Friday, June 30, 2017

Andrew Murray, Mystical Quietist and Higher Life / Keswick Writer, part 7 of 7

The content of this post has now been moved to:
Please click on the link above to read the complete form of parts 1-7 that used to be in the posts here at What is Truth?.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Role of the Attack on Spanking in Worldwide Apostasy

What gives wisdom?  Proverbs 29:15 says, the rod and reproof do -- reproof, yes, but also the rod. The rod.  Say it.  The rod.  The rod is an indispensable requirement for parenting.  I'm not saying that people couldn't still turn out fine, but in most cases and most likely not.  The rod is disappearing today in our culture.  It's easy to see, just like the Bible being removed from the public school.  In most cases evangelicals are cooperating with the elimination of the rod, taking it out of the toolbox. Reproof isn't popular either.

Spanking is still allowed for parents in the state of California, but it was outlawed in the public school starting in 1986.  In 2007, the state attempted to outlaw spanking for all parents, but the bill was stopped in the state legislature, in a major way because of the influence of our church.  That was ten years ago.  We still can spank in this state and God used our church to save it for parents.  That's about 40 million people who still have this freedom, and most don't even know how they almost lost it. I want to start to tell the story and then talk about the overall issue.

Today there are visible attacks on religious freedom in the United States.  This administration may be providing some push back for Christians, who believe and practice the Bible, and others who borrow from the Christian worldview on child discipline.  You see it with the Hobby Lobby case, the transgender bathroom issue, and the cake baking and flower arrangement cases.  If Hillary had won, things would be worse.  Her village would have intervened in your home life.  One of the prominent attacks on biblical obedience by the United States government today is in the area of child discipline, specifically in the attack on spanking.

Since Proverbs says that the rod and reproof give wisdom, the world, the flesh, and the devil oppose both the rod and reproof, but especially the rod.  Many times parents won't spank their children in a biblical way, but it is possible that the day is near that they can't.  Today the practice is chilled by various child protective services.  Child protective services does some good work.  They do.  The good work they do is outweighed, as I see it, by the bad they do in trying to find abuse that isn't there, but what is actually just good parenting by parents who still follow the Bible.  They find actual child abuse, but they harm biblical parenting and over all more children are endangered.  Everyone reading this knows that if you spank a child and leave a mark, and you have a doctor visit scheduled soon thereafter, you could get in trouble.  This is never ending at this point in American history.  I believe this is a major contributor to end time apostasy as we see it here in this country.

A legislator in California, a single woman with a pet cat, and sort of social justice warrior, wanted to do away with spanking, which in the bill she wrote, was taking away the use of an implement. Parents would be outlawed from using a switch, a fairly thin tree branch that is part of our national heritage.  Everyone understands a child being taken behind the woodshed and dad using the switch he pulled off the tree for a time of correction.

You can read the stories on the internet if you google "spanking," "Bethel," and "California."  I actually read a story I had not seen, written in a publication in South San Francisco in 2014, that said that our school was the last one in the entire state to use corporal punishment.  What does that say about this state?  I know parents are afraid to send their kids to the public school, because they are afraid for their safety.  Teachers cannot keep control of their classrooms.  Meanwhile at our school, children are happy, growing, thriving in quiet classrooms, learning, because there is a threat to go to the office for swats.   We rarely give them, but that tool is still in our toolbox.  Others have eliminated it because of the liability or the hassle or the perception, like they are ashamed of what the Bible teaches on this.  Why should anyone believe anything in the Bible if we don't like everything in it?

Have you ever seen the crazed people who oppose spanking?  Almost ten years ago, I saw a very strange, weirdo looking character standing in our parking lot, looking at our children while they were playing.  He was a man with long black hair to his waist.  He just stood their watching.  I noticed it and ignored it, then I looked later, and there he was still. I walked out to talk to him, and he told me he was standing there, because he was trying to figure out how he could close our school down.  I spent the next two hours talking to him in the hot sun, burning the top of my head.  He didn't do anything, because I think I somewhat persuaded him that we were helping children.

How the battle started for us was the following, and I'll end with this part of it.  One of the parents in our school sent their foster child to the school, and they were spanking him.  You can't spank foster kids, maybe anywhere in the country.  The child complained to the foster child leadership, they sent it to child protective services (CPS), and the interview of the child had to be at his school.  We were his school.  CPS came to our property and interviewed him in the office.  They had an obvious bias right away against us, because this child had been spanked.  The family didn't get in trouble, because spanking was still legal.  They just couldn't keep the child any longer, and the child, I know, because he's been in touch since, went to really bad situations, that were actually abusive.  However, they were abuses the state tolerated, because they were politically correct.  What I'm saying is that they didn't actually protect the child. They hurt him.

When CPS visited us, they noticed a tract our other pastor had written on corporal punishment on spanking, essentially exegesis of scripture meant to help parents.  The CPS people took that tract and they sent it to the newspaper, and because of this law that was in the state legislature, it went to front page, top fold news.  CPS was trying to hurt us and getting glee out of it.  We had several articles written about us.  The major television in the Bay Area here came out to do news stories and interviewing people.

CPS and the news really, really wanted to find a bunch of kooks to show how horrible spanking was.  It didn't work.  Our people were very reasonable.  There were no skeletons in our closet.  We looked like decent, caring, loving people.  The children looked great, and it really did backfire.  The woman legislator with the cat is the one who came off looking weird.  The media was interpreted as overweening before there was fake news.  Parents were not going to deny what was plainly in their face.  This is a witch hunt.  The only repercussions were that we lost a few parents, who were just afraid of the state, and it affected our enrollment from a few.  Overall, it's been a plus for us.  We don't want a big school and so it helps screen out people very nicely.

Meanwhile, the bill was going through the state legislature, and I'll talk about that next time.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Perversion of God's Grace from Evangelicals

Nothing was wrong with the Old Testament.  Salvation wasn't different in the Old Testament.  It was like the book of Hebrews talks about, a shadow of things to come.  It was good for what it was, but a proper understanding and acceptance of it is a move toward the New Testament.  You don't really accept the Old if you don't receive the New.  The new covenant is a superior covenant.

The Old Testament isn't law and the New Testament grace.  They are both grace.  A perversion of the old covenant could be "law."  The Old Testament itself, however, is grace.  Old and New are both grace.

Both the Old and the New Testament have "rules."  "Rules" are a means of ruling.  God is sovereign.  He rules.  We look to what God says in His Word to see what His rules are.  He says that if you love Him, you will keep His rules.  The one that God receives to Himself is not the one who says, Lord, Lord, and doesn't do what God says.  It is he who does the will of the Father, like Jesus did.

Justification by faith is not a get out of jail free card.  Paul was clear on that in Romans 6.  He also said that grace is not an occasion, a base of operations, to and for the flesh.  In Jude, we see false teachers who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.

Grace enables righteous living.  God works in someone both to will and to do of His good pleasure. A primary purpose of church is to to consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.  What are good works?  Are they not the works that God prescribes in His Word?  Are those not rules?  How are we supposed to provoke someone to good works, if we are to just wait for the Holy Spirit to do it? That's not something taught anywhere in scripture.

What I'm describing is how evangelicalism and now much of fundamentalism approaches biblical teaching that they don't like.  They call it legalism.  The grace of God, however, is not a garbage can that just keeps swallowing up disobedience to God's Word.  It is a cleansing agent that empowers righteous living, which is obedience to what God said.

Evangelicals and many fundamentalists pervert God's grace today.  2 Peter 2 talks about it.  Men don't want to do what God says and the grace of God is corrupted to allow people to disobey scripture. That's not how God's grace works.  Paul told Titus that God's grace taught believers to deny worldly lust and to live soberly and righteously in this present world.

According to James, believers are presented with tests of faith. They are to pray for wisdom to pass those tests.  What is wisdom?  It is the proper application of scripture.  Why does someone need wisdom if scripture doesn't need to be applied?  If the only scripture someone obeys are specific actions stated, no wisdom is needed for that.  It's just wrote obedience.  However, scripture does need application.

Almost all of scripture comes in principles that need to be applied.  The application comes in a second term.  God commands no corrupt communication to proceed from the mouth.  Wisdom requires understanding what corrupt communication is.  Believers are assumed to know.

Today if a church has a modesty or dress standard, it is called legalist.  I know because our church gets it all the time.  We rarely talk about dress.  However, we are still criticized as legalistic.  I hear these evangelicals, conservative ones, say that we are dangerous because we are telling people to keep rules and rules are legalism.

God's grace doesn't allow nudity.  It doesn't allow cross dressing.  Are those rules?  They are God ruling by His grace in the life of a believer.  Grace isn't less holy.  It allows someone to live holy and pure.

The apostate wants to do what he wants.  He doesn't want a boss.  A common corruption of grace allows him to do what he wants and yet still categorize himself as spiritual enough, godly enough, or religious enough.  This false, made-up, perversion of grace takes care of all the ways he disobeys God by not applying scripture.  He's doing what he wants and still getting credit for doing what God wants, at least in his mind.  That isn't the grace of God.  It isn't how God's grace works.

Whole evangelical churches are doing what they want and calling it the grace of God.  They design their churches to be worldly to attract the worldly.  If you critique their music and their dress or lack thereof, they pull the legalist card.  This is old.  It occurs again and again.

If you read here, you know I call them legalistic.  They are the true legalists in the tradition of the Pharisees, who reduced God's rules, His laws, to what they could keep.  Evangelicals don't require obedience to the so-called non-essentials.  Their view of grace says that those are permissible.  The non-essential list is growing.  They are not non-essential to God. God wants believers to live according to every Word that proceeds from His mouth.  That's also how God's grace works.

Evangelicals, operating in the flesh, shorten the list of commandments or sayings to be kept, to a list they can keep.  Pharisees did this.  They asked Jesus the greatest commandment, because they were accustomed to ranking their laws, because they knew they couldn't keep them all in their flesh.  Evangelicalism keeps its own rules, except in the flesh.  It keeps those rules by reducing them to a smaller number.  This is not how the Bible teaches Christian living.  God's grace enables a believer to keep everything that God said.  It is a supernatural, spiritual work in the soul of a man that testifies to God.

Reductionism, reducing what scripture has to be kept to a smaller number, depends on the flesh.  It is left-wing legalism.  It says that it is grace, but it really is an operation of the flesh to live how someone wants to live, but still call it Christian living.  It isn't, and it won't be judged as so.

I'm tired of the legalism card, but I think it will keep going.  It is a horrendous lie that is used out of guilt.  Evangelicals are guilty of violating scripture.  Their programs and their attendance and their gimmicks are more important than the Word of God.  They are willing to keep their crowd by lying and calling true believers, legalists.  I expect it will continue.

Friday, June 23, 2017

No Two Biblical Manuscripts Are The Same? Old and New Testament Evidence

Have you heard the oft-repeated assertion that "no two Biblical manuscripts are the same?"  It is one of the most often-repeated arguments by enemies of the God of Scripture and opponents of perfect preservation.  However, it is simply false. There are early copies that are identical to the later printed texts.  For example, you can view the Qumran manuscript 4QGenb (4Q2) here.  A picture from this manuscript, which dates to c. A. D. 50, is below:

This manuscript "is identical to codex L," (Emmanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 3rd ed. [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012], 31), the basis for the common printed Hebrew Bible published by the United Bible Society, as well as being identical to the Hebrew Received Text published by the Trinitarian Bible Society.  You are, thus, viewing with your eyes a very ancient Hebrew text that is identical to printed editions of the Hebrew Bible.

What about for the New Testament? Consider the copy below:

P52, the oldest undisputed fragment from the Gospel of John, dates between A. D. 90-125 (J. Kenneth Eakins et al., “Archaeology and Biblical Study,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 100; Lee Strobel, In Defense of Jesus:  Investigating Attacks on the Identity of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 2007), “Interview #2, Daniel B. Wallace.”)  It contains a Greek text that is identical to modern printed editions of the Gospel of John.  P52 was discovered in an obscure village in Egypt a great distance from Ephesus, where the Gospel of John was composed, demonstrating that the book had been in circulation for quite some time before this very ancient manuscript was copied.  Keener explains:

This text’s discovery far from the Gospel’s likely places of origin pushes its proposed date of writing back at least a quarter century[.] . . . Nor does the manuscript allow us to suppose that this represents a pre-Johannine tradition on which John based part of his Gospel . . .[this] oldest fragment of the Gospel of John . . . does not differ by a single word from our printed Greek texts. . . . 𝔓52 . . . proves the [early] existence and use of the Fourth Gospel in a little provincial town along the Nile, far from its traditional place of composition (Ephesus in Asia Minor)[.] (Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary & 2, vol. 1 [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012], 141–142.)

Thus, very ancient manuscripts of the Bible that are exactly identical with modern printed texts exist.

Furthermore, there are many Biblical manuscripts that represent the text-type found in the Textus Receptus and the Authorized, King James Version that are identical with each other even over the space of entire books.  (This is not the case with the inferior and tiny minority of manuscripts that support the modern Greek critical text). For example, click here to view four manuscripts from widely separated parts of the world, copied in different centuries (and collated by Dr. Wilbur Pickering), that have a text that is absolutely identical for the entire book of Titus

One can contrast this extremely careful copying of the Received Text with the very careless copying of the favorite MSS of the critical text, Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph). Herman Hoskier did a full collation of Aleph and B, and in the Gospels he found the following:[1]

Disagreements between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus

Compare this with the differences between the Westcott-Hort or critical Greek text and the Received Text in the entire New Testament:

TR Has 140,521 Greek words. W/H changes 5,604 places in the N.T.
TR has 647 pp. in Greek Text. W/H changes include 9,970 Greek words.
TR has 217 Greek words. per page. W/H changes 15.4 Greek words per page.
TR has 100% of the Greek words. W/H changes 7% of the Greek words.
TR has all 647 pp. unchanged. W/H changes total 45.9 pp. in Greek text.[2]

The number of differences between Aleph and B just in the Gospels is comparable to the number of Greek words in which the TR and the W/H text differ in the entire NT--if one extends the average number of disagreements in the Gospels between Aleph and B over the entire NT, there would be more disagreements between the two MSS that critical text advocates falsely claim are the best than there are between the Received Text and the W/H printed editions!

Facts such as these--and there are many more where these came from--should put to rest the myth that there are no Biblical manuscripts that are identical with each other.  They should also show the unsoundness of the critical Greek text and the modern Bible versions based upon it and the superiority of the preserved Word of God contained in the Hebrew and Greek Received Texts from which the Authorized, King James Version was translated.

[1]           Herman Hoskier, Codex B and its Allies:  A Study and an Indictment, vol. 2 (London:  Bernard Quaritch, 1914) 1.
[2]           Donald Waite, Defending the King James Bible (Collingswood, NJ:  Bible for Today, n. d.) “Forward.”

Friday, June 16, 2017

Andrew Murray, Mystical Quietist and Higher Life / Keswick Writer, part 6 of 7

The content of this post has now been moved to:
Please click on the link above to read the complete form of parts 1-7 that used to be in the posts here at What is Truth?.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Assessing Comments on Thou Shalt Keep Them, part two

Part One

The purpose of Thou Shalt Keep Them (TSKT) was to exegete passages on preservation of scripture, like one would exegete passages on salvation for a book on salvation or passages on the Trinity for a book on the Trinity.  That's what we did.  The main criticism of the book has been about the lacking manuscript evidence.  I plead, can we please consider first if the Bible teaches its own preservation? What does the Bible say about its own preservation?  When that doesn't seem to matter or just doesn't matter to people, even those who call themselves professing Christians, I wonder about their approach to anything.

Excerpts of TSKT were posted twice at SharperIron (here and here), and I assessed 18 comments out of what were 39 and now 45.  This will cover the rest.  In general, those commenting didn't interact with the actual posts written, didn't show how that a passage wasn't saying what I wrote that it did. They didn't address the actual post in the comment section (until the last few comments, someone finally did).

Dave Barnhart commented again, and said that his big problem with my argument was that he needed to know what the Bible was before he could believe what it said.  There wasn't this kind of doubt in the first century.  Saints received scripture as the Word of God.  This continued to be true until textual criticism proceeded from unbelieving doubt about the Bible.  Nevertheless, none of the preservation passages were affected by textual variants.  When it comes to the Genesis account, would Barnhart say, "I'm not sure I have Genesis, so I don't know if I can believe the account, until I know that it is Genesis?"  Unlikely.  This is the same.

J. Ng uses the LXX argument, which says that Jesus quoted from a corrupted Septuagint, an argument that has arisen for the critical text in defense of no scriptural bibliology.  I've written extensively here on this subject (here, here, and here), and take the same position as John Owen did, who wrote about it in his biblical theology.  The conclusion, if you agree with Ng, is that the individual words didn't matter to Jesus, just the overall message.  This flies in the face of what the Bible (and Jesus) says about itself.

For Aaron Blumer's next comment, a question that arises from reading what the Bible teaches on its own preservation is, should we expect word-for-word preservation?  What percentage of exactness would we expect based on biblical promises?  Once we are settled on what the Bible teaches, we adjust our view to that.  Blumer seems to be saying that we adjust what the Bible says to our observations of the history of textual transmission.

JBL says he hasn't heard a credible rebuttal to the lack of evidence there ever has been a word-for-word preservation in church history.  Actually, we've had to answer that again and again here and have written whole posts on the history of the doctrine.  Saints believed that the words of the text they possessed were identical to the originals.  Where errors were made in one copy, they were corrected in another.

Tyler speaks to the LXX argument again (which I addressed above to J Ng) and gives a partial answer to himself.  The LXX is corrupt and Jesus wouldn't have treated it like it was trustworthy.

Contrary to Bob Hayton, the TSKT position in the book or otherwise, is not buttressed by our local only ecclesiology, which again is why Reformed and Presbyterians take the same position with a different ecclesiology.  What he's saying is false, but that doesn't matter at SI.  It goes unrefuted, except I write here.  John Owen didn't have the same ecclesiology and we take his position on this.  It seems par for the course though.  Regarding his unrelated issue of the inspiration of the Hebrew vowel points, read Thomas Ross's article.

What seems to be crucial in an attack (from Bob in his comment) on the scriptural doctrine of preservation is the criticism of  Erasmus's TR edition, whether there is manuscript evidence for wording in a few passages.  This does not proceed from a study of the Bible on preservation.  As well, the "which TR" question doesn't change what scripture says about its own preservation.  That's got to be dealt with first.  We shouldn't invent a new way to deal with biblical doctrine that starts outside of the Bible, just because of so-called manuscript evidence.

Aaron comes in to support Bob Hayton by saying that TSKT relies on history instead of scripture, but he doesn't give a scintilla of proof for that.  I can only assume that he means that in looking for a fulfillment of what the Bible teaches, the authors accept what had been preserved and was available as preserved and available.  When Daniel's prophecies were fulfilled, it wasn't relying on history in saying that Daniel's prophecies were fulfilled.  Promises of God are fulfilled in real time outside of scripture, but they are dependent on scripture, not history.  His comment ended the commentary on the first post.

Starting comments on the second post, Josh P says that I'm saying that Christians should believe God preserved His Words in my preferred text.  He says I'm snide because of that.  Men jumped to my defense, because of name-calling.  Not.  No foul called.  Just the opposite, presuppositions based upon scriptural exegesis lead me to my position.  Whatever doesn't fit the biblical presupposition, I reject.  I do the same thing with my Christology.  Are people who do that with other doctrines, snide too?

Bert Perry says that I want words of scripture to be preserved so I look for that in the passages on preservation to guide what they mean.  He uses Matthew 5:18 as an example even though the post was on Matthew 24:35, typical of the comment section.  When Jesus said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," I think that teaches preservation of jots and tittles because I want it to say that.   He then says, lost in that, is the real debate, which is the meaning of logos.  Is logos the actual words or the message?  That is the real debate lost in this jot and tittle meaning.  I'm struggling taking Bert's comment seriously.

Mr. Bean says that the reason we wrote the book was because it provided another reason to separate. That too was left unrefuted.  Mr. Bean is a nice man.  He's very funny too.  He should do stand-up for critical text fundamentalists or evangelicals, whichever he is, because he would pack it out with his material.

Tyler engages Bert's comment about logos, and says it is a legitimate comment, because the meaning of logos depends on the context.  Context would mean, however, that you are looking at scripture for your position, wouldn't it?  In Matthew 24:35, the yet to be addressed theme of the post, it is plural, "words."  When it says, "words" (logoi), is that "the message"?  It's easy to see in 1 Peter 1:23-25 that logos and rhema are used interchangeably.  That is a point worth noting too.  In the end, what does it matter if I'm assuming the meaning based on my desire for word perfect preservation, what Bert says is my real motive and manner of operation?

T Howard chimes in, "Not so fast!"  He writes, "The text in context only teaches the authority and validity of Jesus's words as being God's words."  We should applaud that T Howard is the first man to comment on the post.  However, not so fast, what about the words passing away?  Are words passing away or not?  Words not passing away means that they can't lose their authority and validity?  That seems to be what T Howard is writing.  I need a little more information, and I'm saying that very slowly.

Skipping Jim Peet's link to my post, Thomas Overmiller provides links to Aaron's series on TSKT. Look at the sidebar, because I answered Aaron Blumer's series then too.  You can find those posts there.  Regarding his public apology, he doesn't actually say that he does anything wrong.  Look for yourself.  He hadn't read the book by his own admission and he misrepresents the book.  It is a classic non-apology apology.  I apologize if I did anything wrong (which you all know that I didn't, because it's just a disagreement).  The one thing he doesn't do is interact with the posts or Matthew 24:35. He writes a lot of words saying he disagrees conscientiously, because he doesn't believe the passages teach what I'm saying they do.  What do they teach?  Overmiller silence.  Not helpful.

Jay doesn't talk about the post either.  He can't remember, but he thinks Kent used a Psalm passage to say that God preserved the KJV, a passage that only the KJV interprets that way, and it's humorous. First, I don't believe in English preservation, so maybe it wasn't me.   I don't teach that God preserved the KJV.  Second, the teaching that "them" are God's Words in Psalm 12:7 (read here), which he doesn't mention, goes back very far (read here).  Other translations say the same thing, including the Jewish Tanak. Webster's translation in 1833 is identical.

Thomas Overmiller links to and then pastes part of an article by Fred Butler in which Butler depends on a Douglas Kutilek article.  The article is an attack on me.  Butler quotes articles and commentaries, but he doesn't deal with the crucial component that is missed by the men he quotes. Their chief argument is that "words" cannot be the antecedent to "them" because of gender discordance.  That is thoroughly debunked by the fact that all over the Old Testament the masculine pronoun refers to feminine "words."  This is also found in multiple Hebrew grammars.  Butler quotes John Gill and Gill himself missed that point, so his commentary is wrong.  Overmiller makes no mention of that point.  Kutilek's article totally depends on the falsehood that Hebrew pronouns must agree with their antecedents.  It's false.  Overmiller just throws the Butler post out there for whatever reason, as if Butler dealt with what I actually wrote.

Jay refers to a Fred Butler statement pasted in Overmiller's comment and then uses it to mock people. I won't counter the typical scorn coming from Jay, except to say that TSKT isn't intended as a defense of a single translation.  Most of the exegesis comes from the original languages, not the KJV.  Josh P then defends Jay by saying that "the whole matter" is that I want an exegetical response, when there is no relationship between the TSKT exegesis and my position.  The TSKT position actually does come from its exegesis and Josh P doesn't show how it doesn't.  That's not a necessary burden for him or the others who comment at SI.  Tyler, however, in the next comment tries to get someone to comment on Matthew 24:35.

I'll ignore Bert Perry's comment, where he says that people such as myself are authoritarian leaders, Jim Peet's announcement that he's buying TSKT, and Jay's statement about heresy.  JBL says some truth about Matthew 24:35, someone who finally interacts with the actual post.  Bob Hayton gives a plug for a booklet that is essentially a hatchet job on our book.  It is called the Doctrine of Scripture, but you will find that it is not.  It takes some of what we wrote in TSKT and attacks it, in an unconvincing way.  Bob links to a post I wrote about it, since the book said that we believe that someone can only be saved through the KJV, which we refute in TSKT.  In other words, it's a purposeful lie, a smear.  The book is not any kind of organized presentation on preservation or bibliology period.  It's not what myself or anyone wants from the critical text side, that is, laid out the scriptural presuppositions for their position.  It doesn't do that at all, contrary to what Bob says.

In answer to Bert Perry's comment, the part about my not knowing logic.  I took it in college and have taught it three different times, so I have an interest in logic.  I like thinking about the logic of the conclusion that people are not saved who heard the gospel from the critical text.  To be saved, that person is receiving God's Words.  Most of the critical text is God's Words (at least 93% of the NT).  A person is not saved through a rejection of God's Words, like we see in Acts 2:41.  All over scripture, rejection of God's Words is not characteristic of a saved people.  Deuteronomy does make that point. When Jesus is Lord, you don't pick and choose what you'll do and not do.  I'm not going to go through all the Bible to show that, but that is not the same thing as saying that you are saved only through the King James Version, like the book is smearing, and Bert Perry wishes to latch on to.

I want to say that I feel sorry for what Bert Perry has experienced in what he describes at his church in the next comment. I do.  What we said was that Pickering did do collation of manuscripts and he saw that some of them were identical to each other and he mentions which ones.  We said that debunked the legend that not one manuscript was identical to another.  I happen to like Pickering's position better than a critical text one, for numerous reasons, and his work is helpful.  That Pickering prefers a majority text position to the TR doesn't debunk anything we wrote (I'm skipping Tyler's next comment).  There is some missing logic there coming from Bert, to refer back to his reference to logic before.

To address Bert's next comment, first, Pickering gives evidence of identical manuscripts, which we referenced only in refutation of the assertion that no manuscript was identical.  That shouldn't be said, or it should be retracted, because it's not true.  I understand people not retracting.  They would be admitting they are wrong, and that just can't happen.

TSKT, contrary to T Howard's next comment, doesn't assert that the Bible teaches that God preserves His Words in a particular text family.  No one has said that, so it is a falsehood or a strawman.  As to words not passing away just meaning authority and validity, quoting Constable is not sufficient basis for believing that.  How does that relate to heaven and earth passing away?  Do heaven and earth have less authority and validity?

Even though Jay is on the right track in his next comment, he descends to the falsehood or strawman that we see Jesus promising the preservation of a text family.  That is inserting language of textual criticism.  If it is a promise that His Words would be available, like heaven and earth is presently available, then we would ask, what has been available and received by God's people?  The trajectory starts from the teaching of the passage and works out, not the reverse.

I have to applaud Andy Efting's actual interaction with Matthew 24:35.  However, his conclusion does not proceed from the text, unlike where JBL earlier was taking it.  He says, "not pass away" means, "dependable."  Scripture is more dependable because it won't pass away.  However, He says, "my words shall not pass away."  You don't want to take from Jesus promise less than what He says.  He is saying more than they are dependable.

Differing from JBL's next comment, accessibility is more than an inference.  It is stated by Jesus.  It is explicit.

Josh P refers to an article on preservation not by Compton, but by Combs at DBTS journal.  I'm not going to critique Combs article, so this, my friends, is where I stop assessing comments.

I appreciate those who chose to interact at least a little with the article.  I didn't like the name calling and scorn, but I've found it usually will occur.  I don't think anyone got into the depth necessary to overturn the exegetical work of my chapter on Matthew 24:35.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Assessing Comments on Thou Shalt Keep Them

SharperIron (SI, Tyler Robbins there) twice published excerpts (here and here) from Thou Shalt Keep Them (TSKT), a book our church published in 2006, a biblical theology of the perfect preservation of scripture.  Many opposed, essentially took pot shots, in the comment section.  I want to assess those comments (39 comments as of right now) in this post.

Almost none of the comments interact with TSKT.  They anticipate perhaps another book and speculate on a conclusion, but they don't disprove any of the biblical exegesis of TSKT, which means the teaching of TSKT stands.  Much of what is written are falsehoods, lies, or misrepresentations.  I can't decipher the first comment, but Bert Perry represents a contrast with TSKT by adapting his understanding of Matthew 5:18 to variations in manuscripts.  The meaning of Matthew 5:18 didn't change upon the production of a critical text.  The meaning of verses should be judged based on exegesis.  The meaning of Matthew 5:18 (that chapter written by Gary Webb) isn't based on a "hypothesis" either.  Perry also writes the third comment and from both, you can see that he doesn't know what TSKT is even about.  No other commenter disabuses him of his ignorance.

Dave Barnhart takes the same point of view on preservation passages.  They can't mean what they are saying, because of "textual evidence."  The trajectory of understanding preservation passages in this hermeneutic is, first consider manuscript evidence and then apply that knowledge to the understanding of scripture, rather than first understand scripture and then apply that to so-called "manuscript evidence."  He admitted he couldn't take the view of the book because of what he had heard, not because of the exegesis, but because of material outside of scripture.  This is the same as Perry.

If scripture is not preserved, then it is in need of restoration.  "Josh P" says this is a "strawman" about textual criticism.  In actuality, he says, textual criticism is locating the preserved word.  It's out there preserved, but just needs to be found.  TSKT actually deals with this contemporary view of so-called preservation.  Preservation assumes we have the words in our possession, that is, they are available.  I call Joshu P's view the "buried text view."  It isn't preservation and it isn't a view taught anywhere in the Bible, so it's no wonder TSKT wouldn't take the view.  No one in the world thought that something was preserved that nobody possessed until this recent strange view.

I think Tyler Robbins is attempting to help in the next comment at SI, where he writes what he says he thinks that TSKT is saying.  He is off some.  God said He would preserve every one of His Words and that they would all be accessible in general to every generation of believer.  We don't conclude availability from other arguments.  We show how scripture actually promises availability.  No one on the critical text side believes we have have all the words in our possession.  They don't base that on a scriptural presupposition.  Tyler posits the "restoration" situation that Josh P earlier said was a strawman.  He should call Tyler on the strawman.

Aaron Blumer comments next, pointing out a series he wrote about TSKT a few years ago, and he says he didn't especially get one question answered.  However, the point of TSKT wasn't to answer that question.  His comment fundamentally misses the point of the book with his mention of KJV translation because TSKT says that the Bible teaches that preservation is original language.  The Bible wasn't written in English.

Thomas Overmiller says that the basis of the TSKT position is ecclesiological, namely that true Baptist churches are the agents of word-perfect and available preservation.  That particular point doesn't appear in TSKT at all.  It doesn't seem like he has either read the book or knows what it is about (he told me in an email he hasn't read TSKT), but that doesn't stop him from writing and writing and writing like he an expert on it.  If someone can only come to this position with "true Baptist churches," then why do many, many Presbyterians, Free Presbyterians, and Reformed take the same position? Ecclesiology doesn't buttress the position. D. A. Waite is a Baptist of a very different kind than I, a contrasting ecclesiology, and he believes word perfect preservation and availability. Overmiller doesn't know what he's talking about on this.

Based on his speculated premise, which isn't our premise, Overmiller says Scrivener's text becomes the default perfect Greek text.  It's fascinating to read someone tell the world what my (our) position is, who doesn't have a clue.  He says that I believe that since true Baptist churches use the King James today, that is what God kept through the centuries.  He says that 1 Timothy 3:15 is crucial for us, a passage that was not a chapter in TSKT (strange for something so crucial), and then he says TSKT tied that to Matthew 4:4.  He offers zero proof that this horrible argument, he asserts, is our argument. Nothing. At the end of this giant misstatement (as good as a giant lie), he tags the disclaimer, "Perhaps I'm mistaken somehow."  Yes, you are "mistaken." If you think you are mistaken, however, then you clear that up first, before writing to the world.  If someone believes in word perfect preservation and general accessibility, which is what the Bible teaches, his view of the church isn't going to be what makes or breaks that position.

Next Tyler comments again, saying that I wouldn't accept the MEV because it wasn't a project of true churches, sort of acceding to Overmiller's speculation. I went back and read those posts, and I didn't make that statement.  I believe that agreement of churches would be a slow down on the glut of translations, which causes more confusion.  The impetus for translation should start with churches, not publishers, and 1 Timothy 3:15 does buttress that thought, something wholly different than Overmiller's speculation.  The church is God's container for truth, and we can see through scripture that the church took responsibility just like the congregation of Israel in the Old Testament.  This is regulating practice by scripture, which is how Christians ought to live.

I'm skipping the next two comments at SI, because they are so off the wall.  Tyler seems to try to get things back on track in the next comment.  The question arises of the basis for knowing the words. What the churches received was very homogeneous as it was.  If you look at the back of Scrivener's annotated Greek text, he has the differences between the TR editions, and they are very small, negligible, especially next to the massive differences between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, which were unavailable, again presumably because they were rejected texts.  The presupposition of a settled text presumes God's people will know.   That assumption should reign rather than doubt.  It is a doctrinal position that has practical ramifications.

Perry comes next with the urban legend that no two manuscripts were alike, a claim debunked by Wilbur Pickering's, The Identity of the New Testament Text, where he actually observes identical manuscripts and identifies them by name.  I'll take someone who saw it and proved it over Perry.

Overmiller, someone who confesses he hasn't read TSKT, doubles down with absolute confidence, that 1 Timothy 3:15 is the basis of the argument, period.  He asserts that TSKT is not based on manuscript evidence.  TSKT is an exegesis of biblical passages on preservation.  In one section, it does deal with textual variants, showing how that doctrine does change with variants, against a statement that the differences don't change doctrine.

Don Johnson makes one comment, and he says that the Josiah story is a basis for rejecting preservation for every generation.  I admire that he attempts to make an actual scriptural argument.  I have written about that story and I believe that it doesn't help Don's position of non-availability.  If the Bible was in the temple, then it was being preserved.  The people just didn't care until Josiah came along, and that agrees with our position that it is available to those who want it.  That supports our position. I see that as an argument for providential preservation.

Overmiller touts his own graciousness in the next comment, assuming the non-graciousness of men who don't believe like him.   I don't get his point except to put other people down who are more narrow than he, which isn't in fact gracious. I reject his personal assessment of himself.  It is a faulty understanding of graciousness.  If I tell a Roman Catholic that "works salvation" will send him to Hell, that isn't ungracious. I don't agree to disagree.  Accepting false doctrine isn't more gracious.  We live in a pluralistic society.  Men can take different views.  If we oppose one vehemently, that doesn't mean we are less gracious.

Next Overmiller comments again, first obviously insulting me for writing so much on biblical preservation on this blog, emphasizing "a lot" in italics.  For about the fourth time, he says that our entire view rests on 1 Timothy 3:15, which is, he says, is debunked by the majority of churches being critical text today.  That shows that he truly doesn't understand what we say on this.  Churches would always have God's Words.  They didn't have the critical text for at least 400 years, so those words couldn't be God's Words.  The critical text doesn't even accept a doctrine of preservation and doesn't even believe it possesses all the Words.  TSKT is based upon biblical presuppositions that he does not interact with at all.  None.  Instead he quadruples down (we caught it the first time, Thomas) on something we never wrote.

I ignore the next comment to arrive again at another Overmiller comment.  He's writing a lot of comments.  TSKT is a biblical theology, so it isn't going to look at manuscript evidence.  We do examine the variants in TSKT though, as seen in two chapters comparing the doctrinal differences in both the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT, two different words that cannot mean the same thing.  The application of what the Bible says would look at what manuscripts were actually available and received by the churches.  Overmiller writes the following as his last little paragraph, "If you accept this reasoning, then you will like his explanation. If you do not accept this reasoning, then you will be scratching your head over his preservation arguments for a long, long time."  That scratching your head for a long time would be an example of the Overmiller graciousness.

I appreciate that Aaron Blumer's next comment does deal with a biblical argument in TSKT, which serves to elevate him in the comment section.  I don't want that to go unnoticed.  He mentions the canonicity argument that is made in TSKT, that is, scripture teaches a canonicity of words, not books. He, however, conflates canonicity with textual criticism, something I've never read elsewhere, so it seems brand new to me.  Has anyone anywhere ever taken the position that textual criticism is a form of canonicity?  Canonicity would be a settled judgment, not an ongoing, never ending process. That would clash with actual canonicity.  The "whole point" of TSKT, as Aaron calls it, is not that TC is bad.  The whole point is what the Bible teaches on the doctrine of preservation of scripture, which is that all of God's Words were available for every generation of believer.

To Be Continued (leaving about 18 comments from the two posts, out of the 39)

Friday, June 09, 2017

Trinitarianism Class on Youtube

Lecture #1: Introduction to Trinitarianism; the Definition of the Trinity

Lecture #2, The Sanctifying Power of Knowing the Trinity; the Definition of the Trinity continued

Lecture #3, Definition of the Trinity Concluded & the Definition of Anti-Trinitarian positions

Lecture #4, The Revisionist History of Trinitarianism presented by Anti-Trinitarians and the Actual Historical Development of Trinitarianism

Lecture #5, Actual Historical Development of Trinitarianism continued

Lecture #6, Actual Historical Development of Trinitarianism concluded

Lecture #7, Textual Variants Impacting Trinitarianism & The Exegetical Basis for the Son’s being Eternally Begotten and the Spirit’s Eternally Proceeding from the Father and the Son

Lecture #8, Review for Midterm Exam &; Introduction to the Examination of Modern Modalism/Oneness Pentecostalism

Lecture #9, The Trinity of Persons Defended Against Modern Modalism/Oneness Pentecostalism

Lecture #10, Modern Modalism/Oneness Pentecostal “Proof-texts” Examined
Lecture #11, The Old Testament Evidence for the Deity of Christ

Lecture #12, The Old Testament Evidence for the Deity of Christ Concluded and the New Testament Texts where Christ is called "God."

Lecture #13, The New Testament Texts where Christ is called “God” Concluded and Further New Testament Evidence for the Deity of Christ

Lecture #14, The Deity of Christ Concluded and the Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit

Lecture #15, The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit Continued & Introduction to Arian “Proof-texts” Examined

Lecture #16, The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit Concluded & Arian “Proof-texts” Continued

Lecture #17, Arian “Proof-texts” Concluded

Lecture #18, The Question of Prayer to the Holy Spirit and an Introduction to Christian Communion with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

Lecture #19, Distinct Communion with the Father and with the Son
Lecture #20:  Distinct Communion with the Son and with the Holy Spirit and the Necessity of a Robust Trinitarian Spirituality

Lecture #21:  A Synopis of John Owen’s Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, each Person distinctly, in love, grace, and consolation;  or, the Saint’s Fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost unfolded

Lecture #21: Final Exam Review

Please feel free to watch the videos and link to and like them on Youtube; doing all three of these things will drive web traffic to them, and they contain, I trust, a great deal of sound Biblical teaching.