Wednesday, August 05, 2015

More James White on the Version Issue: Either He Doesn't Know What He's Talking About or He's Lying -- Pt. 3

Part One.  Part Two.

After the 1:13 mark, with mocking tone White asks, "What edition of the 'texti recepti' is the one being referred to by the 1689 that I allegedly don't believe as a reformed Baptist elder?"  The "which edition" question is sort of supposed to be the clinching argument against preservation for CT advocates (it's the same one that Ruckmanite George is asking us here to buttress his position, by the way).  Of course those men in the late 17th century were well aware of the various editions of the TR, when they wrote that God kept His Word pure in all ages in the original languages.  Their theological predisposition led to a strong biblical presupposition of God's preservation of His Words.  That's what one will read in all of their writings.  They believed they had every Word and all of them available to them in their age, because God had kept them pure.

White wants to move this from the biblical and theological to the forensic.  I say "forensic" because as someone with a Christian worldview, I believe that theology represents total truth, so it is as scientific as gravity.  There is a science to theology.  God is real.  He is doing what He said He would do.  That is scientific, like I believe in creation and the flood.  The Bible is scientific.  The canonization of 66 books is scientific.  The Holy Spirit pointed those out by means of the unity of the Spirit in His people.  They agreed through the Spirit on those books.  Believers applied that same science, already established by God's revelation, to the text of scripture.  That's how it reads.  That is what they believed.  Their approach was theological, which is scientific.  White rejects that science for man's reason and observations and documentation, superior science to him, and what can really prove something out there in his apologetical battlefield.

The authors of the confessions didn't tell us what edition of the TR, but it was the TR, because the TR was what was available.  We can't assume that they would choose something different, when their doctrinal statement says that God kept what they had pure in all ages.  What they didn't have wasn't preserved for them.  That is the science behind it.  It is a biblical and theological presupposition that can't be and should not be infringed.  If you do, you've stopped believing in preservation, that is, you've stopped believing God, believing what He said He would do.  If this was the position of believers and you want to overturn that, you've got to do more than what White is doing.  You've got to show how that their scriptural presuppositions were wrong and then show yours.  He does nothing like that, because in his worldview, theology isn't science.

White incredulously asks, "If you can't produce 'it' [an edition the LBC to White had to be talking about], don't put it in writing I don't believe what the confession states."  There are at least two fallacies.  One is simple.  He is arguing from a false premise, because LBC wasn't referring to a printed edition, but to the Words themselves.  Second, it is non sequitur, that is, the conclusion doesn't follow from the premise.  The LBC wasn't talking about an edition of the TR.  We know that from reading what these men wrote.  The two fallacies interrelate.

From there, White asks, "What manuscript?"  He dangles his TR in front of the camera and says with a disdaining, sinister tone, "Because as you know, there is no manuscript in the universe that reads exactly as the textus receptus."  I understand that these are pat, oft repeated modern arguments for a critical text, that bring no theological underpinning.  Their theology is an absence of theology -- atheological. His statement is very loaded.  By "manuscript," he means hand copy.  He says, "reads," which is present tense, so the hand copy must exist in this generation to count as authoritative.  If it existed in the past to provide a basis for a TR edition, but it isn't available today, for the sake of his argument that can't be true, even if it is true.  "Exactly" means it could be only a very few words for this statement to be true.  All of that is why I say, "loaded."

Over a hundred years elapsed for time to consider the questions White is asking, and yet those men still wrote those confessions based upon their biblical presuppositions.  The fodder White uses to discredit them does not overturn the doctrine.  The small list of words to which White refers that form the basis of his entire argument don't overturn what God said about His Book.  The textual questions have sufficient answers to the one with scriptural presuppositions. Again, White must deal with the underlying doctrinal position.  He also  must consider the uniformity of that doctrine.  It was what everyone was writing and saying.  There were hundreds of years of this, and when it was replaced in the 19th century, it didn't come with an accompanying exegetical basis.  There is no doctrine believed by Christians that should be supplanted without a thorough exegetical explanation to start, which provides a clear biblical antithesis to the false view. The exegesis should proceed the other reasons.

By the way, changing established doctrine could be called and usually is referred to as "heresy."  It is dividing off the established, settled, believed teaching.  That is what is happening with White.  He's desperate about the charge against him, but he isn't dealing with it like he would other doctrines.  He doesn't believe this doctrine the same as other ones.  This is no semper reformanda.

White says, "That's the problem with this ecclesiastical text stuff (emphasis his)," mocking the biblical position of historic Christianity with purposeful slang.  It isn't the problem or a problem, either.  It's a doctrinal position that comes from proper exegesis of the text and then applying that right interpretation.  That's how they did things then, and that is the problem for White.  He doesn't like the LBC position, but if he's going to overturn it, he needs to dig into the theological and biblical presuppositions, because that's where they were coming from, unlike him.  Critiquing what they possessed is not enough.  He says this stuff can't give us a text.  It actually did give us a text, as he knows.  They used the textus receptus. They settled on that.  He's making a big deal about things that they didn't, because he has an agenda he's using that for.  That's all it is.  These people were giants compared to James White and he's ripping on them for his own purposes.

The minor differences between those editions were not enough for them, and, yes, the King James Translators settled on particular words as a basis for their translation.  I don't accept that they didn't have mansucript evidence, because I don't know, but I do accept the scriptural presuppositions for the position.  That's where my authority comes from.  Scriptural authority prevails over White.

White makes one outlandish statement or question after another and presents multiple strawmen in a kind of scorched earth methodology.  Shortly after the 1:14 minute mark, he squishes his face in the most foul way, and says, "Erasmus, the Roman Catholic priest (emphasis his) had to do textual criticism.  He had to, even amongst the small number of manuscripts he had, make choices, and at times he made choices based upon the Western text that was found in the Latin Vulgate.  You've got to live with that reality."  This is a red herring.  It's a smoke cloud.  It's a fog.  Whatever metaphor you want to call it.  After almost 200 years, everybody knew about all that, and they all still believed what scripture said.  White throws in "Roman Catholic" and "Latin Vulgate" and "textual criticism."  None of that changes what the men wrote in 1689, representing what people believed then.  Consider what Kurt Aland himself writes in two publications, The Text of the Church? and The Text of the New Testament:

It is undisputed that Luther used the Greek Textus Receptus for his translation of the German New Testament in 1522 and all its later editions (although the term itself was not yet in use at the time). . . . [So did] all the translators of the New Testament in the 16th century (e.g., the Zürich version). All the translations of the 17th century, including the King James version of 1611, the 'Authorized Version, were also based on this text. Thus the New Testament of the church in the period of the Reformation was based on the Textus Receptus.  It is equally undisputed that in the 16th or 17th century (and for that matter well into the 18th century) anyone with a Greek New Testament would have had a copy of the Textus Receptus. . . . Finally it is undisputed that from the 16th to the 18th century orthodoxy’s doctrine of verbal inspiration assumed this Textus Receptus. . . . [The] Textus Receptus . . . in this period . . . was regarded as preserving even to the last detail the inspired and infallible word of God himself. . . . [T]his Byzantine text was regarded as ‘the text of the church’ . . . from the 4th . . . century.

Everyone knows that, including Kurt Aland.  That is what they believed in 1689.  Whatever cloud White wants to stir to further his agenda, this is all still true.  You can't believe those confessions and also believe what White does.  He denies what they wrote.

More to Come.

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