I do find myself boggled with the people who try to spin the Bible into saying something else about it besides perfect preservation. What good do they get from having it not say it's preserved? Less faith. More doubt. Less certainty. More disobedience. Is that what they want?? They might say, "It doesn't teach that, at least like you're saying!" But theirs is a new viewpoint. Christians have thought it did say that. You read it and it says it. The Bible says it and Christians have thought and said that it said it, until along came textual criticism. We wrote a whole book about it, that was mainly attacked in very crazy, off-the-wall ways. When you read the criticisms, you know their position is in trouble. A lot of the criticisms are insane.
I want to give you a recent example. I'm going to have to review this guy's book, because in the main it is a book to bash our book. I don't want to give any attention to his book, which is my main negative to not reviewing it. One more person might read it and entertain accusations that should not be considered. The book was pushed along and encouraged and then the preface was written by the great scholar Bob Hayton. I would say that Bob has an axe to grind. A big one. Most people don't know how big of an axe Bob Hayton is grinding. They don't know what motivates his material. It's easy to see if he was a member of your church, like he was ours, and you saw what he did and then what he later said about it. Bob knows our position. He was in our church. He accepted our position. He didn't oppose it. He asked questions about it, but gave no sign that he didn't believe it. I write all this about Bob, because Bob knows a bold faced particular lie in a recent published book is not true. He knows it, and he says nothing about it. It's a mean, evil, very scummy thing. And he's good with it. He brags on the book, knowing this lie is in it. The book isn't very good, and I'll talk about it at some point, but I'm going to talk about this one whopper of a lie first.
When I read the left, I have noticed that they have no moral compunctions against lying to get their point done. It is "end justifies the means," a philosophy of utiliarianism and pragmatism that came out of the age of reason. God is diminished, man is at the center of things, and lies become acceptable. You know for sure then that they are not interested in the truth.
I've been preaching through 2 Corinthians and I know it isn't new. Paul was attacked in the most scandalous ways by false teachers to discredit him, to ruin his reputation, so that the false teachers could have their way with the Corinthians. You've got to expect it. You saw the Pharisees do it with Jesus. So what are you to think when you see these critical text people do this? I have to say I get it now. It's sad. I wish it weren't true, but it is. They will use whatever they want, whatever it takes for them, to destroy the truth on this. It's their way at almost any cost. It's just the way it goes, I guess. I don't want to believe it's true, but I've just seen it too much.
Jason Harris in his new book, called The Doctrine of Scripture (highly misrepresentative really), mainly just attacks the perfect preservation view. It's not any kind of quality, well-researched, scholarly, studied-out book on the doctrine of Scripture. It's just a hatchet job against the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture, regularly making outlandish statements without any documentation, asserting what it cannot prove. He doesn't present any kind of historic, established, or exegetical view himself of this. He just smears the perfect preservation position and assaults the people who believe it. He lumps all sorts of different positions together as if they are one, not distinguishing between them. The people cheering him on wouldn't care about such inaccuracy.
In a section on 1 Peter 1:23-25, Harris deals with the notion of people who believe that someone can only be saved by means of the preaching of the King James Version. In that section, he quotes Jack Hyles as having taken that position. It's true that Hyles took it. Our book was very clear to say that position was wrong. I wrote a footnote in that chapter and the first line of it reads:
There is enough of God's Word (at least 93%) in the CT that a person could be born again by means of that text.
And then the rest of the footnote backs up that initial statement. That is an unequivocal statement that would deny anything that Hyles wrote. Even further, I write:
As strong as this text is in relating salvation to the purity of the Bible, it does not go so far as to teach that conversion can only occur through the King James Version.
But Harris can't leave it alone. He has to somehow connect us with this false position. It's the strategy that false teachers do, who don't have the truth on their side. They misrepresent people to harm their reputation and their credibility. Of course, Bob Hayton knows we don't believe anything close to that, but he likes to have us smeared, even if it takes a lie to do so.
After dealing with Hyles in his footnote, he quotes three different people in our book: Gary LaMore, Dave Sutton, and then me. His quote from LaMore was saying nothing more than we are dependent on God's preservation of His Word in order to be saved. Are we to assume that Harris believes that we can be saved without the Word of God? Are we? Should we assume that? Perhaps I could write a book that says that Jason Harris believes we can be saved without the Bible. I'm not going to do that, but why would he attack LaMore, who said nothing more than that?
He quotes Dave Sutton with a big bracketed statement in it as an attempt at mind reading from Sutton's chapter on the phrase, "it is written." Here's what Harris writes, first quoting Sutton with his own bracketed material included:
"The doctrine of salvation is dependent upon preservation. If there were no preserved Words [he's implying preservation in a particular text], then there would be no preached Word, and man could not believe on Jesus Christ; for 'faith cometh by hearing.'" Following this logic, if one does not have the right "Words" (i.e., the text Sutton holds to) how can he be saved?
No, that is not Sutton's logic. It isn't what he was thinking or writing. He's actually writing what he means. If you don't have the Words, then you can't preach them, and people are saved through hearing them preached. That's what Romans 10 says. Is Harris saying that you can be saved by Words that are not in fact God's Words? If one can be saved by any Words, Words that are not in God's Word, then why would someone need the Word of God? This is what Harris is denying by attempting to smear Sutton. I don't think it's worth it to have so much disdain for someone else's position, that when you go after it, you risk orthodox doctrine yourself. That's what Harris does.
Then he quotes my chapter on Deuteronomy 30:11-14 and accessibility or availability of God's Words. People use the unavailability of scripture as an excuse for not obeying God. God says the Words will be there for us and Paul quotes this passage in Romans 10, a salvation passage. I've preached through the whole book of Deuteronomy, studying it in the original languages, and I know what Deuteronomy is all about. I talk about the layout of Deuteronomy in my chapter, and I don't think that Harris understands it. I'm not going to say he didn't read it, but he writes like he didn't read the chapter. If he understood the chapter, he would know that agreement to obey all that God said is equated with salvation in Deuteronomy. That's how Deuteronomy reads. Harris quotes one line from that chapter.
Belief in Christ assumes the reception of all God's Words.
From that line, Harris extrapolates a truckload. He says:
This statement implies the dangerous error that belief in Brandenburg's understanding of preservation is necessary to salvation.
Really? That's what that line implies, especially in light of the teaching of Deuteronomy and the instruction in that chapter? Remember, I wrote that footnote to LaMore's 1 Peter 1:23-25 chapter. The first line said that people can be saved through the critical text. I edited the book. I wrote that line in the footnote. Why try to read into something that I wrote something that I clearly said that I don't believe? Harris is very, very loose with the truth. He is so eager to discredit us that he's fine lying about us.
There will those who will be fine with Harris's lie, because he's lying about me, and that's fine. He's smearing me, so that's good. That's how they roll. That is their method of operation. They'll be fine with it. They will defend Jason, attack me. I'm expecting that people will say, "You lied about me!" And then they'll make up things about that too. Of course, if they are concerned about lies, then they wouldn't want someone lying like that, but they aren't concerned about lies, but about a position that they appreciate, adore, support, like, or love being defended and believed. If lies are what it takes, you use them. The lies you oppose are the ones that hurt your position, but you're not really interested in the truth.
Should I assume that Harris believes that someone can deny God's Words, the ones He doesn't like or agree with, and still believe in Jesus Christ? In other words, can someone be unrepentant of rebellion against teaching of God and still believe in Jesus Christ? Is Harris into easy-believism? All I would need to do is ask Harris if that's true. That wouldn't be hard. And that's what Harris did with me, rather than say that I believe this "dangerous error" that he says I believe. No. He doesn't ask me. He just makes the statement without proof. It's horrible.
I can guarantee you that the rest of the book is the same. I'm not saying it is bereft of truth at all, but it is full of these same types of problems all over. I'll be dealing with them, but this is representative of the kind of effort that he is willing to produce.
There is a lot of this that I read from critical text people. Many are fully willing to do this kind of twisting. You know their position is in trouble when it's propped up by blatant lies.