

You said: Your use of Rev 22:18-19 is an example of it. No one is adding or taking away. All the data for both texts is there, preserved by God.

Again, the logical implications of your statements are untenable.

If I made a copy of a Greek text, then inserted "not" between was and manifest in "God was manifest in the flesh", according to you, this isn't an addition, because God has preserved other manuscripts.

Basically, you've made God's curse null and void. It is now impossible for ANY man to add or take away from God's Word, because He's preserved other manuscripts. You are making the Word of God of none effect through your scientific traditions.

You can claim God has preserved all the data for both texts, but that doesn't make both texts the preserved Word of God. If it is, then God preserved 1 and 2 Maccabee's, better put that in the Bible too. Better yet, I still have extant copies of my Yr 7 essays, clearly God has preserved them as well. Same logic.

Let me guess - you're going to give me a 1 line answer, then continue to add further oneliners about how we're corrupters and twisters of Scripture. You've already stated you're not going to back up your claims - why are you still here?

The Puritan said...

>Your use of Rev 22:18-19 is an example of it. No one is adding or taking away. All the data for both texts is there, preserved by God.

To put it charitably, this is naive.

Without a standard there can *be no* adding to or taking away.

Critical Text scholars pose a Platonic original text then practically - of necessity - use primarily Vaticanus and Sinaiticus as their 'standard' for adding to or taking away. Considering those two 'witnesses' differ with each other more than Moby Dick differs from The Magic Mountain your default, practical 'standard' is rather laughable.

The Christians who died for the Word of God, defending it through all the eras of the history of redemption, handing it on to believers today knew what their standard was and could hold it in their hands. It's called the Traditional Text.

God always has His remnant, and His remnant always has the Traditional Text. You have it too, if you can see it, value it, and accept it. But that is a matter of vanity, worldly pride, and rebellious self-will holding tyranny within you, or not. Pray for the latter.

Bobby Mitchell said...

Jason,

You write as if you were present and able to judge by observing the conversation I had with the BJU student.

Well, you weren't.

You are right about lines being drawn and separation over the issue. I've been convinced of that for years. We are Word-receivers. You are Word-correctors, re-writers, and, ultimately, rejecters.

I have no problem separating with anyone over the Word of God. It is our basis for everything we believe and practice. I am happy to be part of a NT church that is the "pillar and ground of the truth." I lead the church in "keeping the Words" just as the pastor at Ephesus did. He was commended by the Lord for doing that.

These things are plain to those who are humble and teachable. There is no great mystery in how God has kept His words.

The proud and contentious, such as you and Bob Hayton, will not receive the truth concerning preservation and I am in complete agreement that we should not have any real fellowship together because of that.

The only reason I engage you at all (and it is very little) is that there are others who may be strengthened to flee from your false teaching to the truth taught and practiced in historic New Testament Baptist churches.

May the Lord grant you eyes to see and ears to hear.

Jason said...

Joshua,

If you intentionally add to or take away from God's Word, then the passage applies to you.

But there is no evidence that the variants we have today came about by intentional manipulation, and even if they did come about that way, the passage applies to the person who knowingly did it, not to those who are left with the variant. Trying to apply this passage to only one side of this debate (as if it couldn't be applied to the other side as well) is a scare tactic. It puts a lot of pressure on by twisting the Word to say what it doesn't say.


Puritan,

Your statement about Moby Dick/The Magic Mountain is not true even with the most hyperbolic of interpretations. Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are almost identical as are ALL the extant MSS. The variants in the NT text are proportionately very few. Of course I understand they matter and that's why we're having this discussion, but inaccurate statements like the one you just made aren't helpful.

The "standard" you seek is in the text that you refer to. "The words of the prophecy of this book." That's it. So if you know a word is there and you deliberately remove it, the passage applies to you.

Your rhetoric about the Traditional Text becomes meaningless once you admit that the Traditional Text also contains thousands of variants. You have the same problem I have. The only difference is, I go to the autographs to solve it. You go to 1611.


Bobby Mitchell,

I assumed nothing about your conversation with this young man. My comments were based directly on what you said in your post (check out the words I put in quotations to see where I made my inferences).

Your post contains ad hominem attacks, condescension, and invalid logic. Additionally, your attitude of if-you-were-as-humble-and-godly-as-me-you'd-be-able-to-see-it is arrogant and cultish.

I'm guessing you haven't had many people tell you that before. But it's true.

Bobby Mitchell said...

Jason,

David admitted that he was simple and humble about receiving God's Words. He submitted to them and claimed that since he did he had more understanding than the ancients and his teachers! I suppose you would have rebuked him for arrogancy too.

The arrogancy here is actually the possession of you who refuse to submit to the Word of God that proceeded out of the mouth of God and has been kept by the power of God through the churches of God for the glory of God! You can try to find God's Word(s) with your faithless science falsely so-called. I'll rejoice in the Word(s) of God and, by His grace, I'll submit to it and preach it for His purposes and glory.

I'm out for now and I'll leave you to the Lord.

Jason said...

Bobby Mitchell,

I do indeed "submit to the Word of God that proceeded out of the mouth of God and has been kept by the power of God through the churches of God for the glory of God."

The problem is you are equivocating because by Word of God you actually mean TR or KJV. In other words, you've read your extra-biblical conclusions into the text of Scripture and then treated them as binding for me. That's called eisegesis. That's putting words in God's mouth.

The Puritan said...

>Your rhetoric about the Traditional Text becomes meaningless once you admit that the Traditional Text also contains thousands of variants. You have the same problem I have. The only difference is, I go to the autographs to solve it. You go to 1611.

Spelling and punctuation vs. the Shepherd of Hermas and Arian corruption throughout. Jason, you won't ever change your position here, fallen man is too vain and prideful and self-willful to do that; but as time carries on try to see that you are currently in a very empty (vain) state and heading to even more emptiness. proponentproponent

Jason said...

I posted a response to Bobby Mitchell which hasn't shown up. Perhaps Kent can let me know if I didn't submit it correctly.

Jason said...

Ok. Well, if my responses aren't going to be posted, there's no point continuing.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Jason,

The comment section on my dashboard says, "No unmoderated comments found." I'm sorry if something happened to your comment, but it wasn't me. I've had the same kind of thing happen with either blogger or wordpress, but it wasn't me deleting it.

Jason said...

Thanks Kent. Glad to hear it. =)

I think this discussion has come to the end of its usefulness for the most part, but I look forward to the possibility of moving forward with your posted thoughts on epistemology at some point.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Jason,

For a man to say he believes two different Bibles that say two different things, is logically untenable.