Monday, December 04, 2017

The Dishonesty over the Version or Preservation of Scripture Issue

In my experience, someone like myself, who believes what scripture says about its own preservation, must answer every possible gotcha question about textual variants in the handwritten copies of the New Testament.  I have to give an honest answer, knowing that these are gotcha questions.  Among these are, "Which printed edition of the TR (textus receptus) is the perfectly preserved text?" and "What about the few words in the King James that translate no known original language manuscript?"

At the same time, I don't hear honesty about the doctrine of preservation coming from the other side.  I see and hear tactics in an attempt to win.  What does the Bible say about its own preservation, regardless of what you think about manuscript evidence?  What have Christians believed, said they believed, about the scriptural teaching of preservation?  Are you guiding your position on the teaching of the Bible on its own preservation by your interpretation of manuscript evidence?  Where does our faith lie and where do our doctrines come from?

There is no developed doctrine of scripture, no historic doctrine of preservation of scripture, that precedes the critical text, modern textual criticism, and the modern versions.  Those who support the critical text and modern versions don't start with biblical presuppositions.  Can't they just be honest and admit that they conform the biblical teaching to what they see as the reality or the science of manuscript evidence?

There is other dishonesty, but the above is the start and the crux of it.  Can't men just admit that Warfield set up an all new concept of inerrancy in the late 19th century to conform the understanding of biblical inerrancy to manuscript evidence?  Can't they be honest that textual variants do change doctrine?  Not only are doctrines changed in individual passages, but doctrines change overall.  An example is the textual variant in Matthew 18:15.  You can't find that exact teaching anywhere else in the Bible, so the variant changes the doctrine of the whole Bible.  The biblical and historical doctrine of preservation doesn't clash with the "translators to the readers" in the original King James Version.  They were advocating for future translation improvements, not a continued tweaking of the underlying text.  Those are not the same.  There are many, many more examples.

James White complains about how bad he has been treated by King James Onlyists.  You will have a difficult time finding anyone who will treat you worse than James White.  Bad treatment of him is an argument for him.  His bad treatment of others is not.  The assumption seems to be that how he treats others is always deserved and to the extent that he regularly lectures his opponents on their poor style.  Let's be honest:  no one has a corner on bad style and poor treatment.  I go door-to-door evangelism almost every week of the year and James White treats his foes worse than 95% of the bad treatment I get from unbelievers at the door.  The same goes for many other critical text proponents.  Everyone needs to be honest about poor style.

Daniel Wallace wrote one article about the doctrine of preservation.  It only deals with what he says that others believe on the doctrine.  He will point you to that article if you want to know his thoughts on preservation.  He has made no attempt to improve upon it.  There are numerous problems with the article.  He doesn't deal honestly with legitimate criticism.  He calls it cherry-picking or the like.  He's not honest about it.

Many fundamentalists say they believe scripture is preserved in the preponderance of the manuscripts.  They are saying every Word is found among all the manuscript evidence -- we just don't know what those Words are.  They don't even believe that.  Can't they just be honest about it?  They believe that in certain incidences, there is presently no extant manuscript that contains particular words in the original manuscripts. So they don't even believe in the preservation of every Word of God in the preponderance of the manuscripts, even though they haven't showed from the Bible how that is even a scriptural position.  They've just made up that belief or teaching.

When someone has the truth, they don't have to make things up and be dishonest about what it is.  They let the truth speak.  They want the truth.  I don't find that with the version or preservation of scripture issue.  The norm is dishonesty in fitting with an age of political correctness.


Kent Brandenburg said...

This is where this issue is at.

Tyler Robbins said...

There's just not really too much left to say. You believe, by fideistic faith, that God has preserved His word in the 1598 Beza version of the TR. I get that. So, I understand your passion on this issue.

However, many, many Christian just don't agree with you at all. You mention "gotcha" questions, and assume people asking them have bad motives. Maybe, maybe not. Those are good questions, I think. They should be answered.

But, given your fideistic faith position on this matter (detailed in TSKT), there's really nothing else to say about it. We've discussed this at length. There's nothing more productive to say, really.

Kent Brandenburg said...


There is little to say on my end. I've answered the questions and no one cared. That's how you know it is a gotcha question. You answer it and then they move on to the next gotcha question. I've got questions here. No answer. So there's a lot to say on your end. I don't get answers. I get usually ridicule. It's a kind of answer, like 2 Peter 3 kind of answer.

I bring these up, you know, now and then, actually pretty regularly. I think they need to be answered. I dealt with Wallace's article in depth. It was very bad. No one cared. Why? They don't care what scripture says on the subject. It's dishonest. Everyone will face God though. All you can do is tell them.

By the way, I don't have a problem with fideistic. I think faith is the right position, but usually people mean it as a pejorative, like having faith that Noah's ark is on Ararat as an application of scripture. It's not the same. That would be more dishonesty, as such, if that's tongue in cheek.

Tyler Robbins said...

I didn't mean it in a pejorative way. I meant it, in the sense that you entitled your chapter "The Superiority of the Fideistic Approach to the Preservation of Scripture," (TSKT, pg. 259ff).

You are correct about Wallace. I emailed him several years ago, with some more detailed questions about his view of preservation. He referred me back to his article.

As far as the passages go, we simply disagree over what the passages are teaching. But, that's really where the rubber meets the road. What do the passages teach about preservation? I don't believe they teach what TSKT says they teach. In many cases, I don't believe the passages are about preservation at all, really.

But, I always refer people to your book when they ask for the best presentation off the TR position. I still have to read your critique of "God's Word in Our Hands" that you sent me.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Can you point me to the doctrinal work done that led to a change in the scriptural position on preservation, the one where they first took the preservation passages differently, because they didn't mean what men had said they meant, that predates modern textual criticism? Where is the historic good work done through the centuries that establishes your position that you say is not the same as mine? I'd like to read it. I can't answer something I don't see. I read Wallace's and then God's Word in our Hands (not Words in our hands), which both just were shooting down the historic position, not establishing a new position.

Then the new position they take, preponderance of manuscripts, which they don't show comes from scripture, they don't even believe. Is this honest? I would like answers to these non-gotcha questions. I get why I'm not getting answers. There are none, so people have to go with ridicule, personal attack, and other gotcha questions. Red herrings.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Robbins,

I know last time I asked you for your position you said you were too busy or something of that nature, but since you take the time to write to go after Mr. Brandenburg's view, can you not take 15 minutes and give us the Biblical argument for your view?

I know you're busy, but since you know Brandenburg is wrong, at least give us something of yours to look at.

1) What is your Biblical theology of preservation?
2) What verses do you use?
3) Where have you read others who hold your view?

Please give us something.



Tyler Robbins said...


I took the time to write briefly that there seems to be no point going forward in the discussion with Bro. Brandenburg, because of the prior discussions we've already had. I already understand his position, through extensive correspondence on this site and by email, and by reading his book. I have not "gone after" him, like some rabid critic, foaming at the mouth.

If you want to know my view, read "God's Word in Our Hands." Over the years, I have interacted extensively on this site at appropriate times, in response to various articles. I have no desire to do this again because, as I said, I understand the position advocated here and don't believe anything constructive is left to be said in this forum.

I don't get the impression you're particularly interested in a conversation. Your mind is made up. That's fine. You mentioned that, some months ago, I said I intended to write on this, but said I was too busy. That is correct. I have much to do, and I haven't blocked out time to respond to the treatments of Scripture in the TSTK book. I doubt I'll get it done anytime soon. It isn't high on my list of things to do, because I don't think it's nearly as important as other projects I'm working on.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Tyler has been very respectful, nice. We get along for a lot of reasons. He's one of the few guys like him that even talk to me.

I talked to a Mormon out door-to-door tonight, and they believe that Christianity moved away from the truth and they've got it right. Lots wrong with them, but common ground with the preservation issue is that you can't find a trace of their beliefs until they came along. That should bother them. I don't think something that is never mentioned in history, something that doesn't move along among believers, actually contradicting the detailed presentations, would be right without a lot of great work. No great work is done and no history is there. No one should find that acceptable. Why would there not be a trace of the right position? Were people really that wrong? Nothing like that is ever right. The new position is not right.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll reread that one.

And for what it's worth, I don't remember you saying before that that book contained your position. So thanks for answering that question.

I've got another couple of questions for you regarding your view, but I'm busy at the moment so it will have to wait a little while.